“It's easier to change a man's religion than to change his diet” ~ Margaret Mead
You guys. If we were in the same place, I'd invite myself over, bring a bottle of wine, a plate of cookies, flop on the sofa and say, “Bah, I am so ready for Spring”
How are you doing these days?
When I'm feeling a bit restless, I always remind myself that I'm not alone. Behind the scenes, everyone is navigating their way through something. There are career challenges, breakups, breakouts, snow storms in April(!) anxiety, sickness, financial troubles, aging parents, unfortunate diagnoses, awkward dinner parties, loss, loneliness ..
As my neighbor always says “Take gentle care of yourself”
I read a quote on Instagram (naturally) the other day:
On those days when we wake up feeling tender and raw after a sleepless night, when an old friend mysteriously unfriends us on social media, when our children ask us with worried eyes if they will be safe at school, when the week's small slights and emotional bruises strung together threaten death by a million paper cuts, look for the small kindnesses. They are there. You will always find them ~ Lisa Rubish for Cup of Jo
So I've been focusing on the positive things in my days that bring little sparks of joy and remind me what life is all about. Whispering in the dark, a full parking meter, Dr. Seuss via Facetime, tater tots at a dinner party, new walking shoes, a good book on the nightstand, and an arm that's fallen asleep beneath someone (or a furry creature) that I love
Oh, and a funny meteorologist who is tired of hearing people complain about his cold weather forecasts
I'm also really thankful for good health
For those who follow The Veggies, you'll know I was diagnosed with Celiac disease late last year. Who knew the harrowing years with teenagers would have been a trigger? At the time I knew stress was to thank for the bags under my eyes and the terrible rashes, but it never occurred to me to think about what was happening on the inside
While removing gluten from my diet made me feel a million times better, I quickly realized there was a bit more to the story. As with most gut problems, once something is off, many things can be in the mix
In my case, SIBO. My digestive doctor prescribed a round of antibiotics and a follow-up appointment for a few months down the road. I thought all would be well, and it was .. until the pills were finished and my symptoms returned
So the past couple of months have been a true education in the benefits of both conventional and alternative medicine. In the process, I've read and learned so much. One of the biggest surprises being how many people have SIBO and don't even realize it. Which really leaves them a little behind the 8-ball as far as whatever gut (and health) challenges they might have
Therefore, I thought it would be fun to do a short series about SIBO, including some of the things that have helped me along the way
(** Before getting started, I'm not a doctor, although I am a student of holistic nutrition. My sincerest wish is that the information will give you a jumping off place to explore the topic on your own. That it will offer some food for thought, or spark additional questions that you can now talk with your doctor, nutritionist, or health care professional about)
Irritable Bowel Syndrom
I mention Irritable Bowel Syndrome because it's a very common (and general) diagnosis that people often receive. It was the one I was given before being referred to a digestive specialist
Know that whenever the word “syndrome” is in the title, it means “You have something that's off, but we're not entirely sure why.” Recognition of some sort of GI problem, without a clear understanding of what's wrong
Come to find out, it's uncanny just how often an IBS diagnosis is tied to SIBO
What is SIBO?
SIBO is an acronym for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
The name itself can cause a bit of confusion because many people equate SIBO with an infection, which isn't the case. Instead, it happens when a large number of bacteria, the kind that normally lives in the large intestine, migrate to and set up shop in the small intestine
Once settled into their happy new home, the bacteria proliferate like crazy because they're being very well fed via the carbs we're eating. One of the many problems caused by these little guys are the fermentation gases they're giving off. Specifically methane and hydrogen
What's Causing the Bacteria to Become Misplaced?
Our bodies employ many janitors to keep everything in order. For example, a whole team are assigned to the lymphatic system because it's in charge of waste on a global level. Our brains have their own crew that tidy up while we sleep. The expertise of those working for the MMC's (Migrating Motor Complex)?
Throughout the day, there are waves of electrical activity that move through our intestines. They happen both in-between meals and during nighttime fasting. Their mission? Moving bacteria and other debris into the colon
For example, let's say you had a very delicious for dinner at 7 pm. Then, you snacked on a little something a couple of hours later, right before bed. During the time of fasting between your snack and breakfast the next morning, the janitors of MMC will be working diligently to tidy up your small intestine. The floors will be swept, the trash taken out and put in your colon
When all is well, there will be a total of nine to eleven waves, leaving the small intestines sparkling clean and all bacteria will be in their proper places
When all is not well, the MMC will only send three or four of these waves. Especially in people with SIBO who are dealing with constipation (which is far more common than those with diarrhea)
What are some of the symptoms underlying factors that cause SIBO?
(to be continued .. )
During this series, I'll be featuring recipes that follow the low FODMAP diet, which is often recommended to someone recovering from SIBO
A great chicken salad has the ideal mix of sweet and savory and tastes great on a sandwich (for him) or a bed of greens (for her). It's so nice to have in the fridge for quick and easy lunches, especially when some of the classics have lost their luster (ps: I still love you pb&j!)
Packed with protein it keeps me full all afternoon and is really portable
Baked chicken combined with herbs, capers, mustard, and grapes. I kept the mayo but used it sparingly. Just enough to keep the salad together, plus added a drizzle of fresh lemon juice to really brighten things up. Whatever you do, don't forget the grapes. Promise?
References used for this series can be found here
~ Adapted from Ina Garten | Food Network
- Chicken Salad
- 2 whole (4 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
- ¾ cups good mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp dry white wine
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1½ Tbsp whole-grain mustard
- fine grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves
- ½ - 1 Tbsp minced fresh dill
- 1 -2 Tbsp capers
- 1 cup red grapes, quartered
- Sandwich Fixings
- 4 slices sandwich bread of choice (gluten-free for a low-FODMAP diet)
- fresh greens (romaine leaves or sweet greens work well)
- fresh tomato slices
- fresh cucumber slices
- Roast the chicken
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked.
- Set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and dice the chicken into bite-size pieces
- For the dressing, whisk together the mayo, wine, both mustards, parsley, dill, and a strong pinch of sea salt and a grind of pepper
- Chicken Salad
- Add enough dressing to the warm chicken to moisten well.
- Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Add the capers and grapes, mixing gently to combine. (It’s best if you’re able to refrigerate the chicken salad for a few hours in order for the flavors to blend)
- Store in an airtight glass container in the fridge, use within three days
- Build your sandwich
- Divide the chicken salad evenly between the four slices of bread and spread to cover.
- Layer the cucumber, tomato, and greens on two of the slices, and top with the remaining two.
- Slice in half and enjoy right away.