Category Archives: MS and Healthy Diet

A Batter World

A new and improved food group for MS’ers

 

Warning-today’s blog is not for the gullible, children, or the faint of heart.

My sister Laurie insisted that I list this cautionary note here as she believes this blog could be imparting dangerous information. She also insisted that I note that I am not a doctor or a nutritionist. While we are at it, I should also mention that I am not a scientist nor, for that matter, much of a cook.

Hey, batter batter, SWING, batter batter….

And by batter batter I don’t mean baseball, which is just not my thing.

 

Bring on hockey with all the excitement and fast moving action! And, in hockey, if any of the players decide to spit, it will likely be blood and teeth instead of tobacco- less disgusting…

This summer was a long, tough one to be sure. But while I was suffering through it, I made a new discovery. I found an awesome new step on the food pyramid. The saying for the batter I am talking about goes Hey, batter batter, STIR, batter batter….

 

You guessed it; cookie dough is the new super food and as such, rightfully deserves its own spot on the recommended daily allowance list.

Before you scoff, hear me out.

It is made from wholesome things-eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla, butter, salt, chocolate chips…All natural ingredients- no chemicals. Some people add raisins to the batter to make it healthier although I don’t recommend that. Being a Cape Cod girl, I won’t object to cranberries. And I guess oats are ok…

Cookie dough is versatile. In the summer, you can add it to ice cream which has even more natural ingredients and makes it even more cooling and refreshing than your cooling vest.

 

In the warmer months you can bake it which warms you up and makes your home smell lovely, yet an additional mood enhancer.

You can eat it raw or once cooked, you can eat it hot or cold.

You can consume it whether you are a baker or not.

You can buy it already made for you or make your own.

Here is where Laurie’s objection comes in. It says on the packaged cookie dough tubes that you should not eat it raw. I believe this is a major corporate lie. Perhaps the cookie manufacturers are in cahoots with the stove manufacturers and the gas and electric companies.

The reason they claim you should not do this, is because it is dangerous to eat uncooked eggs and if the batter isn’t cooked, then the eggs aren’t either. But I used to have a gym teacher who claimed he started his day by cracking six eggs in a big glass and then drinking it down in one gulp. And he is alive and well.

At least, I think so….

 

Also, I have a super smart cousin who just got a Doctorate degree in something so smart I can’t even remember what it is. She eats raw cookie dough. One time she got super sick after eating a lot of it but after consulting with me and doing her own research, we discovered that it was actually the stress of writing her dissertation that made her sick. The raw batter was completely innocent…

If raw fish is a delicacy, then raw batter is a necessity.

My major, problematic MS symptoms lately have been temperature sensitivities, fatigue and killer mood swings. This long, tough summer showed me the benefits of this latest super food in coping with these symptoms.

You are supposed to eat healthy to feel good. Well, I’m sorry but right or wrong, cookie dough makes you feel good instantaneously. There is no long drawn out waiting process as the nutrients get absorbed into your blood stream and start doing the things that they are supposed to do.

Take that acacia berry, pomegranate and kale!

 

Plus, cookies go great with milk giving you even more nutrients! They go so well with milk that Ben & Jerry’s even made a new flavor giving you the milk and cookie benefits all in one easy ice cold pint.

When after eating too much dough you start to feel a little sluggish all you have to do is ingest more- simple.

There are multiple examples of this- I know, I have been looking.

On the sitcom The Middle, when Frankie Hect has to break some bad news to her daughter Sue, she brings some cookie dough with her to start the talk off on a good note.

 

Throughout the beginning of time, moms would let their kids lick batter off the beaters to give the children a little lift. If the mom’s were super cautious, they would turn the beaters off first.

Cookie Monster is absolutely a gentle giant when he gets cookies into him. Hello, where do you think cookies come from?

 

If all of this evidence isn’t enough for you then take my ultimate argument- the Pillsbury Doughboy the child who lives, functions, and exists, entirely on dough.

You never see him eating his vegetables or making sure his grains are whole.

His weight stays steady.

 

And he always bounces back from violence. He has been assaulted on a daily basis and he never bruises, falls down or complains. Usually, he just giggles.

How can you possibly negate this positive role of dough in a daily diet when you witness the durability of the Pillsbury Doughboy?

You may think me ridiculous but allow me to remind you; the people in the know used to think that red wine was for drunks and pot was for druggies. Now doctors recommend them for medical reasons! So why not cookie dough?

I am not necessarily wise enough or brave enough to say batter is all you need in your diet. Maybe those other food recommendations (although I would point out that eggs have protein,) are important too. I am just saying that the feel good benefits of cookie dough have their place.

Like, right by me when I am bummed out- in ice cream if the weather is hot and humid, or fresh from the oven if it is cold outside….

 

 

 

The Star Wars Way is Back

Another installment in the multiple sclerosis ‘get fit’ plan updates

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Ahhh, spring is here.  A time when your internal core body temperature thermometer competes with your indoor thermometer and your outdoor thermometer all at once.  A time when you don’t know whether you want to put on a second pair of wool socks or jump into the nearest swimming pool.  A time when you can’t decide if you want your h20 and your caffeine hot or iced.

Whatever the weather and MS are throwing at your hot/cold sensitivities, you can count on one thing; ice cream weather is on its way!

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But if you have a ‘get fit’ plan like me, you may want to avoid ice cream.  You can try to do this with smoothies, but it won’t work.  Still, they are a healthy alternative and better for you than hot fudge.

