Category Archives: Wellness

Spending Time With You

I saw a piece that came through on Buzz Feed entitled 31 Delightful Things To Do By Yourself.  I really enjoyed seeing that piece come around and I really hope that it inspires  younger people to do things solo.  Not just because it’s frugal, but because it’s necessary.  When I was younger I didn’t know how to spend time with myself nor did I want to.  While I love spending time with friends and family, I am finally at a point in my life where I enjoy my own company.  It took me way too long to get here.

After all the years that I spent being an active mother and wife, I realized that I spent my time as the hub in all the activities. I was included with each person individually and as a family, but I never went off on my own adventures even though my husband kept unsuccessfully trying to encourage me to do so.  (Thanks for trying ARV, you were right.)

My daughter moved out and that was a bit of an adjustment.  I think kids are more prepared to leave the house then the parents are to let it happen.  With her gone, it just left me and my husband together (constantly) and that was not good at all. After a few years of that we separated and it left me alone and scared to death.

Here I am two years later, and while I still enjoy my time with others, I’ve really come to value and enjoy my time by myself.  I write, I paint, I craft, I read, and I meditate. I spend time with you and the rest of my online friends.  I enjoy going out to dinner occasionally (when I can afford it LOL) with my kindle.

I like going shopping and just wandering around the stores looking at things, or going for a drive and checking out the landscape. I love listening to music, I read and occasionally I turn on the TV.  And the best part?  I never have to negotiate what I’ll be watching or feeling trapped and wishing I could be doing something else instead.

Spring Dreams2
This is my latest painting, I made it for my niece and her husband. That is their initials and their wedding date on the tree trunk.

As we go through life we find out that we don’t stay the “hub”, as our children become the “hub” of their own families and lives.  We may be married, single (or widowed).  We need to enjoy ourselves and value ourselves as others do.  So take the time to make friends with yourself; take yourself out on dates, spend quality time with yourself and make sure you’re giving yourself the same time out of “family time” that other family members get, you really need it.

What things to you enjoy doing on your own?

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie

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The Lost Art of Courtship & Conversation – Part 1

Courting tends to be a thing of the past in the country.

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Attraction tends to outweigh the need for compatibility, which later can make a relationship harder to maintain.  Even in my own relationship history, there has only one person that I connected with as a friend before the relationship changed into something more.

For those who haven’t been following me all that long, I have separated from my husband with the intent of divorcing.  I’m rather gun shy so to speak and would rather avoid a relationship altogether than go through the dreaded “rebound”.  I’ve had enough upheaval without adding to personal pain and drama.

Recently a friend has expressed an interest in pursuing something more than our current friendship, which I am interested in as well.  Living two hours away from each other makes it very easy not to be hasty and to be able to truly find out more about each other as individuals before advancing our relationship further.  This is truly the first time someone has ever said that they’d like to get to know me better and it didn’t mean to get undressed.  The conversations have been absolutely amazing and insightful, including one evening of sitting on the phone while playing a game of online Scrabble together.  

The amazing part for me is that not only has it given me a greater insight and understanding of a dear friend, but it gives us both the option of taking a step back and still retaining the friendship if we decide this is not something we want to pursue in the long run, without ruining the friendship.  While I don’t see that happening, I find the entire concept amazing and almost surreal.  Having come of age in the early 80’s, this sadly is not how my generation generally handles relationships and dating.  I’ve literally been on less than a half-dozen pre-relationship dates in my life.

So the other day, I was surfing online when I found a list of “50 Questions You’ve Never Been Asked Before”.  I grabbed them and mentioned it and was delighted that my friend was just as interested as I was.  We only got half way through the list and it was one of the most enjoyable, insightful conversations I’ve ever had.  I can truly see where services like eHarmony and Match.com really have an edge into helping couples find the right person since we’re not really skilled in the art of courtship as a society anymore.

Having such a wonderful time learning about each other has led me to add a few more of my own questions as well as to explore the internet for some additional questions as well.  Since this has turned into a rather long list, I’m going to be posting it in installments.

