Monday, 28 November 2011

Disappearing Act

Its been a while since I have even checked my blog, let alone updated anything. I haven't been in the best place health-wise the past few weeks and although I'm trying to remain positive, it can be difficult at times.

None of my experiments with introducing new foods seem to be working very well, and I'm stuck in a bit of a rut. I have this constant feeling of being 'swollen' in my abdomen, and I'm not sure whether it is bloating or simply inflammation. It doesn't feel like the usual bloating that I have put up with for the past year...but I'm not sure whether it is even possible to have a physical presentation of the inflammation that is likely going on in my intentines.

On Friday night I was doing some baking for a Thanksgiving dinner that I was attending on Saturday night. I was pretty excited to be attending my first ever Thanksgiving - its not something we typically celebrate in Australia. But my boyfriend's mum is American, and has quite a few American friends over here, so she puts on a big dinner every year. I had decided on 3 different desserts - a pumpkin pie, a hazelnut honey cake with spiced cranberry chutney from Roost (one of my favourite blogs), and an upside down apple cake of my own devising.

I hadn't been feeling at all well on Thursday....I woke up after an unusually solid sleep feeling utterly exhausted - that sort of mental and physical exhaustion that I used to feel when my symptoms were at their worst. I was supposed to be attending my CB's brother's gig that night with a group of friends, but by the afternoon I knew there was no way I was going anywhere that night. I feel crap - that was the first time in quite a while that I've had to let my illness interfere with my life in a big way.

Friday came and I was still feeling crappy, but now it was more GI symptoms than the brain fog and exhaustion. After work I stopped by the supermarket and got all of the ingredients I needed to start my bake-a-thon. I wasn't feeling too crash hot, but I thought the baking would be a good distraction and fill my house with wonderful smells. I returned home and had everything laid out on the bench...ready to bake!

A good few hours later I was finally finished, with a pie and 2 cakes to show for my efforts. I was feeling pretty proud of my efforts, but had also been feeling increasingly unwell as the night went on. Eventually at about 11:30 I thought i had better go to bed because I just wasn't feeling good enough to even talk to my housemates, let alone clean up the kitchen. I spent the next 6 or so hours in bed writhing in pain while simultaneously fighting off intense nausea. At one point I even considered driving myself to the hospital because I just didn't know what to do - something that anyone who knows me could confirm is the last thing I am likely to want to do.

I know we have up and down days on the SCD, and that it takes time to heal. But at the moment I feel like I'm just not getting any better, and in some ways getting worse. My diet is currently restricted to meat, chicken soup with no veg, zucchini, diluted apple jelly, turkey patties, and the occasional egg. I can't tolerate any fruit or honey, or even the majority of veggies. Carrots and pumpkin have both been crossed off the list. I feel like things I was tolerating are no longer agreeing with me, and my list of foods is growing smaller and smaller. And even then, I still feel crap almost every day.

I'm going to keep plugging away - I know as crappy as I feel that it would be so much worse without the diet. I just wish I could understand why I am feeling so horrible all of the time, why I have started bleeding and why constant pain seems to be one of my new symptoms. Am I doing something wrong?

Thursday, 10 November 2011

An Excellent Podcast on IBDs and the SCD

I'm sure many of you have heard of SCD Lifestyle , and the fantastic work of Jordan and Steve. I have been downloading all of their podcasts, and have found the ones with guest speakers particularly helpful. Last night on my walk home from walk I listened to their podcast number 29, with special gues Dr. Leo Galland. There was so much useful information in that one podcast that I felt like my head was spinning. I would strongly recommend anyone wanting to know about treatment of IBDs and the use of the SCD diet to have a listen.

How Dr. Galland Treats Digestive Disease

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Smoky BBQ Chicken

I have a whole bottle of apple cider vinegar sitting in my pantry, and I've been trying to think of recipes that I might be able to use it in. I'd never even heard of apple cider vinegar until I started the SCD, so wasn't really sure what it might be used for. Until today, I had only ever put a small amount in my chicken soup to extract more of the gelatin from the bones.

I thought the tanginess of the vinegar might be good as the base for a marinade, and I had some chicken cutlets that were just waiting for some attention. So I had a look through my spice rack to see if I could find anything that might go. Here is what I came up with, and I must say having just finished it less than half an hour it - it was delicious!

- 8 Chicken cutlets (I used thigh with the skin removed, but this would also be good on chicken breast, marylands, or even a butterflied whole chicken)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Pepper to taste

- Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a large container or ziplock bag
- Throw in your chicken and shake until all pieces are well coated
- I would recommend marinating your chicken overnight - this is what I did and it really tasted fantastic
- Fire up the BBQ and cook your chicken for a few minutes on each side

This recipe is simple to put together and easy to cook. Its perfect for those nights when you want to fit in a gym session after work :)

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Greek Lamb Chops

Anyone who knows my dad could be forgiven for thinking that he suffers from some sort of identity crisis. Having been a tradie all of his life, he has worked with people from a whole range of different cultural backgrounds. Being a little food obsessed, my dad has certainly embraced many of the dishes introduced to him by his workmates. I think the funny thing here is that he always went through phases where for a few weeks all we would be seeing at the dinner table were dishes from one particular region of the world. I think it was probably Greek or Italian first, and then we got Chinese and then Indian crept in as well. Now I'm definitely not complaining - I doubt too many of my school friends could say that they came home to find a dinner of char sui pork neck with fried rice, or tandoori chicken with naan bread on the menu for dinner.

In a lot of ways I think I owe my passion for food to my dad. His ability to create something delicious without a recipe or with whatever happened to be in the fridge and cupboards always amazed me. So when I moved out and started cooking for myself, I tried to be as much like him as I could.

One of my favourite cuisines would definitely have to be Greek food. I love lamb, and I love garlic, i love their dips and antipasto. When I was in Greece a few years ago, I was in food heaven. Everything was fresh and flavoursome, but inexpensive as well. So one of the first dishes I tried to create myself when I moved out was a Greece-inspired lamb dish. Because I often don't have time to cook a roast after work or on a busy weekend, I tend to opt for chops as my cut of choice when I'm eating lamb. If i had the money, I'm sure I would be munching on some lamb cutlets as often as possible.

So here is my recipe for Greek Lamb Chops. I tend to just wing things in the kitchen and never really pay attention to how much of anything I am putting into a dish - so hopefully I have this right. If not, I'll adjust my measurements next time I make them (which is looking like tomorrow night).

- 4 Lamb chops or lamb steaks (I prefer loin chops)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Pepper to taste

- Simply combine all of your marinade ingredients in a ziplock bag or container with a lid and shake until combined.
- Throw in your lamb and again shake around so that each piece of meat is evenly coated.
- Marinate for at least an hour. I like to leave mine overnight so that the flavour really soaks into the lamb.
- How you cook these is really up to you. My preferred method is on the BBQ, but thats just because I love to chuck just about anything on the BBQ. I also like to cook them on a tray under the grill (broiler for any US readers), which lets all the excess fat drip off and makes the chops lovely and crispy. But you could also fry the chops or even book them in the oven.

Sometimes I'll make a little extra marinade and soak some zucchini and eggplant in it as well - absolutely delicious on the BBQ.