Cooking Archive

32

Happy Land

After I got off the cruise ship from my recent vacation and stepped back into my real world, a certain familiar mundane mood came over me. In the past when I would feel slightly depressed, I’d picked up a self-help book and attempt to “fix” myself. I guess this time I got a case of cruise lag because I started reading “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor.

I still openly lament the fact that I can’t safely walk alone, cook on a stove and I miss I the independence I use to take for granted. Okay, that’s enough of that; I think you get my point.

To be honest, I believe that if all these things were somehow given back to me, I would automatically be happy. It’s similar to the way one may believe that happiness will come when they lose weight or get that big job or promotion. But the thing is when we do get it we are happy for awhile then the bar gets raised and suddenly there’s something else a little farther off into the distance we need to be happy again. It’s like a never-ending journey to “Happy Land”.

This book has presented to me an entirely new concept. I’m only on page 80 of 210 but this is what I got so far. It basically shows us how to leverage the power of positive thinking in our lives. It says that we must be happy first where we are and then you can be more motivated and productive. In other words, happiness precedes important outcomes and indicators of thriving. The most interesting thing to me is that our external circumstances predict only 10 percent of our happiness. It’s teaching me to constantly scan my life looking for positive possibilities dormant in every situation.

The book’s author goes on to explain different exercises and principles that are very realistic. No, I’m not talking about a bunch of positive fluffy mumbo jumbo. That’s not really my thing. The lady who recommended the book to me is also in a wheelchair with multiple sclerosis and she said it has helped her cope. I took her recommendation to heart because a few years ago I think I may have overestimated the negative effects that living in a wheelchair would leave on my life. And so far this book has opened my eyes to new possibilities. I have new ways of looking at the same things.

I’ve decided to adopt an optimistic explanatory style to interpret the world I live in. I’m seeking out the positive. Something I don’t usually revert to. My husband once said that if I won the lottery, I’d be worried about paying the taxes! The idea that things are never as bad as we originally think is not a new concept. I just usually blow things way out of proportion.

Achor says it’s about using that downhill momentum to push us in the opposite direction. Now that seems tricky to me but I’m willing to give it a try. The question remains, can a change in my mindset really change the objective world around me?

“The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work” by Shawn Achor.

47

So Grateful

We all know my problems walking, but over the past few weeks I’ve been having trouble with my left hand too! How much will this blasted disease steal from me??? If I do a lot in one particular day, maybe by 7pm my left hand will start giving me trouble. Trouble that renders me unable to do anything that requires precision in both hands. At night, it becomes dangerous for me to use the stove and aggravating to dress and undress myself.

I remember this happening to me in the past. You would think it wouldn’t catch me off guard like this. I notice that it only happens when I push my body a bit too hard. By now I should be able to gauge when it’s time to stop something. But obviously, I’m still figuring this out. Because when it does happen it scares the dickens right out of me. All I can think of is a bunch of “what ifs?” What if my hand doesn’t come back? What if this is my new normal? How in the world am I going to fasten my bra? Then the mental commentary begins to spiral downhill from there. My leaky bladder, my almost nonexistent balance, the fatigue that shows up and causes me to shut down. My thoughts only temporarily slowed to consider that my right hand was doing fine and my walking though wobbly hadn’t changed.

I should have given more time and effort to that brief thought. Or even remembered that I could be so much worse off. I often dwell on the things I cannot do. Or on the things I miss doing. But I’m happy to report that over the last couple of days, I am nearly back to normal. Furthermore, I am typing normally. Yes!

We went to church this Saturday, like we try to do consistently. The priest so befittingly reminded me that gratitude is the bridge that leads between problems and possibilities. Notice he said possibilities not solutions or in my case cures. He made a point to emphasize… possibilities. So I need to have hope for greater possibilities while being grateful for what I already have.

I regret only briefly considering the things I can do, like my functioning right hand, mental fortitude and my power to choose my attitude toward my circumstance.

I’m so grateful I can type this post today.

So grateful.

97

Fooled Again

I just recently came down off my whole diet kick since my Miracle Diets post. My newfound nutritional regime lasted all of twelve days! The routine just wasn’t very practical for my lifestyle or energy levels. Then on top of that I attended a Brain Fair that fell under the conventional medical paradigm. This means they were pushing exactly the opposite of what I was trying to do. Which was to fight M.S. with nutrition instead of medication. Well, I guess you know the doctors said at best, “It can’t hurt!”

The doctor’s opinions kind of rained on my parade but I know they wouldn’t be expected to say much else. It doesn’t matter because for me the Wahls diet turned out to be a bust. It’s fundamentally based on eliminating carbohydrates and dairy, while eating a plethora of organic fruits and vegetables. Though this particular diet may have boosted the immune system of many of its followers I had to painfully let go of that dream. It hurt so much because for a minute it had shed a little hope on my situation and I was excited. I thought I had found the next best thing to a cure!

I’m not blaming the diet for this but I haven’t been feeling too fit this week. It’s probably due to my subsequent depression (Funk). Well, that plus the fact that I have a bladder infection also known as your common UTI (urinary tract infection). I’ve talked before about how they negatively affect me. So excuse me if I lack luster.

When I first learned about the Wahls diet and heard Dr. Terry Wahls’ story I felt empowered and full of hope. I actually went to Whole Foods and spent a crazy amount of money on a refrigerator full of foods that I may not even eat, but that’s the way I normally do things. I get all excited and jump in head first without considering much else.

