Tuesday, December 30, 2014

NOW What Do I Eat??

Sooo this is really the post that I was wanting to write, but then I started writing some history of... my health issues (well THAT sounds greatly entertaining) and things got a little long. Therefore, this got its very own post!

Anyways, today I went into Dr. Engard's office to go over the results of my food test. We went over some other things before hand, any symptoms I have been having, etc. She explained about the little booklet I was getting and how it would help identify the various ingredients in ingredient lists. "Great! Let's get on with this!", was kind of what my mind was thinking. We already knew that I had some dairy issues, so I was prepared for that. She had also told me she thought there was one other thing, based off of my diet diary and symptoms, but couldn't pinpoint what it was.

She pulled out the test results and we looked at the first rectangle, dairy. She used some other paper to cover up the other rectangles so I couldn't see, taking each one one by one. However, I had seen another small rectangle with several bars over into the almost red (no bueno) portions before she got the paper in place. Hmmm.... what is that? What do those bars mean??

We looked at dairy, no surprise there. Milk and whey showed moderate/high reactions. Yogurt a low/moderate reaction. Cottage cheese, which includes the soft cheese like cream cheese, feta, and surprise! cottage cheese was low. Not the greatest news, but none of it devastating. I can still have cheddar in small amounts every few days, but not lots of cheddar all the time. That's doable. It was a little sad to think no ice cream, no frozen yogurt, no sitting in a small cafe on some small ancient Italian road eating gelato, *SIGH*, but there are lots of replacements! Coconut milk ice cream, dairy free options, it's all good! (Okay, maybe not GREAT, but definitely doable.)

Onto that next rectangle, that one with those two big bars on them. What would this be? I waited in anticipation for her to move that paper.

Eggs!! Really? Huh, I mean I had known it was a possibility, but since I don't necessarily LOVE eggs, it wasn't a huge deal. For some reason I was thinking that that second thing would be corn or sugar. I don't know why, but those were the two that I kept thinking would pop up. So, no more eggs for me! No big deal. Wait, don't you use eggs in baking? I like baking, a lot. I like to cook, I love making homemade cookies, and breads, and want to experiment with cakes and cupcakes. Dr. Engard to the rescue, she reminds me that oil is a great substitute for eggs in baking. Egg substitutes work well also. Okay, phew. Eggs, no big deal. 

So, I am sitting thinking, alright sweet, nothing else is really going to matter right? We go on to the next box, miscellaneous stuff. Nothing major there. 

See, she even says "OK"!

Phew, I can keep up my coffee and bear intake. ;) (I don't drink either in case you were wondering.)

Then on to the next box, I figure by this time that I'm home free, no more worries. She reveals the fruits box. There's a medium size line. "WHAT'S THAT???" is what my brain is wondering.

"Cranberries!" I laugh, "That's not a big deal, I don't eat cranberries." Phew. I can live with the no cranberry thing. Next box!

She moves the paper and I see no big lines, phew. Now what am I looking at? 

 Okay, no seafood allergies. That's nice. I like seafood, it's not a LOVE, not like cheese or bread, but it is yummy.

She picks up the packet, oh yes it is a packet, not a paper, and turns it over, and I can't see what she is looking at. "Oh, I forgot about this one." She tells me. I wonder what she is talking about. I jokingly ask, "It's not potatoes is it?" (Hey, I AM from Idaho, it's true I like potatoes). "No, it's not." She tells me. "Okay, then we are good." She gives me a look, and puts it back down so I can see. "OH. WOW." I don't really even process what I am looking at, just that there are lines. LOTS of lines. Big lines. 

Lots of big SAD lines. Have I mentioned yet how I love bread? And pasta? And bread? I like bread, a lot. Bread with cheese is wonderful stuff. I think I stared at this for awhile not really thinking. I think there was a teeny tiny part of me somewhere that also thought I might possible have a gluten intolerance, but I had not even addressed that part of it since finding out about the dairy issue a month and a half ago. I mean, really it isn't fair to be allergic/intolerant of dairy AND gluten. That is just not acceptable. Who does that? So the gluten thing had not even crossed my mind, I wasn't even thinking it might be an issue. Maybe I should have, because it is. Good news though, corn is okay! 

Oh and two more lines on the next box, that kind of got ignored for awhile.

WHAT??? GARLIC?? You take away a girl's cheese and bread and now GARLIC?? Seriously, that was my thought process. Did I say that I really like bread and cheese? Well if that bread and cheese has garlic on it, then I am one happy camper. And mushrooms, holy cow, what is the world coming to? Well, she tells me that garlic is something I can have in very small quantities, now and then. Well, that is a BIT better, but GEEZ!

So now I get to venture out into a mostly dairy free, egg free, and gluten free world. Wish me luck! 

Back Story for my REAL Post

For years, most of my life, I have had various stomach issues. Eventually I got to the point where I just accepted the fact that I have a "sensitive stomach", and that I will usually have some sort of digestive issue after I eat. Pretty much a chronic state of my stomach rumbling or throwing some sort of fit. I learned to avoid raw olive oil. Cooked olive oil, completely fine, uncooked, my intestines felt like they were practicing all the knots in the boy scout handbook. Not fun.

 Over the past few years I have broken down my anti doctor policy (spending a lot of time in the doctor's office when I was younger helped foster a healthy anti doctor span of many years) and tried several elimination diets to try and pinpoint some sort of food intolerance/allergy. For the most part they were unsuccessful. The doctor's office never did much beyond printing out a basic elimination plan and wishing me good luck. It was as if I had been given the direction to build a boat and sail to another land, and all I had been given was a book about how to sail a boat. Not terribly helpful.

After a couple of elimination diets that didn't provide any answers as to what I might be allergic to/have an intolerance of I decided that I must not be allergic to anything and was just doomed to have a "sensitive stomach" forever. Several months ago I started going to the naturopathic doctor my mom had been referred to. During my first visit, after going over my history she said that there was most likely some food intolerance issues going on along with the chronic fatigue. I got Epstein Barr when I was 10 years old and had dealt with recurring bouts on and off since then.

 We dealt with the chronic fatigue issues first, and about two and a half months ago decided it was time to start looking toward the food issues. After doing a week long diet diary she was able to determine with a fair amount of certainty that I had a dairy issue. Dairy, okay, I am fine with no milk, don't like it anyways, but cheese and ice cream? I LOVE cheese and ice cream, frozen yogurt, is one of my favorite things. She said that depending on what it was that I had an intolerance to, I might still be able to have some of those things. There is hope! The test would tell us much more, and then I would know for sure. So, we did a blood draw. Or.... she tried to do a blood draw. Very low blood pressure combined with the beginning of a cold equaled uncooperative veins. No blood would be drawn today!!

Cheese, it is good stuff!

Fast forward to my next appointment, about a month ago. My test results for my Epstein Barr titers were in and it was almost in dormancy, happy day! Just a few short months on herbal supplements and I had made a speedy break from that. During that appointment she was able to draw my blood for the food allergy test and we made another appointment for today to go over the results.

Monday, December 29, 2014


Going along with the previous post about authentic selves, and living authentic lives are our talents. We are all given our specific talents for a reason. We have something to accomplish with these talents. Maybe your talent won't bring you world renown fame, or great riches, but maybe you will bring happiness to others through your gift. We all have a purpose to fulfill with our talents.

I think many people, myself included, often think of a talent as something such as marvelous singer, piano player, athlete, artist, etc. A talent where you are doing something you can show the world. I know that there are many other talents besides these, talents that aren't as tangible, but I tend to forget about them when it comes to looking at myself and my own talents. I come from a family that is very musically inclined, with numerous cousins who are fabulously talented in piano, singing, playing various instruments, dance, etc. I, on the other hand, got enough musical talent to know that I will never be good. Sure, I know how to play the piano and the viola, but I'm not terribly talented. I can sing, but only with a choir. Dance is the one area where I feel I may have been talented, but due to other circumstances growing up it was not a talent that I feel I got to fully develop and cultivate. I would have loved to have been able to continue dancing, but stopped taking lessons when I was 12. There are definitely times where I regret this, but it is in the past, and now I am looking forward to taking a couple of social dance classes at the local community college starting in a few weeks.

However, these sorts of talents, while what most people typically list when they think of talents, are far from the only talents out there. One of my all time favorite scriptures, since I was probably around twelve years old, is found in the Doctrine and Covenants from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints scriptures. This is found in Doctrine and Covenants section 46:

