Sunday, July 28, 2013

Road Trip

This morning I am typing this post as hubby drives us out of Port Macquarie NSW enroute to Sydney.  Yesterday we spent 8 hours in the car, today is to be 5-6 hours.  Being organised with food before leaving has really helped.  I have been able to snack on ham, veggie sticks and for lunch we stopped and I bought a pre mixed salad from woolies.  Unfortunately I made the mistake of eating the salad dressing and I suspect it contained gluten.  This morning I have some hives on my face and left arm.  It relieves me that I made all my gluten, grain and dairy free 'breads' to bring with me.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Travelling and Paleo lifestyle

How has your week been?

Mine has been filled with work and cooking.  Meal prep is getting easier and faster but I have a whole new hurdle on the paleo eating front to get over. 

Good news is that i survived my first night shift since switching to this lifestyle.  Lots of protein definately helped keep hunger at bay.  Plus who doesn't like eggs for breakfast in the morning, post night shift they tasted pretty amazing. 

I also got to catch up with my Immunologist for the first time in a month.  He was very pleased with my progress, I still get hives but it's now only once a day instead of all day and I have had no more facial, throat or mouth swelling.  My blood results are improving and I have been taken off one medication, this excited me no end. 

Tomcat has noticed that my energy levels seem to be improving.  Instead of wanting to go to bed each night at 6pm and actually sleeping until my alarm at 0530, I have been able to sit down, regroup and then continue on.  I think that means that I am winning this battle. 

My biggest hurdle is this coming week.  I leave Brisbane tomorrow to drive to South of Sydney to catch up with my in laws.  We will stop over in central NSW to give us a break from the driving.  It is a 13 hour non stop drive for those who aren't in Australia  I haven't been faced with being away from home, eating out or staying at other peoples homes since starting my paleo lifestyle.  I have tried to prepare as much as possible and this evening have made my paleo bread and a pumpkin paleo bread.  We will have an esky in the car to keep it fresh until I can freeze each portion at my in laws house.  Ive also stock up on ham and chicken, veggies etc for me to munch on in the car while travelling.  I don't think service stations etc will be able to cater for my needs. 

To be honest my biggest worry is explaining my new lifestyle choices to my in laws.  For those who don't react to gluten, grains and dairy it would be extremely hard to understand.  However they know what I have been through with my health in the last 6.5 years and they have been supportive.  My response is going to be that if they want grandchildren then this is how they can support me.  I think they will be on board with that.  Time will tell...

Have a great week.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Paleo while working

How has your week been?

I returned to work on Wed and was met with a heavy work load, teaching high school teens about trauma and coping with having to get up at 0530! Ugh that is seriously a horrible time of the day.  I am pleased to announce however that I survived the alarm clock, work and eating paleo whilst at work.  If there is a place that my new 'diet' would fail it would be work.  I had to be incredibly organised and everything was frozen in portions at the start of the week for me to pull out the night before. 

I have noticed that I am much less bloated, water retention in my hands and arms is slowly easing.  I am however still very tired and still getting the odd patches of hives.  It is still very early days into my paleo experiment though so I am not worried. 

I am thrilled to have found a yummy and filling paleo 'bread'.  You can see the recipe here.  It is gluten, grain, dairy and yeast free. I have been having a slice of this with hard boiled eggs in the morning.  It is incredibly filling.  Nothing worse than feeling starved. 

Tonight is my first test of a social situation and being the only paleo person there.  Luckily it is at my place so I am very much in control of what is available.  I always put crisps, dips etc out for everyone when they arrive.  I am still going to do this, I am not so horrible that I will inflict my new way of eating on everyone else.  I have some prawns and prosciutto for me to nibble on and I am also a fan of asparagus and prosciutto.  Then we are having roast chicken, roast veggies, sweet potato for me and normal roast spuds for everyone else.  For dessert I am going to make an apple and strawberry crumble which is completely paleo.  Fingers crossed it is yummy. 

