Grain free chicken nuggets

Today I thought I would have a go at making grain free chicken nuggets, they were a great success! I think children would love them too.

 

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Grain free chicken nuggets-

serves 2 people

2 Free range chicken breasts or boneless thighs

1 whisked egg

1/2 cup of ground almonds

1 tbsp ground flaxseeds

salt/pepper

( you could add additional spices or herbs )

method-

mix ground almonds and ground flaxseeds together

add salt and pepper,

in a separate bowl, whisk an egg

 

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cut chicken into small strips or cubes

dip the chicken in the egg

then roll in the dried ingredients

heat a frying pan and add coconut oil or duck fat

carefully add the coated chicken pieces

 

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fry both sides until cooked

cut one in half to check they are fully cooked

they should be golden in colour

 

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drain on kitchen roll

 

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Enjoy with a salad or homemade chips

delicious with homemade guacamole ( in a food processor put 2 halves of a de stoned ripe avocado + small bunch of fresh coriander and a drizzle of olive oil, blitz )

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they would be delicious in a >grain free wrap< too!

 

One year on, living with Crohns disease

A year ago I was preparing for my evening procedures at Ashtead hospital . Finally I had a Gastro specialist who had sent me for a endoscopy and a colonoscopy after over 30 years of various symptoms including bloating, weight loss, anaemia, joint pain, tiredness, brain fog, sickness, extreme stomach pain. Until now I had never been taken seriously by any doctor ( and I had seen plenty over the years ) About 6 years ago I started to suspect I had a wheat intolerance, after reading more it appeared I could have Coeliac disease I was extremely intolerant to gluten even the tiniest crumb which could set my symptoms off and I could continue to be unwell for days and weeks after a glutening episode. My Gastro specialist agreed that it sounded like I had classic Coeliac history and arranged for me to have the tests as a blood test could now not be used due to the lack of gluten in my diet for so long.

The preparation itself was not a nice experience but I was eager to finally get a diagnoses. All went well and I was home by late evening. I was told that Crohns disease was suspected but a follow up visit to Gatwick hospital was needed for an MRI scan. I used the weeks that followed to read everything I could on healing a leaky gut and inflamed bowels. I started by cutting all grains from my diet and removing cows milk. This wasn’t always possible but I made every effort to keep to this diet.

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I looked at FODMAP and Specific carbohydrate diet and saw from fellow bloggers how their health had improved by following these.

I have now been following as much as possible the Specific carbohydrate diet particularly focusing on no grains, no cows milk and very low sugar , no refined sugar. I am thrilled to say that I have had a dramatic improvement in my health especially the lack of bloating and my only problems have come if I have eaten out and been glutened. Even these symptoms are far less than they used to be. My stomach has never been so flat . The only area where there has been little or no improvement is with anaemia. I still suffer badly and have to take very strong iron tablets from time to time. I imagine this is because it takes many years for our bodies to heal after so many years of eating the wrong food causing a leaky gut. Due to my autoimmune diseases and leaky gut I am also intolerant to yeast, onion, garlic and more recently I haven’t been able to tolerate paprika.

I was finally sent for an MRI scan and this confirmed Crohns disease an autoimmune disease. I have had no final confirmation on whether I have Coeliac disease as my endoscopy didn’t show up any damage. After eating gluten free for many years now I was thrilled that I had no noticeable damage hopefully due to my new diet . But because of the violent symptoms I display after having gluten/ cross contamination with gluten, I won’t be adding it back to my diet anytime soon.

I have had to take this SCD in stages as its really tough. I am now trying to remove white potatoes and sweet potato from my diet, not easy ! Rice was also incredibly difficult to live without. I am not a huge fan of cauliflower which is the go to alternative. I’m just taking it a week at a time. I am so thankful for ground almonds  and coconut flour and for unsweetend almond milk. I have also stopped drinking any alcohol except the very odd special occasion. It all sounds like a very depressing way to live but when the only other option is medication, to me its a no brainer. I hate taking anything even paracetomol, Every time I visit my Gastro specialist he offers me medication. Which seems strange to me as I have no symptoms! He is definitely struggling to believe that my diet is helping me but I am determined to show him that for someone like me with low level symptoms of Crohns disease It is possible to control and possibly heal myself using healthy fresh food. Our home is completely gluten free and since we made this change I have not been ill eating at home. Even the Dog eats grain free, and she has never looked healthier!

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I have also found that eating high healthy fat ( coconut oil, avocado,  butter, cheese, etc ) and low carbohydrates keeps me feeling full for longer. Breakfast every day always consists of 2 free range eggs with either bacon , salmon or I make a veggie omelette using spinach etc. Grain free pancakes make a nice alternative too, or just nuts granola.

