Reflections on my 30th Year

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Today, as I celebrate my 31st birthday, I want to take a moment to reflect upon this last year.  My sister tagged my 30th year as a year of adventure.  And there was much adventure.  I got to celebrate my birthday last year with family in New Orleans.  I went sky diving in the summer – something I never thought I’d do since I used to close my eyes on roller coasters (lol).  I challenged my body and mental toughness, tried new foods, and transitioned to an entirely new diet.

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It’s fun to remember these adventures and the people I got to enjoy them with.  But, I cannot reflect upon the year without realizing that it has also been the most physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging year I have yet faced.  Receiving a diagnosis I did not want, feeling miserable, months of die off symptoms, bone broth fasts, losing strength, giving up things I love (running, favorite foods), feeling isolated, and the depilating feeling of being constantly overwhelmed.  And I can’t forget the long night of sickness from the bone broth fast.   This year has been hard.

BUT God is faithful.  God is good.  He has given me the strength each day, provided resources, healthcare, and access to healing foods.  He has given me community and encouragement.  He has created my body so intricately and wonderfully with the ability to regenerate cells and heal.  He has created food and herbs with healing power sovereignly knowing exactly what our bodies need. And I’m still persevering and slowly healing.

Even more than the physical and emotional provision God has provided through this journey, He has drawn me nearer to Him.  He has gently and lovingly called me deeper and closer to Him in my faith.  He is teaching me to address issues of control and anxiety and to learn to trust and rely on Him.  He is teaching me to love better and live wholly committed to Him.  So, there is much to be thankful for in the challenging year I have faced.

As my year of adventure comes to a close, I am going to be moving into a year of Eucharisteo – grace, thanksgiving, joy.  I just finished reading the book “one thousand gifts” by Ann Voskamp and am challenged to spend this new year focusing on thanksgiving and journaling the wonderful gifts God provides to me each day.  I am confident that this will lead me to a greater level of intimacy with my Creator and Savior!

“The highest form of prayer is to the goodness of God…God only desires that our soul cling to him with all of its strength, in particular, that it clings to his goodness.  For of all the things our minds can think about God, it is thinking upon his goodness that pleases him most and brings the most profit to our soul.” – Julian of Norwich

Before I go, I wanted to give a few food highlights recently – Raspberry “Cheesecake”, Zucchini Bread, Sheppard’s Pie, and Turmeric Broccoli Chicken Roll-ups.

Coconut and Raspberry Cheesecake Ingredients:

For the Crust:

  • 3 cups dates, pitted and soaked for 5 minutes in warm water
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted For the Filling:
  • 11⁄2 cups raw honey
  • 11⁄2 cups coconut butter
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 5 cups frozen raspberries
  • 6 tablespoons tapioca starch

    For the Filling:

• 1⁄3 cup coconut flour
• 1⁄3 cup shredded coconut • 1⁄8 teaspoon salt
• 11⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
• fresh raspberries for garnish
• thick coconut flakes for garnish

Directions:

1. Place the jars of coconut oil, coconut butter and raw honey in a pan with very hot water in order to let them soften.

2. To prepare the crust, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Strain the dates and place in a food processor or high-powered blender with the melted coconut oil. Blend for 30 seconds or so until a chunky paste forms. Be warned you may have to stop and scrape the sides if you are using a blender, and the oil will not completely mix with the dates, but the crust will still turn out fine. Combine the coconut flour, shredded coconut and salt in a bowl. Add the date paste and mix thoroughly. Place the mixture into the bottom of an 8′′ spring-form pan, pressing the mixture down evenly. Use a small spatula to clean up the top edge around the sides of the pan, where the filling will meet the crust. Bake for 30- 35 minutes, until the crust browns and hardens a little bit. The texture will still be soft until it finishes cooling. Set aside while you make the filling.

3. To make the filling, combine the raw honey, coconut butter, coconut oil, and frozen raspberries in a saucepan on low heat. Stir until the raspberries are no longer frozen and the mixture is warm, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender and add the tapioca starch, vanilla extract, and salt. Blend on high for about a minute, until completely mixed. Pour carefully into the spring-form pan on top of the crust.

4. Set in the refrigerator undisturbed for at least 12 hours to allow the cake to cool and completely harden. When it is solid, carefully remove the spring-form pan. Decorate the top of the cake with thick flake coconut chips and fresh raspberries.

Zucchini Bread Ingredients:

  •   3 medium zucchini, grated (about 4 cups)
  •   1/2 cup palm shortening or coconut oil (I find the palm shortening sets up better)
  •   3/4 cup coconut flour
  •   3 tbsp gelatin powder (for three gelatin eggs)
  •   1/4 cup maple syrup
  •   2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (ACV)
  •   3 tbsp room temperature water
  •   1/4 cup boiling water
  •   1 tsp baking soda
  •   1 tsp cinnamon
  •   1/2 tsp salt

    Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease or line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. Dump the shredded zucchini in a large mixing bowl and toss with salt. This will draw the moisture of the zucchini and make this easier to bake and assemble. Let sit for about 15 minutes, then drain the salt water off! This is key!
  3. Bloom the gelatin in the apple cider vinegar and 3 tbsp of room temperature water. Let sit for a few minutes before vigorously stirring in the 1/4 cup of hot liquid until there are no lumps.
  4. Add gelatin “eggs,” maple syrup and shortening to the zucchini and thoroughly mix. This will look kind of gross, but stick with it!
  5. In a separate bowl, combine coconut flour, baking soda and cinnamon, mixing thoroughly.
  6. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and mix until a thick batter forms.
  7. Squish the batter into the loaf pan, flatten on top and bake for an hour. To test for doneness, stick a knife in the middle – if it comes out pretty clean, the loaf is done – if not, give it five more minutes at a time until it is done.
  8. Let your bread cool – this is the hard part, but the loaf won’t set up if it’s hot. It’ll have to cool for at least an hour before you can eat it!

Note: An important caveat here is that draining the zucchini is essential, as is properly blooming the gelatin eggs! If your bread didn’t come out as you expected, perhaps one of the following can help: proper gelatin blooming – the gelatin needs to completely absorb the room temperature liquid before hot water is added, otherwise it will not set up properly, and your bread will be mush! Cooling time – gelatin eggs need to set, as does coconut oil!

Did you remember to drain the liquid off the zuccini? This is a super important step! If you don’t squeeze out the excess moisture, this bread will be soup!

http://www.foodtohealourselves.com/turmeric-broccoli-chicken-roll-ups-aip-paleo/

http://joyfillednourishment.com/shepherds-pie-aip-paleo-whole30/

300 Days!

I hit the 300 day mark of my journey to healing this week!  It’s crazy to think that I’m only 65 days away from one year.  Sometimes it feels like the 300 days went by quickly and other times it feels like a very long journey.  I’ve noticed some gradual improvement and have more consistently been having 1-2 days each week of good days.  I’m very thankful for this progress, but am still anxiously awaiting the big breakthrough.  I’ve been told that most people start feeling better by one year.  With the one year mark getting so close, it’s hard for me to imagine that I’ll be symptom free at that point.  But, I’m hopeful it will get me over the big hump!

One of the biggest positive changes lately is I feel less stressed and into more of a routine.  There are multiple factors that have helped me get to this place:  increased reliance on God, practicing the Sabbath, friends who help me cook, and little more time to manage everything.  And I’m confident the impact of everyone’s prayers have played a role in this as well!

My favorite part of this journey is how much I’ve learned about cooking and trying new foods and recipes.  I have grown so much as a cook and I really do love the food that I eat.  I continue to try new recipes and Pinterest has been an essential tool!

Here are some recent food highlights:

On the left is a night I was feeling the need to eat like kid again — herbed nuggets, squash zig-zags, and broccoli 🙂 .  On the right is a meal I cooked for my parents – greek meatballs, parsnip risotto, and citrus glazed carrots.

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Most of the time, I make a breakfast hash that includes a squash with another veggie and a meat.  Recently, I had a little time in the morning, so I tried a new breakfast – mashed cauliflower, mushrooms, homemade sausage, and arugula.

This past weekend, I was able to attend a Galentine’s tea party with some of my friends.  I made Banana Coconut Cookies which were delicious and so easy!!  The cookies consisted of one mashed banana, 2/3 C of finely shredded coconut, a little vanilla, and some cinnamon.  I mixed everything together, scooped out my cookies, baked them at 350 degrees for 11 minutes and then a few additional minutes on broil.

Thank you all for your continued love, prayers, and support.  Here’s to the countdown to the one year mark!

Perseverance and Grit…

When people ask me how I’m doing, I usually respond “pretty good” or “alright”.  I explain that there has been some improvement, but I still have daily symptoms.  Lately, as I approach the end of the 9th month on this healing journey, daily symptoms are discouraging.  Anxiety and self-doubt creep in…”Am I doing something wrong?  Am I missing something? Is this taking me longer than it’s supposed to?”  I long for symptom free days that will lead to symptom free weeks!

The symptoms that I have seen improvement include acid reflux, gas, and bowel movements.  The symptoms that I continue to struggle with daily are bloating and stomach fullness/discomfort.  There has been some decrease in intensity usually with these, but they still are uncomfortable and disruptive.

I took some time this week to think about what keeps me going when the results are not where I would like them to be.  The first would be grit.  I was raised as an athlete and mental toughness was taught and modeled by many in my family.  A couple years ago, my grandmother cut the tip of her finger off in a farming accident and proceeded to drive herself (and her finger) to the hospital alone! My mom endured through 4 rough pregnancies (morning sickness, dehydration, hospitalizations) and long painful labors to bring me and my siblings into this world.  I’ve watched my dad (pictured below) work through injuries and illnesses without complaints or time off.  So, whether it is by ignoring the symptoms, minimizing them, or just simply pushing through them, I daily use grit to keep going.

**Listen to this TedTalk on the importance of grit…https://ed.ted.com/on/1xgK6Cat

The second and more important factor to keep me persevering is faith and remembering that I can’t see the big picture.  Sometimes in the daily struggles, my focus on the end result get blurred.  It’s hard to see that my gut is being healed when the symptoms persist after 8 months!  But, more than that, it’s resetting my focus and trust on Christ so that I can suffer well to grow in character and faith and to glorify the Father.

Romans 5:3-4: “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope”

See also:  James 1:12, Hebrews 10:36, Romans 8:18

So, for now, I’m going to focus on thankfulness and seeking God’s presence and strength each day.  I will trust that he is healing me and even if it’s not in my timeline or on this earth, that this suffering is serving a good purpose in me. This past week I have been able to do these things through prayer walks in the beautiful winter wonderland we have had!

Thriving, not just surviving the Holidays!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

Christmas is a time for celebrating the birth of our Savior and hopefully finding quiet time to meditate on what that means for us and how it should impact the way we live each day.  As we celebrate, Christmas is full of family, gifts, food, and COOKIES (especially in my family with some talented bakers!)  Well, obviously I couldn’t have any cookies and had to ask my family to change up our menu so I could enjoy meals with them.  My family readily agreed and we had a wonderful time together.  I was busy in the kitchen a lot, but it was fun cooking for people and seeing them enjoy the new recipes and flavors!

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One family tradition that we have been doing for years on Christmas is making soups for lunch.  This year, I made the soups – Parsnip Pear with Fried Sage and Pumpkin Clam Chowder.  They were a hit!

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I couldn’t have a blog about Christmas without including this adorable picture of my niece and nephews!!!

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Another family tradition for the last several years has been a meal at Red Lobster.  We are all seafood lovers and my mom used to get a lot of gift cards to Red Lobster from coaching her soccer team.  With little ones in our family now who don’t like to sit at restaurants and me not being able to eat there, we all agreed to make our own seafood feast.  I survived the Christmas rush of the Strip District to get fresh wild caught seafood from Wholeys.  My sister-in-law and I were the cooks with my dad and brother on the grill.  Our menu included:  Salmon with Cranberry Relish, Grilled Tuna Steaks, Mussels, Shrimp Stuffed Mushrooms, Crab Legs, Steak, Brussel Sprouts, and Cauliflower Rice (and rolls for everyone but me).  The meal turned out amazing…better, healthier, and cheaper than Red Lobster!

The highlights were the mussels and the shrimp stuffed mushrooms.

Shrimp and Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms Ingredients:

  • 8 medium Portobello mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 1⁄2 pounds peeled and deveined chopped shrimp
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 6 cups chopped spinach
  • Juice and zest of 1 medium lemon
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Directions:

    1. Remove stems from Portobello mushrooms. Finely chop stems and set aside. Using a spoon, remove the feathery gills beneath the mushroom caps. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees.

    2. In a large sauté pan, heat coconut oil over medium heat. In the pan, sauté shrimp until fully cooked, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside.

    3. In the same pan, sauté garlic, onion, and chopped mushroom stems for 4 minutes, then add spinach. Cook until spinach is fully wilted and mushrooms are tender, 5 to 6 minutes.

    4. Into a large bowl, pour contents of sauté pan. To the bowl, add the cooked shrimp and the remaining ingredients. Mix to combine.

    5. Stuff each mushroom cap with an equal amount of shrimp and spinach stuffing.

    6. On a baking sheet, place stuffed mushroom caps. Bake until mushrooms are tender and stuffing is hot, 18 to 20 minutes. On individual plates, place 2 stuffed mushrooms and serve.

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For this week, I needed a breakfast that was easy to make and would last throughout the busyness of the week.  So, I made this delicious breakfast casserole – http://fedandfulfilled.com/egg-free-breakfast-casserole/

I always forget to take pictures so here are a couple yummy meals we enjoyed that aren’t pictured.

Tomato-less Chili

Ingredients:

  •   2 medium onions – chopped
  •   4 cloves of garlic – crushed
  •   2lb ground beef
  •   3 cups bone broth
  •   3 large carrots – peeled and diced
  •   1⁄2 medium rutabaga – peeled and diced
  •   2 medium beets – peeled and grated
  •   1 tbsp dried oregano
  •   1 tsp dried thyme
  •   1 tsp onion powder
  •   1⁄2 tsp ground ginger
  •   1⁄2 tsp garlic powder
  •   1⁄4 tsp cinnamon
  •   1⁄4 tsp ground cloves
  •   Sea salt to taste
  •   2 tbsp tapioca flour to thicken (optional)
  •   Homemade guacamole to serve

    Directions:

    Pile all of the ingredients except for the tapioca flour into the slow cooker and give it a good mix.

    Cook on low for 8 hours.

    Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. If necessary, thicken with some tapioca flour mixed with a little water. I found this was needed.

    Serve topped with a spoonful of guacamole.

Lavender Chicken Burgers with Acorn Squash and Broccoli –

  • 2 lb organic boneless skinless chicken thigh
  • 1⁄2-1 tsp culinary lavender (depending on how much lavender flavor you want)
  • 4 sprigs rosemary, leaves only
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 T cooking fat

    Directions:

1. In a high-powered blender or food processor, blend all ingredients (except the cooking fat) until a paste forms.

  1. Form mixture into 16 2-oz patties.
  2. Heat cooking fat in a large sauté pan on medium-high heat. Fry each patty for 4 minutes per side

until cooked through and golden on the outside. Drain excess fat by placing on a paper-towel lined plate.

Plantain Pancakes with Homemade Sausage

Sausage – https://thecuriouscoconut.com/blog/smoky-maple-sage-breakfast-sausage

Ingredients :

(Maple Coconut Cream):

  • 1 can full-fat Coconut Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup (use Grade B syrup for the most intense flavor)

    Diections:

1. Let the can of coconut milk sit still at room temperature for at least 24 hours. Then gently (no shaking!) place the can in your fridge overnight.
2. Carefully remove the can/jar and open it. Spoon out the thick cream from the top half of the can into a small bowl. Avoid getting any of the coconut water which has separated to the bottom (can use that coconut water in smoothies).
3. Stir the maple syrup into the coconut cream and place it back in the fridge until ready to eat.

Ingredients: (Plantain Pancakes)

  • 2 extremely ripe plantains (they should be almost entirely black)
  • 1⁄2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1⁄2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 tsp Ground Allspice
  • 2-4 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil Directions:
  1. Using a fork or potato masher, mash plantain to a thick, slightly lumpy pulp.
  2. Add spices and mash in until completely mixed in.
  3. Heat 1-2 Tbsp of oil in a skillet over medium heat (use non-stick or a very well-seasoned cast iron

frying pan).
4. Spoon 1/4-1/3 cup globs of mashed plantains and drop into the frying pan. Using the back of a spoon, spread them flat and about 1⁄2” thick. They should be something like 3” in diameter. Be careful to not over load the skillet. Cook in batches.
5. Cook for 7-9 minutes on the first side (you should have the temperature low enough that they aren’t browning too fast; low and slow is best for these). Carefully, flip the pancakes over and cook for another 7-8 minutes on the second side.
6. If you’re going to eat them warm, then enjoy! If you are planning on eating them later, cool them on a wire rack. Add more coconut oil to the pan before cooking.

In between Christmas and New Years, I’ve been doing my soup/broth fasts.  Today I spent the day making soups to freeze for the fasting in January.  It took about 5 hours (longer than I was hoping), but I’m set for the next 4 weeks!  The fasts are still not my favorite, but I have gained some weight back and they don’t wipe me out like they used to, thankfully.  As I continue to plug along and anxiously await being symptom free, I am getting into more of a routine.  I love all the recipes I try and have learned, tried, and loved some new vegetables!  It will be nice to be able to eventually implement some foods back when I’m healthy again like eggs, legumes, peanut butter, and hopefully dairy and maybe some gluten-free grains, but I am thankful for the delicious recipes I am learning.  Check out AIP recipes on Pinterest and try one out — it can be a New Year’s Resolution 🙂

Happy New Year!  Here’s to a healthy 2018!

Trust vs. Control and the Ensuing Anxiety

On the scale of personality letters, I definitely lean heavily on the A side!  Discipline and self-control have always been a strength of mine, but have definitely been honed in my 20s.  After college and an end to my long soccer career, I learned quickly that I am a morning person.  So, I began waking up early enough to work out and have some devotional time before work.  I continue this discipline now.  I’ve also always been a slightly anxious person and I love plans and lists!

When my symptoms first started, I did a lot of research and changes on my own.  After over a year of nothing seeming to help, I knew I couldn’t heal my body on my own.  Not only did I need a functional doctor, but I needed to learn to trust God each and every day to give me strength and ultimately to bring my complete healing.

After finally being diagnosed and receiving the treatment plan, I quickly learned this was going to be the biggest test of my discipline, self-control and faith.  My treatment plan requires me to have a lot of control over my diet and the things my body is exposed to in the environment.  I’ve learned so much information on nutrition and how to make food a medicine.  As I’ve been journeying through this process, I am learning that although control and discipline is important and necessary, my ultimate healing is going to come from God (Jehovah Rapha).

Each week requires meal planning, grocery shopping, and LOTS of cooking.  I always have to have meals and snacks planned no matter where I’ll be because I cannot eat out and even permissible snacks are hard to find if I’m not near the right places.  I usually do all my cooking on the weekends.  At times when planning my meals and the details of the week, I can get overwhelmed and have difficulty making decisions.  I also have struggled with worrying that I’m doing things wrong or missing something important especially since it’s such a long process to notice the healing with symptoms decreasing.  Since I make everything including the fermented foods, I start to worry that I’m not doing things right or I get anxious that I’m missing a key factor in the healing process.

Becoming so anxious that I can’t make decisions or worrying about every small detail is not going to help my healing journey or my emotional stability.  So, I’m learning that each day I need to acknowledge that God is in control of my healing and trust him for strength and wisdom.  I’m learning to stop and pray when I’m getting overwhelmed or anxious.  It’s not always easy, but the more I trust him, the more peace I have.  God has also been confirming this message to me through others.  Last weekend my growth group at church spent some time praying for each other by listening to the Holy Spirit and speaking the words he gave to us for each person.  The words prayed for me included trust, the joy of the Lord is my strength, comfort, and supernatural healing.

I’m so thankful for the prayers and encouragement of others and the gentle reminders of God that he is in control.  As I continue to plug along through this healing process, I will try to focus each day on his control.

A few recent food highlights…

Thanksgiving Leftover Squash Boats

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Pumpking Clam Chowder — Soooo Good!!!IMG_1305

Merry Christmas!!!!

Thanksgiving Success

Thanksgiving is famous for overeating and sugar, but not for me this year or ever again for that matter.  An adventurous family and a talented sister-in-law helped me to have a delicious and successful Thanksgiving.  My AIP friendly meal plan was flavorful and delicious.  Everyone approved even the 2 year old (especially for the pumpkin pie).  The menu included a mandarin herb turkey, cranberry relish, herbed mashed parsnips, lemon garlic brussel sprouts with balsamic glaze, maple glazed delicata squash, plantain muffins, and pumpkin pie.  My sister-in-law and I were most proud of the plantain muffins and pumpkin pie.  I’ll include the recipes at the bottom and hope you will try them out soon!  They won’t disappoint!  One of my biggest triggers is big meals, so I was extra careful to eat small portions and my gut handled the day surprisingly well.  I’m very thankful for minor symptoms this week, especially today!  I’m also thankful for facetiming with my sister who is far away, time with family, and toddler and baby laughs.

Plantain Muffins:  https://thecuriouscoconut.com/blog/soft-and-fluffy-plantain-buns-paleo-aip#_a5y_p=4702490

Pum pkin Pie (Serves 6)

Ingredients

Pie Filling

 2 cups pumpkin

 3/4 cup coconut milk

 2 Tbls coconut sugar

 ¼ cup maple syrup

 pinch salt

 1 tsp ground ginger

 2 tsp cinnamon

 pinch ground cloves

 2 tsp. arrowroot powder

 1 Tbls gelatin

 1/8 cup boiling water

Pie Crust

 5 cups shredded coconut

 5 Tbls coconut oil (melted)

 pinch salt

Directions:

1. Do not leave out the salt! A pinch in the crust and a pinch in the filling. It brings out the spice and sugars!

2. In a food processor, blend 2 cups coconut and 4 Tbls melted coconut oil and pinch salt. Blend until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of food processor a few times during the two minutes.

3. Add this to a bow,l and add to it 3 cups of shredded coconut and one more tablespoon of coconut oil. Mix well and then dump into pie pan and use your fingers to shape the crust. This is really the hardest part of the recipe, so take your time pressing the coconut into the pie pan and making sure it is as packed and even as possible.

4. Bake with the edges l ightly covered with tinfoil at 350 for 20 minutes. Take out if it is getting too brown. Let cool.

5. In a food processor, blend all the ingredients for the pie filling except the gelatin and water. Stop to scrape down sides once or twice.

6. Pour filling into a saucepan and bring to a simmer stirring often. Simmer for 10 minutes.

7. Pour 1/8 boiling water in a bowl. Sprinkle 1 Tbls of gelatin over the hot water and let dissolve completely. Use a whisk to mix if needed.

8. Pour the hot pumpkin mixture into the food proc essor again along with the gelatin mixture. Blend for 30 seconds. Slowly pour into the pie crust and completely cool in fridge (2hr – over night)

A Quarter of the Way There and Food for the Holidays

It’s been a while since I’ve written.  Mostly, things have been in auto drive — I have my cooking and eating routine and have just been plugging along.  My symptoms are still about the same – each week is intermixed with a few decent days with minimal symptoms and a few rougher days where my symptoms are more intense and uncomfortable.  Tonight is one of those rougher days — one of the worst in a while :(.

In the end of October, I passed the 6 month mark, which means I’m a quarter of the way there on this 2 year healing journey.  My doctor recommended getting my blood work re-tested at the 6 month mark, so I just met with him today to review that.  With the steadiness of my symptoms and the lack of significant improvement, I wasn’t expecting any great changes in my blood work and I was right.  I had a few small improvements with inflammation and Vitamin D, but my cholesterol, liver and thyroid numbers actually went up.  The doctor explained this is not ideal, but is showing that my body is in the healing process.  Essentially, my body is detoxing more than it can handle so it is trying to compensate for that.  The doctor wants me to continue to focus on foods for my cholesterol, liver and thyroid (seafood, sea vegetables, and liver).  My treatment plan (elimination diet and supplements) will continue to stay the same until I am symptom free.  At times, it can be a little discouraging and worrisome that I’m not noticing more changes, but my doctor reassured me that I am on target and it is a long healing journey.

As I continue to plug along, I’m so thankful for the encouragement and prayers from family and friends.  Some friends and my mom recently helped me with some cooking.  I’m always shocked how fast it goes with more hands in the kitchen!  I’ve also been tackling the goal of keeping my environment chemical free so I’ve been throwing out things like dryer sheets, candles and anything scented, cleaning products and changing all my products (cleaning, laundry, and body – soaps, make-up) to plant based products.  A few of my favorite brands for these are Seventh Generation, everyone, and Physician’s Formula as well as essential oils. I’ve also been purifying my water.  I purified my drinking water with a reverse osmosis system about a year ago, but just recently purified my shower as well. Check out these articles for more information.

https://drwillcole.com/need-filter-water-plus-best-option-every-budget/
https://draxe.com/dangers-of-bleach/
https://draxe.com/dryer-sheets/
https://draxe.com/top-10-chemicals-threatening-your-health-right-now/

In October, I flew to Kansas to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and niece.  I successfully transported my supplements and snacks in my suitcase and had meals for the time in the airport.  I’m sure the TSA was a little shocked to see my suitcase, but it turned out well and was a wonderful time with family!  IMG_1204

With Thanksgiving coming up, I wanted to share my planned Thanksgiving menu.  I will be spending Thanksgiving with my brother, sister-in-law, nephews, and dad in Lancaster.  I’m so thankful for my family’s willingness to change up the menu and try some new elimination diet approved foods.  Thanksgiving Recipes

I’ll be sure to share some pictures and give feedback on the recipes after Thanksgiving.