Health Journey - Part 2 Keto Flu and Initial Reaction

Thanks for checking in!

I decided to go full force into a ketogenic diet. Some people, including my functional medicine doctor, suggested I add one ketogenic meal at a time but since I had done the Whole30 diet, I decided to go all in. It was pretty simple since I was used to being mindful of what had sugar in it and what didn’t. However confident I was going into eating keto without worry, I was pretty grumpy because of the VEGETABLE limitations I had. I was sad about the lack of variety I would have my hands on. I started really getting into potatoes and fruit on a Whole30 diet…

 Throwback to vacationing in Tulum, Mexico. Chillin' and wondering how to stop the bloat!

Throwback to vacationing in Tulum, Mexico. Chillin' and wondering how to stop the bloat!

TMI alert: My period also came earlier than expected so the combination of a dramatic carbohydrate reduction, AND having to do an induced stool test AND having my period was NOT happy making. No matter how much water I drank (ok, I had coconut water too which has too many carbs for a keto diet), I still had the most splitting headaches I’d ever experienced.

There’s something called a Keto flush, that happens when you start to train your body to burn fat molecules instead of glucose for energy. Apparently, each gram of carbohydrate in your body holds onto 3 grams of water. Thus, the lack of carbs makes your body eliminate any excess water hanging around. And LEMMYTELLYOU, it’s been a couple of weeks and I feel a lot less bloated. I really wanted to get rid of the painful 3 months pregnant looking bloat I have been chronically experiencing. I was feeling lighter after doing my last Whole30 but then I went on a pasta making spree.. all in the name of RECIPE DEVELOPMENT. Ok, and personal enjoyment.

 Spiralized vegetables are fun tho. Get this salad recipe  here .

Spiralized vegetables are fun tho. Get this salad recipe here.

Hopefully this is my answer to years of painful periods! The only problem isssss this very restrictive diet. I had to actually apply to become a patient with this functional medicine doctor which included providing my personal goals for my long term health. One of them was to know how much food I can TASTE while recipe developing and working as a chef. OR I just move towards a paleo / keto blog and cheffing business. I really don’t feel like changing careers ENTIRELY, please. Not yet anyway – unless someone needs a full time karaoke / rapper / actress? 

One of my cheerleaders, Rich, is confident that if anyone can come up with fun keto meals it would be me so I’m trying! I made a really delicious Asparagus & Roasted Red Pepper Frittata that was really delicious! If you want the recipe, I can write it out for you for the next blog post. Let me know and I’ll write it up.

Until next time!

            

Health Journey: Part 1 - My first visit to a Functional Medicine Doctor

Hello!

It's been a while since I've last blogged. I've been navigating this world of health and wellness, cooking for those with dietary restrictions or wanting a reset for a number of years now. I'd love to share with you what mistakes I've made and what approach I am taking now. 

No, there are no fun photos or videos associated with this, yet. Enjoy!

 mmm.. diner breakfast: not ketogenic as is

mmm.. diner breakfast: not ketogenic as is

I just got back from a Functional Medicine doctor, a naturopath with an integrative approach to medicine. I asked my General Practitioner friend what she had heard of Functional Medicine. She replied, "nothing". She asked why I wanted to go see one and I told her that Functional Medicine doctors look for the cause of what's ailing people. She responded by saying that all doctors should be doing that... UGH.

I was nervous to proceed with the appointment with the naturopath. I only have the initial visit covered by my health insurance and I had already been to several doctors with the following results:

2 GPs (test results = I'm fine)
1 allergist (not allergic to anything but here, take this Epi Pen prescription for that anaphylaxis you experience)
1 allergist for NAET diagnoses and treatment (remedied my ailments for 1 year)
1 herbalist intermittently for herbal tinctures and lifestyle advice
1 gynaecologist using an ultrasound and not finding any cysts or weirdness

Maybe I should go over what's ailing me. I want a solution for my dismennoreah, or FUCKING PAINFUL PERIODS that make me bed ridden for 2-4 days of my period. I had already cut out gluten (and most grains as I was told to do by my second allergist visit) and since then, (not expecting it either!) the grain elimination got rid of my depression, cognitive difficulties (think hearing things and feeling the floor falling from me) and am no longer anaphylactic to what I now know was caused by sulfites. However, I can't afford to or WANT to be bed ridden for 2-4 days anymore.

How was it seeing a Functional Doctor?
Good! She seemed legit which was nice. After some recent experiences, I've been weary of anything self-help that's of the 'alternative' variety.

We went through the progression of my periods throughout my life and other big events in my life like surgery, development of allergies, living conditions, supplement and medication history, what and when had my symptoms improved or nah.

I am going to do a stool sample (WHAT I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO - YAY!) to see if I don't have an underlying parasite, bacteria, dinosaur, etc living in there that's wreaking havoc.

