Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Hitting the Trail

I have been looking for some new friends and activities, and have finally found my niche.  Yesterday I joined the Tukwila Trailers, a group of Senior women from the Tukwila Community Center that go hiking every Monday, rain or shine.  What a wonderful group of women, and so much fun.  The one in the pink shirt below is also a Linda, and we really hit it off.  She's also shown in the van with the funky hat on.  My kind of gal.

13 of us headed out in the van to Tacoma and a Nature Preserve at Snake Lake.  We hiked on their trails for 2 hours, going about 3 miles.  Wow.  As sick as I've been, just 6 weeks ago I would not have been able to go a fraction of the way.  I'm so happy to be feeling better.

It was supposed to rain, but instead we had a lovely day, sometimes sunny, and sometimes very misty, but to be expected in a woodland like this.
After the hike, we went to 
Defiance Point for lunch at Anthony's Home Port.  That provided for more opportunity to get to know the other ladies, and they have got me booked up with activities.
Thursday is the Red Hat outing to Molbak's Nursery, and Saturday there is a potluck at one of the employees' from the Center who always goes with us on these treks.  She's a great gal.  She never wears matching socks, and her hair is dyed yellow and green.
Next week we will be walking the trails around here, and then we have our Christmas lunch and gift exchange.

This is Mt. Baker as seen from Pt. Defiance.  Funny, I used to live in the foothills of that mighty mountain.  Now I am closer to Mt. Rainier.

So, I was in three Holiday Bazaars in the past few weeks.  I am trying to get out of the business of selling my yarns and hats and scarves, but I have such a huge inventory, I really need to sell them.  Last week I made a great connection with a woman who wants to buy my yarns for her craft, so I was really high over that.  I have enough fiber to keep spinning for years, but now I want to make things for myself, my family, and friends.  It is no longer a part of a bigger business plan.

I want to get more involved in quilting again, but it seems that all I do lately is prepare food.  Having an autoimmune disease is very demanding on the cook, but eating gluten and dairy free is key in controlling the disease.  I got a little crazy over the weekend since it was my birthday and people brought me goodies.  I am still suffering the effects today.  I must take this more seriously.  So, today I am off to Whole Foods to buy bones and chicken feet for bone broth.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Turkey Day on the Paleo Diet

Thanksgiving is here, and I can't eat most of the wonderful items I love about Thanksgiving dinner.
No dressing, no potatoes, no green bean casserole.  Sigh.  So, I decided that the turkey had to be the absolute best, since it was the main dish.  Usually, I can pass on the turkey.  You cover it with gravy and cranberries because, well, it is basically tasteless.  The challenge was that I had never, ever, roasted a turkey myself before.
Really, it's true.  64 years old and this is another first for me.

 I started by brining the turkey for 24 hours.  It's a small turkey, only 13 pounds, and it fit nicely in one of our coolers, which we kept on the front porch.
 In preparation, I studied up on roasting turkeys.  This cookbook was a wedding gift to my Mom in 1946.  You can tell it is well used.  This is my go to cook book for all things.  It is The Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking.
 I was less than thrilled with the tiny giblets that came with my bird, so I bought two turkey drumsticks and roasted them the day before to add to my stock.
Terry read to me about making stock or broth from the Joy of Cooking.  Good information.
 Here is my stock after the meat, bones and veggies have been removed.
 Since I can't have dairy, I've been using this margarine.  I started using it when my son became vegan and I needed something on hand he could use.
 It's really good, and as you can see, it comes with many credentials.  
I used the margarine to mix with fresh herbs from my garden.
 Here we have Rosemary, sage, thyme and savory.
 I found this handy gadget at the grocery store.  It strips the leaves from the stem of the herbs.  It's okay.  I can't recommend it as a must have.

