IBS-D

Quick Cook Lunch Recipe – Tuna Fish in Tomato sauce with Rice

Move over Jamie OliTuna Fish in Tomato Sauce Cookingver. There’s a new guy in town and he can rustle up a random yet tasty meal for lunch/ dinner in under 20 minutes.

They say that Necessity is the mother of all invention. It certainly was today. I was forced to be creative when making my lunch as I forgot to defrost the Turkey Breast quick cook steaks I usually have. It was actually a blessing in disguise as I am perpetually bored of eating the very same thing for lunch every single day.

I am currently on an exclusion diet as part of my effort to overcome and conquer my debilitating Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Diarrhoea (IBS-D). I was diagnosed with Lactose intolerance over 9 years ago and have been on a dairy free diet ever since, but I still suffer the ill effects of IBS-D on a daily basis. I have been on various exclusion diets and diet regimes before, all to no avail.

However, I persevered in my quest to eliminate any possible foods that may be continuing to inflame or cause my IBS-D and that is how I discovered the magic of cooking with coconut oil as a substitute for vegetable or seed oils (such as vegetable oil, corn oil, sunflower oil and rapeseed oil). Using only coconut oil to cook the food I eat has really helped reduce my IBS-D symptoms and has also had the side effect of helping me lose over 1 1/2 stone of weight.KTC_Coconut_oil I still need to do more research around coconut oil as there seem to be many health benefits but it is also high in saturated fat, which increases cholesterol in the body, which can lead to heart attacks! I try not to use too much though.

So this is the place I started from this afternoon, when I realised I had the choice between eating a sandwich which would make me ill or trying to conjure up a suitable Free From lunch. I am currently excluding all dairy, wheat, gluten, high fibre (onions, mushrooms, spinach, all nuts, the skins and seeds of all vegetables and fruits such as potatoes, tomatoes, courgettes/ zucchini, cucumbers) and vegetable/ seed oil ingredients from my diet. I am only using coconut oil to cook with, although I can still use salt, pepper, ground coriander, ground paprika and ginger in my meals, but not garlic or any chilli power!

Having so many restrictions on what I can eat and cook with is very limiting, but it forces you to be creative. All I had in my kitchen was some Tuna Fish cans (in spring water as opposed to sunflower oil – the tuna in sunflower oil cans used to inflame my IBS-D a lot, because of the oil), rice, tomato passata, dried herbs, salt, ground pepper, ground coriander, ground paprika and a jar of ginger paste. This is what i came up with. My low fibre, dairy free, wheat free, vegetable/ seed oil free, IBS friendly Tuna Fish in Tomato sauce with rice quick cook lunch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of Tuna Fish in Spring Water
  • 250g Tomato Passata (no skins or seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon of Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon of dried mixed herbs
  • 1 tablespoon of dried basil
  • 1/2 carrot – peeled
  • 1/2 courgette – peeled
  • 160g of cooked basmati rice

Serves: 1 or 2 people depending on hunger!

Time to cook: Less than 20 minutes. The rice takes 16 minutes to cook in our 1000 watt microwave. The actual Tuna in Tomato sauce takes only 10-13 minutes to cook, depending on how hard or soft you like your vegetables. A low fibre diet recommends cooking vegetables thoroughly and not eating raw vegetables.

Instructions:

  • Make the rice. I just made the rice in the way I usually do, which is to put 1 cup of dried rice into a corning-ware dish, wash the rice to remove the starch, add 2 cups of water, then microwave the rice for 8 minutes uncovered on medium power, then put a microwave cover over the corning-ware dish and heat for another 8 minutes on medium power. This cooks enough rice for 4 people. You can just cook the rice as you usually do or even substitute in Gluten Free Pasta (if you want the recipe to be wheat and gluten free). I don’t use ready-made Microwave rice such as Uncle Ben’s (the one’s that cook in just 2 minutes) as they have sunflower oil in them.
  • While the rice is cooking in the microwave:
    • Peel the carrot and cut it into small chunks and put it to one side.
    • Peel the courgette and cut that into small pieces and put with the carrot pieces.
    • Turn on the hob, to medium heat, and put the saucepan on it. It needs to be a little bit hot for the coconut oil (which is solid in the jar) to melt.
    • Put the 1 tbsp of Coconut oil, the salt, pepper, coriander, paprika, and ginger paste into the saucepan and mix together.
    • After about 30 seconds add the Tuna Fish (drained of it’s spring water form the can) into the saucepan. Stir the oil/ spice mix and tuna together.
    • After another 30 seconds add the cut up pieces of carrot and courgette to the tuna fish and pieces mix in the saucepan.
    • After 1 minute add the Tomato passata to the saucepan and stir all the ingredients together.
    • Let the mix fry for about another 1 minute.
    • Then turn down the heat to low so that the sauce in the pan is just simmering.
    • Add the Dried mixed herbs and dried basil to the sauce and stir in.
    • Cover the saucepan and let the sauce cook on low heat for around 10-13 minutes.
    • After the Tuna Tomato sauce has cooked you can just add it to the cooked rice and you have what is hopefully a tasty Free From lunch full of proteins and carbs that is suitable for people with Lactose, Wheat an gluten intolerances or people on Low Fibre or other exclusion diets.

This is what the finished meal should look like. Apologies for the photo being very basic and lacking style, it was a quick smart phone moment.

 

Free From Tuna Tomato Rice

Free From Tuna Tomato Rice

 

 

 

 

Discomfort Eating Part 1– IBS-D versus Emotional Support from Pancakes

pancakes_use It was never going to be a good idea.

Tesco factory made pancakes full of wheat and milk, together with Waitrose Pre-made Beef Bolognese full of onions and tomatoes. And all that after the Apricot Tarte that I specially bought for my father’s 80th birthday (he loves apricots and tartes so I think I made his day). He insisted I have a slice of, as it was his birthday, and he wanted me to /”make the effort for him”. He then reminded me that he thought all these food intolerances were rubbish, “made up nonsense”, and I was wasting my time going on food exclusion diets in order to overcome my IBS-D (Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Diarrhoea). So to please him, as he was already miserable at getting hardly any cards and having to live for so long in such a horrible, unjust world, I ate the tarte, although I was controlled enough to say no to cream. In case you are wondering the Apricot Tarte was delicious. However, as you may have already guessed, it was the start of a downward slide for my hyper-sensitive gut.

If the Tarte was the only wheat, yeast and lactose I ingested that day, it may have been OK. I probably still would have suffered some increased symptom of my IBS-D. I had, you see, been stuffing myself full of chocolates over the last few days, to numb the increasing emotional pain I was feeling within me. I also fell of the wagon, so to speak, by binge on wheat and dairy filled fancy snack food at a christening last Sunday. My wife was made Godmother to her school friend’s daughter. The service was beautiful (I love old churches – this was 800 years old), but the reception afterwards was my true heaven. Honey Roast Beef slices, smoked salmon with prawns on top, pork and leek pies, goats cheese and sundried tomato quiches. Poppy seed roll bread. My favourite type of seeded bread. All the stuff of my dreams, denied to me by my recent years of exclusion diets. I could have tried to have more self-control. Yet it has been a hard few weeks, in fact months. So I gave in to the naughty demons inside me.

As a drug, not all food works for me. It has to be tasty food. Generally fatty, unhealthy food. Chocolates are one of the best drugs that give me the hit I need to distract from slipping down into a spiral of depression or anxiety induced panic. I have had to deal with a lot of emotional tension, stress and turbulence recently (due to a myriad of financial and family related drama’s that I have done my best to avoid but which have sought me out and keep haunting me). The chocolate hits have helped get me through, in addition to the pork and leek pie, though at a price.

Anyway, enough about the Double Decker bars and Pound shop Thornton’s boxes, back to the pancakes. So after the Birthday Tart slippage, why did I make it worse by devouring the pack of pancakes I bought impulsively as they were seducing me at the entrance to my local hypermarket. My excuse?

It was Pancake day, one of my favourite days of the year. In terms of religious faith I am not a religious man. Food, however, is my religion. Any day or event where the celebration involves or revolves around food is holy to me.

