Edna Ritchie used to wake up every morning with a crippling ache in both her knees, preventing the young mother of two from enjoying an active lifestyle.
The 56-year-old South Surrey resident was in her mid-20s when she was diagnosed with osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that causes the breakdown of cartilage in the bones.
“I was in pain 24/7, but kept working,” said Ritchie, a lawyer with the Law Society of B.C. “If I stayed home I would have just wallowed in self misery. Also I had two young kids to chase after so I had no choice but to keep moving.”
Growing up, Ritchie watched as her father suffered with osteoarthritis, but never thought it would happen to her – at least not until much later in life.
“I always thought of osteoarthritis as being something that older people got. I didn’t think it would be something I’d be faced with during my child rearing days.”
In addition to having both her knees replaced between 2007 and 2008, it was in the water that Ritchie found refuge from her pain.
“The only place I felt comfortable was in the pool because it took all the weight off my joints, which was especially nice after my surgeries,” said Ritchie who joined an aquacise class to keep fit and has been a regular participant for the past 22 years.
Ritchie has aquacised at various watering holes throughout the Lower Mainland, but said the South Surrey pool, where she attends a class four times a week, is her second home.
“It’s really a great group of people – there are some ladies and gentlemen in their 80s who are quite fit and active. I want to be just like them when I reach that age.”
Nowadays, Ritchie doesn’t let osteoporosis keep her from enjoying her life to the fullest.
“It’s very busy – oftentimes my husband and I are run off our feet, but we have two great kids and I have two new knees – I have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to look forward to.”
In this week’s edition of Local Flavours, Ritchie shares her Raw Bar recipe, a light snack that she often has after her aquacise class.
“This bar is a great energy boost and is full of protein and fibre.”
Edna’s Raw Bar
2 tbsp. whole flax
1 c almond butter
1 c whole flake (old fashion) oat meal
2 tbsp cocoa powder
½ c raw pumpkin seeds
½ c raw sunflower seeds
¼ c ground flax
½ c dried cranberries
2/3 cup agave nectar
Sprinkle 1 tbsp whole flax in bottom of 9’ by 9’ pan. Mix all ingredients other than the whole flax together until well blended. Drop by spoonfuls into pan and flatten.
Sprinkle remaining 1 tbsp of whole flax on top and press lightly into the bar. Refrigerate at least overnight. Cut into squares. Freezes well.
Variations: omit the cocoa and or cranberries, add chopped pecans or slivered almonds.