Sherrie is a WAHM on a mission. Married with 2 kids and three dogs, she's an occasional insomniac, vegetarian, home business professional, Examiner, soapmaker, and anime-lover. She's not a medical professional, but is sharing her stories and experiences about how plant-based eating and exercise are helping her regain her health.
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I think that my new nickname should be Human Barometer. It doesn’t matter how good I’m feeling or moving when the changes in barometric pressure are dramatic.
It always starts in my ankles. They feel a little tight, but not tight enough for a support or anything. I’ve I’d been training, I usually chalk it up to that. Then my knees get sore. That makes me check the weather a little more closely. If I see rain in the forecast, I know what is on the way and get out the turmeric and Aleve.
Once my hip and spine stiffen and go from an ache to throbbing pain, it’s on. So much on. Right now I’m typing this in a recliner with my back, neck, and head firmly against the back of the chair, legs raised in a partial recline. It’s the only comfortable position at the moment. My ribs, elbows, wrists, and shoulders are feeling it now, too. Tropical Storm Cindy is not heading my way (be safe, y’all), but I feel it anyway. Rain is coming ad we’ve had some here in Charleston since Sunday night’s thunderstorm.
Weather-related pain flare aside, I will get in some yoga today. It is International Yoga Day after all. I recognize my current limits and have a mix of workouts in my arsenal. I also know that I will always have a dog on my yoga mat if I step away. Flexibility training helps make these bad days easier and make good days better.
Between yoga and walking, I am getting stronger physically. It just doesn’t feel like it on days like this. I’m trying not to fall into the pit that seems to open up whenever a flare is extended. Spoonies, you get me, right?
Happy Wednesday, Happy Solstice, and Happy International Yoga Day! May it be amazing!
If you like to cook, then you may share my problem — I’m addicted to kitchen toys. I love them! Knives, scales, mandolins, containers, blenders, mixers, Instant Pot – all of them. I don’t use love to have them around, I use them. I don’t like spending money on anything I won’t use just because an ad or infomercial caught my eye.
But before I grew to love kitchen toys, I had to pick up the essentials. You know, the basic kitchen equipment that fit my needs. Here’s a quick peek at some of my kitchen essentials. This is not a list of thinks everyone must have, but my personal collection of go-to tools. If I did not have these, I could not get anything done in the kitchen.
I’m working on my fat/weight loss goals, so the right tools are essential. I picked up Snapware bowls for the things I cook in bulk for the family and the individual portions I make for myself. I’ve noticed that when I pack leftovers as full meals, I tend to stick to the cleaner path. I also use divided containers by Orgalif to refrigerate or freeze perfectly portioned meals.
They help me keep on point on bad pain days. If I don’t have something ready to roll, I give in to the pb&j (well, Sumbutter and jelly or jam) on whole wheat rut.
Containers and a lunch box that holds them at the right temperature all day are important because Hubs (aka FM) takes lunch to work almost every day. We picked up a couple of lunchboxes that came complete with container and a shaker bottle this year and tossed all of the older ones that needed to go. With these, hubs or the kids can take enough food to last most of the day. This gray, black, and red bag from HomEquip came with 2 2-cup containers, 4 1-cup containers, a pill/supplement box, bottle, and ice pack that fit nicely. It’s a little snug when all of the containers are in place, but he doesn’t usually take more than a sandwich, fruit and veggie sides, a utensil, napkins, and a protein or granola bar for emergency snackage. The grey with turquoise bag behind this one is Hubs’ preferred bag because he can fit his water bottle inside with his lunch containers. Both bags work nicely when needed.
You don’t need to buy a lot of containers when you have Mason jars on hand. Pasta sauce jars, pickle jars, and others with tight lids work nicely as storage for dry goods, in the freezer (just don’t fill it to the rim), and fridge for salads or oats. I also use jars for dressings and dips that I whip up. Besides overnight oats with berries, I have some Cashew Cream Cheese from Meal Mentor in jars now.
*By the way, if you have not checked out Meal Mentor yet, you can get a free sample at GetMealPlans.com. Whole food, low fat, high carb goodness. Most of the dishes I’ve made are omni-approved.*
In addition to the containers, I need my cutting boards, cast iron skillet and griddle, 5 qt. stainless steel pot, baking pans, and cookie sheets. I need the, so I have a safe place to chop produce (and there is a separate board for the fam to us for non-veggie stuff). When I get the desire to bake, I pull out the loaf pans, cookie sheets, or square or rectangular pans depending on what mood strikes. I feel the need for a bean loaf and possibly muffins for next week.
My main tools are my knives. I have both steel and Ceramic knives. Until Ozeri sent me this set of three ceramic knives, I had not taken the plunge. I wasn’t convinced I would like them as much as steel. I use them several times a week. I’d use them daily, but I don’t cook or prep on a daily basis. The handles feel good in my hands and the light weight make it easier for me to work longer. Those features alone make my arthritic hands happy. And they look good. I kind of dig the black stainless appliances and these knives remind me of that look.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the peek at my kitchen essentials. I’ll share more about my possibly unhealthy obsession with the InstantPot, air fryer, and J.L Fields’ cookbooks for both another time.
Diabetes. I did not want to hear that diagnosis. It was already around me (family and friends) and I thought I’d escape it personally. Nope.
I was first diagnosed in 2015, but I was more pre-Diabetic than Diabetic according to everything I was ordered to review. Once my script ran out, I did not rush to refill it. I believed I could handle things on my own with diet and exercise. I did not plan for extended periods without more exercise due to pain, the depression- and stress-fueled binging, or the frequent ‘eff this’ days that led to fast food dinners.
The ‘yes, you have Type 2,’ was repeated in December 2016. I’ve been taking my meds, eating decently for the most part until this past March-April, and moving more when I can. I’m going back in sometime next month for an A1C test re-do and am not sure if I’ll be given the green light to stop meds. My fasting Glucose has been in the 140+ range for a couple of weeks now. I’m a little worried.
Yes, plant-based people can develop diseases like Diabetes and Hypertension. It happens. No, I will not go Paleo unless it’s completely plant-based. You heard me.
I have noticed that my Glucose jumps after TexMex restaurant meals, fattier meals. and when I eat at random times in general. I’ve also noticed that my pain flares are longer and have higher spikes. Yes, Diabetes can cause that. And my fat loss is currently at a standstill. Why? Pain. It always goes back to pain.
I don’t mean a general discomfort, Dr. Who-Thinks-I’m-Just-Lazy (yes, a former doc said this to me and she knew about my spinal issues). I am in pain. Pain that makes it difficult to even breathe sometimes.
I am trying to keep it positive, though. I have a dusted off my copy of Eat to Live and Happy Herbivore cookbooks, have few new cookbooks with oil-free and high nutrient recipes, and follow more blogs that feature the dietary guidelines I need to follow. I also registered for the 2018 Cooper River Bridge Run and ordered my shirt a size smaller than I wear now. Training begins now! Goals! My PLant-Fusion New Year is still in full-effect.
So, that’s what I’m up to now. Well, in addition to more appointments to figure out what exactly is ailing me. You know the drill – blood tests say this, but symptoms point to another thing.
Go with love, y’all. Always choose love. If you need me, I’ll be over here with a book, game, or napping. No telling.
Are you ready for Mother’s Day? It’s Sunday. Yes, two days from now. Did you forget? Let me assure you, your mother-figure did not forget to watch you grow, deal with your teen angst, walk you through many firsts. If you need ideas, Merilee Kern has them. Check out this guest post and run with it. Kids, if you’re reading this, I could use a waffle iron.
7 Marvelous Mother’s Day Gifts Under $100
By Merilee Kern, ‘The Luxe List’ Executive Editor
According to the National Retail Federation, Mother’s Day shoppers are expected to spend an average of $186.39 for the holiday, up from last year’s $172.22. That’s a lot of retail-driven adoration. From food to flowers to frocks, well-intentioned gifters are indelibly on the hunt for that perfect present that’ll light up Mom’s face and warm her heart—not just on Mother’s Day but, optimally, all year through. Towards this end, here’s an apt assortment of gift ideas priced under $100 that she can enjoy on the daily.
The Kennedy Tote from RuMe (pronounced “Room-ey”) is a stylish tote that’s great for the woman on-the-go. Available in 27 unique patterns and colors, these trendy bags are designed with extra-long vegan leather handles to ensure it’s comfortable to carry over your shoulder, and boast a durable polyester body sure to stand the test of time. The Kennedy Tote is the perfect size for Mom to fit everything from laptops and tablets, to library books, clothes and even those random toys and snacks that always seem to make their way into her bag. It’s bigger than the average purse, but not so big that it’s overwhelming. The Kennedy Tote is handmade in the USA and all are made to order. With this, Mom can leave that boring canvas tote at home and rock some style-sense!
Clipa Bag Hanger (www.Clipa.us) – $15.99
While Mom is out and about, give you an easy and attractive way to secure her Kennedy Tote or any other stylish handbag off the dirty floor—especially in restaurants, bathrooms, movie theaters and other public places. Clipa, which means “instant” in Romanian, is a decidedly fashionable, USA-made handbag hanger that goes on—not in—the bag for quick and easy use at any time. This strong, circular purse hanger is designed for heavy bags—it can actually hold up to 33 pounds! It’ll keep her handbag off the ground or floor, safe from germs and filth. It works in seconds. Simply open and place on the bag strap to have whenever needed. To use, just open one end and hang. When finished, just pull the strap and Clipa automatically closes and slides back onto the bag. The new Clipa2 is a lighter and sleeker model that works in more places including thicker countertops and tables. It’s ideal for bathroom stall doors and walls, shopping carts even rails. Also durable, it’s been tested to last for 10 years of daily use. Also fashion-adaptable, Clipa comes in a variety of colors, designs, and metals including matte and polished, hematite, gold, and silver. I’ve used a variety of handbag hangers and Clipa is by far the most versatile and durable.
This spring and summer, Mom will surely love staying warm and cozy with fashionable Heat Holders’ Lounge Socks—especially when ensconced in a chilly, air-conditioned environment. This short ankle length slipper-style sock with turn over cuffs is ideal for lounging around the home. Perfect to express your love for mom, they include cute heart shaped non-slip grippers on the bottom to provide better traction on hard indoor surfaces like wood or tile. Thick and chunky with long pile cushioning, these thermal socks help keep feet fully comfortable and supported. The inside of each sock has been intensively brushed, which makes it not only feel sensationally soft but also traps warm air close to the skin keeping feet warmer for longer. Wrapped in a pretty ribbon that says “Just for you”, these socks (available in stripe or solid patterns) make a thoughtful gift she’ll use time and time again. BELLA Rotating Belgian Waffle Maker (www.BellaHousewares.com) – $29.99
Perfect for those culinary Moms who love to impress and indulge, the new BELLA Ceramic Copper Titanium rotating Belgian waffle maker will surely be well-received. With it, Mom and the whole family can enjoy 1″ thick crisp and fluffy restaurant quality Belgian waffles at home in mere minutes. The true non-stick coating allows the use of any batter desired—so she can get super creative! This enduring appliance has a unique ceramic non-stick coating that is 8 times more durable and cooks up to 30% faster than standard non-stick coatings. This ultra-durable coating is actually reinforced with titanium for outstanding resilience and resistance to metal utensils, resisting scratches and scuffs. It’s even a healthy “eco-coating” as it doesn’t contain lead or cadmium and is also PTFE and PFOA free. Mom will also appreciate the space saving design with a folding handle that allows for convenient storage, along with the drip tray making cleaning a breeze.
