Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day

Big step for me yesterday ! For the first time since the injury I was able to get out to the woods and walk. Okay, it was simply walk from the car to the bathroom, but a huge step due to different terrain. Walking on grass is still completely out because of the uneven surface and walking on paved sidewalks can get tricky because of cracks and slight differences in heights from square to square. It's something that you never even think about when you are a normal , mobile person, but have that mobility challenged, and it becomes a major issue. My knee and leg still feel  very weak , but growing stronger. We got out to make a run to Goodwill to drop off a donation, then drove to the woods and then around town for a bit. With the sunroof down and the sun shining , it felt like Heaven to get out and soak up some Vitamin D. !It is crazy to think that between walking to the car, walking to the bathroom, and a short stop at the parking lot where I fell and received the injury ( sort of a get back on the horse kind of gesture), I got in about 4 times as much walking than in a normal day now. After we came back home we spent an hour playing Wii bowling, tennis, Rabbids and more. It's not what a normal person would consider to be an "active" weekend, but for us right now it definitely was... and the activity  level will grow !

We had a great salad for dinner- grilled chicken( George Foreman Grill) on top roast veggies and romaine.

Take a bulb of fennel and slice it, one onion, half pound baby bellas , quartered, one zucchini , sliced, a half pound asparagus and one red pepper, chopped. Place them in a zip lock and sprinkle 1/2 t garlic powder, 1/2 t black pepper, 1/2 t dried rosemary and 2 T balsamic vinegar. Toss to coat and spread on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes , or till veggies are tender.

I am going to add a hall walking routine to my exercise this week. I am still feeling a little shaky with the actual walking , and at least walking the halls I have a wall to grab onto if my knee gives out ( which it does on occasion still). Boy...actual walking program and abundant fresh veggies- can the old me be far behind ??

Monday, May 30, 2011

Winner, winner , chicken dinner with a side of the strange.

Dejunking - it's a good thing. Dejunking with your family and not falling into a mindset of "my stuff but their junk", even better ! Time taken to make some major areas stop looking like a goat exploded and allow occupants to access more easily if you plan on exercising that day as well- not such a good thing. Experiencing an all day rain while doing it- an added justification to it all. So we sorted, we weeded, we dusted, we washed, be vacuumed, but no "exercise". In my mind all of this was movement, movement is exercise so it's potato, poTAto...

Sunday dinners of late have meant one thing- brined and roasted whole chicken !!
Have you ever brined a chicken ? If not , it is something you simply must try . Take a whole chicken, make a solution of 1 cup kosher salt, 1/4 cup sugar and about a gallon of water ( enough to cover the chicken completely) , place in a container and refrigerate at least 8 hrs. Then remove the chicken, rinse, let it air dry on a rack for 30 minutes and then bake at 350 for 2 hours. This week I also roasted Mr Bird breast side down and it was even better. The chicken seems to be the constant here now, but the sides get mixed up. The two I made this week were nutritious, delicious and something that would not make my body hurt the next day .

 Roast chicken, Garlic linguini with Kale and Zucchini Medley

Garlic Linguine with Kale

  6 cloves  garlic -- crushed ( or garlic powder if you will, to taste)
  1 lb  kale -- stems removed, leaves cut into bite size pieces
  2 tbsp  olive oil
  1 tsp  salt (optional)
 1/4tsp  pepper
3/4 lb  linguine pasta

Bring large pot of water to boil. Add kale and salt. Simmer 1 minute or until kale begins to wilt.
Add pasta. Cook 8-10 minutes or until pasta is al dente. While pasta is cooking, heat oil and garlic
 in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring 2 minutes until heated throughout. Remove from heat.
 Drain pasta and kale. Transfer to serving bowl. Add oil and garlic.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss before serving. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired ( I skipped this for mine- no dairy)

Zucchini Skillet

3 cups  diced sweet potatoes
1/3 cup  bone broth
2 cups  diced zucchini
1 cup  diced red onion
1 cup  frozen corn
1/2 cup  green onion -- sliced
1 red pepper -- diced ( this is a nightshade, but has so much color and flavor I decided to see if I could tolerate it)
1 clove  garlic -- minced
1/4 cup  chopped parsley
1teaspoon  ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon  chili powder