I don't feel too deprived and I always feel satisfied after a meal.  Let's hope that lasts and I continue to notice changes to how I look and feel. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Coal under pressure equals Diamond

It is 2 am on a Tuesday morning.  I am struggling.  I feel overwhelmed, discouraged and like a failure.  How can my body betray me so badly to cause autoimmuity which nearly killed me once with toxic mega colon in 2007 aged 24.....

On my 25 birthday (July 2007) I had a nurse specialist say to me "Happy Birthday Cat, we didn't think you would make it to see your 25th!"

I pretended to be ok with this comment but silently it tore me apart.  I had been that close to death? really? Then I questioned my consultant colorectal surgeon who operated on me for 5 hours overnight emergently.  He said I had had 12 hours to live and even with the surgery it was questionable if I would surive.  I was 24, newly turned 25 and only 18months married, how do you digest those details????Add in that I had immigrated to the opposite side of the world 6 months prior completely well... I had no support network, just my husband and some very new friends.  I was shocked, disgusted, angry, overwhelmed, frustrated and silent.

I called on my faith and as I lay in an Intensive Care bed I called out to God as a backslider in faith.  I didn't even know if my pleas would be heard, I thought it was too little too late.  I remember crying with my mum (she flew to Australia to Ireland) and saying my prayers aren't working, God doesn't hear me.  She assured me he did and he heard all the many prayer requests around the world for me.  I will admit to feeling discourage but not defeated.  I still FULLY believed I would LIVE FULLY. 

Gradually as I was taught to take one step after another ( i lost 70% muscle and had to learn to walk again), I realised that God was infact directing my rehab.  I was fighting back under guidance.  I WOULD WIN!!!  My purpose would be to inspire many others to fight back againt Autoimmunity.  We can SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND!!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Week 1 Paleo

WOW what a fast week that turned out to be!

As you know I started my search to the perfect diet to fight autoimmunity last Monday.  I opted to try the Paleo diet.  The principles being that if it doesn't walk, grow or swim on this earth then I can't eat it.  So it was bye bye beloved sweet chilli sauce, ketchup, bread, pasta, noodles, take away, did I mention bread!

I started pretty well last week.  I had pre made some homemade gluten, grain and dairy free granola but then I served it with fully dairy yoghurt.  Lunch and dinner were much easier, I had experimented with carb free before so to have a protein rich dinner with lots of veggies was no problem.  I made cauliflower and broccoli fritters served with roasted chicken, home made bologanise sauce served with ribbon zucchini,  even a paleo pizza base with salami, capsicum and onion topping, it was all very yummy.

However as the week progressed I found myself craving bread, pasta etc.  For the most part I did resist, however some bread did pass my lips and perhaps a late night bowl of pasta (gluten free of course!).

Today I had a dietitics review. How had my first week gone?

I confessed my diet downfalls, the craving bread being one and the late night pasta.  Oh and most importantly the skipping breakfast because I slept in late and decided it was better just to wait until lunch.

But my wonderful dietitian Julie was not phased by my cravings and sneaky bread eating.  It is all normal when you have to give up things which have been your 'norm'.  Instead of chastising me she gave me solutions in the form of paleo friendly bread recipes.

What stopped me in my tracks was that I was actually to have no dairy!!!!  What!!??? I am the granddaughter of a dairy farmer, my extended family makes a living from dairy!!! I LOVE cheese, how can this be happening to me!!!! 

It was then explained that in order for my gut to heal it can't have dairy, if I am to absorb nutrients I can't keep making my gut sick with dairy, gluten, grains and processed foods. 

I have already started using Bone broth which is rich is gelatin, mineral, vitamins and very good at healing the gut.  It isn't to my taste but I determined to continue because I know it is my long term best interests. 

Fair play to Julie, she gave me alternative recipes for sour cream.  I remain sceptical but I am prepared to give this fake cheese a go.  After all I want to be well and thriving more than I want cheese.

