Kai Chronicles

Eating, exploring and enjoying life


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What’s Working for me Wednesday

WWWAwareness. That’s what’s working for me this Wednesday. I’m very aware that I’m over-eating and eating stuff that I don’t need to be eating.

Today was the first ‘Baking Day Wednesday’. Every Wednesday, I will get up at 6am (as per my new normal) and because it is my one day off of my Tracy Anderson fitness regime (I go to Yoga instead). I will bake from 6-7:30am instead of dancing my ass off.

date sq

Date square..an old family recipe.

homemade muesli

My muesli -this was at the half way toasted point. It turns out much darker and is soooo much better than commercial stuff. Plus, you can add anything you fancy!

Today, I made muesli, date squares and a rocky-road like square. This baking is meant to be for Master T’s lunchbox (the muesli is for breakfast). I will freeze 3/4s of the date squares. The thing is, I like to eat freshly baked goods. A date square is not gonna kill me. Homemade muesli is yummy will yogurt. The rocky-road???? I do not need this in my life. I had a piece…..for lunch. And guess what?

It was delicious!!!

rocky road

The monster….rocky road squares…graham crumbs, coconut, crushed peanuts, marshmallow and chocolate smothered in condensed milk then baked.

But seriously. I was extremely full and my mood turned foul within 20 minutes. I still feel irritable and grumpy but I’m coming right. And of course, my tummy is swollen and tubby looking. It feels like I just undid all my hard fitness training. This just confirmed, once again that my body and mind does not like too much sugar or wheat. And I have a whole pan of them in the fridge. The reason I made them was a rational one.

I had some left over graham cracker crumbs (North Americans will know these) left over from my last trip back from Canada. I didn’t want them going in the bin (I detest wastage) so I made the recipe from the back of the box. It’s not like I even want Master T eating crap like that but it is homemade so that’s one point for me, at least!!

I am really pleased that I am able to pinpoint the error of my ways soon after they happen. Now, to catch them before they happen…. that’s the real challenge!!

And, this is too early to say it’s working for me but I am off to do something I have never done tonight!! I’m excited and I’ll tell you all about it soon!!

 


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What’s going in my mouth!

This will mark the first of a new series of weekly blog posts. I’ve been inspired by Jo Tracey over at andanyways.com to do a photo post. I’m so much about food that I figure it suits Kai Chronicles (kai means food, don’t you know?) to feature photos of what’s going in my mouth. So, here’s just a visual taste of what I’ve been eating this week. Bon appetite!

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Here’s what’s in my fridge

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Tuna salad on lettuce with dill pickles

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Strawberry & kiwi salad with mint and dates

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fresh grapes and cherries

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eggplant with olives and fresh cherry tomatoes

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BBQ free-range chicken


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WWW – What’s Working for me Wednesday

A few blogs I read have a weekly themed post and I quite like the idea so I’m being a sheep and following them.

I want my theme to be positive. I don’t want to talk about what’s going wrong in my life, although I know people love to read that stuff. Now is a time to change attitudes and be more optimistic. All is well in my world. And so it is. (yes, I love Louise L Hay).

So, what IS working for me this Wednesday?

Muesli, berries and Greek yoghurt

Carman’s fruit-free muesli, berries and Mundella’s Greek honey yoghurt. This is by far my favourite breakfast or lunch. Some people think that muesli (granola for you North Americans) is not good for you because it can be high in kilojoules/calories, which is true depending on the brand you buy. I only buy Carman’s and I actually make my own sometimes. But there are ways around overindulging.

So I don’t overdo it, I weigh my serving to be 45kgs which is 895.5kJ/214cal. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not in the habit of weighing my food….I’m not that anal retentive but some things like muesli, nuts or yogurt can be easy to consume mass amounts because they are so good. Therefore,  it’s better for me to put a limit on it.

 Berries are not only great for your body; you can eat lots of them with no results on your hips! I’m loving fresh strawberries at the moment. I use frozen raspberries too…delicious. Blueberries are my favorite though. I’ll get some in me soon!

Although I often restrict dairy, I do allow a pro-biotic yoghurt because of the benefits to my tummy! Again, I use a local brand that is not full up of sugars and additives. I no longer eat the fruit variety for this reason. Keep in plain, keep it simple and add your own fruit.

This breakfast comes in under 1525 kJs/365cal and I reckon that is easy to burn off.

For today (and most days), this yummy, wheat-free breaky is working for me!!

What’s working for you today?


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Sense and unsensible eating

Since I recently took a dose of Prednisolone to help relieve my mystery illness, I am pleased to announce the re-birth of my sense of smell and taste.

Chronic nasal polyps often results in the loss of these senses. It’s easy to get used to not smelling anything so when it re-appeared, it was like being given a new toy. I wanted to smell everything! It was exciting.

It’s now been 2 weeks or so since the re-discovery and although I want it to last, I may be contributing to its demise. Now, I want to eat everything too.

I’m eating food I wouldn’t usually indulge in because I just cannot get over the taste sensation! I ate 3 pieces of cold pizza on the weekend. Bread, cheese and salami are not happy players with nasal polyps.

sooo good

It’s like tasting food for the first time…what a dangerous time in my life!!

Chocolate actually taste like….chocolate!! Who knew?

yum

Another thing I notice is the fact that the world smells so perfumy. Why do tissues need to smell like perfume? I think it’s irritants like this that may contribute to sinus and respiratory issues in the first place.

I am taking my western meds vigilantly and also have faith in the power of suggestion to prolong my new sense!

I have been healed.

I have had a miracle!

Thank you

Thank you

Thank you

Namaste

Ommmmm


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Bliss in Banff

Returning to Banff after an 11 year absence was not a mistake. Banff holds many beautiful memories for me and I was fortunate to call it home from April 1993 to January 1997. Returning was like a home coming.

The tourist town in Banff National Park, Canada’s first national park, has certainly developed over the years but the essence is still the same. Sure, it’s full of damn tourists but its beauty must be shared with the masses. I am happy to be in the presence of others while I enjoy its mountainous embrace.

DAY ONE

I was not in a rush to get going on my first day. I had a nice sleep in and casual breakfast in the hostel kitchen. By the time I got off the bus on Banff Avenue, it was nearly 11:30am.

I meandered up the main shopping street, peeking in  windows and smiling at the towering mountains that surrounded me. My main mission was to find a coffee.

It didn’t take me long to stumble in to Evelyn’s – Banff’s main local cafe. It’s so popular, the town hosts 3 different Evelyn branches. I must say though, my decaf Americano was not the greatest. There are plenty of other cafes to experience.

From there, the shopping began. Yes, Banff is full of the tacky souvenir shops but some of them have really cool stuff. Like the onesie pjamas I got for Master T, my 6-year-old son.

At $30 plus tax, they were pricey for sleep wear but I couldn’t resist the one piece, bright red suit with the trap door!!! He’ll love the BEAR BUM print on the back.

Canadian Jammies

From there, I wondered up and down Banff Avenue stopping in shops, browsing and sometimes trying on clothing! I really had no intention of shopping but the shops and products are so enticing that I couldn’t help myself.

A typical shop on Banff Avenue

Besides some souvenirs, I bought myself a pair of Jessica Simpson red jeans. They were 40% off and they fit me nicely. When I did a couple of rounds in Cascade Plaza, I passed a bookstore that had a display of the popular book, Fifty Shades of Grey. I had heard about this book at the I CAN DO IT conference, of all places, and I was intrigued by the comments about it. I had never heard of it before. I stopped to have a read of the back and instantly took it to the counter and asked the staff if they had read it. Both had. The Aussie girl gave her no holds barred opinion saying it wasn’t great literature but it was a page turner and quite sexually charged and racy. SOLD. I love a good smutty book.

