Monday, June 30, 2014

RCMP, Brain Fog and Stress

I did something really embarrassing this weekend that resulted in me being asked "Did you get a call from the RCMP yet?"

You know your adrenal fatigue is getting bad when...........

You go to the gas station. Fill up your van with $75 worth of gas. Use their bathroom. And 2 1/2 hours later think "Weird - I don't remember paying for gas". Complete and utter brain fog.

For the record I did not pay for the gas but I did go back (on my own without the knowledge that the RCMP were looking for me) 3 hours later and say sheepishly "I'm $75 on lane 1". With a big smirk the attendant says "oh hi - you're back - we saw you on the surveillance and didn't think you looked like a criminal". But they called the police anyway.

The morale of the story is that I still "look" fairly put together on the outside but I'm back in brain fog land in the inside. Adrenal fatigue land. Candida land.

Big. Huge. Sigh.

This was not how I was hoping to spend my summer. I DON'T WANT TO DO THE CANDIDA DIET AGAIN. It sucks. If you come here for inspiration. Sorry. I'm not in the mood. I need to wallow for a day in self pity. And then tomorrow I'm tightening up the diet and slamming back some anti-fungals.

I know I can do this. I've done it before. I'll go back and re-read some of my old blog posts and recipes and get myself refreshed on how this thing works.

Its partly my own fault that this happened. I started letting the grains and sugar back into my diet a while back. I had been sneaking grains off my kids plates and pounding back my "healthy" dark chocolate like it was going out of style. That resulted in my GRAINXIETY episode in the spring.

Well in June I cut both out the grains and most of the sugar - and my anxiety went away. But I fell back off the wagon this weekend - I was travelling with the kids (alone) and just didn't have the time, foresight or willpower to stay away from them. Poof - my anxiety was back as quickly as it went away. Three days seems to be my magic number.

So the diet problem was my own fault.

But I have also been under a fair deal of stress lately. A little here. A lot there. Coming at me from every angle. Its all piling up on me and a lot of it is out of my control. Not the kind that you can make go away by making different decisions. And generally the end of the school year was pretty crazy - we have been running around and I haven't been babying myself like I used to.

So it all accumulated and caught up with me.

And now I have to deal with it because I'm not going to lie - I don't feel great. I'm by no means the best version of myself.

But I think I can turn things around quickly. I'm correcting months of abuse this time, not years. I hope I can bounce right back.

Wish me luck because I want to have a good summer! All the ingredients for a perfect summer are there - 3 great kids, lots of time off work, hopefully some sun - the question is will I be there. Or in some brain fog trying to explain to the RCMP that I'm not a criminal. Just a Mom with broken adrenals and a will to be better!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Tears, Disappointments and Cheers!

Well, the good news is my GRAINXIETY is fully and completely gone. Gone. Really. Seriously. Gone. Its a miracle. Well, its actually a result of some hard work and willpower to eliminate grains from my diet. And for the record I have not had a dark chocolate bar in almost two weeks - pat on the back!

So my anxiety is gone, but in the meantime I had a weepy, sob-filled, emotional week. Darn did I cry a lot this week.

Beats being scared and it beats feeling nothing - I've been to both those places and don't care to go back.

I really don't mind a good cry once in a while.

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That being said, I don't think I need a good therapeutic cry every darn day.

But relationships are tricky. People are tricky. Life is tricky. I'm an accountant and I must say - numbers are a lot easier than people.

I had some bad news this week. Such bad news about someone I admire. An extra-ordinary person who is being dealt an extra-ordinary challenge. My heart broke a little. And I cried. And cried. And then cried some more (damn - here I go again). I think I'm finding it hard because there is just NOTHING I can do. I'm not good with that. I'm a take action kind of woman so I just want to DO something. But there is nothing I can do. So I'm just going to pray really hard and have hope that this person will have an extra-ordinary amount courage and strength. And I'm going to pray for them!

And life has thrown me other disappointments this week.  Everything doesn't always work out how you expect it to. People will disappoint you. Being a Type A, perfectionist, I have very high expectations of myself. As part of my journey to health I have struggled with that part of myself and tried to accept that I need to disappoint others sometimes, and myself in a way, in order to be truly happy.

I also struggle with expecting too much of others. I can have high standards. I push people. I know that sometimes I need to step back and make sure what I expect is reasonable.

But sometimes I don't let myself get disappointed with people because I think its just my Type A and I need to cut them some slack. But THAT's just not reasonable. People will disappoint me and I am entitled to feel it. I can cry when it happens. I don't need to dwell on it. But I do need to let myself feel it. Some people like to pretend things don't happen, to bury it - that's just not me.

So there were a few (ahem - lots) of tears this week but there was alos lots to cheer about in life. In between the tears there have been lots of smiles. Lots of laughs. Lots of times when my heart felt like it was overflowing with love. Lots of feelings.

It feels good to FEEL. I'm embracing it. Its called living!
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014


If you have been following along my periodic blog posts (sorry - blogging is taking a back seat to life) you might know that I was recently going through quite a severe bout of anxiety. I was walking around with constant fear that would get progressively worse as the day went on.

