Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Summer Discovery: The Lemon Cucumber

I find one of the best things about summer at least in the Northeast is the availability and wide assortment of locally grown fruits and vegetables.  This season I've recently discovered a new favorite at the farmer's market, the lemon cucumber.  It actually tastes nothing like a lemon, but it does resemble one in size and color, as you can see below.   They do taste like cucumbers, but have a thinner skin than other varieties.  This means no peeling, which also means less work to do with my hands, which at times are painful from autoimmune disease.

The lemon cucumber also has a high water content making them quite refreshing, especially on hot summer days.  And because of their wider shape than other cucumbers, they serve a dual purpose beyond just salads.  I have been using them to make sandwiches--not as a vegetable inside the bread, but as a substitute for bread. Being allergic to corn and sensitive to gluten, makes it hard for me to find a bread that is actually allergy friendly. While I have tried, my bread making attempts have not turned out well so far.   The  lemon cucumber has given me another choice.  I've found that they go particularly well with turkey, hummus, or even smoked fish.  All healthy food options for those with autoimmune or inflammatory diseases.

As a person with multiple food allergies, it's always a nice treat to add something new to my diet. Have you made a new fruit or vegetable discovery this summer?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Update: Vitamin D Yo-Yo

A little over a month ago I wrote about the drop in my Vitamin D levels and wanted to update my wonderful readers on recent developments.  The basic story is that my doctor had suggested that I try reducing my D dose from 50,000 IU a week prescription to the daily recommended dose. This ended up being a mistake. 

When I reminded my doctor to recheck my levels, they were low.  (Yes, I had to remind my doctor to check.)  As a result, I had to go right back on to the 50,000 weekly dose.  It was a game of Vitamin D Yo-Yo.

The critical question is whether I'm feeling any different now that I have been on the higher dose for about six weeks?  The answer, I am happy to report, is YES.  I'm not sure I realized how badly I had been feeling over the last few months, particularly how severe my fatigue had been.  From comments on my blog and Facebook, I know that others with autoimmune disease have had this experience too.

Even though it seems odd from something so simple, I clearly have more energy and stamina.  I've actually surprised myself in being able to partake in a few activities that were a bit more than I thought that I could do.  I went hiking.  Granted it was a short hike, listed as easy and perfect for children, but that's just about the right speed for me.  There was still the going down and then climbing up from the waterfall, which were a challenge.  Yes, did I mention that I got to see a beautiful waterfall (pictured below).  That was a bit of magic for me.

Since re-upping Vitamin D, some of my autoimmune symptoms seem to be slightly more tame as well.  The new neuropathy that had developed in my feet a few months ago is less of a problem as is my joint pain and swelling.   While I realize some of this could be chance and that I am just having a lull in disease activity, the fact that I am able to spend less time in bed and more time with family and friends is enough evidence for me that keeping my Vitamin D levels within normal range is important for how I feel.  It would be hard for me to believe that the timing is purely coincidental and taking a prescription Vitamin is much easier to swallow than some of my other medications.