Tag Archive | adrenals

Paleo and traveling

This time of year, we all have trips on the mind. Hopefully not the trip I had a couple of weeks ago. Right down the stairs. Cracked a rib, had a mild concussion and a HUGE contusion on my leg. But back to trips of the fun kind. If you are like me and on a special diet, there is an element of planning you must do. Long gone are the days of just hopping in a car or a plane and just grabbing a bite. I can’t trust I will find what I need so here is what I do. Yup, more planning:

Whether traveling by car or plane, bring food with you. The length of the trip determines what I bring. If I’m traveling by car, I like to bring a cooler with some already prepped food: eggs, compliant lunch meat, lettuce, bacon, my ranch dressing, chopped or roasted veggies. I also bring nuts, Lara Bars, beef jerkey, plantain chips and almond butter. This way, no matter where I am, if I’m in a pinch I can make a meal. Here’s an example of what I take with me. I fill a larger container with some of my provisions. It goes from my fridge to the cooler back to the fridge – everything contained in one spot.

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In that container I have things like salad dressing, guacamole, apples, eggs, etc. you get the idea.

If I’m going by plane I make lettuce wraps ahead of time.  Or I may make paleo breakfast cookies or bars. I also know I can hit up a Starbucks for fresh fruit or grab a salad someplace if I need to. But I try to not count on that because if there is some sort or delay, I don’t want to be stuck without food.

Whether I’m traveling or not, I ALWAYS have food with me whether it be nuts, a Larabar, dried fruit or an apple. ALWAYS! Better to prepared, I say.

Once you arrive to your location, what do you do? I try to look up menus before hand so we don’t end up in a place I can’t eat. And never be afraid to ask to alter a meal to suit your needs. Most restaurants are happy to comply. Last night I ordered a grass fed burger without the bun, cheese or condiments. It had bacon and a fried egg on top and I swapped out the fries for broccoli and had a fantastic dinner!!

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Traveling while on a paleo diet is totally doable. You just have to do your homework and plan ahead. Organization is the key. It’s still work but once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature. Now my family is used to it and knows it’s just what mom has to do to keep healthy.  You can do it too. Honest. Happy traveling!

 

 

 

Now what?

Perhaps you have been dealing with an autoimmune disease for some time and are tired of all the meds. Or your doctor suggested you follow an autoimmune protocol diet (AIP) or paleo or Whole30 and you don’t know where to begin. Here are some tips to get you on your way.

  1. If you have not already done so, seek out or asked to be referred to an Integrative or Functional Medicine doctor. There are lots of certificated specialists and that is probably just fine, however I’m more comfortable knowing who I see is also an MD. At your first visit you will be assessed and odds are they will run a bunch of tests, including a food allergy panel. This is to give them a baseline to see where you are. For me, I was then put on a very restrictive Elimination Diet for three months. I was also told to start eating as much fermented food as possible to start healing my gut.  All of this was so that we could bring down the inflammation levels and calm my body down so I could heal. After my first visit, I left with tons of notes and handouts and even more questions. This is where my inquisitive nature kicked in as I pondered “Now what?”
  2. “Now What” – Fortunately there is now so much information available. Unfortunately there is now so much information available.  How do you know where to turn and which information is correct? Some people claim things are AIP or Whole30 compliant and yet those things are not.  First of all, your doctor should have given you a list of compliant foods.  Keep that.  You will be referencing that often.  In my searches, I found that Against All Grain has been my go to for everything.  She keeps all the different food allergies and diets in mind when creating recipes and her cookbooks also delineate which recipes are nut free, AIP, etc.  She’s a great resource! http://againstallgrain.com/  Through her blog, I was introduced to the Whole30 and Melissa Hartwig.  Melissa’s tough love and humor caught my attention and I’ve followed her ever since.  https://whole30.com/ And I’m now also stalking Chrissa from Physical Kitchness because she cooks like I do! Simple, easy meals. http://physicalkitchness.com/
  3. The next step is to go through your pantry and refrigerator. Remove any foods which are not compliant. And I don’t mean by eating them. Throw them away and then restock your pantry with the following to begin with.  Almond flour, coconut flour, coconut milk, arrowroot powder, compliant spices, nut butters… you can also go to my previous blog for a complete list.
  4. Meal plan. They key to staying “on the wagon” is planning ahead and staying organized. Once you get he hang of it, it becomes a habit and you get better at it. I sit down on Saturday and plan what I’m going to cook all week for breakfast, lunch and dinner and then shop accordingly. I always keep my pantry and fridge stocked with the basics and fill in with fresh produce and protein. I also play meals so that tonight’s dinner can become tomorrow’s lunch or even breakfast. Learn to change your mindset of what breakfast should be. I also take leftovers and turn them into other things. Tonight’s tri tip will become tomorrow’s steak salad. Or mixed with scrambled eggs and sweet potatoes. We don’t waste food in this house. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Blueberries and eggs are good honest! I would have never discovered this if I wasn’t open to trying different recipes. I’ve also discovered plantain chips. Where have these been my whole life?

Some days will be easier than others. Be kind to yourself and embrace the journey.  Know that knowledge is power and arm yourself with as much information as you can. I didn’t have anyone to walk me through this. I had to discover all of this alone.  And because of this I hope that what I’ve been through will be of help to others.

Becasue it is now summer and vacations are upon us I’m sure you are wondering how to deal with travel and eating out. Tomorrow I will share my tips and hacks on how to survive both.

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Embrace the lessons

Still sick. It’s a sinus infection gone sideways and now my jaw is locked. Seriously. Can’t make this stuff up! And now I don’t care if I never see another bowl of applesauce again. COMPLIANT applesauce because even though I can eat precious little right now, I’m still keeping to the plan.

A dear friend said she’s praying “It’s enough Lord” for me. No kidding, right?! But that got me to thinking… perhaps the prayers should be that I embrace the lessons and be grateful for the journey. Because it’s through this journey that I see goodness and hope. People are now reaching to me for help with their illnesses. Friends are sharing what I’ve been through with others and encouraging them to reach out to me. And that they actually want to hear what it is I have to say is still hard for me to wrap my head around…

I’ve been praying for the Lord to show me His purpose in all of this and every day it becomes more clear. Perhaps not only is each experience meant to make us stronger but we are to then to go forth and share those lessons with others. And that is now where I am in my journey. Talking to people. Sharing what I’ve learned and where to turn for help.  Holding their hand through this as someone held mine. Modeling that having a chronic illness does not have to mean the end of the world but that it is instead the start of a new one full of promise and hope.

I’m not perfect. Dealing with my illness is hard and I have to be ever vigilant. And there are times, such as now where I could easily give up and stop hoping. Times where I don’t want to do any of this anymore if I’m going to be brutally honest. But what keeps me going is hope. Hope that I have more good days than bad. Hope that I can make a difference in this world. In somebody’s life. Hope that all of this isn’t for nothing.

So whatever it is you are going through. Be grateful for it for there is a lesson just waiting to be embraced. One which could change your life for the better.

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Of all the things I’m bad at, breathing is at the top of the list!

Asthma. I have had it pretty well under control… until this week. I’ve been suffering the granddaddy of all asthma attacks all week and now also have oral thrush. Really?!! Because of course I do. I finally gave in and went to urgent care today because my peak flow was hovering around 150.  My personal best for all you knowing asthma sufferers is between 480 and 500. For those of you not in the know, we people who suck at breathing have to stay on top of this and have an action plan in place for what to do as the numbers drop that goes something like this and In this order:  emergency inhalers, breathing treatments, urgent care, emergency room then ambulance. To put this in perspective for you, I was floating between needing the urgent care and emergency room and not quite yet an ambulance. And because I’m stubborn, had I not let my husband talk me into urgent care there was going to be an ambulance in my near future. Because I’m dumb and stubborn.

