Stuffed Grape Leaves (gut friendly)

grape laves


  • 1lb lean organic grass fed beef
  • 1/2 large white vidala onion
  • 1/4c fresh parsley-chopped
  • 1/4 fresh cilantro-chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves-chopped
  • 1 organic carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2c chopped leeks
  • 1 tsp celtic or baja salt
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 jar vine leaves, drained and rinsed
  • 3-4c water
  • 1/4c extra virgin olive oil (opt)
  • dry italian spices


  1. Chop all the veggies together and set aside
  2. Remove the leaves from the jar and carefully separate them.  Pour water over them and rinse out the salt, be careful not to tear them!
    Discard the stems if they are still attached. Put them aside
  3. Prepare the filling. I start by cooking the beef in the ghee.  Once its starts to brown, I add in all the chopped veggies and stir until meat is almost done. Then I set aside in a bowl  (you could also keep the meat raw and stuff them and see how it turns out!  Try different variations!


  1. Place the vine leaves on a chopping board one at a time shiny side down.  Place 1 tbsp of the meat filing at bottom of leaf where stem was removed and wrap by folding the bottom part over the filling towards center.  Bring the two sides together toward center and roll from the bottom part up tightly.
  2. Place the stuffed vine leaves, fold side dowdn, in the casserole dish and place tightly next to each other in 2-3 layers.  Add 2 to 3c water, place on medium heat. You can add a large inverted plate if you want to keep them intact.  Cover and cook for 25-30 minutes

You can experiment with different veggies as a filling based on your food sensitivities and tastes.  Ive used cabbage before, and you can also add rice.  However, I try to follow as close to ketogenic as I can get to create a friendly environment for my microbiome, so I avoid starches.

You can eat this alone with a side of avocado or add a side of steamed veggies or sauteed onions and mushrooms. I always like to add a few organic olives on the side and drizzle some organic olive oil to make this a very gut microbiome friendly meal!


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Mandy’s Healing Shake

Healthy green smoothie with spinach in a jar mug against a wood background


As many of you know, I have multiple chronic illnesses, particularly Interstitial Cystitis and chronic Lyme and multiple other co-infections.  Not to get into the details, I have spent the entire summer researching about this illness and the root cause, and have concluded that this, among other chronic illnesses stem from the gut and gut health.  With that comes a cascade of immune dysfunction and cytokine cascade and inflammation that can lead to dysfunction of tissues, organs and the organism…and in many cases, CANCER.  Through my research I discovered that mycoplasma bacteria, a small stealthy little bug, is responsible for about 80% of all chronic illnesses !  The reason for this is simple;  Mycoplasma can invade and infect immune cells as well as destroy the mucosal layer of key organs, such as the gut, which sets the organism (us!) up for a cascade of processes that can lead up to immune dysfunction.  It is the IMMUNE dysfunction that creates the health problems we see rampant.  Things such as colitis, IBS, Chronic Fatigue, Interstitial cystitis, SIBO, Hashimotos, Adrenal dysfunction, Rheumatoid arthritis as well as fibromyalgia can all be traced back to MYCOPLASMA!  TO make matters worse, mycoplasma is a ferocious scavenger, and will eat away all your important vitamins, minerals, essential fats and protein and leave you in a depleted, catabolic state!

Many traditions, such as in areas of China, India and South America, refer to nature to create remedies to enhance healing.  This includes plants and herbs that are quite effective for immune modulation but also are cytokine inhibitors, natural anti-inflammatory agents and natural antibiotics. As I was searching for remedies for this, I stumbled upon a few good resources such as Stephen Buhner who has studied the health enhancing benefits of many herbs and roots and plants.  There is an entire pharma growing on our Earth we can utilize.  It can be overwhelming and as I make sense of the chaos, I am putting together healing protocols.

The one I want to share is a healing shake I invented.  I consists of immune modulating adaptogens as well as detox agents such as chlorella and healthy fats. At some point I would like to design a protein shake with all these materials in them so it would be easy to consume. But my suggestion is to get a good mason jar and pour 1 part of each ingredient in it and shake it vigorously and add it to either water or your favorite shake base (cashew milk, almond milk, coconut milk) and drink 1-2 times a day!  It actually looks grosser than it tastes!  Surprisingly, this shake doesnt taste too bad at all.

