what are FODMAPs?

Now, what on earth is this crazy acronym everyone keeps talking about in relation to IBS dieting? Well, here is an explanation, straight from Dr Sue Shepherd (the creator of the low FODMAP diet) at her website.

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Preferably under the direction of a doctor, you can eliminate these foods from your diet (yes it is hard) and then after a few weeks you can begin to reintroduce some of them to discover what foods are more specific triggers for your personal dealings with IBS. I also recommend looking at management plans of how to begin the diet and reintroduce the foods after a few weeks because it can feel overwhelming and tricky trying to attempt it all alone! Maybe chat to some friends, you are bound to know someone who is similarly wrestling with IBS :)

law, love and low FODMAPS

‘Oh, so you study law?’ they say, with wide prejudicial eyes.

‘Yes..’ I respond as a flood of lawyer jokes are summoned from my memory.  Here is the latest one I happened across: ‘What is the difference between a lawyer and a jellyfish? One is a poisonous, spineless blob and one is a form of sea life‘. This year has been such an enlightening experience as I discover what it really means to study law, the demographic who study it and the common inaccuracy of media portrayal of the profession. I believe all too often students enroll in law with the expectation of walking onto something similar to the set of Suits or they at least approach their study with attitudes dictated by media. It is all a very interesting interaction the observe.

The one thing that is NOT inaccurately portrayed is the immense workload. Now, being your classic ‘leave-it-to-the-last-minute’ student who also has a billion other commitments outside uni, law really puts the pressure on!

this is more like my kind of law!

I am in the process of considering other degrees, different methods of study, adjusting my other commitments and the like. That in itself is stressful! Thank goodness I have a might God who I love and trust to get me through :)

Among this, some underlying stomach issues that I have had for approximately a year or so now really flared up and I found myself on a trip to the doctors and receiving blood tests! Turns out that I have stress induced IBS (which actually contributes more to my stress haha). So now begins 8 weeks of a very strict diet that I have ALREADY found incredibly difficult! The diet is known as the low FODMAP diet and I was unable to find much extensive information online so I purchased two books, Low FODMAP Recipes by Dr Sue Shepherd and Food Intolerance Management Plan by Dr Sue Shepherd and Dr Peter Gibson. I promise I have developed a much more acute understanding of those who are similarly prone to food intolerance or allergy! Here are a few things I have learned:

YOUR GUT FEELING

There are 2 different types of adverse reactions to food:

1. immunological reactions: these include food allergies and food hypersensitivity which are both quite uncommon, affecting about 1 in 50 people. These are repeated and reliable reaction by your gut to specific foods. The low FODMAP diet is not designed to treat these- leave that to your GP or referred specialist :)

2. non-immunological reactions: these are food intolerances and are MUCH more common, affecting 1 in 5 people! Including me! These reactions vary on what you eat, when you eat, how much you eat.

WHAT EVEN IS IBS?

IBS jokes?  I think their funny lmao

What causes it?

  • Genetic factors
  • Gut infections
  • Stress and other psychological factors
  • Abnormal balance of bowel bacteria- due to: small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, food-related causes, early childhood exposure

What are the symptoms:

Firstly, an easy test for you to perform is the ABC.

  • A- is their abdominal pain?
  • B- any bloating?
  • C- have you noticed changes in your bowel movements?

Have you experienced some or all of the above symptoms for 6 months and have experienced for at least 3 months abdominal pain/discomfort, bloating, distension and the like?

Other symptoms can also include headaches or fatigue.

 

Soon I am hoping to post some info on what FODMAPS are and what foods are low in FODMAPS! I hope I can be of any help to anyone who is experiencing anything similar! I waited a whole year to do anything about what I was experiencing, it was so long that I thought maybe it was normal, but after just a few days I am feeling much better, healthier, more comfortable and happier :)

 

 

Chocolate Truffles!

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The time had arrived for my wonderful boyfriend Sam to return from his travels around America, Europe and Dubai and boy was I excited! I set to work preparing delicious snacks, lunch and treats for his welcome home. However, after consciously eating healthily for 6 weeks, I found that I had really settled in to a habit of wanting to be healthy. Which is great! But it left me wondering what sweet treats I could make!

