7 Days of gut-healing meals (and why they’re good for you)

Lately I’ve redoubled my efforts to include as many healing, happy-gut foods in my diet. Here are some of my current favourite meals and snacks for health and healing.

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Chopped banana, strawberries and frozen blueberries drizzled with honey

It’s sad that fruit has a bad reputation (mainly due to its high fructose content), because it can really be so healthy. Bananas are easy to digest and they give you energy and heart-supporting potassium. I’ve also always found them extremely soothing to eat, especially when my tummy’s unhappy. Strawberries give me a good dose of vitamin C and blueberries are known to help ease the symptoms of digestive diseases.

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Eggs, baby spinach and music

A lot of healing diets forbid or discourage the consumption of eggs, but I’ve never personally had a problem with them. They’re full of protein as well as important vitamins and minerals. Spinach meanwhile is virtually a ‘superfood’ and I’ve really been trying to get it into my diet as often as possible. I actually feel like I’m slowly healing my body with each mouthful! Spinach is full of vitamins, and it’s even got Omega-3 fatty acids and anti-inflammatory antioxidants. It’s good for digestion and flushing out toxins, and I recently learnt that cooking spinach actually increases its health benefits because the body can’t completely break down its nutrients when it’s raw. Music is good for the mind, body and soul, so include as much of it in your diet as you can.

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Brussels sprouts

I adore Brussels sprouts (I know, it’s unusual!) and I can easily – and often do – eat bowls of them as snacks. Like most other veggies, they offer high doses of vitamins and nutrients, as well as their fair share of fibre. This means they can cause bloating and should be avoided if you’re flaring. Don’t cook your Brussels sprouts for too long or you’ll destroy the healthy bits! Three to five minutes is enough.

 

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ALL THE VEGETABLES!!! (and a little steak)

So this is what my dinner plate looks like most nights. I take the 3/4 veggie rule so seriously that I usually end up with four quarters of vegetables on my plate and no space for the meat – hence the mashed butternut on the side! Starting with the butternut, it’s filling and easy to digest – it’s one of the first vegetables you can introduce on SCD, and I’ve always loved it and found it to be unproblematic. Carrots are the first veggie introduced on SCD, as they’re also generally very easy to break down. They’re also full of vitamins and minerals.

Broccoli and cauliflower are cruciferous vegetables (as are Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage and kale), which means they’re packed with phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and fibre, and overall they’re just amazingly fabulous for your health. They also help support the functioning of the digestive tract (read this fascinating article about the healthy interaction between cruciferous vegetables and the bacteria in your gut). Most of us know that peas are a great source of protein and fibre – but did you know that they also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties?

Avocado is one of the healthiest fats you can add to your diet and its Omega-3 helps to reduce inflammation in the gut. My nutritionalist has recommended I eat it every day – that’s how healing it is! Lastly, lean red meat is obviously a protein source, and despite what detractors might say, it’s also one of the best sources of nutrients that you won’t get from plant-based foods.

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Coconut fish curry with cauliflower rice

I’m not the biggest fish fan but I am trying to get it into my diet more often because it’s just so damn healthy. This is hake, which offers Omega-3 acids and a range of nutrients. I’ve cooked it in homemade coconut milk, which is another incredibly healthy fat that my nutritionalist recommends I consume daily, due to the fact that it’s so healing for the gut. As you can see, I’ve tossed in some handfuls of baby spinach for an extra health kick, and it’s seasoned with all the usual ‘legal’ seasonings like garlic and ginger – both of which are also considered ‘super foods’ due to their healing and health-sustaining properties.

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Coconut yoghurt with honey

This is made from coconut milk, and has the added benefit of gelatine and probiotics, which are added just prior to incubating it. Probiotics introduce healthy bacteria to your gut and gelatine is an amazing weapon in the fight against inflammation.  This is one of the healthiest things you can feed a damaged gut. Here’s my recipe for homemade coconut yogurt.

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Oysters and champagne

Okay so this was a bit of a splurge (I was celebrating signing my permanent contract at work), and champagne – or any alcohol for that matter – should be avoided when you’re flaring, or when you’re trying to heal your gut. I was thrilled to discover some time ago that oysters, however, are so so good for you! They’re full of zinc, which is essential for those of us battling digestive diseases as we tend to lose a lot of it. Zinc is essential for healthy functioning and also helps to heal woulds. You’ll find it in pumpkin seeds too.

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Bonus: Cauliflower pizza

Everyone needs to feel like they’re eating something fun every now and then – even those of us with IBD! This cauliflower pizza was made from many of the healthy ingredients listed above, so it has the added benefit of hitting that ‘junk food’ spot without actually being junk food! The olives and mushrooms are also sources of healthy fats and nutrients, and it’s all drizzled with coconut oil for that extra bit of healing.

What are you favourite healing, healthy meals?

Day 62: New veg; old bloat

I’ve been so focused on my yogurt and cashew nut butter that I temporarily forgot that I was supposed to be introducing new foods every 3 days!

