PMRGCAuk
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Baking? Great Steroid induced Stress Relief or do you suffer from PMR/GCA "Soggy Bottoms" too? Suggestions please!

So it is only Sunday and I am already suffering from Great British Bake Off withdrawal symptoms !

Since having the PMR/GCA , and it's nasty side effects on my baking prowess, I have been living vicariously through the nightmares and triumphs in the tent and it provoked these questions .

Have the knowledgeable ( and perhaps occasionally floury) members on the forum found that baking is a great way to relieve their Pred induced Stress?

Or like me , since the illness are you constantly plagued with soggy bottoms and Paul Hollywood angering poor results?

I always loved baking and used it for a little relaxing "me" time that gave rewards to all before the pain .

I was called upon for my buns , cupcakes and seriously cool Birthday cake decorations

( a 6ft chocolate pirate ship complete with ticking crocodile and rigging my most famous creation)

Now, however, I find my efforts are a minefield of misshapen monsters with soggy bottoms.

Cakes , often rise in the wrong directions and if iced the tremors create illusions of the stuff of nightmares.

I don't have the lightness of touch anymore because of the joint pain and super hot Pred hands , so my pastry once floaty light is often so chewy it could be used to stop a leak in a ship.

Getting stuff in and out of the oven has become the work of a not -so- willing minion , and deciding when it is done has been returned to the job of a rather ropey timer , were in the past I used to be able to rely on my once sensitive sense of smell .

I could have fallen into a big bag of plain flour and wept at first , but then I discovered all was not lost , in fact I might have found a solution to some of my ills too.

Steroid Stress relief , your name is bread !!

Yes, bread , although I can only enjoy the gluten free versions myself has got me through the bad baking blues and is even helping relieve some of the pain in my wrists and hands too.

The one skill in baking that pays you back for pummeling away at the dough to work out those blues.

Armed with a comfy counter stool I can work away at a creation , oil on hands , using the kneading process not just to make a tasty treat but also work out all those stiff little pains in my hands and joints . Exercise those lower limbs and gently strengthen those arms making a batch of buns . And calm my anxious mind as I see my efforts double in size in the proving bag.

I still make the cakes and cookies too, from ingredients I can eat , so that I can get some food therapy for the Pred blues too without the same period of dreaded comfort eating!

I am not saying , it is all success, sometimes my daughter will get out a batch for me, look quietly for my response, and she often hears , " that looks how I feel" .

Because as all new or old bakers know, one of the things about baking is , the results often reflect your mood when your started.

The upside is I have learnt to be less precious about the results, if it tastes alright and did the job of giving me a bit of therapy it is a success.

Like with everything with PMR the best lesson we can have is not to sweat the small stuff, and get your fun were you can.

So despite the Soggy Bottoms , I will stick to the mixing bowl ( sometimes literally as well as figuratively , because I find that Baking still does me good.

There will still be tears , and nightmares , but with a bit of butter icing it will all come good in the end.

Although , I may have to start watching the repeats of GBBO on the telly when I can't face the kitchen until I have tapered of my TV drug of choice!

I would love to hear if any of you use your culinary skills to help with your mental and physical therapy .

Or , if you too have nightmare tales of squishy buns and soggy bottoms since your PMR or Pred took its toll. These will probably making any of us with cooking disasters feel better!

And if you have any recipes you could send us the links too we could all start our own version of Bake Off Extra Slice , and start posting our photos of our best and worst efforts to cheer up the day of our non baking friends.

The PMR/GCA Bakers Club , I can't wait to see the results .

Because even a soggy bottom can have a silver lining in this game.

Keep Baking!!!

Bleary-eyed xx

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I, OTOH, despite having a strong history of baking, have barely done any for the last nearly 15 years - not merely due to there being no-one to eat it. And as for cooking in general - if it has more than 4 ingredients I lose interest.

But maybe I should also add a disclaimer: on the single occasion I was forced to be in the same room as GBBO I decided I'd rather watch paint dry...

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Do you miss it ?

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I don't think so, no. There was a limit to what can be made gluten-free. And then going low carb finished it off.

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I am getting used to the gluten free baking.

That did cause a huge amount of my disasters at first, I am virtually process sugar free and can't have some dairys in a flare, but I still like to make for others even when I can't eat it.

Way to show I still care when I can't take part in the more active pursuits at the moment.

Although they mightn't think it is very caring with some of the results they have to eat.

Perhaps it's my vengeance for all those really scary , slightly hairy , over iced biscuits the kids used to make you eat when they made things when they were little.

Have a great day

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Couldn`t agree more!

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On the benefits and pitfalls of baking , or getting vengeance on the kids for all those years of hairy cakes?

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On watching GBBO I don't seem to have much patience these days with programmes that are repeated year after year, and we are saturated with repeats of cookery, house moves, antiques.....I

I could go on.

We do go every week to my sons family, and we all eat together in the evening, my husband does lots of the cooking and I serve up etc......and I can make a mean drizzle cake!.....but don't cook nowhere near as much as I used to....find my muscles aren't strong enough......

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I don't cook as much simply because it is just the 2 of us - and neither of us eat a lot! And since I don't like the stuff he does and he won't eat fish unless it is deep fried in batter - means there isn't a lot we both eat...

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Well it is hard to teach and old dog new tricks , especially when it comes to eating fish without batter and a plateful of chips .

My OH is the same.

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Does yours imagine that potatoes only come in the form of chips? Though he did just eat a couple of roasties...

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Oh no, jacket potato is one of the few things he cooks , that's his baking , any form of potato is good in his book , and plenty of them.

It's the green veggies and fruit he has issues with .

Salad in his opinion should only be a tiny garnish with a big plate of something in pie or fried form and , preferably the taste hidden by chips and ketchup.

The baked goods over the years have been a good bribe to make him eat his vegetables!!

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Yes - they sound like close relatives! Veggies? Fruit?? What are they? His mother was the same - she still lived to 84. I never understood how she didn't die of scurvy!!!

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If it is anything like my husband's Mum a combination of poor food, pigheadedness , and bile seems to keep her going!

But you have to love em don't you.

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Lemon drizzle cake is one of my all time favourites.

But as you say the musle strength and aches do get in the way alot with the pleasure that you can get from kitchen tasks.

Kitchens aren't designed with mobility and pain needs in mind .

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Hehe - my kitchen in Durham was :-) One side was wall cupboards above and under the worksurface were drawers of various depths, no need to drag things out while lying on the floor to get to the back. The hob was built into a lowered work surface so I could reach easily - first time in my life I could see into saucepans! We sold the house to someone far taller than me and she loved the hob too!

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I am the other way .

Tall and lanky , it's trying to bend down enough to get to low drawers that causes me havoc .

And standard countertops mean I end up with a crick in the neck and shoulders.

Should have bought your old house .

Take care in your kitchen . And long live potatoes with their skins left on!!

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Just for perspective..., its a great alternative to the political maelstrom happening here. Cant tolerate the rabble rousing...makes me anxious off the chart! Reading lots more nowadays.

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I do so many crosswords, keeps the brain going when the body can't....and prefer radio to TV.......unless it's a documentary.....

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Love a good documentary and the radio is so little appreciated for the treasure it is.

Especially by the young in this blogging age.

YouTube has unfortunately stolen them away from the pleasures of Radio 4.

It's great company in the kitchen too.

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As well as being interested in wether people get the same enjoyment , or had some of the same issues as me with baking , I took the advice of Scats .

No religion or politics but hopefully a post that people could enjoy and relate to with a bit of relaxing whimsy for a relaxing read.

I love reading but don't seem to be able to manage for long at the moment . Until my eyes and inflammation settle, I am lucky if I can manage 20 minutes without a headache.

Thank goodness there are different interests that help to keep us all going and a little less stressed with this trying illness.

Take care

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I find baking A great stress reliever but have had more than A few disasters of late , will try the bread therapy , I hope you find something on the box to occupy you when not up to baking , I'm trying to knit but that depends on how my hands and wrists are on any given day , gentle hugs X

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Yes, making rolls is really good, the rolling of the shapes in the palm of your hand really helps the hands, you do need that bit of oil to help , if you are gluten intolerant you can wear disposable gloves with a little oil in them too.

Just like you , loved the knitting and keep trying but it does feel like it stiffens the old hands.

Plus, can't see the dropped stitches as well as I did. Knit five lines then spot a big hole and have to start again.

I find crochet is easier to pick up and down , but it took ages to train my head to do it when I first started.

My crafty friends all agree if you don't learn both skills at once it takes a while for a knitted to get used to crochet and vice versa.

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I find I can't knit in the evening , can't see the stitches , so it's my afternoon diversion at the moment !

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Are you making anything good?

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Just A hooded cardigan for my Great-grandson , A little bundle of two year old energy x

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I am impressed , I don't make anything that needs to fit and be a certain shape at the moment.

I think I would end up with a jumper with three arms and no home for a head.

Keep knitting, the afternoons are getting shorter now , less knitting time!

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Back to reading more , if I can concentrate for long enough x

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I used to be a dedicated baker, but also a dedicated eater of the results, which didn't matter too much when I shared it with 4 children and a greedy husband at home, but was disastrous when I finally ended up living alone. I could take some over to my twin grandchildren (no longer as they've left home), but I ended up eating most of it. I would cut cakes into slices and freeze them, but unfortunately it's just as easy to take 2 slices out rather than one. Anyway, I'd almost given up baking before my GCA/PMR symptoms started. When I started on pred and found that I must give up or cut down drastically on sugar and white flour, that was the catalyst to giving up baking completely. I've parted with a number of baking tins, wooden spoons, mixing bowls etc. The charity shop was very pleased because they have a high demand for such items. I was never hooked on Bake Off as I find Paul Hollywood a bit creepy.

Fortunately I didn't have to give up my other major hobby of knitting which is my daily solace. I'm alternating between a cabled sweater for my grandson who is studying in Minnesota, where they have bitter winters and a large patchwork blanket for Knit for Peace, which is using up numerous odds and ends of yarn, some more than 30 years old.

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That's amazing.

As my eye issues are bad and cause more head pain I am struggling with all the more intricate creative pursuits.

Bad for an artist like myself.

So the art of baking ( not that I make an art of it these days ) is a bit of therapy.

Luckily, before any ill health I had spent years baking sugar free for my diabetic OH, then gluten and dairy free for vegan and special diet friends. It takes time to get used too.

I used to give away as much as we had at home , to neighbours or charity sales, not sure they would want all the results from my oven now though ( giggle!).

Cable sweater though, wow!!

Keep up the creative therapy

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I must admit 'pred head' has made me a bit slower and more prone to making mistakes than I before. If I feel problems coming on with the cables, I switch to the blanket which is mindless garter stitch. One thing I've learned is that I have to go with the flow - it's no use getting impatient with myself if I make a rookie mistake.

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I found cables an unbelievable task even before the Pred Head.

And PMR /GCA definitely teaches you the art of patience and not sweating the small stuff.

When we are all finally "cured" and off the steroids we will probably be the calmest people around!

I can understand now why my Grandma, who was riddled with rheumatism and arthritis her whole life , was always a picture of serenity.

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I certainly think my set of priorities has changed for the better.

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Always look for the silver linings and take care

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Food and I go waaaaaaay back! Cooking for people was always a way in which I showed my love. Ours was the house where everyone gathered for special occasions and we hosted many a dinner party. Of course I always indulged in my wares which lead to weight gains.

Truth be told, my daughter is the baker in the family (after finding my grandmothers Watkins cook book from the 1940s). She is a nutritionist now and kitchen manager at a local health food store and cafe, and the delicious gf, dairy free, or vegan baked goods she creates are not only very creative, they are delicious!

Since developing PMR I’ve made a number of lifestyle changes including adopting a low carb/sugar/salt diet. I have enjoyed exploring newer, healthy recipes (thanks in part to my talented girl), however I do also still enjoy hosting family gatherings complete with a big dinner, I just have to pace my prep and my hubby is my personal Sous chef and dishwasher. That way the guests enjoy a yummy meal and I still get to relish in that feeling of loving them in that old, familiar way by preparing them a meal. I think it’s about nurturing for me, and it helps me feel like I did in the good ole pre-PMR days.

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Absolutely agree, it's a big reason that I carry on with the baking and meal making.

Making the foods for others to share gives me great mental therapy.

As you say it reminds you of the pre PMR/GCA days and helps lift the Pred blues.

Even if the cakes don't have the same lift as they used the spirits are lifted just the same.

Have a great day, is it snowing in Canada yet?

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Agreed! Some snow already since Oct. in some regions of Canada. I'm fairly South in Ontario, so none here yet (although it did snow farther up North when hubby and I went away for our Anniversary). Not looking forward to the snow as it means less outdoor walks and shoveling (ugh). Give me the heat any day!

Keep on making those tilted cakes and goodies - good for the soul.

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Do you find the Canadian weather affects your PMR/GCA?

As soon as temperature started going down in the UK last week , I felt the symptoms get worse.

I don't know how I would cope in the extreme temperatures you get over there.

Might need to fly South for the winter like the birds I think.

Hugs xx

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Well, my experience with PMR over the winter months is limited as I only developed symptoms last Dec. 18th. I went undiagnosed for 5 months and it was hell!! I actually believed, as symptoms worsened, that I had a serious, fatal illness.

