Dec 20, 2013

Favourite Thing Friday... Crackers

So every Friday I'm going to post one of my favourite things.  Food, make up, book, anything really.    These will be thing's that I eat, wear, read, use.  Thing's that I have purchased myself, with my own money, no sponsorship or donations from companies at all.  I just want to share with others some great finds.  I often buy food or an item on a recommendation from a friend so thought I would do the same for my blogging friends and followers.

So my favourite item this week.....

DeliGrains Brown Rice Crisps.  We love the Black Sesame one, there is a Multigrain one too.

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These crackers are great as a snack, to have with dip.  They are oven baked and best of all, they are gluten-free!

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They are a family favourite in my house.  My son loves them, he has then as a snack and in his school lunch box.  They are lovely and crisp and taste delicious.

We get ours from a local health food store, but I have seen them at a local supermarket too.

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Dec 19, 2013

I Had Gluten

I have been gluten-free now for 3 and a half weeks.  Aside from the initial withdrawal, which seems to have settled down now I have been feeling great.

I do still have some stomach upsets, but very mild.  My naturopath has said that after three months of being gluten-free, if I still have some symptoms I should remove all grains from my diet for three months.

Problem was, yesterday I had some gluten and oh dear it was horrible.  I ordered a club sandwich from a restaurant.  I asked for gluten-free and they said they would use gluten free bread and that their mayonnaise was gluten free.  It had chicken in it, which they poach themselves so know it's gluten free.  I can tell you now, that that sandwich was NOT gluten free.

It's quite amazing how after just three weeks of being 100% without gluten that having it suddenly, by accident can affect my body so much.  I had the most agonising stomach pains,  I was very nauseous, but worst of all was the bloating, gas and visits to the toilet.  This went on for hours.  The gas and bloating for the rest of the day.  Actually today it's still not completely better, but it has settled down a lot.

After the withdrawal symptoms I experienced and now the affect of having gluten, it's clear that I do have a problem with it and will be steering clear of it completely in the future.

Dec 15, 2013

Tuna Dip

I made the yummiest dip this afternoon, best thing is, it's Gluten-Free.

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Tuna Dip.

It had a packet of Light Cream Cheese
A Shallot
A Clove of Garlic
2 tins of Tuna Slices in Spring Water (but you could use any light tuna).
Mayonnaise (about 2 tablespoons).

I put it all in the Thermomix.  First I put in the Garlic, Parsley and Shallot (I used the whole shallot).  After that was crushed I added the cream cheese and mayonnaise and blended that.  I then added the drained tins of tuna and blended that.

Served it with gluten-free rice crackers.  It was delicious!

Dec 13, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies


These are sort of chocolate chip cookies.  Actually I call them "Shoe Box Biscuits" They are my grandmothers recipe and she used to make them for me when I was a child and would send them to me in a shoebox, always in a shoe box.  Kind of strange, I was wondering the other day if she actually used that as an excuse to go and buy a new pair of shoes, so she had a box to send some cookies to me, LOL.

This is such an easy recipe.  Takes hardly any time to whip up and they are so tasty and a little chewy.

So this is what I use  to make them...
1 x 225g bag of Shredded Coconut, (I try to buy from the health food store)
2 x 250g bags of Nestle Choc Bits - Dark Chocolate (not sure if they have Nestle Choc Bits in other countries, in Australia they are in the baking/cooking chocolate section at the supermarket, not the confectionery section and they are gluten free),
1 x 395g can of Nestle Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 teaspoon of Baking Powder.


You just put the coconut and baking powder in a bowl, combine well.  Add the dark chocolate bits and stir again to combine.  Then add the can of condensed milk and mix it through well making sure all of the coconut is covered with condensed milk (I often find a little hidden patch of dry coconut in the middle of the bowl at the bottom).  Spoon about dessert spoon sized balls onto a baking tray and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 15 minutes.  Keep an eye on them as they burn easily.


So simple, so yummy, it is almost impossible to stop at just one (unless you don't like coconut of course, then you really won't like these at all, LOL).  

Dec 8, 2013

Gluten Free - Day Five

Today was the hardest day so far.  Not really that I wasn't having gluten, that wasn't a problem, but what seems to be withdrawal.

 I went out for brunch with a friend and had a delicious omelette.  Egg white with one egg yolk, spinach, feta, mushroom and shallots.   It was absolutely delicious, mouth watering delicious.

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I wasn't a big change, it's the omelette that I have all the time from this restaurant, what was the change was not having the two giant pieces of sour dough bread with butter and vegemite!

 Aside from doing a bit of laundry, I really did not do much for the rest of the day.  I have been feeling so light headed and goodness, my legs and arms are aching!  I feel like I've been for a 10 mile walk or have been doing squats and weights at the gym.  That kind of muscle sore.  But I didn't do anything the day before to cause it (other than clean the house, which I do all the time and have never felt like this).  So I'm putting it down to gluten withdrawal.

 One thing that I have noticed, is the very irritated patch of psoraisis that I have had for about 4 months and over the week after starting a gluten free lifestyle has not virtually gone!   I know where it was, I find that my psoraisis spots leave a little mark where they were, but if someone saw my stomach, they would not know were it had been.  That is just mind blowing!  This irritated, sore, itchy patch of skin that has been annoying me for months, suddenly gone!  Poof!

Dec 7, 2013

Gluten Withdrawal

This is something I was not expecting.  Gluten withdrawal.  I hadn't actually read anything about it when I was reading up about gluten intolerance, coeliac, thyroid nodules, aspergers and going gluten-free.
Yesterday I felt a little light-headed.  I didn't pay too much attention as it wasn't too bad.  I was hoping that it may be my blood pressure and this new gluten-free diet was having a positive effect on that and lowering it.
Late this afternoon and this evening I have basically spent on the sofa.  I am so very light-headed and it seems to be getting worse.  I am also so bloated in the stomach.  This afternoon I was looking in the mirror thinking I looked 6 months pregnant.  I'm always a little bloated but today my stomach is so rounded, a lot more than it usually is.   I was feeling a little dejected when I noticed that this afternoon to be honest.  I thought that going gluten-free was supposed to get rid of my bloatedness (is that a word?), not make it worse and being four days in I was expecting things to get better not worse.
So tonight, lying on the couch, really light-headed and tonight  I've had a bit of a headache. I decided to do a search of the internet, looking up new to gluten-free light-headed.  Well, up came the results, page after page, of people who experience "Gluten Withdrawal".   It's apparently not uncommon to feel like this and it can last from a few days to weeks!  I read that this is a good thing!  Shows that the removal is working and that my body was addicted to gluten and it's now withdrawing from its removal.    I really hope it does not last a few weeks.  It's not a pleasant feeling.  But I am so glad that I've taken myself down this path.  I am really looking forward to moving past this phase and moving into the feeling great phase!
Interestingly, my son, at this stage, has not had any withdrawal symptoms.  He's not bloated (but he wasn't before), he's not experiencing any light-headed feelings.  He is a little lethargic (so seems a bit fatigued, but this could be the teenage boy symptoms).  I will keep an eye on him and see if he does start experiencing anything.
I do hope that my withdrawal symptoms subside soon!

Dec 4, 2013

Gluten Free - Day Two

Today was a little harder than our first day.  We had two outings.  One to a theme park with friends and a dinner out at a restaurant, and not just any restaurant, an italian restaurant... gluten filled meal central!
I had looked at the theme parks website the night before and I couldn't find any information about gluten-free food being available at all.  I thought this was a little strange as everywhere seems to be so gluten-free friendly these days so I thought I'd better pack some food for my son and I just incase we couldn't find anything for lunch.  The theme park has a "no outside food" policy, but they did not do a bag check so we didn't have any trouble taking in our own lunch.
I am so glad that I did as there really was nothing that I would have eaten.  There was lots of burgers, nuggets and fries, hotdogs, donuts, muffins, sandwiches, if it had gluten in it, they had it.  I had packed some large gluten-free savoury muffins and some fruit for us and that was plenty.   I wasn't bothered not eating the hotdogs and fries, I was really quite happy with my muffin and fruit but I'm not sure about my son.  I think he was feeling a little left out not having his usual meal like all the other kids but he didn't complain.
That night we went out for dinner to a local italian restaurant.  I really didn't know if we would be able to eat much there but to my surprise, they had gluten-free pizza bases, gluten-free pasta and were able to make most of their meals gluten-free on request (there were a few that could not be made gluten free but that was just a few meals, so it was almost the whole menu available).  My son had his usual all meat pizza and I had a ham and mushroom and egg pizza and we all loved them!  In fact, we actually preferred the pizza base to their usual gluten containing pizza base!  So we are happy that we will be able to continue going to one of our favourite restaurants.
We still have not noticed much of a difference in ourselves.  I will say though that I have had this  psoriasis patch on my stomach for about 4 months now.  Usually I break out in winter and under stress and with the weather being so hot, it's unusual that my psoriasis is playing up at this time of year, but it has been.  Even when it does break out, I will have the break out patch stay around for a couple of weeks, maybe a month, where it seems to go away (and sometimes leaves a faint mark of where it was).  But this 4 month one was a little sore and a little itchy but it looked terrible and it was right on my short/jeans line, so it would rub.  I wondered if this is why it had stayed for so long.  Anyway.... to cut the long story short... it's starting to go!  It's probably faded by half (my psoriasis doesn't shrink, it sort of fades away if that makes any sense).  So I'm wondering if this is down to the diet?  I'm hoping so!

Dec 3, 2013

Gluten Free - Day One

Today has been our first day 100% gluten-free.  I have been putting it off and putting it off.  I have been slowly converting everything in my pantry and refrigerator to a gluten-free product.  Thing's like flours, cereals, snacks, sauces.  I have been doing this for two weeks.
Two weeks ago I made the decision that my young teenage son and I would become gluten-free.  I gave myself a week, then it was another week and was going to start Monday.  But Monday came and it didn't happen.  We had a sandwich for lunch that was not on a gluten-free roll.   My son had a terrible upset stomach last night, he was up half the night.  It was then that I thought to myself, as I lay there listening to him getting up again to go to the toilet at 2am, that enough was enough!  If cutting out gluten can help him with this then that is what we will be doing.
So when we finally got to sleep and awoke in the morning and it started.  My son had a breakfast cereal that he loved from before.  It was not one he had all the time.  I always bought him Wheat Bix, yes, pure wheat!  This morning he had Freedom Maple Crunch, so this will be his new go to cereal for breakfast.  I had a protein shake, just from a bottle I'm ashamed to say.  It is one by a reasonably new brand called Kate Farms.  I had the Cocoa Fudge flavour.  So yummy.  It's gluten-free, soy free, dairy free among other things.
I made a risotto for dinner, chicken and mushroom.  No additives, no gluten, no dairy.  I made it in my new best friend... My Thermomix!
I must say that I don't feel any different after the first day and neither does my son.  But it's only day one.  You can't expect miracles in one day after years and years of build up.
Tomorrow will be a challenge, we are off to a theme park with friends.

Dec 1, 2013

Hi Everyone.

I am sorry that I have been neglecting my blog.   Life has been very busy, no excuse I know, I am sorry.
So my life is taking a new direction.  In the health area anyway.
As many of you know, I am the mother.  But many of you may not know that,  I have had a life threatening peanut allergy my whole life.  40+ years (did I just admit I'm in my 40's?).   It has never really been a big thing for me to avoid nuts.  Yes I say nuts as I am allergic to all nuts except Almonds and Macadamia.  My allergist has said that I need to avoid all nuts as those may be contaminated, so it's completely nut free for me.  Being nut free is all I know.  I don't buy a product without reading the label, I don't put any food in my mouth if I can't read the label or speak to the person who made it (or the waiter or chef).  I avoid eating at functions, cocktail parties with lots of nibbles being passed around on trays.  Just too risky for me.   Due to my allergy being so severe, it's a trace and airborne allergy, we don't have anything in the house that contains nuts.  The whole house is nut free, thanks to me!
Again, I have never found it to be a big deal.  It's all I know.  It's the only way I have ever lived.  I've never been able to eat them.  So avoiding nuts has been a lifelong habit and I don't even think about it.  I don't have to remember to read a label, I just do it.   But we, my household, is about to make another change.  We are becoming Gluten Free!  This is a whole new ball game for me, for us.
Why are we becoming Gluten Free you may ask?  Well there are a number of reasons.
 I have been anaemic for over 4 years now.  I take up to 6 times the amount on the bottle (on doctors advise) and it keeps my iron, most of the time, just below the bottom of the normal range (sometimes it drops a long way below normal).  I've had many tests to find out why this may be happening.  Both my son and I were recently tested for Celiac and they came back negative (borderline it actually said, but I really don't know what that means).  I also just found out I'm very low in Vitamin D and seem I to have trouble absorbing Magnesium and Potassium.  So there is clearly some sort of problem with absorption.
 I have just found out I many thyroid nodules.  One quite large.  I have read that thyroid and gluten are not friends, that thyroid problems can be greatly improved with a gluten-free diet.
Both my son and I have a range of digestive issues, sometimes quite bad and rather embarrassing and painful, very painful (trying not to give you too much information here as I'm sure you get the jist).
I have psoriasis, an auto immune skin disease.  I've been doing a lot of reading about how a gluten free diet can also help. 
I think that both my son and I have a gluten intolerance at the least.  So no more gluten it will be for us to see if it helps any of our "issues".
It's a big thing cutting gluten out of your diet completely.  We are going to do it 100%, see if there is any improvement in my thyroid, my iron levels, my energy, my digestive system, my son's iron levels, his aspergers, how he feels in his skin, his digestive issues.
For the last couple of weeks I have been buying gluten-free products, flours, snacks, bread to move over completely.  I'm hoping we will be 100% gluten-free by the end of this week.  
So here on my blog I'm going to share our progress, our success, our recipes, some of our new favourite foods and share our new journey into the world of Gluten Free living.

Jan 17, 2013

My 2nd Goal... Almost There

When I started 12WBT at the end of August last year (keep going to say this year, LOL), almost 5 months ago, at over 84kg (185 lbs), my first goal was to get back into the 70's (kg's that is) (154-174 lbs).  I achieved that and then as soon as I was 79kg, my next goal was to get into the 60's (kg's that is) (132 to 152 lbs).

Well I am so excited.  I am almost there.   Today I weighed myself and I'm 70.1 kg (154.54).  I have just 200 grams (0.44 lbs) to go until I reach that goal.  I will do that this week, so for next week's 12WBT Wednesday weigh in I will be there.

Next goal is to get into the 50's (kg's that is) (110-130 lbs).  I actually only want to get to 58kg.  I'll be happy to have my weight at 58-60kg.  My weight fluctuates depending on that time of the month, so to be 58-60 is my goal.

Slowly but surely I'm getting there.  But will be thrilled when I hit the 60's again.  I haven't been there in a long time!

Jan 8, 2013

Hamilton Island Buggies

The main mode of transport on Hamilton Island are the very cute golf buggy.  I guess they are not for golf in this instance so they are just buggies.  They are usually four seaters, with two seats at the front and two at the back, that are in the backward direction.

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This back seating that points out the back of the buggy rather than facing forward can create a bit of embarassment.  Well I feel they do anyway.  Say you are driving along and there is a buggy in front of you.  And you are reasonably close to them.  Not driving dangerously close, but just following each other along at a safe distance.  As the driver of the buggy you have no option to look forward (although I can tell you from experience, on Hamilton Island, people do not always look ahead whilst driving!!!).

Anyway when there are people in the buggy in front, that are in the back seats, facing you.  It's kind of like you are watching them, they keep looking at you, like "what are you looking at"  LOL.  If it's kids, they will make funny faces or constantly wave (which is fine when you wave back once, but when they continue to wave for the next 5 or so minutes you are following them, it gets a bit old, LOL).   So I find driving the buggy, with people in the buggy in front, who you don't know to be a bit uncomfortable.

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The buggy parking is tight, like they are really small spaces.  But that's ok as they are only little vehicles.  Don't let the size fool you though.  They can still be dangerous vehicles and I'm surprised to be honest that there aren't more accidents.

The buggies have seat belts, which is good, makes them a little safer and you do have to be a licensed driver.  Some people do ignore this and you see kids driving, but not often!   It would be a nightmare if there were kids driving everywhere, so at least this is restricted to adults only, which is bad enough!  As you can see from the photos, there are buggies everywhere.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

The problem's arise with the drivers.  I do enjoy sitting at the Marina Deli or outside the bakery and observing some of the nightmare drivers first hand.  People seem to be in holiday mode (or vacation mode), they seem to have a false sense of security with this little open air, slow moving vehicle, that it can't be dangerous, cause some damage if they run into someone, or slam on their brakes suddenly and the buggies driving behind run up their behinds.  People seem to just be in their own little world sometimes.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Once afternoon I was sitting at the Deli having a coffee.  It was a really busy day on the island, so there were a lot of people in the street (another danger, people just seem to walk out into the street, maybe forgetting that vehicles do drive down it).  There were buggies, pedestrians, tourist, holiday makers, adults, children everywhere.    I was watching two women in a buggy driving up the road.  They were driving quite slowly and did have about three or four buggies driving along behind them (quite close too).  All of a sudden, outside the deli, they just slammed on the brake and came to a complete stop in about one second.  The poor drivers behind were so very lucky to run into each other.  These two women were completely oblivious to what they had just caused!  Just after they stopped, the first buggy  went to go around them (remember, these women were not in a parking space, they were in the middle of the road, as they simply just stopped), the woman driver jumped out of her buggy and was almost collected by the poor guy who went to drive past (buggies don't have doors, so it's very easy to just jump out).   The woman, getting a bit of a fright and looking back and noticed the line of chaos she had just caused proceeded to step back in the buggy and took off, not caring about the other buggies that were coming along and almost ran into her as she suddenly took off up the road.

Then, without indication, without stopping, this woman did a Uturn, she did not look for the cars that she almost collected as the did the turn and did not worry about the buggies directly behind her that again almost ran into her due to her sudden turn.

It was unbelievable.  The then went to the side to park, where she tapped the buggy in front of her as she tried to squeeze into a parking space.

There is a run down on the day in the life of a buggy driver on Hamilton Island.  Now I will say that not everyone is like that woman.  Most people are pretty good.  But some, really, makes you wonder what they would be like behind the wheel of a real car!  Scary thought!

Jan 7, 2013

Up, Up and Away

This is the first time that I have done a blog post using the Blogger iPad app. I don't seem to have a great handle on it, I can't get the writing off centre (I normally post with the writing to the left) and I can't seem to work out how to add a caption to the photos.

Anyway please excuse me if anything looks a little odd over the next week or so as I blog whist away on holiday, without a computer, using my iPad. Now back to my post.

Very exciting! I am having my first holiday of the year. It is to one of my favourite places Hamilton Island in the Queensland Whitsundays (in Australia for those outside of Australia and don't know where Queensland is)

We arrived a couple of day ago, flying with Jetstar on an unevntful flight. A lot of people don't seem to like Jetstar but to be honest, I've never had a problem with them. You can check in 48 hours before the flight, you can get your boarding pass via SMS, no more paper (unless you want paper). I think this is the handiest thing! How often are you away and check in for your homeward bound flight and you have to somehow find a printer, maybe from the hotel or maybe you just have to line up at the airport (which is fine if you have luggage, but a pain of you don't have checked bags). Anyway, the service I've found at the airport and on board to be fine, planes are nice and clean. So I jut take the cheapest flight, wether that's Virgin Australia or Jetstar, I'm happy with either.

Whilst at the airport, my son had to visit here!

This is a bit of a tradition for us on our trips to Hamilton Island. We always stop at Krispy Kreme at the airport whilst waiting for our flight and pick up a box, yes a whole box of original glazed donuts. This time there was no way I was going to have a box of donuts sitting there and resist. So instead of a box, we purchased one glazed donut for my son in a bag and he was generous enough to let me sniff it! They had some cute Christmas designs too that I would love to have tried. But sniffing was the closest I was going to get to a Krispy Kreme on this trip!

It wasn't long before our flight was boarding and we were on our way.

Continued next post...

Jan 2, 2013

Hamilton Island Here We Come

Boarding the plane was different this time. It was the first time I have used the SMS boarding pass. Have to say that I was impressed. It was quick and very easy. You just open the SMS that Jetstar sends to you when you do online check in and at the boarding gate there is a machine. You just place your phone with the text message on the screen into the machine and it spits out a paper boarding pass and off you go on to the plane.

We were sitting in the forth row. Just my son and I. I had the aisle and son had the middle seat. We were hoping for the window to remain empty but were not that fortunate! Just before the doors shut, a rather odd looking man came and sat down. He proceeded to online chat on his mobile almost until the plane took off but before this he picked his nose. Oh my goodness, I almost threw up as he then proceeded to roll it in his fingers for the next 10 minutes! I would look back to my magazine, then glance over and he was still rolling! What is wrong with people and public behavior these days? I had a similar experience at the Dr's recently too. He the proceeded to bite his nails along with pick his teeth for the rest of the flight! I was pleased when the flight was over!

We know we are getting close as the water down below has become a beautiful bright blue colour!

Water from the plane

Flying into Hamilton Island, you come in between two mountains, with water at both ends of the runway. Here is a few photos of coming in to land, with the Yacht Club and Hamilton Island Harbour/Marina on one side and Dent Island on the other. Dent Island is a golf course and golf club, that's all that is on the island and when staying on Hamilton Island you get there by boat. It's a lovely place for lunch, with amazing views.

I am finding updating this blog with the blogger iPad app to be very frustrating! Yesterday, with difficulty I was able to add photos throughout the post. Today the app is not allowing me to do this. So please excuse all the photos being at the end. I will fix this when I get home and move them throughout the post.

Dent Island from the air (golf course)

Another photo of Dent Island from the plane 

Hamilton Island approach from the plane

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