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Seeking Healing – The paradigm shift from seeing health instead of sickness.

For some of us, it has been not months, years.

Years turn into decades. Decades of just ‘not feeling well’ and ‘feeling off…’ with or without an official diagnosis. Some of the diagnoses that we carry around like lopsided suitcases get us laughed at in emergency rooms, in times where we need help most.

We have all been there, hearts sinking, dealing with the doubt and the confusion – not just what we struggle with internally, but that which others put onto us.

When will I get better?

I grappled with this for years with the Lyme diagnosis. Then came the POTS diagnosis. Then came the CIDP scares, the genetic mutations, the stomach issues, the mycoplasma, the thyroid issues… and I shook my fist.

I shook my fist at God and at every single person I had left. I hid. I hid in anger. I hid from all these terrible letters that spelled out one thing in my teenage head: YOU WILL NEVER GET BETTER. One after the other. It was like a never ending marathon.

I felt like a bird flying, trying to get shelter from the storm. Just before I would land every time, the tree would disintigrate. I was TIRED.

My mindset was the key factor, here.

Even after I was declared “in remission,” I still felt so ill. All the time. New issues arose. It was a never ending puzzle.

After nearly a decade of being a professional sick person and trying to live around it, I finally felt better. It was the day that I mentally let it go. I let go trying to heal. I let go trying to solve and to understand. I literally verbally told my body I was sorry for being so angry and I wanted to help it heal. I believed it could heal, something I never felt or thought in so long. I cried. A lot. It was a months-to-years long process of this constant grappling.

I am finally free. Do I still ache sometimes? Yes. Do I have that never-ending coat-like exhaustion? Yes. Am I getting better, on the uphill slope? Yes. Because I choose to be. Our brains listen to what we say to them and respond accordingly. I thought this was bogus until a few months ago I had a two-month long bout of chronic nausea to the point where I could not eat. I obsessed on what could possibly be the cause of the nausea until the endoscopy came back clear. Only when I let it go and accepted that it would have good days and bad days was I able to eat again. I had my first good day. Yes, I cried then too.

We are always capable of healing. Our body is amazing and not yet fully understood. When you get those letters in the doctor’s office, don’t see them as sealing your fate, or as another mountain to climb. See it as a curve in the road to your own healing. A step in the staircase. An opportunity for your Father to prove Himself all over again to you, in a bunch of new ways.

Love,

Christina

anti-inflammatory dinners: one-pot wonder meat, rice, and veggies

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Low-Histamine, Anti-Inflammatory, Gut-Healing. 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 yellow squashes (chopped)
  • 2T extra-virgin organic olive oil
  • 1 LB ground turkey
  • 2 C rice
  • 4 C low sodium or unsalted chicken broth ** (Can also use bone broth).
  • 2 eggs (optional, I don’t have a histamine issue with eggs but some people do)
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion (chopped)
  • 3T garlic salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste) ** (Black pepper can release histamine, not recommended if you have histamine issues)
  • Pinch of allspice
  • 2T seasoned salt (to taste and based on dietary needs)
  • Parsley (to taste/optional. Great for gut health!)

Notes: This is a loose play on an Arabic dish (heshwe) that is great for realigning your gut, detoxing your histamine bucket, and very healthy/well-rounded use of calories for what you intake.

Directions

  1. Get the olive oil in the bottom of a soup-pot (won’t spill over when rice expands) or high-walled sautee pan. Brown the ground turkey with your chopped sweet onion until it is fully cooked.
  2. Add in your rice, chicken broth, squash and seasonings. If you choose to add parsley, this would be where you add it.
  3. Place the lid on your pot and set the heat to medium to impart the flavors into the rice and squash, slow-cooking style. You will need to let this sit, stirring occasionally, until the rice is cooked and the liquid is gone.* (Be careful – dependng on the efficiency of your stove or what broth you use, you may need to add a little water/oil mixture to keep it from sticking and burning to your pot. Monitor every time you stir to make sure the liquid content is adequate.)
  4. Once the rice is cooked, taste and season accordingly to your style of cooking. Add the eggs. Stir until eggs are cooked and incorporated.
  5. Serve! Best served hot.

I make this at least once a week and LOVE this recipe. Let me know how you like it!

