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gut boosting

Lifestyle

Allergy Families Interview

Vivian is a Doctor originally from the UK and has recently relocated with her family to the States.  Both Vivian’s children have suffered from severe allergies which has lead to the creation of her fantastic Blog ‘Allergy Families‘ which is an amazing resource for families who have allergies and food intolerances.

I recently caught up with Vivian to find out more about herself and her blog.

What made you start your blog?

I’ve wanted to start a blog for a long time now…. but just never found the time juggling being a GP and mum to two young kids.

It is incredible how unaware the general public and medical professionals can be with allergy. They don’t take it seriously and many medical professionals miss the diagnosis because symptoms can be so subtle and there are just no good tests for some allergies. My daughter was hospitalised and tube fed at 8 weeks of age because no doctor (including myself) recognised her symptoms as being caused by milk allergy. People thought she had reflux, then behavioural issues, because she just stopped feeding. She would cry with hunger, drink a little bit of milk then push the bottle away, arch her back and turn her head. She cried all the time and I was desperate and sleep deprived. It wasn’t until I did my own research and found a dietician with expertise in the area that she got the help she needed. Thankfully it is probably more widely recognised now, but if it was so hard for a doctor to help her own children with allergies, I can’t imagine what it is like for non-health professionals.

Since I started researching and learning about allergies, I have been able to be an advocate for my patients, friends whose children have blaringly obvious food allergies (to me anyway) but undiagnosed by their own doctors.

That’s why I started my blog – I didn’t want my help to be restricted to those who knew me. I knew that if I started a blog my reach could be much wider, and I would be able to help more people. I wanted to share my journey, tips and useful medical information I learnt along the way.

There are many things which I found out that are helpful for kids with allergies which my allergists never told me. Things like probiotics – which a lot of allergists still insist has no good evidence but I believe gut health is key to children outgrowing allergies.

Do you think being a Doctor made the process to get a diagnoses and treatment plan easier?

Yes and No. To this day I still have massive mother guilt for missing the diagnosis in my own daughter. But I had access to a network of top healthcare professionals and I’m sure my daughter’s diagnosis would be even more delayed had it not for my own contacts.

Treatment plan is another matter – I was in desperate search for things that would help my daughter outgrow her allergies. Maybe I was in denial, maybe I just did not want to spend the rest of my life constantly worrying about accidental ingestion and walking on eggshells. This was where I felt like I was up against a brick wall. No one gave me any answers. Everyone told me to just avoid the food and hope they outgrew their allergies. But I did not want to do that. So I did my own research and reading, attended all the allergy lectures to gain a better understanding. In a way, being a doctor has helped because I knew where to look for reliable information, and I had access to all the allergy training events.

What advice would you give parents who suspect their child has a food allergy or intolerance?

Trust your gut instincts – you really do know your child best. Read my blog post on subtle symptoms of allergy (http://allergyfamilies.com/food-allergies/how-to-know-my-child-has-a-food-allergy/) – it is not all lip swelling/rash/wheezing. The symptoms can be so subtle: constipation, abdominal pains, aversive feeding, diarrhoea. If you suspect your child might have an allergy – don’t stop looking for a doctor who takes you seriously! Western tests are good at picking up IgE mediated allergies (but these are really easy to spot anyway, you don’t need a test when someone’s lips swell up after eating something). But it is the non IgE allergies which are being missed all the time and it is a shame that children and their parents are suffering unnecessarily because doctors are not trained to spot these. Just because a skin prick test or blood test is negative, does not mean your child is not allergic to a food. Elimination is actually the gold standard but this should not be done without consulting a healthcare professional first.

How are your children now?

My daughter is 8 and she was allergic to milk, egg and peanut. She has outgrown all these now. My son is 6, and was allergic to milk, egg, wheat, kiwi, peanut, walnut, pecan, cod, lemons and now ‘just’ allergic to milk, peanut, walnut, pecans.  He is currently on the milk ladder where I am introducing boiled milk at small increments to see if he can tolerate it, and he appears to be starting to grow out of his milk allergy too (touch wood)!

What’s been your biggest learning curve?

Broadening my mind and horizon to what I didn’t know. Before my kids, I was a pretty narrow minded doctor who would laugh at anything holistic or complementary (e.g. homeopathy) because the scientific evidence for these are weak. However, mainstream medicine failed me when I needed it. I was not able to help my daughter and it was so frustrating for me as a doctor. The more I read, the more I realised that the gut is central to a lot of diseases. And actually, focusing on ‘allergy’ without assessing gut health is treating surface symptoms without the root cause, I became more open minded through my own research and reading; I realised that, actually, integrative medicine is the best way to practise medicine. Now I use nutrition and natural remedies in combination with mainstream medicine.

What are you favourite gut boosting foods?

