Monthly Archives: February 2011

Eating To Heal

I have to say, as an active person, being sidelined with an injury blows. But there is a silver lining here. I hope because I am a healthy active person, my body will be able to recover better.

If you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about, I had an accident on Friday and needed reconstructive surgery on my elbow. Detailed recaps here and here.

There are two things I am worried about right now:
1) That one of the screws in my arm is coming loose and I’ll need more surgery to fix it. I’ll find out Friday for this one.
2) The piece of bone the screws are in was completely shattered. If this bone doesn’t heal properly, it will have to be replaced with a piece of prosthetic. More surgery. Only time will tell on this one.

So basically, I want to do anything I can to avoid more surgery. I want to make sure healthy cartilage is growing and the shattered pieces are healing. I want to take care of my joints to decrease the high risk of arthritis I now have.

There are a lot of ways to do this. My mind of course goes to one thing: FOOD.

Thus I present you…

Foods For Healthy Joints

This isn’t just for the injured. Being physically active is hard on your joints. Not being active is hard on them. Being human is hard on them!

My focus is on things that will help build healthy cartilage. That’s the flexible connective tissue in many areas of our bodies, including in joints.

Eggs

Whole eggs contain Vitamin A which help form and maintain tissue. They also have Vitamin D which helps with calcium absorption.

Dairy

I only really like yogurt, cottage cheese and regular cheese, so that’s what I’ll be sticking to. For the calcium – duh!

Oranges

The average sized orange has more than the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C. Most used for fighting off colds, Vitamin C is also essential for repairing cartilage. It’s also used in forming tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. Because it’s a water-soluble vitamin, you need to replace it every single day. Other foods high in Vitamin C include strawberries, cantaloupe, potatoes and leafy green vegetables.

Tofu

High in magnesium and calcium. Foods high in magnesium stimulate the production of calcitonin, which increases calcium in the bones.

Tuna + Salmon

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Check out this tuna, hummus and havarti pita I assembled today ALL BY MYSELF. I was quite proud of my one-handed masterpiece :) These fish are high in essential fatty acids, which lubricate the joints. Will definitely be key once I start my physiotherapy.

Protein

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Okay so, this isn’t really for joint health. But protein, B vitamins and iron keep me energetic and in good spirits. I like to think this helps my body heal. My sister’s delicious homemade chili made with local organic beef has been perfect.

Water

Water also helps lubricate the joints. I’m also paying close to my hydration levels seeing as I’m taking a lot of medications. I don’t want any kidney or liver damage!!

Last but not least, I would like to have a moment of silence for my budding biceps. Brah.

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Seeing as I won’t be able to do weighted movement with my elbow for several months, bicep and tricep exercises are a long way off. The only joint required in those moves is the elbow. Goodbye arm definition… I hope we someday get to meet again…

Injury Update

Wow. I am completely blown away by the response to my accident post. Confession: I didn’t delete any of the comment notification e-mails and I still read through them from time to time when I need a pick-me-up. I wish I could respond to every single one of them. But one-handed typing is a slow process. Just know that your support and well wishes mean SO much to me, and I can’t believe I have so many amazing people on my side.

If you’re catching up, I sustained a serious injury skating on Friday. The details are in this post. Right now I’m recovering from surgery in Ottawa and limited to the use of only one arm.

This post is a bit of a follow-up one to update you on my progress. It’s in point form again because that is still how my brain is working at this point. Mostly just updates and random things since being released from hospital. Not all future posts will be like this, don’t worry :P

  • Went in for a CT scan today and met with my surgeon. Looks like the elbow joint is in the right place after the reconstructive surgery. Just a little extra space where scar tissue will grow. That will probably lead to a “cranky elbow” for the rest of my life.
  • One of the screws may be out of place. I’ll know by Friday if they want to go back in and fix it.

the elbow joint

  • The doc said my radial head (seen above, connected to the forearm) was crushed when I hit it. Actually “mush” was the term he used. That’s what the screws are in. There is very little cartilage there left to heal, but the surgeon is hoping my young body will be able to do it and hold on to the screws. If not, they will have to go in and replace it with  piece of prosthetic. I’ll be following up with my surgeon every week and will know in about a month if it’s healing enough to leave it alone.
  • Me and my three screws are now “Susan and the Three Amigos”
  • I’m staying at my sister’s in Ottawa until at least Saturday. We’re taking it one follow-up appointment at a time!
  • Pain management is a tricky issue. The pain is too intense to go without painkillers, and pain can actually hinder the healing process. Right after the surgery I was taking the maximum allowed dosage of percocet. Without it, it’s excruciating. BUT, I think it is getting better with each day, and I’m slowly weaning myself off the drugs.
  • From the moment this happened I said “I don’t care if I’m limited to one hand for months – I just don’t want to be in this kind of pain.” Pain scares me more than anything else surrounding this ordeal. I just don’t want to be in pain.
  • I have suspicions that my family thinks I’m going to get hooked on painkillers.
  • The effects of the anaesthesia lasted for two days. It made me so nauseous that I couldn’t walk. I had to get wheeled out of the hospital.
  • I washed my hair today for the first time in five days.

