How to recover after a flare

heartsee

Inspired by Eileen at Phoenix Helix’s article on How To Survive An Autoimmune Flare, I thought I’d add some tips on surviving a digestive flare.

  1. Go back to your safe zone diet. The foods you know do not cause you any harm. My safe zone diet is now paleo and based on plain meats and roasted or boiled vegetables. I used to go straight to rice based meals after a flare, so this may work for some people. Think about easy and plain foods that you make at home from scratch. These are the safest for people with food intolerances and autoimmune issues. SCD Lifestyle talks more about creating a food safe zone.
  2. Drink water and coconut water to replace any fluids lost, so you stay hydrated.
  3. Try adding some fibre slowly to your diet. Think about flaxseed, psyllium, slippery elm or acacia powder or chia seeds.
  4. Drink a soothing herbal tea, such as Chamomile, or peppermint, which are good for digestion.
  5. Go for a gentle walk, as this will calm the nervous system and aids peristalsis of the gut.
  6. Do either yoga or meditation to create the relaxation response. Aim for 20 minutes each day. This reduce stress and inflammation and releases tension, including the bowel muscle.
  7. Give yourself a tummy rub. Use circular motion around the belly button, starting at the top right and heading left and then down and back. Use coconut oil and gentle essential oils, such as lavender, peppermint and chamomile.

What’s your best advice for surviving a digestive flare?

Book Review: Serve to Win by Novak Djokovic

serve-to-win

Novak Djokovic reveals the gluten-free diet and fitness plan that transformed his health and pushed him to the pinnacle.

In 2011, Novak Djokovic had what sportswriters called the greatest single season ever by a professional tennis player: He won ten titles, three Grand Slams, and forty-three consecutive matches. Remarkably, less than two years earlier, this champion could barely complete a tournament. How did a player once plagued by aches, breathing difficulties, and injuries on the court suddenly become the #1 ranked tennis player in the world? The answer is astonishing: He changed what he ate.

In Serve to Win, Djokovic recounts how he survived the bombing of Belgrade, Serbia, rising from a war-torn childhood to the top tier of his sport. While Djokovic loved and craved bread and pasta, and especially the pizza at his family’s restaurant, his body simply couldn’t process wheat. Eliminating gluten—the protein found in wheat—made him feel instantly better, lighter, clearer, and quicker. As he continued to research and refine his diet, his health issues disappeared, extra pounds dropped away, and his improved physical health and mental focus allowed him to achieve his two childhood dreams: to win Wimbledon, and to become the #1 ranked tennis player in the world.

Now Djokovic has created a blueprint for remaking your body and your life in just fourteen days. With weekly menus, mindful eating tips for optimal digestion, and delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes, you’ll be well on your way to shedding extra weight and finding your way to a better you. Djokovic also offers tips for eliminating stress and simple exercises to get you revved up and moving, the very same ones he does before each match.

You don’t need to be a superstar athlete to start living and feeling better. With Serve to Win, a trimmer, stronger, healthier you is just two weeks away.

The book is mostly about nutrition and the effect of going gluten free had on his life. However Novak tells stories about how he started playing tennis, his family background, describing support he got from his family that helped him to overcome problems and become the best tennis player in the world. I was fascinated by the the background stories Novak gave about growing up in Serbia during the war and I’ll pay him more respect now for his circumstances.

There is seven day meal plan of his diet and recipes developed by Chef Candice Kumai included in the book. Novak encourages you to try the diet for just 2 weeks to see if you feel any better.

Overall it is an easy read and good introduction to the gluten-free lifestyle. It’s a must-have for fans of Novak Djokovic.

Serve to Win by Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic is a Serbian tennis player who is ranked World #1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time.

Movie review: A Trip to Italy

Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan join up again to take a culinary tour in The Trip to Italy. A wonderfully entertaining film shot over 6 days and 6 restaurants.

The movie includes many impersonations, such as Michael Cain, characters from The Godfather, Batman, Michael Parkinson, Robert De Riro, Sean Connery in Bond, and The Italian Job among others. I wanted to watch The Godfather before seeing this film, so I got the scene better, but it doesn’t matter much. Some of the funniest scenes are the silly ones. The food looks just devine and at points it makes you want to join them, even though most of the places they stay and eat at are probably out of my price range. The scenery is just spectacular in places (think Liguria, Tuscany, Rome, Amalfi and Capri) and I bet you too will be envious of their trip.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and dare I say, I think it’s better then the first one.

Kefir starters and grains

kefir

You can make home-made kefir with goat, sheep or cows milk and select your own live cultures for fermentation. It is also possible to make kefir from coconut milks and filtered water (not tap). Kefir needs to incubate for 24 hours or more so that the fermenting bacteria consumes all of the lactose and is therefore easier to digest.

Kefir grains or starters

Sometimes you can get the grains for free on GAPS or SCD mailing lists or social networks. The following places sell kefir grains:

Equipment

The following equipment is needed:

  • 2 wide mouth glass jars
  • 2 glass bottles with caps
  • Nylon mesh strainer (better than metal for the grains)
  • Funnel
  • Wooden spoon
  • Unbleached cloth such as calico
  • Elastic band or string

FAQs

How to cook toasted cheese and chilli relish sandwich

toasted-cheese

Ok, here’s another easy one I just wanted to knock off my list of recipes for Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge. It’s a toasted cheese and chilli relish sandwich, instead of the chilli relish I used a tomato chutney and boy is it a great combination. I’m glad I tried it, even if it was one of the simplest recipes in the book. Delia calls it “a vegetarian version of Croque Monsieur”.

Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Fishpond.com.au (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)

Written for the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge

How to cook pork sausages braised in cider

pork-sausages-braised-cider

Yesterday I cooked two recipes for dinner for my Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge – Pork sausages braised in cider with apple and juniper, and Perfect mashed potato.

