Category Archives: Gluten Free

Eureka! methylation and high thiol sulfur: CBS/COMT/NOS/DAO

by Bea Garth, copyright 2018

I have been reading Dr. Ben Lynch’s new book called DIRTY GENES. It  helped me finally put the missing pieces into the puzzle for some of my most plaguing health issues. The study of Methylation, genetic snps and epi-genetics  has finally started to progress to where it  can help many people struggling with underlying health problems. By  figuring out what genetic snps  one has, it becomes easier to learn how to avoid possible pitfalls.

"At the Diner," pen and ink by Bea Garth, copyright 2018
“At the Diner,” pen and ink by Bea Garth, copyright 2018

It appears that in my case, my CBS snp (along with my COMT/ plus NOS/DAO/MTHFR etc. snps) has been causing me no end of trouble by creating too much toxic ammonia in my system. The high thiol sulfur set off severe urinary tract system difficulties when I was a young adult. Plus more recently it has been creating problems with such things as sleep, skin, collagen issues and nerve degeneration.

I have a friend whom I have been helping who is also being similarly helped by this new diet even though  his epi-genetics and symptoms are slightly different. For him his most disturbing symptom has been the development of intestinal microbes he just has not been able to get rid of, which then have caused him great pain in his gut as well as chronic insomnia, brain fog and frequent intense joint pain.

Although he does not cover the CBS genetic snp in his book,  Dr. Lynch’s clear explanation of the methylation process and how the snps inter-relate with each other (and epi-genetics) has enabled me to make much better sense of it all.  As a result, I  have finally put my finger on what has been causing me (and my friend) so much trouble with so many foods.

As it turns out, if the CBS snp becomes stressed, it can make one sensitive to  high thiol sulfur which then turns into toxic ammonia given the body’s inability to methylate it properly. That in combination with a couple of my stressed COMT genes makes a very difficult stew, so to speak.

And yes my epi-genetics have been stressed, I’ll say. Both due to getting severely sick as a small infant (my older brother says from six months to a year) due to  the secret Hanford Radiation experiment in December 1949 called The Green Run (they release between 8000 and 12,000 curies of radioactive iodine as well as other toxic radioactive materials into the atmosphere along the Columbia River). Plus exposure to umpteen toxic materials repairing old houses for my family business for over twenty years. My friend too has suffered from working on old houses, both those of my family as well as others when he was working as a carpenter and painter.

The last few years both my health and that of my friend’s has gradually been going down hill despite my (and our doctors’) best efforts to help both of us. But now finally with this new knowledge about the CBS snp and others such as COMT, DAO, NOS and MTHFR, both he and I are starting to feel so much better it amazes me–simply by going on a low thiol diet! Over time I am hopeful that many of our symptoms will finally resolve by following what we are learning from our snps and supporting our epi-genetics through diet, exercise, meditation and whatever methods we can use to help keep detoxified.

It makes sense that high thiols creating toxic ammonia have been a scourge for me.  I lost the use of half my right kidney when I was 23 years old after all. Despite my doctors (who wanted me to be on antibiotics the rest of my what would have been a very short life), I went  off the antibiotics anyway. I was getting rashes, large welts and ringing ears along with brain fog from almost all of the antibiotics, including sulfa drugs.

My grandmother suggested I might be sensitive to various foods, the worst possibly being citrus fruit. I soon discovered she was right. Eventually, through extensive trial and error, I figured out I am very sensitive to the wheat family and most milk products, although I kept eating yogurt for years. It was suggested I was sensitive to fructose but, as it turns out, that was not correct. Instead I eventually discovered I am very sensitive to high histamine foods, which includes a lot of fruit, and  to any fruit that is over-ripe. In addition I found I am very reactive to any foods that are red or purple. One nice thing that I have discovered almost immediately after going on a low thiol diet is t hat it is now OK for me to eat yellow and green apples. Previously if I ate an apple it helped contribute to  keeping me awake at night.

According to Dr. Andy Cutler (see link at bottom of list below), there is a big connection to needing a low thiol-sulfur diet if one suffers from a  mercury overload from dental amalgams. Certainly in my case I did not do well at all with silver mercury amalgams — they gave me gum-boils as a child and continued to cause ringing in my ears and gave me a metallic taste in my mouth as an adult. No doubt this mercury toxicity underlay  my developing kidney disease when I was 23. Even by age 13, I had developed severe bladder problems when I was on the basketball team. I finally had the amalgams slowly removed when I was almost 40–which helped quite a lot, but did not resolve all of my health issues.  As usual, I continued detoxing using herbs such as dandelion root and much later added in bentonite clay. I eventually got rid of the mercury, however I still continued to have problems particularly as I aged although its true  my work renovating old houses did not help me with my need for detoxification.

