Christmas Menu

AIP low fodmap gluten free sugar free christmas

Christmas is our favourite time of year – spending time with family, baking, decorating and of course eating! So whilst Christmas is a time to celebrate and enjoy ourselves, we don’t really have the option to gorge on gluten based nibbles and sugar-laden dessert – because feeling bloated or constantly running in-and-out of the toilet isn’t a fun way to enjoy an office Christmas party or even the big event itself! Not to mention constantly trying to explain to everyone why you’re not eating certain dishes on the menu (and the story about your diet probably bores them more than Uncle Fred’s stories about which roads his friend’s brother’s cousin uses to get to work in the mornings…ah families at Christmas).

Because we still want to be able to enjoy Christmas, we have written the Healed by Bacon AIP Friendly Christmas Menu eBook. All of the recipes in our eBook are designed to help you still eat the foods that remind you of Christmas, but won’t cause reactions or inflammation. Every recipe is AIP friendly, low FODMAP, gluten free, low sugar and low carb.

The Healed by Bacon AIP Friendly Christmas Menu also contains only recipes that are quick and easy to cook – because we know how time poor you can be during the silly season. A number of the recipes, such as the pumpkin spiced Christmas pudding and the whipped coconut cream can be made ahead, leaving you more time to entertain your guests…or they can be made on the day in order to avoid your guests!

As a gift for supporting the Healed by Bacon blog, we are giving away the AIP Friendly Christmas Menu eBook to our followers. If you haven’t received your copy yet, send us an email. If you don’t follow Healed by Bacon but will still like a copy, send us an email with the subject line Christmas!!! and we reply with the pricing information.

We hope that the Healed by Bacon AIP Friendly Christmas Menu will help take some of the stress out of this time of year and let you enjoy Christmas!

anti inflammatory healthy christmas menu

 

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Relax with this one easy exercise

Deep-Breath-Relax

It’s that time of year again – Christmas! And while it can be a magical time of year filled with excitement, family and anticipation for what Santa might bring, it can also be a time of stress.

It’s less than a month until Christmas; how are you feeling? Do you feel like you’re running out of time? You still haven’t organised the dinner menu for the big day? You haven’t had a chance to buy everyone’s gifts yet? Has your ‘favourite’ (cue sarcasm) uncle just told you his extended family will also be coming to yours for lunch? Do you just feel like there is no time for you?

Did you know, stress has been linked to a myriad of health issues, including insomnia, depression, high blood pressure and mild cognitive impairment (MCI – a precursor to Alzheimer’s)?

Unfortunately, our typical way of relaxing (e.g. zoning out in front of the TV or tucking into a big bowl of comfort food – pasta, chocolate or ice-cream? or maybe all three anyone?) is doing little to reduce the damaging effects of stress.

What really helps – and only needs to take 5 mins – are deep breathing exercises. And bonus: it’s free and can be done anywhere, anytime!

Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting a state of calmness. Breathing techniques help you feel connected to your body—bringing your awareness away from the worries in your head, quieting your mind and letting you focus on the now.

So how do you relax through deep breathing?

Visualisation combined with deep breathing is a powerful tool to halt stress in its track. You can do this exercise anywhere, but we really like to do it laying down (and, maybe a little bit over the top, but with our feet facing in the direction of a window or door – read on to see why). release stress breathing

(1) To start, imagine all of the tension in your shoulders floating away.

(2) Now imagine two holes in the soles – one in each.

(3) Take a deep breath. As you do so, visualize hot air flowing through these holes moving slowly up your legs, through your abdomen and filling your lungs.

(4) As the hot air moves through your body, relax each muscle it ‘touches’ (e.g. as you visual the air moving up through your shins, visualise your calf muscles relaxing).

(5) Now, as you exhale, reverse the flow of the hot hair – you should be visualising the hot air moving down through your body and exiting (taking with it the tension in your body) the holes in the soles of your feet (and, if like us, you have your feet facing a window or door, you can take it a step further and imagine the tension and stress flowing out of the window or door).

