How I beat bloat…

This might seem like a strange title, but I get asked this question all the time.  So the way I navigate my blog, is just like you.  I have written about many topics, so I type in the word I am looking for using the search button.  When I type in “bloat” a bunch of old posts come up, but specifically, the one that most people need to read is My break up with sugar and gluten.

So, I’ll be over here while you catch up.  Now that you know I have thoroughly done my research, I want to tell you about the next steps.  First, go to your pantry.  The one with all the yummies that perhaps the kids eat.  Maybe you eat them too.   But put them way out of sight.  Or buy bins and label them Kids snacks, but don’t go there for yourself.  I know, I know.  But believe me, you will feel better.  Next, make yourself a snack shelf.  Read the label of everything you put there.  Everything.  If the first ingredient is sugar, it goes in the kids bin.  If it includes any sort of wheat, etc.  Click my hidden links on those words if you don’t know how to figure this out.  it takes practice.

I’m sure some clients get mad at me…and I say GOOD.  Get mad at me for telling you that includes diet sodas.  It’s like Hell’s Kitchen up in your pantry.  But for real.  You want to feel better?  Do or do not.  There is no try.  Imagine tiny Yoda up there if it makes you feel better.  Use the force.  Push the food away.  Erm.  I went off on a geek tangent.  But I know this is hard.  I detoxed like I was having withdrawal symptoms…for real.  And you know what?  I lost 25 pounds.  My back was bending, my stomach was bloated, and I was actually shrinking.  I lost an inch in height!!  Can you believe that?  I did.

Me_1_yearWhen my friend took this before photo, and lied like a good friend, and said oh girl, it’s not that bad, I wanted to cry.  I kept saying something was wrong.  Why won’t doctors listen to me.  25 pounds in 6 months was not normal.  I was swollen, and working out.  I wasn’t losing a thing.  I never would have either.  If I hadn’t started researching what happened to my body after eating white bread.  Then the IBS symptoms.  Then the stomach pain.   You get it.  I thought I was doing great with the gluten-free, nope.  Sugar was still causing bloat.  The after photo is after 3 months without sugar as well.

I did start using things to help.  The “skinny” pack.  Why did I buy into it?  Here’s why…the wraps are completely all natural phytonutrients.  I looked up what everything did and saw that it could work to help relieve my bloat.  I needed to be on it for 3 months as well as do the above to really get the harmful effects of sugar and gluten out of my body.  My lymphatic system has slowed down to almost no movement.  I was sore in all 18 trigger points for fibromyalgia.  I knew I had it.  But, quite frankly, I had enough to worry about. If I accidentally ate something to cause bloat, I would take a fat fighter to stop the carbs turning into sugar.  It also helped to balance my blood sugar.  Next, I would take a hot shower and wrap every single Sunday night and leave the wrap on.  I felt amazing on Monday.  I would rub on my defining gel because my veins were doing weird things in my legs too.

I continued to research ingredients and put myself on the greens due to the probiotics I needed to fix my gut lining.  More research into leaky gut…you may use that and search on this blog.  I also took a ThermoFit if my gastroparesis (food just sat there for a million years) was doing it’s thing.  Again, I went to doctors and had tests so I knew what was wrong…they had not one suggestion on how to move forward that didn’t include drugs with horrible side effects.  Being on acid blockers like omeprazole would make me worse over time…so I took myself off based on more research.  I drink apple cider vinegar (unfiltered) now.

As you can tell…it does take hard work and determination to fix your gut.  If any of this sounds like you, I have more tips on my Facebook page Vitalize You, plus the tab at the top of this blog talks about more.  I had an open mind when I started this process because I truly believed I could help myself with all-natural products.  That’s why I started my business.  I believe you can do this!  Hashimoto’s, autoimmune, leaky gut, gastroparesis, IBS whatever you want to name it, it starts in the gut.  Don't quit

Author’s note:  I have now developed a new program, and it does not include any supplements, but will help you learn everything that I researched for years, in the space of 4 Weeks!!!!  <<< click there to learn more.

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The open gate…

While I have been thinking about this post for a few days, I have not written it.  There are many reasons it needs to be written…I think someone else wants to know that I understand.  The products I use to “close the gate” are listed at the end.

Imagine if you will, that you have to get up and go to the store.  Maybe you don’t like going to the store, but you have your list, you get dressed, and you go.  Imagine a fibro friend has to go to the store.  You haven’t gotten a full night’s sleep so when you wake up you are groggy.  You ache in places you didn’t know could ache, but it’s normal, so you try not to let it interfere as you know you have things to do.  You hold tightly onto the handrail as you slowly creak downstairs.  I say creak, because in your head, you are imagining that you are 85 years old.  But of course, you are barely 40.