Actually that’s not completely true. Those of us who suck at breathing always second guess ourselves. Is this attack really that severe? Am I going to look stupid going to the ER or calling an ambulance? Am I making a big deal out of nothing and if I just relax it’ll go away? We’ve all been there. We also know how exhausting it is not being able to breathe. I explained it to my husband like this: I feel like I have an elephant standing on my chest and I can only manage short breaths and those short breaths hurt and are laborious which exhaust me. It’s like I’m slowly suffocating and can’t get enough air. And then I panic which makes it worse. And asthma is serious folks. You can DIE from it.  And yet we tell ourselves not us. Mine isn’t THAT bad. This attack isn’t THAT bad. But let’s face it. At this point we are oxygen deprived and shouldn’t be allowed to make any decisions on our own. Right? That’s why it’s important to share with a trusted friend or loved one the warning signs and your action plan so they make sure you get the help you need and quickly.

I am now back home after spending the morning at Urgent Care. The doctor asked if I’m a nurse because I’m so knowledgeable about my illness and health and what I need to feel better. I told him I’m well-versed and have found it makes Dr. Visits more efficient by me staying organized and up-to-date on my health. He agreed and said it was making treating me easier and faster. He was able to get me a breathing treatment quickly with the right medicine and dosage that would work for me as well as the barrage of inhalers and drugs I’ll need for the next week or so. Including prednisone. Ugh! On top of asthma I also have chronic ABPA (allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis) so my lungs are damaged. While I was weaned of prednisone and have been in remission I know there will be times when I will need a prednisone burst to get over the hump. And as much as I hate prednisone, I’m quite knowledgeable  in how to survive it. I picked up a very strong probiotic (VSL3), stocked up on kombucha and licorice tea and am steeping astragalus root in my tea. I will also make sure I give my body plenty of rest the next few days. And, most important, to take my prednisone in the morning so it does NOT affect my sleep. All things I’ve learned after being on prednisone for 9 years (been weaned off since January). I will also behave and do breathing treatments every 3-4 hours for the next few days.

And I rushed home to tell you all of this because what I really wanted to share with you is, one, the importance of listening to your body and, two, the importance of understanding your health and the care you need and to be prepared for Dr visits- Keep a list of your current meds, and any allergies and what has and has not worked in the past. It is important you take an active role in your care. Ask questions. Make sure you understand all instructions and that you have everything you need before you leave. If your Dr forgot to prescribe something. Say something! Honest, it’s ok! It’s totally ok! Because in the end, your health is your responsibility.

And now that the shakes have stopped from my treatment I’m going to take a nap.

May the breathing gods ever be in your favor!

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Asthma and emotions/stress

The declining health of a parent, the anniversary of the death of a loved one, work stress…  All things out of our control and yet things which affect us emotionally.  All things which may make it hard to eat, to sleep, to concentrate.  Well when you have asthma, stress can affect your breathing. Stress is the enemy to asthma and anyone who has asthma needs to learn how to manage stress.  And it’s hard.

Believe me. I sit here typing after having my third breathing treatment of the day.  I was up all night unable to breathe.  I started coughing until I gagged and vomited.  Awesome, right?  And why?  Because rather than keeping my stress in check, I let it fester and grow until it made me physically sick.

I talk about food and health and how important it is to eat healthy to stay healthy.  But emotional health is important too.  I shared this with a student the other day who was very stressed.  I told him to find a time in his day to regroup and breathe.  And normally, I follow my own advice. There’s always time in your day.  ALWAYS!  Find something that calms you and make time for that. Go for a run, listen to music, go outside for fresh air.  Remove yourself from the situation.  Don’t let the small things become big things. Talk to a friend or loved one.  Whatever it is that works for you, do that.  Because nothing is more important than your health. Nothing. As for me, worrying won’t make my mom better or bring my loved one back or make that colleague any easier to work with.

If you have asthma, I challenge you to find small ways in which to work on handling the stress in your life.  When I actually practice what I preach, my asthma stays in check. I saw the warning signs but I refused to stop and listen.  I’ve been using my emergency inhaler so much the prescription I filled on April 4 is already empty and I can’t get another inhaler until May 4 without my doctor’s intervention.  I also know that because I let things get this far and I’m bordering on bronchitis I’m probably going to be forced to take a prednisone burst.  And darn it, I know better.  Because now here I am beating myself up… more stress.  I would laugh but that makes me cough!

So, learn from me.  Not taking your health seriously can have serious consequences. Pay attention to your emotions, get rest, eat properly and follow your asthma action plan. Reminders for both you and me. Together we CAN do this! We CAN keep our asthma under control.

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Easter. What can I eat?

Holidays are tough when you have a restricted diet. Tough but not impossible. Because holidays are filled with lots of good food, I used to dread going to someone’s house or having anyone over. It’s exhausting explaining what I can and can’t eat and why. And, if I made something I could eat, would anyone else want to eat it. Fortunately I have a very supportive group of family and friends who want to know so they can support me. Also, fortunately, I have such a love for cooking that I’m always experimenting. I also love to research and have found so many wonderful recipes that about 90% of the time nobody would have any idea what they are eating is paleo.

So, it’s Easter. What do I serve my family so that I can still eat? Fortunately for me there is Danielle Walker from Against all Grain to the rescue!  I’ll be making recipes from her new cookbook: blood organge glazed ham, potato salad and grilled veggies wrapped in bacon. For dessert a blueberry galette. http://againstallgrain.com/2016/08/13/grain-free-blueberry-galette/  Nobody will go hungry, including me!

Really, this is all doable. In fact, in a few weeks my sister in law is coming to stay with us so I can teach her the basics. It’s become my passion to teach others that diet can change your health. I’m not saying this is easy because it’s not, but I would rather spend hours in the kitchen vs hours in the hospital. Wouldn’t you?

I’m working on a couple of recipes and will share soon. Recipe creation with nut flours etc is tough which is why I usually prefer to use others’ recipes. However, I’m a determined spirit so… Stay tuned.

Wishing you a wonderful Easter with your family. If you aren’t sure yet what to fix, check out Danielle’s blog or cookbooks. You will be glad you did!

 

 

 

Inflammation and autoimmune

A friend of mine shared with me this article (click on link below) about inflammation and auto-immune disease and it was so fascinating I had to share: http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/07/30/how-to-stop-attacking-yourself-9-steps-to-heal-autoimmune-disease/

This article so resonated with me because Dr. Hyman may as well have been writing about me.  I was told I had Inflammatory Breast Cancer and I have never been so afraid in my life.  Turns out, instead, it was my body being angry and attacking itself. It was also discovered I had Sjogren’s and Rheumatoid Arthritis, along with Fibromyalgia.  My body hurt, I was swollen and puffy, I had extreme exhaustion, fungal sinus infections, asthma, etc. (in fact, all of my blog posts can attest to how awful things were for me).  It wasn’t until I started seeing a Functional Medicine Doctor that things began to change.  I’m now completely off all my meds, all my labs have come back in the normal range, I know which trigger foods to avoid and I am living a happy, active life.  I feel fantastic!  I’m running a 10k in a few days, a 12k in a month and a half, and a half marathon in September.  I have my life back.  And you can do the same.

If you or a loved one are currently suffering from any type of asthma, allergy, autoimmune diseases, etc., read the article;  look into seeing a Functional Medicine Doctor. I once thought this was all pure nonsense.  It wasn’t until I got really sick and was desperate to try anything, that I took this step. And it was life changing.  It takes a lot of work, you have to be diligent and follow the plan but to be off all meds is a miracle. I feel fantastic and am pretty much symptom free. Really, if I can do it, so can you!

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