Sunday, April 29, 2012

Quinoa with sauteed vegetables

Tonight I am beginning my quest towards healthier eating habits and to celebrate the end of "old me" I took the boys to the movies and ate an entire box of milk duds, it will be my last.

I am a carbohydrate addict, put a loaf of fresh bread in front of me and watch it disappear! The same goes for pasta and anything remotely containing sugar, starch and the like.
So while I researched some alternatives to carbs I came across this rather popular grain-like seed called Quinoa (it is pronounced Kee-noah). At first glance it looks much like Bulgar or a large couscous grain, but Quinoa, which originated in South America, is not a grain, in fact, I learned that it is a seed from a plant which is not a cereal nor a grain since not part of the grass family.  Instead as a plant itself, Quinoa is more like beets and spinach.

So what makes Quinoa so special and nutritious? It is protein (18%) and phosphorus (65%) rich. It is also very rich in magnesium and Iron and is gluten-free! Better yet, it is considered a complete protein, meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids. It is the "grain" replacement of choice for people with diabetics. If you want to learn more about Quinoa and its benefits, visit the World's healthiest Foods website.

Here is my recipe for Quinoa and Sauteed Vegetables:


Ingredients for my Quinoa with sauteed vegetables

2 cups of whole Quinoa
2 Zucchini
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 medium size onion
2 garlic cloves
1 can whole corn
flat leaf parsley
fresh mint
1/2 tsp curry powder
dash of Cayenne Pepper
dash of salt
1 tbsp olive oil

Boil 2 cups of Quinoa in water for about 20 minutes, much like you would cook rice. Once cooked, drain and set aside.
Dice the Zucchinis, tomatoes, onion. Mince the garlic and chop the parsley.

prepare to saute the vegetables

 In a large saute pan, add the olive oil and saute the garlic and onions for about 5 minutes.

Add all the vegetables (except the corn), the curry powder, dash of salt and sprinkle with the Cayenne pepper (to taste). Cover for another 5 minutes.

Saute the vegetable mix
 Add the corn and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

Once the vegetables are cooked, leave them in the pan and simply add the Quinoa to the mix. Stir.

Before serving, chop the mint and mix with the vegetable/Quinoa.

This is what Quinoa looks like once it is cooked


This was really good and filling and we both had seconds. The curry and mint flavor gave it a bit of a Mediterranean flavor as it tasted much like a Middle Eastern couscous dish. In fact, I am pretty sure one could easily serve Quinoa as a cold dish similar to Tabouleh.

I am sold on the idea of using Quinoa as a replacement for pasta and rice as I embark on my quest to healthier eating habits.
Overall it was easy to cook. I made it a point to get the dirty dishes and tools out of the way when cooking, so the mess factor was reduce to none! That was a plus. I am loving this journey thus far.

If you want to ask me a question or comment, click on the "comment" link in the window below.
Bon Appetit!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Go To Soup - White Bean Vegetable Soup with Ham

If you are looking for a quick and easy soup recipe, this is it!This is the soup I swear by when I:

Need a cup of serious comfort
Need a pick me up
Need something that will stick to me through the evening
Need something to keep me warm

Like your Grandma's soup, this one is hearty and full of flavor, better yet, it is easy to make!

White Bean Vegetable Soup with Ham
makes 10 bowls

1 bunch of Kale
5 carrots
1 head of broccoli
2 Potatoes
1 Onion
3 celery stalks
1 leek
Leftover Ham (from Ham chunk/Spiral Ham)
6 cans of white beans (I cook the beans separately, 3 cans at a time)
6 garlic cloves
Fresh Parsley (flat leaf)
Butter & Olive Oil

Chop all ingredients and place in a simmering pot, bring water just about to the level of the vegetables, add the ham chunks. There is no need to add spices and or salt and pepper as the ham will take care of flavoring the soup.

Let the soup simmer for at least 40 minutes or until the carrots are tender.

Once the soup is cooked, remove the chunks of ham as well as at least two large glasses of broth. I let the broth cool off to the side and actually drink it before the end of the day. It is great to drink as a stand alone and very healthy, not to mention the diuretic properties.

Bring in the hand mixer and pulse the soup to an almost velvety texture, I like to keep bits and pieces in it myself.

Put to the side.

To make the first batch (5 bowls):

Dice 1/2 of the ham, keep the other half for the next batch
3 cans of white beans will yield 5 large bowls of soup - rinse the beans under cold water.

In a saute pan or wok, add one tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter. Bring to a melt.
Add garlic and chopped parsley, let the garlic golden a bit.
Add the 3 cans of beans.
Add the ham.
let simmer for about 10-15 minutes on low heat.


In a bowl, place the white beans/ham mix at the bottom of the bowl and cover with the vegetable soup.
Add parsley and grated cheese of choice to the top. Serve with a piece of French baguette (though any sourdough loaf would do).

Put the rest of the vegetable soup to the side, you can also freeze if if you wish to.
The next time around, just saute 3 more cans of beans with ham and parsley and repeat the serving.

I like to cook the beans separately as I find it gives extra flavor to the soup. They generally tend to become very blend if they cook with the vegetables. Tell us what you think!


Home Management Filing System

Does your kitchen counter's hot spot look like this?

 My Kitchen hot spot - Clutter Fest!
Well, mine did and for a very long time too!

What is a hot spot?

It's that sneaky corner or drop zone somewhere in your house where the stuff piles on. Generally located near an entryway, the stuff piles on as you "enter and dump" whatever is in your hand on that very same spot. This is bill oblivion and where kids due assignments get lost. You may also find an old greeting cards containing a check, half a tube of hand lotion and a lot of  "maybe I'll buy that" catalogs.

 I have struggled with creating efficiency and healthy habits for the majority of my adult life, the only way to move on here is to come up clean with an honest and overdue acknowledgement... Yes, I confess, everything you see is 90% mine, 10 % the kids and 0% the result of my husband's own clutter! Because unlike me, Scott was blessed with established good habits (a leftover from his structured Navy days).

Over the years I have tried every system ever created to tackle the kind of mess you see in that picture. Bills were supposedly filed into a three ring binder, that lasted about two months. Junk mail was rerouted to an immediate trash receptacle, it quickly overflowed. Back in the days I had Scott charge me $1 each time he had to pick up after me...I ran out of funds while he enjoyed oodles of exotic desserts!
Even when I look at this picture I can see attempts at organized chaos: there is the red bowl meant for odds and ends, the basket for tissues and the bills stacked behind the cereal box. I have not a clue what's in the brown paper bag nor why my wallet, keys and makeup bag are not in my purse.

Fast forward to today, this is what that same corner looks like (for real):

This is my mini Home Management System

Problems to be resolved:

I realized that more than one issue needed to be tackled here.

1. The bills needed to be centralized into a working system. One that would  promote ongoing paying throughout the month rather than a huge stack of bills paid all at once. That old system often left us with not a dime on the joint account at the end of the billing ordeal, not to mention late/missed payments!

2. Centralize an Activity Calendar so that no child, or parent activity/appointment would be missed. In the past, the number of missed deadlines and other "Man, I forgot it was tonight!" moments was astounding.

3. Structure the Weekly Chore activity plan so that the house would be cleaned throughout the week, one zone at a time, rather than spending an entire Sunday or Saturday doing it.

4. Create a structured Drop Zone for receipts and other important documents (insurance cards, kids keepsake artwork etc.)


My Home Management System

Over the years I have spent a lot of time on the Internet looking for inspiration, I dare say that I continued to be led into one particular direction, that of the structure the homeschooling moms seem to have in common.
I am in no way saying that their system is the best and most effective way to keep a home, some may not even have any specific systems at all. Instead, what I did is compile a bunch of different systems into one big centralized method of keeping my home affairs organized, and most ideas, well, I hacked from some of the homeschooling and blogging moms on the Internet. I realize that this system takes time to set up, but I can honestly say that thus far, this is the only one that has been tried and proved to be working to fit our busy lifestyle.

This system is a modified crate filing system with hanging and manila folders to keep things organized and this is what you will need for set up:

Set Up:
  • 12 Green Hanging File folders
  • 52 Manila folders + some extra ones
  • File folder labels
  • Pocket organizers
  • Stick on Tabs
  • Weekly Calendar templates (Free templates are coming soon but you can easilycreate your own)
  • Stapler
  • Filing Crate (mine is the metal mesh kind, but the plastic ones will work just the same)
  • 2 Clipboards
  • Pre-Stamped Enveloped
  • Paper Clips
  • Sticky Notes

Templates are available for free download
at the end of this blog post



First, I placed 12 hanging folders in the crate. Each represents one month out of the year.
I then created 52 manila folders, one for each week out of the year. For example May 7 to May 14.
Each hanging folder would then contain either 4 or 5 manila folders, depending on how many weeks are in that month.

