Update Jan 2021
While I’ve always thought I maintained a pretty healthy lifestyle, in August of 2019 my world, and everything in it, forever changed.
While dead asleep in the middle of the night I shot straight up in bed with the entire room violently spinning, not just in circles, not like you’ve gotten off a roller coaster, but like a falling into a deep black hole while spinning. I couldn’t feel the floor. I couldn’t feel the bed. And I was completely blind. It was terrifying. My arms shot straight out to my sides as I screamed “NO, STOP!” to try and find some balance.
I had no idea what had happened – I was sweating profusely while shivering cold. I was beyond nauseous and couldn’t move my head without violently spinning all over again.
This horrifying, violent spinning would last on and off for over a year and a half, with no warning, no predictability leaving me with extreme nausea. I couldn’t move my head or even turn my eyes without the entire room spinning. It felt like I got off a boat that was in the middle of a hurricane, all day, everyday.
Going to bed created the most anxiety for me. Most of my attacks would happen when I turned over from the left side to my right. And then all hell would break loose. Night after night. I became traumatized and was afraid to fall asleep. The day after an attack would provoke baby attacks through out the day without any warning whatsoever.
It left me scared, alone and without hope. I was afraid to drive. I was afraid to walk down the stairs. I was afraid I would roll over in the middle of the night. It was like waiting for your next seizure.
I wanted to die.
I felt a ‘fullness’ in my right ear. It felt ‘plugged’. I went to Doctors and ENTs who confirmed that I had experienced bouts of Vertigo. They prescribed Meclizine, which seems to be the drug of choice for this condition. From what I’ve read online, researched and experienced myself, it is ineffective when it comes to treating chronic vertigo.
By late Fall I was now seeing a masseuse who specializes in Craniosacral Therapy for vertigo 3 times a week. I simultaneously saw an acupuncturist who also specializes in vertigo 2 times a week. I saw a Chiropractor for neck manipulations. I was referred to physical therapy to attempt to the do the Epley maneuver, again, another common remedy prescribed by Doctors.
The Epley maneuver made me extremely sick and made things much worse. Instead we worked on simple balancing techniques to rewire my brain to find a new sense of balance.
With the lodged crystal dismissed as the cause, I continued on with my journey and therapy through the Fall and Winter, several times a week, until the Coronavirus shut everything down.
I was now at a loss.
I had spent thousands of dollars on all types of therapies, medications and accupuncture. Although I had not had a full blown vertigo attack in months, something still was not right.
I turned to the internet. I researched until my eyes hurt. I read every article I could find, watched You Tube videos, listened to seminars, subscribed to JAMA articles. I was doing ANYTHING to find out how to stop this.
Along my journey I learned that vertigo is merely a SYMPTOM. It is not a diagnosis. There are several reasons why a person gets vertigo. Many people get it due to a crystal becoming dislodged, which through maneuvers of the head can be readjusted.
This was not my case which is why my condition got much worse.
I have what’s called Vestibular Ménière’s Disease. Coping with Ménière’s disease is challenging because attacks are unpredictable, it is incurable, some of the symptoms are not obvious to others, and most people know virtually nothing about the disorder. People think you are just a little dizzy and it will pass.
Those of us who have it are thrown into the role of educating ourselves, our family, friends, coworkers, and unfortunately, even Doctors.
Then one day I discovered something not ONE Doctor mentioned – sodium. A common thread in people with Vestibular Ménière’s Disease is fluid in the ear. It sounds simple. But it is quite intricate, complicated and confusing. No two people’s symptoms, diagnosis or treatments are the same.
While there is no known cause, or cure for Ménière’s Disease, sodium can make it worse. Lowering your sodium intake can “prevent” attacks. In other words, food was the answer! Does sodium CAUSE vertigo? No. There is no known cause. Have studies shown that a diet consistently high in sodium can increase frequency, duration and intensity of attacks? Yes!
So …. if reducing my sodium to below 1500 mg a day will help decrease the amount of them, lessen the severity of one or PREVENT even ONE attack, then count me in!
There is sodium in almost EVERY SINGLE FOOD WE CONSUME besides fresh fruits and vegetables. The average piece of white bread contains roughly 200 milligrams of sodium! One piece.
I embarked on this journey whole heartedly, along with a taking a prescribed daily diuretic, Vitamin B and Sudafed to help with the fluid in my ear.
Within a week I felt better. I still contend daily with the erratic symptoms of Ménière’s – and most days my ear still feels a little full. I have yet to sleep on my right side, although the thought at least is re-entering my mind. These are all positive steps, and if nothing else, gives me some hope.
Living with Meniere’s is basically a learning process. You do your best to identify triggers for your attacks, and then you avoid them. So far the low sodium diet has worked miracles. I am slowly reworking my recipes to stay within my daily allotment.
Stress. I noticed when my stress level went up, my anxiety went up and I was more prone to attacks. Why? I have no idea. But I know it happens.
Alcohol. What do sodium and alcohol have in common? They both affect the inner ear and also the brain cell signals, causing vertigo symptoms. When alcohol causes dehydration, it can lower the amount of fluid in one ear more than the other, which will produce different signals of motion of the left versus right side, and cause vertigo.
By managing my stress with daily meditation, eliminating alcohol and strictly watching my sodium I am finally seeing the light at the end of this very dark, lonely, scary tunnel.
The point of all this?
- Hopefully, to be a beacon of hope for others who are suffering with severe, depilating vertigo.
- To share with you that all recipes from February 2021 on our site will be low sodium.
Although my practice of limiting packaged foods has not waivered, as a chef, I ‘salt the water like the sea’ as Anne Burrell would say. I have never measured the amount of salt or pepper I put in a recipe. Come to find out my sodium averaged over 3000 mg per day, some days much higher!
That has all changed.
I now accurately measure salt so I can determine the per serving count. I figured since I’m taking the time to do it for myself, I would be happy to include in our our recipes for any of you who may be facing this awful condition. Oh, and even if you don’t suffer from this, it certainly can’t hurt to lower the amount of sodium in your diet.
Being healthy is worth all the salt in the world.
ORIGINAL ABOUT ME PAGE:
Well hello there! My name is Debi and I’m so glad you found us!
Many people have asked me how a person goes from a career in law enforcement to becoming a full time successful food blogger. Well, let me start from the beginning …
Like most parents, I wanted the best for my family. I ate well during pregnancy, I breastfed, I exercised and made a lot of my kids baby food in the blender. So what happened? Well … life happened. I was working full time. I had 2 kids 18 months apart and before I knew it, I too was feeding my family a lot of the prepackaged ‘food’ for dinner. Why? Mainly to save time I guess. It was easier to throw chicken nuggets in the oven and make mac and cheese on the stove then to make something from scratch.
But was it really? Was it really ‘easier’? And at what price? Well my scale was providing that answer!
It was about this time that word was really starting to spread about the additives and preservatives that were in our food supply now. Food isn’t food anymore. It’s processed. We are eating more processed foods now than ever!
I realized I needed to make a change. We needed to “UN” process. I needed to get back to good ol fashioned cooking, which wasn’t a problem because I love food! Anyone who knows me knows I loooove to cook. I love to create. I am in my happy place when I am in the kitchen with a glass of wine, the music going and burners on!
I left my job in 2008 when we moved to the Midwest and I found myself with more time on my hands. I began throwing a lot of parties … dinner parties, holiday parties, football parties and I realized how much I really do love to cook. I was losing myself in cookbooks for hours at a time! I soon had a TON of recipes built up in my arsenal and constantly had people asking me for them.
So I finally decided during a very long cold winter in January 2012 to launch a website and share my recipes. I get it when people say they are too tired after a long day at work to come home and cook a meal, which is why our recipes are made for busy families. I get it and I’m here to help!
Fast forward to the end of 2019 and this website has kept me more than busy. It is now my full time job! How lucky am I??? We have over 240 recipes under our belt, with many more to come!
We even gave our website a facelift over the summer. We’ve streamlined our recipes breaking them down into even more categories, reshot some photos, and we’ve even started adding videos!
It has been my absolute dream come true to own this website, to create recipes and meals that have been made by hundreds of people and even made it on the front page of Google! The only thing better than living your passion is MAKING a living DOING your passion.
One of the great parts of having this site is hearing from all of you! I love reading your comments, answering your questions and hearing how a recipe worked for you.