Coeliac and stress, and the emotional merry-go-round of life

What a full on and draining few months I have had!

Things have been piling up on me, and I have been really struggling to cope.

Problems with friends, worry about my health, and problems with my sons health. It’s all been a bit much to handle.

My son has been sick a lot for the last few years. Digestion problems, pain and cramping. We have been seeing a few different doctors, and I have suspected Coeliac Disease for a while. Finally they came back with a diagnoses, I was right. It’s not too bad when you consider some of the alternate diseases they were looking into. I can cope with Coeliac.

So now he needs to go strictly gluten free, for life. He is taking it really well, he just wants to feel better. Me…different story. I feel I have gone into stress overload. I seem to always be thinking about his diet, what he can and can’t eat, tying to find alternatives so he doesn’t miss out. Shopping now takes forever, reading every label on every product, double checking ingredients before it goes in the trolley. It all makes my head spin.

Then there is cross contamination to think about. Just one crumb can make him so ill, and do damage to his digestive system. So we need separate toasters, new chopping boards, it’s just insanely intense.

I have problems with stress and anxiety anyway, and major problems sleeping. So I can feel myself going downhill, slipping into the rabbit hole. The more I worry, the less I sleep. Then lack of sleep makes everything feel worse, and that makes me stress more. It’s like a horrible merry-go-round that just keeps spinning faster and faster while the music gets louder and louder…

I know I need to jump off, calm down, but just can’t seem to find a way.

I’m hoping a bit of time will make it easier, make me feel more confident and comfortable that I can do this, I can help my boy get healthy.

I just need to get through this part now….and some sleep sure wouldn’t hurt

 

Chook chook chickens!!!

It’s been crazy around here for a while now. I have been really busy playing in the garden, making it nice, and making it productive.

I love the idea of becoming a little self sufficient. I mean, I know it will never happen totally, but growing a little bit of food for my family? That’s an idea I can get behind.  The veggie garden is going well. I am already using the fresh herbs, and have high hopes for veggie harvest time. Today I even found our first baby bean!!

IMG_5230[1]

One weird thing that has happened while trying to grow this nice fresh food, is that I can’t stop thinking about eggs. Not the bland shop eggs, but real eggs. Fresh eggs. Eggs with bright yellow yolks that are bursting with flavour.

So whats a girl supposed to do but get some chickens?!

I emailed the real estate, trying to get their blessing on it. They never got back to me, so I rang them. They never rang back. So I chose to interpret their silence as ‘You go girl! Get some chickens! Everybody loves chickens!!!’

I really thought the biggest hurdle would be getting the idea past my husband. He’s not a big animal fan, and I am constantly pushing the boundaries with my ever growing menagerie. This time he totally surprised me. While not loving the idea (or even liking it, if we are honest) he had no big objection. Lots of head shaking and eye rolling, but I’m used to that!

So Operation Chicken was hatched!! ( sorry about that, but hey, it was an eggsellent pun 😀 )

So I started the online ‘research’. By research I mean obsessing and fixating on all things chicken, cause that’s just how I roll.

I looked into all of their needs, into coops, runs, feeders. You name it, I probably goggled it! Anyway, I soon had a working plan in action. I sketched up plans, redrew them into something more practical, priced materials, then showed the husband. He then priced better materials, cheaper, cause that’s how he rolls 🙂

So before we started building, before we even purchased the supplies, I did what any crazy-person would do… I brought home chickens!!! Two little month old, very ugly-but-still-cute Isa Browns. Only problem was they had nowhere to live. So two old budgie cages, lots of cable ties, and a cat litter box later…they had a perfectly acceptable little temporary run. Not pretty, but the girls didn’t seem to mind 🙂

Meet Mildred and Little

Meet Mildred and Little

It really was temporary though, so we had to get cracking. So I dragged my poor long-suffering husband shopping and we got the metal and supplies needed. I then lined up our daughters boyfriend to come around and do the majority of the building and wielding. I figured I’d better cut the hubby some slack, there’s only a certain amount of ‘chicken stuff’ a bloke can handle!

So imagine my surprise when I came home from work the day before the build was due to start, to find him over halfway through the main frame work! I love this man 😀

Two days of bloody hard work later (I really mean bloody, that chicken wire is nasty on your hands) and the framework was up, the coop was built and painted, and the wiring was started. At this point, my crazy started to show a little more. I went to the nursery, and somehow..accidently came home with two more little chicks. These ones were only 12 days old. So now there are 4 chooks in the budgie cages!!

Meet Mikah and Tink

Meet Mikah and Tink

At this point the guys left it to me (smart men). A few more days (and lots of swearing later) I had all the wiring done. It was ready for chickens. Finally!!!!

The finished(ish) run and coop.

The finished(ish) run and coop.

