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Roasted Pepper and Fennel Soup

by Holly C. Berman, EAMP, MSOM

This tasty soup is paleo, gluten and dairy free, low histamine, (no tomatoes, which are commonly used in roasted pepper soup). The recipe can easily be modified to be vegan or low FODMAP as well. Many of us with chronic autoimmune disorders have digestive weakness and/or food sensitivities and fennel is a delicious digestive aid culinary herb. This recipe makes 10 servings and can be halved. Enjoy!

8 red, orange and/or yellow bell peppers
2 bulbs fennel
10-12 cloves garlic, peeled (skip for low FODMAP)
4 TBSP + 1 TBSP olive oil
1 medium yellow onion and/or celery, roughly chopped (skip for low FODMAP)   
6 TBSP fresh chopped fennel fronds
6 TBSP fresh chopped parsley
1 TBSP fresh chopped rosemary
1 TBSP fresh thyme
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar (vinegar is high histamine and you can try skipping,                        though I haven't tried this recipe without it)
1 TBSP coconut sugar
3-4 cups water, chicken or bone broth, as needed (bone broth is high histamine)
salt and pepper, to taste
pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste* (skip for low histamine)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F., and greases two baking sheets with olive oil..
Cut the bell peppers in half, remove the stems and seeds, and press each half flat onto the baking sheets, skin-side up. Cut the fennel bulbs into quarters (set the fronds aside for later), remove the core, and cut away any gnarly looking spots on the outer leaves. Place on the baking sheets along with the peppers.
Peel the garlic, and place in the center of a small sheet of aluminum foil. Pull the foil up around the garlic to create a bowl, and add 1 TBSP olive oil. Scrunch the foil tightly shut around the garlic to create a sealed pouch, and place on one of the baking sheets along with the peppers and fennel.
Place both baking sheets into the oven on the middle and lower rack, and roast for 40-50 minutes, or until the fennel is tender and the skin of the bell peppers is wrinkled, rotating the trays once halfway through baking.
Remove the baking sheets from the oven, and let rest for a couple of minutes, until the peppers are just cool enough to handle. Using your fingers, remove the papery skin from the bell peppers (the skin should separate fairly easily while the peppers are still hot. This is the hardest part of making this soup, but I promise you it is worth it.
In a large pot over medium heat, add the remaining 4 TBSP olive oil. Add the onion and/or celery, and a big pinch of salt, and sautee for 6-8 minutes, or until tender. Add the roasted fennel, bell peppers, garlic (and all of the oil from the foil pouch), and stir to combine. Then add the fresh herbs, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and 2-3 cups of water or broth. Either transfer the mixture to a blender, or puree using an immersion blender, until completely smooth. Add more water or broth as needed to reach desired consistency. Discard strings of fennel in the bottom of the blender.
Season well with salt and fresh cracked black pepper, and add a dash of cayenne, to taste. Enjoy!

adapted from

Roasted Roots+

by Holly C. Berman, EAMP, MSOM

Yeah!  It's Fall, the season of one of my all time favorite side dishes...roasted root vegetables!  You can use any combination, this one includes potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, turnips and parsnips.  Daikon or other radishes are also tasty root vegetables.  I chop the roots small, so they cook faster, and add chopped apples, broccoli, savoy cabbage and celery, which don't need to cook as long.  Toss them all with olive oil and season with fresh chopped garlic, sea salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.  Roast at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Enjoy! 

Single person/serving hack:

Chop 1 potato, 1 sweet potato, 1 carrot, 1 parsnip, 1 turnip, 1 beet, 1 celery stalk, 1 garlic clove, 1 small head broccoli and 1 large cabbage leaf. Store in an air tight container in the fridge, taking enough for 1 portion as needed. To that portion add 2 slices apple, chopped, and toss with the other seasonings. Roast in a small pyrex or mini loaf pan.  Enjoy! 

Pesto Pizza

by Holly C. Berman, EAMP, MSOM

One of my doctors recently suggested I try a low histamine diet. I have to admit I feel much better on it and probably should have been on it years ago, but it's very limited! So I've been getting creative in the kitchen and came up with gluten and dairy free pesto pizza. Macadamia nuts and almonds are the only low histamine nuts, according to some sources, other sources say no nuts at all.

Manini's makes a delicious gluten and dairy free pizza crust. If you are OK with almonds, I like Capello's almond pizza crust. You can also try making your own from scratch. Remove the crust from the freezer and allow to defrost for approximately 15 minutes. Heat oven to 425 degrees, with empty pizza pan in the oven while heating. To make the pesto:

1- 3ou package of fresh basil, use the leaves only, discard the stems

1 1/2 Cups macadamia nuts

1/2 Cup olive oil

Blend until smooth in a blender, food processor etc.

This will make enough pesto for several pizzas, so you might want to freeze some in small containers. Spread a thin layer of pesto mixed with vegan cheese on the pizza crust, (I like Kite Hill almond ricotta). Top as you like, I use salami or leftover cooked chicken from the freezer. Bake according to the package instructions, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and pan, allow to cool briefly, slice up and enjoy!

Holly's Kale Salad

by Holly C. Berman, EAMP, MSOM

I have enjoyed PCC's Emerald City Salad for years, (raw kale, fennel, red pepper and cooked wild rice). While visiting my parents in Florida recently, I found an even better summer kale salad at Whole Foods in Boca Raton: raw kale and chard, fresh peaches and candied pecans! I made my own creation this weekend, combining the two recipes. I lightly steamed the kale instead of raw, as it's easier to digest and there is conflicting information whether raw brassica vegetables like kale are bad for the thyroid. I served this with leftover chicken. I think chopped red pepper would be a nice addition as well.


