Another month in.

It’s been a month since my last entry. It seems like as good a time as any to update.

Adam has lost 30 pounds in the 6 weeks since we started the keto diet. I have lost 10.  I’m not really sure why I have only lost 2 pounds in the last month. I’ve been doing all the things – food journalling, measuring everything, counting calories as well as macros, but I am at a personal plateau. I got stuck around 185 for months when I was losing this weight the first time. Besides, my shape is obviously changing, and I’m sure that I’m benefiting anyway.

How do I know? Because July 11th was my 10 year seizure-versary, and it came and went without me even thinking about it.

I am becoming accustomed to having energy and being able to think clearly.  And, despite having catamenial seizures, I did not cave and order sweet & sour chicken w/ fried rice… no matter how badly my mind thought I wanted it.

But What Are You Eating?

I’ve been getting this question a lot. It makes me think that folks who are considering the diet haven’t been able to really wrap their heads around how the diet works because it’s so different from the one that they’re used to.

For the curious, my day usually looks like this:

Breakfast

  • bulletproof coffee -or-
  • coffee & a mug cake -or-
  • coffee and scrambled eggs w/cheese

Lunch –

  • leftovers from dinner or
  • a big bowl of spinach and/or lettuces plus whatever I’d have on a sandwich (turkey, hard salami, a slice of cheese, 1 tbsp mayo, 1 tbsp mustard, and a diced pickle is a favorite, as is chicken, bacon, blue cheese, & avocado)

Dinner –

  • some kind of grilled meat (chicken, steak, lamb, pork chop) or fish (usually salmon, swordfish, or tuna) w/ a cooked green veggie (asparagus, zucchini, broccoli, spinach, artichokes, Brussels sprouts) -or-
  • a recipe I’ve grabbed off the internet or created from family favorites, like
    • Adam’s Hand Pies/Calzones
    • Baked Chicken & Cauliflower “Mac & Cheese” Casserole
    • Homemade Pizza with Fathead Dough crust
    • Zucchini Noodles w/Turkey Meatballs & Pesto
    • Keto Jambalaya

Dessert – almond butter or cheesecake “fat bombs”

Snacks – 

  • baked cheese “crackers”
  • string cheese
  • precooked breakfast meats (bacon, sausage links)
  • pork rinds
  • nuts & seeds

Wherein I whine about whining…

Oddly, friends of mine have been adding me to keto communities on FB, whether or not I have expressed any interest.  I mean, it never hurts to have more recipes, I guess… but I’m getting really tired of  the support aspect of many of these groups.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m all about supporting one another in our journeys, but I’m sick to death of reading people whining about how hard this diet is.  I hear enough whining from my 3 year old and from my inner fat bitch who would prefer for me to subsist on pizza and donuts.  YES, the diet is a tough adjustment from the SAD, but whining is toxic.

I want to tell each of these people, “Listen, you don’t have to be on this diet. You’re making a powerful choice and powerful change. Change is the opposite of comfortable!”

I think part of the problem is that listening to other people complaining does nothing to strengthen my personal resolve. It only amplifies the voice in my head that encourages me to quit or purposefully slip up.

I am well past acknowledging that I have automatic negative thought-patterns whispering in my ear, telling me to harm myself. My full-time job is to tell those thoughts to fuck off.  And right now, one way I do that is by powerfully choosing what I do and don’t put in my mouth.

I think that when it comes to dieting/changing your lifestyle/way-of-eating or WHATEVER you want to call it, it all comes down to one question: What’s your motivation?

It’s okay to admit to yourself that you’re changing your lifestyle in order to lose weight and be healthier. It’s important to be honest with yourself. The real problems that cause yo-yo dieting and will whittle away at your self-esteem come in when your motivation for becoming healthier stems from a place of negativity.

If you’re trying to lose weight because you are sad about what you see in the mirror, it’s easier to get down on yourself along the way because you’re focusing on something that makes you sad.  Your weight loss journey then becomes one of escaping the pain of your own self-flagellation.

The sort of negative self talk that comes from this sort of motivation can sound like, “What’s more important to you? Looking good or tasting a cookie? Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.”  The problem there?  Being unkind to yourself becomes habitual, and habits are tough to break. When and if you reach goal weight, you’ll still have more practice at being unkind to yourself than you have practice at giving yourself credit for your achievements, and you’ll wonder why you still feel sad.

If you’re trying to lose weight because you want more time with the people you love, it’s a lot more difficult to shame yourself.  I mean how can you feel bad about wanting to spend time with people who make you smile? “Would you rather eat a cookie or have more time feeling well with your kid(s)?” makes the choice easier for me, at least.

