Health Diary Week 87: Lots Happening

Image: Owl at Hawk Conservancy Trust, 2012 (I was quite proud of this action shot)

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Week 86

Hi, welcome to another weekly instalment of what’s on my plate: health updates, meal creations and smile-provoking experiences. There’s so much to tell, but so little available time – I’ll do my best to be informative, yet succinct…

New Job?

The feedback from my Staff Wellbeing Hub Admin interview was that I was a strong candidate… But I was their second choice. They were concerned about my work-life balance, because of my interests outside of work – Ironically, I’d started adding my outside interests into admin job interviews to demonstrate that my mind would still be challenged outside of work. This was to counteract the other concern that always comes up when I apply for admin – “Would the job satisfy me when I appear to be better suited to an advisory role?” I honestly enjoy admin; I also enjoy advisory work too. I’d like to do both.

Excitingly, I was offered two days a week, because their first choice wanted to work three days, so I gratefully accepted. The bonus is that this still leaves the possibility of doing some advisory work too… Or perhaps a Health and Wellbeing Coach? – there’s currently adverts for this role within the NHS.

Image: Me listening to a student (well, posing for a promotional photo) at our work enquiry desk. Ca. 2003 (I look so young!)

The Histamine Saga

Here are the latest updates on my challenge to find out more about my histamine issues…

Allergy Clinic:

Last week the Allergy Clinic changed my appointment to a phone one – I reasoned maybe it was because the first appointment is just a consultation. But this week, the clinic rejected my referral – Nooo!  I phoned to check if this was an error… it wasn’t. They’ve recommended I’m referred to an ENT Clinic – I’m confused – I don’t think I need my ears, nose or throat checked out?

Food Risks:

We had family visiting for my Dad’s birthday, so I took some small food risks, with the support of my DAO enzyme tablet. Mum had prepared a curry for dinner – I had the dhal (lentils), potato and peas from the curry (tomato based), poppadom (chickpea) and Nita’s Mum’s coriander chutney (chilli, cashews). Thankfully, there were no ill effects from rhinitis, but I had a slightly sore (burned feeling) tongue for about a week – probably from the chilli, maybe also the tomato:

Image: My histamine food risk dinner: Lentils (dhal), potato and peas from the curry (tomato base), popadom (chickpea). Nita’s Mum’s green chutney not pictured

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

I love identifying things that make me smile. Here’s a few things from this past week…

I had pudding:

Mum made rhubarb crumble for Dad’s birthday treat, instead of a cake. I rarely get to have a proper pudding, because of my histamine issues. I decided since I’d already had my DAO enzyme tablet, this was my opportunity. And of course I drowned my crumble in the vanilla custard freebie gifted by the Vegan Kind Supermarket (Week 81) – delicious:

Image: Left: Coconut Collaborative vanilla custard freebie from the Vegan Kind supermarket. Right: Pudding: Rhubarb crumble drowning in vanilla custard

A gift from work:

I was just leaving work when one of the Admin Shift Leads asked, “Would you like a brown bag?”. I assumed this could only be a good thing, so I said, “That would be lovely, thank you”. And within my brown bag were two rhubarb and pineneedle drinks and a box of chocolate (my Dad’s favourite). What a lovely gesture. I passed on the chocolate to my parents and saved the drinks for myself:

Image: My brown bag contents: Monty Bojangles chocolate and Double Dutch drinks

Another friend reunion:

When I was studying for my Nutrition degree, my two main buddies were Magda and Emelie. Emelie has since moved back to Sweden, although we’re still in regular contact. Magda doesn’t live too far away, so we arranged to meet up in person for the first time since the pandemic started. We decided to have a walk in a country park and wow, we had so much to tell each other – it was so lovely to see Magda in person rather than online. The walk was picturesque – a change from my usual roadside walks. And my Active10 app reported I’d completed 168 minutes total walking, of which 88 minutes was brisk – go me:

Image: Countrypark walk – river view (it was a pity about the fallen tree, but a beautiful view nonetheless)
Image: Countrypark walk – field view

I hope you enjoyed this week’s ‘What’s on Watson’s Plate’. Please feel free to follow my bite-sized updates on Instagram or Facebook. See you next week for another catch up.