  • Fermented foods because they contain enzymes to help us digest the food, probiotics and prebiotics
  • Probiotics supplement
  • Bone broth – there is a reason why this gem is found in culinary traditions around the world – it contains amino acids and collagen which is healing for the gut.
  • Fibre – a high fibre diet supports the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut, and if probiotic supplement is not supported by a high fibre intake, the expensive bacteria wouldn’t survive in your gut anyway. Children do need calories to grow, however, so be careful to balance this as most high fibre foods are not calorific.

Find out more about Vivian and her blog here (sign-up to her newsletter to receive her weekly tips): www.allergyfamilies.com

 

A doctor and allergy mum's journey to help her severely allergic children grow out of their allergies. If you're interested in functional medicine this is a must read.

Viv's Healing Bone Broth

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 lb (1.3Kg) marrow bones (grass fed beef preferably)
  • 18 cups water
  • 5 pieces of cloves
  • 2 pieces of star anise
  • 1 piece of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of black peppercorn
  • 1 whole onion
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic
  • 1 inch segment of ginger

Instructions

1

In an oven or over a grill, char the onion, bulb of garlic and ginger - I normally put it on a top rack in the oven and put on full heat grill. The onion and garlic will char first - remove these, and let the ginger char slightly. Let it cool down, and remove the completely burnt bits.

2

In a pan, roast the cloves, star anise, cinnamon, black peppercorns - low heat, this brings out their flavor. When cooled, place into a spice bag (you can get these in asian supermarkets, or make them yourself from muslin/cheese cloth. If you don't mind the odd bit of peppercorn in your soup, you can also just drop these loose into the pan.

3

Parboil the bones - in a pan, put the bones in and cover with just enough water, and bring to boil with lid on. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes. Drain and wash all the impurities that have come out in the boil with water.

4

Put parboiled, cleaned bones back in the pan, put in 18 cups of water. add the spice bag (or just drop the spices in loose).

5

Bring back to boil. Then switch to low heat and leave on stove for at least 8 but up to 24 hours ( I normally do 10, by that time you really start to see the broth turning cloudy which indicates all the amino acids, collagen being boiled into the soup).

Notes

You can make bone broth using any vegetables but I like to add herbs that are good for the digestion/gut to give it even more goodness: Cloves - great for digestion, and rich in antioxidants (fights tissue and free radical damage) Black peppercorn - again fabulous for digestion and also increases bioavailability of lots of nutrients, helping the body to absorb them Star anise - anti fungal, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant Cinnamon - anti-inflammatory (helps body repair any inflamed or damaged tissue), improves insulin sensitivity, reduces heart disease

Lifestyle

Live Love Nourish Interview

Casey-Lee is a qualified Nutritionist, Naturopath and mother to another little Gracie,  based in Brisbane, Australia.  I just love her outlook to food and we adore her delicious recipes.  All Casey-Lee’s recipes are Gluten, Dairy and refined sugar-free which makes them a fantastic resource for families who have food allergies and/or intolerances and are looking to transition to a more wholesome way of eating.

I recently caught up with Casey-Lee to find out more about herself and Live Love Nourish.

How has becoming a mother affected your outlook on food?

As a Nutritionist and Naturopath my outlook on food has always been of an understanding and respect for how much food can impact our health and the way we feel on a daily basis. Now as a mum I have an even greater respect (and real experience) for the influence food has on our children’s development, behaviour and ability to thrive. Becoming a mother has also made me become much more time-efficient in the kitchen with a great appreciation for making recipes that are not only kid-friendly but time-friendly too as well as embracing a messy kitchen!

What lead you to become a qualified nutritionist and naturopath?

Growing up I always had an interest in natural health and was lucky enough to be surrounded by a family interested in healthy living also. Becoming qualified meant I could share my passion for helping others to live a healthier and happier life.

Why are all your recipes Gluten, Dairy and refined-sugar free?

I really believe in the benefits of eating a whole-foods diet (avoiding processed and packaged food as much as possible). When you stick to fresh and whole food you naturally eliminate the processed sources of gluten, dairy and sugar and instead begin to cook with real food ingredients that love your body back. As I teach in my 8 week online program, I also believe in tuning in to your body to find a diet that best works for you and your body’s unique needs. For me that means cutting out gluten, dairy and refined sugar. My recipes are all 100% free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar catering for anyone looking to embrace a whole-foods way of eating as well as to support anyone with food sensitivities and special dietary requirements.

Can you tell us a bit about Live Love Nourish and the philosophy behind it?

Live Love Nourish is an online health website that specialises in sharing healthy, simple and real food recipes (all free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar) as well as practical nutrition and lifestyle advice and the Live Love Nourish signature 8 week program. I believe health requires a holistic approach and we feel our best when we live true to ourselves, have love for ourself and others and nourish our body. Hence, the philosophy behind LLN is to “live the real you, love truly and deeply and nourish from the inside out”.

