Time for change

Things are going to change around here….I’m heading in a new direction. Failsafe has kinda failed us. We’ve done our darndest and I’ve been feeling as though I’m banging my head against a wall….a very hard wall. It certainly hasn’t been a waste of time, I have learnt a lot…and I mean a LOT…..along the way and it has helped us to identify some major behavioural triggers for both the big guys and also make me incredibly aware of additives and their dangers. Yes, that’s a strong statement but it’s oh so true. Additives in our foods can be downright dangerous!! Toxic!! Stay well away!!!

So, we’ve changed the care plan for my very special boy, my second eldest, my most challenging and sensitive son. I’ve found a new paediatrician, one recommended to me by my gorgeous cousin who has lived the nightmare I am living, with her now 18 year old son, and has come out the other end alive….and so has he. I feel so much more at ease now. We have a doctor who cares. A doctor who is thorough and not dismissive. A doctor who genuinely has his patients’ best interests at heart instead of…and I hate to think this, let alone say it….his pocket.

While I understand that food can certainly contribute to behavioural issues associated with ADHD and autism spectrum disorders, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I can’t control them completely with food and I’m fighting an uphill battle whilst wearing rollerskates with no brakes, skating through an oil slick. I’m picking my battles and jumping off this ride.

Now we’re concentrating on other therapies and introducing more variety into his diet….but he will remain gluten and dairy free with minimal glutamates and absolutely NO additives. I will be cooking more whole foods, relying on less processed ingredients and sugars, and I will continue to make most things from scratch, only now I’ll be able to source and use some pre packaged condiments just to make my chaotic life a little easier. There will be no more brain busting thinking sessions just to conjure up a flavoursome and interesting family meal or even just a simple snack. No more beige food!!!!

So you can look forward to photos with more colour, food with more flavour and variety, and information on quality additive free products that will make your kitchen adventures a little easier. I’ll even be looking at ways to create nutritious meals that are quick and easy but without the use of highly processed junk. Let’s get back to basics with whole foods!!! Did I mention that I was excited???

Oh the pain!

I’m here to tell you that pregnancy number 4 is no walk in the park! I’ve been very fortunate that I haven’t had many of the usual pregnancy issues like nausea, just a little reflux and a few cravings but nothing really strange like pickles with ice cream or dirt. Neither have I really gone off much, if anything. Coffee has been a little up and down…hated it at first because it tasted like cow poo but after a few weeks I started enjoying it again and wine….oh what a terrible affliction that was for the few weeks it lasted. It tasted like poison! Now I know you’re thinking that I shouldn’t be drinking whilst pregnant but the odd glass now and then is actually ok and some meals require a glass of wine to help wash them down…there’s nothing better. But no. I just couldn’t go there. Anyways, all that aside, this pregnancy has been pretty easy sailing except for the back pain! Oh the back pain!

It started off as just a little niggle here and there, nothing I couldn’t handle. In fact, it hardly bothered me (perhaps that’s because I’m used to back pain). But now…….at just 26 weeks, I’m starting to fear what lies ahead. If you read my last post, “Hormonal Meltdowns, Back Pain and Cook Books”, then you’d be aware that I suffer from pelvic instability or pelvic girdle pain. Over the last couple of weeks, this has really started to plague me. So I toddled off to the physio on Friday and now I’m on crutches! Yes, running around after 3 boys, 17 months, 8 and 10 years, and on crutches! How will I manage that???? I have no bloody idea! I’m no super mum but I do plan to keep cooking and inventing interesting things to eat, so cleaning will have to wait and I think meals will get quicker and simpler. See, I believe that everything happens for a reason, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and where there’s a will there’s a way (cliched I know but oh so true), so this new hurdle will lead me into a different world of catering for my family’s needs, thus enabling me to provide you guys with a little insight on how to smile in the face of adversity and cater simply for food intolerances….I hope πŸ™‚ So stay tuned for more pregnant ramblings and updates on how the cookbook is coming along.

