Thursday, 21 August 2014

Apple and apricot turkey burgers (paleo and gluten free)

I'm totally addicted to Catfish: The TV Show at the moment. I've been watching reruns on MTV. And it got me to thinking about my online relationships, and namely the blogging community.

I have 'met' so many incredible people all across the world from blogging. It is amazing how much support you guys give me even though we've never met. I love my followers and the blogging community I've become apart of. Even though I don't always have the time to blog all the time, I wouldn't change being part of this community for the world.

Apple and apricot burgers on a mushroom bun

Now, to these burgers. Summer may be coming to an end (wahhh!) but there are a few more days left to squeeze in a last minute barbecue or six.

I've not been on my summer holiday yet, I don't go abroad until next month when J and I go to Rhodes, so I'm eking out summer as long as I can.

I'm not actually very good at eating by season sometimes. I happily eat bowls of oatmeal or soup in the summer and smoothies and salads in the winter. I eat all of them all year round and have what I fancy on the day or what I have in the house.

So, just like a dog isn't just for Christmas, burgers don't just have to be for summer.

Apple and apricot turkey burgers on a tray

These burgers are meaty with a fruity twist. The tender turkey works fantastically well with crunchy apple and soft apricots. The fruit and the meat balance each other perfectly. The burgers are not too sweet, but not too savoury either. They're fun. And I like fun food.

Fruit should be used more in savoury cooking more often. It shouldn't just be reserved for desserts or sweet treats. And I'm not just talking about the classics like pork and apple (although that is really good) or ham and pineapple on pizza.

Fruit can work beautiful with meat or fish or even veggies. I love a banana in a curry and my beetroot and apple pizza is one of my most viewed recipes.

Burgers on a tray

Topping them with creamy avocado and rocket (arugula) just finishes off the burgers.

The peppery rocket just sets off the sweetness from the apples and apricots in the patties beautifully.

And I love avocado on my burgers, since I can't have mayo as I'm staying dairy-free at the moment, avo has been my go to mayo substitute.

Burgers on a mushroom bun, topped with arugula and avocado

I served my burgers with some large meaty mushroom buns as I have been avoiding wheat recently to heal my eczema and gut.

In the last few days I have been missing bread, I think because I can't bread eat I've been craving a sandwich. I really need to get my bread baking on.

But if you're not avoiding wheat or gluten then go ahead and and grab a big fluffy burger buns and dig in. You lucky thing you.

Burgers with mushroom buns

What savoury recipes do you like to use fruit in?

What foods do you eat all year round?

Apple, apricot and turkey burgers

by Nikki Mitchell
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Keywords: bake dinner gluten-free low-carb low-sodium paleo soy-free wheat-free diary-free turkey apple apricot summer
Ingredients (6 burgers)
  • 500g (1lb) turkey mince/ground turkey
  • 1 eating apple (I used a gala)
  • 1/2 cup (120g) dried apricots, preferably sulfate free
  • 1/2 cup (60g) ground almonds/almond meal/almond flour
  • Six spring onions/scallions
  • 1 medium egg, preferably free range or organic
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped/dried parsley
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped/dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.
  • Grease a baking tray.
  • In a large mixing bowl beat a medium egg.
  • Peel and grate one medium eating apple and chop the apricots into small pieces.
  • Add the fruit, turkey mince/ground turkey, almond meal/ground almonds, chopped parsley and rosemary into the bowl.
  • Using your hands combine all the ingredients together.
  • Divide the mixture into six equal balls and shape into patties.
  • Cook in the oven for 30 minutes or until the turkey is fully cooked.
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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Is your bad skin a sign of a hormone imbalance? (with a 15% supplement discount)

As my eczema has broken out recently and I've been taking supplements like B Vitamins to help my skin, I'm teaming up with Simply Supplements today to bring you a post about skin health and how to have lovely glowing skin whatever your complexion. The supplement company are also giving my readers a 15% discount on their products. Scroll to the end of this post to get the discount code. 

Girl applying skin cream

When it comes to our health as women, our hormones play a major role in our mood, energy levels and even our skin. While we all breathe a sigh of collective relief when we say bye to our teenage years and the embarrassment of regular break outs; skin in our twenties can still be tricky to manage thanks to fluctuating hormones.

Fluctuating hormones at this stage of life are largely due to more women going on birth control, as well as the natural evening out of natural oestrogen and testosterone levels. Monthly breakouts are normally attributed to our monthly cycle where an excess of oil is being produced both before and during the cycle. While this is fairly normal and slightly annoying, it’s relatively normal for most women. However, acne and skin dryness can be symptoms of a hormonal imbalance which can manifest in greater health problems other than your monthly mood swings and chocolate cravings.

What are hormones?

Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers. They travel in your bloodstream to tissues or organs. Hormones affect you emotionally and physically because they are used by every cell in your body.

For women, hormones are essential for reproduction, sexuality, metabolism and overall well-being and happiness. When your hormone levels are out of balance, they can affect your mood, cause fatigue and trigger acne, insomnia and weight gain.

How hormones impact skin in 20’s to 30’s 

This is the most important decade for your skin as how you look after your skin now will determine how it will look for the rest of your life. This is also a period when your hormones have begun to even out and most women experience a regular menstrual cycle of 28 days.

During your cycle, oestrogen peaks right before ovulation, which can make the skin appear to glow. Testosterone (yes, women also have Testosterone!) peaks as well but is balanced by the increased oestrogen. If your hormones are balanced, then instead of producing oily skin and increasing the chances for an acne breakout, the sebum secreted by testosterones will give your skin radiant glow.

After ovulation, levels of oestrogen and testosterone drop causing a slight decrease in collagen and elastin which can make skin less springy and youthful.

This is the ideal way that hormones work to balance your skin. But imbalanced hormones can also lead to dryness and acne. Here’s why:

Dryness: We all have a skin type; normal, oily or dry skin; with a specific characteristics and care needs. If your skin is usually tight, with almost invisible pores and more visible lines; then your skin is dry. Skin is also likely to get drier in winter with the freezing temperatures, wind and dry air. These are normal and not specifically related to fluctuating hormones.

However, when your skin unexpectedly becomes dry and is unusual for your skin and time of year, it may be hormone related with a decrease of oestrogen. Thyroid function naturally peters out over time, which means less hormone production overall. When thyroid function is low, the skin becomes dry and scaly. Typically women are diagnosed with low thyroid function from their late twenties and during or after pregnancy.

Dry skin may also be related to the skin losing moisturising hyaluronic acid, which is enhanced by oestrogen. Less oestrogen and subsequently less hyaluronic acid mean less moisture resulting in leathery looking and cracked skin.

Early Twenties: As your hormones are still fluctuating, your skin over-produces oil, this is a major cause for clogged pores and pimples. Typically, breakouts will occur in the T-Zone, where you have the most oil glands. Breakouts here will either be whiteheads, blackheads or even cysts filled with pus.

Late Twenties:  In your late twenties, oestrogen levels decline faster than testosterone which boosts oil production and causes blemishes. Small red bumps along the jaw line or around your mouth are a telltale sign of a hormonal breakout.

How to balance your hormones naturally

Food: A poor diet - especially one high in sugars and starches - can throw off the balance between oestrogen and testosterone, exacerbating skin problems.

