An Important Medical Breakthrough You Probably Wont Hear About

“A new breakthrough in a disease that no one likes to talk about” was the tag line for a tweet by The New Yorker this morning that caught my eye. Having a disease no one likes to talk about, I was drawn. Assuming it discussed Chrones or Colitus, I figured it would be ample news for my cousin who is currently raising money for the disease.

I burst into tears the moment I read “endometriosis”. Writing this now I am still fighting back tears.

On of the hardest facts to swallow when being diagnosed is that not only is there not a cure, but the disease is so universally overlooked that even the cause is still unknown. This leaves very little hope at seeing any sort of cure during our generation. This is not to say there are not steps each woman can take to lessen her symptoms in one way or another. Just that there is no known explanation or cure for those of us with the disease.

In the Spring of 2013, after my first surgery and reading anything I could get my hands on, I decided to cut out soy and most dairy from my diet. I switched all meat and dairy products that I still consumed to “hormone free” options and noticed a drastic difference in my day to day functionality. Was it easy? F**k no! But it was worth it.

The most simple thing to understand about endometriosis is that, whatever symptoms you are experiencing, are fueled by hormones. The more regulated these hormones are, the less intense the flair ups. When you consume soy (might as well be a straight shot of estrogen) or dairy/meat products that have been fed added hormones, those hormones are going into your body and adding to your existing hormones. For a woman with endometriosis, this is highly troublesome.

Aside from regulating hormones I tried to eat better all around. I increased exercise and tried to remove all added toxins in my home (primarily by making organic kitchen/bathroom cleaners). I have seen great success with all of these steps. And yet, in August of 2013 I started having severe symptoms again.

Another problem when living with this disease is the wide variety of symptoms. Because the tissue can grow on any organ, every woman has different symptoms. For me, I have sever issues with my bladder, bowl, colan, intestines, stomach and uterus. I have had several days where the muscles from my back and legs have been so severely effected that it makes walking or sitting extremely painful. I have found that the more active I am, the less I experience these symptoms, however, they have never really gone away. This being said, I have read stories of other women with no symptoms at all or with entirely different sets of symptoms. You can imagine how difficult this would make it to find a reason for the disease let alone a cure. Until recently there seemed to be absolutely NO common thread between symptoms and patience. NONE! Lets emphasis the fact that I said, until recently.

The article discusses how researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been working together to find a common thread between patients. “The study is important because it shows the power of a new method now being used to probe a complex disease” writes New Yorker journalist Amanda Schaffer. For people who are not familiar with the disease, this may seem like an insignificant fete. But to those of us aware of the complication of the disease, this is the first of what I can only hope is many steps forward.

You could say that I have more or less come to terms with the fact that I will live with this disease and its progressing symptoms for the rest of my life. It is not an easy fact to come to terms with but its the body I was given and I have the satisfaction of knowing I do my best to take care of it. We will only find a cure when the disease becomes one that is universally addressed. Please share this blog, the article, or any information you find about the disease. While today’s new was uplifting, the greatest step that can be taken now, is universal acknowledgement.

Leftover Quinoa and Kale

Leftover Quinoa and Kale

Leftover Quinoa and Kale

This is my favorite hearty weekend morning breakfast. I first discovered this recipe about a year ago after picking up Gwyneth Paltrow’s “Its All Good”.

Now a staple in my kitchen, I recommend anyone trying to get clean to pick it up immediately! Her struggle to become healthy is inspiring and her recipes are clean, easy, and delicious!!!

What You’ll Need:

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or fat of choice)

1 clove garlic minced

2 large leaves of Kale (stems discarded) finely chopped

1/2 cup quinoa (cooked, follow directions on package)

Coarse Sea Salt

Fresh ground black pepper

1 Egg (Gwyneth suggests it poached but I like mine sunny side up, cooked in olive oil)

1 Scallion

Heat oil and garlic over medium heat in a small skillet until the garlic begins to soften (about 1 minute). Add the shredded kale and cook, stirring now and then, until the kale is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring, until warmed through, another 2 minutes. Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Place the mixture in a shallow bowl or plate, top with egg and scallions.

