Golden Turmeric Latte

Activated Turmeric  for use in Golden Turmeric Latte


Ingredients:

1/2 cup filtered water (not tap)

1/4 cup organic turmeric powder

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and heat on medium-high, stirring constantly until the mixture forms a thick paste (about 5 minutes). Carefully transfer to a resealable glass container and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

To make a Golden Turmeric Latte

To a saucepan add a mug of coconut milk or cream, dairy milk or almond milk.

Add ½ teaspoon of activated turmeric paste (as above)

A small teaspoon of coconut oil / I like to add a cinnamon stick too.

1-2 teaspoons of coconut sugar

Heat gently until oil dissolves.  Pour into a mug and sprinkle with a little ground cinnamon and serve. 

I am ready to break up, we will just do a biopsy to make sure.

I had my fingers stuck in my ears, la la la laaaaa, no I don’t want to hear what you do in a biopsy to ascertain whether or not you got all the cancer in my throat and tonsils. You have prefaced this description by saying it is barbaric. Enough said.

May 2019 and I was 3 months post all my treatment. My bloods had held out for chemotherapy, I handled the “mask” ok during radiotherapy, in fact I use to fall asleep at times. I religiously slathered cream on my fried skin. By May 2nd all eating had stopped. I couldn’t manage anything. Nerve endings were raw, mucous wasn’t moving up or down, dewlap was tight and puffy and I was feeling really, really sick and flat. The pain at ground zero was excrutiating. I couldn’t swallow my own saliva. A dental visit discovered a pocket and what appeared to be exposed bone on my lower jaw. A PET scan was scheduled and I limped through on a cocktail of pain relief.

It turned out that the radiation was so intense it had torn away the flesh from my jaw bone. I was in the hurt locker – this was a time where I was meant to be improving.

Day 250 something of complete sh*t

To say it hurt was a massive understatement. The PET scan was clear and the CT scan revealed some inflammation. I had had, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy on a relatively very small space and inflammation was the least of my problems. During this time I was also undertaking cold laser treatment on my lymphodema. It was helping the healing of my scar tissue internally. Mid June and I was still in a very bad way, icecream hurt if that’s possible. I was using my PEG constantly for nutrition and nothing orally at all. No soup, smoothies or icecream. At this point, my medical team (oncologist) introduced Methadone. Slowly at first, increasing dosage to see how I would react. Well, it turns out, me and opioids who would have guessed. So I am now on methadone, amitriptyline, gabapentin, paracetamol and all through the PEG. Still I was in pain and I had to keep on top of it.

PEG replacement in Emergency at the RAH

In the middle of all of this I had to have a breast screen. I questioned whether or not with all the MRI’s and CT’s being undertaken was it necessary? Yes, it was and that came back clear. So I struggled through until July 2019, where the methadone basically made my life liveable. I slept really deeply, my coughing got a lot worst before it got better. I started to “eat” tiny amounts. Mainly cream and iceceam. My dentist didn’t want to give me Trental (a drug that increases blood flow to wound site) in case I had residual or more cancer. We did not know what we were dealing with so I had to wait until we had results back from yet another PET scan. Whilst I was waiting for my results my stomach PEG fell out of my stomach. It was early morning and I had felt faint and sick, not taking alot of notice because that was normal to feel that way. I was making the bed when I felt what was my cat’s tail between my legs. It wasn’t Rockets tail but the PEG and the end of the disintegrated balloon. So in I went via ambulance to Emergency to get my PEG put back in. You have a fifteen minute window until the track starts to heal over. We didn’t make it, so I was admitted over night and had the whole rig replaced again. There is a whole other story about this process involving syringes and feeds. To say it wasn’t straight forward is putting it mildly, suffice to say I was becoming an expert on PEGS.

I am a visual person so this helped me understand what was happening when I was trying to swallow. I marked where food and drink should go and where it shouldn’t.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I received the results of the second PET scan – the journey at this point had been 10 very long months and I was going in for a biopsy to make 100% sure we were not dealing with anymore cancer. It was about this time I decided to take matters into my own hands and start seeing a Naturopath. Detail of which may be read here along with the results of the PET scan.

We are now in October of 2019. My healing is taking so long and I can’t swallow the Trental meds well and the side affects are making me feel sick. My oncologist visit resulted in me asking if I could be considered for Hyperbaric treatment. This treatment turned out to be the best thing for me. Six days a week for 6 weeks or 33 sessions in a hyperbaric chamber.

