Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Intermittent Paleo Diary, and Occasional Artist

Well, it's been 43 days, as of 13 December! Weight is down below 72kg (hooray), but more importantly, my clothes are fitting better. A reminder arrived from the doctor's surgery yesterday, wanting me to go get a blood test (HbA1c) - I'll go do that next week - see how things are going.

I think my blood sugars have settled down. I know for sure that it only takes a small amount (read, less than a fist-sized piece of kumara) of carbohydrate to shoot my bloods up to 14!!!!

But I'm enjoying LOTS of protein (especially shrimps - nom nom!), and the whole leafy vege thing. Not really missing carbs, tho I have an occasional craving for sweets - satisfied with a (very small) handful of dried fruit, or a small munch of a "Primal Bar" that I found at Nosh - lots of nuts and seeds with a bit of dried fruit - no soy or wheat!

I attended a Paleo Seminar last week, run by Julianne Taylor, of ZoneDiet - I actually learned some new stuff, and it was really good to be able to talk to an expert. Only 6 women attended, so it was an almost 1-1 experience. Almost enough geek-science-nerd stuff to satisfy me! COFFEEEEEEEEE - no more coffee - it's a bean whose proteins mimic gluten! Yep, that's why I would have stomach cramps and the runs 30 minutes (yes, that quick!) after a cup of coffee. And I even managed to get a paleo dinner - at the roast shop next door to the venue. Pork, carrots, kumara. Yum.

I've received three fantastically awesome packages in the mail this past fortnight. The first was from Jean Parker, a talented artist from Tennessee. I'd admired some encaustic pieces she'd done, and commented about how hard it is to get the little boards from R&F down here.

This is what she sent me:

There are some fantastic ATC specific paper embellishments, a half-dozen ATC sized encaustic boards, a big board, brochures, Santa ATC's, napkins, and some other bits and bobs! In particular was an encaustic piece (end of the centre row on the right) of a pot sherd - just beautiful. I actually had to wait a day before I had time to open it.

The second package was from Ruth Rothberg, and were my 4 Carousel Animal ATC swap cards: a llama, a horse, a giraffe, and a lady, with a handmade Carousel stamped card from Ruth:

And then, today, this magnificent collection arrived from my friend Emma Gessel, who lives in Utah:

I'd ordered the 3 textbooks thru Amazon, and had them sent to Emma, so I could pay her for the real postage cost, rather than Amazon's gouge. Volumes 1 and 2 of 'The Story of Christianity'. 'Biblical Interpretation' is for a course in exactly that, which I'm attending on campus next year - really looking forward to that, and it will involve learning some Greek and Hebrew! There's also a book on Digital image techniques - a play/text book! There are a bottle each of Citrasolv and Purell, which I want to use for image transfer techniques. There's a half-dozen rolodex cards - gonna have to be patient for package two to arrive with the rolodex machines! - and - wait for it ... MY VERY OWN PHASER! How cool is that! It looks a bit like the Starship Enterprise too. And it comes with a couple of rounds of ammunition - black tape! Yeah, I know, it's actually an 'original' Dymo labeller - but it's still darn cool! Happy happy dance time!

Also in the mail today - my Academic Record arrived from Laidlaw - I passed Theology with a B! Thank goodness I had good marks for the internal assessments. The exam itself had a B, C, C+ and C-. I got an A- for Introduction to the New Testament. I really don't do well on the 'softer' subjects!

Also included was someone else's exam paper - their student number is 1 digit different from mine - and they did EVEN WORSE!!!! I'll phone Laidlaw tomorrow and see what needs to happen to it to get it back to its real owner.

It's been a busy month, and I haven't really got much done in the way of art. WIP's are:

Fabric ATC 'Valentine' - I added the flower lace and 'hearts and dots' to the background of purple fabric with metallic stitching and red bias. It goes off to player #3 in the round robin for completion.

I've started my 'Christmas' themed fabric ATC's - but they need more work - hate sewing with metallic thread!

Also started - and it's very time consuming - is an altered book for another round robin - the pages are all gessoed, and I plan to stick a door inside, that opens onto my 'theme' instructions - doors, gates and trees. Here's the image I intend to use:

I'm hoping to get these completed on the weekend, and out on Monday!

Monday is 'screw-tops' on the posts day - oral surgery for the dental implants - ugh. Thank goodness for credit cards!

Kama - Mr Bear - black dog. Got a fluid filled ear last week. Lancing it didn't help - it just filled back up again. Took him to the vet. Two options: leave it, and have it turn into a 'rugby-cauliflower-ear' or ... have the layers stitched together. Of course, he's over 7 now - so requires a bit more tlc than a younger dog (not that he acts like an adult yet!) So, $800 ish later, I have a dog with a quilted ear:

We're going to take him to get his stitches out tomorrow afternoon after work. Oh,what fun!

Now, you know how I keep saying I'm stressed out, and don't have enough time to do the things I want to do, and wasn't going to volunteer for anything else ... and honestly, I did delete the remark almost immediately after I'd made it ...but it was too late ... I wasn't quick enough, and it had already been seen ...

Anyway, the upshot is, that I'm going to be doing copy editing for an organisation called New Urban World/ISUM (International Society for Urban Mission). I met Ash Barker and Dave Timms earlier this year at a Misseo Dei workshop, and while I didn't find my mission in life, I met some amazing, dedicated (and possibly crazy) people. I'll be very proud and pleased if I can make even a small contribution to their work.

It would be really neat if this is a new direction for me - I've gone from editing Traveller Rule sets, to two books for Alistair Brown, and now this! Tomorrow, I will conquer the world! Mwahahahaha!

This is kind of ironic, actually, since I was suffering from severe anxiety attacks at the end of last week/beginning of this week. Non-stop, uncontrollable crying, rapid heart beat, nausea, the works. Part of the problem is that I associate Christmas with bad stuff happening (marriages ending, losing children, losing friends), and partly my increasing problems coping with groups of people. Sunday last week was a bad day people-wise, and both Saturday (work function) and Sunday - Church and church function - will be challenging for me. It doesn't seem to matter whether it's people I know, or strangers (tho strangers are much much worse - [strange as in - not people I willingly associate with - yeah, like work colleagues]) Hopefully I can successfully fake it!