I've also got some supplement advice. I had already been taking some that I had suspected had been helping me but I was corrected on dosage (aka WHY YOU SHOULD SEE A PROFESSIONAL).

Last but not least, I was told to eat a.. dun dun dun.. ketogenic diet! BOO! I have come to love my plantain chips and fruit yoghurt but I'll try it. I almost eat that way anyway. I feel like this, however, is a gateway to moving into a new career path.

 I wonder how phó will taste like without noodles. I'll ask to sub in extra vegetables.

I wonder how phó will taste like without noodles. I'll ask to sub in extra vegetables.

Reaction to a Dietary Change Verdict

I'm tired of being tired. I takes so much for me to recover from the trauma of the pain of my periods. I need healing. 

Honestly.. how I feel is a loss of identity. Loss of my chef identity.. loss of cultural identity.. I know this could be interpreted as a bit of an extreme, but I want to be part of innovative cuisine. Hell, I have a plethora of bad-ass gluten free recipes that taste like the real thing, damnit. I want to EAT IT but at least I can still share it. 

Another frustrating part is that I don't know if this all means I need to MOVE. I know that health is also a function of lifestyle. The only time in my life where I was the most consistently happy and period pain-free was when I lived in IRELAND. When I look at my time there, I was doing all the things that a Ketogenic or Paleo - centric medical professional refer to in terms of nutrient intake and lifestyle.. lemmy break it down:

  • only eat high quality fats (nothing we cooked with was pre-made.. we only ate pasture raised animals, raw milk dairy for butter, milk and cheese)
  • bone broth (we made it every morning and used it in many many dishes)
  • locally and seasonally, mostly vegetable diet

I know that it's possible to recreate that in Ottawa but it was so easy over there... maybe keep an eye out for me in Ireland.

Pozzies (positive aspects)

At least I'm practicing what I preach by doing what I've been telling people who ask me what kind of diet to eat, "find a professional to help you.. don't blindly just try diet or lifestyle changes without someone to measure the results". Why? You are removed from your own biases and inclinations. It's motivating to see lab test results as they improve with your efforts under the watfchfull eye of a professional.

Alright, stay tuned for more posts! Let me know if you are going though the same thing below. Navigating through the online world of health and wellness can be confusing I know. I've been obsessively listening to podcasts with experts and can't wait to share more resources with you!

Lemon Bucket Orkestra & Balkan Food

Hello Party Peeps!

I hope you all had a lovely Halloween. The gloomy weather and shortened days can inspire hibernation but I try to still get myself out there and immerse myself in party times. I was almost going to pass on seeing the epic 15-piece Lemon Bucket Orkestra but I'm glad I didn't!

This Ukranian - Canadian fronted band is a joy to see for me because it's great to hear the music of my parents done so artfully & wildly. It's a nice touch that they sing a Serbian tune or two, as well.

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I have a lot of fond memories of the band. I first met them because a friend was hanging out with them and knew I was into the band so she thought I'd like to join. Little did I know that it would lead to a beer run into Hull by bicycle and sea shanties into the wee hours of the morning. This is not your typical band. 

The show that I checked out on November 1st at De La Salle High School in Ottawa was part of the Chamber Music Festival concert series. It set the stage for their release of their new album If I had the Strength. Listen to the CBC Q interview with the lead singer, Mark, here.

Did I mention their parades into the audience? 

Naturally, seeing the band makes me think of my many visits back home to Serbia. And of course the key to understanding any culture is through their (music) FOOD! Now, I'm no food historian but I'll share some commonalities between balkan foods!

 Market stand in Zlatibor, Serbia

Market stand in Zlatibor, Serbia

 I ate the whole thing. (Drvengrad, Serbia)

I ate the whole thing. (Drvengrad, Serbia)

The cuisine uses very few condiments or sauces.
You got any paprika or oregano? You're pretty much set. Well..  you'll need some salt and pepper obviously. In terms of fresh herbs, parsley can be used pretty much on everything and dill is usually added to stews as they cook down. 

Charcuterie is boss
A quick snack to a meal. And we don't fuck around with like.. chutneys and frivolous additions. Just some crusty bread and fresh cheese will do!

Everyone knows someone who makes the best moonshine.
Truth. Fact. And it's usually from fruit that they grow.

Soups & stews (or 'chorba') is a staple.
Like a minestrone.. potatoes, meat, tomatoes & broth. Living it up winter styles.

Fermented Foods
The balkans span a variety of climates however they are mostly temperate with some lull in fresh produce. Many of these culture's cuisines incorporates fermented cabbage, beets, milk (in the form of yoghurt, fresh cheese) fruit preserves into their daily diet as a way to preserve the freshest of the warmer months.

Coffee is king.
But don't worry we have your herbal tea in case you have a cold, k?

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Hey Lemon Bucket. Come back soon, k?

Let me know in the comments if I've missed one of your favourite aspects of Balkan foods!