A Quick Health Update

Hello there! How is everyone’s week going? Mine is going FAST which is a great thing because vacation is just right around the corner.

I don’t have too much to share with you in terms of food photos from the past couple of days. I have been trying to stick to the basics and keep my digestive tract an easy ride for a little while.

Here’s a quick run down of my eats over the past couple of days….it won’t take long!

Leftover french onion soup:

french onion soup

Cooked apple with cinnamon:

apple

Scrambled eggs with avocado and SCD ketchup:

eggs

Turkey burger with avocado (I LOVE avocados!), and roasted zucchini:

turkey burger and zucchini

 

Not pictured are some random lunches, bananas, and spoonfuls of peanut butter. See, not much to share on the food front.

But, I do want to give you an update on my health. Knock on wood, but I have been feeling SO darn good. First of all, my chiropractor is really happy with my progress and I am sleeping so much better due to less back pain. Sleep is a glorious thing and I’m not one to do well without it. It is so important for our overall health! Nutrition, sleep, and activity are all very connected!

Second, I am continuing to limit my white sugar and processed food intake. I am following the SCD (short-term) and my colitis is making some headway.

I am taking my vitamins religiously:

  • Multivitamin and cod liver oil in the morning
  • Digestive enzymes with meals
  • Calcium + Vitamin D and probiotics in the evening

So overall, I am feeling good. There’s just a few other components of my health I need to get worked out, but if I’ve learned anything through all of this it’s that healing takes time. I have also learned to be very patient with my body. I have learned to listen to my body and  to make changes in my life to reduce stress.

I am reminded with all of this that I have to take care of myself because I am the only person who truly can. This is the only body I have.

Take charge of your health and be an advocate for yourself.

If something doesn’t feel right, get a second opinion. I have chosen to follow a more holistic approach to my health and wellness and have deviated slightly from original recommendations because I didn’t feel they were right for me.

I am working closely with my chiropractor to figure out the best way to help my body heal. Also, I have done a lot of research on my own and learned from my personal experiences what works for me and what doesn’t.

Each and every person is different therefore there is no cookie cutter treatment or answer to reach optimal health. It is all about trial and error and listening to our bodies. I can’t say that enough.

What have YOU done for your health lately?

 

Overnight Chia Berry Kefir Bowl

 

It’s Thursday! Happy day to you. 🙂

Yesterday I rolled out of bed (I literally do roll out of bed btw) at 5:30 and hit the treadmill for a very leisure 45 minute walk while reading a book and drinking a cup of coffee. Doesn’t that sound nice? It really was. It would be even nicer it I were outside on the beach with the warm sun on my back…ahh less than one month.

Wednesday was day two of my personal “get creative with breakfast” movement. The evening before last, I combined kefir, frozen blueberries, frozen strawberries, chia seeds, chocolate egg white protein powder, and a touch of honey. I gave it a good stir, covered it, and let it sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning I had a refreshingly sweet yet slightly tart chia berry kefir bowl! kefir chia bowl

For those of you new to kefir, join the club. This is my first week of experimenting with it. Kefir is a fermented milk product. It has the consistency of really thin yogurt and has a tangy flavor. It is a probiotic which has been show to help improve intestinal health by creating a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut and can improve digestion. I bought the plain version to try out but they have flavored versions at the stores now too.

kefir

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am all about natural ways to stay and get healthy, and after talking about the possibility of adding fermented foods to my diet with my chiropractor, I decided to give it a go. Here’s a link to more info if you are interested: kefir info.

It is 99% lactose free and gluten-free, a good source of vitamin D and calcium, has 12 grams of protein per cup, and only natural sugars. Sold.

kefir

Lunch was a hodge-podge of all things—chicken with marinara and cheese, sugar snap peas, carrots, and an apple. I had an afternoon snack of a banana and a clementine.

For dinner I was not in a cooking mood at all but was getting pretty hungry. We were running low on veggies so that was making my dinner decision even more challenging. Then I spotted the sweet potato on the counter that I had bought last weekend and the decision was made. I wanted to experiment with it to see how my body reacted to a more “starchy” vegetable and I really do like sweet potatoes.

I made it the cheater way in the microwave. After scrubbing it down, I poked a bunch of holes into it, placed it on a microwave safe plate and cooked it for 3 minutes on one side, and then 3 minutes on the other. This was a monster of a sweet potato, so I cut it in half and saved one half for another day.

I added cinnamon, honey, peanut butter and raisins, and dug right in.

sweet potato

It was a nice change of pace and I really enjoyed my sweet dinner. I didn’t notice any negative symptoms from it either, but I do want to experiment with it one more time before introducing it more often. Potatoes are a no-no on the SCD but they they may be okay on my Melanie’s moderated diet (MMD), and I want to find out for myself. 🙂

I broiled the second half of the sweet potato in wedges to crisp them up, and refrigerated them for another day. I also finished cooking the bone broth–it needs to simmer for 24 hours to leach the maximum amount of calcium from the bones into the broth.

bone broth sweet potatoes

For a snack later in the evening I ate a few dates and had a couple small handfuls of cashews.

cashews

Dana and I sealed the grout lines in the tile in the laundry room last night. Once it was dry we moved the washer and dryer back into place. We haven’t been able to do laundry since  last week and I haven’t miss it at all.

It is so exciting seeing the room come together. Next we will be finishing painting the shelves, assembling them, and moving storage bins in! We’re coming along! Don’t forget, once it’s ALL finished I will be sharing photos.

Have a happy day friends! xoxo!

Question of the day: What are your thoughts/experiences on kefir and other fermented foods? 

My Holistic Approach to Digestive Health

Happy Tuesday, Happy Tuesday, Happy Tuesday, Tuesday to you.

I had quite the productive Monday morning. It started with a chiropractor visit. I realize I haven’t yet mentioned that I am seeing a chiropractor. I started having back pain this summer and denied/ignored it for a while before going to seek help. The first chiropractor I found was in my network and in my neighborhood and I began seeing her a couple of times a week. I felt better within a few weeks but as we started to space out our visits the discomfort came back.

I wasn’t ready to give up on chiropractors quite yet, but I wanted a second opinion. I found another chiropractor who uses the Gonstead method in his practice.

Interestingly enough after examining my x-rays, he found that there are three vertebrae and their related nerves which are causing the discomfort. The one that most intrigues me is lumbar five, whose nerve directly functions with gastrointestinal health. The vertebrae are not aligned correctly therefore the nerve in between is being pinched which causes can disable the body from functioning at it’s highest capacity. Could there be a relation to the ulcerative colitis and my back? Quite possibly!

The chiropractor I am working with has a doctorate of chiropractic and is also a certified chiropractic wellness physician, so not only are we working together to fix my back problems, we are also working together on holistic healing through nutrition. He does a great job of answering my questions, offering suggestions, and guiding me towards my ultimate health.

There have been many changes in my diet in the past couple of weeks. This was partly due to my own research, being inspired by others, and the icing on the cake was talking it over with my chiropractor.

My Holistic Approach:

  • Supplements: I truly believe that if you are eating healthy, and are completely 100% healthy, that you may not need to take a supplement, but for those of us with compromised health, it can be a very good option.
    • I am currently taking cod liver oil, a multivitamin, calcium plus vitamin D3, and a probiotic.
  • Diet: I have eliminated processed sugars and most processed foods.
    • I am eating whole foods like fruits, veggies, meat, beans, eggs, nuts, and oils.
    • I have begun incorporating coconut oil into baking and cooking as it has been shown to help heal the gut lining.
    • I am in the process of incorporating fermented foods like kefir and saurkraut because they can aid in gut healing as well.
    • I am beginning to implement homemade bone broth which is an excellent source of calcium, and again, can help heal the digestive tract (do you see a pattern here?).
    • I am limiting dairy products.

bone broth

Physical Activity and Energy Level

  • In just the short amount of time that I have been living this wholesome lifestyle, I am shocked at the difference I feel already. I am remaining very active. My body feels lighter yet stronger and changes are beginning to show very quickly.
  • I have found that I function best when I eat 4-5 small meals throughout the day versus 3 big meals in order to maintain my energy level. It is a fun and new challenge to find healthy snacks and meals using natural ingredients.

I’m not perfect

  • I do my best at maintaining optimal nutrition, but I will ABSOLUTELY allow myself fun foods now and then. I figure if I can go 90/10, favoring the healthy choices, it will be a lifestyle that I will easily be able to maintain.
  • I WILL be eating my treats now and again, just not as frequently as I was before, but more than likely I will be waiting on those treats until I am completely healed.

I continue to take medicine prescribed by my doctor but will eventually be eliminating it all together and will no longer need it. I am thrilled to say that the combination of the supplements, seeing the chiro, and working with my GI doc, that I am significantly seeing and feeling improvements with the Ulcerative Colitis. I can’t wait for the day when I can say I am finally in remission. That day will be soon.

