Sisters function as safety nets in a chaotic world simply by being there for each other. (Carol Saline)
My sister and I have family visiting from New Zealand this week, so I’ll be a little scarce. See you on the other side!
So, if you’re of a delicate disposition, look away now.
No, seriously. Maybe you should read this one.
Because this one is about preparing for a colonoscopy, which is an important health procedure. While on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), no less. Although, this preparation could just as easily be for anyone having a colonoscopy who is concerned about what they eat. And, while it’s not for the squeamish, I promise I won’t get too down and dirty on you.
What is a colonoscopy, anyway?
Colonoscopy: A procedure allowing a Gastroenterologist to comprehensively examine your large intestine (colon). An endoscope equipped with a video camera is passed via the rectum through the full length of the colon. Biopsies (tissue samples) can be taken for pathology testing and polyps can also be removed during the procedure.
Many of us will experience the indignity of a colonoscopy at some point in our lives.
In Australia, bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer. It affects 1 in 12 Australians in their lifetime. And, New Zealand is no better. In fact, between them, New Zealand and Australia have the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world. So chances are that you, or someone you know, will be affected in some way by the disease. In my family, it’s rampant. This is my third colonoscopy. And, I have yet to reach the standard screening age of 50.
And, if you have unidentified digestive complaints – common in many autoimmune diseases – a colonoscopy will often be scheduled to ‘check things out’.
See why a colonoscopy can be so important?
Frankly, the worst part of the colonoscopy isn’t the procedure. You’re sedated for that bit. No. The worst part is the 48 or so hours leading up to the procedure. The bit where you’re clearing out your colon so that it’s squeaky clean for the camera…
And this bit can be broken into 3 stages.
Stage 1: two days before your procedure. Otherwise known as the ‘You-know-it’s-coming-but-if-you’re-prepared-it-isn’t-so-bad-stage’
During this stage, you are limited to a low fibre diet. You know what has lots of fibre? Vegetables. So, this is almost the antithesis of what you normally eat on the Autoimmune Protocol. Forget about filling your plate with greens today.
In bright RED letters on your patient information form, you are instructed to avoid brown bread, high fibre cereals yellow cheese… all good so far. But then also – vegetables, fruit, any food containing seeds or nuts.
You are also instructed to drink at least 12 glasses of water or clear apple juice.
The following foods are some examples of recommended foods for stage I:
Stage II: the day before your procedure Also known as ‘The-stage-where-you-are-housebound’. Really.
And then the real fun begins. PicoPrep fun.
PicoPrep, also known as sodium picosulfate, is a powder dissolved into liquid and taken orally that produces a watery bowel motion that empties and cleanses your bowel prior to examination. It causes you to frequently and urgently make a mad dash to your bathroom. In my family, we call it ‘squirt juice’. I probably don’t need to say any more about it except that when I went to purchase my PicoPrep for this procedure, the pharmacist asked me if I needed any super-soft loo paper and Sorbolene…
This is the worst stage of the procedure. By far.
Stage III: the day of your procedure. ‘Sleepy-Time’.
Assuming your procedure is in the morning, and frankly – the earlier the better, after enjoying a hearty breakfast of… well, nothing. Not even any water. And, of course, having a slightly tender nether region from all those trips to the loo. Then, today is pretty painless, really.
Your nearest and dearest drives you to the surgery rooms where you check in. If you’re lucky, your health insurance will cover the procedure. You’re then directed to a cubicle where you strip off and pop yourself into a hospital gown and lie down on a gurney until it’s time for your procedure. You’ll be asked about your preparation process. The anaesthetist will come and have a wee chat. And then, you’ll be wheeled into the theatre. You’ll be asked to count backwards from 10…. and, before you realise it, you’ll be waking up in your cubicle again.
Unfortunately, I can’t make the PicoPrep part of your procedure any easier. I wish I could. I REALLY wish I could.
What I can do, is help you a little with sticking as closely to the AIP while undergoing the process. Here’s what I do…
Low fibre food is the go in the lead up to your procedure. And, any seasoned AIPer knows that preparation is e v e r y t h i n g. So I plan ahead.
I poach a whole chook – I buy a pasture raised chook, cover it with water and throw in a few bay leaves, before bringing it to the boil. I reduce it to a simmer and walk away for 90 minutes. The cooked chook is removed from it’s broth and set aside to cool sufficiently to handle. Once cool, I’ll remove the meat from the bones, saving both separately.
