On living with an uknown “dis ease”

Living with an autoimmune condition is not easy and some days I feel so lost… If only someone or something could take it all away.

For most of us living with an “illness” or “dis ease” the stress of searching day and night for someone, something, anything that will help is debilitating.

We just want to be “normal”, to live like everyone else..

This in itself is enough to send one straight into a depression.

But when everyone around you has comments and questions what you’re doing it becomes even harder.

My family and friends get upset with with me for following a strict diet.. They say I’m “limiting myself” and being “too-restrictive”.

I’ve even been called orthorexic.

Yes, I enjoy eating apples and veggies. Fruits, vegetables and whole foods make my body feel good.

Is it ideal for me to sit at my desk and eat green beans instead of chips? .. What do you think?

I would give ANYTHING to go out to an Italian dinner, eat pasta, drink red wine and dance the night away. And beyond silly indulgences, I would give ANYTHING to just wake up and feel energized and pain-free.

Sure, I get pleasure from eating the way I do because I know it supports my body.. That if I don’t, my body will attack itself even stronger, and I will function at a lesser level than I already am.

Would eating this way benefit you even if you don’t have a condition? Of course. And you would probably feel like a superhuman.

But for me, it makes me feel NORMAL.

Would I feel pleasure in eating a donut? Of course. Do I love coffee, ice cream and candy? You bet.

But I don’t eat them because I know what they will do to me, how my body will feel.

It saddens me that most people can’t comprehend why someone would follow a path like mine. And it makes it even harder when they don’t even try to understand.

If you know anyone, or even if you don’t, I ask you to take five minutes and put yourself in our shoes..

Close your eyes and imagine if you were diagnosed with something that had no known cause and no known cure.

That your body was attacking you from the inside out.. Outwardly you look “healthy”, but chronic pain, fatigue, and weakness are daily struggles.

Your hair is thinning and coming out by the chunks.

Movies, bowling, beach days, parties, eating out and having fun take a back burner to doctors visits and research.

Even after all of the doctors, therapists and research.. No one has an answer.. except medication that would eventually poison you and kill you anyway.

The only way to feel better is by not putting anything in your body that could potentially cause inflammation, stress or an extra burden.

What if this were you? What would you do?

 

Debunking your Diet

50 years ago our grandparents could walk into the produce section at the grocery store and buy whatever was cheap and looked fresh.

Today it’s a different story.

Since I have taken a job at an alternative health practice where I am doing daily research on healthy living I am becoming increasingly knowledgeable and aware of the most healthful and unhealthful foods, where toxins hide, and natural remedies.

GMO’s, toxins, wax coating, heavy metals.. You wouldn’t believe the amount of exposure to these things that you’re getting from food, clothing, products and lifestyle.

Every day I am reminded of the importance of  being conscious about the choices I make. That everything we consume and expose ourselves to affects us, our families and the world around us.

What i’m learning is commonly unknown, yet extremely important and relevant to our daily lives and wellbeing and I wish to share it with you through my blog.

 

Today I want to share with you something simple that blew my mind.

Dates.

So sweet and yummy.. They’re like natures candy but with so many health benefits.

But did you know that dates are one of the most modified fruits?

If you’re not buying organic dates they’re likely plumped full of fillers to make them look juicy and coated in wax to make them look pretty.

Organic is always a little more expensive, but this is your health! Pay a little more now for food and you’ll likely save a lot on healthcare in the future.

 

Love & light to you on this chilly Monday!

 

Bulletproof

Bulletproof coffee. 

These two words will get my panties in a jumble more than if you said Jake Gyllenhaal.

Over the past few weeks I have been experimenting with something called Bulletproof coffee.. It’s a blend of coffee (that is low in toxic load), butter and brain octane oil (a shorter form fatty acid that is a bi-product of coconut oil.. you can use coconut oil but it’s about 15% as effective).

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You pour all of these ingredients into a blender, blend for 20-30 seconds and viola!

Check out this link for more information about how and why bulletproof was created, the science behind it and how to make a cup of your own!

I have to say… I thought it was extremely far fetched that a cup of coffee mixed with butter would improve my mental focus and clarity while simultaneously giving me enough energy to go for 6 hours every morning with out food..

