Friday, January 16, 2015

The Power of Meditation and cauliflower cheese sandwich

salmansohn alone thoughts dog

Daily meditation has helped me tame my fibromyalgia symptoms as I progress through a flare-up caused by an accident that left me with a broken wrist and surgery to repair it. Why does it help? Meditation allows me to quiet my mind, lower my stress and lift my mood, at least for a period of time.

Meditation involves focusing on the breath or a certain word or phrase rather than the worries or pains of life in order to enter a state of calmness. It is not the whole solution to managing fibromyalgia symptoms but it can be helpful.
Misha practices his own form of meditation

Meditation has been extensively studied by scientists. They have found that when meditation is practiced regularly it can reduce levels of stress hormones, boost the immune system and improve other symptoms of fibromylagia.  The many benefits of meditation include:

  • Decreased pulse
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Reduced heart rate
  • Reduced nervous system activity
  • Fewer mood swings
  •  Decreased levels of anxiety
  • Decreased feelings of depression
  • Feelings of vigor and vitality
  • Increased memory

For fibromyalgia sufferers, meditation techniques can help to improve your sleep patterns and reduce your fatigue. Meditation techniques also may help to reduce your pain levels, as it decreases the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in your body.

In a 1993 study involving 77 fibromyalgia patients, it was found that daily meditation improved most fibromyalgia symptoms. Fifty-one percent of participants reported moderate to marked improvement in their symptoms.

In 1998, a study on meditation and fibromyalgia found that meditative practices lessened the achiness, sleeplessness, muscle pain and depression experienced by fibromyalgia patients.

Scientists have looked directly into the brains of those who practice meditation with MRIs. Those subjected to study had thicker gray matter in the areas of the brain associated with self-awareness and compassion. The regions of the brain associated with stress were diminished.
Misha and Nika practice meditation with me
Here’s what you do once you have resolved to meditate 5-10 minutes per day:

  1. Sit comfortably: You don’t have to sit cross-legged. Sit in a chair, on a cushion, on the floor, whatever’s comfortable. Make sure your spine is reasonably straight.
Bailey gets into meditation too

  1. Feel the sensation of your breath as it goes in and out. Pick a spot: nostrils, chest, gut. Focus your attention there and really try to feel the breath. Help direct your breath with a soft mental note such as “in” and “out.”

  1. Whenever your attention wanders, just forgive yourself and gently come back to the breath. It’s kind of like a game to catch your mind wandering and then come back to the breath, over and over.

Cauliflower cheese sandwich
 Sometimes when I'm meditating my mind will wander. To what, you ask. Food, of course!
 This Cauliflower Cheese Sandwich can sometimes be distracting.

Here's what you need for two sandwiches:

1/2 cup cauliflower, riced
1/3 cup almond flour
2 T. farmers' cheese
1 egg
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch of sea salt
olive oil
various veggies (zucchini, red pepper, mushrooms) for grilling
lactose-free sharp cheddar cheese (Only get the good stuff without fillers.)

Here's what you do:

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Drizzle or spritz the surface with olive oil.
Chop up your veggies. Rice the cauliflower in a food processor. Heat the cauliflower in the microwave for one minute. Turn onto a clean towel to soak out the water.

Combine cauliflower, almond flour, farmers' cheese, egg, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Mix. Pour in two mounds on one of the baking sheets. Spritz again with olive oil. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes until golden brown.

Grill your veggies on the other baking sheet.

To assemble your sandwiches, divide the veggies between the two pieces of cauliflower flatbread. Sprinkle with cheese or other desired condiments. Fold each in half and briefly return to the oven to melt the cheese.

Bite in to your sandwich and enjoy a different kind of nirvana.
Try different spots for your meditation...Bailey's advice

Friday, January 9, 2015

Mini blintzes

Hugging---fur kids' style
There's nothing like a hug from fur kids or humans. There's even benefit from hugging a tree. Hugging relieves stress and makes you feel calmer because it increases the level of the feel good hormone, oxytocin. I've needed a lot of hugging recently, ever since I flew over the handlebars of my bike after hitting a patch of ice. The result was a broken wrist, requiring surgery, and numerous other bone and muscle injuries.

I sobbed after hitting the pavement and realizing what I had done. Yes, it was painful but that's not the reason I cried. In an instant, all the ramifications of the accident flashed through my mind. I had finally learned how to manage my fibromyalgia and its assorted health problems. I knew this injury would set me back months to when my symptoms were not controlled.

