Saturday, December 6, 2014

Obesity and Autoimmune issues

I always joke I am not fat I am fluffy but the truth of the matter is I am obese!  I am trying to eat and live more healthy now days but the truth of the matter is this excess weight is causing me all sorts of worries and issues recently.   Being a few pounds overweight isn't a big problem but when you reach the point where I am it is a matter of trading quality years of life for that extra piece of chocolate.   Recently Chuck and I started on a journey to institute a lifestyle change after receiving some disconcerting news from our doctor that our health was being impacted by too many unhealthy lifestyle practices.  I am cooking lower fat, lower carb, and more health proteins in hopes to get some of the weight off and improve our health.   Chuck has started and exercise program and I do what I can with all my disorders. 

What is obesity?  Obesity as defined by Wikipedia, "Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have a negative effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems.[1][2] In Western countries, people are considered obese when their body mass index (BMI),[3] a measurement obtained by dividing a person's weight by the square of the person's height, exceeds 30 kg/m2, with the range 25-30 kg/m2 defined as overweight."  (I left the links in so you can go read it)

I decided to investigate this BMI thing further and Googled a BMI calculator and set to work to see what my BMI was...NOT good of course!  I am 5'3" tall and weigh about 209#.  My BMI was 37.02 (Chuck's was 33.3.)  On the BMI calculator site they said my BMI is between 35-39.99 (obese Class 2) and I am at higher risk for weight related health problems and even death.  Now my first inclination was to blow them off but kept on doing a little more research.

On the site this week they had an article "Does Obesity Play a Major Role in Triggering Autoimmune Diseases?" by researchers TelAviv University citing some research done on obesity and autoimmune disorders.  In the article it tells us "obesity erodes the body's ability to protect itself, triggering a pro-inflammatory environment that promotes the development of autoimmune diseases, hastens their progression, and impairs their treatment."  So years and years of unhealthy weight is taking its toll.  Immune related conditions they talked about included rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, type-1 diabetes, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriatic arthritis, and Hashimoto thyroiditis just to name a few.

Now comes investigation into autoimmune.  What is autoimmune?  Medline Plus a service of the National Institutes of Health  that it is the body's immune system attacking an destroying healthy tissue by mistake.  The article says that there are more than 80 identified autoimmune disorders.   
The article sites the most common autoimmune disorders are:
(I left the links intact)
That's the short list and I suspect new ones will be found as time progresses. 

Symptoms are vague and include fatigue, fever, malaise, joint pain, rashes to name a few.  Autoimmune disorders are chronic and not curable but treatment of symptoms, reduction in symptoms, and helping the body to fight off what it happening to it....

Okay...I am at an ah ha! moment here.  It is hard to change a lifestyle over night that brought on all my problems.  I am believing the hype on obesity and autoimmune disorders because I currently am the proud owner of several autoimmune disorders that don't seem to react to any medications favorably so I am trying to treat my whole system in hopes of slowing it down.  I am 62 years old and I would like to be here to see my new grandson graduate from high school in the future.  I will plan on blogging each week my journey to a healthier me again.  Follow along and/or join me on learning to eat and exercise.  I also joined The Fresh20 to help with the menu and nutrition. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Winter...some thoughts

A week ago Monday it was 82 deg here in Norman.  Beautiful sun shiny day and my fibro and other health issues were on hold! It was nice to go outside and sit with a cup of coffee and relax.  We had had a fairly cold night a couple days before and were touched by a little frost so the garden plants were looking a bit worse for wear but it was still a beautiful day! 

That was it for beautiful 80 degree days for this year.  That night a system moved in that dropped temperatures down into the 20+ range at night and it doesn't get much over freezing during the day.  I kept on keeping on rushing around with my daughter and husband during the week and I started noticing I wasn't sleeping well again, hurt all over and sat with my muscles all tensed up all the time.  I finally had to call uncle on Friday and told everyone I was staying home in the warm as much as I could.  It was just too damn cold for me to be out and about and I couldn't seem to get warm no matter how many layers of clothes I put on and when I did it was almost a feverish warm.  I put the flannel sheets on the bed along with the electric blanket and comforter! I found my tennis shoes and socks and started wearing turtle necks and sweat shirts.  Anything to get warm. 

And it just keeps getting better and better!  It snowed Sunday...about 1-1 1/2" and was in the low teens temperature wise.  I am 62 years old and I can remember running around in shorts at Christmas but I can't remember ever having snow in November or it being so cold.  People laugh at global weather changes and I am sure my husband would say this isn't part of it but just one of the 100 year things but...I am miserable none the less. 

So you are asking me what does this have to do with a Fibromyalgia CFS blog.  Well dear reader it is simple.  Weather affects everything I am and do now days.  I keep trying to get Chuck to get together a research group to go for a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Foundation and research why weather affects me and people like me.  There has been some done but it is so subjective...(ya think so)!  Weather affects everyone so differently that there is no control group that they can base it on.  What I think is miserable hot or cold is different to you.  It is a problem with no solution I can see so I guess what we have to do is take care of what is the issue. 

