You may remember a year ago I started a movement on Instagram that no-one really asked for but that I personally really loved (and clearly still do!): #ifyouhaveaweetbix.
The aim is to showcase how versatile, fun and delicious Weetbix are in TONS of recipes - because I think it's so important to get people to realise just how easy and accessible healthy recipes can be to make. You don't need heaps of fancy, expensive ingredients from a health-food store. You just need some humble Weetbix.
So hopefully this will inspire you guys to get in the kitchen and get creative with a staple that everyone can enjoy!
WHY USE WEETBIX?
1. They provide an easy Gluten-Free, Vegan & Low FODMAP option - who knew a humble cereal could be so inclusive?! You can use their Gluten Free options, their Cholesterol-Lowering version, and even their high Protein Weetbix Bites. As long as you can crush them up, you can use any version you prefer for a base to a recipe.
2. They're WAY more affordable than other flour alternatives - buckwheat flour, coconut flour and almond meal may be popular 'healthy' alternatives, but they can be really expensive or impractical to buy. Weetbix provide a super affordable and accessible base for recipes. Plus, they last a lot longer than other flours do too!
3. Their texture is underrated - if you think of Weetbix as dry or crumbly - you've been eating them wrong! When combined with the right amount of liquid and wet ingredients, they become so thick, fudgy and literally melt in your mouth. Bake one of the Weetbix Brownies if you don't believe me!
4. They contain minimal ingredients - don't be fooled by the fact that they're a packaged cereal! Weetbix are surprisingly 'clean' label and the standard varieties contain minimal added sugar and sodium.
I hope you guys found some inspiration from these recipes and won't ever look at Weetbix as a dull breakfast option ever again!
I just completed my own version of Dry July - but with coffee! I was still having caffeine in the form of my natural pre-workout most mornings, I just wasn’t following it up with 2-3 extra coffees afterwards (I honestly don’t know how I even got to that amount!).
I personally really needed this break and a chance to rest and break some bad habits and my clear addiction to coffee. Don’t get me wrong - I adore coffee. I love the taste, the whole experience, the routine, the pick-me-up. But I didn’t like that I started to feel permanently jittery, on-edge, nauseous and agitated because of how much I was having. It was kind of like a coping mechanism for me - and somehow I’d fallen into the very illogical logic of “let’s combat this stress with something that will cause me more stress”.
I’m not here to turn you off coffee (like I said, I still love it), I just really do think a lot of us could benefit from reigning in our caffeine intakes - and honestly, it’s not that hard when you’ve got so many other alternatives to drink instead!
Moving forward I’ll still be having a few coffees a week (certainly not each day), and making sure that I do some strict caffeine-free weeks every now and then just to give my adrenals some TLC.
If you think you need to do the same, here’s some benefit I noticed within the first week of dropping coffee and halving my caffeine intake, as well as my favourite Not Coffee drinks that I genuinely enjoyed just as much as my usual coffees.
BENEFITS I NOTICED:
1. My digestion improved - cover your eyes if you can’t handle TMI, but because of my anxiety and nervousness, I am prone to diarrhoea and have just become used to having looser stools. I honestly didn’t expect cutting back on caffeine to have such a big impact on this side of things. Whether it’s the acidity of coffee or it’s impact on my anxiety, I did notice less bloating, less stomach gurgling, and I felt like my bowels were less irritated after meals ( I wasn’t constantly feeling the urge to empty them!) without my daily coffee.
2. More restful sleep - this one is obvious, but I don’t think I realised JUST how much of a difference I was going to notice. I’d become really used to having a light, often restless sleep - but within a week of cutting back of my caffeine intake, I was sleeping more solidly through the night, my time spent in deep sleep almost doubled and I felt so much more rested the next day. Now that I’ve dabbled in a few coffees again - I’m definitely noticing how it disrupts my sleep. My rule moving forward will be no coffee past 11am!
3. Improved body composition - this is something I noticed quite quickly, probably because my body is prone to holding onto water and gets inflamed really easily from stress. This month I managed to drop the most amount of water and I definitely felt less ‘puffy’ or swollen from inflammation.
