Chocolate pumpkin smoothie

This nourishing smoothie is really delicious for breakfast on a cold morning when taken warm. When I cook pumpkin I always leave some leftover to put in my smoothie in the morning. I just love this recipe so much, it’s really easy to make and great if you’re on the run, as it’s a meal in itself and can be taken with you.

The recipe makes the smoothie quite thick, but you can make it thinner by adding an additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk.

Chocolate pumpkin smoothie bowl sugar free

I don’t eat as much fruit in winter, so for me this is an ideal alternative to a fruit smoothie and it’s lower in sugar too. I’m currently taking prebiotic powder and a few other supplements, I usually throw them in as well so I don’t have to take them separately which works a treat.

chocolate pumpkin smoothie sugar free

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup cooked pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp protein powder (I use Incha Inchi protein powder)
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 cup of coconut milk (or another type of milk)
  • 2 tsp of peanut or almond butter
  • 1 drop of stevia (optional)
  • Toppings of your choice. I’ve used puffed millet, coconut flakes, cinnamon and chopped walnuts.

Blend until smooth, add your toppings and enjoy.

Meredith x

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Overcoming SIBO

Following my diagnosis of SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) in 2015 after surgery for endometriosis, I made it my mission to learn as much as possible about this gut condition; I’ve read scientific literature, listened to interviews with experts, spoken to countless health professionals and am gaining knowledge through my nutrition degree.

Initially I was relieved to finally have a diagnosis, but then the super strict treatment regimen combined with round after round of treatment not working took its toll on me. I started to lose hope and became exhausted and malnourished. However, following my last round of treatment in January 2018 I’ve experienced a turnaround in my health.

Meredith overcoming SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth)

Because of my experience (and that I’m feeling a whole lot better), I wanted to share what I believe are some of the most important things to consider when trying to overcome SIBO:

 

STRESS

This is number 1 on my list of things to address as it’s key to helping your nervous system and gut functioning optimally. It doesn’t matter how dedicated you are to your treatment, if you aren’t coping, are struggling with anxiety or depression or think you might be, it’s essential to address it. Anxiety or depression can be due to nutritional deficiencies so it’s important to get this investigated. Otherwise, gain healthy habits that you can fit into your life; practise yoga, learn to meditate, have coffee with friends or spend time in nature.

Diet restrictions can cause their own anxiety, be conscious and acknowledge it if this happens to you; my suggestion is to not worry if you ate those chips or that piece of cake, what’s more important is how you eat the rest of the time. Remember to chew your food and eat slowly, it seems Grandma did know best with that one!

FIND THE ROOT CAUSE

Find the root cause if you can, consider the possibility there may be other conditions co-existing with SIBO (or even causing it). You need a good, thorough health practitioner to help with this (an integrative doctor or naturopath is helpful here).

PERSONALISE AND TWEAK IT

Personalise your diet and your treatment – it may look different to others, try out different approaches and see what works for you. See a qualified nutritionist who understands SIBO to help you work through your individual needs. Also remember that when you start to reintroduce certain foods you’re likely to have a reaction; it’s not necessarily a bad sign, more just an adjustment period, just go slowly when reintroducing foods.

SUPPLEMENTS

Don’t dismiss pre or probiotics, they might just help. I know it’s controversial when it comes to SIBO though. For the last 4 months I’ve been using hydrolysed guar gum (a prebiotic) and specific probiotic strains after avoiding them for years, but I feel like they are helping. I also tried FMT (fecal microbiota transplant), but I wouldn’t recommend FMT unless your gastroenterologist recommends it specifically for you as it’s not really used for SIBO. It’s also important to tackle the issue of low stomach acid if that’s a problem for you and slow motility by using a pro-kinetic such as ginger (again, only if this is relevant for you). There are loads of other supplements I could talk about here but it’s best to chat your health practitioner about what’s right for you.

LET IT GO

Let go of the outcome, it’s important for your mental health. This one ties into to my first point about reducing stress. Letting go isn’t about giving up; if you’re really attached to an outcome it can make you anxious and then disheartened if the treatment doesn’t work exactly as you hoped. Remember that most people require rounds of treatment to get better, not just one.

Health and healing.

Meredith x

 

 

 

Yellow vegetable curry

I shared a picture of a yellow veggie curry in my slow cooker on Instagram and had some requests for the recipe so here it is. It’s on repeat in my house!

This curry is low FODMAP, endo-diet friendly and vegan. It’s not a complicated recipe and can definitely be tweaked, so feel free to use whatever veggies are in season or add some chickpeas if your gut can tolerate them.

Yellow veggie curry

Serves 4-6,

Requires a slow cooker, or a setting on your stove top that allows you to cook at a very low temperature.

You’ll need:

  • A 400g tin of coconut milk (without additives)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp ginger finely grated
  • 1 tbsp turmeric ground
  • 2 tsp cumin ground
  • 1 tsp cardamom ground
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • A sprinkle of sea salt
  • 1 medium sweet potato chopped (or pumpkin)
  • 1 white potato chopped
  • 2 zucchini chopped
  • 1/4 cauliflower chopped into small florets (use broccoli for low FODMAP)
  • 150g of chopped mushrooms (use oyster mushrooms for low FODMAP)
  • A handful of fresh coriander leaves to serve
  • 1 lime to squeeze over when serving

If you’re not on a low FODMAP diet or don’t have IBS or SIBO, try adding some chopped onion and 1 minced garlic clove.

