Mocha smoothie

I love this smoothie, it’s just delish. Sometimes I just don’t feel like a big breakfast first thing but need something in my belly and a pick-me-up.

I’m sure you already guessed that this recipe contains coffee, I would suggest you avoid coffee if you’re struggling with endo pain. Personally I find one coffee a day is ok for me.

You can always omit the coffee and double the quantity of cacao to create a chocolate flavour. It will be a thicker consistency by omitting the coffee.

Mocha smoothie

This smoothie uses pre-cooked pumpkin and zucchini, I cook batches of these veggies every week and keep in the fridge/freezer for later use in salads or smoothies like this.

It may seem odd using veggies in a smoothie but I promise you can’t taste them, they just provide a creamy consistency that fills you up.

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • A handful of ice
  • 3/4 cup of espresso (cooled)
  • 3/4 cup of pre-cooked pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup of pre-cooked frozen zucchini (best steamed then frozen)
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tbsp cacao
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • A few drops of stevia (to equal one tsp sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp of vanilla powder (I buy pure vanilla powder online, it’s expensive but lasts for ages)

Method:

Blend on high until completely smooth and creamy, serve immediately and if you like, top with some crushed nuts, coconut flakes or some chopped banana.

Enjoy!

Meredith x

 

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The Fast Tract diet for SIBO and IBS

A few weeks ago I started testing the Fast Tract diet, I wanted to see how my body responded.

After a few years of being on a low FODMAP diet it’s been a tricky shift in mindset, I find I am constantly checking the app on my phone, because I’ve had instances when I’ve eaten something without checking its fermentation point (FP) value. The Fast Tract diet uses a FP system which means the higher the FP value, the greater the chance at having symptoms.

The Fast Tract diet for SIBO The Healing Yogi

Norm Robillard, Ph.D created the diet and identified five major carbohydrate groups that are hard-to-digest and are most subject to malabsorption, therefore are most likely to drive symptom and illness:

  • Fructose, including polymeric forms (apples, oranges, banana, grapes, etc.)
  • Lactose (milk, ice cream, etc.)
  • Resistant starch (most potatoes, most rice, most grains, banana, pasta, etc.)
  • Fibre (whole grains, bran cereal, legumes, supplements, etc.)
  • Sugar alcohols except erythritol (diabetic and sugar-free snacks, etc.)

An example of where I made a mistake with the diet recently was consuming rice noodles; it turns out they have a high FP value. I don’t eat a lot of grains but if I do, I’ll eat rice or rice noodles and occasionally quinoa, but it seems quinoa is also a high FP food.

Other examples of high fermentation foods are legumes, dried fruit and fruit juices, squash, peas, parsnips and corn. Many foods have a moderate FP score, so the idea is to calculate and keep track of your points for the day and stick to a limited amount.

Some items on the Fast Tract diet list raised my eyebrows, what I’m referring to are items such as brie cheese, heavy cream and Skittles candy; these items have low FP scores. Given I suspect I have a leaky gut, I won’t be eating these foods on a regular basis as there are other considerations besides the fermentation potential of food, such as the potential inflammatory response certain foods can cause. I’ll continue to eat a wholefoods diet consisting of vegetables, herbs, fruit (probably only 1 serve a day), lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, occasional small amounts of low FP grains and a little dairy here and there (small amounts of goats cheese, butter, parmesan and ghee). I’ll also continue to consume organic produce where possible to reduce the toxin burden on my body.

So has the diet worked for me? At this stage I’m on antimicrobial treatment; neem, berberine and allicin. I feel well and symptom free about 70% of the time, but the true test will be when I come off the antimicrobial treatment.

Unfortunately there is not much research on the Fast Tract diet. I attempted to find some original research and was unable to find any in relation to SIBO and IBS. However, I’m going to give it a try for at least a few months and I’ll report back to let you know my progress.

Has anyone else tried the Fast Tract diet for SIBO or IBS? Please leave a comment below and let me know how you went.

Yours in health,

Meredith x

 

 

Gummie treats

Gummie treats are delicious sugar free snacks and ideal for those with gut issues like leaky gut or SIBO. They’re fantastic for keeping sugar cravings at bay.

The flavour I’ve used here is banana and turmeric but you could use just about any flavour you like.

