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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Let your water enhancer enhance your other beverages!

When you first start reducing the amount of sugary beverages that you consume, the taste of artificial sweeteners took some getting used to. One product that I have completely fallen in love with is the Equate brand (from Walmart) Lemonade Water Enhancer.

It is a liquid product similar to Splash and MIO that you squirt into a bottle of water to give it flavor. But me being me, I have found other uses for it. When I order unsweetened tea at a restaurant or at a fast food joint, I have found that you have to add too many packets of artificial sweetener (I prefer sucralose AKA Splenda) to sweeten it and then I like to add lemon. It is a pain to squeeze a bunch a of lemon wedges to the drink, so out comes the Equate from my purse (yes, I have bottles at work, home and in my purse).

I might use a Hawaiian Punch packet in my water and then squeeze the lemon Equate to it. I do the same thing with the Arizona brand Arnold Palmer tea/lemonade. The flavor is a little too subtle for me.  I like my tea sweeter and I need to kick it up a notch; so you already what I have to pull out. LOL.

Lemon is my favorite fruit flavor and this product is awesome. I am sure MIO, Splash and other brands are great too. But the Equate one is cheaper. So when I hit Wally World, I buy a bunch of them.

Give it a try and tell me what you think.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Star Trek Anti-Racism, Let That Be Your Last Battlefield | My10Online

Star Trek Anti-Racism, Let That Be Your Last Battlefield | My10Online

I'm watching this episode again right now. I last saw this episode as a little kid. I thought, "How stupid. Why are they fighting because one guy is black on the left side and the other guy is black on the right. What difference does it make?" That was the point of the episode and the genius of Star Trek and science fiction. This genre holds up a mirror in a way without offending, while still getting the message across.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

When lunch gets a little too lean

This is a 150 calorie Lean Cuisine after mixing the broccoli in with the beef. This little section can hold all of the food. This is why folks get discouraged when trying to lose weight. You ask yourself why you are still hungry after eating one of these. You think this should be enough for lunch. Yeah right, if you are in grade school or had bariatric surgery. I'm eating a banana when I'm done. SMH.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Developed new symptoms? Check your medicine cabinet.

It has been argued that we live in an overmedicated society. We take medicine to not only cure what ails us, but to improve our quality of life. People who suffer from chronic illness are often prescribed multiple medications. If that person has more than one condition, the number of pills can really add up.

I am not here to argue against taking medicine. Personally, modern medicine has made it possible for me to continue to function and to remain employed. I actually want to share something that I discovered about taking all of these medications that can be easy to overlook in people who suffer from a bunch of ailments like me.

Since the beginning of the year, I have had an increase in the frequency and intensity of my migraine headaches. They run in my family. I have had migraines with auras since I was a teenager. I have been fortunate in the last few years because I only had severe migraines a handful of times a year. Other than that, I only experienced relatively milder migraines and sinus headaches.

When my recent bout of migraines started, I experienced classic auras (flashes and zigzags) in my visual field along with light and sound sensitivity. The visual disturbances increased in intensity. I experienced waviness (like you associate with seeing mirages in the desert) on the periphery of my vision. Sometimes it was so bad, I couldn’t see well enough to type on my computer or drive. I also experienced dizziness when standing and walking. I would often have to grab the wall when walking. Needless to say, it got so bad that I was having intensely painful headaches almost every day. It took a lot for me to make it through the work day. When I got home, I would often lay in bed with the TV off and place a sleep mask over my eyes, praying that I could sleep through the episode.

I went to see my primary care physician and I was prescribed a medication for migraines. After a month or so with not much relief, I went back and was given a prescription for medication that dissolved on my tongue and a low dose blood pressure pill even though my blood pressure was excellent. My physician explained the mechanism by which she expected it to help with the migraines. It didn’t help much.

As the symptoms and frequency worsened, I was told to see a neurologist and get an MRI. I called the neurologist, but his nurse wanted my medical records and few other things from my PCP. I was a little frustrated because I was in sheer misery. I made some calls, took partial days off from work and decided to tackle the back and forth when I felt up to it. I know that sounds crazy, but when you are barely making it, you do enough to get by such as concentrate on making it through the work day.

Sitting at my computer in tears, feeling defeated, wondering how I was going to go on and telling God how I couldn’t handle one more health problem, I finally cut out the melodrama going on in my head long enough for something to tell me to check my medications. The first one that came to mind was the antibiotic, Bactrim, which I had been on continuously taking since last year for my hidradenitis suppurativa (HS).

BINGO! That was the culprit.

