Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Pressure King Pro - My latest attempt at eating better

So if you have been following my posts you know that I have tried many things to help me eat better and pretty much nothing has worked. Expanding my diet is possibly the most difficult thing I have ever tried to do. I have resigned myself to the fact that I have to first start by eating the things I can eat more often, instead of relying on junk to fill me up or living on breakfast cereal which being honest is something I would be quite happy to do.

The area that needs the most improvement is absolutely what I take to work, I tend to buy rubbish that can be microwaved quickly. Part of the reason for that is that I am absolutely rubbish at preparing things in advance. I struggle to find the time and motivation and on top of that I struggle with how limited I am in what I eat because lets face it, not everything can be cooked in advance, transported to work and then reheated in a microwave.

My latest attempt at improving things is the Pressure King Pro, which is an electric pressure cooker with varying pre-programmed settings. My mother bought one recently and absolutely loves it, and if she likes it it must be absolutely awesome because I swear to goodness, that woman likes nothing.

It sounded like just what I needed. It cooks things quickly, cooks a reasonably large amount (it has a five litre capacity), is easy to clean and doesn't really need any input from a human after its set up. All you do is chuck everything in and choose the appropriate setting. Sounds so easy, even I can do it so I went out and bought one yesterday.

Now I admit I actually used it for the first time last night, but I had the idea that it would make a good blog post after the fact so I hadn't taken any photos so this is actually the second time I have used it. Last night I made a chicken and rice dish that cooked in exactly 12 minutes (plus time for the machine to build pressure and my prep time) and was delicious.

Today's offering is my idea of a chicken stew (remember I am a picky eater).

Firstly I chopped the chicken and added it to the rather large pot. Since this blog is about my life as a picky eater, the picture below is the amount of chicken I cut off and binned because it didn't meet my ridiculous standards (see even I know how ridiculous it is) Some of it has weird white bits on it, some has cartilage and some veiney bits - all in the bin!

I then peeled, chopped and added the carrots and potatoes. Carrots are one of the four vegetables I can eat so I am trying to eat them as often as I can.

I added water and one of those stock pot things, closed the lid and selected the 'meat' programme. There is a stew programme but that turns the machine into a slow cooker rather than a pressure cooker and since the whole point of this meal prepping thing is that I am going to cook several meals today and do it quickly, using the slow cooker function seemed to defeat the point. I added a few extra minutes to the timer because 13 minutes didn't seem enough and noted to myself that I need to figure out how to adjust timings and get my head around these programmes somehow.

And this is the finished product - 

Ok so I had to add some gravy cubes because the one stock pot thingy was nowhere near enough but that was very easy to do, I just crumbled them in and put the machine back on without the lid for a few minutes so I could stir it in and that was that.

I have to say it tasted fantastic and including prep and heating time couldn't have taken much more than half an hour to prepare. Best part is because you don't need to do anything while it is cooking, you are free to use that time for something else, for example, writing this blog post.

I have since washed the machine and currently have a whole chicken cooking in there which means I will get a whole cooked chicken, and more than enough stock to make a pot of soup too.

Meal prepping is turning out to be really easy with my new Pressure King Pro; in fact I am doing so well that I think I will need to order more bags for my vacuum sealer to store it all in!

Thursday, 5 May 2016

At the Doctors today

So today I had to follow up with my regular doctor after my visit to out of hours at the weekend.

Funny how they tell you to follow up with your regular doctor, then when you go you see someone who you have never clapped eyes on before. I think all the doctors who were at my surgery three years ago when we moved here have moved on, we have had two of our current doctors for a while but the third one keeps changing, this woman must be new.

She clearly hadn't read my file because she didn't even know why I was there. Had she read any of my information she would have seen the note from out of hours and saved us the first five minutes of our ten minute appointment with me having to explain everything. Nevertheless she was really lovely.

Told me I needed a scan, which I already knew, booked the scan, took some bloods and gave me painkillers designed for humans, rather than the ones out of hours gave me which I can only assume were made for large animals, elephants perhaps, given how strong they are.

I had been dreading this appointment. I am a nurse so I know that the number one thing you can do to help gallstones is to reduce the amount of fat in your diet. Strangely, I have never had high cholesterol, which is usually what causes gallstones but I was waiting for the 'you need to change your diet' speech.

I was prepared for this speech, and for the first time in my life, I was prepared to take it seriously, to demand help to tackle this head on. I realised we were nearing the end of our appointment and the speech hadn't come. I had worked myself up so much about it, decided to take a stand, to demand help. I couldn't let this opportunity pass me by, not when it was the first time I had been ready to accept help.

I told her that I wasn't looking forward to having to change my diet, she asked why and I just said 'I am such a fussy eater, to the point where it is actually an eating disorder' She just said 'we will cross that bridge when we come to it, lets wait for the scan and blood results, but losing a little weight would help'

I gave her the brief story of how I wasn't always this fat, how I don't understand how I got this fat, how I have a very active job, how I went to the gym twice a week religiously for a year and only lost 6 kilos. She said 'good work, 6 kilos is a  lot better than nothing' I swear you could have knocked me down with a feather, no one has ever thought that I have done well in my weight loss journey, they always tell me I am not doing enough.