Although I’m on phase 3 now, I’m still eating very few types of fruit. You all how I love my bananas, which I buy in huge bags that I decimate within days. This is NOT good because I know that they cause me to bloat. I’ve tried limiting my banana intake to 3 or 5 a day, and some days I’m able to. Other days, like yesterday (which was mainly a ‘couch day’ of movies, series, and trips to the kitchen to grab yet ANOTHER banana) see me chomping my way through ten or more.

I found this twin banana today. I really wasn't surprised, given the obscene amount of bananas I eat each day - I was just surprised that I didn't give birth to it

I found this twin banana today. I really wasn’t surprised given the obscene number of bananas I eat each day – I’m guessing it was a statistical inevitability. I was more surprised that I didn’t actually give birth to it

Why I can’t stop with those damn bananas

I think it’s because it’s the only thing I can easily grab and munch when K is enjoying ‘regular’ TV snacks like everyone else. No chips for me, no chocolate or popcorn. If I want a TV snack, it’s vegetables, a hunk of meat or bananas! I think this is why I was so bloated by the time I got to bed last night – but like hard bloated, where your tummy feels like its filled with rocks. It was also tender to the touch, so I’m trying to put myself on banana lock-down today.

Tomato and avo

The other fruits I eat are tomato, peeled and de-seeded (WHAT a mission!) and cooked, and avo. Tomato is wonderful to add to meat dishes, and I also make a tomato and garlic sauce every week to add to my meals. I adore avo, and at any given time I have up to 10 avos in varying states of ripeness in the drawers, fridge or mashed up in the freezer. Perfectly ripe avos can be kept in that state for up to a week or so in the fridge, and you can also mash them up and freeze them. Sometimes the colour goes a little weird but the taste is fine, and once its defrosted and re-mashed a bit, the green emerges to some degree.

Avo and honey

Honey slipped into my diet quite sneakily a few weeks ago, when I added it to my first batch of yoghurt, and then used it to sweeten the yoghurt a bit when I ate it. I was of course aware of this new addition, and I seem to be okay on it. I should probably test it in isolation though. Do any of you have trouble with honey?

Apparently you can add it to avo and it’s delicious, but I haven’t been brave enough to try it.  Have any of you done this? Is it any good? The only time I’ve ever considered mixing the two is for a facemask.

These are the ingredients for a DIy avo facemask. For me, they'd never make it as far as my face. But if you'd like to try it, here how: http://bit.ly/1iN0seD. Looks like fun!

The ingredients for a DIY avo facemask. For me, they’d never make it as far as my face. But if you’d like to try it, here how: http://bit.ly/1iN0seD. Looks like fun!

The rest of the fruit contingent: Not for me, but maybe for you

Other than that, I’ve avoided most other fruits for two reasons: it either doesn’t agree with me (such as apple puree), and, fruit still has to be cooked at this stage of the diet, which I actually can’t face. Cooked watermelon, anyone? Stewed pineapple? No thanks. Too much effort for too little result. Plus I don’t think I can face any more bland purees.

This is not how I envisioned eating my fruit...

This is not how I envisioned eating my fruit…

I’ll move on to fruit when I can eat it raw, but that’s not to say that you have to wait. Cooked fruit can be delicious and of course it’s packed with vitamins and other good things that you need. Kids, I’m sure, would prefer it to mashed butternut, so bear that in mind too. Just be aware that too much fruit can cause your tummy to react – it’s one of the four foods (together with dairy, eggs and nuts) that are often the cause of gastric discomfort on this diet.

New veg: Cauliflower

I love cauliflower. Even before this diet, I’d often eat it in place of rice when I had curry, or I’d pour my pasta sauces over it. It’s also very versatile – sheesh, you can even make cauliflower pizza! (though I haven’t attempted it yet).

Can anyone verify this? And does anyone have a SCD bbq sauce recipe? ;-)

Can anyone verify this? And does anyone have a SCD bbq sauce recipe? 😉

I cooked it until it was falling-apart soft, and I had it with my meal of ostrich ‘bolognaise’ last night, which is a yummy mix of ostrich mince, tomato, garlic, green beans and seasoning. I may also have added a dash of red wine…

Because of my banana bloat (every time I write that, I mentally facepalm because it really is my own fault and totally within my control to avoid it), I’m unsure of whether the cauliflower agreed with me or not. But I’ll keep testing it today WITHOUT the bananas to check.

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I really hope it works for me because cauliflower cooks SO quickly, plus it’s tasty, easy to get hold of and I just really love it. I’m so thrilled that my diet is becoming so well-rounded!

This is what an SCD plate of food looks like

Just 53 days in (which, I promise, goes quickly 🙂 ), you can look forward to this kind of meal:

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It’s grilled chicken with gem squash, butternut, onion and green beans, topped with a tomato and garlic sauce and sprinkled with fresh cilantro (corianda/dhanya). And of course, a lovely, super creamy avo half on the side. SOOOO delicious. This kind of meal makes me feel like I am not missing out at all, and it’s taken less than 2 months to get here.

Remember, of course, that you’ll need to figure out what foods do/don’t agree with you. So far, I know I can’t eat mushrooms and apples. But everything else is okay – some of it in moderation (like bananas). I am still testing onions but I suspect they’re not doing great things inside my belly – and during the night, when I’m fast asleep and not holding things in, I think K is the one suffering!

If you’re doing SCD, what’s your plate looking like at the moment?