Gummie treat

Makes about 12-15 pieces.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup of coconut milk (without additives like guar gum). I also like to use a combination of almond and coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of filtered water
  • 1 tsp of turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp of gelatin powder, I use Changing Habits
  • 1 ripe banana chopped
  • Optional – if you have a sweet tooth feel free to add some stevia

Method:

Combine all ingredients except the banana in a saucepan, heat and stir until the gelatin dissolves (don’t boil otherwise it won’t set).

Combine the liquid mixture and the banana in a blender until completely smooth, then pour into a flat rectangular or square shaped container, cover and refrigerate for at least four hours until set.

Yours in health,

Meredith x

 

 

 

Healthy chocolate mousse

A few Instagram friends requested this recipe so here it is; a healthy version of chocolate mousse. It’s low in sugar, contains healthy fats and protein. I like this as a filling snack or a lighter breakfast. Add as much topping as you like to make it even more filling.

Feel free to play around with the quantities, sometimes I use a little less avocado and zucchini and add more ice which makes it lighter and fluffier.

I also use gelatin as it’s a great source of protein and helps create a lovely consistency. There are also some studies which suggest that gelatin may be helpful for gut repair (leaky gut). You could omit it from the recipe to make it vegan, but I haven’t tried that option yet.

A good tip for this recipe is to cook (preferably steam) some zucchini the night before, then pop it in the freezer so it’s ice cold, however freshly cooked zucchini will also work but try and cool it down as much as possible before using it.

Healthy chocolate mousse

Serves 1

You’ll need:

  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/2 small zucchini chopped, steamed, then frozen or cooled
  • 1 tbsp cacao
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk (or any other type of milk you prefer)
  • 2 drops of stevia (this can vary depending on your taste buds)
  • A handful of ice
  • 1 tbsp of gelatin powder, dissolved in 1/4 cup of hot water (not boiling)
  • 6 macadamia nuts (optional)
  • 2 strawberries (optional – just makes it a bit sweeter)
  • Topping of your choice, I topped mine with strawberries and macadamia nuts

Method:

Prepare the gelatin by adding it to hot water, stir until it’s dissolved, add it and the other ingredients (except your topping) into your blender. Blend on high for around a minute.

Once the mixture is completely blended it should have a smooth, creamy consistency. Pour it into a serving bowl and add your topping.

Yours in health,

Meredith x

 

 

Floatation therapy

I recently gave floatation therapy a try at Bliss Float.

In case you’re wondering exactly what floatation therapy is all about, it’s basically a pod (see below image) that is filled warm water and salts such as magnesium that allows you to float, the room is quiet and dark and the aim is to completely relax.

Floatation pod

Floatation therapy isn’t new and there are studies that have documented its benefits. Being a health science student, I felt the need to explore these studies myself before signing up to float and indeed there is evidence to suggest that flotation therapy can assist with stress, anxiety, pain and fatigue.

I was initially concerned with feeling claustrophobic, but I quickly realised there was no need to worry, as the pod was completely adjustable including the lid and could be left open if you didn’t want to be completely enclosed. There were soft lights that moved through the chakra colours (colours of the rainbow), if you preferred some light instead of complete sensory deprivation.

So how did I like it? At first I’ll admit it felt strange, I tried to fight the strange buoyant water and alien environment and kept checking the pod lid was open ajar (hello my friend anxiety). After about 15 minutes I noticed a shift, all my muscles relaxed and in fact I forgot they were there until I noticed some leg twitching, then I knew I was in a deeply relaxed, meditative state. I went through phases of being more alert to being more relaxed which I find normally happens in meditation. At the end when the music came on again, I knew I was very relaxed, so relaxed my body felt like jelly. Floating truly felt like a healing experience.

After I managed to drive myself home that afternoon, the effects lingered into the evening, although I experienced some nausea it passed quickly and that night I slept incredibly well. Floating is definitely something I want to do again. Now I’m over the initial strangeness of trying something new, I believe next time will be even more beneficial.

Yours in health,

Meredith x

 

SIBO, FMT, Elemental Diet and more

It’s a new year and to be honest I’m feeling happy to put 2017 behind me, I was on a mission last year – I was determined to ‘fix myself’. I did everything I could to heal my body and gut, trying everything from FMT (fecal microbiota transplant) to the elemental diet.

