Full Moon Party tonight!…Decided on a pu pu…Recipe sharing…Today’s post is for “foodies” only…

Not quite sunset, sunny views over the bay.

Whenever we bring a dish to share, we consider the tastes of the other guests rather than impose a recipe that is only befitting our dietary concerns. Many recipes for delicious and outrageously contrary-to-our-way-of-eating are my appetizer recipes from years ago, still taking up space in my brain.

Recently, when we invited a couple (who were on vacation) to our home for happy hour, I made an old favorite from the days when Tom and I first met and we entertained quite a bit. It’s high carb, high fat, high starch, and high sugar, which I never eat but, Tom does on occasion.

The rushing waters below at high tide.

Please share this recipe below with your friends who have no illness, no high blood sugar or diabetes, no heart disease, no clogged arteries, no dementia, no risk of Alzheimer’s disease, no pain, no signs of inflammation anywhere in their body, and, aren’t overweight and can eat anything they want without gaining weight. For those lucky folks, here’s the recipe we’re bringing tonight, which is NOT SUITABLE for my way of eating:

Jess’s Apricot Almond Brie en Croute 
1 medium-sized round Brie cheese

¾ cup apricot jam (not jelly)
½ cup slivered almonds
1 package refrigerated Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
2 T melted butter 

Preheat oven to 350.  Cover a baking pan with nonstick tin foil or parchment paper. Top the unwrapped Brie cheese with apricot jam. Sprinkle half of the almonds atop the jam.  Pinch all the seams together of the entire package of crescent rolls and carefully wrap the dough all the way around with the Brie keeping the jam side up. Make it look as nice as possible, leaving no gaps or holes. This takes one minute. Brush melted butter over the top. Poke holes in various spots in the top to allow it to expand during baking.  While butter is still moist, add the remaining almonds to the top.  Use a spatula to transfer it to the prepared baking pan. 

Place in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or less, checking to ensure the top doesn’t get too brown during the last 10 minutes (based on how hot your oven cooks).  This dish is very hot. Be careful handling it. Serve with a variety of crackers and plates, forks, and knives. May be prepared 48 hours in advance and cooked at the time of serving. Reheats well in the microwave.

When our guests visited, they loved this recipe so much they asked for it which prompted me to finally write it down for them via a PDF document. I hadn’t made this dish in years. 

Late afternoon sun over the sea.

I suppose I have hundreds of recipes stuck in my brain, not unlike the useless documents and files we end up transferring from an old computer to a new computer over and over again as we make new computer purchases. How I wish that one day I’d feel rambunctious enough to remove that clutter.

And, how I wish I could remove the clutter of old recipes from my brain in the same rambunctious manner.  Yesterday, I found myself looking for a recipe for Moo Shu Pork, a favorite I often made when preparing a meal of Chinese food. (Is it PC to still call it “Chinese food?” I could call it Asian food but there are many regions of Asia that cook many different styles of food. Hopefully, I don’t offend anyone).

Why was I looking for this recipe, so far removed from my modern-day reality? I’d found a recipe on Dr. William Davis (Wheat Belly) site for low carb, grain-free, gluten-free, sugar-free tortillas, which could substitute for the Mandarin pancakes required in the recipe for Moo Shu Pork. I thought if I could find my recipe for the food that goes inside the Mandarin pancakes (like a tortilla), I could adapt it to my way of eating.

A pair of Nene birds, Hawaii’s state birds, wander around the golf course which they seem to love.

Oh, dear, I’d better post Dr. Davis’s tortilla recipe or I’ll get 100 email messages asking for it (of which I always, happily and quickly respond to each):

Dr. William Davis (Wheat Belly) Tortilla Recipe 
Make 4 tortillas      
1 cup golden flaxseed, ground
4 tablespoons almond meal or 4 tablespoons almond flour
1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare a large baking sheet by lining with parchment paper. Add ground flax seeds, almond meal/flour, and salt to a medium bowl and whisk together. Whisk in the eggs just until combined. Divide the dough into 4 equal balls.  Using 2 pieces of parchment paper, roll each ball between pieces until 6” round. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, or until golden.

