Age in Reverse

Yesterday I came across this photo of my husband, his mother, and I from 2011.¬† This was 7 years ago.¬† I would have been 24 or 25.¬† Still a youngin’ by any reckoning.¬† I was taken aback though, because I seriously look younger now, at 31.¬†oldcicic

Yes, I know, my husband is really tall.  It leads to awkward hugs and a constant battle over the driver seat settings in our cars!

At the time I was dealing with severe chronic fatigue.¬† It was starting to dawn on me that I had celiacs disease.¬† But it took a long time to give up wheat.¬† It took time to grieve the fact of all that I had to give up.¬† I loved pizza and pasta and sandwiches…and just eating like a “normal” person.¬† Plus, at the time, the gluten free options were limited and pretty gross.

I knew my potential future though.¬† I come from a very large Irish Catholic family and virtually all of my dad’s 10 sisters had MAJOR auto-immune health problems.¬† Lupus, celiacs, hashimotos, R.A. just to name a few.¬† I didn’t want to live sick and die young.

I gradually made changes as I learned.  I went from eating a standard american diet to a more natural anti-inflammatory diet.  I cut back on sugar (I was a major sugar junkie!) till I eventually cut it out together.  I also have to avoid preservatives, MSG, carageenan, nitrates and soy lecithin.  If I eat any of these triggers I will feel like absolute death.  My body is just hyper-sensitive to inflammation.

Instead of feeling sorry for myself because I have to eat a very limited diet, I choose to see it as a gift.¬† It forces me to be accountable and eat well.¬† I mostly embarked on my health journey in order to feel better.¬† I’ll be honest, I’m not there 100%.¬† I still have days were I feel exhausted.¬† I still slip up and eat food I shouldn’t.¬† But I’ve come so far.¬† My health issues started me on a path not only towards healing, but towards optimized health.¬† The journey has been tough at times, but I’ve learned so much along the way.¬† For that I am grateful.

Not to toot my own horn (ok, maybe a little!) but I think I look younger now then I did then.  When you take care of yourself, it shows.  Especially as you get older. 20180510_0909142132568400.jpg

Make smart choices to feel better today.¬† Make those smart choices into your habits and routine.¬† Those smart choices will have a cumulative effect, one of them being a more youthful appearance, and who doesn’t want that?!

A Salty Arguement

Ayeayeaye…. I’ve been doing a lot of research into fasting.¬† In the age of the ‘net that of course has led to watching youtube videos.¬† And cringing.¬† A lot.¬†cringe-embarrassing-funny-humour-humor

I¬†really¬†hope people take a lot of the info out there with a grain of salt (literally in this case!).¬† There is a slew of videos that advocate water fasting, which is fine, but these people are drinking up to 2 gallons of water a day.¬† They also report feeling weak, sick and nauseaous.¬† For the simple reason that they are flushing out their electrolytes and putting themselves at risk of hypnatremia; a legit, potentially life-threatening medical condition in which your body doesn’t have enough sodium.

People have been taught to think of salt as bad and water as good.¬† It’s¬†way¬†more nuanced than that.¬† Proper hydration includes salt.¬† Salt is an essential nutrient, necessary for your survival.¬† If you’re not taking it in, in amounts needed to balance water intake, you are risking water intoxication.¬† People have died from excessive water intake.

My old pastor actually suffered a concussion when he passed out from low sodium on a 40 day water fast he was doing for spiritual purposes.¬† He hit his head and was lucky it wasn’t worse.

You¬†do not ever¬†need to force down 2 gallons of water a day.¬† You probably do not even need 1 gallon.¬† If you are taking in a lot of fluids, or sweating heavily, you need to be mindful to replace lost electrolytes just as much as lost water.¬† If you are doing a strict water fast I’d either limit the water to a reasonable amount or add a pinch of healthy salt.¬† In this case more does not = better.

You body is intelligent and you can follow your thirst cues.¬† When you’re thirsty, drink.¬† If you’re not, don’t.¬† It’s pretty simple.¬† You wouldn’t gorge yourself on food if you weren’t hungry, because you doubt your hunger cues (or I hope you wouldn’t…) so why would your hunger cues be accurate but you thirst cues are faulty??¬†¬†the-iconic-picard-facepalm

Sorry, I’m ranting at this point.

But one of my first “breakthroughs” came when I realized the standard health advice on drinking water was wrong.¬† I too believed dehydration was a constant threat to be diligently guarded against.¬† I brought my giant water cup¬†everywhere.¬†¬†I needed a cup holder at all times and quick access to a bathroom.¬† I was also always cold and tired.¬† I was keeping myself in a constant low-grade state of hypnatremia.¬†CwJTMri

When I stopped that nonsense I felt better almost immediately.¬† I now add liberal amounts of sea salt to just about everything.¬† I drink when I’m thirsty.¬† It’s pretty simple.

In conclusion, don’t be afraid to go against conventional health “wisdom”.¬† Remember when the experts told us margarine was good and butter was the devil??¬† Exactly.¬† But please, most of all, do your own research.¬† Listen to your body’s cues and feedback.¬† Our bodies are trying to communicate to us what they need, but are we listening?¬† I’d trust your body over a youtube expert any day.¬† ūüėČ

 

 

Easy Keto Hot Chocolate

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter.¬† I did.¬† From a diet standpoint I decided it would definitely be a cheat day.¬† I enjoyed a cheesy ham and potato casserole, fruit, and gluten free double chocolate chip muffins.¬† It was delicious and wonderful but I’m definitely ready to get back on track!

One of my favorite (quick and easy!) treats lately has been my keto coco, or hot chocolate.¬† You can get the flavor (and comfort!) of hot chocolate without cheating….20180402_085253.jpg

and get a potent serving of antioxidants and a decent source of protein, but more importantly- a chocolate fix!  And only three ingredients!

I tolerate milk so I heat up about 1 cup of fairlife filtered whole milk and then whisk in 2 heaping tablespoons of cacao powder and about 1 1/2 tablespoons monk fruit sweetener.  You could easily adjust up or down depending on the sweetness desired.  You could also add in some concentrated coffee or espresso for an energizing, polyphenol-packed mocha!

This cocoa tastes like the real deal but only clocks in at 10 net carbs and 290 calories.

Great for days when it’s “spring” but you live in Minnesota and it’s still freezing out!¬†¬†e223bc53a9eb36de358f18f3995b1dbd

Body Image Tips from Victoria

I am trying not to sound like a sarcastic skeptic¬†but¬†I was rolling my eyes big time when the latest model comes out claiming the industry gave her an eating disorder.¬† She’s apparently a model for Victoria’s Secret and was told to lose weight when she was obviously already thin.

Gag. me.¬† Seriously.¬† Parents- don’t let your kids grow up and be models.¬† Or child actors.¬† Or singers.¬† Just give them a normal upbringing and don’t let them go into careers were their living depends on fitting into an unattainable beauty standard.

It’s a good publicity move.¬† I’ve never heard of her until this week.¬† She got two days worth of headlines because she also apologized for misleading her social media followers by claiming she was stick thin as a result of healthy lifestyle and she was giving impressionable people tips while promoting her frail body as a model of health.

Forgive me if I’m not being sensitive enough.¬† It just irritates me.¬† Of course Victoria’s Secret promotes unhealthy, unattainable beauty standards.¬† The real secret is under-eating and breast implants.¬†¬†2E8A8B7C00000578-3322752-image-m-2_1447797528275Of course the blame doesn’t lie with the particular model.¬† She’s just a cog in the massive beast of a system.

The problem goes back to a lack of common sense.  We need to do better for our daughters.

My little girl is only 5 but you can bet when she gets older I’ll do my damndest to keep her from being exposed to messages that tell her that her¬†intrinsic worth as a human being¬†depends on her ability to be sexually appealing or ridiculously thin.¬† She will not be on social media or read trashy magazines until she has the sense to be able to differentiate truth from fiction.; real beauty from stinking bullsh*t.

As someone who has struggled with body image issues myself, I feel a real responsibility to ensure that my daughter grows up with healthy self-esteem.¬† I don’t make remarks about the size of her body.¬† I don’t make remarks about my weight, or any other women’s weight.¬† I don’t tear down or criticize my appearance or anyone else’s.¬† I tell her that she is¬†strong.¬†¬†She is¬†brave.¬†¬†She is¬†smart.¬† She is¬†kind.¬†¬†And she knows that her parents adore her.

My kids see me eating healthy and lifting weights.¬† Not the pink kind, either.¬† Not that there’s anything wrong with that- we all start somewhere!¬† But I work out to get stronger.¬† I eat healthy to nourish my body.¬† I care a bit about my body fat but I care¬†more¬†about the fact that I have great bone density.

Things aren’t going to change until we stop feeding the beast.¬† Don’t buy overpriced, uncomfortable underwear.¬† Don’t read fashion magazines.¬† Stop the negative self-talk and build other women up.

Our words become our mantras.  Our mantras become our beliefs.  Our beliefs become the foundation of who we are.

When I see my daughter conquering a fear and quietly whispering to herself, “I can do it, I am BRAVE.”¬† I know I’m doing my job.¬†29513277_10160291168480074_8974072131688246731_n

I hope we can reject the destructive messages that would seek to undermine our value as human beings, and women.  I hope that we would instead choose life.  That we would pass onto our daughters messages of strength and worth that put enough steel in their backbones that they can reject the lies and embrace their true intrinsic worth as well.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25