The “Great Chicken Releasing Ceremony’ was set for after school. I think I was more excited than the boy..but that’s kinda normal 😉

The girls took a fair bit of convincing to leave the safety of their litter box, but once they did..boy were they happy chicks! Dust bathing, scratching about, rolling in the dirt like weird feathered dogs (I swear it’s the truth, these chickens are crazy!!) They spent ages exploring, then when they got tired they retreated back to the safety of the litter box!!! I guess that can stay for a while, since they like it so much.

They seem to be settling in quite well. They are getting used to us coming in and out all the time. (For some chicken love) Mildred and Little (the oldest two) come up for pats and scratches, but Mikah and Tink are still pretty skittish. They tend to hide under the coop when we go in, only coming out after we have been sitting there quietly for a while.

They have such different personalities already, and are such fun to watch. Who would have thought chickens could be so entertaining! The feathered freaks have totally won us over. We love our chookies.

Chicken love :)

Chicken love 🙂

Now we just need eggs. Yummy fresh bright yellow eggs…….

Hey!! You lookin' at me!?!  Little has big attitude!

Hey!! You lookin’ at me!?! Little has big attitude!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cinnamon Nut Bars. Paleo goodness :)

So after the last weeks fairly poor eating effort, I figured out that what really lets me down are snacks.

Yes, I am a snacker. Just can’t help myself 🙂

I decided the only thing to do was make some healthy, paleo snacks. So with this in mind a cooked up these little bite-sized nut bars. (inspired by recipe at http://www.ourpaleolife.com/2013/09/honey-nut-bars/OMG they are good!! The hard bit is going to be not eating them all, RIGHT NOW!!!

Cinnamon Nut Bars

So you too can share the nutty goodness I thought I’d share the recipe 🙂

Here goes

Cinnamon Nut Bars

2 cups assorted nuts (any nuts will do. I used 1/2 cup each of cashews, walnuts, almonds and pecans)

1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)

1 tsp Vanilla Extract (not essence)

Pinch of sea salt

1/2 – 1 tsp cinnamon (I used 1tsp, I really like cinnamon)

Just over 1/2 cup of honey

 

Preheat your oven to 180C

Line a square 20cm baking tin with baking paper. Make sure you leave flaps hanging over on all sides.

Roughly chop the nuts. This can be done by hand or in a processor.

Add all ingredients except for honey in a mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.

Add the honey and mix until ingredients are evenly coated.

Put mixture into your baking tin. Press down firmly to pack it in, making sure to get it even and into all the corners. It helps to oil your hands for this step

Bake in your oven for 20 minutes

Place entire tin on a wire rack to cool slightly. Once cool enough to touch without burning yourself, use the baking paper overhang to firmly press down the bars and compact them.

Allow to cool for 30 minutes.

Lift bars out of tray using paper overhangs, and flip onto another sheet of baking paper. Firm down again.

Allow to cool completely, then cut into bite-size squares.

Individually wrap in baking paper, and store in an airtight container.

Eat within 1 week …or 1 day, I won’t judge!

 

Hope you like them. They are super moreish 🙂

A ‘Not-So-Paleo’ Week

This week I really haven’t done too well at keeping within the ‘Paleo Guidelines’ with my food.

A lot of it is lack of organization. I get hungry, there’s nothing appealing that fits the bill, so I eat something not-so-good.

A lot is the constant stream of chocolate the 18 year old keeps bringing home.

And lets be honest, a lot is a dip in will power!

 

But do you know what, that’s OK. I’m not going to stress about it. Because I have still been making better choices, taking healthier steps. I have just eaten a little choc, not a big heap. I have been eating Chia pudding for breakfast, and if I’m not organized enough to prepare that, then I’ll just grab a carrot.

Tonight the rest of the family had KFC. I’ll be honest, I did too. The difference is I only ate 2 pieces of chicken, and had a heap of leftover salad with it. No chips! This is a big achievement for me.

I know I could be doing better, and I will. But I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I have been eating WAY more veggie’s than I used to. I snack on fruit, nuts and eggs. I haven’t eaten bread or pasta at all, and rice only once. In over 3 weeks.

I think that is something to be proud of. Something I can build upon.

The key will be getting organized.

So tomorrow I am shopping. Then cooking. I will be baking yummy treats, making seed & nut bars. Cooking meals to put in the freezer. I am also going to prep a heap of veggie’s to make cooking next weeks fresh meals easier. And my big hurdle, I will try to menu plan!!! Menu planning always seems to defeat me. This time I am determined I will win! 😀

Wish me luck everyone, I think I am going to need it!

 

The yummiest breakfast ever! Layers of Chocolate Chia pudding and Strawberry-banana Chia pudding, topped with fresh strawberries and chopped nuts! So decadent it felt wrong, but so good :)

The yummiest breakfast ever! Layers of Chocolate Chia pudding and Strawberry-banana Chia pudding, topped with fresh strawberries and chopped nuts! So decadent it felt wrong, but so good 🙂

 

 

Mostly Paleo

Well, it’s been nearly 3 weeks now since I started this paleo experiment. I have to say, I REALLY like this way of thinking!

