Tag Archives: get fit

Star Wars is Coming Back!

The return of an MS smoothie master

ID-10034952

When I first started bloggin,g one of Montel William’s peeps sent me a free Healthmaster Elite in the hopes that I would blog about using it.  I did and the result was this blog post from July of 2012.  I’m reposting now because I have vowed to get back to making healthy smoothies a regular part of my routine.   

And because I’m not above using the current Star Wars craze to promote my own writing. ID-10079450

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 wasn’t bad.   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.

ID-100112083

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 the 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.r2dr2

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’s called the tamper as it’s really a smoothie maker’s lightsaber, used to duel the ingredients of healthy stuff into an actual smoothie.Picture 10

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.

r2d21

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, this time cleaning Strawberry Banana Peanut Smoothie off the walls.

Perhaps next time I should play pretend Star Wars BEFORE actually using the lightsaber to make the smoothie.

Admit it- you want to do this-you’re making the lightsaber sound right now.

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.

Picture 17

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

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

ID-10036313

Friends- are you so excited about the upcoming release of the latest Star Wars movie that you want even more Star Wars humor?  If so, I suggest checking out My Odd Sock’s (another funny MS blog-can never have too many of those) latest post.  My Odd Sock and I will have you Star Wars ready in no time!

My Odd Sock

ID-100180741 

Both star images courtesy of bulldogza at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Banana smoothie image courtesy of justingun at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Bananas image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Laughing dude image courtesy of MisterGC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Other images courtesy of my own private webcam

Seal of Approval

Multiple Sclerosis inspiration of the aquatic kind

 

In last week’s blog, I talked about whales.  Today’s blog is about seals.  Well, a seal, one seal in particular.  Who knows, maybe next week I will blog about sharks.

Or dolphins.

Or maybe crabs.

Let’s hope that if I ever feel the need to blog about crabs is will be of the marine kind, not the cooties kind.

 

But before I blog about a seal, (a gray harbor seal to be exact like the guy above and not a singer like the guy below,) I must first digress just a bit.

 

I wouldn’t be much of an MS blogger if I didn’t enjoy MS blogs.  In the links section of my website I list some of the ones I regularly follow.  I highly recommend you check them out as long as you promise not to like any of them more than you like mine!

LOL!

(Not really LOL but I didn’t want to come off as too possessive so I hope the LOL tames that envious side.)

 

On a couple of occasions I have had the chance to meet Rick Conti, a fellow blogger who blogs about MS, his faith and Haiti.  Rick really loves to write about Haiti.

His blog is called Limping into the Light.

It was his blog of last week however, that lead me to flop on my bed and hide my head under the pillows in deep shame.  His blog and the fact that I was really, really tired.

He blogged about the importance of exercise.  Read his post here-Step across the Line.

While I rested his blog stayed in my head, maybe because he was right.

Technically, I know about the importance of exercise.

 

I know that supposedly it will help me have more energy, (maybe if I exercised more often I could confirm that.)  When I started my own blog I talked a lot about my own ‘get fit’ plan that involved veggies, more water and exercise.

I have made more progress on the first two tasks than the last.

The thing is, there are exercises I enjoy, specifically beach walks and using my Wii Fit.

But in addition to the ‘being tired’ excuse there is the old and tired excuse of no time.

Which is exacerbated by MS robbing MS’er’s of precious time in the day.

See what I did there-using the word exacerbated?

Rick’s post continued to haunt me and began to destroy my excuses.

It was my favorite time of year.

It was a beautiful day.

I live only minutes away from one of the ten best beaches in the country.

(I’m not making that up- I’ve read it in travel magazines and on Dr. Beach’s website.)

It was time to get my butt and legs moving again and get back on the exercise bandwagon.

I headed to the beach, parked and used the stairway to walk down the sandy cliff.  That was a ton of exercise right there and I wasn’t even on the beach yet!

As I got down to the shore a seal popped up in front of me, very close-maybe only in water waist deep.

The surf was rocky and there are sharks in them waters so I wasn’t going in to splash around with the little guy. But I started walking to the left along the shore and the seal swam alongside me.

