How do you nourish yourself?

13 Jun

I have to ask myself this question daily, due to living with a body that does not always cooperate (not being able to absorb nutrients, reacting in arrest at certain ingredients, etc). Nourishment is a top priority at all times. But prior to working with a Naturopath, I had not fully realized the broad definition of nourishment. I was neglecting the very things that would allow me to truly be nourished outside of the food sources I was putting in my body.

Something that I love about working with providers who look for the root cause vs just treating symptoms is the fact that they focus on all aspects of your health. Considering how you might be feeling when you put something in your mouth can impact how your body processes that food item. Enter – Mindful Eating. It all comes together in such a beautiful fashion once you recognize that being mindful as a regular practice can carry over to your eating habits, which in turn can impact how you digest, process, and metabolize your food.

But back to nourishment. Ask yourself what feeds your soul? What makes you happy? What makes you laugh? When was the last time you felt full belly laughter and liberating freedom and relaxation? And as you consider that moment, pinpoint what was it about that experience that allowed you to feel so full and alive? Whatever it was, that is another component of your own personal recipe for your path to nourishment.

For me, one big one is undoubtedly music. Going to live shows, listening to, analyzing, and sharing a musical experience with others takes the cake though. But I also get value from playing music, listening to my favorite songs at home, and discussing all things music with other music lovers.

I also derive a huge amount of enjoyment and life from animals and nature. I just returned from a healing and mood changing walk with a dear friend. I left the house cranky, stressed, and a bit out of sorts. But once we embarked on our path I was already feeling more calm and centered. The path I chose just happened to be a very green, lush trail full of flowers, trees, mystery bird calls, baby birds learning to forage with their flock, and a majestic, calming and ever so regal Great Blue Heron. Between being outdoors in nature, and seeing the animals around me I was already in heaven. Add in the fresh air, getting a little exercise, and spending time with a treasured friend, and it was magic. I seriously returned home a completely different person than the one who left the house earlier.

Another area that I personally obtain my nourishment from is my support system, which I include my beloved pets in that mix. Getting a regular dose of those who are near and dear is priceless. I also tend to get a little boost from meeting other peoples’ pets, too. Not gonna lie. I love animals. I can’t help it. And let’s not forget yoga. Yoga is likely second to food in regards to how my body not just appreciates but requires a certain type of nourishment. I find that with a regular yoga practice, I maintain a more mindful lifestyle naturally, and am more in tune with my body.

I also very much adore and need to travel. And that one has taken a huge back seat during the past few years due to being on healing protocols. I still sense that I am missing something every day, and this happens when I don’t have a trip planned to look forward to. I may need to work on that one a bit – find a way to be at peace with not always being able to pick up and leave the way I used to. Making my own adventures locally is becoming a specialty of mine. So maybe that can evolve into something I can feel more nourished by within time.

So what about you? What boosts your mood, energy levels, and sense of value? Maybe it is something simple like reading, or sitting on the back porch sipping your tea. Whatever it is, make sure to find a way to incorporate all aspects of nourishment into your life every day. Because your wellness is not fueled by the food intake form of nourishment alone. It is supported by the many different ways you choose to nurture and nourish yourself.

 

 

Natural Products Expo West 2016

7 Mar

Has it really already been a year since my last Expo West? And I barely can recall Expo East. I could blame it on some type of brain fog from living in a house with hidden mold for nearly a year. Or perhaps time just flies once you are in your 40s.

I am so incredibly excited to be able to find balance, with my cohort in all of these adventures, so that I can still travel, and avoid flares and exhaustion.

I am happily anticipating crossing paths with favorite folks who I only see at events like this, and meeting new people and brands who will hopefully become among my favorites as well.

This is my first big trip (more than 24 hours, and sans a car and cooler) while following my version of the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). I have reintroduced a few items successfully. But my go to snacks that I used to put in my purse are not compliant with where I am at currently. So this is still going to be a challenge. But it is definitely a challenge I am up for. And I armed with the resources I need to ensure that I am nourished during our visit to Anaheim for Expo West.

I have been just busy enough with work and trying to not overdo things, that I have not embarked upon the same level of research that I typically would have accomplished by now, leading up to an event. But I am OK with it because it ensured the balance that I desperately need to keep my immune system in check.

With the small amount of Expo prep I have done, I thus far only have a short list of brands to check out. Some are new to me, and others are old favorites that I will be thrilled to cross paths with, and maybe check out their latest & greatest offerings. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Once I in full Expo mode, this list will have at least quadrupled in length. So much to see. This does not even cover the other attendees that I will be meeting up with during the course of the event. With daily yoga, tastings, sessions, and happy hours on the floor there is already so much to do. Then at the end of the day, there are still more opportunities to learn, socialize, and explore with like minded people. I will close with the beginning of my what will soon likely be a much longer list. Onward to Expo West 2016 . . .

Wild Mountain Paleo Market who has launched Pure Traditions Brand

Vixen Kitchen Vegan & Paleo Gelato

Gemini Tigernut Horchata

Farmhouse Culture (I would like to try the Beet Ginger Gut Shot)

The Mochi Mill (these were some of my favorite people from Expo West 2015)

Love Grace Foods I  could live on their juice, and adore the people behind the product

Pascha Chocolate

NibMor

Pure 7 Chocolate

Tipu’s Chai

Bhakti Chai

Hu Kitchen

Clearly Kombucha

Living Intentions

Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss

Kite Hill

NadaMoo

Hugger Mugger

Gaiam, Inc.

Synergy Organic Clothing

Pact Organic

Humm Kombucha

 

 

 

 

 

A new year for healing – AIP

9 Feb

Soon after we returned home from the FABlogCon in Denver, I immediately focused on getting myself on board with the full AIP – Autoimmune Protocol. I had been doing a very modified version of my own (mostly a Paleo diet of sorts – by default – not intentionally). The full AIP was just too much for me to attempt with travel.

I realized yesterday that I had completely neglected my blog, among many other things ever since this protocol commenced.

Things worth noting since November of 2015:

  • Begrudgingly parted ways with some favorite food & drink in order to dedicate myself to the protocol that I am hoping will assist with allowing my body to heal, and avoid further autoimmune type flares. The initial frustration, anger, and overall exhaustion HAS dissipated. I still have my moments. But I am thrilled to say that by day 30 I was feeling less of the anger and disappointment. And by day 45, I finally started feeling actual improvement in my well being & energy levels.
  • One of the things that I removed from my routine was caffeine. THAT was not fun. And I was only a one cup of chai or other tea per day, and typically only 4 days out of the week. The withdrawal and sluggishness that I experienced was almost enough to make me just opt to add it back in. But I stuck it out, and eventually started feeling better. I have been getting more quality sleep, and not having an afternoon crash on work days. I DO very much miss my beloved tea though. I like to make my own blends. And I love flavor; lots of it. The type of flavors that have inspired me to create my whole personal custom line of various chai and other dark, rich & spicy teas. For now, I am finding solace in dandelion root mixed with whatever my other AIP friendly roots & spices I am in the mood for that day.
  • My energy levels are still not the best. But they have improved. As I had mentioned, I started feeling different (better) around day 45 of the protocol. I have been able to actually make it through entire yoga classes now without as much opting out to child’s pose for extended periods of time. And I even have been able to sustain the walk TO yoga, along with the class. That was something I had not been able to do for over a year (after living in the wretched ‘mold house’).
  • I have enlisted the help of some outside providers again ; something I had not been able or willing to do for a while (mainly due to finances- thanks to the medical debt that I had acquired thanks to my insurance not covering anything that was actually helpful). I am hopeful that these wonderful folks can collaborate with me on this path to healing. This path I am on now – in 2016 – somehow feels different. I have a new perspective, and am fortunate enough to be seeing at least a little improvement, which gives me momentum. A year ago, I did not have that. So I am doing my best to roll with this energy while I have it, and hope that I can get enough momentum to really make a dent.
  • AIP may or may not be the end all be all answer for me. But for now it is what I needed to get the ball rolling with knocking some of the inflammation out of my body. I am significantly less inflamed than I was in October & November. And I am hoping to maintain this. The next step will be reintroductions, which I am very perplexed and intimidated by. This is not my first round of eliminations & reintros. I have done this before ;most of the time without success. So I am getting myself in the right mental state, so that I have a healthy and positive relationship with food before I jump into the whole adding back in that can have an anticipatory side effect of anxiety.

I hope to have more to share soon, and throughout the coming year. For now, I am finding it absolutely necessary to focus on my healing, and do what I need to do in order to maintain my sanity and hopefully keep inflammation at bay.

Gallery

FABlogCon Denver 2015 Photos Part 1

13 Dec

Simple Squares: Eating Clean & Simple

19 Nov

FYI: Long overdue review here. I had the pleasure of stumbling upon a Simple Squares bar over  a year ago. And it could not have filled a void more perfectly.

Being someone who has a host of food allergies and intolerances, it can be super difficult to find quick fix snacks, and options to throw in my purse, backpack, for travel, etc. Keeping my blood sugar balanced is also a constant battle for me, so having something in my bag, like Simple Square Organic Nutrition Bars is a lifesaving thing.
More recently I located the fine folks from Simple Squares at Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, and was thrilled to see that in addition to the one flavor I had already tried, which was Coconut, they also offered a variety of other very appealing flavors (including a few that I had to recruit my team of non-allergic test humans to try *for* me).
Simple Squares are organic, certified Paleo, Non GMO, and also gluten, dairy, corn, and soy free. They include only 5 simple ingredients ; whole food, simple ingredients. Each bar has what I would describe as a pleasingly subtle sweet yet savory flavor. I feel like the hints of flavors are subtle enough that they should be appealing to most palates.
Being a spicy spice fan, if I had to pick my favorite, I would be torn between the Cinna-Clove and the Ginger. However, my test tasters have concluded their favorites are the Coffee and the Cho-Coco.  I really would be perfectly content with any of the varieties of Simple Squares, just as long as they maintain their wonderful simplicity that makes them the perfect snack, meal replacement, or sidekick to your morning coffee or tea. I feel that a sampler of Simple Squares should be a staple in every household. I know having at least one Simple Squares bar on my person at all times is essential.
Try them all out. They even offer a sampler, which I highly suggest purchasing.
They come in the following flavors:SimpleSquareHorizontal.jpg
Cho-Coco
Chili-Pep
Cinna-Clove
Coconut
Coffee
Ginger
Rosemary
Sage
SimpleSquaresVertical

Inflammation Frustration

28 Oct

An entire month has somehow rolled by, since the inspiring but exhausting adventure of Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore. I had, and still have SO many items on my list to check off, people to reach out to, and basic follow up that still remains. However, on the list of my things to do, fighting off another “flare” of inflammation was not one I had allotted time for.

I started having issues way before we left for Expo East. But overall, it *seemed* like I had a handle on things. I mean, I was not denying the symptoms. I had opted to remove grains completely once again (vs allowing myself to test them out about once per month). And I was also attempting the mind over matter state of refusing to let this nonsense slow me down, ruin my fun, or derail my plans.

But here I sit a month after Expo, and a few months after any initial signs of flares started back up again – INFLAMED. Yet again. I am uncomfortable ALL of the time. I can no longer fit into any of the clothing I had been wearing for the past few years (unless it is extremely stretchy, &/or was already a few sizes too big to start with).  Thank goodness for the hand me down “too big” items that I had held onto, with the idea that I would use my sewing machine to alter them to fit.  And apparently I should be thankful for my procrastination and lack of time to actually ever get around to altering them as well.  Because now I at least have a few things I can throw on.  Because due to ridiculous medical debt (all uncovered services that my insurance does not deem as medically necessary), I most definitely do not have the $$ to buy new clothes.  Oh & shoes.  The foot thing again. I thought I had seen the end of that back when I removed gluten from my life completely. But the day before Expo, I was forced to spend money I did not have on a good pair of comfortable shoes in a BIGGER size.  Because you know, my entire lower body has again swollen to the point that nothing fits, including my shoes AND even some of my socks. I lived this annoying nightmare before, prior to realizing I was reacting to gluten and dairy.  And I really was confident that I would never have to deal with this again. But here it is.

