Haemochromatosis – A Fresh Perspective

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Can you believe Iron-ic Wellbeing has been up and running for almost 2 months now?  Since that time we’ve built a great little on-line community and made many new friends, both locally and overseas, as we collectively try and spread the word about haemochromatosis, why it’s important to be diagnosed early (it’s just a blood test afterall…) and how we can live our best life whilst managing this disease.

Now, not that I don’t love chatting to you each week, however over the course of the year I also hope to bring you fresh ideas and perspectives on how others manage our disease.  To this end, today I’m thrilled and privileged to have Kylie Archer, founder of Kidgredients, in the hot seat.

If you aren’t already familiar with Kidgredients, head over to the website here and check it out – it is chock full of budget friendly family meals, lunchbox ideas and dishes you can make ahead and freeze for those times life just doesn’t go to plan. As if being a wife, mum of two and business woman isn’t accomplishment enough, Kylie also prioritises wholefood and homemade produce where possible, meaning you’ll also find recipes for homemade yoghurt, cheese, bread and pasta on her blog, and as a former teacher, there are great ideas for arts and craft also shared on her website.

With such an inspiring website, I couldn’t wait to sit down with Kylie to hear what makes her tick and how she incorporates the management of haemochromatosis into her busy daily life – and as you can see from Kylie’s photo, she just exudes personality, warmth, humour and good health.

 Tell us a little about Kidgredients and why you started it?

I started my blog in September 2014 on my husband’s birthday.  I realised I wasn’t going to go back to work and had just resigned officially from the job I had at the University of Sydney.  A lot of my friends had been “egging” me on for a while to do a blog.  So I started it one morning while my son slept.  I haven’t looked back.  Losing my father to cancer suddenly in 2011 changed my perspective on life and I realised that I wanted to be around for my kids as much as possible.

When were you first diagnosed with Haemochromatosis and how did this come about?

I was diagnosed with haemochromatosis in 2007 whilst living in the UK.  I was having routine blood tests as I was very tired and this came up.  I then told my father to get tested, and he came back as also having the disease.  The doctors were ok with me not undergoing any treatment.

How have you adapted your lifestyle to accommodate living with Haemochromatosis?

At this stage I haven’t adapted my lifestyle much to cope with the disease as I am a young, fertile female who has had two babies in recent years (no need for iron tablets for me!).   I do try to limit the number of red meat meals we have and also try to include some calcium intake with those meals.  I am also anticipating having my kids tested for the disease when they are about ten.

Do you have a favourite tip to share about living with Haemochromatosis?

One tip that I would share is to make sure you find a doctor that understands what the disease is and to also inform family members that you have it.  Also, it’s important to make sure you keep on top of any treatment – don’t let it lapse as the consequences, such as an enlarged liver and liver cirrhosis, are avoidable with proper management.

What is your favourite “Haemochromatosis friendly” food, meal or recipe and why?

I like to ensure the whole family has a weekly meat free meal.  Spinach isn’t as high in iron as pop-eye would make you think and is actually quite ok to eat.  Here’s a meat free meal for you that tastes awesome – crunchy baked veggie wontons.

What have you learnt about yourself as a result of having Haemochromatosis?

As a result of having haemochromatosis and living with it I have become much more aware of my mortality and how I can mess with it.  Don’t take for the granted the treatments available to you and listen to the doctors.

Thanks Kylie for sharing such an honest and heartfelt reflection on living your life with haemochromatosis. We often forget that it is not just “us” as individuals living with this disease, but also our family and as such it’s great to see so many haemochromatosis friendly family meal ideas on your website – cannot wait to try the wontons as I already know they’ll be a hit in this household too!

If you’d like to hear more from Kylie, why not sign up for her newsletter and follow her on social media:

Facebook: facebook.com/kidgredients
Instagram: @kidgredients

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