10 posts from August, 2017

GF + DF recipe from LupusChick: Berry Bliss Smoothie Bowl

Posted August 24th, 2017 by

Our partner Marisa Zeppieri-Caruana, founder of LupusChick, blogs about healthy cooking and living with lupus and other chronic conditions. Check out this gluten-free, dairy-free recipe she wanted to share with the lupus community (or anyone who’d like to try it) before berry season winds down!

One of my favorite aspects about summer is seeing berries and dragon fruit line the shelves at my local grocer. Berries are incredibly versatile, landing in everything in my kitchen from galettes and pancakes to focaccia and of course, smoothies. But not every smoothie is meant to be consumed in a glass. Cue the smoothie bowl…

My berry bliss smoothie bowl is one of my top breakfast choices. Raspberries and pineapple deliver vitamin C and potassium, while almond milk, flax and collagen powder add necessary fiber and protein. Plus, the addition of coconut oil supplies the body with healthy fats in the form of medium-chain triglycerides (which are a terrific fuel and energy source).

I topped this smoothie bowl off with fresh dragon fruit and blueberries, but feel free to add toppings such as: sliced almonds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, yogurt or even edible flowers. No matter what combination you come up with, this smoothie bowl is sure to be as healthy as it is beautiful.

Enjoy!

XOXO Marisa, Founder of LupusChick

Photo courtesy of Marisa, LupusChick

BERRY BLISS SMOOTHIE BOWL (Gluten-free, dairy-free)

Start to finish: 10 minutes

Servings: 1 bowl

Ingredients

1 frozen banana

¾ cup fresh pineapple chunks

½ cup fresh raspberries

1 tsp. ground flax seeds

¼ cup almond or coconut milk

½ tsp. coconut oil

1 scoop collagen powder (I used Further Food brand)

Directions

Place the frozen banana, pineapple, raspberries, ground flax seeds, milk substitute and coconut oil into a high-power blender (such as a Ninja Professional Blender). Blend for 15 to 30 seconds or until smooth and creamy. Stir in collagen powder at the end. Collagen powder is extremely fine and dissolves completely with a quick stir by hand. Transfer into your bowl and decorate with toppings of your choice.

Tips for Your Berry Bliss Smoothie Bowl

  • If you prefer a thicker smoothie, add less milk substitute when blending.
  • Collagen powder, such as Further Food’s product, dissolves completely in any liquid and has no taste. If you prefer to use a heavier protein powder such as rice or hemp, add this to your blender instead of stirring in by hand.

On PatientsLikeMe

More than 27,000 members are sharing about their experiences with lupus. Join the community today to get more ideas like this for living better with your condition.

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75k [virtual] hugs on PatientsLikeMe – and how social connections are good for your health

Posted August 22nd, 2017 by

Newsflash: “Social Interaction Is Critical for Mental and Physical Health,” as The New York Times recently reported. Decades of research support the theory that social connections can have a positive effect on your health. Having social ties may help prevent illness and is still a boon to your health when you’re sick or living with a health condition. Check out some of the research and see how members are supporting each other socially on PatientsLikeMe.

What’s the science behind social connections?

As the Times reports, a 2001 study found that people with coronary artery disease who’ve had a heart attack have a lower risk of another cardiac arrest if they’re more socially connected. Other studies have shown that social interactions and support may help with everything from wound healing and physical pain to mood and psychological symptoms.

Researchers who’ve studied the benefits of social interactions for women with breast cancer have found that receiving social-emotional support may reduce stress and affect the body’s “HPA” axis (or hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis – that’s a mouthful). Basically, the HPA axis uses glands, hormones and nerves to help regulate several processes in the body: stress response, immune and digestive systems, mood and emotions, sexuality and energy storage.

Studies show that “instrumental support” (like in-person assistance with getting to appointments and taking medications) is helpful to people with health conditions, but some researchers say that “social-emotional support” (connecting face-to-face or online) is critical in disease management. Another New York Times article notes that long-distance friendships are beneficial, and “in many studies, friendship has an even greater effect on health than a spouse or family member.”

Here for each other – on PatientsLikeMe

Many PatientsLikeMe members arrived here because of their diagnosis – but they’re discussing more than their health on the site. Many build a virtual network of comrades with whom they chat or check in about their weekends, birthdays, holidays, hobbies and more. For some people, having a health condition may make it harder to get out and socialize face-to-face, and for others, an in-person network of “normals” (people without health issues) doesn’t always get it.

Here are some stats about non–health-related exchanges on PatientsLikeMe:

  • 8,372 “happy birthday” posts
  • 8,209 “here for you” posts
  • 4,921 “happy for you” posts
  • 3,144 “Merry Christmas” + 950 “Happy Holidays” posts
  • 6,126 “this weekend” + 570 “your weekend” posts
  • 2,254 “how are you doing?” + 1,256 “how are you feeling?” posts
  • 2,229 “I hear you” posts
  • 866 “made my day” posts
  • And, finally… 75,553 “hugs”

Let’s talk (OT)!  

Just to name a few “off topic” (“OT”) discussions on PatientsLikeMe…

  • In the Parkinson’s disease forum, members have swapped lots of jokes and pics of their artwork for almost a decade.
  • In the MS forum, members play “Ask the next person a question” and all sorts of word games.
  • Members of the mental health community have kept their “Three word story” thread going strong for seven years, and shared their “Goals for today” with each other for even longer.
  • “Potpourri” and family photos threads in the ALS forum have been go-to places to share about non-ALS stuff.

What would you like to chat about? Join the community today and click the green button to “Start a new topic” like the ones above (or whatever you can think of!).

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