The New IBD-Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Below is a blog article I wrote for Health Central about the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s new IBD-AID. I am a big proponent of this diet and its positive effects on gut health and improved lifestyle for those of us living with IBD.

Email me today to discuss how I can help you implement this diet and improve your life today.

The New IBD-Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Elizabeth Roberts Health Guide April 26, 2014
  • For me, SCD has been life-changing. Within two years of eating according to this gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free, and dairy-free diet (dairy-free is not required on SCD but I realized quickly that dairy is the devil to my body) my gut was calmer and healthier. My quality of life was vastly improved – I am once again living and participating in my life rather than living in my bathroom. I have also been able to embark on a new career – I am now a certified natural foods chef and am half-way through my nutrition consultant studies, and I work mainly with IBD clients helping them to heal their gut with food (

    While I support the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) in its efforts to find a cure for IBD, I wholeheartedly disagree with the dietary advice and guidelines they provide for those of us living with IBD. In the first few years of my illness (nearly 20 years ago) I ate according to their guidelines and I never got any better. In fact, I got sicker and my medications to control my symptoms increased. But, in the years since eating according to SCD and some of the other anti-inflammatory and autoimmune diets I researched and leaned about, my symptoms have either lessened or disappeared and the medication I take for my ulcerative colitis is nearly none.

    A diet currently being developed at UMass Medical School is also showing promise at improving the lives of those living with Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

     “IBD patients are demanding it, but at the moment doctors don’t have any evidence-based dietary guidelines to recommend,” said dietitian and nutrition researcher Barbara Olendzki, RD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine and director of the UMMS Center for Applied Nutrition. “Our aim is to provide a dietary therapy approach that addresses nutrient adequacy, malabsorption issues and symptom relief, and facilitates remission. We hope to show through further research that this may alter the course of the disease.”

    The diet, created by Olendzki and her colleagues, is called the IBD Anti-inflammatory Diet (IBD-AID) and was published in the Nutrition Journal.

    The diet is based on the SCD, which is more restrictive than the IBD-AID but similarly the IBD-AID diet also limits such foods as refined sugars, gluten-based grains, and certain starches that are thought to stimulate the growth of inflammatory bacteria in the gut. The diet also adds foods that serve as pre- and probiotics that have been shown to assist in restoring the gut’s healthier microbiome.

     “We hypothesize that specific dietary modifications may significantly alter the intestinal microbiome and improve nutrient absorption, which in turn alters the immune response in such a way as to reduce disease activity and improve outcomes,” Olendzki explained. “Unlike SCD, AID includes all three macronutrients—protein and fats as well as carbohydrates—to provide more nutrients that may protect against inflammation.”

    Further research is planned by Olendzki and her team to further understand bacterial microbiota in the gut and how the diet promotes and correlates with symptoms and disease progression.

     “We are eager to further test the hypothesis that the IBD-AID promotes favorable changes in the microbiota that translate to improved symptomatology and overall quality of life observed in our preliminary studies,” Olendzki said. “We want to bring more attention to this disease and change the treatment paradigm to one where patients can do something for themselves.”


gluten-free dairy-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

By: Elizabeth Roberts


2 cups blanched almond flour
2-3 Tbs coconut flour
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ cup coconut oil
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
¼ cup honey
1/3 cup chocolate or carob chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well. Add chocolate chips and stir to incorporate.
  4. Place golf-ball sized dough onto parchment lined baking sheet and lightly press down.
  5. Bake 8-12 minutes.
  6. Remove to rack to cool.
  7. Store what you will eat in 1-2 days in a glass container, put the rest into a zip top bag  and freeze.Image

Holiday Travel

With the holidays just around the corner, many of us will be traveling and now seems like a good time to post a few suggestions on traveling well and healthy.

– First and foremost, don’t travel when you’re sick. If you get a note from your doctor most airlines will allow you to reschedule your travel plans for a later date without incurring crazy fees. Yes, you’ll miss a festivity or two but you may lessen the duration of your illness, and you won’t be responsible for passing along your illness to 1, 10, 100, or more people.

– Bolster your immune system before you travel: this means sleeping at least 8 hrs. every night; eating whole, nourishing foods; getting some moderate exercise; and enjoying life.

– If you are flying –

1. Make sure to drink enough water before and during your travel – dehydration allows germs into mucus membranes and depletes the immune system (caffeine will dehydrate you even more, so stick with water while on the plane);

2. Take along your own good, healthy foods & snacks such as nuts, seeds, harboiled eggs, homemade guacamole & chips or crackers; jerky; olives; fruit; cut-up veggies w/ homemade hummus, etc. (be sure to read security guidelines so you know what is and isn’t a liquid);

3. There are personal air filters you can wear around your neck that I know some people swear by for filtering the recirculated airplane air;

4. Medical grade mask can also be helpful if you do end up sitting by or near someone who is obviously sick with a cough or sneezing;

5. On long flights (2+ hrs.), be sure to get up and walk around the cabin, do little stretches in the aisle to help keep blood pumping and flowing;

6. Turn off your computer to take a break from technology and get you into the mindset of being with friends and family.

7. Take along a good book or 2, or a magazine you’ve been meaning to catch up on:

8. Excellent music is a great way to relax;

9. Take along hand wipes to wipe down arm rests and the tray table, and to take along with you to the lavatory.

AND, NEVER, EVER take anything out of, or put anything into the seat pocket in front of you. You do not want to know what’s been in there that has never been cleaned out.

