“You have a beautiful heart” – said the cardiologist at the conclusion of his evaluation.
I wonder what he saw on the echocardiogram that made him produce such “diagnosis” – a bunch of blooming roses??
In his mind though I’m sure a bunch of expletives were running wild in response to my appearance in his office complaining of chest pains that were pretty bad one of the nights. “You have a marvelous theory” said the doctor to my explanations why I didn’t go to ER in the middle of the night (insert his silent comments “WTF Diana!!! You have chest pains – you HAVE to go to the hospital! That’s how it works!” ). I tried to explain to him that sometimes I put my life in the hands of the Higher Power, and if I’m meant to die on a certain day, I will, whether I’m in the hospital or not, and at times I let go of the worry and “responsibility” for my life and have faith that “what’s meant to be, will be” (so insert more of his WTF silent comments here).
Yes, doctor, I know you were worried, I agree that chest pains definitely warrant a trip to the hospital. Yes, I was explained it many times that because one of the chemo components was heart toxic (and just the fact that I had chemo and cancer, period), I’m running a lifetime risk for both heart issues and pulmonary embolism, and have to be checked every single time I present with any symptoms. And I have gone to ER before (many times), and it’s traumatic, to both mind and body, to be whirled around the second you tell them you have chest pains. So sometimes I take my chances, and stay home, and I’ve survived so far – “Just marvelous!” said the doctor.
So if one day I just disappear and become silent, it’s probably because my theory of survival didn’t work. In that case, come and play the ghost game with me: you bring pink roses to my grave, and I’ll entertain you by levitating above the ground and whispering “Boo” in your ear.
“You have a beautiful heart” said the doctor, “Take care of it please”.
What’s Cooking This Week
Much has been said of what actually constitutes a “healthy” food, low fat, low sugar, low carb guidelines have been in the news for decades. I agree with some but oppose other ones. To me, a healthy food is the one that’s the closest to the natural source, un-processed and cooked with other natural ingredients. I don’t subscribe to no fat or sugar suggestions, we need some fat to absorb certain vitamins and nutrients, and I’ll choose natural sugar sources over chemically created ones. And I don’t always believe that a heart healthy diet is the one completely void of red meat. I think the rule was created to simplify it for people who were told to refrain from fat-dripping burgers and bacon. I do believe some amount of red meat is necessary for a healthy living as it provides us with appropriate amounts of iron and protein, along with leafy greens and other iron-rich foods of course. I think it all comes down to the actual meat source you choose, I typically get very lean grass-fed or organic beef, so to me, it’s natural and low in saturated fat, therefore it’s healthy. You may substitute beef for other meat, like turkey or chicken, if you wish, or make it with Portobello mushrooms instead to provide a vegetarian option. All fall squash provide a good option for vitamins A and C, necessary for a heart healthy diet, I chose acorn squash as it’s easy to stuff. I’m also using buckwheat in this recipe, which is one of the widely known Russian grains (actually buckwheat is not a grain at all but rather a seed, so it’s gluten free). Beef and buckwheat is a traditional pair in Slavic cuisine, but you may use other grains instead, like rice or quinoa (which is not a grain either by the way). Beef and buckwheat make a powerful pairing for extra protein and iron that are necessary to maintain healthy hemoglobin levels and have that “beautiful heart” going.
Beef and Buckwheat Stuffed Acorn Squash
2 acorn squash
1 lb of ground beef
1 cup of buckwheat (undercooked)
1/2 cup of peas
4 slices of cheese (I used cheddar style daiya)
1 tsp each minced onions and dry garlic
1/2 tsp each paprika and oregano
Cook buckwheat according to the package instruction but make it undercooked. Mix together beef, buckwheat, peas and all the seasonings.
Cut the squash diagonally in half and cut off the ends so they can stand on their own.
Rub salt and pepper inside each squash half and stuff them with beef and buckwheat mixture.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375F degrees for about 15-20 minutes or till the tops get brown, then cover with foil and continue baking for another 20 minutes or so. Uncover and top each half with a slice of cheese, let the cheese melt over the tops.
This dish can be served as a main meal or lunch. It’s unpretentious yet looks and tastes great, plus all the added healthy nutrients make it a perfect fall option.
As a follow-up to my earlier (Almost) Wordless Wednesday post about mental health field, here is a collection of best moments from “my world”. Even though I do not work in inpatient psychiatry, I often visit the unit to see a particular patient, and I get my own share of these moments working in triage and outpatient setting, plus I worked in inpatient medicine for several years so most of it is very relevant.
