Soy Daisy – I’m Daisy

(Scroll down for the English version!)

Hola,

Me llamo Daisy, pero creo que prefiero ser llamada Maus. Por lo menos este es el nombre que me hace parpadear con gusto.

Daisy2

Llevo más que un año en casa de acogida con la Lydia, la Stephanie, y su gata Bisou. Aún soy muy tímida, pero ya bastante acostumbrada a mis humanos. La Bisou es una gata que es muy tranquila y le encantan sus humanos. Yo aún no estoy segura qué hacer con ellas. Por ahora prefiero mantener mi distancia y disfrutar de mi mejor amigo, el radiador. Las chicas me pusieron mi camita al lado y así disfruto mucho de mi lugar cálido.

Os quiero explicar un poco más sobre mi: soy una gata joven, de color gris, con patitas negras muy suaves, y unos ojitos preciosos. Al principio tuve muchísimo miedo – a todo: a los humanos, los ruidos, a la Bisou, a todo el nuevo entorno de un lugar cerrado. Por miedo bufaba y gruñía siempre cuando se acercarban a mi los humanos. Pero nunca les quería hacer daño y de hecho sólo una vez le arañe a la Lydia – por miedo – ya que se acercaba demasiado a mi. Pero todos hemos aprendido y después de esto ya no pasó. Cuando se acercan aún me entra miedo – por las malas experiencias con otros humanos que tuve anteriormente. Pero ya no hago daño a nadie. A veces las chicas trabajan mucho conmigo y dejo que me toquen, pero todavía tengo miedo. Yo era una gata callejera. Me gustaba mi libertad. Pero entiendo que las calles de Barcelona resultan ser muy peligrosas para una gatita pequeña, y así mi reto es acostumbrarme a humanos que me quieren y a un espacio cerrado por ahora. Ya que no tengo ninguna enfermedad, El Jardinet dels Gats me quería dar la oportunidad de acostumbrarme a vivir en una casa, con humanos. Ahora me gusta mucho mirar por la ventana. Me gusta buscar a la Lydia y a la Stephanie por la mañana, cuando es mi hora de desayunar. Hablo con ellas con mis pequeños ‘Miaus’ para hacerles entender que ya es hora. Me encanta la comida en general y hace poco, que me he atrevido por primera vez a coger un pequeño trocito de jamón dulce de la mano de la Lydia. Ha sido mucho para mi! Un pequeño paso para la humanidad, un gran paso para mi. Por la noche les hago entender con miradas y ‘Miaus’ que ya es hora de cenar. Después nos entran ganas de jugar a la Bisou y a mi. A pesar de eso, y en general, la Bisou no me hace mucho caso y creo que me gustaría estar con un gatito pequeño o un gato que me quiere mucho. La Bisou está muy pegada a sus humanos y lo entiendo. Pero yo aún necesito más tiempo y creo que un gatito que me ama me ayudaría mucho. La Lydia me compró un gatito peluche y al principio dormía con el, pero ya no. Pero el otro día me ha hecho un gran regalo: se pusó a coserme a mano una almohadilla rellena de la hierba valeriana – me encanta. A veces me la da para jugar y me pongo súper feliz y loca. Es un premio grande para mi. En general me gusta jugar mucho. Ahora también juego a la cuerda con ellas! Hago pequeños pasos, mejoro lentamente. Ahora descanso en la misma habitación con ellas. Ya no les tengo tanto miedo. Les estoy muy agradecida – a ellas y al gran equipo del Jardinet dels Gats, que cada día rescatan a gatos como yo de la calle y de los peligros que hay allí fuera.

Daisy4

Lo más importante para mi es encontrar un lugar seguro, con humanos que me quieren y que me dan la oportunidad de mejorar aún más. Mi propia casa! Que ilusión! Sé que aquí con la Stephanie, la Lydia y la Bisou tengo un lugar seguro y definitivo por ahora, pero si no mejora mi relación con la Bisou, una casa definitiva con un gato a que le gusta jugar conmigo y que me quiere mucho, no me iría mal. Me gustaría además si todo esto fuese dentro de un entorno rural – quizás siendo parte de una familia que vive fuera de Barcelona en un pueblo, o por lo menos en las afueras, dónde haya acceso al campo y a la naturaleza. Me gustaría poder salir sin correr peligros allí fuera.

DSCN3058

Bueno, ahora mismo la Lydia y la Stephanie tanto como yo esperamos que todo mejora aún mucho más y que me acostumbraré completamente a ellas, a la Bisou, y la Bisou a mi.

Daisy1

Os agradezco con todo mi corazón gatuno si habéis leído mis palabras y si además dais a ‘Me gusta’ y compartierais mi pequeño artículo. También tengo un perfil en Instagram dónde podéis seguir mis aventuras y pequeños, grandes pasos.

Un Miau y un abrazo gatuno para tod@s, Daisy (Maus).

Para poder conocerme visita mi perfil aquí.

_________________________________________________________________

Hi there,

My name is Daisy, but I think I prefer being called ‘Maus’ – at least this is the name that makes me twinkle with joy.

Daisy2

I am currently living in my foster home with Lydia, Stephanie and their cat Bisou for more than a year now. Although I am still very shy, I am already pretty much used to my humans. Bisou is a very laid back cat and she loves her humans. I, on the other hand, am still not sure what to make of them. For now I prefer keeping the distance and enjoying the company of my best friend, the radiator. The girls put my cushion just next to it so I am enjoying my warm spot very much.

I would like to tell you a bit more about me: I am a young, grey coloured cat. My black skinned paws are very soft, and I have beautiful eyes. In the beginning I was very afraid – of everything: of humans, noises, of Bisou, of all this new, closed off space. Because of fear I hissed and growled whenever humans came too close to me. But I never wanted to hurt them; in fact I only scratched Lydia once – out of fear – because she came too close. But we have all learned from that incident and it never happened again. When they come close to me, I am still afraid, because of the bad experiences I’ve had with other humans beforehand. But I am not hurting anyone anymore. Sometimes the girls work a lot with me and I let them touch me, but I am still fearful. I was a street cat. I liked my freedom. But I also understand, that Barcelona’s streets are a dangerous place for a small cat, and therefore my challenge is to get used to the humans that love me and to a closed space (as a flat) for now. Since I am a healthy cat, the Jardinet dels Gats wanted to give me the opportunity to live in a flat, with humans. Now I love looking out of the window. I like looking for Lydia and Stephanie in the morning, when it is my time to have breakfast. I ‘speak’ to them with my little ‘Meows’ to make them understand that it’s time. I love food in general and a little while ago I took a small piece of ham out of Lydia’s palm for the first time. That was a big step for me! A small step for humankind, but a big one for me. In the evening I make them understand through looks and ‘Meows’ that it’s time for dinner. Afterwards Bisou and me like to play. Apart from that, Bisou doesn’t give me a lot of attention, and I think I would love to be with a smaller kitten or a cat that loves me. Bisou is very focussed on her humans and I understand that. But I need much more time and I think a kitten that loved me might be helpful. Lydia bought me a a cat plush toy and in the beginning I slept with it, but I sort of got tired of that. Well, the other day she gave me a great present: she stitched up this little cushion filled with valerian for me – I love it. Sometimes she gives it to me so I can play with it and that makes me super happy and I go crazy for it. It’s my grand prize. In general I love playing a lot. Now I also play with the string with the girls! So I am taking small steps at a time and getting better slowly. Now I am resting in the same room with them. I am not afraid of them any longer. In fact I am very grateful – to them and the great team from the Jardinet dels Gats, that rescue cats like me from the streets and the dangers that are lingering out there.

Daisy4

The most important thing for me is to find a safe place, with humans that love me and that give me the opportunity to get even better. My own home! What a beautiful thought! I know that for now I am having a safe and definite place at Lydia’s, Stephanie’s and Bisou’s home, but if my relationship with Bisou doesn’t improve, a forever home with a cat that likes to play with me and loves me wouldn’t be bad at all. Furthermore I’d love my forever home to be in the countryside – maybe a family that lives outside of Barcelona in a small village, or at least in the outskirts, where there’s access to nature and fields. I’d love to be able to go outside without encountering any dangers.

