I just ate chocolate cake for breakfast. Yum.
Following advice from a herbalist, I am on a no-refined carbs, no dairy diet just now because of a health issue. I haven’t broken that diet. My 14 year old daughter made cup cakes with Rapadura Sugar (which is the whole cane) and whole wheat flower. (Darned autocorrect! I have never once baked a marigold – I meant to type flour!) She made the cup cakes so I could eat them. Isn’t that just so lovely and sweet of her, when she would much rather have made the sugariest, white-flouriest cakes on the planet? That’s what usually happens in our house – I bake wholemeal, whole-sugar thingies, and she bakes cookies that would make Eeyore hyper.
But she discovered that even when she bakes the healthy stuff it tastes yummy. (Actually these taste so light I’ve asked her about three times: “You sure you used the wholemeal flour?”)
There’s only one left now. Would you like it?
So I am thankful for my sweet daughter (who, being a 14-year-old, will not be thankful I’ve written that soppy nonsense) and I am thankful for Rapadura sugar, and thankful for the internet. It was when I was writing on HubPages that I was introduced to Rapadura by Ishwaryaa, a young woman from India. Rapadura is known as jaggery in India and this is Ishwaryaa’s recipe for gluten-free sweet dumplings made with whole sugar. It’s so utterly, utterly cool that I can (break Stephen King’s heart and use not just one but two adverbs) learn so much from people all around the world without even leaving my living room.
Actually, (oops, sorry Stephen another adverb) I didn’t eat an entire cup cake for breakfast. I couldn’t bring myself to eat the last one and have everyone grumping at me when they get back. (Did I forget to mention I am so grateful to have quiet this sunny morning since everyone else is out?) All I ate were bits of a broken cup cake, that was crying out to be chomped. Then I had my usual porridge, spiced up with cinnamon and coconut, eaten between typing out this post.
The sun is shining in my windows, so much so I’ve had to take my cardie off. Thanks sun, it’s good to see you! By the way, don’t Americans use the word cardigan? The last time I wrote about one, I noticed that in the comments everyone kept referring to it as a “sweater.” Here, in the land of Earl Cardigan, cardigans have buttons or zippers down the front; sweaters we pull over our heads. That’s why I like cardigans better – you don’t mess up your hair when you pull them off during a hot flush. (Women who have experienced menopause will understand, the rest of you just imagine hopping from outside during the Polar Vortex to stand next to a blazing log fire, and you’ll get the idea.) So yeah, I am forever thankful to Earl Cardigan, since when he wasn’t busy charging with his Light Brigade he managed to invent my favourite garment.
Just to recap then: on the left below is photo of a very pretty cardigan (I’ll admit slightly spoiled by having my ugly mug above it) and on the right is a photo of a sweater, also known in the UK as a “jumper” or occasionally as a “jersey” (not to be confused with the cows of the same name.)
Those pictures created a natural break in this post, because just like Earl Cardigan, I went charging off. Unlike him I didn’t go into battle, but into yoga. Instead of 600 men, there was one woman in my class (me) since everyone else was taking the morning off. It is a small class anyway, run by one of my best friends, so yeah, I can be thankful for that! Have you heard of laughter yoga classes? Well, ours isn’t supposed to be that, but…
Now the sunny morning has become a rainy afternoon and I’ve sorta lost my thread. Oh, yeah, I got distracted cakes, sugar, Stephen King. I was telling you about that health issue. I am truly, truly, truly thankful that I opted not to have an op in January and carried on taking the herbs instead. On Thursday I saw my consultant (I’ve only seen him twice but he remembered me so I’ll claim him as mine.) I am bit shy about getting my issues out all over the internet, so let’s just say he prodded a bit and then declared that it looked like I’d made the right decision because things are much improved. I have to go back in June for a scan, and until then I’ll keep taking the herbs and sticking to the wholefood diet. So I’m thankful for herbs and herbalists, for a nice consultant who remembered me, and for the way that conventional and complementary medicine are beginning to work together.
I am also thankful for Mind Over Medicine by Dr Lissa Rankin, which I read at Christmas and have reread a few times since. Rankin says most doctors have witnessed patients healing from illnesses or conditions that should have killed them, and that they usually dismiss it as the exception that can’t be explained. When she got ill herself she began researching, and has gathered a lot of scientific evidence about the mind-body connection. She explains that it’s not “woo-hoo” wacky new age nonsense to trust that our bodies can heal. We all know that stress can cause illnesses and that the placebo effect can work, but sometimes when it gets personal it feels harder to believe that we can let go of stress and allow the healing. As well as the things we can do for ourselves, such as eat well, let go of stress and so on, Rankin says that how optimistic your doctor is can make a difference to whether or not you heal. That “my” consultant remembered me, having met me once two months before, indicates a lot about how he treats patients.
I seem to have drifted from silly to serious, so I’ll finish by telling you that I think part of my healing has been writing the series of posts about the day I was attacked way back when. Even though I didn’t often think about that day as the years passed, I now see that experience affected me in ways I hadn’t realised. At times, the posts have been hard to write, but the harder parts were probably the ones I most needed to write, so I am thankful that I did.
And to finish, here are the first few verses of Tennyson’s poem to Lord Cardigan and his men: The Charge of the Light Brigade. (I’ve just discovered there was also a Lord Raglan, who presumably had something to do with the sleeves, and a Lord Balacava – and now I can’t help imagining them all with their knitting as they charged into battle. Maybe they even used knitting needles instead of swords and that’s why so many men died.)
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