Of course, it’s absolutely ideal for weight loss to be secondary. I’m extra lucky in that regard.  Seizure control matters to me far more than weight loss — but I’d be lying if I didn’t want to get back to a healthy BMI.   The thing is, I know that in order to achieve weight loss or lasting lifestyle change, I need a happy thought to focus on to get me there. The sad or angry ones don’t help as much, and plateaus are very real.

Anyway, I’ve been really appreciating that I learned in therapy that I can’t control my automatic thoughts, but I can always control my actions.  6 full weeks with no cheating is a big deal for me.

The trick to not cheating? Always have something on hand you can eat. Prepping ahead for grab-and-go eating is the name of the game.

Without further ado, here are more keto-friendly recipes that are worth the dishes they’ll create to make them.

Recipes That Are Totally Worth It

keto mug cake

Eat your heart out, Otis Spunkmeyer.

Here are some recipes that Adam and I have work-shopped and fallen in love with over the last month:

Keto Party Mix – This tastes JUST like Chex Mix. It’s the first time I’ve liked pork rinds. I strongly recommend a deluxe nut mix without peanuts, like the one we got by The Snack Artist.

Rae’s Chocolate Chocolate Chip Mug Cake – I love to split this with Henry for breakfast! Best served with whipped cream and/or coffee.

Rae’s Lemon Blueberry Mug Cake – Another good one for breakfast or just as a treat. 🙂

Adam’s Keto Jambalalya – This one takes time, but yields plenty of delicious leftovers.

fathersdaynutsFather’s Day Trail Mix – This is what Henry and I made for Adam for Father’s Day 2018.  Which reminds me… he’s all out and I need to make him more today. 🙂

Anyway! I have taken a long time writing this out today, and I am frankly amazed that Henry let me get away with it.

I hope that you’re feeling well and are having a good day.

It’s time for me to go do chores, despite somehow being sick with a headcold yet again. (If only Keto also improved my immunoglobulin count!)

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or recipe requests for me and Adam to makeover!

 

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Week 26 + 30 Easy Meals – 300 Calories Or Less!

Week 26

lettuceLettuce. Really? I’ve got to admit, I’m definitely confused by the idea that my baby is the size of a head of iceburg lettuce.  I mean, the graphic straight up says the kid is 13.6 – 14.8 inches long.  Your average head of lettuce isn’t more than 6 or 7, tops.  Maybe they did the circumference… and if so, that’s really not indicative of the size of the creature inside of me. A better gauge would be, “Your baby is about as long as the average laptop screen is wide (not the diagonal).  HEY, FREE SERVICES THAT HELP US ESTIMATE: DO BETTER. 🙂

It’s been a good week.  Baby’s still moving a bunch, and I’ve been feeling well, aside from heartburn. Only 2 weeks until our next ultrasound. 🙂  I’m looking forward to seeing him again.

I also read a blog post last night that made me laugh so hard that I was crying and almost peed a little. (What? I’m pregnant! It happens.) I figured I should share the love with you readers. Normally, I try to shy away from Mommy blogs because some of them can be really stress-filled and judgmental, but Beth’s humility and sense of humor really won me over.

On a less humorous note, I got the results of the gestational diabetes test on Wednesday, and the verdict is in — I’m not diabetic! (Thank the Lord.) No need for insulin, no need to cut carbs, which is pretty great.  They did find, however that my metabolism’s not optimal, so I’ve been instructed to eat small meals every 2-3 hours. It’s supposed to help with the damn-near constant heartburn and help regulate my blood sugar.

This way of eating is completely contrary to everything I’ve done my whole life. The biggest change in my life when I was 8 and in Weight Watchers was learning not to snack throughout the day. Apparently, the science behind that way of thinking has changed over the last 25 years. Because of that, I felt like I needed to do some research to find some easy, delicious meals that I could eat.

My requirements for recipes that made the cut were simple:

  1. No specialty ingredients. Gotta be able to buy everything at the grocery store across the street.
  2. It must be easy to make. I am too tired for anything that requires real effort.
  3. It must look, based on my food knowledge, like it’d actually taste good.
  4. It must be filling. There’s no point in making something that doesn’t fill me up.

This is what I found.

30+ meals that are 300 calories or less per serving

I love me a green smoothie.

I love me a green smoothie.

  1. A green smoothie
  2. 1 light multigrain English muffin (or whole wheat bagel-thin) w/ 1 tbsp cream cheese & 1 tbsp fruit spread
  3. A cup of Greek yogurt w/ fruit & or honey (I’m currently in love with coffee flavored Fruyo.)
  4. Apple w/ 1 tbsp. of nut butter (peanut, cashew, or almond)
  5. A cup of oatmeal w/ fruit (Like Kathleen’s Quick Oats. Persian flavor is the best!)
  6. 1 serving of whole wheat crackers w/ 1-2 oz of cheese
  7. 1 pita w/ 2 tbsp of hummus (So yummy.)
  8. A hot dog
  9. 2 scrambled eggs w/ 2 slices of bacon
  10. A can of soup. (Any flavor by Amy’s fits the bill.)
  11. A grilled cheese sandwich: whole wheat bread, a little butter, & two 2% American cheese slices
  12. A bowl of cereal and milk

    crunchy_black_bean_tacos_3

    Yeah, I could eat this…

  13. Crunchy Black Bean Tacos
  14. Skinny Broccoli Cheese Soup
  15. Broccolini and Chicken Sausage over Polenta
  16. Chicken Tamale Pie
  17. Creamy Chicken Quinoa Broccoli Casserole
  18. Mustard & Herb Panko-Crusted Chicken Breasts
  19. Red Velvet Crepes w/ Sweet Cream Cheese Filling
  20. Baked Spicy Fries with Garlic Cheese Sauce
  21. Healthy Fettuccine Alfredo
  22. Skinny Lasagna Rolls
  23. Philly Cheese Turkey Sloppy Joes
  24. Chicken Thighs with Mustard Citrus Sauce
  25. Slow Cooker Pepperoni & Chicken
  26. Black Bean Cakes
  27. Turkey & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
  28. Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken
  29. White Chicken Chili
  30. Creamy Thai Sweet Potatoes & Lentils
  31. Skinny Veggie Lasagna
  32. Chicken Apple Sausage Breakfast Sandwich
  33. Seveche-style Shrimp & Avocado Tacos
  34. and then there’s this entire collection on AllRecipes.
Um, yes, please.

Um, yes, please.

I think I’ll be able to survive. 🙂 I hope that these recipes are helpful for you too!

Daily Cute

And, because we all can use a good giggle, here is some Cute.

Ladies & Gentlemen, We Have Viability!

week24 As of today, I’m officially 24 weeks pregnant, and the baby, if I were to go into labor today, would have a better than 50% chance of surviving birth.  Now, don’t get me wrong, the little guy has been wiggling and kicking like crazy, but this takes the “realness” up a notch for me.  Not that I would ever personally consider abortion, but the time for thinking about it (or rather worrying that there will be some terrible health thing that threatens me or the baby) has officially passed. It is now time to clean all the things (and buy the ones we need and don’t have) so that our apartment is ready for his birth.

cleanallthethings

In that vein of thought, I’ve been working like crazy on figuring out everything we want and/or need. The Amazon baby registry is finally looking done to me. The Moms (mine & Adam’s) have suggested that I go ahead and register at a brick-and-mortar store as well, just so people who want to buy us a present have options when it comes time. We’re probably going with Target, just because it’s all over the United States, isn’t over-priced, and isn’t Walmart.  I’m just wondering if I should essentially copy the Amazon registry (which would increase the likelihood of us getting doubles) or just put certain things on the Target one and certain ones on the Amazon one (which would decrease the likelihood of us getting certain things).

Either way, I feel totally uncomfortable with the process of creating baby registries and figuring out who to invite to the baby shower/beer & diaper party/Welcome to the World party in the first place. Wish lists and registries have always felt kind of icky to me because they sometimes come off like a “give me this” list (which smacks of entitlement) instead of a “hey, it would be cool to have this” list (which is more of what it truthfully is).

Truth be told, I’m just super stoked to be having a baby, and I want to invite the whole world to celebrate with me. That’s why we’re going to be live-streaming all the events.  Right now, I think the front-runner for the live-streaming platform is Twitch, so that everyone who’s “tuned in” can chat with one another. I am, however, open to other suggestions. The presents are an awful lot less important to me than the presence of friends in welcoming the kiddo to life. Because I am trying to be so inclusive, I’ve posted a survey 3 times on Facebook, trying to get friends to give me their contact info, but so far have only gotten a handful of responses. Not sure if folks just aren’t interested in filling it out or if FB’s recently tweaked algorithm is making it not even show up for them.  I’m guessing that I’ll need to email or PM everyone individually to be able to send out invitations.

My Husband Is a G-D Saint.

My favorite part of pregnancy so far has been laughing about the insanity that comes over me from time to time.  There have been a couple of times now where I’ve yelled at Adam for absolutely ridiculous bullshit and almost immediately broken down crying in apology.  If I hadn’t been through therapy, I would not see the humor, but truthfully, it’s hilarious, and has made me decide that this is my current theme song.

Somehow, Adam can tell the difference between genuine anger and hormonal wonkiness.  He understands me better than I do. And then there’s nesting. I thought that people were joking about feeling an intense need to clean and reorganize everything. NOPE. It’s real. (Why can’t it be a regular thing?) I even accused both of us of living like 10 year old boys, while frantically bouncing between different cleaning projects and getting absolutely nothing productive actually done. Oh, and then more crying.

