Wholefood Dietitian offering wholefood nutrition tips and recipes for gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free diets. Explore gut health, good food, and the latest in nutrition research and lifestyle trends
Food intolerances are no fun, and they certainly aren’t easy to diagnose, despite what some may believe.
You see, our food contains an abundance of nutrients, natural chemicals, colours, flavours, proteins, sugars and carbohydrates that can affect us all in different ways.
That’s why first, it’s important to find a Dietitian well-versed in food intolerances and digestive issues who is able to guide you through your results.
These, however, are the absolute essential daily habits you need to track to get the quickest, most reliable outcome of any elimination diet. It’s time to figure out what’s going on and take the steps to fix it, today!
1. Food & Symptoms
This one is obvious. You need to track your daily food habits and if you experience any symptoms at all during the day/night.
For example, one day you might track your main meals and snacks, including drinks, and that afternoon you may have had a headache. You list all the foods you ate and when, as well as the headache, and at what time it occurred. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the food or drink you had at the same time was the cause – but it’s important to track the time it occurred so you can look for trends with your health professional.
Do this for a minimum of one week, however, 2-3 weeks is preferred due to the ever-changing nature of work stressors, events and schedules.
It’s important to track changes in your mood. Surprisingly, it can be a key component of assessing whether or not your lifestyle and food habits are contributing to your digestive troubles and vice versa!
3. Physical Activity
The types and amount of physical activity you do each day is also important as the gut is directly affected by exercise, movement and activity. Tracking what you do each week can really help provide insight into any potential lifestyle triggers for your symptoms.
4. Bowel Movements
This one is rather straightforward, you simply need to track what happens when you go to the toilet each day to keep an eye on any abnormalities. Despite it being quite taboo, what you see in the loo can tell a story or two!
5. Reintroduction Challenges
This tracker is what you need when you’re doing your food challenges and reintroducing certain foods back into your diet. This part is crucial (!!) for the success of the entire elimination diet process.
Food challenges — where you take out a food out and then add back in to see if it causes symptoms—are considered the “gold standard” for diagnosing intolerances. Blood and skin testing can often give false or confusing results, and many tests have absolutely no reliability or research behind them to say they even work!
That’s why the most definitive way to test food intolerances (not allergies!) is via a food challenge. It allows you to see if you react to particular foods or ingredients and allows you to test your tolerance levels too. So even if you react to larger portions of one food, you may be able to tolerate smaller amounts less frequently – giving you more variety and nutrition long term!
If you’re ready to discover what’s causing your digestive troubles once and for all, I’ve created an easy-to-follow Food Elimination Diet Diary Tracker Kit here. Become your own diet detective and then give them to myselfor your health practitioner during a consultation to figure out exactly what’s going on!
Turmeric – the golden spice that was once reserved for curries, is now in, well, practically everything! But why?
How come turmeric is so popular that people are even switching their beloved coffees for ‘golden lattes’? Does it really stand up to it’s ‘healthy’ hype? And what are turmeric’s health benefits anyway?
Find out everything you need to know with our ultimate guide to turmeric!
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a spice that comes from the same plant family as ginger. It’s commonly used in Asian cuisines and added to a range of foods such as curry powder, mustard, butter and cheese for its flavour and colour (1).
What Are The Nutrients In Turmeric?
Turmeric contains iron, vitamin B6, magnesium and some calcium, but what gives it such potent health powers is its curcuminoid content. The most commonly studied curcuminoid is curcumin. A bit of a mouthful to pronounce, but research is showing that it packs a punch when it comes to fighting disease and inflammation (2).
Why Is Curcumin So Good For You?
When you hear about the benefits of turmeric in the media, you can bet they’re actually talking about curcumin.
Most studies examine the benefits of incorporating a certain amount of curcumin into your diet daily. This powerful plant compound has been shown to reduce inflammation, combat pain, prevent eye conditions, help to ward off cancer, keep your cholesterol in control, and so much more (3)!
The quickest way to get more curcumin into your diet is by consuming more turmeric or taking a curcumin supplement. It’s extremely low in calories and rich in vitamins and minerals, making it a nutrient-dense addition to your meals!