I have learned a lot about healthy eating in the last year, (no Mounds bars still do not count as fruit,) but I can always use a refresher course.   So as I dust off my Healthmaster Elite, I thought I would re-visit an old blog about some of the things I learned when I was just starting out….

 

So the Banana Peanut Smoothie was actually pretty good. It wasn’t as incredibly super delicious as say, a Cookie Dough Nor’easter (the Cape Cod version of a DQ Blizzard), but it was ok. Strangely, the recipe said it made four servings when it actually made ten. Why is that?

I think people who put together recipes and serving sizes have no idea that they are doing. It’s like when you open a container of something really good and the label says the container contains eight servings when it barely contains three, maybe four. Somebody is doing something wrong.

So while I did like the Banana Peanut Smoothie, it was a little too banana-ie/peanut-ie for me and I moved on to the next recipe I was bravely going to check out. But first, I noticed something really cool.

 

Before I tell you what that was, allow me to say that I truly appreciate Montel William’s Healthmaster Elite way more than the Ancient Warrior blender thingy I had tried before. The Healthmaster comes in cool colors, is easier to use and much easier to clean. There is no removing of the blades in the Healthmaster so it is likely I will keep all of my fingers while using it.

As I gathered the ingredients for my next smoothie, the Strawberry Banana Peanut Smoothie (I chose this one as I still had some of the ingredients hanging around and those bananas were just crying out to be used again), I really looked at my Healthmaster.

I noticed how much it resembled a robot. Then I grabbed this cool tool that comes with the Healthmaster Elite (and was badly needed and DID NOT come with the Ancient Warrior) called the Tamper. I don’t know why it is called the Tamper as it is really a smoothie maker’s lightsaber, used to duel the indredients of a smoothie into an actual smoothie.

 

Since I was really impressed with this tool, I couldn’t help noticing that the Healthmaster Elite kind of looked like one of R2-D2’s cousins. I don’t know why everything in that day’s smoothie making experiment was making me think of Star Wars. Perhaps it was because the last time I didn’t have to worry about my weight was when I saw the original Star Wars in 1977. Oh Obi-Wan, I could use your wisdom on my ‘get fit’ plan. Yes, I am fortunate to have Montel’s recipes but Obi-Wan could send in the Force.

The lightsaber fascination lead to actual exercise as I dashed around my living room fighting off imaginary Stormtroopers. Then it lead to even more exercise as I moved around the room again cleaning Strawberry Banana Peanut Smoothie off the walls. Perhaps next time I will play pretend Star Wars BEFORE actually using the lightsaber to make the smoothie.

Admit it- you want to do this. You are making the lightsaber sound right now.

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The point is, as silly as it might have been, I had fun and enjoyed my Star Wars smoothie maker more than ever. As for the Strawberry Banana Peanut Smoothie, it was really good. I know because the recipe said it made eight servings and I only came up with five and a half, the half being on my walls.

So my ‘get fit’ friends, take it from me. If it works for you as you are trying to get healthy, do it. If childhood memories cause you to fly around your house like an idiot, at least you are moving.

If you, like me, have a plan I can only say to you, “may the force be with you!’

 

 

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Updates, Tidbits, and Smidgets

A multiple sclerosis recap

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Don’t ask me what a smidget is because my foggy brain is too tired to explain it to you. Or, if you want the truth, I have no idea. It just sounded good so I added it to the title.

Speaking of titles, thank you for the title suggestions, comments, words of encouragement and promises to buy my book. For preorders and/or to lock your promise in, just send a blank check to me at the address listed in the contact page. Kidding. I don’t have an address listed in my contact page.

Seriously, I appreciate the support of all of you and that support is what led to me actually publishing my book. But coming up with the title is still stressing me out. It is hard!

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Apparently all of you think so to because I received more encouragement in my What’s in a Name contest than title ideas. But I am grateful for all of it! Unfortunately, none of the titles I did receive work quite right, and thus there is no official winner. I am still planning on donating a portion of the proceeds to agencies that help people with MS so I guess you could say we are all winners here.

In the meantime, I am working away on edits and will keep you posted as soon as I get a title that I can post about. But since I wanted to update you on the status of the contest, it occurred to me that some other updates on the blog are in order as well. Let’s check in on how some things have turned out.

In MS Sucks I wrote about how multiple sclerosis was doing its damnedest to keep me away from seeing my favorite band, the Rolling Stones. Well MS, you still suck BUT you lost! My Rolling Stones fairy godmother is stronger than you and she helped me get a ticket and a ride to the show!

 

I will likely be in pain and a fatigued zombie for a while afterwards but it will be worth it to the see the icons of classic rock. (Mick would agree with that description of his band. Keith and Charlie are pretty humble so they would disagree and name other musicians they feel are more worthy. Ronnie would just take another shot of whiskey and toss off a lick or two.)

Many fellow MS’ers and readers agreed with my nomination of Forget-me-nots as the official flower of multiple sclerosis. But when I reminded them about it so that they could sign the petition, they forgot. So much for that idea….

 

And speaking of flowers, the day after I posted The Evil Curse of the Yellow Green Demon Dust, it rained and temperatures dropped to the point where many people were forced to put on their heat. This week the demon dust was back and they are predicting a heat wave by the weekend! Oh well, at least the cold weather gave me the break I needed to pull out my air conditioner.

My last ‘get fit’ plan update was in early April with the Not Working It Out post, followed by a brief commentary on the plan in early May with Once Bitten. It is time for some new information.