And cravings? YUP. Definitely a thing. Feeling an intense need to eat something mind-bogglingly specific makes me feel like I’m a crazy asshole. I mean, there’s food in the house! Why am I not craving what’s immediately at hand??  That would be too easy, right? Nope. Can’t be that easy. But Adam takes it all in stride.

panchosanchoTake last night, for instance… after having eaten a delicious dinner of roasted turkey (yeah, he freakin roasted a turkey breast last night), stuffing, and sweet potatoes at a reasonable hour, at around 9 at night, I had an intense craving for Pancho’s cheese dip.  And I don’t mean “intense” like “Wow, I would really like some cheese dip.” but like, “OH MY GOD IF I DON’T EAT PANCHO’S CHEESE DIP UNTIL I CAN’T POSSIBLY EAT ANY MORE, I WILL SURELY DIE.”

Of course, we live in Illinios… far, far from any store that carries it.  Did that deter Adam? Not one bit. We found a copycat recipe from my hometown newspaper, and at the time he usually starts to fall asleep on the couch, my husband went to the grocery store for ingredients, came home, and fixed me some of the most delicious, thick, gooey unhealthy crap I’ve ever asked for. And it was glorious. Angels sang and divine light flooded the room as I glutted myself on it… and it was just as glorious when I ate it cold for breakfast this morning.  Cold cheese dip with tortilla chips sounds kinda gross, right?  Anyone from the greater Memphis area has my back on this one. I promise you, it’s a thing. 🙂 And I have no regrets. Not even one.

It’s Not Easy Being Green… Or Is It?

Of course, on the other side of things, I’m genuinely trying to eat more healthfully for both my benefit and for the kid’s. As you know, Adam and I have taken the 30 day Green Smoothie Challenge as our New Year’s resolution. Have we had a green smoothie every day for the last 14 days? Nah. But we did it for 11, and that’s not shabby! There are a couple of recipes that have emerged as clear favorites for us. I figured I’d share them for anyone else who loves the idea of getting more spinach into their diets, but isn’t a fan of eating salads all the time. Both of these recipes makes enough for 2 people.

Tropicolada Fiesta (My very favorite!)
2 c. spinach, fresh
1 c. coconut water
1 c. water
1 1/2 c. mango
1 c. pineapple
1 banana
1 tbsp. lime juice

Blend spinach (tightly packed), coconut water, and water together until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits and blend again.

Vitamin C Immunity Booster (really more of a purple smoothie… We like to add 2 tbsp of flax & chia seeds to it too.)
2 c. spinach, fresh
1/2 c. orange juice
1 c. water
1 banana
1/4 c. carrots
2 c. strawberries
1/2 c. blueberries

Blend spinach (tightly packed), orange juice and water together until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits & blend again.

Other than that…

There’s not much else to report. Tomorrow, I see the OB for our monthly visit and have the glucose test.  I’m gonna be sure to ask what all I need to do to set up cord blood donation and what goes in to keeping the placenta so that I can get it encapsulated.

Things here have just been really unusually relaxed. I’m guessing it’s the calm before the storm. (Or Stormageddon. 🙂 You know, whatever.)

I’m super-happy that both Adam and I got over the colds we had. It doesn’t matter how many years in a row I deal with a winter head cold, it’s always surprising to me how badly they knock me out. Thankfully, they don’t happen often.

Tonight, I’m looking forward to watching the season 7 return of Parks & Recreation and episode 3 of Agent Carter. (Finally! A well-written female-lead Marvel show!)

Hope you’re doing well ❤

My Future’s In My Hands

Can you feel me?

This has been one heck of a week. It started on Monday morning when I woke up with absolutely *no* feeling in my hands. That was scary as hell. I could still move them… I just couldn’t feel them. Surprisingly, I could mostly type. Maybe it’s because I have it so hardwired into my muscle memory. I type most of the day 5 days a week.

I repeatedly asked Adam to take me to the emergency room, but he thought we should call the neurologist again (I had called prior to 9 am and again at 10:30 am) and wait to see what he wanted me to do. The answer came around 4 in the afternoon –come in on Tuesday to see him. So, that’s what we did.

Fortunately, when I woke up on Tuesday, I could feel my hands again. They were burning and stinging terribly, but at least they felt like they were *there.* Dr. J took out a safety pin and told me to close my eyes and let him know when I felt something. I didn’t really feel the pin until he was at the upper part of my arm. I felt a little pressure, but certainly no sharpness. I thought he was playing a trick on me or something. I really didn’t feel the pin at all on my hands. Adam, however, has assured me that I got poked repeatedly. This did not sit well with me.