That poached chicken is the foundation of my stage I eating plan.
I make bone broth from the leftover chook bones – If I’m sufficiently organised, I’ll have extra chook carcasses in the freezer. They’ll go into the pressure cooker with the leftover bones from my poached chook. I follow Simone from Zenbelly’s instructions on making pressure cooker bone broth, but if you’d like to make it conventionally, here’s a post on how to make bone broth.
That chicken bone broth is the foundation of my stage II eating plan. (If you can call consuming liquids eating.)
I also hard boil some happy eggs – I’ve successfully reintroduced eggs. They are not part of the initial elimination plan. If you tolerate eggs, hard-boiled are just about the easiest, most portable way to get a high protein snack. Pop a few room temperature eggs into a saucepan. Cover them with cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 8 minutes. Easy!
I stew some peaches – you’re ‘allowed’ tinned peaches as part of your low fibre diet day. I can’t remember eating tinned peaches as an adult. I remember we used to have them on summer holidays as a kid. They are definitely a comfort food for me.
Of course, so much better if, rather than commercially produced peaches in syrup with extra sugar, you stew your own. It’s easy and much better for you.
Small segue – ever since reading Jo Robinson’s Eating on the Wild Side, I always opt for white peaches over yellow if I can.
White-fleshed peaches and nectarines have twice as many bionutrients as yellow-fleshed varieties. (Jo Robinson, ‘Eating on the Wild Side’)
To make my stewed peaches (admittedly not the prettiest dish I have ever made), I must first remove the skins. No skins allowed on a low fibre diet. I simply score a cross in the bottom of each of my peaches with a knife. I drop each peach into a pot of simmering water for about a minute. I pull them out with tongs and set aside until cool enough to handle. The skins will peel away easily. The peaches are then chopped, stones removed, before being popped back into the empty pot with a little water and brought to a simmer until soft. They taste remarkably good!
I also splash out and buy some organic, clear apple juice – and I drink it with water. Half and half. It’s my wee splurge to get over the boredom of straight water and broth, and reward to myself for going through this awfulness that is the PicoPrep.
And, that’s about it for the cooking preparation.
For me, the focus is on maintaining my whole-food diet, to the limited extent that I can, and at the same time not compromising on the preparation for the procedure. I don’t want to have to do it all again!
The REAL work comes after the procedure…
The nature of a colonoscopy is such that your colon is cleaned out good and proper. And, it seems we are learning more every day about just how important all that bacteria in your gut actually is.
So, I aim to repopulate my gut as quickly and efficiently as I can. Here’s what I’m doing this time around:
Have I left anything out? Are there any other steps you take to ensure your body bounces back from a colonoscopy? I’d love to hear…
I’m back from running away to New Zealand.
Well, I didn’t really run away. I just took a long break. A break from all things social media. And maybe, to some extent anyway, from my world of Autoimmune Protocol stuff.
And, it was good. I can definitely recommend it!
Taking a technology break had unexpected benefits.
It made me look up.
I wasn’t constantly checking email. I wasn’t blogging. I wasn’t on Facebook. And, for a large part of my time away, I had no access to the internet, so I couldn’t have even if I wanted to.
Granted, I was in New Zealand. Hardly a difficult part of the world in which to connect with nature and steer clear of all things social media…
There’s a real purity in New Zealand that doesn’t exist in the states. It’s actually not an easy thing to find in our world anymore. It’s a unique place because it is so far away from the rest of the world. There is a sense of isolation and also being protected. (Elijah Wood)
And, because I wasn’t in my own home (or kitchen), I had less control over my diet. Not that much less, to be honest – my Mum is seriously accommodating when it comes to my dietary requirements. But there are definitely fewer options on a boat. Not a high-speed blender in sight! I got very organised and made bulk almond milk before freezing it into portions!
I also became slightly obsessed with an Al Brown recipe for a roasted cauliflower salad that I have modified to fit my needs. Watch this space – it’s a winner!
Anyhoo – back to running away and my social media holiday.
I think the biggest takeaway for me, is that I didn’t really get just how addicted to checking my in-box I had become. Out on the water with a cheeky glass of red*, watching the sunset with people I love helped me appreciate how important connecting with both nature and loved ones in REAL time can be.
So, if you didn’t get the chance to take some time out over the silly season, I’m going to suggest you have a good look at your diary and see when you can run away. Just for a wee while. It makes coming home all the sweeter.
*Did I mention I loosened the reins on my AIP stuff a little?
If the people of New Zealand want to be part of our world, I believe they should hop off their islands, and push ’em closer. (Lewis Black)
Lewis, you’re a very funny guy, but I don’t think I agree with you on this matter. There are some people from New Zealand who seem to be taking the world by storm without pushing the islands any closer…
I mean, everyone knows about the Boskke* Sky Planter, don’t they? It seems to pop up all over the place. And, it is a great concept. And, it’s designed by a Kiwi.
An inverted pot for flowers, herbs, and other leafy companions, the Sky Planter was designed to save space, conserve water, purify your air, improve your health and transform your view of nature. The boys at Boskke left out ‘provide great design’ in their product spiel.
Because no matter how pure my air becomes or how my view of nature is transformed, I’m not interested in a hanging planter if it is ugly. Call me shallow.
What I did not know is that Boskke founders – Patrick Morris, and his brother, Jake – happen to be the progeny of founders of the world-famous-in-New-Zealand ceramics producer that is Morris & James. Sustainable design is kind of in their blood.
But, now they’ve gone and done it again. The Sky Planter wasn’t enough. Now they’re launching the Boskke Cube…
I think it looks fab’.
Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication. (Leonardo da Vinci)
Apparently, the “Boskke Cube reassembles the humble plant pot, putting the organic process of growth on display, rather than hiding it away.
The clear body of the Boskke Cube is also a water reservoir, supplying up to four weeks of moisture through the same Slo-Flo watering system that the best-selling Sky Planters use.”
And again – great design.
Boskke have a number of distributors around the globe. In Sydney, my favourite is Terrace at 47 Queen st, Woollahra, NSW 2025
*The name ‘Boskke’ is derived from the old English word ‘bosky’ which means ‘a small forest’ and that’s exactly what the team from Boskke want us to create with each of their clever eco-sensitive designs.
Artisan Design, Artisan Food, Celery, Drinks, Flavor, Hand Crafted, Little and Friday, Natural Soda, New Zealand, Sarsaparilla, Six Barrel Soda Co., Soda, Summer Drinks, Sydney, Traditionally Crafted Food, Wellington
Distance not only gives nostalgia, but perspective, and maybe objectivity.(Robert Morgan)
Not only do I really think the Six Barrel Soda Co. should be readily available to punters (like me!) here in Sydney-town, I would also like them to resurrect their feijoa flavour. There is quite possibly enough of a nostalgic Kiwi market here in Australia to justify a massive batch just for us…
Maybe I should start a petition…?
The good people of Six Barrel Soda Co. craft classic fountain-style sodas by hand using all natural ingredients. They are based in Wellington (that’s in New Zealand!) and they even have a factory café which is open 7 days.
Small problem. I live in Sydney. And when I checked out their website, I found I could buy from stockists all around New Zealand, and in New South Wales and Victoria. But, it would seem that the good cafe-owners of Sydney have yet to discover the genius that is Six Barrel Soda. Sigh.
Here are my favourite-sounding flavours currently available…
Six Barrel Soda Co. say that their celery tonic is made in the style of a classic new york city soda popular in jewish delicatessens. It apparently has the spice of lightly pressed celery seed and ginger, the crispness of cucumber, green apple and fresh celery and the freshness you should expect of great soda.
When LM and had a visit to Katz’s Deli, we were a little surprised to find that celery soda rocks! I really want me some Celery Soda…
According to the description, the Cherry & Pomegranate started out as a grenadine until more cherries were added and it became it’s own thing. Real cherries are combined with pomegranate molasses for a sweet tartness, orange blossom water for floral notes and organic cane sugar for a natural sweetness. YUM!
The Sarsaparilla blurb made me think of my Dad. He would love this flavour, I think. Made in the style of a classic root beer with sarsaparilla root, star anise and juniper berries for floral and licorice notes, ginger for spice and caramelised sugar and molasses for the smoky sweetness.
Of course, he lives in Auckland and can wander down to Little and Friday in Newmarket if he wants a fix.
Hibiscus flavoured soda sounds so girly and feminine to me. And, apparently it is a floral plummy original number. Dried hibiscus flowers are used for a deep red colour and a rich floral and stone fruit flavour.