After I spent considerable time looking for a recipe similar to my old version of Moo Shu Pork, casually mentioning it to Tom he said, “I never really liked that dish anyway. Don’t bother to make it for me.”

Oh. it was one of those dishes I made in our “younger days” when he was courting me while pretending to like my “non-meat and potatoes” recipes. Now that we’re old, he doesn’t try so hard to impress me. My feelings aren’t hurt. I’ll make the tortillas and use them for my adapted recipe for Mexican food (Is that OK to say?)

A gnarly tree trunk at the edge of the golf course.

Anyway, here’s the third recipe of the day for which we received zillions of requests after mentioning it in a post a few days ago; low carb grain-free, sugar-free, starch-free high fat protein bars. 

I found this recipe online and adapted it to my taste and way of eating and voila, its a heavenly dessert, energy booster, and plain and simple meal substitute loaded with nutrients that won’t raise a person’s blood sugar if eaten in moderation, the size of an average protein bar. 

A strained branch holding a cluster of bananas.

From all the research I’ve done thus far as a layperson, on what foods raise blood sugar and subsequently increase inflammation I began testing my own blood sugar. In doing so it proved to me that eating any foods in excessive amounts, even low carb foods, can raise one’s blood sugar, even if I ate too large of a portion of protein, for example, a huge steak.  Moderation is always the key in life, isn’t it? 

Watching animals in the wild was a good lesson for me about eating in moderation, eating only until one is satisfied and not uncomfortably full. Animals never overeat (other than our household pets if we’ve  been feeding them “people food”). 

I believe this is papaya tree.

Wild animals only eat until full and comfortable. We never saw a lion while on safari eating the last morsel off the carcass he’d killed. He/she was always leaving some to savor at a later time, with the female leaving some for her cubs or often letting the cubs eat before her. Not so much with the males who would often steal the food from the females, never sharing with the female or her cubs.

If you make these delicious bars, please place individual portions into baggies to store in the freezer, taking out one bag at a time to eat frozen. They are so good they could trigger a frenzy of overeating.

Here’s the recipe:

Jess’s Low Carb High Fat Keto Bars
1 cup organic extra virgin coconut oil, melted (Don’t use
microwave.  Use room temperature)

1 cup organic almond butter
½ cup any lowest-carb protein powder (I used hemp)
1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened (the large unsweetened coconut chips  found in the healthy section in grocery stores or a health food shop, are good to use)

½ cup chopped almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, pecans or
hazelnuts (I used macadamia nuts, grown here in the Hawaiian Islands)

½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup unsweetened cocoa chips (found in health food stores)
1/3 cup erythritol or other preferred 0 carb sweetener,  (found in health food stores)
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp Himalayan or sea salt
Whisk together oil, nut butter, protein powder until smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and stir. Pour onto lined parchment paper baking pan being careful to have pan fully covered with parchment.  Cover and place in freezer until frozen (3 hours).  Break or cut into bar size pieces, keeping single servings in plastic bags in the freezer.  Keep and eat frozen.

These low carb recipes that I post are suitable for a low-carb way of eating where the body is burning its own fat stores for fuel, not burning the sugar we’ve consumed. These recipes are not intended to be eaten in combination with sugary, high calorie, high-fat food for which in doing so may increase in weight could result.  Burning our own fat for fuel is referred to as “ketosis”, not ketoacidosis, a dangerous life-threatening condition.  These are two entirely different metabolic states. The reading material in the following paragraph explains this further.

For more on the science surrounding the low carb, high fat, grain, starch, and sugar-free way of eating which causes our bodies to burn our own fat for fuel and subsequently reduces inflammation, please read, Dr. William Davis (Wheat Belly) or Dr. David Perlmutter’s  book Grain Brain, and Jonathan Bailor’s books, all of whom have highlighted my story on their websites and in Jonathan’s recent book, Eat More, Lose More (about health) in which there is a full story and photo on my return to good health after an over 20-year struggle.

Here’s a link to my story which was posted on their sites a few years ago, all of which are similar.

