Living with “the bloat”

Hello everyone,

So in this weeks topic I wanted to share with you a little bit more about my stomach issues, where I am at with my gut at the moment and how I deal with it.

Since following my ‘intolerance diet’ in September, my stomach has been much better, although because I also do get IBS (Irritable Bowl Syndrome), I still get a bit of bloating from time to time as there are other factors that affect my gut, such as; timing, portions, fibre (getting in just the right amount but not too much), and whether I eat cooked or raw veggies, however, I do get much much less discomfort now.

I found out I was extremely intolerant to corn, yeast brewers, egg whites (which I LOVED 😦 ), peas, A LOT of nuts, casein and a couple of types of beans, along with lactose (which I already knew). After I have finished my 6 months of this diet, as I do not believe in a living a life limiting yourself to intolerances, I will re-test myself to see what has improved, just so I can see for myself but will then slowly reintroduce pretty much everything. If you do have the resources to take an accurate food intolerance test, personally, I do recommend it as i’ve only heard positive stories from people who have done them and it has only helped me. However, it is also quite hard and can be inconvenient to follow the diet, especially to begin with, so do make sure you will stick to it for a good period of time if you do, as if not it’s a bit of a waste of time and money.

Anyways, back to some IBS talk. I see many people on social media, saying that having three, bigger meals a day and strictly no snacking is best for your gut, in order to allow it digest properly, also giving it time to rest. However, I only believe that to a certain extent. No gut microbiome is the same so, what works for one person might not work for you.  In my opinion, always take what you see on social media with a pinch of salt, especially from people who aren’t certified nutritionist or doctors of some sort. I am sharing this just to share what has worked for me, and perhaps could work for you and in no way am I trying to tell you that this is what’s 100% best for your gut overall health. For me, eating smaller meals, more often throughout the day really helps me to beat my bloat as my gut finds it easier to digest. I also recommend to read Eat Yourself Healthy by Dr Megan Rossi, as there is a lot of information and science based information around IBS and gut health in general, which I found really helpful.

I also like to start my day with a warm mug of water and lemon (& ginger if I have it). I then have breakfast and take all of my supplements, especially my probiotics as the good bacteria does generally keep your gut nice and happy… and I do feel the difference if I go a period without taking them. If my stomach is feeling a little “bleh”, can’t really think of how to explain the feeling, but a bit bloated and just waking up feeling ‘full’, with discomfort or at any time of day, I drink a shot of apple cider vinegar. I mix a spoon of ACV with 1/4 glass of water and I usually take it around 30 mins before my meals. I find that this really helps to get rid of that feeling and to aid digestion afterwards. I sometimes also buy Willy’s ACV shots from Whole foods, as they have different flavours like apple & ginger and turmeric & honey, which add some other health benefits and also don’t make it taste as awful as ACV on its own (ACV, as you may know isn’t really that pleasant to drink). However, I do LOVE is at as a condiment on my salads, which is another good way to get it in.

Anyways, those are just a few tips for your gut that I guess you could say I swear by. So if you’re struggling with your gut, perhaps you can give these a go. It may work for you or it may not but the best way to find out what works for you, really is by trial and error.

Bye for now!

Lots of love,

Laura xx

 

Health Journey

Hey everyone,

I’m back as promised with a more personal post on my health journey.

Let’s start…

So, as briefly mentioned in my last post, during my time in high school, roughly from 15-18, I had some “issues” with food, on and off let’s just say a bad relationship with food and body image. I went to a small private all girls school, which in my opinion, is not the best environment for a teenage girl.

For a long time I definitely had a misconception on the definition of terms related to body type and ‘good’ and ‘bad’ food. I thought I was “fat” and had to loose weight. AND believe me I was a little twig already at that age (thanks to genetics and a good metabolism). So for periods of time, I’d say a few weeks on and then off again, I would eat very little… often skipping meals such as lunch entirely, because school lunch…(yes it was bad but never an excuse to skip a meal, because I also could’ve easily made myself a sandwich before school, but of course I chose not to… because carbs ‘would make me fat’ and what not… FYI they don’t… (& could go on with why and the benefits forever but that’ll need another post…). Also having a few hiccups with making myself throw up…

Anyways, i’m sure you get the point… starving myself to try to lose weight 😟 as I wasn’t happy in my own body.

