Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Busy Busy Bee

Wow, I've been busy. New IV medication and I am wiped out! Don't really have the energy to blog but I wanted to give it a try. Oh boy, I'm losing focus. Made AMAZING tofu burgers on Monday. Didn't take pictures :( Of course, it's a twist on a recipe I found on Pinterest. Whoever founded that sight is a genius! I've found so much inspiration there. I told my mom I wanted a higher quality camera for Easter so I can take pics of all of my creations.

Realized I'd been talking about numbers a lot. The numbers on the scale and on my clothing tags. Why such focus? Damn eating disorder. It finally occured to me that I was killing myself with stress if the number on the scale didn't stay EXACTLY the same week to week. Such an unrealistic expectation. Weight is not static. So I haven't gotten on the scale in two weeks except at the doctor's office. According to their scales, I've gained 20 pounds. But my clothes still fit well and my weight stayed steady over the last week. Eye-opener ~ nobody is going to love me any more or any less if I gain or lose 20 pounds. And if I lose 20 pounds, "Frank" (my eating disorder. nice to have a name to cuss out on occasion. gives a face to the problem) will tell me that if I lost 20 more pounds then I would be happy, more beautiful, more loveable. That "perfect" number would never be attained because the number would keep getting lower and lower and I would never be "perfect." Jeez. I decided I'd rather be happy than killing myself emotionally with trying to get to the "perfect" weight or clothing size. I'm not totally surprised about the gain but it's ok. I'm still adjusting to this new diet.

New diet! Back to recipes! Found one for a cake that uses COOKED quinoa rather than any flour. OMG! I tried it but didn't adjust the amount of cocoa powder based on not using sugar or sugar substitutes. Now that was some dark chocolate cake. It had a serious bite to it. Not what I want in a cake. My mind is playing with this concept because the cake was really really moist and had a great texture. I'm thinking an almond cake with homemade almond butter swirls and maybe some chopped dates. Doesn't that sound delish? Next baking day I am going for this. Also on my to do list food wise is vegan zuccini bed. Again, the recipe calls for sugar so I've got some adjustments to make there. I'm sure that I can do it.

Absolutely tired of going to the damn doctor. Every day Monday through Friday I have to trek to Pinnellas Park. Hopefully I'll only have to do this for 8 more days and then I'll be able to do the infusions at home. Hope, hope, hope! Keep your fingers crossed!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I love Pinterest! Thank you Aunt Peggie for introducing me to the site. For those who don't know, Pinterest is a website where people post "pins" of prints, do-it-yourself projects, recipes, just about anything. The pins are usually pictures from websites and if you click on the pin it takes you to the source! I have invested a lot of time on that site and have had some great and some not-so-great results when trying things out.

Great results: almond butter, almond milk, rice milk, broiled tofu, tofu scrambles, pretty much anything tofu, shower cleaner, stain remover, and several household "hacks." Not-so-great results: vegan lentil chili. Yeah, so far I think that's the only one. It came out like refried beans with mushy lentils and is as bland as can be. I don't think there is saving this recipe. Usually I can play around with recipes and craft them so that I like the results but I think this one is truly a lost cause. I guess I'll use the leftovers (which is a heck of a lot!) as refried beans or maybe make it into bean burgers or something. My creative juices will start flowing and they will prevail!

On the homefront, my housemate is a huge pain. I know it's her house but everything is her way or the highway. As of today, I choose the highway. She doesn't understand why, when she's home, I am in my room. The reason is simple: I don't have any peace anywhere in the house except in my room and not always then! If I'm out in the "public areas" she is always talking to me. I'll put my headphones on and she still talks to me and doesn't understand why I don't hear her. Ugh. I decided to try being out in the common area when she's home (right now) and as I sit here typing she is trying to engage me in conversation. I was sitting out in the kitchen when she got home and she made a comment about how I'm out of my room. I don't think she realizes that her comments are hurtful when she is trying to help.She says she doesn't want "group living", i.e. compromising on the common areas, but it seems like she absolutely craves companionship. Right now, I don't want to be a companion to someone who's 40-odd years my senior.

Plus she's a counselor. Everytime I try to talk with her about how I feel about a situation in the house she starts to counsel me on how I need to work through my feelings and doesn't address her side of the street. Lately, she's had an issue with me cooking. I've explained to her several times that playing in the kitchen is a coping mechanism for me. Early this morning she "confronts" me, telling me that I'm in the kitchen morning, noon and night and if I'm not in the kitchen, I'm in my room and it's a huge inconvenience for her. Seven a.m. is never a good time to talk with me, even if I've had 12 hours of sleep, but it was especially so this morning because I hadn't had enough sleep plus I started a new IV med yesterday and I feel super sick. I told her I would be more mindful of her needs in the kitchen and she told me that wasn't good enough. I am so glad that I learned how to walk away but boy, I was pissed! I walked into the bathroom and guess what greeted me? Yup, a palmetto bug. That's it, I'm done. No need for a quick exit but I am starting to make plans and will find another living arrangement soon, hopefully with my man. One day at a time.

Enough of my soap box regarding my housemate. I was talking with a friend about all of this and she made a damn good point. A year and a half ago there was no way that I could've managed this situation with my housemate, my health and an intimate relationship. She said that I was doing phenomenal. Wow. The really amazing part is that I agree with her! Physically I feel like crap but I'm also in great shape. My body is soooo resilient considering all of the medications that were/are being pumped into my system plus all of the toxins that the lyme and co-infections are putting out. I am truly in great shape for the shape that I'm in. My drama queen of a doctor is getting to be too much so I'm looking for a local doctor. Hopefully that'll happen soon.

Staying in today: my man and I had a serious conversation about moving in together. A mature, adult, respectful, calm conversation. Now, that's a miracle. I had a proposition for him and now I'm letting him think about it. I am sooo impatient, I want him to answer TODAY! I also know that that is such an unrealistic expectation. And so I wait :) I realize that I am ready for this chapter in my life to end and for a new one to start. I was one of those readers who would speed-read (translation: skim over the words and have just a surface knowledge of what I read) because I was so excited and anxious to know what was happening next. I am learning to slow my reading down (figuratively and literally) and I am getting so much more out of it! But I can still be quite impatient. I think that might be "normal." Gasp!

Oh, it feels so good to vent!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Weekend warrior?

Ah, St Patrick's Day. The one day of the year when my insane drinking was celebrated, even encouraged! Grateful that I don't have to drink to celebrate my lineage. Grateful I don't drink, period. Grateful to be me!

Made a big yet delicious ooops yesterday. My man took me to the county fair and I decreed it a "free" day which means I ate fair food. I had an elephant ear for the first time (totally better than funnel cake) that was lathered in liquid butter and caked with powdered sugar. Oh sooo good! I also had a chocolate peanut butter milkshake. Man, I was itchy! Today I had the consequences. Ugh. Hopefully I'll remember today the next time I want to have a "free" day. Unfortunately, pain has no memory. We'll see.

Haven't been playing in the kitchen the past couple days. I probably should play around some tonight. But I don't feel like it. Tomorrow is a marathon movie day but I just don't feel like cooking tonight so that I have food tomorrow. Special diets can seriously suck. Going out to eat is not easy with all the dietary restrictions. Ugh. I am looking forward to the movies. It's the final day of the Sarasota Jewish Film Festival. I love expanding on the history that I learned in high school and college.

Monday or Tuesday I'll be starting a new IV med. The doctor says that it's pretty toxic and she can't risk me having a reaction at home. Translation: I have to travel one hour each way to the doctor's office for the infusion five days a week. Ugh. Not looking forward to that but if it makes me feel better. . . My hair is still falling out. Today, someone noticed (for the first time). Not cool but what's a lady to do? Wear scarves? I did today because I had one that has shamrocks on it. That's right, representing my celtic heritage :) My man thinks my blood should be green since I have lyme disease. He know's that it's spelled with a "y" but he says that lyme is a color no matter how it's spelled. I told him that I'll work on that. In the meantime I would just wear green. I love his craziness because he keeps me laughing and that helps me get through. He teases me relentlessly, says that that's how I know he loves me. When I turn the tables on him it gets truly hilarious! Oh how I love that man.