I am just so amazed by our bodies and what they can do if they are treated kindly. Remember, we are all different and react differently to foods and exercise, so finding the perfect balance for ourselves is the ultimate goal. What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.

I realize everyone has their own opinion in regards to choosing a chiropractor, physical therapist, doctor, etc., and I have decided to try this route, and so far I am very happy with the progress we have made.

Disclaimer: Before you make any changes to your diet or start any supplements, PLEASE contact your physician or dietitian.

Anyway….after my chiro appointment I had a few errands to run including a tune up to my car. While I waited, I walked over to a nearby Starbucks and ordered tea with honey. I was glad I packed snacks because I was HUNGRY. Besides the homemade trail mix you see below, I also munched on a bag of sugar snap peas and an apple.

starbucks and a snackAfter the car appointment, it was home again home again jiggity jag. I got the chicken going in the crockpot so I can put together the bone broth in the next couple of days, I snacked on some dates with peanut butter, then a piece of banana bread, and then got my workout on (in my new workout tee from mom and dad).

melanie workout top

I started on the treadmill with a 5 minute walk warm-up. Then I ran 1 mile at 6.0 speed, recovery walk for 2 minutes, 1 more mile at 6.5 speed, recovery walk, and then one last mile at 6.7, followed by a 5 minute cool down walk. Whew!

Next, I worked out the legs. I completed this workout that I found on Pinterest that I’ve done before. Bring on the squats baby. I finished with a 1 minute plank.

This little guy kept me company during the wall-sit portion of the leg workout. Such a good boy sometimes.

moose wall sit buddy

It was sloppy and slushy yesterday but I took advantage of the warm weather and threw the ball to Moose in the yard. He was loving life. These poor dogs become slightly exercise deprived in the winter when the days become super cold like they were this past week. He is definitely antsy and has been starved for attention lately.

moose

For dinner, chicken salad made with avocado, lemon juice, coconut oil, cilantro, salt and pepper.

chicken salad chicken salad

And some snacks later on…

blueberry snack

Have a great day! xoxo.

Ulcerative Colitis Update

We’re going to start out light, then move to more serious business in a bit.

I had a couple of doctor appointments yesterday and was feeling like I kind of deserved a lunch “out” so I treated myself to the salad bar at Jason’s Deli. I topped my greens with everything under the sun: cowboy caviar, artichoke hearts, olives, green peas, carrots, mushrooms, bell peppers, cheddar cheese, bacon, sunflower seeds, grape tomatoes, hummus, a hard-boiled egg for extra protein, and a side pickle and two mini muffins (just to sample a bite of).

I cleaned that plate so bad.

While I was out and about I couldn’t help but notice every where I looked was a beautiful site to see.

I made a pit stop at Home Goods and got myself a couple of fun items for the home (thanks to mom’s birthday present). I’m sure they’ll pop up on the ol’ blog later this week.

In the afternoon I got my cardio on: 25 minute walk on the treadmill to clear my mind, then 30 minutes on the elliptical while catching up on Runner’s World magazine. My visits to the gym have been becoming less frequent therefore my elliptical time has decreased which leads to less magazine time. What a predicament. 🙂

Dinner last night was pretty darn good: Lentil Tacos.

In the crock pot I added rinsed brown lentils, reduced sodium chicken broth, a sprinkle of garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, cayenne powder, and salt. I let it go on high for a few hours, stirring occasionally, then added cooked black beans right at the end.

Keeping it grain free I placed a cup of lettuce on my plate, and topped my “shell” with lentils, tomatoes, avocado, cheddar cheese, and cilantro.

Holy cow it was crazy good.

I had some chocolate chips for dessert. 🙂

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Ulcerative Colitis/Crohn’s Update

Okay, I have been putting this off for far too long. I am trying to recall the last time I updated you all on my current Ulcerative Colitis/Crohn’s state and I believe it was back in September, so it’s definitely about time. Since I opened the can of worms back in May, I feel like it is my duty to continue to update you all on my health status being that my intentions of sharing this part of my life was to hopefully help others out there who may be in a similar situation, be an extra support person, or push someone to go see a specialist if they are experiencing any gastrointestinal issues themselves.

To any new Beautifully Nutty readers, you can read get caught up real fast by reading this U.C. post and this update post as well.

Why is this so hard for me right now? To put it out there, I am still “sick.” I hate to use that word because there are so many people out there dealing with so much more than I am in terms of illness. I only use that word because I am not yet “healthy.”

