Saturday, July 27, 2013

Cabbage & Noodles

Hello again, Readers 'n Munchers,

This post is to share last night's most satisfying Renal-friendly supper with P and a dish I'll surely be making again soon.

Here's a snap of P's plate, (with a much higher pasta-to-cabbage ration than mine had):

It's a pretty simple dish, though I added a twist that made it even more savory, cooking the cabbage in some spiced up bean broth I kept from the other day.

Here's what went into it:

Linguini, (or any pasta or noodle you fancy)
White cabbage, chopped
Raw garlic, (added in the dish at the end)
3 wee diced sun-dried tomatoes

Toss it all together on the burner with a splash of EV olive oil for a bit before serving and voilah.   Garnish with chives or whatever fresh herb you may have handy.

P of course added some Parmesan to his plate, ("as is the tradition" ; ), and no doubt it was tasty but I didn't and loved it anyway.  There's nothing quite like the regal, almost creaminess of real good olive oil.

This idea was inspired by a dear friend o' mine, Carrie who shared it on FB the other day, but as she's not a vegetarian, hers was with diced bacon accents and I do believe egg noodles instead of Linguini so, thanks again for the inspiration, ma belle!

Bon app & bon vibes,

: J

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Brand New Year!

Good Day, Readers, 

Just a wee post to share how my birthday started this morning at 7am.

I had just taken my morning meds when I heard that oh so familiar sound that all pooch owners know, just outside the bedroom door.  That wretching horrid, deep-gorge groinking that our beloved canine friends make when, "something" is stuck in their throats.  Usually, it's a whole lotta noise for nothing and all is resolved quickly.

Not this morning.

Not only did I get out of bed to find not one sizable and runny blob of brown questionability, but TWO of 'em and it didn't take more than a second for me to realize that the brown was yes, folks at home, you guessed it, POOOOOOOOOO!

Thank the stars it was not on the carpet in the bedroom or I surely woulda lost my cookies/meds trying to clean that up/off/out, oiiiiiii!  I came VERY close, but I got a grip and did not.

Here's a pic taken not minutes ago of the ole sock, looking rather pancakey on the tiles, keepin' cooooool and takin' 'er nice 'n easy.  Even post-poo-puke, he's still a dangerously cute bastard.

So I quickly went downstairs to grab the old dust pan, (long ago converted to T's puke-picker-upper), and got it all cleaned up in a New York minute.

Thaaaaaaaaaaaanks Tony!  Yer da best!  ; D

The ole boy bounced right back after barfing and so we did our usual morning 5k's together without a hick-up, heheh.  I only HOPE that this new snack idea does NOT become a habit for the ole Hoover here.

Aaaaanywho, aside from that shit, (heheh), the day so far has been LOVELY with tons of sweet emails and FB messages and forum posts comin' in from the world over.  The sun is blasting, I got some nummy white beans on the boil with bay leaf, (from our own tree), garlic, cumin, pepper, paprika and a wee bit of sea salt and the celebrating will commence with luncheon!  Haven't had white beans in, erm, I really don't know how long, for sure since last year and I'm SO LOOKIN' forward.  It's another potassium-envelope-push as white beans are VERY high in K.

Not sure what I'll be up for tonight, but I sure do hope to be awake to witness the full moon on my very own b-day, a helluva prezzy for Mama Nature!

To all, be well, be happy and bisous, (said, "bee zoos" and it means smooches in French),

: J

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dip Sticks, Tomatoes & Professors

G'Day, Dear Readers,

So I had another visit with the ever-charming Professor the other day and it went very well.  Firstly, because he reassured me that two ongoing problems I've been dealing with for some months now are NOT neuropathy-based.  That was a major load off and here's to them both resolving themselves soon, (right wrist and left achilles tendon).  He said to keep bracing the wrist @ night and stretching the calves regularly--and, of course--more time.

This ANCA-type of Vasculitis I have can lead to certain, (sometimes even permanent), forms of neuropathy; two of which are known as, "drop wrist" and, "drop foot". I am so glad that it's just good ole repetitive use injury stuff.

And in the more good news/wheewww! dept, today I got some blood work back that is now showing normal Leukocyte, (white blood cell), levels.  This is very good news as the last time they were taken, just before the 2nd Rituximab cycle,  they were rather elevated and at a time when those levels should be anything but out of range--usually a sign of infection.

So YES: as of yesterday, those numbers are back to where they are supposed to be and I'm a-likin'!
I was kinda concerned as I still have the weirdest tickle in my throat no doubt from these BP meds, (it's been there since I started taking them months ago, "dry cough" being a reported side effect.), but with those high leukocytes, I was getting concerned about a potential lung thing going on.

Maaaaais Non!

And today, my Nephrologist called and complemented me on my kidney filtration rate. Well thank you, sir!   Sounds like a weird come-on line from a dyslexic universe, "Are you filtering with me?", heheh... 

