Two months ago I wrote a post. A rather personal post called The Happy Tummy Diet
That post was the beginning of an interesting journey. It was a vulnerable, scary and exciting moment for me. I had just begun treatment for a parasite I had picked up in India. I had dared to dream, that I would for once be cured. That for once in five years, I would be able to manage any meal without cramps. That I would again have the chance to live in body of harmony, with a happy tummy. I would love to sit here and say that I am cured, once and for all but Im not yet there. It seems I am a bit of a rare case… A head scratcher and real spanner in the works, if you will. The improvements I have had overall have been good, with sporadic cases of extreme cramps and side effects, usually brought on by a night of a few too many, or new course of the next pill I was popping. (Just to be clear, this was all under the legit instruction of a specialist, I would never recommend self-medicating!)
I began with a course of anti-microbials and oregano oil, to kill all pathogens. Followed up by pro-biotics, pre-biotics and any other kind of ‘boitics’ you can think of. Oh yes, and L-Glucamine. The powder that body builders take to repair muscle damage. Beneficial in my case for its supreme gut healing properties. I am about a week into gut repair/ probiotic treatment and feeling worse then ever before. Headachy, heavy muscled, and lacking in all energy. Seriously -I slept 12 hours last night and was hankering for more all day! I also feel like someone has taken a baseball bat to my stomach and gone to town on it. I empathise with a pinata at a kids party.
At this point in my treatment such side effects are not what I should be experiencing and I spent today with an impending sense of desperation. I know that this is a blip in months of progress (and that it is a feeling which will pass) but my inane human inclination, to doubt and self-deprecate kicked in big time. If you wold have entered my house at 5pm this evening you would have found me lying in bed, watching Girls (what else) completely shattered, in pain and exhausted.
It is these moments, of vulnerability that we speak about least. By nature there is always the urge to curl up and lick our wounds in private. I don’t know about you, but it is time like this that I feel I should share. I feel relieved to know that someone else has been there too. Its easy to collapse and give up but this is the best time to make the change and do what you can to make the situation better. Since I have been here before, I have pretty much gotten my remedy down to a T.
I find the best things to help me are yoga, running, light stretching and lots of herbal teas, especially cinnamon, fennel and peppermint (preferably not together, that would be gross tasting.) I drink lots of fluids, have a hot water bottle and practice mindful belly breathing… Its amazing how it can help.
In terms of soothing food, my answer is ALWAYS Miso… My best-food-friend. Its my magic broth. Calming, warm and soothing. It really is a real hug in a bowl.
You can add anything from noodles to brown rice, but try to keep it wheat-free. (Wheat often is hard to digest) I am a big fan of buckwheat, spelt, kamut and all the other ancient grains, but as an addition to miso I would recommend rice or rice noodles. They slip down very easily. In terms of veggies, keep it simple with collard greens, cabbage or kale. I like to add peppers, courgettes, broccoli, spring onions, shredded nori seaweed(the stuff you wrap sushi with) and fresh coriander too. If I have any leftover chicken or any silken tofu knocking about, that goes in too.
Makes 2 large bowls, or 4 mini bowls (as above)
- 3 tablespoons Red or White Miso Paste
- 1 tablespoon, or 1 Sachet of Dashi (Bonito Fish Stock)
- 1 litre of Water
*If you are using carrot or sweet potato, make sure to chop them finely and add them at the beginning, when you are bringing the water to simmer.
A little extra : If you have any sesame seeds in the house, try toasting them for a couple of minutes in a dry frying pan. Once toasted add them to a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt and a couple of coriander seeds. Bash them up and sprinkle away – You will need about 2 tablespoons for 1 pinch of salt and 1 pinch of coriander seeds