Tag Archives: Our Journey less travelled


Template for Success : Preparing a Healing Diet

NOTE : This post was originally featured as a guest post on Angie's Alt's Blog but has been updated and republished with enhancements to the template

As any working parent will know, the thought of getting food on the table after a long day can be overwhelming. Bring into the mix food intolerance/allergies and fussy eaters and putting a meal on the table starts to feel like climbing Mount Everest in flip flops!

By profession I am a Learning Strategist, I consult with Fortune 500 companies to bring their corporate learning to life inside a Virtual Classroom or Virtual Online Event. Any challenge a client throws at me I can typically, with some careful thought, provide them with a template for success. So I applied that same logic and project planning to bring healing foods and healthful plates to the family table as a single mum, after all I can’t use drive-thrus as backup or rely on a partner to help out with the grocery shopping, meal planning, or cooking.

So after researching what my fellow autoimmune bloggers had to say and with some inherited tips and tricks from my Mum, I built the following template that I’d like to share with you.

  1. Buy Proteins in Bulk – Typically I do this monthly. Having a stash of  core ingredients in the freezer ensures I have ingredients on hand. I use a lot of cheap cuts of meats such as bacon (well I am TheBaconMum) pork butt, ribs, flank steak, tenderloins, whole chickens, ground turkey, pork, lamb, beef, bison etc. There are many online organic meat companies that deliver to your door, which makes buying organic food in bulk more economical. However, if organic meats aren’t within your budget (it isn’t always possible within mine) many local grocery stores will often sell items in bulk too, just check that there are no nitrates or hormones added.{Oh and get home warranty insurance to cover your freezer should it fail you don’t want to spend on bulk proteins and loose them if your freezer fails}
  2. Stock up on Staple Ingredients – Always have your staple ingredients in stock. My Mum taught me as a child to always have two of the same item in the pantry, the one you are using and the replacement for when that’s gone. Once you open the second item, replace it the next time you shop. This way you will never run out and will always have the ingredients on hand to make your meal.
  3. Enroll into a CSA – With pesticides being sprayed on our crops, it’s really important to try to afford organic veggies whenever possible. Joining a CSA, especially one that gets delivered to your door, is budget friendly and a huge time saver! (To find a local supplier click here.) If you can’t afford to go 100% organic – try to buy organic those foods listed as The Dirty Dozen.
  4. Batch Cook – Never prepare your meals just for one meal time, double or triple the recipe and freeze into portions for days when you know it will be hard to get food on the table.
  5. Invest in a Crock-Pot/Slow Cooker – This for me is my lifesaver. Many recipes call for browning the proteins before cooking but I honestly have no time for that . . . I throw ALL ingredients into said pot and presto six-eight hours later dinner smells divine as I walk through the door. This model of Crock Pot is one I would recommend (http://amzn.to/1yVhYas)
  6. Invest in a Pressure Cooker – This is my new favorite kitchen gadget and you will be seeing a number of recipes in the coming weeks as a I master them!  30-45 Minutes and something that would take 6-8 hours in a slow cooker / crock pot can be ready… can’t beat that after a long day! Many people are investing in an Instant Pot (http://amzn.to/1wLPQRp) however you can also get a great pressure cooker that is not so ‘overwhelming’ (http://amzn.to/1yVhqRW)
  7. Maximize Your Time – When you are clearing up the kitchen after dinner use this time to prepare lunches for the following day and prepare that crock-pot meal to place in the fridge overnight. The following morning as you are reaching for the pre-prepared lunchboxes, plug in the crock pot and rush out of that door!
  8. Maximize Oven Time – Never switch on your oven for just one item, always be thinking about what other recipes you can prepare at the same time. My favorite is to make up three-four batches of meatballs and burger sliders and cook them all in the oven at the same time. Let them cook, cool and freeze them in large Ziploc bags for school lunches and/or dinner time!
  9. Frozen is OK –Ever forgotten to remove the dinner from the freezer the night before? Don’t be afraid to use frozen protein in your crock-pot! While some may advise you otherwise, I can assure you I haven’t ever become sick, or any of my family, from using frozen protein in a crock-pot – From frozen solid chicken to succulent roast chicken in six hours – YES Please!!!
  10. Involve the Family – Kids can often get frustrated, certainly if they are only children, when you are constantly in the kitchen preparing foods. Involving children teaches them how to pair ingredients and provides them with the skills necessary to continue their healing diet as they flee the nest. My daughter loves to cook with me and on my weekends it’s rare that we don’t cook together. We start by choosing a recipe each from the wonderful selection of healing food recipe books that are now becoming available! (Don’t forget Angie’s cookbook is coming in out in December!!) This process has really helped my daughter understand what it takes to bring a meal to the table and that it’s polite to always try a new dish or new food. She knows she would be heartbroken if I didn’t taste her recipe and therefore she will always try a courtesy bite from my recipe too and nine times out of 10 she likes what she’s eating, emphasizing that taste buds do change, especially if they aren’t being over powered by chemicals and processed foods!