My ‘get fit’ plan is totally coming together! I have lost 6 lbs since the first of the year. Add to that the 5 lbs I had lost previously when I was chasing my great nephews around the hot, yucky state they live in, and that makes (hold on, let me grab my calculator,) 11 lbs!

I admit that that is not even close to where I hoped to be when I see my neuro in July. And with the arrival soon of my hometown’s annual Portuguese Festival filled with linguica, Portuguese bread, wine and sitting on a bench watching Portuguese dancers, I may not make my goal..

 

But I have accomplished some things. For example, I have completely given up diet coke and have pretty much given up bread. (Unless I am at a restaurant then I will eat bread, but none at home. Unless I am having a sandwich, but almost none at home.)

Recently I was planning for company and needed to make some snacks. I saw a recipe for incredibly delicious looking cookies that I made but messed up the recipe and they turned into a crumbly mess. So I didn’t eat the cookies. I just used the crumbles to top ice cream.

I still needed a snack for my group and had the ingredients left over and so I made them again. This time they came out the way they were supposed to but I have to say, they were too sweet for me!!!

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How is that even possible? Before my ‘get fit’ plan I was the queen of sweet! Honestly, I really didn’t like them. The dough was much tastier.

I insisted that my group divide the leftover cookies between themselves and take them home. But, I refused to share the leftover grapes and put the grape bowl in my fridge next to the delicious strawberries I had bought the day before. One of my friends commented on all the produce I also had in there. She found swiss chard and the berries, and mint and lime that I also bought for a cleanse I was doing.

Speaking of a cleanse, I have become addicted to water. I drink so much water I could be a fish. Wouldn’t that be fun? I so wish, I wish I were a fish….

 

And speaking of fish, I have started taking walks on the beach. No, I haven’t gone in the water as I still look too scary to put on a bathing suit- don’t want to scare the great whites away! But I have come out of my cave and walk so I can exercise and soak up natural vitamin D. I like to make my walking social, so I bring my Wii Fit with me for company….

Oh, and I quit smoking!!!! Ok, I actually quit smoking several years ago but I think it still counts. And now, when I bum a cigarette off of a friend here and there, I actually feel gross afterwards…

So you see, even the babiest of baby steps eventually do get you someplace…It is taking me longer than I should to make healthy changes but I am thrilled that the changes are being made. I know that a whole lifestyle change is in order but it is unlikely that I will suddenly adapt to that. So for now, I just keep stepping along, thrilled that I have moved past crawling..

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Once Bitten

Nutrition vibes wreak havoc on an MS brain

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I swear that I really am taking this whole healthier diet thing seriously.  Yet, I just seem to falter at every turn.  And the most frustrating thing, (although with multiple sclerosis it is hard to list frustrations in order,) is that when I think I am on to something good, it gets proved to be wrong.

Earlier in April I was munching away on an apple; supposedly a very healthy snack. I was telling myself how delicious it was and how many vitamins I was consuming when out of nowhere, I bit out a bite of the inside of my cheek.

It hurt, a lot, and the apple got a little bloody and so I gave up. I didn’t realize that my teeth were that sharp and that a healthy diet could be dangerous.

And if I am being totally honest, I was totally lying.  It wasn’t delicious at all, before or after the blood.

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Luckily, my social media friends informed me that it was free cone day at our local Ben and Jerry’s.  Once the blood stopped, I headed there and the cold cone helped numb the area.  The servers were super friendly and said that customers could come back as many times as they wanted as long as they waited in line and weren’t too obnoxious about it.

The cold helped but I didn’t want to use my earlier healthy eating incident as an excuse to fall off my ‘get fit’ plan.  So I only went back three times.

Kidding. I suffered through my pain and only had one free cone. I paid for the other two.

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I take comfort in the fact that at least I start my day on a fiber filled, all things healthy note.  I have a favorite cereal that is pretty nutritious.  I hesitate to name it here in case someone is able to burst my bubble and tell me that Fruit Loops aren’t that good for you.

Kidding again; the cereal is not Fruit Loops.

After hearing a neurologist speak on the benefits of flax seeds (see my prior blog post Not Working It Out,) I bought some and started adding them to my cereal.  They provide extra crunch and make my breakfast extra filling.  And I was losing weight so I felt this was finally a good breakfast choice.

THEN, I was informed that the body does not really digest whole seeds and it is better to get your flax in the powder form!   There went my extra crunch and now my cereal is just powdery and gross.  It is enough to make an MS’er pull out her Fruit Loops coupons- at least there would be fruit.

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Finally, in the scope of consuming more veggies, I made a wonderful, good for you recipe.  It is a casserole made with kale, whole wheat pasta, onions, diced tomatoes and ground turkey.

The diehards might argue that any type of pasta is not really ideal and casseroles are not the best choice, but I have to find something edible and since there was a lot of good in this recipe, I felt it was a great compromise.  I had made it once before and loved it.

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Unfortunately my MS brain got a little cocky in the kitchen and also got a little lazy about measuring things.  This time it came out way spicier than intended but still not bad.  Hey, crushed pepper is also good for you, right?

I ate my dinner and had a ton left over so I gave some to my sister and her boyfriend for their dinner.  Then I watched the news.

Turns out a recent report found that A LOT of ground turkey contains antibiotic resistant bacteria, fecal bacteria and E-Coli!  I won’t tell you what fecal bacteria is, but if you want to be grossed out, look it up.

