Thanks to the way-too-early-in-the-year ridiculously high humidity here in NYC, breathing has been a bit of a struggle for me for the past week or so. I have "allergy-induced asthma" that is also affected by weather extremes. I've had it all my life, and I usually keep it pretty well under control, but sometimes it gets away from me. Like it has this week.
I finally broke down and went to a walk-in clinic this afternoon. I've been before. It's a pretty good facility. And it's usually a lot easier than getting into my regular doctor (especially on a Sunday!).
I got there, filled out some paperwork, and was led into an exam room by a man who I assumed to be a nurse or PA. He had a Batman pin on his shirt and a Batman sticker on his stethoscope. I didn't really think much of it at the time. I figured they get a lot of kids in a NYC walk-in clinic. He took my temperature and said he'd be back. Five or so minutes later, he came back, took my pulse-ox level, and left again. Then the doctor came in, listened to my lungs, poked and prodded a bit, and told me that Batman would be back to to do a lung function test. I expected a peak flow meter or something similar. Instead, he led me out to a desk and parked me in front of a computer. He typed in some stuff, hooked up a little mouthpiece, and launched a program. On the screen was a cartoon of a fireman and a burning shrub. My mission, if I chose to accept it, was to blow into the mouthpiece and help the firefighter put out the fire. The harder I could blow, the more forceful the water would come out of his hose (hehehe). I actually said out loud "and suddenly, I'm 9." But I figured they get a lot of kids in a NYC walk-in clinic.
I couldn't put out the fire. Not on the first attempt, not on the second (though I got closer the second time!). Better luck next time.
So the doctor came back, looked at the test results, and handed me a couple of prescriptions. One is for the standard rescue inhaler, the other for a steroid inhaler. So I imagine that within a couple of weeks, I'll have about 500 taters in my rearview.
Actually, the side effects for inhaled steroids are almost nonexistent, at least in my experience. But I'd probably still get sidelined with Manny if I had to take a drug test.
I got home and looked up the steroid inhaler to see how it compares to others I've used: "Low-dose inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) like FLOVENT are the preferred initial daily therapy for children 5 to 11 years old with persistent asthma, according to the National Institutes of Health."
Is anyone seeing a pattern here? I didn't, really, until Kevin got home and I told him the story of my day. I mean, I know I look young for my age (though my lungs apparently feel like they're 49, according to the nice firefighter who still loved me even though I couldn't make his hose work properly). But as I told the story to Kevin, I couldn't help but feel like I'd spent the day with a pediatrician.
And after all that, I didn't even get a damn lollipop.
Kevin and I have the day off together today, which happens about as often as Halley's Comet is visible to Earthlings. The weather is oh-so-cooperative: gray, humid, warmish, and not quite raining but not quite not raining. We have plans to go to the Museum of the City of New York. So far all we've accomplished is buying an SD card for the Wii and downloading and playing old-school Nintendo games. Well, OK, so I've watched Kevin play old-school Nintendo games on said Wii.
Then I got hungry. We don't have much to eat around here, and I'm not going grocery shopping until tomorrow (when it's supposed to be even warmer, more humid, and more rainy [and I walk to the grocery store!]). But there were a few baby carrots, some less-than-perfect celery and a jar of Veganaise that I have had for a couple months but have been too scared to open. I've never been a mayo fan. I have no idea why I bought it. I guess it seemed like a good vegan thing to do. And I always have far too many cans of chickpeas in the pantry. So I gathered what little motivation and creativity I could muster and threw together a vegan classic: not tuna salad.
Finely chopped carrots, celery, and onion smashed together with a can of very well-rinsed chickpeas (because the liquid in canned beans grosses me out to no end), mixed up with the juice of half a lemon, a little too much Veganaise, lots of freshly ground pepper, monsieur, some Mrs Dash Original and some Mrs Dash Extra Spicy (which really isn't very spicy), served on toasted Arnold's Sandwich Thins (which contain the dreaded Sucralose, but I didn't buy them, and it was the only bread we had in the house, and they are dead animal-free). Many vegans throw in dulse or nori flakes for a little fishiness, and Alanis Morissette knows I love my sea vegetables, but I really wasn't feeling like I wanted this to taste so much like tuna salad. I never touched tuna salad when I was a kid due to my strong dislike of mayo. I ate dry tuna on bread. Really. And these days I get very nervous when my food tastes fishy. Fish are friends, not food.