Back on Banff Avenue I found a shop I had actually planned to shop at, Rocky Mountain Soap Company. What can I say, it’s the usual handmade soaps, bath salts, body butters, moisturizers etc. It was lovely and the “product adviser” was excellent. I even got a free mini pumpkin soap. I also spent $45. oops.

Rocky Mountain Soap Co.

All that pacing and deciding made me hungry. My friend, Yui recommended I have a souvlaki wrap from Barpa Bill’s on Bear Street. When I arrived there at 1:30pm, it was not busy so I decided to eat in. I ordered the chicken and perused my new book as I waited. Ordering a wheat-based wrap that contains a dairy-based sauce would normally not be my first choice but I adore Greek food and since it came highly recommended, I had to have it. SO glad I did. Although I have no sense of taste or smell, the strong flavours of lemony marinated meat and the raw onions grooved all over my dulled taste buds like there was a dance contest in my mouth.

The humble kitchen of Barpa Bill’s

The delicious souvlaki

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Satisfied and thoroughly spent (haha, pun intended!!!), I made my way to the Upper Hot Pools. I was stunned at the measly fee that was charged, only $6.20 with my HI/YHA membership. This is super cheap compared to the $23.50 NZD in Franz Josef, New Zealand where I just spent 7 months. The pool was a heavenly 39 degrees celsius. It was moderately busy with other tourists from around the globe. I spent a good hour or so soaking in the calm waters while the sun played peek-a-boo with clouds and at one point, it even hailed! Oh yes, it was apparent that I was in Canada.

Photo by a stranger…..thank you!

Next, I walked for 5 minutes to the gondola station. I had every intention of walking up Sulphur Mountain and saving myself $17 (it’s only $15 if you buy a one-way ticket) but it was already going on 5pm and frankly, I couldn’t be assed. I was far too relaxed after my hour-long hot tub session too. I grabbed a decaf coffee from Starbucks (yes, they are bloody everywhere) and had the entire car to myself. Of course, the camera came out and I took photos of the ride up, even though I knew once at the top the views would be spectacular!!

And they were. I nabbed the first available person to do a photographer swap. He took 3 of me and I took 3 of him, with his own camera, of course. It was cold and windy so I did the run around the circumference of the building, stood in the blowing snow for a few minutes (yes, it’s MAY and it snowed) then went to the cafe for a beer. For the $32 (after 4pm) fare, it was worth every penny. You just will not get the same visual effect from ground level.

The best view of Banff.

A self-portrait in the gondola

On my way back through town, I considered going back to Barpa Bill’s for dinner and that’s actually where I was headed when I strolled by the Magpie and Stump. This Mexican/Southwest pub and restaurant has been around for yonks and I’d certainly eaten here when Banff was my stomping ground. I glanced at the menu posted outside the entrance and made my decision: Mexican it would be – cheese, sour cream and all!!

I was promptly seated and ordered a traditional margarita. Why not, I thought? It came to me in a mason jar with a salted rim,,,yummy. I chose the bean and vegetable quesadilla to eat. I pulled out the BOOK and by the time my meal came, I was hooked. I read in between bites and sips of drink and with the John Butler Trio playing in the background, felt as though I could have stayed there forever. My waitress, Vanessa was friendly and attentive, so she got a nice tip…something that now erks me about North America. In the South Pacific, tipping is optional.

It may have been this sign that sealed my stomach’s fate!!! Too funny.

A classic Margarita

I did so much on my first day back in Banff. There is  still more to do in this town, like a visit to the Banff Springs Hotel…another day. If I can pull myself away from Fifty Shades of Grey that is……LOL!!


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Down With The Sickness On Holiday

Have you ever fallen ill when on holiday? It’s not fun but sometimes it happens.  I’m at the tail end of a nasty chest cold that had me grounded for an entire day of my 5 days in Victoria, BC.

Not one to run to a doctor every time I get a cough, I used positive thoughts, rest and natural food items to better myself.

Of course, I drank lots: water, fresh juice and lots of tea with ginger, lemon and honey. Rest was a blessing and I enjoyed a day in bed. I also went to extreme measures and ate raw garlic and mint leaves. Epsom salt baths helped draw out the toxins.

