Category Archives: New Food of the Month Challenge

Get Acquainted with Arugula

Baby arugula

Arugula – the first thing to pop out of my spring garden.

You learn something every day! I just learned that an alternative name for arugula is rocket salad, a name earned because it rockets out of the ground each spring. If you are not yet eating arugula on a frequent basis, I hope you will give this super-healthy green a try.

One of the main mantras I heard during my training at IIN was that most people would feel better if they simply drank more water and ate more greens. Follow this advice and eat arugula! It is a low-FODMAP green which means that you can enjoy the health benefits of arugula without having to worry about it setting off any unwanted digestive symptoms. Compared to most other salad greens, arugula has more antioxidants, phytonutrients, calcium, folate, magnesium, and vitamin E.

arugula salad

Fodmap-friendly arugula salad with cantaloupe and pecans.

Arugula does have a strong, peppery taste, which may come across a little bitter. You can tone down the bitterness of the arugula by pairing it in your salad with some fruit or avocado (small amount on the avocado to keep it low-FODMAP). I personally love to top my arugula salad with my balsamic vinaigrette dressing. (P.S. The above salad is of one of the recipes you will find in my  book, “The Everything® Guide to the Low-FODMAP Diet.“)

Give arugula a try and let me know what you think! If you have a fave arugula recipe, I would love it if you shared it below.


March New Food Challenge: Chia Seeds

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Do you remember the critical eye you have when you start to date someone seriously? I was going out with my husband just shy of a year when the holidays rolled around. I really liked this guy and saw a future with him. Until I was horrified when I went to his apartment and saw that he had purchased a Chia Pet to give to someone for Christmas. How could I even consider marrying someone with such questionable taste?

Luckily, the relationship was spared when he informed me that he purchased the novelty item for a tradition he had with his twin brother, that of giving one another “useless gifts.” Whew!

Now twenty some odd years later, it turns out that maybe that gift wasn’t so useless after all. Chia seeds are now getting recognized for their powerful nutritional punch.

Why should you try Chia seeds? One of the main nutritional advantages of chia seeds is that they are an easy way to get those super-healthy omega-3 fatty acids into your body. Chia seeds are also a good source of fiber and contain a wide array of vitamins and minerals. When soaked in water, chia seeds form a gel, which should help with stool consistency for those of you who have digestive issues.

Chia seeds are super easy to add to your diet as they can be eaten whole, unlike flaxseed which needs to be ground before use. Sprinkle them on cereal or salads, or add them to your smoothies. I like to put a bowl out at night with some chia seeds, some goji berries, some frozen organic blueberries and a small amount of water. Then in the morning when I reheat my porridge, all of these super-foods are ready to be stirred right in. I recently tried making a chia pudding (do a search, there are tons of recipes!) I personally didn’t love it, but I will say it kept me full much longer than my typical breakfasts do.

If you have already tried chia seeds, please comment below with your favorite way to use them. Recipes welcome! And if you are stumped for a gift, a Chia Pet might just be the way to go.


My Love Affair with Flaxseed

krups80After eight years, my handy dandy Krups coffee/flaxseed grinder gave a little grunt and then passed on. As I ordered a new one, I reflected on how flaxseed has become such a regular part of my diet that I tend to take it for granted. I first started to use flaxseed when I went through my phase of reading everything that  Dr. Andrew Weil had ever written. What sold me on flaxseed was that it is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids which are excellent for reducing inflammation. At that time, inflammation was a big concern of mine because I struggled with two health problems that inflammation played a role in: chronic sinus issues and knee pain from an old injury. So I ordered flaxseed from a source Dr. Weil recommended, it came with that handy dandy Krups grinder and I became a regular flaxseed user.

How do I use flaxseed? I put a tablespoon in my morning cereal or muesli and another in my afternoon smoothie. Now flaxseed is not the only thing that I do for my health, but I no longer have constant colds and my knee bothers me so rarely that I actually forget to tell new yoga teachers about it when they ask, “Do you have any injuries I should know about?”  I think flaxseed has played a big part in addressing both of these issues for me.

The best way to use flaxseed is to buy the seeds whole and then ground them yourself using a small coffee grinder. I usually grind enough to last a week or two. Once the seeds are ground, they must be refrigerated or the oils within them will turn rancid.

Flaxseed has a pleasant, nutty taste. Unlike many other things that are good for you, (did someone say wheatgrass?), you do not have to acquire a taste for it. It will affect the stool, however, so best to start with perhaps a half of a tablespoon a day and then work up to two tablespoons a day. Flaxseed can give the stool a gooey consistency, so it is especially helpful if you deal with hard stools or constipation. Flaxseed can help firm up the stool for those who have IBS-D, but I would recommend adding it into the diet very slowly.

