lifestyle, love

Cooking: Rediscovering my Passions

A few weeks ago, I rediscovered an old passion of mine, cooking, by making the decision that I needed to make a dramatic change and come off dairy and gluten products to help myself after a really bad weekend of reflux.

And yes, my decision was a drastic one.

But I had been to the hospital 3 times in 4 days over my reflux because it was so terrible. I have read in quite a few places that going dairy free would help reflux and I knew that I needed to do this.

Display of vegetables and flowers with the text "Rediscovering My Passion for Cooking"

Now for me, there were a few factors involved in making this decision. As a family, we have all been eating separate meals and Kevin has been the one to take care of it. This has meant they have generally been ready meals, which I knew were more expensive and less healthy than cooking from scratch but didn’t have the energy to do anything about it.

Getting my energy back

My energy has been very low for quite a long time. Have you ever had your iron levels go down low – I mean really low? Low to the point of almost needing a transfusion? My blood levels go up and down and were that low before the end of last year. You don’t just feel tired, you feel a total exhaustion that goes beyond everything and right down into your very bones.

I don’t know if my levels have ever gone that low before but they certainly were that low just before Christmas. So last year I started taking iron tablets to help myself and it has taken until now for my energy to begin to build up. My levels have reached 48, which is nearly half of where they should be – 100. And although I was beginning to feel a bit better, I certainly didn’t feel that my energy was back to normal, especially as I have been having terrible trouble with my asthma playing up.

Johnathan’s Gluten Intolerance

Talking of things playing up, poor Johnathan didn’t have normal toilets until last year when we took him off gluten. We had read that children on the autistic spectrum sometimes need to be gluten free and when we did so his toilets were normal within 3 days so I knew he needed to remain gluten free. This meant if we were going to all have the same meals (when I had the energy to cook), I needed to make sure they were gluten free.

So my decision was easy.

If I was doing one change already, I may as well do the two of them at once and go gluten and dairy free. Obviously, I don’t want Kevin to be eating meals that are always both so other than the evening meal everything else he eats is normal food.

You must be thinking that I was never going to get to the cooking – my new passion.

Well, here we are at last!

I have been rediscovering the joy I had in cooking and baking now that I had when I was a child. And I have learned in these last few weeks I actually enjoy experimenting. All these years of watching Masterchef have finally paid off. I am doing it this time with a base of knowledge so know what things are likely to work.

After one day of being gluten free not only did my reflux feel much better but that ghastly exhaustion did too!

Do you know what I love best about cooking?

Well, not the clearing and cleaning and tidying up. That’s the annoying part of it. For me, there is nothing greater than being able to put a smile on someone’s face whether it is because of the writing, cooking or creating. There needs to be an acknowledgment of the fact they are happy and that I have brought a touching moment of joy into their lives.

I want the meal I provide for them to be the best I can produce and one that is memorable for them. No, I don’t want to enter any competitions (I don’t compete well, I end up with decision paralysis), but I do want to make the best meal I can for those that I love.

Experimenting is what I love to do. Following the rules to the letter so that you take the joy and satisfaction from them, no. To be truly creative, you have to be free to do what you like, but use the principles involved so that the product you produce is the best you can do. They are not there to hold you down but to give you wings to fly off and recreate something using them and paying homage to them but allowing yourself the decisions that make the dish special.

My rediscovered passion is experimental cooking.

I am thoroughly enjoying my new role and the energy I have again.

Yes, I do get tired. But it’s at the end of the day when everybody gets tired. I don’t have that awful tiredness overcome me every afternoon anymore. And my reflux is generally much better. And I am cooking good food for my family again


Why Encouragement is Needed

Encouragement is a good thing to both give and receive. 

The best boss I ever had was a great encourager.  She believed she could get better work out of people if she made them feel good about themselves.  I read about people who say they need someone to metaphorically “give them a kick and get them working” but is this really what they need?

 If you want to get a child or animal to do something, do you do this to them or do you give them encouragement? 

Negativity can bring bad results because it doesn’t give people motivation to do something positive.  Negative comments don’t help people, but they slowly chip away at the self-esteem and soon the words that person is subconsciously saying to themselves are negative and produce negative reactions.  You can’t get something good out of something bad.

I love to encourage people and see them rise to meet me.  Their shoulders go up and you can see the little shake they do that lets you know they are now ready to perform whatever it is that is needed.  Why would you not want to get that reaction or not want it for yourself? 

The best teachers are the ones that encourage their pupils and reward them for good behavior.  We are no different. Without thanking or rewarding the person or yourself, you’re not going to get or give the best work you can do. 

You hear a lot about self-care at the moment and how important it is.  What else is self-care other than both encouraging and rewarding yourself for the things you complete and give you the courage and strength to keep going? 

So next time you think about being negative to yourself or someone who works for you – just think.  What reaction do you want?  To get the best work from yourself or anyone else, you need to encourage. 

Entrepreneurship is a very lonely business but encourages yourself to keep going and take care of yourself and those around you so that both you and they feel they can do the best work they are capable of.

Until next time…..


Starting School for Jonathan

This is an event that happens to all children and although some might be anxious, with those on the spectrum you never know just how they are going to react.

I went with Johnathan to see the new school we wanted him to attend and he was delighted at it and was happy and excited and wanted to go there. He wanted to be reassured that he would be happy and comfortable there. On my part, I wanted to see round the whole place because with Kevin and I both needing wheelchairs, I needed to know if we would fit or not. If we hadn’t, I would have been disappointed, but we did. Everything seemed delightful and I was pleasantly surprised that he was very enthusiastic about the whole idea of going.

Fast forward to a few days ago – oh my goodness!

What a difference! He is now so anxious about the whole thing. Poor boy ended up with what he thought was tummy pain and it turned out to be anxiety.

I knew he was an anxious child, but I didn’t realize it would get him to the place where it would begin impacting his little, young life. We are looking at new and different ways to help him cope with the idea of moving from a mix of school and nursery to an actual school where he will start in Primary 1 – basically the first year or whatever you call it (for all of you, unfortunate people, not living in Scotland).

So many children struggle to cope with the thought of the new school and what might happen there, and that’s ok.

It’s normal to worry about a new situation, a change in your life, or new circumstances. But it’s how you deal with it that’s important. And I recognize the fact Johnathan feels 10 times what other children feel so this stomach pain is real and a problem for him. Right now, I don’t know what the answer will be, but I know that we need to find one for him that will reassure him everything will be ok.

And yes, it is scary to a child who hates being OUT of routine to even begin the attempt to get his/her head around the concept that everything will be different. He’s already upset that Mummy doesn’t cut toast right so…we’ll see what transpires.

At the end of the day, he needs to adjust to this.

However, it is a massive change for him and we just need to work out the best way to handle it for him. I know we will do it, but sometimes it takes time to find the answer. And that’s ok.

So, with love and blessings, let me say farewell and I will see you next week.


Judging others

Do you notice when you judge others, or when others are judgemental of you?  Have you ever realised that sometimes you think people are judging you but find out later that actually they aren’t?

Judgement can be so insidious. 

It can puff up in a minute and in your mind things are wrong or the person you are looking at is doing something wrong.  But actually, that doesn’t mean it is.  Obviously, I’m not saying if you see someone steal or kill or break the law, they are not criminals. They are, and justice needs to takes its course.

But when you make a quick judgement, are you right in doing so?  That person with the child that is just shouting out and annoying your nice quiet dinner – why can’t they just shut that child up?  And instantly, you have moved to judging someone rather than giving them a chance or looking at it in a compassionate way.

Compassion is always a good thing to have. 

I’m not saying that you have to be compassionate to the extent that it affects your own health and wellbeing, because that is a dumb thing to do.  You need to take care of yourself first, your family second and outsiders third.

Honestly?  Compassion is a much needed quality in a world that is so quick to judge.  My son is on the spectrum and it has been quite a journey.  The temptation to NOT respond with compassion and understanding when he has been screaming solidly for over an hour is  not easy to resist.  I will admit that when you are tired or sore the last thing you want to do is try and be understanding of his needs.  But you have to be.  

Unfortunately, it can be easy to judge another. But does it bring you any kindness, any happiness?  No.  What it does its make you feel guilty or embarrassed the next time you see that individual.  So what are you going to do?  Maybe you should give them the benefit of the doubt.

Last night my husband and son were playing hide and seek with some of his toys. My son said he forgot where he had hidden one of them.  He has done that before and known where they were.  But my husband said to him that the reason he couldn’t remember where it was hidden was because he hid one toy in our bedroom and the other toy in the living room. and that was why.  So in the future, the toys would be hidden in the same room.

You can always find a reason to help a person and not judge them. 

My point is that it is definitely the correct thing to do.  However, it doesn’t mean that you have to accept the wrong behaviour or allow it to impact your family.  They have the right to be protected from something/someone you know is unsafe – for whatever reason.

So when you start to judge, stop and think for a minute as to what compassion could do for them or say to them at that moment in time.  But with understanding, compassion and care, you still have the responsibility to protect others.