Posted my first recipe! Almond butter. That stuff is totally addictive! Next up is posting pictures and then pinning those pics on Pinterest and maybe getting people to follow my blog instead of it being just me reading all of this!

Tomorrow I'll hopefully got to the local Buddhist Temple for services. Waiting on a phone call to find out where it is located.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pure Craziness

That's exactly how I feel about the world today. Especially the grocery world. I had NO clue that I had to read every single freaking label. Who would've thought that a bag of plain, all-natural, raw almonds would have a peanut allergy warning on it? I sure didn't. Until after I ate some of the offending almonds and my eyes started itching and my throat started to feel like it was closing. Ugh. So now I read everything. Amazing how even dried fruit has an allergy warning for peanuts, milk and soy. Jeez. Having food allergies is pure craziness.

My infectious disease doctor is a huge drama queen. She read the results of the MRI of my parathyroids and told me I needed surgery to take the thyroid and the parathyroids out and I needed to be admitted into the hospital stat. Well. Good thing that I've learned not to panic when it comes to my medical stuff. I got a copy of the results and I just about laughed! I'm no doctor but I know a thing or two about how to interpret imaging results (it's easier when the radiologist summarizes it). THe report said that the results were "suboptimal" and recommended following up with a nuclear scan. So I got a seond opinion from my primary care, told her what I thought and she agreed. She ordered the nuclear scan :) I think I'm in the market for a new infectious disease doc. I'm into a reduced drama life.

Oh and then there's the palmetto bugs. People who don't live in Florida know them as cockroaches. Not the littler german kind. Nope. The big ones that were in that scene towards the end of "Men In Black." Ugly big things. Like at least an inch long. Ewwwww. They are so common here in Florida that calling them "palmetto bugs" just sounds nicer. But it's right up there with "a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet." A roach by any other name is just as disgusting. Now keeping these ugly buggers out of the house is fairly simple. A bug guy comes out 3-4 times a year, sprays some stuff both inside and outside the domicile and no bug problem. Here's the pure craziness part: my lovely housemate does not believe in using chemical pesticides inside or outside. She's concerned for her dog's health. Are you kidding me?! Peanut Butter, the best little (well, fat) guinea pig in the world, isn't bothered in the least by those chemicals and crawls around on the floor to (when I'm nice enough to let him). The natural stuff to repel the bugs don't work. The end result is that I see evidence of the bugs on the dishes, in my cooking pans, in my pantry cabinets, in my bathroom and crawling amongst my clothes. And don't open the dishwasher at night because they are crawling around in there too! Seriously, that is sooooo gross. I'm so glad that my boyfriend (the amazing Terry) has extended an exit strategy: he asked me to move in with him. First he has to move out of the apartment he shares with his parents. My exit strategy does not have a set date :( Maybe (hopefully!) in July. Until then, patience and tolerance with the pure craziness in my house.

Not sure how my food pictures are going to turn out. My camera is not the best money can buy. Well, it's the best my money can buy. At least I can tell you how my food adventures are coming along. I'm still working on my savory yeast-free bread recipe. It's a work in progress. Almond milk is easy to make. I learned how to blanch almonds! Not sure if I like it better than rice milk. Homemade rice milk is on the "to do" list for today. It looks easy to make as well. Found a recipe for soy milk but I'm thinking of sticking with store bought. Almond butter. Yum! Can't say enough good stuff about that. Finding a good recipe through trial and error. Big error: using raw almonds. I ended up with ground almonds. I guess if I continued to process them I would have almond flour but I didn't go that route. Small error: letting the almonds cool completely after roasting them. I'm no science geek but I'm pretty sure this has something to do with the oils in the nuts. Maybe a research project some day. When life isn't pure craziness!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Busy Day

Some days I truly amaze myself. Over the past day, I blew my own mind! Who knew that I could be so crafty and creative plus spacey? Apparently my subconscious did and it put me to work :) I made some superb almond butter (pictures and recipe to follow eventually). Next time, I'm gonna try for chocolate almond butter.