>>>Week 88
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Health Diary Week 85: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Dramas

Me trying to act dramatic – reenacting being eaten by a sabre tooth tiger, Edinburgh (2007)

Hi, welcome to another weekly instalment of what’s on my plate: health updates, meal creations and smile-provoking experiences.

The Histamine Story

Here’s my histamine updates from the past week (more info about histamine intolerance here[1])…

No ill-effects:

I’m ecstatic (and massively relieved) to report there were no ill-effects from the Sunday socialising at Tina and Ben’s house where I ate food that I hadn’t sourced or prepared myself (absolutely delicious food) and indulged in a few vodkas and cokes (I thought these could be a huge mistake). Does this mean my condition is improving or that I was careful enough before the event by keeping my histamine cup relatively empty?… I just don’t know.

Medication shortages?:

There appears to be an issue obtaining the medications I use. Firstly, I had to go to another pharmacy (not my nominated one) to obtain my Loratadine solution antihistamine prescription. Secondly, there was the prescribed sodium cromoglycate (mast cell stabiliser) unavailability (Week 83), so I never got to try this medication. Then, it took me four different pharmacy tries to get my hands on the Cetirizine antihistamine liquid – I had to buy the branded version that costs twice as much as the generic one I would usually get. I hope this isn’t going to be an ongoing concern.

DAO enzymes:

I’ve read quite a lot on the long haul Covid and histamine intolerance social media sites about people using DAO enzyme supplements to counteract the effects of histamine containing foods. My concern about these supplements were that they’re all animal-based (taken from the kidneys of pigs) and there doesn’t appear to be much solid scientific research on them. But then, someone posted about a plant-based option, Naturdao, so I decided I would buy some to use cautiously – reserved for occasional use when I want to socialise more ‘normally’ with friends and family. I’ll let you know how I get on with them.

Vegan DAO enzyme supplement: Naturdao

Food

I haven’t got much to report food-wise this week. I’ve just opted for my easy go-to options of salad and pasta based meals. I hope to create some interesting dishes soon.

Exercise

I’m conscious that the title of this blog includes the word “Exercise”, and I haven’t done much of that in recent months. But I’m determined to try to slowly introduce physical activity again soon.

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

And here’s some of my favourite smile provokers from this week…

A personal touch:

I try to buy from independent stores rather than big chains, so I often browse Etsy for cards and gifts. I recently stumbled across JuanitaManzana who sells “Illustrated greeting cards – with a touch of cats!” I ordered a birthday card for my sister and was pleasantly surprised by the cute cat paw tape on the packaging, followed by a sweet thank you note card and a bonus extra birthday card – how lovely is that?:

Top: Thank you card from JuanitaManzana, Etsy. Bottom left: Bonus greeting card. Bottom right: Cat paws tape

More garden socials:

Thank goodness for the recent decent weather. This weekend I had the pleasure of meeting up with Bevy, Harry and Loki kitten again in their garden. And I caught up with Neil, an old Uni friend (from my HND and degree courses in the 90’s):

Neil and I at my pub birthday party, Isle of Wight (1996)

What a difference a week (or so) makes:

Summer is my favourite season. So, I love seeing signs of Summer approaching – new buds appearing on bare trees as early as January, the Spring blossom and finally that summery greenery. Our pond view is a great place to observe the seasonal changes:

Pond greenery. Top left: Grey, bare trees and snowy, December 2020 (Week 63). Top right: Greenery appearing, April 2021 (Week 78). Bottom left: Lots of greenery, May 2021 (Week 84). Bottom right: Pond barely visible amongst the foliage, June 2021 (Week 85)

Bird dramas:

I love birds, but I am not a fan of Magpies since I discovered they eat our Blackbirds’ babies – I know its nature, the circle of life and all that, but I can’t help but be biased. So, you can imagine my horror when a Magpie found our Mummy Bird’s nest. One of the youngsters flew out in a panic, straight into the side of our house, fell onto the porch roof and rolled down onto the front doorstep! Now, you’re probably exclaiming “How on earth could this make you smile?!?”. Fear not, there was a happy ending (as far as I know). Baby Bird was stunned – we didn’t touch her, but took turns standing guard, even eating our lunch out the front of the house. This gave Baby time to recover until eventually Daddy Bird located Baby and they flew away together. Baddie Magpie returned later but the Blackbirds and Sparrows joined forces rather impressively chasing it away. The Starlings just legged-it! – I’m not sure how I feel about those guys either:

Bird dramas: Top and Bottom left: Mummy and Daddy Blackbirds obtaining much needed energy post the Magpie attack on their babies – they’re still looking fairly alert. Bottom right: Magpie (photo from Week 32 last year, but a similar time of the year)

I hope you enjoyed this week’s ‘What’s on Watson’s Plate’. Please feel free to follow my bite-sized updates on Instagram or Facebook. See you next week for another catch up.

