Tag Archive | chronic illness


I haven’t blogged in quite some time because, well, life… We moved our daughter out of state, my Father-in-Law passed away, I got a new job and we recently found out we are going to be grandparents for the third time. Life has been all over the place for me, but the one consistant has been how and what I eat. That has been what had kept me strong. And healthy.

In June, my youngest daughter and I set out on a week-long drive across the country to get her settled for her new job (her husband had to temporarily stay behind for his job). We dubbed it the Thelma and Louise road trip and had an incredible time together and some crazy fun. If you are ever able to travel a distance by car alone with one of your children, do it. It was a gift in so many ways: we got to know one another as people, we had time to talk about so many things and I think we both learned to be a bit more independent. Most importantly, we didn’t kill one another.

A little over one month later, we received a phone call that altered our lives forever: “Come home, dad has been given last rights.” The next weeks are a blur of caring for him, loving him and honoring him. And now we grieve. Grief is a funny thing,  you continue moving forward and yet there’s this awful feeling that’s always just below the surface. And it doesn’t take much for it to rise to the top – a favorite song on the radio, a holiday, a moment in time where you just miss your loved one. From the outside all looks fine, but we are all fragile and broken and trying to grieve in our own way, in our own time, because grief is different for everyone. This man who said to me “There are no in-laws in this family; you are my daughter” was my dad too for over half of my life. I miss him and I am sad.

In late September, I was offered a job. A once in a lifetime opportunity I could not pass up. And so I said yes and goodbye to people I have worked with for almost nine years; some of whom have become dear friends, some more like family. It’s scary starting a new job. You leave what is comfortable and familiar and move to something that is not. Most days I feel lost but each day gets easier and I’m still glad I made the decision I did. Sometimes you just need a change. Having the courage to actually make that change? It’s everything!

About the same time I was starting my new job, our daughter – the one that I drove across the  country with – announced they were expecting their first child. So many emotions: excitement then grief and then sadness. Why the grief and sadness? The realization this baby won’t know us as well as our other two grandchildren kicked in, as well as this is the first great-grandchild Dad will never know. He would have been filled with joy to hear the news. Of course, I’m betting he already knows and looks down with such love and joy.  And there again, that grief lurks just below the surface.

Through all of this, my health has held on. I’m not saying I’ve not had some struggles with RA flares and the like but through all of this, I was able to use what I’ve been taught to manage my way through. By eating deliberately and following a Paleo diet, the flares have not been as bad or lasted as long. I listened to my body, I mean REALLY listened, and was proactive instead of reactive. I’ve noticed my RA really acts up right before I get sick. Once I put the two together, I have learned to step up the probiotics the minute my feet hurt and walking is painful and I make sure my diet is super clean while using the tools I was taught by my Integrative Medicine Dr. to boost my immune system. And it has worked, every time. And for the very first time, I feel completely in control of me.

So, it’s fall-like outside (I live in Cali so fall-like means 80 degrees while the leaves are changing color) and I decided to get my pumpkin on. Today was all about pumpkin muffins, pumpkin custard and the most unbelievable Paleo oatmeal cookies we have ever tasted.   Recipe links below:




And, of course, our favorite Sunday waffles (not pumpkin but SO good):  https://www.thenaturalnurturer.com/blog/oatmeal-green-smoothie-waffles

When I first started on this journey, the options were few but now you don’t have to eat bland food to be compliant.  We eat delicious Paleo food that is good for us and helps build my body up, instead of tearing it down. While life is sure to throw you many curve balls along they way, you can be in control by eating healthy.  It’s completely doable – start by switching out one or two things and then move from there.  Take this in small chunks.  How you get to this point doesn’t matter.  Much like grief, our paths are all different. But changing your lifestyle can be done, one small change at time.




Wait, Oreos aren’t paleo?

Yesterday was an incredibly stressful day. So much so, I feel like I’m in complete overload and fighting the urge to flee or sit at the bottom of my pool – it’s curently a tie. Instead, I got up in the middle of the night and had some Oreos. It’s not like I ate the whole package or anything – I had three. However, I was truly bothered that I let myself get so out of sorts, I reached for junk food. I mean I never eat Oreos. And what has me so freaked out I grabbed for something that shouldn’t even be in my house in the first place? Well, I’m still recovering  from being ill and have this whole broken rib thing going for me (yup, apparently it’s broken), kid stress, work stress, trying to get my new business up and running stress… It’s a lot. Normally I would go for a run, but there’s that whole broken rib thing I’ve got going on. So, it got me to thinking. We all are battling stress and things out of our control at some point or another. How do we handle those times without sabotaging our health?