Hormonal meltdowns, back pain and cookbooks

Urgh, life has been a little crap of late with these damn pregnancy hormone surges and dreadful back pain. I’m due to drop baby number 4 in less than 15 weeks now….15 weeks?? Argh! That sounds too soon! Anyhoo, I suffer from pelvic instability (or pelvic girdle pain), a condition where the ligaments of the pelvis loosen too much causing severe pelvic and back pain. The main culprit for me is the left sacroiliac joint, but my whole pelvis is pretty shot. Yes, why did I go back for number 4? Beats me! So, at 25 weeks, it has really flared up and I’m struggling to do simple everyday tasks, like dry my feet after a shower. Life doesn’t stop though when you have 3 boys and a “not-husband” to run around after. Fortunately I have a wonderful partner who helps out as much as he can but most days, it’s not enough. I’m battling to keep on top of things…no, correction, I cannot get on top of things around the house so needless to say, the place looks like a bomb has hit it. My main focus of late has been to cook tasty and nutritious meals and snacks that are easy and everything else has been put on the back burner…even doing my hair, which is a big thing for a hairdresser.

I’ve been blaming the state of the house and my feeling of uselessness for my hormonal meltdowns. I wake up feeling swollen and sore and then when I see the state of my kitchen, the dirt on the floor, the screaming, fighting children, I just want to crawl into a cave and disappear! But I know that a major part of my mood is the pelvic pain and knowing it is only going to get worse and I still have to carry on with normal daily activities. That feeling of being trapped, with no way out, and the walls are closing in. Yesterday I even found myself wishing I wasn’t having this baby and a feeling of dread and anxiety engulfed my body. I couldn’t stop crying and the feelings of uselessness were heightened to such a point that I felt worthless and a burden. Meh, I’m over that today πŸ™‚ A good (over 2 hour) chat with a wonderful, insightful friend and a blabbering over the phone to “not-husband”, crying and telling him all my woes and trying desperately to make him understand what I’m feeling, all contributed to the meltdown hardening up…..or was it that concrete milkshake I fed myself for afternoon tea?

I have a theory in life, like many people, that everything happens for a reason. Several months ago I had a fleeting idea about publishing a cookbook, with all my recipes I have developed for my sons’ food intolerances. I’m a procrastinator and I knew this may never happen, so I was happy with blogging. Well now that the reality of my situation has hit me coupled with my lack of desire to ever get back into the hair and beauty industry once my babes are at school (it’s not worth me putting them into care to go and work for a measly $16 an hour and pay $90 a day per child for care, because then I’d be in deficit!), I have decided that the best way for me to generate some extra income for the family and help support my older 2 boys, because god knows their biological father won’t ($7.15 in child support for the month! Hahahaha) is to get my bum into gear and publish a book! But not only to generate income, to help others in a similar situation with food intolerance issues. Would you buy it?????

My aim now is to build an audience so I have a market once this happens. I’m sure it will be slow going at first but I can be patient…sometimes. So please forgive me if my recipe posts aren’t as forthcoming as they were, because I have decided to keep a few of them close to my chest now and I’m sure you can understand why. I still intend to put a few up on my blog to keep you all interested so I guess I’ll be working twice as hard in the kitchen, coming up with even more meal and snack ideas……hahaha, in my state?!! I’m going to employ a cleaner πŸ˜‰ So stay tuned for more updates, only if you’re interested in my bitching and moaning of course, hahaha, and get cooking some of my existing recipes and messaging me with any issues you have with any of them. Before anything goes into the book, I need to know that they work for others and not just myself. I’d also appreciate any feedback you can offer, just be nice about it as I’m likely to have another hormonal meltdown if it’s not πŸ˜‰



Ho Hum………

Wow, life has really been a little hectic of late but I don’t seem to be doing much or going anywhere. It would seem that the universe has decided that now is as a good a time as any to dump a whole load of crap right down on top of me. Oh don’t worry, it’s nothing I can’t handle but it just seems that it is all happening at once. That could possibly have something to do with that fact that all the crap is related to the one issue of fighting for what is right for my children but it just seems that it is a never ending cascade of murky filth that is encapsulating my life right now. It really has been a trying week and as a result I have found myself totally uninspired and completely unmotivated. Dinners have been really boring and unimaginative but they fill us up and taste ok.

