I have a confession; sometimes I am afraid of food. It sounds bizarre, but it is true. There are days when I feel like everything I eat, no matter what it is, makes me feel sick and in pain. So, sometimes I’m afraid to eat. I read every food label and make sure it doesn’t contain wheat, corn, sugar, or milk. I even have to watch the texture. Going grocery shopping can be a nightmare. No one caters towards people like me. It seems like eating real food is an anomaly and safe foods are hard to find, so I started making my own. I started making everything “from scratch.”
Believe it or not, I ate a completely liquid diet for a year until I could re-introduce solid foods. Was it a hardship, kind of, but I didn’t mind. It made me realize the nutritional value of each item I ate. Plus, I like to cook and it is fun when people ask you "wow, did you make this from scratch?”
I was the only one who had to eat this way. Everyone else in my family could eat anything they wanted. That was until this week. I started noticing my son was starting to have behavioral problems. Not crazy behavioral problems, but enough to make me think “what is happening to my kid?”
Let me explain, most of the time my son is a doll. He is feisty and fearless, but he is kind and has manners and is a “yes, Momma,” “I love you Momma,” kind of kid. But there are times when it is like a switch gets flipped and he turns into a little tornado. He can’t control his energy or his movement and his attitude is monstrous. It’s like Destructo has entered the building. I don’t even recognize my own kid.
We had two instances just this week. One was at a get together among my Momma friends. I had to leave because all of a sudden my son was not listening, speaking rudely, and having unruly behavior. He fell asleep on the way home and woke up a brand new kid. The other was at his speech therapy appointment. He was so wound up and jittery. It was as if he was shaking with energy. His therapist even commented and said “this is different for him. Something is happening.” I said “I know. He is so full of energy. This is not like him. I don’t know what to do.” So we put our heads together and worked backwards from that moment to the time he woke up. We came to the conclusion that both instances of this crazy behavior happened not long after he ate. I’ve been watching and tracking his behavior and it seems like these instances happen after he eats food containing food dye, white flour, and/or sugar. Take them out of his diet, and he acts totally different. No joke, you give him one of these things and he will go a little crazy, fall asleep and then wake up a completely different kid. Like he doesn’t even know what happened.
It makes me question, what is in our food? I thought I was making healthy food choices for him. He loves fruits and vegetables and eats balances meals, but you add in some gold fish crackers, something with high fructose corn syrup, or heaven forbid a Gogurt, and you will see a change in him…and not a good one. So that got me thinking…he’s 4 ½, almost 5, how can I change his diet and still keep him interested in eating it? We don’t want to revisit the squash incident of 2015…let’s just say we were going to see that bite of squash he ate again…and quickly! What goes down must come back up? Um, no thanks.
My answer is scratch. I am going to make his favorite foods (like bread and gold fish crackers) from scratch and eliminate processed foods and foods made with refined white flour and sugar. I will keep a little bit of honey though. I know it is still sugar, but it is a more natural form of sugar and it can be more easily monitored.
Ah, “from scratch,” that seems to be my new motto. I feel like I am rebuilding my life from scratch. It is going to take time to cook and bake everything myself, but I find it fitting. Things are changing. I’m spending more time at home and life is being lived at a slower pace. It’s a new phase of life, one devoted to resting and healing, and now I get to heal my son too.
We are baking Whole Wheat Bread today. It is made with whole wheat flour and honey and molasses instead of sugar. It looks and smells amazing. If you are thinking “I can’t do that, it takes too much time.” I understand. Making this bread did take a few hours, but it is just like spending time in the afternoon watching a movie, but maybe better for you!
I hope you have a great day. Feel free to comment if you would a copy of the recipes that I am using. I would be more than happy to share.
Hello My Friends,
How are you doing on your yoga? Good I hope. I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am. Sometimes I am hesitant to start, but I always feel better in the end. I'm averaging 5 days a week. How about you? I'm sorry I have not kept up on the every day, but these last two weeks have been challenging.
I have learned valuable lessons these last two weeks though. I have been questioned. I have been taken outside my comfort zone and I have had to learn what I stand for, how to be completely comfortable with my physical self and who I am, and when to say enough. These are not easy lessons and not ones I would have chosen to have learned all at one time, but I did.