Moms are constantly looking for ways to make cooking simpler. The CRUX Toaster Oven with Convection function is one easy way to improve and expedite her cooking efforts and is a practical gift she’s certain to appreciate. This device delivers faster, more even heating and also maintains enhanced temperature accuracy. In all, the highly uniform heating profile without hot-spots yields fantastic toasting results. And, the large 17-liter capacity holds up to six slices of bread or a 12” pizza. Other notable features of the CRUX Toaster oven include 700-watt heating elements that preheat quickly and cook efficiently; bake, broil, bagel, toast and warm functions; 60-minute timer with stay-on and auto shut-off; and a grill rack with three positions to accommodate various size casseroles and baking pans. The unit also comes complete with a bake pan and external removable crumb tray. Whether she’s looking for convenience for breakfast, lunch or dinner—for herself or the whole family—or wanting to bake a quick late-night snack, she’ll love the ease and power of this appliance.
What more quintessential way to celebrate Mom than with a homemade brunch on Mother’s Day? And while you’re at it, go ahead and whip her up a tasty mixed elixir. One recipe idea is the Pompelmoncello Rosemary Mojito made with Everclear. This delicious cocktail mixes together grapefruit, rum and rosemary, creating a sweet and refreshing cocktail that’ll help her relax and enjoy her special day. The Everclear spirit component is distilled from 100% selected grains, providing a neutral flavor profile along with a high proof—so do be mindful of the amount used. Because it’s flavor neutral, it has a unique ability to extract even the subtlest of flavors, providing home mixologists with a clean slate, a blank canvas and endless potential. For those who insist a mojito requires mint, this cocktail politely disagrees. The flavors of grapefruit, rum and rosemary combine perfectly to help you forget everything you thought you knew about the Havana classic—and delight Mom in kind.
Nonni’s Dark Chocolate Almond THINaddictives (www.Nonnis.com) – Starting at $3.49
Another delightful indulgence for Mom—particularly those who are health conscious and ever on-the-go—is the better-for-you Dark Chocolate Almond THINaddictives from Nonni’s artisan bakery. They’re thin, crunchy, and super addictive…but in the best way. THINaddictives are handmade quality from a cherished family recipe passed down from generation to generation with no two cookies alike. Averaging only 70 to 80 calories per pack, each almond thin is lightly drizzled with decadent dark chocolate and made with real ingredients such as California almonds, bananas and sweet cherries for a guilt-free anytime snack. These crunchy delights come in three delectable flavors: Dark Chocolate Banana Almond, Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond and Double Dark Chocolate Almond. THINaddictives pair perfectly with hot or cold beverages like iced coffee or tea or are certainly delectable by themselves. With each pack individually wrapped, they’re awesome to take on-the-go. Find these tasty treats at retailers nationwide. ~~~
As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern is an internationally-regarded consumer product trends expert and hospitality industry voice of authority—a travel, dining, leisure and lifestyle expert who spotlights noteworthy marketplace innovations, change makers, movers and shakers. She reports on exemplary travel destinations and experiences, extraordinary events and newsworthy products and services across all categories. Reach her online at www.TheLuxeList.com, on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList and on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReviews.
***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or sponsored at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***
May 12 is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. Send good thoughts to someone who deals with this. If you don;t have it, imagine a daily migraine, but all over your body. Or a horrible case of the flu. Some days are better than others. Some of us can work, others can’t. The pain and fatigue can be debilitating. And don’t get me started on the brain fog.
What’s your Fibro story? My personal Fibro story began years before my diagnosis, You’ve heard it before, so I won’t repeat it. I’m sure you’re tired of hearing it by now. Pain is my constant companion and I am incredibly thankful for a family who gets it for the most part. The kids (adults now) know when I need the sleep and don’t necessarily see it as me taking a lazy day. Hubs has taken over 95% of laundry duties because the bending and reaching tend to lead to pain spikes.
