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Archive for June, 2010|Monthly archive page

Pecans’ Powerful Nutritional Punch (plus a recipe)

In MS, Multiple Sclerosis, Recipes on June 16, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Eating whole, unprocessed foods is a smart idea for those of us with MS. Did you know that pecans provide a powerful nutritional punch to your diet? Studies show they can protect the nervous system, reduce cholesterol and prevent heart disease. (Too bad they don’t cure MS.)

Pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, several B vitamins and zinc. They contain very little saturated fat.

Pecans are great on their own as a snack, but how can you incorporate them into a meal?

That’s easy. It’s time for pecan sauce!

3/4 cup pecans
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt

Toast 3/4 cup pecans in a toaster oven. You’ll know they’re done when they’re fragrant. (Keep an eye on them. Shouldn’t be more than 2 or 3 minutes on a middle toast setting.)

In a small food processor (like the Cuisinart Mini-Prep), grind the nuts until they form a nut butter. (You’ll need to scrape down the sides occasionally.) Then, while still processing, slowly pour 1 cup water through the holes in the processor lid. Add 1/2 tsp salt and process a few more seconds.

That’s the sauce.

Pecan sauce is especially good with mushrooms. It tastes like the best cream of mushroom sauce you’ve ever had, except there’s not one drop of cream in it!

Sautee 1 or 2 chopped shallots in a dab of your preferred cooking oil until translucent, then add one pint of sliced white button mushrooms. Sautee until the mushrooms are slightly browned and have released some of their moisture. Add the pecan sauce to the pan and bring to a simmer.

Guess what? You’re done. (That was easy!)

The sauce can be ladled over rice with vegetables, chicken, turkey, or lean pork. You’ll be licking the plate clean, I guarantee it!

Got any good pecan recipes to share?

How to Talk to Someone with MS, Part 2

In MS, Multiple Sclerosis on June 16, 2010 at 6:08 pm

“You’d never know she had it!”

How many times have you heard that phrase in relation to someone with MS? I’m going on a million…and counting. Every time I encounter someone new who learns that I have MS, they say, “Oh, my sister-in-law has MS and you’d never know it.” They may even continue with, “And you look good, too.”

Why do they say that?

Well, most people do not know what to say to someone who is chronically ill, so you have to excuse them. They mean well, but they have no idea what an MS patient endures.

MS is sometimes an invisible disease. Other people cannot see pain, fatigue, blurred vision, or loss of memory. If you’re not walking with a cane or in a wheelchair, everyone may assume you’re fine. So although they may say “you’d never know she had it,” they need to be reassured that of course, the person with MS definitely knows they have it.

External appearance has nothing to do with the internal symptoms we face or the daily accommodations we make in order to lead a fulfilling life–pacing ourselves because of fatigue, staying cool in hot weather, taking injections, altering our diet. Having MS means your life is never the same again. That doesn’t mean that life isn’t good, it just means that life becomes different.

In MS and Your Feelings, Allison Shadday writes that many people don’t know how to respond kindly to news of an illness, so they instinctively say the first thing that comes to mind. But hearing that you or another with MS “looks good” actually demoralizes our experience. If we are repeatedly told that we look good, we may feel that speaking about our symptoms is just complaining, and we may cease to understand how we feel about being sick.

If I look good shouldn’t I feel good? Why am I complaining? Maybe I shouldn’t say anything at all.

Acknowledging your symptoms is of great importance. You must understand your physical limitations and emotional pain regarding being ill and communicate that effectively with friends, loved ones, caregivers and doctors. If there’s no problem, there’s no solution, right?

So perhaps when someone says “you’d never know you had it!” you can remind them that “well I know!” and steer the conversation toward a place that’s comfortable for you. If you need help, ask for it. No one will know unless you say so. After all, you look good!

Something That Gives You Hope Cannot Be Crazy

In MS, Multiple Sclerosis, Physical Therapy on June 1, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Some folks think I’ve dove off the deep end lately, and I’m not talking about a dip in the swimming pool.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been following the MS Recovery Diet. This means no red meat, no gluten or yeast, no dairy, no eggs, no legumes. Just lean protein, nuts (that aren’t legumes), seeds, rice and [gluten-free] grains, fruit and veggies. Hey, it’s a healthy way to live, regardless of MS.

But the stares I get when I refuse birthday cake? Incredulous! And then there’s the gentle coaxing: aww, c’mon, just have one little piece, it can’t hurt. It’s like I’m the devil for passing up devil’s food. Give up chocolate cake, are you crazy?

Well, I’m here to say that which giveth thou hope does not maketh thou nutso. (I think it sounds better in bible-speak, don’t you? Like I’m a real authority.)

Now, changing my diet does not mean I’m tossing my Copaxone. Or stopping PT. If altering my diet is something I can do to make myself feel better, then I ask, whyeth not? Heck, if a study reported that wearing ketchup on your head would ease symptoms, I’d have red, drippy hair 24-7. With a side of fries.

So I’m experimenting with alternative, complementary therapies. Reiki. Acupuncture. Yoga. Meditation. There are scores of things we can do to help ease our symptoms and live life to the fulleth.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. What kind of “crazy” things have you done?