Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2011

…..Or more commonly known in this house as ‘Pumpkin Pie Day!…..

I had to rush around after school yesterday to get the items for our menu. This year it will just be a quiet version for Julian and I, oh, and Anna-Bell of course-she loves turkey.

I’m doing a Barefoot Contessa style menu, so our sides will be Parmsesan mashed potatoes, sprouts, red cabbage and carrot puree.

I am yet to decide whether I can get my act together to make the corn bread at 4pm after school, it will be ‘puff’ depending! And I think the Pumpkin Pie is getting missed out this year as it’s just the 2 of us, I’ll whip up a butterscotch dessert instead, but we are still celebrating as we have a lot to thank those Pilgrim Fathers for!

One of my friends, Sara has been FB-ing a daily Thank you in her ‘November of Thankfullness’, a brilliant idea. Another one of my friends, Patricia, uses her 365 photo to post a ‘Day of Gratitude’.

I think I should have  a year of gratitude-there is just so much to be thankful for. Family, Friends and in this time of recession, Financial Security. I might not have the best of health but I function with what I have got and I am eternally thankful for all the support and love I have received from such an incredible network of friends here.

I truly have the best partner and the best doggie daughter I could ever wish for: Yes, I am truly thankful this Thanksgiving.

…..So may your turkey be stuffed full and may your house smell delicious and may all your dreams and prayers be answered. Happy Thanksgiving….


Monday= our Designated Delia Day!

November 22, 2011

…..In the good old tradition of Stir up Sunday, Happy Delia Day!….

Waitrose supermarket have declared that Stir up Sunday be renamed Delia Day due to her £10 Christmas cake box set flying off the shelves in such quantities.

Well, we were busy yesterday visiting with my Sister, so I am having a stir up Monday instead to make my Delia cake, here goes!

Step one: Pre Prep. I got all the ingredients to add to the box set ready!

Step two: Mixy mixy! In my lovely Kenwood Prospero (And then a manual lucky stir and a wish from J!)

Step three: Dollopped in the tin!

Step four: Bakey bakey at gas mk 1 (for four hours!)

Step five: Yum, it smells delicious!

…..The proof will be in the eating!…..


April 15, 2011

….Or maybe that should be “Natter with a Nutritionist!”….

So it was 9:30 AM on my birthday morning and I was just thinking about getting ready before my coffee party and my Parents arriving, and the phone rang. Turned out it was one of the Dieticians from the Royal Brompton Hospital phoning me for a ‘then and there’ consultation. She started by asking me my date of birth so I said “today” and that sort of made her laugh she asked if I could bare to have a phone consultation on my birthday and I said “yes”! She understood that is virtually impossible for me to get to a clinic appointment at the moment. They only hold Dietetics clinics once a month on a Thursday morning and that’s no good because of course I am always working.

So she asked me lots of questions about what I eat and my typical breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks etc, and she tried to calculate quickly how much I eating calorie-wise, fats-wise and with my height and weight what might bmi is.  Apparently it is around 16 which is really much too low. She then suggested that I need about an extra thousand calories a day on top of my normal food intake, but I just don’t have the appetite or stomach space to eat that much more and therefore I need to replace this with supplemental feeding. This is what I have been doing for the last 5 to 6 years although for the last three months I have been off my feeds because I have been trying to reduce my cholesterol and concentrating on eating low-fat

Whilst this has been beneficial in reducing my cholesterol from 6.99 to 5.14, it has also reduced by weight by about 5 kg. We went through all the things that I should be eating ie more of the good fats like monounsaturated fats, olive oil, rapeseed oil almonds and walnuts. And the things that I used to eat on a high fat diet before I realised my cholesterol was bad, such as butter, whole milk and the saturated fats. I do like and eat a lot of oily fish fresh tuna, salmon, and I’m now going to try and have sardines and I’ve been told to have as much honey, jam and sugar as I can because that is good calories but no fat.

And at last I can have my supplements re-added to my prescription and therefore my diet. I used to have Scandishakes and Ensure Plus milkshakes but they have a lot of fat in them so I’m now going to have Ensure Plus Juce-lemon and lime flavour as that is my favourite.

They are pure carb calories and sugar calories but no fat and I am going to be having two a day of those between meals. We are also going to take away my Pro Cal shot as that is all fat, and replace it with  three shots of Polycal Liquid which will give me 270kcal per 100mls.  

If I have three shots of that a day it will give me an extra 300 calories and the two  Ensure Plus Juces will give me another 660 cal so that is very nearly the extra 1000 calories that I need. 