A boat, filled to the max, looks for the last vestiges of the humpback whales, many of which have already begun the journey to Alaska for the summer.

These three links I’ve provided above today are direct to their free blogs in the event you want to read more before buying their books if, in fact, the subject matter appeals to you.  I wouldn’t be traveling the world, pain-free if it weren’t for the science presented in these professional’s books and websites.

Enough for today. No preaching intended. Write if you have questions.


Photo from one year ago today, April 4, 2014:

The colors in the displays in the souks were astounding. Four of our senses were all in full on mode as we wandered through the maze-like environment; the smells, the sights, the sounds, and the touch of the fabrics. As for taste, we proceeded with caution, never dining on any of the food in the Big Square, the Medina for fear it would contain ingredients contrary to my diet or potential gastrointestinal distress. For more details, please click here.

A walk around the hilly neighborhood…My new form of exercise…Maintaining health while in Tuscany…The simple things…

Lisa and Luca presented us with this basket of cherries from the tree growing in our yard, after they’d seen us admiring the tree.  Lisa, speaking no English and us, no Italian, it was impossible to explain my restrictive diet that forbids any fruit sugars. Tom, fortunately, may have a few each day, while I’ve merely enjoyed their beauty.We thanked them profusely, impressed by the thoughtfulness they have shown each day since we’ve arrived.  For more information on Lisa and Luca and their properties, visit them at their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/casasottolatorre.villabasilica?fref=ts
It appeared that this house may be occupied, one of few dilapidated entrances in the area.

Without a health club within an hour’s drive from Boveglio and certainly not carrying any exercise equipment in our limited space for packing, I was in a quandary arriving here 10 days ago.

This hill is much steeper in person than it appears here.
Many individual houses are attached, a common occurrence we’ve observed in certain areas of the world, such as Dubrovnik and Mykonos.

Having worked out most of my adult life, the thought of not having access to a facility and equipment for my twice-weekly High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) worried me. Some time ago, I changed my workout routine, as I’ve mentioned here in the past to concur with the research presented in Jonathan Bailor’s Smarter Science of Slim, a profound life-changing book of both healthful diet and exercise.

Rushing by this flowering plant to avoid the hovering bees, I caught a whiff of pure heaven.
Obviously, no cars fit between these narrow pathways to the houses. Its no wonder that the Italian people appear slim and fit.  The parking area, as for us, is a bit of a hike from the house.  Add the hills to the walk and it becomes quite a workout on a regular basis.

With a medical condition that has since been resolved after almost two years of a strict adherence to my diet, combined with exercise, not being able to do so, is a big deal to me. After days of becoming familiar with our house and the neighborhood, a solution to this dilemma presented itself. 

More blooming flowers.  In a few days, the many lavender bushes in our yard begin to bloom.  Photos to follow.  I wish we could do online “scratch and sniff” for the sweet smells in Tuscany.

HIIT required excruciating workouts at the maximum possible energy expenditure for 10 minutes twice a week, utilizing as many muscles as possible, working to the point of exhaustion. This has been easily accomplished at a health club by performing a series of specific exercises, working for the major muscle groups. 

Ah, a flat stretch on which I can catch my breath.

In conjunction with HIIT’s strenuous short bursts of exercise is combined with a commitment to expending approximately 10,000 steps per day, one can maintain an excellent level of fitness.  The steps per day, in part, are accomplished by walking in this lengthy house along with going up and down the many flights of steps indoors and outside all day.  

Add a daily walk in the steepest neighborhood I’ve ever seen, walking briskly up the hills, twice a week, while on a more normal walk the remaining days and I’ll almost be where I need to be. 

This is my favorite hill (yea, right!)

I recently found two identical weight logs for the fireplace in the wood pile which I’m using for my twice-weekly HIIT arm exercises. And, I’ve instituted the dreaded lunges twice a week.

The weight lifting logs, the perfect weight, considering my bum shoulder which seems to be improving.
Maintaining a sure footing on this walk is more important than the exercise factor.  The stone walkways are rugged and uneven inspiring me to keep my eyes down as much as possible.

