A Day in the Life: Caretaker/Patient & Husband/Wife

(To see the first post in this mini-series, check out When And How Dan Became My Caretaker)

Dan and I have been married for almost four years now, and together for almost eight and a half. (A sappy look at our relationship: My Personal Romantic Comedy.) When we first met, I had a few health issues, but I was relatively healthy (and quite active). Unfortunately, in the past five years, my health has started declining in leaps and bounds: it will be stable for a bit, then suddenly I’m blindsided by new symptoms and pain, then we’ll work hard to stabilize it and it will happen all over again. Through all of this, Dan has been my primary caregiver. Yes, it’s stressful, and it’s not always perfect, but it actually works relatively well for us.

dans graduation

Dan’s graduation, a month after getting engaged and only a few days before our 3rd dating anniversary!

Continue reading

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Sweet Potato Risotto – Recipe

Dan and I discovered this recipe years ago, and fell in love with it! I have heavily tweaked the recipe, especially now that I’m on such a strict diet, so I will post my version first and the original at the bottom of the post.

You can use either purple or orange sweet potatoes for this recipe. I actually prefer the purple sweet potatoes for this, as it makes it a more savory side dish. We usually serve this with chicken that we cook with cinnamon, oregano, and salt. The leftovers are hearty enough to eat for lunch without a side of protein if you want! Continue reading

When And How Dan Became My Caretaker

Someone on my Instagram recently said “I’d love to hear about you and Dan’s relationship with him as your caretaker” (see comment on this post), which made me realize that I really don’t talk about that much. I think it’s difficult for me to talk about, simply because it feels natural to me. However, I will try to explain things the best I can. Continue reading

LEAP Diet: Changes to Phase 1

When we first setup phases ½ and 1 of my LEAP diet (see this post), I was told to email Kara (dietitian) near the end of my ½ phase so she would know my progress. Unfortunately, with everything that has been going on with my health, the email was really long and not very happy. Because of everything going on, and my mental health struggles during this time, Kara decided that instead of doing the even stricter phase 1, we would liberalize my diet. Now, I can have all of my green foods and chemicals. I have to stick to tested ingredients only (with one exception), and I did go through the list and make sure I removed foods that were naturally high in the yellow and red chemicals.

The one exception to “tested ingredients only” is that Kara has allowed me to have Trader Joe’s Rice Milk. The ingredients list is exceptionally short and boring; it’s mostly just rice, salt, water, and some added vitamins. I already knew I loved their rice milk, and I was struggling without having a milk. (My homemade rice milk was disgusting.)

Some general rules for my “liberalized” diet:

  • I cannot have any frozen or dried fruits or vegetables. Really, I can’t have processed fruits or vegetables because they usually contain sodium metabisulfite, which is my only red chemical.
  • To avoid sulfites in general, I need to avoid: sulfur dioxide, potassium bisulfite and metabisulfite, sodium bisulfite and sulfite and metabisulfite.
  • To avoid polysorbate 80, I need to avoid: sorbitan monooleate, polysorbate 60, sorbitol, and sorbitan derivatives
  • FD&C Red #3 is another additive I need to avoid, and it also goes by the name erythrosine.
  • All of my dairy products have to be grass-fed. Cheddar cheese must be aged less than 6 months to avoid high tyramine.
  • If I decide to have oranges, they must be pulp free. That pretty much means I need 100% pulp free orange juice only, or I can use orange essential oil!
  • I will still be limiting soy products, as there is research that shows soy may not actually be good for you after all. (It can mess with hormones, and my hormones don’t need any more messing with!)
  • I should try to limit parsley and dill because parsley is high in nitrate and dill is “medium” in nitrate.
  • I can have sea salt, cane sugar, and baking soda.

What Can I Eat?

Proteins
  • Chicken
  • Codfish
  • Crab (not a big fan)
  • Pork (not a big fan)
  • Beef
  • Eggs
  • Pinto Beans
  • Sole (unsure if I’ve ever had it)
  • Catfish (unsure if I’ve ever had it)
  • Tilapia (unsure if I’ve ever had it)
  • Clam (only like in N.E. clam chowder)
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Turkey
  • Tuna
  • Scallop (never had)
  • Salmon
  • Lamb (yuck!)
Starches
  • Sweet Potato
  • Kamut (unsure if ever had)
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • White Potato
  • Amaranth (grain) (unsure if ever had)
  • Buckwheat
  • Oat
  • Tapioca
  • Spelt
Vegetables
  • Broccoli
  • String Beans (yuck!)
  • Cucumber
  • Peas (only eat in things, never alone)
  • Zucchini (not a huge fan but it’s in my chicken broth)
  • Onion
  • Yellow Squash (yuck)
  • Mushrooms
  • Green Pepper
  • Cauliflower
Fruits
  • Pineapple
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Watermelon
  • Peach
  • Plum
  • Cherry
  • Blueberry
  • Cranberry
  • Orange (no pulp)
  • Strawberries
  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Pear
  • Mango (no idea how to prepare)
  • Papaya (no idea how to prepare)
Dairy/Miscellaneous
  • Cocoa
  • Cheddar Cheese (aged less than 6 months)
  • Goat’s Milk (not a big fan)
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage Cheese (yuck! hate the texture)
  • American Cheese
  • Whey
Nuts/Seeds/Oils
  • Sesame
  • Olive
  • Sunflower Seed
  • Soybean
Flavor Enhancers
  • Vanilla
  • Cinnamon
  • Oregano
  • Lemon
  • Cane Sugar
  • Cayenne Pepper (don’t ever cook with this)
  • Carob
  • Basil
  • Honey (need to limit due to pollen issues)
  • Mustard Seed (not a huge fan)
  • Leek
  • Black Pepper
  • Cumin
  • Garlic
  • Mint
  • Maple
  • Coconut (need to not go too overboard because it’s very close to yellow)

Since my diet has been opened up a bit more, I won’t be doing the weekly roundups anymore. Instead, I’ll just post recipes (including those you have requested) that have worked out well for me. These won’t be on a regular schedule, because it depends on when things work out and when I can get pictures of them so I can write the posts.

Feel free to take a look back through my other LEAP diet posts and request any recipes you would like to see! I have a request for the tortillas (which I will probably get posted this week) and one for the sweet potato risotto (which will probably be posted sometime near the end of this week or early next week). Here are all my past LEAP diet posts:

If you have any good recipes using these things, please let me know below!

LEAP/MRT Diet Phase ½, Weeks 3-4

The reason I decided to combine weeks 3 and 4 is because I didn’t log much during week 4. I go a bit more into detail as to the reason why not in “The Case of the Missing Lizz;” but to summarize: I’ve started getting tension migraines. I had one tension migraine from the afternoon of Wednesday the 19th until I went to sleep Friday the 22nd. It was still hanging around in a milder form on Saturday. Since that first one, I have had one every single afternoon/evening until I go to sleep that night. It’s been pretty miserable and I’ve been forgetting to log because of that.

I still had the flu during week 3, so most of my log pages are full of medications. Luckily, I had mostly recovered before the week was out. Though, I did come down with oral thrush thanks to the strong antibiotics I was put on for my thumb infection. (More in Missing Lizz post.)



LEAP Diet Phase ½, Week 3: April 11 – 17

Tuesday, April 11
  • 11:30am: oatmeal with brown sugar
  • 2:15pm: rice cake with sunbutter (sunflower seed butter)
  • 6:30pm: chicken noodle soup; steamed broccoli
  • 9:30pm: edible cookie dough #2
  • Fluids: 122oz (3.61L)
chicken noodle soup signed

Chicken Noodle Soup

Wednesday, April 12
  • 11:30am: oatmeal with brown sugar
  • 2pm: rice cake with sunbutter
  • 6:30pm: taco bowls (homemade refried beans, brown rice, ground beef, mild cheddar)
  • 9pm: Siggi’s with blueberries (only a few bites thanks to being sick)
  • Fluids: 89oz (2.63L)
Thursday, April 13

