Favourite Breakfast right now

The perfect example of my favourite breakfast to kick start my morning!

Ingredients:

Two free range eggs

Seeded bread

1/2 Avocado

Handful of Spinach

Black sesame seeds

Cracked Black Pepper

Lemon Juice

 

Method:

  1. Boil the kettle ready to poach the eggs and pour in to a pan. Swirl the water with some sort of utensil to create a current.
  2. Add the eggs and set a timer for 2.5 minutes (in my opinion this makes the perfect runny egg)
  3. Pop your seeded bread in the toaster
  4. Cut a full avocado in half (save the other half for another meal) and mush the half your using with a fork so you create a delicious avocado paste — add pepper and lemon juice at this point to taste.
  5. Put the handful of spinach in a microwavable bowl and wilt in there for 30 secs.
  6. Your eggs should be about ready at this point.
  7. To serve up, spread the avocado paste on to your toast and then add the wilted spinach, then carefully place the poached eggs from the pan on top and add your black sesame seeds and cracked black pepper. Voila! Enjoy!

 

This breakfast is perfect with a side of hot water and a slice of lemon to kickstart my digestive enzymes. And of course my morning supplements.

 

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My Supplements

Let’s talk supplements… So, everyday I take two lots of supplementation; thanks to my fantastic kinesiologist. I have one load at breakfast and the next at supper time. As we know I have digestive issues and I struggle with eczema, these four beauties help immensely! So I take 4 supplements:

  • Cyto-zyme
  • MSM
  • Mallow Plus
  • Clover Plus

I thought I would share with you the use for each of them and how they help me everyday. Of course in addition to this I like to adjust my diet to help my digestion as well. So, I also eat lots of leafy greens, oily fish, alfalfa sprouts, sauerkraut, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds and lots of hot water and lemon!!!

Without further a do lets go through these magical supplements:

  1. Cyto-zyme is amazing as it provides support for the adrenal gland (you know that place that produces adrenaline – the ‘fight or flight response). It helps me so much with my fatigue and helps me stay focused throughout the day. It’s also great for poor digestion ladies like myself and helps balance my hormones!
  2. MSM is an organic compound that contains sulphur, I use it as it improves immune function and lessens inflammation in the body. Sulphur is regarded as the fourth most important mineral in the body and helps mine reach it’s full potential each day. MSM has many benefits but I use it mostly because it helps improve digestion (Leaky Gut Syndrome). But it also helps repair skin by helping to maintain collagen and keratin (sulphur is great for this) – a little tip to improve MSM further is if you take it alongside Vitamin C (Kiwi, Berries and Citrus Fruits), Vitamin E (Nuts and seeds, avocado and Oils) and Vitamin A (Sweet potato, Kale and Tuna). Other benefits of taking MSM include: restoring hair growth, helping the body adapt to stress and aiding muscle recovery.
  3. Mallow Plus is another natural plant based supplement. It’s great for my bloated belly as it helps with stomach and bladder complaints. It contains a mucus-like compound that soothes both the throat and mouth. It helps with issues such as: stomach upset, diarrhoea, bladder problems, bronchitis, irritation of the mouth and throat and dry coughs.
  4. Clover Plus is fantastic for treating respiratory conditions but also helps with wound healing for people like me who – if I hadn’t already mentioned – have skin issues, eczema and rashes. Some studies have even shown that it can also help with bone density and heart health.

And there you have it, my digestive supplements! I take two pills daily of each – one with breakfast and one with supper. But I take four clover plus pills daily.

I’ll make a quick disclaimer here. I am in no way a doctor or here to say that everyone should take these supplements, but they work wonders for me. I also thought i’d just acknowledge, it took me a while to get in to taking them because although they’re completely natural — the pills are pretty hefty! But I promise you they’re so worth it!

Herbal Medicine vs. Modern Medicine

Does modern medicine merely mask the root cause? Do herbal remedies actually work? Does the pill effect your hormones and general health? Are steroid creams detrimental to health?

All of these questions are always on the edge of my tongue, you never know which advice to listen to because everyone really is so different. Allergies to medicines really do terrify me — I’ll tell you a story of a knee operation I had. I tore my ACL and this operation needed to happen; I wouldn’t be able to do the exercise I do now without it. However, post op the nurses gave me morphine (very standard practise) and I had such an allergic reaction to it. I awoke from this operation feeling unbelievably disorientated – a feeling I cannot describe fully – I remember staring at a clock and vaguely being able to read it, realising that I had completely lost three hours of my life with no recollection of what had happened. All I could notice was that my leg had swollen up to twice the size due to swelling. How strange are operations? Someone had been fumbling around in my knee and I had no idea what was happening!! So, one of the lovely nurses placed a hand button next to me and told me to press it every time I felt pain. To be perfectly honest I didn’t really feel much pain at all through the whole process, but I presumed it was the right thing to do to press it. This allergic reaction caused itchy skin, I felt like I was burning up and I genuinely got anxiety about the fact that I’d just inserted this unknown drug in to my body. I digress…

If you hadn’t already gathered I’m very much a believer in natural medicine. However, I struggle terribly with eczema, a new symptom that came on as a result of Veganism and stress. I feel so torn between using my steroid cream in particular — something that my kinesiologist thinks is the devil; she tells me that anything you put on your skin can and will be absorbed by your body. At the end of the day I do get it, your skin is your largest organ so it does make sense. But, then I get myself in to such a pickle because the steroid cream works fast but is never a long term solution.