I encourage you to check them out and ask them of a current partner, someone you’re dating or talking to online.  If you’re not in a relationship currently, ask a good friend to make them a better friend.  Sometimes we need “dating practice” even if we’re in a relationship and after all, getting to know someone better is always a good thing.  

  • 1. What’s your favorite candle scent(s)?
  • 2. What’s your favorite kind of pizza?
  • 3. Did you ever have an imaginary friend?
  • 4. How old were you when you got married?
  • 5. How many states have you been to? Lived in?
  • 6. What’s your favorite mixed drink?
  • 7. How old were you when you learned how to ride a bike?
  • 8. How many oceans have you gone swimming in?
  • 9. How many countries have you been to?
  • 10. Can you eat with chopsticks?
  • 11. What breed(s) of dog do you like?
  • 12. What would you name your son/daughter if you had one?
  • 13. What’s your favorite kind of cereal?
  • 14. What was your favorite TV show when you were a child?
  • 15. What did you dress up as on Halloween when you were eight?
  • 16. Have you read any of the Harry Potter, Hunger Games or Twilight series?
  • 17. Would you rather have an American accent or a British accent?
  • 18. Where would you still like to travel?
  • 19. What was the last concert you went to?
  • 20. Have you ever taken karate lessons?
  • 21. What’s your favorite genre of music?
  • 22. What was the first amusement park you went to?
  • 23. What language, besides your native language, would you like to be fluent in?
  • 24. Do you spell the color as grey or gray?
  • 25. How long have you known your oldest friend?
  • 26. Do you know sign language?
  • 27. What foods will you not eat?
  • 28. Do you eat spicy food?
  • 29. What’s the name of your favorite restaurant?
  • 30. Red Lobster or Olive Garden?
  • 31. Thrift stores or yard sales?
  • 32. What would your parents have named you if you were the opposite gender?
  • 33. What was your nickname as a child? 
  • 34. Who’s your favorite person in the world?
  • 35. Would you rather live in a rural area, in the suburbs or in a city?
  • 36. Can you drive a manual transmission car?
  • 37. Can you sleep with the TV on?
  • 38. Have you ever driven without a license?
  • 39. What’s your favorite flavor of Pop Tart?
  • 40. What was your first car?
  • 41. Have you been to the Rocky Horror Picture Show?
  • 42. What are your favorite children’s movies?
  • 43. Do you own a suit?
  • 44. What’s the last present you got?
  • 45. Do you usually remember your dreams in the morning?
  • 46. What flavor tea do you enjoy?
  • 47. How do you like your steak cooked?
  • 48. What religion were you raised to practice?
  • 49. Where did you go to high school?
  • 50. The Grinch – Boris Karloff or Jim Carrey?

Let me know if you think of other questions and I will add them to the list for the follow-up posts.  Also, I’d love to hear your feedback! Post them in the comments section below.

 

{{{hugs}}}
Maggie

Rheumatoid Arthritis – Diet and Routine Can Affect Your Symptoms

Approximately 1.3 million Americans, mostly women, are affected by rheumatoid arthritis.  RA is a long-term chronic autoimmune disease that is treatable, but not curable.

For some, the disease can go into remission periods, while for others the disease is a constant presence in their lives especially as it progresses.  RA causes moderate to severe pain as it destroys and disfigures the joints in the body; symptoms can be exacerbated by “triggers”.

Although rheumatoid arthritis can involve different parts the body, joints are always affected. When the disease acts up, joints become inflamed. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to infection or other threats, but in rheumatoid arthritis inflammation occurs inappropriately and for unknown reasons.

Strong medication can help, but knowing what things can trigger your symptoms can be your first line of defense in keeping the disease under control and pain manageable.  In the big picture, these play minor roles in RA in comparison to taking the right medication for instance, but a whole body approach is always best in managing disease rather than expecting one specific treatment or medication to manage it entirely.

Smoking

One factor that affects RA is smoking, says Susan Goodman, MD, a rheumatologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.  “Smoking clearly has an impact—it makes it worse and increases the likelihood of getting it,” she says.

RA nonsmokers have fewer swollen, painful joints than smokers, research suggests. RA smokers are three times as likely to have rheumatoid factor—a sign of more severe disease—and twice as likely to have joint damage.

