Tag Archives: Ukraine

Sunflower solution

Today Paul and I have thought about the sunflower oil and sunflower lecithin crisis that has hit the world, because last year was a very bad year in sunflower production due to climate and weather disturbances but now there is another factor that has affected sunflower oil production – the war on Ukraine; this war has contributed to the sunflower crisis because Ukraine produced 46% of the worlds sunflowers and safflowers.  This means that the sunflower oil crisis has certainly lengthened, but it also poses a threat to people who have food intolerances like me.

Without the use of sunflower lecithin in products they will now use soy or flax and I am sensitive to both of those things, which means it has affected me directly!  My diet is going to become further reduced as a result of it.

Paul and I are uncertain whether or not I will react to flax lecithin’s, because so far as we know, I am mostly affected if I eat whole flax seeds or linseeds, so whether or not I will be ok in other forms, time will tell!

We do know that I am no longer severely gluten and lactose intolerant, that it was products that contained soy, that didn’t make itself obvious until recently.

We know that gluten causes a slight rise in my blood pressure if I eat, say more than a sandwich worth of bread in a day of wheat, but that it does seem to be mostly a wheat rather than gluten problem potentially…

Lactose only really causes an issue with my digestive system if I eat too much fat in one day, but I can now drink a milkshake or have a chocolate bar with no ill effect, if I am easy on other fats throughout the day!

So this has helped improve my diet choices again and there is a noticeable increase in my health since going back to these foods.  But it is not anything to celebrate really, as the changes are still rather small, just a change in hair, nail and skin quality and deeper, longer sleep sessions.  I am more tired these days, but we’re not sure why.

Because of the sunflower crisis, I told Paul that when we get some money, it might be worth investing some of that money in sunflower farming?  But Paul feels that many other farmers are already on the ball with that and may neglect wheat farms to do so, meaning that he feels there could be a wheat shortage soon as people literally chase what they think is a golden opportunity.

I am not happy about doing wheat farming, I am not into grasses because of the lack of biodiversity and Paul failed to remember that my sunflower farm would not be a monoculture, because you can grow other things underneath the big blowsy heads of flowers!  Beans, tomatoes, sweetcorn and squash for example are excellent companion plants for this crop.

Because aphids are attracted to sunflowers on mass, ants will actually farm those aphids for their honeydew and therefore the crops underneath the sunflowers would not be affected by the aphids as much as they would have without them. 

Because ultimately any farming or self-sufficiency I do is 100% organic and polycultural.

Not only this but farming the sunflowers like this would also bring in the three sisters philosophy too, corn, squash and beans, corn in particular increase their yield when planted next to sunflowers it is just a matter of alternating plants, sunflower, with a block of corn, sunflower, block of corn, you get it?

So it would be a very productive system in my opinion, so I guess, in a manner, Paul gets his way when he suggests we really should consider a grain…

Leave a comment

Filed under Home and Family

Home update, diet change & differences

I am still writing and I still intend to get published in the future, but my timeline has had to be shifted dramatically because of a lot of new things happening in my life.

An old friend has reacquainted themselves with me and along with this I am also preparing the house to take in Ukrainian refugees, as well as trying to manage the worsening symptoms of my disabilities.

Also with this, Paul has bought it to my attention that we may also move house within the next few months and so there will be an even bigger upheaval.

My original publication goal was to send my work to an agent at the beginning of autumn of this year, hoping to be published within the next two years – but with these new events going on, it may be pushed back further, because I am very dedicated to working to the best of my ability to help the Ukrainians settle in and feel at home.

We’re unsure whether or not I will get a brood bitch for the service dog charities and do that this year, because of all the other things going on now.  But I hope to definitely be a brood bitch carer sometime in the future.

Also my hearing has got far worse, even with a hearing aid I am struggling and my hearing is now at 6 hertz, very low, without a hearing aid.  Because we are unsure what is happening with the refugees we will be taking on, we are holding off approaching a charity for a hearing dog for me, but it is something we have thought about.

Paul gave me some good news the other day that the bad neighbour may be moving out soon with his girlfriend because her daughter wants more independence around her house and she is tired of the conflict he is causing with her neighbours.  It still means that for this year I have lost another prime growing season, but hopefully next year I will be able to do my gardening again – it is desperately needed as things are overgrown to a very anti-social level now, primarily due to the fact that I feel sexually harassed by the neighbour when I am out there as he stalks me and acts lewdly around me – lewd for me is something that will shock people who know me well… because… well let’s just say, I am not known for being a prude!