I’ve started using coconut oil all over my body – the holy grail of skincare (& haircare) let me tell you. It doesn’t react hugely well with my eczema though.. BioOil on the other hand works wonders! You see with all of these products on offer how on earth can you decipher which ones work, but I can recommend trying oils on your skin. For me personally they work better than creams.

So, I really do think that natural ways of curing yourself are far better for longterm gains but let’s be honest with a line of medics in my ancestry I can’t realistically turn my back on the fantastic modern medicine we have. I mean who would’ve thought that we would be able to see if a bone is broken using a camera or we could (temporarily) cure pain with morphine. I just wanted to write this to show my complete and utter confusion on what’s best; I think contrary to everyone else in my peer group I’m always more sceptical of modern medicine than natural ways of curing my body. It must be completely irrational I’m sure but I just think the best policy is to listen to your body as much as possible, it will 100% everytime tell you what it needs.

Listening to your body is such a huge mantra of mine, I mean honestly, modern medicine or herbal or hollistic or natural whatever you want to call it; learn what your body is telling you and become more in tune with it’s needs and it will thank you no end! I think I’m inclined to agree with one of my old philosophy degree mates Hippocrates:

 ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.’

Words to live by.

The Lactose Free Story

So, it must’ve been about three years ago now. Summertime came and my family and I had jet setted off for our annual hot holiday — not my cup of tea but a bit of sun on my pale skin I suppose is okay.

We arrived in the most beautiful place in Menorca, not too hot as we were right on the sea front so there was a breeze. Would strongly recommend it!! Now, I was the biggest I’ve ever been on this holiday and hadn’t felt great flying over; I never respond well to flying I can tell you. My body is a fragile one for sure. I was staying hydrated but felt dizzy and every time I’d eat the – what I call it now – bloated belly came on. It was after three days of not being able to eat a single morsel of food that my medic sister suggested it was a food intolerance issue. I went through all of the foods I’d had the week previous; it consisted of, pasta alla carbonara, cheese and ham toasties, cream cheese and salmon bagels, cereal with milk, fish pie… There seemed to be a common denominator that I had been consuming a lot of dairy!!

It’s worth mentioning that I had a year before this where I’d gone vegan, I heard that it was really good for helping with your digestion and making you a healthier person. If you hadn’t noticed I’ve always had a bit of a problem with digestion and my best friend the bloated belly. The effect Veganism had on me was mass weight gain and skin problems — I’m not against vegan meals at all and in fact I now don’t eat much red meat or poultry at all and love a good Vegan option at pret-a-manger. It later transpired that perhaps as I’d been vegan for such a longtime I had lost my ability to digest the enzyme lactose. I felt so down when I found this out, I had self inflicted this illness (or so I saw it) and caused the ability to eat my favourite substance CHEESE to be gone forever. A little dramatic I know. What followed this holiday was a complete diet change, I went cold turkey and stomach slowly decided to calm down and become less hard and bloated – cheese never tasted as satisfying as this feeling of comfort. And I really am a strong believer now more than ever that we shouldn’t consume dairy products as our bodies do struggle to digest it (some  more than others I know). The doctor helped back up all  of my stomach issues and recommended that dairy just isn’t for me.

At this point I really went from strength to strength, my portion sizes decreased, I’d committed to eating slower which then also helped my digestion immensely. I discovered my beloved Mango smoothies and just general fruit and vegetable grazing!! I developed a knack for making gorgeous salmon or chicken salads and had my beloved wholewheat pasta dishes for supper. I started doing yoga which suited me perfectly as I really didn’t enjoy the gym as this time of my life and it suited me being able to be creative on the matt. I managed to reach my perfect weight (which is around 9st 7lbs for a 5″ 7 lady I think that’s about right) and was really feeling on top of the world. Then I graduated uni..

I joined my new job as a manager and have never felt so busy in my life — such a big shift in lifestyle was exhilarating but really caused stress. When I get stressed it goes straight to my stomach let me tell you. What a delicate flower I am… I never had time to eat anything so the weight stayed low and potentially went the other way because I was working too hard. I then was promoted and my health and fitness really took a turn for the worst – I visited my family for the one day off I got a Christmas, it will be forever known as my fat Christmas. I really had gained a lot of weight when I look back, I know when I’ve gone a little bit large because I get the grimace from my mother. Not that she’s disapproving of me being bigger but she knows I prefer to be healthy and I just wasn’t at all.