My weekly manila folders

I created this simple weekly Activity Calendar. And printed 52 of them, separated into 4 seasonal colors. Time has to be spent to fill in the dates throughout the year, but once it is set up you do not have to worry about it until next year! Each weekly planner is then stapled on to the front of the manila folder for that matching week.

Staple the activity calendar on the front of each respective manila folder

This is what all 4 seasons look like

Each calendar has a space reserved for bills to be sent that week:

Bill tracking
I include the amount to be paid as well as when it is due, which is 3 days prior to the actual due date. I also write the amount to keep track of our expenses.


When a bill comes in, I immediately open it, find out when it is due, write the check, insert it into the envelope, affix the stamp, write the address etc. and place the envelope to be mailed into that specific week's manila folder. I then write on that week's calendar when the bill is due. Once the date to mail the bill comes, it is ready to be mailed out, all we have to do is take it out of the folder and drop it at the local post office.

I write down when the bills are due - 3 days prior to their actual due date

Each activity calendar also provides a to-do-list as well as special duties or cleaning items that would not otherwise fall into the general chores chart.

I also write down whatever big item chores or special
 to-dos we have for the week.

Birthdays, anniversary, special dates etc. are entered onto their respective activity calendars ahead of time at the beginning of the year.

The crate stays on my office desk and we only deal with one folder at a time as the weekly folder is placed in the mini Home Management System on the kitchen's counter top.

Mini System in the Kitchen

Mini Home Management System and its contents

Our mini kitchen center is updated every Sunday night with the old week's calendar/folder being switched with the new one. In addition, we keep one memo pad and pen for quick notes to one another, post its and paperclips. In the box, we also have two clipboards, one with my chore charts, the other with the boys' individual chore charts (more on these charts in a later blog).


Tackling the Paper Mess

Any paper that is attached to a deadline (event or bill) is immediately filed into the manila folders for their respective week. So, whenever one of our boys comes home with a special assignment or event for their school, it is dropped into that specific week's folder and the event written on that specific week's calendar. No more papers hanging from the fridge = no more missed events!

With this system, we went from this:

Our fridge before my Home Management System

To this:

Our fridge after my Home Management System

Other items belonging to the weekly folders:

- Receipts from that week's purchases (every single one of them) - later to be used for accounting
- Coupons I may have received in the mail and need to be filed at a later time

The issue of tackling important documents was also resolved with this system:

I have created 4 additional pocket organizers (one for each family member). These are labeled by name with an adhesive tab and contain important documents for that year. So should I receive a new  medical insurance update, it goes into my pocket folder. At the end of the year, each document is then transferred to our master file cabinet and archived.

Important Documents are kept in separate folders per family member

There is a reason for my separating these documents. For the most part they are not attached to any significant deadline, they are also fresh in our memory since within the same year, and their proximity allows us to quickly retrieve any document we may need. This has allowed us to tackle the hoard of paperwork stacked on top our desks as well as the various hot spots throughout the house.

This is our system, this is what works for us. Our main issue was clutter and forgetting important deadlines as a result of never properly documenting anything we do.
This is not a complicated system, as mentioned above, it will take a few hours to set up, but other than that, it is a matter of routine and consistency (two qualities I did not have until I found this system).

We hope this works for you. leave a comment or question if you need more information about our Home Management System. Thank you.

Here is the link if you want to download the templates:

Thank you for sharing my blog and liking mygreatchallenge on facebook.

Sophia, NJ.

Make your own Kale Chips - Super Healthy Food

Kale is well known for its health benefits and I found this web page to tell me all about it: Eat This.
Amongst other things, it's full of  beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, iron and sulforaphane, an anti-cancer agent.  It is said that kale will also provide cholesterol lowering benefits.
Researchers have also identified over 45 different flavonoids in kale, "with kaempferol and quercetin heading the list, kale's flavonoids combine both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits in way that gives kale a leading dietary role with respect to avoidance of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress." (The World's Healthiest Foods). I have also read that flavanoids are beneficial in reducing allergies, in particular the Quercetin.

Kale can be prepared in many different ways, from sauteed to added as a soup mix. However, in order to retain the most nutrition, I found out the chip variety to be leading the way.

