Tag: disabled

hand reaching out of water

Look Online For More Disabled Income

Many of my readers like the Serenity For Spoonies series of gorgeous peaceful scenery that I post from time to time. I like finding and posting them, too. 

Fortunately, I can schedule these picture posts to appear even when I’m not able to do anything else. Like during the past few weeks when I crashed harder than usual.

Like many of us with ME or other fatiguing illnesses such as MS or heart failure, I’m accustomed to spending a day or even two recovering my energy stores after an exhausting day. But this most recent relapse (I prefer relapse to the official name of post-exertional malaise) kept me in bed or lounging in the recliner longer than I experienced in quite a long time.

woman-lying-in-bed

Fortunately, there are safety nets for people like us. For example, Medicaid can pay for prescriptions and in some states, there are waiver programs that will provide extra support for bathing, dressing, grocery shopping, etc.  Meals on Wheels is another program that will give us at least one meal a day at a reduced rate.

My years in public relations taught me to look for good things even when something appears not so good, so the silver lining to this most recent relapse was that I had a chance to step back and think about this blog.

Although I’m still not settled on a specific way forward, I do want to incorporate some of the things I’m learning about making extra money.

We all know or can imagine how difficult it can be when we have no source of income from a working spouse, parents or something else. Many of us live close to the edge with Social Security Disability as our only income.

However, even though I’m enrolled in a Medicaid community waiver program, I still get tired of counting pennies, shuffling the due dates of bills so I had funds in the bank when they came due, and basically running out of money before my next Social Security check came in. 

dollar-sign

Obviously, if the government declares you disabled you cannot work a 40-hour week any longer. For many of us, even part-time work is too strenuous. This leaves working from home as about the only option open to someone who is disabled with a chronic illness.

So I started looking for ways people are making money by working at home. Some are too strenuous and/or impractical for people like me who suffer from brain fog, for example answering customer service calls. Others take too much time for little return, like responding to surveys.

woman-holding-fan-of-money

I kept finding sites that promised thousands of dollars each month–even millions each year–making money online. Many of these programs are basically multi-level marketing in which you set up a website or websites that entice others to sign up for the expensive program in which you enrolled.

So I fell for the marketing and signed up with a young man whose main promotion was to get his followers excited about fancy expensive cars and a digital nomad lifestyle. He frequently posted videos showing him and his young child in various spectacular places around the world. The promise was that you, too, could be doing this.

expensive-car

His way was a hard-driving, hard-selling method of getting you to sign up and then getting others to do the same thing. You made money from the initial signup and then every month your people remained in the program. He offered free training on how to make videos that would go viral and how to write sales copy that would get people to buy things you recommend. 

This was just not for me nor was it appropriate for someone who often has to step back for several days and not do any online work. He offered a money back guarantee, so I wrote to say the program was just not for me and I wanted a refund.

However, I did not qualify for a refund in his eyes because I didn’t stay in the program and do everything as he laid it out. I finally had to threaten to go public and say John Smith (not his real name) was stiffing a grandmother before he grudgingly refunded my money.

My next foray into online marketing was through a young woman who promised income and location freedom with blogging. That sounded great since I already had a blog.

Sue Smith (not her real name) had a largish following of women and at the time I was involved she had just moved overseas using her blog as her sole source of income.

There were examples galore on her website of how to develop what is called a personal brand. In other words, this woman used photos and stories of herself in different locales as the subject of blogs about the place she was in, where she ate and the clothes she wore.

Sue (not her name) was involved every day with members of her group and offered tons of positive reinforcement and support. Almost a polar opposite to the first guy.

She succeeded by getting sponsors for these blogs, like a clothing company, a restaurant or a tourism department. Of course, she also promoted getting others to sign up using a referral code that was unique to you. 

I learned quite a bit about making pretty websites and posts, but this still was too much work. I also didn’t like the constant self-promotion. Her focus on the personal brand just didn’t fit with my lifestyle.

After all, who wants to see pictures of me lying in bed, on the couch, in the recliner…you get the idea. Who in their right mind wants to follow someone who can’t leave the house more than a couple hours a week and spends the remainder of the time resting?

My next foray got me into the world of selling on Amazon. That is a whole different story that I will tackle in the next post.

What do you think of my experiences?

Have you tried any work at home schemes? (I’m using schemes like the British do and not with any connotations of something risky or underhanded as we Americans often think of a scheme.)