Hyperbaric essentially meant I was healing at a faster rate than under normal conditions. The oxygen levels are many times greater and it’s done in a diving chamber. I could feel the difference in a couple of days. It turned out to be my saviour. I finished Hypobaric mid November of 2019, in the end completing 29 sessions. I then had to have a colonoscopy as a test had showed some positive results. Yes doesn’t rain it pours. This day surgery just about tipped me over the edge. I was so sick of hospitals and not eating. Fasting and prepping for this was pretty easy. You can work that out yourself.

I rang the Royal Adelaide Hospital and asked for a swallow test. I wanted to know why I couldn’t swallow, was there something more going on. They booked me in and it is a straight forward process where you stand in front of an Xray whilst attempting to swallow different textures. Apart from the loss of 1/3rd of my tongue, there appeared to be no real swallow issues. The dark blobs below represent fluid and food and where they stick. Gravity was doing most of the work.

Still, I am not eating well and I am getting really sick of “eating” artificial food or more commonly known as “commercially prepared liquid enteral nutrition formulas”. I managed to eat a very small amount over Christmas and knew that something had to change, my second Christmas was slightly better than the one before, but I wanted this PEG gone permanently and was told 6 months at least. Another 6 months was really bad news. I had been in a relationship with this PEG for 12 months, it was time to break up.

What about exercise, CDF & Covid-19?

Exercise & Covid-19

Sunrise in the park for regular Steppers (Step into Life – Kensington Gardens)

Some actions are just automatic, getting up at the crack of dawn to put your running shoes on so you can join your equally weird friends in the pitch black at the local park, is one.

I have been doing this now on and off for 9 years with Step into Life Kensington Gardens. A pandemic changes everything, including outdoor exercise. The reason outdoor fitness is popular is because by its very nature it’s done in nature, where you get fresh air, watch the sun rise or set, as the case maybe, have greater exposure to vitamin D, burn more calories due to temperature regulation especially in the cooler months.

Spiderman pushups are no easier on the grass!

Local indoor fitness centres and gyms are closing, shutting doors due to Government restrictions, in Australia that happens today 24th March 2020.

Yoga studios are moving in the same direction and moving to on-line virtual classes where your downward dog is likely shared with your dog or cat in the comfort of your own home.

Outdoor exercise in a public park in Australia is still open to everyone, it’s fast becoming a different story in New York where it is quoted “Of people who are carrying on life as usual, he said, “It is insensitive, arrogant, self-destructive, disrespectful to other people, and it has to stop, and it has to stop now.” #stopthespread

Keeping a 1.5m distance between clients

Here in Australia we can still enjoy group exercise as long as we follow the guidelines set out by the state and federal governments. Outdoor exercise is still permitted with self distancing measures being adhered, that is 1.5m between people.

This might explain why on my regular walk / run the other day there were considerably more people out on the oval exercising – the penny dropped, the gyms are shut and the PT’s have taken their clients “outside”.

I have always exercised, it is part of my DNA and I am pretty sure my fellow SIL (Steppers or Step into Life) friends are the same. Our outdoor exercise group not only provides physical activity but also much needed social interaction, mental support and general friendship bonds that become increasingly more difficult to forge as we age.

Recently there have been cancer diagnosis, house sales, house purchases, sick children the normalities of life and as an outdoor group we share these things and help each other through. It is really important whilst we physically ‘isolate’ to maintain good mental health practice, and for me that includes putting those running shoes on at the crack of dawn and meeting my group in the park.

So here are the rules for outdoor exercise, bring your own mat, exatube, weights and box gloves. Maintain a 1.5m distance from others and keep your waterbottle and personal belongings in a separate bag. Wash your hands before and certainly after your workout. Carry hand sanitiser and don’t share workout equipment.

You can maintain your exercise regime, and you can attend fitness classes outdoors. As they say in the army, just practice CDF. I’ll let you google that one.

Green Lentil Soup in a slow cooker

Green lentil and vegetable soup (slow cooker)

A thick and creamy soup for swallow practice and leaving some of the vegetables unblended to stretch that trismus out and around the spoon.
A very filling soup with loads of nutrient dense goodness. I adapted it meet some immune system needs by way of turmeric and ginger powder. Yum!

