Tuesday, 19 March 2013

What helped me get rid of the bloat for good!

Ask anyone whose been through a period of bloating - its awful! Your clothes always fit awkwardly, you're always having to be conscious of pulling your stomach in and its just plain uncomfortable. Now imagine that feeling ALL THE TIME.

I am not exaggerating one bit, up until a few months ago I was bloated 24/7, 100% of the time. It wasn't anything small either, it was the kind of bloating that made me look 4 months pregnant. And the worst thing was, I didn't know I was bloated I thought I was just born with a big inflated stomach and/or was just fat. Even worse, I didn't know that a healthy person should have bowel movements everyday so if anyone ever mentioned it I wouldn't believe it. Why? Because since I could remember I would only have a bowel movement about twice a week!! Sorry for the gory info but this was my life until 2/3 months ago! Since I have incorporated changes into my diet I've happily bid farewell to a constantly hard, bulging, round stomach and an unhappy digestive system -- my stomach is now happy, regular and almost flat (the reduced bloating didn't get rid of the fat unfortunately lol).

The following are the implications I feel helped me most to kill off my bloating and get my digestive system on track, all in order of how important I feel they were. If you also have the same problem I had, try these out to see if they help :)

Steamed broccoli with mushroom 'pizzas' - portobello
mushrooms stuffed with hummus, chicken and spinach. No gluten, 3 serves of veg and a very filling meal!
  • Cutting out gluten - Gluten is awful for me. It takes me days to recover from a single serving of gluten and I have no regrets in cutting it out of my regular diet. I still have it sometimes when I go out but I intend on cutting back on that as well, since the recovery time just isn't worth it. Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye; so basically foods such as bread, pasta, tortillas, cakes etc. Yes that is a lot of 'staple' foods and cutting them out may make you think 'OMG what am I supposed to eat now!?' but it is NOT that bad I've gone through that stage and I have a flatter stomach to show for it! There are plenty of substitutes :) my banana bread from the previous post is a great example of this. If you do suffer from bloating/constipation/IBS definitely try cutting gluten out for 2 weeks to see if you feel better.
  • Water - My water intake was poor to say the least at about 1 liter daily. My water intake is now a minimum of 5 liters daily which I often surpass! I know this may sound like a lot for many but the more you drink water, the more often you get thirsty! So even whilst drinking that much water, I still get thirsty quite often!
  • Increasing vegetable intake - I think this one is a basic. I aim to have 3/5 servings of veg daily and my most common source is broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber and spinach. Vegetables are a rich source of fiber, a good amount of which is essential to get things moving in your bowels! Green veg are also well-known for their detoxing nature, so stock up! When I'm getting at last 4 daily serves of vegetables, I don't have to worry about my fiber intake since I know I'll be getting enough

My essentials and favourites
The day isn't done till I've had at least 3 of these babies!
  • Teas, in particular Peppermint and Lemon+Ginger. I can not stress how effective these have been for me as a 'quick-fix' and I seriously recommend them for both chronic-bloat sufferers and for a one-off occurrence. Whenever I drink Lemon+Ginger tea first thing in the morning my stomach instantly feels cleansed and tight and if I drink it to give my digestive system a helping hand I can I always notice an immediate difference in how flat my stomach looks. If I have time I use 1/2 a lemon and a finger-sized chunk of ginger for the lemon+ginger tea, otherwise I have tea bags for all my teas. Peppermint tea is often recommended for IBS sufferers and I totally agree - it has the biggest laxative effect on me! Other teas I drink include green tea daily, roobius tea and chamomile tea which are also great and have some fantastic benefits but I personally find them not as helpful for bloating.

Also bear in mind all these extra things I need to do are a lifestyle for me now, I can't go back to my old eating ways and expect no bloating NOPE if I slack for 2/3 days my stomach goes back to being as inflated as it was before and my constipation returns! There is no point in working out 5 days a week if I'm not going to eat well and have a pot-belly! 

It is estimated that between 20-25% of people in the UK have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), of which bloating and constipation is a very common symptom. I have been diagnosed with IBS but do not take medication for it because I believe I can help my body through diet alone and I have done so! All you need to do is listen to your body and eat well there is no substitute that makes up for a bad diet! A good diet is the only prescription you need and only way you can believe this is by seeing the effect it has on your body!

If you do suffer from these symptoms aswell as other digestive/gastric issues please go to the doctor to rule our any food intolerances, IBS or any other illnesses. You don't want to be harming your body!

Do you have any tips you use to cure bloating/constipation? I would love to hear them so please comment and share! :)


Sunday, 17 March 2013

Banana Bread

I've been attempting a clean bread recipe that could become a staple in my diet since I avoid gluten as much as possible, however sadly its mostly ended up with wasted time, egg whites and coconut flour. BUT NOT THIS TIME! This one is a winner! And there are so many variations you could try! This is sweet, moist, filling AND super healthy with no sugar, sweetener or oil!

-2 1/2 bananas
-1/4 cup coconut flour
-1/4 cup peanut butter (or any nut butter)
-2 eggs
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-2 tsp cinnamon

1. In a food processor, blend the bananas till there are no chunks remaining
2. Add the coconut flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Blend well
3. Add the eggs and peanut butter. Blend well. 
4. Pour into a prepared loaf-tin. I used a silicone mold so I didn't need to grease or line. The mixture will be quite thick and you may need to get a spatula to get all the batter in!
5. Bake at 180 for 40/50 minutes.

This made a thin and small loaf as shown in the images (more like finger-food), so double up if you want it thicker. Also if you prefer an extra moist loaf with a very pronounced banana flavour go ahead and use 3 bananas. This one went down a treat at a family dinner topped with chocolate hazelnut butter and on its own :)

Add some nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips, coconut flakes into the batter if you fancy. There are so many twists you can pull on this! 

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Livin' the healthy life!

Aaaaaaaaaaaand so I’ve finally plucked up the courage to do this blogging thing and I’m writing this before I chicken out and decide this was a humiliatingly bad idea! No getting out of this now!

I love writing, I think its in my genes. I also love talking. A lot. Can you see why a blog seems like a good move for me? I also share an undying love for food which unfortunately hasn’t really been great on the whole and has caused way more negatives than positives. Since December ‘12 I decided that was about to change - I just wasn’t living right and my habits needed to change. I had been bloated and constipated since forever, my skin was awful, I never had any energy and was a weakling who struggled to even open a milk bottle. I started up an Instagram account and it has honestly been the biggest support in keeping me accountable for every bite that goes in my mouth and every workout I do.

One day at a time, I’m learning new things and now looking back I am stunned that I would be stuffing over-processed, nutrition-stripped, absolutely disgusting chemical-dense junk into my mouth thinking its OK!! GIRRRL ITS NOT OK! Since switching up my diet and starting to workout (weightlifting and HIIT), my body, skin and mind have TRANSFORMED in a way I couldn’t imagine they could ever do. My 24/7 bloating and ‘6-month-old-pregnant-belly’ has vanished, my dull skin is glowing and I actually have the motivation to be up and active on my feet all day!

Join me as I share with you my lifestyle of pinching every penny I find, clean recipes that won’t be destroying your digestive system and my ramblings on pressing matters such as awareness of the food we put in our mouths, workouts that anyone can do with no access to a gym and trying to survive with the unfairness that all the amazing stuff available in the US isn’t always available in the UK!

Lots of love and thank you for reading this! I hope you will join me on this journey!

Fatima xx