Monthly Archives: September 2015

MS Football and the Cheapest Easiest Fastest Best Tasting Thin Crust Pizza Ever!

Pizzas ready for the oven

    Ingredient to make Pizza including Mission Tortilla Wraps And the secret is to start by using any one of the many assorted Mission Tortilla Wraps as the crust. The larger wraps come in regular, 100% whole wheat, garden spinach herb, jalapeno cheddar, and there may be others that I’m not as yet aware of. Anyone of these larger wraps is absolutely perfect for creating a personal pan sized pizza. And add just a salad or a fruit or veggie side and one of these pizzas is usually enough for two. The following ideas are just a few of a multitude of ways that you can prepare these incredible pizzas for any occasion including as a football favorite.

     For your more traditional pizza you can start with either the regular wrap, or the whole wheat wrap as a healthier fiber filled crust laid out on a pizza pan or aluminum foil, and spread about a third of a cup, you can adjust to your own taste, of either your own homemade pizza sauce or any one of a number of store bought brands. I use Ragu pizza sauce as that tastes the best as far as I’m concerned. Then using a spoon spread the sauce as evenly as possible around the crust coming to with in about a half inch of the outer edge of the tortilla wrap. And then, just like a pizza place, sprinkle on your favorite kind of shredded cheese, for me its provolone, covering the sauce. Add any toppings that you like and bake in a preheated 350% oven, remember oven temperatures vary so keep an eye on it the first time, for about twelve minutes.

     And then for a change of pace you can also start with a garden herb wrap and instead of pizza sauce use about a third of a cup of ranch or blue cheese dressing, any brand will do, and spread around the same way as a regular pizza topped with your choice of shredded cheese or cheeses and topped with whatever toppings you like onions, mushrooms, green peppers you get the idea. I use this recipe quite often for vegetarian pizzas and it works great as a main course with a salad on the side.

     Another way of making one of these pizzas would be to start with a jalapeno cheddar wrap and spread out about a half cup of either warm precooked taco meat or warm refried beans spread out in the same way as you would with pizza sauce. In this kind of pizza I usually use sharp cheddar cheese, again use what you like as that’s the beauty of these you can do anything, and then top with jalapeno peppers for a spicy hot Mexican pizza you won’t soon for get. And then after cooking top with fresh salsa and/or cool sour cream. This one is very filling.

     Want more ideas? You can start with any flavor wrap and spread about a quarter cup of olive oil and then your favorite kind of cheese with sprinkled oregano leaves and or fresh garlic or garlic salt for a great white pizza. Another idea would be to use any wrap with about a third of a cup of BBQ sauce spread out just like above and topped with your choice of cheeses and either precooked pulled chicken or pork for an awesome BBQ pizza that is also great topped with cold coleslaw after it comes out of the oven. And yes, instead of BBQ sauce, use your own favorite Buffalo hot wing sauce with some blue cheese dressing on the side to help cool off your taste buds as the perfect football pizza party treat.

     Want to get your kids involved? These are fun quick pizzas to make where they can create exactly what they like and want to eat for special occasions.

     And these are just a few of the ideas that you can use, but be creative, even steak sauce with cheese and precooked steak make an incredible pizza that you can also either roll or wrap as a sandwich! And if you’re creative enough I bet you could even use a wheat wrap and come up with some outrageous dessert or breakfast pizzas of your own.

     In the weeks and months ahead let me know what you come up with and perhaps I’ll do a sequel to this article with your own creative Mission Tortilla Wrap recipes! 

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MS and My Four Legged Guardian Angel

A Guardian Angel Named Lucky

My Cat Lucky

My Guardian Angel

     I moved to the Washington State in 1996 to be closer with family who had already relocated to the ever-green-state. I quickly found a job at a private golf club and then became involved with an animal rescue organization on Whidbey Island in Western Washington. WAIF or, Whidbey Animal Improvement Foundation, as it is still called, took on the daunting task of financially supporting many unwanted and abandoned pets as people moved off of the island leaving their dogs and cats to fend for themselves.

     About a year and half after my move I got a phone call one early evening from another volunteer from the WAIF shelter in a state of pure panic. Earlier in the day she had witnessed a car throw something out of a window as it sped past her house, concerned about just what that might have been she went out to look. And to her shock and dismay she found that the object that had been tossed was a kitten lying semiconscious in the middle of the road. She quickly scooped up this tiny ball of fur and was off to the vet where it was diagnosed as just being in shock and having a few bumps and bruises. This volunteer already had many dogs and cats in her own home and felt that one more was just too much for her small house and yard, which is where I came in, and why she was calling me. She couldn’t bare the thought of taking this kitten and turning her over to the shelter as she felt that this kitten had been through enough already and would I please consider adopting her? Answering no wasn’t an option, even though I already had two cats in my apartment. Which is how Lucky, as this volunteer friend had already named her, came to me.

     Two years later one of those original two cats passed on just as I was struck down with my first MS attack and it wasn’t long after that the second cat followed in much the same way leaving just myself and Lucky to deal with my new life as a person with Multiple Sclerosis. I was literally rocked to my physical and emotional core but Lucky became the lifeline that I clung to as she always seemed to sense when I needed her most.

     For most people dealing with insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, while trying to stay employed are just some of life’s little nuisances that have to be dealt with when time permits. However, when you find yourself facing an incurable disease they become something more on the line of monumental challenges where the rules are rarely, if ever, explained to you. And it’s at times like these where the tears often fall as the aggravation mounts to levels that most people either don’t, or can’t, comprehend. And it was always at times like these that Lucky would realize how badly she was needed on my lap, even when I’m sure, she would much rather have been outside climbing a tree or chasing a bird or a mouse.

     As the years passed Lucky was my ever present rock against, for profit insurance companies, who could have cared less whether I got any better or not as they tried their best to keep the cost of my healthcare as low as possible. And she never complained once about my loud vocal outbursts when trying to map my way through government agencies that I thought were there to help you but more often then not end up creating even more stress as they pass you from one level of bureaucracy onto the next.

     And now eighteen plus years later, as I watch her deal bravely with her own health issues of having both kidney and liver disease knowing that the end is not far into the future for her, I realize the most important gift of all that she has given me. And that is that we are all here to learn to live, love, and overcome all of these challenges that are thrown our way as best we can with what God has given us to help us endure these trials of life. And my Angel Lucky taught me this, without ever saying a word.

This article was recently published in MS Focus Magazine!

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MS and How Drug Companies Can Profit from Outdated Counts

     

A Fairy holding a Wolf puppy

My kind of Tooth Fairy!

     Visa recently commissioned a study to find out just how much parents where giving their young children for each baby tooth that they lost? It turns out, quite a bit. On average each child was receiving $3.19 per tooth. That in it self kind of blew me away because I think fifty some odd years ago I was getting a dime to maybe a quarter per tooth. Times certainly have changed.

     Now you’re probably asking yourself, what does the Tooth Fairy have to do with multiple sclerosis? And truth be told, very darn little actually. However there is one big irony that I have discussed before in a couple of my posts here regarding, MS by the numbers, and how these numbers just do not add up. 

     It seems strange to me that Visa would spend money commissioning a survey, or study about baby teeth, but large corporate drug companies seem to have little if any interest in finding out just how many people in America and around the globe really have multiple sclerosis? Let’s face it, these corporate drug giants are raking in hundreds of millions, perhaps billons, of dollars on these horrifically expensive drugs so you would think it would be to their advantage to know just where the incidence and higher numbers of MS patients are around the world and where their future profits might lie?

     Apparently though, they are satisfied in using numbers that were collected some twenty to thirty years ago, and they are still quoting those numbers today, as I have read recent drug company pamphlets where these very same numbers are still being used. If you don’t recall, those numbers were something like 450,000 people in the U.S with perhaps two to three million people worldwide having multiple sclerosis, which I believe to be a huge undercount of what the real numbers truly are. But since these numbers were taken so long ago, who knows what they actually are today?

     It makes one wonder why drug companies would not want to update these numbers in light of the possible increased sales potential around the world? Unfortunately, there is a possible financial motive for drug companies to stay with these decades old smaller numbers. If they used larger numbers they fear that this would actually decrease their profits on these drugs because they would have to produce larger batches driving down the overall cost because of the larger patient base that might use them. And because most industrialized nations outside of the U.S. control drug costs at much lower prices then what these drug behemoths want to sell them for. But by keeping the smaller numbers, remember it’s a supply and demand kind of thing, and because of how ridiculously expensive these drugs are, especially in America, drug companies can actually justify making more of these drugs then are really needed and then letting them reach their expiration dates so they can destroy whole batches and claim large tax write offs against what they do sell, increasing their profits on the back end as well.

     Greed in its truest form, they got you coming, and going. And the saddest part of all, the insurance industry probably knows that they do this and says nothing about it to protect their own bottom line, because drug companies are probably heavily invested in them as well!  

MS and Melatonin for Sleep

     Melatonin bottles surrounded by mermaidsA couple of months ago I took part in a survey about melatonin and if I felt it had any positive benefits for people with multiple sclerosis. In the questionnaire I answered that I did take melatonin and it did help me to sleep. I also added that when I first started taking it many years ago I felt that it might be helping in reducing some of the stiffness in my legs but I wasn’t a hundred percent certain either then or now. Back then I was using 3mg nightly and then would sometimes add an extra 3mg dose on particularly bad nights.

     Recently I also read that melatonin is now considered safe at larger doses of up to 10 mg a night and it may also have some anti-inflammatory properties as well. And I must admit, as the years have gone by I have upped my nightly dose to 5 mg at bedtime with an additional 5 mg if I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep. I also have an anti-spastic drug Cyclobenzaprine that I can take if I feel the need but I worry about becoming addicted to it over the long haul so I don’t like taking it very often. But I sure do sleep deeply when I do take it. And in the spring I often also add 25mg of Benadryle before bedtime when the trees start to pollinate because of a severe allergic reaction to certain trees. That also helps as well for sleeping, though the survey was only concerned about melatonin.

     I don’t know when the results of this survey will be made public but I am more than curious to see what it has to say? As the survey did hint that there may be some added benefits for people who suffer from multiple sclerosis who also take melatonin on a regular basis, beyond its ability to help in falling asleep, but it didn’t elaborate. We’ll see?