Well Hi there stranger!

It’s been a while since my last post, so I figured it was time to catch things up. There hasn’t been much going on lately, but also a ton of things going on……….you know what I mean? Sometimes I feel that my life is like watching the 3 Stooges in spanish! Quick, name that movie!!!!

 I visited my family in November, and got terribly off track with my juicing, which is very sad. What is even more sad is I took my juicer with me when we went, and I still got off my routine. Too much yummy food, too little time.

 Anyways, it has taken me almost all of December to resume some kind of juicing routine, and even now I am not doing so great. I am drinking juice for breakfast, and I drink juice again sometime in the afternoon again. I really need to do a juice only fast, but I am not sure if I have the willpower to do it. Plus I would be so cranky while I was fasting that I might not have a husband or any friends by the time I was done!

 I keep watching Joe Cross’ documentary (Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead) over and over, and I keep wondering where he gets the willpower and motivation from to have only juice for 60 days. I suppose that being so sick, and being so overweight finally just sent him over the edge. It probably helped too that he was able to take 60 days off work, there is no way I could do that!

I keep thinking that one of these days, I will be able to dig deep, and be able to do the same thing. I know that it would help tremendously, anytime you cut out processed, refined foods like sugar or white flour, it is better for your health. Why oh why do they have to taste so good? Oh, and butter and chocolate………don’t forget about the butter and chocolate!!!! Can someone please make these things taste bad, someone……..ANYONE???? They say that when you enjoy desserts and sweet things, that you have a “sweet tooth”. What I would like to find is a doctor that can extract this tooth!

 Ok, ok, enough complaining and reminiscing, let’s get down to the brass tacks here people. I really believe that I need to shock my system into a detox, and juicing seems to be a good way to do it. I need more energy, I need to lose weight, I need to try to get my body to feel better, and all that is not going to happen if I continue in my current habits.

 Diets do not work for me, I have tried so many:

·         Weight Watchers allows too many carbs

·         South Beach is just unreasonable and you would have to be a bazillionaire to afford to follow it

·         The Special K breakfast challenge is too carb focused, and in my opinion just does not give you enough nutrition and not enough food to fill you up

·         The Slimfast Diet is the same way, too carb focused and not enough food to satisfy you

·         The Reader’s Digest Diet doesn’t seem to be particularly effective for me either.

 On top of it all, my intestines hate me 95% of the time, and fresh or cooked fruits and veggies normally cause terrible problems, and most diets focus on filling you up with these things.

 I seem to be able to handle the juice, as it removes the insoluable fiber which really seems to be part of the culprit to my stomach issues. So maybe the juice fast really is the way to go, for me at least. But it’s not just the fasting that is hard, it’s the afterwards too, keeping up with the healthier eating, and not having a relapse. No point in juice fasting, losing weight, and then not being able to keep it off. I have to somehow change my mindset, which is going to take some work. Let’s see, a great big loaded baked potato, or feeling better? Hmmmm, I will have to get back to you on that one…….I NEED MOTIVATION!!!! Put the donut BACK!!!!!

 So I need to figure this out somehow, I will let you know how that goes………..

On a different subject (kind of) I went into the clinic last week to get some lab tests done, fairly simple ones, just a fasting glucose level and a lipid panel. I call today because I haven’t heard anything, and I find out that the Lab ran the wrong tests!!!! So now I have to go back in tomorrow morning and have more blood drawn for hopefully the correct tests. I am starting to think that something in the air at the clinic/hospital here makes 99% of the people that work there turn into morons, that’s all I can figure.

 The hubby doesn’t have a job (AGAIN) and it’s totally not his fault (AGAIN). The company he was working for went belly up on Wednesday without warning. So he is out looking for work (AGAIN) and we are just hoping that things turn out ok!

 That’s all for now (haven’t YOU had enough?)

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The Juicing Saga- A New Beginning!

So I sit here writing this blog with the theme of Star Wars playing in my head…..a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…….. I know, I am so strange……..could be because Disney just bought out LucasFilms for 45 quadrillion dollars, such a travesty, I am hoping Disney doesn’t murder the franchise.

Anyways, to fill you all in on my juicing saga:

First of all, let me say that this Breville Juicer is AMAZING, really it’s absolutely incredible! My juicer is The Juice Fountain Plus, get it on Amazon.com with free shipping and it’s the best price you can probably find. This thing is so powerful, it turns fruits and veggies into dry powder (think sawdust here people). It is so powerful that even on low, it too strong for soft fruits like citrus. It sounds like an airplane lifting off when you turn it on, and it puts out so much force that unless you are hanging on to the food pusher, the food pusher will almost levitate right out of the feed chute!!!!!!!

