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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Managing a Broken Jaw on a Vegan Diet

Last Friday started off like a normal day, I headed out for an early morning run so I would be home and ready for grandchildren to start arriving. Half way through my run my normal day ended abruptly. I tripped on a small lump of dried concrete on the road surface and fell, my chin took the brunt of the impact and I now have stitches in my chin and a broken jaw, along with a compression fracture on my 7th vertebrae and a lot of scrapes and bruises. Thankfully Dave had not yet left for work, a quick call home, thank heavens for cell phones, and he came to rescue me and took me to the ER. I met with an orthopedic doctor later in the day and the vertebrae fracture is clean and stable and nothing to worry about, carry on with normal activities. The jaw break however is really a pain.

Again, thankfully, the jaw break is a small, clean fracture, but it has made eating an absolute chore. I called an oral surgeon, I am seeing him today, and was advised to eat soft foods only in the meantime. Believe me, even soft mush food is a challenge. I was amused by the advice given for a soft diet, eat pudding, mashed potato, macaroni and cheese, ice cream, milk shakes. I thought well that is fine if you are not vegan but what am I going to eat.

Well, thank goodness for the invention of the food processor, it has made eating somewhat tolerable. I thought why can't I just make my usual bowl of vegan goodness, lentils, beans, canned tomato, nutritional yeast, Brussel sprouts, kale, red cabbage, mushrooms and any other vegetable I fancy, lately I have been on a parsnip kick, and then run it through the food processor. Well it has worked well, it is a stodge for sure, thinned down with a little veggie broth, very, very tasty, just not that appetizing to look at. And, I know that I am eating a nutritious meal that is giving my body all the things it needs for healing, rather than a bunch of dairy and sugar that simply promotes inflammation. I am also enjoying blue berries and banana with almond milk, it is a nice smoothie and gets some fruit into my diet along with my veggies. So, really my diet hasn't changed much, it is simply food processed before I eat it :)

I love my morning oatmeal, and thought it would be easy to eat, it is not so easy, my morning bowl of oats and ground flaxseed is taking me around 40 minutes to eat. My vegan bowl of goodness stodge is taking me about as long, small, small spoonfuls at a time are all I can tolerate. And, swallowing is the worst, it pulls on my jaw and hurts. I never thought I would look at mealtime as a huge time commitment, and even worse, kind of dread eating, as I know I am going to feel sore when finished.

Well on the plus side, no loosened teeth, and none knocked out. All will heal, but it was certainly an unexpected turn of events and one I hope I never repeat. I feel rather fragile, as if I am cautiously creeping about, and I am very wary of being bumped into, or bumping into things as my body seems to be in an over protective mode, I am assuming in a few days this will pass and I will start feeling hale and hearty again.

Peace to you,


Monday, June 11, 2018

Grandkids plus Rain equals FUN

We had a very rainy weekend. What could be more fun than playing in the rain and jumping in muddy puddles? According to the grandkids, not much.

After all the fun everyone got dried off and headed into the house to refuel with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before heading home to take a bath. 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Being Vegan is GOOD for the Environment!

I just read an interesting article in The Guardian, about the impact of a Vegan diet on the environment, or specifically avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on the earth. Here is a quote from the article:

"“A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,” said Joseph Poore, at the University of Oxford, UK, who led the research. “It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car,” he said, as these only cut greenhouse gas emissions."

Click here: for the full article.

I found the comments to be oh so predictable on the article, all the anti-vegans getting highly defensive worrying their steak will be ripped away from their fork. For goodness sakes get a grip, even if a person simply reduced their intake of meat, dairy, eggs and fish, went meatless for breakfast and lunch each day, or went meatless a day or two a week, it would still slowly make a difference.

It is not hard to eat vegan, and if you opt for a whole food plant based diet (WFPB) you will only benefit, what's not to like about normalizing blood pressure and blood cholesterol, maintaining a healthy weight easily, feeling well, reducing inflammation, reducing your risk for cancer and now you can confidently add reducing your impact on the environment.

What is your biggest challenge about giving up meat, eggs, dairy, fish and embracing the world of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and grains?
Many people say they could never, ever give up cheese. I did, and I don't miss it, I ate so much cheese and I would have said the same thing once, but I don't miss it at all and I have never been tempted to try the vegan "cheeses". 
Others worry that they won't get adequate protein, I get around 70 grams of protein each day, primarily from lentils, beans, oats, and almond milk.
As to other nutrients:
I exceed my daily need for calcium, a lot comes from those healthy greens, kale and collard greens, and some from fortification in the almond milk.
I exceed my potassium needs - those lentils and beans do that.
I way exceed my vitamin A and C each day, all the vegetables and a little fruit.
And fiber, I average 60grams or more a day

I would imagine compared to the average American diet I am doing really well on nutrition content and am not lacking in any way. My mantra, "Is this good fuel for my body", and for most things I eat each day, yes it is. And I enjoy a little piece of vegan dark chocolate - it is very nice.

And am I bored? Do I feel left out? Unhappy that I can't eat a bunch of junk food. I can answer that with a resounding NO, I love what I eat, I enjoy my meals immensely and I like the changes my vegan diet has brought to my life.

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Bell by Iris Murdoch

This is one of the best books I have read, I was sad when it ended and kept reaching for the book only to have to tell myself I had finished it, there was no more to read.

Although this book was written in 1958, it seems timeless, it is a study of people and their motivations. The story is set at a private house that has a cloistered Benedictine convent on the property. The main house is in the fledgling stages of becoming a lay community to be a buffer between the convent and the outside world. The lay community is evolving slowly, it is led by Michael, he owns the house and property and had aspirations to become a priest. Mr. and Mrs. Mark are a middle aged couple who had some marital issues before arriving, but are now assisting with the day to day running of the community, he does the accounting and she organizes the day to day activities. Catherine, a young woman, is living with the lay community but is planning soon to become a cloistered nun at the monastery, her very troubled twin brother is staying in the lodge house temporarily, the community do not know how to deal with him. Then there is Dora, a main character, who is in an unsuitable, abusive marriage with Paul, a man much older than her and a scholar. Paul is not part of the community, he is simply staying at the house while he studies historic manuscripts at the convent. Dora joins him at the house at his request after a brief separation due to an affair. Two other visitors arrive, a very nice man James Tayper-Pace, and he brings along a student Toby who has interest in visiting the community. And the last character, Sister Clare, who resides at the convent and dispenses wise counsel, although she appears in the story here and there, her influence on the community is always in the present.

The story begins, the characters are introduced, and the scene set. Lots of little things happen, we slowly discover the back ground of each person, and begin to understand their motivations and responses to situations that arise. The novel is philosophical, it is a study in human nature, in morals, in the perception of right and wrong, love and control. Slowly things reach a crescendo that affects all of the characters, and with that I will reveal no more so as not to spoil the reading of the book.

There are a lot of Latin quotations in the book, be sure to google them and get a definition, understanding them helps in understanding the narrative of the book. And you will learn the definition of Toby's favorite word, rebarbative.

I borrowed this book from the library, but have since ordered a used copy from Amazon, as I know it a book I will read again. The descriptions of location and characters brought the story alive. The human emotions and behaviors were realistically depicted, we are all fallible, sometimes wise, sometimes foolish, and often driven by motivations we don't always  acknowledge.

If you are looking for a philosophical character study with an excellent plot this book is for you.

Peace be with you,


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Books I Read Last Year That I Will Definitely Read Again

The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux
An excellent book, thought provoking, disturbing, a study of a mad man, very well written, very believable. I was led to reading this book after reading:

The Dolphin People by Torsten Krol
Who is Torsten Krol - no one knows, well I assume perhaps his publisher knows the true identity of the author, but no one else apparently does. This too is a study of a mad man, it is disturbing, thought provoking, well written and it led me to read:

Callisto by Torsten Krol
What a wacky, fast moving, disturbing book, so much happens, it is craziness yet it makes sense, and it really makes you think about the insanity of our government, homeland security, police policies etc. A good story.

Hidden Lives by Margaret Forster
A memoir, and a delightful book, the very first part was a bit hagiographic, about the great grandma who not much is known about, but then the book moves into it's own as the grandma's life is unfolded, and then the mother's life, and finally the authors life. The story had some parallels to my own mothers life and I purchased a copy for my Mom and she really enjoyed the book. Margaret Forster was a prolific writer, she wrote Georgie Girl, which is perhaps one of her more well known books as it was made into a rather good movie in the 60's. After Hidden Lives I was led to reading this book:

Diary Of An Ordinary Woman by Margaret Forster
This moving book is a diary of woman from the age of nine to close to her death in her 80's. The diary moves through the early 1900's, WW1, the interim years, WW2, recovery after the war, the changes in British life through the 50's, 60's, 70's etc. It is excellent, when I finished the book I grieved for the diary writer, Millicent King, she was a good woman who lived through difficult situations and was always strong and capable. The book is written as if the Diary was real, the premise is that Margaret Forster the author was asked to take a strangers diary and publish it, it is actually a work of fiction, but it could be the record of any woman's life growing up and living through the years that Millicent did.

