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.

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

In My Kitchen: October 2013

Thank you Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for allowing me to participate In My Kitchen October 2013. This month, in my kitchen are …

croqs

Concetta won the first week of Recipe to Riches. They were delicious, but I’m not sure we’d buy them again because we don’t eat very much frozen prepared food.

chocorn

Last week’s Recipe to Riches was won by Chocorn – corn covered in caramel and then chocolate. They are marketed as a premium product which I think is their downfall. They were overpriced at $8 a box. The dark and milk chocolate were fantastic, but the white chocolate was sickly sweet.

We also tried Sweet Billies the previous week but found them too sweet as well.

sumac

Sumac is Herbie’s Spices spice of the month. We have been having it on our chicken fajitas. The berry goes well with avocado and tomatoes, so it’s perfect with guacamole. You can also add the tangy lemony flavour to salads as a garnish and seasoning rubs on grilled and roasted meats (sprinkle on before cooking).

marmalade

My Aunty made cumquat marmalade, which goes perfectly well my spiced fruit cider bread. I’ve been trying to perfect a bread recipe, and this one finally turned out well.

felt-vegetables

I’ve been having some fun making felt vegetables. They are supposed to be a Christmas present, but I’m afraid I like them too much to give away.

Posted for In My Kitchen October 2013 hosted by Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

How to use a worm tower

worm-tower

Since abandoning our worm farm a few years ago (the weather was too hot in Brisbane), we decided to try a worm tower. This one is by Birdies Garden Products. The beauty of this method is the temperature is lower as the soil acts as an insulator.

When you first set up the tower, you may like to add a handful of composting worms and some pre-soaked coconut coir as bedding material.

You use it just like a compost bin but you leave out the big bits. We have a container on our bench top where we place some of our fruit and vegetable scraps and this then gets emptied into the worm farm which has a removable lid. Don’t forget worms do not like onions or citrus so keep these things out and put them in your normal compost bin. You can also add leaves, grass clippings, material from your garden, paper, small pieces of cardboard, and hair.

We’ve had no problems with our worm farm, but if it is starting to smell add a handful of lime to neutralise the food scraps.

The tower itself sits in one of our raised vegetable beds and is slightly higher than the soil and edge of the bed. It’s just less than my hand wide with lots of holes at the bottom to allow the composting worms to move freely between the garden bed and the compost. Worm poo (what is left after the worms have digested the material) is a rich source of nutrients and an excellent fertiliser for your vegetable plants.

After the compost has decomposed enough you can top it up or move it to a new location in the vegetable bed to spread the nutrients around. We would recommend moving the worm tower every six months to a new spot. The benefit of placing it in the bed is that the plants are receiving nutrients right at the root zone.

Worm towers are an easy way to keep a worm farm in a hot or cold location.

Thank you to Birdies Garden Products for providing us with the worm tower.

How to grow a lychee tree

lychee

Lychee – Litchi chinensis

Nearly two months ago we ate a bag of fresh lychees and I kept some of the seeds. I just rinsed them and then let them dry in a saucer (above), then planted them out in some soil – nothing fancy it was just some compost because that’s all I had at the time.

Out of a dozen seeds that I planted, four of them thrived and they were transplanted into a small pot each. Each little plant is now about 20 cm high and looking pretty healthy. One is straggling but I think they’ll all make it.

Lychees are self-pollinating, producing both male and female flowers on the same panicle, so only one tree is needed to get fruit. To become productive trees however, they need a week of cool night temperatures (below 20°C) before flowering.
ABC Gardening

How to make your own bathroom cleaner

Conventional bathroom cleaners often contain harsh toxic chemicals.

Washing soda cleans hard surfaces such as walls, sinks, tiles and tubs, but it rusts aluminium.

To remove mould from a shower curtain, mix 2 tablespoons of tea tree oil with 2 cups of water, spritz on and leave for a least two hours.

Vinegar also kills mould.

Other green bathroom cleaner products to try are:

How to make your own furniture oil

Apply sparingly and buff up to a gleaming shine.

250ml olive oil
20 drops lemon essential oil

Pour the olive oil into a clean dry bottle, add the essential oil and shake well.

To use, place a little oil on a soft cloth, wipe onto wooden furniture and buff to polish.

How to make your own window cleaner

For a smear-free finish to clean windows make up the following solution in a spray container:

1 part white distilled vinegar or lemon juice to
4 parts water

You may like to add a few drops of lemon essential oils.

Spray on the glass and wipe away marks with a chamois or crumpled newspaper.

How to take probiotics, if you think you can’t

probiotics

I used to think I couldn’t take probiotics.  Now I know that I was just having a big die-off and that was an indicator that I really did need to take them, BUT just in a different form.

