Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Posts tagged ‘SCD’

Healing: Day 4 … and also: Brownies!

Here we are on Day 4. Yesterday I complained that my digestion seemed to have stalled. Well, it’s fixed! It’s the best it’s been in four years, which – well, it’s hard to explain just how huge that is.

My skin on day 4 of recovering from a coconut/nut allergy reaction

My skin on day 4 of recovering from a coconut/nut allergy reaction

My skin is improving every day, and the ulcers and blisters everywhere else are much better, too.

Also, my headache has improved no end.

I have to confess that I did not go to Pilates this morning. For one thing, I only stopped work at 1AM, and the prospect of getting up at 5AM was more than I could manage. But also, the aching around my right ovary, while improving, is not actually better. And Pilates makes it worse.

I have a cunning plan, though. I will either unearth my Pilates DVDs or find a good YouTube Pilates channel, get up early every morning, and do it here. Then I should get stronger, and maybe in a month or so I can go back.

Because I’m back to eating clean, obviously sugar is off the list. And dairy. And with them, chocolate.

A life without chocolate is chaos.

So yesterday I had no choice but to make brownies. As you do.

If you’ve been here a while, you’ll know that I’m a HUGE fan of Chocolate Covered Katie, and her no-bake brownies are The Bomb! Since I can’t have nuts, though, I had to improvise. I have tried a range of seed substitutes, but actually the best solution was what I did last night: simple sunflower seeds.

This is the easiest recipe ever, and these chocolatey heavenly squares of goodness are the most amazing snack/soul food ever.

sugar-free dairy-free gluten-free vegan browniesHere’s my variation of Katie’s no-bake gluten-free sugar free dairy-free low-carb vegan brownies of awesomeness


  • 250g dates, soaked in black filter coffee for 20 – 30 minutes
  • 1 cup of sunflower seeds, thoroughly smooshed in the blender
  • 6 tablespoons of cocoa
  • 2 tsp unsweetened brewed black filter coffee (because coffee)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence (optional – I’m not a fan personally)


  • Blend everything together until it makes a smooth paste (and, as an aside, can someone please donate me a totally awesome blender than smooshes the living daylights out of seeds and dates?)
  • Line a baking tray with wax paper.
  • Spread the smooshed goodness you’ve just created all over the wax paper.
  • Exercising every ounce of self-control you can muster, leave the mixture in the fridge for two hours to firm up.
  • Cut it. Serve it*. Eat it.

*Note: serving does not imply sharing. Just saying.



Update …


(This is really just a journal of my SCD/recovery journey, so that next time I am tempted to try a teaspoon of Rolo ice-cream or a handful of crisps, I don’t. Please feel no obligation whatsoever to read or engage with these posts.)

Coconut/nut skin allergy reaction on my face - day 3 of healing

Coconut/nut skin allergy reaction on my face – day 3 of healing

Just a quick update … yesterday I shot to the chemist to grab something – anything – to sooth my flaming skin. My kind and friendly chemist gave me Mylocort cortisol cream, and recommended I apply it frequently.


I did, along with the SilverGenesis gel.

This morning, it looks a whole lot better >>

Yesterday I had a raging headache all day, and the two aspirins I took did nothing to relieve it. Today is much better though: it’s just simmering now, and the rage has passed.

My gut aches and my digestion seems to have paused. It could be because I ran out of enzymes, although I’d hoped that the probiotics and homeopathic digestive drops and tissue salts might conspire to get things moving. Especially since I have officially eaten NO starch in three and a half days.


Starting Somewhere

Establishing a baseline for pending life changesDay 2 of the blog challenge, and day 2 of eating really clean. (Does coffee count?)

My raging headache has matured into a simmering migraine, and I’m actually thinking of taking a short nap.

I thought I’d get the week started with some stats so that I can track my progress.


I weigh 66kg and I’m a size 36. Not that I am specifically looking to lose weight, but it helps to know where I’m starting.


I apply rubbing alcohol to my suppurating blisters every morning and evening. If you imagine this would sting a little, you’re wrong. It burns like Billy-Oh and takes every ounce of willpower I have not to say the very bad words I’m thinking.

I follow that with calamine lotion.

Throughout the day, I apply Silver Genesis Skin Hygiene Super HydroGel, which seems to be, basically, colloidal silver suspended in aloe vera gel. It seems to be improving things:

bad skin - day 2

Update on my bad skin – day 2

There’s still a long way to go, though. I have to present a marketing strategy to the board at one of my clients’ this evening, and so far I have no idea how I will look presentable for this.

