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Sweet Relief

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sweet

This weekend, before the Lyme symptoms crashed over me like a ten foot ocean wave, I did some baking. My friend, Shannon, came over and we tried out two recipes from the book, The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking, by Peter Reinhart and Denene Wallace.

I’ve been on a severely restricted diet since 2008 and avoiding eggs since 2007. As one might imagine, the restrictions impaired my ability to eat baked goods. The eggs were not a problem initially. I had learned a few years earlier that eggs only last so long in the fridge, but overripe bananas did just fine in chocolate chip cookies and banana bread.

In 2008, when I had been dealing with severe digestive problems for over a year, I finally got tested for food sensitivities. It was a depressing revelation. I was reacting to everything I liked to eat. Meanwhile, my doctors put me on further restrictions as I started up on antibiotics: no wheat–actually no grains at all, no sugar, no fruit. It was horrible. Of course, it probably saved me from much worse candidiasis than I ended up having to deal with. Plus, all the restrictions got my abdomen to stop being swollen all the time and reduced my joint inflammation. Needless to say, my digestion was still pretty bad, even with all these restrictions, and I had to learn to eat all over again. (In 2012, after over a year of coiling, I started adding in oatmeal and some fruits.)

Since 2008, I regularly dream of eating cookies, preferably peanut butter or chocolate chip cookies. Either one would satisfy me. I made a mistake in 2010 at Thanksgiving, eating a chocolate chip cookie that had egg in it (which I didn’t realize until it was already down the hatch). That was enough to scare me off for quite a while, because eggs trigger my immune system to attack my nervous system. The results weren’t pretty.

I’ve tried some vegan cookies over the years. The most palatable ones are from the Alternative Baking Company. Actually, the regular ones are delicious. The gluten-free cookies are A-OK for an occasional treat, but not my favorite. These cookies solved the egg problem, but they are high in carbohydrates and sugars, and even the gluten-free ones contain foods I’m sensitive to: potato starch and grain dextrins (which may be derived from corn). So eating them every couple of months is what I normally allow myself to have.

When I was visiting my sister, we looked at a recipe a friend sent me for peanutbutter cookies with no allergenic ingredients in it. It was based on coconut flour. We never got around to trying it. Instead, my sister made me almond-walnut cookies, also made with nothing I’m allergic to in it. (Occasionally I react to almond skins, which are in almond butter, but I did okay this time.) I wanted to make peanut butter cookies after that.

Allergen-free, low-carb peanut butter cookies. Yummy!

Allergen-free, low-carb peanut butter cookies. Yummy!

Fast forward to my return home. I bought The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking after taking a peak inside and reading that egg substitutes work quite well with these recipes. Then I emailed the authors to find out which egg substitutes might work best. I made the Nutty Peanut Butter Cookies on Saturday with Shannon. They came out perfectly! It was so nice to bite into a peanut butter cookie that tasted like a cookie, with the perfect amount of moisture, crispness, chewiness, and crunch. I split the batter in half, making half with carob chips and half without. (The carob chips contained malted corn, which is a slight issue, but I had no discernible reaction.) I was in heaven.

For those who are using the book, these are the substitutions I made: I used ground flax seeds and HOT water to replace the egg, I used almond meal (as directed in the book) and Trader Joe’s powdered stevia to replace the Splenda, and I used real maple syrup (which seemed okay as the only sugar/carb in the entire recipe).

It all worked out quite well, especially using hot water to mix with the flax seeds. Most online recipes for egg replacements don’t mention the temperature of the water. Let’s just say I’ve tried it unsuccessfully with cold water, but with hot water it actually does the trick. (Immense gratitude to Denene, the book’s co-author for the egg replacement recipe!) The full details of the replacement for one egg is: 1 TBSP ground flax seeds + 3 TBSP hot water, stir and let sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe.

The tricky thing is that since these cookies are made from almond meal and flax seeds and peanuts, which are part of my diet anyway, I have a hard time convincing myself that they should be consumed only as a special treat. The counterweight to this problem is that the cookies are very filling, so it’s hard to eat more than two at a time. I guess I’ll have to make another batch and figure it out!

I have more to learn about baking with nut flours. I look forward to breads and muffins and cupcakes and more cookies. My quality of life has just taken a big leap forward.

Relief

After coiling for Lyme yesterday, I was worried about having a big herx. It actually hasn’t been too bad. My head feels funny and a little achy and my vision is a bit off, my heart is pounding when I go up or down the stairs, my sleep was interrupted, and my mind has been unable to settle. But that’s it. I’m not incredibly tired. I didn’t spend the day wishing I was sleeping. My pain level has gone down to just a headache. I don’t feel weak. The only thing left untouched is the popping in my joints and some mild back pain. It is a relief from the Lyme symptoms…and a relief that the herx isn’t bad.

Before I jinx myself, I must say that I recognize the herx may take another day to arrive. That sometimes happens: I think I’ve made it through the danger zone only to find I hadn’t entered it yet. In any case, so far so good.

With the quick reduction in symptoms, I’ve changed my plan, yet again, for how to proceed with Lyme. Today is my last day for the supplements sulforaphane glucosinolate, extra vitamin E and kombucha. (See the most recent supplement list.) In more detail, the sulforaphane glucosinolate is a heavy-duty antioxidant, which also makes it a good detox agent. But, I’m trying to reduce the amount of antioxidants I’m taking because they help suppress the Lyme. I have about a month supply left, which I’m holding on to, just in case the symptoms get overwhelming. Next is the vitamin E. I’ve been taking 400iu daily plus about 130iu in the multivitamin. It’s actually probably too much anyway. But vitamin E is another antioxidant, so I think it’s time to cut out the 400iu pill. Finally, I’m stopping kombucha. I’m sad to see it go. I like it a lot. It quenches my thirst in a way that only juiced greens (which I’m also not consuming these days) can match. But it has its own benefits that I don’t want, in addition to detoxification and probiotics (which I appreciate), it boosts the immune system. So, at least for now, it’s off my agenda.

On the flip side, I’ve started taking co-enzyme Q-10 again. It is a good protector for my heart, which seems to be under assault by the newly activated Lyme.

I suspect the symptoms will get ugly again soon. I’ll coil for Lyme again no later than this weekend.

Bartonella

The Bartonella herx continues its usual progression. Now, in addition to the symptoms I mentioned yesterday, my bladder is irritated. More specifically, I’m having urinary hesitation and pain in my lower abdomen that is relieved when I urinate. My belly blew up into pregnant looking mode. I guess it isn’t only when I trigger it with food reactions.

The good part is that when I took a day off from coiling for Bartonella yesterday, the kidney pain didn’t haunt me at night or this morning. I’m thinking I may try to do the last coiling of the day a bit earlier, and see if I can flush out some of the toxins with lemon water before I go to bed. If it works, I’ll blog the results.

Disclaimer

2 comments

  1. i’ve been using flax as a substitute for eggs in baking for a while now. it makes muffins very moist and i like it in breads as well! yay for your discovery!


    • I think I learned about using ground flax seeds from you. When I looked it up online, I got poor directions. But now it works. Thanks, Margaux!

      Rose



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