Try eating these foods below to balance your hormones and get glowing and healthy skin:
  • Coconut Oil - Full of essentials for hormone production, and great for your all round health
  • Almonds - High in Vitamin E which helps to improve the condition of your skin while also protecting it from UV rays.
  • Eggs - Packed in HDL Cholesterol (the good kind), eggs are a building block of hormone creation.
  • Broccoli - Full of phytoestrogens which promotes healthy hormone balance, Broccoli is also rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin E. These Vitamins aid in collagen production and UV ray production.
  • Avocados - Avocados have a variety of benefits for your body, but did you know that they are also amazing at moisturizing your epidermal layer. The omega 9 fats found in avocado also repair damaged skin cells and calm redness and irritation.
  • Reduce your caffeine - Caffeine elevates cortisol levels, lowers your thyroid hormone levels, creating mayhem with not only hormones but your sleeping patterns too. Augment your coffee addiction with green tea, which has weight loss benefits and can help to fight inflammation, increase hormone levels and unstable insulin levels.
  • Exercise - Exercising regularly is often one of the best cures if something is wrong in your body. If you have hormone imbalance, intense extended exercise like running, can make the problem worse in the short term. But this doesn’t mean you can scrap exercise! Rather while you are still getting your hormones back on track, try short bursts of heavy lifting like deadlifts, squats and kettlebells can be beneficial since they trigger lots of beneficial hormone reactions and endorphins.
  • Try Evening Primrose Oil - This potent oil is extracted from the seeds of the Evening primrose flower. It contains Linolenic Acid and Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) which are both Omega 6 fatty acids. This particular fatty acid plays a role in insulin absorption, cell structure, regulating hormones, improving nerve function, promoting skin elasticity, regulating the heart and regulating mood. 

For Eczema: Studies indicate that Evening Primrose Oil can help to relieve eczema-related inflammation, as well as the itching, oozing, and flaking associated with this skin condition.

For Acne: By working to dilute an overdose sebum caused by testosterone, the essential fatty acids in evening primrose oil helps to reduce the risk of pores becoming clogged.

For Rosacea: The essential fatty acids EFAs help to treat rosacea by reducing inflammation, controlling cells' use of nutrients and by producing prostaglandins, which stimulate the contraction of blood vessels.

Sleep more: A lack of sleep plays absolute havoc on hormone levels by increasing cortisonl, weigh gain, sugar cravings and fatigue. Aim for 8 hours of sleep a night to help get your hormone levels back in check.

Prevention: A key way to treat acne is to prevent it before it happens. With hormonal acne, we can pretty much tell when and where zits are going to pop up. Try using acne fighting products like cleansers with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide creams to treat spots a few days before your period starts

Primrose cream

Unfortunately, the youthful plump skin of our twenties does not last, and what we do to help protect and preserve our skin will have a deep impact on our skins in the future. So tackle hormonal imbalances and make the lifestyle changes you need for healthy, glowing skin now. Your future self will thank you for it!

Simply Supplements are offering my readers 15% discount on all their products until September 15.

What kind of skin complexion do you have?

Do you have a skin condition like eczema, psoriasis or acne? 

Do you use supplements to help your skin?

Monday, 28 July 2014

Salmon, quinoa and herb parcels

Since going on an anti-inflamatory diet to help get rid of my eczema I have been eating a lot of fish for its high omega-3 content, as the nutritional therapist I saw suggested I eat it three times a week. Not a problem as I love fish.

Salmon is my favourite fish and living in Scotland I can get the most beautiful salmon. The fish here in Scotland is some of the best I've ever tasted, I'd even go so far as to say the salmon is the best I've ever had.

One of the things the Scottish are good at is promoting and supporting local produce. Even in the supermarkets you can buy locally sourced fish, meat, fruit and vegetables, so I can get easily can my hands on good quality fish for a good price.

Salmon, quinoa and herb parcels

Giving up wheat and diary has been relatively easy, I didn't eat that much bread or pasta these days and I always have almond milk in the house. Cutting out nightshades on the other hand, namely tomatoes, has been a challenge, as I used them as the base of a lot of meals.

Working out what to eat at first was a little tricky, especially as I had so many good recipes to share that use nightshades, like some sweet and spicy stuffed peppers. The first few meals I ate were mainly salads because I knew I could eat load up on veggies and top it with either tuna, chicken or beans.