When you get to the kitchen, you look at the list, because without it, there is no way you will even know why you are going to the store.  Memory-schmemory.  You read the list 3 times because you know, you just know, you will forget something.  You get the keys, you say to yourself, I can do this.  You don’t even sit down after getting up.  Why?  Because you know you won’t go.  Again.  To the damn store.  You realize you have to go to not one but two stores because of the special items on your list.  You tell yourself you can rest after this.  You look for your keys.  Wait, you have them.  Ok.  You leave the house.  Task one is complete and it just felt like you ran a marathon.

When you get to the store, you see an elderly woman walking slowly in.  You quicken your pace even though you ache all over.  If she can do this, so can I.  You actually make it into the store.  You check your list, again.  As you go down the aisles you begin to get tired.  You tell yourself to push on.  You get what’s needed, after checking the list multiple times.  And then you check out only to realize it wasn’t that bad.  But you have to go to another store.  You realize you are exhausted, but you can do this.  Task two is complete, and the marathon has now turned into an ultra-marathon.

The next store.  You sit in the parking lot telling yourself that this is it.  You only have a few things left.  You go into the store.  You don’t think.  You can’t dwell.  Get in and out.  Do not abort the mission or your dachshunds will have no food.  That would be bad.  You get the items you need, plus some gluten-free things they have here, and on that particular aisle, it’s almost like they know.  They just know, you needed a song.  So “Roar” starts playing.  Sweet.  Now even Katy Perry is cheering for me to finish this trip.  And my damn eyeballs are teary because it’s the part, you know the part, “Get ready cause I’ve had enough…I see it all, I see it now.  I’ve got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire, cuz I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar.”  Sooo, I’m like, let’s go store.  I got this.  So now it’s like a decathlon or something.  I don’t know, because I was a ballet dancer and soccer player…and now I do yoga, but it’s like I ran a freaking marathon.  If one liked that sort of thing.  Which I don’t really.  Task 3, done.

And that my friends, was just the trip to the store.  Not the putting away of groceries.  Not the actual making of things with these groceries that you stare at and hope perform tricks after all of that, and jump into something nice like a soup or a 3 course meal.  That was just the trip.  The TRIP.

To further explain, I want to share this research on a pain analogy:

Old house
Pain is affected by how much we attend to the pain sensation. You can think of pain intensity being like the experience of trying to go to sleep in an old house. If you listen quietly, an old house will often creak and groan at night. If these sounds are familiar because they happen all the time, you assume they are just normal creaks and groans, do not pay much attention to them, and drift off to sleep. But, if someone had broken into the house recently, then you’d be on high alert. You’d pay close attention to every creak or groan, wonder if it meant that someone was trying to break into the house again, and stay awake for hours. Similarly, if you don’t attend to your pain you may find you don’t have too much difficulty doing what you want to do. But, if you think a lot about what all your pain might mean, or attend to how much the pain is bothering you, you will find that the pain interferes more with your life (S. Tupper, personal communication, 2012).
So, I kind of like this except for the fact that I wasn’t trying to “attend to my pain”; however, I have been to my Applied Health Doctor this week and worked on things we don’t usually work on.  So those pain receptors were stuck open.  Like an open gate.  Bingo.  That works.  So read this:
Railroad crossing gate
The gate control theory is a very popular theory, originated in the early 1960’s by Melzack and Wall. This theory posits that there is a virtual gate that controls the magnitude of the pain signal that reaches the brain (Melzack & Wall, 1965). It can be effective to describe the path to families as an actual gate. You can think about pain signals being like trains passing through a railroad crossing gate. When the  gate is all the way open, trains pass right through. Similarly, when the gate to your brain is open, pain signals have free access to your brain. Medication might close the gate partway, but for many people, medications do not close the gate completely. Other interventions such as learning cognitive behavioral therapy skills, distraction, engaging in acupuncture, and increasing activity can all be effective ways to close the gate and help to keep it closed.
 So for the trip to the store I described above, all the while, the pain receptors mess with my concentration, my ability to think about anything but pain at times, and my desire to do things in the cold because the cold magnifies the pain I feel.  However, that being said, when the gate is at least partway closed, I function better.  That being said.  I am not on any other medicine other than what Dr. Marion and I talk about.  Many traditional medicine doctors have tried to put me on other things.  I looked up all the side effects.  It went from bad to worse.  That being said, if it is working for you, that’s great.  No one should have to be in pain.  I hope it is working for you.  I am stubborn, hard-headed and afraid of the horrible side effects since I already have other conditions.
Here is what I do when I am trying to close the gate.  If I have eaten something that causes a Hashi’s flare, which can flare fibro pain, I use a wrap One theory that we have come up with is that my lymph nodes are not exactly taking out the trash so to speak.  When I wrap, I feel better.  The bloating goes down, the flare is shorter, it just works.  Ha.  Get it.  And yes, this is a company that both my doc and myself are in.  I actually met her at one of the meetings.
Okay, so the next thing I do is to take some Relief.  I have done extensive research in the last 3 years on anti-inflammatory foods.  Guess what’s in here?  Well, the cool thing is that we don’t hide any ingredients and they are all-natural.  So turmeric, which is one of my favorite things to use, is there, plus yucca root.  Did you know that An international research team reviewed data from previous studies on the anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties of Yucca schidigera, a type of yucca native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. They noted strong evidence that yucca’s active components, including steroidal saponins, resveratrol and yuccaols, all seem to exert anti-inflammatory effects that may explain their historic use by folk medicine practitioners to treat arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Researchers recommended further research to try to pinpoint more accurately the mechanisms through which yucca prevents and/or treats arthritis. They published their findings in a 2006 issue of “Journal of Inflammation.”  So when people tell me they don’t need this because they are already on a glucosamine & chondroitin sulfate formula, like maybe my husband, I say try this.  And after generic versus mine, his pain was improved within one week of taking this.
So, I met a new lady this weekend and after doing an event where we set up our booths, something told me to speak to her about my fibro.  She said she was undiagnosed for years but was always in pain.  She described her pain as continuous, not being able to be touched and having the pressure points.  I immediately told her about my products and since she looked exhausted, I asked her if she was going to have to rest the entire next day after the event.  Her eyes welled with tears and she said “How did you know?”  I lightly touched her arm and said I just know.  I then told her about something that helps me sleep and recover.  New You.  It is again, phytotherapy, meaning plant-based.  Years ago, when I was first doing research on natural therapy remedies, I heard about MSM.  Plant based, and anti-inflammatory.  Did not know how to find it back then.  I had never heard of my company, It Works Global, and if I had, I wouldn’t have known about their leading phytotherapy research because people only associated them with “getting skinny”.  I know, because the book of Face polices the website link.  Anyway, New You helps to stimulate natural production and release of HGH (human growth hormone), while it aids in building lean muscle mass for those of us over ummmm 35.  It enhances exercise endurance, AND helps improve sleep quality and memory.  So for those of you not aware, fibromyalgia causes us not to get fully into REM sleep thus not feeling like we slept.  This one supplement is a life-saver for me.  Gate closed at night!!!!!  Yes.
So why did I put all this in here?  Because I am actually a tiny treasure trove of hopeful knowledge for people who think they can’t get help.  I don’t advertise my other business page a lot, but I should.  The tab on this blog says Vitalize You, and I invite my clients to ask me questions so we can get their body up and running again.  Believe me, I do understand.
Author’s note: Since this post was written, I have done more for my clients than advise them on my all-natural supplements, which yes, to this day I take New You every night to sleep naturally and help me feel great.  However, after completing over 200 hours of Vinyasa yoga and getting additionally certified in yoga for arthritis and pain, I created this program for you called 4 Weeks to Wellness.  I put everything I had in it to create simple daily tasks that someone coming from this place of pain could manage.  I have optional chair yoga pdfs, workbooks, journal therapy and more!!!  It is a wonderful resource.

Pain

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My break up with sugar and gluten…

FYI…I originally wrote this for a magazine, well actually an e-zine that has published me before, but I am not sure if they actually published this piece, and quite frankly, I like it.  Plus, sigh, I write for free anyway.  So here it is:

A little over three years ago, I began to notice food was not my friend. It was a difficult concept and one I ignored for a long time in hopes that my instincts were wrong. Sadly, they were not. I started to have stomach pains, headaches, irritable bowel symptoms and more. Never in my life had I bloated from eating bread…until now. I was beginning to see a pattern so I scheduled an appointment with a gastroenterologist. The only thing he could really say was my stomach appeared to be having problems digesting food…and that I was NOT celiac. Okay, but that didn’t answer my questions at all. He put me on an acid blocker and sent me on my way. Why would someone who had been able to eat bread her whole life suddenly develop gluten intolerance? He could not help me. Not a clue. The idea came to me that perhaps I had developed gluten intolerance since I had also recently learned of my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis diagnosis.   When you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. So for whatever reason, I knew that food was setting this off. I just couldn’t explain it.

I learned that the best way to figure out what was triggering my reactions was to start an elimination diet. First up, and one of the hardest things ever, was to eliminate gluten. To do that, I had to educate myself on what that meant. From the Celiac Disease Foundation: Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat (durum, emmer, spelt, farina, farro, KAMUT® khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley and triticale. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected (see Sources of Gluten).

I recently read that Celiac disease currently afflicts about 1% of the population, but the prevalence is increasing. 80% of people with celiac disease are unaware of it. So if you were to try to go gluten-free because you are experiencing some symptoms, it might actually help you. Because I am classified as having gluten-sensitivity, the side effects are actually very serious. And in this same article, it states that there is no clear definition of gluten sensitivity, or a good way to diagnose it, the only true way of knowing is by eliminating gluten temporarily from your diet, then reintroducing it to see if you have symptoms. More can be found from 6 Reasons Why Gluten May be Bad For You: http://authoritynutrition.com/6-shocking-reasons-why-gluten-is-bad/

Several disorders have been proven to show improvement when gluten was cut from their diet. When I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, the doctor did not even try to help me. No diet changes, no mention of it being autoimmune, nothing. He was talking into his tape recorder and sent me on my way. RIGHT then he should have said “I want you to eliminate gluten for 30 days, and let me know how you are feeling.” But the thing is, 30 days is NOT enough. Over and over again in these support groups on autoimmune diseases, people say things like “Whew, that 30 days was hard, but now I am going to eat gluten again.” Stop!!! No!!   Wheat is completely different from what our ancestors ate back in the day, and adding it back in will just re-contaminate that tiny amount of work you did to start feeling better. After 6 months of being gluten-free, if I slipped up once, just once, I felt very sick the next day. I was in more pain, my stomach would bloat and I was back to running to the bathroom. My eyes, which had cleared up, would go back to red and itchy. From that same wonderful source of information I was reading about gluten, I found out that Modern wheat was introduced around the year 1960. It was developed via cross-breeding and crude genetic manipulation, which changed the nutrient and protein composition of the plant. This is a very interesting read: http://authoritynutrition.com/modern-wheat-health-nightmare/

It also HIDES in everything. Everything. I had to make my own salad dressing, muffins, cookies, chips, basically, if it came prepackaged and had even one word that was something I couldn’t pronounce, I stopped buying it. But it wasn’t enough to help me. Something was still wrong. I had long suspected there were other allergies. So back to the drawing board with my allergy doctor, who also said not one thing about autoimmune disease and allergic reactions. Not. A. Thing.   You can read more about that here: http://theburnedhand.com/2013/04/16/teaching-tuesday/

Absolutely every food I had ever loved was attacking me. It was unbelievable…but one thing struck me as odd. SUGAR. Who is allergic to sugar and what could that mean??? That led me down my path of research into people who have drastically cut sugar out of their lives and the benefits of what it does for your body. Whether or not you have autoimmune diseases, this is something that everyone needed to hear about.

Ok, so my GI track appeared to be a mess. It was getting mixed signals from everything and messing up my entire body. I was getting closer to my answer of pain, headaches, bloating, IBS issues, weight gain, stomach pains, etc. I had intestinal permeability, inflammation, and my good bacteria were completely off kilter, so I learned I had to remove all things causing this inflammation.

I became acquainted with the “nitty-gritty” of sugar. According to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, added sugars show up on food and drink labels under the following names: Anhydrous dextrose, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, liquid fructose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, pancake syrup, raw sugar, sugar, syrup and white sugar (See Reference 1). Other types of sugar you might commonly see on ingredient lists are fructose, lactose and maltose. Fructose is sugar derived from fruit and vegetables; lactose is milk sugar; and maltose is sugar that comes from grain. For more, read http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/different-words-sugar-food-labels-8373.html

Now that I know sugar in is everything, I cringe when my children read labels that say “High Fructose Corn Syrup”. However, I know I am doing something right, because we read labels now. I feel like I have made a huge move to keep them safe from those words on all the cans that could mean anything. Did you know From 2001 to 2004, Americans consumed lots of sugar: an average of 22 teaspoons a day, the equivalent of 355 calories, according to this section on How much sugar does the average American eat? I know not all the readers are American, but this particular report was AHA’s 2009 scientific statement on added sugars and cardiovascular health. Unfortunately, too many Americans are drinking sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks. I have never been a soda drinker really, but since I live in the south, we drink copious amounts of sweet, sugary tea. I would be so tired during my day of teaching wee ones that I would occasionally go grab the largest size tea they had at a fast food chain near my school. That was the old me. The me before my body started holding onto weight.

Sugar, quite frankly, was making me sick. My body already had a few “hiccups”, many of which cause inflammation, leaky gut, and joint pain. In How Inflammation Affects Every Aspect of Your Health, Dr. Marquis states “The truth of the situation is that FOOD MATTERS. That’s right; it’s not just a movie (which by the way you should all watch!). Hyper-permeability of the gut, regardless of whether you can feel it or not is often a significant cause of an extremely long and ever-growing list of conditions.”

I would like to urge all of my readers to consider changing their diets, even if it was just for a month. Again, I must refer back to more of my research on the ever-changing food we eat. This said everything I needed to say and more: http://theburnedhand.com/2013/05/01/killing-me-softly/   When I watched that TEDx talk from Robyn O’Brien, I again felt validated. I kept finding so many pieces of this puzzle it was eerie. I’d like to conclude with some of the scariest facts. Friends around the globe are getting diagnosed with cancer before the age of 40 or close enough to it. I have five friends who I know of actively fighting. Two who have lost the battle with the big “c” and one newly diagnosed.   Wake up friends. Wake up. This is real. Start thinking about the bottom line: nutrition does matter.

Eat realAuthor’s note:  The road to wellness is paved with many pitfalls.  I learned my lessons over the years and now have healed my gut, my pain and am moving again.  I completed over 200 hours of yoga and additionally was certified in yoga for arthritis.  I also received my sports nutrition certification and created a plan off my years of research into the body and healing people using my Head, Heart, Health method.  Read more about it here.

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Woe is me…

Anyone remember Droopy the cartoon dog?  Just say yes.  Okay, well, there are times I feel like that.  I thought my less than positive feelings would eventually go away when I saw things I couldn’t eat.  Sadly, this is not the case around “Pumpkin” season.  Yes, it’s a season.  I love everything pumpkin.  Everything.  I want all the mixes, and batches of cake, cookies, drinks, icing, marshmallows, candy and whatever else I am not supposed to eat.  So, ahem, last year, when I went through my Grouchy Smurf phase, I deleted and unfollowed every single person pinning CRAP I CAN’T EAT on Pinterest.  SICE for short (replace crap with well you get the picture).

However, it was all I could do not to burst into tears at the grocery store with my little pumpkin last night.  She has a birthday coming up and we always make funfetti Halloween cake.  With the orange icing and sprinkles.  I know this is dumb to some people…clearly, I can live without this, but she looked at me with her big blue eyeballs and said “I wish you could eat this.”  So into the cart it went because it’s not just about me eating it, it’s about memories.

I mean, let’s face it.  I grew up with Taco Bell, Doritoes, McDonald’s and more, and usually, I have willpower.  OKAY, I WANT A MEXI-MELT, but can’t have one.  And flour tortillas.  But whatever.  I am trying to be kind to my insides because I was sick all the time.  All the time.  So I started my business Vitalize You and I try to help others like me.  Yes, of course, I offer suggestions based on my gluten-free all-natural supplements because I know they work (the tab is up top here on the blog).  And I have lost 17 pounds even though my mom is worried I’m not eating enough.  I am. I had put on 20 pounds with my new friend Hashimoto’s.  Not some new sushi place.

But I am not that mom…the one who sits around messing with gluten-free flours and making recipes up.  I wish I was.  Trust me.  I look in the cabinet like it’s magically going to mix itself together and jump out for me to eat.  I pin things, I do.  I even make most of them…if they take like minimal cooking times.  Lately I have been eating more fresh veggies, which I love!!  It’s much easier than trying to figure out what they are magically going to concoct themselves into.  I’m not going to lie, it still takes way more work than I really want to invest in.  But I am doing mostly Autoimmune Paleo, so I mean, the cavemom had to work this hard I guess.  She couldn’t run up to Taco Bell either.  That makes Sir Mix-A-Lot sad.  Me too Sir.  Me too.

So I’m not sure if you all will get this post, but if you are a gluten-free, sugar-free, food intolerance label checker, word.

 

Anew

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War on me…

The invisible war inside me threatens to take me down.

I suspect that if I were to take the posts about my food issues and put them together in a book, it would be helpful to many people.  I will briefly try to explain what has happened to my body as best I understand it.  When I was born, I was born with the C282y gene that the Irish people needed.  It not being the potato famine and all that, it continues to function in the way it would have by holding onto iron.  Basically, it is thought that this protein functions to regulate iron absorption, and mine is “broken” so to speak. Luckily, the porphyria cutanea tarda kicked in and gave me blisters all over and turned my urine dark.  Warning!  Warning!  Anyway, you can see other posts about all that.  Just use the search button.

So we have a kid loaded up on iron, fed by well water, eating collard greens like they are going out of style and taking her Flintstone vitamins.  Anyone see what’s happening?  Yes, you over there.  Poisoning myself.  That would be correct.  Because my body has no way of getting rid of the access iron.

Now let’s throw in mononucleosis at age 15 which left behind some Epstein-Barr virus and find out that EBV latently persists in the individual’s B cells for the rest of the individual’s life.  Hmmm.  Not sure what happened with this, but I KNOW it was reactivated about 4 years ago which started causing a number of problems and thus spawning more invisible diseases.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis was found when my body starting attacking itself several years ago.  To use a bit from the Mayo Clinic:  Hashimoto’s disease is a condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid, a small gland at the base of your neck below your Adam’s apple. The thyroid gland is part of your endocrine system, which produces hormones that coordinate many of your body’s activities.
Read that part again about coordinating MANY of your body’s activities.  READ it.  MANY.  I exhibited every SINGLE one of the symptoms for all of these diseases, but never in my life had a light-bulb gone off as when my good friend told me to read about Hashimoto’s.  I’m going to let you use the link above if you want to read more about Hashi’s but seriously it was the worst diagnosis.  I just didn’t know it yet.

When I started to feel like I had the flu every single day for the last 3 years, I should have known something more was coming.  The truth is, I did know.  I knew I had fibromyalgia, I knew I was living with pain and the swollen tender points daily, but what I didn’t know was that it was so hard for people to understand and/or believe.  From what I can tell, it is usually triggered by an underlying cause.  Read more about fibromyalgia here.

All this bring me up to date, but what I left out was what I did in between to feel better.  As the years went on, the extreme sensitivity to cold got to me.  My bones ached to their very core.  Still do, but cold is worse.  My stomach bloated like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloon.  I would have to go to the bathroom more than normal people, but still couldn’t lose weight.  It was painful.  I went through all kinds of tests, again that portion is in the blog if you search.  Giving up gluten as BEST I could was not good enough.  I really had to be serious.  Then I suspected there was another trigger,  so I gave up sugar in November.  That was very, very, very difficult.  I felt like Paula Deen came over and took away my Southern License.

I am not teaching.  I actually could not continue.  The pain, fatigue, constant contact with infection had my body fighting hard just to stay alive.  Not to mention the phlebotomies, and the fact that now my blood cells are considered Microcytic Anemia stage.  I was dizzy, it was hard to get my breath, and my exhaustion was at the highest it had been since I could remember.

I will not go down without a fight.

I started a process by researching all-natural supplements and what would help my body.  I got off acid-blockers as my stomach was already having issues with digestion so that did not actually help.  I started taking apple-cider vinegar in water.  I added probiotics, see the tab here called Vitalize You for more on that, and I added vitamin D as well as a gluten-free supplement called It’s Vital.  I still have bad days.  Flare-ups, and days I stay in my pajamas, but the good days are now finally catching up to the bad days and for that I am thankful.  I am working with my all-natural supplements business and I am spreading awareness of “invisible” diseases because they sure as hell aren’t invisible on the inside.  Not at all.

Changed

Here is the Work With Me tab if you are interested in learning more on how I changed my life.

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Motivational Monday…maybe

My husband had his high school reunion…well, sort of his.  Apparently, they don’t mind if you were around that year and can make it since it was Heidelberg, Germany.  No, I did not get to go to Germany.  It really would be Motivational then, but they had it close to us in Washington D.C. so off we went after securing my parents, well mostly my mom, to watch the girls and 3 dachshunds.  He was really excited to see some old classmates, but knew that it would be difficult on me for many reasons.

There was not a gluten-free option clearly available, but after looking everything up, we thought one option would be safe.  After ordering it for a pretty penny on the “set” menu, the girl told me it really wasn’t gluten-free.  They had vegetarian, but it was over pasta.  Hmm.  Ok, she said she could deconstruct it for me.  So it arrived not looking as nice as everyone’s but it tasted yummy.  The problem is that no matter what, I was screwed.  There was nice crusty bread, I didn’t touch it.  Wine, I did touch it.  And a of course, no such thing as sugar-free dessert.  But again, I knew all this going in there.  I thought I had some will power, but sadly, I am mistaken.

So later that night we went to a popular pub.  The whole time I tried to act like nothing was wrong.  Even when the server couldn’t answer my questions.  I didn’t want anyone to make a “fuss” or put anyone out or generally go into this big long explanation of how this was going to KILL me this week.  Because, after all, if you don’t need an epi pen, I have found they are less likely to be cautious.  Sigh.  My personal experience is that they are not trained, but once in a while, you do meet someone who can answer your questions.  Again, this is MY experience.

What I need to realize after all of this is that I should not be the one to feel guilty, weird, freakish, or feel the need to EXPLAIN myself.  I should NOT.  I know that it is becoming more common to find suitable food when you have autoimmune issues.  I know for a fact I am not alone…even if I feel that way.  So I am going to tell you how I feel.  I feel like crap today.  Utterly and completely like I was beaten all over, and want to throw up.  It started yesterday in the car, with the warning sign of a headache.  It got worse.  I ache in all the places that fibromyalgia flares.  My stomach has been torn up since Saturday.  And it IS completely my fault.  It is my fault for many reasons, but mostly because I want to be the same as I used to be.  I want to eat food, any food I want.  I want to look the waitress in the eye and not bat an eyelash as I order brashly off the menu and when she asks, you want everything on it?  I want to say yes!  Yes, I want everything!  And a milkshake while you’re at it.  Throw in some extra sugar.

But the thing is, I can’t.  I have a list a mile long of what I am not supposed to eat.  So when I saw the “puddin”, I should have walked away.  It is NOT on the safe list.  I don’t care if it was smack yo momma good bread puddin with Bourbon glaze.  NOT SAFE.  Walk away.  I can basically eat meat, fresh veggies, rice, and drink water.  That’s not bad.  I can still make meals work.

Bottom line, do what YOU need to do for you.  Because if you compromise for fear of “hurting someone’s feelings” you will regret it.  I do.  Now I have had all the natural supplements I can take to counteract my dumbness (see the tab up top called Vitalize You).  I am in pain and going to bed.  So motivate yourself today by NOT feeling sorry when you have to do what’s right for you.  It’s better for you in the long run.

Walk away

 

 

Save

My exquisite spell…

Brief overview of the last 17 years.  Phone call New Year’s Eve 1997, cancerous cells found so I had to have a few procedures on my cervix.  Sorry guys, but it’s true.  Told that if I had too many, might have problems carrying a baby.  I was engaged to be married.  A few months later, my urine was the color of a dark red wine.  Blisters appeared on hands, read more here.  Diagnosis that year was Porphyria Cutanea Tarda.  Told to stay out of the sun, not drink alcohol, and oh yeah, get off birth control.  I was about to go away on my honeymoon.  Awesome.  I happened to need/want all 3 of those things at the time.

Years later, blessed with a healthy baby girl.  18 months later, blessed with another baby girl, through a scary life-changing delivery.  Knew that I was only meant to have those two, but because of the scary news from 1997, I made my peace with it.  Because I was still loading iron, my doctor finally tested me for Hereditary Hemochromatosis.

I thought by now I needed a break in the department of “crazy shit no one can pronounce”.  So I got one for a while.  At this point, I had already been phlebotomized, or pints of my blood taken, for years.  I was always tired, and trying to teach.  After my little one went to pre-school, I was asked to teach again.  I was sought out, which was flattering, by a local principal.  She heard good things about me, but my gut said NOOOOOO, don’t go there.  I didn’t listen to it.  My mistake.  Things happened that were political in nature, and I left the school to work in a private school.  Another thing that erm, was not what I was expecting.  After a few years of a whole different ball game, I went back to public school and found somewhere I LOVED.  I taught pre-school.

As luck would have it, my body was continuing its cycle of let’s try to beat Aimee down because she’s too happy.  So my stomach started hurting profusely all the time, for what I thought was no apparent reason.  I went to the gastroenterologist and had things done…not so fun things.  A procedure I actually put off until the last day of school one year because as you can imagine, I had no more time off.

It also coincided with pain emanating from my spine as well.  Then my shoulder started hurting and freezing up.  I had absolutely no idea what was going on (side note, I was developing autoimmune diseases at the time).  Not a single doctor knew what was wrong.  I taught  the next year in complete pain and would come home and put heating pads all over my body and cry secretly.  This was 3.5 years ago.  I refused to be on drugs that would make me not function at school (side note, I was called Mrs. Happy before this point in my life).  We had no planning periods and it was a full day pre-school with 18 little eyeballs watching my every move.

I could not eat without getting sick.  I actually stopped eating any food before work.  I ate very little at lunch and started developing a plan.  I went gluten-free.  NOT because it was a fad.  I want to smash cupcakes on people who say that.  BIG giant cupcakes.  Anyway, it was not enough.  I still was bloated.  Still had pain.  Still couldn’t eat without getting almost violently ill.  I was tested for allergies.  A ginormous portion flared up, BUT not gluten (no Celiac’s as I was tested).  Sugar was a flare.

Now at this point, I am not sure how the doctor, a ENT guy, didn’t think to say “Hey, wow, these are autoimmune flares”, but he didn’t.  I ended up getting worse off, and more sick after the allergens were introduced into my body and had vertigo for 3 weeks straight and was throwing up so bad I couldn’t keep anything down.

When all of that passed, I came to the decision last year that I could no longer carry on my regular duties as a classroom teacher.  I was tired from the phelbotomies (they had made me somewhat anemic), in pain, and not myself.  Life was, quite frankly, a struggle.  A month after school let out, my hip started going out.  I was now having pain radiating in my left hip and it seemed displaced.  In the fall of last year, I started seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis.  He helped get me moving again and my hip managed to get back in place.  When I realized I could no longer afford him on a regular basis as my insurance only paid for so many visits, I was sad, but I had to stop seeing him.

I spent the next three months under heating pads again.  Day in and day out.  At this point, I was still having stomach issues so I decided to stop eating sugar completely in all it’s forms.  I researched Hashimoto’s Thyroid, which I had finally been diagnosed with as my autoimmune problem.  I read everything I could about it and went “paleo” as best I could.  When I say “withdrawals” from sweet tea were the hardest, I am not kidding. 

Was diagnosed with fibromyalgia earlier this year as the result of the Epstein-Barr virus coming to life in my spine…oh yeah, that was why I was in pain.  I spent 3 months coming out of what you probably call depression/anxiety, but still was going to find a way to treat my symptoms without prescription drugs.  I want to perfectly honest here for my new friends.  I no longer like to eat.  I actually dislike the thought of food because it made me sick for so long.  So new girlfriend, I get where you are coming from.  I truly, honestly get where you are now.  The reason I wrote all of this is to let you know, you are not alone.  Thank you for asking me the questions you did.  I will always answer as honestly as I can so that you know it’s okay to feel this way.  It will get better.  So I hope I have caught you up to where I am now.  I am on all-natural supplements.  I did find a new functional medical doctor to look at me like a whole person and not one of my diseases.  I am feeling better, but I still have bad days.

Break

Motivational Monday…or how to take risks

How to take risks…but only if you know they will work.

So, here’s how to take “risks” safely:

  • save your money
  • plan every second of your life
  • work until you die or retire (whatever comes first)
  • wait for the “right” time
  • make excuses on why you are waiting
  • tell yourself you are not ready
  • tell your spouse/partner/whoever that it’s better to be safe than sorry
  • circle the day on the calendar you will be ready, even if it’s 20 years from now

Of course, there are other options.  You wake up one day and you decide that all of the above will never make you happy.  You decide that there is no time like the present.  You use the famous Nike slogan and finally “Just do it.”  You go for it.  You quit your job for various reasons like me and have no money saved.  People will talk about you.  It’s fun.  Spread your own rumors about yourself like “Hey, did you hear Aimee thinks she’s going to make money working for herself?  Hahaha”  Or this one “Aimee started her private consulting business for people who need gluten-free, non GMO, all-natural supplements.  What was she thinking?”  P.S. I was thinking people needed other options who have autoimmune issues and I can help them.  See the tab up top on this blog called Vitalize You for more or find my page on Facebook.

I was also thinking about how people are tired of doctors who don’t listen, how gaining weight with a thyroid issue made me feel helpless, and how there had to be a better answer.  I was tired of the bloat, the pain, and the stomach issues so I decided to put myself on a year-long plan and GUESS WHAT??  IT WORKED.  So I have been healing my leaky gut, I have been fending off the pain from autoimmune, and I have really helped others find hope. So seriously, I didn’t wait for all of the above things to fall into place.  I just did it.  I am also looking for others like me.  If you are interested in joining me, please click the link above and private message my Facebook page.  I have a plan and it works.  It works for anxiety, fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, low Vitamin D, pain associated with autoimmune attacks, bloating, and balancing YOUR body including your gut.  It does NOT just involve taking supplements, but that was part of my process.  It involves mind and body healing.  Baby steps with elimination diet for autoimmune issues and finding you a full-functional medical doctor who listens.  The last one took me a long time, but I learned to make a plan, and put it in action.  So here’s to risks.

Risks

 

Living a glue free life…

Since the first of January, I have started eating foods with less glutenBasically, gluten is like the “glue” that helps gives elasticity to dough.  Take that away, and you have some bread that could work as a hammer should you need it.  Well, I have found some better bread lately, but that is an example of one type of bread I found.  I don’t spend a lot of time trying to find the best gluten-free products, but I have learned that there are stores and restaurants out there that really go the extra mile.  First, you might ask yourself, why would anyone give up nice tasty bread?  Well, unfortunately, some people have to.

I was diagnosed last year with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and found out that some of my problems were caused by eating gluten on a regular basis.  Next, if you go back through my blog and read up on what I had to do in order to get help with my pain, you will understand why I was and am pretty much willing to do anything to live a somewhat normal life.  I am not a doctor, sadly, as it would have saved me countless hours debating with myself over what I initially diagnosed myself with.  Hmmm, just keep up with me.  It makes sense.  Anyway, I do believe there is a link between Celiac’s disease and autoimmune thyroid conditions.  Do I have Celiac’s?  I have no idea, but I did finally convince a doctor to just check and make sure that isn’t thrown in there as well.  I’ll know more later this week perhaps.

In the meantime, I will say that Harris Teeter, my local grocery store, has a wonderful gluten-free list and the store has clearly marked labels.  Of course there are other stores like Trader Joe’s, and health food stores, but it was not as hard as I thought to find good food.  I also started looking for more recipes that were healthy and tonight, I made a nice rice pasta that was gluten-free and delicious and my whole family seemed to enjoy it.

“What I’ve enjoyed most, though, is meeting people who have a real interest in food and sharing ideas with them. Good food is a global thing and I find that there is always something new and amazing to learn – I love it!”  ~Jamie Oliver