Dr. J asked what I wanted to do. I told him that I’ve always had solu-medrol when I had an acute MS exacerbation, and was immediately told that there’s a national shortage of solu-medrol right now and that he couldn’t give me any without MRI proof that I have new, active lesions. (Maybe I’m being simple, but isn’t suddenly and completely losing feeling in your hands prima facie evidence that you do have new, active lesions in your spine?)

So, instead of putting me on an IV of corticosteroids, he prescribed a second medrol dose pack (I took 1 two weeks ago and it only got rid of the numbness on my left side.) and scheduled MRIs of my brain and spine for 3/21. I then see him on 3/25 to discuss what the MRI showed.

For anyone playing the, “How long has this shit been going on?” game, that means that it will have been 15 days between losing all feeling in my hands and a discussion about what my MRIs show. To me, that seems like a really long time for something as important as use of your hands. Moreover, I will have finished the medrol dose pack on 3/16, which, if it works, would make the new lesions inactive, right? I wish I understood his methods, but I have to trust that an MS Specialist knows more about this disease than I do.

He also was not pleased that this happened only 4 weeks after quitting Gilenya so that we can try to start a family. He said that depending on what we see on the MRI, we’d have to have “a very serious discussion.”

I said, “We haven’t even had the chance to start trying.” I’m not going to choose to not have a family because I had one ill-timed exacerbation. That’s just crazy. I’m guessing he might try to get me to go back on Copaxone, since you can be on it even during pregnancy. I only stopped using Copaxone because he said it wasn’t doing anything for me, but I felt so much better when I was on it, regardless of how much I loathed giving myself a nightly injection.

I have no idea what the right thing is to do, to be quite honest. The only thing I do know is that if he suggests that I should not get pregnant, after all the work I’ve done to prepare my body, I’ll be getting a second opinion.

Clean Bill Of Mental Health

During the time that I lost feeling in my hands, I also had a huge up-tick in seizure activity. I was so scared about how many seizures I was having that I actually contacted my therapist so that if any of them were pseudoseizures (like many were back when I was working with EMDR), I could do the work to stop them.

Well, it was good seeing Karolina for the first time in over 6 months if for no other reason than I enjoy talking with her. I was very pleased when she let me know that I am not experiencing pseudoseizures and that I am in such good mental health that she doesn’t want to hear from me again unless I am going through some difficulties and really need her or have some happy news to share with her.

I talked to her about all my worries (none of which were irrational automatic negative thoughts!) – about what could happen if I lose all feeling in my hands and I’m holding my baby, and she said that it’s a legitimate fear, so my best course of action is to be extra careful to pay attention to my body and be safe with the baby. You know. The baby I don’t actually have yet.

My current challenge is to only worry about handling things when there is actually something to deal with! No fighting ghosts. My real job in all of this is to be fully present in the now and to continue to practice good self-care. So far, so good.

Cheesy, gooey goodness…

On a completely different note: I’ve been thinking more and more about how I really miss cheese when we’re being strict with the paleo diet.

Don’t get me wrong — I know the plan was to be strict during lent, but when you’re dealing with an MS exacerbation, you don’t always have the time or energy to cook and clean the way you need to in order to be eating clean. I have to confess, I’ve had pizza this week… more than once. And I don’t regret it even a little.

I did, however, decide, on a whim to google “paleo cheese” and was surprised to see information pop up! Apparently, there are a kajillion different kinds of vegan cheese that also fall under our paleo guidelines. (Ok, so apparently a kajillion is a term in my mind that means “more than 20.”)

To celebrate this, I created another board on the Paleo Compendium just for paleo cheeses.

The one I’m looking the most forward to trying is this Velveeta-wannabe.
vegveeta

I’m hoping it’ll actually be melty and good to use when making enchiladas or jalapeno poppers.

I’ve also been thinking that I should create a graphic for the Paleo Compendium that folks can use to link to it.

MS Walk 2014 – Chicago Lakefront

It’s been a few years since I participated in the yearly fundraising efforts of the National MS Society because of seizures. For almost 5 years, seizures stopped me from feeling comfortable with exercising. Heck, I didn’t feel comfortable even walking anywhere alone. I didn’t feel safe. Fortunately, this year, I’ve overcome that fear.

Nowadays, I regularly hit the gym 4 days a week at least. Some days, I’m even so awesome that I can bike 12 miles in 45 minutes! 🙂 But I’ve also had a few days here and there where I’ve ended up seizing while on an elliptical strider or during weightlifting, and have had to go home. 😦 At least I tried! No matter what I’m doing when I’m at the gym, the goal is to honor my body, so I work out with Adam and am very careful not to over-do it.