>>>Week 86
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Reference

Swiss Interest Group Histamine Intolerance (SIGHI), 2019. Outline.

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Health Diary Week 81: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Stormy Spring

Stormy Spring clouds on my walk back from physio

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Hi, welcome to another weekly instalment of what’s on my plate: health updates, meal creations and smile-provoking experiences.

NHS Covid Administrator – Week 2

I successfully completed my second week as a Covid Administrator. I’m enjoying the social interaction and having a variety of tasks: Check-in, directing people into assessment or vaccine bays and working in the vaccine bays. The vaccine bays were particularly interesting – I checked and updated patient records and distracted nervous people. Also, I had the opportunity to observe syringes being prepared and vaccines being given – I can’t believe that I can handle this now – a few years ago there’s no way I could. And, during down-times I chatted to some inspiring vaccinators from a variety of backgrounds.

Physiotherapy

I received a phone call on Tuesday, offering me an in-person physiotherapy appointment the next day. I really liked my physiotherapist, Arienne, who asked lots of questions and made me feel listened to. Arienne tested me for nerve damage (all seems fine) and assessed my range of movement and strength – I can’t believe how much strength I’ve lost in my damaged shoulder/arm. I found out there’s no such thing as a locked rotator cuff – I’m sure that’s what A&E told me I had (I’d wondered why I couldn’t find anything about it online). It was decided the exercises I’d been trying to do were too advanced for my current situation, so some new ones were assigned. I’m back for another session in a couple of weeks. I now feel a lot more confident that my shoulder will eventually heal.

New physio exercises to improve the range of movement in my shoulder and arm

Easy, Convenient Dinners

I haven’t had much energy for cooking since I started work, so thank goodness for simple options and frozen batch-cooked food. My go-to post-work light dinner is a simple filled pitta of Violife ‘cheese’ slices, Quorn ‘ham’ slices and salad – simple yet tasty (but admittedly a histamine risk). One evening, I added frozen cooked veg and notomato sauce to noodles and topped them with spring onion. Noodles are really convenient; so, another time I accompanied them with a simple macadamia sauce (macadamia butter, oat milk, garlic granules, mixed herbs and sweet paprika) and served them with a side of coated cauliflower wings from the freezer. I also made a cheesy vegetable pasta using frozen cauliflower and broccoli cheese, carrots and sweetcorn – convenient and delicious:

My easy dinners: Clockwise: ‘Cheese’, ‘ham’ and salad pitta. Vegetable noodles in notomato sauce. Macadamia noodles with cauliflower wings. Cheesy vegetable fusilli pasta

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

As always, I’m happy to share a few things that made me smile this week…

Kind freebies:

I ordered some supplies from the Vegan Kind Supermarket. They added some free vanilla custard and chickpea fusilli to my delivery – how kind:

Vegan Kind Supermarket freebies: Vanilla custard and chickpea fusilli

Helpful friends:

I received a message from my tenants to say that my garden fence had fallen down in the storm. I must say this was not a smile provoker, but what did make me smile was that one of my friends replied to my Facebook shout-out and confirmed he could help rectify the problem:

Fence down: My poor garden fence finally came down in the most recent storm

Catch-ups:

The stormy weather meant that I couldn’t meet up with Bevy in person. This is another situation that could have been seen as a negative. But, meeting online meant that we got to chat with Charlotte too – and we had such a great much-needed catch up. And, at the end of the week, I had an online chat with Dawn, a like-minded new(ish) friend:

Great friends: Charlotte, me and Bevy (my Mexican-themed party, 2011)

I hope you enjoyed this week’s ‘What’s on Watson’s Plate’. Please feel free to follow my bite-sized updates on Instagram or Facebook. See you next week for another catch up.

