Category Health & Medical Tidbits

Vegetarian Challenge: The Conclusion

I ended up with a sinus infection toward the end of the challenge, which meant my time online was limited and I spent a lot of time sleeping. I also ended up anemic (more on that in a minute) which drug me down a lot and caused me to spend a lot of time sleeping, so I wasn’t able to post as much as I had planned, but I’m not ignoring the challenge and I will post some of the recipes soon too. But today the challenge ends, officially, and I thought I’d update you guys and gals on how it went.

First, though, let me say: I’m really glad I did this challenge. I highly recommend to you all that you consider doing a vegetarian challenge too. Not so you change your lifestyle or anything permanently, but so you can see how making minor changes in your diet can make major impact in your life. This challenge definitely did that for me. Huge differences in how I think about and plan meals, huge differences in how I budget and shop and plan, and huge differences in how I look at what should go on the dinner plate. These are changes I think are going to stay with me.

Vegetarian Challenge: C...

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Vegetarian Challenge: Week One Over

So it’s been one week on the vegetarian challenge, and I thought I’d post about a few things to let you know how the challenge is going. The first thing I have to do is confess to cheating: I ate meat. My mother came into town and gave me (yes, GAVE me) as a gift a wheelchair accessible lift van… what a gift that was to me! The freedom this thing will give me, to allow me to be able to go to the store sometimes on my own, take a drive, whatever, but also to make it so much easier on my family when we go somewhere to not have to lug around my wheelchair and load things up and unload things and have to wait on me… what a difference!

So the next night, I took her and my stepfather out to dinner at a place they’d been wanting to go to for a while: a Brazilian steakhouse. This is a place that serves skewered meats that are roasted over a fire, with the most amazing flavors and juices and and and–I couldn’t help it. I had to have some. I did limit the meat, instead of stuffing myself, and I filled up with as much salad and veggies as I could, but I still had filet Mignon with bacon, sausage, top round roast, lamb, shrimp and salmon. If you’ve never been to a Brazilian steakhouse, they come to your table with skewers or meat from a fire pit roasting and serve small portions of lots of different flavors of meat on your plate straight from the skewers. I mean, you simply don’t go there and not eat meat!

So yes, I cheated...

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Day 2: Vegetarian Challenge, Plans Change

One of the things that is important in doing fresh, natural, organic cooking at home instead of quick fix-processed foods is that you have to learn to be flexible. I’ve known this for a while now, since I’m trying to cook more and ‘buy’ less. When dealing with natural ingredients and limited shopping ability/time, you have to learn to adjust. What if you’re out of something? What if the tomatoes that were soft suddenly turn to mush and you don’t want to use them? (did you know you can juice or mash them before they start to mold and soft tomatoes you’d never use for a salad make a great juice or sauce?) Maybe your spinach is wilted or you find mold on your berries–or maybe you’re just out of something. What happens, you have to adjust and replan your meal, without it messing up your plans for other meals.

Of course, in the shopping, I always try to buy more things for a few ‘extras’ than I need, things I know I often run out of or things that store well but in a pinch can be substituted for something else. Last night, I knew we needed sweet potatoes to make the dish I wanted, but no one could make it to the store for me to buy the sweet potatoes I had forgotten. So, I had already made my black beans for the jerk sweet potatoes and black beans, but I had no sweet potatoes. I’m pretty sure when it’s in the name of the dish, I probably need to have the sweet potatoes.

So I scanned through my meal plans for another dish that had black beans in i...

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Day 1: Vegetarian Challenge–Jerk Sweet Potatoes & Black Beans

So this is the first day for going vegetarian in my vegetarian challenge. If you missed my first post on this, you can read it here.This post will tell you why I’m doing this, what I hope to gain from it, and why I think you might want to consider doing this challenge with me too! I also promised to share recipes with everyone as I do them–I’ll likely be sharing them after the fact, one day behind, because that gives me freedom to explore and work on the recipes, flavors, etc., and make changes and be flexible if I don’t have ingredients or something. I’ll be sharing my experiences as I go along.

So let’s just dive into what I did to prepare for this challenge.


