Photo update because I don’t have the energy to write a word update and I’ve been snapping random pictures for the last month and thought I would share. :)

I’m still having a hard time finding the energy to write a post. I’m doing okay- it’s mostly because I am feverishly researching all the things my doctors want me to add to my arsenal (methylfolate, methylB12, carnitine, Zyrtec, Zantac, Cromolyn, Baclofen, Valium, Prednisone, Medibulk), as well as what I want to add (CoQ10, D-ribose, bread, cheese, Toblerones :-)).

So, my precious few computer hours are used up on research, emails, doctors, insurance, bills, and more research.

But, if you would so indulge me, I can post some photos of the things going on in my life (of course, with my fun anonymizing effects).

Visitors!

A visit from Baby A. and her Mama….

… my friend, Z.! (and that’s my “little” dog)
This photo was a BIG DEAL: I put on jeans and boots (my first flat pair of boots EVER) for the first time in 17 months. Literally. I have only worn leggings/yoga pants and Uggs/runners every day for 17 months.
Of course, as soon as Z. left, I went back to my PJs, but it’s the effort that counts!

A visit from my mother AND brother!

A visit from my mother AND brother!
Yes, I am standing up and smiling and tolerating photos! Amazing.

Winter Wonderland!

A rare few inches of snow.

A rare few inches of snow.

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FOOD!

Egg challenge. It didn't go so well.

Egg challenge. It didn’t go so well.

Plantain crackers: click image for recipe.

Plantain crackers: click image for recipe.

Grass-fed organic lamb shepherd's pie with cauliflower-sweet potato mash: click image for recipe.

Grass-fed organic lamb shepherd’s pie with cauliflower-sweet potato mash: click image for recipe.

Spice blends from Practical Paleo: click image for link to book.

Spice blends from Practical Paleo: click image for link to book.

An incredible batch of granola for Z. that I couldn't taste because I'm not eating oats at the moment.

An incredible batch of granola for Z. that I couldn’t taste because I’m not eating oats at the moment.

My husband makes me meals and freezes them, like this beef stew. <3

My husband makes me meals and freezes them, like this beef stew. ❤

Breakfast: butternut squash, asparagus and grass-fed beef hash, with a side of apple sauce.

Breakfast: butternut squash, asparagus and grass-fed beef hash, with a side of apple sauce.

A bit of craic, sure.

A bit of craic, sure

Animals? 🙂

Anna's hummingbird outside my window.

Anna’s hummingbird outside my window.

Bowie in the cemetery last month (I haven't been able to leave the house in the last 5 weeks, but I hope to get a February cemetery visit in a few weeks)

Bowie in the cemetery last month (I haven’t been able to leave the house in the last 5 weeks, but I hope to get a February cemetery visit in a few weeks)

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The Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl! But Bowie was not a fan of the celebratory fireworks and backed himself into my lap in fear. 😦

Morning spooning.

Morning spooning.

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After Almost A Year: New Elimination Diet

I have been on my current “automimmune diet” for over 11 months (essentially, no grains, no legumes, no dairy, no eggs, no tomatoes). I actually don’t feel like it made any difference to my life except taking away the joy of food and eliciting many meltdowns when meal times came around and I had nothing to eat. I know I would have had some fun with this diet if I had the energy/ability to research recipes, shop for ingredients and cook my own dishes ~ it would have been a fun challenge to come up with tasty, healthy meals and given me a bit of a hobby ~ but, when you are incapacitated by exhaustion, dysautonomia symptoms and muscle wasting… it’s too much. It’s also too much to think about changing things up after such a long time, which is why I’m not more excited about the switch to a DIFFERENT type of elimination diet. It was a difficult learning curve for my husband to figure out what I could and couldn’t have while shopping for us. Now, he’ll have to relearn, reread all labels.

The good news is, I get to have gluten-free grains again (which means rice) and legumes except for peanuts (which means hummus and fun soups!). The bad news is, I have to eliminate pork (oh god, no bacon), beef (no steak!), cold cuts (no salami, ham, turkey slices!), soy (no fake milk for my tea, no fake mayo), caffeine (oh, I don’t need fake milk because I can’t have my black tea. I’m starting to panic), salad dressings (are you kidding? This makes me want to cry), maple syrup, honey (what do I make my granola with?), chocolate (kill me now), and any type of sugar. There are other things I have to omit like oranges and shellfish and soft drinks, but I don’t really care. Oh, and I have to continue to avoid corn, dairy, eggs, and tomatoes.

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I have a few things in the house I want to use up before embarking on this change, so, after the Rice Chex, Almond Bites, bacon, chocolate and leftover filet are gone, I will commit to the new diet. 😀

I’m out of granola, so I am going to try a new recipe. For a long time I used olive oil and a mix of maple syrup and agave nectar. Then I changed to coconut oil and local honey. Now, since I can’t have honey, but I can have brown rice syrup and stevia, I’m experimenting with a new mixture… Stay tuned.

1 hour later: I actually might prefer this recipe to my previous versions. Score! Now I just have to win the lotto so I can afford the gluten-free oats and organic stevia and brown rice syrup. 🙂

Here’s what I did:

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E.M.’s New Granola (dairy-free, refined sugar-free)

4 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1/2-1 cup raw pumpkin seeds ((or mix in half sunflower seeds, but pumpkin seeds have a lot more magnesium and tryptophan)
1 cup chopped nuts (any kind: I like ones that are low in omega 6s: pecans, cashews, hazelnuts and walnuts)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup flaxmeal
1 tbs cinnamon
5 tbs coconut oil
3 tbs brown rice syrup
2 droppers-full of liquid stevia (which is really only about 1/2-3/4 of the dropper)
2 tsps pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
dried fruit (raisins)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine dry ingredients. Heat oil, honey and vanilla over low heat until it is runny but not boiling (or microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute). Pour over dry ingredients, mix thoroughly and spread over 2 baking trays lined with foil or parchment. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden. Let cool. Be cool. 🙂

Happy Birthday To Me!

Today, I turn 40 years of age. We have a big day planned. We’re going to the beach with the dogs. We’re going to throw the ball and walk in the sand and let them chase birds. They haven’t been to the beach since last summer when E. was visiting and I still had some energy.

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I’m not going to go to bed afterward. Instead, I’m going to stop by the grocery store and buy all the fixin’s for a fry tomorrow morning: eggs, bacon, sausages, bread, tomato, proper cow’s milk for proper tea… I might even look for decent baked beans and black pudding. Then, this evening, I am going to take a shower, wash my hair and put on make up for the first time in 9 months (gasp!). I am going to put on a dress ~ it is beautiful and still fits me and I feel sexy ~ and some very high heels ~ I’m able to walk in them properly, without shuffling, and they don’t hurt my back. We’re going into town for dinner, meeting up with friends and family. It’s going to be a long 5-course indulgence and I’m going to ignore all my diet rules. I am going to rip apart fresh-baked bread, taking the time to inhale its aroma before slathering on creamy butter and savouring every bite. I am going to close my eyes every time I take a bite of pasta ~ I don’t care what kind it is ~ and be fully present in that moment, witnessing every chew with all my senses on full-alert. I am going to order the most decadent dessert, something with pastry and chocolate ~ eggs, sugar, flour, butter ~ and revel in every single mouthful: no guilt, no worry, no blood sugar issues, no inflammation issues, no intolerances or allergies or leaky gut or bowel dysbiosis or nausea. There better be a cheese plate involved at some stage and I might even have some wine. Dry red wine. A whole bottle. Maybe I’ll sneak outside to share a cigarette with someone. We’re all going to talk over each other and laugh hysterically and the noise won’t bother me. I won’t be confused and overloaded by too many conversations at once. I won’t think about pain or exhaustion or how I will sleep tonight or how I will feel tomorrow. Because I will feel fine. I will feel tired and happy and full and grateful. Oh, and tomorrow morning, while eating that lovely breakfast, I will realise I’ve won the $600 million lotto.

Well, a girl can dream, right?

No, unfortunately, today will be like every other day. It’ll be a little bit worse than the norm because my sleep vanished this week and I’m crippled with new muscle pain on top of the old stiff exhaustion. But, it’ll be a little bit better than the norm because my sister is coming over and my husband isn’t working. Three people and three dogs? It’ll be a carnival compared to my usual still, silent days.

Goodbye 30s, you actually were literally the best of times and the worst of times. I have three birthday wishes for this new decade: Continued good health for those I love, better health for me and relief from suffering for all people and animals on this earth. That’s not too much to ask, is it? 🙂

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May 18th, 1973