Springtime is renewal. As the plants and flowers use this time to bud out, I also use it to recharge and break out of the winter duldrums. I love taking on a new challenge this time of year and focusing on cleansing my body is my goal in 2017. There is a real feeling of accomplishment when you honor your body with compassion.
It is the perfect time to renew your health, and I have the perfect tools to get the job done. While some of us started our detox a couple weeks ago for MSreboot Camp, it's never too late! And we're kicking some MSbootie. Make goals, keep a journal and let's ReBoot this MS out the door!
Probably one of the best lessons learned so far with my MS:
"Become more aware of what's really worth your energy."
Couple things worth my energy: The nature around me and cooking for my family.
Here is the last of the roses for this southern California girl! The bushes are all pruned up but this beauty, cut probably a week ago, just keeps amazing me. Often it's the little things that are most important to us. Have you noticed something lately that has inspired you?
Farmers market is another inspiration. The bounty of our local agriculture is amazing! After several years of dry winters and a continued drought here in Southern California, we are finally getting some rain. And boy are we getting it! And this cooler, "stay indoors weather", has been encouraging my cooking.
Today there were plenty of vegetables that needed using: potatoes, brussel sprouts, two carrots, red and green bell pepper and an onion. After rinsing and drying the veggies, the potatoes were cut in large cubes and brussel sprouts were cut in half. Drizzled with olive oil, fresh rosemary, sliced garlic and sprinkled with salt, they were placed on a cookie tray that had been sitting in a 400 degree oven and until nice and hot. Roasted for about 15 minutes then added the carrots (they were small) and the peppers. Roasted another 15 minutes.
In the meantime, saute one diced onion and 4 tablespoons butter in heavy cast iron pot or some good soup pot. Saute until nice and soft. I added some dried thyme at this point to add some depth to the flavors. Possibly wine or sherry could be fun at this point.
When the veggies are done, drop into pot of onion and butter. Stir and combine. Add the chicken or veggie stock. About 4 Cups depending on amount of veggies and desire of thickness. Then add 1/2 Cup 1/2 and 1/2. Or cream, or something to add a nice creamy texture to the soup. Or don't and just use homemade broth. That's up to you!
I added a partial bag of frozen corn and got everything nice and hot. Then added a handful of rough chopped fresh flat leaf parsley for good color and freshness. Of course, it is a chowder, so ground some good old black pepper on top. In fact, I might go have a bowl right now. Dang, this is one tasty soup!
ROASTED VEGGIE CHOWDER
Mixed veggies for roasting: (Anything found in the pantry or refrigerator should work!)
1 lb yukon gold potato
1 lb brussel sprouts
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 cup frozen corn
4 tbls butter (sweet - not salted)
4 Cups chicken or vegetable broth
fresh rosemary or other herbs from garden
fresh parsley for garnish
Salt and pepper
Place cookie/roasting tray in oven and Turn on to 400F.
1. Dice/Cube/Cut in half/Slice veggies to desired size.
2. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and fresh rosemary.
3. Carefully place potatoes and sprouts on hot pan and roast for 15 minutes.
4. Add carrots and peppers to hot pan and roast another 15 minutes or until done.
5. Saute onions butter over medium heat, until soft and translucent.
6. Add roasted vegetables, blend with onion.
7. Add broth and bring to boil.
8. And add 1/2 and 1/2 and reduce to simmer.
9. Add fresh green rough chopped parsley for garnish.
10. Add fresh ground black pepper and serve!
And because soup just is not enough for this family, we added mini Salmon Salad Sliders. Yum!
SALMON SALAD SLIDERS
1 can Salmon
1-2 tbls mayonnaise
1 tbls pesto (premade)
add basil or spinach leaf for color
King's Hawaiian Rolls - because I had some left over. Toast or bread or lettuce leaves work great too!
This is a super easy recipe. Of course you can make these as difficult and gourmet as possible. But for me, when my MS acts up, I want to keep it simple.
I spend enough energy being angry at my MS. And what's the point? It just tires me out and uses what little energy I have. I am always looking for those times when I exert too much of my precious energy and see how I can do things differently to preserve this special commodity. To me this is the very tool that helps me manage my MS.
When I received my cool little bracelet from CJFreely yesterday as part of Nancy Davis' RacetoEraceMS program, well, I thought, this is just like a friendship bracelet. And bam, it hit me, time to truly make friends with my MS!
While I'm Not a hand model by any means, I love looking down at this little reminder that I can be friends with my MS. But how?
How do I do this? How do I make friends with a disease that ravishes my body on a daily basis and tries as it it may to dictate my life? This is a tough one.
First off, I'm making a list of things I'm grateful and thankful for:
Learning to ask for help
Learning to slow down and smell the roses
Leaving the corporate world for the creative world
Getting to know my parents as peers and friends by living with them
Learning to ask for help. I could mention this one many times!
Learning to live off a very, very small income.
Learning to be poor with money, rich with life.
Learning who my true friends are and will be.
Learning what my limitations are and realizing they aren't that bad
Meeting lots of cool new people and friends around the world with MS
Knowing that my blog and info has helped at least one person deal better with this disease.
Learning again what is important in life. Waking. Breathing. Living.
Friends and family, couldn't do this without them.
Limitations and boundaries. Learning how to make those more definite.
Turning from a power player to a finesse player.
Learning to listen to my body and respond accordingly
I know there's more but this is a good start this Thursday morning.
