Category Archives: Personal

Lesson 1511 – Plant-based diet for chronic illness

 

 

 

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Over the years I’ve written about different types of diets to try when you have a chronic inflammatory illness (in my case Lyme disease.)

I’ve tried Keto (high fat, high animal protein) and it made me feel worse.

I tried Paleo (clean but with lots of meat) and when I ate all that meat it just sat in my stomach (and I missed the beans.)

I tried vegetarian, but relied too much on cheese and from one lactose-intolerant to another, let’s just say  – it wasn’t pretty.

Because of my lactose issues and other reactions to food (when I drink beer, my joints *ache* like a storm is coming the next day) I knew that there were foods that my body reacted to, but what can you do right? You have to eat.

But then three things happened one after the other which defied coincidence. At the bookstore I picked up a copy of the Engine-2 Seven Day Rescue Diet. I didn’t even know what it was about, I had just heard about it, it looked interesting, and I decided that I’d read it at some point. It went into my “to read” pile.

At a recent doc’s appointment I was talking to him about the obvious inflammation in my body. “Eat more plants,” he told me. (He doesn’t like to tell, he likes to guide.)

And then I joined a Cancer Management (still dealing with skin cancer) workshop that talked eating about a plant-based diet as a way to manage and heal some cancers.

Wait a minute, I had read that somewhere before. I pulled out the Engine-2 book and there on the cover, it said “Eat plants, Lose Weight, Save Your Health.”

I’d have to be pretty dense to have not gotten the message that the world was trying to give me.

Plants are where it’s at.

So I’ve been eating a plant-based diet. Salads, beans, vegetables, nuts, ancient grains, and even some occasional tofu. It’s not as bad as it sounds. The tricky thing is that now I’m preparing two dinners- one with meat for the family and one without meat and only plants for me. Last night they sat down to pork chops, corn, sliced tomatoes, and salad and I ate a cup of black bean soup and a plate of sauteed vegetables. You didn’t hear a complaint from me, it was good and filling.

The most difficult part? Chopping up all the vegetables. The goal is to have a little bit of a lot of different things instead of a lot of a little.

And as much as I love a cold one, I’ve also pretty much cut out all beer (my joints are thanking me.) A glass of wine if I really want a drink is now what I have and even that is only once in awhile.

Of course this makes going to restaurants a little difficult, but it’s not impossible, you just have to do some work ahead of time and scope out the menu.

Do I feel better?

Yes. Absolutely.

Has it helped with inflammation?

It’s only been a week and a half, but so far indications are positive. I’ll revisit this in a few weeks to let you know how it’s going.

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1510 – Chickens and the stress of warm days

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We’ve just experienced a little vacation of sorts in the middle of winter.

Here in New Hampshire, for the last few days, our temperatures were in the high 60’s and 70’s, a vast difference (and improvement) from the freezing weather we’d had before and now seem to be heading back into.

And while we all shucked our coats, smiled, turned our faces to the sun, and walked around in tee-shirts. Plants and animals did not do as well.

Our dog Dalai, who has grown a substantial thick winter coat lay around the house panting, not wishing to exert herself more than she needed to. She sought shade and coolness on our tile floors.

In the backyard, I saw the tops of early spring flowers trying to catch what they must have imagined was the arrival of the spring sun. Nope, they’re in for a surprise.

That heat spell fooled us all.

This morning, the temps have dropped back down to February standards and the slush on the driveways and roads has refrozen. I’m lucky, all I have to do it put a sweater and  my wool socks back on.

Dalai is up and about again (although I anticipate a large shed during this week as a result of the warmth.)

The plants that took a chance to peek out will most likely freeze and die. Oh sure, there will be others but there won’t be as many when spring truly comes.

And our chickens, who live outside in a coop are at risk for increased stress on their bodies. Chickens do not need heat in the winter as they have a way to warm themselves (They fluff up their feathers and trap warm air against their skin.)  But when temperatures fluctuate, they can have a rough time.

Granted a few warm days is most likely not going to kill them, but when the temps go back down to freezing, they are at increased risk of frostbitten toes (they’ve just spent a few days walking around in mud that is now caked on their feet) and general ill health.

