Here are just a few of the “coping mechanisms” I’ve developed for SIBO recipes. Feel free to comment and share yours!
No coping mechanism here, just some good advice: regular table salt is much more salty than kosher salt; I recommend Diamond Brand kosher salt (in the big red box). Also worth noting, not all kosher salt brands are alike: Morton’s kosher salt tastes much more salty; using it in the amounts specified in my recipes could make your dishes a LOT more salty-tasting. Last but not least, if you’re using canned tomatoes, always check the label carefully for sodium content—it can range from 30 mg up to a whopping 480 mg depending on the brand (the imported ones from Italy are some of the highest).
Yes, you can keep coconut milk in your pantry. But make sure you choose a brand without any thickeners (in the form of guar gum). Doing that isn’t always easy. The brand we’ve come to rely on is Natural Value Organic… look for the bright, lime-green can. We’ve found it at our local PCC Co-Op, at Whole Foods, and even on Amazon and Ebay from time to time.
Sour Cream / Yogurt
While I have yet to get this validated by a licensed nutritionist, several SIBO websites claim that home-made yogurt, which is fermented for 24 hours instead of the “standard commercial yogurt’s 12 hours,” has lost its lactose due to the longer fermentation time. We’ve included a recipe for it here >
Old Red Wine
Don’t throw out red wine! If by some strange chance you end up with some leftover red wine at the end of the dinner party, use one of those “Vacu-Vin Wine Saver Pumps,” put the bottle back in the pantry, and forget about it for a while. Not only does red wine contain very little of the sugar that is a risk in SIBO diets, but aging it reduces that risk even more. Why save it? Old / “spoiled” red wine (aka high end red wine vinegar) adds depth of flavor to all sorts of dishes, including the sauce in our Eggplant Parmesan.
We love Asian food, so losing soy sauce was a problem… until we discovered the joys of Coconut Aminos. This concoction is made by salt-fermenting the nutrient-rich “sap” of coconut blossoms—which is very low glycemic, contains 17 amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and has a nearly neutral pH. It tastes a little sweeter to our palates, so I frequently add lime juice for balance.
If you want to be absolutely safe, skip onions during the first phase of your gut healing. If your body doesn’t mind them, the safest forms are either the green tops of scallions, or fresh chives. My friend Zeema’s East Indian mama says that people who can’t eat garlic and onions in India simply add more cumin and mustard seeds to their recipes. I’ll be giving that a try!
Photo of mashed rutabaga and carrots from the Home Schooling Doctor website
Rutabagas are allowed, and they aren’t too shabby a substitute for potatoes: they pan fry, hash, and mash with the best of them. The flavor is somewhere between a sweet potato and a radish. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. 🙂
But don’t cook just one or two… boil or bake a few extras, mash them, and freeze in 1 cup portions: mashed rutabaga is an excellent binder for other uses, including our recipe for meat loaf / meatballs.
Photo of zucchini noodles courtesy of the Moderate Indulgence blog
Zucchini noodles (aka “zoodles”) are a great substitute—in moderation: the lowest FODMAP “green” column recommends no more than 3/4 cup per serving. If you’ve got mad knife skills, you can make your own with a fine julienne (or thin slabs for things like zucchini lasagna); or you can invest in a mandolin slicer, or a hand-held julienne tool.
Your other “noodle” option is spaghetti squash. It’s absolutely delicious, and you can sauce it in the same way you sauce pasta (check out Riley’s recipes here).
Secret Tip: yes, you can cook a spaghetti squash quickly in a microwave. But once you bake it in your oven, and taste the deep, rich, caramelized flavor that comes from baking, you’ll never go back. Here’s how:
Cut the squash in half (through the middle section, rather than trying to get a knife to go through these hard things length-wise), scoop out the seeds, place the halves cut-side down on a Silpat-covered baking pan, and roast at 350° F for approximately 1 hour. (While you’re at it, roast some butternut squash on the side for soup later this week!) You’ll know it’s done when the outer shell sounds more hollow and starts to look a little toasted / golden in places.