My Mantra – Prepare, Multiply, Store & Succeed!

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SIBO – Let’s peel another layer

When you’ve had an autoimmune disease for as long as I have and only just found a way to heal, the journey will take time. Compare it a long car journey with your kids, they think it will be never ending, they will ask “Are we there yet” several times over and each time you stop for another potty break you feel like the journey WILL be never ending, not to mention the travel delays – Oh the travel delays!

My Health Journey has been no different and last week I discovered that I have SIBO – Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth which refers to a condition in which abnormally large numbers of bacteria are present in the small intestine: the types of bacteria found in the small intestine are more like the bacteria found in the colon and they don’t belong there :( (To read the The Paleo Mom’s Overview of SIBO can be found here)

When I eat I have a bloated and gassy feeling for about 1 hour after consumption of certain foods, and it makes me pretty uncomfortable. So how do you cure it? You eliminate certain foods from your diet FODMAPS that the bacteria feeds on (typically for 28 days) and you take some supplements to carry out a gut-kill of these bad boys!

When I shared this news with a family member, they looked at me quizzically “You are going to restrict more foods? What will you eat?” and I have to say in some way I had thought the same! I was then questioned was the Autoimmune Protocol was really working for me if I now had SIBO – which is a great question and the answer is a resounding YES, because without healing my leaky gut, I would not have been able to get to the next layer of healing.

Years ago when I was studying to be a psychotherapist, I would often think of therapy as peeling off layers, like a skin of an onion, to get to the core of an issue. Healing an Auto Immune Disease(s) is no different. As your body begins to heal, you may establish that you have other Autoimmune Diseases or have other hurdles you need to navigate, such as my SIBO diagnosis. It will happen, it does happen and it does not mean that the diet is failing you.

The way I cope with a long journey is to provide myself with plenty of reading material and tools to keep me occupied and my journey on AIP is no different. Upon hearing the words SIBO I scanned through the internet to learn more. However using Dr. Google to find answers can often be overwhelming and I know from the early days of AIP that when you eliminate foods, it can be hard to keep track of what you can and can’t eat and it can lead to malnutrition, and lead you to feel overwhelmed and overly stressed and oops there goes that catch 22 again… stress, diet, lack of sleep… there has to be an easier way!

Which is why when A Clean Plate announced her 28 Day of Low FODMAP Plan which is Autoimmune Paleo compliant I was super excited! A simple easy to follow protocol for just 28 Days will kick start me and hopefully enable me to peel off another layer of that onion and get deep to the core of better health.

But I’m not going to stress myself out over this and certainly not over the holidays! So while I have read the book from cover to cover and have already started to remove high FODMAP foods from my diet but made the decision that I will be starting the FULL 28 Day Protocol on January 5th and I will be blogging every step of the way. So if you know or suspect you may have SIBO based on any of the symptoms below I would welcome you to get tested, and join me on this journey.

I’ll be honest I could do with your support, and I’m more than willing to support you as we move through this process after all its only 28 Days! If you are interested download A Clear Plates Book 28 Day of Low FODMAP Plan and email me at emmaking@thebaconmum.com and we can setup a support group to help us all through!

You have until January 4th to decide!

