Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy 1The first time I remember hearing about a colonoscopy was when Katie Couric’s husband died from colon cancer.  Katie was so passionate about getting everyone tested she, herself, televised a portion of her procedure (or something like that. That was several thousand lost brain cells ago).

When you’re young (or even young’ish) you think 50 is a lifetime away. The reality is it creeps up on you while you’re busy buying dental floss and flipping pancakes.  Before you know it, you’re buying Miralax and a beverage that you used to enjoy, but will now never be able to tolerate again.

Yes. Yes.  It is my turn for the preventive colonoscopy and I’d like to share with you some of my thoughts on the prep work.  First of all, you get the same set of instructions regardless if you are a 5’ 6” 138 pound female or a 6’ 6” 350 pound man. It doesn’t matter if you are Vegan, Vegetarian or a dyed-in-the-wool Carnivore; you get the same prep work instructions.

I decided to go rogue and buy coconut water instead of Gatorade. I, being a sometime sugar snob, didn’t want all the sugar that Gatorade contained contaminating my detoxing colon.  Needless to say, I never think like this when there’s expensive chocolate or a fabulous Cabernet within my grasp. Oh noooooo! Then I wholly justify it.

I did check with the GI nurse to ensure this substitution was ok. Oh, dear Lord, how I wish she would have said no. I have effectively killed my love for coconut water in one fell swoop. What the hell was I thinking?! And to make matters worse, I use coconut oil for almost everything and I almost puked when I slathered it on my hands last night. The smell! The memories! Gahhhhhhh!

So for you readers who like my writing a little uncensored, this blog is for you.  Here are a few things I’d like to pass along about colonoscopy prep.

When you know you can’t have something, like ohhhh food or water (you know, the essentials of life), you’ll crave it like CRAZY! It will consume your thoughts and you will become a food/water junky whore. Think I’m kidding?! I found myself smelling my husband and daughter’s breath after they returned home from eating out. I was like a determined dog sniffing out a drug. In fact, on the pretense of kissing my husband, I shoved my flared nostrils right to his mouth.  The black heart ate at Mexican Village!! (Whimper) That’s one of my favorite places.

And my daughter? I was all wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing with her. I purred, “Come and sit by me, honey. No, closer. CLOSERRRRRRRR. Ooohh yes, that’s it my darling” as my eagle-like eyes scanned her face for any bit of food.

However, just a few hours later, my tune changed. I was very THANKFUL I did not eat or drink anything as I was doubled over from gut-ripping shit cramps. Dude, I’ve birthed a kid and this does not compare. I was thinking to myself I must have somehow become a host for an alien who is all teeth and claws. This alien is in a bitch of a mood and wants to claw its way OUT of my intestines NOW!

And then this happened. I inevitably choose a bathroom, in a most DIRE moment, where my husband or daughter used all the toilet paper leaving me with nothing. Not even the cardboard roll. If that doesn’t make your eyes widen in fear, I don’t know what will. Of COURSE both of them were sleeping by this time so I was on my own.

Before I could fully address this issue, I was, once again, projectiley exploding more pee-pooh from a place that wasn’t really designed to do that.  When that passed I, slumped shouldered and possibly sweaty brow, thanked God for the reprieve knowing it would be short.

I will not describe what I had to do in order to get more toilet paper, but suffice it to say, it involved swear words.

While I was waiting for the next pee-pooh wave, I tried to pacify myself by thinking, “I’m so glad I’m a vegetarian. Those carnivores must have it MUCH tougher.” This became my mantra and I clung to it.  I found myself breaking into a snarling smile just hoping someone had it worse than me. I delighted in this thought.

Then, somehow, as the alien was becoming quieter and I could go for more than 2 minutes without using the toidy, I came to understand that having something enter an “exit only” hole no longer seemed traumatic.  In fact, it felt like a walk in the park compared to the prep work.  I found internal peace at that moment.

This is where my story must end as I am almost ready to make the trip to the hospital. I am looking forward to the blissful unknown that comes with anesthesia and a return to normal bodily functions.

Red Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa, Barley and Spinach

Here’s one of my newest favorite vegetarian recipes.  This dish has 19 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber. Best of all there is minimal prep work. This recipe is  EASY, quick to prepare and it’s really tasty.

Red Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa, Barley and Spinach; a Vegetarian Recipe

Adapted from: Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook – 15th edition

1 - 14 oz can of vegetable broth
1/4 c quick-cooking barley
1/4 c uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/2 c chopped yellow onion
2 T coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 14.5 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes
5 oz frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
2 c Monterey Jack cheese or Jack blend
4 large red sweet peppers

1. Preheat oven to 400. In a medium saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Add barley and quinoa. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cook, covered, about 12 to 15 minutes or until tender. Drain, reserving cooking liquid; set aside.

