Tuesday, October 6, 2015

My Dog and My Dental Saga

Wow! It has been awhile since I last posted - my how time flies!  Well, to keep you in the loop, since I'm sure you were on the edge of your seat, anxiously awaiting this post, I am still in the game!  Still in it to win it and all that.  I just have had some other priorities that have taken precedence over the blog. 

For example, one of my dogs (Coal - the black one) is having some health issues of late that have taken a bit of time and money and still haven't been resolved.  Nothing too serious we hope, but after over a year of chronic ear infections (which he eventually got over with the right meds), and a torn nail, he now has this problem with his eyes and if left alone, turn into these huge spiky balls growing next to his eyes.  The current solution is daily warm compresses to soften and remove anything before it can harden.  There are also some skin and nail issues we're dealing with and will probably end up going to a doggie dermatologist to figure it out.  Not an expense I am looking forward to nor one for which I had planned.  But he's my pal, so I'll do whatever I can for the little bubba-face...

This is Coal and Gabbie at the vet. 
He looks as scared of the vet as I am of the dentist!
I'm on the mend myself after having a dental procedure done about 3 months ago.  I don't know if you've read my post about my last dental visit (two years ago), but I decided I really wanted to be all-around healthy.  I don't just want to lose weight you see?  I also want good health in general.  I planned to get my teeth cleaned and then after that, go get a medical checkup.  Since it had been longer (by years) since I went to a dentist, I decided to do that first.  Now, keep in mind, I had ZERO dental problems (that I knew of) going in - all I wanted was a healthy mouth.  Well, I guess that was mistake number one.  I should've left well enough alone.  Don't fix it if it ain't broken and all that. 

I had my roots scaled and planed.  Now, maybe just maybe, if I had been a good dental patient and had regular checkups and cleanings, this wouldn't have been such a big deal.  You could definitely say that I brought this on myself and you wouldn't be wrong.  So, that said, if it has been a long while since your last cleaning, do that first and then keep up with your dental care by brushing and flossing daily for a good 6 months before having this procedure done. 

First off, I am a total freak about mouth pain.  I can't stand it!  I can take a lot of pain elsewhere, but not my mouth or head.  Besides the fact that I'm allowing this torture to occur while I sit there voluntarily, the poking and prodding of gums and tooth nerves freaking HURTS!  Anyway...

Since I don't tolerate this pain well, and since I will never go back if it hurts, I turned to sedation dentistry.  Good idea right?  Just get knocked out and all will be wonderful right?  Well, no.  No it won't be.  Not really.  Not right away.  If ever.

Not only did I need a deep cleaning, I needed several fillings.  I thought, why pay for sedation more than I need to?  It's mostly coming out of pocket anyway as insurance only pays for so much.  Let's do this all at once!  Is that possible?  Sure is.  So, I went in on a Monday morning at 9am and came out at 3. 

I have no memory of pain that day whatsoever.  Actually, I really don't have much of a memory of that day at all.  But for every day after that, I have been in pain.  It's not always been excruciating pain, though that happened often enough.  It's more of this deep ache in all my molars.  I also became extremely super sensitive to hot and cold, which really sucks as a coffee drinker and one who loves ice.  Chewing things like peanuts, crunchy fruit, salads, or any crunchy vegetable, steak, yogurt, or anything remotely cold, sweet or requiring extensive chewing is painful.  It feels like I'm chewing using a loose tooth.  Remember how that felt when you were about to lose a tooth as a kid and you bit down on something?  That's how all my molars feel right now.  And I am limited to room temperature or slightly warmer beverages only.  This procedure has blown my way of eating out of the water.  Fruit and veggies were a major part of my nutrition plan and to have them taken away was a huge blow.  Needless to say, I gained some weight in subbing all that healthy, crunchy stuff with easily chewable carbs.  Ramen and mac & cheese became my new friends. 

After a couple weeks, I talked myself into going back to the dentist because of the pain.  I was prescribed some pain meds (hydrocodone) and antibiotics.  He also "adjusted my bite" while I was there.  That was like THE WORST!  I know it shouldn't have hurt, but it did!  That stupid, loud, whirring, buzzing tool that,once it touches my tooth, sends awful, painful vibrations straight to the nerve and, oh my word, why I don't just get up and walk out right then is beyond me!  My teeth are so sensitive that the air from the tool hurts my teeth!  Why did I go back?  I still have problems remembering.  Oh yeah, I was in pain. 

Well, the drugs helped a bunch, but they ran out after only a few days.  Since then, I've just been dealing with it.  The dentist told me that sometimes it takes a while for the teeth to calm down after as much work as I had done.  Also, when under sedation, the bite doesn't always line up just right because, well, you're under sedation and you just aren't paying much attention or even caring that much.  After almost 3 months of an achy mouth, I did something that, in hindsight, may have ended up being a blessing...  I chewed gum.

Only 10 weeks after my procedure, I chewed a piece of Big Red chewing gum for like 5 hours.  I was hauling some stuff to a storage unit and chewing gum just seems to get me into a rhythm.  I hadn't done it since the procedure though.  There was no unusual pain, just the normal ache in my molars, so I didn't think anything of it.  The next day, everything I put in my mouth caused unbearable pain.  Luke warm coffee and food was all I could handle and even that hurt like crazy.  Even room temperature water hurt!  I couldn't imagine what I'd done.  I was in tears all night, the pain was so bad.  I took some naproxen (which usually helped) and that barely even touched it.  I started alternating acetaminophen with ibuprofen every two hours.  Again, almost no relief and I still couldn't eat.

Since a starvation diet is in no one's best interest, the next day (Wednesday), I called the dental office.  As much of a scaredy cat I am about the dentist, this was so much pain that I didn't care what they did if they could make it stop. They got me in that afternoon.  I got the "bite adjustment" again along with some pain meds - hydrocodone again - and was told to come back on Monday.  However, if the pain didn't go away, I'd probably need a root canal, so they had me call back on Thursday to see where I was with the pain.  The drugs helped SO much!  I was so happy to not be in pain that I could easily see how people get addicted to pain meds.  No pain is so sweet.

I hit sort of a snag on Thursday morning.  On my way to work (I was running late because of the meds helping me sleep), I grabbed a protein bar for a quick breakfast.  As I was driving, I took a bite of the bar and as I was chewing, switched sides of my mouth to the more sensitive side to see how things were going.  Suddenly I bit down on a chocolate chip and the pain the shot through the top back teeth almost made me wreck my car!  I immediately cried out and moved everything back to the left side and kept chewing.  There was nothing there!  I mean yes, there was a tiny piece of chocolate, but nothing to cause THAT kind of pain.  What the what?!?  It felt like those two back teeth were loose too!  Ughhhhh!  What next?

Fortunately, I still had pain meds and those helped everything immensely.  The regular pain that I was in before (how odd to call it that - "regular pain") had now subsided, but I didn't know if it was because the new pain was more painful.  You know how if you stub your toe, it hurts, but if someone were to punch you in the face, your toe wouldn't hurt anymore?  Like that, only bottom vs top teeth.  Well, I decided that if a root canal was on the line, I'd better know for sure if the bottom tooth pain was gone.  I stopped the pain meds and waited.  Whew!  It didn't come back as bad.  No root canal, just another appointment on Monday.
Can you believe I actually went back?  Another adjustment and another appointment for next Monday.  The pain is much less now.  My bite seems to be more aligned, especially on the right side.  I'm thinking the left side will need adjusting next, but we'll see.  So, lots of people asked how could chewing gum cause that pain?  Well, if your bite isn't aligned just right, the teeth get irritated and with irritation comes swelling and when swelling occurs inside a tooth, it can affect the nerve.  Sense one or more of my fillings come really close to a nerve, the pain is way more likely to occur.  Chewing gum all those hours irritated the teeth and  caused more inflammation than usual.  The "usual" being my normal day-to-day chewing and thereby my day-to-day deep achy pain for the last several weeks.  Hopefully, with a few more adjustments, I can be completely pain free again.  I can only hope at this point.

Well, if you've gotten this far, thanks for reading my saga.  I hadn't planned on sharing, but it feels good to get this off my mind.  Anybody else ever had this kind of thing happen after dental work?  Super sensitivity to cold?  Pain after fillings due to a misaligned bite?  I'm just curious if I'm the only one...

Monday, August 10, 2015

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Recipe - Simple and Delicious

Almost everyone has tried Zucchini bread or Zucchini cake.  But it's never really been something I thought of making at home.  Until now!  I couldn't believe how easy this recipe was to make.  Just throw it all in the blender, pour it in a pan and bake!  Then when I tasted it, I was amazed.  It's so moist, it doesn't even need frosting.  Of course, I frosted it anyway!  Not only is this low carb with no sugar added, both my picky eater kids loved this cake too.  Score!!

And now, without further ado, here it is…

My first recipe video!!!  Yay!  I hope to post more in the future, so let me know what you think.

The recipe is listed in the comment section of the video, but I'll put it here as well:

Zucchini Cake
4 TBS melted butter
1/3 cup sweetener (I use Pyure Organic Stevia/Erythritol Blend - see link below)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
2 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup THM baking blend (check out Products at trimhealthymama.com)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 TBS Cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar free chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 375
Blend ingredients in blender until well mixed
Pour batter in 8x8 or 9x9 dish
Bake 30-35 minutes until middle is just set
Cool before frosting (frosting is optional because cake is awesome without it!)

