Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Candida and Acne Update

Hello all, I hope your having a good April even if its nearly over! In my last post I threatened to be back with a bit of a moan and here I am, get ready to be moaned at.....

If you've read my blog for a while you will know that in December last year I found out I had Candida, due to taking antibiotics for nearly a year, as well as suffering from some horrible acne on my neck/jawline/back and chest. Well I did the Candida diet for 5 weeks and it seemed to clear up, the spots went from my back and chest although they did not clear from my face/neck, I was allowed to introduce some sugar (from fruit) and some food containing yeast. February and March pasted and things were popping into my diet that I probably shouldn't be eating but as they were not on a regular basis I didn't worry to much....ha more fool me! 


A delicious smoothie containing banana and cherries......if only I new this was going to be part of my downfall!

By the beginning of April I was starting to feel really crappy, to the point I was getting light headed and shaky even though I was eating normally so its wasn't down to being hungry. Spots started to appear on my back and chest again and I basically felt bloody horrible plus I have also got some blocked lymph nodes which is a sign my body isn't getting rid of waste properly : ( I went to the doctors to have blood tests which thankfully came back all normal (Candida does not show up on blood tests) and she also confirmed I had blocked lymph nodes but they should right themselves.....hmm ok then!? So I went back to see my Kinesiologist as I needed answers......

Hello CANDIDA!!!!! Yep its back and all over me again, my kinesiologist thinks because I was on the antibiotics for so long as soon as I introduced sugar/yeast back into my diet it just reacted to bring back the Candida joy oh joy and she agreed with my blocked lymph nodes and gave me the most excruciating massage to try an unblock them.

What now? I am back on the diet and have been for a week, I am already starting to feel better though I still get the shaky low blood pressure feeling now and again but that should go once my body really starts to fight off the Candida. I was also advised to try and wash my face with bottled/boiled water as the chlorine from tap water is making my skin worse so I have been boiling water and letting it cool or cooling it with bottled water and using that to clean my face which seems to be helping but my skin is far from fixed and its going to be a long road with lots of experimenting but I am sure it will fix itself in the end.....I bloody hope! I have to go back and see my Kinesiologist in 3 weeks to have my lymph nodes unblocked again and see how I'm doing fingers crossed I'll be on the road to getting better. 

Ok moan over, I have to say I am so fed up but it could be worse I suppose...... I will be doing a "Day in the Life" post soon to share my diet and also let you know about how I have been keeping fit, I'm really enjoying my workouts at the moment and feel my exercise routine is the best its been in while plus I have been trying out some new products which I must share with you guys. 

Right time to get on with getting ready for work later, have a great hump day peeps, see ya soon : )

Question:

Have you suffered from acne, how did you fix it?

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

March Catch Up featuring Nutri-Bombz and Smoothies!

Hi all, how are we? I'm all good other then an acne nightmare which I will be leaving to another post!  I have a candida and skin update but its a total moan and as I haven't checked in for a while I'll leave the moaning for another time. 

March was a good month, I didn't get up to much really other then work to be honest. I did have my first night out in about 5 months which was hmmmmm drunken and gave me a killer hangover, all worth it though! The other thing I did do was get a new car, I had my rust bucket Ford Fiesta ever since I past way back in 2010 and it finally gave up the ghost which was a little inconvenient but within two weeks I was back on for wheels in a cute little VW Polo which I love! 

Other then work and driving about in my new car there has been two other things I have been enjoying in the form of food.....of course! So carry on reading for some food porn.......

First up is the new to me Nutri-Bombz which I was sent to try out and have fallen in love with. If your a fan of nakd bars then these are for you. 


Nutri-Bombz's main ingredients are almonds, cacao, coconut and dates which are then blended with all sorts of super foods to form these little balls of healthy heaven! 


You get 4 packs of 3 nutri-bombz in a box which come in convenient little packs, perfect for popping in your bag ready for a snack attack.