So why do I need all these extra calories unlike everybody else when I’m on long term Pred? And, as you know, I’m the opposite of overweight. Plus I’m not exactly over active either- in fact I’m pretty sedentry at home in my own environment and I also ride around on Scootie at school as I cannot walk large distances because I get so short of breath.

So why am I burning all these calories?

Well, My body seems to react in the opposite way when I’m on Pred. The drug seems to cause me to have a diminished appetite.  and I actually prefer to eat things like salad to biscuits and cakes anyway. However I have a bad cough I have coughed  constantly for about the last six or seven years and because I cough so much and my cough is always a productive one, I am burning up a great deal of energy and calories just coughing and producing sputum. 

Have you ever wondered why severe COPDers are often very thin?

Well that’s me. That’s my lungs. That’s where I do fit the mould. 

The steroids have also caused a degree of myopathy-muscle weakness and wasting, so my body has changed for the thinner not the fatter. 

I wish it would all go away but of course it’s not going to. I’ve enjoyed eating more normally for 3 months, bit I’m looking pretty darn scrawny now. 

And my dietician thinks I’m probably one of the people with a predisposition to high cholesterol unless I can stick to eating the right things. Hence the fact that I can’t just go back on my High Fat butter dairy ice cream regime.

We will test my cholesterol again in another 3 months after starting the new supplements. Hopefully I will gain and maintain a little weight. That in turn will improve my Lung Function and immunity to germs. I seem to have gone down with every bug going recently because I’ve just got no reserve. 

….But first my Dietician has to write to my GP telling her all this, and that she’ll need to prescribe my supplements. I hope this happens without there being a spanner in the works!!….

Happy Mothers’ Day (UK!)

April 3, 2011

….If you live in the UK, today is our Mothers’ day….

We give our Mum’s a Sunday off during Lent, and allow them to eat cake and chocolate and not dress in sack cloth for one day out of the forty, LOL. A bit of a nice get together for Families: and, when it was started during the war-a cause to celebrate and not have to suffer the rationing.

I have baked cookies and got Mummy a card and some pink napkins and some of her favourite turkish delight. We got J’s Mum a bottle of something sparkling, hic!

I have everything to thank my Mum for-she is my best friend and always there for me, literally. She is more like a big sister. I never think of her as being any older than us, just a lot wiser!

This montage is of the card and cream egg that Anna-Bell cleverly got (and wrote) for me! of my Mummy cuddling A-B, my little doggie girl, and of the cookies I have baked for the Mums in my Family today.

….Have a great day off, all you Mums out there….



PS: Don’t shoot me if I’ve made a bunch of errors with all these stupid apostrophes!!!!

A Gastronomic Delight!

March 27, 2011

…..Last night we were taken out for a beautiful evening by Julian’s Mum. She always likes to spoil him for his Birthday (which was a week ago!)…..

We went to Hawtrey’s Restaurant at the Barn Hotel in Ruislip. And were wined and dined like Royalty. The food was French in essence and so elegantly presented with 2 different ‘Amuse Bouches’ in between courses. We drank a pink pro secco which was perfect for all the delicate flavours, and lots of sparkling water. I feel fine this morning, although our clocks sprang forward so we have had an hour less sleep. It was a really smashing evening to remember for many moons!

….Thank you, Kizzie….

Lemony Lungy Lust and Love!

February 16, 2011

….I crave lemons! The taste the smell, the zest, the juice-pure Heavenly lemony bliss-and, it seems, they’re good for my Lungs too….

Right from the year dot, way back in my oboe playing days I was told to think of ‘Opal Fruits’, you know, the soft candy that was “made to make your mouth water” when my embouchure went all dry, playing in hot auditoria. And I still adore all citrus fruit now. Whether it’s because it keeps my arid mouth and throat moist or the whole Susannah psychology that the astringent effect of lemons is somewhat cleansing to my cough, snot, mucus and even maybe, asthma condition, or whether I just like them, who knows! My Mother, another migraine sufferer told me her mother, my late Grandma, used to give her a raw lemon to suck to induce vomiting when she had a bilious stomach. Interesting philosophy there, Granny! In fact, I like raw lemons and sometimes just suck one as they have such a lubrication effect on my mucosa (lining of the mouth!). We are all different. I don’t think though, that with my reflux condition I could even eat raw lemons if it weren’t for a 20mg dose of Nexium twice a day!

Lemons are just so refreshing, and even in the middle of winter. Cook a roast chicken with lemons inside-wow! Add lemons sliced finely, to a prawn pasta dish-such zing. Add some lemony syrupy slices to a plain Angel cake-delicious and refreshing. Start your day with a cup of lemon slices in hot water-very Zen Spa Hotel-ish! Or as I do, a caffeine free lemon tea with a slice of lemon in it!

