Category Archives: nutrition

The pretty good not from a recipe soup I made

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I am not a great cook. This is not something I hide from people. In fact, normally the fire alarm is an indicator of if dinner is done or not. However I have had some interest of improving in this area.  I don’t do recipes. Now don’t get me wrong recipes are fine, they just don’t work for me. On the logical level I know cooking is a science. It is however, also an art. That is really the only explanation of why recipes don’t work for me. Often I base what I make for dinner on what I am craving, sometimes a family member. This time it was my daughter. She wanted okra. The only ways I like okra is fried or in soup. We are trying to eat healthy and clean so soup it was! I was telling my friend Jen about this after the fact and she said you should totally blog that. I laughed because see above sentences about cooking. As far as I can tell it is both vegetarian and vegan. The wheels started turning however and I was thinking how healthy this turned out to be and good. Did I mention it came out good?

This is what you need based on what I remember.

1 bunch of kale Chopped

1 chopped and diced bulb of fennel (good for calming the stomach and intestines)

4 large carrots

1 bunch scallions

8-10 red creamer potatoes diced

2 yellow squash

1 Large zucchini

2 1/4 inch ginger minced (muscles really like ginger makes them all loosey goosey)

1 tablespoon ground ginger  (only because I didn’t feel like chopping up more fresh stuff)

1 tablespoon basil (its yummy and it fights bacteria and virus’s , Boosting immune system is important stuff)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Green beans cut up

1 tablespoon rosemary ( I really love Rosemary and it helps muscles as well as it supposedly helps memory, circulation and immune health. However I really like it. )

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup green lentils

a container of Veggie broth ( I get organic low sodium but that is just me)

All measurements are from me eyeballing it.

Toss all ingredients in a large pot. Add the entire contents of the broth fill up with water and dump that in too. Let all this simmer for an hour.

Toss in the lentils and let it simmer for another twenty minutes or so.

Boom! Soup! It passed family inspection even if it didn’t have meat in it. I was not at all bothered by the lack of meat.

Glitterbombs and birthdays and sleep oh my! Ten Things of Thankful

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Ten Things. Ten things of Thankful. Ten big things. Ten little things. Ten big and little things. Ten things that are big to me but little to you. Ten things that are little to me but big to you. Can you find ten things to be thankful for in the past seven days? Can you do it and not change your attitude? I dare you to try it.

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How has it been a whole week already? Forget that how has it been a whole school year already? Summer is indeed here. School is out. However, that does not mean the thankfuls stop. It might even increase the thankfuls, come August. Oh okay probably it will just increase the thankfuls. So lets get right down to it.  If you know me….you know its also going to be picture heavy. Pictures take the place of my short term memory sometimes or something like that. They help me remember. So I take A LOT of pictures.

1. BIRDS!

The Black Skimmer nesting area

The Black Skimmer nesting area

Black Skimmers cooling off in the water. Its not injured. Their top beak is actually that short. They literally skim the water for food, eating fish up to five inches long.

Black Skimmers cooling off in the water. Its not injured. Their top beak is actually that short. They literally skim the water for food, eating fish up to five inches long.

This still amazes me. Some of these clouds only showed up once I took the picture. It was so weird to look at the spot I took the picture of and look at the picture and see two different things. I am sure its because of Science.

This still amazes me. Some of these clouds only showed up once I took the picture. It was so weird to look at the spot I took the picture of and look at the picture and see two different things. I am sure its because of Science.

2. being able to reach out and help members of our church in return.

Our church has been so amazingly supportive. It was a great feeling helping not one but two church members this week.

3. Sleep. I hesitate to say this but I think the thyroid meds might have fully kicked in. I have been getting some down right decent sleep in the wee hours of the morning and that is normally my hardest time to sleep. Whatever it is, I will take it and just in time for summer vacation. Don’t bother Mommy until at least eight am okay. Okay. yeah. That will happen.

4. Continuing birthday celebrations

Somewhat sad it is not alcoholic but it was good for me!. It is water kefir. This one flavored like a mojito!!

Somewhat sad it is not alcoholic but it was good for me!. It is water kefir. This one flavored like a mojito!!

The famous dark chocolate flourless cake. This time we didn't split a slice. We each had a slice. That was one heck of a sugar rush!

