220 – Sunday prep

Kia ora koutou and I hope you are all feeling fine on this here Monday eve,

Or have you got the Sunday horrors too? I get ’em every weekend now but I have many and varied ways in which I ‘deal’ with them. The best used to be to just day-drink. Ahhhh… just keep a nice slow beer buzz on all day. But, you know, parenting, and being old and shite means children to feed and hangovers that last for DAYS now. I’m nearly 40 you know. Fuck it.

Some of the things I do; I rush about madly trying to ‘get the most out of the weekend’ OR I lie around doing absolutely nothing until nagged sufficiently by children or the grumpy Dutchman. I try to organise ‘good for the gut’ food in advance for the week/I shave/dye/trim or wash any hair that catches my attention (no I don’t shave my legs in winter because cold and the GD complains but he puts up with it just fine – a hairy ankle isn’t going to put my man off his dinner). I read books (ha ha – I plan to read books but I have mentioned I have children haven’t I?). I clean things randomly – very randomly. I try to spend as much time with family where possible AND I try to catch up with friends. I try not to think about work until I really really have to. It’s quite a bit to fit in to two days.

It really makes you wonder why we work for FIVE days and only rest for TWO days. Surely we’ve got that ass about face?

This weekend in between family stuff I have been to the movies with a friend who wanted to escape me from Nana and work stress bless her – I highly recommend ‘Amy’ the doco about Amy Winehouse – it is a tear-jerker for sure – not a dry eye in the house. It’s probably very wrong, considering her struggles with addiction, but I did leave really wanting a glass of wine and a ciggie…. Lucky Nana didn’t have any.

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This evening for dinner I made a yummy recipe that I like to make every now and then; Salmon Patties with (random) greens. It’s great because it makes a bunch of them and I can have them for lunch the next day. It’s not my recipe and I’ve added and taken out some stuff to suit my ouchy gut – a good one to play with.

You need

  • two 200gm cans of pink salmon
  • a couple of Kumara, peeled and cut in to cubes
  • 2 tblsp of Capers (drained)
  • a handful of coriander chopped
  • spring onion chopped up (I think you are meant to use red onion but I can’t tolerate it)
  • 1-2 eggs whisked
  • breadcrumbs (I use almond meal because gluten)
  • you could add peas/grated courgette – although courgette would make it wet so add more almond meal I reckon
  • salt and pepper
  • coconut oil

Steam and mash the kumara, wait to cool then add the salmon, capers, coriander, almond meal, egg, spring onion and any other veges you are adding.

Roll in to balls, then flatten in to patties, coat in almond meal/breadcrumbs and shallow fry in coconut oil until golden brown. They are GREAT with mayonnaise. You should get about 8. Serve with random steamed greens – we had beans and spinach and broccoli.

And two left to have with my lunch tomorrow – win!

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188 – on this, the eve of my birthday

I am sitting on the couch in the lounge while the little Dutchmen are in the dining room making birthday cards for me – that I had to text their father to get them to make because I knew he wouldn’t remember otherwise. It’s my birthday tomorrow. This is one of our rituals. The GD forgets stuff (read EVERYTHING) and I remind him and generally I have a pretty great bday as long as he sticks to the list and evening entertainment demands.

Normally my birthday is something I look forward to – after all I will take any excuse for a new piece of jewelry or great shoes – even if I have to drive the GD to the shop, walk him to the counter and hand him MY card to pay for them (I think I’ve mentioned before that the man doesn’t like spending money). It’s an excuse to see friends, hang with family and maybe get a babysitter for the night and spend time with my husband.

And the number hasn’t meant much in the past – after all – it’s about how you FEEL eh? EH? You’re only as young as the woman you feel. Or if you are not being a sexist old man in an age-inappropriate relationship – ‘It’s not how OLD you are – it’s HOW you are old’.

I’ve always felt like I was in my early twenties. Really and truly. It doesn’t suck as much in my thirties being 20 in my head – after all I have the income and impulse control to live more to the ideal in my head than I did in my actual twenties. And all that stuff is true I think about you appreciating your body and getting some perspective as to your worth – my self-esteem is double what is was in my twenties which is ironic because it was SO tied up in my weight when I was young and I DEF weigh more now (‘cos I’m a grown up who MADE PEOPLE WITH MY BODY and that is pretty fucking amazing). But I still get excited about stuff that I suspect is aimed at the yoof’.

