Posts filed under ‘ibs’

koombaya


i’m a big fan of this quote by the father of medicine, and have been convicted by it for a long time.  for the last 4 years i’ve been testing this theory, and recently have been seeing some almost-miraculous results. 

for the last 2 years, i had rejected my friend trina’s offer to try kombucha. i was down to manageable levels of pain, and my need to call in sick to various activities was at a minimum. besides the fact that i couldn’t remember or say the name (koombaya? komboochoo?), it looked disgusting, and i was not going to risk it sending me back to my former levels of chronic pain.

for those of you who don’t know my backstory or what i’ve gone through for the last 4 years, here’s the basic summary:
i took antibiotics of increasing potency almost non-stop for about 6 months to fight your standard UTI. the antibiotics stripped away my ability to digest anything, and i’ve since been on a journey involving doctors, specialists, many days in bed praying for the pain to pass, many events/appointmets bailed upon.  having been burned by prescriptions in the past, i decided to decline the lifelong pain management prescription offered, and attempt to find my own way to just… deal.

as i said, after about 2 years of playing with diet, i’d reached a comfortable place that was neither ideal nor crippling: a sort of compromising balance.  i became dissatisfied with this compromise after my belly took me down this summer when i really needed it to be non-participatory.  a series of following disappointing setbacks forced me to rethink the solution that i’d thought i’d found.  so i gave trina’s crazy hippie drink a try. 


at first i had to choke it down, but after about a week, i started to aquire a taste for this strong beverage.  within 2 weeks, i actually started to like the kombucha!  even better than my tastebuds accepting this strange new drink, were the results that i was feeling in my belly.  it’s been about 6 weeks of drinking one cup each morning, and i haven’t spent one single day in the fetal position in my bed.  

i’m not functioning at 100%, but for the first time since beginning this journey, i am starting to feel a glimmer of hope. 

anyone with dietary restrictions will understand how big that little word can be: HOPE.  the idea that i can travel without reading food lables via google translator.  the crazy idea that i won’t be hangry in social settings because i forgot to bring food with me.  being able to share a meal with friends without having to “be special”.  to not fear food will be such freedom!  even just writing that paragraph makes me so thankful for the leaps in health that i’ve experienced since drinking my daily kombucha.

here are a few links for the how-to.  i won’t bother writing out my technique because there’s no need to make the internet redundant.  if you’re local and you want to try making your own though, i’d be happy to donate a scoby and help in any way you need. i don’t think that kombucha is the cure of the ages or anything, but if you’ve been struggling with gut health then you should skip the skepticism and give it a shot! i’m so glad that i finally did!

tools i use:

  • 1L mason jars
  • fabric scraps to replace lids
  • funnel
  • nylon mesh strainer
  • korken bottles from ikea
  • kettle
  • black tea

links that have helped me:

i’d love to hear if anyone else has had great success with kombucha, or advice, or flavouring combinations that win. happy fermenting!

January 7, 2017 at 22:42 1 comment

365 days down

i meant to write a blog post in august, centred around my clever and witty portmanteau of “painiversary”.  in august, it would have been the one year mark since i had started feeling crippling and arresting pain in my torso, and experiencing narcoleptic fits that ate away my days.  it would have marked one year of long nights and short temper.

HOWEVER

as the milestone approached, i realized that the pain that had been my constant companion for so long, had dulled.  and as the milestone got closer yet, i realized that an entire day had come to a close without even a whisper from my companion.  one day in ten turned into one day in 5, then slowly the days of less pain began to outnumber the days full of pain.

so i did not celebrate my painiversary in august.  today however, i WILL celebrate!  today, i celebrate ONE ENTIRE YEAR of following the diet that got me to this place!

so.  365 days without  caffeine, dairy, and severely limited fats.  in lady-terms, that’s 365 days without chocolate, ice cream, or french fries.  as  this year has unfolded, i’ve learned to also cut out soy, egg yolk, red meat, pork, and the thing that i never in a million years thought that i could do without:  gluten  (to summarize: 5-guys bacon cheeseburger).

my “will power” has been much-applauded by friends and family, but will power has nothing to do with it.   let’s take you for example.  this blog post has been too much about me:

you are brushing your hair (random example), and as soon as you finish styling your locks, someone stabs you in the ribs.  then, just for funsies- they continue to stab you in the chest, the back, and then a few more times in your belly for about 2 days after you’ve perfected your hair.  pretty sure that’s not will power that’s going to stop you from brushing your hair when you finally stumble back to the mirror.  in fact, because i know you so well… i’m going to go ahead and deduce that any desire to brush your hair is completely gone.  it’s not will power, it’s self-defense.

it would have been nice to be able to celebrate my pain-free….iversary.  i’m not there yet though.  i still have days where my diet can’t explain the symptoms, and most mornings my belly wakes me up.  the thing about the pain i experience now though, is that i know it’s temporary.  before i cut the irritants out of my diet, i had lost hope of ever feeling “normal” again.

so that’s it! celebrate with me, internet!  by changing my food choices i’ve been able to avoid treatment through prescription drugs, and to experience entire days without pain!

high-5!

February 1, 2014 at 17:33 Leave a comment

twenty fourteen

i’m actually in shock that we are on this end of the holiday season already!  it’s been an amazing blur of parties and gift wrapping and visiting with friends.  for two months leading up to christmas, my fingers were busy with knitting, crochet, and sewing, as is common for this time of year.  each year gets a bit busier, and this year i unfortunately had to turn down work because there just wasn’t enough time for it all (shown here are most of the items, i didn’t have time to photograph some of them before they were packaged and gone!)

our family worked really hard to keep christmas about Jesus this year, and shifting the focus back onto Him.  we did more acts of kindness, and gave more gifts that didn’t require wrapping.  it was the very best christmas season that i’ve ever experienced, and i’m hoping to duplicate it for many more years to come.

2013 was a big year of changes for me.  i got older, i cut my hair (multiple times), i pierced my nose, i dropped 20lbs, and i had my braces removed.  i learned to control my illness with diet, and am so so thankful for that victory.  i also got cats; two of them.   i learned (through trial & error) to be a better mom, and to be a confident homeschooler.  i quit yelling at my kids, then fell off the wagon, then humbly scrambled back onto it again.

looking ahead, there are things in 2014 that i want to do differently, and things that i want to stay the same.  always, always, always– cherish the time i have with my kids and other loved ones.

my “new years resolution”, is to get back into my 30 day schedule of self-improvement.  i have a few lined up, and i love it when you guys join me in them!

  • january: clean house every night before bed.  the handmade gifts and christmas schedule left me running and dropping a lot, and i’m just ready to snap at the state of my home!  i came across this today, and it totally seems achievable.  so i’ll try for a month and even if i fail half of the days, i’ll still be ahead.
    Slide1-480x1024
  • daily in february/march/etc, (in no particular order):  practice french, spend 30 minutes with God, delete & clean up my photos.  i dunno, i’m kind of dry on ideas.  i usually have several “healthy eating month” or “30 day shred month” ideas, but my kids are at the gym 4 times a week with programs, so i’m working out during those times too.  and my “special needs belly” forces me to eat healthily every single day, so they’re kind of unnecessary regulars that i can’t fall back on anymore.  any suggestions?

most of all, i want 2014 to be awesome!  in what will feel like 3 months, we’ll be back here again wondering where another year disappeared to, and i want to be able to have nothing but great things to reflect upon.  i’m so ready to work towards that!

thanks for sticking around and reading my musings.  i hope that each one of you have a great 2014, full of God’s blessings and your recognition of them.  happy new year!

 

January 1, 2014 at 22:15 Leave a comment

GF/DF apple crisp

i know i haven’t posted anything in an eternity.  the only reason i’m even posting now, is so that i can write down this recipe before i forget it!  i posted a picture of it in my instagram, and have had a couple requests for the recipe, so this is for you too :)  we’ll save the where-i’ve-been, and the why-i-don’t-write-anymore for later!

apple crisp! comfort food!

filling:
12-15 cups chopped apple
2/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp milled chia & flax seed.

topping:
2/3 cup ground oats
1/3 cup ground almonds
1 cup oats
1/2 cup melted earth balance (or other butter substitute, coconut oil might be good too!)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup brown sugar
about 4 tbsp maple syrup

directions:
mix the filling.
cut all topping ingredients into crumble texture with pastry knife
spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray, spill in the apples, top with the crumble.
bake at 350ºF  for 45 minutes.

special notes:
i buy my chia & flax pre-ground, but a coffee grinder would do the trick if you already have seeds.  also, to make the almond and oat “flours”, i put them in a blender and pulsed until they resembled glutiny flour.

let me know if you make this, i’d love to hear feedback!  enjoy!

