Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Would Die for That

This past weekend, my husband and I attended a Fertility Retreat. You ask, "What is a Fertility Retreat?" Well, it was a place for us to find a sliver of hope, discover we're not alone in our quest, and realize that this journey has impacted both of us equally.

I didn't know what to expect when I signed up for "The Fertile Soul" Foundation Retreat. I mean, I read the description of the class, I read the book a few years back, but I really didn't know what to except. And with that I was really surprised when my husband decided to join me.

You see, I started this blog a little over a year and a half ago to document my journey on becoming a Bio-Mom, instead I let it become about food and exercise. I honestly have been avoiding that topic with myself and my husband for a really long time, not just with this blog. The last time I went to that place of hope I was let down, in a major way. It was hard on me. It was hard on him. It was hard on us. So much so that we let that dream die. People with kids don't understand how every negative pregnancy test takes a piece of you with it. And for me, it took a little more each time. And with it, it drove an unspoken wedge between the two of us. I think subconsciously I felt that if I became a little more distant, then he would find someone who could fulfill his desire of being a dad. Something, that I have obviously failed at.

Ironically, that hope started to reignite within us when we were "fortunate" enough to both be out of work for six months - at the same time. It's during that time that we started healing our wounds, and started rebuilding our relationship. And since there was no talk of children-to-be (or not to be), failed pregnancy tests, what our next steps were going to be, or accusations and misconceptions we were placing on ourselves, we were finally able to just focus on us, and so our relationship became strong again. And then the most amazing thing happened... We start looking at this journey as a couple, something that was happening to the both of us, not just the individual.

Even with that said, I was little surprised when my husband said he wanted to go to the Fertility Retreat with me. The Retreat I knew nothing about, but knew was going to be good thing to experience.... And that's where we are today in our journey.

The Retreat was a mere 2-days, but what we gained was worth more than that. We listened intently on how it wasn't either of our faults, how we weren't defined by any diagnoses imposed on us by "Western" doctors, how we held the power to get pregnant naturally (and if not, how that didn't make us any less than those that could), and finally somewhere along the process... we discovered that we had a little bit of hope left. Just enough to fuel this desire and passion of being Bio-Parents parents.

I realized more than anything, that I WOULD DIE FOR THAT.....

Has It Really Been 3 Months?

Wow! I can't believe it's been close to 3 months since I last posted. While I didn't mean to be gone for so long, I have had a lot of changes occur during the time I was away.

I traveled to Disney World with my best friend for a Girl's Only Trip, and learned that Disney is the best place to visit if you have food allergies / intolerances. I was treated like a queen by all the restaurants, and not once did I worry about what I was going to eat. They know how to do it right! Since I didn't have to worry about my food, I was able to fully enjoy the extremely short lines (being truthful here, not sarcastic).

With one day to recover from 5 fun filled days on my little road trip, I started my new job. I was thrust right into things... being assigned 8 projects my first week. I can honestly say that I love being back in the Project Manager world, specifically with the network / server systems groups. I hadn't realized how much I missed it. Almost at my 2 month anniversary, I can say that I have found my work home and I finally feel a sense of stability (which has been long lost for close to 4 years, if you count the year of ups and downs at HomeBanc before they closed the doors).

Although I have enjoyed being part of the working crowd again, I have to say it's taken a toll on my health. I completely fallen off my workout schedule - working out a total of 3 times in these past 2 months. I have also developed a Coke addiction... having 2 cans a day. Add in the month of October with Candy Corn, and that put me over the edge with a High Fructose Corn Syrup addiction. Which lead to me falling off my gluten, casein, and soy-free lifestyle a little over a week ago.

Now, another bronchitis notch on my belt, a 5 pound weight gain, feeling sluggish and gross all the time, and I am ready to get back on the wagon...

And between you and me... The pizza and junk I've had hasn't been worth anything. I can honestly say, I don't know why I would ever want to eat the overly processed food I've eaten the past week ever again in my life.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What happens when I have Gluten, Casein and Soy?

When I often tell people that I have an intolerance, or allergy, to gluten, casein and soy, their first question usually is: "What happens when you have it?"

Well, in my quest to be "normal" (again with that normal word), I indulged for dinner Sunday night. I pretended, after being on a gluten-, casein-, soy-free diet for 6 months that I didn't have a problem to any of these foods and went to Cracker Barrel for dinner. Yes, it was tasty, but not enough for me to EVER want these foods again! The results are documented.....
The symptoms began within minutes of ingesting the glutinous meal of chicken fried chicken, mashed potatoes (both with white gravy), fried okra, hash brown casserole and 2 biscuits. What I first noticed was that I became very itchy... my face, my arms, my scalp. The next symptom actually surprised even me, as it was a first to be correlated - my left knee started hurting badly. It felt as if someone was stabbing me with small knives right above my knee cap. I also started feeling as if I was congested, mucus built up in the back of my throat and in my nasal passages, and I started clearing it. During the ride home, my husband had to ask if I was going to get sick because I couldn't stop burping. My response "no, I'm just gassy!" By the time we got home, I had a stabbing headache, was extremely bloated (to the point where I looked and felt like I had regained all the weight I've lost in my stomach), started to get very tired and felt like crap! It was at this point that I really started to regret my decision to be "normal" for just one meal.

Note: Since I have noticed a decrease in joint pain since being on this diet, I assumed that either the gluten, casein or soy was causing an inflammation in my joints. Until I experienced this symptom within 30 minutes of eating, I hadn't been 100% convinced - I mean not every symptom I experience is related to my problems with these foods. But this one is clear.

During the night, even though I took 4 tums, I suffered from acid reflux (almost throwing up in my sleep). And vivid / terrible dreams. I also had extreme night sweats where I woke up with my hair drenched.