So, after retrieving the turkey from it's salt bath, I put the margarine and herb mixture under the skin. Then, I massaged her with a mixture of olive oil and poultry seasoning.
The book said it would take 3 to 4 hours to roast, but it was ready in 3.
I didn't get a picture of the cooked turkey, because we were busy getting ready to put it on the table.
I usually use arrowroot as a thickener for my gravies, but I was out, so I found success with Xanthum Gum.
Believe me, this was the best turkey I have ever eaten.  Moist and flavorful.
So, you folks on a restricted diet, especially those with Hashimotos Thyroiditis, here is how to make a celebration dinner enjoyable.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Paleo Leap

For three weeks, I am on a diet for those with autoimmune disease.  This diet, The Paleo Leap, will help me to determine which foods are causing my symptoms and making my life miserable.  After three weeks, I will slowly add back in the foods that I love, such as eggs and tomatoes.  I will have a negative reaction if it is a no no.
You can find information about eating Paleo at www.paleoleap.com.  This however, does not include the instructions for the diet I am on.
I cannot eat:
nightshades, which includes tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, chilis and all peppers.
nuts and seeds

Yes, it is a lot of work, but so worth the effort.  Since you are limited by what you can eat, you need to make the best of what you can.  The diet recommends the Breakfast Scramble for breakfast each morning.  Well, when I think of scramble, I think of eggs with all kinds of good things added.
You cook some ground meat, beef, pork, veal, lamb, turkey or chicken with vegetables and spices.
We have learned to really love these scrambles.

I keep a good supply of chopped carrots, onions and celery as well as bamboo shoots and water chestnuts in plastic containers that we get at Cash and Carry.

I start by sauteing the veges in olive oil until tender.  My basic three are onions, carrots, and celery.  Then I  brown the meat.  The recipe calls for 3 ounces of meat per serving.
Then, I add mushrooms and greens.  As many as I want.
I have found that Italian Seasoning makes this a very flavorful dish.  Today I also used celery seed

This dish included spinach and arugula.

Served up with some fresh fruit, who could ask for a tastier start to their day?  There are usually leftovers, which I will store in the plastic deli containers, are make a soup from.
My husband is supporting me all the way on this endeavor, following the diet along with me and even taking the supplements that my ND has prescribed.  So far, 10 days into the diet, we have each lost 7 pounds.

On the Road Again

We recently hit the road again with a trip to Oregon.
It's been a family tradition for DH's family to celebrate Christmas at Thanksgiving each year.
His Mom passed away in February, and the family did not want to travel to Brookings again this year.
Since everyone else lives in Redmond, Or., that is where the celebration took place.
We had to schedule our trip before the mountain passes got dicey, and we were on the run from the ice and snow the entire trip.
This is Mt. Hood in all her glory.  Crossing the pass was quite exciting since the wind was really blowing.  Branches were hitting the car and there were downed trees along the way.
In Welches, we stopped at the Whistlestop Pub for lunch.  They were fixing their gas fireplace, and someone was felling a tree out near the parking lot.  The manager came over to apologize for the noise and confusion, and once she saw Terry wearing his Navy hat, it being Veterans Day, she asked if she could give us a discount on our lunch.  Uh, yes, of course!!

It really was gratifying to be with Terry as so many people approached and thanked him for serving, or just smiled and waved at him.  We really do live in a good country full of Patriots.

The best part about traveling off-season, and during the week, is there is no traffic.  Here is the long open road.
We spent the first night in Redmond, Or. with Terry's sister.  We had dinner with her kids and grandkids, and had our gift exchange.

This is the sign that Terry's niece, Megan, made for us.  She has started her own business making wooden crafts.  Taylor Mango.
The next morning, we awoke to 10 degrees and the threat of snow.  We high tailed it out of there and headed south to Brookings.
Brookings is on the coast of Oregon, just 5 miles from California, and quite mild.  There, we visited with Terry's step dad and picked up the items Terry's Mom had left him.
A trip to Brookings would not be complete without my collecting a big bag of red beach rocks for my yard.  I have been collecting these for over a year, and will eventually surround my studio with them.
So, the weather turned stormy, and there were threats of ice storms and snow in Portland that night, so we had to hit the road again.  Further north in Redmond, they had 18 inches of snow, so we were very glad we had left when we did.
We drove through the redwoods on our way back north, and stopped for a hike at the Rogue Gorge.
This is a magical place, and the beginning of the mighty Rogue River.

