Thursday, May 30, 2013

What I've been eating.

Im constantly thinking of food, especially because 1. there are so many I have to avoid now and 2. my diet needs a decent amount of thought and home cooking.

Breakfast is a no-brainer thank goodness, I usually have an egg and spinach omelette or try to enjoy GF cereals with Flax milk. I remember when I switched to Lactaid and hated it, now I love Lactaid so Im hoping if I drink this flax milk quick enough Ill grow to like it. We shall see.

Lunch is definitely tricky, especially if Im out and about. Ive never really been one to go through fast food drive throughs on my own or even grab something when I am out shopping, I usually just go hungry, but when Im shopping now Id give anything to be able to pop into Subway and grab a sandwich. Oh well. So for now when I get home Ill grab a salad Ive made up already or some home made soup. I enjoy soups more than salads. I might even heat up a potato or sweet potato and add DF spread.

Dinner is usually tricky and can sometimes mean I make 3 different meals. Last night the weather was beautiful so we decided to grill outside. I had lamb chops and beans, Emma had beef burger in a GF bread bun and the rest of the family ate normal delicious burgers (jealous).

This weekend we are out and about so eating will be tricky. Ive learnt its better to plan ahead with some snacks for the car ride and I will definitely be researching the eatery's menus to see whats on offer. Thank goodness for the internet.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My life is over.....and so is Emma's

Almost 3 weeks ago I had 7 vials of blood taken for a battery of tests. Ive been feeling pretty crummy all year so I was hoping the tests would come back with something and hopefully not be too serious.

It seems my liver, kidneys and vitamin D (to name a few) are out of whack and food sensitivities could well be the culprit. Easy fix huh?'s my comprehensive list of intolerances: Asparagus, Avocado, Banana, Almond, Lima Bean, Beef, Blueberry, Cauliflower, Celery, Carrots, Cocoa, Cottage Cheese, Chicken, Codfish, Garlic, Gluten, Lettuce, Mustard, Nutrasweet, Peanut, Black Pepper, Safflower, Salmon, Squash, Malt, Cows Milk, OATS, Mustard, Peach, Chili Pepper, Green Pepper, Turkey, Walnuts, Watermelon, Bakers Yeast, Brewers Yeast, Yoghurt.

I have to say I was completely shocked and stunned when I saw my results and especially the number of intolerances. Having a relatively bland British diet and two fairly picky eaters (including the husband) I rely on a lot on convenience and fast meals, like the rest of the world, not particularly fast foods but chicken salads, cereals, homemade juices and fresh breads. So now Im gluten free and dairy free on top of the 37 other foods I have to avoid. So what can I eat? Well..... thats a good question. 

There are two types of sensitivities: immediate and delayed. Immediate food reactions occur straight away and it can take 72 hours for a delayed reaction to appear. The day after I received my results, I headed to Wholefoods with Emma who was also diagnosed with 20 of her own food intolerances. Shes now gluten and dairy free and also has to avoid citrus foods. We both avoid our food intolerance list for 90 days and then slowly start reintroducing the foods to see how well our systems can handle them.

We spent a very hungry two and a half hours in Wholefoods reading labels and understanding how their store works. A purple tag on the shelves means gluten free products but I have to be very careful of whether they have yeast in them. I spoke to one of the servers on the deli counter who pointed us in the direction of GF hot dogs for Emma. (She enjoyed the hotdogs but not the GF hot dog rolls.)

We left with a few GF DF items including pasta, blueberry muffins and bread rolls and a price tag of over $200. Its a pretty expensive diet. I am relying on the iphone app FOODUCATE to help me shop. I scan all my items and if a product isn't in its database then I dont buy it. I can also use the app to create a daily food tracker and shopping list.

For now I have challenged Kelly the Culinarian to create me a GF, DF, 37free dessert. Ill keep you posted!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Run or Dye 5k Bridgeview

A few months ago I spotted a Groupon deal for this race. Its very similar to the Color Run 5k where you cover a distance of 3.1 miles while being pelted with scented colored corn starch.
I only paid $24 for two registrations which I thought was very reasonable especially because I still cant walk normally and this event is untimed. Under 10s were allowed to join in for free.