By bed time (I use that term lightly as sleep was pretty elusive) I was in a complete state of utter terror.

Not a fun way to live.

Quite frustrating as I was eating "clean", exercising, taking my supplements and most importantly my stress levels were relatively low. Yes, I'm busy. I have three young kids and a job.............and I eat clean, exercise and take my supplements.......all very time consuming ventures. But I'm busy doing things I enjoy and know when to say "no" so I'm not stressed out like I used to be.

So why the anxiety?

I don't believe I have an anxiety disorder that is "starting in my head". I continue to believe that my body gets out of balance due to digestive issues, food sensitivities, toxins, sleep disturbances and/or hormones. Where one begins and the other ends I don't know.

But I did know that I needed to look at my diet and supplements to figure out what was going on. I tried/adjusted lots of things but here are some of the biggies................

At first I thought maybe it was my B12 levels. But, although I would feel better for a couple days after a B12 injection, it wouldn't hold. So not my B12. Or not entirely.

Then I looked to my diet.

After about a year of not drinking any caffeine, or coffee at all, I had recently re-introduced decaf coffee into my morning routine. Yummy. But maybe not the best plan. It was lovely while it lasted but once my anxiety started to spiral out of control I thought it just wasn't worth it. Just in case. And my anxiety ebbed a little. But again it didn't hold. So maybe the coffee wasn't the trigger but it certainly wasn't helping.

So I had to finally REALLY look at my diet. And admit to myself that the only thing that had really changed was that I was eating way more grains than I had been since I first started this clean eating journey two years ago. Rice, rice cakes, quinoa, bites of my kids GF pancakes, GF cookies, etc, etc, etc. All very "healthy and clean".

I find it very difficult to eliminate grains from my diet. VERY DIFFICULT. They are portable. They are cheap. They are convenient. They taste good. They are everywhere. Tempting me.

Grains didn't actually come up as a food sensitivity on my IGG tests. That would have been so much easier in a way..........then I would KNOW.

Well. I do know. I have tested (through elimination and re-introduction) it in the past and I know they don't agree with my system but I somehow always end up convincing myself "they can't be that bad".

I finally got fed up with my GRAINXIETY and decided to fully and completely give up grains for 30 days to see what would happen. Three big things happened within about three days:

1) I had thought I had gained some weight - my pants had been tight and I felt uncomfortable. Guess what - I was completely and utterly bloated. As soon as I ditched the grains my belly deflated. And my system started working properly again. I hadn't realized how poorly my system had been working until it started working again. [For the record I did gain some weight but that didn't explain my Buddha belly]; and

2) My sweet cravings. My out-of-control, over-the-top, can't-get-enough sweet cravings dropped off significantly. Not gone but significantly reduced; and

2) My anxiety lifted. Poof. Gone. Just. Like. That.

Its incredible. I'm now on Day 17 and it hasn't returned. I'm anxiety free.

I chose a 30 day challenge for a reason. I am not 100% sure that the anxiety couldn't have something to do with my monthly cycle and hormones. So I still have another week and a half to go before I can for sure, without a doubt, cross my heart declare that grains caused my anxiety.

I suspect I know what the answer will be.  And then I can encourage others not to run to their doctors for anti-anxiety medications. Not to just accept/assume that this is something out of their control that they have to live with. Maybe there is something YOU CAN DO to cure your anxiety (or a gazillion other indirect symptoms of food sensitivities and/or digestive issues).

Wish me luck. I'm living again. And it feels great to be back!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Vegan and Gluten Free Banana Muffins - Chocolate Chips optional

My kids are LOVING these muffins. I've made this batch about 6 or 7 times in the past two weeks so its definitely a new family favorite. They disappear pretty darn quick.

Its that time of year when we need portable snacks - picnics, playing at the park, bike rides, soccer, etc, etc, etc. We are often away from the house and the kids are always hungry.

It's so easy to get into the habit of "grabbing" a pre-packaged, pre-wrapped, processed, sugar-filled, nutrient deficient snack on the way out the door. Convenient - yes. Healthy - no.

That's okay once in a while. But I find muffins are a great alternative if you want to throw something a little more healthy into the rotation. They freeze well so do a double batch and freeze them..........if there are any left to freeze.

These are refined sugar free and even have some almond flour for a bit of a protein boost. They will fill them up and keep em happy. And they are vegan and gluten free for all those egg, dairy and gluten sensitive ones out there.

Have a great weekend everyone!

This was us out for a picnic supper before soccer the other night............we ended up at Target. Three minutes after we arrived at the park someone needed to use the toilet. They always either need a snack or the potty.............muffins and Target to the rescue!

Vegan and Gluten Free Banana Muffins - Oh YEAH

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes ish
Keywords: bake breakfast dessert snack vegan sugar-free banana chia seeds almond flour oats
Ingredients (10 - 12 muffins)
    Wet Ingredients
    • 3 ripe banana's, mashed
    • 1/3 cup organic palm coconut sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/3 cup grape seed oil or melted coconut oil
    • 1 chia or flax egg (1 tbsp ground chia or ground golden flax gelled in 3 Tbsp warm water)
    • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
    Dry Ingredients
    • 1/2 cup almond flour (I grind blanched slivered almonds in my coffee grinder)
    • 1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour blend
    • 1/2 cup GF quick oats
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • vegan chocolate chips - optional
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Combined wet ingredients.
    Combined dry ingredients in a seperate bowl.
    Gently mix dry and wet ingredients together. Fold in chocolate chips.
    Place batter evenly in a lined muffin baking pan.
    Bake for 25 minutes (or until center is fully cooked).
    Let cool completely before removing from liners or they tend to stick.
    Powered by Recipage

    Monday, June 2, 2014

    Grains and Anxiety - Is there a connection???

    Hey Folks.

    Thought I better check in. I have been busy enjoying our instant summer. We had a glorious weekend of sunshine so we have been busy riding our bikes, playing with water, flying kites, making dandelion bouquets - you know - PLAYING. After our looooooong winter my heart feels so happy to feel the warm sun on my face that I want to soak up every second. Which means less time in the kitchen experimenting with recipes and less time on my computer. Great but it means my blogging is taking a back seat to summer...........

    I thought I should at least check in and give you an update. An update on my health. Because if you are going to use all my recipes you probably want to know if this "clean" eating even works.

    Okay. So. Hard to explain.

    I actually feel HAPPIER is lots of ways then I have ever in my life. The kids are fabulous. Hard work and a constant challenge but so fun and cute and awesome. My husband is great. Busy and overwhelmed at times but we are "besties" and always on the same page so it gets us through any bumps in the road usually with a giggle.  My work is awesome. Changing jobs and working half time is the best thing I ever did for our family.....for me. I love my job. I love having time with the kids during the week. I love having time for myself. 

    Fitness wise things are going great. I'm still at it about 4 times a week and it seems to be working for me. A little hot yoga, a little high intensity internal training, some light weights. Things I love and things that give me energy. I've even thrown some dancing back into the mix. My heart is doing a happy dance. More on that another time.

    Now for the fun stuff. My digestion? My Candida? My Adrenals? My energy? My anxiety? My sleep?

    Well, I seem to have entered into a new era of my life (post being constantly pregnant and/or breastfeeding). And let me tell you it has brought me a whole new list of benefits and challenges. To say I have been all over the place would be an understatement.

    So I have basically been studying my body and my symptoms to try and figure out how I can optimize my health in my new state of monthly hormonal fluctuations.And let me tell you........its a ROLLER COASTER ride. Since I'm only about 5 months in, I'm still just trying to figure things out but here's what I've come to realize so far:
    • HUNGER: Breastfeeding was making me crazy hungry and low blood-sugarish. As soon as I stopped these issues just dissappeared; 
    • ANXIETY: I have been having CRAZY anxiety. Brutal. And annoying because whenever I don't feel anxiety I am happier than ever. So I want it gone. Now. I suspect two things might be at play: 1) I significantly upped the amount of non-glutenous grains I was eating (purely a convenience thing) - correlation? Maybe. I'm on day 3 of no grains and my anxiety has dropped off significantly which could also be a result of 2) my hormones. As much as I don't relish giving up grains indefinitely at least that is something I can control. So I hope its the grains and not the hormones. I need to go through a whole month (cycle) with no grains to see if it helps. I had also been back on decaf coffee when the anxiety first came back. Another possible factor but removing that didn't fully take it away so not sure. I'll let you know how this plays out.
    • SLEEP: Yeah. I don't sleep well the week before my monthly visitor. Especially days -4 and -3. Its really bad. But at least I'm down to a few days a month and I can kind of predict when its coming so it makes me feel a little more in control about it.  And the rest of the month I'm still sleeping well if I stick to my sleep rules and I'm not having an anxiety attack; 
    • ENERGY: Like everything else this is generally fluctuating at different times of the month. Obviously, when I don't sleep I feel tired. But I have also confirmed (well in my mind anyway) that I can not go longer than 4 weeks with a B12 shot. And I have also confirmed that YOU SHOULD READ SUPPLEMENT LABELS. I bought a new B6/B12 combo and didn't notice that it had 125 mg's instead of my usual 1000 mg's. Whoops. Interestingly my energy levels are better now that I'm back to my usual 1000 mg's a day. Basically, if I have a steady flow of B12 in my system my energy levels are pretty darn good when I sleep. 
    • CANDIDA: It still seems to be gone. My moods (all month) are holding steady. I'm very rarely grumpy. 
    • DIGESTION: Yeah, a little off in this department. Which brings me back to the grains. I know grains don't work well with my system. I know this. I KNOW this. But sticking to it has been really difficult. But I'm back on the wagon for now and I hope it will improve quickly. I also know that ALIGN probiotics work really well with my system but they are $1 per day so I tried swapping it out with a much cheaper brand for a couple of weeks. Mistake. I'm back on ALIGN.
    There are patterns if you watch for them. Your moods, sleep, digestion, etc are not usually just random occurrences. But it takes hard work. Diligence. Patience. Keep listening to your body. Don't accept anything less than your best. I'm not. I refuse to live in constant fear. I'm going to figure this out. Watch me.