Archive | November, 2012

Anyone can be a Doctor

28 Nov

Last night I went to the Doctors to see a nurse. I was hoping I could get her to request a detailed blood test for me. I’ve been a little concerned recently because my diet is so restricted. I only eat meat, chicken, fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Other than my past problems ‘upstairs’ and my mental health, I don’t want to discover I have low levels of calcium due to a dairy free diet.

I explained that I was gluten sensitive despite not getting the blood tests done because I thought the Doctor who requested a gluten sensitivity test and coeliac testing was nuts. I also explained that after I was told to consume gluten with every single meal for 10 days straight, I was a little anxious. I started falling off the wagon anyway and even though I wasn’t consuming gluten often, the morsels I did take in affected my mood and emotions so I was happy to just remain GF and avoid being tested.
To my surprise, the nurse agreed with me and said Doctors shouldn’t bother testing patients if there is sufficient evidence that a particular diet works. She also recommended that we all listen to our bodies because that’s the only thing that’s going to tell us when something’s wrong.

Not too long ago I realised that I was no longer getting tummy aches, it was pretty common for me to have them in the mornings but since going GF these are no longer an issue. We discussed it and agreed that perhaps it may have been a symptom of coeliac disease. Either way, the nurse still advised against a blood test – I’m so pleased!

During our conversation we both discussed how we felt about our Doctors and how pointless things have been in the past or how they don’t pick up on certain problems. It’s really interesting to note how much emphasis she put on the fact that Doctors tend to specialilse in certain areas of medicine. For example, one Doctor is a hair and skin specialist whilst she is the lead for illnesses such as asthma. She said unless a Doctor specialises in that field, has a particular interest in it or you have a serious illness which is recognised everywhere then there is a chance the Doctor will do something about it. However, if it isn’t the Doctor’s specialist topic or it’s a ‘minor’ illness, in THEIR eyes, then usually nothing will get done about it. For example, coeliac disease. If you suffer from it, the Doctors will get you tested (and try to kill you in process by advising you to eat gluten everyday for ten days). If you tell a Doctor you think you have gluten sensitivity because you’re grumpy, had an autoimmune disease, have dry skin and several other symptoms then they’ll call you a hypochondriac.

This nurse was lovely, she told me to never come see a Doctor ever again unless I had a serious physical problem and I couldn’t agree more. Really. As much as she dislikes those real hypochondriacs who refer to Dr Google and scare the living daylights out of themselves, she praised my googling skills because I did the appropriate research, found a bunch of excellent people (and a Doc!) and implemented their advice. The result was good health, no more symptoms and cheeriness.
She told me to stick to what I’m doing and continue with my research if needed and that I would learn more fellow GFers. Apparently any Tom, Dick or Harry with gluten sensitivity is more useful than surviving medical school. Unless you’re Dr Rodney Ford. He’s a genius, he even has a thesis that’s older than me and what I’ve read of his books so far describe me so well. He was actually the first person I contacted when I considered cutting out gluten from my diet. I sent him a message and within 24 hours I had a reply confirming what I thought and was advised to leave gluten ASAP.

Anyway, I’ve made up my mind that Doctors can be pretty useless. Besides, I’ve have my share of bad experiences with them so I’m going to take pleasure in not having to see them for some time inshaaAllaah..!

If you think you may have gluten sensitivy or coeliac disease, do your research first. You may have rare symptoms and it may be difficult to find information connnecting your symptom(s) to GS but don’t give up at the first hurdle. In fact, try giving up gluten for a few days and see if you feel any better. I don’t encourage consuming processed foods but I know how difficult going GF is, especially if you’re doing it alone. If it helps you and makes your life easier, you may wish to experiment with gluten free foods. In the UK all major supermarkets often have sections dedicated to helping those with allergies with alternative foods.

Advertisements

Curried Pink Salmon

25 Nov

I’m not a big fish eater. In fact, I have a dislike for fish, especially those which I refer to as “fishy fish” – which simply means they have a realy strong fishy smell and flavour such as halibut, plaice, haddock etc. I used to only eat cod and even then it was in the form of fish fingers or fish cakes. That’s actually pretty sad now I think about it. I actually don’t eat cod anymore, not even the fresh kind, how weird.