We didn't go into any further discussion about it, but I tell you what I did do. As soon as I got home I made the decision that I will go back to that gym, simply feeling supported has spurred me on. I will also see if I still have my noom pro membership and start tracking my meals again, they gave me a free few months because I had a bad experience with it before. I find meal tracking on the app really difficult now that i do a mix of days and nights, because it works midnight to midnight so when I am on nightshift it counts my dinner as the next day's breakfast, but I will figure out a way.

I don't know if there is any help out there for people like me. I have heard some people have tried all sorts of different therapies, but I am yet to hear of any of it actually working, but I owe it to my health to at least give it a try.

Monday, 2 May 2016

The health problems are kicking in now - Gallstones!

So a while back I wrote a post about hidradenitis suppurativa and how it may be linked to my diet, although my diet is certainly not the cause.

I honestly always knew that the way I eat was going to catch up with my health at some point. However at a matter of weeks away from my thirtieth birthday, I thought I had a while to go before it started.

I went to bed the night before last and noticed a pain at the top of my abdomen. Not anything like normal stomach pain and I had no other symptoms what so ever. Dismissing it as something muscular I tried to get some sleep.

About an hour later I woke up in agony and spent the rest of the night trying my best to find a position that was comfortable to lie in with no success. When I got up yesterday it was still pretty sore, but I still had nothing else wrong, felt otherwise pretty well and it was definitely not as sore as it had been overnight.

As a nurse I had narrowed down my symptoms to either problems with my gallbladder or pancreatitis. I quickly dismissed pancreatitis due to the fact that I hadn't been vomiting and decided that I was far too young for issues with my gallbladder. I also don't eat a whole lot of fatty food which is one of the most well-known causes of gallstones.

Whatever it was, it sure was sore.

I ended up calling the non-emergency out of hours helpline last night which by the way left me waiting for three hours for a callback from a nurse (its supposed to be a maximum of two) despite me telling them that I was a nurse and all I needed was for them to book me in to the out of hours GP. I certainly wasn't sick enough (on in any way inclined) to go to A&E, but I sure was sick enough where I wanted someone to check me out before Tuesday (its a bank holiday here so nowhere is open on Monday).

The nurse called me back and I explained my symptoms again, she asked if I had considered gallstones as a cause. I said no because I am so young, gallstones are almost exclusively found in over 40's. She pointed out that there are exceptions to every rule and asked me if I wanted seen at A&E or GP out of hours. I told her there was no way I was going to A&E because I really wasn't that sick, just sore, so she booked me into the out of hours GP.

It wasn't busy when we got there a little after midnight and it was only about half an hour or so before I was seen by a nurse. The other half came in with me and I honestly thought he was going to die when she said they had to do a pregnancy test!

Of course I knew I wasn't pregnant and that a test is something they would do for any female who walked in the doors if they are of what they call 'child bearing age' which by the way, is a term I have always hated.

Good news was I definitely wasn't pregnant, bad news was there was nothing obvious to explain my pain so back to the waiting room I went to wait for the doctor.

The doctor and I had a long chat about my health, the issues I had with my kidneys growing up and anything else we could think of. We both agreed that none of that would make sense. It likely wasn't gastric because I had not been vomiting and had managed to eat small amounts of food with no issues.

He felt my abdomen, had a listen with his stethoscope and told me he was pretty sure he could feel a gallstone! My gallbladder is definitely inflamed and he wanted to send me to A&E.

I asked him what they would do in A&E and he said not much, just manage my pain. I said I would much rather go home in that case. I was in no frame of mind to sit in A&E for hours to get some painkillers that he could give me there and then.

I pointed out that I am a nurse and I know when something is an emergency and when its not. I promised that if I started vomiting I would take myself to A&E and he let me go home. I have to get an ultrasound scan to confirm if I have a stone or not and they will decide what, if anything to do from there.

He is a little concerned about the length of time I have been in pain for, apparently gallstones pain normally only lasts a few hours when its a non-emergency but doesn't think its life or death so I now need to try and get an emergency appointment for my own doctor tomorrow to arrange a scan and follow up, provided I don't start vomiting or the pain gets worse - in which case its off to A&E for me!

I am still pretty sore today, but there is no way I am taking those painkillers again, I felt so off my head last night its unreal. I might take them before bed mind you because I did get a decent sleep with them. I will call the doctor in the morning, but my chances of getting an appointment this week are slim to none.

The problems are yet to come though. Having issues with your gallbladder means a drastic change in diet, even for a normal eater. I am not prepared for this. I am terrified.

I need to lose weight, but I need to do it slowly. Losing weight quickly can actually cause gallstones. I know they will think my diet and weight are to blame, but I honestly don't eat that much fatty food, I don't fry anything at home and apart from the occasional roll in sausage if I am working at the weekend, I rarely eat anything that's really fatty.

A trip to the dietician is almost certainly in order. I haven't seen a dietician since I was a child, back then they simply told me that I needed to eat more vegetables, I argued that I couldn't and they said I had to. I never went back, they weren't willing to work with me and I wasn't willing to be told what I already knew over and over again, with no actual advice of how to make that happen.

I guess I just have to wait to see what the doctor says if/when I get an appointment.