Confessions of a Recovered Junk Foodie

confessions of a recovered junk foodie

I often joke that I was raised on four food groups: gluten, dairy, sugar, and antibiotics. Antibiotics should actually be second in that list, because I was SICK all the time.

I want to give a bit of my history here, because given a few new projects I am embarking on, I need to come clean. For the first 30 years of my life, I ate absolute garbage. I was the posterchild for the Standard American Diet (SAD isn’t a pun) gone wrong. I grew up a few blocks from one of the major streets here in Chicago that was loaded with every fast food chain imaginable. I ate at them almost daily growing up and well into my 20s.

confessions of a recovered junk foodie

Food in my childhood home was mostly of ease and convenience. 1980s cereals of every color and sugar-ladened variety lined the top of our fridge. Lunch was a standard PBJ, fruit snacks, candy bars, and juice boxes. There was a lot of Happy Meals. And Taco Bells runs with my mother mispronouncing NACHOS BELLEEEE GRAAANDEE. There was a lot of food products, not real food. Sorry mom, if you are reading this, but it is the Truth. I still love you despite all the Cheez-Whiz and PopTarts.

Sure, I had Italian grandparents who made all recipes from scratch, and those memories now are more meaningful given the new lease on health and life that my son’s autism has given my family.

Over the past five years as a drafted member in the autism community, you learn a lot about food. The word gluten wasn’t even in my vocabulary five years ago and now it defines my life, for the rest of my life.

You learn a lot that you wish you didn’t know.  You learn you have a genetic condition that means you should NEVER eat fortified foods again.  You learn so much in fact, you outright cry when you see what is in strangers’ carts at the grocery store. Yes, this even includes the crap sold at Trader Joe’s and Whole Paycheck.

I am by no means perfect, by NO means. I still struggle with a few remaining demons from my junk foodie past. In all honesty, I’ve cleaned up about 80% of the garbage in my diet and life, but eating “real food” is so damn hard some time. Especially when you remember how easy it is to order a pizza or hit the drive-thru. Or zap that Pot Sticker Lean Cuisine in the microwave at lunch and pat yourself on the back for eating NO calories.

But if I can change my diet permanently, so can you. You can. You absolutely can. I’m the most unlikely person to do so. For real. I had sugar, food dye, and MSG running through my veins as a kid. I would dump four inches of Tang or Strawberry Quik into a glass and eat the sugar.

Disgusting? Yes.  But it’s the Truth.  Ask my brother.

But now, I wouldn’t dare drink soda or anything more sugary than Kombucha. That is a far cry from a kid who was able to pick out one can of pop of every color and flavor at the Cub Foods.

Now I know better, so I do better.

Implore you to look at how you spend your time differently. Cooking is true love. A drive-thru is a lusty one-night stand. Your microwave doesn’t love you back.

cooking is true love, fast food is a one night stand

A week ago, an old friend came to me for advice on diet. How little he knew made me realize it was time to share, if not only for him to reference, but for all of you too.

He said he went to his doctors for advice: eat less and exercise more. Just eat half the hamburger. That’s the problem: no one knows what food is anymore.

I’m excited to share this new series: Real Food for Beginners: a Momnivore’s Manifesto, if you will. Truth from the margins and the trenches.

Stay tuned: next up- we are talking about eggs and animal products.

Nicolette

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New Food Allergies: Corn and Tomato Leave the Estate

kids and food allergies- corn, gluten, tomatoe, and pineapple

Just when you think you have this whole diet thing under control for your kids-they develop new food allergies!  Monkey can no longer tolerate corn.  Of course, we buy “good corn” (I’m sure my paleo readers will battle with this one)-organic and non-GMO.  I will not get into detail of the hell we have been through the past two weeks, but it’s been ugly and uncomfortable and straight up AWFUL.  At least, Monkey understands corn=hell for him. It’s awesome that he also can read labels.  C-O-R-N…no thanks, Mom! Corn is worse than gluten, people.

Yes, it’s a commodity crop and it’s evil I get that.  But I’ve been trying NOT to be as uptight about food, that was until the terrible-horrible-situation happened a few weeks back with Monkey.

See I was raised on Tang and Wonderbread, and now I’m a health nut.  I have cousins who were raised as health nuts and now feed their kids drive-thru food.  Go figure, right?

kids and food allergies- corn, gluten, tomatoe, and pineapple

The CORN s in EVERYTHING, especially the GF stuff.