When I wasn’t in the phase of eating little, I still wasn’t eating right, always went for the low carb, low fat option and then in the afternoon I would eat junk food…or I would get to the weekend and ate way too much of it at once, as well as drinking quite a lot of alcohol on the weekend. With that being said, it’s fair to say I put my poor little gut through HELL. Throughout those years I started suffering from really bad bloating and stomach pain, with it coming and going and getting worse after I left school.

For sometime after I finished school and during my first year at uni, I went to see my GP a couple of times. I went to NHS as at the time my mum didn’t really ‘believe’ my symptoms so went to try to figure stuff out by myself. I had a numerous amount of blood tests done, to find out ‘nothing’ was really wrong, no coeliac disease, no lactose intolerance, no thyroid issues but they did acknowledge the fact that my stomach was constantly fairly bloated. They said it was most likely IBS and referred me to a nutritionist, which I continued seeing for months, going in phases of cutting certain foods out and re-adding them in. I’m not going to say they didn’t help me at all and that NHS was shit because it did relieve me of some pain but looking back now a lot of it was temporary and I didn’t really get down to the route of the problem. I also know they do tend do dismiss people saying they have IBS a lot of the time. It is also true I do still have IBS and it flares up from time to time but I didn’t only have that.

A few months later, I went again and managed to get some other tests done, including a breath test, found that I was lactose intolerant and diagnosed me with SIBO, tried strictly following the low-fod map diet for a while and got rid of SIBO.

During my third year of uni, and when I graduated, my mum started hearing from more people about stories about healing the gut from IBS, leaky gut and taking food intolerances tests etc. So I went to a few clinics in London with her to get some tests done finding that Cyrex intolerance tests were the most accurate and specific tests and consisted of proper blood test not just a finger prick… (I REALLY would NOT waste my money on those as i’ve been told many times by professionals, doctors, they are really not accurate). Anyways, we struggled to find a doctor that both my mum and I liked and trusted as the tests I was recommended to take for my symptoms estimated around 2-3,000£, and thats excluding the fees of the doctors for the reviews and consultations, so it’s fair to say that we wanted someone that would really explain everything to us and that we felt we could trust.

Finally decided that we wanted to do some tests in Italy as I didn’t quite trust the doctors here… so did some stool tests and blood tests there and the doctors were nice and went above and beyond to explain things to me.

I then got a very detailed and accurate food intolerance test in Croatia over summer and found I was intolerant to a bunch of foods I never would’ve thought that could’ve been part of my stomach issues… which finally brings me where I am now. I am currently cutting out all the foods i’m intolerant to for 8 months, and have felt dramatically better since starting, after which I will get tested again and start reintroducing them.

So, that’s my story and why I want to share my journey and what helps me with my gut so that maybe it can help someone else with theirs.

Bye for now… and see you on my next post!

(DW I will be keeping them shorter after this one 😅, promise)

Love,

Laura

 

Back to blogging – 2.0

Hello hello,

I’m FINALLY back again… for good this time. HOWEVER, this time there’s going to be a little change with my blog, which is what i’m going to share with you in this first post back.

I have always been into healthy eating and living a healthy and fit lifestyle, at least for as long as I can remember. However, after having a bad relationship with food during school for a few years, I started to have some stomach, digestive issues. I have been toying with the idea of creating another Instagram seriously, probably since I graduated from uni in July 2018. I wanted to dedicated it to living a healthy and fit lifestyle and share my journey with everyone, so maybe it could help others going through something similar or just to educate people about being healthy and the important role our gut plays. I think the reason I didn’t do it because I wasn’t really sure if people would be interested and was more a waste of time than anything…. of course, I kind of regret that because who cares what people think right?! If you have an idea which you like a lot you should just go for it!

However, I had a lot going on during this period and got into graphics and was told by many people I should start an Instagram for my graphics as they were really impressed. So, was finally convinced, and that’s what I did (@doodlelikelaura), which i’m happy about as it has led me to more jobs, as well as really made my creativity progress…

and most of all I LOVE IT.

Anyways, because of that the ‘health’ idea kind of took a back seat in my brain but slowly started to make its way back. Although, due to my job being social media based, I feel like starting another Instagram account is just too much for me as of now…. which is what brings me here now.

I decided to dedicate this blog to health and fitness and my ‘gut health’ journey for now and start posting more on health and fitness and tips on living a healthy lifestyle on my ‘personal’ Instagram (@lauraacastelli).

So, i’m ditching the fashion side for now and will be posting about my personal journey soon, so keep an eye out… if you’re interested.

Anyways, that’s it for now as I don’t want to bore anyone more, but hopefully I will see you in my next post!

Love,

Laura xxx

 

 

Home-made Shakshuka

Hey everyone,

I hope everyone’s having a wonderful Friday and ready for the weekend!

I’m back with another post for you guys, something a little different, perfect for some weekend cooking! Since I’ve had more time on my hands due to finishing university, a couple of days ago my boyfriend and I decided to cook something fun.

We made our own Shakshuka, which is something we never made before, as it takes time. We followed a random recipe we found online and it was super straight forward and just….yummyyyy.

I mean just looking at the pics makes me crave it again ha… I am such a massive Shakshuka fan. I mean its mixed vegetables with herbs and spices and protein from the eggs; perfect combo if you ask me and also quite light and overall just AMAZING.

We put olive oil and onion in a pan for a bit before then started added 2 finely chopped peppers; green and red and left it to cook for a bit. In the meantime we started adding garlic powder, ground coriander, some chilli, smoked paprika, black pepper and then added some chopped tomatoes and then 3/4 can of chopped tomatoes in tomato juice. When the veggies look like they’ve been cooked enough with a spoon make a little space and at the same time crack the egg into the space. We put 3 eggs but put as many as you wish, leave it until the egg white starts cooking, pop some fresh mint and basil inside too and then pop it in the oven for around 15 mins more.

You can also top it with some cheese for example, goats cheese or feta. Due to not being able to eat lactose I didn’t and just had the guacamole we made on the side but my boyfriend said it tastes amazing with the soft cheese.

Hope you enjoyed this and get sometime to make Shakshuka too!

Love,

Laura xx

Uni: Over & Out

Hey everyone,

First things first, I finally finished my fashion management course at London College of Fashion and I’m S U P E R happy. As a ‘first post back’, I decided to share what I did the day I finished as it was such an amazing feeling and I felt so relaxed for the first time in a while. I know I haven’t been posting but I’m back with a lot of content to share with you guys.

I went to this cafe which i’d actually been to before, however, not with my boyfriend as the places I pick are normally too healthy for him… he likes his meat and big portions haha

The place is called Daisy Green in Marble Arch and they have many similar chain cafe’s with slightly different names. My boyfriend agreed to come and actually liked it. I love their food, as they’re all healthy but they still have ‘comfort’ food too. On top of that the place itself is really colourful and cute with lovely pink roses all around the outside. I got their Shakshuka which has 2 fried eggs hidden inside and my boyfriend got ‘the bondi’ which had poached eggs, a sausage and more as you can see in the pics. Both plates also had charcoal bread too. Definitely a place I would recommend and I definitely want to try its other ‘sister’ cafes around London!

Since i’ve been getting little sleep ahead of my dissertation deadline, I just wanted to wear something comfy so I wore my mom jeans (Topshop) as they’re really big on me, comfy and are easy to combine. I paired them with a blue striped shirt (H&M) with a denim jacket (Stradivarius) and white platform trainers (Alexander McQueen). I also added some pictures with a different blouse on top (Zara) which i tied up at the front, just to show you a different style.

I hope you enjoyed the photos and the whole post and i’ll see you soon on my next one.

Love,

Laura xxx

21 already..whaatt?!

Hey Everyone,

Last week, (on Feb 23) I turned 21! So I thought I would write a little bit about what I did and who I spent my birthday with.

BUT first of all, omg I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M 21 ALREADY!! I still feel 19 to be honest…

I should really start getting on top of things and being a bit more responsible, I mean I finish uni in around 3 months… OH oh…Time to decide what I really want to do with my life?..

Ok, jokes aside – It has been a hell of a bumpy ride and a tough year. Final year at uni isn’t easy, along with some other events that occurred, some of which I previously talked about. However, throughout this year I have certainly realised that I am super blessed to be surrounded with people who truly care.