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The Vegetarian Challenge

1255128_organic_cabbage_plantI have to do something to take my health into my own hands. I don’t feel well, most days. And yes, before you go much further, you should know that I am living with a terminal illness and some pretty serious health problems. I realize just changing my diet isn’t going to cure me from CTEPH and since my congestive heart failure isn’t diet-related, it’s not going to make that go away either. I’m not looking for a miracle fix or cure to my illnesses, necessarily, but if one were to come along, I surely wouldn’t refuse it.

That all said, I’m tired of feeling bad. While diet alone is not likely going to make me 100% tip-top, anything I can do for my body that will improve my quality of life is that much the better. If I can even feel somewhat better, it could make a huge difference in the time I have left, in the life I live, whether that’s 100 years or two… so I’m challenging myself to find the right diet plan for myself to feel the healthiest, and losing some weight wouldn’t hurt anything either.


For the past month, my bestie and I have...

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Other Stuff? A Question For You All

As I mentioned earlier, because of several different issues, the doctor said I am not eligible to even be referred for consideration to the San Diego specialty docs who do this surgery for the CTEPH that could save my life. They have referred a patient before. That’s good news. They basically said I’m not stable enough, and that they have to get me stable first. I have fluid overload still, have to get the fluid down, and I need to lose weight (which is increasingly hard to do when I can’t exercise at all), and the left-sided (which is rare in this case) heart failure has to be controlled completely, and a few other little things that have to be taken care of, before they’ll even evaluate me to see if I would benefit from the surgery.


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Does it REALLY Matter to You? It Does to Me!

Just a little thought today: I sort of live in a wheelchair outside of the house. It’s taught me to look at things differently. Today, I asked Lynn to change parking spots, because there were two handicapped parking spots available, but only one was van accessible. I don’t use a van lift, so I asked her to park in the other one, so just in case someone with a van needed it, it was open. Yet, I see people all the time, without the parking stickers or placards zip into handicapped parking spots.

Another thing, since the breathing from the PH has hit, it physically hurts my chest to be around folks who are smoking–so when I go to the doctor, there’s often someone outside taking in a few puffs–that’s fine, if you smoke, but please, consider not doing it so close to the entrance of a building (some states have laws about that)–especially a doctor’s office. Smoke from cigarettes can flare problems for people like me, bad problems, so I have to sit in the car and wait until they move and finish their cigarette. Asthmatics, COPDers, babies, and more are affected by it–please, walk a few more steps to your car to smoke–your inconvenience is less than someone being physically assaulted–I know you would never intend to do that, but that is what it’s like.

Today, at lunch, I could not get my wheelchair into the bathroom, becau...

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This $^*# is Hard

It was confirmed via phone call from my doctor last week that I am not currently eligible for the life-saving surgery in San Diego. In fact, I’m so not eligible for it, that my doctors didn’t even mention it to me. I’m the one who found it online and we asked them about it. They confirmed that my doctor knows those doctors by first name, and if I were stable, and didn’t have co-morbidities, they might refer me, and perhaps I can become eligible at a later date, but right now, the answer is no. And even if they can send me to San Diego later, there’s no guarantee then I’ll be eligible for the surgery, depending on where the clots are in the pulmonary artery and the lungs.

That’s like telling someone, We’re sorry, but you’re just going to have to die now.

But that’s not what I heard.

It sucks I’m not eligibl...

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Living in Denial

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post entitled “Too Stupid to Know Better”. To this day, it remains one of my more popular and frequently visited blog posts. It’s amazing some of the search terms used to get to it, but regardless, it’s a popular post. Don’t know why. While I suggest you take a moment to go read it–especially if there’s something you’ve been wanting to do but are holding back on it. The post, essentially, talks about how we talk ourselves into or out of things we want or need to do. Sometimes, knowing too much information stagnates us–we don’t move...

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What do you do when they tell you…

.. that you have a terminal illness? Why, you go out and buy a dress! No, really. I did buy a dress!

I finally broke down and bought myself the dress I’ve been salivating over for months now. You can see the picture of it right here, and it’s gorgeous and I’m going to feel gorgeous in it, and screw the cost–I’m worth it! Okay, I don’t usually indulge like that, but I did need a nice dress to wear to an event thingy, and this can be a tax deduction and…. I’m justifying, but still, isn’t it gorgeous?

What Terminal Illness Means

As for the terminal illness part, I’ve learned some m...

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