Saturday, August 25, 2007

Lunapads: The review

Okay, so as promised, here's a quick run down of what I think about lunapads, having tried them out for a couple of days.

At first, I was a little apprehensive. But, having given the pads a wash as recommended by the manufacturers, I decide to bite the bullet and give 'em a go on a day I was expecting to be at home. I bought a couple of maxipads with liners, and with the liner, I found the whole pad a little bulky, but soft and comfortable. Without, it felt just like wearing a normal sanitary towel, but - unlike a normal sanitary towel - I soon forgot it was there. The pads are very absorbent (just like normal pads, to be honest) and dry. Plus, they don't seem to be quite so smelly. And they are relatively easy to deal with. I live in shared accommodation, so sticking them in a bucket to soak - as advised - wasn't an option. Instead I rinsed them out straight away and stuck them into the washing machine with my normal load (I made sure I had sufficient laundry to go before using them!).

I used them almost exclusively (apart from at night) for two days, and by the end of it I have to admit I'd already become quite fond of my lunapads. Though, at this stage, I can't really say whether they have reduced the irritation I normally experience during my period. I think I'll have to go the whole hog and abandon disposable towels completely before I can judge that, but on the basis of these last two days, I think I might well do that!

To summarise, lunapads get a big thumbs up from Djinn!


My nutritional therapist has advised me to eat plenty of sauerkraut, because it is - apparently - chockful of beneficial bacteria. So, yesterday, I dutifully took myself off to Tescos and bought a big jar of fermented cabbage. This evening I had it with sausages and mashed potato. I thought that combination was suitably...err...germanic. But how I'm going to eat the rest of it, heaven only knows. Anybody got any ideas? Crucially the sauerkraut must remain raw, as heat will kill off the helpful bugs.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Recipe: Marvellous Miso Soup

Just recently I've been loving miso soup for lunch. Here's my version:

Marvellous Miso Soup

(Makes at least two portions - depending on the amount of vegetables and noodles used)

miso paste
spring onion
mushrooms (optional)
brown rice noodles
sesame oil
boiling water
freshly ground pepper

Grate a garlic bulb with a knob of ginger. Sweat in a saucepan with the sesame oil. Meanwhile, slice a couple of spring onions into rings (include plenty of the green part). Shred two-three cabbage leaves (savoy looks best). Add the spring onion and cabbage (+ a couple or three of mushrooms if using) to the pan and fry gently for a couple of minutes.

Add around a pint of boiling water. Throw in a handful of noodles (I have been using King Soba brown rice and wakame noodles - delicious). Simmer for a two to three minutes, until the noodles are tender.

Remove the pan from the heat and add a good squeeze/spoonful of miso paste (about 1 tbs). Stir to dissolve. Return to heat (reduced) for a couple of minutes. DO NOT BOIL - this will kill off the beneficial enzymes in the miso.

Taste and adjust miso/seasoning if necessary. Ladle into bowls, distributing the noodles and vegetables evenly. You may find it easier to eat the noodles with chopsticks!

Monday, August 13, 2007

New Candida Blog

Just spotted: Katie Beats Candida


I've decided to take the plunge and try out Lunapads - washable sanitary towels. For a couple of years I've been using Natracare products which don't irritate my candida condition as much as commercial pads (a couple of hours of wearing one of those things and I'm left with a full blown flare-up), but - especially in the summer - they can still be a little uncomfortable.

Lunapads are constructed from cotton and cotton fleece, and can be washed with the rest of the laundry on a normal cycle (after a quick soak). I've done a bit of Internet research and apparently they last at least three years (and often longer) and don't even stain too badly. The initial outlay is a bit steep but, as they are reusable, they should pay for themselves after a few months. They will also solve the occasional problem I have getting hold of Natracare pads, which can be a bit of a hassle to say the least.

The Lunapads website (the company is Canadian) recommends three Internet-based retailers in the UK. I've plumped for the Natural Woman website. I've decided, initially, to order just a couple of the maxi pads with liners, so that I can try them out before making a major investment! The pads cost £17.14, p&p £1.70 and V.A.T. £1.16. A grand total of £20. I really hope I'm not making an expensive mistake! I will report back when I've had an opportunity to try 'em out. ;)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Recipe: Paneer Bhurji

My ultimate aim is to make my own paneer, but - in the meantime - I buy mine from Tescos! Here's another tasty and quick paneer recipe to try. Not as good as the fabulous Paneer Palak, but not bad. I have to admit that I deviated somewhat from the original recipe. I didn't use any grated paneer as a garnish, and I fried off the cubes of paneer in some sunflower oil first. I prefer it a little crispy.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

New recipes: Beetroot Soup with Feta

I've had a bit of success with some candida diet-friendly recipes recently. First up is a truly heavenly Beetroot Soup with Feta, the recipe for which I cadged off the Abel Cole website and which gave me an opportunity to test out my new goblet blender (I've always used a rather messy and inadequate hand blender in the past). There's a link to the recipe here, but as the format has gone a little awry and it's not the easiest task to decipher it, I'll reproduce it below:

Beetroot Soup with Feta

(Makes around two hearty servings)

250g beetroot, grated coarsely (or ready-cooked beetroot cut into slices)
250g tomatoes, halved
1 clove garlic, chopped roughly
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
250ml stock (yeast-free stock cube will suffice)
salt and freshly ground pepper
60g feta cheese

Place the halved tomatoes in an ovenproof dish. Throw over the garlic and drizzle over half the oil. Roast them for 25-30 mins at 190 degrees until soft and pulpy. Rub through a sieve to remove the skin and pips.

Heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan and sweat the onion until soft. Add the beetroot and stock and bring to the boil. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Simmer gently for 7-10 mins until the beetroot is tender.

Stir in the tomato puree, transfer to a blender and process until completely smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Reheat the soup until thoroughly hot, but not boiling.

Divide between warm bowls and crumble over a little feta into each bowl.

Absolutely delicious. :)

Chocolate Cookies - oh yes!

I have just eaten what could be my most exciting candida diet-friendly discovery to date: Nana's No Gluten Chocolate Cookie. 100g of fairly passable, ultra-chocolaty greatness! It contains no refined sugars (sweetened with fruit juice, but not too much), no dairy, no hydrogenated oils, no cholesterol, no eggs and no added salt. Just one item on the list of ingredients caused me concern, i.e. dextrin. But a quick google revealed that this isn't dextrose, but an alternative (American?) term for modified starch. So, that allayed my worries.

To be fair, when compared with a 'normal' chocolate cookie this would seem pretty lame. The texture is a little strange; not so much cloying as dense and yet fine at the same time (difficult to get one's chops around), but hey, beggars can't be choosers!

Anyway, I bought it from Holland & Barrett (never seen it before). They also had a Chocolate Chip version in stock.

***UPDATE 16/08/07***

Tried the Chocolate Chip version today. Much superior to the plain chocolate version (see above). It's made with oats instead of rice flour, which improves the texture. I shall be buying these again!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Non-farty sugar-free chocolate!

As I've previously described, diabetic plain choc with maltitol isn't bad in terms of taste and texture, but can have rather unfortunate effects should one over-indulge! So, I was delighted to see dairy-free, sugar-free plain chocolate in my (new) local health food shop (I've recently moved). Made by Plamil, it's sweetened with Xylitol instead and while too much will have a laxative effect, you would need to eat several bars a day. Which, given that the chocolate is quite cocoa rich (60%) and bitter, would take quite an effort. I've been slowly eating a 100g bar over the last couple of days and so far, I'm pleased to report, I have avoided an outbreak of acne, which is the other side-effect of maltitol I've experienced.

So, to summarise, it's not as chocolaty or 'sweet' as the previous 'Belgian' versions of dark chocolate I've tried before (with maltitol), but it does satisfy that ever-present craving for chocolate!