I suspect – as I cruise undercut hair styles on the interwebs, change my nose stud out for a ring and wear my big black boots with giant coats in this colder weather – that I may be subconsciously rebelling just a little bit against the number that is looming on the horizon. Maybe?

I don’t know what it is about this birthday but it feels MUCH much closer to 40. And I don’t feel anywhere near close to 40 in my head. 40 year olds have mortgages, and sensible cars/shoes/haircuts and wear more beige than me. They don’t have tattoos or listen to Kendrick Lamar or embarrass their kids regularly with their outfits for work. Or do they? Am I the new nearly 40? Is my GD – the beer drinking, in a garage band, watching Christopher Hitchens obsessively on his iPhone while he huddles out the back in the cold smoking the new nearly 40 too?

Or – and this is more likely of course – has this always been what 40 is, but because I was young and dumb I THOUGHT it meant really old and/or boring.

This is rhetorical of course. I am going to be 37 tomorrow. Evidently this IS what someone who is nearly 40 is like. (I can hear you scoffing but 37 is significantly closer to 40 than 35 is) Nevertheless, this is only a problem in my head. The majority of my friends are over 40 and they are an interesting, stylish and damned cool bunch of women – what’s more they listen to me drivel on about feeling old without smacking me in the head and I appreciate this greatly because most of them could flatten me with one hit.

So, while I sit here with my nostril all swollen from forcing a piece of metal through it, with the front of my head pounding because I am on my third day of sugar withdrawal (yes I have been thinking about birthday cake and I don’t know what I have decided yet) and the sound of my still awake and highly excited children splashing water all over the bathroom as they play Lego in the sink (after being asked not to of course because they are SO obedient), I am feeling old.

But I am excited. Mostly because I am shallow and  I am going halves with the GD in a really cool NZ designed necklace for my birthday (I managed to sell a bunch of shoes and clothes to get my half of the money – out with the old and unworn and in with the new!), I am going to see Magic Mike XXL with a couple of grrlfriends and then lunch AND thanks to my mum taking the little horrors for the night – I actually get to go out somewhere with my grumpy old man! Yay!

And I still want an undercut.

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186 – Day one of Re-set

It’s the first official day of the holidays. I have been telling myself that I will quit sugar again properly once the holidays came, when I had time to go through the withdrawal shit all over again and could lie around being in pain (because it does suck that bad for the first week).

Also, I am SUPER tired, my period just started and I spent the day at school marking lacklustre work that does not AT ALL represent the enthusiasm that the class showed when they were actually in front of me.

My tummy hurts, my back hurts and my head is starting to hurt. I have spent all day replacing sugar with carrots and potatoes. No really – at 3pm the slump kicked in and I was following my eldest boy around in a daze (he came to school with me – my children NEVER stop talking – seriously) and all I could think about was how bad it was that I couldn’t go get a quick fix and then I remembered that I knew about one GF fish and chips place in Mt Eden – hot chips heaven. Scratched the itch! (My friend has given up sugar successfully using the Potatoes not Prozac plan and when you have a read through it makes sense – if you are thinking about it and Sarah Wilson and her bright shiny following don’t appeal check it out here www.radiantrecovery.com some good reading.)

So far I feel good – I have a cup of white tea in front of me instead of choccie biscuits and the sugar cravings are real but I feel in control of them. I spent a lovely day hanging with my eldest – me marking and him taking the dog on adventures round the school, him watching endless Minecraft videos until I wouldn’t let him anymore and generally being 5 days away from eight and full of energy and excitement for his birthday. I made a really yummy dinner (potatoes featured heavily) and I have found the best new show to watch on Netflix – have you seen Grace and Frankie? It is so good. Lots of feels.

Anyhoo – I am buggered and my tea is getting cold so I’m off to bed. Day two tomorrow. Feeling positive peeps!

