Crying in my Blender Muffins


Today is one of those days… Or actually, it’s been one of those WEEKS! 😡, where my scoliosis isn’t really healing all that “gingerly”. Ten days from now will be my one year mark, since my spine has been fused. Crazy right?? Gosh, how time flies!

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Last Saturday I decided to try swimming. Yeah, bad idea. Well actually, apparently it isn’t a bad idea and will actually be really good for my muscles… eventually. (Says the guy I dated for a hot second and my physical therapist. But to be clear, I tried it because my physical therapist said to. Not because the guy said to. He was a former swimmer and frankly I thought he was just being biased. Also, I’m stubborn like that 💁🏼👊🏼) Anyways, after I swam, my muscles froze up faster than a wet towel in a snowstorm. (I don’t know why you would have a wet towel in a snowstorm, but I thought it sounded poetic.) My physical therapist said that this was probably because the muscles were over-worked in a different way than they had been used to. (I think my back just SUCKS.) He said I need to ease into it more. I guess swimming 10 lapse for my first time back at it, wasn’t such a bright idea… (Caroline, being overzealous? Weird!)

So now, over a week later, my muscles are still feeling really F-ing stiff and good ol’ James is away on vacay. So I want to cry. I mean, I’m happy my physical therapist took a vacation – he’s a hard worker and deserves some down time – but James! Couldn’t you have timed it a little better?! 😜 (Kidding James, you know I adore you. Do you, boo, do you!)

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Anyways, I’ve had a few revelations recently and have accepted the fact that I’m going to be living with this for the rest of my life. But I’m tired. I’m tired of a lot of things, actually, but I’m also tired of always being positive. I am human after all, so I’m going to tell you that, right now, my back is so fucking stiff that I want to scream. Or cry. Whichever sound comes out of my mouth first.

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There must be some pinched nerves going on because the top of where my spine is fused (right around my T2 area) feels pinched. It’s shooting up into my neck and through the cranial area of my lower skull, then going through my mouth and causing the roof of my mouth, lips and upper teeth and gum area to feel numb and tingly. (Weird right? As uncomfortable as this feels though, I always find it fascinating how connected our bodies are.)

So yeah… Needless to say, I’m sort of feeling sorry for myself this week.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been healing great and I’m so much better off than where I was, but weeks like this really PISS ME OFF! I always ask my physical therapist, “Am I going to be stiff forever?”, “Will I ever get full feeling back in the muscles in my back?”… the list goes on with the questions I ask. (James is a saint.) Now, I don’t care about having limited range of motion. To be completely honest, I actually can’t tell that my flexibility in my thoracic is limited, unless I’m sitting and someone wants me to twist and contort my body to look in some direction that is quite frankly impossible for any human being to do unless they turn their chairs. It’s the stiffness that bothers me.

It was getting better… but I guess I’ve back-tracked a bit. Sigh…

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Anyways, thanks for listening to me vent. And again, yes I know this is a part of my life forever, and that it takes years for some people to feel fully like themselves again. But I’m allowed to have my “cry baby” moment from time to time, so this is mine. Deal with it. Or don’t?

But if you don’t, you won’t get to read the post that I originally started writing for this entry which was positive and happy and consisted of an amazing food recipe. Wait, what?! Yeah, I thought so. Mention food and you have just about anyone’s attention. Except for Kate Moss… “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” to her. 😆😋 Love ya, Kate! Well not really because I don’t know you and I think you sounded a little… let’s just say “weird”, in Calvin Klein’s new campaign on Instagram, but you feel me.

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So here’s the real entry. Thanks for listening to me bitch y’all. I appreciate it. And enjoy 😇😘✌

Hi y’all! Happy Friiiiyayyyyy!! 🍟🍟 (Because it was Friday when I started this draft. So pretend it’s Friday, you’ll be happier while reading it 😋)

So, I keep getting asked for the recipe for the Coconut Blackberry Protein Muffins I posted on my Snapchat last week (👻: carolineheinle), which I made for my brother to snack on during his flight back to Denver… He of course only took one and then asked my Mom in the car, “What IS this??” My Mom’s reply? “They’re actually really good.” (She’s not really into “healthy versions” of food either, but she LOVES these!) And guess what?! He gobbled the whole thing up! So booyah, people, booyah!We have a new recruit on our hands 😛 (Is it weird that I’ve said “booyah” now, two posts in a row? #NerdAlert!)

