Archive | December, 2012

Just Have tawakkul

27 Dec

The last week and a bit was a little rough for me. Potato overload = negative effects on body… not the way you’re thinking! It just made things a little bad for me.

I ruined a few things too like my relationship with people in terms of how I communicate with them and generally my behaviour and manners; all the things I improved over the last few months. I’m hoping this damage can be reversed and even though I know me feeling a bit ‘ugh’ (I have no words) was to blame, I’m not going to blame it. I’ve reached a point where I know I’m responsible for my own actions and words now I’ve (mostly) regained my common sense. I know I’m supposed to be patient and so on, I’ve worked so hard at it and thought I trained myself well. I was wrong.

It’s not all negative though. I learnt that when something bothers me or if I’m scared and worried it’s better for me to just say it straight out just to get it out my system. Even if the person I tell can’t help me or offer advice at least it’s something I ‘let out’ and it doesn’t feel like a secret and I don’t have to suffer in silence. I felt better for just saying it although it took me a short while to ‘heal’ after that. I was really silly and for that, I sincerely apologise.

It’s funny how when we finally get our lives back on track we feel like we can conquer the world, then one silly little thing happens and suddenly stubborness and stupity commandeer! Allaahul musta’aan.
I’m glad I can say I’m making less of these mistakes now and I reflect upon my actions much sooner rather than later… although that needs some work too *face palm*

I also learnt that I like retail therapy… rarely. That’s not actually a good thing as I think I did it to cheer myself up. Although, I did need those things and it’s not like I just splashed the cash without a care in the world.

Anyway, I remembered I mentioned in an earlier post that I wanted to share a book with you: “Tawakkul (Trust & reliance on Allaah)” By Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan. I started my proper ‘healing journey’, ya know, sorting my head, heart and stuff out in the middle of June. This was one of the first books I got my mitts on to help me. In it, an aayah:

“And whosoever has Taqwaa of Allaah, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). An He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allaah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allaah has set a measure for all things.” (At-Talaaq, 2-3)

I focused on this aayah for a little over three weeks. Every difficulty and struggle I faced within that time went back to this aayah. At times, it didn’t make sense… how could I apply this to many of the situations I was in? Du’aa, thinking, reflecting, analysing each thing I was thinking about doingall came down to having truth and reliance on Allaah. I really had to understand it in order to live by it and implement it. I guess, that’s what I should have done once again over the last week and a bit when I was feeling a little rough and anxious.

I highly recommend this book. Everyone needs it and although I thought I bougth it from Salafibookstore.com I can no longer find it. Ajeeb! Here’s a picture of what it looks like so you can hunt it out inshaaAllaah:

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This brings me on to something else I want to address… Depression. Oh no, I said a word that Asian culture doesn’t speak of! Seriously, it’s important, it needs to be discussed. Yes, I was a sufferer of depression in the past. For several years in fact. I was clinically depressed. The cause was known and I think, gluten was something that encouraged the down feeling to last a lot longer than I expected. Of course I only conjectured this after going gluten free and paleo.

When I explored a few websites to find something to help me Islaamically, there wasn’t a lot out there. Now many of you will disagree with me, yes there are du’aas, people have written tips to help, keep praying, sleep well, distract yourself and so on. You know, the usual misnomers we call “tips”. Unless you’ve been through the clinically depressed phase, you don’t really have a clue what you’re talking about. And in actual fact, your “tips” to make a depressed person feel better, make them feel much worse and even more hopeless.
It’s a funny one because so many people think depressed people “just” need “advice” and things will get better. No, unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. So I’m gonna be realistic inshaaAllaah and list some things that do help in the next post.

Don’t forget to buy the book above!

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Blueberry Pancakes

25 Dec

Rating: Yummy, yummy, yum, yum, yum!MaashaaAllaah!

I was a little skeptical when I saw this recipe online a few days ago, mostly because it involved ground almonds. I know pretty much every recipe I find or use involves ground almonds but that wasn’t what I expected when I had initially started at looking at GF and paleo options. I thought most people used coconut flour a lot and though I have it, it is rarely utilised! Anyway, I’m not complaining, the result is always something tasty alhamdulillaah!

I know it’s common for us Brits to have thin pancakes or crêpes but I’ve had the Ameircan type before and they’re quite nice too. However, you do have to be in a particular mood for them and they do become sickly after just one small one! These on the other hand aren’t so sickly and I genuinely prefer the taste over these over the gluten versions.