The first thing that was questioned was the things I say to you. I don’t know if anyone is listening, but I would write if someone was listening or not. I am not writing this blog to make money, I am writing because when I was first diagnosed Esophageal Dysmotility and then with Crohn’s Disease I had so many unanswered questions and I felt completely alone. I didn’t know if there was anyone who was going through what I was going through. I didn’t know who to ask or where to find the answers. I was looking for hope, so I started blogging. And little by little I found people experiencing the same or similar things. I was able to answer other people’s questions and provide that hope that I was looking for, for someone else. That is why I write. I write because there is someone out there who needs to know that they are okay, even if things are feeling upside down, and that they are not alone. I love the questions I get. Keep them coming. I have a bowel disease…nothing is too embarrassing to talk about, so ask away!
I also learned last week that the three immune-suppressants that I am on have wreaked havoc on my body. They have done their job and I am most definitely immuno-compromised. Do I mind? No not really. It goes with the territory, but I what I do mind is the skin infections that I am now prone to. Nice huh? Apparently, my good bacteria have been wiped out and I am susceptible to yeast rashes. I found this out when the weather turned warm and I had to go to the doctor for a lovely rash under my boob. Great place to have it right? I guess any place you have warm (sweaty possibly) skin to skin contact, you can get a rash. It’s no big deal. It just means I will be spending the summer embracing my “inner hippy” as my Doc put it. No underwire, lose tops, and flowing skirts all summer long. Apparently my body needs to breathe. I have to admit at first I was mortified. I was terrified to go to my son’s Preschool Graduation with a tank top bra as my only support, but once I got over it, it wasn’t that bad. People even commented on the shirt I was wearing. I secretly was thinking “please don’t look too close” and thanking God, probably the only time in my life, for giving me smaller boobs. Now that I’ve embraced this new freedom for a week or two, I still freak out a bit when I see people I know and am self-conscious, but I have to tell you I have never been more physically comfortable in my life. I have really had to accept my physical self, and that is really hard to do. Every day I ask my husband if I look okay. I even asked him what he thought about my new “hippy self” and he said he kind of likes it. He says I am freer and not so “prim and proper.” I had to laugh because I’ve been prim and proper my whole life. I kind of like my “hippy self” too. I feel free, like I can breathe and enjoy life. Life is joyous outside my prim and proper box. It is to be lived and it is awesome.
The last thing that I learned last week was probably the most important. I learned how to say enough. I am not one to question the doctors when they suggest medication, especially if they think it is going to work. I always ask for the one with the least amount of side effects and trust their judgement. Well, the side effects of the Prednisone were not fully disclosed. I had no idea that not only does it affect your sleep, your weight, and your ability to concentrate, but it also affects your hormones and your emotions. I’ve done multiple courses of this drug and this last time it turned my hormones and my thoughts upside down. When started having anxiety and panic attacks every day and feelings of hopelessness, I knew we had a problem. I kept thinking “this isn’t me.” “I am going crazy.” “Something is wrong.” I got a hold of my doctor and my therapist (yes I have one and she’s great) immediately and asked “what is the side effects for Remicade and Prednisone? Something is not right.” Well come to find out, it was the Prednisone. So after a great phone conversation with my doctor we decided that even if the Prednisone was working for my arthritis, it is not the right drug for me and we need to start tapering off of it immediately. I can feel the difference already. No more anxiety attacks, no more feelings of hopelessness. The great part is I have almost completed all of the loading doses for the Remicade so it should be kicking in now and I should not need the Prednisone.
What would have happened if I continued on the Prednisone? I don’t know, but I know that what was happening wasn’t okay and I needed to be the one to say “no more, enough with this medicine.” I learned that I am the only one who really knows my body. I know what feels right and what doesn’t and it is my job to speak up and be my own advocate. No one else can speak for me. No one else can speak for you. If they don’t listen the first time, keep talking. Speak up. Your life depends on it.
Well, my little one just woke up from a nap and is asking to go outside. It is beautiful today and I think that that is a fantastic idea. I hear the garden and the sunshine calling. We have planting to do.
Until next time my friends, Namaste.
