In Which We Add Hiking/Camping to Our List of Interests

In the theme of staying active, we have purchased a tent, two sleeping bags, and two backpacks. Our first-ever hiking/camping trip is planned for next weekend! I grew up a suburban child where “camping” meant a climate-controlled Pop-Up camper, with electricity and a some-what private bathroom. I am not the most adDSC_0431venturous of twenty-somethings, but I am – as the British say – willing to give it a go! Our tent is made for backpackers and weighs less than 2 lbs. This is great news for traveling with the tent, but bad news for traveling with the dog. Ranger’s claws would poke right through the thin material. There is the option of letting him sleep “outside” the tent but under the rain guard. This would likely be fine (really pup would be inches from my head, separated only by the mesh tent door), but I don’t know if we’ll take him this first go-’round. He may end up having his own holiday at the neighbor’s house.


Lifting, Riding, and Baking

First, let me acknowledge the nerd in me. I tried the “Cambridge” grammar (no oxford comma – the second one) in the title, but just couldn’t do it. I may be a Cambridge student, but old habits die hard.

Second, I used to write every day. When I started this blog in April 2013, I titled each post “Day 1/2/3..” etc. This was my social pressure to work out every day. Then I graduate college, moved to Europe, and got a full-time job. Now I post about once a month. It’s the coffee date with a friend that you don’t see too often but meet up with every few weeks to catch up on life. That’s me with most things. I am not a creature of habit. Period. I cannot stick to a daily routine; taking birth control was horrible because I had to remember every day, and I will admit brushing my teeth twice a day took years to master (having a partner and worrying about morning breath helped a lot). ;)

That said, I had a varied and productive week of fitness. I say fitness and not health because I ate way to many (gluten free) carbs and much too much coffee, due to lack of meal planning and general groceries in my house.  However, working out was pretty stellar. I started a 12-week lifting plan to teach me basics. My upper-body strength was pretty pitiful, but I had fun. I looked forward to my gym time each day – that never happens. I went to yoga on Thursday that had more of a Pilates feel. It was my rest day so I didn’t lift, but the class was fairly strenuous. My favorite activity of the week, though, was the horseback riding lesson. Yup. Horseback riding. Anyone who says that is not a workout has not tried a ‘rising trot’. I used to ride – ok, we’re all friends here, I had 6 weeks of riding lessons when I was 15 – but I haven’t in nearly ten years.

25 will be my year of why not. Why not lift? Why not be in kick a$$ shape? Why not learn to horse ride? There is no good reason not to.




Further Diet Restrictions

A few weeks ago, my doctor put me on a lactose-free diet. She suspected I was lactose intolerant despite testing negative to a milk allergy (if you’re curious, a milk allergy is referring to the milk protein, while a lactose intolerance is referring to the lactose enzyme). Apparently you can be lactose intolerant while not technically being “allergic to milk”. It’s all very confusing but I DO know when I cut out all lactose I felt much better. As with other intolerance, purging your body of the offensive substance will also make you more sensitive to that substance later on (because your body is effectively “spoiled” by not having to constantly struggle, so you will notice a reaction quite quickly). This has definitely been the case with dairy; even a few accidental bites will make me feel sick andimage have me combing the ingredients of my last meal looking for the inevitable dairy product.

I am still unsure whether this discovery is a negative or positive thing. I feel much better, but now I have an even more restrictive diet! I didn’t have much dairy to begin with, so cutting out gluten was a much more drastic change, but cutting out lactose shook off the remaining rare tummy troubles. Now to live gluten, lactose, and peanut free. :(

Thank goodness I can still have a decaf Americano with soy milk!

Gluten & Grain Free Coconut Flour Biscuits

Coconut BiscuitsYesterday, I had an injection (well, two actually) in the joints by my spine to reduce the inflammation of my old back injury. Hopefully now all the physical therapy and osteopath visits will be able to heal it for good. Today is Friday, but I’m on convalescent leave from my out-patient injection at the hospital. First time in a hospital by the way.

Besides having a blissful weekday morning enjoying the birds in my garden and a 1/2 caff coffee with soy milk, I wanted to try out a new recipe. This one was ever so simple, adapted from one posted by the “It Takes Time” natural living blog.

While they aren’t fluffy Pillsbury biscuits, and have a distinct egg/coconut flavor, they are pretty tasty and make a good brunch food (especially when topped with honey butter!).