Right now my issue is sitting here typing on the computer my hands and feet are like icicles!  Check it out!  My computer tells me it is 54 degrees outside right now, the thermostat just outside the door to my room says the heat is running and the thermometer says it is 70 degrees but I am cold!  I have on sweat pants, sweatshirt, heavy socks and a lap blanket on but I am cold!  My fingers and toes are the culprit I am sure!  My fingers and toes hurt and feel swollen but they aren't and my ears and nose are just about as bad.   If I get those four body parts warm then I feel warm all over.  What's up with this?  It is so frustrating and in turn it makes me run to the computer and start surfing the web to investigate what might be causing it!  I have told my doctor and he is clueless but is sympathetic like other health care providers you go to see (like in the ER)with a diagnosis of Fibro or ME/CFS you don't get a great response from them because they are convinced you are just there seeking pain meds or worse yet that you are crazy!

I read an article and posted it a few months ago on the Solve ME/CFS Initiative (used to be called the CFIDS Association) website about some research being done showing that the autonomic nervous system in people with CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia is compromised and we are unable to maintain body system regulation at normal levels.   The autonomic nervous system (ANS) controls just about all our body systems automatically and when that goes awry there are problems.   Another article that the Solve ME/FMS reported on was some research done on orthostatic intolerance (OI) done by big league university researchers showing that people with Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS have a problem with ANS control.  There is no miracle drug to cure the disorder nor is there a specific treatment for OI...we just treat the symptoms and OI can ANS dysfunction can affect every system in your body. 

My family have several members plagued with a disorder called Raynaud's Syndrome.'s health page has an interesting article about Raynaud's syndrome/phenomenon and how it is an overlapping disorder in people with Fibromyalgia and CFS.  "Raynaud's syndrome is a condition in which the blood vessels constrict, causing inadequate blood flow. That leads to frequent cold in your extremities and makes it hard to warm them up. The most commonly affected body parts are the fingers and toes. But your lips, nose, ear lobes, knees and nipples may also be involved."  Wonder if Raynaud's is an ANS dysfunction?  According to several sources it is highly likely that is the issue. hmmm....I think I may be getting to a solution to what ails me!  Once again medications don't do a lot for this disorder and symptom treatment seems to be the solution! 

I keep looking up and reading about different things and it worries me sometimes that I might be assimilating issues like the Borg out of Star Trek!  If it goes with Fibromyalgia and CFS then I seem to have it in one form or another.  I hate it when I doubt myself cause it seems I am the only one who really believes that what is wrong with me is a real problem.  When my memory is so faulty and I am confused as to what is REALLY going on with me!  What do you do to 'keep the faith'?  It's hard when the disorder has no lab or radiological tests to prove what you are feeling and going through is anything more then just in your head. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

and time goes on...

I am a lousy blogger right now...why?  Can't say.  I have all sorts of interesting ideas {{{at least in my mind they are}}} but to sit down and blog about them...well I have a deficiency of remembering why and what I was going to blog about!  Decided I would link this to Annie's Fridays Smiles this week.  Writing this post made me smile and feel all happy so it fits! Go check it out.  Lots of fun things to smile about!

I am going to blame it on all the summer time fun going on around here and my "feeling good" most of the previous quarter of the year!  I was too busy with all the stuff I was doing and enjoying the warm summer days.  I spent some time treading water in the swimming pool, tending the garden and eating the products of my efforts.  All without a lot of increased pain issues I might add.   Today it is a different story.  I have a flare up going on that has been bugging me for about 3-4 days now.  I hurt all over.  I can't use my thumbs because of too much pain and I wish summer was still around.  Chuck and I closed up the swimming pool for the winter on Sunday because 80 degree days and 50+/- degree nights aren't conducive to keeping it warm enough for us to swim in.
I love the swimming pool in the summer and I still feel like it was one of the best "home improvements" we did just after buying the house in 1987.  It is 8 1/2' deep and about 38'x18' wide.  The shallow end is only 3' deep and not big enough for water walking but treading water is gentle and causes very little stress to my already stressed body.
The pool closed and winterized...I'll probably open it again in April 2015
Gardening is another exercise in the summer that I miss when it turns cold.  With my fibro, chronic fatigue, orthostatic hypotension I am fearful...yes fearful of falling over all the time.  It takes me weeks to get back to feeling good when I do that! :-)  Chuck had the yard workers build us some raised beds last year and I love them. 
Six beds total four are about 5'x5' and the other two are 6.5'x6.5'  Being two railroad ties tall makes it easy for me to bend over to work in the bed and not worry about bending over too far.  I also use the wide edges as seating cause I can reach halfway across each bed from seated position so that really limits my ability to fall over!
I tried to follow the Square Foot Gardening book by Mel Barthalomew and the Square Foot Gardening Foundation method of gardening.  Sometimes it worked for us sometimes is didn't but we still had a good time playing in the dirt!
the cabbages when we first planted them. 
ready for harvest

cabbages after a few weeks.
we had a total of 9 of these gorgeous cabbages this year!!
 Chuck loves corn so each year we are devoting one bed to grow a corn crop.  This year we did pretty well getting about 50 large ears of corn in our harvest. 
corn patch at about 4 weeks!
Chuck holding an ear of corn he is harvesting!

one days harvest!

large beautiful ears!