IMG_8590                                                      I also made a few muffy's with chocolate chips... Because a little dark chocolate never hurt anyone ;)

If you know me well, then you know that I’m a skinny girl with a fat person at heart mentality. My eyes are always bigger than my stomach and I have a HUGE sweet tooth. BUT I’m also really healthy and have really great self control. So basically, I am balanced. But what I love to do now, is discover new healthy recipes and tweak them to my liking… Basically I peruse Pinterest and drool over a picture of a comfort food dish at night, and then tweak the recipe to make it healthier the next morning – HA! (I’ll replace sugar with Stevia or low-glycemic coconut sugar or honey, replace wheat noodles with zucchini or sweet potato noodles, and so on… But then, I’ll balance it with a “go big or go home” game plan. Come on people, there’s nothing like a REAL bowl of ice cream, a “the works” gourmet cheeseburger or an authentic bowl of Italian pasta every now and then. Let’s not kid ourselves.)

But for the days when we are trying to be healthy but don’t want to compromise our taste buds, these delicious, but good for you muffins are perrrrfect! There’s no flour or sugar and they’re chock full of protein and fiber… A perfect “breakfast on the go” or enticing way to start your day (for you non-breakfast eaters). I on the other hand never have a problem eating breakfast. It’s my favorite meal!! (Aside from dinner… and dessert… and snacks. Basically I love it all, who am I kidding?)

I get most of my protein “treats” recipes from Chocolate Covered Katie’s Blog. If you don’t follow her, you should! She’s known for her “healthy versions” of chocolate desserts, but she has other amazing recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well – Check her out!

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I’ve always known that protein is important but I didn’t really understand how much your body benefits from it (and healthy carbs), until I went through the healing stages of my surgery. Your body will tell you what it needs or is lacking. (Remember what I was telling you in my last post about my recent ice cream and Watermelon cravings?) My body was literally growling, “Give me pancakes!!” “ROARRRR!” “Gimme a big ol’ beefy burger!” 🍔 “Rarrr!” (Can you hear me cat – “rarrr-ing”? 😹) So I listened, but I also wanted to be healthy about it… Hence my new passion/ hobby in making “healthy comfort food” 😊 Because honestly, life’s too short, people – Enjoy it! Plus, I’m an actor, not a 98-pound Super Model. (Shout out to all the models out there!! I’m not hating by any means – y’all are GAWGEOUS dawlings! #StayFlawless)

Okay, so for my version of Chocolate Covered Katie’s Blender Muffins, I added 2.5 scoops of Nutritional Frontiers Vanilla Protein Powder and a carton of Blackberries. (Be sure to add the blackberries after you’ve scooped the mixture into the muffin tins, though. If you mix it into the bowl, the berries tend to bleed too much, so I highly recommend waiting to add them so you still get a full bite of blackberry when you’re ready to eat 😉 ) I topped it with unsweetened coconut flakes and cinnamon for a final touch.

IMG_8588                                                  Follow me on Snapchat for more fun and recipes: carolineheinle

Voila! SO DELISH!

I’m SUPER into blender muffins right now. They’re so quick and easy and really are a great way to start your day.

Enjoyyyyyy! 😀

 

Til next post,

You’re Little Fighter and now Cookie Cutter ;P <3

Memories, Mindfulness and Family

Sometimes I feel an itch to write and be creative… but I don’t know what the hell to write about. Or actually, it’s not that I don’t know what to write, it’s more like I have so many thoughts and ideas spinning around in this crazy head of mine that I don’t know which to grab on to and run with — Argggh!

Some might refer to this as being “heady”, while other fellow writers might file it away under “writers block”. Amy Poehler talks about the hardships of writing in her New York Times Best Seller, “Yes Please!” She basically reiterates over and over that writing is hard and she hates it. “The End.” This would make me laugh out loud because I completely and utterly could relate! (Side note, this was not the only thing she wrote about. It’s a really great read about her journey as an artist, woman and mom. Read it, it’s great.)