Below are the Symptoms and the Risk Factors for potential SIBO

SIBO Symptoms

  • Excess wind.
  • Abdominal bloating and distension.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Constipation.
  • Abdominal pain.

Risk factors for SIBO

  • Low stomach acid
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Celiac disease (long-standing)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Prior bowel surgery
  • Diabetes mellitus (type I and type II)
  • Multiple courses of antibiotics
  • Organ system dysfunction, such as liver cirrhosis, chronic pancreatitis, or renal failure

Wishing you a safe and healthful week!

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Shout Out : The Magic of Disney

Walt_Disney_World_Resort_entranceFor any of us with food allergies/intolerance the thought of traveling away from our trusted food sources can fill us with anxiety and dread. This is particularly relevant to me when I think about family vacations. Typically I would choose to go self-catering and need to do a lot of research on the food sources that will be available to us. Doesn’t sound like a vacation does it?

The same applies if I have to go on business trips, though of course I can’t stipulate when, where and how long I am away for, which as single mum brings other challenges such as finding overnight care, coordinating pick up / drop offs for extracurricular activities and food menus for my daughter!  So last week, when I had to travel to Orlando for work, I was rushing around last minute, packing up individual portions of frozen Liver Pate (it travels so well), ensuring that I had a fridge in my hotel room and finding a local grocery store that would deliver food to my hotel! A business trip is stressful enough, without this!

We had visited Disney as a family in December 2013 and I was delighted with the personalized care that a gluten free/dairy free family was provided with but this was before I had started the AIP Protocol. For my business trip, the Conference Host, as part of the registration, had asked to be informed about food allergies but quickly responded to me that due to the extent of my food restrictions they couldn’t guarantee provision of food. Upon check in at Disney World Coronado Springs Resort I was asked to complete a Dietary Information Sheet that I could hand to the Disney Chefs if I was choosing to dine on property! If I hadn’t experienced the Gluten/Dairy free experience in December I can assure you I would be dubious to do this, but I knew how much importance Disney placed on supporting those with food allergies, that I decided to give it a try!

239490-main_FullUpon registration at the hotel, I was given the name of the chef who was responsible for the conference menu and was told to contact him at lunch time the next day to discuss my dietary needs. I will be honest, I didn’t, because I had already brought some Epic Bars and other snacks to sustain me, but when I entered the lunch room, a server directed me to the buffet table and I declined saying “I have food allergies and I know there is nothing I could even attempt to eat”. “Oh let me get the Chef for you” was the immediate response.     Chef Bill came over to me and asked how he could help.

“I can’t have ANY Grains, ANY Dairy, ANY Seeds, Legumes, Nightshades or Eggs” said I, with an awkward smile.
“OK…, so now list for me what you can have, what would you typically eat if you were at home” came the response from Chef Bill.
“Well I could have Grilled Chicken Breast (please don’t pan fry it in oil, I only use Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil or Olive Oil)”
“That’s ok I have all three of those but Grilled Chicken Breast it is, what about seasonings?”
“I can have Salt, Black Pepper, Garlic, Ginger, Turmeric, Cilantro, Parsley, Sage, Tarragon, Balsamic Vinegar”

“OK that’s great, OK what about vegetables”
“I can have Spinach, Kale, Cucumber, Carrots, Squash, Zucchini, Onions, erm… a whole lot more than that but is that enough” I laugh

“Perfect, I will be back in about fifteen minutes” says Chef Bill

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And true to his word, fifteen minutes later, Chef Bill returned with the most delicious looking dish – personally cooked for me. Not only did he deliver the meal to me personally but he came back ten minutes later to check that I was enjoying it! Was I ever!!!

This experience continued as I dined at restaurants on Disney Properties. The President of the company I work for, was also at the conference, so there were strategy meetings, and client entertainment that had to take place, while he fully supports my dietary needs and would have understood if I chose to eat before entertaining clients, I think he was as relieved as me that this took a huge pressure off of us all!

As a result of this experience I will admit that I am tempted to take my daughter again to visit Disney, (shh don’t tell her) and have already discussed this with her Dad, as he too needs to find locations which support her dietary needs.

So Disney, I thank you, applaud you, and salute you for making even a business trip a Magical Experience