Friday, April 26, 2013

Perils of a Restricted Diet

I've mentioned in my last post how I've been having some stomach problems. I feel I have had stomach problems on and off for a majority of my life. No one could ever get to the bottom of it. I've had ultrasounds and blood tests and nothing has ever come out as "I have *blank*." This is incredibly frustrating because it is trial and error at my well-being's expense. I'm did AdvoCare's 24 Day Challenge in February and I felt so fantastic. My tummy that had been in perpetual bloat-mode was flat and I could see abdominal muscles that I never could before no matter how much I worked out and ate right. After the challenge I started incorporating some of the healthy foods that I didn't eat in the challenge back into my diet. I had instant pain and bloat and looked as if I could be in the early stages of pregnancy! What gives?! I went back and thought about the things I added back into my diet that I wasn't eating during challenge. It came down to a couple of things: lactose and gluten. This is a nightmare for me! I love bread, milk and cheese! I think you would be shocked how many things actually have milk products and gluten in them.

After coming back from vacation which was mostly spent with nasty stomach pain, I got back into my new normal way of eating where I eat mostly veggies, protein, and fruit. Within two days, the inflammation in my stomach disappeared and my abs reappeared. So bizarre! Last night in a moment of weakness, I ordered a lemon pound cake slice to share with my friend. I knew I shouldn't but I caught myself thinking that something so small couldn't affect me that bad, right? One time isn't a big deal...WRONG! On the car ride home I could feel the pain coming on and my stomach starting to inflate like a balloon. Then I was thinking, "Why do I do this to myself? Do I really have such little willpower that I suffer so greatly?" After talking with my husband about it, I decided to do some research online about my symptoms. My top two probable diagnosis'? Celiac disease and lactose intolerance--no surprise there. Let's talk about celiac disease for a moment.

I'm not going to use the correct terminology because I don't remember it or understand it, but here is my take on it: there are things in your small intestine that take out nutrients from food. If you have celiac disease, gluten attacks them and they work improperly, letting valuable nutrients pass through. This can lead to malnutrition. It can also be a factor for some intestinal cancers. Interestingly enough, it can also lead to lactose intolerance until the thingys in the small intestine repair themselves in the absence of glucose. This can take a few weeks to a few years! Yikes! At least there may be cheese in my future again. Another interesting tidbit that makes me believe that this is the correct diagnosis for me is that it can go hand in hand with thyroid disease, which I have. Ugh! I will get a blood test at some point to confirm, but even my husband who is a physician thinks it is celiac disease.  There is no cure for celiac disease and the only thing that happens is you take gluten out of your diet.  I'm in no rush to get tested to see if I have the disease when I know there's nothing really to be done and I feel better by just taking out the gluten in my diet.

Why did I share this? Because until I had cleaned my body out and added back food, I didn't realize how uncomfortable I had been living every day. I didn't know. I chalked up all stomach problems up to being normal and now I know better. Maybe some of you are having similar problems that you should look into.

After a few distraught moments last night as I thought of all the things I shouldn't eat anymore, I thought of a couple of things which you can read in the pictures I posted.  My family has a history of all sorts of stomach problems, heart problems, cancer, and other health problems.  I always joke that I'm a genetic nightmare when it comes to health.  Knowing these things about my family and about my own health, it just pushes me to be as healthy as I can be.  I want to make sure that I'm around to watch my grand kids grow up someday.  I will not survive this life, I will THRIVE  in this life.  Who is in your life that you can picture right now that will drive you to give yourself the best chance to be there for them?  Why not choose health?  Be an example!  When I'm 80, I want to still be asked by the kids to jump on the trampoline because I can.  My role model for this is my grandma who is in her 80s and does a college exercise class, walks the mall, does her own gardening and painting, and eats primarily real, unprocessed food.  I often joke that Grandma will outlive us all!

I hoped to have helped someone out with my babble. If you have any great gluten free and lactose free recipes, let me know! To my family and friends, I apologize ahead of time for being a total party pooper at dinners and restaurants in the future.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Week In Review

This last week deserves its own post because so many things happened--good and horribly bad.  I guess we should start at the beginning...

We are in the process of moving back to my home state of Idaho and since last week was my husband's last vacation during residency, we had to take advantage and use it as a house hunting trip.  I have the Country Music Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon this coming weekend, so my last long run fell the day after traveling to Idaho.  I was pretty excited to get out for a run after being stuck on an airplane or in an airport for a good portion of the day.  Flying with a one year old just adds to the stress so I was desperately looking forward to some "me" time while my mom was looking forward to some "E" time.  I quickly remembered that the springs in Idaho are nothing like the springs in Nashville.  I had left the beautiful 80s for rainy, sometimes snowy, and ALWAYS windy low 50s.  I set out for my 12 miler in the wind and the rain with a pretty good back up plan in case the weather became too much.  Thank God!  While running out in farm and dairy land, the wind and the rain were so bad that I had to tilt my hat and lean into the wind.  I didn't realize how strong the wind was until I came to a fence that suddenly blocked the wind and I tumbled into a ditch.  That was at mile THREE!  I got up and finished the run back to my mom's house and ended up only clocking a little over six miles.

This was when I got back to Mom's.  I was wet and muddy from the fall.
I figured I would have plenty of time to run throughout the week so I wasn't too worried about my somewhat of a fail last long run.  Again, I was wrong.  Life happened and we were go, go, go pretty much the whole time.  Okay, let's be honest.  I didn't want to go back out in the wind and the cold.  I have a lot of sucking up to do by the time I move back.  Along with pretty much zero workout times during the week, I ate like CRAP!  I wanted to hit up all my favorite restaurants and when you're with family, it's super easy to eat out all the time.  This is bad to do anyway, but when you have some stomach problems like I do, it is HELL!  I can't quite figure out if I have a lactose intolerance, celiac disease, or I just deal with problems of stress.  If you have any of these problems, you know how miserable eating can be.  It doesn't help when you eat at restaurants all the time and have no will power like yours truly.  *sigh*

On Monday while we were with the real estate agent looking at the house that would become ours (that's a GREAT thing about the week), I got a news alert about the bombings at the Boston Marathon. 


I will never understand people who do these things.  There is nothing that I believe in enough to make killing and hurting innocent people acceptable.  It makes me sad to think of the hatred that is in their heart that they had to live with.  It makes me even more sad that they acted out on their hatred.  It is hard when this sort of thing happens anywhere, but this particular location hit closer to home for me, being a runner.  It makes me curious as to what kind of measures will be taken at big events like races for security.  One thing I know, I REFUSE to live in fear.  Living in fear is not really living at all.  You get only one life, no matter how short or long, and you have got to live it to its fullest!  There will always be more good in this world than evil.  I'm confident in that.  Here are a few of my favorite pictures that were posted after the Boston bombings.

Unfortunately, I did not pack any race shirts but I'm making up for it this week. :)

If I didn't already love Charity Miles enough...

Enough of the sad stuff!  After eating terribly and not running or working out for A WEEK, I was really scared about the damage that I had done to my body as far a preparations go for the Half this weekend.  You know how you get out of a routine and it is pain and torture to get back into it?  Yeah, that was me trying to get out the door yesterday morning for a run.  I knew I needed to get my legs going again, no matter how bad.  After the Boston thing, I (along with every other runner) felt more encouraged to go running.  After all, we must RUN ON.  I was expecting a terrible run and got quite the opposite.  I ran under my goal race pace!  I am not a super fast runner and may never be, but I have my personal goals set and when I beat them, I'm elated!  My last two half marathons were PRs (personal record) for me.  I kind of have the PR itch again and after my fantastic run yesterday, I had to map out my game plan!


While I was away on "vacation", I got my Hero t-shirt in the mail for being a Hero for Ellie's Run For Africa.  Woo hoo!  It matches perfectly with the sarong I borrowed from a friend to wear to this year's race.  I'm getting sick of my red one.  I guess that means I need to get my butt back to Kenya to buy more! ;)

For more information on Ellie's Run For Africa, click HERE!

To read about my African story and why I am a HERO, go to my Hero page at:

Who knows, you may even feel the urge to help me reach my goal of $722. Only $378 to go with less than a month to do it in.  I think I can, I think I can!  Who wants to help some kids in a slum in Nairobi, Kenya have a good education to help them OUT of the slums?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It's a Journey, Not a Destination

While working out today, I started to become very reminiscent.  My goal after having Baby E was to get back to the shape I was in before I got pregnant.  I had run a couple of half marathons.  I was a pretty decent athlete growing up and played every sport I possibly could along with stints of gymnastics, dance, and cheer leading.  I went on to play college volleyball where I was the team captain, MVP my last year, All-Regional, and nominated for NCCAA Athlete of the Week from my performance in a tournament in Canada. I even played college basketball if you count being a decoy that runs around like a chicken with their head cut off as "playing". You'd think I was in great shape, right?  Was I out of shape?  No.  You could often find me in the weight room or running on one of the dirt roads when it wasn't 20 degrees below zero.  However, I've become painfully aware since having a baby that my whole life I've done just enough to get by.  I needed to be strong to hit hard and jump high?  I'd lift weights, but not really push myself to see how far I would go.  I refused to do squats because of a knee injury I had in high school and "it hurt".  I have now learned the difference between pain and being uncomfortable.  I'm really sad and a little furious that I did not learn this difference when I was younger.  It makes me wonder how good of an athlete I really could have been.  If I could do as well as I did with half-assed effort...ugh!  That's depressing!  *sigh*  I'm sure every person has there own version of the "shoulda, woulda, coulda" story but man, it sucks when you realize your own.  Now, the reason I'm sharing this...

I don't want to live a life of just doing enough to get by.  I laugh when I think about trying to get back to the shape I was in before I got pregnant because I totally blow my former self out of the water now.  I'm stronger and faster now that I ever have been.  As great as that is, the best thing is that I'm mentally stronger than ever.  I have shed 25 minutes off of my half marathon time since having a cesarean section a year ago! About a month ago I went to show B that I thought I had a hernia.  He laughed at me and said it was an abdominal muscle!!!  These little accomplishments are what keep me motivated to get going.  To push myself further than I've ever pushed myself before.  I used to say that I was someone who didn't really sweat when I worked out and now I look like a drowned rat afterwards because I actually push myself to the limits.  The times when things get hard and uncomfortable and I want to back down, I push myself harder because it is in the hard times that you get stronger.  Today I did two minute incline intervals while running and it was hard.  After the first one I found myself questioning the whole workout and wondering if it was too hard and trying to find a way to make it easier.  The next interval came and I did it because instead of thinking of the time or how hard it was, I thought about the reasons I was doing it and I listed them off in my head.  By the time I was done with that, my interval was over and I got to recover.  I never would have been able to do that in the past.

My take away is to always push yourself no matter what you are doing.  Don't strive to just be good enough--be GREAT!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cashew-Chia Bars


I wanted to share this tasty energy treat that I tried out the other night.  One of the blogs I follow is Rabbit Food For My Bunny Teeth and she had a post a few weeks back about LARABAR.  LARABAR is known for their clean, unprocessed bars that have very few ingredients in them.  They can be a couple of bucks per bar so RFFMBT made her own version of the Cashew Cookie LARABAR.  You can find her recipe here.  I followed the basics of Catherine's recipe, but I added my own ingredients to it to make it even more of an antioxidant powerhouse.

The ingredients:  unsalted cashews, medjool dates, 90% cocoa chocolate, chia seeds, and a little water (if needed)

Take 1/2 cup of unsalted cashews and pulse in a food processor until broken into little pieces.  I imagine it is kind of your preference on how big or small the cashew chunks are.  I then took 1 cup of the dates, pitted them, and added to the cashews in the food processor.  I also broke up two squares of my Lindt dark chocolate and added it to the mix at this time.  I blended this until it was beginning to come together and added two tablespoons of chia seeds and a table spoon of water.  I finished blending this when the consistency is sticky and well-mixed. I then formed it into a ball as RFFMBT suggested and placed it on plastic wrap and placed another piece of plastic wrap over it and rolled it out with a rolling pin.

I then cut it into rectangles (clearly I need work on making them equal sizes) and wrapped them in plastic wrap.  I keep a couple in the fridge for easy afternoon snacks and the rest in the freezer for future use.  I got the ingredients in bulk at Costco so I can make more and have a bunch in the freezer.

This is a nice snack that has a serving of fruit (dates), healthy fats (chia seeds are high in omegas and cashews are also a healthy fat), and antioxidants (from the dark chocolate).  I would like to experiment with some protein powder at some point but just found out that I'm lactose intolerant and all the protein powders I currently have have dairy in them. 

Having these on hand for the last couple of days have been good for curbing my sweet tooth.  The dates are super sweet and just a little bit goes a long way.  If you are looking for something that tastes like a candy bar, this is not it.  They are good, but they are healthy good so approach them with that in mind.  I must say that these are cheap and easy to make and I see these chillin' in my fridge or freezer for the foreseeable future!

Let me know if you tried/liked them and any modifications you made!  I would check out the original recipe here before you make them because she gives more detail and Lord knows that I know nothing about making food other than following recipes.  I was just proud that I ventured out to add the chia seeds and the chocolate! Ha!

Until next time!