Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dementia Busting Granola Bars

I enjoy reading recipes online and seeing the pictures that show the food in various stages of preparation as well as the completed product.  This picture shows my healthy granola bars in a stage of their journey.  That stage is known as ALMOST GONE!  These little squares are so dad-gone good (yes, that’s a good Southern phrase and I have no clue what it means!), and they don’t last long around my house. 
Eating healthy and exercising reduces your chances of Alzheimer’s by 50%!  Get started today by making these healthy granola bars for breakfast or a snack!  If you don’t like raisins, substitute craisins or leave them out entirely.  
Hope that gives you Something To Ponder (and something to eat!). 
Dementia Busting Granola Bars
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal mixed with ¼ cup water
1 cup raw sugar
1 tablespoon Ener-G egg replacer mixed with ¼ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup raisins
1 cup bran meal
¼ cup sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine the flaxseed meal mixture and the Ener-G mixture with the applesauce and vanilla.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Spread into one large piece on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the desired crunchiness for granola bars.  Some people like them soft, and some people like them crunchy.  Let cool.  Slice into squares or bars.  Hold yourself back, or you might eat them all!
This recipe is adapted from a recipe in THE ENGINE 2 DIET.  Click here to order this wonderful book and learn about plant-based eating.  I HIGHLY recommend you add it to your library and your recipe book collection.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

LET'S TALK DEMENTIA - A Caregiver's Guide - Amazon Best Seller

This review of LET'S TALK DEMENTIA-A Caregiver's Guide was recently posted on Amazon. 

"Let's Talk Dementia is a helpful guide for anyone who is in the position to be a caregiver or friend of someone with dementia. Carol Howell presents a very clear definition of dementia and the various forms and stages of this disorder. She focuses primarily on Alzheimers, since that is the most common cause of the confusion and memory issues of dementia. Although helpful medical information is included in this book, the main thrust of the message is how to enter into the world of someone with dementia and navigate a helpful relationship with him or her. Sprinkled with humor and punctuated with very specific, hands on suggestions, Carol delivers a layman's guide which will be helpful to anyone facing this type of decline in a family member or friend. She speaks from personal experience with her own mother and grandmother as well as from her training and work with adults struggling with dementia. Highly recommended read!".

It is available in paperback and e-reader formats.

Monday, July 15, 2013


This has been an exciting week at my house.  A decision was made, and action was taken.  I am still a little in shock about the entire process.
Let me back up in time a bit.  For fifteen years, my husband and I were the parents to a beautiful Miniature Dachshund name Pretzel.  This little fellow brought joy, hugs, smiles, and the best Dachshund kisses ever into our world.  In March of 2012, Pretzel passed away.  Life has not been the same since then.
Recently, I began wondering what it would be like to have a puppy.  I have thought about the pros and cons, the kisses and the work, and hugs and the expense.  I have talked myself out of exploring the idea several times.  Finally, I felt I might be ready to open my heart, yet again, to just the right dog.  Then the email arrived, and my favorite realtor wrote, "I think it might be time for you to have a puppy again."  I wondered when my realtor started reading my mind! 
This week, Michael and I visited a Dachshund rescue group in our hometown, I was overwhelmed.  Over 30 Dachshunds greeted me.  All asked to go home with us, but one little baby caught my eye.  There she stood.  A soft wired-hair, pie-bald miniature dachshund.  That's a ton of adjectives for just 8 pounds of puppy.  She came to me, allowed me to pick her up, was not surprised when I turned her over on her back, and just stayed in whatever position I placed her.  I was sold!   
Zoe Howell joined our family that day, and I have spent a great deal of time doing my very own Pet Therapy.  Pet Therapy actually reduces blood pressure, aids with digestion, decreases agitation, and just makes a person feel better.  This is true for folks who have dementia, also.  For me, I have realized how much I needed time to relax and not think so much.  I enjoy watching Zoe run around the house, and then I thrill to have her jump on my lap and snore.  Soothing.   Peaceful.  Loving.  
I can't wait to get home tonight! 
Hope that gives you Something To Ponder.  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Dementia and Crabby Old Woman

This poem is said to have originated in the News Magazine of the North Ireland Association for Mental Health.  


What do you see, nurses? 
What do you see? 
What are you thinking, 
When you’re looking at me? 
A crabby old woman, 
Not very wise, 
Uncertain of habit, 
With faraway eyes. 
Who dribbles her food, 
And makes no reply, 
When you say in a loud voice, 
“I do wish you’d try!” 
Who seems not to notice, 
The things that you do, 
And forever is losing, 
A stocking or shoe 
Who, resisting or not 
Lets you do as you will, 
With bathing and feeding, 
The long day to fill? 
Is that what you’re thinking? 
Is that what you see? 
Then open your eyes, nurse, 
You’re not looking at me. 
I’ll tell you who I am, 
As I sit here so still, 
As I do at your bidding, 
As I eat at your will. 
I’m a small child of ten, 
With a father and mother, 
Brothers and sisters, 
Who love one another. 
A young girl of sixteen, 
With wings on her feet, 
Dreaming that soon now, 
A lover she’ll meet. 
A bride soon at twenty, 
My heart gives a leap, 
Remembering the vows, 
That I promised to keep. 
At twenty-five now, 
I have young of my own, 
Who need me to guide, 
And a secure happy home. 
A woman of thirty, 
My young now grown fast, 
Bound to each other, 
With ties that should last. 
At forty, my young sons, 
Have grown and are gone, 
But my man’s beside me, 
To see I don’t mourn. 
At fifty once more, 
Babies play round my knee, 
Again we know children, 
My loved one and me. 
Dark days are upon me, 
My husband is dead, 
I look at the future, 
I shudder with dread. 
For my young are all rearing, 
Young of their own, 
And I think of the years, 
And the love that I’ve known. 
I’m now an old woman, 
And nature is cruel, 
‘Tis jest to make old age, 
Look like a fool. 
The body, it crumbles, 
Grace and vigor depart, 
There is now a stone, 
Where I once had a heart. 
But inside this old carcass, 
A young girl still dwells, 
And now and again, 
My battered heart swells. 
I remember the joys, 
I remember the pain, 
And I’m loving and living, 
Life over again. 
I think of the years, 
All too few, gone too fast, 
And accept the stark fact, 
That nothing can last. 
So open your eyes, people, 
Open and see, 
Not a crabby old woman; 
Look closer - see ME!!  
Hope that gives you SOMETHING TO PONDER. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Everyone needs a break now and then. Mine is just around the corner. Since January, my husband and I have been looking forward to a long weekend in Atlanta, Georgia. We will be attending a conference on plant-based eating. The best part of the conference is this - They cook for you!

Why do we need this break? Like most all of you, we are busy people. In addition to the normal activities of daily life, we have two mothers who have dementia. When you add this to the mix of our days, we find ourselves feeling tired a good bit of the time. A little R&R may be just what we need to get refueled for life.

Some folks have the idea they are called to be "Super Hero Caregivers". They are not. We are called to be kind, compassionate, knowledgable, and loving. But... super heros we are not! Neglecting the important task of caring for the caregiver is a situation that will come back to haunt us. It is not just important to take a break, it is essential.

This little trip to Atlanta will go by in a flash, but I plan on leaving the computer at home, forgetting the phone numbers of a lot of people, and experiencing REST. I can hardly wait. Hope that gives you SOMETHING TO PONDER.