A few people will be astounded to learn I am nearly forty as a few people believe that they think I am in my mid-twenties, I don’t look my age apparently. Have been told by a lot of people that they believe me to be incredibly young, three or four years ago were the last time I tried to buy alcohol and was asked for ID because the seller felt I was seventeen, which wowed me. Maybe he just fancied me? But I have had straight female friends who are much younger than me have their mouths drop open when they realise I am fifteen years their senior.
I believe it has something to do with how I treat my skin and what I like to eat and drink. I took Honour Blackman’s advice when she was on a show when I was around eleven years of age that she has never washed her face, she uses only moisturiser with some cotton which she dabs and never rubs. I do indeed wash my face but never put soap on it ever, I wash with plain filtered water, hot first then ice cold, I do use a moisturiser about once a week which is Nivea crème, I use this crème on my face, elbows and knees, my elbows and knees are as smooth as a child’s. I drink cranberry or raspberry juice twice a day, I drink a lot of water with very, very watered down fruit juice concentrates, I have never really been one for tea or coffee, I never grew up. I drink around six pints of fluids a day if I am not having a bad day, on bad days my body can’t keep fluids down. I drink green tea about three times a week and a hot honey and lemon most days. I love berries and eat them daily, prunes, raisins, dates when I have sugar cravings. Chicken and fish being my main meats with lamb once a week if I can afford it; lately lamb is a once a month treat. I love pickles and sauerkraut and I aim to eat a whole cup full of green leafy vegetables per day. My diet has to be gluten and lactose free because of intolerances which make my illnesses much worse, two years ago I was hospitalised with bronchitis only to find out that with other symptoms I had, I had severe intolerances and my health has improved vastly since shifting onto a free from diet. I consider my diet to be a semi-paleo, Mediterranean and Asian diet these days. I say semi-paleo because I like beans and pulses and I will eat gluten free rice, pasta, oats and potatoes, hard-core paleo dieters will slap my wrists for those. Despite all of this I am very overweight still, though slowly losing the weight since the shift. I am around forty pounds lighter than I was before the lifestyle change.
I will admit that temptations do set in and I often sneak in gluten and lactose into my diet with severe ramifications which affect me for three to five days after eating them, I have done this around once a month since the change. I am getting tired of this and getting to the extent that if I don’t have enough fruit and vegetables in my day I actually feel really ill, so it has got to the extent that I need to eat around five pieces of vegetables and a fruit a day in order to feel relatively ok in comparison. I am happy recently that I have found free from Paninis, hot dog rolls, burger buns, naans and tortillas which don’t take like cardboard, so the idea of becoming totally gluten free permanently is more doable. I have found lactose free whipped cream and single cream, which also helps and the other day on TV I learned that Hotel Chocolat does lactose free options which is exciting, because I love truffles, which they do lactose free – I generally don’t like chocolate much though because it clogs my ears up sometimes, so chocolate is a once a month treat and it is usually only about three or four mouthfuls.
I am impossible to cater for food wise because of my allergies. I am intolerant to gluten and lactose, allergic to pineapple, flax/linseeds, camomile, thyme, shouldn’t really eat eggs as it gives me wind, should avoid binging on chocolate due to ear blockages, there is an unknown spice at the local take away which also causes my mouth to burn and swell, never knew what that was! Beef can affect me in a bad way if I eat it more than once a week; I eat starchy foods but not too much because that affects my body too. Certain candies can make me extremely hyperactive mentally and sometimes physically which can be dangerous when ill. I am really difficult to cater for since discovering these allergies and reactions. When explaining to a friend at Henry’s school a few months ago called Dee, she shook her head looked at me and asked “what do you eat”? At the time I was good for seven months solid, without breaking my free from diet at all and I had 9 weeks of what I call, normal health, then I caught a cold and thought fuck it all! I never did get that streak back. Purely because the government cut our benefits by £200 a month, so the above diet I had is no longer possible! At the time it was very strict, I only had gluten free products once a week to satisfy beans on toast cravings or ham and pickle sandwich cravings. I still ate eggs a lot though, but it was a windy time. I had health, but I stank, but that was OK for me, unless I was on a bumpy ride on a bus. I ate fish, poultry and lamb, salads and vegetables, I made sauerkraut three times a week, I had lactose free cheese and omelettes with samphire and spinach. It was tasty, but boring and predictive and being on benefits I can’t afford to eat as regularly as a normal person should. I can’t afford it on a strict paleo diet, whether it benefits my health or not, I do not have the money for three prime optimum meals per day. My doctor is concerned with the lack of certain vitamins my body isn’t having because of food cost. In fact so much so, we’ve recently become members of a food bank, referred by my son’s young carers group. They’ve recommended the only food I should buy is the food I need, the food for my son and Paul should come from the food bank. It is a sorry arrangement, but something we can’t refuse at this stage.
That’s my situation.
It baffles me that I eat all these fruits and veg with a piece of meat or fish a day and yet I am still not getting enough nutrients. I can’t afford nuts, I can’t afford to have meat more than once a day, I can’t afford, seeds, I can’t afford red meat, or canned fruit, or exotic fruits which are highest in vitamins. I can’t afford avocados, or shrimps etc.
What I can afford and have almost always in my kitchen available to me are chicken legs, cans of tuna, sweet potatoes, potatoes, gluten free pasta, gluten free rice, gluten free porridge, prunes, dates, apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, spinach, kale, carrots, peas, onions, ham for sandwiches, gluten free bread, sweet pickle (not entirely allergy free), mayonnaise, baked beans, parsnips and sweetcorn, swede and cod fillet. That’s all we can afford for me.
I have eaten this diet and only this diet with the occasional food from Paul and Henry, such as crisps, biscuits and fish fingers (not allergen free) for about a year and it is sending me insane.
I could afford better food if my doctors were able to get a grip on many of my symptoms. My illnesses dictate that I need tissues for my sinus problem and I need an average of 12 to 20 boxes a week just for the sinus and chest problem! That is how much mucus I produce in a week, 20 boxes worth; I get no extra financial support for this. I also need regular sprays for sore throat, Vaseline because my nose gets sore and dry, hay fever tablets because of my other allergies; I need approximately 12 to 20 painkillers a week. I was told by my consultant that I need to have Canestan ear drops (as they do them as ear drops too) as often as possible but they said they won’t pay for more than a certain amount but you can buy them over the counter at £5 a week on average. I need to have these drops all the time and I am not overusing them apparently, despite my fears. Because my ears seem to have a permanent inner skin infection, which in layman’s terms means I have a permanent ear infection, try living with that! Because of my digestive problems I was told to bulk up on specific vitamin pills which the NHS cannot provide, so again, I need vitamin C, calcium, for some reason kelp and zinc primarily and have been recommended to double doses per day. I need a psoriasis medicated specific shampoo and body wash, again unavailable on the NHS and this costs me £12 a fortnight for the strength I need.
So when you look at all that, you can see how I can easily come into debt and cannot afford a better diet, whilst being on benefits.
If doctors got a handle on my symptoms I would instantly become £45 a week richer. I was told recently that our local NHS is struggling to the extent they no longer do hearing aid repairs, so I was told to go to boots, so I guess I will be paying for that too?
Ho hum, there you go.