Quote of the Day

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I’m a, ‘take the bull by the horns’ type of gal in pretty much all aspects of life, epilepsy included.  It’s both a blessing and a curse because sometimes I find myself running around that china shop looking for something to break even though I’ve demolished everything I can get my horns on!

Fear is an emotion which has the ability to be paralyzing, and I find it easier to face everything by jumping straight in.  There is no wrong or right here, whilst it’s important to take yourself out of your comfort zone, pushing if you’re not ready is not going to be beneficial, so in relation to the quote, I like to see it as something to aspire to.  Take care of yourself and arrive at your destination when you are ready.

Epilepsy Blog Relay – Epilepsy & Technology

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This post is part of the Epilepsy Blog Relay which will run from March 1 through March 31. Follow along and add comments to posts that inspire you!

What springs to mind when you think of technology?  Phones?  Computers? Developed robotic contraptions such as the Amazon Echo?  As I contemplated this question, I went in the direction of products I wouldn’t immediately think of such as lights, washing machines, dryers, and ovens.  They are a developing technology but certainly not in the same realm as phones and computers etc.

So, how is this related to epilepsy?

I find I am very prone to electric shocks.  Being the ever curious person I am equals research.  I have yet to find any specific scientific correlation between electric shocks and seizures, but I have however, found a lot of questions about this asked by those suffering with them.

With seizure activity revolving around an increase of electrical activity within the brain, it seems a natural conclusion that electrical shocks would have an impact on the regularity of them.

Having moved to a new house three months ago, I have noticed a significant increase in the amount of shocks that occur.  My hair stands on end and I crackle when I move. It’ll be light switches, the car, door handles, my hubby (!), clothes, (particularly man made fabrics such as rayon, polyester, nylon and acrylic).  The majority of my clothes are made of cotton or linen purely for this reason.  The items I do own which have a percentage of man-made material are items that aren’t worn next to my skin allowing me to wear cotton underneath; however, that rarely makes a difference!

I have deduced the culprit for these extra shocks is our carpet.  It is a man-made fiber and runs throughout the house with the exception of the ground floor.  Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to resolve this issue as we are renting.

Another silent culprit is our clothes dryer.  I don’t tend to use it, instead, the unsightly clothes horse makes his weekly appearance creating an eyesore in a room with available space.  Without a washing line, bedding and towels do find themselves drying in the heated hamster wheel as there are few alternative options.  Making the bed in the dark creates a breath taking light show as the static electricity sparks and crackles. It renders for quite the performance.

What about dryer sheets, I hear you ask?

Many of the generic dryer sheets are filled with unpleasant chemicals contributing to all sorts of health issues.  So, I have been on a search for something that won’t harm my family and home environment, but will reduce, if not eliminate, the static.  I didn’t have much luck with dryer balls but I have had great success with Mrs Meyers Dryer Sheets.  There are no chemicals and the ingredients are simplistic and natural and it does what I need it to do.

There are so many items in everyday life which can potentially impact seizure activity.  The invisible positive ions emitted from all of the electrical equipment in our homes have a lot to answer for.

Do you sleep with your cell phone charging next to your bed?  I’m guilty as charged (excuse the pun!).  Televisions, microwaves, refrigerators, lights, washers, dryers, computers – anything with a plug can add to increased electrical activity in the brain.

Advice and research have shown that plants have the ability to counteract the emissions. In its simplicity, NASA researchers have proved this after concluding that plants reduced pollution in the room of a spacecraft.  It was discovered that spider plants were effective in eliminating formaldehyde, one of the common chemicals found in countless everyday objects in the home.

Through figuring out what works and what doesn’t and by implementing these successful tricks to reduce static and positive ions, it has in fact had a huge impact on reducing my seizure activity.  My discoveries didn’t happen overnight and I would be naïve to think I could eliminate absolutely everything.  There was plenty of trial and error often meeting dead ends, but I was determined to create a better quality of life for myself because, after all, who wants more seizures than is necessary?

To find out more about the NASA research, click on the link below. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19930073077.pdf

For condensed information about specific plants (which may be an easier read!), click this link.

http://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/best-air-filtering-house-plants/

Be sure to check out the next post tomorrow at Living Well with Epilepsy http://livingwellwithepilepsy.com for more on epilepsy awareness. For the full schedule of bloggers visit livingwellwithepilepsy.com. And don’t miss your chance to connect with bloggers on the #LivingWellChat on March 31 at 7PM ET.

 

 

 

Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar

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For someone who didn’t like Brussel sprouts up until last year, I make this an awful lot!  It was a delicious accompaniment to Christmas dinner and in fact now, I tend to have it as a meal in itself, perhaps with other veggies and/or some protein.

I have experimented with bacon, which is delicious; however, don’t make the mistake of chopping the bacon and putting it in the same dish with the sprouts whilst cooking. They’ll swim in a pool of fat and on that occasion I had to bin the lot.  Whilst fat is preferable on the keto diet, nobody likes soggy sprouts, be sure to cook the bacon separately, drain the fat and add it in afterwards, then it’s delish!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

1 Bag of Brussel sprouts

2 to 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

  1. Turn the oven on to 400°F.
  2. Cut the stalks off the bottom of the sprouts, remove any damaged outside leaves and wash thoroughly.
  3. Cut them in half and remove a number of the outer leaves so they will get crispy when cooked.
  4. Pop the sprouts in an ovenproof dish along with the leaves, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix with your hands to ensure they are completely coated.
  5. Put in the oven for approximately 30 minutes – I tend to check mine at the 25-minute mark as they’re normally cooked by then.
  6. Whilst the sprouts are cooking, I have a dear little cast iron pan which is perfect for thickening the balsamic vinegar. Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar in a small pan or saucepan, heating on low till it starts to bubble.
  7. Once the sprouts are cooked and the leaves are crispy, whip them out of the oven and mix in the bacon if it’s part of the dish. Pour the balsamic vinegar over the top and voi la!

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With the balsamic glaze on the sprouts, again, check out the nutrition facts on the back so you’re not exceeding your daily carb intake.  My personal favorite is the Organic Napa Valley Balsamic Vinegar.  Here are the nutritional facts for this one to give you an idea.

 

Quote of the Day

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An overwhelming amount of seizures?  Do the things you love; sitting down watching a movie; if you can, get out sit in a cafe and watch the world go by; go for a walk; catch up on your favorite T.V show or read a book.  Whatever your pleasure, remember YOU come first so take some time out and be kind to yourself.  Those acts are the rainbows and stars of your world.

A Ketogenic Christmas Dinner

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(Picture Courtesy of ABC News)

Christmas’ growing up were always exciting. We never went over-board with sweets, desserts and chocolate, but we did have a few treats which my sister and I loved.  More often than not my mum would make some delicious baked goods which surpassed anything that could be bought.  She always made her famous Christmas cake much to the delight of my sister.  Not being a fan of fruitcake or marzipan myself, I would devour an iced sponge cake or madeira that she had made particularly with me, and my grandad who loved them both, in mind.

The main meal was also a grand affair.  We would each get to choose a vegetable we wanted aside from the roasted parsnips and potatoes which were a staple.  The meat tended to be chicken or turkey with the assumption that we would be eating turkey sandwiches for weeks on end. (This in itself to us as kids was pretty legendary – coleslaw and turkey were the ultimate sandwiches for me).  And then there was always the gravy to finish it off making our plates complete.

For pudding/dessert it would typically something along the lines of homemade apple crumble or pie with cream. (Apples are my fave, give me an apple dessert and I’m sold).  I always got lovingly teased that I liked the boring food; anything appley or plain sponge cake and I was in my element.  I have always loved my vegetables and I really like my food simple.

It was Christmas just gone when I recounted these memories and realized it was going to be very unique.  I’m a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas dinner and making changes to my food routine is treading on dangerous ground!  Being low carb and ketogenic was going to be a challenge in order to create a scrumptious meal that lived up to those of my childhood.

I rummaged through my recipe books looking for new possibilities.  I eventually turned to the internet deciding that this method of research would be more fruitful.  Bingo!

Parsnips and potatoes went out the window because of their high carb, starch and sugar content.  I knew my hubby was making his infamous ham which was perfect; I decided to create three dishes, these were:

  • Balsamic- Roasted Brussel Sprouts
  • Creamed Spinach
  • Cauliflower Cheese

I was anticipating disappointment as I thought it wasn’t going to be the same, but it was a huge success.  My Christmas dinner was divine and our friends brought a green bean casserole which I dissected the beans from.

The only concern about these dishes for those keto babies out there is the amount of dairy you consume.  The lactose breaks down into sugars which can be troublesome so you must be mindful of checking the back of the carton to see what the ratio of sugar to fat and carbohydrate is.  My milk of choice is Organic Valley Whole Non-Homogenized.

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Having studied all the milks in many stores, I decided this one was best for quality and nutrients.  It is just necessary to be wary of the quantity you use.  Also, I opt for non-homogenized.

The number of milk options out there can be overwhelming. Pretty much all have been pasteurized and homogenized but the difference between them is that homogenized milk has gone through two processes instead of one.  Pasteurization sees the milk heated to approx. 161 °F for a very short period of time in order to kill bacteria.  Homogenization is when cream or fat that remains on the surface of milk is broken down through significant heating.  It is forced through tiny holes so the fat molecules remain within the milk rather than on the surface.

Having gone off on a bit of a milk tangent, I prefaced my future recipes with this example because I believe it’s important to know what I’m buying, where it’s come from and how it’s made, as much as possible.

The quality of food makes a difference for one’s well-being.  Has it had chemical sprays?  Vegetables and fruit exposed to these sprays have a far higher content of toxins.  Veggies grown in the ground absorb more pesticides and even if washed, remain on the outside skin.  All of this can have an impact on ill health including seizure activity.

I personally choose organic, here in the US they have a greater leniency in food standards than Canada and Europe, so I feel it’s even more important for my family.

Next week I’ll be posting my listed Christmas recipes, so tune in and join me on my keto journey!

Happy cooking!

To discover more on the milk process, organics and the environment Organic Valley dairy is coming from, go to: https://www.organicvalley.coop/