Coffee

The link between coffee or tea and RA is debatable. Research has suggested that decaf coffee (four or more cups a day) can increase the risk of getting RA, but caffeinated coffee has no impact, and tea may reduce risk. Other research found no correlation between decaf and RA.

One issue, though, is that coffee may make some RA medications, such as methotrexate, less potent, therefore limiting its effectiveness.

Weather

While research on the topic is few and far between, there does seem to be a link between weather and RA symptoms. It is likely that barometric pressure and temperature changes have the biggest impact on symptoms because it affects the swelling of the joints.

As with many conditions, any change in climate tends to worsen symptoms—so RA patients may fare better when the weather is more consistent.

Seasonal allergies

As with the other factors on the list, the link between RA and allergies may vary from person to person.

Still, there is some research that suggests that people with RA are less likely to have hay fever. And people who do have both may have less-severe RA symptoms.

“My guess is that some of the allergy medications may help with some (RA) symptomatic therapy,” Dr. Goodman says. “Or it could just be that people notice RA symptoms less because they are so distracted and miserable with their allergies.”

Another possible answer is that the histamines from the allergies or the antihistamines taken for treatment could play a role as well.

Alcohol

In a recent study in the journal Rheumatology, researchers asked about 1,800 people about their alcohol-drinking habits and RA.

They found that people who had at least one drink three or more days a week were four times less likely to have RA than nondrinkers.   Also, RA patients who did drink tended to have milder symptoms than those who didn’t.

Add a glass of wine with dinner a few nights a week and see if you experience added relief.

Vitamin D

The link between vitamin D and RA is tricky.

Research suggests women in the northeastern U.S. are at greater risk of RA than those in sunnier regions. Lack of sun can cause vitamin D deficiency. And vitamin D deficiency has been linked with other autoimmune diseases.

“Vitamin D has a lot of interesting immune effects and metabolic effects and is critical to bone health,” Dr. Goodman says. “Whether taking vitamin D will delay the onset or prevent it seems less clear-cut, but it is an important part of overall bone health.”

Pregnancy

It’s tough to predict the impact of pregnancy on RA. Women generally stop taking medication in pregnancy because the drugs may hurt the fetus.

For some, RA symptoms improve or even go into remission, Dr. Goodman says. She attributes this to the fact that the immune system is suppressed during pregnancy.

But others can experience even more pain than they normally do. And those who have a great pregnancy can have a flare-up after they give birth.

Breast-feeding

There are many benefits to breast-feeding, including a possible reduction in RA risk.

A 2004 study in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism found that, compared to women who didn’t breast-feed, those who spent a total of one to two years breast-feeding had a 20% lower chance of getting RA. Those who did for two years or more had a 50% reduced risk.

A 2008 Swedish study showed similar results. Breast-feeding for up to one year was associated with a 25% reduced risk, and breast-feeding for 13 months or more was linked to a 50% reduction in risk.

Hormones/contraceptives

The data is a bit up in the air when it comes to hormones and RA.  Studies have not found a link between contraceptives and the risk of RA or the severity of disease.   A 2004 study found that women with irregular menstrual cycles do have a higher RA risk.

“The data aren’t completely clear” on this topic, Dr. Goodman says. But hormones may play a role in reducing symptoms. “There is no question that estrogen can decrease pain, so part of some of the perimenopausal flares may be caused by estrogen withdrawal.”

Cold/flu

There seems to be an anecdotal link between the flu and worsening RA symptoms. And the flu can be especially dangerous for people taking medication that weakens the immune system, which includes most of the drugs used to treat RA.

The CDC recommends flu shots for people with RA. (But not nasal-spray flu vaccines, which contain live viruses.)  One note of caution: Certain RA medications—methotrexate, prednisone, and rituximab—may lower the effectiveness of flu shots.

Arthritis Today

Shed extra pounds

If you’re overweight, losing those excess pounds may take some of the pressure off of your joints.  “If I have a patient with RA who’s overweight and loses 10 pounds, every time he takes a forceful step forward, that’s 30 pounds less on weight-bearing joints [such as the hips and knees],” says Dr. Hadler.