Estimated nutrition of cake only: 
Recipe makes 9 servings with 81 calories/6g carbs /6g fat /3g protein /2g fiber /0 sugar

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting (adapted from recipe at chocolatecoveredkatie.com)
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup peanut butter (no sugar added)
2 TBS cocoa
5 tsp maple syrup
4 tsp Almond Milk

Estimated nutrition of cake with frosting: 
Recipe makes 9 servings with 140 calories/11g carbs /10g fat /5g protein /3g fiber /2g sugar

Here's a link to the sweetener I love to use.  This is an affiliate link, but I have to say that I get it WAY cheaper at Walmart - usually $6.99/lb)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My Trim Healthy Menu for this week

Here I am trying to post regularly again, so I thought I'd start with this week's menu.  Breakfast and lunch are always up in the air for me no matter how much I try to plan.  So instead of assigning a day with a meal, I just give myself choices.  I also tend to eat the same meal for several days for breakfasts, so as long as I have my ingredients on hand, I'm good to go.  Dinner meals are a bit different due to the preparation involved, still I just list them as choices as opposed to assigning meals to days of the week.  

Breakfast Choices:
  • Sausage & Cheese on low carb wrap (you could add egg, but they don't like me!)
  • Oatmeal w/cinnamon and sweetener of choice (I also add some FF Cottage Cheese hi-speed blended with some frozen berries for additional protein)
  • Ezekiel toast with Laughing Cow Light and SF jam/jelly
  • FF Greek Yogurt with fruit (my favorite is to dip a sliced Fuji apple in Oikos Triple Zero Strawberry Greek Yogurt)

Lunch Choices:
  • Chicken & Black Bean Quesadilla w/ salsa
  • Pita Pizza (I use a Joseph's Pita and a spaghetti or pizza sauce w/less than 4g sugar and my fave toppings)
  • Deli Wrap (any lean deli meat plus lettuce, tomato, cucumber slices, w/mayo or Laughing Cow cheese wrapped in a low carb tortilla)
  • Tuna Salad on Ezekiel toast
  • Leftovers from dinner

  • Chicken* Rice & Broccoli
  • Taco "Rice" (Grd beef with taco seasoning over "Cauli-Rice" topped with shredded cheddar & sour cream, shredded lettuce and tomatoes)
  • Chicken* Burritos (use FF Refried Beans, LF Cheese, & salsa on Low carb tortilla)
  • Crabby Patties w/Broccoli
  • Spaghetti w/salad (uses Dreamfields pasta, grd turkey, sauce w/less than 4g sugar and LF salad dressing)
  • Pot Roast w/salad & "Mashed Cauli"
FF = Fat Free
SF = Sugar Free
LF = Low Fat

*Chicken is prepared in advance in Crock Pot - it's so tender, juicy and tastes GREAT!  I use the recipe in this video…

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Finally settled

Hello all!

Just wanted to give you a quick update… I've moved into my new (or uh, new-to-me) house and we are settling in nicely.  I am as determined as ever to reach my goals in both fitness and general health and well-being.  That said, I'll be back posting regularly in no time at all.  Can't wait to catch up with the blogosphere!!

'Til then, I'll leave you with this…

Just soaking up some much needed Vitamin D!!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Still winning the "Losing" Battle

Hi everyone!  I'm still here, just crazy busy.  I'm in the process of buying a house, so my focus is elsewhere these days.

BUT I'm dropping this post with fantastic news, I'm now down 30 pounds!  Woo-Hooooo!!

I'm still doing THM (Trim Healthy Mama for you newbs) and it is working great!!  I've added in some exercise and when I get more than a minute to post, I'll add it to my Workout tab.

Yesterday, I rode 9 miles on my bike.  It was lots of fun and I burned a bunch of calories.  It was around 10 mph average and total time was right at 50 minutes.

Well, that's it for now!  Sorry to post and run, but I just want to let everyone know I'm fine and outstandingly dandy =D

Friday, February 27, 2015

My New Love...

Fried zucchini.  Yes, I love zucchini.  I can not describe to you the awesomeness - you'll just have to take my word for it… Or try it yourself!  Wait, did you think I meant some other kind of "new love"?  Haha, I wish.  Still on hold in the prayer department for THAT sort of lovin'.  For now, I shall stick to food and it shall not stick to me - MU-WAH-Ha-ha-haaaa!