It’s along the same lines of your mother warning you to wear a coat or you’ll catch your death of a cold. It’s not so much that there are cold viruses out there that will attack  if you don’t have a coat on, but that *if* you go into the cold *and* stress unnecessarily your body, it lowers your immune system and allows you to be vulnerable to invasion and infection.

This is now the second warmest winter on record, 1 data point is interesting, two is a line and 3 indicate a trend. It’s too early to see if this will happen again next year, but it doesn’t matter, if you have plants and animals you need to be prepared.

So what can we do?

For animals with winter coats, make sure they have cool spots to go to. Be sure to give them plenty of water to replace that which is lost while panting.

For plants, there’s not much you can do, except  protect your plants from freezing (cover them) or maybe transplant them in the true spring to areas that have shade or are cooler. It might help, but then again, it might now. Early warm spells like this are notorious for decimating vegetation. Also consider planting your own wildflowers from seed in the spring to make up for any shortfall (the bees will thank you.)

And as for your chickens, check their feet and feathers and knock of any mud. Younger chickens shouldn’t be affected too much by the fluctuating weather, but keep an eye on your older flock members. Overly-bred chickens are notorious for having heart conditions (which is why when a flock is attacked by a predator, it’s not unusual to have chickens who weren’t attacked but who were frightened (shocked) die the next day from heart attacks.) If the stress is great enough, the flock will be affected.

Finally, just like you would if you were sick, be sure to give your chickens some highly nutritious food – a block of calorie dense suet, a seed block filled with plant oils, and plenty of fresh water. And when the freezing winds return, be sure to give them hope by whispering in their little chicken ears that “true spring will return, just hang tight for a bit longer.”

 

 

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1509 – Find the Puppy

Here in New Hampshire, the days are getting warmer and the snow is starting to melt, but there’s still a morning chill until the sun comes out.

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Find the puppy.

 

 

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1508 – Charlie – our family chicken

 

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I have been sitting on this one for many months. It happened during our Border-to-border walk this summer and I knew I had to put it on the backburner until we finished, otherwise I would lose it.

Some chickens mean more than others.

And then it was too painful to retrieve it so I just let it sit and sit unattended.  But it’s time to confront this head on.

My beautiful, beautiful Black Copper Maran, Charlie died. She had been ill for a while. Something was affecting her nervous system and she had difficulty walking. She’d list to one side, fall down, and then we’d have to pick her up and set her on her feet again. One day she’d be okay, the next day she’d have her “drunk dance” back.

As she continued with her declining health, we tried a few things. I gave her physical therapy (a towel sling while she worked her legs.) We made sure that she always had food and water nearby so that she wouldn’t have to go far. I picked her up at the end of the day to place her in the safety of the coop each night.

One night, when I was away on a walk, she finally laid down and died. Continue reading

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Lesson 1507 – Attacking what needs to be done

 

It’s been a while since I’ve put a post up here. It’s not because I don’t think about this blog everyday (I do) it’s just that things seem to be a little overwhelming right now.

But if having 6 kids has taught me anything it’s that when things seem to happen too quickly the best way to slog through them is to simply make a list and attack what needs to be done, one item at a time.

So in that vein, here’s some news:

 

Spring Border-to-border New Hampshire walk –

Griffin (my son and border-to-border NH walking buddy) has agreed to join me in a walk *across* New Hampshire sometime this spring. I have another son who, if he is around also wants to join us.

According to Google, the trip is about 108 miles (we are starting at the New Hampshire/Vermont border and ending up on the coast in Portsmouth (where we will celebrate with Lobster rolls.) We are allocating 9 days to do it – we had learned from our walk last summer that walking on roads can be tough on our feet and bodies. We are planning on no more than 12 miles a day.

You can be sure I’ll come home with more lessons learned while we walk.

 

Spain

At the end of March, I will be going to with a friend to Spain for 8 days. She and I don’t have many plans other than to explore, eat good food, and drink some world-class wine. We’ll also be taking a side trip to France. I’ll be taking lots of photos and look forward to sharing that adventure with all of you.