ANYWAYS back onto the birthday (3-day birthday) talk…

FEB 22nd

My boyfriend had organised a dinner for my birthday, as he wanted to take my family and I out to dinner and the night before my birthday was the only day everyone could make it. We went to the OXO Tower, which is a place he knows I love. I think the atmosphere is so nice there with the loveliest and most incredible of views looking onto the river Thames. In the evening you can see all the different lights from the bridge, boats and the city, which makes it truly gorgeous. The food was also amazing and even though it is a luxury restaurant I wouldn’t say its overpriced for what you get (ambience too).

My boyfriend then surprised me with an early birthday present as he wanted to give it to me with everyone there which was so special. He got me the Marmot Gucci bag you can see in the photos, which I had been wanting to get for a while… so you can only imagine the smile on my face when I opened it!

FEB 23rd

Even though people tend to think, “oh you’re turning 21, you need to do something big”, to be completely honest I don’t get it. Yes, its big in America maybe because you can legally drink finally.. but in London… not a big deal. As I get older i’ve realised I much more enjoy spending time with family and closest friends, rather than partying with everyone I know…

Ok back on track now… sorry i get very easily side tracked as you can see..

I spent my actual birthday with my boyfriend. We went for brunch to my favourite place, Egg break in Notting hill and then did a bit of shopping in Knightsbridge and then went for crepes in this cute place I had never been to before in Covent garden called Mamies.

In the evening I went to my parents home to have a family dinner and birthday cake.

(sorry about some of the pics, I didn’t feel like bringing a camera around on my birthday)

FEB 24th

I spent this day celebrating my birthday with my closest friends, having brunch because I can’t get enough of brunch food. However, I realised my favourite brunch places don’t take bookings especially on the weekend and didn’t want to queue before so I ended up cooking brunch in my new flat. Honestly, it was the best decision I made because we had no time limit, it was so chilled and got the chance to properly talk with everyone.

Even though I didn’t do anything crazy for my birthday, I enjoyed every single minute of it more than any other and I couldn’t have been happier!

I hope you enjoyed this post and i’m sorry for making it SO long but I really wanted to share everything with you guys! (and still want to in the future!)

OK, BYE for now.

Lots of love,

Laura xx

Pre-Xmas lunch

Heyy everyone,

I’m going to write a slighty longer post this time as I have been a little more MIA this time as I have had a lot to study, alongside festive season duties… and with more festivities, I don’t know how much more time I will have to write.

Since all my relatives live in Italy we always spend Christmas there with them, so a lot of my presents usually are cute small things from London as they appreciate those little things more rather than something big you can get anywhere, or even nice clothes from shops that they don’t have in Italy. However, I also think it is the thought and effort that counts, who else agrees?

My boyfriend and I decided to have a pre christmas lunch together since I was going to Italy and he was staying in London. We went to an Italian restaurant, Il Tetto (which means ‘the roof’), which of course, was on the roof of Selfridges. We went as online it looked super festive, which it was, with all the lights and decorations and looked adorable. See for yourself in the photos.

We were super lucky because I forgot to book, so we just went and attempted our luck. We were seated after 20 minutes which was great. The place was really beautiful, we were also lucky with the weather as it was sunny, which made the window seats we had really bright and warm. The food of course, was also really tasty, although, I have to say, the service wasn’t too great. I had the salmon with beans and my boyfriend had the burger (I swear thats all he eats ha), both really good, however, the burger was a bit small for the price… at least in my boyfriends opinion, i’m not really a burger person, so i’m not really sure.

After having eaten we went outside on the terrace to look at the view, sit in the huts for a while and take some pics 😀 which was lovely and relaxing.

Outfit details:
Coat: Canada Goose
Bag: Givenchy
Boots: Zara – Also previously styled here
Jumper & Skirt: Zara (last year)

Anyways I hope everyones enjoying the weekend and festivities, along with the scrumptious food to come 😀

Merry Christmas everyone 🙂

Lots of Love,

Laura xxx

 

Eating out

Hey guys,

I’m backk, i’m REALLY SORRY for being M.I.A again, but I had deadlines coming up, so was super stressed and studying all day everyday…. fun, right?!

Anyways, back to the post. As some of you may know I am really into fitness and following a healthy, balanced and nutritional regime, so, I thought I would touch on this topic a bit. I was having brunch with a friend the other day and the topic of eating outside came up. Talking about how it is hard to keep up with a healthy lifestyle if you enjoy eating outside a lot with friends that don’t really care. However, i believe that it is much easier than people think and people tend to over think everything.. I do it too!

