Monday Munchies and Meals: Pumpkin Muffins

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I love to cook!  I don’t always follow the directions, I use what I have, I avoid trigger ingredients and I go from there.  It has become part of my family’s lives.  My children love to measure, get out ingredients, mix, taste and see the results of their hard work.    And I love all the math, science,  reading, social, fine motor and even cultural lessons it provides.

Although cooking deliciousness is my goal, the process sometimes seems like  so much!  It’s a commitment to shop, prep, cook and clean up.  Often times it takes way longer than I’d like and uses way more energy than I have which is frustrating.

So I’ve decided to start a Monday Munchies and Meals series.  I hope to post a recipe each week in hopes of inspiring you to make something healthy and feel good about, being a  a snack or meal.  Why am I posting on Tuesday then?  Because life happens and I’ve been in bed with a killer migraine for the last 36 hours.  I wrote this post on Saturday after making  it last Monday and I couldn’t even open a computer to press “publish” for 2 days.

It isn’t always possible to cook everyday with having Migraines and living a busy life.  One recipe a week will be enough to share, make and encourage you to do the same.  So whether I post on Monday or Friday, you can make it whenever it fits your schedule and health also.  It’s meant to inspire, if you have an ok day, try it!  If you don’t, try again another day. 

If you like the recipe, please make it and share it with me.  I’d love to see your results and adaptions to Monday’s  munchie or meal of the week!!!  Post on facebook, twitter and Instagram and comment on the post to inspire others.

I do not follow a strict diet.  I avoid trigger foods but have not cut groups out of my life (gluten etc.).  I try to find recipes that are clean, real ingredients, that are anti-inflammatory and nutrient dense.  I am not a nutritionist and fully admit I eat way too much sugar.  I hope to share recipes that make me feel better and taste good.  If you have one you’d like me to try, please email me at mymigrainelife@gmail.com

This month I’m focusing on pumpkin.  Everyone loves pumpkin in the Fall and the benefits of it are great!

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Here’s the recipe I followed:

http://www.makingthymeforhealth.com/healthy-flourless-pumpkin-muffins/#_a5y_p=4349482

We ate these for breakfast, in lunches and as an after school snack.  Easy and great for grab and go.

Pumpkin Muffins

 

 

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13 ways to survive working with Chronic Illness

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I have been a full time teacher with Chronic Migraine.

I have been a full time stay at home mom with Chronic Migraine. 

I am a full time mom and part time teacher with Chronic Migraine. 

They all are difficult jobs and adding a chronic illness makes life even more complicated and difficult.  

So the questions remains, how do you work while having Chronic Migraine?  How was I able to return to work

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  • Work part time

I only work a few days a week and seem to have letdown migraines on my days off.  I save time for self-care during those day.

Tip: Know time off policies and if a substitute is available

 

  • Find coworkers who support you

At my job that I missed a lot of time off, my boss was arrogant and my coworkers were judgmental.  With my new job, my coworkers are like a supportive family and my boss is loving and understanding.  This benefits the group because I’m not motivated to work out of judgment or consequences but out of commitment and love for the job and workers I call friends. I really have fun at work and love to be there.

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  • Ask for and learn how to accommodate your needs 

I requested that my classroom be on the side of the building that does not get direct sun or heat.  I also have control over the lighting.  Heat and lights (fluorescent) are especially big triggers.  I use Axon Optics glasses on days I need extra light protection for my eyes.  I use other lotions, oils and natural products to treat myself topically.

  • Understand clients

I found that when I disclosed that I had Chronic Migraine to my boss at one job I was judged and at my current job she understood me better.  The same goes for clients.  As a teacher who was missing work, I sent home a letter explaining my chronic disease.  I found that the parents were very open and appreciated my honesty but I was unsure what the feedback would be.  Understanding the children and families I work for has allowed me to personally connect more.  I feel like my families want the best for me as I want the best for them and mutual respect once again motivates me.

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  • Low stress, high reward

With a part time position, my stress has decreased tremendously.  I am able to focus on myself, my family and other aspects of my life other than my job.  Stress was my main factor in turning episodic to chronic.  I now have a handle on how to deal with stress and my priorities are different.  As a teacher without children and now with children, my views on teaching are very different. I have always had a passion for teaching and love children.  The reward is huge!!!  Being someone who is making a difference every day and seeing growth in my students is so rewarding. 

It gives me pure joy and joy is great medication! Find joy in your job.

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  • Set realistic goals and expectations

Putting pressure on myself to be something I’m not only raises stress.  I have realistic ideas of what I can do, what I want to do and how I’m going to attain those goals.  Setting myself up for failure will only derail my treatment.  I set goals I know I can reach and am proud when I meet them.  A positive attitude and learning from the past allows me to move forward.

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  • Commute

Driving is extremely difficult with even a low grade migraine.  At my old job I had a longer commute and found that many days I was throwing up on the side of the road before and after work.  At times I liked it to decompress but most of the time was pained from the drive.  I now have a short drive that I can drive to with my eyes closed (don’t worry, I don’t but I could).

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  • Water, coffee and snacks

Caffeine can be a benefit or trigger.  Coffee  is beneficial to my migraines. During my morning of teaching, I drink coffee before the students arrive and drink a huge water bottle throughout my day.   As a class, we have scheduled potty breaks and snack time so we all get time to refuel. 

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  • Sleep schedule

I wake up the same time every day whether I’m working or not.  I stay on a consistent sleep schedule in order to be refreshed and ready for my day.

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  • Take breaks

When I feel a migraine raising, I get a bit panicked.  During my students specials I have the ability to take a break, focus, drink more coffee, or water.  Just allowing 10 minutes of quiet and focused breathing make a world of difference to my rising pain.

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  • Use flexible work time if possible

I am able to get a lot of my work done outside of the classroom.  I am also a busy mom and find that planning and prepping can be done once they go to bed.  Instead of staying late at school, I bring a lot of my work home and also plan ahead.  By being over prepared I am able to relieve stress.  If I’m sick in bed and worrying about work, I get sicker.  When I have everything done, being sick for days doesn’t stress me out about work because I know I’m prepared.  Planning and being prepared makes my life, in general, much easier.

  • Moving my body and distraction

There are days I go to school feeling sick and am completely consumed by my students.  The minute my students leave and all is quiet, the pain comes flooding back.  I’m so distracted and filled with endorphins while I’m at school that at the end of the day I’m punished more.  There have been days that I work till lunch and am in bed until the next day.  The distraction of a job that I love helps me get through many mornings.

Having a job that I am active in helps.  Stretching, dancing and moving keeps my body active.  I would not be unable to sit at a desk staring at a screen all day.  My body needs to move and my brain needs a break from technology.

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  • Money vs time

As a part time employee in the teaching field, you can imagine I’m not a millionaire.  Working salary and full time was not something I could keep up with.  Working part time, I do not make a lot of money but am able to do what I love with people I care for.  Sometimes money isn’t everything (although it pays for my medical expenses, so I really need it).

 

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 With all of this said, I found a dream job.  Not everyone gets to work part time (either financially or in their field of interest).  Disability is difficult to get as a migraine sufferer and most jobs it is difficult to find balance.  Time off isn’t always possible without consequences and substitutes are not common. Falling behind on work is inevitable.  Finding coworkers that are friends is not a choice but a lucky draw.  The same goes for bosses.

All circumstances and lives are different.  I encourage you to find something you love.  Find a part time job, a job online, a job that can be flexible and a job that makes you happy.  Migraine is the definition of pain and unhappiness…..find something you love and makes you better.  Easier written than done, I know!!!

I, honestly, was not sure if I’d ever be able to go back to teaching with how severe my disease is.   I took a chance and it paid off.  I was very aware that it may not be possible, but I never let that deter me.  I tried it and it worked.  Not every job works but I’m so glad I took that leap.

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Truth in Advertising and product claims to treat, cure or prevent

Recently, a popular website named “Goop” became under fire for deceptive marking with disease treatment claims.  It is a blog that focuses on fashion, beauty and wellness.  Some of their products claim to treat, cure or prevent a host of diseases.  It seems that Goop is taking advantage of those looking for answers.  A nonprofit, Truth in Advertising requested it to be taken down.  In response to the official complaint, a spokesperson for Goop told E! news that they would “make those improvements that we believe are reasonable and necessary in the interests of our community of users.”

I was especially interested in this topic being I give product reviews.  My goal is not to sell or make money off of my reviews and recommendations (although I do have affiliates).  The products I post in SHOP things that I love are products that I use to treat myself.  I recommend them hoping they may help you also.  I am not a doctor and what works for me may or may not help you….but I hope it does!

With full disclosure, I have received products that I have not reviewed or recommended.  My rule is, if I don’t like it, I don’t write about it.  I have had offers for paid opportunities that I have rejected due to false claims.  I like to help weed out the “snake in the grass” products that are looking to make money and find the products that are the “real deal” in natural healing.

Red flags I see with products:

  • Claims that it will “cure”

o   There is no current cure and advertisers play off the emotions of people desperate for answers and help.

  • It works for everyone

o   Nothing will work the same for everyone.  The body is unique and will respond in such a way.

What does “reasonable and necessary [changes] in the interests of our community of users” mean?

Is it list price, retail price, price margin, cost of good, claims documented or product reviews?  What are the interests of community of users? Retail price, effectiveness of products, type of product?  It is all quite subjective. Products should be measured only on yourself.  If it doesn’t help YOU then stop using it.  Stop wasting your hope, your money, give your body a break and try something new.

Why do I try so many things?

Nothing works the same every time.  Body’s change and so do the reactions to products.  I typically like to recommend products that are not taken internally because of the complexities of how the body reacts.  Vitamins and pills get tricky but I enjoy encouraging juices and healthy foods to nourish.  I love trying new products and feel I can never have enough “self care” items regardless of my ailments.   While I try new products I encourage you to try the products and see how you feel.

 

Starting school, making friends and my hopes for my children’s future

As the school year begins, I have been thinking about my childhood a lot.  I actually have a friend who I have had since I was 5 and a neighbor that became family when I was in 4th grade.  Since then, I have gathered a great group that have made me who I am today.  My “oldest” friends are the ones who know a little piece of me that no one else knows does. They have been there since the beginning.

As the school year begins I think about how my children are starting their “beginning.”  When they go to school they hopefully will find forever friends like I did.  All too soon they will be listening to those friends more than they listen to me and that is terrifying.  Other influences will guide them through school, sports, nights out, big dances, academics and everywhere in between.

These are the people that they will laugh, cry, and grow with.  They will think that the world has ended with a break up and think that missing a party will ruin their lives forever.  They will lie to me, hide things from me, and grow in a blink of an eye.  I just pray that we have raised them well and that their choices in friends have had the same.

They are growing up in a world that is filled with so many more challenges than I ever had to face.  I think we are the first generation to say, it was easier when we grew up.  Social media didn’t run our lives.  Our bullies said it to our faces.  As cruel as it was, it wasn’t the massive amounts of people who can hide behind a screen to say words that crush someone’s soul.

Our football players fought with their fists.  Now they fight with guns.  I wasn’t fearful for my safety.  Columbine shook our lives with the unheard of massacre of many.  Now it’s a part of life that you can’t fly, go to school, the movies, work or a playground without being on high alert.

We didn’t sit at home searching the internet.  We were out riding our bikes and playing endless hours of baseball.  My neighbors watched me and an army of adults were in contact with my parents.  I was held accountable for my actions by everyone.

If I got in trouble at school, I would be sure to hear about it when I came home.  Being a teacher, my student’s parents would blame me for their child’s actions.  They had  little follow through with accountability thus raising an entitled generation with little remorse.

I trusted the teachers and coaches that I spent countless hours with to strengthen and make me a better person.  Are teachers even allowed to do that anymore, or do they just hand them standardized tests?

The only person taking pictures of me was taken by my mom to be put into a family album, not spread on the internet for the world to see.  I grew up with privacy and felt safe.  I have happy, happy memories of my adolescence but remember it not being easy.

My children’s lives will not just be uneasy, it will hands down to hard.  And as a mom I’m so worried about it all.  Right now their tiny hands fit in mine when we cross the street and I pick their play dates.

Some day they will be embarrassed of me and go places that I’m not sure exactly what that they are  doing.  At that point I will rely on the way that we have raised them and their  forever friends that they have chosen.

My babies will always be my babies and they will be thrown into a grown up world well before they will be ready.   As my daughter stands before me in her princess dress I can practically see it as a homecoming dress. I can only hope she wants a beautiful ball gown that makes her glow from the inside out instead of a skimpy dress that she feels appropriate in this overly sexualized world.

As my son runs around in his super hero shirt, I pray he will be safe and this world won’t need saving.  He thinks he can fly and has super strength.   He already has made everyone’s lives better that knows him.  I just hope his ambition and spirit never fades.

I see their innocent smiles and I just want to freeze these moments in time so I never have to see them cry.  I just want to hold them and keep them with me forever.  But I know I can’t do this.  I want and need them to find those forever friends to be something that I can’t.

I need my daughter to understand that although boys are great, every girl needs really good friends.  Men try their best to figure us out, but friends don’t need to.  They just get it!

Their friends will get them through things that really matter when they really matter.  I want them to accumulate all of the wonderful memories that I had and continue to have with my friends that I love so much.

I don’t feel old enough to say that I have friendships almost 30 years but I do.  I’m not sad about my age.  I am proud that I have achieved so much and created so many important relationships during this time.  I’m so happy that I am secure, confident, loved and stable in so many ways.

I no longer have people in my life that are unimportant and as a girl it takes a long time to be happy with yourself and I am.    Life can be so hard yet so wonderful.  I can just pray that my children find people to get through the hard parts of life that I can’t be there for and make the wonderful memories all that sweeter.

May they grow to be happy and healthy.  May they find forever friends who guide them to make good choices and as they guide others.  May they laugh and value people for who they are inside.  May they teach others while they learn so many lessons.   And please God, may they be safe!  As they leave my nest of safety I trust you will watch over them and that the good people of this world will do the same.

Migraine Awareness ChronicAlly box to relieve, relax and enjoy!

This month I got my Limited Edition Migraine Awareness ChronicAlly box.*  During the month of June, Migraine Awareness month, the box was offered to support Migraine Research Foundation.  I had treated myself to a 3 month subscription for June, July, and August.  My birthday is in August so “Happy Birthday to me!”  It’s been fun to receive a package made for comfort, support and with love.

migraine chronically.jpgThe box had something to use in a variety ways for My Migraine Life.

It included:

A sleep mask to block out the light.

An organic essential oil and electrolyte spray for pain and migraine relief

Headache and migraine relief roller for pressure points

Shower fizzie with lavender, eucalyptus and peppermint

Meditation unscented soy candle

I love it!  I’ll use the products to sleep, take a bath & shower, on the go and at home.  They are great “allies” for my headache and migraine needs! Check out all ChronicAlly has to offer here*

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Don’t forget to endorse My Migraine Life for Wego Awards.  Please scroll down to the thumbs up and endorse for Best in Show: blog, Instagram, Facebook, and twitter.  Tweet and share on Facebook to let others know.  I appreciate you taking the time to say “Thank you!” and “Keep up the good work!”  It means a lot to be recognized for my hard work for the Migraine and Chronic Illness community.