It's a good thing at the time I didn't know how badly the accident would set me back. Unfortunately, now I know. The poor sleep, persistent stomach problems, fatigue and widespread pain (typical fibromyalgia symptoms) have usurped the wrist as my problem.

Fortunately, I know what to do to put my body back under control. But it's harder this time, especially since I know just a few short months ago, I felt the best I had in years.

I guess I need to share my journey with others this time. That's why I am changing the look and title of my blog to Fibromyalgia: Meet Your Match. I hope others will benefit from what I share.

Mini blintzes filled with lactose-free yogurt and dab of sunbutter
Fibromyalgia sufferers have ongoing stomach and digestive problems so food will still be a focus. Exercise is another important component of fibro management that I will discuss.We also need lots of joy so I hope my fur kids will send you hugs through the internet.
Roll them or eat them flat or even plain
Right now, I am relying on mini-meditation breaks throughout the day to help me with pain and stomach problems. Next post, I will discuss meditation's benefits.

Right now, let's not discount the importance of eating healthy, nutritious and delicious food. I need to eat low carb because fibromyalgia sufferers often have bacterial overgrowths, such as candida, parasites or other bad bacteria. These bad guys don't go away easily. The best way to control them is to not give them carbohydrates. I'm not just talking table sugar. I mean fruit, starchy veggies, grains, legumes, seed and nut butters.

I eat some of these things but in sparse quantities. I mainly follow a modified paleo diet which is high in protein and veggies. I do include lactose-free dairy (not strict paleo), including yogurt, kefir and some cheeses.

Here's one of my favorite snack-treats, mini blintzes.

You need:
1 egg
2 T. farmers' cheese
1 T. sunbutter or other seed or nut butter
stevia, to taste
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla powder or extract
Additional sunbutter and yogurt for filling


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spritz the parchment paper lightly with olive oil. Mix the ingredients in a small bowl. Use a tablespoon to divide the mixture into six mounds on the baking sheet. Bake for about 10-12 minutes. Remove the oven and allow to cool.
Eat the cookies as they are or roll them into blintzes by filling with a dab of lactose-free yogurt, sunbutter or even a drizzle of chocolate.

Post/recipe contributed to:

Friday, January 2, 2015

Peppermint patty rice cakes

Peppermint patty rice cake

Move over pumpkin spice and make way for my new personal obsession, peppermint. Peppermint is not only tasty but also has a long history of relieving everything from colds and headaches to indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome and nausea.

The easiest way of getting that healing dose of peppermint is a cup of tea, made by steeping about 1 tsp. of dried peppermint or 2 tsp. of the fresh leaves in 8 ounces of boiled water for about 15 minutes. Peppermint tea can relieve many everyday ailments, including congestion, headaches and stomach upset.

A cup or two of a stronger brew, say a tablespoon of peppermint per 8 ounces hot water, can be a valuable help for colds and flu. Many individuals turn to peppermint when a cold coming on.

I've  been turning to peppermint a lot lately. It has been soothing to my stomach as I heal the damage done by having to take pain meds while healing from broken wrist surgery. 

I opted for surgery rather than gambling that a cast would do the trick. I also wanted to get back to my regular routine as soon as possible which has been essential for me keeping my fibromyalgia and other symptoms under control. 

My blog will be reflecting a new focus on fibromyalgia in the coming year with a new title, Fibromyalgia: Meet Your Match.

If you are in the mood for something sweet, try  a Peppermint Patty Rice Cake.

You will need these ingredients for one huge Peppermint Patty Rice Cake. You also could prepare it in two small ramekins and have two servings.

1/2 cup cooked jasmine rice
1 egg
1 tsp. peppermint extract
1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 cup milk beverage of choice
Liquid stevia drops
1/8 tsp. salt
1 T. cocoa powder (raw powders are harder to digest)
1-2 T. coconut oil
Optional: chocolate topping (melt coconut oil and stir in additional cocoa powder and some stevia, to taste)


Add all ingredients (except for chocolate topping) into a small bowl. Stir to mix. Pour mixture into one large ramekin or two small ones. Microwave for 1-1/2 minutes. Top with chocolate topping and serve hot.

I'm mom's therapy cat.