I talk a lot about how important it is to eat healthy to stay healthy.  But emotional health is important too.  Find time in your day to breathe and regroup. 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.

So I challenge you to find small ways in which to work on handling the stress in your life. You know, that doesn’t involve Oreos, because not taking your health seriously can have major consequences. Pay attention to your emotions, get rest and eat properly. Reminders for both you and me. Together we CAN do it.

Later this week, I will share what we’ve eaten for the week. Hint – NOT Oreos! (Geez, you eat three little Oreos in the middle of the night… 😉) But I did discover some new recipes I can’t wait to share.

Until then,





Banana eggs?

I have two words for you. Banana eggs. That’s right. Banana eggs. Lately, I’ve been seeing an onslaught of recipes on various paleo sites, and decided it sounded so weird, I HAD to try it. And banana eggs are exactly what they sound like. And you know what? They are DELICIOUS!!! I challenged you to try a new food/recipe and thought I should follow my own advice. Plus, who wouldn’t be curious about banana eggs? Am I right? And if I’m being honest here, it was a lot healthier than the apple pie I really wanted for breakfast and tasted just like French toast. The recipe we used is below:



So, I’m still packed in ice and pillows. This whole pneumonia and separated rib thing stinks. My lungs are improving but the ribs are still excruciating. The only time I find relief is with an ice pack or the heating pad, and I spent most of the Fourth of July either with my feet propped up or in the horizontal position. What really sucks is I will be missing our nephew’s wedding because I’m not up to traveling a long distance yet. HUGE bummer. So, I will be the one having a pity party on the couch this weekend. But, as many of us who suffer from an autoimmune know, our bodies are oftentimes the enemy and our world is one of ups and downs. It’s just knowing how to navigate those down times and what to do so there are many more ups than downs.

With temps in the 90’s and 100’s these days, we have changed the types of meals we eat, and have moved to lighter fare. I shared last time how I discovered the blog “First and Full.”  We are hooked on her recipes. This week, my husband made the blackened shrimp salad and couldn’t believe how easy the recipe was. Give it a try:



One of my other exciting discoveries is how easy it is to make your own paleo mayo. I mean, it takes no time at all. My husband was making his famous potato salad yesterday and we didn’t have enough mayo. Well, Michelle from “The Whole Smith’s” to the rescue!! It was super easy and tastes amazing. Plus, the ingredients are something I always have on hand.


I challenged you last time to try new things. And that challenge holds. Try a new recipe and comment on what you tried. If you come across a paleo recipe you feel is share-worthy, leave a comment and I’ll link and share in my next post. Going paleo can be a challenge but it’s not impossible. Be open to new ways of cooking. There is a whole, big paleo world out there, folks. And it needn’t be scary or difficult. What you will discover is that it is delicious. I promise!

Until next time,






“You can’t,” “You shouldn’t,” “You need to try… you shouldn’t try,” “You’re sick again?”

People are always saying to me: “You can’t,” “You shouldn’t,” “You need to try… you shouldn’t try,” “You’re sick again?” I know these people mean well, however these comments can be hurtful. I’m never completely going to be healthy.  I have an autoimmune disease that I will have my entire life; there is no cure. I have no idea when a relapse will happen but they are going to happen, (and unfortunately, this has been a bad year for me) because this thing I have is always silently waiting to attack. This is my life. For the rest of my life.  Comments like above, while I know come from a good place, are not helpful – they sting and make someone already self conscious about their health even more so. And truly, until you’ve walked a mile in anyone’s shoes, think before you judge. Before you speak. And when you do speak, speak with kindness. Ask how you can help. Be encouraging. Or be silent.

We now interrupt the above ranting for… FOOD!

Because of my separated rib cage and pneumonia, I’m obvi not cooking right now, but I wanted to share some great, EASY Paleo ideas for the Fourth of July. So simple my family can easily pinch hit because these recipes are super easy.

My favorite source of recipes is always Danielle Walker from “Against all Grain.” Below is the link to her Fourth of July Blog. We have tried every single one of those recipes (think potato salad and deserts and drinks and hamburgers and ribs) and they are all easy and AMAZEBALLS!!!  And if you don’t have her cookbooks, why not?!! Get them. They are life changing!


I have also recently discovered First and Full. Her recipes look soooo good and I can’t wait to try each and every one! I’m saving these for when I’m feeling better.


Lastly, I have to share these cookies with you. Such a sneaky way to get more veggies into my family’s diet. And they have no idea! And definitely add the dark chocolate chips! These go fast in my house. They also freeze well.