Anyway…  I saw a video with someone using a "spiralizer" and felt compelled to get one.  I know I can always use new methods to get veggies into my meals.  I bought mine HERE on Amazon (of course).  A few days later - had to go shopping first - I made my first bowl of Fried Zucchini noodles.  WOW!  All I did was sauté the "noodles" in a pan with some butter, salt and pepper.  They take a few minutes of stirring/flipping until they're done, but the results are soooo yummy.  Zucchini shrinks quite a bit when cooked, so I used 2 medium-sized zucchini to make a bowl full of noodles and fried it up one "spiralized" zucchini at a time for optimum cooking.

They may not look pretty, but they sure are tasty!
So far, zucchini is the only veggie I've tried "spiralizing" but I'm sure there'll be more!

Well, that's it for now,  just wanted to drop a quick post and say all is well.  I'm working diligently behind the scenes right now on new blog pages that will show my entire menu collection so far on my Trim Healthy Mama journey.  Can't wait to share it all!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Two Delicious & Healthy Drinks - THM Friendly

I cannot believe I waited this long to try the Shrinker.  It was one of the first videos that I'd seen from the Trim Healthy Mamas themselves - Serene Allison & Pearl Barrett.  I used to drink A LOT of iced chai latte from Starbucks - it was soooo good.  But it's got a whopping 42 grams of sugar!!  WHAT!?!?  Anyway, enter the Shrinker from the THM ladies… This drink has less than 20 calories and zero sugar added.  Oh my word it's me back in Chai land.  Ahhhhh =)

Initially, I shied away from trying this drink because of the key ingredient - Oolong Tea.  I'd never heard of it before and have yet to find it in a store.  I mean seriously - Oolong?  Even the name is funny lookin' right?  Well, a couple weeks ago, I saw a post about Prince of Peace Organic Oolong Tea being on sale at Puritans' Pride (and as of this post, it still is 2 boxes of 100 for $14.95).  Well, I took the plunge and ordered it.  I am so glad I did.

Today, I followed Serene & Pearl's video (and ignored the parts where they talk over each other) but ultimately, I had the most amazing "healthy" drink EVER!! It tastes so much like an iced chai latte, ohhhh so good.

The purpose of the Shrinker is well… to "shrink" you.  It's used between meals to keep blood sugar levels balanced and helps us stay full on liquids instead of getting all "snacky."  The health benefits are immense as well - some supported, some not, but if you're curious - do a quick search and check it out.  Well, enough of my rambling about that…

Later in the day, for my afternoon snack, I tried another beverage recipe:

The Snickers Smoothie.  Yes, it was a Snickers-like "milk shake" really.  Link to the recipe is HERE.

Here's what I used:

1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 scoop Vanilla Whey Protein (didn't have any plain)
3 TBS Peanut Flour
2 TBS Cocoa (unsweetened)
1/2 tsp Caramel Extract
1/4 tsp Gluccomannan (optional if you don't have any - it's a thickener and also helps you feel full)
Pinch Sea Salt
2 TBS Sweetener (I used a Stevia & Erythritol Blend - pretty much the same as Truvia)
1 cup Ice

Blend it all together using my Nutri-Ninja cup and it made just over two pints.

I thought, as I was putting this together, that it might be a bit too powdery.  Nope.  Everything blended up nicely and for the first time, I was very happy about using the Gluccomannan.  It thickened this smoothie to the point of a creamy milkshake.  Imagine a straw-worthy, slightly melted Wendy's Frosty with a peanut-y/caramel taste.  Are there there?  Yes.  You should make this.  Even if you don't have the Glucomannan or Peanut Flour - use a TBS of natural peanut butter instead.  Peanut butter would add some fat, but seriously - it'd be worth it.

And moving on to the meals for yesterday and today:

B:  Oatmeal w/cinnamon & sweetener topped w/blended cottage cheese & frozen blueberries
L:  Turkey Swiss wrap w/salad greens & Laughing Cow Garlic & Herb (used Joseph's Lavash)
S:  Handful peanuts
D: Salmon Patties (a.k.a. "Crabby Patties") w/steamed broccoli, butter and cheese
S:  PB Cup - just one as it was late and I just wanted something sweet

B:  Oatmeal w/cinnamon & sweetener topped w/blended cottage cheese & frozen blueberries
L:  Ham & Cheddar w/mustard & salad greens on Joseph's Lavash
S:  Snickers Smoothie
D: Beef Enchiladas w/salad
S:  PB Cup - just one again - almost out - need to make more!!

That's all for today folks!  Thanks for playing Movie quotes with me last week.  Here are the answers in case you were wondering…

Sunday Feb 8 "Must Love Dogs"
Friday Feb 5 "Frozen"
Wednesday Feb 4 "Terminator" to name only one
Tuesday Feb 3 - "Matrix"
Monday Feb 2 - "When Harry Met Sally"

Have a great week!

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