Treat IBS by Eating Foods That Reduce Chronic Inflammation

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a digestive disorder that affects up to 45 million people with its symptoms of chronic abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. The role of diet in the development and treatment of chronic disease is undervalued by the medical profession and the public. Doctors are trained to treat disease with medicine and surgery but, there is no medical cure for IBS. One of the most important management techniques for those diagnosed with IBS is eating a healthy diet that reduces pain from chronic inflammation and bloating in the gut. Foods that reduce inflammation include polyunsaturated fatty acids rich in omega-3 oils (such as wild salmon and olive oil) and thick Greek Yogurt, which is loaded with good bacteria that help promote intestinal health. Fresh peppermint leaves have been shown to help alleviate the symptoms of IBS. Processed foods, including wheat and sugar, are trigger foods causing chronic inflammation and should be avoided.

For a quick delicious meal of whole foods that can help reduce the symptoms of IBS, try the Roasted Fish Filet with Tzatziki Sauce (containing fresh peppermint) below. Both recipes can be made in less than 30 minutes. Serve the fish with mixed greens and walnut oil vinaigrette.

For more gluten-free, good health recipes visit Dr. Claudia Pillow is coauthor of The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook: the Delicious Way to Strengthen Your Immune System and Neutralize Inflammation. (Agate Surrey, 2010).


Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds fresh fish fillet (with or without skin, 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 425°F.

2. Line a medium sized heavy baking sheet with foil and lightly brush with olive oil.

3. Put filet on baking sheet (skin side down, if applicable) and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

4. Place baking sheet in center of oven and roast for 10 minutes per 1-inch filet thickness. (If filet is 1 1/2 inches, bake time is 15 minutes).

5. Remove from oven and transfer to a serving plate. (Lift the fish from the skin, if applicable).

Serve hot with tzatziki sauce.

Tzatziki Sauce

1 cup seedless cucumber (usually plastic-wrapped), peeled, seeded, and chopped

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 small garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh peppermint

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

Purée cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender until almost smooth, about 1 minute. Stir in peppermint and dill and chill, covered, until serving.



WHAT is gluten?

Gluten is a protein that is commonly found in wheat, rye, and barley. It is the binding agent that keeps baked goods from falling apart. It provides stability and texture.

WHERE is gluten found?

It is found in most types of breads, cereals, baked goods, pastas, pizza and as an ingredient in many processed foods. Not all foods from the grain family, however, contain gluten. Examples of grains that do not have gluten include rice, corn, oats, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, and teff.

WHEN is gluten a concern?

Gluten is the major cause of inflammation in the body because we eat so much of it! We eat more gluten in the form of wheat than any other food: 825 calories per day. Our ancestors did not eat any wheat and we have not evolved to do so. The gluten protein molecules are simply not digested completely by humans. Gliadin peptides (undigested molecules of gluten) remain in the gut and cause the epithelial cells of the small intestine to become more porous, causing increased intestinal permeability. This sequence of events results in Leaky Gut Syndrome, allowing large molecules of gliadin, bacteria, viruses, yeast and other toxins to enter the bloodstream causing chronic inflammation throughout the body.

When you first start the gluten-free diet, surviving the first two weeks can be tricky for many reasons, most of all, you are hungry! The diet is a process- substituting old favorites and traditions for new. Here are 12 gluten-free snacks 100 calories or less to ease the transition.

1 piece fresh fruit (5 grams fiber)

1/4 cup dried fruit (2 grams fiber)

15 almonds (2 grams fiber)

2-3 cups popcorn (2 grams fiber)

2 tablespoon hummus with 5 gluten free crackers (1 gram fiber)

1/2 ounce cheese with 9 gluten-free rice crackers

2 tablespoons guacamole with 1 cup Jicama slices (6 grams fiber)

1 tablespoon favorite dip with 1 cup sliced carrots, snap peas, red        peppers and/or celery

2 squares chocolate

2 gluten-free Chocolate Wafers (3 grams fiber)

2 gluten-free macaroons (2 grams fiber)

1/2 cup Greek yogurt with teaspoon honey



A Gluten-Free Oatmeal Breakfast to Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome

Autoimmune diseases are disorders in which the body’s tissues are attacked by its own immune system. Autoimmune diseases are on the rise. Celiac disease, a digestive autoimmune condition triggered by the consumption of gluten (the protein found in wheat, rye and barley) is 400% more prevalent today than 40 years ago. Rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and deformity of joints, is on the rise among women after decades of decline. The list goes on: type-1 diabetes, lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and ulcerative colitis.

