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!

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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!

How to make homemade jerky Continue reading

Paleo Breakfast Ideas

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day and I absolutely love having something delicious after my morning workout. I normally have the same thing every week day then treat myself to something extra indulgent (and often more timely) on the weekend.

In case you’re sick of plain old bacon and eggs each day (I don’t know how people can tire of bacon but that’s just me), here are our top 10 favourite paleo breakfast ideas.

You will notice that most of these ideas are savoury; this is because it is best to avoid fruits in the morning given their effect on blood sugar and electrolyte imbalance.

Paleo_Breakfast_Ideas

Bacon and Egg Cupcakes
Grease a muffin hole with coconut oil and line with bacon (you can make your own using our recipe here). Crack in an egg, sprinkle with chives and bake in the oven until the egg is cooked.

Breakfast Pizza
Heat a pan over medium and add in a knob of coconut oil or lard. Whisk a few eggs and add to the pan. Wait a few minutes for the eggs to set then add any toppings you like (I love capsicum, tomato, crispy bacon and cooked chicken). Place under the grill for a few minutes until it has puffed up a bit and serve with fresh rocket.

Pork Breakfast Sausage
Combine organic, grass fed pork mince, some chopped lard, salt and fennel in a bowl. Mix with hands until well combined then form into little sausages. Pan fry in coconut oil or lard until golden and cooked through.

Eggs and ‘Soldiers’
Halve some pre-cooked pork breakfast sausages and pan-fry in coconut oil or lard until crispy all over. Boil some eggs for 4-5 minutes (4 minutes if you like runny yolk, 5 if you like slightly harder) and serve with the crispy sausages. I love to spread the runny yolk on the crispy sausage or dunk the sausage in like a vegemite soldier!

paleo-protein-packed-scotch-eggs

Homemade Scotch Eggs
Grease a muffin hole with coconut oil or lard and press some pork mix from the homemade breakfast sausages in to form a pastry. Crack in an egg and bake until the mince and egg is cooked. You can also top with some crispy bacon; yum! Here’s our fancy homemade scotch egg recipe.

‘Sweet’ Omelette
Whisk a few eggs with coconut cream, cinnamon and vanilla beans and cook in a pan with some coconut oil. Once the bottom is cooked, place under the grill for a few minutes until puffy. Top with an extra sprinkle of cinnamon and some whipped coconut cream or coconut butter.

Bacon Wrapped Meatballs
Combine organic, grass fed pork, beef or chicken mince with chopped lard and salt. Mix until well combined and form into small meatballs (read our full meatball recipe here). Wrap each meatball in a piece of bacon and bake until the bacon is crispy and the mince is cooked through.

Meat Floss
This is what I have for brekky most days! -Place a good heap of slow-cooked meat (I use 150-200g) in a hot pan with 1-2Tbs of coconut oil; cook until crispy and sprinkle with Celtic Sea Salt, pepper, chilli and a pinch of truffle salt.

Brekky Burger
Combine organic, grass fed beef mine with chopped lard, salt, pepper and a splash of coconut aminos or coconut barbecue sauce. Form into a patty shape and pan-fry in coconut oil or lard until cooked through. Serve in a lettuce leaf with tomato, avocado and crispy bacon.

Bacon Devilled Eggs
Boil a few eggs for 5 minutes or until hard boiled. Peel and remove yolk. Place yolks in a bowl with 1-2 teaspoons of homemade mayo and chives then mix to combine. Scoop (or pipe if you’re feeling fancy) the yolk mix back into the egg whites and top with crispy bacon, extra chives and a pinch of truffle salt.

I hope this gives you a few ideas for the week and doesn’t leave you craving paleo pancakes, paleo muesli or paleo bread (or any other processed food product that’s been paleo-ified)!

How to detox from a mould sensitivity

Removal of or a reduction in your exposure to mould is the first step to recovery. The majority of our mould exposure comes from poor indoor air quality, with exposure to water-damaged indoor environments being the largest contributor.

Here are some things you can do to minimise your indoor mould exposure:

  • Fix leaks as soon as possible.
  • Dry any damp materials affected by leaks as soon as possible.
  • Get rid of any carpets, tiles and any other absorbent or porous materials if they become mouldy.
  • Scrub mould off hard surfaces and make sure to dry the area completely.
  • Don’t paint over or cover up mouldy surfaces.
  • Ensure you have proper ventilation – avoid areas that are “stuffy”.
  • Keep air conditioning drip pans clean.
  • Keep indoor humidity between 30 and 50 percent.
  • Use air filters and purifiers/sanitizers.
  • Ensure the ground slopes away from building foundations, so that water does not enter or collect around the foundations.

