Monday

My experience with anxiety attacks and an irregular heart beat...

*This post is not to be taken as medical advice. This information is based on personal experience only, and may contain inaccurate information regarding health conditions. I have done research and spoke with professionals, but your research could find different results.*

It all started in June, the month I got engaged. I started feeling intense palpitations in my chest several times a day, distracting me from work and overwhelming me in everything I would do. Sometimes the palpitations would wake me from my sleep, or start when I was relaxing with G in a calm environment. How could I be feeling so overwhelmed in such a relaxed state? I wondered, is this stress I am feeling? Am I feeling pressure? Am I nervous about being newly engaged, stressed about planning a wedding? Thinking that this was my bodies reaction to stress, I tried to ignore the symptoms by coaching myself into relaxation.

It wasn't long before I realized I couldn't talk myself out of these episodes. I'd feel overwhelmed with anxiety each time the phone would ring, or when it came time to pay a bill. I'd even wake up in the morning with a racing heart, worried that I wasn't going to be able to live up to anyone's expectations at work that day. Normal things that stressed me became huge things I felt I had no control over. Money, my relationships and my future. I'd start thinking about something and immediately my heart would start to race, my adrenaline would start pumping and I would be fighting an anxiety attack.

What did an anxiety attack feel like? Intense heart palpitations, chest pain, a feeling of restricted breathing, hot sweats and an upset stomach that often lead to vomiting. 

I finally went to see a Doctor who referred me to a specialist, and after several special tests I was diagnosed with a minor heart condition that makes my heart race abnormally fast at times, starting and ending abruptly. Whether it's stress induced, caffeine induced or brought on by intense activity - it's extremely alarming. When your body naturally produces adrenaline in a "fight" or "flight" situation, mine produces an abnormal amount which triggers the palpations and anxiety. 

What helps? Bisoprolol.
My way of treatment is currently taking a medication that stops the heart from responding to these extra, unnecessary messages to work faster. I have felt no side effects from this treatment and don't mind taking the tiny pill once a day.

What doesn't help?
Too much coffee, tea, wine or sleepless nights. Limited your intake of caffeine loaded drinks and avoid tiring yourself out. I learned quickly that long nights with little sleep are your worst enemy.

My advice?
If you're experiencing a irregular heart rate, anxiety or stress, call your Doctor.


BLT Dip

This is one of the first dips I came up with on my own. It's not much of a recipe really, just an experiment with a block of cream cheese that turned out to be genius. You can make this as a dip for vegetables or crackers, or you can stuff tomatoes. It's delicious either way, but served as BLT Bites they are crowd pleaser. 


If you want to stuff the tomatoes, you have to save some time for preparation. Cut off the tops of each tomato, use the end of a spoon or a tiny measuring spoon to gut out the seeds and juice. Put them upside down on a paper towel to drain moisture until you are ready to stuff. Get comfy because this takes some time, and you're going to want to make enough for each guest to have more than one.



Combine 1/2 block of CREAM CHEESE, with 1/2 pound cooked crumbled BACON, 1 generous handful of CHEDDAR CHEESE grated small, 1 bunch of GREEN ONION chopped. Once combined, this mixture will appear quite thick and more spreadable than "dipable" so add a generous squirt of THREE CHEESE RANCH DRESSING to give it the dipable consistency. Finish with BLACK PEPPER (a pinch or three) mix well and refrigerate.

Thursday

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

... And I am four hours from the nearest Starbucks...


The Fall brings out the Hot Apple Cider lover in me, but Winter calls for hot Egg Nog Lattes and lots of them. I have very fond memories of living in the city, meeting up with friends for "coffee" in the evenings although we never ordered boring old coffee. We would grab our Holiday Lattes, sit for a bit then stroll through the city streets window shopping and breathing in the crisp air. It was a must do if I wanted to find my Christmas spirit early in the season.
                                                         
Mom and I hit the road yesterday and on our travels we stopped at a department store. Every aisle was packed with Christmas candy, chocolate, gift ideas, wrapping paper, decorations and Christmas clothing. I realized how many weekends were left (or better yet, how many pay cheques were left) before Christmas. Not many! With this being our first Christmas in the new house and a long list of things to buy, I better get my butt in gear and start shopping.

Where do you find your Christmas spirit?

Rach XO

Saturday

Cheeseburger with Special Sauce Recipe


MAKE THE PERFECT HAMBURGER:

In a large bowl, mix together 1 LB GROUND BEEF with 1 PKG ONION SOUP MIX, a few splashes of W SAUCE, FRANKS HOT SAUCE, an EGG and a pinch of PEPPER. Add a handful of OATMEAL if you think the mixture is too wet.
*When making a patty, make sure it is as big as the bun you are using. Make it as thick as you want it, and stick your finger through the center of each patty. Creating a hole keeps the shape and thickness even during the cooking process.
FRY or BBQ the hamburger patty, melting sharp CHEDDAR CHEESE (and lots of it) on top for the last few minutes of cooking.

MAKE THE SPECIAL SAUCE:

In a small mixing bowl, combine the following ingredients for the perfect sauce for your favourite burger... Homemade Big Mac Sauce!
1/2 cup MAYO or MIRACLE WHIP DRESSING, 2 TBSP MINCED ONION, 2 TBSP GREEN RELISH, 2 TBSP FRENCH DRESSING, 1 TBSP VINEGAR, 1 TBSP SUGAR, 1 PINCH OF SALT.
This sauce is even better if it sits in the fridge for a few hours before burger time, and it can keep for a week in the fridge in a sealed container.



Enjoy!