After my official diagnosis in 2016, I went into research mode; searching on and offline for resources that would help. The National Fibromyalgia Association has been a weekly stop. The resources have been invaluable to me. If you know someone with Fibro and don’t know much about it, this is a great place to start.
To my fellow spoonies, let’s raise our glasses to the doctors and researchers who get it and are looking for ways to make our lives better. Cheers!
Howdy, y’all. It’s been a minute since I’ve posted anything here. I’ve been active on Instagram and Facebook, but not really blogging.
Grief is natural. We have to get through it however we can. Laughing, crying, staring off into space – all natural. Feeling lost is natural. Feeling like you can’t hold it together is natural. Grief is universal and individual. Grief is an asshole.
Watching the people I love in pain has taken the wind out of me somewhat. Some days I feel like I’m here and others not so much. I wonder if what I’m doing is enough, but I know there is only so much I can do.
The grief has brought on a few days of mindless eating and tears. Not just for the ones who left, but for those who left long ago. I’ve dreamed of my grandmother, mother-in-law, father, and old friends. Not memory-inspired dreams, but scenes of happy times with all of them in the present. They have been both sad and comforting, but mostly sad. I hate that they have and will miss so many good things. Graduations, births, new jobs, new homes, all of it.
It will get easier, I know. If you’re grieving, you’re not alone.
I have made no secret of struggle with weight loss. It becomes a little more difficult when chronic pain forces me to put fitness on the back burner. The forced time outs mean I need to tighten up when it comes to nutrition. 2017 has started well and I’m down 4 pounds since mid-January.
I’ve fully embraced my current fitness level and am working within my limits. Working at the level I am now and not where I was before required modification — and there is nothing wrong with that. I’m already feeling stronger and more flexible. I’ve even accepted new challenges to help keep motivated.
I heard about an opportunity to work with a brand I love, applied, and was accepted.
Your friendly neighborhood Sherrie is sponsored by PlantFusion! I was selected as a #PlantFusionNewYear challenge participant and Monday was day 1.
For the next 8 weeks I’ll be stepping up my game and Plant Fusion Lean is part of my meal plan. Each serving of this dairy-free protein supplement includes 21 grams of plant protein, 8 grams of prebiotic dietary fiber, superfoods, Lactospore probiotic, and EcoLean. EcoLean is clinically proven to curb hunger better than whey. It blends perfectly with water or plant milk, is delicious in recipes, and is delicious.
My meals will still be whole food plant-based, but each day will include more protein and much healthier treats. Chocolate Chip Protein Cookie Dough? Chocolate Brownie Protein Pudding? Yes, please!
If you haven’t tried PlantFusion PlantFusion Lean, Phood, or PlantFusion Organic Plant Protein, you can pick up sample packs directly from PlantFusion for $10.
If you follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, you’ll get to see my daily progress. I won’t fill your feed with just healthy things, though. There will be puppy goodness in the mix.
Join me for a healthier 8 weeks. Set a goal and go from there. You could clean up your eating a bit, step up your fitness plan, or just plan to drink more water. Let me know if you’re in and I’ll cheer you on.
Howdy, y’all. Your friendly neighborhood Sherrie has goals.
Not resolutions, goals. And not just goals, but goals with solid planning behind them. It’s easy to say “I’m going to do this in this amount of time, but without a plan, it may not happen.
I’m keeping it simple and straightforward, with nothing crazy added to the mix. I’ve been eating off plan and struggling with eating my feelings lately (well, on and off since the election), so getting back on track and putting my goals front and center will help me focus.
Without further ado, here are my goals for the next 90 days:
Flexibility work daily – at least a good 5-minute stretch
I feel so much better when I stretch and have let that habit slide. No more. Get up and stretch, people!
