Saturday, February 9, 2013

Adventures In Tofu


I am so very proud of myself.  I ate tofu yesterday.  OK, that's really not something spectacular of which to be proud.  What makes me proud is that I cooked it.  It was not just the tofu in my hot and sour soup from the Chinese place across the street.

I like to cook, so tofu shouldn't be such an accomplishment for me.  But 90% of my cooking falls under traditional American-style meat-eater.  And my vegetarian cooking, aside from salads and pasta dishes, was all Indian.  Since the doc put the kibosh on the spices, I had to venture outside my comfort zone.

I made a delicious vegan soup yesterday using tofu and vegetable broth.  I'm going to have to look up how to make the broth - this was my first time EVER using packaged broth, and it made me feel more than slightly inadequate.  I pan fried the tofu with some Tastefully Simple Rustic Herb seasoning and a smidgen of the Italian Garlic Bread seasoning.  I added this to the broth with some barley and "California Medley" (cauliflower, broccoli, and carrot) veggies.  It needed salt and pepper, but it was so yummy and very filling.

The butternut squash I made for the side was not so yummy, but that was my fault.  I burned it, and then ate it anyhow.  I never made squash before.  So now I know....it needs more water if I am going to cook it on the stove.

Today I did have meat.  Some turkey meatballs.  I'm not going to just throw out the meat I have.  But I am not buying anymore.  The spaghetti and meatballs was the perfect meal for tonight.  It's been cold in the North East USA.  Between the soup last night and the spaghetti tonight, I'm nice and warm.

Someone told me that this switch to semi-veganism would make me lose a ton of weight.  I said "not likely".  I know (via the interwebs) plenty of fat vegans.  I don't care about getting skinny, but I do care about staying healthy.  I think adding so much more fresh food to my diet will help a lot in that regard.

What is your go-to food when it's cold out?  If you were to give up a certain aspect of your diet (meat, sugar, dairy, whatever), what would you miss the most about that aspect?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Reluctant Vegetarian

[TMI Warning]
For the last year or so, I have been having problems with my stomach.  I have problems with reflux and gastritis.  I've also had more than my share of nausea and vomiting.  I've always been the girl who would rather sit there and feel horrible than throw up and feel relief, so the fact that I have barfed more times in the last 12 months than the last 12 years is more than somewhat alarming.

[end TMI]

After the last endoscopy, the GI doc gave me a list of foods I shouldn't eat if I want my digestive tract to calm down.  There were not many foods on the "safe" list.  No: coffee (regular or decaf), caffeinated tea, mint tea, mint, dairy, fat, oil, gravy, tomato products, coconut, pineapple, citrus fruit or juice, onion, garlic, fatty meats, chocolate, or spices.  Did I mention no chocolate?  

I can have all the plain rice or pasta I want.  But really, who wants pasta without sauce of some kind?  No cream sauce, no marinara, not even olive oil and garlic.  The doc did finally relent on the olive oil, but in minimal amounts.   No cheese, no ice cream.....

However, I want to get better.  So I started making changes to my diet.  As it turns out, vegetarian with a strong vegan bent seems to be what makes my stomach the happiest.  Dumping milk was easy, after the first sip of soy milk.  I was surprised at how much better it tastes.  And by how much less flatulent I am.  (sorry, more TMI)  Almond milk is equally yummy.  The vanilla varieties are a little sweet, but have their places.

Then I tried the Boca burgers....and was surprised again!  They are yummy.  I just got the plain ones, but it was good.  

This week I am trying more veggie based foods.  I'm not sure about giving up eggs and yogurt though.  I like baked goods way too much, and yogurt helps my belly in ways that other dairy products do not.  We'll see how it goes.

Anyone out there have recipes for things they like?  The only caveat is that I don't like mushrooms; the texture grosses me out.

Monday, January 14, 2013

It's Time to Bust Out the Thesaurus, or: New Year's Resolutions


I owe you all an apology.  I do, after all, possess a degree in English, albeit literature and not writing.  I have been reading my old entries, and have discovered that I use the word "exhausted" far too frequently.  I am exhausted.  This, that, or the other is exhausting.  I get tired just reading the blog.  For this, I sincerely apologize.  The only thing that should have exhaust is my car.

On the plus side, I think I have gotten to the bottom of my tiredness.  Aside from how taxing it is to try to blend in, I am probably a little anemic.  I will be talking to my doctor at the end of the month about it.  I have been on acid blockers for the past year and a half in an effort to stop wanting to vomit all the time.  (tiredness and nausea: not always caused by pregnancy.  Who knew?)  My last scope indicated more inflammation rather than less, so we're changing what I can eat in a drastic way.  This makes my diet pretty boring, even for an Aspie.  To shorten the story up a little, what it comes down to is that long term use of acid blockers can cause malabsorption of vitamin B-12, which can lead to anemia, which causes tiredness.

I'm combating that with supplemental B-12 and iron.  To deal with trying to blend in wearing me out, I've ceased trying to blend in.  Like me or lump me, I'm me.  Mostly people let me be now, so it is working out so far.

The other egregious error I noticed in my reading is that one day I posted that things are getting better all the time.  This was mostly a play on the Beatles song, but also a reflection that things were getting better at that time.  However, the very next post was about how things don't ever get better if you have Asperger's.  Class, can we say contradiction?

I also didn't mean for it to be so very negative sounding.  I just meant that currently society isn't at a place where it is ready to accept spectrumites as they are, although we are rather vocal online about it.  I wouldn't change my diagnosis for anything.   While there are certainly difficulties, I think being an Aspie gives me a unique perspective on the world that neuro-typicals do not have.  I would just like to see us get to the place where what the wider world knows about autism and Asperger's is more than feeling we are something that needs to be cured.

