Chronically Fabulous · Femme

Dating When Disabled: My 10 Worst Dates

Of all the videos on my YouTube channel the one below has to be in my top 5 favourites. Not only because thinking back over my disastrous dating history is always hilarious (seriously, I could write a very honest book about it but bookshops would only ever put it in the ‘comedy’ section!) but also because so many people contacted me afterwards to say they’d had exactly the same experiences or shared it on Facebook with ‘same’ or ‘this is my life’.

Obviously dating is never an easy thing- if it were the multi billion pound singles industry wouldn’t exist!- but dating when you’re disabled or have a long-term illness is beyond awful! Thankfully I am now off the market; two and a half years I didn’t even know she existed, now we’re married, own a house and two gorgeous dogs!  True love exists!

But in my experience all too often people I went on dates with would fall into two categories:

The ‘Oh My God, I Would Kill Myself’ Girls

Yes, someone did actually once say that to me on a first date… Funnily enough we didn’t have a second. These are the people who feel that disabilities really should be listed alongside your picture on a dating website. Preferably with a flashing neon sign and a screaming warning siren. They will slowly back out of a really great date if they get the merest hint something is ‘off’ about you. Sensitivity is not their deal. It’s understandable, they probably just haven’t come across someone with a disability or long term illness before.

The ‘Let Me Do That For You’ Girls

Everything you do is ‘inspiring’ or ‘amazing’, the fact you get out of bed in the morning is to be applauded. Ok, I can’t lie, that is rather nice for a while… but gosh, does it get old quickly! This girl will immediately find you a chair and make sure you never have to get up for a drink. They’ll repeat whatever is said around you very sloooowly and cleeeearly. Don’t mistake me, that’s all very helpful, but the person you’re dating should be your equal. It’s difficult to date someone if they think you are an adorable cute thing that needs to be taken care of like a little fluffy bunny.

My 10 Worst Dates

So, without further ado: My 10 Worst Dates! Not all of these are disabled-related and one of them I’m pretty sure was a serial killer in training but they are all terrible.

I know.

I know.

It’s… not good.

There are exceptions of course and I’m married to one! I knew she was the girl for me when, two weeks after we met, she came to pick me up from work, noticed I was on crutches (when I hadn’t been that morning) and didn’t bat an eyelid.

She doesn’t mother me but she also doesn’t push me to my absolute limit in that awful way some people do. Yes, it’s important for independence to do as much as I can- but that doesn’t mean I should! There is no shame in asking for help and no shame in preserving energy for important things later on.

Now please, do chime in below with your experiences- what’s it like dating men? And is it harder to get a date if you’re a disabled man?

Chronically Fabulous · Food · Food Reviews · Grain Free Recipes · Sugar Free Recipes

My Healthy Eating Hacks

I’ve been eating low carb for the last decade so making healthy food is routine for me but I know that for many people it’s very difficult. And believe me, I definitely understand! Some of the ingredients are weird and hard to find. The recipes can be incredibly complex and…. Not everything actually tastes good. In fact, many things are horrible. And a lot of recipes involve a spiralizer or dehydrator or specialist blender and no one has time for that!

Occasionally in my recipes you’ll find a few ingredients that are potentially new to you or seem like something you’d buy once, use for this recipe and then put to the back of the cupboard until it goes off and has to be thrown in the bin. Never fear, once you know the ‘healthy eating hacks’ everything seems a lot easier!

I’m using my recipe for coleslaw here as an example but I’ll try to always answer these same questions at the bottom of every recipe.

  1. What the hell are those ingredients?!

Some things you can use Sea Vegetable Condiment for instead: seasoning salads, roast vegetables, on top of eggs, crust on a boring white fish fillet, soups of all kinds, guacamole, hummus, even a tasty dip with some yogurt! It can also be used either in or sprinkled upon savoury baking such as breads, muffins, wraps, pizza, pasta, rice, noodles.

Generally anything that would benefit from a savoury, herby, salty flavour. But don’t try and eat it by itself because it’s dried and really sticks to the roof of your mouth. Also gets between your teeth. Not a ‘first date’ food.

Next: Linseeds! Also known as flaxseeds. “Whaaaaaaaaaat are those?” I hear you ask. Well, they’re a seed. With a lot of protein, iron and fiber. A LOT of fiber. ‘Be careful you don’t have too much’ levels of fiber. I use a mix of ground linseeds with whole linseeds and chia seeds (which absorb liquid and swell to thicken things). Other things you can use linseeds for: sprinkling on stuff.

That’s it.

If it can have sprinkles on top then you can put linseeds on it. Sweet or savoury. From yogurt to salads to poached fish. It adds a nice nutty flavour.

You can also use them to thicken things like smoothies. Or left in water overnight they create a porridge of types- but not too much water. Or mix them in to regular porridge for an added boost. They can even be used as a vegan egg substitute because they are glutinous when soaked. If you’re a baker then make some flaxseed bread or homemade granola bars or crackers! So. Many. Options.

  1. Where do I buy those?!

Well, funnily enough, I bought my linseeds at ASDA. I think. Or Ocado. Because I’m a woman of contradictions and layers. My point is: not only are they sold in health food shops, they’re also available in big supermarkets, highstreet health shops (Holland and Barrett) and, of course, online. I would advise buying in bulk from a health food shop and then grinding them down yourself in a processor because like hell I’m going to pay extra for someone else to do that. No.

The sea vegetable seasoning I’ve also seen in various health food shops but it’s pretty damn expensive so I would suggest going online. Plus, it’s very light so you don’t get charged extra for a heavy package. There’s an innuendo in there somewhere.

I personally like Goodness Direct because they let me buy everything in bulk for very reasonable prices and then don’t charge me delivery!

The vegetables you can buy from a shop that sells vegetables. Even mooli is becoming more common to see in supermarkets but…

  1. Uh… I can’t find it

If you can’t find Mooli you can always use parsnip instead, that’s a completely acceptable switch. If you can’t find vegetables then… I’m not clear why you think you can make a coleslaw. Crunchy raw stuff will do.

Instead of Linseeds I sometimes add nut butter for the nutty taste- but make sure it’s unsweetened because otherwise you’re making a weird hybrid food. Or you can just leave it out entirely.

Obviously you don’t have to use gluten-free soy sauce if you’ve got no problem with gluten. And that’s fine, just because we’re not on speaking terms doesn’t mean you have to pick sides.

Regular Hellmann’s mayo is fine. As are other mayos but come on now, what’s better than Hellmann’s?

If you really don’t love the idea of seaweed in your coleslaw then throw in a pinch of salt, some chopped basil and maybe a little fish sauce for kick.

Speaking of things you can throw in…

  1. How can I bulk this up?

This recipe is excellent for lunch boxes. It goes really well with fish- whether that’s a fillet of salmon or some tinned tuna you’ve mixed in- or ham or torn up chicken breast. Veggie options would include adding almonds and seeds or maybe even some chickpeas.

Basically, it’s yummy and there are a lot of options. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be scary or that time consuming or expensive or any of that rubbish. It also doesn’t have to be pretty. Don’t get disheartened because your food doesn’t look like an instagram page. Believe me most of the things I eat look horrific but are actually delicious.

This coleslaw is actually in the top 5 of ‘good looking things I eat… that are not cake’

Mmm… cake.