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  • My sister Sara has been a godsend. I was without the use of both my arms in the hospital because of where they put the IV. She did everything from put chapstick on me to holding the phone up to my ear. She’s helped me to the washroom, has been preparing all my meals, and keeping on top of the logistics when my brain just can’t handle it. She’s an amazing caregiver. Expect a guest post from her soon ;)
  • It will probably be a year or so until I can do any form of light upper-body weight lifting. Even then, it may just be something I always struggle with. I will miss my budding yoga practice the most. The thought of doing wheel pose now makes me cringe.
  • I’m oddly not that upset that my fitness routine or career won’t be the same. I’d planned on becoming a fitness instructor in the coming months. Right now the idea of going back for more surgery is more frightening than not being able to stick with my “old plan.” Everything else just seems so small when put up against the big picture.
  • My sister keeps trying to feed me junk food and I have to explain to her that I’m a sedentary person right now.

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Elgin Street Diner poutine in Ottawa. Crispy shoestring fries, mushroom gravy and squeaky cheese curds. Still the best poutine ever.

  • My hunger signals are way out of whack. I have to time my snacks with my pain meds, otherwise I forget and experience a significant drop in energy. My energy, mood, and ability to deal with pain are hugely improved when there are calories in my body.
  • The anaesthesia made everything taste really  salty. I find myself craving really simple, bland foods. Like peanut butter sandwiches, fried eggs, bagels, and mild tasting fruit.
  • Dawson’s Creek is awesome for recovery. Both mindless and distracting. Joey is more likeable the second time around, but I’m still Team Pacey.

  • Reading has been difficult as I still have a slight inability to retain information.
  • I’m getting pretty good at this one-handed typing thing ;)
  • If you’ve been wondering about blog content now that I have limited cooking and activity skills, you’re not alone. But I do think recovering from an injury will give me some welcomed perspective. And perhaps it will give me the chance to blog about some things that would have otherwise been replaced with yet another cookie recipe. We shall see!

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  • I’ve been up walking around today, feeling more and more like myself. Getting back on my feet has been more difficult than anticipated. Movements are very slow, my body is still in shock.
  • My mom pointed out that since I fell backwards on the ice, I could have landed on my head. My elbow was just “taking one for the team.”
  • I love you all. My arm may be in pieces but my heart feels very full <3

Warming Up With Southern Food in the Wintertime

Winterlicious. Get it? Winter + Delicious.

When the temperature drops into the negative twenties, it takes a lot to get me out of the house.

But Toronto’s “Winterlicious” was an event worthy of such a trip. Delicious food is really the only thing that will get me out of the house in the wintertime.

Winterlicious is just like any other restaurant week. For a limited time, certain restaurants will offer prix fixe menus. An appetizer, main and dessert for a flat rate. It’s supposed to be a steal and allows us common folk to experience some of the city’s finest.

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Of course, y’all know I never take the classy route. Southern Accent sounded like just the kind of warmth I was looking for. 

Okayokay, and when roommie Megan, Callie and Kristin and I heard they were offering turducken on the menu, we knew this would be our Winterlicious pick.

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Please excuse my colourful photos, for this was a colourful joint ;)

For $25, we got an appetizer, main and dessert. Pretty good price for all three. However, I will say that I almost always just order a main when eating out. So spending over $20 on a restaurant is a rare occasion for me. And this was one of the cheaper Winterlicious options!

The appetizers:

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I never cook scallops at home, so this choice was easy.

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They were of the small variety, which was kind of a bummer. But the whole dish itself was delightful. Surprisingly spicy with a savoury crunch of pumpkin seeds. The scallops, thank god, were not overcooked and flaked off my fork. And even though I don’t like pasta, I lovelovelove the texture of orzo.

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Chased down with some bread and hummus! The hummus was a nice touch, and full of garlic deliciousness.

The mains:

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Obviously, I went with the turducken, which is a de-boned chicken, stuffed into a de-boned duck, stuffed into a de-boned turkey. It was purely for novelty’s sake. The rest of the main options were very tempting!

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My roommie immediately exclaimed “reminds me of Christmas!” And I would definitely agree. The duck was the fattier of the poultry, and it was hard to distinguish the three different stuffings. The gravy was “meh” and I didn’t like the too-tart cranberry sauce. The mashed potatoes reminded me of the microwave kind. But I’m admittedly a “smashed” over “whipped” potato kind of gal.

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This was the first time I ever had oyster or cornbread stuffing. The cornbread variety was awesome. I need to make this!

Aaaaand dessert:

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Once again, I went with the dish I’ve never tried before.

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Pavlova! This was a completely new dessert to me. A softer meringue bottom (ie pure sugar and egg whites) topped with whipped cream. It was nice and light after a heavy meal and didn’t put me over the edge like most desserts do.

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Megan and Kristin! Meg ordered the same things as me, Kristin got the jambalaya and it was gooooood. Another thing I must make soon!

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Callie n’ me. Callie ordered bread pudding for dessert and each bite was like taking a shot of bourbon. My kind of dessert ;)

After our three courses, we all agreed a little walking was needed. Namely, to this eyesore around the corner.

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That would be Honest Ed’s department store. It exists only in Toronto and is probably the most ridiculous place in the city. It’s been on my “to-visit” list since the day I arrived.

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How about a room of Blair Witch Projects on VHS?

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Ranging in price from $0.99-$14.99.

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Or giant random statues.

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All handmade signs.

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And of course, the famous Elvis busts. I was thisclose to buying one. I thought it would be the perfect way to commemorate my days lived in Toronto. But then the idea of spending $30 on a creepy spray-painted Elvis bust got the better of me.

Eventually my tummy started to hurt from too much laughing and delicious Southern food. It was time to say goodbye.

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On two different trains going in opposite directions.

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Neither of which, ironically, were going South ;)

 

(with some pics borrowed from Kristin and Callie)

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