Xx

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self-care in lyme disease – dealing with the anguish when medicine makes you worse

As someone who has had to deal with this (and the ramifications of this) upwards of 7 years now, I hope this is the least-read article on my blog. I am sorry you have to deal with this. I stand with you and I want you to know that it’s okay to say “this absolutely sucks lollipops.”

Usually when you get your diagnosis (usually first diagnosed as fibromyalgia, a mental illness, or M.S.,) you have a breath of hope. Okay, this sucks. But at least I have an answer.

You start the treatment, usually the run of the mill doxycycline/minocycline/whatever else that ends in “cline” and you start to feel it.

The shakes. The nausea. The bone-deadening exhaustion that throws your emotions and brain in a tailspin. The panic. The anger. and the pain that gets worse with each pill.

You angrily ask yourself perscription after perscription, side diagnosis after side diagnosis, and deficiency after deficiency…

Why?

Why am I not getting better?

Isn’t this the point of antibiotics? to help? to kill? to heal? What the absolute ever loving heck am I doing feeling like this?

You try more and more ‘miracle cures,’ ayurvedic treatments, and diet than you care to count on two fingers. You might get co-infection diagnoses, autoimmune dysfunctions, or fun sideshows like POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia, you can read more here.)

We grit our teeth and bear it, because what choice do we have? We have to be warriors, moms, wives, and daughters through the collapse of our own bodies because there is no alternative. We have to hop from doctor to doctor, waiting to find someone who knows what they are talking about, because we just want to get back a fraction of who we were before we got bit!

We don’t often consider the psychological fallout that is preparing to debut on stage when we exist in this cycle of shoving down, keeping on, and “no really, I’m fine, I always almost puke on the couch at home too. May as well be out, right?”

We don’t take the time for self care because we are already in the mindset of ‘treatment will make me worse.’ We are naturally following the human response of avoiding pain and taking it out on ourselves, internally, because no one else is living with it like we our in our bodies. And we get so angry at that.

Please, don’t fall into the trap of going until you burn out and become unrecognizable to yourself. There’s steps to take to do self-care even in the middle of the storm of treatments that put your body through the rigors of chemo-like symptoms.

Realize, first off, that the medicine they are giving you is not to help necessarily. It’s to kill. Your cells are literally being perforated and attacked, so the drugs have to do a clean sweep and kill those stupid spirochetes.

For me, I had to actively picture that over and over when I wanted to quit and rip my piccline out. I was in a very dark place for years. I understand.

Realize, that because your body is a literal war zone, you need to nurture and nourish it in other ways. I’m going to have a cross post to a list of super foods for Lyme disease up shortly so you can reference that. Eat what you can, when you can. Don’t push yourself to vomiting, but your body needs fuel to fight. You deserve that to give yourself. 

Drink, even when it hurts to. Even when it makes the nausea worse. Flood your body to take the trash out of your cells. You’ll feel a little clearer. 

Reach out, even when you’ve been rejected. Not everyone is shallow. You will find someone to relate to and to walk through this with. For me, initially and consistantly, it has been my mom. 

Be disciplened. Don’t let yourself fall too deep into the depression that the treatments bring. Realize the neuro effects like the anxiety, anger, and panic are the body purging itself and a side effect of the spirochete die-off. Don’t let it become your personality and do activities to ground yourself so it doesn’t take over completely. I used to…

-Journal or write poetry. Someone will need to hear your story to pull through their own. 

-If calling a friend is too much, pray. Even if it’s the broken prayer of “God, please help me through this. I can’t do this anymore.” or even, “God, please.” “God, help me.” He still wants to hear you and don’t believe differently. 

-Make bracelets or bead/craft art. Anything that brings some color and light in and makes you feel like you’ve done something for the day, even on those days you can’t change your shirt. 

-Sit on your porch and put your feet in the grass. Focus on the sensations going up through your feet and run your hands in the grass. 

-Wrap yourself in a blanket if you have the shakes and make some detox tea, or even hot water with lemon if you aren’t tolerating much. Be careful with honey, as this may cause die-off/herxing depending on where you are in your treatment.

-Start a Pinterest Board or a Hulu account to take your mind away from the moment. 

You can always reach out to me too on the contact section of the blog. I am always here to talk to.

This is an encouragement post for you. If you’re going through the nasty side effects of the treatment to kill the Lyme, whether antibiotic or natural, its absolutely brutal. It’s okay not to be okay. Just remember to take care of your mental health first.