At least this time nobody got hurt! That is, except my pocket.

77

Miracle Diets

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I’d just like to touch upon one of my most cumbersome symptoms.

Fatigue.

Of course the mobility issues are huge as well, but no one should have to feel like this after sleeping 10 to 12 hours a night! I am still tired. My thinking is labored and endurance nonexistent. Fatigue engulfs and morphs my life and attitude. I am taking medication for it. As a matter of fact it seems to really be helping. The thing is I can’t seem to find it! The pharmacies are out. Can you imagine?

So, when I spoke with my doctor he mentioned starting me on a generic amphetamine similar to Adderol. Also known as “uppers” on the streets! My word. Am I gonna become addicted to drugs? But then again I probably already am! I feel like I’m at my wits end. Ready to try anything. But, I have to admit I’ve never really changed my diet for Multiple Sclerosis. I’ve been hearing about two diets in particular. The Swank Diet and The Wahls Way. Both would be very dramatic changes for my husband and I. Though drastic, it seems worth it if it helps with my fatigue like they boast. The thing is I would hate to set myself up for a huge let down.

Both diets claim to help. The Swank has a Swank MS Foundation online. It’s pretty life changing. Take a look at this:

QUICK REFERENCE for the Swank diet

*Saturated fat should not exceed 15 grams per day
*Unsaturated fat (oils) should be kept to 20-50 grams per day.
*No red meat for the first year.
*After the first year, 3 oz. of red meat is allowed once per week.
*Dairy products must contain 1% or less butterfat unless otherwise noted.
*No processed foods containing saturated fat.
*Cod liver oil (1 tsp. or equivalent capsules) and a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement are recommended daily.

Now guys this would be pretty hard for me to pull off! Especially, not without the help of my husband.

The other diet the Wahls Way is pretty life changing as well, but has an intriguing back story. Dr. Terry Wahls not only created this stringent regimen but has Secondary Progressive M.S. herself! I hope you clicked on the link and heard her story. It’s mind blowing! Especially since I have secondary progressive M.S. as well. I’m not going to get into the specifics of Wahls Way but trust me when I say it looks pretty darn hard! But look at the diets and you tell me what you think. I’m so vulnerable right now I just might fall for anything. I just think if this diet craze thing were true, our doctors would have told us, right? Or are they holding back on us? Because as I see it, turning this into a nutritional thing pushes them right out of the ($)equation. But on the other hand, these other guys want us to buy($) into their ways too!

What’s a girl to do?

13

Montel Juice

My 2001 self.

I was actually feeling bad about not blogging this week yet.
Then a fellow blogger reminded me this is a no stress gig! An avenue to communicate within the sphere!

I have truly been sick since last week. I had news to tell you, but I still didn’t post! Go figure that one. Well anyway my talk with the physicians went great! I felt like my old self(flashback).

I had notes. I had an introduction! But most of all, I had an audience that was attentive and receptive. They even asked questions afterwards. In fact, by the end of 45 minutes, the session had become mutually beneficial. I felt as if I owed someone a 20 dollar co-pay! I certainly didn’t expect that one.

I have gastro paresis. It’s secondary to MS of course. But as it so happens the last week or so I have been vomiting every thing I eat. Gross. I know. I apologize. Bear with me. As far as I know there is no definitive cure for this. (Surprise. Surprise.) Every 6 months it seems it will starts acting up. You’ll see me rolling around with my little bucket in hand. Family members are quick to

The culprit

ask, “Why do…?” and then as they remember they’ll promptly say, “Ohhhh!!,” while taking a small step backwards. It’s very cute to watch.

As to avoid dehydration, I’ve been drinking like crazy. My newest hobby is blending everything

This should go down better.

into a smoothie of sorts. Enter the Montel Williams Health Master. The only problem is it’s nearly 300 bucks!!!!! I will have to save up for that so until then I got a knock off. The smoothie I’m drinking now is Granny Smith apple, carrots, and nectarines! Sounds horrible, right? Well it tastes better than it sounds. Hmmm. I may need to add a little more water.

Well, cooking was never my strong suit. Perhaps I can turn things around with this blending thing I got going on?

 

2

Selfish Gene

For me MS = change.

The ballots have been counted!  It’s a unanimous decision! Cooking is not included in “my new normals.”  I have to recognize.  I’m not the only one living with MS. My husband is too!  There are things we BOTH can no longer do. It’s simply not fair for me to engage in potentially dangerous endeavors. Selfish and unfair.

I got this recipe magazine….Weight Watchers. It’s funny that after everything I’ve been through weight is still on my mind. Some things never change!

I’m no Emeril Lagasse but I had a great idea to fix a quick dinner while Tom was at the gym.

Mistake number one.

Everything was going relatively smoothly when I noticed it was getting harder to move my right leg. I continued.

Mistake number two.

I was losing my balance and caught myself by leaning on the stove. Apparently, I switched a burner on that only had an empty pot on it. I saw smoke. I looked at my dinner. It looked fine.

I attempted to clean my work area, although now the fatigue was in full force and walking even with the walker became presumptuous.

I managed to turn the fan on, but Tom came back and saw the apartment, the smoke and me, struggling to stand.

He quickly went to the red burner, turned it off, and simply said, “What are you doing?”

I said, “Trying to fix dinner.”

“Why didn’t you wait for me?”

I whispered, “Are you mad at me?”

“No… just disappointed.”—THREE.