Diagnosis Is Not Always “The Answer”

I am staring at a blank screen thinking about all the things I want to say – how can I tell the story of my disease in a way that you can understand? It’s an ongoing theme in my life, and for many I believe, to seek understanding. But the reality (at least my reality) has been that most people don’t understand. So writing about my journey so that you might  know how my autoimmune disease affects me is difficult, but I’m not going to shy away from that.

I was 15, a young naive freshman in high school who actively played sports and enjoyed being around a multitude of friends. At the start of the new year I began having sharp pain in my hands. I would try to straighten my hair or hold a pencil and I couldn’t. My fingers were swollen up like sausages and the pain resonated deep into my bones. At first, my Mom thought it was just from my period — but after a week she knew that was wrong. And thus began the agonizing journey to find a diagnosis, a label to answer the nagging question I repeated over and over in my mind.

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Roasted Vegetable Salad with Pomegranate

I seriously love my Instagram family – that’s what they are really, super supportive, kind, thoughtful, encouraging! What’s not to love? I asked today if it would be helpful for me to post the recipes I shared while guest posting for Whole30’s Instagram account. And I got a definitive answer of – YES PLEASE!! So here is the beginning of a series of those recipe posts, this one is an easy favorite!

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For The Love Of Food

Food serves a purpose. Multiple purposes in fact. To fill the body with nutrients so it can burn calories to use for energy, but it also serves to nourish us. I mean truly satisfy the inner parts of us all that find joy from sitting around a table giving each other the ultimate gift which grounds us to the Earth.  By creating flavorful dishes but more so by sharing with the intention offering food as love, we nourish one another.

I’ve watched my grandmother tirelessly bake a twelve-layer lemon cake year after year just as my great-grandmother did in the years past. It’s not because she loves spending hours baking the layers, cooking the lemon curd or finally icing each layer and carefully placing one on top of the other. It’s the joy she see’s on my grandpa’s face when he takes a bite. It’s the slightly higher pitched crack in her grandson’s voice when he asks if she had the time to make it this year. These are the feelings that make our souls full.

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Skillet Collards & Vermont Apples

I crawled out of the bed one morning and headed up the stairs from the basement into the kitchen where cinnamon overloaded the air. It smelled so strong as if someone had lit cinnamon sticks on fire mistaking them for incense.

I had been at my retreat in Vermont for two nights and had been missing a bit of my normal eating routine. And there, on the bar was one of the most beautiful sights.

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Letting Go Of Fears

The sky was misting that morning, releasing energy as we had as a group the past day of our retreat. We woke up to a much cooler day, less sun than prior and yet so much more life in us.

I took my orange tea out on the wooden deck, pulled my hooded raincoat over my head and began to sip. I watched as Black Jack, the black stallion, paced along the fence. The foliage peaked through the wet fog. Sip. I drank my tea, outside in the rain. I never do that. Something about the air in Vermont made me want to be outside all of the time. Any chance I got, I was taking in the environment around me and using it all as my living room. It was as if there were whispers from the air, “Get outside and absorb me.”

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Fall Roasted Carrots & Beets – My First Month AIP

One of my favorite staples while being on the Autoimmune Protocol, especially given the fall season, are roasted vegetables. I swear, put just about any veggies on a pan in the oven with some good quality oil, and you’re golden…or they are for that matter ;). Roasting them brings out their sweetness and gives them a rich melt-in-your-mouth texture. Both carrots and beets made a large appearance during my first month AIP since I had removed starchy vegetables, and all sugars, including fruit. I knew that my body initially needed to remove some further inflammatory foods, but it wasn’t until I started the protocol that I realized how easy this transition of eating could be. Thankfully, it’s simple and delicious, like these carrots!

Simple Roasted Carrots

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The Domino Effect of Decisions

There’s raw broccoli and a bag of sweet potato chips on the table. Both Paleo foods and both ready to eat immediately. Which do you choose? The choice is obvious here, but it’s a hard one to make when you aren’t really able to understand what the options in front of you mean for your body. Time and time again in all aspects of my life, I was choosing the chips, not realizing yet how the decisions I was making were affecting my body.  I don’t mean I was literally eating chips all the time (wouldn’t that be nice?) but what I do mean is I wasn’t fully aware yet to my own body’s needs. Having been diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis at 15 and most recently diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, Adrenal Fatigue and a significant hormone imbalance, there are key things my body needs and I hadn’t yet figured out what they were.

That is, until I decided to.

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