As previously mentioned, a growing body of evidence suggests that virtually the same trio of factors underpins most, and perhaps all, autoimmune diseases: an environmental substance that is presented to the body (in the case of celiac disease the trigger is gluten), a genetically based tendency of the immune system to overreact to the substance, and an unusually permeable gut.

Once diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, it is important to eat a gluten-free anti-inflammatory diet, so that your gut can heal. I wasn’t a big fan of oatmeal until I came up with the recipe below:

1/2 cup dry gluten-free rolled oats  (190 calories &  5 grams fiber)

1 small banana, 5″ long, sliced thin  (75 calories & 4 grams fiber)

1 tablespoon dried cherries  (35 calories & 3 grams fiber)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup non-sweetened almond milk  (40 calories)

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal (30 calories & 2 grams fiber)

In a 4 cup bowl, combine 1/2 cup of rolled oats, sliced banana, dried cherries, cinnamon and almond milk. Stir and then cook in microwave on high for 4-5 minutes. Cover and let rest 1 minute. The mixture will be creamy but have a slightly chewy texture. Sprinkle with flaxseed meal and enjoy.

This delicious breakfast weighs in at 370 calories and 14 grams of fiber and is a gut healing way to start any day. Not only do oats lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar, but they enhance our immune response to fight bacterial infection. Bananas are a good source of potassium and magnesium, plus they are full of soluble fiber and probiotics that help contribute to a healthy gut.  Cherries contain components called anthocyanins that have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Flaxseed meal contains anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats and beneficial fiber. Cinnamon has been used for centuries to help stop the growth of bacteria, fungi and Candida, all sources of problems for leaky gut syndrome. Almond milk helps balance acidity in the body.

For more gut healthy recipes go to and order The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook!

Could Strawberries be Disrupting Your Endocrine System and Causing Hypothyroidism?

Growing up in New Jersey, I remember strawberry season fondly. My sister and I would pick our own at a farm in Hightstown. The season was only for the month of June so we would eat homemade strawberry shortcakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner for days straight. The berries were sweet, small, soft and dark red- little glorious gems of flavor. Now strawberries are available all year. Some are sweet, most are large, firm and very few are dark red- even fewer burst with any sort of flavor. Most importantly, today’s strawberries may be making us sick. The USDA Pesticide Data Program reported that 91% of conventionally grown strawberries contain 54 detectable pesticide residues with the following human health effects (1):

6 are known or probable carcinogens

11 are neurotoxins

24 are suspected hormone (endocrine) disruptors

12 are developmental or reproductive toxicants

In fact, 47% of the samples contained pesticide levels of Pyrimethanil, a suspected endocrine disruptor, above EPA tolerance levels (2). Endocrine disruptors are pesticides and industrial chemicals capable of interfering with the proper functioning of estrogen, androgen and thyroid hormones in humans and animals. Exposures can cause sterility or decreased fertility, impaired development, birth defects of the reproductive tract, and metabolic disorders (3). Endocrine disorders include diabetes, thyroiditis, osteoporosis, delayed or early puberty, and tumors; disorders currently on the rise.

And these facts are just for strawberries. Imagine the cumulative toxicity effect from all the foods you eat daily. Pesticides are a real health concern, especially for children, because their bodies are still developing. What should you do? According to the Environmental Working Group, consumers can reduce their pesticide exposure by 80% by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, some of the most contaminated fresh fruits and vegetables are often found on many top healthy food lists: including strawberries, blueberries, spinach, kale, and tomatoes. Therefore, it is important to understand which foods contain the highest levels of toxic pesticides. Then, choose organic for the worst offenders you eat often. What’s on My Food website at is a quick and easy reference point.