So body – you miraculous but complex vessel  – WTF is the deal THIS time?  Tell me please. I am totally listening. And I am up for the challenge of whatever needs to be done. But come on! This is getting ridiculous. I spend so much energy, time, and have truly exhausted myself just LIVING each day. So cut me a break here. Why in the world are you swelling up, and hurting like I’ve been run over by a truck every single day? WHY?

I suppose this post is more about venting. I have been needing assistance to get out of bed nearly every day, and I feel bruised and battered over my entire body.  Even my eyelids have started hurting. I know this feeling because it was my daily life a few years ago. But I figured it out. And I put it behind me. So what now? I think way too much. I can’t do anything but think, and research, and troubleshoot.  I want answers, solutions, and relief.

I have been practicing as much patience as possible. I have a daily yoga practice, which sadly has switched from enjoying practices at a few favorite studios around town to mostly a home practice, simply because I fall, and moan in pain so much now, that I prefer to practice in private for the time being. If I did not have these things, I am certain I would not be able to get as much accomplished as I do. So I am grateful for this. But with all of the pondering, the main thing that keeps coming back to me is how incredibly reactive I have become overall. And I think it might have something to do with a house that we recently moved out of. I refer to it as the “Mold House”. There was something horribly wrong with the house, and we were there for 9 months. I am suspecting that just by living in this toxic space for so long, it somehow triggered more responses in my body, & ultimately weakened my system so that I now react to nearly everything, and in a more severe way.

I will say that I am doing much better than when we were IN the house. Because while we were IN the house, i was breaking out in hives for no apparent reason at least 5 days per month. And I could not even open jars, carry out the trash, or breathe through the night.  But I fear the damage was done. And I simply do not know at this stage what I can do. My answer for getting through Expo East was simple. I just added to my already growing medical debt by getting a few infusions. I got one of my favorite Vitamin/Mineral infusions, as well as a Glutathione infusion for detox. I feel like if I could afford to get those regularly, I would be well on my way to some type of progress.

Enough of my rambling. It just felt like time to share something, since I had been neglectful and very delayed in my reports of Expo East. I have a lot to share. But so little energy and brain capacity these days to do so. So bear with me.

I welcome all suggestions, resources, etc when it comes to digging myself out of these holes. The medical debt AND the chronic state of inflammation that I currently find myself in. I will find a way to be more uplifting with my next post.

Yoga will save the day for me though. It always does. Namaste.

Kansas City GFAF Wellness Event 2015

4 Oct

What a lovely, busy weekend I had during the Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event when it stopped near Kansas City, at the KU Edwardsville Best Conference Center in Overland Park, KS.  Thanks to the hard work from all of those involved. I was amazed by the boundless energy possessed by those wonderful ladies in charge.

I can’t summarize things much better than my GFF Kathleen from Soul Food Heals did. She is likely much more thorough than I could be. I am so fortunate that I had the opportunity to spend some extra time with her during her stay in Kansas City.

Check out her recaps here:

GFAF Wellness Event Kansas City 2015

I concur with everything she said, and I have a very special place in my heart for KC Natural BBQ Sauce. This local Kansas City company has recently released a nightshade-free sauce – their Mastodon Sauce – and it is out of this world. Folks at the GFAF Wellness Event in Kansas City had the opportunity to try that sauce, along with the Original and Sriracha-Q Sauces as samples.

I highly suggest checking out what the Food Equality Initiative is up to as well. Great people, with an inspiring vision. I hope to see more of them in the near future. It is such a thrill to see something like this right here in the midwest.

For those who are needing more dairy-free options, the Mean Vegan booth was a great stop. They had their unbelievably delicious “cheese-y” & saucy jackfruit tamales, that just happen to be vegan (but you would never know it).They also had some of their other products out to sample. My cohort was quite happy with the mushroom jerky (also vegan).