Ingredients: for 1 shake

  • 1-2g reishi mushroom powder
  • 1-2g cordyceps powder
  • 1/2-1g chinese skullcap powder
  • 1 tsp Golden milk blend or  blend of tumeric powder/cinnamon/ginger powder
  • 1-3g chlorella powder
  • 500mg Anamu leaf powder
  • 1/2 tbsp-1 tbsp ground flaxseeds
  • 1 scoop whey protein powder of choice
  • 1 scoop collagen powder
  • stevia for flavor


Take all the ingredients, and blend them together and drink twice per day

You can find me on facebook:

-Live Strong-Healing IC

-Diet Achiever

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Homemade Gelatin for GUT HEALTH


So recently I became really interested in foods that can help repair a “leaky gut”.  I have learned that most hormonal imbalances, chronic infections and autoimmune conditions can stem back to a damaged and leaky gut.  What this really means is the epithelial layer of the digestive system (small and large intestine and stomach) have been altered by some type of stress they have endured, typically toxins or bacteria and parasites.  This allows toxic agents and antigens to leak through the “tight junctions” and interact with our immune system to create the cascade of “Metabolic Chaos”.  This means later in life, you will see this represent itself as symptoms such as hormonal imbalance, infertility, chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune disease, brain fog, fatigue, weight gain, muscle loss….basically the FUNCTION of your body slows down and your organs and systems eventually stop working.

One nutrient that is promising in healing leaky gut (once you have treated the infections and parasites of course!) is COLLAGEN.

Collagen is the main supportive proteins that gives bone, cartilage and tendons their strength. Once cooked it becomes “gelatin.” Supplementing with collagen or gelatin is important because it can help boost your gastric juices and aid is restoring the integrity and health of your mucosal lining.  Collagen also contains the amino acids proline and glycine which are essential building blocks to repairing damaged intestinal lining.

What you need:

  1. 1 package of Knox unflavored gelatin
  2. 1 bottle of strawberry extract or any extract of your choice. Do yourself a favor and purchase this in a health food store to avoid the trouble of getting something with food coloring and chemicals.
  3. 1 bottle of stevia drops
  4. Optional-for more flavor or if you are giving this to your kids, you can add in some organic juice such as apple juice, grape juice, etc….

Directions:  Follow the direction in the back of your Knox box.  This is what I did

  1. Heat 3c of liquid on the stove.  You can do all water, or you can use 1c juice and 2c water, or 2c juice and 1c water.  Play around with the amounts of water vs juice and be conscious of the sugar content!
  2. While the water is boiling, add 1 c of cold liquid to a few drops of stevia and the flavored extract of your choice
  3. Once the water has boiled, add in the hot liquid and stir.  Pour mixture into a 9X12 dish and refrigerate this until its ready.
  4. Serve and enjoy

You can also top this with fruit for your kids.  Strawberry slices and bananas are delicious.  Since I am watching my sugar intake, I opt for the no fruit and no juice option to enjoy a low calorie, sugar free, GUT HEALING SNACK!


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Chicken Caesar Salad

low carb chicken casear salad

Low Carb Chicken Caesar Salad

Servings:        2 servings

Ingredients: ½lb Skinless chicken breast, 1/4c White wine vinegar, 1 tsp Garlic powder, ½  Lime juice, Black pepper, 6c chopped Romaine lettuce.  Dressing: 1/4c Greek yogurt, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, low fat shredded parmesan cheese (optional)

Prep Time:    10 minutes

Cook Time:   15 minutes

Directions:   Marinate chicken breasts in white wine vinegar with a shot of garlic powder, Italian seasoning and a dash of lime & black pepper. Grill if you have access to a BBQ for 8-10 minutes, or cook in the oven for 15 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees. Then let the chicken sit and self-cook for 5-10 minutes off the heat.  Put the sliced chicken and the vegetables into a large sealable container, add a ¼ cup of yogurt, parmesan seasoning, black pepper, Italian seasoning, a squirt of lime and shake thoroughly.

