White month coming up and a Parsnip with roast garlic soup!

I hope you all had a merry and relaxing Christmas! I have truly had a proper Christmas break so far, sleeping a bit more than normally, no blogging (not that blogging feels like a chore), reading, eating lots ( good and bad things), doing some fun holiday type things ( London aquarium amongst other things) and just generally lazing about (watched 2 episodes of Danish/ Swedish crime series The bridge….during the day when the kids had their nap) I never watch tv during the day so a very nice treat indeed! Basically hanging with my family and enjoying life.

I feel really refreshed mentally but physically…..let’s just say I’m looking forward to January! Too much sugar, wine and food in general. I do find it’s good to remind myself sometimes ( very rarely, like once a year ) how unwell and rubbish I feel when I go on a food indulgence spree.

My husband has always had a white month in January and in recent years it has been more like 2 or 3 months. He likes his drinks and figures that if he can’t stop for a month he has a drinking problem so apart from a healthy break it’s a test of sorts. I tend to join him and I have started to look forward to January because of it. This year I will do no drinking, no sugar and no dairy. And I will also start 13th of January since I have some dear friends coming to stay. I might keep it up until the end of February, we shall see.

And just a brief mention about my B12. ( I will certainly write a long post about it soon) The tests came back within normal range but about 2 weeks after having started taking sublingual B12 and after using high-potency B12 patches I feel like a new person. All the weird symptoms and the absolute fatigue is gone, and I mean gone! Something fishy is definitely going on. Anyway I’m seeing the neurologist in 2 weeks so stay tuned….

If you are feeling stuffed from all the heavy, sugar laden food from Christmas here’s a great soup to enjoy! It will certainly scare away all cold and flu germs given the amount of garlic. And it’s very delicious!


Parsnip and roasted garlic soup

Serves 4

5 medium parsnips
1 sweet potato
3 garlic heads
1 onion
6 cups vegetable stock
1 cup of Single cream or diary-free alternative
1 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
Black pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 200 °C. Chop the parsnips and sweet potatoes in cubes. Cut the bottom of the garlic heads off and wrap the garlic heads in foil. Put half of the parsnips on a baking tray with some coconut oil and put it in the oven together with the garlic heads.

In the meantime gently fry the chopped onion in some oil in a large pot for a couple of minutes. Then put the other half of the chopped parsnips and the chopped sweet potato in the pot and fry for another couple of minutes. Add the vegetable stock and cook for about 40 minutes or until soft. Take the garlic and parsnips out from the oven after 40 min and add to the pot. (The garlic can be squeezed out like tooth paste from a tube : )

Add cream and cook for a couple of minutes. Turn of the heat and add the turmeric. Then blend the soup and adjust the thickness by adding some water if necessary. Serve with some spelt bread and wave bye bye to those flu germs!

Healthy and happy new year to you all!

Curiosity killed the cat and hail the black rice

20131124-212048.jpgGood thing I’m not a cat, cause I’m very curious….about what is wrong with me. I got my test results back and good news is they were all good. Bad news is they were all good. Apart from some insignificantly (according to my GP) enlarged blood platelets. Don’t get me wrong I’m delighted all is well but because I can tell something is not quite right with my health it would have been good to know what that “not quite right” thing is. Anyhow since I have many, many of the symptoms of B12 deficiency I need to check it out. My B12 levels were tested using a test called serum B12 which isn’t really reliable. You see, the serum B12 test measures both active and inactive B12 together. The active B12 is what the body can utilise. So the normal B12 result might just be mainly inactive B12. I will write more about all of this later. My symptoms are are also typical of MS (multiple sclerosis) so I will need to investigate whether it can be an MS relapse. (I don’t think so because it just feels different this time around)

So my plan is contacting some MS people. My MS nurse that I haven’t needed for the last 6 years just now went on maternity leave. Seriously woman….now? So need to find someone else to talk to. Then if they say maybe not or definitely it was not an MS relapse I will rock up to my GP armed with bucket loads of underlined documents, my determined husband and two restless kids and try to convince him in 7 minutes that I need the other B12 tests done. After having succeeded in convincing him and if the new tests would show that there is definitely nothing wrong with my B12 then I just have to realise that perhaps it’s just exhaustion. I might not be a cat so curiosity won’t kill me but one has to know when enough testing has been done……I am not quite there yet though.
20131124-212148.jpgIn the meantime tonight I had a wicked black rice stir fry. I recently discovered black rice and the health benefits of it, then I came across this recipe from a great blog called Butter Beans where they write about great food for families. Here’s the original recipe. I mixed this recipe with another favourite stir fry
recipe and this is what I ate ;

Black rice stir fry with tofu and vegetables

Serves 6

4 eggs, beaten with 4 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil
1 cup of black rice
5 oz of frozen peas
Ginger, 1 inch piece, peeled
Tofu, 1 package, drained, and marinated for at least 30 minutes
Carrots, 2 medium, chopped in small cubes
Broccoli, 4 florets, chopped
Cauliflower, 4 florets, chopped
Celery, 2 stems, chopped
Sesame seeds, garnish
3 tablespoons of reduced salt soy sauce
6 spring onions, sliced

Place tofu on a flat plate and place another flat plate on top, then weigh it down with a heavy book or pan. Every 5 min or so remove liquid that has been squeezed out until most liquid is gone. Then marinate with 2 tablespoons of soya sauce and leave for at least 30 min. In the meantime cook rice according to instructions. (about 30 min)

Prepare all the vegetables. Steam the carrots, broccoli and cauliflower for 4 min

Beat the eggs with the sesame oil and scramble in a wok (or pan) until almost done. Put aside. Grate the ginger and cook for a minute, then add the rest of the vegetables apart from the peas and spring onions and cook for another couple of minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of soya sauce.

Add tofu, peas and spring onions and cook for another 2 minutes. Add rice and egg and heat up thoroughly. Serve in a bowl with some sesame seeds on top.
20131124-212134.jpgBlack rice became known as the “forbidden rice” in ancient china since it was reserved for emperors and nobility to ensure their good health. It contains the same amount (or more) of health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants as in blueberries. And although black rice is a bit more pricey than white rice it’s still cheaper than blueberries. It is high in nutritional value and contains 18 amino acids, iron, zinc, copper, carotene and has a similar amount of fibre as brown rice. Black rice can substitute white rice in most dishes, I ate it with a Thai curry the other day and it was yummy. Who would have thought that rice could be sooo good for you!

Taking charge of ones health and a wheatgrass green juice!

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Despite all my recent healthy eating I am still feeling rather exhausted. ( and pretty exhausted of saying that I’m exhausted) I have been explaining it away with looking after Z1 & Z2 and not sleeping through the night and…and…but hey I’ve actually been sleeping through the night since July so that excuse doesn’t fly any longer. So I bit the bullet on Friday and went to see my GP. Problem with me is that I don’t like nor trust doctors. Don’t get me wrong I’m sure most of them are doing a great job, I have just been unfortunate enough to meet some that hasn’t and it has left me disillusioned. Therefore I have a strong urge of being in charge of my health. So before going to my doctor on Friday I had googled and googled and googled some more, and I knew exactly what tests I wanted and what I thought might be wrong with me. I obviously didn’t tell him this and it turned out that he sent me to for more or less exactly the tests that I wanted, and some more. We have only been with this GP practice for a short while but man they are good! They listen to you, I mean really listen, they are thorough and they don’t rush. And they never ever make you feel like you are bothering them.

I know people say not to google your symptoms because it will just freak you out. And true, if you for example google or phone for medical advice regarding chest pain chances are that they will send you an ambulance when in fact, what you have might just be a vitamin deficiency or anxiety or a pulled muscle. So when searching the internet for symptoms one has to stay rational, be aware of the worst case scenario but remind oneself that most likely it really won’t be something that bad. For myself I’m suspecting a B12 or iron deficiency. I’ve been pregnant or breastfeeding for the last 2 1/2 years so it sort of make sense. And a lot of the symptoms fits the description. The good thing with doing my own research is that I feel much more in control, I’m not just handing the control over to the doctor hoping that they will do a good job. I can make sure they will do a good job : ) They might be the experts on medicine but I’m the expert when it comes to my own body.

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I recently watched a really interesting program on BBC horizon on what some believe is the future of medicine : self-monitoring. Well worth a watch!

Key pointers when being your own medical detective

Stay calm, focus on all the not so bad things it can be rather than the worst case scenarios.

Use your common sense, internet is a great source of information but there’s a lot of misinformation as well so be wary of what you read.

Don’t just use the internet to self-medicate. Do go and see your doctor as well, two detectives are always better than one!

When speaking to the doctor do keep an open mind, they are after all (supposedly) the experts

If you want to use alternative medicine don’t expect your GP to understand it, there’s most likely no point even mentioning it to them. Same goes for alternative medicine, they are not always keen on the standard pharmaceutical medicines. And here you have to make your own decisions! 95 % of the time I tend go for alternative ways but sometimes one just has to resort to the crap that you get from the pharmacy.

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So anyways have to wait for this results so in the meantime I will use food to get as much energy as I can therefore this will be my daily drink as it can be beneficial for the red blood count due to it containing chlorophyll. ( it’s good for a whole heap of other stuff as well)

Wheatgrass green juice!

2 apples
2 stalks of celery
1 handful of kale
1 handful of spinach
1 piece of ginger to taste. I like a strong ginger taste so use a 2cm cube.
1/2 teaspoon of wheatgrass

Juice all ingredients starting with the ginger. Stir in the wheatgrass in the end. Drink and enjoy your super woman powers!