Xx

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the greatest guilt – escaping the shame and learning to let go

If you’ve struggled with with eating disorders, anxiety, depression, or any other of the issues that run the mental gamut, we have felt the same way.

“I relapsed….again. I’ve just been so stressed lately…”

“Why can’t I just cope better with things?”

“I should be doing better than …this.

I find myself doing this all too often and just getting angry at myself because I’ve fallen short of my standards. I do this even to this day. Like, this morning.

But the worst part of it is, I put those sky-high expectations that I hold for myself on other people as if they are constantly measuring me. This worsens the deep-rooted anxiety and chemical depression by…at least triple. I feel the scorn I feel for myself emenating from them because I place it there. 

Because I feel as if I am just not worthy. 

I am not good enough. 

I will never be good enough. 

and that’s okay. 

We live in a culture of overcommittment, stress, and too much caffeine. We push until we can’t go anymore. We exceed our limitations. We crash and burn. We curse ourselves. And we start the vicious cycle over again. 

Why? 

I caught myself falling into this trap when I was planning our banquet, embroiled in work drama, and trying to start a business/be a mom/transition into a stay at home mom/move… the list goes on.

Yes, those things have to be done. Yes, I have illnesses and troubles, but so does everyone. It’s okay to feel the stress and work around it and allow those outside deadlines to keep us on task. The problem is when that dictates your life so much your mood has changed and you have self-hatred rising because you just cannot be everything for everyone.

We were called by God to help people and that is fantastic. Help as much as your environment and your tribe allows. Don’t begin to exist only for the accolades and the “I don’t know how you manage it” comments and the worth that you feel that comes from empty busyness. It’s a backwards form of pride. 

If Jesus rested on the seventh day, so can you. He has blessed us with families to run and care for, hobbies to enjoy, and a relationship to cultivate with Him. 

The instant you start replacing Bible study with whatever activity/obligation you have piling up on your plate, is the instant you start to weaken yourself and leave yourself open to the self-talk of hatred and “you’re not good enough.”

We must give ourselves grace, lest we set examples for our children that burnouts are the only way to live, stress-induced fighting is acceptable, and putting everything aside for the sake of our overcommittments is status quo.

I’ve been feeling especially convicted about this in my marriage and in my relationship with God. I use busyness to hide from the shame I feel from dealing with anxiety and depression and feeling inadequate. It’s easier to bury my head in to-do lists and tax forms and endless assignments I make for myself. And for what? 

I am cheating myself from the security that comes from a blessed marriage, unconditional love from my husband, and my Father. I am the one banging the gavel and condemning myself, driving myself further away from everyone who loves me truly… 

I challenge you to give yourself grace today. Love on your husband or your children in a different way today. Pray today. Ask God to come in to your heart and show you why you are running so fast and so far.

You cannot be taken from His hands. You are always good enough for Him.

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the chemical breakdown – a look at histamine intolerance in the body

All too often we begin to feel the effects of our diet, usually attributing it to other issues.

Joint pain? Working too hard. Thyroid issues? Faulty thyroid, can’t fix it… Stomach pains and gastritis? Stress or just an ‘off’ day. Exhaustion? The American dream…

Accoreding to http://www.cureresearch.com, “the prevalence rate for people (struggling) with gastritis are 1 in 100 in the U.S., (translating to) … 2.7 million annually…”(Web, N.A., 2003).

While all of the reasons listed above can be a reason, they do not serve as the only reasons for those issues. All of the problems, even properly attributed to the reasons above, can be aided with the agent of diet change to reduce the histamine load on your body.

Nearly everything in the American diet is loaded heavily with these little things and they can cause bigger problems than you could ever imagine until you’re living it.

meat burger with coleslaw on side and brown handled fork

Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

These histamines build in the body, much like garbage in a trash can, until it is just too full to cope. It overflows and spills out the top, and brings you lovely inflammation issues, worsening fibromyalgia, anxiety and neurological issues, and a plethora of stomach issues.

So, how do we take out the trash? For people with an undersupply of Diamine Oxidase (DAO) or with the MTHFR gene (causing low methylation efficiency and amino acid disruption of absorption), this is harder than you may think. But what do I mean by this? 

