Thursday, February 20, 2014
Yesterday, I noticed my husband walking past the window on snowshoes while I was washing dishes. I asked him today what he was doing on them, and he said he put them on to walk the fish guts out to the weeds at the edge of our property.
I had been thinking about snowshoes for some time because cross country skiing takes quite a bit of skill. It's a lot harder than it looks. I've spent more time trying to get up than actually skiing, and I don't have the time to perfect my skills. Snowshoeing is something I should be able to handle. My husband said NOT! That, too, is harder than it looks. He said I would be able to follow someone, but breaking a trail would be quite another story.
I asked him why I hadn't seen him on snowshoes before. He said it's because he just tromped through the snow with his boots to deliver his fish guts for composting. But he can't do it any more. I asked him how deep the snow is out there. He indicated the snow to be halfway between his knees and his hips. Which translates to almost my waist. Which is when I told him that I've always thought about snowshoeing. He said we'll get me a pair if I want to. Glad for the support! They're not terribly expensive. He said his would require a fair amount of adjusting if I want to wear them.
So I may be adding snowshoeing to my activities. He asked why I want to snowshoe. I said XC skiing is harder, and I like walking, but want to get in the woods and forests. Good enough reasoning for him!
I've also been unable to take my food scraps out to be composted. This is the first year I have been unable to do it. The snow is so deep! They've been going into the trash can since some time in December at least. It bothers both of us organic gardeners to see so much potential fertilizer going into the trash. So kill a number of birds with one stone - that's holistic living. I'll be snowshoeing for utility and snowshoeing for beauty and fun.
Time for a Spark Tracker too. That will be put to good use! Again for utility and fun, as I integrate exercise with daily life.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
In my last blog, I spoke about making time for myself, making appointments with myself - for a change. That didn't turn out too well, but I haven't given up, of course.
My daughter's dog was near death a few days after I wrote that blog. I got a call from her letting me know that her vet friend was coming over to put him to sleep. I went over there to be with her. This was on December 31. Not good timing, but important things can't wait. Her dog was ill with hemangiosarcoma, a very aggressive cancer. His diagnosis came two years ago in February. She took him to her vet friend, who used Chinese medicine and other naturopathic modalities used on humans. It worked wonders. He went into complete remission until early December. She took him to the ER on a Saturday afternoon where they did a CT scan. The prognosis was "days to a week." He did very well, and made it to the end of the year.
This is my daughter and her dog the night she got the initial diagnosis two years ago.
It was very touching. The vet's husband came along with her. She gave Briggs a sedative and we visited quietly for about 20 minutes. His head was on my daughter's lap. Then she gave him some medication through a vein. I sat there in silence. Finally, I said, "Where are we in the process?" My daughter said, "He's gone." Then she started weeping. So did I. I went over to pet him and feeling his warm body was too much for me. The vet's husband went out to the car and brought in a nice plaid blanket. He laid it down on the floor and he and my son-in-law transferred Briggs to it. Then the blanket was wrapped nicely around him in a neat package and they carried him out to the car. It was a solemn occasion and dignified, quiet. The vet and her husband took him to the crematory so my daughter wouldn't have to do a thing. They were coworkers for years and had many experiences together. They have a strong friendship, as you can see.
I got the flu after that. I couldn't get over it because I didn't have time to rest like I should. I finally made myself rest and get plenty of fluids. I didn't feel guilty for sitting around in my nightgown for entire days. My mom and dad were in need of attention by the time I got over that. I spent about 10 days getting completely well because when I started feeling better, I got back to normal activity sooner than I should. Then I relapsed.
When I got over it, then another thing popped up. My niece called me with a request that I take her to a doctor appointment. I agreed since I understood her situation. It was necessary that I do this and it was the right thing to do. I had to drive 130 miles to her house, then 45 miles to the doctor the next day. I had to do the same thing the following week. I will go there again soon. I know I am doing a lot of good for her and her family and that makes me feel good. But it is physically exhausting. She has a difficult set of circumstances and I'm making an impact. They don't know exactly what is wrong with her and I hope it won't be too long before they figure it out.
SO much for making an appointment for myself so I can exercise! But I wouldn't be able to live with myself without answering the call from my family.
My dad gave identifiable information over the phone this week and I've been doing damage control for him ever since. What a project that is. I'm not done yet but I've made major strides in protecting him. I spent 10-15 hours in the past few days on this. My mom had a doctor appointment on Monday, a 100-mile round trip, but the weather was so cold it was out of the question. Today was the make-up appointment, but we got a snowstorm. I was kind of saved by the weather because I was just too shot to go. I was kind of glad about the forecast this week.
I found out today that my dad took my mom to the doctor yesterday for shortness of breath. He is not supposed to drive but they didn't call me. The result of that visit is she is on oxygen during the day, not just at night. I could hear the machine when we talked on the phone this evening.
I'm patiently waiting for my life to begin again. I know it will. I'm not giving up!!!! If there's anything Spark People taught me, it's not to give up! I don't care how long this takes me. I'm going to succeed and I'm very thankful to Spark People because I know that I would weigh more by now than my starting point 18 months ago, were it not for the support that all my friends on SP have given me. Everything seemed to go haywire right about the time I joined in August 2012. Instead of gaining, I lost 15 pounds over the past 18 months. Thanks, everyone! You all made a difference in my life! Oh, did I tell you I'm not giving up?
On the subject of my FODMAP diet, I am at the point of introducing foods that were problematic to me in the past. Going on the elimination diet was truly an elimination diet all right - it totally eliminated my symptoms. So far, I've tried avocados. They seemed to be okay. Wheat is continuing to be a problem and I'll be off that long term. I don't miss it at all.
While I've missed out on some exercise that I hoped to be able to do, I am making progress on the diet part of my weight loss journey. I'm getting to know myself better and it's been nice to get rid of the water weight I've been carrying around as a result of the sugars in foods that I can't digest. It's kind of good that I'm doing this in the winter. I can really pay attention to my symptoms and get my plan mapped out.
Take care, and I hope my next blogs will be about how active I am. I know come spring I certainly will be! My ideas a month ago may not have turned out well, but I found a way to make progress on this journey. That's where I am at this point.
Below is a picture of our little dog. He's so cute. A bright spot in our life.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
I've decided that I make time to take my parents to the doctor, go to the salon, get the oil changed on the car, among other things. Maybe what I need to do is make an appointment with myself if I want to get in more exercise time.
Now that I am feeling better, I am looking forward to doing this. As I shoveled out the mailbox while listening to the birds, I didn't want to go back inside. I wished I was out for a 30-minute walk. I think it's time to make an appointment with me!
Monday, December 23, 2013
Well, this month has been quite an experience. I don't remember ever having been sick for so many consecutive days. Thanks to someone's comment on a thread or message board, I got the answer to my problem.
As many of you know, I decided to try a vegetarian diet about six months ago. Gradually, I learned about veggie and vegan cuisine, proper nutrition, and acquired the new ingredients needed to make all kinds of delicious new dishes. I really enjoyed it.
Throughout the autumn, I had been feeling more and more uncomfortable, and I couldn't seem to lose weight even though I was eating all kinds of the right things and keeping calories in check for the most part. My symptoms were entirely GI in nature. I was starting to think I needed to see a doctor, as I had a history of health problems that I thought were resolved. Maybe they were coming back.
It reached a crescendo when I made a stew featured in one of my blogs. That night, I vomited worse than I ever had. I had already had developed problems with diarrhea this month, not even being able to leave the house to go anywhere at times. My exercise plans were ditched. I was up all night suffering with either one of them or both. I was, needless to say, getting tired. Eventually, I ended up with a cold that lasted almost three weeks. I am almost over it now.
I couldn't take care of my parents very well and worried about them. They weathered my absences quite well, however. Every time I heard their voices on the phone, I hoped that things were really as fine as they said they were. I did manage to drive down there at times. Once I found several bags of garbage waiting for me inside the door. They can't go outside in the winter, with all the ice and snow. If they fall, they'll surely end up in the hospital at least for observation. Worst case scenario is a stint in the nursing home for a broken something.
Well, reading threads and message boards as I do (which is thoroughly), I read a comment. It was something about "fodmap" which I looked up a few days later. Reading what it was about, I knew I'd found my answer. I was so excited about it, I forgot to go back and thank her. She is someone I rarely come across, so I don't know if I'll ever be able to express my gratitude.
To put it simply, I would describe FODMAP as like having lactose intolerance in all 4 food groups. Having become a vegetarian really ramped up the problem, as most of the main protein sources in a vegetarian diet are on the "no" list. FODMAP stands for the sugars in foods that some people can't digest properly, like the lactose in milk. Milk is on my "no" list. I was trying to avoid dairy products and learning to get used to other milks. But not all of the other milks are okay either.
Little did I know it, but the concept of FODMAP has been around for a while. It was conceived and developed in Australia. I always had some symptoms of it, but thought it was because my gallbladder was out. Now I know better because I'm doing thousands of times better now! I'm looking forward to next year having a new leaf turned in my quest to lose weight. Another thing I learned about myself on this quest to lose weight.
FODMAP causes not only lots of gas but lots of water retention in the gut. I literally lost 4 pounds in a few days after leaving out the foods that caused it. What was I eating? Well, being on a vegetarian diet, I was eating a lot of beans, lentils, peas of all kinds in the form of burgers, soups, sandwich spreads, and hummus. Onions are the biggest offender, with garlic second. Those were in my hummus and guacamole, which by the way, avocado is on the "no" list too! I tried to stretch out the calories in my guacamole by adding tons of onions and tomatoes to it. (Tomatoes are okay). Note my blog entry of 11/25. Lots of onions in that salad.
I read Super Immunity by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, who espouses onions and mushrooms, among other things, to strengthen the immune system. I love both of them, and ate more of them than ever. Mushroom and barley soup - both ingredients are on the "no" list.
Of course, being autumn, the apple harvest was in. I enjoyed making lots of applesauce out of the organic apples I grew on our trees. I posted photos of them in a blog this summer. Apples are on the "no" list, and I ate enormous quantities of them in that applesauce. Which had no sugar because they were so naturally sweet. Ironically, sugar is one thing I can have. But not honey. Maple syrup is okay. Molasses is okay, sorghum is okay.
Thinking I was developing gluten intolerance, I wanted to see if gluten free would do anything for me. With the price of the bread in the store for the tiny loaves, I paused at the GF shelves when I visited the Mennonite store in my area. They have various gluten-free flours and baking mixes packed in bulk sizes at bulk prices. Their GF bread flour was sitting next to a recipe for a fool-proof bread. I started making that and eating it. It was terrific, it WAS fool-proof. The main ingredients in that flour were fava bean flour and garbanzo bean flour. So now even my bread was killing me!
It turns out that wheat IS a no-no, but not because of gluten. It's because of the sugars in it. The alternative I chose was just as bad, if not worse.
I was also eating nuts frequently. They fit in categories from maybe a little (at best) to totally no-no.
As I stated earlier, it reached a peak when I ate the stew I saw on a TV show that had items on the "no" for almost all the ingredients. That was a terrible night and I wondered what was befalling me.
Last but not least, I thought that maybe some kefir would help me. Maybe I just needed some probiotics to straighten things out. So I bought some fruit flavored kefir. Turns out kefir is probably okay if it's plain, depending on individual sensitivity to the amount of lactose in it. But not with fruit in it. This solution was part of my problem too. Yogurt is out, except for that made of nut milk or rice milk (no soybean yogurt).
I spent my December this way. The good thing is I had plenty of time to interact with Spark People. I surely had nowhere else to go! Thanks to SP I got the answer to a problem I've had for a long time. It just wasn't serious enough to warrant an investigation until now.
All I can say is:
Thanks to SP, I got my answer right here in my home! And feeling much better too.
If you know of anyone with GI complaints, maybe yourself, here are some sites I visited:
Yes, it is possible to eat vegetarian on a low FODMAP diet. I am still investigating this. For now, I am eating some meat and fish. But I can eat quinoa, tofu, rice, potatoes, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, corn, and hard cheese for protein sources. Just need to get a plan that will sustain me for the long haul.
GUESS WHAT? I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT YEAR!!!
Monday, December 09, 2013
Purchase extra firm tofu for cooking in a wok or fry pan.
First of all, with tofu you don't need to concern yourself with marinading and glazing to make it taste good. The Chinese don't do it. I know - I ate in an upscale Chinese restaurant and ordered tofu. It was great and it didn't have flavors that were in the rest of the food. It tasted plain, which was just fine in that dish. Its plainness harmonized with the vegetables, spices and sauce.
The most important thing to remember with tofu is to get rid of the excess liquid it sits in while packaged. I am talking about the tofu you find in tubs in the produce section of the grocery store.
Drain off the liquid and put the tofu on a plate with several layers of paper towel underneath it and on top of it. If you don't like to use paper, use cloth towels instead. Press it well with your hands. Remove the towels and add new ones on the bottom and top again. I then put a plate on top of the tofu, then place a big, heavy book on top of the plate. Let it sit for a while. After that, your tofu should be ready for cooking.
Enjoy it in a stir fry, or any other entrée or recipe of your choosing. It will hold up well.
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