So... this was pretty good! I definitely will use a little less Veganaise next time, and will probably throw in some chopped pickles (memo to self: buy pickles when grocery shopping tomorrow). Maybe I'll even experiment with a "mayo" free version, dressed in something more vinaigrette-like, at some point.
Yes, I am, shockingly enough, still alive. Frankly, I have had very little motivation or inspiration lately. But I'll get over it.
So, I'm looking for a bit of inspiration -- mostly of the food persuasion. I've been eating way too many Amy's frozen meals lately, and far too little homemade food. Not that Amy's food is unhealthy -- as far as processed foods go, it's pretty impressive. But I still worry about the lack of whole foods in my diet, all the waste I'm generating, and how much money I spend on the aforementioned frozen meals (not necessarily in that order).
(I also eat A LOT of fruit, if that's of any concession to you.)
I recently found a food blog that I am really enjoying. The author doesn't say as much, but seems to be vegetarian, and is very health-conscious. Now, please keep in mind that I've only been reading this blog for a few days. As far as I can tell, she's a big fan of Flatout Flatbreads. I've also seen them mentioned on various and assorted other blogs I frequent. They sound interesting. So I just did a little Googling to see if my place of employment carries these breads. No such luck. They seem to be available at places like BJ's Wholesale Club and Wal-Mart Supercenters. Red flag! Red Flag! I decided to check the ingredients and nutritional info:
(from flatoutbread.com) "Flatout Healthy Grain Multi-Grain Ingredients: Water, Vital Wheat Gluten, Whole Wheat Flour, Oat Fiber, Flax Flour, Soybean Oil,
Liquid Brown Sugar, Contains Less Than 2 % Of Each Of The Following:
Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Wheat Bran, Maltitol, Yeast, Yellow Corn
Meal, Baking Soda, Bulgar Wheat, Wheat Protein Isolate, Oat Flakes,
Barley Flakes, Rye Chops, Wheat Flakes, Potassium Sorbate & Sodium
Propionate (Preservatives), Fumaric Acid, Calcium Peroxide, Cellulose
Gum, Guar Gum, Calcium Sulfate, Xanthan Gum, Annatto Color, Salt,
Enzymes, L-Cysteine, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate,
There is more potassium sorbate (a preservative with questionable potential for toxicity) than vitamin B2. Calcium peroxide? I just Googled it and found many matches for its Material Safety Data Sheet. For those of you who did not work in a hardware store for nine years, an MSDS is some sort of official document that documents the hazards of common and not-so-common chemicals used for things like bleaching wood, removing rust from one's deck furniture, and (apparently) baking flatbread. Oh, and, calcium sulfate? Also known as Plaster of Paris. Mmm.. 3rd grade art class sculpture in my tummy...
So now I know why my place of employment does not stock Flatout Flatbreads. I'll stick to the store-brand whole wheat tortillas for all my wrapping needs: organic whole Wheat Flour, water, organic expeller pressed soybean oil, salt, baking powder. All of which I have in my pantry, therefore eliminating the need for an MSDS before I can eat.
I was on the phone with my mom earlier this evening. She was watching "Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern," and mentioned that someone was "making something grassy." Now, I don't regularly watch that show for what I think are very obvious reasons, but I didn't think that "grassy" foods were necessarily up Andrew's alley. So I switched my TV over to find Zimmern at the home of an LA based raw chef. There went my blood pressure, right up to the sky. Leave it to someone like Zimmern to portray healthy, plant-based foods as "bizarre!" It's people like him who give veganism a bad name. Raw food? Bizarre? I mean, really? Grrr. I promptly switched back to whatever it was I hadn't been watching earlier (yes, I have a very bad habit of having the TV on whenever I'm home alone. I really need the sound and light to keep from feeling too lonely.), which may or may not have been "Wheel of Fortune," but only because it's on right after "Jeopardy."
And then I saw this article on the New York Times Dining and Wine Page. Hooray!!! Granted, there are still a few points with which I may not entirely agree, but knowing that HFCS is being phased out of some heavy-hitting American foods made me very, very happy. I can't wait to have a Coke with REAL SUGAR in it! And no, I don't make a habit of drinking Coke, but the first HFCS-free one I see WILL be mine.
Also, there is a Red Sox (pre-season) game on TV here! Yay! Of course, if you're from here, I guess it would be a Yankees game. But I am most definitely NOT from here.