You really CAN find easy to make Paleo dishes that taste good and take no time at all to make. Food that tastes so good, nobody will ever think they are eating something “healthy.” And believe me, I’ve tricked my family so many times they don’t even question or ask anymore.

So I challenge you today… first check out these two bloggers and try one of their recipes. Try something NEW! You will be surprised. I also challenge you to rethink the words you use. Words matter, and make an impact- both negative and positive.

Wishing my readers in the US a wonderful and safe Fourth of July, my readers in Canada a happy Canada Day and the rest of you a fantastic week and weekend!









Pneumonia again?!!

Well has this been a rough health year for me or what? I am writing this from bed with pneumonia for the second time since  April. I’m also packed in pillows and ice because I coughed so hard we think I have a cracked rib. Because why not, right? I had a little pity party today. Ok it was more of a big one because I’m so incredibly frustrated. But because I’ve had so much time alone to think today, I realized I’ve been through a lot this year and perhaps would be better served being a little more kind to myself and cut myself some slack. And I also reminded myself what others think doesn’t matter. Other people’s misconceptions about my health are their problem, not mine, and I need to let that go. Easier said than done, right? But I’m working on it. Fortunately for me, I have a wonderfully supportive family and the best friends anyone could ask for. And a strong will that never keeps me down for long.

So the treatment process this time around? Bed rest for one. I am under strict instructions by my doctor to stay in bed and rest. I’m on another round of prednisone (40mg a day for five days), breathing treatments every 4 hours, codeine cough syrup so I can sleep and Tesslon Pearls during the day for cough. And Tylenol for my rib and the fever I can’t seem to completely shake. The non-traditional cures I’m incorporating? I’m working hard to stay hydrated and doing lots of sinus rinses.  I’m steeping astragalus root in my tea, I’m drinking my gut healing smoothies (recipe below), I make sure I incorporate a probiotic, I’m drinking lots of Kombucha and I have been meditating – something VERY hard for me but I’m trying.

  • 2 bananas
  • 2 cups frozen organic berries  ( I prefer blueberry and strawberry)
  • 1/2 lemon, including rind, seeds removed
  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, unskinned
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh kale or spinach leaves or cabbage
  • 1-2 carrots if desired (nope)
  • 1/2-1 cup sprouts if desired (eg, broccoli sprouts, micro-greens, etc – available at Whole Foods or Trader Joes). (not desired in my house)
  • 1 cup organic plain Lifeway kefir (my preference is strawberry kefir)
  • Protein powder, 20-30 gm or 4 oz organic tofu (allergic to soy so I use Vital Proteins)
  • 1/2 cup full-fat canned organic coconut milk
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, or other spices of your choice (I don’t use any of this)
  • 1-2 tbsp organic cocoa powder if desired (so not desired)

Add in soluble fiber right before you drink your smoothie, eg, organic flaxseed meal, hempseed meal, psyllium husk, or chia seeds – start with 2 tsp and slowly build up to 4-6 tbsp per day. (I prefer chia)

I’ve played around with this a bit and my go to on a daily basis has become bananas, berries, 2 tbs lemon juice, 1 cup spinach, Vital Proteins collagen (great source of protein), Probiotic powder (I use VSL3), kefir, coconut milk and chia seeds.  I take ginger daily and add to food so I’m ok with not adding to the smoothie as I hate the taste.

When you have an autoimmune disease, there will be flares. Mine are exacerbated by stress, this year grief – lots of grief- and complacency. And sometimes, for no reason other than I have an autoimmune disease. By following  a Paleo diet, however, I know I am doing the best I can do for my body. I’m also re-reading “The Wahl’s Protocol.” (You can click on link below to purchase. It’s an amazing book for anyone suffering from an autoimmune disease).

Life happens. Sometimes it’s fantastic and others, not so much. What’s important is what we do in those “not so much” times that count. I could continue to wallow in self pity but what point is that? It won’t change the fact I’m lying in bed with pneumonia and a cracked rib. It’s not going to make me feel better. What will is by helping myself. By being active and in charge of my health. By being kind to myself and getting back to basics. For me that is by following a very strict Paleo diet until I’m feeling strong again. By removing foods from my diet and then reincorporating slowly to allow my body to heal. There was one positive this week. I had a 102 degree fever. I know, you’re probably wondering how that could be positive. Well, I’m excited because even though I came down with pneumonia, my body is actually working. It’s actively fighting. So while it may seem like my efforts have been for naught, it’s quite the opposite. Four years ago, I was very ill and my body wasn’t fighting. I’m still going to have blips because my immune system isn’t like a “healthy” person’s. The difference is even during the blips, my body is fighting. So, pity party aside. I’m choosing to look on the bright side of things. And you can too. I promise!