A few weeks ago I was really excited by the fact that winter is well on its way which meant that I could prepare thick, hearty soups and all sorts of yummy stewy dinners, accompanied by delicious, gooey, hot desserts. Ha! No motivation whatsoever. Not even the amazing whiz bang ice cream maker I acquired for Mothers’ Day hasΒ  managed to tingle my senses, get my creative juices flowing and slap me into submission to get in that kitchen and weave my magic! Oh, I tell a lie, I made an exquisite rhubarb sorbet on Sunday morning to take to mum and dad’s for us all to indulge in after lunch…topped with fresh pomegranate jewels and sprigs of mint. I’m telling you, this was deeeeeevine but I haven’t even been compelled to add the recipe to my blog. That’s how uninspired I have been.

Ok, so you’re now wondering why I am motivated and inspired enough to add this post. I’ll tell you why. I have had a shit of week and I just wanted to get it off my chest. I’m sick of the tears, the anger, frustration and sleepless nights. I’m also sick of talking but still need to vent, and I want to vent in a way that is kind of unrelated to the issues at hand (if that makes any sense at all). I could keep going over and over things like I am on one of those little mouse wheels, with no escape, but that is really unhelpful and I need to redirect my energy and focus on other things. I need to escape the reality of it all. I need to get into the kitchen and create, or pull out the sewing machine and sew. A little retail therapy would be what the doctor prescribes but I have to be very mindful of what I spend money on right now with birthday season chomping hard at my heels. Really, that alone should inspire me to get cooking, to dream up some delectable party food buuuuut, meh. I’d prefer to sit on my arse, eating all sorts of really disgusting comfort food and drinking decaf coffee.

The house is a wreck and I really don’t give 2 hoots right now. It’s all about me, and the vacuuming can wait, as can the dusting, washing, tidying, etc, etc. You get the picture I’m sure. Or perhaps you have a slightly distorted, if not stereotypical picture of my current situation. Haha, it’s 4pm and I’m sitting around in my pyjamas and slippers, hair dishevelled, stuffing my face with chips and chocolate. NO WAY! I am showered, dressed, hair “immaculately” (note the sarcastic tone) blow waved and the dishes are done. I’ve even managed to strip the bed and get the sheets washed and on the line. Oh, bubs is even out of his jammies! So it’s not that bad really, I do like to exaggerate a little. Just feeling rather flat with a real “ho hum” attitude. Tomorrow is a new day and with it comes the start of the weekend. With a bit of luck, no not luck. With a bit of “R & R” I’ll be back up and firing on all cylinders next week, concocting more delicacies and putting big satisfied grins on my family’s face.

Some overseas guests

My mummy in law (Mil) has come to visit and she has brought a friend with her. Mil lives in Tunisia, Northern Africa. She was born in England, raised in Australia and of recent years fell in love with a Tunisian man, married him and is now a resident of Tunisia. They have land in the south and are busily building a house and growing lots of stuff, some of which include olives, almonds and pistachios. They had their first olive harvest recently and produced some oil using the traditional method where a donkey walks around and around and around and around whilst a big stone crushes the fruit, producing litres and litres of beautiful golden oil. Of course she brought some over for us to try. It tastes soooo good and so very different from what we have here. It actually tastes like olives! I’m accustomed to extra virgin olive oil tasting rather grassy. When I first saw the 2 litre bottle she gave us I thought I might give some to my mum but after using it for the first time on Saturday I became a little greedy and decided that her and dad can taste it when they visit later in the week and can wait to get their own when Mil visits next. Is that wrong of me? I don’t think so. I cherish good olive oil and become a little like a kid with candy when I get a really special batch!

Ha! I just realised that I must be totally obsessed with food. This post was going to be about the guests but it has very quickly become a post about food! I might have to change direction for a moment and backtrack.

So Mil isΒ  “Memma” (grandmother) to my gorgeous little poppet and a “step memma” to my other 2. The last time she saw her little man, he was not even 2 weeks old and he’s now 10 months. I’m sure you can imagine her reaction and the tears when she saw him on Friday! Fortunately he is the sort of baby who doesn’t have issues with strangers so he went to her without a hassle, but do you think I could get my hands back on him? His cheeks were turned soggy and he was squeezed so much you would be forgiven for mistaking him for a little kid’s teddy bear. It was such a beautiful thing to see, the love and adoration in her eyes as she stared endlessly at him, inspecting his fingers, toes, eyes, everything! He knew who she was, I’m sure of it. I began to fear that I may lose my baby, that his Memma might babynap him and take him back to Tunisia where he could finally meet his Azizzi (step grandfather) who is yet to meet him due to visa issues, but I shan’t get into that one!