I love salads, don't get me wrong, but when it is all you feel like you can eat it gets monotonous very quickly. I wasn't enjoying the salads I was making for dinner because I'd already had one for lunch and one for lunch and another for dinner the day before. I've become salad-ed out. I'm bored of salads (I never thought I'd say that).

After eating, or should I say picking at, another bowl of salad, and not enjoying it, I thought 'I'm a food blogger, I can come up with something delicious'.

Salmon and quinoa parcel open at front, closed at back

I'm a serial list maker, so I consulted my journal for my recipe ideas/scribbles. I'd penciled this recipe in my book months ago, if it isn't written down on a list I'm likely to forget it about it, but even though I'd written it down I'd never got around to experimenting with this recipe.

But my lists saved me, as I had written it down, and going on this anti-inflammatory diet gave me the chance to finally try it. I don't why I had sidelined it in favour of other recipes and not made it earlier, as the seven simple ingredients of salmon, quinoa, peas, asparagus, lemon, herbs and olive oil make a beautiful meal.

As I can't use tomatoes to flavour my dishes, citrus fruits have been my go to flavouring, but that has limited my meals, as you can't make meals like spaghetti bolognese using lemons or oranges, but quinoa works superbly with it.

Opened salmon and quinoa parcels

If you've got guests coming over for dinner and you want to impress them why not serve them their dinner in a parcel that they can open? Watch their faces as they prize open their dinner and the fragrant steam billows out. They will be a great talking point for any dinner party.

James was surprised when I walked out of the kitchen with the pretty parcels. He hadn't expected me to serve the dish in the parchment. He said he felt like I was serving him food from an upmarket restaurant. Cue cheesy grin :D. That made me a happy girl.

But seriously these tasty packages make a statement. They're that good. Fresh, aromatic, succulent salmon, fluffy quinoa, and healthy.

Close up of salmon and quinoa parcels

As well impressing dinner guests, baking the salmon in parchment parcels steams it perfectly, making it delicate, juicy, flaky, so that when your fork touches it, it just falls apart, and adding the herbs and lemon to the parcels means both the quinoa and fish infuse with the delicious aromas.

Salmon on a fork

I've prepared the recipe with the ingredients you need per parcel, so you can cook this recipe for one, two, three, four or more guests, family and friends or even just make yourself a gorgeous meal because everyone deserves to eat prettily. 

Salmon, quinoa and herb parcels

by Nikki Mitchell
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Keywords: bake steam dinner diary-free gluten-free pescatarian vegetarian soy-free wheat-free low-sodium nut-free quinoa salmon peas fish
Ingredients (Recipe per parcel)
  • 1/3 cup quinoa (uncooked)
  • 1 salmon fillet (boneless if you can)
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 oz (55g) asparagus tips
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  • Toast the quinoa for a couple of minutes on the stove/hob and then add boiling water and cook for 12 - 15 minutes until grains are light and fluffy and all the water has gone - but be careful it doesn't burn.
  • If there is a little water left drain through a sieve/strainer.
  • While the quinoa is cooking, chop the asparagus and herbs (if you haven't already).
  • Cut a piece of baking parchment into a large square - big enough to fit the quinoa, veg and salmon in and for it to be turned it over
  • Once the quinoa is cooked mix in the peas.
  • Place the parchment on a baking sheet, spoon the quinoa and peas into the middle and flatten with the back of the spoon.
  • Drizzle a little lemon juice on the quinoa and top it with the salmon, then chop it into quaters and place around the fish.
  • Tumble the chopped asparagus around the salmon , sprinkle on the herbs and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
  • Fold the baking parchment in half and scrunch it a little to hold - don't fold the top too tight as you want to steam the fish - and fold over both ends. You can use a little extra olive oil or even an egg wash to hold the parchment down.
  • Place the parcels on a baking try and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
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Have you ever cooked fish in baking parchment?

What is your favourite fish?