Gotta say all of the bombz I have tried are awesome, each one tastes great but if I had to choose my favourite so far its gotta be the salted caramel.


And they really do taste like salted caramel, if you want to check out the other flavours you can here.


If like me you love a snack but want it to be healthy and filled with fabulous ingredients then look no further and get your chops round some of the bombz! 

The other food I have been eating/drinking a lot of is smoothies, I finally had the money to treat myself to a proper high speed blender so I bought a Froothie 9200A.


My god this blender has transformed my smoothie making, the smoothies come out so smooth even if I add raw unsoaked nuts or berries with pips which is pretty great, all my other blenders have been cheap and really not that great. I would highly recommend, if your looking for a high speed blender, that you check this one out its awesome! 

Me and Dale have been having a smoothie every morning since I bought my froothie and its a great way to start the day, here are some of my favourites......


Cherry, Cashew and Chocolate


Blueberry, Banana and Cashew


Chocolate, Cashew and Banana


Mango and Cacao


Blueberry and Chocolate


Almond Butter, Banana and Chocolate Frappe

I'll make sure to post some of the recipes for these as they are rather delicious and I know lots of you love a good smoothie : ) 

Right time is ticking and I am working tonight so I shall say farewell and see you soon to explain my acne nightmare....bet you can't wait ha! 

Question:

Have you tried Nutri-Bombz?

Monday, 14 March 2016

A Long Weekend In Ireland

It seems like ages ago now since my weekend getaway to Ireland to see the other half of my family. At the end of February me and Dale took a few days off and travelled over to Kilkenny to see my mum and my younger sisters family, we were only there 5 days which was definitely not long enough but we had a lovely relaxing time.  


The weather was absolutely freezing but it only rained once so I'm not going to complain! 



We didn't do very much, a couple of dog walks with the above beauties, some lunches out and lots of sitting by the fire and eating : )



Oh and of course lots of cuddles with this little scamp! My nephew Joey is adorable, what a cutie?! 
I wish we lived closer.....


We lived in our big furry coats and soaked up a little scenery......


And I obviously hunted out the local felines! 



All in all a very relaxing few days, I just wish we could have stayed longer although I was happy to come home to our warm little flat and my furry cat friend who I always miss. 

Question:

Are you getting away anytime soon? 

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Baked Lemon Pepper Cod For Borderfields #isBetter Challenge

Well I guess its about time to pop in and say hi to you guys, February was a very busy month ending with a fab little getaway to Ireland to see my family, although I did manage to pick up the flu which was not so great! I'll do a little post on my time away in the next few days but first up is this long over due post featuring some very tasty oils from the lovely peeps over at Borderfields


I'm a sucker for flavoured oils so when offered to be apart of Borderfields #isBetter challenge I was quick to say yes. Borderfileds make top of the range rapeseed oils which are delicious and versatile, perfect for all your cooking needs. 


I was sent a great range of oils and couldn't wait to start trying them, the basil infused oil is perfect for dressing salads or drizzling over tuna, the chilli and garlic are great for roasting new pots and I made a fabulous cod dish with the lemon oil which is featured below. 

Baked Lemon and Pepper Cod with Coconut Kale, Mushrooms and New Pots


Ingredients:

2 cod fillets
1 lemon
Borderfileds lemon infused oil
salt and pepper

large bunch of black kale
8 mushrooms
10 middle sized new pots - chopped into 4's & par boiled
coconut oil

Method:

Put oven on to heat (180), place the cod in tin foil and before wrapping grate lemon zest onto fillets then sprinkle with black pepper, slice the lemon and lay slices onto fillets then wrap and place on a baking tray. Once oven is at right temp put cod in and bake for 15-20 minutes depending on fillet size.

In a large frying pan add some coconut oil over a low heat. Slice kale and mushrooms, once oil has melted add them to the pan along with par boiled potatoes. Turn the heat up a little and season with salt and pepper. Carrying on cooking until the cod is baked, the pots should be nice and browned by then. 

