Saturday, May 31, 2014

A quick note

Earlier today while out for a walk I got a phone call from the hospital. They were 'just checking their notes were up to date' and one of the questions she asked was whether I was expecting another follow-up appointment. A massive coincidence the day after I absolutely failed to get through yesterday, it makes me wonder if someone noticed the same phone number calling over and over and got worried... Anyway she said there was nothing scheduled (I knew it!) And promised to pass it on to the secretary on Monday. So hopefully they'll give me an appointment, discharge me as not needing another, and I won't have to go back unless an optician picks something up again.
I will give them one or two points for calling on Saturday morning though...

Friday, May 30, 2014


I was so depressed today - for no apparent reason. Maybe it's just another example of that post-stress reaction you mentioned Joy... Anyhow I was if anything less happy to get up this morning than yesterday, in this case not surprisingly as I didn't sleep as well last night, and really wasn't looking forward to going into work. The dreary grey weather didn't help any but by the time I reached work I was kind of resigned... Then by mid-morning I was just... Down. Feeling sorry for myself about very little. My eye is almost pain free and rarely aches. I didn't even bother with sunglasses to walk from the train station in a somewhat sunny walk yesterday evening - and didn't then develop a headache. I'm doing better at sticking to my eating plan (though constipated and not seeing much benefit - perhaps that's the problem) and not drinking either, as I felt that needed nipping in the bud.
I am suffering the frustration of trying to get in touch with the eye clinic in Reading again. Last time I saw the consultant he said be wanted to see me again in 4 weeks. That 4 weeks ends next Thursday and so far I haven't been notified of an appointment. This morning the phone number was engaged, then endlessly ringing unanswered, then engaged (probably they took it off the hook because I was just letting it ring) then unanswered again... And it's not like I can just trust them to sort it after they forgot all about me before. This appointment is supposed to tell me I can get my eyes tested, order new glasses, and start driving again so it's quite important to me. In total I probably spent 30 minutes throughout the day listening to the phone ringing Anne never got to talk to anyone...

Food today:
Breakfast: mini frittata based on this recipe
Lunch: raw ginger soup
Dinner:cold roast chicken leg with leftover pizza veggies
Snacks: cashews, Greek yoghurt

Virgin Margarita Slushee

I heard that this summer is really going to be a hot one. And sometimes I just want something cool, refreshing and yes, a little sweet, in the summertime. This slushee is not something that I eat every day or even every week. It's a treat, but one that I have no guilt over! I am such a fan of it that I had to share it with you all.

You can make it more or less sweet, depending on your taste buds, by adding more or less grapes. The color of the grapes will alter the color of the finished slushee.

Read more �

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Chugging along

Diane, thanks for summing up my opinion of the rail service so succinctly - that is exactly what I would probably have used many more words to say!
Today the trains were behaving themselves much better again. I was actually hoping for disruption thus morning so I would have an excuse not to travel in to the office! I woke up about 10 minutes before my alarm and lay there thinking 'I don't want to get up, please don't say it's morning yet' until the alarm informed me that it definitely was morning. I don't know why I was so tired, I didn't sleep that badly but tired I was... And still am.
At lunchtime today it wasn't raining - in fact it was bordering on pleasant!!! I headed off to the supermarket,so today I walked 4 miles in total and it felt good :-)
Food today:
Breakfast: souper supper raw soup (based on cucumber, celery, avocado & tomatoes) and a satsuma
Lunch: Greek yoghurt followed by a snackpack of melon chunks
Dinner: grilled chicken thigh with pizza veggies
Snacks: cashews, dried apricots

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Very Simple Seven Day Whole Food Plant Based Dinner Schedule that Kids and Parents will Love

For many years I have been asked the same question, "What do you feed your kids?"

I never had a great answer for that and I had a lot of explaining to do. "My oldest daughter eats many of the same things my husband and I eat, my middle child is a nightmare because she won't try any of what I make that's healthy, and my youngest, well, he doesn't eat all that much."

It was a problem, and it added a lot of stress into my daily life.

I was all set for the drama to go on like this until I saw the movie "Fed Up!" and made the decision (once again) to get rid of any and all food offenders in my kitchen. This time the bad guys pretty much centered around my middle child's refusal to eat anything that wasn't a processed carbohydrate. But the movie really inspired us, and I wanted to give going-all-the-way one more try. This time, though, I was much more prepared to withstand the screaming and the crying.

The first night at home after the movie and it was sheer chaos. Imagine The Exorsist, only ten times worse.

No, a hundred times worse.

Read more �


Yesterday at work my laptop was taken away from me for an hour and a half so that service delivery could perform weird and unnatural acts on it. As a thank you for your patience they then gave me a carrot cake cupcake. It didn't fit my calories yesterday (and I shouldn't have eaten it anyway since it wasn't gf) so I stuck it in my drawer intending to throw it away when no one was around to be offended ie this morning. However, today I could fit it into my calories now that I am belatedly aware of the pack size increase of the cashew nuts, plus I just wanted it, so I had it for breakfast.  It was good...
Today was the first day I didn't have to use eye drops. I actually feel like I have more time in the day without that 4 times a day task - ridiculous as it only took a minute or so, but it was driving me nuts by the last week. If I didn't know better than to cut short an antibiotic course I would happily have set fire to the bottle a week ago. All done now though!
Continuing grotty weather today stopped me from walking at lunchtime, which for once I actually did want to do. I did the usual 2 miles and called that enough horribleness for one day.
At least my train worked properly today. Yesterday I got home half an hour late - that doesn't sound too bad unless you know that on a good day it takes an hour and a half by train. I live approximately 17 miles from the office. If it had happened again today I might have snapped and done something horribly violent. Or just moaned a lot on here.