What’s more, it may also improve quality of life. A 2006 study found that overweight and normal weight people with RA had a higher quality of life than those who were obese.

Eat omega-3’s

Several studies suggest that people with RA may benefit from fish oil supplements, which contain inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids.   RA patients are also at greater risk of cardiovascular disease, and fish oil is thought to be good for the heart too.

However, studies suggest that you need to get 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day (a 4-ounce piece of salmon has a little over 2 grams) for 12 weeks, which could get pricey or the diet hard to maintain.

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Make it Mediterranean

In a 2003 Swedish study, people with RA who ate a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetable, cereals, legumes, and olive oil for three months experienced improved physical functioning and vitality when compared to RA patients who did not.

The effects of the Mediterranean diet on rheumatoid arthritis long-term are still unclear, but including more fruits and vegetables in your diet isn’t a bad idea.

Consider a vegetarian diet

At least one study found that people who ate a vegetarian or vegan diet reported an improvement in RA symptoms, including pain score, morning stiffness, and grip strength compared to those who didn’t.

However, because these diets are restrictive, many of the participants were unable to maintain them for the year long study period.

If you can’t give up meat, then at least try to get a few more greens on your plate. The antioxidants, such as those found in green peas, bell peppers, and broccoli, may protect against tissue damage around the joints caused by free radicals.

Check your vitamins

Some evidence suggests certain nutrients may help patients with RA. For example, some studies showed that vitamin E supplements reduce RA joint destruction and pain, while others do not.

Selenium levels are also thought to be too low in some people with RA. However, only one study has found that selenium reduced swollen joints and stiffness, and it also involved fish oil supplementation, so it’s difficult to determine if selenium can help reduce RA symptoms.

In addition, some RA patients take methotrexate to slow disease progression.  But the drug also inhibits folic acid metabolism and causes a range of side effects, including mouth sores, says Dr. Hadler. He suggests folic acid supplements to decrease these adverse effects.

Find out about allergies

Food allergies, especially to dairy and shrimp, may aggravate rheumatoid arthritis. Some people try elimination diets, which involves removing all potential allergens from the diet and slowly adding these foods back to see if they trigger symptoms.

Studies have tested whether exposing patients to foods that had previously upset their RA consistently worsened their symptoms. “You get a smidgen of a hint that food aggravates symptoms,” says Dr. Hadler.

But he explains that there’s tremendous variation within any individual’s symptoms in a given time period, making it difficult to study the effects of elimination diets.

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Helping Others Through Understanding

Many people suffer from social anxiety and/or depression, some more severe than others. If you know someone who does, please talk to them.

I was reading the blog post linked below and felt I really needed to pass the message on.

http://www.newlycrunchymamaof3.com/dear-diary/social-anxiety-strikes-again?fb_action_ids=10202082985225280&fb_action_types=og.likes

Reading this woman’s blog really cut close to home for me since I’ve suffered from depression for many years.

Depression goes in waves and even with medication it doesn’t go away, the waves just get calmer and less erratic.  It’s hard dealing with people who think that you should “get over it” or think that medication should “cure you” or worst of all can’t tell or refuse to acknowledge that there’s a difference between having depression and being depressed about things.  For that reason I really wish there was another name for it other than depression.

Thoughts come into your head that you didn’t put there, you don’t want there and can’t control.  Worst of all, you’re afraid to talk about them because of how people will react.  Some people treat you differently.  Some people freak out.  Some think you’re saying it for attention – which by the way is one of the most horrible things you could ever say to a person with depression.  We don’t want this, I can promise you that.

My daughter has dealt with panic & anxiety almost her whole life.  I’ve dealt with some anxiety issues, but not to the level that she has.  Having the opportunity to home school allowed her & I to come to understand her issues better, know what triggers to avoid, when we need to talk things through and when she needs a “time out”.  Because all nerves are connected, these “mental” issues affect physical ones as well… over sensitive hearing, sense of touch can be painful, stomach cramps, headaches, etc.

