One of my absolute new favorite snacks is Black + Blanco Sandcastle cookies. My oh my oh my! I first learned about them from Amy, the owner and proprietor of Isabella Gourmet Foods. She let me sample one in her shop and I bought a package on the spot.
These are some super special cookies. The Black + Blanco Sandcastle is an original take on an old Moroccan cookie recipe. It is a unique, delicious, and healthy (yes, healthy) cookie. Their two main ingredients are rye and coconut oil. Oh and there is no wheat, refined sugar, trans fat, dairy, cholesterol, preservatives, eggs or GMO’s. Seriously.
My favorite are the Maple Dusted Cardamoi, described as “Luxurious & exotic, dark syrupy notes with smashed pumpkin seeds.” Yep. They are all that and MORE!
G.K. Chesterton’s philosophy that thanks are the highest form of thought and gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder is an incredible Silver Lining of my day. I am both thankful and grateful for this inspiration today. Enjoy!
There is nothing – absolutely nothing! – like being constipated after surgery. Oh dear heavens is it ever wretched. (Unfortunately!) I’ve had to walk several girlfriends through the process in the last month. So, I thought I’d share my (tried and true) step-by-step tips for preventing and eliminating constipation.*
Post surgical constipation stems from taking narcotics. See, here’s the thing: pain medicine (e.g., morphine) slooooows down the passage of digesting food and therefore bowel movements moving through the intestine. FYI, antidepressants, anticonvulsants and iron supplements can also contribute to constipation. For the record, I know that it’s an unsavory topic, but when have I ever been one to shy away from the unsavory?
Back to poop. Many people would agree that the post-surgical, pain-medicine-induced constipation is as bad as the pain from surgery itself. I mean it is AWFUL. Ever since my pesky (horrendous!) bout with post surgical constipation, I have had prolonged issues with it. The Silver Lining is that I’ve found some things that really do work.
Enzymes: increase the level of digestion in the stomach, increasing the amount of food broken down. Therefore less undigested food is passed into the colon, and food nutrients are more available for absorption. I take enzymes with every meal.
When you have to go, GO.Don’t wait. The thing of it is that if you put off the urge, then water gets absorbed from stool and it becomes harder to move it.
Exercise:The more I move my body, the more food moves through my body. It’s a pretty simple and effective concept that works wonders!
Fruits. Fresh or dried fruits, especially those with skin or seeds (apples, plums, pears, peaches, tomatoes, berries, raisins, and dates) are best.
Whole Grains. Fiber One and All Bran rock my world. Oatmeal is not too far behind. Adding ground flaxseeds to my cereal and I’m a sure thing.
Fluids! Fluids! Fluids!
When I say fluids, I mean WATER. Adult beverages (i.e., alcohol), caffeinated beverages (any and all) are dehydrating. When I am backed up, I drink three LITERS of water a day!
Pineapple juice can help as well.
Probiotics: Though I don’t know (and no one seems to know) whether or not probiotics relieve constipation, what I’ve found is that they tend to prevent me from becoming constipated. I take them everyday.
Everyday, Run-of-the-Mill Constipation
When I first notice that I’m constipated, I begin by assessing my eating habits, fluid consumption and exercise levels. Sometimes, guzzling a couple of liters of water and a run followed by jumping on the trampoline are all I need to get movin’.
If that’s not enough, I try:
Magnesium.Because magnesium is required for normal muscle function (including intestinal muscles!), when a person is deficient in magnesium, constipation can occur. So, adding a supplement has helped me on many occasions.
When it comes to post surgical constipation, go BIG from the get-go (pun intended)! Please oh please oh please take Colace AND Senekot the minute you start the pain medicine. For some (ridiculous) reason, most hospitals only prescribe Colace. Here’s the thing: Colace is a stool softener and Senekot is a stool mover. To relieve constipation, you need a softener AND a mover. This truly drives me batty in the hospital!
Enemas may also be in order. I know it sounds horrendous. It does. However, if you have post surgical constipation (and if you’ve had it, I know you know what I mean!), then you’ll do ANYTHING to find relief.
* It’s really important to let your doctor know if you become constipated. It is imperative to understand why you become constipated and collaboratively how to relieve it.
Last Friday, I made the decision to buy a new iPhone. I did this for a couple of reasons: 1) though still functional, my old iPhone was cracked and couldn’t hold battery life for more than a couple of hours and 2) the camera on the iPhone 5 is leaps and bounds better than any other version. On Friday, we are leaving for our summer family vacation, so I thought it would be a super opportunity to use the new and improved iPhone as my primary camera. All makes sense, right? Too much sense, I’m afraid…
I told the HOTY (a/k/a Husband Of The Year) about my plan and he said, “I don’t know why you want to mess with your iPhone when your emails work perfectly and you have another camera that you can take on your trip. But if that’s what you want to do, then okay.”
So, Friday, I went to the Apple store and bought my new iPhone 5. I asked the (always brilliant!) Apple technicians to help me set up the new phone. It took quite some time to upload my email@example.com email — so much time, in fact, that my technician became quite frustrated. The Silver Lining was that he was very determined and after about 45 minutes was finally able to download all of my emails. The big (HUGE!) mistake that I made was leaving the store before testing an outbound email. Sure enough, when I got home, I couldn’t send an email….something about the “outgoing server” not working. I have not a clue in the world.