As well as giving you 26% of your daily manganese, 16% of your iron, 5% of your potassium and 3% of your vitamin C needs for the day.
12 Powerful Health Benefits Of Turmeric
Turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries as a natural medicine alternative. Its health-promoting properties have assisted in the treatment of diabetes, cough, sinusitis, flu, rheumatism and liver disorders to name a few (4).
What’s fascinating though, is that the power of turmeric is only recently being discovered by researchers in modern medicine. What their studies are finding is nothing short of amazing. And once you read all about the benefits of turmeric below, you’ll be wondering ‘what can’t turmeric do?!’
The incredible health benefits of turmeric and its key compound, curcumin, include:
1. Diabetes Prevention And Symptom Reduction
Approximately 1 million Australians have been diagnosed with diabetes. If diabetes continues to rise at the current rates, up to 3 million Australians over the age of 25 years will have diabetes by the year 2025. (5).
It sounds crazy, but turmeric may actually have the potential power to prevent and improve many of the key signs and symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes, including insulin resistance, high blood sugar levels, high cholesterol and damage to the cells in your pancreas (6).
Long-standing diabetes leading to signs of kidney problems may also be managed with the help of a turmeric supplement (7). Research is still in its early days but the few human studies available are very promising!
2. Reduced Trauma Post-Brain Injury And Healthy Brain Function Support
By consuming curcumin, the key active compound in turmeric, after a brain injury, it may, in fact, help heal the brain! This is thanks to its amazing ability to help minimize the activation of systems that break down damaged brain cells (8). Fascinating, right?!
Aside from this, another study showed curcumin can help boost the conversion of omega’s from plant foods (ALAs) to the more beneficial form (DHA) by increasing the number of enzymes involved in this process, that occurs in both the liver and the brain. This leads to increased DHA in the brain, which is linked to improved moods and healthy brain function (9)!
3. Reduced Risk Of Heart Disease And Lowered Cholesterol
Cardiovascular disease kills one Australian every 12 minutes. (10). However, by taking as little as 45 mg/day of curcumin for 2 months, patients with acute coronary syndrome saw a reduction in their total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels (11). Powerful stuff!
Curcumin is also a polyphenol, which is a class of potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidants. One study showed that curcumin could actually reduce the number of fatty acid deposits found in arteries. One of the key risk factors for heart disease (12)!
This could be due to its role in increasing the body’s ability to manage, process, dispose and remove harmful fats, and promote a healthier, balanced cholesterol level in the body (13).
This was also shown when 65 people took either a curcumin extract capsule containing 630 mg, three times a day, or a fake pill without curcumin. After 12 weeks, those who had the curcumin capsules had significantly lowered their cholesterol levels (14).
High triglycerides levels in the body are now known to be one of the main risk factors for heart disease (15). As little as 1 gram per day can reduce your triglyceride levels!
Plus, turmeric reduces inflammation and oxidation, and improves the functioning of your artery walls just as much as what exercise can (16)! All of which can help prevent heart disease.
4. Selectively Killing Cancer Tumor Cells
Unfortunately, it’s very likely that we all know at least one person who has been affected by cancer. Thankfully, there are many natural ways we can help support our bodies through cancer treatment.
While the primary treatment choice is up to you and your medical professionals, studies have shown curcumin can help to selectively kill cancer tumour cells, without harming normal cells. It does this by affecting a number of cell signalling pathways involved in tumour growth (17).
While research is still needed to fully understand how powerful turmeric can be for preventing and helping to support cancer treatment, the results of this study aren’t to be taken lightly!
Turmeric’s health benefits also include the ability to prevent cancer in the first place (18).
Plus, the best part is that it’s well tolerated at high doses for most people, it’s affordable, and it’s easy to find. See some easy turmeric options at the end of this post!
5. Potentially Reducing Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition many people suffer from. It causes great pain and immobility and typically requires the use of strong medications just for the person to get by on a daily basis.
