Thursday, 25 October 2007

Cabbage Soup, Water and Weirdness

Hi All. :-)

Thank you for comments left and well wishes and for checking up on me.

I'm mildly detoxed, although I was helped on my way by a stinking cold which laid me low in bed and kept me away for people for pretty much an entire week. Meh. Seven days without the wine (yay); I managed to stay away from wheat but only by virtue of eating spelt bread (comfort toast); I totally failed to stay away from dairy but at least most of it was fat-free.

(I fell off the wagon in spectacular but planned fashion last night with wine and cheese with one of my bestest friends in Vivat Bacchus. Very small portions of cheese though, positively dinky.)

I'm feeling a bit better about things in general, although I am still having annoying obsessive thoughts about food and nutrition and getting my RDA's. I think most of this has been brought on by not being at home all that much, and a week of actually being at home has helped. I deliberately tried to keep away from CoM but curiosity kept getting the better of me. I find it easy to restrict my calories, no problem. But, as we know, restricting calories without monitoring nutrition is at best foolhardy and at worst extremely dangerous - and I am aware of that. Hence the sort of panic when I know I am not eating as well as I could be. It's a panic that I consider to be both justified and irrational, and I am veering between the two. Does that make any sense?

I won't go on about it for fear of adding to the whole CRON = ED thing. Which I am extremely tired of, actually! :-)

Anyway, this last week I mainly ate cabbage soup. Or more exactly, soup full of veggie goodness and deliciousness with lots of dino kale and beans and smoked tofu. Mmm. The ingredients of the batches varied, but the soup is basically an onion, carrot and celery base, with mushrooms, chopped fresh tomato, thyme, rosemary, oregano and garlic, all simmered in lots of water, with dino kale and other green leafies added in towards the end of the cooking time, when the water has taken on all the flavours of the veggies. Then I stirred in acorn squash which I had baked and mashed, to thicken it, and added beans (turtle beans on time, aduki the next) and cubes of smoked tofu in varying proportions when I ate it. Very comforting and just what I needed with this horrible cold. Soup like a hug.

The weirdness in the title of this post? Well, hmm. The other week at work I was talking to someone at my desk, and he suddenly gave me an appalled look and said "What the f*ck have you done to your hands? They are all yellow!". And indeed they were. And are. And it is quite frankly very freaky. The palms of my hands, and especially at the base of them, towards my wrists, are clearly and undoubtably... yellow.

After several days of staring at my palms in various lights, and comparing them to P's and my mother's, and getting a bit anxious, I decided I really ought to take myself off to the doctors and get it checked out. I was, of course, thinking Oh my GOD, the wine has caught up with me, I am jaundiced and my liver is failing, oh bugger, oh hell, etc, despite the fact that my eyes were clear and I had none of the other symptoms indicated by scary google searches.

I hate going to my doctors because they think I am mad. I can quite understand R's concern about being labelled by her doctor, because I am well and truly labelled. But never the less, I went, and said - ok, I might be having a hypochondriac moment here (ha, ha, silly me), but look... my hands. Yellow.

Ooooh, yes - said the doctor. You are a bit, we'll take some blood. Liver function, that sort of thing.

Cue a couple of days of anxious waiting...

Thankfully, the tests came back normal. Liver function fine, no bilrubin (sp?) in the blood. I'm not jaundiced.

But what it is, I don't know. I'm now in the position where I need to go back to the doctor and say, ok, so it's not jaundice, so can we please find out what the hell it is because it is really, really embarrassing and actually a bit ugly. I have wondered if it's the excess beta-carotene thing, that I eat so much spinach and kale and butternut squash that it's coming out in my skin. MR might suit orange. I do not suit yellow. It is not my colour.

P googled around and suggested it might be a B12 deficiency. Which is always possible since I know I am low on B12 in my diet anyway (and strangely have been craving whole eggs and skim milk recently, despite them tasting disgustingly of chicken and cow) and I don't take my supplements because the ones I have are 10,000 times the RDA and I think that in itself is a bit scary. But I need to do something. Any suggestions, anyone?

So, well, that's where I am at the moment. Semi-CRON'd, demi-stressed, probably completely mad... and yellow. Ah, the joy of Sara. :-)


skinnybitch said...

Are your hands yellow all the time, or does the color change depending on external factors (time of day, temperature, whether you just ate, etc.)? Do you feel like the coloration is beneath the skin or maybe just at the surface? If it's the latter, maybe it's some sort of skin infection???

The liver would have been my first guess, but having ruled that out, maybe have your doc check your kidney and thyroid function, too. It's also really easy to check for b-12 and folate deficiencies. In fact, it's probably a good idea just to ask for a full metabolic panel. That's what my doc did for me. I found the results generally reassuring.

