Saturday, January 24, 2015

For Sophia Loren

E mille grazie,  bella donna, for the rich inspiration.

I saw a fantastic film montage of this magical creature this week and I just could not help myself from giving it a go with the ole pencil, using one of her earlier photos, which lead to Photoshop for the finish.

After two years, (and whoa, hard to believe it's been that long since that life-changing day in the ER), I'm more than happy to be literally, back at the drawing board, so I'm sharing the fruits of yesterday's labors with you all here.

And with any luck, with Sophia Loren as well.  

Pleased to share too that this work was all done without painkillers.

Lil by lil, Juan day at-a-time, taking back the meadow...


: J

Saturday, January 17, 2015

It Pays Off

Greetings once more, Readers,  

Writing today to share a lil progress and with it, smiles.

It comes in the form of some blood test results I recently got back that for the first time in a lonnnnng time, are all normal or nice and close to it!

Since this heavy treatment commenced in January 2013, my cholesterol readings have been far from stellar but little by little, day by healthy-eating day, along with taking less and less prednisone, I have managed bring those levels down (the triglycerides in particular--which got up to twice the norm at some point), and they are all now ,(mostly) below the maximums and I'm just pleased as punch.

(The GFR, btw, is still holding at 37.)

Here's a pic of the cholesterol goodness:

Even though it's in French, the gist for fellow blood test readers is pretty darned swell. 

<--("inf a", = French for "less than".)

And moreso for a person at stage 3b CKD who is not on Statins--if I do type so myself.  ;)

Avoiding the addition of that particular med to my already full enough pill-plate will always be a goal and results like these only spur me on to continue controlling closely, all sources of saturated fats, (be them animal or plant-based), and cholesterol.

It also further fuels my daily inclusion of foods like ground flax seeds in my morning oat-berry mueslix and my defaulting to EVOO for all cooking, as well as my renewed romance with nuts and seeds of all kinds, (in moderation, of course).

Today, I will celebrate this progress with my dear P with a lunch date at one of our favo Italian restos.  I haven't been to a restaurant since my birthday in July '14, so this is gonna be a big deal for me.

(And they most pleasantly cook salt-free if asked, too.) 

I shall be taking a pain killer to fully enjoy it all, which hopefully includes a crispy wintery stroll apres.

So voilahhhh, hoping this serves as encouragement for anyone else with CKD wanting like hell to avoid needing to go on even more medications, especially statins.

take good care of your good selves out there,

: J

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Calorie-free/Carb-free, Potato/Diabetes

G'Day, Readers,

Today's topic is carbs in sugar-free sweeteners and how "calorie free" does not always equate to, "carb-free".

For those with Diabetes or for people who are on high dose/long term prednisone, (which can cause Diabetes if one's sugar intake is not tightly controlled), this is a very important thing to be aware of.

I discovered this danger first hand, (literally, via finger-prick-test), when I was still hospitalized back in Jan '13 as there, one's only non-sugar choice for sweetening the breakfast "cafe" is aspartame.  And of course, due to treatment, sugar was not an option for me.

Being an anti-fan of aspartame, I asked P to bring with him from home some Truvia, thinking I was doing my body a huge favor, buying into the "Stevia" talk all over the package.

After less than a week of adding less than a teaspoon to my cuppa hospital joe, my insulin levels had spiked dangerously high.  I can't recall the number now but it was enough for the nurse to gasp loudly, something most nurses refrain from doing when taking such readings.

That day while making his rounds, one of the Neph's and I were chatting and I showed him, (feeling oh so pleased with my self), the Truvia package, which he took one quick look at and with the hairiest of eyeballs, pointed out to me the carb content.


Per 100 grams? 99 were carbohydrates and there, was the smoking insulin-gun.

Here is a pic I took of some at the market yesterday:
Many sugar-free sweeteners sing the praises of their calorie-free products but fail miserably to also note on those front panels the carb content, which for many sweetener types, is quite high due to all of the other ingredients they add to bulk it up so it's spoon-able.

Splenda, too (succralose), is another one that's very low calorie but certainly NOT low-carb. at almost 90 carbs per 100grams of product.

To put things in perspective, plain white sugar has 100 carbs per 100 grams.

Like in the case of Truvia, (the one they sell in France anyway), stating that a product is, "made from Stevia" when in fact it contains only trace amounts of it, is more than misleading to healthy customers and downright dangerous to folks with serious medical conditions. 

This is why we must always read labels like hawks.

I wanted to spread the word on this for any new patients to Vasculitis experiencing remission-induction treatment, which always contains a  high dosage of prednisone taken over an extended period.

One would think hospitals would include any and all info like this upon releasing a patient starting on a long-term immune-suppression treatment but alas, many do not, so let's hope this lil post shines a light on things for those needing it.

And for the record, now that I am on only 3 mgs of prednisone/day, I am back to enjoying beautiful honey in my coffee, using just a smidgeon of Stevia to bring it up to sweetness perfection.

Wishing you all +++vibes,

: J

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Faux-Creme Farfalle with Tuna

Hi, All,

Sharing another satisfying and healthy lunch idea, which is still weighing nicely in the ole belly.

As usual, this dish was the result of my just working with what I had on hand, combined with being significantly hungry and craving some comfort food.

Feeling able to honk-out on a big meal again is a welcome change, as for too long now, I've been dealing with stomach issues that have resulted in more weight lost.

Liking the fun of gaining some back.

I was so hungry I didn't even garnish it for the pic, nor add more pepper as is the tradition.

Some gator-sized bites were savored. 

So here's what went into it:

1 1/2 cups of whole wheat pasta, (any shape you fancy, again, better white for the CKD crowd)
1 tbsp of low-fat Philly, (a good lo-sodium choice too)
3 tbsps of 0% fat fromage blanc, (but yogurt would sub fine)
1 tbsp of flax seed oil
2 tbsp of EVOO, (extra virgin olive oil)
1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese, (better to keep it at  1 for the CKD'er's)
1 huuuuuuge clove of garlic, pressed, (Done a half hour before using.)
1/2 can of no-salt-added albacore tuna, (but salmon would rock too)

Fresh ground pepper to taste. 

Boil up the pasta, (no salt in the water), drain well and add everything, (off the burner), starting with the Philly, folding gently until it's all mixed and enjoy.

Serves one.   Organic ingredients used whenever possible.

Fast, easy, healthy (served with a salad/veggies, wink-wink), and it rather fixes the Jones-ing for some creamy goodness while staying sensible--sodium/saturated fat and cholesterol-wise.

Bon ap and bon vibes,

: J