Happy Travels!

Delicious Fall Flavors

By: Elizabeth Roberts, Nutrition Consultant / Natural Chef

Ginger, Turmeric, Sage, Fennel, Rosemary, Cumin, Coriander, Allspice, Nutmeg, Cloves. . .

What do all these spices and herbs have in common? They are the flavors of fall. While pumpkin and cinnamon tend to get top billing with the coffee companies and bakeries, these are the real stars in my fall and winter recipes.

Today, let’s focus on GINGER.

Ginger belongs to the Zingiber genus which is native to tropical Asia. Ginger means “spirit,” “liveliness,” and “verve” – all of which can be found in its flavor.

This warming spice has been well used and loved for centuries for both its culinary and medicinal uses. Herbalist Deni Bown notes that ginger is found in about half of all Chinese and Ayurvedic prescriptions and is known as the “universal medicine” in Ayurveda. In addition to its “warming” qualities, ginger also helps to stimulate digestion, and boost circulation, respiration, and nervous system function.

Ginger is a “go-to” remedy for alleviating gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating and gas; plus it helps to relax and sooth the GI tract. Modern science is also finding ginger to have antioxidant effects as well as potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols. These gingerols help to reduce inflammation and pain for people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis by inhibiting the formation of inflammatory cytokines. Other conditions that are often helped with ginger include: Motion Sickness, Nausea, Menstrual Discomfort, and Morning Sickness during pregnancy (of course, check with your doctor before taking any supplement during pregnancy). Ginger is also an effective treatment for colds and flu, helping to ease congestion in the throat and lungs.

Ginger is available in many forms:

  1. Whole fresh ginger root is the most pungent, aromatic, and fresh flavored. I use the fresh root for making tea, soups, stews, and my Wellness Tonic (see recipe). 2. Ground or powdered ginger is made from the dried root. I use ground ginger in stir-fried veggies, whole grain side dishes such as rice, quinoa, and millet; or when fresh ginger root isn’t available. 3. Crystallized ginger is mainly a treat since it is made by cooking ginger root in sugar syrup. It can also be soothing to a dry, scratchy throat. 4. Pickled ginger (most familiar to those who eat sushi) it has a fresh flavor that is cleansing to the palate.

Safety Note: ginger does contain moderate amounts of oxalate. So those with a history of oxalate-containing kidney stones should avoid overconsumption of ginger.

References: Rebecca Wood, The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, New York, Penguin Books, 2010. Michael Murray, The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, New York, Atria Books, 2005.

For further information or to schedule a Free 20-minute Wellness Assessment contact Elizabeth at



Wellness Tonic
By: Elizabeth Roberts,
Eat Live Locally

Note: This is a tonic that is best used when fall weather arrives to prevent cold and flu. Daily take 1-2 Tablespoons of tonic to help boost your immune system. Or, at the first sign of feeling ill, take 1 Tablespoons of tonic 2-3 times per day.


32 oz. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar – I prefer Bragg’s brand, with the “mother”
6 in. piece fresh Ginger root, grated or roughly chopped
1 large organic Onion, peeled and chopped
2 heads Garlic, peeled and chopped
1 c. grated fresh Horseradish


  1. Place all ingredients into 1 quart canning jar packing down lightly.
  2. Pour apple cider vinegar into jar to fully cover ingredients. Tap jar lightly on countertop to remove air bubbles then cover with lid.
  3. Put jar in a dark, cool place for at least 2 weeks, 4 weeks is preferred.
  4. Strain liquid into another jar. Discard strained ingredients.
  5. If you prefer a sweeter flavor you can add a bit of raw, unfiltered honey to the jar, stir until dissolved.
  6. Store tonic in refrigerator. Will last 1 yr.

Butternut Squash / Ginger Soup
By: Elizabeth Roberts, Eat Live Locally
Yields: 4 – 1 cup servings


2 Tbs. coconut oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp. sea salt
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1-2 in. piece ginger, chopped – or – 1 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cumin
4 cups vegetable broth
1 butternut squash peeled and cut into chunks
½ c. coconut milk (optional)


  1. Warm oil in large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, sprinkle with salt, sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and cumin. Stir to combine, sauté 1-2 minutes until garlic is fragrant.
  3. Add squash and broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and partially cover. Cook until squash is very tender, about 30 minutes..
  4. In small batches, transfer soup and all ingredients to blender and puree. Be very careful of hot contents. Begin blender on low and slowly increase speed.
  5. Soup should be a lovely velvety texture (not baby food). If needed, add more broth or water to achieve proper texture.
  6. Soup can be eaten as is, or if you like a creamier soup, add coconut milk and stir to combine.

Eat to Reduce Inflammation

My new blog is up on Health Central,

Most of us could benefit from eating a better, anti-inflammatory diet. Did you know that inflammation, not necessarily high cholesterol, may be the leading cause of cardiovascular disease? New studies are showing just how damaging inflammation can be.

And, remember, if you would like help changing from a SAD diet to a happier, healthier one I’m just an email away.




These are carrots from our garden’s last harvest – picked today, Nov. 11th.
This is what a real baby carrot should look like – these are a variety of rainbow carrot.

The baby carrots sold in the grocery store are actually cut-down to size from large carrots then treated in a bleach bath to keep them from oxidizing (turning brown) – something to consider.