The right diet… Is there such a thing?

Does anyone else feel like the more they read and research the more everything begins to contradict itself??? (Especially when you are looking at gut healing).

One book says include this, the other books or blogs claims it’s the worst thing for you, so what do you believe without going crazy thinking about it all??

A typical week’s reading/research for me!

A typical week’s reading/research for me!

To be honest there is no one size fits all diet or lifestyle that works. Some people’s bodies need meat, others do well without it. It’s the same with dairy and grains and everything in between!

The key is listening to your body and finding what works for you. The ultimate goal is living life without underlying health issues and knowing how good it feels to have a body that functions well.

So much of society these days are so used to feeling run down, lethargic, constipated or to the other extreme, bloated, having migraines, headaches, cramps and don’t do anything about it because they are not connecting these symptoms with the foods they are putting into their bodies when in reality everything you put in your body determines how you are going to function and feel.

We need to go back to remembering food is fuel for us, the same way petrol is to a car. You put the wrong fuel in and well the car isn’t going to run very well, if it runs at all? Eat crap and you will feel crap, eat food that nourishes your body and your body will perform at its peak.

I’ve been everything, a meat eater (although I haven’t eaten red meat since a teenager by choice), vegan, vegetarian and am now a very happy poultry & fish eating, sometimes organic dairy eating whole foodie who dabbles in a bit of paleo but still includes a little spelt as it’s tolerated.. Confusing much!!???

The point is I have found what works for my body – I’ve never tolerated dairy well but can stomach some biodynamic organic dairy and a little feta cheese every so often and recently tried sheep’s yoghurt which was quite easy on the stomach. My eldest Riley is much the same with dairy and my youngest; Lachlan is anaphylactic so total avoidance of all dairy products for him.

I don’t like labels so choose not to label the way we eat (other than it being REAL food) but sometimes have to for others to understand what we are doing with the whole gut healing journey we are on for Lachlan (Master 3). For him grains and legumes are highly irritating to his gut and as soon as we removed these from his diet it was like a miracle overnight cure to his eczema after battling it for so long. It was truly amazing the effect things like rice, rice milk etc were having on his stomach.

A visual of the Real food movement philosophy

A visual of the Real food movement philosophy

We are always taught (especially as new mums) that rice is one of the least allergenic foods out there but believe me rice allergies/intolerances are actually really common these days and many believe it’s due to these hard to digest foods being given to babies as “first foods” when really in my opinion (and many others) now I have done extensive research into leaky gut/digestive diseases and autoimmune conditions, we should be holding off on grains for as long as we can in babies, their immature guts are just not cut out for it at 4-6 months old (the general accepted guidelines for introducing solids  (although in my opinion 6 months is better for a better formed gut).  There are so many great first food choices for babies, Sally Fallon author of “Nourishing Traditions” goes into great details in her books as to why & what a baby should be eating, I highly recommend checking out her books. She is highly regarded in the Real food movement.

So you’re all probably thinking –  how do you go about finding out what’s right for you and what’s possibly giving you grief?

It’s really about listening to your body and how you feel after you eat something. The best way to find these things out is through short elimination trials. One to two weeks is plenty (if you do not have underlying health issues such as leaky gut etc otherwise it is at least a 3- 6 month elimination required here once you know what you are dealing with) and then you reintroduce the eliminated food slowly and look for your body’s response to it. And remember it’s only doing one food at a time otherwise you won’t know what was possibly affecting you.

Keeping a food diary is a must when doing this as well as noting any symptoms you have no matter how small.

The most common foods that cause issues in many people are dairy, wheat, gluten but there are many many more.

I  personally believe no person should include preservatives, colours, additives, sulphites (there are some naturally occurring sulphites in foods which are ok but some people do react to them also) and manmade sugars (aspartame etc) in their diets; they do nothing for your body and have been linked to so many health issues and diseases.

This is where a REAL food diet comes into play. Think about how our grandparents ate it was very different to what the modern standard Australian diet (SAD) is today, so over processed and holds little nutritional value.

So if you aren’t feeling well, constantly tired, bloated, having bowel issues etc, challenge yourself to a elimination. Keep foods simple during the trial (caffeine and soft drinks, alcohol, chocolate etc are best avoided too for that time frame) and see how you feel without the offending food.

Days 2 – 4 are the hardest (withdrawal happens and I won’t lie to you!) but if you plan your meals, and have the right mind set behind it you may just discover how your body is supposed to feel everyday and that is awesome!

I also highly recommend working with a naturopath who specialises in food allergies/intolerances etc. There are some great aids they can give you supplement wise that have made a huge difference to Lachlan’s gut healing journey.