That is when I came across these Chocolate Truffles! Well, more accurately, Chocolate and Avocado Truffles!

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If you are sitting there right now, thinking I am crazy, then I bet you haven’t heard of the irresistible combo that is chocolate and avocado. There are dozens of recipes involving the two ingredients that I will later post about. But for now, I highly recommend starting your craving for them with this quick and simple recipe:

Ingredients:

  • A block of chocolate (approximately 175-200ish grams, who needs accuracy)- I use 70% cocoa dark chocolate, not only is it better for you,  but it is also my favourite tasting!
  • a dash of vanilla extract
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • half of a large avocado

Method:

  1. Break up your chocolate and melt it on the stove. Fill a saucepan with water and place it on the stove, on top place an oven proof bowl in which to melt your chocolate. Ensure the water in the saucepan is not touching the bottom of the bowl too much.
  2. Once the chocolate has begun to melt, add the salt and vanilla. Keep stirring the chocolate so it does not burn!
  3. Mash up the avocado using a fork, food processor, potato masher, whatever you have on hand!
  4. Combine the chocolate mixture and the avocado well.
  5. Place in the fridge for it to set for about 20 mins.
  6. Remove from the fridge and use a teaspoon to scoop out some of the mixture, roll it into a ball shape and then roll it in a topping of your choice; cocoa, milo, coconut, crushed nuts – be creative :)

Most importantly – ENJOY! :)

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Death by Chocolate – The Max Brenner Experience

I was able to spend my weekend with a group of some of the most fun, bold and talented people I have come across in my life. As part of my University’s Merit Scholars Program I got the opportunity to participate in workshops and activities across the weekend, predominantly focused on leadership. It was such a valuable weekend and I made so many awesome friends!

On the first night, as a team building activity we played Trivia – now this is NOT my preferred way to spend my time, but I found myself having more fun than I could of imagined and we played quite late into the night!

At the end of trivia, to our teams surprise, we won! We were so shocked, but so excited, especially because our prize was a very generous $50 gift voucher to Max Brenner, Macquarie Centre, North Ryde!

We ordered:

  • White Choc Chai
  • Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows
  • Chocolate Fondue
  • Chocolate Pizza

This, however, was NOT an easy decision, there are so many delicious goodies that I wanted to try!

I think I ate enough chocolate to satisfy me for the year! I documented the experience…
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The notorious gift voucher

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ROUND ONE: dark chocolate and milk chocolate fondue with marshmallows, banana bread, strawberries and banana for dipping!

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ROUND TWO: Chocolate Crunch Pizza- milk chocolate, banana, white choc drops, marshmallows and caramelised pecans!

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All gone! Such an achievement!

Coffee, Baked Goods, Pizzas – you gotta Lovett

 

 

 

 

During the holidays I headed on over to Charlie Lovett, a humble little cafe in Westfield Tuggerah. Mum and her friend suggested that I come and they were interested to check it out because they hadn’t been before. Not being a coffee drinker AND being on a health kick, I knew that a cafe was not a safe place for me to be, especially with Mum willing to shout me!

However I had such a fond experience and couldn’t help but share it!

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WELCOME to Charlie Lovett – the atmosphere is so relaxed and the chalk writing on the wall behind the counter was so quirky and engaging!

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My Pineapple and Mint juice was SO refreshing and the perfect, sweet substitute for the scrumptious looking slices on display!

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My friend Gaby ordered a Choc Caramel Slice – one of my all time favourites. There were many more baked goods available too!

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LOVE the innovation. I vowed to undertake this DIY project myself at home.

 

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Here is a sneak peak at the All Day Sandwiches menu! Boy these looked awesome.. but SUDDENLY I saw freshly cooked gourmet pizzas being served – wow this place has it all!

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and the ALL DAY Omelette menu… yes, you heard me, ALL DAY!

