Following on from my first post in regards to publisher's advice, they say a blog should have a key subject, a common theme. I thought long and hard about my theme, I had aspirations about it being very career orientated, professional sounding and not at all child related. Then I had to laugh, who am I kidding. My mind changes constantly, I am fascinated by all sorts of subjects and above all else I am a parent, and parents want to talk about their children a LOT...
So this blog is simply about life. My life to be specific. It's my blog, and the best piece of advice I have ever read is 'write what you know.' And today I know is this- I LOVE FOOD.
It was only a matter of time before I wrote a food related post. My life revolves around it, in fact I am a little apprehensive about people when they say that they are not that into it. I don't think I have remained friends very long with non foodies.
Currently my expeditions into food are taking me down less travelled routes. I am having to experiment with flavours and ingredients that I am not as familiar with. Two and a half years ago I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. For those that don't know it is an inflammatory bowel disease, not all that dissimilar to the, more widely known, Crohn's disease. I have to admit at the time I was relieved. My symptoms had been so hideous I had convinced myself it had to be the big C word and so when the doctors told me instead it was Colitis I relaxed. They gave me some fairly full on meds and I improved greatly. At my first follow up appointment with my friendly consultant we spoke about diet and he informed me that diet doesn't affect colitis, you will get it no matter what you eat if you are going to get it. Most people have regular bouts and try different cycles of meds to attempt to keep it at bay, and while it can be managed it is never cured. I have to say I wasn't sold. While I can believe that no one particular food causes it- what I can't believe is, with an illness which revolves primarily around inflammation, how diet can't cure it?
After about 6-7 months of solid treatment with fairly regular flare ups I started the Paleo diet- I had done some reading and felt this was a good way to go, cutting out a lot of inflammatory foods and going back to basics. After a couple of months I was feeling well and was positive with my results. Then I fell pregnant with daughter number two. Hyperemesis kicked in and so diet went out. Eating was a nightmare and it was all about just trying to keep anything down. Fortunately for me, and is fairly common in pregnancy, the Colitis went into remission, I gave up meds and have been medicine free since. My daughter is one now and I am starting to feel the odd twinge of a colitis flare every now and then. While I have not returned solidly to Paleo- mainly because it took a huge amount of meal planning and I find it difficult with a toddler running riot, I have cut out refined sugar. I also keep dairy down to a minimum. I find this is mostly keeping things at bay. I know a lot of people who tell me life is too short, you should eat what you enjoy. While I love the sound of that, any of the poor sods who have ever experienced colitis will know that it just isn't that simple. Colitis has the ability to rule your life, the symptoms at their worst are unimaginable to someone who has never experienced it. A newspaper article relating to a footballer in hospital for blood transfusions rings a bell and gives an example of how desperate things can get.
This weekend I could feel a flare up stirring. I suspect largely due to me becoming complacent about feeling well and taking one too many liberties over my birthday last week! Fortunately it was not one of the worst, which would have left me house bound but it was enough to put a dampener on my weekend. We had a lovely weekend in Bath with family watching the Rugby. However, all weekend I had the familiar dread, the stomach cramps, the panic of where the nearest loo was. Pretending all was well while having to force food down when I really didn't feel like eating. I seem to get what can only be described as brain fog with it too. A horrible spaced out, ill feeling. I still feel on the road to recovery and so today I have made myself an anti inflammatory, healthy-ish treat. (I realise I went off on a major tangent but now back to food!).
I have spent hours combing the internet (especially pinterest!) finding refined sugar free recipes to make when I need a dose of something sweet. Regretfully a lot of them have ingredients which do not live in my cupboard, or are expensive to find or purchase. Therefore I have taken pointers from each and have come up with a few easy basics. My banana bread is one of them. The only slightly 'difficult' ingredient is organic coconut oil, and even that is a lot easier to get hold of than it used to be, and I try and always have a jar in. I would like to point out at this point I am not at all a nutritionist, or a chef, but this banana bread does seem to hit a spot and it is so easy!
Basic banana bread
2 Ripe bananas
3 tablespoons raw honey
250g ground almonds
2 tablespoons organic coconut oil, melted
Pre heat oven to 190 degrees C and grease a small loaf tin with a little of the coconut oil. In a bowl mash the banana. In a seperate bowl whisk the eggs until they are light and fluffy and then gradually add them to the banana. Add the coconut oil, honey and slowly fold in the ground almonds.
Gently pour mixture into cake tin and cook on middle shelf of oven until browned on top and a skewer comes out clean (mine took about 25 mins).
A perfect no refined sugar treat!