Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dementia and not eating

As many of you know, my 86-year old mom has advanced dementia and lives in a nursing home. Her condition has steadily worsened over the past few years, and the news these days is not good.

My mother stopped eating a couple weeks ago. She has now stopped drinking water or any other liquids. She is refusing her meds as well. The doctor tells us that not eating and drinking is a sign of late stages dementia. He said the brain essentially “forgets” to tell the stomach it’s hungry or thirsty.

The doctor says it’s only a matter of time for Mom at this point, probably not more than a month. We are looking into hospice treatment for her, so that her pain will be as minimal as possible.

Almost 20 years ago, my mother signed a living will giving specific instructions on how she wanted to be treated (or not treated) in just this type of situation. I witnessed that document and remember thinking that I hoped we would never have to face anything listed on that piece of paper.

Today, I am so grateful to my mother for having the foresight and love for her family to set out exactly what she wanted and did not want, in terms of life-saving measures. Now, we don’t have to guess what her wishes are – her true wishes, made with clear-headed thinking and clarity, almost 20 years ago. It makes the decisions we have to make – as hard as they are - much easier.

It’s been a hard time for me, and I know it’s going to get harder before it gets any easier. I would appreciate your prayers for my mom and my family as we walk through this hard place. And, if I’m out of commission and out of touch for awhile, I hope you’ll understand.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The best peanut butter!

So... from time to time I share product information, when I stumble upon something really good. This is one of those times.

I have sort of unofficially been on a "nut butter search" for a creamy, satisfying, yet low carb nut butter. I found one called "Sun Butter" that was made from sunflower seeds, but my local Kroger stopped carrying it, so once again, I was on the hunt. I didn't care for the flavor of most of the "natural" peanut butters I tried -- they tasted sort of globby in my mouth (is globby a word? probably not, but you know what I mean...) Anyway, as a girl raised on Skippy and Peter Pan, they just fell short in both texture and flavor.

But, enter stage left Smuckers Natural Creamy Peanut Butter. Smuckers Natural is the best peanut butter I've ever had. I kid you not. Best of all, the ingredients are: peanuts and salt. That's it. Can't get much more "natural" than that. The flavor reminds me of the peanut butters I grew up with.

And, I guess that's the heart and soul of why we like most foods that we like. Usually, they remind us of something we loved as a child, or take us back (even subconsciously) to a time or a place when we were happy and content. At least, that's my two-cent take on it.

Anyway, if you're looking for a peanut butter that's tasty and has no sugar or added ingredients, give Smuckers Natural a try. Hopefully, you'll love it.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Vikki Ann's Low Carb Chocolate Microwave Torte

Rosie – ask and you shall receive, girl! Here’s the yummy chocolate torte recipe my friend Vikki Ann at the Low Carb Forum at created. She is sort of the “Sandra Lee” of that forum, imho … all about the quick and easy.

Best of all, this recipe fits into my new rules of "no flour and no sugar." I still haven't made it since I've been on the new eating plan, but I plan on doing so soon. This was a nice treat I enjoyed many times while on my low carb plan.

Anyway, Vikki Ann gave me permission to print it here. She says she keeps making tweaks and changes to this to vary the flavors, but to me, this is just perfect. Here is the original location of her recipe and the whole thread that follows.

Vikki Ann’s Chocolate Microwave Torte

2 Tbsp. butter or coconut oil
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. Walden Farms Chocolate Syrup
¼ cup flaxseed meal
1 tsp. baking powder
1-2 tsp. water

1-2 tsp. sugar-free peanut butter (my favorite is Smuckers Natural)
2-4 Tbsp. Walden Farms Chocolate Syrup
Whipped cream, to taste

In a microwave-safe small bowl or tall cup, melt butter/oil. Add the remainder of ingredients, mixing well. You want a batter-like consistency, so if it sits for more than a minute or so, you’ll have to add more water. Put plastic wrap over the top and poke a hole in it; microwave on high for 1 minute, 30 seconds.

Meanwhile, mix the peanut butter and chocolate syrup. Spread this over the cake when it’s “fresh out of the oven” and top with a dollop of whipped cream.

This recipe is a real winner. So fast and so easy, and so delicious. Give it a try.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

physical therapy and how it's going ...

So, I’ve been doing physical therapy for a few days now, and my neck and shoulder are beginning to feel better. The last two visits, the therapist worked on my upper back/neck/shoulder for between 20 and 30 minutes, trying to get the muscles to release. Both times, they finally did, and the relief was wonderful. I’m working on my posture, and I’ve made some adjustments to my work station and chair at work, and even my seat in the car. In addition, I have exercises that I’m doing throughout the day.

I hope the day will come when I’m pain-free. When I stop to think about it, my shoulder has been this way a very long time, and I’ve just gotten used to it, for the most part, until it got so much worse recently. So it’s going to take some effort on my part to improve what I can, which will improve my entire spine, so they tell me.

On the way home tonight, I heard a great quote, and it fits so well with the work I’m doing to change my spinal problems:

“Abeunt studia in mores.” (Latin) = “Practices zealously pursued pass into habits.”

So … here’s to zealous pursuit of good practices!

P.S. My best pal Vikki's mom is going in for heart valve replacement surgery tomorrow morning. So, if you would, send up a prayer or good thoughts for Vikki's mom. We would both appreciate it so much!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lovely news!