My rule of thumb is that if it is delicate and leafy (celery, greens like spinach), thin skinned (apples, tomatoes) or has no protective skin (berries, stone fruits like peaches) go organic. So next time you reach for those 2 for $4 strawberry deals- stop and think poison. One more dollar for organic is not such a bad deal when compared to copay for doctor visits and prescription medicines- that is if you have health insurance.

Here’s a delicious gluten-free breakfast to start your day:

Healing Berry Yogurt Parfait Breakfast for 265 calories

1 cup sliced organic strawberries                                                        1 serving

1 cup organic plain low fat Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon organic flax seed meal

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon organic locally grown honey

Layer the strawberries, yogurt, flax seed meal, and cinnamon in a soup bowl. Drizzle with honey. Stir to combine and enjoy.


1. Punzi, J., Lamont, M., Haynes, L., Espstein, R. (June 2005). USDA Pesticide Data Program. Outlooks on Pest Management, 10.1564. Retrieved August 24, 2010 from /getfile?dDocName=STELDEV3003674.

2. USDA Pesticide Data Program Annual Summary 2008 (2009). Agricultural Marketing Service. Retrieved August 24, 2010 from

3. Pesticide Action Network Pesticide Database (2009). Endocrine Disruptors. Retrieved August 24, 2010 from

North Texas GIG & Gaylord Texan Present a Taste of Gluten-Free Restaurant Event

I am excited to be the Event Director of the first in America “taste of gluten-free” with silent auction to support awareness and research for gluten intolerance:



Sponsored by the North Texas Gluten Intolerance Group and the Gaylord Texan

WHEN: Sunday, September 19, 2010 from 4pm to 8pm

WHERE: Gaylord Texan Glass Cactus (1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine, 76051)

COST: $25 preorder and $30 at the door (children 12 and under $10). Free parking is available.

Gluten-Free Dining is one of the top 2010 restaurant trends! Sample menu selections from over 20 restaurants:

Old Hickory Steakhouse     Blue Mesa     Italianni’s     PF Changs

Grill on the Alley     Carino’s     Asian Mint     Palios Pizza Cafe

Wildwood Grill     Fresco’s     Thai Papaya Garden     GlutenOut Pasta

Fish City Grill     Chadra Mezza     Garliq     Taste Of Spain Paella

Kozy Kitchen       Central Market     Whole Foods Market

Sprouts Farmers Market     Wholesome Foods Bakery

Sample foods from over 25 vendors including:

Pamela’s, Udi’s, Hail Merry, and Hot Chocolates Bakery

Featuring gluten-free lifestyle experts including:

Sunflower Shoppe     Dr. Dee Rollins, RD     Let’s Make-Up

Moon Healing Arts            Kristi Chrysler, Autism Expert

For more information and to purchase tickets, go to:

Whether you are on a gluten-free diet by choice or for health reasons you will not want to miss this delicious event. In addition, we will be selling my book, The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook: The Delicious Way to Strengthen Your Immune System and Neutralize Inflammation, available at

I hope to see you there, Claudia

Eating a Healthy Gluten-Free Diet is a Bargain Compared to the True Cost of Chronic Inflammation

Unhealthy diets cause chronic inflammation which may result in autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Graves’ disease, lupus, celiac disease, and multiple sclerosis. Therefore, it is important to eat a diet of whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, lean protein and gluten-free whole grains.

There has been much discussion about the high cost of eating healthy. I see articles that recommend purchasing only the “dirty dozen” organic foods: peaches, strawberries, nectarines, apples, spinach, celery, pears, sweet bell peppers, cherries, potatoes, lettuce, and imported grapes. Others suggest growing your own organic produce. Eating less meat and more rice and beans has always been sage advice to save money. Some call for simply eating less. Whatever the call to action, I have yet to see someone explore the real cost of eating unhealthy. So I decided to look at some of the costs of being unhealthy and compare those numbers to the food cost of eating healthy.