So what are my current symptoms? Again, not to get too gory on you all, but I am still having less than normal bathroom episodes however they are not frequent like many people who live with U.C. I don’t experience any cramps or pain, and I rarely feel bloated anymore. Given that my symptoms are where they are, my doc has declared that I am not really in a “flare” state. To him, flares are when someone is spending significant amount of time in the bathroom, having cramps, pain, etc. He explained to me that my U.C. is at the stage now where it is sort of settling and letting me know that the current treatment isn’t working anymore, so I’m just going to hang out in limbo land unless we make some changes to my treatment.

Compared to 4 months ago, my symptoms have greatly improved. If I were to meet someone for the first time and not tell them about my U.C., they would never know I was fighting to get healthy. I come across as a very healthy individual, full of energy and life, and for the most part I am that, however the anxiety of not healing is starting to take a toll on my energy level. My body is working so hard to normalize and be well. That, coupled with the cold winter months and daylight savings time, is getting me ready for bed at 9:30 pm almost every evening.

So what now? There are a couple of options for further treatment. I respect doctors and the knowledge and options they present to help me heal, but as I age, I am really beginning to learn to listen to my body (although not always understand it), and make decisions regarding my health based on what it’s telling me (along with the knowledge I have gained from the doctors). Sometimes, I feel like we get so caught up in what the doctors are telling us, that we forget that we need to listen to our own bodies as well. I am the only one who truly knows how I am feeling. Medical professionals can do their best to make recommendations according to my symptoms and health state, but I need to remember that I am the one who has full control over my body. It’s a concept I’m having a hard time grasping.

What I’m trying to say is, the next steps in treatment are more intense than I am ready for, or feel that my body is ready for. There are risks involved (as there are with any medications), and some of the treatments would alter my life slightly. I am not ready for that. I wouldn’t put myself into harm solely because I am scared of these next treatment options, but at this point I know I am not ready for it. Given there are other health issues I am also trying to work out at this same time, I am going to let my body fix one thing at a time before diving into the extreme. I feel that once I get one thing fixed, the rest will fall into place as well. My body is just “off.”

Therefore I think I have decided to continue on my current treatment, let my body work out it’s other kinks first, and then move forward after that. I’m not saying that I won’t try the other treatments, I’m just not ready for them yet.

I continue to do my part by eating a healthy balanced diet, taking my vitamins, maintaining an active lifestyle, and getting plenty of sleep. I feel real good about that part. My energy level is still pretty good all things considered although as I mentioned previously, isn’t quite where it was when I was in remission.

I am not sharing this update to get sympathy because as I said, there are folks out there who are dealing with far worse medical situations that I am and I am lucky for my health state in general. I am sharing this because 1. This is a REALLY good outlet for me to get my thoughts and emotions out there for me and 2. To support others who may be feeling just as frustrated with this disease as I am and increase awareness of the disease.

Yesterday was a very difficult day for me, and a lot of time was spent contemplating what the next step will be so please be sensitive to my decision. I am so lucky to have such a supportive husband, family, and friends who are by my side through all of this. They have been there through the tears and difficult decisions, and it helps immensely knowing there are so many people who love and support me.

I think I will end here. Thank you for letting me spill my heart in this post. It’s really challenging for me to share all of this.

My take home message: we need to remember that we are in control of our bodies and the decisions made in regards to it have to be ones that we are 100% comfortable with.

XOXO,

M

In case you were wondering…

In case you were wondering…

This is where I write the majority of posts for beautifully nutty.

In case you were wondering…this is how far I ran yesterday.

In case you were wondering…this is my biggest vice.

In case you were wondering…I ate pumpkin bread with peanut butter, cinnamon, and a light drizzle of honey for lunch yesterday.

In case you were wondering…I am excited to try these.

In case you were wondering…I am sweating pink in style with my new laces.

In case you were wondering…I will be traveling out of the country in TWO WEEKS.

Lastly, in case you were wondering, it is probably time for an update on my health status. After much poking, prodding, consulting, and tears, I am happy to announce that I am at about 93% in terms of kicking the Ulcerative Colitis flare. I have just 7% to go to get me back to normal, and I know my body is going to be there very soon.

As you have noticed, I have deviated slightly from the SCD. I will continue to live primarily gluten-free (minus when I had the stomach flu) and will be careful with added sugars, but I am very content with doing my own thing in terms of what works for me and my health.

