Pasta with Chicken and Peppers in Peanut Sauce [Gluten and Dairy Free, and Low Fodmap]

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With my doctors blessing, I’m trialing a new diet for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) [which I’ve had for many, many years] called low fodmaps which basically limits certain types of sugars found in foods, such as lactose, fructose, as well as sugars found in legumes, some vegetables such as broccoli, onions and garlic (that’s a tough one, onions and garlic are ubiquitous) and the sugar found in wheat, rye and barley. I’m in week two of this diet. It’s quite challenging.

Here is a low fodmap recipe I developed for supper yesterday.
3 chicken breasts
1 c. water (broth could also be used – but for low fodmap, needs to be wheat, onion and garlic free)
2 T. cornstarch
¼ c. peanut butter
1 T. coconut oil
2 T. wheat free soy sauce
2 T. hoisin sauce
3 Chives (green part of green onions), chopped
1 pepper, sliced
I package rice pasta, cooked according to package directions

For spices, I used about 1 T. of a curry type spice blend called Kitchen King from MDH. This spice blend is low in garlic and onion powders, and thus I believe it is low fodmap.  For spices, if following a low fodmap diet, read labels – ingredients are listed in descending order). In Canada , Kitchen King is available at Superstore.
Cook chicken breasts in oven in casserole dish – 400 for 30 minutes. Slice into small pieces. Brown pepper and chives in a small sauté pan with a little oil. Whisk together water, cornstarch, peanut butter, coconut oil, soy sauce and hoisin sauce and spices in a large pot and heat until thickened. (If sauce is too thick, add about ¼ c. water). Add chicken, pepper and chives to the peanut sauce. Serve over rice pasta (or other gluten or wheat free pasta). Serves 4.


Barley and Brown Rice Salad

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This versatile recipe is very tasty.

1/2 c. pearl barley, rinsed

1/2 c. brown rice, rinsed

2 c. water

dash salt

2 cups diced vegetables – I used a mixture of celery, green onions, and carrots)

1/2 c. each dried cranberries and chopped walnuts

1/2 c. crumbled soft cheese – I used Boursin, but feta or goat cheese would work well too


1/2 c. oil

1/4 c. vinegar

2 – 3 T. each maple syrup and mustard

2 T. soy sauce

salt and pepper

While this version is vegetarian, chopped diced chicken, canned tuna, or tofu can also be added.

Bring water to  a boil.  Add rice and barley. Cover and lower heat to medium low and cook for about 40 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes or until any remaining water is absorbed.  Combine with remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl. Mix up dressing in a jar and pour over salad.  Refrigerate for a few hours to cool and let flavors meld.  Serves 4- 6.

My Messy Bowel Syndrome

I wrote the following for the Spring, 2014 issue of Geez Magazine

My Messy Bowel Syndrome

I was in my vehicle when I started to get the usual signs an attack was imminent – stomach gurgling and churning, sounds of liquid rushing through the intestines, feelings of pressure in the lower abdominal region, bloating, gas, and so forth.  Immediately I began to panic.

Frantic, I looked for a place that might have a public restroom. As I was holding on – and holding it in – as best as possible, I reached a Walmart several agonizing minutes later.   I flew out of the car, sprinted towards the doors, and prayed there was an empty stall available.  Thankfully, there was.  After ten uncomfortable minutes in that stall, I was drained, in more ways than one. The feelings of stomach instability continued that evening, along with a post-flare up exhaustion, although I didn’t have another attack.

Many who have travelled to Mexico have experienced Montezuma’s revenge and can relate to my story as an isolated incident. However, imagine having “Monty” every single day. Imagine not knowing when you will have an IBS attack, or where you will be when one occurs. Or, on the flip side, being so constipated that you don’t go for several days (and believe me, that’s worse). This is the reality of those individuals who, like myself, cope with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

As with most chronic illnesses, IBS flares and subsides. Several foods can trigger an attack, including salad items such as greens and other raw vegetables. Eating “healthy” isn’t healthy for those with irritable bowel syndrome—the healthiest of foods can be the nastiest of triggers.

I try to manage IBS as best as possible with dietary changes, medications and supplements.  I had a stint of several years where it was particularly well-behaved.  In addition to gastro-intestinal symptoms, those with IBS can also experience lack of appetite and headaches. I call those headaches “toxic headaches”—it’s as if the food become toxic, and, until it is out of my system, the headache continues.

I want to be able to eat and enjoy a variety of foods.  IBS, you make that impossible.