Dientamoeba Fragilis

When I received a call from our family GP in June telling me that my six-year-old son had Dientamoeba Fragilis, I was totally unsure how treatment would progress.

She told me it was great that tests had uncovered what was going on in his tummy BUT there has been conflict between doctors on whether it actually causes pain & how to best treat this parasite. Initially recommendation was to introduce a daily probiotic and yoghurt to potentially crowd out the “bad bugs” in his tummy.

First of all, how did he get this? Unfortunately it is one of those lovely bugs that is transmitted via “faecal-oral“. I found out soon after he was diagnosed that 2 girls he plays with at school have had the same parasite this year.

He complained of a sore tummy daily for the last 6 to 8 weeks. I know that most boys fart a lot (TMI?) but he never did until the parasite arrived, much to his amusement & my bemusement! His behaviour also became very erratic with outbursts of anger interspersed with being over emotional and crying more easily than normal. His sleep at night had also regressed, with him waking at 5am daily & always waking during the night. He also had night terrors – “waking” crying & inconsolable. A few weeks ago he was shouting at me “shut up”, throwing pillows & books at me. He then eventually lay down & simply closed his eyes. He has no recollection the next morning.

Treatment
I am not averse to taking antibiotics however if I am able to cure the bug by diet & natural supplements (including kefir & probiotics), then I’d be crazy not to.
So what have we tried?
Kombucha – he tried one sip & said it was too fizzy (he’s never had a soft drink).
Coconut kefir – hated it.
Probiotics – Inner Health for Kids is flavourless & he has been having it daily.
Wild oregano oil – I put 2 drops on the soles of his feet for a few weeks.

Bone broth – I bought the frozen cubes & snuck them into low-fructose smoothies packed with berries & natural yoghurt. I would deem this a success.

Low-starch, grain-free, sugar-free, low fructose (& nut-free for school) diet. Well this was the most challenging….
Fruit – he is currently eating berries only. Previously he would eat a couple of bananas every day.
Dairy – we only have organic milk, yoghurt & butter in the house.
Yoghurt – is it just me or is a yoghurt with claims of probiotics just cancelled out by 15% sugar? We have organic natural or Greek only with no added sugar.
Meat – even though I haven’t eaten meat for 20 years, my children do consume high-quality, organic, grass-fed meat. Organic beef mince, organic lamb, organic chicken are on the Menu.
Seafood – they love crumbed fish so I crumb fish fillets in an organic egg & almond meal to keep it grain-free
Grains – this is by far the toughest area for my son. So far I have removed all gluten. This has meant more rice & corn based products which is also not ideal. . We are using a rice & corn based pasta (Aldi). For breakfast he either has rice puffs (100% brown rice), corn flakes (I’ve found a brand less than 6% sugar), gluten-free Weetbix (made with sorghum, about 2% sugar)

Bread – the biggest failure by far! He has not liked any of the gluten-free breads I’ve tried including Deeks, Naturis, & even the Coles & Aldi home brands. I’ve had success with 2 types of gluten-free wraps only.

We followed this gluten-free & low-fructose lifestyle (diet is the wrong word) for about 6 weeks. He slept a bit better, was less emotional & angry, & never complained about a sore tummy.

Then this thing called life got in the way. There were parties, play dates, rugby matches and evenings out. The anger and tears are back. Last night he woke in such a bad abdominal pain around 1:30 AM (crying, couldn’t even get dressed he was in such pain) that we took him to hospital. Of course nothing showed up. He has complained of a sore tummy again today.

This is just our personal experience. I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist. Go with your gut in every sense of the word – I was chatting to a family today whose son has had some additional behavioural needs & they too have experienced the profound positive outcomes of a bio-individual diet, whether it is Paleo, gluten-free, dairy free, vegan or more tailored to crowd out certain foods that your body reacts to.