Until now! In one particular study, 500mg of curcumin was given to study participants which significantly improved their disease activity. They also didn’t have any unwanted side effects and found relief using a safe, obtainable-sized dose (19)!
However, one thing to note is that curcumin is not too easy to absorb on its own. So many studies have had to use a curcumin extract or mix to get a higher concentrated dose that helps to ensure adequate absorption in the body (20).
For long-term, chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis, extracts of the Curcuma species, curcuminoids and enhanced curcumin supplements would likely be required to see any significant improvements. One study successfully used curcumin extracts to improve pain, physical function, and quality of life in those with osteoarthritis (21).
Despite this, turmeric itself is a naturally nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory ingredient and there are easy ways to increase the absorption rate by up to 2000%! You’ll learn how to do this later in this article!
6. Lowering Your Risk Of Alzheimer’s And Dementia
Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia are progressive brain disorders that occur from degeneration of the body’s central nervous system (22).
It’s a horrible thing to watch someone you love struggle with these disorders, however, there may be hope with curcumin. In cell-based studies, curcumin has been shown to have a protective effect (23).
Researchers believe that a decline in the function of brain insulin receptors may be part of the reason why people get these brain disorders. In one rat study, researchers simulated dementia symptoms using a drug called streptozotocin. The rats were given 200 mg/kg of curcumin before and after they were given the drug and found that it restored memory function and brain insulin receptors (24).
Another potential factor in the development of a variety of common brain disorders, including depression and Alzheimer’s, is the reduction of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, a type of growth hormone in the brain. Curcumin can increase brain levels of this hormone, and by doing so, may help to prevent or even reverse these conditions (25)!
7. Reducing Depression Symptoms Without Harmful Side Effects (It Beats Prozac!)
So many people with various mental health conditions are prescribed medications that have horrendous side effects. Some of which include suicidal thoughts and other psychotic disorders (26)! It’s crazy that we are giving these medications to people who desperately need help, and yet it’s making them feel worse! Researchers are continually on the hunt for solutions to optimise treatment for depression without these unwanted side effects, and curcumin may be a natural support needed!
One exciting study has shown taking curcumin to be just as effective as Prozac for depression, without the unwanted side effects (26)!
Participants of another study who were on antidepressants took 2 capsules containing either 1000 mg of curcumin or soybean powder daily for 6 weeks. Those who took curcumin reportedly experienced a significant antidepressant effect (27).
8. Powerful Antioxidant Protection And Anti-Inflammatory Power
Many of the key benefits from turmeric and curcumin are believed to come from the potent antioxidant capacity and anti-inflammatory properties it possesses.
The beginning of many chronic diseases may stem from inflammation and excessive oxidation from free radical damage to our cells. Our cell structure, membranes, and even DNA can be affected by this, and curcumin may play a vital role in preventing complications such as cancer, clogged arteries, and brain disorders because of its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits (28).
An example of its effectiveness occurred in one study for an inflammatory bowel condition called Ulcerative Colitis. Curcumin enemas were given to study participants which resulted in reduced inflammation of the colon (29).
9. Soothing And Healing Gastrointestinal Disorders
If you’ve ever been told to have a ginger tea with an upset stomach, you might want to add some turmeric to it too!
There’s a lot of research out there revealing the benefits of using turmeric or a curcumin supplement for digestive health. Showing ways how it helps to reduce symptoms of many gastrointestinal disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) (30).
Turmeric may play a role in repairing the lining of the gut in people who have ‘leaky gut’ or issues with their digestive health because of eating a standard Western diet (31).
One particular study found a mix of curcumin and fennel essential oil could improve the symptoms and quality of life in patients with IBS in 30 days (32)!
When it comes to IBD, inflammation is a key component of the active disease and typical treatment involves strong steroid medications. However, in mild to moderate cases, the use of curcumin and steroids together was much more powerful than steroids alone for inducing remission, without any side effects (34). But in order to get this effect, you need to have a higher dose than 450 mg/day (35).
Curcumin supplements are even well tolerated in children with mild IBD according to one small study. The children took 500mg of curcumin, twice daily, for 3 weeks in addition to their standard treatment. The supplement was well tolerated and a number of children had improved disease markers (33).
