Laura Manning is a Clinical Dietitian at The Susan and Leonard Feinstein Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinical Center at Mount Sinai. Today, she is discussing the Benefits of Staying Hydrated.

Getting Comfortable with the Elimination Phase

The Elimination Phase of the Low FODMAP Diet means that we remove all foods containing fermentable carbohydrates that may be causing IBS-type symptoms.  This is a highly effective method to help determine our trigger foods.  When consumed and combined with our gut bacteria, trigger foods can cause potential gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea.  The feedback we receive from following the Low FODMAP diet can provide us with lifelong tools to optimize our digestion. Understanding which foods we may be intolerant to can help us modify what we eat when dining out, traveling or simply having a comfortable belly during the workday.  It has become a widely used therapy, backed by science, to help people with gastrointestinal issues learn how they can manage their symptoms with food choices. (do you need me to list the studies, there are many…)

The Elimination Phase involves limiting lactose, fructose, fructans, galacto oligosaccharides and poyols, including foods such as certain dairy products, honey, garlic, onions and mushrooms, to name a few.  The most common (almost panic) questions I receive when speaking to patients is “how am I going to avoid garlic and onions when it is in everything I eat at home and at restaurants?” and “I thought garlic and onions were good for me?” The truth is that garlic and all other FODMAPs are not bad for you at all, but certain patients need to take a break from them for a while, then add them back in at a later date to determine their tolerance threshold.

It is true that garlic, onion, shallots and leeks are the base of most cuisines worldwide and appear on every restaurant menu. They also serve as healthy additions to a diet and have been proven to have cardiovascular health benefits due to the sulfur compounds (allicin) they contain when they are crushed, chopped cooked with and chewed. These ingredients also impart such a fragrance that as soon as you begin to cook with them, they fill your home with an aroma that makes you feel as though you’re dining al fresco on the Mediterranean Sea. As a dietitian, knowing that a patient who is reporting so many of the classic IBS symptoms, and uses so much of these fructans everyday, makes me feel confident that the Low FODMAP diet will be successful in improving their symptoms.

So, how do you flavor your meals while doing a low FODMAP diet?

There are so many other ways to add flavor without adding garlic and onions – trying new options may even expand your palate! Other flavorful options include dried or fresh herbs, such as basil, thyme, parsley, oregano, cilantro, and spices, such as pepper, mustard, cinnamon, chili powder, paprika, saffron and turmeric. However, it is important to know that dried versions of garlic and onions in powder form are not used in the elimination phase. These items have just been simply dehydrated – all FODMAPs remain in a concentrated form. A solution for those missing onions is to use a pinch of an Indian spice called asafetida, available at specialty spice markets. Additionally, you can use the green parts of spring onions and chives to retain a bit of onion flavor.

A perfect solution for those who still don’t know what to do without garlic flavoring is to sauté whole garlic cloves in oil and remove the bulb before eating.  Another tip is to use infused oils, which is an excellent way to keep the flavor of the garlic without the FODMAPs (see recipe below). This is because FODMAPs are not soluble in oil, so the flavor can be extracted from the fructan without the fermentable carbohydrate remaining.  Since fructans are soluble in water, cooking with them in soups and stocks will contain the fructan and will not be allowed in the Elimination Phase. An important tip to remember when shopping for soups and stocks is to read the product ingredient labels to see if they contain a FODMAP. Whether the stock comes in liquid or powder form to be reconstituted, most do contain garlic and onions and should be avoided.  Simply make them with infused oils and other herbs and spices and you will be able to enjoy all of your favorite dishes. There are now soups, stocks and dressings on the market that are Low FODMAP certified! It is great to know that there are now many seasoning options on the market that do not contain FODMAPs and can be a very helpful way of adding combinations of flavor to meals.

How to Make Infused Oil

For the best infused flavors, start with the right oils.

It is best to use an olive oil that is light to mild to highlight the infused herbs instead of a stronger, grassy-type like extra virgin that may mask the infused flavors. It is also recommended to use canola, sunflower, or safflower oils because of their neutral flavors.

Cold infused

  • Best for using fresh herbs (parsley, basil, thyme, etc.)
  • Use 1 cup of loosely packed fresh herbs to 1 quart of oil
  • Use a food processor to chop up the herbs and then combine with oil
  • No need to let it sit for a long period of time.  Just strain it and be sure to store in a glass bottle in the fridge.  This type will last about 1 week.

Heat infused

  • This method is best for using woody herbs and dried spices (rosemary, chiles, peppercorns, garlic, etc.)
  • Heat the oil to 250°F and add ingredients after the oil has been removed from the stove and cools for 30 minutes. Let it sit until you reach your desired flavor. Strain it and store in a glass bottle.
  • This oil does not need to be refrigerated.