This is not the first time I’ve been sick whilst on holiday.

When I was 20, I went to Daytona Beach, Florida on a Spring Break trip with my flatmates and after much drinking and kissing strangers, I developed strep throat. I do believe that was the most painful physical illness I have ever gone through. Having to see (and pay) a doctor in the USA was just as painful. Of course, I was put on an anti-biotic that had me partying again in a few days. Those were the days!!!

Having fun in Daytona Beach!!

Then, down with the sickness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And 3 years ago when my family and I were visiting family in eastern Canada, my then 3-year-old son picked up a 24-hour tummy bug. Suddenly, he started vomiting in the rental car and then continued through the night. Thankfully, he was fine the next day. I was not as fortunate. I got it and along with vomiting, I got diarrhoea too. This happened with such bad timing as we were meant to have dinner with my Dad and his partner. I postponed it by a day but even when we did show up, I spent most of my time there in bed or in his bathroom. To make matters worse, my Dad contracted the bug after we left.

It didn’t end there. We spent the night with a friend and I had such awful gas and bloating that I had to run back and forth to the toilet all evening. It was so embarrassing. My hubby couldn’t even stand me being in the same bed as him and I was forced to sleep on my friend’s sofa. It was truly horrible.

After that, we travelled back to the west coast of Canada where my bowel issues continued for another day or two.

So, I feel grateful for a chest cold at this time.On day 2 of my healing, I went out on the water in search of whales. It was a great time and I believe the sun and salt air did me good.

In search of whales off Vancouver Island, Canada.

 

I’m on the mend and now off for an exfoliation massage, which could not have been scheduled at a better time!! Everything is working out for my higher good.

Do you have any travel illness stories? What did you do to overcome it?

 


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Rainy Day Happiness

kaichronicles gluten free chocolate pudding cake recipe

Today has been one of those cold and extremely wet days, the kind that makes you want to stay inside and curl up with a hot cuppa and a good book.

Once again, I use these days as an excuse to eat warm, comforting food. Home made stew or soup with freshly baked bread or scones are excellent remedies for a stormy day. So is a hot, saucy chocolate pudding cake!!!

I whipped this up in no time and enjoyed it as a treat after dinner. It’s easy, yummy, gluten and dairy free and has little sugar compared to other desserts.

Continue reading


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Flaxseed for Good Health

You don’t have to be in ill-health to enjoy flaxseed or oil.  Everyone can benefit from the nutritional and medicinal properties found in this humble seed.

The ancient flaxseed, or linseed, as it is also known, has been a favourite amongst farmers and veterinarians and is now touted as a modern-day super food for humans too.

Research has found flaxseed and oil to be extremely useful for:

  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Thinning the blood
  • Reducing acid reflux
  • Inhibiting cancer cells
  • Intestinal and digestive issues
  • Reducing/ridding constipation
  • Internal cleansing
  • General disease prevention

It is may also improve health and wellness for people suffering from:

  • Heart disease
  • Arthritis
  • Joint pain
  • Stress
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Obesity
  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Diabetes

The flaxseed comes from the blue flowering plant, Linum usitatissimum. As well as being very useful to the farmers, the housewives also spun the plant fibre to make high quality beautiful linen, hence the name linseed.

Today, the linseed is popular with the health conscious for its high doses of Omega 3, fibre, lignans and micronutrients and is easily found on the shelves of most supermarkets. Look for linseed bread next time you’re doing the shopping!

LSA is a ground meal made from linseed, sunflower and almond (LSA) and is fantastic as a topping for oatmeal, cereal and muesli; sprinkled on stir-frys, soups, stews, salads or added to smoothies or milkshakes. LSA can also be added to baking: cakes, muffins and breads.  It is a valuable source of dietary fibre, protein and essential fatty acids.

TIP: When purchasing whole flaxseed, be sure to crush it to release the oils before consuming.

