Archive for ‘Around the Home’

March 25, 2019

#565 – Live Better with RA – Tip #2

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Image courtesy of Patrycja Cieszkowska.

Tip #2 – Choose to Eat Well

Or at the very least, choose to eat better. Unlike arresting a habit, such as nail-biting (one I gave up in the 8th grade), you can’t just stop eating, wherein lies the challenge.

Small dietary changes can help you build a healthy relationship with food, which can lead you into making even bigger ones. Feed your body what it needs to thrive. Pay close attention to how you feel when you eat certain foods. Not only can certain foods trigger a flare, but “mood by foodcan set you back.

Good Habits Go Together

The International Journal of Obesity published a study that showed that participants—2,680 of them—who implemented a 15 week exercise program improved their eating habits. Simply by making changes in one area (exercise), participants were prompted into making other changes, which included healthier food choices and increased monitoring of their food intake.

When participants exercised for a longer duration, it was found that they were less interested in snacks and foods that characterize a standard American diet (SAD). When the intensity was increased during each session, participants began to choose healthier foods.

In Atomic Habits, James Clear suggests habit stacking as a way to build better habits. In a nutshell, habit stacking is when you attach a desired habit to one you are already performing. (Habit Stacking is part of the 1st Law of Building Good Habits.)

Here is a simple formula, courtesy of James: After [old habit], I will [new habit].

Perhaps the participants in this study were unwittingly stacking their habits. After I exercise, I will choose to eat a healthy lunch.

Another supposition: as the participants improved their level of fitness and began to feel better, they felt inspired to adopt other healthy behaviours that showed respect for their bodies.

Remember, small changes are cumulative.

Consider These “Appetizers”:

  • Next time you go grocery shopping, buy an unfamiliar fruit or vegetable. If you’re uncertain about how to prepare it, the internet is full of helpful advice. If you are in an ethnic market, ask another shopper. I’ve always walked away with a delicious suggestion for what to do with that unfamiliar fruit or vegetable.
  • If you normally serve one vegetable per meal, add another one, two or three.
  • Give your tastebuds time to adjust to new flavours. “Taste training’ is about learning healthy eating as a life skill,” says dietitian Sophia Baker-French in a blog post on Healthy Families BC. (It begs the question: When did healthy eating become a life skill?)
  • Have healthy choices readily available. In other words, make it easy to choose more wholesome foods (Incidentally, “Make it easy.” is James Clear’s 3rd Law of Building Good Habits.)
  • Slow down when you eat. You want to give your stomach time to signal your brain that you are satiated.
  • Chew your food well, which is also a good way to slow down. This is what Robert Santos-Prowse has to say on page 12 in The Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet about using your chompers to break down your food:

    Saliva, which contains the aptly named enzyme salivary amylase, begins the breakdown of carbohydrates, and the lingual lipase enzyme does the same for fats. As you chew, carbohydrates are already being broken down into simple sugars in your mouth, which is why even the wholest of whole-grain breads (the ones that tastes like sticks) will begin to taste sweet if you chew them for a few minutes. Proteins just get wet and smashed up. Enzymatic breakdown of proteins does not begin until they reach the stomach.

  • If you fall off the fruit and vegetable cart and succumb to temptation, don’t let months go by. Make your next meal a better one. (Thanks to my sister-in-law for sharing that bit of advice two decades ago! Previously, my fruit and vegetable cart rolled away down the hill leaving me struggling for a very long time.)
  • Enjoy your food by being mindful.
  • Spend time sharing your table with family and friends.
  • If you’ve been inactive, talk to your healthcare team to discover ways to help get moving and along the way, you might just start making better food choices. (2,000 people can’t be wrong! That’s how many participants completed the exercise program, described above.)
  • Bon Appétit!

Stay tuned for Tip #3/10.

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February 21, 2019

Save Your RA Hands and Use a Pressure Cooker XL or Instant Pot

beanspressurecooker

Canned goods certainly add weight to your grocery bags. Lugging them into the house can be an unnecessary challenge for those rheumatoid arthritis-ravaged hands.

My solution is to forego the canned goods as much as possible. Not only is it healthier, but there is less recycling involved.

I’ve written about the joys of using a pressure cooker to prepare chickpeas and beans in bulk.  It’s also very budget-friendly when you prepare beans and chickpeas this way.

I always had a certain amount of trepidation using the stove-top pressure cooker. I was sure it was going to be a thar-she-blows type scenario. It never was, thankfully! Now that I have the Power Pressure Cooker XL, I don’t have those fears.

I soak a big batch of dried chickpeas or beans overnight. The next day I rinse them and cook according to directions. When slightly cooled, I scoop them into small batches for freezing. These margarine containers are the perfect size for freezing. Since we don’t eat margarine, my mother-in-law supplies us with the containers.

If I have one regret, it’s that I didn’t buy the Instant Pot. It has a yoghurt setting, while the Power Pressure Cooker XL does not.

December 18, 2018

#560 – Even More Gift Ideas

More posts mean more gift ideas. Rather than sending you back to #493 More Gift Ideas for Loved Ones Who Have Arthritis, I’ve updated the list with even more gift ideas for loved ones with arthritis or mobility issues. There are suggestions here to suit every budget.

Apparel

  1. Elastic or curly shoe laces.
  2. Bracelet Helper.
  3. If you’re buying clothing, consider the weight of the garments. Also, the ease of opening and closing buttons or using zippers.
  4. Shoes, such as these from L. L. Bean.
  5. Light-weight purse or wallet.
  6. bathing suit from L.L.Bean.
  7. Spray-On pantyhose.
  8. Dry-cleaning or laundry service vouchers.
  9. Three piece pajama set – a hot flash helper. As I discovered, a post-surgery helper, too.
  10. A multi tool – jewellry, zippers and button helper.
  11. wristlet to carry your essentials.
  12. Here’s another wallet option.
  13. This wallet converts into a fanny pack.
  14. Travel with a silver lining – a light-weight purse.
  15. Use this to make putting on necklaces a snap – a click!
  16. Sore feet? How about some orthotics?

Auto

  1. Adhesive side view mirrors.
  2. Interior rear view mirror.
  3. A key bumper.

Garden

  1. Kitchen and garden tools that are light-weight and have large easy-to-grip handles, such at this Bypass Pruner from Fiskars.
  2. Telescoping trowel.
  3. Hose connector.
  4. Watering Can.

Exercise and Hobbies

  1. Drawing From the Right Side of the Brain.
  2. Hula hoop.
  3. Rolling back pack for exercise gear.
  4. Uplifting reading materials, such as From Chopin and Beyond – Part 1 and Part 2.
  5. Light-weight books or an e-reader.
  6. Gel pens.
  7. Battery-operated eraser.
  8. Magazine subscription.
  9. Movie gift certificate.
  10. Prepare and freeze some meals or goodies to be used on those days when energy is waning.
  11. Exercise DVD, such as When You Hurt All Over.
  12. Exercise balls.
  13. Books, and more books.
  14. Meet a character with RA in And the Mountains Echoed.
  15. Mesh bag for toiletries.
  16. For the beach-goer: water shoes with velcro.

Home

  1. Heavy non-slip floor mat.
  2. Small tray.
  3. FootstoolLaundry HelperFootstool.
  4. Pillows: Feathering My Nest – Part 2Not Only for a King.
  5. Purchase and install grab bars for the shower or tub area.
  6. Rubber bath mat.
  7. Install a handicapped toilet.
  8. Battery-powered scrubber.
  9. Telephone headset.
  10. Dictation software.
  11. Office chair.
  12. Fiskars Paper Trimmer.
  13. Shower curtain.
  14. Vacuum.
  15. Basket.
  16. A firm, supportive recliner: Nodding OffMy Perch.
  17. Zip-it Opener for Blister Packs and Clam Shells.
  18. My readers offered up some great suggestions to help put an end to duvet wrestling.