There are many more seasonal flavours available, too…
Of course, conveniently I can order Six Barrel Soda for international delivery online direct from Wellington (here, if you’re interested). It’s just that, at $10 per bottle delivery, it’s getting a teeny bit on the steep side. What I really, really want is a Sydney-based stockist…
Like most Kiwis, I have a bit of a thing for the Pukeko. With its distinctive bright blue colouring and bright red beak, it is always easy to see against the green of the New Zealand wetland.
Also known as the New Zealand Swamp Hen, the Pukeko is a member of the rail family, and it is similar to other species found all over the world. There are apparently 15 sub species of the bird and their range includes southern Europe, Africa, India, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, Melanesia, western Polynesia, as well as Australia and New Zealand, so it is a very common bird. In New Zealand, you can find them in almost any grassland area, especially in swampy locations.
Just why they have struck such a chord within the Kiwi culture is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps it is because they are a little ungainly, but still full of character. It’s certainly not because of their flying ability – their take off is laboured and they are awkward flyers with feet dangling and often crash landing into a tree or bush, although they can fly long distances.
For me, one woman who has captured the quirkiness of the Pukeko perfectly, is Beatrice Carlson. She apparently originally studied oil painting and it has given her an understanding of layers and transparency that she now uses in her digital work. Her works are dramatic in scale – the piece above is 1200mm x 1200mm – but she works with the smallest of details, adjusting the images pixel by pixel.
I think I would quite like Blue Comme on my wall…
Essenze sells Blue Comme for NZ$2,901 and will ship anywhere in the world. You can check out their site here.
New Zealand is not a small country but a large village.(Peter Jackson)
In New Zealand, the ownership or use of a bach (or, ‘crib’ if you hail from the South Island) is almost part of our cultural heritage. And, for the initiated, a bach is an unassuming, sometimes even rustic, holiday home.
My parents have a bach about an hour’s drive north of Auckland. And, when I say ‘bach’, I mean a modest-yet-lovely wee house nestled into the bush.
The last time I visited, my Dad was talking ‘bach refurbishment’ with me. He wants to spruce the place up a bit, without spending too much money.
So, I’ve had bach refurbishment on my mind… And, I quite like the ‘Kiwiana nostalgia’ feel that Lucy Gauntlett’s work evokes in me.
New Zealand based professional photographer & graphic artist, Lucy Gauntlett specialises in creative New Zealand limited edition landscape photography, large-scale panoramic landscape photographs and prints of local New Zealand scenery. While these range from rugged West Coast beaches to edgy graffiti ridden streetscapes, my favourites are from her hand painted fruit and vegetable signs that she photographed and layered.
Perhaps I’m just feeling sentimental, but I think some of these pieces might be quite nice at the bach…
Or, for something with less Kiwiana but even more of a retro feel, this kitchen aid poster could be just the thing for the kitchen…
Sculpture is the art of the hole and the lump. (Auguste Rodin)
So, this year’s Sculpture by the Sea at Bondi is almost upon us. It’s one of those fab’ public exhibitions that Sydney does so well. I look forward to it every year. The Jacaranda are flowering here in Sydney and it feels like summer is well on its way. It must be time for Sculptures by the Sea…
One sculptor whose work I quite like, and who is not exhibiting in this years sculpture walk, is Peter Lange. A New Zealand ceramic artist, he taught himself pottery in the 1970s.
I’m a fan of trompe l’oeil. I like the humour and whimsy of it. And Lange brings this to his work. He started his slip-cast trompe l’oeil sculpture in the mid 1980s, after an encounter with Richard Shaw, a recognised master of trompe l’oeil sculpture.
Lange gained notoriety in 2002 for building an Anagama Boat. Apparently he was investigating the motto “if you throw it in the water and it sinks, then it’s art… if it floats it’s craft”. Intrigued by the resemblance of the interior of an Anagama kiln to an inverted boat, Lange set out to prove that an inverted kiln could float.
In August of this year, he installed three giant brick kumara (that’s New Zealand sweet potato, for the uninitiated!) on Mt Eden Road in Auckland. The work is called ‘Tahuri’, after a legendary Māori gardener known for her fabulous kumara. The work was sponsored by Eden Arts, a lovely group of people committed to promoting the arts in Mt Eden (a suburb of Auckland).
In my wee investigation of the talented Mr Lange, I found that Masterworks Gallery in Auckland has some of his work available. I imagine they are quite heavy and expensive to ship, but if one lived in Auckland…
If you’d like to see more examples of Peter Lange’s work, he has some great images on his website here.
Sculpture by the Sea (Bondi) runs from 24 October to 10 November 2013. If you’d like more details, check out the website here.
