For Your Reading Pleasure
For Your Reading Pleasure

1. How to decipher egg carton labels: The truth behind what “cage-free,” “free-range” and other common terms mean (and don’t mean) for animal welfare.

2. Six essential oils to calm your skin

3. Want to cut down or quit sugar but do not want to give up wine, pasta, or chocolate. Good news, you may not have to.

4. New study links protein in wheat to the inflammation of chronic health conditions

5. Eight signs of FODMAP intolerance.

6. What’s wrong with the American diet? More than half our calories come from ‘ultra-processed’ foods

7. Follow us on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

Photo by Sebastian Unrau on Unsplash

For Your Reading Pleasure
For Your Reading Pleasure

1. Just diagnosed with fatty liver? It might be sugar and not fat that is the problem.

2. Celiac disease in children or teens: The sneaky signs to watch for.

3. Have trouble sleeping? Check out these tips to help alleviate insomnia. The polyester-cotton sheet tip was an interesting and new one for me.

4. Tax soda to fight obesity, WHO urges nations around the globe

5. Ever wonder what it means when the words “natural” and “healthy” appear on a food package? Is it really natural and/or healthy?

6. Hype vs. hope in medical research.

7. Follow us on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

Photo taken by Artur Rutkowski on Unsplash

A Low FODMAP and Gluten-Free Falafel
A Low FODMAP and Gluten-Free Falafel

There is a Middle Eastern restaurant in Brookline, MA called Rami’s that make huge falafel balls that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They then load them into a fresh pita and top with great veggies and tahini sauce. It is incredible! I have sadly not been able to eat their falafel since I was diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption. Maybe one day I will take the risk and try it. However, in the meantime, I have modified a recipe I found on, taken from Joan Nathan’s book The Foods of Israel Today to make it onion-, garlic-, and wheat-free. I added it to a mix of kale massaged with a Dijon vinaigrette dressing and wild rice. I hope you enjoy.

Servings: About 20 falafel balls.

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas (If dried chick peas bother you, use one 15-ounce can)
  • 3-4 scallions (green portion only)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic infused oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4-6 tablespoons gluten-free flour
  • Vegetable oil with a dash of garlic infused oil for frying


  • Place chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.
  • Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and green portion of the scallions in a food processor with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic infused oil, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
  • Sprinkle in the baking powder and start with 4 tablespoons of gluten-free flour, and pulse. Add flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Transfer to a clean bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
  • Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts.
  • Add 1-3 inches of vegetable oil with a dash of garlic infused oil to 375ºF in a deep pot or wok. I used a cast iron pan and it worked well. Test with one falafel and if it falls apart, add a little flour.
  • Fry falafel balls for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
  • Add to salads or gluten-free pita with tahini and vegetables.

Bon Appétit!

For Your Reading Pleasure
For Your Reading Pleasure

1. A Los Angeles Time Op-Ed article: The truth about gluten-free diets.

2. Do you read your horoscope? Check out the perfect smoothie that complements your sign.

3. After struggling with a cold last week, I wish I learned about this ‘Cold Fighter Shot’ sooner.

4. An interesting article about a college student who spent two months at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Nepal: How to eat croissants every day and still lose weight. 

5. Fungus in humans identified for first time as key factor in Crohn’s disease.

6. Can these cuisines help you live longer?

7. Follow us on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

Photo taken by Isidor Emanuel on Unsplash

The Not So Sweet Side of Fructose

The Not So Sweet Side of Fructose

Fructose is a monosaccharide found in fruits, some vegetables, honey, table sugar (in form of sucrose, which is a combination of fructose and another monosaccharide glucose), and wheat (in the form of long chains known as fructans). Before agriculture began in 10,000 BC and even after, people depended on hunting and gathering for their food. To get through periods of a limited amount or lack of food, our bodies relied on glucose and fructose to store energy. Glucose is used by all our cells as their main source of energy and, if not used, is stored as glycogen, a chain or polysaccharide of glucose molecules in the liver and muscles. Any remaining glucose is stored as triglycerides (lipids) in adipose (fat) cells to be used as energy if needed. The energy stored as glycogen is readily available, which is why runners carbo-load on pasta before a marathon. Lipids were also very helpful to our ancestors when food was scarce because lipids additionally store energy and it can insulate our bodies keeping us warm during the long cold winter months. Fructose also provides energy, but to a lesser extent and is predominately used by liver cells. It additionally aids in the formation of glycogen and produces lipids via the process lipogenesis.

