Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

A little bit of Kefir goes a long way

o-KEFIR-facebook I bought some Kefir grains a week or two ago and I have to say it’s not as easy to make good tasting Kefir as I thought it would be. Not only do you need to pay close attention to the taste but it’s hard to get it from tasting too sour. I have made a few batches so far and I have yet to get a good tasting Kefir that is not too sour and isn’t like water.

I left it out far too long the first couple times, this time I left it out just 12 hours and put it in the fridge to ferment much slower. We will see how it tastes and if it’s creamier. I have a feeling I will have to adjust a few more times to get this right. In the meantime I have been buying a jar of Kefir from my local natural food store.

When I first tried Kefir I was leary, only because I’m aware I have a dairy and casein intolerance and if I drink milk in any way I am running to the bathroom within 6 hours. So the first time I bought Kefir, I bought it at the grocery store in the health food section. It was made with organic milk and it was just plain. I took it with digestive enzymes (Just in Case) and I had no problems. I ate a few containers of it and noticed an increase in energy. The real reason I bought it though was to see if it would help with my stomach pain. I have been getting stomach pain, usually by eating the supplements of probiotics you buy in the fridge section of the health food store. I have never had issues with them before but maybe I just bought a brand I can’t tolerate. So I bought a different brand and the pains came back, even more intense than before.

The pain was a sharp pain under my left ribs and I wasn’t really realizing it was the probiotics but I thought it could be something I was eating. So I stopped all supplements and cut back on sugar, the pain got better but didn’t go away. The 3rd or 4th time it happened I was starting to put the connection together but naturally I was worried, so I went to the ER. They tested my blood to make sure there’s nothing wacky going on with my spleen, since my spleen is in that area. I was prepared for bad news, so I was a little shocked when the doctor came back and said I was fine. The ER doctor new my GP well and said that I should go see her and she would make sure to help narrow things down for me. So I went to see her and she sent me to get an ultrasound to make sure it isn’t my spleen or pancreas. 3-4 weeks later, I called and they said it was fine. Relieved but still confused on what was causing it I did an experiment. I ate probiotics again, the pain though it never really went away, it was more of a dull ache came back immediately and it was painful. So it was probiotics!

Oh crap!

That’s what I said when I realized it was my probiotics. Honestly I have been on a mission for a long time to get my health back to normal and I know 100% with all certainty that eating probiotics and replenishing the good bacteria in my gut is part of the issue and part of the cure. How the heck can I do this without taking probiotic supplements?

Fermented foods?

Probiotics and I have had issues for a while now. I realized this when I bought a scoby to make Kombucha. In order to make Kombucha you need to add your scoby to sugar water made with tea. The bacteria eats the sugar while it ferments. I gave it a try and noticed it bothered me a bit, I had sore joints. This was before I found out I had a sugar and tea intolerance. Go figure it bothered me, ok so what else can I try? I tried the supplements again after that and they bothered me and while I have absolutely no clue why they did and even more so I moved on to my next experiment. Water Kefir but again water Kefir is made from sugar water and honestly I hated the taste. It again caused joint pain, even more so than the Kombucha. Maybe if I tried it with coconut water instead it would help but I gave up a little too quick because my grains just didn’t seem to get healthy at all even after numerous batches. I think they weren’t healthy because we have well water here and while it usually is good for Kefir grains we also put a bit of bleach in it and maybe some of that was left over and killed some of the grains. Either way I moved on to Kefir and this is when I tried the store bought stuff.

It didn’t bother me, surprisingly. I had been avoiding it because of my dairy intolerance and it is the one thing that doesn’t seem to bother me. Go figure! The longer I ate it, the better my stomach was feeling. I had more energy and I was a little suprised so I started to consider making my own to offset the cost of buying it. So far as you read earlier that hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped so I keep buying some so I can continue eating it while I experiment with the grains and getting it to taste good.

My stomach pain has disappeared almost entirely. I’m a little suprised and am hoping that I don’t start reacting to the casein or milk at all and have actually taken the Kefir without the digestive enzymes and it seems to be fine. I’ll continue and hope that things turn around and it helps out in other areas as well. But I also want to try and introduce other fermented foods into my diet so my next experiment will be fermented vegetables. Starting with cabbage.