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banana berry smoothie bowl

There’s something indulgent but delicious about having a smoothie bowl for breakfast. I absolutely love this combination & could have a variation of it most days for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

INGREDIENTS
2 bananas
1 cup frozen organic berries (berries tend to be highly sprayed crops so I recommend buying organic where possible)
2 tablespoons chia seeds, soaked in 1/4 cup water for 5 minutes
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons cacao (cacao is the raw, unprocessed version of cocoa so contains many more nutrients)
OPTIONAL: 1 tspn cinnamon powder, 1 tspn vanilla powder, flaked almonds to top

METHOD
1. Turn the stove onto low – in a small pan, mix the cacao & coconut oil
2. Once chia seeds have formed a gel, tip bananas, berries & chia seeds into the blender, along with vanilla & cinnamon if you are using it. I use an Omniblend which is great for smoothies. Blend until well combined. I like mine thick but if you prefer it more of a ‘drinkable’ texture, add a little water / coconut water / coconut milk / almond milk.
3. Pour banana berry mixture into a bowl
4. Slowly pour the cacao mix on top – it should set almost immediately into a crunchy ice-magic like sauce
5. EAT!

 

vegan cashew cheezcake

Before you judge me about using the word “cheezcake”, it’s purely to get across a point about it not actually being cheese or animal based at all. This vegan cake, to me, is more like an ice-cream (or should that be ice-CREEM) cake.

This is my first attempt at making my own cheezcake, with my guess at what quantities are required.

WARNING: before you think that you’re going to make, then eat this bad boy today, unfortunately you will need to soak the cashews overnight so get cracking now!

For the base

1 cup almond meal (I used Naked Foods)
2 tablespoons rice malt syrup (I used Pureharvest) or for strict PALEO replace with an alternate sweetener but it will no longer be low fructose
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons cacao (I used Naked Foods)

For the filling
4 cups organic raw cashews (I used Naked Foods)
1/2 cup rice malt syrup
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup + 2 tbspns plant based milk (I used Pureharvest almond milk)
1/3 cup cacao
1/4 cup raspberries

METHOD
1. Soak the cashews in water overnight in 2 seperate containers, each with 2 cups of cashews. This is because we are doing 2 separate layers

I highly recommended not soaking much longer than 12 hours. Mine started to get little purple ‘veins’ on them (I soaked for 24 hours) which I have since researched & seems to be quite common (see below pic)

 

2. Line a round tin with baking paper

3. Make the base first – blend all ingredients in a food processor until it looks like (a very delicious version of) dirt – in little clumps.

4. Press the base into the tin lined with baking paper. I used my fingers to get it right to the edges & then used a fork.

5. Throw this in the freezer

6. While the base is freezing, throw one lot (2 cups) cashews DRAINED cashews in the blender with 1/4 cup rice malt syrup, 2 tbspns coconut oil, vanilla & 2 tbspns almond milk. Blend until smooth.

7. Remove the base from the freezer & sprinkle over the raspberries

8. Pour over the vanilla cashew mix, spread as evenly as possible, then place back in the freezer

9. Do not clean the blender – tip 2 cups cashews (drained) into the blender, followed by 1/3 cup cacao, 1/4 cup rice malt syrup,  2 tbspns coconut oil, 1/4 cup almond milk. Blend until smooth. I’m warning you now, I was a cashew butter cynic before, but this stuff is addictive. Don’t lick the spoon til the end or none will make it into the cake tin.

10. Once blended well tip the cashew chocolate  back into the measuring cup. Once the vanilla layer is frozen (1-2 hours), pour the chocolate layer over, then put back in the freezer for 2-4 hours.

How do you vegan?

Often I watch a lecture in my IIN study & afterwards, wish I could sit down everyone I know in front of it. Tonight was one of those moments, watching a passionate Mark Bittman sing about policies very close to my heart:

He commenced a form of veganism 6 years ago. Before you non-vegans start rolling your eyes, just read on a little further. Mark is entirely plant based (fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seeds) from when he wakes until 6pm, every day. From 6pm, he gives himself carte blanche – whether that is a steak, cocktail, wine or a cheeky dessert.

Here are some of his beliefs:
1. Make it hard to sell junk food to children
2. Make it illegal to sell ‘soda’ to children
3. Stop dispensing junk, including soda, in schools
4. Subsidise production & sales of real foods, including fruit, vegetables, nuts & seeds.
5. Lead by example – encourage your friend
6. De-incentivize companies whose products have been shown to make people ill.

