Sunday, November 22, 2015

Brain tune up with sleep; plus stuffed spaghetti squash

The sleep robbing trio

Fibromyalgia is sometimes described as a sleep disorder. Those of us with fibro often don’t get the sleep our bodies need which results in many of our symptoms. Lots of other people too are not getting adequate sleep and things get worse around the holidays. But why do we need sleep?

A rested body and mind probably helps keep you from forgetting something important like to take your thyroid medication first thing in the morning. Yes, that’s what I did the other morning. It was after a night of interrupted sleep from the three owls outside my bedroom having a conversation with each other and our malamute, Nika. It was cute for a few minutes but after awhile, I was beginning to wish I could muzzle them all.

I was so groggy when I finally got up that I couldn’t remember taking that all-important pill. I just stood there in the kitchen wondering what I was doing and hearing owl sounds reverberating in my brain.

I found out later in the day what fibro is like coupled with no thyroid medication being taken. I crashed. It wasn’t a pretty picture. I took my thyroid medication better late than not at all. Twenty-four hours later, I’m still having trouble feeling like myself again.

I guess that illustrates why we need sleep, especially the deepest sleep. During deepest sleep, which is non-REM sleep, hormones are released that stimulate repair and growth in your organs. Your brain also gets “flushed out” and repaired. Mine obviously wasn’t functioning after the owl episode.

Recent research has discovered that our brains flush out waste material during sleep. The study was done on mice that apparently have brains similar to ours. The study found that during sleep the spaces that allow fluid to pass between brain cells greatly increase in size.  These enlarged spaces allow cell waste material to be flushed out more efficiently. If we don’t get the right kind of sleep, this cell waste material builds up and doesn’t get flushed out.

My brain must be a toxic waste dump. I hope those owls decide to do their “hooting” someplace else for awhile so I can get some sleep. Actually, I think I’d better get some earplugs.
Scoop out seeds, salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil

Despite my thyroid and brain drain, I cooked up a delicious stuffed spaghetti squash recipe. I am planning on serving it as a side dish for Thanksgiving.

Here’s what you need for 2-4 servings:

1 large spaghetti squash
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1 cup fresh spinach
1 celery stalk
½ cup farmers’ cheese
2 organic eggs
Optional: sprinkle of grated Gruyere cheese

Voila stuffed spaghetti squash
Here’s what you do:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Prepare your spaghetti squash by splitting it lengthwise and scooping out the seeds. Sprinkle the squash halves with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Place the halves face down on a deep baking sheet. Pour in 1 cup of water. Bake the squash for 40 minutes or until fork tender.

Place the squash face down in about 1 cup of water
In the meantime, chop the celery and spinach. Measure your other ingredients. When the squash is done, allow it to cool enough for you to scoop out the flesh. Place the flesh and other filling ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to mix.
Mix the squash flesh and other ingredients

Refill the squash halves with the filling. Return them to the oven for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. Just before removing them from the oven, sprinkle on a smidge of grated cheese. Now you have a delicious side dish for any occasion.

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Restuff the squash shells

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