Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cooking Classes and Birthdays....

I can't believe it's already been 3 weeks since I started my plan. I'm sure I've unintentionally ingested the offending ingredients of gluten, casein, and soy; but all in all, I think it's been an extremely successful adventure.

Restaurants... I'm becoming much more vocal when I dine at restaurants. I always ask to speak with the manager, explaining my "special" interest to the waiter. On the instance I didn't talk with the manager, I was sick for two days. It's amazing that my symptoms when I eat an offending ingredient are worse now then they were when I was eating them daily - but then again, I was talking daily doses of advil, and almost daily doses of tums and pepto chews, so I guess I was in denial of those symptoms. I have become over concerned with cross contamination, so eating out is a rare treat. Although I really don't consider it treats anymore. They've become more of a necessity when I do eat out - dinner with friends, birthday celebrations, lunch with co-workers so they don't think I'm ditching them.

Cooking Class... A few weekends ago, David and I attended a gluten, casein, soy, peanut, and shellfish/fish cooking class. It was hosted by Sally from Aprovechar and Moore Farms & Friends. We both thoroughly enjoyed it!! They started our class off by serving us breadsticks, followed with a Slow Cooker BBQ Beef (with pasture-raised beef), Mac 'n "cheese", coleslaw (minus mayonnaise), sandwich bread. The night was topped off with a Fruit Gelette. Everything was fabulous. We recreated most of the menu items this past weekend and are now enjoying leftovers (yum).

The cooking class reinvigorated my love of cooking great food. Unfortunately, I can't cook things "from scratch", but I recipes I follow turn out amazing (or so I think), so that's a start. I hope the ability to rearrange recipes and make things "from scratch" will follow with practice. Either way, cooking has become my replacement to eating out. It's been wonderful to know that what I'm eating is completely safe, and therefore comes with no additional worries about whether I'm going to have a stomachache, or have a bad headache or mood swing the next day.

Celebrations.... Yesterday was my 35th birthday (shh! don't tell anyone I'm over 21). I celebrated with my family at Joe's Crab Shack. As always, I asked to talk to the manager, assuring the waiter it wasn't that I didn't trust him, it was because I needed to make sure the manager followed my order through the kitchen. So it was a great relief when the manager on duty happened to be a manager I had worked with several times before when dining at this restaurant. Having 10 people in our party, I was a little more anxious this time, but when she walked up, I felt much better. After a wonderful Steam Pot dinner (steamed crab with corn and potatoes), we all indulged our chocolate addictions by eating the Chocolate (safe mind you) Cake my husband made for me. Ahhh... heaven!

These past 3 weeks have gone by fast. But I finally feel as if I have control over my food situation and not the other way around. I have lost 7 pounds, my face is clearing up, I don't have daily headaches, my brain-fog isn't as bad (although it's still there), I have more energy (at night more than in the morning), and I more importantly, I'm starting to feel like my old self. Now to start tackling my ankle injury with the same focus and start exercising (again). This is my year... 35 IS going to be my best year yet!! So here it goes....

Monday, August 17, 2009

Day 5 and Counting....

After months of denial and self destruction, I finally decided to stop making excuses and get back on plan. So last Wednesday night I had my last "non-safe" meal and haven't looked back. But unlike past resolutions to start my plan - it didn't come from a "last night" binge, or with lots of fanfare. It came in quietly - with me deciding as I was at Whole Foods, that this was it. That it was time. Time for me to finally make the changes and start taking back control. And this time, things feel completely different! They feel right... I don't have any fears or anxiety about situations. Yes, I have to make sure that I'm prepared, and I will have a few slips here and there, but I'm not overwhelmed like I've been in the past. However, detoxing from the "evil" food (as I like to refer to them) was not as pleasant as my decision...

Day 1 was about as bad as it could get. I won't lie. By mid afternoon, I had a vicious headache, one that forced me to leave the office at 3:30. By the time I got home, it had only gotten worse. I was in bed by 8, and woke up with a migraine a few hours later. I'm not sure how much good sleep I got, but I think around midnight, my headache had dulled enough for me to fall asleep.

Day 2 started off with a headache, thankfully not as bad as Day 1, but by the afternoon had started to go away. This of course was replaced by mood swings (David is a Saint for putting up with these). David and I met with a mortgage consultant, and afterwards had planned on going shopping - however, neither of us had discussed dinner plans - which for someone who can't eat Gluten, Soy, Casein and Yeast - is a bad thing. Finally, after getting frustrated (me) I just decided the best thing was to be home (of course, since this was a mood swing moment, it wasn't as sweet and nice as I write here). After continuing my temper tantrum, I had dinner... and it was off to an early bedtime - 9:30 this night.

