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My a-ha moment of the week July 23, 2012

Posted by starshipexercise in MIgraine.
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I just read a blog post by a young woman living with daily excruciating pain from shingles.  The shingles went away, but the pain never did.  How horrible.

I know what it’s like to live in constant pain, after suffering migraines on a daily basis for about 15 years.  Being in pain like that, every moment of every day, grinds you down physically and emotionally.  It’s so not fun.

I am sincerely grateful that I learned to control my migraines through diet.  I owe it all to the neurologist I saw after my primary care doctor gave up on me.  I’d had a headache for about 3 weeks, and they tried everything: pills, shots, even narcotics.  Nothing worked.  Toughing it out when you’re in constant pain takes it’s toll.  I started breaking down in the doctor’s office during each visit because I couldn’t live that way any more.

The neurologist said “Yup, you get migraines,” gave me a loooooooong list of foods to not eat, and sent me on my merry way.

If all it takes to avoid headaches is to stay away from certain foods, I’m all for it.

I know there are people who live with chronic diseases that can be improved (maybe not entirely prevented or eliminated, but at least helped) through diet, such as Type II Diabetes and heart disease.  Some people make diet and lifestyle changes, and some don’t.  I used to wonder about people with obvious weight problems who were diabetic: why didn’t they just do something about their weight?

Like mine, this woman’s ongoing pain from shingles is invisible.  There are probably people who wonder, while she’s whimpering in pain, why she doesn’t just buck up. Or thinking that she’s exaggerating.  Reading that post about battling constant pain was a sobering reminder of that thing Plato said about being kind to everyone, because they’re fighting a hard battle.

I know from my own weight loss journey how hard it is.  Maybe I’m lucky that I get migraines.

What?  Lucky?  Am I nuts? (Well, maybe just a little eccentric.  Special?  Unique?)

Look at it this way: it’s easy for me to maintain a dietary regimen because if I slip up, I’m reminded pretty immediately with really obnoxious pain not to do that again.   And unlike other conditions with repercussions, like acid reflux and atrial fibrillation, my slip-ups don’t come with permanent damage.  Once a headache is gone, it’s gone.

Added bonus: a lot of the foods that give me migraines are also the foods that make me fat. Well, to be honest it’s not the foods that make me fat, it’s my inability to control portions – ah, but therein lies the rub for most of us battling a weight issue.  But if I can’t eat macaroni and cheese at all, then portion control is a snap.

So yes, lucky.  I tell people this all the time when they hear about all the food that I can’t eat, and they say how awful that is.  Sure, it ain’t easy.  But this is a first-world problem.  I’m over feeling sorry for myself.

I’m Full of Beans! July 21, 2012

Posted by starshipexercise in Recipes and Food, Running.
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We have a saying in our house. When one of the cats goes bat-doo-doo crazy, we say “he’s full of beans.” If you’re a cat person, you know the manic behavior I’m talking about. Running sideways down the hall. Attacking everything in sight.

This morning, sometime after “oh my GOD WHAT TIME IS IT?” o’clock, Loomis Simmons tried to kill our feet. Never mind they were under the covers, and not even moving, he was gonna get ’em. Later, the beans continued in the front yard while he hassled me as I was trying to leave for dragon boat practice (he wanted to come, too!) and then again in the kitchen as I unpacked the groceries and he repeatedly jumped up on the counter RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME as if we do that all the time in our house. I finally threw a paper bag in the dining room with instructions to “KILL IT” and that got him off my case.

He was full of beans.

Now, when I say I’m full of beans, I don’t mean I’m on the manic side of a bi-polar mood swing, like Loomis Simmons. I don’t even mean I’m full of just any old beans. Actually, I’m full of lentils.

See, all legumes are potential migraine triggers. It’s a shame, too, because I love beans. I recently tried some canned cannelini beans to see if I could tolerate them, but no dice. Then at work this week, one of my coworkers mentioned that she also gets migraines, and that beans are a trigger, but she has found that if she starts with dried beans, just cooks a single portion at a time, and never uses canned beans, she’s fine.

Well, I just hopped my little tushy over to the bulk food aisle and got me some red lentils. I even found a recipe online for cooking them in the microwave (because I want my lentils RIGHT NOW) although they seem to come out dry so I’m still messing with the amount of water to use. Still, it’s pretty awesome. Lunch on Friday was .5 cup of lentils with cinnamon and turmeric (made from .25 cup dried lentils), a red new potato, and about a cup of sauteed beet greens. Mmmm. Jewish hippie shit, as my dear husband would say. Whatever. I know what’s good.

So, that was the first good thing that happened this week. I had lentils a couple of times, no headache. I’m gonna try black beans next, because they are almost as awesome as lentils.

The second good thing was I did three miles on Thursday and discovered my new favorite running song, We Will Rock You by Queen. Damn right, we will.

The third good thing was I found a recipe online for baked oatmeal squares. The original recipe is little more high-calorie than I would like, and there are a couple of potential migraine triggers, but I made a some modifications. Instead of milk, I used water. Rather than add .5 cup of sugar, I just sprinkled a packed tablespoon of brown sugar over the top before putting it in the oven. Instead of 1 cup of dried fruit, I added 2 cups of fresh.  And, I cut down the portion size.

I tried a piece this afternoon as a snack, and I have to declare this recipe delightful. It is so delightful, in fact, that I was forced to immediately stash the remaining servings in the freezer and run screaming from the house til they froze solid so I wouldn’t just keep eating til it was all gone.

I can live with being full of beans, but not 9 servings of baked oatmeal.  I think I might pop.

So, have freezer bags ready, or make this at your own risk.  You’ve been warned.

Really Effing Good Baked Oatmeal

Servings: 9

Ingredients:
3 cups of old fashioned rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
.5 tsp ground cinnamon
.5 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
4 egg whites
1 cup water
.25 tsp salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 tsp brown sugar, packed

Mix up dry ingredients in one bowl, and wet ingredients in another. Add dry ingredients to wet, and then fold in berries. Sprinkle brown sugar on top, and spread into a 9×9 baking pan, liberally coated with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. The blueberries will explode with delight, and the brown sugar will make a subtly sweet crust.

Enjoy, but not all at once. 🙂

Calories 139.4
Fat 1.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 201.8 mg
Carbohydrates 43.0 g
Dietary Fiber 6.6 g
Protein 5.4 g

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