What to drink on SCD, paleo and AIP

summer-party-drinks

Don’t these look delicious?

It’s important to remember that what you drink on a healing diet can have as much effect on your body as the foods you eat, so you need to make wise choices.

On all of these diets, it’s highly recommended that you avoid alcohol, especially if you’re flaring. If you’ve been in remission for a while or you feel that your body can tolerate limited amounts of alcohol, there are specific types that you should stick to – these are discussed below.

Hot drinks

Coffee

Coffee is not allowed on strict AIP, though once you transition to paleo and your colon has started to heal, you may be able to tolerate it. During the early phases of SCD, it’s better to avoid coffee, but once you introduce it, make sure it’s weak, and made from pure coffee beans rather than processed (instant) grounds that could contain additives and preservatives. Also avoid decaf coffee, as you don’t know what chemicals have been used to remove the caffeine. Bear in mind that caffeine can irritate the gut, which is why it’s not recommended during the early phases of a healing diet.

Tea

Herbal tea is allowed, and if you don’t like the taste of them on their own, you can add honey, ginger, lemon, mint, berries, etc. Just make sure the tea you use is pure and free from additives. In summer, use it to make refreshing iced tea.

Using milk and sugar

On healing diets, added sugar is generally not allowed, so don’t put it in your hot drinks – use honey instead. Nut milks can be used, though for some people, myself included, this is quite an acquired taste!

Cold drinks

Carbonated drinks

Both regular and diet drinks MUST be avoided. These tend to irritate the gut, and they can also exacerbate bloating and discomfort. Plus, fizzy drinks contain a whole whack of unhealthy ingredients that are best avoided altogether.

Sparkling water

If you really struggle to kick the cola habit, as I did, try transitioning to soda water/sparkling water. I say ‘transitioning’, because I find that ALL fizzy drinks, sparkling water included, really cause me a lot of bloating and GI irritation, so it’s best I avoid them. However, I sometimes find that pure, carbonated water really hits the spot when I’m wanting something fizzy. Add lemon, berries or other fresh fruit for fun but totally healthy cocktail vibe.

Fruit juice

Fruit juice is okay if it’s completely natural/pure, and free of any preservatives and added sugar. Believe it or not, this can be VERY hard to find! Most fruit juices are marketed as being healthy, but they’re actually loaded with a whole bunch of crazy additives, never mind a ton of sugar. Be on the look out for organic, additive-free juice, or make your own at home. Apples and pears can be boiled until really soft and then strained, or you can use a juicer to make super healthy varieties like carrot, beetroot, apple, etc. The options are almost endless.

Smoothies

From here on out, you can pretty much assume that all store-bought/pre-packaged smoothies are going to be a no-no. Most contain things you won’t be able to eat on your diet, like dairy, sugar, additives/preservatives, etc. However, it’s really easy to make your own healthy, filling and totally ‘legal’ smoothies at home. Use bananas and any other fruit you can handle, and combine it with homemade yoghurt, a dash of honey and a scoop of protein powder. Here’s a great smoothie recipe packed with vitamin C. Smoothies also work brilliantly as meal replacements when you’re on the go.

Homemade drinks

If drink boredom starts to set in – and it probably will – get inventive! Make your own ginger ale, lemonade or ‘sodas’ at home using sparkling water and natural flavourants, like lemon, fresh fruits and herbs, and honey.

Alcohol

According to Theultimatepaleoguide.com, alcohol is considered a ‘processed’ food and a toxin – two things that we’re supposed to avoid on a healing diet. Plus, it’s well known that alcohol irritates the lining of the gut and can worsen the symptoms of IBD, especially if you’re flaring.

This is not a club you should be hanging out at

This is not a club you should be hanging out at

That said, I know how hard it is to go out and socialise like you did before – when all you want is to feel normal – and you have to order a glass of water, because even cooldrinks and juice are off-limits. And let’s face it, no one wants to be that guy in the bar ordering coffee.

If you’re NOT flaring and your doctor/nutritionalist thinks it’s okay for you to have a bit of alcohol, then there are options – just don’t overdo it! Try to choose those with as little sugar as possible (all alcohol contains sugar), and definitely avoid those considered grains (ie, beer).

Alcohol that is okay:

  • Dry red and white wine
  • Apple ciders (make sure they’re gluten free)
  • Certain spirits (like vodka, whiskey and gin. Because they’ve been distilled, they are mostly free of gluten. However, if you’re very sensitive to gluten, avoid them.)

Alcohol to avoid:

  • Any booze containing grains, yeast and/or high amounts of sugar
  • Sweet wine
  • Passover wine
  • Brandy
  • Beer
  • Cordials

Important note about water

Apart from whatever else you drink, try to consume at least 2l of water every day. If you aren’t used to doing this, it is difficult at first, but it gets easier. I drink 500ml every morning before I leave for work, and I keep a 1.5l bottle of water on my desk at work, which I always make sure I finish. That means by the time I get home, I’ve already had my 2l for the day, and any extra is just a ‘bonus’. This also means I don’t find myself drinking water until late into the evening – and getting up all through the night to pee!

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How to make, use & store different nut milks

Cashew milk - very smooth and creamy

Home-made cashew nut milk

It’s so easy to make your own nut milk and you’ll also save a ton of cash doing it. Here’s my guide to making three of the tastiest and most versatile varieties: almond milk, cashew milk and coconut milk.

What you need

  • Nuts/coconut
  • Mineral/filtered water
  • Nut milk bag/cheesecloth/muslin/unused, clean nylon stocking

Tip: Be on the look-out for wholesale shops, or buy bags of broken nuts – they’re usually much cheaper than whole nuts, and if you’re using them to make milk, flour or butter, it doesn’t matter if they’re all crushed up.

Almond milk

So much cheaper than buying it ready-made, and you can store batches in the freezer. It has a deep nutty flavour.

What to use it for: Use in tea or coffee; pour over cereal; use in baking or cooking; add to smoothies or raw desserts; use it to make dairy-free yoghurt, or simply enjoy on its own.

How to store it: In sterilised containers in the fridge for 2 to 4 days, or completely cooled and then frozen in batches.

Benefits of almond milk: Low in calories, loaded with vitamins such as A and D, rich in calcium and phosphorus, free of saturated fats and cholesterol and full of healthy fats.

Reasons to make your own: Much cheaper than store-bought; fresher.

How to make it:

(see my step-by-step guide with images here).

Soak 2 cups of raw, blanched almonds in water overnight. Drain, rinse and add to a blender with 4 cups of water. Pulse a few times to break up the nuts, then blend on high speed for ten minutes. Optional: Add honey or maple syrup if you desire a sweeter milk.

Strain through a sieve lined with a nut milk bag and squeeze all the milk out – see below:

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Don’t discard the almond pulp! Instead, spread it out on a baking tray and bake it at low temperature for about 3 hours, until dry. You now have almond meal to use in baking, smoothies or for a protein boost, or you can throw it into your food processor (when it’s cool) and process until you have almond flour.

Cashew milk

One of the creamiest of all the nut milks, and also one of the easiest to make because you don’t need to strain it.

What to use it for: Thanks to its creamy flavour and refreshing taste, many people enjoy drinking it on its own. It can also be used in cereal, hot drinks and smoothies, or to make yoghurt or ice cream. See my coconut and cashew yoghurt recipe here.

How to store it: In sterilised containers in the fridge for 2 or 3 days, or cooled completely and then frozen in batches.

Benefits of cashew milk: You get a big nutrient bang for your buck – iron, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and zinc – plus loads of protein and fibre.

Reasons to make your own: Can be hard to find in the shops; much cheaper to make your own; always fresh.

How to make it:

Soak one cup of raw, preferably organic cashews in water overnight. Strain, rinse and then place in a blender with 3 to 4 cups of water (depending on how creamy you want it). Pulse a few times to break up the nuts, and then blend on high for a few minutes. Give it a stir to make sure all the nuts have been broken down – if not, process for a few more minutes.

Allow to stand for 15 minutes, then scoop the foamy layer off the top. Drink immediately, use in a recipe or store.

The Blender Girl offers this helpful tip for choosing cashews:

Always purchase from a supplier where there is a high turnover to ensure freshness and quality. Look for plump cashews that are uniform in colour. Avoid the limp and shrivelled ones. Cashews should smell nutty and sweet. If they have a sharp or bitter smell they have gone rancid. To preserve the precious oils, store cashews in a sealed glass jar in the fridge for up to six months. Always soak cashews before using to remove the enzyme inhibitors and make them more digestible.

Coconut milk

This is one of the cheapest nut milks to make and also extremely versatile. I love whipping up a fresh batch whenever I’m preparing the rest of my ingredients for a curry.

What to use it for: In curries (especially Indian, Thai and Asian curries); in desserts – both raw and baked; in smoothies, soups and cocktails; over cereal, in stews and even in breakfast foods. Use it to add an exotic sweet tang to almost anything you like, or use it to make a delicious, dairy-free yoghurt (see recipe above).

How to store it: Fresh coconut is best consumed right away or stored overnight in the fridge. Otherwise, as with other nut milks, allow to cool completely and then freeze in sterilised containers. If you are fortunate enough to have access to fresh coconuts, here’s a great step-by-step guide to making fresh coconut milk.

Benefits of coconut milk: High in vitamins including vitamins C, E and B3, B5 and B6, and contains fibre, iron, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. It should however be consumed in moderation, especially if you’re watching your waistline. Lower the KJ count by making it ‘lite’ – simply dilute it more.