First let me open by saying Happy Mother's Day to you moms out there. I hope you had the most wonderful day. Mine started out with my son bursting through the bedroom door singing "it's Mother's Day" at the top of his lungs. Both my guys we were so excited to celebrate that they were dressed and had the car started before I even had a chance to dry my hair after my shower. I was out the door barely dressed with slightly damp hair and a swipe or two of mascara, but I am not complaining one single bit. I had years of yearning to be a mom and many struggles before my son came into our lives, so I will not be ungrateful for the time I get to spend with either of my guys.
The last three days seemed to be like this...busy! The days seemed to be packed full of things to do. Yesterday was Methotrexate day too. I really don't like this medicine and how I am always feeling under the weather on Saturdays. But, even if my phone was ringing off the hook Friday, I was feeling sick Saturday, and every minute of today was spent with my guys, I still managed to take time each day for yoga. It's beginning to be a routine. Today I have yet to do my yoga session and I have been thinking about it all day long. I keep thinking "I have to get it in." Not in a stressing manner, but more like I know how important it is to my health and how good it makes me feel.
On day 4 and 5 I continued with Hatha Yoga Happiness with Fightmaster Yoga. Even though I felt awful yesterday I really liked the session. It felt so good to breathe and stretch. The plank poses were awesome and I was surprised that I could do each variation. The heater kicked on half way through so instead of sweltering in a hot yoga session I opened the window slightly. It was so peaceful listening to the rain, breathing, and looking at the beautiful view of the forest. I think the peacefulness was why I enjoyed yesterday so much. Plus the theme was "enjoy the now," which I found to be perfect.
It is late here tonight so instead of doing yoga for happiness, I am going to look for a night time yoga sequence. Something that will calm the mind and the body and help me get a good night sleep. My sleep tracker says I am getting about 6 hours. I find that I need more sleep than normal while in a Crohn's flare, so this could be attributing to my fatigue during the day. I know I won't get 8 hours of sleep tonight, but I am hoping for a restful night's sleep.
I will check in again tomorrow and let you know how the evening yoga goes. I hope you have a great week. Talk to you soon!
So I found this poster on Etsy today and thought "oh my gosh this is totally me!" As we speak I'm sitting down to write about my latest yoga experience and am drinking a hot cup of tea. I love both. They are two of my favorite things!
How are you doing on your yoga adventure? Did you find any favorite poses? I did a back bend today. No joke. I was watching the video and the gal start explaining the next pose and I thought "what is she doing? Why is her head on the ground?" Then she lifted her body and I was like "oh, it's a back bend. I get it. I haven't done that since elementary school, but whatever. No biggie. I'll give it a shot." And I did. My son thought it was pretty cool too. It only lasted for a few seconds because my arms were shaking and I thought I was going to fall on my head, but I did it. It definitely stretched lots of new muscles. I don't know how it looked, but I was pretty proud. This Mom's still got it!
Today's video was a continuation of the previous series:
Day 3: Hatha Yoga For Happiness: Getting Rid of Clutter with Fightmaster Yoga
Let's talk about the Before, During, and After!
Before: I was tired this morning, let me tell you. I think I slept last night, but I woke up still feeling tired. My body felt good though. I could tell that I worked out my back muscles yesterday, but that made me excited because it meant I was strengthening those muscles. It didn't hurt, but I could feel it. I knew that today was another busy day away from the house so I needed to get started early. I was not ready to exercise first thing. I would have been happy just laying in corpse pose for 30 minutes, but that would defeat the purpose of this whole 30 day activity.
During: We worked on some very interesting standing poses and breathing techniques at the beginning of the video. By the third rep I was ready to switch to something new, but I continued on. By 23 minutes in I was super tired and thought about taking a break, but thankfully we switched to sitting poses which was great. We began working on abs and I quickly realized that I have no ab strength. I wasn't really surprised since I have quite the hug-able middle at the moment and enjoyed working on my most troublesome area. The instructor talked about "Clearing Away the Clutter" today. It's a great thought and definitely needs to be done around here, but it is not something that I can tackle in one day. Food for thought.
After: I was glad I made it through the whole video today. I was not really wanting to jump into exercising this morning and because I was tired the video itself was a little harder. But, I did a back bend and I didn't stop. I was stretched, strengthened, and standing up taller at the end of the video and felt that way the rest of the day. Knowing that I am taking steps to take care of myself makes me feel good all day long. I was feeling empowered and the positive energy carried on throughout the day. I even finished a project I was working on. Accomplishment, how great does that make you feel? I even ran into someone I hadn't seen in a while while I was out. I was self conscious at first because my body has changed so much since I started taking the Biologics in September, but then I caught myself. I smiled and engaged politely. This person doesn't know my story. They don't know my struggle and if they judge me, well that is just too bad. I know that I am working on being my healthiest, strongest, and best self. It started off with morning Yoga.
It's raining here today and is supposed to rain for the next 5 days. It makes me wonder how my joints will do and how my attitude will fair. I like the rain, but I find I am much happier when the sun is out. Sometimes the rain makes me sad, so we will see.
I hope it is sunshiny where you are at today and your heart is filled with cheer. Good luck on your yoga session. Let me know how it goes! Talk to you tomorrow!
Welcome to Day 2 of 30! Today felt a little crazier than yesterday. There was a lot of stop and go and people needing Mommy's attention, but I guess that is what happens some times...or all the time. Mom life!
Today's video was Day 2 of Hatha Yoga For Happiness: Gratitude with Fightmaster Yoga. The focus of today was generating energy.
Before: Before the video I was discouraged a bit by the number I saw on the scale this morning. I'm focusing really hard this week on not cheating on my sugar intake or dangerous foods and I'm exercising every day, so I guess I was hoping for better results. But lets be real, it's only day 2. This will take time, and as long as I'm on Prednisone, that scale may not move or it may move in the direction I don't want it to go. If I didn't have a wedding that I was participating in next month I wouldn't be so worried...I don't think. I guess this is where it gets hard and you have to give yourself some grace. What is my focus? My focus is not the scale. My focus is doing 30 days of yoga and eating well to heal my body. Hopefully my body image will also improve during this time. So what am I going to do about it? I am going to keep going and take it one day at a time. I am 2 for 2. That's awesome!
During: I mentioned before that there was a lot of stop and go during today's session. The dog opened the front door and walked on my yoga mat with muddy paws, so that was fun. I had to stop to clean up that slippery mess. Plus my little guy was very curious about what Mommy was doing today and ended up with his own yoga mat and stretches beside me. That part was fun. Some of the poses today were new to me. They required balance and focus because you had to use opposite parts of your body. I could tell this was new to my body and was shaking like a leaf. You know the song "weebles wooble but they don't fall down?" Yeah that was me. It felt great to use new muscles though. I really had to focus on breathing and balancing so I didn't hurt myself or fall down. I think the best part was when we were "clearing our minds" during corpse pose, my son thought it was a great time to zoober on my biceps. My mind wasn't cleared, but I sure was laughing. Happiness 101....laugh!
After: Oh I'm tired. I feel a little shaky due to the use of new muscles, but that makes me excited too. I like the thought of strengthening different muscles every day. I would like to do a session by myself, in a quiet room, but I don't know if that is going to happen unless I wake up earlier than the boys and they wake up early enough. I do love doing yoga first thing in the morning though because I feel like I still have time to start the day and I don't feel rushed. My dog is telling me he has to go outside, so off we go. The day has begun!
I hope you have a great day today. Let me know how your session goes. What did you like about it? What didn't you like about it? How do you feel afterwards? Do you feel like you can take on the world? I do! See you tomorrow!
Gosh it was a beautiful morning this morning. The air was crisp and clean and the sun was shining. It is wasn't even 9:00am before my child was itching to be outside. It seemed like everyone in the house was up and moving early: my husband, my son, the kittens, the dog....even the chickens. So by 9:01am we were all outside still in our pajamas. I didn't mind though. I have no problem soaking up the sun. It makes every part of me happy.
I find that having a chronic illness messes with me a bit. It messes with my body, it messes with my mind, and it messes with everyday activities. I find it quite frustrating really, so for the next 30 days I am going to focus on strengthening and healing both my mind and my body through yoga. I'd love for you to do this with me. I will write about each day's experience: how I felt before, during, and after, and together we can chart our progress.
"Why yoga" you may ask? Because yoga has been proven to help with depression, anxiety, mindfulness, and stress relief. It helps you gain muscle strength, endurance, flexibility, balance, and blood flow. Research it. The list goes on and on. So today we begin day 1. I'm choosing a Hatha yoga routine. According to The Yoga Journal, Hatha yoga practices are "designed to align and calm you body, mind, and spirit." It does this through the holding of physical postures and breathing. It is a slower paced yoga, but it is not to be taken lightly. It is hard to hold proper posture for extended periods of time. Power yoga, for example, is a Hatha yoga practice and we all know that is tough. Not convinced yet? Well can you hold steady in the proper plank position for longer than 30 seconds while remembering to breathe and calm your mind? If you can't today you will be able to in 30 days.
This morning I did a routine called "Hatha Yoga For Happiness: Gratitude with Flightmaster Yoga." It is a 35 minute program. Flightmaster Yoga has their own Yoga channel with many different options. This specific segment is their 30 days of happiness program. Sounds like a great option to me. Who doesn't need a little happiness in their life? Plus it's free and the gal is great.
So let's talk about how it went: The Before, During, and Afterwards
The Before: So not awake and ready for this. I woke up feeling super tight and my muscles were sore, and if I'm completely honest I wasn't ready to wake up with the sun like the rest of my family so I was a little Oscarish...you know like the grouch. At the same time I knew that today was day 1 so I was excited to get started. I also was having anxiety about an upcoming meeting and my mile long to do list. Not the best way to start the day.
The During: No one needs a moose breathing in your ear as you are trying maintain focus or kittens between your legs. So, once I put the kittens and the dog outside and set my little guy up with some Blaze cartoons I was good to go. First impression: kind of hard. I was shocked by how hard it was to hold some of the poses and I found out I'm not as flexible in my upper body as I thought. I was sweating by 18 minutes in and had to take off my sweatshirt. But how did it feel? Great! Seriously great!
The After: My body felt so good! I felt much looser and had much better posture than when I started. I felt like I had a happy heart and a happy mind. I had less anxiety and felt ready to start the day. I felt good about myself and was proud that I worked out this morning and consciously made better food choices through out the day. I'm excited about tomorrow!
Okay. Now it's your turn! Let me know how it goes! I'm excited for you to start!
Crock Pot Chicken Pho
*Usually I toast the spices and char the onion and ginger and add them to the crock pot with the bone broth in the morning and by the time evening rolls around there is a lovely broth waiting for us. This can also be done on the stove top. I would suggest simmering the broth for 1 to 2 hours before serving. The longer you cook the broth, the stronger the flavors will be.
Ingredients For Broth:
10-12 cups Chicken Bone Broth or Chicken Broth
1 Whole Yellow Onion
1 oz Fresh Ginger (Peeled)
1-1.5 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Tbsp Coriander
½ tsp Whole Black Peppercorns
2 Star Anise
Ingredients To Be Added To Broth:
2 cups Shredded Chicken (Cooked)
Ingredients To Be Added Table-side:
1 Bunch Fresh Basil
1 Bunch Fresh Cilantro
Sliced Green Onion
Sliced Yellow Onion
**Sriracha Sauce, Hoisin Sauce and Sliced Jalapenos may also be added, but because I am Gluten Free and am focusing on anti-inflammatory properties not heat, I myself omit these items.
Toast Cinnamon Sticks, Coriander, Star Anise, and Peppercorns on a dry skillet to release oils. Add to Crock Pot. Char Onion and Ginger either on the stove top or broil in the oven. Add to Crock Pot along with the Chicken Bone Broth and set on low setting for 4 to 6 hours.
A half hour prior to serving, remove Onion, Ginger, Cinnamon Sticks, Coriander, Star Anise and Peppercorns from broth. Transfer Broth to a large pot. Add Shredded Chicken and Rice Noodles. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let sit until the Noodles are tender. (I do it this way because it is easier for my son and me to eat when both the chicken and the noodles are tender. This is not the traditional way to eat Pho.)
When serving, remove Noodles by twisting with tongs and place in individual serving bowls. This is done based on each person’s individual serving size. Place the Chicken on top of noodles in each bowl and cover with Broth. The Bean Sprouts, Fresh Basil, Fresh Cilantro, Sliced Green Onions, Sliced Yellow Onions, and Sauces are garnishes. Each individual may add as much or as little as they like table-side.
Yum! I can't even tell you how good this smells! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does! Thank you for letting me share this with you!
When you have an Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the sad truth is that you end up missing a lot of things. I have missed so many birthday parties, baby showers, social invitations...I've even missed church these last few Sundays, but today was a day that I could not miss. Today my soon to be Sister-In-Law was shopping for a wedding dress and I could not miss it.
I honestly didn't know how I was going to make it. I felt absolutely terrible when I got up this morning. I was still suffering from the side effects of the Methotrexate that I took on Friday and I was afraid to leave the bathroom. I knew today was an i credibly important day and that I had to muster through it. I did too for the most part. Only one moment was really touch and go and that was after a blood draw. The world started to spin and I lost almost all control of my body. Thankfully I was able to keep my wits about me and not pass out. A jar of Naked Juice helped perk me up and soon we were on our way to our dress adventure. Three hours later we have a very happy soon to be bride and dresses for all the ladies in the bridal party. It was such a great afternoon and I am very thankful that I didn't miss it.
The end of the day leaves me completely exhausted. I am so glad that I put dinner in the crock pot before I left because even though my body is too tired to eat, my boys will have dinner ready for them tonight. I say my body is too tired because that is honestly how it feel. My muscles are so fatigued that standing or holding my arms up is hard. The thought of feeding myself of digesting foos is just too tiring. Its sad, but it's true. So instead i am curled up in my comfy blanket and drinking a cup of tea.
Sometimes after a hard week of body aches, joint pain, and incredible fatigue I find myself feeling easily discouraged. I caught myself singing the blues more than once today and felt that I needed to turn things around. Instead of burying myself under all of the things that I couldn't do, I chose to remind myself of all the things that
With a blink of an eye, it seems, the Holidays are here. I used to love the Holidays. Seeing family, eating good food, watching the faces of the ones you love as they open the perfect gift. This year seems to be different. I’m finding the Holidays particularly difficult. Our family is a bit displaced again this year and I’m feeling the worst I’ve felt ever. The thought of travel and foods that are not my “safe foods” make me nervous and not want to go. I found myself searching for the joy as I pulled down my long driveway after picking my son up from Preschool. I couldn’t seem to get out of the funk.
His sweet-self fell asleep on the way home so I came to home to a quiet house. I made myself a cup of tea, one of my favorite things, and thought “how am I going to do this upcoming Holiday?" I turned around and stared at my cookbooks and one just stuck out. Literally, it was out of place and caught my eye. It was my late Grandmother’s orange “Betty Crocker's Cookbook.” It’s funny, I can’t eat a single thing out of it, yet as soon as I pulled it out and opened it up I felt instantly at peace, like she was saying “here honey, this is how you will do Thanksgiving.” I turned to the pie section and was instantly filled with love. I saw signs of her everywhere. I quietly read through each recipe and could easily pick out her favorites. They were the recipes where the pages were torn a bit from the binding and the oil had turned the pages yellow. I had to be careful because some pages were stuck together from leftover pie dough. I was searching for her pumpkin pie. I felt panicked for a second because the quantities of pureed pumpkin and evaporated milk were missing, but I caught my breath once I realized that they were there under little pieces of paper that belonged to the page before. Once I carefully revealed the complete ingredient list I was at peace once again.
Yes, through pumpkin pie is how I will find the joy of this Thanksgiving. My dear friend and her kiddos are coming over on Wednesday and I am going to teach them how to make pumpkin puree and then we will make pies together. This may be a new tradition, Holiday pie making. I hope it is because time with the people you love is always something to be thankful for.
As we near the upcoming Holiday, I wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you too have the most wonderful day!
Hi there! Welcome to Grace In A Glass. My name is Danielle and I am so happy that you are visiting this site today. We all have something in life that we are working to overcome. I began blogging about my struggle with overcoming Esophageal Dysmotility and Crohn's Disease with the hope of reaching others with words of encouragement and hope. Thank you for letting me share my stories with you, and hope you have the most wonderful day!