Hopefully you will also fall in love with these little golden seeds!


Beautiful Bok Choy

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For February’s New Food of the Month Challenge, I double dog dare you to try bok choy. Bok choy is one of those greens that we all should be eating more of! Greens are filled with healthy components that strengthen our blood, our respiratory systems and our immune systems. Greens are also filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals, all the wonderful things that help our bodies to thrive. That’s a lot packed into those green leaves!

Although I probably have eaten bok choy here or there at a restaurant, last week I made it my mission to make a dish in which bok choy was the star ingredient. I chose to make “Bok Choy and Chickpeas with Cashews” from Terry Walter’s  “Clean Food” cookbook. Just preparing the bok choy was delightful. You can see by my picture what a pretty plant it is. The dish was simple to cook, and I found the bok choy to taste light and a little bit sweet, much less challenging to the palate than its cousin the hearty kale.

Bok choy is a low FODMAPs food, so it should be safe for those of you with digestive issues. (Unfortunately, chickpeas are on the FODMAPs naughty list, so you may want to find a different recipe!)

Want to try bok choy? Try my little tip of doing a search with the terms “bok choy recipe integrative” and see which recipes appeal to you. If you find a good one, please share by leaving a comment below or on my Facebook page.


Other New Foods to Try:

Like what you read? Maybe it is time for you to take a step toward creating vibrant health for yourself. I will work side by side with you to achieve your health goals, whether that be having a trouble-free digestive system, reducing pain, losing weight, having more energy or getting better sleep. Get started today! Click here to sign up for your health breakthrough session.

Meet the Goji Berry

2013-09-19 05.58.13You may have heard the term “superfood” being bandied about. These are foods that contain extraordinary amounts of the types of nutrients that help our bodies to thrive. The more of these foods you can add to your regular diet, the better you will feel. If you haven’t yet been introduced to the goji berry, a lovely little superfood, I am happy to make your acquaintance.

Although they may vary in color and shape, goji berries typically look like little red raisin-shaped berries. They have a pleasant taste – sweet, but not too sweet.

Goji berries are packed with antioxidants, phytonutrients, and polysaccharides. They are thought to boost your immune system, improve eyesight, support cardio-vascular health, and enhance your sex life. Goji berries have a reputation throughout the world as being the “longevity fruit”. This is one super-berry!

I am unsure if the goji berry is FODMAP-friendly or not.  However, as they are not super-sweet, my best guess would be that they are probably okay. Try a small amount at first to see if they set off any digestive symptoms.

Are you ready to start eating goji berries? You can find them at stores like Whole Foods or Wild by Nature or order them through Amazon. The bag may look a little pricey, but I have found that it lasts a long time. I add goji berries to my oatmeal and smoothies. You can add them to trail mix, sprinkle them on your salad, and, if you like to bake, add them to muffins, scones and cookies just like you would use raisins.

Try this superfruit – your body will thank you!


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My New Favorite Warm Breakfast – Amaranth!

2013-12-20 07.06.30It is amazing what one will eat when one becomes a “happy health nut“. My latest discovery is amaranth and I am hooked! Therefore, amaranth is going to serve as January’s entry for your New Food of the Month Challenge. I encourage you to try amaranth in a creamy porridge that smells amazing and will make your belly feel so happy and satisfied.

Below you will find the link to the recipe I used. Don’t be put off by the long cooking time. The recipe requires no prep time and will fill your kitchen with a warm, homey aroma (which will make you understand why porridge figured so prominently in all of those fairy tales). You do need to keep stirring, so it is best to have it bubbling away on your stove while you are cooking something else.  This recipe can also be made in a rice cooker, freeing you up to do anything you want as it cooks itself.

The great thing about this recipe is that it is low in FODMAPs, which means that it is perfect for anyone who digestive issues. In other words, you can eat this and not worry about it causing gas or setting off a sensitive system.  Amaranth is also a great grain to eat if you are avoiding gluten.

Experiment with your favorite toppings. I tend to be a habitual eater, so my breakfasts usually include some warmed up frozen organic blueberries, some hemp seed and some flaxseed. I also added chopped walnuts which seems to pair nicely with the sweet and earthy flavor of the porridge.

Also remember, bio-individuality! What tastes delicious to me might not work for you. My husband tried it and declared, “it tastes like dirt.” He is obviously not yet a “health nut”!

Here is the recipe:

  • Creamy Amaranth Porridge


You will find more healthy breakfast ideas here:

Like what you read? Maybe it is time for you to take a step toward creating vibrant health for yourself. I will work side by side with you to achieve your health goals, whether that be having a trouble-free digestive system, reducing pain, losing weight, having more energy or getting better sleep. Get started today! Click here to sign up for your health breakthrough session.