DSCN3058

Well, for now Lydia and Stephanie, just like me, are hoping that everything gets even better and that I get completely used to them, to Bisou, and Bisou to me.

Daisy1

Thank you with all my feline heart for reading my words, and on top of that for ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’ my little article. I also have an Instagram account where you can follow my adventures and my tiny, big steps.

Meow and a feline hug to all of you, yours Daisy (Maus).

If you want to get to know me, click here.

Bohemian Damson Plum Jam (Böhmisches Pflaumenmus)

I just love marmalades and jams. I can’t get enough of them and I never buy them: all my marmalades and jams are homemade. One of my favourites is Damson Plum Jam – a Bohemian specialty that is being made in the oven. Since you can’t buy damson plums here in Barcelona, I had some imported from Germany. So if you can get your hands on some, I highly recommend trying this delicious recipe:

Pflaumenmus_und_Roggenbrot

Homemade Damson Plum Jam with homemade Rye Bread

Ingredients:

1 kg ripe damson plums

200 g raw brown cane sugar

1-2 cinnamon sticks (you can alternatively add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon)

5 cloves

Optional:

1 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar

1 shot of Rum

Preparation:

Cut the plums in half and extract the stones. Take some of the sugar and cover the inside of a large and high, oven proof skillet. Cover the bottom of the skillet with your first layer of plum halves (cut side facing down). Spread more sugar over them. Add the next layer of plum halves and spread more sugar on top of them, and so on until you added all the plums and sugar to the skillet. Before adding the last layer, add the cinnamon sticks or powder, the cloves and vinegar. Cover with a lid and let it rest in the fridge over night.

Before Resting

Let the plums & spices rest in the fridge overnight 

Preheat the oven to 180º C (fan). Sterilise the marmalade jars. Add the skillet (without lid) to the oven and leave a wooden cooking spoon stuck in the oven door, so that the humid steam can escape. Close the door after 30mins. Don’t stir! Lower the temperature to 150ºC and leave inside for about 3h.

Take out the skillet and transfer to the stove in order to maintain the temperature. Take out the cinnamon sticks and cloves (you might have to really search for them). Puree with the help of a hand mixer and add some rum if you like to. Fill into sterilised marmalade glasses and close them properly. Let them rest and cool down upside down in order to achieve the vacuum effect.

Before filling into jars

After puréeing the plums

You can store the Bohemian Damson Plum Jam for up to one year!

My Achalasia Story – or: “About the Foodie that couldn’t eat”

Achalasia

Being the daughter of a chef, and the eldest of three siblings, my life has been influenced a lot by really good food at our family table and during whatever kind of social event. As everyone else in my family, I cherish and love good food, the cooking of and eating it, of course. Food is such a social aspect in our lives. Living in a country in which social interaction usually takes place outside, in bars, cafés and restaurants, instead of within your own or your friends’ four walls, I am pretty used to eating out or having my coffee outside while working inside a tranquil café. I’d even say it’s nearly impossible to take part in social life if you don’t go out, here in this country. And I’m loving it! The quality – price ratio when it comes to eating out is really good here in Barcelona: when you know where to go, you can lead a really healthy, according to the Mediterranean diet, life style. And the produce of local origin is just unbeatable. So to sum it up: I love to eat – at home and outside. I love to eat good, prime quality food. I love to eat healthy.

When I was a teenager I’d eat loads and wouldn’t gain weight. This changed drastically almost overnight when in a timespan of 3 months I gained so much weight that I just didn’t know what went wrong. It turned out back then, that I was suffering, (as many of my generation, and some blame this on Chernobyl), from hypothyroidism, which resulted in a drastic gain of weight due to the fact that my thyroid gland wasn’t able to produce the adequate hormones the body needs for a correctly functioning metabolism. I never ate bad, unhealthy food. I have never been a fast food fan, except for a real authentic Italian pizza, some chocolates, or winegums once in a while. No diet would work. So I was upset accordingly.