Once you have improved your indoor environment, you can start to remove the toxins that have accumulated in your body.

Steps you can take to detox include:

  • Take high quality supplements that promote detoxification such as benzene clay, activated charcoal, cholestyramine powder and other binders that bind internal mycotoxins.
  • Supplement with glutathione (which is often depleted in toxin-related illnesses).
  • Test and treat for candida overgrowth –mould can lead to candida overgrowth.
  • Supplement with vitamin B12, methyl-folate, B6 and riboflavin to support methylation.
  • Avoid common mycotoxin containing foods.
  • Use infrared saunas.

If you’re one of the 28% of people in the world who have a genetic susceptibility to mould, you may be unable to remove the toxins that have accumulated in your body. Unfortunately, this means that you can help to stop the build-up of these toxins in your body, but you will have difficulty removing them.

In our next article, we’ll talk about mouldy foods.

Paleo Packed Lunches

Paleo lunches can be haaard; you’re either stuck eating the same thing at your desk every day or you begin to be tempted by the ol’ lunch classic, the sandwich. Well I’m here to help you out!

mealprepmonday

I’ve put together this post so you’re equipped with 10 paleo packed lunch ideas so you don’t have to keep eating that old chicken salad you’ve been having for the past month!

Please note that some of these recipes do require slightly more time than a vegemite sandwich, so I like to do a big meat cook up on the weekend and freeze individual portions so that I can just defrost them the night before and pack them with some other bits and pieces for lunch! (Read our tips on meal prepping here).

Most of these lunches are actually based on leftovers with a bit of tweaking (read: lots of homemade mayo added to them) to make them different.

Picky Paleo Platter
Grab a BPA free lunch box with lots of compartments and add a different snack to each compartment. I love a few boiled eggs (read our post on how to choose eggs here), prosciutto or ham, cherry tomatoes, homemade pickles, olives, homemade mayo and some baby cos lettuce leaves. That way you can eat them all together or just snack on each ingredient!

Deconstructed Burger Bowl
Shredded iceberg lettuce leaves with cherry tomatoes, sliced beetroot, homemade pickles, a chopped hard boiled egg and a leftover, homemade beef patty all thrown together. You can make it taste even better by taking a small container of homemade mayo and pouring that all over before you eat!

Crispy Bacon, Avo and Mayo
This is an absolutely delicious lunch and great for when you need a high fat day after a few unhealthy meals. Crisp up some bacon (make your own with our recipe) and add to a lunch box with ½ to a whole avo, a few cherry tomatoes and a dollop of homemade mayo. If you want you can also add some baby cos lettuce leaves or you can just have the delicious fattiness!

Chicken Omelette
Believe it or not, omelettes actually taste really good when they’re cold! If I’m in a real rush, I will double the quantity I’m making for breakfast and have half for brekky and take the other half to eat cold at lunch. Add some coconut oil and cooked chicken to a pan to warm through. Then add some whisked eggs with a dollop of cream and cook to make an omelette (or scrambled egg if you’re anything like me). Let it cool and add to a BPA free lunch box with some cherry tomatoes, rocket and, you guessed it, homemade mayo!

Paleo Packed Lunch Ideas

Jerky and Mayo
A bit like the first lunch; get a BPA free lunch box with lots of different compartments. Add homemade jerky to one, some carrot sticks to another and lots of homemade mayo to another. Eat like a dip platter!

Hot Dogs (But not as you know them)
Leftover homemade pork sausages (or bought if you can find preservative free, pasture raised and low carb sausages from a butcher) wrapped in prosciutto and then wrapped again in zucchini ribbons. Feel free to dunk in homemade mayo!

All Day Paleo Brekky
Brekky for lunch, why not! I also have this for brinner (breakfast for dinner). Boiled eggs, crisped up bacon, avocado, cherry tomatoes, pork sausage (homemade or bought) and a handful of rocket leaves.

No-Potato Salad
Chop hard boiled eggs and mix with finely sliced crispy bacon, homemade mayo and chopped chives. Add to a BPA free container and serve spooned into baby cos lettuce leaves and avocado.

Bone Broth with Slow Cooked Meat
This is absolutely delicious on a cold, winter’s day! Add hot bone broth to a large flask and stir through some slow cooked meat (we use the meat from the bones) and a spoonful or lard or coconut oil. That’s it!

Leftover Eggy Muffins
Delicious eaten cold with a crunchy green salad or even just a few veggie sticks will do the trick!

 

Basically, if all else fails, crisp up some bacon, hard boil some eggs and eat with some fresh veggies. In the words of Sergei the Meerkat, simples!