That's it for tonight. More next week maybe! If I have time ... after I've done some art, and read some more paleo sites, and looked at my Biblical Interpretation textbook, and my Digital Impressions text/play book .... and edited some copy ... and and and ....

Oh, and I almost forgot:

My beautiful Becca - wearing her Christmas present!


Saturday, 1 December 2012

The (Not quite) Daily Paleo - DAY 31!!!!

Good grief - time has flown. I've lost over 2kg (4lbs) so far, and a couple of centimeters. I'm thinking about putting a new hole in my belt, because my jeans keep slipping down! My blood sugars are starting to settle down, though it will take an HbA1c test to actually confirm that.

I've had two bad experiences - one with a 'chinese steam custard bun' which spiked my sugars sky high, and gave me stomach cramps and aching all over. The other was on Monday this week, with 'octopus balls' - I suspect also made with white flour. Up at 1.30 in the morning with severe stomach cramps and the runs - it was an hour before I was able to get back to bed, and even then I spent the night sitting up, so I didn't drown in my own body fluids - eck! The following day I ached all over too.

So it seems I have a reasonably severe inflammatory response to white flour.

I've also been doing a lot of reading.

I don't know whether I told you what books I'd already bought (and I can't be bothered going back to check). So, books read/being read, and websites that I've found are listed below. My favourite has to be Robb Woolf - he's cool. Mark Sisson is a bit of a 'Greek-God/All American Hero' type - so not my type.

* The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Solution - Robb Woolf

# Robb Woolf's Website

* The Paleo Diet Cookbook - Loren Cordain, Nell Stephenson & Lorrie Cordain

# Loren Cordain's Website

* Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for  Total health and a Longer Life - Nora T Gedgaudas

# Nora T Gedgaudas' Website

* The Diet Delusion - Gary Taubes

* The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy That Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease - Uffe Ravnskov

Other interesting sites:

Cavegirl Cuisine

The Daily Apple - Mark Sisson (from what I've read, his book isn't worth buying, as it keeps referring to the website as the place to find information.

There's an awful lot of Paleo sites out there - go google it!


Yes, I have done some:

"Tattooed Owls"

'Steampunk - Dancing women'

'Carnival animals'

'Alice in Wonderland - Cheshire Cat'

And I think that will do for now.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Daily Paleo - musings on cholesterol - Day 15

Wow - 15 days already! No cravings, hardly ever hungry. We even had lunch at the food hall at Henderson's Westfield Mall on Sunday. Chinese buffet: chicken and veges, with a bit of sweet and sour pork. No onion. No bad after effects. "I'm loving it!"

Cholesterol has been bothering me. Well, the contradictory information I’ve been reading has, really.

My last lipid tests were done on 4 October: (non fasting)

Cholesterol mmol/L = 3.5
Triglycerides mmol/L = 2.7
HDL = 0.90
LDL = 1.4

Chol/HDL ratio = 3.9

"For established CHD risk (including diabetes) NZGG optimal levels are:
Cholesterol: less than 4 [less than 5]
Triglycerides: less than 2
HDL: greater than 3

LDL: less than 2.0 [less than 3]
Chol/HDL ratio:  less than 4

LDL calculation will be inaccurate if patient was not fasting."

* Triglycerides - 2.7 - well, that's a bit high, isn't it.
* HDL ('good cholesterol') 0.90 - that's not high enough!
* Why didn't they require a fasting blood test - "oh, it's not necessary" - but then the LDL (the 'bad cholesterol') figure is inaccurate - so, it may be higher or lower than 1.4. It’s also recommended that Triglycerides be tested in a fasting state too, as levels remain high after eating. So, 2.7 may or not be accurate as well.

Total Cholesterol – there are actually several blood lipid fractions that are partly proteins used to shuttle fats and cholesterol around the body, but they’re lumped together under the general term cholesterol. They include VLDL’s (very low-density lipoproteins), LDL’s (low-density lipoproteins – the ‘bad’ guys) and HDL’s (high-density lipoproteins – the ‘good’ guys).

So, where did that cholesterol come from? Conventional sources say it comes from your diet – the saturated fat in meat, eggs, some seafood, etc. The more fatty stuff you eat, they say, the more cholesterol you’ll have. But hang on a minute. Those same (conventional) sources also say: However, most ingested cholesterol is esterified and esterified cholesterol is poorly absorbed. The body also compensates for any absorption of additional cholesterol by reducing cholesterol synthesis.[7] For these reasons, cholesterol intake in food has little, if any, effect on total body cholesterol content or concentrations of cholesterol in the blood. Biosynthesis of cholesterol is directly regulated by the cholesterol levels present, though the homeostatic mechanisms involved are only partly understood. A higher intake from food leads to a net decrease in endogenous production, whereas lower intake from food has the opposite effect.

Let’s move on to the Triglycerides. This is what has to say:

“There is evidence that carbohydrate consumption causing a high glycemic index can cause insulin overproduction and increase triglyceride levels in women.” So: Triglycerides are a measure of circulating blood fats that indicate dietary carbohydrate and insulin sensitivity. High carbs + poor insulin sensitivity = high triglycerides. Eat less carbs?! Triglyceride levels are also reduced by exercise and by consuming omega-3 fatty acids from fish, flax seed oil, and other sources.

What’s next? HDL – not enough of those babies floating around. Trans-fats and lack of exercise can result in low levels. Where are the trans-fats coming from?

“By far the largest amount of trans fat consumed today is created by the processed food industry as a side effect of partially hydrogenating unsaturated plant fats (generally vegetable oils). These partially hydrogenated fats have displaced natural solid fats and liquid oils in many areas, the most notable ones being in the fast food, snack food, fried food, and baked goods industries. They can only be made by cooking with a very high heat, at temperatures impossible in a household kitchen.”

Ok. Let’s stay away from processed foods, and hydrogenated vegetable oils – not that I have ever eaten much of that anyway. And do some more exercise!