All this changed in August 2009. I was 28 years old at that time. I had just moved to Barcelona, Spain, and my new partner (later to be wife) was currently travelling Canada. I was at home. Alone, when I suddenly experienced stabbing chest pains. My first thought was: ‘I’m 28 years old, I am alone and I am suffering from a heart attack. There’s no one nearby that could help me, and I can’t access a telephone.’ I dragged myself to the armchair, hoping for the best, and expecting the worst. A couple of horrifying & immensely painful hours went by, and finally the spasm-like pains seemed to disappear slowly. I was rocking back and forth. Not knowing what to do, crying in vain. I couldn’t think straight. After that experience I spoke to my partner about it, and decided to go and see a doctor. After a few medical respiratory tests, it was decided I had asthma. It didn’t feel right though.

Time passed by and the painful, heart attack like spasms and pain crises would become more frequent. They’d hit me out of nowhere, from behind, at night, in my sleep. I also started regurgitating food without wanting (at a table during a business dinner, or with friends, etc.). Sometimes waking up coughing my lungs out, because fluids, (and now I know that it’s been rests of undigested food) would run up my esophagus and into my lungs. I have always suffered from a lot of respiratory illnesses (including three times pneumonia up until now) – now I know why. During the next year I’ve suffered these increasing pain attacks, and they finally paired up with not being able to eat. By November 2010 I had already lost about 10kg. Sometimes – while eating – I would just turn reddish and pale at the same time, with my eyes almost bursting out of my skull, trying to swallow food that had gotten stuck in my throat. I went to see my GP again, and she still insisted on me suffering from asthma. I asked for an endoscopy and her answer was that I ‘was too young’ to suffer from a disease of the upper digestive apparatus. My answer was: ‘Well, I can breathe, but I can’t eat!’ Then one day in December that same year, I just couldn’t eat or drink anything anymore. For five long days. And I ended up in the emergency room of a private hospital where they finally ran the necessary test. After the endoscopy, they suspected a rare disease (that only occurs in 1 out of 100,000) called Achalasia. My private health insurance, upon finding out about the suspicion the specialists had (no confirmed diagnosis up to that point!), refused paying for the medical test and cancelled my health insurance with them immediately. So I was depending on the Spanish State Health Care System again. I was able to change my GP (stating a language barrier as the reason, which wasn’t the real reason at all, but I knew if I gave them my real reason they wouldn’t have accepted it). The suspected rare disease had yet to be confirmed by a barium swallow (in which the patient has to swallow contrast gel while being constantly x-rayed – it’s like a x-ray movie, and I believe I glow everytime after having it), and through a very painful test called manometry, which measures the pressure of the esophageal function (peristalsis).

Barium Swallow pre-surgery

X-Ray Momentum of my Barium Swallow (pre-surgery)

Soon Achalasia was confirmed and I sort of felt betrayed: having a rare disease is like a nightmare-like lottery win.

First of all it’s rare: as a patient you are like a guinea pig and doctors rarely ever heard about your rare condition, and if they did, it’s been treated in one of their lectures without focussing on it. A rare disease is not cancer (I want to indicate at this point that I am not comparing Achalasia with cancer here; I am not saying one is worse than the other, nor anything similar). It doesn’t have a lobby. So there’s almost no investigation, (and almost no specialists), due to the lack of funding. Then no one can tell you what to do and how to deal with it. Turns out that for almost every Achalasian, although they suffer from the same symptoms, other remedies work (it seems like each and every Achalasia patient has their own ways of dealing with eating and spasms, etc). What might alleviate one, will make the next one worse. Then you can have some treatments to improve your life and eating quality, but there is no cure, and treatments are sometimes more and other times less successful. In my case I’ve had surgery (the Heller Myotomy with a Dor Fundoplication), and since that one didn’t make it better, they also did a balloon dilatation of the esophagus. By the time of the Heller Myotomy I had almost lost 30kg. Due to the first surgery, and the accordingly developed scar tissue on my esophagus, the posterior dilatation wasn’t successful as they couldn’t dilate much (in order to prevent me from suffering the life-threatening risk of perforation). Now I take some medication, (that is not specifically for Achalasia, but relaxes the nerves and therefore might soothe the muscle spasms), from time to time when I get these pain crises and my esophagus closes up completely, leaving me unable to eat for a couple of days. Usually this type of medication provokes that I am unable to function in my all-day-life. It makes me super tired and I feel like in a daze.

