Showing posts with label fermenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fermenting. Show all posts

Thursday, 19 February 2015

When life throws you lemons or stones.................

Make lemonade!  
We all know it helps alkalise your body :)

(that ain't no baby)

So, I think I have mentioned previously that I have been having some abdominal discomfort.   This has gone on for a few months and even though I had it during phase 2 (restricted no fat phase) I still suspected gallstones.   
Like most people I assumed they were caused by a fatty diet, so this of course puzzled me.  How could I have them when I didn't have a high fat diet?

I started reading up on what they actually were and how to deal with them.  
I refused to believe the only solution was to remove my gallbladder.

I was right!!

I had an ultrasound this week to confirm whether my issue was gallbladder related or not.  I figured this way I would know what I was dealing with for sure.  Despite this I am also aware that stones won't always show up.  Plenty of people have a scan and are told they don't have stones then do a flush and find heaps.
My scan showed up loads of very small stones and gravel with no blockages which is good.

This means, my body is working hard at controlling the problem and healing.

Gallstones are not uncommon, particularly the older you get.   Unfortunately surgery is also very common but in my opinion not necessary.

What are gallstones?  
Lets start with the gallbladder first.   
This little pouch like organ works in conjunction with the liver.  These work at processing and breaking down fat and helping us with our digestion.
Gallstones form when the bile contains excessive amounts of cholesterol. When there isn't enough bile to saturate the cholesterol, the cholesterol begins to crystallise, and you get a gallstone. 

Tim Noakes explains it very well.  Describing how years of high carb diets can cause crystals to form in the liver and gallbladder.  Switching to a low carb, high fat  stimulates the gallbladder to produce the bile necessary for digestion, thus starts to remove the stones that have built up.  Occasionally some of these stone will be large and get blocked. This is when people experience excruciating pain and discover they have a problem.

And this is where I differ from the norm.  I (and I am not alone) opt to let my body do what it is meant to be doing rather than have surgery and remove an essential organ.

Originally I thought I should be cutting my fat intake.  I worried that it was aggravating the problem, but after doing this (reducing) for a few weeks I found it was increasing the discomfort rather than lowering it.

It made sense that when I was in phase 2 of the HCG protocol and not having any fat at all that the pain was still there.  If the gallbladder needs fat to stimulate the bile production and isn't getting any then it struggles to aide digestion and to flow enough to flush any stones that have accumulated.  

So, low fat = low bile = increased stones

Back to dr google!

My next question was how can I find a balance in diet and also increase bile production?

I had already discovered that high acid increased discomfort.  
If I have more than two cups of coffee and not enough apple cider vinegar I notice a massive increase in discomfort.  
I upped my ACV to three times a day and made sure I had sauerkraut with each meal, even to the point of sipping the kraut liquid.
This definitely helped!

Because the gallbladder is an alkaline organ, as is the bile contained within it, it only stands to reason that if your acid levels are too high it will impact on the organ and stress it.  Bile will become acidic and this will contribute to gallstones also.

Keeping a balanced PH level helps keep the gallbladder functioning as it should.

The Digestive Detective has a great explanation on how the gallbladder works at making bile. 

"Bile is composed of cholesterol, bile salts (the end-products of bile acids), bilirubin (a breakdown product of hemoglobin from the blood), electrolytes, and water. Water is essential in bile synthesis, as a good deal is used to produce bile from the conversion of cholesterol happening in the liver. Bile serves to emulsify or break down dietary fat and clear cholesterol out of the body. Bile acids, a component of bile, serve other functions, including driving the flow of bile to eliminate catabolites from the liver, emulsifying fat soluble vitamins in the intestine, and aiding in the reduction of the bacteria flora found in the small intestine and biliary tract. ¹

When food digestion is not taking place, bile backs up the cystic duct and enters the gallbladder to be stored. While in the gallbladder, bile is concentrated by the removal of water. The removal of water and electrolytes allows the gallbladder to concentrate bile and store more of it. When we eat and fats enter the first section of the small intestine, a hormone stimulates the gallbladder to contract and spurt out stored bile. The higher fat content of a meal, the more hormone is activated to signal the gallbladder to release bile for digestion. When bile enters the small intestine, its typically accompanied by digestive enzymes from the pancreas such as lipase – a class of enzymes that assist in fat digestion."

After a terrible few days last week I decided this week to increase my fats and have had a great couple of days.

So, what am I doing so far....

*keeping my PH levels at a good alkaline level and sticking with LCHF
*sauerkraut with every meal
*water kefir probiotic
*plenty of leafy green veg
*ACV x 3 tbs daily (apple cider vinegar)
*increased magnesium dose
*remembering to drink plenty of water but not during or immediately after meals
*increased fat intake from low to moderate.

What does a standard day of food look like for me?

Coffee with cream
2 eggs fried in butter or scrambled with cream
2 rashers bacon
1/2 avocado

some nuts,cheese, berries or pate

palm size portion of meat with either salad or green veg mix

Bile is necessary for so many bodily functions and if it is low it can create further problems.  There is plenty of literature out there on how to increase bile production.  I found many of them want to sell you a supplement unfortunately.  That is fine but I would rather use food than take a pill. 

Some foods that aide in bile production are: 
artichokes (top of the list it would seem)
beets/beet tops
raw carrot
turmeric (take care of using this if you already have stones)
flowing health have a great list of foods that love your liver too

I hope that what I am doing so far will prevent the formation 
of any more stones and will continue to decrease the inflammation of my gallbladder and liver.  
Whilst this is good I am under no illusion that it will solve the problem.  This is why I do intend to do a liver/gallbladder flush in the next couple of weeks. 

Once I have done this I will blog some more about the process and the results I have.  There are many methods so I will give you some links and tell you which one I followed.