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy! (Did anyone else watch Ren and Stimpy back in the early 90s?) Loved them.

But anyway. I had my “official” weigh-in this morning and Glory Be, I’m down by 3.5 pounds in the last week.

Now, I’m not letting myself say the old “it’s probably water weight, I shouldn’t get too excited…blah, blah, blah…” spiel. Not gonna go there. I refuse to do that! The fact of the matter is, I weighed 3.5 pounds less this morning than I did 7 days ago. I will take it and be glad.

It gives me hope that this new eating plan truly will work for me. I’ve got to say, I love it. The only thing I’ve really missed is “something sweet” after a meal occasionally. And I have a terrific recipe for a sugar-free microwave flaxseed “chocolate torte” that my friend Vikki Ann on the Low Carb Forum at created. It meets the criteria of my new eating plan perfectly – no flour and no sugar. Yet it’s wonderfully yummy in an ooey-gooey way. Okay, my mouth is watering…

Sorry, I got off track there for a minute. Anyhoo, my original thought was that I remain hopeful in my new eating plan. I really can do this. And I really will lose weight!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

We had fun!

We had a good time last night at my work party. It's fun every once in awhile to get all dressed up and go to a party.

I did pretty well on my eating plan. I had one huge fried shrimp before dinner, dipped in a yummy roulade. There were a bunch of different appetizers they kept bringing around, but I resisted. Dinner was surf and turf with butternut squash and sauteed spinach, with a delicious sauce drizzled on the plate. I ate a little more than half of it.

Dessert (Lord help us) was a chocolate brownie-type pie, with a scoop of butter pecan ice cream and some type of caramel-y sauce drizzled. I took two tiny bites. Honest.

Anyway, it was fun and I'm glad we went.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Saturday morning in a quiet house

Well, hubby just left to go get a haircut, and I'm sitting here sipping my coffee and sort of reflecting over the past week.

I think I've done well on the new eating plan. I say "think" because I've yet to weigh. "Official" weigh-in is Monday morning, and I'm hoping for at least a few pounds. I know 1-2 pounds is a "good result," but this is the first week, and what can I say ... I hope it's more than that. Anyway, I'm staying off the scale until Monday morning.

But I'm just not sure what to expect from the scale. I have felt very indulgent this week -- eating brown rice, eating Ezekiel bread, and a few other foods that would never, ever have been allowed into my low-carb eating plan.

I've also started using Splenda with Fiber. I figure if I'm going to use an artificial sweetener anyway, might as well get a little benefit from it.

It remains to be seen how successful the actual weight loss will be. But my joints do feel better this week. I don't know if that's related to my diet, but there it is.

I'm starting physical therapy this next week and hope it will help the pain in my neck, right shoulder, and upper back. It is affecting my daily life, so it's time to do something.

I've got the regular Saturday chores on my list of things to do today (clean house, do laundry) but I also want and need to clean out my closet. I've been putting it off mostly because of my right shoulder issue. It involves a lot of reaching and extending, and I just don't want to aggravate it any more than it already is. So ... I may defer it yet another week or so...

Tonight my firm that I work for has its annual anniversary party (black tie optional). I'm not "decking out" as much as I did last year, but I'm fairly happy with my outfit and hope it will be a fun evening. It basically consists of a cocktail hour, dinner, then dancing to a band and time for socializing. It's nice to see everyone dressed up and all the partners in a tux or very nice dress. And it's fun to see folks out on the dance floor and all their moves!

More later.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A quick update to my new eating plan

So, in response to all the comments and questions I’ve had about the new eating plan, I wanted to give a little clarification. There’s actually a book about this diet and I’ve had it for quite some time but have never tried this way of eating. But to simplify, the No Flour/No Sugar diet is basically just that – I’m not eating anything that contains either of those ingredients. And you would be surprised at how many products have sugar in them! But if either flour or sugar is listed in the ingredient list, I can’t have it.

Mostly this will be a whole, “real” food eating plan. Lots of fresh veggies and some fruit, plenty of protein, and limited fats. I’ve done really well today. Here’s my menu so far for the day:

2 cups coffee with Splenda and half and half

fresh veggies (baby carrots, grape tomatoes, and sliced cucumber) with a little Asian Walden Farms Salad Dressing for dipping

bean soup with ham

an apple with sunflower nut butter (sugar free and delicious!)

a small chicken breast, roasted
green beans with Mrs. Dash seasoning
small serving of rice

I feel good about this plan, and I really hope I can lose weight with it. It is a reduced carbohydrate plan, but by no means as low carb as I was doing up until a few months ago. But it would be wonderful if I can enjoy beans, oatmeal, etc. and still be able to lose weight. It sounds reasonable to me, and I guess time will tell.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

No Flour/No Sugar

So, tomorrow I am embarking on a new eating plan – the No Flour/No Sugar plan. As much flour and sugar as I have had in the past few months, surely I will lose weight cutting it out!

I’m kind of excited, and I’ll keep you updated on how I’m doing. I have been doing some reading and research on what sort of things I can and can’t have, and I’ll be sharing that information as well.

More to come.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

May your year be full of happiness and void of pain. May peace and joy be a part of your daily life. And, may you enjoy health and grace every day!

Here's to a happy, healthy 2009 for us all!
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