“Take care of yourself!” and other confusing instructions

I had a break-down last night. Full on hysterical crying, pounding headache, stomach pains the worst I’ve had in weeks, and associated digestive problems. Lay on the couch with a cold cloth on my head, crying, for about an hour.

I reacted badly to the bread recipe I put up on here. I don’t recommend it anymore! The good thing about making it though was that my reaction to it was severe enough for me to contact my nutritionist, who said she didn’t think eating gluten was a good idea right now anyway, and also my doctor’s office. They’ve said they will run some more tests for me next week, specifically looking for parasites.

Once I cheered up a bit last night I managed to get to a dinner with some friends from the department at Uni. Obviously I couldn’t eat any of the food there, but I’m so glad I went. They’re such great people, and nearly all of them said to me “Take care of yourself, okay?”

It’s such a lovely thing for people to say but today I didn’t really know what that meant. Taking care of myself, to me, is always associated with things like exercising, eating well, getting my assignments done on time, and so forth. But last night and this morning, with a bad headache and stomach cramps, any uni work I would do would be worthless, and I don’t want to do it anyway!

So, what does taking care of myself mean today?

Staying in bed late. Eating two-ingredient pancakes. Watching Netflix. Using my favourite body-wash in the shower. Doing some yoga. Texting my boyfriend. Giving myself a break from study and refusing to feel guilty about that. Watching YouTube. Trying to convince myself that this diet, my internship, my masters, and my life in general isn’t going to fall apart completely.

Although my stomach is still sore, my headache is mostly gone and I’m feeling much happier now. This diet is a million times harder than I thought it would be.

Onwards and upwards,

M x

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Beef and Vegetable Stirfry

IMG_20150718_121316~2I found this recipe here, but I have adjusted some of the amounts!
Author: Sue Daoulas
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time:  20 mins
Cook time:  9 mins
Total time:  29 mins
Serves: 4
Ingredients:
  • 500g lean beef, cut into thin strips approximately 2 inches long
  • 1 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
  • 1 cup fresh green beans, cleaned & trimmed, cut into 2 inch lengths
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 6 Brussel sprouts, halved
  • 1 Capsicum, sliced
  • 1 Courgette, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Gluten free, reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
  • 4-8 Chinese chili peppers (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cut the meat and vegetables and set aside.
  2. Grate the ginger and chop the chives and set aside.
  3. Heat sesame oil in wok on high heat.
  4. Add ginger and chives to hot oil. Stir quickly and constantly for 1 minute.
  5. Add beef and pepper and continue to stir quickly and constantly until cooked (approximately 5 minutes).
  6. Remove beef from pan. Try to keep most of the ginger and chives (and chilies if using) in the pan.
  7. Add vegetables to hot pan and stir for 1-2 minutes.
  8. Pour soy sauce and vinegar over vegetables and mix well.
  9. Cover the vegetables, reduce heat to medium, and steam for 8-10 minutes (longer if you want softer vegetables).
  10. Remove lid and return beef to pan, sprinkle with sesame seeds if using, stirring constantly until meat is warm.
  11. Serve immediately over rice, or without rice if you’ve gone overboard on the veges like I did!

Low FODMAP Quiche

This quiche is a modified Alison Holste recipe and it’s easy peasy:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup oat milk
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour (check out my flour recipe here)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 cup edam cheese, grated
  • 3 streaky bacon rashons, chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli, sliced
  • 6 brussel sprouts
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 courgette, grated

Preheat oven to 200°C, bake.

  1. Chop the potatoes into small chunks, pop them in a microwave safe bowl with a splash of water and cook them in the microwave for 5 mins. Make sure they’re easily punctured with a fork once done.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Slowly add flour and baking powder – making it smooth is a bit difficult so give it a good mix to get rid of the lumps.
  3. Throw in all the vegetables including the potato, and the grated cheese. Mix through till all the vegetables are covered.
  4. Tip into a quiche dish and bake for around 30-35 mins. Yum!

I leave mine to cool before slicing it into quarters and transferring it into tupperwares and then into the freezer until required. Just pop it in the microwave at lunch and it’s good to go! The good thing about this is that you can change it up to whatever vegetables you’ve got around, as long as they’re low FODMAP obvs! Get creative and enjoy. M x

Hello!

This journey started for me in April 2014 when I went to A&E after not recovering from a pretty not-nice food poisoning. Before that point I always thought myself lucky to be one of those blessed people to never worry about what or how much I was eating – I remember eating entire packets of biscuits and never getting a stomach ache! Now, however, I almost constantly have a sore tum, and it seems that everything I eat is the wrong thing and sends me into cramps and spasms. 

After eliminating Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis as explanations for what’s wrong with my gut, I feel like the medical personnel I was seeing just gave up, putting it down to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). They gave me some supplements and sent me on my not-that-merry way.

So I have spent the last year plodding away with a bad stomach, trying to work out what works and what doesn’t, without going full out no FODMAP, or gluten free, or whatever. It always seemed to me that everything I ate was wrong, and it seemed to get worse if I ate at certain times or left it too long between eating. There’s also a sort of social pressure when it comes to this sort of illness, people thinking they’re doing the right thing questioning what I eat and when, which was hurtful and confusing when I was suffering something I didn’t understand. I blamed myself for eating the wrong things even though I had no idea what my body was doing, and even things that were apparently good for me to eat would give me troubles. So even though I know that I don’t have it that bad, my life overall hasn’t had to stop… this still isn’t pleasant. It is confusing, frustrating, and upsetting. So now that I’ve been dealing with it for a year without any signs of getting better, I’ve booked in with a nutritionist to discuss going no/low-FODMAP.

I guess the question I have been asking myself is why has it taken me so long to get to this point? The answer is that a low FODMAP diet seems scary. I had a friend at drama school who was on it and he hated the damn thing (his symptoms were a lot worse than mine). I love going out for meals with my friends, family, and boyfriend, so the thought of being in the position where that would be difficult or impossible is frightening. Plus it’s massively inconvenient. Do you know how many things have garlic and onion in them? Try EVERYTHING. Bye, canned tomato paste! Bye, my newly discovered recipe for delicious walnut and garlic crackers!

But now I have realized that actually, having a perpetual stomach ache is pretty inconvenient too. A low FODMAP diet is generally a fixed term arrangement – six to eight weeks in most cases I believe. There might not be an ‘end’ to this IBS debacle – but there might be a method of dealing with the symptoms.

This is a space for me to share recipes but also my experiences on the diet and if it helps or hinders my journey back to some form of normality in my stomach. I’d love to hear from anyone who has been on low FODMAP and for anyone who is starting out or thinking about starting out, hopefully my experiences will shed some light for you. And at some point I’ll write about what FODMAPs are, for those who don’t know!

I’m meeting with a nutritionist at the end of the week, so until then, cheers for having a read!

M