Sunday, June 29, 2014


So, I Remicade-ed on Friday.

I was a wee bit anxious about this treatment - this is my second infusion at a higher dose - and last time I had a bit of an infusion reaction. Chills, nausea, significant fatigue ... I was not looking forward to experiencing this again. 
However... it's that or a flare. I'll take the side effects over full-blown UC.

I was not as prepped as usual, as sleep won in the early morning. I made a chocolate-flavored green smoothie that I drank from a coffee mug. It's speckled with chia seeds and bits of coconut oil!

 Despite my lack of morning preparation, I did manage to pack lunch and snacks. A necessity considering the state of most hospital food.

Mmmmm organic blueberries!

I also brought myself some reading material:

I am aware that I don't need to lose significant amounts of weight, but I loved her first book Meals that Health Inflammation (review to come!). She has such an incredible way of simplifying the science of nutritious eating, and her recipes are stellar. It was an enjoyable ready during lapses of consciousness.

So, due to my infusion reaction, I was offered pre-meds. I was never given these previously, as I tolerated the infusions fairly well. It seemed fairy innocent: oral tylenol, IV benadryl, and IV steroids. 

While the IV benadryl was infusion, I noticed that my left forearm was itchy. I figured it was the tape (some types of surgical tape give my rashes), so I removed the tape from my arm. When the IV steroids began running, at a higher rate than the benadryl, I noticed a burning to my forearm.

Then excruciating pain.

I was rubbing my arm furiously and sought out the nurse, whom brought me a warm blanket to wrap my arm in. I am sure I was a sight: deep breathing, my left arm wrapped in a huge blanket, and shaking my arm to lessen the pain.

When the pain finally ceased several minutes later (which, in my mind, felt like forever) I was hit suddenly with incredible dizziness and mental fog. I was stunned beyond belief. I couldn't even read my book, as the sentences seems nonsensical. I was too nervous to try and stand/walk to see if that would improve the situation as.... I wasn't sure if I would be able to stand!

Eventually powerful fatigue set in. I tried to fight it, as I was getting my vital signs checked every 10 minutes and didn't want to mess up my sleep routine. Despite my best efforts ... I fell  fast asleep. For two hours. Waking up intermittently when my blood pressure cuff would inflate and to have the Sa02 monitor place on my finger, but falling asleep promptly after. The nurse left the blood pressure cuff on my arm to make this process easier, and I was in complete agreement. Less maneuvering and more sleep.

I eventually woke up, drowsy and foggy, but was able to feed myself and flip through a few pages of my book. I was still feeling a bit dumfounded from my reaction to the benadryl and/or steroid, but was relieved I seemed to be recovering.

Lunch was a mixed greens salad, strawberries, sprouts, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, and maple cider dressing.

Delicious and light.

I got up for a short stroll along the tiny unit, just to wake myself up and gain more energy. I had to drag my little friend with me as I trudged along.

If I look tired, it's because I was still in the process of waking up!

With the pre-meds and infusion, I was in the hospital much longer than usual. Apparently this will be ongoing ... which means more hospital time. Boo.

When I went home I went right to bed and napped. It was a warm day, so I had my fan on full blast with my windows open. Along with my chamomile-jasmine-vanilla aromatherapy infusing ... I had a soothing sleep.

My late night dinner: Organic chicken fried rice and maple-glazed brussels sprouts.

I've been going over this last Remicade infusion in my mind all weekend. It was more intense than usual, and it frightened me in a significant way. I did not like feeling so out of sorts, out of control, out of my own skin. As much as I am dependent on this treatment to put me into remission, I keep pondering if there is another way. A way without side effects, hospitalization, and intense fatigue!
However, I am not going to dramatize upon this at the moment. I am hoping I will have an epiphany, or some miracle with present itself, but until that time comes I will have to continue on with present treatment.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Air North Food Review + Ottawa

I recently went on an incredible trip to the nation's capital... Ottawa!

I was there for a conference regarding nutrition and supplement use from the perspective of Orthomolecular Medicine. It was incredible, fascinating, life-changing. My whole perspective on what to eat, research, and supplements to take - it's going to improve my own personal life and my practice for the better! I am excited to learn more!

Speaking of which... being the dietary mess that I am, I was prepared to make myself a meal and snacks for the long flight to Ottawa. Then I saw this on Facebook:


I mean, have you ever seen such delicious and FRESH looking airline food? ME NEITHER!

So, I had to investigate...

Humor and customer service. I like this.

Private message sent, with details of my egg/dairy/gluten issues... and reply:

I was looking forward to what they would put together for my flight. I had my doubts, with previous experiences of less than... delectable ... airline fare. I packed some Vega bars and protein powder in preparation for less than delicious food.

But, I was wrong. Pleasantly wrong.

Juicy grapes.
Robust and delicious berries.
Chopped salad with balsamic vinaigrette. 
Chicken curry with veggies and rice.

Sweet Buddah, it was delicious. Best airline food EVER.

Needless to say...

I pretty much inhaled it. So good.

- Interlude: Photo Montage of Ottawa -

Parliament Hill from Gatineau, Quebec
Parliament Hill
Canadian Museum of Civilization
A replica of the Wildcat Cafe. If you're from YK - you'd also be amused!
Delicious, fresh fruit in the Byward Market.
Tour of Parliament Hill ... who's that dapper fella in yellow?
Geeking out at the nature museum.
Haunted ghost tour.... OoooOOOooooo!

- end interlude -

On the flight back home, another special meal was waiting for me.


The fruit salad was ok, mostly because it had pineapple, which I really dislike (it alters the flavor of EVERYTHING). Good salad with organic balsamic vinaigrette. The rice was very sticky, reminiscent of rice I had in South East Asia. I really liked the chickpea meal... I wish there was more of that and less rice. I was full, so I didn't try the bun.

I would have to say the first in-flight meal was significantly more impressive, but the second was still much better than other meals I've had with other airlines.

I will defiantly be taking Air North with future flights to Ottawa or other Northern destinations. Not only was the food delicious, but I was impressed with the customer service. I was able to bring my brand-new bike back home for only $28!

And, as much fun as it was to see my nation's capital, I couldn't wait to go home.

*Love* the North.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Cookbook Review: Gluten-Free & Vegan Bread

As promised, a post about gluten-free bread!

I tend to avoid the store-bought bread options, as they have eggs and/or dairy, which I don't tolerate well. Thus, I am left with the option of either forgoing bread forever or making my own loafs.

A life without toast? Sandwiches? FRENCH TOAST?!?!
Not a fun life whatsoever!

I used the cookbook Gluten Free & Vegan Bread: Artisanal Recipes to Make at Home by Jennifer Katzinger.

Jennifer is the founder and former owner of Flying Apron Bakery in Seattle, which is certified gluten-free and vegan! This is her third cookbook.

In reviewing this cookbook, I considered Visual Appeal (aka photos), Recipe Ease, Replication (aka did it turn out?), Flavor, Taste Test.

Visual Appeal

One of my favorite parts of a good cookbook is lots of attractive, delicious photos. I find it helpful in guiding me in the right direction of how my food SHOULD look, and an appealing photo makes me want to make the recipe even more! This book has very, very attractive photos, but not very many.

However, due to the fact that gluten-free and vegan cookbooks are a rare find - I let this slide.  And drooled over the photos that ARE in the cookbook.

Recipe Ease

I chose to make the Quinoa Sandwich Bread.

I followed this recipe to point, and I found it fairly simple. This is one of the yeasted breads in the cookbook. There are some recipes that seem more complicated, such as the ones which require a wild starter and breads that need to be carefully watched as they rise, but I figured those can await another day. I did trial the Holiday Irish Soda Bread, which is considered a 'quick bread', but it mostly resembled a hockey puck. 
Being a Canadian girl, I can appreciate anything hockey ...  but I don't want to eat a puck.


While there is no photo in the cookbook for comparison to the recipe, but I'd say the outcome was a success:

My home was filled with the scent of warm bread, and I waited impatiently for it to cool so that I could try it.


This bread was nice and dense, as to be expected with gluten-free bread, but tasted light a lighter bread. I had it regular and toasted - it was great both ways... and I was pleasantly surprised it toasted fairly well (I like my bread very lightly toasted).

I trialled freezing the bread, as I don't eat bread very often so I usually freeze loafs. I sliced the bread, wrapped each slice in plastic wrap, then put into a large freezer bag.

And waited three days.

It was solid as a rock, but once it was popped into the toaster ... good as fresh!

My favorite way to eat this bread is toasted, with organic PB and honey. Delicious!

Taste Test

My favorite people to taste-test my recipes on are my friends, and in this case it was a gluten-eating, non-vegan friend. 

He approved, said it tasted as good as regular bread. Success!!