All of us have an opportunity to make a change to the earth, in the form of food consumption. Yours could be:
1. supporting small to medium farmers by purchasing at farmers markets, instead of purchasing processed foods built on mono-crops like corn & soy which are ineffective & have negative benefits on the soil.
2. Decrease global warming by having one less meal containing meat every week (or cut down more if you choose)
3. Decrease the amount of processed junk you eat each week & replace that with a plant-heavy meal.
4. A form of veganism – perhaps it is plant-based foods only Monday to Friday; or daily til 6pm; or you could decide to have lunch only containing meat.
5. Work on the above points regularly. Encourage your friends to do the same. Do you think if all consumers stopped buying GMO products or poor quality meat, it would continue to be produced? Supply & demand my friends. Help me on this journey to making the world a better place for our children, their children & for many more generations to come.

What am I doing?
1. 7 months ago I ditched dairy & despite having a bit of cheese on holidays in Scotland over Christmas, I am back to being dairy-free.
2. I read labels on everything I buy & make conscious choices to buy organic where possible.
3. I shop at Farmers Markets every weekend, & have done so for nearly 5 years.
4. I haven’t eaten meat in nearly 18 years
5. I give my children meat, which is 90% of the time organic & grass-fed. I also explain to them where the meat comes from, as I feel education is part of the issue that needs to be discussed.

I’ve attached images of vegan meals & foods I enjoy to show you that veganism is far from boring or unsatisfying. If you would like tips on replacing meals with vegan options, come say hi over on Facebook at 6cleaningredients & I would love to help you out x

 

 

Peanut butter & coconut no-cook fudge

Don’t do what I did & make this in 30 degree heat, only for the fudge to literally melt in my hand (well I’ll maintain that as an excuse for shoving it in my mouth so fast).

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup Mayver’s peanut & coconut
1.5 tbspns coconut oil
1 tspn vanilla powder (I love Honest to Goodness brand)
Sprinkle of salt (I am currently using a mix containing iodised Australian & Himalayan pink)
1 tbspn rice malt syrup (I tend to use Pureharvest)

METHOD

1. Stir all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.
2. Tip into preferred moulds. I did 6 moulds, each were about 2.5 tablespoons of mixture.
3. Throw in the freezer for at least an hour. Keep in the freezer.

These are quite rich so take it easy & as always, ENJOY!

Vegan chocolate

I may be anti-Valentine’s Day due to if having become a money making exercise BUT I am all for an excuse to make chocolate…..

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup hulled tahini (I’ve used Naked Foods brand for this one)
1/4 cup cacao (also Naked Foods)
1 tablespoon Rice Malt Syrup (you guessed it, from Naked Foods)
Optional: a sprinkle of vanilla powder – I’m currently using Heilala, which you can pick up at About Life
Raspberries, for decoration

METHOD

If you’re currently in Australia, your coconut oil will well & truly be in liquid form already….
1. Melt together coconut oil, tahini & cacao on a low heat. If you’re adding vanilla, throw it in now. Once combined, the mixture should look quite thick & ‘creamy’.
2. Remove from heat & stir in rice malt syrup well.
3. If you’re adding raspberries, place one in each mould before pouring in chocolate.
4. Pour chocolate into moulds, throw in the freezer. Lick spoon / bowl / any over utensils covered in chocolate
5. Attempt to wait a full hour until they are ready to devour.

*If it’s summer where you are, they won’t last long out of the fridge before they become a big chocolate puddle. Keep in the fridge or freezer 

  

Green smoothie 

Here’s a tip, a can of coconut milk can look intimidating & in the past, I’ve avoiding opening one, thinking I won’t be able to finish the whole thing: freeze it into individual ice cubes (in my case, heart shaped).

Following my naturopath visit on Friday, I realised I did need to pump the nutritional value of my smoothies, but am not yet willing to put in a raw egg (although my brother swears by it).

1 x avocado

4 x coconut milk ice cubes

1 x banana

1 big handful of baby spinach

A sprinkle of Heilala vanilla powder

Top with organic strawberries & a sprinkle of chia seeds

METHOD

Blend all ingredients placing baby spinach in blender first, then vanilla powder, then heavy ingredients on top.

If required, slowly add a bit of water to get your desired consistency. Mine was pretty thick