Packet pickup was downtown, but I didnt make it due to a hectic week and I had been in touch with Run or Dye via their facebook page and they confirmed there was indeed race day packet pick up, which actually wasn't too bad. The lines weren't too long and the volunteers did a great job. My friend Cathie, Cathies son, my girls and I were signed up for the 10am wave. Included in our race bag was a white cotton tee and a bag of dye. Here are my kids all clean.

Here they are after bombing each other with dye.

We headed to the race start line and joined the crowd for our wave start. The wait was longer than we'd hoped and the kids got very bored. Nearer the start line there was entertainment and giveaways but we just wanted to start our race.

When we set off we found porta-pottys and dye stations along the route, where we were color bombed by volunteers. The terrain was loose stone which I hated because Im now back in my cam walker for two weeks, so I cut the wiggling course and walked around a mile.
My Emma ran the whole thing and we regrouped at the finish line before heading to the Run or Dye store to buy more color.

There was live entertainment and the DJ planned a huge color fight are regular intervals. We joined the huge group of people and waited for the color fight. We had taken spare glasses with us so the dye didnt get in our eyes - very important.

Emma had a blast
My girls were in there somewhere

Its maybe not good for little ones
The more color the better for Elizabeth

Tips for driving home:
  • wear a couple of layers of clothes so that the dyed layer can be removed.
  • def take spare shoes
  • cover the car seats with trash bags or towels.
All in all it was a lot of fun and well worth the $12 each registration, normally $45, which I wouldn't pay. A few days on and Im still sneezing color and finding it in my ears. :-)

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Moonwalk London 2013 by Fiona Rainforth

I know... I know, Ive been rubbish at updating my blog so here's a little treat for you. My first official guest blog by my good friend from home (our kids were kids together). Fiona recently became a marathoner... squeal... here's her story. :)

"Walk the Walk came into being 16 years ago when just 13 women Power Walked the New York City Marathon in their bras to raise money  and awareness for breast cancer. What started out as a one-off fundraising event, has blossomed into a thriving multi-million pound charity, raising to date in excess of £83 million for vital breast cancer causes."
The Moon Walk – London – Saturday 11th May

It was me (Fiona on a Sunday – Fi will do) and four other Yorkshire Lass’s who started training through the winter – and what a winter we trained in a lot of sub zero temperatures so a bit of rain, a thunder storm and blowing an absolute bitch seemed fine for walking round London Town – oh did I mention through the night starting at midnight to be precise, its for Breast Cancer, so in our Bras too!! We are not talking times here, its girls power and endurance!!  We are Team Black Sheep!! 

On the train we all had our moonwalk T shirts on and a few people thought we were a Hen Party, our excitement probably fuelled that train of thought.  Then when Carol gave us all a gift on the way down – Make up bags full of treats like foot soaks, dextrose tablets and small bottle of wine, we got giddy – and opened the wine!  Why not!!

Once settle in our room, we decided to find somewhere to eat, I used ‘around me’ so not realising I was phoning the pub directly opposite I asked them to run through the menu and I told them I ws 74 yards away – we settled over at the pub and watched the drunks roll in and out while we sipped water and wished we had carried on with the wine!!

We set off for the moon walk – feeling really giddy now, for no apparent reason I told the taxi driver I was a celebrity (Jennifer Saunders does the moon walk every year so I said I was her) and that I therefore would not need to queue for the Moonwalk!! The taxi driver drove us to the front gate SORRY ladies big mistake – HUGE – we now had to walk two miles to the end of the queue!!

Once inside the Moonwalk City which is a freakin massive pink marquee with 20,000 people all in decorated bras (mostly woman but some gents too).  There was supper provided for everyone nice pasta dishes and bottles of water and buns to eat.  The theme for this year was ‘Out of this world’ Some great decorations, we saw three avatars on stilts and some one with spock ears! Live music was playing so we danced then there was a minutes silence for the race as it was dedicated to 3 ladies who signed up for the race in October but had since died of breast cancer – not a dry eye in the house!! I did not want to spare energy on tears – they could wait!!

