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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

My Typical Lunch for Sjogren's Disorder and CKD

I will be doing a final Sjogren's Awareness post, a kind of putting it all together, and my thoughts on it all, in a few days.  But, for today, I want to share a typical lunch that I have chosen to eat almost daily.  I do once in a while eat something else, but for most days this is it, with variations.  I drink one Sprite a day, no dark colas, and I am trying to be soda free altogether, but you know it is hard to give up everything.  Sprite is low in sodium, and has no phosphorous.  If you are diabetic, I am not, any soda is a not so good choice.  I alternate any of the items listed below, depending on what I have in the  house.

Lunch for anti-inflammation caused by Sjogren's and health for CKD.

Since bread causes inflammation in the body, and is high in sodium, I avoid bread at all cost.  I do eat pizza here and there, but I use no sauce, and thin crust.  So instead of sandwiches, I eat a salad with any, or all of the following depending on my supplies.

Baby spinach, instead of lettuce.  Why?  Lettuce has phosphorous in it, and while spinach does have potassium in it, it is a wonderful source of iron.  I try to eat small amounts of meat only, so I need to get my iron from somewhere besides a supplement which is horrible on the bowels.

For other veggies, cucumbers, celery, bell peppers, no carrots, tomatoes, croutons, bacon bits etc.

I put loads of fruit in my salad like strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, apples, and sometimes grapes.  CKD patients can eat lots of berries, and grapes.   However, citrus fruits, except lemons,and melons except watermelon should be eaten in limited amounts only, or avoided altogether.

For cheese, I use Sargento Baby Swiss only.  It is very low in sodium, and I use only small amounts since dairy increases inflammation, and has phosphorous.  Not all Swiss has low sodium like Sargento, though it is still lower than other cheeses.  Read the label, to be sure.

I always like to add a meat to my salad.  Since lunch meat is really high in sodium, I try to use lower sodium options, and still only a couple of pieces chopped up.  One egg can substitute as a meat source.  Eggs are high in phosphorous but are also a great source of Vitamin D, which is extremely important for kidney health.  Always use caution when eating too many eggs.

For the dressing I use Raspberry Vinaigrette, or Strawberry Vinaigrette with one teaspoon of regular Italian dressing.  The vinaigrettes are low in sodium in comparison to other dressings.  I was making my own Raspberry Vinaigrette, but it isn't exactly cheap, and only makes a very small amount, so I gave it up.

For a beverage, I drink only one cup of coffee a day, with either no sugar or honey in it, and small amount of french vanilla creamer.  I am going to get decaff so I can make my iced coffees, but I will have to limit the creamer. Like I said one Sprite, and I add two lemon slices to it.  I reuse the lemon slices in my water, to which I add a small amount of any Ocean Spray juice.  I use pretty much only Ocean Spray because it is low in sodium, and it uses no preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and is all natural.  It is worth the extra 50 cents or so to buy it.  I use it to make my own flavored water.  A note about water, CKD patients should not drink tap water, apparently, but filtered water only.  We have a filter on our fridge, so that works, but just take note that not all bottled water is filtered, so bring your own, or read the label to find out.

I will discuss dinner later, a much trickier meal for anti inflammation and CKD.  Always remember, this is informational only, and not intended to be medical advice.  Always research options, and talk to your doctor before you make drastic changes to your diet, especially if  you already have other illnesses.  Again, I do not have high blood pressure, or diabetes, but many people with CKD, do so my choices might not fit your needs.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Caitlin's First Puppy and Dog Youtube Video

As we come up on our fourth quarter, I start to think about the next school year.  DJ will be a senior next year, and he will be doing most of his classes on FLVS.  Easy for him next year.  He probably will do Japanese on Time4Learning, and History with me.  He wants to do Greek Mythology, and FLVS doesn't offer that.

Caitlin will be doing a whole year of Weather, for her Science.  For technology, and whatever else I can relate to it she will be making videos.  She will start with educational videos on how to properly care for a rabbit.  We will move on from there.  Her first video is below, of our new puppy and other two dogs.  As part of her Math class, and learning a skill, marketing etc she has joined in my Etsy shop and will be creating loom rubber band ankle bracelets, and bracelets.  You can see her first item, here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Dealing With Stress and Sjogren's Disorder

One of the things that can make Sjogren's, or any of the many Autoimmune disorders worse, is stress. Stress has recently been labeled the silent killer, and for good reason. Stress causes inflammation in the body, and inflammation causes illness, especially, but not just for Autoimmune disorders. These are the things I have done for many years, not just since being diagnosed, to help alleviate stress.

1. We all need to work, but we don't need to kill ourselves doing it. Don't be a slave to a paycheck, or debt, just to buy more stuff, or gain status. These things are useless in the end, and you can't take them with you. Living within your means, and living a simple life, may not be exotic or fun, but it truly is a lot healthier for you, especially if you suffer from disorders like Sjogren's.

2. Learn to say no, and then do it. Don't take on 100 different things that you know you do not have time for, or the energy to do. Women have a tendency to take on everything like they are Superwoman, and for a while you will be. But, it will catch up with you, and not in a nice way. People in your life will just have to get over it, period.

3. Change your diet. I know everyone says this, plus lose weight, blah blah blah. But, if you are eating tons of dairy, meat, and preservative filled foods you are only causing yourself to have more inflammation, and when the body is inflamed it is stressed, and when it is stressed your Sjogren's symptoms are going to be worse. Well over a year ago, I gave up dairy, almost completely. I was tired of having acne, and I had read it might have been caused by dairy. So, I quit it, and I loved milk and ice cream. I have no more acne. at all since then, and with only one good kidney all the protein in milk would be a killer. With CKD, I have had to give up tomatoes, and bananas, two of my most favorite foods. I also have to limit potatoes a staple in our house. Foods that increase acidity in your body will just make you feel icky, and cause more stress. Start slow if you have to, and work on it each day. Do research, and learn about an anti-inflammatory diet.

4. Exercise some if you can. Most people with Sjogren's, as well as any Autoimmune disorder, suffer from some sort of pain. Pain can make exercise difficult. However, gentle exercise can help your pain. Start with stretching, move up to Yoga or Taichi as you can. I have been on a walking regime for over three years now, so long before I was diagnosed. I try to walk five days a week, as well as some light weight training. I do have a great deal of pain some days, but as I get stronger it gets better. I can not tell you the importance of stretching. If I don't stretch, oh boy I pay for it. Please be easy at first, and discuss exercise with your doctor. I feel better when I exercise, but you might not.

5. Sit out and enjoy nature, enjoy the sunshine on your skin. Obviously be aware of when the bugs are active, and don't be in the sun too long. Nature has been shown to be a natural stress reliever. I love to be outside, and when I lived up North would get the Winter blues. Sunshine is good for me! I love to feed, and watch the birds. I have plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds, they are so much fun to watch. Planting a small garden is another great way to get some gentle exercise.

6. Learn a craft, or hobby. I have been crafting since I was a young girl. My mother has always been creative, and can do just about anything. She taught me to crochet at a very young age, then I learned counted cross stitch, and threw the years have continued to learn new crafts. I love to make jewelry, paint, wood burn, etch glass, and yes even crochet still some. These are great ways to help alleviate stress, and clear your mind from thinking of things that stress you out.

7. Get plenty of sleep. I think that one is self explanatory. It is when your body revives itself, if you don't get enough, work on it. I used to take Benadryl for sleep, many years actually because it relieved leg cramps too, but I now take Melatonin a completely natural sleep aid. It will not harm my kidneys, and some studies show it actually does some good things for the body. Ask your doctor first to be safe.

Be kind, and love yourself. Embrace your disorder and vow to conquer it. Having an optimistic attitude will work towards relieving stress. Don't let other people steal your joy. If they are not bringing you love, and kindness then re-evaluate if you really need them in your life.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Counting My Blessings this Easter!

Today, I woke up just like everyone else who woke up this morning.  I drank my coffee, enjoyed a beautiful dawn outside while drinking my coffee.  I got dressed, let my 16 year old drive us to church, and proceeded to line up in our church choir to sing praises to the Lord.  Then it hit me, all at once, like a punch in the chest,  I shouldn't even be here.  I should have died last December.

I most likely had been in acute renal failure, with at least moderate metabolic acidosis.  I thought I was just worn out from Christmas, and was getting the flu.  After a while I thought wow this is some flu, and that is when I sought medical care.  However, at least 3 weeks had passed since the beginning of symptoms, and I was slowly improving every day.  The only treatment I had in that time  was sleep, lots of it, like 18 hours a day, water, just water, no food for at least 2 weeks, and prayer, lots of prayer.

I am not pushing religion, I don't do that, nor am I saying you will heal without medical care, I don't do that either.  What I am saying is I didn't die, and I should have.  Or, at the very least been in the hospital for a very, very long time, with probable emergency dialysis.  For whatever reason, my body, even with an Autoimmune disorder, Sjogren's, my body was able to bring itself back into at least pre illness balance.  I was still in Metabolic Acidosis when I saw the kidney doctor a month ago, but with proper treatment I am hoping I am in almost complete balance.  You can call it a miracle, blessing from God, lucky, whatever you want.  But, I call it a blessing that it was not my time to be called home to the Lord, and I still have a purpose here on this Earth.  I have been saved since I was a teenager, and though my walk with God has been bumpy and curvy, I have the peace of knowing that when I do pass away, I will be in a better place.  I am not ready to die, but I am not afraid to die either.  I didn't expect to get so sick in December.  I did not expect my kidney to fail.  I did not expect to be living with an illness that will most likely continue to eat away at my body.  But, I can be thankful every day for my blessings, and the walk I have been given to continue to walk.  It might be hard, and it might not always be fun, but it is a part of me, and who I am.  Believe me, I have had to make a lot of hard life changes.  One of which is not taking NSAIDS for pain, and yes there are some days I have a great deal of pain.  I have had to modify my diet, and lifestyle to be sure I am doing the best to keep myself in balance.  I could have chose to do none of those things, but then I might not be here to enjoy this beautiful Easter day.  Yesterday, I read something that made me so sad.  It was meant to bring awareness to Sjogren's and other autoimmune disorders, but at least for me it just made me think how horrible.  It said, Sjogren's will attack your body every single day for the rest of your life.  To me this statement seeks pity, and guilt from anyone who might read it.  Not awareness and a positive attitude to get out the word about this disease.  I know for me, I don't want pity, I don't want to be treated differently than anyone else.  I don't want people to point to me and say ha, if you weren't chubby, exercised more, or changed your diet, you wouldn't have this disease.  If only it was that simple.  I want people to realize they need to respect everyone, no matter their situation, and to imagine walking a mile in their shoes.  I want people to reach out with hands of love and kindness, not point the finger of shame and guilt.  Awareness does not have to be humiliating.

I hope you will have the same peace and blessings as I have had.  I will never know when it will be time to leave this earth.  Some pass very young, and unexpected, while others live to a very old age and know it is their time.  Having peace with  my spiritual being, brings me comfort in ways that are unimaginable.

Please, if you need to seek counsel for your spiritual being, reach out to someone to assist you.  But, most important be blessed, and grateful every day to still be able to appreciate the warmth of the sun on your skin, the smell of the wildflowers, the laughter of children, the frolicking of your pets, and all the other beautiful things that make life what it is.

I will discuss coping with stress in my next blog post.  

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