I have to admit, these pancakes turned into a little bit of comfort food for me. I was a little under the weather since my body was messed around by potatoes (I think) and I was a little put off food as I started over-analysing where I could have gone wrong or if I was accidentally glutened or dairy-ed. Did I mention I was going totally potato free for the next two months? Well, I am and I’ll eat them after that and see if it has any undesirable affects on my body. You see, I was a little naughty with these home made, over baked potato crisps I made and I reckon they messed me up. It’s the only food I had that I shouldn’t be allowed to have really so it’s my main suspect. Serves me right for having them! A part of me is interested in if potatoes are the culprit but another part of me might just go into shock after the next 2-3 months if my conjecture turns out to be a fact. No more spuds for life… like, properly!

In other news, it’s term holidays which means I get to hang out with my family for the next few days when they come over. We’ve prepared for large family meals, fun and desserts by stocking up on…?! Ah yes, gluten filled food! I opened the fridge this morning and I’m pretty sure my eyes almost jumped out their sockets. I can’t believe I used to eat that stuff. But I’m also confused as to why all my luscious fruit and veg have been buried under things that cause me harm. I don’t stress about cross contamination and thank God it’s all packaged gluten but it is a little off putting. And mean. Today I’m just eating a whole bunch of fruit, I daren’t take out any proper food to cook, not that I can find it in that mess!

Anyway, back to the pancakes, the reason you’re here:

Ingredients

2 eggs, I always use large eggs
1 cup of ground almonds
1 tspn vanilla extract/vanilla beans/paste/powder
1 tbpsn raw honey
pinch of salt
pinch of GF baking powder
pinch of cinnamon (optional but I think it enhances the flavour)
generous amount of blueberries (yum!)

Method

I just pop it all into a small measuring jug (it makes a total of 250ml in case you’re wondering) and whisk with a fork. Really simple. Do NOT add the blueberries at this stage…! Once your batter is ready, pour a bit into a non stick pan with a bit of butter, you need the butter. Spread the pancake batter out a little and drop on a scattering of bluberries (I add loads, they’re so luscious when they’re warmed through in this manner).
Gently lift one side of the pancake and it should have a nice golden colour, that’s when it’s read to flip. It should take no more than a minute and a half on both sides. If your pancake is too thick it will be a little raw and soggy in the middle so make sure you spread it out a little but not like a crêpe!

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I add more blueberries than this after tasting the finished product!

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Careful when you flip it, the raw side seems to splatter out a little so it’s not longer a round shape

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Started off as a circle, honest!

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Add a smidge of butter and drizzle of honey to keep them moist. I don’t really use maple syrup, not sure if it’s entirely paleo? *confused look*

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Serve with sliced bananas (with blueberries it’s uber yum!) and I added some seeds… any seeds, whatever you have, just a sprinkle. You don’t have to but I thought it gave it a nice crunch

Overdue rant

20 Dec

I know, I’m back after more than 2 weeks of silence. I’ve been a little busy plus I forgot the password to my blog so that didn’t help. In my defense though, I have been tweeting and Facebooking the odd bits here and there… when I can be bothered or have access to my laptop.
Anyway, I was doing some thinking (easy there, don’t fall off your chair!) some time ago after I noticed changes in my body and after discussing things with a few random ladies who were kind enough to share their experiences with me.

As Muslims we’ve been put on this Earth to worship Allaah, we get married to have babies and increase the ummah. However, I know far too many many women, married and unmarried who have irregular menstrual cycles. As a result, some of these married women have been unable to conceive yet a few of them tell me “Oh you know, skipping periods or irregularity has always been normal for me” Spot the contradiction “Irregularity is normal”?? No, that’s what we call abnormal! Alhamdulillaah this wasn’t an issue for me but either way, since going GF and paleo I immediately noticed positive changes so I started investigating just how common this was for women who had either cut out wheat, gluten and or had opted for a paleo lifestyle for whatever reason.

My research (googling, checking out blogs and so on) showed that it was common for a good, clean, healthy diet to sort out menstrual problems even if you didn’t think you had them! I also noticed that it was English, American and generally white women who wrote about this. It made me think ‘Where are the Asians, where are the Muslims?” Why don’t we talk about this stuff, it’s important to us!’

