March Update… The nutritional naturopath appointment

I am trying to get a post up at least once a month… but time is a tricky one!! All day, every day, I think about food! In amongst looking after and playing with the ever growing Seb. (This blog has been half written for over two weeks now!!)
I’m still getting to grips with making food in advance or in bulk – to be honest I’m getting pretty good at it, but it’s the fitting it in, with Seb… my worry is when I go to work, how much time will I have for shopping, and cooking… therefore I’m getting the practice in now!! I think I’ll have it to a ‘T’ by the time I’m back at work, as Seb will be older and I will be able to send him out with his dad for the day and crack on! I’m starting to get a few ‘favourites’ together, and they are SCRUMPTIOUS!! Still missing tomatoes, and spices… but what can you do?! Eat them and suffer, or avoid them and feel capable!! I have also, this week, begun fermenting my own drinks!! Last weekend, I went to watch a friend compete in a duathalon (run, cycle, run), and at the café nearby they sold kombucha (£2.30)… it was DELISCIOUS! So… I hunted down a SCOBY, and got onto it… my first brew is ready to start tasting on Thursday (19th March)!! I also dug out my water kefir grains, and have finally started to rehydrate them today… so another week, plus three brewing days and I should be ready to start drinking kefir too!! Can’t wait!!

First brew of kombucha!!

First brew of kombucha!!

I had planned to blog a couple of weeks ago before a nutritional naturopath appointment that I had… but time has got away with me, so instead of a precursor to the appointment, I will give you the summary instead!
The appointment was with a student from the College of Naturopathic Medicine, I had gone to an open day back in October with the hope of one day studying nutrition, and at the open day I got talking to one of the lecturers; she mentioned I should attend one of their student clinics – which costs £25 for an initial and £15 a follow up (which is considerably more affordable than the cost of going to a qualified naturopath!)
Prior to the appointment I got my GP to do some blood tests… I asked for Vit D, Mag RBC and inflammatory markers such as CRP, ESR… my GP was pretty receptive, however, they did my Mag serum, and my Vit D wasn’t back in time for the appointment!! So… not really hugely useful! Although it did throw up that I was significantly iron deficient.
I also had to fill in a history sheet and food diary for one week, that aspect was easy because I still keep a detailed diary, and send it on to her. Along with these, I also sent her some questions of my own regarding supplements (magnesium, probiotics, and multi-vits) and testing (stool testing, mineral balance).
Following the consultation these were her recommendations:
1) Chew, chew, chew
2) Ensure water is filtered, and not drunk around meal times
3) Increase beetroots, and leafy greens – methyl donors
4) Eat watercress, rocket, Endive, Chicory, or Artichoke before a meal to help the liver
5) Eat papaya/pineapple with food to help digestion
6) Ensure calcium rich foods – Bone stock, kale, cabbage, broccoli, brussle sprouts, figs and small boned fish
7) Avoid eating raw cabbage and cruciferous veg due to goitrogens
8) Add ginger and turmeric to foods to help with inflammation and gut mobility
9) Drink Cherry active or Tart cherry juice before bed for melatonin and mobilising uric acid
10) Add onions, mushrooms, pumpkin, squash, carrot, asparagus, avocado… not really sure why as I eat all of these in abundance!! Perhaps in the week that I sent my diary I didn’t have many?
11) Eat iron rich foods – liver, dark leafy greens, red meat, dried fruit (again, I already eat these)
12) Add 1g of wakame daily soaked in water
13) Add 1 Tbsp. ground in water in am and pm to help bulk stool
14) Increase exercise – walk x30 mins 2xday, Tai chi, yoga
15) Take Magnesium Glycinate 2 tablets 3xday
16) Take 1g of Bifibacterium Bifidus daily
17) Take 1 tsp of fish oil a day
18) Take Pregnancy Complex 2 tablets once a day
19) Take Hemagenics Iron 2 tablets once a day for 4 weeks, 1 tablet once a day for 4 weeks, then get iron levels re-checked

Well, it’s nearly a month since I went, and I haven’t yet got onto all the supplements, she did suggest a couple more, but said to hold off until we had my vit D levels back, and to hold off on bromelain until I see how the effects of papaya or pineapple work…
The reason I haven’t got started on all the supplements is that I didn’t want to start them all in one go then feel rubbish, or Seb have a reaction to something and me not know what it was. So I first started with the Iron, and typically, we both got struck down with diarrhoea… I don’t think it was anything to do with the iron, but as it started the same day as the iron, we stopped them until things cleared up… that took a couple of weeks. So then we went back on the iron, all good, then after a few days I added in the magnesium, a few days of that, then I added the probiotics (Or it may have been the other way around), few days, then I added the fish oil, few days of that… and as of tomorrow, I will add in the pregnancy multi-vit…

I have a few thoughts on the brands that they have recommended, and I may swap some stuff – for example the fish oil has rapeseed oil, and soya lecithin in it, amongst other things, so think I’ll change brand, probably for a cold pressed cod liver oil, when I’ve run out of this as I am working hard to eliminate those additives in my usual food.
I haven’t added the flax seed yet… dubious about that due to the problems AI conditions can have with seeds, again, I may try it as an introduction at a later date, however, it is to add bulk to my stools, and since adjusting a few other things (eating pineapple, rocket, chicory etc. before a meal, avoiding drinking at meals, wakame, filtering water, supplements) my bowel movements have been much better, so why rock the boat.

The advice regarding the food wasn’t hugely revolutionary. I was already doing most things, but it was a useful reminder on a few things, such as not drinking water with food, and to chew properly. Plus the information about rocket, chicory, etc. and pineapple/papaya was interesting, and does seem to have helped, plus the addition of wakame has helped get things moving too!

So how do I feel?
Pretty good. I had a bit of a fall off the wagon 2 weeks ago, I just became ravenous, hungry all the time, so I started snacking… and it got ridiculous, I was snacking (only on fruit) constantly… eating our families weeks’ worth of fruit in 2 or 3 days… and ohhhh how I paid for it!! Pain EVERYWHERE!! So I have got strict with myself again, and I am (almost) only eating at meal times, and if I eat any fruit (maybe less than a cup full) it is with a meal. And hey presto, I feel so much better again. Less fatigued, less swollen, stronger!! I have also ensured I am eating lots of good fats at meal times.
My pain is currently located in my right hand (dorsal aspect of the wrist – limiting middle finger extension!!! And wrist extension if my fingers are straight!), and my left thumb.
I probably don’t have full knee flexion (and a little bit of swelling is felt in either knee from day to day), but it’s getting there… and during my yoga sessions, I certainly don’t have very good range of motion anywhere compared to a year or so ago… but I’m working on it!

Introductions planned… well, after my hunger surge, I spoke to a guy who is about 2 years ahead of me on this journey, and one of his first introductions that he managed to add was grass fed butter after a period of healing, and this would add some great nutrients and fats to my diet… and hopefully would make eating out a bit easier. So if this good period continues, and I keep off the fruit and snacking, then I’m going to give it a go!! Exciting!! I’m very aware that it might not work… but I feel I’m starting to feel ready for this. And if it fails, it fails, I won’t have lost much, and I’ll know more about the direction my journey is heading.

If it goes ok, then maybe I might try some coconut milk kefir (as the kefir grains would be from milk), to add some more probiotic food to my life!! In fact, I need to get some coconut to start making my own coconut milk!!! One thing at a time Nina, one thing at a time!! (I’m now busy making bone broth, cooking fat, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, face cream, magnesium oil, magnesium body butter, mag-a-hol… I’m becoming the ultimate queen of the home!! Don’t worry, I’m looking after Seb too!! And he is growing mighty well!!)

One other possible introduction that I might try (this will probably take me past the summer as I am so slow at my introductions) is black pepper…

So… I have my follow up with my nutritionist in April, and some plans to add butter. I’m hopefully going to have a couple of brews going of kombucha and kefir… and I will continue to be very busy with my beautiful baby!!

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