And as a woman it was only natural for me to consider how was I going to consume butter every morning with out gaining weight..

A little background about Bulletproof..

Dave Aspery.. The founder of Bulletproof used to be about 100lbs overweight. By adding HIGH QUALITY butter and other healthy fats into his diet (along with some other lifestyle changes. He lost the excess weight and keep it off.. What’s even crazier.. he improved is IQ by 20 points.. WHAT?!

I just finished a 3-day trial period of drinking Bulletproof coffee every morning AND following the Bulletproof diet. It’s almost like I never knew what it was like to be productive before.

My mind is more clear. My body is more stable. I can work for longer hours with less sleep (about 6 hours per night). I am more focused (this is a big one for me considering I have ADHD and use no medication).

The best part.. I went from eating salad with no oil, cooking my veggies with a dash of coconut oil, and never putting butter in my potato to being able to drink butter for breakfast and drown my veggies in it until my hearts content. YUM!

Sounds a little crazy, right?

That’s is because for a long time our society wrongly believed that fat makes you fat.. Yet, new research is showing that in fact, healthy fats can help you lose weight and that toting fats as the bad guy’s was one of the BIGGEST medical mistakes of our time.

Now, you can eat any type of fat whenever you like and that you will get these same effects. There is definitely a difference between healthy and unhealthy fats.If you increase your intake of the bad ones you will likely have the opposite effect of what you’re going for.

It’s important that you are only eating butter (or ghee) from grass fed cows (Dave recommends Kerrygolds unsalted). 

To find out more check out the Bulletproof book or website.. It is 7AM here, so it’s time for me to go make my daily cup of Bulletproof.

Happy experimenting! I can’t wait to hear about your results.

Love & light to you.

Nutrition Hacks

Sometimes eating healthy and working out just isn’t enough for our minds and bodies to function optimally. Society and day-to-day life are getting more and more demanding mentally, physically and emotionally and it’s not slowing down any time soon.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t just want to get by, I want to function at a higher than average level at all times.

Because of this I have studied and will forever continue to develop my knowledge of superfoods, herbs and ancient remedies. Today I will share a few of my favorite ones with you!

For Energy: 

Maca root (I take this in a tincture, but it also comes in supplements and powder). Maca is a root that comes from Peru. Warriors would chew it right before battle to increase strength and stamina. 

I take Maca in the morning and in the afternoon when I’m feeling low energy. I also take it right before the gym to give me a little bit of an extra boost. I really recommend using a tincture because this way it goes straight into your blood stream in comparison to eating it or taking it as a supplement which takes longer because this method requires digestion. 

It helps to:

  • Balance hormones
  • Improve fatigue
  • Increase sexual energry

Bulletproof coffee/butter coffee:

This is my new favorite! I have really bad ADD and when I drink this I feel extremely focused and energized. It is essentially a drink to fuel your brain.. Think Limitless!

Recipe (blend together for 1 minute, or until frothy):

  • 1 tbs unsalted, grass fed butter OR grass fed Ghee (this is what I use)
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 cup organic coffee
  • 1tsp cinnamon 

This is best if it is drank in the morning and on an empty stomach. When you have this try to avoid sugars (even the natural ones), and carbs. You can also use green tea/matcha instead of coffee if you want.

Here is the science behind the drink: https://www.bulletproofexec.com/how-to-make-your-coffee-bulletproof-and-your-morning-too/

For Mood:

Cacao (comes in powder, tincture, and nibs)

This is essentially Chocolate in it’s purest form.. It’s amazing!

On a daily basis I blend this into my morning smoothie, but you can eat the nibs plain, or put it int your coffee.. I even put it in my sweet potato sometimes!

  • High in magnesium and iron
  • Amazing adaptogen (helps your body adapt to situations, feelings and life in general)
  • Balances hormones
  • High in antioxidants

Let me pass that by my mom

Grow up, graduate high school, leave home, go to college, get a “real job” and live on your own. That’s just how it’s done in America. No one really knows anything else.

We crave independence from our families and define our success through how well we can thrive on our own in the “real world.”

More times than not we graduate college and move somewhere for a job. We make barely enough money to pay for an apartment, student loans, a car, gas, food and other necessities.