The hills? The most difficult of my routine. Walking down is easy. It’s the trip back up that pushes me to my limit, exactly what I need.  Tom prefers to lounge at home while I’m on this twice-weekly mission. But, he will walk with me on the less strenuous days. 

Good grief. He’s walking, something he swore he’d never do. I’m thrilled about that! He’s now back down to his 45-pound weight loss after dining-at-will on each of our eight cruises and now eating mostly what I do for the past 10 days.

Nothing like stopping for a sniff along the way.

Yesterday afternoon, alone on my strenuous day walk, I took these photos on the way down, many of which don’t fully illustrate the intensity of the walkways. On the way back up I stay focused and stop only for a moment to catch my breath if necessary.  My goal is to be able to make it back up without a single breath-catching stop which I should be able to accomplish within a week or two. 

Tom quit smoking for hopefully the final time shortly before we left Minnesota in October. He now walks several times a week, mostly when we are exploring. He’s rid of 45 pounds of belly fat. He’s relaxed and relatively stress-free (except for hauling luggage on moving days) and most of all, like me, happy. 

This old tracker and trailer occupies a spot in the shared parking area.

Perhaps, we’ll be lucky that all of this attention to health will ultimately pay off with long and healthy lives. All of our efforts are, by no means, a guarantee that we’ll avoid illness or injury, not for us, not for anyone. But, somehow, it may prove to be instrumental in our continued enjoyment of the quality of our lives into our old (older) age.

An inviting doorway.  Wonder what’s on the other side?

Also, when a basket of cherries can offer so much joy, even if they are “to look,” not “to touch,” it must have a positive effect on our well being. It’s the simple things in life, isn’t it?

Soon, I’ll climb up to our “terrazzo” on the dangerous steps over the stone stairway, hang a batch of laundry that is currently in the washer and pick a big batch of basil for tonight’s dinner of boneless chicken breasts topped with the finest locally made mozzarella cheese and my own homemade pesto, a huge side salad with homemade dressing and a platter of steamed veggies.  Yes, it is, the simple things…

Smarter science…enjoying good health around the world…

My neighbor took this photo of me this morning in our yard.

From a family with endless variations of heart disease, raging diabetes, rampant obesity, stroke-inducing hypertension, crippling spine and bone disorders and myriad autoimmune disorders, its been a lifelong battle for me to be healthy, slim and fit. My genes are against me.

It hasn’t been easy.  I started dieting at eleven, exercising at fifteen, feeling as if I were a hamster on a wheel, peddling faster and faster, never getting ahead of the curse I had inherited.  For many, this is not an uncommon plight.  Add raging hormones into the mix, and for many years, a long and healthy life seemed hopeless.  

My wardrobe consisted of clothing in sizes 2-14, my refrigerator stocked with foods for the latest fad diet promising a solution that would make this preoccupation with food and exercise gone for once and for all. I have tried them all.

Somehow, I managed to stay relatively slim and moderately fit, but not necessarily healthy. In all these years, I consumed no fast food, no fries, no burgers, no fried foods, and very few sugary snacks or desserts. Constantly hungry, always craving sweets and struggling with portion control, I blamed it on a my own lack of willpower.

Over the past 40 years, I blindly followed the “government’s” recommendation to eat a low fat diet with “healthy” whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean meats in small portions.  Nothing improved. I didn’t use butter, mayonnaise or salad dressing fearing too much fat.  I ate six or more servings of vegetables per day and consumed plenty of fiber.  Nothing improved.

My cholesterol and triglycerides were high, my HDL too low, my weight teetered back and forth, I experienced constant pain often feeling weak and unfit. Yet I continued to “work out,” never less than five days a week, often for an hour and a half at a time.  I changed up the workout every month as “they” recommended.  

I walked, I lifted weights with a torn shoulder and arthritic knee, I stretched and I tried yoga.  A few years ago I invested in a BodyMedia device that I wore on a stretchy band on my bicep for two years, measuring all of my activities, aiming at a minimum of 10,000 steps per day. Most days it registered 12,000 steps. But, nothing improved.  NOTHING!!  

So what?  I was active, but my appetite increased the more I moved.  Should I be eating even less and exercising more to get to a level of fitness that would bring me some relief?  I was frustrated and stymied.

When I retired two years ago, I began spending most of my days when I wasn’t struggling at the health club, researching for a solution to the pain, the incessant hunger, the high blood sugar, and a failing exercise routine.  

My legs felt like lead and walking in itself, became almost unbearable. How would I continue working out?   Doing so gave me a few hours of pain relief when I was able to muster up a small surge of endorphins.

A year ago, I began to accept the reality that traditional medicine failed me and that I was doomed to a life in a wheelchair  In desperation, I sought the help of renowned, local chiropractor, Dr. Jamey Antione at the Minnesota Disc Institute, whom I had heard was a miracle worker.  

After reviewing my three MRI’s, indicating advanced joint disease, he suggested a treatment modality which included an inflammation-free diet.  He was adamant that I quit consuming grains, all grains, handing me printed literature about the diet from the famed Cleveland Clinic.

I was eating healthfully, so I thought: lots of whole grains, no white flour, no sugar, organic vegetables, fruits and smoothies made with protein powder, bananas and frozen strawberries. I purchased most of our produce directly from an organic farm during the summers.  It all seemed so right.

Eager to do anything to feel better, I began researching again, hundreds of studies, books, websites regarding anti-inflammation diets all of which led me to two life changing books: Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis and, months later to The Smarter Science of Slim by Jonathan Bailor

Had I not meticulously followed the scientific research and resulting lifestyle changes presented so clearly in these two books, Tom and I would not be able to explore the world for the next many years.  Already slim, I discovered I was “skinny fat”.  Tom, sweetheart that he is, feeling burdened by some extra weight around the belly, followed along with me, subsequently saying goodbye to the debilitating symptoms of Celiac Disease and acid reflux.

Now, a year later, Tom has lost 30 pounds, I am no longer “skinny-fat,” instead feeling lean and fit for the first time. The pain is reduced dramatically, the cholesterol, triglycerides, are way down, the HDL way up (Tom has genetically great numbers. Lucky guy!), my muscles are more defined, my strength has increased 100%, I sleep better, I am never foraging for food an hour after I have eaten and no longer battling high blood sugar and hypertension.

Yes, it has been a huge commitment! Yes, saving one’s life is a huge commitment!   While going low carb, we chose to go wheat-free, gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free and starch-free.  

We don’t eat any processed foods or corn, rice, potatoes, pasta, cakes, pies, chips or any fruit but berries.  We enjoy nuts, meats, healthy fats, organic, non refined coconut oil, non-starchy vegetables, coconut and almond flour treats.

We’ve learned “why not” of the foods we chose to eliminate by reading Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis.  I could spend hours here explaining why not.  I won’t get on the soapbox.  I do that enough around my tolerant friends and family.  If you’re interested, read the blog, then the book.  

Then, the next miracle occurred in the search for great health. Months later, still frustrated with my seemingly useless exercise routine, I stumbled across The Smarter Science of Slim by Jonathan Bailor.

Everything changed.  This book is not a book of an author’s opinion (nor is Wheat Belly).  It is backed by 1100 research studies conducted by scientists at Harvard and other universities as to why our diet and exercise routine is not working and, the world is getting fatter and sicker than ever.

The Smarter Science of Slim by Jonathan Bailor provides the otherwise complicated studies (70 pages of references in the back of the book) to prove that “eating less and exercising more” is not working.  

In bite sized, manageable pieces Jonathan gives us an exciting and easy read, driving the reader to immediately jump up and start the amazing workout routine that truly requires only 10 minutes, two times a week.  Hard to believe! Backed by science! Endorsed by scientists at Harvard!

In the exercise world, it is referred to as HIIT, high intensity interval training. It’s a killer 10 minutes, I assure you, pumping your own natural under-used life enhancing hormones to run through your body producing a powerful euphoric and energizing sensation, lasting for days, working to grow and strengthen cells and muscles.

After only three short months of one 10 minute workout, twice a week, I am more fit, more muscular, in better overall condition than I have ever been in my entire life.  My pants fit better, I breathe deeper, I sleep more soundly and I’m able to prepare for our upcoming adventure, able to haul my share of the heavy bags, an impossible feat only months ago.

The food portion of The Smarter Science of Slim by Jonathan Bailor has been easy for me. I had already cut out, what Jonathan refers to as “insane” foods. And, most importantly, I discovered that a vital element was missing from our diet, enough lean protein sources and non-starchy vegetables.

By adding a healthy portion of cottage cheese and green veggies to my protein rich breakfast, protein and veggies snacks and meals and enjoying a giant bowl of plain Fage Greek Yogurt with nuts and berries for dessert at night, I have increased my protein intake from a meager 50 grams a day to 160 grams a day.

I am a new person at 64 years old. If I wasn’t already slim, I would definitely be losing weight. Instead, I eat nuts by the handful to maintain my current weight. For the first time, my metabolism is increasing. I am now able to consume at least 25% more food, finally feeling full!

Jonathan explains how we’ve been slaves to calories and how “a calorie is not a calorie.” There is required no-carb, no-calorie and no-point counting. This is not a quick fix diet. This is not a faddish tricky program that requires strict adherence to peculiar combinations or types of food. It is a simple concept, backed by science, to “eat more and exercise less” while enjoying short but intense workouts and healthy portions of nutrient rich foods as often as you are hungry.

Many who read this will say they can’t give up sweets, bread, corn and potatoes. My life depended on it. It is not a struggle. I am no longer hungry. Nutrient rich food is satisfying the hunger I could never seem to fill.

When man roamed the earth foraging for food, he hunted meat, dug up roots, picked berries and nuts while exploring vegetation fit for consumption. Our bodies are destined for this way of eating. For example, it is no different from our dogs who, by nature are designed to eat meat. Give them cereals, grains and corn in their food and they too become sick, sluggish and overweight.

The topic of this blog will not change to the topic of fitness. It will continue to be abundant in the realities of mine and Tom’s everyday life as we leave behind everything and everyone we have known and loved for all of our lives, as we travel the world for years to come.

It will include how we find foods we choose to enjoy to continue to maintain our health. Of course, wherever we may be, I will continue my two weekly workouts, 10 minutes each!It was important to share this piece of our lives with our readers to illustrate how more meaningful this adventure has become for us, having overcome enormous health obstacles, only possible with the years-long diligent research of a few highly knowledgeable and professional individuals dedicated to science.

We are wiser. We are healthier. We are grateful. We are now able to travel the world hauling way too many bags!

Medicine from afar? Refill our prescriptions? Annual checkup?

As a health and fitness buff most of my adult life, I have made every effort to stay healthy by eating good homemade food, exercising regularly and avoiding toxins in every way possible.  

Many of my efforts have failed me and I have been forced to succumb to traditional medicine and take a few prescriptions each day, as does Tom for a variety of conditions.  

Yes, I have tried over these past years to gradually reduce these few medications with the hope of stopping them entirely. For example; days later, my blood pressure sneaks up to a dangerous level, prompting me to begin the tiny dose once again, fearful of the consequences. 

For me, it appears my genetics is the culprit. Otherwise, there is nothing in my lifestyle, that I could discover from my years of research as to why I would be plagued with these few ailments. Its frustrating. 

Don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t drink soda. I consume only organic produce and grass fed beef, avoiding all grains, wheat (inspired by Dr. William Davis’ book, Wheat Belly) starches and sugary food.  I haven’t had a sweet treat of any type in almost a year.  
Each day and night I wear a BodyMedia armband to ensure I get in 10,000 steps a day.  It tracks thousands of measurements including how much time I spend sleeping each night which s usualiy about 7.5 hours.  
I have exercised most of my life, regularly, faithfully and with vigor while currently obsessed with HIIT training as recommended by Jonathan Bailor, backed by 1100 medical studies, 10,000 pages of scientific research, endorsed by some of the top medical professionals in the world, many from Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic.  A great read!