In a covered large skillet, saute the sweet potatoes in water for about 10 minutes.
 Add zucchini, red onions, corn, green onions, red peppers, green peppers, and garlic.
Saute in water until vegetables are tender. Add remaining ingredients and allow flavors
to blend. Serves 6. ( the leftovers will make a nice snack or lunch side)

After the dejunking we were kind of tired out and spent the evening watching some "interesting" tv. TLC, which used to be The Learning Channel, seems to have become "The Looney Channel", featuring just about every strange sub sector of life imaginable.We caught episodes of Extreme Couponing  and debated , then a new series called My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, in which the gowns worn are so big and heavy that the women are often left cut and bruised. And I thought wearing narrow toed shoes and underwire bras were bad...this left me just shaking my head. What fun ! Today the sun is out, we have only a handful of must do things, so it promises to be a fun, interesting day .

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Look , mom ! Another way to work out with the Wii !

Yesterday , while making a library run, my husband found a new "exertoy" (exercise toy) to use with the Wii game. Enter Yoga !
I was really excited to give this one a try  ! I have enjoyed the Yoga selections with Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus, but they offer a really limited amount of instruction on how to do the poses. Other disadvantage is that you must use the balance board with these, so if you are over 330 lbs or working as a group, this is a limiting thing. With Yoga for Wii you can work without the board, AND several people can follow along at the same time. Kind of becomes an at home yoga class that you can do at your own convenience.  We immediately popped this one in the machine and went through a yoga session as a family. 20 minutes later, with everyone working to their own abilities , but as a group, we determined that this was a must buy game. Even my husband , who has not been as impressed with yoga poses in the past, found this to be a great way to do things. He was left with a feeling of being more himself than he had been all week.

I would recommend this one to anyone who needs a gentle way to work out. It has plenty of cautions with the explanations of how each pose is preformed for a person to make the decision if they should execute that pose or not. There is a training mode ( walks you through the poses of your choice) Routine mode where you can select a sequence of poses for your own yoga workout and a Story Mode which explains the different disciplines of yoga, history of yoga and much more . You can use the Balance Board with this, and it can be helpful to correct errors you are making in your form.

Later that evening we opted to play the silly Rabbids games with the Wii. Dancing, sledding on the back of a beestie, doing a bizarre hygiene regimen with the silly bunnies and more.  It was a lot of laughs, and the best part of it was spending the time together moving without me having to worry about stepping wrong and doing harm to my knee. It's not the Olympics, but it's a far better thing than sitting watching TV or merely clicking a mouse.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Weigh in week one

We all weighed in this morning, and I feel very conflicted about  writing a post about it ! Way back in November of 2007 we had one of those lightbulb/lightning strike moments that began a weight loss journey as a family. We began using the Weight Watchers 123 program , lost consistently for a while, and then the scale froze, weird health problems came into play , frustration became the rule of the day and Saturday Mornings became the thing that colored the whole week. Not healthy for mind, body or spirit. We decided to completely stop, simply eat real food, and shortly after that I got hurt, exercise stopped for the whole family and we stopped eating a lot fo fruits and veggies . The reason for this was that I could not make it to the grocery store  myself so I sent the guys with detailed list of what to buy according to the sale flyers. Problem is the sale flyers are TERRIBLE for listing what fresh fruits and veggies they actually carry that week, the guys were trying very hard to not buy too much or two little, and the result was us eating only apples, bananas, frozen blueberries and the 3 main frozen veggies that are always available ( corn, broccoli, green beans). That was where we were. My injury is finally healed, I am as weak as a kitten with no muscle, and it's time to get back to where we need to be. I noticed the guys had gained weight, my bras were getting tight, but I refuse to put us all into the state we were when we pulled the weight loss plug. This time things are going to be very, very different. Monday we debated going back to the practice of weighing in on Saturdays ( after Bob stepped on the Wii and saw what his weight was and I told him what mine was), and I promised that I would not let the scale become the center of the world . The silly thing is , the scale was not making me crazy, but the accountability with blogging and weight loss email groups was the crazy maker. The weight loss journey is not a guaranteed mathematical program with consistent results every week for all people. Many factors come into play with  that journey, and in all cases there are non movement/food related reasons for this. Hormones can affect it. Food reactions can affect it.The body's metabolic response affects it. When you try  and try everything in your power to lose but keep coming up with a stall or gain for unknown reasons, the Blogging Community suddenly becomes very non supportive. I believe it is because the struggle the person is facing makes the reader  examine their very own journey and come face to face with the reader's very own flaw in the ointment. Rather than self correct, it's more comfortable to lash out at another from a computer keyboard.

So I strongly debated not mentioning the scale process at all for this reason. In my own case , the only reason I have to drop the weight is to take pressure off my joints and better manage arthritis. My blood sugar/cholesterol/blood pressure /enzymes are all healthy. Same with my husbands. Obesity is not the cause of health problems , but rather a symptom of problems. Just because a person is overweight does not mean that they are sick. In fact, statistically overweight women have a lower incidence of Osteoporosis, severe menopause symptoms and much more.( the weight makes for constant weight bearing exercise and body fat mimics estrogen). I have no desire to wear a bikini ( prefer a garment you can actually swim in), could care less about fashion or public opinion of my shape. I simply want joints that work right. My husband wants to lose weight because of his annual company wellness screening ( impacts their group insurance plan). With my son, I want him to lose weight because he is at a weight where normal furniture breaks from his weight. So, with this being said, and our reasons, I now report the numbers. Both Bob and I are taking the number we got on the Wii as our starting number. Nick is too heavy for the Wii balance board, so is number is a complete start.
Me- 280   this week 276.8 ( down 3.8)
Bob 290   this week 288.4 ( down 1.6)
Nick  431.2
Nick's number is confusing at best. When we began last time, the number we estimated that he began at was 420. He was 15 yrs old and had no muscle definition. Now he is 19, has muscle definition and has gone through a time of serious physical muscle development. Consider the growth of an average boy between the ages of 15 and 19 , and determine what is muscle, what is bone and what is fat. He has grown 3 inches as well, so I am not sure what the real deal is. I do believe that he must lose weight  though, if nothing else to stop breaking beds and chairs !

So there you have it. Our start this time . Let the show begin !

Friday, May 27, 2011

Salad creative

In spite of the cold , damp creaking weather of yesterday, I achieved another level in activity. I combined all of the yoga poses that I could successfully do, added Standing Palm Tree, and was able to do a 10 minute session of yoga. Later I did 3 minutes of boxing and 25 minutes of canoeing with the Wii Sports Resort.  It was more than I had hoped for , considering the conditions of the day and my decision to avoid pain medications. For some reason , either the new Yoga pose, the length of yoga work or the condition of the day , afterwords my knee was feeling very compromised and weak. This morning it is still very "dodgy", so it is going to be a day of strict upper body type work.

It was the day before any grocery shopping, and the dinner plan included a salad. However, I miscalculated our produce needs the week before, so I was left with romaine, a sweet potato, some nuts and the need for creativity . From this was born the following salad :
   Take the sweet potato, cube it, sprinkle with cinnamon and roast at 350 for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, chop some pecans, toss in a frying pan and heat to roast . Place lettuce in a bowl, slice an apple to place on the lettuce and add the roasted sweet potatoes and warmed nuts. Very yummy  ! We had this with cold boiled shrimp, the leftover mango black bean salsa and some blue corn tortilla chips. Very colorful  , and a lot of good nutrition in this meal.

Any plans your your weekend ? For us we have commitments on Saturday and Sunday that keep us home. However if the weather holds , on Monday we are going to make it back down to the cemetery to visit the family graves and pay respects. I am seeing these people in a whole different light since my adventure with Ancestry this winter. Hard to find the words to describe those changes, but it's a good one.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Boxing is fun ! Even better with my son !

Every day there is more progress, and with every improvement I get excited !  Each new accomplishment brings me closed to the old me, and even closer to the me that used to do daredevil things ( and pay for it with many injuries). It's kind of like opening presents on Christmas morning - "wow , knee ! Thanks for this .....- I really wanted one !!!" I intended to attempt The Warrior one pose, and I did it ! It did move from muscle strain hurt to feeling like it was too much for my knee to handle after a couple of repetitions, so I stopped. However, that was not all that I did for the day:

4x Warrior 1 pose to the count of 10 ( first since injury)
2x Downward Dog to the count 10 ( improved from 1x to count of 3)
10x Bridge pose held to count of 10 ( improved from 5x)
18 min Wii boxing- never underestimate how much of a sweat you'll get with this "toy"
30 min Walk it out- again never underestimate the sweat value with this one
15 min Bowling

The boxing came about with complete spontaneity. Nick and I were getting ready to exercise and we came across the original Wii Sports game, and a lightbulb went off. This game has boxing , and I remembered seeing one of the male contestants this past season doing a kind of seated shadow boxing as part of his workout when he was still quite heavy. He was breaking a sweat, and I decided that I would give this a whirl to see how it felt. Let me say, there is something hysterically fun about shadowboxing against your teenage son in a game ! We both laughed, got very sweaty and had a lot of fun . I forsee a lot more of this in the future  for us.
Dinner was a new  recipe that had me drooling with the thought of the colors that this would paint on the plate- Salmon with Black Bean Mango Salsa (  no tomatoes , so nightshade free)

I served it on brown rice cooked in bone broth and had a tossed salad on the side. A very fresh tasting, arthritis friendly meal that needs a little help with the seasonings- the veggies in this one are kind of bland, so it is not as flavorful as the name sounds.Tomatoes and peppers would help, but both are out for me because they are nightshades. With the salmon I cooked it in a pan with coconut oil ( lauric acid in this is very good for your body) and a little salt and pepper . Lay it on the rice and top with the salsa

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
2 fresh mango cut into 3/4-inch cubes
half a bag of frozen corn
1/4 cup  chopped onion
1/4 cup coarsely chopped, fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Combine beans, mango, corn, onion and cilantro in a medium bowl. Stir in lime juice and garlic .

It's a very cold, very wet day here today , and my biggest goal is to get in some kind of movement and avoid pain medication. Before the diet change and gentle movements , days like this would find me grabbing the Aleve or Motrin just to be able to get out of bed. That worried me greatly because long term use of those medications can be very bad for your overall health. Improvement is that I can move at all on such a day, and will probably improve as I go on. We have also decided to step on the real scale this Saturday morning to see where we are. Both Bob and I are going to use the number we first got on the Wii as our number for last week, and see what the real scale says. Mister Wii Fit has suddenly failed to recognize the weight of anything, so we cannot use that game or see what , if any, scale progress is happening. Nick and I even attempted to weigh a 5 lb bag of flour, and it could not find it. 
Have a great day !

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cod Packets

Food can make a big difference in the way you feel and the way your body preforms. Certain foods can actually benefit people with different conditions. For those with arthritis, one of the beneficial foods is fish, and oily fish like salmon, tuna and trout are preferred. Non oily fish is also beneficial, and mild flavored fish are a very good way to start consuming fish.

There is cause for concern when choosing fish today. Farm raised salmon is often contaminated with harmful substances, tuna has been found to contain unsafe levels of Mercury, tilapia  shown to be not safe recently , and there is always a danger of eating a fish from warm waters that has consumed red algae ( making the fish  neurotic). Out of all the fish in the ocean, those that are larger and inhabiting cold waters are safest it seems. This would include Atlantic Cod and Halibut. Both have a very mild  flavor, but Cod seems to be the easiest to come by. My new regimen is to eat fish three times a week and red meat only once, and so I have been investigating fish recipes that are healthy , easy and family friendly . Last night was one of our current favorites- Foil Packed Cod with lemon, bay and dill.

To make this dish you will need a cod fillet per person, two or three bay leaves( fresh is nicest if you can find it), three slices of lemon, two teaspoons of butter ( why I can eat butter with no problem but not milk or yogurt is a total mystery to me), salt , pepper , dried dill and some aluminum foil. Take a piece of foil about 20 inches long, and in the center place the lemon slices, bay leaf, fillet,butter slices and then sprinkle with salt, pepper and dried dill.
Sort of like making a sandwich, or a stack of something .