He also e'd me my blood work-up from the hospital last time and I'm HAPPY to report that both my Sodium AND Potassium levels--after eating plenty more K-rich healthy foods lately--are both TRES NORMAL!

This means I can eat MORE pulses.  Next on the list, white beans.  Miss 'em like crazy.  Perhaps even a few slices of--GULP!-- cherry tomatoes with 'em!??!   One of the big no-no foods on the Renal Diet and so GOOD with beans, and a lil Parmesan and...   I'm getting hungry again.

Funny, 'cause I bought some new and cute little white beans this morning, throwing K-caution to the wind. 

Oh, and my LDL cholesterol levels are better than ever, now totally normal.  :)  The triglycerides are still riding high, but alas, I'm learning that this is not a shocker for those with CKD.  Being on the pill can also raise those levels, I've read.

Aaanywho, it's been a good day with lots looking under the ole hood and liking what's there and I wanted to share it with you all.

More good vibes comin' atachya's,

: J

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Just Bees 'n Thangs and Flowazzz

Hello again, Readers,

So I realized this morning while slowly waking up, that since the hospital in January, I've gone from taking 9 meds a day plus regular chemo, to now taking only 6, (and one of those is birth control, which if not sick I might be on anyway, and the other is Calcium/D3 so it doesn't "count" as it's a vitamin. ; ).  I'm also taking the new maintenance drug, Rituximab and from now on, it's only one infusion every 5 1/2 months.  Yummmm.

Two of the above turfed meds were for blood pressure and I'm so glad to have gotten those outta the loop.  I quite hated being on THREE different kinds of BP meds after a life of never having high blood pressure--aside from just before the crash.

These decreasing meds, coupled with my now lower than ever daily dose of Prednisone, (now at only 9mgs, down from 60 in January), all adds up to a smile 'n here I am bloggin' about it.

Liking too that even though I was prescribed some interesting pain killers called Acupan, (can't take codeine nor NSAIDS), I haven't taken any in months, preferring now to manage the joint pain with heating pads or massage and/or simply lying down, (as it's often the back), all sans more drugs.

And no doubt, eating real clean/vegetarian/low sodium/0-sugars/low-protein/Renal), plus walking nice and briskly 4-5k's/day with ole Tony here has done nothing but good for the ole ticker and to help these bombarded cells of mine recover.  (I just had two IV cycles of Rituximab within the last two weeks.) 

That and just takin' it easy when it's simply the most prudent thing to do.  That's a hard one to get the noodle around, this constant re-realizing that the things I was once did without a second thought, I now must break up into chunks and spread out over days. 

On that takin' 'er easy note: here's a pic I snapped today while sitting outside in the gorgeous sunshine watching Tony eat certain blades of grass.  I rather like how my latest shade of polish matches the lavender.
And on the subject of nail polish, Iiiiii purchased it yesterday, in a STORE!  That was the first time since last year that I've been to, "the mall", here and so I had to write about it.  ; )  I rather dug being just another normal person takin' care o' bidni...   

Yup, things, bit by bit are a-changing and I'm so glad for it all.   Nice how it's all starting to feel a lil better right around birthday time too.  Helluva gift, I say 'n thanks!

On that note, on with the rest of the day here.

Be well, All +++vibes,

: J

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Scientific Salad 10: Mediterranean Popeye

Hello again, Readers,  

Just popping in with another healthy meal-salad idea.

This one is in celebration of after only a month of strict low-cholesterol eating,  my latest dips sticks show that my LDL is NOW NORMAL AGAIN!

The HDL is still nice and normal too and even though the triglycerides are still riding a lil high, as is the total cholesterol count, I'm just delighted with the decrease in LDL--and from healthy eating alone.  Pretty good for a sick puppy too, I might add.

Oh and my Vitamin D levels have returned to normal which is sweet.

So, here's the salad with all that went into its loveliness.

Everything organic when possible and raw, except the scrambled eggwhites:

1/2 cup o' chickpeas, (soaked, cooked, no salt)
2 egg whites,
1 tbsp of ground flax seeds
2 cloves of minced garlic, (set for 20 mins)
1 cup o' raw spinach
1 diced red pepper
a few sprigs o' fresh mint, chopped
a good squish of lemon juice
1 tbsp of EV olive oil
1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
fresh ground pepper

I swear, my jaw muscles are better than ever with all this crunching goin' on 'round here.

Now I'm off to the market for more fresh produce and other delights.

A great day to all and as usual, +++vibes,

: J

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Life in a Day

Hello again, dear Juan Day Readers,

Yesterday, P remarked on how I seem to live an entire life each day, waking with vigor, walking the river, smiling and laughing and all systems go--but by the evenings, I am more like a crippled old woman, and thanks to these BP meds, even my voice becomes weak and scratchy and far from it's usual velvety self.

So I wrote a poem about it.