Yes, You Can. End of Story!

I hear it all the time – “I can’t change my diet, it’s too hard,” or “I can’t go without bread, cookies, etc…” Newsflash! You CAN. End of Story! And, if you are like me and have no choice, you find ways to make it work. Is it hard? I’m not gonna lie. I called my husband while crying in the grocery store once because I didn’t know what I could eat. I felt lost and so overwhelmed. But, I have come such a long way and have learned so much since then and, honest, we don’t suffer. We eat good food that tastes AMAZING and we both feel better by following our paleo diet. I say “Our” because I’m not a short order cook and will only make one meal. Period. And you don’t have to go without the treats you love; you just need to learn how to make and find new ones. Like the vegan cupcakes I found from a local bakery. I like to bring them to celebrations and not tell anyone they are vegan. And you know what? Unless I say something, they have NO idea. Making a change like this IS doable. You just have to want to do so.

I have to admit one of the foods I missed was nachos. I mean who doesn’t love nachos, right. However, I can’t have corn chips because I have a corn allergy and I can’t have cheese because, well, dairy. So, no nachos for me. Or so I thought. One day I’m searching on Instagram and see that Danielle Walker came up with a recipe for nachos. OMG! I was in absolute Heaven and had to make them immediately! I used plantain chips and some leftover taco meat and poured that gooey wonderfulness all over. Is it exactly like cheese? No. However, it was close enough that my husband gave it two thumbs up. Here is the link to her recipe. Try it. These are super easy to make. https://againstallgrain.com/2018/04/28/paleo-dairy-free-nacho-cheese-sauce-recipe/

And speaking of Danielle Walker. She has a new cookbook coming out soon and I’m super excited about it. You can click this link to learn more about her cookbook and pre-order. I seriously can’t wait! https://eatwhatyoulovebook.com/

Now, even though I’m careful about what I eat, my immune system does not function like most people and I’m more prone to illness. Especially when stress plays a role. And let me tell you, I’ve had a very stressful few months and am now recovering from pneumonia. To be honest, I have been a bit down about this because no matter how bad my immune system has been, I’ve never ended up with pneumonia. And it scared me. I mean it scared me straight. No more occasional cheats because it’s painfully obvious my body can’t handle it. Luckily, I have a fantastic medical team who work together and who all believe in and support eating purposefully for better health. And if they didn’t, I’d find new doctors.

Because of this dumb pneumonia, I have not been running much, which is a bummer because running is the one thing that makes me feel NORMAL.  When I’m running, I’m not that chick with the autoimmune disease; I’m just another runner. Just last week, my doctors got tired of my whining and finally gave me the go ahead to work out again. I am now allowed back on the treadmill for some run/walk workouts and I’m slow but I don’t care. I’m loving every sore muscle, every aching joint, the feeling of working through the wall of “I can’t” that every runner experiences. Because instead of “I can’t,” I’m back to “I CAN and watch me!”

I also recently joined a company called Perfectly Posh as a consultant, and here is why. Because of my autoimmune disease, I am not only conscious of what I put in my body, but what I put on my body as well. I had been looking for years for products that were clean but I found either they still contained ingredients I was allergic to, weren’t really clean or were way too expensive. A few months ago, a friend introduced me to Perfectly Posh. I was excited to find products that were truly clean and inexpensive and something even my doctor approved of. And as soon I tried them I just knew this was supposed to be a part of my health journey.

Did you know most skin care products contain toxic ingredients such as parabens and sulfates? And that 60% of what is applied to your body is absorbed into your blood stream? Perfectly Posh uses ingredients which are naturally based and gluten, soy, paraben and paraffin free; many of these products are vegan as well. The best part is all products are under $25 and are made in the USA – all things I can get behind. Most importantly, I LOVE these products, they WORK and smell amazing, using only essential oils and fruit extracts to create incredibly yummy fragrances. These products aren’t just another skin care line – these are good, clean products you can feel good about. If you are interested in trying Perfectly Posh, here’s my link: http://lisacan.po.sh

And there’s my update. I’ve been a little silent on my blog lately because, well… life. But I haven’t stopped sharing my story with people because I feel there is a purpose to all of this and for me, that purpose is helping others. For years, I was given drug after drug to treat my symptoms but nobody ever got to the root of the problem until my Functional Medicine Dr. stepped in. It’s because of the changes I made in my life that I’m now almost completely drug free but for the one medication I’m temporarily on for my lungs. There is so much information out there now on the benefits of a clean diet and removing as many toxins from your home, including what you put ON your body. If your doctors don’t agree or support this, find new ones. Ask questions. Take control of your health because, at the end of the day, it’s ultimately your body and your responsibility. I choose to be as healthy as I can by taking charge. And if I CAN do it, so CAN you! End of story!


