Saturday, July 30, 2011

Vitamin D (3) Deficiency

One of the most common problems related to food intolerances with malabsorption is a lack of Vitamin D. I had a blood test done in May, when my Vit D was measured at 52. Considering that the normal level is 150+ that was a bit of a shock. I'm going to see a senior dietician at Shepherd Works in a few days, so wanted to have very recent blood work to show her. Imagine my horror when my Vit D had dropped even lower ~ to 38 in just two months!! It explains the dreadful muscle weakness, fatigue and joint pain I've been experiencing recently. I have now started a therapeutic regime of Ostelin brand Vitamin D (3) - scientific name is cholecalciferol. It's necessary to start off with 2-3 capsules per day, best taken with breakfast, for a month. This is followed up with a blood test and then adjusted as required. Ostelin has no added anything. I'm beginning to wonder if my reduced muscle strength is the reason for a very heavy fall I had a couple of weeks ago.

Of course, the laughing GP just told me I need to spend more time in the sun - to get outside more. Hellloooooo, Albert ... I already spend a minimum of 2 hours most days outside, which I told you in May but because you are so cynical about food intolerances you dissed me when I told you this. Don't you know that many Australians are already deficient in Vit D?? The food intolerances just make the situation worse.

My thyroid levels were also really out of whack - connected to the Vit D deficiency which is required for proper absorption of calcium. It's a minefield trying to manage all the issues I have :(

Homemade Ice Cream

I recently bought a Cuisinart 2L ice cream maker ~ model #ICE-30BCA. It was a bargain on eBay, BNIB from an honest seller. It is a fantastic machine. Some of the reviews I read stated this model is a bit noisy, but I don't think it's as annoying as a food processor or electric mixer; and it makes fantastic ice cream and frozen yoghurt. This machine does not have a compressor, but a bowl which is placed in the freezer for 24 hours before you want to use it. Sounds like a PITA but it's not. Just leave it in the freezer between batches. I've tried several recipes, but this is my 'go to' preference ... even though it's very rich. One small scoop at a time can't hurt though, can it?? I add a large mixing spoonful to individual containers with screw top lids. Here's the recipe:

600mls whipping cream (min 35% butter fat)
395g tin condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

Whip cream until soft peaks form. Add vanilla bean paste, then condensed milk. Mix until it looks like custard. Pour into ice cream maker & churn for 25-30 mins.
It will be like soft serve ice cream at the end of that time.
You'll need to put it in the freezer to harden up & ripen in flavour. It's delicious.

I've done a couple of variations:
Instead of vanilla bean, add 1/4 tin of drinking chocolate to the cream & fold it in carefully before mixing or the choc powder will fly all over your kitchen!

Instead of the condensed milk, use a 385g tin of Coffee & Milk and add 1 tablespoon of good quality instant coffee granules - I used Moccona 'Indulgence'.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Traditional-style baked rice custard

This is bascially what I've been living on for the past several days. Don't add the sultanas if you are super sensitive - I only used about 10 of those 'nasty' little yummy brown super sweet fruit. It's a bit of fiddling about, but well worth the effort IMO. I have had no bad reaction/s to this recipe, but as usual, please assess your individual tolerance and daily load when you eat it. Enjoy!
75g (1/3 cup) medium grain white rice
750 mls (3 cups) Lactose Free milk
70g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
4 eggs
(I used my own chookies' eggs, but you can buy free range at most s/markets)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (don't use the synthetic chemical crap!)
10-15 sultanas
pinch of ground nutmeg (don't use if super sensitive)
Pre-heat oven to 180 C. Cook the rice until tender, drain & set aside. Use a fork to whisk together the milk, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Stir in the rice and sultanas.
Line the base of a roasting pan with a tea towel folded to fit and place a 1.5L (6-cup) capacity ovenproof dish in the pan. Pour the custard mixture into the dish. Sprinkle evenly with nutmeg. Pour enough boiling water into the pan to reach halfway up the side of the dish. Bake in oven for 40-45 mins, until the tip of a knife comes out cleanly. Remove dish & set aside to cool for an hour.
Make sure you use a baking dish of the size specified. If the dish is too large the custard may cook too quickly, becoming dry & rubbery.
For a smooth result, use a fork to whisk the egg mixture. A balloon whisk causes bubbles to form in the custard as it bakes, creating an unpleasant mouth feel.
Be very careful not to overcook the baked custard or it will separate. If you see tiny bubbles throughout the custard, it's overcooked.