October 13, 2013 at 22:38 Leave a comment

coming clean

the time has come for me to go public: i have ibs.

what now?  haha… exactly.

ibs stands for irritable bowel syndrome, and is really doctor speak for “i dunno”.  ibs is what you get diagnosed with when every other possibility has been eliminated.  i don’t have cancer, crohn’s, colitis, celiac… any of those ugly C-words.  they don’t know what i have, so it’s ibs.

i started getting unexplained abdominal pain in august.  i’m the annoying type of patient who waits until life can’t go on before visiting a doctor.  the pain was spreading and intensifying, and there were days where i would just lay in bed like a lump in the fetal position, clutching my torso and wishing that the pain would stop long enough so i could go to sleep and be free from hurting.

i’m not trying to dramatize what i’ve been going through, just trying to be honest with you and possibly help out someone else who may be spending hours googling a diagnoses for themselves.  so… ibs.  you probably know one or two people who also have it, but their symptoms are nothing like yours.  you can google it, and find a slew of symptoms that you have, and just as many that you don’t have.

i wasn’t joking when i said that it’s how doctor’s label unknown abdominal pain.   it can be frustrating when you’ve had a horribly painful week and you confide in someone: “yeah…i have ibs” and the healthy, happy other half of the conversation cheerfully exclaims “me too!”.

my symptoms are pretty limited:  PAIN!!! and i fall into random narcoleptic comas without warning.  true story: i fell asleep at your wedding reception, natasha.

to treat my ibs, i’ve been on an elimination diet for about 2 months.  i had to eliminate alcohol (not a big deal)/caffeine/fatty food/and dairy.  the idea with an elimination diet is that you can eventually reintroduce foods to see what your body reacts to.  so far none of the above has been able to come back into my life, and the list has grown to include soy, carbonated drinks, and excess amounts of sugar.

you care, right?  haha…. i know this is really personal and uninteresting stuff and if it’s completely irrelevant to you,  feel free to skim to the end, and i’ll post something more reader-friendly by the end of the week!

if you’re still here….  i’ve got some recipes & tips for you!  i’ll be adding an ibs section to the category cloud of this blog, so you can find all of the stomach-friendly foods that i’ve been testing and enjoying.  here’s some stuff to get you started:

almond milk!  essential.  i’m not at the point where i can drink it straight yet, but on my cereal and as a milk-replacement in baking, it’s been a life-saver!almond milk

earth balance butter-substitute.  so here’s the thing about substituting dairy:  i’ve been a “clean eater” my whole life.  i don’t like products with ingredients that i can’t pronounce.  i really couldn’t reconcile the fact that eating fake chemical ingredients was better for my innards than real butter and milk.  thankfully my vegan sister introduced me to earth balance!  it uses natural ingredients, tastes like butter, and it’s good on popcorn, potatoes, and bread.  mmmm… bread!prod-spread-original

this recipe has been so good to me!   i substitute in the almond milk (as suggested in the recipe), and use olive oil for the butter.  it’s so tasty!  if you’ve never made bread before, make this anyway!  you have to start somewhere, and when you’re so limited with your food intake, eating comfort food like this is like finding hidden treasure.
Homemade-Honey-Oat-Bread1::image source::

i’m certain that i could never ever ever give up eating bread!  i don’t know how people do the gluten-free thing, and i would be so devastated if i ever had to cut that out of my diet as well!

there are a few other recipes that i’d like to show you guys, but they require posts of their own.  i don’t normally fish for the comment love, but i’d really like to hear from you if you’re on a limited diet and have any tips/recipes/or stories to share!   even if YOUR ibs isn’t MY ibs, it’s nice to know that there are others among us!

March 19, 2013 at 22:03 1 comment


my life in pics

and we went to hogwarts (aka: lots & lots of university of toronto buildings!) so much beautiful architecture and history! great day in the Tdot with @jessdjung today! kensington market, china town, and barefoot friends! this may be the only time that dying plants have excited me! potatoes ready to harvest! we planted a second batch immediately afterwards - there's time for a second crop, right? 🤷‍♀️
#greenthumbwannabe