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First up, I had all my amalgam fillings removed. I tested positive for mercury poisoning which has been linked to all kinds of nasty side-effects, including poor gut health.

I started taking prescriptive doses of vitamins to heal from pyrrole disorder and under-methylation.

I went through another round of treatment for SIBO including rifaximin and neomycin for methane and hydrogen SIBO and another round of herbal antimicrobials, where I took Bactrex along with Allicin and Thorne SF722 undecylenic acid, I’ve also been taking Motilpro for motility. Diet-wise I was following a SIBO specific diet.

I went through FMT (fecal microbiota transplant) to get a healthy person’s gut microbiome followed by a high fibre diet.

I did two weeks of the elemental diet (Physicians Elemental Diet formula) which didn’t help, in fact my results for SIBO came back worse than I’d ever seen.

I even went away to a health retreat where I detoxed from electronic devices, caffeine and ate low FODMAP organic food.

Well did it all work? Not quite. I recently had a stool sample tested and FMT did nothing for me and the elemental diet really didn’t offer any benefits, except I learnt that I have incredibly strong willpower not to eat for two weeks.

This is all incredibly frustrating, there have been times where I felt completely defeated. The thing I learnt from last year though, was that I was putting myself under too much pressure to get better. When I was away at the health retreat, majority of my symptoms disappeared, this is a huge lesson. I think the stress I was putting myself under, just desperate to get better, may actually be contributing to the condition. As a nutritionist to-be, I’m in my second year of university and am learning how much poor health can be linked to our ‘fight or flight’ response (our sympathetic nervous system) and our mental health.

So now I’m taking the pressure off and trying not to obsess about my health. It definitely seems to help, but despite this I know that I still have a healing journey ahead of me. The good news is my endometriosis hasn’t caused any trouble for a few years now, which I’m definitely happy about.

My next step is to try the Fast Tract diet approach. If anyone else has had success with it I’d love to know, drop me a note.

Yours in health,

Meredith x

 

Creamy buckwheat porridge

Fresh from my time off at Gwinganna health retreat in the Gold Coast hinterland, I discovered that buckwheat in small amounts doesn’t upset my tummy. This is great because it’s another food I can add into my diet for some variety, while I’ll remain mostly grain-free, I tend to include foods if they don’t create symptoms.

My retreat away at Gwinganna reinforced to me that reducing stress, taking time to eat and chewing properly are as important as nutrition; I had roughly a 50% reduction in gut symptoms while I was away!

This low-FODMAP recipe makes around three cups of porridge, I only consumed about one cup of cooked porridge and placed the remaining in the fridge. If you don’t have SIBO though, feel free to increase your portion size.

Buckwheat porridge

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup buckwheat
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 of a ripe banana mashed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 6 walnuts chopped
  • 1 tsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp almond butter

Method:

Place the water and salt in a saucepan, once it’s boiling pour in the buckwheat and stir, turn down the heat and cover for 10 minutes.

Then turn off the stove, give the buckwheat a stir, cover again and allow to stand for 5 minutes.

Add one cup of cooked buckwheat to a bowl (I placed the rest in the fridge for the next day). Add the coconut milk and stir until combined, then stir in the mashed banana, vanilla, cinnamon and sunflower seeds. Place the almond butter and walnuts on top and it’s ready to eat.

Would love to know how you go with this one, especially if you have SIBO.

Yours in health,

Meredith x

Elemental diet for SIBO done and dusted!

Well I’ve reached the finish line! Two weeks of nothing but liquid nutrients and I am so proud of myself for finishing!

Overall was it challenging? Yes. I am I glad I did it? YES! The hardest part was the first few days, after that I felt pretty well, except for some gastrointestinal symptoms here and there and feeling pretty lethargic at times it was ok. Apart from these side effects and feeling like ripping food out of other people’s hands when they were eating in front of me 🙂 I feel good; none of the sluggish bloated feeling paired with brain fog, I feel lighter and clearer. I didn’t lose any weight at all, I already border on being underweight so this was a happy outcome for me.

Today I introduced my first meal of scrambled egg with ghee and some herbs, it was delicious but went straight through me, however after two weeks of no solid food this was to be expected as my body gets used to real food again. I’ve also prepared some slow cooked grass-fed beef with some pumpkin puree for dinner, but I intend to only have very small serves and build my way up. I’ll also continue to drink the elemental formula to ensure I get enough nutrients during this introductory phase.