However, that was then and this is now. What once was a smart and strategic way for us to survive has become our Achilles heal with the easy access to food and the development of processed food. There is no question that the high amounts of sugar we are ingesting is affecting our heath and too much sugar overall, regardless of the type of sugar, can lead to obesity and diabetes. However, because of the food industry, we are ingesting a large amount of fructose, for example as crystalline fructose, which is 100% fructose found in “healthy” beverages, baked goods, and cereals and the high fructose corn syrup in sodas which is 55% fructose and 45% glucose. This excess of fructose can be especially harmful because (a) its role in lipogenesis can result in more lipids in the liver which can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which untreated can lead to inflammation, scarring, and permanent liver damage. It can also increase visceral fat around organs, triglycerides, arterial plaques, and insulin resistance; (b) the way fructose is digested may result in digestive issues leading to gas, bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and cramps; and (c) high fructose corn syrup does not signal insulin or leptin like table sugar does, so your body does not register that is full and you keep on eating.

The fructose found in fruits and vegetables is a necessary part of a healthy diet and should be eaten. But that is not all of the fructose we are eating. Far from it. On average, we are eating 49 g of fructose per day, but only 8 of those grams are coming from natural foods, like fruit. The other 41 grams are coming from processed foods. For example, sodas are made with the version of high fructose corn syrup with 55% fructose. A report in 2012 stated that almost half of Americans drink soda every day. One soda equals 10-12 teaspoons of sugar and according to the American Heart Association, men should have no more than 9 teaspoons a day and women no more than 6. Just for a visual, next time you are baking something, measure out 10-12 teaspoons of sugar in a bowl and see how high that pile is.

The rise of digestive issues we are seeing today can also be attributed to the increase of fructose in our diets. Glucose diffuses through the wall of the small intestine into the bloodstream where it is used as energy or stored for future use. If there are equal amounts or less fructose than glucose in food being digested, fructose will easily diffuse along with the glucose into the bloodstream. However, if fructose is by itself or there is an excess of fructose to glucose, as in the case of the high fructose corn syrup found in soda, then the fructose needs to be transported by specific proteins present in the wall of the small intestine. However, there is a limit to how much fructose these transporters can allow through the small intestine. What does not get absorbed will move along to the large intestine where bacteria sits and wait to feast on their favorite food, saccharides. As the bacteria feeds off the fructose, fermentation occurs, which leads to gas and bloating. More water will also be brought into the large intestine leading to diarrhea and the methane gas produced can cause cramping and slow the motility of the large intestine, which can lead to constipation. As someone with fructose malabsorption, this is a painful and uncomfortable situation that without being treated can lead to secondary symptoms, including fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, and headaches.

Overall, we should be eating our fruits and vegetables to stay healthy. Fructose in small amounts, especially along with the fiber present in the fruit, has a role in obtaining energy, storing glycogen, and forming triglycerides, which is needed by our body. However, the problem stems from the amount that we are eating and the source of the fructose. No one has ever said “You can never have too much fructose”.

Photo taken by Ashley Kirk on Unsplash

For Your Reading Pleasure

For Your Reading Pleasure

Why do hummingbirds hum? Because they don’t know the words.

1. Want to grow your own food but do not have a green thumb? Learn this easy way to grow herbs, scallions, celery, lettuce, and more from kitchen scraps.

2. How to eat well on a budget.

3. Could fructose be causing your child’s tummy troubles? Or yours?

4. 10 reasons to cut out processed foods.

5. Staying away from donuts because they have too much sugar? These foods have more sugar than one Krispy Kreme donut.

6. Why prebiotic foods matter just as much as probiotics.

7. Follow us on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

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For Your Reading Pleasure
For Your Reading Pleasure

1. Anne McGovern wonderfully discusses what it’s like to have irritable bowel syndrome.

2. Why we shouldn’t get excited or bummed by the latest food study showing up in the news.

3. An interesting read for those suffering from chronic illness or just wanting a more centered calm life. What I wouldn’t change if my health were restored tomorrow.

4. Tired of being tired and sleeping more is not an option? Check out these nine ways to get more energy.

5. Five of the best essential oils and how to use them. I am loving how lavender and peppermint can help me relax and get to sleep.

6. If you like restaurants and history, check out this book on the ten restaurants that shaped America.

7. Follow us on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash