Clear Change Program Detox Day 1 Ready.Set.Go.

I started this program because…

Today is the first day of a ten day detox program I am going to follow.  Below is a picture of the kit I bought from my chiropractor.  I chose to start this program because I recently had some lab tests done, and apparently my liver enzymes are a bit elevated.  I’ve been taking Naproxen since July for pain, so my doctor (a rheumatologist I saw because of chronic back pain) told me to stop taking it and to reduce alcohol.  After discussing it with my chiropractor, he suggested I do the full detox which involves ten days with no alcohol, a restricted diet, and nutritional supplements to support the metabolic detoxification process in the liver and rebuilding the probiotics in the gut.

X-rays showed that I have degenerative (wear and tear) arthritis throughout my spine, and apparently the neck and back muscles spasm in response to try to stabilize the joints.  My chiropractor said that liver and intestinal inflammation can also cause pain, so I’m hoping a natural detox will be a step in the right direction in the fight against chronic pain as well as lowering my liver enzymes in my blood.

I’m excited, and I’m also nervous. I want to increase my overall health, but it’s going to be a challenge for me to follow all the guidelines.  Blogging about my daily experiences is a great way for me to process everything and to share my experiences with my friends and family.

I’ve read over all the materials, and I’m prepared for the restricted diet.  I already have a restricted diet due to food allergies, so it’s not far off from how I normally eat.  But I can only eat meats on days 1-2 and 9-10.  Days 3-8 I’m allowed either fish or legumes for protein. That will be different for me.  I’m also supposed to avoid shellfish, which I love!  Days 3-8, fruits are also restricted to just apples, pears, lemon, lime, and avocados.  Days 5-7, vegetables are restricted to cruciferous vegetables, raw greens, onions, leeks, garlic, and scallions.  I don’t eat any grains at all, so I won’t be consuming them even on the days they are allowed (they allow rice and gluten free grains except corn on days 1-2 and 9-10).  I already don’t eat much dairy (just half and half in my coffee, cheese, and greek yogurt), so it won’t be too hard for me to avoid that. Although, I am worried about eliminating coffee altogether. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to do that, but I will at least reduce it.  All of the other foods on the “avoid” list are already not part of my diet (processed meats, processed oils, refined sugars, peanuts/peanut butter, dairy products, eggs, non-water drinks, etc.

Today, I ate pretty regularly and only took the ProBiomax plus DF supplement.

Breakfast: One cup of coffee with half and half and agave, smoothie with pineapple, spinach, chia seeds, and coconut milk

Snack: Kombucha drink (no sugar)

Lunch: Organic turkey with homemade gravy (garbanzo bean flour), cranberry sauce with agave nectar, kale salad with cucumbers and garbanzo beans

Snack: raw almonds with golden raisins

Dinner:  Turkey soup with yellow squash, mushrooms, carrots, rosemary, thyme, scallions, garlic

No wine, yay me! Instead, I had some healthy cucumber and ginger infused water with basil and mint in a wine glass just for the fun of holding the glass.  Honestly, it didn’t really matter about the glass, and I did just fine without any wine.  I also tried to drink a lot of water as recommended (64 oz. per day is the recommendation).

I’m hoping not only to lower my liver enzymes but also for improved sleep, digestion, clearer skin, and more energy.  Wish me luck!

For more information on the detox program, check out their website by clicking here.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!



21 Day Yoga Girl Challenge Day 19: Random Act of Kindness #yogagirlchallenge


Happy to support my friend’s project, 31 Days of Urban Agriculture, using her art to educate people about urban farming. Everybody eats food, so this is something everyone can benefit from learning about. to check out and support the project.

I’m especially interested because of all my issues with food allergies, I try to eat mostly a whole foods diet. I avoid processed foods as much as possible and like the least amount of additives possible in my foods. I’ve had so much food allergy testing and every time I have more positive results.

I am sensitive to/intolerant of:

white potatoes and nightshade vegetables
lima beans

21 Day Yoga Girl Challenge Day 9: True Forgiveness #yogagirlchallenge

Forgiveness is today’s challenge, to let go of past grudges and hurts, to let go of blame, shame, and guilt. Forgiving others and ourselves is a powerful way of releasing negative energy and freeing ourselves from the clenches of the past. It’s a way of accepting things the way they are instead of being upset and wishing they were different.

Over the years, I feel that I’ve already done a lot of work in this area and have forgiven others who may have hurt me and have let go of any grudges I held against other people. I feel much more peaceful inside and willing to go with the flow of life. I’ve also forgiven myself for things I’ve done wrong and have stopped judging and criticizing myself.

Today, the person I need to forgive is myself-for eating foods that I know I can’t tolerate due to allergies/sensitivities.

These are dyshidrotic eczema blisters on my finger that I get as an allergic reaction to offending foods. They are painful, fluid filled blisters that itch intensely and pop open then crack and bleed as they split into fissures. This painful condition affects the feet and hands. I also get regular eczema (red, itchy patches) on my face, neck, and body as well as hives and a stomach ache for a while.


This is what happens after just a few meals of no-no foods. If I continue to eat what I like it will get really bad. So I try every day every snack every meal to make the right choices. It’s a very restrictive diet (no grains, sugar, eggs, vinegar, nightshade vegetables) and most of the time I have a lot of self-discipline. But sometimes I mess up and then I pay the price for about a week or two. I won’t fall on the floor and die, but I will continue to get sicker and sicker if I don’t stop.

Click here to see more pictures and read an earlier post about my dyshidrotic eczema (before I changed my diet in may 2013. It used to be really bad!

It’s kind of a vicious cycle because I will eat really clean for a while and feel great. Then I will have a craving and think maybe I can handle a little bit. So I will eat something that’s off limits, and even though my mouth and my stomach are happy at the moment, the reaction happens every.single.time. You would think I would learn that no I can’t handle even a little bit!

I forgive myself for messing up a few times in the past week. It’s tough to have self discipline all the time every single day. My body is telling me it needs a clean diet to run properly. So I’m thankful I have figured out why I used to have so many symptoms and how to change my diet so I feel healthy and well. Just like falling off the Paddleboad during yoga class on the ocean, I will get back up and try again. Tomorrow’s a new day, and I can start again.


I’m loving this challenge so far and trying to weave as many days together as possible. Did some yin yoga at home today as I felt super tired and needed some relaxation and restoration. I’ve been on time everywhere I’ve needed to go. Drank lemon water, walked my dogs, meditated before bed and in the morning. Cassidy’s educational fund grew even more, and I’ve been kind to everyone I’ve come into contact with.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

25 Things About Me

I’m flashing back today, looking back over some of the old notes I wrote on Facebook before I started blogging.  Found this list of 25 things about me and got a kick out of re-reading it and thought I would share with updates where necessary.

1.  Like my friend Eve who tagged me in this note, I have a genius IQ, but I knew it when I was a kid and resented the pressure to be an overachiever.
2.  I like beans….and I make a yummy bean salad.  Whatever I cook if I can throw in some beans I will. (Update-I no longer eat beans!  I’ve been following a mostly paleo diet since August (no grains, no dairy, no beans/legumes, no refined salt, sugars, or oils). 
3. I like to cook, and I am obsessed with eating healthy food like lean meats, lots of fruits and veggies, and whole grains. (Update-no more whole grains!  Was diagnosed with gluten sensitivity (click here to read the entry I wrote about it) in May and have been off most grains (except a little rice since August).
4.  I always wanted to be a wife and mother and never really knew what career to pursue when I was growing up.  Click here to read why.
5.  Because of #4, I went to three colleges, took two years off (one to work for GP and do a NOLS semester (click here to read about it) and the other to work as a cook and live in Telluride, CO), and changed my major twice (#1 French #2 Philosphy/Religion #3 Environmental Studies)….didn’t graduate until I was 25.

Telluride, CO from a gondola.

Telluride, CO from a gondola. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

6.  My first ‘career’ was an environmental activist for Greenpeace in Washington DC.

Washington DC

Washington DC (Photo credit: eGuide Travel)

7.  I got my master’s degree in Education and became a teacher after my GP job got moved to Amsterdam;  I was a single mom so I didn’t want to go.
8.  When I was a teacher, I discovered a passion for math, and now that I am a stay home mom I love tutoring math because I can help students learn to love math.  Click here to read about my love affair with math.

Dansk: Dedikeret til matematik

Dansk: Dedikeret til matematik (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

9.  I love to sleep and will sleep until noon if nobody wakes me up.  I also love being pampered like getting massages.
10.  I met my husband, Joe, at the gym when he was working there and going to school and I was his 12:30 appointment for personal training.  We started running together and the rest is history.  Even though he is a lawyer now, we still go to the gym every weekend and love exercising together.

11.  I am lactose intolerant (like most Asian Americans).
12.  I am an extrovert and love to get together with friends, pot-luck style, with good food, drinks and conversation.
13. When I go out, my drink of choice is gin and tonic (Bombay Sapphire) and my favorite shots are Jaegermeister and Tequila. (Update-no more gin or jaegermeister due to food allergies.  The only liquor I drink is Patron silver tequila).
14.  I drink wine (chardonnay) when I’m cooking and with dinner.
15. I am kind of a control freak and always am trying to avert danger and/or accidents, especially with my kids. Like we don’t let them play outside in the front yard without an adult and don’t even get me started on how hard it is to have a 15 yr. old who is about to date and drive etc. (Update-since I wrote this post, I wrote nineteen episodes of fiction. I realized this theme came up in my fiction writing. Click here to read my fiction episodes).
16.  I like heights and exposure, hence my affinity for climbing trees as a kid, my love for rock climbing and high mountains where the earth meets the sky.  When I stand on a cliff or overlook I get the urge to fly like a bird, but of course I don’t have wings so maybe I should take up hang gliding or something?


Split Rock, WY 1989

17.  On the flip side, I am claustrophobic and I would really hate to go scuba diving or caving or anything like that.
18.  I am a big flirt, always have been, in fact I won ‘biggest flirt’ in 8th grade with Bill Schraa who ironically was also voted ‘best couple’ with his girlfriend.
19.  When I go shopping I am all about the sales and hardly ever will pay retail price.
20.  I manage all the money in our household and am good about paying our bills on time or early.
21. I correct people when they use bad grammar (I know that is annoying, but I can’t help it).
22.  When I am going through a hard time, I make music mixes full of songs that reflect whatever it is that’s going on.  Before CD‘s I made mixed tapes.
23.  I always try to complement people and tell them what I like about them (something I learned as a teacher when conferencing with parents).  There is always something nice you can say, no matter who it is.
24.  I spend alot of time on the computer.
25.  I give my kids ‘mommy homework’ if they don’t have any from school and make them do reading, writing, and math all summer (for about an hour a day, it’s not so bad) to keep them challenged.  Click here to read about summer learning.


I’m a dog person because I am terribly allergic to cats and have been an animal lover for as long as I can remember. I had several pets as a child and have owned at least one dog since 1990. Pets bring life, love, and companionship into life. While some people consider their pets part of their family or as ‘furbabies’ the reality is that they are animals, not humans, and usually want to get away from us. That’s why we have to have cages and fences and tags and collars and leashes. Given the opportunity, they run away and sometimes find new families. I can’t help but wonder what goes through their minds. They truly do become a part of the family and defend their owners and children, sensing emotions, danger, and ill will. Yet, from day-to-day, it’s as if we are keeping them prisoner. Anytime the door is left open, or the gate is accidentally not closed, or if there is any gap in the fence, they will disappear. Nice people may return the pets, but there also is no rule they have to. They can capture the animal and begin keeping it prisoner until it makes its next escape.

One of my two dogs has been missing since Sunday 9/15/13, and it’s been a rough week looking for him and adjusting to life with one dog again. We got sibling Boston Terriers in the spring of 2008. Marley (the female) and Tom Brady (the male) had not been separated since birth…until now.


Marley (left) and Tom Brady (right) in Coppell, TX 2013

The female was picked up on a busy street near construction by the owners of a local grooming salon. They took good care of her, including giving her a bath, hung up signs and kept her until I picked her up. They said there was no sign of her brother.

Thanks to a weak spot in our fence, they both got out, and they were both not wearing collars because my daughter likes to take them off to pet them etc. Also, Tom Brady had a little rash on his neck from his collar. They got out in April, and I thought of getting them microchipped then, but they were both found in the neighborhood and returned the same day. I got new collars and tags and thought that would be enough. Now that Tom Brady has been missing for so long, I think I will take Marley in to be microchipped!


I planted two new hydrangea bushes in an open spot under some trees in our backyard garden.  Disturbing the soil and watering it must have caused the fence to break. 

See the crack?


Here is a closer view from the other side. I had no idea they would push it open enough to get out!


We miss our boy and really hope to get him back, but after six days I think somebody must have picked him up and is keeping him because they like him. If they were going to turn him into a shelter, they have had all week to do it. Today, we are on our way out-of-town to visit our college daughter, and I have a sad feeling inside as we get farther and farther away from home knowing he is missing. It rained last night and is still raining today, and the ink on the flyers I put up this week is running and faded now.

He was such a sweet boy, very shy and absolutely LOVED attention. He would tuck his ears back and hold completely still for us while we held him like a little baby. He learned how to sit and would simply refuse to lie down upon command. Despite being a male, he let his sister dominate him. She learned commands faster and listened better than he did. She wouldn’t let him eat or drink when she was around, so I would separate them to make sure he was getting enough. The two dogs used to follow me around the house and lie down right next to each other in whatever room I stopped in. If was playing guitar, they would lie down and listen at my feet. If I worked on the computer, they would lie down next to me, sometimes curled together heads to paws like a little yin yang. They shared a crate, and I used to find them cuddled up together every morning. I’m thankful now that I spent some time videoing them playing and roughhousing in the back yard. I thought at the time it was kind of silly to videotape dogs playing, but I didn’t realize he would run away and we would never see him again. He loved rolling on his back and curving left and right as he massaged his little spine on the carpet beneath him. He snored when he slept and when being held. I’m slightly allergic to dogs and get a rash on my arms and hands if I pet them, so I used to wrap him up like a little burrito in a towel and hold him on my lap. He would cock his head back with his ears back and snore in my arms.


Tom Brady, our Boston Terrier who has been missing since 9/15/13




Marley chilling next to me on the carpet in our house 2013

My first inclination was to get another dog, but I have done that before and it turned out to be a bad idea. After discussing it with my husband, I think I will focus on Marley as the ‘only’ dog and give her even more attention. She has been acting differently without her brother this week. I took her out and got her a new bed and have been spending more time one on one with her this week.

Since none of the shelters have Tom Brady, I am assuming someone has him and wants to keep him. All I can do is hope he loves his new family and they love him too. I hope he will get more one on one attention in a new home, if that is how it has to be. We do have coyotes and bobcats in our area, so it’s also possible he met his demise, but I prefer to think someone has him. I will keep looking until I have a reason to stop.

I got my first dog when I was in college in Arizona in 1989. Kelsey was half Rottweiler, half wolf. She looked like a Rottweiler but had slightly longer hair and a longer snout. I spent the summer in Colorado with my boyfriend, and she had a litter of puppies with a Siberian Husky the next fall. We gave most of them to our friends but kept two females (Jordan and Freya) and a male (Orion). I took the following year off school and lived in Colorado with Kelsey and her three pups.


Kelsey as a puppy in Prescott, AZ  1990


Kelsey as a puppy in Prescott, AZ 1990


Kelsey and my ex-boyfriend in Telluride, CO 1991


Jordan at my first wedding in Prescott, AZ 1994


Jordan in Lake Tahoe, NV 1998


Jordan swimming in a lake to fetch a stick NV 1998

On my twenty-third birthday in 1991, my boyfriend accidentally ran over Freya, and she died in my arms. Heartbroken over the loss, we rushed out and got two more wolf-hybrid puppies (this time they were 96%) We went for one new puppy and loved two of them, so we got them both. Lupus was a golden tan color with yellow eyes. She was beautiful and wild. Grey Cloud was a black wolf, with kind of grey coloring and yellow eyes. She was timid and gentle, a real sweetheart. They were both very smart and loved our lifestyle, living outdoors and taking daily hikes through the mountains. With our five dogs, it felt like we were one big family, a pack. While I’m still not sure exactly what drove me to get and keep five dogs, but at the time it meant the world to me. I liked the lifestyle too and preferred it over one in a house with no pets. I lived outdoors like many other young people there did for about a year and a half, sometimes in my VW camper bus, sometimes in a tent, sometimes in a shack in the woods, and in a teepee for the second summer I was there. It was a completely different lifestyle, one where I felt wild and free too, like I was one with nature.


Jordan in Telluride, CO 1991


Jordan (left) and Freya (right) in Telluride, CO 1990

This is the only picture of Freya I have, and it’s also the only picture of me when I grew dreadlocks.


Jordan and her sister, Suki in Telluride, CO 1991

My boyfriend and I broke up, and I took Kelsey, and Jordan. He took Lupus, Grey Cloud, and Orion.
Grey Cloud ended up running away, never to be seen again, and sadly Lupus died from accidental hanging at an animal shelter when they put her in a cage with her leash on. Orion went on to live a long, healthy life in Colorado with my ex boyfriend. I think he said Orion was sixteen when he died.


Jordan (left) playing with her littermates Suki (middle) and (Orion) in Telluride, CO 1991


Grey Cloud as a puppy in Telluride, CO 1991


Grey Cloud in Prescott, AZ 1992


Lupus as a puppy in Telluride, CO 1991


Lupus in Prescott, AZ 1992

I had to get Kelsey put to sleep when she was about three years old because she bit a few people. It was heartbreaking because she was very sweet and gentle with me, but she would jump and bite people for no reason with no warning. After it happened a few times, I didn’t really have a choice. It was awful having to do that. She is buried in Vermont in the yard of my ex-husband’s parents’ house. She is in a beautiful forest in a beautiful place, and I will always remember her.

Then it was me and Jordan for a while. She was the perfect dog, smart, well behaved, friendly, loyal. She loved taking walks off the leash and would alternate lagging behind me and running ahead of me on the trails. I never worried about losing her because I felt a mental connection with her like I just knew she would catch up or wait for me. And she always did. When catching up, she would run full speed, pass me and continue bounding down the path with her curly tail bobbing in delight. She loved water and never missed a chance to take a dip. She got along with other dogs, and she loved to play in the snow. She used to pounce like a cat when I would throw a snowball for her to catch. She’d bury her nose into the snow looking for it and then pop her head up with a funny expression, snowflakes on her nose. She loved chasing us as we went sledding down hills in Nevada and Virginia. She lived until almost fourteen years of age. I was pregnant with my youngest son (who is now 8) on her last day. She had been very sick and weak and slept outside on our back patio area because she kept having to go to the bathroom or throw up. When I went out there that morning, she looked lifeless in the garden, lying flat on top of the day lilies. I took her to the vet knowing it would be the last trip. The kids said goodbye to her before we left, and sure enough, I came home with her collar and leash but not with her. Again, I had to make that terrible decision to put her to sleep. She was getting so old, and there would be extensive testings and surgeries with unknown outcomes. We had a few moments together to say goodbye. I thanked her for all her love over the years and told her what an awesome dog she was. I told her how much I loved her and didn’t want to see her in pain. It was seriously like saying goodbye to my best friend. Then she was gone, just like that (June 2004). I keep her ashes in a special sealed wooden box from the vet and her collar next to my bed still.


Me, my oldest daughter, and Jordan in Northern California 1998


Jordan and another doggie friend running in the snow Lake Tahoe, NV 1998


Jordan and her buddy, Sunbear AZ 1992

We didn’t get another dog until we moved to Texas in August 2006. With a newborn son in the family, there was a lot to keep me busy, and my heart also needed some time to heal from losing Jordan. My husband liked boxers, so I went out and got a boxer puppy. We named her Honey. We learned the hard way that boxers are called boxers because they stand up on their hind feet and ‘box.’ She was strong and fast and kept knocking over my two young kids. We realized we made a mistake and should have done some research on the breed first. We found a family in Austin looking to adopt a boxer and gave her away. They knew what they were in for, and they spent a lot of time outdoors hunting and camping. They had a large lot where she could run too. Honey was happy, and we started over with the Boston Terriers in 2008.

Five years later, we are back to one dog, and now I also have two fish tanks. Thank goodness I don’t have to worry about them running away. I set up a ten gallon tropical fish tank in the kitchen, and we also have a thirty gallon tank in our master bathroom with two goldfish (for good luck/feng shui). They live their entire lives in the tank and eat and secrete waste into their aqueous environment. Nature is amazing that way, that the chemistry works out to support life in a mini-ecosystem like a fish tank!

Between dogs and fish and children, I find that I spend much of my time caring for others who depend on me. It’s always been part of my nature to care for others. And I’m learning slowly to enjoy the time we do have together and learn to accept it when the time comes to an end. Much like human relationships, having animals is a lesson in living, loving, and letting go. 

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!





Intuition: Listening to my body


Sometimes in life, we have to stop listening to what other people say and listen to ourselves. In most cases, our intuition leads us in the right direction. But sometimes, society or even our own sense of adventure tells us otherwise, leading to internal conflicts.

I’ve noticed messages from my body in two main ways lately and am trying to take heed of their warnings: pain and food allergies/intolerance (digestive issues leading to eczema, hives, and other physical issues).

This is not the first time I’ve written about chronic pain. I never experienced daily pain until my NOLS Semester in the Rockies (1989), and I’ve never gone a day without pain ssince then. Perhaps I strained muscles and other soft tissues on my 95 day exploration and adventures in Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah. CT scans show some arthritis and bulging discs in the neck and low back, a hemangioma on T5, and signs of old compression fractures on T8 and T9, but they say nothing that should cause daily pain. In 1997, I had an osteochondroma removed from underneath my right scapula, and the doctors thought that would relieve most if not all of my thorascic pain. After five abdominal surgeries (two ovarian cysts and a dermoid tumor, appendix, and two umbilical hernia repairs) and seven surgeries on my right leg (five on the knee for torn meniscus, and two on the ankle for torn ATFL and tendons on both sides in the back) my body is not quite what it used to be. I’ve become accustomed to feeling stiff, sore, and achy and have changed my exercise regimen to include more physical therapy, yoga, biking, swimming, and other low-impact activities. Yet, I still have pain day to day. I seek the fine line between strengthening and conditioning and injury.

Yet, my spirit longs for more, so occasionally I get tempted to push my limits and challenge myself. The most recent example of this is back in May when I decided to join in the #handstand365 challenge. While I knew I couldn’t do a handstand every single day for a year, I thought I’d try doing them when I felt I could and still try to get to 365 of them. I made it to 29 so far. And now my neck hurts more than it used to, so I’ve been taking a break from it for a couple of weeks. I remember doctors and physical therapists telling me that becaues I have three bulging discs in my neck (C3/4, 4/5, and 5/6) that I should avoid lifting weights over my head. In fact, my physical therapist also told me to stop doing shoulder shrugs with weights and to start pulling resistance bands DOWN toward the floor to encourage those muscles (the levator scapulae?) to lengthen. I thought doing handstands would be ok since they are considered “yoga” moves and ignored earlier warnings not to do inversion exercises like headstands, handstands, and shoulder stands because of neck issues.

I learned how to do handstands as a child when I was a gymnast. I didn’t realize that doing them “yoga” style was different, but I finally figured that out when one of the #handstand365 teacher posted a video of her handstand instead of just a still picture. I noticed she went into it from downward-facing dog. I was going into them from a standing position. I noticed the yoga handstand was more fluid, slow, and easy on the body. When I tried to do them that way, it was much harder for me. I wasn’t even doing them right, duh! And I wasn’t always doing them as part of a yoga practice. handstands here and there in cool places and sometimes after having drinks with friends (not very yoga-like). I started noticing from the pictures that in almost every one, my body leaned to the left (my left leg is shorter than my right, maybe that’s why? I don’t know but check out the pictures). And what the pictures don’t show is that I land on my right leg every time (and that’s the one that’s had seven surgeries). My leg is getting more sore, and my neck is hurting more these days, so I hate to say it but I must listen to what my body is telling me and put my #handstand365 challenge on the back burner for a while. Maybe one day I will get stronger and be able to do them better, but I’m worried that putting my body weight on my hands like that is just as bad if not worse than lifting weights over my head. After so many surgeries in my past, I know that the consequences of getting hurt again are serious!

Since May, I’ve removed gluten from my diet again. A couple weeks ago, I also started eating a paleo diet. That means no grains, dairy, refined sugars and oils, and legumes (including peanut). I wrote another entry about getting diagnosed with gluten sensitivity. My dietician told me to go ahead and experiment with gluten-free products that include corn, hoping to open up more options for me. Based on past results, corn and sugar (they are in the same family) do not agree with me. I react and get sick every time I have them. I tried to tell her that, but she urged me to try it and see. So I did. And I got really sick; I call it ‘corn poisoning’ because that’s how it feels. After following up with my chiropractor at a natural wellness center, I took his advice to completely eliminate grains from my diet for a month and also try the paleo diet to give my digestive system a break. Apparently, my small intestine was spasming, and my stomach was irritated. For weeks, I’ve had a bad stomach and back ache, so I can tell something is very wrong. Having a diagnosis helps me keep a strict gluten-free diet, and hearing that my guts are as bad as they feel is enough to give me the self-discipline it takes to eat a paleo diet. I need to listen to my gut, literally, and eat the foods that make me feel healthy not sick. Apparently, the proteins in grains are difficult to digest, and dairy products are also inflammatory. Although it’s very difficult to eat paleo, after a month I will reassess and hopefully be able to introduce some brown rice and cheese at the very minimum. I really miss those two things! I’m definitely not going to reintroduce corn again. This is the second time I’ve eliminated it from my diet, and the cause/effect relationship is clear, so I am going to trust my instinct and away from it altogether. I don’t really feel the need to get a corn allergy test because I definitely react when I eat it.

Over the next months and years, I look forward to feeling healthier with less pain, and will focus on taking one day at a time.

Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease

Entero Lab Food Sensitivity Testing

After a lifetime of symptoms, years of elimination diets and a false negative blood test (in 2009), I’ve finally been diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity after taking a stool test and gene test from Apparently, the stool tests are more sensitive than blood tests and picked up on my increased levels of antibodies in my gut. I also have a double copy of the genes for gluten sensitivity; that means one copy of the gene from each parent. Now that I have a firm diagnosis, it’s easier for me to follow a strict and permanent gluten-free diet.

I heard of this website and these tests from two doctors: my gynecologist and my chiropractor. Besides chronic pain and multiple surgeries as well as digestive and skin symptoms, my hormones also went out of whack. My chiropractor discovered that with applied kinesiology testing and recommended the gluten sensitivity test as well as getting my hormones tested through my gynecologist. I was pleasantly surprised when she recommended the same website for the same test. My thyroid, cortisol, and testosterone all were out of normal limits. The lab is overseen by an M.D. and after two doctors suggesting the tests to me, I felt confident in trying them. I went with Panel B (stool and gene testing for gluten sensitivity and celiac disease).

Luckily, I don’t have the genes for celiac disease, although the only way to really know if I’ve developed the disease is to have an endoscopy. In celiac disease, the villi in the intestines get broken down and then nutrients can’t be absorbed properly, leading to a whole host of other problems in the body. In the endoscopy, they biopsy a piece of the small intestine to see how much damage to the villi there is. I’m still considering getting one, but I’m not sure if the treatment is any different. Meaning, if I have celiac disease I’m pretty sure the treatment is just to stop eating gluten, which is the same treatment for gluten sensitivity.

I’ve completed about eight weeks of a gluten-free diet again after going off the wagon for about a year. In 2009, I started elimination diets and found that I react to wheat, corn/sugar, and eggs so I took them all out of my diet, lost twenty pounds and felt great. Then I got really frustrated not being able to eat like a normal person. I saw an allergist in the spring of 2012 for another opinion, and she told me to eat whatever I wanted and we would try to manage the symptoms. A year later in the spring of 2013, I had gained back all twenty pounds, felt swollen, bloated, rashy and sick. That’s when I found out my hormones were imbalanced and started seeing the chiropractor at a natural wellness center. About eight weeks ago, I started seeing a dietician also because I knew I needed to clean up my diet again, but I needed help in being more prepared with “clean” foods. When I’m not prepared, I reach for the wrong foods and then get sick. She told me she thought I sounded like a classic case of celiac disease and that I should start immediately eliminating gluten from my diet again. A few weeks later, I got the positive test results.

It’s interesting because the dietician doesn’t think corn is a common allergy and told me to try some of the gluten-free products that contain corn and sugar to see what would happen. Over these past eight weeks, I’ve had some gluten-free cookies and pizza crusts, some corn chips and corn tortillas with Mexican foods. Every time, I get bloated and sick. So, when I followed up with her recently, she told me to go gluten-free, corn-free, and egg-free for six months and then try reintroducing corn and egg one at a time. There is a possibility there has been so much damage in my gut that I can’t digest correctly and over time it might heal enough to where I could tolerate some of those foods again. If I can ever eat corn and eggs again, it will open up a whole lot more choices of foods for me.

The hardest part for me is when I’m traveling (like this week, I’ve been on a beach vacation) or just eating out in general. It’s amazing how many foods have gluten and corn and eggs. I have to be very selective and ask for food that is PLAIN! No sauces, no marinades, no spices, and that means lots of salads, grilled chicken, burgers with no buns, rice, and potatoes (whole, not mashed). It gets boring at times, and yes it is very frustrating not to be able to eat what the rest of my family eats.

I’m considering ordering the test for corn allergy (along with chicken, potatoes and other nightshades) but since it is an expensive test, for now I am just going to avoid corn since there is a clear pattern of gastric distress every time I eat it. Allergy or intolerance, I know it doesn’t agree with me. Since sugar is in the corn family, many people who react to corn also react to sugar, and I seem to fall in that category. There is no protein in sugar, so it’s more of an intolerance than allergy. But think lactose intolerance (I have that too), the symptoms are the same. For some reason I don’t process sugars right.

If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, I highly recommend you visit the website link above and order the tests for yourself. They will send your results to your doctor, who can then help you interpret and understand the results and advise you further.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!


30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 29 Something New


This is a picture of a new drink I discovered at Chili’s. It’s a Patron Margarita with just lime juice and agave nectar (without the Grand Marnier). I don’t usually drink margaritas because I don’t care for the sticky-sweet high fructose corn syrup sweetened lemon/lime mixers that are found so frequently in stores and restaurants. A friend of mine who is also watching her sugar intake (I have an intolerance) calls these types of drinks “skinny” margaritas and first turned me on to the fact that bars offer them. I had previously given up on drinking bar drinks because of all my allergies/intolerances and was sticking with white wine, Chardonnay. However, it does get a little boring to only drink wine, so it made me very happy to find this new drink while visiting my daughter at college.

Because I have a gluten sensitivity, I don’t drink beer or liquors distilled through wheat like whiskey. Vodka and gin are also distilled through grains, often using corn, which I also have a sensitivity too. I’ve heard of some potato vodkas, but I’m not savvy to which brands they are, and it’s just easier to steer clear of them than it is to experiment and get sick because I drank the wrong thing. Tequila comes from the agave plant, so it’s the one liquor I know it’s ok to drink occasionally. I like shots of tequila, but I’m not sure they like me. They are so strong, and I usually get a bit crazy and do things that I will regret the next day. The skinny margarita with just tequila, lime juice, and agave is a great new option for me (I just have to be careful there isn’t corn in the lime juice).

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

Hormones and Stress

Overview of the thyroid system (See Wikipedia:...

Overview of the thyroid system (See Wikipedia:Thyroid). To discuss image, please see Talk:Human body diagrams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Upon the advice of several health care practitioners, I had my hormones tested including TSH, estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, and testerone. A Chinese massage therapist said I think too much, have too much yang, and that my hormones were off. How he could tell all of that from massaging me, I don’t know. My physical therapist also suggested getting my hormones tested in relation to my chronic pain problem. I had my hormones tested in 2000 when I was diagnosed with osteopenia, but everything was in normal range. I recently saw a chiropractor at a natural wellness center and failed his applied kinesiology tests for adrenal function. He looked at my MRI results and agreed with other doctors that there is no reason for me to be in pain all the time. He suggested I get my hormones tested, including cortisol (stress hormone) and started treating me for adrenal fatigue.

The adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys.

The adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While my numbers all came back within normal limits, my gynecologist’s office treats for optimal numbers, and mine were not optimal. Apparently, my hormones are out of whack after all. I had no idea that hormones can affect pain and inflammation. I learned something new today.

My TSH numbers are too high, which means my thyroid is underactive (hypothyroidism). It’s associated with dry skin, weight gain, irritability, and insomnia among other symptoms.

My cortisol levels are too high. Cortisol is a stress hormone associated with our fight or flight response in the parasympathetic nervous system. Stress can mean current, acute stress as well as old, unresolved emotional stress. It triggers the body to deposit fat around the midsection to protect our vital organs in times of famine and disease. It increases overall inflammation.

My testerone level is too low. That is associated with fatigue and libido.

I know that hormones run the lives of adolescents and teenagers, but I have underestimated the role they play in my middle-aged life. I’m starting to accept the middle-aged me. The night sweats, the irregular cycles, the graying hair, and the growing midsection are all signs that I am over the hill. I just didn’t realize what a role that stress must play in my life.

I dream about being stressed out. I am frequently frustrated and angry. I try to yell and nothing comes out. I want to be with people who don’t want to be with me. I am chased by wild animals. My waking life is not so stressful on its face, but if you get me talking about the past, frustrations and anger are not far under the surface.

I need to chill out so I can start feeling better.


Daybook 2/13/13

For Today: Wednesday February 13, 2013
Outside my window…it’s a sunny day. The sky is clear and my neighborhood is quiet. Not a cloud in the sky. It’s in the 60s today, nice and pleasant for this time of year. I don’t miss the frigid winters on the east coast. It rained yesterday, so the ground is still moist and the daffodils have started pushing leaves out of the ground.
I am thinking…about all the things that need doing. So far today, I’ve been catching up on chores, bills, and phone calls. Taking a break now to write since I haven’t posted a blog entry since Fiction Friday #6:Facebook Envy.
I am thankful…I have quiet time during the day to balance out the demands of family life. Thankful I have a family to make life demanding and that our kids have such fortunate lives. Thankful for another year of life, another lap around the sun (turned 45 a few days ago). Thankful for a new car. Thankful I can do what I love for a job.

In the kitchen…not much going on yet today. Breakfast was blueberries, blackberries, and walnuts. Lunch was leftover chicken, red pepper, broccoli stir fry. Not sure what is for dinner yet.

I am wearing…orange GAP sweatshirt and navy sweatpants.

I am creating…this week’s fiction post is due Friday morning at 10 CST. It’s a picture prompt this time. Still working on how I am going to weave that into my ongoing story and how to tie it to romance. I also have a few songs to practice on guitar. I’ve been learning some ACDC just to try something new.

I am going…to mom’s weekend for my daughter’s college sorority next weekend. I haven’t been out there since fall 2011 when we moved her into her freshman dorm. I’m really looking forward to seeing her, her apartment, her sorority, and meeting her friends and sisters. She said we will be having brunch and doing painting with a twist together. We haven’t had mom-daughter time alone in a long time.

I am wondering…why people give things up for lent. How exactly does that bring them closer to Jesus? It reminds me of new year’s resolutions when we all try to give up something bad just because we feel like we have to. I prefer to try to find balance day-to-day than to swing back and forth to extremes. The fact is that every day we have to make choices about vices and luxuries. We are constantly surrounded by extremes of dark and light, too much and too little. I told a friend yesterday that I’m not Christian enough to give up anything for lent, and she told me I could borrow some Jesus from her. That’s hilarious. I get celebrating traditions and holidays, but I guess if I don’t fully subscribe to the story that it just doesn’t resonate with me. I wonder how to find balance every day.

I am reading…primarily news articles and other people’s blogs. I started Catching Fire a while ago, but my progress has stalled. I spent some time this morning looking at a book my great-grandmother wrote and my mom sent to me for my birthday. It’s called Denny Genealogy part 1, and it chronicles ten generations of descendents of Frederick Denny. It dates back to the seventeenth century. I think I will write a separate post about it with pictures.

I am hoping…to keep getting some pain relief from acupuncture, meditation and exercise. I’ve exhausted my resources with western medicine and have an open mind toward eastern medicine.

I am looking forward to…celebrating Valentine’s Day tomorrow. Even though it’s a Hallmark holiday, it’s a good excuse to celebrate love and romance, two of my favorite things.

I am learning…to leave tequila alone. A friend recently told me ‘you have to make friends with tequila.’ Well, I’ve tried, but I don’t think tequila likes me. I first met tequila in college and remember liking “Prairie Fires” (tequila with a few drops of tobasco). I know, yuck right? I no longer eat tobasco because of my food allergies/intolerances, including wheat, corn, sugar, and eggs. Beer has wheat, and most liquors have wheat or corn. Tequila is made from agave and is not distilled through a grain, so it is the one shot I will take if I am at a bar or otherwise celebrating something. It doesn’t happen very often. I have a fiery personality, and I’ve been called “the furnace” because I run so hot physically. A massage therapist, an acupuncturist, and a chiropractor told me I have too much heat/inflammation (yang). Tequila is a hot and spicy drink, and I don’t think I need to add more heat. It brings out a different side of me that most of the time I shake my head about the next day.

Around the house…the dryer and refigerator are getting fixed this afternoon. The dryer keeps turning itself off, and the refrigerator has a leak in the water line. Cleaned off the patio and folded several loads of laundry. Lots of little things to do, but not lots of motivation to do them 🙂

I am pondering…the effects of social media on people. I am on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. I do each of them for different reasons. My followers on Twitter are mostly strangers, and I only got on it to keep up with my oldest daughters. I like being able to follow celebrities, and I use it as a platform to distribute my blog posts. On the other hand, I’m on Facebook because it connects me with people from all walks of my life. There are only a handful of people I’m ‘friends’ with that I’ve never met; they are there because for some reason we have connected (usually through a mutual friend), and they inspire me. Otherwise, my Facebook friends are my real friends from my real life. I have friends all over the US and around the world in Ireland, New Zealand, South Korea, Australia, Mexico, South America, and England. Family, friends from grade school, middle school, high school, all three colleges I attended, my NOLS course, when I worked at Greenpeace, when I took of time from school to live in Colorado, former students and their parents, former colleagues at schools, and local friends. I am an extroverted person and enjoy debates and discussions. I like keeping up with everybody, seeing their pictures, and hearing about their lives. I like walking down memory lane. To me, it truly makes the world a smaller place. But there is a flip side. Facebook now plays a role in divorces and causes problems in relationships. Its effects are significant enough to coin the term “Facebook Envy.” It can suck up time, and people can become too obsessed with likes and comments. People can let numbers define their sense of self-worth. People can get so caught up in the virtual world that they lose sight of the real world. People also use the anonymous interface to say things to others they would never say in person. They compare their lives to the perceived better lives of others. People post what they want others to see, not a true representation of all the ups and downs of life. I see both sides. I feel strongly both ways. Instagram and Pinterest are fun, but I’m on them less often. I love pictures, and both Instagram is popular with the kids, so again I participate to keep my finger on the pulse. Pinterest is visual expression and a resource for creative ideas. I’m not on it very often, but I do find interesting ideas and funny pictures there.

A favorite quote for today…”Be careful what you set your heart upon-for it will surely be yours.” James A. Baldwin

One of my favorite things…my new car!

A few plans for the rest of the week: Valentine’s day tomorrow, guitar lesson and lunch with friends on Friday.

A peek into my day…