Our families are often hours of a drive or flight away. So we search for people to fill the void and the basic human need of interpersonal relationships. Often times we settle, unable to find people we can really trust or rely on.

I never questioned this path until I was living in Viet Nam.

I think it’s practically impossible to be aware of the absurdity of something until you are able to see it from an outside perspective. Travel has taught me this. The wonder of perception.

During my time in Viet Nam I struggled. More than I have ever struggled before in my life. And all I wanted was to curl up in my mommys’ arms. To feel the warmth of her embrace.

I had good days and bad when I was living there but in every circumstance I missed my mom the same. I began to realize that it wasn’t just in times of great sadness, stress, or discomfort that I craved this closeness to my mother. It was all of the time.

In Viet Nam almost everything, including how and where people live is different. People mostly live at home with their parents until they are married and sometimes even after marriage. I had a friend Huy who was in his mid thirties. He is a successful architect, unmarried and still living at home.

Instead of merely being raised by their parents my friends truly knew their parents, and their parents knew them. Not just what they chose to reveal during quick visits and phone calls, but for the people they truly were and would continue to grow to be.

My eyes saw, but my heart felt how truly special this was.

I wanted that.. To live at home with my family. Not because I had to, but because I wanted to. To know my mom person to person instead of adult to child. 

America may shun and look down upon my decision to move home after graduating college and living on my own. All I can do is laugh. Because until you have done this, until you have lived at home because you want to and not just out of necessity. Until you have seen and felt what I have, you will never be able to conceive the sheer bliss and divine beauty of this experience.

I thank the higher consciousness each day for all my blessings. How truly fortunate I am to not only be accepted by my mother, but to be able to accept her. She has seen me at my highest and at my lowest, my ugliest and my prettiest, my nicest and my meanest. How many people in the world are there that would stand by you through all of that and still love you the same at the end of the day?

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Love you forever, Momma.

Enema Addiction

I have become addicted to enemas. Yep… You heard right.. ADDICTED!

You know that bloatey, uncomfortable feeling you sometimes get that you can never seem to get rid of? Ginger, pooping, coffee, none of it works!

I get this feeling often because of the amount of raw and also cooked vegetables that are in my diet.. I am ALWAYS bloated. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it makes me tired and sluggish.

The enema fixes this.

Not only do enemas clean out all the poop that your body isn’t able to eliminate naturally (usually because of low oil intake, not enough exercise, low fiber intake, or medications), but it also cleans up all the toxins and mucoid plaque that just sitting in your colon.

Did you know you can hold up to 10lbs of fecal matter in your colon? TEN POUNDS!!

Flashback to Thailand: I was doing a 7.5 day fast/detox where we didn’t eat anything for a whole 7 days. We were doing 2 colemas (This is just a bigger form of an enema. Just to give you an idea, it takes about 45 minutes compared to 15) a day, coffee in the morning, garlic at night. Even on the seventh day after eating absolutely nothing I still had stuff coming out.

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(View from my detox facility in Koh Phangan, Thailand)

What was coming out wasn’t feces, it was mucoid plaque. Mucoid plaque is is a term used by alternative medicine advocates to describe a combination of allegedly harmful mucus-like material and food residue that they say coats the gastrointestinal tract of most people.

Think about how this build up is affecting your energy and your overall health??

I will probably get a lot of slack after this post just like I got after my last enema post. But I don’t care. I LOVE ENEMAS. It changed my life: how I feel, how I look, my health. I know it’s disgusting to read, to think about and even consider. But I’m begging you to do it.

EVERYONE POOPS Y’ALL!

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/women/features/digestive-problems?page=2

A guest post from my beautiful friend, Sandra

*Here is a guest post from one of my best friends from college, Sandra. Sandra is Italian and Maltese. She was born and raised in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and lived there as an expat for most of her life until she came to University in the United Sates. In this post Sandra will shed some light and give perspective on the contrast and diversity between the Middle East and the U.S in terms of diet, lifestyle and health.*

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Living in Jeddah, like any large city, the melting pot of cultures makes it easy to try authentic food from around the world or find international markets for Thai, Bengali, or Filipino food. Due to its high number of Arabian and Asian immigrants, Jeddah was an incredible place to explore Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine.