Friday, 18 July 2014

Seeing a nutritional therapist

Recently I've felt really run down, tired, bloated, my digestive system has been all to pot and latterly over the last two to three weeks my has eczema broke out. This is on top of over the last year my periods being over the place.

As you can imagine it has all left me pretty bummed.

As well as leaving me feeling unhappy, it left me feeling that there was an imbalance in my body.

I went to the doctors when my eczema broke out a few weeks back and they just offered me steroid cream. I took the prescription but didn't use any of the cream because while I've used in the past to clear up my eczema it doesn't get to the root of the cause and can be addictive.

My eczema isn't something I haven't spoken about too much on the blog, mainly because most of the time while I have been blogging my skin has been good. Eating wholefoods, ditching the low fat diet and eating healthy fats and drinking more water have all helped. But like I was honest with why I quit dieting and when I put on a few pounds, I need to the same about my skin.

The fact is....I have eczema. And it SUCKS! I know its not cancer or a life-threatening disease but it destroys all my confidence, it is uncomfortable when it is itchy and it can get really sore. I hate it. I was born with it on my eyelids and have lived with it for 25 years up and I'm pretty extremely fed up of it.

Recently it has broke out on my face (BIG BUMMER) and on my arms. If one thing is a sure fire way to get me down it is if my eczema flares up. I've been wearing very little make-up and when it initially broke out I went make-up free for a few days, which was really hard as I had to go to work.

You know if I could have one wish it wouldn't be to have rock hard abs and stay skinny forever or to be rich it would be to be eczema free.

My healthy living journey didn't start with weight loss or even healthy eating, it started with my skin after the last major break out of eczema when I was around 19, which is when I was given oral steroids and put on all the weight. After that break out I changed all my cosmetics and beauty products going for natural, organic and mineral varieties. Although this recent flare up is nowhere near as bad as that or other ones I have had like when I was 15-16 and doing my GCSEs or when I hit puberty, it still gets me down.

After being given a prescription for the steroid creams my the doctor I decided to seek advice from somewhere else and remembered being told about a nutritional therapist in the area, so I made an appointment.

I was nervous but excited about going to see her. She made me feel very at ease and it was easy to talk to her and tell her everything that I have been through with my skin, migraines, hypermobility and getting glandular fever (mono) at 17-18.

The truth is, which I have only alluded to here on the blog, is that for the most of my teenager years and early 20s before I started exploring wholesome, clean foods and got rid of glandular fever, my eczema calming down and starting this blog, I was pretty sick. I was tired, had no energy, not get up and go and caught every little cold, virus or bug going. And I still pick things easier than the average person.

During my session, the therapist used this amazing machine called the Asyra to scan my body to see what was lurking in it and causing me problems. The Asyra screening is a non-invasive way to get information from the body about any areas of imbalance. Readings are taken by holding two bras hand-masses. The energetic, vibrational characteristics of substances have been electronically stored on a computer database. These vibration characteristics are known as ‘signatures’, the Asyra compares readings from your body with it's database of 40,000 signatures which include bacteria, fungus, virus, nutritional deficiencies, emotions, food sensitivities, hormone imbalances, toxic elements and many more.

Using the Asya screening, the nutritionist game to the conclusion that my digestive system has shut down, my adrenal glands are burnt out, my eczema is caused by a leaky gut and is controlled by my emotions (especially stress), I have a hormonal imbalance and I'm deficient in magnesium and B vitamins.

So yeah, lots of stuff to work on.

I was always told when I was younger that "you'll grow out of it, most children grow out of eczema". Well, I haven't. I always thought I had eczema because I was born with it and that it was something I would just have to deal with, but now I've realised there is something probably in my gut causing it.