Lunch tends to be homemade soup, salads with cheese, ham, chicken etc or a grain free wrap with delicious fillings, and a piece of whole fruit.

Evening meal is good quality local meat or fish/seafood  with lots of different veggies and I tend to now use butternut squash instead of potato.

I have the odd cube of very dark gluten free chocolate or some cubes of cheese, fruit or nuts to snack on.

I tend to drink still or sparkling water and the occasional cup of tea with unsweetend almond milk or camomile tea.

If you are interested in helping your symptoms check out @anaussiewithcrohns and @deliciouslyella both have used a healthy diet to improve their health.

My hope is that one day in the future I may be able to reintroduce some foods back into my diet , I am being realistic and know after over 30 years of symptoms this probably won’t be any time soon.

My family have been my biggest supporters. Living gluten free at home and eating out only at places where Mum can eat safely is a big ask. I am very fortunate that my family are grown up as I can see how difficult this could be with young children. My faith has also kept me strong and knowing that I am not dealing with this disease alone is a great comfort to me.

 

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This is still very much a learning journey. Baking is now far more challenging, every time I successfully make a grain free alternative to a favourite bake I am thrilled. I hope to continue to share these recipes with you. More recipe books are appearing on the shelves of book shops with grain free, low sugar recipes and I will continue to seek out the best to share with you.

Fellow tweeter @gfcuppatea recently said to me ” nothing tastes as good as Good Health”  and this is so very true I’m going to try and remember this when I’m craving something yummy I know will affect my health adversely.

If you are travelling on the same autoimmune disease journey as me  I would love to hear from you. Have you improved your health by changing your diet?

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Review of natures health box online store

I have been using Natures health box for a long while now as my go to gluten free and health food online store. I have always been very happy with the service and quick delivery. Recently I was asked by them to review a few of the products that they stock. I was sent Sukrin bread mix, The Primal kitchen coconut and macadamia nut paleo bar, Lucy’s chocolate chip biscuits, Easy bean chickpea crisp bread and a Sukrin cake mix.

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Easy bean crispbread – are my very favourite type of cracker and are a staple in my pantry and in my holiday emergency food pack.

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Lovely simply with cheese or butter

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or topped with your favourite spread. I had lacto free cream cheese and smoked salmon.

Sukrin sunflower and pumpkin seed bread mix – wheat , gluten, sugar and yeast free

Easy to make and very delicious. The loaf is simple to make and bake and the bread is very tasty one of the best yeast and gluten free bread mixes I have tried. My only negative is that at £6.19  its not cheap! would recommend if you miss a homemade style wholegrain loaf . Here is my review for pictures and more information  Sukrin bread mix

Lucys chocolate chip A new product to me I was interested to try them. I was impressed with these biscuits they have a good crunch and are very sweet and taste like a a regular biscuit . Yet they are gluten free, milk free, egg free, tree nut free and peanut free and vegan  so good  for those with multiple allergies. They do contain cane sugar so if like me you avoid refined sugar they are not ones to chose.

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The Primal kitchen coconut and macadamia Paleo bar –  This bar has a subtle sweet flavour which comes from dates and the texture has tiny pieces of macadamia nut and coconut. These bars are not crumbly and are perfect emergency bars to keep in your bag.  Here is my review of all the bars The Primal Kitchen paleo bars  

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Sukrin cake mixthis mix is gluten free. I was interested to try this cake mix as it is one I haven’t tried before. You simply add water, eggs and water and pop in an 8 inch tin . There are ideas on the side of the box to add your own flavour. I chose to make the lemon cake by adding the juice and zest of one lemon.

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It certainly was easy to make and the result was good. The family liked the cake, but I wasn’t impressed with the flavour. This mix is made using sesame flour and corn flour.

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Not cheap at £7.39

 

My regular order from Natures health box  is_

Lucy Bee raw organic fair trade Coconut oil At £16.89 for 2 jars ( february offer ),

I cannot recommend this coconut oil enough I use a massive amount of this good healthy oil, I sometimes bake with it for dairy free, I fry with it , roast with it and use it as a moisturiser sometimes. fantastic stuff!

 

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BonPom original cacao powder ,

  Raw honey,  

 The Primal kitchen Paleo bars ,                

 UGG Foods mixes, 

 Easy bean crispbread ,

  Tiana coconut flour , 

Doves Farm Baking powder

 

You can follow Natures health box @natureshbox

Website is www.natureshealthbox.co.uk

 

 

 

My review of Against all Grain by Danielle Walker

I recently purchased Against the Grain, I am always on the look out for grain free ideas and Paleo recipes . This recipe book is huge with over 150 recipes from breakfast ideas to main meals and grain free bakes. Most ingredients are easy to obtain , Coconut aminos I think is the other ingredient so far that I haven’t come across before.