Trying something new…

I am writing this from bed as I recover from my latest “blip.”  This has been a rough year for me health wise.  I had the dreaded flu in December and January and have just not been the same since. And I’m now experiencing a cough that just will not go away. And not only will it not go away, it’s violent and awful and I’m fairly certain those around me are just as tired of it as I am.  I’m supposed to be training for a 12k, but have accepted that we will just be walking this year. And that’s ok. I’m disappointed, sure, but have come to accept that sometimes life just happens.  We can either roll with it or fight it, but having an autoimmune disease means this will happen occasionally, even doing everything right, and so you just do as you’re told, rest your body and move on. And by doing as I’m told, I mean the dreaded prednisone and breathing treatments.  As much as I hate both, there is a time and a place and this is one of those times  So, I stepped up my supplements, am resting my body, getting enough fluids and eating wisely the foods that will bump up my immune system.  Or in my case these days, just get it to work. (For information on living with prednisone, please  see a previous post: Prednisone tips)

Last I wrote, I was doing a Whole30. How did it go?  It felt great. A re-set every now and then is a good thing. For everyone. I also started using Vital Proteins.  Can I just say that stuff is AMAZING?!  I mean, it’s like a miracle powder.  My fountain of youth.  The small lines around my eyes have lessened, my hair is growing like gangbusters, my nails have never been this strong and I have eyelashes that go on for days.  I can’t wait to see the continued results. It also keeps me full and I’m loving that added benefit as well. Vital Proteins has lots of different products – check them out: https://www.vitalproteins.com/collections/all-products  

We also went on a few trips and, per my usual I packed snacks and food.  One trip was by plane and that makes it a little difficult, but here are my tips:

  • Pack an empty water bottle or travel mug to get through security and then fill it up.  I go to Starbucks and either order a tea in my mug or ask for hot water and use a tea bag I brought. It’s important to stay hydrated – especially when flying.
  • Besides your carry on bag and purse, you are allowed to bring a small, collapsible lunch bag on most airlines; just all ahead to be sure.  I use a freezable one.  It goes through security just fine but IT NEEDS TO BE FROZEN.  I pack fruit and lettuce wraps, etc.  Just don’t pack anything that is smelly and will offend other travelers around you.
  • I also pack almonds and pistachios, Larabars and beef sticks in case I’m stuck and need protein.
  • Once you arrive at your destination, scout out a store for any provisions you need. It’s not hard.

If traveling by car, your life is so much easier because you can pack a cooler with supplies. And boy do I bring supplies because I don’t want to be stuck with nothing to eat.  I’ve also found that most gas station stores now carry healthy options.  On our recent trip, I was happy to see Larabars, RX Bars, paleo meat sticks, fruit…

And now to the something new… Healing yourself means not only minding what you put IN your body but what you put ON your body as well. My doctor has talked to me about pulling toxic cleaning supplies out of my house, using safe/clean personal products, swapping out my plastic food storage to glass and I have been slowly making those changes.  The problem with beauty products is that companies will claim they are “clean products” but they still contain soy or other fillers, have parabens, etc. And then a friend introduced me to Perfectly Posh. I watched her video and said “YES! These products are what I’ve been looking for!” and have been using them for the last two months and I am hooked! And very impressed.

These products are safe and natural, filled with ingredients such as shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil, salt, sugar, etc., and no harmful ingredients such as parabens, sulfites or fillers. Many products are vegan, they are gluten free, are not tested on animals and, they are made in the United States! Best of all, nothing costs more than $25! All things I can get behind. And have I mentioned I love these products? In fact, I love them so much, I took the plunge to become a consultant.  If you are interested in taking a look for yourself, check out my web page:  http://lisacan.po.sh/

Getting and staying healthy takes a lot of work.  But it also takes perseverance because there will be times when, no matter how hard you try, your body does what it wants anyway.  The thing is to keep fighting and, most importantly, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!!  If you do not have an Integrative Medicine doctor, I suggest you find one. There is a place for traditional medicine; I honestly believe both go hand in hand.  But in order to get and stay well, you need the balance of holistic and traditional. And if your Doctors do not support the holistic, find one who does.  It took me a while but I have both.  And I can’t imagine going through this ride without either one.  Stay strong and stay the course, take one day as it comes, and remember you can do this. Honest. If I can so can you!