Thursday, June 14, 2012

Life's a Load - A Load of Loaded Broccoli

Sometimes it’s hard to find balance, especially when life is loaded with traps and pitfalls!

Loaded Broccoli - low carb, paleo friendly, diabetic
friendly, and sock monkey approved works
great as a side dish with anything - especially steak!
Because I want to share my journey with each of you, I tend toward TMI (too much information) and often, I fear it’s off-putting.

This is primarily a food and recipe blog and if I share too much personal “schtuff”, will it make you go, “Eww. Ick. I prolly wouldn’t a said that one, buddy…” a la Lewis Grizzard – a well-known, now-dead, southern humorist?

Will it put the male readers permanently “off” women or anything remotely involving the Secret Gynocracy, to which all women belong and of whom DSFW’s (Delicate Flowers of Southern Womanhood) hold many of the seats on the SG Board of Directors?

So I’m gonna take a leap of faith and jump in deep and wide. But beware! This post is loaded! And with much more than the delicious and healthy Loaded Broccoli!

Men, you may want to pull your bottom lips up over your head now and just skip forward to the recipe below, singing smurfily, "La la la la la lah, la la la la lahhh!" It is quite the recipe. Steeped in difficulty and mystique!
Loaded Broccoli with Jerked Cheeseburger with
Onion, Jalapeno and Roasted Tomatoes

Giving a recipe for Loaded Broccoli is sorta like givin’ instructions on how to boil water.

It’s broccoli. 

And toppings. 

You cook the broccoli. You slather on your favorite tater toppings and go to town!

Yeehaw! Saturday night, let’s have a bust-up!

And so it begins…da da dunhhhhh!!!!
*insert dramatic music intro*

I had an adventure yesterday and I’m still processing it. First off, I had to get a sleeve for the lymphedema in my left arm.

Lymphedema is an accumulation of lymph fluid, a protein filled interstitial liquid that normally filters toxins and waste from your blood and shunts it into the lymph vessels where it is transported and detoxified by lymph nodes.

You have hundreds all over your body, but for ease of conversation I'm discussing the lymph nodes present in 3 levels in your upper quadrant on each side of your body. Because of my cancer progression, I had to have all the lymph nodes removed from the first 2 levels on the left side. The third level lymph nodes appear north of the collar bone and are considered mostly "inoperable" types of lymph nodes. I had 33 or 34 removed. Normal humans have 32-36 nodes in the first 2 levels.

When you remove the lymph nodes, the vessels no longer have any highway or pathway to drain away this protein-rich fluid. So fluid will tend to pool and collect in an area absent of a functioning lymph system. It's basically a protein rich culture media like an agar plate, just waiting for some hideous little bacteria to come along and cause dread disease like cellulitis.

The more fluid that collects, the harder it is for you to drain when you have an incomplete lymph system. At some point you end up overwhelming your body and the fluid no longer drains. It just sits there and ages. Ew! And collects more fluid. Until it becomes ginormous! And painful.

As far as lymphedema goes, I don’t have a very bad case right now – thank you Jesus! But like diabetes, it can and usually will progress unless addressed, treated and chronically managed the rest of my life. Yay me. Just one more potentially limb threatening condition to manage! As if T2 diabetes isn’t enough!

And the best part about it? The treatment involves compression garment/garments. Think of it as a girdle for my arm and a girdle glove for my fat little piggies attached to my palm. It’s like Michael Jackson met Joan Rivers in plastic surgery hell and just for grins and giggles, invented a glove device to drive you bananas during the peak of summer when hell is at its hottest! And if you can’t manage that visual. Imagine stuffing 25lbs of “schtuff” into a 10lb bag.

Oh hell. Think of plumber’s crack on your upper arm!

Now imagine summer and short sleeves.



Yaaaaaay… *waves hands in sarcasm*

It’s just indignity after indignity. And I’m pretty sure I weathered the first handful of indignities with class, a bit of grace, and sophomoric humor for the most part. I’m now blatantly wallowing and whining. I call it W2 – or W250 (since I will soon be turning 50) – it’s the next generation of WD40 for post-menopausal DSFWs. It’ll fix most squeaky wheels when properly applied.

But then, who on earth am I? How do I have the nads? I mean really? I’m dancing with NED, my steady fella! (Ned = No Evidence of Disease) Poor pitiful me, right?

There are many other women and men who are not similarly blessed and my heart breaks for each one of them and their families! So really. Who am I to whine? What right do I have?



And yet I whine and complain about the inconvenience, the senseless bleating of a vain woman. And I never thought of myself as vain before!

Yeah, it's the worst indignity. I lose almost 90 pounds
(that's 9 bowling balls for cripes sake) and most of the time
I fool myself into thinking I "feel skinny", then I see a
picture like this and want to crawl back in the hole with
Punxatawny Phil until winter comes and long sleeves are "in".
I look in the mirror at my boobless, scarred, seemingly permanently stoop-shouldered body with a left arm shoved into a thick beige sausage casing support “hose,” with my wiry gray hair and unhappy eyes and try to find what little beauty or attractiveness I may have once reputedly possessed. I search and search for the old me. I’m nowhere to be found. And I’m saddened.

And fearful. Denny has every right to trade me in on two 20’s with change. I wouldn’t blame him. He claims he doesn’t have that on his planning board ATM (at the moment). But it would be understandable.

On top of it all, I had an appointment with a nutritionist yesterday to try to figure out the ammonia smell thing. He said he’s 60% sure it’s ketone-body related. Which means it’s benign as far as my opinion counts. He did say things like, “You’re killing yourself. You’re starving your body. Your muscles are breaking down due to lack of carbohydrates. The body prefers carbohydrates for fuel. You’ll ruin your kidneys. And Dr. Atkins diet of heart disease.”

And then pronounced that I need to have a minimum of 130g of carbs a day. LOL. All of that is poppycock!

LMFAO! I'm almost 50 and I now qualify for this talk! I still think of
myself at 18 - listening to the Police on the stereo while trying to get
moved into my freshman dormroom!
The bad part about it is if I want to get the ammonia thing evaluated, I have to do it his way. I have to add back the 130g of carbs and show him what happens to my body in that scenario. I have to show him that eating his 70g of protein a day along with the 130g of carbs is still gonna produce the ammonia and it will also add back 10lbs or more and put me on a hungry, insulin hayride.

Or not.

Or I can just blow off the ammonia unless it gets worse. Blow off the nutritionist. And just continue down my merry little path. It’s a big decision and dilemma. I’m thinking about switching to paleo as a compromise with him and seeing what happens.

Paleo is a controlled carb or selective carb eating plan that emphasizes evolutionary biology in the selection of nutrition choices. In a nutshell, paleo means no grains, no legumes, and no or limited dairy. Paleo focuses on whole foods in their most natural and raw state. It is generally a higher carb (but still low carb) path. Still doing the research on it…

So I will let you guys know my decision. I’m having baseline lipid panels drawn and my 3 month A1c check-up as a baseline. I told him he gets 10lbs or 3 months with me and then I fire him at the end of it based on my 3 month blood work follow-up. If I gain, become hungry, or have worsening lipid panels, we go back to doing things my way.

He, no doubt, thinks I’m nuts.

I probably am. I’m chock full of nuts. I’m loaded with nuts!

But, enough about me and my bell achin’! I will put my tired, winey ass to work now and consciously choose to have a good day. I can do that – I have the power! I’m loaded, remember? Heh! So let’s look at a real loaded recipe now – no nuts involved! Swearsies!

Loaded Broccoli - low carb FUN-ctional Food Star!
Loaded Broccoli
Serves – 2
Prep Time – 2 Minutes
Cook Time –
3-1/2 to 4 Minutes
Steamed 3-4 Minutes
Roasted 25 Minutes
Difficulty – Can you reach the shelves in your ice box?

1 large Broccoli Crown (about 10-12 ounces raw weight)
1 Tbsp Butter, melted
4 Tbsp Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt
1 oz Cheddar Cheese, shredded
3 Green Onions, chopped
2 slices Bacon, cooked and crumbled

Wash broccoli.

If steaming, cover broccoli with damp, microwave safe paper towels and nuke for 3-4minutes. Cook broccoli until al dente stage (to-the-tooth or just tender).

Use your favorite cooking method. You don't have to microwave it! Use microwaves only if you find yourself lazy or attending the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Pooptitude.

(Cooking Note: Roasted broccoli works awesomely in this recipe and you can sub out the butter called for in the recipe for olive oil, if using that cooking method. To roast broccoli, cut it into florets – don’t forget to cut the stalks up into chunks, too! Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast on cookie sheet at 450° for about 25 minutes or until starting to take on color and broccoli is al dente. Serve at once! You won’t need butter with the roasted broccoli.)

Cut crown into two portions. Drizzle hot broccoli with melted butter. Top each serving with your favorite baked potato filling. We love bacon, cheese, green onions and Greek yogurt or sour cream!

Sometimes if I’m trying to save on calories, I will quickly sauté a bit of prosciutto, Canadian bacon or lean ham instead of the oh-so-comforting-bacon! Using a leaner cheese and Greek yogurt will also help save topping calories.

SusieT Notes –
I always forget how satisfying this side dish tastes. I sooo don’t miss baked potatoes when eating Loaded Broccoli or Loaded Cauliflower. It’s a FUN-ctional food.

Ahhh, Loaded Broccoli!
A FUN-ctional food allows me to express my “habit”. You know. That means eating a food the way a food has been traditionally eaten by our people for years! Ha!

And Loaded Broccoli lets me "live a little" and enjoy lower glycemic response while still feeling like I just ate a big ol' baked spud all the way. It's a topping delivery system. It is all about the toppings. Isn't it?

But don't stop with the plebian cheese, onion, bacon, sour cream thing! Get creative! Top broccoli with Bolognese or Meat Sauce, or BBQ, or any one of a dozen delicious dishes off the top of my head. Enjoy!


  1. Your arms are fine!! You know what's best about them? They're alive! That there is a survivors arm!! Every friend of mine who has survived cancer is just all the more BEAUTIFUL in my eyes. The hot heat is not so great, but hey, your attitude is super-cool. And thanks for the broccoli idea...I hadn't thought of that. Duh!

    1. MUAH! Thank you Arlene! I love how you view your friends! Hope you are doing great! And yeah, I forget for months about the loaded broccoli and loaded roasted cauliflower and then fall in love all over again! :) Have a great weekend!

  2. Aw, you're such a darling. I feel sad for you that you're feeling that way about yourself right now. I have my days, too, where I tell my husband that I feel like a big, fat sausage squeezed in too tight of a casing. We are our own worst enemy/critic. You see your arms differently than the rest of us. Hope that feeling passes you quickly. Did I read that right about Atkins? Your doc said he died of heart disease? I thought he had a fall on a patch of ice... Hmm...

    1. Thanks for the commiseration! Yep, we are our own worst critics! *sigh* Maybe if I had more self-love and less self-criticism I wouldn't have eaten my way up past 314lbs to begin with? Hmmm points to ponder.

      And what does your hubby tell you in response to your sad day question??

      And yes, it was just one of the many things this nutritionist got wrong. Almost everything he said was WRONG WRONG WRONG! LOL. Right down to saying Atkins died of heart disease. He did die from a fall and a subdural hematoma (brain hemmorhage) and then he had multiple system organ failure and swelled up from edema...etc. He's just wrong and yet, in order to get what I want, I have to play by his rules with his rule book for 10lbs or 3 months - whichever comes first. :(

      Hey, I think you were one of the winners from my contest. You won a bag of my Fluffy Chix Bake Mix. If you want it (it does have some small amount of gluten in it from cross-contamination), send me an email with your address! I tried to contact you but I must have sent it to the wrong place!

  3. I sent you an email.

    My husband usually just shakes his head at me. Men. Hey, along that line - maybe you should find a female nutritionist!

    1. Haha! I know how that is. I would find a female nutritionist, but it's hard to find a low carb one anywhere in Houston, and female just makes it even harder. I want to try to stay inside my own health system cuz my case is complicated with the cancer and the notes system they use means everyone knows what's going on with me. :( So I'm limited. *wah* But great suggestion. I will send out your LC Bread Mix tomorrow!

  4. Found you through your posting on the paleo group. I love your blog! My mom had the edema thing, agree it is not fun. But yeah, you are alive and enjoying broccoli!

    There are plenty of low-carb nutritionists online, have you considered looking there?

    Good luck!!

    1. Hi Hadass! Glad you found FCC!! It's great to have you. Make yourself "to home" as we say in Texas!

      Sorry to hear about your mom and the lymphedema stuff. I wouldn't wish this on anyone, but as you say, it means I'm alive!

      I'm checking into quite a few different avenues. One of the things I have to have is someone who can interface with all my oncologists and docs. :(

      I hope you will stick around and post with us!


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