Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of Food, Food Dairy Co

The gorgeous pages from the Food Diary Co. Scroll down to find my 10% off discount code – exclusive for you guys!

‘Why don’t you start a food diary Bryony? You might actually be able to see what is making a difference rather than speculating’. That was my Mum, talking to me after I had my sixth open stomach surgery. I was at home undergoing a mega recovery and felt frustrated I was still in pain and discomfort. With nothing else I do, I started a meticulous food diary, which went on to dramatically change my quality of life.

That was back in 2015 and so when Laura from the amazing Food Diary Co got in touch with to share her amazing food diary, I was made up. And also in disbelief. It is so useful and life changing to document what you eat and your symptoms, that someone has actually made a business out of it? What a brilliant thing. At the beginning of the this summer, with my new diary, I started documenting my lifestyle and diet again and just as it did before, I found some hard to ignore patterns. (Scroll down for my discount code to buy your diary!)

But before I get to that, let’s rewind back to 2015. It was the first time I had even thought about documenting my diet and my symptoms and I didn’t really know where to start. I was first diagnosed with Crohns Disease when I was four years old and nobody had ever suggested to me that this might be a good idea. Which seems mad now even three years on – but back then it was a bit of a breakthrough. I started by simply writing down what I ate and rated my pain out of ten. I thought it might be quite poignant to show one of my diary entries, which I dug out of the archives below.

A Belly Full of Food, Bryony Hopkins

You can see dramatically how much my pain changes when I had a drop of milk!

Even just with this very basic method, I was able to deduce that dairy was causing me major problems. My pain shot up to 8 or 9 out of 10 on days when I had milk in my tea, a slice of cheese or even milk chocolate. When you see changes like that, it becomes incredibly hard to continue as normal. I went through a similar process in 2016 to discover gluten was having a similar effect and since I cut them both out – I’ve never looked back, and I’ve never documented what I was eating since.

So when I received my diary, it seemed like a no brainer to start again. The most brilliant thing about The Food Diary Co, is the ability to document SO much more than just your diet. Like so many other people with gut conditions, I am massively impacted by many lifestyle factors outside of my diet. A busy day can impact my stomach. A run of late shifts, lack of exercise or drinking alcohol, can all impact my stomach. Even just a bad nights sleep – that can impact my stomach! And it was brilliant to have a place to jot all this down in my new Food Diary. It became almost like a journal for me – as I was able to write down so much more than just my pain.

A Belly Full of Food, Bryony Hopkins

You can see here the layout of the page, where you can jot down everything from mood, sleep, stress, drinks, medicine and exercise.

Having a place where I could write down everything from sleep, drinks, stress and medicine essentially gave me place where I could actually identify patterns. I’m sure I’m the same as many in the fact that I am very time poor – with a demanding job, a busy social life and juggling lots of commitments constantly. It seems strange saying it out loud, but sometimes I genuinely can’t remember what I ate for breakfast – let alone how it made me feel! It actually became incredibly refreshing to see how I was doing every day – and be able to look back on it, see it in black and white and absorb the patterns appearing.

Living with a condition like Crohns Disease is a minefield – every day is different and sometimes in the fog of fatigue, it can be hard to see the wood from the trees. From looking back at every entry over a month and then looking at the ‘month’ round up page at the back, some of my triggers became clear. I am majorly impacted by stress, lack of sleep, alcohol and unfortunately my one love, coffee. My summer with The Food Diary Co has also made it pretty clear that I can’t do oats in large quantities and I can’t do soya milk everyday. Who knows why this is the case and I am still in the process for hunting for other patterns for other niggles. What I do know now though is that I have the knowledge and tools to make better decisions for my health – based on my scrawly biro writings in my Food Diary. I’ve started reserving my energy so I don’t get burnt out and I always make sure I get 8 hours sleep. These lifestyle changes have essentially made it easier for me to put one foot in front of the other.

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of Food

A veggie pasta packed with goodness

So what top tips would I give if you are starting a diary for the very first time? Throw everything at it and literally write down everything you can possibly think of. Even if it doesn’t seem relevant – jot it down. What this diary is amazing for, is making you see that everything you do has an impact on how you feel. I will even write down ‘cried today about X’ or ‘felt really happy about Y’, because I know my mood is detrimental to my wellbeing. I’ll also write down what medication I took, as well as how much water I’ve drunk. I asked Laura, the fabulous founder of The Food Diary Co, what her advice was.

‘I would say firstly, congratulations! You’re starting a journey to taking control of your gut and health again, and I am so excited for you! Secondly, be sure to check out our blog on the website because we have lots of really great posts that can help you, including our big bumper guide to using a food diary (if you want a downloadable copy of your own to keep, be sure to sign up to the newsletter for your free download!), and the 8 ways I used my food diary to heal post. That one is all about the habits I formed to help me successfully keep a food diary.’

I hope this post has given you some food for thought on starting on a food diary journey, I would love to hear your thoughts. Better yet – to get you kick started you can use my exclusive discount code for 10% off a beautiful Food Diary Co! 

Use the code ‘BELLY10’ for 10% off at the check out – and get in there fast! The code ends on 31st October 2018. Click here to buy.

Cannot wait to hear what you think!

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** I was gifted the diary for free, but was not paid for this post. All reviews completely honest.**

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Students sometimes opt to cut out meat altogether to make meals cheaper – my brother recently told me he did this!

Today Waitrose hit the headlines for a rather different reason – no, it wasn’t a big shiny Christmas ad it was a page from their magazine which shared ‘5 Student Store Cupboard Essentials’.

If you haven’t seen the article (read it here), it shared 5 ingredients, which it said would ‘set your tastebuds alive’ and would create you a bunch of eclectic and delicious meals. On the list was Aspall Organic Cyder Vinegar priced at £1.70, Organic Italian Seasoning at £1.89 and Harissa Paste priced at £4.35 for a 170g jar1!

I went on BBC Radio London today to discuss it (you can listen back here, in at 1610) and I was very honest with my views – this list is ridiculous!! I had absolutely no idea what harissa paste was when I was at university. I lived off stir fry, fried egg and bacon and toast and beans. I have absolutely no shame in that, but there are so many factors at play when you start university. Unless you are already into cooking, lets be honest, you probably won’t be using your time to find out what to do with harissa paste!

It took me back to 8 years ago when I was a fresher myself and got me thinking about student staples I would recommend now, with cooking knowledge and how the free-from market has changed! So, I have complied my recommendations for 9 essentials for the gluten and dairy free student.

1. Garlic

Okay, I know this is probably obvious 101 but I had no idea the ability of a garlic clove at university and because it is SO versatile, and can be used in basically anything, I’ve popped it number 1. Pasta, stir fry, chicken, fish, turkey, spinach – literally add garlic and you are away. If you’re LOW FODMAP you could go for garlic oil. Costs about 80p for 2 bulbs in many supermarkets.

2. Salt and pepper

Again basic – but also, life changing. A good old season of salt and pepper really makes a difference. Especially a good quality sea salt, if the budget can stretch to it.

3. Chilli flakes and paprika

As I said on the radio, add paprika and you can get a taste upgrade on so many meals. Meats, fish, veg alike – even an aubergine with paprika baked in the oven would be delicious. A life saver, along with some chilli flakes. Cost about 90p each for a supermarket own brand (which is the same as any brand!)

The best chicken sticky recipe which is based on soya sauce and rice! Both cheap ingredients, plus the chicken can be cheaper if bought frozen (see more below!)

4.Gluten free soya sauce

Okay so perhaps I am hypocritical here because the Waitrose article did say gluten free soya sauce, but that was for nationwide application. Obviously when you’re gluten free, you have little choice in the matter! Soya sauce is incredibly useful for making bland rice and noodles interesting and so therefore, it should be on the list. Clearspring is £3.15, however Meridian comes in cheaper and so does Kikkoman. So shop around for the best price!

5. Basmati rice

Rice is hard to get right but it’s cheap. Basmati rice is not that much more expensive and essentially cooks quicker and easier. I always use basmati now – and again, not too expensive.

6. Frozen peas and sweet corn

Frozen peas and sweetcorn can go in ANYTHING! Pastas stir fries, a side for your meat or fish – and frozen is cheaper and goes a long way. You’re looking at £1-£2.

7. Chopped tomatoes

Again the base of pastas, pasta bakes, curries etc etc! Cheap and easy to store and lasts for ages.

8. Chickpeas

A cheap and filling alternative to meat and easy can make a quick curry with your chopped tomatoes, garlic, chilli, paprika, frozen peas and rice. Looking at 55p for these!

If you do fancy fish, I recommend going for frozen. Roasted veg is also filling and goes a long way!

9. Frozen chicken breasts or fish

If you do go for fish or meat, I am saying frozen because it lasts longer and is generally cheaper. You can get large packs of frozen chicken breasts or fish for under £5 in some supermarkets and is just generally a more cost effective way to consume these products.

All hail pasta!! I’ve used quorn in this spag Bol, which is actually cheaper than beef and incredibly filling.

10. Gluten free Pasta

I am putting this at the bottom because it is expensive, but I have mentioned pasta a lot above as a key staple! Unfortunately, gluten free pasta is just more expensive but all the major supermarkets have their own GF pastas now, which are generally cheaper. Sainsburys, Tescos and Morrisons are all good ones to look out for.

I’d love to know what your student essentials were or are?

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Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of Food event

I will forever look at this photo and wonder how I look so awake at 7am. (Photo: Emma Parlons

In early July, I was absolutely delighted to host my first ever A Belly Full of Food event. This has been something I’ve been keen to launch for a while and I was so excited when everything began to come together for it. I kept it super small for my first event (I’ve never even organised something like this before!), and so I really wanted to write a little about it so I could share it with more of you and hope you will be able to join me for the next one!

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of Food event

Rhiannon Lambert & I mid gut health talk!

For anyone who follows me or reads this blog, you’ll know that I am a HUGE foodie and also mega passionate about educating people on living with IBD. As a journalist by day, I am hugely motivated by getting evidence-based knowledge out there and educating others about how food can play a role in a disease of this nature. I find the online world hugely frustrating at times, when I see influencers advertising products, which are not necessarily based on evidence and the messages out there are confusing and conflicting. This is something I was really keen to address in my first event, and I was so delighted that Registered Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert came to speak and share her nutritional knowledge (more on this below!)

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of Food event

The gorgeous spread of brightly coloured fruit outside

A Belly Full of Food breakfast mingle came around when I stepped into the doors of the gorgeous Panzer’s Deli, in St Johns Wood and met the amazing team there. We worked together on hosting this first gut health foodie event under the A Belly Full Of brand (eeeeek!)

The aim of the event was mainly education – to learn about gut health, including IBD and IBS and also gathering together some foodies to eat some amazing food! I was so lucky that Panzer’s Deli put on an amazing spread, which catered for gluten, dairy free and vegan, including the most insane fruit salad, fresh berries, coconut yogurt and artisan coffee made to order. Everyone gathered to eat the delicious food, before I introduced the special guest, which was the lovely Rhiannon Lambert of Rhitrition.

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of Food event

How epic is this gluten free and vegan spread at Panzer’s Deli?

Rhiannon was absolutely focal to the goal of my event, as a Harley Street nutritionist, she knows everything there is to know about food, nutrition and gut health, and would never say anything that wasn’t rooted in evidence and research. Together over half an hour, we discussed IBS, IBD, Coeliac Disease and some gut health basics. Along with the huge support from Panzer’s Deli, a wonderful friend Sarah from BTempted Cakes bought along her brand new vegan and gluten free cupcakes for the goodie bags – what a way to start the day!!

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of Food event

Feeling so excited to have the first event go so well and gives me so much pleasure to announce that this isn’t the only A Belly Full of Food event. I can’t wait to share the details of the next one with you – a much bigger event which won’t start so early in the morning! I’d love to hear any other health topics you’d like me to look to cover in the future – not just gut health, but anything! This concept is really about educating on a wealth of health conditions and topics. Hit me up with your suggestions below (or via Twitter, Instagram or email). I really would love to hear from you!

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of Food Events

My beaut GF girlies bought me flowers and it was just the loveliest moment. GIRLS SUPPORTING GIRLS

Bryony Hopkins A Belly Full of Food www.abellyfullof.com

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Scarlett Green | Bryony Hopkins | A Belly Full of Food

Last Thursday, my fellow gluten free blogger Alex, aka The Gluten Free Suitcase, and I were treated the most magnificent brunch at the brand new branch of the Daisy Green Collection, a chain of feel-good Aussie eateries.

Scarlett Green | Bryony Hopkins | A Belly Full of Food

Almond milk latte, my fave

Scarlett Green, based in the heart of Soho, welcomed us with open arms on Thursday morning and as we browsed the menus, it quickly became clear how brilliant they were at catering for those with allergies. The choice was eclectic and every dish was clearly marked as to whether it was gluten free, dairy free or vegan – and a special note on each for dishes they could switch up for us and make allergy friendly. Everything from the full ‘Aussie’ breakfast, to yogurt and granola and delicious smoked salmon and eggs, this menu had something for everyone!

Scarlett Green | Bryony Hopkins | A Belly Full of Food

Bondi Breakfast, Coconut Bread and Salmon Royale.

For anyone who is gluten AND dairy free, you know how much a nightmare the double whammy can be. Thankfully Scarlett Green had us covered, and it took us a great deal of time to choose what we wanted! First up of course, was a coffee. Alex opted for a flat white, whilst I enjoyed my favourite almond milk latte (soya milk also available). The coffee came quick, which meant we could peruse the menu whilst getting a quick caffeine hit.

Scarlett Green | Bryony Hopkins | A Belly Full of Food

The lemon cashew hollandaise was to DIE for.

After much deliberation, Alex went for the full Bondi Breakfast, consisting of soft gluten free bread, bacon, sausages, beans, avocado, poached eggs and mushrooms. After seeing there was a Salmon Royale option which could be made gluten AND dairy free (yes my friends, a dairy free HOLLANDAISE!), I had to oder it, served with a side of avocado. On the menu was also sweet french toast with berries and greek yogurt, which could be replaced with coconut yogurt to make it dairy free friendly. Unfortunately they didn’t have much coconut yogurt left, but that didn’t stop them from creating something unbelievably stunning, especially for us!

Scarlett Green | Bryony Hopkins | A Belly Full of Food

If you’ve never tried a turmeric latte, I would greatly recommend it! Delicious, and a great caffeine free alternative to coffee.

Along with the two turmeric lattes we ordered to wash the meal down, we were served divine gluten and dairy free coconut cake with fresh mango, berry coulis and a drizzle of soya and coconut yogurt. A side of maple syrup was served in a gorgeous rose gold pourer and although I don’t normally have a sweet tooth at breakfast time, I adored this.

Scarlett Green | Bryony Hopkins | A Belly Full of Food

Coconut bread, which you can buy in store to take away, with coconut and soya drizzle, edible flowers, mango and berry coulis. Divine.

The gluten and dairy free Salmon Royale was something else. They used lemon and cashew to create a vegan alternative for the hollandaise, and with soft poachies, delicious smoked salmon and soft gluten free bread, I was in brunch heaven.

If that wasn’t enough to book yourself a table at Scarlett Green, they also had fresh shakshouka, courgette fritters, smashed avo on toast and a ‘fancy bacon roll’. They even offer a bottomless brunch at the weekend – absolutely winning.

Scarlett Green | Bryony Hopkins | A Belly Full of Food

One happy girl!

The Daisy Green collection has branches all over London – so you are spoilt for choice. The atmosphere is relaxed and the venue’s are stunning, yet laid back. Also menus for lunch and dinner.

If there is three words I would use to describe this place it would be HOT ON ALLERGIES. And let’s face, that’s all we really want!

Scarlett Green is located on Noel Street. Book a table in advance to prevent disappointment.

See my ultimate GF and DF guide to brunches in London on the Metro here.

