Guest Post: Lisa Salinger

Creative Thinking … It Tastes Just Like Chicken

Originally Published June 05, 2016 on BlindAlive by Lisa Salinger

Veggie topped pizza with broccoli, tomatoes, yellow and red peppers, and cheeseHave you noticed how many things are said to taste “just like chicken?” From frog legs to tofu turkey, to alligator meat, the refrain is the same: “It tastes just like chicken.” I doubt that anyone is actually gullible enough to believe this. After all, nothing tastes exactly like chicken except for, well, chicken. So why do we say it? My unproven theory is that we want to compare something that’s new and unfamiliar to something we know and like, or even love. It’s why parents tell children that their liquid medicine tastes just like candy. The parents know it’s not true, but to them, the health benefits of taking the medicine are preferable to the consequences.

I’ll never forget my first taste of whole wheat pizza with vegan cheese. A delivery order to my office had been confused, and we ended up with four of these pizzas, and only one traditional one. Some of my coworkers were not pleased, but they were hungry, so they dug in. Comments followed quickly. “This doesn’t taste like pizza. It’s awful!”

A friend of mine sometimes refers to me as Polly the Peacemaker. Polly is for Pollyanna, who always looks on the bright side, and peacemaker comes from the fact that I’m happiest when everyone in my world is getting along. So you can see why I couldn’t just let the negativity continue.
“That’s because it’s not really pizza,” I said. Only something that sounded so offbeat would stop the conversation in its tracks.

“I don’t really think of it as pizza. If I did, I’d be really disappointed. I think of it as Vegan flatbread, and it’s pretty good. The crust is different, but it’s kind of nutty, and it has texture, and the cheese doesn’t taste like standard Mozzarella, but it’s a nice mix with the veggies that are on top.”

If you feel like you’re just eating a healthier version of pizza, and you don’t really like it, you’ll just feel cheated, or at least I have. But set that notion aside, and maybe substitute a mental script like, “I am making healthy choices and am enjoying Vegan flatbread.” It may just sound like a game of semantics, but why not recognize the unique differences of each food you try? After all, not everything tastes like chicken, and that is as it should be.

If you’ve found a helpful food substitution or a mental trick that works for you, please let us know. You can always respond via social media or on our Facebook group.

Guest Post: Mel Scott

My Claws are Out

Originally Published May 22, 2016 on BlindAlive by Mel Scott

Editor’s Note: It is not my intention to offend anyone in sharing the following post it is one person’s opinion on an issue she has dealt with personally. Since Mel has the first-hand experience in dealing with this dreadful disease she has an understanding of the treatments and their effects on the body. Deciding whether or not to go through treatment is an individual choice and I would suspect many people when given the choice would do almost anything to extend their lives however there are people who choose not to as well.

IV stand with several bags of IV medicationsHi all, I wrote the below post a few weeks ago. I was, and still am, angry after witnessing a dear friend experience chemo-induced trauma. I have thought a great deal about whether or not to post it.

Obviously, I decided to send it out because this is part of my journey as well, and I wanted to share it here. Thank you for allowing me to share my mind on a subject that is so important to me.

Cancer – Sugar Coats, Smiley Faces, Silly Pink Ribbons, and Fight, Fight, Fight!

Cancer is not the enemy. Pink ribbons are not the guns. Chemotherapy is not a therapy. It is a gladiator sport. Radiation is just plain bizarre. I really don’t get it.

Stethoscope, eyeglasses, packet of pills, loose pills and capsules, laying atop a EKG reportSomething is wrong somewhere. Something happened to the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry, and they took the wrong path. I don’t think anybody meant harm, but something just went wrong.

Women and men are being tortured by their own choosing because they think that they have no other choice. The odd thing is that the doctors think they are doing the right things by prescribing and performing the tortures. Nobody is evil; something just went wrong.

Surviving cancer is a competitive sport. It isn’t the cancer that is being survived; it is the treatment. The treatment is not much better than bloodletting was long ago. I expect that I am being too harsh, but maybe I’m not; who really knows?