The one and only thing I do not like about the juicer is having to clean out the fine mesh basket that houses the blades. Thank goodness Breville includes a long handled brush specifically for cleaning the basket, which works fairly well, but even then sometimes I stand there and mutter death threats to the juicer as I am cleaning the basket. You do have to take the time to clean it extremely well each time, if you do not, it will be too clogged for the next time you juice and the machine will not work well at all. I have found that letting it soak for a while in the hottest tap water you can get does help soften all the pulp that has been shoved into the mesh.

***Just a disclaimer notice: I am in no way endorsed or compensated by Breville or Amazon.com. Neither of these companies know I even exist, and they never will I am sure, BUT I have to tell you of course which model of juicer I got, and where I got the best deal from!!!!***

So the very first full day of juicing, I juiced 32 ounces of juice for breakfast, and the same amount for lunch. By 3 pm I had a SCREAMING headache, and had to have some cheese and lean protein to snack on. We had dinner plans that evening at a friend’s house, so I ate a regular dinner.

The next day, I juiced for breakfast and I juiced for lunch, and the headache came back again. That’s when I decided that there was no way that I could do the full on juice-only fast, and expect to go to work and be able to function in such a way that I would get to keep my job and not be fired!!!

I am doing a modified version of the total fast: 32 ounces of juice for breakfast, then some lean protein and maybe some dairy for lunch. My lunch break at work isn’t until 2, and I either go home at that time and make another 32 ounces of juice for the afternoon, or I wait until dinner, and have my protein and carbs with 32 ounces of juice then.

I have no idea if I am losing any weight or not, I have not weighed myself since starting. I know what I weighed before I started juicing (and NO, I am not telling you what that was or else I will start crying) but I have a doctor appointment in 2 weeks, and will weigh again there and let you know. I know that I have more energy than I used to, I feel good about finally getting lots fruits and veggies added into my diet, and my body seriously craves the juice. I missed one full day of juicing and I noticed such a difference in my energy levels and I just felt something was missing.

I have basically cut out all snacking except for drinking my juice. If I am going to have something sweet, I am trying my best to only have it at dinner after my meal.

Now, as far as juice recipes go, I really should have started doing this juice thing before the summer fresh produce season was up. Of course, during the fall, winter, spring, your options are somewhat limited.

As far as veggies go, I juice a TON of carrots and celery as my veggies, sometimes I throw in some spinach. I have been putting in kale the past 2 days and yuck!!!! It is so bitter! Once I use up the 2 bunches of kale I bought, I don’t think I will buy it again, it is just too much for me to handle. It adds such a funk to the juice, I can’t handle it. Cucumber is really yummy with the carrots and celery too. I would love to try some beets, but they are just so expensive at our grocery stores here! I have been trying to think of other ideas for veggies I can try, maybe some sweet potatoes might be interesting. Not quite sure how much juice I will get from them, but they are relatively inexpensive and super good for you. I can’t stand tomato juice, so I haven’t gone there yet, and can’t bring myself to juice them yet. I try really hard to keep at least 50% of my juice volume as veggie juice each time I make a bottle of juice.

The best way to juice softer veggies, like kale or spinach, is to put them in the feed chute with the firmer veggies like celery or carrots. If not, even a high quality juicer may kick the leafy veggies into the disposal bin without ever juicing them, and that’s just a huge waste.

Now fruits are easy of course, who doesn’t love fruit, right? My juice always consists of apples, they are relatively affordable, and buying my favorite granny smiths in the small size in pre-measured weight bags seems to be the way to go. The smaller ones fit in the 3 inch feed chute of the juicer without any cutting, and the small apples seem to be more reasonably priced. Why, I don’t know, unless it has something to do with America’s obsession of size over quality……..anyways, I digress. Apples are great, use any kind you want, whatever is your favorite.

Oranges, lemons, and limes are good, just make sure you peel them first or else the oil in the peel can totally overwhelm the juice and make it really bitter. Tangerines are in season right now, so I have been using those too. Same thing as the other citrus, just make sure you peel them first. I love, love, love red grapefruit, and would love to use it in my juices, but one of the medications I take does not mix well with grapefruit so I really can’t have it. I find that if you are going to add citrus fruit, put a hard fruit in first like an apple, then citrus, press down the food pusher to feed them throw then repeat as needed.

Pineapple is awesome, I cut the top and bottom off, stand the pineapple up and go around with a small knife taking the exterior layer off from top to bottom. Then just cut into 4 vertical wedges, then cut those in half and you have enough for 4-8 juicings. I use an 8th of a pineapple at a time, with all the other fruit, it adds just enough pineapple flavor.

I have even juiced some cranberries, those were pretty darn tricky. My juicer is so powerful it was kicking them out of the feed chute as I was pouring them in, I felt like I was in a drive by shooting and dodging bullets!!!! Julia Child would have been passed out laughing on the kitchen floor if she had been there. What a mess, I was chasing rolling cranberries all over the kitchen floor……. So the best way to juice something like that is to put another fruit in first, like my handy dandy reliable apple, pour in cranberries on top of that, THEN push everything through together with the food pusher.

