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I have barely been online for the better part of a year. I haven't read LJ in nearly as long, and manage perhaps a few hours to peek at Facebook during the week. I don't know what's happening in non-local friends' lives. My Christmas cards are still in their packaging. I am so hopelessly behind on email correspondence that I don't know where or how to begin new conversations or repair relationships. I don't have time do to all that needs doing.

But, y'know ... the Olympics start today. I do so love the Olympics, and as I will probably want to say something about something related to the Olympics over the next while, I thought it might be better to say something than simply break my silence with "Okay, what the hell was up with that last bobsled run?! Come on, people! You have two jobs: running on ice, and NOT FALLING OUT OF THE SLED."

So where have I been? Briefly:

Working (which I'm not much inclined to talk about, neither the good nor the bad).

Writing. I finished the draft of my still-untitled first novel in May of 2009 (or perhaps the very beginning of June ...?) and am working on some very large rewrites. 126,000 words. One day I hope to recruit some critiquers to help me with this thing, which I love and despair of in equal measure.

Dancing. In the summer I was (very unexpectedly) asked to join Toronto's first (and I believe most awesome) American Tribal Style (ATS) bellydance troupe, Shades of Araby. Was I remotely ready? Well, no, but one member was pregnant and moving away, and they figured they could kick me into shape within a reasonable timeframe, so there we were. So a great deal of my time has suddenly been going to lessons, troupe practice, making costumes, and yes, performing. (Danced my first solo the other week, in a rather crowded -- and intimate -- public venue. Terrifying and fun at the same time.)

But the big thing? That's been the food. Food has taken over my life.

Since May, I've been on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, designed for people with Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis and other such lovely things ... and, apparently, people like me with impossible-to-diagnose digestive problems. I truly can't say enough about this diet. It has given me my life back. But it has also taken over a significant portion of every single day just in food prep. In short, I'm not eating complex carbohydrates in any quantity -- no grains, no sugar or sweeteners (except honey), no starches. There is nothing at all pre-prepared that I can eat, and I spend about three hours every day, minimum, on food prep, eating, dishes ... and I had three jobs for much of the last year. I've had to learn to cook, and yes, I still feel like a culinary genius when I make hollandaise sauce and mayonnaise and all the rest (perfectly, I might add).

Sometimes, being on this diet can be hard, and I would not give it the massive amount of time and energy it requires if it didn't work. In fact, I've called it miraculous. It won't be forever, but it will be for a good long time as I heal, and so I have officially become the most difficult person to feed or eat with. Unless, of course, you're serving steak and lots of it. (I am, by the way, very open to discussing the diet, food in general, recipes, etc. -- questions, comments, whatever -- but please know that my choices in this regard are not open to debate.)

So. That's me, and this is a warning that if I manage to be around more in general (as I hope to be), I will generally be talking Olympics and food. I know better than to make promises, but ... well, we shall see.


( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 12th, 2010 06:04 pm (UTC)
Welcome back!
Feb. 12th, 2010 07:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :)
Feb. 12th, 2010 07:01 pm (UTC)
I'm really fascinated by the diet. When did you begin it? How long did it take before you saw results?

I'm temporarily eating gluten and sugar again in preparation for some lab tests. It's definitely taking a toll.
Feb. 12th, 2010 07:44 pm (UTC)
I began at the end of May last year. At that point I was already on an elimination diet, so I wasn't eating wheat/gluten, nightshade veggies, corn, chocolate, certain kinds of fruit ... a whole host of things, really. (I've been dairy-free for about 15 years.) And while I was doing better on that restricted diet, I definitely wasn't symptom free.

I tried SCD as a last ditch effort, and had no expectation that it would work. I didn't begin properly (there's an intro diet); I just cut all the illegal things from my current diet to see what happened, and noticed a massive improvement within about 2 days. Most people see improvement within the first week.

It's a roller-coaster at times, as there are bacterial die-off phases (hello Herxheimer reaction), and oy, those aren't fun. And it can take a little bit for the body to adjust to the new diet -- much more fat and protein, though I eat piles of fruit and veggies every day. I had very few problems with the transition, but I also heal very slowly, so it's taken a while to progress to more "advanced" (hard to digest) legal foods.

Worth it, though. I'm now eating things in quantity that would have knocked me flat even six months ago (or locked me in the bathroom, or had me doubled over), and what symptoms I do have are so rare that they're the exception now, not the rule. Most interestingly, I can now tolerate butter without any problems, and will be trying (very slowly and cautiously) to add actual legal dairy (some cheeses, 24-hour fermented yogurt ...) into my diet. We shall see.
Feb. 12th, 2010 07:06 pm (UTC)
Oh, good! This made me happy.

Next year, when I have a stove and refrigerator, I'll have things to ask you about your food knowledge.
Feb. 12th, 2010 07:45 pm (UTC)
I'll be happy to share ... though according to my roommate, I've lost touch with normal food. (Granted, at the time she was watching me eat a bowl of limes for a snack ...)
Feb. 12th, 2010 11:01 pm (UTC)
Mmmm, limes.
Feb. 12th, 2010 07:12 pm (UTC)
Congrats on the novel! And also on the bellydancing!