>>>Week 82
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Health Diary Week 76: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Let’s Concentrate on the Smiles

Smiling Sun. Image: Clker-Free-Vector-Images (Pixabay)

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Hi, welcome to another weekly instalment of what’s on my plate: health updates, meal creations and smile-provoking experiences. This post is briefer than usual, because I’m feeling kind of exhausted and not much happened really. Don’t worry, this isn’t a reflection on my state of mind – overall I’m feeling pretty happy and that’s going to be my main focus here, after the histamine update.

Histamine overload

I must confess I’ve been lax these past couple of weeks about managing my low histamine diet. I’ve taken little risk after little risk, gradually building up to toxic histamine levels in my system. I need to get motivated to get back on track somehow, because I’m experiencing the fatigue now, along with rhinitis – it doesn’t feel, look or sound good! Surely that’s motivation enough?!

Food creation: Potato bowl

Thankfully potatoes are okay on this low histamine diet, which is great, because I absolutely love potatoes – I can’t imagine not having them in my life. (Having said that, I used to say this about tomatoes and avocadoes, which I can’t eat these days, but I haven’t actually missed them that much). Anyway, one evening I decided I just fancied a bowl of potatoes for dinner. Of course, I wanted an interesting bowl of potatoes, so I concocted a vegetable, seed, spice and herb mix before baking them in the oven (details here). I have to say, the result was an incredibly deliciously satisfying dish:

My potato bowl creation – so tasty!

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

Despite this being a shorter than usual post, I still wanted to share some of my positive moments with you, because not only does the reminiscing make me smile, so does the thought it might make someone else smile too:

Street party?:

I decided to take the opportunity to spend some quiet time at my parents’ former rental property before the sale completes. Well, you can imagine my surprise when I was confronted with a street party directly in front of their house (especially after joking with my Mum that this would happen – I didn’t actually think it would). I declined the offer to join the gathering, after all, no more than six people from different households should be meeting outside. I’m quite proud of myself really, because I miss socialising with groups of people, but I also know there will be a safer time to do this:

My sister and I dressed for a street party, 70’s fancy dress style (I’m the little one)

Friends in real life:

So, instead of group gatherings, I took the opportunity to meet a couple of friends outside, now that we can. And how lovely it was to meet friends in person. Sadly, I missed seeing Bevy – hopefully next week. But it brought me great joy to visit Tina’s garden for a proper catch up, whilst enjoying the sunshine warming my face. Actually, upon my arrival, Tina noted I already had a suntan – this was from sitting outside during the glorious Summer-like days earlier in the week:

My somewhat dazed, slightly sunkissed (or pink) face

Pretty flowers:

Talking about sitting in the sunshine. I’ve been keeping an eye on this particular flowerpot when my parents and I sit out the front of the house for coffee (chicory for me). I’ve enjoyed observing the flowers develop over the weeks – aren’t they just so pretty?:

Dad’s pretty flowers. Clockwise: In full bloom, Week 76. Pretty flower that didn’t survive past Week 75 (something ate it!). Flowers not quite in bloom, Week 75. Close ups of flowers waiting to open, Week 75

“Not Molly’s” disapproval:

The boy cat from behind our house, who I call “Not Molly” (because his sister is called Molly and I have no idea what his name is) has become a regular visitor to our driveway. He’s very cautious of us, so when we arrived home from Tina’s house, he sat staring at us disapprovingly from behind our garden gate, almost as if he thought we shouldn’t be there:

“Not Molly” staring at us disapprovingly from behind out garden gate (hmmm, the windscreen needs a good clean)

 Boojagrams:

I love a good quote. One of my favourite things about opening a box of Booja-Booja chocolate truffles (other than the chocolate, of course) is reading the Boojagram. This lockdown has provided a lot of time for self-reflection, which led me to decide some time ago to just be me and not worry so much about what others think about me. So, I felt this message was quite apt:

“Maybe a good way of changing the world is being you”.

Mister Booja-Booja
Mister Booja-Booja Boojagram No. 62: “Maybe a good way of changing the world is being you”. (Excuse my poor attempt to neatly remove the quote from the box)

I hope you enjoyed this week’s ‘What’s on Watson’s Plate’. Please feel free to follow my bite-sized updates on Instagram or Facebook. See you next week for another catch up.

>>>Week 77
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