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Strawberry Flax Omega-3 Muffins


Strawberry Coconut Flax Muffins


Servings:    makes 10 muffins


  • 1c coconut flour
  • 1c flax meal
  • 1/2c green banana flour
  • 2.5c blended or pureed strawberries
  • 1/2c unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 pasture raised eggs
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp strawberry extract or flavor (opt)-note for stronger strawberry flavor, add more of the extract

Prep Time:    10 min

Cook Time:   30 min

Directions:   In a blender, blend your fruit until its pureed.  Take all your wet ingredients and add into blender.  Mix all your dry ingredients next.  You can use a hand mixer to mix them if you like, but not necessary.  Spray a light layer of olive oil Misto on muffin dish (muffin paper would help prevent sticking), and fill each one about 2/3 full.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until you can take a toothpick out clean

Benefits of Ingredients:

Coconut flour

The best part of this four is that it is gluten free and free from any wheat or components that most of us with leaky gut are sensitive to.  High in fiber, coconut flour can optimize your digestive health.  Studies have shown that coconut flour has the ability to help lower LDL cholesterol levels and serum triglycerides in people who have raised cholesterol levels. Coconut flour has this positive effect because of its high supply of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber plus its healthy MUFA fat content (Axe, n.d).


A true superfood. Low in calories and sugar but packed with phytonutrients, antioxidant flavonoids and ellagic acid, which are all known to enhance human health.  Strawberries are known for their potential to prevent disturbances of the eye, as they contain potassium, that can correct the pressure in the eyes (Organic Facts, 2015).  Strawberries are high in vitamin C, which can neutralize free radicals responsible for DNA damage and cancer.  A single serving of strawberries has approximately 150% of your daily requirement of vitamin C (Organic Facts, 2015).  Strawberries also contain folate (DNA food) , anthocyanins (antioxidants), quercetin (mast cell quencher) which possess anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties.  “Together, they form an excellent line of defense to fight cancer and tumor growth. Daily intake of strawberries is connected to a drastic reduction in the presence and metastasis of cancer cells (Organic Facts, n.d.).

Flax meal

Flaxseeds are your new BFF!  High in fiber, low in carbs and high in omega 3 fatty acids, this superfood is not only gut friendly (gluten free), but very baking friendly and easy to add to any dish.  Flaxseeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which is helpful in promoting anti-inflammation.  Flaxseeds contain ALA, which has been found to help reduce coronary artery disease, improve platelet function, reduce inflammation and promote healthy endothelial cell function, which reducing heart arrhythmias (Axe, n.d.). Flaxseeds can also reduce cholesterol levels, promote digestion and enhance detoxification thanks to the power of its soluble fiber (Axe, n.d.).  Flaxseeds will also help promote beautiful hair, skin and nails, which is always a good thing!  Finally flaxseeds are considered natural phytoestrogens, which can alter estrogen metabolism due to the lignin polyphenols that provide powerful antioxidants that can reduce free radical damage (Axe, n.d.).  As part of a healthy diet, flaxseeds may be able to help prevent certain types of cancer, including breast, prostate, ovarian and colon cancer.  A study published in the Journal of Clinical Cancer Research discovered that consuming flaxseeds may decrease the risk of breast cancer by decreasing tumor growth. Flaxseed lignins can benefit menopausal women and often can be used as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy or as a complementary approach due the estrogenic properties lignins have (Axe, n.d).

Green banana flour

This upcoming flour is food for your microbiome!  Green bananas contain prebiotics that support good bacteria in the gut, bowel and colon and are more powerful and beneficial than probiotics because you are feeding your microbiome directly.  This can help with everything from immune system, gut inflammation and poor digestion and IBS.  It is high in essential minerals and vitamins such as zinc (needed for immune function) and potassium-which can help lower cholesterol, boost heart health and aid in nerve and muscle activity (Rozwadowska, 2017).  And guess what?  Green bananas are great for those worried about their blood sugar.  Because the young bananas are picked before they ripen, their sugar content never fully develops, so they are lower in sugar than the ripe bananas (Rozwadowska, 2017).  The resistant starch in green bananas can slow the release of food through the gut, which can slow the insulin response and prevents sugar spike and crash, which means more energy throughout the day!  And best of all, its gluten free!


