10 things that have changed since going gluten and dairy-free

I hate running.

Making muscles on the back porch

Making muscles on the back porch

This afternoon I went for a run and didn’t hate it.  In fact, I liked it.  I ran longer and faster than I have in double-digit years.  As I made my way past tomato stands and cornfields in rural Pennsylvania I couldn’t help but attribute it to my recent elimination diet and resulting gluten and dairy-free lifestyle.

When I first approached my doctor with the idea of being gluten intolerant 4 years ago  she scoffed, said it was just a fad, and waved off my question. At that point, I was less direct and didn’t pursue it further.  Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, I’ve changed and she’s no longer my doctor.  My history with food is pretty busted. I’ve written about it at length here, see Related Posts below for more. After feeling off my game for years, I decided to try a gluten-free elimination diet/cleanse of sorts. I’m in love with Rebecca Wood’s, revamped, book, The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia. It’s not a diet book. It’s not a cure-all. It’s information.  I’m in love with information and I want it to be my baby daddy.  The book is just what it calls itself, an encyclopedia about whole foods. Not the over-priced market, Whole Foods but the plants that grow out of the ground you’re supposed to eat.  I learned all about new plants and even picked up a few recipes.  I was able to find any ingredient I needed at my local co-op.  Look for one in your city. They’re worth it.  My life has changed since going gluten and dairy free. Here’s how.

  1. Energy: I’m anemic, I have Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD), Polycystic Ovaries, Lactose Intolerance, I have allergies that rival Bubble Boy’s, and I’m an educator starting 3 companies simultaneously.  My body is put through its paces regularly.  I assumed that all those issues were the reason I was so tired. Cutting out gluten and dairy reset my body to “normal” and I’m no longer fighting “the itis” or ethnic fatigue.  I feel like my body came back to me.
  2. Waist size: 3 or more inches have disappeared from my waist. It might be weight loss, but I think it’s bloat. Probably both. I was constantly gassy and bloated. My clothes rarely felt comfortable and I  never felt completely empty even if I was famished.  My midsection is notably smaller.  I’ve also stopped farting like a frat boy after drinking PBR.
  3. No joint pain: After I stopped skating derby I started seeing a physical therapist.  My hip was hurting and my ankle quickly followed.  She gave me exercises and the pain started to go away.  I attributed it to the exercises, but I noticed that the pains came back after I’d been “glutened.” My joint pain has disappeared. It doesn’t hurt to move.
  4. No more insomnia:  I have a history of my body hating me.  That would manifest itself in the form of 3am wake ups after midnight fall asleeps. That’s no longer the case. I often arise with the sun if I’ve gone to bed at a decent hour.  More importantly, I sleep for 7-8 hours regularly and awake feeling refreshed and excited to get my day started.
  5. Wheezing: I was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma a few years ago. I attributed it to being out of shape. My Ear Nose and Throat Doctor said it was asthma and prescribed an inhaler.  I filled the prescription once and then never again.  If my breathing became labored I would just stop the exercise until my lungs stopped punching me in the chest.  Since cutting out gluten and dairy I can run for at least 1-2 miles without encountering labored breathing. Even then, there’s no mucous, and I don’t end up bent over fighting for air.  It’s nice.
  6. Weight loss: Of course. It just seems like a natural progression. If one cuts out breads and cheeses (the only meat I eat is fish) they’re bound to lose weight.
  7. Uncontrollable Cravings: My current doctor (and physician soulmate) prescribed (or rather suggested) I start taking digestive enzymes after I told her how I CRAVED sweets and bread.  I don’t mean, “Oh, I could go for a piece of chocolate.” I mean I’d be sitting in my apartment feel the craving and somehow find myself teleported to Safeway with a basket full of Spicy Nacho Doritos, sugary drinks, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, Snickers, and whatever else I stumbled upon. It was bad, folks.  I took the enzymes for awhile.  I’ve since stopped.  The cravings have also stopped. Also things taste different. Processed food has started tasting…well…gross.
  8. No itchy Skin: For the longest time I thought I had lice. It felt like there were flies on random parts of my body.  This might be a result of my recent trip to Morocco where there were literally flies on me all the time, but I doubt it. The itch has gone away and I’m grateful.
  9. Mood swings: I’m pretty even-keeled at this point. Granted, I’m not as stressed as I was previously.  Well, at least I’m not stressed in the same way.  My grandfather is still dying. I’m a new entrepreneur. My salary technically makes me impoverished. I’m writing and acting in a one-woman play that goes up in 8 months. But I’m not snapping at people. My emotions aren’t all over the place.  I feel like….a person.  I’m different.
  10. Pooping:  It used to be weird. Now it’s not. I’ll leave it at that. 🙂

This is not a post to convince you that you should eliminate gluten or dairy.  If I could go back I would jump buck naked into that pool with the quickness.  I can’t though. My body has been sending me messages for years. Things like poverty, lack of knowledge, and plain ol’ stubbornness have preventing me from hearing them.  I’m walking away from this experience feeling like I have more control over my health than I previously believed.  That’s what I’d like you to take away from this experience.  Your have more control over your well-being than you think.

Related Posts:

Emotional Eating

Body Image

Fasting and Babysitting Leads to Reconciliation

Pooping

Sugar Cravings in an Athletic Woman

Still wheat free…kind of.

Last night I sneezed like I’d put my bed in a field of pollen and licked a cat hair lollipop.

Earlier in the day I made lentil walnut burgers that came out with too much liquid.  What does one do to absorb liquid? You add breadcrumbs.  In my case, I should’ve added gluten-free breadcrumbs, but I didn’t. I didn’t have any in the house. Plus I’m on a budget and didn’t want to and couldn’t walk to the store in time to get them and get back to watch my grandad. So I just tossed them in there thinking, “No big deal.”

It was a big deal.  Shortly thereafter, I started to sneeze. A lot.  I’ve had these fits often in the past.  I always thought they were just random allergy attacks even though I was on allergy medicine.  I’ve had them twice since on this gluten-free elimination test that Rebecca Wood suggests.  Both times align with accidental (sorta) ingestion of wheat.  So I’m going to continue to eat wheat/gluten-free to see if that’s really the case.  I also haven’t consumed any dairy since this test began.  I feel great, for the most part. The Cheetos cravings are getting crazy, but so has my life.  It’s hard to walk away, but I do.  They wouldn’t even be here except there’s a teenage boy in the house and I have no control over what he eats. So, they’re here. To tempt me.

I’m in the process of cooking some staple foods to make sure that I have pieces of recipes ready when meal times arrive.  It’s easier to toss some vegetables and seasonings in a pan when most of the work is done.  Overall this is difficult. It’s been a stressful week, but I’m thriving in spite of its events.  That’s nice. At least one thing that’s going well is how my body feels. I like that. I can’t control the events that occur outside of myself. I can, however control what I put into my body to fuel it.

** Side note, as I was tagging this post my grandad — who is having one of his bad days– came into the kitchen.  He wanted to know where I’d been since I left with that man last night.  I told him that I’d never left and that after I said goodnight to him I went downstairs and went to sleep.  He said, “Ok. You know that you shouldn’t be with a man who will beat you up.”  The rambling continued and I got increasingly sad.  He’s not the person I knew. He’s fading and it’s sad.  Being here with my grandfather makes me very sad.

The reluctant gluten-free vegetarian

Alright y’all, I’m LOSING it.  Its 5am I haven’t been to sleep all night because I was up watching, “Orange is the New Black” on Netflix (bomb), painting, and “cleaning.”  My stomach is rumbling and my head hurts. My hips and ankles are sore and I keep clenching my teeth even though I basically shattered a molar two months ago.  Being in Morocco was an exercise in controlled starvation.  Let’s just say there were a lot of potatoes and white bread involved.  I will not deny the presence of Pringles as well.  When I returned to the States I craved vegetables.  That’s all I wanted to eat. Veggies. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. I regained some of the weight I’d lost, but I felt better.

I’ve never wanted to be vegan. If that were a choice I had to make it would be for health reasons and not ethical ones. I’m lactose intolerant. I rarely eat meat.  When I do, it’s seafood. Now I think I may have a problem with gluten.  Seriously?! This is getting ridiculous. There has to be something behind my joint pain, stomach cramps, weird cravings, head aches, and SERIOUS allergies.  That’s why I’m eliminating gluten, dairy, and meat. I will still e eating eggs. They’re not actually dairy, just an animal byproduct.

I’ve been thinking about going gluten-free since 2009.  A co-worker of mine and his family were gluten-free and pretty much had me convinced to do it then. I didn’t.  So when I came back from Morocco, I figured this was as good a time as any.  My stomach was basically empty anyway.  I’m also planning to do a juice fast a la “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead,” but first things first.  It doesn’t feel right starve my body of basic nutrients by being in a veggie dessert for a month to then fast on only fresh squeezed juice for 60 days.  So I’d like to balance my system by going on a 21-day gluten-free elimination diet. If that goes well and answers some questions then I probably won’t fast for 2 months. I’ll still fast though.  Fasting clears my head and centers my spirit.  Plus, I think it will help me address some of the questions I have about food related allergies.  It will also allow me to get a better result from introducing and eliminating problematic foods. I just want to feel better.

While visiting a friend in Oregon I went shopping for the basic grains and goodies at Trillium Natural Grocer in Lincoln City, Oregon.  There aren’t any food co ops near my home in Georgia so my friend suggested I mail things home.  I did.  That shopping trip cost me $200+. Mailing the package cost another $69.  I know. I know! I got excited. Bulk food shopping is a spiritual experience for me.  I bought enough short grain brown rice (it’s the business, y’all!) to last me for like 6 months.  I bought a bunch of quinoa as well.  Copious amounts. In the end I felt good about my purchases.  Quinoa here in the suburbs of Atlanta is about $6.79 a pound and I think I paid $3 -$4 at Trillium.  In Seattle, I’ve paid as little as $1.79 for a pound so nothing beats those prices.  As I type that I feel IMMENSELY guilty about how the surge of interest in foods like quinoa in the United States is making it nearly impossible for residents of small towns where the quinoa is sourced to afford this common food. And still I buy it.

Overall, I’ve set myself up for a successful gluten-free journey.  In my package I included gluten-free flours, mixes, and oats as well as other grains.  I had to grab some groceries when I got here so I’d have something to eat while waiting for my food bundle of joy to arrive from Oregon. I wanted to try new grains and I’ve never eaten barley so I got excited and bought some. Weeellllll, for those of you that know anything about gluten, barley is NOT gluten-free. It’s like the epitome of gluten.  Soooo, I’ve been super gassy and my stomach has been bloated and crampy for the past 48 hours.  Whoops. Experience is the name we give our mistakes, right?

My package should get here on Tuesday and in the meantime I’ll be eating gluten-free by cooking with veggies, nuts, fruit and whatever else I can find.  If you have any suggestions or similar experiences I’d love to hear them. I need some serious help, family!

Pooping

I just pooped, wiped, looked at the toilet paper in my hand and didn’t know what to do with it.

I spent the last 30 days pooping and peeing in Turkish Toilets — for the most part. In my hotel rooms there were western toilets with Turkish expectations.  This is a Turkish toilet.

Turkish Toilet

Thanks shwiya b shwiya blog!

I’ve used them before when I traveled in Eastern Asia.  The difference now, however, is that in Morocco (and probably Turkey, but I wouldn’t know because I’ve never been) you don’t put the toilet paper in the hole. You fold it in on itself and put it in a wastepaper basket where it sits until someone takes out the garbage.  In my small village, when the garbage was taken out, it went to a larger container that sat in the bushes near cherry trees and the water source.  Just because it’s out of the house doesn’t mean it’s out of your life.

I enjoy using Turkish Toilets. The squatting position is better for your system and just feels great. I love pooping in the woods because it combines the prime squat position with a beautiful view. That’s the life right there, y’all.  I didn’t love pooping in Turkish toilets because the smell from the wastepaper basket, or merely the knowledge that it’s there, is distracting. I just wanted to poop in a smell free poop free environment.

My pooping in Morocco was disjointed.  When Moroccans found out that I was a vegetarian they’d laugh — because they thought it was a joke– and then they’d ask if that meant I ate lamb…or chicken… or fish. Seriously.  If you say in Darija, “I don’t eat meat.” You also have to explain that you don’t eat fish, chicken, turkey, or lamb. It’s quite a process. Even then, me not eating meat meant I ate a crap ton of potatoes with a few carrots.  At one point I sat back and recollected on my food consumption for the day. “You know what?” I said to my co instructors. “I had a hard-boiled egg and bread for breakfast. Now I’m having a hard-boiled egg and bread for dinner. The hell is going on?”  That was pretty much the extent of my food options. Bezzaf (a lot) of Khobs (bread). Granted, we convinced Mama Fatima to make us lentil soup and frites (french fries) for lunch and it was so good we asked for it every day.  We didn’t always get it, but we asked.  I think she felt bad preparing us the same lunch so she tried to vary it.  If only she knew that I could have eaten that for 3 meals a day and been absolutely fine. The lack of vegetables in my diet led to me feeling clogged up or uncomfortable for most of my days.  We often had to request watermelon (dluh-h) and cherries for the sake of taste and fiber.  There were also honey dew and cantelope melon hybrids that I grew to enjoy. I hate them in the States, but hey, when 98% of the food options aren’t on your menu you’re not going to get too picky with the 2%.

My last few meals in the city were splendid. Well, one was falafel and hummus at a Syrian restaurant — that was splendid and the other was pizza — that was okay. I think my bowels valued familiarity.  The food on the Air France flight was similar to Morocco, which shouldn’t surprise you because France colonized Morocco in the 17th and 18th centuries.  The quality of bread and cheese on the flight was more my style than in the village. I mean come on, who doesn’t love fancy cheese and croissants? 😉 I ate the inside of a Spinach burrito from Gorditos upon my return and I’m pretty sure my stomach brain just had an aneurysm. I haven’t had veggies aside from slivers of zucchini and carrots (and potatoes) in a month. It has no idea what to do with itself.

I’m struggling a bit as my stomach struggles to right itself, but that’s okay. I’m happy to be back in Seattle and pooping in a toilet that I don’t have to share with a gajillion other people… even if it has a toilet seat.

Related Posts:

So you want to go camping but you’re bleeding from your vagina

Wearing my apron: Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Reposted from my, now defunct, cooking blog:

…without TVP! Whoa….

UPDATE: This recipe is actually vegan. Go figure! Moving on…

I took an entire onion and diced it into small pieces, tossed it in my favorite pan and let the pieces brown. Then, I took these quinoa crumbles and added them to the onions.

Next I took my favorite barbecue sauce (it’s more than a year old, oops) added it to the pan, threw in some brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, a little dijon mustard, some garlic powder and voilá, sloppy joes!

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I baked two loaves of whole wheat Parmesan and sun dried tomatoes bread yesterday.

This should make for a good sandwich. I didn’t use a recipe, but if you’re interested in what’s in anything you see let me know and I’ll tell you. Otherwise, I’ll just assume you’re here for the smell. 🙂

Wearing my apron: Tortillas

Reposted from my, now defunct, cooking blog:

It’s the end of the month and funds, as usual, are low. I’m good at keeping staple items in my apartment for instances just like this.

This is white flour even though I prefer whole wheat. I make it a habit to swing by the 50% off rack and look for good buys. Last time I found two 5lb bags of white flour for something like $1.25 a piece. They were taped over at the edges because of damage, but that’s not a big deal.

I wanted to make tortilla chips from scratch, but every recipe just told me to use store bought tortillas and quarter them. I opted for tortillas from scratch instead. Ingredient list:

3 cups all purpose unbleached flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

7 tsp shortening (I’ve been told to use lard — I can’t go there)

1 & 1/4 cups high quality H2O

Instructions:

Combine the dry ingredients. Cut in shortening. “Cut” is a baker’s term for combining with a fork, two knives, a potato masher, or your hands. Slowly add water and mix it with cutting tool. When the mixture becomes sticky to the touch and pulls away from the bowl you’re good. Knead (press the dough together on a flat surface) for a few minutes. Note: Be mindful of your surface. I’m pretty good at forgetting to wipe off the surface and finding stuff on my unbaked dough. Then create little dough balls with your hands:

Set those aside and heat up your favorite most reliable pan. I’m a HUGE fan of getting cookware at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s. My favorite pan that will be buried with me when I pass was found during a shopping trip at Macy’s. The original sticker price was $70 dollars. I bought it for less than $30. It’s non-stick and oven safe (might be my favorite part). A few recipes recommend using a cast iron skillet, but I no longer have one. 😦 Heat it up on medium . On my ceramic top stove that’s an eensy bit above 5. Roll out dough to desired thickness. This was my choice:Then place the dough in your favorite skillet like so:

They won’t take long once in the pan. Flip with you see them get a little brown on the heated side.

Then voilá, tortillas!!!!!

One of the recipes I found is here. Next time I think I’d add a bit more baking powder, let them sit longer, and roll them a little thinner. If you try it I’d love to see pics.

Enjoy!

MacPherson’s: Where vegetarians go and pee a little.

I am about to blow your mind.

My MacPherson’s visit brought this into my life:

Look at that massive bag of spinach!
Look at that massive bag of spinach!

for $9.25. What?! Mind. Blown.

Here’s the breakdown:

Bag of spinach – $2.99

I will eat this before it spoils.  All of it. Not at once though.
I will eat this before it spoils. All of it. Not at once though.

A bag of potatoes @ $1.17

puh-tay-toe/puh-tah-toe

Pink Lady apples – 2 @ $0.59 cents each = $1.20

A little bruising never hurt anyone

Bananas – 2 @ $1.29/lb = $1.29/lb

Go bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

Asparagus – @ $0.99/lb

Yummy asparagus
Whaddup broccoli? How you doin?

I also bought corn, 2 for $0.69 each. I just can’t find the picture. Harumph.

I’m super pleased with this shopping trip. I’m going to finish up my bomb homemade vegetarian chili  and then cook some awesome meals with these veggies and the dried beans from my “pantry.”  Then I’ll bake some bread for sandwiches and whatnot.

Yay for shopping trips.  I even have a few dollars left over.  I will not spend them on ice cream…. I will not spend them on ice cream…. I will not….

Side note: I’ve been brewing this Kombucha for over a month.  The starter cost me $30+, but now I don’t have buy the bottled stuff for almost 4 bucks a pop, AND I get a baby ‘bucha with each brew.  If you’re in the Seattle area I’ll give you one for free. Seriously, just contact me and it’s yours when it’s ready.

My first batch of kombucha! Don’t let the label fool you. This is an old apple cider bottle I reused because that’s what how we do in this part of the pacific northwest.

Thug Kitchen, I love you

Listen. I have a problem with loving Thug Kitchen. I think it’s because I don’t know the person behind the posts.  Oppressive cultures do a great job of taking the pieces of marginalized cultures and swimming in their profits. I don’t know if that’s the case here though. It is the case when you’re talking about this guy who says that he took “urban” youth on hikes, but doesn’t. Not linking to it, but it’s out there.  Narcissism for the dubiously modest talks about it on their blog. While I sit in a moral quandary, I want you to enjoy the brilliance regardless of the person behind the curtain:

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Body Image

To say I have a problem with body image is to Mitt Romney might be a Republican.  My struggle with weight has existed since college.  While many put on freshman 15, I put on freshman 40 (+/-).  My face puffed and my calves, which are usually fat free expanded with cellulite as well. I have a pictures where my potbelly looks like I’m 6 months pregnant.  It’s been a struggle. Often a struggle of which I was unaware, but a struggle nonetheless.  During my last Obgyn visit in 2010 my doctor told me I needed to lose 50lbs.  A few months ago I went to the emergency room with chest pains. At a follow-up visit the doctor told me I was strong, but I “needed to lose weight.”  I can pack on 20 lbs in a season without thinking about it.

Photo 326

After proofreading this post I wanted to take this down. I don’t like it, but I’m not going to remove it…for now.

One of the biggest issues that comes with these weight fluctuations is a skewed body image.  No matter how much I weigh,  when I look in the mirror I see that 6 months pregnant not actually pregnant 19 year old. This is a picture of my back a few months ago.  My bra is too small and back fat is spilling out the sides.  The thing is about 2 years ago this bra fit perfectly, and was, in fact, an eensy bit too big.

I don’t have a picture of of my back, but this is a random picture of me from that summer when I was at my most fit.  Photo 49

I spent the summer leading backpacking trips and had less than enough food to eat.  I remember cooking a red pepper with an onion, adding salsa, and putting it in a corn tortilla.  I couldn’t afford bus fare to and from work, so I’d bike the 10+ miles to and from the base each day I was in the front country.  Seattle ain’t flat. In the back country I’d carry a pack between 50 & 80 pounds (+/-) and hike 2-7 miles daily.  I was in great shape.

It is nearly impossible for me to maintain that level of fitness in the front country.  Fitness was my entire life. The problem with the off-season is that I was not burning the same amount of calories, I consumed relatively the same amount of calories if not more, and I wasn’t consuming the same quality of calories (Red Hot Blues vs. G.O.R.P.).  As a result, I needed to find a way to burn a large amount of calories + go to work and lead an urban life.  Not simple. I’m not a fan of pretend exercise. I don’t want to go to the gym. I’d rather hike 14 miles to get from one campsite to another. With the hiking it’s mandatory exercise. The gym is pretend.

I started roller derby in June of 2012. I skated about 3 times a week from June until August.  I was in a different kind of shape. Just look at my legs.  Here is a picture of me in July or August of 2012.

Photo 335

My rectus femoris (totally had to look that up) are AMAZING. My gracilis (again with the look up) are lacking.  I know you can’t “spot” burn fat, but that’s a place I would if I could. I’d like to accomplish a few things:

1. Reconcile what I look like in the mirror with what I see in pictures, and what is true in real life. There is a huge disconnect for me.

Photo 317

I had no idea my stomach looked like this until I took this picture and saw it. Even when I looked back at the mirror I couldn’t see myself as I was.

2. Develop an eating lifestyle that is not reward based and does not lend itself to stress or emotional eating

3. Understand that women are different. Websites like My Body Gallery are fantastic.  I don’t need to look like: Michonne.1.2  imagesimages-1images-2

No matter how much weight I lose I won’t be shaped like them.  My body is built to climb mountains not to grace the covers of magazines stocked on shelves in a society that oversexualizes women.  Their bodies are beautiful.  I just don’t need to make them the mile marker for my own.

Taken 3.20.2013

Taken 3.20.2013

Related blog entries:

Chest Pains – She is indeed Undone

Detox – Wearingmyblackness

Knock Kneed Mary – Wearingmyblackness

All images of copyright of their original owners. If you see your photo here and would like for it to be removed just let me know.

Cheers!

I am a mouthbreather.

Initially, I wrote this entry in mid January.

How I’m feeling right now is proof that we are as much in charge of our health as our doctors. It is my doctor’s job to correctly diagnose my ailments. It is my job to understand my body well enough so I can tell when it’s ailing.

For the first time in over 15 years I am breathing clearly. If you don’t know me in person you may judge the previous statement hyperbolic. It’s not.

When I was older than five and younger than ten I visited a friend’s house. This friend owned what I presume was an orange Tabby cat…kitten. I loved that little sucker. I played with it. I cuddled it. I held it up to my eyes and made eye contact love with it. That is until my under lids broke out in hives, TLC’s waterfalls opened up and my adorable little throat began to close. My mother was called I said “I think I’m allergic to cats” and we went home. This is my earliest recollection of allergy symptoms. Traditional allergy symptoms that is.

In high school I was sent to an Ear Nose and Throat doctor for a skin allergy test. If you’ve never had that done let me explain. A nurse walks into the room with several trays which contain vials. In those vials are allergens. Wouldn’t it be neat if those vials were like vaccines and exposure meant prevention? It doesn’t. Exposure means diagnosis. The patient is pricked on their forearms approximately 46 times. Each prick contains a different allergen. If allergic your body responds with a bit of a hive and some redness…usually. Some responses are much more severe. Of the 46 pricks I had hives and redness on 44. Doctors mentioned allergy shots, medicine, saline sprays, the works. I thought my problem was solved.

For next decade I lived trying different medications and living the life I assumed was intended for me. In the morning I’d blow my nose like a bugle boy for 20 minutes. This matinal horn blowing would persist throughout the day. Throughout my life. I can go through a box of tissues in 3 days… during one of my better weeks. Many of my friends, most of whom don’t know one another have boxes of tissues waiting for me when I come to visit. It’s like our little joke. My nose is always stuffy and runny.

On Tuesday one of my best friends wrote to me about juicing. It’s not abnormal for me to juice. I drink wonderful smoothies frequently. I bought a juicer a few months ago and it’s one of my favorite things. I thought it’d be neat if we did a juice fast together so I hopped on her juice train (that’s not a sexual thing is it?). I began my detox by eliminating most solid foods, drinking peppermint tea (which I do every day anyway), drinking water and taking some of the psyllium husk pills I made. It’s been difficult. My cravings have been pregnancy specific. “I want to eat an entire Panera Bread danish ring.” I haven’t succumb to those cravings though. Well, last night I had 4 dinner mints. For the most part I’ve been great. Mostly organic all plant-based fruits and veggies. As I’m writing this my head hurts a bit -I went without water for most of yesterday — my stomach is grumbling, but I feel bright.

I feel bright.

In Seattle the Sun is like crappy ex partner who comes around when they feel like it. I don’t think this feeling is attributed solely to the sun. In fact, I know it isn’t. I’ve been in Texas for almost 2 weeks and this is the first time I’m feeling this good. I’m obviously allergic to something I’ve been consuming. Disclaimer – I don’t eat like the average citizen of the United States. I eat mostly plant-based, whole grain, organic, local, homemade foods. I rarely eat meat when I do it’s shrimp or salmon whose origin I usually know. My dairy consumption consists of cheese, sour cream, and I don’t drink milk, but I do eat milk based yogurts, occasionally.

My body’s response to the lack of whatever that was, is astounding. If I remove it from my diet altogether I’ll be able to breathe through my nose. Say what? I’LL BE ABLE TO BREATHE THROUGH MY NOSE. Heeeeyyy! In the communities in which I spent the majority of my time holistic naturally based health is never mentioned. Yes, I said never. The thought that I’ve lived this long suffering as I have is saddening. Look at how much power I have over my own body and lifestyle. Eating differently has changed my life. If only more people in my favorite communities had access to this knowledge as well.

UPDATE:I regularly read Staying Healthy with Nutrition . There’s large section devoted to allergies. I read it this morning and thought, “Allergies are a bitch.” Between the random ass triggers of stress, overexposure to chemicals, overintake of refined foods, temperature extremes, and exposure to genetically modified foods no wonder this girl lives her life in tissue boxes and saline rinses.

I’m sad that it’s taken me this long to learn the severe impact allergies can have on your life. This knowledge, however came at the perfect time.