Then grab the long sides, fold the edges together tightly, twist/crimp the ends together and place on a cookie sheet ( better if it is extremely well worn and begging to be replaced. Why better ? it indicates it has been a good friend in your kitchen and has not let you down !)

Place in a 425 oven for 25 minutes- or 30 minutes if you forget how quickly fish cooks in a foil back and for a minute think you are cooking a very thin chicken breast. When done, open the packet slowly, away from your face to avoid steam burns. I served it with quinoa- another favorite grain in this house. Quinoa is high in protien, low in gluten and comes out soft, slightly chewy and looking like tiny Saturn balls on your plate

We also had a big tossed salad with this , filled with joint and body friendly foods- romaine, cucumbers, sliced almonds,sliced mushrooms, jicama and avacado. Made for a yummy dinner !
This morning I am feeling confident about trying to add one yoga position to my routine- The Warrior. I have been hesitant because it can be stressful on your knees, but I think if I approach it slow and gentle, I can do it. It's a great pose to build up your thigh muscles and hips which will help me in recovery.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Progress step one

Interesting- for some reason I was not able to get into my Blogger account all morning. Different automatic program updates sometime play havoc with existing programs, and it is always interesting to sort out the aftermath. All is well, mischief managed and onward !

I had a small indicator of progress today. For the first time, I was able to get on the Wii balance board all by myself- okay, with the aid of my cane , but not with a spotter. One thing that I have been severely challenged to do since the fall is to climb any kind of stair, curb or even step over a pencil on the ground. It has to do with the way your foot comes in contact with a surface when you step down. For that matter I still cannot walk in shoes because of the way they place pressure on my knee when I step.( I have a pair of Deerfoam ballet sort of slippers that I wear). These factors have made life really challenging for some things , to say the least. With doing yoga, Qi Gong and other gentle exercise the joint is getting stronger and more flexible, and today it felt strong enough to climb up that gargantuan 3 inch step. Mister Wii rewarded me by saying I was wiggling and made me get on and off 10 times before it could "find" me. That  amount of "climbing" hurt, but I did it and things seem no worse for wear because of it. Picture a middle aged woman , climbing a tiny step , holding white knuckled to a cane all the while . Wonder if this is similar to the scene with the mountaineer explorers in the past ??

I was also able to add a modified variation of another yoga move- the Single Leg Spinal Twist.

The idea with this one is to attempt to turn your body into a Twizzler stick :-) In the beginning, you bring your bent leg as close to the ground as possible without pain, lay the opposite arm as flat as possible in the other direction and breath deeply. It stretches your spine and opens up your lungs , while working on flexibly in your hips. I started this one, thought of those cartoons where the character is wrung out like a dishrag and could not stop laughing ! Yes, I am easily amused sometimes.

Today a 3 inch step...can actual stairs be far behind ???

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bridges, cobras and discovering their worth

Cleaning mission accomplished yesterday. I man sound odd, but a freshly cleaned, organized space is like getting a great big breath of fresh air and a whole new perspective . It feels so settling and renewing ! When a room is freshly cleaned, I feel like I have been handed a new start. When that room is my own bedroom, it feels even better.

We spent the whole afternoon sifting, cleaning and organizing, then enjoyed a brined roast chicken for dinner. Have you ever brined meat ? It is a simple way to turn a good thing into something amazing. You place your meat ( poultry or pork- beef does not work so well) in a solution of kosher salt and sugar for 8 hrs and then cook. The salt helps the protein molecules take on more moisture, and the result is a moist, tasty meat. If it is a whole chicken for a small family, it makes an incredible way to stretch your food dollar. Yummy roast chicken for one meal , leftover meat can make 3 meals( chicken salad for 2 says in our case ) and then the bones , combined with some carrots, onions, celery and water with a small amount of vinegar makes for a large bot of chicken bone broth to be used for soup, cooking grains  or simply to drink on its own.It's a meal worth considering in these tight times.

After dinner we watched some mindless TV and I got inspired to try to do my Qi Gong exercises and attempt to do a very light session of yoga. Certain postures make me very nervous right now due to the stress they could put on my knee ( such as The Warrior), but others like The Bridge, The Cobra and Downward Dog seemed like a good idea. Very gentle but affective stretches. I tried the Bridge first, and was amazed at how tight and stressed my thighs and calves felt !This pose really works your thighs and calves, and I never realized to what degree before.
Instantly I got the beginning of a Charley Horse in the thigh of the injured leg ! I stopped, massaged it, stretches a little and then tried again. I was able to do about 5 of these, holding for the count of ten. I did not want to push it incase I experienced a backlash in the morning. With Yoga , the idea is to work muscles in one direction, then the opposite  and so I did the reverse with something I felt I could safely do - The Cobra
This felt AMAZING on my spine and hips !It opens up your chest and seems to give your kidneys a great big hug while massaging your digestive tract. I wanted to just stay there in that pose for hours, but forced myself to repeat the same duration and repetitions as I did for The Bridge. I realized that this was not completely the reverse motion, do I attempted one of my former favorite poses , Downward Dog
This one was very shaky feeling on my knee, and at about the count of three I felt a not so productive pain in my injured knee, so I stopped. I considered doing this pose to the count of three to be my starting point, and I will try again in a day or two. You can feel this one elongating the backs of your thighs and hamstrings while stretching out the muscle in your lower back.

I feel really good about the overall progress ! I have gone from completely sedentary and stiff to beginning moving, a little less stiff and energized in a week . It's only going to get better from here.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

You can tun a piano, but you can't beat tuna fish !

Yesterday was supposed to be a day of housework, veggie prep and cooking. Wound up being all that and an afternoon of Wii with the whole family. It was a lot of fun , and served as a reminder that we need to do this a lot more often . Like I said, when mama turns her attitude right, it becomes viral !

For dinner we had a tossed salad with tuna ( romaine, jicama,cucumbers, mushrooms, avocado, sliced almonds and tuna), and I remembered just how much I love a tossed salad with tuna ! For almost 2 years, with my weight loss/reverse infertility diet I had this for lunch daily. It seemed to be exactly what my body was craving  back then. Last night it just simply sounded wonderful, and became an occasion to break my ban on commercial salad dressings. For the last couple of months I have made our own salad dressings because it was the smarter move health wise. All of these involved either some form of dairy or a tomato product. This was done because flavored vinegars( a great dressing option ) became way too harsh on both mine and my husband's stomachs. Now with the elimination of dairy and nightshades, such a move is no longer possible. Sometimes you have to compromise to get to your goal ! Incidentally , we do not eat soy in any form but soy sauce because of the extremely harmful effects on the body. I have not experimented making dressings with Almond or Rice milk yet, so the commercial brands win for now.

Today's plan is to deep clean some areas of our bedroom . Who knows what treasures we will find ?? A fabulous brined roasted chicken is on the menu for dinner, and I have a feeling some more exer-play will find us again the afternoon.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Calcium of many colors

Another good day  yesterday. 60 minutes of exercise (walking, Qi Gong, cycling, strength training) followed by another 60 minutes of play ( Wii cycling, table tennis, seated dancing to the Michael Jackson experience). No pain afterwords and just an overall good feeling  left behind. I am beginning to question the accuracy of my Wii as to weight though. We use it on a carpeted floor with the special feet, but yesterday it had trouble reading both my son and self . According to it, I gained 1.82 lbs overnight. It is a very good thing that I am not doing this for weight loss ! Weight loss is simply a side benefit- physical stamina , flexibility and movement is the goal to overcome arthritis . Sadly, with the Wii fit it wants you to take a body test with weight before each session, so you kind of find out that number just by playing.

I had to spend some time "tweaking" our menu for next week.No dairy, no nightshades, high in fish, nuts, fruits, veggies and whole grains. I had a momentary concern about calcium , but realized calcium comes from a lot more than dairy. As a woman over 50 , osteoporosis is a concern . Raising a teen-aged boy also makes calcium a cause for pause. To reassure myself I did a little research into foods that are non dairy but high in calcium. Here is a list that I made based on that research :

Broccoli, watercress, kale and other dark leafy greens, okra,chick peas, almonds, sesame seeds, walnuts, tahini, salmon with bones,sardines with bones, figs, black strap molassess, sea vegetable like nori, tapioca

To reassure myself I made certain that our menu included these items. Oatmeal with almonds and black strap molasses, broccoli and kale for sides, seasoning blend made from nori, sesame seeds and other spices, fish at least 3 times a week and limit the red meat to 2 meals per week.

As long as the Rapture does not happen today, it should be a good week !

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hanging up my Dairy Queen crown

I had a FANTASTIC day yesterday ! After discovering that both dairy and nightshades are a problem, I have been thinking of ways to  live without them , and on Wednesday I was able to cut them completely from my diet. Thursday was a day that was pain free, and movement could happen easy. And so move I did . Through a combination of Qi Gong, walking and Wii games, I got in 52 minutes of exercise ! No dairy or nightshades means no pain, no need for pain medications and movement can happen. Even more interesting was that the Wii said I had lost 1.32 pounds overnight, before I did a single moment of exercise for the day. Could it be that perhaps one of my weight issues has been caused by dairy ???? As a child I would drink almost a gallon of milk a day , and throughout my whole life I have been a big dairy fan with the consumption of milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream. Is it possible that this 'healthy" habit has been a root cause of other issues in my life ? It boggles my mind to consider, but it is indeed possible.

The movement felt really, really good and I was pain free until I did a funny side step while preparing dinner, and then I had to take an Advil to make the throbbing stop. This morning I have no soreness, no stiffness from perhaps pushing too hard, so I am good to go once again.

Living without dairy and nightshades is going to prove to be a bit of a challenge for some of our family favorites. Spaghetti is out ( nightshades), most casseroles are out ( dairy or nightshades or both) and pizza is death. ( Not really, but you get the idea). The planned meal for yesterday was spaghetti, so a substitution needed to be made. Enter in polenta !

( not mine, but from the web)
Polenta , in my mind, is this great canvas that you can pile things on. I took the sausage and cooked it with mushrooms and onions, and then topped it on polenta that I made with chicken bone broth , garlic and salt . To make polenta , take 6 to 8 cups of liquid, bring it to  rolling boil and then using a wire whisk and keeping the liquid moving, slowly pour in a stream of cornmeal ( about a cup)  while constantly stirring. Cook while constantly stirring for about 10 minutes and pour into bowls ( or pour into a pan, cool and cut into shapes to bake or whatever). Polenta can be topped with so many things , and it makes for a different from the norm kind of side.  Add a tossed salad and you have a very filling meal .

I feel like I am on a roll now- let the momentum continue !

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wearing the Cone of Shame

It seems to be really difficult to fall back into the pattern of blogging every day ! It's like part of your brain misses that regular message to do such and such , and it takes an extraordinary event to kick things back into gear. I got mine yesterday, and it is forcing me to not only blog , but wear the cone of shame , like the dog in the movie Up that did not do as he should

Yes, it is unpleasant to wear, but you have to suck it up and pull on the big girl panties.

What made me don the Cone of Shame ? It came in the form of a friend. For the last week I have been getting back into a very , very modified exercise program because the injury saw me spending lots and lots of days doing absolutely nothing. It was necessary to let it heal, but lack of movement and the injury made my arthritis flair terribly, and even standing up brought pain. When I reached the six month mark I realized that things were as healed as they are going to get and now I better start working on rebuilding muscle and getting flexibility back, so I started doing some Qi Gong exercises. Qi Gong is like Tai Chi- designed to increase flexibility, mobility and vitality. 

Like the gentleman in the above picture, minus the white suit and flowering trees in the background.Every day brings a little more mobility , and finally I felt confident enough to go for a very short walk outside. Something like 10 minutes, and my legs started feeling shaky enough that I was afraid of falling and re-injuring myself , so I stopped. 10 minutes is a start though, and I mentioned the walk on Facebook- where everybody is talking at everyone else about nothing at all  . One of my long time friends commented that she is also trying to get back into the swing after a nasty bout of a respiratory illness, and it unfolded that we would be exercise buddies to encourage each other. She is recovering, a homeschool mom of 10 children , athletic abilities are the same as mine , so it is a good match. We both have the Wii Fit, and we are including it in part of our daily plans. She would focus more on the aerobic and yoga, me on the balance and yoga at the moment.

So, yesterday for the first time in 197 days, I got on the Wii Fit balance board. For any of you who have the game, you know what that means- the body test. Balance abilities and.....your weight. Here is where the cone of shame comes in- I learned that all this inactivity and focusing on balancing my hormones AND helping my son overcome more of his challenges of Autism through diet  has seen me gain 27 1/2 pounds.

Good news is, I know how I gained it . Bad news is , I am not completely sure what dietary approach is going to help to make these pounds and friends go away. Some things are certain- daily exercise is a must. Another thing that is certain- dairy foods and any food from the nightshade family ( tomatoes, eggplant, peppers amongst them ) , foods high in oxalic acid ( spinach, cranberries and such) and foods high in purines ( organ meats and red meat) bring on horribly nasty arthritis flairs, so they are banished from the house. Foods that are beneficial are oily fish, nuts, any fruits and veggies that are not from the above categories and a moderate level of whole grains. These foods help me to feel good, have more movement and should help to remove the weight. Losing weight puts less pressure on the joints , and less pressure means more mobility and a more active life.
The guys have not stepped on the scale , but they are in agreement to support me in this. It seems that however mom operates, the rest of the family will follow. If mom sits like a slug from pain, the others will join her in sympathy. If mom stats moving , the others will happily join in because it looks like a good idea. Mom seems to be the keystone, and this keystone is back in the modified for mobility issues saddle !

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Movin and groovin !

Have you ever tried to release a screw that has become rusted shut to a surface ? Hard to do , but not impossible when you spray a little WD40 on it. That is how I feel after being so sedimentary for so long ! I believe I actually heard my knees creaking while I started moving again.

I am officially at a level of speed, fitness and endurance that a 10 minute old baby is at. Like a 10 minute old baby, I will stretch , move and improve. I decided to use a Qi Healing workout, the stationary pedal bike and just simple walking to start. The Qi is a very gentle movement routine recommended for arthritis sufferers, Seniors and people who wish to improve flexibility. I pulled out my DVD routine this morning with the intention of doing the full half hour routine, but found that after 10 minutes I had to stop. My spine has become so tight from the inactivity that the twist were starting to make me feel very dizzy and off balance. No problem- 10 minutes is a good starting point ! I then moved to the bike and was able to get in 5 minutes of pedaling before my knee was feeling discomfort. Again, not perfect , but a great start. A few minutes later I began hall walking. Still using my cane  because every now and then for no reason my knee totally gives out. I am able to do 5 minute sessions of this right now, several times throughout the day. Again, not a perfect thing, but after almost 6 months of recovery time, a fantastic start. The idea is to rebuild muscle, increase strength and NOT re-injure the knee.

Day one down...onward and upward !

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Back to my regularly scheduled life

After 3 months and who knows how many hours, I finally said enough to Ancestry.com for now. It's not that it was not worth it or that I didn't find anything- on the contrary I kept finding things that were amazing, inspiring and thought provoking, and I can say they have changed my life. Problem is they are still there for discovery- some branches of my family tree stretch back into the Dark Ages , and with the specific data comes a lot of historical information that can be very compelling reading when you realize it is speaking about your ancestor. As long as we were paying for a subscription, I was bound and determined to get my moneys worth and learn all that I can. End result is that everything else took a back seat ! Everything except cooking nourishing foods, homeschooling and the necessary household upkeep .

So I decided to end my subscription and get back to my regular life . Back to blogging, studies, getting strong. The injury is finally healed, but it combined with minimal movement has made the arthritis a very serious issue again. Modified strength training is the order of the day, and the inclusion of a new supplement SAMe is proving to be very helpful. First order of buisness is to get into some kind of regular exercise routine that will not aggravate. My first thought is the Wii and some work on the modified stationary bike( just two pedals on a small frame).