Here is to living a healthy happy life symptom free!

Would love to hear how you go!

~

Kat

 

Disclaimer:

The information shared on Feeding Two Growing Boys is based solely on my own personal experiences and research.

The information offered here is not intended to replace medical/trained holistic advice.

Before beginning or making any changes please always consult your chosen health care provider.

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Sniffly season is upon us…

With the sniffly season upon us, I wanted to share our home remedies that we use to quickly get over colds/flu’s which let’s face it is going to happen when having a preschooler (no matter how healthy and well fed he is) he is going to bring home preschool germs and with us having a toddler who is on a immune /gut healing journey we can’t afford to be sick for long so quick action is needed but without the nasty potions you pick up at the chemist which we avoid at all costs.

Vegetables

  • Firstly diet is super important – eating food rich in good essential fats, antioxidants and that are immune boosting is essential. Your body needs the nutrients and vitamins to heal itself. The modern day diet (SAD in many cases (standard Australian diet) leaves much to be desired.
  • Olive Leaf Extract – it’s horrible to drink (although my children are slightly strange and enjoy the taste!) but my goodness it is like liquid gold! It is 100% natural and is gluten, sugar, preservative, alcohol and yeast free (check labels of different brands to confirm). Not only is it great for cardiovascular support it is also a great immune support and has 400% more antioxidant power than the equivalent amount of Vitamin C. I give it to the boys almost daily in winter and any other time of the year at the first sign of a sniffle.  2.5mls for a child over 2 years of age twice a day and 5mls for an adult twice a day is usually the recommended dosage on the bottle but please do ask at your health food store /naturopath ( or your chemist if they do stock it).

Olive leaf extract

  • Another super easy trick is to get a face washer and put some 100% eucalyptus oil on it (make sure it’s 100% you don’t want the ethanol blends) and put it on the shower floor whilst you shower and the water/steam act as though you are doing a vapour inhaler (which let’s face it is hard to get little kids to do using the old bowl and towel method sitting down). I also put the same face washer in a bowl and re splash with the oil and cover with boiling water and put it in the boy’s rooms overnight (I found using a traditional vaporiser created too much dampness which leads to mould on windows etc which I do not want in a newly built house!!) (Please do not put this where children can access of course as its boiling water and it will burn them! Top of a cupboard etc out of little peoples reach is best)

Eucalyptus oil

  • One of our favourite products is Little Innocents Vapour rub which unlike Vicks & Vicks baby balm is a non toxic way to help your child breathe easier when they are sniffly  We rub it on the boy’s chests/backs, behind their ears and on the soles of their feet (then covered with socks).

Little Innoscents

  • Garlic is nature’s own natural antibiotic so put it wherever you can, load up dishes like soups, casseroles, bone broths etc with garlic or if you have fussy eaters even make up some homemade garlic bread with some yummy organic butter (or olive oil if dairy free) and smoother on the crushed garlic (spelt sourdough and put some oregano sprinkled on top with the olive oil/garlic mix is lovely too) Just a word of warning on raw garlic though, it can cause issues to those with sensitive digestive tracks so if this is the case cooked garlic in soup etc is your best option.

Garlic

  • Drinking plenty of fluids, lots of filtered water (not chilled), tea (with no dairy, avoid dairy for the duration you are unwell), bone broth are all great as well as clear soups to rehydrate your system.
  • Dairy free Probiotics, (we use a practitioner only brand everyday) and when sick we use a double dose to help up the good bacteria levels in the gut.
  • Raw honey is also another great natural bacteria fighter. The boys like a spoonful of raw honey off a spoon if they have a sore throat.  It is very soothing. (Not for children under 12 months)
  • A good nasal aspirator – or “the snot sucker” as it’s called in our house. These are brilliant for clearing a blocked nose.
  • Plenty of rest and if possible get out in the sunshine for a daily dose of Vitamin D! It does wonders for healing and your general mood which tends to be a little off when sick!

So here you have our remedies, I’d love to hear some of your own.

~

Kat

Disclaimer – I am not a Doctor or Naturopath etc these are my own personal remedies that I have chosen to use based on my research over the years and from various holistic sources. The above remedies are suitable for children over 2 years of age. For young children as their conditions can deteriorate quite quickly please seek medical advice if you have any concerns regarding their symptoms.

Slow cooker chicken stock/broth

I’ve had a few requests for how I make my chicken stock//broth so here it is below.

There is no one way to make stock some people add more things than what I have listed others less but this works well for us!

