The ups and downs of living with chronic pain…

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and there are a good few reasons why. I live, like we all do, day to day, ‘getting on with it’ but sometimes the pain just gets the better of me. It wipes me out and leaves me feeling utterly unable to function. Chronic Migraines are totally debilitating, they are the enemy and I despise them.

The hard part is never really knowing when one might sneak up on me. This weekend we went to see The Stone Roses, I woke up so exited and full of beans, but by 1 o’clock I could feel a twinge in my right eye. I tried to ignore it, hoping it would just go away but alas, no. I was determined to watch the band, so we did. I managed most of the gig but the pain was unbearable and we had to leave early. It’s times like those that really get to me. I mean, why did I have to get another migraine??

I’m angry, can you tell………

At least I’m seeing a neurologist soon……well I say that, but the waiting time is 3 months and even then you have to travel to a hospital in Timbuktu to be seen! I’m not saying I have some inexplicable illness, but wouldn’t mind ruling a few things out.

We will see and in the meantime, like anyone living with chronic pain, I will nobly pull myself together and give a good smile and chat to those I meet.


It’s not all bad though, my love of creative cooking was born from these heads of mine. Forever in pursuit of answers, I’ve loved researching, creating and eating of course, foods that help prevent migraines. And in doing so, have discovered a love affair with food.


Raw salted caramel and chocolate slices

Cutting out refined sugar was a revelation. No longer do I have blood sugar spikes and my energy levels are far better than they’ve ever been. Of course, good healthy fats have a lot to do with that too. I always eat fat and protein first thing now. Before I would eat fruit thinking it was a healthy option and don’t get me wrong, fruit is fab in small doses but definitely not something to be eaten first thing. Even natural sugars can spike blood sugar levels, leaving your body fighting to keep up with itself all day. Which would explain low energy and hyperglycaemia. Whereas healthy fats and protein keeps your body going at a regular pace.


Herby broccoli rice and stuffed peppersĀ 


So not much of a blog but a rant. Sometimes we really do need to though, don’t you think? The Summer Sun and spending heady (pardon the pun) evenings down the beach has been such a help, so let’s rejoice in that for now šŸ™‚


I’d be so happy to hear from any other sufferers out there. Feel free to comment or message me.

Lots of love to you all cxxx

Hot and spicy courgetti noodles in a Thai style broth….


This recipe went down a treat, with chilli heat and crunchy vegetables, it makes for the perfect lunch or dinner. Is low in carbs, super filling and totally delicious šŸ˜‹

IngredientsĀ 

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 large red onion (roughly chopped)

1 large red pepper (sliced)

1 cup broccoli (break into small flourettes)

1 1/2 cups mushrooms (cut in half)

1 large or 2 small courgettes ( I make them into ribbons by using a peeler length ways)

2 tsp hot chilli powder

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 cup of tamari (gluten free soy sauce)

1/4 pint of water

1 cup of chopped coriander

1 tsp chilli flakes to garnish

Method

Using a wok, add your coconut oil and onion and fry for a couple of minutes. Add all your other vegetables (apart from the courgette)and spices and fry off for about 5 minutes. Add the tamari and coriander and stir for about 2 minutes. Then add your courgette ribbons and water. Summer for about 10/15 minutes. Keep tasting. I do sometimes add a bit more spice or chilli heat.


Serve In a bowl and garnish with fresh coriander and chilli flakes.
Happy Monday to you all šŸ™‚



Lemon, coconut & almond protein balls…..

So I tried a variation on these last week, thanks to my friend and was instantly taken by how light and zesty they tasted. A really nice change from the usual cacao protein balls I make.

They are so simple to make and are packed full with flavour and nutritional goodness. Lots of so-called power bars or energy bites on the market, are unfortunately loaded with sugar and gluten, to name but a few ingredients. They may well contain protein but are packed out with things like maltodextrin, a filler known to spike blood sugars because of its high glycemic index, or fructose, another ingredient which is not great for our bodies. Given that the only organ in our bodies to utilise it, and not in a good way, is the liver. Over eating of fructose can cause the liver to overload, turning the fructose into fat. Always check the ingredients but better still, just make your own protein bars.

So to my balls………

IngredientsĀ 

1 cup ground almonds

Grated rind of 1 lemon/ Orange works too

7 medjool dates

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 1/2 tbsp dedicated coconut

Pinch of salt

MethodĀ 

Pop all of your ingredients into a blender and mix for about 15 seconds or until the mixture holds together.

Roll into balls and then pop in the freezer.