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Recently I had ago at making the n’oatmeal raisin cookies these turned out to be extremely popular with the family and only lasted a day!

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The recipe was simple and easy to follow , the cookies were soft and chewy and very delicious

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I also made the Banana mouse pancakes, These tasted just like pancakes I would expect to be served in the States with lashings of maple syrup. Really hard to believe they are both gluten and grain free!

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There are ideas as alternatives to potato for instance mashed cauliflower and as an alternative to rice coconut – lime ‘rice’ using cauliflower .

 

Danielle Walker is the creator of a popular Paleo food blog. Having been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at 22 ( Ulcerative Colitis ) and unable to alleviate her symptoms by conventional medicine  , Danielle removed grains, lactose, legumes, and refined sugar from her diet and has virtually eliminated all her ailments. Having Crohns disease myself I can completely identify with Danielle and try to eat grain free and cows milk free also avoiding refined sugar.

I purchased my copy of Against all grain from Amazon for £20.30 this is a soft back recipe book .

I look forward to trying out lots more of these recipes very soon.

You can follow Danielle @againstallgrain Twitter

AGAINSTALLGRAIN – Instagram

Againstallgrain.com – Website

 

 

Happy Christmas from Fabulously Free From

I’m having one of those panic days before Christmas when I wonder if I have enough food to feed everyone over the next few festive days. This job is made all the more difficult as our home is 100% gluten free. In the last two days I have baked grain free mince pies, gluten free bagels, florentines and a cherry cake. All gluten free to feed twelve over Christmas.

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What a year it has been ! I was diagnosed with Crohns disease earlier this year and it has been a year of learning about healthy eating and finding out about special diets that help to keep inflammatory bowel disease at bay. This certainly has been my healthiest year in memory with far less ‘Bad days’ .

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Making the decision to have a gluten free home has made a huge difference to my life and now I rarely have glutening symptoms unless I eat out. I feel that I have far more energy and avoiding grains and cows milk seems to have played a big part in this. I have been following the Specific carbohydrate diet which has been a real learning curve. I don’t stick to it quite so carefully at the moment but once Christmas is over I will get back to eating as well as I can.

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It was lovely this year to make the short list for Free from Food Blogger and I was thrilled to come second. Many thanks to all who voted.

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Best wishes and many thanks to all my readers for your lovely comments and continued support in 2014.

Have a fabulous free from Christmas and a healthy 2015!

Nominated for Free From Blogger 2014

I’m thrilled to have been nominated for Best Free From Blogger 2014. I have been shortlisted with 7 other bloggers.

 

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If you like what you read and enjoy the free from recipes and reviews. Please vote before the end of today  31st October . Many thanks to you all for your continued support.

There are also lots of great gluten free and free from products, restaurants etc to vote for. Do please have a look!

Helen

Fabulously Free From

 

click below

foodsyoucan.com Free From #FFPeopleschoiceAwards 2014

A Big Thank you to everyone who voted for me, I’m thrilled to say that I came 2nd.

Here is a list of all the Winners and runners up for 2014

Free from awards Peoples choice awards

 

Banana, date and walnut bread

This fab recipe from An Aussie with Crohns is dairy free, grain free and yeast free. A perfect recipe for me, being gluten and yeast intolerant . I’m rarely able to enjoy fresh homemade bread .

Tonight is Great British bake off and it is almost impossible to watch without some kind of homemade baked goodies. Or maybe its just me!

Its more fancy bread and doughnut making on Bake off today. Really tough to watch when you are gluten and yeast intolerant.

I’m glad I’ve got a large slice of  grain free banana, date and walnut cake to eat along with the show!

Banana, date and walnut bread

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recipe here 

Firstly I chopped dates and walnuts together in my food processor

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I put ground almonds and coconut flour in a bowl and added bicarbonate of soda and mixed spice.

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I melted the coconut oil and honey ( I used 1/4 cup of honey ) and added to the flour

The small banana’s and eggs were whisked together using a hand blender

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and finally I added the chopped walnuts and dates to the bread mix.

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I prepared a brownie tin rather than a bread tin and spooned in the bread mix.

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The bread baked at 160c for about 37 mins, keep checking incase it burns.

My breads smelt delicious

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I have to try and hold off eating the entire loaf before The Great British Bake Off tonight!

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The bread has a lovely flavour. I particularly like the addition of dates to the mix. It has a nice sweet taste and is definitely the best grain free  banana bread I’ve made.

Family has given it a big thumbs up and agreed its the best so far.

Do take a look at An Aussie with Crohns website, lots of delicious recipes.

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No-Corn Cornbread

Today I gave a new recipe a go. Another great recipe from @comfybelly for no-corn cornbread using ground almonds and coconut flour.

Find the recipe here

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Pre heat oven 165c

Put the ground almonds, coconut flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a bowl.

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Beat the eggs, then add honey ( I used 1 tbsp instead of 2 ) melt the butter add to dry ingredients

add the almond milk

mix the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix well

To the mixture you can add chill powder or chives or grated cheese. I kept mine plain.

pour into a lined square cake tin 8 x 8 inch ( I think next time I will use a smaller tin as it was very thin )

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Bake for 20mins

turn out onto a wire rack

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cut into squares

serve with a yummy chilli or homemade soup

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The result is a soft delicious bread, scrummy with butter on the top. Will definitely make this again. The batter didn’t rise very much but still looks great cut into squares.

Happy baking!

From IBS to IBD my story on World IBD day

My story is definitely a story of hope, hope for a healthy future symptom free. A bold statement I know, but a positive attitude is a very good place to start.

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On April 9th this year I went to see my Gastro specialist to receive the results of my endoscopy, colonoscopy and MRI . The results were not what I had expected, rather than Coeliac Disease, he announced that I had Crohns disease an Inflammatory Bowel Disease, He reeled off the medication I would be offered and sent me away to do my own ‘homework’. With a second appointment booked for this August.

I was in a state of shock. All my symptoms pointed to Coeliac disease in fact I had most symptoms on the list and had removed gluten from my diet about 4 years ago. Since then I still had occasional stomach cramps , nausea brain fog , anaemia etc due to new intolerances that had started appearing . Firstly yeast ( vinegar wine etc ) then onions and recently garlic. All due, I would say to having a Leaky Gut.

Let me take you back to the beginning 1978, I moved with my family to Hastings. It meant I had to move senior school after just making friends and settling into the school, and live in a very different part of the country. In fact the lovely county of East Sussex England by the seaside. Sadly for me a nervous shy young girl this was an incredibly stressful experience and from the day we moved I started to have symptoms a loss of appetite , stomach cramps and an excessive fatigue. My senior school years were very tough, I now know why!  Poor concentration and feeling unwell and very tired led to me not achieving the results I should have done. A diet full of gluten, sugar etc like every other teenager in the late 70’s early 80’s . Obviously not helping the situation, but hindsight is a great thing isn’t it.

My weight plummeted, weighing around 6 stone my parents took me to a doctor who brushed it off saying she’s a fussy eater let her have what she fancies. Which of course was lots and lots of gluten, sometimes 6 slices of white processed bread at a time. Due to my low weight , looking back I definitely looked anorexic ( and for I while recently wondered if that had been what it was ) I did not start my periods to the age of 19 making me very different from all my female peer group. I continued to be quiet and shy and family became more and more concerned about me. I had, by this time become very interested in healthy food , baking and cooking and had gone to college to study catering. After a year on this course my symptoms continued to worsen making the physical part of my course impossible.

I left and started working in a Children’s Nursery, became qualified, loved the job and started eating better. Met and married my husband Tim and had two beautiful healthy sons. Still continuing to have symptoms which became worse when I started to drink alcohol at the age of about 28. Visited doctors many times always given the diagnoses of *IBS  ( irritable bowel syndrome ) told to eat more roughage, whole grain bread etc and sent home with peppermint capsules. My symptoms were definitely at there worse. I remember begging my husband to finish me off ( a little dramatic I know ) but the pain was unbearable. At that point we should of gone to A & E but we never did, we just had no idea what to do.

This continued until about 7 years ago when I read something about a wheat free diet and how it helped people with my symptoms , I tried this but with no real improvement. Then a few years back I started tweeting and in a short space time heard about a gluten free diet and I started to follow that. Very quickly I was having less symptoms and the more knowledge I gained the less symptoms I began to have. Less tiredness more energy less stomach cramps and nausea. I had never felt better .

Keen to pass on what I had learnt I started a WordPress blog Fabulously Free From. Where I write about what I bake gluten free and other free from recipes etc. In doing so I have learnt a vast amount about Coeliac disease, it was like a light bulb going on . Everything I read sounded like me I recognised my symptoms in many of the Coeliac tweeter on Twitter and things Coeliac bloggers were writing.

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Unfortunately for me, by this time I had been living gluten free for about 4 years and apart from occasionally being ‘glutened’ from cross contamination, gluten was a distant memory.

I went back to the GP armed with a greater knowledge and was told they would do a Coeliac blood test. Sadly I knew this would come back negative but the doctor was adamant . As expected it came back negative. I booked to see a different doctor and to my great joy he took on board everything I said and referred me to a local Gastro specialist at our local hospital. It was a huge step forward!

After meeting with the specialist I was booked in for colonoscopy and endoscopy on the same evening. I have to admit I was incredible nervous at the prospect of going into hospital. Apart from having my 2 boys I had never spent a day in hospital. My Church family were an incredible support to me at this time and I most definitely felt the results of there prayerful support. I walked in that day feeling calm and almost excited about the prospect of getting to the bottom of my problems, no pun intended.

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Me, straight after the procedures

The evening went as well as it could have done but came home really none the wiser. I was told that my Gastro wanted to do an MRI as the procedures were not conclusive.  The day came for my MRI to be performed at a local private hospital. This was one of the worst experiences I have ever had. I was left for a very long time in a thin gown in a corridor with nothing on my feet. I became very cold very quickly and by the time I went for the MRI I was shivering uncontrollable. Anyway many blankets later and a 45 min scan (which I found fine) I was sent home.

During this last year I have done even more research into fixing my insides using healhy eating and reducing stress. After almost 30 in childcare I reluctantly gave in my letter of resignation to my place of work. A wonderful children’s nursery where I had worked on and off for about 19 years , but unfortunately full of gluten in many forms ( snack time, play dough, packed lunches, staff biscuits )

I also started following the Specific carbohydrate diet, removing all alcohol and all refined sugar and most fructose. I had started to read many accounts of people with stomach and bowel disorders ranging from Inflammatory bowel disease to Coeliac Disease and other autoimmune disease. I immediately felt the benefits No bloating what so ever and no other symptoms, this was exciting stuff!

I’m not saying I found this easy but because I am very anti drugs I wanted to do everything in my power to give myself a fighting chance , along with the power of prayer I believe I have seen a vast improvement in my health.

This brings me back to April 9th this year, My results showed no sign of Coeliac disease, but the Gastro specialist agreed that if I had been free of gluten for 4 years then it wouldn’t show up and the positive thing was that there was no visible signs when doing the endoscopy. This was good news being gluten free was obviously helping. The results from the MRI and colonoscopy showed some damage in my bowel, My husband came with me to take notes as I knew I wouldn’t take information in. He wrote down terminal ileitis and sub set crohns terminal ilium . Whatever that means!  We were not even given correct spelling or even a simple leaflet about the disease. I hope this is not most people’s experience.

I was really disappointed and a little shocked to hear this. Felt a little like I was free falling and at this point would have liked to have spoken to a specialist nurse who would of had time to explain things.

I went home and couldn’t bring myself to look up Crohns disease. My Cousin and Uncle had Ulcerative colitis ( which I had mentioned to my GP a few years ago ) and have had a very tough time, quite honestly I was terrified. Then a wise Twitter friend reminded me that I had only been given a new label and that nothing had changed and actually I was beginning to manage it well and there was no reason why this shouldn’t continue. I really needed to hear that!

I still cant bring myself to do much research as everything I find sounds nothing like me. I have never experienced any bowel problems, which seem to be a big issue with Crohns disease. Maybe I am fortunate to have a mild case and hence that could be why. Or maybe having Coeliac disease for so many years I have now got a Leaky Gut and Crohns symptoms. I’m no doctor so I haven’t a clue.

What I do know is that I have never felt better. Bags of energy, no bloating, constant healthy weight, no cramps or nausea and I never feel hungry. The Specific carbohydrate diet has been a revelation going grain free is not easy and leaving out cows milk was tough. I also make sure my diet is not only low carb but high fat ( good fats including coconut oil and cheese etc ) But there are so many positives and so much delicious food I can still eat I am going to continue with it and see what happens next.

 

I hope this has been of some help to others with similar symptoms .

Here’s to a healthy future, eating well and enjoying life to its fullest.

 

For more information @crohnscolitisuk

 

Specific carbohydrate diet info

A grain free, sugar free and gluten free diet  Free from many complex carbohydrates like potatoes.

The diet was first developed by a New York physician Dr Stanley Haas

Books to read – Breaking the vicious cycle: intestinal health through diet

cooking for Specific carbohydrate diet by Erica Kerwien

Twitter

@comfybelly

@scdlifestyle

@scdrevolution

SCD Food list 

*IBS  Irritable bowel syndrome is Not Inflammatory bowel disease  – It is a common condition of the digestive system