Barium Swallow Post-Surgery

X-Ray Momentum of my Barium Swallow (post-surgery – unsuccessful Heller Myotomy)

So how do I live now? What is life like for an Achalasian? I try to eat whatever I like to eat. I know, I can’t eat a lot of things (like red meat, rice, acidic foods, fibres, fruits, raw veggies and salads, etc. – the list is long). Easier are: cakes, cream tarts, pudding, bland foods, soups, etc. Every time I am eating, the food piles up in my esophagus and I try to push as much of it down as possible with the help of drinking up to 2l / meal of water at room-temperature (cold or warm water, and drastic temperature changes can cause the earlier described painful spasms) directly after an eating period. I basically feel when I need to drink – I’d throw up otherwise. Just imagine having something stuck in your throat. Your first and most normal physical reaction would be to throw up. It’s a bodily function. With Achalasia throwing up is not that easy anymore. At the end of each day, before I go to bed, and in order to prevent rests of food from flowing up into my lungs (reflux), where they could cause serious infections (even pneumonia) and other diseases, I throw up. I don’t throw up stomach contents since the LES (the entrance to my stomach, or also known as Lower Esophageal Sphincter) is closed off. This is why my esophagus looks like a glass of sparkling wine: wide at the beginning and sort of very narrow when it comes to entering the stomach. Sometimes I throw up in the middle of meals. Imagine what kind of image this causes during your lunch break at your work or business dinners! I’ve been asked if I had bulimia and anorexia by the braver ones, but the cowards would bull-eye me when they thought I didn’t realise and then look away. Can you imagine what kind of pressure this puts on you in your working and social life? Can you understand the impact this has? Even if you’re dealing with the situation, there might be others that start spreading rumours about you, that might have a negative impact on your career. People that you considered trustworthy suddenly turn away from you in social relationships.

Throwing up usually causes me spasms. If my stomach entrance is forced open through the force of throwing up (which happens once a week more or less), I will suffer from very vile spasms the whole night and during the next day. Sometimes I get spasms out of nowhere. If I catch them on time I find relief in drinking small sips of water at room temperature. I always carry a water bottle with me. For me it’s life saving medicine. It’s a matter of life and death because one spasm can intensify in such a way that I pass out and won’t get rid of it for days, having to go to hospital and worst case scenario: being ‘force-fed’ (something I want to avoid at all costs). I always carry my certified GP’s letter with me that specifies that I have to carry my bottle of water with me (even through security checks at airports and in other situations). I can only recommend getting such a letter if you suffer from Achalasia and know that water helps you. It’s widely accepted and most airports (especially international ones) are equipped with liquid testing machines.

I only go to restaurants that I know serve big jugs or sell big bottles of water. Usually I drink the water right out of the bottle as this helps me, because the pressure on the food in my esophagus is bigger than the one from a small glass of water. Plus I can drink a bigger amount of water at once. The eating success rate is higher that way. So water helps me eat and deal with my spasms. Whenever restaurant staff doesn’t understand my short explanation (‘I have a rare swallowing disease which prevents me from being able to eat food and swallow it accordingly. This is why I ask you to bring me at least 2l of water at room temperature. Thank you!’), I leave. I have no other choice as most places don’t accept it if their guest takes out their own bottle of water.

When it comes to medication, I take Buscapina and Adalat (in that order), if water fails to help. I try not to take Diazepam as it is just a very drastic drug to take in my opinion, but sometimes – during very bad days – I have no other choice.