Do you see the sunflower above Chuck's head in the picture above?  
It started out like this...
grew to this...

and ended up like this...the seed head was a good 12-14 inches across and the birds and critters really loved munching on it!

Add caption
This was taken on a hot dry day in July and the Okra looks pitiful as does the green beans.  Suffice it to say I have about 30 pint bags of okra off those pitiful plants.  Yummy for the tummy!
okra growing tall!

I bought a couple watermelon plants and planted them in with the corn.  We got a total of 5 melons off the two vines.
And surprise!  I forgot they were yellow meated. 

a volunteer cantaloupe grew in the corn and we harvested a couple great melons off that freebie vine.
We had tons of tomatoes and pepper s this year also.  Here is a heirloom tomato I tried that was purple topped.  They were prolific but not as tasty as the Juliet plum tomatoes I also tried this year. 

Lots of red and yellow peppers.  This lot ripened to orange!
 Well that was a pretty intensive gardening pictures.  I really did enjoy gardening and it was something that I could do and it didn't cause a flare up in my fibro or chronic fatigue.  I enjoyed that a lot.

Now how about something yummy to eat?  I tried a new recipe last night and ended up eating two pieces...I know I am a pig!  I found this recipe on the King Arthur Flour site.  It is a gluten free pumpkin spice bar!  Yummy!  Recipe is huge though so I suggest using the adjustment for a smaller pan. 

Gluten-Free Pumpkin... 
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake Bars

1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, or 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and
1/2 teaspoon each ginger, nutmeg, and cloves
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
1 cup golden raisins, or 1/2 cup golden raisins and 1/2 cup ginger
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a large rimmed half-sheet
pan, about 18" x 13"; or line the pan with greased parchment. Note: to
make these bars in a 9" x 13" pan, see "tips," below left.
2) Beat the oil and the sugars together until well blended.
3) Beat in the eggs, then the pumpkin purée.
4) Stir the baking soda, baking powder, salt, spice, and xanthan gum into
the wet ingredients, then stir in the flour, beating gently to combine.
5) Stir in the nuts and raisins/ginger. Let the batter rest in the bowl for 15
minutes, then stir again to combine before pouring it into the pan. 
6) Bake the bars for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester
or toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
7) Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it onto a rack to
finish cooling; or leave it right in the pan, if you've lined the pan with
8) To make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter together.
9) Beat in the maple syrup, then mix in the confectioners' sugar and salt.
Adjust the consistency of the frosting with additional maple syrup or
confectioners' sugar, if necessary; it should be nicely spreadable.
10) Frost the bars and sprinkle with the toasted walnuts. Once the
frosting has set somewhat, cut into squares or rectangles.
Yield: 4 dozen 2" squares, or 3 dozen 2" x 3" bars.

Tips from our bakers
To toast nuts, place them in a
single layer on a baking sheet and
bake in a 350°F oven for 8 to 10
minutes, just until you can start to
smell them; let cool before using.
Want to make this recipe in a 9" x
13" pan? Change the amounts of
ingredients as follows: 2/3 cup
vegetable oil, 2/3 cup brown
sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 4
large eggs, 2/3 cup pumpkin
purée, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda,
3/4 teaspoon baking powder, 3/8
teaspoon salt, 3/8 teaspoon
xanthan gum, 2 teaspoons
pumpkin pie spice, 1 1/3 cups
King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour, 1/3
cup chopped toasted walnuts, 2/3
cup golden raisins/ginger mini
chips. Bake as directed in the original recipe. 
For the frosting,
reduce ingredients as follows: 4
ounces cream cheese, 2
tablespoons softened butter, 1
tablespoon maple syrup, 1 1/4
cups confectioners' sugar, pinch
of salt, 1/2 cup diced toasted
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake Bars:

Monday, April 14, 2014

Day 8

Woke up today to the sound of the wind howling across the plains.  The sky is a little murky with all the dirt and dust being transported in from West Texas and western Oklahoma.  It was a quiet Sunday on the Doswell home front...I spent some of the day outside doing some of the endless projects of taking care of the pool, picking up and putting away etc....etc...etc...sounds like  stuck record and feels like one some days.   I hadn't been outside very long when the wind really kicked in strong from the north and a frontal passage of cold air blew into town.  I heard something go bump across the deck earlier in the day and when I went outside I found various and sundry items ie: lawn chairs, buckets etc. in the pool.  Thanks to Michael and Heather most of the leaves and debris that were in the bottom had been netted out and the pool is operational already this year. The pool is really looking clear and I plan on vacuuming it sometime this week after the cold front rolls on through!  It will probably be another complete month before it will be warm enough to get in the water!  Brrrr... 

I planted a few of the onion, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage plants I bought last week.  Chuck says he thinks it is a little late in the year for Oklahoma planting of these items but I planted them none the less and hopefully they will do something.  I also put together my herb garden planter that I saw on DIY at Home Depot.

I bought the pots and plants at Lowe's and I am planning on planting some seeds in the top 2 pots.  Okay you asked why did I steal Home Depot's ideas and go to Lowe's to get the things I needed?  Well I just found out that Home Depot is a misogynistic organization that has all sorts of philosophies that go against what I believe. I have heard that they don't believe in equal rights for women, they are racists and racially inappropriate at times, and don't support the US troops.  I also have heard that they are pro LGBT rights so I am clueless as to what to believe about Home Depot.  Anyone with any thoughts on this?