I think its good to also acknowledge what I don't like about MS in order to get the full picture. This will help me decide where I can improve in managing my MS.
Unreliable. MS randomness makes it difficult to stick to plans.
Each day is different. Pain, balance, cognitive, tremors, incontinence, vision, fatigue
Inability to drive beyond local streets
Panic attacks for no reason.
Fatigue fatigue fatigue.
Tired eyes, inability to read at times.
Dry heaving, spasms makes it difficult to eat or have appetite.
Muscle spasms at night make it difficult to sleep. Restless leg syndrome bums.
Tremors tremors tremors. Hands and neck
Clumsiness. Dropping things right and left.
Loosing balance. Breaking toes.
Folks not understanding the illness
Randomness of it all
Things I've learned to say to myself:
Things that help me befriend my illness:
MS community on Twitter @thegirlwithms
Writing and the arts. The cathartic process.
Becoming better friends with myself. This is a tough one. I'm not easy on myself and learning compassion for my illness and health is key.
Finding a great neurologist to travel with on this journey. I still need one of these!
Being open and honest about the disease. Building awareness and letting folks know that there are ways to manage MS beyond traditional western medicine.
Research! There is so much new information about MS on social media and in books.
Become my own health advocate. No one is going to do it for me!
My Christian community at church.
Learning that it's OK to take naps and be a couch potato at times. (This is a tough one for me!)
Bottom line, in spite of MS:
I'm living a different life then expected yet a beautiful life with many opportunities and options.
Keep all doors open with this disease. You may have always defined yourself as a "strong corporate, get things done type VP" and then bam, the rug is ripped out from under you.
Time to redefine ourselves. That's what I did. Imagined and visualized all the things I loved in life since childhood. Which of things can I do? What have I always wanted to do and what is still possible?
Fortunately I hade a very full life prior to MS: successful career, horse trainer, river guide, adventure athlete, runner, mt biker, ww kayaker, rock climber and even jumped out of planes.
But that surely doesn't mean I'm done living!
I'm finding out what I can do and what I can't. I think this is a continual thought process with this disease. And while some days I can do some things there are days I can't even get out of bed.
Take advantage of every second and every minute! Even if we are bed ridden, cane assisted, or walking three miles, every part of your life can change with MS.
Ever get angry with your MS? Life can really suck at times. Sometimes rolling along is so easy and then other times, wham, it slams you to the floor and getting out of bed can be the accomplishment of the year. Anger begets stress begets exacerbations. Throughout the past fifteen years of living with multiple sclerosis there have been many lessons learned.
From anger management to reducing stress and friction in life, my goal is to share as many of these tips with you as possible. And maybe not for too many years because stopping MS may happen in our lifetime. So many advancements have been made these past six years it's amazing.
In the meantime, while we wait for more and better treatments here are some natural ways to handle life with MS:
If you are facing depression which is common with MS patients, please seek the help of your doctor or other medical professional. Depression is very serious and should not be taken lightly. MS can really mess with our emotions.
These tips and tricks are designed to help us all live a little better with multiple sclerosis.
What tips and tools do you like to use to manage your life with MS?
One of the first things everyone asks me these days is if I follow a certain diet, or avoid certain foods. The answer is a resounding YES. I'd love to say that eating anything and everything is OK but it's not. Just recently my diet changed, for the worse, and after six months my MS, along with everything else in my body, went absolutely haywire.
Not every MS patient should follow the same diet. Everyone is different, just as their illness. Recommend instead the trial and error method. Remove a variety of food, one at a time, and see if it affects your MS.
Some of the foods that cause major problems include:
Processed foods (too many additive, hidden wheat and sodium)
Carbohydrates in general
Dairy (don't include me in this group. You do not want to be around me if you remove my cheese. I get downright nasty).
Remove them for a good couple of months to truly feel a difference. Three - six months is good.
Some folks respond well after going vegan or gluten free. Some do better with a paleo type plan. Try different things and feel how your body responds. Make adjustments and learn from your trials.
Major triggers for me are gluten and carbohydrates. For example last year, my diet went from about 10% simple carbs to more like 50% simple carbs, letting myself eat anything and everything that looked good. For the first couple of months my body kept up, and my body stayed slim and fit. Lean and mean. THEN, it's as if someone turned off the metabolism. Ready for winter was this girl with an additional 15 pounds. Actually 20 pounds but already lost 5. UGH and geez. Nothing fits. Haven't had this problem in 15 years. The ONLY change made was allowing the gluten and carbs to take over my diet. The meat consumption was down and grain consumption increased. Portion sizes increases. Eating is if readying for a marathon, without the matching calorie burning activity. Time to make a change!
Reining in the cravings meant changing habits back to where they were last year. 10% simple carbs. That means no six-packs of beer every weekend. No bottles of wine with french bread and home made cheese. Well, OK, we can have all of these as long as it's in moderation. Key word here - moderation.
Just bringing this awareness to the forefront has allowed me to make many healthy changes. The weight is coming off and the MS seems to be subsiding a bit. This extra weight caused the MS to flare up bad, so looking forward to being the lean, mean fighting machine this girl was for the past 15 years.
Every person is different and so are their diet needs. But I do believe strongly that clean, natural eating is the way to go. Buying local, at farmers markets and learning to cook are two ways to increase one's appreciation for good quality food. And we are what we eat. Eat like crap, look like crap. Eat like a healthy girl, look like a healthy girl.