Guest Post: Foods That May Be Helpful For Fibromyalgia

This post is from my blogging friend, Terri at Reclaiming Hope: Learning To Live Well With Fibromyalgia. I’ve put a link to her blog at the end of this excellent post about Real Food. Eating well by ditching processed food is the bedrock of health. I recovered much of my function after years of debilitating myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome through good nutrition. In fact, I was planning on writing a blog post much like this one but Terri beat me to it! 😀

This is a post that I wrote back in the summer, but I thought it might be worth revisiting since good nutrition is such a key part of feeling our best. This is the first in a series of foods that may be helpful for fibromyalgia.

Collage of food with text overlay: For The Love Of Food: Foods That May Be Helpful For Fibromyalgia (And Are Good For Us All) https://reclaiminghope.blog

I love to eat. How about you? I know…. Most people probably wouldn’t be advertising that fact. In our society, food has really gotten a bum rap… NEVER eat this, ALWAYS eat that, you must eat this particular way if you want to be healthy…. Does any of this sound familiar? Several years ago, I overheard one of my fellow trainers say, “It’s food, not a religion. If you want a banana, eat a banana!” to a client at the gym where I worked. Outwardly I didn’t act as if I’d heard her, but inside I was cheering wildly. Evidently, this client had been told that bananas were “bad” because they had too much sugar in them and she told this trainer they “weren’t allowed” on her diet.

As a Personal Trainer and Health Coach, I worked with way too many clients who had an unhealthy relationship with food. They often had the good food/bad food mentality, and when they ate something they considered “bad” they considered themselves to be bad as well. That broke my heart, mainly because they thought that way about themselves but also because often, since they couldn’t “be good” all the time, they just gave up on trying to be healthy at all. A healthy diet doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition.

The truth is, food, REAL food, is just food.  It’s not good or bad….it just IS. That said, there are some foods that have a higher nutritional value than others and some that we should limit to maintain our health, but when we look at food in the bigger context, being able to enjoy healthy, wholesome meals can be not just good for our bodies, but good for our souls as well.

There are also some foods that seem to be particularly healthy for those of us who live with chronic pain, and I thought I would explore some of those over the next few weeks. I’m not a Registered Dietician, so I won’t be recommending any specific diet, or telling you what you should eat. That’s entirely up to you. Everyone is different and has to find what works for them. I’ll just give you the facts and let you decide.

First up on our food “tour”….. You guessed it!

REAL FOOD!

What do I mean by real food? I think Michael Pollan says it best in his book In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. He says, “Don’t eat anything your Great-Grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” Our grocery store shelves are filled with items that are, as Pollan calls them, “food-like substances.” What started out as food has been ground up, stripped of nutrients, had nutrients sprayed back onto them, and shaped into what passes for food for us today. Scary, huh?

When I talk about real food, I’m talking about food that is in its most natural state, unprocessed or minimally processed, and is recognizable as food no matter where you’re from. This, of course, includes fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, meat, dairy products such as milk, cheese, and butter, and various nuts, seeds and grains.

Before I go any further, let me just say that I know when we’re dealing with a chronic illness, it can be hard to find the energy to prepare foods from scratch, and that sometimes we have to depend on convenience foods to get dinner on the table.  That’s okay – we do what we have to do! The goal is just to eat as healthfully as we can as often as we can.

Why It Might Be Helpful For Fibromyalgia: 

Even though scientists are now able to reproduce vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients naturally contained in food, we still don’t completely understand the mechanism that makes foods work synergistically in our bodies, and no matter how hard we try, we can’t replicate that synergy in a lab. What that means is that though we may be getting the same nutrients from the added vitamins and minerals in fortified food or in supplement form, they may not be working as effectively in our bodies as whole foods.

Some Tips For Finding Real Food At The Supermarket:

  • Shop the perimeter of the store. This is where the fresh produce, meats, and dairy are usually located. The frozen food section is often located on the outside aisles too. Frozen fruits and vegetables have the same (or very close to) nutrients as fresh, and it’s a convenient way to get those fruits and veggies in each day.
  • Look for whole grains; the less processed, the better; ie, steel-cut or old-fashioned rolled oats are less processed than instant oatmeal.
  • Look for foods that have fewer ingredients, and ones that you can actually recognize and pronounce, on the nutrition label.

I don’t know about you, but I can definitely tell a difference in my energy levels when I’m eating fresh, real food consistently, and I never feel guilty when I enjoy that occasional treat. :o)

Do you have any tips for making sure you’re eating real food? Please share!

Blessings,

~Terri

 

Gardening Hacks To Grow Abundantly This Summer

Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about Marjory Wildcraft and her homestead in Texas? She’s offering a FREE 72-hour viewing of a very simple gardening system she developed starting March 20th and continuing until the 22nd. I receive a small fee for everyone who purchases the lessons after seeing her videos. 

ad for grow half your food in an hour/dayDisabilities aside, what if you could grow half of your own food, gardening organically, right in your own backyard garden in less than an hour each day?

No, Wisconsin is STILL a state where medicinal cannabis is outlawed so I’m not smoking/vaping/eating as I write this.

In this new system, Marjory takes all the guesswork out of growing your own food, so that almost everyone can get started today and be growing half of their own food within a year’s time.

Perfect for anyone worried about power failures

While literally anyone can get started, the system involves raising rabbits and chickens, as well as growing vegetables, in a way that does not require refrigeration or any electricity. 

If you live with or know someone who can’t spend hours working in a garden every day but wants to have healthy, nourishing, homegrown food, let them know about this free opportunity.

Marjory will walk through everything step-by-step. Even if you have no room or desire to raise animals, watch for the information on growing veggies.

The knowledge and insights compiled in this film take years to learn on your own, as Marjory did herself. But they are presented here in a system that eliminates the time-consuming research and trial-and-error that prevent you from successfully growing your own food.

Gardening guesswork is eliminated

Here’s what I mean. Marjory broke down the nutritional needs of the average person eating a healthy diet. She projected those needs out for an entire year. Then she identified three core components that, together, can supply half of the nutrition you need.

Marjory Wildcraft has helped thousands of people to start growing their own food. Her books and videos are used by governments and universities around the world. She condensed all her decades-long experiences into this simple new system.

Eliminate the research, and trial and error that slow you down. You can have fresh homegrown food on your table as soon as possible.

Click Here

To reserve your spot at the 72-Hour FREE Viewing

How to Grow Half Your Own Food is a brand-new system. But it already is a huge success with members of Marjory’s Grow Lab. Unlike lab members who pay a monthly fee, Marjory Wildcraft is making it available to you–for free–March 20 – 22, 2018.

There’s literally nothing to lose and a lot of good information to gain by registering to watch the videos.

People who register for the video series also receive free bonuses

seed catalog
Never GMOs, many open-pollinated, heirloom and organic seed producers from around the world

This ebook lists companies that have pledged that they “do not knowingly buy, sell, or
trade genetically engineered seeds,” thus assuring consumers of their commitment.

All of the Grow Network directors favorite seed companies are on this list.

Inside this ebook, you will discover small farms or stores selling heirloom, open-pollinated seeds. You’ll also find guidance on what works best in your area–no matter what climate and soil challenges you face. All the companies listed are members of The Safe Seed Pledge.

Ronnie Cummins
Ronnie and Marjory demonstrate seven ways backyard gardening helps the environment while helping you get healthier

From carbon capturing to animal husbandry, Ronnie Cummins and Marjory Wildcraft teach seven ways backyard gardening significantly reduces– and even repairs–damage to our Earth. 

Learn ways you can help reverse soil depletion and desertification. 

You will see an in-depth comparison of nutrition and quality from small, organic farming vs. factory-farmed animal products. You will find resources for better water capture and conservation, too. 

Discover the environmental and health benefits of integrating farm animals with your gardening. I would love to use the “chicken tractor” even though I live in a city that doesn’t allow backyard chickens!

free TGN membership
Membership in The Grow Network helped me, disabled for 11 years, to successfully garden in just a few hours week

The Grow Network is the online home of a global community of people who are producing their own food and medicine.

If you want to take a few steps back from relying on grocery stores and big ag by reclaiming your health and food supply then you are one of us.

There is a bi-weekly newsletter on how to produce your own food and medicine, too. The Grow Network also has forums, a marketplace, seed swaps, even dating, and farms for sale. You can also read about inspiring neighborhood changemakers.

You literally have nothing to lose by registering to watch the free video series. Plus, you’ll receive those free bonus materials. Here’s your final opportunity to register!

 

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Medical Research: Low Fat vs. Low Carbohydrate Diet–Which One Promotes Weight Loss?

The debate between following a low-fat, weight-loss diet and eating to lower carbohydrates and thereby lose weight appears to be settled after a large medical study. Some people, including many ketogenic and paleo dieters, believe cutting back on carbohydrates helps them lose weight. Others, including many physicians and medical centers, promote diets that cut back on saturated fats found in red meats and dairy products, as recommended by the US Department of Agriculture in its Food Pyramid.

food pyramid
The official USDA Food Pyramid

In a 600-person, year-long study, the two eating styles helped dieters drop almost exactly the same number of pounds — and there didn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason as to who succeeded on which plan.

Going into the study, which was published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers wanted to settle the debate but they also wanted to know if blood insulin levels or genotype had an effect on weight loss.

High blood levels of insulin are a sign of insulin resistance, which often precedes Type 2 diabetes. Many believe high serum insulin promotes storing calories as fat. Researchers looked at the genetic profile of each participant and determined which ones had particular genetic traits thought to lead to weight gain. To the researchers’ surprise, neither genetic predisposition nor high insulin levels had any effect.

Results show you can lose weight with either eating plan

People studied were between 18 and 50 years old, and all overweight or obese but otherwise healthy. They attended nutrition classes taught by a health educator. There were no calorie restrictions. Everyone was directed to minimize their intake of sugars, refined flours, and trans fats. At the same time, they were encouraged to eat vegetables and nutrient-dense foods.  Everyone was encouraged to adopt healthy habits like cooking at home and sitting down for structured meals with family members.

As you would expect, not everyone on the diets lost weight and some had dramatic losses. The outliers were one individual who gained 20 pounds and another who lost 60. However, the average weight loss in each group was almost identical: 11 pounds in the low-fat group, compared to 13 pounds in the low-carb group.

“It’s not so much about that food — it’s really about [changing] this crazy way that Americans eat.”

About 30% of people in the study had a genetic signature that, in theory, should have pointed to success on the low-fat diet, while 40% had a low-carb “profile”. But the data didn’t show any strong similarity between these genetic markers and weight loss on the corresponding diet. Neither did measures of insulin resistance, which the team also thought would be related to success.

The successful dieters, regardless of which group they were in, credited their achievement to a reframed relationship with food. They began eating more mindfully, cooking at home more often and focusing on whole foods instead of processed, packaged foodstuff.

According to the lead researcher, Christopher D. Gardner, Ph.D., “That was more powerful than differentiating between low-carb or low-fat. Just getting them to be a lot more mindful about what they were eating. It’s not so much about that food — it’s really about [changing] this crazy way that Americans eat.”

What about your diet?

These articles may also interest you.

http://aswellasicanbe.com/chronic-illness/maximize-nutrition/

http://aswellasicanbe.com/chronic-illness/a-ketogenic-diet-improves-me-cfs-symptoms/

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acetaminophen bottle

Medical Research: Pain Med Has Unexpected Effect On Sex Hormones, Blood Sugar Measurement

acetaminophen bottle
This commonly used painkiller has a hidden side.

A recent examination of patients taking acetaminophen (Tylenol ) for pain unexpectedly found that the common painkiller alters sex hormones. If taken during pregnancy it may cause male babies to be born with urogenital malformations. (Source)

Acetaminophen (APAP) has been in use for over 50 years, but researchers still don’t know all the ways it works in the body.

The effect on one sex hormone was roughly equivalent to the effect of 35 years of aging, or the normal decrease in levels seen in menopause. Fortunately, the effect only lasts for 48 hours if no additional APAP is taken

Taking APAP every day for pain causes some hormones to become menopausal–regardless of age.

Acetaminophen also causes false highs, by a rather large margin, in people with continuous glucose monitors, according to another study reported in Diabetes Care. This obviously is a concern for the many diabetics who use continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), which is swiftly becoming the standard of care for Type 1 diabetics.

Blood Sugar Measurement Also Affected

For example, three patients in the study had blood glucose meter values less than 70 mg/dL with much higher CGM readings — 63 vs 138 mg/dL, 46 vs 175 mg/dL, and 51 vs 184 mg/dL.

glucometer
New technology should eliminate false high blood sugar readings.

In 10 patients, the CGM values read higher than 180 mg/dL, but the meter reading was over 100 mg/dL lower. The effect appears to be limited to CGM since finger stick glucometer readings were used as a control.

Newer blood sugar measurement technology under development will take this consequence into account. Until then people who use CGM need to be aware of the APAP effect.

The study that found the sex hormone effect with APAP also was able to shed light on how the painkiller works in the body. People who took acetaminophen had very low levels of neurosteroids made by the brain itself, such as pregnenolone sulfate and DHEAS [dehydroepiandrosterone]. The drug also works with three distinct metabolic pathways–one of them being the endocannabinoid system, which produces marijuana-like molecules.

This may explain the calming effects experienced by some individuals and acetaminophen’s use as a mild sedative in children. The uncertainty and growing number of proposed mechanisms raise the possibility that there are further actions involving central nervous system (CNS) cell receptors. (Source)

The findings are significant because they show how the body is impacted by seemingly innocuous everyday medications. There are hundreds of other drugs that no one has done this research for.

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A Ketogenic Diet Improves ME/CFS Symptoms

No doubt you’ve heard or read about a ketogenic diet, going keto or even just keto as the newest diet trend. Actually, a ketogenic diet is much more than a trend. “Ketogenic” is a term for a low-carb diet (like the Atkins diet). The basic idea is to get more calories from protein and fat and much less from carbohydrates. It was originally developed to use with children who had seizures many times each day. Now it is promoted for weight loss, improving athletic performance and halting inflammation.

Most of the carbs that are easy to digest, like sugar, soda, pastries, and white bread are the first to go.

These types of processed carbs start to change into sugar molecules in your mouth. Take a piece of white bread and hold it in your mouth for a few minutes. You will be surprised at how sweet the piece of bread becomes–thanks to the work of enzymes in saliva.

I’ve been half-heartedly following a sort-of keto diet for the past year or so. I started it to lose weight, but never went fully keto even after I lost 10 pounds. At this time, I was baking sourdough bread using an ancient wheat variety called Einkorn. The loaves were so healthy and tasty I didn’t want to give up bread. Also, I was concerned about following a strict keto diet when my underlying health was so poor. My conventional medical training scared me off of it.

Ketosis is a mild form of ketoacidosis

Any extremely low (20-30 grams) or no-carbohydrate diet forces the body into a state of ketosis. This occurs when people eat a low/no-carb diet and molecules called ketones build up in their bloodstream. Low carbohydrate intake causes blood sugar levels to drop. The body begins breaking down fat to use as energy. A body in ketosis is actually a mild form of ketoacidosis, the leading cause of death for people under 24 with Type 1 diabetes. I saw several patients in ketoacidosis when I worked in hospitals. It was always an emergency. Additionally, I had a patient die from ketoacidosis when I was doing home-based medical care.

I searched the literature for ketogenic diet research on this damn disease. However, no studies were done on the effects of ketogenic diets in Chronic fatigue syndrome. Some CFS clinicians recommend ketogenic diets as a management strategy[9][10] citing mitochondrial[11]immune, and neuroinflammation as pathways through which ketogenic diets could confer some benefit (Source). A ketogenic diet is well-known for the way it reduces inflammation, especially in the brain.

Char, from Chronically Hopeful, started going keto last year about this time. Here’s her story.

I often get asked what this ketogenic diet has done for me. What benefits have I had? Why should somebody give up those delicious carbs and starchy foods? Are the benefits really worth the sacrifice? In this post I’ll explain my journey so far. In short, in my opinion, the answer is yes – it’s […]

via How the ketogenic diet reduced my ME/CFS symptoms — Chronically Hopeful

In her blog, Char writes about following Dr. Sarah Myhill, a British doctor running her own specialist M.E. clinic in Wales, United Kingdom. Her website is an extensive resource of articles and information based on her treatment of patients. The website runs to 920 web pages and has had over 6 million individual visits. Dr. Myhill believes the disease is characterized by a cellular mitochondrial dysfunction and has published several studies.[1][2][3][4] She has treated in excess of 10,000 CFS/ME sufferers over her 30-year career (Source).

Tracking Protein, Carbs and Fat AKA The Macros

So, with Char’s results in mind, and a long look through Dr. Myhill’s site, I started back on a ketogenic diet, one that is low-carb, moderate protein and high fat. This time I’m using a smartphone app to track my carbs, protein and fat intake to be certain I get enough nutrition and remain in ketosis. Again, I have Char to thank for her instructions.

The thought of tracking macros scares many people into delaying their keto journey, but it’s really not as complicated at it might seem. There are some great tools available that make the whole process so easy. 40 more words

via How to set up a macro tracking app for your ketogenic diet, part 2 — Chronically Hopeful

So, with Char’s results in mind, and a long look through Dr. Myhill’s site, I started back on a ketogenic diet, one that is low-carb, moderate protein and high fat. This time I’m using a smartphone app to track my carbs, protein and fat intake to be certain I get enough nutrition and remain in ketosis. Again, I have Char to thank for her blog entry.

My lean body mass, the weight I would be at if there were no fat clogging things up is 108 pounds. I think I weighed that in grade school. 😉 That means I should shoot for 65 grams of protein, 25 grams of carbs and a whopping 132 grams of fat.

So here we are, the second day into my ketosis journey–but hopefully not ketoacidosis. I’m almost 66, overweight and have a family history of Type 2 diabetes so this is a real possibility.  However, I wasn’t diabetic the last time my blood sugar levels were tested. But I will be careful and listen to my body and its signals.

If you have questions or comments, please enter them below.

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