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Today, leading youth homeless charity Centrepoint, launched their campaign The Big Broth. The campaign is seeking to bring awareness to the 86,000 young people in the UK facing homelessness (which utterly staggers and upsets me)
Young people face homelessness for a host of reasons and this amazing charity helps support over 10,000 them in accommodation and other support services in London, Yorkshire, Manchester and Sunderland. 86% of young people who come to Centrepoint move on in a positive way – but there is still so much more that can be done, with more funding and more support.
So when they got in touch with me to ask if I would create a soup recipe for The Big Broth campaign – it was a no brainer. Everyday I feel lucky to be happy, healthy and a roof over my head – and in the mill of day to day life, it can be so easy to forget how fortunate we really are. As an ode to my amazing Mum, I have created A Belly Full Of version of a family favourite – Leek and Potato soup. This is with a Bryony twist though!
The recipe is vegan, gluten free, dairy free and could be made low FODMAP. It’s a proper hearty, thick soup, which is the way I like it and deliciously mopped up with lots of bread! If you prefer a more liquid soup, up stock and the almond milk measurements.
Massive thanks to Riverford, for delivering me the best possible organic produce to make this recipe!
Serves 4 (gluten free, dairy free and vegan)
3 large potatoes, washed, peeled and chopped into small chunks
1 large leek, chopped
1 small red onion
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
2 gloves of garlic
1 vegetable stock cube (make sure it’s GF!)
750 ml boiling water
300ml almond milk – unsweetened
Big handful of pea shoots + more for garnish
Salt & Pepper
- Pop a glug of olive oil into a shallow pan (ideally with a lid) and add your crushed garlic, chopped red onion, chopped carrot and leek into the pan. Keep on a medium heat and sauté the vegetables for about 20 minutes. Be sure not to let the vegetables burn!
- Meanwhile, add the vegetable stock cube to your boiling water (or just use vegetable stock if you have it!) and whisk so it’s smooth. Add the liquid to your pan, along with a handful of pea shoots and your potato chunks. Bring to the boil and then simmer for around 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are totally tender and falling apart. Season well with plenty of black pepper and salt.
- Pop the mixture into a blender and add 300ml of unsweetened almond milk. Blend until smooth.
- Serve with black pepper on top, a swirl of olive oil and a handful of pea shoots.
** The vegetables from Riverford were gifted for this recipe. This is not a paid post. **
‘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.
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.
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.
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!
** I was gifted the diary for free, but was not paid for this post. All reviews completely honest.**
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!
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!)
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.
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!!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
After browsing the shelves, I was inspired to create a summer dish using some of the more unusual ingredients found in store.
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.
1 red chilli
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
Salt and pepper to season
- 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.
- Put the spaghetti on to boil in a salted pan and cook per the packet instructions.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.