By now we all just wanted to do what we had trained hard for – WALK!!!
There were six starting groups and we were in group 4, not where we wanted to be but we had to wait and wait and it was cold and late, then eventually we were penned in ready for the off and away, not our fastest pace due to traffic of people, we got our heads down and walked, checking on our buddies all the way. Walking in the dark is tricky you have to watch your step all the time as I later found out.  The first mile seemed like 5 and the first three more like ten, we were all getting a little worried.  So we tried upping the pace and overtaking but this walk is on the pavements there are no closed roads so its tricky.  But the support is unbelievable, first there was a Suzuki Jeep with an air horn driving up and down, all the London cabbies tooting their horns and an incredible amount of people stood clapping all the way round with shouts of ‘come on moonwalkers you are doing a great job’. 

As we headed towards mile 8 the toilet announcement came – two miles to the loos!! Carol had a spring in her step, and the next two miles dissolved away!! But oh boy when we saw the queue for the loo, it was not good!!! The shouts of more toilets in 3 miles spurred us on and this is when I slowed down on the water – not good and the next toilets were more like 4 miles and when we approached the marshalls were announcing 15 minute queues!! We just walked by. Poor Carol,we were now in Knightsbridge and on behalf of all the moonwalkers who were seeking a place to wee, we can only apologise to the immaculate back streets of London that were tinkled on that night – it was in pure desperation!!  The next miles went quicker and we stopped at mile 17 for a loo break and some fruit.  The next two miles soon passed and we were passing the most amazing Landmarks, the sun rising of Buckingham Palace we saw it from both sides as we looped around, we took a picture of Big Ben at 4.45am and we saw the Houses of Parliament. I stumbled on the cobbles a couple of times going right over on my ankle but I was straight back up and walking, not lending any time to stopping. When we got to mile 20 we knew it was the equivelant of our Friday night walk but I was in agony, my feet were on fire and my legs were dead, I went and lay on some sculpture stopping the team. Then after our two minute break we headed out the final push and not long before we all became delirious along the Thames, we could see the big pink marquee and we just headed for it.

The crowds at the finish looking for their families cracked me, the tears of tiredness and fatigue washed down my face and we all held hands and crossed the line together.  I grabbed the lady giving me my medal as if she were a long lost relative!! The dead legs felt very stiff and my feet hurt, so getting back to the hotel room was a blessing. 
On the train home we were very quiet and slept for little bits between chats about the characters we had met along the way, to the posh Chelsea night clubbers to the drunks who woke up in a bus station and decided to walk with us to the same man who stood at the very start clapping his hounds saying very loudly ’Come on Moonwalkers you can do it’ the same man half way through ‘Come on Moonwalkers you are over halfway’ he was there at the end ‘Well done Moonwalkers you did it’.  Yes we did!! 

Although Fiona walked for fun it was also for a great cause, please visit her fundraising page and pledge to help find a cure for Breast Cancer.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Neuropathy Awareness

This week we have been reminded by the Neuropathy Association to remember those suffering from the horrid symptoms and to fund raise so that more resources can be put towards research into treatment and hopefully a cure from the sometimes debilitating pain, burning and numbness.

Today my friends and I wore purple and walked old plank trail in Frankfort to remember those with neuropathy. 

Funnily enough all of the blooming flowers on the trail were purple too. :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Hats off to English Tea (this is the best Kelly Janowski could come up with)

Firstly Id like to thank Kelly the Culinarian, not for the blog title cos its utter crap but for kick-starting my love of baking and subsequently eating.

Today, I decided to hold an authentic English high tea, simply because I'm British and I can. I invited a few of my closest friends to join me. We had a great time.

I started baking at 5am this morning, thanks to Emma waking me up early. I made cherry and fruit scones and fruit muffins served with margarine and individual pots of jam.

Tea def calls for a hat

Scones with butter and jam hmmmm
I also went to my local irish imports store and bought chocolate digestives and chocolate tea cakes and imported some of my favourites through Amazon gourmet foods.  

Branston Pickle - my dads favourite

For the savouries I made, egg and watercress sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches and ham and pickle sandwiches and served a selection of fruit teas and earl gray. Our English "high tea" turned out wonderful and it wont be long before I hold another :)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mothers Day Lake Katherine

Today would have been my Nanna's 91st birthday so this morning after opening my Mothers Day cards, Elizabeth and I took Cindy for walk to Lake Katherine in Palos Heights. 

My feet have always hated the terrain but I want to expose Cindy to as many places as I can where she will bump into other dogs, as part of her socializing training.

Lake Katherine is absolutely spectacular in the Spring, its one of my most favourite places to visit.

Emma stayed home to finish her homework and Elizabeth was very reluctant to get out of bed and come but I think she was glad when she did.

Its a great place to take the kids and get pictures, theres even a children's garden with butterfly statues and a herb garden you can walk through.
Its less than a mile loop around the lake with a few detours and I really wanted to stay and walk around it more but the loose bark chippings and rough terrain plays havoc with my feet. So we just meandered and I took pictures of Elizabeth climbing before heading to a Mothers Day party at a friends house. Ahhhhh fantastic day.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A bloody ride

My training buddy from kickboxing, Mario and I hooked up for a bike ride on Old Plank Trail this morning, somewhere Mario has never been and a treat for me, as Nicks in England I could have easily blown off exercising this weekend and stayed in bed, especially seeing as its 55 degrees out and bitter cold. blarghhh

We met at the Grainery in Frankfort at 7am and it was the first ever outing for my new tri bike, its been sat on the trainer since I collected it from Performance Bike, so I was a little nervous. We headed east and thankfully the cold weather and early start meant the trail was empty (I didnt even see one of my running group members which is pretty strange).

I soon relaxed into my ride and had a great low cadence for the first 9 miles, we both really flew and didnt stop chatting. On the way back the wind kindly changed direction and it was a very cold struggle for me. My anaemia means I tire out around mile 14 which is a real problem as most of my planned cycle races are over triple that distance.

Mario's knee :(
Closer to home we stopped to cross a road and in our rush Mario couldn't unclip fast enough and crashed out onto his knee and into my bike. Thankfully he completed missed my left foot but his knee was pretty badly hurt. 

This was the first ride where I wore my new ACE wrist supports too. I have carpal tunnel in my left wrist so both wrists need a bit of extra added support and I really liked them, I didnt notice wearing them the whole ride. 

I filled my sports bottle with Cytomax kindly introduced to me by Kelly the Culinarian, but I would have rather have had hot steaming tea!!! brrrrr

Really? who stole the other half of my new can???
After the ride, we sat and enjoyed coffee outside of Always Open (which secretly isnt always open) and I started chatting with a few member of the Folks on Spokes club. Really nice people, I feel I have successfully infiltrated their group and hope to ride with them very soon. :)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

It's a dog's life.

Cheesy title right..? well meet our four legged friend who most certainly DOES have a dog's life.

Cinderella aka Cindy aka Funf aka Little-Girl aka Mrs Lick was first spotted on the P.A.W.S. Tinley Park website when we finally granted permission to have a non-caged pet by our landlords. She was rehomed with a handsome chap called Prince Charming but he wasnt good with kids so we couldnt adopt him too.

We decided to visit PAWS which is less than 5 minutes away from our house. Little did we know that less than an hour later Cindy would be in our kitchen, making herself at home. PAWS told us Cindy is a Boxer x Australian Cattle Dog which was actually lie number 1, as shes clearly part pitbull. Lie number 2 was that she loves people and other dogs. Well, she most certainly loves people but is clearly so dangerous around other dogs that she is now enrolled in the BarkBusters program at an astonishing $700. If we had been told the truth I probably wouldn't have adopted her. Well played PAWS.