Overstimulation has always been a big issue and she can’t handle crowds.  Once we were able to isolate this, she started putting herself in “time out”.  Our code was that she had one of “her headaches”, it let me know that things were getting to be too much for her and that she couldn’t handle it.  If we were in a social setting it allowed her to gracefully bow out away from other kids with parental support so she could go to a quiet place and regroup.

I’ve got to say Bach’s Rescue Remedy was a miracle drug during those years.  A few drops in whatever she was drinking, made a huge difference and she still keeps it on hand to this day and thankfully rarely needs it.

Diet and medications can play a huge roll in these issues like these.  While you cannot “be cured” by eating a certain diet, etc, what you put into your system can make symptoms worse.

Many years ago I pulled a muscle in my back and the doctor had prescribed a certain pain medication (one that I have refused to take since).  Within days I could swear I could feel the gravitational pull of the planet.  My tone of voice was just nasty and hateful without meaning to be and I wasn’t aware that I was doing it most of the time.  When you say something to your (then) six-year-old and they look at you and say “it’s okay Mommy, I know it’s the medication” – there’s a problem.  Huge!

While you hear warnings in the media about giving antidepressants to teens because of the adverse effects (i.e. suicidal tendencies) they can cause. However you rarely hear about other medications and how they can cause problems.  My doctor knew of my depression and was the one that put me on medication for it.  He then gave me depo-provera for birth control and never once mentioned that it could be contributing to my depression worsening… even though depression is the number one side effect of depo-provera!  Instead he just kept adjusting  the dosage of my medication.  Thankfully I was able to say “this isn’t working anymore” and
“my symptoms are getting worse”.  Some people aren’t that lucky, instead they get consumed with it then try to (and sometimes succeed at) taking their own life.

If you have a friend or family member that suffers from social anxiety, depression, etc.  If they’re turning down your invitations but saying they’d like to get together, find out what’s up.  Maybe they can’t hang out with you at the club or the bowling alley or Chuck E.Cheese with the kids, but they’d love to meet you at the park or in a coffee shop.

If you’re not inviting them to something you know they can’t handle – let them know! Say “hey, I’d love to have you there but I know you can’t handle this”, so they know you’re not ignoring them and they also know you’re trying to be understanding of what they’re going through.  By all means let them know if they’re up to it you wish they’d come. Silence makes things worse.  Don’t let them think that you’re shunning them when you’re really trying to help.  Communication is key!

If you’re a parent, please listen.  Don’t assume.  If you have never dealt personally with anxiety or depression but you think your child is having these issues, introduce them to an adult that has if you can.  Whether it’s a friend of the family or a counselor, better to err on the side of caution.  Learn what you can and encourage your child to open up to you, without judgement.  It can be scary to hear certain things as a parent, but you must have empathy rather than panic or anger.  A little girl who my daughter was in Brownies with didn’t have anyone to listen and took her own life at 17.

There is nothing lonelier than depression, anxiety and panic.  It’s like being in a dark hole and the air is getting thick.  You can’t reach out because you can’t see anyone in the dark.  Please be the light in the dark and reach out.   Ask how you can help to understand what they’re going through.  You may be able to help, then again most likely there may be nothing you can do.  Or they may just not know what you can do but knowing that you’re there for them and care enough to ask makes a huge difference.

{{{hugs}}}
Maggie

Migraine Relief – Take It With A Grain of Salt!

Migraine

I’ve been dealing with a pesky virus for the past two weeks.  Not enough to really make me sick, just enough to make me feel unwell.  Since I work at home it wasn’t nearly what it could have been since I’m not going in and out of the weather daily or around other people picking up other viruses and such.

Anyway, everything went crazy for me two days ago.  I spiked a fever, went into a coughing fit (I have COPD, not a surprise) and it was game on… migraine city.  I was a mess.  I haven’t had one in years thankfully and if it’s my last one ever, I will be blessed!

Due to the mess I was in, I wasn’t up to looking up alternative remedies at the time but wanted to arm myself should I have another one.  So here I am, sitting at the computer doing research… looking at various herbs, essential oils, homeopathic remedies.

I find the usuals:

  • Herbal ~ fresh feverfew leaves
  • Essential Oil ~ peppermint
  • Nutritional ~ Magnesium (indicating possible deficiency or temporary dietary change), caffeine
  • Physical ~ massage, reflexology (both as a massage option or for essential oil placement)
  • Homeopathic ~ Belladonna, Nux Vomica

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Along with some new ones like…

  • An ice pack on the head while sitting in a hot bath
  • Putting sliced potatoes across your forehead
  • Rubbing your forehead with a fresh cut lime

As I was going through the many options though, one caught me off-guard.  Salt.  Indicative of a possible deficiency or temporary deficit of sodium.  Sodium, that thing that we try to cut at every opportunity.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a big salt person.  I never really have been.  On the rare occasion I eat potato chips, I look for the ones with the lowest salt.. not for dietary purposes but because they just don’t taste good to me.   I try to get healthy, not a lot of processed foods and I don’t use a lot of salt in my cooking.

That being said, I’ve moved in with a couple of friends of mine and they don’t cook like I do.  They use more salt and more processed foods than I usually do.  As such my sodium  intake has increased.  Well that is until I got sick.  My appetite really hasn’t been normal.  I’ve only been eating once or twice a day, and only my cooking, making for a sudden drop in sodium level… combined with the fever and the coughing fit, it makes perfect sense.

A conclusion that I never would have come to without outside influences.   After all we’ve all seen the coffee and Mountain Dew junkies cut back and suffer mercilessly from the drop in caffeine. It’s the same concept.

Should I have another migraine I will try this one out, hoping not to have to try it out of course.  I will be more mindful of the little things in my diet as well… magnesium, sodium, etc.

What migraine remedies have worked for you?

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Picky Eaters? Choosy Moms Choose Paleo.

Picky eaters can put parents over the edge.  (Along with Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, friends with kids, etc.) The kids that only want to eat three things for dinner but junk food is fair game.  You know the child.  They could be yours, a niece or nephew, your bff’s kid, but we all know at least one.   We try to introduce new foods.  Look at magazines for help, but when they show you a hot dog cut as an octopus, it’s really no help because it’s still a hot dog…. Make some thing with asparagus, now that will impress me!

I was blessed with a child who loves vegetables but even she had her moments.  When she was about 2-1/2 my mom tried giving her creamed spinach.  From then on just the word brought on near PTSD flash backs of the incident. Then she discovered lasagna Florentine and wedding soup.  When she asked what the green stuff was I thought quickly and answered “Italian parsley”.  And so it stayed for several years.   At 23 my daughter is still an avid vegetable eater and a great cook because she’s not afraid to try new things or combinations.  To the point that my husband and I will only eat Brussels sprouts if she’s cooking them!

The goal is to get them to eat and to eat well.  Not junk, but well balanced meals.  Of course there’s bribery, eat your dinner and you can have dessert.  But for those of us who really are trying to eat healthy, we really struggle with offering desserts.

In my opinion, one of the joys of parenting is trickery.  Getting away with something in front of your kids is empowering.  Don’t believe me?  Tell me you don’t have a cheesy grin when your child comes running into the room to tell you that the tooth fairy came, right?  Admit it.

So what if they’re clawing tooth and nail to get at dessert and dessert is actually good for them?  I know, the possibilities are mind blowing really.  That’s where paleo comes in.  Even if you don’t follow the diet and just want to make some healthier choices for you and your family, paleo desserts are the way to go.  The key here is to NOT let them help in the kitchen (normally I’m down for having them right there with you, but subversive activity requires secrecy.)

So what is “Paleo”?  Its a plant and meat based diet.  No grains, dairy, soy or legumes.  It’s become very popular and it’s very good for you.  It’s perfect for the person with food sensitivities (lactose or gluten intolerance, allergies, etc), autism, diabetes, arthritis, etc.   Needless to say to maintain no grains, dairy, soy or legumes, cooking and recipes can get quite creative.

banana cinnamon chocolate chip muffins

I mean sure, you expect bananas in these delectable Banana Cinnamon Chocolate muffins.