LDL – well, depending who you read ... it may or may not be a bad guy. Let’s agree that you probably don’t want too much of it, but what causes it to rise? Well, for one thing, high insulin levels. What causes high insulin levels? Oh, hang on, too many carbs. So, if I eat less carbs, will my insulin levels go down? And if my insulin levels go down, will my LDL readings go down? Also, turns out that there’s two types of LDL’s. Type A – big fat fluffy particles, and Type B – small, dense LDL’s. It’s those small, dense guys that have been linked to being artheogenic (plaque causing), not the type A’s.


* Avoid simple and refined carbohydrates. In fact, let’s avoid most carbohydrates, for at least 30 days. (Carbs increase insulin levels)

* Avoid cereal grains, legumes etc. Partly a FODMAPS thing, partly a Paleo thing.

* Eat lots of vegetables. Avoid fruit, fruit juices, stuff that contains sugars. (sugars in fruit increase insulin levels)

* Eat lots of fresh meat and seafood. (no carbs, so no effect on insulin levels, however, may affect cholesterol levels) Also try and drink stuff like pro-biotic rich kefir, and take digestive enzymes to aid my crappy digestive process.

* Exercise more. Trying to take a ‘bike ride’ – 15 minutes on the exercycle – every night, plus walking. As things settle down, I’ll start doing Interval training. I should probably be doing it already, but there’s only a certain number of hours in the day. (Exercise increases HDL levels, and insulin sensitivity – a good thing)

* Stop taking Statins. What? Why? I hear you say. Don’t you need those to control your cholesterol?

Statins common, less serious side effects: Muscle and joint aches (most common) – all the time!!!; Nausea (not often); Diarrhea – yeah, when I’m not ... Constipated!

Potentially serious side effects: Liver damage; muscle problems (pain and tenderness – see above!); Increased blood sugar or type 2 diabetes. (hey, hang on – don’t I now have a problem with increased blood sugars?); Neurological side effects – ie memory loss or confusion.

* Stop taking blood pressure tablets (Zapril 0.5mg). My blood pressure is great – 110/90.

Side effects: may decrease your body’s supply of potassium, leading to symptoms such as weakness, leg cramps, tiredness; gout; People with diabetes may find that diuretic drugs increase their blood sugar level. A change in medication, diet, insulin or oral anti-diabetic dosage corrects this in most cases.

Hang on again – what was that last one?! May increase blood sugar level!
* Stop taking Omeprazol - that was the gastric reflux proton-pump inhibitor. Why: Taking a proton pump inhibitor such as omeprazole may increase your risk of bone fracture in the hip, wrist, or spine. This effect has occurred mostly in people who have taken the medication long term or at high doses, and in those who are age 50 and older. It has some other cool side effects too, like nausea!

* Keep taking the Gliclazide: Gliclazide is used for control of hyperglycemia in gliclazide-responsive diabetes mellitus of stable, mild, non-ketosis prone, type 2 diabetes. It is used when diabetes cannot be controlled by proper dietary management and exercise or when insulin therapy is not appropriate

* Keep taking the Metformin: Metformin works by suppressing glucose production by the liver. It is the only antidiabetic drug that has been conclusively shown to prevent the cardiovascular complications of diabetes. It helps reduce LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and is not associated with weight gain. When prescribed appropriately, metformin causes few adverse effects (the most common is gastrointestinal upset) and is associated with a low risk of hypoglycemia.

Now, I’m not saying anyone else should do this – especially not you, my wonderful reader. But, this is what I’m going to try. I’ll go back for a FASTING blood test in, probably, mid-December, or maybe January, when the Paleo lifestyle has had a chance to take effect.

Already, after only a fortnight, I’m seeing my weight drop, my body-shape improve, my blood sugars leveling out. I am less tired and achy, and seem to have a little more energy.

And if it doesn’t work? Well, then we’ll have to look at Plan C ... but not for a wee while yet.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Paleo Diary - Day 8 - Is it expensive and Dessert

I was reading a post on Robb Wolf's Paleo blog earlier today, musing on whether eating Paleo is expensive or not.

The guy is pretty sarcastic, but I think he hits it right on the mark - it's only as expensive as you want to make it. I think we're very lucky here in New Zealand - it's almost impossible to buy grain-fed beef and lamb. That is, if you can afford to buy them in the first place. Pork and chicken are, of course a different story, but they're really cheap, and most of us can't afford to buy free-range.

I tend to buy my meat from the Mad Butcher in Albany - a so much better grade of meat for the hoi polloi than that available in Henderson or Massey, lol. Sometimes we'll get our meat at Pak N Save - but only if it's on special.

For veges, it's a toss up between the local, usually Asian-run fruit and vege shops, or Pak N Save - their high turnover means most of their stuff is fresh, but there's little variety, and a lot of it gets bruised from the rough handling. I was in there last night, watching a woman tossing tomatoes back in the box, complaining they were all soft - gee, I wonder why? The local vege shops have a dozen different varieties of 'choy' - I really need to get brave, don't I? I wish they spoke more English tho! Or that I spoke more Chinese than 'Ne how mah' ('thank you' - 'scuse the spelling)

Robb argues that you should buy what you can afford, as long as you're eating healthy Paleo. Balanced Bites makes the same argument. Here's the food pyramid, nicked from their site:

Look at that! Doesn't that firmly contradict the 'normal' healthy eating pyramid! Noooooo it seems so wrong!

So, why the ramble? Well, I was thinking about how much I've spent in the last year, and in the last week, trying to get healthy. The battle with the FODMAPS intolerances has been fun, but my blood glucose levels have continued to rise, because although I was cutting out gluten (and all that other stuff), there were still grains in my diet, and I was still having too many carbohydrates for my battered system to process.

I've just bought a selection of Digestive Enzymes and Proteolytic Enzymes which I hope will help my digestive system actually digest things, instead of just throwing them back at me in various unpleasant ways.