Reasons to make your own: Much cheaper than store-bought, always fresh, no dodgy additives, preservatives or other unhealthy ingredients; can be lower in kilojoules.

How to make it:

Add 1 cup of fresh grated coconut or dry/dessicated coconut to a blender with 1.5 – 2 cups of warm (not boiling) water. The less water you use, the thicker and creamier it will be. Pulse a few times, then blend on high for about 5 minutes. Pour the milk through a sieve lined with a nut milk bag and strain, squeezing out as much of the milk as you can. Discard the pulp.

Please feel free to share any other nut milk recipes you have, as well as any ideas for using, storing and enjoying your nut milk. Cheers! 😉

Day 40: Quadruple the excitement!

Four fabulous things happened today:

1. My nut milk bag arrived

2. My dad made his famous pureed spinach and I was able to have it!

3. I realised it’s day 40!

4. FREE meat!

These things might not seem so fabulous to anyone else, but for me, all four are MAJOR!

This week, and today in particular, have been exceedingly stressful at work. The team I work with is great – I really like them all, and the company itself is awesome. It’s just the damn client who’s a nightmare (isn’t that how it always goes?).

Anyway, after the stressiest work week yet, I went to my folks’ house for dins to discover that my dad had collected my nut milk bag for me. I now have all the ingredients I need to make my yoghurt, and I cannot WAIT! I’m going to try it this weekend, time permitting.

Purchased at http://www.rawlicious.co.za/, where they tell me it's been 'packed with love' ;-)

Purchased at rawlicious.co.za, where they tell me it’s been ‘packed with love’ 😉

Then, at dinner, my dad pulled out a bowl of spinach, which he’d cooked with just salt and pepper, and pureed. There really is nothing better for an SCD belly. Plus, I’d already tested green beans for three days (Mon – Wed), but I hadn’t thought ahead to what I was going to introduce today. Voila! I was able to have the spinach without compromising my diet – in fact, it was a good thing that I was able to add something new. And it was deeeeelicious!

funny-pictures-something-in-cats-teeth

Now, as I typed my blog title, I realised that it’s day 40. Work has been so insane that I didn’t even write the number on my hand today. 40 really is a milestone, plus it’s nearly half way. I’m so proud of myself for having made it this far without knowingly cheating or doing anything to jeopardise my diet.

40 days, that is :-)

40 days, that is 🙂

And then there was meat

So remember a few days ago I showed you that pic of the piece of ‘metal’ I found in my venison mince? Turns out, it was a piece of buckshot. Can you actually. I mean, I love eating meat but that just brought the hunt WAY too close to home.

Anyway, the manufacturers were hugely apologetic (they said the chances were about one in a million of that happening) and to show just how contrite they were, they delivered a ‘sorry’ pack of meat to me today. This included ostrich mince, ostrich boerewors, ostrich fillet, venison mince, chicken kebabs, and entire spatchcock chicken, venison patties and two HUGE bags of biltong. I was gobsmacked. I’ve just finished loading it into our freezer and we have space for NOTHING else. I actually had to start defrosting other things!

every time you eat meat t-shirt funny tee

Unfortunately, everything except about 2 of those items contain additives like wheat, etc, so I can’t eat them. But K, an even bigger meat lover than I, is thrilled. I think that this was an incredible gesture and I’m quite overwhelmed.

So how’s the belly?

Well……………….. it’s not great today, to be honest. I ate a lot of bananas when I got home (late) after the show last night, as well as a few glasses of apple juice. This morning, I was constipated. Lately, I’ve come to rely on the regularity of my morning BMs, so I was irritable that nothing was forthcoming. This has been the trend all day, combined with – as usual – bloating. Maybe the vodka that I had last night?

My diet is becoming more and more varied so I’m hoping that at some point things will just ‘click’ into place with the right combo of fruit and veg. Maybe I need to add more fruit. Hopefully the yoghurt will help too.

I’ve also had jolting pains in my lower left quadrant for the whole day. I really think it’s stress because it started at work and I’m finding it really hard to unwind (though I really am trying).

Oh, and Eminem was AMAZING! Such an incredible performance, and he is a true legend. If you ever have the chance to see him live, grab it.

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Our view from the nose-bleed seats

This is what happens when Eminem tells the crowd to put their lighters up...

This is what happens when Eminem tells the crowd to put their lighters up…

FRIDAY tomorrow guys! It’s going to be a crazy busy weekend for us. Tomorrow night we’re going to watch a band performing at a bar in Hout Bay, then Saturday is Pride (YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!), Saturday night we have a friend’s birthday party, and Sunday is the tattoo convention in Cape Town that we’re really hoping to get to. I’m exhausted just thinking about it! What are you getting up to?