Pokarlla has Pyroluria

Since about the age of 14 I have struggled with my moods and mood swings. I never knew why. That just seemed to be the way I was made.

It actually felt quite exhausting for me to be nice. I felt like I had to wear a mask all the time just to function normally in society. And whenever I finally gave up trying to be nice, well… I was really not nice. Downright unpleasant. And that felt…right. Which is not right, is it?

I have my undergraduate degree in Psychology, and have always thought I had Bipolar Disorder. I never wanted to get myself formally diagnosed as I did not want to be medicated, and thus attempted to stay balanced through other means. I find yoga and the GAPS Diet and/or a Paleo Style Diet to be beneficial for me.

At the beginning of this year, due to extreme life stressors and other factors, I suffered a mental breakdown. I won’t get into all the gritty details but it was bad.

Very, very bad.

I can safely say I reached my lowest point.

But:

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I am so very lucky to have my family. Yes, we are a little dysfunctional and perhaps considered weird, but we take care of one another. I am so grateful to my sisters, my mum and my grandmother. And everyone else who supported me. I needed it. Very much.

I am so so grateful. Thank-you.

Thank-you.

After my breakdown, my mother took me to a lot of appointments, did a lot of research and listened intently to advice.

I got tested for a disorder called Pyroluria.My test came back extremely positive.

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This says that any level over 20 is considered elevated. Mine was 67.3.

What is Pyroluria you ask?

Pyroluria occurs when there is abnormal synthesis and metabolism of haemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying molecule in your blood. All body cells produce by- products or waste. The by-product of haemoglobin is a metabolite called hydroxyhemopyrrolin-2-one (HPL) which is also known as Pyrrole.

Pyroluria sufferers produce excessive amounts of these Pyrroles, which bind to/inhibit the nutrients;
-Zinc (1-7),
-Biotin 8,
-Omega 6 Fat GLA

This stops them from reaching their targets within your body and makes these nutrients unavailable to you. People with Pyroluria often suffer from very high levels of copper which can cause copper toxicity.

Conditions Associated With Pyroluria
Acute Intermittent Porphyria
Criminal Behaviour
Neurosis/Neurotic
ADD/ADHD
Depression
Post Natal Depression
Alcoholism
Down Syndrome
Schizophrenia
Allergies
Epilepsy
Substance Abuse
Asperger’s Syndrome
Learning Difficulties
Tourette’s Syndrome
Autism
Lung Cancer
Violent Offenders
Bi-Polar Disorder
Manic Depression

Click here and here for more info and a symptom list.

Symptoms/problems I have suffered with are:
Extreme irritability, manic and depressive moods and mood swings, suicidal thoughts, brain fog, poor short term memory (I was always losing things) brittle hair, white spots under nails, anger, temper outbursts, meltdowns, inability to calm myself, abdominal pain, digestive issues, insomnia, sore joints, difficulty waking in the morning, no appetite, morning nausea, grey hair, crooked teeth (corrected with orthodontics), and blackouts from alcohol consumption.

I saw a GP who specializes in Nutritional, Environmental and Psychological interventions. (You can visit his website here). He prescribed me some compounded vitamin supplements and I began taking them in May. (Before seeing him (he had a waiting list) I was taking individual supplements and still saw some improvement).

I had a lot of detox and “copper dumping” symptoms for about 4-5 weeks after this, but I still felt better than ever, especially my mental state.

I am still on compounded supplements, and I feel better than I have ever felt in my entire life. I am no longer so angry, irritable or depressed. I actually feel in control of my emotions. And it’s not that I have gained the ability to calm down, but that I no longer get worked up to the point of needing to be calmed down. My brain fog has disappeared and I can concentrate on tasks and not be so scattered. My hair is much healthier (still a lot of grey lol) and I even have a bit of an appetite. I will never not treat my Pyroluria.

My life is not perfect, and nor should it be, but I am so glad to be free of the moods that used to rule me.

I hope that what I have shared with you gives answers to someone who may be looking for them. I know I feel so much better, and I cannot imagine ever going back to how I felt before.

Update 29th August
I found these sites that also contain very helpful info:
http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/metals-and-the-mind/

http://hubpages.com/hub/Hypercupremia-High-Copper

Update 31st August
This online article about Copper Toxicity just about blew my mind to read:

http://drlwilson.com/articles/copper_toxicity_syndrome.htm

Crispy Chickpeas

You Will Need:
Chickpeas (hard/dried chickpeas)
Filtered Water
A Bowl
To Season:
Good Quality Oil (I use Organic Coconut Oil)
Himalayan Salt
Finely Diced (or crushed) Garlic
And any spice or herb you may like to add.
A Flat Tray
Baking Paper

-Place chickpeas in a bowl and cover with filtered water. (I also sprinkled in a little salt). This will soften the chickpeas, and allow them to sprout. I soaked mine for approximately 6 hours. As with anything you soak, keep an eye on the water level. You may need to top it up every now and then.
-When soft and sprouted, strain water from the chickpeas.
– Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (Celsius).
-Drizzle Oil over the chickpeas and add your seasonings. Stir chickpeas until all are equally covered in oil/seasonings.
-Place a layer of baking paper on your flat tray. Spread your chickpeas onto your tray.
-Place tray in oven and bake until chickpeas are crispy (but not burnt!).
-Remove tray from oven and allow to cool before storing them in an airtight container.

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Super Healthy Chocolate Mousse

You Will Need:
3 Ripe Avocados (without skin and seed)
3 Tablespoons of Raw Cacao
1 Cup of Coconut Yoghurt
2 Tablespoons of Honey (or alternatively 3-4 pitted Dates)
1 Pinch of Salt
Cinnamon to taste
A Blender (or Thermomix or Food Processor)

-Place all ingredients together in the blender/Thermomix/processor.
-Blend together until a mousse like consistency is achieved.
-Refridgerate for 6hours or overnight to let the mousse set a little more.

This is another recipe from the fermentation workshop I attended. As this recipe calls for coconut yoghurt, this is a probiotic dish, and is really good for your digestive health. What a delicious, guilt-free dessert!

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Coconut Yoghurt

I attended a Fermentation Workshop for Beginners with my mum this weekend and we learnt how to make some easy peezy fermented foods. This was one of the recipes. I have made coconut yoghurt before with kefir (milk) grains, but this is easier and has a better consistency.

You Will Need:
A Yoghurt Maker
1L of Coconut Milk (AYAM or Savoy brand as these brands have no additives)
1 Tablespoon of Sugar
1 Probiotic Capsule (I used Orthoplex Multiflora)
A Saucepan

-Pour coconut milk into a saucepan and gently heat to 37 degrees.
-Add the sugar and dissolve.
-Take out a smaller portion of the coconut milk and place in a small cup. Add the probiotic capsule and mix in to the smaller portion.
-Add this portion back into the whole mix and stir.
-Put the mix into your yoghurt maker, and allow to ferment for 24 hours.
NOTE: I use a simple easiyo. All you need to be sure of is that a temperature of around 37 degrees is maintained.
-After 24 hours, put your yoghurt in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours before eating to allow the yoghurt to thicken.
-Enjoy!

A few notes: don’t be worried about the addition of the sugar if you are not a sugar consumer. The probiotic bugs need sugar to grow and ferment. Don’t stress about the quality of the sugar, the bugs will actually break down white sugar faster than they will brown sugar or rapadura sugar. Honey can’t be used as it has antibacterial qualities which will inhibit the process of fermentation. Commercial brands of coconut yoghurt are often expensive and have pectins and sweeteners added.

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Coconut Yoghurt with Passionfruit

On Starting Kindy

Wow. The big day has arrived. The day my little one attends his first day at kindergarten. He’s been excited for a while now about the prospect of kindergarten. I’ve approached it with a mixture of trepidation and anxiety, maybe a little bit of excitement.

I’ve never put him into care before, and I’m still a little ambivalent about my schooling options. Homeschooling and unschooling both appeal to me, and yet I remember how much I loved conventional school as a child.

But my little one ran into the centre with glee and got straight into the thick of things. He was eager to try anything and everything that was in his line of sight, and my heart broke a little at the realisation that my little one is not so little anymore. Gosh, I just love him. Even as I write this, I miss him. His little face, his little voice. I’m left wondering how long will I get to enjoy this little person? The one who lovingly calls me mummy, and strokes my face and looks at me with such love? I hope he always looks at me that way.

I even miss his little quirks that often irk me. His constant demands, the steady stream of questions and all the obvious statements.

Is it possible to love someone so much that you think you’d die without them? That if they weren’t in the world, you wouldn’t want to be here either? I never used to think so. Until I met my son.

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C.A.D.A (Coconut, Almonds, Dates and Apple)

Another tasty food first tasted at my mum’s house! I like to eat C.A.D.A as a yummy, healthy breakfast dish. It would also make a great morning or afternoon tea, or even dessert.

You can add other ingredients to change the flavour of your C.A.D.A, but I think it’s pretty great as is. This particular recipe is adapted from a Thermomix recipe, which you can find here.

You Will Need:

Coconut (2 tablespoons of dessicated or shredded)
Almonds (I used a handful of activated almonds)
Pitted Dates (about a handful if they’re dried and about 3 if fresh).
Apple (today I used half a peeled and cored apple)
A Blender or Food Processor or Thermomix

-Combine all ingredients in the blender.

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-Pulse to blend and chop ingredients. I like my C.A.D.A to be a little chunky. You may need to push ingredients back down the side with a spoon. Make sure you do this when the blender’s blades have stopped moving!!
-Once the C.A.D.A has reached your desired consistency, scoop out blender and into a bowl and enjoy!

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-I like to eat my C.A.D.A combined with my homemade yoghurt. It’s delish!

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Note: Be careful using dates that have been pitted before purchase, as sometimes pits can slip through. They’re very hard and can damage teeth if bitten down on hard enough. So check your dates before they go into the blender!

Gardening Goddess, I am not.

So it seems I wasn’t born with a green thumb. Gardening does not appear to be a gift I was blessed with.

A couple of months ago I was extremely excited to begin re-vamping my veggie patch.

Well I cleared it, turned the soil, cleared it again. And then it became overgrown again.

I keep missing my opportunity to plant. Now it’s winter. And my veggie patch is overrun again.

But I am not ready to give up! I still dream of having my own veggie patch. I still have seeds to plant.

So after this rain comes and goes, I’ll begin clearing it again. I might put some plastic over it, once it’s cleared, and then turn the soil. I’ll plant in the spring.

I am a COMPLETE newbie at this gardening gig. If anyone has some tips, feel free to share them! I would be ever so grateful!

Checking out earthworms in our “Jungle Patch”

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Body Love After a Baby

It’s taken me almost 3 years since I had my son to feel truly sexy again.

There have been times when I felt beautiful or pretty. But I haven’t felt sexy. I haven’t felt like my body belonged to me until a few weeks ago.

I hated the way my body looked after I gave birth. I thought my stretch marks were disgusting. I hated the way my skin on my stomach and back had been stretched. I deplored my chubbier frame. My thighs made me ill and I couldn’t look at my arms in photographs.

So many people told me I was still beautiful and I wasn’t fat at all. But I knew I was different. I knew I’d never be the same as I once was. I’d cry every time I’d open my wardrobe and see all my beautiful, tiny clothes. I’d feel sick when I looked in the mirror.

It may seem superficial to some. But I was so depressed about the change I saw in my body. I didn’t feel curvier. I didn’t feel more womanly. I felt fat. I felt frumpy. I felt ugly. It was so hard for me to give up my uni dreams and my life plans due to my unexpected pregnancy, I felt so punished that my body had been taken away too.

I had always been very slim my entire life. Having been complimented so often on my figure (which was maintained without much effort at all I must admit), I took it for granted. I never realised how lucky I was.

A massive turning point for me was undertaking the Paladin SC 12 Week Health & Fitness Challenge last year (see my blog post about my results here). It made me approach exercise differently. And I started to feel like myself more and more.

I now feel like me again!

I am almost back into my teeny tiny shorts (they won’t be coming off, so prepare yourself), and my beautiful dresses. I no longer have braces (just an annoying retainer haha). And now I feel beautiful. I don’t feel like I used to. I feel better. I have gratitude and respect for my body now. And now I feel that “I am woman, hear me roar.”

So no. I won’t stop posting about my guns and buns on Facebook. And yes, I will keep checking in at Yoga. Because I know that there are other mums out there who have felt the post baby body dismay. And I want them to know that they’re not alone.

Guns N’ Buns Baby!
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No braces!
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