Health, Recipes

The Elimination Diet Recipes – First Edition

The Elimination Diet Recipes – First Edition

While last weeks blog does not lend itself to thinking of yummy recipes, that is…..well, relative. Here are some items I enjoyed in the radical elimination diet, and still enjoy as part of my rotation diet.

Elimination Diet: Breakfast – Rice Pudding with Carrots


2 cups cooked rice

½ t salt

1 T cinnamon

3 good sized carrots, cut into bite sized pieces

rice milk as needed


Cook rice as per package instructions. Pre-cook carrots until moderately softened. This can be done by microwaving for 3 minutes on high, or by simmering in a small amount of water for 3 minutes. Add carrots, cinnamon, honey to cooked rice. Stir well. Add a small amount of rice milk if needed, for pudding like consistency. Serve in individual bowls or containers. Refridgerate and use as fast breakfast.


Elimination Diet: Breakfast – Papaya

Peel papaya – a vegetable peeler works well for this job! Cut and seed the papaya (seeds are not pleasant). Cut papaya into bite sized pieces. Eat and enjoy!

Really I wrote this recipe to tell you that you can use a peeler on papaya’s and mangos, and all sorts of stuff! (Yes – this was exciting to me. I am easily pleased.) My daughter taught me this. Dang – I’d been using a knife for years.


Elimination Diet: Lunch/Dinner – Rice Chicken Pizza


Pizza Crust


2 -3 cups cooked white rice (Bo-Tan)

1t Salt

1T Baking Powder

2T rice flour

Water – as needed to doughy consistency


Beat Cooked Rice for 5 – 10 minutes until most of rice is broken. A hand mixer works, but a stand mixer would be better. Mix the salt, baking powder and rice flour. Add this mixture while stirring well. Very heavily oil a sheet of aluminum foil, and place the dough on this. Top with plastic wrap. Roll dough out to ¼ inch thickness with a rolling pin, or spread with hands, on top of plastic wrap. Cook at 350 for 15 minutes. Turn pizza crust over. Cook an additional 15 minutes. For a Crispier crust, make crust thinner.


Lightly oil pizza crust with Oil of your choice (Olive Oil). Place diced cooked chicken breast and pan fried carrots on top of crust. Cook on 350 for an additional 10 minutes.


by – Tama Cathers, BS, MS, DVM,  – Have rice, can do anything with it! Pretty much, it’s infinitely malleable – rather like plastic, I ‘d say.


See – Here I am prepping papaya with a knife – silly me!


Food, Food Medicine, Herbal Medicine, Recipes

A Recipe for Winter: Oh, So Easy Bone Broth


I have a recipe for you.: Bone Broth. Its all the rage, right now. Despite that, I love it!  Very soothing. Endlessly useful. Highly adaptable. Good for you. The most impressive thing is how easy it is. What I can’t believe is that my mother, and my grandmother never seemed to do this. It seems like a no brainer!

In the past I made broths, by cooking the leftover meat usually on the bones, for a few hours. It was invariably disappointing – weak, and not worth the effort. This is officially called a ‘Broth.” I then read about making bone broth. It is really considered a ‘Stock’, in cooking terms. This is much more worthwhile! So much more flavorful!

Research shows that chicken bone broth actually does help you heal when you are sick. Researcher at Nebraska Medical Center found that chicken soup made the traditional manner decreases the symptoms of upper respiratory infections. Low calorie soup also has been found to reduce calorie intake.

I felt great getting to use my herbs at the end of their season. I did have to dig under the leaves to find the oregano, and though my pineapple sage had died with the first frost, the leaves were still fragrant. Our whole house smelled delicious for 3 days!

Plus, my daughter loves to say vegetable butts! These ‘waste’ pieces no longer feed my compost, instead they flavor my stock! We keep them in a collecting can in the freezer. Adding vegetables enhances the flavor and reduces the need for salt to taste.  The vinegar helps the bone release their calcium into the broth, just like that old rubber chicken bone trick!


Bone Broth Recipe


Meat bones

Vegetable butts

Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley


1/4 cup vinegar


Place bones in a large stock pot. Add vinegar, vegetable butts, and herbs. Cover generously with water. Bring to a boil, turn heat down and simmer on low heat. Cook poultry bones for 24 hours. Cook pork or beef for 72 hours (3 days). Keep solids covered with water.

Cool. Drain liquid and discard solid remains. Refrigerate. Consider skimming the fat off once cooled, for lower calorie broth. Use within 48 hours or freeze for later use.

Happy cooking and Happy Holidays!

-by Tama Cathers, BS, MS, DVM, SC (sometimes cook), SG (sometimes gardener), SA (sometimes asleep), SN (sometimes not).


Chicken soup

Soup and calorie intake

 Cover Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


Forewarning: These pictures turned out a little gory!


Burnout and Stress, Food, Food Medicine, Herbal Medicine, Recipes

In Pursuit of GI Balance – An Adventure in Radical Elimination Diets (Don’t Try this at Home!)

In Pursuit of GI Balance – An Adventure in Radical Elimination Diets (Don’t Try this at Home!)

I started this blog following a decline in my vitality, after having surgery. I had my gall bladder removed, which was great.  However, then I got everything: GI thrush, Influenza, every cold in my daughter’s school. I was tired, stressed, and all I wanted to do was sleep. Maybe eat and sleep.

So I started by adding more herbs to my diet. Our family started eating more vegetables. Eventually we removed most carbs. We adopted a Mostly Reduced Lectin Diet, primarily as a means to eat more veggies. It certainly reduced our lectins (protective plant proteins) which are found in potatoes, legumes/beans, peanuts/cashews, and peppers.

I also have fought cravings for, well forever. Sometime in there, I gained 10 lbs, chalking it up to age. I accepted that, but then I started having GI issues. I have always been a person whose stress shows in their guts. I thought that now, post-Gall Bladder, post Career Change, I was supposed to be on the upswing!

No upswing.

I went hiking and drank untreated water, unintentionally. I got ongoing diarrhea. Wait, maybe I’d had this on and off – but never like this! I thought I had cryptosporidia. It’s a diarrheal disease from livestock – yup – that’s who shared our water sources. In 4 – 6 weeks I should be better.

6 weeks later – I wasn’t any better.. I got treated for traveler’s diarrhea, and for giardia. I didn’t get better, but I did get GI thrush. Again.

I stopped eating Sugar and Flour. This was tremendously helpful in managing my cravings. My tongue turned pink again. This was a first.  Pink is the color our tongues is supposed to be! Mine had not been that color longer than I can remember.  However, my GI system was not better. My doctor ordered a fecal culture and testing – no cryptosporidia, nor any other pathogens. She told me to stop eating dairy and eggs. Add in fiber and probiotics.

I shifted my diet again: no sugar, no flour, no dairy, no eggs, added fiber and probiotics. It did not change my GI system.  Maybe it was the nuts. I eliminated nuts, making my daily Walking Oatmeal with seeds and my sugarless flour-free chocolate cake with seed butter.

No better. Things might even be worse. I emailed Doc for help, to ask about a plan or an elimination diet.   I was told I could come in and talk with her……In a month.


I sat down and cried. I felt betrayed. I couldn’t go another month. What was I supposed to eat! I wanted to not wake up at 3 am every morning with GI pain or worse. I wanted to go to sleep with out my belly hurting, or to spend a day without it torment me all day. I wanted not to be filled with gas at times every day. And hot damn – I wanted to stop shitting 6 times a day.

My handsome husband stepped in. He’s a nurse. I am/was a doctor of animals. We know what to do. We were going off track – without a doctor. We were going to do an elimination diet!

His plan was radical. I mean radical radical.  Nothing I could find on the net was so radicle. But it matched what he would do to a human, and what I would do to a pet.  I choose 1 meat, 1 vegetable, 1 starch and 1 fruit, then add food back one at a time. I chose chicken, rice, carrots, and papaya. We added honey, olive oil, salt, pepper and black tea, just to make it do-able.

As a nurse….or a veterinarian feeding an animal…this likely makes sense. We can do that to the creatures under our care. You just – do it.

Well, it’s not so simple, when one is the creature!

On day 1, all my GI signs went away.  Day 2 was great, husband made me ‘pizza’ with a crust out of white rice, and topped with carrots and chicken. For dessert I got caramelized carrots with honey.

On day 3, I had to eat my dinner in the living room, away from all the other families food. I couldn’t stop Watching Them Eat!  By then I had already started cheating, a little. Adding a spice, or fennel tea, or wild rice instead of white… Little cheats.   On day 5, I decided to add new foods. I was going crazy! I did not mind eating these 4 foods, they were still good and the results were great, but I could hardly stand to not eat other food. I loved the happy pain free belly I now had!  It was great! But I couldn’t eat rice and chicken for the rest of my life! So we negotiated adding 2 foods at a time: White fish and sweet potatoes. I also cheated and ate a little brown rice and a bite or two of wild rice as well.

