· Over the past 2 weeks I haven’t changed much with regard to diet and supplements. To be honest I haven’t had a great 2 weeks as I have suffered from bloating. The only thing I can pin point here is that I started taking a Living Nutrition supplement called kef-flamex. It is a mix of kefir, kombucha fermented herbs and reishi. There are 8 different strains of live micro-organisms and they are not the common ones you would find in most other probiotics. I was taking a little more than the recommended dose and I’m pretty sure my gut was not ready for that. I have done a lot more research and I have come to two conclusions. Either my gut is just not used to these strains and is reacting to them, or I still have small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and there is just too much bacteria in my gut. So, I have decided to get tested for SIBO, I have an appointment next week.
My skin has also taken a turn for the worse, which was definitely to do with my cycle so I’m guessing it’s hormone related. I had no other PMS whatsoever apart from this so I’m not sure what is going on there. My guesses are, taking too much probiotic, or too many animal foods. Maybe I should be more selective when choosing my animals and go for organic all the time, so I know the animals have not been given antibiotics or hormones. I also feel like I might be slightly over indulging in cheese. If I get a sugar craving I reach for the cheese instead. It works wonders and it’s really my only “treat” so it’s difficult not to eat as a snack most days
Other than this I have still been feeling great. Full of energy and happiness! There have been a few times in work that I have tried things I’m not supposed to be eating, like a black bean brownie or a vegan cashew cheese cake. But I’m not sure how I’m supposed to do my job without trying the new recipes I’ve made. It’s only ever in small amounts, so I’m not overly concerned and we use unrefined, organic ingredients in work, therefore I know I’m not eating junk food.
Supplements I’m taking now:
· On waking: Grapefruit oil
· 30 mins before my meals: bitters and digestive enzyme
· 2 x day: Higher Nature Ultra Trace - minerals extracted from the Great Salt Lake (this is for alkalizing the body and helps if there is any heavy metal toxicity)
· With breakfast and lunch: NAC+ and kef-flamex (which I will omit for a few days to see if my bloating disappears)
· 1x a day: Viridian multi vitamin.
· Before bed: Lavender (aids good sleep and helps to kill off bad bacteria without killing the good) Frankincense & Omega 3 (anti-inflammatory).
· Bone broth once a day, usually in a soup at lunch.
Some culinary adventures over the last two weeks:
· I bought a whole rabbit and put it in the slow cooker for 24 hours along with a few beef bones, carrots and herbs. The meat came out nice and tender. I’d never cooked a rabbit before, so I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. It tastes quite like chicken but not as flavoursome in my opinion. For my €15 I just got 3 meals which made it less cost effective than buying a whole chicken.
· I ended up blending the meat with carrots, thyme, a bit of stock, an egg and sunflower seeds. Made patties out of them and fried them in olive oil. They were a little wet and difficult to manage but ended up tasting pretty good.
· I found a “sweet “ recipe I can have!!! It’s called coconut bark, it was an American recipe and called for coconut butter and coconut cream. I thought about this as I don’t think they are the same thing here in Ireland. I soon realised that coconut butter here is actually creamed coconut, and I used the cream from the top of a Biona organic coconut milk tin for the coconut cream. I don’t recommend any other brand of coconut milk as they all have added stabilisers, emulsifiers or preservatives in them. I used the water from the coconut milk in a sauce and a soup. Normally I try to avoid using tins as they contain BPA’s, which are known to be hormone disrupting chemicals.
· I basically melted the coconut butter, added the coconut cream, vanilla and a drop of rose water/almond extract, poured it into a tray on parchment and dropped raspberries and macadamia nuts into it before putting it in the freezer. The texture takes a bit of getting used to and I was devastated when I realised I added too much rose water in one batch and too much almond extract in the other. The recipe called for 2 tbs rose water. I put in 3 drops and it was too much! I will try it again with less next time.
· I made a creamy curry sauce with nuts and roasted pepper! I put this into a celeriac soup and also used it with left over meat from stock and some veg. It was super creamy and rich. I felt fine after it even though there were a few cashews (FODMAP) in there.
Creamy Curry Sauce
1 big yellow pepper, deseeded and cut in half
¼ cup macadamia nuts
¼ cup cashews
½ - 1 lemon, juice
1 tsp curry powder
½ tsp salt
¼ cup water (I used the coconut water from a can of coconut milk I had left over)
1. Preheat oven to 180c, place pepper on a baking dish and roast for about 25/30 mins.
2. Soak the nuts in warm water for half an hour, drain and rinse.
3. Place all the ingredients in a powerful blender until smooth.
4. Add more water if needed for a smoother texture.
5. Adjust seasoning to your taste.
Asian Squid & Kale Stir Fry
This dish is extremely quick to make, tastes great and is packed full of nutrients. Squid is high in zinc which helps boost the immune system and promotes healing.
2 tbs coconut oil
1 inch knob of ginger, minced
1 big fennel bulb, small slice
1 red chilli, minced
200g curly kale, destemmed and cut into bite size pieces
1 red pepper, deseeded, medium slice
250g squid rings
A few drops sesame oil
A few drops of fish oil (if desired)
A squeeze of lime
Fresh coriander for garnish
1. Heat a wok on med to high heat. When the wok has heated up, add the oil.
2. Add the ginger, fennel and stir for about a minute or 2.
3. Add the chilli and kale and keep stirring for approx. 4 minutes.
4. Add the squid and stir for another 2 minutes, until the squid has turned a whiter colour.
5. Add the sesame oil, fish oil, lime and season with a few pinches of salt.
6. Serve with chopped coriander on top.
Organic Salmon en Papillote
Baking in parchment paper is a classic culinary technique that is simple and versatile. The fish steams in the parchment and comes out flaky and perfectly cooked. The fish can be cooked at a higher temperature, but baking at 130c preserves its delicate and healthy oils.
I usually go for wild fish, but every now and again I will buy organic salmon as you can only get wild salmon at certain times of the year.
1 Aubergine, cut length ways into 4 pieces
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
1 organic salmon darne
½ tsp fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
Lemon, ½ tsp zest, juice from half
A pinch of salt
A knob of butter
3 handfuls of spinach
4 basil leaves, roughly chopped
A small grating of Parmesan (optional)
A few drops of lemon juice
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 180c, drizzle the aubergine with olive oil, thyme leaves and seasoning. Bake for 20 mins before the salmon goes in.
1. Turn the oven down to 130c
2. Place the fish in the centre of the prepared parchment paper. Layer the ingredients on top of the fish.
3. Fold the parchment to create an envelope that you can fold into a sealed package. Place on a baking sheet.
4. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Remove from the oven and unwrap. I like salmon slightly under cooked as it melts in your mouth. If it’s over cooked it will become dry and tough.
1. 5 minutes before the fish is ready to come out, heat a pot on medium heat and add the spinach with a little olive oil.
2. Stir around and let wilt for about 3 minutes.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir to combine and season to taste.
I would love to be able to say I’m definitely on the right path, because to be completely honest I’m not sure I am now after how bloated I felt this week and my skin breaking out. I just can’t wait to get the SIBO test done, so I can rule it out or start treating it again. Then I will have a better understanding about what is going on. From all the research I have done I feel like I am doing everything possible for the healing process but maybe I just need longer. I am still just as dedicated and determined to get myself to my optimal health in the next few weeks, or months if that’s how long it takes.