Serve with Hulk Juice or Fresh Coffee : ) Happy Saturday!

Top 10 Items to Have in Your Paleo Pantry

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When I first started eating clean 12 months ago, it was truly an exercise in patience and commitment. I found too often that if I did find a recipe I wanted to try, I had half or none of the ingredients needed to make it (usually once I was already hungry and set to cook). Most American’s are raised with the same items in their pantry and fridge. Staple items you can almost always count on having on hand: Flour, sugar, butter, eggs, pasta, milk, oatmeal/ cereal, peanut butter, jam, bread, variety of spices. When you start eating clean/paleo, most, if not all, of these items go away.

The good news is, there are just as good, if not better substitutes  for all of these items. Below are the 10 paleo necessities I have on hand at all times for easy, clean cooking at home.

Quinoa – Anyone who knows me knows this is a staple in my house. I use it primarily to substitute oatmeal (adding fruit, sun butter or chia seeds). It also serves as a great rice substitute with veggies and spices for dinner.

Quinoa (Clearly its nearing grocery day)

Quinoa (Clearly its nearing grocery day)

Coconut Flour – My most recent and adored addition. I am finally eating bread items again thanks to coconut flour. It is a NECESARRY item in my opinion.

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Almond Milk – I was never a big milk fan before, so giving it up was not that difficult. However, milk is one of those items that ends up in other things all the time. I like to add almond milk to my quinoa and sun butter in the morning, use it in smoothies, add it to my gluten free mac and cheese, you get the picture. Whatever calls for milk, I use almond milk. Just be careful not to buy vanilla and use it like regular milk. You’ll make this mistake once and only one haha

Raw Honey: Make sure it’s raw. This is a great way to sweeten breads and the like.

Coconut Oil: I really don’t know what I did before I found coconut oil. I use it to grease pans before cooking EVERYTHING. I also use it instead of olive oil depending on the recipe. These are just two of the many uses for coconut oil in your house. LOVE LOVE LOVE COCONUT OIL.

Coconut Oil ( I keep both Virgin and nonvirgin)

Coconut Oil ( I keep both Virgin and nonvirgin)

Sun Butter: Let’s be honest, this will never truly replace peanut butter in my heart. However, it still  tastes great and serves the same purpose as peanut butter. Another choice is Almond Butter which I have on hand as well but it all comes down to personal preference and the recipe.

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Grass-fed Butter: MMMM butter. I prefer Kerrygold spreadable salted. I also keep unsalted for the days I like to make Bulletproof coffee.

Both Salted and Unsalted

Both Salted and Unsalted

Olive Oil: This is pretty straight forward. You get to keep olive oil. Yiii.

Almond Flour: The sister flour to coconut, I keep this around for my meatloaf primarily.

Vegetable/ Chicken Stock: I left this  one for last because it really is dependent on how you like to cook. I find the itch to cook soup more often than most, hence the constant supply of vegetable stock. Chicken stock I like to keep around for quick and easy chicken based meals. ( a little butter, fresh lemon and chicken stock in a pan with almond flour dipped chicken and you’ve got a winner!)

So there you go. Those are my top 10 paleo necessities. You’ll find in time what works best for you but hopefully this helps.

Hulk Juice

HULK JUICE

Nearly a year ago I started drinking a thick green kale smoothie every morning to boost energy and digestion. I had heard people talk about juicing and drinking juice smoothies but it never interested me until my post op, post diagnosis, health food awakening. There a million so called “amazing” juice/smoothie recipes out there but the hard truth is it’s all about finding what tastes best and works best for you and your needs. Try everything!!! Even if it’s something you wouldn’t normally eat in real life, it might be something you love in a smoothie. Try to keep milk or milk products out of it. It should be all about the nutrients in the juice.

Moving on from my lecture on nutrients, I call this  Hulk Juice because it was aptly named that by my co-workers. I drink this almost every morning. A strong green color, it takes up half to all of my coveted Blender Bottle each morning and to say that I am addicted is an understatement.

Hulk Juice:

1 1/2 cups cold walter

The juice of one lemon

1 inch ginger grated

1 cucumber, cut into slices (skin or no skin)

1 apple, cut into slices ( skin or no skin, I prefer Honey Crisp or Fuji)

4 sprigs parsley (optional)

2 Large Leaves of Kale

I make two different versions of this drink.

For a Smoothie: I remove skins from the cucumber and apple before blending.  Put all ingredients except the kale into a strong blender. When properly liquefied, place the juice in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. When time is up, add the kale and blend until smooth.

For Juice: Add all ingredients to the blender and liquefy. Pour through a fine mesh strainer for clean pulp free juice. To make sure this juice is cold, I suggest keeping your apples and cucumbers in the fridge.

Happy drinking : )

How to Survive Your First Colonscopy

Unlike most of my posts, this one is not all too appetizing. I mean really, who wants to read about colon health? Id much prefer writing about making my first paleo Shepard’s Pie tonight but that’s not the reality of my life right now so here we go. (Don’t worry, the Shepard’s Pie post is coming soon!)

According to the American Cancer Society, in 2014 there will be an estimated 96,830 new cases of colon cancer reported, 40,000 new cases of rectal cancer and roughly 50,310 deaths from colorectal cancer. The statistical odds of developing colon cancer during a lifetime is 1 in 20…. 1 in 20!!!! Its the third leading cause of cancer related death in Americans each year. Is that not insane?

We grow up hearing that early detection saves lives. But when it comes to maters of the bowels, Americans remain hesitant to discuss the issue…. Well not this American!

After struggling with stomach and intestinal issues for the last 20+ years, my symptoms reached a more than typically disturbing level of intensity a few months ago. After a string of visits to my doctor in December, she determined it was time to take our relationship to that next level. Time for my first colonoscopy.

In the weeks leading up to this procedure I goggled any information I could get my hands on.  I figured what better time to blog about “surviving” it than when I’m in the throws of preparation (supposedly the hardest part).

If you’re reading this  and preparing for your own  colonoscopy my best advice to start with is to make sure you take the day before and the day after off of work. Its not necessary so much as helpful.

In the week leading up to the procedure, pick up your prep day feast (see picture below) and your prescription.  Your doctor will give you a list of allowed/ recommended food to eat on prep day. My saving grace was Pedialyte popsicles. Funny I know, but it’s sooooo nice to have something solid to munch on when you’re hours in to a liquid diet day. I suggest Pedialyte popsicles over any other popsicle as it contains electrolytes your body needs to prepare for the cleanse.

Other items I found super helpful, Jello and beef broth. Never in my life have I enjoyed beef broth so much. If you are vegetarian, vegetable broth works just as well. You can also find meatless broth in the organic section at your local grocer.

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My Shopping List:

Pedialyte Popsicles

Pedialyte ( I like mixed fruit)

Organic Beef Broth

Organic Chicken Broth

Gatorade (nothing red or orange)

Jello (I bought peach, it had the least coloring)

Coconut Water

I also bought all the ingredients to make my favorite Green Juice (see recipie) I left out the Kale because it would make the juice too green. It was comforting in the morning to have something hearty and filled with nutrients. The doctor suggested apple juice but since I started making my own juice 6 months ago, I don’t trust a damn ounce of juice you get out of a bottle at the store. When you’ve had homade juice, nothing compares. It is super easy to make and delicious. I recommend trying it.

So now what? Just prepping for that nasty juice drink. My landlord just showed up mid posting and asked if he could work on my pipes. (anyone whose visited me in the last year knows they leak like Niagra Falls) Flush faced I had to explain to him that I was 5 minutes from starting my colonoscopy prep so now was clearly not a good time. Yikes. He agreed and decided to come back next week.

I could not be more excited to chug this baby!

I could not be more excited to chug this baby!

I’m all prepared in sweats, have movies lined up, the heater on  in my bathroom and everything ready for the morning. I think it’s almost go  time.

As I prepare to start drinking that highly feared solution I’ve heard so much about, all I can think is “this is all going to be worth it”. At the end of this tunnel is answers. Answers to questions I have had my whole life. Answers that will hopefully help me improve my quality of living from here on out.   Whether its chrones, colitis, celiac or IBS, it will be a blessing to finally know for sure. And that, my friends, makes it all worth it!

