Exposed

Exposed. My skin is exposed, and when it is covered with adult acne, I feel exposed. Like these adorable banana men we made at Wednesday night kids’ church, I feel as exposed and vulnerable as this banana man.

banana man

Stress. Lack of sleep. Changing my eating habits…a little more rice and gluten-free bread than normal and less meat. Travels. My skin is a direct reflection of my inward GI health. I have greatly reduced the amount of chocolate I have eaten, but I decided for a week to take brown rice and black beans which I love to work for lunch. I guess my body prefers more protein. I am not a huge fan of meat. My nutritionist says my blood work indicates I have a lower level of hydrochloric acid in my stomach which makes breaking down meat more difficult. Thank you….evidence based truth to why I love chicken more than any other meat much to my family’s chagrin. She who cooks determines the dinner course.

But, I digress….my skin is broke out and my hair does not feel as healthy. I am on vacation right this very moment as I write this at 6 a.m. and my family sleeps peacefully…I do not feel stressed, maybe tired of riding in the car, but not stressed.  So why is my skin so stressed?

I am 35…at what age will this acne stop? Is it chocolate? Coffee? Lack of sleep? Stress? Too many grains even if they are gluten-free? Dairy?

I had success with clear skin when I first went from a typical American diet to a cleaned upped diet with way less processed food. I’m still eating like that. I do confess…I quit coffee for a week, and my skin did start to clear up. Like I said, I am on vacation right now meaning I have no routine. When I return…hopefully relaxed and refreshed, I plan to experiment some more…I will wean myself from coffee and make some bone broth which also seemed to help my skin in the past.

Exposed. The skin speaks, exposes my food issues. I already am mistaken as being much younger than I am…the infamous red dots do not help! I do not want to see them staring back at me in a mirror. Life experiences have matured me as a person…I want my skin to reflect the same. I know my self-worth is not measured by the appearance of my skin, but I can not help but feel exposed. And, that I do not like that.

Anything you have found helpful for this issue?

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Peanut Butter Protein Muffins and a Sleep Update

Finally, I am sleeping a little better. Yay! I love my Homedics sound machine. The ocean waves lull me to sleep when I have an empty stomach. I am hoping and praying for a week of good sleep before I have a week off work…another yay!

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Onto food….Overripe bananas are good for two things…freezing or baking. I love my Orgain protein powder and drink it most days. I decided to try my hand at baking with it. Here’s what I came up with:

Peanut Butter Protein Muffins

2 overripe bananas

1/3 cup Orgain chocolate protein powder

1/4 cup almond milk

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup natural creamy peanut butter

Mix together in a food processor until well blended. Pour into  muffin liners.  Makes 8-9 muffins. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes. They are dense, soft,  moist, and fudgey.  Great for breakfast on the go or an afternoon pick me up!

plant based protein powder

Peanut Butter Protein Muffins

Confession….peanut butter is one of those foods I need to be careful with. This  recipe could easily use any type of nut butter. These muffins are sweet to me. I don’t eat a lot of sugar. I ended up putting them in the freezer so they weren’t easily accessible to me. I have learned I can tolerate some peanut butter, but too much irritates my stomach. Peanut butter, or any nut butter, is one of my trigger foods. I have to be careful with nut butter, chocolate, and baked goods. More to come on that later…

Insomnia Diaries…Day 1

insomniaInsomnia. Is. Awful.

Being tired and laying down to sleep expecting to enjoy a restful night of sleep only to find out you can’t fall asleep….this has been the story of my life the past week.

I don’t do well with hearing other people breathe when I am trying to sleep…unfortunately, my husband needs to breathe while he sleeps, and fortunately he does!

I have tried lots of calm me down, unwind before bed, get ready for sleep “solutions”…chamomile tea, reading before bed, a sound machine, lavender essential oil diffused, a dark room….it isn’t helping lately. I am tired and frustrated. I want to sleep!!!

I made a discovery the other night that may shed some light on my sleeping issues. Food. I learned a long time ago with acid reflux issues not to eat right before bed and not to eat a large dinner. I’ve been snacking lately, though. A bite of this or that as I pack my lunch. And liquid….sleepytime tea and water….these actually seem to be hindering my ability to sleep. I need an empty belly in order to sleep. So, I have stopped drinking anything by 7. I drink A LOT of water during the day so I’m not worried about not getting enough fluid. What I am worried about is not getting enough sleep! Not getting enough sleep is bad for the brain and memory, and I need my memory!

So, tonight, I will try my theory and hope to fall asleep faster than the last few days!!!

I am open to any and all sleep suggestions!

The “Me” Diet

Eating has become a complicated thing. Eating with food intolerances is even more complicated.

The GAPS diet, the Paleo and Primal diets, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, the Starch Solution, the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, vegan, low carb, eating for your blood type….the list goes on and on…

I actually found myself in an argument one day in an online forum over a diet. I had posted something about my dental issues and my newly diagnosed ulcerative colitis diagnosis that I was trying to deal with and someone replied back that I had to do the Specific Carbohydrate Diet all the way, 100 % or I would continue to forever have issues the rest of my life.

I have tried many of those diets or variations of those diets the past few years in attempts to stabilize my GI issues, address my dental issues, improve my skin, etc… And the end result, some improvement but really, trying to follow a strict diet can make a person crazy!

I do live with food intolerances. I can read my body. Last night after eating something I normally don’t eat, I said to my husband, “My shoulder hurts from something I ate.” He looked at me like I was crazy, but honestly, that is a reaction I experience. Basically, I know that portion size, the time I eat, and processed food are things that I need to really pay attention to. Most boxed and bagged foods are not good for anyone.

So, I am choosing to live the “Me” diet-eating what I know makes me feel the best. Gluten free whole foods, not gluten-free sugar filled boxed and bagged snack food. Very, very, very little sugar. (Sugar is awful. It gives me adult acne (yuck) and makes me more prone to illness). Eat lots of veggies, mostly cooked, some fruit, enough protein but not too much. I’m not a meat fan but I do like chicken and grass-fed ground beef and occasional salmon but that’s the extent of my meat. Some eggs. I bake with coconut flour or buckwheat flour. Very, very, very little dairy beyond occasional cheese because my stomach can not tolerate it. Almond milk. Nuts and nut butter but eating a jar of nutbutter in a week…probably not a good idea…Oops! Occasional dark chocolate. Coffee…the verdict is still out…some days I can tolerate it, others, not so much! Green tea….love it! Lots of water and water with lemon and dandelion tea. Homemade bone broth. Some beans, soaked overnight. Same with oats. For snacks, I do like Kind squares and Larabars. And that’s about what I eat.

Eat what you like, in moderation. Find out what works and does not work for you. Do not obsess over following any one diet. Do your best when you eat out or find yourself in social settings where food is involved.

Food is energy….don’t let it become a source of negative energy.

me diet

Portion Control

When I wake up tomorrow, it will be Friday. Thank goodness! It’s been one of those weeks. My sleep schedule and routine have been thrown off due to a change in shift for my husband which of course, affects my night and morning routines. And, it’s just been a crazy week. We had corporate visitors today at work. One shook my hand and asked me…. “You still going to the gym?” I reply “Yes” although I go only to a Saturday morning exercise class and choose to work out at home, but anyways… Then, he says… “I can tell.” Okay, does this mean I have a strong handshake, he thinks I look fit, or just a strange comment?? Anyways, I am tired. I am ready for the weekend.

Portions. Always a struggle for me. This is a perfect sized portion compliments of Ruby Tuesday. Spaghetti squash and a bunless turkey burger.

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Unfortunately, at home, my portions are not always so perfectly sized out as that. When I get home from work, I am starving. I eat too much some nights which leads to my stomach hurting which leads to not sleeping well.  Tonight is one of those not so good nights.

I could beat myself up over it or instead, use my favorite “Tummy Trouble” essential oil blend and hope and pray for a good night sleep and rejoice in a new day tomorrow…Friday!

Really, I do best grazing…eating several mini meals throughout the day. I think I am going to resort back to my grazing ways and keep small snacks in my car so I am not so famished when I come home from work. Ever since I had my GI issues, mini meals seem to be best suited for my happy digestion.

Any other grazers out there?

Uncomfortable

uncomfortableYesterday, I was uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. In a sad way. In a disturbed way. In a way that hurt.

My faith calls me at times to be uncomfortable. My food issues put me in situations where I am uncomfortable and at other times leave me physically uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable is not something new, but yesterday, it was a new kind of uncomfortable.

Early Saturday morning with coffee cup in hand, I settled into the front seat of my minivan with my family as we followed a small caravan of cars, full of friends from our church. Our destination: the homeless shelter in the downtown in the nearby city. As we toured the building and had our volunteer orientation, I was inspired by the vision of the organization, a Christian organization who runs solely on the generous support of others and no government assistance. Their vision includes plans to revitalize an old school building for their extensive programs. This inspired me. From there, we traveled to the men’s shelter for a tour. It wasn’t the visit to the men’s shelter with empty bunk beds and a pair of boots with two half rolls of toilet paper tucked inside that made me uncomfortable, either.

boot

It was lunch. We joined a room full of homeless individuals, each with a different story, for lunch. I sat at a table with two youth from my church and two ladies who had come in from the cold for a warm meal. One lady was chatty and shared her story. Another lady when I said hello to her, her cold eyes looked straight through me, no sign of hope. She stood up and wandered to another table where she could sit alone. What is her story? I will never know.

I chatted some with the friendly lady at our table who was willing to talk and share her story. I witnessed an almost fight at another table. I looked around the room and saw people socializing with one another. I saw people like the one lady who preferred to sit alone and keep to herself. They allowed us, the guests, to eat first which felt uncomfortable. I walked up and retrieved a tray which held a plate filled with food. Salad. Gray, mystery soup. Angel food cake. I ate the salad. The gray mystery soup had an odor and contained noodles, meat of some sort, and veggies. I felt uncomfortable because I did not eat anything but the salad, but I did not want to feel physically uncomfortable later. The lady at our table said the food is okay, depends on the cook, and lunch is better than dinner.

Then, our group went to thrift store ran by the organization where individuals can shop at designated times. Shopping day had been that morning, so we were put to work cleaning up and re-organizing and restocking. Our group donated over 500 pounds of clothes that day adding to bags and boxes of clothes and shoes needing sorted. I helped with the baby and children’s items. I was uncomfortable. Uncomfortable that we who have so much donate our children’s used clothes that are ripped and stained. Just because someone has limited monetary resources does not mean their children should have to wear someone’s chocolate stained sweatshirt or yellowed, formula stained bib.

shoes

Uncomfortable. I have food issues and intolerances. I can choose to eat foods that make me feel better. I don’t have to eat gray mystery soup. I can eat fresh fruits and vegetables. I have a bed at night. I can sleep in warmth and not in a room with fifty other people. I have a closet full of clothes and a ton of shoes I don’t even wear. I have a job.

I don’t know anyone’s story. I don’t judge. I don’t assume. Yet, I am uncomfortable. I am sad. I know the organization is bringing hope and changing lives. I know my faith will stretch me and make me uncomfortable at times.

As I drink my coffee this morning in my freshly painted dining room in the warmth of my home with my family upstairs that love me and I love, I know I have a lot to be thankful for. I don’t have the perfect job, the perfect body, the perfect home, but I have a sense of security and safety.

Matthew 25:40

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Uncomfortable so I can grow. Uncomfortable so I can help others. Uncomfortable so I can have compassion and love. Uncomfortable so I can have understanding. Uncomfortable so I can have gratitude.

The Trouble with Sitting

sittingI sit too much. I commute to work 45 minutes in the morning and then 45 minutes again in the afternoon. My job at work is not 100 % office work, but I do sit at my computer to do necessary things. I sit in meetings. I come home and sit down for dinner. I put my feet up after dinner to help alleviate the swelling in my legs that happens from sitting, walking on hard floors in dress shoes, and water retention.

I try to exercise most mornings before work, but I don’t always think it is enough. I have heard studies say that sitting too long wrecks havoc on blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and can lower life expectancy. So, what’s a person to do?

Here are a few things I do that help decrease the amount of time I spend sitting at work:

  • Stand up and stretch
  • If the weather is nice, take  a short stroll outside
  • Eat somewhere other than your desk…requires you to get up and walk and allows for a break from work.
  • Don’t sit longer than an hour. Get up. Take a trip to the bathroom or go grab a cup of coffee or tea.
  • Prop your feet up on a stool or even a box.
  • Stand…clean up around your desk.
  • Park farther away so you get in a few extra steps.
  • If stairs are an option, use them!
  • Drink dandelion tea and green tea…helps against water retention from feet hanging down all day….and will require extra trips to the bathroom!

Be mindful of what your body is saying. If your back hurts, maybe you have been sitting too long in one position. Move….your body will thank you!

Just a few words of advise as we enter another week of work! Have a great week!