 

He was doing most of his swimming beneath the surface but at least 5 different times he popped his head up, looked directly at me and then dived again.  Was it my imagination or was he following me?

It was definitely the same seal as he had distinct markings on his back. Maybe he was checking me out because he thought I was following him?  But since I’m drastically out of shape I was not keeping a steady pace and was stopping to rest a time or two (or three or four.)

Yet each time he popped up, he was right beside me.

Since I was enjoying this I walked pretty far.  (I always forget about the walk back.)   When I realized my seal friend wasn’t about to give me a ride to my car I knew I had to turn back.  But I didn’t want to lose him either.

As I was trying to decide what to do, my friend popped up again, looked right at me again and turned around himself. We started heading back together.

 

After a couple of feet, he reversed direction and I didn’t follow.  I just figured our visit was over and kept on my way.

As I walked I realized we had gotten pretty far from any other beach goers.  It was then that I saw a guy heading in the opposite direction, walking towards the isolated part of the beach. Was my seal friend trying to warn me to not be alone in that area with this strange guy or have I just watched too many crime shows?

Luckily, I may never know.

I got to the end of my walk, the area where there were lots of people and the stairs back to the parking lot.  Right before I turned to walk off the beach. my seal popped up again!!!! He looked at me, seemed to nod his approval and then started swimming off into deeper water, as if saying he would be on his way now.

 

It was an awesome experience.  So much so that I came home, sat my butt down and wrote about it on Facebook.  Many people commented, calling my friend things like a guardian seal, a gift from the universe, an angel, a muse, a visit from beyond and lots of other cool things.

Perhaps my seal was none of those things.  Perhaps he was all of them.  Perhaps he was just a cool fluke-not the flounder fluke, I think my seal friend would eat that fluke, but fluke as in a chance occurrence.

I guess I can’t really be sure what the seal’s true intent was in keeping me company in my attempt to exercise and ‘get fit.’

But I know I enjoyed him.

And, if I’m being honest, no matter what, I need to look at his visit as something even bigger than me.  Something, or someone, besides Rick, saying “Get some damn exercise girl!”

And, unfortunately for my tired, busy self, there probably aren’t many excuses to get around that…

 

 

Twice Bitten

Multiple sclerosis nutrition woes again….

ID-100114889

Yes, I’m trying to get healthy for summer.  And yes, this blog is a repeat, originally published spring of 2013.   But I figured it was ok as my menu issues continue…..

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.

ID-10039364

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.

ID-10055082

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

ID-10099308

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.

ID-100151122

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.

ID-10037603

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.

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?

ID-100248066

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.

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.

ID-100217628

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!

ID-10054742

 

Looking for some fun, lighthearted reading for the summer?

Do you enjoy a book about the antics of someone crazier than you?

If so, might I suggest one of my favorites-

MS Madness!  A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis

cover-half

 

Image courtesy of Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of cooldesign/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of marin /FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of lamnee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of bearvader/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of phasinphoto/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of vectorrolle/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Gonna be a DOOZY…

An MS’er tackles a NOR’easter that could turn into a blizzard

I was going to start 2014 off healthy, I swear, I really was! But in the days leading up to the new year, the weather folks started talking about Hercules-a massive NOR’easter about to attack my area. And EVERYONE, even super healthy people, know that the only way you can weather a storm is with the three C’s- chocolate, chips and candy.

What is a healthy, fit, svelte MS’er, stuck in a not so fit, not so svelte, not so healthy body to do? You have to be storm ready.

The only appropriate thing seems to be to plan on re-starting my ‘get fit’ plan after the storm. Actually, Farmer’s Almanac says it is going to be a stormy winter. Best to start the plan in April. Or maybe May.

 

Seriously friends, holidays, storm planning, brain fog, fatigue and possible power outages have made it necessary for me to release today’s blog one day early. And while I don’t exactly know what Hercules will bring, it seems likely that it will look like the blizzard of 2013, which I have already written about.

So for this week, please allow me to re-post what was originally titled Could Be Minutes, Could Be Days.

For the record, a second blizzard is upon us and I STILL haven’t bought vinyl toilet seat covers!