So basically I eat whatever I like to eat (I know my body very well by now and usually know very well what it can handle). I still love food and I refuse to give up my love for food and my passion for cooking. I love writing my little food blog (although I must admit that I have been kind of lazy recently, but that has been due to other events in my life), and to post my foodscapades on Instagram every week (I tried eating 95% of what you can see in my pictures – except for when it comes to things my partner had and I don’t like – and I assume I actually swallow 75% of what I post on Instagram). Good food is a luxury good for me that makes me happy. I don’t depend on it, but I cherish it because I know the better I eat, the healthier I am. I like to pig out, and I like it even more when knowing that the ingredients are of km 0 (local) and organic origin, and that they were prepared with the utmost care, attention to detail and love. Ingredients that no cook should ever underestimate in my humble opinion.

My love and passion for good food also helps me overcome the other side effects of suffering from a rare illness (that no patient, doctor, therapist, partner, friend, family member, employer, colleague or bystander) should ever underestimate: suffering from depression, PTSD and anxiety due to Achalasia and my three herniated discs, plus the resulting sciatica. I know now that during a very long time I pushed myself and my body to its limits, and its natural reaction was to collapse (the result was me being unable to walk, sit, and stand up during almost 6 months last year). A very busy work schedule, an unfortunate work situation in general, paired with unhealthy eating at work, during business trips and business dinners, lead to the ultimate blow-up 1 year and 9 months ago.

My life has changed so much since then: I had no choice but to listen to my body and my deteriorating health. I had to drastically stop all I was used to, calm down, rest and reconsider all the choices I had made up until that point. I left a career, which I mostly liked, behind, started working regaining my ability to move and walk through physiotherapy and holistic health therapies (like acupuncture, auriculotherapy, kinesiology, Psych-K®, Reiki, homeopathy, Bach flowers & reflexology), started eating healthy and consciously, and tried to push through a morphine, Lyrica and Xeristar withdrawal which I had been taking almost for a year due to the elevated pain level and to the nerve regenerating side effects of the latter. It is unnecessary to mention that the combination between the spine problem and Achalasia have been quite a challenge. Throwing up is not funny – especially when it comes with such a force – when you have serious back pain. I don’t want to go too much into the back issue though.

What I want to underline with telling you a bit about my last year is that alternative (holistic) health therapies really worked for me (regarding Achalasia, the back problem and psychological challenges I am facing), and that it was so helpful to change my life even if I am at a point now at which I don’t know into which direction to turn into (professionally and personally), since I am far from being fine on one side but am also that clear again, that I have the wish to start something new. Something which has to be adapted to my physical needs, of course. I will never work a stressful job again. I won’t be able to work in a position that requires to be sitting or standing up most of the usual 8h and more working day. I can’t work in a job which doesn’t give me time to eat, (because I obviously need more time to eat than people without a digestive illness do), or which doesn’t accept that I have to go to hospital and doctors’ appointments much more often than the average employee. My work place needs to be able to accept my by the Spanish State acknowledged and certified disability, and that I will have surgery again. All these things are obstacles in the working world and aren’t very attracting to possible employers. So at the moment I am re-thinking, reconsidering my options and what I could and would want to achieve. I am sure I have a lot of things to offer (things I don’t want to specify here since this blog post is about Achalasia, and not about trying to find my perfect job).

I want to tell everyone that suffers from a permanent (rare or not rare) disease, to reconsider your life, the options you have (when it comes to the way you live your life, you eat, you exercise, your work life and personal life, your chosen therapies). It’s always good to explore new possibilities. And: if like me you suffer from a rare, incurable illness, the first step towards a happier life is acceptance. I don’t mean that you shouldn’t fight for raising awareness and following up new therapy options and the general research. No. What I mean is that; even if it takes a long time and is much easier said than actually done; the goal is to accept yourself and your body. I am currently at a point at which I manage to do that sometimes. There are other moments in which I am just mad and frustrated and sad. This is why it is also important to never underestimate the side effects that come with a physical disease, such as depression, anxiety, etc.

