Hello there! This week has definitely been a long one, so I'm really happy that it's finally Friday!
I've recently tried introducing an array (well, to me anything more than blueberries constitutes the usage of the word array...) of fruit back into my diet. I had been avoiding it for some time because I had issues with fructose malabsorption, which led me to have blood sugar crashes and itchy skin all over. Yay!
Since starting the autoimmune protocol, my stomach lining has been acting like a champ and I've been able to tolerate apples, oranges, different types of berries, and we shall see if pineapples pass the test later.
Even more exciting, I can finally eat some things without having to take a digestive enzyme prior to eating *does a dance* *raises the roof* Go stomach! It's exciting stuff.
Anyway, here are some of the awesome recipes made by some amazing women who also live by the autoimmune protocol. I honestly could not keep up this diet and lifestyle without these recipes and the kindness that is abundant within the autoimmune community.
Oh, and as I said in my last recipe post, even if you don't need to restrict certain types of food from your diet, these recipes create really delicious and nutrient-dense dishes, so it's worth a try in my opinion. Plus, they're super healthy!
1) Cinnamon Pork Apple Skillet - He Won't Know It's Paleo
What has been your favorite dish/recipe to make lately?
Alright, well thanks for checking in with this week's favorite recipes and I hope that I gave you some fun options to explore. I'm off to enjoy some lunch before I tackle the rest of my day. I'm looking forward to Zumba-ing it up later on in the day :-)
Until next time!
I couldn't help but throw in an altered Napoleon Dynamite quote for this post's title, especially since I understand the pain and suffering brought on by chapped lips. Most people who know me well know that I ALWAYS carry multiple chapsticks with me, just incase. Anyway, I digress. The point of today's post is not how to keep your lips from going chapped (I highly recommend any flavor of EOS lip balm though ^_^), rather, how to prevent your face from becoming dry, red, and cracked thanks to the winter winds and arid air. If your faccia (face in Italian :-)) is crying out for help, I suggest reading on!
Currently, I'm getting along with my face pretty well. I've been tirelessly working to figure out what the causes are for my cystic acne and have made a ton of progress since this past summer. I'll have to make a separate post for that, because it truly was a science experiment with many variables and theories tested.
Anyway, the point here is that I've gone almost 100% holistic with my face cleansing/moisturizing methods, and the texture and moisture levels of my skin have been AWESOME! It is as smooth as almond butter (oh boy, I don't want to push myself into a relapse...), and not dry and flaky as it has been in the past. Therefore, I'd like to share with you the flaws of chemically-laden products, the products that I currently use or have used in the past, and hopefully hear what your "miracle" product is!
What's Wrong with Chemically Infused Products?
Even though I plan to do some more extensive posts on face care, I highly recommend staying away from non-holistic/mainstream products. The number of chemicals and impure ingredients in facial cleansers and lotions is pretty terrifying, and you're putting this stuff on your money-maker! Not good. Some of these chemicals can strip your face of its natural moisture, can irritate your skin which causes redness, and can even clog your pores. That sounds like a recipe for disaster, and I would know! My face used to look like someone took sand paper and olive oil to it (I struggled immensely from combination skin since my face couldn't make up its mind whether it wanted to be oily or dry >.<).
What Has Worked for Me:
1. Neem Oil - This oil is a godsend, although it honestly smells horrible until you get used to it. Its scent is similar to burnt peanuts and burnt hair, but if you can get past the smell you will be rewarded kindly! Neem oil is made from pressing the fruit and seed of neem, which is an evergreen tree found in India, incase you wanted to know ;)
Benefits: protects skin and fights against aging, combats acne, helps reduce eczema, moisturizes your skin, and helps get rid of pigmentation. For more information on the amazing benefits of neem oil, check this website out.
2. Manuka Honey - I LOVE using Manuka Honey for face masks. My face feels so smooth and nourished after doing one. I glob some honey onto my face and let it hang out for 20 minutes to a few hours, depending on if I have to be somewhere. Even better, this honey, as opposed to raw and store-brand honey, has active antibacterial properties, so it helps remove your skin of harmful bacteria while protecting it from getting dry. FYI: You want your honey to have *bioactivity* levels of +15 so that it can do all of the great things listed below. I use this brand, and while it is expensive, it lasts such a long time. To learn more about the different levels of manuka honey, click here.
Benefits: Combats acne, anti-aging, helps to retain moisture.
3. Jojoba Oil - This was the first oil I used when I transitioned from using modern-day moisturizers full of chemicals. I don't use it anymore, because neem oil has my heart, but I highly recommend jojoba if you can't deal with neem's smell :-)
Benefits: Helps to heal scars, moisturizer, facial cleanser (I'll post an article about oil cleansing/pulling at some point!), combats acne. See a trend here yet? Natural is the way to go! For more information on the benefits of jojoba oil, click here.
4. Hemp Oil - Using hemp oil is another great way to fight against dry skin. I use this on my arms and legs, and used it on my face and scalp for a little bit when my skin was having major issues. This is just another option to add to your arsenal!
Benefits: Reduces redness, reduces sizes of pores and blackheads, protects the skin from free radicals, moisturizes skin, reduces inflammation. More benefits can be found here.
5. Aloe Vera - Aloe vera is widely used after we get a sunburn, but it can also help keep your face protected from harsh winter weather (which will be extremely helpful for my peeps back in the north east who got hit with that Billy Fucillo "HUUUUUUUUUGE" snowstorm). I need to be better with incorporating AV back into my regiment, since it helps with red marks and acne scarring, but there are plenty of other positives as well. It's also crucial to make sure that you get an organically made aloe vera gel, or you can always buy the plant and extra the insides yourself :-) I'm not that patient/talented.
Benefits: Moisturizes skin, fights acne, fights aging, heals sunburns, reduces scarring and pigmentation. More information can be found here.
*Side note: I have also tried vitamin E cream, but only use it every so often.
Honestly, any of the aforementioned oils will get the job done if you're suffering from dry skin. Even if you have oily skin, putting oil on it will help you reduce oil production - more on that at a later date :-)
I have included an amazon link with each item so that you can look into purchasing these products for your own consumption. I get EVERYTHING from Amazon since I have Prime (just ask my roomies, I accumulate Amazon boxes like no other), and it's hard to find some of these products in stores. I am in no way affiliated with these companies, but I will talk about how amazing these products are until I'm blue in the face - my face was a hot mess before I started using these lovely items.
As always, everyone is different, so always be prepared for side effects before trying any new products.
Okay, so hopefully this post has given you some ideas on how to make your face happy and looking healthy :-) Of course I left some things out (i.e. coconut oil, which makes me break out like crazy, so that's why I don't use it!), so please share in the comments what moisturizers and skin products work best for you! What's a skin product that you swear by?
Until next time!
Bhatt, P. (2013, November 13). 23 Amazing Benefits and Uses Of Neem Oil For Skin And Hair. Retrieved January 28, 2015, from http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/amazing-benefits-of-neem-oil-for-skin-and-hair/
Gottesman, D. (2014, January 24). 15 Surprising Beauty Uses for Jojoba Oil. Retrieved January 28, 2015, from http://www.wellnesstoday.com/beauty/15-surprising-beauty-uses-for-jojoba-oil
Hemp Seed Oil Skin Benefits. (2013, August 13). Retrieved January 28, 2015, from http://www.thehappyskindiary.com/treatments/hemp-seed-oil-skin-benefits/
Home Remedies for Dry Skin | Top 10 Home Remedies. (2014, January 25). Retrieved January 28, 2015, from http://www.top10homeremedies.com/home-remedies/home-remedies-dry-skin.html
Rocchino, E. (2013, February 7). The Benefits Of Using Aloe Vera For Skin Care And More. Retrieved January 28, 2015, from http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7654/the-benefits-of-using-aloe-vera-for-skin-care-and-more.html