The next day brought on more symptoms: stomach pains, lack of energy, trips to the bathroom that almost cleared me out of the house, more headaches, loss of concentration, and just feeling like shit. What surprised me here was that I couldn't control my mood (even by working out which generally gives me a great feeling afterwards). I felt so out of control, I basically told my husband to leave me alone... I was irritated.... at him for saying "hi", at the people talking on the TV, by the way I felt. I couldn't stand it! To feel that out of control of your emotions is scary, and isn't very pleasant.

This brings me to today, two days after my gluten, casein, soy binge. I woke up feeling like I have a cold. I have an extremely sore throat, have been very lethargic all day (have taken 2 naps), have felt hot to the touch (but not feverish), feel muscle achy, and have been coughing off and on throughout the day. 

Interesting Note: A few days after I had my skin prick allergy test, which didn't show a skin reaction / anaphylaxis allergy, I came down with a sinus infection and bronchitis. Due to the way I'm feeling now, I think my assessment that my recurrent sinus infections and bronchitis were in part related to my diet is correct.

My symptoms are known to last up to a week after having any offending foods, so I am eating a very clean diet (with lots of veggies and water) trying desperately to heal the damage I just caused. I am also making sure my workouts are as intense as they can be, helping my body rid the toxins out of my body (although I didn't work out today). Here's hoping I don't have any more symptoms pop up.

But one thing is for sure. I have determined that I am normal.... even with all my food restrictions... and that I don't have to have the occasional indulgence prove this to myself any more, because the way I feel after I have these foods is NOT normal!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

20 weeks apparently is just "one of those days"

I have these types of days every so often. They are triggered by random events and by old routines.

What kind of day am I referring? Those where I just want to be "normal" again. Those where making food decisions isn't centered around what I have to avoid, but more of what I'm in the mood to enjoy.

Today seems especially rough. I think because in the past 20 weeks (to the day) I have only had 3 or 4 slip-ups. Times where I gave into my cravings, or my desire to be "normal." I always regretted my decision to veer off course - always. Enough to know that I remember the pain that I was in, or how awful I felt for a week after indulging. And, since my last "indulgence" and quest to be "normal", I decided that was my last. The pain and symptoms that I felt, far outweigh that desire.

Even though I've made that decision mentally, it still doesn't prevent me from having one of those days. After resisting all temptations a weekend, out-of-town wedding can offer (like cake), you would think I would be celebrating internally. Instead, I find myself resisting temptations to be "normal." It seems like all the commercials on TV are calling to me today... Pizza Hut pizza, Wendy's frosty, DQ's blizzard. Even the sub-par, over-cooked baked potatoes loaded with sour cream, butter, and cheese were calling my name at Sweet Tomato this afternoon during lunch.

But, even though I have had all these temptations dangled in my face, so close to reach within the past 3 days, I have finally done what I hoped I could do in the past but failed. I have resisted these temptations. And hopefully, I can celebrate this feat tomorrow, when I get over "one of those days."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

You finally got the hint, did ya... What took you so long?

So many ways to start this post - "Don't let the door hit you on the way out!", "It's not you, it's me - really", "I've had it! Get out!", "It's Over!"

Who would realize that I'm not talking about breaking up with a boyfriend, spouse, or friend, but about my weight... more specifically, the dreaded 200's!? About 5 years ago (give or take), I went over that dreaded number on the scale. It wasn't a number I ever thought I'd see in my lifetime. And worse yet, it wasn't because I was pregnant. I had already had several "this is my highest weight ever" moments and had tried everything to drop the pounds. I have done boot camps, quick weight loss, medically supervised diets, weight watchers, south beach, Adkins, etc. I would loose a few pounds, no more than 10, and then I would get sick (literally) and I would go back to my old habits.

What I didn't realize at the time, was that even though I was on diets and exercise programs where others had great success, I was still feeding my body poison. So, I would lose a few pounds because of the shock and the calorie restriction, but then my body would revolt on me.

The only program I remember following where I felt healthy, was a program by Marilu Henner (yes the actress) - The Total Health Makeover. It wasn't a diet per-say. It was a lifestyle change. It cut out whole food groups (dairy, sugar, red meat, alcohol) and foods that were highly processed (foods that contained additives, preservatives, chemicals you couldn't pronounce, etc). Naturally, I took things to the extreme, and if an ingredient of something contained dairy I wouldn't eat it. Basically, what happened, is that I cut out all dairy, and most gluten containing products (the later without realizing). Even though I only was able to follow this strict diet for about a month, it was this diet my husband always said I looked my best on (not in terms of weight loss, but in terms of how my face cleared up, my energy levels spiked, my eyes twinkled again, etc). What I didn't realize then, was that my body was telling me how I was supposed to be eating.

Flash forward 7 years.... Because I didn't have the patience or self-motivation to follow such a strict diet, I had ended up gaining more weight, and became more sickly. Some of the diets I followed, caused me to gain weight, not lose it. And of course, all the yo-yo'ing didn't help in this area. So, finally earlier this year, my weight topped out at 214.5 pounds - that's a hell of a lot for someone who is only 5 feet tall.

However, after finally making the commitment to take gluten, casein, and soy out of my diet, as well as add in exercise, I can finally say, that I've officially broken up with the 200's!!! Whoo-hoo!!! I had to wait a few weeks before declaring that I had finally kicked the b*stard out of my life, to make sure there wasn't going to be a rebound relationship. Thankfully, he's gone! He's taken the hint (about damn time)!!

So... I can finally say, that I'm finished with that abusive relationship. I'm finally on my way to making up with that strong and fit person I used to be (back in high school). It's going to take some time to make amends, but I took the first step by kicking the 200's out of my life. What a weight that's been lifted off my shoulders!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Annual Visits...

This isn't something that I thought I would ever blog about, but since this blog is about living not only with my food intolerances, but with PCOS here goes.

I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) in October 2002. To go into more detail from my first post, PCOS is an endocrine disorder that affects several aspects of your health and has many symptoms. Although everyone is different, the symptoms of PCOS include: overweight, acne, amenorrhea or anovulation (irregular menstrual cycles), hirsutism, mood swings, insulin resistance - leading to type 2 diabetes later in life, cysts (non-cancerous) on the ovaries (imagine an inverted golf ball), and infertility.

Even though I wasn't diagnosed until I was 28, I have suffered from symptoms since I was 11. Since then my "visits" have never been regular. Never, though, in my recollection, did I have more than 6 "visits" a year (this doesn't include the few years that I was on birth control pills). To have 6 "visits" a year, would have even been a blessing, as most were less than 5. There were several years, particularly, in the past 8 years, where I had to have progesterone induced cycles - meaning I had to take progesterone in pill form in order to induce a "visit" which are performed when you go more than 3 months without having a "visit" (and you're not pregnant).

As I'm sure you know, when you don't have regular "visits", it means you aren't ovulating - although, it doesn't mean that you ovulate everytime you have a "visit". So, as you can imagine, when you aren't having regular "visits" you aren't able to predict or time potential ovulation days - making trying to conceive a very stressful, tiring, and frustrating feat.

I was reading an article on PCOS when I discovered that 85% of PCOS patients have celiac, non-celiac gluten intolerance, or a gluten allergy. This, with my discovery that I could self-induce a "visit" by completely eliminating dairy from my diet, is what made me talk with my doctors about having food issues. Which lead me to discover that I had Non-Celiac Gluten, Casein and Soy Intolerance.

This brings me to the reason for this post.....   

I had my annual GYN appointment last week. I have a wonderful OB/GYN who has one thing on his mind... for my husband and I to get pregnant. With that in mind, he was ecstatic to find that my "visits" over the past year are becoming more regular. Although, I'm still not having a "visit" on the average 28 days cycle (meaning there's 28 days between the start of my last "visit" and the current one), my average is getting better - I'm somewhere around a 56 day cycle. And since February (when I finally committed to my GFCFSF lifestyle), my "visits" have become even more regular, almost becoming a monthly occurrence.

Of course, this makes for a very happy OB/GYN, and a happy patient. It proves that you have to keep tabs on your on health - always seeking for answers and working with your doctors with what you find. And it has made the dream of becoming a biological-Mom a realistic dream once again... with the possibility of doing things naturally, and not with fertility treatments.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Final Challenge Update

On February 21st, 2010, I made a commitment to finally start living a gluten-, casein-, and soy-free lifestyle. Up until then, I had tried to come to grips with my Non-Celiac Gluten, Soy and Casein Intolerance. I had run through all 7 phases of grief (for food) many times over during the past 13 months, even questioning the validity of the test and diagnosis myself. What I didn't realize when I started this challenge, was how ready I was to be fully committed to this lifestyle, and that this was the last time I'd be on the yo-yo train. It seems I finally made it to the final destination on that line.

So here I am, 72 days later, and I am finally on the right train. I'm finally starting to feel like my body is starting to heal. Of course, during these past 72 days, I have had 2 slip-ups - once for Mexican for our dating anniversary, and another to Chili's for their Chicken Ranch Sandwich for a PMS craving. Both of those "cheats" reinforced my diagnosis as my symptoms reappeared in various forms: heartburn, headaches, body aches (almost instantly), itchy skin & nose and scalp, fatigue, restless sleep, acne, mood swings, stomach aches, diarrhea and constipation (TMI, I know).... Some of these symptoms longer than a week. What came as an epiphany, was that's how I felt for many many years after eating, and I thought it was normal!!! I thought everyone felt like that after eating a meal (how was I wrong!)

During the challenge, I have learned that....
  • that there are plenty of options for meals, they are easy to prepare, and
  • the food we cook at home tastes so much better than what we were getting at restaurants
  • I can have cookies and desserts that taste just as good as the "poisonous" ones, without all the side effects
  • I am not alone... I have found more blogs, Facebook groups, and websites that have many others in my position
  • I love the way I feel when I'm not eating foods that cause me harm - I feel more energized and less "foggy"
  • hope of becoming a Biological-Mom is returning
Here were my goals when I started the Challenge, and the results....
  1. Kick my dependence and cravings for the offending foods - anything containing gluten, casein, and soy.  I'm almost there. I'm no longer craving the offending foods, but admit that occasionally I do crave something that's not on plan. However, I'm now either able to find a safe alternative or push through the craving all together.
  2. Lose 18 pounds - which is approximately 3 pounds per week. While I didn't achieve this goal, I did lose 6 pounds during the challenge. And I'm very happy about those 6 pounds - it's the first time in the past decade where I lost consistently - a pound a week.
  3. Incorporate exercise into my life once again - being able to workout 5-6 days a week. During the challenge I started working out again with fitness videos and trips to the gym. I am now 5 weeks into the P90X Lean Program and feeling great!
And my final stats....

Height: 5 foot, 1/2 inch (yes, I count this half-inch)
Starting Weight: 214.5
Current Weight: 205 (72 days after starting)
Weight Lost to Date: 9.5 pounds

So, can I say that my 6-week challenge was a success? Absolutely!!! I didn't post as much as I had committed, but the lack of posts didn't keep me from attaining my end goal of starting the healing process and finally coming to terms with my diagnosis.

I'll take feeling healthy and vibrant any day over a gluten-, casein-, soy-filled cupcake.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Awareness Month

Reading through websites and blogs today, I realized that May is National Celiac Awareness Month, as well as National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. I know that it seems that we've been inundated with awareness months - or days for that matter. Sometimes to the point of being detrimental. However, it does provide an opportunity to learn more about something you didn't know about, or have finally been introduced (be-it a diagnosis of your own, a family member, or friend).

Over the past 15 months, our household has been filled with learning, adjusting, and educating. I have had to learn to change my thought processes about food entirely, and I'm learning to cook completely different also. In addition to going through the 7 stages of grief (which I still go through often), I am learning to understand  what my diagnosis of food intolerances means for me, as well as those in my life: be it by choice, familial ties, or by accident. It's hard enough to cope and make adjustments when you're following a diet. But when you add in the component that eating something will make you sick, then things change a little. I have struggled with the fact that I am different than many of the people around me, and this will make things harder to deal with than in the past - such as family functions, lunch with co-workers, receptions, events, traveling, being able to be spontaneous, etc. But I have finally come to terms that this isn't a life sentence, but a new lease on life with lots of adventure, learning, and great food.

I can honestly say that my life has changed, for the better, during these past 15 months. And I just want to share and make you "aware" of how things are for those of us with food intolerances or allergies - to help answer the "what can you eat?" question, help expand the understanding (because I get a lot of questions), as well as bring you into my world, so to speak, and discover all the feelings of guilt, frustration, acceptance, but most importantly pleasure that I go through. Living a GFCFSF lifestyle by no means eating foods that taste like cardboard, or feeling deprived... it's just the opposite.

During the next 30 days, I will post something new that will give you a perspective into the life of someone who has food allergies, or intolerances - a recipe, product review, tip, etc. So welcome.... To Gluten, Casein, and Soy Intolerance Awareness Month where even chocolate chip cookies and pizza are still on the menu.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I am not F'ing Delusional !!!!

So, this post is going to be me venting about some deep rooted frustrations I have at the moment.

Back in December 2008, when I was diagnosed with an intolerance (allergy, sensitivity, whatever you wish to call it), to Gluten, Casein and Soy, I had a moment of "Great! Now I know what's been behind all my issues, including the one for not being able to become a Biological-Mom during these many many years." I was even met with some great support and words of encouragement, by the most important people in my life, as well as some surprising sources.

Quick Side Note: I had met with my Fertility Specialist, OB/GYN, and Primary Practitioner (who was concerned with the amount of times I was in his office each year for sinusitis and bronchitis.) And even though they didn't have the proper tools to test, they agreed that I need to be tested for Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance. I found the lab to do the tests, sent off my samples, received the results that it was not only Gluten and Casein, but also Soy - never expected the last one. Anyway... you may continue reading my rant now....

It's because of one of these past-supportive sources that I went to a GI - recommended, because "they know everything, they're an expert." However, what I was met with at the doctors office was a complete opposite reaction. Instead of having a doctor go through my symptoms, and truly listen to my complaints and to go through my results, I was met with something that caused a severe mental block to my desire to go forward and conquer.... he actually uttered the words "You're just delusional. But if it makes you feel better to not eat those foods, then that's all I can say. You're not Celiac" (I never mentioned I WAS!!! or that I had an inkling!! I already knew this because my Primary did his job and ran those blood tests!!) But that doctor left the room with me literally crying to his nurse practioner... trying to understand what just happened. A minute later, he screamed at his nurse to follow him because he needed her with another patient.

The next 12 months was met with me battling my truth. It was hard for me to commit, knowing that someone (who was supposed to be in a respectable / influential position) had called me DELUSIONAL!! It took me until this past February, a sprained ankle that took 8 months to heal, a horrific battle with the swine flu / severe bronchitis, another bout of a double ear infection, sinustis and bronchitis (all in 2 months), and other health issues for me to realize and come to terms that I am NOT DELUSIONAL!! And the more that I denied my findings and ingested the poisonous ingredients, the more my body would react and take longer in healing.

With that said, I have been 100% faithful to my program for 5 weeks now. I still have some great support, but the two support tiers that I need the most aren't there. They have followed the mentality of the doctor... that I am in fact delusional and that I am just on some fad diet to lose weight.

But you know what!? I don't need your f'ing support.... I have faith in myself, my creator, the doctors that have supported me and my test results, my other genuinely supportive people in my life and most importantly, my amazing husband. And with that, since you don't want to believe and trust in me, I can no longer surround myself with the negativity until I have mastered this DRASTIC lifestyle change... and undo 35 years of damage that those poisonous ingredients have caused me. So until then keep your invitations and delusions about me to yourself!

I am STRONG and I will learn to live with this....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

BEER: How I love thee.... (and it's GF)

I have never been a beer drinker. I enjoy my fruity drinks, and my Citron Vodka & tonics. Don't take me wrong. I have drunk beer in the past, but it's not my usual MO. With that, my favorite beer to date was Corona (I know, most people reading this would cringe at the fact that this is beer, but for me it was).

Now, having to go Gluten-free, I broke up officially with beer during our annual New Years (aka: reliving our college years when we could stay up all night playing drinking games) trip. It was the last time I had a beer, and I was sure that I was going to have to resort to drinking vodka & tonics for the rest of my life.

However, I just tried my first ever Redbridge - a fabulously wonderful concoction made by Anheuser-Busch. I liken it to a Strongbow, but not as fruity. Instead of barley, it uses a gluten-free product: Sorghum Hops.

As I finish my 2nd beer (ok, I admit 3/4 of the first beer went into my Irish Cabbage and Potato soup I made for St Paddy's Day),I figured I'd declare and announce my new love.... Here's to you Redbridge!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Challenge: Week Two Wrap-Up

I can't believe it's been a week since I've last posted something. I was supposed to post every couple of days during my challenge, but this week has been insanely busy (which is a good thing).

Last week I started back with my exercise program. I am working my way up to being back at CrossFit Addiction. Before I can get back there, I need to first find a job (urgh) and then make sure my endurance and strength is back to where it was before I injured myself. So, this week, with my wonderful workout partner (my husband) we started following CrossFit's Beginner program. I can't run due to previous ankle and knee injuries, but the elliptical has been a great replacement. I am also rotating into the schedule The Bar Method and Amy Bento's Kettlebell Dynamics Workouts (both on DVD).

Exercise Results for the Week: 4 days = 2 hours 32 minutes = 2431 calories burned

Support Groups and Speakers
While doing research last week, trying to find more blogs and recipe ideas, I discovered that Dr. Stephen Wangen was going to be in town. He was speaking at the Atlanta Metro Celiac Support Group (a chapter of the Gluten Intolerance Group) Saturday morning. So, naturally I grabbed my support (my husband) and we headed out to hear this expert speak. I have followed Dr. Wangen's blog for some time, and have found valuable information from him. So, to have the honor to hear him speak, and get a signed copy of his book "Healthier Without Wheat", was an honor, and something we couldn't pass up.

If you haven't heard of Dr. Stephen Wangen, he's worth the time to research. Here are some links....his blog... IBS Treatment Center... and the Center for Food Allergies.

I have done amazing on the program this week - even eating out twice this week. I have found that making meal plans for the week that include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks has been a HUGE tool to my success. The other was cleaning out the refrigerator of anything remaining that was not safe.

Recap and Stats
So here's a recap of the week....
  • All of my meals, including the ones I had at Joe's Crab Shack and Longhorn Steakhouse, have been free of any gluten, soy and casein
  • I am doing amazingly great without caffeine. I've had a few headaches, but they are improving.
  • My water intake has improved greatly since last week. I am hitting my 64 ounce mark everyday, and starting to surpass that amount, making my way to the 72-100 ounces I have as my daily goal.
  • As the first part of my post states... I was able to start exercising again this week, and I'm having great results.
  • And... I lost another 2 pounds!!!!
And an update of my stats...

Height: 5 foot, 1/2 inch (yes, I count this half-inch)
Starting Weight: 214.5
Current Weight: 210.5
Weight Lost to Date: 4 pounds
Starting BMI: 41.9 (ouch!!!)
Current BMI: 41.1
BMI Change to Date: down .8 points
Pants Size: 18-22
Shirt Size: XL, 1X or 14-16

I feel like I have made great strides this week. I have learned more, and am finally feeling a peace settle through me. And that is a pretty amazing feeling.

So with that... Here's to continuing on my journey to become a Healthier, Stronger, Skinnier version of myself (basically rediscovering who I used to be).

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Challenge: Week One Wrap-up

This post comes a few days past the end of the Week 1, but has lots of successes none-the-less.

Back on February 22nd, I made a commitment and challenge to myself to start living within the confines of my intolerances to certain foods: gluten, casein, and soy. I've made this commitment several times to myself, but something was always holding me back. Even though I would feel much better, it always seemed I struggled - even with the gusto of the beginnings of a new week, and a new chance. This time things seemed different.

I felt more empowered, felt like I finally had the support and resources I needed, and a determination to finally claim my life and my health back from the things that hold me hostage: the exhaustion, the headaches, the sicknesses, the pains, the uncertainty of not being able to be a biological-Mom, and even worse the hope and faith that I was starting to lose what my heart desires most.

So, after making a my declaration on Facebook and embarrassingly admitting what I currently weigh, I embarked on my journey. Now a week into my journey, this is how things are going....
  •  All of my meals, including the one I had at Ted's Montana Grill, have been free of any gluten, soy and casein
  • I was able to cut out caffeine 3 days earlier than I had originally intended
  • My water intake needs some major improving. There were many days where I didn't get in the base minimum water (64 ounces), much less what I need to have on a daily basis to support my weight and exercise habits
  • Due to debilitating headaches that I suffered from the initial detoxing, I didn't get any exercise into my routines
  • And... I lost 2 pounds!!!! 
Update of my stats...

Height: 5 foot, 1/2 inch (yes, I count this half-inch)
Starting Weight: 214.5
Current Weight: 212.5
Weight Lost to Date: 2 pounds
Starting BMI: 41.9 (ouch!!!)
Current BMI: 41.5
BMI Change to Date: down .4 points
Pants Size: 18-22
Shirt Size: XL, 1X or 14-16

There is still much to improve on, but I feel like I have a solid foundation now to continue on with this journey. The next few weeks will have it's challenges, but I feel that those challenges will be more positive than negative, and that with those challenges, I'll see great success.

So with that... Here's to becoming continuing on my journey to become a Healthier, Stronger, Skinnier version of myself (basically rediscovering who I used to be).

Friday, February 26, 2010

Challenge: Week 2 Meal Plan

The meal plan was created with inspiration from The Paleo Diet by Loren Corden, PhD ©2002 Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated. All meals are gluten, casein, and soy free (GFCFSF). Please make sure you pay attention to food labels when shopping.

Recipes will be posted as soon as possible.


Sunday, February 28
Breakfast: 1/2 Cantaloupe Stuffed with Blackberries & Pecans
Lunch: Spinach Salad a la Cordani and Orange Sections
Dinner: Chicken Vegetable Soup, Marinated Mushrooms, Omega Meatballs, and Banana Pear Ambrosia
Snacks: Leftovers (muffins are great for Chocolate fix by this point) 

Monday, March 1
Breakfast: Pork Chop and Whole Fruit Smoothie
Lunch: Ian's Fish Sticks and Chips
Dinner: Tossed Green Salad, Meatloaf, and Steamed Asparagus
Snacks: Lara bar

Tuesday, March 2
Breakfast: Banana-Chocolate Chip Muffin & Banana
Lunch: Sole Simmered in White Wine Sauce and Steamed Zucchini, Side Salad
Dinner: Italian Chicken, Steamed Cauliflower & Broccoli
Snacks: Puppy Chow (recipe will follow)

Wednesday, March 3
Breakfast: Apple and Pork Chop
Lunch: Chicken Fajitas with Onions & Peppers, Mexi-Rice, Garden of Eden Refried Beans, Anaheim Salsa
Dinner: Leftover Meatloaf, Tossed Salad, and Steamed Asparagus
Snacks: Open - needs to be GFCFSF

Thursday, March 4
Breakfast: Whole Fruit Smoothie & Scrambled Basil Eggs with Anaheim Salsa 
Lunch: Broiled Tilapia and Steamed Broccoli
Dinner: Marinated Mushrooms, Altadena Baked Chicken, Stuffed Squash and Baked Apples
Snacks: Chocolate Chip Muffins

Friday, March 5
Breakfast: Whole Fruit Smoothie
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Open - Restaurant that serves GFCFSF meals - Joe's Crab Shack
Snack: Leftovers

Saturday, March 6
Breakfast: Eggs, Pancakes and Grits
Lunch: Snacks - Go Grocery Shopping for week
Dinner: BBQ Sante Fe Pork Chops with Salsa & Honey Dew Melon
Snacks: Apple and Almond Butter

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chicken Vegetable Soup

This recipe has been adapted from the "Chicken Vegetable Soup" recipe in The Paleo Diet by Loren Corden, PhD ©2002 Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated.

Serves: 3

2 cups water
1 cup organic chicken broth (gluten and soy free)
1 chicken breast, diced into large bite sized pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 tomatoes, diced (roma is fine to use)
1 small zucchini, sliced thin and halved
1 large carrot, diced

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine water, chicken broth, chicken breast, garlic, onion, bay leaf and pepper.
  2. Bring to boil.
  3. Reduce heat, cover, and then simmer for 1.5 hours (or until chicken is tender).
  4. Remove bay leaf and discard.
  5. Add zucchini, tomatoes, and carrots and bring to boil.
  6. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes (or until vegetables are tender).

Stuffed Zucchini

This recipe has been adapted from the "Stuffed Zucchini" recipe in The Paleo Diet by Loren Corden, PhD ©2002 Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated.

1/2 Tbsp olive or canola oil
1/2 red onion
1 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb lean ground beef (or ground turkey)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
3 medium tomatoes, dice (roma is fine)
1/4 cup sliced black olives (rinsed) - optional
1 large zucchini, cut lengthwise
1/2 Tbsp flaxseed oil

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut zucchini lengthwise, and scrape seeds from each half, forming a cavity.
  3. Rub zucchini with flaxseed oil, and then place in baking dish.
  4. In a medium sized saucepan, heat oil.
  5. Sautee onion and garlic until browned.
  6. Add ground beef, black pepper, cayenne pepper and cumin - cook on low heat until browned.
  7. Combine meat mixture (drain if there is a lot of juice) into bowl with tomatoes and black olives (if using).
  8. Spoon into zucchini halves.
  9. Cover dish with aluminum foil, place in oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until zucchini is tender.

Roast Chicken Spinach Wrap

This recipe is great for if you have Roast Chicken leftovers.

Serves: 2
2 Sandwich Petals* - flavor of choice (Agave Grain, Spinach Garlic Pesto, or Chimayo Red Chile)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Handful Spinach
2 Stalks Asparagus, chopped
6 ounces Roast Chicken (can be served cold or reheated)

  1. In a small skillet heat olive oil
  2. Saute garlic, spinach and asparagus for about 3-5 minutes (enough to heat everything)
  3. Reheat Chicken - about 30 seconds in microwave if reheating
  4. Heat Sandwich Petal in microwave for about 15 seconds
  5. Layer ingredients in Sandwich Petal and  then roll
  6. Enjoy!
Sandwich Petals are a mostly Allergen Free (No Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Peanut, Tree Nut, Shellfish, or Soy) flatbread (kinda like tortillas) that are blended from corn, flax, sesame, buchwheat, brown rice, sorghum, millet, quinoa, teff, and amaranth. They can be used in a variety of ways, such as: lasagna, sandwiches, burritos, enchiladas, desserts, and panini's. They can be purchased online here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Zucchini Soup

This recipe has been adapted from "Zucchini Soup" recipe in The Paleo Diet by Loren Corden, PhD ©2002 Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 quarts water
2 Tbsp dried basil
2 Tbsp dried parsley
2 Tbsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp black pepper
2 cups carrots, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
2 cups zucchini, chopped
2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

  1. Chop all ingredients, setting aside ingredients into the following groupings (will add ingredients in different time intervals)
    • onion & garlic
    • basil, parsley, thyme & pepper
    • carrots & celery
    • zucchini
    • tomatoes and fresh parsley
  2. Heat olive oil and saute onion and garlic
  3. Bring water to a boil and add sauteed onion, garlic, basil, parsley, thyme, and pepper.
  4. Lower heat and simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Add carrots and celery, continue to simmer for another 1/2 hour.
  6. Add Zucchini, continue to simmer for another 20 minutes
  7. Add tomatoes, and fresh parsley simmer for 10 minutes
  8. Remove from heat and serve immediately
This recipe omits the 2 cups of cooked chopped beef, chicken or pork the original recipe lists. If using this as a main dish, you can add the cooked meat to the soup at the same time as the sauteed garlic, onion, parsley, thyme, and pepper.

Slow-Cooked NY Strip Steak w/ Salsa

This recipe has been adapted from "Slow-Cooked Veal with Salsa" recipe in The Paleo Diet by Loren Corden, PhD ©2002 Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated.

1 pound NY Strip Steak, sliced
Salsa - set 2 cups aside (recipe below)

2-3 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3-4 Tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Combine ingredients for the salsa, set aside.
Cut steak into strips (if not already done).
In a crock pot, layer the slices of steak, cover with 2 cups salsa - refrigerate remaining salsa.
Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.
Remove from pot, and cover with remaining salsa before serving

Challenge: Days 3 & 4

I'm into Day 4 of the 6-Week Challenge now and starting to feel better. Headache is finally gone - which lasted a good 3 days. My energy levels are also starting to slightly improve, so hopefully the days having to nap during the day to be functional are going to be long gone shortly. But before I go any further, here's how the past few days have gone.

I woke up Tuesday hopeful that my headache had finally subsided; however less than 30 minutes after getting up, it was there, in full force. Although I was able to stick with the food rules, I found myself munching, munching, and munching all day long - that is when I wasn't sleeping. My energy levels were extremely low today so I found myself taking 2 naps (ouch)! Obviously, I haven't gotten any exercise in this week, so I'll need to step it up in the next day or two - this should help with my detoxing and low energy levels.

Breakfast: Whole Fruit Smoothie
Lunch: Roasted Chicken Wrap and tortilla chips
Dinner: Ian's Turkey Dogs and french fries
Snacks throughout day: Prunes (4), Chocolate Chips (Enjoy Life - GFCFSFNFEF), 123GlutenFree Pumpkin Spice Bars, peanut butter, Bubbie's Pickles
Evening Snack: Rice Chex with Rice Milk

Results: GFCFSF all day, only got in 64 ounces of water, took prenatal, didn't exercise

As I stated at the beginning of this post, things are starting to go well. I have finally conquered the nagging headache that I had for 3 days. I'm starting to feel like my energy levels are starting to improve. However, with these small improvements, come the next phase of detox... moodswings (I go through this every time, which is why it's imperative that by the end of these 6-weeks I am officially a GSCFSF princess!) I find myself snapping at my husband - hopefully I can learn to manage these, and use the built up emotions to organize the house, exercise or something else so I do snap.

Breakfast: tablespoon of peanut butter and Whole Fruit Smoothie
Lunch: Broiled Cod, Steamed Cauliflower, and 1/2 apple
Dinner: Slow-cooked NY Strip with Salsa and Zucchini Soup 

Results: GFCFSF all day, 64 ounces of water, took prenatal, did not exercise.

As I'm documenting the past few days, I know it's evident that I am off the Meal Plan that I posted. However, I am ensuring that all the snacks and meals meet the requirements of No Gluten, No Casein, and No Soy.

Modifications for next few days: Over the next few days, I need to get back onto the Planned Meal Plan. The meal plan ensures that I'm getting a good balance of fruits, vegetables, and meats and not substituting a lot of corn-based or over-processed products.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Challenge: Week 1 Meal Plan

The meal plan was created with inspiration from The Paleo Diet by Loren Corden, PhD ©2002 Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated. All meals are gluten, casein, and soy free (GFCFSF). Please make sure you pay attention to food labels when shopping.

Recipes will be posted as soon as possible.

Sunday, February 21
Breakfast: Apple and GF Grits
Lunch: Ian's Chicken Patty Wrap and Lay's potato Chips
Dinner: Open because I didn't go grocery shopping

Monday, February 22
Breakfast: Whole Fruit Smoothie and Broiled Pork Chop
Lunch: Ian's Fish Fillet (Allergen-Free) with GF Tortilla Chips
Dinner: Altamira Stuffed Chicken with Ratatouille
Snacks: Walnuts and Raisins

Tuesday, February 23
Breakfast: Raspberries with Walnuts and Broiled Pork Chop
Lunch: Spinach Salad, Broiled Sole, Steamed Cauliflower, and Apple
Dinner: Zucchini Soup and Slow-Cooked Steak with Salsa
Snacks: Mango and Non-salted Macadamia Nuts

Wednesday, February 24
Breakfast: Smoothie and Leftover Steak
Lunch: Gingery Chicken and Veggies, Tomato/Black Olive Green Salad with Anaheim Cilantro Salsa Dressing
Dinner: Eggs & Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Snacks: Apples and Pecans

Thursday, February 25
Breakfast: Bowl of diced apples, shredded carrots, and raisins with Leftover Chicken
Lunch: Roast Chicken Spinach Wrap and Handful Almonds
Dinner: Tossed Green Salad, Broiled Halibut with lemon juice and dill, Steamed Asparagus, Sliced Kiwi & Orange
Snacks: Anything leftover

Friday, February 26
Breakfast: Whole Fruit Smoothie and Broiled Pork Chop
Lunch: Anything leftover
Dinner: Tomato & Cucumber wedges, Stuffed Zucchini, Chopped pecans and raspberries
Snacks: Apple slices with Almond Butter

Saturday, February 27
Breakfast: Sliced Bananas, Strawberries and Walnuts
Lunch: Chicken Vegetable Soup and Salad
Dinner: Tacos, Refried Beans and Mexi-Rice
Snacks: Leftovers

Challenge: Days 1 & 2

So today wasn't the best of days. I was able to stay on program until about dinner. However, because I had a nagging headache for most of the day, I never made it to the grocery store, so we didn't have anything to eat for dinner. So, my husband and I (who has decided to take part in this challenge) went out to Moe's for dinner - which really didn't help my headache, but reiterated the reason why I so desperately need to get back on track.

After Moe's we attempted to do our grocery shopping at superTarget - bad mistake, as all the fruits and vegetables on the list either not there, or were almost to the point of being bad.

Results: Able to stick to GFCFSF until dinner, didn't take my prenatal, and didn't have the allotted 84-100 ounces of water.

Monday morning came after an extremely fitful night of sleep, which early morning thunderstorms seemed to only make worse. I had set my alarm for 7:30am so that we could get up and get to the gym first thing to start off the day right. The plan was I would go to Whole Foods so we could have everything we needed for the day and week. But this plan was squelched again.

When the alarm sounded, I reset it for an hour later thinking another hour of sleep is what I needed. How was I wrong - my headache was still there from Sunday, but this time, it was turning into more than just a headache. So I took some Advil, drank a little water, and headed back to bed for another 2 hours. This time when I woke, my headache was worse... on the verge of becoming a migraine. But because I had already taken Advil, I couldn't take anything else. So I just laid on the couch, wishing for it to go away. But by lunch it was evident it wasn't going to budge, so my wonderful husband offered to do the grocery shopping and I stayed home, had lunch, more Advil and water, and took it easy (stayed off the computer as much as possible, not watching a lot of TV... non-brain stimulating things).

As bad as my day started, it finally started getting better around 6pm. And even with all the pain, I have managed to stay true to the challenge. So hopefully this will start the healing process and make tomorrow a better day.

Breakfast: 2 prunes
Snacks, various throughout day: peanut butter, GFCFSF pumpkin spice bars,
Lunch: Ian's Fish fillet and tortilla chips
Dinner: Altamira Stuffed Chicken & Ratatouille

Results: GFCFSF all day, only got in 64 ounces of water, and missed prenatal at lunch so took it during dinner.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Challenge: And We're Off....

Today I begin my 6-week Challenge. I haven't gone grocery shopping yet, so I'll be rummaging through my pantry, freezer and refrigerator for breakfast and lunch. I have options that are safe, so I should be fine until dinner. After I publish this post, I'll finalize my meal plan for the week, do a last look at the grocery list, and then head out to conquer the grocery store. The hardest part of today is going to be getting in the 84-100 ounces of water, as I haven't been getting in enough water daily. So, for the next few days I'll feel as if I need to be hooked up to an IV and catheter.

I am really excited to start back on my program. Yesterday, as with the past few months, I ate whatever I wanted. I didn't go overboard, as I usually do when I'm about to start a new diet or program, nor did I stuff myself to exploding. But when I got home from spending the day in Helen, Dahlonega, and Marietta with my best friend, I felt like I had a stomach bug. During the night, it felt as if someone was stabbing knives into my side and stomach, where at one point I couldn't even move from the pain. Thankfully, this morning the pain and nausea is gone, but I feel like I'm suffering from a food hangover - sluggish, exhausted like I didn't get any sleep, dehydrated, headache just below the surface trying to break through, body achy and stuffy - basically, the way I feel everyday.

Starting Stats.... Yes, as much I can't believe I am about to post these numbers, I'm more appalled that these numbers are real. But by documenting this journey, maybe I can stay on plan through and past this challenge. So here goes everything I can put into this....

Height: 5 foot, 1/2 inch (yes, I count this half-inch)
Starting Weight: 214.5
BMI: 41.9 (ouch!!!)
Pants Size: 18-22
Shirt Size: XL, 1X or 14-16

And with that embarrassing, reality hitting declaration....Here's to becoming a Healthier, Stronger, Skinnier version of my current self.

Friday, February 19, 2010

6-Week Challenge

To recommit, I am starting a 6-Week Challenge. This challenge is something I've created for myself for the sole purpose of becoming healthy once again, and hopefully to achieve my ultimate goal of becoming pregnant (after 8 years of trying).

Challenge will begin on: Sunday, February 21
Challenge will end on: Sunday, April 3 (Easter)

Here are my GOALS for the next 6 weeks:
  1. Kick my dependence and cravings for the offending foods - anything containing gluten, casein, and soy.
  2. Lose 18 pounds - which is approximately 3 pounds per week
  3. Incorporate exercise into my life once again - being able to workout 5-6 days a week
Here are the CHALLENGE RULES for the next 6 week:
  1. No Gluten
  2. No Soy
  3. No Casein
  4. No Caffeine after Week 1 - gradually reduce
  5. Drink 84-100 ounces of water per day
  6. Limit of 5 meals a week that contain "safe" grains, rice, starches and beans (i.e. gluten free oatmeal, desserts)
  7. Take a prenatal vitamin daily that is also GFCFSF (gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free)
  8. Exercise 4 times a week, plus one day of pilates/yoga/ballet-type workout to stretch muscles
  9. Must post in blog at least every other day to keep self accountable
  10. Must weigh-in on blog 1 time per week (can't weigh in more than once a week)
You are welcome to join in at any time and feel free to post your results in the comments.

Here's to becoming a Healthier, Stronger, Skinnier version of myself (basically rediscovering who I used to be).

A yo-yo I will no longer be...

Almost 2 years ago I went on a mission to determine the root cause of my PCOS, headaches, psoriasis and eczema that had popped up on my face after a mild sunburn, fatigue, mental fogginess, mood swings, inability to lose weight easily (gained 20lbs in a 2 month boot camp with nutritionist support), multiple sinus / bronchial / viral infections, and constant injuries (7 broken bones in a 10 year period).

Fortunately for me, I found my answer within 6 months - an article on PCOS indicated that an OB/GYN did research on her PCOS patients and found that 80% of them had either an allergy or intolerance to gluten. Doing more research, I discovered there are multiple scientific studies trying to prove this link. So I took this information to my fertility specialist, my primary, and my ob/gyn and they all agreed I exhibited the symptoms of food intolerance - especially considering I could bring on my cycle within a 2-week period just by completely eliminating dairy from my diet (previously, I would go 3-4 months between cycles to then have a prescription for progesterone).

After being tested, I was diagnosed with Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance, as well as intolerances to casein (protein found in bovine milk) and soy. You would have thought this is what I needed to change my life... Well, almost! In the past 18 months since being diagnosed I have done more yo-yo dieting than I have my entire life. I'll eliminate the offending foods for a month (no more) and something will happen where I'll fall off... and I'll fall off hard.

But things have to change! In the past 10 months I have... had several sinus / bronchial infections, H1N1, a level 1 sprained ankle that took over six months to heal, and have started to lose hope and faith that being a mom is in my future.

This brings me to this week. I have made alot of decisions, written down goals for myself, and decided to turn this adventure into a challenge - since I can't continue to go through the emotional ups and downs of trying to conceive and have a family, I am setting a time line. If I can not get pregnant by the age of 37 (which will be in 18 months) through aggressive changes to my diet (to account for my food intolerance) and fitness routine; and with the help of my doctors, then I will be content with that fact that having biological children are not in my and my husband's future.

So... as the title of this post states: "A yo-yo I will no longer be". I am beginning my journey with 100% commitment, heart, faith, hope, and a full belief in God that I will become a strong and healthy Mom!

To be continued... 6-week Challenge

The Makings of a Family | Desenvolvido por EMPORIUM DIGITAL