Method:

Take a slow cooker pan and add the coconut oil, heat it over the stove top on a medium heat, add the spices (including the fresh ginger) and when they are fragrant slowly add the vegetables and cook stirring for about 2 minutes. Next, add the coconut milk and heat through (but don’t let it boil).

Place the pan back into the slow cooker and cook on low for about 4 hours.

Yellow vegetable curry

I like to sprinkle hemp seeds, sunflower seeds and almond flakes on top when serving for added protein and healthy fats.

Serve with rice of your choice, I use jasmine but brown rice is best if you can tolerate it.

Meredith x

How to meal prep

What is one major reason why some people eat consistently well and others don’t? Food preparation. Eating well consistently will help improve our overall health. It’s especially important to eat nutritious food when you’re struggling with a health condition like endo, SIBO or leaky gut.

It might seem time consuming, complicated and exhausting if you have a chronic illness – I get it. I’ve found though that preparing food in advance makes life easier. I know for myself if I don’t eat well (home-made food) majority of the time I feel it; I’m more tired, don’t sleep as well, don’t handle stress as well and have more reactions to food.

My meal prep is usually done on a Sunday or Monday depending on what I have on and I keep it as simple as possible.meal prep

 

  1. Plan ahead. What day of the week are you going to dedicate a couple of hours to shopping and food prep?
  2. Create a meal plan for the week. Before you write a shopping list, think about the events you have on. Make a list of what you want to eat and when and roughly how many days of leftovers you can get out of a meal. Choose recipes that are not too complex and that you’ll get a few meals out of – using a slow cooker is a great way to do this. I’ll share some recipes I like to make further down.
  3. Create a shopping list. You may need to freeze some ingredients (such as fresh fish). Also include fresh ingredients you don’t need to cook such as salad ingredients like cucumber, lettuce and fruit (frozen berries are great for smoothies). Don’t forget to maintain enough kitchen staples such as olive oil, olives, smoked salmon and nut butters (such as almond butter).
  4. Once you have your groceries, spend a few hours preparing your food. Here are some general ideas to inspire you:
    • A batch of stock or bone broth in the slow cooker (for soups and to drink)
    • Roast or bake vegetables such as pumpkin, capsicum and cauliflower 
    • Roast a whole chicken or another protein
    • A curry or soup in the slow cooker
    • Slow cooked casserole or stew
    • Whip up a stir fry
    • Boil some eggs
    • Frittata
    • Make a healthy lasagne such as a Paleo style or one using brown rice pasta
    • Cook some grains and store them in the fridge (quinoa, buckwheat, rice)
    • Make some bircher muesli, granola or porridge and store it in the fridge
    • Have ingredients ready to make a quick and filling smoothie (such as nut butter, cacao, cooked pumpkin, avocado, berries, banana and a quality protein powder)
    • Snacks such as protein balls are awesome for an afternoon snack
    • Nuts and seeds are also great, a handful should be enough as a quick snack

Some of the above recipes are from the JCN Clinic website, there are some gorgeous ideas there so head on over and get inspired!

Health and healing,

Meredith x

 

 

 

Cauliflower soup with coriander oil

Roast cauliflower in spices, potato for added creaminess and the coriander oil drizzled through adds depth of flavour and contrast to the warm spices.

I’ll start off by saying this may not be suited for those with IBS or SIBO. Everyone is different though and it might come down to portion size; if I ate a huge bowl of this it might trigger symptoms in me so I have this as a starter to a meal, not a meal on its own. If you don’t have gut issues (lucky you) then no problem! It’s definitely suitable for those with endometriosis and can also be made vegan.

Cauliflower soup with coriander oil

You’ll need:

Coriander oil

  • 1 bunch of coriander, washed and torn
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil (I use garlic infused evoo)

Cauliflower soup

  • 1 litre of vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped roughly into florets
  • 2 white potatoes (I used dutch cream), chopped in quarters
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp Ras el hanout*
  • 2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

* Ras el hanout is a spice mix which can be bought from delicatessens, markets or speciality grocers, it’s definitely worth investing in a jar to keep in your pantry.

Method:

Preheat the oven to a moderate heat, about 175 degrees celsius (fan forced).

Combine the turmeric and ras el hanout. Coat the cauliflower in the light olive oil and spices.

Place the cauliflower on a baking tray and bake for 25 minutes.

Add a little light olive oil to a pot and heat the stove top to a medium heat, add the potatoes, salt and pepper. Cook and continue turn the potatoes for about 2 minutes, add the cauliflower, garlic and stock. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, make the coriander oil by combining the extra virgin olive oil and the coriander in a food processor until it reaches the desired consistency. I don’t process it much but it’s purely a personal choice.

When the soup is ready, allow to cool slightly then blend, ladle into bowls, then add some coriander oil to each bowl and serve.

Enjoy!

Meredith x