  1. Preheat oven to 400* Fahrenheit (living in Britain, I using the fan setting on my oven and cooked at 200* Celsius for the first 10 minutes, then dropped to 150 for the remaining 5 or so)
  2. Mix together the following:
    • 1/3 cup coconut flour
    • 4 organic eggs
    • 1 teaspoon honey
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • pinch of salt
    • 4 tablespoons of chilled butter, grated into the mix
    • approximately 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (adds some fluffiness)
  3. Form into 6 patties (using extra flour if it gets too sloppy) and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes. This is one of those recipes you have to keep an eye on though, so alter time as needed.

That’s it. Told you they were easy. ;)

Happy Friday! Add some yoga and my day’s about set.

English Weather, New Recipes, and One Very Cute Collie

Yesterday was a beautiful afternoon in eastern England. I spent my Friday evening flipping DSC_0394through my National Trust book, planning my Saturday visits. I settled on Dunwich Heath and Beach because it was dog-friendly (many National Trust places are, but this beach welcomes off leash romps too, which is Ranger’s favorite way to explore) and the views seemed favorable to practice landscape photography. Well, let’s be honest, the majority of shots would have been my Border Collie, with a rocky coast background. So that was the plan. Then I woke up this morning and IT IS SNOWING. It’s not sticking, but big, fluffy flakes are coming down like mad. I guess the beach will have to wait…or will it?

*                    *                 *

Thursday evening, I helped a friend edit her paper. We made a dinner date of it as I was eager to try out this recipe from Minimalist Baker (omg I love her blog). Ladies and IMG_20160303_190918766gentlemen, it was delicious. I mean, no leftovers, plate-scraping, exclamations of delighted “mm mm mm”s, delicious. I paused for a photo, but didn’t even wait to see if it turned out before we pounced on the serving dish. I think all of it (including the white wine) was gone in under half an hour.

This was gluten-free, and low dairy (I used the olive oil version, omitting the butter, so the only dairy was the Parmesan cheese, which is low-lactose anyway).

Which reminds me, the Nutritionist appointment! I think it went well; it was really informative and I have a follow-up appointment in 4 weeks. In that time, I am on a
low-lactose, low-gluten, low-caffeine (ah my heart does break), low-fiber diet. I am keeping a food diary, and logging how I feel for two hours after each small meal. The nutritionist believes, though I am not allergic to milk, I may have an intolerance to lactose as well as gluten. I’m learning though that a lactose intolerance does not mean I can’tIMG_20160305_085616706 have milk (the fiber/carbohydrate content gives clues on the amount of lactose in a dairy product). The low fiber and caffeine is to slow my digestion and allow my body to contemplate lactose and gluten properly, to determine whether or not I really have an intolerance. We will see how it goes, so I am typing and sipping the one coffee (down from 3 -4 a day) I allow myself each morning, this morning’s made into a coffee latte with frothed Lactaid milk.
This is Day 4 and I honestly feel much better. Time will tell though. ❤

Happy Leap Day!

Today is February 29th, 2016! It’s late and I should go to bed (sleep plays a crucial role in your overall health you know), but I wanted to mark this day down. Happy Leap Day! I celebrated by going to the Grand Opening of the Starbucks on highstreet (Earl Grey tea latte with a Gluten-free hummus wrap).

I can’t be creative or clever tonight as I’m practically falling asleep at the keyboard, but I will say I’ve added 3 more countries to my “visited” list since I last posted, and I am learning more about health and fitness from a scientific standpoint. I am not where I need to be, and am suffering from a disappointing lack of exercises that I – with a torn back joint and Achilles tendonitios – can do. I’m going on vacation in 6 weeks and need to be bikini-ready. This should be a challenge.

Good news is I have an appointment with a nutritionist tomorrow morning so I should get a better idea of the extent of my gluten intolerance and what other foods I should or should not be eating.

A Belated Welcome to 2016

Hello 2016! Can’t believe I haven’t posted a single time since the New Year! Much has happened since my last post:

  1. New House: I moved! I love my new house and best of all it has a bigger kitchen ;) It also has more walking trails (which my pup is loving) and more space for things like yoga!
  2. New Places: More travel! I’ve another Germany trip to my passport and have a Copenhagen trip coming up. Eating gluten free while traveling is a little complicated, but getting less so. I can at least count on the hipster factor for making gluten free more accessible.
  3. New School: I’ve been accepted to my dream graduate program! Children’s Literature at the University of Cambridge!
  4. New Schedule: Due to #3, I’ll be quitting my job to be a full time student.
  5. New Doctor: I’ve starting going to an osteopath for my back. He’s been working on my torn joint to get the inflammation down. It may involve shots. Yikes!

In any case, January was a busy month! Here’s to a productive and healthy new year!