Spanish omelette with kale

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!

Spanish omelette with kale

Serves 4

You’ll need:

  • 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)

Method:

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,

Meredith x

 

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Baked cauliflower

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!

Baked cauliflower You’ll need:

  • 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

Method:

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,

Meredith

 

Improve your health with self-compassion

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.

Meredith self-compassionThe 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,

Meredith x

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

What is the right diet for endometriosis?

I’ve tried many different diet approaches and I have found that when my gut is happy, so is my endo. Before I jump straight into what the diet for endo looks like, let’s understand a bit more about the disease and why diet is important:

 

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Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition and an estrogen dependent disease.

Estrogen is a hormone which plays an important role in the female reproductive cycle; it assists in the growth and thickening of the endometrial tissue, when fertilisation doesn’t take place progesterone (another hormone) and estrogen levels decline which causes menstruation. Estrogen can also be spelt oestrogen by the way (just to clear up any confusion!).

Estrogen is processed through the liver and excess estrogen is then excreted via the gastrointestinal system; therefore the liver and gut both to be functioning well to process and remove excess estrogen. Fat tissue can also contribute to estrogen production, therefore weight management may also be a consideration with endo and overall health.

Why is endometriosis an inflammatory condition? Endometriosis occurs when endometrial tissue grows in other places than the uterus. When menstruation occurs the lining (or layers of endometrial tissue) is shed and the tissue located outside the uterus also bleeds. The bleeding creates inflammation, scar tissue, cysts and adhesions. This can also result in organs being stuck together by the adhesions. Therefore a diet that is anti-inflammatory is an important component when managing endometriosis symptoms.

Taking this into consideration, what should the endo-diet look like? I’ve seen many different approaches through social media; some may say that being vegan is the answer to managing endo symptoms, others prefer paleo, or a low-carbohydrate diet (such as the keto-diet). Recently someone told me about ‘seed cycling’ which involves managing the menstrual cycle by consuming different seeds at different stages. There are so many opinions out there, it would be perfectly understandable if you’re feeling confused!

So what is the best approach? It actually depends on the individual, what works for one person may not work for another; for example, if other health issues are coinciding with endo, then the diet may need to be modified accordingly. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to nutrition.

However, there are some guidelines (backed up by science) of what dietary approaches can be followed to help manage endo:

  • A diet high in fibre will help remove excess estrogen. A diet rich in plant based foods such as vegetables, fruit, wholegrains and legumes (except soy based foods). Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli get a special mention for their detoxifying effect and their benefits on estrogen metabolism, turmeric also gets a special mention for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, so be sure to consume these regularly.
  • A diet low in xenoestrogens (xenoestrogens or phytoestrogens are chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body), such as soy based foods and certain seeds such as flax (or linseed).
  • Eat anti-inflammatory foods, this means avoiding sugar, processed food, fried food, gluten and animal products that are a product of factory farming. An anti-inflammatory diet is rich in vegetables, fruit, wholegrains, legumes, nuts, wild caught fish and healthy fats such as olive oil. Meat and poultry are okay as long as they are free from chemicals and not char-grilled, try cooking slowly instead. Eat red meat sparingly and always choose grass fed, as it’s suggested that grass fed meat offers the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids (which are anti-inflammatory).
  • Dairy may be ok, it depends on the individual. Stick to small amounts of organic, additive free goats or sheep’s yogurt, cheese or kefir as these are lower in lactose and casein which can cause inflammation. Kefir has shown to be beneficial for a range of therapeutic actions including improving gut health, blood sugar, cholesterol control and immune function.
  • Stick to oils with health benefits such as cold pressed olive oil as it is high in monounsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E, but don’t cook with extra virgin olive oil as it becomes unstable and loses its health benefits with heat. When cooking over high heat, use fats and oils with a high smoke point, for example ghee, avocado oil or extra light olive oil.
  • Avoid alcohol, limit coffee to 1 cup per day (or avoid it altogether) and drink about 2 litres of water throughout the day. Lemon in warm water is a great way to start your morning.

If you have other conditions co-existing with endo such as IBS or SIBO, a high fibre diet could make you feel terrible! In this instance wholegrains and legumes (the main sources of protein on a vegan diet) are often avoided and that’s when diet starts to become a bit more complex. Despite this, the guidelines can still be followed but you may need to tweak things and try a low FODMAP diet, a SIBO specific diet or the Fast Tract diet which all remove foods that can create symptoms such as bloating.

There is no quick fix to managing endo symptoms naturally, these guidelines are a long term strategy and should be incorporated into a lifestyle that also includes regular movement. It goes without saying if you’re following a healthy diet for endo, but still drinking bottles of wine on the weekend or devouring entire family size blocks of chocolate on a weekly basis, then you’re probably not going to see the full benefits.

What types of food work for you and what doesn’t? Drop me a note below!

Health and healing,

Meredith x