Finally to the people that are not ill: the worst you can tell a person that struggles with being ill, permanently ill, or even suffers from a rare, incurable disease, is to tell them to suck it up, that there are people worse off or – the worst – that they are just making it up. Every single one of us has their own burden to carry. If you cherish the person in front of you, you should never forget to acknowledge that. If you don’t understand what they are going through, you should ask them. And don’t forget to ask them from time to time how they are, if you really care for them – as you should do with every other human being you care about. When they cancel on you, don’t be mad at them if they do it last minute: it might mean they’re having a really bad day and they just don’t want to bother you with long, painful explanations. If they come to work looking as if they had partied all night, don’t make that stupid joke! Maybe they couldn’t sleep all night long due to their illness and summoned all strength in order to lead a normal life and to show up for work as everyone else. Try to look beyond and to understand that life with an illness – rare or common, permanent or temporary, curable or incurable – is already a challenge: ill people always run into misunderstandings, are judged negatively, suffer prejudice at work and in social life, and the according disadvantages and discrimination. And those are just the secondary challenges. The first one is always: they are the first ones that have to deal with this. Not you, not a doctor, a partner, or whoever. The patient is always the first one to experience an illness and this should be acknowledged and their story shouldn’t be questioned.

So this is my story. This is why (good) food is much more important to me than to a person that can eat normally. You don’t understand what kind of importance one apparantly normal thing has until you can’t do it anymore. Especially if it is something you need in order to survive. I want to ask every reader to cherish what they are eating. To be grateful that they can eat it, and to eat every bite of their meal consciously. It’ll create a much healthier approach to food inside yourself and will make you enjoy eating! And eating good food is love, and love makes you happy. Don’t forget that!

Thank you for reading.

A little list of useful links regarding Achalasia:

International:

Acalasia, Achalasie, Achalasy, Achalasia (closed Facebook group)

For English Speakers:

Martin Mueller IV Achalasia Awareness Foundation, Inc. (Facebook)

Achalasia Awareness Organization (Facebook)

Achalasia Research UK (Facebook)

Achalasia (closed Facebook group)

Achalasia Support Group (closed Facebook group)

Achalasie Forum (English version)

For German Speakers:

ARC (Achalasia Risk Consortium)

Achalasie.de

Achalasie Forum

Achalasie – Betroffene in Deutschland (closed Facebook group)

Achalasie-Austausch-Gruppe (closed Facebook group)

For Spanish Speakers:

Gente con ACALASIA y otros desordenes del esofago

Acalasia

A Summer’s Tale

ASummersTale From the Distance.

And I still remember the first time you were there. Spring or Autumn, or whatever in between – turning around all fell silent and golden. A turn in blissful sweet glaze and you! Since then: Lingering around, searching those grey hallways & endless staircases between shades and lectures – sometimes! observing the sun rise in your waves. Swimming through days and

always

always

ending up in sticky, dark waters – without a word!

There you were – close. Finally. And words stumbling out of me, falling from my narrow lips. Slowly & silent. You compared your hand against mine – I remember: I loved your touch. Your hand shaping mine, yet not taking hold of it. Then you let go.

All was pure summer – yellowish white blazing sun. The world was gold. But don’t ask me about seasons! Light shaping our way. Long afternoons in the park – the tictoc of the Jeu de Boules, blinded by the red of your sunshine. When words had left me again. And you. You wouldn’t stop teasing me. Investigating the whereabouts of my sense & senses. Digging constantly – deep into my being. And I just smiled your questions away. And succeeded. Mostly. Miserably.

We walked – back & forth and back & forth – through endless fields of gold with no destination but the middle. And I agreed to answer you – back there in the middle where our worlds were already one. When the light summer’s breeze stopped whispering through the shiny grass and we let ourselves sink into summer’s gold, my words exhaled, flying on light particles, and

I believe

when entering your consciousness, I didn’t see a single glimpse in the deep shiny grass of your eyes. For a moment: I was afraid. To fall

Out of Summer

But the golden light held us there while you took hold of my hand. Then: we had to part. That moment of fear; and silence took me away. Your infinite green pulled me inwards, your hands reaching for mine as your lips sweetly laid sunshine on mine and I rushed home on waves of light.