How much more does it cost to buy healthy food? A 2006 study in the Journal of Nutrition1 examined actual long-term costs associated with a change from a traditional western diet (high in sugar and saturated fat) to a Mediterranean diet (high in vegetables, fruits, and omega-3 fats) in people who had suffered their first heart attack. The results showed that patients spent only an extra $10 a month on food. The study did not account for differences in the cost of health care or medicines. Just food! For $10 a month in food, the Mediterranean diet group went on to have a much better quality of life and more time with family and friends. The group experienced a 40% decrease in deaths from all causes and a significant reduction in minor health problems, including chest pain and non-fatal strokes.

Several medical studies have shown that people who eat five or more servings of vegetables a day have a lower risk of chronic disease, which is a disease that lasts longer than three months2, 3, 4. An unhealthy diet is a major contributor to long-term disease. So we started exploring the cost of chronic disease. An October, 2007, Milken Institute study, “An Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease”5 reported that seven chronic diseases—cancer, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, pulmonary conditions, and mental illness—cost the nation $1.3 trillion annually, including $277 billion for treatment and nearly $1.1 trillion in lost productivity. This sum equates to $361 per month per American for 2007 for just those seven diseases. This number implies that treating chronic disease costs more than the extra cost of eating healthy.

What about the cost of eating food that gives you an allergic reaction, gas, or diarrhea or causes constipation? The Consumer Healthcare Products Association estimates that three out of four Americans take an over-the-counter (OTC) product to treat common everyday ailments like heartburn. In 2007, Americans spent approximately $17.7 billion on all OTC medicines, including an astonishing $1.4 billion on heartburn medicine alone (The Nielsen Company, 2008). This sum equates to $5 per month per American for 2007. It seems that super-sizing isn’t always a bargain.

OTCs can save the cost of a doctor visit, but sometimes a doctor visit is necessary. The 2003 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development health data claims the average American visits the doctor 9 times per year. It is safe to assume that sick people visit the doctor more often than healthy people. If you are fortunate enough to have health insurance, the average copay is $20 to $30 per doctor visit, or approximately $225 per year. If hospitalization is necessary, the average annual out-of-pocket expenses for hospitalization and outpatient are $1150 for individuals. Therefore, chronically ill people with insurance may average monthly copay and out of pocket expenses of at least $115. Wow, it doesn’t take long before being ill costs real money. We haven’t even discussed the cost of prescription drugs or home care.

Let’s add these numbers up: $361 + $5 + $115= $481 per month or $16 per day. That’s a lot of broccoli, especially when you buy the organic four-pound package at Costco for $6. Even an individual membership to an upscale gym is less than $4 per day. In closing, the numbers speak for themselves: eating healthy is a bargain compared to the cost of being chronically ill.

For more information about eating a healthy gluten-free diet go to


  1. Dalziel, K., Segal, S., de Lorgeril, M. 2006. A mediterranean diet is cost-effective in patients with previous myocardial infarction. Journal of Nutrition, 136:1879-1885.
  2. Liu, S., Manson, J.E., Stampfer, M.J., Holmes, M.D. 2001. The effect of fruit and vegetable intake on the risk of coronary heart disease. Annals of Internal Medicine, 134: 1106-114.
  3. He, F., Nowson, C., MacGregor, G. 2006. Fruit and vegetable consumption and stroke: meta-analysis of cohort studies. Lancet 367: 320-326.
  4. Appel, L.J., et al. 1997. A clinical trial of the effects of dietary patterns on blood pressure. New England Journal of Medicine 336: 1117-1124.
  5. Milken Institute Press Release, October 2, 2007. Annual Economic Impact of Chronic Disease On U.S. Economy Is $1 Trillion. Retrieved from

Delicious Gluten-Free Pasta from GlutenOut

Last week I had the pleasure of sampling gluten-free pastas and breads from GlutenOut; they are imported from Italy and delivered frozen to your door.  The website is

The gnocchi was delicious. It cooked up in several minutes and then I tossed it with a homemade sauce made of fresh tomatoes and basil from my garden, garlic and olive oil. I finished the dish with a touch of cream and freshly grated parmesan reggiano. It was a treat, since I couldn’t remember the last time I had eaten gnocchi. And at $8.49 for 10.6 ounces, it was really a treat. The pasta was soft and the sauce clung to the nooks and crannies.  My teenage daughter took one bite, proclaimed the gnocchi was fantastic and proceeded to finish the entire sample.

Next up was the Foccacia. I baked it in the oven as per the directions but on a pizza stone. The Foccacia was light and crisp. We dipped it in flavored olive oil and ate it with cheese. It delivered the goods and reminded me of many Italian gluten meals where I enjoyed a slice of Foccacia and a glass of red wine with my meal. Yum! This Foccacia would make mouthwatering Panini sandwiches. But at $9.99 for 2 (total weight 10.6 ounces), I’m not sure I will be seeing it a Macaroni Grill anytime soon.

I encourage you to explore the ByeByeGluti website and order a couple of old favorites, as a treat, if for no other reason, but to realize that delicious gluten-free gnocchi, ravioli, and Foccacia are a click away.

Bon Appetit!

The Glycemic Index Diet Can Make You Fat

Low glycemic diets are very much in vogue these days due to the diabetes epidemic. The theory behind the science states that diets high in carbohydrates lead to high insulin levels which results in obesity and type-2 diabetes. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas to help glucose gain entry into our cells where it is turned into energy. Glucose is a simple sugar found in all dietary carbohydrates that is used by our cells as the key source of energy for the body and brain. Insulin stores excess glucose as fat. Too much insulin affects the body’s ability to use calories efficiently thereby causing obesity.

All carbohydrates — fruits, vegetables, grains — are converted to glucose in the body. The glycemic index (GI) categorizes carbohydrates according to the speed at which they raise blood glucose levels in three hours. The Glycemic Index was developed in 1981 when researchers looked closer at the dietary recommendations for diabetics; which was to eat more complex carbohydrates (starch) because they took longer to process and digest than simple carbohydrates (sugar). When you eat high-GI foods, you experience high glucose levels after meals, called glucose spikes, which are damaging to our arteries and various blood vessels, and they promote insulin production. Eating low-GI foods means you avoid those spikes and dramatic falls in blood-glucose so you get a much steadier stream of energy. You, therefore, reduce your risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases that are implicated by those blood-glucose fluctuations.

Vegetables generally have a low GI below 50 and refined grains with a lot of sugar have a high GI above 80. GI is measured in a clinically controlled setting where 50-gram portions of food are fed to people who have fasted overnight. The rise in blood sugar is measured every 15 minutes for 3 hours and then plotted on a graph. The area under the curve is measured and indexed against pure glucose at 100. That number is the food’s glycemic index. The higher the rise in blood sugar, the higher the glycemic index of that food.

Low glycemic diets claim that High GI foods are bad for weight control for two reasons. Firstly, glucose spikes stimulate hunger because you are getting that dramatic drop in glucose (energy), 90 minutes to two hours after eating. By eating low GI foods you feel fuller for longer and are, therefore, not as likely to go searching for snacks every two hours. Secondly, insulin is a storage hormone that stockpiles nutrients for later use by the body. A high-GI diet causes a lot of insulin to be produced and when you have too much insulin in your body too much of the time, it makes it easier to store fat and harder to burn it.

What works in a lab doesn’t always translate well to the real world. A 50-gram portion of most root and tuber vegetables (carrots, potatoes, beets and parsnips) has a high GI above 65 and about equal to a 50-gram portion of sugar and white bread. According to the GI, these starchy vegetables would be considered dangerous because they are assumed to produce the greatest insulin. However, who only eats these fiber-rich, vitamin and mineral packed vegetables alone for three hours? Usually they are part of a whole meal with protein and fat, both of which slow digestion. And the health benefits of these vegetables filled with cancer-fighting phytochemicals far out weigh any type of bread, whole wheat or white. We doubt anyone got fat eating roasted carrots, potatoes, beets and parsnips.

In addition, carrots have only 195 calories per pound and a boiled potato has about 450 calories per pound while bread contains around 1250 calories per pound (whole grain or white) and sugar contains 1725 calories per pound. The GI index is biased against lower calorie, nutrient rich foods in favor of calorie dense grains. Let us demonstrate what we mean.

A 2-ounce carrot has 30 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 7 grams of carbohydrates and naturally occurring vitamin A. A 2-ounce serving of whole wheat bread has 160 calories, 4 grams of fiber, 24 grams of carbohydrates and added B vitamins and iron. It also contributes to inflammation in the body because gluten, the protein in wheat, is not completely digested in our stomach. It doesn’t make nutritional sense that 2 slices of bread with 5 times the calories and 3 times the carbohydrates would be more desirable to eat than a carrot. Bananas are another big no-no of low glycemic diets. A 2-ounce piece of banana has 72 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 19 grams of carbohydrates and significant naturally occurring levels of potassium and vitamin C. A 2-ounce portion of pasta has 200 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 41 grams of carbohydrate and added B vitamins and iron. Even though pasta contains more calories and carbohydrates per serving, it has a lower GI than a banana and is considered a better food choice.

The Glycemic Index just doesn’t make sense nutritionally and it surely will not make you thin or healthy due to its emphasis on whole grains versus fresh fruits and vegetables. In fact, in the past 30 years Americans eat 325 more calories of just WHEAT per day and have only gotten fatter and sicker. We believe the best diet is one based on WHOLE FOODS (fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and lean protein) not whole wheat.

Can a Gluten-Free Diet Benefit Migraine Sufferers?

Migraines are severe, recurring and disabling headaches, usually affecting only one side of the head; they often are accompanied by nausea, vomiting, a sensitivity to light and visual disturbances. They occur more frequently in women than men. Approximately 6% of men and 18% of women experience a migraine headache during their lifetime and 30 million Americans experience multiple migraines every month. Many sufferers report that their migraines were moderately or very disruptive to their families and friends (1).

There are many foods that can trigger headaches including aged cheese, red wine, food additives and chocolate. Research also shows that gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, may be a cause of recurring headaches (2). Wheat contains gluten and many of the other trigger foods are eaten in combination with wheat based products: cheese and crackers, red wine and pasta, hot dogs and lunch meat containing food additives and bread, and chocolate cake, In fact, the medical community has known about an association between migraines and gluten intolerance for years. Celiac disease is an inherited, autoimmune disease in which the lining of the small intestine is damaged (villous atrophy) from eating gluten. It is estimated that 4% of migraine sufferers have celiac disease, equal to approximately 1.2 million Americans (3).  Celiac disease is just one type of gluten intolerance and affects 1 in 100 people. Non-celiac gluten intolerance affects an estimated 1 in 10 and is only recently being recognized as a gluten sensitivity without villous atrophy. Could 40% of migraine sufferers have non-celiac gluten intolerance? Could 12 million people go on a gluten-free diet and experience fewer and less severe headaches, maybe even no headaches? No bagel is worth the pain to you or your personal life. To understand the difference between celiac disease and non-celiac gluten intolerance, go to

Going on a gluten-free diet no longer means giving up your favorite foods. And contrary to many reports in the news, a gluten-free diet of whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, lean protein, nuts, seeds and gluten-free grains (including oats, quinoa, and brown rice) is very healthy and nutritious. The Food Philosopher website is filled with delicious gluten-free options for bread and pancakes. One of my favorite summer pasta dishes is Penne Pasta with Feta, Tomato and Basil. Serve it with grilled chicken and vegetables. For a complete dinner menu with gluten-free recipes go to


Serves 8 to 10 as a side dish

1 pound gluten-free penne pasta* (such as Tinkyada®)
½  cup chicken stock
½ cup prepared pesto
8 ounces feta cheese cut into cubes
6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
½ cup corn, cooked until just tender
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  2. In large mixing bowl, toss cooked warm pasta with chicken stock and pesto.
  3. Combine remaining ingredients and toss with pasta. Adjust seasonings.
  4. Can be served hot or at room temperature. Keep tightly covered until ready to serve.


(1) “Migraine frequency and health utilities: findings from a multi-site survey,” published in Value in Health, surveyed 150 migraine patients in the U.S. to study how migraine frequency affects quality of life. The study was co-authored by Jeffrey Brown, PhD (Harvard Medical School/Harvard Pilgrim Health Care), Peter J. Neumann, ScD (Tufts-New England Medical Center Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy), George Papadopoulos (Schering-Plough Corporation), Gary Ruoff, MD (Westside Family Medical Center), Merle Diamond, MD (Diamond Headache Clinic), and Joseph Menzin, PhD (Boston Health Economics, Inc.).

