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

 

 

 

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Healthy lunchbox ideas

For me, eating well means preparing most of my meals, that includes lunch. Taking home made lunches to work or school doesn’t mean boring and tasteless. It doesn’t mean you have to spend ages preparing your lunches either.

Usually on Sunday I will prepare a few dishes that I know will last a few days that I can take as leftovers. I also buy items that can keep in the fridge (or cupboard) for up to a week such as smoked salmon, cheese, salad ingredients, nuts and crackers.

I recently bought a bento box style of lunch box which I love as it has compartments that can be used for different foods.

healthy bento box
healthy lunch ideas

Here are some items I like to pack in my lunches:

  • Frittata
  • Boiled eggs
  • Smoked salmon
  • Flaked tuna
  • Leftover roast or poached chicken
  • Leftover slow cooked, shredded lamb
  • Leftover lasagne (I make a paleo style, as pictured)
  • Soup, depending on the recipe it can be a complete meal on it’s own if it has sufficient protein, fat and carbohydrates
  • Leftover stir-fry
  • Rice paper rolls or home-made sushi rolls (wrap tightly though as any air makes the rice tough)

To serve with:

  • Leftover roast veggies such as baked pumpkin (as pictured) or cauliflower
  • Chopped fresh veggies such as celery, carrot or cucumber
  • Roast vegetable salad
  • Steamed/blanched green beans or broccoli
  • Kaleslaw (shredded kale, cabbage, carrot, spring onions as pictured) with avocado, lemon and olive oil dressing (keep the dressing separate to avoid a soggy salad)
  • Chopped garden salad or Greek style salad
  • Zaalouk a delicious slow cooked vegetable dish that is almost a dip
  • Olives
  • Nuts or nut butter
  • Rice crackers (jasmine rice crackers are best with no additives)
  • A small amount of fruit such as melon or strawberries
  • Homemade dips
  • Organic goats cheese or yoghurt
  • Protein balls
  • Gummies (as pictured)
  • A small amount of chopped fruit such as melon or strawberries

Everyone’s needs for protein, fats and carbohydrates are slightly different; if you have SIBO you will probably tend to be lower carb than others, but I try to aim for my meals to be around 25% protein, 25% fats and get my carbohydrates by filling my plate with 50% of veggies.

If you’re vegan make sure you consume a combination of grains, legumes, seeds and nuts to ensure you’re getting sufficient protein and fats.

Health and healing,

Meredith x

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 (most importantly my gut) responded.

The Fast Tract diet for SIBO The Healing Yogi

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.

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

 

 

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