WholeFoods sells great kale chips from Brad's. They are called Brad's Vampire Killer Kale Chips:

Great kale chips from Brad's Raw Foods

Judging by the name, you have already guessed these are loaded with garlic, however, there are other varieties. We tried them and were instantly hooked! The price? Not so much. A small container (about 3 servings cost about $7.50), said box was empty by the time we reached the register!

Since Kale is relatively cheap at your local produce stand, I could not see any reason not to make my own kale chips. There was no trial and error in putting this recipe together, I just made a dash for it.

Ingredients for my Kale Chips:

Ingredients for my kale chips

2 bundles of Kale (make sure it is fresh by looking at the stem, it should be neatly cut with little grey or dried areas)
Olive oil (use as desired - I used at best 1 tbsp per bundle)
Turmeric (powder form - for its anti-inflammatory properties)
Celery Salt (less sodium - more taste)
Packets of Italian Salad mix (use only a sprinkle adding only for taste)

How to:

Turn your oven on at 350 F.

Separate the leaves from the stems by simply using a small sharp knife and scrapping them off the stems. Cut larger leaves into quarters, but be careful not to cut them too small since they will shrink in size.
Wash the batch under cold water, rinse and dry thoroughly using either your salad spinner or paper towels.

In a bowl, add the olive oil and mix well making sure the leaves are coated on all sides (this is a healthy recipe no more than 1 tbsp is needed). sprinkle all the dry ingredients to taste and continue mixing.

Place the leaves on a baking sheet- and place on the middle rack.
Cook for about 25 to 30 minutes.

Before cooking

Before removing the chips, shake the rack first, most should easily slide off. If some chips are still "wet" it is fine, they will air dry quickly.

Straight out of the oven
 Place the chips in an air tight container and you are done!

A close up of my Kale chips

These were absolutely delicious! They did not take long to prepare and the mess effect (cleanup required) was limited to a few stray leaves here and there.

Things you can do with kale chips:

Add crunch factor to hamburger, salad and soups,
Use as a healthy afternoon snack alternative,
Package nicely as a homemade gift to the health conscious amongst your loved ones,
Introduce your children to "Vampire" chips.



DIY Dishwasher Detergent

Since I was truly impressed with my DIY Laundry Detergent, I took on another challenge, that of tackling the Dishwasher issue!
We purchased a home with a dishwasher, a Kitchen Aid no less! I personally was very pleased with the idea since doing dishes is yet another one of those chores I never was looking forward to do. Our formal rental apartment also had a dishwasher (you can imagine the drama when that one broke down!) so the new home made for a smooth transition.
However, regardless of whether we used coupons or not to purchase the detergent, we both felt that one load per day may not be worth the convenience. After all, the detergent is not cheap neither is the water in our town. Further, the gel tabs seemed to never really work completely, they would often get stuck in the compartment and at times we would find them half used at the bottom of the washer itself. So we switched to the pressed powder tabs (Quantum) and those can cost as much as $0.35 per load or about $127 per year!

After some research I realized that the same ingredients I was using for the Laundry Detergent could be used for the Dishwasher Detergent. A variation on the recipe asked for Citric Acid which I was never able to find, but others replaced it with Lemonade Kool-Aid. Some recipes also required Kosher Salt, others did not.

List of Ingredients:

Ingredients for DIY Dishwasher Detergent

4 cups Super Washing Soda
4 cups Borax
4 packs of Lemonade Kool-Aid
Distilled White Vinegar
Fill the rinse cup with White Vinegar, where you would normally put the JetDry stuff.

How to:

Mix all ingredients into a bowl and ensure that the Kool-Aid is spread evenly. Do not use any other flavor as this is the only one that will not color the water. I was not sure how many packs of Kool-Aid were needed so I assumed a ratio of 1 per cup of Borax and it turned out to be just fine.
Pour the mix into a tight sealed container. Since this one is staying in plain sight on the kitchen counter, I opted for a glass container and printed a nice label for it. This one is from the Martha Stewart Avery Collection (a leftover from another project) the web site template also provides various clip arts should you choose to use them.

My full batch of DIY Dishwasher Detergent
About 8 1/2 cups or 64 loads.