Food today:
Breakfast: free carrot cake cupcake
Lunch: raw curried cilantro cucumber soup
Dinner: homemade beef burger with kale salad
Snacks: cashews, satsuma, small amount of souper supper raw soup (based on cucumber, celery, avocado & tomatoes)

Paleo Coronation Chicken

I came across this recipe on a fab irish blog/website called The Little Green Spoon . It is so good. There was polishing off of plates here it was that good. Modified it slightly :-)

  • 400g Chicken Diced
  • 1 bunch spring onion
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 tsp curry powder
  • handful flaked almonds
  1. Dice up the chicken and fry it in a small amount of coconut oil. 
  2. Dice up the spring onion and add it to the chicken while its cooking. 
  3. In a food processor put in the lemon juice and egg and blend until combined.
  4. Slowly add the oils while the processor is on low, until completely combined. 
  5. You will notice that by the end it should be thick consistency - mayonnaise. 
  6. Add the curry powder and blend again until completely combined. 
  7. Add the chicken and onions and mayo to a bowl and mix until all the chicken is completely covered. 
  8. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and serve. 
You can serve this with salad :)

how to travel healthy

It's that time of year when many of you are heading off overseas to enjoy the beautiful European summer. I wish I was one of those people (#jealous). But last year, I spent 8 months travelling around Europe (the photo above is me in Makarska, Croatia aka heaven on earth).

I am often asked how I managed to stay healthy thoughout my travels. It can be a bit of a challenge. You want to enjoy all the local food, wine and treats, but you also want to feel fit and healthy and have the energy to make the most of your days. So I have put together this post of my top tips for a healthy (but still fun) trip. As usual, it's all about balance.

Before I left on my trip, I�d been eating real, unprocessed foods and limited sugar (thanks to the I Quit Sugar program) for a while and felt great. But during the first couple of months of the trip, I got a bit excited on the sugar front and ended up tired, puffy and sluggish. That�s when I decided I had to come up with a way to enjoy myself in a more balanced way. Unfortunately, moderation is not my forte. I really have to work at it. My solution was to start my Instagram account in the hope that sharing what I was doing would motivate me to make healthier choices. And I put the following points into action. 

Keep a healthy and filling snack on you at all times. 

You don�t want to get caught out hungry with no decent food options around. I kept things like shredded coconut, raw nuts, cacao nibs or dark chocolate (at least 85% cocoa) in my handbag. These things keep well and fill you up, as they�re high in good fats. They�re also a great supplement for the dreaded plane food. When it came to the in-flight meals, I would just pick out the best bits (if any), leave the processed crap (they can serve up some seriously weird sh*t) and eat my snacks if I was hungry.

Plane snacks: dark chocolate and raw walnuts.

When eating out, fill up on protein, good fats and green vegetables first. 

Get some goodness into your body so that when it comes to dessert, you�re either full or less likely to overdo it. The more nutrients you consume, the less hungry you feel and the less likely you are to crave sugar.

Do a quick workout in your room when you can. 

There are definitely better things to do while travelling than working out. But I found if I just did 10 � 15 minutes of something to get my heart rate up, I felt great for the rest of the day. Mix a couple of movements together for maximum effect, i.e. a few rounds of 10 squats and 10 push-ups, or jumping lunges with a handstand hold every time you break in the lunges. The benefit of doing it in your room is that you don�t need shoes (so you don�t need to pack runners) and you can wear minimal clothing (to save on washing).

Jumping lunges and handstand holds in Copenhagen.

Walk everywhere. 

It�s the best way to explore a new city. Before you know it, you�ve walked for about 6 hours.

Feeling stale after a long flight (or big night)? Stretch. 

Just going through a couple of basic stretches to release any tight spots and get the blood flowing can do you a world of good. Going through a few yoga sequences will have the same effect. You can download yoga apps for your phone or just Google �yoga� to find some demonstrations.

Downward dog in my (tiny) room in Makarska, Croatia.

Stay hydrated. 

This is a given, and particularly important if you�re travelling in summer. Sometimes we confuse thirst with hunger, so if you�re craving something, have some water first to see if you�re actually just thirsty (obviously, if you�re still hungry after the water, eat!). Just make sure the water is safe to drink where you are � otherwise buy some bottles of water at a supermarket (it will be much cheaper there than near tourist attractions or on the street).

Consider packing some supplements to offset less than ideal choices. 

I took travel sachets of Vital Greens powder with me (it's a multi-nutrient packed with goodness). In the mornings, I just tipped the sachet into a half empty bottle of water, shook it up and downed. I didn�t get sick the whole trip, and I reckon this helped.

Taking my Vital Greens in Nice, France.

But most importantly, give your body time to relax and enjoy yourself! 

Have you been travelling recently? What are your tips for a healthy trip? I�d love to hear!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

My First Big Update Post

Oh my gosh. It's been almost a month since I last posted. It's not like I don't think about you every day. I do. I wish there were more time . . .

There is so much that I want to share with you, it's actually hard to begin. But begin I must, so here goes:

I have been working with Chef AJ for the past month. She is coaching me privately based on the program that she runs in Los Angeles called "Chef AJ's Ultimate Weight Loss." I have learned so much from this experience. It's been painful at times. Sometimes she tells me things that sting, but I need to hear them so I put on my thick skin and press forward.

The good news is that her program is changing my life. As you can probably tell from my blog these past few years, I became what I will call an "unsuccessful plant based eater." Why? Well, I loved the plant based food, but I wasn't able to keep my weight down. This made me miserable. Imagine being a blogger of Whole Food Plant Based living, a lifestyle that promises that you will maintain a healthy weight, and not maintaining a healthy weight. It's madness.

And the other good news?

Read more �

Mixed weekend

After several days of continuous improvement in my eye, yesterday I woke up feeling as though someone stabbed me in the eye with a red hot poker and waggled it around a bit. As a result I also had a pounding headache. Great. So the paramol came out again and saved the day, and thankfully the bank holiday weather was back - it drizzled ALL day - so eventually it eased off with lots of rest. It's really disheartening when that happens and I was a bit worried for a while there. Today is the last day I have to take the damned eye drops thankfully, I can't wait to bin the bottle and wave goodbye to that task.
My Mum's visit was really nice though very quiet. It was the only decent day in terms of the weather, and we walked into town to eat at Wetherspoons then just wandered around town for a while. They haven't done that before due to dreadful rain last time they came. They weren't very impressed - can't blame them as the town scores highly in 'ugliest town in England / Britain' votes every year. With good reason. Plenty of time to talk though, which was lovely.
Today was a tough day foodwise. It started off not great when the 45g pack of cashew nuts I'd bought for snacking, which recently changed it's packaging, turned out to have become a 60g pack - and I only found that out after eating it.... Then a birthday boy in the office brought doughnuts in. I resisted and resisted and prayed for them all to be eaten...
After all that my train home was cancelled. I had to catch a bus into Reading to catch the second train, and to do that I had to get some cash out and break into it so I'd have change... Which is a long way of saying I bought a Crunchie - and ate it
Food today:
Breakfast: raw carrot ginger soup
Lunch: raw curried zucchini cucumber soup
Dinner: homemade Chinese bbq roast pork with salad and a homemade dressing
Snacks: cashews, homemade pork rinds

    Sunday, May 25, 2014

    Coconut 'Porridge'

    Yes you'll see a few recipes on this site that are 'porridge' but they do not contain oats and are gluten free . They are replacements for what you could have instead of porridge maybe as a breakfast.

    The most recent one i tried was coconut porridge. And i have to say i was pleasantly surprised

    • 2/3 cup coconut milk (or almond milk)
    • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
    • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
    • dash of himalayan rock salt
    • 2 Tbsp of almond flour
    • 1 Tbsp flakseed 
    • Handful blueberries
    optional extras as protein source
    • 1 egg white
    • 1 scoop protein powder 
    1. Heat milk, coconut, vanilla, almond flour and flak seed in a pan.
    2. Cook on a medium heat until desired consistency.
    3. Serve with a topping of blueberries and/or flaked almonds. 

    Friday, May 23, 2014

    Cold, grey, and wintry today...

    .... It must be a Bank Holiday weekend!
    Yesterday it was quite warm even though it was wet. Not so much today... Chilly was about the best it got, and that was indoors... We had rain, heavy cloud, and generally miserable weather. I didn't even need my sunglasses! Outside anyway, they did go on a few times in the office.
    Still sticking to the diet plan - low carb, grain free, gluten free and also monitoring calories since ignoring them allows me to not lose weight (not gain significantly either, but maintaining is not my current plan). As my eye still limits physical exertion my exercise today was restricted to the normal 2 miles walking, but I think I'm getting faster so that's something.
    I had a food fail at lunch time today though. Since I started replacing cooked soup with raw at lunchtimes and breakfasts I've been blending up the soups the evening before - more or less as soon as I get home and often at the same time as I'm prepping that night's dinner and loading the dishwasher. Last night something finally went wrong - I guess I missed an ingredient - and when I started my garlic bell soup it was rubbish. I've done that one plenty of times before and it's usually one of my favourites,but this time it was bland and virtually tasteless. I forced half of it down because 1) I'd already made it, 2) I didn't have anything else, and 3) I'd already made it... But the other half went down the sink, and I had to go into town for something else - not very easy with all my requirements. I wanted chocolate and / or crisps and didn't have either so I guess that's something of a victory!

    My Mum & her OH are visiting at the weekend. I doubt if we'll do much or go far, and obviously the weather will have to be taken into account. Can't wait to see her and I think she'll be wanting to check I still have 2 eyes!!!

    Food today:
    Breakfast: raw coconut tomato soup
    Lunch: raw garlic bell pepper soup, prepackaged cooked & sliced chicken breast, small pot of Yeo Natural Yoghurt.
    Dinner: grilled chicken thighs & salad with homemade pesto mayonnaise dressing
    Snacks: strawberries; cashew nuts

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

    And... back to the office

    First thing in the morning the office is quite comfortable as the lights are left off and there's only natural light from the windows (and light from monitor screens) . Sadly once it fills up there's always someone who gets light switch happy and spoils everything...
    However, resting my eyes yesterday seems to have helped; on Tuesday my eye started bothering me about 20 minutes after the lights went on and I was counting the minutes till I could take more painkillers in the afternoon, whereas today I lasted nearly 2 hours before I needed painkillers and never put the sunglasses on. Definitely an improvement! And because that was improved I managed to pop outside in my lunchbreak instead of just sitting at my desk with my eyes closed. It was pouring with rain so I didn't go far, but the (wet) fresh air was nice!

    Food today:
    Breakfast: BLTE Salad
    Lunch: raw Ginger soup; some corned beef
    Dinner: Turkey burger (homemade) with roast asparagus
    Snacks: plain yoghurt with strawberries; a few nuts

    Healthy Hair on YouTube: Pure Estrogen

    I just LOVE her channel for her elegant hair style tutorials. I call her the queen of stretched styling -- from bantu knot out updos to Curlformer chignons to textured high buns.  She also has some product reviews. Check her out if you're looking for either.