Repopulating your bacterial flora to contain predominately good bacteria (via probiotic supplementation) will result in a drastic reduction – if not elimination – of many harmful pathogens like yeast, fungus, mold, parasites, viruses and bad bacteria from your gut environment. The good bacteria will also form a protective coating of your mucosal cell lining and produce B vitamins and digestive enzymes. As a result, proper digestion and absorption of nutrients will gradually be restored.
Jini Patel Thompson

There are some guidelines you need to know about taking probiotics:

  1. You need to take the right strain for the job.
  2. You need to take a high enough dose to maximise your results.
  3. You may need various different strains to finish the job.
  4. Start off very slowly and gradually build up your tolerance to minimize the die-off.
  5. Take your probiotics away from meals.

Strategy one – multi-strain probiotics

In the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet , Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride provides the following guidelines:

  1. A good probiotic should have as many different species of beneficial bacteria as possible. A human gut contains hundreds of known species of different bacteria. We should try to get as close to that as we can. Different species of probiotic bacteria have different strengths and weaknesses. If we have a mixture of them then we have a better chance of deriving maximum benefit.
  2. A mixture of strains from different groups of probiotic bacteria is more beneficial than just one group. For example, many probiotics on the market contain just Lacobaccilli. A combination of representatives from the three main groups: Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria and soil bacteria usually works best.
  3. A good probiotic should have a concentrated amount of bacteria: at least 8 billion of bacterial cells per gram. You need to provide probiotic bacteria in large enough doses to see an improvement.
  4. The manufacturer of the probiotic should test every batch for strength and bacterial composition and should be prepared to publish the results of the testing.

To manage the die-off, Natasha recommends starting off very slowly and gradually increasing the dose.

Natasha recommends the GAPS-safe probiotic:

Strategy two – swap single strain probiotics then go multi-strain

Jini Patel Thompson, describes in her book “Listen to your gut” how she overcame her Crohn’s disease by starting with Natren’s Bifido Factor powder (Bifidobacterium bifidum Malyoth strain). She stayed on the B. bifidum bacteria for another three months before trying the L. acidophilus again and able to tolerate it. About a month after that, she added L. bulgaricus and tolerated it successfully.

You may want to consider beginning probiotic supplementation with B. infantis, especially if you try B. bifidum and can’t tolerate it. and just to confuse you even more, I have talked with readers who couldn’t tolerate B. bifidum at first, but could tolerate L. acidophilus.
Jini Patel Thompson

Her approach is to start with a single strain of probiotic and build up from there.  She says you need to establish a healthy bacterial flora (consisting of all three major species).  She recommends the Natren range, starting with:

  1. B. bifidum* –           Bifido Factor, then
  2. L. acidophilus –     Megadophilus, then
  3. L. bulgaricus –       Digest-Lac (this strain can sometimes be found in yoghurt), and then
  4. all three                    Holy Trinity.

If you try all the adult strains and can’t tolerate them, then try the infant strain: B. infantis (LifeStart by Natren). Maybe you have to start with what you never had as a baby, and gradually move on from there.
Jini Patel Thompson

In Australia, the distributor is Integria. They can be ordered in through your local health food store or Healthy Life. However only the following products are available:

  • Natren Bulgaricum
  • Natren Lifestart
  • Natren Natradophilus
  • Natren Trenev Trio

Alternatively you can order Natren products from Wise Choices or Organics Australia Online.

Here are some other single stain probiotics you could start with:

  • Ethical Nutrients – “Eczema Relief” contains L. rhamnosus (LGG) only. “Eczema Shield” is the powdered version.
  • Ethical Nutrients – “IBS Support” contains L. plantarum (which is good for IBDs).
  • Metagenics product – “Ultra Flora LGG” contains L. rhamnosus (LGG) – needs to be practitioner prescribed

Still no luck?

If you are having trouble with a particular product:

  • The dose may be too strong at the moment.
  • It may contain too many different probiotics which you aren’t ready for.
  • It may have dairy in it.
  • It may contain fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and/or inulin, which are prebiotics. These will feed your bad bacteria, as well as good bacteria.
  • Check all of your beauty and cleaning products, including your toothpaste. Sodium Laurel Sulphate (SLS) destroys good bacteria.
  • Avoid fake sugars, particularly aspartame as these destroys your good bacteria.

Diet

You will also need to follow a diet which supports your healing, such as:

Alternatives

If you are still having problems taking probiotics, you may like to explore these alternatives:

  1. Arrange to have your food allergies and intolerances tested, including for celiac desease.
  2. See a practitioner to arrange for a poo sample to be sent to a lab like Metametrix.
  3. If you think you may have a parasite, take a parasite formula such as Triplex. Look for one based on Dr Hulda Clark’s original parasite remedy, which will contain black walnut, wormwood and clove.
  4. Try a probiotic retention enema. Jini Patel Thompson has instructions on how to do this.
  5. Alternatively try a colonic.
  6. Try Fecal Microbiota Transplantation [FMT] (a.k.a, Bacteriotherapy, or Fecal Transplant Therapy)

References

Please let me know how you were able to take probiotics to heal your health?