It's been a rough five days

DH & I went visiting last week and I ate something I knew I shouldn't have even put in my mouth ~ let alone swallow it. I didn't want to offend our friend, who doesn't know about my condition. I need to be much stronger and even more hyper-vigilant when eating away from home. I knew I was doing the wrong thing and I've paid BIG TIME. My husband (who is very supportive) told me that I will continue to make mistakes and I must remember the lessons I learn along the way ... he's right. My daughter tells me that I must take food and drink with me wherever I go and be more in control of what I eat & drink ... she's also right.
I've been so sick since about an hour after this incident ... five days ago :(
I have absolutely no appetite and am finding it really difficult to eat anything due to severe, on-going nausea. Because I am not eating very much I have no energy; and doing anything is becoming quite a challenge. I feel a bit 'spaced out'. I made some chicken soup last night, with the very best intentions ... but the smell of it was even more nauseating. I ended up eating about half a cup plain, boiled, white rice - AGAIN! The only other thing I've been able to force down has been homemade LF egg custard in tiny amounts. Thank goodness some of my little chookies are laying organic eggs for me again. I can eat them the same day they are laid.
I've been in this headspace before and I so understand how people develop eating disorders. It would be so easy to just stop eating. I've had food phobia before. The really weird thing is that I hardly lose any weight when this happens ... 'famine mode' taking over, I guess.
I also bit the bullet and purchased a couple of medications which many other people in my position are having excellent success with. One of them is "Fructosin". This one comes from Austria and is pretty exxy - works out at around $1.65 per capsule. I have had a bottle of these for about 2 weeks now, but some of the ingredients (esp. the fillers) make me really twitchy. I'm not sure that I have the courage to try them.
The other one is "Digest Spectrum" from the U.S. which costs about the same amount. This one is a capsule which contains the digestive enzymes that people with my condition lack. I know that a number of people who use these two alternative medications are getting really good results. I'll continue to think about whether or not I risk it while I wait for the DS to get here. I've tried several different pre-biotics and pro-biotics in the past, but they only made things worse for me. I vowed I would not put anything with numbers attached to it in my mouth, but other peoples' results have me thinking hard ....

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sue Dengate's "Fedup" Roadshow, 2011

Sue is on the road!
You can read about the itinerary and buy tickets here:
I already have my ticket and am heading to Shepparton on the 17th August.
There's also a new Fedup website, which has just been launched here:
Sue & Howard have been VERY busy. The new site is much more user-friendly & heaps easier to find specific things you might be looking for. Well done guys ... thank you!
You might also be interested in reading this blog:
There are many very interesting entries and links from Emily Deans M.D.
In the meantime, the Fructosin I ordered from Austria (yep, that's AUSTRIA!!) arrived today ~ unadulterated by our Customs, for once. Now I just have to decide whether or not I will actually try it ........

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Mean Machine

DH is off having an inspection of this beast today, with a view to buying it ... for meeeeee! I didn't want to see it until after it's had that initial inspection by the banker...JIC. It's a 1971 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray with a Daytona body kit fitted.
It's got a hot 350 ci motor that's had lots of work done to it to make it go harder.
I fell in love with these cars when I saw my first one ever in 1968. Of course, I would prefer a 68-69 model, but this one fits the bill too ... it's major attraction is that it's converted to right-hand drive. It should have chrome bumpers, but the body kit alters the shape and they had to come off. Everyone knows red cars go faster!!! LOL

Saturday, July 2, 2011

What a handy little hot house

As well as the worm farm, I bought a 'mini growhouse' from Hume and Iser. It was reasonably priced ~ comes in a flat pack (which I hate!!), but it was dead easy to assemble. No tools required. It will be excellent to give seedlings a head start. I placed it against a brick wall where it will trap the late winter warmth. It has a good quality clear plastic cover; as well a second, heavier opaque cover to reduce the effects of a hot sun.
The front has two zips and a roll up section for easy access. The four shelves are made from light, square wire which will need to be treated with care as they will easily go out of shape & don't look as if they'd support heavy weights. They also need to be more securely connected to the primary frame IMO. The whole thing is heavy enough to withstand bad weather. I think it will be perfect for keeping small seedlings warm & healthy before they are transplanted into the bedding containers.
I don't do things by halves, do I?!! LOL

I haz wormz

I was out & about earlier than usual today - getting worms. The worm farm I've had for years needed replacing, so I bought a new one. It's the same brand & set-up as the one I've had for yonks, but the design has definitely been improved. The legs are stronger and angled outwards. When the old one's layers were full of worms, their wee & compost, the legs weren't strong enough to hold the weight and splayed outwards, making the whole thing very unstable. This is a much more stable model. I only bought a box of 500 worms as I think they'll breed up nicely. The poor things were not very lively when I first transferred them out of their travelling accommodation into their new home. A couple of hours later they were looking much improved. I think they'll be more than happy with the compost, coir, cardboard and the few veggie peelings I've placed them in. Once they've 'settled in' they can earn their keep by converting our kitchen scraps into lovely wormy fertiliser.