Learning from my December Lows

The hardest part about living with a chronic illness is living with a chronic illness.

Meaning, I have to be aware of my triggers, the things that make me sick, at all times. Excess busyness, excess activity, excess inflammatory foods and alcohol… all those things are difficult to escape in December… but they take a toll on me in ways most people don’t have to worry about.

I go big. I love parties. I love people. I love LIVING life. Until it all becomes too much, and I crash.

This last week I felt a crash. Minimal crash compared to the destructive collisions of the past. I have an excellent support system, I am self-aware, and I am learning to communicate when I need help. So to be clear, I am OKAY. But I knew something was off. I thought I was getting sick. My chest felt tight like I couldn’t breathe, my body felt heavy, and I couldn’t get through my typical yoga practice without taking multiple child poses to rest. I didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t want to read my new nutrition book (big sign something was off). I was negative with my husband and my kids, who I love more than the world.

photography of barrel wave
Crash: (noun) a sudden failure which puts a system out of action

Continue reading “Learning from my December Lows”

Being Med-Free: My 4 Year Anniversary

They told me I’d need medication the rest of my life.

4 years ago this week, I was weaned off my last medication, 10 milligrams of Celexa. I had vertigo for 3 weeks. Some days I felt like I was riding a roller coaster. After 18 years of being medicated, it wasn’t an easy transition for my body.

My doctor said I was ready. I was eating healthier, working out regularly, and sleeping consistently. I would never have done this without her support. This wasn’t the typical bipolar action of, “Hey, I’m going off all my meds!” It was something that took years in the making. It wasn’t a decision anyone took lightly.

It took time to adjust. I needed to actively monitor my stress levels. I needed to remember to slow down and rest. I took my supplements diligently. I ran. A year and a half later, I found yoga.

Today I feel better than I ever have.

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Continue reading “Being Med-Free: My 4 Year Anniversary”

Holiday Food Survival Guide

Thanksgiving is here! With that comes FOOD and for many of  us who have a sketchy relationship with food… anxiety. What to do when faced with all the carbs and sugar? Do I have to give up everything I love in order to stay the size that I am? Will I gain 5 pounds by looking at a piece of pie? Or for those of us who have received so much healing through nutrition – will I have a relapse in my illness if I mess up on one day?

We hear so many mixed messages this time of year regarding what food will cause what, what we need to avoid, what will pack on the pounds, etc. Don’t even get me started on the images that display the calorie counts for a typical plate of Thanksgiving food. It is so exhausting! I’m sick of rules and restrictions regarding my holidays. I don’t want diet mindset to destroy my joy. I want to live in FREEDOM.

So I’ve come up with some reminders and tips for surviving the holiday food explosion. I hope they will help you as they have helped me. Continue reading “Holiday Food Survival Guide”

Spicy Black Bean Hummus

While the kids and I have been LOVING my homemade hummus, I felt the urge to switch it up today. And in the words of my husband, “it’s legit.”

Beans are a bit polarizing in the nutrition world. They can be inflammatory for some, especially for those with autoimmune issues. If that is you, be sure to soak dry beans for 8 hours or overnight and don’t use the canned kind. Soaking will make them easier to digest. However, for most people, beans are an excellent source of fiber and folate (hello, healthy neurotransmitter function)!

That being said, the key to this recipe is in a secret ingredient – “chiles de arbol,” or “tree chilies,” if you’re a Gringa like me and Spanish is your second language. But seriously, these things are just magical! I blend them with tomato sauce for a quick smoky salsa, so I figured they would add some good flavor to this dip. I start by rehydrating them in avocado oil, along with a couple garlic cloves. Continue reading “Spicy Black Bean Hummus”

Top Tips for Immune Support

Fall is here, winter is coming, and with both – all sorts of viruses. Hand sanitizer and a flu shot that is estimated to be less than 20% effective this year is not enough for me. Managing cold and flu season for my family requires the same 4 steps as managing my mental illness:

  • Nutrition
  • Supplementation
  • Movement
  • Relaxation

1. Nutrition – let’s start with sugar. Sugar is public enemy number one when it comes to illness. It will wreck your immune system. Studies have shown that at a blood sugar level of 120 (easily obtained by drinking a soda or juice or a latte or eating candy or a cookie), the white blood cells’ ability to absorb and destroy viruses and bacteria reduce by 75%. It takes 4-6 hours to get back to normal. Don’t forget that refined carbs like processed white flour spike blood sugar even more than sugar itself (like that burger or sandwich you had for lunch AFTER you had a muffin or toast for breakfast). Think about that when you’re figuring out what to do with your kid’s Halloween stash. Continue reading “Top Tips for Immune Support”

Spiced Roasted Acorn Squash Soup

Today it hit a crazy low of 67 degrees in Dallas, so guess what that means – it’s fall, y’all!

In honor, I decided to try out something different. The elusive, mysterious, never-before-set-foot-in-my-house ACORN SQUASH.

It wasn’t even my idea. Four-year-old Roman saw one at Aldi and asked to get it. And based on what I’ve been learning about nutrition and the importance of rotating vegetables by what’s in season (as nature intended), I said, “Sure! Let’s make something fun!”

Spoiler alert – Roman did NOT like this soup. Baby Rhett did, because he dipped Veggie Straws in it. Whatever. Continue reading “Spiced Roasted Acorn Squash Soup”

Honey Nut Bars

My kids love to eat bars, but like so many convenience foods in stores these days, even the “healthy” kind, there are ingredients I’d prefer not to have on the regular.

These nut bars, adapted from Kelly Brogan’s book “A Mind of Your Own,” are delicious and SUPER easy to make. The hardest part about making these bars was cleaning the food processor afterward.

 

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Hers and His Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts are some of my favorite things to eat because as a cruciferous vegetable, they aid in detoxification. They also contain a good dose of fiber, which is helpful in keeping blood sugar levels steady and keeping you feeling fuller longer. I recently learned they are one of the best sources of plant-based omega 3s, which means… improved brain health!

My husband and I make them two different ways, which are both delicious and filling.

brussels sprouts

Continue reading “Hers and His Brussels Sprouts”

Air Fryer Carrots

I’m OBSESSED with my air fryer! This recipe was a hit with my kids.air fryer carrots

Preheat air fryer to 390.

Mix 2 cups of carrots with 1 tablespoon avocado oil, 1 tablespoon honey and a dash of coconut aminos. Add a few shakes of salt and pepper, maybe some cayenne pepper for fun.

Air fry for 12 minutes. Open and shake the basket halfway through. If you’re feeling decadent, toss in grass-fed butter after. But they taste great as they are!

That’s it! Pure air fryer magic.

Taco Bowls with Sneaky Veggies

My goal with every meal is to sneak as many veggies into my kids’ food as possible. This taco bowl recipe is probably the most veggie-packed meal we make. And we make it alllll the time.

Start with grass fed ground beef. I used to hate ground beef until we switched to grass fed. It isn’t as heavy in my belly and it’s packed with omega 3s and B12 for brain health!

grass fed

Dump it into a pan and start cooking on low to medium heat. Don’t overcook it! Midway through cooking, I add a shredded zucchini or two. Continue reading “Taco Bowls with Sneaky Veggies”