I live to eat. It is the thing that makes me get out of bed in the morning, for breakfast. I push through the drudgery of mornings dreaming of the reward of lunch. After lunch the day is all about getting through to dinner time (hopefully with some tasty snacks in between). When I used to have a very high pressured, fast paced, long hours finance job in central London, the things that powered me on through the day were sausage rolls from Waterloo station in the morning, a Snickers’ bar (Marathon for all you old school Brits out there) for morning break, a large Chili Con Carne lunch from the subsidised work canteen, a can of Dr. Pepper and a bag of Flame-grilled Steak McCoys Crisps for afternoon break and the thought of some overly oily, yet tasty home-made cooked meal, full of marinated meat, made by my equally carnivorous mother.

So that is a very concise summary of why I eat and why eating tasty food that gives me a stimulating hit is so important to me. It is emotional comfort eating, I understand that now, but that doesn’t mean I crave it any less.

This is why I thought milk-based pancakes with Beef Bolognese sauce might be a “good” idea. Aside from the fact that it was a weird combination (I like weird) for a pancake, and my wife thought it was disgusting, I should have known better.

I have cut this post into 3 separate posts to make it easier for people to digest (excuse the very bad pun).

This is the link to Part 2, which continues on from this point (to be updated once the post is published!)

Link to Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatments List on NHS Website

Mind of Exhaustion – Mental Health and Doctor Who

Burnt Out Mind Illustration

Is it a good idea to write a blog post when my mind is so fatigued? It’s probably not. However I have just finished watching “The Mind of Evil” the second serial of Doctor Who Season 8, the 3rd Doctor, Jon Pertwee’s 2nd season. That, and the fact it was my birthday yesterday, have encouraged me to put fingers to keyboard and thoughts to cyberspace.

I have composed over 20 blog posts in the last few weeks but have not had to the time to edit them or publish them. The subjects I have been writing about range from:

  • Mental health issues such as depression, social anxiety and addiction,
  • Testing my social anxiety by going to a career networking meet up with over 200 people all by myself (very daunting, exciting yet emotionally exhausting)
  • Coping with the emotional fallout from the break-up of my once seemingly close family
  • Bravery as the concept of being scared but doing something anyway, such as opening up about suffering from mental health issues (even though you know many people will judge you negatively for doing so)
  • Irritable bowel Syndrome-Diarrhoea (IBS-D) and food intolerance diets,
  • the changing nature of parenting, how the role of a parent changes during a child’s life,
  • Watching the Lego movie with my daughter *(her 1st cinema outing), and its ironic anti-corporate, anti-conservative massage and how the cinema is my church, and
  • how my mind feels cluttered and on the point of collapse from lack of organisation or order, like my daughter’s Lego box,
  • the therapeutic value of blogging and creative writing,
  • My struggle to express myself, my thoughts and feelings, succinctly and precisely (after years of being forced to suppress my true thoughts)
  • virtual reality and online profiles,
  • Doctor Who and my adventure into watching the 3rd Doctor, Jon Pertwee’s Dr. Who serials
  • How I finally got my wife to watch “The US Office” sitcom, and how she had become obsessed with it, to the point of addiction, which has had the side effect of making me realise how scarily similar I am to Michael Scott (in terms of emotional insecurity and needing to be liked and part of a “family”)
  • Reaching 35 (it was my 35th birthday yesterday).

In terms of how I feel physically and mentally, that can for once be summed up concisely in one word. Exhausted.

That is why I decided to blog today and finally publish a post.

I’m too drained to compose a long post. The greatest battle I have when it comes to creative writing is trying to stay focussed and concise. I digress wildly. My blog posts are too long. I have too much to say and too much of a burning desire to say it. Maybe if my mind is so wiped with fatigue that will help focus it. Keep things short.

Blogging is the only way for me to channel how I truly think and feel about my life and the world around me. It also energises me. Most things I have to do in life or deal with drain me. Blogging makes me feel alive.

Recently it feels that every day I’ve been pounded by situations that trigger my unresolved unconscious inner conflict. Triggering my depression, anxiety, stress, and inflaming my already debilitating IBS-D. I’ve tried to alter my lifestyle and behaviour to help overcome my problems, but it’s an uphill struggle, that just seems to get harder.

I’m climbing up this mountain to get to a place of inner calm, peace and self-control, and just when I think I’m near the top, or even the middle, I pass through a thick cloud of mist that blocks my way. The mist conceals the true height of the mountain. When I finally clear the mist, I’m mentally and physically exhausted, having used all my energy to battle through. I look ahead and I am nowhere near the top, or near the middle.  I’ve still got a really long way to go. An impossibly long way it seems. Never-ending perhaps.