My cabbage the first round I tried was WAY too salty. I put in too much salt so next batch I will see if I can find a better guide in terms of how much salt to use. Once I get a good cabbage juice I will use that to ferment other vegetables such as cucumbers, garlic and who knows what else! I’m hopeful that the addition of other fermented foods will help continue healing my stomach. Now if only I could get the rest of my diet figured out! I’ve decided that I don’t have enough time as I want to get cooking done on the weekends so I need a little help. I’m looking into getting a house keeper to come in and help with keeping the house in better shape so I can concentrate more on getting meals cooked and get the rest of my house organized. But that’s a whole other story right now.  In the meantime I’ll keep experimenting!

 

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I tried the SIBO diet with Paleo Dietitian Aglaee Jacobs and while it did work I found the longer I was on it the worse I looked, I mean I didn’t look healthy so I think I was missing some key nutrients.. probably because of the lack of mix in veggies and probably not enough iron, two things I find hard to get enough of. I have found another book that I’m reading right now and once I’m done I will try out. It’s called the Paleo approach written by Sarah Ballantyne. Reverse autoimmnue disease and heal your body.

I have long suspected that a variety of my health problems are all related to autoimmune disease for example gluten intolerance – though I suspect celiac disease, vulvodynia/vestibulodynia, low blood platelets (thrombocytopenia) and a few deficiencies such as low iron. Irritable bowel (IBS) I was diagnosed with which I think is actually a few intolerances all wrapped into one. I have managed my IBS by staying away from most grains and dairy.

When I eat gluten I get pimples and welts under my skin, on my head(head gets itchy) and I get head aches(usually the following day). My gums start to swell and get red and bleed, sugar also causes me a few of these problems as well as bladder/urinary tract/yeast infections. Both sugar and gluten cause my vulvodynia to worsen. I also have a variety of other foods that I eat and cause me to feel bloated including dairy(lactose and casein flares my IBS) bananas and potatoes(both white and sweet) cause bloating.

This to me sounds like my immune system is fighting off things it shouldn’t be fighting off, it’s thinking that these foods are intruders, bad things that my immune system attacks when it enters my body. I have suspected SIBO and though it seems much better since my SIBO diet I tried a year ago. I did hemocode intolerance test through rexall pharmacy after doing the SIBO diet (should have done it before). The SIBO diet really limited the foods I could eat and also the nutrience I was getting. I found it hard to figure out what I should introduce back into my diet. I had no clue where to start and got frustrated and just went back to the way I was eating before rather than trying to continue.  I am actually still reading Aglaee’s book – Digestive Health with real food but I wanted to go a bit further than this and try to learn more about the effect of nutrition and auto immune disease. I think all my problems are linked to this. Since through my research it all seems to link to this conclusion.

I believe it all started with an infection in 2004 – tuberculosis. Following 9 months of very strong medication. While taking the medication I started having problems – urinary tract infection/yeast infection. I was taking medication to help with the infections every couple months while I was also taking the medication for tuberculosis. Now I wish I hadn’t.

Since then I had to stop taking birth control pills which seemed to worsen my vulvodynia almost immediately when I start taking them. (it took 2 years and numerous doctors to get the vulvodynia diagnosis) I believe not only did i screw up my hormones from years of using the pill I also screwed up my immune system while fighting tuberculosis and taking round after round of medication to get rid of what I thought was infections but likely was SIBO and intolerances to food I had developed.

I’m still figuring all this stuff out almost 10 years later, I went gluten free, then paleo. When I was pregnant I found it incredibly difficult to stick to the paleo diet. My stomach turned at the thought of meat and veggies, I couldn’t stomach most paleo foods, coconut oil/milk, nuts and seeds and since then I have been struggling to get back into eating more paleo, getting away from sugar and gluten that seems to creep back into my diet now and then.

I’m one of those people who when stressed eats and this past year has been the most stressful year ever, things are now getting back on track and I’m looking to get my health back on track as well. It’s a struggle and anyone who is going through the same thing or something similar would agree, it’s not even the least bit easy. I’m taking it day by day, learning and trying to find the energy to make a plan to get my health back to what it was before my pregnancy. A few notes I’d like to mention:

– While getting the IBS diagnonis, my doctors told me my symptoms were all in my head – until the IBS diagnosis

– While getting the vulvodynia diagnosis, my doctors told me it was all in my head. It also took 5 years to get this diagnonsis – which up until the diagnosis I was getting regular prescriptions for yeast/UTI/bladder infections

All my symptoms – so far – for all my health problems aside from low blood platelet levels I have managed to improve from changing to the paleo and sibo diet. I am heading back in this direction and am hoping that the autoimmune protocol will help me as well with the low blood platelet/easy bruising and shins that look like I have been kicked a million times. My gums bleed easily and my shins just never seem to heal. I get a bruise and it still looks like my bruise is there years later. Oddly enough if I get a cut, needle or anything that draws blood I don’t bleed for very long, barely at all. When I had my appendix taken out – which I think is related to my gluten intolerance/celiac – I was told they had a hard time diagnosing my appendicitis because of my low white blood cell count, typically if you have appendicitis you have high white blood cell count because your body is fighting off the infection, you also usually have a fever, which I didn’t. Though I rarely get sick and when I do it doesn’t last very long…so the low white blood cell count seems weird as well as low blood platelets. (something I need to research further)

Wish me luck, I’ll keep you all posted.

 

I haven’t updated you in a while, I stuck with SIBO diet for a few weeks. Actually about a month and then I had a weekend where I was out and about and just gave in and ate what I could find and bam that slowly over a week or two, turned into the end of my SIBO diet.

I am having an incredibly difficult time sticking with it. I have tons of things to do and all the extra preparation for meals and getting food ready on weekends, it’s just a lot. I like quick and easy meals and the fact that I have things in my freezer ready to eat usually keeps prep time during the week to a minimum.

My issues with the SIBO diet

  • I work 12pm to 8pm which means I am not home at night to cook my meals. I have to cook meals either in the morning with my breakfast and make enough for leftovers or at night after I get home.. who wants to cook meals at 9pm?
  • The meals aren’t as quick and easy to make ahead of time. I’m use to foods I can cook in big batches, freeze and heat up again at work. Pork chops and salad, not so easy and frozen salad just doesn’t work..
  • Not enough time.. seriously can we not just have an extra day tacked onto our weekend, every weekend?
  • Limited foods I can eat, I don’t like vegetables so I force myself to eat them. Which actually has made me like more vegetables than before…
  • I don’t like liver, who does really? So I force myself to eat it BUT I can’t add any flavour to them AT ALL other than salt/pepper, ginger and other less troublesome spices like chives. If I’m gonna eat liver at least let me put some onions or garlic on it!
  • Bone broth – I don’t mind eating it.. soups in the summer – not optimal.. it’s summer, it’s HOT! Also the broth stinks up the house, boyfriend isn’t amused that it cooks for so long!

I feel like all that work was for nothing, I was feeling better and now… I have to start all over again. I’m giving myself some time to get through some family/cottage/bbq’s and then I’ll get back into it.

I have also been contemplating getting a test done to determine what food intolarances I have. Anyone else ever had a IgG blood test done, which tests antibodies in your blood? Did it help you out? I’m going to be doing this soon.. I’ll post more on that once I get it done.

As much as I think I do have SIBO, I hate having so little food options.. if I had a better idea of what foods did bother me it would be easier re-introducing foods back in. I’d know which ones were safer to start with. I got to the point where I probably could have started introducing foods back in but I got scared. Yes scared.. when you start feeling better, you don’t want to feel worse again..

I didn’t know where to start and I didn’t really want to mess things up. Which in essence is exactly what I did since I just gave up completely but if I’m going to do this again.. I want a better plan of approach. I got to a certain point and I was lost.

My SIBO DIET questions for you:

  1. How do I make things easier with meal prep/cooking, since I am not home to cook supper every night?
  2. Ideas, options on ways to make the food interesting. Magical safe spices I could use on meats etc? Liver options besides onion and garlic?
  3. Do you share in my pain, anyone else want to vent? Or am I completely alone here?

 

 

Want to know which Paleo books you’ll be seeing on store shelves for the month of July? Quite a few actually, all of them COOKBOOKS. Who can’t use more recipe ideas?

Paleo Recipe Books – New Releases!

Paleo Cookbooks July New Releases

July 2, 2013 – Beyond Bacon: Paleo Recipes that respect the WHOLE HOG by Aimee Buxton, Matthew Mccarry, Stacy Toth – PRE-ORDER HERE

July 23, 2013 – Everyday Paleo around the world – Italian cuisine by Damon Meledones, Michal J. Lang, Sarah Fragoso – PRE-ORDER HERE

July 29, 2013 – Paleo Cookbook for Dummies by Kellyann Petrucci – PRE-ORDER HERE

July 30, 2013 – Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts on the Go by Diana Rodgers – PRE-ORDER HERE

July 30, 2013 – Against All Grains: Delectable Paleo Recipes to Eat Well & Feel Great by Danielle Walker – PRE-ORDER HERE

Any of these books on your wishlist? Beyond Bacon is on mine! I’m on a pork kick right now, can’t get enough of it and I’m always up for new ideas on how to cook and prepare it! Like this post? Make sure to share it with your friends on Twitter or Facebook!!

I was editing a video at the Ottawa Sun about a month ago (CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO) and I was thinking the entire time, wow finally a bit of change here in Ottawa.

street vendor

Ottawa Sun photo by Darren Brown – click photo for story

A new street vendor program was launched in Ottawa this year.. Now what is cool about this new street vendor program, it has opened up a certain amount of new spots in the city for unconventional type food carts. Not your regular Poutine and hot dog food carts you usually see in the downtown core… you can now also find a unique variety of street vendors, who are offering MUCH healthier food such as fish and seafood, rotisserie meats, soups, Asian meals and even a Korean Food Cart.

To me, it’s a step in the right direction, it gives healthier options for someone who works downtown and is looking for a quick meal.

Eating paleo usually means you cook your own meals and bring them to work or eat out at the same restaurants that have edible options, likely not 100% paleo but close enough.

Paleo food trucks.jpgsIt’s hard and we don’t always want to pack our meals EVERYDAY!! Having options is a nice change and I totally welcome it! None of these food carts are 100% paleo, maybe one day we will have a food cart that is paleo like the Caveman truck in Indiana.. OR the Not So Fast! Truck in San Diego OR the Cultured Caveman Truck in Portland, Oregon OR the Outside the Box Food Truck in Renton, Washington  … MMMMMMM!

For now this is a good start… and if I had the money, the time and the ability to create fantastic meals IN A TRUCK, like these guys, I would TOTALLY open up my own Primal truck here in Ottawa.. I can cook but I can’t create.. So if there’s a Chef out there in Ottawa who is looking for a new challenge, something different and popular for next years street vendor options ;) hint hint, nudge nudge..

BTW – Ottawa isn’t the only Canadian City that is moving in this direction, others are considering doing adding new street vendors and even pilot projects are starting to pop up such as 2 new Gourmet Food Trucks in the York Region, Newmarket area.. one of which is a LOW Carb Food truck called Wickedly Sinful that will be opening I believe for the Canada Day weekend. They will have gluten free options, using coconut and almond flour but will not be 100% Paleo.

Why I am telling you about street vendors is because one of the vendors from the Gongfu Bao cart in Ottawa(sorry not Paleo or gluten free) was talking in his interview(which didn’t make it to the final cut) about getting his cart up and running using crowd-funding at Indiegogo.

Up until that point I had never heard of crowd funding. So I immediately went to Google to look it up and see what it was. The first thing I thought was, this is brilliant. So many times I have heard of people with amazing ideas, ideas people would love to get behind and just no money to get it off the ground. Crowd Funding is actually putting your idea out there and asking people to help you fund it so you can make that idea a reality.

That’s what this street vendor did, he asked people to help fund the price of his street vendor truck and it helped him raise some money to open up shop truck! I think this is a great idea and I will certainly promote on my blog anyone who is willing to take on the task of opening up a restaurant, starting a paleo/primal business or even creating a movie or TV show that is paleo related. With that being said I would like to start off by promoting this..

The crowd funding for this project opens up on Indiegogo in July. Once I see the link I will post it on my blog!

If you have a project that requires funding, it is Paleo/Primal and you have posted it to a crowd funding site, let me know. I’ll advertise it on my blog! I fully support anyone who is getting the word out and making this world a healthier place, in whatever way that may be!!! Especially if it’s CANADIAN!! Once my new website launches I will post this on there as well!!! More on that coming soon. :)

Wheat Belly book.jpgDr. William Davis’ Wheat Belly Book Review

Now I can’t say that this book was out at the time when I went Gluten Free but had this book been out at the time, my life would have been SOOO much easier.

The amount of time I spent from when I started until I was comfortable cooking meals for myself, ordering food in restaurants or buying groceries in the grocery store. Ditching the wheat was the longest process ever. It doesn’t happen overnight but one thing I didn’t understand until I read this book is exactly why more and more people were having this problem. Why suddenly people were gluten intolerant or developing Celiac Disease.

An understanding of gluten

I now understand all the health problems that can be associated with eating gluten, I also know why these problems are happening and I know what to do about it. This book didn’t fall into my hands until a few years after I started my gluten free journey but it has helped me when talking with others about gluten.

Sharing with others

I have since given the book to family members and recommended it to several friends. If you are struggling with health problems, if you are overweight or even discovering that you have a gluten intolerance. This book will guide you along the way.

Transition to Paleo way of eating

Since going gluten-free I have actually been naturally transitioning to eating more paleo. Now I am not sure if I’m actually Celiac or not (I took the test but it’s not accurate, it came out negative) but I find that eating gluten causes many health problems with me. I also have found that other foods such as Rice, Oats, milk cause problems, so I have had to go a little further when cutting out foods. The thing is I think the damage that I did to my system from eating the gluten caused many other intolerances. I have problems with chocolate, MSG, sugar. When I researched further I found out that these are common foods that cause problems. I had no idea these foods caused issues with me until I cut them out and attempted to add them back in. Skin problems, energy problems, bloating..

It’s not easy

Going gluten-free or even eating paleo is a struggle, it’s not easy. It’s a huge change from the way you eat. I can’t say I eat it perfectly, especially now. But now I’m knowledgeable enough to know that when I get a reaction, what to look for and I can figure out what it was that I ate and try to avoid it in the future.

Wheat Belly Book Review Video

I spent a few hours working on this video(shooting, editing and posting-slow internet), I wanted to explain a bit about my history and how I got to the point of eating gluten free before I started talking about the book. Hopefully you find it interesting. I appreciate any questions or comments you may have about the book or about my story.

Wheat Belly book.jpg

If you haven’t seen my blog post a few months back, Dr. Davis was on the Dr. Oz show. The blog post has the video segment link where he talks about wheat, why it’s addictive, some recipes and lots more.. 3 great segments! Check out my blog post view the video!

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Do Med school classes consist of nutrition courses?

This was a question I asked myself when I got home from a doctors visit a few months ago. I became annoyed with my doctor after she told me my daughter and I “need grains for proper nutrition” and “we should be eating them”.Med school classes photo.jpg

She went on to say “it’s unlikely anyone is intolerant to grains such as rice, it’s just not common.” My decision to stop eating grains was not made just for the fun of it, clearly she thinks it was.

Quick background of why I went gluten/grain free

In 2007 I went to my doctors with a whole host of problems, stomach pain, joint pain, headaches.. She diagnosed me with Irritable Bowel Sydrome told me to eat more fibre and sent me off to see a rheumatologist for my pain.

I took her advice seriously and loaded up on whole grains.. this resulted in symptoms that only worsened. Confused and in pain, I looked up the cause of IBS and found that food intolerances might be the cause. Something my doctor never told me…

It took a few years to pin point which foods did and didn’t cause my problems. Once I discovered it was in fact food intolerances, my pains went away(all of them), I lost faith in my doctor but I gave her the benefit of the doubt, maybe she just didn’t know this so I figured if I told her how I was eating, she would be proud of me and say I’m doing good for finding the root cause of my problem. Imagine my amazement when my doctor informed me that I should be eating these foods, I NEED them for energy and proper nutrition.. I couldn’t believe a doctor would say these things to me. I was shocked, I was saddened, I was confused.

What do Medical Schools teach our doctors?

I searched the course curriculums of several Canadian medical schools. I couldn’t find any obvious courses in nutrition for a general practitioner. I clearly must be wrong, I’m not reading the course information properly, I’m not looking at the right information.

Sure they learn biochemistry and the basics of how food is processed in the body but I kept looking for proof that doctors, the people we go to for health advice, the people who tell us what we should and shouldn’t be eating, what we should be feeding our children learn about nutrition! Afterall, isn’t the most common health problem obesity and weight related illnesses?

IN DENIAL – I MUST BE WRONG!!

I didn’t research much more than this, at that point I didn’t have time but this is something I’ve had in the back of my mind for a few months now. Waiting for the opportunity to speak with someone, a doctor friend or someone that I meet eventually that’s been to medical school. I was positive I must be wrong!

THEN I came across a blog post the other day by Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, actually it’s a post on his blog by a medical student who has been job shadowing Dr. Freedhoof.

Dr. Yoni Freedhoof is a family doctor here in Ottawa, he is also an Assistant Prof. at the University of Ottawa, and founder of the Ottawa’s Bariatric Medical Institute, he also has a very popular health/nutrition blog.

READ Medical Student, Jill Trinacty’s Blog Post here!!

A student of medicine, who wanted to learn about obesity and nutrition, had to take it UPON HERSELF to go above and beyond and learn something that should have been taught to her in year 1 of Medical school! I don’t know about you but I think this is AWFUL!!!

I commend people like Jill Trinacty who realize the importance of learning about nutrition and the role it plays in obesity and her future patients health. It should be mandatory for all students, for all doctors, to learn the basics of nutrition. We go to them for advice, assuming they know the answer. They should know the right answers.

You can read a few articles on this topic HERE or HERE.

If you enjoyed this post please “comment, like & share” this page…

Med School Classes.jpg
Tiana MacLeod


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