An apple a day keeps the doctor away! Low in sugar, and high in fiber, apples contain many phyotnutrients that can reduce the risk of cancer, CVD, asthma, diabetes and obesity.  Apples contain pectin which is a soluble fiber that can bind to substances in the digestive tract, including cholesterol and toxins and promotes their elimination (Axe, n.d.).  Research shows that beneficial antioxidants include quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid (Axe, n.d.). Because of these special compounds apples have anti-proliferative and beneficial cell-signaling effects. Apples can prevent high levels of oxidative stress and can lower inflammation.  In addition, the malic acid found in apples are shown to be beneficial in chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia (Cooper, 2017). “It is an essential component in the Krebs cycle, a process that turns carbohydrates, proteins and fats into energy and water in your body. If there isn’t an adequate supply of malic acid in the body, the Krebs cycle can’t function properly, leading to fatigue. Eating foods or taking supplements containing malic acid might help your cells carry out the Krebs cycle normally and therefore support energy production” (Cooper, 2017).

Pasture raised eggs

Pasture raised eggs may be healthier than their caged counterparts.  In a study conducted by researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, pasture raised eggs had twice the vitamin E, omega-3 fats, and less than half the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio (Mulhollem, 2010). Vitamin A concentration was also 38% higher. Eggs also contain choline which is an essential nutrient for brain function (Healthy Hubb, n.d.). Also, eggs are high in Vitamin D which is important for your immune system to function properly.


Axe, John. (n.d.).  Apple Nutrition-The Ultimate Gut & Heart-Friendly Fruit. Retrieved (2018, February 2) from

Axe, John. (n.d.). Coconut Flour Nutrition, Benefits & How to Use it.  Retrieved (2018, February 2) from

Axe, John. (n.d.). Top 10 Benefits of Flaxseed and How to Add Flaxseeds to Your Diet. Retrieved (2018, February 2)  from

Cooper, Emily. (2017, October 3). Malic acid benefits. Retrieved from

Mulhollem, Jeff. (2010, July 20).  Research shows eggs from pastured chickens may be more nutritious. (2018, February 2) from

Organic Facts (n.d.). 10 Surprising Benefits of Strawberries. Retrieved (2018, February 2) from

Rozwadowska, Frankie. (2017, January 16).  7 Reasons Why We’re Going Bananas for Green-Banana Flour. Retrieved (2018, February 2) from

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Low carb chicken fajitas

chicken fajitas

LOW CARB Chicken Fajitas

Servings:        2 servings

Ingredients: 2 tbsp of any fajita commercial blend, 2 large boneless chicken breasts, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 can organic tomatoes with green chiles, 1 of each, orange , red and yellow bell peppers, 1 medium onion, 2 large whole wheat high fiber, low carb tortillas (optional carb option)

Prep Time:    10 minutes

Cook Time:   3 to 6 hours in crock pot depending on time

Directions:   Pour all rub ingredients in a pie plate.  Rub both sides of chicken breast with olive oil and dip into rub.  Dredge both sides.  Discard any remaining rub.  In slow cooker, layer 1 layer of tomatoes and peppers and onions.  Top with chicken breast and another layer of the tomato and veggie mixture.  Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 4 to 6 hours or until done. Serve with tortilla or salad, side of lime and avocado

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Strawberry Banana Smoothie


Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Servings:        2 servings

Ingredients: 2 scoops whey protein or any protein meal replacement,1c water or unsweetened almond or coconut milk, 2 tbsp flax meal, 1c fresh or frozen strawberries, 1 small banana,  ice to blend

Prep Time:    5 minutes

Cook Time:   5 minutes

Directions:   mix all ingredients in a blender.  Add ice if desired. Enjoy

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