2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook and stir for about 7 minutes.  Add in 1/4 teaspoon of salt and black pepper, undrained tomatoes and spinach.  Mix well. Stir in quinoa mixture and 1/2 to 3/4 cup of cheese. Remove from heat.

3. Cut washed peppers in half, lengthwise. Remove and discard seeds and membranes. Sprinkle insides lightly with salt. Fill pepper halves with quinoa mixture. Place peppers, filled sides up on a greased 9×13 baking dish. Pour reserved cooking liquid into the greased dish around the peppers.

4. Bake, covered for 35 minutes. Uncover and top with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered for approximately 10 more minutes.


Vegetarian Roll Ups

Trinity found this recipe on some website (he has since forgotten the name). We have adapted, of course.  The only thing labor intensive is draining the chopped veggies but be sure to do this as the mixture gets watery/runny if you don’t.

For those of you who have a food processor, life is but a dream. For those of you who don’t? Get one. Even a ‘baby’ one like we have is better than chopping all the ingredients.

Vegetarian Roll Ups

  • 2 – 8oz pkgs of cream cheese
  • 1 pkt of Ranch salad and seasoning mix
  • 1 large can of black olives – chopped and drained
  • 1 red pepper – chopped and drained
  • 1 green pepper – chopped and drained
  • 6 green onions/scallions with some of the green tops
  • 1 cucumber – peeled (if non-organic), seeded, chopped and drained
  • Tortillas of your choice (burrito or soft taco size)
  • Organic kale

Here’s some additional veggies ideas, if you really want to get jiggy with it:

  • carrots
  • celery
  • chestnuts
  • etc.

Place all of the required chopped, drained ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add cream cheese and ranch packet.  Blend with mixer.

If you’re like me, you’ll have to put the mixture into a clean bowl or you won’t sleep that night.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  When you’re ready, put some of the mixture on a tortilla (size of your choice) with a spatula. Add some kale and roll it up.

Makes a great appetizer (omit kale) or picnic/camping lunch. YUMMY!!!

 

 

Vegetarian Broccoli Cheese Soup

I have a teensy tiny confession to make. I, um, miscalculated the amount of cheese needed for this recipe and ended up doubling what the recipe calls for. It was really oooey-gooey cheesy good though. Maybe I should ‘miscalculate’ more often. 😉

I’ve adapted this recipe to substitute a modicum of coconut oil for the 1/2 cup of butter the original recipe calls for.  I ONLY use organic milk for reasons I think are best to skip while I’m writing a recipe that is suppose to be appetizing and delish.

Vegetarian Broccoli Cheese Soup

  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1/3 c chopped celery
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 c flour (I use whole wheat)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper – to taste
  • 6 c organic milk
  • 2 1/2 c (organic) veggie stock
  • 1 lb (organic) chopped broccoli
  • 8 oz (1/2 pound) of diced American cheese (If you’re like me, you can put in 16 oz and act like it was suppose to be that way.)

Saute celery and onion in coconut oil; add salt/pepper.  Whisk flour into stock and whisk into sauteed ingredients.  Add broccoli and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and add milk stirring constantly until creamy and broccoli is desired tenderness. Add cheese. Cook/stir until cheese melts. Serve.

3’s Meat(less) Balls – A Vegetarian Recipe

As promised in my ‘Vegetarian’ blog, here’s one of our FAVORITE vegetarian recipes. You’d be hard pressed to tell there isn’t meat in these filling little beauties. Not even kidding. 

These cooked balls freeze well and make a quick, easy meal. So go ahead and make a double batch while you’re at it.  There may not be many leftovers, but if there is, try a meat(less) ball sandwich on a sour dough hoagie. YUM!!

If you’d like to try some protein rich pasta, we like Ronzoni – Garden Delight or Barilla Plus. Each has about 7 to 10 grams of protein, per serving.   

3's Meat(less) Balls

Adapted from: www.ohsheglows.com

400 degree oven // 20 minutes total – Approximately 16 balls 

MEAT(LESS) BALLS:

  • 4 eggs; slightly beaten
  • 1 c mozzarella shredded cheese
  • 1 c sharp cheddar shredded cheese
  • ¾ c walnuts; ground to a fine texture
  • 1 c rolled oats (Quaker Oatmeal) – do NOT use the ‘quick’ oats
  • 2 cloves garlic; minced
  • Approx 2 T TOTAL of Thyme, Oregano, Basil, Marjoram Leaves (or Italian Seasoning)  (to taste)
  • Approx 1 T of Garlic Powder (to taste)
  • Black Pepper (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste) 

Mix all of the above ingredients together using a power mixer. Mix well.  Place in fridge for a MINIMUM of 30 minutes. Do not refridgerate less than 30 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a 9 x 13 metal baking dish with cooking spray (Pam).  Remove the mixture from the fridge and roll into small balls (1 ¼ inch or so).   Place them in the sprayed baking dish and bake, uncovered, for approximately 10 to 12 minutes. 

Remove from oven, roll the balls over and bake for another 10 to 12 minutes. The meatless balls should brown nicely. NOTE: Flattening of the meatless balls is normal. 

SAUCE: 

  • 1 jar of Classico Marinara sauce (or your preference)
  • 1 small can of petite Italian diced tomatoes

Mix together in a saucepan; warm through.  You can either place the cooked meatless balls in the sauce and simmer until ready to eat (this helps keep them moist) OR serve them on top of spaghetti/spaghetti sauce.

Uncooked meatless balls

 

 

Vegetarian

**WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT!!**

People are usually curious as to why I decided to become a Vegetarian.  It wasn’t one thing; it was a lot of things. Before you continue reading, you should know the ‘tone’ of this blog is different from my other writings. Continue at your own discretion.

Several years ago, I watched a DVD entitled, “Earthlings” that literally revolted and repulsed me. I saw things that changed my life. The movie had an astounding impact on me. **HERE COMES THE GRAPHIC MATERIAL!** I can still see the little lamb that was hanging upside down, blinking and baa’ing, but had all of his skin removed. And the little chicks who were tossed into a grinder ALIVE because they weren’t female. And the turkeys that had their beaks ripped off, RIPPED OFF so they couldn’t peck at the million other in-humanely confined turkeys.  I could go on and on, but for those of you still reading this, I think you get the point.

I was so disgusted by the mistreatment of these animals that I thought twice about eating meat after that. I thought even more about how we waste meat. I started to pay attention to the amount of meat that was left on people’s plates at restaurants. It occurred to me these animals were being killed, some very inhumanely, so that we can throw their meat in the garbage.  Hummm.

I was incredibly disturbed by the wastefulness of our society and the unbelievable, brutal way these animals were raised and slaughtered. These practices just didn’t fit with the person I was becoming.

Then, there is the whole adding hormones and antibiotics and other crap to their feed in order to fatten the cows up quicker or make the chicken’s breasts bigger.  Those hormones/antibiotics do NOT do our human body any good.  They cause early puberty in girls. They mimic estrogen dominance in women, which can literally make us infertile* and let’s not forget the direct correlation these hormones have on cancer.

I was still eating meat when I ate some bad eggs and got e-coli poisoning. By the time those eggs were finished with me, I was finished with meat. I figured if I had purged my body from all meat sources, I wasn’t going to start putting hormone-filled, unethically raised/killed, and early puberty inducing meat back into it.   Let’s face it…the meat we buy today is just not the meat I was raised on.

It was a completely personal decision and one that fits my lifestyle. I wasn’t much of a meat eater anyway so it wasn’t that big of a leap for me. If I could have found organic or ethically treated/killed meat, I would have gone that route.  But I didn’t, so as they say, the rest is history.

Now, don’t think making the switch was easy. Nooooo, sireee Bob! I mean, all my life I had eaten and cooked meat.  Now what do I do? I was lucky enough to have a bestie who was willing to tutor me in the ways of all things Vegetarian. She was getting her Masters in Nutrition and, as usual, had been a huge source of help.  She showed me that being Vegetarian was so much more than eating tofu (which I LOVE, by the way! Yum YUM!).

As the months rolled on, I was excited to have the medical community tell me my cholesterol was dropping. It never was medically high, but it was high according to my bestie.  And drop it did.  In six months, I had lowered my cholesterol by 50 points. Yeah! 50 points!  I didn’t change anything about the way I was eating EXCEPT eliminating meat.

A year later I noticed I could eat more food (read: processed sugar) and not gain weight. No longer did I need to exercise more often or at a higher rate of intensity in order to compensate for those empty calories.  I was easily losing weight. Cha CHING!!!

As a side note, let me tell you about my husband. He was a total carnivore. He’d eat red meat 4 or 5 times a week and sometimes twice a day.  His cholesterol was through the roof at 450+. He used to say, “Nothing I can do about it, it’s genetic.” Now he’s changed his tune on that whole song and dance.  He decided to become Vegetarian about a year after I did. Guess what? His cholesterol – without any cholesterol lowering medicine – is now 147.

There are so many excellent meat replacement items out there ranging from ‘meat impersonators’ to beans, eggs, legumes and soy products. In the coming weeks, I plan on posting recipes or alternative meat ideas for you to try.   Again, becoming a Vegetarian was a personal decision and one that I do NOT and will NOT push on anyone.  If meat still resonates with you, then eat it. You won’t get any judgments or dirty looks from me.  For me, eating Vegetarian is treating me healthy.

*For more information on Estrogen Dominance: http://www.drnorthrup.com/womenshealth/healthcenter/topic_details.php?topic_id=118