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Step Beyond Celiac KC5K

18 Oct

While I have been seemingly in hibernation as of late, at least from this blog itself, I have actually been doing all of the things. And by all of the things, I mean SO many great things that involve advocating for my own wellness and the wellness of others.

One of the most recent things that I feel so fortunate to have been a part of was the Beyond Celiac – Step Beyond Celiac KC 5K run/walk. This was the Beyond Celiac’s inaugural event, and it was held in Kansas City, my home town. I could not have been more lucky to have ended up not only volunteering with some of the nicest people. But I also got to sneak in some quality time with one of my favorite Celiac advocates – Erica of Celiac and the Beast.

The event also brought me back in touch with Emily from Food Equality Initiative , and Jill from t.Loft. I also met adorable dogs, courageous kids dealing with a celiac diagnosis, and some extremely generous supporters and volunteers. But more than anything it showed me that we actually have a dedicated group of people whose lives have been touched by food allergies and celiac disease. And so many of them are right here in Kansas City. I have learned so much from all of the people I have been lucky enough to meet. And I look forward to many more opportunities to learn, support, advocate and come together as a community.

Check out Erica from Celiac and the Beast’s recap of the event here:   Beyond Celiac: Step Beyond Celiac KC5K 

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Another autoimmune flare; another reset – The AIP Challenge & the challenges that led me back here

15 Jun

EvolveAIPChallenge2017

First of all, let me back up to 2015 when I my health started slowly declining and my symptoms gradually were increasing in number or intensity. And it was hard to recognize this at the time because I had been learning to accept what IS vs freaking out over my ever-changing state due to the unpredictability and randomness of autoimmune disease. I was telling myself things like:  This is just temporary. Breathe through and endure. Tomorrow is a new day. Healing means one step forward and 10 steps back sometimes. And I was “OK” with it. Until I was gearing up to drive to Denver for the 2015 FABlogCon – Food Allergy Bloggers Conference. It was then, that it really hit me. I was so low in energy that just packing was draining me. And it took everything I had (with a lot of help from my amazing, supportive partner) just to get me to Denver. And once there, as excited as I was to be surrounded by so many like-minded, compassionate people in a place where everyone was advocating for the very things I was passionate about, I could barely muster up the physical energy to get out of the bed in the hotel room, and take the very easy ride down the elevator to the events a few floors below. It could not have been any more easy to navigate. But my physical body was drained. And my mental capacity was not even functional. I had to put on the best face I could to muster through such a wonderful event when I was just not feeling even close to optimal. I had inflammation so bad that I had to borrow boots from a friend that were two sizes bigger than my normal size, and I busted out the maternity /tunic dress options that I had in the pile to give away for my daily attire. Thank goodness I had those still. That swelling wasn’t just inconvenient and unsightly. It was painful. My entire body felt like it weighed a million pounds and had been beaten and bruised repeatedly. I was having to face the fact that this was not just temporary. And it was not something I could tolerate anymore. I had somehow gone backwards, even after my very clean diet (and what I felt was a healthy lifestyle). I had been eating basically paleo (somewhat primal – as I would have something with rice flour in it maybe 1-2 times /month). As I mentioned, my old (& some new) symptoms had surfaced during 2015. And by November, it really was painfully obvious that I was not bouncing back.

Enter the Autoimmune Protocol AIP and Wahls Protocol .  I had this on my back burner of tricks to pull out just in case I ever hit what seemed to be rock bottom again. But I was so convinced (I had to be hopeful and confident) that I would never need to go this route. But alas, as soon as we returned home from the conference I prepared the pantry (gave away all non AIP things), started working on my meal plans, and mental preparation for what I was embarking upon. I went at this process the same way I did with my first few Elimination diets that were suggested to me (& guided by) my functional/integrative MDs. And then how I begrudgingly leaped into the GAPS (Gut & Psychology Syndrome) Diet full force right before what used to be our annual trip to Austin for South By Southwest. I was no stranger to this. So the process itself was not as daunting this time. But the reality that my body clearly was still not healing, and was fighting against me this entire time was emotionally devastating.