So, Friday night, I was on the phone with Apple, GoDaddy and AT&T support for 3 (yes 3!) hours with no success. Saturday morning (beginning at 5:30 am), I was on the phone with all three companies for 5 (yes 5!) hours, also with no success. To add insult to this injury, without success, I had to get off the phone with everyone at 10:30 am because I was leaving town for 4 days. Oh yes. I couldn’t make this up.
While on the phone (and vacillating between dropping f-bombs and tears tears), I kept asking myself: What is the Silver Lining? Where oh where or where the f-bomb is the Silver Lining? Ever since my pesky bout with breast cancer, I know without a doubt that Silver Lining(s) are indeed present. Sometimes I just have to look a little extra hard for them.
Lo and behold, I found several Silver Linings:
First and foremost, my family and I are healthy and happy. I could actually stop there, but there are more…
One of my emails still works so I’m semi-in communication….and
The HOTY didn’t say “I told you so.” He could have said it multiple times. Easily. I gave him plenty of opportunities. But he didn’t. How great is that? It made me appreciate and love him even more (I didn’t know that was even possible).
The life lesson for me is is to focus with great intention on NOT saying, “I told you so” (to anyone, anytime). Saying “I told you so” adds an extra painful sting to an already stingy situation. It’s easy to say “I told you so”…natural almost. It can be said in different ways, e.g., “Didn’t we talk about that?” or “I figured that would happen.” However it is said, it boils down to the same thing: I.Told.You.So.
Though my email situation is still incredibly disabled, I am grateful to the HOTY for this life lesson. Sometimes we have to learn things the hard way, but hopefully this enables the lessons to really stick. I’ll add this as another Silver Lining.
The Silver Lining of June is the explosion of flowers. Their colors, scents and omnipresence is absolutely magical! I love the symbolism of flowers. Since antiquity, flower symbolism has been a significant part of cultures around the world. Flowers accompany us and brighten our spirits in every major event in life–birth, marriage, holidays, graduations, illness, and finally death. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The earth laughs in flowers.” Here are some images from around Santa Barbara this week.
Love seeing all of the bees!
The rose garden across from the Mission in Santa Barbara is a great Silver Lining in our community! This photograph was taken by my friend Blue Caleel. I love its lightness and color.
Flowers don’t worry about how the’re going to bloom. They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful.
Last week, I was on the road (again), flying from Santa Barbara to Chicago. Because of all of the horrible weather in the Midwest, there was delay upon delay upon delay leaving Los Angeles. The Silver Lining was that I met the most lovely couple who were on the same flight. We struck up a conversation and then – then! – they brought out a bag of these homemade Ina Garten Rosemary Roasted Cashews and kindly offered some to me. Good gracious, was I ever THANKFUL for not only the delay but also the size of the bag of nuts (because I overstayed my welcome in the bag, I’m afraid!).
The lovely couple told me where I could find the recipe and accurately predicted that I would indeed make a batch (or 2!). Here is the recipe. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I am!
This recipe is almost directly from the Bar Nuts at Union Square Cafe in New York City and its wonderful cookbook of the same name.
Place the nuts on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes until they are warmed through. Meanwhile, combine the rosemary, pepper, sugar, salt and butter in a large bowl. Toss the warm nuts with the rosemary mixture until the nuts are completely coated. Serve warm.
Though being diagnosed with FBC (f-bomb breast cancer) Rocked. My. World., one Silver Lining is that (as a nurse and social worker) the experience gave me a whole new consciousness and sensitivity to the patient experience.
Gary Zukav’s quote about the ability to feel another’s pain only after having felt your own pain resonates with me in a big way!
Finding myself on the other side of the bed helped me understand the physical and emotional aspects of the patient experience in ways I could never – ever! – have imagined. From the physical aspects – e.g., becoming a human pincushion as a result of near-daily needle sticks to the emotional ones – e.g., contending with sadness, fear and anxiety that often come with a cancer diagnosis.
Have you had this experience? If so, please share!
For a little Thursday morning fashion eye candy, I thought I’d share Salvatore Ferragamo’s 35th anniversary celebration of the Vara Shoe. The Vara Shoe is the mid-heeled patent ballet-style shoe with a grosgrain bow and metallic disk. This shoe is very special to me because I vividly remember my grandmother wearing her “Ferragamo’s.” Oh how I loved those shoes!
Well these are no longer my grandmother’s shoes! The Silver Lining of this 35th anniversary celebration is that customers have the opportunity to design their own shoes. That’s right: custom shoes. How great is that?
The ad campaign is so amazingly beautiful and engaging! In it, Claiborne Swanson Frank curated and art directed a gorgeous collection of portraits. I’m still amazed by the fact that Claiborne is a self-taught photographer. She spent her early career in the fashion industry at Vogue. Her book, American Beauty, is one of my favorites!
“The Vara reminds me of my mother,” notes actress Lake Bell.