Then, I made body wash. Again, pictures and recipe will appear here eventually :) Not having a camera with a removable memory card is a bit of a pain but worth it in the long run 'cause the pharmacy downloads the pics and gives me a CD of them for FREE for life! Thank you Mom. She's the reason I couldn't take pictures of my cooking adventure tonight. I let her borrow the camera so she could take pictures of herself, her man and their friend in their Purim costumes. The theme for the party this year is Purim in Paris and they are dressed up as the Three Musketeers. I helped with the finishing touches on the costumes. The guys borrowed my All Hallow's Eve wigs, one of them being black and purple striped. I can't wait to see the pictures! I thought about going dressed as a flapper but it didn't fit into my schedule. Oh darn. But onto my other adventures.

Made chocolate quinoa breakfast cereal this morning. No recipe because I just eye-balled it but I'm sure I'll get it written down eventually :) Oh! I made my first loaf of yeast-free bread yesterday PLUS made my own oat flour. Chewy, dense and oh so delicioso! Recipe needs to be played with. I truly believe in creativity in the kitchen. Following recipes to the letter can be so dull. Not everything can be improved upon but it is fun to try. I think my bread recipe is going to be a mix of some that I've found online.

The creativity continued: made pan-fried tofu tonight. Corn meal, cayene pepper, paprika, garlic and salt. Cooking spray in the cast iron and cook away! Throw on a little Veganaisse and that was some darn good eatin'! Sauteed veggies on the side. Oh boy, oh girl. No picture because my mom had the camera. Next time!

My next project is homemade almond milk. The recipes I found online are pretty straight forward. The challenge is that they all called for honey, agave nectar, maple syrup or vanilla extract. Would you believe that vanilla extract is made with corn syrup?! I've got lemon, almond, cherry and peppermint extract and none of them have corn syrup in them, just the vanilla. Then, all the recipes online for homemade vanilla extract call for vanilla beans and vodka or rum. I don't drink so I'm not buying liquor just to make vanilla extract. Guess I'll have to go the expensive route and use whole vanilla beans but since I don't already have them, this is going to be a totally plain version of almond milk. Trust me, I'll document the results, for better or for worse :) I've read that the almond "grit" that results from making almond milk can be dried and them further processed into almond flour. Interesting thought, don't ya think?

I'm also radioactive today which might account for all the creativity flowing through my veins. Just kidding! The creativity is probably a result of anxiety. I'm radioactive because I am having a nuclear scan done of my throid over the next 24 hours (well, the process started this morning and the last picture gets taken tomorrow morning). I won't stay radioactive for long. That's almost a bummer!

No walk today. Too much going on and in too much pain. I need a back-y-otomy because my whole spine hurts. Tomorrow is a new day.

Don't take life so darn seriously. Nobody gets out alive!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New Beginings

So, first day of blogging. I feel like this is a bit of a public diary. Let me know if I go into oversharing :) I'm still putting together what I want to include here but I figured getting started was the way to go. Today's a great day. Started out with a 1.7 mile walk and making some amazing Stephanie-friendly bread! Those who know me know that going for a walk, especially one of that distance, has not been possible for quite some time. Lyme has made a huge impact on me. I think I maybe, might, possibly could have gone into remission! Don't want to celebrate too soon though.

This week is the first week on this food plan. Found out on Monday about all my food allergies and this food plan is drastically different from the one I was doing to lose weight. It feels odd and I must say that I am soooo scared that I am going to put weight back on. The allergist said that I might do that the first month but that after all the allergens are out of my system I will go back to losing weight so long as I follow the food plan and use portion control. Being a recovering bulemic (yes, I have no issue with sharing that rkind of personal information), this is quite scary. I spent a lot of time, energy and effort into losing 150lbs. I am literally half the woman I used to be and I really think I could stand to lose 10-15 more pounds to get comfortably in the healthy BMI range for someone my height. Being open about my fears, concerns (which I guess are the same thing), stumbles and all of the successes are going to be quite healing and healthy for me. Thank you for joining my journey here as I continue on my journey to health.

Have already made some amazing Stephanie-friendly food and I will share pictures and recipes ASAP. I get a lot of inspiration from pins on Pinterest and if I have a link to the recipe I've adapted I will give credit where credit is due. Honesty really is the best policy! Until next time, hugs & love! ~Stephanie