That Summer’s Sun belongs to you.

© 2015 by La Ravalera

Cold Melon Soup

Here in Barcelona it’s summer – hot hellish like summer. These days a heat wave struck and combined with BCN’s usual humidity, I’m far from being hungry, and all I can think of when it comes to eating is having something cold, light, healthy & easy to make. Most head for a salad or – when thinking about cold soups – a Gazpacho, but a real good alternative to those rather known summer dishes is a cold melon soup:

SopaDeMelon

Ingredients (4 servings):

1/2 ‘Piel de Sapo’ melon

1/2 cucumber (a piece about 20cm long)

2 garlic cloves

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (use a special one for salads – not for cooking)

salt & pepper to season

Chives

Optional:

A few slices of Jamón Ibérico Bellota – Pata Negra

You can also add some mint leaves that you puree in the beginning with the other ingredients.

Preparation:

Peel the cucumber, cut it and the melon into even pieces, and put them into a high bowl. Peel the garlic and add it as well. Puree everything with a mixer. Add 2-3 spoons of olive oil at the end and mix well. Season with salt & pepper and leave in the fridge for at least 1h. If you want to add a bit of jamón bellota, take it out of the fridge about 20mins before serving the soup so it can evolve its full flavours at room temperature.

Fill the cold soup into soup plates. Rip the jamón gently into pieces and place those in the middle of the soup. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over it and garnish with some chopped chives and the entire chive stems.

The Healthy Bake (vegan & vegetarian)

Today we fancied something fast, light & healthy, yet warm for dinner. As my better half is currently having some dietary restrictions, I was giving the options a good thought and came up with this easy to make one-tray-recipe – I just love putting everything into the oven and that all comes out cooked to perfection and ready to serve:

HealthyBake3

The Healthy Veggie Bake also makes as a perfect Side Dish

Ingredients (makes 2 servings as a main course):

1/2 big butternut squash pumpkin

1 big white sweet potato (you can also use a normal sweet potato)

4 big carrots

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (optional)

Preparation (5mins + 30mins cooking time):

Preheat the oven (fan) to 180ºC.

Cut all the veggies into even pieces (the carrot pieces should also be a bit thicker) and place them into an oven dish (I lined mine additionally with parchment paper), drizzle some Extra Virgin Olive Oil over them and season with salt & ground black pepper. Place the oven dish on the medium level in your oven.

HealthyBake1

Optional: Pumpkin is great combined with parmesan cheese, so if you are feeling cheesy, take the oven dish out after about 20mins and cover the vegetables in a thin layer of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, and put it back into the oven for another 10mins. Enjoy!!

HealthyBake2

Mmmmm, Parmigiano!

(Healthy) Weekend Pancakes

Pancakes – they seem to be craved by everyone recently so I decided to give it a go and finally create my own recipe of delicious & even healthy tortitas!

I’ve been trying various combinations of ingredients and came down to a healthy and a less healthy version (depending on which flour you’re using).

Ingredients for 2:

1 egg (egg replacer for my vegan friends: 1 egg = 1 TSP baking powder + 1/2 TSP baking soda + 2 TBSPs flour + 3 TBSPs water – all mixed well

1 cup of buckwheat or normal flour

2 TSPs baking powder

1 cup milk

1/2 or 1 small ripe banana

1 TSP chia seeds

2 TSPs vanilla extract or one vanilla bean

1/2 TSP cinnamon

1/3 cup raw sugar

Preparation:

Mix all ingredients well and bake in a well-greased pan (I use butter but you can also use vegetable oil) at medium temperature from each side until golden brown. I have a pancake pan so I get the same pancake size all the time – but you shouldn’t need a whole ladle filling in order to get one pancake – I get 8 pancakes out of the mix above.

Healthy_Pancakes

Healthy Pancakes with a Cottage Cheese, Blueberry & Agave Syrup Topping