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I’m so happy I did the elemental diet, it’s given my gut a much needed rest and hopefully accelerated the repair process to heal my leaky gut. My diet now will be inspired by the Fast Tract Diet, but I will tailor it to my own needs by listening to my body; previously fructose has been an issue for me so I will be cautious with that. I will slowly reintroduce different foods over the next few months and will stick to homemade, softly cooked food.

Check out my Instagram page healingyogi for more on my healing journey post elemental diet.

Happy healing x

Meredith

Elemental diet for SIBO

I’ve been away from the blog for a while, I was disappointed I didn’t see the results I wanted from FMT and felt disheartened, but the thing I had to remember is to never to give up; SIBO and gut issues can be complex to treat but they are treatable.

So I decided to try the elemental diet and here I am on day 4. For those who don’t know; an elemental diet is a powdered medical formula that you mix with water and it completely replaces food for a period of 2-4 weeks. The reason people take it for SIBO is it starves the bacteria, it has a similar effect to taking antibiotics or herbal antimicrobials but based on studies it’s been proven more effective at treating SIBO. It is also used for other medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel disease, as it gives the gastrointestinal system a break as all the nutrients are absorbed at the top of the small intestine.

Elemental diet The Healing Yogi

My thoughts about the elemental diet? It’s not that bad. Yes going without food is challenging but it’s doable. The formula I’m taking is the Physician’s Elemental Diet by Integrative Therapeutics, it’s expensive but tastes good. The first two days were a struggle but I feel better now. I run out of energy quickly so there’s no yoga classes, but gentle exercise like walking is ok.

The symptoms I’ve experienced so far are diarrhea (mostly on the second day), I experienced headaches initially but now they have subsided, brain fog, fatigue and some joint pain. When I go too long between drinking the formula I get very hungry and feel hypoglycemic, so for me I’ve found it’s best to take sips throughout the day.

My tip for anyone thinking of doing the elemental diet is to try antibiotics or antimicrobials first along with a SIBO diet. If you’ve been through rounds of treatment and nothing is working then it might be worth considering.

Yours in health,

Meredith x

 

FMT for SIBO and gut health

I recently completed FMT (fecal microbiota transplant) after treatment for SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth).

FMT is not a treatment usually considered for SIBO, essentially SIBO is a problem where bacteria is overgrown in a place where is shouldn’t be (the small intestine), FMT is used to colonise and balance the gut with healthy gut flora using a healthy person’s faeces (yep their poo!), it sounds bizarre and disgusting but FMT is proving to be an effective treatment for a range of gut issues.

Following many rounds of SIBO treatment, restrictive low FODMAP diets and taking strong antibiotics after surgery for endometriosis, my gut flora had taken a beating, so I decided to give FMT a try.

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I met with a gastroenterologist who prescribed me antibiotics and anti-fungal medication, following which I had my first FMT treatment which involved a gastroscopy and a colonoscopy (including taking biopsies), he then completed the FMT into the small intestine and the large intestine (injecting twice as much into the large intestine). For four days following, each day I had to administer the FMT via an enema; this process is not for the faint hearted 🙂

So, how did I feel after the process? I felt amazing up until day 4, then I crashed and felt exhausted which took a couple of days to recover from. Unfortunately my gastrointestinal symptoms returned about a week later, but not to the same extent and it’s important to note that I’m consuming a high fibre diet to feed my new microbiome (as instructed by my doctor), which is a diet I’ve not consumed for years due to SIBO. A week and a half later I generally feel quite well other than some bloating after meals.

My follow up appointment with the doctor takes place 4 weeks after treatment, so I’m trying to keep an open mind about the effectiveness of the treatment until this time, as the new bacteria will need time to make a difference.

FMT has been shown as effective in helping people with specific gut conditions such as clostridium difficile and inflammatory bowel disease, but with regards to SIBO, my view is to only consider this treatment once you’re SIBO free. FMT can benefit some people a lot, whereas with others it doesn’t make a huge impact, so if you’re considering it, discuss with your health professional to see if it’s the right approach to take for you.

Yours in health,

Meredith