Candy the pecans, (see below).

1 bunch kale, (Lacinto is my favorite), lightly steamed. Place in a large bowl and allow to cool while you prep the other ingredients.

3 fresh, ripe peaches, peeled and cut up in chunks

1-1 1/2 Cups candied pecans (see recipe below)

1/2 Cup fennel root cut into 1/4" pieces

1 Cup wild rice (I usually cook rice with my homemade chicken bone broth)

Drizzle 2-3 Tablespoons each olive oil and vinegar, (I used red wine, but balsamic might be even better), over kale and massage into all of the leaves. Add remaining ingredients, stir and enjoy!


Roast 3 Cups raw pecan halves in frying pan for 5-10 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Turn heat to low and add 3 tablespoons coconut oil, coating all of the nuts. Add 1/3 Cup maple syrup and coat all of the nuts. Stir in 2 teaspoons each salt and ground cayenne pepper. Enjoy!


by Holly C. Berman, EAMP, MSOM

So I realize that my blog is mostly about food and recipes. Why? Proper nutrition is essential to everyone's good health, especially those with a chronic or autoimmune condition. If you are not eating properly, any medicine, whether it's Eastern, Western, natural, pharmaceutical, etc... can only help so much. I realize more each day the negative effects of some of the staples in the standard American diet, (SAD), like dairy and sugar. And vegan alternatives to dairy can also have negative effects. From an Eastern perspective for example, ice cream is cold and sweet, no matter what kind of milk it is made from, (cow, coconut, almond, soy, etc..). Our digestive tracts work best with warm, cooked, easy to digest foods and beverages. This is why you don't see salads, raw vegetables or dairy in traditional Chinese cooking and why they drink a lot of hot tea. Obesity is much less common in Asia than in the West, so obviously Asians eat healthier. And Western science is starting to "discover" that many diseases are rooted in the gut, whether or not the patient has digestive symptoms.

Food is just one way we nourish ourselves. Other important ways are proper rest and sleep, exercise, drinking quality water and fluids, breathing clean air, positive self talk, "forest bathing" and the people we choose to be around.



You don't have to give up delicious foods like pizza if you have food sensitivities! I recently made this paleo, (Cappelo's almond flour crust), vegan mozzarella cheese, and low FODMAP, (Fody's Arrabiata pasta sauce), grass fed/finished beef, oregano and fresh basil. Approximately $15. Delicious!

For 2 servings, (2 crusts):

Cappelo's paleo almond flour crusts are available at Whole Foods in the freezer section. Follow instructions on package to heat oven to 425 degrees with pizza pan in the oven during preheating. Chop vegetable and/or spices, (oregano, basil, mushrooms, peppers, olives, zucchini, summer squash, spinach, etc...).

Saute one half pound grass fed and finished ground beef in a large pan on medium heat, breaking up into small pieces. You can use any ground meat or Italian sausage. If using beef, make sure package says "grass finished" or "100% grass fed. If not, it is grain and/or corn finished. Add fresh or dried oregano and basil and vegetables that require cooking halfway through. When meat and vegetables are almost completely cooked, add one half jar tomato sauce, (Fody's Arrabiata is low FODMAP and spicy!), and continue cooking for a few minutes. Turn off heat.

When oven is done preheating, remove empty pizza pan and place crust on it. Top with meat/vegetable/sauce mixture, more fresh herbs and vegan cheese. I use Myoko's vegan mozzarella or Kite Hill's ricotta, as they are better tolerated than some of the other vegan cheeses, (Daiya and other brands are made with high FODMAP ingredients like pea protein).

Bake 11-15 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool just a few minutes and enjoy! 


Paleo Vegan Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

by Holly C. Berman, EAMP, MSOM

The paleo almond flour and milk make these muffins a hearty snack or breakfast side dish. They are also low FODMAP, gluten free and have only 8 ingredients! Perfect for autoimmune disorders and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I make these as loaves too, just add approximately 20 minutes baking time, and I skip the glaze.

Recipe doubled and modified from

Paleo Vegan Lemon Poppyseed Muffins & Mini-loaves

5 cups almond flour
1 cup tapioca flour or arrowroot starch
1 & 1/3 cups coconut sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder* (see note below)
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 cup almond milk, room temperature (or another milk substitute of your choice)
6 tablespoons lemon juice + 2 teaspoons lemon zest

Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C and grease or line muffin or mini loaf tins. This recipe makes approximately 16 muffins or 8 muffins and 2 mini loaves.
Whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, and poppy seeds together in a large mixing bowl until well combined.
Stir in the coconut oil, almond milk, lemon juice and zest until no lumps remain and a thick batter forms.
Pour the batter evenly into each muffin cup about 3/4 of the way full. Place in the oven and bake for 20-22 minutes until the tops have goldened and the insides are cooked. Let cool in the tin for 5 mins, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Freeze some and enjoy the rest!

Optional Lemon Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar** (see note below to make paleo powdered sugar)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
In a small bowl whisk together the sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the muffins once they have mostly cooled down.

*Baking powder usually contains corn starch which makes it not technically paleo friendly. Fortunately, it’s really easy to make your own baking powder at home by mixing together 1/2 teaspoon baking soda + 1/2 teaspoon arrowroot starch + 1 teaspoon cream of tartar, (amount needed for this recipe).

**Powdered white sugar is not paleo. You can make your own paleo friendly powdered sugar by blending coconut sugar in a high powdered blender and process until you get a soft powdery sugar. The glaze will be darker than with white sugar.