The best part about this exercise is that you can do it anytime you feel like you need to relax and calm down…even in the middle of that shopping mall as you rush around buying last minute gifts (because, let’s face it, everyone else is too stressed also trying to buy those last minute gifts that they won’t even notice).

 

 

Homemade Mayo

Homemade Mayo Recipe

Mayonnaise is one of those things that just makes everything taste better; chicken, bacon, eggs, veggies, you name it, it tastes better with mayo!

Unfortunately, due to the large scale production and subsidization of seed oils, we are hard pressed to find mayonnaise which doesn’t contain inflammatory seed oils. Even the ‘Olive Oil’ and ‘Whole Egg’ varieties are predominantly made with seed oils!

However, you can have your mayo and eat it too by making it yourself! This recipe will take you 10 minutes tops (even less if you use an electric beater) and I guarantee, once you make mayo yourself, you will never look back!

Oh just a quick note before you begin; this mayo is slightly runnier than commercial varieties but don’t be alarmed by this as store-bought mayo’s use industrial thickeners to provide the thicker texture.

Mayo

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Meal Prep Monday

Sticking to a paleo/AIP diet when you are busy with work, family and anything else you are trying to balance, can be difficult. That’s where planning ahead is so important.

When you are first starting out, it is especially important to plan your meals. By prepping your meals ahead of time, you remove all temptation to choose the most convenient meal or snack at hand. With meal prep you have your meals ready at hand, all measured out so hunger (or boredom, or any other emotional eating control) will not dictate what goes into your body. mealprepmonday Meal prepping can seem like a daunting task – how are you going to cook all your food for 7 days, in one afternoon? But follow these simple steps and you will become a meal prepping pro!

  1. Plan – What are you going to eat at each meal?

Spend some time researching paleo recipes (why not try some of our recipes?) and work out what you will want to eat. But make sure you…

  1. Keep it simple

Make sure the meals you choose are both tasty and easy to prep. Trust us, you won’t feel like prepping some crazy Adriano Zumbo, 8 page recipe each week. We like to stick to the formula: Meal = Protein + Fat + Veg. Choose a protein (brisket, steak, chicken, pork ribs), add a fat (coconut oil, butter, lard, pork crackling) and add some veg.

  1. Stick to your shopping list

Once you have worked out what meals you will be prepping, go shopping – but only buy the ingredients you need for your meals! Don’t be tempted by ‘convenient’ snacks (as you continue on your healing path, you will find these temptations will no longer tempt you).

  1. Prep!

Lay out your Tupperware (make sure they are BPA free) for each meal and start prepping. Cook your protein option in your fat option (unless it is pork crackling, then just cook the pork crackling!), let it cool and then add it to your containers. If you a prepping a long time ahead (sometimes we will cook a month’s worth of protein options), work out what needs to be frozen and whether or not your veg option could be frozen too. Otherwise, add your veg option to your protein and fat options and viola, your meals are prepped!

Check out our recipes for some ideas to get you started – happy prepping!

Why I Love…MCT Oil

Fat is probably the most important nutrient for weight loss, healthy cholesterol, brain function and overall health!

Including more healthy fat in your diet is a great start to improving your health.

However, some people find it difficult to increase the amount of fat they’re eating a day (if you’re following a keto diet, fat should make up 60% to 75% of your diet).

That’s where MCT oil comes in.

MCT oil is oil made up of Medium Chain Triglycerides. Medium Chain Triglycerides are healthy, easily digestible fats that are metabolized in our liver (as opposed to other foods which are metabolized through digestion). There are 4 types of MCTs and the shorter the chain of carbon molecules in them, the faster the transformation to ketones for energy.

Here are 5 reasons why you should incorporate MCT oil into your diet.Why I love MCT Oil1

1. Hormone Support
If you’ve read our posts on fat and cholesterol you will know that fat is required for the production and balance of hormones. As MCT oil is so easily metabolised and used by the body, it can assist with maintaining a healthy level of hormones in our body.

