Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Constant life changes

For a long time, I was stuck.

Let me back up a bit. My life had some drastic changes throughout the course of the last 10 years. I moved from Pennsylvania to Tennessee, leaving all of my family and friends behind.  I moved because my heart told me that's where it belonged, with my now husband and his son Marcus. It was right. But it was not an easy transition. Moving away from a small town with everyone you have known and loved your whole life, for two people is almost shocking. I hit some major highs and lows in Tennessee-and when I say lows, I mean the lowest of lows. It was not my husband or Marcus, it was just me and the sudden changes that I had to muster through. It was really about refinding myself but that didn't come until years later.

So... I just existed in a way. I wasn't fully happy with life decisions (mostly my career choice) but I also felt stuck in it.  I hated the path that early education was taking and more importantly, I hated how different it was with the kids. I can honestly look back and say my career was making me hate my life. Where did my passion go? Where did my patience go? I still loved the kids with my whole heart, I hated the job. Why? Because I was told I wasn't allowed to teach. 

Excuse me?
I am a teacher. Not by trade.... by choice. I loved it. I loved knowing what a difference I was making in their lives and how cool it was to know that *I* was one of the first ones to begin their learning journey. That wasn't the case anymore. No matter what I did, it wasn't right. I was told I couldn't teach them, because then they were not doing it on their own. I was so confused by this constant statement that it made me an angry person. What do you mean they didn't choose to do it on their own? Of course they didn't, that is my job!

To make a long story short, I quit my job and went back to school to finish my degree.  In the mean time, I was planning a wedding, getting married, conceiving and having a baby all in two years time. I graduated with my Bachelors,  and then opened a business because I felt like if I owned it, I could do whatever I wanted. It was true, I did do all of those things and I created a solid education plan for young preschool aged kids and I was super proud of that but all the changes in my own life, and in the education system and truthfully, in parenting in the new society.... I was spent. I didn't want to wake up, I didn't want to go to work, I didn't want to feel so much pressure that parents might not be pleased with my work, or parents might sue me, or I wasn't doing my books right. The anxiety that eventually came with owning a childcare business, far exceeded my will to make a difference. It was almost debilitating. I made the decision to put the business on the market and just see what happened. It sold. I only owned the business for 2 1/2 years before selling, but in that time I accomplished SO much. I know that! I am proud of that! I am disappointed because in a way I feel as though I quit too soon, that I owed it to the kids and parents to see it through but with my husband still trying to figure out his position in the military and my kids desperate need for their mom back, I know it was the best decision for me and my family.

So, I am back being a stay-at-home mom to my two boys (ages 14 and 4) and co-pilot to my husband who is still serving the U.S. Army. I have recently joined forces with the #3 leading skincare line Rodan + Fields and have grown a huge passion for skin care. I never took care of my skin, and didn't realize how important it was until recently when looking in the mirror every day was becoming more and more of an issue. I am getting my "me" back and I am SO excited to share that with others.

I am teaching my youngest preschool at home and will definitely be sharing some great, easy learning activities to do at home. I will also be sharing some great pinterest inspired DIY projects as we go through trying to make our house, a home again. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

No Gain With Grains.

It was time. Time for changes due to the constant chaos that took over my body after nearly each and every meal.  It was not ideal for me to be paleo in a world that fills us with a lot of horrible foods full of crud that tastes delicious.  Really delicious! Not only do I suffer from the autoimmune disease Rheumatoid Arthritis, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), PES (Picky Eater Syndrome) but also a growing intolerance to gluten.
I have tried and failed at paleo in the past... why should I have to give up the foods I love? It just did not seem fair.  It was not fair, but it is also not fair how much our culture and society has been blinded by the fact that the FDA would approve HALF of the crap that is put in our foods today and how crappy those false foods were making me on a regular basis.  My arthritis has only gotten worse since I had my son in March of 2011, my IBS and what I believed to be a gluten intolerance was getting more and more unbearable, and I had migraines daily. After countless doctors over my stomach issues, telling me I do not have celiac disease, I do not have ulcers anymore, I do not need to be seen, I do not... I do not... I do not... I realized they were never going to take me seriously. I know my body and I know it isn't working right.  Add to that, my Rheumatology appointment kept getting rescheduled and my arthritis was putting me in near tears on a nightly basis. I fought them and tried to let on that I wasn't hurting but my husband knows when I am hiding my pain. (God love his patience and support)  I was falling apart at the age of 27.  It was not fair... but it is my life and it is my body and I certainly owed it to myself, my family and friends and anyone else that could benefit from my testimony.  So being that doctor's were not taking me seriously, I was doing my own research. Then randomly, my chiropractor told me how important diet is with autoimmune diseases, which is not the first time I have heard of this. (I have heard of and tried paleo in the past) but this time it set a fire inside of me. I was determined to figure it all out.... so I researched, and read and researched some more and started setting myself up for success.  I started implementing more veggies into my food pyramid again, only this time I started cutting them up on Sundays to make snacking and meal prep 100 times faster.  Convenience =success!
Now some people may be able to go paleo cold turkey, or by completing a whole 30 challenge, I love food WAY too much to be able to give everything I've ever known up all at once.  So I started talking with other paleo supporters; band wagoners if you must, and a man shared with me that in order to be more successful, I could try eliminating food groups one at a time and informed me that I probably wasn't suffering from a sugar/caffeine withdrawal, but from not enough food throughout the day in general.

