Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Health Update - July 2013

(being a dork out the front of the Sumo Wrestling world championships in Tokyo)

Hey friends! Guess what? My mac died. Errrrrrrgh. The Battery is toast and as I've had my beloved book for going on 5 years now, I think it's time to upgrade. And I haven't had any time to do that yet, so I haven't been able to do any photo editing which means no recipe posts! Sorry about that. But today I'm blogging from my iPhone and I thought I should probably give ya'll an update on my health status.

Last update involved all sorts of scary moments including controversial drugs and a return to my former depressed self. That was super awesome. Thankfully, I'm doing better now. As soon as I got myself off oratane, my HS (Hidrabenitis Suppurativa, for those of you just joining us) flared. Not bad, but definitely a huge difference from the relief I did experience on the drugs. I also noticed a few new areas where it seems the disease has managed to spread (I will save you the gory details!). Given the last 7 months of surgery, medication and being bounced from specialist to specialist, I kinda got fed up and decided I was going to have a break for a little while. While all my doctors have been nothing short of magnificent, extremely caring and sympathetic, at the end of the day there is so little known about HS and it seemed they were all running out of ideas. 

A few months ago my mother, a natural therapies enthusiast, gave me a big bottle of Olive Leaf Extract to try. One of the benefits of olive leaf is its anti inflammatory properties which she thought could possibly help quell my flair ups. I started taking it but i was never really consistent with it and eventually stopped all together. But shortly after my oratane ordeal my bestie noticed the discarded bottle in my kitchen and told me how much her mother and aunty rave about olive leaf. So I thought I'd give it another crack. I've been taking 10mls a day for the last 2 months and have had ZERO flair ups. I hardly even notice my lesions anymore!! 

I can't say with all certainty that the olive leaf is slowling my HS. After all, it is winter which means I'm less active which is probably helping with my arm. BUT, Michael and I recently got back from 2 weeks of summertime fun in Japan (including all the non-paleo meals!!) and I decided to leave my olive leaf at home to see if I noticed a difference, and I just so happened to have TWO flair ups during our trip. Coinsidence? I'm beginning to think not. Providing this all keeps going well, I'm also considering acupuncture as an alternative therapy approach. Again, my darling mother is a huge fan, and it's worked wonders for her recently. Plus I've read so many good things about acupuncture, I figure it can't hurt? 

In other news, if you follow me on twitter or instagram you may have noticed that I've also decided to quit sugar (insert groans of pain here). I'm loosely following the Sarah Wilson 'I Quit Sugar' plan but as I predominantly eat paleo, all I've really had to do is cut out the natural sugars like fruit, honey etc. I'm hoping this detox will help me curb my processed sugar cravings (even cavemen go weak at the sight of a Zumbo Cronut!), but shall keep you all updated as I go. 

Stay healthy, Kids.
KayB xx

(The Cronut. Or Zonut. Heaven in a pastry.)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Paleo Mousse

Remember when you were little and you ate yogo like it was real yoghurt? That gloppy, runny, chocolaty stuff? Sometimes you would get the big serve with the choc chips or M&Ms to stir in?Or sometimes you would just drink it out of the little container, push it right up against your face so you can lick every last remnant from the bottom, resulting in a chocolaty ring around your mouth and nose? Remember that? And do you remember last week when your boyfriend was super sick with a weird strain of man flu/food poisoning and the only thing that made him feel better was a fridge full of yogo? Ok, so that was just me then?

I promise you, this yogo ranting is leading somewhere. I call this a paleo mousse because that's what the original recipe was published as over on PaleOMG. I nearly crapped myself when I saw this post, mostly because I had just made a fresh batch of almond butter AND I had all the other ingredients in the house to make the damn mousse. Which pretty much never happens. There is always one damn thing missing. I've tweaked the recipe slightly, and depending on how you like the consistency, you can either whack it in the freezer for a mousse or just chill it in the fridge for a yogo. See, I told you the yogo rant was leading somewhere.

Paleo Mousse

1/4 Cup almond butter
400ml ice cold coconut milk (full fat)
1/4 Cup Raw cacao powder
2 Tbs raw organic honey
Pinch of cinnamon

Pop your coconut milk in the freezer for an hour or two until it's ice cold. Place all ingredients in your food processor and blend until well combined. Pour into four small dishes (I used tea cups) and refrigerate for 4-5 hours, or until it firms up to your desired consistency. If you want firm mousse, transfer from the fridge to the freezer for 1 hour before serving.

Serves 4,  276 cal per serve.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Paleo Jaffa Cake

When I was young(er) I had a sleepover with a bunch of friends. The sleep part of 'sleepover' is only implied, as we didn't sleep a wink. We sat up all night and laughed, talked shit and ate crap. Oh, and we also rolled jaffas across the wooden floorboards to each other, creating a horrid noise in the echoy silence of early morning. This noise then filtered upwards to my parents bedroom, resulting in my mother, to directly quote one of my friends, going ape shit crazy.