2. Energy
MCT oil is metabolised in our liver which means they are absorbed faster and used by the body quicker (as they don’t need to be processed through our digestive system). MCT oils help with the production of ketones (read our Keto 101 post here). When we convert fat into ketones, our body has access to a more stable energy source. But also, when we use this as energy, it doesn’t create the same blood sugar and insulin spike as when we use carbs as energy.

3. Healthy Immune System
Healthy fats are required for proper immune function. The antiviral and antibacterial properties of MCT oil make it a great support for a healthy immune system.

4. Gut Health Support
MCT oil helps to give our digestive system a break because they are easily metabolised by our body. MCTs also have antibacterial properties which can help to balance gut bacteria. Just be careful with how much you take…take too much and you could be running to the toilet!!

5. Brain Health
MCT oil provides significant neurological benefits. Consumption of MCTs can delay brain aging by providing easily accessible energy to repair brain cell damage, increasing mental performance and slowing the aging of brain cells.

Why I Love…Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (a.k.a ACV) – cook with it, drink it, even clean with it…but whatever you do, make sure ACV is a staple in your pantry.

ACV has numerous benefits, not only for those of us suffering from AI diseases, but also for overall health.ACV

However, it is important that you use organic ACV in its most raw form. Only raw organic ACV has the “mother of vinegar” in it. The “mother” is made up of living nutrients and bacteria and is what makes ACV so beneficial for our health. You will know if your ACV has the “mother” in it as you will actually see it settled at the bottom.

Here at Healed by Bacon we like to use Bragg’s ACV. We even keep a bottle of it on our desk at work and add a splash of it to our water and meals (despite weird looks from colleagues!).

But what does ACV actually do? Well…

  1. ACV aids in digestion

Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s and other AI diseases can cause low stomach acid, making it hard to fully digest the food we eat (you’ll know if you are suffering from this – think bloating, gas and general IBS symptoms). ACV can help with the digestive process and restore the acid/alkaline balance.

Take one teaspoon of ACV with water about half an hour before each meal.

  1. ACV can be used as a chemical free cleaner

It is important when healing from an illness to be aware of what chemicals you are coming in contact with. Many household cleaners are filled with chemicals that we really shouldn’t be using on a day-to-day basis (that eye-watering feeling when you use bleach to clean the toilet – probably not optimal for our health, right?). The main stuff in vinegar is acetic acid and can kill bacteria and/or prevent them from multiplying and reaching harmful levels. ACV actually has a history of use as a disinfectant and natural preservative.

Use one part vinegar to two parts water, plus a few drops of tea tree oil for its antibacterial qualities as an all-purpose cleaner.

  1. ACV can be used as a chemical free toothpaste

Ok, so this one might be a tad extreme for some, but when your body is extremely sensitive it is important to remove as many toxins as possible. Along with its antibacterial properties, ACV can help remove stains and residue.

To make a chemical free toothpaste, mix one part ACV with two parts coconut oil.

  1. ACV can help with the detox process

With is antibacterial and pH balancing properties, ACV can help in the detox process. Drinking ACV with warm water, first thing in the morning (before you eat or drink anything) can help remove excess toxins and sludge and in turn, improve the immune system.

Add 2 tablespoons of ACV to 250 mL of warm water and drink.

  1. ACV can aid in weight loss

ACV can improve insulin sensitivity and help to lower blood sugar responses after meals. Since ACV lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, it makes sense that it could help with weight loss. Quite a few human studies show that ACV can increase satiety, help you eat fewer calories and even lead to actual weight lost on the scale. In these studies, those who consumed ACV ate 200-275 fewer calories for the rest of the day.

To help with satiety you can, add 1 tablespoon of ACV to water before each meal, use as a salad dressing or even add it to stocks, stews and marinades.