Basically you brown the sausages and onions and apples separately , then you combine them together and stew them in a casserole dish on top of the stove. It took about half an hour prep time, and then an additional one hour stewing, so this isn’t a quick after work dish.

Matt adjusted the pan as it wasn’t sitting on the hob properly in the center. I had to take the lid off to boil some of the liquid off and thicken up the cider sauce.

I boiled two potatoes to have as a side and mash them with a cool device which looks like a spiral on the end of a masher. (I don’t know what it’s called but it works a treat.) I added cream instead of crème fraîche because I couldn’t find any in either Coles or Woolies.

The highlight of the dish was the lovely apple and cider gravy. It was nice but I wouldn’t cook it again. The mash was delicious based on cream, but again a bit of treat since rice milk works just as well without the guilt.

Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Fishpond.com.au (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)

Written for the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge

How to cook chocolate and almond crunchies

chocolate-almond-crunchies

The next recipe for my Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge was Chocolate and Almond Crunchies. I was a little disappointed in how these turned out.

The uncooked biscuit mixture was yummy to taste so I had high hopes.

When I lifted the first batch out of the oven and off the baking tray, half of them crumbled and fell apart. So to remedy the second batch I decided to add some water to the remaining mixture. This was a big mistake because when they came out of the oven they had melded and ran into each other resulting in one big biscuit instead of nine!

The key I think is in the instructions which tell you to let them cool for ten minutes on the baking sheet. This is when they harden up. Oh I forgot, I also put in double the amount of chocolate to make them extra rich and just to use it up. Perhaps that was also a mistake.

Overall a nice biscuit but the instructions need to be followed to the T. There are two variations in the book, so I may give them another go.

Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Fishpond.com.au (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)

Written for the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge

How to cook Croque Monsieur

croque-monsieur

OK so Croque Monsieur is basically just a flash ham and cheese toasted sandwich. Delia says it reminds her of the cafes in Paris and that it is “one of the nicest snack meals for one that I know”.

It’s an easy recipe, so I thought I’d knock it off my list of recipes on the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge. I didn’t use grated Parmesan on the outside of the sandwich as I like to keep our sandwich press clean. Instead of Gruyere I used cheddar cheese. It hardly needs a recipe. A quick and easy meal for when you are in a hurry and lacking inspiration.

There are a couple of other people doing cooking challenges, so pop over to their website and cheer them on:

Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Fishpond.com.au (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)

Written for the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge

How to cook spaghetti with olive oil, garlic and chilli

delia-spaghetti-olive-oil

The second recipe I cooked for my Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge was Spaghetti with olive oil, garlic and chilli. Now if you look closely at the photo you may think that’s a lot of chilli, but actually since I’m allergic (well, intolerant) to chilli I used capsicum instead.

I’ve cooked pasta plenty of times before but I read Delia’s instructions and followed them as closely as I could. One thing I have stopped doing is salting the water, as we doesn’t like much salt in our diet. But in this instance I did and didn’t really notice any difference. I made enough pasta for one for lunch today. I got garlic all over my fingers, but I don’t mind the smell.

I was tempted to test the pasta by seeing if it would stick to the wall when it was al dente, but I’ve recently cleaned the tiles above the stove top so I gave it a miss. I don’t want to clean them again so soon! Anyhow, Delia says the “only real way to tell is to taste it.”

So that I only had one pan to clean up I slightly deviated from Delia’s instructions. I cooked the pasta first and then made the sauce in the same saucepan, while the pasta drained in the sink.

I love Delia’s instructions on how to eat spaghetti and other long pasta. I pretty much do what she suggests, but the olive oil dripped down my chin! Sometimes I like to use a fork to twirl the pasta around on the bottom of a spoon. I think it’s authentic, but perhaps that’s a myth.

Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Fishpond.com.au (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)

Written for the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge

Learning how to cook with Delia Smith

delia-smith-retro

I’ve always wanted to be a good cook so I’ve decided I am going to work my way through Delia Smith’s Complete How to Cook. The book was originally published as three separate volumes with an accompanying TV series. It was released as one complete book in 2009 to celebrate 40 years of writing recipes.

Delia has sold an impressive 21 million cookbooks worldwide, producing more than 20 recipe collections and spent over 30 years on our screens. Delia has a way of explaining complex instructions that make you understand what she means, which is perfect for beginner cooks like myself.

delia-smith-now-then

Photo: BBC

“Delia’s genius is to understand what Middle England wants to eat at any given time, and then nudge it just very slightly forward in a way that seems fresh and exciting rather than strange and intimidating” says Clarissa Dickson Wright in “A History of English Food”.

She continues “Delia’s other great skill is in being straightforward and comforting….. What’s more her recipes work – hence the 1980s joke along the lines of “I danced with a man who danced with a girl who had failed with a Delia Smith recipe”.”

Mary Berry says Delia’s “recipes were inspirational, effective and always worked.”

Delia’s Complete How to Cook was voted as the best recipe book ever published (The Daily Telegraph/www.OnePoll.com). The book has over 700 pages, 350 recipes and step-by-step photography. There are 25 less recipes than in the originals (Delia’s How to Cook One – 137 recipes; Delia’s How to Cook Two – 120 recipes and Delia’s How to Cook Three – 118 recipes). 

I’m going to pace myself and try to complete a couple of recipes each week, so it will probably take me a few years to complete! I’m looking forward to trying lots of new recipes and new techniques with the ultimate aim of finally learning how to cook.

Delia's Complete How to Cook: Both a Guide for Beginners and a Tried and Tested Recipe Collection for Life

Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Fishpond.com.au (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)