Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hopelessness, Hormones and Hickey's!!!

Embarrassing. It should be except for the fact that these "hickey's"
are the cure to my shoulder and neck agony. So I wear them with pride. And let people think I have
 a really exciting life................

My neck and shoulder have been completely flared up for all of July.

Funny how that happened just after I had a stress/adrenal flare up in June.

Not so funny actually but a lot less traumatic this time.

Yes. I have been to this rodeo before. I had chronic neck/shoulder pain for over 18 months when I went through my rock bottom-burn out-looked and felt like shit phase in 2010/2011. Read all about that here.

The difference this time is that I KNOW that it can get better. I have HOPE. Its still annoying as hell and hurts like a bitch but its a lot less scary.

Why all the swearing? I really shouldn't but I just finished reading I HEART MY LITTLE A-HOLES and man there was a LOT of cursing in that book. So I blame her for my bad behavior........and the fact that my shoulder is throbbing.

So if you aren't feeling great - depression, anxiety, pain, whatever - have hope. You can get better. It might take a lot of determination. Some trial and error. A few $$$$. For me it even took a whack-load of hickey's.  But I know it can be fixed.............and not with a shit-load of pharmaceuticals.

How did I cure my shoulder issues last time? And how am I planning on doing it again?

Well, as my chiropractor reminded me "Chantel, it all comes back to stress management for you". Yes. If he weren't so darn RIGHT and so darn good at what he does I would be annoyed. I hate hearing stuff I don't want to hear.

But I need to hear it. Again. And again. And again.

I broke my adrenals once and they will probably never be the same. I need to baby them. I need to reduce mental and physical stress as much as I can. I need to know when to chill out. I need to eat properly for me - which means no grains, dairy and little sugar. I need to exercise - moderately, not over-train like I tend to. I need to go to sleep by 10. I need to take my supplements. I need to avoid caffeine and alcohol.

When I fail at those things and my neck and shoulder get really pissed at all the tension I am carrying around I need my chiropractor. He is a miracle worker. He uses a combination of Graston(the sad and much less interesting source of my hickey's), Active Release and Adjustments. Not sure what I would do without him. I was so hormonal the other day I started crying on the way there. Not because I was in pain, but because I was overwhelmed with gratefulness that I found him. Its cheesy but if you have ever been in constant chronic pain (for almost 2 years), tried every kind of treatment you could think of and are looking at a lifetime of would know why it makes me cry. And the hormones of course.

So don't give up. Keep trying. Keep working at it. And hey, if you get a few hickey's along the way............that's just a bonus!

And by the way, if you carry your stress around in your shoulders and neck and are wound so tight you feel like you are going to snap...............find someone that does Graston. Give it a shot. I tried everything and its the only thing that worked for me. It is painful, your neck will look like a mess, but it works!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

My Attempt at Clean Camping

A sample of some of our eats. Left - Just one of our mean and clean breakfasts - scrambled eggs, toast (none for me and GF vegan bread for my 6 year old), bacon, blueberries and some veggies.  Top right - I pre-marinaded and froze chicken thighs which we roasted on the fire with some fresh beets - delicious.  Bottom right - S'mores made with GF Oreo cookies, dark chocolate and marshmallows. Two of three of our kids had a complete meltdown that night. Hmmm - too much sugar maybe? Two of three of our kids said the best part of camping was the S'mores. Sigh. The third one can't talk. Damn that sugar is evil.
Hello Everyone! Hope you are having a great summer. 
I have been super low on the recipes and blog posts since I have been spending a lot less time in the kitchen and on the computer. Yay - I'm doing something right. 

After a rough start to our summer with my shoulder/neck problem reappearing, my severe anxiety in May, my adrenals taking a beating in June and my Candida problem trying to come back I am happy to say that I am feeling pretty great. For now. 

I have been working really hard at sticking to my no-grain, no-dairy, low sugar diet which is key. I have been trying to stay active without overdoing it. And I have been trying to get to bed on time. 

And it is working. For now. 

It is an ongoing battle. Especially during the summer. 