I will be making further recipes from this book and will post to review, my next plan is to create this:


I'd better hurry off, as I have a plane to catch to Canada's capital city: Ottawa, Ontario!

Have a fantastic weekend!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Something RAW

Last night I was in bed very early. Like, reading a good book in bed at 1900. 

However, despite my best efforts, I was not asleep until approximately 2300. I blame the midnight sun. 

The sun sets at 2330. And rises at 0343.

0530. Who turned the lights on?!

Being the light sleeper that I am, the sun awoke me at an unholy early hour. Oh well. Might as well make the most of the opportunity!

I enjoyed a cup of green tea, took my vitamins, and read a magazine at my leisure. It was nice to slowly enjoy my morning, rather than hectically trying to get breakfast made, get dressed, and pack lunch. 

Making breakfast!

Breakfast was a green smoothie: One naval orange, strawberries, 1/2 frozen banana, spinach, spirulina, coconut oil, coconut water, Vega 'tropical tango' protein powder. 
Delicious, green, nutritious!

I packed it up in my Vega smoothie bottle and off to work I went - and packed along my cute pink lunch bag!

Snacks were kiwis (which I have in surplus due to a friend recently visiting Costo and buying in bulk) and kale chips. I seemed to be more generous with the cayenne on this batch - very spicy. 

Back home for lunch, my usual caribou broth with miso. I also had a vanilla cookie dough ball for dessert! I will post this recipe soon - it's a fantastic, vegan, gluten-free dessert that resides in the freezer. Perfect for warm summer snacking!

A busy afternoon, then I met with Sarah and we went to the Farmers Market again this week. My good friend Lorie has a fantastic booth called Zing!, which is raw, vegan, and gluten-free ... a rarity in this small, Northern town. However, I knew it would be delicious as she's a fantastic cook. I ordered the raw pad thai and a brownie. 
They were so, so, SO delicious.

I don't know how she does it, but it was completely satisfying and tasted incredible. The brownie hit the spot for my sweet tooth.

Later on in the evening, I went out to play squash with another friend. Needless to say ... I may have kicked some butt around the court!

After an intense workout, it's time for a little relaxation, then bedtime!

Saturday, June 7, 2014


I have been a sickie this week. 

I tried to fight it, drinking copious amounts of tea and going to bed early, but this virus took hold and consumed my weekend thus far. It's been worsening since Monday, and hit its peak Thursday afternoon. I went home early and stayed home Friday, spending most of my day sleeping.

Viral URTI, combined with viral-induced asthma, and a moderate flare of my UC makes for a sad, sad Red.

I had my diffuser/humidifier running most of the day. I added eucalyptus essential oil, which I find helps to clear my sinuses and head cold. The lavender essential oil helps me to sleep. Sometimes I will take a plastic baggie with a few drops of eucalyptus in my purse when I'm not feeling well, and I will inhale the scent when my sinuses seem particularly congested. Always seems to do the trick - and no decongestants needed!

I've also been consistent in taking my Vitamin C, which I seem to routinely forget, in hopes it would assist in shortening the duration of my cold. Although research on this is controversial, I was willing to give this a fair go. Plus... I'd been feeling to unwell to eat my fruits and veggies.

My usually beloved smoothies and green juices did not seem appetizing, so I consumed lots of mashed potatoes and caribou broth. My UC was giving me trouble, so I wanted to keep my meals low-residue and easily digestible. 

I also drank several cups of strong green tea daily, as the tannins are beneficial in preventing absorption of pathogens in the gut. I am caffeine sensitive, however, so I was careful to only consume it in the morning and ensure it was good quality green tea.
I also had some caffeine-free echinacea tea in between bouts of green tea.

Consuming fluids is crucial, so I drank (what felt like) gallons of water flavored with lemon, or mint and cucumber. It was the only way I would keep it down, as I was getting sick of drinking plain water.

I also made myself a spicy, sinus-busting steeped tea when I was feeling quite congested and yucky. It's quick and does the trick ... as long as you don't mind your tea with a little kick!

Spicy Sickie Tea

  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • Lemon wedge
  • Pinch cayenne (or more if you're feeling adventurous!) 

Very simple: Boil water. Add ingredients to steeping pot/cup/ball. Add boiling water. Let steep 5-6 minutes.


... and enjoy!

Now, please excuse me so I can return to my productive sick person duty of sitting on the cough and watching my new favorite show.