The Modified Diet

Hi there! How is everyone holding up this Monday? More importantly, did everyone have a great weekend?

I already filled you in on my wonderful Friday dinner date and Saturday Farmer’s Market adventures, so that leaves us with Sunday.

Breakfast

Toasted almond bread with almond butter and honey, eaten while reading the Sunday paper and clipping coupons with my honey. Eating honey with my honey! Ha!

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It was a rainy morning, and we were feeling pretty lazy. It took us a while to get up and moving, but eventually we pulled ourselves together and hit up the grocery stores for our usual Sunday shenanigans.

Lunch

Running errands really gets my appetite bumping, so when we got home I immediately started heating up leftover Pablanos in the microwave. I dolloped mine with salsa and had a side of cooked carrots with cinnamon on the side.

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I also had an apple without the skin, and a bite or two of almond butter for dessert.

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Then I was off to the gym. I jogged on the elliptical for 40 minutes, changing the incline and resistance every 5 minutes to keep my body guessing. I watched the Olympics and read my magazine during commercials. How perfect!

Dinner

I made baked chicken with cherries and olives in a wine sauce. I’m hoping to share this recipe with you soon; most likely this week at some point. It was very good!

My cooking process could be tweaked a little bit, because it can be made faster than the way I made it, so I think I will provide you with the revised version of the recipe; the way I would make it if I made it again.

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With dinner, I served myself a side of quinoa, yes quinoa a whole grain which is not SCD legal, which leads me to my next topic…

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Specific Carbohydrate Diet and My U.C.

Moving on to more serious matters. If you have been following my blog lately you know that I have been trying my darn best to follow the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) to try to help regulate my current ulcerative colitis flare. If you are new to my blog, welcome!, and you can get caught up on this U.C. stuff real quick (click on the hyperlinks below):

Starting the Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Day 2 of the SCD

Feeling Overwhelmed with the SCD

I am going to be completely and 100% honest with you. My journey with this diet has been has been a bumpy one. After deciding that I was going to give this diet a try, I dove in headfirst. At only 1 week in, I was feeling about 80% better compared to before I began the diet. I was thrilled to be feeling so much better, and although I was finding meal and snack preparation very tedious and challenging being that I leave the home for work, I had decided it was worth it and I was going to stick it out.

Over the course of time however, I had multiple breakdowns. It was mostly because I was absolutely exhausted from all of the food prep and finding myself spending every minute, no more like hour that I had, in the kitchen when I would have much rather been hanging out with Dana or enjoying the weather outside. There were multiple times where I said I can’t do this, but then I continued on with it.

At about week 3-4, things really started to fall apart for me. My symptoms beginning to worsen, and I was beginning to feel very sad and down. I felt like that with all of this work with maintaining this strict diet, that there should be no reason for me to be digressing with my healing. But, I have done plenty of research on this diet and know that these symptoms are very common around this time while on the diet, and that they get better. I do believe this, but I also know that I need to make some changes, because this is not working for me.

What I’m realizing now, is that this diet is actually stressing me out more than I can handle. I have become lethargic and finding myself hesitating to reply to social obligations because I don’t know if I will have enough energy at times. The preparation and strict guidelines are exhausting me and also not fitting in with my lifestyle.

I have tried so hard to stay tough, but in the big picture, I need to make decisions for my body based on what my heart is telling me and what my body is telling me, not what I am reading from an online forum. Everyone is different and everybody reacts differently. I have said it a million times.

I truly support and believe in the SCD and all of the science that backs it up, but for my happiness and sanity, I have decided to deviate very slightly from the SCD. I am still going to follow a very low-carb diet and follow the SCD mostly, but I will explain my modifications.

My Modified Diet

1. Gluten-free Grains: I am going to continue to live as gluten-free as possible and eat minimal grains. On occasion, I will be including gluten-free grains such as quinoa, into my diet. Quinoa is an excellent source of protein and will help me and my non-loving meat ways, to help amp up my protein intake, and hopefully improve my energy as well. This will be the biggest change I make to my diet.

2. Fruits & Veggies: These will continue to make up a large portion of my diet. I am going to continue to experiment with adding fruits and veggies back into my diet. I will see how my body reacts, and progress gradually as I feel appropriate. I may start to include soy back into my diet as well.

3. Meat & Dairy: Nothing will change from the meat category as pretty much all meat is legal. As far as dairy goes, I may be switching to non-fat Greek yogurt or a soy-based yogurt. I may also begin to incorporate store-bought Almond milk. I will mostly stick to SCD cheeses.

4. Sauces and Misc: I will continue to be cautious of ingredients listed on store-bought sauces, however I am not going to limit myself completely to every last legal ingredient in the sauce. I will do my best to find simple sauces with limited additives so as to continue to live a clean diet.

Chocolate! I am going to allow myself to eat chocolate just not in excessive amounts. It is one of my very favorite foods and treats, and it is something that I no longer want to sacrifice. I swear, one bite of chocolate every day will be what heals me eventually. Winking smile

Beverages. I am not much of a “drinker” so this one hasn’t been difficult for me. I enjoy an occasional glass of wine, and this is allowed being that I like “legal” wines for the most part. I may begin to include flavor waters again such as Vitamin Water and Powerade Zero, as I have two full bags of it sitting in the basement from prior to the diet.

Heart on the Line

Writing this plan out for you all to see is slightly terrifying. The last thing I want is for those of you following this diet to think that I am a failure because I’m not following it completely as prescribed or haven’t given it enough time. I just know in my heart, that this is not a good fit for me. I understand that with the addition of some of the illegal foods back into my diet, I am reintroducing some bad bacteria into my gut that my body doesn’t like. I really feel that with these slight modifications, and being that I am still going to stick to a very clean diet and limiting the “bad” stuff, that my body will still continue to heal and I will be able to stick this diet out and feel like myself again.

Food is my passion. I am a foodie. Having to be so selective with my diet isn’t something that fits my lifestyle. I will continue to do my best and make wise choices and will continue to fill you in on my health status along the way. I want to reiterate that I will still be following the SCD most of the time only with slight modifications.

I am tired of being an emotional rollercoaster, and not acting or feeling like myself. I need to take care of me and make decisions that support my best well-being. It’s time to be me again.

This is by far the most challenging post I’ve written thus far. Thank you for supporting me and bearing through this lengthy post. My vulnerable heart has been poured out to you.

I will catch up with you all soon. Enjoy your day!

The Boundary Waters

As mentioned, Dana and I took a trip up to the Boundary Waters with my brother Scott, his girlfriend Nicole, and Scott’s dog Tuner. The photos are not the highest quality because they were taken from a disposable camera, but they’re not terrible!

Here is our trip in a nutshell for you all.

Friday morning we are all packed up and about to hit the road towards the Boundary Waters.

To get to our campsite, we did quite a bit of portaging. Unfortunately for Dana, I wasn’t quite strong enough to carry the canoe so he got stuck with it every time.  I was however, able to help carry our packs!

Throughout the weekend we canoed approximately 30 miles and enjoyed the most beautiful scenery and the freshest air. The air was so pure I just wanted to bottle it up and take it home. Below is a photo of Scott, Nicole, and Tuner canoeing alongside of us. They led the way as they are seasoned BW travelers.

We finally made it to our first campsite after finding that most of the sites were full. It was a pretty small site, but we were ecstatic to find a site in general. So we set up shop, while battling the gnats and flies.

We ate SO well this weekend thanks to wonderful planning by Nicole. She made batches of dehydrated fruits including apples, bananas, peaches, and pineapples, and brought along other snacks like granola, beef jerky, raisins, nuts, seeds, etc. Dinners were seriously awesome. The first night we ate tacos, second night we ate chili, and third night we ate asparagus soup. Nicole should seriously win an award for best camp cook. Lunches consisted of summer sausage, cheese, pita bread, peanut butter, tuna, crackers, and snackies. Breakfasts were oatmeal and granola with nuts and seeds, and the first morning we had hashbrowns, bacon, and eggs. Talk about a feast.

Scotty is quite the novice camper as well. Here is using a wooden paddle as a cutting board to cut up tomatoes for salsa. Who knew a paddle could be so multi-functional?

Evenings were spent relaxing and enjoying the breathtaking views.

Day two, we packed up our stuff and headed to a campsite across the way that had recently become vacant. This one was amazing. It was huge.

We “bathed” in the water behind Dana in this photo below. The water was pretty darn cold. Doesn’t Dana look so manly? Like he could go catch a fish with his bare hands?

Day three was rainy, so we slept in and eventually Dana and I crawled out to go start a fire. We all hung out for a while, and as the rain started to let up, we decided that we would get bundled up and head out on a day canoe trip. We paddled into Canada. My first ever visit to Canada. We ate lunch on an island rock called Warrior Hill, then headed a little further to view the Lac La Croix Pictographs. The pictographs consisted of handprints, Moose, figurines of men smoking a pipe, and the letter L, among others. Very cool!

Back home, we bundled up and huddled around the campfire. It turned out to be a clear night so we could see the stars. They were so bright and beautiful and nothing like we see here in the cities.

Last morning and we are all packed up again ready to head for home. Yes, my pants are tucked into my socks. The bugs LOVE me so I like to cover as much skin as possible and stay protected.

We left for landing/where our car was parked, at 9 am from our campsite, and didn’t get there until 2 pm, so it was a long day of portaging and canoeing and we were all exhausted.

Our final photo of the journey was taken once we had made it to our final destination, the car. The last leg of the portage was a long one and it was uphill. I was carrying my pack on my back as well as the food pack on my front. All I could think about was making it to the top and not stopping until I got there (hey, that was good training for the half marathon, huh?). Also, I felt like a contestant on the Biggest Loser. You know, after they have been on the show for a while and have lost a lot of weight, they give the contestants a task of strapping on all of the weight they have lost and make them do a crazy trail trek? That’s what I felt like.

I learned this weekend that I am capable of so much more than I realize. This weekend was very challenging for me physically, but I survived. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to go up north to the Boundary Waters. Thank you Scotty for pushing me to go  and for having faith in me that I was strong enough to handle it! I will recover from the bug bites soon. 🙂 P.S. I love my bed, I am fortunate for electricity, running water, food from the fridge, shelter of my home…

Happy Saturday! It’s running day for me. Catch up with you later.

Now, U.C. More About Me

Yesterday I had the day off of work to unwind from the weekend getaway (details to come), and to get myself together before heading back to work today. My morning yesterday started off with a quick 3-mile loop around the neighborhood. I still cannot believe I am running a half marathon in less than two weeks. I didn’t run at all last week being I was not feeling very well due to the intestinal issues I’ve been experiencing lately, and I feel slightly behind in the training. But I will be fine.

Speaking of intestinal issues, after the run I showered up and headed to the doctor to finally get some medical help in combatting my current colon issues. It’s time for me to put it all out there and fill you in on my “issues.” Well, one of my issues. 😉 I’ve mentioned before that I get a little embarrassed talking about my health issues, and growing up and even into my early twenties, I was really shy about sharing this information with anyone, even my closest friends. I have accepted that it is a part of who I am now, and that in learning to deal with my health problems, I can in turn help others who may be experiencing the same thing, or knows someone who is.

I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (U.C.) when I was 12 years old. It is an inflammatory bowel disease and U.C. means I have ulcers in my colon. Some of the symptoms I experience include bloating, gas, and far from normal and frequent trips to the bathroom. I won’t get into the nitty gritty details because it’s not pretty, but that gives you some idea. I experience a lot of fatigue and feel uncomfortable a good majority of the time. I am always living with colitis, however there are times when I am symptom free, and I was actually symptom-free for more than two years. When symptoms are present, it is called a “flare-up” or “flare.”

Researchers aren’t 100% sure what causes colitis flares, but many believe it is brought on by stress, diet, or the body fighting some type of infection or other illness. Anyway, I am not quite sure what caused this particular flare as I don’t feel very stressed, but I was thinking back to about a month ago when I came down with a little bug. I was sick for about a week. After that, we were in the Dominican Republic where I was eating foods that are out of my norm. I came home and ate a semi-normal diet for about a week. Then we headed to the boundary waters where again, I didn’t eat foods that I should be eating with my current conditions. All of these factors may have played a part in my current situation, but then again, who really knows.

I started medications yesterday, and besides those, I will be doing my best to eat a low-residue, low-fiber diet, and analyzing the stressors in my life, and make adjustments as needed.

This is a topic that I was unsure of sharing because it is so personal, but have decided I want you all to know because as I have mentioned before, my diet will change slightly compared to how I am used to eating, and also I want to be able to share with you what seems to be working/not working in terms of diet and U.C. There are so many people out there living with U.C. and although each person reacts differently to diet and medications, I want to share my story and hopefully help others out there. Once I get this under control, my diet will go back to loads of greens!

Getting back on track…after my appointment, I met the hubs out for lunch at Cafe Latte in St.Paul. It is located off of Grand Avenue and I absolutely adore that area. We rarely go there and I don’t know why because it is awesome. Great people watching, food, and shops.

Now that I am working towards this low-fiber, low residue diet, I struggled a bit with what to order for lunch. I figured soup would be a safe bet (as long as I didn’t get a bean loaded chili) especially considering the veggies involved were very well cooked, not to mention it was freezing inside the restaurant so a warm bowl of soup sounded perfect. I ordered the split pea soup and an Asiago focaccia roll. Both were great. I loved that the soup wasn’t super salty, just fresh and tasty.

I was definitely in the mood for dessert after having to be poked and prodded at the doc, and there just so happened to be a little frozen yogurt shop that had recently opened down the street from Cafe Latte. How convenient.

I could eat Frozen Yogurt every single day. I love it. I tried not to go overly scoop crazy today. I started with a small base of red velvet and cake batter froyo, then topped it with Reese’s pb cup, brownie, M & M’s, cookie dough, marshmallows, and sprinkles. At this point I was okay with the potential stomach feelings to come, because it was so gosh darn delicious and actually, I felt fine afterwards.

The rest of the afternoon was spent unpacking, doing laundry, getting the car washed, buying pet food, developing boundary water pictures, and grocery shopping. This shopping trip was a food-for-Melanie shopping trip. I made sure to buy foods that would be easy for me to digest, low-fiber, and low residue. Here are some of my purchases.

Cream of Wheat, Rice Chex, White Rice, White Pita Pockets, bananas, canned green beans, canned pears, sweet potatoes (will eat without skin), apples (again, without skin), melon, applesauce, mushrooms (cooked), and creamy peanut butter (limited to 2 Tbsp daily). The pantry is also stocked with tuna, and the freezer full of other lean meats like chicken, tilapia, ground turkey, etc. If I have to switch up my diet, I’m at least going to make sure I am eating well and eating foods I enjoy.

Once we got home from errands, we fired up the grill and threw on lean turkey burgers, mushrooms, and canned green beans for me.

I love grilling. It was the perfect grilling weather too; warm with a slight breeze.

Sorry for such a lengthy post. I have so much I want to share yet I don’t ever want to bore you all with this, and I am not going to let it take over my life. I am maintaining a positive attitude which I do believe will help me heal faster as well. Thanks for letting me share with you another part of who I am. This part is not easy for me to share, so this is a vulnerable post for me, but I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

Have a great day my friends. Can’t wait to catch you up on my recent trip.

(Btw, Dana helped me with the creative post title.)

Keep it in Perspective

After yesterday’s post about low-residue diet, limiting the “roughage,” etc., I thought I might dive a little further into the subject. I personally needed to brush up on it as it’s been a little while since I learned about it in school, and I thought some of you all might be interested in learning about it too.

What Is a Low-Residue Diet?

According to WebMD, “A low-residue diet is a diet in which fiber and other foods that are harder for your body to digest are restricted. Fiber is made up of plant material that cannot be completely digested by the body. High-fiber foods include whole-grain breads and cereals, nuts, seeds, and raw or dried fruits.

 Residue refers to undigested foods, including fiber, that make up stool. If intestinal walls are inflamed or damaged, digestion and absorption of nutrients and water may be impaired, depending on the location of disease activity.”

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What can you eat while on a low-residue diet?

Grains:

  • Cold cereals that aren’t high fiber (Corn Flakes, Chex, etc.)
  • Enriched white bread
  • Cream of Wheat, grits, and I seem to tolerate oatmeal well
  • White rice, pasta

Veggies:

  • Cooked veggies such as mushrooms, green beans, carrots
  • Potatoes (no skin)
  • Canned vegetables
  • =(

Fruits:

  • Bananas
  • Melon
  • Canned fruit
  • Cooked fruit
  • Avocado

Dairy:

  • Dependent on the person and their lactose tolerance.
    • I don’t handle lactose well, so I avoid it even when I am fully well. I usually drink almond milk or soy milk instead. Small amounts of this kind of milk doesn’t seem to bother me much.
    • This goes for cheeses and yogurt as well. It is very dependent on the person and varies case by case.

Protein/Meat:

  • Most meat is fine to eat as long as it’s fairly lean.
  • Eggs are fine

Snacks and Sweets:

  • Cookies
  • Pretzels
  • Rice crackers
  • Pudding

To Avoid:

  • Nuts, seeds, peanut butter (this one I may not completely follow)
  • Dried fruits
  • Raw vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Certain cooked vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, etc.)
  • Beans, lentils
  • Popcorn
  • Caffeine

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you will notice that the foods listed in the “To Avoid” column, are the ones that I eat most regularly.

I have not completely handed over my diet to low-residue, but I am going to follow a majority of it for now, reminding myself that this is only temporary. I have been dealing with Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) since I was 12. The symptoms come and go, and now that I am older and know my body well, I am hoping that I can fight this current bout quickly. Staying positive will help me to feel better sooner too! I am constantly reminded of how lucky I am to be as healthy as I am, and that there are a lot of people out there who are faced with more serious health problems than mine. That being said, I will be fine. This too shall pass. I will continue to keep it all in perspective.

This subject matter isn’t necessarily the easiest thing for me to talk about. It’s a little embarrassing, but I figure if I can help even one person out there who might be dealing with the same issues, it is worth it to share. So, here I am! An open book.

My food photos will look a little different for the time being, but I promise to return to the veggie packed diet that I love so much before too long.

On a more fun note, mom and dad brought Abbie over last night and the two dogs ran around in the yard. I snapped some pretty cute photos.

That last one is my favorite. Needless to say, Abbie is a little nervous around Moose who outweighs her by approximately 80 lbs. Who can blame her. Someday they will be best friends.

Happy Wednesday!

I Know My ABC’s

I got this idea from my gal pal Kalkal and thought it would be a good time. I changed it up a tad and came up with this! Have fun.

A is for Age: 26

B is for favorite Breakfast currently: Overnight Chia Seed Yogurt Bowl

C is for frequent Cravings: peanut butter and chocolate

D is for Date night: I love quiet date nights where we make a nice dinner together, play games and go out for ice cream.

E is for favorite kind of exercise: Man, I love it all. I really enjoy Zumba and am learning to love running.

F is for irrational Fear: big spiders

G is for Gross food: slimy, chewy fishy tasting seafood (I like non slimy, chewy, or fishy tasting seafood though)

H is for Happy thoughts: vacation, family, babies, puppies, ice cream

I is for something Important: family, friends and happiness

J is for current Jam: Welch’s Grape Natural Spread. Oh, you mean jam like music? Probably a song too embarrassing to mention.

K is for Kids: No kids for me yet but in the future, yes. I love kids.

L is for favorite Lunch: PB banana wrap with cinnamon

M is for most recent way you spent your Money: Underwater camera for our trip

N is for something you Need: full body massage (I still have a massage gift card from the wedding but want to use it post half-marathon!)

O is for Occupation: Registered Dietitian

P is for Pet Peeve: I feel bad when I think about this question because I have a lot of pet peeves. The worst though…when people are late.

Q is for a Quote:

R is for something Random about you: I have to make sure all of the wrinkles are out of my pillow case before I go to sleep

S is for favorite healthy Snack: peanut butter and banana or trail mix

T is for favorite Treat: ice cream (is that my third time mentioning ice cream?)

U is for something that makes you Unique: I was hospitalized with a kidney stone when I was 16 years old

V is for favorite Vegetable: sugar snap peas

W is for my Worst hairdo: in 5th and 6th grade I would sport the princess leia buns…you know, like these. Except, not so large and not covering my ears. Little bun buns.

X is for X-rays you’ve had: dentist, wisdom teeth removal, and when I cut my arm on a broken wine glass.

Y is for favorite movie from Youth: Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka

Z is for your time Zone: central

There you have it. The ABC’s of Melanie.

21 Beautifully Nutty Questions

Dinner last night came from a crockpot. In the morning I threw together leftover Adzuki beans that I had cooked up (without seasoning), a half of a can of crushed tomatoes, diced onion, chicken stock, garlic powder, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, barbecue sauce and a little bit of salt. I set it all to low and let it go from 8:00 am til 7:00 pm. It didn’t need to go that long but that’s just when we happened to be ready for dinner. The crock pot transformed the ingredients into a thick “baked” bean type of dish. I served it along side a cabbage and broccoli salad and Dana served his on top of brown rice.

Definitely not the most glamorous looking meals, but it did turn out really well. I ended up mixing everything together on my plate and it reminded me of an outdoor barbecue. I went back for seconds.

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21 Questions

Anyone remember those emails you used to get in middle school that asked a bunch of random questions that were a fun way of getting to know your friends even better? Well, let’s reminisce shall we? I gathered some random questions off of a google search, and had some real good old fashioned fun with them. I kept it light-hearted too.

1. Are you a morning or night person? Definitely a morning person, once I’m up.

2. Ninjas or pirates? Pirates have a better sense of humor.

3. What was your favorite childhood television program? We had so many great shows growing up but if I have to pick just one, I would say The Bozo Show. I always wanted to play the game where you throw a ball into the baskets and if you make it to the 10th basket, you win a one-hundred dollar bill. WHOA.

4. Any food dislikes? Any fishy tasting, chewy or slimy seafood.

5. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Teleportation; I would travel ALL of the time to different destinations and spend a day here, a day there. Fiji, Thailand, Australia….

6. What is usually your first though when you wake up? Thank goodness there is fresh coffee waiting for me in the kitchen or aw man, I’m supposed to go workout right now, but it’s really early. Maybe I’ll just go after work. Yea, I’ll do that.

7. What is your favorite color? This changes every day depending on my mood. Right now this very second it is sky blue but ask me again tomorrow.

8. Do you believe in ghosts? Yes.

9. Have a any bad habits? No, I’m perfect. Kidding! I would say having to check my curling iron or other hot hair tools one million times before I leave the house. It’s not a “bad” habit, but it’s a little bit OCD.

10. Biggest pet peeve? When people are late for no good reason.

11. Any celebrity crushes? Gerard Butler, Bradley Cooper

12. Clean or messy person? Just two days ago I said, “I thought I was a clean person until I started living with Dana.” He is very clean (which is awesome!) but I am a fairly clean person too.

13. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? I would have vacation homes all around the world because I wouldn’t want to stay in just one place. I would have enough money to fly my family and friends out and stay with me wherever I was currently living too.

14. Name 1 thing you miss about being a kid. Your biggest worry then, was smaller than your smallest worry now.

15. Name 1 thing you love about being an adult. Being in love and being married to my best friend.

16. Any regrets? In keeping with the light-hearted theme, it would be spotting Missy Elliot at the airport and not stopping to ask for a photo with her. I like Missy Elliot, so what?

17. What was one of your favorite foods as a kid? Mom’s tacos

18. What would be your dream job? Travel throughout the country testing different foods, and offering advice on improvement (food critic?), recipe creator or tester, or my own cooking show.

19. What would your last supper be? A half of a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter slathered on, an extra large ice cream sundae with multiple toppings including hot fudge and cookie dough, a slice of veggie pizza, a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup, and a brownie. Ha ha I don’t really know actually. I am just really craving sweets again today.

20. Ever wish you were born the opposite sex? If so, when and why? Yes, while camping I often have this thought, and when I’m not feeling well for womanly reasons.

21. Name 1 thing not many people know about me. I can’t watch the news before bed. It started back when I was little and there would be stories of kids being kidnapped. I would have nightmares and end up sleeping on the floor in mom and dad’s room. Since then, no news before bed.

So there you have it. A few things you maybe didn’t know about me! Have a great Thursday. Keep on a truckin’.