I was back to GI-sick for 2-3 days. Obviously, I went back to chicken and rice.

On day 9, I told my husband I was not going to be able to stay on this diet for more than a day or two. I wanted to plan my exit, not be rash. But exit I must –  I was about to just off a cliff, maybe with a parachute. I wanted to drink in the morning: Every morning! (I don’t drink much at all!) I wanted to drive race cars, or set the house on fire – just a little fire… Really, I felt crazy. We made a new plan.  I continued the 4 ingredient diet for another 2 days, actually traveling cross country, and attending a holiday potluck, without cheating. I knew relief was coming!  I wasn’t even tempted to cheat anymore, in the face of the relief, because I knew how badly eating regularly had made me feel. I was not at all tempted by the holiday desserts flooding the counters everywhere. Not one bit! I swear – and it was pretty weird not to be tempted.

At the potluck, I spoke with a physician. She could not believe I was going with out sugar, eggs or dairy. She thought that was the hard and amazing part. I thought to myself, Well, THAT ain’t nothing!” By talking to her, I realized just how hard the thing I had been doing actually was – enormously hard!

I returned home and started a new plan; a modified rotating diet plan. In this plan, you choose to eat from different families of food, and not eat that family again for 4 days. There are a lot of theories as to why this may work, and lots of information as to why it won’t work. In veterinary medicine, food allergy testing is considered of no use, but practically speaking, I have seen it almost always be of some uses. This is because food allergies, which are really intolerances, they shift around. So the science of testing does not work well, but the art of food trials – now that works. We are not talking about allergies here however, we are talking about sensitivities, or intolerances.  These things shift around, mostly flaring up against the things we eat the most.  My rotating, you avoid that.  Using this plan, I could rotate through more foods while ‘eliminating them.” Maybe I wouldn’t go crazy.

I modified it because I was still more interested in an Elimination Diet, rather than rotating through a vast array of foods. I limited myself initially to choosing 4 different food families and eating those for 2 days each. I found I couldn’t manage to eat the same 4 foods for 3 days, but I could for 2 days. Beef, green beans, white potatoes, and bananas. Pork, Quinoa, Squash, and Melon (that was a little tough).

After that it was Christmas. I really wanted to eat candy, drink eggnog, and share that big block of brie I got weeks ago! I choose Chicken, rice, corn , legumes, milk eggs and mangos. That might’ve been more than 4 foods! However, that way I could eat my candy (milk and corn syrup), drink my eggnog, and eat cheese. Guess what – I was great! (I might have felt a little nausea after downing 2 candy bars in 30 minutes, having not eating sugar for 3 months, but I don’t think that counts.)

The next round was Fish again, this time salmon (steaks and Lox’s!), broccoli, amaranth, and apples. OMG! I could not even finish the 2nd day! Wow! At least I know I am on the right path – it is food. I was beginning to wonder. Good feedback and – Ugh!


Since I started this blog, I have used myself as a laboratory. Weight loss has never been my primary goal, but eating healthy has been. Of course, I wouldn’t argue with 5 – 10 lbs off!  I tried the Low Lectin Diet, which increased our vegetable intake mild to moderately. I lost no weight.  I loved the psychology behind the Brightline eating diet, and am a big believer that sugar, corn syrup and likely flour are not our friends. I tried that diet, cutting sugar and flour. I think it was really helpful in controlling my cravings. Super really. It’s a bit obsessive if you ask me. I did not subscribe, or measure my food. I just cut sugar, flour, ate meals, avoided snacks (for the most part), and I got control over my cravings. I also lost 2-4 lbs, maybe. I don’t know because my scale broke, but I do have a mirror. I eliminated dairy and eggs with no effect.  I removed nuts, shifting to seeds. No help.

I tried a radical elimination diet, way more radical than anything out there on the web. I failed to stick to the diet. Yet I feel I succeeded. Now, I am using a rotating diet, to investigate what makes me tick, and what makes me – well, sound more musical, and less comfortable. By the way, I am pretty sure I am in the 5-7 lbs weight loss range. My cravings – still mostly controlled.  When I have eaten most of my regular foods, which will take a few rotations, then I will test out the failures in each group. After that, we’ll see. I might consider this rotational diet for the sake of an eating plan. I certainly plan on continuing to eat in ways I have learned controls cravings, avoids GI distress and focuses on balance. Even if I eat sugar sometimes.

It’s all about balance!

by Tama Cathers, an independent food laboratory with feet.