My opinion is culture has been largely responsible for this. In Asian culture it’s taboo to talk about your menstruation problems, it’s taboo to say you’re depressed, it’s taboo to mention that you have a sickness or disease or something wrong with you because you have a fear of being judged, disliked or made to feel like you’re an alien, abnormal or simply not good enough for something.

Since when did talking about your health become a taboo?! Why are Asians so afraid of it? Why do we, particularly women feel like we have to suffer in silence and when we do finally speak about it we turn to a Doctor who turns to drugs as a means to “fix” us instead?! What part of this makes sense to you??!

One thing I noticed with Asians, and particularly Muslims whilst doing my research is that on websites which are pretty excellent such as healthymuslim.com, despite mentioning benefits of breastfeeding and things to aid a woman during pregnancy food-wise, there was nothing about mentruation, irregular cycles or fertility. Excuse me for asking but what is the point in telling someone how to breastfeed and why if she can’t even get pregnant?! There is nothing out there for the Asian or Muslim woman to talk about or learn about how to fix her body. Yes, we know some women are barren and this is the will of Allaah and a test but if a woman isn’t menstruating properly or regularly should’t this be addressed first? How many women do you know who suffer in this way even if they’re unmarried or not in a relationship? Most, if not all women want to have babies some day, it what we’re built for and it’s important to us so where is the help that makes this possible? I’m fed up of this silence. There is no shyness in Islaam so we need to break this mould and this daft ideology that cultureand our ancestors have enforced upon us.

One sister in Islaam told me she got married and thought the babies would just pop out like that! (Obviously things have to happen in between) But despite being married for a few years she still hasn’t conceived. This sister knows she has health problems and is also on a paleo diet and still trying to find her way and naturally, she is struggling a bit but it’s unfortunate for her because she expected and hoped to become pregnant by now. I should mention she’s on a paleo diet for health reasons and it was a process of trial and error that convinced her to try this out.
It’s disheartnening because she said noone ever talks about things like this. And it’s true. And you know it’s true. So, I have a plan, or an idea….

I’m gonna do some more research now I have a good couple of months free and I plan to gather experiences of women all across the world and use their stories to help convince you that what you put into your body affects your health and the way your body functions. I want to focus on women’s issues because it’s such a taboo and because noone else cares enough to talk about it. Women should suffer in silence, we go through enough as it is. And for all you men out there who think we’re just bonkers for no apparent reasons or because of hormones, I’m sure there’s an underlying reason for why you’re other half behaves a little weirdly and even if she has told you, I don’t know if you’d be able to fully understand how it feels.

I want people to send me their experiences, stories about changes, irregularity or ‘patterns’ they have noticed when it comes to menstruation. If you changed your diet in order to lose weight, conceive and so on and have a success story to share, please send those along too! Women around the world and particularly Asians and Muslims need to know they’re not alone and they need to know there’s a cure out there that helps. And by cure I mean a good, clean diet. Not drugs and medicines.

All emails comments, questions, queries and so on can be sent as a reply to this post (or any other on this blog!) If it’s of a sensitive nature I won’t publish it but will keep it hidden so only I can access it. You don’t need to give your real name and at NO point will names be published alongside any stories or experiences I share. Permission will be sought before I share anything I receive, you have my word.

If you know of anyone else who suffers in a similar way, please let them know and let them have their say.

Edit: I forgot to say, you can also email me here: glutenfreesalafi@hotmail.co.uk

Mediterranean Vegetables

4 Dec

I’m pretty sure this ‘recipe’ is long over-due. Ok so, really simple dish, can be served as a side, part of a main meal, put into lasagnas, bolognese, on pizzas or eaten as a snack and it’s oh so healthy!

Ingredients
Courgettes
Red onion
Green/red/orange/yellow peppers – make it colourful!
Carrots (optional, slice them thin if you add them, I don’t)
Aubergine (optional but I would advise cooking these separately. I think they need their own post)
Italian herbs and spices – you know, you’re typical blends or random mixtures of anything. Oregano is a must I think.
About a teason of butter/ghee/coconut oil
Pinch of salt and pepper

Method
Chop the veg chunkily (awesome word!) and toss into a frying pan with the fat of choice and season/herb up. Put it on a meadium to high heat and just give the pan a shake until the veg are a little tanned.
Don’t kill (overcook) the veg please, we want them to be full of goodness still and they should be a little crunchy still. If they’re mushy, you’ve gone too far. Simple, yummy and kids will LOVE them!

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Num num, yum yum!