No nasties, just pure protein from the almonds and chia seeds and natural sugars from the dates. A seriously great choice of snack for energy and nutritional value.

Happy Tuesday all xxx

The benefits of spicing up your life!Ā 

Tomato & coriander curry on cumin, chilli and cinnamon infused broc-cauli rice

I love spice. The hotter the better actually, but not at the expense of taste. I spent a few months in India about 10 Years ago and was totally blown away by the use of wonderfully colourful, natural ingredients and how spice was used to enhance The dishes. Having only ever eaten Indian food in the UK, I realised just how unauthentic it tasted and how it nearly always gave me a bad tummy. In India everything tasted so fresh, full of flavour and was incredibly cleansing.


Curried roasted cauliflower & chilli hot tomato chutneyĀ 

Since finding alternatives to pasta, rice and potatoes, I’ve definitely rediscovered my love of herbs and spices, from jazzing up Swede, to infusing cauliflower rice. You can never have too much flavour in my opinion Ā and it more than often comes from spices such as, cumin, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon and chilli. I am allergic to garlic, so I really needed to find ways to inject flavour into my meals. As always I would throw ‘a bit of this and a bit of that’ at the pot and wait to see if it had worked. After a couple of attempts, I found the spices that worked and they have turned out to be the base for most of my curries.

The benefits of spiceĀ 

Cumin- Is known to boost the immune-system, aid digestion and help with insomnia, respiratory issues and dermatological complaints.

Cinnamon-Ā is fantastic for any inflammatory conditions, packed full of antioxidants, fights infections and diabetes.

Chilli powder-Ā is extremely powerful stuff and can improve insulin levels, contains a huge amount of vitamin C, great for your hair and skin and can seriously boost energy levels.

Paprika- is loaded with carotenoids. vitamin A, vitamin E and is packed with iron.

Cardamom-Ā Cardamom is part of the ginger family and helps with digestion, gut health, bloating, constipation and heartburn.

Turmeric- This is most definitely the ‘superfood’ of the spice World. It contains huge medicinal properties, is an extremely powerful anti-inflammatory and hugely high in antioxidants. It has been known to work as an anti-depressant and to help with arthritic conditions. Taken with black pepper, it is more easily absorbed.

Cayenne pepper- RegulatesĀ blood sugars within the body and aids digestion. Relieves tired muscles, can reduce your appetite and help with weight loss. It also helps with respiratory issues by opening the airways.


So not only does spice enhance flavour but it is so damn good for you. Quite frankly, it should be quaffed every blinking day!

In the next couple of days I shall be posting some new recipes to tantalise those tastebuds, all with spice in mind šŸ™‚

Have a great evening all šŸŒ¶ Cxx

Getting creative with veggies & why low carbs could be the key to weightloss and well-being….

I bang on about Swede a lot but there’s good reason for this. For so long, Swede has been popped in a box and brought out for Sunday lunches and the odd bit of mash. I remember it always being a bit lacklustre and the texture wasn’t much better, just watery and not great, to be honest.

When I started cutting down on carbohydrates, I had to become more creative with other vegetables. The Swede is packed with vitamin A & C and is cull of fibre and calcium. It has 9g of carbohydrate which is much lower than sweet potato, which contains 20g and potato, which has a whopping 30g! For weightloss, eating low carb foods can be ultra effective. The higher the carb content, the higher the insulin running around the body and insulin instructs your body to store fat and block the fat already in your body. Lowering your carb intake, means the body will start burning fat, which will increase energy levels and aid in maintaining your weight.


Which of course is why adding healthy full fats and protein to your diet is so much better than carbohydrates for your body. They are easier to burn and so much better for your body.

Back to the Swede!Ā 


Tonight I literally cubed 1 whole Swede, boiled for 25 minutes and then sautƩed them in:

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp hot chilli powder

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp turmeric

And a couple of pinches of Himalayan ground rock salt.

Fry until golden brown and slightly crispy and serve with a hot tomato curry or on their own with a lemony yoghurt or coconut cream dip.

They are delicious, nutritious and so easy to make.

Enjoy šŸ™‚

 

How to heal the right way…..


To say it’s been a crazy few weeks, would be an huge understatement. I have found myself sinking into self pity at times, as I entered what has been the worst migraine episode I’ve ever encountered. This has resulted in a fair few trips to the Doctors and a lot of time spent in bed, dealing with horrendous, debilitating pain. I have been able to manage my migraines for some time now, by cutting down on carbohydrates and sugar and eating more healthy fats. I feel so much better, fitter and more in control of my body, than ever before. Which is why it is so frustrating to still have these chronic pain episodes. So, not one to be defeated, I decided to try cranial osteopathy. I have scoliosis and was wondering if this was having an effect on my head. The results were extremely alarming and after the first treatment, it most definitely was a ‘get worse before better’ scenario. Not good. It was, however, enlightening to be seen by someone who totally read my body and could treat it accordingly.

