Sunday

Life with MS

Thank you @positivelivingwithMS and @hanyagordan for this perfect meme. #takethatms



Thursday

Soothing MS with Cooking and Nutritious Food: Roasted Veggie Chowder

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

INGREDIENTS:

Mixed veggies for roasting:   (Anything found in the pantry or refrigerator should work!)

1 lb yukon gold potato
1 lb brussel sprouts
1 onion
2 carrots
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.

Gotta love when carrots love each other!

Monday

Tools for Living Better with MS

I was recently asked about the tools used to help my life with MS.  It made me pause to consider what were the items that truly created a better life for me.  Not just the normal things here and there but the items that really make a difference.  Here are the results:


1.  Reliable, bluetooth earbuds.  For some reason listening to music helps me stay focused and on point. It might be because the there can be quite a bit of useless noise in the house.  Or a wandering mind which can be brought into line with the beat of some good music.  My earbuds of choice are LG bluetooth.  Mine are a bit older but love them.  Used the corded ones for years but went through about a pair a month. The cords frazzled and fried.   As iPhones get larger my desire to carry it with me everywhere is not there and ability to leave it and move around the house with ease and music is a beautiful thing.  Since music comes from my phone it is interrupted when a call arrives, creating an effective work environment.  



2.  Hydroflask.  Keeping cool and hydrated is important for those with MS, especially as summer is soon upon us.  As a person who does not want to fill this world with too much plastic, my use of reusable water bottles has been going on for years.  Of all the water bottles used in the past, the Hydroflask is my favorite.  It keeps drinks cold, cold, and hot, hot.  I love the small size and carry it everywhere.  Wouldn't mind having a larger one but for now this one will do.  It's easy to take the lid on and off and also comes with a sipping lid for hot beverages and a spigot lid for quicker access.   



3.  Safe Walking Shoes.  Asics just happens to be the brand that has fit my feet for years, including my 10K and 1/2 marathon days.  But find the brand that fits you best!  Today I'm lucky to just walk, but a good pair of walking or running shoes that tie safely and have good traction is essential for folks with MS.   Being ambulatory can be challenging and in an effort to be as safe as possible I purchase a fresh pair of walking shoes each year.  



4.  Bandanas:  One of my favorite things ever. Can blow a nose or use as a way to cool the body down.  Get them wet and put one in the freezer.  On hot days, take it out and wrap around neck for a quick cool down.  Stays wet for quite awhile.  In an effort to reduce plastic, I use bandanas to wrap up my lunch and other essentials.  Easily washable and yes, can be dipped in cold water and used for instant cooling down. 


5.  Essential Oils.   Ahhhh.  So many reasons to love oils.  They smell good for one.  And that can put just about anyone into a better mood.   Bath salts before bedtime can help sleep.  Lavender oil on the bed sheets can help induce sleep.  Cedar wood in the diffuser can help one sleep.  A blend by doTerra called "Balance" seems to be custom made my for MS.  A little on the bottom of my feet just gives me the boost of confidence needed to get through the day.  Morning time - tired legs can feel refreshed with peppermint oil and aloe vera gel rubbed gently into the muscles and nerves.  Often it seems that the placebo effect can be quite effective.  Essential oils are difficult to test and substantiate.  But they're beautiful, smell great and make a positive difference in my life.  

6.  "Notes" software.  As an iPhone/Apple user all of my notes post across devices.  This is huge for my MS.  Everything to do is written down from one device or another and there, keeping my lists in line.  With horrible memory at times, lists are necessary and this is a tool used everyday.  Write everything down and it will be in one place.  Sometimes I use journals and other places to write things down but generally, kept in one place they are more effective.  
7. Handwritten notes of gratitude.  As a tool?  You bet.  There is something about the slowing down of handwriting, of the hand-eye coordination and the brain stimulation of penning a note to a friend.  Several times a week I will correspond to a friend or family across the country or down the street. Within each note is a moment of gratitude, a compliment or something positive.  It's easy and common to complain about what doesn't go right.  But what about what does go right?  Do we thank the hotel manager for the wonderful job they did do?  Call out an exceptional staff member by name because we took the time to slow down and pay attention.  Be present.  Be thankful.  Shower the world with love.

Click here for some beautiful designs.  


8.  Healing teas:   Enough with the pharmaceuticals and drugs.  Can we really achieve wellness with natural remedies?  You bet!  First off - do you want a wake-up, refreshening morning tea?  No caffeine but a boost of energy?  maybe peppermint and lemongrass.  Or...if you are feeling nervy and want a soothing tea, go for the chamomile or a soothing/night time tea.  Some special teas might be ayervedic "pitta" tea that reduces heat in the body.  Or a Chinese healing tea full of royal chrysanthemum and dandelion root.



