Scotty and Spok, at war in my Pantry

“I just can’t do it, Captain!”

That’s usually what I think when the option of ordering pizza arrives – my resistance is futile. I need pizza…or at least I think I do. This is my problem. I’ve found that I do pretty well on my new allergy diet…until it comes to cheese. And lately, I’ve been craving dairy of any kind like a mad-woman. I don’t know if I’m craving the fat, or if my body’s telling me I’m not getting enough calcium now, or if it’s some other reason besides the fact that it just tastes good. So, I broke down and had some pizza, and later regretted it. My problem is that convenience foods are no longer available, and that my stomach has been hard-wired to expect food NOW in this society of always having delicious and bad-for-you foods in constant supply. I’m having to teach my body to crave different foods and to be patient in times of hunger (not so easy).

I had made a resolution (which is something I normally don’t do, as people never stick to them) this year to stop eating the things I’m allergic to. That didn’t last long…maybe a week or two. So, now, I’m going to take a different approach. I’m going to start my Six Week Bikini Countdown again (the program that helped me lose 30 pounds while Elliott was deployed) — and this time, I will not eat anything that contains my allergen(s), OR anything that is produced on the same equipment. I have been a good girl when it comes to my peanut and egg allergies, but not my whey allergy. So I go through the cycle of feeling awesome and feeling sick because I broke down and ate some stinking pizza.

I am excited to use my new allergy free cookbooks, to get back into the realm of enjoying cooking and to try new things (which I love). I am also going to try to prepare myself for my weak times (right after I get off work or finish at the gym) by making grab-and-go foods that are delicious AND nutritious. This includes having everything on hand to make a homemade pizza, minus the cheese.

So, today I took my measurements (waist, hips, and thighs) and tomorrow I will weigh myself at the gym, to kick off my 6 weeks of healthy living. Having the time frame will help me stick to my goals (start small, work your way up). My expectations for my end result will be:

Lose some weight (obviously) – at least 5 lbs
Detox my body of my allergens (less headaches, less stomach pain and nausea, allover feeling of wellness)
Have more energy
Have more control over my dairy cravings

Hopefully, through not having any foods that threaten my immune system (allergens), I will stop craving these foods as often and maybe even altogether. I have asked my husband and his parents (whom we live with currently) to keep me accountable for the foods I eat.

Only I have the power to control what I consume, and I am therefore the only one responsible for it. With great power comes great responsibility. My ultimate goal… “Live long, and prosper!”
 

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Welcome to the World of Food Allergies

Goodness Gracious, it’s been 5 months since I last posted! A lot has changed since then…since it would take forever to explain it all (moving back home from Virginia and all), here is what has changed as pertains to my health.

I have wanted to get tested for food allergies for a long time. They run in my dad’s side of the family (and I’m sure there are some on my mom’s side also). More importantly, I feel sick quite often after eating, especially lately. It got so bad that I’d have to lay on the floor after eating because my nausea was so strong. With a stroke of luck, I found out the name of a local doctor (that is a medical doctor but takes a more naturopathic approach than most) that tests for food allergies.

So, I had my blood drawn to test for 92 different food allergies. Additionally, my blood was also tested for thyroid antibodies, as my doctor was concerned with some of my symptoms. I was shocked to discover that not only do I have a mild level of hypothyroidism, but that I have very high levels of antibodies against eggs, peanuts, and whey. My allergies to eggs and peanuts are so bad that my doctor warned that if I continue to consume them, I will eventually get cancer (thanks to my overreactive immune system).

Eggs and whey (essentially all dairy – I can technically have hard, aged cheeses…however, it’s easier for me to cut it all out than to control myself when I let myself have some) are fairly easy to cut out, since I’ve known that they make me ill for a long time now. However, peanuts were a huge surprise, and more difficult for me to cut out. I’ve always been a peanut butter freak – I’ve eaten it by the spoonful since I was a kid. I’ve found only one brand of almond (or any other nut) butter that isn’t processed on the same machinery as peanuts, and it’s pretty good. I’m sure with more time I won’t miss peanuts as much. The most challenging part so far is finding foods that aren’t processed on the same machinery as my allergens. These allergies pretty much completely rule out any kind of “fast” food (boxes of noodles, flavored and regular, chips, cookies, you name it). While this is an extremely healthy shift in my diet, it is hard to get used to. This is especially true because I am hungry CONSTANTLY now. My thyroid medication is speeding up my body’s processes, so I get hungry (and then crabby) all the time. With no quick foods available, I either break down and eat something I shouldn’t, or I mope around, depressed, until I force myself to eat something I don’t want (my poor husband!) This is something I need to fix – after all the holiday festivities are over, it will be time for me to experiment with new recipes and put some of my own quick foods together to freeze, so they’re handy for me when I need them.