 

ACV has quite a number more benefits that what we have covered in this blog post including improved immunity, helping to eliminate skin impurities and help in dealing with muscle fatigue.

However, just make sure you do not drink ACV straight as, when it has not been diluted, it can sometimes burn your oesophagus!

Hypothyroidism and Low Stomach Acid

Stomach acid – let’s face it, its not really something you give much thought to. Yet stomach acid is actually one of the most important aspects of our digestive system.

Stomach acid (or gastric acid) is made by the cells that line our stomachs, on demand when we eat. Adequate levels of stomach acid are required to absorb the nutrients in the foods we eat and to protect our stomach from bad bacteria and becoming inflamed.

You know how hypothyroidism can dry out your skin, hair and nails? Well hypothyroidism can also ‘dry out’ our stomach acid.

Hypothyroidism can affect both the ability and the amount of gastric juice producing cells in our stomach. Consequently, our bodies are not able to effectively absorb all of the nutrients in our food, leading to malabsorption. In particular, low stomach acid and hypothyroidism can result in non-optimal levels of iron, vitamin D and B12.

As with all autoimmune diseases, hypothyroidism can be characterised by inflammation. Low levels of stomach acid means the body can’t protect itself against bad forms of bacteria which can cause inflammation in our stomach.

When our stomachs become inflamed from not enough stomach acid, food can just sit in there, without being digested properly. And when food isn’t digested properly we get those bloated, gassy and funny poo symptoms!

How do I know if I have low stomach acid?

Acid reflux, indigestion and heart burn – all symptoms of high levels of stomach acid right? Nope, wrong! It is actually low levels of stomach acid that cause these issues!

Unfortunately, many GPs put us on medications that further suppress stomach acid, making the condition even worse.

Ok, so how do I treat low stomach acid?

When you Google “low stomach acid and hypothyroidism” many sites say the best way to improve your levels of stomach acid is to heal your hypothyroidism – but as we know all too well, that’s easier said than done!

Correcting cortisol, aldosterone and thyroid hormone levels are important in getting stomach acid back to normal levels. However this can be a tricky process and in the interim we need to aid digestion to help heal.

Home remedies can also assist in the process of returning our stomach acid back to optimal levels. Here at Healed by Bacon we like to use apple cider vinegar – we mix one tablespoon of unfiltered, unpasteurised and unheated apple cider vinegar (we like to use Braggs) with a cup of water, about 10 minutes before a meal. We also like to use a probiotic on an empty stomach, morning or night.

But just be aware – (1) don’t drink apple cider vinegar by itself as it can burn your oesophagus, (2) if you have high levels of potassium it can be more productive to use lemon juice in water instead and (3) if you suffer from peptic ulcers it is important to treat that first.

The Baking Soda Test – A simple, homemade test for low stomach acid

This is a quick and easy test that you can do in the comfort of your own home, to see if your stomach acid levels are below optimal. But remember, it is just an indication.

  1. After you wake, before eating or drinking, mix 1/4 tsp of baking soda in a cup of water and drink.
  2. Take note to see if you burp within the next 2-3 minutes.
  3. If you don’t burp – you have low stomach acid (as optimal levels of stomach acid will react with the baking soda to form carbon dioxide gas).
  4. Repeat this for the next couple of days, to make sure your reaction was not a once off.

Homemade Jerky

Homemade Jerky Recipe

I absolutely love jerky; it’s a delicious high protein, low carb, portable snack that doesn’t require an icepack when you take it for lunch! If you are like me and love jerky, you will have realized it’s extremely hard to find a good quality jerky that doesn’t contain sugars or seed oils or cost you and arm and a leg!

Given jerky is a very lean source of protein, I love to eat mine dipped in homemade mayo to ensure I’m getting enough fats in! Fortunately I have come up with this recipe that takes around 10 minutes to prepare then the dehydrator does all the work for you!

f you don’t have a dehydrator, don’t fret, you can use a conventional oven on the same temperature and it works just fine!

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