Other than that, I take a combo of vitamins every day, including Staphysagria powder from my homeopath. I also take a fairly potent probiotic, and L-Lysine every morning. The rest includes something foul-tasting called fulvic acid, drops for digestion and drops for immunity from the homeopath, and Doc Frank’s Business Owner Booster (BOB):

  • L-Carnitine
  • Chrome
  • Magnesium
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin B complex
  • Vitamin D3
  • Alpha-lipoic acid
  • Coenzyme Q10

Every evening I swallow a capful of colloidal silver.

Besides these things, I do Pilates once a week, and I’m supposed to do homework every day. I usually do the homework, but I’m pretty sure I’m not doing it right. I think I’m going to give the Pilates a break, because it hurts my lower back and makes the ache in my gut/ovary worse.

And I get way too little sleep – an average of 4-6 hours a night. I usually do nothing but sit at my desk working, fetch kids from school, and buy groceries. Every day of every week; every month of the year.

So that’s where we’re starting from.

Let’s see how it goes from here.



h o t - a i rIf you’re still reading this very sparsely and inconsistently updated blog, then consider this fair warning: things are about to get really dull.

This is for two reasons. First of all, I’ve set myself the goal of blogging every day for the next thirty days. (No, I’m not really sure why …)

Second, I am restarting my SCD plan.

It’s been four years (almost to the day) since I started my SCD journey. (It starts here.)

It lasted just on a year, and it was one of the most effective years of my life. I lost weight. I had energy. My skin cleared up* (sort-of). And my brain worked. Also – my digestion worked.

The thing is, towards the end of that year on SCD, my skin actually stopped being clear in what can only be described as a very dramatic way. It’s a bit too gross to describe in a public forum  but basically, I had break-outs everywhere.

It took a long time to get to the bottom of that skin issue. Eventually, it turned out that I had developed an allergy to coconut. Maybe I always had one. I don’t know. The point is, now I can’t eat coconut.

That’s a little bit of a challenge, because coconut and nut flours form the basis of most of the SCD recipes that aren’t simply meat and vegetables.

Anyway, since getting to the bottom of the coconut thing, my skin did clear up. I have eased up on the eating plan and basically just follow a gluten-free eating plan now.

It includes potatoes and potato crisps. It also includes gluten-free flour, baked goods,  pasta, and pizza bases. The upside is that I picked up some of the weight I lost on SCD. Then some more. Then all of it. Then some more again.

At which point it stopped being an upside.

I also slowly started introducing dairy products, like cheese and yoghurt. The yoghurt (no matter how whole and pure, and even goat’s milk yoghurt) makes my throat, nose and chest close up. So that’s off the list.

Everything else seemed to be okay, but in recent months I feel like my health has steadily declined again. (Of course, it could be all the late nights. My gut is bloating and something that feels very like my right ovary is incredibly sore pretty much all the time.

On Wednesday I ate a gluten-free rusk, without checking the ingredients (#RookieMove!). It had coconut and nut flour. By the end of the day my jaw line had started to itch. The next morning, I had itchy bumps lining the lower part of my face, and the skin had started turning red.


bad skin 17 Jul 2016

My Skin on Day 1

Now, Sunday, my face is a mess. It’s itchy and blotchy and ugly – and all from just one stupid rusk. Which actually tasted a lot like chipboard, if I’m honest.


So here’s the plan: SOMETHING in my diet is hurting and fogging my brain, growing my gut, scarring my face, and causing me belly pain.

So it’s back to SCD. Except without any dairy, nuts, or coconut. Which leaves meat, veg … and maybe some seeds. We shall see.

This is day one.


Detox Day 3: intermittent failure and a clear head

Coffee. Productivity in a cup. Well, mug. Well - pot, really.

Coffee. Productivity in a cup. Well, mug. Well – pot, really.

Let’s recap the detox: Day 3 started badly. We both ached from head to toe and sported pounding headaches, rank breath and scratchy throats. Our voices were croaky, and clean teeth and fresh water did little to improve matters.

Faced with a large, greasy breakfast, I felt ill and battled to finish it. In fact, I couldn’t, and gave my excess bacon to Goldilocks. Who even knew there was such a thing as excess bacon?? Staggering out of bed late, we were only eating breakfast by 8:30, and I doubt we even made it to 9AM before I caved and made us coffee. Bulletproof, of course.

Oh. My. Word. Sweet hot ambrosia that wipes away the pain and badness of – well, everything. I confess that I chased the first delicious cup with a second, and then everything was right with the world. Armed with confidence, energy and a clean(ish) intestine, the girls and I tackled the mammoth task of sorting out their rooms. Not only did we tidy them – we switched the beds from one to the other, and threw away an entire bin bag’s worth of debris! And it only took us three hours – unaided by male assistance, I hasten to add.

It was amazing.

Then I made lunch, went shopping, got some work done, and we spent some family time huddled around the TV, watching Chuck. As you do. Red Riding Hood has decided to become a spy. Obviously. I think the role would suit her. She can be enigmatic if she wants to. And black certainly looks great on her.