Now, the tomatoes.  Taking wheat out of this Italian mama’s diet is one thing, but tomatoes…holy high hell.  Seriously.  I die.  I’ve been reacting to it also.  More of a histamine reaction on my end: just hives and an itchy face.  But tomatoes, is Sir Moose.

I keep a food journal, and odd enough, Moose started reacting to tomato right as winter was ending last year as well.  There must be a connection.  I have an appointment pending with our internist this month.  And come to think of it, he also did in the Spring when he was 2.  Weird, right?

Poor Moose.  He loves his GF pasta and meatballs (adapted from my great-grandmother’s recipe from Sicily) and his ketchup- but no longer.  Within minutes of consuming an acid-high food: pineapple, orange, tomatoes…Moose’s face turned into a red blotchy mess.

Moose usually has incredible milk skin, but eczema now covers his little body.  Just freakin’ awful.

My pediatrician’s response: put some pharma creme on it.  My homeopath is on the case, and I’m off to get some allergy testing from our internist. My response?  Look at diet first.

I’ve learned a few things over the years.  Don’t put all your faith in one place.

Tomatoes have been in heavy rotation here, so as in all things food: it’s back to the drawing board for us.

Stay tuned for new recipes and such.

So, here’s to life more unprocessed than it already was.

If you need me, I’ll be in my kitchen dreaming up new ideas that are now GF, corn and tomato-free.

Damn it.  Let’s hope that this is just a change of season thing, and not permanent!

Nicolette

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10,000 Steps a Day: A Solution for Gym Haters

police walk

I have a confession to make.  I hate “working out”.  I really hate “the gym”- which is ironic that I am married to a man who lives at the gym.  I am amazed by people who have energy to run marathons and play sports.  I did whatever I could, even as far back as elementary school, to get out of gym class.  Sports, meh, not my thing.   I’ve always been the artsy reader who would much rather park my ass in the sand with a good book than swim or snorkel or whatever.

I love walking and yoga.  Yoga studios are my thing: quiet, serene, and a real escape from the everyday grind.  Problem being, here in Chicago, we are talking upwards of $17 bucks a class.  Not good for a family trying to pay down debt.  I guess I will stick to cheesy rented yoga videos for now.

But, my friends, I did find something that has motivated me plenty.  Despite being a woman of letters, I’ve developed a fondness for numbers and tracking things. I blame google analytics and the classroom creative.com for that one.  When I was teaching, we were challenged to wear a pedometer by one of our principals.  I found myself moving more because I knew I was being watched.

Now, I’m my own Big Brother.

I’ve applied that same principle to my not-so lofty fitness goals for this year: move more and relax.  I’m wearing a pedometer to track my steps.  It makes me move more.  If I look at my pedometer, and it’s 2 p.m., and I’ve only moved 3,000 steps, I know I need to start moving!  It’s hard when a lot of your life is spent starting at a screen, sitting on your butt.

Apple needs to invent some computer that forces you to move, like that Nintendo jump pad thing from the early 90s.

I do struggle with energy issues.  I know the more I move, the better I feel.  But I’m allergic to gyms. Seriously. The smelly dripping men.  The creepy tan people in January.  I get really grossed out seeing other people’s sweat on the machines.

I’ve always subscribed to the European idea of working out…just walk a lot!

So, I’ll stick to this pedometer thing until we get out from the Polar Vortex.   At the end of each day, I write my steps on my calendar.  It’s that simple.  I’ve been secretly bribing myself with money each day I hit 10,000. $10 to spend on whatever I want.  Maybe a yoga class. Not going to lie, it’s been rough this month.  It’s Siberia here in Chicago.  I can’t walk the dog.  I’m stuck in the house with my sons in 1000 square feet.

I’ve read that 10,000 steps equates with 5 miles, and that studies show it’s the ideal amount of movement to have in a day for health and wellness.  The average American walks about 100 steps a day, to the car, and to the sofa when they get home from work.  I kid. I believe the average is between 3,000-4,000 for most Americans.

But  I wanted to share this with you, in case you need a kick in the butt.  Or if you hate the gym like me.

Nicolette

 

Sharing @ Sunday Showcase

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Ray Peat’s Raw Carrot Salad Recipe: Anti-Estrogen and Vital to Women’s Health


Once I hit 33 last year, some funky female stuff starting happening. Breakouts in the facial regions that show estrogen dominance (side of cheeks, hairline), sore boobs to the point that I visited my OB… you get the idea. It’s funny how the human body works. If you take artificial hormones of any kind (I sure as hell DON’T given my history of migraines)…you need to read on, because chances are, you are estrogen dominant.

