Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Food Grief

I just read this great post on the Five Stages of (Food) Grief.  Yes, that is right.  Mourning our old food lifestyle.

Just the other day, after my food meltdown (briefly alluded to in this post), I was whining to my shrink about how I LIKE Boston Cream Donuts and chocolate cupcakes and HATE liver and dislike sauerkraut.  Given my druthers I would eat lots of the former and few of the later.  However, if I want to heal my guts.  If I want to go Paleo/Primal.  If I want to start Crossfit when I get better.  The donuts and cupcakes have to go.  At least for a few months until my guts heal up and I'm starting to feel better.   However, they can NEVER be a regular part of my diet ever again.

Reading The Five Stages post made me realize that my food meltdown the other week was really step two of the food grieving cycle.  I was angry and I was going to eat "normal" food.  Dam it!!  Even if it made me feel really really sick.

The cool thing is that I seem to have passed through this stage.  I am no longer eating all the junk food in the house.  I have managed to remind myself, in the usual manner, that yes these foods really really do make me feel like crap.  And hence, remind myself why I'm doing this in the first place.  I want to get better.  I want my body to heal so why the hell am I damaging it further by throwing what amounts to a food temper tantrum?  I guess when it comes to food I'm more like a two year old than a grownup.  I hate it when people tell me what I can and can't eat.  This is probably why I won't commit to either a strictly WAP or Paleo diet.  I'm marrying the two together into a Primal diet hybrid: mostly vegetables, some fruit, nuts, dairy, meats and a few properly prepared grains and ferments.

Now before you start to tell me that this is only stage three bargaining kicking in I've already done that route with GF and I'm so over it.  I've tried the crappy pizza and the even crappier bread.  I've cooked with weird flours that taste fine when they come out the oven but mysteriously transform into sandstone bricks overnight.  I've wasted so much time and money on food substitutes.  I'm done.  I'm not going there.  I'm too sick and don't have the money to do that again.

Anyway, I don't need the substitutes this time.  To me this food seems more like going back to my English roots.  Eating steak and eggs and drinking unhomogenized milk.  What I remember of meals in England is roast dinners.  It wasn't until we came over here that I remember eating donuts and Wonder bread and Twinkies.  Not that I totally behaved in England.  I did acquire a lifelong chocolate addiction from there.  But I seriously only remember baked goods from the US.  So going Paleo or even WAP is closer to the food that I was raised on than the "healthy" low fat, whole grain diet I've been eating for decades.  So I'm not sure I will do the crying stage either.  I'm certainly going to mourn the loss of cupcakes and the loss of American "normal" diet but in a sense I'm going home to English cooking which makes me happy.  I'm looking forward to making a pot roast the next time my sister comes to visit.  She misses my pot roast.  I used to make a kick ass one.  She got really mad at me when I turned vegetarian and stopped making them.  Luckily I still have the recipe and I'm a way better cook now than back then.  I'm betting it is going to be spectacular.  So screw the cupcakes; bring on the roast beef!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Nothing To See Here. Move Along.

Warning: this post is definitely TMI.  Do not proceed if you are squeamish about girl bits.

More of the same old same old.

Just when I'm starting to do a teeny tiny bit better I get whopped with something else.  What was it this week???  The period from hell.  Yup.  No period for four months.  I was going to have a celebratory party but then...  Lets just say I woke up this morning to discover a shower and laundry were going to happen BEFORE breakfast.  Nothing like four months worth of uterine lining sloughing off in less than 24 hours.  Major ick! Of course I felt like hell the last 24 hours.  Hubs even said I was white as a ghost when I finally emerged all soapy clean and starving hungry.

But I'm beginning to feel better again.  I'm back on my meds and they are working.  I'm getting my diet back on track.  Eating more good stuff than bad.  Cheating way less often.  I seem to be craving beef lately and am eating it whenever I can so there is something my body needs from it.  I've gone off pork and hadn't had it in a week or two.  I'm back to having eggs and vegetables for breakfast and fruit, cheese and nuts for evening snack.  My head is slowly clearing up.  I can read a little bit more each day.  A week ago I had trouble with single sentences.  Now I can read a page or two before the words start jumping around (yes they really do jump; they like to play jumble on me).  Episodes where I can't walk or talk are getting further apart and are resolving faster.  Things are moving in the right direction.

I get very frustrated with the slow pace of the recovery.  I keep wanting more.  I'm always wanting more.  I'm drooling over crossfit blogs.  I'm having skating dreams.  I want out of the house.  I want to be able to walk around the block on a sunny day.  It has been over a year since I have managed that feat.  I keep thinking about my muscles wasting away.  I couldn't open a water bottle today.  Jars are becoming a problem.  Poo.  This blows.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Food Experiments Continue

Today I managed to crack the seal on the Bubbie's Sauerkraut.  Trust me this was a huge feat.  I even failed using my Oxo Good Grips jar opener.  But after lots of determination I managed to get the jar open and I didn't even spill any of the uber healthy juice on the floor or myself.

My order from Wellness meats also came in this morning and I let the braunschweiger sausage melt in the sink for an hour or so.  I cut each end off the roll and put the remainder in the freezer.  Of course I dropped one slice on the kitchen floor that hasn't been cleaned for weeks (when is the cleaning lady due??) and had to discard some of this lovely meat.  Braunschweiger is an interesting lunch meat.  It is grass fed beef, beef liver and spices.  It is uncured but cooked and reminds me of very good liverwurst.

So my snack plate today consisted of a slice of sausage, a tablespoon of kraut and a tablespoon of fermented ginger carrots.  I should have added a slice of raw milk cheese but I was too tired from opening the kraut jar to get up from the table.

The verdict?  Not so crazy about the ferments.  They are very salty and I've been eating low salt for about 20 years now so I don't particularly like super salty foods.  They are also a bit on the sour side and the carrots are too gingery for me.  That said.  I think I might be able to acquire a taste for these.  I can certainly have an occasional large dollop at snack time.  It is very good for my guts and will help heal my intestines so I'm going to keep eating them.  I think when I manage to do my own carrot ferment I'll leave out the ginger.  I can easily see using the carrot pulp from my juicer for fermenting.  Hum...  The ultimate in recycling.

The sausage is fantastic!!  LOVE it!!  Then again I used to eat liverwurst as a kid.  This reminds me of that nice high quality stuff.  Now I do want to mention that while I love the smell of liver and onions cooking I HATE the taste of liver.  Always did.  I used to cook it for my dad who used to like it for his dinner.  I'm English and organ meats were common menu items during my childhood not that I liked any of them.  Since good quality liver is supposed be very good for our health and I hate eating the liver itself, I decided to try it hidden in lunch meat.  And it worked!!  I can eat this several times a week no problem.

I've even decided to call this the plowman's lunch in homage to my English roots: slices of sausage and strong cheese, generous dollops of kraut and carrots, maybe a slice of sprouted spelt bread with some cultured butter on the side.  If I'm really hungry apple slices and grapes can be added to round out the lunch.  Yum!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Stuff n Things

I'm mentally challenged right now so forgive me if I meander a bit or have weird sentence structure or even crappier punctuation than usual...

Had a nice outing with hubs, hence the old brain is now out to lunch.  We went grocery shopping in Whole Foods today.   I found Bubbie's sauerkraut and locally made fermented organic carrots.  These are both fermented in the traditional, WAPF approved, manner using only salt.  Of course they were horribly expensive.  $8 for a small jar of ginger carrots.  I don't even know how much the kraut was.

I instantly felt disparaged.  I've been reading LOTS of real food blogs where the authors and followers shop at local organic farms and make everything from scratch.  Now kraut and fermented carrots are simple to make and a comment someone made on one of the blogs rang through my head "Why would anyone want to buy this stuff when it is so easy and cheap to make?"  Of course I wholeheartedly agree with them.  BUT I'm not healthy.  I'm having trouble cooking.  I'm lucky if I manage to make dinner on any given day.  Some days even breakfast is a challenge.  But I was bummed that my attempts at making this have failed the few times I've had the energy to make the stuff.  I'm bummed that I've had to throw out three heads of organic cabbage since they rotted before I got around to attempting fermentation again.  BTW, cabbages keep for WEEKS.  How can I not find the time/energy to make simple foods that would help me and help my guts???

Then it struck me.  I need to give myself permission to spend the money on good food when I'm this sick.  It is okay to spend $8 on fermented carrots when I'm too sick to make it myself.  I am not "less than" when I can't make things from scratch.  I might have to spend extra money right now but if it helps me heal and get better then I'll be able to start making it myself and save tons of money.

Of course I hope I actually like this stuff.  I also hope it doesn't upset my tummy.  We'll see.  Let the experiments begin.

My new mantra "It is okay to take shortcuts in the kitchen."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Holding Pattern

Saw my holistic doc Friday.  He doesn't want me changing my diet until they figure out what is going on with my intestines.  He poked me in my left side and I went through the roof it hurt so much.  The poking set off some kind of weird chain reaction and I ended up having to take aspirin the rest of the day.

He also told me that I shouldn't have stopped my meds when I got sick.  Turns out I should have increased my dose not stopped it.  My regular doc told me the opposite.  He was happy I stopped the hydrocortisone.  Then again he doesn't want me on that stuff anyway.

So I've upped my dose of hydrocortisone.  That should help with the brain fog and dizzy spells.  My guts still hurt and I have to go back to my regular doc on Monday for a follow up.  I'm guessing that I'll be sent to a gastro doc.  Ah the fun just never ends.

Meanwhile, GAPS is on total hold.  Oh yeah, I'm also getting bored as hell because I've been stuck on the couch going on four weeks now and brain fogged for three.  I can't do anything and it is starting to piss me off.  Grrrrr......

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Holding Pattern??

Just because I'm in a holding pattern for starting GAPS doesn't mean I'm not still gearing up for it.  I put in my first GAPS oriented meat order Sunday.  The meat will be here tomorrow.  They are still out of tallow and oxtail and are now saying that they will be in Friday.  I only ordered enough meats for the first week of GAPS.  This means that I will have enough meat to meet the minimum order criteria when the tallow comes in.

My bile salts, gelatin and kelp powder showed up on my doorstep today so I'm now ready for my detox baths and high fat diet.  I can also make white grape jello without any added sugar.  Woohoo!!

My kid also drove me to Trader Joes today.  So I stocked up on frozen fish for my breakfasts.  I now have tuna, salmon and tilapia.  I was hoping for haddock or halibut but they didn't have either.  I got two bags of onions.  Too bad they didn't have any cipollini onions.  I was looking forward to using those for the braised onion side dish that is allowed on GAPS.  I'm hoping that WF has some.  I did get some mint and sage for the poaching liquids.  I'm having mint with the lamb.

I remember Mum making mint sauce for our lamb when I was a kid.  It was one of my favorites and so easy to make.   http://www.allfreecrafts.com/giftinajar/mint-sauce.shtml .  Yum!  I also like malt vinegar and salt on my peas instead of butter.  Not sure if I can have malt vinegar on GAPS.  I'll have to look that up.

I'm hoping to swing by WF on Friday after my doc appointment to pick up oxtails and possibly suet so I don't have to wait for Wellness Meats to get their crap together.  Seriously.  They are driving me bonkers.  They are now often out of what I want and can't keep common items in stock for any length of time.  It bums me out.

One additional note.  I'm going to ask my doctor about the GAPS diet and see if he thinks this is a good idea considering my intestines being tied up in knots right now.  Either they hurt outright or I can feel them spasming (which feels really bizarre).  My regular doc dismissed it as IBS and sent me home with no instructions on how to deal with it.  I was too out of it at the time to do anything about it.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

It's Back

"It's baaack"  You have to say this in a drawn out sing song high pitched voice.

Yuppers, my guts quit working again today.  Or maybe I should say they kicked into overdrive.  So much for going to bed early.  

I've been slowly preparing for GAPS.  After initially balking at the idea and trying to eat everything in the house that was GAPS illegal, I was actually looking forward to my intestines not hurting anymore.  Instead I've been unable to find a source for grass fed tallow and oxtail.  My usual supplier, US Wellness Meats, has been out of them for a month now.  They were supposed to have them in Friday but still no luck.  I need to order meat and if I do then I won't have a big enough order to get the oxtail and tallow when it finally does come in.  ARGH!!  And no I haven't been able to source it locally.  The cattle around me are grained off or grain fed.

Now what is the big deal about tallow you might ask.  Well it is the ONLY fat allowed during the first couple of stages of GAPS.  Animal fat is essential for gut healing and good nutrition.  I have to have this for the start of GAPS.  I can't start using ghee until phase 3.  Sigh.  

I've also been so sick I never managed to make the kraut or kimchee that is required.  I do have some whey so if my guts don't force me back to bed I might be able to get by on the whey until the kraut ferments or I manage to find Bubbie's kraut at WF.  

Yeah they do sound like excuses but you have to realize that I spent over five hours yesterday putting together a two week GAPS menu so that I could put in my meat order this weekend and also pick up all the right veg from WF.  BTW, the site I used is AWESOME!!!  Saymmm.com  You type in recipes or URLs of recipes, put together a menu and it spits out a reasonable facsimile of a shopping list.  Woohoo!!  Makes my life easier.  

Going through other blogger's experiences of Intro GAPS continues to surprise me.  Everyone cheats in some way.  I don't know if it is because they are trying to feed kids or reluctant husbands but I don't understand the cheating mentality.  The diet is set up this way for a reason: to heal the guts.  It won't work well if you cheat.  It will work some but not as well as strict adherence would.  Even the ebook I paid money for has recipes in it for food that isn't allowed at the level it is written for.  Go figure.  Something I see over and over again is the statement "I rushed too fast through this."  Which resulted in incomplete healing and a need to back track through the program.  If you don't rush and do the program properly it actually takes less time to heal.

I know I slip from my GF diet fairly frequently but I don't have any huge effects from it.  Nothing like I used to get when I first started this diet six years ago.  Back then a slip would mean instant belly ache and 24 hours of severe brain fog.  Now a slip usually results in nothing.  That aside when I first went on the GF diet I was very strict about adhering to it.  I knew I was healthier if I didn't cheat.  People would ask me how I could do it but the risk outweighed the reward at that point.  I would get really sick and be in much pain if I cheated.  So when I do go on GAPS I'm not going to cheat or rush through the stages.  It is only a month.  I can do this.  I'll come out the other side with no more gut pain and no more bathroom disasters.  I might even manage to get off some of my supplements because my guts would be able to absorb vitamins and minerals from my food again.  Wouldn't that be cool??

I wonder if I'm allergic to corn?  I had loaded nachos tonight.  I got organic corn chips and organic corn which means nonGMO but I haven't had this dish for a long time.  I wonder if I had it the last time my guts quit working????  I barely eat corn anymore so I wonder.....

In the meantime, I get to listen to my guts singing to me while my ass feels like someone took a flame thrower to it.  I know.  TMI.  Oh well.  Life of the chronically ill.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pre GAPS part five

My last order for GAPS stuff just got placed with iherb.  I'm buying 2lbs of kelp powder (for detox baths), 1lb of beef gelatin (yes I'm making home made jello: i'm just bummed I can't find a source of grass fed gelatin), bile salts (I have no gallbladder and bile salts are used to digest fats) and to replenish my dwindling stock of vit E.  Since I am a first time customer I got $5 dollars off and since the order was over $40 I got free 3 day shipping.  How cool is that!!

BTW my fermented cod liver oil showed up today.  I had one this morning and no fish burps all day!!  Woohoo!!  I used to get them when I took regular fish oil so this is a nice change.

Next step (if I can get my brain to work) is to put together a menu for the next two weeks so I know what meat to order from US Wellness and what veg I need from WF this weekend.

So far I've struck out on grass fed oxtails and tallow.  One person I talked to at Whole Foods said they could put aside grass fed suet for me but when I called on the phone to actually order it the guy had no idea what I was talking about.  They do have grass fed oxtail though.  So I might not have any animal fat to cook with next week other than butter and ghee.  I might have to skim the fat off the beef broth when I make it.  I also have a small (few inches) piece of fat I cut off a steak before I cooked it for dinner last week.  I have to render it when I feel up to standing at the stove for a while.

I did pour off some whey from some old kefir that has been in my fridge since before Christmas so I've got lots of that for my probiotic source.  I've been too sick to make kraut.  I'm going to have to look for some jarred stuff at Whole Foods when we go shopping Saturday.

Not too bad for the prep work.  I'm going to buy as many veg all ready cut up as possible.  Not sure I'm going to be in good enough shape to actually cook much next week.  We'll see.

On The Mend?

I had my physical last Friday.  During that meeting I went downhill very rapidly.  I figured a couple of days rest and I would be fine.  But NO.  I kept getting worse.  I've spent every day this week in bed or on the couch.  These last few days I've been too dizzy to even sit up for long.  I certainly can't read or reason.  Typing is a challenge.  I have to erase just about as much as I type.  Rest just wasn't fixing things this time.

My kid finally came back from visiting his girlfriend in another part of the country and I managed to get to the chiropractor this afternoon.  He adjusted my upper back, my shoulder, my neck and my jawbone.  After swearing at him profusely, I sat up and felt better instantly.  As the evening has progressed I have had a few dizzy spells but it isn't continuous.  I have periods of lucidity where my brain works for a little bit.  I've been catching up on my blog reading.  I've still got a ways to go but hope springs eternal and I've got the idea in my head that I'll be doing much better tomorrow morning.  We'll see but things seem to be progressing in the right direction.

Oh and some good news: this new diet of mine resulted in my cholesterol numbers going down.  Hehehe.  Yup, eggs, butter and full fat dairy everyday and I've lost ten pounds and my cholesterol went down.  Woohoo!!  I'm just crossing my fingers that I'm well enough to start GAPS on Monday.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Crash Boom Bang

Sorry I haven't been writing.  I've been stuck in bed.  My neuro symptoms are back in full swing.  More later when I'm doing better.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

I just got a shout out from a new friend, Tanya, who writes one of my favorite blogs, "Its a Real Pain", about living with FM.  Much to my surprise, she has selected me for a Liebster Blog Award.

I'm going to crib her definition since I have never heard of this before:
The word “liebster” is of German derivation.  While there are many meanings for this word the one word I am going to base my nominations on–because you know single words are ever so important to me–is “beloved one” which means “one who is dear to the heart.”
The idea of the Liebster Award is to get the word out about blogs you love to read.  The rules are simple:

  1. List five blogs you enjoy reading.
  2. Let the author know you've selected them for the award.
  3. Copy and paste the award to your blog.
  4. Hope the recipients will pass it along to their five favs. 

So here we go, my favorite blogs, in no particular order:

1)  The Reinvention Tour:  I've been reading Karen's blog for over a year now.  When I first "met" her she was still having serious issues with CFS/ME.  After wrestling with the illness for six years she is now on the mend and almost one hundred percent back to normal.  She is an inspiration to me and living proof that one can beat this illness.

2) Microcosm:  Another blog I've been following for about a year.  Stacy is another CFS/ME sufferer who lives in New Mexico.  However, instead of writing about her illness she writes about her little corner of the planet.  She has a lovely enclosed garden that she tends when she can and she occasionally ventures out into the surrounding parks.   I absolutely adore her writing and her photography is amazing.  It is a true pleasure to read her posts.

3) Cranky Fibro Girl:  While Jenny doesn't post often I love her wry whit.  Her posts often have me in tears from laughing so hard.  A fellow geek girl with a great sense of humor.

4)  Learning to Live with CFS:  While I've never met Sue in person, we've become friends via the blogsphere.  Her family has been struggling with CFS/ME for decades and she has become my go to pal for CFS information.  She intersperses information and entertainment on her blog.

5)  4 Walls and a View:  Last but in no way least is my friend Dominique.  Another CFS/ME soul that I've never met in person but we've become good friends thanks to the internet.  Her blog is an inspiration to many fellow chronically ill souls all over the planet.  I've seen her stay upbeat in situations that would have been devastating to myself.  She is now on the road to recovery and is back out among the living.

I just want to thank Tanya for selecting me for this award.  It is my first one EVER!!  Woohoo!!  I've been so blessed to meet so many cool people via the blogsphere.  It is one of the truly great things that has resulted from my being ill.  

NOTE:  CFS is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and ME is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Pre GAPS part four

OMG I could do without these hot flashes.  About every half hour I just want to rip my clothes off I'm so hot.  Ick.  The new deodorant isn't managing to keep up with my sweating fits.  Sigh....

More prep for GAPS today.  I got my Internal Bliss cookbook.  Lots of cool ideas.  I have to go through it and mark which ones I can use during stage one.  I want to try making coconut milk and flour.  It also gave me an idea for a portabello mushroom appetizer.  I'll write about it if it works out.

I bought some biokleen scent free laundry detergent and their awesome dishwasher soap.  In for a penny in for a pound.  I was almost out of laundry detergent anyway.

I bought some fresh carrots and beets so I can start juicing again.  I tried my fav commercial yogurt yesterday and tolerated it very well so I stocked up on it today.  I also got another head of cabbage for sauerkraut again.  I found out that you HAVE to refrigerate it BEFORE you eat it.  Apparently it changes the flavor for the better.  So third time is the charm???

Seawead at Whole Foods was stupid price so I'm going to buy some from Mountain Rose Herbs.  I can get kelp powder for $4/lb.  Plenty for detox bathing.

They also didn't have any soup bones of any sort so I'm going to have to find some online.  I'm hoping Wellness Meats stocks them soon or I'm going to have to find another vendor.  Bummer.  But I did buy a small organic free range chicken that I'm going to roast and then use the bones for stock.

Hey even the cat ended up with organic kibble for the indoor cat.  My little chubs will have something new to turn her nose up at.

Talking of chubs.  Apparently the weight I lost while I was sick seems to be semi-permanent.  I'm still about 8-9 pounds lighter than prior to having the intestinal infection.  Not a recommended way of loosing weight but I thought some of it might have been water weight but apparently not.   First time I've been under 250lbs for about a year.  I'm expecting to loose some more while on GAPS as well.  That would be cool.