The news didn’t say which companies they tested or where they bought the ground turkey leaving you to wonder and panic all on your own.  To make matters worse, this report wasn’t even a recall but a warning.

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What does that mean?

It means that it was up to my indecisive MS brain to decide how disgusting this news was and what to do with the rest of the casserole.   It also said that if you heated the turkey to 165 degrees, you probably killed all the bacteria and E-Coli.  How the heck did I know how much I heated the turkey?

It was hot, I know that. I could tell when I dropped some on my foot after transferring it from the pan and my foot stung a bit.  Does turkey need to be 165 degrees before it stings?  Or does it sting at 150 degrees? 160?

The folks who make ground turkey came out with their own report where they stated that the results of the first report were misleading; but I have heard that they are all just a bunch of turkeys.

What is a committed MS’er to do?  What would you do?  And what if a pizza joint and a burger place where within a ten minute drive from you????

Yes, healthy eating with MS truly bites.  And as in the case with the apple, I say that literally!

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Friends-don’t forget to enter the fun contest described in the blog post, What’s in a Name?  You only have until 5/24/13 to get your entries in!

 

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Not Working It Out

A multiple sclerosis “get fit” plan update

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God does work in mysterious ways. Don’t worry friends. I am not turning my regular MS humor blog into a religious blog. I say this because in spite of my accidentally fasting on exercise and nutrition during Lent, a miracle truly did happen. My scale informed me that I lost 3.5 lbs!

How could that happen without my even trying? Especially during the 40 day time period where my ‘no longer able to multi-task’ brain focused only on taking care of my spiritual health, not my physical health.

True, I did do the “no meat on Fridays” thing but that is not really a big deal, meat is not my problem. Salty snacks, sweets, processed food and carbs are my problem.

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My friend and I handled “no meat Fridays” by consuming white pizza. White pizza is a pie without tomato sauce and loaded with extra cheese, extra olive oil, and a little bit of spinach. Was the spinach responsible for the weight loss?

I did get some exercise during the month shoveling the seven inches of snow that showed up on the second day of spring. Even though the sun was out when I started shoveling, it was still pretty cold. Within an hour, the sun heated up and by three, all the snow had melted. What a shame. I could have exchanged 20 minutes of hard labor shoveling light fluffy snow for a nap and some sofa time.

And I did walk several miles around my grocery store when the managers decided to change the layout and not provide signs to help you negotiate the changes. Did all this exercise help me lose the 3.5 lbs?

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About all I did that was physically healthy these last several weeks was find flaxseeds somewhere in the mess that was the confusion of my brain and the new grocery store layout. In February, I heard a really cool neurologist speak on a better MS diet. She was so cool that I wished she could be my doctor but, unfortunately, she lives too far away. It is ok, my current neurologist is cool too AND, he is cute so I guess I am still in good hands. Not literally, of course but what can you do?

Anyway, this cool doctor recommended consuming flaxseeds and I went on a search for them. I brought a bag home, opened it and tasted some while watching hundreds of tiny flaxseeds drop to the floor. They weren’t horrible, and they must help to make you smart because my exhausted brain came up with the idea to pour what was left of the bag into a Tupperware container to make it easier to grab more seeds without creating a flaxseed lawn.

I had tuned out when the doctor said why the seeds were good for you, but good for you is good for you and so I became addicted to flaxseeds. I ate them with everything. I put flaxseeds on my cereal, in my yogurt, on my salad, in my soup, on my macaroni and cheese, in my rice pudding, on top of my ice cream, everywhere…. Are flaxseeds responsible for losing 3.5 lbs?

Now I hear that like mixing up veggies, you should mix up your seeds. Chia seeds are also good for people with MS. Seriously? The only thing I know about Chia seeds are that they are what you use to grow those funny looking pets in the shape of animals, Bart Simpson and the US President. I have nightmares of waking up one morning after consuming Chia seeds and having ugly green plants sprouting from my ears.

 

Just what I need, another weird symptom stemming from MS or trying to help myself get healthy despite MS.

I know that technically, 3.5 lbs is not a big deal. But since I wasn’t even trying, I am pretty excited! Imagine how much I could lose if I went back to trying, like I was before Lent started.

And I know that the ultimate goal should be less about weight loss, and more about being healthy. BL (before Lent) I had gotten into the habit of having salad and a piece of fruit for lunch. Ironically, once I got used to that, it became an easy habit to incorporate into my day.

And, I remember being proud of myself for passing a group of girl scouts selling cookies and not stopping. Oh, the guilt was there; I know the young scouts need my support and my not buying their delicious cookies hurt them greatly. But after several days, I forgot all about the cookies- amazing!

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That same day, I went into my local Dunkin Donuts to buy a cup of tea to drink on a short road trip. Dunkins featured an incredible looking, completely unhealthy donut. After much debate with my inner self and worry about the future of Dunkins stock if I didn’t purchase this donut, I walked out without it.

Again, I felt super proud. But the desire for the donut didn’t go away. A couple of weeks later I went back and purchased the delicacy. And it really wasn’t as good as expected. Frankly, it wasn’t that good at all.

I have gotten better about drinking more water. But on Easter, when I went on a long road trip to visit family, I figured I needed caffeine to keep me alert for the drive. Since it was hot, I chose my beloved diet coke with lots of ice. Thing was, that wasn’t as good as I expected either.

Is it true? Can baby steps and a “get fit” plan really change long ingrained, bad habits?

Am I super slowly taking steps to take better care of myself that may be actually turning into some weight loss and a healthier diet?