Day 3 was supposed to be a productive day of house cleaning. However, after being a slug for most of the day, I finally decided we needed to get out of the house to improve our day, and to do damage repair from my tantrums the night before. So at 4:30, we both got dressed and headed to Perrywinkles to look at some potential birthday presents for me (Staxx rings - they rock!) and to look at some new houses (in case the one we're looking at falls through). Then we had a great dinner at Five Guys (sans bun or cheese - the management even cleaned the grill before they cooked my hamburger so there wouldn't be any cross contamination... cool, huh!?).

Day 4... With the harder of the days behind me, I woke up to great expectations for what I wanted to accomplish. My plan to clean house all day backfired, again, because of my slug mood, however, around dinner (which was a late 9:15 safe-pancake dinner) something came over me... By the time I had gone to bed, all the dishes had been washed / sink scrubbed... I had created my Control Journal (see and I was looking forward to the week ahead. The biggest change today though, was the sense of calm that had finally settled around 10. This calm that there wasn't going to be other trials or tribulations to start my program. That this was the time that it was going to work.

And that brings us to today... Day 5. I have been more productive today than I've been in quite some time (actually since last December when I kicked the "evil" foods the first time). I washed and dried a load of towels while getting dressed. I finished an audit that I have been working on at work (half-heartedly) for the past 6 weeks, and I am looking forward to my next project assignment. As for my mood... I feel happy, energized, and excited! I feel like I'm rediscovering my old self - so much so that I'm going to an DZ Alumni Open House tonight!

Yep... Things are different this time! And I'm can't wait to enjoy the ride...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Taking Care of Myself

After my rant and self-bashing post, I realized that I needed to take a step back and put things into perspective.

What I discovered was that I am making strides. I am getting upset with myself for the past 6 months. I mean, it's only been 6 months that I have had answers to why I've have felt so awful for the past 8 years and know the root cause (in my opinion) to the PCOS, and all my other issues.

For any normal person, just getting a diagnosis that they have high blood pressure or cholesterol problems is a shock. But I was diagnosed with something that requires a complete and permanent change in lifestyle. I have to cut out 4 major food groups from my diet - all knowing that number could increase as we do more testing. So I have to realize that this will take time to learn and modify 34 years of habits.

I've had 3 doctors ask me what can I eat if I have to cut out foods containing gluten, casein, soy and yeast. They then say "it's hard to cut out just one of those groups, much less all four". What I tell them, is that I can eat any and all meats, fruits, and vegetables - no marinades, no processed foods, but that I have plenty of options. And you know what? I do have plenty of options!

I have discovered that I am not alone. I have found an entire "gym" (love my CrossFit buddies) that willingly follow this program - and not because they are intolerant, but because they believe this is the correct way to eat - Paleo. I have found blogs and message boards, and support groups with others in my shoes. Some have one intolerance they live with, others have 20!

I have discovered that I have amazing team of doctors. Of the doctors I've visited, only one has been completely resistant to the lab results. From what I've researched, this is uncommon. My PCP is excited to have "someone who does their research" and has ordered tests for Vitamin Deficiencies (for the malabsorption) and has referred me to a GI Specialist for additional testing. And it's because my infertility doctor agreed I was exhibiting signs of a Gluten Intolerance did I get tested in the first place. First doctor that I presented my symptoms... when most take years of presenting their symptoms for someone to finally agree and help them out.

Last but not in all the least, I have discovered that I have an amazing husband, as well as a great support system with family and friends. My husband does as much research as I do. He's always trying to find new recipes for us to try. Without my asking, he cleaned out our pantry of most of the offensive foods. He goes grocery shopping - and even checks the labels. He is, by far, one of my strongest advocates and is there to back me up when needed. Most of my family is there 100% for support, offering recipes and books to read. Others are supportive, but not understanding - this will come in time.

Now to only discover that I can do this. Reflecting on where I was just a year ago, frustrated over a sunburn that turned into psoriasis, and where I am today, having all the answers, I realize that I can do this. I was set and determined to find answers - so much so that I spent hours and hours researching and reading and researching more that I found my answers. I now need to take these answers and apply them.

So... with that said I CAN do this! I WILL do this. I will reclaim my health. I will reclaim my enthusiasm and vibrance. I will conquer this inner brat, and stop being self destructive. And as the quote on my calendar says today...

"Know first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly." -Epictetus

Enough is Enough!! I've had it....

I've had it with myself that is. I am tired of this self-destructing behavior! I'm not sure where this comes from? Am I afraid of succeeding? What is going on in this stupid brain of mine?!