….but no flour? (by TaylorMadeItPaleo)

 

paleo_brownies_2

But what if I told you these brownies had no flour or nuts and was made with sweet potatoes?  (by EatDrinkPaleo) Do I have your interest now?

paleo-chocolate-cupcakes_coconut-cream-filled

What if I told you that these frosted cupcakes…. (by LivingLowCarb),

avopudding-3

... and this smooth and delicious chocolate pudding (by HowSweetItIs),

Milkshake-with-avocado

… and even this creamy delicious milkshake (by MeaningfulEats),

… all have avocados in them!  Oh yeah, and they’re dairy free!

We’re always hearing about how avocados are so good for you, packed with nutrition, but unless you make guacamole or put them on a sandwich or salad, can be at a loss on how to eat them.  These are great ways to get what your body needs while providing what the mouth and mind want as well.  🙂

Okay, so I’m also going to mention that sometimes it’s not the kids that are picky… it’s the adults.  It’s the husband that needs to cut a few pounds or the aging parents that have developed a bit of a sweet tooth that can also be hard to feed too.  Trying to argue with an aging parent about desserts sometimes can be like asking for a kidney.  If you’ve done it you know what I’m talking about.  If you haven’t done it, just wait.  These can be the perfect desserts to give them the extra nutrition they need without the carbs, calories and filler they don’t.  Drop over for a visit and bring dessert and leave the pan.  Tell them you made extras and you thought they would like them (or better yet, that the kids didn’t need that many sweets in the house LOL).  Remember when they made you eat liver?  Now’s your revenge.  Enjoy!

Hugs!

 
Maggie
 

FDA Warning 10-23-2013

FDA Warning - Dog Treats


If you have a dog or cat that became ill after eating jerky pet treats, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would like to hear from you or your veterinarian.

The agency has repeatedly issued alerts to consumers about reports it has received concerning jerky pet treat-related illnesses involving 3,600 dogs and 10 cats in the U.S. since 2007. Approximately 580 of those pets have died.

To date, FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) has conducted more than 1,200 tests, visited jerky pet treat manufacturers in China and collaborated with colleagues in academia, industry, state labs and foreign governments. Yet the exact cause of the illnesses remains elusive.

To gather even more information, FDA is reaching out to licensed veterinarians and pet owners across the country. “This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we’ve encountered,” says CVM Director Bernadette Dunham, DVM, Ph.D. “Our beloved four-legged companions deserve our best effort, and we are giving it.”

In a letter addressing U.S. licensed veterinarians, FDA lists what information is needed for labs testing treats and investigating illness and death associated with the treats. In some cases, veterinarians will be asked to provide blood, urine and tissue samples from their patients for further analysis. FDA will request written permission from pet owners and will cover the costs, including shipping, of any tests it requests.

Meanwhile, a consumer fact sheet will accompany the letter to veterinarians so they can alert consumers to the problem and remind them that treats are not essential to a balanced diet. The fact sheet also explains to consumers how they can help FDA’s investigation by reporting potential jerky pet treat-related illnesses online or by calling the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator for their state.

 

What to Look Out For

Within hours of eating treats sold as jerky tenders or strips made of chicken, duck, sweet potatoes and/or dried fruit, some pets have exhibited decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes with blood or mucus), increased water consumption, and/or increased urination.

Severe cases have involved kidney failure, gastrointestinal bleeding, and a rare kidney disorder. About 60 percent of cases involved gastrointestinal illness, and about 30 percent involved kidney and urinary systems.

The remaining cases reported various symptoms, such as collapse, convulsions or skin issues.

Most of the jerky treats implicated have been made in China. Manufacturers of pet foods are not required by U.S. law to state the country of origin for each ingredient in their products.

A number of jerky pet treat products were removed from the market in January 2013 after a New York State lab reported finding evidence of up to six drugs in certain jerky pet treats made in China. While the levels of these drugs were very low and it’s unlikely that they caused the illnesses, FDA noted a decrease in reports of jerky-suspected illnesses after the products were removed from the market. FDA believes that the number of reports may have declined simply because fewer jerky treats were available.

Meanwhile, the agency urges pet owners to be cautious about providing jerky treats. If you do provide them and your pet becomes sick, stop the treats immediately, consider seeing your veterinarian, and save any remaining treats and the packaging for possible testing.

What FDA Is Doing… Read More

 

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