The potent anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric and curcumin are as impressive as they seem. But make sure to read below for how to take turmeric to get the best effect, if you’re looking to take it to improve your gut health!
10. Possible Support For Asthma And Allergies
In traditional medicine, turmeric is used to enhance the immune system and support respiratory diseases including asthma. However, many of the studies to prove this has only occurred in animals so far. Despite this, the evidence is showing an exciting potential for turmeric and curcumin to aid in treating allergic rhinitis, airway inflammation, and allergic encephalomyelitis (36, 37, 38)!
The theory being tested is that curcumin has antiallergic properties with the ability to inhibit histamine release in the body. In animal studies, the results are indicating a substantial potential for curcumin to assist with reducing the allergic response and alleviating symptoms (39, 40).
Amazing news for those with allergies as turmeric and curcumin may be a natural alternative to current medical therapies!
11. Reduced Severity Of Common Skin Conditions
A lot of the conditions we’ve discussed already can be really serious and life-threatening. The fact that turmeric can help with these diseases is mind-blowing, but what you also need to know, is that it’s also amazing for what’s on the outside! It’s essentially a beauty food too!
Turmeric has the potential to help skin conditions ranging from acne, alopecia, and atopic dermatitis, to oral lichen planus, pruritus, psoriasis, radiodermatitis, and vitiligo. A number of studies have reported seeing significant improvement in a range of skin conditions and their severity by using turmeric or curcumin as a treatment (41).
It may even work when applied topically to assist with eczema (42)!
12. Eating Grilled Meat Safely
Say what? It sounds strange I know, but bear with me. When you prepare meat on the grill, the cooking process actually creates a range of mutagens called heterocyclic amines or HCAs. Unfortunately, while grilled meat is delicious, these compounds can place you at a higher risk of cancer.
But! Turmeric is once again here to save the day! Curcumin, thanks to its antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic effects can inhibit against seven of these HCAs by up to 80% (43)! All you have to do is use a marinade on your meat that has a base of ground turmeric. Satay sticks, anyone?
Can Turmeric Replace Steroids And Pain Medication?
I would never recommend you completely stop your medication for a trial of turmeric or curcumin without consulting your doctor first. However, turmeric can reduce inflammation just like steroids. Several studies show similar effects when comparing common steroid treatments and a curcumin supplement of some type (44).
For example, corticosteroids are the only available treatment for the inflammatory eye condition chronic anterior uveitis. Yet, research shows curcumin can produce very similar effects (45).
Pain can also be managed with turmeric. Just like steroids, turmeric controls pain and burning sensation caused by many disorders, injuries and cancer. When comparing steroid gels and curcumin gels on ulcers, within 7 days curcumin gel users had the same significant reduction in pain, size and number of ulcers (46).
It can also help reduce pain during PMS with two capsules a day; is just as effective as ibuprofen for knee arthritis, and may even help reduce delayed onset muscle soreness after heavy exercise (47, 48, 49)!
So yes! Effects are fascinatingly similar, but most importantly, those nasty steroids and strong painkiller side effects don’t exist with turmeric. In fact, it can actually help to reduce the side effects of using steroids as well (50)!
How To Take Turmeric
Turmeric can be grated fresh into curries, mixed into marinades, blended into your smoothies and soups, made into gelatin gummies, or added to your milk-based drinks (nut milks work too!).
If you can’t get your hands on fresh turmeric, you can also use turmeric powder in your cooking or as a supplement. It’s just as beneficial!
How Much Turmeric Should I Have?
Around 1000mg per day is the most common dose in human studies, but this does vary from 400-2000mg depending on the condition. This amount appears to offer health benefits and is likely safe for most people up to 8000mg per day (3).
What About A Turmeric Or Curcumin Supplement?
For the majority of people, turmeric and turmeric supplements as a part of a healthy diet do not cause any side effects. We recommend you work with your health practitioner to determine the appropriate dose tailored to your personal needs.
It’s best to avoid taking turmeric supplements during pregnancy or lactation, as its safety during this time hasn’t yet been determined.