This may mean if he moves out before Paul’s timeline, we may actually stay after all!  As we were only going to move out because of the bad neighbour, because I need the freedom to go in my garden without harassment and bullying and hearing him make loud speculations about my life to whoever is visiting him at the time – often crude and outlandish speculations at that!

Henry has been very distressed to the point of suicide because of bullying at school and the fact he may have to leave what he feels is his ancestral home, because of another bully next door!  Henry’s family on Paul’s side has lived in this house since 1956, that is 66yrs that this house has been in the family and Henry is proud of that, because also the family has lived in this village for 325 years next summer!

Not many children this day and age in the UK can claim such a heritage and Henry is not happy about breaking these family traditions of remaining in the area, even though it is Paul and I’s dream to move to a more secluded region.

We have a double bedroom available for Ukrainian refugees, we feel that we could put in a bunk bed, with a single bed and a cot, but whether or not whoever is arranging this for us, will agree to that, we do not know!

But hopefully whoever comes does not have a pet fur allergy as we have a house rabbit and would like a dog.

I have always enjoyed learning languages, I know French and Italian to better than tourist level, but not fluently and I am willing to learn how to speak Ukrainian to help them.  But Paul is all in for integration and has been coaxing me not to learn Ukrainian so that they have to learn English.  I have learned some words in Ukrainian and found that it is very similar to Slovakian, my sister in law is Slovakian and some small words she taught me are actually the same in Ukraine.

I have Latvian, Russian and Lithuanian friends, who live in this street, so they will have people to socialise with, readily. 

We researched the culture of Ukraine and I was delighted to find that the diet they have is exactly like or very near to my own personal diet – because my diet is much different to Paul’s and Henry’s because of my multi-cultural heritage.

Paul was delighted to find that too, because a lot of the food here is often thrown away as I can’t eat enough of it, and he and Henry don’t like it so won’t touch it – this means less waste for us!

I home make sauerkraut, pickles, I eat a lot of baked or pan fried fish, I have a lot of different soups and I make bone broth for myself a lot and I use paprika in 75% of all my dishes and we have crepes with berries at least twice a week, they’ll feel at home, basically!

Paul and Henry try to eat the Italian side of my heritage along with Paul’s English food, but other than that, they don’t really eat what I eat.  My personal diet isn’t very English – if I have a roast I have things that English people only have at Christmas time, cranberries and apple sauce for example, which Paul has got addicted to recently – the apple sauce – he isn’t too keen on cranberries.

He is starting to get used to the idea of paprika and or cinnamon in everything too!  I am trying to get him into the habit of remembering to use fresh herbs when he roasts meats and to baste with the herbs some of it, but that needs more coaxing!

I won around five years ago, to move him away from boiling veg to steaming or pan frying instead and cutting out salt in almost everything; though I acquiesce you need salt on some potatoes, sea or rock salt though!

I don’t think I will ever get him to like beetroot though – not even in crisp form.

I have recently learned that a lot of my food intolerances and allergies were not the things that I thought they were… this have opened doors for me again! 

I found out I was not intolerant to gluten or lactose, but I was intolerant to the products that contain soy or soya instead!  This is amazing and also I found out that I need a reduced fat diet because having fat too much in one day can make me react like a person who has lactose intolerance, so now I have managed my diet to include lactose and gluten, but I must remain strictly soy free and low fat!

I would never have found this out if it weren’t for my re- acquaintance to my friend Frank, who was very concerned at the prospect that I was becoming malnourished and were visibly losing muscle density.

So now I may eat lactose and gluten again, but I must avoid all soy and soya products, unfortunately it means no Chinese food, until I can home make them soy free!

Soy is in everything though, so though it has opened a lot of doors to me, I must check everything I buy to eat like some kind of paranoid creature because as Paul has found out… one product will be soy free, but the same product in another store from another factory may not be!  We was caught out the other week with Snickers, they were soy free and I had 9 bars in a multi-pack, but then we bought a single bar in a different store and I reacted badly that night, confused, we dived down the bin for the wrapper to find that it does contain soy!  But not all Snickers do!

It’s odd.

Anyway, thanks for reading – there will be an art update soon!

Leave a comment

Filed under About Me