Kitchen

  1. China mugChina MugsHow it’s Handled Makes a Difference.
  2. Food processor.
  3. Pressure Cooker.
  4. Vegetable Peeler, such as this one from Starfrit.
  5. Jar Opener: Starfrit Mightigrip Jar OpenerThe Boa Constrictor Strap Wrench.
  6. Electric Potato Peeler from Starfrit.
  7. A Starfrit electric Salt and Pepper Mill.
  8. Electric juicer.
  9. Egg Slicer.
  10. Apple Wedger.
  11. Electric can opener or an electric jar opener.
  12. Light-weight dishes.
  13. Knives.
  14. Clothes pins.
  15. Scrub brush.
  16. Folding Stool.
  17. This piece of rubber makes peeling garlic easy.
  18. Jar of dry ingredients and recipe for baked goods.
  19. The right kind of pastry blender to do more than make pastry.
  20. An electric jar opener.

Miscellaneous

  1. Nutcracker.
  2. Have wheels – Double Duty LuggageRoll In, Roll Out,
  3. Shopping bag carriers.
  4. Travel mug.
  5. Consider contracting a service that can make light of difficult chores. For example, a housekeeping service such as Capital House Cleaning, a gardening service or car cleaning service.
  6. Prepare and freeze some meals or goodies to be used on those days when energy is waning.
  7. A copy of Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis by Lene Andersen.
  8. A gift of your time to help with whatever needs doing – laundry, clean the windows, vacuum, wash the floors or tidy up.
  9. Arrange an outing. You do the driving.
  10. Do you have an idea for a unique tool? Consider talking over your idea with Maarten Meerman to see if he could make it for you.
  11. emWave ® Personal Stress Reliever : My Givens and a Giveaway. I have these in stock. Please email me at info@auntiestress.ca for further information. (*emWave and Personal Stress Reliever are registered trademarks of Quantum Intech, Inc.)
  12. Tea to help quell those sweet cravings, or to soothe your senses.
  13. Collapsible water bottle.
  14. Gift card to a flotation tank. *Check first that they are able to get onto the floor, or into a tub.
  15. Chronic Christmas by Lene Andersen.

Personal Care

  1. Long-handled shoe horn.
  2. Dental floss wand.
  3. Easy-to-use shower curtain.
  4. Scalp massage/shampoo tool.
  5. If the person is travelling to The Big Island of Hawai’i, a session with Sarah-Lynn Joy.
  6. Stool/Cane.
  7. Dosettes: Large and Small.
  8. Anti-Swan Neck Deformity ring.
  9. Neck Brace.
  10. Hot packs or ice packs.
  11. Small Flashlight: Light the NightRoll Away Flashlight
  12. Portable John and Jane.
  13. Portable toilet seat.
  14. Massage Tools.
  15. Tennis Balls.
  16. Scalp Scrubber.
  17. Shoe Grips.
  18. Heel Care Cream.
  19. Toe Nail Clipper.
  20. Gloves: WorkSurgical.
  21. Reacher.
  22. Self-care can be difficult – manicure, pedicure or a massage gift certificates, such as one from The Body Mechanics Massage Therapy.
  23. Rolling backpack.
  24. Walker.
  25. The right kind of tweezers.
  26. When you don’t have access to an ice-pack.
  27. These cleaning wipes for glasses would make a great stocking stuffer.
  28. Support for that aching back.
  29. Use this device to squeeze out toothpaste or any product that comes in a tube.
  30. Physicool helps to cool those hot joints.
  31. Lens CPR.
  32. Even buttons and zippers can present a challenge in the midst of a flare-up. Help is on the way!
  33. Put together a foot soak pampering kit.
  34. Helichrysum essential oil for bruises.
  35. Headache Relief Serum.
  36. Long-handled lotion applicator.
  37. Stress coaching. (I have many options available. Email me to find the just-right one.)

Pets

  1. A raised food and water bowl set.
  2. Ball Launcher.
  3. Nail clippers for the dog.

Work

  1. Folding Stool.
  2. Telephone headset.
  3. Dictation software.
  4. A second mouse.
  5. Office chair.
  6. Fiskars Paper Trimmer.
  7. Gel pens.
  8. Battery-operated eraser.
December 17, 2018

Electric Jar Opener

 

ElectricJarOpener

When I used it to open a jar, Holly came running. Not so much because of the contents, but because the sound is similar to her ball launcher.

This works well, but only on some jars. You’ll need a back-up, like this Boa Constrictor Strap Wrench, or like the one that Maarten gave to me. (It’s rather fitting that this looks like the nose of a spaceship, right Maarten? 😉 )

 

 

 

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