Last night, as I said earlier, I went into Pak N Save to do some shopping. I spent about $100. This included 2 trays of chicken mince (about $12), which I turned into 10 chicken patties for breakfasts, and a 1kg bag of Prawn meat (deshelled, but not cooked) for $14. Becca and I shared 1 cup of these, cooked with a little bit of butter, salt and lemon juice in a saucepan, for breakfast this morning. It was really really nice, and left us both feeling full, even tho it didn't look like much. The rest was on a packet of bacon (I suspect that was the next most expensive thing, as it was Henderson's Dry Smoked), veges, and coconut milk.

But ... if we stop buying Vogels bread, at about $5 a loaf, and all the other grain carbs ... oh well, hopefully it will all balance out sooner or later!

Now, on to something even more important!!!

Paleo Chocolate Cake in a Mug

Doesn't get much more important than that, does it!
This woman, Juli, has some fantastic dessert ideas - and food stuff in general:
And this one just leapt out at me:

Chocolate cake, in a mug!!!!!
  • 1.5 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1.5 tablespoons almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cinnamon
  1. Add all ingredients to a mug.
  2. Mix all ingredients well with a spoon.
  3. Microwave for 2 minutes.
  4. Consume.
There's lots more yummy stuff on her website - go see!

Made the 'chocolate pudding in a cup', used tapioca flour instead of almond, coconut milk instead of walnut oil, and drinking chocolate + cocoa powder instead of honey. Very rich, very nice. Saved half of my one for tomorrow!

Lunch tomorrow: salad, and chicken patties - funny that!

Monday, 12 November 2012

The Daily Paleo - Day 7

Well, the Theology exam this morning was a complete crash and burn. I walked in with a building headache, stomach and uterine cramps, and generally feeling like death warmed up. Question 1 was, as expected, on what constitutes good theology, and the Wesleyan Pentalateral - but I couldn't remember all 5 till the very end! Question 2 - I did divine revelation, but had problems thinking of an alternative to the consensus. Questions 3 and 4 were God as creator and humanity as understood in the Christian faith. Brain dead. Nada. Nothing.

So, I'm thinking I'm looking at going from an A average to ... blech. Hopefully I'll pass. I'm over this paper.


Treated myself to a 'cheer up Sue' lunch at Noodle Canteen - fresh prawns, chicken, pork, and a mixture of healthy veges - still have half of it left for lunch tomorrow - nom nom nom.

Stopped in at the supermarket on the way home, and as per recommendations, skirted the edges. Got a heap of fresh veges, fresh, raw, unsalted cashews, chicken mince and frozen prawns. Took a quick dip down the centre and picked up some coconut milk. And a couple of boxes of FruJu's - juice, no dairy - yum! That won the approval of #1 daughter.

Cooked up a HUGE stirfry of veges, with the addition of a packet sauce (yes, it had wheat and soy stuff in it, but I diluted it with water, so hopefully it won't  count too badly. Steak for 3 - well, I could have possibly eaten the whole thing by myself, but I managed to share it!

Blood sugars look like they're evening out - tonight had the lowest after dinner reading of 7.9! That's happy dance numbers!

I found a conversion calculation for md/dl (milligrams per decalitre - US) to mmol/l (millimols per litre-NZ), and went thru my last blood test results and the info Robb has in his book. I didn't quite giggle hysterically. The major one is the HbA1c, which measures the overall amount of glucose you've had sitting in your bloodstream for the last 120 days - my last result was 75 - the ideal is between 20-40, and Robb wants to see it at 27. There's a shed load of work to get it that low! But everything else is actually pretty good.

Tomorrow I have a massage after work, so I'll take my shorts, and go for a 30 minute walk - not 45 minutes like last time - nearly injured myself. Didn't manage a bike ride tonight. It was a chill-out, damn I have no active brain cells sort of night.

I'm not going to test my blood sugars again for a week - probably from next Monday, and see how they're looking for another 5 days - weekends are too complicated!

Oh, and I feel bloody marvelous, btw!

Happy eating!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

The Daily Paleo - let's call it Day 5

Oh I love Paleo - fresh salmon (the tail end, lol) almost dry-fried in the iron frypan! Oh yeah, oh yeah! Happy dances! I shared it with Becca - honestly! What a fantastic way to start Sunday morning.

Woke up early (0715 - which is early for me) with buzzy brain - gotta study, gotta study ... don't want to study. Did some study. meh.

At Church early - I will be so glad when we're out of 'Hub West'. Just waiting for the Seventh Day Adventist church across the road to approve us using their facilities on a Sunday morning - and they'll provide the sound tech! Yay - maybe next Sunday will be our last stint doing A/V for the worship team.  What was fun has turned into a chore, and not just for us, by the sound of it. (ugh - bad pun!) Walked in, got told off for trying to put the cloth (had taken it home to be washed) onto the communion table. Yeah. Whatever. It's kind of cool that you can cry during worship, and people think you're just carried away by the moment.

Home for a cup of coffee, and think about lunch, while pretending to study.

I really need something to replace sandwich bread for David and Becca.

This was what I made:

Let's call them 'wraps'. I forgot to put the lettuce on top, silly me! The topping is grated carrot and cheese (yeah, I know, not strict Paleo, but I want them to eat the darn veges!), tomato and celery, with a bit of salt and pepper.

The 'wraps':
Argh - I found four different recipes, three of which wanted between 6 and 8 egg whites! Really! What am I going to do with that many yolks???? (yes, I know, there are all sorts of things that I could make - the first one that leapt to my mind was lemon curd, yummy yummy ....) Anyway, this is what I finally used:

1 cup coconut flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1 tspn baking powder
2 eggs, beaten in about 1 1/2 cups of water
pinch of salt

Mix it all together, and put dollops in your HOT frying pan. I used olive oil (Extra Virgin - love the taste). I used the fish slice to sort of flatten it out as it started cooking. It just wanted to come completely off the pan, so I sort of shuffled it sideways and spread it out. Once the bottom starts to cook, you can actually turn it over quite easily. Cook till it's a lovely golden colour both sides, and put to one side to cool.

Both David and Becca went back for seconds - yum, they said. But as far as a 'sandwich bread' alternative, it was a fail. Too crumbly, says David.

The other 'wrap' recipes:
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 tspn baking powder
8 egg whites
1/2 cup water
pinch of salt

4 TB coconut flour
6 egg whites
4 TB almond milk
salt, cumin, chilli powder, garlic salt - to taste

1/4 cup coconut flour
8 egg whites
1/4 tspn baking powder
1/2 cup water

2 cups Almond flour
2 large eggs

For most of these, they were formed into balls, flatten, then either dry-fried or baked in an oven. Might try that next time.


Birthday card for a friend. The front image was from a commercial card I really liked, with the original sentiment removed, and replaced with 'Happy Birthday'. Printed out on the colour printer, then attacked with inks, stamps, a pretty brad, and a tag.

What else????

Got another batch of Kefir going - I've already drank the first litre - it just tasted toooooooo good! Ordered some actual grains from someone on TradeMe. The stuff I have is powder, and it's just making a really fine creamy covering on the coconut milk. I may of course regret this purchase later - cream is easier to eat than lumps!

A nap - oh, so needed that nap - I fell asleep in church - not that Aaron was boring, but for some reason they are putting the powerpoint too low down on the wall, so I can't see it. Aaron was standing directly in front of it, and there's only so long you can look at a guy, even if he's your pastor, that has a face for radio. And you know where your eyes start going as they get heavier ....

Took the dogs for a walk at Henderson Park before dinner. Met a couple of other dogs, but they didn't really want to play. Tara went for a swim in the creek - only came back wet, not muddy.

Dinner was good Paleo - roast Pork - nom nom nom, cauli, carrots, cabbage, roast pumpkin, kumara and parsnip.

Sat on the exercycle and peddled while I studied - did 16 minutes! 8 calories - about 4km! How about that, kiddies!

Still reading Robb Wolf's Paleo book - in absolute stitches reading some of it!

That's it for tonight - I was going to go to bed early - like 35 minutes ago!!!!!


Saturday, 10 November 2012

The (not quite) Daily Paleo

This must be about Day 4 of the shift to Paleo.

The books have arrived. First was "The Paleo Diet Cookbook", by Loren Cordain, Nell Stephenson and Lorrie Cordain. The authors are introduced, and then it goes into what you can and can't eat, what you need to chuck out of your kitchen, and the recipes. At the back is a two week meal plan. I'd got into the recipe section when the second book I ordered arrived.

"The Paleo Solution: the Original Human Diet" by Robb Wolf. This guy really rocks! He has a great writing style, and intersperses 'geek speak' with earthy humour. He's a 'research biochemist who traded in his lab coat and pocket protector ... to become one of the most sought after strength and conditioning coaches in the world.' He is ... 'one of the world's leading experts in Paleolithic nutrition.' For someone like me, who wants to know the science behind the blurb, this book is excellent. His website is a great resource. I sat at work yesterday, watching some of his video's explaining the work he has done with the Reno Police, Fire and Ambulance services, and how he has increased their overall wellness. Fascinating.

A 'real person' I found in the Paleo community goes by the name of 'Cavegirl', and her site, Cavegirl Cuisine. We had a conversation on her facebook page, when I asked about help with breakfast menus - because, at the moment, that's a biggie. We (my daughter Becca and I) have about 15 minutes to have breakfast, so it needs to be quick and easy. Cavegirl was able to make some 'cereal' suggestions. I need to get out and buy some more stuff.

There's already signs of weightloss - about 1 kg (2lbs), and clothes are starting to fit better (good grief!)

I'm trying to go for a 10 minute exercycle ride every night - about 3km/6 calories according to the little computer on the bike! David and I are also trying to take the dogs for a 30 minute walk every other night.

My blood sugars are consistent - not necessarily good, but consistent: averaging around 10 morning and evening, and dropping to around 6-7 before dinner.

Other interesting Paleo websites are:
The Paleo Diet - this is the original one with Dr Loren Cordain, who is the main man behind all the research, and Robb Wolf's mentor.

PaleoDietFoodlist - and it does contain foodlists, and has a really good downloadable Food/Shopping List. Recipes and cookbooks.

The Paleo Diet Solution - haven't actually looked thru this one yet.

And of course, on Facebook, my friend (heck it's only been about a week!) Rene's group: Primal Pals.

So, what have I been eating? Breakfasts have been scrambled eggs and grilled bacon. Lunch has been salads with either chicken or tinned salmon. Dinners have been chicken, steak, pork chops - all with extra fat removed ... well, maybe ... carrots, cauliflower, turnips, kumara (sweet potato), pumpkin. Not a heck of a lot of difference, really. But there's been no cereal grains (except for brown rice flakes one morning for breakfast), definitely NO gluten! No legumes. The only dairy I've had has been lactose free.

Yesterday's lunch wasn't a good thing. I couldn't bear the thought of tinned fish, and had no leftovers, so decided to get some fresh fish - salmon - from the fish shop up the road. BUT - they had smoked mussels. With large slices of garlic on them. (But what about the nice, healthy marinated in vinegar mussels beside them, you ask?) So, I bought a piece of fresh salmon, and a container of mussels. And ate all the mussels with the salad, and the leftover mashed pumpkin and stuff. Things were ok for about 30 minutes, then that choking feeling started, the stomach started churning. Garlic. It's on the 'eat in tiny amounts' list of not good foods. Actually, it's on the 'avoid' list, but I like it too much. Anyway, once I'd thrown up a couple of times, I felt much better!

The kefir made with coconut milk - out of a can (ideally you're meant to use actual young coconuts, lol) tastes AWESOME!!!! It's so nice!

Today was the hardest day so far. We went to a friend's 40th birthday party - 'Canadian Cowboy' theme. Bread rolls, Frankfurter hotdogs, puffed rice/wheat balls, toffee apples, 'smores', cake balls, salads with onion and apple, tiny pumpkin pies on a wheatflour base ... you're getting the idea, aren't you? Thank goodness there were a couple of plates of carrots/celery/cucumber with a very nice dip (yes, it was dairy-based). David had a hotdog, and brought a spare home for Becca.