What’s your favourite family meal?

This changes week-to- week! At the moment, I’m loving my healthy version of “fish and chips;” crispy skin salmon with homemade sweet potato chips seasoned with spices and served with an avocado dipping sauce. My toddler Gracie loves this too.

What advice would you give to families navigating special dietary requirements?

Navigating special dietary requirements can be a little challenging at first but here are some tips I hope help you along your way to better health:

Keep it simple. Use simple ingredients.

  • Stick to whole and real foods, as close to their natural state as possible
  • Avoid packaged food as much as possible (this is what can often complicate the process with having to read and interpret labels)
  • Stick for fresh food as much as you can
  • Try new recipes and ingredients you haven’t cooked with before
  • Get your kids involved in the kitchen. The more involvement they have with food, the better their relationship with food will become and the more willing they will be to trying new foods
  • Start with a well-stocked pantry and fridge. Having healthy options on hand makes meal time easier
  • Plan ahead. Plan your week of meals on the weekend prior. This will help to reduce food stress at meal times
  • Be kind on yourself. Allow a little extra time and space at first. Seek support where you can.

If you are looking for help with what to stock in a healthy, gluten, dairy and sugar free kitchen, the Live Love Nourish Pantry Detox e-book is currently on sale for AU$5. The e-book includes an extensive list of ingredients to stock, healthy swaps and alternatives and money-saving tips.

As a friend of Healing Gracie’s Gut receive a $50 discount off The Live Love Nourish 8 Week Online Program using the code NOURISH at the checkout. The program is an online guide to help you live a healthier and happier life and includes 8 weeks of meal plans all done for you, (all free from gluten, dairy and sugar) shoppings lists, nutritional guides and support to develop a healthy relationship with food.

For more simple and healthy recipes (free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar) please visit: www.livelovenourish.com.au

After hearing how much Gracie loved the Live Love Nourish ‘free from’ banana bread Casey-Lee is kindly sharing this amazing recipe.  The Live Love Nourish Banana Bread is free from gluten, dairy, nuts, soy, eggs  and sugar!

Live Love Nourish Banana Bread

Print Recipe
Cooking Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 large ripe bananas (500g peeled), cut into pieces (+ 1 extra to decorate)
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 cup (110g) buckwheat flour*
  • 3/4 cup (60g) organic desiccated coconut
  • 2 tsp gf baking powder
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla powder

Instructions

1

Pre-heat fan-forced oven to 180°C.

2

In a blender or food processor blend banana and melted coconut oil until smooth (be careful not to over blend*)

3

In a medium mixing bowl combine buckwheat, coconut, baking powder and vanilla.

4

Add banana and coconut oil mixture and combine well.

5

Pour batter into a lined loaf tin.

6

Bake in oven for 55-60 minutes or until cooked through.

7

Allow to cool on a baking before slicing.

Health

What we use and why

Supplements

Since starting our journey to get Gracie’s gut and skin issues better I’m often asked what we use and why, even more since documenting on Instagram and connecting with other families in similar situations as to our own.  So I thought I would give an overview of what we currently use.

Skin:

  • Ancient Mineral Magnesium Bath Flakes – we use this almost every night, around 1/2 a cup of flakes.  This is to assist with her chronic constipation.
  • Weleda Calendula Cream – applied morning and night to moisturise her skin
  • 1 drop of tea tree oil into the bath – helps get rid of the bacteria on the skin that eczema sufferers’ tend to have

Supplements:

  • Probiotics – to support gut health
  • Vitamin C – helps with softening bowel motions
  • Magnesium – for muscle relaxation can aid constipation
  • Vitamin D (in winter months) –  support for the maintenance of healthy skeletal, cardiovascular and immune systems
  • B12 spray – to support the nervous system
  • Zinc drops – Zinc can improve frustration tolerance, boost the immune system and improve appetite
  • Fish Oil – reduces inflammation/assists Eczema sufferers

 

As I mentioned, Gracie’s eczema has basically cleared up since eliminating the foods that had came up on her food intolerance testing and giving her these supplements.  Her gut still isn’t 100% and she is still reliant on a small amount of laxative, but compared to what she started off on it’s nothing.  My aim this year is to get her off the laxative completely and to reduce her supplement intake as much as we can.  I also want to get her food intolerances re-tested and to then be able to slowly re-introduce more foods back into her diet.

 

Please note, this post is not intended as medical advice.  If you have health concerns about your child please seek medical advice.

Lunch

ZUCCHINI CHEESE

Zucchini Cheese

Zucchini cheese has seriously blown my mind!  Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined making cheese out of zucchini…that was until I stumbled across a couple of Instagram Posts telling me otherwise.

As I mentioned before I’m actually lactose intolerant and Dairy-free now, Grace has been Dairy-free for a long-time and my husband…well he just eats anything!!