 

*This post contains an affiliate link

ImmunizeLABS Breathe Easy nasal spray review

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Recently my immunologist advised doing a nasal spray versus pill when treating my sinuses and allergies. He explained how the majority of infection is coming through the nose and it is best absorbed at the source.  Since then, I’ve treated my sinuses with a nasal spray.  I also have migraine medication that is a nasal spray that works quickly and avoids me throwing up the pill.  Therefore, in my case, nasal sprays seem to be the best for treatment and prevention of both sinus related issues and migraine.

Because of this advice, I have been trying Breathe Easy nasal spray.  I was given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company. It claims to provide relief for hives, Sinusitis, Migraine, Allergies and rash. 

 “ImmunizeLABS is a new perspective on how to deal with chronic illnesses and help boost your natural immune defenses reducing the chances of getting sick….[Their] products are based on fairly straightforward ingredients that have been tested by the medical community over the last 50 years. The breakthrough has been in the delivery process that allows the supplements to be absorbed and not digested, thus dramatically raising the absorption rate, efficiency and reducing gastric distress.”

What I like about Breathe easy is that I know the ingredients listed.  How many times do you look at a label and not understand what is?  I am happy I recognize the ingredients and ImmunizeLABS goes the next step to explain how each specifically treats and prevents cold, allergy, headache or other nasal and throat related issues.  Some ingredients include sea salt, cayenne pepper, horseradish, wintergreen, oregano, lemon oil, rosemary oil and more.  Although these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, references have been provided for each ingredient supporting their claims.

What I found interesting was the use of ionic and colloidal silver.  I have been reading about cleaning towels that have collodial silver in them and how it naturally is antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal eliminating the need for harsh chemicals.  I’m looking to eliminate toxins in my cleaning and especially in my body.  It is also anti-inflammatory which is an element I look for when treating and preventing both my migraines and allergies.

The story behind ImmunizeLABS is about healing.  It’s about health and wellness without relying on medication and building the immune system.  Like many of us, it was made out of desperation of feeling and being better without flooding the body with toxins.  They made a supplement protocol and did extensive tests on themselves and found life changing results.  They now share their journey and have made their health solutions available.  They offer more than just nasal spray.  They sell a variety of products that can be found here.

Overall, I love the idea of switching my sinus nasal spray to a natural preventative nasal spray that can help sinus, allergy and migraine.  I do two sprays in each nostril at bedtime and when waking.  Both morning and evenings are my highest spikes in migraine and I have felt a difference with using Breathe Easy.  I will be bringing it with me when I travel as I always get sick from air plane travel and change of climate.  I look forward to feeling a difference in my immune system with continued use and am grateful that I found another nontoxic way to treat and prevent my symptoms.

Make a difference for Migraine

Today is the official Chronic Migraine Awareness Day.  All month I have been supporting Migraine and Headache Awareness to advocate.  Even though today’s the day and June’s the month, the reality is it’s an everyday, every month type of suffering.  Please continue to read, share, and pass along My Migraine Life’s information and stories to raise awareness all year long.

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This picture is a perfect example of how I fight each day.  I was writing in my office wearing my migraine relief and photophobia glasses.  Why do I wear indoor glasses while the lights are off?  Sky lights!  I love the sun but it doesn’t always love me so I protect my eyes with Axon Optics.  I am an affiliate of Axon Optics which means if you buy them I will receive compensation for my referral.

Axon Optics has generously  offered 15%off your purchase today and tomorrow.

Use code mymigrainelife and purchase here

Another bit of support that I’m wearing is my “Migraine warrior, it’s more than a headache” tank.  It is in the official Migraine color, purple, and is sold by a fellow Migraine blogger Migraine Warrior

Not pictured are my walking shoes.  Please remember to donate to Miles for Migraine.  Skip the Starbucks today and give $10.  It will make a bigger difference in this world…

Do something that makes a difference for all of us who suffer today.  You may not suffer, but someone you know does.  We all need your help!

Donate, buy and wear something that makes a change.

You can’t ask for change without being a part of it.