Plate up the pots, mushrooms and kale add the cod on top and drizzle with Borderfields lemon unfused oil. Eat! 

************************

Boy oh boy this was delicious, cod and lemon is the perfect flavour combo and the coconut thrown in too is a party in the mouth!  


These oils have a massive thumbs up from me, each one has a delicious flavour and I would definitely recommend you trying them if like me your into your cooking oils : )

Question:

Have you tried Borderfileds Oils?

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Candida Diet Safe Meals and Snacks

Hi all, hope your enjoying February so far? This month started full steam ahead for me with a client trip away so I have been in London with one of the ladies I support which has been lots of fun, we went to the Thriller stage show and the Harry Potter Tour which I loved just as much as her, pretty good start to the month right?! 

Now I have some time to pop in and say hi I thought I would share some of the things I have been eating which are safe when doing the Candida diet. Last time I did the diet I lost a lot of weight, felt and looked awful but this time I had a lot more knowledge behind me and was able to eat food which was healing and did't leave me looking gaunt and unwell. I have lost a couple of pounds which was obviously welcomed but thats not from not eating much, I've been eating loads! 

One thing I have been eating on a daily basis is coconut oil, yes the wonders of coconut oil seem to be never ending and if your suffering from Candida then get eating it! Coconut oil is a great anti fungal and has been found to be an effective way to fight the candida yeast. I cook with it, put it on my jacket potatoes, blend it into coffee and even have it for breakfast on rice cakes.....


The coconut oil on rice cakes for breakfast has got to be one of my favourite ways to eat it, simply topped with some salt and pepper its delicious and actually really filling. Other breakfast options have been rice cakes with hummus and cucumber, eggs and veggies or an avocado. 


Snacks can be hard when your looking for stuff without sugar, yeast and gluten but I managed to find a few that weren't just veggie sticks! 


You can't go wrong with a plain pack of crisps, they feel like a naughty treat but with only potato, oil and salt they actually aren't all that bad and can give you the quick fix you need when out and about. 


I was sent these lightly salted lentil waves from Burts Chips to try not long ago and these too are a great snack that don't contain any nasties so something to think about trying. They are really tasty and with only 99 calories you can't go wrong. 


Ok time to confess I have become a complete bombay mix addict! The health food shop I go to in Hastings makes some that has nothing bad in it at all and this is great if you need a snack that isn't boring and kicks a flavour punch, love it! 

Other snack ideas are veggie sticks with hummus or almond butter, spoonfuls of almond butter if like me you can't get enough of it, plain nuts, boiled eggs or an avocado. 

Main meals have come easy to me as I love to make my own food and making everything from scratch is the safest way to make sure there are no hidden nasties. I have been eating a lot of white and sweet potatoes, rice and pasta along with fish, chickpeas and an abundance of veggies. I haven't eaten much meat because so much of it is injected with sugar and antibiotics plus the organic option is so expensive I'd rather not bother. I've also been making my own sauces and dressings because nearly all shop bought options are loaded with sugar in some form, I found one pasta sauce dressing that's safe to eat but can't remember the brand. 


Potatoes are great because they are really versatile and soak up flavour a treat, for this dish I teamed them with chickpeas and veggies and made a sauce with chillies, red onion, garlic and fresh parsley. Fresh herbs are a life savour because they bring so much flavour and they are all natural yay! 


A nice quick lunch I like to make when at home is steamed and raw veggies with tuna, oil, salt and pepper...easy peasy : )


More potato joy which is so simple, this is literally potato and veggies all fried up in coconut oil, lots of garlic is the key and I also par boil my pots to make sure they are nice and soft.


Rice is another versatile ingredient, I use both white and brown for my meals. This was white basmati rice with veggies cooked in coconut oil and topped with a hummus dressing. My hummus dressing is so easy to make I put hummus, almond milk salt and pepper in a pot and mix until it is at my preferred consistency then pour. 