11 For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.
12 To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.
 13 To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. 14 To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful. 15 And again, to some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know the differences of administration, as it will be pleasing unto the same Lord, according as the Lord will, suiting his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men. 16 And again, it is given by the Holy Ghost to some to know the diversities of operations, whether they be of God, that the manifestations of the Spirit may be given to every man to profit withal.17 And again, verily I say unto you, to some is given, by the Spirit of God, the word of wisdom. 18 To another is given the word of knowledge, that all may be taught to be wise and to have knowledge. 19 And again, to some it is given to have faith to be healed; 20 And to others it is given to have faith to heal. 21 And again, to some is given the working of miracles; 22 And to others it is given to prophesy; 23 And to others the discerning of spirits. 24 And again, it is given to some to speak with tongues; 25 And to another is given the interpretation of tongues. 26 And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God.
Now, this post isn't meant to be all religious and preachy, but this portion of scripture has always reminded me that we have all been given gifts and talents, all different from each other, but in order for us, and the world to benefit from. 
Not all of us have talents like a beautiful singing voice, crazy athletic abilities, piano prodigy, etc. However, there are other talents. I personally feel that some of my own talents were buried during my childhood. For several years I was left feeling that I had no discernible talents, that those I had were lost. Now I have realized that I have many developed talents, along with some that are undeveloped, but hopefully not lost. While I did not get the musical capabilities that so many of my family members got, I did get the talent to truly appreciate and enjoy music. Over the years I have realized that not everyone gets chills or can be moved to tears by beautiful music. Not everyone feels that haunting feeling that comes over me when I hear the bagpipes, Amazing Grace played on the bagpipes brings tears to my eyes instantly. This appreciation of music IS a gift and a talent. Another gift I have realized I have is the appreciation for beautiful places, new cultures, exploring, etc. 
My favorite "beautiful place" in the world.
There are so many talents out there, some people can instantly make feel others at ease, some can make people feel like they are the most important person in the world. Some people have the gift of patience, hard work, etc. There are so many gifts and talents in the world, and no one is talent-less, no matter how much you may feel you are.
Although I do have these gifts that I am aware of, I feel that I have others that were buried/undeveloped during my childhood. Now I have inklings and remembrances of these and am unsure as to how to develop them and make them beneficial at this point in my life.
But, I am trying. 
One of my favorite Van Gogh paintings.

Authentic Selves

How many of us are actually living authentic lives? Living true to our deepest, truest desires and passions? Using our true (what I believe to be God given) talents, gifts, and passions? How many of us actually KNOW what these are?

I think, I know that our education system and society in general are literally educating many of these gifts out of many of us. We are taught to concentrate on and develop only certain skills. Those of us whose talents and passions are elsewhere, outside of these skills, often lose or bury these talents during our education. Then, years later we are stuck feeling talent-less or as though we have no gifts, when in reality we do, everyone does, ours are just not ones that we were allowed to cultivate and develop, or ones that we just simply did not develop as we were growing up.

I believe, know, that if we were all living in our element that not only would we personally be happier and more successful, but that the world in general would be a better place. If we were living a life where we felt fulfilled, accomplished, and truly enjoyed what we were doing with our lives, how could the world not be better?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Anyone Who Has Never Made a Mistake Has Never Tried Anything New/The Beach of Life

Albert Einstein said that. He was a pretty smart guy right?

 I sometimes forget this, not that Einstein was a smart guy, but that if you have never made a mistake then you have never tried anything new. I tend to be a bit of a... I don't know what the word is for it. Not really a perfectionist, or maybe I am, but not in the traditional sense. I hold myself to a higher standard than I do other people. Something that is acceptable in other people may be completely unacceptable in myself. I expect myself to have life together and everything figured out. Guess what. I currently do NOT have my life together and everything figured out. I am so far from it at the moment, and it is driving me absolutely crazy!

I am not where I want to be in life, I mean really who wants to be 27, unemployed, and living with their mom? Okay, I suppose some people might like that, but I am not one of them! The problem is, I don't know 100% for sure WHAT I want to be doing in my life. I know that I want to be able to travel the world and help people. Sure there are some more nitty gritty details, but that is the basis of what I want to be doing. I don't want to be working for someone else the rest of my life, I want to be able to have my own business of some sort and set my own hours. I don't expect it to be all rainbows and sunshine, it will be hard work, I know that, but that is what I want.

Currently I feel like not only will I not ever have this, but that I am never going to even find a job. At all. It is getting a bit ridiculous. Sitting in church yesterday I started thinking about failures and making mistakes, and people like Thomas Edison who is quoted as saying, "“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” I decided I needed a little reminder of this. Below are some of my favorite quotes from Goodreads Failure Quotes.

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” 
― Winston S. Churchill

“You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It wont happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.” 
― Joel OsteenYour Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” 
― Maya Angelou

“My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.” 
― Jack Kerouac

“Life is full of screwups. You're supposed to fail sometimes. It's a required part of the human existance.” 
― Sarah DessenAlong for the Ride

This made me think back to one of the days I was sitting on the beach in Hawaii. Two older ladies walked by me and we chatted for a minute. They made the comment that they were getting a bit tired and that they had walked until they were starting to feel tired, and then turned around to walk back. They laughed at themselves a bit saying that they had forgotten that they would have to walk back the same distance they had walked out. This made me think that sometimes on the beach of life we need to take a moment and look back at how far we have come instead of focusing on how far we have to go.
I know I oftentimes beat myself up because I am not where I want to be in life. There is so much that I need to accomplish in order to get myself where I want to/think I should be. Sometimes, I need to just stop and remind myself of what I have accomplished, and what I have overcome and dealt with in order to get there. So, stop and look back at how far you have come and take a break from worrying about how far you have to go.

How far have you come?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sunrises and Sunsets

While I was in Hawaii I took A LOT of pictures of sunrises and sunsets. The main sunset was when we went to.... Sunset Beach to watch the Sunset. STUNNING. Just simply magical.