The many skin benefits of manuka honey - Body Unburdened. (2014, July 8). Retrieved January 28, 2015, from http://bodyunburdened.com/skin-benefits-manuka-honey/
One of the biggest challenges when starting with a new diet or when you're restricting certain types of food is figuring out "what can I eat now?!?!" I started the autoimmune protocol (AIP) over winter break, so it's been a little over a month since I started the new "diet." I put that in quotes because it isn't a diet, it's a lifestyle. (If you'd like to learn about what foods are restricted on the AIP, please click the link from up above :-))
One component of my new lifestyle is making sure that I always have meals in the fridge or some fruits and veggies that I can readily snack on. I've learned the hard way with this one. My hanger (anger stemming from being hungry ;)) gets out of control and I am a terror to be around. The diet I eat does not afford me the opportunity to get fast food, order a sandwich from Jimmy John's, or even get a burrito bowl from Chipotle, and that is okay, because if I were to eat these things I would look seven-months pregnant and would be spending a lot of free time in the bathroom. I'll spare you the rest of the gruesome details ;-)
As a result I typically cook 3-5 days a week to make sure my pantry and fridge is stocked up with tasty snacks and delicious meals that help me stick to the protocol. On Chronic Illness Chronicles, I plan to share some of my favorite recipes that I've experimented with during the week on Fridays.
***Even if you aren't eating the AIP way, these recipes are healthy, quick to make, and very nutrient-dense, which is key for me, since I'm working to heal my gut lining. I'll be sure to post about leaky gut once I have researched it some more :-)
Okay, so here goes!
1) Roasted Squash Soup with Thyme by Healing Family Eats
2) Fit Fat Bombs by Grazed and Enthused
3) Napa Cabbage and Prosciutto by The Bacon Mom
4) Thyme Roasted Acorn Moons by Simple & Merry
5) Plantain Bread/Tortillas by Stephanie Meyer
Alright, that's all for now! I'm about to leave the office and spend some much-needed time in my grey sweatpants and binge watch some One Tree Hill on Netflix ;) Happy Friday to you all!
Anyone try out any new or old favorite recipes this week? Anyone have any suggestions for what I should make this week? Drop me a line in the comments below!
Oh, and please look below for some pictures of these meals and more!
Until next time!
According to Harvard Medical school in 2008, upwards of half a million U.S. citizens suffer from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD (ironically enough, that's the acronym... *headdesk*). Women are more likely to be depressed during the winter months, and of course, living farther away from the equator increases your risks.
I've personally lived with depression since I was a wee teen in 8th grade, and as a result, I am predisposed to feel the effects of SAD. I've had some really bad winters, and it wasn't because I didn't get a Christmas present I wanted or because I was left kissing a bottle of whiskey at midnight on New Years. But, this year (as I write this I'm thinking of the infamous YouTube video by John Roberts aka voice of Linda from Bob's Burgers) I'm working to overcome SAD and I want to share with you what has and hasn't worked for me.
If you're reading this and have never felt the ill effects of SAD then I am jealous of you! What kind of creature are you? Regardless, I urge you to keep reading on because you might find some insight on how to pull yourself out of a bad mood or string of bad days. Or, you might know someone who suffers from SAD, and this information can help her or him out!
I'm going to cover what the effects of SAD are vs. the "regular" blahs (because we all get moody sometimes, don't deny it), what causes it, and some suggestions to overcome it.
What is SAD?
Okay, so SAD is a serious condition, and it involves some extreme symptoms: sadness, depression, lethargy, feeling unmotivated, oversleeping, not sleeping at all, irritability, isolating oneself, and being overly self-critical. SAD is not feeling sad for a day or two, being enraged because someone cut you off in traffic (I'm from NY so our subconscious tells us to flip the bird at anyone who gets in our way while driving - here's a Louie CK clip on the matter (warning! vulgar language ahead)), or any other negative feelings that are fleeting. It typically begins in the later fall months and can last up until spring. For more on this topic, please visit this article.
What causes SAD?