7568742877596705f4f588d2c042dad3--health-problems-health-remedies.jpg

The MTHFR gene aids in the methylation process as one of the main duties it does in the body. Methylation and certain mediums (such as DAO) work to take out the histamine trash. If the methylation isn’t happening because you have a defect or a mutation, the gene cannot work properly and therefore the histamine is never broken down efficiently. It piles, and piles…. much like my husband’s socks he likes to leave around!

Many people, due to the American diet today, also have a gross shortage of DAO to help take out the trash! The odds are stacked against you if you have both and don’t know it.

According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “In healthy persons, dietary histamine can be rapidly detoxified by amine oxidases, whereas persons with low amine oxidase activity are at risk of histamine toxicity. Diamine oxidase (DAO) is the main enzyme for the metabolism of ingested histamine.” (Maintz & Novack, 1185).

So how do we naturally raise the levels of DAO in the body?

Peas, interestingly enough, are like God’s miracle food to help raise those levels and break down what you eat on a daily basis. More specifically – self sprouting peas.’

pea sprouts

I am trying this for myself as well to help reset my body (because I am clinically presenting as if I had low DAO)…I can’t wait to start feeling better!

You can find an organic pea sprouter on Amazon here… I plan on getting one of those and buying the organic peas to sprout separately.

You can also manually lower the amount of histamine you are consuming by radically changing your diet, reducing your stress, excercise, and hydration! America does not place enough importance on true, holistic, whole-body health. That is part of the predicament we are in… we have the best healthcare system in the world and still we are sick and struggle because this is not something medication can help with. 

woman meditating on rock near body of water

Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

First steps to doing this are to go gluten free, and also dairy free since these both have high levels of histamine. Key vegetables to avoid also at the start are tomato, spinach, and olives or fermented items (such as pickles). Start part of an excercise regime that is gentle and will not crowd your detoxification pathways and make you feel worse, such as yoga or walking daily. Consistancy is key!

I will be posting a full list of safe foods and also foods that may be tolerable based on my own trial and error experience!

If you are interested in having a tailored histamine-friendly diet plan sent to you for $5 (encompassing two weeks and including a shopping list for histamine-friendly snacks and what you need to buy for the recipes), let me know via the contact option on the blog! I would be happy to get in touch with you and help you in your health journey!

 

Xx

 

 

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love your gut chicken noodle soup

Gluten free, Dairy free, Nut free, Egg free, Histamine-Friendly, Diabetic Friendly, Lyme diet friendly

This soup is absolutely perfect for a rainy day, bad gastrointestinal day, or just when you want to comfort, soothe, and detox your system.

Lightly seasoned and with an herbacious flavor, this soup calmed my own horrible gut in less than an hour. I can’t recommend it highly enough! This will also help balance the blood volume and electrolytes with people who struggle with POTS.

Ingredients: 

1 Chicken Breast

1 Carton of Chicken Stock

2 Carrots

2 Golden Yukon Potatoes 

1 half bunch of Parsley

1.5 Tblspoon Oregano

Himalayan Salt (to taste) 

1 handful flat rice noodles 

Splash of Organic Olive Oil (check out a great recommendation here on Amazon!)

Let’s Get Cooking!

pexels-photo-66639
  1. Pre-cook your chicken breast in a sautee pan, set aside. (If using the low-histamine diet and cooking about every two days for the next set of days, you can use pre-cooked and refridgerated chicken so long as it hasn’t been more than a day since cooking it. The histamine levels will remain acceptable to be cooked again.)
  2. Heat the chicken broth to a rolling boil. Add chopped potatoes and carrots, chicken breast, roughly chopped parsley and himalayan salt. Boil until the vegetables are soft with a slight bite to them.
  3. At this time, add the rice noodles until softened, along with the oregano and a splash of organic olive oil.
  4. Serve!

How Will This Help Me? 

All of the foods in this recipe are low-histamine by how they naturally are composed. For those who struggle with histamine intolerance, this will help soothe the system alarms constantly going off in your body. This makes it have anti-inflammatory properties.

Nearly all chronic illnesses have some sort of gastrointestinal ramifications. From POTS, to PANS, to Lyme, to Mycoplasma, each disease attacks the gut differently. This helps sooths the inflammation in the gut to allow it time to recover and recouperate the damaged tissues. It is very healing and has essential vitamins and minerals needed to repair your cells.

The salt content helps balance electrolytes lost from Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome, IBS, or other such conditions where you are constantly throwing out as much or more than what can go in.

Let me know what you think!

Xx

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young marriage is not for the romantics at heart

Everywhere, we see it.

The rustic barn doors with the bridal parties, the tables of petit fours and the beautiful cakes and aisles and invitations.

What happens after the magical day?

This is why I say that young marriage is not for the romantics or the starry-eyed lovers. This is what I wish all the young marrieds knew before walking down the aisle, feeling as if they are invincible. The reality is, all relationships are playing with fire – you can hurt eachother more than anyone else ever could. Both parties have to be willing to deeply love and cherish eachother beyond the picture perfect Instagram posts and into the actual real, hard, cold and blank reality. It is up to the two of you to paint it in beautiful colors and make it your own.

You will have moments of passion and of joy, and be able to travel to your heart’s content, so long as your wallet allows. You’ll be the first among your peers to find what you thought was impossible before. And you’ll feel like nothing could ever hold you back or bring you down again. You’ll relive the excitement and the beauty of that time you said yes, you did, for all of the time to come and until the end of days.

You’ll also experience hardship down the line, everyone does at some point. It will be sickness, it will be pain, it will be pregnancy, it will be tragedy. This is why I say it is not for the romantics…those who are only infatuated with the idea of love.

The idea of love is quite different than love in practice when you hold the barf bucket for your loved one, or when you hear the words from the doctor that you shouldn’t have gotten pregnant in the first place from all of your physical hardships. And it is certainly different in the face of death and ever-changing illnesses that will come to pass.

You need to keep that passion and that spark. Make time and an effort for eachother but don’t get stuck in the fairytale storyline. Learn to accept each bump in the road with acceptance and strength and make your own story with eachother. The best part about marrying young is the time you then have to discover eachother and bring out new shades of the other person no one has found yet. Take advantage and savor every moment, because before you know it the first year will have passed.

What a beautiful year it was, despite all the hardships.

Xx

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…When you have the discount genes in a world of Levis

There’s a lot of reasons that chronic illnesses persist. I have a front row seat to finding nearly all of them (yay!) on this journey of navigating post-chronic neurological Lyme Disease fallout. One of these major components is a pre-disposition in genetics linked to autoimmune diseases called the MTHFR-gene.

Yes, it sounds like the cussword. And not too far off! Hence, the title. 😉

To preface, MTHFR stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. Fancy name for something that has such drastic effects on your body.

According to the National Institute of Health, “the MTHFR gene provides instructions for making an enzyme called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. This enzyme plays a role in processing amino acids…” These conversion processes are crucial to making bodily compounds including proteins. It’s a pretty crucial need to have this working right, but more people than you’d think don’t have this properly tuned. It can affect your muscles, your brain, your hormones, your overall bodily functions and of course, your sleep and how you deal with autoimmune issues.

I’ll be writing articles about this as I research this more for my coursework in school and also as I deal more with it myself – but I’ll put down some of my personal FAQ’s in an effort to raise awareness and help you!

I have been feeling unwell for awhile and want to see if I have this. What do I do? 

I recommend seeing a doctor to see if clinically, you line up with what sufferers of this mutation experience. It is commonly seen in people with long-term chronic illnesses (which makes you predisposed to having them become chronic in the first place!), and can rear its ugly head in many forms.

Symtoms commonly associated with this mutation are: weakness, hormonal imbalance, malaise, bad reactions to food, digestive issues, nausea, IBS, depression, chronic pain, fertility issues, depression, anxiety, rage, migraines… the list goes on.

The key here is not to view this issue as a curative one, but one that can be managed.

How do I test for this? 

You can pay for a genetic panel at the doctor’s, but it will cost significantly more. You can order a kit from 23andMe that can find out about this for you.

What are some things I can start with now to reduce the effects? 

Definitely do your research. America lives in a carbohydrate and folic acid centered society, since nearly everything in this country is processed to the last atom of its existance. Folic acid blocks the methylation process, so that would mean staying away from all processed foods including most gluten products. Keep in mind that if you don’t adhere to the diet all the way, you will not begin to feel better.

Folate is naturally what we need to calm the issue down, for lack of energy to do a scientific explanation right now (cause my body has been going crazy!)