Even though tinned tuna is a “fishy fish”, I like it – or at least I used to like it. After turning paleo my taste buds were cleansed. I made a tinned tuna salad and almost died because of the metallic taste of the fish, okay, so I didn’t almost die but it felt like I was eating poison! Since then I haven’t touched theĀ  stuff and I have no intention of doing so ever again inshaaAllaah. I do eat fresh tuna steaks which are nice and not fishy tasting at all. If you’re like me and dislike fishy fish, try fresh tuna, you’ll love it!

Anyway, salmon is something I’m not too keen on, I’ve tried fillets, steaks, smoked and so on but it’s not for me. However, my sister makes a nic pink salmon curry. It’s really simple and I love it. It also uses tinned salmon (which I will eventually stop using and inshaaAllaah. I’ll opt for the fresh stuff as I heard it tastes better… plus it must be full of even more good stuff, right? But for now this is better than nothing and a step in the right direction for me).

Ingredients
1 large tin of wild pink salmon
2-3 tablespoons Butter
6-8 tomatoes
Fresh corriander
1 finely sliced fresh green chilli
1-ish tablespoon of Chilli powder (it’s not a lot really but you can add less)
Salt

I know what you’re thinking ‘No cayenne or paprika??!’ – No… it’s tempting but there’s a line and if I add them to this recipe I’d have crossed it. There are simply some foods you do not mess with.

Method
Melt the butter in a non-stick pan/small wok. Slice the tomatoes into wedges and add them to the butter with a slightly generous pinch of salt, chilli powder and the sliced green chilli. Cook on a medium-low gas until the tomatoes fall apart and are nicely cooked down. Add the tinned salmon (do NOT drain any juices or oil as that’s the omega-3 fish oils) and add the stalky parts of the fresh corriander – finely slice them first. Make sure the fish is broken down into flakes. simmer for about 20 minutes and add the rest of the corriander leaves, also finely chopped.

Add the tinned salmon with the oil when the tomatoe base has cooked down

Break down the salmon into small flakes and simmer for a few more minutes

Chop the corriander leaves and add tot he salmon once the liquid has reduced and simmer on a low heat, stirring occassionally

Remember my Totally paleo pizza base? It makes a good flatbread to have with this dish, one alternative to bread

Et voila! Serve your pink salmon with ‘slices’ of ‘flatbread’

You are what you eat…

21 Nov

Based on that I’m nuts..! An apple and herbal tea.

I’ve been doing some thinking over the last month or so, bear with me as my thoughts are a little mixed as I had a lot to contemplate. Food really affects me, particularly gluten and in more ways than you could imagine! I don’t have coeliac disease but there are other symptoms I have not related to the gut. That said, I recently noticed that I no longer wake up with stomach aches. It wasn’t a major concern because the stomach aches were minor but it was significant enough for me to notice… which makes me think that perhaps gluten was having some kind of effect on my guts, Allaahu a’alam, but I’m glad it’s over.

For any women out there (or men!) who have tried dieting in the past, and I mean with the intention to lose weight, you may have noticed that when you cut out fried and greasy foods, sugary drinks and so on, that your body starts to look a little rough. I’m talking about things like an outbreak of spots for example. It’s usual for this to happen because your body is finally being given the opportunity to cleanse itself so it’s forcing all the muck and dirt out the pores. You’ll realise than in order to get better you start looking a little worse. Stick it out, it’s worth it… after a couple of weeks or so.

You may have seen similiar quotes to this, I don’t know the specific time period for various organs but you get the gist… “Every 28ish days your skin replaces itself and various other organs do the same. Your body makes these new cells from the food you eat. What you eat literally becomes you. You have a choice in what you’re made of. You are what you eat. ”

In short: Whatever food we put into our bodies, become our cells and becomes our body. Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it. Fact.

Speaking of bad foods, I Loved crisps. Note the past tense. I saw a documentary about food ont he BBC a good couple of years ago I think and someone was investigating what made crisps so addictive. Turns out it was the ‘crunch factor’. I’m not surprised, I love crispy and crunchy things, there really is something pleasurable about the sound. I can’t remember specificis as it was too long ago but it triggers something in our brain that makes us a little addicted. They even had a machine which measure the level of crunchiness of a crisp and that determined if a batch passed the test or not! Actually, considering I loved crisps, I didn’t eat them that often and I didn’t really eat much bad food pre-GF and Paleo… just the bread and stuff(!)
I quite like this advert by the British Heart Foundation. It’s gross and for those of you who still munch on packets of crisps you know there’s always an extra greasy packet… oh, the things I don’t miss!

