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Tips and Tricks

Tips and Tricks

Flaxseed

November 15, 2016

I had so much fun photographing in a field of flax this summer. Early in the morning, before the sun’s warmth closed the flowers, they flowed like an ocean of purply-blue waves. I took a bowl of seeds out to the field’s edge to catalogue the stages of growth.

These little seeds are a shiny, powerful, healing food. Freshly ground and consumed, flax provides:

– fibre, efficiently cleaning the colon
– essential fatty acids
– stabilizing elements for female hormones
Essentially, flax aids digestion, lowers cholesterol, aids detoxification, and beautifies the skin.
Do not eat the seeds whole. For proper absorption they need to be ground. Once ground, consume over oatmeal or in a smoothie.

Tips and Tricks

Broth

July 20, 2016

In my hurry to boost gut health and end bloating, I rushed to the grocery story for whole chickens and beef soup bones. Bone broth was all the rage on social media and so I jumped on the bandwagon. 

The first batches of broth were “fine,” but left me wondering why it was a craze. My mother often spoke of her grandmother’s soups. If the chicken soup tasted like this, why was it so memorable? 

Well, it wasn’t the same. Great Grandma raised chickens, butchered them, and cooked them with garden fresh ingredients. Her broths were not made from the chickens of grocery stores today. 

A Google search located a farm family that raises grass-fed/finished beef and free-range, antibiotic-free chickens. Happy livestock. Soup bones were delivered, and promptly placed in the large soup cauldron filled with filtered water, organic carrots, onions, celery, and garlic. Slowly simmering on low heat for twelve hours, a golden, glistening broth formed. A little sea salt was added, and…magic. The broth was so flavourful that I drank it straight from a mug without wincing or gagging.

The journey began. After the chicken broth, I made beef broth with fresh rosemary and thyme. Normally red meat does not float my boat, but like the magical chicken broth, this also was palatable and “felt” healthy. 

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That is my kombucha and chicken bone broth

Now once each week homemade bone broth is made. Jars of this nutrient-dense liquid fill the fridge and ease my belly at mealtimes. What a cost-effective means of healing. Just remember to cook on low temperatures and DO NOT microwave to reheat.  Put a serving in a little pot on the stovetop for a few minutes to preserve the healthy goodness!

 

Tips and Tricks

Bloat? IBS? GI Tract Infections Could Be To Blame

July 20, 2016

For years I struggled with bloating and hypoglycaemia. Blood work, ultrasounds, and seemingly barbaric prodding showed no reason for these issues. Of course the term cancer was thrown around and my ovaries were analyzed to death. I grew tired of poking and prodding with no solutions. I ballooned in weight and  shape. The fires of illness caused painful expansion. Years with no advice or clear reasoning for the frequent washroom visits and inflammed bowels caused a faltering faith in medicine. I became desperate for answers and alleviation. I went to a functional medical clinic as a last resort. Now I know it should have been my first stop years earlier.

A comprehensive stool sample was ordered through  Genova Diagnostics. Until this time I hadn’t even thought of this form of testing for gut issues. Duh! The results showed I had four GI tract infections and hardly any good gut flora. I also was not digesting food, hence hypoglycaemia  and nutrient deficiencies. Why were very expensive and invasive tests ordered year and year when a simple stool sample could tell the entire story? 

gut

Now that I knew what the problems were, I was given solutions:

IM injections to kill the bad bacterial infections (these are painful but worthwhile for me)   

Probiotics

Digestive enzymes and bile salts

Coptis supplements

After twelve weeks I lost 15 lbs of inflammatory weight, and my food digested (no more running to the washroom after meals). No more “sugar crashes” because the enzymes help break the food down and provide nourishment for my body. 

Sadly, the bloating remains. I am still ballooning up and then deflating throughout the day, changing outfits constantly. My weight remains steady on other body parts, the fires of inflammation cause my guts to flare, so to speak. It seems this will be rectified once the good gut flora has been fully reestablished. Hence the beginnings of my fermented food and bone broth diet.

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I will report back soon…

P.S. A note about probiotics: there truly is a mind-gut connection. Certain brands and strains of probiotics can cause severe depression and brain fog. I know a person who became severely depressed.  When he ran out of probiotics, his mood lifted. That is how he figured out what caused the great sadness. Beware! Be open to trying different brands and strains if you notice a shift in mood and thoughts. 

 

Tips and Tricks

Pain Reduction #1

July 12, 2016

A significant part of many illnesses is inflammation and pain. For years massage, painkillers, and special pillows were futile attempts at reducing pain. After trial and error, and much research, I have found a few things that cause pain and need to be avoided, and a few things that reduce pain. I will share these over the next few posts. For today: nightshades.

tomatoes

I used to love eating tomatoes and peppers and eggplant. I ate fresh veggies often, no dressing or hoopla. Just straight tomato and pepper slices. Other days I made salads and moussaka and lasagne. After having intense pain that left me reeling, throwing up, and passing out, I did some research and discovered that some people reduced “flare-ups” and inflammation by cutting out nightshades.

After four weeks of no nightshades, in any amount, no traces of paprika or ketchup or potatoes, I did have a marked improvement. As an experiment I ate some pepper slices a a couple months later. Sure enough, my neck ached, my head began pounding, and an old shoulder injury acted up. I went six more weeks without nightshades and then tried tomato slices and pizza. Bam!!!! I needed painkillers a few hours later, and a Pepcid AC. And so, I bid farewell to these vibrant, colourful fruits and veggies. It was worth it….you learn to adapt recipes and substitute sauces. You also learn how to enjoy a walk without creaking joints and no longer require expensive mattresses and pillows and weekly massages. Food is powerful!