9.  Port a Potty.  My favorite - Travel John.  this has saved me more than once.  Ever had to pee and just knew you would not make it to the restroom?  This little contraption has found it's way into all of my travel bags and large purses.  So easy, so lightweight.  So practical.  Just having one with me seems to give my bladder the confidence it needs to hold strong.  The day I didn't have one was when I peed all over my jeans.  Oops.  #lifewithMS



10.  Research!  Read and learn as much as possible.  We must become our own advocates and knowledge is power.   


Thursday

Juicing and Chia Pudding for our Health

2 Ways to Eat for Wellness 

After a few crazy months of eating anything and everything I'm taking a couple weeks to turn it all around. 

First of all let's alkalize this body and get this gut working like a Porsche! 

Spent the morning Juicing and making chia pudding which are two of my faves. 

Time to put my gut into gear. 

#takethatms 


I made about seven jars of juice, some with greens and carrots, some with beets and lemons. 



Morning Juice
1/2 beet
1/2 lemon
1/2 cucumber
1/4 small watermelon 
1 apple

Cooling Off Juice
1 carrot
1 apple
1/2 cucumber 
1 handful mung bean sprouts
2 celery 
1/2 lemon 

Booster juice:
2 carrots
1/2 orange 
1 small piece ginger 
2 celery 
Handful parsley 
1/2 cucumber 

Best to make juice fresh every time. But this can be difficult and time consuming. I will sometimes make a few bottles at once and drink them within 24-36 hours. 

Chia pudding and hemp milk for those vitamin Ds


Chia Pudding 

1/2 C hemp milk
2 tablespoons chia seeds 

Place in mason jar or any container, shake and chill for a few hours or overnight. 

Toppings: 
Maple syrup
Honey
Nuts
Fruit

Be creative and enjoy the goodness! 

Wednesday

Making Friends with My MS

Needed this today!

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:
  1. Learning to ask for help
  2. Learning to slow down and smell the roses
  3. Leaving the corporate world for the creative world
  4. Getting to know my parents as peers and friends by living with them
  5. Learning to ask for help. I could mention this one many times!
  6. Learning to live off a very, very small income.
  7. Learning to be poor with money, rich with life.
  8. Learning who my true friends are and will be.
  9. Learning what my limitations are and realizing they aren't that bad
  10. Meeting lots of cool new people and friends around the world with MS
  11. Knowing that my blog and info has helped at least one person deal better with this disease.
  12. Learning again what is important in life. Waking. Breathing. Living.
  13. Friends and family, couldn't do this without them.
  14. Limitations and boundaries. Learning how to make those more definite.
  15. Turning from a power player to a finesse player.
  16. 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.
  1. Unreliable. MS randomness makes it difficult to stick to plans.
  2. Each day is different. Pain, balance, cognitive, tremors, incontinence, vision, fatigue
  3. Inability to drive beyond local streets
  4. Panic attacks for no reason.
  5. Fatigue fatigue fatigue.
  6. Tired eyes, inability to read at times.
  7. Dry heaving, spasms makes it difficult to eat or have appetite.
  8. Muscle spasms at night make it difficult to sleep. Restless leg syndrome bums.
  9. Tremors tremors tremors. Hands and neck
  10. Clumsiness. Dropping things right and left.
  11. Loosing balance. Breaking toes.
  12. Folks not understanding the illness
  13. Randomness of it all
  14. Emotional rollercoaster
Things I've learned to say to myself:
#itisWhatitis
#takeThatMS
#NoTwotheSame
Things that help me befriend my illness:
  1. MS community on Twitter @thegirlwithms
  2. Family
  3. Friends
  4. Writing and the arts. The cathartic process.
  5. 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.
  6. Finding a great neurologist to travel with on this journey. I still need one of these!
  7. Being open and honest about the disease. Building awareness and letting folks know that there are ways to manage MS beyond traditional western medicine.
  8. Research! There is so much new information about MS on social media and in books.
  9. Become my own health advocate. No one is going to do it for me!
  10. My Christian community at church.
  11. 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.
Get ready to go with the flow and let's do this!
Time to become friends with our MS!



Thursday

Tips for Thriving with MS - #TakethatMS

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:

:Anger Management:


:Reduce Stress:  

:Life Coaching Webinars - FREE

Get started with some basics:  Let yourself be Safe, Happy, Healthy and at Peace this year.



:Life Skills: 



Webisode 5:  Asking the people around me for help and offering help as a care partner.


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?

#takethatMS

Tuesday

MS Diet - Try this food, not that food.

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:

  1. Processed foods (too many additive, hidden wheat and sodium)
  2. Gluten
  3. Carbohydrates in general
  4. 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).
  5. Red meat
  6. Other meat
  7. Fried food
  8. High sodium

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.

Time to do this!

#takethatMS