My find for the event, that I had never tried, and was delighted to be able to enjoy were the allergen-free products from The Gluten & Grain Free Gourmet . O M G !  I was able to eat multiple things from this booth. And they were all insanely good. I think that my favorites were the Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, the Paleo Coco No Bake Cookies, and the Paleo Almond Sea Salt Chocolate Bar. So good! And grain-free. This makes me so happy.

Make sure to give some love to the organizations and companies involved with this event. Please check out their websites below. It is heartwarming to see the growth in people who want to support this community. I am so very grateful.

It was a great experience for me. I look forward to attending more of these events in the future. Be sure to also check out some of my photos from the event here:

GFAF Wellness Event Kansas City 2015

Return of the deadly nightshades – living nightshade-free – & AIP friendly BBQ Sauce

23 Sep

And it happened again. I was exposed to nightshades. And not in an extreme way either. Typically this happens when I either neglect to ask for every single detail (including spices used) if eating food prepared by others. OR there are times when I have covered all of my bases. But somehow the ignorance about what nightshades are/aren’t ends up being the culprit. Meaning that if someone says they require a meal to be nightshade-free, this means NO nightshades in any form. Even if it was just a tsp of paprika or cayenne in the entire dish, this can and will still cause a reaction. Which to the person who is not familiar with the term, a tiny sprinkle of something likely seems so insignificant. But to the contrary, that little tiny bit triggers inflammation in my body; some of which can last for a few days after even just one bite of something that likely had just a speck of a powder spice form of a nightshade.

As I sit here in pain from swollen and tender joints, with unattractive skin eruptions (that also hurt) covering my face, feeling angry that a mistake of taking one bite of something that I thought only had black pepper on it could do this much damage, I also have a contrasting feeling of hope and contentment.

My happy place during this post nightshade exposure time is found courtesy of a local Kansas City company who makes gluten free, all natural, certified non-GMO BBQ Sauce. This company – KC Natural recently released a Feud With Food approved, nightshade free BBQ sauce called Mastodon Sauce. This is a huge deal for me since I have pretty much not consumed condiments at all since going gluten free. And once I realized that nightshades were an issue, the odds of finding anything in the condiment world that was safe were pretty unlikely.

This sauce is not only safe for me to eat. But it’s pretty flipping delicious, too. I actually think I might have a problem with now wanting to put it on absolutely everything. I am in love with this new found option of deliciousness. It tastes great on Hilary’s Eat Well Veggie Burgers, as well as on Mean Vegan ChickUn.

KC Natural will be at the Kansas City Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event on Sunday, September 27th, and I will be there singing their praises. For those who are not following an AIP (Autoimmune Protocol), or needing to be nightshade free, I still suggest trying not just the Mastodon Sauce. But please check out the other varieties as well. I would love to hear your feedback (since I sadly cannot taste the ones with tomatoes & peppers).

I will be writing more about this sauce, KC Natural, the GFAF Wellness Event, AND other allergen free topics again soon. So stay tuned.

Check out the Mastodon Sauce : KC Natural Mastodon BBQ Sauce

Join us at the Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event in Kansas City – Sunday 9/27

22 Sep

Check out some of the sponsors for the event Sunday, September 27th from 10am-3pm in Overland Park, KS (near Kansas City). This will be a great opportunity to connect, learn, and try gluten free products.  For more information:

Kansas City Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event Blog

Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event: Next Stop KANSAS CITY – WIN TICKETS

1 Sep

Stay tuned for FREE Tickets to the 2015 Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness event, as it stops in Kansas City.  Well, actually the event itself will not be in Kansas City, MO proper.  But instead in neighboring Overland Park, KS. Which is not too far from a few of my favorite  places that offer gluten free options. Feud With Food will be giving away some tickets in the coming days.

Be sure to like Feud With Food on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. And please spread the word about this great opportunity to learn, explore gluten free options, and build community.

Feud With Food Facebook

Twitter Handle: @FeudWithFood

Instagram handle: @FeudWithFood

Pinterest: Feud With Food

Find the details on the GFAF Wellness website.

GFAF Wellness Event

#GFAFEvent  @GFAFWellness  #glutenfreekc

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 884 other followers