The famous dark chocolate flourless cake. This time we didn’t split a slice. We each had a slice. That was one heck of a sugar rush!

More birthday presents!!! Two down comforters I am now wedged between them at night. AHHHHHHH!!!!

More birthday presents!!! Two down comforters I am now wedged between them at night. AHHHHHHH!!!!

Ignore the mess of the car, its been cleaned since then. A new Whovian Shirt and a new Sherlock cup!!!

Ignore the mess of the car, its been cleaned since then. A new Whovian Shirt and a new Sherlock cup!!!

5. Unexpected glitter bombs

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A very special and sweet lady sent me this. Can you guess who? Glitter, a ladybug!! and glitter tattoo! and a medal for winning at life!!!  This time I opened it on my bed and not in my car. Much easier to clean up.

6. NEW PLANTS. I can’t promise I won’t kill them in the end but remember a while back we got anti-mosquito plants for around the hammock.. well all but one of them are still alive. Plus I have kept a small herb garden going for six months now. So I inherited a cucumber plant and everglades tomato plant. Maybe my black thumb is starting to turn somewhat brownish green.

These I don’t have pictures of yet. Everglade tomatoes are a native to Florida Tamatoe! (I spelled it both ways so however you say it, one is right!)

7 networking in unexpected places.

Someone I met online, who lives local. Like minds and so much we can do together to help the community and each other in so many ways.

8 Princess P!!! We got to spend some time together on Wednesday. Hopefully with Summer coming there will be more playdates!

The face. Omg she kills me with cuteness!

The face. Omg she kills me with cuteness!

All the selfies. ALLLLLL THE SELFIES!

All the selfies. ALLLLLL THE SELFIES!

Might just be my new favorite picture of her.

Might just be my new favorite picture of her.

9. These lizards

Yes. Yes they are. Not only were they, they froze and just looked at me. I left them be but it cracked me up they just froze like they got caught.

Yes. Yes they are. Not only were they, they froze and just looked at me. I left them be but it cracked me up they just froze like they got caught.

10. Juicing!

I have gotten back in the swing of it and I have to say; I am not sure I would have survived this week without juicing each morning. Cucumbers, ginger, turmeric, beets, and sometimes greens and garlic. Oh and lemons.

Then I had the great idea to add some juice to some recently ready Kombucha and let it ferment a bit longer.

BY far the best batch I have made. I drank the whole liter in one day. There was no self control.

And fizz. Yes I had alll the fizz. I have never had it punch a hole in the ziplock bag. Despite precautions I got coated in Kombucha. Definitely doing this again.

And fizz. Yes I had alll the fizz. I have never had it punch a hole in the ziplock bag. Despite precautions I got coated in Kombucha. Definitely doing this again.

There they are, My ten Things. Now, How about you? Join the blog hop or just come and read and get all the warm fuzzies.

 

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Starting a food prep/cook day with a chronic illness

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Recently I was in a discussion about how I handle food prep and cook day to ensure I continue to eat healthy. It is so hard to function by the end of the day that it is easy to just order take out night after night or to skip eating all together. When my pain level rises I rarely am hungry. Having this day is not easy and it is an all day thing. Don’t expect to function much afterwards. Do expect a rise in your pain levels the first couple times you do it. I promise the more you do it, the more you put good healthy REAL food in you the better you will feel.
I think the best way to start is to go super easy. Lets start with Overnight oats for breakfast , egg and veggie muffins for snacking, Mason Jar salads, and what I call freezer meals. You are going to need a lot of mason jars for this but its the easiest thing to use and for some reason, the salads stay good for over five days in them. Not sure why. Probably some weird science thing.

Breakfast food grocery list

 

14 Mason jars with lids  1 large tub of Greek yogurt( ideally this would be plain but you can get away with vanilla) 1 pint blueberries and I think Blackberries are in season so 1 container of those 2 slightly under-ripe bananas Sliced almonds chia seeds Ground flaxseed Fat free milk(you can use any kind of milk , so almond milk coconut milk those are fine too) Old fashion oats Set out seven mason jars. In each mason jar pour 1/2 cup milk first, then add 1/3 cup greek yogurt, 1/3 cup oats, 2 tablespoons chia, 2 tablespoons flaxseed 1/2 cup fruit( you can mix or just do one fruit in each jar) I like blueberry banana . Bananas need to be sliced. 1/4 cup sliced almonds. Shake and put in fridge.