We made it through Portland before the snow hit, and were so happy to be home.  We had been gone for 66 hours, and were in the car for 23 of those.  It was a good time, but not one I want to repeat soon.  Next spring we will go to Brookings again and join Terry's sister as we help their step dad get his yard in shape and do some maintenance on the home.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Incredible Journey

Quite honestly, this is a rant.  I am furious.
I think I have suffered from low thyroid for 24 years.
Unfortunately, your traditional doctor doesn't look at the numbers the same way that a Naturopathic doctor does.  I don't want to go through my long history of symptoms, but they are numerous.  When I go to see my doctor, there is a sign that says she can only address one complaint at a time.
This year, I finally had insurance, thanks to Obamacare, and I started going every 2 weeks.  The worst symptom, which came on in March, is edema throughout my body.   My abdomen looked like that of a pregnant woman in her 8th month.  The pressure on my lungs and ribs was extreme, making breathing difficult.  It was very uncomfortable and even painful.  Finally, a trip to the ER resulted eventually in a diagnosis of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.  This is an autoimmune disease which results when you are not property treated for low thyroid.  If left untreated, it can result in death due to the edema putting pressure on the heart and lungs.  I am convinced this is what my mother died of.  I thought of her constantly as I watched my own decline.

So, I found an incredible Naturopathic doctor who specializes in Thyroid.  She has me on a plan and says there will be a 6-8 week recovery.  She said she was sorry, that seems like a long time, and I said, are you kidding?  After 4 years of trying to get a doctor to listen to me, this seems like a Christmas present!

I was talking to another woman one day who had a similar story.  It took her about 4 years to get a doctor to prescribe thyroid meds.  She had waited two months for an appointment with an endocrinologist.  During her appointment, while she was describing her symptoms, he says to her:
"You know, I am really busy.  You are lucky to be here"
She was shocked.  And, she walked out.
This is what happens to so many of us.
So, enough of that.

Here is a picture of all of the supplements I am taking.  I have low adrenal function, my hormones are all messed up and I cannot control my body temperature, and my mineral and vitamin levels are extremely low.  Oh, yeah, I'm also losing my hair.

One of the things that goes wrong with an autoimmune disease is the inability to absorb nutrients in the digestive tract.  This makes a gluten free diet very important.  Through testing, I also found out I am sensitive to dairy and some fruits.  (pineapple and bananas).
On Sunday, I started the Paleo Leap Diet.  I only have to do this for three weeks, and can then start adding back in foods that are normally allowed to see what my reactions are.

The foods that I cannot consume for three weeks are:
Nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and any spices from peppers)
Nuts and seeds

You might say, what can you eat?  Well, a friend taught me to concentrate on what I CAN eat.  Make a list, and you will be amazed.

Last night I made crab cakes with no crumb filler, no egg, no mayonnaise, and no panko crumbs for coating.  They were delicious!!
I think next time I will make a sauce with some orange juice.
Of course, I have become quite a good cook the past year, and working with gluten and dairy free, I've had a bit of an indoctrination.

I will be blogging about my healing and my cooking for awhile.  More and more people are coming to realize the impact of gluten on their bodies, and I will be sharing recipes that have been successful for me.  So far, I can't seem to make a decent pie crust.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Oh Canada!!

 Welcome to Super Natural British Columbia.  What an appropriate brand for this land!
I lived just 5 miles from Canada when I was on the farm, but only visited BC twice.  This vacation was to Nanoose Bay on the East Coast of Vancouver Island.
The shot above is taken from the ferry as we leave Horseshoe Bay, heading for Nanaimo.  I was spellbound by the beauty.
 We stayed at Pacific Shores, which has two buildings owned by the Time Share conpany I have ownership in.  We were located on the second floor, down at the very end of the resort, and the peace and quiet was complete.
 Here is Terry standing in the living room.  It didn't take us long to move the chairs so they faced out the window, where we would sit and watch the changing tide.
 Above is the view from our window.  You can see the reflection of my Cougars windbreaker.  Craig Creek empties out into the bay here, so we could watch the changing tides and the coming and goings of the wildlife.
This is the beach around the point from our unit.  The geology was intriguing, much of the rock is granite covered by lava.  Oysters grow everywhere.
 The first day we walked through the adjoining Provicial Park.  We wound up on the opposite side of the creek from out condo.
There is our building on the end.  Couldn't have a better location.
We drove into Qualicum Beach for lunch, and ate at the Shady Rest Pub right on the water. 
Canadians like gravy on their french fries, so of course we had to try that.  Here in Seattle, everyone gets tartar sauce for their fries.  The gravy was good, sometimes.  It all depends on how good the gravy was.
After lunch, we went back to the resort and walked the beach.
There are miles and miles of public beaches on Vancouver Island.  Any development, such as condos or hotels, are clustered in towns.  There are no McMansions built on the waterfront.  I wish Seattle had had that vision years ago.  Public beaches are hard to find and always crowded.
However, this is definitely vacation land.  It's now off season, and many of the businesses close for the winter.

It was a wonderful time for me, but I still don't have a treatment plan for the Hashimoto's disease.  10 days ago I had 7 tubes of blood drawn and am waiting for those results.  Once my doctor reviews those, and I hope it is tomorrow, I will go on medications and supplements.  I have gained and lost 20 pounds this year, and I know I have at least 20 pounds of edema on me now.  It is extremely uncomfortable, and painful.  At least taking sellenium and Iodine has helped my energy levels, and I was able to walk and hike several miles each day.
I will be posting more pictures of my trip, and some stories, too, in the upcoming week.
Stay tuned for more Natural Beauty.  Vancouver Island, not me.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Maiden Voyage of the Minnow or Adventures on the High Seas

 Yesterday, we took our little boat out for the first time.  We bought it last year at a garage sale, but it's taken DH all this time to get the motor running, get a trailer, license it and put the tabs on.  You can see, it is only 9 feet long, so I started calling it the Minnow.
 We launched it by Boeing Field at the south end of Lake Washington.  With the motor running full out, we might go 8mph.  First we trolled for cutthroat.  I was enjoying myself so much.  It was a warm day, though a bit overcast.  The scenery was spectacular.
 The company was the best.
 When we got to our destination, we changed to fishing for perch.  Terry calls this my Barbie Doll rod.  I caught the first fish.
And the second. 
He caught one.
And I caught two more.
 This is the VMAC, or The Seahawks Training Facility.  We had heard this was a good spot for perch.
 My first catch.  All the fish were thrown back.  We didn't get any of size.  And, the wind kept blowing us off our hole.  We decided to head back and troll for cutthroat on the way.  Well, the lake had gotten quite choppy and we started taking on water.  I had to skooch back almost into Terry's lap to keep the water from coming over the bow.  Pretty soon, Terry informed me the water was up to his ankles.  I was too busy hanging on to notice.
 At this point, we ran out of gas.  Sigh.  Fortunately, Terry had brought along the electric trolling motor, which he hooked up.  We made it to the launch site going about 3mph.
I was soaked from head to feet.
It was a delightful day.  I had so much fun.  But, we had to face reality and admit that the Minnow is not enough boat for us.  We need something bigger.  (One with room for a porta potty would be good)
A bigger gas can would help, but there is not much room for one.
Oh, well.  At least now I know I love the adventure of fishing.  I don't care if I catch anything.  It was just too much fun.