Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fishing in the summer

Its summer time in Idaho, and summer is all about getting out in the sun and enjoying the outdoor activities. While the guys were out on the jetty fishing, I took some time to play around with my lenses, and went around shooting a little bit of the beautiful nature surrounding us.

In case you don't know, my name is Natx for a reason. I love Nature, which explains Nat, and X is from my Chinese name. I enjoy basking in nature and enjoying the breeze in my face. I think its beautiful how the entire earth works. I'm always in awe watching how everything goes in a cycle on earth. Its self sustaining!

Enjoy the pictures!

The aftermath of the recent bush fires around Bruneau Dunes State Park...

Sunset on the way home...


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Gluten Intolerance or Gluten Sensitivity?

My last post mentioned about how my stomach reacted to certain foods, and how painful that experience was for me. Having to rush to the hospital at 9pm and going through all that pain with not being able to walk properly for a week, not fun at all.

Earlier this week I read this article by Women's Health,. It really came in at the right time. I'm still confused as to why my stomach reacted the way it did after eating some muesli cookies. Was it really due to the raw wheat, barley and rye that was inside?I still don't know.

I went for a consultation yesterday at the clinic, and asked for a referral to the town hospital to get tested for food allergies. I wanted to be sure of what I had allergic reactions to, so I could avoid the right stuff. I didn't want to blindly eat and test and harm my stomach any longer. It was tough going through an entire month of diarrhea and later finding out that it was lactose in my morning coffee that was hurting me. I really don't want to go through that situation again.

That said, I've tried to add "light" gluten products back into my meals, and as of now, other than the usual stomach bloat I have, no other symptoms. There's a paragraph in the article that mentions that we shouldn't eliminate gluten products from our diet before the tests confirms it. So, I'm planning to keep this way till I get my appointment with the hospital. But mainly, I'm only using all purpose flours, soy sauce, and oatmeal. So far so good. Keeping my fingers crossed.

This girl has gotta have her cake, and hopefully, this wont take it away from her.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lifestyle 360!

Just 3 days ago, after baking some amazing museli cookies, and actually eating 5 of them in a go, I had a terrible bout of pain in my right torso. It hurt so much I could barely breathe. My entire right leg was numbed during the episode. It felt like a million knives stabbing at my right torso.

Thankfully, the hubby was around, and the pain came after I prepared dinner for both of us. I collapsed to the floor and he carried me to the sofa. And shortly after, it was too painful, and he rushed me to the hospital. After a round of urine tests and blood tests, the doctor said everything was at the right levels, therefore, it might be my stomach rejecting/ unable to digest the food I ate. 

He also mentioned it was very common for lactose intolerant people to slowly develop into gluten intolerant as well. So here I am, a self confessed cake addict, now being administered as gluten intolerant, and trying to find her way to another piece of cake without the pain.

Last 2 days, I had trouble walking as the pain in my right side was still there. And sometimes when I walked, there would be sharp pains down my thigh. My right lower back still hurts occasionally. Still trying to figure out what causes that.

While trying to work towards a gluten free diet, I'm still testing out some food like oats, and floured pastries, to see the extent of my intolerance. The donut gave me cramps on my stomach, and the oats, a bad headache... Sigh....

Trying to adjust my recipes and my pantry to a lactose and gluten free zone.. I'm calling this change the lifestyle 360, and its my route to a healthier life! Take away the nasty and throw in the healthy!

I've started with some recipe experimenting... Will share some once it tastes right.

Are you with me?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A change in lifestyle

So fast forward to now, 2012. What have I been up to?

The hubby bought me a DSLR over the Thanksgiving Holiday 2011. So I've got myself pretty much into photography. Will share some photos when I get to how to put my watermark on the photos.. I'm really not into editing yet. Still learning, and hopefully, will eventually get there. But I do have some good shots of our travels, and some awesome shots of the food I've been playing with in the kitchen!

In January 2012, I had a terrible bout of giddiness, diarrhea, and alot of headache. After abt 13 bottles of poh chai pills (chinese medicine for diarrhea), and eliminating foods from my diet over the course of 2 weeks, I came to realise that my dairy creamer was the main cause. After trying other milk products, I came to a conclusion that I am lactose intolerant. So far, its tested to only milk products, and whey protein. Have no idea the limits of it, but I've replaced my milk with soy and almond milk, which in my opinion, seems healthier too!

The whole lactose intolerance issue started in January this year and lasted till early February before I managed to discover what was irritating my body, and completely eliminate them from my diet..

Just when I thought all was over, in early March 2012, I had rashes all over my torso. Initially, I thought it was bed bugs, or dust mites, and proceeded to clean out everything in the house, to get rid of the dust, and hopefully help my skin heal. But it started spreading across my body and onto my arms and thighs, to the extent I would jump out of my bed with an itch so bad that I could not go back to sleep. I became tired and agitated. After about 3 weeks of rashes, I finally decided to go to the doctor and was precribed Pityriasis Rosea.

Doc said there was no medication for it, and it would last 4 to 8 weeks and would eventually go off on its own. I was also told to try to expose the affected skin to sunlight, so that it would dry off and eventually peel off. After searching for natural ways to soothe the rash, and help the skin, it eventually cleared off in mid April, after almost 6 weeks of irritation.

The rash still comes back on and off, I still have small patches of it, but it doesn't itch that bad anymore.. Its not contagious or harmful in anyway, so I'll just let it ease off on its own.

At the same time, while looking for natural cures to my above 2 problems, I wanted to heal my body naturally from inside out. It seemed that over the last 27 years of living, I might have harmed my insides alittle too much from all the rubbish I've been eating. I came across 2 shows: Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and Forks over Knives.

Both shows changed my outlook on food, and what I put into my mouth. I'm also trying to get myself more active. I want to be physically stronger, and more independent. I'm trying to set aside around an hour everyday to do something active. I've been trying out yoga, and quite like it as well.

I'm also in the process of trying to "clean" up my foods and recipes. While I switch over to healthier options, and try out new recipes, and go into a little recipe development, workout to a healthier body, and learn take better photographs, I hope you will also enjoy the ride through this journey with me.

As I change my life, I hope I inspire you to change yours too.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I'm coming back!!!!

Its been long since I last updated the blog, but I'm glad to let you know that I'm coming back! I'm still playing around in the kitchen and I'm glad to bring with me some recipes that I'm testing and trying out.

As with working out, I've been lazing a little. But am glad to say I'm gonna push myself alittle further this time. Took up a course in Personal Training, and will be glad to share some tips on how to keep your body fit and healthy.

Strong is the new sexy. And I'm bringing sexy back.

So stay tuned.

Friday, March 30, 2012

A wintry update.

Yeah I'm back!

After a long break. 2012 came hard and fast, and I've been pretty much lazing on the couch. Haven't been updating the blog, haven't been blogging at all. The last post was like in November 2011. I haven't been up to anything much yet. Didn't do much traveling since we're trying to save up for our home and renovations.

The first couple of months in 2012 have been just plain old snowboarding for the hubby every weekend. I joined him on a couple of trips trying to ski down the basic slopes. But still, the thrill really isn't for me. I spent half the time frustrated and screaming. The slopes were way too fast for me and my muscles ached day after day after just one trip.

Also, it seems like every single time I go to a ski resort, the snow storms followed me. These mountains claim to be the sunniest mountains ever, with the best weather conditions. But each time I went, a snow storm comes, and the guys explained that, it hasn't happened in the last xx years. The conditions were way bad for beginners like me, making the snow conditions hard to ski in.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A taste of Duncan Hines

So, I've been selected for the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Duncan Hines. I'm really into trying out cake mixes because that's how I get my first taste of that particular cake, and after that, when I trial and err with online recipes, I know what to change to improve on the taste to either be better than the one I got from the cake mix, or get closer to the cake mix..

I believe every household that does a little entertaining once in awhile should have boxes of cake mixes stocked up in their panty. If you have guests coming last minute and need to prepare some food to share, you can whip up a cake in minutes and share them over coffee! I mean, like really, who doesn't like CAKE?! My friend calls me a carnivore. I say, CAKIEVORE! I can't live a week without cake. *guilty*

I was really in the mood for carrot cake, with all the cold weather, and spices in winter, I think carrot cake really gets me in the mood! I took this opportunity to grab a box of Duncan Hines Classic carrot mix. It's a new and improved recipe by them, and it belonged to the decadent range, where they add in a pouch of real ingredients! Decadent. Desserts are supposed to be like that right?

After I came home, I checked out the Duncan Hines website to see what other flavours of cake mixes were available, and was surprised to find out that they had a recipe in which they tweaked the cake mix to add a few more ingredients to make it different so you never get bored or feel traditional! I chose the Carrot Cake Chewy Oatmeal bars. And quickly got to work on the recipe.

Here's whats in the box. A packet of premixed cake mix, and a separate pack of real carrots and raisins!

They're all dried up at this moment... you just have to pour in hot water.... and..... TADAH!!!! It soaks up the liquid and plumps back into yummy juiciness!

Melt the other ingredients in a pot...... Stir well to mix it all up...

Mix your dry ingredients well.

Add the egg into dry ingredients then mix in the cooked sugar mixture., till well incorporated..

Bake, and refrigerate.

Stack as many as you can on a plate and sink your teeth onto all of them.

I would recommend taking it out of the fridge 10 mins before cutting into them. As you can see I cut into mine too soon, and it was a little hard, thus, the crumbly and uneven edges. Taste wise, biting into it when it was cold made it a little too hard for my liking. But after devouring the first 2 pieces and letting the last one warm up room temperature, I would say its awesome. I love oatmeal, and have been looking for a oatmeal bar recipe for quite some time. I failed in a few before. Too hard, too raw, too sweet, too sticky.But I'm glad I finally made a pretty good tasting oatmeal bar, and am excited to experiment with other flavours and oatmeal. Try it and let me know how it goes! Meanwhile, I'll be experimenting more in my kitchen! Till then!