On the menu this coming week

Banana bread (grain, gluten and dairy free)

Multigrain paleo bread (grain, gluten and dairy free)

Dairy free sour cream

Paleo Lasagna


Bone Broth mixed into vegetable soup

Savoury mince served in a egg omelet (paleo burrito)

Apple and strawberry crumble (gluten, grain and dairy free)

Asian spiced chicken and asian slaw.

Green smoothies

Fruit smoothies made on almond milk

and I plan to research paleo protein balls.

What is on your menu this week?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Can you stop autoimmunity through food??

WOW!!! what a stormy few weeks it has been.  I successfully stayed out of hospital while waiting for my Immunology appointment.  Having said that I was covered in hives for the whole 7 weeks and had severe joint pain.  Who knew it was possible to get hives on the soles of your feet, ouch!

The big day arrived and the immunologist told me that I was having suffering from an autoimmune crisis.  My heart sank.  After 6 years of battling indeterminate colitis, psoriatic arthritis and osteoporosis I was not looking forward to facing off against another crisis.  I was started on chemotherapy injections, previously it had been chemotherapy tablets but the specialist felt that I would not absorb enough of the medication to improve. 

I left with a heavy heart, I was on 3 more oral medications, and a weekly chemo injection.  That was on top of all the medications and injections that I was already on.  The only way I can describe autoimmunity is being told that there's good news and bad news.  The good news is that you don't have cancer, YAY! The bad news is that you have to take chemo for life!! It's a bitter pill to swallow.

I was days away from my 31st birthday at this point.  I gave myself 24 hours to be miserable, mind you it took me 4-5 days to finally cry.  My poor GP had to gather me up when I finally let it all out.  She confirmed what I already expected, my depression was flaring up again.  I needed to fight back and quickly.  Luckily the medication had taken the edge off the hives and they were becoming fewer in number. 


... there is always a but

I continued to feel unhappy.  At 31 I was pumping my body full of medications, some that are extremely toxic.  Whilst they were helping me feel better, i wondered what they were doing to me in the long term.  I was already sporting the horrible steroid bloat which makes me miserable.  I wondered if there was something else that I could do to heal my body from the inside out.

I began to research diets, health regimes, juice fasts etc.  I returned to my fabulous dietitian Julie and explained how I felt about the new diagnosis and the tablets.  We have agreed to try me on a mix of Paleo and GAPs diet which will be used in conjunction with my tablets.  I am not in a position to cease the tablets as I am too unwell.  However i have fortnightly blood tests and my progress is closely monitored.  I am hoping that I will be able to reduce my dosage over time and hopefully come back off the chemo injections. 

Julie and I agreed that we would give me the weekend to get set up for my new food program.  I needed to shop and plan.  So tomorrow marks the start of a new regime, a journey to heal me with food from the inside out.  I will document my journey here and I am very open to suggestions so feel free to leave me a message.

Let's do this! I'm excited!!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

When life throws you lemons

For those who aren't aware I am battling autoimmunity and was told last week that I was in the midst of an autoimmune crisis. After 6 years of battling autoimmunity I was not thrilled to face this crisis.

I am proud to call myself a survivor. What started as a search for remission has become friendship, love and growing up (at 31 some might argue it was time!)

I have learned that life is messy ...and brilliant, gorgeous and staggering, crazy and sexy, just like my autoimmune battle.

The hardest thing to face and learn is that I am mortal, I'm gonna die, as are you, my time is limited as is yours and I refuse to use my time up by pretending to be ok. I'm not, I face daily pain , daily battles, but I will be survive.

I have made peace with my autoimmune battle and that makes it ok. I'm not going anywhere anytime soon (if i have anything to do with it, hello green smoothies and raw food), but I will no longer pretend to be ok on the bad days, i won't sugar coat my reality. Covering it up is something i have done for the last few years and definately the last 6 months. It is time to get real!

I aim to educate everyone on autoimmunity and its impact on everyday life of sufferers and their family. Love you all and I thank you for your support, prayers, positive vibes and well wishes. Your emails keep me smiling and laughing xxx