Again, for my friend, his health plummeted after he got a mouth full of silver amalgam fillings topped with metal caps. After that, his job continuing to work on old houses (sometimes involving removing toxic materials plus painting) did not help. Although he had his amalgams removed over 10 years ago, he continued to have problems. In his case he has two homozygous CBS genes, so he has been even more easily affected than I have been to  toxins. It is no wonder he started having problems with his prostate and at times found it difficult to walk or even think due to all the excess ammonia. He was able to heal in part through the use of acupuncture, Chinese herbs and diet, but he continued to be very weak. It is only now he is starting to feel  less pain in his gut by changing his diet to low thiol foods. Already he is starting to sleep a little better. Hopefully in time his debilitating brain fog will also lift.

My feeling is that once the CBS gene mutation has been turned on by something like toxic mercury, one has to continue to support it through diet and some method of detoxing, even after the mercury or other toxins  have been removed due to the fact that the ammonia is creating its own havoc, often supported by toxic biofilms.

The truth is, I had skirted around this thiol sensitivity without really knowing what it was. I figured my health issues must be both environmental and genetic (as you will note if you see some of my older posts), but honestly I did not know what exactly was causing it or what to do about it. My reactions to many of the high sulfur foods was not clearly obvious since the symptoms from them were more insidious, in part covered up by my taking various detox herbs since my early twenties (to keep my kidneys and liver detoxed), as well my severe reaction to foods that did not seem to relate to each other like gluten, nuts, citrus and milk not to speak of red and purple foods. Although  I knew I shouldn’t eat a lot of chard for instance in order to avoid the scourge of developing kidney stones, I continued to eat fairly high thiol dark green vegetables. (Ironically, chard is one of the less high thiol sulfur greens.)

Despite all the healing I had already done, I was gradually going under.  Since my mother’s death and my move with my husband up north to Washington, my insomnia and itching got way worse. I went around feeling partly like a zombie. It was hard to figure out, but I finally did just this last year. I realized eventually that eggs and other high sulfur foods such as garlic, onions, broccoli and cabbage were making it nearly impossible for me to sleep. However I was still eating kale and occasionally bok choi. And a host of other high thiol foods I shouldn’t have been eating like buckwheat. I was getting weaker and weaker, not to speak of the embarrassment of having weird hours due to my inability to sleep on any kind of regular schedule.  I also  have had to resort to wearing dresses and skirts rather than wearing pants  due to the severe itching.

What a roller coaster this has been!!

Now on low thiol foods plus of course continuing to eat fairly low histamine foods with no gluten or milk products etc., both my friend and I are starting to sleep better at night plus we are starting to feel more energetic and clear. And yes that was a big discovery for my friend. It was his snps that gave us the clue since he  has a homozygous DAO snp.  It turns out he needs to avoid high histamine foods, the very opposite of what he thought!

We both still  have more ways to go, however it seems clear that our various symptoms  are starting to  lessen as we continue on this healing path. If not, I need to look at some of the other snps that might also be bothering both my friend and me. But all in all, I am very happy my friend and I are finally beginning to get our lives back at last!

Dr. Ben Lynch offers this key advice in his book: it is important for most of us to eat a bit of carbohydrate, protein and fat with each meal in order to support and not stress things out like serotonin and dopamine–especially important for someone like me and my friend who have COMT snps too. Fruit and vegetables also continue to be very important, though my friend and I have to make sure they are low histamine overall, and low thiol sulfur — and for me, not red or purple. Eventually as we heal more, from what I read, we should be able to add in some  medium thiol foods as long as we continue to detox.

And yes I am discovering too we need to be careful regarding supplements since  a lot of them are high thiol, or are thiol inducing such as MSM, epsom salt baths, NAC, milk thistle and turmeric.

In case you want to learn more about CBS and low thiol foods plus COMT, here are  some good links below that you can check out. The last one of which lists foods that are both high and low thiol. It has a discussion by Andy Cutler on how mercury often initiates a reaction to high thiol foods.

OK so here’s the list of links:


Sorghum Zucchini/Apple/Coconut Scone

by Bea Garth

In the process of researching how to make some gluten free yeasted bread for my husband, I came across a new trick for creating a binder for gluten free flours–namely by using a little psyllium husk powder in the recipe. So I did that in the following yummy scone recipe. Rather than just rely on the psyllium however, I am also using an egg with a small amount of flax and chia. The trick is to not add too much binder or the bread dough will never dry out no matter how long its baked (I found out the hard way)! Without the proper binders however, gluten free quick breads will usually be too dry and won’t hold together properly.