Diagnosed with PMR and started pred on May 1 this year (halleluiah). Also discovered along the way that heat lessened my symptoms for sure, especially going in the hot tub (divine!). After a dip in the hot, steamy water I get immediate relief of any niggling pains for a couple of hours. Let's just say you'll find me in our hot tub over the coming colder months. My OH just gifted me/us with a new electric fireplace, so I'll be camped out in front of it as well.

Lots of folks on here have discussed the benefits of heat for PMR, utilizing hot water bottles, blankets and something I believe they called an oat sack?? (Being Canadian, I sometimes lose meaning in the translation lol). Hope this helps.

I'm considering posting about the various "tricks of the PMR trade" that help relieve symptoms and the other challenges we face, polling members on the forum to share for the benefit of all. Hope you discover things that help you on your journey.

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Yes I had a chat recently on one of my posts about the advantages ( and occasional misshaps) of the Wheat Bag , or gluten free Oat or Bean bag , a real lifesaver for many. I know that some people from other countries were confused by what this miracle was and had to look it up.

I make them for gifts for friends, both the achy and their partners this year

( as some of my pals were complaining that their spouses or kids were stealing them to use themselves) I make a sort of bumbag version now with adjustable straps . The hot bag goes in the zip up purse , then you can attach it to the part you want it on and still walk around without it slipping off.

Sometimes too much heat can cause havoc too though, although the warmth is amazing in relieving the joint pains. The heat can cause as much mayhem on those eye and head related pain issues with GCA in my experience. If only the world would stay at a not too hot , not too cold , not too damp or dry 22C , I would be very happy.

I have found some relief with short bursts in a steam room followed by jacuzzi, actually less painful than trying even gentle massage for me.

And the warm dough kneading , in a warm kitchen is good heat therapy with a baked bonus too.

Take care and grab your mittens

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Yesterday I made a low sugar, healthier oats and gluten free flour topping, Apple and blackberry crumble. Yum. Earlier in the week I tried chick pea water meringues (for my allergic daughter) and they bombed, separated miserably in the oven for second time. I will have another attempt with much lower oven..... At work with vulnerable families, many of whom have mental health issues, the monthly cook with a chef sees much laughter and team work happening. Magic.

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Love it!

Yes , baking and cooking therapy is great for all forms of health related issues I think.

I have tried and failed with the chick pea water meringue too.

They actually did a Free From week on Bake Off for the first time this year and they got them to make CP water meringue pavlovas and they all looked really good.

Perhaps they have their recipe on the GBBO website , they did seem to need to loads of time in a high power mixer and not too much squashing in shape with a spoon.

Good luck , perhaps third time lucky and if you get it right send me a message with your recipe I would love to make some for my vegan friends for Xmas , too much sugar for me now though unfortunately ( sniff!)

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My daughter's a vegan and bakes some good stuff, but she was very disappointed with the aquafaba meringues, though I think she's used it as an egg substitute in some recipes.

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Yes you can but I am like your daughter , still not got a hang of the aquafaba , I think you really have to whisk it to meringue strength to use in anything.

Much prefer chai seed egg, or banana or good old vegan egg replacer, easier to use.

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Have you read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender? A little odd but could explain a lot.

The few times I bake/cook now it tastes ok but presentation not so good.

I have came late to GBBO and other guilty pleasures since PMR.

All the best x

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I will try it , thanks for the recommendation, sounds interesting.

It's not how it looks that counts , it's how tastes and if it makes you feel good making it .

Have fun and take care in your kitchen.

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You too Blearyeyed.

Settled down to watch Strictly-The Results.

Husband cooking dinner tonight 😉x

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My husband willingly admits that apart from jacket potatoes he doesn't cook he warms up.

When I do have energy I cook up big pots of stuff and freeze it in portions so that his "warm ups" at least have hidden vegetables and are not pizza shaped!

Enjoy your TV guilty pleasures. And your baked ones!!

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😊x

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Sigh !! I've admitted here before that I am rather partial (still) to 'real' cakes - not the substitute kind when the end result is something completely different than what I would regard as 'real' ! I recognise we all have to eat better - after all we have so much info - (scientific and yes credible) - that eating too much (especially saturated) fat and sugar is 'bad' for us and many apparently cannot tolerate gluten and all kinds of stuff that our grandmothers' gleefully threw in the mixing bowl. But I for one - IF I decide to eat cake - sometimes making it myself on a 'birthday' or any other treat pretext - like to have the traditional ingredients and there is NO way any other fat substitutes properly for actual butter. Sugar - I just generally use a bit less but anything else generally doesn't work or create the right cake chemistry required - OK maybe honey - but that is really just sugar. My POV is that if you do decide to make and then eat cake or slices or whatever treat do so so and ENJOY it - it just can't be too regularly - otherwise life for me at least would be looking quite a bit bleaker. I am fortunate no signs of diabetes after 20 months on Pred for GCA/PMR (now at 12.5mg again) but yes I am 'substantial' (just in the 'overweight' category) but happy to be here if I can just SOMETIMES eat cake ...