NOTEWORTHY: Flaxseed oil has a limited shelf life. Keep it in the fridge and be sure to use before the best by date.

CAUTION: Flaxseed contains high levels of lignans. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or being treated for a particular health issue, please consult a health professional before adding flaxseed to your regular eating regime.

FLAXSEED CRANBERRY MUFFINS

This recipe was published in the February 2003 edition of  Canadian Living (magazine). I am a keen collector of recipes and I am happy to share this one with you!!

1 cup flaxseed

1 cup each of: flour, wholemeal flour and bran

1 TBSP baking powder

1 tsp each of: baking soda(bi-carb) and cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 and half cups of buttermilk

1 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup+ dried cranberries

Method:

Set aside 2 TBSP of flaxseed. In a food processor, grind the remaining flaxseed to make a fine meal. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add all the dry ingredients except the sugar. Combine well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, sugar and oil; pour over the flour mixture.

Stir in the cranberries.

Spoon into lined or greased muffin tins; sprinkle with reserved flaxseed.

Bake at 375 F/190 C for 20 minutes. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Enjoy!


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What are nasal polyps?

Nasal polyps are small grape-like sacks that grow in the sinus cavity. There is no confirmed cause and there is no cure.

Symptoms are similar to hay fever and the common cold. When the polyps multiply, breathing becomes laboured. Some people suffer from sleep apnea and even lose all sense of smell.

Because there is no cure, the symptoms are generally suppressed by steroidal nasal sprays and prescription medication. For severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

I developed nasal polyps in 1994 but was misdiagnosed for a year. More than a year after that, I had my first surgery.

From 1996-2007, I struggled with these pesty growths, and asthma, trying several different western and eastern medications and lifestyle changes but with little relief. By 2006, I lost my sense of smell and taste for good.

In 2008, I had my second surgery. Within two months, the polyps were re-growing and my ENT would remove them in his office. After ten months of bi-monthly visits, he gave me the all clear to yearly check-ups.

Yearly checks were a mistake because come my first one, I was full up with polyps again. Once again, surgery was recommended.

He also recommended that I try a restricted diet and that maybe candida was an issue. I must say, I never had a big problem with thrush or other common candida issues. But alas, I gave it a go.

My doctor’s version of this anti-candida diet was not very strict, although I did think so at the time. He did not even restrict fruit!! I have to restrain for all the other culprits: gluten, dairy, all fermented food and drink (esp. alcohol), SUGAR, caffeine, nuts, dried fruit…..the list seemingly goes on and on.

I did feel much better; no more bloat or constipation. I did sleep better but my polyps remained.

On & on it went, until I started to cheat. Then I went on holiday to Asia and damn the diet. All food was back on the menu and I started drinking beer again.  I was on again off again from July 2010 until August 2011.

Then on August 15, I had my third surgery.

After my third nasal surgery....attractive, eh?

A week after, I started a very strict anti-candida diet, this time add to the resticted list: all fruit, all starchy or sweet vegetables. I did well for two weeks and felt great. I was over the moon when my sense of smell returned four days into the regime. Then my life changed and kept changing throughout September.

When I reintroduced potatoes, the sweet vegetables and apples I felt ok. But within two weeks, I was stuffy and congested and miserable.

Misery loves to eat so I started having the occasional hot chocolate with rice milk, then I was craving lamington cake. I must report that I was going through a very tough emotional time: I had just had a major lifestyle change and a death in the family. I ate cake…..and I cried. And this went on for…..actually it’s still going on. A piece of mud cake is taunting me right now.

Sinful

On October 10, the local GP confirmed that indeed, the polyps are returning. So, true to my personality, I will go full force on all the naughties until I can convince myself to do another detox and restricted diet. At least I’m not drinking beer again. Too cold in NZ anyway!!!

Gotta go now. I have to murder a piece of cake.

Wanna read more about my journey? Check out my post on the I’m not fussy website :

http://www.imnotfussy.com.au/JenniferMorton.aspx


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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”.