Haven't written any poetry or lyrics since before being hospitalized and it was good to get it out and hear the muses again.

Hoping hard that this now regular routine will soon enough, become the exception.   But after so many months of feeling so rough, it's hard to imagine that happening, as I still don't know if the fatigue and pain is due to this lonnnnng and ongoing prednisone weaning, (won't reach my goal of 5mgs/day until November), the stage 3b kidney disease, or the damage done to my joints by the Vasculitis over the years.

In any case, like I said to my dad the other day on the phone, I am SO grateful for the normalcy of the mornings.  If I felt like I do in the afternoons all the time, I really wonder if my morale would be anywhere near where it is.  "Vive les mornings!!!"

So here it is, hot off the JG presses and done on one of the wonderful, (and sunny too!), good days:

A Life in a Day
by Juanita Grande 

I wake up a child, each day with new life
To anyone watching, I'm normal and right
Past lunch time the change starts, burns into my eyes
The clock surely trades all that vigor for strife

By three I'm much older, than what my years are
I walk slowly and painfully, never too far
Usually to or from my bed, the couch or a car
And with each passing hour, I lower the bar

But sometimes there's one day, erases the rest
I open the window of normalcy blessed
I get all of my things done--the pains off my chest
And these days are precious and fill up my head

To anyone watching on these days, I'm "right"
But most days are shadows of my former life
This road is a long one, with each step I fight
And little by little, I gather more light

+++vibes, Everybody,

: J

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Arugula Bliss

Hello Again, dear Readers, 

Just a quick pop-in today to share today's MOST satisfying lunchy idea, which I found VERY hard to photograph being crazy hungry due to a later than usual dog walk, (and we didn't get rained on!), but I managed a decent shot--and ole yellow Tony helped.  ; )

In keeping with my, "expanding the potassium/planty/low cholesterol options", regime, I have recently added back one of my FAVORITE greens, the adorable Arugula, (aka Rocket lettuce), in all it's peppery, stingy glory.

Back before the kidney disease, I would eat a whole bag of this stuff often for lunch, but now it's only half a bag, (and half the potassium, yay), with less parmesan, different vinegar, (used to use balsamic), and due to this cholesterol mystery, sauteed egg whites mixed in for the lean protein win.

So here the recipe, nice 'n easy, the way I likey:
All tossed with verve in a big bow to serve one:

60 grams of arugula
1 clove of garlic, pressed in and raw
1 tablespoon of EV olive oil
1/2 tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar
3 organic egg whites with a lil Mrs Dash
1 teaspoon of parmesan, finely grated.
a few turns of fresh ground pepper

And BOOM, there lunch is!

Can't wait to try this with kale in Canada this Fall.

And hey, if I wasn't watching so much of what I eat, that would be with the full 125 gram pouch of arugula, one whole egg plus the two whites and more parmesan but I'll leave that up to you healthy people out there to enjoy for me.

Bon ap et bon vibes,

: J

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Simple Things

Hello again, dear Readers,

Just a lil pop in to share today's deeelish luncheon, tres simple and just as quick, (once your chickpeas are soaked, cooked and cooled the day before ; ).

I've been told by my Nephrologist recently that I can, "ease up on the diet restriction a little".  He said, "go out for dinner like--once a month.  Have a beer, like---once a week."  So looking forward to dinner out again!  Haven't done that since last year.  And to have another of my Belgian fav's again--a glorious brown Kasteel Beer?!?!  *gulllllp*  That would be heaven...

So for me, this "easing up", translates into my eating more and more potassium rich foods which are both healthy and not toooooo crazy in the cholesterol dept.  My levels are still, strangely, high and we haven't figured out why yet.  Could be a long term Prednisone side effect, could be the kidney disease itself and part of a "new normal" or, it could be genetic.  Never had high levels before, that much I know.

(And yes, yet another diet restriction, aaaayyyyyaiyaiiii...)

On that note, when I see my Professor Rhemy next, I shall request a "VAP Cholesterol", test, which is more in depth than the usual, showing what kinds of LDL's are floating around in the ole blood stream.  There are two types, apparently, A and B.  A, being the big fluffy good kind and B, being the hard, dense, dangerous kind.  All according to one's genes I've read, but managable via lifestyle and diet changes.  Anything to avoid the Statin-boogie, thankyouverymuch.

Interesting and telling statistic: 50% of all heart attack victims have/had normal cholesterol levels.

Now, back to my lunch...

There it is in the beautiful sunlight, before I snarfed it down in the sun room.

Here's what went into it:

-2 cloves of garlic, (chopped and let to sit for 20 mins. to get max benefit of the Allicin)
-some fresh, diced mint sprigs from the garden
-just over a half cup o' chickpeas, (not from a can)
-fresh lemon juice
-ground pepper
-extra-virgin olive oil

Et voila!  Simple, yummy and healthy.  

May the day find you all feelin' fine and as usual, +++vibes et bon ap,

: J