Healthy living rules and a gluten, dairy free banana/ cacao bread

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Victory and success!!!! Yeah!!! I saw the neurologist the other day and walked out of her office deliriously happy. And no there hasn’t been any miracles. I still have MS (the lumbar puncture confirmed it) And that I have had new lesions since 2007 is still a fact. But but…..I asked her what it means that I have had new lesions but hardly no clinical symptoms.
She said that a) it’s a very good sign and b) it seems that my brain is so strong that it can find new ways of transporting the signals to body parts even with new lesions. (She did actually seemed a bit surprised about this ) Her saying this is to me significant. It means that I am on the right path and all this kale stuffing, vegetable juice slurping, perfect exercise searching and finding more happiness quest is working! It means that I have made my body strong enough to deal with whatever rubbish comes its way. I even asked her if she thinks that all the things that I’m doing is working and she said YES! (This is coming from a neurologist and they normally just believes in steroids and immune suppressing medications…..)

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Of course I am still dreaming though that one day there will be no new lesions. And my long term goal is to be fully fit and capable to dance with my son at his wedding. If he’s anything like his dad whom I married on his 40th birthday (my son is only 18 months old) I have to keep fit for a very long time ; ) But no problems I can do it! If he’s not getting married (which I’m totally fine with) I guess I’ll aim for completing a marathon on my 80th birthday. I actually couldn’t care less if my son gets married or not but after having left the neurologist my body was filled with such an enormous amount of happiness hormones it did some weird things to my brain. I had this Hollywood happy ending vision in my head and I looked at my son and said; hey sweetie, you know what, I am absolutely fine and if you decide to get married one day in the future, I’ll definitely dance with you!

Anyway I’m delighted and feeling very encouraged to continue on my path to happier, healthier living….

Since I have recently gone gluten-free I’m searching for some gluten-free goodies to eat and I found a recipe for a yummy banana cake

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Altered from Lemonstripes.com
Ingredients:
1 cup rice flour
1 cup Doves gluten-free white bread flour (can be substituted with another cup of rice flour)
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons of cacao

Preheat the oven to 175 °C.
In a bowl, combine the flours, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, bananas, maple syrup, applesauce, oil, vanilla and 2/3 of the walnuts.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well mixed. Divide the mixture into 2 bowls. Stir in the cacao into one of the bowls.
Add the mixture without cacao into a 8″ x 4″ loaf pan coated with a little bit of oil. Then poor the cacao mixture on top. If you are after a more marbled effect you can use 2 spoons and dollop the mixtures into the cake tin alternately. Top the cake with the remaining walnuts.
Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean.
Enjoy a slice with a cup of your favourite tea!

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The limbo is over and a base salad

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I received a letter last week regarding my MRI. It seems as if I definitely have MS…..which I am fine about, I was kind of expecting it. I have a lot of loony ideas but deep down inside I didn’t really think that one of the best neurologists in the country had got it so wrong. And furthermore my relapse in 2007 when I was diagnosed was just prime example/ textbook case MS. But…but I just wanted to double check since I am so well in myself. Really……do I have MS?

The other news that I got a bit surprised and not so happy about were…that apparently I have some further scaring since 2007, meaning that I have had another relapse or several. Looking back I can’t really see when that could have been, apart from maybe last Autumn when I was a bit more exhausted than I should have been.

Anyways, after having got over the initial shock I realised that I must have had a relapse without hardly noticing it which is a good thing. As far as I understand the relapses are supposed to get worse and worse but believe me, whenever, however I had this relapse, it was much, much, much milder than the one in 2007. That certainly didn’t sneak by unnoticed. It was all I could think about during the couple of months it lasted for. It was one body part after another acting really weird or shutting down.

And for all of you thinking that ha, I knew healthy eating and living won’t cure all ills and who are getting ready to go home and with a guilt-free conscious scuff a tub of ice-cream, some Mc Donald’s followed by microwave popcorn in front of the telly, don’t! Healthy eating and living does work. I’m still well hey ; )

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I can understand how it could have happened though, I have been doing too much cheating regarding my health regime. The longer you stay well the reasons why it’s so important to look after yourself are starting to diminish and then you let body destroying foods and habits back into your life again. So the bottom line is I’m really glad that I got this wake up call. I can cheat once in a blue moon, as long as once in a blue moon doesn’t come around every week and last for days. Once in a blue moon means once in a blue moon. No other interpretations!

Some questions that I have been asking myself; Do I wish I didn’t have Multiple Sclerosis? Do I wish I didn’t have to eat really, really healthily? Do I wish I didn’t have to strive towards a happier, better life in order to stay well? No, not at all. (Do note it’s easy for me to say no since I don’t feel unwell, my MS is more or less under control. My answer would probably be different if I felt unwell) But as it stands, my answer is no. But regardless I would never go back to eating any other way. Perhaps at my darkest moments I wish that I had learnt the life lesson that if you take good care of yourself 80% of the time you can do whatever the heck you like for the remaining 20% of the time without having to get ill first. For me now the ratio has to be more like 97%-3%. I wish I had learnt that once the body collapses you can most likely fix it with a lot of hard work but it’s much much harder than looking after yourself so you don’t get ill in the first place.

Anyways, new regime for me is;

I’ve been completely gluten and diary free since Monday and am aiming to continue being so…..forever. There’s just too much evidence that gluten and diary causes inflammation in the body and it’s really not good for someone with MS.
I have also decided that once and for all take control over my stress and become some sort of Zen like Buddha figure…..now that’s a challenge and a half given that I’m at home with an 18 month old and a nearly 3 year old and I was born with a Latino temperament…..Meditation, mindfulness, yoga, tai chi here I come!!!!

Today’s recipe isn’t really a recipe, it’s more like a suggestion. I have been struggling with lunch since I don’t have time to cook a new healthy dish everyday for lunch. It has to be fast and easy. So what I have started doing recently is that one evening I prepare a base salad that will last for 3 days. Then when it’s time for my lunch I just have to take out one portion, add some goodies and eat. I love it!

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Base salad
( use as many vegetables as you like but make sure you vary them, be brave and buy vegetables you normally don’t eat)

Suggestions;

Spinach
Rocket
Watercress
Steamed green beans
Peppers
Shredded kale
Shredded cabbage
Raw or steamed broccoli
Radishes
Tomatoes
Asparagus

Goodies to add on the day you’re eating the salad

Avocado
Home made coleslaw
Sprouts
Small pieces of goats cheese
Tuna or salmon
An egg

Then I just sprinkle some Aceito balsamico de Modena over the salad. (Thick creamy balsamic vinegar) or you can find some healthy dressing recipes online. There’s loads out there.