I suppose this will change the direction of my blog, slightly, as the new recipes and information that I share will most likely deal with allergen-free cooking. Hopefully this will help some of you other poor souls ridden with allergies, sensitivities, or even vegans (since my foods will now be dairy and egg free – not meat-free, but I don’t eat too much of that, anyways).

Happy New Year! May you be blessed with healthy choices and happy hearts.

Is my food toxic?

I have battled with chronic headaches for some 6 years or so. The pain was mainly present in my neck, and if I left it long enough, would move up and sit behind my eyes. Instead of dealing with the pain, I would, of course, take a couple excedrin or ibuprofen when I first started feeling the pain and hope to cut it off. Unfortunately, this meant taking these painkillers at least once a day, sometimes twice or on a rare occasion 3 times a day! I didn’t really think of it at first, because it was taking care of my pain. But I started paying attention when I realized that I was going through those bottles pretty darn fast. I don’t think that I was addicted, because if I didn’t have a headache, I never took them. The problem was that I had a headache nearly every day, and I can’t imagine the damage that I’ve done to my poor liver.
When I was in high school I worked at an organic grocery store, Mountain Valley Foods (definitely my favorite job so far – I worked there for over 2 years). I discovered Peach Detox Tea, by Yogi and decided to try it, for simple detox reasons. It’s now one of my favorite herbal teas – no caffeine, has a nice flavor and you can’t leave the bag in too long. One of the problems with other teas, especially green teas, is that they can get very bitter if you leave the tea bag in too long. That isn’t the case with this tea – I’ve left one, even two, tea bags in my mug for hours, and the tea still tasted great after that. And that great flavor is purely the tea – it’s the only tea that I’ve been able to really enjoy without adding sugar, honey, or a splash of milk to. It’s great just the way it is.
What I didn’t expect, after drinking one or two cups a day for a couple weeks (at least), was for my headaches to stop coming. I realized that I wasn’t taking excedrin nearly as often, and when I thought of it, it had been at least a week since I’d had a headache. That made me wonder about the cause of my headaches, if a simple cup of detox tea can prevent them.
We moved to Virginia, and I forgot about the tea, mostly because I haven’t found an organic food store down here. When we moved into another apartment complex, a year after living here, I started shopping at another ¬†grocery store that carries mostly organic produce and has a couple aisles devoted to organic/natural foods. I stumbled upon the tea again, and immediately bought a box. I haven’t been as good about drinking it, and enjoy about a cup a week probably.
When I started this 500 mile club 2 months ago, I made the decision to eat healthier. I started to weed out unhealthy foods – fast food, ice cream, soda, candy bars, baked goods, red meat, etc. This was hard for me, because I have had an intense sweet tooth for a couple years now. But I realized with all of these foods, that the longer I went without having them, the less I wanted them. I don’t really crave sweets anymore. I don’t really crave cheeseburgers and fries anymore. During this second month I really changed my diet. I am not ON a diet, I eat healthier as a part of a lifestyle change. I eat to put nutrients in my body, and to fuel and repair my muscles after my workouts – I don’t eat just to eat (mostly – it’s okay to have a cheat day every once in a while. For me, that day has been about once a month).
In this change of diet, I decided that I wanted to stop taking the excedrin as often (I had returned to taking it at least once a day after I stopped drinking the tea). But it wasn’t something that I needed to try very hard to accomplish – in my change of diet, the frequency of my headaches dropped drastically. Now, I take excedrin once or twice a week instead of once or twice a day.
This raises an issue – if drinking detox tea prevents headaches, and eating healthy foods (and thus not eating unhealthy, highly processed foods) prevents headaches – are some foods that we put into our bodies actually toxic?
I think the answer to this question is a resounding “yes”. Non organic produce are coated with pesticides, fungicides, and waxes that have ingredients that are linked to cancer. (I can post another blog about that issue). Red meat is very hard to digest and is packed with fat. Have you taken a good minute to actually read through the ingredient list on your food items? The more items on the list, the more chemical names that you don’t know anything about, the more unhealthy the food is for your body. It’s simple.
I can go on and on about food – the presence (or absence) of vitamins and minerals is much more important than people realize. Many many health problems can be solved, and more importantly prevented, if we are adequately nourished through our diet. If you eat highly processed food, I think that it’s safe to say that you’re poisoning your body. People say that organic food is expensive – but let me ask you this – Isn’t it worth spending a little more money now on healthy food than to wait and spend thousands on health care later?