And no, I don’t use xanthum gum or guar gum. I am sensitive to both. I just found out that xanthum gum is made from the same black bacillus that one often sees on old broccoli. Commercially its often grown on either wheat, corn or soy–all no no’s for me. Guar gum I learned too is related to latex, another one of my allergens…

I think you will like this zucchini apple scone recipe! Its low histamine, no gluten or lactose, easy to make in one bowl, and great tasting! This makes enough dough for 2 pie or biscuit pans or one deep square pan.

1/3 coconut oil or butter (slow melt in small pan on stove)
1 scant tbsp. flax seed (grind)
1/2 scant tbsp. chia seed (grind)
3 1/2 cups water
2 eggs (or  one can use 1/2 tbsp more flax seed–fresh ground plus 1/4 cup more water to replace  moisture lost from not using eggs)
2 1/2 cups sorghum flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 level tbsp. powdered psyllium husks
1 1/2 cup more sorghum flour
2 small zucchini’s, shredded (1 cup packed)
1 largish apple, peeled and chopped
1  1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened and sorbitol free)

Turn on oven to 350 degrees.
Melt coconut oil (or butter) on low in small pan on the stove. Then, while it is melting, grind the flax and chia seeds. Don’t heap the seeds unless you want the recipe to be more like a pudding! Put the ground seeds into a largish bowl and add the water and one raw egg. Mix using a wire whisk.
Then whisk in two cups of sorghum flour plus the salt, baking powder and baking soda.
Then quickly sprinkle and whisk in the 2 level tsp. powdered psyllium (or if you don’t have the powder, you can use the whole husks–again, just don’t heap the psyllium! or the batter will become a pudding-like) and quickly whisk in til the batter is smooth.
Then quickly whisk in the remaining sorghum flour, pour the hot melted oil onto the batter and whisk again.
Now shred the zucchini’s and add to the batter with a large spoon or wooden spatula. Again peel a largish apple, and chop it and add to the batter.
To complete this recipe, add in the shredded unsweetened coconut, using the large spoon or spatula.

If you are allergic to coconut, you could just add in 1/2 to 3/4 cup more sorghum flour or some other flour (like amaranth or rice flour perhaps?) instead of using the coconut (the flours will absorb more water than the shredded coconut).

Then oil (I use coconut oil) either two pie or biscuit pans, or one deep square pan, and then put the batter in the pan(s). Pat the dough down so its even, and put into the pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 75 minutes (I am still trying to figure out how to reduce the baking time for this recipe!  So bear with me on this. As is it is delicious nevertheless–especially after it is frozen and reheated).

Let sit for a few minutes to cool before releasing the edge with a rounded knife (if needed) and turning it out of the pan onto a wire rack to cool more. When it seems ready, cut and serve. I like the round pans for this since it looks more like a true Scottish Scone quick bread.

I often use blueberries and a bit of stevia or maple syrup to taste to make the scones even more delicious. Lately I have been making home made yogurt (yay!~) to put on top. I make it by using my special anti histamine probiotics since regular yogurt kills me. This truly is the only way I can enjoy having milk. I avoid canned or packaged coconut milk due to their gums and preservatives usually included–which really do not agree with me. Ditto with almond milk etc. I could make it myself, but just have not wanted to spend the time. I will write another entry on this very soon…

NOTE: I usually freeze the scones (or any other of my quick breads) by cutting them up into serving slices after they have cooled, wrapping the slices first with wax paper. I then put them in a plastic bag, put an identifying piece of paper showing the title of what I made plus the date, and use a twisty to tie the top of the bag to protect the slices from freezer burn. Then when I want something nice like some scone, I just put one or two pieces in the microwave (or oven) to heat so it becomes a quick food I can enjoy any time.

FURTHER NOTE: If you are allergic to (or don’t have) sorghum flour, you can use rice or millet flour instead (or some combination thereof). I have made this using amaranth as part of my flour. It is much denser however than the sorghum, so I wouldn’t choose it as the main flour.

ALSO NOTE: If you can’t tolerate the egg, consider using another scant 1/2 tablespoon of flax seed instead and add a small bit of water equivalent to what is lost without the eggs (say 1/4 cup?) — just remember to grind the flax and don’t heap it to avoid making a bread pudding of your scones!

2-Well Yam Pie: gluten and lactose free, low histamine, low sugar and fructose

by Bea Garth

Here it is Thanksgiving and my honey had to go out and work. Rather than huff about it, I decided to make a yam pie anyway.