This is found naturally in cruciferous greens, legumes and lentils, and the ever-famous anti-inflammatory bell peppers.

Where can I get more information? 

I’ll be loading the resources tab with some information shortly, but here’s some places to start.

Dirty Genes – Dr. Ben Lynch

Dr. Axe’s Scientific yet Understandable Explanation

What the NIH has to Say About It

You’ll be hearing more for me on this as time goes on, but I wanted to address it in a very basic summary on this page to serve as a stepping stone.

Here’s to a healthy outcome!

Xx

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Authentically, unapologetically

No one has to tell you that Instagram and Facebook are the biggest components to depression in youth today. It’s an understood fact. Yet, we cling to and embrace these sites to give us what we can’t buy – internal happiness.

Pinterest has made us obsessed with boho-chic, farmhouse style mansions and perfect cake pops for our 1-year-old’s birthday. We count followers, we count pounds, we count calories and we count dollars. We weigh our worth with our weight, popularity, and lifestyles…We live in the most privileged country in the world. Yet, our suicide rate is the highest it’s been…ever. 

Where did we go wrong? 

Contrary to popular belef, I don’t think it’s wild-eyed jealousy making us and our generation shrink into the rabbit hole of crippling depression and anxiety. I think it’s our dissatisfaction within ourselves. 

Even as an adult, I’ve gotten to deal with straight up meanness and bullying on social media about a disease I didn’t choose. Straight up rejection, name calling, all of it. And I let that affect me for way. too. long.

We’ve made the mistake of letting our happiness lie in Pinterest boards and Lose It! goals, Instagram messages and #couplegoals hashtags. We are constantly surfing the information stream of “bigger, better, thinner, faster, more perfect, more aesthetic…” to no avail. We cannot make our own happiness.

What is happiness to you?

When I think of happiness it honestly makes me sad. I think of all the moments I’ve missed being hurt and constantly wondering if I’m good enough for my husband, or how I’ll compare as a mom to my son, due to being behind a glass screen for hours at a time and freaking out about my nonexistant ‘performance review.’

Aesthetic and followers can’t replace the look your child gives you after a nice warm bottle and bath. It can’t change how you feel about yourself, always wanting to be thinner, better, smarter. It can’t be better than the feeling of your spouse wrapping you in a hug after a long day at work, gently playing with your hair in his fingers.

Picture your perfect life. Think about all the hours you’d have in the day to plan, prepare, and live out that “perfect” life right where you’re sitting if you’d just put the phone down and stop the comparisons. It is so refreshing to just hit the “unfollow” button on the accounts you could never measure up to.

Think of all the time you could have spent talking to your friend who you haven’t spoken to in awhile, whose secretly dealing with crippling depression, GAD, OCD, and other issues you may not have known about. Bless them today.

Think of the time you can spend watching your baby blossom in front of you, cooing and smiling and playing with his hands.

Think about the laughs you can have with your significant other, playing videogames on the living room floor in PJ’s and sharing a pizza after the kid goes to bed.

These nameless moments are real, tangible happiness. I promise the more you seek out opportunities and create happiness in your life, the more at peace you’ll be. 

In a world where fakeness is celebrated, be authentic and find what makes you passionate and want to jump for joy. Embrace what you can bring to the table in life, and in other’s lives. Live for yourself and not the filtered Instagram squares. I can’t wait to hear how it goes.

Xx

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Thank You for Buttoning the Snaps

To my wonderful, busy, exhausted husband.

I lovd you. I’m proud of you. I know we’ve tried and waited so long to finally get to this point, where we get to see our sweet baby’s face out of all the trials and doctors who said it wouldn’t likely happen.

I know just how exhausted you are and see how tirelessly you work not only at your job, but at holding our little family together when my hormones dip again or when the baby cries for the eleventh time that hour.

I see how you cradle his head and bring him comfort by bouncing him and holding his arms.

I see how you carefully line up and button each snap after every diaper change so little C doesn’t get cold. He hates being cold.

I watch how softly you look at his face, your eyes telling him how much you love him at two in the morning feedings.

I see you talk to him about all the things you’ll do together and how wonderful he’ll be at whatever his passions are, because we’ll support him in them.

I laugh as I see you roll him up in a big blanket egg and hug him close to you as he wiggles.

