Lactose-free milk

I’m testing out lactose-free milk in my diet from today and you guys have no idea how excited I am! I tried it with coffee this morning and realized I forgotten what it felt like to have a somewhat normal tasting coffee with dairy!

Well well. I am lactose intolerant too so I have to watch out on my dairy intake (which really wasn’t that much to begin with) in general. This diet has also reduced my caffeine intake by half and now I just have one small cup of coffee of tea instead of… two.  That’s a lot isn’t it?

For about 8 weeks out of 13, I totally cut off caffeine of any sort and had to deal with withdrawal symptoms for the first week. From week 8 onwards, I reintroduced coconut milk and came up with this amazing all natural, homemade coconut creamer recipe which worked wonders with a cup of coffee. It kept me happy and going if I really “needed” a caffeine fix.

Going back to dairy.

Dairy is dairy and coffee + lactose-free milk  >>  coffee + coconut milk.

I’ve come a long way with this diet and added restrictions. There have been hiccups along the way but I guess I’ve been alright. I’m hoping the reviewed diet gives me more energy and less unnecessary complications. Also, I’d be more than happy if it stops me from having absolutely random cravings. I mean, I don’t remember craving pecan pie in my life ever before…not just one slice…I wanted TWO whole slices of freshly-baked pecan pie…

SIBO Update 

After 12 weeks of going on a very strict diet, I’m finally moving on to the next level of re-introducing some food items and seeing if my gut is able to handle them. While SIBO in itself is a very complex condition to treat, treating SIBO in a patient who already has a pre-existing condition makes the process much harder than it is. Sometimes complete healing takes  longer than “normal”.

In my case, my body went into a massive caloric deficit and I started experiencing drop in blood-sugar, increased brain-fog and exhaustion and a lot of unnecessary complications. It started happening more when my physical and mental demands increased over the last couple of weeks and I was left absolutely no energy for anything else. I would be dog tired all day  (as if so wasn’t already fatigued out of my brain) and had the strangest of food cravings.

In my recent visit to the ND, we took a closer look at my diet and made a few changes to accommodate for more stuff happening in my life right now. Here’s the thing about SIBO –  you have to do you very best and stick to the diet, especially the initial eradication phase, however, life happens and there are ups and downs and you might have to adapt the treatment to your specific needs at that point in time. I was very disclipined with the diet for the first 10-11 weeks and started finding it difficult to stick to in the last one to one and half weeks.

As my symptoms haven’t improved drastically, I am “supposed” to continue the current SIBO treatment phase for a while longer but the matter of fact is that my body isn’t able to handle the diet and I’m starting to experience all these other issues which I could honestly do without. I also had a few major SIBO symptoms flare-ups along the way and had to go back to my baseline diet of eggs and zucchini several times. There was a point where I was only having about six ingredients/food items including salt and pepper and nothing else. The eradication phase requires that you starve the bacteria and feed the human which is exactly why the diet (symptom based, customised, low FODMAP diet) is  so strict. My ND thought that it was time to find a balance where we are trying to eradicate the bacteria and re-introducing certain higher calorie food at the same time – we don’t want to accidentally starve the human you see.

So the good thing is that I have a lot more items that I’m going to re-introduce in the next phase and that also means more room to experiment! YAY!  That’s always exciting and fun, as long as I have enough energy left to actually be creative with it. I’ve mostly been pretty enthusiastic and managed to come up with so many delicious, SIBO-friendly recipe over the last 12 weeks. I guess that’s something to feel good about. 

The not-so-good thing is that just because you have more options doesn’t mean they are okay for you and that your gut will very happily accept them and respond well. The other not-so-good thing is that with so many additions, it can get more complicated to find direct correlation between your intake and symptoms. That said, the ‘not-so-good’ part of the story doesn’t sound nearly as bad as living with the feeling of being overly restricted in terms of food. It makes you feel deprived and limits you further. I don’t think I would have ever said that a particular form of diet is difficult… but in all honesty… the SIBO diet is HARD. There were times when the combination of lack of food options (at home, eating out or calling in) + lack of ability to move (I was bedridden for  good 65 days due to a flare up and I’m still barely recovering) + lack of dark chocolate made me feel like life was unfair :) 

Of course, now that I’m no longer surviving on just six items, life is all rainbows and bunnies again. You get the point.

Asian Curry Zoodles

Not going to lie, these were simply amazing. I made enough for two full meals and oh my, it was one of the most satisfying SIBO-meals I’ve come up with! It’s a very simple recipe but it took me much longer than expected as my back still has been bothering me so much.