For some it is genetic, for others it is caused by how close you are to the equator, and for others it is both. In some cases, the cause is truly unknown, frustrating, I know. Yet, getting adequate time under the sun is essential for regulating our circadian rhythm, which has a big impact on our hormonal balance and serotonin and melatonin production. More information on why serotonin is so important to maintaining our happiness and both mental and physical health can be found here.
How can we beat it?
Throughout the years, a lot of awesome suggestions have been offered up to keep a smile on your face while there's snow on the ground. Let's dive right in...
Find a way to expose yourself to sunlight or artificial light.
Even though winter months aren't prime-time for getting your tan on, there are still opportunities to catch some rays, weather permitting of course. Try to go for a walk with a friend, pet (I'm all for walking cats!), or by yourself with some favorite tunes. The more time you spend outside, the better you will feel, unless if you live in Normal, Illinois and every time you walk outside your nose hairs stick together and you cry involuntarily because of the wind... Anyway, I digress.
If you have the funds, look into buying a sun lamp. I've used one before and honestly didn't get much out of it, but there are a lot of underlying issues and reasons for my depression, so it might work for you! It's good for those days where it's just impossible to go outside.
Try a vitamin D supplement.
Many people who suffer from depression in any form, aside from SAD, can benefit from taking vitamin D3. We typically get vitamin D from the sun, so naturally, during the winter months that source is depleted. Of course, it is important to work with a qualified physician before starting any new medications/supplements, so get tested for your vitamin D levels before adding this supplement into your routine.
Incorporate omega-3 enhancing fish or omega-3 supplements into your routine.
Omega-3 helps regulate some of our brain's finest chemicals: dopamine and serotonin. Both of these chemicals are directly connected to our mental well-being and happiness levels. Make sure that your omega-3 supplement is pure and doesn't contain artificial ingredients.
Getting up and moving is so important for your health whether you suffer from SAD or not. I suggest starting slow if you're low on energy. Taking a walk, going to a yoga class, dancing around in your room to a favorite song, or doing squats, lunges, and push-ups in your house all count as exercise. It doesn't have to be an insurmountable task or something as treacherous as running on the treadmill for an hour each day (if you're all about that I commend you. My legs were not made for long-distance, rather, I showcase my Mario-esque strides in short sprints).
Be social :-)
I am the queen of isolating myself when I'm in a depressive state. I lay on the floor with a blanket on top of me and listen to the most emo songs in the entire world and just feel bad about nothing and everything at the same time. One thing that always works for me is hanging out with friends or distracting myself with a social event. As hard as it is to break free from a negative thought loop where you think everyone hates you and you hate everyone else, taking the initiative to hang out with others can make you feel better :-)
As cheesy as the saying you are what you eat sounds, there's definitely stock in it. Coming from someone who used to eat ice cream sundaes with huge cookies on top and then shovel down half a bag of Doritos, I understand how difficult it can be to break the addiction from unhealthy food. Gluten, cheese, desserts, pizza, fast food, etc. can take over your brain and make you crave food even when you aren't hungry. Unhealthy food can cause inflammation in your body, weight gain, brain fog, anxiety, mood swings, etc. Healthy food can do so much for your mental and physical well-being, and it can be tasty too!
I'll be posting yummy healthy recipes in the upcoming weeks, so keep an eye out for those ;)
Distract yourself with something challenging.
For me, my depression gets kicked to the curb when I do something new. Whether it's learning a new song on the ukulele, trying out a new recipe, reading a scholarly article, or even starting a new blog, my brain is content when it's occupied. When I find myself doing mindless things such as binge watching Netflix, laying on the floor listening to music, or scrolling through social media, the depression lingers. That's not to say that the aforementioned hobbies are bad, they just don't help me on my journey to happiness when I'm feeling like a real Charlie Brown.
Treat yourself with kindness.
Make sure to find a place for yourself in your own heart. The harder we are on ourselves during this time of sadness, the longer it can take to heal and start feeling better. It's so easy to ruminate on how disappointed we are in ourselves for not being "normal" or for not being able to bounce back as quickly as others. It takes a lot of strength and courage to fight back against that voice inside your head and kick it to the curb. This is where patience comes in handy :-)
Disclaimer: this is not an exhaustive list!