I grew up in a family that was animate about maintaining their Italian roots through food (an all carb diet), and speaking Italian at home. It was amazing to be able to experience Italian cuisine, the local cuisine and lifestyle of Jeddah, Egyptian food at my neighbor and best friends house (e.g., molokhia), and Ethiopian food that my Ethiopian housekeeper would cook (e.g., like zighini.)

As you can see, I got to experience a lot of diversity in terms of cuisine growing up.

The true struggle of a place like Saudi Arabia is the heat. Currently, I am living in Doha, Qatar and I see the same problem. There is this addiction to air-conditioners. Often you go from 40°C outside, to 18°C inside. It is crazy to me that I have to walk around the malls and sit at restaurants wearing a sweater when it’s 40°C outside! Even if you have a mere 5 minute walk you arrive to your destination sweaty and uncomfortable. Consequently, if you live in either of these countries, your idea of keeping fit does not tend to include walking or running outside.

Did you know around 70% of the Saudi population is over weight? And over 30% are obese? Apart from the heat, another reason why no one is walking or exercising outside, is because there isn’t pavement or space for people to walk, and drivers are so crazy that they would use pavement as another lane. Saudi also has a high number of diabetics accounting for 3.8 million people in 2014 (approximately 12.8% of the population). Statistics show that Saudis rank as the 16th highest country in the world for sugar consumption (80.7g per person), and 6th highest in the world for fat consumption (79g per person).

Can you imagine, that even after living in a place like this that I never felt more sickly than when I moved to the U.S?! There was definitely less diversity in terms of cuisine, and after any type of meal my mouth would be covered in a layer of fat. I was constantly nauseas for the whole first semester of University, and gained  35 pounds (~16kgs) in 3months. When I got back to Saudi the looks on my parents and best friends faces were hysterical. “Sandra you’re so round mann!” they said. I had acquired a big booty, big stomach, and round face.

A reunion was in place in Christmas time for everyone from our graduating class (from high school). Where people were living was very clear based off of how their bodies had or hadn’t changed. You knew that 85% of the time, if someone had gained a lot of weight that they had gone to university in the U.S. If they had lost weight, they had likely gone to University in the U.K.

One thing that surprised me while I was in University in America was how much everyone goes to the gym. In Saudi, myself and my circle of friends never really went that much, and most of my exercise was done in the form of gymnastics or walking around the compound with my friends.

Our lifestyle in Saudi was more ‘chill’ in general: we spent a lot more time hanging out together, in walking malls, or sitting in a lounge. When my friends and I left Quatar we weren’t able to balance the high sugar levels of foods in the U.S foods while still maintaining such a laid back lifestyle

Did you know the United states is number 1 in terms of sugar consumption (126.4g per person)?

No matter where I am in the world I have come to realize that when you’re cooking from home you have to take into consideration the ingredients you are using. Are natural, or do they have preservatives? Are the vegetables well maintained in the supermarket? Is the produce imported?

These days, I am not eating my moms Italian home meals anymore, I’m cooking more ethnic food like curries which contain a lot more calories. All of the changes in food, diet and lifestyle that I have experience have brought me to realize how truly important it is to have balance in life.

In Qatar, where I live currently, people, and the culture live unhealthfully. Although this affects my body, and my lifestyle  I try to remember that in this moment I am here, and I need to appreciate my surroundings, adapt, and love them for what they are. This means being aware of how what I am eating, how much I’m eating affects my health and my body, and balancing my fitness accordingly.

In life, everything comes down to your perception. Maybe you’re unfit, bored, or lonely. All of this is all in your power to change, and make positive! The grass is always greener on some other side. But I urge you appreciate where you are in this moment. Care for your own grass, and you might be surprised to find that the grass will be green wherever you are.

Just so you can get an idea, here are two pictures from Saudi. The first picture is from the desert or the “outside world” and the second photo is from a green compound.

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*Please go to the link below to follow Sandra for more on the travel, cuisine & lifestyle.*

http://travelsonder.com/ 

Sources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/02/05/where-people-around-the-world-eat-the-most-sugar-and-fat/

https://www.idf.org/membership/mena/saudi-arabia