I ended my day going over to Heathers house to take care of the critters while they are out of town.  I love my grand-bird and grand-kittehs!  The grand-dogs have been boarded because they need more care then I can give them and I think that Heather and Michael are worried that a 60# dog might knock me down or harm me in someway.....While at Heathers I managed to watch Game of Thrones....NOW can you believe in Karma!!!

Sunday, April 13, 2014


It didn't take me long to get behind on my daily blogging did it...two days blogging and 10 days off!  I thought I would try and sneak in the missing 10 days but you know that's not the name of this game is it.  So I will pick up here and try to stay on top of the game from now on.  I will do a daily synopsis of the week that I didn't blog daily!

Tuesday April 8-day 3-Didn't do much cause I didn't get out of bed till after noon today and that was because my daughter called and invited me to go to lunch at Red Robin for a real there is nothing big in this except that they have gluten free hamburger buns!!!  It is the little things I know!!! It has been over 2 years since I have been able to go out and order a hamburger complete with bun and this was a real treat!  We did a little shopping at Tuesday Morning and Michaels then she brought me home so I could play with all my loot!

Wednesday April 9-day 4- went to see the counselor today.  I was impressed with how fast she got me in and I was thinking she probably didn't have many clients or wasn't much good but I was pleasantly surprised when I met Mary.  I suppose I had fairly illogical reasons for picking her...she was a woman and she was a nurse but I felt comfortable with her from the moment I met her.  I don't want some one who is going to dispense drugs to cover my ills but someone who will sit and talk with me about what is going on in my life that has caused some of my issues.   I wasn't ready for her question of why I was there...I guess I thought she would ask me a few questions and would tell me why I was there but we spent the hour getting to know one another and investigating reasons I am there.   The one thing that was clear from the beginning with Mary is that she wasn't going to give me reasons for being there but to help me explore why I feel I need to be there.  I also found out that my Lyrica, Savella, and Requip might be part of the reason I am having obsessive compulsive issues.  More on this later.  I went up to Heather and Michael's to get Michael to drill the holes in the PVC to make my towel bar for out by the pool.

Thursday April 10-day 5- I went to see Dr. Malik today and then went to lunch with my daughter Heather and our friend Jennifer.  We went to Jasen's Deli and I love going there cause I can get a a sandwich on gluten free bread and soup that is gluten free.  I enjoyed visiting with them and catching up with what is going on in Jennifers life now days especially since she is going to be a Grandma soon!  Nothing new came from the visit with Dr. Malik except she is now thinking I probably truly do have fibromyalgia and that I might need to try alternative therapy for the rest, massage, etc.  I told her about my conversation with Mary about the OCD issues and she agreed with me that my weaning off the Lyrica, Savella, and Requip might be a good idea just to see if they are doing me any good or not and to weigh the pros and cons of taking them.  I went to Riverwind Casino for a little bit of free play today. 

Friday April 11-day 6- slept in again today.  I think I forget I can't be out and about everyday like I used to and not pay for it physically.  I think that is something I probably should talk to the therapist about.  I feel out of control most days and even though I don't have the control I know I need to learn coping mechanisms to deal with them.  I am going to start rereading and doing the work book for the Eckhart Tolle program again cause I really think it helped me back years ago get control of self.  Terri texted and reminded me that it was a crop night so I loaded up a bunch of stuff and went over to the store to spend some quality time with the BFF's tonight.  I didn't 'crop' or make cards tonight but instead made a canvas to hang in my craft room. 
I don't consider this 'taxing or over doing' because it relaxes me but sometimes I forget that it can be 'work' too and I need to take that into consideration when I am having fun too!

Saturday April 12- day 7- taught a tag class at Scrap That today.  Only 2 of the three students showed up for the class but it was a good time had by all.  The class was from 1-4pm but we spent a lot of time cussing and discussing various things and I didn't make it home till after 6 pm!!  I decided to stop by Taco Casa and get nachos for our supper so we ate nachos and watched TV most of the evening!

So that is the week in a nutshell.  I will set an alarm on my computer to make sure I remember to blog each day!  Promise, cross my heart...well I won't promise anything cause I don't want to tempt fate! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Day 2 of the blogalong challenge

I came online and found that I hadn't hit publish on my post from yesterday...well I did but then I saw some mistakes and I hadn't hit spell checker before publishing so I didn't hit update to publish the post so there really aren't two posts in one day...just a corrected one and the one that is suppose to be Day Two.

I have been giving this project some thought.  I have contacted, well left a message with my friend Pam about getting some help with pain management.  I think that the past 4 years have taken their toll on my body.  I don't sleep well, I am always in pain on a daily basis, I am really frustrated with my memory issues and I am not coping with stress at all well!  I have effected changes in my diet to help ensure I have a balanced and nourishing meal plan.  I have been lusting after pancakes recently and even the gluten free pancakes aren't pushing the desires away.  I know if I eat gluten I will have abdominal pain, gas and bloating, not to mention the diarrhea, headaches, all over pain aches and body pain but I still want to go to I-Hop and have a big plate of them!  I know they aren't good for me but lusting I am.  So far I have been able to hold off the demon but I still am wanting them badly.