4. More sustained energy - Not going to lie, the first week I felt flat and irritable, but then I noticed a huge shift in my energy levels as I kept going. I felt like I was waking up WITH energy - not needing it from a coffee - and I was working through the afternoons without a 3pm slump or crash.
I hope that was helpful and gave you some ideas! Of course, you could also try things like Dandelion, Chai and other herbal tea alternatives.
At the end of the day - coffee is delicious & so, so enjoyable, but it's not worth overdoing it if it's at the expense of your overall wellbeing. So if you do feel like you need a bit of a break - be rest assured that there's so many ways you can still get energy, have a pick-me-up and enjoy the ritual of a flavoursome hot drink.
If I can cut back, so you can you - I promise!
Firstly, I have to put a huge disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, hold no qualifications related to diet or nutrition and am not in any way intending to give out any specific or tailored medical or health advice. This is completely general and is simply me sharing what I've found helpful and what's worked for me. As always, I suggest working with a qualified healthcare professional (like I did and am still doing) to address any health concerns.
The main reason I wanted to write this out is to give any of you suffering with digestive issues right now some reassurance that what you're experiencing is temporary and you won't always feel this way. I know some of you have probably been told it's all in your head, had your bloating dismissed as 'normal' (which it can be...but it can also be really debilitating) or have been given the poor advice to haphazardly cut out entire food groups without real reason to.
I can't recommend enough the importance of fighting for your health and demanding answers. You know your bodies better than anyone - so if something feels off and is affecting your quality of life, don't settle. I think I ended up seeing 4 different GP's in the span of a few months last year, plus a naturopath, gastroenterologist, endocrinologist and nephrologist. Trust me, the right help is out there, you just have to keep searching till you find the person who can help you (it's an expensive exercise but an undoubtedly valuable one).
To make things easier for you when you do see a professional, I've included a template for a tracking sheet I personally used to try to map out where my symptoms were stemming from and what could be triggering them. This cut out a lot of the guess work, and meant I could say with confidence in an appointment what my symptoms were, when they occurred the most frequently or intensely and keep an eye on whether there were any patterns occurring.
You'll notice that this tracking sheet is not just food-focused. This is something I'm really passionate about conveying - blaming food is not always the answer, nor a healthy approach. For me, some of my abdominal distension and pain was food-related, but it turned out a lot was also due to poor liver function and huge hormonal changes. If I hadn't tracked things like my energy levels, pain elsewhere in my body, congestion, breakouts, stress levels, exercise etc, I would have been stuck trying to pinpoint every little piece of food that entered my mouth and blame it. At this stage I'd already eliminated gluten, dairy, soy, legumes, FODMAPs, histamine-rich foods, eggs....without any real relief. Trust me, you don't want to get to the point where you've really damaged your relationship with food. Plus, restricting will only cause more stress to a body that is clearly imbalanced and needing some proper care.
You don't have to follow this template completely - it's meant entirely as a guide! You may not want to track some things, you may want to add things like your weight changes etc. I just want to show you how simple it is to take ownership and approach what you're going through in a methodical & rational way, and reduce some of those feelings of helplessness & despair.
I would use this for at least 3-4 weeks and please, don't self-diagnose. Take this with you to a qualified professional - whether that's a GP, specialist or naturopath (I'm not going to tell you what's best for you, but remember to search till you find the right fit).
**** Download the template here.
While you're on your journey to improve your symptoms and hopefully improve your relationship and mindset toward food, here are my 2 biggest tips that you can do as of today, without a professional (but seriously - please see one ASAP if you need to):
I really do hope this was helpful - I know I didn't offer a magic solution or quick fix but in my opinion, a strong mindset and drive to feel better is the fastest way to getting better. I promise - I never thought I would make it to the other side of all my health issues or that anyone would take my symptoms seriously. I am obviously still working on my health and have my really 'off' days, but I am thriving now more than I have in over a year and I can't tell you how rewarding it feels. So don't give up, be kind to yourself, and seriously - seek that professional help when you need it (even if you don't think you do).