My meals never take more then 30 minutes to make and usually taste pretty dame good as well as being healthy and filling which is a must because you can feel real hungry when cutting sugar. 


Obviously chocolate is out because all sugar is out but there is one treat (if you can call it that!) you are allowed which has been a life saver for me these siesta carob bars have no sugar, dairy or gluten and are safe to eat. I love them although they are quite dry tasting which doesn't bother me Dale on the other hand spat out the piece I gave him so its definitely not for everyone! Worth a try though if your desperate for something. 

I hope this post has been of some help, maybe given you some ideas on what to make and what to eat. The rule really is to make most food yourself because thats the safest way of not eating anything that contains sugar, yeast, dairy and gluten but there are some options out there you can buy you just gotta read all the labels religiously! 

Question:

Whats your favourite sugar free meal or snack?

Friday, 29 January 2016

What Is Candida and How Did I Get It?

Hi all as promised here is some info on Candida which I have been suffering with for quite a while but since finding out I have been doing all I can to get rid of it, be warned this is a wordy post. 

First of all "What is candida?" I hear you say well.......

Candida is a yeast that lives in all of us but when it becomes an overgrowth it can cause all number of problems in the body like fatigue, weight gain, joint pain and gas...not pleasant. 

The main causes of candida overgrowths are:

Diet: Yep candida is a yeast so it loves sugar and anything that converts to sugar to feed on, as we all know these days our diets are usually overloaded with way to much sugar from chocolate to refined grains and alcohol to name a few. Problem is once you get an overgrowth of candida it starts to make you crave more and more sugar and if you are unaware you have it you won't realise your just feeding it and making it grow stronger which will also make it spread to more of your body's organs. Not Good. Its not just sugary food either anything that contains yeast and fungus will feed it too and these are also things you will crave. 

Antibiotics: This being the most common reason for getting an overgrowth, antibiotics while killing the bad bacteria they are being taken for they will also kill the good bacteria that lives in your gut causing all sorts of havoc for your insides. By killing the good bacteria in your gut it can leave your body defenceless against candida which is fast growing and dominates the small intestines. 

Stress: Hmmm well I think we can all relate to this...when we are stressed our body releases higher levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) which in turn makes us feel fatigued and can lead to eating sugary foods to get a quick fix. This then weakens the immune system which can lead to a candida overgrowth, JOY!

The Pill: Yep unfortunately taking the pill can cause candida, because the pill can cause hormone imbalances in your body it can also mess up the stomachs microorganisms and yeasts it uses to digest foods....hello candida!

Diabetes: High blood sugar levels can feed the already present candida in the body which can lead to an overgrowth, it is more common in diabetic women. 

So now you know what it is and how you can get it let me tell you how I got it......

April 2014 I was suffering with quite bad acne on my face and could not take it anymore so I gave in and went to the doctors to see what could be done. Five minutes in and I was being told my only option was to take a course of antibiotics, I asked if there was not a cream or something else as I did not want to take antibiotics and doctor said yes but they wouldn't work as well, he also said his daughter had the same acne as me and she had taken these tablets and it had cleared up never to come back again.....hmmmmm I was being convinced. I asked if they would play about with my stomach and he said no, it just kills off the bacteria on my face and shouldn't cause any other problems....ok so I thought I'd give it a go......

At first the antibiotics did a good job and my skin seemed to be clearing up so I was happy enough although I was still getting outbreaks. I took the antibiotics for 3 months and when I went back was told I needed another 3 months...so I carried on taking them, after 4/5 months my skin was getting worse again, I went back when the second 3 months was nearly up and was told best to take them for another 3 months because they hadn't worked yet.......I was not happy with this but put my trust in the doctor and hoped they would start working again......

8 months and my skin was worse then when I had gone the first time, I stopped taking the tablets January 2015 and my god its been down hill since then! My skin has been the worst it has ever been, I have spots on my face, chest and back and have had for the past year which is pretty bloody horrid. I went back to the doctors to show them what had happened since stopping the antibiotics and they offered me more but a different kind....NO THANK YOU!