Margaret Forster wrote many, many books, and I will be reading more of her books this year and know I will not by disappointed by them.

Peace be with you,


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Dreams - What Does This One Mean

I am writing this to simply make a record of a very vivid dream I had last night.

In the dream I am in a kitchen/diner type room with very modern stream line cabinets, utilitarian looking, in a dark brown finish, on the counter there is a lot of prepared food, a bit like a pot luck. In the eating area sits my mother-in-law (she died in 2002), my husbands grandmother, Nellie, (she died in 1993), my father-in-law, my husband, a few other people, and my husbands youngest brother.

My mother-in-law looked radiant as did Nellie, my father-in-law who suffers from mild dementia, was very lucid, he said he was taking a new medicine and he also looked about twenty years younger than he does in real life, he is 88. My brother-in-law, who we rarely see was being very friendly and sociable. Everyone started singing, kind of folk type music, someone was playing an instrument but I couldn't tell you what kind, everyone was smiling, glowing, the music was wonderful, it was a scene of joy and happiness, then in the dream I needed to use the bathroom. For some reason I had to leave the room, or apartment to locate a bathroom. I went down a hallway, took an elevator down a floor and finally located the bathroom. The bathroom was old fashioned, the tank was high up and had a pull chain, when done I flushed and left the bathroom. When I returned to the hallway I had no idea how to get back, I went up a flight of stairs as I couldn't find the elevator, I entered a hallway with lots and lots of doors all with numbers on them, I had no idea which door was the right door to go to, I just wanted to return to the group, to the music, the singing, the togetherness and I had no idea how to get there.

Then I woke up.

So what was that all about? I have no idea! It was so vivid, and it brought such a feeling of peace while I was in the room, and such a feeling of agitation when I couldn't find my way back to the room. It did not seem my usual sort of dream at all.


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Reading, Reading, Reading

I have enjoyed a fair number of good books this year, I just finished O Pioneers! by Willa Cather - excellent, excellent, excellent. I was introduced to Willa Cather a few years ago when I was in a book club and someone selected Death Comes to the Arch Bishop, it was a very good story. Not high adventure, no dramatic plot twists, just a simple story about a simple man who simply lived his life. It really was a life well lived, and nicely told. And, then the historical look at the western US and how it changed as the white settlers and missionaries arrived. After reading Death Comes to the Arch Bishop I purchased O Pioneers by Willa Cather, it then sat on the bookshelf forgotten for the past two years. Last week I finished The Book Shop by Penelope Fitzgerald and  was waiting for a book to come in at the library, and wondered what to read while I waited, so I perused my bookshelf and was happy to find O Pioneers! 

O Pioneers! was written in 1912, and is the story of Norwegian immigrants settling in Nebraska, it is interesting from a historical perspective, and the story is good, it rings true, it could have happened. The main character is Alexandra, she is the oldest sister, the wise person in the family, she with her pragmatic guidance brings about stability and wealth for her family but at a cost to herself. Willa Cather herself lived in Nebraska, her family relocated there from Virginia in 1883 when she was nine, so she knows the hardship, the country, the people, most from Norway, Sweden, France, and Russia (the Bohemians), and the life they led honoring the past yet creating a future. Cather's books really, really give you a feel for the daring, hard grit determination of the immigrant families who left the stability of the known, their homeland, to venture on a long journey to the "new world" and then venture into the "wild west" to create a new homeland. If you have not read Willa Cather, do yourself a favor and read something of hers, it will stay with you.

I have just started a biography of Agatha Christie written by Laura Thompson, it has decent reviews, and I have always enjoyed AG books, and tv/film productions of her works. And in the wings waiting to be read I have Cider with Rosie, by Laurie Lee and A Far Cry from Kensington by Muriel Spark. 
I must say Muriel Spark is in my top five list of favorite authors, I have enjoyed everything I have read of hers. Barbara Pym is one of my most favorite authors, I recently re-read the book A Few Green Leaves, she has a gentle humor as gives an observation of life in a small community rather than a plot driven story, nothing really happens yet there is always an undercurrent that something might happen, but probably won't because people are so stuck to the way they are supposed to behave.  The Book Shop by Penelope Fitzgerald is good, the first book I have read by this author who started her writing career at the age of 59, this is one of her early books and it was shortlisted for the Booker award. PF's writing is a bit like Barbara Pym's, it is an observation of life in a small town, but there is much more of a plot, it is a humorous story, really a cautionary tale, but it is also so very, very sad, it is well worth reading. Only 10 chapters, so a very quick read, but a story that will remain in your thoughts.

What are you reading, or have recently read?