 

Could Be Minutes, Could Be Days

An MS’er tackles a blizzard

In my world, cold is better than hot (as long as cold includes a nice cup of scalding hot tea,) and snow is better than humidity. Seems I remember in the past, losing hot water and having to take an ice cold shower before heading off to work. It wasn’t fun, but it wasn’t hell.

More recently and AMSEML (after MS entered my life,) I lost hot water again and attempted the cold shower. It was summer and so while I was not looking forward to it, I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. It was.

The icy water was not refreshing. It felt more like sharp edged icicles stabbing me all over. It hurt so much that I wasn’t able to breathe. I kept telling myself to breathe, what was wrong with me that I wasn’t breathing? It was too much and I burst from my shower covered in soap.

 

Flash forward to storm prep for the blizzard of 2013- the storm that was to arrive only two weeks after a previously predicted snow storm never showed up. I love winter and had eagerly awaited this one, the winter the Farmers’ Almanac promised would be cold and snowy.

The reality is that what I love about the season is being toasty warm and drinking tea while watching the lovely snow fall from my window. I didn’t doubt the blizzard predictions and even enjoyed monitoring them on the nightly news. But no one, no matter how prepared you are, seriously appreciates what a lack of power means on a 20 degree day, at least for more than a few hours.

 

I bought the batteries and bottled water. I watched the weather reports. As the wind kicked up late in the afternoon before the blizzard, I plugged in my electric blanket to warm my bed up before the expected power outages. Just before nine it happened; the power was gone and so was the immediate future of further electrically generated heat. Since I had pre-warmed my bed, and was exhausted as always, I drifted off to sleep.

Morning and frigid air came quickly. When I awoke, I buried deep under my covers and rested there for another hour. I tried to flood my brain with positive self talk.

You knew power outages were likely.

It’s not like you are going to die from the cold, you’re still inside.

So it will suck for a bit, so what, that’s life.

There’s no way to know how long this will last. It could be minutes, it could be days.

Get up and get moving, you’ll have to at some point.

 

When I accepted that cold or no cold, I couldn’t justify lying in bed all day, I crawled from my cocoon and began to layer up. Me, the girl who has never, ever worn hats since rapidly removing the ones my mom insisted I wear on my walk to grade school, (removing the hat as soon as our house was out of sight-hopefully enough time has passed that I won’t be grounded for admitting this,) put on a hat.

It was a miracle I even found a hat in my house. (I think it must have come in the pretty scarf/glove/hat Christmas gift set several holidays before, the scarf and gloves I do use).

I layered on anything I could possibly think of; undershirt, turtleneck, sweater, sweatshirt, sweatpants, three pairs of socks. Where oh where did my leg warmers from the eighties go?

 

I layered up so much that I looked and walked like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters.

Then I realized I had to pee.

My vow to all those reading these words is to never, ever again silently make fun of people who have those soft, vinyl padded toilet seat covers. I may even buy one, if only to use during cold weather power outages.

 

Once I recovered from that shock, I wobbled my padded self and my blankets to where I could be productive in spite of the circumstances, the sofa. Wrapped in my Boston Bruins thermal blankie (still one of the best Christmas gifts eva!), I tried to decide how to spend the arctic day. I was determined not to use the blizzard as an excuse to fall off my “get fit” plan.

I could exercise. But no, I needed to save the treasured batteries on the Wii Fit board and there was no tv anyway. How about outside to shovel? No point, the snow was still coming down and there would be no way to warm up when I was done. I could just move around my house but hauling all those blankets and layers seemed dangerous.

I insisted I would at least eat healthy and hydrate properly. I had even prepared for that- buying produce and rinsing it before the storm so that I could make myself a salad and eat fruit so as not to falter on my plan.

But that wasn’t happening. Everything was so frosty there was no way I was sinking my teeth into an ice cold apple or orange or even attempting to put together a salad. And the water was ice cold too. I did manage a banana for breakfast but that was the end of eating healthy.

 

After that I went to the snacks; easy to open, not cold to bite into. One may wonder why I had snacks in the house in the first place. Remember, there was a blizzard coming and my ‘get fit’ plan is taking the baby steps route.