The worst part of being so poorly is of course the pain but also the aftermath of a migraine. The Postdrome phase. You are unable to form sentences, are so fuzzy headed and feel unbelievably exhausted. My love for cooking and baking had to take a back seat too, which was hugely upsetting. Thanks to my beloved family and friends, we did eat, phew! I just had to relinquish control for a while :(.

What’s next?

A brain scan, a neurologist appointment and more treatment. Best to rule stuff out and then move on methinks……in the meantime however, meditation, good, feed the soul food, long mindful walks and plenty of positive affirmations will get me through.

Oh and getting back in my domain, the kitchen. I’ve cooked a few batches of my delicious caramel slices recently & administered them to those in need, including myself.


Everyone goes through tough times, we are all human. I think that’s why I’ve written this post really. Staying positive and thinking healthy, will give you hope. And hope is so important, it gives you the strength to continue…..love to you all šŸ™‚

Cumin & Chilli Cauliflower rice…..

I’ve had a lot of people ask me for this recipe, especially after I served it at my lil beloveds Birthday party this week. It really is a taste sensation, full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory spices, great for digestion and your overall health.

IngredientsĀ 

3 tbsp coconut oil

1 head of cauliflower (blitzed)

1 large red onion (chopped)

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp hot chilli powder

2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp cinnamon

Salt to season

Method

In a large pan, on a medium heat, add the coconut oil. Melt it down and then add the spices, salt and red onion. Fry the onion off for about 5 minutes and then add the cauliflower. Cook for about 30 minutes.


The cauliflower can dry up quite easily, so if you think that’s happening, add some more coconut oil. Also, keep tasting, if you prefer more heat, add more chilli or more paprika.


I served my rice with a tomato and onion curry.


Tomato & onion curry

IngredientsĀ 

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 large red onion (thinly sliced length ways)

2 large tomatoes (roughly chopped)

I carton organic chopped tomatoes

2 tsp cumin

5 cardamom pods

2 tsp chilli powder

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground all spice

2 tsp paprika

Salt

Large bunch of fresh coriander

Method

In a large saucepan add your coconut oil, onion and spices. Coat the onion and then add the tomatoes. Stir for about 5 minutes and then add the carton of chopped tomatoes. Season well and then simmer for about 45 mins on a low/medium heat.

To garnish, I added some red onion and red pepper roasted in the same spice mix. It just adds a bit more texture and sweet taste. Roast for about 30 mins at 180 fan asst.


In a bowl on the side I made some lemon yoghurt. I use full fat Greek yoghurt, about 4 tbsp and add the juice of half a lemon. It goes beautifully with the sharpness of the curry.


Throw some coriander over the dish and work away. It’s a truly delicious dish and one that tastes just as nice cold. Great for buffets and picnics šŸ™‚

Happy cooking all cxxx


Why eat fat first thing?Ā 

Cauliflower patties topped with happy eggs and mushrooms

When I became grain-free I really struggled with breakfast options. I mean not only am I grain-free but low carb too, so in my mind, I was left with little choice. Well, blow me down, how wrong was I!

Why eat fat first thing?Ā 

Eating healthy fats like coconut oil are essential for feeding your body and setting it up for the rest of the day. It speeds up your metabolism and will give you that much required energy. Despite what modern medicine would have us believe about fat, it is not stored as fat in our bodies. It is a food to fuel and burn.

Nuts, eggs, full-fat yoghurt, to name but a few, are perfect breakfast foods. Healthy fats and proteins to keep you nice and full, but boosting your metabolism at the same time.

Yoghurt pots

I love a yoghurt pot. For breakfast I add nuts (mainly walnuts, pine nuts & ground almonds) cinnamon, chia seeds and a little flaxseed to a couple of heaped tbsps of full fat Greek natural yoghurt. It’s so delicious and incredibly filling.


If I have a yoghurt pot for lunch, I’ll add raspberries, goji-berries and blueberries. I never have fruit first thing, as the sugar spike from even natural sugars can increase blood sugar levels. Fruits are healthy in many ways but they also contain carbohydrates, which turn to sugar. They are best eaten from mid-morning onwards, once the stomach is lined with healthy fats. As a migraine sufferer, this increased blood sugar would definitely trigger an episode, so I steer clear.

Sometimes I even add cacao or a crumbled protein ball (recipe on the blog) into the pot. Not in my morning pot may I add. Simply divine too!


Eggs any which way really. I usually go for a scrambled egg, red onion and mushroom omelette with herbs and chilli flakes. Garnished with tomatoes in coconut oil and cinnamon.


Sometimes, if I’m lucky, there will be leftover courgette fritters or cauliflower patties. (Recipes on the blog) Just reheat in coconut oil. They are so yummy and again, satisfyingly filling.


Courgette frittersĀ 


Cauliflower pattiesĀ 

Or a simple slice of almond & flax bread with lashings of almond butter. Great for digestion and stimulating your morning movements……šŸ˜‰ Almonds lower blood sugar levels, are packed with healthy fats and promote weightloss, reducing hunger and helping with lowering cholesterol.


Almond and flaxseed breadĀ 

If we all fuelled our bodies this way, we wouldn’t crave nasties like crisps and chocolate through the day. Our bodies would be working slowly, metabolising the wonderful healthy fats around our bodies, reducing said cravings and giving us an abundance of energy…..it’s a no brainer!

Roll on breakfast time……..cxxx

You can’t get better than a courgette fritter!Ā 

Courgette FrittersĀ 

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I really do feel as if I’m flying by the seat of my pants. The Weekend, as glorious and wonderful as it is, comes and goes in a blink of an eye and then wham, bam, Monday arrives like a brick wall in the face. I’m quite an up n at ’em person but even I struggle to lift my body out of bed and get going on a Monday.


The Weekend was spent creating some more raw bakes. I love looking at flavour combinations and seeing if they work. Thankfully, they all did. The pressure was on though, as these particular bakes were for a potential client to taste. So they had to be right. I may have used some colourful language at times, all in the name of art though.


As I said in a previous blog, being gluten-free and grain-free for a long time now, ive literally tried every sweet and savoury product going. The cakes are always packed to the hilt with sugar and although some bakes are tasty, they are still loaded with unhealthy ingredients.

I’ve made it my mission to make healthy food that is not only packed with nutrition in mind, but never at the cost of tasting delicious. Just because you take a few ingredients out, doesn’t mean it has to taste like cardboard. I recently sent a dish back in a restaurant because the gluten-free tortilla was literally as tough as old boots. You couldn’t even rip it!!


So, tonight I was short on time and famished. I was cooking all Weekend and failed to notice the lack of food in the cupboards. Luckily for me my yummy courgette fritters consist of 3 ingredients, all of which I had. Phew!

IngredientsĀ 

1 tbsp coconut oil

2 small or 1 large courgette-Grated

1/2 cup grated cheddar or Parmesan

2 tbsp almond flour

Salt and pepper to season

MethodĀ 

Combine all of your ingredients in a large bowl. Roll into 1/4 cup size balls and then flatten with your hands. You’ll have a palm sized fritter.


Melt your coconut oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat. Place your fritters in the oil and cook for about 15 minutes. The mixture is quite delicate, so don’t turn mess about with it too much.


Turn and then cook for another 15 minutes or until golden brown.

They are so simple to make and a great accompaniment to any dish. Enjoy šŸ™‚

Happy Monday all cxxx

A funny old day…..

 

So this afternoon I mustered up the energy to make some bread. I have been trying to perfect a recipe for so long. One without gluten, grains, sugar and wheat and I actually think I cracked it today, hooray!

It’s quite dense and given it contains a fair amount of flaxseed, I would say don’t over indulge. Flaxseed is a natural laxative! It is delicious though and totally satisfies my bread love.


Ground Almond & flaxseed loafĀ 

IngredientsĀ 

2/3 cup ground almonds

1 cup flaxseed (I use Linwoods flax, sunflower, pumpkin & sesame seeds & goji berries mix)

1/2 cup of milled flaxseed

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

4 eggs

3 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil

Pinch of salt & pepper

1/2 tbsp water


MethodĀ 

Pre-heat your oven to 350/180 fan asstĀ 

Line a loaf tin with baking parchment (important, otherwise it will stick)

Then grind your almonds (unsalted) in a food processor, until they make a fine flour like mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients and whizz together for about 30 seconds.Ā 

Pour into the loaf tin and bake for 30 mins.Ā 


It is delicious warm with butter or toasted with almond butter.Ā 

Please let me know how you get on and comment below šŸ™‚Ā 

Have a great evening, I’m off to bed! CxĀ