Leaky Gut Diet + GAPS Shenanigans

So I just want to start out by saying I’m not even sure I’m doing this thing right… so call it a modified diet x 100.

I’ve been getting asked a lot what I’m eating, why I’m doing this, etc. so I figured the best way to keep everyone posted / updated with my progress would be to just fire up this old blog.

The WHY:

So if you don’t like poop stories, just go ahead and close this browser.. or tab.. or whatever it’s called. (not the most tech savvy here and definitely not bashful about poop) Here we go!

End of February Hazel and I got the flu with GI symptoms.

*9 weeks ago* A few months ago my daughter Hazel had a nasty bout of what I self diagnosed as Rotavirus. She had diarrhea 10+ times a day for 5-7 days. It was horrible. Then Robbie got it and he’s never had GI issues in his life (no joke..)  but somehow I dodged this, and I catch everything from Hazel.

*7 weeks ago* A couple of weeks go by and she accidentally pooped on the carpet and steps in it (a different story) and in the process of cleaning her up and the poopie carpet, I catch the nasties within 24 hours. Rotavirus is spread by contact with stool, and at the amount I was elbow deep in, I caught it. This was about 6 weeks ago. It got so bad I had to sleep in the bathroom next to the toilet because I was going every 5 minutes. This lasted almost 10 days. I never fully felt recovered. Just somewhat better to function.

*5 weeks ago*  Robbie and I went to Mexico and you guessed it.. I picked up travelers diarrhea. Spent a big portion of our vacation in the bathroom.

Since then, I’ve had maybe 2 normal poops in probably 7 weeks. I’ve lost 12 pounds in the past 2 months and I can’t say it’s from working out. Since we’ve moved to Raleigh we’ve been getting into the whole craft beer thing and have really enjoyed it but I also believe that all the yeast in the beer, combined with all these chronic ailments I’ve been facing has been just a tornado of doom on my bowels.

This is where I’m at now. I’ve started back going to the gym last week and I’ve combined aspects of the leaky gut diet and GAPS into my current diet. Basically, I’ve added a lot of fermented foods, increased vegetable intake (like salads), bone broths, probiotics, etc. And I’ve cut out grains, seeds, nuts, beans, corn, soy, dairy and most alcohol. While I want to be disciplined in this, I also don’t want to have a restrictive diet mentality because I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts on how damaging that mind set is and what a slippery slope it can be. To keep a healthy balance, I’ve temporarily cut out my daily glass of red wine but I still have a couple of drinks with Robbie on our date night on Tuesday and on Friday night when we watch a movie together. I don’t drink any other time during the week. I do have a cheat meal on Tuesdays that I haven’t given up yet on this adventure and I hope not to. I really look forward to our soul food together on Tuesdays. The weekends food wise is what got me last weekend. Saturdays we have a sitter for 2 hours and typically go somewhere to hangout for bit and lately we’ve been really liking this bakery called YellowDog. They have the BEST sticky buns (which I didn’t even realized I liked until I got one there). So I chowed down on this sugary food with little remorse. Then I made dinner and ate the quinoa noodles which I wasn’t supposed to do and Sunday morning I had bad diarrhea. PROBABLY the sticky bun. All that sugar feeds the bad bacteria in your gut and Lord knows my gut is all wacky right now. Then Sunday rolls around and I vow to be good and after church we like to go to a bakery with Hazel so she can get her one and only cheat item for the week, a croissant. Well, I wasn’t going to get anything but Robbie acted surprised that I didn’t order so being the person I am with the weakest will ever, I ordered something buttery and flaky and cheesy and all the wrong things for me. It was delicious! (Note to self: Prepare Robbie before we go out that I can’t eat, less temptation). That night I didn’t think it even mattered since I messed up that morning, and Robbie wanted Chinese… so why not. I got Chinese too! You guessed it… diarrhea x 3 this morning.

Monday’s are always refreshing because it’s the beginning of the week, my meals are planned, and my will is renewed. The weekends are hard for me because I want to participate with my family. Instead of reaching for a sticky bun, I should reach for a better option. And if I don’t want to order something, I should just let my family know I’m not ordering before we get there. No surprises for anymore, including myself.

Last week I confided in Robbie with how horrible I’ve been feeling so he ordered a parasite cleanse. We’ve been taking that since Saturday too so I can’t help but wonder if maybe this cleanse is also giving me diarrhea. I’ve never had GI issues like this before for so long. It’s draining. But the healthy food has given me good energy and I’m keeping a positive attitude. I know your mental state can have a huge impact on physical health too.

OK – enough poop talk. I’ll keep you all update with the foods I’m eating, and how my tummy is progressing… if that’s your cut of tea. 😉

I have a confession to make…

The word “sexy” has always made me cringe. It has rarely even been a term directed towards me, but a word I would recognized hearing others talk about a woman’s physique, or outfit. To me, sexy felt critical. judgemental. & honestly.. dirty. It doesn’t even make sense why I would think that. Sexy doesn’t equal pornographic. Right?

Hopefully not.

I’ve been struggling internally with feeling… not unattractive or undesirable… but a lack of confidence in my appearance. Maybe it’s because I had a baby 11 months ago, my body has changed and I feel doomed to sweat pants, leggings (which are still my maternity ones) and tank tops. Maybe it’s because I’m tired at the end of the day from mommy-ing that all i want to do is wrap up in a blanket and call it a night. Or maybe it’s because I’m so deeply insecure with feeling like I’m doing something wrong, that I avoid feeling or looking sexy at all. I’d say it’s a little of each.

The more I think about what sexy is, even though I retreat within myself as soon as I hear the word, it is definitely connected to self-confidence. I don’t want to be scared to wear something… ahem.. sexy.. for my husband. I’ve felt really stupid about this for far too long, and the best way I could think to get it off my chest and move a position was to be totally open and honest about it. So there it is. Out in the open. Here you go internet.

This shouldn’t be a difficult thing for me but it is. But I’m going to overcome this. The first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem and I have a problem with being sexy haha

And guess what.. men are visual! (shocker). It’s important to me that my husband gets his visual-ness from me! His wife. I have the ability to help him in this area and keep him strong from temptation. That’s a huge motivator!

This might be an awkward read for some of you but if you’re married, this can’t come to you as a surprise. Just thinking of wearing something… sexy.. makes my heart start pounding. But in the end, it won’t ever be something I regretted.

So I’m gonna pull up my big girl panties (hopefully not granny panties) and I’m bringing sexy back! (but don’t read the lyrics to that song because that’s not what I’m saying) 🙂

The kind of mother I want to be

A few months before Hazel was born, someone suggested that I write down the kind of mother I wanted to be so I would have something to reference as I raised her. This was all good in theory but never felt right [or real] until I was actually face to face with her.

Hazel, you are not responsible for my happiness.

Let me elaborate. I’m not saying that my little girl doesn’t make me happy, but it’s not her job to create happiness in my life. That is something I must find within myself. I won’t burden her with the task of making me happy. Because that’s just selfish and unnecessary.

Hazel, I will not guilt trip you into doing what I want.

‘Nuff said.

Hazel, I will give you the freedom to express yourself in a safe and loving environment.

There’s nothing more stifling than to feel like you can’t be yourself.. or to feel like you should be like someone you’re not because of someone else. This is not ok with me. She will be allowed to be who she is as long as it isn’t harmful. If she wants purple hair, fine. If she wants to wear all back, cool. There are bigger things to concern myself with, like if her everything is well with her heart.

Hazel, I will be more concerned with the areas you excel in rather than the areas you are weak in.

Its a waste of time, energy and confidence to focus on the weak areas more than you need to. I want to build her up in the areas she’s strong in and what excites and motivates her. That’s where she’ll discover her passions.

Hazel, I will respect your independence.

I never want her to feel guilty for valuing independence. It’s a great thing to grow up and be on your own and to start a new life separate from me. I want her to know it’s ok to keep moving forward without me, and that I’ll always be in her wake if she needs me. 

Hazel, my love for you is not conditional.

I will love her no matter what. She won’t have to perform a certain way to receive my love. I may not agree with all of her decision or life choices, but that won’t change my love for her.

Hazel, I will not make all the right parenting decisions, and I’ll be honest when I’m wrong.

There’s no shame in admitting I made a wrong choice, and if (and when) I do, I will let you know that I was wrong and that I am sorry. I want her to know that even adults make the wrong choices and in that, show her the right way to make amends.

Hazel, I have hopes and desires for your life, but not expectations.

Expectations are a recipe for disappointment. I will do my best not to set her up for failure by having them.

Hazel, it’s ok to be different.

I will cherish her individuality. It’s ok to be weird, quirky, average, girly, smart, below average, artistic, quiet, loud, etc. She will be unique. Everyone is different. And I can’t wait to discover every inch of her personality. 

Hazel, no is an o.k. answer.

I want her to know that it’s ok to say “No”. Being a people pleaser can be damaging.. potentially putting your self-worth in the hands of someone else. I want to teach Hazel that it’s ok to say no, as long as you have a valid explanation of why.

Hazel, I will do my best to model Christ’s love in your life.

I’m not perfect, nor do I pretend to me, and I’m the first to admit I’m not.. but I will do my best.

Hazel, you are God’s child and my gift.

We have been entrusted with Hazel. She is first and for most the Lord’s. I thank God for the privilege of having her in our lives and I’m so blessed to get to raise her for His glory. (sounds very sunday school, but it’s a very important perspective to have)

sigh.

Body image : History + Postpartum

I don’t know if it’s a genetic trait or simply a gender thing… But I‘ve always been pretty sensitive and aware of my body image since I was about 17. Around that time, I moved to Daytona beach and gained about 35 pounds in the span of 6 months. There were many contributing factors to the weight gain but it really affected the way I viewed myself. I was disappointed. Embarrassed. And a little ashamed of how poorly I had taken care of myself. I took drastic and extreme measures to get my weight down, and was successful at the expense of my health and well-being. 

My weight went from 115lbs to 143lbs to 90lbs. I had gone from “overweight” to “underweight” in a year. At age 20 is when I started being intentional about getting healthy and improving my quality of life.  I got my first gym membership, began eating food that wasn’t from a drive thru, and learned to enjoy taking care of the body I was given for the sake of my future. 

Over the past 8 years, Robbie and I have made our healthy lifestyle a huge priority in our lives. Exercising not only makes me feel good about the way I look, but it also reduces my anxiety & insomnia, and improves my attitude and outlook on life. Win win! I also stopped judging my fitness success based on my scale and started using the mirror instead.  

When I found out I was pregnant I was still working out. But when the nausea and fatigue hit in the middle of my first trimester, the last thing I wanted to do was go to the gym at 6am before work when I could sleep until 7am. This slowed my momentum (no surprise) and by the time the nausea had subsided in my second trimester, I was already out of the rhythm and stopped showing up. I don’t regret not going to the gym religiously while pregnant because I needed to slow down and knowing me I wouldn’t have. During my pregnancy I gained 42lbs. I don’t feel like i overindulged in anything and kept the same diet as before. My body needed to gain that much for Hazel and I’m totally ok with that. 

Right now I’m 7 weeks postpartum and have lost 27lbs from birthing, my relatively clean diet and breastfeeding. My stomach looks different. I have stretch marks on my sides and I have more cellulite now than I started out with. But all of those things had to happen to bring Hazel into this world. She’s totally worth it. 

All of that to say, I’m super grateful for what my body has gone through. But now it’s time for me to get back into the rhythm of working out! 😊 I’ve been listening to my body the past 7 weeks and didn’t want to start too soon but now I feel ready. 

Tomorrow I’m starting Jillian Michael’s 90 body revolution!! I’m super pumped  to get back into shape and feel better physically, and mentally. I’m looking forward to being able to wear my jeans and shorts again and to ditch the maternity leggings that i wear every single day. I want to be a good role model for my daughter on what it looks like to take care of yourself. I’ll be using the scale as a guide to see if this exercise regimen is working, but I won’t be a slave to it. I plan to weigh once a week and post progress of my journey as a motivational tool. 

Tomorrow is day 1. 

Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.

John Wooden

Postpartum Anxiety // My journey through the fog

About 3 days after giving birth, I noticed my old friend anxiety creeping back in. Throughout my entire pregnancy, I barely had any problems with it… I actually felt the most stable during the influx of hormones than I think I ever have. But 3 days postpartum is when your hormones crash and lucky for me, this shook me to the core.  I started having dark thoughts and back to back panic attacks at night which prevented me from getting any rest or naps. My appetite disappeared – stomach in knots. I was choking down food that I once loved. Diarrhea [my blog, so it’s not TMI 🙂 ] & elevated heart rate. Clammy, & my skin felt like it was on fire.

I’m no stranger to anxiety… I’ve dealt with it, on and off, for most of my life. I’ve always had a very vivid imagination which is the catalyst for why I get anxiety. There are also outside factors, like when people I care deeply for treat me unfairly. There are herbs like Kava-Kava, & Valerian Root, and even L-Theanine [amino acid in green tea] for mild “anxiety” that to me just help with stress. I’m thankful that western medicine exists for when my anxiety becomes crippling, chronic, or mentally exhausting. There are some medications that really work for me to stop my mind from spinning like a hamster on a wheel, that help me to take some deep breaths and feel like a relaxed, normal human-being. However I am breastfeeding and do not want any of these chemicals, aka pharmaceuticals, to enter my baby’s blood stream. But stress and anxiety can also affect milk supply. ugh. Not to mention anxiety is such a brain fogger. I found my glasses in my shirt drawer, and I put a dirty dish in the pantry.. little things like that.

Luckily at day 3, one of my midwives, Sara Rosser, had been encapsulating my placenta. The placenta is composed of beneficial hormones, chemicals, iron, and proteins which helps with hormonal balance, milk supply, boost energy, pain relief and can also help to slow bleeding. I started taking these so soon as they were handed to me and over the course of a few days started to take note of their effects. My imagination slowed down, and I started feeling like a somewhat normal person again. I’m dealing with some external drama so I still have the external anxiety triggers happening, but I can eat more, I can be happy more, and I can absorb the beauty more in my every day life. Some of these stresses are affecting my milk supply but I’m trying not to let external issues plague me. I couldn’t imagine where my mind would be if I wasn’t taking these placenta pills. Seriously.

I need to focus on my personal, internal mental health so I can operate at my best with my newborn. She’s such a good, sweet, baby girl. I love her so much and don’t want to let my intermittent anxiety robe me of these precious, first few months that I’ll never get back. I’ve been sharing her so much that it’s my turn to be selfish and take the time I want with her. I’m going to have to start setting healthy boundaries. Grow a tougher backbone. Return to journaling. And ask God to smother me and my little family in infinite grace and give us a spirit of peace in this next season.

“Perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18