Work was so much easier, since I had a clear brain and could focus on what was most important, and what needed to be done next.

We had our customary, doctor approved cheat of tiny avos and small amounts of biltong in the mid afternoon, but by seven o’clock we’d caved utterly. I guess it’s my fault for making what is arguably the best ever crustless quiche. Or maybe just the best food starving people have ever tasted. And yes, I know. We were hardly starving. We were weak and yielded easily to the temptation of the overfed.

Sunday morning was a doddle. We woke up refreshed and energised, ready to tackle a caffeine-fueled day, and be awesome. A big breakfast (with coffee) was followed after Church by raw nut and dried fruit bars from DisChem. Lunch comprised absolutely amazing omelettes, stuffed with fied onions, sautéed mushrooms and delicious cheese. And supper was chicken stew cum bone broth and boiled / steamed veg.

All in all, it was delicious, and we certainly feel cleaner and more focused. Papa Bear can concentrate better than ever (except the last time he did SCD with us); his mood is better, and he’s lost 4kg! (I, on the other hand, lost nothing, and made no progress whatsoever towards sorting out my little problem. Which, frankly, is so disheartening that I’m thinking of seeing a doctor.)

Last night I sat and made a comprehensive list of what I need to achieve this month. It’s doable, and having it all laid out in front of me makes me feel confident that I can and will achieve it, and that it’s manageable, rather than overwhelming. Which is definitely what I felt before I did that.

I’ll write a separate post on the Elexoma.

Autism Spectrum on a Shoestring

The point of Joy on a Shoestring is to focus on being joyful even when the budget is tight. It’s my own personal motivation to keep a good attitude even when things are hard (or harder than I’d like them to be, anyway).

If you’ve read more than a couple of my posts, you’ll know I’m not particularly good at this.

I’d like to be. I’d like to be counting my blessings and focusing on the good stuff.

But I don’t always get it right.

And that’s okay.

Part of the journey is being authentic, and it wouldn’t be much of a record, or much of a journal, if I didn’t also record some of the hard stuff, and some of my honest reactions to that hard stuff, instead of being all ra, ra, jolly hockey sticks all the time.

Not too long ago I wrote about how it really is possible to eat paleo on a shoestring budget, and I’ve also reported in the past on the wonderful results paleo or SCD/grain-free living has delivered for our family.

The thing is, bread is cheap. Popcorn is an affordable snack. And rice really does make a meal go further. I wish that wasn’t the case. But there comes a time in the life of every cash-strapped paleo family, I am sure, where the thought of another green apple, or one more slice of roast butternut, just doesn’t fill the heart with the same kind of joy that a fresh, hot slice of buttered toast doesn’t. And even though I honestly oppose the practice of using food for comfort, I also know that nothing warms the cockles of one’s heart like a home-made rusk dunked into yet another cup of coffee. With sugar. And milk.

Sometimes, it just goes like that.

It’s been going like that in our house for a couple of months.

I still get migraines and digestive issues and rashes and breathing difficulties when I eat wheat, so I don’t eat it. But everyone else has a less dramatic reaction, and it takes months to manifest.

It’s manifesting now.

Red Riding Hood has a chesty cough that hasn’t budged in about two weeks. She’s battling with sinus, growing pains, nightmares, grumpiness and bloating.

And Goldilocks? Well, it’s definitely not making things easier. Her tics are off the charts – for her, at least. We’re not in any kind of Tourette’s Syndrome support group, so I don’t know what other people are facing, but Goldilocks is battling more vocal tics than she’s ever had before. She has a tic that forces her to swallow, one that makes her breathe hard, a teeth clenching tic (I have that too, at the moment), a yawning tic, and tonight she started a violent head nodding tic that is really going to make social interactions a trial for her if we can’t take care of it. She has an intermittent windmill-type tic, as well. She has to wave her arms (one or both) like a windmill, and it looks rather uncomfortable. It’s also not as easy to disguise as some of her other tics.

Furthermore, Goldilocks’ ADD is a serious challenge for us both at the moment. I realise that stress and an erratic approach to healthy eating are not doing my patience any favours, but even when I step back and assess the situation objectively, there’s no denying that her ability to focus is at an all-time low. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her like this before. She can’t sit still to any degree. She can’t keep track of conversations. We all love playing boardgames, and usually she’s streaking ahead in the game, but not now. She can barely keep track of what’s going on from one moment to the next.

Both girls are also displaying unusually high levels of anxiety. Now, I know what you’re thinking: they’re picking up on our stress. Okay, perhaps you’re right. Even though we go out of our way to shield them from most of it, they are wise, perceptive, sensitive children and we’re not that good at hiding our emotions.

But the thing is, we kind of are. When we talk about our lives and our family, they consistently report happiness, contentment and joy. They describe how grateful they are for how bountiful our lives are. They’re happy with life.