 

Cancer update

I *still* have not had my skin cancer addressed (not really my fault – docs keep taking vacations and appointments keep getting moved.) I did finally get to see a plastic surgeon and it looks like the surgery is going to be a bit more extensive than I had thought. (I thought it was simply an office procedure where I drive myself in, have it done, thanked him very much, and then drove back home.) Nope. It looks like this one is a bit aggressive. The doc talked about cheek and forehead flaps  while I stuck my fingers in my ears and said “na-na-na-na-na” (if you want nightmares go ahead and google what those are.)

If I can’t have the surgery in the next few days, it will have to wait until I get back from Spain in April. I’m thinking of ordering this wig to wear until I heal.

Plant-based diet

All this talk of skin-flaps has gotten my attention. I’ve written (many times) about how diet is so important when you have a chronic disease (Lyme in my case and now cancer.) I write about it, I understand the principals, and yet I’m the first to reach for a mug of beer, some ribs, or bread dunked in olive oil.

Not anymore. You want to be motivated to make a change, have a doc tell you that he may have to slice your forehead into ribbons.

So it’s plant-based for me (although when in Spain, while I plan to be as much plant-based as possible, I do intend to partake of the local food and drink.)

Last night I prepared two meals, eggplant parmigiana with salad and corn muffins for the family and soup, flat bread with hummus, avocados and tomatoes, along with a salad for me. My kids showed a lot of interest in what I was eating – they wanted to taste the soup, wanted to know where I purchased it (Whole Foods, Engine-2 Moroccan Stew)  and wanted to know if I was full at the end of the meal (I was.)

Pro tip to parents – they still watch what you do even when they get older.

 

Chicken workshop

For New Hampshire Locals – I will be at the Lebanon Tractor Supply on March 25th from 11 – 3  with a table ready to answer any and all chicken related questions (and if I don’t know the answers, I know friends who would know.)

Stop by if you can to say “hi.”

 

Current book I’m reading

I’m reading the Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb – a novel based on historical fact. I grew up in Fairfield Connecticut and often visited the Barnum museum in Bridgeport, so I already knew a fair amount about General and Mrs. Tom Thumb, but this book is absolutely fascinating. How Lavinia went from (literally) the farm to the big stage is a journey of courage, insistence, and a great deal of side-who marketing.

Once you start, I’m not sure you’ll be able to put it down.

 

 

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1506 – That’s a lot of snow

I don’t particularly watch the weather, but when my phone started buzzing last night with cancellation notifications and when I started getting phone calls from various schools, I took notice.

We are getting walloped with snow. Initial forecasts called for up to 18 inches and we just might get there before the end of the day.

This is about 1.5 hours after it started snowing.

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And this is about 2 hours later.

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1505 – 10K steps at the outlets

 

When you live in New Hampshire, you accept there is snow during the winter. For those of us who can’t maneuver as well in the snow and ice, it can present a bit of problem when it comes to walking. Roads are narrower due to snow build-up and even sidewalks are  icy. There are many days  it’s just not worth trying to get in a walk.

But one good thing is that our town hosts an outlet shopping center. It’s a loop of stores where the walkway is always plowed and salted. They even have music constantly playing so you don’t need to carry any ear buds.  Granted our outlet is at the top of a hill so it can be chilly, but if you plan for it (a hat and gloves is a must) then it’s not bad (at least not once you get going.)

Each loop is about 1.5K so 9 -10 laps around does a walk very nicely.

I have some walking friends who have met at the outlets to do a few loops and my daughter Emma and I have gone up a few times to get some steps in. Granted it’s no trek through the woods, but at least it gets us outside and walking. Here are some views from a recent 10K step walk at the outlets proving that there are interesting things everywhere, you just have to look.

An outdoor fireplace (that I have never seen lit)

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Walker friends. (I’m the light blue on the left.)

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Even rain will not hold me back as long as the ground is cleared to walk.

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This is about as close as I could get to any signs of Spring.  sigh.

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What would an outlet be without colorful strollers?

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This particular outlet needed to be carved (blasted) from the rock (Granite State, remember) check out that vein.

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If you’re lucky, you  might even come across some favorite childhood characters, like Lowly Worm here.

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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