Being at my wits end I went to see a Kinesiologist I know just before Christmas last year and she told me I had a candida overgrowth pretty much over all my organs which has been causing me to feel fatigued, disinterested, giving me stomach issues, giving me crazy sugar and yeast cravings, which unbeknown to me I had been feeding and it was causing my bad skin....happy christmas to me! 

This was definitely not the best news especially before Christmas so I was advised to do the best I could over the festive period and then from January first really knuckle down and do the candida fighting diet. 

I actually did pretty well over Christmas and New Year and have stuck to the diet since. Its very restrictive I suppose but manageable if like me you are used to making your own food and looking for alternatives. For the diet you have to keep Sugar, Yeast, Lactose and Gluten off the menu as well as sweeteners and other additives. You basically need to make everything from scratch and if your not making it you need to be reading every label to check the ingredients. I actually had candida a few years ago now so I am well aware of the diet and how to do it so it was not too much of a hardship. The worst thing has been not eating anything sweet but the cravings have slowly disappeared and now I am fine with the no sugar thing. I have a follow up appointment next week to see where I am and how my body is responding, fingers crossed its all good news I am definitely feeling 10 times better then I was although my skin is not improving as much as I would like....when it does I'll have some comparison pics for you thats if I can get over how bad the spotty ones are! 

If you've managed to get to this point in the post without going to sleep well down you, I shall leave it there though as I don't want to bore you! 

Stay tuned for some more posts on candida friendly meals and snacks that have helped me through the past few weeks and how I plan to continue on with my sugar free lifestyle even if the candida has gone : )

Question:

Have you ever suffered with Candida?

Thursday, 21 January 2016

A Belated Happy New Year and 2015 Catch Up

A very belated Happy New Year to one and all! 

(photo source here)

I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and New Year? I worked pretty much all of it, I did have New Years Eve off though which was nice, much quieter then normal but I was happy with that : )

2015 was a pretty great year all in all, lots of ups a few downs but mostly a bloody good ride and 2016 is looking like it might be even better so I am excited to see what the coming year will bring. I thought it might be nice to have a little look back on some of my highlights from last year before we get on to a little revelation on why I have been rather absent from blogging and for the last couple of months  have been feeling out of sorts but first the pictures.....

Fun Times


I got to be a bridesmaid for one of my best friends and it was the most glorious day of love


I went to my 7th Glastonbury festival and it rocked!


Me and my friend Jo went and hung out in Berlin for a long weekend. 


I added some more art to my body,  I actually got a few more then this but don't have any pics....


To end the year I got to spend Christmas day with the guys at work who have literally changed my life! The one big thing about last year which made it the most awesome was my job, I can't express enough how this job has changed my life around, I love the people I support and they have taught me so much about myself and although they might not understand how they have changed and enriched my life they really have and I can't thank them enough : )


I did lots of other stuff too like going to the Wildlife Festival in Brighton to see Years and Years and Disclosure, Dales mum got married, we went to lots of birthday parties, met up with friends and had too many laughs to mention and got to watch a great Bruce Springsteen tribute band whist drinking local cider sitting on the beach. I also got to do all sorts of things with the guys at work, I can definitely look back at 2015 and smile!

So those were a few highlights of my year there has been one particular low that only recently came to light and I won't go on too much about it today I'll leave that for another post but it now makes sense to me why I have been feeling so run down the past few months and why blogging or doing anything that means sitting and thinking was off the agenda. Just before Christmas I got told my body was raging with Candida and I am sure you all know what that is but if not wait till my post on it and you'll find out all, having this build up in my body has left me tired and disinterested in anything I have to think about really but I am currently on the Candida diet and things are looking up which is probably why I woke up today and thought "I really wanna blog!" Keep a look out for my next post all about how I got Candida, how it was affecting me and how I am getting rid of it. 

Question:

Was 2015 good for you?

Tell me something you look back on from last year that makes you smile......go!