It took three months for me to see/ feel any true results with this version of AIP. I felt worse before I felt better. I had to remove caffeine (which I was only a one Chai tea per day drinker). But that was brutal, as I work a very early morning shift for work. So the first month was not pleasant due to that. But then the following two months I had glimmers of feeling a little better, or at least different. But definitely a ton of feeling resentful towards people who were eating stuff I could not. And the fact that I was working SO hard to heal, and yet I was seemingly getting nothing in return. But as I said, around the 90 day mark I finally felt tangible results. I woke up one day, and simply got out of bed. I had not done that in nearly a year. I did not struggle to lift my head. My arms did not feel bruised and weighted down. And my body felt somewhat lighter and more mobile. This was true progress. This type of protocol is not meant to be permanent. But the length of time that it will take for each person to see/feel improvement will vary a lot. We are all at different stages in our illnesses. And we are also so bio-individual in what makes each of our bodies work or shut down. So for me, clearly 90 days was some type of milestone. But it was still not even close to what I remembered as “normal” (whatever that is).  So I soldiered on. And by the 9th month, I was definitely no longer as inflamed. And my headaches were long gone. But I was now feeling other symptoms I was not used to. I could not seem to get enough energy to go to yoga anymore. I was having brain fog and cognitive issues. My days consisted of work, meal prep, and sleep. That was all I could do. I started questioning why I was still not feeling OK. And my Naturopathic Doctor and I both knew the answer once I buckled down and documented my food intake in a food diary. I had gotten too lax in my version of AIP. I was still following the protocol in the sense of removing all of the inflammatory foods. But I had lost my steam on incorporating variety, and making sure that I was getting ALL of the different nutrients. And since I had been doing the protocol for so long, I had also become  deficient in things due to going months without eating things like eggs (which for me personally were a great source of nourishment). So the decision was made to do reintroductions based on my body needing nutrients fast. This helped. And I started feeling better immediately upon adding organic, pastured eggs.

There have been a handful of ups and downs since then, along with various transitions based on my own individual needs for AIP. However, those reintros and adjustments started 11 months ago. And now I am back to having some reversal in progress. I have been careful as always to not immediately jump to the fear of this being a full on flare, or a reason to make a change. But like last time, I am having to admit to myself that inflammation with severe edema and moderate pain has been increasing at such a gradual rate that I now need to address it. This was most obvious the day before we left for Paleo f(x) in Austin when I was hobbling around. It felt like my feet were just crushed with bruises. I had to go shoe shopping at a specialty shoe store the night before our trip, only to find out that I was now at an even bigger shoe size than before. My own shoes had been strangling my feet again. In the past 10 years, I have gone from a 6.5 narrow in some shoes, now all of the way to an 8.5. This swelling is not limited to my feet. It’s pretty much a below the waist only swelling. I had also again had to borrow leggings two sizes up from a friend (thank you to those who help supply my ever-changing wardrobe needs). And I had been smart enough to hold onto my larger sized, soft, flowy mumu tunics from the last time this happened.

So the universe made sure to lead me back to where I needed to be. And this time without the stress of planning my meals. I will not have to go to the grocery store. And I will not risk becoming malnourished this time either. A locally based paleo food delivery company, Evolve Paleo , is launching an AIP Challenge. And I am going to take that challenge. I am not concerned about how to go about the protocol this time. And I am not having to add extra stress to my life (which is another component of why I have been unable to fully heal). With this challenge, someone else is handling all of the details. All I have to do is eat the food. This could not have come around at a better time. I needed a break in the rigor of what it takes to start and stay on a wellness program of any kind. I needed a break from what has now been years of having to mentally concern myself about my next meal. It’s taxing, and not at all conducive to healing. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe making those changes is the best thing you can do for yourself. But it truly is a huge undertaking. And if you are already compromised, it can be counterproductive to your healing process simply due to the stress it can cause, and the energy it takes to persevere.