I feel you hold me as I cry in the night from anxiety attacks and horrible dreams, or what I’m afraid will happen in every worst case scenario my brain cycles through, your calm and quiet voice pushing away the demons.

I watch you laugh with my father and hug my mother and sister at family dinner nights and sleepovers.

You are so much more than I could have asked for. You are a father who shows up in the face of adversity and fear, and you fight for your family. Through medical issues and through hardship and through anything in your way. You provide for us in ways only you can, and your presence in the home brings serenity and teamwork.

Thank you for that.

I love you.

X,

Christina

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I Can’t Breathe – Looking into the Alpha-Gal connection between red meat and Lyme Disease

I know when I was in my youth, I struggled heavily with lactose intolerance. I would still push the limits here and there (peppermint ice cream was a MUST at Christmas!) but I could just take an enzyme pill and move about my day.

You can only imagine my shock when I was at In-n-Out one evening (the West Coast’s equivalent to the best burger…ever) and suddenly couldn’t breathe. Not like the coughing over inhaled water type, but the instant panic, throat closing, turning blue type.

I tried to calm down and my friends wrote it off as an anxiety attack until it got worse and I had to take medication.

It wasn’t until the next day that I saw on the news – “Mysterious allergy to red meat linked to tick bites.” I was shocked. But what had happened to me was actually not that uncommon at all. And here’s why.

According to the ACAAI (American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology) it is attributed to “A bite from the Lone Star tick… (can) cause people to develop an allergy to red meat, including beef and pork. This specific allergy is related to a carbohydrate called alpha-gal and is best diagnosed with a blood test. Although reactions to foods typically occur immediately, in the instance of allergic reactions to alpha-gal, symptoms often take several hours to develop.” (www.acaai.org)

I do want to call attention to something crucial – a building anaphylactic shock in response to the alpha-gal carb being present in the blood can take hours to fully effect you.

This can be managed with doctor oversight, an epi-pen for those who need it, and antihistamines if you catch it in time. But, this allergy is a major sign of Lyme Disease being present in the body. Other symptoms to be made aware of are nausea, vomiting, rash, hives, fevers, and anaphylactic shock.  

It is not just red meat that can cause this type of response in people with Lyme Disease, histamine overload, or mast cell activation issues. Any and all foods have potential to cause major issues in people with inflammation/mast cell disorders and it is important to be cautious with any diet changes. Lyme has been linked to causing general inflammation disorders including mast cell in its wake.

If you experience any of these issues when eating red meat, run, do not walk, to get tested. You may still have time to catch the infection before you become chronic.

References: 

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The Search for Selenium – Deficiency and Implications for Thyroid Issues

Selenium is a trace element you may not have given much thought to: however, it may be a key point in healing and dealing with hypothyroidism.

Selenium is used to convert T4 to T3 and also used for other essential thyroid functions. For those with hypothyroidism, it is easy to have a massive imbalance of too little selenium and too much iodine that can easily be fixed via a diet change or additional supplementation.

According to the National Institute of Health, seafoods and organ meats hold the most absorbable selenium, along with dairy, Brazil nuts,  and fortified grain products.

The NIH also admits that along with other stressors, having a shortage of selenium in the diet can bring about secondary autoimmune diseases and responses in the body.

A groundbreaking study from The First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University Health Science Center noted that “The risk of thyroid disease was 69% higher for those living in the low-selenium county than for those in the adequate-selenium county. More than 30% of subjects in the low-selenium area had thyroid disease compared with 18% of those in the adequate-selenium area.” (www.endocrineweb.com). One may argue that the U.S. is not in this category, as the fortified grains and meats that we eat feed on selenium-rich soiled grasses and grow in fine dirt, however: the issue may stem from malabsorption in the diet, in which case a detox regimen is necessary, along with a possible digestive enzyme to allow the gastrointestinal tract to absorb more nutrition from what you eat.

If you are concerned about thyroid issues or a selenium deficiency, please contact your healthcare provider. This issue can be remedied once it is recognized and a course of treatment is sought.

References:

Macht, H. (2015). Study links low selenium diet with thyroid disease. Retrieved from: https://www.endocrineweb.com/news/thyroid-diseases/17120-study-links-low-selenium-diet-thyroid-disease

National Institute of Health (www.nih.gov) Selenium. Retrieved from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-HealthProfessional/