A change in diet can change everything about your life in a positive way. I recently saw the following on a bumper sticker: “My day starts backwards…. I wake up tired and go to bed wide awake.” – That used to be me and it’s pretty much everyone I know unfortunately. It’s never too late to change your habits, ditch the comfort foods and all things unhealthy.
I used to be a fairly busy person, always multi-tasking and doing things to distract me in attempt to focus my attention on something semi-worthwhile. Looking back on those times, although I enjoyed the adrenaline rush and the craziness, it wasn’t good for my body and did nothing to help stress levels back then.
As soon as I started feeding my body well and eliminated everything that was harmful to me my thoughts became a lot clearer and organised. I suddenly wasn’t stressed despite the fact that I was writing my dissertation and had a few bits of bad news. Alhamdulillaah alaa kulli haal (All praise is to due to Allaah in all circumstances) …. things worked out well, my dissertation was done on time, problems were solved and the normal effects of stress on my body weren’t present… all of this was of course due to the Will of Allaah and His guidance but also because I tied my camel and did everything I could in order to make my life better and placed my trust in Allaah. Which reminds me, I need to share a book with everyone, it was one of the first I read on my recent ‘journey’ and I focused on it for a few weeks… with some guidance.

It’s now 10:35pm and in my world, that’s late. A part of my new lifestyle is sleeping no later than 10:30pm and not focusing on any screens (other than my phone) so I’m gonna lazily finish this post in a hurry, apologies!
Everyone’s different, we all have a different story and we have different things motivating us. Giving up the things you love is difficult but it is replaced with something much better… I know my motivation and intentions and I wouldn’t swap it for all the treasures on this planet.
Remember this: whatever changes you make, don’t expect everyone to understand the journey you’ve embarked on, especially if they have never walked your path.

And lastly, some good quality advice:

You’ll need this skill if you want to find alternatives for the bad foods and you don’t have to be a chef!

Hayakumullaah!

Spicy Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup

20 Nov

A brilliant soup for a cold, wintery day (we’re not quite in Winter yet but it certainly feels like it!) This recipe was actually one I made before going GF/Paleo so please ignore the evil slice of wholegrain bread you see in the shot of the final product. I could crop it out but I can’t be bothered, just pretend it’s an almond flour cracker thing. By the way, if you don’t want this to be spicy, leave out the chillies.

Ingredients:

  • (Try to use organic veg where possible and support your local farmers by buying British!) 4 large Red Peppers
  • 8 Tomatos (deseeded) or 2 tins of tomatoes
  • 1 large red onion (or a white one will do but red is sweeter)
  • 1 whole garlic bulb
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock (Home made is best but when pushed for time try to pick Organic reduced salt stock cubes)
  • Oregano or mixed herbs
  • 1 small bunch of sweet Basil
  • 1 large carrot (optional)
  • 2 red chillies (optional)
  • Cayenne Pepper (optional)
  • Paprika (optional)

Method:
Cut the peppers and red chillies in half and deseed them (don’t deseed the chillies if you love the heat, I kept mine in) and place them on a roasting tray. Take the garlic bulb, chop off the top to expose the garlic cloves and place on the tray.

I don’t use oil on the peppers or chillies but you can if you want. Keep it healthy by spraying a little on.

Whack it all in the oven on Gas mark 6ish until the Red Pepper (and chillies’) skin is ‘blistered’ and slightly charred. You could do this under the grill or on a BBQ. The garlic should also be a golden brown by now. When the peppers and chillies are cool enough to handle, pop them in a zip lock bag so the steam releases the skin from the flesh. Throw out the skin and chop the flesh. Alternatively just peel the skins off by hand, it’s not difficult and I find it therapeutic lol.

Squeeze the garlic cloves out (this should happen easily now they’re cooked) into a cooking pot. (You could add oil to the pot but I never do). Chop the red onion and finely chop the carrot then add them to the pot. Add the dried oregano or mixed herbs if you don’t have an oregano and add a little bit of stock just to get the onions and garlic cooking nicely. Once the onions look a little soft, add the rest of the vegetable stock, tomatoes, chopped red peppers and chillies and some basil, boil for about 5 minutes then cover and lower the gas for a further 15-20 minutes so the liquid reduces and thickens a little.

Add a dash of cayenne pepper and paprika to taste and if you don’t like lumpy soup, grab the liquidiser and get blending. Dish it up and you’re good to go!

All the ingredients boiling away for 5 minutes before covering the pot and simmering for 15-20 minutes

The finished product – a lovely bowl of soup (serve without the bread!)