Snack Grocery list

1 dozen eggs

1 bag chopped kale

1 bag sliced mushrooms

Ground turmeric

ground ginger are a great boosting option to this, add to your taste.

Mix all in a bowl. Grease a muffin tin and pour mix in. Bake at 350 for twenty minutes. When done set aside let cool.  Two “muffins” can go in each zip-lock bag. A really smart friend then put her individual snack bags into a large zip-lock bag so they don’t all get lost and spread over the refrigerator

Lunch Grocery list

1 can chickpeas

1 can salmon or tuna

1 package Deli chicken strips

1 head of romaine

1 bag spinach

2 containers feta

sliced carrot sticks( like the little matchstick ones)

4 cucumbers diced bell peppers ( our store has them diced but sometimes i have to slice and dice them too)

Salad dressings of choice

Line up seven mason jars. In the bottom you are going to put your salad dressing. It is recommended to keep this to no more than two tablespoons Then comes your hard veggies, Carrot sticks, peppers, diced cucumbers(each salad should get roughly half a cucumber) Then comes the chickpeas, This is also where you add a meat choice here to mix it up or even some can tuna or salmon. I personally like the salmon. Then you can rotate Romaine and spinach add the feta last.

The snack eggs should be done by this time. Just set aside to cool.

Dinner freezer meals;If you prefer to use a toaster oven and avoid the microwave you are going to need small glass entree size containers. Otherwise glad or zip-lock entree containers are fine.

Dinner Shopping list

2 pounds chicken

1 pound fish

1 bag quinoa

1 container chicken broth(the less sodium more organic ones are the best option)

1 bag parsnips

about a pound of green beans

Sugar snap peas

1 head broccoli

1 bunch beets.

The easiest way I have found to cook this is on a cookie sheet wrap it in tin foil. Then wrap chicken with whatever seasonings you want in tinfoil. I set the chicken in the middle of a square of tinfoil then fold up and close it up. I typically just use garlic rosemary and lemon zest. Sometimes adding Turmeric as well. You can season each chicken breast seperately if you so choose. They will be cooking in tinfoil in their own juices. Repeat with fish of choice, my family will eat tilapia the easiest so that is what we use but you can use any white fish. Typically I just cook it with lemon and we top with parmesean . Slice the cauliflower and our favorite is to coat in coconut oil add some sea salt and some dill seed and thyme. Wrap it in tinfoil same as chicken folding it up. Slice the beets and add a tablespoon of oil of your choice really Wrap those in tinfoil the same way. Parsnips you can peel if you so desire we don’t normally. Same thing with tinfoil normally i just roll them in about two teaspoons of oil and sprinke sea salt on top. All this goes on baking sheet that was wrapped in tinfoil. Goes in the oven for an hour at 350. The tinfoil helps it all cook evenly and makes it so much easier to clean up after. Set four pots on the stove. Cook enough quinoa in the chicken broth for seven servings in pot one. In pot two go the green beans , pot three sugar snap peas and pot four broccoli. The veggies in the pot you are going to slightly undercook. When the meat and veggies are done in the oven take out and put on table. Well I put it on the table. Then put the pots next to it. Line up your seven entree dishes(gladware or glass) and put about 1/4 cup quinoa two veggie choices and a meat. Put top on and toss in freezer.

 

I only know how long it takes to thaw and heat in the microwave. If you can remember to take one out of the freezer in the morning and put it in the refrigerator that makes heat up time about five minutes. If you have it in the freezers no worries its about eight minutes. Of course this all depends on your microwave.

The first two times you may want to ask a friend to help you. Then you kinda find your rythm or groove or whatever and it goes faster; None of this is set in stone. Change up veggies for dinners as seasons change, same for fruits in overnight oats. There are tons and tons and tons of overnight oats and mason jar salads on Pinterest. The freezer meals I came up with several months back for my husband so he could have real food when he worked nights. Like I said with the salads they last up to ten days so you can easily do this for two weeks if that makes it easier.

DO plan for this to be a full days project.