🎂🎂🎂

PS for those who like a treat (and I am not trying to ruin any diets or 'good' intentions) which is special this is a variation on a favourite NZ recipe from an excellent cafe located in an old picture theatre my Grandfather once owned in the 1930s in a tiny town called 'Takaka' in the South Island:

'Takaka Oaty Ginger Crunch'

foodlovers.co.nz/recipes/ta...

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Thanks so much for the recipe .

I agree , although I do suffer from the odd gluten filled, buttery treat , if I am going to do it, on the whole I might as well go the whole hog with a real piece of cake.

I do eat and make the forms with substitutes but after years of trial and error to find recipes that don't taste like they are doing me "good" .

Let them eat cake!!

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H ha - Yes !! 'just 'let them' - though this reminds me of course how fortunate I am to be able to 'choose' to or not cf. many people globally who (still) do not have adequate nutrition. ....

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Looks yummy! Can't wait to try it.

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"many apparently cannot tolerate gluten and all kinds of stuff that our grandmothers' gleefully threw in the mixing bowl."

Ah yes - but the flour used them wasn't quite the same as the highly commercialised stuff on the market now. And some people suspect the pesticides.

Plus, personally, preferably natural butter than a pack of chemicals.

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Oh for the 'old stuff' ....

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Yes , way back , before they made changes to the production of margarines , I saw an article about the effects of trans fats used in many spreads and the way they attach to vessels in the brain and circulatory system. The so called healthier option ( at the time ) was causing far more issues than butter or ghee.

I don't have gluten because of the effect it has on my other autoinflammatory condition and my GI. If I do use proper flour I get it from the local mill I am lucky enough to live by. If you aren't that lucky but can use proper flour I would always recommend finding a small mill or producer were the product is naturally milked and not factory processed . It is more expensive but worth it . Spelt flour is also good for many who don't have medical allergy or intolerance but are sensitive to gluten.

I use olive oil, coconut oil and butter at home , and I still use eggs and certain dairy when I am not cooking for vegans.

Probiotic live yoghurt really helps my gastric systems and many who are dairy sensitive or have mild intolerance can still use the fermented dairy like butter, ghee and yoghurt and it does help ease those dietary symptoms like GERD, leaky gut and SIBO . It's a bit like baking though, all trial and error until you get the right thing for you.

Unless you have a definite tested intolerance to certain foods , and this is just my opinion , natural ( or as little processed as possible ) is key, but as they say everything in moderation .

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I have an allergy to wheat starch - sourdough isn't too bad and spelt and kamut are fine. But I eat low carb - so simply don't bother. And our local bakers are superb - so if I do want something, I keep them in business ;-) One of the joys of living in South Tirol

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Yes, sour dough seems to have the same benefits as the other naturally fermented products like ghee, yoghurt , good butter and sauerkrauts.

You made a really important point about when you buy baked products instead of making them.

There are lots of local and artisan bakers with small independent businesses all over the world. They deserve your business.

They , rather than your standard bakery , will often have products already that you can eat with intolerances but can also tell you exactly what is in what you buy and use good natural ingredients.

They are also usually really interested in making baked goods for the needs of individual customers , often what they create for you ends up on their usual bake list.

I have a couple of bakers locally I use so I can have a treat without the work.

I would definitely recommend non bakers searching out their local producers so that they can still get to eat the good stuff without the worry about the after effects or need to use the oven.

I am just about to make some pumpkin chocolate brownies to use up the mountain of pumpkin my kids made with all the Halloween carving. They will be wobbly but will do for the family to take with them for Fireworks Night. Yet another thing I can't do at the moment , but I will be their in cake if not in body!

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Even the NHS website comments that sourdough may be palatable to people with wheat intolerance - I discovered it during a week on a canal holiday near Dijon when the shopping had been done before I got there: the large version of baguette and pains au chocolat/raisin was the option, eat or go hungry! Not a single scratch resulted!!!!

Our baker makes spelt and kamut rolls - pure rye is better in Germany or Austria though.