I didn't really make any New Year's resolutions.  I think they are dumb.  However, I am going to work on the quality of my writing.  I hope you'll stick with me as I try to grow.  Thanks for hanging with me this far!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Exhausted

Pretending to be normal is exhausting.  This week has been a pretty bad one for that.  Sleep deprivation just adds to the problem.  I know that I should be grateful, my stress is NOTHING compared to what some people are dealing with right now  - I am not mourning a very fresh loss of a spouse or child.  I am not engaged in battle on a foreign shore.  I am not waiting for that dreadful phone call/visit from the military telling me my spouse didn't survive the battle.  I am not struggling to have enough to eat, or a roof over my head, or a job.  I am incredibly, incredibly, blessed.  Knowing this just adds some guilt to the mix, though.

Does that ever happen with you?  You're feeling down, and you're not entirely sure why, but then you feel even worse because you feel guilty for feeling down in the first place because you know that you really don't have anything about which to feel down....it's a vicious cycle.  It's also exhausting.

As I get ready to go to bed tonight, here are my thoughts and wishes for you:  may this holiday season not wear you out.  May your loved ones arrive at their destinations safely with no hassles.  May your health improve.  May you have a day to just be you.

Thank you for reading....

Monday, December 17, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Grieving Again


This past couple weeks has been pretty hard.  Truth be told, the whole year has been hard, but the last couple weeks have just made it worse.  As many people much more eloquent than I have written, there was a shooting yesterday at a school in Connecticut.  I will not be writing about that here, as I don't feel that I have anything to add to the conversation, other than that all the families affected are in my prayers.  Two weeks ago, one of my classmates lost her husband prematurely.  (and while yes, even at 90 it feels premature to the remaining spouse, just like in the loss of my dear sweet friend in February, my classmate had only 11 years with her husband.  At our ages, they should have had 60 more.)  All this death reminds me that our lives here on earth are not guaranteed, and are very precious indeed.

The loss of my classmate's husband made me feel the loss of O.C. even more.  It was a reminder that she was gone.  I don't remember if O.C. and J.L. were at school at the same time - but I hope that they have met up in heaven and sent some love down to their spouses who miss them so very very much.  That may not be a Biblical picture of heaven, but I find it comforting to think that when you get there, you see some people you know, and don't get lonely at all.

Of course, then I remember that we are going to be so very overcome with the joy and grandeur of seeing Jesus face to face that the things that worried us here will be forgotten.  Heaven won't be a scary place; it won't matter that we go there alone, because we won't be alone when we arrive.  We will truly know peace, and feel pure love, without the distortions of the world interfering.

Knowing this doesn't lessen my selfish tears, though.  I didn't know my classmate or her husband very well, but I knew them well enough to know that they are the kind of people about which you say "Why them?".  And with O.C., well, I did know her well enough to ask God why there couldn't be another way.  Part of me is jealous that she has all the answers before me (which is kind of how it was in life too - she was a very smart woman!), and the other part is mad that God took her away.  I want my friend back.

Then I feel guilty, because although she was very very loved, life was painful for her.  I shouldn't want my friend back, because that would mean a return from Heaven's bliss to the horrible, horrible pain of the things she's endured.  I should be happy that God has rescued her from this body of death and that she will never again know pain, or fear, or abandonment.

It makes me feel like a bad friend.  If I truly loved her, I would be happy for her.  But I can't help but be sad for her husband, her daughter, her friends, her parents, and me.

That sadness extends now to my classmate. I don't know their situation.  Maybe life was wonderful, and this was as sudden from the inside as it appears from the outside.  Maybe there were struggles there that outsiders couldn't see, didn't know about.  That is not for me/us to know.

I do know this: God works in every situation, perhaps more in the tragedies.  I cherish my living friends all the more now because I lost O.C.  I have seen a whole community rally around J.L.'s wife both prayerfully and financially.  (you can help too, by going to Everyday Kings and allowing the page to load - the author is donating her revenue to my classmate for the month of December).

I don't pretend to have any answers.  And really, this isn't about me, not in the end.  But here's to hoping  knowing the coming year has to be better than the last.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Been a while....

It's been a while since I felt inspired to write anything.  I wish I could say it's because my life is going so swimmingly well, but it feels like it's not.  That's the crappy thing about depression.  Superficially speaking, my life is going VERY well.  It's just that my eyes are looking at the world with feces colored lenses.

I haven't been able to afford one of my meds, and I haven't taken it in about a month.  This medication really helped control some of the annoying parts of being an Aspie.  The last few weeks have been a nightmare - every sound and smell at work has been driving me nuts.  The fluorescent lights and their incessant humming, the glare of the computer screen, the flashing light when my phone rings, the sound of someone laughing (and why do I always feel they are laughing at/about me?) and all the chatter in the background - these things eat away at my ability to stay calm and focused and get my work done.

There have also been a few events that would be sad or depressing for anyone.  It has been six months since my friend died.  I miss her every day, in a way that I never missed her when she was alive, even though she lived halfway across the country and we rarely got to speak.  Just knowing she was there if I needed to speak with her, or she with me, was enough to not feel the distance.  It gets more and more real that she is gone, and I miss her so.  I also lost my dog a little over a month ago.  Even though her "dad" had custody of her, she was still a great comfort to me when I was sad.  Nothing can cheer you up like a dog licking your tears as they fall.

We increased my other med, and I got a refill on the one I can't afford.  I'm going to try taking that one on an as-needed basis, since it's not like an anti-depressant, where you need to keep it in your system at a steady level.  That should help it last longer.  Then I can get to work on cleaning my lenses.