But did you know, lemon essential oil is an expectorant and encourages the airways to expel mucus. It’s not just drunk with honey for a calming effect therefore, when you have a cold or flu type lurgy. It’s scientifically proven and is in just about every single cold and cough remedy, therefore, for a purpose! I recently read about a five year study of over 60,000 people in Singapore, which found that a diet rich in lemon fruit fibres discouraged chronic coughs. (Just imagine what I’d be like without my lemons then!) Researchers suggested that the antioxidant effects of flavonoids found in lemons may protect the lungs from inflammation and tissue damage.

Take Action Folks!: Make yourself some homemade old fashioned lemony lemonade, add lemons to your cooking-they are even delicious roasted with your winter veggies. Use zest and juice instead of adding salt for flavour. Inhale the vapour of lemons and their zest over boiling water if you’re really stuffed up. Much more gentle than the astringent eucalyptus oil type products.

….Let’s see my friends and readers positively lusting after lemons. Add a little to your life, they’re so lovely, and very good, it would seem, for your Lungs!….

That’s One Super Soup!

December 9, 2010

….Of course you all know what I am talking about here, don’t you?-Yes! Chicken Soup!….

When I lived at home, my Mother would often ask me what to cook for dinner, and my Mum is a great cook, so I could have said anything really, but I always wanted chicken soup! Every Family has it’s own version-and no, you don’t have to be Jewish to eat it, make it, or like it! Our Family’s method is to boil up the chicken carcass left over from a roast dinner. My Mother’s freezer would always contain several of them, and turkey bones too. Some people make stock this way but we also add the giblets, maybe some extra chicken pieces, and lots of assorted vegetables-whatever’s in the fridge really. After two hours the pot of broth would be de-boned and left to sit until dinner time when Mum would make dumplings-our equivalent of matzos.

Chicken soup is just about the most nourishing, warming, calming bowl of yumminess you can have when you’re feeling poorly. It’s something that since I’ve had this bout of pseudo pneumonia, I have eaten every single day. It’s also very light on the stomach, and naturally Gluten Free, so in my book, perfect! And it’s not called Jewish Penicillin for a joke. There is so much documented through history, and particularly recently, where doctors and scientists alike have tried to find out just what it is about chicken soup that gives it it’s healing properties.

Some say that the steam rising from the bowl when you eat it is the real benefit. But of course. Sipping the hot soup and breathing in the steam helps clear up congestion. Therefore it seems a very true fact that a 12th century Egyptian Jewish physician, Moses Maimonides first prescribed chicken soup as a cold and asthma remedy. In more recent years, Irwin Ziment, a pulmonary specialist and professor at the UCLA School for Medicine, has said chicken soup contains drug-like agents similar to those in modern cold medicines. For example, an amino acid, cysteine, released from chicken during cooking chemically resembles the drug acetylcysteine, prescribed for bronchitis and other respiratory problems.

Now, I’ve been taking another ‘cysteine’-carbosisteine, via cough medicine, for 5 weeks, and it really does help thin the mucus.

So how does a bowl of the above ingredients contribute to us feeling better? Many of these vegetables and herbs are well documented for their health benefits anyway, vitamins, fibres, anti inflammatories-and of course, the fresher, the better and even better still, home grown or organic! Some people add spices to their boiling pot-the usual ones that are added are garlic and pepper and these in themselves are ancient treatments for respiratory diseases. They also work in the same way as modern cough medicines, thinning mucus and making breathing easier.

Another theory, put forth in the 1990’s by Stephen Rennard chief doctor of pulmonary medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, is that chicken soup acts as an anti-inflammatory. The soup, he says, keeps a check on inflammatory white blood cells (neutrophils). Cold symptoms, such as coughs and congestion, are often caused by inflammation produced when neutrophils migrate to the bronchial tubes and accumulate there. Therefore, according to science, Chicken Soup really is a bowl of nature’s Penicillin.

And it’s not just Jewish Penicillin at that. So many cultures make their own versions of a healing chicken broth soup: the Thais, the Amish, the Lithuanians, the Colombians, the Jamaicans. I’ve already said how my Family make our own version of chicken broth soup.

And this is a bowl of my own. I made it with what I had in the fridge-chicken pieces, carrots, onion, a leek, a potato and some turkey bones boiled away in it.

But OK, while chicken soup isn’t an exact total cure for a cold, it really does help alleviate some of the annoying symptoms that come with it. And, if nothing else, it is definitely a delicious, comforting meal that helps keep your body fuelled and importantly, hydrated.

….And that is in fact what is on my healing lunch menu for today! Try it!…