(2) American Academy of Neurology (2001, February 14). Gluten In The Diet May Be The Cause Of Recurring Headaches. Science Daily. Retrieved June 7, 2010, from­ /releases/2001/02/010213072604.htm.

(3) Gabrielli, M., Cremonini, F., et al (2003). Association between migraine and Celiac disease: results from a preliminary case-control and therapeutic study. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 98(7):1674. Retrieved from

Leaky Gut Syndrome May Cause Magnesium Deficiency which Correlates to ADHD in Children

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a syndrome with many contributing causes including environmental toxins, nutrition deficiencies, food sensitivities, and leaky gut syndrome (see my previous blog for more information about leaky gut syndrome). Throughout the United States, ADHD has become an alarming epidemic. About 10-15% of all school children have the disorder and the rates are doubling every 3 to 4 years. More than 3 million American children diagnosed with ADHD are treated with Ritalin®, a central nervous stimulant with properties similar to cocaine, and the amount of the drug being prescribed has more than quadrupled in the last 10 years with more than 10 tons being produced in recent years (1).

Leaky gut syndrome causes inflammation which can result in the malabsorption of many important nutrients, such as magnesium and zinc. A leaky gut also allows for the passage of environmental toxins into the body through the intestinal wall. Therefore, it is not surprising that a leaky gut plays a role in triggering most chronic diseases and ADHD hyperactivity behaviors. In fact, researchers have found lower than normal levels of magnesium in people with ADHD (2). Low magnesium results in a syndrome of abnormalities including depression, irritability, restless sleep, muscle spasms, memory loss and low physical endurance. In one study, 95% of a group of 116 children with ADHD had below normal magnesium levels. Treatment was administered to 50 children with low blood and hair magnesium with 200 mg magnesium daily for 6 months. Compared to a control group given ‘standard therapy’ without magnesium, the supplemented children showed a significant decrease in hyperactivity (3).

Magnesium is one of the necessary chemical elements in our intestinal tract and is required by every cell of the body. As an essential electrolyte, it works with calcium and phosphorus to build bones and it is needed for muscle and nerve function. Magnesium also helps to prevent and relieve constipation, regulates the heart and converts foods to energy. Consequently, magnesium deficiencies can cause hyperactivity, psychiatric disorders and convulsive seizures in children (4).

It is important for children with ADHD to eat a diet rich in magnesium. Foods rich in magnesium are green vegetables, (such as spinach and okra), nuts (almonds and peanuts) pumpkin seeds, and black beans. The recommended daily allowance for most people is between 300 and 400 milligrams per day of magnesium. A delicious child friendly way to get more magnesium in the body is to eat 1 ounce (142 seeds) of pumpkin seeds (equal to 151 milligrams magnesium) or 1 cup of okra (equal to 94 milligrams magnesium). My kids love okra roasted, and then sprinkled with sea salt. When they were small I told them it is nature’s pretzel.


Serves 4-6

1 pound fresh small whole okra (less than 3” in length)

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line large baking sheet with foil and spray with olive oil.
  2. In mixing bowl, toss okra with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Roast for 10 minutes or until brown and tender. Turn okra once, after 5 minutes, while roasting. Transfer to serving platter and serve warm or at room temperature.


(1) United Nations Nation’s Information Service Annual Report (1996). United nation’s warnings on rialin. Retrieved from

(2) The Georgetown University Medical Center Office of Continuing Professional Education and The International Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Immunology, Georgetown University Medical Center, and the International Health Foundation, Jackson, Tennessee Symposium (2000). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Causes and Possible Solutions NOHA NEWS, 1: 1-3. Retrieved from

(3) Kozielec, T., Starobrar-Hermelin, B. (1997) Assessment of magnesium levels in children with ADHD. Magnesium Research, 10 (2): 143-8. Retrieved from

(4) Mousain-Bosc, M., Roche, M., Rapin, J., and Bali, (2004). Magnesium Vitb6 intake reduces central nervous system huperexcitability in children. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 23 (5): 5454-548. Retireved from

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