I shouldn’t  have that much pumpkin (too high histamine and fructose).  Many find that sweet potatoes are better for them, but I seem to be sensitive to them, whereas yams suit me well.  I often use them in place of carrots for instance, since I seem to have a true carrot allergy (rash, welts, confusion). Yams are a great way to get some good vitamin A.

Anyway, I am also sensitive to sugar of most any kind. The only thing that way that I seem to tolerate is a bit of maple syrup, as long as I don’t use much.

So what to do when making a pie for me and my sweetheart, when he does not tolerate stevia at all? Fortunately he is just fine with plain sugar. I came up with what I think is an ingenious idea: why not make the whole recipe for us both in the same container, and then just split it at the end–so he can have sugar added to his pie and I can have stevia added to mine instead.

The other wrinkle however was how to separate the two pies when really I am making only enough for one?? And want to use just one tin or pie plate to bake them in? I hit upon this idea which has turned out great: make a bit of extra dough and then make a well (using the dough) in the middle of the pie plate (or in this case since I didn’t have one, the rectangular tin).

I split the raw pie mixture in half and then mixed sugar into his half and stevia to taste into mine.  I then put some extra bits of almond flour on his side after I poured the pie mixture with the added sugar in, and left my side plain  so I wouldn’t get mixed up as to whose pie is whose…

So here’s the recipe:

2-Well Yam Pie: gluten, lactose and histamine free

Pie Ingredients and Recipe:

. peel and chop one medium largish yam (or sweet potato) to make roughly 3 1/2 cups chopped yam–put in blender
. melt 1/2 cup coconut oil on low slowly
. put one cup water into blender

Grind 2 tbsp. flax and 1 tbsp. chia, and then add to the blender

. add 1/4 cup maple syrup to blender
. add one egg (optional–you don’t have to use it if its a problem)
. add 1/2 tsp. salt
. add 1/2 tsp. baking soda
. add 2/3 cup sorghum, rice or millet flour

Blend the above ingredients at least a minute. Then add in 1/4 cup melted coconut oil to the blended ingredients, and blend well again for another minute or so.

Let pie ingredients sit a bit while you make the crust. This will allow the flax and chia seeds to gel.

Crust Ingredients and Recipe
Use a small mixing bowl and add the following ingredients (please note, I am making extra crust so a separation well can be made and a nonstandard pie plate can be used):

. 1 1/2 cup almond flour
. 2/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
. 2/3 cup millet, sorghum or rice flour (etc.)
. 1/4 tsp. to 1/3 tsp salt (to taste)
Mix above ingredients in the bowl so they are evenly distributed. I used my hands actually.
Then add in 1/4 cup melted coconut oil. I use a sprinkling method, and toss flours with a fork
. then add roughly 1/3 to 1/2 cup water, tossing and mixing similarly.

Then mix the ingredients with the water together with a fork a bit more, followed by mashing them together and kneading them into a dough with your hands.

This makes your crust. You can then coat your chosen pie pan with coconut oil, put your ball of dough inside the pan while choosing a bit of it to put aside to make the separation well in a minute.

Using your hands, flatten the dough so it covers the pan’s bottom and up to the top edges. Use bits of dough to complete the edges as needed. Then make the well in the center so the ingredients in the two separately sweetened pies don’t mix. It looks kind of like a separate section in your garden edged with wood if you get my drift…

Back to the pie mixture:
take one half of the blended pie mixture (roughly 2 cups) and put in 1/4 cup sugar (or to taste), and mix well with a spoon or fork.
Then pour that sugar flavored pie mixture into one of the wells in the pie pan. Put something on top of it that can survive baking. I sprinkled some of the almond flour on top and then added 5 almonds to mark the area.

Then with the rest of the blended pie mixture (also roughly 2 cups), add in 2/3 tsp. of plain powdered stevia, again mixing it well with a fork and/or spoon. Pour this stevia flavored mixture into the unused pie well.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for roughly 50 minutes. It you have a hot oven, turn it down a bit.

When the pie is done, take it out of the oven and let cool on a wire rack. I ate a piece after 15 minutes, but its better to wait at least half an hour or longer for the pie to cool.

Added Notes: The taste of the pie is excellent! The maple syrup and yam gives it a good flavor without histamine high spices like cinnamon and cloves. And the crust is to die for! Actually flaky. It tastes better to me than a gluten crust, if my recollection is correct. Very nice! I can’t wait to see what my fiancee thinks of the pie sweetened with sugar.

This separation of recipe only at the end gives me other ideas to do the same say with cookies and cakes etc. I am inspired!! And yes I do have a sweet tooth. It is so nice to be able to eat something like this without ruining my health, and actually instead aiding it since the above ingredients are actually good for me, and I hope good for you too!