Still trying to be somewhat productive, I thought I would use my laptop battery to get some writing done. But no, between MS and the freezing air, my fingers were not inclined to cooperate.

 

What I missed most was that scalding cup of tea I so treasure. So much so, that when due to a dangerously low amount of wax I needed to blow out one candle, I fell into a dangerously euphoric state. Picking up the glass covered candle, I realized how hot it was.

As I tightly grasped the bottle with both hands, I almost felt it was a mug of tea I was holding. I popped out of my reverie before I gulped the wax itself and made the best of the situation by cuddling the bottle against my face, neck, hands and arms until its warmth was gone.

 

Soon the MS aches ramped up and the cold went from being unpleasant to excruciating. At some point it turned dark again and I shuffled back to my cocoon of bedding, hat and all.

I was luckier than most. By the next morning, the power was back, 36 hours after it went out; much, much better than what some folks were dealing with.

Here is what the storm taught me. The best of intentions can often go awry if something bigger than you has other plans. Like say, God, or storm fronts, or multiple sclerosis.

 

Sometimes you just have to give in and wait out what is holding you back, even if it could be minutes or could be days.

Controlled cold is better than uncontrolled heat. Controlled heat is better than uncontrolled cold. And, in spite of this frigid, miserable Saturday, I stand by uncontrolled cold being better than uncontrolled heat. This way, I can still whine in August.

And lastly, what I learned most, I need to start looking for vinyl toilet seat covers…..

 

 

Auld Lang Syne Means “Old and Sigh….”

An MS’er tackles a new year and offers a contest update

ID-100223486

Happy days after the holidays friends, or, as I like to call them, the “ok to have Christmas cookies for breakfast time as you have so many to eat in order not to offend the people who gave them to you and you will start a health kick in the New Year anyway” week…

If you are at all like me, your holiday of choice was filled with food, family and friends and all of them are making you sluggish and nostalgic in the aftermath. Today my brain is foggier than usual and foggier then the fog outside as I ponder all things emotional, old and new.

 

For example, I have a friend having a birthday this week and she is turning 45. How on Earth is that possible?

Don’t get me wrong, I have friends of all ages and a true friend is not determined by how old they are. But this friend is in my same age bracket and if she is turning 45, what does that say about me?

I shiver at the thought!

The good news is that even stuffed with roast beast, potatoes, baked goods and chocolate, I got on the scale and discovered that I weigh 6 lbs less than I did at this time last year-woohoo!

 

Since my goal last year was to lose 20lbs by my next neurologist appointment (that was this past July and who’s to say that I didn’t lose it?) and I have had another appointment since then and that was three months ago and my goal had nothing to do with follow up appointments, I am considering this a success!

And since last year I went on a family trip where I lost six lbs chasing a 21 month old and his baby brother, and this year their ages are now 2.9 months and 17 months, my plan was to lose 12 lbs chasing both of them. Hey, you do math your way and I will do it mine.

The plan did not work however as I only lost 1 lb on the trip this year proving of course, that I still suck at math.

ID-100157331

Sitting down with a plate of holiday treats I decided to take stock of the year by looking over some former blogs. Turns out, when I go below the bare bones of the musings throughout the year, I discovered that it was a bit of a tough one.

There was a blizzard, ridiculous heat and humidity, bug infestations, being forced to move during the heat and humidity and bug infestations, two unexpected deaths of two dear friends, and a couple of falls.

Note- I only document one fall in my blogs this past year, a fall where Fido, my pet portable ac tripped me. The second fall happened on my recent trip where I got my first black eye, a real shiner. But man, you should have seen the sidewalk!

Looking over the blogs though, I also found some great stuff.

 

I got to see the Rolling Stones perform live which was huge because that could be the last time they perform live together again.

Yes, I did say that the previous six or seven times I have seen them live but you just never know.

I was able to keep my sense of humor through most of the bad, hopefully helping all of you giggle as I kept from going crazy by sharing some of the bad with you.

And my year was filed with wonderful and fun help from dear family and friends, for which I am super grateful.

So the good of the year outweighed the bad. And maybe the bad of 2013 will help ease some of the potential bad of 2014, making 2014 a total kick butt year!

ID-10025354

For example, while the move came at the worst time possible and I miss my little house, when the bugs and pollen and heat hit this spring, I will be in a new rental better able to handle it and complete with a real ac.

Don’t worry Fido fans, I will keep him around too if for no other reason than that he has stayed super loyal, despite the pushing incident.

And while my ‘get fit’ plan continues to be a work in progress (I did refer to it as baby steps though this baby is about to enter high school I have been working on this so long,) I have dropped 12 lbs and more importantly, adopted some healthier habits. All the better to move forward with in 2014.

So what if the end 2013 means we are all one year older, including my birthday friend. Let’s all give a collective sigh at this knowledge.

ID-100223481

BUT, let’s use that knowledge to work even harder to have a much improved 2014. I know I plan on it!

Happy Birthday dear, thrilled that you are older than me, friend!

ID-100101689

And Happy New Year to everyone!

PS One of the things that took a lot of work in 2013 was getting my book ready for publication. Now I can use 2014 to reap the rewards of its release and count all the huge book sales- hopefully!

Please mark on your calendars that MS Madness: A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis will be out in February!

In anticipation of its release, I can now announce the December contest winner! It is Cindy from Indiana. Her response to the question of what two quotes do I open MS Madness with were the first and most accurate. The quotes are-

ID-100146182

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 NIV

And,

“A smile relieves a heart that grieves…” Jagger/Richards from Waiting on a Friend

 

Cindy got the exact Proverbs verse and while she did choose the Rolling Stones, she didn’t get the exact quote from them.

Congratulations Cindy! You win a $25 gift card to Amazon and an autographed copy of MS Madness!

Others won a free e-book of MS Madness for their guesses and I will be in touch with them as well.

Thank you all for your support.

There will be one more contest in January which I am not going to tell you about now, mostly because my brain is too fogged to come up with contest details.

But please stay tuned!!!

ID-100216143

 

Image courtesy of vectorolie/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Image courtesy of lamnee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of luigi diamanti/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of vectorolie/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman/FreeDigitaalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of luigi diamanti/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

The Star Wars Way is Back

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

ID-10063002

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!

ID-10094471

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.

ID-100162214

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!’

 

 

Image courtesy of [digitalart] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [debspoons] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [praisaeng] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

Updates, Tidbits, and Smidgets

A multiple sclerosis recap

ID-10095012

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!

ID-10069183

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!!!

ID-10024166

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..

d walking

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [Danilo Rizzuti] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Not Working It Out

A multiple sclerosis “get fit” plan update

ID-10097447

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.

ID-10055407

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?

ID-10060142

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!

ID-10088618

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????

 

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [Grant Cochrane] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [David Castillo Dominici] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [Victor Habbick] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Could Be Minutes, Could Be Days

An MS’er tackles a blizzard

In my world, cold is better than hot (as long as cold includes a nice cup of scalding hot tea,) and snow is better than humidity. Seems I remember in the past, losing hot water and having to take an ice cold shower before heading off to work. It wasn’t fun, but it wasn’t hell.

More recently and AMSEML (after MS entered my life,) I lost hot water again and attempted the cold shower. It was summer and so while I was not looking forward to it, I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. It was.

The icy water was not refreshing. It felt more like sharp edged icicles stabbing me all over. It hurt so much that I wasn’t able to breathe. I kept telling myself to breathe, what was wrong with me that I wasn’t breathing? It was too much and I burst from my shower covered in soap.

 

Flash forward to storm prep for the blizzard of 2013– the storm that was to arrive only two weeks after a previously predicted snow storm never showed up. I love winter and had eagerly awaited this one, the winter the Farmers’ Almanac promised would be cold and snowy.

The reality is that what I love about the season is being toasty warm and drinking tea while watching the lovely snow fall from my window. I didn’t doubt the blizzard predictions and even enjoyed monitoring them on the nightly news. But no one, no matter how prepared you are, seriously appreciates what a lack of power means on a 20 degree day, at least for more than a few hours.

I bought the batteries and bottled water. I watched the weather reports. As the wind kicked up late in the afternoon before the blizzard, I plugged in my electric blanket to warm my bed up before the expected power outages. Just before nine it happened; the power was gone and so was the immediate future of further electrically generated heat. Since I had pre-warmed my bed, and was exhausted as always, I drifted off to sleep.