*Important Disclaimer: It is in no way my intention to bring offence to anyone with this post. I love my job and even the most difficult patients teach me something new and important. This is just simply a collection of some of those moments unique to work in mental health that I think my fellow comrades in the field can appreciate and relate to. If you are unable to read it with a measure of humor, then this post may not be for you.
#12 – me, every, single, day! #13 – I don’t get angry anymore, but my BS-radar is always on. And #10 – F*** You is just a hello in my world.
Best Moments of a Mental Heath Worker (from Glitter and Goop blogpost):
I’m in a complete scatterbrain mode yet again – probably because I’m just coming off a crazy week and entering yet another nutty one, just too many things happening at once. I had to deal with a heart issue and spend a couple days in bed (I’m fine, this is something that pops up once in a while in my post-cancer world). The kid is in the middle of SATs, college applications and other high school senior related stuff – and trying to manage a 17 year-old boy to keep him organized and on schedule is like a pushing a pound of cooked spaghetti up the hill, your spaghetti is running all over but none on the hill. I also had to finish the article about aging and relationships for the November issue of Russian Health magazine where I’m a psychology consultant. A dear friend’s birthday coming up this week so of course a birthday cake has to be made (that Red Velvet Cake with Limoncello Buttercream I was talking about in the previous post). And another gathering with my girl pals next week that I have to bake for (I think I’ll make French Apple-Rum Mini Cakes), which usually works like this: I stir the pot and tell everybody we need to get together, and say I’ll bake something, then I create a poll to choose the best day for all, and once the day is chosen, I drop it (bad bad Diana) and let the rest of them figure out the nitty gritty details like which venue and what to do, but then I show up with dessert so everybody forgets I let somebody else do all the dirty work. I now have 11 people to put into a “forgetful” sugar coma next Friday.
Oh yeah, and there was a trip to urgent care with the kid this morning – just because Sunday needs to be more exciting!
Also, somehow, all these managed to appear this weekend too:
And how was your weekend?
What else is there to do at 8 am on a rainy Saturday, after you sent your nervous 17 year old to take his SATs?!
Some people, to combat their own anxiety, read, exercise, go for a walk. Me? I bake. (Yes, I know, I’m weird, we are not disputing it).
I hope the kid does well on the test today, it’s his 2nd round, he got a decent score in the Spring, but there’s always room for improvement. And then there are chemistry and trigonometry subject SATs to take next month too. I mean, I feel for the kid! He’s got a great 3.7 GPA at school, but he HATES all standardized tests, he just doesn’t believe in them (I wonder where he got his “out of the box” thinking…). So to go there and work your ass off on something you don’t believe in… I hear you kid! But this is life! Get used to it!
And hopefully then you get to work on something you DO believe in and passionate about. Just find your path, kid! And stay on it, no matter what! You will be rewarded. With the results you’d be proud of. And life you DO want to lead.
What’s Cooking This Rainy Morning
Baked goods. Always on a menu. Healthier version of course, it always helps to use whole grains and good fats. This is a variation of a bread I bake often as I try not to eat a lot of grains (even gluten free ones) as I’ve noticed I started getting some cross-reaction from rice, corn and oats. So grains are now more of a splurge rather than an everyday occurrence. Yes, I’ve had plenty of shit fits over it (it limits my eating even more so), but what’s the alternative?…
No step by step pictures for the recipe below. Yeah, I forgot. It was 7 am on a Saturday, people! I’m happy I remembered to at least take a couple after I baked them.
Blueberry Yogurt Biscuits
2 cups of flour (I used Cup4Cup gluten free mix)
2 6 oz containers of Greek blueberry yogurt
1/2 cup of milk (I used almond)
1 Tbsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of salt
2 tsps of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla sugar (or vanilla)
1/2 6 oz container of blueberries
cinnamon sugar to top
This is a simple and quick recipe, you can also skip the berries and use plain yogurt to make regular biscuits. They have a crusty outside and soft inside, perfect to cut and spread jam or butter.
Combine milk and yogurt separately. Mix together all the dry ingredients. Incorporate dry and wet ingredients, dough will be sticky. Quickly knead it a few times on a lightly floured surface, roll it out to about 3/4 inch thick, cut biscuits out of the dough and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place several blueberries on top of each biscuit and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 425F for about 15-17 minutes or until the tops get slightly brown.
Have breakfast. And wait for the kid to come home and tell you about the test.