1 cup green lentils

¾ cup split peas ( or you can use more lentils)

1 onion chopped

2 cups chopped potato

2 cups of chopped celery

2 cups of butternut squash

5 cloves of garlic minced

1 litre of stock – chicken or vegetable ( I prefer chicken)

Salt (Himalayan)

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ginger powder

To finish

1 – 2 cups of chopped spinach or kale

Few glugs of quality olive oil

1 cup of chopped parsley

Red wine vinegar, or sherry or lemon juice or I added apple cider vinegar – about a large tablespoon – no science taste and add to suit.

  1. Place all ingredients in the slow cooker , cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 7-8 hours.
  2. Place 3 – 4 cups of the soup in a blender with a few glugs of olive oil and pulse until semi smooth and creamy looking. Add this back to the pot – if you like more whole vegetables then only pulse 3 cups.  I like to leave a few whole vegetables to practice chewing and opening mouth ( trismus exercise)
  3. Stir in spinach / kale / parsley and then let it sit for a few minutes.
  4. Season to taste and add the sherry, vinegar or lemon juice.
  5. You can add parmesan cheese to serve also and I soaked sourdough bread in it with butter!

Mind your C’s and Q’s

C is for Chia seeds. I am like a kid with a new puppy, I just can’t put it down.

I am fast learning as a head and necker (that is, a head and neck cancer patient) that Chia seeds are worth their weight in gold. Today’s experiment involved not only Chia seeds but Powder Me powders and here’s what happened.

Mixed Berry and Chia Seed Pudding

I can hear the groan from here, but trust me this pudding is something meant for breakfast but I snack on it throughout the day and it could double perfectly as a dessert after dinner. I have dysphagia and with the recent removal of my PEG I have to go it alone now in terms of eating orally.

It is still hard to swallow, so this cold, slippery pudding is just right Goldilocks. Pictured here are white chia seeds ( you will note the addition of the red powder does not turn the pudding red, there are no nasty food colourings in our powders) and I first really took notice of them when I started adding them to my smoothies. They create a thickness and slippery fullness that makes them ideal for swallowing.

Now, before they censor me, this is important because avocados are so expensive. Four avocados will set you back almost $16 dollars in Australia, so I mix up it up using avocado and chia seeds every second day or so. Both make smoothies creamy, thick and delightfully decadent.

Chia seeds are the tiny black seeds from the Salvia hispanica plant, a member of the mint family which comes from Central and South America. Today I used a white variety and the seeds, no matter the colour, pack a nutritious punch. High in fibre, protein and omega 3 fatty acids they contain a lot of the nutrients we head and neckers need after radiotherapy.

We are constantly told to eat calories, eat protein, eat fat. Now for the first few months I did that with icecream. Believe it or not, that’s not sustainable and unless you can afford top shelf icecream constantly – I found the cheaper brands made me cough and aspirate. I also didn’t want to be eating all that sugar. Like I said, not sustainable. But to have this easy reach cold pudding in the fridge that takes minutes to make is great.


Has a mouth feel like frog spawn – I am guessing !

Here’s the recipe

1 cup (250 ml) water mixed with 1-2 tablespoons of protein powder (vanilla or plain) I use 180 Nutrition (Australian and no added nasties – that’s a whole other blog)

¼ cup (35 g / 1.2 oz) whole white chia seeds

2 teaspoons of Powder Me Mixed Berry powder

And or 6 strawberries

2 tablespoons natural yoghurt or coconut milk or coconut yoghurt

1 teaspoon turmeric (optional)

2 teaspoons of coconut sugar (optional)

METHOD

  1. Combine water and chia seeds into a bowl and stir gently for 3 minutes.
  2. Set aside for 20 minutes allowing the seeds to form a soft gel appearance.
  3. Puree the strawberries, turmeric & mixed berry powder until smooth in a blender. If you are not using fresh fruit just turf the powders in the bowl with the water and chia seeds.
  4. Spoon pulp into a bowl.
  5. Add  3 tablespoons, natural yoghurt, coconut milk or coconut yoghurt.
  6. Mix through until combined.
  7. Divide between 2 serving bowls. I put mine in one larger glass bowl with an airtight lid and put it in the fridge.
  8. Garnish each pudding with a sprinkling of mixed berry powder and drizzle with a light drizzle of coconut milk.
  9. I added some cinnamon and frozen fruit for the image.