Their anxiety focuses on bigger issues: the economy; the government; the after life. Big issues that are way outside of any of our control. It could be a sublimation of what they feel at a grass roots level, but it could just as easily be the kind of sweeping paranoia that comes from eating bread – in our family, at any rate.

There can be no doubt that, at least for Goldilocks and Red Riding Hood, a grain-free diet is the only hope of a life that resembles “normal”. I am not calling it a cure, or even a solution for anyone else in a similar situation. I’m just saying our family needs to be paleo. I need to get us back to that.

Have you found similar results with paleo in your family? Or do you have a different solution/coping mechanism for your challenges? I’d love to hear about it. Please leave a comment in the box below and let’s chat about what works!

Paleo on a Shoestring

Paleo: because bacon

Paleo: because bacon

This July it will be two full years since we embarked on our starch-free eating plan. The results have been worth the effort, and the effort has turned out to be negligible: a simple reframing of priorities and updating of perspectives. Some of the benefits we’ve seen include:

  • Weight loss
  • Energy
  • Focus and concentration
  • No more bloating
  • Reduction in head aches
  • Less stress and anxiety
  • Easier breathing
  • Better sleep
  • Bacon

A lot of people have commented on the transformations they’ve seen, asking for our secret. When we explain that we simply don’t eat starch, the question is always the same:

How do you stay full?

No one can comprehend how we manage to fill five tummies without starch – and with very little money, to boot.

To tell the truth, it’s not as hard as it sounds. We shop the sales, we hunt down bargains on organic food (especially meat), and we fill up on veggies. The vegetables we buy really do go far, and they’re surprisingly affordable.

The Paleo-on-a-Shoestring basics

It helps to have your menu planned and filed in your mind, so that you don’t have too many surprises to cater for – especially when you’re just getting started.


We have eggs for breakfast virtually every day. This may sound expensive, until you take into account that eggs are one of the cheapest forms of protein available to man. We also have no milk at all, so the money we save on both carb-loaded, toxin-stuffed cereal and hormone-filled milk is now rerouted into yummy fried eggs. With butter or olive oil. So good.

Once in a while we treat ourselves to sugar-free organic bacon from our local butcher.


Almost every day of the week, lunch is a great big salad*. Which is AWESOME. Our salads include every yummy thing we can think of in the veggie kingdom, and a protein. Veggies include lettuce, spinach, cilantro (coriander/dhania), parsley, kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, spring onions, celery, beetroot (raw or roasted), roasted butternut – and even apples. Proteins vary, from salmon to mussels to tuna to chicken to chickpeas to eggs.  You could include cheese and/or nuts if you’re not allergic.

We usually include a wide range of herbs, some salt, and whichever seeds we have in the house (especially pumpkin seeds). Over time, we’ve found the best spots to get the cheapest quality ingredients in town. It’s a process, to be sure, but it’s a fun adventure, and so worth it in the end.

As often as possible our salads are doused in home-made mayonnaise (which is easy and affordable to make). This is because our mayonnaise is a) a source of protein, b) a source of GOOD fats, c) a source of calories (which we need nowadays), and d) delicious. If we’re out of mayonnaise for any reason, or just looking for a change, we’ll drizzle the salad with olive oil and either lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.


Our suppers really haven’t changed much, except that we no longer have a starch on the side of the plate. We make up the difference in veggies, and a good rule of thumb is to have 1/3 protein to every 2/3 vegetables.Options for protein range from chicken and fish (which is rare in our house because a) it costs so much, and b) none of us knows how to cook it), to beef, pork, and lamb, to beans and lentils.

We’ll have roast chicken, and use the left overs for the next day’s salad. Then we’ll use the carcass for bone broth, fill up the pot with vegetables, and have soup.

Or we might make shepherd’s pie from minced beef sautéed with veggies and filled out with lentils, topped with butternut (and/or sweet potato) mash. This is a good one as it goes far and keeps well in the freezer.

Sometimes we’ll have stew or curry, and we just eat these as they are, with no rice to sop them up. Or we might serve them on a bed of squash (or sweet potato on a cheat night).


At first we thought this would be a challenge, but we have more ideas for desserts than anything else. We have meringues, chocolate, chocolate mousse, pumpkin pie, marshmallows, smoothies, sorbets, brownies and more. I’ll start posting recipes as some point.

We spend no more on groceries than we did before – which in many cases is much less than many of our friends do. And I have the peace of mind of knowing that everyone I feed is getting a healthy, balanced, whole food diet, without any of the bad stuff.

*We’re busy switching lunch and supper around, but it’s a process. More on that to follow.
Have you tried Paleo or SCD, but found it too expensive? Or are you just thinking about getting started, and not sure if you can afford it? I’d love to hear your experiences – and your questions.

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