    Protective Style Lookbook || Natural Hair Chignon

    By popular demand, this is a series showcasing various protective hair styles.  Protective styling does not have to be boring. :o)

    Model: Meskie

    Difficulty level: 2/5

    Description: Low bun with twist embellishment.

    Image Source

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

    Working from home again

    This morning I woke up in pain from the eye. I think it was trying to tell me something - like keep me away from the damn fluorescent lights for a day. So I took painkillers before I even got out of bed and emailed my boss to say I'd be working from home today.
    At lunch I walked into town in the sunshine and warmth, and it was lovely. I did a little shopping in a couple of ethnic supermarkets for some curry recipes I want to try, and then got back to work. In the quieter times, while I was waiting for code fixes, I prepared one of the curries - a baked beef curry from a Madhur Jaffrey cookbook I have on my kindle, Curry Easy.
    All in all it was quite a nice day today although boring at times. And I only needed one lot of painkillers during the day rather than counting the minutes till I could take more like yesterday...

    Food today:
    Breakfast: bacon, lettuce, tomato and egg mayo salad - from now on referred to as BLTE Salad
    Lunch: bag of pork scratchings and some strawberries
    Dinner: pork mince stirfry
    Snacks: Greek yoghurt with seeds, nuts, & dried fruit mix

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

    It's not fair, I've been dieting 3 whole days and haven't lost a stone yet

    I have to say I'm unimpressed at how much harder it is to stick to an eating plan after eating whatever I wanted for 3 or 4 weeks. Anyone would think I'd developed bad habits or something. Or that it was just more fun to eat Krispy Kremes than to eat properly.
    I've been hungry again today, and bored, which gives me more time to think about being hungry... So after work I went over calories with some nut, seed & dried fruit mix. Not too bad though.
    2 miles walked, no other exercise, work, housework and boredom, that's been my day. With a helping of depression on the side due to having to keep putting sunglasses on because my eye keeps going funny.
    That's a medical term. I swear at one point it felt like it was flickering in time with the lights...
    Food today:
    Breakfast: raw carrot ginger soup
    Lunch: raw Kreamy tomato gazpacho soup
    Dinner: shakshouka (with homemade Italian sausage to boost the protein)
    Snacks: satsuma, Greek yoghurt, flaked almonds, and some extra nuts & dried fruit

    Hazlenut Basil Pesto Chicken

    A new one it's been a while since i posted. This one added a bit of flavour to the chicken breast :)

    • 3 Chicken breasts 
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 20g fresh basil leaves
    • 1/8 cup hazlenuts ( approx. 14)
    • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    1. Preheat the oven to 180deg C.
    2. In a food processor mix the garlic, oil, basil and hazelnuts until a paste is formed.

    3. Butterfly out the chicken breasts and cover in cling film and flatten out with a rolling pin.
    4. Take a Tbsp of the pesto mixture , lining it along the seam and folding it over like a flap. 

    5. Ensure the pesto is completely covered and none of the pesto is sticking out. 
    6. Place the chicken breasts on a baking tray.
    7. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
    8. Cover the tray with tinfoil.
    9. Place in the oven for 30 minutes. 

    Serve with some steamed broccoli :)

    Monday, May 19, 2014

    Join Healthy World Cafe for lunch Wednesday, May 28!

    Spring is bringing an abundance of fresh produce from local farms!

    Photo courtesy of Flickr user Woodley Wonderworks

    Celebrate with us and join us for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 28, at First Moravian Church, 41 N. Duke St., York, where we'll be serving up delicious, locally sourced eats. Check out our menu!

    -- Farmers harvest chicken soup
    -- Lentil soup with coconut
    -- Spring carrot, radish and quinoa salad with herbed avocado
    -- Wheatberry salad with snow peas and carrots
    -- Mediterranean hummus served with flatbread
    -- Swiss chard and chickpea fritters with yogurt
    -- Mushroom and garlic bread pudding with balsamic rhubarb drizzle
    -- Rhubarb clafoutis
    -- Signature dried fruit and oatmeal cookies

    Of course, our menu is always based on what's available from our farmer friends, so check back for updates.

    At Healthy World Cafe, we always feature our "eat what you want, pay how you can" philosophy. The ability to pay should never be a barrier to accessing delicious, unprocessed, healthy food.
    Housekeeping items worth noting:

    -- PARKING: When coming to the cafe for our Wednesday lunches, please DO NOT park in the private lots surrounding First Moravian Church.  You may park on the street (metered), or you may park at First Presbyterian Church at E. Market and N. Queen streets in the un-numbered, yellow-lined parking spots, and
    please include a sign on your dashboard to indicate you are a Healthy World Cafe volunteer. Then, walk one block west down Clarke Avenue to First Moravian (and enter on north side)!

    -- TAKE OUT: Take out orders for lunch are available by e-mailing your selections (by 10 a.m. May 28) to healthyworldcafe(at)gmail(dot)com.

    -- VOLUNTEERING: In order to better respect our volunteers' time, we split the Wednesday lunch into two volunteer shifts: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and noon to 3 p.m. Feel free, of course, to sign up for both shifts, if you wish.
    And, since this month's lunch falls the week of Memorial Day, we'll forgo our Monday-night prep to allow everyone to enjoy their three-day weekend!

    Here's a breakdown of our volunteer needs for this month's lunch:

    -- 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 27 -- Food prep at First Moravian Church. If you're able, join us earlier and help us get a jump start on prep! We'll have volunteers prepping from 3 to 9 p.m.
     -- 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 28 -- Food prep and serving at FMC. We're now splitting our lunch days into two volunteer shifts to better respect our volunteers' time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and noon to 3 p.m. Feel free to sign up for both, if you wish. If you can't work a full shift (say, you can be there 10 to 2, but not as early as 9), please email sarah.e.chain(at)gmail(dot)com and let us know when to expect you!

    Back in the office again today

    The day got off to a great start when I arrived at work to discover that my swipe card had expired - of course I had a contract that expired on May 2nd and was extended in my absence so it's standard for the card expiry to go unnoticed till I return.
    The office was really bright today so I spent the day putting my sunglasses on then taking them off because it was hard to see the cursor on my monitor, then putting them back on again... Over and over again. I hope my eye stops being so damned light sensitive soon, it's getting really old...
    For about 10 minutes it was quite nice to be back, then I started to miss my sofa and working in my pyjamas. And the peace and quiet, not to mention curtains... And the ability to put the tv on for company and just change channels if it got annoying...
    Ah well.
    The weekend was quite good, on Saturday I hadn't hair cut and combined that with an actual walk - not just walking to somewhere but actually walking to walk. It was early enough to be a tolerable temperature with plenty of shade, and I enjoyed it a lot. Later the same day I barbecued for dinner, so I spent more time outside than I have for weeks. Unfortunately because of the weather I made the mistake of trying on some shorts I haven't worn for over a year and had to lie down to talk myself off the ledge when only 2 pairs out of 6 could be worn without pain & fear of cutting off blood flow altogether.
    Yesterday was sunny as well and I went shopping but otherwise stayed in out of the heat. And ate better than I have for weeks, possibly months, so maybe - just maybe - the horrible shock of Saturday had some small benefit.
    Today was not the best day in terms of food or at least in terms of being happy with food. I enjoyed my lunch & breakfast, but after 3 weeks at home I'm out of practice when it comes to packing my bag, and I forgot to bring snacks. The office hasn't added any healthy options to the vending machine and with an all day on-off headache from the fluorescent lights I didn't risk going out in the bright lunchtime sunlight. So around 2pm I really wanted some nuts or cold meat - nothing I'm not allowed on my diet - but didn't have the option, and someone brought in cakes - well, tarts actually, apple & bakewell tarts to be precise, so I had the pleasure of battling the urge to dive straight in all afternoon. Thanks a bunch whoever you are...
    When I got home I was starving so I instantly made & ate dinner, then checked my food diary and realized I had eaten about 60% of the calories I should have - so for once I had to eat more (the hardship!)

    Food today:
    Breakfast: raw spicy bok choy soup
    Lunch: raw Kreamy cucumber soup
    Dinner: grilled chicken thighs with salad (dressed with homemade Paleo Caesar dressing)
    Snacks: apple, Greek yoghurt with almond butter, dates - all weighed and taken into account

    Friday, May 16, 2014

    Definitely doing better now

    I'm continuing with the pre-emptive painkillers and it continues to make me feel better. I have a habit of trying to fight through things without too many meds (just having to take eye drops 4 times a day is kind of killing me) but I AM capable of learning new tricks! (maybe....)
    The new strategy helped so much yesterday that for the first time in 2.5 weeks I didn't need to cover my eye at all during the day - even after my walk into town. Every other day this week I started off 'strong' and ended up putting a patch on it by around 2pm at the latest as it just got very tired and aching from the light (and possibly from looking at a computer monitor all day.) By the time I went to bed it did feel tired, and was a little blurry as a result, but so much better than had been the case.
    Last night was also the first night I didn't wear a shield over it to sleep in. The guidelines I was given said I had to wear the shield for 2 weeks to protect it against me rubbing it in my sleep in the early stages. Obviously after 2 weeks I was very used to it being there but it still felt pretty amazing to turn over onto that side and not feel the edge of the plastic against my face. As far as I am aware I didn't rub it in the night either, which is probably a good thing!
    All these improvements mean I'm actually pleased to see that it's another sunny day today instead of depressed about it - and pleased that its due to last a little longer. It just doesn't feel natural for me to be doing a mental rain dance every day so that I won't have to face the sun!
    Another 'first time since'... now that I am cleared for light exercise I went on the Climber this morning for 10 minutes to see how it would go. I didn't select a program or try to race the machine or anything like that, just ten minutes basically walking up stairs. It didn't feel bad at all although it was slightly disconcerting that I could feel my eye... as in feel that I have one (ok two but there was only one eye I could actually feel). Normally I don't feel that I have an eye or eyes unless there's something in there like an eyelash, dust or contact lens. It wasn't painful or anything, just... I could feel it being there. I would guess with exertion (not very much) the pressure goes up slightly or something.
    At lunchtime I walked to the supermarket in the sun again. OK I wore sunglasses, prescription reactolite glasses and a baseball cap to shield my eyes - but I still enjoyed feeling the sun on my bare arms. I walked between 1.5 and 2 miles, not sure exactly, but it was nice. It really was nice...

    Thursday, May 15, 2014

    Feeling better

    Both less suicidally miserable and in less pain, thank goodness. I don't know if the pain part is genuine improvement as I stopped taking painkillers only when it already hurt and started taking them more proactively today.  I had to go out this afternoon and it was extremely sunny so I used my eye drops and took my pills before I went and didn't suffer the way I have been. Which meant that, combined with wearing a pair of non-prescription sunglasses on top of my actual glasses (which didn't show due to size differences - I don't care much about my appearance but there are limits) I actually managed to enjoy walking into town in the warm summery sunshine for the first time in 2.5 weeks.

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014


    No post yesterday because I felt so lousy... I have sinusitis as well as my ongoing healing issues and had toothache-ish, headache, eye socket ache, and any other ache you can think of.

    So I nourished myself by eating pizza of all things. Pizza??? Pizza!!!!

    Then an early night, a Nytol and a night's sleep helped... somewhat.

    Constant painkillers are helping more.

    So is beer.

    But tomorrow I am determined to go back to gluten free and unprocessed food, even if its not the best choices, and then I can build from there

    Monday, May 12, 2014

    Still fed up (a bit)

    Still working from home today. Over the weekend I went out a few times for some shopping and every trip was followed by a headache and the need to cover my eye for the rest of the day to rest it. I guess I'm just too impatient for it to feel better, and progress seems to have slowed down on that.
    The eye itself doesn't hurt a lot - it feels like it did years ago when I wore contact lenses and occasionally fell asleep still wearing them - uncomfortable but not terrible, except of course that back then I could instantly fix it by taking the lenses out. The eye socket though seems to be quite prone to being uncomfortable / painful and the headaches are a drag. Of course I realise its only two weeks ago tomorrow that I had the operation, and despite my frustration that really isn't long to recover from an operation.
    My appetite is absolutely back and I've overeaten quite a lot over the last few days, probably compensation for the days when I didn't want to eat at all. I've also eaten all the wrong things despite my plans to be all nourishing and healthy for optimal healing - including giving in to absolute cravings for Krispy Kreme doughnuts and non-gf bread :-( I've eaten buttered toast for the first time in ages this week - and loved it! Of course it doesn't come without consequences just because I'm comfort eating with (some) justification... but that's enough information I'm pretty sure ;-) I will get back on the gf and healthy eating wagons as soon as I stop feeling quite so sorry for myself - I'm kind of looking forward to it now!
    Anyway, I'm going to try to go into work tomorrow. I'll be taking the train and that in itself will be more outdoors time than I've had in 2 weeks apart from my follow up appointment on Thursday. Please keep your fingers crossed for me that I don't arrive in work only to develop a staggering headache and have to crawl back home again, whether I make my first attempt tomorrow or later in the week!

    Friday, May 9, 2014

    Almond Berry Muffins

    So i just modified the pancake mix to make up some muffins instead. An alternative to the pancakes and lovely as a breakfast or on the go snack.


    • 2 Eggs
    • 50g Ground Almonds
    • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein power
    • dash of almond milk
    • handful of frozen berries
    • 1 tsp Almond butter


    1. In a bowl place the eggs, almonds and protein powder. 
    2. Using a hand whisk  combine the ingredients until texture is like cake batter.
    3. Throw in a handful of frozen berries (i used blueberries and raspberries).
    4. Pour the mixture into muffin moulds in muffin baking tray. 
    5. Add a 1/4 tsp almond butter into each muffin mixture and stir.
    6. Place in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden on top, and a toothpick placed in the middle comes out dry.

    Spicy Roasted Chicken, with Tarragon, Garlic and Cherry Tomatoes

    Haven't posted in a while so thought i'd make it a good one. Looking for a savoury chicken dish thats full of flavour.


    • 250g pack of cherry tomatoes; halved/quartered depending on the size
    • 4 Tbsp olive oil
    • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
    • 2 Tbsp chopped tarragon
    • 1-2 tsp hot red chilli flakes, or to taste
    • 4 Boneless, skinless, chicken breasts about 125g each
    1. Heat the oven to 190deg C.
    2. In a large bowl mix the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, 1 Tbsp tarragon and chilli flakes.

    3. Place each chicken breast in the bowl and toss over the ingredients. 
    4. Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet.
    5. Pour the tomatoes in a single layer around the meat. 

    6. Roast for 30-35 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink. 
    7. Transfer the chicken to a plate and spoon over the tomatoes and roasting juices. 
    8. Sprinkle with some of the remaining tarragon (optional).
    Can be served with cauliflower rice 

    Fed up today

    I don't know if it's a reaction to being pleased with my progress yesterday or down to the headache I ended up with last night, but I've been in a foul mood all day today. I've had my eye covered since lunchtime - I had to go out and it was sunny again - and I'm feeling really frustrated by how light sensitive I seem to be. I'm due back in the office next week, and despite being bored rigid at home alone, I'm not looking forward to it...

    Hair Diary || Curing My Hair Boredom ...

    In my last entry, I mentioned that I�ve literally become bored with my natural hair.  After thinking about it more, it could be because it's that time of year -- spring/summer.  It's that time of year when I crave a change from my usual twists.  The craving this year has extended to changing more than my twists ... to actually changing my hair (e.g., via a cut, color, etc.).

    Well, over the past few weeks, I've been taking measures to cure my boredom.  I was in my usual set of two-strand twists (that I usually wear for 3-4 weeks) when I got this severe itch to undo them AND put in more highlights.  I then wore a twist-out for a few days (loose and in updos) until the definition was almost gone.  I then finger-detangled on dry hair and wore the resulting stretch in a couple of updos.  After that, I toyed with a wash-n-go for a bit.  And now?  Well, I'm rocking it straight.  My plan after this is to somehow come up with a summer regimen that balances "playtime with my hair" with retaining length.  I know I have a difficult task ahead of me ...

    And now for more hair pics:

    My usual twists.  Got a severe itch to undo them after only two weeks.

    The resulting twist-out ... oh, and some halfway highlights.
    (They had to grow on me.)

    Top view of wash-n-go.  

    Flat-ironed and cut by my beautiful sis.  You can find her a these sites:

    Check out the curls on the ends.

    Healthy Recipes || Avocado Parfait + More for Diabetics and Clean Eaters

    So through vlogger Jasmine Rose, I learned about (and immediately subscribed to) Alain's channel entitled "Health Reset Meals".  His channel is intriguing because it doesn't simply feature recipes; it features recipes targeted to diabetics and clean eaters.  In short, there are some really healthy meals he cooks up on his channel.  This chef also has a funny personality to go along with it all.

    Check out his recipes for an avocado parfait, avocado pudding, and avocado yogurt in the following video.  I can't wait to actually try some of these desserts! ...

    Thursday, May 8, 2014

    My Retina is flat!!!

    Apparently I was not easy to fix... so the surgeon told me. (I think he was boasting a bit about what a good job he did)
    It's actually not sunny today - the forecast was for showers, but I'm pretty sure for that to be right it has to stop occasionally - which it hasn't. That's probably because I had to go out today - for my follow up appointment - and had to travel by public transport in case they dilated my pupils (they did), which meant I had 4 miles walking to do unless I broke down and settled for taking taxis to and from the train station (no chance). I was quite happy about the dreary weather, though cloudy and dry would obviously be better.
    I woke up this morning more uncomfortable than I have been for a couple of days first thing. I didn't sleep as well either. I guess it could be that I was nervous about the findings in the follow up appointment, but I doubt that as I've been feeling more confident about the way it was healing since the long weekend. Whatever it was, I needed painkillers first thing today for a combination of aching eye and aching head :-(
    I arrived more or less on time for my appointment then hung around for about an hour in order to spend 3 mins with a nurse and about the same with the surgeon. He's very pleased with the way it's healing - he said most people looked worse a week after the op than I do (and that's when he mentioned how much poking and moving my eye around he'd had to do in order to fix the hole in the back of my eye. That made me feel mildly sick)
    He shone a bright light in there while it was helpless and dilated, that was loads of fun though not too sore. However I think it pissed the eye off as it started aching afterwards and I ended up needing more painkillers for my aching head. Still, very happy with the outcome although I was a little bit disappointed that he said it wasn't worth going back to the optician to get another eye test until after my next follow up appointment in a month's time.
    They did test my visual acuity on my arrival - lets just say my corrective glasses aren't even close to correcting that eye anymore - or to put it another way, in terms of sight my right eye sucks - but hey, it looks nearly normal so at least I don't have to feel self-conscious when I go out (unless I fall over something massive and really visible in a public place.) The swelling has almost all gone, there's no visible bruising and even the blood that was filling the 'white' of my eye is fading so its looks slightly muddier than the other one but not any longer like a demon from a TV show.
    I have three more weeks of eye drops, followed by that follow up appointment, hopefully followed by another eye test and then I should actually be back to normal I sincerely hope.

    Wednesday, May 7, 2014

    Its STILL sunny!!!

    Any other year it would not have been sunny for several consecutive days like this... It is making my eyes more tired than I think they would be in duller weather (if I have to have this done again I want to time it for the depths of winter, around the shortest day!) so I'm taking plenty of short breaks, and using slices of cucumber to cool things down every so often. Yesterday I went outside a few times and it was too bright for me and I didn't go very far at all. I have an eye patch purchased before the op but its really uncomfortable - I can't see well enough to go anywhere without my glasses, but if I put the patch on under the glasses it throws everything off because of the weird angle they sit at, and if I put the patch over the glasses it feels like its pushing the glasses into my eye in a very uncomfortable fashion. I guess its my own fault for ordering the eye patch online and not being able to look at it before buying.

    Unfortunately my appetite is back now and I'm nibbling a lot, making up for lost time. My body is still working on healing obviously so I'm not fighting it or worrying about it (much). The main discomfort now is the eye socket where it was pulled and poked about, but I'm managing to wait till midmorning before taking anything for the aches so clearly its not hurting too much.
    And as of this morning, I only have to take one lot of eye drops instead of two - sadly I got rid of the one that had to be taken 3 times daily not the one that had to be taken 4 times, but I'll take it!

    A Real Light bulb Moment and a New Recipe!

    About one year ago I became convinced that I could eliminate salt from my Whole Foods Plant Based (WFPB) diet, aka the WFPB SOS Free diet. It was after the Chef AJ visit, lecture and cooking demo at my house. I collected a variety of salt substitutes and began using them in all of my home cooking. I started to neuroadapt and my food tasted very good to me without salt for the first time.

    It was during that Chef AJ visit that I met Wanda Huberman. Her husband, Mark Huberman, is the president of the National Health Association, and they attended the cooking demo at my house.

    What I did in my home was one thing, but the compromise that I was willing to make when I went out to a restaurant was a whole nother story! Sure, I didn't order anything with a mother or a face, but I also didn't make any effort to make sure that there was no oil or salt in the food that I would eat when I was out. I even started to compromise my efforts when eating at Whole Foods, of all places! I would eat pretty much anything that was vegetables and Vegan, knowing that the reason it tasted good was the oil and the salt. But I gave myself these allowances because when eating out, at least here in Cleveland near where I live, there are no WFPB SOS Free restaurants.

    So in talking to Wanda one afternoon about how her and her husband deal with restaurant eating, she told me about a card that she carries with her wherever she goes. She presents it to waiters in restaurants and asks them to hand the card to the cook or chef.
    Read more �

    Tuesday, May 6, 2014


    My eye does seem to be healing well, in fact yesterday I only took two lots of painkillers, didn't rest it as much, and spent much more time reading & watching tv - too much time, as it was much more sore and I had a headache when I woke up this morning. That will teach me to get cocky I guess, and today I will be more careful, but on the whole it is now improving by leaps and bounds, so far as I can tell. My follow up appointment is on Thursday morning and I can't see much chance the surgeon will be anything but pleased with my progress.
    I can definitely tell that my glasses are not the right prescription for my eye at the moment - I can see pretty well using both eyes or just the left, but there's a substantial difference in clarity if I cover the left eye. The main thing I want to know now is how long I have to give it before it's worth getting another eye test and a new prescription, obviously I don't want go rush it and waste money but I can see it continuing to tire more quickly if it has to continue working with an out of date prescription.
    In other respects I'm feeling much more positive now as well. My appetite isn't completely back to normal, but it's closer. I've been eating two or three times most days - not forcing it because doing so made me feel sick - and starting to enjoy eating more. I'm still not in the mood to cook much though, we've had a few takeaways since the op because I couldn't be bothered...

    Sunday, May 4, 2014

    Bank Holiday weekends aren�t supposed to be sunny

    I know I complain endlessly about the weather and especially the rain, but really, is it too much to ask for a bit of cloud on the first weekend after eye surgery? Our rental house has light-coloured curtains in every room, something we�d never go for in a house of our own (we�re thermal backed black-out curtains people) and it�s so bright in the house that my eye is constantly tired through squinting. I don�t have any prescription sunglasses, and although my glasses are reactolite that don�t actually darken inside the house unless I leave them on a sunny windowsill, so its kind of uncomfortable. I spent nearly the whole of Saturday lying in the bedroom with a sleep mask on (it doesn�t fit properly but its better than nothing) and the same yesterday morning and early afternoon. The inside of my head is a pretty boring place, and listening to Classic FM on my iPad is only so much distraction�

    So far I can only read for a short while before I need to take a break, ditto watching TV, and my one attempt at going out wasn�t very successful do to the pain when I tried to look both ways before crossing the road, so I�m slowly turning into a green skinned fang toothed psychopath due to a combination of boredom and frustration. My appetite hasn�t come back and up until yesterday I felt sick every time I forced myself to eat something. Minus the nausea I wouldn�t mind if the lack of interest in food stuck around for a while, I might actually lose some weight. And up till yesterday I�d been constantly constipated ever since Tuesday. I�m also not enjoying cooking as much as usual, I suppose naturally enough when I have no interest in eating the results.

    On the positive side the black eye I started developing on Wednesday evening has faded already and the swelling of my eyelid is much less, so I can actually open my eye without a crowbar. And yesterday I managed to cut down from Paramol to Ibuprofen (and some Paracetamol) and take only 3 lots of painkillers instead of 4, so there is improvement. My eyeball still looks like it�s swimming in blood though. And last night I had a big pouty sad girl�s meltdown of weeping, and complaining that it�s not fair damn it. It did make me feel better after lots of bottling things up, but had no other effect whatsoever because the world refuses to rearrange itself for my benefit.

    Ah well, I hope everyone else is enjoying this painfully bright sunny Bank Holiday weekend!

    Friday, May 2, 2014

    Learning curves

    Yesterday I decided to try to fit in some working from home as I was so bored and frustrated the day before. II t seemed to go quite well � the day passed much more quickly anyway � but because I kept getting caught up in what I was doing I didn�t take as many breaks as I should have and by the end of the day I was exhausted, my eye felt like it was on fire, and I�d basically been extremely stupid. I had a really early night and woke up in considerable pain this morning (if anyone has a morphine drip they�re not using I could borrow for overnight that would be nice� the gap between my last painkiller dose before bed and getting up is just too long)

    Today I am working again, but to ensure that doesn�t happen again I�ve programmed my phone to remind me to take a rest every 50 minutes at most. Along with reminders to take eye-drops and painkillers, the damn thing seems to be beeping every 30 seconds.

    I also had a nasty moment around lunchtime yesterday. As I�m refusing to leave the house and walk amongst the race of man (and woman) until I stop looking like someone�s used me as a punch-bag (vain I know, but I don�t want to frighten small children and animals)  I ordered my shopping to be delivered yesterday. It came and all was fine. Until I bent down too sharply to pick up a bag and felt such a sudden increase in pressure in my eye that I felt like throwing up. I didn�t, but now I�m bending slowly and carefully and looking straight ahead/up as I bend rather than down at the ground, and it hasn�t happened again.

    I�m completely uninterested in food (I know! Who�d have thought???) but trying to force myself to eat since I know that you can�t heal if you don�t fuel your body. Yesterday that mostly consisted of trying mouthfuls of everything in the fridge to see if anything tasted good (it didn�t) and I think maybe I didn�t therefore eat enough. Today I�m trying harder. I cooked something for breakfast � pancakes consisting of boiled then shredded cassava root and eggs, flavoured with salt, pepper & garlic powder. They turned out well � quite a reasonable bread substitute � so hopefully I can use them throughout the day when I remember to eat.

    This morning I also took a very careful bath and washed my hair (being very cautious to avoid getting shampoo or even water in my eye) which made me feel almost human for a while.

    Time to take some more pills now� BTW, I want to buy shares in the company that makes Paramol. And the one that makes Nytol. Without them I�d be in REAL trouble

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

    How to Preserve "Out" Styles - An Alternative to the Pineapple

    Having trouble maintaining your twist-out, braid-out, bantu knot-out, or natural curls over night?  Check out this video on how to preserve your curls while you sleep:


    The Top Dozen Pesticide-Laden Produce + The Top Fifteen Cleanest Produce

    The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently released a list of produce containing the most pesticides (yuck!) ... and the least.  Do you want to know which of these foods are going into your body?  Check out the below list.  (For more information, including details on certain produce, check out this EWG page.)

    Sweet bell peppers
    Nectarines (imported)
    Cherry tomatoes
    Snap peas (imported)
    Hot Peppers

    Sweet corn
    Sweet peas (frozen)
    Sweet potatoes

    For more information, including details on certain produce, check out this EWG page.