Happy Tuesday, boys and girls! I hope your week is peachy? We are excited as we are finally moving to our own (rented but still…) house this week. Duncan found a job he is very keen on and his health is tip top again, which is a massive load off our minds.
I never talked about this on the blog as it was too raw and painful at the time, but Duncan has not been well since April this year. We did not think much of it at first, but as the days and weeks were going by and he was not feeling any better, we both started to feel the brunt of this mysterious illness and found it really difficult to cope.
He had an extensive blood test done to rule out any deficiencies and the results came back well above the average. We were relieved but stupefied at the same time. The symptoms were chronic tiredness, dizziness, sneezing and intermittent tingling and numbness in his arms and subsequent depression caused by his inability to go about his day-to-day life.
We both really struggled mentally and felt quite lonely and helpless with it all. Duncan spent hours on the Internet trying to match his symptoms to an actual illness and the only thing that made any sense to us was mould poisoning.
As the house we lived in was facing a cold weather front, it has always had a mould problem on the walls overlooking the sea during the cold and wet winter months. The mould got cleaned off and Duncan slept in the guest room (that has seen no sign of mould anywhere) for several months, but things weren’t improving much – whenever he felt like he made some progress, he seemed to have gone back to feeling the same or worse within the next few days.
This was one of the reasons that pushed us to leave Paros. As gorgeous as the island is, being so far away from any advanced medical facilities becomes very frustrating when you suddenly become ill with something that is difficult to pin down and constant trips to Athens become very expensive and often pointless.
Our final glimmer of hope was that moving out would allow Duncan’s body to heal and it did just that. After about 2 weeks of living at Duncan’s cousin’s house, all the symptoms have completely disappeared. We are so happy and we sort of wish we had done it sooner but it’s always easy to do things better in hindsight. It is so nice to have the old Duncan back, full of enthusiasm, joking around and running in the rain or shine 🙂 .
Speaking of running, I made these easy no-bake energy bars for Duncan a while ago and he loved them, so I thought you might appreciate them too. They do require refrigeration so I would advise against sticking them into your pocket on a hot day, but if you are going on a winter hike, for example, they will definitely be perfect as a lunch treat on the top of a mountain. Enjoy!
- Place almond butter, maple syrup and salt (if using) in a large bowl. Stir well (I used a wire whisk) until you obtain a uniform mixture.
- Add oats and raw buckwheat and mix them all in. You can use a wooden spoon, initially, but once the mixture becomes thick it’s best to use your hands.
- Add cranberries and pumpkin seeds, reserving a few for decoration. Knead the mixture until everything is well incorporated. The mixture should be quite crumbly and dry – a bit like shortbread dough – by the time you are done adding things, but it should still bond easily once you exert some pressure on it.
- Line a rectangular container or a baking tray with a piece of baking paper so that the bar is easier to remove. I recommend a container with a lid so that it keeps fridge smells out.
- Spread the ‘dough’ in the paper lined container. Sprinkle a few cranberries and pumpkin seeds on top of the mixture and press the mixture down really well so that there are no gaps / air pockets and the bars hold together well. Use a piece of baking paper with a flat-bottomed glass on top to be able to pack the mixture better. Pop the container into the freezer for about 2 hours to set.
- Remove from the freezer. If the mixture is very frozen, allow it to thaw for a minute or two before you start cutting into it. Cut into equal size pieces with a sharp knife (I found that a serrated knife works best). Store the bars in the freezer in an airtight container.