I found a very simple recipe to start out with, I will be looking next-time to add a few more herbs to experiment further.

I’m currently using this Gelatin.

 

ZUCCHINI CHEESE

Print Recipe
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups zucchini, peeled and cut up into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil, melted
  • 4 TBSP gelatin
  • 2 TSP lemon juice
  • 2/3 TSP of fine sea salt or more to taste
  • 2 TBSP nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

1

Steam the zucchini for 5 minutes, until tender.

2

Drain the zucchini.

3

In a high speed blender, blend the zucchini with water, coconut oil, lemon juice, and salt for 30 seconds or until smooth.

4

Add the gelatin and the nutritional yeast. Blend for another 15 seconds.

5

Pour the mixture in a bowl, add the parsley and mix well with a spoon.

6

Pour the preparation in a loaf pan and refrigerate until set (at least 4 hours).

Breakfast

Bone Broth Smoothie

Bone Broth Smoothie

Bone broth smoothies are a perfect way to get some extra goodness into your smoothies, especially in the summer when you feel too hot to drink as a broth.  We’ve been adding broth into our smoothies since we discovered them at Star Anise Organic Wholefoods a couple of years ago.

They’re a perfect option for kids that aren’t keen on drinking the broth as is.

This how I made ours, I normally just make it by sight so below are the approx measurements.

Use your imagination and make a variety of combinations with non-dairy milks/coconut water, fruits, nut butters, cacao powder – the list is endless.

 

Bone Broth Smoothie

Print Recipe
Serves: 1/2

Ingredients

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 4 pitted dates
  • Tablespoon of honey (optional)
  • Handful of strawberries
  • Approx 3/4 cubes of frozen bone broth
  • Approx a cup of non-dairy milk (we use Coconut Milk)

Instructions

1

Add all ingredients to a high powdered blender until smooth consistency

2

Pour and enjoy!

Notes

If you don't have bone broth you can use gelatin powder

Dinner

Slow Cooked Bolognese

Spag Bol with bone broth

 

Spaghetti Bolognese is a great way for boosting children’s daily vegetable intake.

I like to make ours in big batches so I can freeze into smaller portions to make quick meals in the week.

Our favourite is with Pork and Veal mince and I like to make ours with chicken bone broth for an extra nutritional boost.

I try and simmer mine for an hour as I find it really makes the flavour much more richer.

Slow Cooked Spaghetti Bolognese

Print Recipe
Serves: 6-8 servings Cooking Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 500g Pork mince
  • 500g Veal mince
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 medium sized zucchinis
  • 2 medium sized carrots
  • Mixed herbs seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Gluten-free worcestershire sauce
  • Salt-reduced tomato paste
  • 1 clove of garlic or paste
  • 1kg of stock/bone broth

Instructions

1

Finely chop the vegetables in a food processor

2

In a large pan, heat up oil and pan-fry vegetables until onions are translucent and vegetables start to soften

3

Add mince meat and pan fry until browned off

4

Add a heaped tablespoon of salt reduced tomato paste, along with a splash of worcestshire sauce

5

Pour stock over the meat and vegetables, until all covered and then season

6

Once it comes to the boil, slowly put on a simmer and stir intermittently until it begins to reduce

7

Until you use up all the stock, keep reducing meat down

8

Served on pasta, rice, zoodles dependent on your special dietary requirements

Healthy Treats

Gut Gummies

Gut gummies

Simple and fun to make (especially when you make them in cute molds!), gut gummies are ideal to give to children as ‘sweet treats’.

Made from Gelatin and fruit – they’re a fantastic way to improve gut health. Gut Gummies are made out of gelatin, which is great for healing your gut as it helps to restore a healthy mucosal lining in the stomach and reduce the amount of inflammation in the body.

I’ve recently purchased the Gut Lovin’ Gelatin from I Quit Sugar, another fantastic brand is Great Lakes Gelatin 

This recipe has been taken from an I Quit Sugar recipe,  it can easily be swapped for other fruits.

My favourite combination is mango and coconut,  following the recipe method below I use 1 cup mango, ½ cup coconut milk and the juice of 1 lemon.

You can purchase the mould that I used to make these gummy bear gummies from here.

Gut Gummies

Print Recipe
Serves: 15 Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 ½ tablespoons gelatin powder
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1- 1½ cups liquid/fruit

Instructions

1

Dissolve the gelatin in ⅓ cup of cold water and let it sit for 5 minutes to become gel-like.

2

Puree the mango with a stick blender

3

Heat the mango and coconut milk in a saucepan until the fruit has almost come to the boil. Remove from the heat, and stir in the gelatin quickly until a smooth consistency.

4

Pour into your favourite molds, or just make up as slab and then cut when set

5

Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Gut Gummies

 

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