Also congrats on finding a diet that is helping you out, though I'm sorry to hear it's one that carries such an enormous workload.
Feb. 12th, 2010 07:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And hey, good things in life are worth working for, right? :)
Feb. 12th, 2010 08:37 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you're feeling better! Welcome back to LJ.
Feb. 13th, 2010 01:08 am (UTC)
Thank you! Me too. :)
Feb. 12th, 2010 09:52 pm (UTC)
Yay! My fellow Olympic junkie is back on-line!!

You'll have to teach me how to make hollandaise sauce and mayonnaise some time.
Feb. 13th, 2010 01:10 am (UTC)
Both are remarkably easy, if somewhat time consuming. (I limit myself to eating only half the pot of hollandaise sauce per meal, though -- at 1/4 cup of butter in that serving, it's enough to give even me pause.)

And speaking of Olympics, it's time to find my costume embroidery and head to the living room ...
Feb. 12th, 2010 10:48 pm (UTC)
And her rallying cry was still, "Shut up, Bob Costas!"
I would not have been at all surprised to hear about the bobsledders first, but I'm glad to hear about the rest as well.
Feb. 13th, 2010 01:15 am (UTC)
Re: And her rallying cry was still, "Shut up, Bob Costas!"
With the number of times I nearly abandoned that entry midway ... yeah, I wouldn't have been surprised if I'd ended up with the bobsledders either. Must break myself of now-ingrained habits.

And you may still have Bob Costas, but we've lost CBC Olympic coverage. It's now on CTV. I'm afraid ... very, very afraid.
Feb. 13th, 2010 03:00 am (UTC)
Yea Olympics!

And my folks are really annoyed by the lack of CBC coverage...they don't get CTV on air in Essex apparently -- and don't get cable -- so they'll have to watch American coverage.

Jana (Watching the opening now).
Feb. 14th, 2010 03:32 am (UTC)
NBC is better than nothing, I suppose. :)

I'll say this for CTV: at least they got Brian Williams. I don't know what I'd have done without him.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 14th, 2010 03:34 am (UTC)
Maybe. :) I'm still plowing my way through very major rewrites, so it'll be half a year at least before I think of letting anyone else see it -- probably more. But I'll make a note to drop you a line closer to the time.

And thanks!
Feb. 13th, 2010 05:56 am (UTC)
Welcome back to LJ, Karina!

Hollandaise is fun. I have a microwave recipe from Madame Jehane Benoit that woks perfectly, 75% of the time.
Feb. 14th, 2010 03:35 am (UTC)
Microwave hollandaise?! Sacrilege! ;) I think I'll stick to my recipe ... 100% success rate is too good to mess with.
Feb. 15th, 2010 03:23 am (UTC)
Oh, good, more Olympics posting. I approve.

A friend of mine is going through official testing for gluten issues, though she's been off gluten for a few weeks and was feeling great. Her girlfriend is lactose intolerant, and they're both vegetarian, so when we visited friends in Michigan meals included a whole lot of different dishes.

A possibly intrusive question: what kind of leeway do you have? When we are at the same table, I'm likely to offer a bite of dessert on the off-chance that you think potential deliciousness worth whatever consequences you will suffer. Is this appropriate at all?
Feb. 15th, 2010 05:36 am (UTC)
Simply put: no leeway at all. I don't use painkillers when I have a headache because of the fillers -- that level of no leeway. I'm rarely tempted by anything anymore, because not only does eating something illegal (even in small quantities) make me feel bad for days, but it also sets back the overall healing process. I'm focused on the long-term outcomes, not so much the short-term desires. :)

And this is the same as what I was doing at Alpha, only I can tolerate a lot more, and I've figured out how to make many more delicious things. Being able to tolerate almond flour has made a massive difference (especially in my ability to gain and maintain weight). That, and slowly acquiring the ability to cook.

Also: hello!
Feb. 15th, 2010 05:48 am (UTC)
Okay. Will curb automatic sharing-of-food in future*. At least until you heal. I hope said healing is swifter and more complete than expected.

Interestingly, the fact that you have not been posting means that you're one of the only people whose Livejournal I read in the proper voice. Some of it, anyway.

(*the question came from feeling bad about offering a bit of extremely chocolate cake at Confluence and worrying that I'd made the wrong decision in doing so. If you've been harboring resentment against me for months, I beg forgiveness. But you do not seem like the resentment-harboring type.)
Feb. 18th, 2010 02:59 am (UTC)
Ah, Cassie. I hadn't even remembered what you were eating for dessert that evening at Confluence, never mind that I'd had to turn down a bite. Truly, doesn't bother me in the slightest. (I mean, after more than a decade of being dairy-free, my Oma is still offering me cheese, and milk for my tea.)

Now if you happen to be eating some really nice steak, or a mango, or a pile of berries -- please, offer to share. :)
Feb. 18th, 2010 04:13 am (UTC)
You, me, a pineapple, and a big choppy knife.
Feb. 18th, 2010 05:39 am (UTC)
Now you're talking!
Feb. 19th, 2010 07:06 am (UTC)
Nice to see you here again.
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )