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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

During my adult lifetime, I have been everything from a size 6 to a size 22.  After years of up and down and not liking crowded closets, I have settled on having rubbermaids labeled 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 and I used to have 18, but I got rid of it last year.  For ever!!!

While I have not gotten back to my weight lifting and aerobic exercise routine I had before my heart problems came up, I am serious about how I eat.  After open heart surgery, I found out I was one of the 26.9 % of people who develop Type II diabetes.  During 2009, I laid off of sweets, to a large degree, and went even lower on salt than I already was.  I cut out red meat, for the most part.  My doctor told me that it will not kill me to eat a piece of cake for my birthday and I have occasionally done so.  Did I mention that I have three official birthdays a year?

Salad for breakfast

In the beginning vegan diet, there was salad to eat. I was hungry 24/7 and now salad is but one part of my diet

Then, I found out that my heart surgery had failed and I had 70% blockage in a vein at the entry point to my heart. I am no longer a candidate for further open heart surgery, so I decided to go vegan.

First, let me say, in no way has this been an easy battle.  The first two months of a plant based diet seemed to be the magical formula.  I lost two pounds a week, but was continually hungry and never satisfied.  It’s the same plant based, no oil diet that President Clinton went on after his heart problem.  Only thing is, I do not have a chef to make the food taste good and the creator of the diet has the wierdest taste buds on earth.  He puts sweet potatoes or sweet squash in everything, along with about 26 more ingrediants) and frankly only sweet and sour chicken is a sweet/sour mix I like.

I am now eating Vegetarian and hoping to work my way back to Vegan.  With the help of three cholesterol busters (medications) and my no meat diet (and there is the very, very occasional hamburger out) I have reduced my clogging from 70% to 50%. You can do that.

Now, if I can just get my body back on the treadmill and weight bench, I can maybe get some of those rubbermaids emptied out to Good Will.

Bon Appetite!

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69.8 million families, in this United States, live on Social Security and/or Federal Pension.  Those checks cover anywhere from one to —— people/adults and children in a family.

IF OUR government cannot get its act together, 69.8 million families will not get a check (and that includes the military) on the Third of August.  What will happen????

1. First, no direct deposit or card to pay that money.

2. No deposit, EQUALS, no money to pay the mortgage, utilities, doctors, gasoline, car repairs, house repairs, food, school clothing, book rental.  For one month, we will sit in our HOT homes (my husband has COPD and by the end of the month will most likely be in the hospital.) opening bank statement overdraft fees, and mortgage late payments, and, after the freezer is all melted, canned goods.  Not to speak of the student loan that I could not cancel the automatic withdrawal on in time.  That would certainly rank under the mortgage, if I could have.

3.  The end of the month will see us walking three miles away to have a free dinner at Mother’s Cupboard, well some of us.  My husband could not walk that length even in 70 degree weather.

4.  I will cancel the MRI for my possible crushed disc, in my back that is causing intense cyatic pain.

5.  We will not order medicine that we run out of.

6.  We already cancelled our land line but have a contract on the cell, so I guess they just turn it off without payment, but you still owe it.

7. What happens to your health and life insurance premiums?  I think I have two months before I am in default and lose my health insurance.

8.  Our income is already under $20,000 a year.  We have a nineteen year old with one more semester of high school, long story, he wasn’t being homeschooled when we took him, so he had problems.  One boy was just deployed to Afghanistan and one boy is working in food service and paying his own student loans and gas and food bills.

9.  Just wanted to give you a taste of our world.

MY PROPOSAL:

Every single one of those families need to write to every Congressman, senator, tea party, republican and democrat and send them a bill for the actual and mental damages when this happens.  Maybe that will wake them up.  Do you know a good Class Action lawyer?

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Never mind that I have only cooked on holidays during the last twenty years.  Never mind the fact that I do not have a dishwasher.  I am cooking and have found a dish that will be a staple.   Excuse the storage container.  I could have made it much more appealing in a regular dish but then I would have had to wash one more dish, by hand.  Forget that!

This is Butternut Squash & Black Bean Chili.  Anything I tried to do with these winter squashes has been sweet, when I was going for regular meal food.  But, in this recipe, the Butternut Squash took on the chili flavor, like tofu does.  I took one bite and felt so satisfied. 

I found the recipe by googling for winter squash and, sorry to say, did not keep the link.  I did not have all the ingrediants they wanted, so I will post the altered recipe here.  I am also cutting every recipe in half now so that I am not throwing out as much food when I don’t like it. 

So, here is my version of Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili for VEGAN NO OIL

1 medium onion diced and sauted with
1 clove garlic
1/2 cubed butternut squash
When browned and soft, add:
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 can tomato sauce
1 T chili powder
Vegetable broth to thickness you want
pepper to taste
Simmer 15 minutes.

You can even serve this in a mini pumpkin.  That would have made a great picture.
What I did not have was cumin or smoked paprika. 
They used 2 cups vegetable broth, but I like thick chili and used maybe 3/4 cup.

I am happy too that eating this way has resolved a gnawing feeling that I often have, at night, in my stomach.  Day one and two were agonizing and by day three, it seemed relatively easy.  Anyone have a dishwasher for sale, cheap?

Here, also, is my “Simple No-Tahini Hummus.”  It’s not as spreadable as it should be, but grandson said it tasted good.  I just have to figure out what to do with it.

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In 2007, I faced mortality when I had emergency heart surgery and stayed in intensive care for six days.  This post is about a woman learning to be a vegan, and not for altruistic reasons either.  I wish I was that altruistic. A little back story is in order here.

I have this theory:  Two people with intense medical histories should not procreate.  I am the product of a family with cancer and a family with cancer and heart disease:  A double whammy.  I have been fortunate, through the intervention of the medical establishment who has managed to remove just about every non-essential or redundant organ in my body, to have dodged the cancer bullet.   

My brother died at age 46 from non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.  He did not believe in going to the doctor and waited for three months after he found a lump.  That, and five direct ancestors and three not-direct-line relatives, and an HMO, took his life.

In 2005, I watched as my mother deteriorated from heart disease.  She survived breast cancer but had/has congestive heart failure and all of her heart valves were/are leaking.  I said, “not me” and began a program of alternating aerobics and weight lifting.  Me, whose mother told me “ladies don’t sweat,” who was always picked last for any sport in gym, who was winded from walking up the library stairs, I was now loving weight lifting.

In 2005 and for nine months, I watched my diet and exercised.  I lost two dress sizes and not a single bleeding pound.  Yes, muscle does weigh more than fat, apparently.  I could now run up the library stairs without a thought though.  I beat it.  I would not suffer what my mother was.  I would be in great health.  Then, I woke up one morning exhausted. 

It progressed for two years until the aforementioned heart surgery.  Sorry, guess it was a lot of back story, but here we are.  Fast forward to early 2010.  I am eating good enough that I have lost thirty pounds, and am eating a fairly low fat diet.  I’ve never been much of a beef eater, although the rare Prime Rib is appealing.  I like turkey burgers, chicken and fish.  I’m happy.  Then, I go to the doctor.

My G.P. is concerned that I am tired again (that seems to be a main symptom of many women’s heart problems.  Cardiologist does another Cardiac Catherization, as the stress test does not show a problem on me.  My blockage is still there.  The bi-pass failed.  The surgery did seem to take care of the spasm that was putting me in danger, though I am also on medication for that.  But, now I am one vein short, if I ever need one.

I am told that I am not a candidate for further heart surgery.  The blockage is at the heart, where a stint will not work.  Since it has not gotten worse in four years, I should just keep doing what I am doing.  WHAT?  Keep my fingers crossed???  That’s not me.

I had recently seen an interview with President Bill Clinton, who decided to do something about his heart blockage.  He went on a vegan, oil free diet.  It is based on a diet you can read about in  Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D. 

See more here:  http://www.heartattackproof.com/     and here, a modified version from his fireman son:  http://engine2diet.com/28-day-tools/

So, I started eating what I imagined this diet was, but every night dinner was whatever husband fixed for he and the boys because I was just so hungry.  Then, the book came and the fun began.  Stay tuned.

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Okay, I know that is supposed to be twelve but I am tired.

On the first day of Christmas , blah! blah! blah! a busted computer for me.
On the second day of Christmas, (insert) two dead cell phones
On the third day of Christmas —- A cough, a Dr. visit, and Whooping cough, Oh Joy!
On the fourth day of Christmas –Four medications
On the fifth day of Christmas — WINDOWS SEVEN
On the sixth day of Christmas — Husband with pneumonia and five medications
On the seventh day of Christmas — seven repeated tries using external modem

Okay, this is really lame, but all soooo true.

