Recipe: Apple, Carrot, Raisin Salad


Carrots at the Crescent City (New Orleans) Far...

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This is great for breakfast. It just needs some protein for a complete meal. An egg, not fried, or even a piece of grilled chicken would do. You could also make this for lunch, a side for dinner, or eat it for dessert!

Apple, Carrot, Raisin Salad
1 apple, chopped or cubed
1 carrot, grated
1 handful of raisins
1 dash of cinnamon
1 handful of walnuts
2 tbsp of flax seed

  • Chop the apple (with peel), grate the carrot (with peel) and put in a bowl large enough for stirring. Toss in the raisins.
  • Put the walnuts, flax seed, and cinnamon in a coffee grinder and grind for a few minutes. The oil from the walnuts and flax seed will make the mixture somewhat pasty. Dump it into the bowl.
  • Stir and eat. It’s so yummy!
  • Alternatively, you could chop the walnuts instead of grinding them. Make it how you like!

Flax seed and walnuts are both excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

I got the basic recipe from The Paleo Diet book. I added the walnuts and flax seed.

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Lifestyle Change Ain’t Too Easy


It’s been a little over 10 weeks since I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). At my spinal tap appointment, the neurologist presented my husband and I with packets/binders of information on three different pharmaceuticals. We were supposed to choose one of the three and, if the diagnosis was positive, return to him with our decision.

We didn’t open any of them.

It just didn’t make sense that a person is diagnosed with a disease and the only option presented for treatment are drugs. Chemically crafted concoctions… to inject into one’s body. Really? That’s it?

Thank God for the Internet. There is so much information about MS on the web. It can be overwhelming at times, but we soon discovered a commonality with alternative treatments. Food. Managing my MS with how I eat, and dealing with the side effects of losing weight and improving my all around health, sounded like the right thing to do for me.

Over the past two months, I’ve read about the Paleo diet, Swank diet, and Anti-Inflammation diet. Not diets for losing weight mind you, although it is a nice side effect, but diets for a permanent lifestyle change to improve overall health and to treat my MS.

Dairy-Free

What really hit home for me was the recommendation to cut dairy. I’m lactose intolerant. Ironically, I love creamy and cheesy foods. My favorite soups are creams of this or that, my favorite dessert is ice cream, and I can’t get enough cheese. Boy, how I love cheese! After consuming dairy, I feel congested, phlegmy, and sluggish. Because of this, I had already reduced my dairy intake.  Since my diagnosis, I continued to reduce my dairy intake to almost nothing. It’s only been in the past week that I have entirely removed it from my diet.  My last piece of pizza was Sunday, May 9… mmmm… yummy melted cheese on pizza! My last ice cream was also May 9 – in celebration of Mother’s Day with the kids… mmmm… Coldstone!

What’s been interesting to observe this past week is that I continue to feel congested, and it seems to be worse! The skin around my chin and jaw line has broken out, which usually doesn’t happen unless it’s my time of the month. I can only assume it’s just my body clearing up the dairy residue. I wonder how long it will last and how I’ll feel once I’m completely cleared up. Maybe my voice will change!

Both the Paleo and Anti-Inflammation diets recommend to stop eating dairy products as well as gluten.

Gluten-Free

Maple Bacon Bar

Maple Bacon Bar

Oh noes! I grew up learning that bread, cereal, and grains are the foundation of the food pyramid and should be eaten at every meal. Hoo boy, this would be a little more challenging, but certainly doable. I’ve replaced my weekday morning oatmeal with a piece of grilled chicken and handful of baby carrots. No more sandwiches, which were great for on the go meals/snacks. No more pasta. Sigh. No more pastries. NO MORE VOODOO DOUGHNUTS!! Cries.

The last gluten product I ate was wheat berries in a salad on May 12. And you know what? I’ve been feeling really good this past week! Clearing my diet of dairy and gluten has allowed me to discover that when I start “losing it” – feeling very tired, getting a bad headache, being grumpy – I need to eat.

The Most Important Ingredient

Cutting food groups from one’s daily diet sounds simple enough, but it’s a lot harder than it sounds! Did you know the most important ingredient for any recipe is time? I sometimes wonder if giving myself an injection would be a decent trade off for finding time to prepare food. The direct exchange of time would be worth it. But the long term effects are not. In a way, I am thankful that MS has motivated me to finally quit dairy altogether, and encourage me to learn more about diet and nutrition. It’s good information that benefits anyone, not just people who are sick or living with disease. Actually, eating healthy prevents sickness and disease. But for some reason or other, such knowledge is kept under wraps. Whatever would happen to the dairy or grain industries if our doctors practiced preventative care and taught their patients proper nutrition?

Something to think about.

Anyhow, I was unexpectedly presented with the fact that my lifestyle change isn’t just about what I eat. I have to change the way I spend my time! That’s more of a challenge for me, but one I am slowly overcoming. It will take time to make time.

Coffee/Caffeine

I’ve already knocked the habits of adding cocoa (contained dairy) to my coffee and drinking it after 4:00 in the afternoon. For sweetener, I now use turbinado sugar. I have also considerably reduced my consumption of coffee in the afternoon (around 3:00/4:00). It’s between the hours of 3 and 4 right now and I have to fight the urge to go get a coffee. I’m beginning to feel tired and my mind starts slowing down about now.

I should eat!

*runs off for a snack*

Does Knowing I Have MS Cause Stress?


I have so many questions about MS. Sometimes I’ll think of one, but will have forgotten what it was within a few hours.

The one that’s prominent in my mind now is if knowing that I have MS causes stress. So instead of waiting to forget the question, I’ll hash it out here.

For me, I think the answer is yes. Being diagnosed with something adds a whole ‘nother layer to life. Every interaction with every single person is tainted with this knowledge, whether I have told them or not.

  • When I can’t think of words when speaking with people, do they walk away wondering what the heck is wrong with that person?
  • When I decline invitation after invitation because I know I’ll be too tired, do they internalize it and begin to suspect I don’t like them?
  • When I say I’ll do something but keep forgetting, will they assume I don’t care?
  • Do I tell people I don’t really want to tell just so they know something is wrong with me, that I do like them, and I care? I don’t think so.
  • Am I unecessarily thinking about how others will be affected? Probably.
  • Am I creating more stress for my self, when I should be reducing it as much as possible? Definitely.

Perhaps, and hopefully, this is a newb phase. I’ll either eventually get over worrying about others, or come up with a way to handle these ridiculous stress-inducing thoughts.

I’ve never been much of a stress ball and I certainly don’t want to be when I have to deal with MS each and every day. But this added layer has so many facets; health care/insurance, doctors, treatments, disclosure, job security. None of these things were a part of my life before I was diagnosed. My thoughts, worries, and concerns were primarily all about my family. Specifically our two high schoolers, one who will be graduating next year. This added layer of being diagnosed with a disease is really quite heavy!

A heavy circle.

Diagnosed with MS –> Stress about it –> Symptoms worsen or relapse–> Stress about that –> Etc., etc., around and around we go.

I’ve really got to get a handle on this as it’s doing nobody, especially me, any good!