An overhead image of a mug of hot cocoa on a counter with some cinnamon sticks.

This article and hot chocolate recipe are sponsored by VSL#3. All opinions are my own.

As someone who suffered from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) growing up, making healthy food choices was never an option for me; it was a necessity. But many of my clients and readers who have IBS tell me that they find it to be difficult to eat clean and healthy during the holiday season.  In fact, according to a recent survey conducted on behalf of VSL#3 Probiotic, 63% of IBS sufferers made changes to their diet on their own to manage their condition. In addition to finding the right probiotic to help with the dietary management of IBS, the trick is to know which ingredients trigger IBS symptoms, eliminate them, and prepare foods that will still please everyone’s palate.

So, today I’m sharing with you a few of my palate pleasing VSL#3 IBS-friendly recipes because VSL#3 was the probiotic I took for over two years when I had C.Diff-Colitis and was hospitalized.

An overhead image of a mug of hot cocoa alongside some cinnamon sticks on a counter.

VSL#3 is a high-potency probiotic medical food that is clinically proven to help with belly trouble such as IBS and ulcerative colitis and ileal pouch. It’s a proprietary formulation of a mix of 8 strains of live lactic acid bacteria and one of the few probiotics with this many live strains. VSL#3 differs from other probiotics in that it is a “medical food”, not a supplement, and therefore must be used under medical supervision and kept refrigerated to maintain its potency.

A up-close image of the mug of prepared hot cocoa on a counter.

Here are a few tidbits for you to digest. While many people are familiar with the general term “probiotics,” most do not understand the importance of knowing which specific strain of organism should be used for which specific disease or condition.* Probiotics work in three areas of the gut: the microbial barrier, chemical barrier and physical barrier.*

  • VSL#3 can colonize the gastrointestinal tract with beneficial bacteria, reduce gas and bloating from IBS and maintain remission in UC or an ileal pouch.
  • There are several formulations of VSL#3. All formulations require refrigeration to preserve potency:
    • VSL#3 DS Double Strength (DS) packets containing 900 billion live bacteria. Due to the potency of this formulation, VSL#3 DS is a prescription only medical food.
    • VSL#3 packets (lemon flavored and unflavored) containing 450 billion bacteria
    • VSL#3 capsules containing 112.5 billion bacteria

And to show off a lovely (and super simple) recipe that can be belly-friendly and satisfying, here’s my Almond Milk Hot Chocolate (without sugar, dairy, gluten and soy!). You can serve this warm for an evening treat or as an afternoon pick-me-up sipper. The choice is yours but I know you’ll love the warming (and belly-soothing) feel this cup of hot chocolate will give you…just in time for the holidays!



A mug of hot cocoa with the overlay ribbon "IBS-Friendly Recipes VSL#3"

'Creamy' Almond Milk Hot Chocolate
Serves: 2
A mug of 'Creamy' Almond Milk Hot Chocolate
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free
Author: Amie Valpone
Recipe type: Entree



  1. Heat the almond milk over medium heat in a small saucepan.

  2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a low boil, then simmer for 2 minutes and season to taste with cinnamon and salt. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts
'Creamy' Almond Milk Hot Chocolate
Amount Per Serving
Calories 86 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Sodium 268mg12%
Potassium 338mg10%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 8g33%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 5g10%
Calcium 253mg25%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

A packet of 4 capsules of VSL#3 (The Living Shield) Use the code “DOCTOR” to receive $5 off your order when purchasing at

Example recipe cards for spinach dip, pudding, and hot chocolate with VSL#3 branding.

VSL#3® is a high-potency probiotic medical food that’s clinically proven in the dietary management of IBS, ulcerative colitis, and ileal pouch. To learn more visit

This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation that contains affiliate links. All opinions, text and experiences are my own. VSL#3® is a high-potency probiotic medical food for the dietary management of IBS, UC and ileal pouch and must be used under medical supervision. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The VSL#3 branded book of recipes called My Recipe Book.

 *Harris Poll conducted the GI Issues Survey on behalf of VSL#3. The survey was administered online within the United States between April 1 – 7, 2015 among 607 adult’s ages 18+ who have been diagnosed with a digestive or gastrointestinal condition, irritable bowel syndrome, or ulcerative colitis, ileal pouch.
An open page of the VSL#3 My Recipe Book with example recipe cards for soup and more.

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