I’ve been on many types of “lifestyle” diets in my day. Some were to make me feel better after a few ailments drew me to seek relief — the Candida protocol to rid of systemic yeast symptoms, the Blood Type Diet to rule out food sensitivities, gluten-free to ward off digestive problems. Others because I was young and felt like part of my duty to save the planet was to take up less space, which I did through becoming a vegetarian, and then a vegan (and then back to a vegetarian when I couldn’t live without chocolate and an occasional ice cream. Trade-offs.). Now I follow a protocol to help me reverse some truly awful damage to my small intestine (which I have a sneaking suspicion may have been caused in part from the years of vegetarianism and too many sticky grains in a stomach that can’t handle them), a conditional called SIBO, and bring my body back into health and balance. If I’ve learned one thing from following any of these diets, it’s that if I can’t find simple recipes that I love, I won’t stick with it. Food is something that brings me happiness and joy, and if I don’t love what I’m eating, I’ll eat something else.
I’ve said it several times through this blog that I believe that the purpose of life is to have more sustained joy. This idea is not mine alone, but was introduced to me through a yoga teacher of mine, Robert Birnberg. This idea is one interpretation of the main philosophical pretext of the yoga sutras. So if the purpose of life is to have more sustained joy, and every act we do either contributes to either present time or future joy, then the sacred ritual of eating must be something that we feel contributes to our feelings of joy and happiness.
In the book Happier, author and positive psychologist Tal ben-Shahar, Ph.D., explains that in order to be happy, our actions and daily activities must either be contributing to present or future happiness, and in the the best cases, to both at once. It was this philosophy that I took to when I started creating easy, tasty meals to follow my SIBO protocol (two diets combined – the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and the Low Fodmap Diet). My meals needed to be easy to prepare and cook and tasty (present happiness) but keep me on track to heal my gut (future happiness).
Here are recipes that have achieved both thus far, broken into categories for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Banana Pancakes ~ serves one
One over-ripe banana (must have several brown spots; like you would use for banana bread)
1-2 eggs (depends on how hungry you are)
1 Tbsp coconut flour per egg used
a dash of vanilla
a dash of cinnamon
1-2 tsp coconut oil, for frying
Heat coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mash banana with fork. Add egg, coconut flour, vanilla and cinnamon and mix well. There will be little chunks of banana in the batter, which is fine. It doesn’t need to be completely smooth. Pour the batter into the hot coconut oil. Cook on one side for about 4-6 minutes, or until the whole pancake is firm. Flip and cook on the other side for about 1-2 minutes, until cooked through.
Top pancake with a few spoonfuls of 24-hour home-made yogurt, coconut butter, and a teaspoon of honey, or come up with your own SIBO approved toppings. Enjoy!
*That has become my standard breakfast. Other breakfast choices for me are home-made yogurt with banana or grapes, scrambled eggs with kale and cheese, breakfast meats with eggs and greens.
Cheesy Eggs with Kale ~ serves one
3-4 large leaves of kale, any type (my favorite is green or purple)
2-3 eggs, depending on how hungry you are
1-2 oz of grass fed cheddar
1 Tbsp coconut oil or butter
chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Tear the leaves of kale from the stems and then into bite-sized pieces and place them in the pan. Sprinkle with spices and saute on medium heat until slightly cooked. I like them to have a little crunch, but if my stomach has been upset lately I cook them longer to be more easily digested. Remove to a plate. Crack eggs in the same pan over medium or medium low heat. I scramble my eggs right in the pan, but feel free to mix them in a bowl beforehand. Grate or slice the cheese right into the pan and scramble into the eggs. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Serve over kale.
Other lunch options are dinner leftovers, banana pancakes, hardboiled eggs with veggies and salad.
Chicken Coconut Curry
1-2 pounds chicken, cooked (I cube and cook chicken breasts or cook a whole chicken in my pressure cooker and use half of it)
2 large bell peppers: red, yellow or orange; chopped
1-2 carrots, sliced
1 medium yellow squash or 2 small sunburst squash, cubed
1-2 Tbsp Curry paste* (we use a local brand from our co-op)
1 can coconut milk without any gums or thickening agents
2 Tbsp coconut oil
salt, to taste
After chicken is cooked, heat oil over medium heat and place bell peppers, carrots and squash in the pan. Saute for a minute or two, until coated in oil. Add chicken, coconut milk, and curry paste. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the vegetables are soft. Season with salt to taste. Serve.
*Curry paste is technically a cheat since in contains garlic, which is something to avoid on the low-fodmap diet. However, I’ve found that this works for me and continue to use it.
Beef Colorado with Spaghetti Squash ~ serves 4
1-2 pounds grass fed ground beef
1 large or two small spaghetti squash
3 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp coconut flour
1/4 cup chili powder
four large tomatoes, pureed in food processor
1-2 cups chicken stock
1 tsp cumin
salt, to taste
Cook Squash: I like to cook the squash quickly and easily in my pressure cooker. I slice it in half, scoop out the insides, place it in the pressure cooker on a rack with 1 cup of water, and cook for 8 minutes. Done and done. You can also cook it in the oven: preheat the oven to 400, cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and place face down on a cookie sheet or roasting pan. Add about 1/2 inch of water to help it steam. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until you can easily pierce it with a fork all the way down to the peel. For either method, allow squash to cook enough to handle, and then remove strings with a fork.
Cook Beef and Sauce: In a large skillet, brown the beef with a little salt and pepper. Meanwhile (if you can run two pans at once), heat coconut oil in a pan, then add coconut flower and stir with a whisk until it’s dissolved. Cook for a couple of minutes; it will become smooth and a little shiny. Add chili powder and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, bring to a boil and cook down for about 10 minutes. Add chicken stock, a half cup at a time, to reach desired consistency. Add cumin. Continue to boil down until you’ve reached desired thickness. Season to taste with salt.
Pour sauce over the beef and cook for a few minutes. Place spaghetti squash in serving bowls and top with beef colorado mixture. Tastes great with a dollop of homemade 24-hour yogurt cheese.
Curried Chicken Salad (great for lunch or dinner) ~ serves 4
1 pound cooked chicken, cooled (I either cube and cook chicken breast or use part of a whole cooked chicken)
2 cups grapes, sliced
1 bunch green onions, chopped fine, green parts only
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
optional: 1/2 cup sliced almonds or walnuts
1/2 cup homemade curried mayo (recipe follows)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
- 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1 Tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 1 tsp honey
- salt, to taste
In a large bowl, combine chicken, grapes, green onions, bell peppers, and nuts (if using). Stir to combine and set aside.
Bring a fresh, organic egg to room temperature (either let it sit out for a bit, or soak it in a cup of warm water while you put the salad together). Separate the egg white, and place the yolk in a medium bowl. Whisk with the lemon juice and salt. Slowly, one drop at a time, add the grapeseed oil. When you start, literally whisk in one or two drops at a time to get an emulsion. Once about 1/3 of the oil has been added, you can add it in a slow, steady stream while whisking vigorously to keep from breaking. Once all the oil is added, set aside.
In a small sauce pan, heat the 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil over medium heat until very hot. Add the curry powder and stir for about one minute, until aromatic. Whisk this mixture into the mayo. Add lime juice, honey and salt to taste.
Pour curried mayo over the chicken salad ingredients and stir to combine. Serve over organic greens.