Morning and frigid air came quickly. When I awoke, I buried deep under my covers and rested there for another hour. I tried to flood my brain with positive self talk.

You knew power outages were likely.

It’s not like you are going to die from the cold, you’re still inside.

So it will suck for a bit, so what, that’s life.

There’s no way to know how long this will last. It could be minutes, it could be days.

Get up and get moving, you’ll have to at some point.

When I accepted that cold or no cold, I couldn’t justify laying in bed all day, I crawled from my cocoon and began to layer up. Me, the girl who has never, ever worn hats since rapidly removing the ones my mom insisted I wear on my walk to grade school, (removing the hat as soon as our house was out of sight-hopefully enough time has passed that I won’t be grounded for admitting this,) put on a hat.

It was a miracle I even found a hat in my house. (I think it must have come in the pretty scarf/glove/hat Christmas gift set several holidays before, the scarf and gloves I do use).

I layered on anything I could possibly think of; undershirt, turtleneck, sweater, sweatshirt, sweatpants, three pairs of socks. Where oh where did my leg warmers from the eighties go? I layered up so much that I looked and walked like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters.

 

Then I realized I had to pee. My vow to all those reading these words is to never, ever again silently make fun of people who have those soft, vinyl padded toilet seat covers. I may even buy one, if only to use during cold weather power outages.

Once I recovered from that shock, I wobbled my padded self and my blankets to where I could be productive in spite of the circumstances, the sofa. Wrapped in my Boston Bruins thermal blankie (still one of the best Christmas gifts eva!), I tried to decide how to spend the arctic day. I was determined not to use the blizzard as an excuse to fall off my “get fit” plan.

I could exercise. But no, I needed to save the treasured batteries on the Wii Fit board and there was no tv anyway. How about outside to shovel? No point, the snow was still coming down and there would be no way to warm up when I was done. I could just move around my house but hauling all those blankets and layers seemed dangerous.

I insisted I would at least eat healthy and hydrate properly. I had even prepared for that- buying produce and rinsing it before the storm so that I could make myself a salad and eat fruit so as not to falter on my plan.

But that wasn’t happening. Everything was so frosty there was no way I was sinking my teeth into an ice cold apple or orange or even attempting to put together a salad. And the water was ice cold too. I did manage a banana for breakfast but that was the end of eating healthy.

After that I went to the snacks; easy to open, not cold to bite into. One may wonder why I had snacks in the house in the first place. Remember, there was a blizzard coming and my “get fit” plan is taking the baby steps route.

Still trying to be somewhat productive, I thought I would use my laptop battery to get some writing done. But no, between MS and the freezing air, my fingers were not inclined to cooperate.

ID-10039904

What I missed most was that scalding cup of tea I so treasure. So much so, that when due to a dangerously low amount of wax I needed to blow out one candle, I fell into a dangerously euphoric state. Picking up the glass covered candle, I realized how hot it was.

As I tightly grasped the bottle with both hands, I almost felt it was a mug of tea I was holding. I popped out of my reverie before I gulped the wax itself and made the best of the situation by cuddling the bottle against my face, neck, hands and arms until its warmth was gone.

Soon the MS aches ramped up and the cold went from being unpleasant to excruciating. At some point it turned dark again and I shuffled back to my cocoon of bedding, hat and all.

I was luckier than most. By the next morning, the power was back, 36 hours after it went out; much, much better than what some folks were dealing with.

 

Here is what the storm taught me. The best of intentions can often go awry if something bigger than you has other plans. Like say, God, or storm fronts, or multiple sclerosis.

Sometimes you just have to give in and wait out what is holding you back, even if it could be minutes or could be days.

Controlled cold is better than uncontrolled heat. Controlled heat is better than uncontrolled cold. And, in spite of this frigid, miserable Saturday, I stand by uncontrolled cold being better than uncontrolled heat. This way, I can still whine in August.

And lastly, what I learned most, I need to start looking for vinyl toilet seat covers…..

 

Image courtesy of [digitalart] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net