Blueberry and dragonfruit smoothie bowl

This is a favourite breakfast for me and on high rotation now the weather is so much warmer. 

Go for organic blueberries because the regular kind are sprayed heavily with pesticides, which is something women with endometriosis are best avoiding. 

Blueberry and dragonfruit smoothie bowl

Dragonfruit is available in supermarkets all year around in Queensland, but if you can’t find it you could always replace with some papaya or half a banana.

Why do I love this recipe? It’s easy, delish and jam packed with nutrients. It’s also macro-nutrient balanced with protein, healthy fats from the chia seeds and complex carbohydrates. I also use a prebiotic fibre called partially hydrolysed guar gum, it can be found online here.

Think of prebiotic fibre as food for our gut bacteria, it helps feed our friendly gut bacteria and has a range of benefits for digestion, our immune system and even our mood. Partially hydrolysed guar gum (or phgg) is great for those with IBS and SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth).

I also use a protein powder called Inca Inchi, it’s packed with nutrients including calcium which is so important for women with endo – especially if you’re dairy free. The other type of protein powder I like is hemp powder which is available at most supermarkets and health food stores.

I use a combination of pure coconut milk and calcium enriched rice milk in this recipe but you can choose whatever plant based milk you prefer.

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup frozen organic blueberries
  • 1/2 dragonfruit chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon of chia, plus 1 teaspoon reserved to sprinkle on top
  • 1 cup of plant based milk 
  • 2 teaspoons of partially hydrolysed guar gum (phgg) (optional)
  • 1/2 a cup of homemade granola (or a low sugar brand such as Food For Health which is available at super markets)

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a blender except for the reserved chia seeds and granola. Pour into a bowl and top with seeds and granola.

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

Yours in health,

Meredith x

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Mushroom quinoa pilau

I recently reintroduced mushrooms after removing them for SIBO treatment and am so happy to have them back in my life! They have such an amazing flavour all of their own and are good sources of B vitamins, chromium and selenium and offer modest amounts of protein. I’ve used oyster, wood ear and shiitake mushrooms in this recipe, if you’re on a low FODMAP diet swap the shiitake for shimeji mushrooms, or just omit the shiitake mushrooms.

Quinoa is a seed that I love as an alternative to rice and other grains – it’s gluten free, a complete source of all amino acids (protein), it’s also rich in fibre, B vitamins, manganese, magnesium and other trace minerals. Quinoa doesn’t have a great flavour on it’s own, so it’s important to rinse it thoroughly before cooking and I also cook it in a broth or stock. I’ve used an amazing mushroom broth in this recipe by Nutra Organics. You don’t have to use this brand for the broth, but I’d highly recommend it for the flavour and the health benefits.

I’ve used goats cheese, but it’s also lovely with a fried egg on top. You could always replace the goats cheese with a vegan cheese (a nut based cheese) to make this vegan.Mushroom and quinoa pilaf 2

Serves 3-4

You’ll need:

  • 150g mushrooms sliced (I used oyster, wood ear and shiitake)
  • 1 cup quinoa washed
  • 4 teaspoons of Nutra Organics Immune Wellbeing vegetable broth combined with 2 cups of boiling water to make a broth / stock
  • 2 zucchinis chopped
  • 2 green onions sliced
  • 1/2 cup of goats feta to crumble on top OR a fried egg placed on each serve
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 tbsp light olive oil

Method:

Place quinoa and broth in a saucepan, bring to the boil then turn down heat to a low simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside.

In a larger saucepan / frypan add the olive oil on a medium heat, add the zucchini, salt and pepper and saute for about 3 minutes, add the mushrooms and cook for 30 seconds, add the spring onion cook for a further 30 seconds, then add the quinoa and combine all ingredients, stirring for a further minute. Serve in bowls and top with crumbled feta or an egg.

Yours in health,

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

 

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

 

Spiced warm smoothie

Well hi! It’s been a while between posts as I’ve been focused on my studies, now it’s semester break I’m hoping to share a few recipes I’ve been enjoying.

This is such a warming, comforting and filling drink for cooler days, I love it in the morning when you don’t feel like solid food but need something in your belly.

WarmSpicedSmoothieTheHealingYogi.JPGFeel free to adapt the recipe by using different types of milk, I’m sharing what I’ve been using. Be cautious when buying nut or coconut milk from the store, they can have additives that aren’t great if you have health problems, for example guar gum or sugar, home made is always best but if you don’t have it then check the label.

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup cooked (still warm) butternut pumpkin (I usually bake mine)
  • 1 tbsp macadamia butter (find at your health food store or just soak 10 macadamias for 30 minutes before using)
  • 1 and a quarter cups of warm almond / coconut milk blend
  • 2 tbsp inca inchi protein powder (I like this type of protein powder for its nutty taste and it’s easy to digest)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 drop of pure stevia extract

Method:

Place ingredients in a blender or vitamix and blend until smooth and all ingredients are well combined.

Enjoy,

Meredith x