It typically takes me from eight thirty am to about two thirty pm to complete and I normally am only capable of resting after that. I am pretty much spent for the day.

Then you can start exploring make ahead crock pot meals that you can freeze. So easy.with the same premise only these everything goes in prepped but not cooked in zip-lock freezer bags freeze it and then the same though of defrosting in fridge then dump the bag in crock pot. This would make it more family friendly. There are so many crock pot recipes on Pinterest I find it hard to believe you can’t make two weeks worth of food without someone getting bored of crock pot.

I did this entire thing for a friend of mine who also has fibro and she noticed a dramatic difference in less than a week.

Research the recipes you want to use and plan it out. I would recommend planning it on a different day than actually doing it. My brain can’t handle that much with chronic pain also going on.

Some funny title goes here

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I had this whole post planned out in my head. I planned to write it on Sunday. Fibromyalgia and arthritis just laughed and laughed and laughed and said “No”. So the post that I have in my head will stay there a bit longer.

Here is this instead, how to shut Fibromyalgia and Arthritis up in three oz. It is not necessarily tasty.Think of it as taking a shot of alcohol. Some really nasty alcohol but the idea remains the same.

What you will need: A juicer

1 lemon- use 1/4

some ginger root – 1/4 inch

four to five pieces of Turmeric root

About an inch slice of cucumber

About two inches of celery(not pictured because I added it last minute)

three cloves of garlic

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With in twenty minutes my pain levels were noticeably less. I don’t think an hour ago I could have even typed this much.

Reconnecting my soul

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We are often out hiking or taking nature walks so I didn’t even realize it was missing. The part of my soul that nature just seems to click back in place from all the crazy of life. The problem had not been we were not out hiking or walking, the problem had become it was all too familiar. I needed somewhere new to explore. Once I started thinking about it , I knew that was it. I knew I needed to go some where new to explore and I needed to get dirty. Where oh where could I find that in Florida? The swamp. Oh that sounds perfect. We made plans with a friend to combined families and go to Corkscrew swamp. The day we were to go I decided to look up Corkscrew and see what to expect. What I didn’t expect to find was a twelve dollar per person fee. It would cost us thirty dollars to go hiking? Pass. We will save that for a special occasion hike. So the night before we were suppose to go I was scrambling to look up a place to go. I looked at a bunch of different parks but nothing was striking me. I was actually really looking forward to swamp stuff. A boardwalk through the swamp was just what I needed, or so I thought.

I found Green swamp in Lakeland. It is spread across five county parks. I narrowed it down to Colt Creek Preserve.

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Yes, my daughter chose to wear white to the swamp. I let her because , Bleach. We found great spots to explore. Places where wild boar had dug up, plants and flowers to inspect, and birds so many birds to listen to. It was even a bit wet.

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It was pretty near perfect. Within thirty minutes of the hike starting I felt my soul reconnect, that click that being out in nature does for me. Grounding whatever you call it , I felt it.

We even walked through trail that was past our ankles deep in water. We even scared a turtle out of hiding tromping through that trail. It was not what I had thought. It was a bit more water than I had thought to go through, but it was perfect in so many ways.

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We even came across some wild blackberries growing and some were ripe enough for the girls to eat. We left plenty for the animals though.

We found all kinds of places to explore. I had plenty of water with me and I had taken Ultracur that morning and had enough with me to get me through the rest of the day as well as a nutritious and balanced picnic lunch packed. Plenty of carb replacement and protein along with veggies and fruit. We did not set a certain pace and took breaks as frequently as we needed to.

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The kids did great. We came to a pavilion not too long after this part of the trail. The girls were so busy playing in the field when they were not complaining of being hungry. My friend and I decided to leave the girls there with my husband and go get the van, where we left our lunches. They walked a bit over three miles , not too bad for four girls under ten years old.

When I wanted a swamp hike, I did not envision stomping through water that went almost to my knees.

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In case you think I was kidding, that really was the water line. I didn’t stop while we were stomping through it because I was in anxiety overdrive. If I had been alone or even just with my husband I would have probably turned back. I probably would not have pushed through. I have a lot of anxiety about that much water and not being able to see the bottom. There are snakes and snapping turtles and alligators just so many things my brain could come up with. I was glad I had been practicing deep breathing because it really helped. Whatever was left out of alignment clicked in place after making it through that. The exhilaration of overcoming it really was something I needed, had you told me that ahead of time I would have told you you were crazy.

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I definitely felt the walk the next two days but it was exactly what I needed. It was much easier to give myself permission to rest and recover. I had squelched any fears of not being an involved enough mother. I had stomped on any feelings of uselessness. Truthfully I think my daughter was just as tired as I was afterwards. I definitely felt connected to the Earth and the fact that Earth Day was just a few days away made it seem even better.

The most exciting Doctor’s appointment and I wasn’t even pregnant!

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I had put it off for long enough. I finally bit the bullet and made my yearly womanly appointment. In my defense they were the one’s that cancelled and then rescheduled me for a day I couldn’t make it. It’s not exactly a pleasant doctor’s appointment so it was not the top thing on my mind. Most of the time when I did remember they were at lunch. Anyway, that’s mostly just excuses.

Here it was the day of the appointment, I did my duty and got on the scale. I actually liked their scale. It was two pounds less than what mine had been saying. SCORE! Blood pressure and pulse were excellent for once, maybe that meditation stuff is working. You know what comes next, here is a robe wear it like a jacket and a paper cover to go over your legs. The ultimate fun.

The appointment started and everything was going fine. Then the fire alarm went off. I looked at my A.R.N.P and she looked at me. I looked down at my robe and paper. Then it stopped. We sighed a relief. She said ” they hadn’t told us they would be testing it today. ” So lay down and inch on down the table and it starts up again. She leaves the room to see what in the world is going on. It stops. ” Is that a fire drill because I have a patient in stirrups!” I can hear. Oh how wonderful.  It starts up again and Then I hear her scream. Now it probably only took about three seconds for her to come back in after that scream, but that did not stop my brain. Oh no it was sure that the building was falling down and in flames. Or the fireman was there because we all know fireman show up seconds after the alarm goes off right? Or there was some kind of hostage situation going on. Or….or…or… she comes in. ” Man that thing is loud it went off right when I was walking by.” Okay so maybe the scream was more of a yelp. It’s not as if I was feeling very confident laying on a table with my feet in stirrups. It doesn’t go off any more through that part of the visit but as soon as she was done she told me to get dressed and then we would finish just in case. I have never been so happy to put my bra and jeans back on, EVER!

Reviewing labwork was next on the agenda. Oh look, I get a new diagnosis as well. It wasn’t really a surprise. We had suspected this was coming for the last six months. Hypothyroidism. My levels had been flip flopping and were low but just a little low. Since one of the side effects of the medication can be a heart arrhythmia and I already have tachycardia we had decided to just keep a close eye on it. Well now we were at the point, medication was needed. It was probably what had been causing my bottom dropping fatigue where I was just flattened. It was probably why I kept hitting plateaus on loosing weight. So many things this answered. In truth, this was probably why I delayed going in so long. Why I was not so much in a hurry to reschedule. Hypothyroidism runs very heavily in my family. My mother was diagnosed at 19. I feel lucky i made it to 34 without it. She did order an ultrasound just to be on the safe side but I had already had the full blood work panel done many times, as many as insurance would allow, including the thyroid studies. She is doubtful we will find anything. If I know my body that is a loaded statement. Never say that about my body. It will slap you upside the head. Any way further review of my blood work showed some of my problem areas were now hovering on the inside low area of normal. I will freaking take it. Potassium and Magnesium being the biggest of concern. She said the fact that they were so much higher without supplementation shows how much my diet has changed and improved. YAY. Juicing my fruits and veggies seems to really have done the trick.

The next thing we discussed is other preventative care that was coming up. They want to squish my boobies!!!! Next year it won’t even be a well if you want to have it done I will order it. No it will be part of my yearly physical. My little saggy baggy almost flat anyway stretched out from pregnancy and breastfeeding boobies. Smashed. I will get it done, I know how important it is. I am all for preventative care. I just am not really happy about it, ya know.

I don’t like it, but I do it.

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It started in an attempt to make sure my husband ate healthier. At the time he had been eating oatmeal for breakfast and often ramen noodles for lunch and dinner. I had a genius idea to cook a lot at once and portion it out and freeze it for him to have better meals with all the work he has been doing to support our family.  Then one night I got home and I was just done. There was nothing in me to cook. We were out of milk so cereal wasn’t an option. I used two of his freezer meals and felt better about what my daughter and I ate for dinner. Soon after this I started working part-time. When I picked up my daughter she had been fed. I just had to feed myself. Cooking for one just does not appeal to me. Some weeks I go really crazy and prep lunches for my daughter and me plus the freezer dinners. One week was going to be really really busy so I even prepped breakfast.

Chronic illness takes so much from us, taking back my nutrition has been one way to fight back. True I do have to plan for most of the day to be spent cooking and prepping and resting. It really does take a lot out of me however, I have found it’s value far out weighs the energy spent doing it. When I first started doing it took me a lot longer. The more I have done it the more efficient I have gotten at it. This is what works for me. When I first started this was almost a six hour process for me.  I really don’t cook using exact measurements. The food you will have to use your sense of judgement of how much your family would eat. Some I know the amounts only because I was able to dig up Farmers market receipts and find the amounts I got. So if you are looking for exact measurements, this is not for you.  However, I do know that the more nutritious meals I can eat the more my body will thank me for it. The easier I can make it to get veggies and fruit in my diet the better I function. When I have complete meals like this ready,the less likely I am to resort to cereal for dinner or other crap, like pizza.

Here is how I do my food prep/cook days.

Grocery store list:

8 pounds of chicken

one head of cauliflower

1/2 lbs Green beans

Baby Carrots

Two sweet potatoes

1 lbs Parsnips

Quinoa

Brown Rice

 1 head of Broccoli

about 1/2 a lbs Sugar snap peas

2-3 Squash(whatever is in season) I normally stay with acorn or butternut squash as they will hold up the best.

Eggplant- I often get the baby eggplants as they are easier. I get between six to nine

Tin foil

Olive oil

If you don’t already have them Ziploc or Glad entree containers (this normally does about 12-14 individual dinners)

So then I come home and clean all the veggies. Turn the oven on to 350

Line two trays and two baking pans with tinfoil(this makes clean up simple) (and by the time I am done I need simple)

Place your chicken in one of the foil lined baking pans. Add olive oil and seasonings to your liking. I have found the best combo is garlic rosemary and sea salt.

 Toss the chicken in the oven and set the timer for an hour. It does best on a top rack.

Then in the other baking pan I place the cauliflower and baby eggplants  and sweet potatoes. Cover well with olive oil. We like to use garlic and dill on the cauliflower and garlic and salt on the eggplant. The sweet potatoes I individually wrap in foil and just toss a splash of olive oil and salt in with it.  This normally takes me about fifteen minutes and I toss it in with the chicken.

Next up are the parsnips and carrots. Peel and place on baking sheet. coat in olive oil and season. Again we tend to do garlic rosemary basil and salt.

Toss that baking sheet in.

Half the squash and de-seed it. sprinkle some cinnamon nutmeg and clove on it.  Slap it face down on the baking sheet lined with tinfoil and a bit of olive oil. Toss that baking sheet in.

Now go lay down. There should be about twenty minutes to thirty minutes left on the timer.  I sometimes cheat and just sit down and snip green beans.

The timer goes off.

Take out the parsnips and carrots first and set aside. The cauliflower and eggplants are also normally done. The sweet potatoes if the very center is still firm that is fine. Remember you will be microwaving them so they will finish cooking.

Check the chicken. Most of the time it is done but it could need a bit more.

On the stove you will need four pots.  In one you will mix brown rice and quinoa and set it to boiling. I normally save the kale and spinach pulp in my juices and toss that in with it. I make quite a bit but as usual I don’t normally measure it. I would approximate a cup of each. It will make a lot which is what you want.

Then the green beans and sugar snap peas and broccoli in the others. Cook them to just shy of being done.  This way when you microwave them later they finish cooking the last little bit and are perfect.

Now you can line up the gladware or ziplock containers. I throw about a tablespoon of quinoa rice mix in all of them. A chicken breast. Then two veggies. Mix how you wish.

Quinoa rice spinach and kale mix

Quinoa rice spinach and kale mix

Quinoa mix, chicken sweet potato and green beans

Quinoa mix, chicken sweet potato and green beans

Quinoa mix chicken and caulflower. I believe the carrots got lost under the caulflower

Quinoa mix chicken and caulflower. I believe the carrots got lost under the caulflower

Sugar snap peas caulflower chicken.

Sugar snap peas caulflower chicken.

Quinoa rice mix, parsnips and carrots and chicken.

Quinoa rice mix, parsnips and carrots and chicken.

Top and toss in the freezer.

Take out as needed.

For lunches I normally do a salad with some cubed ham or turkey shredded cheese, hard boiled egg and mandarin oranges. In ziplock bag, fried noodles  or a seed mix(pumpkin and Sunflower) then in small containers dish out a squirt or two of dressing. This keeps it from getting soggy.

For breakfasts we like to do a layer of greek yogurt a layer of granola a layer of fruit drizzled with honey sprinkle on some ground chia and then a shake of cinnamon. These stay good for about three to four days. For the other days I normally portion out oatmeal and mix in ground flaxseed, wheat germ and some cinnamon. Then all I have to do is add water.

Another meal I normally toss in the oven after all the food prep is brussel sprouts mushrooms onions baby carrots, minced garlic a  little lemon zest and olive oil then season with whatever you wish. Toss that all in some tinfoil and wrap closed. Toss THAT in the oven for about thirty minutes or so. Most of the time I just turn the oven off after thirty minutes and leave it in the oven. I normally have a bit of quinoa rice mix left over so I spread that on plates and top with the brussel sprouts mix.

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update on product review of ultracur

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I have a habit that when I find something that works, I am not always picky on the brand. This one I am. I can honestly say it works better than anything I have tried before.

Nature’s Made and Sundown being my normal go to brands. I ran out of Ultracur and I had some sundown on back up. My daughter actually takes it to boost her immune system in the winter. It wasn’t like from one dose to the next I noticed the difference. It was more once I reached the 24 hour mark without Ultracur. I started noticing aches, pains that had quieted. Could I have really pin pointed when they quieted. Probably not. It was like. oh hey, that was gone. Don’t worry there were other areas that were yelling. When it kicks in, it tends to be just as subtle. I know for me when I am not functioning my brain is constantly checking my body. NOW? Can we go do something now? Can we at least sit up? Can we stand? Once I am up and moving I tend to think less about my pain issues.

My routine has become I get up and take two. About thirty minutes later, my morning stiffness is noticeably less. I should note I also use Ginger,either in juiced form or in my Chai. Often two to three times a week I take a four mile walk. When I return from my walk. Two capsules and ginger. Most of the time thirty minutes later I can function again. Sometimes if I have really pushed myself it takes an hour.

At this point a little over a month after starting it, I have completely stopped taking aspirin. I only take Tylenol at night to help me sleep. For whatever reason Tylenol knocks me out. It is worth mentioning there is some minor risk taking aspirin and curcumin together. I never took them at the same time it was either one or the other. Until I tried this one, I had not found anything that would work at bedtime where I could stop using so much aspirin to help the muscle pain and the Tylenol to take the edge off the joint pain.

There have been some nights I have begun to question if I even need to take Ultracur at bedtime. I have skipped it several times and surprisingly had decent sleep.

If you missed the original product review you can read it here.

Please still contact Casey if you are interested. We continue to work together.

The truth about flares

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I often get accused of being a chronic complainer.I don’t post how i feel for sympathy. Sometimes just seeing it in black and white helps me.  I just need to vomit it all out so I can move on. Its cathartic. This is not to say I don’t appreciate the comments.

Chronic illness is an asshole. Sometimes it makes me seem like an asshole. Most of the time in a flare I feel like I am being an asshole.
When I am resting I still feel like I am being lazy. I still think you are thinking I am being lazy. You can tell me all you want that you are not. When I have to cancel plans there is a part of me that feels I am just making an excuse. I know, if I went the pain would magnify. I know it.

Chronic illness makes your anxiety triple. Anxiety is an asshole too. Anxiety over what I do get done in a day. Anxiety over what I don’t get done in a day. Anxiety over what others are thinking about what I did today. Anxiety often makes me feel like I am being a complete wimp.
I feel ridiculous saying my skin hurts. Or any other body part that is acting up.
I feel like it’s an excuse even when I know the pain is too much to push through.Dishes have to get done ,I know that. It would seem standing doing dishes should be no big deal. Standing is a lot more work then we realize. There is a reason it takes babies so long to learn. There is a reason they get tired easily from it. If I do push myself my hips,knees and ankles blossom into painful bursts. If I keep pushing my hands will start to cramp up.  Have you ever tried to wash a plate and had your hand cramp. Most times I break the plate. It would make sense to stop doing the dishes before that happens. That is the thing though, the frustration, you don’t want to stop.

I am just as frustrated about my body flaring as you are, if not more. My brain is still functioning and often going a thousand miles a minute. I am thinking of all the things I need to get done. The things I should be doing. It is even more frustrating to feel somewhat okay while laying down yet, within five minutes of being up doing things, you are exhausted and often shaking.

I have a tendency to emotionally eat. Yes I know I shouldn’t eat that but sometimes emotions need to be fed. I do try very hard to balance my emotional eating with healthy eating. I do aim for that balance. I know full well I will pay for it later. Sometimes I feel it is worth it. Sometimes later when I am paying for it, I think I was being stupid. Just because I ate it yesterday or last week or last month doesn’t mean I can eat it during a flare. I could have eaten it yesterday and today it makes me want to vomit. I could have had it at lunch and my stomach tolerated it just fine. Eating it with dinner, not so much. It can be as small as garlic or lemon or as big as chicken. There is often no rhyme or reason to it.

So there it is the cold hard truth about flares and complaining.

The important thing.

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I could tell you how hard it is to get out of bed , while I feel like death warmed over, to walk.

I could tell you how many times I was way too hard on myself.

I could tell you all of this. It would all be true. It would not however be important.

The important thing is to start.

Arthritis, Fibromyalgia and Myofasical Pain Syndrome are not gentle issues. They are not very happy with exercise. In fact they protest it loudly. Three years of walking and I am just now getting to the point where I can actually wear exercise clothes without my body protesting. When I first started I could not wear sports clothing. It was like it flipped a switch for my muscles to act up even more. Now I am just used to going walking in jeans that it doesn’t bother me at all. Okay well maybe when I am a sweaty mess it bothers me a bit.

I started small, walking twenty minutes at a time.  I walked for twenty minutes at a time, twice a week for months. I felt stuck. If I tried to go further, I could not function. I finally figured out I just needed to be okay with what I was doing. It was not an easy decision. I felt like I wasn’t making any progress. The truth is when I look back, the fact I was even doing it was progress. I was not giving up, that was progress. I was not giving in to my body, that was progress. I then branched out with changing my diet. This was also something that was very slow going. I wanted to go out and buy all the healthy foods and just switch. The more I researched the more I realized that would not work. It takes time for your taste buds and your palate to change. It is so easy for both things to revert back to bad foods. The junk food out there is addictive. I could not just switch to eating grapes when I was craving sugar or any of the other hacks really. Deciding to make any change to your lifestyle is brave. When you are doing so with a body that already does not feel good, even braver.

The problem is my expectations of myself don’t always match what my body is up to. I still have issues with this. I still feel I should have done more, accomplished more, made more progress. That whole self-compassion thing.

Every time I have increased my pace or my distance it has not been a conscience decision. It was on a whim and then once I realized I did it. I wanted to do it again. This is not to say that I don’t over do it. I do. Some days my walks are great and I can function. Some days my walks are great and my body says, “um No.” to anything else that day. It took longer than a normal person to reap any of the benefits of exercise. However now it is coming fast and furious. I sleep better. I am loosing the weight. My heart conditions are better controlled. The more I walked the more I wanted healthy choices to eat.  Had someone suggested I could use food to ease some of my symptoms a few years ago I would have said. “Nope tried that.”  Same response if someone had told me to exercise more. For the longest time I could not think of it as exercise. Of course this means I did things a bit harder. I didn’t want to think of it as exercise so I went on nature trails. It is really hard to increase your distance and your pace on nature trails-with a body that does not cooperate. Since I started walking a flat surface designated for walking and cycling, I have made significant progress. It only took me four months to come to that conclusion though.

Having a friend or someone to encourage you to keep at it, really helps as well. Please feel free to email me and let me know you are taking the important step of starting. I would be glad to email you encouragement!