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So yeah… writer’s block. See how I’m procrastinating? I first started this draft last week on the eve that my baby brother was coming home for a visit. Right now, he’s exploring life in Denver, Colorado, but decided to come home for his birthday. As we waited for his delayed flight to finally land, I decided to tackle a new entry, but instead, wrote about how I have “writer’s block” and how I asked my Mother to pick up, not one, but three different ice creams from the grocery store so we would have dessert options that night. (Don’t worry, it’s been edited now so I’m going to spare you the boringness… Is that a word?)

But this just goes to show a few things… One, I was starving and trying to tackle a blog entry. (Great idea, Caroline!) Two, when you are going through something, you are too far “in it” to actually see what it’s really about… let alone write about it. Last week I had A LOT on my mind. Today is Sunday and I went to church. I can’t say that all of the things I had issues with this past week were solved, but I can say that I’m at least at peace with all of it heading in the right direction.

I was thinking about this at church earlier and thought about how in my last post, I said I wasn’t religious. I realize now that I guess I don’t consider myself “religious” because I still do things that probably aren’t the most “holy of holy”.

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But isn’t that part of being human? I don’t know. I’m still figuring out my beliefs and life, so I’m not going to put a label on anything… and I actually don’t think I need to. All I know is that I feel better now. Plus, it always makes a person feel better about themselves when they are able to be there for another… and today, I was able to do that for my Mama 0:)

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She came home crying after dropping my brother off at the airport. “My heart hurts,” she sobbed. My Dad responded with, “Uh oh, well maybe you should make an appointment with Dr. Rao this week.” Dr. Rao is my parents’ heart doctor, FYI. (Very funny, DAD.) To be honest, it was sort of funny and made us laugh ;P But she still needed some comfort. So I went over and held my Mom’s head in my arms while she cried (and of course I teared up as well because I’m emotional like that.) But it made me feel good to be able to just give her some support and be there for her… I always feel good when I can do this for her, or my Dad, because it feels like I’m giving something back to them for all of the support they gave me throughout my back surgery and journey with my health.

As we get older, I think it’s harder for us to be there for one another. We all work, have families, and are aspiring for the next best thing… a bigger house or apartment, an engagement ring, a baby, a raise, a promotion, an acting job, our story to be published, night school after work, cooking classes… and then still have adult responsibilities – like paying bills, cleaning our homes, taking care of ourselves and our families, etc…. it goes on. You get it. So yes, it is hard. But my brother said one thing in particular that stuck with me while he was here, and it went somewhere along the lines of that at the end of the day, you really only have family and friends. Because we are all going to die one day, so you might as well spend your days with people who love you and fill your heart up. Sorry, I know I’m getting sappy here but it’s been on my mind lately so I wanted to share it.

IMG_8482                                             The Broham. He might kill me for putting this in... Whatever <3

The other thing on my mind lately? Accessing old memories. Now I’m not talking about the ones where you reminisce about the first time you rode a bike, had your first sip of alcohol or first kiss (though those are fun to look back on too, though ;P ). I’m talking about the ones ingrained in our bodies, brains and make-up. Our human survival instincts. So like I mentioned earlier, I’ve been craving ice cream lately. And watermelon. (It is summer, after all!) So, last week, I had some time to kill in between an audition and a meeting in Union Square and hit up Barnes & Noble.

(I LOVE Barnes & Nobles! I could spend hours in that store… walking around and reading snippets of the books I’ve been “meaning to read”, grabbing a coffee, staring at the cheesecake in the Starbucks food display window – don’t do itttt, don’t dooo ittttt! – and of course, stumbling upon a new Best Seller, Romance Novel, Nutrition discovery or Celebrity Cook Book. Most of the time I don’t end up buying anything… mainly because I’ll go home and purchase it for $10 less on Amazon Prime. (Sorry Barnes, I swear I love you ;P )

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Anyways, that day, I stumbled upon one book about adrenal fatigue and heightened cortisol levels (which I have suffered from). It also touches on why you crave certain foods and what it could be, that your system is lacking. One of the usual “culprits”?  I C E  C R E A M !  (See? I’m normal!.. And not pregnant, I swear ;P ) This, apparently, usually means that your body is lacking calcium and magnesium. So, I made a mental note to add more leafy greens and yogurt to my diet this week.