All the women in my family were DONE with menopause at age 40. I’m 34. I’m determined to break that trend. My OB, after I questioned her, is certain that I am not perimenopausal, but given the signs of estrogen dominance I had going on, I turned to the alternative circuits to correct all the annoying health issues I had surface in the past year.  Homeopathy has helped, but I also think my diet needed to be adjusted.

A pill for every ill is not my style.

The first place, I turn is the kitchen.

Dr. Ray Peat, PhD in biology, brilliant yet on the fringes of health research, has this to say about estrogen dominance…

According to Dr. Ray Peat:

Endotoxin formed in the bowel can block respiration and cause hormone imbalances contributing to instability of the nerves, so it is helpful to optimize bowel flora, for example with a carrot salad; a dressing of vinegar, coconut oil and olive oil, carried into the intestine by the carrot fiber, suppresses bacterial growth while stimulating healing of the wall of the intestine. The carrot salad improves the ratio of progesterone to estrogen and cortisol, and so is as appropriate for epilepsy as for premenstrual syndrome, insomnia, or arthritis.

In plain English, carrots keep the system moving, and acts as a natural antibiotic which promotes good bacteria.  The lowly carrot.

ray peat raw carrot salad recipe

So, indeed, I am trying this out to see if I see improvement in any of my symptoms.  I will report back. I’ve always craved raw carrot, so I found this to be one of those “ah-ha” moments for me.  And in all things health, of course, I have to pass along the good word.

A few things I’ve learned from the interwebs:

1.) It must the the WHOLE carrot, and not the juice.  It’s the fiber in the carrot that gives this benefit.

2.) It’s critical to have the coconut oil with the vinegar to maximize the benefit of the raw carrot.

Ray Peat’s Raw Carrot Salad Recipe: Anti-Estrogen and Vital to Women’s Health
 
Prep time
Total time
 
-1 organic medium carrot peeled and grated -2 tsp of melted coconut oil -2 tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar -sprinkle of good quality sea salt
Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • -1 organic medium carrot peeled and grated
  • -2 tsp of melted coconut oil
  • -2 tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • -sprinkle of good quality sea salt
Instructions
  1. Grate carrot. According to Peat, the grating is essential.
  2. Make dressing by melting coconut oil over low heat. If it’s above 75 degrees, your coconut oil may already be liquid.
  3. Combine.
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste.
  5. Repeat this daily until your symptoms decrease.
  6. Reporting back as of 3/14: It has worked for me!

Let me know if this helps you!
Nicolette

p.s. Post is intended for educational purposes only. Read my disclaimer here.

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Step Away from the Drive-Thru… (free printable)

I made this printable ages ago, in hopes of inspiring you all to make changes in your diets and lifestyles.  I never posted it.  If you want to make a lifestyle change, this is where I suggest you start.
Pretend the drive-thru doesn’t exist.
It’s healthy for your body and your pocketbook.
Simply drag to your desktop and save.
As a part of Project Graveyard, the month
where I post what’s been sleeping in my draftbox.
In health,
Nicolette
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Why I Started Eating Dairy Again

reintroducing dairy into your diet

I’ve been having an affair.

With dairy.

For those of you who are new to the blog, we (my sons and I) went GFCFSF about three years ago and consequently, kicked dairy to the curb.

After a few years “off the hooch”, you may find me eating a stick of butter on occasion.

It started rather innocuosly, about a year ago.  I started making homemade ghee, which is basically claifiied butter with all the autism-scaring casein protein removed.  And many, did it take the hell of GFCFSF cooking up a notch.  I was making a batch every week or so.

And then, I added butter back in.

Then, cream.

Then, grass-fed dairy.

reintroducing dairy into your diet

 

The, cheese, oh cheese, your pea-protein CF vegan substitues can’t hold a candle.  Well, maybe some of the cashew cheese from expensive vegan restaurants in my dear city, but my gosh, cheese.  You’ve got a hold on me.

Well, not really.

I could quit it again without problem.  If I could quit coffee, gluten, soda, and still live to tell about it?

Sidenote: I’m back on coffee again, just not pots of it.  Not daily.  And my adrenal glands like me better now.

So, why did I choose to put dairy back in?

Well…several reasons.

1.) Reducing PUFAs (Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids) and other funky chemcial additives in the “alternative milks”.  Carageenan alone is a reason to run from the cartons of almond and coconut milk.  There’s some weird ass ingredients in the boxed store-bought milks, and I don’t think they are real food or necessarily good for you.

2.) Butyric acid is high in butter and good for the gut, yet, naysayers will scream “casein” and other inflammatories in milk to counter this point.  But, I feel better, so that’s my barometer.

3.) My body temperature was sucking in th 97s and I was cold all the time, so adding dairy back in, according to ayuvedic principles, would warm me up.  I’m toasty now, and metabolizing things so well.

4.) Homeopathy has brought a lot of healing to all involved in our household.  The premise of the type of homeopathy we practice doesn’t restrict foods, so after a few years of giving GFCFSF the old college try, it was a temporary diet at best.

What does scare me is some of my family think this is tabula rasa for feeding my kids all the crap they can.  I’m still the food police. There are some brands I trust, and some that I don’t.

I trust grass-fed over organic. Period.

So, for now, we are changing our diets yet again.

This is a marathon, not a sprint.  We learn, screw up, and change things along the way.

Nicolette

 

 

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skeletons in my health closet: migraines, MTHFR-gene, and 20 years lost

Last week, I was given a diagnosis by my ob/gyn that has forever changed my life.  I was in Target with the boys, school supply shopping.  My phone started buzzing in my purse, and it was one of those moments where the number looked familiar, but I was too busy making the kids laugh wearing this stupid Hulk mask.

(“selfie” taken moments before said phone call)

 

So, meh, I didn’t pick it up.  I rarely talk on it.  I never answer it.

By the way, the Hulk mask was the first toy Moose has ever thrown in the cart.

The voicemail beeped, and I figured hell, that semi-familiar number must be important.  Probably a bill collector or something.

So, I checked it.

A nurse with a voice robotic and routine:

“Test results back…Positive…We need you to come in for more blood work….Genetic testing…We’d like to set up genetic counseling… Homocysteine levels.  Kidneys and liver.  More blood work.”

Here I am in Target.  Sunglasses on, of course, as always, because I hate lights in stores.  I throw the toys the boys are playing with in the cart, and make a beeline for the door.

Now mind, you I never buy them toys at Target, so you know I wasn’t thinking straight.

Shit.   I don’t have a medical degree, and yet, guess who asked for this test? Me.

This was worse than the moment Moose was diagnosed with autism, because I knew that diagnosis was coming.

This, I didn’t.  I was in the toy aisle at Target for Christsake.  I learned about it on a voicemail.  Why did I give them permission to leave test results on a voicemail? It’s like breaking up with someone on a text message or post-it note.

If I’ve learned anything from being an autism mom: ask the right questions, and you get the right answers.

I start cursing every doctor that ever tried to help me with over 25 years of migraine headaches.  All of the dietary restrictions: no red wine, red meat, MSG, etc.All the bandaids skirting the CAUSE: All the pharma meds like Relpax and Imitrex and Midrin that make my heart feel like it was going to burst.  All the days and nights I missed out on life, because I couldn’t see, couldn’t be by light, couldn’t bear smells, and the pain, I can still feel my brain pressing up against my skull.

I hope by sharing this story, some of you may take the leap and ask for this blood test, should your health history mirror mine.

I found out last week that I have a genetic mutation that doesn’t allow my body to absorb folic acid.  It’s called MTHFR(not a dirty acronym-rather an acronym for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase).

Say that three times fast.

I asked to be screened for the MTHFR gene given my family history.  You know, kid with autism.  Father dead at 54 of kidney failure.  My history of migraines.

And jackpot.  We have a winner.

I have a homozygous genetic mutation on the A1298C of the MTHFR.   Homozygous is worse than heterozygous, because it means

1.) I have the gene from BOTH parents.

2.) Heterozygous genetic mutations means you could absorb 50-70% of what a person without the mutation can absorb of the critical folate.  My mutation means…

10%.  Because two defective genes is worse than having just one defective gene.

Only 10%.  Which means, any prenatal vitamin I took during my pregnancies didn’t work, as my body will not absorb folic acid, only methylfolate, which is already converted.  The MTHFR mutation means you can’t take regular folic acid and convert it to a form your body and brain use. Regular folic acid is poison to my body, which explains why my migraines cease 99% when I went gluten-free three years ago.

It’s wasn’t the gluten, it was the cheap version of folic acid added to the foods I ate several times each day.

All gluten-foods are fortified with FOLIC ACID.  Oddly enough, my migraines began in 6th grade, which coincided with the government’s folic acid fortification program.

Here’s a fun little study on Pub Med from 2012: migraine and MTHFR.

THE PLOT THICKENS:

Oh, and 98% of kids on the autism spectrum also have a form of this MTHFR mutation.  Which begs the questions, why isn’t this standard of care for all kids diagnosed to be screen for this?

Why isn’t this standard of care for any woman suffering from migraines?  Why isn’t this screen prenatally given that roughly 30% of our population carries at least one defective MTHFR gene?

That means a good percentage of pregnant women popping prenatal vitamins are basically NOT absorbing critical nutrients!

The bottom line is most likely money.  If doctors prescribe what is essentially a prescription b vitamin, we wouldn’t need those pricey MRIs, follow-up visits, overpriced migraine meds, now would we?  Plus, genetic testing ain’t cheap.

I will play Pollyanna for a moment, and pretend “first do no harm” is a real edict.  This MTHFR is relatively new, coming into the medical consciousness in about 2003.  Understanding genetics and epigenetics is a new field.  I get that.

But still.  Prevention should be key here!

The good news is, my primary care doctor knows this issue inside and out. I’m off to see the wizard later this week.

Meanwhile, the nurse at my OB’s office couldn’t even pronounce the condition.  Not exactly the person I want on my case.

This MTHFR genetic condition is treatable with prescription methylfolate and methylcobalamin, and changes in lifestyle.  Which, obviously, I have spent the past three years becoming the organic food health police.  Not exactly a job I was groomed for as a kid.

So, there’s blue skies.

But please, if someone you know and love suffers from migraines, do share this with them.  If they have a kid on the spectrum, please share this with them.  I don’t want my years of suffering with migraines to be in vain.

If this post helps one person avoid migraine headaches, or perhaps help their kid on the spectrum function a little bit better, I’m beyond grateful.

 

With love,

Nicolette

 

 

 

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the all-you-can eat pizza and ice cream diet. no joke.

As an autism mom, we’ve been on every “diet” known to man.  We’ve dabbled in raw.  Dairy-free.  Gluten-free {we still are}.  Green smoothies to alkalize.  GAPS. SCD.  Paleo. Basically, we’d eat sawdust and mud if it meant Moose would improve.  Deep down, I missed eating food for pleasure. I detested that every meal and grocery trip  was under a microscope.  Would you like a side of stress with that?

Over the past three years, I’ve become the worst type of food police, deeply believing that every apple was sending my kid into yeast overload and gluten was the mortal enemy.  I’ve morphed into organic mom on the warpath, and it’s not pretty seeing me at birthday parties.

 

 

{via}

 

At some point, this vigilante mode gets old.  I am sick of demonizing food.  Yes, there’s a LOT of crap food out there. Just, like I got that gut feeling about homeopathy…I knew it was time to heal our fractured relationship with food.

A health blogger by the name of Matt Stone, whom I stumbled upon via the Real Food bloggers world, opened my eyes to a few things.  He is the mastermind behind 180 Degree Health.

Matt’s premise is , it’s not the food, you fool,  it’s how we metabolize it.  Matt delved deep into the why of poor metabolism, and at the core: it’s low basal body temperature.  Being the type A mother I am, I dug into Moose’s binder and found his old pediatrician sheets from the days he got his “well checks”.

His temperatures were chronically low.  96.8, 97.1-  nothing out of the 97s, which metabolically speaking is SCREAMING to us...hey adults, my young body isn’t working properly.  Did our doctors even pay mind to this?  Nope.  Not the pediatricians, the fancy GI doctors, the naturopath, chiropractors, the three DAN! doctors…Nada.

moose santa 2012

But, I am now.

The mantra of “work on the gut, and the healing will follow” can’t hold true unless our body is functioning at 98.6 degrees.  Low body temperatures invite a host of issuess: viruses, autoimmune conditions, bacteria, and yeast overgrowth.

After reading Matt’s e-book, EAT FOR HEAT, I started tracking my temperatures. After all, I don’t try anything on my kid that I would not do to myself first.  My temperatures weren’t as bad as some people who read his site.  Upper 97s.  By eating more dense foods, I’m in the 98s now, and feel better than I ever have.  When my hands and feet start to feel cold, it’s a sign my temperature is tanking, and I need a quick combo of salt, sugar, starch, and good fat.

Matt has a specific diet plan for those on “diet recovery”-meaning those with crap body temperatures, burnt-to-a-crisp adrenals…it’s called RRAFING; otherwise known as the:

the pizza and ice cream diet matt stone 180 degree health

It’s not forever. This isn’t the diet to get your into your bikini and look like a Hollywood starlet.

This is about restoring your metabolism and healing your relationship with food.

This isn’t license to stuff your face with every food vice FOREVER.   A month or two.  Basically, fill yourself up on energy-dense foods to heal your metabolism.  It’s just to get your used to “eating the food” {Matt’s term}, rather than hyperanalyzing every morsel. I think this would be crucial for those people subsisting on lettuce and egg whites {which I never did}.  You can read more about that “diet” here.

Eating your fill of ice cream sounds like a dream, right? Wrong.  After binging for a few days…I can’t eat it anymore.  Strange, right?

Prior to my autism mommy health foray, I was the only girl I knew who ate full fat dairy and drank regular soda.  And bread, lots and lots of bread.  I loved food.  Then in the summer of 2010, food turned on me…I was allergic to everything.

But the core of my issues is that I was running cold after the birth, nursing, and stress of early motherhood.  I wasn’t taking care of myself.  Everyone else came first.

Matt’s on to something. It’s working for me. After three years, I’m coming out of the dark cloud.

More importantly, it’s working for Moose.

Moose age 3 at Easter

Since I’ve eased up on our “diet”, allowing Moose to eat dairy again {grass-fed mostly}, carbs {god-forbid- I may be sent to autism mommy hell}…this coupled with our homeopathic treatment- he’s doing better than he ever has.   He’s warmer.  He doesn’t seem as wiped out.

But old habits die hard.  I’m still anti-food coloring, frozen dinners, convenience foods, fast foods, GMOs, etc.  You won’t see me at the McDonald’s drive-thru anytime soon, but we are starting to just “eat the food” -well, our version of it anyway.  Which now means: better real foods like grass-fed cheddar grill cheese rather than vegan imitation shreds that tastes like rubber.

I sometimes wonder if the stress of me freaking-out-about-the-food all of the time just made the situation worse.  As an autism parent, you want to help and control something.  Food is one of those areas where we feel a sense of “I got this”.

If you want to see some of Matt’s work yourself, he has an e-book over at Amazon that’s a mere 99 cents until midnight on February 15th.  If you are struggling with the idea of food and want an perspective that may throw your preconceived notions into whirlwind, check it out.

If you want even more…his blog is one of my daily must-reads.  The community alone in the comments section is pure stand-up comedy.

 

Off to eat some ice cream,

Nicolette

{Post not perked or sponsored.  Matt’s work has helped me and my boy…so maybe it can help you all as well}

 

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Quitting coffee: Why Mama doesn’t need coffee anymore

why i quit coffee-001

I’ve given up gluten. Soda. Cigarettes.  More than one drink while going out.   At one point, I stopped eating all dairy, eggs, soy, corn, and other allergenic foods.  But one mainstay, gave me hope.  The one consistent love I developed while waiting tables at a pie shoppe back in high school:

Coffee.

I grew up in a house where my father drank it not by the cup, but by the pot.  At age 16, I detested my parents’ grocery store on-sale brands, and developed coffee snobbery, high-tailing it to the yuppie coffee shops in my great city.

Just a few weeks back, I took a long look at my relationship with coffee and decided it was time for a divorce.

I have low-functioning adrenals…and coffee stresses the adrenals.

My liver is sluggish…and coffee stresses the liver.

Doctors have told me I malabsorb nutrients: low magnesium, low vitamin D, low ferritin, low blood pressure, low energy…so coffee was my drug of choice to counteract my lows.

Yet, many of my natural doctors never suggested to tell coffee to beat it.  But my homeopath, Lora Roberts, did mention it to me, as coffee impedes the progress of homeopathy.

Despite all my trials to improve my health over the past three years, I knew coffee was holding me back from feeling 100% better.  I couldn’t get through a morning without it.  The smell.  The ritual.  The jolt of energy.

If I was strong enough to give up gluten for good, after being raised on incredible Italian food, then I could quit the last vice I had.

Every afternoon, like clock-work, I’ve wanted to climb into bed and pass out.  I truly believe that my homeopathic detoxes gave me the strength to finally break-up with coffee.

Now, three weeks later after quitting coffee,  I feel different.  The mornings are less painful.  The afternoons are without their slump.  My daily cup of Joe is a memory past.  My moodiness is gone.  My thinking is far more level-headed.

Sure, the smell of coffee still gets me, like old songs on the radio.

Memories of writing stories in college hopped up on my drug of choice, cozy in little coffee houses typing away.  That I will miss.

But what I will gain in the next year, is better health.  After researching this widely over the past few months, I will share some dirty secrets about coffee maybe to motivate you to do the same.

My new stainless coffee pot still sullen and quiet on my counter, waiting for guests to arrive.

The hardest part is the ritual.  The social habit.  The connection.

Creating a new ritual will be important to not relapse into old habits.  I need something warm in the morning, because I typically run so cold.  Even warm water with lemon is working.  Ginger tea.

I still can’t believe I did it.

The divorce is final.

Stay tuned for more on coffee: my side effects from quitting and coffee’s dirty little secrets. Quitting this was one of the top 5 hardest things I’ve had to do in my life.

Nicolette

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Homeopathy for Exhausted and Overwhelmed Mothers: My story

homeopathy sepia constitutional remedy; how homeopathy can help mothers

Maybe you’ve seen the little Boiron blue vials at your local health store or Whole Foods.  Perhaps you’ve heard about someone using Arnica 30C for pain or a a Hyland’s tablet for a baby in teething hell.

Perhaps you think homeopathy is synonymous with “holistic” or “home remedy”.

At one point in time, less than a year ago, I thought it was.

It is NOT a holistic vitamin or a folk remedy.

Homeopathy is not new age.  Homeopathy is a separate medical system that is over 200 years old and used widely in Europe.  

It is a growing force here in the states, with people fed up with suppressing symptoms.  People, like me, who have a child with autism, a true outlier in western medical system.  People, like me, who have been tossed around from specialist to specialist, analyzing body parts without regard to the intricate details of our health histories, our family’s health history, or even our emotional well-being.

I am now 33 years of age, and in the best state of mind and body I have ever been.

How?

By looking in the margins, far away from the legions of doctors I entrusted my health to, only to become worse over time.

In order for you to understand how homeopathy works, first you must know more about my health history…

So, here it is.  I’m hiding nothing.  An open book.

{This is precisely what a first appointment with a homeopath is like: a tell-all 3 hour session}.

My story started with a C-section birth, and chronic ear infection from birth to age 6. I puked at every feeding.  At age 6, I had 30% hearing loss, and it was recommended that I have tubes put in my ears.  I lived on “the pink stuff” {amoxicilin} in my early years.

As a kid, I had reoccuring strep, sinus infections, and was sick from fall until spring.  Around the 6th grade {age 11}, I developed migraine with aura, which I had several times a month until age 30.   Doctors never looked for a reason for my migraines, I was given suppresive meds like Midrin.

When I was 15, I developed mononucleosis.  After that, my energy levels were always a struggle.  I hated gym class.  Running.  Anything physical.  I made a competitive dance team in high school, and had to quit because I was too weak.  Even into my 20s, that fatigue plagued me.  From that point on, I had stomach troubles.  My periods were unbearable.  Doctors put me on “the pill” to reduce my migraines and lighten my horrific cramps.  In hindsight, this made my issues worse.

It was always about suppression of my symptoms, and NOT about finding the root cause.  

In late college and my early to mid 20s, I battled bouts of depression.  Constant UTIs. Yeast.  Now, I know, it was all from the pill and my sugar/gluten/processed food heavy diet.

In my early 20s, I also had several bouts of kidney stones.  At age 23, this woke me up.  I was under tons of stress at the time. I was teaching full time, in grad school full time, making poverty level wages, and living at home while my father was terminally ill.

It was first time I took my diet into account as a precursor to all my issues.  I hired a nutrionist and began researching organic living.

Despite my move to organic, the fatigue, migraines, and low energy continued.  In my last year teaching 2nd grade, I began to lose vision during my migraines.  One morning during my reading class, I looked up and the room was gone.  I was rushed to the ER, because they thought I had a brain aneurysm.  After tons of testing, CATs, and MRIs, the doctors were mystified.

My health was so poor, I left teaching.  I slept constantly, and the migraines were so frequently and strong, that I could not function.

Six months later after leaving teaching, I was pregnant with Moose at age 28.  I was deep into my organic phase, refusing to dye my hair or paint my fingernails in fear of leaching toxins to him.  I ate clean and organic, {despite tons of gluten}.  My migraines were better during my pregnancy.  I felt much better pregnant than I did before.

At 28 weeks pregnant, I received the Rhogham vaccine shot, because I am a negative blood type {which is incredibly rare affecting only 10% of the total population}.  I recall feeling very strange after that shot for a few weeks.

I had a c-section with Moose because he was Frank breech.  The surgery loaded me up with antibiotics.  I recall getting another vaccine in the hospital after Moose was born.  I believe it was the DTap.

I had a good support system during Moose’s newborn phase, but my father passed away when Moose was shy of two months old.  It broke me emotionally for a good period of time.  It was really tough to tackle early motherhood while grieving my father.  Then, when Moose was 6 months old, my grandmother passed away.

My health began to deteriorate because of the grief and stress. My allergies were killer.  My migraines returned with a vengeance.  I kept nursing and being the best mother I could to Moose through it all.

I became pregnant with Sir Monkey when Moose was a little over a year old, just as Moose self-weaned from nursing. The pregnancy was easy.  Again, Rhogham shot.  Another C-section after a valiant effort at a VBAC. More antibiotics.

A few months after Monkey was born, just around October 2009, I noticed changes in Moose.  He wasn’t responding to his name.  He stopped pointing and labeling body parts and objects.  He stopped asking “What’s this?” “What’s that?”.  I thought he was going deaf.  {Which was a valid concern, because I have two grandparents who were deaf.  My grandmother  lost her hearing at age 12 after meningitis}.

My stress level began to skyrocket again, because I knew it was autism.  I was angry because I saw my son deteriorate.  Not a doctor could explain the sudden onset of chronic diarrhea. No one in Early Intervention would call the snake by its name, but my mama gut and teacher brain knew what had happened.

I went into full on warrior mode, mama lion on the war path: studying and learning all I could deep into the night.

It took a toll on my heath.  I stopped digesting all my food.  Diarrhea was constant.  I couldn’t eat anything. I tested allergic to everything: gluten, dairy, soy, corn, rice, egg, and pretty much air and water.

My body was covered in hives and shutting down.  I was irritable, scared, but worst of all, a shadow of myself.

It was like God was just piling it on: the deaths, the grief, the pain.  Just as I became to overcome the grief, he tossed autism on top of that sandcastle, and my health came crashing down.

Just as we began to seek out holistic doctors for Moose, I made appointments for myself too.  I changed my diet kicking the inflammatories of gluten and dairy out.  I loaded up on supplements.  I was determined to get my health back alongside my son’s.

It was night and day how I felt by the diet change alone.  It was like 20 years of my life was a deep fog. Despite being rather smart in school, I always struggled with organization.  I began to think more clearly.

After three months being GFCF, I realized I had not a single migraine.  After a year, the trend continued.  After three years, they are so infrequent and manageable, I can truly say that my “migraneur” condition is a memory.

The Best is Yet to Come…

Moose and I began seeing our homeopathy in the summer of 2012.  Moose is completing a specific homeopathic program called CEASE therapy.

I, on the other hand, felt moody and withdrawn.  Exhausting from three years of battling insurance, fighting my son’s GI issues and autism, and just general ennui.  My low energy levels returned, and I was falling asleep again in the afternoons.  I felt like a raging case of PMS all the time.

My homeopath suggested that we look back into my health history.

Once I relayed my history to Lora, my homeopath, she suggested we start with Sepia, which is a known remedy for the exhausted, forlorn, mother irritable with her family, and wishing to just be alone away from it all.  Unlike many, sepia is my “constitution”, in homeopathy, meaning that it is the basis of who I am and my health.  For many it’s a state of being, but for me, it is my make-up, which is pretty rare.

Within a few days on the Sepia remedy, I felt even again.  The PMS was replaced with puppy dogs and rainbows, but the fatigue continued.

Lora, then suggested, that we clear the Epstein Barr virus, which is what caused my mono and chronic fatigue back at age 15.  It took two months to detox that virus out, but at the end of the detox {which wasn’t pretty by the way}.  I felt energized.  More alive.  Not passing out on the couch while the boys watched their afternoon PBS cartoons.

I’m on a low dose of Sepia 12C everyday now, just for maintenance.  I have never felt better in my life.

What I love about homeopathy, is that it looks deeper into the causation of illness.  Deeper at the health history.  Homeopaths choose remedies closest to your symptoms, rather than merely suppressing them.

If you are struggling with any health concerns at all, I implore you to look into homeopathy.  I’ve tried everything to help my family, and I can’t believe how much this type of medicine has helped my son and me.

Homeopathy is more powerful than diets and supplements.  

Why?

It addresses the root causes of illness.  It doesn’t just pile on bandaids and suppress.  It allows your body to heal itself, which after all, is what it was designed to do.

I plan to write more at length about it to help everyone who comes across this blog.

To your health,

Nicolette

 

For more caustic wit and brilliance, please follow me via the time sucks of social media.
I want to see your pretty faces here.
I really do.

    

 

Sharing @ Happy Hour

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