Brain Retraining

This is a long overdue post on the second protocol that I began in December. If you haven’t been following my blog up till now, I am testing three separate protocols in an effort to improve my health. See my previous blog posts for the first protocol. Brain retraining is the second protocol and the most intriguing.

The explanation can get complicated if not done sequentially and comprehensively, so I will do my best to be brief yet thorough.

Brain retraining involves mostly the limbic system that is responsible for emotions and memories. It is also our “ancient” brain and our subconscious brain. It is closely connected to our autonomic nervous system, that flight or fight response.

Our limbic system can become hypersensitive and begin responding to things that are not a threat. But our body responds as if it is! We can respond to triggers of all kinds. Neuroscientists have shown that we can rewire our brain, or limbic system to NOT react or respond to these triggers. Neuroplasticity! 

The program I have been following was used at the Mayo Clinic so that is why I chose this one. The Gupta Amygdala Retraining Program has been quite amazing. I have to say that initially, I was skeptical. Some of the techniques used are NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), meditation, mindfulness, yogic practices, visualization and more. I already used most of those in my daily life, but the specific techniques are unique.

I wondered if it would work for me because he originally intended the program to be for people with chronic fatigue syndrome but has since realized it helps so many others. I have been astounded at how much progress I have made in recovery. I have been able to decrease some of my meds for mast cells. I still have much more to do as I still struggle with pain.

The support provided is incredible, from online webinars, to free apps, support group and email support. If you have any questions about the brain retraining program, feel free to leave questions below or email me at janhemspteadrn@gmail.com.Gupta

December and January Updates

I know I have been missing for quite a while so I decided to give some December and January updates. I have been super busy, mostly with family. December 13th, my 87 year old mom fell and fractured her hip. She was shoveling snow, yes shoveling! She is a feisty, headstrong woman who is totally independent. She was cleaning the snow off the top of her car (yes, she still drives) and didn’t want to leave the snow that she removed from her car onto the parking lot for someone else to fall. So she took a foldable shovel that we did not know she had and started shoveling it out of the way and slipped.

She required surgery and subacute rehab. As many of you know, I have not been able to drive in over a year due to cardiac issues but luckily, my husband was on vacation for two weeks, so he drove me back and forth, first to Albany Medical Center, only 20-25 minutes away each day, then to her rehab that is 50-60 minutes away, depending on traffic. She is doing amazingly well. I don’t know why I’m surprised. She’s a tough cookie! Here she is practicing getting in and out of a car in rehab. Mom in car in rehab

Now that Brian is back to work, my twin sister is doing all of the daily visits, since I can only get down there on weekends when Brian returns from his business trips. Soon, she’ll be going home because she is making remarkable progress.

Then I had several medical appointments in Boston at Brigham and Women’s. I will update about those appointments in an upcoming post because I will discuss information I learned from some testing done. The trek to Boston is always an all day deal, a three to three and a half hour drive each way, several hours at the appointment and a few stops on the Mass Pike. I’m always wiped out when we get home.

The very exciting update that I have is the new addition to our family. Since our beloved dog, Buddy died 7 months ago, I have been greatly missing him, his calming dog energy and the unconditional love only a dog can provide. I am in the process of attempting to get a balance service dog but the application process is difficult and the wait is long. A 2-3 year wait is typical for balance dogs.

So with the advice and help of a friend, Justine Blair Carroll, who owns Dharma of Dog, a dog training and behavior service in Saratoga, NY, we contacted Perfect Pets Rescue, Inc. There we found our sweet Twinkle, a senior dog who had been in a kill shelter and scheduled to be killed that day until someone saw the twinkle in her eye and took her out for foster care until she could be adopted.

I knew as soon as I saw her on the website that she was ours. I saw the twinkle in her eyes too! I had no intention of getting a senior dog with the pain of losing Buddy so fresh. But there was something so special about Twinkle. And she is!!!

We picked her up Friday night and it’s only Tuesday and she has acclimated into our lifestyle so well. It’s as though she has always been here. We are smitten with her. Love at first site for us and her.

Even if you are not a dog person, it’s tough not to smile at these pics.Twinkle

Twinkle sleeping
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Baking Fun on SCD

As I have continued on the Special Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), the most fun has been experimenting with baking. Because the SCD is totally grain-free, baking is done completely with almond flour. In Elaine Gottschall’s book that I previously referenced, Breaking the Vicious Cycle, she explains the need for blanched almond flour. This is almonds with the skin removed. Because almond flour can be costly, I have found a brand on Amazon that is not only really good, but cost-effective.

I have made many different muffins, breads and breakfast treats using this almond flour. My husband, Brian, has been thrilled with each recipe. These were the Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffins from Lucy’s Cookbook that I referenced in the last post. Next to it is Lois Lang’s Luscious Bread. We use that recipe to make our sandwiches. It slices and toasts well.

cinnamon coffee cake

Here is a pic of a sandwich made with the bread. It is a small loaf, so Brian usually makes two sandwiches. I also poached some pears for my lunch this day, because initially, only cooked fruit is allowed for better digestion.sandwich with bread

Also from Lucy’s Cookbook, I made Apple Cobbler. It was similar to my old apple crisp recipe and very good. Each time a make something, I get a thumbs up from Brian. apple cobblerapple cobbler cooked

 

 

 

 

These Parmesan Onion Rolls are absolutely delicious! We use these as hamburger buns, for chicken breasts sandwiches or anything you’d want a moist, tasty roll. Interestingly, I had not been able to eat Parmesan for over two years, but I have no problem with these.

Parmesan rolls

Hope you liked the pics of my baking fun. I have been enjoying myself, experimenting with different recipes. Some of our favorites are Apple Cinnamon Muffins, Banana Muffins, Carrot Cake Muffins and Peanut Butter Brownies.

The best part about these recipes is that they are high in protein because of the almond flour and low in sugar. They do all have butter as the fat, but I sometimes cut down a little on the amount without any change in taste or texture.

And the even better part is that I have been able to enjoy and tolerate without any mast cell reactions all of the recipes except for one… the lemon blueberry muffins. This is the second time lemon has caused a reaction, so it is safe to say lemon is out… for now.

I am having fun baking the SCD way and will continue trying new recipes. I am now two months into SCD and doing well. I have learned a few things about my body, it’s reaction to SCD and how to go forward. Stay tuned to the next post.