I learn more about myself with each passing day. I am still learning how to handle my stressors and triggers and learning which foods to stay away from to help alleviate certain symptoms. If I feel a flare coming on again I will put myself back on a more strict SCD, but for now I will be following through with my modified SCD.

I will have more updates for you in the future regarding the U.C. as well as where I will be heading in 2 weeks! Lots of excitement to come…

You probably weren’t wondering any of the above, but now you know! 😉

Have a sweet Wednesday my friends. Catch up with you all soon!

Spinach Zucchini Cakes

No way is it Thursday already. For real? I’m definitely okay with it, I am just blown away by how fast this week has flown by once again.

U.C. Update and SCD

I am almost afraid to say this because I don’t want to jinx myself, but I truly think I am beginning to heal. My ulcerative colitis symptoms are beginning to calm down and I am feeling so much better. It is unbelievable how making changes in your diet can so significantly improve the way you feel. Okay, it’s believable. I believe it , that’s why I became a Registered Dietitian. Eating clean makes you feel clean. You are what you eat. I can hear my body thanking me for treating it so well. It’s working over time to get me well and heal me, the least I can do is thank it by feeding it kindly.

image

I continue to follow the Specific Carbohydrate Diet as best as I am capable of but will be the first to admit I’m not perfect. I ate 3 pieces of candy corn yesterday at work. I just wanted to taste them because they are one of my FAVORITE fall treats (especially with peanuts). I do plan to incorporate them back into my diet some day, but will make sure and limit my intake, just like any sweet treat. Moderation.

image

I am having an easier time this time around with the SCD. I continue to use it as a time to experiment in the kitchen rather than stressing about it.

I always have salads as my fall-back meal if I am not in the mood to make anything exciting for myself. I made myself a batch of SCD yogurt so I am again incorporating smoothies into my diet. I’m not enjoying the smoothies as much as before only because it’s cold here in the morning and drinking a cold drink isn’t the most comforting way to start the day. I am drinking my coffee weak and my body handles it just fine so I’m thrilled that I don’t have to cut it out all together.

DSCN4778

Let’s see, what else? I am finding legal, ready-made salsas from the grocery store, making my own simple salad dressings like honey mustard, creamy avocado, and Greek vinaigrette, and finding that I don’t need to use as many condiments as I used to. I am enjoying cooking with more spices and herbs to enhance flavors rather than extra additive-packed condiments. I do miss my Heinz Ketchup however. Yes, I’ve made SCD ketchup, but it’s just not the same to me.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m taking this whole deal day by day, and not letting myself get overwhelmed by it anymore. I’m teaching myself to relax, stay calm, and trying to listen when my body tells me to rest.

image

Spinach Zucchini Cakes

Gosh, where did that rant come from? Anyway, I wanted to share with you the recipe for those tasty zucchini spinach cakes I made the other night. They were extremely easy especially since I had already shredded the zucchini and had it in the freezer waiting for me.

In a bowl I mixed together 1 cup of shredded and drained zucchini with 1 cup shredded and drained cooked spinach. You want to make sure you really squeeze the liquid out of both of those veggies or you’re going to have a sloppy mess. To the veggies I added 1/2 cup almond flour, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of minced onion, a sprinkle of garlic powder, salt and pepper, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese. Mix all ingredients together and shape into patties.

Place onto lightly greased pan and cook on medium for about 7-8 minutes on each side.

DSCN5627

Plate ‘em up and top them with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese, eat them plain, try some tzatziki sauce, or put a runny egg on top. Go wild!

DSCN5636

Spinach Zucchini Cakes
Print
Ingredients
  • 1 cup shredded and drained zucchini
  • 1 cup shredded and drained cooked spinach
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp onion, minced
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1½ Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a bowl I mixed together 1 cup shredded and drained zucchini with 1 cup shredded and drained cooked spinach
  2. To the veggies add flour, egg, onion, garlic powder, parmesan, and salt and pepper Mix all ingredients together and shape into patties
  3. Place onto lightly greased pan on stovetop and cook on medium for about 7-8 minutes on each side
  4. Top with tomato sauce, tzatziki sauce, a runny egg, melted cheddar cheese, or enjoy plain Jane style

One last thing, my friend Moe is a personal trainer and blogger, and is featuring a post today about Crystal Light. She asked for my insight on the product and has included my comments in her post. If you get a chance, go check out her blog: http://fitnessmoejo.blogspot.com/

Have a tasteful Thursday!