I went to my PCP and got diagnosed with oral thrush

  • 12pm: blueberry muffins
  • 1:54pm: slice of cheddar cheese
  • 4pm: plain rice cake
  • 8pm: homemade tortilla chips; taco bowl
  • Fluids: 77oz (2.28L)
Friday, April 14
  • 11:45am: spoonful of sunbutter; some uncooked oats (2 handfuls)
  • 3:30pm: chicken noodle soup
  • 8pm: chicken with oregano, garlic, salt; steamed broccoli; sweet potato fries (fail)
  • 9pm: taco bowl
  • 10:45pm: edible cookie dough #2
  • Fluids: 89oz (2.63L)
Saturday, April 15
  • 11am: oatmeal with brown sugar
  • 2:30pm: chicken (canned chunk chicken, cumin, salt); pinto beans; cheddar cheese
  • 7pm: noodles (rice and quinoa noodles from Trader Joe’s); steamed broccoli; steamed sweet potato
  • Fluids: I completely lost track of my fluids by the end of the day
Sunday, April 16
  • 12pm: oatmeal with maple syrup and blueberries
  • 2:45pm: rice cake with sunbutter
  • 6pm: beef-n-noodles (Mom’s version of beef burgundy, very diff, but modified for my diet; served over the rice and quinoa noodles)
  • 8pm: cheese
  • 9:30pm: edible cookie dough #2
  • Fluids: 66oz (1.95L)
beef n noodles signed

Beef-N-Noodles

Monday, April 17
  • 9am: oatmeal with brown sugar
  • 12:30pm: beef-n-noodles
  • 6pm: plain rice cake
  • 7pm: chicken (garlic, oregano, salt); mashed cauliflower (coconut cream and oil, pepper, salt, garlic)
  • 8:40pm: cheddar cheese
  • Fluids: 76oz (2.25L) (I may not have recorded everything)

LEAP Diet Phase ½, Week 4: April 18 – 24

Tuesday, April 18
  • 9:45am: oatmeal with brown sugar
  • 12:30pm: rice cake with sunbutter
  • 4:30pm: homemade tortilla chips
  • 6:45pm: burritos (refried beans, ground beef, oat/rice tortillas, cheddar cheese)
  • 8:45pm: edible cookie dough #2
  • Fluids: 87.28oz (2.58L)
burritos soft tortillas signed

Burritos

Wednesday, April 19

I stopped logging my fluids, it was tedious. I figured that I have plenty of data to get an average, and as long as my body is hydrated then I’m doing alright.

  • 11:45am: oatmeal with brown sugar
  • 3:30pm: rice cake with sunbutter
  • 7:30pm: beef-n-noodles
Thursday, April 20
ER Night with emoticon

From my Instagram; In ER for tension migraine

I had a terrible tension migraine all day, so I only logged that I ate breakfast at 7:30am and it was oatmeal with brown sugar.

 

I ended up in the emergency room for the tension migraine at about 8:30pm, which is how I found out what was actually going on.

Friday, April 21

Still had a horrid tension migraine, and it was all I could do to keep myself alive (with food and medications and lying on the couch wanting to be able to temporarily remove my head).

Saturday, April 22

My headache was about 99% gone, but I didn’t want to be too stringent with things. I took today as a self-care day to make sure my headache wouldn’t come back!

Sunday, April 23
  • 10:30am: oatmeal with brown sugar
  • 1:10pm: slice of cheddar cheese
  • 3pm: plain rice cake
  • 4pm: sunbutter
  • 4:30pm: refried beans with cheddar cheese
  • 8pm: steak (onion, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, basil); mashed sweet potato (coconut cream, ghee); steamed broccoli
steak and sweet potatoes signed

Steak and Mashed Sweet Potato

Monday, April 24
  • 8:45am: slice of cheddar; small spoon of the edible cookie dough (I was running late for an appointment)
  • 11:30am: ¼ cup of dry oats; 2 slices of cheddar (I was in the car on the way home from said appointment)
  • 5pm: leftover mashed sweet potato
  • 7pm: chicken (basil, oregano, salt); lentil noodles (discovered I’m allergic to lentils, wonderful)
  • 9pm: edible cookie dough #3


Before the end of week four, I emailed Kara (the dietitian) with a huge list of questions and concerns. Because of everything that I have had to be dealing with, Kara decided to make some changes to my diet. I will discuss these changes in a separate post, as this post has gone on quite long enough already!

As always, let me know what recipes you would like to see!


Other LEAP Diet Posts: