Wednesday, August 24, 2016

How to Survive an Elimination Diet: Part 2

 

As a follow up to Part 1, I thought I'd share some helpful tips on food avoidance and substitutions during an elimination diet. And like the last post, these tips may also be helpful for starting a "clean eating" program as well. So whether you got your list of foods to eliminate from a blood test or just a generic elimination diet, everyone's list is likely to be a little different. I'll just go over a few of the more common ones I did.

Eggs:
What you'll find it in: most packaged baked goods including waffles and pancakes, pretty much anything breaded or fried
Baking Substitutes: ground or whole flaxseed, baking powder, bananas, or applesauce. There are lots of egg-free baking recipes out there which takes the guesswork out of substituting.
Breaded/fried substitutes: try coating your food in flour and seasonings and baking it instead. Not quite the same but a lot healthier and easier.

Dairy:
What you'll find it in: the obvious (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.) plus a TON of packaged food, even things you wouldn't expect.
Milk substitutes: almond, cashew, and coconut milk. They're easy to make yourself even (recipes coming in future post)!
Cheese substitutes: not a lot of affordable, healthy ones, so I stick with leaving it out. For toppings use hummus or avocado instead. You can also experiment with goat cheese once you're feeling better.
Yogurt substitutes: doesn't matter if it's made out of dairy or a dairy-free substitute, most yogurt has too much sugar in it so I just quit eating it. In baking you can substitute with applesauce.

Soy:
What you'll find it in: EVERYTHING, no joke, pretty much all processed food, and the obvious (soy milk, tofu, tempeh, edamame) and most "fake" meat and "fake" cheeses. It can also be in other ingredients, some obvious like soy lecithin or soy protein, and others not so obvious like natural flavors and MSG.
Soy milk substitutes: any nut milk
Soy sauce substitute: coconut aminos
Tofu/tempeh/edamame substitute: whole white, black, pinto, or garbanzo beans
Substitutes for all the processed food you'll find it in: gotta make it yourself or hunt around your health food stores for soy-free alternatives

Sugar cane:
What you'll find it in: EVERYTHING, just like soy.
Substitutes: honey, maple syrup, dates, applesauce, or coconut sugar BUT for healthiest results, seriously reduce the amount of sweetener you use in everything. For tea, go unsweetened and for coffee try a tiny bit of coconut oil, vanilla extract, and nut milk.
Substitutes for all the processed food you'll find it in: same as soy, hunt around or make it yourself.

Yeast:
What you'll find it in: Bread, flatbread, pita bread, crackers, pastries, donuts, broths or stocks, many vegan foods (nutritional yeast), alcohol (see below), and anything fermented (don't go too far down that rat hole though as there's yeast floating around in the air so you can't avoid it all)
Baking substitutes: baking powder or baking soda & lemon juice. I found it best to use recipes that are already yeast-free so I didn't have to worry about substituting.
Bread product substitutes: There are limited options of yeast-free tortillas and crackers, but for the rest you'll have to do without or make it yourself.

Alcohol. 😭😭😭
Even if yeast isn't on your list, I think most healthcare professionals will encourage you to eliminate alcohol for at least a few weeks so you can see if it was adding to any of your symptoms. (And here's the sad ending to that story, it probably is!)
What you'll find it in: beer, wine, and liquor
Substitutes: Moderation is your friend if, like me, you find it makes all your symptoms come back full force, you'll learn to keep it in very small amounts and not very often. The best replacement I've found for alcohol is marijuana so you're gonna want to live somewhere it's legal or get a medical card. Hahaha seriously though, let's go get high and think about all the food we can't eat. 😉😂

Friday, August 19, 2016

Self-Love Defined

Treat yourself to an amazing view sometimes :)

What does it mean to truly love yourself? To me, loving yourself means taking care of you: body, mind, and soul. And doing whatever you need to do to keep those 3 things in balance. It requires treating yourself with respect, thinking kindly about yourself, and listening to all 3 parts of your being. I know all of that sounds a bit impossible most of the time, especially if you're a parent or caregiver and you spend most of your time looking after someone else. But how can you care for another person if you don't first take care of yourself? And why else should you care about loving yourself? To be happy of course! And who doesn't want to be happier? I don't know a single happy person that doesn't take care of themselves. I think loving yourself is a requirement of happiness.

We spend so much time just trying to "get by." Work, kids, clean, eat, sleep, repeat. It's easy to get caught up in that cycle and sometimes forget to have fun, to remember that life is a journey and we need to be enjoying ourselves, even in daily, routine life. Sometimes it may even take us awhile to realize something is wrong. That we're miserable and why we are. Usually when I take the time to figure out what's bothering me, I discover that I'm not taking enough time for myself, not doing something I need to do to be happy, or just not being nice to myself. I struggle sometimes often with feeling like I'm enough, that I'm good enough, that I'm doing enough for everyone around me. And when I don't feel like I am, my thoughts turn negative. Thinking awful things about myself only furthers my depression. But when I'm being mindful of this, I can break the cycle before it starts or worsens at least. I have to stop the negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. I must constantly remind myself that I am always doing as much as I feel able and to forgive myself for those days when I don't do everything I expected (especially since my expectations of myself are often unrealistic).

Taking time for yourself, working hard at turning around negative thoughts, trying to love yourself, it's all really hard work. But it's worth it for even brief moments of true happiness. The key is in making your happiness a priority. Once you do this, many other things in your life will start changing in ways you won't anticipate, but you'll be pleasantly surprised when they happen. It's karma; if you're putting good, positive, happy energy out into the world, you're much more likely to receive that in return than if you're angry, depressed, or negative all the time. So even if it's a struggle right now to try and love yourself, think of it as a gift to your future self who will thank you when all the goodness starts flowing into your life. It'll be all sparkles and rainbows and butterflies....

Okay, okay, of course that last bit is a pipe dream. We'd all like to believe that karma is real and we'll receive as much love as we've given. And there are days I do believe it is real. But then there are days when the world takes a fat dump on you and it can set you back a lot, make you wonder why you bothered trying to be positive in the first place. But we have to experience bad days so we can appreciate all the good ones. Hopefully you've had moments of true happiness in your life to look back on when it's a bad day, and remember how good it felt. Then you'll remember that it is worth your effort to make your own happiness a priority.

Self-love is putting your feet in the sand :)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

How to Survive an Elimination Diet: Part 1


I started my elimination diet journey over 8 months ago, and what a journey it's been! I've learned a lot along the way, plenty that I wish I'd known BEFORE I started. And so it seems only right that I share my knowledge with you for surviving your own elimination diet, should you need to. These may also be helpful for starting a "clean eating" program as well.
  • First tip is, DON'T do an elimination diet unless you really need to! Probably not what you were expecting me to say, but seriously it sucks, it's hard, and may not have the results you want. I'm not trying to discourage you completely, but if you're doing it because you think it's the next cool, fad diet, you are in for a world of hurt. It has a very important medical purpose, so if you do it, do it for the right reasons. 
  • If you have no medical reason to do this and are just trying to eat cleaner, then great! But I wouldn't recommend trying to eliminate everything all at once. Instead try making changes gradually. It will be a lot easier to manage and cause you a lot less stress.
  • If you have lots of food intolerances, this "diet" may take a lot longer than you think and will likely turn into a new way of eating for some time. My biggest mistake was in thinking I'd be all better in a few months, and I am not. I have made great progress, but it's not over yet.
  • Eliminating foods makes your body extra sensitive to them. I don't fully understand why and didn't think about that when I started. But after experiencing it, I feel like it's a good thing to warn you about. When trying to reintroduce foods, the symptoms I experienced were FAR worse than what I'd had before I started. 
  • Probiotics and digestive enzyme supplements are your friends. I didn't take this seriously until I became flat out ill when trying to reintroduce foods. Take them every day or at the least take the enzymes when you eat any food you didn't prepare yourself.
  • Be prepared to spend a lot of time in the kitchen! Not every meal needs to be elaborate, but you'll still have to throw it together yourself as finding prepared foods that will fit into your diet is extremely difficult and expensive (depending on what all you're eliminating of course).
  • If you have or have ever had an eating disorder of any kind, including chronic dieting, then be careful. Aside from pregnancy this has been the biggest challenge to my recovery. If you're in the early stages of recovery, do not do this or any restrictive diet!
I've learned so much that I will be writing multiple posts on the subject so stay tuned for the following, coming soon!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Parent Confessions

I haven't joined my friend Danielle for Confessional Thursday in quite awhile so thought I'd share some parenting confessions with you today.


I confess that...

...I am a bit uncomfortable around kids other than my own. I just don't know how to make other kids behave. I am easily overwhelmed by mobs of children (a mob=more than 2) and one of my least favorite things is indoor play places.

...when kids are mean to my kids, I have a hard time holding back the urge to tell the kid off or at least send them away. But I know my kids must learn to handle mean people. Still, baffles me how horrible kids can be at such a young age. If my kids are ever an ass to you or your kids I give you full permission to call them out on their shit and ask them to stop or send them home!

...I'm kind of strict about bedtime. They don't go to bed super early but I don't often let them stay up past 9 and avoid things that will keep them up late. Sleep is super important to their mental and physical growth and I'm not going to purposefully keep them from getting as much sleep as possible. Plus they turn into little assholes when they're tired.

...I am even stricter about my kids sugar intake. Yep that's right, I am "that mom." Sebastian has a clear sugar intolerance with symptoms including moodiness, vomiting, and diarrhea if he has too much, and Oscar gets crazy hyper. Think what you want about it, I don't care when we're talking about my children's health.

...my kids can be so annoying and it's all my fault. My wonderful genetic gifts included talking incessantly, asking a million questions, and repeating oneself to death, all things I also drove my parents crazy with when I was a child. Karma can be a real pain in the ass.

...it makes me feel so much better when Brian loses his patience with the kids too. Then at least I know I'm not just being impatient with them, they really can be frustrating beyond reason.

...despite my frustrations, I LOVE spending time with these little monsters. Walks, bike rides, cards, board games, Legos, cars, it's all fun times with them. Snuggles are still my favorite though, no matter how big they get.

...I have been able to take Fridays off this summer so I could spend more time with them and it was the best decision I've made in a long time. I have my whole life to work but my kids will only be little right now.



Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Positivity Tuesday

http://nataliedee.com/


Let's be real...there are days when being positive and loving yourself feels impossible. Everything's going wrong either in your own life or in those around yours. Maybe the kids are driving you crazy, work is a stressful mess, relationships are strained, etc. Whatever it is, or sometimes it's all of it, you're not alone. We all have these days. They're usually the days you keep thinking, "why did I get out of bed?!" But you know why. You had to. You can't stay in bed every time you have a rough day. If you've ever battled depression, then you know that if you stayed in bed every time you felt like that, then you'd never get up.

So what should you do when this happens? Give up and crawl back into bed? Cry and scream about the injustices of life? Sometimes, yes!, you should do those things. There are days you do need a break, you do need to vent to someone who is willing to listen. But it can't be every day, or even every bad day, so you need a backup plan. What you need is a good laugh. Do something guaranteed to at least make you smile. Watch a funny movie, stand-up comedy, or silly YouTube videos, whatever will make you laugh until you pee. Listen to music that makes you want to dance and sing. Take your kids for a walk or at least get outside for a bit. Play a game with your kids. Talk to a neighbor, friend, or spouse (preferably someone who tends to be a happy person) and can get your mind off your shitty day. Or get a good workout in...this may not make you laugh but will definitely help you clear your head and get out some frustrations.

Yes I am essentially telling you to distract yourself. This is in no way a long-term cure for depression, but it is definitely a short-term fix for a bad day. When you struggle with being negative or depressed, a lot of days are bad days. But not all of them are worthy of depressing you further or ruining your progress, and they're definitely not worthy of doing you in completely. When I'm struggling through a day like this, I frequently ask myself, what is actually wrong? Is it something big and worthy of feeling depressed? Because let's face it, there are definitely real things that happen in life that just flat out suck and it's okay to be upset about them. But then there are other things, more "first-world problem" types of things, that are petty and insignificant in the grand scheme, and sometimes they just all add up to a shitty day. Take a few moments to be mindful of what it is you're actually upset about, and you may realize it's over nothing important at all. These are the days you just need a little Positivity Tuesday bear in your life!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Hippy Camping

Trask River, Tillamook State Forest

Have you ever gone camping somewhere without a campground? It's pretty magical actually. A lot less people. Just your family and nature. I grew up camping on beaches at a lake where you had to drive to a real bathroom or shower or pavement of any kind. You were lucky if there was an outhouse nearby that wasn't swarming with bees. So this wasn't totally new territory for me, but it had been a long time. I'd forgotten how hard it is to squat and pee and not get it all over your pants or shoes. Can you imagine how much stronger our legs would be if we always had to do that? Yeah I'm sure you're happy about that visual. Just wait, there's more.

It's pretty sad how easily we get scared over wildlife when we're not used to being far away from civilization. I was awake much of the night (which is normal for camping it seems). But this time, I kept wondering if there were any mountain lions or bears in the area that could smell me menstruating and were going to come and attack us. I kept telling myself to stop being ridiculous, but regardless, I will definitely plan our next camping trip at a different time of the month.

After I relaxed about being eaten, I had a great time. The kids had a blast as well. We've decided it's important to take them places like this is much as possible, because who knows how long it will exist. Even here with all us crazy hippies fighting to keep our trees, you still see a ton of clear-cut forests. So we will be back soon, with the fishing poles that we forgot this trip, and with any friends who are interested in joining us!


You can see our "campsite" through the trees there on the left

Boys enjoying climbing on the rocks

Water was perfect... cool and clear

View from one of the roads on the way home

The view didn't suck


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Learning to Love Yourself



These signs hang in a small park in our neighborhood. It's a good example of why I love it here. We see stuff like this all over the Portland/Beaverton area. People trying to help each other feel better. I love it. I love trying to help people feel better about themselves just like I love being around people that try to help me feel better about myself. I feel fortunate to be surrounded with many people like this and want to return the favor.

Feeling good about yourself is key to a happy life. As someone who has suffered and recovered from anorexia, I can tell you first-hand the horrific impact negative thoughts and feelings can have on your mind, body, and soul. They can ruin you, in the worst ways. Those thoughts are like poison, maybe you'll live through a little but once it spreads throughout you, it can kill you, or at the least make you very ill. After being sick and miserable for years from my self-loathing, I learned this was no way to live, and if I wanted to recover and thrive, I'd have to change my way of thinking. 

It's no easy feat to change your thoughts. But it's like any other bad habit, if you truly put your mind to it and work hard, you can overcome it. I would love to help others in their journey to feeling better about themselves. I won't pretend for even a second that I'm 100% positive all the time. I've come a very long way from my worst, but it is definitely a battle I still fight daily. But I do think the progress I've made and how I've made it could help many others. I have written several posts about bodylove, but there is a lot more to be said on the subject of loving yourself. So I will start writing more regularly on this topic, with any tips, happy thoughts, or stories I think could help.

It's time to build ourselves up instead of constantly tearing ourselves down. 

It's time to believe in ourselves, our capabilities and aspirations. 

It's time to be the people we know we can be, the best versions of ourselves. We'll never get there by being negative. 

It's time to love all of ourselves for who we are right now, and to see what can happen in our lives when we do.

I hope you'll join me on this journey to loving yourself!