Through the power of Facebook I eventually found out that Cindy was awarded to the courts after being taken from the home of someone dealing guns and drugs. She was then collected by the Safe Humane Chicago Society who choose only a few dogs each week to help rehome, then onto PAWS at Tinley. She is covered in scars and has a few pieces of her ears missing, clearly from fighting. She also has some degree of facial paralysis on her left hand side and has trouble closing her left eye. When we first brought her home she didnt understand our British accent because she would sit and listen with her head on one side. After a while she stopped doing it. :)

Funf's day consists of 2 things. Eating and sleeping. She was never taught how to chase and fetch a ball and doesnt know how to play. She can barely hold things in her mouth and this makes things a little frustrating for my girls who would love to play with her. Instead shes a 75lb LAP-dog who eats breakfast and rests all day so she has enough energy for her evening meal!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Im feeling tested!

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Just over a week ago I had 7 vials of blood taken to try and determine why Im feeling so crappy. Today I got the results and I was a little shocked.

Seems all of me is out of whack and my body isnt happy. I was, however, very pleased to find out that I dont have Hashimoto's Thyroid disease although I have all the symptoms.

My liver, kidney, vitamin D results came back flagged and I have anaemia. Im not happy. Im also having trouble breaking down protein in my foods. Im starting a weird supplement regime where I create a special kind of stomach acide 15 minutes before I eat, its really unpleasant and I have to do it twice a day. Gross. I am still waiting for my food intolerance test results and I am fascinated to hear what they are :)

On the plus side, Ive seen significant improvement in my surgery foot. Although not back to full function and strength I do now how normal plantarflexion so I can stand and point my toes to the floor like a ballerina. Yay. I have progressed onto the calf stretcher. Im pleased. I was recently told I need 25% dorsiflex to be able to run but Im only at 10% so its gonna be a while. :(

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Go Team!

Probably one of the most eagerly anticipated half marathons in the south burbs is the First Midwest Bank Half Marathon, nicknamed Palos Half, organised by Running for Kicks store owner Mel Diab. The race usually marks the first days of Spring and lets us all know warmer weather is on the way.
This time last year, I was lucky enough to run the race and it was my first half marathon and indeed my first ever medalled race. But alas this year my foot is no where near able to run so I headed there to cheerlead.  

The weather turned out great, dry and sunny with no wind. I was actually feeling a little toasted when we left. My friend Christine and I located ourselves at mile 4/9 so we had a good view of everyone. We were supposed to be cheering at the turnaround but the police had cordoned off the roads so we couldn't get there.


On this occasion I truly enjoyed cheerleading more than running, especially when we chose to harass the runners aswell as cheer them on. Not sure how we werent removed from the course. I took 830 photos and they came out great, clearly I cant add them all here so follow these links to them :)

Lastly, congratulations to all of those who completed the race, you rocked!!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Week in weeview (get it?)

Our blossom tree :)
Its been a hectic, sickly week for me and to be honest I haven't gotten all that much done. I did however attend 51/2 hours of doctors visits which is way too much for my liking. Im not even feeling any better after all that time either.  Ive been having to nap every afternoon which I hate, my house and laundry is backing up on me and I dont wake up feeling refreshed. I also worry about being able to sleep over night. Because I havent been myself, I havent done anything exciting to blog heres my week in weeview.

Spring slash Summer seemed to hit us, we had 2 days of 80 degree weather which sent everybody(and my grass) crazy. It was great while it lasted and the following days of 55degree weather seemed really bitter cold. It did kickstart my garden and seeds and as soon as my strawberries start fruiting Ill be putting the cages around my precious berries.
Cosmos :)

I had to take my bike bike to Performance Bike to have the pedals dealt with. I could not click in and my left foot most certainly cannot click in with any kind of force, so the pedals were altered and I now have the Kestrel back on the trainer for the time being. Tomorrow after cheerleading at the Palos Half Ill be taking the road bike for a few miles down Old Plank Trail.