Burnout and Stress, Food Medicine, Herbal Medicine, Parenting, Personal Wisdom, Yoga

Food Wisdom Herbs Yoga: A Pursuit of Health & Happiness

Food Wisdom Herbs Yoga: A Pursuit of Health & Happiness

I am re-titling my blog page. When I started out, I wanted to share what I knew. I know lots of stuff, from herbs, to mothering, to medicine. What I was, however, was in search of the right stuff to make me stronger, more resilient, and to rebuild my body systems. I put up a lot of recipes. My search and growth lead me, and continue to lead me, down pathways different than I first envisioned. My subjects are broader and my search is still ongoing. The title I first chose, it’s not fitting me right now.

So as this is the beginning of the New Year, I am putting up my New Title, to better reflect this blog.

I will still be throwing in recipes, from my current explorations as well as from the past; you know, when I ate things normally.  In addition, I will be posting some of my stories chronologically.  I want others to be able to follow a progression.  I hope the story is one of growth and flowering, or at least change. I figure it will be, because, well – that’s what I do.

I have spent 9 months trying to figure my life out, inside and out.  Inside – that means how do I eat without craving, binging, eat for health, eat for vitality. My bar has fallen recently; all I want to do is eat without GI disturbances or pain.  Outside – that means how do I work in this world in a way that promotes health for others as well as myself. How do I negotiate the world of invariable stress, while remaining balanced, even through the tuff stuff.

I am still in search of that combination that brings us balance; parenting, working, studying, developing, self-care and nurturing others, relationships rocky and smooth, exercise, writing, insights, play…

I have come a long way already, from despair to curiosity regarding work. From hope, to despair, and now to curiosity about how to eat.  I am working hard at developing new parts of myself, and beginning to untangle the web of Unseeing that wraps around all women.  I am now parenting a teenager, and learning first hand about parental toxicity and alienation.  I am deep in two yoga teacher training courses, as well as a sex coaching program. They are very hard, but good work.  I am now married, and managing the tidal waves from that. So much good stuff, turned over and ready to be examined and learned from! It may sound horrible, but it is a really really good trip.

I hope you will continue to come along.

Let’s see where we can get to, together.


by Tama Cathers, ex-Marine, Snowshoe Bunny, Hollow Cave Deep Sea Diver, Monk, and Racer Driver….Nah! Not really!



Cinnamon Scent for the Holidays: Soothing Chai

Cinnamon Scent for the Holidays: Soothing Chai  (Caffeine free )

Happy Holiday Season. As I write, it is either Christmas or  the Eve of Christmas. It is also Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. I am sure there are other Holidays as well to celebrate, not just Festivus (Seinfeld…..I had always wondered where the Ugly Sweater thing had returned from.)

I will be celebrating quietly this year, spending the day cooking, doing yoga, and writing. Some of the things I love best.

As the days get shorter and colder, my feelings about the cheer of winter start to fade. So we celebrated the Winter Solstice, the return of lengthening days, last week, with a small ceremony with other like minded people.  It got us out of the house, doing something new. It was quite, and candle lit. Just perfect for our scattered nerves.

At the end of the week, we exchanged gifts, drank eggnog, and listened to (more) holiday music. I ate things I haven’t had in a long time; Candy, sugar, milk, eggs…(shivering in delight). I spent the next two days cleaning up the holiday mess! Now my daughter is off to the West for a second Christmas, my husband is off to save the world (nightshift in the ICU), and I am here enjoying the quietude. It’s simply perfect.

I do want a little holiday cheer, however, and I know just what to make.  Something that makes the whole house smell warm and wonderful.  Here is a very simple recipe for traditional chai.  It requires a few ingredients you may not usually stock, but once you make this, you will want to.  Caffeine free, Very very Good!

Recipe:  Chai Tea


2 quarts of water

16 cardamom pods

16 peppercorns (optional to place in tea ball/strainer)

12 whole cloves (optional to place in tea ball/strainer)

6 slices of ginger root, ~ 1 inch of root (candied ginger will substitute)

3 large or 6 small cinnamon sticks (get them on sale post Xmas!). Break these up for better flavor

1/4 cup honey (or to taste)

1/2 cup of milk (or cream)

Optional: 1-2 Tablespoons Ghee (clarified butter)


Place spices and water in a stock pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20-60 minutes. Remove from heat, strain out spices. Add milk and honey to taste.


Tea balls/ strainers: I use these for the clove, because I can get overwhelmed by the clove pretty easily.  If left to sit, the clove flavor gets stronger and stronger, so I like to be able to remove them, and let the rest stew or sit a bit longer.  The pepper can be the same, adding real heat if left in. Sometimes I really like this.  I usually remove the clove ball at the end of the boiling, or 20-30 minutes, and leave the pepper ball in a little longer.

Ghee / Milk Fat: The lower in milk fat, the lower in fat calories. That being said, using a higher fat milk (2% or Whole), will make this richer, and much more soothing.  Ghee will serve the same effect, and is supposed to be very healthful. The reason this happens is the milk fat soothes and quiets us and our autonomic nervous system. Yep, just like a baby.

Nut and Grain Milk: Coconut milk is a nice replacer. It will add a little coconut flavor, but it blends nicely with the other spices.  Rice milk would be my second choice, I usually buy unflavored, but both the unflavored and vanilla have some sugar in them.  Other nut and seed milks might be an option for you to explore, if needed.  Will special diets, or for parties, I usually make the base recipe, but set some aside before adding honey and milk, for those with dietary needs to doctor up, as needed.

Happy Holidays!

by Tama Cathers

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Salsa Chicken and Salsa Chicken Chili

Salsa Chicken and Salsa Chicken Chili

On my dinner table is Salsa Chicken Chili with roasted corn, Black beans with spices (and, yes, with a little hidden zucchini tossed in), baked zucchini casserole, cream of zucchini soup, and a dark chocolate, vegan, flourless zucchini chocolate cake.

I still have some salsa left-over from my wedding, but the end of this, I’ll only have a little zucchini left to deal with. Shred and freeze to tuck into winter stews.

RECIPE 1: Salsa Chicken


4 cups tasteless salsa left-over from your wedding dinner

3 lbs of chicken thighs (or your favorite chicken parts)

2 small cans green chilies

1 teaspoon minced garlic divided

1 can black beans, rinsed

½ lb bag roasted corn (good old trader Joes makes this easy),

fresh or canned can substitute

1/2 Tbsp cumin

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper


Place the chicken in the bottom of a large deep pan. (The ones left over from food from my wedding worked very well, and they appreciated having a second life.) Drain and Rinse the black beans. Add beans and roasted corn around the chicken. .

Mix chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, to the salsa, and stir. Pour this mixture over the chicken and bean corn mixture. Top each piece of chicken with green chilies and a small amount of minced garlic because you forgot to add it to the salsa mix, and it looks pretty, white garlic on green chilies on red salsa on chicken. Cover and cook at 250 for 4-5 hours. Chickens internal temperature should be at least 180 degrees, but by 5 hours it will be well over this and the meat should be ready to fall off the bones.


RECIPE 2 – A Wet Hot Mess with Broth – Salsa Chicken Chili

According to my daughter, A Wet Hot Mess with Broth means there is not enough broth that it’s a soup or stew, but too much for a casserole.

Take the leftovers from above, debone and remove skin from chicken, shred and put in a stew pot. Add 16 oz of chopped tomatoes (fresh, frozen, canned) and enough water to make a stew like consistency (~1 cup water). Add 1-2 teaspoon of chili seasoning, as needed. Warm to a bubbly consistency, serve warm.





Persimmon Cake – Vegan, Nut free, Gluten Free

Persimmon Cake – Vegan, Nut free, Gluten Free

It’s the holiday season. I have been eating a flour and sugar free diet for 2 months now, in an attempt to curb my cravings. That is going really well, but I need a sweet treat to eat, so I made this.

This cake is only mildly persimmon-y.  The cocoa nibs add a little interest with their crunch.

If you are on a limited or restricted diet, there is still so much you can do! I hope you enjoy this as is, or change it to a regular cake by adding more sugar and using flour, instead of gluten-free ingredients, as listed below.  I expect you would need to use 2/3rds cup of flour and omit the chia and flax seed, but I have not tried it myself.



  • 1 ½ cup persimmon puree
  • 2-3 large ripe persimmons, cut into bites
  • ½ cup sunflower seed butter
  • ½ cup tahini (sesame seed butter)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup ripe mashed banana
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 c cocoa nibs
  • 1/3 cup ground flaxseed meal
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a round 9 x 9 baking pan with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together wet ingredients: seed butters, maple syrup, banana, and vanilla.
  3. Combine dry ingredients: flaxseed meal, chia seeds, cocoa nibs, baking soda, and salt and add to wet mixture. Stir until well combined.
  4. Pour into pan and spread evenly.
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool and serve.