We miss doughnuts.  Years ago, on occasion,Tom and I experienced what we called “MD days,” meaning “multiple doughnut days” whereby we’d eat many doughnuts, watch movies and lounge all day. No more.  We haven’t done this in fifteen years.  I can no more imagine, lying in bed all day and eating doughnuts than going to the moon. (Actually, space travel is on my wish list).

A fast food item hasn’t crossed my lips in 25 years!  And what has it got me:
hypertension, thyroid disease, joint and bone problems and borderline diabetes, the bane of my ancestors, most of them inflicted with these conditions, many of whom suffered and died from these conditions!  
Am I sick? No!  But…I am a slave to these few prescriptions.  Am I slim, physically fit, strong and without any memory issues at my age?  Yes. So, I faithfully take those few little pills each morning, hoping for the best, hoping in time that I will discover a way to toss them all away.

Today, I called our prescription medication plan explaining that when we’ll be traveling for no less than 949 days (so far) asking if they can provide us with at least one year’s worth of the prescriptions to take with us when we leave in 5 months and 19 days.  (We’ll figure out something for the remaining period).  The answer was “no.”They will only do what they’ve always done: if the doctor writes a three month prescription, we only get three months of pills at a time!  I asked, “Are you willing to mail our prescriptions to: Kenya, Africa or maybe Marloth Park, Kruger National Park, South Africa?” There again, the answer was “no.” No mailing outside the US.
Will our prescriptions be mailed to Africa? No.

Tomorrow, I have an appointment with the family doctor, a great guy, who will most likely try to help us figure out a solution.  Yes, we will have a mailing a mailing service with our own address where any important mail will arrive and can be scanned and sent to us by email.  

The service will forward packages to us wherever we may be. However, some countries do not welcome prescription drugs entering the country.  We shall see what transpires and post the solution to yet another dilemma.

Oh no! Yellow Fever side effects hit…

Yesterday, I felt great, optimistic that the potential side effects of the Yellow Fever Vaccine had bypassed me.  One in six, especially in patients over 60, experience some side effects: general malaise, lethargy, aching joints, low grade fever and flu-like symptoms.

When I awakened this morning at 5:45, my legs felt heavy when my feet hit the floor, so  heavy that I wavered momentarily before standing. I dismissed this uncommon feeling, attributing it to a poor night’s sleep or from arising too quickly.
Making the bed seemed an insurmountable task; the normally light and fluffy covers feeling like lead in my hands.  Preparing my usual mug of coffee, the normally inviting smell sickened me. I turned off the coffee machine instead guzzling a huge glass of ice water.

Of course, running through my mind was every possible Yellow Fever Vaccine side effect I’d discovered perusing through the CDC’s website. Yes, I was experiencing side effects, my worst fear.

There’s no doubt that I am a worrier when it comes to medical procedures. After a several unpleasant reactions over the years, I am  skeptical about any invasive treatments.  One could easily surmise that I am overly cautious.
The biggest problem is my continual desire to be educated about health and wellness in an effort to maintain the highest possible level of fitness. Each week, I read a multitude of scientific studies from reliable resources which include Harvard Medical School, Mayo Clinic and major universities.  
In the past several weeks, I have be reading and re-reading The Smarter Science of Slim by Jonathan Bailor, based on 1000’s of scientific studies surrounding a healthful diet and the HIIT exercise protocol which I have since incorporated into my routine. 

Many may find these topics tedious and boring.  For me, as my friends and family will attest, its more fodder for my guarded manner of approaching traditional medical by occasional musings on Facebook.
Information is power. Medical information is vital to maintaining one’s long term health objectives.  
But…its a double edged sword that wields a sense of apprehension and mistrust by the continuing contradictions handed us via the media, over and over again.
Are vaccinations safe? Did we really need a Yellow Fever Vaccine to go on a week long safari in Kenya (no Yellow Fever is documented in South Africa) while living in a guarded ocean side resort community? Probably not, but “they said” and “we” believed them, myself included.

Today, I took Ibuprofen every four hours, which greatly reduced the achy fluish symptoms. The onset of the worst of the side effects may occur on the 5th day after vaccination. Tomorrow is day #4. Hopefully my feet firmly hit the floor tomorrow and Sunday morning!  I’ll keep you posted!