As I read through the list of possible side effects such as persistent headaches and signs of low sugar, shakiness and dizziness. I didn’t even connect the bouts of low blood sugar. I just assumed it was because I had a gastric bypass and I wasn’t eating enough. So I took matters into my own hands to test my new theory. I stopped the antibiotic. I don’t recommend stopping a medication without talking to your doctor first, but this was a little different. The Bactrim was a "just in case" med that I chose to be on just in case HS “aliens” got any infection, which they mostly don’t. Because treating the various aspects of treating HS falls under so many physicians, you almost end up taking the lead on your treatment. The dermatologist will inject the aliens with kenalog and will prescribe an antibiotic, but won’t prescribe pain meds or lance them. You have to see a general surgeon for lancing. The surgeon may prescribe a short course of pain meds post draining. The PCP or someone else has to prescribe pain meds for flare-ups. My rheumatologist prescribed the Humira for the arthritis and the HS. Insurance doesn’t cover it for HS, so the dermatologist can’t prescribe Humira and have the insurance pay for it. So as you see, I have to be an active member of my health care team.

So I have stopped the Bactrim for about four weeks and I have been taking my backup antibiotic for HS, the one I take when I get a flareup. The headaches, low blood sugar, dizziness and shakiness have stopped. I plan to call my PCP eventually and tell her that the mystery has been solved thanks to the good Lord, me (after I stopped being a drama queen) and the Internet. :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Red beans and rice

Here is my recipe for red beans and rice using the crockpot. This could easily be done using the stovetop. I am not a person who does a lot of measuring, but here goes.

First take two smoked turkey wings and place them in a large crockpot and cover them with water. I purchased mine already cut up. They came one wing per package. One wing will suffice, but I prefer the extra meat. The smoked turkey adds an extra layer of flavor to the final dish.

Set the crockpot to 10 hours the night before, and then soaked a pound of red beans in water and go to bed. Follow the directions on the package of red beans for soaking them overnight.

The next morning, the turkey meat should be falling off the bone. Remove the turkey skin and bones from the crockpot.

Drain the remaining water on the red beans and dump them into the crockpot with the smoked turkey wings.

Then add Zataran's Red Bean's Seasoning Mix. Set the crockpot to cook for four hours.

About three hours later, slice up two pounds of your favorite beef smoked sausage and put it in the crockpot.

Put your rice on (follow the direction on the package, although I use a rice cooker) and when the time is up on the crockpot, it time to eat.

This recipe will yield a lot of food. If you don't have bunch of people to feed, invite some over or freeze some beans for later.


Monday, June 18, 2012

PMS, need I say more?

I just have to ask, do any of you deal with PMS on a consistent basis? Like clockwork, I get moody and straight up evil (thought wise) before my period. Everything aches, I get cramps, moody, tired and I am just miserable. Arthritis, fibromyalgia, and especially my hidradenitis flare up (and pain is enough to piss me off).

Not to mention pain from uterine fibroids and cysts on my ovaries. Ugh!

This time of the month, I get pissed off just by people talking to me. I literally sit there and think, "why are you still breathing?" I try to make an effort to isolate myself so that I don't take it out on others. I've been pretty successful at it.

Thank goodness I can close my office door at work. I came to work this morning with a funky attitude, pissed off that people were bugging me via email. The rational side of me knows that this is completely ridiculous. And it really is. I still somehow manage to be courteous and professional. But each month when I start feeling this way, I know what time it is. I generally like to crawl into my bed and chill with a heating pad and avoid phone calls if I can.

So am I the only psycho out there, or can someone else relate? I haven't slapped anybody, but man it is tempting.

Just so that you know, I'm a pretty easy going person. It takes a lot to rattle my cage, unless I'm going through PMS. ;)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Finding someone to hold me financially accountable

I just finished the Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course. In it, Dave recommends that singles find someone to whom they can be accountable. I considered asking my frugal yet money savvy friend, Monica, but I chose my mom since we live near each other. Also, my mom is super frugal (ok, cheap); but, as a result, she and my dad are comfortably retired. When I asked her, I understood that this would give my mom a free pass to be all up in my business and to pass judgment on what I do financially.

I also gave my mom the account number, checks, etc. to my emergency savings in my money market account with the understanding that if I ask for the checks, etc., I will have to justify to her satisfaction that I have a legitimate emergency before she will give me access to it. We also defined what we consider a legitimate emergency. My tire blowing out because my car needs new tires isn’t an emergency; it is a personal problem due to poor planning. Once I get a better handle on what is a real emergency, I will get my checks back from her.

To make a long story short, I told my mom that I took Eddie to the movies. Because he is 16 and doesn’t have a job right now, I paid for the movie. My mom’s response was that I obviously had not learned anything because the money I spent on the tickets could have went towards savings. I had to shake my head. I told her that although I need to make some more cuts, that don’t mean that I can never do anything until my car and house are paid off, my retirement is fully funded, or all debt is eliminated. There has to be a reasonable balance between making reasonable cuts in spending and being a hermit.