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. 🙂

My Very Easy and Healthy Smoothie and Granola Recipes!

I find it amusing and perplexing that bloggers love recipes and anything written about food. I could have 99 posts about ME/CFS that never get read, but the 100th post about my oat bar recipe will have 10 bloggers “liking” it. So, with that in mind, listen up foodie bloggers! (foggers? bloodies?) I -somebody with too little energy to shower most days- make a smoothie every day and granola every week. They’re easy and they cost such an exorbitant amount of money at the shops, that you should start making your own immediately!

Triple Berry Smoothie 1

[Edit: I have since started doing green juices and not eating so much fruit, but this is still delicious for a yummy treat.]

E.M.’s Basic Smoothie (dairy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free etc.)

Blend:

  • 1 banana
  • a few handfuls of frozen mixed berries
  • almond milk (sweetened or unsweetened, vanilla or original)

Now, here are the variations that make it interesting:

  • 1 banana (or pear, if bananas are too much sugar or too many carbs. Often I’ll put half the banana in my granola for breakfast and then use the other half in a smoothie for “elevensies”)
  • a few handfuls of frozen mixed berries (or fresh berries or mango or…)
  • almond milk (or coconut milk or soy milk or hemp milk or cow’s milk or yogurt or ice cream or frozen yogurt or…)
  • splash of orange juice (really kicks it up a notch)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of cinnamon and/or nutmeg
  • agave nectar or stevia to taste (but you don’t need it!)
  • 1 tbs flax seed meal (I always do this)
  • a few walnuts (I always do this, too. You wouldn’t believe how good walnuts are blended up in a smoothie)

Also, you can add water or ice to thicken or thin the smoothie without adding calories, but not affecting the taste too much.

Granola after roasting

Granola consists of oats, a far and something sweet. So, it can be as simple as oats, oil/fat and honey… and then you get to add any seeds, nuts or different flavours you like. I made up all these measurements, you less or more to your liking.

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

  • 4 cups gluten-free rolled oats 
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (can be salted. If not, add 1/4-1/2 tsp salt to recipe)
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (any kind: I like pecans, cashews and almonds. If I didn’t put walnuts in my smoothies, I’d put them in my granola)
  • 1/2 cup coconut (can be sweetened or unsweetened)
  • 1/2-1 tbs cinnamon
  • 5 tbs fat of choice (butter, high-oliec sunflower or canola oil, heated up coconut oil… lately I’ve been using olive oil and the taste has not overwhelmed the finished product)
  • 5 tbs honey (or brown rice syrup or maple syrup or whatever liquid sweetener you like)
  • 2 tsps pure vanilla extract (I add much more because I love vanilla)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apples, cherries etc.)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine dry ingredients. Heat oil, honey and vanilla over low heat until it is runny but not boiling. Pour over dry ingredients, mix thoroughly and spread over 2 baking trays lined with foil or parchment. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden. When cooled, add dried fruit (otherwise they have a tendency to get a bit crispy and charred in the oven). I love mine in clumps, but I think you’d need more honey to get that effect. The NY Times recently said that if you leave a “donut hole” in the middle of the baking trays and don’t stir the granola while it’s baking, it’ll come out clumpier, however, it didn’t work for me.

Which brings me to the variations: obviously, you can have no seeds or no nuts or no coconut. You can have no vanilla or cinnamon or dried fruit. Tinker with the oil and honey. I only put 2 tbs honey and 2 tbs agave nectar in my last batch, knowing I could always add more to my bowl of granola when I’m eating it … but, I didn’t think it was quite sweet enough. This is not grocery store granola! This way you can make it healthier or not ~ whatever you like. You’re in charge. 🙂

Enjoy!