I really hope others benefit from this post.  I must admit I felt a bit like I had failed.  After feeling so awesome since changing the way I eat it was a bit of a let down at first to discover there were further health issues.
However, I do believe this is still part of the process of gaining wellness.  My body is working hard at eliminating years of toxic build up and this is just another step in the right direction.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Do you eat your fermented veg?

I must admit I am new to the whole fermented veg caper.  
I was one of those people who always said sauerkraut was gross.  

Until I actually tried it! LOL

Once I tried it I realised just how awesome it actually is. 

But there are loads of veg ferments you can do. 

Beetroot is another fave here with my son and I am yet to try other veg.

I prefer sauerkraut myself and love love love it with beef!

Another thing that turned me off it was that I thought it was something terribly difficult to make.

The opposite couldn't be more true though.

If you can use a knife you can make kraut pretty much. 

That is how simple it is.

Slice some cabbage, actually you'll want loads of cabbage as it packs down quite a bit.  Take off the outer leaves (but keep them as you will use them later).

Once you have sliced it up thinly, cut it into inch long pieces and put in a large dish.  Then pound it with a meat cleaver or, as I used, a rolling pin.

This releases juices and sugars and helps get the fermentation process happening.  Once you can see it is wet move on to the next step of salting it all.

Sprinkle some salt and add some water and culture.
That's it!

The salt I use is the seaweed salt from Changing Habits.  I love himalayan salt at the best of times but like the added nutrition of seaweed in this one.   

I used 1/2 a medium cabbage for one large jar of kraut and I added two good pinches of salt to the cabbage and mixed it in well.

Once you have mixed the salt in well it is time to pack it into your jar.  Make sure you have a clean, sterile jar.  As you add the cabbage, push it down firmly with your  rolling pin or spoon etc   Make sure you push it down as hard as you can.

When you have all the cabbage in the jar add your water and starter.  I used about 3tbs of water kefir and filtered (no chlorine or fluoride) water.   Add enough water to cover the sliced cabbage.  You don't want cabbage sticking out the top as it will go mouldy and spoil.  

With those outer leaves tear them up and place them in the top, Pushing the sliced cabbage down under the liquid.

When it is all nicely packed in and covered pop a clean cloth over the top to keep dust/bugs out and sit it in a warm spot.  Just check reguarly that the cabbage is still under the liquid line.
Depending on the weather it will take between three days and two weeks to get all funky and tasty.
After the first couple of days just have a taste every now and then to see if you like it in.  
The texture should be firm but not raw crunchy and it should have a bit of a funky smell about it.
It really is personal taste as to how long you let it ferment but once it has reached the point you want pop it in the fridge to stop the process.
You can add some of the liquid from this one to your subsequent batches as a starter and if you don't have kefir to add don't panic.  You can add some probiotic, or buy a whey powder online to add.  You can also make it without any of these but the process may take a bit longer.


As I said, I love it with beef in particular. Fermented veg are so beneficial to your health and aid digestion.  The lactic acid released in the fermentation process help promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut too.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

The 'C' word

I don't mean that C word.  
I mean the other one that polite ladies don't usually mention in public!


I know right!   

Everyone at some stage gets up close and personal with it but no one likes to talk about it!

If I do a search on the changing habits forums I come up with the maximum 20 pages, so over 200 posts where 'it' is discussed.  Certainly not uncommon while doing the protocol.

How do I know this exactly?  
Well, during my first round I became re-acquainted with candida and started searching to see if it was common during the protocol.  

Computer says "YES"

Because our bodies are detoxing when we do the protocol it is completely normal for it to go into overdrive as it tries to eliminate all the build up of crap.  During phases 2 & 3 we stop feeding the candida which is a naturally occurring yeast bacteria that lives in our digestive system.  When we have an unhealthy diet based on sugar, wheat and other highly processed foods it thrives and can go into overdrive causing unpleasant symptoms such as:

*bad breath
*itchy skin
*throat infections
*vaginal infections/discharge/itch
*irregular bowel movements

I put that last one down simply because I am constantly reading about people doing the protocol and having cravings.  Even without the protocol how many of you had sugar cravings?  

what does candida need to survive?  

Yup, not just warmth and moisture but like any other bacteria.

This wants sugar!

So, are you wondering why you get this on the protocol.  Particularly when you are eating a healthy diet and taking your probiotics?
They say it takes a month of good health to make up for every year of crappy diet and health.   So this too will take time.
The candida symptoms you might be battling are simply a sign your body is fighting to become healthy.  
I have found that after phases 1-3 I have to be careful not to eat fruit that is too sweet or use any sweeteners like honey/agave/rapadura/maple in excess.  It is as if the candida knows it is dying off and will grab whatever it can to survive.  I have something wrong to eat and start to feel the onset of candida overload.  
The sugar cravings you get are simply the candida channelling through your body and wanting to be fed.

What can you do to beat candida and heal your digestive system?

Make sure you take them daily because they are high in good bacteria which help to kill the bad bacteria.  If you are in phase 4/5 then why not try 
All of these will help the good bacteria grow and are known for their gut healing qualities.
Foods to avoid are sugars, yeast products, moulds like mushrooms, alcohol and I personally would avoid wheat products too.  
Some people say to eat yoghurt but when you consider most yoghurt has only about 3 strains of bacteria compared to the 60 that the average kefir/kombucha has, I wouldn't waste my time on it.   
Having said that if you have an outbreak and need soothing in your nether regions you can apply plain, good quality yoghurt straight onto your pink bits!


At the end of the day, if you are following the protocol by the book, all you can do is trust that your body is doing what it needs to do to achieve wellness.         All you need to do is be patient.