I’ve stopped thinking about being on a ‘diet’ and instead am thinking about good, fresh, real food. And it tastes yum!

I’m not doing 100% paleo, as I know if I put foods on the ‘I can’t eat, EVER’ list I will just crave them. So I am mostly paleo, but if I am out for dinner, or I really want a little something not-so-good, then I will. The key words being A LITTLE. I have eliminated grains (99% of the time) and rarely eat white potato any more. I still have dairy, but only minimal amounts. Processed sugar is out 🙂

This approach seems to be working for me. I’m not finding it too restrictive, and can still eat familiar meals (with some tweaking). It’s also helping me branch out and try new recipes and foods I wouldn’t think of eating before.

As far as weight loss, I didn’t take a reading when I started, but have lost 2.6kg in the last 10 days. I feel good, really good 🙂

I think I’m onto a winner here folks

Sweet potato crisps. Soo good

Sweet potato crisps. Soo good

The Flower Goes Paleo!

Well it’s now been over a week since I decided to try a paleo lifestyle change…and OMG it is amazing!!!!

I have been trying to ‘get healthy’ for a while now, always a vague plan, no real idea of what I’m doing. I’d heard talk about paleo, and thought it sounded interesting, but maybe a bit too full on for me. But after the last few months, putting on weight, feeling crap (both physically and mentally) and really struggling with energy..I figured what have I got to lose??

So I looked into it (many hours on the computer) and do you know what..it really didn’t seem so hard after all. No tiny portions, no set meals, eat when I’m hungry. Sounds basic right?? The catch was cutting out sugar and grains. Well, I don’t eat much sugar anyway (I know, chocolate counts..but surely I can go without???!!!) Grains is the tricky one..or so I thought.

Turns out it’s not so hard.

 

I have been eating so well, and such a variety of different foods, that I haven’t even missed them. I slipped up 2 or 3 times in the first few days, but mostly I’m doing damn well. The great thing is how well I feel doing it.

My skin has cleared up soo much, no more spots (a friend even said I looked ‘glowing’ and asked if I was wearing makeup!)

My energy levels have increased and stabilized. It’s easier to keep moving, I’m not getting tired so easily, and I can get out of bed in the morning. Mostly because I am sleeping so much better.

I also find I’m not getting crazy hungry like I used to. You know the hunger I mean, where your tummy growls, you get so cranky and snappy, and just have to eat the closest thing? Not happening, not any more!!

I’ve even lost weight! My pants fit better, and I all-over feel good 🙂

Honestly though, I think the best thing is the food!! Now anyone who knows me knows that I’m not much of a cook. There are so many other things I would rather be doing. But knowing how I want to eat, has motivated me to find good recipes. Try new things. No more meat-and-3-veg.

I’ve been eating things like Bacon and egg muffins (http://paleomunch.com/paleo-diet-recipes/paleo-breakfast-muffins-make-for-a-quick-and-easy-breakfast/), or baked Avocado with egg for breakfast. Yummy salads for lunch (real ones, from a book, not just boring crap), and the best dinners EVER. The menu has seen meals like Lamb racks with a medley of roast veg, Hungarian savory mince  (http://www.lavenderandlovage.com/2012/10/mid-week-meal-plan-52-diet-and-hungarian-savoury-minced-beef-recipe.html) Middle-eastern Lamb meatballs with Harrisa yogurt..the list just goes on. If I feel like something to munch on there is fruit salad, baked sweet potato crisps, vege sticks… so much yum!

I really don’t feel like I’m missing out at all. 

The only thing I’m not doing is totally cutting out dairy. I have cut down on it dramatically, but still need milk in my cuppa tea. I’ll work on that one.

All things considered, I really think this way of eating (and the mind-set that goes with it) can totally work for me.For the first time in a long time I am excited about my food, and looking forward to the future.

So if anyone is even thinking about trying Paleo, I say give it a go.

After all, what have you got to lose??

 

 

 

 

Get it together and RUN

So Easter has been and gone, and I think it’s time to start looking after myself.

There’s been way to much chocolate in this here house, mostly consumed by me, on the couch..(please tell me I’m not alone in this….anyone..????)

Anyhoo, the time has come to….(da na na naaa…) go for a run 🙂

That’s right, I’m getting back into it!

Exercise, eat right, yada yada. Wish me luck peeps.

Seriously though, time to clean out the cupboards (they are wayyy festy), get back on track and start cooking up some simple, healthy tucker. Two of my fav blogs for recipies are

http://quirkycooking.blogspot.com.au/ Awesome thermomix based food. Mostly gluten,dairy and sugar free. So delish,

and

http://www.wholefoodsimply.com/ clean,easy, totally yummy in every way.

If you ever need cooking inspiration I reckon you should check these two ladies out.

Anyway, time to lace up the runners and put my money where my mouth is!!

Catch ya 🙂

Image