Mould sensitivity – Do you suffer from it?

This post is the second instalment in our mould toxicity series, read the first post here.

The problem with determining if you suffer from mould sensitivity is the fact that its symptoms are often similar to those of autoimmune diseases. Often, its things like mould exposure that trigger inflammation in the body, worsening autoimmune diseases.

The Environmental Health Center – Dallas has created a checklist to determine if you have been exposed to mould and suffer from mould sensitivity. This checklist includes:

• Do musty odours bother you?
• Have you worked or lived in a building where the air vents were discoloured?
• Have you noticed water damage or discoloration on ceilings or elsewhere?
• Has your home been flooded?
• Have you had leaks in the roof?
• Do you experience shortness of breath?
• Do you experience recurring sinus infections?
• Do you experience recurring bronchial infections and coughing?
• Do you have flu-like symptoms?
• Do you notice an increase of symptoms on rainy days?
• Do you have frequent headaches?
• Are you fatigued and have a skin rash?

If you answered yes to these questions, there’s a high chance of mould toxicity. In our next post, we cover the actions you can take to reduce your mould exposure. If after this, you are still suffering and your symptoms have not improved, there are a number of lab tests that can be done. Surviving Mould has a list of these tests.

9 Reasons to Eat More Fat

Fat; what sort of chance does it have when it’s both the name of a macronutrient and a term to describe the nation’s ever increasing waistlines. Ever since we’ve been old enough to understand, we’ve been told by nutritional ‘experts’ and dietitians to decrease our fat intake (especially the dreaded saturated fat) and replace these fats with ‘heart healthy’ wholegrains, because, well, fat makes us fat. (Read the truth about fat and the food pyramid here).

Forget everything you know about fat!

In this post, we’re going to show you why you should be eating more saturated fat.

The Truth About Fat

1. Curb sugar cravings
Good quality saturated fat is more filling than carbs. Constant hunger, or cravings, is our body’s way of telling us that it is not being fed correctly. Consuming more saturated fat can help to fuel your body properly and provide you with an instant source of energy that, unlike sugar, won’t cause a spike in insulin and then an energy crash.

2. Reduce insulin spikes
Fat has the lowest impact on insulin level of all the macronutrients. Your body releases insulin in response to high blood sugar. When the body is continually required to do this, it can burn out, resulting in diabetes. Eating higher fat diets reduce the amount of insulin your pancreas has to pump out.

3. Control blood glucose levels
Fat helps to control your blood glucose level by slowing the absorption of carbs.

4. Helps with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins
Hard to believe, I know, but fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E and K need fat to be absorbed! Following a low fat diet reduces our ability to absorb these key vitamins.

5. Keeps you feeling fuller for longer
Fat is the most energy dense macronutrient. And because fat is filling, high-fat dieters often aren’t left feeling hungry (or grumpy like low-fat diets). On a high fat diet, appetite tends to be suppressed and dieters end up eating fewer calories without even trying.

detox copper eat meat

6. Weight loss
When you reduce your carb intake and replace it with fat, your body goes into a metabolic state called ketosis. In ketosis, instead of using your glucose stores for energy, your body taps into its fats stores and burns those for energy instead. Studies have shown that people on low-carb/high-fat diets tend to lose more weight (and faster), than people on low-fat diets.

7. Reduce inflammation
When our bodies are placed under chronic stress from things such as elevated blood glucose levels, high triglycerides, low HDL levels, high blood pressure and insulin resistance, our bodies can’t react with a proper immune system response. This ultimately leads to inflammation in our body. A number of studies have shown that diets high in refined carbohydrates can lead to oxidative stress and high levels of inflammation.

8. Improves brain function
our brains are made up of 60% saturated fat and 25% of our cholesterol is found in our brain. Following low-fat diets that restrict saturated fat consumption and focus on lowering cholesterol starves our brains of the nutrients it needs to function. Saturated fat helps to form myelin, the substance that helps to connect brain cells to each other. Low-fat diets literally starve your brain!

9. Balance hormones
Saturated fat is an essential building block for a variety of hormones in our body. Hormones have a much larger impact on us than we give them credit for. In fact, hormones control all the metabolic processes in our body. The fat in our body is saturated fat, with only 3% of our fat made up of other types. This ratio is critical for our health. The more man-made chemical fats (such as canola and soybean oil) we eat, the more this ratio gets out of whack. The further this ratio gets imbalanced, the more our endocrine system is impacted and the further hormonal disturbances are exacerbated.

Read our post Keto Diet 101 for how to include more fat in your diet.