Update

Hi all,

I haven’t been too well since the start of 2017. I’ve been dealing with bedriddening pain + gut related issues and the effect of all of it on my activity level has been quite significant.  My health has taken a major dip this year and I’ve spent a large part of my time re-figuring things out.

This is life – it’s never predictable and to stay afloat, we have to keep finding a “new” balance + remember to be patient with ourselves through it. Sometimes it may feel like we’re starting all over again, however, it’s crucial to put our focus on the fact that we’re also wiser, stronger, more courages and a little more ready each time.

There’s been more happening in my gut and I’m currently working with an intergrative GP, a gastroenterologist and naturopath to find the next best step. The amount of decision fatigue I’ve experienced over the last five months is not funny. Apart from a rather serious back flare up + sublaxed shoulders, something so simple, straight-forward and enjoyable like food turned into this massive, overwhelmingly exhausting thing that required/ requires constant awareness and thinking.

For the next three weeks or so, I’ll be going on two very strong medications, known for worsening all existing symptoms. I’ve have been specifically told to not take this treatment too lightly and it might make life seem a tiny bit miserable. As someone who deals with excruciating pain and indescribable fatigue on a daily basis, I honestly don’t know how much worse things can get. However, I have also seen myself at my worst before and hence believe it’s important that I take extra precautions and have help available for me if necessary. Thankfully, I do have a small group of people to count on if needed.

On a brighter note, I’ve got a couple of workshops to teach and close friends to meet so I’m really keeping my fingers-crossed and spirit high :) I’m aware of what may happen, giving my body extra time off, saying more no and less yes (trust me, it’s needed when you are functioning on limited energy) and taking everything one baby step at a time.

I hope everyone’s doing fine.

In case I’m not around much, Happy June! ❤️

Love,

Md

P.S. This post is not about defeat or seeking validation, and most definitely not one asking for pity.  If it sounded like any of these to anyone, please let it go. I’m just sharing and giving an update of how things have been this year. Please keep in mind that it is very much possible to mentally accept and deal with things gracefully WHILE experiencing a great amount of physical discomfort.

#chronicillness

Dark Chocolate + Coconut Milk Popsicles

85 % Dark Chocolate + Coconut Popsicles. Pure bliss! 💕

I could’ve done with more dark chocolate but you know, I didn’t want to push it. I made sure to stay within the allowed quantities of each ingredient and frankly, these just turned out magical. As usual, my friend couldn’t believe these were SIBO friendly and this time, neither could I.

Here’s what went in them:

6 pieces of dark chocolate + 8 tablespoons of coconut milk + 1 cup of coconut water + 2 tsp pure vanilla essence + 1 tbsp raw clover honey + 3.5 tsp raw Cocoa powder + 2 tsp pure coconut oil. This recipe made 4 popsicles.

Method:

The easiest way of making them would be to blend all the ingredients excluding dark chocolate, pour into your moulds and pop them into the freezer for about 8 -12 hours. Before serving, melt dark chocolate + coconut oil and drizzle over the popsicles. You could also just dip the popsicles into the melted chocolate if you wish.

I made these in three parts because I wanted to add extra dark chocolate pieces inside each popsicle and also have bits of plain coconut cream in every popsicle. So we had the main body, chocolate flavoured coconut cream + parts of honeyed coconut cream + pure dark chocolate pieces and drizzle.

Six ingredients chicken broth


Maybe this is a more Indianized version of chicken broth or soup. Each time I caught a flu or fell terribly sick, I’d have this made for me. It’s super easy, doesn’t require much effort and is extremely delicious and nourishing. If you’ve got a sensitive gut like me, this is well worth a try!

You can trust me on this one!

Ingredients:

  1. Chicken with bone (any part)
  2. Black Peppercorns (as per your preferance)
  3. Ginger (small pieces)
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Lemon
  6. Cilantro

Method:

All you have to do is dump in all the ingredients (except cilantro and lemon) into a pot, add water (enough to cover the chicken or a little more than that) and let it boil for a good 30 minutes. Lower the heat, add more water if needed and let the chicken slow cook for another 30 minutes. The chicken cooks so well it practically starts falling off the bone :)

If you’d like to have a thicker broth, you could add and reduce the water a few times. Three times works perfectly.

Bowl it up. Squeeze in some lemon and garnish it with cilantro. That’s it!

Optional – 1 teaspoon of coconut cream/milk.

Enjoy!

Thai Style Pan Roasted Chicken Breast 

Marinade:
Ginger paste, Turmeric powder, Red Chilli powder (less, for SIBO), Lime juice, Dried Lemongrass powder + Dried Galangal + Dried Kaffir Lime leaves + Thai Sweet Basil leaves (or use a Thai mix without garlic or onion), Cumin powder, Curry powder (without onion and garlic powder) finely chopped Coriander leaves, finely chopped chives, 1 tbsp coconut milk, Black pepper powder, Sesame oil and Salt.

Method: Mix all the above ingredients, mix in with chicken and refrigerate overnight. Pan-fry in more sesame oil (love the nutty flavour it gives. I can’t have nuts at the moment so this really helps!). Cover if needed. I prefer cutting a deep slit into the chicken breast so that it cooks evenly. Plate up and pour a bit more of coconut milk if needed.

That’s it. Cut up and store in an air-tight container in you plan to have it over a day. Easy-peasy and SIBO-friendly! One chicken breast usually lasts me for 2-4 meals as I have it with a serving of low FODMAP veggies.

Peanut Butter + Strawberry Jam on a Rice Cake 

With my appetite being on the low side for the last few months, and now that I am finally back from a holiday,  I had to find ways to make sure I don’t stuff my body (because my stomach seriously can’t handle it) while ensuring that I am still eating something. 

Any form of grains tend to cause me too much bloating and heaviness in my gut but because I do have other pain medications to take other than just the antibiotics for SIBO, I try to at least have something relatively light and easy on my gut. There’s no SIBO specific diet I need to follow for now. 

Over the last one week or so, I’ve observed that a piece of rice cracker  doesn’t seem to over-bloat me and fills me up just enough to keep my body functioning. It’s been working well for now and plus, there is just no limit to the different toppings you can enjoy it with! 
 

Update : MRI Enterography [1]

On Tuesday, I was at the hospital  from 9:30 am all the way till about 5:00pm to get a couple of  tests done – MRI Enterography and Neck Ultrasound. I was given 45 minutes to down 3 bottles of 450ml each of barium sulphate, a slippery, kind of oily, thick but sort of translucent, dull white liquid. I thought I was doing pretty fine until after about 1.5 bottles, after which, each sip only got harder to swallow. I managed alright, I think. I’ve had worse tasting medicines before. It did seem like I was high on barium sulphate for sometime though.

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The standard procedure for MRI Enterography involves also having a contrast liquid running in your system. It highlights abnormalities and inflammation much clearly and hence is highly recommended. This time round too, like once back in the past, my experience with having a contrast running in me wasn’t exactly pleasant. They struggled to find my veins, thought my veins were too thin, and practically fought to properly insert the needle. After about three failed attempts on my left hand, they tried the same on my right and finally managed to get the contrast going.

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If I were to sum up my experience at the Radiology Department yesterday, I would say it was a total adventure, with prolonged waiting time and misleading information from every person we spoke to. They first got the timing all mixed up and expected us to reach earleir. Then a person told me I might get a diarrhoea after barium sulphate, another said nope, not at all. Another person said constrast was required and someone else said it depends on us. And, my reports, which were supposed to be ready within an hour took almost two hours to be ready instead. Total mess.

After a point, everything got really annoying and I couldn’t wait to get home. Exhaustion and pain simply got worse over the 7.5 hours of being out. I had to collect my daily medicines from another hospital nearby too. Thankfully, dad was around with me through the day.

So, it turns out that my MRI Enterography was normal, no abnormalities in my major organs – so that’s something to celebrate! However, the key question remains – if everything is normal, why am I experiencing all these abnormal sysmtoms?

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Usual answer – we don’t know yet and we must take it one step at a time. I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t get frustrating; you kind of want to know what it is but you also don’t want it to be too serious. It’s then when you realise that you don’t have much of a control, so, you take it one step at a time. One day at a time. One test/scan at a time.

To be continued…

Gut feeling? 

I’m at a point where by I need and don’t need food at the same time. I need food because I think it doesn’t make sense to go on an empty stomach all day and I don’t need food because I just can’t seem to get it down my throat.

For the next few days while I continue taking the supplements and some plant-based medicines that my Naturopath has put me on, I’ve been told very specifically to stay off gluten, dairy and raw salads (in fact, anything raw except green juice or coconut juice). I don’t think I’m particularly going to miss gluten and dairy much anywa. I attempted adding coconut milk in my coffee and I’m still figuring out what I think of it.


Since rice is supposed to be one of the easiest grains to digest, I’ve been told to attempt having at least a couple of spoons of porridge. Honestly, just the thought itself of putting any form of carbohydrates in my tummy is so revolting at this point. But because I do need some emergency food, I’ve made myself some steamed garlic vegetables and soft basmati rice, for when and if I feel hungry. I also managed to make a yellow moong dal which is also very light on your digestive system.


My exhaustion seems to be getting worse for some reason. I remember coming back home from my long day out after meeting my Naturopath and feeling completely drained out. Totally battery flat, feeling like I ran a marathon. Technically, running between two clinics and a pharmacy could be considered a marathon for me. I surely have to watch if this (extra) fatigue gets worse over the next few days. I won’t be surprised if all of it has to do with my loss of appetite. My gut feeling is that my gut isn’t feeling too well at all.

I wish I could say that my joints are fine while my digestive system is losing balance. Well, my right knee is swollen and poofy, probably just from walking and it hurts deep in the joint. I’ve also developed a small bruise around my right knee for absolutely no reason and the pain from it seems very deep as well. And because my right knee is not doing well, both my back and glutes are killing me.  I hope I’m able to stick to my walking because the last thing anyone wants is more loss of movement while figuring out their digestive system. Where is my appetite anyway?!!??