So, I took a step back and looked at my work life balance.. To be perfectly honest that’s what I thought I was doing but I really wasn’t, I genuinely would have one meal a day and as soon as I got home I was so tried that I’d collapse in a great heap and tumble in to bed. I lost weight as quickly as I’d gained it but again was not being healthy at all. But, my career was going strength to strength so I didn’t seem to notice it as much. And to be perfectly honest I really thought because I was looking thin I was healthy – it’s all bullshit.

So where am I now? I’ve got to a point where this cycle of having fluctuating weight and not really listening to my body is really effecting my digestion, energy and therefore my motivation to do things. I still have a stressful job with unpredictable shifts but that doesn’t mean that I can’t take the time to do what’s necessary for my health. My biggest tips for all of you lactose free bloated belly sufferers like myself is to:

  • Eat slower – honestly your body will thank you for it and you’ll genuinely enjoy your food.
  • Drink enough water – not fizzy drinks – water! One thing I’m trying to get in to is having a warm water and lemon every morning. It will do wonders for your digestion.
  • Eat whole foods! I know it sounds cliche but honestly eat things that you know all of the ingredients of and can pronounce them.
  • Don’t convince yourself you’re restricted. Yes you can’t consume dairy but at the end of the day, it makes you feel like shit! Why put your body through that? And you can find alternative.. There’s loads of lactose free cheeses and cream cheeses (Yeah they’re not ideal for your digestion but every now and again is okay) And it terms of sweet snacks Loving earth chocolate is the one.. You heard it here first!
  • Consider taking probiotics or food supplements to help your pesky stomach along – I can discuss my experiences in another blog.

So if your an awkward eater like me, don’t fret there are plenty of options these days and recipes that I love to make. Don’t stress all fellow bloated belly beauties!

The Bloated Belly

Suffice to say I have had many an issue with my stomach. I have struggled for years with the bloated belly, at first I didn’t know what it was and now I still don’t feel much the wiser. Lactose intolerance is such a hassle that can make you feel embarrassed, inconvenient and rude simultaneously.

I’d got a hold of it but a few years ago, I knew what was wrong, I’d fixed it and was feeling energised and motivated to do anything. I did yoga everyday; I was the zenist individual you could meet! Alas this never lasts too long with me, something as simple as the weather can change my food mood, the temperature could drop two degrees and I’d find myself doubling my portion of pasta – all be it wholewheat – but still, a little ridiculous. Safe to say I lost my sense of thinking I understood my body and the fuel it needed.

I decided to switch it up and go for a high protein low sugar diet — it seemed to work for all of these slinky health youtubers, why shouldn’t it work for me? The only slight issue and a fact about me that’s important to know is that I love mangoes and when I say this I mean I really LOVE mangoes, have them dried, fresh, frozen, tossed in a salad, blended in a smoothie. They are delicious! And whilst I’m getting carried away with that may I take this opportunity to tell you I love all fruit – well except papaya, I mean what is that about?? It takes like someone’s thrown up in my mouth. Thus, the whole Atkins style diet just wasn’t for me.

I’ll interject with a quick disclaimer here, I go to the gym three times a week and always manage to get in my quota of 15000 steps a day; so, I am in no way fat or unhealthy but you know when you just don’t feel right in your stomach. I think it’s something like 20% of the population is effected by a food intolerance – and that’s just the wimps like me who actually bother to get it checked out.

So this fancy new higher protein higher fat diet I was testing did not like my stomach at all. Don’t get me wrong, I kept to my ever-faithful principles of whole foods but of course the bloated belly then decided to come back with a vengeance. I think I just need to accept that carbs and I will always be best friends! I’m not complaining.

What to do with this bloated belly? Supplements!! That was the ticket, but honestly looking for the right supplement is like searching for the perfect book when you go on holiday, you don’t want to get it wrong because you don’t want to waste your money on it or more importantly a week of your life having to deal with a crappy read. So I turned to my trusty father, worshipper of Holland & Barrett, very hip and happening with herbal remedies. He gave me a contact for a Kinesiologist — bit of a hard one to digest I know. The experience I had is enough to warrant a whole other blog believe me but she was fantastic! I’ve now been kitted out with every important digestive cheerleader going. And I’ll be starting my course of them towards the end of the week, I’m praying that it works.

So let’s all come together and take a moment to say goodbye to you bloated belly. As my irish mother would say you can ‘feck awf’!!

First blog post

Well this is weird.. I’m new to this blogging business but I reckon no one will ever read my scribblings and I can just continue writing my stream of consciousness so I can untangle what goes on in my brain.

I really am a rambler especially when it comes to diet and fitness, I could talk about health hacks forever even though I’m not the best role model in the world. I’m sure I’ll be writing about random things from recipes to digestion, yoga, beauty bits and everything in between.

In all honesty I’ve started this blog to document how I can and have improved my digestion and optimised my energy. I like to see my kinesiologist and enjoy creating healthy meals and experiment with supplements but I do go through the stresses of life just like everyone else and my bloated belly stomach doesn’t enjoy this at all.

Come and join me in trying to create lighter living!