Super-food Sunday: Edamame beans

Edamame beans are my favourite thing right now! Little pods that contain nutty, sweet, creamy, slightly salty (providing they are lightly salted) green beans that have a lovely bite to them that just *POP* out of the pods to be enjoyed however you like them. Personally, my favourite thing at the moment is the salmon, edamame, baby kale and quinoa salad with Dijon dressing from Pret a Manger! So healthy and delicious!

Edamame beans are young soya beans. They are harvested before the bean hardens. 

They are naturally gluten-free, cholesterol-free and low calorie. They are an excellent source of protein, iron, and calcium. They are an incredibly good source of protein for those who are vegan or vegetarian. 

Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like edamame decreases the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, overall lower weight. Sounds like a super good to me that’s for sure!

The isoflavones (a type of compound called phytoestrogens) in soy foods have been linked to a decreased risk for osteoporosis. In addition, the calcium and magnesium in soy may help to lessen PMS symptoms, regulate blood sugar and prevent migraine headaches. 

Soy-food consumption has been associated with a lower risk of several specific age and lifestyle-related conditions and improving overall general health. 

The folate in edamame may help with depression by preventing an excess of homocysteine from forming in the body. Homocysteine can stop blood and other nutrients from reaching the brain and in excess, homocysteine interferes with the production of the feel-good hormones serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate not only mood, but sleep and appetite as well. 

You can buy them from most supermarkets and they come ready to eat in pots. Or you can order them when you go to Japanese restaurants for a super healthy starter or side dish! They are great freshly steamed, served warm sprinkled with corse sea salt and a squeeze of lemon!

(Source http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/280285.php – too much brain fog to use an accumulation of resources today, I hope you understand) 

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Frustration

First of all, I would like to apologise to those who check my blog regularly and have found there to be no new posts! I have been quite unwell over the past two weeks, but also quite busy and my blog has fallen to neglect! However, I am back now.

I feel as though frustration is a good title for this post as it is an emotion that is with me quite often. It’s an odd one.. It feels very strange to be frustrated. It’s like a combination of anger, despair, defeat, longing, disappointment and sadness all in one. You tend to feel like you are letting yourself down which can make you quite angry and sad, and you feel defeated and disappointed that self-improvement is not in your control. You can start to despair when your efforts are fruitless and then long for the day when you can finally start to feel and do better.

That’s how it feels for me anyway.

There are several things in my life that I feel frustrated about and they all stem from being ill. In itself it is frustrating because nothing seems to be making me feel any better. I have been vomiting for 2 weeks straight now, with on and off days for a few weeks prior to that. I had a gastric emptying study on Feb 15th which I am 99% sure showed I have gastroparesis, and yet the gastro team at my hospital have still not done anything! I have called twice now, finally getting somewhere (I thought) when the secretary put my results in the Dr’s tray and told me he would write or call. That was 5 days ago and still nothing. It has been almost 2 weeks since the examination and having lived with this awful vomiting for 2 and a half years now I NEED some answers!! (and medicine preferably!)

The above and also managing my CVID is something else that causes consequent frustration as it means I miss out on a lot of things – primarily my education! I frequently am too unwell to attend school which is so frustrating as I am doing my A levels and have aspirations to study Economics at Cambridge. At the moment we are discussing when is best for me to sit my maths As exams and how I can get extra support from the hospital for when I am absent for long periods of time (which is quite frequent). Due to the unpredictable nature of both of my health problems, I feel like I’m being so uncooperative when I say I’m not sure what is best or perhaps disagree with what they think is best, such as taking some of my maths I should take this year, next year. I’m not particularly keen on that idea as next year I will also have Economics and History as well as more maths anyway, and who’s to say I’m going to feel any better in myself next year anyway?

It is difficult to plan ahead when your health is so volatile and never know what could make you have an episode of vomiting or if you will catch an infection etc. Even planning three weekends ahead is difficult, let alone predicting how I will feel next year! It is impossible and so so frustrating!

Just a thought…

Having an immunodeficiency disorder and being in a support network with other people who have the same condition is a bit like living on a road full of period houses; lets say Victorian in style.

Imagine:

They are immaculately painted on the outside with reasonably well kept plant pots by the front entrance that only get a bit weary if the person goes on holiday. From the outside, they all look impressive and fine (in both senses), but inside there are problems with old pipes starting to leak, floorboards that are showing signs of rotting, a couple of cracks in the ceiling and ever-so-slight subsidence. 

However, the thing that makes it easier for each resident is that there’s a whole road of these houses that have the same/similar problems inside! That means each person can reassure you it’s not just you experiencing boiler issues and frequent power cuts because of outdated electric wiring and plumbing systems.. but most likely several other people have those issues too. And out of those people, it’s almost guaranteed at least one will have relevant details about a local handy men who can provide assistance!

Now think of it like this…

People with PIDs are a bit like this road of period houses. Pretty well maintained generally, unless we are feeling particularly rubbish (on vacation). How we look on the outside is often not a true representation of how we feel on the inside. Despite looking okay, we may perhaps not be fairing so well internally – whether physically or mentally – and be in need of some support from our ‘neighbours’ to sort out our problems, whatever they may be. 

The idea that each resident can help point the others in the direction of somebody who helped replace a radiator, or re-did their floors etc, is the same principle as being in any kind of support group. It enables you to learn from other people facing the same struggles so that you have an idea of what you’re up against and how best to go about sorting/managing the problems it creates for you. 

In both circumstances;

               the help and support is invaluable to each individual, and the common struggle unites them as a single body full of knowledge and experience in dealing with a multitude of challenges. 
Let me know what you think about this simile for what it’s like to have a PID and/or be in a support group; share your own if you have one!  

Super-food Sunday: Green Tea

In light of it being Chinese New Year tomorrow, this week’s feature is something used for centuries in Chinese medicine to treat a plethora of conditions: green tea. 

Green tea contains B vitamins, folate (naturally occurring folic acid), manganese, potassium, magnesium, caffeine and other antioxidants, especially catechins. 

These catechins have biological properties and are in fact anti-bacterial. They can kill bacteria in your mouth and improve dental hygiene, keeping your breath fresh. Some studies show that they can inhibit viruses like the influenza virus, potentially lowering your risk of infections. 

Allegedly, drinking green tea helps to boost the metabolism, aiding in weight loss. Also it can help to reduce cholesterol, treat cardiovascular disease, and ward off certain cancers and Alzheimer’s disease – helping you live a prolonged, healthy life. 

Green tea contains caffein (not as much as coffee, but enough to keep you alert without feeling jittery). It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which has anti-anxiety and calming effects. Together, the substances help to improve brain functions and concentration throughout the day. 

It is said that green tea can also stabilise insulin levels in the blood, subsequently decreasing one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

It comes in many flavours and has a relatively mild taste. It can be used as a mixer in smoothies, served iced, or however you like it best! However, it is not advisable to put milk in it. 

So cheers from me; to green tea! 

Contains extracts from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/superfoods/Pages/is-green-tea-a-superfood.aspx