Secondly I contacted a therapist/counselor that deals in women's issues, addiction, chronic relapse, self esteem issues, depression etc.  All of which I think I qualify for.  I am hoping that she gets back to me soon so that I can set up an appointment and get on with this because I am not foolish enough to think that I am going to change on my own but I am not going to think that my family is going to help me change either.  I have all sorts of hateful hurtful thoughts regarding that and I think that it would be best to keep them out of this mess as best as I can.  I got a call back from the counselor and I will be going in to see her at 2:45 on Wednesday of this week.  The counselor is an ex-RN so I feel we will connect on one point anyway.   So one appointment made now waiting on Pam to get back to me on setting up an appointment.

I also have an appointment at 10:30 on Thursday with the rheumatologist  Dr. Sanobar Malik.  I really like Dr. Malik cause she doesn't treat my pain issues as being somatic and rule them out as being all in my head.  I would recommend her to anyone who has pain issues cause she is awesome.
So one appointment made now waiting on Pam to get back to me.

I am really not a sexist but I have recently turned towards women healers more then men...with the exception of Dr. Merrill my internal medical physician.  Dr. Merrill is one of the best diagnosticians I have encountered in my career and he is as tenacious as a bull dog when it comes to searching out the cause of your problems.   I think the reason I have more women on my team is that I relate to them and they are more in tune with women's issues.

I think I will get started on some gardening this afternoon.  I bought some plants, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage that need to get in the ground.  I don't know if they stand a chance this late in the year in Oklahoma but I am going to give it a try and see what they do.  I love to garden...always have...and the new gardening beds make it a lot easier for me to enjoy the process without causing me more physical issues.

Looking at taco salad for supper...Yum homemade taco salad is hands down good eats!

Day two done. 

30 day blogalong with Effy Wild...Blog post a day!

 I have decided to take up a challenge from a artist and crafter that I follow religiously on the internet.  I pondered which blog I should do this challenge on and I decided that since it was a self care issue much like what journaling or a diary is that it belonged here on the Okienurse Fibro blog.  I will warn you that like what Effie warned her readers some of the stuff might get a little intense and personal but it is my blog and I can write what I want so I am just preparing you for the possibility.  


Why am I doing it?  I think I am going to start a self help/change in my life cause I am not liking where it is at or where it is going at this point.  I have been married to the same man for the last 39 years and still love him dearly but I have found myself becoming increasingly more of an albatross to him and I don't want that.  I need to change!  I have to be able to live with the changes and want them for myself as much as I want them to make our relationship strong so I am not just going to change for him or the children.  I am almost 62 years old and a lot I do depends on the "children" and how it will impact them...should have given that up a long time ago cause Chad is now 38 years old, married with 2 girlies and a new baby on the way.  Heather is 35 years old and is happily married living nearby with her husband/partner of almost 10 years.  Heather and Chad have picked up some of my old baggage and I hope that they will see it is possible to lay it down and have a happy life a lot earlier then I have.

What baggage am I talking about?  Well I am not exactly sure on that topic myself but a lot of it stems around being a strong character (yes I am a character), a supporter, empath, and trying to do everything for everyone else to make their lives more livable to the point of forgetting myself.  I am slowly awaking to who I am and what I want to be but the baggage has a tight hold on me.   Some things I have identified that I need  to work on are:
  1. I can't be what everyone thinks I am.  I have to be who I am and it is a struggle trying to find that out.  I think I am going to enlist the aide of a good psychologist to help me get a handle on that. 
  2. I have an obsessive compulsive behavior disorder that is driving me nuts.  I used to joke with my sister about her OCD but her hand washing and compulsion with with dirty coffee cups and silverware in restaurants is nothing compared to what I have going on.  My current compulsion is gambling...I win I lose but it is becoming an issue in the hacienda!  In the past it has been sex, drinking, smoking, overeating, overcharging on my cards etc.  It has always been there and I think I am tired of dealing with it.  I joined Gamblers Anonymous (GA) a couple years ago and did really well for a year until I ran into a friend at WalMart and went to the casino with them and it all came back...even worse!  I went back to GA but I didn't like the political strife that was going on there.  I am going to start back again tomorrow night cause I think if I don't get on top of this I will regret it.
  3. I have so many aches and pains each and every day it limits what I can and can't do physically.  I think that I am going to find something that I am capable of doing that will get me out of the house and interacting with others.  I find that my days are the same...I am bored.  I have thought about getting a job as a door greater at WalMart (but I don't like WalMart!) or a similar job.  I am going to be teaching more classes at Scrap That to help with this.
  4. On the aches and pains front...I have a doctor friend that is going to help me try and get on top of this pain issue that is more in to holistic healing then giving me another drug to take.  Pam has studied various medical, osteopathic, and naturalistic approached to medicine and I hope she will be able to help I just need to remember to give her a call to set up an appointment.
Okay I think that is enough to dump on you today.  I am starting about a week behind the others in the group but I will continue through the whole 30 days into May...who knows if it is helping I may continue on!!  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

More info on yogurt, awesome waffles, my doctor and tests this month

I have made more yogurt since I posted about making the last batch.  I also made some almond milk yogurt last week and I have to tell you that stuff sucked big time.  I had read a blog called fairytalecomesalive that used almond milk and they had a picture of yogurt that resembled kefir...  I thought I will make it and use it in blender drinks!  What I didn't read the part that said I needed to make my own almond milk!  I used Blue Diamond Almond Milk from the store...great idea didn't set up right and had the smell of spoiled eggs and I bet would have tasted nasty.  There was a watery whey on top, chunky clabbered almond milk bits in the middle then the arrowroot starch was a gelatinous mess at the bottom.  Another site I visited said you had to use home made almond milk cause the processed milk lacked the proteins necessary for yogurt.  Lexie's Kitchen has all sorts of help fun information about various alternative diet cooking.  I am going to try again cause it looks really easy to make your own.  I sort of paraphrased the almond milk recipe from fairytalescomealive! so go there or Lexie's kitchen to get an exact recipe. 

Homemade Almond Milk

1 c almonds
4 c water

Soak almonds overnight in water.  Drain and put in blender add 4 cups of water and blend till chopped fine.  (I don't have a Vitamix blender so I will have to go to my daughters and use hers when I make my milk.)  One site I read said a regular blender will grind fairly coarse and you really need the Vitamix style of processor.
Put several layers of cheese cloth in a bowl or use a kitchen towel in the bowl securing it around the outside of the bowl.  Pour the blended almond milk through the towel into the bowl.  Then gather up the towel and squeeze the milk out until all you have left is almond pulp.  Save this pulp to use in other recipes.

The second batch of milk yogurt was made using boxed UHT milk and the culture from the last batch of yogurt I made.  It came out tasty but a little thin.  I think I am going to try whole milk from the store and add some of the capsules that I read about next week.

Found a great waffle recipe that Chuck said he loved and thought was the best waffles ever on the Daily Dietribe blog.
  Gluten-Free, Vegan Pancake & Waffle Recipe (Please scroll down and read the tips before making these!)

1 1/4 cups or 158 grams flour (or mix of flours)***
1/2 cup or 86 grams starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 to 1 3/4 cups liquid

*** I know that cups and grams are different for each flour. HOWEVER, I tested this recipe out with EACH FLOUR with cups AND grams. Whether you measure your flours by cups or the gram measurements given, your pancakes/waffles will work. If you use almond flour, you'll only need about 1/2 cup of liquid. If you use a thick liquid like full-fat coconut milk, you'll need more (up to 1 3/4 cups). Otherwise, you'll need about 1 cup of liquid (milk, water, juice, etc.) regardless of the flour. 

1. Whisk together your dry ingredients.
2. Whisk together the applesauce, oil, and 1/2 cup of liquid. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet, and stir. Add more liquid slowly (I do it by the tablespoon so as not to pour too much) until you've reached the consistency of a thick pancake batter. Always start with less liquid and test the batter on one pancake or waffle first. If it's too thick, you can add more liquid, but you can't take liquid away once you've added it!

  • To make waffles, make sure to oil the iron frequently and keep the batter thick. It won't spread on the iron, but you can use a spoon to spread the batter out evenly on the iron. If the batter is too thin, it is much more likely to stick. (See note at end of post from a reader on sticking waffles before making.)
  • To make pancakes, you can use a little more liquid than with waffles (about 2-4 tablespoons more), depending on how thick you prefer your pancakes.
Visit the Daily Dietribe for the tips before making these waffle/pancakes.  I used almond flour and potato starch for my flours.  I also chopped up pecans and added chopped apple and cinnamon.  They were truly yummy!  Make sure you spray with Pam between each waffle cause they tend to stick.

I had two doctors appointments this past month the first being with a dermatologist trying to determine what is going on with my face.  I am having a lot of flushing and red spots on my face and neck.  Haven't taken hormones in months so it isn't hormones and randomly comes on mostly in the evenings.  At first I thought it was due to drinking red wine...only red wine causes it...but twice now I haven't had wine and it has caused a vibrant red flush. I went to the ER before going to the dermatologist because I thought I was having an allergic reaction to something I had eaten and my lips were tingly...what a mistake!  Once again I was treated like a nut case and sent to sit in the waiting room so by the time I got to go the back exam rooms most of the flush had disappeared and had left the rash behind.  I was glad my daughter and friend were with me to let them know exactly how red it had gotten!  The dermatologist said it was probably my roscea and started me on more meds and changed all my face cleansing and moisturizing products.  I look like a broken out, acne blessed teenager today!

I visited Dr. Malik my rheumotologist for a routine exam and took Heather with me cause I was having trouble remembering things and wanted her there to remember what Malik said.  Turns out most my depression and worsened memory issues were due to the medication Lyrica.  I couldn't tell that it was helping my pain so she said to quit taking it slowly.  Doing that now.  Secondly I have been having problems with my hands and them hurting so bad so I had an MRI done and I am waiting to hear what that has to say about the pain.  I really like Dr. Malik and would recommend her as a very caring and sensitive physician that is truly interested in helping her patients get better and to understand what they have happening to them.  I haven't once heard her say that the pain is in my head and she goes out of the way to determine what is going on with you not just your chart!  btw the MRI of my left hand was an interesting experience!  I had to lay on my belly about 45 minutes with my arm extended over my head and restrained in a device to do the exam.  Of course for a person like me I started hurting about 15 minutes after it started and I am still aching and hurting all over today!