Talk about photos! So many pictures were taken of the precious moments on Friday evening and we were able to capture the priceless expressions on Mil’s face as she watched, for the first time, her adored grandson crawl, giggle, squeal, chat, fart, spew, blah, blah, blah. She was mesmerised. And who could blame her really, he’s one cute little dumpling and no, that is NOT a biased opinion, it is the truth!

Oh yes, the accompanying English friend, I almost forgot about her. She is LOVELY. I’m not allowed to call her a tourist, it sparks such terrible images, so we call her a guest. Although, with how well we get along, I may be calling her a piece of the furniture before long ;). Such a thoughtful lady who brought us all gifts regardless of the fact that she had never met any of us.

Yesterday, Sunday, we treated our English tourist, oops, I mean guest, to a good old Aussie BBQ. Yes, she’s had BBQs before but not an Aussie one. We go all out. It’s not just a a couple of pieces of meat on the grill and a green salad, it’s chicken, steak, seafood and vegies (no sausages in this house) on the grill and a couple of accompanying salads, one green and the other a little more gourmet, usually a coleslaw or potato salad. In my case, it was an Asian inspired green salad and my delicious cauliflower and pomegranate salad, only this time I didn’t cook the cauliflower. Oh it was all sooooo good! We got rave reviews from our guest and she asked me if any of the recipes are on here and if not, could I please put them on so she can make our delights when she returns home. I was so chuffed. She even said that the Cauliflower and pomegranate salad was one of the best salads she has ever eaten. My mum said the same thing when I served it to her a few weeks ago πŸ™‚ So to appease my new friend, I will have to add a couple of things to my “non Failsafe” section, one of which is my Asian style salad dressing…stay tuned for it peeps.

We went for a walk in a local park to work off some of the food….we ate so much it was crazy…and Su got to see some local flora and fauna. We sniffed gum leaves and she was amazed at the variations in aromas from the many different species. She thought that all eucalypts would smell like the good old eucalyptus oil that we all know so well, which is understandable. I think I may have started something. Not only will Su be walking around snapping tons of photos like all good guests do, but she’ll be picking gum leaves, crushing them between her fingers and sniffing them, everywhere she goes.

Green lipped mussel trial

Late last year, someone read something in the paper and thought it might be of interest to me. It was about a trial that Swinburne University of Technology were going to be running to test the effects of naturally occurring omega 3s on kids with with hyperactivity and inattentiveness. Of course I was interested! Anything natural that could help my son is always of interest to me. I sent the appropriate email and waited for a response. It took a few months for me to hear anything back, aside from the confirmation message I received after shooting off my email. Last Wednesday I received a call and after answering a few questions, we were accepted into the trial. We went into the university yesterday to meet the researcher and to learn more about the trial and we will be back there next Wednesday to begin.

The purpose of the trial is to look at the effects that a naturally occurring combination omega 3s has on kids who have symptoms of ADHD, whether formally diagnosed or not. Omega-3 fatty acids are lipids found in the cell membranes, mostly in the human nervous system. Since our bodies are unable to synthesise these fatty acids, we can only obtain them through diet, but the “typical” western diet is rather deficient in them. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential in maintaining proper tissue level throughout our bodies, including our heart and brain and they have been used for sometime to help manage arthritic complaints. Numerous studies have been done on omega 3s and they have been shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms of ADHD also.

The formula being used in the study are extracted from the New Zealand green lipped mussels (Perna canaliculus). They are made up of several compounds, triglycerides (forming the biggest portion), free fatty acids, phospholipids and sterols. The fatty acids in them are mostly polyunsaturated, the majority being omega-3, but they also contain omega-6 fatty acids. It is hoped that this naturally occurring combination will reduce the symptoms of ADHD.

I’m really interested to see if they make any difference in our lives. Of course there will be 2 test groups, one will be on the supplement and the other group will be on a placebo and we won’t know which group we are in until the end of the trial. I guess we’ll be able to work out which group we’re in if we notice an improvement in my son but if we notice nothing, we’ll really be none the wiser. At the end of the trial we will be given a 4 month supply of the treatment which will be fantastic. If we notice an improvement, we’ll certainly be staying on them!

I’ll keep you all updated as we progress through the trial.