Assorted vials of medication.I do not want to be a fighter. I am not interested in fighting battles. My body is not a war zone. If I want to be a war hero, I will join the military.

I admit that I sound angry, and I am angry. It feels bizarre to feel perfectly healthy and then one day, an image on a screen shows something odd. The next thing you know is that you have a diagnosis and you become deathly ill.

It feels surreal. My brain, my mind, my heart, my body does not understand why they must be hacked, stabbed, burned inside and out. It doesn’t make good sense to treat our most precious possession in this way. The strange thing is we submit to it. We allow it to happen. We beg for it in some cases. I am having a very difficult time wrapping my head around why we do this; do we really know these “treatments” are actually doing any good over the long term?

Assorted chemistry beakers and tubesSomething is terribly wrong with this picture, and it is pretty clear that nobody knows what it is. I believe cancer is a symptom of a very sick planet. Cancer needs to be prevented, not cured.

When we come to understand that we are indiscriminately hacking at the planet and draining it of its life-giving resources, then we might understand the huge mistake we have been making by tearing our bodies down. We need to allow the planet to recover. We need to help the planet to heal. Our bodies will heal as the planet heals and refuels. In the meantime, we sit by and watch all of the hair on our bodies fall out. We get so sick that we wish we were dead. Our fingernails fall off and our brains can’t think.

Our bodies are scarred not only by the cancer, but also the treatment. Subsequent cancers may be caused by the treatment itself. There must be a better way. I know there is a better way, but it is yet to be revealed.

Image of a globe with a hypodermic needle puncturing it.It feels to me that we are looking in all the wrong places and for all the wrong reasons. I do not have the answer, but I know there is one; there will be one. We can find it if we can stop fighting long enough; when we stop sugar coating the trauma and damage being done to our bodies and our planet.

The Earth has cancer and it is showing up in our bodies, our oceans, rivers, lakes, mountains, and air. When we face the fact that humans are the carcinogens, then we will know that the true treatment is walking gently, speaking softly, and being conscious that each one of us can choose to be a malignant cell or one that is vibrant and whose purpose is to create beauty not destroy it. We are the cancer, and we are the treatment.

Guest Post: Lisa Salinger

“The Right Tools

Originally published February 28, 2016  by  Lisa Salinger

Have you ever gotten a stone stuck inside your shoe? You try not to walk on it, and gingerly limp around until you can stop and remove it. Yesterday, this happened to me, with one important twist. When I tried to remove the offending stone, there was none to be found.

I was able to ignore it for the most part and went on with my day. Unfortunately, every time I got up from sitting at my desk, the discomfort was back, and by the end of the day, my slight limp turned into a hobble, and I could barely put weight on that foot.

“When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s. where your power is.”

The culprit, it seems, is something called Plantar Fasciitis, a condition that, while painful, can be easily treated in most cases. It happens due to repetitive micro-traumas to the plantar fascia, a thick fibrous band of connective tissue that runs the length of the foot. Treatment involves taking a rest from walking and high-impact activities and stretching the Achilles tendon and the muscles of the calves and feet.

I’m not thrilled about giving up my daily walk, even temporarily. I walk a minimum of an hour a day, and it’s rare that I don’t log ten thousand steps a day on my FitBit. To be perfectly honest, I don’t always enjoy walking and wonder sometimes if that hour could be better spent. However, if I don’t walk in a given day, I feel restless and full of nervous energy, and focusing on even simple things can sometimes be a challenge.

I feel so fortunate at times like these to have tools in my figurative toolbox. That way, when something needs to be fixed or adjusted, I am ready and able, because I have the right tools for the job. In this case, I have three, and I’d like to share them with you.

