I tried so hard to eat well at Christmas, I really did.
My husband went shopping and bought a heap of fresh veggies, fruit and free-range meat.
My brother sourced a Paleo ham from the Naked Butcher in Perth, and my Mum brought over some wild caught fresh fish from the local fishmonger.
I spent hours in the kitchen, prepping, cooking and cleaning up, when I really would have rather been enjoying that time with my kids.
I did not drink any alcohol (which is nothing new since I haven’t had a drink in about 18 months anyway) and I didn’t consume any added sugars or natural sweeteners. I ate 99% Paleo, but I STILL GOT SICK!!!!
So Why Did I Get Sick If I Ate So Clean?
1. Stress – leading up to Christmas my life was hectically busy and stressful.
2. Lack of sleep – I was staying up late socialising and wrapping presents, but getting up early with the kids, so I wasn’t getting enough sleep to heal.
3. Illness and food allergies – I have a Leaky Gut, a Candida Overgrowth and IBS, so I can’t tolerate processed and fermented foods, and some sugars (even those in some fruit and veg).
I had a little bit of Paleo sweet potato salad, and half a fresh mango (too many FODMAPS), I drank a bottle of Kombucha over two days (yeast plus maybe some leftover sugar from the fermentation process), and I had a few pieces of roasted white potatoes (not good if you have a Leaky Gut), and some potato chips (processed. I thought they would be fine since they were cooked in Avocado Oil but nooooooooo).
Some days it seems like my body seriously has no chill, I can’t have a cheat day or even a bit of a cheat meal without suffering consequences. My body doesn’t care that it is Christmas, or that I have worked so hard to eat well 99% of the time, or that I have agonised, fought and said no to myself about many different foods (mainly fruit mince pies, I really wanted to have a fruit mince pie this Christmas).
On Boxing Day, I was really bloated, sore, sad and felt very sorry for myself. I had no energy and felt like I was coming down with the flu, but I still had to drag myself around the kitchen to make food because the only way out of feeling sick is to eat nourishing food and sleep. I find swimming at the beach helps too, it feels like I am detoxing when I am in the water.
This Is Living Barry
When my family and I hit the beach on Boxing Day, there was also some people there living their best life.
They had a homemade tarp slip and slide set up, so they could slide down the sand and into the water, giant rubber ducky inflatables to float around in, there was a dog chilling with his ball, good tunes cranking, and the group was sitting around laughing, and sharing a few cold ones.
As the arvo wore on, a guy and a girl rocked up with huge brown paper wrapped parcels of fish and chips, which they placed in the middle of the circle, and everyone happily tucked in.
While I was happy for them, I felt nostalgic about my old life.
In my old life, before I got sick, developed a long list of food allergies, and brought three kids into the world all with different medical conditions and food allergies, I would have been doing the same thing on Boxing Day – sitting on the beach, sharing some fish and chips, and a few cold ones, with my nearest and dearest.
Sometimes I miss the ease of the Standard Australian Diet, I miss the spontaneity and fun, I miss the socialisation of sharing the same food with family & friends. I miss sharing a pizza over a bottle of wine with friends, and enjoying an ice cream with my kids at the beach. I miss being able to quickly grab a takeaway meal if I am too tired, exhausted or time poor to cook. It’s called convenience food for a reason.
When you have an illness and food allergies, you must be so responsible all the time, which some days can feel like a boring and exhausting burden. It takes an enormous amount of prep work and cooking just to eat.
It’s also very socially isolating not eating what everyone else is eating. People don’t understand why you can’t eat and drink the way they do. In my experience, I have found that our medical conditions, and multiple food allergies create a huge social barrier.
I must be so careful about what I eat, and what I feed my kids to avoid getting sick, but some people take it personally and get upset, defensive, or angry. They act like I am judging, or having a crack at them, when the reality is, some days it feels like I am barely keeping my head above water, I don’t have the energy or desire to worry about what other people are eating. It’s just none of my business!
I haven’t worked out how to deal with the awkwardness that comes from being the odd one out at social events – so much of our culture is spent connecting with people over food and drinks!
I think a huge part of this is that I have always had social anxiety, but in the past, I have just squashed it down with food and alcohol. Now I no longer have them to hide behind, so I must come up with new and healthy ways to deal with it.
Also, being singled out and picked on for how I eat or feed my kids doesn’t help social anxiety at all!
When I eat the wrong thing for my body and it becomes inflamed, it also effects my mood and state of mind. I am just so tired, everything seems overwhelming, I am sore and sad, and I get confused on what I should do next. It’s like trying to trek through molasses with a sweaty motorbike helmet on.
I start to worry.
How sick am I going to get? How long am I going to be sick for? Am I always going to be sick? What can I do to get better? Is there maybe something I am missing? Is there a different, book, diet or approach I could try? What can I do? Won’t anyone tell me what to do?
Gut Healing Broth and Sleep
I put on a pot of broth and went to bed. When I woke up I felt a lot better, and my clarity of mind returned.
It truly amazes me how being physically sick from something I have eaten can have such a huge impact on my mental health, and the way I view the world. When I am in that inflammation bubble I can’t see that though. It’ not until the inflammation dies down, and I feel better I can see how blessed I really am, and my mountain of a problem was only a molehill.
“The price is high. The reward is great” – Maya Angelou
We are getting better, albeit very slowly, but it’s a very visible and measurable improvement.
Instead of being sick for a week or more, I bounced back after a day.
The kids Dermatitis, Eczema and Mulloscum has almost completely gone, and Leo is sleeping through the night (mostly). Instead of getting an ear or lung infection every month, and needing antibiotics or a trip to the ER, Leo hasn’t been sick since we started seeing our new doctor. The constant waxy discharge that was always visibly present in his ears has cleared up too.
My doctor said it will take twelve months for my gut to heal, so I must keep going, choosing the right foods, get enough sleep, spend time doing things to de-stress and fill up my bucket and eventually I will get there. This was just a little set back, a bump in the road – not the end of the world, as I thought when I was sick.
Easy Feel Good AIP Low FODMAP Side
Since our microwave broke, I decided not to replace it, and have been warming our leftovers in the oven, or on the stove.
One day, I reheated some leftover Sautéed Bacon and Silverbeet in the oven and left it in there a bit too long. The Silverbeet leaves got crispy and crunchy which gave me the idea to start making Silverbeet chips.
Nutrient Dense Budget Friendly Leafy Green
Silverbeet, otherwise referred to as Chard or Swiss Chard, is a nutrient dense leafy green vegetable that is high in Vitamins A, C, B6, E and K, contains Folate and Riboflavin, and is a good source of minerals like Copper, Iron, Manganese, Potassium & Zinc.
This dark green superfood is chock full of fibre, which is brilliant for gut health, because unlike most other foods, which are digested earlier on in the process, it nourishes the good bacteria at the end of the digestive system where the kids and I have a Candida Overgrowth problem.
I have been sick with gut issues for over twelve years, but it wasn’t until I met my new doctor prescribed a diet that is 50% green vegetables, that I started to get better.
He also prescribed me drugs to help kill the Candida Overgrowth in my gut, but he said I just will not get better until I change my diet.
Even though it feels like it is taking forever for me to heal, it was only earlier this year I was so sick I was unable to leave the house to pick up my kids from school. Now instead of being sick every day or every other day of the week, I am sick only every now and then.
What is most exciting to me is that it is now a lot easier for me to pin point the culprits, where before I was totally in the dark about what was making me sick.
Budget Friendly Paleo Whole30 Vegetable Side
At the moment Silverbeet is as cheap, as… well, chips! I can get two big beautiful bunches of Silverbeet from the Farmers Market for $4. Bargain!
Kid Friendly Healthy Snack
My kids love these Silverbeet chips and they don’t last long in this house! I prefer to eat them over potato chips now because instead of getting a sore stomach, I enjoy the salty crunchy delicious goodness of chips with a big dose of feel good nutrients.
For extra flavour I use leftover drippings from roasts or bacon fat – yum!!
Crunchy and satisfying chips that are good for you! AIP, Keto, Low FODMAP, Paleo and Whole30 compliant.
- 6 Silverbeet leaves
- 2 tablespoons of good fat (coconut oil, olive oil, lard, tallow, bacon fat etc)
- salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, 160 degrees fan forced.
Line three big baking trays with baking paper.
Cut the green leaves off the Silverbeet stems and put the white flesh aside to use in a stir fry or something. They also taste good roasted!
Wash the Silverbeet and pat dry.
Melt the fat in a big pot until warm.
Take it off the heat and coat the Silverbeet in the fat.
Lay the Silverbeet on the baking trays taking care not to overlap the leaves.
Season with salt and bake in the oven for 10 -15 minutes or until crispy.