Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Going with my Gut

Grad school started this week. That’s nine credits closer to getting my Masters. That’s three classes to take and three days of studying to focus on. I’ve started 2013 strong, and I am enjoying the little changes that have occurred since New Years. 

The only hindrance that has kept me from complete happiness has to do with the return of my IBS. Experimenting with Primal eating gave my digestion a run for its money, and as a result my body tried to remove the toxicity through my skin (acne), my emotions (depression and severe criticism on my body), my attitude (irritability and constantly thinking about going to the bathroom), the return of my sleep maintenance insomnia, slight but painful UTIs, and physically in general (bloating, water retention, and fatigue).

I do want to comment that Primal eating was not the direct cause of my IBS. In fact, it had to do with my lack of good stomach flora that was mediocre at best from years of disordered eating, getting sick, and not feeding the flora with probiotic foods. For a while I believed I simply had a candida overgrowth, but I don’t think that anymore.

I am now under the impression that my stomach doesn’t have much flora at all, the good kind or the candida kind.

Partially I was taking too much of a good thing. For the majority of December I was getting over a terrible sick spell. There were days I had a fever over 101°F, and walking down to the kitchen left me breathless and exhausted. So I took as much zinc and iodine as possible to get over it, and sure enough the fever subsided and I could go to work and rock climb a week later. However, with everyone else getting sick, I continued to take iodine to protect myself, an antibiotic and serial gut flora killer (good and bad).

For a month I was beside myself, because I had no idea what I was doing wrong. I was craving honey like no tomorrow, and regardless how much I rock climbed or ran around with the kids, my body was not toning as I expected it to. My face had broken out as it had back when I was a pre-teen, and my hormones were part of one manic roller coaster ride. By this time I was desperate to try anything, and it was an “aha!” moment that changed everything.

Before anything else in regards to my health, I needed to fix my gut first.

I first showed improvement by increasing my daily intake of probiotic foods: kombucha, goat kefir, raw unrefined apple cider vinegar, and raw cacao nibs. The first two were easy to put into my daily routine in the form of smoothies, and I always put apple cider vinegar on my salads. The cacao nibs have become a new after dinner dessert, but I enjoy the indulgence. I went food shopping at MOM’s one day to purchase one or two more probiotic yumminess when I stumbled upon miso… soy-free miso. 

Since reading Katz’s Wild Fermentation, I’ve wanted to make soy free miso and tempeh. And here it was in MOM’s refrigerated section next to the bulk items, singing  “try me, try me”.

I just want to say this: I’m in love with azuki bean miso. And what’s not to like about the salty and sweet flavor combination, with over one million enzymes of probiotic goodness in every teaspoon? It’s ridiculously versatile and delicious and amazing for you too. 

Soy-free Mushroom & Onion Miso Soup

1 Q. Water
25 g Dried mushrooms*
4 Large onions, thinly sliced
64 g (4 tbsp.) South River Azuki Bean Miso**
10 g Dried sliced brown seaweed

In a medium saucepan put the mushrooms in with the water to soak for fifteen minutes until plump.
Plan on medium-high heat and add the onions and cook until translucent and the mushrooms are soft.
Turn off the heat and add the seaweed and miso, and stir to make sure the miso has thoroughly integrated with the broth.
Ladle into four small bowls and serve hot.

Makes 4 servings.

*Using dry provides a more meaty texture to the mushrooms. However, I’m sure fresh will do nicely (about 125 g).
**Or whichever miso you like/have at home.

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