DISCLAIMER: Mount Sinai is an investor in Epicured. This material is for informational purposes only, and Mount Sinai makes no representation or guarantee as to any results or experience with Epicured. You should consult with your physician before using a dietary program such as Epicured. Mount Sinai employees do not receive material benefit from endorsing or recommending Epicured. 

Laura Manning is not employed by Epicured. Laura is a full-time employee of the Mount Sinai Health System and receives no compensation, monetary or otherwise, from Epicured. 

Credit: Stefani Pappas

EPICURED CLINICAL NETWORK MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Stefani Pappas, MS, RD, CDN, CPT, works as a Clinical Dietitian at St. Francis Hospital and also sees clients in her private practice in Great Neck, NY.

EPICURED: Welcome Stefani! To start, tell us a bit about your practice. What do you like to focus on as a dietitian? What about the work gets you most excited?

Stefani Pappas: My practice is called Stef Health Tips and is located in Great Neck, NY. As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I am dedicated to leading a healthy and active lifestyle, and inspiring others to do the same. My approach encourages whole, natural, and real foods, but works with clients to incorporate their favorite foods into a balanced diet. I enjoy seeing my clients fall in love with a healthy lifestyle and become their very own nutrition expert!

EPICURED: From your Instagram, I can see you’re a passionate cross-fitter! What role does fitness play in your practice?

Stefani Pappas: I truly believe that good health requires a balance of nutrition and physical activity; you just can’t have one without the other in my book! I’ve always been passionate about fitness and how empowered it makes me feel. With my Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Training background, I’m able to create nutritious meal plans and “fitness prescriptions” for my clients. Sticking to a fitness regimen, even if it is just walking 30 minutes a few times a week, is a requirement to work with me!

EPICURED: Let’s talk FODMAPs! We first connected after you wrote a piece on the low FODMAP diet for Long Island Weekly. What inspired you to want to cover that topic?

Stefani Pappas: I work closely with Dr. Fred Gandolfo, a Gastroenterologist at Precision Digestive Care in Huntington, NY. We have collaborated on many different cases to show that proper nutrition and medical therapies can provide effective care to patients suffering from IBS and other GI diseases. Learning more about the low-FODMAP diet with my IBS clients inspired me to write the article! The diet is very specific but can be broken down into a simple, easy to understand way.


EPICURED: What is your experience with using the low FODMAP diet for IBS patients? What kinds of successes have you seen?

Stefani Pappas: I have seen tremendous improvements in symptoms of my patients with IBS on a low-FODMAP diet. The re-introduction phase is fun because you realize how passionate people are about their food! We are typically able to incorporate back some of my client’s favorite foods, but portion sizes play a key factor in regards to tolerance.

Epicured’s Vanilla Coconut Raspberry Chia Seed Pudding. Credit: Ben Fink Productions

EPICURED:Any favorites from the Epicured menu? Anything you’d like to see?

Stefani Pappas: I never liked chia seed pudding until I tried Epicured’s version- it is delicious! The Tikka Masala is another one of my favorites. I loved the dragon fruit smoothie and would like to see more smoothies on the menu.

EPICURED: How have you seen the RD’s role change or grow in treating medical conditions such as IBS (or diabetes, heart disease, etc.)? Do you feel this relate to a broader “food as medicine” movement happening in healthcare?

Stefani Pappas: I take great pride in my role as a Registered Dietitian, and I truly believe that nutrition is the cornerstone of good health. I think my passion for the field, as well as results with my clients, has shown an example to the healthcare professionals that I work with. I’m seeing more and more doctors and other healthcare providers taking interest in nutrition and its role in good health.

EPICURED: What else should our readers know about you? When you aren’t working, what do you like to do (hobbies, volunteer work, family)?

Stefani Pappas: I come from a big Greek family, and I’m extremely passionate about Mediterranean cooking. My family’s interest in the Mediterranean Diet is one of the main reasons why I became interested in pursing a career in nutrition. I love whipping up my Grandmother’s delicious Greek recipes that are packed with good nutrition and flavor!

Want to learn more?

Read: “What is the Low FODMAP Diet” from Long Island Weekly

Check Out: Stefani’s Website

Follow: @stefhealthtips on Instagram



“Muscle & Fitness” Magazine: March 2018

We’re thrilled to announce that Don Saladino, “trainer to the stars” and EPICURED Advisory Board member graces the cover of “Muscle and Fitness” this month!

We definitely can’t promise you Epicured will get you into Saladino shape, but we’re proud that our prepared meals are Don’s way of “cheating clean.”

Want to learn more?

Read: “Fitness Expert Don Saladino Joins the Epicured Team”
Follow: @donsaladino on Instagram


Drew and his Hawker Lettuce Wraps!

Drew Powell plays Solomon Grundy in the superhero drama “Gotham” on FOX. Powell got in shape for his Gotham role by training with Don Saladino, and is two weeks into his Epicured experience. Let’s check in!

EPICURED: Drew, welcome to Epicured! How is week #2 going?

Drew Powell: Thanks so much… I have to say, I am feeling GREAT as I head into the middle of Week 2. I was anticipating being hungry while on this “Epicured Challenge”(as I’m calling it) but honestly, I have been SO satisfied with everything. The food tastes great and is easy to prepare and the snacks help for when I’m jonesing in between meals.



What’s our most popular dish?

Is it…

Truffled Mac & Cheese

Three-Spice Turkey Chili

Pad Thai with Shrimp

The answer, in a moment…

We Were Highlighted in “The Observer!” Here’s a Taste:

On any given night as friends and family gather to break bread, it’s predictable that at least one person sitting at the table will announce a dietary restriction.
“No thanks, I’m gluten-free.”
“None for me. I have I.B.S.”
“Sorry, I’m vegan.”

With two in every five people in the U.S. afflicted by a GI disorder such as I.B.S., Crohn’s, colitis, celiac, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, answering the question “What’s for dinner?” has never been more complicated.

Enter Richard Bennett and Renee Cherkezian, the cofounders of Epicured, a New York-based health care company that designs and delivers gourmet food solutions for people with chronic disease. But unlike other services, Epicured offers digestion-friendly, non-G.M.O. menus free of hormones, preservatives and antibiotics and gluten. All their meals features foods on the F.O.D.M.A.P. diet—a protocol developed at Monash University that has been clinically shown to have a positive impact on people who suffer from I.B.S.—and 25 percent of Epicured’s menu is diabetic-friendly. But if you’re envisioning a Blue Apron-like situation where everything is D.I.Y., you’re wrong. Epicured comes prepared. It’s like seamless—but where every choice suits your dietary needs…

Our most popular dish… Did you guess?

It’s our Three-Spice Turkey Chili!

Epicured’s low FODMAP Three-Spice Turkey Chili

A few of our secrets…

  • We use turkey from Koch’s Turkey Farm in PA. It’s certified humane, organic, and non-GMO. They have an all-natural feed mill to cut out any synthetic herbicides, pesticides, animal by-products.
  • Of course, chili typically contains onions, but not ours! We avoid using onions because they contain oligosaccharides that are not easily digested by people with IBS. Instead use the green tops of scallions, in order to provide that crisp onion bite without the hard-to-digest sugars!
  • We provide cheddar as a garnish for our turkey chili. Cheddar is an aged cheese. That means it has undergone an aging process where the lactose sugars have been converted to a much easier digested lactic acid.

Haven’t tried it yet?

“Trainer to the stars” has joined EPICURED’s Advisory Board and will serve as a prevention authority and brand ambassador.

Don gets some cooking pointers from Epicured Executive Chef Chris Cortez.


Don Saladino is the personal trainer for many professional athletes and celebrities, with a client list that includes Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, Liev Schreiber and more. He created his own “suit up” workout regimen just for training actors getting ready to play superheroes.

He is regularly featured in health magazines and media and he serves on the board of the Don Monti Memorial Research Cancer Foundation.

With 20+ years experience in fitness, Don understands health and wellness and the role food plays. With Epicured, he gets to learn directly from the team the science behind our “food as medicine” mission. Hear his perspective on joining the team:

Don reflects on his first visit to the Epicured kitchen with CEO Rich Bennett.


Epicured is currently the food providers of choice at Don’s fitness center, Drive495. Epicured meals are available to be purchased and either carried out or enjoyed in the café area alongside the fitness staff.

“I always tell my clients that the food they put into their bodies matters more than anything we do in the gym, so having a food delivery partner like Epicured really enhances what I’m able to accomplish with clients.”

The very first look at the very first “Epicured Fridge” at Drive495. Photo credit: @donsaladino

Having the food on-site helps Saladino and the Drive 495 create a health community where trainers, members, and even Epicured chefs and gather, help one another, and enjoy.

Don is working with the Epicured culinary team to create a series of video content Epicured product launches, recipes & cooking demos, and food science lessons. He will soon begin to collaborate with Epicured chefs and dietitians on new recipes and products, including multiple lines of clinically-approved, fitness-oriented foods.

For fitness tips and insights from Don (and an occasional appearance from an Epicured chef), follow him at @donsaladino.