For instance, seeking out therapy is also a great way to manage depression.
I'd love to hear from you, the reader, about what works for you when you're down in the dumps. Please leave a comment, and let's create some dialogue about this issue! I find that it is really empowering to talk about health-related matters and create a plan to overcome the negative ailments in our lives.
Hopefully this post has provided you with some insight and comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your fight against the blues. I'm always here to listen and talk if need be :-)
Until next time!
Carr, K. (2014, November 6). 9 Ways to Treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (or Winter Blues). Retrieved January 21, 2015, from http://kriscarr.com/blog-video/seasonal-affective-disorder-treatment/
Hendriksen, E. (2014, March 1). How to Beat Winter Blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Retrieved January 21, 2015, from http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/health-fitness/mental-health/how-to-beat-winter-blues-and-seasonal-affective-disorder-sad
SeasonalAffective Disorder. (2000, March 1). Retrieved January 21, 2015, from http://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0301/p1531.html
Vogt, R. (2015, January 18). Health Officials Offer Advice on Seasonal Affective Disorder. Retrieved January 21, 2015, from http://buffalo.twcnews.com/content/news/801244/health-officials-offer-advice-on-seasonal-affective-disorder/
Weil, A. (2015, January 1). Health Centers. Retrieved January 21, 2015, from http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03384/Seasonal-Affective-Disorder-SAD.html
Disclaimer: Chronic Illness Chronicles does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information found on this blog is compiled from research or personal accounts. Please consult a physician or healthcare professional before making any changes to your current healthcare regiment.
I've been meaning to start a blog for such a long time. It's ridiculous that it's taken me this long, but I'm so happy that I finally took the initiative to start it! I can't wait to share recipes, workout routines, helpful products and supplements, insightful research, words of encouragement, my frustrations, and successes with you all. I am truly giddy with excitement about this blog, and I hope you are too! If not, I will try not to cry myself to sleep tonight...
Anyway, my story is a long one, and I will tell it in bits and pieces on my blog so as not to bore you. There is also more about my health history in my "About" section. I have a habit of being long-winded, and my health journey provides me with the perfect opportunity to write a novel. So, I will exert as much willpower as possible to avoid writing too much! Unless of course you struggle from insomnia and need someone to put you asleep, then I'm your gal :-)
I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis in August of 2014, and ever since I've been working to get better and heal my thyroid. It hasn't been the easiest task, considering I am a full-time graduate student in a pretty demanding program, I teach, and I am an academic advisor. But, I have learned to put my health first and my work second, because in my opinion, being healthy should be a priority!
During my winter break I decided to start doing the autoimmune protocol diet. I have embeded a link so you can check it out for yourself if you'd like :-) Think of it like the paleo diet except restricting some more food groups/foods that can cause inflammation and irritation to your system. I cannot put into words how helpful this diet has been, but let's just say that my acne is nearly gone, I've lost a lot of bloat and water-weight, my face doesn't look similar to a balloon, and I just feel more at ease. I couldn't recommend this diet enough.
The hair is another story, but I'll get to that at a later date. I like to compare it to the Charlie Brown Christmas tree so I can find humor in how bad my hair is!
Another resource that has been super helpful is Sarah Ballantyne's (The Paleo Mom) book The Paleo Approach. I have been learning A LOT about autoimmune diseases and how to get them into remission. For me, I love to learn what is going on with my health and why I should enact certain changes, otherwise I am less motivated to stop eating jars of almond butter per week or to quit having a glass of wine here or there ;)
Currently, I am about a month in with the autoimmune protocol diet and will start the reintroduction stages in a few weeks. I'll definitely write a post about that in the near future, since some of you may have no idea what the heck I am talking about.
This will be a learning curve for me in the beginning, so I hope you will put up with me through the trials and tribulations of making this blog a success. If you're a blogger and have any suggestions or insights, feel free to leave a comment :-)
Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a lovely day!
Anyone doing anything empowering on this Monday?