  1. First is creativity. This is the mindset that asks, “How can I do this?” rather than saying, “I give up.”
  2. Second are things that will help me keep moving. How can I get in some of that all-important cardio that seems so beneficial for my health and well-being? For a few days, I’ll spend more time bouncing on the stability ball. It’s not as vigorous as walking, but it’s an adequate substitute for now. I also purchased a rebounder about a year ago. This is a mini trampoline with a rail I can use for balance, and the springy surface will lessen the impact to my heel.
  3. The final tool comes straight from BlindAlive. I was already doing our Cardio and Sculpting with Weights workouts, but now I need something that involves minimal standing on hard surfaces, and minimal impact, at least for now. I plan to make good use of the Gentle Workout Set and the Pilates Chair with Ring workout. These emphasize muscle stretching and strengthening more than I have lately. The fact that I have this problem in the first place is a gentle reminder from my body to strengthen and use my muscles so that, like good tools, they are ready for any job.

If you have any questions about what you’ve read, or you’d like to learn more about any of our workouts, please fill out the contact form at www.BlindAlive.com. We’d love to hear from you!

 

Guest Post: Lisa Salinger

Reading With Purpose

Originally Published on BlindAlive October 11, 2015, by  Lisa Salinger

I have been an avid reader for most of my life, and when I’m not enjoying a good novel — what some call escapism fiction — I’m reading books about self-improvement. If you were to live with me, day in and day out, you’d think those books weren’t doing me much good. The really unfortunate thing is that, for the most part, you would be right.

I will often be inspired or excited by something I read, and I have the very best of intentions to make it a part of my daily life. Then, I get really busy, or involved in a time-consuming project, or I read another motivational book, and all the fantastic, useful information I’ve read gets shelved, if you’ll excuse the bad pun. What good is it if I spend my time, and sometimes my money, on a book I think is the very epitome of transformational advice if I don’t put it into practice?

I’ve given this some thought lately and wanted to share some things I am beginning to do to get the most from my current reads.

I started by making a list of the memorable books I read but had never implemented. I did not browse through my download history, but just wrote down a few titles I read at some point in the past. Thinking of them made me feel a sense of regret that I had not done more with the material. I came up with three books, which I plan to reread in the near future. To keep this from being an obligation that leaves you feeling flattened, try limiting yourself to five or fewer books.

I resolved to listen to the author. When I come across phrases like “Practice exercise,” “Don’t read on until you’ve done this,” or “Make a list,” I’m actually stopping to do it. I know that if I say I’ll come back to it, or I half-heartedly make a list in my head instead of actually capturing it somewhere, it won’t happen. I’m sure the author did not just build in practice exercises for no good reason. It is likely that these same activities were used by the author to become successful in the areas about which he or she is writing. If I’m investing the time to read the book, I can at least make time to try what the author suggests.

I’m learning to slow down. Sometimes, a book contains so many practical and helpful suggestions, I read it through without stopping. It’s the equivalent of gulping half a gallon of cold water on a hot day. It will do some good, but the real benefit comes from taking it slowly. Now, I try to reserve my reading binges for fiction and take the time to live with a helpful book for a couple of days, or even a couple of weeks so I can really integrate its practices into my daily life.

 

Finally, I’m learning to take notes on what I read. This doesn’t mean I need to write a complete outline of the book, but I should at least jot down anything I find particularly helpful. I am reading more audio books than ever, and while they are great, it is sometimes hard to go back and search for that sought-after bit of information. Taking notes gives me quick access to those parts of a book I value most. What’s more, the act of writing things down helps to cement them in my mind.

Have you ever been so caught up in a plan of action or a premise that you don’t see its faults? Critical thinking has not come naturally to me but is something I have had to cultivate. I find that distilling the premise or plan outlined in a book to just a few thoughts or sentences is like shining a spotlight on it. The flaws are made more visible, and the gems shine like the jewels they truly are.

Do you have a strategy for implementing what you read that I didn’t mention here? If so, please feel free to email support@BlindAlive.com and share it, or post to our Facebook group. Here’s wishing you a happy, transformative reading experience!