Kai Chronicles

Eating, exploring and enjoying life


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Confessions of a food addict

It’s been 7 weeks since the end of my elimination diet (the umpteenth one!!). I ended that one with a bang when I got drunk on wine and shots with a couple friends. Boy, that hurt the next day!!

cheers

It’s always a good idea at the time

But my diet remained fairly stable and healthy. Sadly, I can no longer say that.

It all went pear-shaped when I hit the wheat: sweets, bread & pasta.

Once I had a taste of it, I was hooked again. It started off slowly with a piece of toast then went to peanut butter on an English Muffin then a week later I graduated to a tuna sandwich then pasta for dinner with the boys……you get the drift.

And I must say, physically, I don’t feel too bad. But I know if I don’t stop soon, I’ll crash.

I am already noticing the fatigue and the cravings though. I’m eating bread daily – Oh give me my daily bread NOW or someone might get hurt.

Yes, a wee bit mad.

I truly do think wheat is addictive and let’s not forget the sugar I’ve been consuming (it’s in everything). I knew I was crossing a line when I went to the local bakery (Hell on earth) and ordered a lamington (see exhibit B). I pretty much inhaled that the minute I got home (which is only 2 blocks away). It was all downhill from there.

IMG_0932

Welcome to the dark side

Now, I’m consuming wheat daily and I’m back to that attitude of ,’what’s one more day going to hurt?’

But I know I cannot stay here in food heaven – or is it hell? There seems to be no borders lately.

I read this article about how new research is linking depression to inflammation. And what is a main source of chronic inflammation? Diet.

The article states:

 

There are several problems with the modern diet. It is high in foods that provoke inflammation, such as refined flour, excess sugar, oxidized (rancid) fats, trans fats, and a wide range of chemicals and preservatives. And it is low in foods that reduce inflammation, like long-chain omega-3 fats, fermented foods, and fermentable fiber. Numerous studies have associated the Western diet with major depressive disorder. 

And I don’t want to be depressed. Nor do I want to be fat, unfit, sluggish, lazy, anxious, constipated, addicted, wheezy, snotty or sick all the time. All of the things that come to me when I eat a diet full of wheat, sugar and dairy.

So, once again, I am setting myself up for a restriction. It will start on Sept 1 when I go to Bali on a mini wellness holiday. That gives me just over a week to fill my face. Now, pass the caramel popcorn and M&Ms please.

 


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My diet is making me sick

sick picIn January, I was feeling great and looking good! So good, that I reintroduced complex carbs, wheat and gluten, dairy, some caffeine and yeast.

It’s now March 25th and I have been feelings like utter crap for weeks now. And it’s not just physical. That part of it is always to be expected.

It’s the mental fog, apathy, loss of motivation and cravings that I am dealing with that is making me crazy.

I know it’s my diet.

I’ve been playing this on and off again game with my diet for the past 8 years. And for sure, I have ragged on about it here before.

Recently, I have been in and out of the doctor’s office, mostly getting blood tests to rule out various diseases, infections and allergies. Everything came back negative. That’s a good thing but I still have my issues.

  • Severe bloating 
  • Fullness after eating medium-sized meals
  • Flatulence
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion (occasionally)
  • Laziness
  • Mental fog
  • Apathy
  • Low energy
  • Unsightly skin problems (since Jan 2012)
  • Asthma (since April 1995)
  • Nasal polyps (since April 1995)
  • And lately, recurrent throat infections (since Aug 2012)

The severe digestion issues have been on the increase for the past couple of years.

Now that all my tests came back negative, the doctor has said the next step is for me to see a Gastroenterologist and he/she will most likely issue a colonoscopy because I am a high-risk patient.

I am now “labeled” high risk because my sister died of a rare form of cancer 18 months and another sister has been recently diagnosed with Coeliac disease. Oh, and I am over 40.  Seriously, if I were also coeliac all of this could be explained easier.

I’ve yet to make an appointment with a specialist. I don’t know if I will but the fact that my sister died only 5 weeks after her diagnosis is playing on my mind. If she had of gotten tested earlier, would she still be alive?

I feel I am in tune with my body and I know what I need to do: STOP EATING THE FOODS THAT MAKE ME FEEL BAD

And like I said, I have done this over and over again but then I feel good and think, ‘I can have a little…’, then BANG.

I am fat, bloated, farty and can’t even stand being me anymore.

wheat belly

No, I’m not 5 months pregnant. I just ate some wheat today.

But the more wheat/gluten items I eat, the more I want. It’s like an addiction and I can’t stop myself even to save my health.

But I will do it again.

April 1st is the day. I’ll be going back on my restricted diet which will include  many complex carbs too. NO GLUTEN, RICE, NOODLES, YEAST, DAIRY (EXCEPT YOGHURT), CERTAIN FRUITS AND VEGETABLES (POTATOES).

I cannot just go cold turkey  instantly. I have to slowly work my way up to it. I tried it a few days ago and lasted 1 day. Then I baked a chocolate cake.

Thank goodness I am waiting until after Easter. You know I’ll be overdosing on chocolate and hot-cross buns this week (homemade buns of course).

Gotta go now. It’s pasta for dinner. I’ll just have a small portion but will saviour it to the last bite.

Are there any foods that you know you should avoid but just cannot stay away from ?

 

 

 

 

 

 


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What’s Working for me Wednesday

WWW

 

Happy Wednesday all!

It’s been a successful day for me. I finished the first draft of an article I’ve been putting off for weeks now. I have one more very short interview to do with a case study,  then edit, then SEND. I will be so happy to see it off my TO DO list. But of course, after that will come the waiting game…waiting for a response from the editor. That’s always fun.

To celebrate my victory of completion (near enough), I just watched an episode of Sex and the City: Season 2’s Games People Play.

Carrie has just broken up with Big again and is so annoying to her friends they suggest she seeks therapy. Carrie meets Seth (played by Jon Bon Jovi) in the waiting room and promptly shags him after a game of Twister.

Mar 13 carrie

my treats

I am addicted to SATC. I have lost count on the number of times I have watched the complete series and the movies. Once I start on the series, I feel compelled to watch episode after episode until the very last. I have been known to sit through 6-8 shows in one sitting. Once I hit the series finale, I feel satisfied for a few months before I start the cycle all over again.

It’s an escape but I also use it as “research”. I’m writing a chick-lit novel you see. Which reminds me, I’m behind on my word count. Crap.

Well, Wednesday was going off well….see you next week when I plan to be ahead of my word count and in the middle of season 3. Ahhh, the introduction of Aidan.

mar 13 satc

Sex and the City box set

 

 


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High and Low in Toronto

The only reason I am in Toronto is to visit my nephew and his family. Beyond that, I have very little use for the city.

The only thing on my to do list, besides the family visit, was to go up the CN Tower.

Did you know that the tower was opened to the public on June 26, 1976 and the glass floor was opened on June 26th, 1994. And when I did visit: June 27th…..not a historical day…or was it? Keep reading to find out.

The 553.33m (1815 ft) tall tower acts as a Canadian national icon and for 32 years it held the title as the World’s Tallest Tower.

Toronto’s CN Tower and Roy Thompson Hall

It certainly is a tourist attraction; it’s like a sky-high thriller up there. Besides the nerve-wracking glass panelled door and floor elevator that speeds you to the observation level (342m) in 58 seconds, the tower boosts the Skypod (the smaller lookout at 447m), the Edgewalk (where you are harnessed and get to lean backwards off the outside while keeping your feet on the tower….no thanks), 2 restaurants, 3D theatre, motion theatre ride and a coffee stand. Of course, all of the components cost.

I chose the lookout only and paid $27.11. Not a bad price for a low-level adrenalin rush.

Walking on glass

It’s been 25 years since I’ve been in Toronto and although my last stay was not pleasant, it was colorful.

I was newly 16 and had run away from my hometown with my ” boyfriend”. The word will be used loosely as he was not a friend nor was he a boy. He was a grown man taking advantage of a young, meek child.

My main memories of the city is of having no food and nowhere to sleep for the first few nights. At the time, I was a vegetarian but was forced to eat 99 cent hamburgers or only 49 cent french fries; those were my choices. After he sold my belongings, I was pushed into panhandling. I was so shy back then and remember being embarrassed to ask strangers for money.

When he got in touch with an old friend, we arrived to his 1 bedroom apartment and offered a place to “crash”. The kitchen floor was our sleeping space as the couch and living area floor was already taken by other homeless wanderers and prostitutes.

The next 3 weeks were  scary times and I had to grow up fast. I was a child living amongst drug-addicted adults and I was  being groomed to become like them. I was eager to be grown-up and I wanted to experiment with drugs, which were readily available. The 2 prostitutes would go out for a few hours in the late evening and come back ready to party. And, NO, I never got forced into the sex industry. To the credit of the “boyfriend”, he moved us to Montreal not long after nearly overdosing in front of me. It was a wise move but life did not get easier, just more challenging, but that’s another story.

High and Happy

Now, my memories of Toronto will be happy and joyful. They will be of reconnecting with a nephew and meeting his lovely girls, of getting high but in a safe and legal (and profitable way to the CN Tower) way, being treated to a delicious dinner at Canteen and of frozen yogurt.

Yes, it seems that Menchie’s frozen yogurt is all the craze here in North America! It is pretty tasty stuff and I do like how you can have a wee bit of every flavour and load it up with as many topping as you like….it’s basically a frozen yogurt buffet! Did I mention the free sampling?? Oh yes, it is true folks. After my fourth sample I really didn’t need anymore but it’s not my style to sample and run so I purchased $3.97 worth of the seemingly healthy but not really cold dessert.

Sweet options

I only needed half a cup after the many free samples I enjoyed!!

Until next time Toronto……..


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The World’s Most Popular Drug

Did you have a coffee or tea this morning?

Caffeine laced drinks and products are consumed by millions the world over. Does that make us all drug users…..and possibly abusers?

The truth is: Caffeine is a drug.

Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in coffee, tea, cola and cocoa beans. This, of course, does not mean caffeine is limited to these products. There are countless other soft drinks, lollies, ice creams, energy drinks, chewing gum, supplements and medications on the market today that are enhanced with caffeine.

Many people consume hundreds of milligrams worth of caffeine per day and would never guess they may be dependant on or addicted to a stimulant.

What happens when you stop –  cold turkey?

There is a very high chance of experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as: headache, nausea; feeling light-headed, tired, moody, depressed and irritable. These symptoms may continue for 2-8 days so it is easy to reason why so many people just continue with their daily caffeine fix.

How much caffeine are we talking about?

  •  250ml cup of instant coffee (1tsp)  = 60-80mg
  • 1 oz espresso = 90mg
  •  250ml cup of black tea = 40-60mg
  • 250ml cup of green tea  = 25-40mg
  •  375ml can of Coke = 50mg
  • 100g chocolate bar = 20mg

It is hard to pin point the safe levels of caffeine without doing a scientific experiment first-hand. It all depends on who you ask.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand say:

“There is currently no recognised health-based guidance value, such as an Acceptable Daily Intake, for caffeine. However, a FSANZ Expert Working Group analysed the available literature in 2000 and concluded that there was evidence of increased anxiety levels in children at doses of about 3 mg of caffeine per kilogram of bodyweight per day. The anxiety level for children aged 5-12 equates to a caffeine dose of 95 mg per day (approximately two cans of cola) and about 210 mg per day (approximately three cups of instant coffee) for adults.”

Is there any reason to stop?

According to the Havard Health Publications, caffeine is not only safe, but may also have some benefits.

“Studies show that the risk for type 2 diabetes is lower among regular coffee drinkers than among those who don’t drink it. Also, coffee may reduce the risk of developing gallstones, discourage the development of colon cancer, improve cognitive function, reduce the risk of liver damage in people at high risk for liver disease, and reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease.”

There are some health conditions that will not benefit caffeine intake: like candida. Caffeine can feed candida and would aggravate excess candida symptoms that may: abdominal pain, thrush, depression, urinary infections, rashes, acne, white coated tongue and food cravings.

Some people may not tolerate caffeine very well and experience over-dose like feelings such as: restlessness, nervousness, excitement, insomnia and gastrointestinal issues.

Although there is no proven evidence that says caffeine is harmful to an unborn fetus, it is widely known and accepted that caffeine should be limited to (the equivalent of)  one or two cups of coffee per day.

I personally have “gone off” caffeine several times. Each time I endured 2-3 days of physical pain in the form of severe headaches and nausea.

I am currently off caffeinated coffee but have been having small doses of caffeine in decaf coffee and chocolate, occasionally. I do not drink green or black tea at all.

Yesterday I was unwittingly served a caffeinated coffee  and was not aware of this until 1-2 hours later. I  noticed that I was jittery and scatter-brained and couldn’t figure out why. When I was told of the coffee mix-up, I rationalised my confused state to the excess caffeine.

There’s no denying it: Coffee and caffeine products are big business and keep getting bigger. It does make me wonder though….

Do we need to be stimulated all the time? And are we just trading off one drug for another?

Cigarettes are no longer in fashion and are now a known health hazard but coffee, tea, cola and energy drinks are very sociable, acceptable and consumption is on the rise……for the moment.


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Eat to live or live to eat?

Welcome to kai chronicles!!

Kai is a common word and its meaning varies depending on your culture. I have connections to New Zealand and Japan and that is why I have chosen to call this blog kai chronicles.

According to Wikipedia:

In Māori, Kai means “food” (this one is absolutely true and used by many kiwis).

In Japanese, Kai may mean “change” or “the action to correct” or “concerning oneself with” (I will check this with Japanese mates). Notice how Wikipedia uses the word “may”.

So now I ask the age old question: Do you live to eat or eat to live?

I seem to be living to eat lately but I go through stages.

I have been attempting to be dairy, gluten, red meat, alcohol, fruit, sugar, yeast, caffeine,  fermented food FREE off and on for nearly 18 months now. Actually since 2005, I have experimented with many forms of food restrictions due to health issues.

It’s extremely hard to do but I have been successful, for short periods of time.

AND, the thing is this: When on the ‘restricted’ diet, I feel better!!! But after 4-6 weeks, I crack and cannot cope unless I eat a whole cake and once I do that, it’s all off until I have the will power to start all over again.

This I  know for sure: I’m an emotional eater.

My latest attempt, which was successful for 2 weeks then I introduced apples, potatoes and some other ‘sweet’ vegetables and all was well for anther 2 weeks before I started to cave, was smack in the middle of some emotional turbulance so it was probably not the best time to give it a go.

I am now enjoying most of the restrictions except: alcohol, dairy(except pro-biotic yogurt which is good for tummy health), caffeine and mostly staying away from yeast. If I crave a peanut butter sandwich, I’ll eat it.

I’ve been practicing ‘presence’ for nearly four years now. I rationalise my food intake with the NOW.

If this moment is all we have, I say, “EAT CAKE AND LOVE IT”.