Sunday, July 27, 2014

Have You Thought of Natural Pain Relief?

pain, pain,
Pain Sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     Everyone has pain and when we do, whatever pain it is, feels like the worst we've experienced.  Most of our pain is short lived.  Give it a little time to heal or to allow the medicines to take effect and most diminish within days or weeks.  Chronic pain is a different ball game.

 It never leaves.  Ever.  

     There may be days that are  more tolerable than others, but anything can cause it to intensify.   Then it feels as if little can be done to reduce it.  That is without taking a prescribed pain reliever and who wants to pop narcotics for the rest of their life?   I, for one, do not. 
      I understand too much about pain.  Living thirty-five healthy years, at age thirty-eight, I can no longer summon memories of what it felt like to live pain free.  Visions of a time when I could run or jump with the kids in the yard come to mind, but when I see my feet hit the ground, I physically cringe.  I can only associate those activities with the pain it would cause me now.  Even while watching movies, I find myself reacting in this same manner.

     Trying to give an explanation of how intense my pain has been has been a trial for me.  When asked, I just cannot find the descriptive words to encompass it.  I may never.  I fancied myself a good sympathizer before my collision and now realize some experiences are beyond words, beyond comprehension.  I lived it and there are moments when even I cannot believe I came through.

      With the dedication of my physicians, they have compressed my agony to severe discomfort.  I had to take it from there.  Doctors can only accomplish so much with what they have to work with and if I did not want to continue with narcotics, then I had to research other options. 

     So how am I accomplishing this?

     I want you to know that if you suffer from chronic pain, there are options, but you must be diligent in your efforts.  You may understand already that if you suffer from this condition that you build up a certain tolerance.  If your pain lowers to a certain level, you are elated.  Humans have a tendency to become lazy.  When we feel better, we stop doing what makes us feel better.  Then what happens?  We feel bad again.  Then we scramble to start again what made us feel better in the first place.  So why not just make it a life habit and stick to it?

     I exercise many habits each day to minimize my injuries.  I do not allow myself to become stagnant in my own care.  I grasp too well that when you let pain have control, it takes twice as long to reign it in.  

     Acceptance is my first defense.   I cannot move forward if I am not mentally and emotionally prepared.  

     Diet.  I eat well and I eat healthy.  I minimize what I call 'heavy' foods.  (gravy, fried)  I look for detoxing foods.

Greens  Chew     Vitamins.  I take a herbal detoxing vitamin that is a combination of fruits and vegetables. Greens


   Exercise.  Activity is a double edged sword for me.  I need it because my body will seize up and become rigid without it.   Too much and I am resting on the couch for days.  Pilates  cycling and farm work.

     Meditation.  I don't sit cross legged and 'Ohm' in the middle of the living room, that's for sure.  With four kids, I'd never hear the end of those jokes.  I do, however, sit in a quiet place, with my legs elevated and mentally motivate myself to overcome the deep aching that takes place with humidity or over-activity on my part.

    Curamin.  This herbal supplement is known for its ability to balance the body's natural inflammatory response.   I use this as my main pain reliever.  I must take the maximum dose and take it daily.  

     Rhus Tox. This is actually poison oak.   I know!  Odd, I thought, especially since I am allergic, but I have had no side effects of rash, etc.  This, I use for my arthritis.  Rhus Tox is a homeopathic remedy.  Homeopathic means that you are using a small amount of a natural substance to treat an ailment that the substance would normally cause.  Foods for Health

    The combination of those last two supplements have been helping me since February and rarely do I even have to ingest an Ultram.  Unless I over do it.

     SMILE.   That's the most important habit of all!  Luckily that comes naturally for me.  I welcome the lines that have developed around my eyes, it lets myself and others know that I've lived a life full of happiness.  Smiling, in earnest, is uplifting.  Just try it for yourself.  If you smile repeatedly, you feel something grow in your chest  and it is impossible not to have your spirit and emotions improve.  It may not decrease your pain or fix the situation you are encountering.  Do it anyway.  What is does, is helps you handle it better and smile lines are much more attractive than frown lines.  Yes?

Smile On!

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Value of Sisterhood

     The value of sisterhood is something to be treasured for a life time.  Not all of us understand having that, but we can come close with friends that feel like sisters.  Having three daughters, there are times I envy their hushed talks, their secret smiles and overall sister camaraderie.  Having one sibling who is male, the only hushed talks we had, were episodes of him begging me not to tell our parents "something" he had done, so he wouldn't get into trouble.  ;)

     This photo shoot I am sharing has been evolving in my thoughts for a couple of years.  Because of many surgeries I have not been able to tackle this passion of mine, until Now!  Since we camp at the fairgrounds we had access to the carnival rides from our county fair and I thought this the perfect background to portray our three beauties.  

     If you have not noticed, the 50's fashion is back in style, with a contemporary spin of course.  Finding the right kind of outfits wasn't too much of a challenge.

   Studying our three daughters, I pronounced they were at the right age to help me with this endeavor.  Luckily all three readily agreed to trust my imagination.  

     When our girls filed out of the camper one by one, I had that moment the rest of you, who have watched them grow up had.  "When did all THAT happen?"  My heavens, they are stunning!  When were the little girls replaced with these remarkable young women?  I am even more stoked for this photo shoot, they are 100% all into this.  Hair, makeup and clothing.  Sweeeet!

     Photo after photo, my chest puffs with pride as I can see things differently through the lens of a camera.  Photo after photo, the lump in my throat swells as I see we only have a few years left before they leave.  Photo after photo, I hide the fresh tears of appreciation I have for these dazzling, intelligent, young ladies. 

   They were rocking this session and I was enjoying it as much as they were.  They are veteran models as I have put a camera in their face for many years.  I only had to tweak poses as they did the rest.

   I couldn't help but laugh at memories of younger years as I studied them.  They don't care about the sibling hierarchy anymore, they just want to borrow each others clothes.  There is still an occasional, "She made me do it" or "Sissy did it" or better yet, " I am the oldest, so I am the boss!"

       Our family combined nine years ago.  They didn't have a choice of whether they wanted to become sisters, but now I can hear them say, "I smile because you're my sister and there is nothing you can do about it."  

      They have grown to love and protect each other.  Confide secrets and ambitions.  We have raised them together and even though they are flowers from different gardens, they have bloomed together and developed a sisterhood that is powerful.   This is an affection worth treasuring.

How lucky are they?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Breakfast/Dessert: Healthier Peach Gratin

Healthier Peach Gratin
Prep:15 minutes

4 Medium Peaches
2 Eggs
1 Maple syrup(lite)
1/2 cup All-purpose flour
1/4 tsp Salt(optional)
2 tbsp Sugar(sweetener)
1tsp Sugar (sweetener)
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup Granola with almonds/pecans
2 tbsp Butter(optional)
1/2 cup Greek yogurt, plain
1/2 cup Milk 

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium bowl whisk together milk and eggs. Add flour, the 2 tablespoons sugar, the melted butter, vanilla, and salt, whisking until smooth. Set aside.
  2. If desired, peel peaches. Pit and slice peaches.
  3. Grease a 9- to 10-inch deep-dish pie plate. Pour batter into pie plate. Arrange peach slices on top of batter.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with granola. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes more or until batter is light brown and set and peaches are tender. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.
  5. In a small bowl stir together yogurt and enough additional sugar to reach desired sweetness.  Drizzle with maple syrup and yogurt mixture.

     We have a fairly healthy home diet, I would say.  There are very few convenience foods in our pantry so if you were searching for any Little Debbie snacks, you would be out of luck.  Most meals, these days are made from scratch or close to it.  (which my family loves just as much!)

     The majority of our family is on a health kick the past couple of months, so since I'm the cook, the others don't have a choice!  We also have one who is trying out a vegetarian status right now, which makes me look even more diligently for healthier alternatives.  

     Trying to change up breakfast a bit and since my thoughtful husband brought home some Georgia peaches from our oldest daughter's recent college trip, naturally I searched how to revamp my normal recipes into healthier versions.   

     Taking a recipe from my Great Grandmother's cook book, I swapped out most of the butter or Lard!(some would probably have to look up the definition that word & gasp) , no crust on top, change the sugar to sweetener & the drizzled icing to yogurt. 

  The base reminds me of a custard.  I am a big fan of vanilla and I used 1 tsp instead of just 1/2 tsp.

Wedge the peaches, place in the base of the dish until you have used all four or to your desired amount.

You can omit the syrup if you wish, we had some lite syrup so, why not?   It's not always abstinence, it's moderation.  Drizzle on as much or as little as you like, although I would not cover the entire dishI think that may give you a belly ache, of sorts.

     Using the granola/pecans gives the dish a little more substance and add some fiber and protein in there.  It is a substitution for the original pie crust.  Now I seem to have neglected photographing the drizzling of the yogurt over the top, but I loved the sweet flavor it added.  Instead of a powdered sugar glaze, you can add 1 tsp to some vanilla yogurt (  I think the yogurt is sweet enough on it's own)but you can add it if you wish.

   You end up with a sweet, but healthier breakfast/dessert.  You won't have to feel guilty or sit at the table holding your belly because the heaviness of the dish made you sick to your stomach.