So. Last week I did something impulsive. Quite impulsive, really. I was very generously offered a late invitation to join a party for dinner at the newly opened Sugar Club at the top of the Sky Tower in Auckland. Private dining room, no less.
Yes – that’s the Auckland in New Zealand. And yes, I live in Sydney which is in Australia. But really, what’s 2,160 kilometres between friends? As it happens, LM and the teenager were off to Melbourne to check out universities for the weekend and I was at a loose end. I looked online and webjet offered me a reasonably budget flight. I figured it was meant to be…
I’ve written before about my longstanding crush on Peter Gordon. So it was extra-special to have the chance to dine at his newly launched Sugar Club just 7 days after it opened. If you’re not familiar with the restaurant’s history, here’s a blurb from Peter’s website:
The Sugar Club has an iconic history in New Zealand, opening in central Wellington in 1986 with Peter as head chef – and being the first Kiwi chef to bring an Asian and Middle Eastern-infused menu to a New Zealand restaurant. Since then, The Sugar Club opened branches in Notting Hill and Soho in London, again with Peter as Head Chef. During this time, Peter also wrote his first of seven cookbooks, The Sugar Club Cookbook.
Peter Gordon is credited as being the ‘godfather’ of fusion cuisine. He is known for pushing boundaries – where one national cuisine starts and another stops. For him fusion is “fun and it’s playful. It’s simply one of many cuisines, and it happily sits amongst them like a magpie, borrowing from them all.”
That was MY meal. Here are a couple of the dishes…
Our party of 12 was very well looked after by the very charming and efficient Edward. We had a super evening. The food was superb and the wines delicious. I suspect we were treated particularly well given our ‘private dining room’ status organised by our lovely host. My only complaint is that my images aren’t as good as they would be if LM had been the photographer. Apologies!
Peter Gordon is cooking at the Sugar Club for the next month before he hands over the reins to Head Chef, Neil Brazier. I reckon’ it’s definitely worth a visit!
Feijoa: (the fruit) maturing in autumn, is green, ellipsoid, and about the size of a chicken egg. It has a sweet, aromatic flavor. The flesh is juicy and is divided into a clear gelatinous seed pulp and a firmer, slightly granular, opaque flesh nearer the skin. (Wikipedia)
Today, I’m feeling a little nostalgic. It’s LM’s fault, only he doesn’t know it. He took me to Thomas Dux this morning, and they had feijoas! I was almost beside myself (and not because they were $1.50 each!) This news quite possibly means nothing to you, unless you happen to be a Kiwi living in Australia. Kiwis grow up with feijoas. It’s quite common to have a feijoa tree or two in your garden. I’ll even go out on a limb and say that in New Zealand, they are more common than kiwifruit (when in season). When I was visiting a couple of weeks ago, I bought a bag of about 15 perfectly ripe feijoas for $3 at the farmers market. I ate them all myself. I love them. But in Australia, they are as rare as hens teeth.
Are you familiar with feijoas?
They are also known as Pineapple Guavas (or Guavasteen). According to our friends at Wikipedia, the plant “is an evergreen shrub originating from the highlands of southern Brazil, parts of Colombia, Uruguay, Paraguay and northern Argentina. They are also grown throughout Azerbaijan , Georgia and, (of course), New Zealand.*
While distinctive, the flavour is seriously difficult to describe. Wiki’ says it “is aromatic, very strong and complex, inviting comparison with guava, strawberry, pineapple, and often containing a faint wintergreen-like aftertaste.” LM hates the flavour, with quite some passion. And, it is true, people do tend to either love or hate feijoas.
Feijoas. They’re like chokos**, only not as tasty! (LM)
Given their exorbitant cost here, I only bought two this morning. And, I made sure I enjoyed every last morsel of feijoa flesh that I scraped out with my teaspoon. Heaven.
In New Zealand, there’s a whole cottage industry around feijoas. You can buy feijoa ice cream. 42 Below has a yummy feijoa infused vodka. There are recipes galore for chutneys and baked goods.
If LM was just a touch more open to the wonders of the feijoa, I might make him this wee number I found at Adventurous Me, Gluten Free…
I’ll leave you with this illustration I found on the inter-web…
* Apparently, feijoas are occasionally to be found as landscape plants in the far Southern United States, in regions from Texas to Florida, and southern California, though fruit set can be unreliable in those locations.
**Also known as chayote