Foggy Climbing

Many people in my life around me have their own battles and unresolved insecurities. When those have been triggered by stress sin their own lives, rather than process those thoughts and feelings in a positive way, they have been lashing out at me. Throwing all the all their angst, insecurities, anger and negative feelings straight at me. Why me? They know I won’t fight back. I hate conformation. I internalise how I feel. I always have. That’s why all my childhood traumas and inner conflict remain and fester deep within me, eating away at me, pulling me down.

There are many things pulling me down, both inside and outside of me. People, situations, events, circumstances past and present.

There all also things that pull me up. Help me get through. Like my daughter, who was the brightest ray of sunshine on my 35th birthday. I was really depressed about turning 35. The older you get, the harder everything is. You have less energy, less options, less opportunities, less time to get things right. I can’t enjoy many of the pleasures of life that used to help get me through, for many reasons such as health and lack of money. Time seems to be running out for me in many ways. Just when I need to find reserves of energy to pull me through increasing hardship, I find myself fatigued. My daughter was a great help yesterday though.

My poor bedraggled wife, who seems on the verge of a nervous breakdown of her own, tried her best and I’m lucky to have her. I just wish we could both overcome our own battles, inside and out, so that we can finally enjoy each other’s company and time like we used to at the beginning. Everything in life is dynamic and always changes, whether or not we like it, but it would be nice for some things to change positively rather than constantly downwards.

The other thing that helps pull me through is Dr. Who. I am really enjoying Jon Pertwee’s Dr. Who serials. I just finished “The Mind of Evil”, an action packed adventure about brainwashing that is filmed in and around Dover Castle. It is set in a prison where the Keller device aims to suck evil thoughts from criminal minds leaving behind human beings who are theoretically no longer a threat to society, as their mental faculties have been altered.

It was a fantastic serial. Intelligent, thought provoking, tense, dramatic and fun. Pertwee’s Doctor may be far more serious and hard-nosed then Troughton’s, but he is growing on me. I am really warming to the James Bond style Action-Hero Doctor that he portrays. Maybe it’s the flamboyant cape.

3rd Doctor Who Jon Pertwee

3rd Doctor Who Jon Pertwee

I also recommend watching the making of programme, titles “The Military Mind”, which is on disc 2 of the 2 DVD set for the serial. It shows you how high pressured filming Doctor Who was, and still is. They had to film a lot of complex shots in tough locations with very little time and money.  This specific serial went over budget, and was the last one to be directed by Timothy Combe, and the interview with him is very melancholic at the end. All that overspend was well worth it though. It’s a great serial.

I also feel lucky to have blogging as something to escape to. I have been reading lots of blogs about mental health issues. I found 2 great blogs that I have been meaning to recommend.

Mrs Bashful is about social anxiety and is very honest and well written. She describes exactly how I feel, yet with a far better writing style than I can dream of.

Running on Sober is also very honest and inspiring, about addiction and opening up.

Both of these bloggers are really brave and I admire what they have done, and are continuing to do.

I highly recommend following these 2 blogs if you have any interest or experience of mental health issues.

Mental Health is still a highly underrated topic in healthcare and in the wider world. It affects far more people than you would think, and affects all of us far more than we like to believe. It is the root cause of many destructive problems and if we focussed on understanding it more the world would definitely be a better place.

WordPress have set up a Blog For Mental Health 2014 Official Blogroll,which you can access by clicking on the link.

It seems fitting then that I publish this blog post, which finally admits my own exhausting battles with mental health issues, after I finish watching The Mind of Evil, which is all about the power of the mind and thoughts.

I end up writing about lots of topics that seem completely unrelated in my blog. I thought about splitting the posts into different, more topic focussed blogs. However I feel that I am more than just someone trying to overcome mental health issues, or someone with Irritable bowel syndrome and food intolerances or a doctor who fan who is also into creative writing. I am multi-faceted, as we all are, and I like to celebrate that here in this blog. All of these things are part of me, and are connected. So they All make up Kamblog.

I think those are enough recommendations and thoughts for one day. I’m off to try and re-charge my mind batteries before they burn out permanently. Now where did I put that sonic screwdriver?

11th Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver

11th Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver