In more trigger news. Strong smells are a trigger! I spoke to someone wearing a strong cologne for like 6 seconds, bam, down today.
Looks like I will have to live in a sealed air bubble!
In other news, have you wondered about the carbon foot print of each email, each video streamed on the net, each scroll of the facebook feed?
those numbers are not minuscule, the carbon footprint of digitization!
And in more news, I am still undecided on whether to write a Vegan IP book, or Indian IP book.
And in more more news, the seattle chill is real. When even the young and adventurous and not so introvert crowd has trouble making new friends in seattle, we older, limited activity people dont stand a chance.
Also let me tell you one important thing. If you have pressure cooked Indian food and loved pressure cooked indian food, IP will not live up to that deliciousness. Its a matter of being used to certain things. The texture of the beans is very different when pressure cooked in stove tops because they cook under much higher pressure. The rajma from a stove top pressure cooker is blissss
Another year and I am stuck between several different kind of problems.
Running out of storage on the laptop... like its 2019, this should not be a stress i need to take.
Trying to find solutions in support groups like
What do you all do for being able to sit on chairs.
I can’t balance myself on a chair. It has to be sturdy sofa kind of seating. So even if there are restaurants with low noise/activity that I can go to , I can’t really go because everyone has flimsy chairs. " And in answer, everyone pretty much struggles with the same thing. Why the heck does this vestibular neurological disorder not have enough research and treatment. Literally the treatments i've heard of so far are not going to cure it, all range from drugging myself with ssri's or other mind altering meds. and supplements like magnesium and coq10. Oh well,... life. On the other hand, i think i should hire someone locally to manage the every day things for the blog. It might be helpful to have things more organized :) .
If i have to choose between fostering dogs again (we took a break to allow chewie to recover from his cough flare ups) and writing another book, i'd choose fostering.
Esp now, with the way the blogging and book writing world has been evolving these past 2 years. Everyone ripping off everyone, everyone posting all the popular recipes (almost exactly the same)and making a business out of it, cookbooks churning out within months, me having to post those same popular things on the blog too, to stay relevant.
Sometimes this sucks the life out of why I cook.
The other thing that sucks the motivation out is the incredible amount of rudeness and hate online. That is a common theme everywhere, not just blogging. I probably developed oil phobia lately with all the yelling in comments. Its hard to even accept that I like my cookies to be cookies with the oil and sugar.
Between the crazy migrainous year of not being able to spend enough time on the online blog work, and all of the above, may be I am not cut out to be a public person.
everything could be peri menopause related.(digestion out of whack, headaches, migraines, non functionability on a screen).
I wish I wish to come back as a Man in my next life. Lol
Also to everyone on the interweb always complaining about white flour and constantly commenting to use all whole grain multi grain etc,.. well white flour works well for some people with digestive issues trying to keep the diet low to moderate fiber. I mean i literally cannot function if i eat whole grain. The rest of the meal has fibre too with the veggies, lentils etc and drives up the overall fiber.
Mid year check...
so far its SIBO and the other diagnosis is for my balance issues. Vestibular migraine.
Between a SIBO diet (moderate fibre) and a migraine diet(no chocolate, caffeine, some fermented foods) , i have lost some weight. well i needed to lose some, but i am dying to get back to a state where i dont have to look at the ingredients and just eat whatever i want.. sigh.
Been a long while since i posted here. I think this space ends up getting some attention when something isnt going ok. Which means things were mostly all good since Sept!
We managed to find a caretaker, who stays with me when hubbs has long days or hikes or travel. We managed to have hubbs travel to Cal a few times. Hooray!
And just generally find more solutions for me to be able to do more things.
And then shit literally hit the fan in feb. I've been down with shit problems (digestion issues, no diagnosis yet, I am hoping its temporary, stressed coz i've been reading too much info on all the possible worst cases - crohns, uc, etc etc). Lets see how this goes. I havent really cooked much new stuff since end of feb. My taste buds are shot. I am keeping myself on a somewhat low fiber diet which eliminates a lot of foods. So if i cant eat all the foods, i dont make the foods. Sigh.
Also, why the hell does everything have to affect my balance. I mean why couldnt it just be bloating + digestion issues, why does it have to make me float and fall and not get any sleep!. ugh
See you all hopefully on the other side of this story.
Between the additional work to add metric conversions and nutritional values(it took 2 extra months i think) and co-ordinating and rechecking everything and editing and to and fro with with publisher and everything that goes into making a book, countless hours of working on a machine finally gave me a posture issue.
Darn it. Now its difficult to work longer than an hour on the laptop and I have a backlog of things to do. The problem is that I cannot sit on a chair, so I almost always work on a laptop and on a sofa. Crappy set up catching up to me. And we better spend some time on figuring out a better set up.
k back to exercising for posture since my half an hour is up.
The issue with any kind of limitations, differences, lifestyle that are outside the normal people can do sphere is that it immediately affects the social life. Its not just about differently abled people. Anyone going through an acute issue, pregnancy, baby etc faces similar issues. Some of these are temporary and eventually the normal can do balance is either reached or slightly altered version is achieved.
With social media, atleast I and several other people for whom it is not temporary, can connect with many more people. But there is always a need for more real life social connections. In the past few years, it would be a fight to figure out how to achieve that. It would also get very depressing not meeting any other person for days and weeks. I would then have to force myself to do things. Attending large get togethers even when I knew the after effects would cost me a night and a whole day of being bed ridden. Inviting people over and not enjoying it because of the stress of hosting (house, food etc) or just the stress of holding a conversation.
So in the last year I have decided to let go of some of these expectations of me. It is ok to not have a perfect house, it is ok to not have food to serve to people (order in!), it is ok to not cook for people when they visit, it is ok to not respond to each and every conversation. It is ok to not know everything. It is ok to accept that you are a slower version of yourself.
My brain works overtime all day everyday and it has less resources available to process multiple things. I know now that it drops threads if occupied elsewhere. Like you might notice me either babbling not much sense, or not responding to you at all esp if there are multiple conversations going on. Its not you, my brain just dropped that input. Eventually it might or might not get to it. This generally makes me anxious when I have to talk to new people. But the anxiety only interferes in the things that I can do. Even a little bit of anxiety affects my balance a lot and bad balance can make me more anxious and that just becomes a cycle. If i break that cycle, then i have a high chance of enjoying the event, the conversation and what not.
So this year, I am ok being slow, I am ok not looking all cleaned up and put together, I am ok if not everyone likes me as a person. I am ok babbling, I am ok being me.
A Day in the life of a vegan food blogger
1. Messages sent to my facebook page/ social media with pictures of dead animals
2. comments on the recipes with pictures of dead animals or animals in the process of being killed
3. Needs bacon in comments and messages
4. Comments by Indians getting offended by peanut butter chickpea curry. you know coz chickpeas can only make chole (Indian chickpea curry).
5. Comments by Indians on my Traditional Indian recipes like dals.... gora food (translation..white people's version of food).
6. flour, sugar, soy, oil so awful. this recipe sucks. comments in Caps
seriously, cant win the interwebs any day
Since the blog has been growing and I need to kind of make a team and delegate things to them and stuff, its becoming a business of its own.
My dad had a tough time when he used to work in companies because of his strong work ethics, opinions preferences etc. So it was hard for him to deal with people who didnt have a similar work ethic or didnt have the capability to challenge his opinions/preferences with facts. So he started his own manufacturing business, coz then he was the boss.
All of those qualities show up when I work with people now, being a stickler for good work, striving for perfection, being a pain in the ass = me :).
Hiring is a hard job indeed. The right people make the work so much easier. People who think ahead and have options already are just fabulous. I think that comes from enjoying what you do. Its a reminder to myself too to just do what I love to do and not be governed by other's expectations.
I am so sick of this cold which isnt leaving me. been almost 5 days already. ugh
And so sick of whatever is going on with this presidency. Ugh.
Also tired of negotiating again and again with Publisher (he is really nice, but my patience is 0 today). Remind me how bothersome the process is if I ever say I want to write another book. (trivial problems compared to the world, but gotta rant somewhere).
I don't know if its because its the first presidency (President Obama) I followed from start to finish in this country, the debates, the feels, all those years back, or the turn of events that has been and will be, the contrast, the hate, the love,... the person, so well spoken and amazing, the respect. It feels like something is dying. That feeling of loss, so strong.
I realize that I never actually have long descriptive answers or discussions about why I cannot do certain things.
That means people have to evaluate and come to conclusions based on what they know. So they assume for eg that I do not travel (flight) because I dont have the confidence to. Or like mom who thinks that I am just scared to do it.
It hurts of course when people close to you don't understand things, but thats the nature of the beast. It is difficult to understand certain conditions without actually going through something similar. It is difficult even for hubbs to sometimes understand or plan according to some of the issues even though he sees them frequently. It is understandable that anyone else who meets me a few days in a year or in several years will not have enough information to conclude one way or the other.
So lets take an example of flying. Flying is one word, one event, but for me it breaks down into several smaller problems, each of which needs a solution.
-Getting to the airport. is possible.
- Walking to the checkin and security, difficult. All the long walk on shiny surfaces, with so many people around for stimulation, very difficult. We could mitigate some of these by choosing to fly on a day with less crowd, carrying cushions to sit on for 15 mins and walk etc.
- Get to the terminal, almost not possible. That long a walk is not an option, my balances goes off after a while and I just cannot co-ordinate enough to walk. I have to sit on a sofa kid of place and stabilize for a few minutes. Wheelchair is not an option as sitting in moving chairs is not possible with my current balance. I will fall off, and then what?. Only option is probably the small airport golf car thing, but most airports dont have that and some also have a train joining the terminal, which is currently not an option.
- By some miracle, if we reach the flight, sitting on the flight in those weird chairs is not an option. i will fall off. The plane movement will surely make me horribly sick. oh wait, I forgot claustrophobic too in the small confines. Option is to put me under some kind of sedation. Sedation with things other than benzos, need medical assistance to always be present. Also passengers cannot be sedated while getting off the plane or going through immigration etc. So now what.
- add to this any unknown events, many people, noise levels etc.
- How can I possibly even attempt a flight?
The anxiety and stress when thinking of the word, the event, has a reason, the reason being not having options and solutions.
Its like I am always on a roller coaster. I have always disliked them and they make me sick. The coaster is manageable for some instances, and awful for some, but like any regular person, I do not have a choice to get off the roller coaster. I am stuck on it. There are always new twists and turns and the only way I can handle them and be able to live life without falling into a depression or developing other issues, is if some of those twists and turns are made handleable with options and solutions to rest in between, options to be able to get to a place where I can stabilize.
Here is another simpler example. Sitting on a chair. Thats the most frequent thing that gets said. Why dont you just try to sit on that chair. Sure I can "try". After half a minute, I will start to get a headache and my eyes will start to get weird and not able to focus well, another half a minute later i will be moving constantly trying to balance myself and will get an ear ache, and to manage everything, my body will start to stiffen. Eventually I will fall off the chair or get a vertigo attack and fall off.
I know within the first 5 to 10 seconds if I can balance myself on that chair/sofa, if not, then i just get up. I also already know now after being this way for 11 years, what chairs just dont work. So trying is just going to make me miserable.
There might be other people with similar problems who can do more. They might have found medicines that work for them for things like flying, they might have a higher threshold when it comes to vertigo/balance issues. But there might be other things that they cannot do. Everyone is different, has different problems and different limitations. Whether one has a health issue or not, every person cannot climb mount Everest, everyone cannot swim, every single person cannot drive, everyone has different fears and capabilities etc. And judging people has never helped anyone.
When you see someone struggling with anything, instead of assuming that they are not strong enough, not intelligent enough or whatever enough, reach out and help. We might think that this one thing is super easy, then why is this person struggling. But for them it might be the toughest task at hand.
As the food blog gets bigger, I seem to have to think a lot before posting personal thoughts and opinions. I am passionate about quite a few things, but there are other perspectives of the same passion and my words or the way I put them out there might not resonate with all the readers. In the world of social media, unfiltered thoughts and emotions, there is enough out there to add to the confusion, emotion or just content for consumption.
2016 has been an interesting year. Among the many things, we (hubbs and I) learnt to accept life how it is and find solutions based on that, we also worked together on the blog and related work and learnt to work together (delegation, boundaries etc). I also learnt that in this new age of social media, there are ways to connect with the happenings around us at several levels, there are ways to get informed, to be deeply affected, to see so many perspectives, end up with unbridled emotions flowing freely from every where.
Most of this was happening before 2016 too, with things like first few years of transition to veganism that are emotional for many, leading to a lot of anger, frustration, despair,, strong passion on other causes or events. But 2016 is when everything seems to have reached a crescendo, with the incredible amount of strong emotion out there. 2016 got us thinking about the many things. I learnt that there are many types of people, with many views and perspectives and emotional range, over a large spectrum, which is not always black and white (be it a cause like veganism, politics/election or other).
I learnt that it is difficult to grasp certain complex issues. I often need a lot more reading, information, discussions to understand some viewpoints. I learnt that there is so much more to be done and there is so much more I can do, about the issues that I feel strongly about, and about the issues I understand in some ways even if not entirely, that need support. So onwards into 2017 with hope and motivation to know more and do more. There are so many amazing people who are battling incredible problems and issues every single day and making a change, a positive change to someone's life. Those are the people I would like to be motivated by, those are the people I would like to be.
So we started fostering again and our first foster is Peppen from Red Waggin rescue.
He is a 6 month old cuti puppy who is a bundle of energy.
He knows come, sit and is learning stay, here, load up (into the crate) and we ae also working on his marking as he just got neutered.
Did I mention he is a bundle of energy? Proof below
He is also very respectful of other dogs, people and children. He loves everyone and gives loads of kisses. He will sit in your lap and fall asleep.
He does not bite. He didnt even fight or try snap at this humping dog who was constantly trying to hump him on the walk with his dog walker. He is an all around super sweet dog. He has pomeranian characteristics just like our dog chewie.
He is a puppy and needs a lot of play time during the day, mental stimulation with training commands, walks, running in the yard, playing with toys. He is food motivated and wants to please, so he learns quickly (with treats and love). He will also need to get out to pee every 2-3 hours as he is a puppy. Ideal home for him will be where he has someone available in the house for most of the day. He stays well inthe crae, but for longer periods I would suggest an xpen with his crate in the pen.
He can be visited at our home in Seattle. I am going to miss this guy once he is adopted.
Trying to a find a test that I can do to look into my sinuses. CT scan did not work as I cannot lie down flat. Waiting on other options from the ENT( If I can reach them (hello Swedish))
Last week we went to try the CT scan at Polyclinic. The nurse technician was incredibly sweet and adjusting. She tried to help in every way. Setting up the pillow, moving me very slowly into the scan etc (this compared to the one who sedated me for my scans and angio many years ago and gave me ptsd with all the shoving, crowding, robotic treatment).
But my position (2 pillows under the head) doesnt work for a sinus scan. The radiologist came to meet us and suggested doing it under sedation. hubbs tried to tell him to stop explaining that as we already know whats involved, but he continued for another minute. Empathy dude.
Lately I have been getting more questions on the blog and facebook page about if people can substitute the non dairy milk, non dairy yogurt, vegan butter, flax egg with their non vegan (dairy, eggs) counterparts. Hmm, these questions are being asked on veganricha.com, on a recipe that says vegan something. I can see why things aren't obvious. Many blogs post vegan recipes and label them vegan, but the rest of the blog is not vegan. But my blog is called Vegan Richa for a reason. And a question about subs will get a response from me about why I use vegan options and what is wrong with the non vegan product.
And to end this random rambling...
Trump did not just "say" things people, He "did" them and he sees nothing wrong with "doing" them or bragging/saying all that he did or will do.
Dairy ends up being the point of contention for many people trying to transition to a less animal product heavy diet. All that cheese, butter, cream, ice cream, cream cheese, and what not are hard to make alternates of that are exactly the same in texture and flavor.
Why eliminate dairy?
What do I substitute it with?
There are so many brands of non dairy milk now in the market. Soy milk, almond milk, coconut Milk, rice milk, Hemp Milk, macadamia nut milk, hazelnut milk, Oat milk, mixed milks. Brands Almond breeze, So Delicious, Silk, califia farms, pacific and many more.
There are many brands that also offer vegan cheeses such as Miyoko's kitchen, Tree line, Chao Field Roast, Daiya, Follow Your Heart, Tofutti and so on.
Many Ice creams as well made with coconut milk, cashew milk, almond milk etc. Brands so Delicious, Nada Moo, Coconut bliss, soy dream, almond dream and many local brands.
Or you can soon find milk made by yeast which is basically dairy milk as it uses the cow's dna sequence. Animal Free Cow's milk!
Why kill a cow and calf when we have so many options!
Wait there is more. Cows are often killed by the dairy industry to keep milk prices high! This was revealed in a nationwide class-action lawsuit against dairy cooperatives, groups of farmers who pool their supplies but, as a whole, serve as middlemen between the farmers and dairy processors. The settlement was $52 million. The cows are not going to see a penny of that.
The Us government gives billions in $ to the diary industry in subsidies. Because of falling demand, they also bought $20 million worth of cheese.
Often I will see questions or statements like the following on forums and discussions. Here is what I think about them.
Q: You are a hypocrite if as a vegan you use an iphone or laptop or drive a car or... enter whatever other..
This is basically the similar to the question or statement - why do anything, since one cannot do everything. Everyone is a hypocrite in one way or the other. A person or an issue can have a higher priority for some while the same issue can have a lower priority for the other. A family member will have a higher priority than someone else. Most issues or problems are not really comparable. They are all either connected in some way or are completely different. As a vegan, a person is trying to tackle One of the problems of animal exploitation and commodification. During the life as a vegan- human, many of the connected issues might surface as well, they might be better understood and actions might be taken. LGBT, women's rights, child labor, cheap labor. Many of these are tied together by the concept of rights and equality.
I digress. For the above question, Sometimes it also helps to look at the scale of the problem. People buy Consumables like electronics once in a couple of years. Not all people buy or use the products however. They might come from factories where laborers are exploited. In comparison, one eats animals and animals products a few times daily which leads to 59 Billion animals being killed per year. 59,000,000,000 animals per year, 161643835 per day, 6735159 per hour, 112252 per minute, 1870 per second. If one doesnt want to think of the animals at all, Factory farms also count for incredibly high rates of worker exploitation.
Another point to note is the demand and availability of alternatives. As a vegan, one can omit all animal and animal products and eat well on plants, fruits, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds. With constant demand, now there is also a huge collection of alternatives to animal products, non dairy milks, fake meats etc. With increasing demand and pressure the factories and exploitation of works in any of the electronic consumables industry will go down or alternates will surface.
Do what one can do, instead of pointing out xyz that someone missed in the bigger picture of actions. For eg, If someone sees a neighborhood kid being abused, they might do something, from taking pictures to document, to calling 911, to intervening then and there, anything. Now would you go upto that person who is helping and say - hey man, you are hypocrite for saving that kid, coz you know, you have an iphone, or man millions are dying in another part of the world. So whats the use really?
The use is that that kid that got saved. The use is that that dog that was adopted from the shelter, his life changed completely. The use is that that animal who did not die to be on someone's plate.
Q: What about insects, animals dying during farming because of pesticides, or side effect of agriculture (machines, processing etc)
Vegan-ism is about reducing suffering and exploitation of animals as far as possible. There is a sideeffect of some number of living beings getting hurt or dying because of huge operations in many industries. As far as farming is concerned, the world would need far less farm land, resources and food production to be done if everyone just ate plants. Animal agriculture uses 100s or 1000s of times more plant food to sustain the animal, and produce animal based food. That means 100s of times more farms and 100s of times more side-effected animals getting hurt as a result of more farms. We are currently growing enough food to feed more than 10 billion people, but most of it is fed to farm animals being raised for food.
The World Bank estimates that 91% of the land deforested in the Amazon since 1970 has been cleared for grazing. Raising cattle for food requires far more land than growing plant-based foods directly for consumption. It also is a substantial contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, a bigger share than all of transportation according to the UN.
So in all, 100s times less number of animals will have to suffer to make plant food for the population.
I am quite an emotional person. Tears will leak out of my eyes at anything, any video of someone doing something really nice for someone else, some recovery or rescue stories of animals, or even a movie.
I watched a video of a woman's wedding with the person who was giving her away was the person who received her dad's heart when he passed away in an accident some years before. I mean serious tap action.
The other day we were at a new dentist's office. And they were being so nice, saying they would try and adjust to however my seating needs are etc, take breaks and so on. and a few minutes into the discussions hubbs says, don't be so nice to her, she will tear up :) and that I did.
How many times do you find people who are ready to help you outside of their comfort zone. Taking extra time, adjusting and so on are all time intensive activities, they possibly cannot charge for and also difficult on the person. For this reason and the adjustment needed (bending and working etc as I cannot lay flat on the dentist chair), more than half the dentists send me back with either they cant do it, or it would be easier if i just went under anesthesia for all dental work. Atleast they are honest instead of subjecting me to appointments and pushing me to adjust etc.
I get emails about many new book releases because of the blog. There seems to be a trend these days to create your own labels and terms for the way one eats. Especially because certain terms are trending way more than others, like vegan. Often people want to associate in some way with it for the cool trendy factor. The term people come up with often doesn't even exist and is just plain offensive.
veggan - vegan who eats eggs. There is already a term for that Ovo-vegetarian.
Seagan - Seafood + vegan. There is already a term for that pescatarian.
Here is how most of the PR mails read ...
" Sticking to a strict vegan diet can be a challenge – some occasionally fall off the wagon, some are looking for a less militant but still very healthy diet, and some might want to try it out without going whole hog at once. For them, we’d suggest trying seaganism.".
You might want to research the blogger you are sending these mails to. If you find the lifestyle militant, why even use that to describe something that already has another label? Why would an ethical vegan be interested in reviewing and supporting something like this?
Thought I would write some other stuff for a change. :)
Its my Book-iversary! 1 year since my first book release. It has done amazingly well being a niche book. I am super happy that so many people are cooking up Indian and vegan food from it!
Publishing has been a fun as well as frustrating experience. Books are a lot of work. Much more work than blogs. The consistency over recipes, and editing has to be perfect. Also, in terms of $, most of the money goes to distribution, most of the rest to the publisher and a minuscule % to the author.
On the other hand, once published, there is a credibility to being a published author and reaching a lot more people. Books are also perennial. they will always be there. A win some lose some situation.
I just posted a garam masala recipe on the vegan richa blog and 2 copies of my book giveaway. All the love from everyone in the comments = more of a win win situation!
This post is more for record keeping than a question really.
2006 is when stuff hit the fan. Everything went smoothly and I was almost ok after the first 2 weeks. And then bam, vertigo and balance issues. Was it the accidental double steroid dosage? Was it those weird lying down exercises? Was it the post surgery constipation that the hospital did not treat and let me go home with? Was it just waiting to happen? who knows. But life as I knew it came crashing down.
About 2 years, several doc visits, concluding that the nerves were still healing and the visits were only making me more depressed, so healing at home at my own pace and accepting the changes, later, I was walking around more. Doing some things. Even trying to drive a short drive. Eyes were doing better. Being able to read or work on a computer for more than a few mins and so on.
Another year and half of healing and then it was time for a checkup MRI. and bam, PTSD and panic disorder and agoraphobia. I was crippled for that whole year in 2010. A bit of therapy (with a bad therapist coz that was the only option near home), better therapy with hubbs and my own self, things were functional in another year.
Blog work, book work, new house move, family visits, made up the next 2 years. My balance on average days was better. I could sit on quite some supportive chairs and go for long drives.
And then bam allergies or sinus inflammation. 2012 I had my first 2 month long (who knows what, maybe sinusitis), episode that affected my balance so much that I couldnt be in the kitchen, couldnt sleep much and forget driving out. Sitting the car suddenly became imspossible (angle of seat?, allergens in car? who knows. But it gives me crazy sinus pressure to be in the car esp when it is not moving). Loads of natural remedies and corticosteroid sprays which gave even worse headaches. Then it got better by itself.
Now 3 years of repeat sinus issues every winter and nothing seems to work. This year bam, spring allergies. Allergy tests show I have no pollen allergies, just a mild dust mite, which we already handle at home. So non allergic rhinitis or something to do with the pressure changes. But that applies to winter, what about spring? Why is the high tree and grass pollen crapping my sinuses out?
The sinus inflammation makes balancing myself much more difficult. Balancing on a chair, balancing while walking. Everything more difficult. And it affects my eyes a lot, so eye work gets limited as well. So basically things are generally worse than avg days before. Car trips are not fun anymore on those days.
Oh also this year, I have more trouble sleeping. I have to wake up completely some days and then try to fall asleep again. Lot more random heart rate bumps at night peri-menopause or just allergies causing balance to go bad? who knows.
So many unanswered questions. The things with docs is, I don't want to see them. Coz its an endless cycle of trying to find answers, many specialists, many tests and no diagnosis or no meds that work. So I don't even bother (its super difficult to get to all those appointments with the limited driving days)
If I can find solutions with the least number of tests and least number of visits and least number of specialists or people seen. With this health care system = impossible.
If you are wondering about my general health (to help me diagnose the new symptoms), It is generally ok. A bit low on Iron (runs in the family), low on vit-d (runs in the pacific northwest). I supplement for b-12, iron and D.
On the other good side, some pointers from a new therapist I found this year and I am getting a bit more comfortable with reducing the dependence on hubbs, so he travels. Yay for that. Now to figure out how not to get low about another set of shiz this year.
I get all sorts of feedback on the recipes on the blog and esp my book. Some of the feedback is about how there isn't enough variety in the flavors and options in the recipes. With the book, it was a hard problem to solve. Have more new recipes with all new flavors from regional cuisines, or add more of versions of favorite meals or restaurant style sauces. There are many regional options esp in the Veggies and Dals Chapters and many restaurant style meals in the Mains. But of course the balance is not going to be perfect for everyone.
It is obvious that many people try out the recipes that they are familiar with, have tasted before or atleast know the names of. So most of the regional recipes or recipes that need some specific ingredients are made by fewer people and made after trying out other recipes. So how can someone who has not yet tried those options interpret that there aren't enough options? Of course some recipes will taste similar. They are from the same cuisine.
With this new world of social media, everyone is open to express their options (and sometimes demands).
Somedays, it gets disheartening that the only comments on a blog post are about asking me how the recipe can be made something-free. I understand that people cannot always eat everything. I cannot either and I also understand the difficulties with it and try to provide options whenever possible.
But seriously 1- read the post, half the answers are already there ( there are similar recipes on the blog already that are "something"-free depending on what you are looking for and they are generally linked on the post), 2- ask nicely, instead of leaving rude comments about how the recipe "sucks" because it is not "something"-free. (yes, there are several comments on the blog with 1 star rating and on social media about how things suck or pity it isnt something!)
It gets to me somedays, because I literally am scared to post something for the fear of getting many comments and having to deal with them.
So the first few months of the year uneventful because there is only so much I can do when my balance is incredibly crappy because of the sinus inflammation. Finally, that seems to be subsiding and I seem to be able to drive further, sit in the car longer, walk farther and so on.
And then things keep piling up.
I signed up for eye therapy which I haven't been able to move the graph anywhere and I literally hate the weekly or bi-weekly checks. Clearly the therapy speed is totally not suited to me. It is supposed to be a 1 yr therapy which I bet is going to take 3 or more years.
(on a side note, why in the world did none of all the innumerable specialists suggest this therapy earlier. For so many years I wasn't even doing anything, when this would work out so much better. My eyes were anyway crappy and making them crappier with exercise was something that I could adjust to faster. Now with all the activities planned around every day and being in the state where living with the limited abilities is easier, why would I want to disrupt it all over again, in the hopes of making things better (there is no guarantee to that). Bah).
I have to eventually get to my dental schedule. root canals and other things to do.
The usual blog, recipe creation, photography, editing, social media etc always keeps increasing obviously.
And we are also trying to figure out how to get hubbs to travel. <- div="" most="" nbsp="" pressure.="" the="">->
(on another side note, my therapist asks me that do I see that my anxiety is affecting his ability to fly for whatever purposes. And I am like of course I know that. Whats the use of guilt-tripping me for something that I know already, feel bad enough for already, and am trying to find solutions to. That is why I am there for therapy. Strike one for therapist.)
I might just crash this week or have a panic attack.
Note to self. Hang in there.
The low or overwhelmed state usually lasts for a few hours to a 1-2 days. We usually find things that work to get me out of it. All good.
For more than a decade now hubbs has been the pillar of everything around me. He has been through surgery, through all the vertigo attacks, the balance issues, anxiety, post traumatic stress, ups and downs and everything.
When he is hiking or elsewhere, just being able to talk to him or reach him, calms me down. That everything is ok, everything will be ok. Being too far from him where he cannot be immediately reached or from where he cannot come back within a few hours makes me very anxious. It's combination of anxiety disorder, and the fact that if something happens that I cannot handle myself, then how will I get through it. Things like me losing my balance, or a vertigo attack. some of these are real possibilities that can put me a in a situation where I am stuck sitting in one place without being able to reach my meds or phone. Who knows how long the vertigo will last without the meds.
Because of this hubbs hasn't been able to travel or do things that take more than 2 days. For the first few years post surgery we were just trying to deal with and find solutions to the disabilities, for the next few we accepted those and were trying to live with the disabilities. Now those things are settled and I would like to be less dependent on hubbs for some things that can be delegated elsewhere for some periods of time.
Ideally, it would be more of a person/friend to rely on, who I am comfortable with and who is available when needed. I take a long time to warm up to anyone, so spending enough time together will be important. It would be amazing to have something in common, someone who is (or has a deep understanding or experience with) vegan, Or Indian, Or knows some about balance /vertigo issues or anxiety. Eventually, I have to be able to be comfortable with and depend on this person when my husband is travelling for a few days. Comfortable to be me, i.e, not always pleasant and maybe demanding person if I have certain levels of balance issues :). and so on.
When he is travelling, that would mean a day and night live in. When he is in town, just a few hours a day would be sufficient. But we are open to a live in for a couple of months (6 to 9 months) situation.
So we are looking for a caretaker of sorts who can
- be a daily few hours caretaker or live in if you wish (will have loads of time for you to do your stuff as there are no kids in the house).
- there isn't much to do in the house, dishes, some kitchen clean up, walking chewie are the only daily things. You can help me cook and clean :) . I cook a lot some days.
- laundry every weekend, reorganize things once a month. - Optional.
- drive me and chewie around if needed to grocery store, or you do the shopping if I am not up for it.
- our house is a vegan household (we have one kitchen to use if you live in. the kitchen is generally very heavily used).
- would appreciate a very calm, non judgmental, nurturing person who takes instruction well.
There are other things you can do as well. Help me with VeganRicha social media and pinterest (scheduling and comments), help with shooting and editing recipe videos and so on. These are all optional.
Please write to me at richahingle @ gmail . com , with short info of previous experiences, rates, and other questions. I live in Seattle, south of capitol hill. For live in option, we have a room with full bath on the lower floor with privacy as there are no other rooms on that floor. For staying over for the few days during hubbs travels, we also have a guest room with bath on the same floor as other bedrooms. You might have to stay awake with me for a good part of the night though :).
This could mean that I am transferring some of the dependence on someone else(caretaker), but the immediate future, that seems to be my only option.
Hubbs has been through all the thick and thin with me. The lows, the vertigo attacks, panic attacks, depression, anxiety, then getting better and slipping back and everything. He is the only person who knows how to help me in any situation.
With the anxiety therapy, one of the things we have to try is to reduce the dependence I have on him, so that I can be less anxious when he is unreachable, or when he is hiking or when he is travelling (which he hasnt done yet for more than 2 days). Why the dependence in the first place. As a limitedly abled person there is always some things I cannot do. Something like me losing my balance, or getting a vertigo attack (which sometimes does not give any warning) is a real possibility anyday, that can put me a in a situation where I am stuck sitting in one place without being able to reach my meds or my phone. Who knows how long the vertigo will last without the meds, how long will I sit there, will I yell for help, will anyone hear it? The therapist wanted to know if I had anyone else around that I could depend somewhat on, family and good friends. And I told her that family lives far away and all the good friends have either moved from the city, or moved on with their lives.
Thats a common occurrence isn't it. Everyone sticking to similar minded people, with similar lifestyles, similar abilities and similar priorities. Anything you are or do differently, simply means a slowly increasing distance from the non different set. For me, the time when I could have cultivated deeper friendships, went in recovery and understanding my limited abilities. Who would want to spend their time sitting and chatting away at home when they can get out and party. So now, as a limitedly abled, no kid, vegan person, it is practically impossible to find people who can be good friends and dependable.
I do have a few, but I have learnt from experience, that the dependence on anyone other than spouse, ( & sometimes family), doesn't work. A friend is always a second priority after children and family.
So the only way, is to figure out dependence on myself. We will see how that goes.
I have had generalized anxiety since surgery. I also went through panic disorder and agoraphobia for a year in between caused by the post traumatic stress. that got better, But different levels of generalized anxiety are something I deal with every day. Anxiety about going out to any new place because I don't know if i will be able to find a place to sit. The darn balance and sinus issues mean I cannot sit anywhere except soft sofas to stabilize. Going out on a drive and the anxiety of getitng stuck in a jam, coz the car seat is bothersome as well.
I just started meeting a therapist to help me deal with generalized anxiety more easily and hence improve my day today life and experiences. One of the methods she suggested was exposure therapy (which isnt a fun name really). Keep exposing myself to different levels of the activities that make me anxious and soon they wont affect me as much.
There are several issues with this.
1. I have been doing that since many years, and every year, through the winter Sinusitis, I can't get out or do most of the things that I could do during the rest of the year. So the confidence resets and i have to start from scratch again.
2. Any kind of anxiety causes my balance to start to go off. The main reason for almost all of the activities that give me anxiety is the fact that when I get any level of anxious, even the least bit, about say going somewhere, it triggers my balance. If I do not let that pass and let the balance calm a bit, the upset balance feeds back into the loop where i get anxious about the fact that my balance is upset. That anxiety causes the balance to get even more upset, and hence more anxiety and so on. So exposing myself to more anxiety, leading up a very upset balance is just going to move me closer to getting panic and vertigo attacks. which isnt going to help me. So onwards to some other mixed therapies.
Sometimes there are recipes that I really like and when I post them. But for most, the recipe might be too new, different than their everyday food :) , so the pageviews and social media shares are minimal.
Chocolate, 3-4-5 ingredient something and cauliflower always are super popular though.
The hardest thing so far as a blogger and author has been to keep the negative opinions and reviews out of my head. Even though I know that 99% people love the food, the book, the blog recipes and do let me know, some comments or reviews just get to me.
For example with my book, some not as positive reviews means it is reaching many more people than the intended audience. But reading them is not fun. Sigh, reminder to self, one cannot please everyone. Just do what you do.
I am Punjabi by birth. Punjabis, as Mom puts it, can be a bit hot headed. That totally applies to me.
I am always ready to fight if cornered. I mean I get very angry very easily. I get other emotions in extremes very easily too. I also have strong opinions. It probably is also amped up by the fact that I am female. Those hormones. :)
On the other hand, hubbs is a this super calm chill person. You'd really have to do something really bad to make him mad.
On many occasions, when I am just starting to get angry, or cursing, he just looks at me like why, what's the use of all that and my anger will die down.
Over the years I have picked up some of that calm energy from him. Thankfully I did, because it is really helpful when as a blogger I have to be out on social media to deal with all kinds of people, or get rude mails and things, and always be politically correct and nice.
On the very few days, when things get to me, the anger just doesn't die down. Today is the day, when everything I say, will have a swear word attached to it. (on most days, I do not use swear/curse words. I think I didn't even know proper swear words till I came to the US. Also learnt them because of the abundant use by guy-friends who use them in the name of free speech since no parents are around).
I started my visual therapy treatment last month. It started with a program that can be run on my computer, with exercises for eye training like moving targets, moving boxes, matching targets etc. In the past month and a half I tried the exercises just 4 times. and whether I do them for 10 minutes or 30 seconds, I crash. My eyes stop working (being able to read or work on a computer etc), my ears and head hurt, my balance gets crappy, and I get vertigo.
I was thinking of an analogy of what might be happening so I can use it to make others around understand and here is how the analogy works.
Think of a big computer system/software or a computer. Something stops working in that computer, say a driver or software. The computer knows that something isn't working, but the computer cannot fix it. It can keep running with the not working part, just like the body and brain keep functioning even with messed up nerves or muscles. You can keep working the computer or the body, keep telling it to work, it will work, but the problem is not going to get resolved by itself.
