A to Z Challenge: Letter F for Food

Food Can Be a Problem

People who need our caregiving are probably people who have issues with food. For one reason or another, they may not have the energy to shop and cook. Often they need special diets. Often nothing sounds appetizing to them or the opposite – food is one of their few comforts and everything sounds good. Whatever the case, what happens in the kitchen is very important in caregiving. It’s true, food is medicine that you as a caregiver can give. (Different perspective, yes?)

It is also true that a lifetime of eating poorly can’t be turned around in meal or two. There will be some foods that take effect more quickly than others (ask anyone who likes prunes) but complex processes like weight loss or building strong bones, strong immune system, a resilient nervous system, etc… take lots of time. My role as “caregiver in the kitchen” is one of the hardest for me. Maintaining consistency, making meals attractive, serving a good variety – a real challenge when life gets busy.

Places to Find Help

What a surprise it was to learn that the gut is like a second brain, and it needs to be treated as special, and fed with care. This is an area where it will serve you well to become a learner – first of the diagnosis of the person you care for, and second of the current diet recommended for that diagnosis.

Medical schools do not spend a lot of time teaching about the role of diet in disease so your doctor may not have a lot to say about specific nutritional guidelines. There are specialties in the areas of functional medicine, naturopathic medicine, and integrative or wholistic care that will spend a lot more time with you on the subject of food. Dietitians and nutritional specialists will be more helpful if they follow current research. Be proactive and ask them to work with you. Don’t be lazy about this, and don’t let them be either.

You can find much of the latest research on diet yourself, if you have a computer. There are some tremendous changes coming in the Standard American Diet and the Food Pyramid due to discoveries about the causes of many chronic diseases (including the big ones like heart disease, diabetes, cancer and dementia). It’s an exciting field. I’m posting links to some of my keto meal discoveries as well as listing some of our most helpful references at the end of this post.

Food is pretty, and pretty amazing.

Five (easy) Guidelines

This is such a big topic, and new changes and discoveries are frequent, but here are some things I’ve found to be basic for most chronic conditions:

– avoid processed foods as much as possible. If there are more than two ingredients it’s probably processed.

– buy organic when you can

– increase eating of fresh vegetables and fruits with bright colors. It’s hard to go wrong with this.

– decrease carbohydrates, which includes anything containing large amounts of sugar (soda, desserts, alcoholic drinks) and also breads, pastas, rice and white potato

– don’t give up if things don’t go well for a few days. Return to sensible eating as soon as you are able.

A keto salad lunch

My husband has Lewy Body Dementia/Parkinson’s and he is a researcher of his own remedies. We have seen promising results from his diet which is built on a conservative approach. Lots of colorful vegetables, moderate amounts of clean protein (eggs and meats) and as much healthy fats as we can get (avocado, coconut and olive oils, animal fats, butter, etc…). We also addressed our magnesium and vitamin D levels after finding out that we were low in those nutrients, as are most people these days.

We’ve tried some extreme diets, but found we just couldn’t build a life around weird food choices. The desire to eat has to be kept alive.

Our Ketogenic Strategy

The Keto Plate

  • “The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan” by Dr. David Perlmutter
  • “Fat for Fuel” by Dr. Joseph Mercola
  • “The Paleo Approach” by Sarah Ballantine, PhD
  • “The Ketogenic Kitchen” by Dominic Kemp and Patricia Daly

A to Z: Selling Our House (Letter F)

Yesterday I breathed a lot of bleach fumes (an F word), scrubbing tile grout in the rental house, so today I mowed and did yard work in the fresh air and sunshine. The renters moved some more things out after work but are now exhausted. They asked if they could come back to clean in the morning. “Well, of course you can,” said I. 

F for Floors

Deciding to sell our house awoke a whole set of fears I didn’t know I had. One of them was the fear of people walking into our house with a critical eye and saying “what on earth were these people trying to do with their floors?” Floor fear.

Although I love things to be visually beautiful and pleasing, I’m not really a fussy person. If you combine that with my other fear of spending too much money, you get a house full of floors that resemble a quilt, with surfaces changing as you pass from room to room.

I pretty much hate carpet, at least for my family’s lifestyle, so we have done away with it. About ten years ago I put cork flooring in the kitchen and dining room. About the same time I went for interlocking bamboo in the living room and hall. The money ran out so I decided to paint the cement in my bedroom and lived with it for years.  I finally put cork down there too, because I love the way it feels, but it wasn’t the same cork as the kitchen floor.

Vinyl sticky back tiles went down in the guest bath and laundry room – that was probably a mistake. The daughter living at  home at the time tried to stop me, but again, the money… I learned my lesson so when we upgraded the master bath we splurged on ceramic tile. The holdouts have been the guest bedroom, which has the original, dark, shiny, sheet vinyl and the lanai which has the original green indoor-outdoor fake turf. Original means 30+ years.

My flooring “quilt”. At least they are all soothing, woodsy colors – like the forest floor.

I’ve watched those shows on HG TV. Those renovators snobbishly rip out perfectly good floors just so they can have their seamless beauty running consistently throughout. I might do that too if I had a house no one was living in, and $50K to spiff things up a bit. But no, as I said, I’m not fussy. In fact, I’m fairly happy walking on any surface that isn’t slippery, sticky or covered with dangerous objects.

Our rental house has even more ancient flooring, and it’s there that I’m most tempted to put down something new. But suppose I put down something I liked but the new owner did not. What a waste of time and resources! How to make it appealing and contemporary without wasting time and money… that is the question.

My sign for F was taken in Hayward, Wisconsin. The Feed Mill really is a feed mill and has sold animal food  and field/garden seed since I was a small child.