Is the old myth that once you start losing weight you get motivated to continue really true?

I don’t know, but onward and upward. Today is a new a day and I want to feel good. No more fasting on exercise. Back to the Wii.

Does anyone have any leftover jelly beans I can give it to keep it from yelling at me????

 

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The Curious Case of Multiple Sclerosis Part 2

What is good for you is also a pain in the butt

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I ate an orange a couple of weeks ago.  I thought I didn’t like oranges.  But before that day, I was at a friend’s house and her 3 year old offered me a slice of her orange.  It really wasn’t that bad.  My mom mentioned that navel oranges don’t have seeds, and so I bought some oranges.  I also peeled and cut up two sweet potatoes for a crock pot recipe.

Why am I telling you this?  Why should you care?  Is it so you’ll be proud of me for eating healthier things?  Or is it because oranges and sweet potatoes are both orange and orange is the color of MS awareness?

No.  The reason you should care is because while both may be good for me, they were also incredibly difficult for my weak, uncoordinated MS hands to work with.  I can’t remember the last time I peeled an orange and when I tried to peel this one, I had peels everywhere, my fingers reeked and the juicy taste of the orange itself was marred by all the rind that stayed on the fruit when it should have wound up in the trash with the peels.

And the sweet potato?  Let’s just give a clumsy girl with MS a sharp knife to help her take better care of her body.  Or what is left of her body after she collects the chopped limbs.  At least I wasn’t sobbing like I do every time I to chop an onion, something I have never done well.

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So here is another contradiction of MS.   So many things that will help your MS, are also difficult.

I have already whined many times here about how my bladder control medication makes me thirsty which makes me drink more water which then makes my bladder overact which negates the effects of the medication.

And I know I have complained about how exercising my achy body makes my body ache more.

Here is what I have learned trying to improve my diet-it ain’t easy.

And not just because it is not as taste bud pleasing as many processed things.

The first part of the problem Is that fruits and veggies get icky quickly.  It is recommended that you shop every other day to keep your produce fresh.  Even non-chronically fatigued people aren’t able to find the energy and the hours in their lives to do that.

Since they were cheaper, I bought a small bag of oranges.  And don’t even get me started on the financial aspect of a healthy diet!

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By the time I got down to the last one, the peeling process had gotten easier.  But the taste was slightly bitter, as if the orange had been around too long.  Or maybe I just had a bad orange.  Or a bad apple- sometimes I get confused.

Next, due to pesticides, you need to wash all your produce.  It used to be that just rinsing under the tap was fine.  But no, now tap water is not always safe and just a simple rinsing is not strong enough to kill all the potential toxins.   It is recommended that you buy a special produce brush, clean and replace it regularly and buy or make your own veggie wash solution.  But don’t let it hang around too long or it loses its effectiveness.

Really?  Is all this necessary?   When I was a kid and my mom wanted to shut me up and get something healthy into me, she would grab some grapes in the produce aisle of the grocery store and let me eat them unpaid for and, horrors, unwashed.  And nothing ever happened to me….

Well, there is that MS diagnosis, but nothing else…Hey, researchers, have you tried looking into stolen store produce as a factor in MS?

Recently I learned that it is not enough to find something super healthy you can endure and just consume that.   It is also important to mix it up a bit, get a variety of nutrients into your plan.

Never mind that the nutrients keep changing.  Dairy is good for calcium and vitamin D but dairy from dairy sources is bad.   Wheat is bad but right now whole grains are good.  Which is super confusing because I thought wheat was a good whole grain and that white bread was made from a bad only partial grain.

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In order to mix your produce up, you must find recipes, procure fresh veggies, prepare them, and tolerate them. And tolerating them is the crucial word; not just in the taste test but in the being around other people test with all the fiber you need and are getting.  To put it delicately, let’s just say when you pick up all your regular MS RXS, make sure you also pick up an additional pill bottle with the word Beano on it.

Oh sigh, why do we put up with this?  Why in our super convenient era does staying on a “get fit” plan have to be such a pain in the butt?

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Because, as I am finding out, a healthy plan does make a difference.  And with each super tiny step by super tiny step, it does get easier.  At least I hope so.

But a little help wouldn’t be a bad thing.

So dear MS research folks, once you find a cure for MS and figure out what causes MS, can you please research how to make a low prep, no wash, no peel, no slice, no dice, mixed long lasting veggie, no dairy, no wheat, no gluten, no carbs, extra fiber,  no gas main meal that tastes like chocolate.

Milk chocolate, not dark.

 

The Curious Case of Multiple Sclerosis is a series (if you can call two blog posts a series) that I write examining one particular aspect of an MS irony in detail.   The first one describes how MS can make you feel like an old lady and a little kid at the same time.  To read it, check out  The Curious Case of Multiple Sclerosis Part 1; MS and the Aging Process.

 

 

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The Childcare/Pringles/Vacation Diet

A multiple sclerosis ‘get fit’ plan

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It helps that I am starting this New Year ‘get fit’ plan down five lbs after a month long family vacation. I am not completely sure how this happened as, since it was vacation, I was not exactly trying that hard. But I do have some ideas.

Idea number one is that healthy vibes might have graciously taken some pounds off when I made the decision not to join my family at a famous, nationwide, supreme buffet restaurant that shall remain nameless. They offer such healthy horrors as cotton candy and chocolate that pours miraculously from a fountain.

I am not much of a buffet fan. I think buffets are just a ridiculous excuse to gorge, if only for the justification of making sure you get your money’s worth. I know most buffets offer nutritious options, but who is actually filling their plate with broccoli when you have meats, sweets and carbs galore?

Plus, if I am spending money to go out to eat, I would like a nice person to bring me my food in appropriate portions and then maybe bring me a little box so that I can take some food home for lunch the next day. I can get up a million times to keep re-serving myself at home. No, I am not a fan of a buffet.

Since the rental car didn’t fit the entire family and the car seats needed for our youngest and cutest members, I offered to stay home with the little ones. The baby received a bottle for lunch and I must say, I make a mean bottle. I could tell by the cooing and the big burp he let out when he was done.

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The oldest and I ate very healthy lunch of chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. Don’t judge. I put a bit of ketchup on the little one’s plate to meet the veggie requirement.

When the adults in the family returned, they all looked puffier, stuffier and ready to pass out from overindulgence. Hence, I definitely avoided extra poundage there.

Idea number two of the possible reason for the unexplained weight loss was the amount of activity required when hanging with the little ones. The baby wasn’t crawling yet, but he had perfected the across the rug roll. If you made sure there was nothing dangerous in his rolling path, you didn’t really have to chase him too much. Every once in a while you might have to roll over to him in order to see what he was up to and to play with him, but it wasn’t too exhausting.

 

roll to doggie

roll to doggie

His older brother however, all 22 months of expendable energy of him, kept me moving. Where does all that energy come from? And why do kids instinctively gravitate to the one thing they are not supposed to touch and have been told over and over to leave alone? And how come they understand the word “No” very clearly when they say it to you, but conveniently forget what it means when you say it to them?

I thought I would be smart and buy him a toddler’s basketball set. I figured I could pull over a lawn chair and toss the ball to him and he would throw it into the net, over and over. Not quite. Our basketball game revolved around him throwing the ball everywhere but at the net, and then heading in the opposite direction to try to touch what he wasn’t supposed to, while I was chasing the ball.

Eventually, he did get great at the game. He would catch a pass from me, head to the basket, drop the ball in and then clap. He did this three times. And then he was off. All day…

He also helped me on a project and this help may be the third reason why I actually lost five lbs on vacation. If you remember from my Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere blog, I was determined to try all the varieties of Pringles holiday flavors coming out in November, and then inform readers which was the best. Turns out the child loves Pringles and was a big help, taste testing and consuming many of the chips in order to help me get this issue straight.

My MS brain did not connect the obvious fact that if I wanted to keep him out of the Pringles, I could put them on a shelf out of his reach. Who knew that when he couldn’t open the tops of the Pringles canister the regular way, he would discover the skill of removing the lid with his teeth?

But he did help. We were able to find and test the Pumpkin and Spice, Cinnamon and Sugar, and White Chocolate Peppermint flavors. I was thrilled to complete this important taste task before the end of the New Year and thus, would have the answer on the best Pringles flavor before I focused on my ‘get fit’ plan.

The child liked to work on the taste test whether or not I was with him and able to take precious notes on the various taste differentials. Luckily in this case shown below, we had just washed the floor.

 

taste test

taste test

Anyway, after great debate, we decided that Cinnamon and Sugar was the best of the holiday flavors, followed by the Pumpkin and Spice. The White Chocolate Peppermint was just icky. Ultimately, the basic Pringles flavors rock the potato chip world the best. For me, it is regular but the child prefers Sour Cream and Onion.

Thank you little ones for the exhaustingly fun way to lose a couple of lbs. Unfortunately, these two live across the country. I am on my own for this plan now. Anybody have a child to lend that will run me ragged five lbs at a time?

 

brief rest

brief rest

 

Image courtesy of [Clare Bloomfield] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [renjith krishnan] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Resolve This!

An MS’er attacks the New Year

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Happy New Year everyone! Hope you have had an excellent start to this first day of 2013.

Yes, oh particular ones, I do realize that today is the 11th and thus eleven days after the first official day of the year. But my question is, says who? The Mayans?

I have chosen to start the New Year and my New Year’s resolutions today for several reasons.

1. I had way too much chocolate and goodies still leftover from Christmas to even attempt any healthy eating plan. Unlike my thinner friend who decided to start her resolutions on 12/29 to get ahead of the game (New Year kiss-ass,) I choose to be a rebel and just start later. I also resolved to waste less, so I would be immediately failing if I threw out the good stuff. My friend had help in that department. Her four, pretty much grown kids, who were home for the holiday helped her devour her treats. I was forced to tackle mine almost completely alone.

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2. The end of the first official week of the New Year was filled with two afternoons of MRI’s, for which I needed to refrain from taking my wonder drug, Aleve, for several days. (More on what I Iearned from the MRI tube in a future blog.) Without my over the counter pain meds, the aches were miserable and I resolved to do nothing but lie around my house and whine about them.

3. As you can see from the above, this year I resolved to take my health and ‘get fit’ plan seriously. So I seriously chose a good day to start- the 11th, the Yvonne deSousa official first day of the New Year! A brief Auld Lang Syne to all!

If you happened to be following my ‘get fit’ plan over the summer, you understand that it takes baby steps to achieve healthy new fitness goals. Little by little, I have been sneaking better habits in and have figured some things out along the way that may help all of you in your ‘get fit’ journey as well.

 

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1. One regular size Mounds candy bar is not the equivalent of two servings of fruit.

2. Kale is the best veggie in the world but eating eight bowls of Portuguese kale soup is not the healthiest way to meet your veggie requirements.

3. While super delicious, Reeses Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkins are not actually made from pumpkins and thus, don’t count as a fruit serving.

4. Cinnamon is an excellent spice and very good for you. But shaking just a little on ice cream, puddings and baked goods is the least effective way of adding it to your diet.

5. Just because something is in the yogurt section of the dairy case and starts with Yo, doesn’t mean it is the same as the yogurt the experts all tell you to eat. Apparently the stuff that comes with mini M&M’s and Oreo cookies are not the best in yogurt options.

6. Since dark chocolate is good for you, one would assume that milk chocolate is even better as it has milk in it. Apparently, that is not the case.

7. Turns out calories consumed by eating raw cookie dough really do count.

8. Vegan and vegetarian are considered by some to be politically incorrect words these politically correct days. The new appropriate phrasing is “plant based diet.” This I discovered when another friend and I attended a class on “plant based diet” cooking. (See, I really am trying.)

The class was held in a small, quiet room in a doctor’s office, and was just beginning when my friend called to tell me that she was late as she couldn’t find the place. I did what any good friend would do and gave her the best directions that would help her find it.

“It is directly across from McDonalds on Main, you know the Mickey D’s we went to last month to pick up the Frappes.” Despite the offended looks I received from the instructor, I did take home some good recipes.

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Over the fall, you, readers have been concerned about me as well and have sent me some helpful information. One reader and dear friend recommended a book called the Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book that I purchased and have leafed through several times. I swear one of these days I will actually read the words written in it, I really will.

Another reader mentioned the website www.skinnytaste.com and honestly, it looks really good. And I heard from the founder of the website www.msdietforwomen.com and that looks really good too. Guys, you are on your own on that one.

I also discovered the website www.crazysexydiet.com that is geared towards people using healthy foods to fight cancer, but has the same good for you basics we all need. I was at first pleased when I read their list of 9 Foods You Should Never Eat and discovered that I only ate 2 of them- two didn’t seem that bad. Then I realized that Portuguese bread and Italian bread are considered white bread so damn, there were three things on the list I need to cut out.

Not to forget the other part of any person’s ‘get fit’ plan, is the fact that you must drink lots of water. It is not that I have an aversion to water, I just forget to drink it. I usually remember right about the time in the evening when I remember to take my “so I don’t pee all night” pill, which of course, is too late to start drinking water.

And then there is exercise. Another reader sent me info about a website www.crankyfitness.com    The concept of this site is that if exercising makes you cranky, the website can relate.

What all of these things seem to say is that the basic plan should be to eat more vegetables and fruits, no processed foods, much, much, less meat, sugar, and flour, drink water and exercise. I am on it!

I have charged the batteries in my Wii and have the ingredients for my first recipe, a Ham, Brown Rice and Peas casserole for WHICH, I am going to substitute kidney beans for the ham and exchange half the brown rice for farro to add some good grains.

I can do this! Want to join me?

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Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [sattva] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere

An MS/Montel Healthy Eating Fall Post

I have said it before and I will say it again, I love fall! And again, I really, really love fall! It is my absolute favorite season by far! When I tell grouchy people this they say, “ya, well, fall means winter is coming soon.”

To me that is ok; winter is my second favorite season!

I love fall so much that, MS fatigue aside, I don’t even bother to sweep up the dead leaves that blow into my front doorway every time I go in or out- they are just awesome fall decorations!

Here are some reasons why I love fall- cooler weather, cool breezes, barely any humidity, no bathing suits, cooler weather, and pumpkins. Pumpkins are definitely a great part of fall. I am not very artistic, so carving pumpkins has never been my thing. But I like looking at carved pumpkins.

Mostly, I love the essence of pumpkins. So much so, that I have pumpkin room deodorizer and a vanilla pumpkin scented candle.

I thought pumpkin was a vegetable but it turns out it is actually a fruit. The confusion comes from the fact that it is in the squash family but it is still just a fruit. That’s ok. It is a healthy thing I actually like.

Come fall I seek out pumpkin everything. Do you know that Dunkin Donuts make pumpkin coffee, pumpkin munchkins, and pumpkin donuts? I don’t even like coffee but throw some pumpkin in it and it is yummy!

Recently I discovered that Dunkin’s also offers pumpkin cream cheese. It is beyond describable in its deliciousness. Then I learned that you can buy pumpkin cream cheese in the grocery store and have it at home whenever you like! I considered this but reasoned that the nutritional benefits of the pumpkin paled in relation to the calories in the cream cheese and thus, didn’t buy it.

The grocery store also had pumpkin ice cream but the container was huge and that was just a confusing mix. Pumpkin is a fall food and does not belong in combination with ice cream, a summer food for when it is super hot out. Pumpkin belongs with hot things, like my beloved tea.

I learned from Facebook about Hersheys Pumpkin Spice Kisses but told they were hard to find. I went on a quest to find them that took me two and one half hours away from home and employed the assistance of a friend. We didn’t find them.

Truth be told, I was in the area anyway and didn’t make the long drive just for the kisses. Lucky for me, two weeks before Halloween, they appeared in a local pharmacy and they were scrumptious.

I have heard that Pringles will be releasing Pumpkin Spice potato chips soon and if the Pringles factory were nearby, I’d be waiting at the door! I wonder if the Cape Cod Potato Chip factory has any direct links to the Pringles factory?

Reese’s even makes chocolate peanut butter pumpkins but I must admit, I’m not sure how much real pumpkin is in them.

Please don’t think I have fallen off my ‘get fit’ plan, I am just trying to incorporate my favorite fall flavor into it. I hadn’t used my Montel Williams Healthmaster Elite in a bit and thought maybe I should see if Montel had a recipe for a Pumpkin Smoothie in the recipe book. He did not. BUT, he did have a recipe for Pumpkin Yogurt Pancakes and Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins. I was in!

First up, the pancakes. I think they might have been super delicious except for the one fact I forgot- I totally stink at making pancakes. Is that an MS thing? If not, it should be because part of the problem was flipping the floppy things. Usually I am a good flipper (see prior post- Flipnastics) but the problem is, I can’t flip on demand. Plus it was hard to know when to flip.

The bottom line was that while I sampled the few bits of cooked pieces I came up with, and they tasted pretty good, mostly I had a mess of burnt cakes on the outside, raw pumpkin yogurt batter on the inside.

Next up were the Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins. I was able to use many of the same ingredients so I only needed to go back to the store for zucchini which was confusing as all I could find was something called green squash. I asked a healthy looking person in the store for help and she informed that green squash was the same as zucchini. So why the two different names? Is it just to confuse the already confused like me?

Whatever it is called, I brought it home and made the muffins and score- they were awesome and healthy!!! They were easy to make and each muffin was filling and had a vegetable and a fruit in it! I have got the healthy eating thing down friends!

Fall is here and everything pumpkin is good for you. The world is a happy, smiley pumpkin face, place!

 

 

And the Winner is…….

Multiple Sclerosis and the 50 Shades of Green/Doing It Veggie Style Contest

 Something strange is going on around here. I just looked in my icebox and I must have been transported to a parallel universe. In my freezer there is a half consumed bag of frozen spinach, a half consumed bag of frozen mangos, a HUGE and unopened bag of frozen broccoli, and vanilla frozen yogurt.

In the fridge itself, there are light green ping pong ball looking things. What the heck are they and where did they come from? The bag they are in says they are called brussel sprouts but they can’t be mine. I have never been to Brussels.

The pantry has a bag of lightly salted crunchy green beans, cinnamon apple snack sticks and a package of brown rice. Where are my cookie dough ice cream and my Cheetos? How about my macaroni and cheese? Where are my chocolate chip cookies?

It is quite the brain fog day so the confusion of where I am and how I got here is overwhelming me. Oh wait, here is something normal- a chocolate bar from Trader Joes. Chocolate is chocolate and so that seems familiar. And, if it is from Trader Joes, it must be healthy. They only sell healthy stuff right?

After resting a bit, the brain fog settles and I remember the steps I have taken to eat better as part of my ‘get fit’ plan. These steps lead me to Trader Joes (where I was looking for a grain called Farro which they did not have. I was directed to Job Lot, the place where I buy my socks and t-shirts cheap and they had it! Go figure. This is all just too weird.) And many of the above ingredients are things I needed to make the top three entries in the 50 Shades of Green/Doing It Veggie Style Contest.

And so follows a healthier diet. I received so many wonderful recipes and I thank everyone who contributed. I am very grateful and am getting there in my ‘get fit’ plan as evidenced by the rather abnormal items in my kitchen. Even if your recipe didn’t make it into the top three, don’t worry, I will still be making it as I need all the help I can get.

FYI- the frozen yogurt and mangos are not part of a green recipe- they are from Montel Williams Tropical Smoothie that I made to bid farewell to summer.

The contest recipes I chose to make were a Spinach Feta dip from Caroline, a broccoli casserole from Shannon where she swears the extra stuff hides the taste of the broccoli and Aunt Jan’s Roasted Veggie Concoction. There is no favoritism involved here. Aunt Jan is not my Aunt Jan. It is just what the recipe is called. I don’t actually have an Aunt Jan.

The spinach dip was delicious and I took it to a small social gathering, an occasion where I normally would have brought brownies. Who would have thought you could hang with your friends while you get your veggies in. Excuse me friend, do I have any spinach stuck in my teeth?

Since I am always looking for ways to eat veggies without tasting veggies, I decided to take Shannon’s ‘can’t taste the broccoli’ challenge and try her broccoli casserole. I was prepared to tell you that she lied. But to my surprise, she didn’t! I really couldn’t taste the broccoli. I wouldn’t call it super duper delicious but it was pretty good.

Finally, I chose Aunt Jan’s Veggie Concoction because I think the word concoction is fun. And I felt I owed her. When her recipe first came in I thought she didn’t follow the contest rules as she sent me a recipe without any green veggies in it. Turns out, brussel sprouts are green and you don’t have to go to Brussels to get them. Who knew?

Plus, the recipe said to roast the veggies until the onions caramelized which made me think of a candy bar. Well, my onions didn’t caramelize at all which was a bummer. But I have to say, the recipe was really good. It had an autumn taste to it which gave it an edge with fall being my favorite time of year. Plus, in addition to the brussel sprouts, it also had sweet potatoes and onions and so I was doubling up on veggies on this one.

So, all things considered, the winner of the 50 Shades of Green/Doing It Veggie Style Contest is Aunt Jan’s Veggie Concoction!

Thank you to all!!!!!!

If you would like to try any of the above, please arrow back to the 50 Shades of Green Blog post and you will find all three recipes listed there, plus some other great recipe ideas. The other entries came in through the contact section of the website and as I make them in the future, I may share them. That way friends, you can ‘get fit’ too!

 

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net