132 – bleurgh

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Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii. I’m fucked. Sorry for the potty mouth straight out of the gate. But man. I am faaaaaaarked. A combination of hard-core work stuff, extra grumpy Dutchman (not smoking so he’s SO grumpy) and sugar withdrawal. I am not sure how I am sitting here right now awake after 8pm.

That’s a lie, I do know how I am still awake. The GD went and bought cigarettes didn’t he, and in his guilt(?) he has offered to go and get something sweet for me to have with my cup of tea after the boys are asleep. I am waiting for this treat to materialise in front of me. Because I’m weak. And although I nearly died from my head-splitting headache on Thursday – first day without sugar – and have suffered since; and I when I talked about it I said stuff like ‘the headaches are good because it reminds me what I have started and what I don’t want to start again‘ and other optimistic things. But I am weak.

I bought myself pity chocolates on Mothers day because no one else had. I received beautiful hand drawn cards from my children but apparently I am still a four year old at heart and wanted a ‘proper’ present. It was just an excuse. I ate them all over the course of the afternoon and evening (a small box mind you). And I was kind to myself but disappointed. Because I had survived three days added sugar-free at that point. Not fruit or high fructose free but all of the added crap.

There are side effects to the lapse in diet of course. I have a preggy belly again, and the silk muu-muus are good but I have seen my students looking sideways at me again and I can feel a ‘Are you pregnant miss?’ coming. My skin is farked. My energy levels are all over the place and I am slower at boot camp. My head is covered in allergic sores under my hair. I feel pretty. Oh so pretty. These are all good reasons to stick at it.

I am eating better though in general, and am resolved to be sugar-free again by Friday. Wish me luck!

Day 99 – school holiday hell

It speaks to the state of your parenting when you go to a Psych ward – with actual unwell people in it – and the most out of control people there are your children. And no matter how delicately a threat I posed or delicious the bribe I offered they blithely ignored me and my distress at their wild animal antics. Luckily the birthday grrl – Nana – was completely oblivious and the only person who noticed their antics was the wide-eyed, quiet, perfectly behaved 10 year old – my cousins daughter – who clearly had not seen anything quite like them. That’s right – I was so grumpy that I allowed myself to be shamed (in my head) by a perfectly lovely child. Who was behaving perfectly. And not at all like an animal.

Nana didn’t notice of course. Mostly she just wanted to tell us how much her birthday had sucked so far and how she couldn’t eat the birthday cake that Mum had thoughtfully provided. (A big thanks to Mum for not getting a GF one – she normally would bust her ass trying to find something I could eat but this time she was too busy and it was perfect because if it was GF I would have EATEN IT ALL).

Conversation went round in circles with Nana in the middle ‘Has everyone had a piece of cake?’ Yes Nana. ‘I’ll have my piece tomorrow because I’m unwell’ we know Nana. ‘Have the boys had a piece of cake?’ Yes Nana (Boys look hopeful at their great Nana). ‘It’s my birthday and I’ve had a sore tummy all day, it’s not fair’ We know Nana that truly sucks. ‘Has everyone had a piece of cake?’. Yes Nana. ‘Your mother got me this beautiful necklace…. am I wearing it Kathleen?’. Yes Nana it’s lovely. ‘Do the boys want a piece of cake?’ ‘Has anyone seen my necklace?’ And so on. It was good to see her. She has been allowed out of the 24 hour watch bit and is now allowed to mingle with the others. She usually waits until one of the other women or men walk past and says in a stage whisper ‘It’s so sad Kathleen, They are all so bad in here – really doolally’. I’m not sure she is making many friends to be honest. But she might be out soon on good behaviour.

The school holidays used to be such a wonderful time for me when I was a young, childless teacher. I could lie in bed, be kissed on the forehead by an envious grumpy Dutchman as he left for work and then spend my days slothing about, taking photos, watching shit TV, op-shopping and catching up with my grrlfriends. Ah the good old days.

Not so now I am a mother. I have one child in school so guess what? He’s on holiday with me. And the other one is old enough now to notice when his brother gets to stay with Mummy so I have to let him stay home more during the hols.

I like my kids. Really I do. They are both bright and inquisitive and opinionated and totally rock and roll. They are the best little team a mother could ask for. In small doses. And not so much together as separately – special ‘Mummy and me’ time is good. We have a great time when they are not competing for anything. Yesterday the seven year old and I had a lovely time doing errands and talking about nothing. I learned an awful lot about computer games I will never play. And if I think about it – I had both of them on Tuesday and we went to the zoo and it was lovely. So it is possible I will admit but in small doses.

Today I just gave up. When we got home from the hospital I just let them do what they wanted. They built a fort for the kitten. They forced the kitten to ‘enjoy’ it. I rescued the kitten so they went to the TV lounge and wrestled. I shouted ‘Get OFF your brothers head!’ more than once. They threw themselves around the music lounge in an attempt to get the dog to wrestle with them. They played the drums. Briefly. They helped themselves to food and milk. They followed me out on to the road to speak to a friend and dragged the kitten up and down the street to meet the neighbours. They nearly fell asleep in the car when I played my Terry Pratchett audio book with the express purpose of getting them to sleep. Damnit.

I mostly craved sugar and tried really hard to ignore it. I was grumpy and impatient. I threatened to give the kitten to someone nice. I tried to bribe them with delicious treats which they declined. I gave up and pulled out the classic ‘When your father gets home he will hear about this!’. They didn’t care. You’ve got to admire that kind of confidence really. I gave up parenting and retreated to my bed. I painted my nails. I read a trashy magazine. I read the first chapter of my Willpower book (it says to only read a chapter a week and try to do the ‘experiments’). This week I am meant to try to ‘be in the moment and notice my breath’ for five minutes a day. HA! I’d like to be in any moment and have the energy to notice my breath at all. I’ve always been a shit breather.

Tomorrow the smallest child will go to daycare, and the eldest will come with me to work. I will put him in front of a computer and he will happily get screen stoned while I mark assessments and panic about un-written assessments for next term. But at least I will be distracted my body aches, headaches and sugar cravings.

Knowing I did (all) of this to myself doesn’t make it any more fun.

97 – urg

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I may have had a little bit of coffee and/or ginger loaf this morning with my grrl Yasmine. Just ‘finishing off the supplies’. Allegedly. I’m fairly confident she will neither confirm nor deny.

Tomorrow though. I have nothing left.

96 – The day before the day it begins. Again.

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I’m standing in the ditch. My shoes are ruined. My nails are broken and torn but I am determined to get the fucking wheels back on the wagon. The family is nearby but not talking to me. There was a short-lived moment where they LOVED me but I put paid to that with my wild mood swings and Tourette’s like outbursts.

Ok. The wagon doesn’t exist. My nails are immaculate as ever – natch. But it’s true that I have been a crazy unpredictable mamabear all weekend. Sorry I mean four days. Mostly I have been lovely. A little bit sweary but that’s normal. And I have been funny – I am funny. I made the GD laugh all weekend, a mean feat on a good day – I even made my Nana, in a psych ward because she’s so miserable – laugh when I called her anorexic. …Maybe that’s not a great example. But I have been ‘mostly’ nice and mostly funny and a little bit sweary.

It’s the lows that were scary. The bits where I crawled back in to bed in the middle of the day just to get some quiet Mummy time. The bits where I shouted at the top of my lungs that the boys were ‘hereby banned from our room FOREVER!’ and they just blithely carried on jumping on me and the book I wasn’t reading. (They aren’t scared of me. Really – why aren’t they scared of me?) The bit where I made a playlist of rock and roll hits and Snoop dogg especially for the boys one minute and then just wanted to listen to Frozen on repeat. That was a pretty low moment. FYI Frozen is now officially uncool in our house and when I was singing along the lads had me voted off the island.

It turned out that in a sick twist of fate the very same weekend I decided to give myself carte blanche to mindfully  ‘enjoy easter with my family’ I was, unknowingly premenstrual (and before you scoff ‘how could you not know?’ I have never kept track of this shit – I have too much to do alright? It always takes me by surprise and just seems to have it’s own schedule, one minute I’m happily floating along no worries and the next I am doubled over in pain and eating whole boxes of neurofen like they are lollies). I thought I could handle just one egg.

Just one little chocolate egg to celebrate the end of term and stuff. But I couldn’t handle that jandal. One little egg turned into convincing the grumpy Dutchman that he wanted to share his egg stash with me on Friday night. The next thing you know I’ve got my mum sharing her egg from the lads with me. Waiting until the kids went to bed so I could eat the secret creme egg I had hidden in the car. All I could think about all day was that creme egg sitting all by its lonesome in the glove box. All day.

Add to that coffee. FUCK I LOVE COFFEE. I couldn’t have hot cross buns without coffee could I? Sacrilege. I found some decent GF hot cross buns. So I have been having hot cross buns with butter on them with coffee. Coffee in an ‘UNT’ mug for the win. Ahhhhhhh coffee my old friend.

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In terms of activities and stuff we have had a lovely weekend. I went paddle-boarding for the first time. Talk about blissing out. It was AMAZE. I NEED to go again. We (the four of us) spent quality time with the wider fam. We took the lads to the Easter show. We were lucky to get out alive. I only suggest it every year to see the farm animals but this year the poor piglets and lambs had a trapped wild-eyed look about them and I couldn’t enjoy their wooly wonderful snuffly-ness. The boys wanted to ride stuff and win stuff, the GD wanted to eat stuff and the rest of Auckland was jammed in there with us trying to do the same thing. Every time we put the boys in the car they tried this new thing they have where they each try to imitate a peacock in heat at the top of their lungs. Master 7 thinks it makes him sound like an electric guitar. It doesn’t. Weirdly this didn’t make me or the GD want to leave them on the side of the road – we laughed – but then, this makes sense because I was FUCKING HIGH ON ALL THE SUGAR.

And now I am not. I have however got a slow burn on thanks to this ginger loaf I am ‘finishing off’ before tomorrow. It’s keeping the edge off.

So. Tomorrow marks the beginning of the withdrawal again. Tomorrow I will start ‘crowding out’ the sugar cravings again with all the cooked veges. I will go back to rice milk in my smoothies. My hot drink of choice will once again be a green tea every couple of days. No more raw food. No more crunchy food. No more self harming with food. More quality time with my children outside. More running with the dogs. More reading of the books I have bought and never read.

I apologise in advance if my blog posts go to a dark place in the next few weeks.

90 – no regrets, just lessons learned

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I went to Te Warewhare tonight to buy easter treats for my Form teachers. 14 foil wrapped easter bunnies. Add to that an Easter egg each for the lads, one for the grumpy Dutchman and assorted mini eggs for the chase on Sunday morning. Annnnnnd then throw in the basket a packet of six pineapple lump marshmallow eggs. Which I happen to know are gluten free.

They never left my thoughts. I had decided weeks ago that if I wanted an Easter egg for easter I would have one. That last year the beginning of my downfall was the Easter break. I tried to drown out the cravings and ignore them but I ended up exploding and eating ALL the chocolate. It was the slippery slope that meant the end. This time I decided to be kind to myself, no denying and to just see how I went.

There are no pineapple lump marshmallow eggs left. I feel sick. I have a headache and a horrible taste in my mouth and I am overheating.

These are good things to remember. I will not beat myself up over this but I will pay attention to my body and how it reacts to this overload of sugar. Now I will go to bed because I feel awful.

Peace out my peeps.

Day 78 – the best bliss ball recipe I know

So I finished the block of dark chocolate. It was inevitable. Over the course of the week and when I think about it, it may have been the cause of my unshakeable headache all week. But I don’t regret a single square. I enjoyed every second of it and was ‘mindful’ of every bite.  (you see what I did there?) Part of my reckless lack of food-guilt came from having logged in to the forums on IQS today only to find like-minded women who were not in fact skipping through fields of tall grass and flowers all skinny and glowing and feeling all unburdened from their hopeless addiction to sugar. No. Like me these women felt pretty much the same. No real weight loss to speak of. Skin the same, spotty or not, and mostly they were staring down the barrel of a lifetime without Whittakers and thinking about ending it all. Like me their cravings had not in fact fucked off in to the dark and gloomy past and they were having little tiny battles with themselves every day.

These women, like me had been logging on intermittently to the forums – which are described to subscribers as a great support and most of what we are paying for – and finding testimonial after testimonial of ‘AMAZING RESULTS’ and ‘I HAVE SO MUCH MORE ENERGY NOW I RAN A MARATHON BEFORE BREAKFAST’ and ‘I USED TO BE 300 kilos BUT NOW I’M ONLY 34 kilos AND I AM SO MUCH HAPPIER NOW’ (even if my body can’t support the weight of my head). Disheartening to say the least when, like me, you are plodding along and every thing feels sort of ‘Meh?’.

Please don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed the change up of food, and I mostly signed up for food ideas – not weight loss and glowing skin – but a girl can dream can’t she? And the temptation to beat myself up over not doing it right somehow has been strong. But reading the thread gave me heart. I think it is helpful to hear all of the experiences – not just the ones that serve to promote the program itself and I have to acknowledge the respectful and – yes supportive – way the moderators of the threads let the conversation happen and the legitimacy they gave to the way these contributors were feeling. Not everyone who gives up sugar will lose weight, not everyone who gives up sugar will notice massive changes in their health, not everyone will start glowing like a pregnant supermodel on a macrobiotic diet.

And probably there are a multitude of reasons but I think what you were eating before you start the program has a lot to do with it. One man was drinking 6 cans of pepsi max a day. A DAY! And he lost 32 kilos in 8 weeks. No fucking shit.

So. I am going to try to keep sugar out of my diet. I am going to keep cooking some of the family favourites out of the program and I am going to remember the headache I have had all week from the dark chocolate. But I am not going to beat myself up over the odd slip. I am not going to see my lack of weight loss as failure and I am going to share with you the best bliss ball recipe I have found on the magical interwebs. I can’t take credit for this one and I can’t remember where I got it – sorry! I haven’t been making them this year because they have dried fruit in them (strictly banned by IQS) but I have decided these are better for me and the fam than shit, nutrient deficient junk sugar and if I am going to ‘slip’ I would rather it was something I had made myself.

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You will need;

  •  1 cup of medjool dates (pitted and chopped)
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup of raw cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds

Soak the dates in warm water for ten minutes if they are hard (don’t bother if they are soft and squishy). Add the nuts, cacao, shredded coconut, coconut oil and chia seeds to the food processor and blitz. Add dates to the mixture and blitz again. Let the mixture sit for ten minutes. Roll into balls (about a soup spoon worth each time). Roll the balls in more shredded coconut. Pop in to the freezer for about an hour before eating – I keep mine in the freezer – best place for them!

They are just the thing after dinner or for a mid morning snack – yum!

Ooooh I almost forgot! Guess what arrived in the mail today! Almost a good enough reason to take up coffee again ha ha

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Day 45 – A woman on the edge.

Picture in your mind’s eye a woman sitting on her couch. She has her eyes firmly on her laptop, one arm stroking the cat (who, in the absence of the male human has deigned to purr for the female), the other scrolling through her newsfeed.

Notice the lollies strewn all over lounge the floor in front of her. Casualties in a day that included both a child’s birthday party and visiting multiple Grandparents, the children had their fill – they couldn’t take any more sugar.

Now look closer; at her tense shoulders. Her fixed gaze – her eyes don’t stray from the laptop screen. She is stroking the cat in firm, fast downward movements, more of a ‘sports massage’ than an affectionate thing. The chicken soup she made earlier is cooling next to her – too hot to eat yet but she tries it every few minutes or so.

The lollies – fruit bursts, minties, milkshakes and jellybeans – are ALL gluten free. This she knows. Sugar is the issue here. They are strictly a no go area. And yet…

Being gluten free is not a choice. Coeliac disease is a permanent, autoimmune disorder caused by an intolerance to gluten which is found in wheat, barley, oats and rye. This intolerance to gluten causes the body to produce antibodies which damage the lining of the small bowel and make it impossible for the body to absorb vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from food. The damage is immediate and can be severe in it’s physical manifestation. Because I am a silent coeliac I often don’t know it’s happening.

Giving up sugar on the other hand was a choice, to help my gut, to heal my gut and to ‘un-complicate’ this process. I know that high fructose fruit and veges are doing me damage as well and feel the effects straight away – and yet…

It has been a good day. But sometimes homemade chicken soup doesn’t quite cut it you know?