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.
- Plan ahead. What day of the week are you going to dedicate a couple of hours to shopping and food prep?
- 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.
- 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).
- 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
- 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,
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.
- 1 bunch of coriander, washed and torn
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil (I use garlic infused evoo)
- 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.
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.
I love a traditional Spanish omelette but I couldn’t help myself and decided I needed to pack some extra health benefits to the recipe.
I’ll often whip this up on a Sunday as an easy evening meal with a salad and will reserve leftover slices for lunches. Please note this recipe is low FODMAP as the garlic is just fried in oil and then discarded.
Kale gets a lot of attention for being a ‘superfood’ and yes it does have plenty of nutrients; being a cruciferous veg it has sulphur containing compounds called glucosinolates which are great for detoxification, it’s also high in iron, calcium, magnesium and folate amongst others. Kale isn’t the tastiest on its own though but when added to this creamy Spanish omelette it works a treat!
- 1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese (optional and stick to organic if you can)
- 1 white potato peeled and sliced thinly
- 3 tbsp light olive oil, 2 for frying the potato and 1 for frying the omelette
- 1 garlic clove (slightly squashed with a knife)
- 1 large handful of shredded kale leaves
- 6 free-range eggs whisked
- salt and pepper to taste (approx 1/4 tsp each)
Turn the oven on high.
Over a medium heat on the stove top, place a large frying pan and heat the oil and garlic clove and lightly fry the potato slices on both sides until cooked. Add the kale and saute gently for around 30 seconds. Allow the potato and kale to cool slightly.
Whisk the eggs, salt and pepper then combine the potato and kale to the egg mixture (discard the garlic).
Add the remaining oil to a medium sized frying pan and place over a medium heat on the stove top. Add the egg mixture then turn the heat down low and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for around 3 minutes then transfer the frying pan to the hot oven for about 5 minutes or until cooked (check every couple of minutes).
Serve immediately and enjoy with a salad or warm veggies.
Health and healing,
This is yum served as a side dish or tossed through a salad. Cauliflower isn’t the prettiest or tastiest vegetable on its own, but it’s a great vehicle for spices and other flavours.
Cauliflower contains compounds which offer benefits for estrogen metabolism and are shown to be protective against estrogen sensitive cancers (such as breast cancer). Turmeric is also included in this recipe which offers anti-inflammatory benefits. Tick!
Cauliflower isn’t low FODMAP but personally I don’t have any issues digesting it, so I’m happy to be including it my my repertoire of recipes!
- 1 small head of cauliflower cut in half
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic, pressed slightly with a knife (so it’s slightly squashed but still one piece)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp sumac
Preheat oven to a moderate heat, around 170 degrees celsius in a fan-forced oven.
In a medium frying pan heat oil over a low to medium heat then add the clove of garlic, turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper. Once fragrant (after about a minute), turn the heat off and allow to cool a little.
Rub the oil mixture and the garlic from the frying pan all over the cauliflower, discard the garlic and place cauliflower on a baking tray, sprinkle with sumac and a little more salt and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
Serve warm and enjoy.
Health and healing,
We all know that if we have regular feelings of gratitude, compassion and kindness towards ourselves, we’re going to generally feel better than if we allow our inner-critic to dominate our thoughts and feelings.
According to Harvard practising self-compassion can improve your overall health and reduce levels of anxiety and depression.
About six months ago I learnt a technique from a psychologist that I now practise daily, it’s similar to practising gratitude but it’s more specific and I’d like to share it because it’s simple and proven to relieve anxiety and depression.
The practise: everyday find three positive things to say about yourself which can be said aloud, in your head, or written down.
These things can be like “earlier today I offered to make my partner a cup of tea, that was a thoughtful and kind act” or “today I went to yoga and I’m happy I took some time to look after myself”, or “I listened to my friend when she was going through a difficult time, I am a kind and supportive person”.
Even though some days it may seem insignificant or you can’t think of anything interesting to say, don’t underestimate the effects this practise can have, it takes time and like anything if you practise daily it becomes a habit, except this is a healthy habit to maintain which cultivates self-compassion and self-esteem.
Health and healing,