It’s also a great way to get the most out of your chicken as free range and organic chickens are expensive you might as well get everything you can out of them and reap the health benefits too!

Slow cooker chicken broth/stock

You will need:

1 x roasted chicken carcass (free range or organic preferably)

A couple of bay leaves

3-4 cloves of garlic

1 onion quartered

1 carrot roughly chopped

A tablespoon or so of Braggs Apple Cider vinegar with “Mother”

Salt & Pepper to season

Enough filtered water to cover all of the above in your slow cooker/crock pot.

Slow cooker chicken stock/broth

Throw everything in and simmer on low for 12 – 24 hours (the longer the better).

Cool stock quickly and skim off the top layer of “fat” and then store in glass jars in the fridge if using in the next couple of days or freeze in jars or zip lock bags if space is an issue.

Thaw in fridge overnight or a bowl of cold water if you need it in a hurry and add to risottos, soups instead of water and stock concentrate or stock cubes (which are full of nasties) or drink warmed up as a healing bone broth perfect when you’re feeling under the weather.

We use ours mostly in pumpkin soup and Quirky Cooking’s Coconut Lemon Chicken soup which the boys love.

 

Enjoy

Kat x

Baby steps to a healthier you!

I often have people message me asking what changes they should make in their diets to “get healthier”.

It’s no secret getting rid of pre made processed foods is essential if you are committed to eating clean and it’s not as difficult as many people think.

It takes a little more preparation but once you have done it for a week or two it will become second nature. When you start seeing results in the way you feel, being less lethargic, your skin clearer and brighter and your body functioning the way it should be and niggling little pains, bloating etc is gone you will think why on earth did I not do this earlier!

I found this great chart the other day from the Hungry for Change website and I think it’s a great quick tool for people looking at changing their eating habits to stick up on the fridge or pantry door and remind themselves there is always another option to processed food!

If you stock your fridge & pantry with good food options you will eat well!

These small changes are getting easier to make with organic produce becoming more readily available at your major supermarkets like Woolworths and Coles (for those who are time poor and cannot make it or do not have local farmers markets) – yes it’s a more expensive option but really can you put a price on your long term health? How many times have we been told chemicals and medications that were deemed safe for us 20-30 yrs ago only to be told now they where not as safe as they originally thought. I don’t want my children or myself for that fact used as guinea pigs thankyou!

Interestingly enough the markup on supermarket produce is quite high so when comparing their organic produce to their conventional produce with the new unit system 9 times out of 10 you are only paying a $1 – 2 more for the organic produce which for me is worth it. I personally try and support my local growers markets first and my bulk dried organic goods supplier but there is of course times I do have to pop into Coles or Woolies for something having two small children who eat like horses and our markets only being weekly.

I find Woolworths is far exceeding Coles these days with dried organic goods (sultanas, figs, nuts, seeds, organic flours etc) whilst Coles does better in the organic produce department (for eg: Coles is the only place I can personally find organic Corn which is the only way I will let my family consume corn due to the GMO factors).

In this post I want to focus on Wheat/gluten, sugar, caffeine and dairy considering the majority of western society addicted to these 4 items. There are some small fairly easy changes to make that your body will thank you for!

(I personally can put my hand up to say I was completely wheat addicted to the point I craved it daily but I am no more. Taking part in a 21 day wheat/gluten free diet I did in September (part of an elimination we all did with Lachlan) showed me how much i relied on bread especially in my diet, I no longer do and consume bread quite rarely now and if I do it’s organic spelt sourdough. It’s been very liberating actually and opened my eyes to so many other options!)

Wheat/gluten

Small changes to make – swap normal white bread or even your wholemeal/multi grain bread to a sourdough bread (spelt is easier to digest than regular wheat flour).

Pastas there are a whole range of gluten free rice, corn (check they are GMO free), buckwheat, millet pastas out there and of course rice, quinoa, and all the other great grains that are all gluten/wheat free meaning you will have less bloating and that heavy full feeling that you get after eating wheat based breads/pastas. We like to change it up (and yes we still consume normal pasta on occasions) but with all the other varieties available we get a good mix in our diets.

Sugars

For sugar use rapadura, honey, coconut sugars, pure maple syrup (stevia or agave if you wish – I personally am still a bit up in the air about these two) etc as opposed to over processed white sugar which is highly addictive.

Coffee/Caffeinated soft drinks

Now coffee I’m told is a different story, I can’t go from personal experience here as I’ve never consumed it – the smell alone makes me sick and I don’t consume Coca Cola or any other form of caffeinated drink purely because if it can clean a toilet I refuse to put it in my body so I cannot personally understand the addition people have to a drink.

