Goodbye Forever, Old Friend.
This is a story about a break up. It’s been a very painful break up. Everyone is pretty upset about it, but the kids are dealing and I’m picking up the pieces.
We have decided we are breaking up with you, Cheerios.
Sure, you’ve been there for each of us since birth. I can remember my mom saying she could only keep down Cheerios and M&Ms when she was pregnant with me. So, it goes to show you how long we’ve been together.
When my kids suddenly developed food allergies, we knew we could still count on Cheerios, once you went gluten free. We bought you by the box load, Costco style. We marveled when you were on sale.
‘Two big boxes for $4?!?! Jackpot!!!’
My kids would eat you for breakfast, second breakfast, snack, AND second after dinner snack. I was almost certain they would turn into an actual Cheerio, based on what my grandma taught me about eating your favorite foods too much.
I’ve actually secretly known for a couple years now that you’ve contained trace amounts of weed killer. I bit my lip. I pretended not to notice. I let it slide. More than once. But now I look at my daughter and I see she deserves better. I look at my son and his already growing list of food allergies and I know he deserves more. Heck, you may even be the reason for the hole in his stomach. I would take small bites here and there when I was in a hurry, even though I’m not allowed to eat oats. I would notice back pain shortly after, but I have a bad back anyway, so I figured it was just that. But you are poisoning our kids and I can’t stand by any longer and add to the façade. I can’t take your abuse on our bodies any longer. My kids grew 9” in the last 8 months…I’d like them to keep growing and not be cut down in their prime.
Growing is not a privilege given to all. We should be happy when our kids grow, even though we will miss the way they are right now. Not everyone gets to be the age we are, and not everyone gets to grow older.
I’m resolved to find a new breakfast/snack favorite, but I know it will take time. We’ve tried a few different options, but we’re not there yet. I know breakfast cereals will come and go. Hopefully we can pick up the pieces of our family again and trudge on. Maybe we’ll switch to breakfast bars, or waffles. Who knows. All I know, we will survive this. We’ve been through worse.
Goodbye forever, Cheerios. Thanks for all the good times.
Health + Organization
I personally believe that part of my health and wellness journey includes a certain level of organization. Now, I’m no guru and you won’t see labeled shelves in my cabinets. In fact, for your safety, you should definitely not try to open any of the cabinets in my kitchen. Especially the ones containing Tupperware.
However, keeping our days and months flowing and going is an important part to my health and wellness because how the hell else am I supposed to sleep at night…?
Good question. As of right now I’ve been up since 4:43am. No that is not a typo, it just happens to be the time my husband got up to get ready for work and thus, here we are.
And another fancy word…Hence, the reason for this post you are about to read.
So much of my autoimmune disease has been taxing on my brain. On my body, sure, but on my brain most definitely. A few years ago, I gave up many (but not all) of my controlling ways and settled into more spontaneity and living more carefree. It was fun for the two years it lasted, but now that my mind has been melted by fibromyalgia and whatever else I was dealing with last year, I had to step up my game. Namely, I needed to become more organized. The fact is that if I don’t write something down, forget it. It is gone. There is no hope of me ever remembering, and there is no point in asking. People’s names are REALLY hard for me to remember, although lately I have had a better time with it. The new church we started visiting a few weeks ago…? I actually REMEMBER people’s names. I have always had to repeat someone’s name back to them when they introduce themselves as a way for my brain to compute what I heard and once again that trick is working. Not every time, but a lot of the time.
Thank you, Copaiba!
So here it is, my way of keeping sane and what my day looks like, in writing…and also on here.
I keep three calendars. Yes three. Whatever, that is not a lot!
Ok, maybe it is a little weird, but let me explain.
I keep a written calendar, like the day planners you buy at the store once (or twice, ok maybe three times because you have a problem) a year. It goes in my purse everyday and if I ever leave home without it I’m completely lost and inexplicably THAT is when someone wants to plan their week with me. Never fails.
So, day planner, goes with me, every day.
Then I have the family calendar on the wall in my kitchen, because that is where we spend the majority of our time and it is big and obvious, and my husband still neglects to read it every damn day. I originally made one out of an old glass frame that used to house my husband’s “pre-me”, bachelor days posters like some kind of college student. Nonetheless I save everything and made myself a Pin-worthy, command center calendar. It broke after a couple moves and I broke down and bought a wipe board at Target. It used to be pretty, but now it is a little worn. Either way, it serves its purpose.
I also used to write on the wipe board (or glass in previous) all the to-dos for the day. But I started using post-its instead a few months back in order to take my list for the day with me and make things more portable. Now I’m just in love with the new color scheme of it all and post-its it is!
I typically keep three to four weeks on this calendar, and shuffle the post-its around to make room for the upcoming weeks. On these post-its contain everything from what needs to be done for the day, appointments we may or may not make it to, lunches, school, and all that jazz. It will also tell you what weeks my son will be out of town and what I need to get done for work. My husband’s shifts are clearly marked on separate, bookmark style post-its above each day. They are easier to see across the room and help me to remember what days I am more free and what days I can make appointments for myself so I’m not dragging two kids to the Rheumatologist. I’m sure she thanks me for this.
Now, the third calendar is my phone calendar. The one that comes with every Apple device ever invented. And they all connect. This one houses people’s birthdays, which come up yearly apparently, Matt’s work schedule, and important, rotating bills that are due at odd times throughout the month. I will also write the occasional dentist or check up appt if my paper calendar was left at home, or if it is very far in advance. When planning out my month, either on the family calendar or on my personal calendar, I check this digital one as well to make sure I didn’t miss anything as those dentist and eye appointments creep up on me pretty quick.
So that is my calendar situation. Now on to my ever-growing to-do list. Pertinent to-dos go on the family calendar on post-its at the bottom, because I do love crossing things off my to-do list, and I like taking a post-it that has been staring at me in the face for weeks and crumbling it up into the trash and saying to myself, or out loud, “Done!” It’s a personal satisfaction like none other.
We also have a running list of things we would like to get done for the house, and a separate list on the frig for things I would like to buy for the house. We also keep a smaller wipe board on the frig for Jalen and Marin reminders and/or chores and punishments, and a “Out of” section where if you use the last of something you write it down so I remember to get it at the store that week.
I also have two bullets journals. One is for the whole family, includes goals for the school year, bucket list things for the kids to do, my personal goals, family goals, house goals, and marriage goals, as well as sermon notes, conference notes, and helpful things I heard throughout the year so I can quickly find them when I need them. Each person has a highlighted section, and room to add to it if needed throughout the year. Mine is actually already filled and I will have to get a second to make it through to December. I typically will write out vacation plans, Christmas and birthday gifts ideas and plans for parties, and anything else I don’t want to forget and/or write on a sticky note for other people to see.
The second bullet journal is strictly for me and my business stuff. All my notes from smarter people, things I learn on webinars or podcast, to which I subscribe to a ton, and how to work said computer thingys I don’t fully understand, so I learn about on YouTube. At the very beginning of this bullet journal are the short term and long-term goals I set for myself, as well as the day dreams that seem lofty, but I plan to one day achieve. I also carry this one around with me wherever I go to make quick notes about things that need to get done or new ideas I have for content.
I just started keeping a small calendar on the refrigerator strictly for homeschool. The kids can see what the weeks look like, when we have field trips, what weeks we are off or traveling, and what we are studying together for this section. This is something I practiced early on with my son who struggles with autism because it gave him just a little more calm in his day knowing what to expect. It is posted one month at a time and stays eye level where even the five year old can see it.
Each season when I shop for new clothes I will write out some of my favorite trends and things I’d like to add to my wardrobe on my closet door (on post-its of course, I’m not an animal). This way I see them constantly and I get to be more intentional about shopping and spending my money, even though sometimes that too goes off the rails, especially when thrifting.
In my medicine cabinet that we keep in the kitchen, stocked with vitamins, Band-Aids, creams, and the like, I keep a list of the oils and supplements I take daily as well. I used to keep it there to remind myself, but my husband made me aware that other people need to know what I take as well in case something happens. I keep one on my phone too to reference at doctor’s appointments.
I meal plan, not exactly what we are going to have, as my husband now does all the cooking, but what meats I have bought and what day we are having each of those meats, just to help me remember to take them out of the frig in the morning.
Grocery shopping is down to a science as well. I mentally walk through the store to remember which aisle and where and what I get, cutting my HEB time in half…that is until they decide to rearrange the store again. I always take a list. No list would be dangerous for us all, and you would likely find me crying, huddled in a corner of the cereal aisle, screaming “WHY?!?! Why?!?! WHY?!?!” I go grocery shopping once a week and only shop for that week. Costco runs are down to two times a month, mainly because my kids eat GF bread way too fast. That is all to be more budget conscience and I’ve found that my mental space can only allow for one week at a time planning.
So, there you have it…or at least this is all I can remember! I’ll probably be adding to this list as I come up with new and fun ways (i.e. I find more things on Pinterest) to share how to keep organized and let your brain have some rest from the 2am planning sesh it typically takes. I am however a “night-thinker”. I had never heard this phrase before, but on Jenna Kutcher’s Goal Digger Podcast, she said she is a night-thinker and she will have her husband text her phone about things she thinks about and keeps a notebook by her bed to write things down. She said her grandpa was the same way. I love that. I should probably do this, but I don’t write it down to do, so I forget.
Oh well. Hashtag goals.
Fort Worth Eats, AIP friendly version
One of the most challenging moments when you’re on a health journey is that time when your friend invites you to meet her for lunch or dinner and right away you have a panic attack because you don’t know if you can actually eat anything on their menu…and you don’t wanna be a douche.
This has been my experience at least. Since moving to Fort Worth last year we have found DOZENS of options that work well for me, and considering my husband is easy when it comes to these decisions, as in he just lets me pick, it’s all’s well that ends well. My best friend also knows what I weirdo I am about food and takes the same approach.
“Just tell me where I’m eating. I’ll find something.”
Ah, thanking the sweet baby Jesus for laid back friends for this high maintenance chic over here.
So, I wanted to take the time to share with you some of our favorite eats in the Fort Worth area. Whether you are new here, just starting your AIP/paleo/Whole 30 journey, I want you to know I see you, sister!! And we are all in this together.
Here are some of our frequent stops:
1201 W Magnolia Ave, Fort Worth (Near Southside Neighborhood)
Melt is a frequent stop for me and my family. I bribe the kids through VERY long downtown doctor appointments with the prospects of us stopping for ice cream on the way home. Works every time.
And on a date night, the hubs indulges me in a stroll down Magnolia to buy me vegan ice cream. He’s a keeper that one!
They typically have at least two vegan/non-dairy options on their menu but be sure to ask them. They are all super friendly and lovely and adorable with their bandanas and cute shirts to match.
1512 W Magnolia Ave, Fort Worth (Near Southside Neighborhood)
King Tut has been our favorite for YEARS! When we lived here before, and before Magnolia was hip and trendy we would come here for lunch dates. Sandy, our favorite waitress, has been there for probably as many years as they’ve been open and she’s such a delight. They are super accommodating when it comes to dietary restrictions and go the extra mile for sure.
I typically have their gyro plate, no naan of course which is a bummer, with vegetables that are cooked in olive oil. Sometimes I’ll indulge in some rice, but it does have a wee bit of gluten in it. The cayenne spice that they use, that would typically give me a problem, does not give me a problem with flair ups or anything at all! I’m wondering if it is a purer form of the spice as the owner is pretty particular about the food he serves his guests. It is Egyptian/Mediterranean to the hardest off hard core, and it is literally the best in town. You can bet your sweet bippy on that!
3250 S Hulen St, Fort Worth
Unrefined Bakeries can be found all around the DFW area. They are a chain, but they are committed whole heartedly to the purest of ingredients without putting ANY fillers in ANYTHING they serve. They don’t contain eggs, dairy, wheat, corn, shellfish, you name it. If you’re allergic to it, there is an option here for you. They label EVERYTHING 100% so you know exactly what you are getting and, more importantly, what you’re NOT getting. I
I visited the one in Dallas when I was at a conference for a grilled cheese lunch. It was delicious! You can buy breads, rolls, pies, and even have cakes made from this bakery. They do not disappoint!
What?!?! A chain restaurant I can trust!?!? I know right!
So, we have gone to Cotton Patch’s all around the US of A and they are all committed to a higher standard with their food as well. They check and recheck and they will go to extremely lengths to make sure your food is ok for you. I always get the steak salad, which isn’t on the menu anymore, but they WILL make it if you ask. I love places that do that! Make sure you tell them no pepper on your steak and have them add avocados, because, well, avocados are fabulous.
Here’s another great find. Red Robin has a dedicated part of their kitchen that is gluten free and their staff is trained on food allergies for sure. It’s nice to have this as an option if you find yourself soaking in a sea of chain restaurants in a town you’re not all too familiar with.
5925 Convair Dr, Fort Worth
Blaze Pizza has been a family fav for a few months now. I accidentally discovered this one online when I was looking for a date night solution. You can get a Gluten-Free crust, that they change their gloves to serve and make and use an entirely different machine to press. They have dairy-free cheese, and they are not afraid to dump it on there if you ask. I will tell you if you’re avoiding tomatoes, dairy, and the like, then none of their sauces can be used as a base. INSTEAD I’ve devised a system and I’ll let you in on my little secret:
So, their basil pesto sauce contains dairy. Lame I know. Found that one out the hard way. Silly me didn’t ask up front. So, I have them make a GF crust, then drizzle olive oil for the base and put fresh basil on it, then add the vegan cheese and chicken. A little sea salt and cook that sucker.
Mmmmmmmmmmm!!! It tastes phenomenal, and you’re welcome.
(Blaze is next to a Whole Foods and while I might typically add Whole Foods to the list of safe places to eat, I’ve found their cross-contamination to be well worth leaving alone. I’ve had to endure several episodes after dining at their salad bar and the like. So, unless it is packaged, I won’t buy from Whole Foods.)
1251 W Magnolia Ave, Fort Worth
When you are jonesin’ for a cupcake or a cookie or whatnot, you’ve got to allow yourself a little Stir Crazy in your life. I will always get a vegan cookie or a vegan cupcake if I’m feeling extra that day, and even though they aren’t flourless and they contain cane sugar, it is sometimes well worth the bite. Their ingredients are pure and whole and all those good words, but they don’t have a vegan AND GF option just yet.
Don’t worry, I’m workin on them.
Welcome to North Texas, where the good people of In and Out have decided we are cool enough to house their establishments. I wish I had my emojis praise hands for this one.
I cannot say this emphatically enough: WE LOVE IN AND OUT BURGER!!!
Here is a miracle in and of itself: I can eat their French Fries!! Eeeekkk!!!
Both my son and I have NO reaction to eating their French fries and eat them we do. We get our burgers plain and dry, with only lettuce, pickles, and onions, protein style (ie wrapped in lettuce) and fries. The cook their fries in sunflower oil and use a higher grade, better quality, sustainable potato. And the best part is, this is their gold standard and they’ve done it for years. Which means, yea they are sacrificing quality for a buck. And our family loves them for it.
Thanks for stickin’ around! As I find more delectable diners I’ll be sure update this page.
Happy eating, my fav, fab autoimmune-warriors!
**I was in no way endorsing or being paid to talk about these establishments in any way. This is simply my opinion, my experience, and I’m happy to pass that along to you (for free) to hopefully make your life a little easier.**
Do you love brownies, but struggle with fibromyalgia or other autoimmune disorders? These brownies are actually good for you! Well, maybe that is a stretch, but they don’t contain any eggs, sugar, wheat, or dairy, and they taste AH-mazing! This is a recipe I modified to fit MY diet, the original recipe that I adopted from Pinterest is found at the bottom. I always want to make sure I give credit where credit is due!
Delicious Brownie Recipe
2/3 cups coconut oil
3/4 cups cacao powder (or the like)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup hot water (from tap is fine)
1 cup raw organic honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups gluten free flour (we use Namaste, found on Amazon or at Costco. This is a brown rice flour, so if you have a problem with rice, substitute another kind. I’ve used coconut flour and they were just as delicious!)
Cook 350 for 25 minutes!
***Original recipe HERE
UPDATED How To: How I’m Doing Now
(Almost one year later)
*I do not get compensation for ANY of the products I mention below. I’ve only included links to help you find them for yourself.
6.1.18 So I’ve been on AIP since August 2017. Most days I feel great, but there are some things that set me off, or I end up eating something that I didn’t mean to, or splurged on and pay the price for it later.
My supplement/essential oil regiment is as follows:
Morning: Three drops of Copaiba (Essential oil in capsule)
One drop Thieves (Essential oil in capsule)
Vitamin D (link to one I use)
Electrolyte Tablets (link to ones I use)
SclarEssence (Essential oil in rollerball on reproductive vitaflex points)
Endoflex (Essential oil over thyroid)
Lunch: Three drops of Copaiba (in capsule)
Endoflex over thyroid
Dinner: Essentialzyme (link to supplement here)
Probiotic (link to one I use here)
Three drops of Copaiba (in capsule)
One drop thieves (in capsule)
SclarEssence (rollerball on reproductive vitaflex points)
Endoflex over thyroid
As far as diet goes, I do eat somethings that are not AIP. For example, I do eat cacao (chocolate), rice, chickpeas, GF brown rice flour. I’ve found black beans bother me pretty bad, and I haven’t ventured into many other variations on beans. I’ve been able to modify some things and find places I can eat out. Nothing Mexican or Italian clearly, as most GF pasta is made from corn because it’s cheap. Corn gives me a migraine.
Mediterranean food is typically safe and most places will tell you up front what they cook with and spices they can’t take out. I will usually plan ahead of time when traveling where I’m going to eat, which typically saves us a lot of time on the trip itself. And because my kids both have similar dietary restrictions it’s less stress on the hubs too.
When we travel, if we are there for more than one night, I will bring food with and go grocery shopping when we get there. We will always rent a place that has a full kitchen and cook our meals each night. For lunch my kids are die-hard PB&J fans and we’ll plan around picnic-ing and taking our snack with as well. This worked very well in New Mexico as we ended up doing lots of outdoor activities!
We usually plan places that we can drive to, but I don’t have to sit in the car for more than one day (new rule after the Minnesota debacle). Anywhere else we will have to fly. And we don’t do very expensive vacations anyway, so meal planning and taking food fits right in the budget.
Do I still have flare ups? Absolutely.
Does that suck major you-know-what? Sure.
Flare ups typically last three days. No matter how to slice it, whether I do detox foods or teas or baths, I’m in it for three days. So I may spend a day on the couch catching up on Netflix or a book, but the flare ups don’t slow me down as much as they used to, and I’m pretty grateful for that.
So is this disease/disorder/syndrome, whatever you fancy to call it, manageable? For sure.
I doubt this is everyone’s experience, but this is mine, and I’m grateful every damn day that God gave me so many wise people and knowledgeable people to surround me and lift me up in prayer and give me good advice.
Find people online. Talk to other people who use the same hashtags as you! I’ve made several invaluable Instagram friends that I can commiserate with during a sick-season. And they always have something new to share with me, and I really appreciate that. Sometimes this disease can isolate you and make you feel like the only person in the whole wide world who is just plain missing out. I get that. If you can’t find anyone else to talk to, talk to me! Email me, Instagram me, DM me, whatever. Call me if you want! I’ll totally listen and if I happen to have any good advice on the subject, I’ll ask you if you want to hear it before I just tell you how to fix it. Just remember, I’m a recovering “fixer”. I can’t help myself sometimes!
** Update to this update: After finishing this post I went to help my husband with some work stuff around the house…it ended in me crying because I physically couldn’t do what he asked me to do.
Meh. Good days and bad days. Know your limitations.
AIP Tortillas, WHAT?!?!
Who doesn’t love a good tortilla recipe??!? Especially when you’re AIP and corn and flour and all the good stuff is off the table! I found this recipe on Pinterest and I immediately fell in love. Not only do they taste fabulous, but they only have a few ingredients and don’t take all afternoon to make. I will warn you that because they are made with Cassava Flour, they do fall apart easily when you’re transferring them from parchment paper to pan, but once they start cooking, they stay stuck together pretty good! Also, I didn’t have avocado oil so I just used olive oil and they still turned out great. I also buy Anthony’s Cassava Flour off Amazon (link below in other post, scroll down!) and it has actually gone down in price from $13 to $11. What What!!??!
Anyway, so here is the link that will take you to the most amazing AIP tortillas! It’s Taco Tuesday somewhere people!
This is in no way a medical opinion or a diagnosis. This is totally from my own experience with my own body, but I love being able to share it with people, in hopes that it will be passed on and help someone as much as it has helped me.
In January 2017 I started an elimination diet after a friend recommended it to me. I had previously been gluten-free, because of my kids’ dietary issues, but elimination diets consist of getting rid of any DAIRY, GLUTEN, SOY, NIGHTSHADES, EGGS, TREE NUTS, LEGUMES. These are the top allergens most people hit on for a food allergy. I however did not cut out legumes or eggs until later. I’ve been allergic to soy and tree nuts for several years now, so really I was cutting out dairy and nightshades. It was hard, but that first day offdairy, I felt a world of a difference. I accomplished so much that day.
Doing this elimination diet took me from a pain level of about an 8 or a 9, down to a 4 or a 5 most days. I would still have days that were rough, but it was definitely an improvement.
Fast forward several more months and several visits to doctors and a naturopath. On August 1st I started the AIP diet, which stands for Autoimmune Protocol diet. The same friend that recommended the elimination diet told me to try one step further with AIP.
I’m not going to lie, this was awful. On the AIP diet you take out EVERY known allergen AND known GMOs. I thought I was going to die. Detoxing from coffee was a week-long headache, but because my body was so depend on sugar, I was like a drug addict coming off a fiend. I hadn’t realized how much sugar had dominated my diet, and the detox from sugar took a good 6 weeks.
Four weeks in I started to feel a difference, and even though I wasn’t sleeping through the night I would still wake up and not be tired. I would just get up earlier. At eight weeks I was so excited to be done, and I started adding foods back in.
I used Grass Fed Salsa’s “Foods to Avoid” and “Foods to Enjoy” guide, which I got from subscribing to her email list. She had other suggestions on tonics, etc. but I did not use those. Looking back I would’ve used a detoxifying supplement while on AIP, that would’ve likely sped things along. Instead I started my detox supplement after I was done with the AIP diet. It has helped me cleanse my stomach of a build up of yeast from too much sugar and grains. Anytime I would eat sugar after my dietary cleanse I would still get nauseous and dizzy and have hot flashes. That clued a friend of mine in on the yeast issue in my gut. Here is the detox supplement I use. It is from Young Living.
This may sound strange but I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia by a prophet. A woman who is a well-known prophet from Bethel prayed over me and told me the word fibromyalgia came to mind. I later found out that she also diagnosed a good friend of mine in the same manor, and it was also later confirmed by a doctor. Fast forward a couple of weeks and a naturopath pointed out what fibromyalgia was, and diagnosed me with the same. As he went over the actual criteria for fibromyalgia, it was word for word my exact life. I literally started to cry in his office.
You see most people think it is just this catch-all for nerve pain, or an autoimmune disease. It is neither. It is actually likened to PTSD. An earlier life trauma occurs, and later in life a stress event, or sequence of events, cause a disruption in your brain’s ability to properly function. Your brain goes haywire and suddenly starts overreacting to everything. Foods are suddenly seen as a threat, pain in odd, unexplainable places. Your brain is basically on fire, and short circuiting. To put it plainly, it’s all in your head.
The naturopath wanted me to continue on AIP for four weeks and decide if I felt like it was doing anything and therefore make a decision at that point whether or not to continue the diet. He also recommended the use of hemp oil, which I took for three weeks and worked WONDERS. It was however quite expensive for me, $30 per bottle per week, and I was trying to find something else that I could use without it costing my family $120 plus a month.
A friend of mine recommended Copaiba oil, which is similar to CBD, or hemp oil, in that it attacks the receptors in the brain that provide the calming down effect in the brain, except that Copaiba was more potent, more effective, and safer. I figured I’d give it a whirl. At $40 a bottle for a month’s supply, it didn’t hurt to try. This is also a Young Living product and you can find it here. Because I had already used the hemp oil before I knew my tolerance for the product would be higher than most. I would also consider using prescription drugs as having a higher tolerance for all natural things, but I could be way off on that. That is just a personal experience and opinion. I’ve found the perfect dose for me is 3 drops in a capsule, 3 times a day. I take one at breakfast, one at lunch, one at dinner. I have tried more on days I was struggling and it actually gave me a headache.
I stick with Young Living oils as a general rule because they ARE safe to take orally and their quality standards are bar none. They own their own farms, have a Seed to Soil guarantee, but most of all, they work for me. I’ll buy just about anything if it ACTUALLY works.
In the last several months I had also endured significant hair loss on the crown of my head. My friend recommended Progessence, another YL product, known to help balance out a woman’s hormones, but she had said it also helped stop her hair loss. You can find and research that product here. I use Progessence twice a day, it is only recommended that twice a day is the max, but I know people who will use it three times a day. I put it in a roller ball bottle (which you can purchase on Amazon here, but there are lots of options for purchasing). I do one stripe on the back of my neck under the hairline, from left to right, one stripe over both sides of my neck where you would find your pulse, and two strips in the region of where my thyroid is, at the base of your throat (kind of reminds me of an upside down triangle). So far in the last few weeks, my hair loss has slowed. I was also hoping this would balance out my hormones and help me get rid of my vertigo, which has come twice in the last two months, four weeks apart. A medical professional friend reminded me that was cyclical, 28 day cycle, so I did go get my hormone levels checked by the OBGYN. My test showed low testosterone, which my dr is re checking in a couple of weeks. I will have to wait until tomorrow actually to see if it has helped my vertigo (as that is four weeks from the last time), and if my hormones go back to normal range after using this product, which will show on the next patch of blood work he will do.
While all this was going on, the diet, the fibro diagnosis, the hemp oil, I was still being tested for a gamut of things. My naturopath recommended I be tested for lyme disease, autoimmune disease, thyroid, you name it, they tested it. They did a work up of about $1500 in blood tests. When my ANA (Autoimmune test) came back positive with a ratio of 1:80, and a homogeneous result, that told my general practitioner that I showed positive for Lupus. That was a hit to the gut. I did not expect that at all. And I spiraled. The internet is NOT your friend after a new diagnosis. And it was the bad Lupus, apparently there are different kinds, but it was SLE, Systematic Lupus.
All the while, earlier in the week, the Lord continually whispered to me, “I will heal you,” knowing full well what I was about to receive from the doctor. And I trusted Him in that. I made it my decision that I was going to let the Lord teach me about healing. Back in April 2016, I had asked the Lord to teach me about healing, what it meant, what it looked like today, if it was all about the internal stuff or if it was signs, wonders, and miracles like we sometimes see today. And this time, I was committed to let Him do the work in me. I received a lot of prayer from people at my church constantly. I reached out to friends, loved ones. If you knew me, you were being asked to pray for me, because there is one thing I KNOW about our Lord: He is faithful. His word never returns void. I do yoga three times a week and I listen to worship music and I talk with and really try to listen to what the Lord is wanting from me that day. He told me one morning that He wanted me to be a healer. It wasn’t until October 4th, at my last Rheumatologist appointment that I knew what He meant by that. She had run a bunch of tests and EVERYTHING came back normal. There was no lupus. It was gone. God had healed me and put this healing power inside me to share with others. When you are healed, He calls you to heal others. And for each person that may be different. Some are called to be physicians, some are called to pray, some are called to incite wisdom into one another’s lives. It’s all God. It’s all good.
Is there a chance I never had lupus? Yes. Is there a chance I was misdiagnosed? Absolutely. But is it easier for me to believe that it never was, or that it was and God healed me. For me, I believe God healed me, and has now called me to heal others. And I want to be faithful in the job He’s called me to do. It’s my purpose. And if I’m not living my purpose, then what the hell am I doing!?!?
Sleep! Ugh! The ever allusive SLEEP, am I right? I have tried it all. I’ve tried apps, I’ve tried pills, I’ve tried letting the diet led me in sleep. There is nothing that works all the time, 100%, without fail. There just isn’t. And I’m learning to be ok with that, and the kids are learning to trust that Momma needs a nap some days. Hey, you brats got naps for years, now it’s my turn!
I used to take Ambien for sleep. I would take a 5 mg dose. It would put me to sleep, no doubt about it. But I would still only sleep for 5 hours at best, maybe 6. I did melatonin for while. I’ve done pure Tryptophan and Valerian root. The blend I had for those actually kept me awake and gave me a hangover headache. But separately, just valerian root or just tryptophan, did work for me at the time. Right now I take lavender at bedtime. It makes me drowsy and under the right circumstances, puts me to sleep. I do wake up throughout the night but fall back asleep easier. I allow myself days to sleep in, and try to keep to a schedule of getting up early on certain days to regulate my body. I do 4 drops of lavender in a capsule at bedtime. I was doing more, but I would wake up and feel dizzy. Four drops has been ideal. I buy the lavender from Young Living of course, as it is safe for me to take orally, and you can find that here. This one is relatively inexpensive and the bottle lasts about a month, sometimes more. I also find that if I watch old episodes of Friends when I’m going to sleep, I’ll be asleep before an episode ends on Netflix. I think it’s just familiar to me and comforting.You have to find what works for you.
Other things I’ve learned along the way that have increased my health and wellness are exercise for sure, and a mushroom drink I’m in love with that helps boost the immune system AND give you focus for your day. It is my latest thing as it was recommended by another friend with Fibro, and I’m in love with it. I’ll attach her recipe below, and you can find her website here! She has been an amazing ally these last few weeks and is VERY knowledgable in Chinese Medicine and all that jazz. You can buy the mushroom powder for the drink on Amazon here. It is expensive and it is a small bag, but it lasts for 60 uses. And I can’t say enough good things about it. It gives me the boost to start my morning like coffee, but without the caffeine jittery feeling coffee did.
For exercise I used to do yoga every day, but it wasn’t doing as much good as it should. I now do yoga three times a week, and I swim laps at the pool two days a week in between. So Monday, Wednesday, Friday is yoga, and Tuesday and Thursday is laps. Thank God for free daycare at the gym, as that is a home school mom’s dream! I can’t do anything rigorous or super intense, so I just go at my own speed and listen to my body. I firmly believe most of this disease is doing just that.
I also do a smoothie typically for my mid morning snack. This consists of one banana, frozen mangos, frozen spinach, ½ teaspoon of Moringa powder, and 1 cup of So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk. I don’t do soy milk or Almond milk. I believe both are awful for you and genetically modified. Again, just my experience and opinion. Both are known allergens and may do more harm on your body than good if you are in fact allergic. For me, tree nuts make me feel like I was shocked with electricity without the pain, but the inability to move freely. I feel mostly paralyzed, though I can move slightly.
Look up the benefits of Moringa powder. It has a lot of the building blocks of great immune support in it, and I buy it cheap off Amazon, here. I have friends that swear by products made with moringa, but they contain stevia, which I cannot have.
Which brings up my soapbox on Stevia!! Don’t mind me, in fact if you’re a stevia fan…move along. I have had the WORST reactions to Stevia before and my kids are both allergic as well. It is in the ragweed family, which may explain away some issues for some people, but let me share with you what it does for me. It gives me a tingly feeling in my brain, followed by headaches, and numbness in my (left) leg, up and down my thighs. I steer clear. I’m not a fan of people who advocate for Stevia and Almond milk. Again, just my (not so) humble opinion.
On one of my blood tests they said my Vitamin D was low so I added a Vitamin D supplement, though I wouldn’t recommend the one I use. It’s NOW brand, that you buy at HEB or any grocer. I’m not sold on NOW as a brand, and I don’t trust their labeling. Any vitamin or supplement that comes from a genetically modified source, or is synthetic, and made in a lab, is not anything you want to add to your already complicated makeup that is your body. It’s just not a great idea. Finding all natural supplements and vitamins is hard, and it can be a real trial and error. I also did a double dose of Vitamin C this fall that I liked, but it was Central Market brand.
My husband is now a firefighter and paramedic and he loves helping people, especially in the area of health and wellness, even though he still eats like a teenager in college. Some of his insights in the area of medicine are spot on, and I have to share one that I am over the moon about: I was getting dizzy. I just felt off-balance, just dizzy, like all the time. He recommended boosting my electrolytes to see if that made a difference. Knowing I couldn’t do Powerade of Gatorade because of the artificial colors and sugars (both super high in sugar), I wasn’t sure how to do this. When he was in fire school, he had me order some electrolyte tablets that would be cheap and easy to take. Again, I’m not the biggest fan on the ingredients in this particular brand, but WOW, what are difference. I’m not longer dizzy, and I’m praying that this will have cured my vertigo. Coconut water has electrolytes and there are several all natural supplements that you can make as a drink or shake or whatever. I haven’t explored these other options as of yet because of price, and because I won’t make a drink every day. I’m too lazy. (Says the woman who does a million other things to keep this body in check…)
Staples of the AIP diet if you decide to go that route…sweet potatoes! Bone Broth! Plantains, learn how to cook these and they will be your sweet relief. Palm Sugar! More expensive, but totally worth it as it is AIP safe to eat and delicious. When you are about to Oprah out on some bread, I have a great recipe for small biscuits that will satisfy your craving that includes Palm Shortening and Cassava Flour. Again, expensive, but worth it and makes everything taste more normal!! NON-DAIRY butter, a good brand I love is Earth Balance with Olive Oil, looks like THIS. I find it at HEB or the like. I have a pretty comprehensive Pinterest board on Food, the Hippy Lifestyle, and all natural healing, oils and the such. Here is a link to find my Pinterest boards!
I’m including some fun recipes that have become my life-blood these last few months. They are NOT mine, and I’ve either gotten them from friends or Pinterest (you are my Jam). I am praying for your health and wellness as you read this and that God gives you wisdom in what your next steps should be. Please feel free to email, comment, share. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Mushroom Drink (Tastes like Magic)!!
½ teaspoon THRIVE mushroom powder (scoop inside, I do just slightly less than the scoop allows)
pinch of Turmeric Powder
Put these two drink ingredients in your mug
In a small pot take about two finger tip sized chunk off a 100% Cacao bar (grocery store, make sure it says 100% and there is nothing added) and add coconut milk, enough to fill your mug 2/3 of the way full. Warm until they are blended nice and nothing is left of the chocolate chunk.
Pour into mug with dry ingredients. Your mug should be 2/3 of the way full, and the coconut milk mixture should be hot. I add a touch more coconut milk to fill and cool off the already made mixture. You must stir a lot! And keep a spoon nearby so you can make sure you’re keeping all the goodness mixed in with your drink. It literally tastes like a less sweet hot chocolate, and is a savory drink to start your morning. I swear by this!
Bone Broth (super easy, lazy way)!!
SAVE all the bones from your meals. I tend to make thighs and drumsticks for this specific purpose. You can use the bones more than once, which makes it even more efficient!
Fill your crockpot with water, put bones in, put on LOW, cook for 24 hours. Done. You have to freeze half of it, but its a great warm broth to have with breakfast or lunch, especially on cold days! The fattier the better! And yes it will taste like crap by itself! Feel free to add A LOT of Himalayan Pink Salt or Sea Salt to make it taste better.
Cassava Flour Biscuits (for when you just NEED bread in your life)
***I found this recipe on Pinterest and printed it off, but never saved the Pin. I would LOVE to give credit where credit is due! If this is your recipe, send me your website so I can connect!***
½ cup of Cassava Flour (I buy mine here)
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt
2 TBSP Palm Shortening
¼ cup + 1 TBSP warm water
½ TBSP honey
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 350. Mix all the ingredients, I usually go top to bottom. Once combined, take small chunks and roll them into 1-1.5 inch balls, then press down in them to flatten on parchment covered cooking sheet. Repeat until done. I always double this recipe and get like 8-9 small biscuits. I eat one or two right away because they’re amazing, but I freeze the rest. I’ll microwave them for 30 seconds if they’re frozen and put some non-dairy butter on them. MMMMMMMM!!!!