I woke up with an image of a gorgeous bowl of noodles (zoodles, actually)  in my brain and I decide that it had to become a reality. The best part is, it turned out exactly how I had imagined and tasted even better, which naturally made me feel really good – like I had accomplished something. Believe me, SIBO diet is HARD and so to come up with a super delicious recipe using really limited ingredients feels GREAT.

Your gut is happy. You are happy. And your creative energy is so well utilised!

Let’s see what we’ve  got in here.

One  whole zucchini turned into zoodles. You could use a spiralizer if you’ve got one – I used a peeler that does somewhat a similar job and works fine for now. It leaves you with the core, that fleshy portion of a zucchini and instead of discarding it, I turn it into little “meaty” nugget looking things which taste so good when stir-fried with a basic seasoning – I used salt, crushed red and black pepper and coriander seeds with a little bit of smoked paprika. Then I’ve got stir-fried spinach, once again, with really simple flavours – salt, pepper and lime juice. I made simple pan-fried eggs which I later sliced into thin pieces for serving. And finally, the main star of this recipe, a cream coconut curry sauce. I call it curry ‘sauce’ because I made it slightly thicker but it works fine if you add more water and make it soupy too!

SIBO-friendly Asian Curry Sauce: All it really consists of is toasted sesame oil (I love the nutty flavour it adds to your food), tiny bit of ginger paste, soy sauce, turmeric powder, red chilli powder (adjusted to my diet but add as you please!), lots of chives, fresh coriander, dried lemongrass and galangal powder, curry powder (optional) , dried kaffir lime powder, and finally, coconut cream or milk. To add sweetness and get the right consistency, I used coconut water instead of drinking water. I sautéed all  ingredients (except coconut cream) in sesame oil and blended it into a thick paste. Put the paste back into the same pan, add coconut cream/milk and water and let it simmer. Keep stirring until it forms into a semi-thick and creamy curry sauce.

To serve: Grab a pretty bowl, put a handful of Zoodles right in the centre, add your sliced eggs and other vegetables, garnish with chopped coriander and a sliced lime. Add extra crushed black pepper or tobasco if needed.

I saved a bowl for my friend and she came by the very night to have it. She absolutely devoured it and asked me twice if it  was SIBO-friendly friendly and I couldn’t help but smile. Well, it took me a while to believe it for myself but it most certainly is SIBO-friendly, grain-free, dairy-free and somewhat gluten-free if you exclude soy sauce and use salt instead. You could totally turn it vegan and vegetarian by substituting egg for sautéed tofu or any other vegetable that works for you. Topping options for those without restrictions or personal preferences are absolutely limitless so just play around! My friend even said she’d happily go on a SIBO diet if this was the kind of food that she could always have. Umm, no, I don’t think anyone must go on a SIBO diet unless medically necessary. But I get it, it really did turn out delicious! 

P.S. SIBO is such a complex bacterial infection and can translate differently in everyone’s body. Diets are carefully customised for each person and though there is are basic and  rather strict guidelines to follow, what your diet comprises of is very specific to your body and symptoms. Please always ensure that you stick to your personal protocol as agreed between you and your medical professional.

Compression Socks

When you’re hypermobile, the chances of dislocating your fingers, wrists, elbows and shoulders (…and of course, ankles) are significantly high when you’re trying to put on your compression socks! On an average, it takes me about 20 minutes to have them on and I often break out in a sweat because it takes that much effort. They do help with muscle spasms and cramps so it makes me want to keep trying. Oh and if I’m expecting my lunar cycle and cramping like no ones business, I definitely want to use them. I could even do with a compression suit. Also, I had a little bit of a moment last evening when a mayonnaise jar fell off my hand and I wasn’t in a condition to even imagine cleaning up. I had a back brace on and my knees weren’t doing too well either so I needed to call for help. I did think through if I could do it on my own but it made no sense when I had been bedridden all day with pain taking away all my energy. I’ve noticed one thing: we could be doing a pretty good job with acceptance and dealing with limitations on a greater level but there are times when little things remind you that you’re physically not as abled as the rest and then for a brief moment, you’re just like wtf. Well, that’s especially if you’ve had a rough week. Anyway, that was how yesterday ended for me and today is a new day so we shall see how things go. All I want today is my bed, a cup of hot chocolate (SIBO can’t do) and a Great Dane pup.