I am going to start working in my garden tomorrow.  Here is what it looks like today!  It is a mess but it won't take long to get it cleared up.  I am planning on trying a square foot gardening type garden this year so I will keep you informed how it goes.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Yogurt and other fun stuff!

I love yogurt...not that flavored stuff that they carry at WalMart in the 20 whillion artificial flavors but the good old fashioned plain cultured yogurt.  Thats the big difference between what I like and the other...culture.  The Yoplait, Dannon, Walmart brand etc have very little if any culture and it is sweetened and thickened using gelatin or other agents.   I love Greek Gods plain yogurt.  It has a little tangier taste then most yogurts but it is so thick and yummy I could eat it by the gallons.

I haven't tried any of the flavored versions but I hear that they are really yummy also.  I tried the lower fat version but I really like the full fat version best.  Only problem with this yogurt is the price!  I guess making a full fat, cultured (they say 5 different ones), probiotic healthy yogurt is expensive but almost $5 for a 24 oz container is a bit steep if you ask me.

I used to make all my yogurt back in the hippie days but we would buy live culture from the healthfood store to make it with....That is expensive now days.  I made most of my bread too...another story.  Anyway I got on line and started reading articles about making yogurt and I got so confused that I decided to make it easy on myself and do it the way I used to but borrowing the culture from the Greek Gods yogurt.   It worked...sort of!  I was so pleased with my experiment even if it came out a little thin it tasted and had the tongue appeal of the store bought stuff!  There is so much you can do with a good yogurt.  Here is what I did!

Homemade Yogurt (the easy way!)

1 quart of milk, fat, no fat, minimum fat whatever you like
1/4 c yogurt
2 Tbl dry milk

Preheat oven to 220 degrees.
Make sure all your utensils are sterile clean so your culture stays pure.
  1. Pour milk in jar and heat to just below boiling...allow to cool to 110 degrees before adding the culture.
  2. Put dry milk in stir well.  
  3. Now temper the yogurt to the milk by adding some of the 110 degree milk to it in a bowl and mixing well.  Pour all back into the jar and shake, shake, shake.  
  4. Turn off the oven.  Wrap the jar in a towel and put in the oven.
  5. Leave in the oven for 4-5 hours for the cultures to grow.  The longer it is in there the better it is but make sure the oven stays at about 100-110 degrees the whole time.  I have a warmer drawer on the bottom of my stove that I use to incubate my yogurt.
I ate it with fruit for breakfast! Doesn't that look yummy with the strawberries cut up in it.  I think I will use it in smoothies too until this batch is gone because it is a drinkable yogurt. 
Another use was making a tsatsiki (tzatziki) sauce to use with some left over gyro meat that Chuck brought me home for supper the other night.  We go to a place here in Norman called the Greek House that has a child's plate for $6.50 that has so much food on it I usually have 2-3 meals out of the meat.  OMG! such good food!  Anyway carrying on here...tsatsiki sauce is a creamy dressing made using yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, onion, oil, and vinegar.   I have found that you can't go wrong with these ingredients however you mix them up just don't leave the oil, vinegar, or yogurt out.  My recipe is simple:

Vickie's Tsatsiki Sauce
makes about 2 cups
1 1/2 cups yogurt or sour cream
2 baby cucumbers (about 5-6 ounces)
onion chopped
garlic to taste
2 tbl lemon juice or 1/2 lemon squeezed dry (you can use vinegar too!)
2 tbl oil
salt and pepper to taste

I throw all the above into the food grinder (Cuisinart) and mix it all together for a few seconds.  If you like chunkier veggies then chop them fine and then mix in yogurt.  Its good how ever you to it.  I like it mixed in with fresh veggies as a salad dressing and in the summer on a Greek salad...oh my! 

The white stuff in this picture is the tsatsiki sauce/dressing.  There is a secret here too...the chicken is covered with it and baked....I know it took me a few minutes to get my head wrapped around cooked cucumbers but this turned out so yummy I will be making it again!  Want the recipe?  Okay here it is!

Chicken made with Tsatsiki sauce

Chicken, cut up or boneless/skinless pieces
1 recipe of Tsasiki sauce from above
Curry Powder
salt and pepper to taste

sprinkle chicken with curry powder, paprika, salt and pepper to taste.  Drop in a bag and then cover with the tsatsiki sauce.   If you want a little tangier sauce add the other half of lemon left over from above recipe!  Let sit in the refrigerator overnight or as long as you can let it sit...longer the better.  I baked this in in 350 deg oven for 45 minutes but the next time I am going to put it on the grill outside and see how it turns out.  It has a taste quite similar to a tandoori chicken, not as spicy, and I just wanted to keep eating it. 

