Friday, October 11, 2013

Day 1 of Physical Therapy

Hello everyone!

I had my first physical therapy session yesterday and it went... Okay, I guess. The therapist did clarify for me exactly what my problem was (he got the xrays and such to look at too) and what's plaguing me is a good ol' herniated disc.

What is a herniated disc? It's also called a slipped disc. Between your vertebrae (back bones) there are little cushioning discs. Sometimes they rupture, bulge, or even break into pieces.  The result? the lack of cushioning causes the spine to press on nerves, most commonly causing sciatica- which is what I have.

When I went, the therapist had me lay in all kinds of positions to see what would happen painwise.  ALL but one of the positions he had me go into caused shooting pain down my leg, which is NOT what we want.  Last, but finally not least, we found something that helped:  standing up and doing side bends to the right. (Doing them to the left caused the shooting pain)  After doing a few sets of ten, my walking improved quite a bit.  When I got to the office, I was limping a bit and walking weird.  After doing some of the side bends, I walked with a much more normal gait. My back still hurt but there was no shooting pain down my leg.  

My homework from PT: do a set of 10 every hour, minimum 100 reps a day.  More is okay if I feel good.

My diet is also changing.  I discovered a new vegetable: Burdock root.  I am shifting my diet in more of an Asian direction.  Tried gobo kinpira (the Japanese word for burdock is gobo and kinpira is a cooking style) and it was one of the most amazing things I have ever tasted. Here's the recipe!

Very simple and easy- and inexpensive- Gobo is not an expensive veggie if you can find it.

1 gobo root (they grow to be about 3 feet long)
1 medium carrot
Dashi stock (I use kombu dashi which is vegetarian but most dashi has fish in it too)
1 Tbsp Mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
1 Tbsp Sake
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
Toasted sesame seeds

1. Peel the gobo and cut into 2-2.5 inch matchsticks- the thinner the better.  Put the freshly cut gobo in a bowl of water until you use it because it turns brown. 

2. Do the same with the carrot, but you do not need to put it in water.

3. Heat a pan or wok with sesame oil and add gobo (no water, just the veggie) and cook for a few minutes stirring frequently.

4. After a few minutes, add carrot and cook all together stirring frequently for about 5 more minutes.

5. Add enough dashi stock to cover the vegetables and add mirin, sake, soy sauce and sugar.  Simmer on medium heat, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid is gone. 

6. When the liquid is almost all gone, add a little drizzle of sesame oil to taste and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

This recipe can be eaten immediately or refrigerated for 3 days if you make a lot.  It can also be made with just carrots (I made that today actually) but with the same seasonings. Also, try using potato or Japanese sweet potato (Satsumaimo).

The end result with the gobo should look something... like this!

Burdock is also very good for you: low in calories, high in fiber, and it's tasty!

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