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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

climbing

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.

Summer 2013 In Review

It’s been quite a summer. So much going on that I took a bit of a break from blogging for the past couple of weeks. Haven’t had as much time or energy to commit to it lately. But now that it’s the last day of summer, I’d like to take a few minutes to wrap everything up. Tomorrow, another school year starts, and there will be another major shift in our daily routines as a family.

One of the joys of being a stay home mom is having ‘time off’ to take care of the kids during the summers. Early mornings rushing to get to school on time turn into lazy mornings, sleeping late, and mostly unstructured days. The kids have activities, but it’s hardly stressful because there is nowhere else they have to be. I also structure learning into their days, but all in all we have a laid-back, relaxing time during the summers. Staying home with them and being with them all day in the summers also means I’m busy with them all day and taking care of all of their needs. So, it means a busier mommy with more to worry about.

My youngest is a joy. He is eight years old, starting third grade tomorrow. He is so easy-going. From the minute he wakes up, he usually has a great attitude and does whatever he is told or asked. He is still at that innocent age and has such a nice life with both parents who live with him and love him without measure. He has been taking swimming lessons and doing Taekwondo lessons over the summer as well as having private baseball lessons. My husband coaches his baseball team, so he also has lots of daddy time playing sports.

My middle daughter is thirteen years old and is starting eighth grade this year. While parenting a teenager is certainly a tough job, luckily I’ve done it once before. She spent the summer mostly dancing, attending intensive day camps as well as evening classes. After eight years of gymnastics, age 3-11, she switched to dance but was behind the other girls her age. After two years of training and practice, she officially made the Elite competition company at her dance studio this summer. We are super proud of her and recognize all the hard work she’s put into reaching her goal of becoming a competitive dancer.

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Oh yea, and she also dyed the ends of her hair hot pink again this summer (with my help).
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My oldest daughter is twenty and is starting fifteenth grade this year as a junior in college. She recently changed her major to business accounting, and this was her first summer staying at school during the summer, living, working, and taking classes. I took two trips to visit her there this summer, and she also came home for a week. How nice! When I was her age, I also lived and worked away from home, but I didn’t also stay and take classes, so it really was a new experience. Both weekends I was there, I had a blast, but I also had my first introduction to parenting an adult child. We moved her into her new apartment, and I helped her out with several other logistical aspects of her young adult life. It really made me realize how much time and energy I spend running other peoples’ lives. Just being away from the two little kids for the weekend left me with a feeling I wasn’t used to, and then of course, all the different ways of mothering an adult child were new experiences to me. I’ve never helped one of my kids move and decorate apartments, made a resume, or helped with the logistics involved with finding a job and living independently as an adult. She and her fellow classmates are living a lifestyle where they have almost everything provided for them, and all they have to worry about is themselves and their classes. It’s an amazing window of time on the verge of adulthood.

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My visits both made me reflect on my experiences as a twenty year old and on the kind of mother I am trying to be. I aim to be a different kind of mom than I had. I want my kids to be able to talk to me about anything going on in their lives. Kids are going to do what they want to anyway, so I would rather accept that and guide them than to hide my head in the sand and be an unapproachable parent. I would rather have open communication with my kids so I can try to help them navigate the waters of life. However, knowing what the kids are doing can also be quite stressful for moms. We worry about safety and well-being. We want our kids making safe, smart decisions that usually come from a lifetime of experience and a brain that is fully developed; two things that twenty year olds don’t possess. So we worry. Then we communicate and brainstorm solutions, so I think we are on the right track. I loved having the chances to get to know her friends and be part of her life for a few days!

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I’ve had a really rough summer with my food allergies. I got diagnosed with gluten sensitivity in May and have been off gluten three months now. But, I keep accidentally getting corn in my diet, ‘corn poisoning’ as I call it. I haven’t been diagnosed with a corn allergy, but I react and get sick every single time I have it, so I think allergy or not, I really need to completely eliminate it from my diet. This summer, it was a margarita (corn in the lemon/lime mixer), a gluten free pizza (corn in the dough) and a protein smoothie powder (xanthan gum – which is corn – used as an ingredient). Each time, I get sick for a couple of weeks, so put those three together and you can see that I’ve been feeling pretty sick all summer unfortunately. I’ve had such bad swelling and eczema that I finally saw my allergist the other day and got a steroid shot to make it all subside. When I have reactions to foods, my stomach hurts, I get joint and muscle pain, and I have a bad rash of eczema. So, it makes me really grumpy. Unfortunately, I’ve felt grumpy for a long time recently.

We did do some fun things too: we took our annual beach vacation in Destin, Florida. I’ve written about this place and the beach in general before. I love what the beach does to my soul. I wish we could live at the beach, but I’m thankful we get to take a yearly trip.

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I also went to some fun concerts. My husband and I saw Kid Rock, and my daughter (13) and I saw One Direction. Great times.

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Last week, we went to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science as a family. We bought a membership, so we can go back anytime we want to for the next year. There are also special events and other perks for members. I was fascinated by the architecture and impressed by all the interactive activities. I especially loved seeing the dinosaur bones, gems/minerals, and the human body exhibits. There were even slices of real people, one man and one woman, who had donated their bodies to science. They were embalmed, frozen, sliced and displayed in plastic with a light behind them. It was FASCINATING to say the least. We could see all the anatomical parts and compare the younger, healthier female to the older, less healthy male.

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I continued guitar lessons over the summer, and my son also started taking weekly lessons. We are learning “Carol of the Bells” to play together at Christmas. He loves the lessons and can’t wait to start rocking out! I am still working on improvising and have been working on a couple hard songs this summer: “Uncle John’s Band” by the Grateful Dead and “Over the Hills and Far Away” by Led Zeppelin.

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Watching the MTV VMAs on the last night of summer. Mine was Miley Cyrus “Can’t Stop.” “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke was my second favorite.

What was your favorite song this summer? How was your summer?

On Being High Maintenance

English: Romaine lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. ...

English: Romaine lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. longifolia). Français : Laitue romaine (Lactuca sativa var. longifolia). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My daughter (19) tells me I’m high maintenance. I don’t like to eat bad lettuce. When I go out to eat and order a salad, it sucks when they bring you a bowl of brown edged dark green mushy spotted lettuce. I ordered a salad because I wanted fresh vegetables. Don’t give me a bowl of old lettuce. So I send it back or at least tell the wait staff to let the kitchen know the lettuce is bad. This kind of behavior is embarrassing for my daughters, but hey if I’m spending ten dollars on a bowl of lettuce, I think it would be nice if the lettuce was fresh.

When my oldest daughter was in high school, I volunteered one time for a spaghetti dinner before a football game. It was catered by an Italian restaurant, and I was put in charge of the salad station. My job was to distribute the bagged lettuce into the individual bowls. I started picking through it and throwing out the pieces with any brown on them. The guy in charge quickly corrected me and told me not to do that. Of course I protested, saying I was just throwing out the bad parts. He insisted that I just do my job and keep filling the bowls. Yuck. I’ve been extra sensitive about lettuce since then. I know the people in the kitchen are trying to maximize profits. Not necessarily serve fresh food.

I drink wine, but I won’t drink it out of a plastic cup. It belongs in a glass. Isn’t that part of the experience? Red wines need bigger more bulbous shaped glasses, and whites (my favorite is oaky Chardonnay) go into smaller, taller shaped glasses. Apparently the glass and how much room it has to breathe affects the taste of the wine. Drinking it out of a plastic cup ruins the whole experience for me.

I am also a bit germaphobic. I use olive oil and lemon as salad dressing because of food allergies/intolerance. Once a waiter brought olive oil with no top. Instead someone had taken a small piece of cling wrap and stuffed it in the top. I couldn’t bring myself to use it. I had to ask them to bring me another one with a normal top.

One night on a road trip, my husband and I stopped to sleep at a hotel. The smell in the room was so bad (a mixture of mold and smoke) I couldn’t sleep. We had to get up in the middle of the night and leave because it was so bad.

As high maintenance as that may sound, I’m low maintenance in other ways. I’m not a super girly girl, and I can frequently be seen in public with no makeup and wet hair. I don’t mind getting done up, but it takes so much time.

Allergy Update

“I’ve never seen your mom order the pizza before. I even brought lemons for her salad dressing” a familiar waiter at one of my favorite restaurants said to my daughter the other day. I guess that means I am a regular: he is used to my order (appetizer-caprese salad hold the vinegar, fresh basil instead of basil sauce, dinner-Mediterranean salad add grilled chicken no feta no olives no dressing, olive oil and lemons instead). I love eating at this restaurant because they actually have a few items I can eat on my no wheat, corn, eggs, and sugar diet. The problem is they also have brick oven pizzas that are really hot, fresh, thin crusts, homemade sauce, and have delectable toppings. I know this because someone in my family always orders one, and I almost always sneak a bite or two. This time was different. This time I decided to get the ‘Super Mario’ the equivalent of a meat lover’s pizza. I used to eschew such foods because of the belly ache and rash that ensued.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about eczema, my nemesis. The first allergist I saw was on Virginia, and he explained that allergies show themselves three ways: hay fever, asthma, and eczema/hives. Our immune systems are like buckets, and allergens full up the bucket until it overflows, and we have symptoms.

Up until a few months ago I was getting allergy care from my ENT (shots and antihistamines) and dermatologist (ointments for rashes). I’ve been diagnosed with multiple allergies, to environmental stuff like dust, dust mites, mold, cats, trees and grasses. Shots and nasal sprays helped and continue to help with the hay fever, but I kept getting eczema and hives. I got patch tested and was diagnosed with allergies to nickel, fragrance, and several other chemicals omnipresent in our society. I gave my house a makeover for dust mites and chemicals. I got my eyes tattooed for eye liner and switched to chemical free makeup, shampoo and conditioner (which are all very hard to find). Still I got eczema and hives.

I was tested for food allergies then told the tests are not reliable, and that elimination diets are the only way to know for certain. So I went on a major elimination diet starting in 2009 and discovered reactions (both digestive and rashes) to wheat, corn, sugar, and eggs. My skin clears up when I eat clean, but boy is it hard to eat that clean!

In April I started seeing a new allergist. I told her I wanted a tenth opinion because it’s so frustrating to be me. I explained my long history with allergies and treatments, and vented my frustrations about not being able to eat like a normal person. Her philosophy is to help people like me learn to live ‘out of the bubble’ by identifying intolerances vs allergies and by managing symptoms. Since I don’t swell up and drop to the floor with anaphylaxis, I think mine are intolerances, not true allergies. This is a good thing. Although the fear of the face rash keeps me from eating whatever I want.

Friends who suffer from eczema-listen up, this is the best advice I’ve received so far. It’s called the ‘seal and heal’ technique. Take several baths a day. She said her worst cases take three baths a day. She told me to take two a day (I had blisters and cracking skin). Then apply ointments while the skin is still wet. I use proactiv on my face and triamcinilone on my body. Bathing (vs showering) allows your body to absorb water at a deep level. Think about it, drowning victims are bloated when they are pulled from the water. Ourbbodies absorb water through our pores. Applying moisture and ointments with wet skin seals in the moisture from the bath. I only use a towel on my hair now, and the result is that my eczema has basically cleared up. The dishydrotic eczema on my hands and feet comes back periodically, and I revert to bathing and medicating.

While I’ve been able to eat ‘out of the bubble’ and not have any eczema erupt on my face, the digestive issues remain. Because of my intolerances, when I eat gluten and sugar I get really bloated. Since April, I’ve put on a solid ten pounds. It’s bad news but I’m also happy to have enjoyed some normal food. Whenever I feel uncomfortable with the extra pounds, I remember how good those cheeseburgers tasted, how cheesy the pizza was, and how much I hated eating ‘in a bubble.’

The jury is still out, but I think I might prefer the frustration of not eating like a normal person to the bloated heavy feeling I have after eating what everybody else eats. Let’s face it, the American diet is terrible!

June has arrived

If it seems that my blog is monopolized by the subject of ALLERGIES, well that is because I suffer from a zillion allergies and they monopolize my world. Besides being a mom and tutor, I am pretty much the queen of allergies. It seems like I am always one step behind them too, trying to figure out what is it that is causing my symptoms now?? The past few nights have been awful, waking up with that roof of the mouth/sinus/deep inside my ears/head itching that won’t go away. My eyes are crusty in the corners. I have hives on my arms and legs. My lips itch. I can’t stop sneezing lately.

For the environmental stuff (dust, dust mites, trees/grasses, molds, cats, mildew etc.) I give myself two shots in the legs just about every week. I take allegra and use nasonex. For the chemical allergies (fragrances and 4 pages of chemicals) I try avoiding everything although that’s pretty hard with people spraying sunscreen and perfume and don’t get me started on guys who wear too much cologne. Foods? Well I know I’m allergic to corn and wheat and sugar since corn is related to cane sugar. I think I’m allergic to yeast but I don’t want to admit it because I love wine and yeast is used in wine making. I think that’s my next step – eliminate wine for two weeks. That should make life more interesting right?

It sure must be nice to be a normal person who doesn’t have to worry about any of these things…

Today is June 1. The kids get out of school at lunch time on June 3. Time flies. Ready for summer!

Helpful Links for Corn Allergies

http://www.cornallergens.com/list/corn-allergen-list.php

http://www.cookingallergyfree.com/allergens/allergen_listing/corn_allergy