So, what is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

70% of our immune system is located around the digestive system. In a normal healthy person the small intestine behaves like a selective sieve allowing only the breakdown products of digestion into the bloodstream. Nutrients and well digested fats, proteins and starches are readily able to enter into the bloodstream whilst large molecules, microbes and toxins are kept out. In the intestinal tract, villi (finger like projections off the lining the intestinal tract with hair like cell membrane extensions called microvilli), serve as a point of absorption of nutrients. Nutrients such as glucose, amino acids or electrolytes are carried through the microvilli into the cells of the villus via active transport (carrier molecules take the nutrients across the cell membrane). Leaky Gut Syndrome causes the intestinal lining to become inflamed and the microvilli become damaged or altered. The damaged microvilli cannot then produce the necessary enzymes and secretions that are essential for a healthy digestion and the absorption of nutrients. 

Leaky Gut Syndrome has many symptoms. Some of the ones I have experienced are bloating, migraines, Muscle pain, myofascial pain. mood swings, poor memory, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue and sluggishness.

So, what does it have to do with eczema?

The underlying causes of psoriasis and eczema have common denominators. In working with hundreds of clients with skin disorders, I find these two skin disorders, and many others, are strictly a degree of toxicity; toxic colon, candida, leaky gut syndrome and parasites.

The nutritionist has given me some homeopathic remedies to use, as well as some B vitamin supplements and has told me to continue taking some supplements I was already using - maca powder, chlorella, fermented cod liver oil and vitamin D.

She has also put me on ant-inflammatory diet to turn my body's own inflammation switch back on - inflammation is essential in the body in order to alert you that there is a problem and you need to take action. For example if you're a klutz like me and sprain you ankle regularly there will be pain, swelling and redness, aka inflammation, your inflammation switch will tell you not to walk on it until the ankle is better. The body actively tries to restore health by sending nutrients via an increased blood flow, chemicals and heat to kill any invaders. Once the threat is over over and the condition/ailment/injury has healed the body will turn the mechanism off to protect healthy tissue from damage by the chemicals. In a healthy body works in balance with an on and off switch, but many of us have too many on switches and not enough off switches and many people have a poor diet these days.

Having not enough off switches means not enough off switches can lead to chronic inflammatory conditions like arthritis, diabetes, obesity, atherosclerosis, IBS and just being generally under par. Some common conditions associated with chronic pain are back pain (which I have), osteoarthritis, headaches and migraines (which I have since I was 16-17), inflammatory bowel disorders, musculoskeletal injury and trauma, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome and autoimmune disease.

The nutritional therapist also explained that too much arachidonic acid, which is an omega-6 fatty acid, can cause issues as well.

What is arachidonic acid (AA)? 

Arachidonic acid is a kind of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid that can be naturally found in some foods or synthesized. Some of this kind of element is necessary for nutrition in the body, but too much can be extremely harmful. Arachidonic acid is helpful for facilitating the growth of muscle tissues around the skeleton. Humans get arachidonic acid through their diets. It is primarily found in a variety of red meats, as well as egg yolks and organ meats. It can also be put into processed foods as a supplement for vegans or vegetarians.
Ideally, the body produces a delicate balance of hormones (pro and anti inflammatory) for optimal health. These small yet powerful hormones are called eicosanoids. AA is the precursor of the pro inflammatory eicosanoids. When your AA levels are too high pro inflammatory hormones are produced in greater numbers. They overpower the anti inflammatory hormones which keep them in check.This triggers a constant cascade of inflammatory factors. The immune system is kept on in a low level state. It continually damages the healthy tissues of your body. If you ever feel achy upon waking or when you get up from sitting you are experiencing the effects of low level inflammation. This is aggravating but it is also a sign of far worse things going on inside of you. It's the effects you don't feel which are the real dangers of excess AA.You don't "feel" your arteries clogging, your brain degenerating towards Alzheimer's, or your cell's preparing to turn cancerous.