I wrote on here 3 weeks (yes, 3 weeks) ago that I was starting back on my plan (I have decided to call it that... it's easier). So I bought the Paleo Diet book and read it in one day! I was gung-ho on starting back... excited to be jumping back on the plan. The plan of course to rid my food of anything that's not good for me. Again, this isn't to just loose the 70-80 pounds I have to loose - this is to rid my body of the evils that keep making me sick. You know... the gluten, casein, soy and yeast.

So I did great for week 1. I tracked all my meals (even the bad choices) on Livestrong, making sure to have equal portions of good carbs, fat, and protein. Even making sure I was getting in at least 64 ounces of water in each day. I lost 4 pounds (and not just water weight) that week. Then something happened... I fell off completely and within 1.5 weeks, I've gained back those 4 pounds + one (nice huh?).

It, of course, doesn't help that I haven't been able to get my time at CrossFit. This stupid sprained ankle isn't getting better (8.5 weeks and counting). I'm back in Physical Therapy so I'm hoping that will start to strenghten and heal, but 2 weeks in, things are still status quo on the healing front - and some days are just as bad as the first 2 weeks after I sprained it. I have gotten in 2 workouts this week at CrossFit, but when you're lifting weights and not able to get the little extras in, those don't seem to matter much.

So here's the deal... I am back to my daily headaches (most of the days they are here all day), feeling run down marathon exhausted, eating Tums & Pepto Tabs like they are candy, feeling iritable & moody (sorry David), bloated, etc. Urgh! I hate feeling like this!!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Getting back on track

Now that the Anniversary trip has been booked, I need to get back on track. I fell off my eating plan about 3 months ago, although I have continued to work out. Problem is, this isn't just a diet - I of all people wish it were. I love food! I wish I could just buckle down, eat healthy (lower calories, more fruits and veggies) for a few months to loose weight and have an occasional cookie, or piece of bread. But I can't!

So, I need to realize that no matter how much I try to make these food intolerances go away (by either ignoring all my symptoms, or believing that I was delusional, as one doctor told me), that they're real for me and I need to start eating accordingly. Otherwise I'll continue to have daily headaches, itchy skin, acne, exhaustion, moodiness, and stomach cramps.

Since I now have a date to shoot for to be at my healthiest state ever (Nov 27th), I can maybe use that as a focusing point. So today, I am recommitting to following the Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Casein-Free, Yeast-Free plan. Not sure what to really call it yet... I don't like the word diet as it's not temporary, and I think as soon as I realize this, it'll finally click.

So... This is my pledge to relearn how to eat and forgive myself for any mistakes I make along the way. I understand this will take awhile to master, as I have 34 years of habits to change, but I can do this. I can be the healthy person that I am meant to be. I also pledge to loose 75 pounds by November 27th and be bikini ready our Anniversary Trip - which equals around 12.5 pounds per month.

Finally... Anniversary Trip Booked

Update: David and I were forced to cancel our trip due to injuries I suffered in April that weren't healing. About 3 weeks before we were supposed to leave, I also contracted H1N1, and was layed off. We are hoping to reschedule our Anniversary trip once I am healed and when we both have jobs. Will post a new topic when we reschedule.

After about 6 months of dreaming, researching, talking, discussing, dreaming some more, and driving our travel agent crazy (she had to put up with me for 72 hours) we finally booked our 10-year Anniversary Trip!!!!

picture from L_Savage

We are going to the Excellence Resorts in Riviera Maya, Mexico. The resort is an all-inclusive, adults only resort. There are 6 pools and 5 Jacuzzi's on the resort... Not that I really care about the 5 Jacuzzi's spread around the resort, because our room has a private Jacuzzi on the deck.

There are 8 different restaurants and 10 bars, so we'll get to our choice of foods, including: French, Mexican, Mediterranean, Italian, Asian / Japanese, Lobster House and a Grill. Our room even has a mini-refrigerator and bar that is stocked with water, beer, juice, sodas, and liquor. Going all-inclusive, we won't have to worry about what we want to eat (because the lobster is already paid for) or whether we drink all the beer in our room (they'll just restock... and there won't be an extra charge)! The best thing about this resort is that they're able to work around my food intolerances - they have already put a note in our file, and have told me what I need to do when I get to the resort, to make sure the right people know. How amazing is that?! I won't have to stress about what I can / can't eat.

In addition to the wonderful food choices, there are so many wonderful activities that we'll get to do from kayaking, snorkeling, beach volleyball, lazing in a hammock over the pool, bocce ball, windsurfing, dancing lessons, and even cooking lessons.

We've even already decided on some excursions that look like so much fun! Xel-ha, which is the largest natural aquarium park and a day trip to Maroma Beach, which includes a James Bond style boat ride.


Most importantly, we'll be able to have lots of romance. I mean the primary reason for this trip is to celebrate our 10th Anniversary!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

First Thoughts

I have no idea where to even begin. This is my first ever blog post, and I'm not really sure where to start. I guess I could start by introducing myself.

My name is Keri. I am in my mid-30's, married to a wonderful man, David. We don't have any children, unless you count our wonderful mutt Nike (which is a 13-year old black lab / doberman mix).

Ever since I was in high school, I had dreamt of becoming a mother at an early age. My plans were to start building my family by the time I was 25, and I did! Just 2 weeks after turning 25, David and I were married - September 11, 1999. It was the perfect wedding that we were blessed to share with many of family and friends.

We figured our next step was to spend quality time as a couple before starting down the road of having children. I have known since I was 16 that I'd have problems conceiving, but my husband had more faith. So, we waited for about 4 years. This is where our journey really began.

In October 2002 I found out that I had PCOS - finally, a diagnosis. I thought that having this diagnosis, I would magically become pregnant without having to go down the route of fertility drugs or treatments. Several years later, 2 failed rounds of Clomid, 1 failed round of Letrozol, I gave up. I couldn't handle the rejection whenever I took a pregnancy test. More than that, I started feeling less of a wife and woman. Here I was, in my late-20s / early-30s, and I couldn't do what so many of my other family and friends were able to do - provide a healthy family for my husband, for us. For the next 6 years, I read books, joined online support groups, went to a fertility specialist here and there, tried many weight loss plans (more about that in a minute) and exercise programs.

About a year before being diagnosed with PCOS, I had ballooned from a weight in the 120's to the 160's / 170's. A few more years of stress and not understanding why diets and exercise programs weren't working I had gained another 30-40 pounds. Now I'm at my highest point ever - 210!! This is not where I'd like to be, especially given my 5' 1/2" frame (yes I count that half inch!). I continued to try everything - things would seem to be working for about 6 weeks, and like clockwork, I'd get sick, break a bone, or be exhausted, so I'd eventually go back off my programs and eventually I forgot the dream of becoming a mother.

That all changed (for the positive) in the Spring of 2008. After getting a sunburn at a tennis match I was watching my husband play, I finally started to have renewed hope and faith of becoming a mother one day. A sunburn brought this on again, you're asking? Yep! You see - that sunburn turned into psoriasis and eczema, which I've never suffered from in my life. And to add insult to injury, it was on my face and it wasn't healing, no matter what the dermatologist gave me. It would clear up for a few weeks, and as soon as I would stop the medicine (following instructions), it would pop right back up within a few days or so. So I started doing research.... Again.

But this time I had a whole new outlook. I was ready to finally have answers. And by this, I meant I was ready to find the underlying cause to the psoriasis, PCOS, my recurrent sinus / bronchitis infections, and the broken bones (6 in total during the past 15 years). As I started paying closer attention to my body, I realized other things that I thought was normal, but weren't normal to my friends when I'd ask them. And then I started to notice that most of my symptoms were centered around meals (either during, immediately following, or a few hours after). These were just a few of the symptoms: Being extremely tired after eating, and never having much energy (I can sleep 10 hours in a night, and still take a nap a few hours after being up).... Nose itching..... Heartburn... Congestion (I always feel like I have a cold)... Pains in my stomach after eating some foods.... Always feeling bloated... extreme headaches..... Unable to focus.... Mood swings (extreme).

While researching, I started to run by articles in magazines and on websites. I researched more. Finally after I read (and found supporting studies that are currently being performed) that an OB/GYN discovered 90% of her PCOS patients tested positive to Gluten Intolerance. I knew this had to be me. This was my connection!! It finally made sense! I went back to my fertility doctor, my nutritionist, and my primary and they all agreed that I had symptoms of Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance. To be sure there was no other underlying medical issues, my doctors did a Thyroid test, Diabetes Panel, complete metabolic panel, and white blood count test. All those came back "within normal range". However, it was one test done by Enterolab that concluded at the end of December, that I had food interolances - and not only to Gluten. In order of sensitivity, I am intolerant to Soy, Gluten, Casein, and Yeast - with the beginning intolerance levels to Egg.

This is where this post picks up. Finally 5 months after having this diagnosis, I am having issues with this new lifestyle. I figured by writing about these experiences, I could keep myself mindful of the prize (becoming healthy, becoming pregnant naturally, having a healthy pregnancy, and finally having my family) and in the process, help any others who feel just as lost I as feel trying to navigate through this new world.

So thank you for reading this "dissertation". I know it was long, but I had to explain where I was coming from so you'd understand some of my future posts a little better. Thanks, Keri

The Makings of a Family | Desenvolvido por EMPORIUM DIGITAL