There were other interesting food facts, BUT the most interesting of all was something I had already learned about through my acting training but was nice to be reminded of… How our brains store sensory memory. Ice cream triggers memories of childhood – A time in our lives when we were (usually) provided the most codling, comfort and support. I’ve been super stressed lately… hence the reason for my body craving some coddling, comfort and support!  (I’ll have three scoops of the Banana Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor with chocolate sprinkles in a waffle cone, please? 😀 )

Ironically, also last week, my trainer, where I go for Physical Therapy, showed me a new exercise hat involves accessing an old memory we first learned to do when we were babies. Before we could walk or crawl, we learned how to turn over. I’m 11 months post-op now, and I’ve been in physical therapy for 3-4 months. My uncle asked me earlier this week, how my back was doing. “Ya know.” I replied. (Although I’m EXTREMELY grateful when people ask me how I’m holding up, on certain days, it’s more sensitive of a subject matter than others. Oh the human psyche.)

Obviously there are other variables involved on those particular days, but in a nut-shell, I’m still stiff. I’m DEFINITELY not as stiff as I was prior to me beginning physical therapy, but I still have progress to be made. All that being said, I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is going to be something that I will be living with for the rest of my life. I have two rods in my back now. They will be there forever. The negative part is that some days I’ll be stiffer than others. (Stress, weather, exercise, lack of exercise, emotions, etc. – they all play their roles.) On the positive side, however; when y’all are 90 years old and look like hunched over question marks, I’ll still be looking like a straight-up exclamation point! Booooo-yahhhh! 😛 LOL! #SorryImNotSorry

IMG_5687                                              My scar a few months post-op. It looks SOOO much better now. A reminder to myself to take a new picture of what it looks like NOW. Regardless of what it looks like though, I LOVE IT. It's my battle wound and a part of who I am.

Anyways, the exercise has me laying down, flat, facing the ceiling with arms out-stretched above my head. I then lift one arm straight towards the ceiling, tongue in cheek, and twist my head towards the opposite arms arm-pit (yummmm). The other arm reaches over and across my body and I use my eyes, by focusing on a specific spot, and my tongue, to help leverage myself to flip over WITHOUT USING MY LEGS. (We are “babies” remember? We don’t know how to use our legs yet.) Sounds weird that your eyes and tongue would help you flip your body over but it definitely helps.

Anyways… So every morning, when I attempt this extremely difficult exercise (yes people, it’s really hard. For ANYONE. – Back surgery or heavy weight-lifter status…) I access an “old familiar feeling” while struggling to turn over. Now, I know I’m an uber-sensitive person and have a great imagination, but I swear there is a familiarity to the motion. As if I’ve already done it before. Interesting, right?! Whatever, I think so. Also interesting that this simple exercise is helping to stretch my ribs out more, make them more malleable and flexible again and also activates and strengthens my core. Yep, INTERESTINGGGG! 😀 😉

Anyways, at the bottom of this post is a video I recorded a couple of weeks, post surgery. I’m still on pain meds and experiencing different shifts and pulls in my body in it. (You’re spine is still fusing for three months after your surgery, keep in mind. So be patient with yourself. And kind. —> MOST IMPORTANT 😉 ) I’m also extremely constipated from all the pain meds so I took up walking (hence my sweatiness in the video). This was one of the best things I’ve ever done for my body and mind! I still walk almost every day! (And dance. Yes, I dance around my neighborhood. My neighbors catch me dancing and singing all the time. They love my crazy ass though, so it’s totally fine ;P )

Some people have recommended swimming to help strengthen and loosen the muscles but, as of right now, that’s not going to work for me. I tried it for the first time yesterday (11 months post-op) and I felt extremely claustrophobic in my own torso afterwards. So I don’t recommend it, but again, every body is different! 😉

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K, enjoy! Oh! And drink aloe water… that helped a lot with constipation too 🙂

Exes and oh’s,

You’re Little Fighter <3