Tips and idea's of things that might help us out

I will Jeannie...thanks! I try to eat gluten free, but your additional "raw foods" is intriguing. If you can, tell me what and how you eat please...

Sure Rose, Every day is diffrent. I switch out what I eat to make sure I touch on and get all the vit and minerals possible. Some mornings I have Chi prridge w bluberries I use a blender to put everything together (coconut milk, 2Tchia seeds, 1/4 cinnamon, 1/2 c Blueberries). I cover it then put it in the refridge over night. In the morning I add 2T pecans chopped eat it chilled or let set for a while to warm up. Or a smoothy (coconut milk w hemp protein powder, banana, pear, blackberries any fruit you like. I have a dehidrator that helps me alot. I have kale chips and you can sprinkle them with almost any spice. They are better than potato chips to me now. I have hummus, cold soups,Marinara asuce (sunddried tomato's, regular tomato's, garlic, nutritional yeast, olive oil, dried oregano, balsamic vinigar, sea salt, filtered water on top ofzucchini spirol cut to make noodles you can get creative with this too! With pesto sause etc.Deli Wraps (bollard leaves (tough stem removed) and you can put anything in them.

I have carrots, lot's of mushrooms (different kinds), nut burgers, nut crackers, lot's of rice (24 hours place it in a turned off stove). I soak over night lot's nut's like pecans, cashews, almonds etc Seeds like pumpkin,chia, flax, etc. Energy Bars, fruit salad, veggie salads, nut butters, nut cheeseCorn Tortilla's (raw at Whole Foods no preservitives etc) with any veggies I have. Beans even coffee. A few things I have cooked once in a while or lightly cooked. Using a dehidrator on low or using a oven that's turned off helps. Here is a link to one of the books and a link to some receipy's that I use. When I first started eating mostly raw I started just adding a little everyday. After feeling more energy I can make more things from scratch now. This book will also give you some idea's of diffrent foods you can have too. There are easier things to eat too. Like a peice of fruit for a snack, banana, apple regular foods. Hope this helps you think about even adding a bit more raw foods in your diet. I think since it's summer it's ea, but I'msier to do right now but I'm learning to use my freezer for later. Anyway check this out[]=gluten-free&dit-e=1&sort=favorites Smoothies are so easy and I can get more Kale and spinach etc in that way when I don't feel like eatting much. There are lot's of video's on youtube about raw foods too. There is a comercial before looking at her refridge (I'm aiming to have mine so organized) I have to add this one about loosing fatigue This was alot of information. Hope they help! :0)

Thanks Jeannie...that helps a lot!!! I have a better understanding now about eating "raw" foods, and I can see where it would definitely give an energy boost! You gave me some great ideas!

Great! Somedays are easier than others having ataxia, so what I do is create more than I need at one time when I'm feeling good enough and my down days I just grab foods.

I left out that I do have tuna and a few cooked things like salmon etc once in a while because I need it.

Also, I found Bragg's Liquid Aminos (natural soy sauce alternative that's gluten free) for salad dressing or seasoning, or Apple Cider vinigar from Bragg's too (it really helps taste alot). :0)

I'll look for Braggs at Whole Foods...thanks again Jeannie!

By Anne-Marie Botek, Editor

Cognitive reserve, the term used to describe the mechanism by which a person’s mind can compensate for damage to their brain, has become a buzzword in the medical community, thanks to its connection to one of the most infamous issues of modern aging: dementia.

Research indicates that people who have solid stores of cognitive reserve are generally less likely to exhibit the classic signs of dementia—short-term memory loss, difficulty multitasking, etc.—even if their brain scans indicate mental damage. This is because cognitive reserve effectively makes the mind stronger and more nimble, enabling it to come up with ways to compensate for disease-related loss of functioning.

Seek out and embrace new challenges; your brain will thank you

Shlomo Breznitz, Ph.D., founder of Cognifit and author of Maximum Brainpower: Challenging the Brain for Health and Wisdom, feels that finding ways to consistently engage the brain with new and stimulating experiences is the key to cultivating more cognitive reserve and staving off mental decline.

No matter what age they are, Breznitz stresses that starting a cognitive fitness regimen may help a person ward off the symptoms of dementia. “Our cognitive skills are not fixed. At all ages the brain has the ability to respond to new information and new stimuli,” he says.

More confusion now may mean less confusion later

According to Breznitz, the twin traits of novelty and variety are invaluable when coming up with activities to enhance cognitive reserve. Sudoku and crosswords alone won’t work, he says. You’ve got to get creative when coming up with ways to stimulate the brain.

In the same way elite athletes and their trainers use the concept of muscle confusion (varying the types and duration of exercises to expose weaknesses and challenge muscles in new ways) to maximize their physical fitness, switching up the things you do to engage your mental muscle can help maximize your mental fitness.

“Challenging the brain helps maintain cognitive vigor and capacity. And maintaining our cognitive health maintains our quality of life,” Breznitz says.

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8 Ways to Keep Your Brain Fit

He offers a few suggestions of things practically anyone can do to beef up their brainpower:

Challenge yourself

1. Work on your weaknesses: “Since novelty and variety are the keys to battling routines and enhancing cognitive ability, engaging our minds outside of our established domains would be more beneficial,” says Breznitz. For example, if you’re really good with numbers but not such a big literary buff, try picking up a classic such as Moby Dick and see if you can read the whole thing. You may find that you’re actually a closet book-lover.

2. Take the road less traveled: Take a different route when going to the grocery store or the doctor’s office. Because we travel them with such frequency, driving routes are one of the biggest routines we have—and one of the easiest to practice breaking. Just make sure you leave a little earlier than normal to give yourself some time in case you get lost or your new route takes longer than you anticipate.

3. Dominate your non-dominant hand: Pretty much everyone has a dominant hand that they use to eat, write, and perform other daily activities. Mix things up by recruiting your neglected hand to some activities. Your non-dominant appendage might not be up to the task of transcribing a beautiful handwritten letter, so you may want to start off small by holding your fork in the other hand during mealtimes. Take it slow and try to avoid getting frustrated. Remember, challenging exercises like this may make you feel foolish, but you’re actually helping to preserve your mental capacity.

4. Change your point of view: You don’t have to limit yourself to academic or physical challenges. Emotional experiments can serve the dual purpose of helping your personal life as well as your mental health. For example, say you’re in a fight with your husband over who should take care of managing the family’s finances. You’re an accountant by trade, so you feel that you have the perfect knowledge base to handle the job. But your husband is more involved in the day-to-day running of the household, so he feels that he has a better handle on how much money is needed to support the family versus how much money can be saved for the future. Try to really listen to what your husband has to say, and attempt to approach the issue from his point of view. Forcing yourself to get out of your own head and examine the problem from a different perspective will tax your brain and, as an added benefit, you may find that empathizing with your husband’s position helps the two of you come to an agreeable compromise.

Be a curious cat

1. Go back to school: Taking a class on something that is interesting to you is a great way to flex your mental muscles, according to Breznitz. And, thanks to the Internet, a time-crunched, cash-strapped person can enjoy free lectures without leaving their house. There are a number of different websites that offer video lectures on everything from organic chemistry to classical mythology, taught by professors from such celebrated institutions as Stanford and Harvard University. Apple also has a program called iTunesU, which can be downloaded to any computer and has a collection of college courses that you can bookmark and stream for no charge.

2. Take a trip: Traveling to someplace you’ve never been is a fantastic way to fire up dormant neurons. If you don’t have the time or the funds to become part of the jet set, don’t worry, you can still get away. Breznitz says that simple activities like walking a new path along the beach, or in a local park, can be enough to stimulate your mind.

3. Explore your strengths: Attending to your mental and physical weaknesses is likely to produce a greater cognitive challenge. But Breznitz feels that it’s important not to neglect your strengths. “Investment in one’s strengths is needed for both self-image (sense of success) and for a more in-depth understanding of problems,” he says. Expanding upon an existing talent can be a great way to boost your self-esteem while challenging your brain. For example, if you’ve always been an avid reader and want to branch out into writing, set aside time each day to practice. You can buy books of daily writing prompts at your local books store, or go online and get a few for free. Who knows, you may find your inner romance novelist.

4. Get a hobby: Have you always wanted to learn how to play the guitar, learn a new language, etc., but you just never got around to doing it? Why not start now?

Thanks come up with that most helpful info.!

Thanks Jeannie for these tips

Hi - I just recently discovered a "Sit and Be Fit" yoga program...meant for seniors but really good for those with balance issues, as well...probably a good way to introduce oneself to yoga.

Hey Julie A., Do you take a class or did you buy a CD? Just wondering as I'd like to try it...

I would like to try please can you send me details

Dr. Aletta shares these five rules for living well in spite of a chronic illness:

1. Be confident you have the right doctor. When you have a chronic illness, your relationship with your doctor is second only to your spouse or your parents. Being honest (and you must be honest!) with that person means you need to be able to trust them to hear you. If you don’t have that kind of relationship, get a second opinion. Shop around.

“In my own chronic illness career, I fired three highly recommended specialists because they were jerks. Thankfully, I’ve also had wonderful physicians who literally saved my life and my mind.”

2. Define your circle of support carefully. Isolation leads to depression, and it is so easy to isolate when you feel lower then dirt. People may surprise you. Peripheral friends may step up and be terrific supports, while others you thought you could count on can’t be there for you. If someone inside the circle asks, “How are you?” – tell them the truth. When someone outside the circle asks you the same question, lie. Say, “I’m fine!” and change the subject. Too often they can’t handle the truth and they suck any energy you have taking care of them. If someone asks if they can help, say yes. Accepting help is a gift to them. Trust that someday you will be on the giving end. One big way someone can help is to go to doctor’s visits with you. The extra eyes and ears take the pressure off you when the news is emotionally laden and important, even if the news is good!

“A patient of mine found her mother would get hysterical at any medical news, so it was better to keep her at arm’s length. But my patient’s mother could do laundry for her, and that made both of them happy.”

3. Protect your health as you would a small child. You are more than your illness. That part of you that functions well needs you to advocate for it. Of course, there are the basics of getting plenty of sleep, exercise and eating smart. In addition to all that, I suggest learning a new set of signals that are your clues for when you’re wearing your health thin.

“For me, it’s lowered ability to concentrate, tension in my neck and shoulders, irritability and loss of my usually dependable sense of humor. When those yellow lights are blinking, it’s time for me to stop, assess and make changes. When I ignored those signals in the past, I relapsed. Looking back I can see where I ran the red lights. So be a fierce protector of your health. Set limits and find the courage to say ‘No’!”

4. Create a new measuring stick. Your self-esteem lies in the standards with which you measure yourself as you go through life. To thrive with chronic illness, throw out the old and rethink your standards. If you are used to defining yourself by your 50-hour work week, for instance, you may feel lousy about yourself because now you can’t manage it. But finding a new standard can be tough.

“One technique I use with patients is to have them ask themselves what is reasonable? Is it reasonable to do it all yourself or is it more reasonable to delegate? Is it reasonable to register the kids in travel hockey, or is it more reasonable to stay local? In my own life and in my work I find that those who thrive despite chronic illness creatively find opportunity in their new reality.”

This is where a lot of courage is needed. Courage to address old pressures to be a certain way, and to imagine value in doing things differently.

5. Have dreams and strive for them. You had ambitions to get a degree or a promotion, to see the world or save it, to get married or have kids. Now you’re thinking, do I have to give all that up? No, you don’t. It’s imperative for your spirit that you have goals for living, big and small.

“What might change with the reality of chronic illness is the path and timing. As we reach for the stars, let’s appreciate the ground we stand on. Mindfulness has a real place in keeping depression at bay for everyone. Sometimes our dreams are right before our eyes.”

Gluten-Free Flour Power

Living Without's guide to choosing and using gluten-free flours.

8 Easy Ways to Improve Your Mood

By Marlo Sollitto

How you handle situations impacts your attitude, your happiness and your quality of life. Here are some tips for looking at the "glass half-full."

1. Attitude
Caregiving is stressful, time-consuming and depressing. But you have a choice every day as to how you will approach the day. Life throws us many curve balls, but the one thing you can control is your attitude. A famous quote by Charles Swindol sums it up: "We have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our circumstances. We cannot change that people will act in a certain way. The only string we have to play is our attitude. We are in charge of our attitude."

2. Be happy for no reason
Play and be happy even if you don't feel like it. You can be happy wherever you are. Do something silly: Put on some music and dance in circles until you're dizzy. Make faces to your kids or in the mirror. In other words, do something that makes you smile. The purpose of our lives is to be happy. However, you are only as happy as you make up your mind to be. You control your happiness; no one else does.

3. Focus on the love you have to give
People seek and enter relationships wanting to be loved. And being loved is one of the best experiences in life. But do you love yourself? This is crucial, because you can't expect others to love and respect you if you don't love and respect yourself. Loving another person, and all the giving and caring that go along with loving, can be more fulfilling than being loved. Focusing on the love that you have to give will change every relationship in your life.

4. Breathe
Breathing is a no-brainer, right? We don't even have to think about it because it is a natural function that gives us life. Most of the time, because we aren't aware of the breaths we take, we breathe very shallowly. Consciously focusing on your breathing and taking deep breaths can relieve stress and increase relaxation immediately. It's very easy to do. Here's how: Sit back. Place one hand on the abdomen and one hand on the lower ribs. Practice filling up those areas with air. In other words, take a breath that starts in your abdomen and works its way up your body. Control your breathing by breathing in for 3 to 5 seconds, hold for the same amount of time and exhale then exhale the air out through your mouth slowly. Do this for 3 minutes and you will feel the stress melt away.

5. Have a shoulder to cry on
Who do you turn to when you need a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, or a friend to listen? Whether it's someone to remind you that you're doing a good job, or a little advice on an impossible situation, we all need someone to rely on during tough times. That network of support doesn't have to be large. Those of us who have just a couple of people we can always count on, should consider ourselves lucky.

6. Face fear head on
It is the unfamiliarity of uncharted waters which causes us the most distress. If we choose to constantly fight change, we will struggle our entire lives. We need to find a way to embrace these changes or at the least accept them. Hope is something we create. It's not something that magically appears from an outside source. We each have within us the capacity to generate hope. It's critical that we be absolutely intentional about nurturing hope in our lives.

7. Celebrate yourself
Honor yourself every day. Build self-esteem and self-confidence and enhance feelings of self-love. With better self-esteem and self-love, you can find inner peace and will have more confidence to face the curve balls that life has thrown your way. Believing in yourself and recognizing your strengths and limitations will go a long way in your ability to set goals and boundaries for yourself and for your loved ones. Each day presents a new struggle we must grapple with. If we try to redefine our personal definition of peace, and look for ways to incorporate it into our everyday lives, we might find a way to weather the storms.

8. Find peace among the chaos
Find your own personal space. Every one needs some alone time. Make time to be alone with your thoughts and refresh your spirit. If you can't take the time to leave the house, find your own space within the home. Use the office, the den, the back porch…even the basement and turn it into your own personal retreat. Use your time - even if its only 15 a minutes a day - to relax, practice your deep breathing, meditate - whatever works for you.

6 Secret At-Home Stress Relievers

By Marlo Sollitto

As a caregiver, or the one that needs to be cared for, you know you need to de-stress. But who has time to go to five yoga classes a week or the money to indulge in a professional massage? There are ways to lower stress without leaving your home, and without spending money. You're surrounded by everyday household items right now that have the power to help you relax and unwind. You just have to know where to look!

Hand towel
Soak a hand towel in water and then microwave it for two minutes until its steamy. Place the towel on the back of your neck and then over your face. As the soothing heat hits your skin, your body will instinctively relax.

Not only is running water a great noise muffler, but the sound and feel of water is therapeutic. For maximum effectiveness, focus on the task at hand. The goal isn't to scrub down and towel off in under 30 seconds. Take 10 minutes for a hot, unhurried shower or a steamy bath and feel the stress melt away. Massage your head as you shampoo, use a scented body wash, loofah your skin gently. When you emerge, you will feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the rest of your day.

Don't keep your anger, fear and frustration all bottled up. Vent it by putting pen to paper. Studies show that writing about stressful events in your life for just 10 minutes dramatically lowers your perception of your personal stress. Experts aren't exactly sure why it works. Perhaps it's because writing gets your worries out of your head and into the real world where it's easier to do something about them. It could be a more transcendental explanation: the transfer of your stress through your hand, out your body and onto the paper. Or maybe the exercise simply stops you from ruminating about your problems. No matter what the reason, the result is the same: Less stress and a better mood.

Skip the coffee and opt for tea instead. Research has shown that drinking tea on a daily basis can help lower stress hormones and inducing greater feelings of relaxation. Try proven stress-busting brews, like Chamomile or black tea.

How often do you turn on the TV for "background noise." Instead of reaching for the remote, pop in a CD. Music has proven therapeutic benefits and does wonders to alleviate stress. Experts suggest that it is the rhythm of the music or the beat that has the calming effect on us even though we may not even be consciously listening to it.

Aromatherapy is, well, therapeutic. Lavender, jasmine and chamomile scents relax the mind and relieve stress. Give yourself several minutes of slow, deep, even breathing. Imagine that with each breath, the scents are entering your nose and spreading throughout your body, relaxing tight muscles and alleviating tension.

These moments will soon become one of your favorite times of the day.

Your welcome! I try to focus on doing these and have to post them so I have reminders sometimes. I think all of us should take time for ourselves on a regular basis, even just to pick one out to do! But I love all of these idea's! :0)

I don't know where you come up with everything Jeannie, but it sure is helpful information...thank you so much!!!


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When it comes to goals, it’s important to set measurable ones — but it’s also important to push yourself. It can be easy to set small goals because they aren’t as difficult to accomplish and big goals can be daunting. That said, it’s just like the common saying: “Shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” By setting goals that exceed your expectations of yourself, you give yourself the challenge to go beyond what you thought was possible. And even if you don’t make it, it’s likely that you’ll at least exceed the goal that you originally set for yourself by striving for more.

As you go for your big goals, think about making them a big deal. It’s all too easy to sweep goals underneath the rug if no one else knows about them and if you don’t make them a priority. So, a solution? Make goal setting a fun event! You can do this by:

  • Creating visual reminders of your goals in the places that you frequent (like a collage with inspiring words in your bedroom or a photo of the place you really want to visit on your desk at work!)
  • Making it a social activity by telling a friend and even convincing them to join you (and they can help keep you accountable!)
  • Finding countdown applications for your computer or for your mobile devices in order to set deadlines for your big goals (this gives you something to look forward to and helps you to keep track of your progress!)

And finally, make sure you celebrate your progress! Each step towards your goal is a victory — it all counts! Reward yourself in small ways as you go — even if it’s just a moment to step back and say, “Wow, I’m doing great!” After all, it’s kind of a big deal…

by Erika Oglegey

Link to download wallet cards for you to keep track of medications, Dr. visits etc.

I thought these were great to have!

Another great idea Jeannie!