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I have my own sweet and savoury sour dough starters in their bottles.

They are living things , you feed them each time you use some.

The same starter can be fed and used indefinitely.

Mine live in the airing cupboard and are a youthful ten years old!

I know some old bakers who have had their starters for more than 40 years and counting!!

If they don't get fed and go into rest mode ( or they have a holiday in the fridge while you are away) you just refeed and activate them again when you need to use them .

I started mine with a combo of the mill flour and spelt.

You can have just spelt or the ones if you are big on baking.

The sweet one makes some really tasty baked doughnuts .

I ,like you , find sourdough bread doesn't cause the same issues as normal stuff , even when I am having a naughty non gluten free slice of Mega Toast with butter.

It may be a yeast thing?

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Possibly - but the time it takes to make is also significant. Something changes in the structure of the starch/proteins.

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Yes, it's a slower , more natural process .

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and it has nothing to do with Paul Hollywood at all Bleary?

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If it did my youngest daughter would have won in the Youth Bake Off Final she took part in a few years back at Chris Evan's Carfest with a Giant version of a Scotch Egg.

The other two judges put her in third as they said her offering was too big ( it was meant for sharing)

Paul Hollywood disagreed and said it was the right size for him. Told her she should have won and took her extra egg for his lunch , she got one of his infamous handshakes , so I have to have a soft spot for him really.

Duck egg with smoky bacon infused homemade ketchup, then mushroom and haggis pate, gluten free sausage meat and triple fried crispy shell. So big , You could have used it as a scud missile to subdue the crowd , but blooming tasty all the same.

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Sounds it. How interesting! Sorry for the crack. 😉

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I Loved the crack ( another egg joke) it just suddenly reminded me of the giant scotch egg.

Well what else would I think of at silly o'clock when the steroid insomnia is kicking in.

Really hungry now too and the remains of a bowl of sweets for Halloween trick or treaters is calling me from downstairs.

Better say Goodnight before I get tempted to eat the lot!!

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I love a tasty Scotch egg. Was it s goose egg? X

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No it was a .......DUCK!!!....... egg. 😂😂

But a breed that lays big ones !! Bit like me , Ha!

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Lovely! 🙂

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Dear Blearyeyed,a great name by the way,it is just how l feel,perhaps the flour got in your eyes! I am very lazy now when it comes to baking and only have a go at it when prompted by the need for cakes at the W I,fortunately they usually turn out OK,would not want to let the WI down and spoil their reputation for ‘tea and cakes’.l am the only one here now so anything more adventurous is rather pointless,and the many Lakeland products l accumulated remain unused.Happy Baking,l admire your enthusiasm,l am more into art and craft,although l don,t seem to get very far with that lately !

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I love the WI !!

Probably one of the greatest institutions the UK began. The first one was started on my very own island of Anglesey , I think ?

They have been keeping the land going and helping to make changes in how we treat people for years.

Activists with the ability to make great cake , we should salute them all!

Professionally , I am an artist so the eye issues and joint pains are having a severe impact on my life at the moment . Can't work on anything really.

I have started trying to work more with clay than I have before, bit like making bread, the kneading and the rolling in the palms of the small balls helps my hand and wrist pain and you can work sitting down without having to keep my head bent down.

Any form of activity that brings a little relaxation and some mental and physical therapy is good for us all though, no matter what the results from the oven , it's the results it has on our PMR blues or more serious depression that counts most.

Thanks for answering , and what's your best WI recipe ?

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I love the WI too,and the resolutions certainly do help to make a difference with important issues that affect us all.l only make cup cakes and Victoria sponges usually,but there was a lady who made a really delicious chocolate cake for one of our auctions,unfortunately she has been ill and is unable to come to the meetings so l do not have the recipe.Tomorrow evening we are having home made soup ,with bread rolls and butter,The food is always good and well presented when we have meetings involving food.l envy you living in Anglesey,l love that part of the country,l live near Luton and would love to move to a nicer area.l like painting,usually in watercolour,l am also finding my hands are not as steady as they used to be but it is very therapeutic to do something creative ,l love my garden and l shall miss being out there now the winter is here.l am sorry that you have an eye problem,that is something that must really affect your art work.Best wishes from Patricia .

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Yes I can't really work at the moment.

I moved to Anglesey about 12 years ago because I love the Sea and as a nature artist and designer I have all sorts of environments to inspire me.

Unfortunately, this illness is not allowing me to take advantage of it.

Even painting and photography are hard for me to do just now , and my larger outdoor works and workshops have had to be put off for the foreseeable future until I can get my head and body to behave a bit better.

But until then , I am working hard to keep my spirits up and do as much as I can , and chatting with people like you really helps too.

Hope we can both be upto working on a few watercolours in the future.

Take care x

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I hope so ,lt must be lovely to have such beautiful scenery around you,there is nothing like that here ! l slncerely hope that you will feel better soon as your talent is being wasted ,and it must be very frustrating for you not being able to do the painting you love.Take care too xx.

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Thank you so much for your kind words.

I work in lots of different media and sculpt and weave as well as paint .

I especially work with woods , moss and natural materials , and taught workshops for people in using traditional materials and methods to create art, obviously this involves needing alot of physical energy to collect and use the materials as well as the good eye to use them.

What is most disappointing is before my conditions got worse I was just about to be able to push my career in high gear as my children were grown up enough force to really concentrate on my work, and had received offers for some public commissions .

Perhaps when we both sorted out we could meet and get to paint together.

Have a good day

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I would love to see some of your work using the natural materials, sounds lovely, what a shame you're unable to pursue your career at the moment - congratulations on gaining public commissions - one day maybe - never say never...

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Oh thank you that really kind.

No I am a never say never girl , I won't give up.

The group with the public commission I had to pull out from did tell me to contact them when I am able to work again as they would still be interested in the work in the future so fingers crossed.

Ironically, the works were a group of sculptures that would allow blind people get a better experience in outdoor spaces.

But saws, axes , metal work and blow torches are a little beyond me at the moment.

I am trying to organise my website gallery at the moment but it is yet another project that will take a long time because of what I lovingly call my "Bleary-eyed" thing!

Do you create too, or bake , or are you a food and art lover?

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See my hurried reply to you below, I could talk about it forever. More food than art but we have artists in the family my sister in law was a fine art teacher all her working life and painted for exhibitions etc. My husband and son are good too but don't pursue it. My son has been unwell this year and he has taken to drawing lately, very good they are too. He loves photography and is good at it. One granddaughter, in oz, seems to have inherited a natural talent for anything artistic from a very young age, 3 years old when she started, whether it be drawing, painting, and as she got older clothing or restoring old furniture - she painted for fundraising at her school when she was about 8yrs old and the local council bought them for $250 dollars each! She replicated them for me and I carried them all the way back to England fully framed! She is studying architecture at university as interior design alone doesn't fulfil her enough she says....I hope she succeeds - she's just finished her second year of four this week.

I feel for you with your eyes and hope you get back to your beloved hobbies very soon.

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It is amazing how art seems to be a talent that runs through families, genes as well as environment I think. My Grandad and Great Grandad a fine artist , one painted the previous Queen , the other still has stuff in the Walker Art Gallery. My Dad was a cartoonist and illustrator, and a jazz musician. My efforts are small in comparison to their achievements.

Although I really believe everyone can create art .

I still haven't found anyone yet that came to a class or sat in the old community craft centre I worked in and said they couldn't make anything that we didn't manage to convince to try something and went home with really good results.

Your Granddaughter sounds really talented. I wish I could draw technically enough to create architecture. It's such an incredible art form, to create something that is symbolic and beautiful , that marks a particular time in urban history that can be seen for generations , and has a practical purpose. When she creates her first building let us know , the drawings would be great to see too.

I am so glad you son is using his creative skills while he is ill. If you can do it Art of all forms is great therapy for body and mind . Let's hope he gets the Art Bug again and keeps it up when he is better too.

Take care and send me a chat anytime. If I can't do Art at the moment I might as well talk about it!

Be x

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Thanks Be - ont thing I am good at talking! You certainly are an artistic family - painting the former Queen is some achievement- you should be so proud. I hope to show off my granddaughter’s wares when the time comes.

I’m intrigued how yomake giant scotch eggs for four - suppose you place four eggs inside the sausage meat? By the way I bake mine! Terri x

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That would be lovely,lwould love to see your work ,lt is a shame that we live so far apart .lt is frustrating for you that just when you find more time after your children were becoming more independent that you go down with this condition,and congratulations on receiving offers for public commissions,you are obviously very creative and love working with natural materials.l love nature too and would love to move near the sea or somewhere with plenty of open space and woodland.l usually have to use photographs to paint from,it is not as good as actually being outside,l love the way the light shines through trees,much more inspiring than a rather flat photograph.l hope that you will eventually recover enough to be able to take on commissions and enjoy your work again .lf l ever come on holiday near you l will let you know via this forum,who knows ,we might get together one day !All the best,take care,Patricia .

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Where is your closest outdoor space , do you have to go into London for the big parks and things?

And if you fancy a taste of the Sea when your painting arm feels better let me know.

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I agree with all your comments - I too love baking and cooking for the family and large gatherings - I find that I struggle to meet my own high standards now and this is the first year for over 50 years that I've made the decision not to make and decorate the five Christmas cakes for family and friends (with my secret recipe) - don't ask me why I don't know the answer - all I know is it felt too much for my brain to handle this year...and somehow I don't feel bad about it - once I'd told everyone - that was the battle within me and I was relieved once I'd said it and it was graciously accepted, they always say they don't know how I do it anyway - well now I'm faltering. I usually bake for the annual show stopper competition at my son's work in aid of Breast Cancer and I haven't done that either! I won't get away totally scot free this year as I've got family coming over from Oz in five weeks until 5th Jan - plus all my other family will be joining us too.

You are a very talented lady and I very much hear what you're saying re the therapeutic side of making food for everyone - it doesn't matter what the results look like, it will be something to talk about when you're better! - for me it's a way of showing love - I take after my grandmother she used to think she had to feed everyone and I find I'm the same.....just not baking at the moment but delicious meals yes....they take no effort somehow. Love making scotch eggs but not the size as you..... hubby would think he'd died and gone to heaven if I produced them that big...perhaps I should and tell him it has to last all week! Him being on a diet.....

I've been watching bake off too I just love it - I watch loads of cooking programmes all the time. Hope you feel better now you know it's not just you - I certainly do!

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Yes I took over the family Christmas cake and pudding making years ago.

It was one of my proudest moments when my Nana , then 80, gave me her secret recipes when she finally hung up her apron and said it was my turn.

I must say I have felt a little bit of a flake the last few years by not being able to make the cakes ( although the puds are still going strong).

Cake making is definitely affected by how fit you are in mind and body. But I think my youngest daughter is coming on as the baker for the next generation.

Her giant eggs were my old recipe , and they are meant for sharing , gives a generous slice for 4. Bet your hubby would love them!

As you say, the results at the moment are not as important as the way it makes you feel just making something.

Good luck with the influx of family , that's alot to take on when you are not tip top.

Make sure they all help out , share out those chopping , clearing and cleaning jobs while they are visiting , more important than ever this year that you get the help so that the festive season still goes with a bang , but you actually survive Christmas.

Lovely to talk to you . Be X

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That's lovely you have someone to hand over for the next generation, I have no daughters but my DIL trained as a commis chef and it has never left her, she is amazing and can whip a banquet out of what seems like nothing - she doesn't let me overdo things, she is like a daughter. I shall certainly have plenty of help and have been given instruction as to preparation for the New Year - it is Oz son's 50th on the 29th Dec so big celebrations all round - they want to take me to London and Paris while they're here! He likes cooking and my 'artistic' granddaughter is gluten free so between them they have a great interest in food content and preparation. If all goes to plan it will be our last Christmas in this house of 30 years as we plan moving away to be near our eldest son next year - someone to look after us when we need it - it will be family gatherings galore then.....like old times, we were the hub of the family and still are - everyone comes to us even though we're 250 miles away at the moment. We've had some great celebrations over the years (the saddest my son emigrating to Oz!) with marquees I've successfully planned! My time is over as being the lead - more advisory now....

I say I'm not artistic yet my other passion is the house and my beloved garden, it has to be just so. Also I've pressed and framed momentus flowers that my grandchildren have given me when they were young plus I always made my own clothes for many years and knitted when the kids were little so that's my claim to fame for being artistic - and of course the cakes - I always decorate each one different. Many years ago I 'couldn't find' one of my cakes - my husband only took it to school where he taught for the Christmas raffle without asking! He'd forgotten to get something until the day and saw the cake.....

Memories eh! It is lovely to talk to you xx

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You are artistic creating a garden and a beautiful home that people still want to visit no matter how far away they live is one of the greatest artistic talents of all.

Make sure you have a good day of rest on either side of those London and Paris trips so you can keep going for the long haul.

Make sure you have some little pillow for neck and lower back to give support on your journey , if you go by plane , have an aisle seat forcmore room to stretch your legs and toilet access.

Don't be surprised if you end up needing to increase some of your pain medication with all of the activity. Surprisingly , often a few days after you have been so busy after the adrenalin and endorphins of the activities have passed.

Have a great time and keep in touch

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Thank you for all the good advice - which I always give to others but we do need to be reminded it applies to ourselves also, I'm sure there'll be lots to report back on afterwards...

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