My boyfriend loves burger and pizzas of course, so he drags me out for those (often enough). I normally always find something I can eat.. and believe me.. those who know me know that I am a VERY picky human when it comes to my food. The other day we went to Gourmet Burger Kitchen, which you would assume isn’t a very ‘healthy’ – style restaurant. Although they do have salad options, they can still be quite boring. However they also have bun free burgers as well as veggie options. I had a bun-free veggie kale falafel ‘burger’ with the side of salad instead… which at the end is a salad really…

IMG_5941

But hey I found it tastier than the other salad options looked and definitely more filing. So it was a win-win situation really.

Either way, I definitely want to say that even though I got a salad, it is perfectly normal to enjoy yourself every-so-often and get what you really fancy, if that is a burger… then go right ahead, why not?! I’m not saying that, that gives you the excuse to go eat fast-food at every meal or binge but it’s also important not to deprive yourself of the foods you like.

Here are some more photos of other days I go out to eat either with friends or with my boyfriend.

This post was slightly different to my usual post, so I hope you enjoyed it and let me know what you think 🙂

Love

Laura xx

Lunch at Borough Market

Hello everyone,

I’m back and i’m going to talk about the mini ‘adventure’ I had around London when my cousin visited from Italy. Due to both my parents being Italian, all my relatives live in Italy and my family and I go to Italy more than they come down. So, of course i’m always super excited when they come to visit.

During the 4 days she was here we did a lot of shopping, walking around London through all the parks, ate lots of good food, and also ended up at Borough Market, which I had actually never been to. Oh and of course I took her clubbing. A little party never hurt… am I right? 😉

London view from near Borough Market

The market was actually so pretty and had some amazing food with a huge variety to choose from. There was Thai, Indian, English, Mexican, Chinese… you name it. I found a nice little Vegan stall which had vegan burgers and salad bowls, which is kind of my version of ‘food heaven’ so of course I ended up getting the salad bowl and I can tell you this… it was definitely 100% worth it! My cousin on the other hand got a nice Indian plate which I must admit was also so tempting.

Vegan Salad Bowl

Having had lunch we continued to look at all the stalls and came across one selling nut butters and found turmeric and maple cashew butter. I am aware it sounds weird but I absolutely L O V E nut butters and I can’t get enough of turmeric either. I was initially slightly skeptical about it but after being convinced to try it…DAMN…

And then I get asked where all my money goes… to little 8£ jars of nut butter… whoops?

If you ever find yourself near London Bridge go have a walk through Borough Market and pick up some tasty goods too. It will be totally worth it, I promise. Food is always a good idea 😉

Hope everyone’s having a great start to the weekend 😀

Love

Laura xxx

Dinner at the OXO Tower

Heyy everyone,

I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend. I’ve had a bit of a stressful week but i’m going to write a short review post for now but will be posting something longer sooner. I went for dinner at the OXO Tower the other night with my boyfriend and thought I would just share what I thought about the food there.

To begin, we shared a starter which was goats cheese wrapped in butternut squash with figs. This was my favourite plate, it was delicious and looked so pretty.

For the main, I had duck whereas my boyfriend had lamb. I am not a big fan of lamb so would always recommend the duck but if you like lamb it was still tasty and the sides made the plate look very vibrant and much prettier than mine.

Now, for the desert, we both aren’t that big of fans of sweet things and much prefer savoury so we shared a desert, (although we did end up picking the desert that was meant for 2 people anyways). We had the mixed berry soufflé, and wasn’t too impressed by it although It did look stunning, i’ll give them that! However, both my boyfriend and I found it a bit too sweet for our taste buds and I ended up just eating all the mixed berries on the side.

I really enjoyed the food there as well as the ambience and the view. They have a wonderful terrace which looks onto the river thames and St Paul’s cathedral. Since it was dark when we went you could see all the lights from the city and boats which made the view so much more special.

IMG_4056IMG_4057IMG_4061IMG_4062IMG_4059Processed with VSCO with a5 presetIMG_4065

Outfit details:

Top: Zara

Trousers: Zara

Boots: Zara

Jacket: Pinko

Bag: Balenciaga

I had a lovely time there and I would highly recommend anyone to try this restaurant.  Hope you enjoyed this post.

Love,

Laura xxx