Hope your week is wonderful, warm and illness free.

I mean, who the heck gets whooping cough? Apparently, Me!

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The doctor will be so happy with me.  He  wanted me to lose 10 pounds and I have lost 20, since January.  Not dramatic, but permanent.  How did I do it, you ask?  Well, whether you are being polite or really want to know, I’ll tell you, because it might help someone.

I have been up and down and up and down most of my life.  The first time, after the birth of my two daughters, there was this carmel chewy diet cube called AIDS.  Now, I realize why they would pull it and rename it (this was before the virus) but I do not find it under any name.  I lost a lot of weight chewing those cubes and as I got lower, I started  doing yoga.

I love yoga.  I have turned to it many times in my life since and, while I am not doing it nightly, as I would like to, I still practice many of the techniques I learned from it.  I can make myself warm up in an otherwise cold environment when I do not have adequate clothing.  Anyway,

I have done little white pills, and no carbs, and a space age diet packet thing in the 70′s.  You lose weight on it all, but it comes back.  So, this time, I just decided to cut my portions in half, or near half to start with.  Lost some weight, cut out red meat except occasionally.  Lost some weight, so cut my portions again.  Lost some weight, so cut out sugary food.  (even though this is what I want to be eating  Cake Wrecks .You see the point here.  You take it one step at a time.

I have a good friend who quit drinking.  He felt he could not preach to his son, who was having a drug problem, when he was drinking.  Well, he felt so much better that he quit smoking.  He felt so much better, that he started walking.  He felt so much better he worked on his diet.   You see the point here?

When it is something you really want, you practice.  You pick up the instrument and you start with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and, when you want to lose weight, you practice for the time when you turn around and go, “I did it.  I’ve lost weight, I’m still losing, my blood sugar is good, my blood pressure is great and my blood counts are excellent.”

So, soon I will be back on the treadmill and I’m working up to the weights again.  I love lifting weights.  My energy is coming back and I’m cleaning up my downstairs studio.  I feel like I am living again.

Just thought you should know.  Good luck to you, too.

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I get very angry when I see the commercials telling people how we must “not let government come between us and our doctors.” 

I hope people realize that you already have two things standing between you and your doctors:  money and insurance companies.  The insurance companies are a profit organization, so do you really think that they are going to care that you need a $2,000 MRI?  Do you have the money to pay for a $2,000 MRI? 

What that means is, if you are older or have DNA at all similar to mine, that you are going to fall by the wayside.  I went with only a very tiny AARP insurance policy for several years and during that time, I developed heart problems.  My DNA is very faulty folks, but my problems are all controllable and treatable.  However, with my inadequate insurance, I almost died. 

You know, in this developed, advanced country.  With the “best medical care on earth.”  With insurance companies leading the way.  With government standing out of being between me and my doctor.  I had a doctor’s office tell me I was just suffering from stress for two years and, as soon as I paid the $1,000 off for my treadmill stress test, they just might order another test for me.  They even went so far as to call me up to come into their office one day and, me, fool that I am, driving there thinking “They’ve found out what is wrong with me.”  Only to be told that they did not want to see me for three months. 

Yes, they called me up to come in to tell me not to return for three months.  I was told that there was nothing wrong with me but stress and they did not want to see me in their office for three months; even though my blood pressure was 20 points different from one arm to the other, even though I was having heart palpitations and pain in my left arm, shoulder and jaw.  AND, they had the nerve to charge me $50 for the visit that I did not ask for.

Seven days later, I had emergency heart surgery.  I had a spasming artery and, you know what?  Their cardiologist had told me he thought I might have a spasming artery but added, “I only work here.”  In apology for the treatment I was not getting. 

St. Francis Hospital did not care that I did not have insurance.  They said they would work that out later, today was about saving my life, and they did.  Their doctor knew I did not have anywhere near adequate insurance but he ordered a Cardiac Catherization and when I woke up from it, I was admitted to the hospital and listening to the surgeon, who was out in the hall and on the phone rescheduling other patients to do my surgery.

Frankly, it is time that someone come between us and good medical care, and make sure we all receive same.

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