So it began, a lady that I volunteer with who has become a dear friend told me about her neighbor and how she read the book "Wheat Belly" and how it completely changed her eating habits and thought process, and so I bought the e-book and dug in! Within the first few pages, I was not only shocked but also traumatized as to how much crap is put in wheat/breads and everything else that we do not realize.  The FDA is pushing these whole grain foods on everyone, especially people with heart problems, when really they could be the very things that are causing such a huge health issue in our world today.  Obesity is on the rise, and when you read the book... it really is no wonder! On another note, the author was a cardiologist who often put his patients on a no wheat diet, and saw remarkable results including no longer being diabetic, or no longer suffering from arthritis pain... etc. What have I been waiting for? Why does it take a book to tell me to try this?

So to no surprise, first food group on my check off list was grains. Grains... you know, every meal I consumed (toast, bagels and pop tarts for breakfast, sandwich after sandwich after sandwich for lunch, pastas and sandwich, fajitas, and PIZZA for dinner, home made buttery southern deliciousness they call rolls)... my whole food group world was consumed by grains. What the heck am I going to eat now was really the only thing I asked myself on a regular basis.... how am I going to do this? Just do it. I started by praying for help because I knew I couldn't do it without God's hand in it and then I started donating all of my grain foods in my cupboards to friends so that I didn't see money going through my paper shredder. (Sorry about that Shawn)  If I showed you a picture of my "pantry", you would understand that I really did only eat grains.  What was left: Coconut oil, a plethora of nuts, pure honey and pure maple syrup and a lot of spices all from my last epic failed attempt at paleo #1, 2, 3 and probably 4 because paleo and I had a love/hate relationship.  Confession: I NEVER was paleo in the past. I would have 1 paleo meal sometimes 2 or even 3 but never gave up sugar, or coffee creamers, therefore never being able to notice and savor the wonderful feeling of a pain free life.  (No secret here, I still struggle with the notion they are next on my chopping block but that's another day.)
I knew giving up grains was going to be one of the hardest things to give up... how would I ever pass up a trip to Olive Garden with the ladies? Well I can answer that now because I have given up grains for a few weeks (give or take) and I can say that I am completely symptom free from my arthritis...yes, you heard right, symptom free from the very disease I have lived with my whole life, never knowing all it took was diet. Prior to cutting out grains, I was taking Humira once a week because my arthritis was so severe. I already know that I need my right knee replaced, my surgeon was just trying to get me pain free with weekly injections and an occasional steroid shot in the knee to get me into my 30's before he will do a knee replacement.   Humira's list of side affects is enough to make you want to dive in to whatever diet will eliminate this from your home let alone your body. After just days of being grain free, I stopped noticing arthritis pain; I stopped remembering to take my shot because I wasn't in pain at all. I recently made a trip to my rheumatologist and she was shocked as to how completely different my reasoning was for going (called in October to schedule an apt bc I was in so much pain, and now I was finally getting my apt just a few months later but to ask to go off of my medicine completely, which she approved of) I have never remembered a time in my life I have been in remission during the winter months and I LOVE IT!
BONUS****I have also been symptom free from IBS, gluten attacks, & migraines.  I also lost the 13 lbs. that I haven't been able to lose after having my son! Awesome incentives*****

I have only given up 1 food group... wonder what I will feel like without the others.  Probably the Incredible Hulk. Just saying....

I wanted to share because I think it is more important to educate ourselves of the things we put in our mouths without really knowing how it came about. I also would like to share my experience and how it changes my life.... I never in a million years believed friends that swear that a diet can change everything I've ever known as "normal". I truly remember how it feels to be pain free and it is worth the loss of a lot of bread, pastas and other grains I consumed on a regular basis. You owe it to yourself to try it... for a week or two or three! Especially if you have unexplained health issues or autoimmune diseases.  Paleo & a grain free diet have also been known to eliminate diabetes, thyroid issues, weight loss, and much more!
I will share recipes and some of the elimination process as I continue forward with my paleo journey and encourage you to follow along.

Until next time =)