Going on an anti-inflammatory diet means cutting out:

Diary - Dairy and cheese are sources of arachidonic acid and feed the inflammation cascade. I always have almond milk in the house for baking and in smoothies, so I have switched to that completely. I didn't drink that much cow's milk, just a little in tea and coffee. When my eczema broke out I cut back on the diary because I know it is a known trigger for eczema, but one day at work I was offered a couple of mugs of coffee made with cow's milk, so I said yes, but when I got home my eczema on my face, which had started to calm down a little, was red and inflamed. So I am staying firmly away from dairy right now. I sure am missing thick and creamy Greek yoghurt though. She nutritional therapist did say I could have goat's cheese, milk and yoghurt in moderation. I love goat's cheese but am a bit skeptical about the yoghurt and milk.

Wheat - Gluten is a large protein that my digestive system may not be able to cope with at the moment and
this mayy be contributing to my inflammation via a leaky gut, causing an immune response. I'd cut down on a lot of wheat, cutting out white bread and pasta, so this shouldn't be too hard and the therapist said I can still eat oats (thank goodness), quinoa, spelt and buckwheat.

Coffee - Coffee raises levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and insulin, hormones that accelerate aging and store body fat. I miss coffee but I am drinking green tea, peppermint tea and on the therapist's recommendation ginger tea.

Red meat - It contains saturated fats and arachidonic acid which increases the formation of inflammatory compounds. I don't eat lamb, steak or beef, so that will be relatively easy, but it also includes pork, so that means no more bacon frittatas or salads for a while.

Alcohol - Alcohol causes inflammatory problems in the body. I'm not a big drinker, the last time I had a drink was my birthday last month, so this is easy to cut out.

Processed Food/Sunflower oil/Vegetable oil - Processed food (anything that is the colour beige like crisps/chips, cookies, pastry and pies) are made processed using cheap and rancid fats like sunflower or vegetable. Any oils that are heated during the processing will have turned into bad fats and will fuel the inflammation cascade and provide a source of free radicals, which damage DNA and your cells batteries turning them leaky. I make all my meals from scratch and don't eat crisps, pastries, cookies and pies that are store-bought and I cook with olive and coconut oil, so this is an easy one.

Fizzy pop/soda and sugary treats - Sugar depletes magnesium very quickly, which is the body’s main alkaline and anti-stress mineral. I cut out white sugar about two years ago and feel much better for it, I eat much more natural sugars now from fruit and have a little bit of honey, coconut sugar and pure maple syrup in my baked goods.

Diet drinks with no added sugar -  The main ingredient in diet drinks is aspartame, which has linked to many inflammatory conditions. I cute out diet drinks a while back now after realising what was actually in them. I only ever have them now on a rare occasion.

Nightshades - They contain a chemical substance than can activate pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. Nightshades include tomatoes, peppers, chilies, paprika, aubergine (eggplant) and potatoes (but not sweet potatoes). This has been the hardest one for me to give up as I love peppers and tomatoes are often the base of a lot of my dishes.

On top of this the nutritional therapist said the Asyra machine found my body does not like seafood or spinach at the moment, so I am also cutting them out for the time being. For my green smoothies I'm using watercress, romaine kale and broccoli instead, and I may even try some chard.

Since going on the anti-inflammatory diet I have felt less bloated and my digestive system is much better. My eczema has not gone down, but the redness in my face has calmed down, thought it is still a little dry. But I didn't expect it to go over night, although I wish it would, I think it is on the right track. I don't just want this flare up to go away, I want to go away for good. As this post is long enough already I will check in again soon with how I am doing on the anti-inflammatory diet and what I have been eating.

The reason why I  haven't posted on the blog in over a week but I just needed some time to get my head around things, and I know this has been a pretty long post and I've thrown loads of information at you, and a lot of it is what I got from the nutritional therapist, but I also wanted to give you some proper definitions (the sources for which I have linked to) of the things that I have been talking about.

It may have taken me a few days but I wanted I wanted to share my story and what is going on with me with you because I know there are many people living with similar (as well as many different) conditions to me. And you don't have to suffer in silence. There is help out there.

Have you seen a nutritional therapist?

Do you have eczema or another skin condition?

Have you suffered from migraines?

Have you ever gone on an ant-inflammatory diet?
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