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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.


Easy Tom Kha Gai Soup

by Holly C. Berman, EAMP, MSOM

Effective management of an autoimmune disorder usually requires some dietary changes. Finding tasty recipes can be challenging when on a limited diet, whether paleo, low FODMAP or just gluten and/or dairy free.  I made this delicious soup during Seattle snowmageddon 2019. The basic recipe is autoimmune paleo (AIP) and low FODMAP, (except for the 1 garlic clove). I served it over white basmati rice, (not paleo). Ginger, turmeric and chili are all anti inflammatory and especially helpful for joint pain associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis. This low FODMAP recipe is also helpful for disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Enjoy!

Easy Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

Recipe credit: PeterFoodAdventures

An easy to make recipe, authentic and delicious made with coconut milk. A Thai classic that's ready to eat in 30 minutes!

1 tablespoon oil  (I used coconut)
1 tablespoon lemongrass finely chopped
3 teaspoons ginger freshly grated
1 clove garlic minced
3 green Thai chilies de-seeded and chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 cans of coconut milk 800ml
4 cups of chicken stock 1 litre
1 cup water
1 teaspoon grated palm sugar optional  (I used coconut sugar)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
4 cups shredded chicken
3 green onions sliced thinly
1/4 cup lime juice
zest of a lime
3 tablespoons fresh coriander/cilantro coarsely chopped
bean sprouts as garnish

Heat oil in a large stockpot. Cook lemongrass, ginger, garlic, chili, turmeric and cook for about 2 minutes until it start to be fragrant.
Stir in the coconut milk, chicken stock, water, palm sugar and fish sauce. Bring to a boil then add the chicken. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
When you are ready to serve, add green onions, lime juice, lime zest and coriander. Garnish with a handful of bean sprouts and coriander/cilantro.

Recipe Notes:
Instead of lime zest, you can use 4 kaffir lime leaves chopped finely, fried together with the garlic and chili. It's sometimes hard to source, so I find the lime zest works really well as a substitute at the end of the meal.

Gluten & Dairy-Free Thanksgiving

by Holly C. Berman, EAMP, MSOM

Holidays can be challenging when you are on a restricted diet due to a health condition or autoimmune disorder. This year, I enjoyed the best and healthiest Thanksgiving meal with friends!  The hostess is also gluten and dairy free and everyone was also happy to make the meal mostly low FODMAP, (especially helpful for Irritable Bowel Syndrome).  Here was our menu:

Roasted turkey

Mashed sweet potatoes (with marshmallows, a special treat)

Wild rice with mushrooms (cooked with bone broth)

Green beans (steamed and tossed with olive oil and salt)

House salad with homemade vinaigrette dressing

Homemade cranberry sauce (cranberries, oranges and fresh ginger)

Homemade gravy (no onions)

Winter squash pie (crustless) with homemade coconut whipped cream (coconut cream, maple syrup and vanilla)

Brownies with strawberries

Homemade Chai tea and Ginger brew with pineapple juice


Bacon-Chicken Liver Pate (better than it sounds!)

by Holly C. Berman, EAMP, MSOM

Digestive malabsorption is common in autoimmune disorders and conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Consuming nutrient dense foods like chicken liver can be very helpful. From Mickey Trescott: "Liver is the most potent superfood, containing B12, iron, amino acids and vitamin A. It has a lower toxicity than fatty meat from a conventional animal. Eating liver regularly is one of the most helpful foods. Consume 1 ounce/day, early in the day, for 3 days then none for 1 week." Chicken liver is high in calories, fat and cholesterol, so you only need a small amount!

recipe adapted from Mickey Trescott


6 pieces uncured bacon

1 small onion (replace with 2 stalks of celery for low FODMAP)

4 cloves garlic (omit or reduce for low FODMAP)

1 lb grass fed chicken or beef livers (beef is stronger tasting)

3 T each (choose 2-3): fresh rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, marjoram

1/2 C bacon grease

1/2 t salt

Slices of fresh carrot or cucumber


Cook the bacon in large cast iron pan until crispy. Set aside to cool, reserving the grease in the pan to cook the liver.

Add the onion or celery and cook for 2 mins on med-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more min. Add the liver, resting it in the middle of the pan and sprinkle with the fresh herbs. Cook for 3-5 minutes per side, until no longer pink in the center.  Careful not to overcook the liver, mix everything up when it is done.

Turn off the heat, place contents into a blender or food processor with the bacon, bacon fat and sea salt. Process until it forms a thick paste, adding more bacon fat if too thick.

Serve with carrot and/or cucumber slices or crackers. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week and freeze in small batches for future consumption.

Chicken livers cooking with lots of herbs and a little garlic

Pate ready for freezing

Paleo/Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies!

by Holly C. Berman, EAMP, MSOM

Finding good prepared gluten free/vegan or paleo chocolate chip cookies that aren't overly sweet when you're on an autoimmune disorder or irritable bowel syndrome diet is nearly impossible. I created this recipe based on Capello's paleo chocolate chip cookie dough, (I've only ever found this in the refrigerator section at Central Co-op on Capitol Hill and it is very expensive). These are paleo, but not autoimmune paleo, (AIP).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl combine:

1 3/4 Cups almond flour or meal                                                                                              1/4 Cup tapioca flour or starch                                                                                                  1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

To this mixture add:
1/4 Cup coconut oil, softened
1/3 Cup maple syrup
2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 Cup chocolate chips (I prefer Enjoy Life Foods allergen free chips)

Mix well. Place by rounded teaspoons on parchment paper lined or coconut oil greased baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees approximately 10 mins or until edges are golden brown.