Keep taking good care of yourself. I hope you're feeling better (and less yellow) soon.


Sara said...

Vaguely yellow all the time, and quite startlingly so if my hands are cold / if I've been carrying something heavy / if I press on it. It's just my palms.

I'm going to ask for a full blood check, and probably get it privately done. The problem I have with my doctors is that they think I am a hypochondriac anyway, and are likely to refuse the request of the grounds of time wasting. I'm being typically British and reluctant to push for it. Irritating on both counts.

Ellie said...

MR is slightly orange due to beta-carotene. You eat a lot of veggies. Could the orange-ness be showing up as yellow-ness due to your skintone? Just a thought.

Sara said...

Yes, I had thought of that, as I mentioned in my post. :-) I am quite a sallow skinned person anyway, and a natural brunette; MR, I think, is paler and a natural red-head. April?

R mentioning the thyroid set me on another googling track and that's a possible too. But I'm not a doctor. I do wish I was sometimes. It would save so much hassle and angst! :-)

Ellie said...

Clearly I read your post too fast, because I totally missed that paragraph. . . oops. I see it now! At least I'm not going blind.

skinnybitch said...

Make sure they check your kidney function and glucose levels as well. It's less common but there *have* been cases of people with diabetes or renal problems who wind up with yellow palms.

Hey, have you checked the soles of your feet to see if they're yellow as well? Apparently, the two can sometimes go hand in hand (or hand it foot, I guess). (Nenette AM) said...

I was about to say, check the soles of your feet as well, but I would second (or is that third) the beta carotene.

I've been on a soup kick as well. Pureed cauliflower soup last night, miso soup with a ton of veggies the night before. Yes, soup hug... perfect because I too have a cold.

Glad to hear from you... was hoping your were doing well.
Kudos on the detox, wine and wheat. Wheat was my problem during detox too.


April said...

MR is very pale and very redheaded. Maybe blonde people turn yellow.

I'll ask him what he thinks. Meanwhile, for heaven's sake, take a B12 supplement. You should really take MR's Vegetarian Booster by AOR that he designed to make up for common deficiencies in the vegetarian diet.


Sara said...

If I'd known such a thing existed as a special MR designed veggie supplement, I'd be taking it. :-)

I really do hope it's the beta-carotene because I am really quite freaked out now. I feel like a Simpson.

Linda said...

Sara, I wish you well. You are taking positive action and should have an answer soon. The soup sounds wonderful and I shall make a big pot-full for tomorrow's lunch. By the way - London is a big place so how I wonder did you manage first to go to the same farmer's market as me and then to a restaurant 4 minutes walk from where I work? Have we passed in the street? Or is it just a matter of time before we do? :-)

Sara said...

Hey Linda. I fully intend to give you a call sooner or later to arrange that coffee. :-) Thank you for your good wishes and I hope your soup turned out well!

Mara said...


This happened to me when I was also eating a lot of pumpkin :) it's a problem of hypercarotinemia, and I believe it is exacerbated when your intake of fat is low at the same time, just based on personal experience.

Sara said...

Thank you, Mara! :-)
Yes, my fat intake is very low at the moment.

I have another appointment with the doctor this coming week, and will get a carotene test.

P says if I have made myself yellow through excessive broccoli intake, he will not stop laughing for years. :-)

Mizpah said...

It can be a sign of protein deficiency although it could just a lot of beta carotene which is no problem.

Well done on the detox. I recently had to do the same thing to break a daily wine habit.

I also have trouble balancing obsession with good nutrition and sometimes a complete swing in the opposite direction. It's a constant balancing act.

Sara said...

Thanks for the insight, Mizzi. I'll ask about the protein thing with my doctor this afternoon; again, my protein was probably low over the last few weeks, because I was away from home so often. And yes, CRON is a constant balancing act. I've got completely out of balance lately, obviously, but I'm still committed to the principles.

I love your recent post on intermittant fasting. I think Joanna tried it earlier this year. Unfortunately I get so ravenously hungry on such a regular basis it wouldn't work for me, but the idea of not being tied to food during the day is oh so appealing! :-)

Mizpah said...

My nutrition professor told me about this as a sign of protein deficiency but I wouldn't be surprised if your doctor isn't trained to recognize this.

Hope you had a great night at the theatre!

Sara said...

My doctor had to google to see if it was possible to measure levels of carotene in the blood. *sigh* He didn't let me get as far as asking about protein before giving me the "you are mad" look. He seemed somewhat disappointed it wasn't my liver, to be honest. Guess that would have been a nice simple answer for him, and put me in a nice little box to be chastised for my own recklessness.