Hope you give the healthy living recipes a try.  I really enjoyed them myself.  Stay tuned for more about the yogurt because I read on line I could make the yogurt using almond milk so I will be giving that a try and posting my results here.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

I am great how are you?

...I usually respond to peoples questions about how I am rather then responding with the truth.  Sound familiar to you?  Most people really don't care how I feel they are just asking to be polite so I try to be polite too!  I wonder how they would respond if I really answered them truthfully with how I feel?  Let me think on this a second and I will tell you exactly and truthfully how I feel today...

It is after 2 pm (I didn't get to bed till 6 am cause of the pain and brain issues last night) and I just rolled out of bed so my brain is still very foggy and I am having difficulty putting thoughts together.  I am having to type/erase because unlike my iPad this computer doesn't have spell correct and I am not spelling well but to use the iPad causes me problems when I try to post.   Please excuse any typographical errors that spell check doesn't pick up.   How do I brains very foggy, back hurts from my neck down my spine, arthritis is effecting my joints and the fibro is causing me to feel like I have a horrible achiness all over my body.  My head is hurting a little bit because of the bright lights of the screen and the brilliant light from the outside due to all the snow on the ground.  My mouth is dry and eyes feel scratchy due to the Sjogren's syndrome that is secondary to all the other crap.  My fingers feel like sausages but don't look swollen and my legs and feet are all achey and cramping but I don't want the doctor to know cause I don't want to go up on my meds.   So all in all how to I feel today?  Bitchy and I want to go back to bed even though I haven't been up a half hour.   I don't do pain meds because they don't work for me so I try alternative things to make it better...that and doing the mind over matter thing!

If I am feeling like that why am I typing this up and why don't I just go back to bed.  Well the answer is I am trying to have a life truth be told.  In about 2 1/2 - 3 hours I will be better.  Brain less foggy and body might even ache a little less and I might be able to venture out into the world.  I used to be out and about every day but now days I probably average 1-2 times a week going anywhere.  I can't handle loud noises, bright lights, or crowds very well anymore so I grocery shop in the middle of the night.  I go with my daughter and we shop a little, visit the book store or Starbuck's for coffee and I go to her house to craft and paint.  I lead a much different life then I did before the Fibro, CFS, and gluten issues took hold of my body.

I had 4 doctors appointments in January and I haven't the foggiest how much money was spent on x-rays, MRI, and blood tests.  I was told again that my orthopedic doctor doesn't believe in Fibro and that it is just a catch all for all the gripes about aches and pains...yes I will keep going to him because what he lacks in bedside manner he excels in diagnosis and treatment.  My rheumatologist told me that she now thinks I am truly a fibro victim (good word that) because she can see I am not faking symptoms but she can't find any medical basis for them but because I am on Medicare with BC+BS insurance they won't pay for any blood or radiography tests to prove it.  I get SSDI and I am sure to hell not in the market to pay for $800 - $1000 test to prove I have it  when the treatment wouldn't be any different if I had a positive test result.  $1000 is almost as much as I make each month and I am having problems just getting by as it is.   The bright side is I only have 2 doctors to visit this month and they are just follow ups to all the lab and stuff I am having done.  Joy!

I was nominated for a blog award and normally don't accept them but I figure that this blog has a lot of good information for me and others like me.  The blog is called "Fibro Fighterz" and has an online magazine called Fighterzine!  They are also on FaceBook trying to get the message out that those of us with Fibro are not alone.  Thank you Fibro Fighterz!  Now you guys go check it out!

On the bright side...Here is a recipe that I thought that I would share for my gluten free followers.  btw is they ask you at a restaurant if the gluten free is due to diet change or medical issues always say medical because they use different ways to process and cook the food to prevent gluten contamination.   These cookies are more then Yummy!  I would give them a 10 star in a 5 star rating system!

Gluten Free Homemade Nutter Butters
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 10 -15 cookies depending on how thin/thick you make them.
Way better than store bought!

For the cookie:
  •  2 cups oat flour (gluten free all purpose or almond flour would work as well)
  • 1 cup + 2 T peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 T milk (I used almond milk) You can add a bit more milk if the batter looks dry.1
  • 1 egg (I used a flax egg replacement)

For the filling:

  •  1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  • In a saucepan, combine the peanut butter, flax egg, coconut oil, vanilla and milk.
  • Cook on medium heat until everything is well combined and the peanut butter is soft.
  • Set aside to cool down to lukewarm.
  • Once the peanut butter mixture is cooled, add it to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  • Form the dough into thin, long logs and place them onto a lined baking sheet. (see photo above for step by step instructions)
  • Use a fork to make the impressions on the cookies.
  • Use your fingers to push the sides of each cookie in at the center to shape them like nutter butters.
  • Bake them in the oven for about 15 minutes.
  • While the cookies are baking, add all the filling ingredients to a blender.
  • Mix until smooth.
  • Frost the cookies and form sandwiches after the cookies have completely cooled.
My cookies came out pretty thick. When I make these again, I will thin the amount of dough out that I use. I also initially added 1/2 tsp baking powder to the dry ingredients and I felt the cookies rose too much. That is why I left it out of the recipe.
If you want to cut the calories and sugar a bit, you can just fill the cookies with plain peanut butter instead of mixing up the sweet filling.