We just got back from a 5 day camping trip in our new (used) pop-up. Five people living in a 10ft tent trailer and eating out of a super small fridge and coolers for almost a week. And we still managed to keep it pretty clean. Well the food anyway. I didn't shower for 6 days so I wasn't very clean.

And I managed to stay active and still get in some workouts. So I really should have had a shower. Sorry to my fellow campers. 

I guess I am bragging a bit. But I'm also telling you it can be done so you are encouraged to try it. Don't just assume it can't be done and give up on eating the foods that make you feel your best (and more importantly staying away from the ones that make you feel the worst). 

It is hard to stay on track during the summer when you are surrounded by chips, alcohol, S'mores. When everyone else is eating Kraft dinner and hot dogs. We had some cheats here and there, but we also ate lots of veggies and good, clean, nutritious foods.

After the way I was feeling in June I was highly motivated to "stay on the wagon". 

You just have to plan. Plan. Plan. Plan. I'll say it one more time. PLAN. 

It won't happen if you don't plan for it. I pre-made high protein smoothies and took my Magic Bullet for a quick and healthy breakfast. I baked vegan GF muffins for my kids and my Chocolate pumpkin loaf and vegan GF bagels for me. I marinaded and froze meats before we left so we didn't have to rely on hot dogs. I pre-made lots of salads. We ate apple nacho's and nuts for snacks. 

That's just a "taste" of how we did it. But it can be done. It was a heck of a lot of work but this time after coming home from a week away from the house I didn't need a 5 day detox to get rid of my brain fog. In the big picture of things it was probably a lot less work - detoxing is harder that prepping food. And my moods were stable so I actually, really, truly, whole-heartedly enjoyed my kids. I relaxed not because I was too tired to move but because my mind felt still. I felt happy. 

I needed that.  Now let's hope I can keep it going. 

For exercising we did a LOT of biking. I love biking. Biking brings me joy and I have hardly had my bike out this summer so I got my fill. And I did lots of yoga. I had one of my best yoga practices ever right on the beach (see pics). Yes, my kids were talking and "fishing" nearby so I didn't have solitude but I had fresh air and water and it was fabulous. Thank you Rhea for introducing me to ALI KAMENOVA yoga. All you need it a smartphone and you can do your yoga anywhere.  Or your HIIT. Or whatever moves you.  No excuses. And for the record mosquito's love yogi's.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Red Velvet Brownies - Vegan and Gluten Free with Beets and Black Beans

Hello everyone.

I'm finally back with a recipe.

I have been busy enjoying my summer and dealing with the roller coaster that is my life with adrenal fatigue and Candida. I've had to go back to a strict "grain-free and very low sugar" diet so I can't actually eat these brownies anymore. Tear. But I'm feeling much better so it is worth it.

But if you can handle some non-glutenous grains then I say go for it..........I enjoyed them while I could and now its time for someone else to enjoy them.

I'll be back with an update on how my battle with adrenal fatigue and Candida is going soon. In the meantime hope you are all enjoying your summers...............

Vegan and Gluten Free Red Velvet Brownies with Beets and Beans

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Keywords: bake blender dessert vegan sugar-free low-carb almond flour black beans coconut flour beets cake
Ingredients (16 small squares)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup GF quick oats
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used almond)
  • 2 Tbsp oil (melted coconut oil or grape seed oil)
  • 2 Tbsp pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup cooked & shredded beets (I used ones that had previously been cooked and frozen)
  • 1/4 cup black beans drained and rinsed
  • handful non-dairy chocolate chips (more if desired)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a food processor or blender (I used my Ninja), blend the almond and coconut flours, oats, cacao powder, salt, and baking powder. It should basically turn into a flour.
Add in the milk, vanilla extract, oil, pumpkin puree and maple syrup, and blend until fully combined.
Add in the cooked beetroot and the beans and blend until the mixture has formed a thick batter.
Remove the blade and stir in the chocolate chips or just toss them on top after pouring in pan.
Pour the batter into an 8 x 8 baking dish lined with parchment paper. I just cut a square to fit the bottom and didn't worry about the sides as I greased the pan first. Smooth the top with a spatula.
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the top is fully cooked. Let cool. I dare ya to wait. Although we really liked these a bit warm with some toppings (coconut cream, cool whip, berries).
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