Q is for Quinoa –

Quinoa is a flowering plant in the amaranth family. It is an herbaceous annual plant grown as a crop primarily for its edible seeds; the seeds are rich in protein, dietary fibre, B vitamins, and dietary minerals in amounts greater than in many grains. Source: Wikipedia It’s great for people looking for gluten free and the rest of us? Well, I am still experimenting with it. I don’t mind eating it if someone else has prepared it into a wonderful dish or a salad made of it with fried haloumi and lemon juice, then I’ll eat it.

I am yet to wax lyrical about it. Give me time, I’ll find something worth while writing about. In the meantime try the pudding. Ten out of ten.

Help me Rhonda kick start the Honda!

Kickstart or “activate” your turmeric. Who knew?

Activated Turmeric is better than just slugging back Turmeric powder and hoping for the best & here is why.

If it is not activated it’s not activated, meaning it is not doing the intended job. I started taking turmeric about 12 months ago to help with inflammation after surgery and radiotherapy. Turmeric contains Curcumin, which is the strong anti -inflammatory ingredient we are after. The end goal is to get the Turmeric from your mouth to your small intestine where it can be absorbed and be its most beneficial. To activate you need to follow this equation: –

Turmeric + Black Pepper + Fat = Kickstart Rhonda, that is activated Turmeric

Black pepper contains Piperine a compound that increases the bioavailability of Curcumin. Piperine slows the absorption of Curcumin in the stomach allowing the fat time to carry the Turmeric to the small intestine and that’s as techy as I am going to get for you and all you really need to know.

So to make this as easy as possible make up a small jar of activated turmeric paste and keep it in the fridge to use in smoothies and Golden Milk drink (recipe below).

Here’s the recipe to kicks start your Turmeric journey and get it out of the yard.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup filtered water (not tap)

1/4 cup organic turmeric powder

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and heat on medium-high, stirring constantly until the mixture forms a thick paste (about 5 minutes). Carefully transfer to a resealable glass container and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

L🧡VE

Golden Milk is a gorgeous way to have turmeric.

Combined with your preferred milk turmeric boosts calcium absorption, while the added fat from the coconut oil aids in your bodies ability to absorb and reap the rewards of turmeric. This soothing drink is the perfect thing to incorporate into your night time routine or on a cooler autumn afternoon to help promote a restful night’s sleep and boost immunity.

🧡
Ingredients:

1/2 – 1 tsp turmeric paste

1 cup milk (almond, soy, coconut, or dairy) try my home made oat milk recipe you can find it on The Food Manifesto facebook site.

1 tsp coconut oil

Honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar to taste

Cinnamon or nutmeg to taste

Combine turmeric paste, milk, and coconut oil in a small saucepan and heat on medium high, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from coming to a boil. Once heated, transfer to a mug and add the honey and cinnamon if you like. Perfect for the pending cooler weather.

Learning to …

Photo by Tim Mossholder – thank you Tim

For me, a big part of “getting over” my cancer was getting my PEG tube removed. In the end it took 14 months and it fell out of its own accord, in an Ambulance on the way to hospital. I asked that they didn’t try and put it back. I felt within myself it was time to stop using it.


However, before I got to that point I had to research and experiment with smoothies and real food before I could transition back to oral feeding. So here’s the thing, I could not wait to get off the “commercially prepared liquid enteral nutrition formulas” also known as “artificial food”. Yes, that is a mouthful and the more research I did the more I realised I had to get back on to real food before I could start to heal and feel better.

I will preface this next section by saying I am eternally grateful for my surgeon suggesting I have a PEG put in. If I had not done so it is pretty unlikely I would be here writing this today. Secondly to the manufacturers of “commercially prepared liquid enteral nutrition formulas” – thankyou, for without your “artificial food” I also would not be here to write this.

About 3- 4 months into PEG feeding I started to really miss the social aspect of food and eating. I was also missing cups of tea and all those beautiful moments you take for granted with food. I took a long time to heal and with all the ups and downs I started to research a passion of mine and that was food as medicine, which was the whole and sole of my business The Food Manifesto. It took four years to realise my business names’ purpose.

Extract from my forthcoming book : Easy Follow Easy Swallow

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