Ahh to be young again. And jaffas - not just good for eating at the movies. Also an impressive torture device. Who would have thunk it.

Jaffa Cake

2 over ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/4 cup almond butter
2 tbs coconut oil
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup raw cacaco
1 mandarin zest, plus juice (you can use an orange instead. I only had mandarins)
pinch of baking soda
pinch of baking powder

Preheat oven to 220 degrees celsius. Line a small loaf tin with baking paper. Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until combined. Alternately, combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Whisk wet ingredients in a second bowl. Combine wet to dry.  Bake for aprox 45 minutes, or until  brown on top and baked through the middle.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Almond choc chip cookies and the beginning of the quest for the perfect paleo cookie.

I have read so many damn blogs claiming to have the ultimate paleo cookie recipe recently. I'm not saying their recipes are wrong. I'm actually thankful for their posts. Cause it means I have a multitude of 'excuses' to try all of them. Once I accrue them all, I'm going to embark of some sort of spiritual-cookie pilgrimage to my umm,.. kitchen? It's gonna be messy. In the meantime, here is my contribution to the cookie pilgrimage.

Almond choc chip cookies

1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup + 1Tbs coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1 Tbs melted coconut oil
1 Tbs raw organic honey
1 Tbs coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 200 degres celsius and line tray with baking paper. Combine all wet ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Grate your coconut sugar and mix into the wet ingredients so the sugar starts to dissolve.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl (excluding choc chips). Add the wet ingredients and mix to combine, then stir in choc chips. Take heaped tablespoons of mixture and roll into a ball. Place of tray and flatten. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown on the edges.

Makes 10 cookies, approx 106 cal per cookie

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Meal Plan - April 4th

Fun fact about me for this week: I really, really, really dislike Canberra. But I love road trips.

Happy Easter, ya’ll! I am not ashamed to admit that I bombed a small grocery store isle worth of holiday treats this weekend. Not all at once, though. Cause that obvs makes it better, right?! NO REGRETS (except for the stabbing pain in my tum tum 20 minutes later). Back on the paleo bandwagon this week; frittatas and salads and big hunks of meat are in my sight. 

Meal plan. 
Salmon salad
Slow cooked pumpkin soup
Banana pancakes
Left over soup
Eating Out
Bacon and Eggs
Eating out
Paleo English muffin
WORKING L fruit salad
Eating Out – dinner with friends
Banana pancakes
Salmon salad
Roasted chicken and veggies
Paleo English muffin
Left over chicken and salad
Lamb and sweet potato fries
Paleo granola
Leftover lamb salad
Bunless burgers

Health updates.
In my last update, I had just started my new HS treatment. Well, to put it delicately, that went to shit reeeeal quick. One of the side effects they mention to patients when prescribing Isotretinoin is depression. HOWEVER they follow this up by stating that the two have never been medically linked, but that the current condition of the patient is what causes the depression instead, NOT the drug. This I believe to be complete and utter horse shit. What I failed to tell my doctor when he prescribed me Oratane was that I had actually been diagnosed with depression 12 months earlier. I no longer see a therapist and I’ve recently come off medication, so stupid me thought it wouldn’t be an issue. That I could handle it. So yes, I do have a predisposition to the disease however, I did notice a HUGE change in my mood straight after taking the drug every morning. Literally within an hour of taking it, I would be in tears. I couldn’t function, I couldn’t sleep, my eating was all out of whack, I had no energy. And this was all within the first two weeks of treatment. Thankfully, I recognised what was happening from last time and my boyfriend was smart enough to see it too and pulled me out before it got too bad.
 If you’re discussing oratane/isotretinoin with your doctor, PLEASE seriously consider all the options and side effects first. This is an incredibly powerful drug and I would only now consider it as a very last resort. Yes, I suffer from depression so it’s easy to pass this incident off. But I know my body, and I have been doing really well juggling both my HS and depression at the same time. It seems strange that as soon as I start oratane, my depression flares up for no apparent reason.
I'll be visiting my doctor once the dust settles to figure out a new plan of action, but until then it's back to antibiotics. Stay tuned. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Paleo Sweet Potato Brownies

I have chicken neck. Let me rephrase that. I have big ass swollen glands that make me look like I have a chicken neck. I don't feel sick, but it hurts my face. Woe is me right now. Thankfully, I had 1 more sweet potato brownie waiting for me in the fridge when I got home tonight and now I feel heeeeeeeaps better. If you can, resist the urge to eat these straight out of the oven (fat chance). Instead, pop them in the fridge over night. These bad boys mature real well with age. I discovered this fact by accident. Accidents rule!

Paleo sweet potato brownies (adapted from PaleOMG)

1 1/2 sweet potato (about 1.5 cups mashed)
3 eggs
1 Tbs melted coconut oil
4 Tbs raw organic honey
3 Tbs coconut flour
2 Tbs tapioca flour
2 1/2 Tbs raw cacao powder
Pinch of gluten free baking powder
Pinch of cinnamon
Dash of vanilla extract
Optional extra - tsp of melted nutella or melted dark chocolate.

Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees celcius. Grease one large loaf tin (or I use two small loaf tins) with olive oil. Personally, I prefer not to grease as it adds extra, unwanted fat. Instead, invest in some silicon bakeware. Seriously, you'll never look back!

Depending on how lazy you are, peel and dice your sweet potato then boil until tender, then mash. For the lazy among us, put your taters in a microwave proof bowl, cover with water and zap for 6 minutes. Drain and whack in your food processor. BLLLLLIIIIIIITZZZ! 

Start with your wet ingredients - eggs, oil, honey, vanilla. Whisk to combine with your mash, or BLLLLLLLITTTTZZ in your food processor for 1 minute. 

Then the dry ingredients - flours, cacao, baking powder, cinnamon. Stir to combine or BLLLLLLITTTZZZ! 

Poor mixture into prepared tins, and if you have opted for the additional extras drizzle over the top of your brownie mix. Bake for around 30 mins or until a skewer inserted into the mix comes out clear. 

Makes 12 brownies. Or 4. Depending on how many you eat before your significant other comes home. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Meal Plan - March 21st.

Fun fact about me for this week - I have a problem with leopard print. As in, I have an addiction. It's a major problem. Here I am this week hanging out in Enmore while sporting one of my many pairs of leopard print pants. 

I’m having such a bad hair day. About six months ago I decided to grow my hair out after having sported a pixie cut for what felt like a billion years. Dumb decision. I’m an impatient, anxious person at the best of times so when I declared to all my friends that I wanted mermaid hair, I really hadn’t thought it through well enough. I read that EGG YOLKS help your hair grow quicker (and makes it more shinier and softer and generally more fabulous). Mix 2 egg yolks with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and dilute with water then rub it on yo head! I’m totes trying this. And then I’m gonna use my leftover egg whites for an omelette. EPIC Saturday plans.

Meal Plan

English muffins & avocado
Pumpkin and carrot soup
Pesto burgers
Paleo granola & fruit
Leftover pesto burgers
Eating out
Eggs white omelette with bacon
 Probably still full from BREAKFAST.
Eating Out
Leftovers from BBQ
Frittata with mince and sweet potato
Paleo English muffins
Leftover frittata
Salmon in a bag
Paleo English muffins
Leftover pumpkin soup
Baked chicken & sweet potato fries
Paleo granola & fruit
Leftover chicken and salad
 Lamb and veggies

Shopping List

Almonds, bacon, eggs, beetroot, cheese, milk, almond milk, olive oil, mince, salmon steaks, chicken, Iceberg lettuce, mixed lettuce, tomatoes, fruit, onions, sweet potatoes, carrots, baby spinach/silverbeat, celery, avocado, basil, raw cashews, beans/snowpeas, lemons, BBQ STUFF TBC. 

Health Update

I’ve just recently started my new HS treatment. It’s not fun. I hate making new year’s resolutions, but I do like to set myself goals for the year. 2013 was supposed to be the year I got off all my meds. Started well, but my plans came crashing down 2 weeks ago when I met with my new specialist. While eating clean, organic and as naturally as possible is great, he didn’t seem to think it would have any direct impact on slowing down the disease. There is no scientific evidence to prove that lifestyle (besides smoking and being overweight) will affect the increase and spread of HS. I was pretty gutted. That’s not to say I should go back to old ways of eating and living. The healthier and fitter I am (and I’m a motherfucking machine right now!), the better my body will be at fighting off infection when I do occasionally have flair ups.

So anyway, the new plan for my treatment is back on le drugs. Gross. I’m now on a six month course of Isotretinoin, marketed in Australia as Oratane. The main use for this drug is to cure cystic acne in teenagers as it shuts down the oil glands in the body, which for me should hopefully slow down the spread of HS (as the oil glands and sweat glands work hand in hand), put me into remission or even cure me. It’s quite a powerful yet controversial drug. The side effects range from dry, cracked skin right up to inflammatory bowel disease and vision impairment. In 2009 Roaccutane (the original isotretinoin) was pulled off the shelves in the US because of the significant side effects and the mounting costs of personal-injury lawsuits. To say I was nervous about starting this treatment was an UNDERSTATEMENT! The only other option was more surgery, which I’ve been told could cause even more problems down the track with impairment on range of movement in my right arm. I felt like I didn't have a choice. I’ve been on Oratane for just over a week now and I have the WORST dry lips and skin imaginable. I’m keeping a close eye on everything else, trying to be as healthy as possible, while hating being back on medication. I should know within 2 months whether it is helping or not, and at that point I can make a decision whether to continue treatment or not. *Sigh*. Wish me luck.

(I’d love to hear from you if you’ve been on Oratane or suffer from Hidradenitis suppurativa. Any tips or tricks we can share would be wonderful!)