BRYONY HOPKINS, A BELLY FULL OF BRYONY

 

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A few weeks ago in the height of one of our sunny spells, I took a trip down to St Johns Wood to see the newly renovated Panzer’s Deli, a delicious delicatessen and grocery store.  It’s just had a million pound makeover, with a coffee bar, sushi bar and shelves of absolute treats.

The outside of Panzer's Deli, A Belly Full of Bryony

The outside of Panzer’s Deli looking gorgeous in the sunshine

Stepping inside felt like I was entering somewhere special and as a foodie, I was overwhelmed to find so many items I hadn’t even seen more. From white asparagus, to round courgettes and pumpkin tomatoes, the colours literally burst off the shelves.  The deli imports from 80 countries across the world, with an entire row dedicated to Italian goods for example and products you might find in the US or Scandinavia.

Almond milk latte, A Belly Full of Bryony, Panzer's Deli

Iced almond milk latte and all the summer vibes in Panzer’s

I picked up an almond milk iced latte, before browsing the store, finding so many sumptuous products. The Deli’s pièce de résistance is the smoked salmon, of which they have an entire deli counter with all the different cuts. Not only that, but also whole counter of fresh salads, meats and sandwiches for the impending lunchtime rush.

Fresh smoked salmon, A Belly Full of Bryony, Panzer's Deli

Fresh smoked salmon counter

Panzer's Deli

Lunchtime rush, a spread of fresh salads and sandwiches

And I haven’t even mentioned the cakes! Created by the chefs which work in-store, I tried delicious dairy and gluten free macarons with a jam filling and a sweet marshmallow rice crispy cake. Literally in heaven!

gluten and dairy free macarons, Panzer's Deli

Gluten and dairy free macarons with a sticky jam filling – divine

Panzer's Deli

Macaron heaven!

After browsing the shelves, I was inspired to create a summer dish using some of the more unusual ingredients found in store.

A round courgette, which we use further down in the recipe!

Spot the white asparagus amongst the bright coloured fruit

This summer smoked salmon and lemon spaghetti is the most perfect supper for a hot evening, and the perfect stomach filler! You can buy all of the ingredients for this dish in Panzer’s Deli.

Serves 2. Gluten and dairy free.

Smoked salmon and lemon spaghetti, gluten free, dairy free

The perfect summer dish, gluten and dairy free smoked salmon spaghetti dish.

Ingredients 

1 red chilli

1 lemon

1 round courgette (or 1 normal courgette)

Bunch white asparagus (or normal asparagus)

120g smoked salmon

100g vegan feta cheese such as Violife, or feta cheese

250g gluten free or normal spaghetti

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Zest the whole lemon, peel the courgette into ribbons and de-seed the red chilli, slicing it up very small. Chop up the tops of the asparagus into bite size pieces. Cut the feta into small chunks, you will crumble this later.
  2. Put the spaghetti on to boil in a salted pan and cook per the packet instructions.
  3. Put a small frying pan on a medium heat and add a glug of oil. Once getting warm, add the chilli and half the lemon zest. Now add the asparagus and stir for 2 mins.
  4. Now add the courgette ribbons and mix together for 4 minutes. (Note: white asparagus much chunkier than normal asparagus, so if you are using green asparagus reduce the timings on here by about a minute)
  5. Drain your pasta and add a glug of olive oil, pepper and ¼ of the lemon zest. Mix together and then add the courgette, asparagus, lemon and chilli mixture.
  6. Now crumble the feta or vegan alternative into the pasta mix, it should melt quite quickly with the heat of the pasta whilst maintaining some chunks. Mix together.
  7. Serve on your plate and then top with your beautiful smoked salmon. Season again with black pepper and top with the rest of the lemon zest.

What I love about this dish is the freshness of the lemon zest. It just works gorgeously with the pasta, olive oil and smoked salmon.

Dairy and gluten free smoked salmon pasta

Who fancies a bit of that!

Would love to know if you give this a try or what else you find if you visit Panzer’s Deli! See A Belly Full of Food a the top of the menu for more dinner recipes.

BRYONY HOPKINS, A BELLY FULL OF BRYONY

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