On top of my normal diabetes meds (less the Omeprazole!) I'm taking some Digestive Enzymes, and Proteolytic Enzymes. They're definitely helping with the stomach acid/reflux/swallowing. I'm feeling really good.

That's it for tonight, folks. I'll put the cereal recipes in a separate post, once I find them again!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The Daily Paleo

Recipes, how I'm doing with it, how I'm feeling and looking...
What is Paleo, and why go Paleo?

In September 2011 I was diagnosed with FODMAPS. To quote Wikipedia:

“FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates and monosaccharides which are poorly absorbed in the small intestine, including fructans, galactans, fructose and polyols. The term is an acronym, deriving from "Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols".

The restriction of FODMAPs from the diet has been found to have a beneficial effect for sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome and other functional gut disorders. The low FODMAP diet was developed at Monash University in Melbourne.”

I had been having increasing problems with my health, wind, indigestion, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting. Months of it, getting worse all the time. It came to a head one Sunday, when we’d stayed after Church for a workshop. I’d had a couple of mouthfuls of Chinese takeaway, and within a couple of minutes, had to run to the ladies to throw up. One of the other guys noticed this, and when he told my husband, David said, “Oh, she does that all the time!”

Not long after that, there was an item on TV about FODMAPS. Was that what my problem was? I was finally able to make an appointment and go and see Jill Thomson. She asked me what I was eating. Fruit salad and porridge, or maybe Vogels toast for breakfast. A vogels sandwich for lunch. Apples. Oh, and I loved onions and mushrooms. I was put on an elimination diet. The symptoms rapidly reduced. Tried reintroducing some of the foods – like a piece of Vogels. Bad idea.

I also got a referral for an endoscopy – a camera down the throat to look at my oesophagus. I managed it without an anaesthetic, but it WAS NOT FUN. I have a hiatus hernia (where the top of the stomach/oesophagus comes up through the diaphragm, instead of being underneath it). I also had what’s called a “Schatzki ring”, where the oesophagus is squeezed and burnt by stomach acids, and the valve cannot close. Several levels of coolness!

Basically, I'm intolerant to gluten, lactose, legumes, pip fruit, stone fruit, everything in the onion family, fungi, some artifical sweeteners and a variety of other weird stuff.

This resulted in the first diet change. No more FODMAPS foods. Doctor gave me a proton pump inhibitor called Omeprazole. So for the past year, I’ve spent quality time avoiding the foods that aren’t good for me.

Then in October I was due for my Diabetes checkup. My HbA1c (again quoting Wiki):

Glycated hemoglobin or glycosylated hemoglobin (hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c, A1C, or Hb1c; sometimes also HbA1c) is a form of hemoglobin that is measured primarily to identify the average plasma glucose concentration over prolonged periods of time.”

came back at 14.5 – it should have been around 8! The locum’s reaction (she who had greeted me with; “you’re an apple”) – was to ask me if I was trying to kill myself. My own GP, when I got in to see him the following week, told me I wasn’t stupid, old, or trying to kill myself, but I was becoming increasingly insulin resistant, and my pancreas was starting to fail to make insulin at all.

We negotiated, and I got two more months to see if I could change my diet, lose some weight, and bring those levels down. I also now have to have an extra Gliclazide, to go with the 3000mg of Metformin I take daily, to make up for the lack of insulin.

Then, about a week ago, I came across a lady named Rene, who has a fb group called ‘Primal Pals’. And she was talking about something called the Paleo Diet. Of course, alarm bells rang. Oh no, not another fad diet. But ... it actually made sense. Some of their archaeology and anthropology is a bit dodgy – but nothing major – the premise is sound, as far as I’m concerned. So, lots of research and web pages later ...

During the research, I discovered that Omeprazol, which is the proton pump inhibitor, which reduces the amount of acid my stomach makes, is really bad. The FDA says to only take it for a maximum of 4 months - it's indicated in hip fractures, especially in women at an early age (ie 60's!!!) aargh!

So, I made the decision. I'm going Paleo because there's food lists, recipes and plans to follow, that take a lot of the bad stuff out - the rest will be trial and error, lol. I'm not going to be following what is called a 'strict' Paleo diet.

The switch to a (moderate) Paleo diet is now a happening thing. Shopping today - got kefir grains, coconut and tapioca flours, swede and parsnip. Microgreen seeds are on order, Digestive and proteolytic enzymes are on order. No more grains in my diet (darn, except, maybe, for that gluten free afghan I bought at the healthfood store!).

Glucose test strips and a new battery on order from somewhere deep in the South Island. Sod the doctor. How do I know if my bloodsugars are going down, if I don't test them? I'm darned if I'm going to hit 14.5 again!

Swigging down Apple Cider Vinegar, honey and sugar (hopefully the sugar will balance the fructose in the honey, and I won't react to this). Re-read the Glucose Revolution - a teaspoon of sugar has half the glucose a single date contains ... not that I can eat dates any more ... they're a stone fruit :(
If I'm organised when I get home, I might make some tapioca cheese buns for Jam tonight!

Ate (most of) a great big healthy salad, with healthy carbs (pumpkin), and a couple of chicken drumsticks for lunch.

Breakfast was scrambled eggs. (Becca had hers on Vogels toast!) That’s the next big issue to work out - still having Brown Rice Flakes. Can't eat vogels bread (nommy poison), rolled oats (nommy poison - if it's not gluten in it, there's something else that hurts!), can't have eggs every day (well, I could, but ...)
So that’s where we stand as of today, 7 November 2012.

As I get into the swing of things, I’ll try and post recipes I’ve modified, photos and other interesting snippets. Oh, and maybe I’ll be able to do some art soon, once my exam is over on 12 November.

Have an awesome day, folks!

2000 update: 101/95/100 - 74kg or for the non-metric: 39/37/39 (ish)  - 163lbs
12 minutes on the bike
30 minute walk with husband and dogs
Dinner: mashed yellow sweet potato, carrot & parsnip; pork chop, cauliflower.
After walkies will make some tapioca/coconut cheese buns

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Theological Definitions

Kingdom of God
The Kingdom of God is a foundational concept in Christianity. The Greek term Basileia tou Theou is used in all four canonical gospels and by Paul. Matthew also used the term Basileia tōn Ouranōn or Kingdom of Heaven when writing to Jews.

Three major doctrines are affirmed. The first is the belief in the parousia (appearance/coming) in which Jesus will return to the earth. The second is that on this return Christ will establish or completely manifest God’s rule and reign of love and justice. The third is that God will create or renovate this creation into a new heaven and new earth that will endure forever. While all Christians agree that resurrected and redeemed humans will live with God, and he with them, there is disagreement as to whether this will be an entirely new creation or one that is continuous with the current creation. Our ultimate hope is because of ‘who is coming to this world’, rather than what the world is coming to.

Jesus believed in both a current heavenly rule and reign of God, and an eschatological consummation and manifestation of that reign. This can be seen in the Disciples prayer where he taught them to pray ‘Your kingdom [will] come’.[1] Paul also referred to this now/already but not yet paradox in 1 Cor 15:24-28.

Imago Dei (Image of God)
Human beings, both male and female, are created in the image and likeness of God. No other creatures were created this way. In the New Testament the words eikon (image) and homoiosis (likeness) are used to describe both Christ and humans as being in the image of God. This is not a bodily likeness, or likeness of countenance, but rather a multifaceted, diverse collection of Godlike qualities in humanity that together may be called personhood, defined by our relations with God and others. The identity of human beings can be seen as a gift from God, intrinsic to their very being.  God is creative, creation-sharing and relational, and will be faithful to that way of relating to those created in the divine image. As part of reflecting this image, humanity was given three tasks: the God-given ability to multiply; to have dominion over the creation in terms of care-giving and nurturing; and to subdue the earth by bringing order out of disorder, drawing what is already good to its fullest possible creational potential.

Christianity has always viewed humanity as having a paradoxical but not contradictory nature – humans are both animal and spiritual; they are God’s special creatures who possess the gift of God’s own image and likeness; but are damaged goods, being both corrupt and condemned. We are only fulfilled through God’s saving grace.

The Church
For Paul and the apostles the early church was seen as the corporate community of God's people, and although made up of many individuals, is united, with Christ forming the cornerstone.[2] The Nicene Creed refined these beliefs, declaring the church one, holy, catholic and apostolic. The Christian consensus is that of a divinely-instituted community where Christ is present by his spirit, which cannot be divided. The critical and essential ideas of this unity with Christ are those of one Lord, one Spirit, one faith, one baptism. It is the ‘indispensible vehicle of Christian spiritual life, the locus of Christ’s special presence and the Spirit’s power.’[3] While there are different interpretations between Roman Catholics, and Protestants, both have a have a strong belief in the church as a sacred means of grace.

Sectarianism is one of two main alternatives to the Christian consensus, where the unity of the church is unimportant and the practice of sacraments or ordinances are rejected. Sectarianism can be seen in latter day prophets and self-proclaimed messiahs such as Heaven’s Gate and David Koresh. The second alternative is the rejection of water baptism and the Lord’s Supper by groups such as the Society of Friends (Quakers) and the Salvation Army also go against the consensus of the Great Tradition. Olson describes this as ‘a heresy of neglect’.[4]

By dying on the cross and rising, Jesus reconciled us to God so we can live forever in unbroken, creative fellowship with him in the Kingdom of God. As creatures made in the image of God, we can already begin to experience the new creation, even while we wait for the complete renewal.[5] There is a fundamental missional calling on the church as a whole, and every individual member to fulfil God's mission right where we are, and in the global mission field.

[1] Matthew 6, Luke 11
[2] 1 Corinthians 12:27.
[3] Roger E. Olson. The Mosaic of Christian Belief: Twenty Centuries of Unity and Diversity. InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois; Apollos, Nottingham, England. 2002.
Olson. 289-290.
[4] Ibid., 294.
[5] 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Thursday, 11 October 2012

TYLER - an obituary - November 2000-October 2012

We had Tyler put to sleep yesterday, Wednesday 10 October 2012, after 11 months with us.

Tyler was my mother's dog. Since she had suffered from series of massive strokes and a heart attack, and gone to live in Selwyn Village's hospital, he had been under the benign neglect of my father.

When dad broke his kneecap in December 2011, he and Tyler came to live with us while dad recuperated. Tyler was in a sorry state. The first thing we did was send him to the grooming parlour, and get rid of the 2" matt of fur and muck:

We took him to the vet and got him vaccinated for the first time in two years, and also got his diet changed to Hills Joint Diet. Tyler suffered from severe osteo-arthritis in his hind quarters, and the stairs he had been climbing up and down at Bill's house had not done him any good.

He thrived. He stopped barking incessantly - I think he had been bored senseless. He settled in, and once the cats had learned he couldn't catch them, they reached a state of truce. His weight dropped from 34kg down to 28kg - a huge strain taken off his bones.

By the middle of this year, however, his arthritis had got worse, and the vet put him on Pentosan (I think that's what it's called). It definitely seemed to help. But over the last couple of months, the pain got worse. Then he got a tummy-bug and a sky-high temperature. We had weeks of diahorrea. Change of diet to Intestinal biccies. Painkillers. More diahorrea. Tyler spending quality time outside. Because he slept very heavily, the pain in his back end, and his struggle to get to his feet when he realised he REALLY needed to go, his bowels and bladder would often start releasing before he got out the door.

He could no longer put any weight on his left rear leg, and his right rear leg wasn't much better. He would have to literally 'unwind' to lay down on the floor, and getting up was a real struggle. He could only curl up in one direction - hence nearly identical photos - onto his right side.

Then another tummy-bug struck a couple of weeks back. The final straw was coming home from work earlier this week, after Becca had done a wonderful job vacuuming the floor, to find Tyler had gone again. The following morning, following the sound of smashing crockery (the border), I came out to find her having walked thru Tyler-shit, tracking it thru the house.

Tuesday night dad came round to say goodbye. He'd grown more affectionate towards Tyler since he hadn't been looking after him, but there wasn't much love there.

Yesterday morning I took all three dogs for a final walk along the reserve. Tyler hop-skipped along, eating lots of catshit, and generally having a great time. On the way back (and this is only about a 200m walk) he fell over 3 times. He sat on the wet grass, looking a bit bewildered and embarrassed, before struggling to his feet and continuing.

When David and I got him down to the vet's, Gary was shocked at how bad Tyler's pain actually was, and put up no resistance to our request to have him put to sleep.

Once the drug was inserted in his vein, it was over very quickly.

We cried. He was a pain in the behind, and we never really loved him, but he had been part of our family for a year.

Rest in peace Tyler. No more pain buddy.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Swap One, Abandon 6

Why release only 1 ATC into the world, when you can release 6!

Tissue prints, stamps, inks, layers and layers and layers, washi tape, and text. The challenge was Swap One, Abandon 1, but it was so much fun to make a whole batch of them. When I work out how to up/download images from my phone, I'll put up the pix of the 'hides'. And when I get home, I'll put up a pic of the one that was swapped.

This is the 'official' abandoned card  - put in the Asian Foods section of the supermarket:

And this is the 'swap' one that was sent overseas:

"That is an astonishingly beautiful card!" Thank you!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

October Resolution

I'm feeling inspired to blog.

I don't do New Year's resolutions - I never keep them for a start. But I am making an October resolution.

When I started doing theological studies, I found out I had to learn a biblical language. I decided I should learn Hebrew. Looking back, I can see that it was probably as much to impress the new 'big people' in my life, as it was a desire to learn something new. And I've been trying, off and on, over the last two years, to learn it. Then at the beginning of this year, I found out about an on-line e-learning course from an Israeli university. But it was $900! American! But the characters just won't stick in my brain - it's just so different from any language I know, and I'm mono-lingual!

On the other hand, Greek characters do stick in my brain. Because they're so much closer to English characters, maybe? I can look at a greek word, and work out what the letters are, and sometimes, what the meaning is.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I finally came to my senses last month after a conversation with someone who I hope is a new friend (and counsellor). 'How often are you actually going to use it?!' Well, when you put it like that ... there's only 1 person in my life who speaks Hebrew, and he's withdrawn from church life, so ... yeah, put like that ...

So, on to the October Resolution. Instead of studying Hebrew (or Greek for that matter), I'm going to study ART. Yeah! Really! I've got all these e-learning art courses which I've bought, looked at, but NOT ACTUALLY DONE! Plaster, Encaustic, Acrylic Painting, backgrounds, mixed media techniques ... (There's probably more, but damned if I can remember them all).

I have one more written assignment, and then a Theology exam in November, plus the remaining 5 study modules. Once they're done, it's ART TIME!

It's time to stop talking about doing it, and start DOING IT!

I've joined two wonderful facebook groups recently, which have really stimulated my desire - and in some ways my opportunity to actually create. These are Artist Trading Cards and Magically Mixed Art Community. The other site I recently joined is Swap Bot, which is an exchange site. All three are wonderful communities of artists. I've got seriously into making ATC's (Artist Trading Cards), which are 3 1/2 x 2 1/2" cards that are only traded, never sold. The small size means they can be done relatively quickly, and there's something to show at the end of it. You are not limited to a particular style or medium, which makes them ideal for mixed media.

Let's see if I can find some pictures of what I've done recently ...

Bookmarks - Embossed and decorated.

ATC Swap - Christian Letter C: Illuminated Chi-Rho. Metallic paints, gel pens.

ATC Swap - Pop-Up Card: Forgotten Memories. This one and Guadelupe (below) took about 10 hours + to do. The Swap Coordinator had a link to a You-Tube clip showing how to make this pop-up, but it was at least postcard sized, if not bigger. I had to reduce all the parts in size to fit the 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 ATC format (and I can't do maths!). I made a couple of dummy attempts before making the real ones. Then creating the 3D front decorations was another time-consuming effort - but so much fun! You hold the red part of the base, while sliding the pink striped wrapper either backwards to make it stand up, or forwards to make it lay down. The keys and clock are from cardstock. There's a little metal clasp from a fishing swivel attached to the fibres, clock and keys.

Guadelupe or Coatlaxopeuh.
The frame is made from corrugated cardboard, with diamantes and silver glitter glue blobs. The saint herself is cut in 4 layers, each piece separated by sticky-dots.
ATC Swap - Paper Free: acrylic 'skin' heart with metallic paints in the skin; held on to plastic sheet (from a notebook) by heart brads; polymer clay 'love' stamp held on by copper wire. Embellished with lace.
ATC Swap - Book Page and Stamp: This was taken from 'The Wind in the Willows' by Kenneth Grahame. I cut out the text on that page and used a selection to make a poem. The stamp is a New Zealand one from the 1920's. It's actually reversed, as I was intending to use it as an image transfer.

 ATC Swap - Summer: 3D pohutukawa tree, beach and sky. 'Summer' rub on transfer. Not happy with the word, but never mind. Added 3 fluffy red balls - meant to be pohutukawa flowers! I think this was one of the first ones I did!
 Work in progress - minibook - skewered pages. Really need to get this finished.

So part of doing more art is also getting back into making the minibooks - it kind of fell by the wayside with everything else (particularly study) getting in the way.

With Swap-Bot: Steam Punk; Victorian Mourning (3 cards); Christian Alphabet Letter D

With FB ATC group: Fall/Autumn; Coffee Lovers; Alternative Hello Kitty; October Lottery; NYC; George Tooker; Completely from a Magazine, book or newspaper; Carousel Animals; Tattooed Owls; Steampunk; That Jolly Old Elf.

Wow! 13 Swaps - most are 3 card swap - I have to make 3 of each theme. That will get me working, won't it!

So the intention is to blog about each ATC as I do it. I'd also like to try to put up some tutorials of stuff I've learned, that others might be interested in. Maybe I'll get more followers - who knows! It's all about me on this one!