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Visiting Charlie Lovett:

Shop E3, Wyong Rode, Tuggerah Westfield Shopping Centre
Tuggerah NSW 2259

info@charlielovett.com.au
(02) 4305 5351

Charlie Lovett Facebook

Trading Hours

Monday – Wednesday: 7.30 am – 9.00 pm
Thursday – Saturday: 7.30 am – 10.00pm
Sunday: 7.30am – 9.00pm

I enthusiastically recommend visiting – I guarantee you won’t be disappointed! I can’t wait to return and try more of their yummy menu.

 
I can confidently say that – I Lovett ;)

Formal Day with Friends

What is formal day you ask? Well, basically it is where you get yo’ formal on!

Lauren and I invited a few friends around and told them to bring any formal wear that they didn’t mind sharing. We ended up with a huge collection of jewellery, makeup, shoes and of course – dresses.

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After a scrumptious lunch, full of treats and some homemade goodies, all the girls got stuck into applying their makeup. Now I am not much of a makeup person, and nor were some other girls there, but this was still so much fun because it is rare that you get the chance to experiment with new colours and possibly bold styles that you have admired but never tried.

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Finally dress time arose, as we donned a dress of our choice. We had such a range to choose from thanks to everyone’s generosity with their old formal dresses and bridesmaid dresses! Next we accessorised with hairstyles, jewellery and shoes.

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We performed several outfit changes and combos and photographed a series of them. Doing this allowed everyone to try on their favourite fairytale dresses!

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It would be so much fun to hold a quirky little event like this with your girlfriends, whether they are interested in girly things or not. Believe it or not we are all actually on the same touch football team, and most of us couldn’t even apply foundation or eyeliner! But it proved to be so much fun! You could even adapt it to being a high tea function or even going out to a fast food chain like McDonalds!

Here are some more photos from the day:

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TA DA!

:)

Which discontinued foods do you want to bring back?

Yesterday I got the brilliant opportunity to travel to Sydney and spend a day of, let’s call it work experience, at News.com.au with my friend Grace Koelma.

I was a bundle of nervousness and excitement when I went to walk into the building and that is when I encountered my first obstacle – revolving doors, this was something I was unfamiliar with! After shuffling through them I then received my guest pass and tried to scan through the gates and down into the foyer, this sounds like an easy task, but after a few goes and 2 guest passes I finally realised that I was scanning the wrong part of the machine… boy, did I have a big day ahead of me!

The day turned out to be unbelievably exciting, this I think was a credit to all the staff at News.com.au, who despite reporting on some horrific national and international incidents, maintained considerate and fun-loving communication with one another. They were also very helpful to me personally, assisting me with study and career direction, helping me navigate the office and involving me in their day to day routines.

My first task was to help man the News.com.au Twitter account, this was NOTHING like my humble little Twitter, this was FULL SCALE Twitter.

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I learned a lot about the applications you can use for Twitter management such as Tweetdeck and how to follow the most recent posts, write effective Tweets and schedule them for appropriate times.

I also helped in selecting social stories that could be shared via News.com.au’s Facebook page so they could connect more intimately with their readers.

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As well as helping to maintain social media, I was able to jump in on some team meetings and be introduced to everyone. This was awesome as everyone was LOVELY and I was able to gain a great insight into the stories they were writing and also the workings of a media company. I have decided that the media industry would be very demanding, challenging and fast-paced but also vibrant and dynamic, something that really appeals to me!

Now, for the FINALE!

Not only did I get the chance to help with all these tasks, but I was able to help contribute to an article that Grace was writing! She started the article by making a Facebook post asking people what their favourite discontinued foods were… and over 16,000 people responded! I am so glad all of us foodies could bond! Honestly though, there is nothing quite as frustrating as going to the shops, reading to purchase and devour one of your most loved treats, only to realise it is no longer on the supermarket shelves!

Do you have any favourite foods that have been discontinued and you want to bring back?

Check out and enjoy the article:

The fun and quirky article that I helped Grace write!

The fun and quirky article that I helped Grace write!

Well, after an exciting and all-too-brief day in the media world I traveled back home on the train, incredibly thankful for such a valuable experience that I hope to get more of!

P.S. stay tuned because rumour has it that Grace will soon be writing another interesting article that we began research for ;)