Also, if you are controlling your diabetes with medications or are taking medicine to control your blood sugar levels, please check in with your doctor first, as you may need to adjust your medication.
Side Effects of Turmeric
The impressive benefits of adding turmeric to your diet are undeniable, and what’s most exciting, is that despite having such potent results to rival modern medicine, it comes without the endless list of unwanted side effects!
For most people, turmeric won’t have any side effects at all. But it is possible to have too much of a good thing, even if it’s natural. When some people have consumed very high doses, they’ve ended up feeling nauseous, having diarrhoea, an increased risk of bleeding, abnormal liver function results, hyperactive gallbladder contractions, low blood pressure, uterine contractions and an increased menstrual flow in women.
In saying this, doses of up to 8g of curcumin in humans have been shown to be fairly well tolerated (3).
Turmeric Drug Interactions
Turmeric is completely natural and has little to no side effects in comparison to the man-made medicines available for the same conditions.
However, even though it’s natural, turmeric may interfere with some medications, so it’s important to make sure you’re not taking any of the following before dosing up on turmeric:
Anticoagulants including aspirin, clopidogrel and warfarin,
Even if you are on medications, turmeric has such powerful health benefits it’s important not to discount it completely. In fact, taking curcumin can help reduce the side effects of many long-term medications (51)!
Speak with your doctor to make sure the amount of turmeric you’re taking is right for you and your personal circumstances.
Turmeric Tip #1!
Eat Turmeric With Healthy Fats
As the nutrients in turmeric are fat soluble, it’s best consumed with a healthy source of fat, e.g. coconut milk, avocado, olive oil, ghee, nut butters, or butter. This helps to boost the absorption, and in turn, the benefits (52)!
It’s no surprise that the foods which offer anti-inflammatory benefits are the ones that health professionals continue to agree upon for good health.
Inflammation isn’t all bad.
Before you start to think inflammation is inherently “bad”. It’s actually not. Short bursts of inflammation are our bodies way of coping with foreign objects and localised trauma. This is called Acute Inflammation and it’s necessary and a totally normal part of our immune defence.
The problem occurs when we have inflammation that doesn’t go away. This is Chronic Inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a range of major diseases like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and depression.¹
Why Does What We Eat Matter?
The digestive system is your important, yet delicate front-line defence to whatever enters our body. It’s the major headquarters for our immune system and controls whether or not harmful bacteria and viruses enter our system.² Plus, it turns the food we eat into energy, vitamins and minerals for us to thrive, and hosts our gut microbiome – 2 litres of bacteria that have incredibly strong influences on the runnings of the entire body.
That’s why what we eat is such a big factor in inflammation and disease, and why it’s fairly safe to say that taking care of our gut may well be one of the most important things we can do to defend ourselves against disease and improve our overall health.
When choosing what to eat, a wide variety of fresh plant foods is important, but for extra anti-inflammatory goodness, make sure to include these:
Vegetables (i.e. Broccoli And Tomatoes)
Green Leafy Vegetables (i.e. Spinach, Kale, And Rocket)
Nuts (i.e. Almonds And Walnuts)
Seeds (i.e.Chia Seeds And Flaxseed)
Fatty Fish (i.e. Salmon, Mackerel, Tuna, And Sardines)
Ready to get your bake on? This Pear and Vanilla Bread will show off your fancy baking skills (without hardly any effort). After 3 months of being on a food chemical elimination diet for food sensitivity testing, I’ve finally been able to increase the number of different fruits and vegetables back into my diet.
Usually, most people can start reintroducing foods within 3-4 weeks or so, but because I was researching how to do it properly while I was on it, I took my time to get it right so I didn’t have to do it again, and I could figure out once and for all what my food intolerances really are.
This Pear and Vanilla Bread recipe came out of desperation as pear was the only fruit I could eat during that time, no other herbs or spices aside from vanilla and parsley were allowed, chocolate was a no-go, natural or artificial flavours were out, and my other usual go-to items were off the menu as well.
The result was a really bland diet that had me desperate for something as an occasional treat. Turns out desperate times can create some pretty yummy dishes!
Mind you, I haven’t baked with “regular” flours like plain flour for years so this took me a few goes! I had to revert back to traditional baking methods which, let’s be honest, are way too precise for my kind of baking needs.
But, if you’re on a restricted diet (or simply love pear and vanilla), then give this bread a try. It’s a nice change from the usual banana bread.
Suitable for Failsafe/RPAH Low Chemical Diet
45 g butter (or coconut oil for dairy-free)
2/3 cup rice milk, unsweetened
1 1/4 cup gluten-free, plain all-purpose flour
1/3-1/2 cup granulated sugar (raw, coconut, etc)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground vanilla powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 medium ripe pears, peeled, cut in half and cored
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C fan forced.
Lightly grease a 20cm x 10cm x 6cm loaf pan with butter or line with baking paper.
Beat the eggs, butter, and sugar together in a medium bowl. Add milk.
In a separate bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients.
Whisk the dry mix into the wet ingredients until combined.
Pour bread mix into prepared loaf pan.
Gently press pear halves into the mix, with the top of the pears curve sitting flush with the surface of the mix.
Bake at 180 degrees C for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 160 degrees C and bake covered with foil for another 40 minutes.
Hot, balmy Summer days in Australia call for a freezer stacked full of ice cream options. Not one Summer went by in my childhood that wasn’t down by the beach in Byron Bay, Evans Head, or Ballina. Now, living on the Sunshine Coast, I’m completely spoilt for choice with beach options.
But having a food intolerance to dairy and wanting to keep my diet somewhat free of added sugars where possible, I’m no longer racing to the corner store for the usual ice cream. I’m at home whipping up my own with a whole range of healthy goodies bursting with nutrients so I can enjoy my ice cream and feel good too!
This recipe is literally loaded with flavours of Summer. The fresh mango, juicy pineapple and a hint of coconut take me back to sandy, Summer days every time. Enjoy this ‘nice’ cream on its own, in a cone (gluten-free or otherwise) or wedged between a couple of cookies for a delicious ‘nice’ cream sandwich!
No Added Sugar
Rich in Vitamin C
Source of Beta Carotene
110g fresh mango, peeled
200g pineapple, fresh or frozen
100g sweet potato, peeled, steamed
1tsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
Add all ingredients into a high-speed blender and whizz until smooth. Pour into a container and freeze for at least 2-3 hours.
Remove from freezer. Scoop out and serve.
Note: If your ice cream is completely frozen, let it sit at room temperature for 15 mins or so before serving. Or until it’s a consistency you enjoy.
When I lived in Sydney, I purchased water kefir from a regular customer at the health food store in Woollahra where I worked at the time. He would come in with his homemade kefir, have a chat, then buy his groceries.
I’m sure some people thought it strange as he handed over a large jar of murky water to me. But he was adamant it worked wonders for health and had been drinking it for years. Well before everything fermented and gut-health related was ‘trendy’.
There has been a fair amount of research conducted on kefir now so I dug through the journals to bring you the most up to date, evidence-based info I could find on this fascinating fermented drink.
What is Kefir?
Originating in the Caucasus Mountains thousands of years ago, kefir (kee-fer) is a probiotic drink made from combining kefir grains (a mix of live bacteria and yeast), a base liquid and sugar.
The word kefir is derived from the Turkish word keyif, which means “feeling good” after its ingestion.
Similar to kombucha, it’s a fermented beverage that uses sugar and bacteria to naturally carbonate the base liquid and create a probiotic-rich drink that supports a healthy gut by adding more of the beneficial bacteria that help to bring balance back to our gut microbiome. The main products of kefir fermentation are lactic acid, ethanol and carbon dioxide.
You can find a range of different kefir drinks now. Most commonly, they’re based on either goat’s milk, cow’s milk, coconut milk, coconut water, or plain water.
What are Kefir Grains?
Kefir grains are what a SCOBY is to Kombucha. It’s the starter culture of bacteria and yeast, but instead of making a strange looking mushroom top like kombucha, kefir grains cluster together in a mesh of proteins and polysaccharides and sink to the bottom of the jar.
7 Health Benefits Of Kefir1. Kefir may support gut problems, hypertension, allergies, and ischemic heart disease
Even though every kefir batch is different, studies have found a wide variety of bioactive compounds such as organic acids, CO2, H2O2, ethanol, bioactive peptides, exopolysaccharides (kefiran), and bacteriocins.
These compounds include probiotics which are the good kind of bacteria that happily live in our guts that offer numerous health benefits such as making key nutrients, aiding in digestion and boosting our immune system.
The mix of active compounds may work together or separately to support the management of these conditions. However, we’re not sure how yet or if it works for everybody!
2. Kefir offers antimicrobial benefits
The mix of bioactive compounds created during the fermentation process gives kefir impressive antimicrobial powers. These compounds may have beneficial effects not only in the reduction of food borne pathogens and deteriorating bacteria during beverage production and storage, but also in the treatment and prevention of gastroenteritis and vaginal infections, with studies showing it may assist with managing candida overgrowth.
3. Kefir Aids Healing Processes and Offers Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
It’s still early days for this benefit, as there isn’t a great deal of evidence around it. But studies on mice have shown anti-inflammatory effects when kefir was used as a gel for wound healing and it supported healing activities on infected burns.
4. Kefir can help balance your gut bacteria (helping to reduce bloating and improve digestion)
Regular consumption of kefir may alleviate tummy issues such as diarrhoea, constipation, reduce flatulence and help restore your digestive system to normal after taking antibiotics. The effect is a combination of its antimicrobial activity killing off the harmful bacteria and its beneficial probiotic content. It may even aid in the treatment of peptic ulcers.
5. Kefir might reduce tumor growth
That’s a big statement, I know. I’d like the emphasise the “might” here as more research is needed. But still, kefir potentially has anti-tumoral properties and promotes resistance of the mucosa to intestinal infections according to this study. It may also act as an antioxidant.
6. Kefir can influence your immune system
Consuming kefir has been shown to change the activity of your immune system by stimulating the immune system and promoting cell-mediated immune responses against tumors and intracellular pathogen infections.
7. Kefir may improve lactose intolerance
Research is still in its early days, with one study showing that kefir made from cow’s milk had a dramatic reduction of symptoms in their lactose intolerance symptoms. Reducing flatulence and cramps by up to 50%.
Some kefir grains show β-galactosidase enzyme activity, which stays active when consumed, and the drink contains less lactose than regular milk thanks to the healthy bacteria and yeasts that use it as fuel during the fermentation process that occurs to make kefir.
How can I drink it?
Kefir has a tangy and almost carbonated flavour, with a texture that is thicker than milk. Although Kefir may sound very foreign to some it can be used just like a yoghurt: You can add it to smoothies, on top of muesli or even use it in baking or just drink it straight up. The water varieties are best consumed as a beverage, straight up and chilled.
I adore the plain water kefir as it is naturally sweet, contains no other fruit juices or flavourings so it sits really well in my sensitive system. My current favourite is Yogi Nectar, created in Mullumbimby, NSW.
Have you tried kefir? Has it helped you in some way? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!
When I lived in the Netherlands, Speculaas used to be my absolute favourite cookie to enjoy with a cup of tea. Then once I returned, thanks to food intolerances, I had to go wheat free so they were no longer an option.
So back at home in Sydney, I went to work recreating a Speculaas cookie that had the same aromatic spices that would take me back but using ingredients that would love my stomach instead.
Now I make these when I’m feeling nostalgic or when the weather is a little glum. They’re the ultimate comforting cookie.
½ cup tigernut flour
1/2 tbsp coconut flour
½ tsp baking soda
pinch sea salt
1 tsp Speculaas spice (see recipe below and notes for other possible spice mixes)
1/4 cup coconut sugar
3 tbsp olive oil (or other oil)
2 1/2 tbsp almond milk, unsweetened
Speculaas Spice Mix
2tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp ginger powder
½ tsp nutmeg powder
½ tsp cardamom
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of white pepper
Note: No time to create your own spice mix? You could also use a 5 Spice, Mixed Spice or Pumpkin Pie Spice for a similar effect.
In a medium bowl combine flours, baking soda, salt, spices, and sugar.
Add oil and milk and stir to combine.
Set aside in the fridge for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 190 degrees fan-forced and line a small baking sheet with baking paper.Put the cookie mix on the baking paper, and using another sheet of baking paper on top, roll the mix out approximately ½ cm thick. Use whichever cookie cutters you like to create fun shapes.
Gently remove excess and continue to roll out the remaining mix until its all used.
Reduce oven temperature to 180 degrees and bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on how big you’ve cut your cookies.
Let cool on a baking tray for at least 10 minutes. Store in an airtight container.
If you try them, let me know by sharing with #tbdcreations on social media. I’d love to see!
This rainy weather on the Sunshine Coast has me craving a slice (or two) of this delicious banana bread. Serve warm with extra lashing of butter and a cup of coffee for a moment of ‘me’ time you won’t want to share.
Packed with fibre
Loaded with resistant starch
Keeps you full for longer
Only 1 tbsp sweetener in the entire loaf
Refined sugar free
2 large bananas, pureed
½ cup frozen raspberries
1c tigernut flour
2 tbsp butter – melted
1 tbsp maple syrup (add a little more if you like extra sweetness)
1/4c coconut flour
1tsp baking soda
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. Using a mix master combine all ingredients.
3. Pour into a small loaf tin.
4. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until firm to touch and golden brown.
Enjoy with berries and honey, butter, almond butter or whip up a coconut frosting (using very cold coconut cream and maple syrup)
If you make it, let me know by tagging #tbdcreations on social media! I’d love to see!
Tigernuts. Tiger Nuts…Sounds interesting, right? Turns out they’re technically called “Cyperus esculentus tubers”, are not actually nuts at all, and are one of the most ancient food sources known to humanity!
Tiger nuts are also called chufa (in Spanish), earth nut, yellow nut sedge, groundnut, rush nut, and edible galingale. They were a staple source of nutrition in ancient African & Egyptian civilisations and are still traditional food to this day for many areas of the world including southern Europe, Africa, Madagascar, the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent.
WHAT ARE THE NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS OF TIGERNUTS?
They are rich in oleic acid and glucose, as well as in phosphorus, potassium, iron, magnesium, and vitamins C and E,
Tigernuts are also said to act as a mild appetite suppressant because they contain resistant starch, a type of prebiotic starch, meaning it resists digestion, which helps us to feel fuller for longer, boosts our immune system, feeds our good gut bacteria, and reduces the amount of calories we absorb from the food,
Studies also show they can help to prevent heart disease and thrombosis, improving blood circulation,
They may also assist in reducing the risk of colon cancer,
And they may even have aphrodisiac properties!
100g of tigernuts contain, on average:
And 19.7g naturally occurring sugars.
A typical serve is around 30g, and provides you with up to 28% of your daily recommended dietary fibre!
WHAT DO TIGERNUTS TASTE LIKE?
They taste sweet, with a hint of coconut, and have a chewy texture. The flour is naturally sweet as well so you can use less sweetener in your cooking – woohoo!
HOW CAN I USE TIGERNUTS?
You can eat them straight from the bag if your teeth are pretty strong, and you can get them raw, roasted or dried.
I like to chew them as they are tough to chew on, but have a sweet centre that’s fun to break into and get the coconut flavour from. Plus, they’ll help to curb your appetite pretty quick!
The most common way to use them is a traditional drink called horchata de chufa – or horchata for short. Traditionally you soak, blend, then squeeze the ‘milk’ from the tiger nuts (like you would any nut milk), then add sugar and cinnamon or other spices.
It makes an incredibly refreshing drink when served icy cold! But I think it’s naturally sweet enough, so the first time I made it, I only added half a vanilla bean and it was delicious!!
You can also use the flour as a replacement for most of your baking including breads, muffins, cookies, and cakes, making it an awesome gluten, dairy and nut free option for those with food intolerances or allergies.