So my mind, body, and spirit can finally do a safer version of AIP that will be right for where I am today. I tried this on my own last time. And while I reaped so many benefits, I know now that I needed help with this process. I needed to stay on track, and focus on getting three different types of vegetables within the nine servings I was trying to get each day. It became too easy to just eat the same thing over and over. This time I won’t suffer that same fate. I have my AIP Challenge team on board to keep me true to the most healing version of this protocol. I am curious to see how much easier it will be this time around. And most importantly by removing the stress that I was putting on myself with meal planning, preparation, and the constant mental exhaustion of worrying about what my next meal would be, I am hopeful that this AIP Challenge will offer me more longstanding and tangible progress.

For updates on how the challenge is going, follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter

PALEO f(x) 2017

24 May

Another long stretch of no time /energy to blog. And I’m still in that state. However, I had to take a brief pause to at least post my current state post PALEO f(x).  I’m still processing most of it. And I think I will be for a while. But my immediate thoughts all go straight to a feeling of renewed energy, inspiration, and the comforting feeling that there are indeed like minded individuals (and entire brands/companies) out there. I tend to forget that, living in the middle of the country, immersed in my own daily struggle to just survive.

But it’s true. There was an entire events center FULL of these people, and I gained something valuable from every single interaction I had. I am so grateful for the opportunity to attend this year. And I look forward to hopefully being healthy enough in 2018 to make it back. It took nearly every ounce of energy and compromise I had for us to make it there this year. And I had to put more debt on my credit card so that I could inject my body with much needed vitamins & minerals via the magical cocktail of nourishment the day before leaving & upon returning. But it was worth it. The fact that there were people (and vendor booths) who not only knew what AIP (Autoimmune Protocol / Autoimmune Paleo) was. But they featured products that were safe for AIP was worth the trip there.

I plan to post more of a wrap up style post in the future, including highlights of my favorites, and things we encountered during our stay in beautiful Austin, TX at the Palmer Events Center for PALEO f(x) 2017. I was so programmed to be hashtagging, per usual at any conference – that I still am on autopilot adding #PFX17 #paleofx #paleofx2017 to even my texts. This is definitely a sign that I need some more rest.

I would love to hear about everyone else’s experience at the event. I did meet a lovely blogger – Austin Paleo Girl. She is a former Kansas Citian, now living in Austin who is a much more energetic & accountable blogger than myself. She has already posted her recap, and you can find that here.  Austin Paleo Grrl: Paleo f(x) 17: Weekend Recap

In the mean time I will be gradually posting photos from the event on my Feud With Food Facebook, Feud With Food Instagram, and Feud With Food Twitter.  Back to healing my body with nourishment, rest, and mindfulness. And, of course, missing Austin and all of the wonderful people we met at Paleo f(x).

Dietary restrictions during holidays

6 Dec

It has been a very long time since I managed to post something on the actual blog itself. But here I am again, enduring another holiday season amidst what seems to be loads of people over indulging, obsessing over occasions where everyone must bring very specific dishes. I am happy to say that after many years of having restrictions, the holidays no longer stop me in my tracks or cause horrible feelings of missing out. However, they still can be a struggle. And I do still wish people would stop making excuses for their poor eating habits due to a holiday.

This year is year two of my own version of AIP (Autoimmune Protocol). And it really does stink to be bombarded by so many appetizing options, and so much indulgence when I am working hard to figure out what my next meal will be based on my current AIP as well as managing adrenal fatigue. I eat to live. It’s my survival and my nourishment. And I am OK with that. But some days it does get on my last nerve to hear people around me complaining of the health woes they suffer from while they justify binging on whatever the holiday related food or foods of the day might simply because, you know, it’s a holiday. That falls in the same category of people who have Celiac Disease but intentionally have “cheat” days such as their birthday. I don’t get it. I want to be well SO bad. I want to get better. And I am trying so hard to do everything in my power to make that happen. So it is sometimes hard (especially during an autoimmune flare, or PMS, or a bad day at work) to watch others knowingly sabotaging their own health. I only seem to be the most bothered by this type of thing around PMS, so at least I can take solace in knowing this rage will pass. Like everything, it is indeed only temporary.