Now a developer/coder comes in and attempts to figure out the problem and fix it. The initial few passes, any code that he writes will most likely cause crashes in the system. After a few tries, he may find something that works. After a couple more tries and a deeper understanding of how the software works, he may figure out what solution is needed and proceed to write it. The code that he writes for the solution might not work the fist time he writes it. After a few iterations, it might finally start working as expected.
The visual therapy is working similarly on my brain. Trying to create new paths of dependence as some nerves just do not work. In the initial stages, everything just crashes, and it will.
Its always a complete crash. I get from being able to do loads of work continuously for 8 to 9 hours on the computer, in the kitchen, photography, editing, walking chewie, driving around etc, to being able to do nothing. I just sit and listen to audiobooks, curse the vertigo (the vertigo always comes back), sleep and repeat. All this after just 30 seconds of exercise. #$%#$*
I don't know, how I will keep getting motivated to do the exercises, even though I know they will likely help me in the future.
The down time of 3 to 4 days, the bad eyes and vertigo are extremely depressing. I was doing so much every single day of last year, except for a few bad days or rest days. Every dingle day I was accomplishing something. I am keeping up the hope that I get used to the exercises soon and crash less and less with less extremes just like the computer fix.
The wood flooring on one side of he kitchen seems to be absorbing water from somewhere and buckling up.
I saw the 2 wood boards this morning and noticed the slight darker shade and on close inspection noted that they were starting to expand. I looked up and called out out hubbs, #$%F**v$% we have a leak!! Call a plumber!
Hubbs, comes by calmly, looks around, misses the boards and says where. I point it out to him. He says it was probably always like this. Then he inspects it. He says its getting pasticky, maybe just a bit of moisture, or maybe the cleaners dropped something yesterday, chill. Roams around, comes to the corner again, hmm, seems like the cabinet wall is expanding too. must be some water spill. it will dry out. More inspection and 10 minutes later, yes we should probably call a plumber.
pretty much sums us up. I see the worst possible scenario and he sees the best possible.
There are many ways to be brave. From being brave enough to say something you want to say, to being brave in facing the unknown, in facing one's fears, in battle, in life, in health and everything.
Everyone has their own level of bravery. We are all brave in some things and not so much in some others.
I am not sure about being asked to be brave. Be brave and do something. Be brave, you can do it. Nope, doesn't work.
I am not sure Someone who has just gone through a crippling accident, a crime committed on them, life threatening condition etc, wants to hear things like you are so brave to be dealing with it, or be brave and get through it. Maybe, you are doing good, or take your time with everything, are more comforting.
I just spoke to my vision therapy co-ordinator and heard the same thing. Be brave, you can get through this.
Nope, I do not want to be brave. I do not willingly want to do exercises that will mess up my eyes, my balance, capabilities and cause nausea, awfulness and stuff. I will do them because I know they might eventually help. There are all types of people, some who will force themselves to do things faster, try many things at the same time, push themselves to the limit, in the hopes of getting normal/better and get there sooner (or accept a new normal somewhere on the way and adjust accordingly). And there are people who will do the exact same thing, but at a slower pace. Eventually, it is about forcing one self to endure something unpleasant. These people, whichever path they are on, do not necessarily want to hear- Be brave, you can do better (or maybe some do, because that works for them). For everyone though, an appreciation for whatever they are doing is what will keep them going. You are doing good. I am doing good. We are doing good, at our own pace, we will get there wherever that is.
A quick PSA. Images found on web searches, on blogs etc are not free to copy anywhere. They are covered by copyright laws. Please always ask for permission. The same goes for recipes, write ups, cookbook photos and recipes, or anything online for that matter. Online on the web is not equal to free to copy esp without credit. Please ask for permission before sharing (copying in entirety) in any public form, blog which is visible to public, forums, social media etc. Hard work goes into photography, recipe development, editing, content development.
The optimal way to share is to share links to the blog posts, website articles etc. Any way of sharing that only uses a snippet or one photo from the post and links back to the original, so everyone has to come back to original article.
Maasi literally translates to Maa - si, like mother. I am not sure about the origin of the word. But culturally it seems appropriate.
Maasi in north Indian groups or other parts of India as well is used to refer to maternal aunt. So all of my mom's sisters are name Maasi. A Maasi, b Maasi etc. like Aunt A, aunt B, where A and B are their names.
It probably makes sense to be called so as Maasis are the ones who would step up to help their sister when she needed a break or take up the kids responsibility like their own for a while. Their hearts and houses were always welcoming and love was always freely given.
I lost one of my Maasi this September when Mom was visiting. Mom and me sat and cried together and lived through some of the memories. Maasi was terminal for almost a year and had a really bad last few weeks. The C word just sucks.
Wow, do you know how difficult it is to find people to do house calls for services?
I am trying to find mobile hair dressers and the only salon that does that in Seattle is booked through the entire month.
I have been cutting my own hair since the past few years, because it is such a pain getting an appointment when I want it, then sitting on the skinny moving chairs to get the cut and getting through all the hair pulling, all of which gives me a headache and balance issues and wastes my entire day. So i'd rather do it on a weekday and not spoil my weekend. And taking 2 hours of hubbs time weekdays for a haircut is super wasteful.
There have to be better solutions to this. How do people with limited abilities get simple things like haircuts. How about super busy moms or other sets of people who need basic services at home.