Antibiotics. Day….bleurgh…can I quit yet?

I am not a happy bunny. My tummy is getting worse and trips to the restroom have increased significantly. I am trying to deal with my Inner Hypochondriac, normal logic, a chaotic moving house schedule and a two-year old. It’s pretty tough trying to give them all some dedicated time, especially as mostly, I just want to sleep. I am fighting the urge to quit, but am being sensible and just increasing my fluid intake. Lots of lovely organic herbal teas, fresh ginger and lemon infusions and strictly no coffee.

I stopped taking Sauerkraut the day before yesterday and it is since then that my tummy has gotten worse. Coincidence maybe, as we are now Day 10 and the antibiotics may have just slaughtered all my good, internal gut bacteria. Or, who knows, perhaps the Sauerkraut really was helping? Obviously I’m back on it. A huge bowl at breakfast only to be told by Mr B that it makes more sense to have them apart from the antibiotics. I knew that really. Well, I didn’t, but it does make sense, so I researched it and it says, yes – at least two hours after the antibiotics. I’ve also just had a huge bowl of fermented raw whole milk yoghurt. I’ll eat some more Sauerkraut later. A little bit of overkill (‘scuse the pun), but I like to be proactive.

Whilst I was buying the Sauerkraut at the organic shop, I stopped to take a look at the probiotics. I couldn’t find any that weren’t in maltodextrin or didn’t contain other unsavoury ingredients. The main probiotic that they use here is Brewer’s Yeast, also know as Saccharomyces_cerevisiae and it’s ‘close cousin’ Saccharomyces boulardii (the strain often found in over-the-counter probiotics). I’m not sure if I should take this yeast. I am yet to find any conclusive, scientific evidence online that tells me which yeast is good, which is bad and whether or not I can take them with an autoimmune disease . I’ve found plenty of sites selling their yeast products, that state their yeast is fine, but I’ve been duped by the food industry for so long, there’s no way I would even consider this information advisory in any way shape or form! I’m sure the medical/scientific explanation is out there somewhere. Voila!

Despite my gastrointestinal distress, my HS is much better. It is less inflamed and hardly leaking at all. I had paprika and chilli flakes last night for the first time since going autoimmune and I did have a mild reaction. Nothing too bad, just more leaking and a little painful late last night and this morning, but it’s all calm again now. That’s one more food stuff I can cross off my list. I am not as sad as I thought I would be – there will be no mourning for chilli today. I’m sure I previously consumed enough to last me my whole lifetime anyway.

So life goes on. I won’t quit the antibiotics just yet and I will be taking it easy. Mr B tells me just to keep resting, so that makes me feel better about the whole thing. I do what I can around the house and whatever isn’t done can wait. As usual this methodology works well for me and I am being quite productive. In particular, I’m looking forward to a peaceful end of the day and making dinner tonight – pizza. Home-made dough bases for the others and a sweet potato or cauliflower crust for me with spinach, cured ham (cured with salt), raw cheese Comte, olives and capers.

Probably with a side of Sauerkraut.

Good food, good wine, good cheese. Hangover.

Hangover Day.

I had a fabulous evening with friends last night. It was a perfect end to a not so perfect week. Last night I ate most everything I am not supposed to, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a conscious choice and almost certainly swayed by the fact I was having a flare up anyway – what’s a couple more days pain once you’re in it?

I have three suspects on my flare list. Number one – gluten. Straight forward, right? You’d think so. But it was an accident. I was making pasta for the kids – they don’t always eat everything I do – and I cooked the carrots in with the pasta. When I dished up, I absent-mindedly ate a few of the carrots. Oh. There’s gluten in the water and probably soaked all the way into my otherwise innocent carrots. What an idiot. So, instead of having a lovely piece of homemade flatbread with garlic infused olive oil and parsley, the olive oil dripping down my chin, whilst I savour the moist, hot, doughy piece of heaven….I got carrots. Idiot.

Number two: Lady’s time of the month. Boo. ‘Nuff said.

Number three: Walnuts. A conscious decision to have walnuts, as I had already started to flare from either Suspect One or Suspect Two. Ed made an amazing dinner of organic chicken breast, filled with pesto, with a side of sautéed cabbage and paris mushrooms. The pesto recipe came from my Well Fed cookbook and it happened to include walnuts. It was delicious. Walnuts may not have been the culprit, but as I was on a downward spiral already, who knows?

So there we go. By last night, I had already flared up pretty bad. My decision to slowly reintroduce foods was thwarted again, by an accidental ingestion of gluten, damn hormones and well, a slippery slope from there. So, last night we had this:

An appetiser of julienne cut raw carrots and radishes, with a creme fraiche and chive dip (I didn’t have dip). Then I made the aforementioned flatbread, dripping with roasted garlic infused olive oil and parsley, cooked on a pizza stone ( I had a bit of this – first time I’ve had flour in three months).

For main we had marinated a huge rump steak in olive oil, salt and pepper in the morning and left it all day. The same with two duck breasts, skin on. We also had pork strips, just ‘nature’. Just an hour or so before dinner, we squeezed the juice of a Sanguinello orange (blood orange) into the duck marinade.

These were cooked on our BBQ and seared with a salad of rocket, iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced fennel, sliced radish and diced cucumber, with a Sanguinello, lemon and oil dressing. The combination of all the meats and the salad, especially with the citrus dressing was amazing! I probably enjoyed this food the most, despite the other food indulgences. There’s nothing quite like grilled meat with an amazing salad.

My other downfall. Wine and pudding. Ty had made an amazing apple crumble and once I started tucking into this, I helped myself to quite a bit! It was probably nothing compared to the portions I would have had before, but I guess there is no such thing as a ‘good’ sized portion of flour, butter and sugar! We drank 3 bottles of quality red wine and finished off with some organic Brie and Tommes cheese. Heaven.

I woke up at 4.30 am in a bit of stomach distress and with a headache. I had one (usually prohibited) ibuprofen, lots of water and went back to bed.

So, here it is. Hangover Day. But this morning I feel good. I had a great night. I didn’t beat myself up about what I ate and today all I am craving is salad. I am not in hideous pain (yet!) I hope I stay on course and that my flares go as quickly as they came. Roll on beautiful Sunday!


Organic does not mean wild. Lesson learnt.

I’m five days back into my diet and seem to have made another little faux pas. Today I have swelling and pain again – boo! I think it’s either the apple cider vinegar, or the organic smoked salmon.

Organic, but from my research, still toxic??

Before I made a dressing for my beautiful, pressure-cooker steamed artichoke, I need to find a substitute for balsamic vinegar after my last experience left me a little inflamed. I had read quite a few different sites yesterday on the effects of apple cider vinegar and they all seemed very pro this type of vinegar on the autoimmune protocol (now I’m wondering if I had been reading ‘Doc’ sites or just blogs…hmmm?). Now I am having another little look, there appears to be a huge debate over the quality of apple cider vinegar and what effect it can have on you.

I had had a bit of a flare last time I ate organic farmed salmon, but I had forgotten about it. So now I am trying to do a little bit of research, so that it stays in my brain. I must remember not to be lured in by the organic-ness and I remember why I should not be eating farmed fish.

It’s all about keeping the Omegas 3 and 6 in balance apparently. Now, there is so much sciencey stuff attached to this and I would love to spend my days immersed in the ever elusive search for the perfect balance of fatty acids in my system, however, I have ‘home’ stuff to do (and a life that doesn’t just revolve round me).

I did do a little research, and as with most things food related, I wish I had never opened the flood gates! I found so many articles on how farmed salmon is ridiculously dangerous for the ecosystem and how the labels for organic fish have much lower restrictions than those on farmed animals. There is quite a comprehensive article on the The World’s Healthiest Foods site, explaining all the science behind the imbalance of Omega 3 and 6.

This article about Canadian salmon is interesting, ‘Demystifying “organic” farmed salmon: Is there such a thing?‘ and obviously a little Googling it up produces a plethora of the ‘whys’, ‘whats’ and ‘wherefores’ of eating salmon. An article here gives a bit more background into what we should be eating and steers the topic away from the eco/ethical debate, focussing on the health issue more.

Back to my search for the ‘perfect salmon to meet my Omega ratio requirements’, I found another little article on Balancing Omega-3 and Omega-6. It doesn’t talk about farmed salmon, but does give an insight into how the imbalance affects people’s health.

After trying not to get too sucked in by the whole salmon debate online, as I do try to limi my exposure as to why eating anything that has a pulse makes me a bad person. Thus, I have managed to skim the surface of farmed vs wild salmon and the many reasons I shouldn’t eat it farmed.

I found a little fact sheet that summed it up with this:

Don’t eat wild Atlantic salmon and farmed salmon. The Monterey Bay Aquarium in California recommends wild Alaskan salmon as an alternative, while the UK-based Marine Conservation Society suggests organically farmed Atlantic salmon.”

With my apple cider vinegar debate still looming, I think a little more eating experimentation will have to occur before I can make any confirmed conclusions between the salmon and my HS flares. In the interests of health and general eco-equilibrium of world balance, my conclusion is that I should probably just eat wild Alaskan salmon once or twice a year (preferably when I’m near Alaska to minimise my carbon footprint). Perhaps this is my cue to start looking for a wild, line-caught fish oil supplement….