My First Paleolithic SuperBowl. GOHAWKS!

“On the off chance you aren’t going to live forever, why not take a shot at being happy now?!”

Is this line not amazing!? I love this line. Fairly certain that “obsessed” does not cover how I feel about HBO’s The Newsroom right now. It struck me as immeasurably pertinent, and thus, I felt it necessary to use to start tonight’s blog.

Yesterday I had one of those extraordinary Saturday’s you know you will be attempting to recreate for weeks to come. It was just busy enough to leave me fulfilled without feeling overwhelmed. 9am spin class with Laurel; something I swore years ago I would never do again! Exactly what I needed! You want a decent sweat while rockin to 80’s music?! Check out 6th Ave LA Fitness’ 9am Saturday spin class.

This was shortly followed by a MUCH overdue visit with my favorite little 1 year old, Elle. My niece who is beyond adorable. Babysitting her hit a sweet spot in my heart that I have yet to develop a way to put into words. We went for a 2 mile walk and the cutie passed out hard!

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And now its SUPERBOWL SUNDAY!!! After spending a week sulking about not being able to partake in the normal Superbowl spread laid out each year, I decided (on my high yesterday) it was time to do something. I’ll be spending this Superbowl with my Dad (if you don’t know him, he’s pretty effing awesome) and decided there had to be plenty of paleo alternatives to our traditional supperbowl snacks. So what am I making? Well this is where things get fun!!

Lets start with appetizers. Heaven bless Plaeomg.com. I spend most days oogling Juli’s dishes rearranging my schedule in my head to make time to cook them.

PaleOMG – Paleo Recipes – 48 Paleo Super Bowl Snacks.

1st Appetizer: Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potato Skins: YUM YUM YUM. I will not be adding cheese to my servings, but this is a perfect appetizer for a split crowd. Cheese on some, not on others.

http://paleomg.com/super-bowl-snacks-primal-buffalo-chicken-sweet-potato-skins/

2nd Appetizer: Salmon Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Peppers. (see recipes, pictures to come)

Dinner: Turkey Sliders with Avocado Slaw. Another paleomg.com recipe that was suggested to me by one of my challenge partners last week.

http://paleomg.com/southwest-turkey-sliders-spicy-avocado-slaw/

I had every intention of making some gluten free sugar cookies with gluten free lemon frosting (food colored BLUE AND GREEN) but I’m concerned that time will not allow. Jeeze its already 11am here. Time to start cooking. If the cookies to be, I will upload : )

GO HAWKS!

Salmon Stuffed Bacon Sweet Peppers

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This is a recipe I concocted after a night stuffing my face with my friend Kelsey’s bacon wrapped peppers. After spending a half hour searching for a recipe that might mimic her genius, I gave up and took a shot making what I thought might be close, and voila! I think I found a hit. Juli has a version on her blog but I prefer (while it’s not Paleo) to add garlic and cream cheese to mine. YUM!

What you’ll need:

10-15 Mini Sweet Peppers

8-10 strips of bacon, cut in half (you will only need 8 but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel the need to munch on bacon when they cook)

3-5 ounces Salmon ( The fresher the better)

4 oz cream cheese

1 Tbsp Olive Oil ( or fat of choice)

3 cloves garlic (minced)

Paprika for spinkling

Salt and Pepper to taste

Start out by heating up olive oil in a medium pan on medium heat. Add garlic and salmon to pan. Chop up salmon in pan into small chunks using spatula and sauté with garlic. Once slightly brown, add cream cheese to pan and mix together until melted and warm. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

Next cut peppers in half lengthwise and remove any seeds. Set these aside and do the same to the raw bacon. Last step, stuff cream cheese/salmon mixture into peppers. Sprinkle each one with a small amount of paprika an wrap with back.

Arrange peppers on a foil lined cookie sheet and back on 350 for 20 minutes or until bacon is cooked.

Now place these in front of your crowd (or just yourself) and watch them disappear!