Start walking regularly again, at least 3 days a week
The Shrimp & Grits 5K is tomorrow and I’m definitely in. Packet pick-up is tonight and I am so excited. And a little concerned because there is a pain flare in effect.
Lose 10-15 pounds
This is a doable goal for three months. It breaks down to 1.25 pounds a week maximum, which is a healthy rate. Meds and high pain days make it difficult, but sticking to my food plan will make the difference here.
Love myself no matter what
This is the big one. There are days that I feel trapped in this body and I let fears of my potential state in my golden years take over. I love myself, but those days leave me a teary, self-destructive mess. I eat things I don’t handle well (like peanut butter) and overeat in an attempt to ease the pain. Neither help.
So, there are my goals. I’ll share often on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You could join me, cheer me on, stare and shake your heads, or whatever. I will get mine and I hope you get yours, too. Feel free ask me anything about my journey and tell me what you want to see or not see.
And now it’s time for a cup of tea and a little reading. It may or may not involve a cookbook or two.
Do you spend your workday at a desk? I do. I know I wanted to spend less time sitting during the day. I work at a standard desk, so sitting is a major part of my day. I occasionally move away from the desk and set up at the dining room table as a standing desk setup. In my dream office, my current desk and a separate standing desk would be set up in an L-shape and I’d include a sofa and coffee/drink station.
Even though my private office is in the dream planning stage, I decided to look into standing desks and found Merilee Kern’s review of the VARIDESK Pro Plus 36″. My dream private office layout may change a bit. I can see the Pro Plus 30″ next to my current desk.
If you haven’t looked into a standing desk for yourself, read on to learn about Merilee’s experience.
VARIDESK Standing Desk a Smart Wellness Solution
By Merilee Kern, ‘The Luxe List’ Executive Editor
The pitfalls of sitting too much have been well-proven, with the gravely serious risks ranging from medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease and obesity to increased mortality rates. Prolonged sedentary time is also associated with a host of other adverse issues, including weight gain, neck and back pain and even anxiety. It’s no wonder that standing desks have become an increasingly popular way to combat these concerns.
Even beyond mitigating actual health problems that can manifest from too much seat time, yet more research reveals that standing desks can give workers—and companies at large—an advantage by boosting productivity. In fact, one recent study by Texas A&M University’s Health Science Center School of Public Health found that stand-capable workstations did substantially improve worker productivity. Over the study’s six-month period, average worker productivity increased a full 46% over those with traditional, seated desk configurations. Given my penchant for physical fitness and maximized output during office hours, coupled with my own fair share of chronic back pain, I jumped at the chance to test out the “Pro Plus 36” standing desk from VARIDESK, which makes various active office products all designed to counter the sedentary lifestyle. I found this model of particular interest since its 36” width can accommodate dual-monitor setups or larger workspace needs thanks to a two-tiered design. The upper surface holds one or two displays, while a separate lower keyboard/mouse deck provides ample room for tech basics and accessories.
When my package arrived, I was thrilled to see that the unit came out of the box fully assembled, ready to be placed right on top of my existing desk. The engineering also proved to be marvelous, with the company’s patented, spring-assisted lift mechanism allowing the device to be easily and smoothly raised and lowered in mere seconds to the desired height amid the 11 settings that are available. Also notable is that you don’t need to move or rearrange any devices or components when raising or lowering the VARIDESK. It all just moves with the system. Impressively sturdy, this apparatus can stably hold up to 35 pounds even when extended to its full height. Within minutes my workspace was transformed, giving me the freedom to work either standing or sitting—and to alternate between these two options with abandon. While working while standing can admittedly take some getting used to, the allure of increased energy, focus and proficiency; more calories burned; fewer body aches and pains and even a longer life span make this standing desk innovation one well worth the nominal $395 investment.
In all, VARIDESK is a sound all-in-one way to work smarter, be healthier and perform at peak levels.
***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided at no cost and/or sponsored to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***