(I have my mum to thank for this, soft drinks were banned from our home as kids and hey I turned out alright and wasn’t deprived nor do I have a mouthful of fillings!). Thanks Mum!

Anyway back to the coffee/caffeinated soft drinks – I’m sure it will be hard but cutting back for starters will do you wonders in the long run, so if you are a 2, 3, 4 cup a day coffee drinker take baby steps and replace 1 coffee with some tea or water or a juice/coconut water based smoothie and keep going from there. Your body will thank you!

Dairy

We as Western society consume far too much dairy. I’ve never been a milk drinker and neither have my children, (regardless the fact that Lachlan’s has a dairy allergy, Riley my eldest never drank milk after he weaned from breastmilk and he is a thriving 4 year old who has never had an ear infection either. It’s well documented that dairy consumption leads to many ENT issues and in  my opinion many children have had unnecessary surgeries when trialling a dairy free diet could have been one of the steps taken to see if the reoccurring infections could be eradicated – surgery should be the last option we are taking.

I personally don’t believe drinking milk is essential it’s what we have been “taught”  to believe by the dairy industry. It’s also no secret that a very large percentage of Western society is actually to some degree lactose intolerant and don’t even know it.

I personally believe there are far too many children out there filling up on milk and not eating real foods of which their bodies need the nutrients, vitamins and proteins from simply because they are having huge amounts of milk each day giving their tummies a full feeling. I know if I had 500mls (the average a child would drink in my research 2 glasses/bottles a day roughly) I wouldn’t be all that hungry for food either! So many people look at me in shock and ask but where are they going to get their calcium from? and when I start to give them options they look at me stunned as they never knew you could get calcium from any other source other than dairy products.

So if you must consume milk switch to organic milk (once again very easy to find in supermarkets these days) or if you are lucky enough to have “raw” milk available to you then this is a better option. There are many other types of milks once again now more readily available goat’s milk , sheep’s milk  (harder to get) or you can do as we do and not consume any animal milk and have rice, oat and almond milks which are a great alternative. You can substitute creams for coconut milks in cooking and “ice creams” (we make our Fruity dreams in the Thermomix using coconut cream or milk) and use coconut milk /cream in many recipes giving the food a nice taste which kids love.

We still use cheese in our house (a habit I will never break for my husband) and that’s fine, I try and buy organic cheeses or the least processed cheese I can find. For me cheese hasn’t really been all that hard to give up (I went dairy free (amongst other things) to breastfeed Lachlan as a baby so I don’t really “miss” these things now. I will have cheese maybe once a week if I do a pizza and use only a little. Riley still consumes cheese a few times a week but once again he could go without it one week and not worry at all.

Yoghurt is a little harder to give up I understand (especially in my morning CADA) but we now buy Organic (sometimes Biodynamic organic) yoghurts and use them sparingly. Once again these are becoming so much easier to find in supermarkets in fact Woolworths has 4 brands including their own Macro brand in the organic range in the majority of stores. They are generally $1-2 more than the non organic yoghurts.

Take time to have a closer look at this chart and see what small changes you can make to your diet to make it that much better for you.

Healthy food comparison chart

For us the picture below is how our weekly shop (from the farmers markets) starts and then we build from here with grains, pastas, proteins (animal and legumes).

Produce

If your home is full of wonderful produce like this you will eat it – I promise!

Especially if you take the time to chop up a few carrots (bonus of buying organic – no peeling!) and some cucumbers, baby tomatoes etc and have them in the fridge for snacks served on their own or with a homemade dip (which can be as simple as a guacamole – (avocado, lemon juice and some seasoning and mash not really that hard is it!)

So try it, one thing a week and you will start to see a difference in the way you feel and look.

Remember BABY STEPS!

~ Kat

Ps. My little disclaimer –  I’m not a Dr, a dietitian, nutritionist etc and these are my personal opinions and findings from many years of research from reading medical journals, investigating natural therapies, and questioning every Dr that I have ever dealt with. Just because someone is in the medical profession doesn’t mean they know what’s best for you!
Once again I have my mum to thank for this as my father had some health issues whilst I was growing up and a complete change in our diet (which was a very healthy Mediterranean diet to start with) saw my Dad healed and never to touch another medication again when all the Dr’s were trying to give him drugs for conditions he didn’t even have. I personally question and research everything especially when I have a “health professional” telling me I should be using steroids and drugs on my child daily when in reality I have no need to and am controlling it with diet and the assistance of probiotics and vitamins.