Health update: getting better!

Spiced pine nuts play a major part in my current recipe experiment. Photo: © Christopher Monk 2019

Hello everyone! Just wanted to share an update on my health.

It’s good news: I’m starting to feel significantly better, and I am working right now on a new recipe experiment which, all being well, will be posted about in the next few days.

I was diagnosed with an autoimmune blood disorder known as pernicious anaemia, which means I cannot absorb vitamin B12 through food. This is because I have an antibody that attacks the stomach and stops it producing Intrinsic Factor (IF). Everyone needs IF to process B12: when it’s not there your B12 levels gradually become depleted which in turn stops you producing enough red blood cells, so you become anaemic and also develop neurological problems.

So this condition sneaks up on you; it’s insidious. I started to notice problems at the beginning of the year. By early summer I was seriously fatigued, had muscle weakness (couldn’t climb the stairs without stopping) and other neurological problems (nerve pain and numbness in my hands and feet), chest pains and palpitations, and my cognitive abilities (concentration, thinking, coherent speaking) were, well, rapidly going south! Who would’ve thought a lack of vitamin B12 could be so debilitating?

A thick almond milk features in my new recipe experiment. © Christopher Monk 2019

I’ve now been having vitamin B12 injections every few days for about six weeks; it’s taken that long to rebuild my B12 levels and start to feel human again. I will be tapering off the regularity of the injections over the next couple of months, and long term the expectation is that I will only need to have one every two months. But I will need to have these injections for life.

I’m not perfectly back to normal, but I have started working again — research, writing, cooking — and even managed a couple of short swims this week. So, though plans for filming the video series have had to be rescheduled, I do hope to be back fully in the swing of things before too long.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you to think about the two new photos above and the video below and see whether you can guess what’s cooking. If you have an idea, leave a comment, and I’ll get back to you.


Published by Christopher Monk

Dr Christopher Monk is creating Modern Medieval Cuisine

4 thoughts on “Health update: getting better!

  1. Chris, I am SO relieved that you’re feeling better! Wow–that’s an unpleasant illness! Anyway, very glad to have you back–I have missed you!!!!
    As far as the recipe–already sounds delicious. I’m guessing some kind of a custard. Any sugar or sweetening to come? Cannot wait to see the rest of this!
    Big hugs, my friend!


    1. Thanks, Kay. It’s good to be back on the mend. You’re definitely on the right track with the recipe. Sugar is an ingredient, but the question is, how much? This dish needs to be experimented with because the instructions are not entirely well written, and from a modern perspective it has a bit of an identity crisis. 😁

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