We find it to work just the same and all that is needed is 1 tbsp per load, sometimes we may add another one if we know the dishes need extra help. We did however realize that a white film residue was left behind when we had the washer set on AutoDry. I guess this comes from the heat. It's an added expense that is not all that necessary anyway so we leave the washer on its normal/default setting.
One thing we noticed is that the dishwasher seems to be cleaner and does not smell like anything at all once a load is complete. We are attributing this to the white vinegar in the rinse cup.



Again all together it cost about $10.00 for all the ingredients, but only 1/3 was used for this first batch which provides 64 loads (1 tablespoon per load) or $3.33 for the 64 loads. That's $0.05 per load  or $18.65 per year. A savings of $108.35 per year as opposed to the Quantum tabs to add to my saved $163 from the DIY Laundry detergent!

By making our own Laundry and Dishwasher detergents we are now saving just about $271 per year! Are you with me?

Let us know how your detergents work for you and whether you added any other ingredients. Thank you!


Friday, April 27, 2012

DIY Laundry Detergent

It is no secret that laundry is a chore, I personally can't stand doing it, never mind the folding and putting everything back where it belongs. Wait! That was the old me, the one that was all too conveniently passing the suds bucket to my dear husband. It's his fault, he should have never claimed "I love doing the laundry!" 12 years ago -  Now he's stuck with it!

Then My Great Challenge came along and with my chore chart, the laundry started to be handled by me on a daily rather than by Scott, on a weekly basis.
See the secret of laundry, I found, is to keep the loads manageable. Laugh all you want, I know I am late into figuring these "homely" secrets. It turns out that my aversion to laundry was not the chore itself, it was the sheer volume of it, having to deal with everything anyone in our house ever wore that week plus some!

In addition, I also realized we were going through way too much detergent, having to run oversize loads and adding a bit more to "compensate" for some reason I cannot recall (I am sure it made sense at one time). Enter couponing and the price per load was drastically reduced but the problem remained the same: huge loads = wasted detergent and wasted time.

So I decided to attack the problem on all fronts:

1. Smaller manageable loads (at least one per evening - on my chore chart it is referred to as "attend to leftover laundry"),
2. Some items can be worn more than once (jeans and other pants, jackets and the like),
3. Make my own detergent.

I did some online research  through Pinterest, blogs etc. and came across a lot of recipes to make my own detergent. Having lived most of my childhood and early adulthood in Europe, I recall that powder detergent was always the one of choice and liquid varieties were frowned upon once introduced to the market as not economical nor effective. So sure enough I also checked my old French stores online and laundry detergent is still sold in its powder form, though and alas, liquids and gels seem to be found in larger varieties. I am not so sure about the liquid form providing better results as I remember our old Brooklyn days when little packets of powder Tide were used at the Princess Laundromat (actual name). Back then it seemed to work much better but then again these machines looked like Sherman Tanks.

All the recipes I found had at least two ingredients in common: Borax and Super Washing Soda.

Borax is also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate and is a mineral as well as a salt of boric acid. It is usually a white powder consisting of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in water. Borax is the main ingredient in most detergents.

Super Washing Soda or Sodium Carbonate is well known for its everyday use as a water softener.

Both can be found on the bottom shelf of your supermarket's laundry aisle (that's where they keep the "secret" cheap stuff).

All recipes used some kind of non sudsy soap which was either grated and left as is, or mixed with water alongside all other ingredients and melted to a liquid form.  Some recipes also asked for additional ingredients such as Oxy Clean. Well, I knew I was not going to cook up some laundry detergent and opted instead for the powder variety.

After all my research, I felt the one recipe I would most likely be able to replicate was the one I found at, but I did switch it around a bit, so here is My Great Challenge's DIY Laundry Detergent:

Ingredients needed for My Great Challenge
DIY Laundry Detergent

2 cups Borax Powder
2 cups Super Washing Soda
1 cup of Baking Soda (I am adding this as a deodorizer and whitening agent)
2 bars of Ivory Soap (Their recipe called for Castille Soap but you can use any suds-less soap)
8 drops of Aromatherapy Essential Oils (I used peppermint instead of the recommended Lavender - thought it would be more masculine  - I am the only gal in the house - plus it was already on hand).

How to:

Mix all the powder ingredients together first and stir well with your kitchen whisk. Do it slowly unless you want white residue powder all over your counter (I found that out the hard way).

Mix all powder ingredients first

Using your regular kitchen grater, grate your Ivory bars directly over the powder and mix everything, again using the whisk.

Once you are certain all ingredients are evenly mixed, add 8 drops of the essential oil (8 seemed to be sufficient to me, you can add more if you want).

This is what it looks like once all mixed together:

Pour the detergent into some type of tight sealed container, I used the leftover plastic jar from Gourmet Biscottis we had purchased at BJ's.

Instructions and dosage:

Let your wash water run a bit and add 1/3 cup per large load size (small=1/4, Medium=1/4 to 1/3 and large=1/3), I wait for the powder (not the grated soap) to dissolve then add the clothes.


This powdered detergent works great! Not only is it cheap, it leaves no residue on dark clothes and the scent is very subtle, therefore ideal for allergy sufferers. We have not noticed any variation in wash quality/effectiveness when compared to the liquid detergents we were using. If anything, I would go as far as saying that by keeping the ingredients pure, this washes even better!

This recipe makes about 9 cups worth of detergent. We use 1/3 cup per large load which comes down to about 27 large loads or 54 small/Medium loads. Pricing? Just under $10 for all the ingredients (minus the Aromatherapy oil), a complete batch using all (remember that we only made a small batch here) would yield at least 4 times the detergent or about 215 small/medium loads at under $10, that's under $0.05 per load!

I am no Math genius, but I can figure this one out:

Tide 26 loads: about $13 (from or $0.50 per load...1 load per day (at least) brings it to $3.50/week or $182/year.

My Great Challenge Detergent - about $0.05 per load or $0.35/week or $18.20/year.

I just saved us $163 per year!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Too much is too much

As mentioned in the previous post, some health issues since last August have led me to make a drastic decision, that to take my life and health back and out of the hands of the medical institution. But don't worry, I am not one of those lunatics who is going to refuse meds at all cost and start eating nuts and mushrooms all day!
My plan is simple: use common sense and research to formulate a plan and gradually get control of my life back, whether I am addressing my health or my home. This blog will have categories (once I figure out a way to create them) where posts will be divided into health, organization, family, DIY etc. For now, let's focus on the health.

Over the years I have not been without medical issues, but nothing was never so serious until I reached the age of 41 at which point everything fell apart, literally.

Health issues:

  • Repeated UTIs-At least twice if not more per year. I had them since I was a child and had kidney surgery as a result.
  • Fybrocystic breasts - diagnosed back in 2003 - a pretty horrendous condition which causes me to have regular mammograms and numerous biopsies thus far. One large cyst was removed back in 2004.
  • Ovarian/Uterine Cysts- which led me to have multiple biopsies over the years and two (2008 and 2012) cyst removals. Yesterday I went for an Ablation, which basically scars the inner lining of the uterus. I am looking forward to skipping the Feminine Aisle at my local CVS. Though if it failed to relieve symptoms, I am due for a hysterectomy.
  • Hypothyroiditis: Diagnosed in September 2011. General side effects are extreme fatigue, mood swings, weight gain, hair loss. I check on all of those plus some. I literally lost over 30 % of my hair over the summer and fall 2011 and gained about 27 lbs in one year.
  • Anemia: Coupled with the low thyroid and the extreme monthly blood loss, my Iron levels are so low, I should be taking shots in the back of my neck but instead opted for the pills.
  • Vitamin D Deficiency: At the lowest range possible, I should be taking 10,000 IU per day to compensate for my Zombie lifestyle.
  • Extreme levels of stress: work, finances, family, life in general. We all go through it but when you have all of the above to exacerbate the stress, guess what? Something has to give, in my case, it was, alas, my hair and my size 8!
  • Level 2 neck and spine subluxation: I am seeing a Chiropractor twice per week who sucks me out of $240 per month over progress I would consider to be highly subjective. I plan on doing exercises and kick him to the curb as well.
  • Insomnia: suffered from it my whole life, I can honestly say I do not know what a full 8 hours worth of sleep feels like.
So I never thought it would lead to that because like you, I thought I had time and that's when time kicked me in the face! Seriously, this is my daily regimen and I did not count the vitamins (which I fail to take on a regular basis). These are the result of what I would qualify as 8 months worth of my latest health collapse. How much of this is stress related (nurture) versus my genetic predisposition (nature), time will tell! But until we find out, I will gradually work my way back to health and that means reducing intake of Rx to what I absolutely cannot escape!

So here we go for a grand tour of my chemically enhanced self:

1. Omeprazole 40mg/day: prescribed as a result of having developed serious allergies and asthma this year. It's supposed to be an acid reflux to alleviate the symptoms of post nasal drip. Once the allergy season is over, this stupid pill is toast.

2. Prednisone 50mg/day: another one prescribed as a result of my developing Asthma. A steroid to which I responded rather poorly through the eruption of massive water filled hives, swelling of feet, hands and tongue. Not to mention the mood swings. They are gone today, no more that's it! I did my research and when Steroids are prescribed on a short term basis (in my case two weeks) one can stop right away as opposed to gradually and that is exactly what I am going to do! You won't see me on Steroids again!

3. Levothyroxine 0.75mg/day: Prescribed as a result of my being diagnosed with hypothyroiditis back in September 2011. I was experiencing extreme fatigue and hair loss (just about 30 % of my hair fell out and never regrew), in addition, I developed ongoing tightness of the throat and though hypothyroiditis does not give you a goiter, I could swear mine does (though I am sure the binging on Milk Duds helped along the way)! I have no choice but to take this Rx, if anything, that will be the only one to stay and I have to get my levels checked on a bi-monthly basis.

4. Misoprostol: A labor inducing Rx I had to take for the past two days pre-surgery. That one is temporary, another one biting the dust- ciao!

5. Oxycodone: AKA Percocet, the result of my having surgery yesterday. I was high for 12 hours and we'll leave it at that. I am flushing the 16 pills left down the drain TODAY!

6. Singulair: Another one resulting from my being diagnosed with allergy induced Asthma. I'll kick it out to the curb once the season is over. But what about next year? I have a plan!

7. Advair: The almighty snuff down your throat and lungs white powder that's supposed to relieve my Asthma. I have to take it twice per day until allergy season is over.

8. Albuterol: My original Asthma pump which did little to relieve symptoms on its own, but acts as a backup to Advair.

9. Ferro-Sequels: Iron pills I am told I need to take as the result of Anemia. I have to take two per day or 100 mg which is about 500% of the daily intake of iron (Yep, I am that deficient). As with the Thyroid meds, this is not a choice.

10. Generic Motrin PM: Because I also have insomnia.

11. Generic Extra Strength Tylenol: Because I also busted my ankle and my body aches all the time.

12. Generic All-Day Naproxen: to relieve ankle swelling and general aches and pains.

So there you have it, the walking pharmacy...Isn't that a shame? At almost 42 to be taking and prescribed that many chemicals and Lord knows whatever else is wrong with me, lurking at the corner!

So that was my introduction to the health problems. I'll do my very best to update this blog every Wednesday (or more) with the latest progress, articles, finds and changes. This is going to be a long journey!


Day One - The Great Acceptance

Let's mark this as the day I came to realize a serious change was needed. Perhaps not "realized", since it was more like an acceptance or a resignation that something had to be done.

I have spent most of my life reinventing myself, changing from here to there and being in constant flux. I do not know what it is to sit down and relax, for my mind, however demanted it may appear at times, must remain in constant activation mode. There is not Stand By mode in my world, only Reboot and Upgrades.

In a nutshell, this blog will address all the changes I need to make. I have separated them into various areas and though at times I am sure it will look like I am jumping all over the place, I will do my very best at maintaining cohesion, not confusion, and by the same token spread some of the knowledge I acquire along the way since I intend to research all subjects.

Thus far, here are some of the areas I want to focus on:

Efficiency - Organization and Time Management
Parenting  and Family- Communication, Leadership and Guidance - Love and Acceptance.
Health - Getting off all current meds (the list is endless) and reach a goal of optimal health and balance
Nutrition - losing weight goes without saying, though I still fit in all my clothes (some more snuggly than others) the overall shape is gone and that is a fact. This time however, I am not going to get stuck on a number, the reality is that at my age I will never return to my size 6! I am looking for a better nutritional intake, one that goes in hand with my Health goals.
Creativity - That one aspect of me that will never change, however, needs to be redirected into something more manageable and enjoyable (how about I finish a project here and there!)
Financial Freedom - I would not consider myself a spendthrift however, living paycheck to paycheck is NOT par tof my future plans. That includes business plans which are in the making (more on that later).

That's what I have so far. The plan is to journal through this journey and ultimately Honesty with self and the world is the goal.

I am hoping this journey inspires a few others to do the same.

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