So please, tell me your stories of holiday food challenges. How did you handle your Thanksgiving this year? Did you find decent substitutions so that you weren’t forced to derail all of your hard work?  Did any of your family members or dining companions possibly LEARN something by having you at the table this year? I know that is one thing I personally continue to bring to the table. Education on how much what we eat does indeed impact our total wellness – mental and physical. Even if those around you may appear to be uninterested, annoyed, embarrassed (I seem to cause this often when someone has to eat in my presence – How DARE I eat this way?), or just inconvenienced…..please remember that you are slowly chipping away at the stigma, ignorance, and misinformation out there simply by being YOU.  So keep it up. Whatever challenges you are facing. Keep fighting the fight. Keep advocating for yourself. And stick to your guns with your wellness plan. It’s YOUR body and intestines that will be suffering if you make allowances to please other people.

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
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Embarking upon The Daily Dietribe Gluten Free Health Challenge

1 Jun

GF Challenge 2013I have signed the following pledge, per my participation in The Daily Dietribe Gluten Free Health Challenge.

“I will challenge myself to love and respect myself and my body. I will challenge myself to treat myself as I would a dear friend, with kindness and support. I will challenge myself to eat healthy because I love myself and because I want to take care of myself.”

All of these words rang true to me over the past few years, as I have faced various health struggles, increasing food intolerances, and new obstacles that seemed to block my path to wellness.  However, the one thing I had NOT done, was to reach out to others, seek support, and share my experiences.  Thanks to the inspiration of Iris Higgins (AKA Your Fairy Angel), http://www.yourfairyangel.com/meet-your-fairy-angel.html, and her blog The Daily Dietribe, http://www.thedailydietribe.com/, I was prompted to enter The Gluten Free Health Challenge.

This is going to be a very interesting adventure for me, as everything I have done thus far, has been between myself and my very patient, loving, and supportive significant other.  There are a handful of folks who know the tip of the iceberg category information.  But the whole story has been too much to share, bear, or even explain in most instances.

Starting today, for the next 6 months, myself & 6 other women will be working with health coaches assigned to each of us.  Every Tuesday I will have something to share via the blog post on The Daily Dietribe.  Each of us participating in the challenge with our coaches, along with all of those who have decided to join along with us, will be sharing, seeking support, learning new recipes, and hopefully learning as much as possible about ourselves, and in relation to how we can each nurture ourselves for the long term. (You can join here:  http://www.thedailydietribe.com/p/why-join.html ).

Please join me for this challenge. I am so very excited to be a part of this, and hope we can all reap the benefits of this opportunity.

Greetings from my current feud with food

4 Dec

Lady Shuttlecock reporting live from the ghetto of Kansas City, bringing you the latest breaking news in regards to everything food- related, music or fake mustache oriented, and ESPECIALLY tips for those who are also facing the neverending challenge of their own feud with food.

Food intolerance? Allergies? Special diet? Auto-immune situation? Personal choice? Challenged with eating how you WANT to simply because the city you reside in is still way behind in regards to knowledge about what we put into our bodies really being a relevant thing to consider?

All of those things , & ??? more are a welcome topic for this evolving blog.  Especially once music & fake mustaches enter the picture.  As one of the Kansas City Fake Mustache Club’s food-reviewers, & advocate for those who are on a “special diet”, I hope to be able to share as much information as possible with others, & rally support & resources galore.

Feel free to send us photos of yourself wearing a fake mustache, at your favorite location that you patronize specifically due to their willingness to accommodate special diets, & support of local farmers.