Yesterday, I created a team for MS Walk 2014! It’s Team MS EL Redux, named after the support group that I participate in on Facebook. You don’t have to be in the group to join us or even in Chicago! You can be a virtual participant and help us raise funds if you’d like to.

I also personally registered both Adam and me for the walk. Here’s a link to my personal fundraising page. I’d really appreciate it if you would donate! And if you don’t have the funds to donate, don’t sweat it. I’ve been there. Please share the link! Every little bit of promotion helps!

Here’s a shorter link: http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/rachaelshapiromajka

Hope you’re having a great day! Thanks for stopping by. ❤

What’s shakin’? (Not me!)

msawarenessmonth
I can’t believe it’s already Friday of MS Awareness Week (though the whole month is MS Awareness Month), and I haven’t done a blog post. That seems kinda wrong.

To be fair, however, life has been challenging this week — lots of seizures. It was like I was back in Glendale when I was first diagnosed. I was just having them over and over again in what felt like a loop.

I called my MS specialist on Tuesday, but I haven’t heard back from him. His nurse called and scheduled me for the soonest opening, which is March 21st… two weeks from today. (He’s actually booked up through June!) I think I’m going to call and cancel it. I was having really intense pain in my lower back and unrelenting seizures when I called in the first place, and now, I’m pretty much fine. I only had 5 simple partials yesterday, which is nothing. I can handle some facial twitching.

Today, so far, I’m seizure-free, and my back feels fine. I was really worried when I called that I was still having a relapse, even though I took a medrol dose pack about 2 weeks ago. My body’s been acting so weird. I’m glad that it was just a pseudoexacerbation. I must have been fighting off a cold or something.

Increase Your MS Knowledge: What is a pseudoexacerbation?

From Health Central – “A pseudoexacerbation is a flare up of existing symptoms caused by another medical event, such as a urinary tract infection, flu, or elevated body temperature. Pseudo or not, it can stop you in your tracks as sure as any true exacerbation. However, new lesions are not being formed and your MS in not really progressing.

True MS exacerbations are caused by inflammation in the central nervous system which damages the myelin and disrupts the transmission of nerve signals, causing a wide variety of symptoms. This type of event can cause new symptoms and permanent damage, lasting from 24 hours to several months. Severe exacerbations may be treated with steroids in order to reduce inflammation and shorten the length of the exacerbation.”

So, for those of us with MS, we get to feel awful while also questioning ourselves to figure out if we might be sick or too hot or whatever before we even call our doctors to treat the problem. Basically, if I feel awful for 3-4 days, I’ll call a doctor. Otherwise, I assume everything weird that happens in my body is a pseudoexacerbation.

Pseudoexacerbations annoy me less than pseudoseizures.

Since I only tend to have seizures nowadays when I’m also experiencing other MS symptoms, I always think of my seizures as being part of MS… but when I initially began dealing with seizure disorder, doctors suggested that I also see a psychologist. While they could identify the epileptic activity that caused the simple partial seizures that I experience, they were stumped by the time travel (complex) seizures and thought it was likely that they were caused by subconscious psychological issues.

For over a year, I saw a psychologist and worked with EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing) Therapy. I’ve written a lot about it. It was immensely helpful to me. In fact, the majority of my seizures stopped, thanks to the work we did.

To give you an idea of how intense and repetitive the seizures were on Monday, I actually went so far as to contact my most recent therapist to see if we could do some work (potentially with EMDR), just in case any of these recent seizures are being caused by my subconscious. She said it was good self-care, so even though the vast majority of the seizures have abated, I’m still going to see her.

(Fun fact: I found out, after already starting the therapy, that the doctor responsible for the creation of EMDR therapy is actually the mother of one of my good friends. That was pretty cool to me. I’m a big fan of her work both in the realm of therapy and as a mother, because her son is a truly awesome person.)

46 Days of “Strict” Paleo

It’s Lent! You know, the time between Mardis Gras and Easter.

This Lent, instead of giving up caffeine, Adam suggested that, just like in 2012, we be strict with keeping paleo. We’re not doing another Whole 30 or attempting a Whole 46. We’re just doing regular Paleo, so we can still have a little honey and maple syrup here and there. In truth, I am pretty sure my Whole 46 was just regular paleo too, looking back on it.

The big challenge for us will be not cheating on the weekends, when we’re out with friends and family, or when we’re feeling sick. (The craving for wanton soup when I’ve got a head cold is damn near undeniable.)

To make things easier for us (and anyone else who happens to be interested), I created a meal plan for Lent. I even made sure that on Fridays we’re scheduled to eat seafood and not meat, for all the Catholics out there who still follow that rule. (Fortunately, Adam’s as devoutly Catholic as I am devoutly Jewish. He doesn’t really care much about following a tradition that was created to help the fishing economy just for tradition’s sake. I can’t say I blame him. It’s not like I keep kosher.)

Tonight’s dinner is Garlic Roasted Shrimp with Zucchini Pasta.
garlic shrimp

Hope you’re all doing well!

Super Bowl XLVIII Paleo Recipe Roundup!

Welcome to Sup(p)er Bowl XLVIII (48)

I don’t think it was really a mistake a moment ago when I went to type “Super” and instead typed, “Supper.” Whenever I think about Super Bowl parties, I pretty much only think about the food. Happily, I am not alone in this. There are several paleo food bloggers who also look forward to celebrating. Here, I’ve compiled content from PaleOMG, TheClothesMakeTheGirl, FastPaleo, NomNomPaleo, PaleoSpirit, & PaleoGirl.

Deviled Eggs
Bacon Jalapeño Deviled Eggs
Bacon and Jalapeño Deviled Eggs
Bacon Deviled Eggs

Chicken Wings & Nuggets
Chile Lime Chicken Wings
Jalapeño Lime Chicken Wings
Buffalo Chicken Wings
Restaurant Style Buffalo Wings
Devil Wings
Sweet n Sassy Chicken Wings
Sweet and Sexy Wings
Tackling Tso Wings
Chicken Wing Jerky
20 Wing Recipes by Paleo Grub
Paleo Buffalo Chicken Nuggets
Paleo Chick-Fil-A Nuggets
Chicken Satay
Chocolate Chicken Lollipops
Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Chicken
Touchdown Chicken Tenders
Crispy Chicken Dippers
Cilantro Chicken Nuggets

Fries & Potato Skins
Crispy, Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Double-Coverage Nacho Fries
Garlic Dill Sweet Potato Wedges
Rosemary Sweet Potato Fries with Homemade Ketchup
Carrot Fries with Garlic Aioli
Roasted Carrot {Fries}
Baked Zucchini Fries with Bloomin’ Onion Dipping Sauce
Zucchini Field-Goal Fries
Avocado Chorizo Sweet Potato Skins
Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potato Skins
Rosemary Citrus Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
Bacon Basil Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Meatballs
Meatballs Cups
Bacon Meatballs with Mango Honey Mustard Sauce
Spaghetti and Meatball Bites
Asian Meatballs
Bora Bora Fireballs
”The Grub” Meatballs
Bacon Wrapped Pork Meatballs
Big Tim’s 4 Bees Meatballs
Mmmmm. Morrocan Meatballs
Cevapčići

Nuts
Smoky and Spicy Candied Cashews
Roasted Rosemary Almonds
Chili-Lime Spiced Almonds
Savory Paleo Granola
Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Almonds

Stuffed Mushrooms
Touchdown Stuffed Mushrooms
Sausage and Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
Paleo Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
Paleo Shrimp-Stuffed Mushrooms

Other finger foods
Raw veggies dipped in: Sunshine Sauce  | Creamy Italian Dressing | Tahini Dressing
BBQ Bacon Asparagus
Baby Pizza Bites
Zucchini Pesto Roll Ups
Smoked Salmon Stuffed Sweet Peppers
Paleo Chips
BBQ Baked Kale Chips
Spicy Salmon Cucumber Bites
Stuffed Grape Leaves
Tomato Bites
Bacon Wrapped Chicken Stuffed Jalepenos
Chili Pepper Poppers
Guac Poppers
Pear & Bacon Bites
Bacon + Guacamole Sammies
Devils on Horseback
Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Prosciutto
Flatbread Pizza
Prosciutto & Basil Wrapped Shrimp
Paleo Pigs in a Blanket

Dips
Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Creamy Spinach-Artichoke Dip (Paleo & Vegan)
Chunky Pineapple Guacamole with Grilled Sweet Potato Chips
Roasted Red Pepper Dip
Paleo Taco Dip
Paleo Buffalo Ranch Dip
Roasted Eggplant Hummus/Babaganoush

Chili
Smoky Bacon Chili
Chocolate Chili
Pumpkin Chili
Big Tim’s Primalized Chili
Paleo Chipotle Chili

Burgers
Southwest Turkey Sliders with Avocado Slaw
Triple Protein Burgers
Maple-glazed Burgers Stuffed with Bacon, Stuffed with Jalepenos, Stuffed with Dates, Stuffed with Almonds
Bacon Beef Burger
Southwestern Chorizo Burgers
Beast Burgers
My Kind Of Sliders

Main Dishes
5 Ingredient Pizza Spaghetti Pie
Pulled Pork Waffle Sliders
Spicy Shepherd’s Pie Chorizo Meatloaf
Buffalo Chicken Pasta
Sweet Potato Enchiladas
Pork Avocado Cream Enchiladas
Boneless Pork Short Rib Breakfast Tacos
Plantain Nachos
Stovetop Pork Carnitas
Mexican Meatza
Riceless, No-Soy Sushi
Jalapeño Dijon Chicken
Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Casserole
Primal Pork Patties (Thai Style)

Ribs
Roasted Beef Ribs
Jamaican Jerk Baked Ribs
Dry-Rubbed BBQ Pork Ribs

Salads
Buffalo Chicken Chopped Salad
Deconstructed Gyro Salad
Herb “Rice” Salad*
Muffaletta Salad

Slow Cooker Recipes
Crockpot Pulled Pork Chili
Crockpot Sweet Potato Basil Soup
Crockpot Pork Green Chile (Chile Verde)
Easy Shredded Beef
Epic Pig
Big Tim’s GROK Pot Pulled Pork
BigTim’s Crock-pot BBQ Beef
Crockpot Meatballs
Oven-Braised Mexican Braised Beef
Slow Cooker Kalua Pig
Slow Cooker Barbacoa
Barbacoa
Ancho Chile Pulled Pork BBQ

Desserts
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Balls
Double Chocolate Energy Bites
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bon Bons
Paleo Snickerdoodles
Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts
Triple Chocolate Truffles (nut free)
Brownie Batter Pancake Skewers
Cookie Pie Ice Cream Bites
Coffee Chocolate Caramel Bars
Magic Brownie Bars
Chocolate Pumpkin Sunbutter Treats
Pumpkin Cream Donut Sandwiches
Chocolate Cupcakes
Apple Pie Nachos
Caramelized Coconut Chips
Sweet & Salty Fudge Bombs
Fruit Crisp
Banana Nut Balls
Paleo-fied Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Covered Pecan Pie Balls
Chocolate Covered Bacon
Zucchini Brownies
Maple Bacon Ice Cream
Chunky Monkey “Ice Cream” Bon Bons
Nom Nom Chocolate Truffles
Almond-Blocker-Bars

So which team are you rootin’ for?

This year’s match is between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. I think I have 1 friend in Seattle. Maybe 2. Denver, though? That’s a whole other story. I have so many friends there, you’d think I actually lived in that city at some point. (I haven’t.)  Most importantly, however, my brother Daniel lives in Denver. And everybody knows, you gotta stick with family. 🙂  That’s why, even though I don’t give a crap about football, I totally want the Broncos to win.

Hope everyone has fun today! Stay safe on the roads! Don’t let you friends drink & drive. ❤

Paleo Mexican Chicken Tortilla-like Soup

mexican-soup

A New Take On An Old Favorite

One of my favorite puzzles in life is figuring out to take leftovers from one meal and transform them into something new and delicious for another meal.

Yesterday, I found myself looking at about 2 pounds-worth of leftover Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken*, trying to figure out what to do with it. We’d already used a pound of it as meat for fiesta nachos. Back when we weren’t keeping a Whole 30, we would use the meat for soft tacos and then use the leftovers to make Tex-Mex Chicken Soup (inspired by Tex-Mex Turkey Soup). Since this soup contains sour cream, corn, and beans, I knew we had to try a different recipe.

I searched the web for “paleo mexican chicken soup”, and immediately found a winner: Paleo Commfort Foods’ Chicken Tortilla-less Soup. I figured, since our chicken was already flavored with salsa and spices that we could skip the part of the recipe that talks about fixing the chicken. I was primarily interested in using the recipe to figure out  how much broth to use and what other vegetables to add. It served as a great inspiration for the soup I actually made.

Paleo Mexican Chicken Tortilla-like Soup

(Whole 30 compliant, Serves 8)

Ingredients

  • About 2 pounds of leftover Slow Cooker Cilantro Chicken
  • 4 cups of chicken stock or broth
  • 3 tsp (6 cloves) of garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP granulated onion (or 1 medium onion, diced)
  • 28 oz. fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 poblano peppers, seeded & diced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded & diced
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded & minced
  • 1 orange bell pepper (red or yellow would work too). seeded & diced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Procedure

  1. Chop up all of your veggies and aromatics.
  2. Put all of the ingredients in a large pot (12 c. or greater) and stir to combine.
  3. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes before serving.
  4. Enjoy!

I thought about some other flavors that we might add the next time. I think carrots would be a good addition because they’re sweet like corn. I’m also debating yellow squash.

* – When Adam and I fix Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken, we don’t use taco seasoning packets because of the extra, unnecessary stuff in most of them. Here’s what we do. The only difference now that we’re on the paleo diet is that we use salsa that doesn’t have any sugar in it. Tostitos medium is a good one. Trader Joe’s has a few good ones as well.