Another thing I have been adding to almost every juice is some ginger root. I am totally addicted to ginger, and have been for a long time, so I just love the flavor it adds to the juice. You should try it some time, take a 1 inch piece of ginger root, some apples, celery and carrots and juice them together. It’s awesome!!!

I am looking forward to next summer with all the berries coming back into season and getting some fresh produce at the farmers market. I can’t wait!

I carry my juice around in a translucent  32 ounce Nalgene bottle with a screw lid. This works great for carting my juice around everywhere with me, but one word of caution: DO NOT try to drink any of your juice while driving down a bumpy road. Depending on what you have in your juice, it can stain clothing and car interiors pretty badly, and I would recommend avoiding that, or else more death threats will be directed towards your juicer, and these might be yelled, not muttered under your breath.

That’s all for now…….HAPPY JUICING EVERYONE!!!!!

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Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead……..How about you?

So this morning I woke up with a screaming headache/neck ache/back ache. I think I slept wrong AGAIN (for the umpteenth time this month) and everything just feels out of whack. I ate breakfast, a yummy baked french toast casserole that I had made the night before, and promptly felt ill, as in I-am-going-to-throw-up-any-minute kind of ill.

So I sat down on the couch to see if it would pass, and decided to turn the TV on. We don’t have cable, just instant Netflix to our TV. As I am scrolling through the choices, I see a show called “Fat,Sick and Nearly Dead.” Something about this triggers a memory in the back of my brain……did a friend tell me about this show? Did I read something on the internet or in a magazine about it? Regardless of where the memory came from, I decide to take 1 hour and 37 minutes to watch the program.

I have one word for you: GENIUS!!!!! Joe Cross- an over weight, not quite middle age man from Australia- bares almost everything about his journey to lose weight, feel better, and cure himself of his illnesses. When I say he bares almost everything, I mean it. He sheds his shirt on camera to display his 32 months pregnant with quadruplets belly.

He comes to America, and for 60 days, 60 DAYS, he eats nothing but fruits and vegetables that he juices in a juicer. At the end of 60 days he has lost something like 87 pounds, has been able to go off all of his medication, and his auto immune disease he has is in remission.

It all has to do with micro nutrients: fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and legumes. This is what your body needs to be able to fight off illness and renew your cells properly. Macro nutrients are everything else, and these are not really things that your body needs, and should not be eaten except in small quantities. So by fasting on micro nutrients, your body is able to detox from the macro nutrients and it starts to function more normally.

If you want to know more, watch the show. I think you can watch it for free on Hulu.com. I would very strongly recommend that you watch it, it is worth the time.

So, with that being said, I have decided to try it. I figure that 10 days of juice fasting on fruits and veggies can’t hurt. You are still getting carbs, and vitamins and minerals, and while I may be quite grumpy for at least the first few days, I am going to try this! Pray for my poor husband……

I have ordered the juicer, it will be here this week, and will let you know when I start the fast!

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Hello world!

So the big thing in my life right now that will be today’s topic of conversation…….Within the past 3 years, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Lupus. This took years for doctors to figure out, and it has been a struggle all the way through to get them to listen to me. Within the past few weeks, I have been diagnosed as possibly having Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis, and again, this has taken years for the doctors to catch on.

For those of you with a chronic, “invisible” illness (or two or three), I am sure you can relate to this statement: WHY DO DOCTORS NOT ACTUALLY LISTEN TO THEIR PATIENTS MORE OFTEN??? I had been trying for years to get a doctor to listen to me. I kept telling doctor after doctor that something was wrong, I didn’t feel right. I was in constant pain, I was not sleeping well, my intestines hated me no matter what I did, etc, etc. They would run their little tests, and tell me “There is nothing wrong with you, it’s all in your head, go exercise and lose some weight and you will feel better.”

Ummmm, really? That’s your professional medical opinion? I just paid $400 for you to tell me that it’s all in my head? I don’t think so!!!!

So then I would go to another doctor, and start all over again. This went on for a while, until finally, one day, out where we were living in Northwestern Colorado, in 2009 I found a doctor that actually cared enough to put aside what she thought she knew and was willing to listen to me!!!! Wow, I doctor that does not have their head stuck inside their rectum? What an amazing concept!

This incredible woman took the time to run test after test after test, until she finally found something wrong. She sent me to a Rheumatology Specialist, and BINGO! I have moderate/severe Fibromyagia and  mild/moderate Lupus! I am not crazy (well, at least in this situation).

Words cannot describe the way I felt that day, the sense of vindication, the feeling of knowing that I WAS sick, it WASN’T all in my head, and there WAS a name for what was wrong.

Now more recently, trying to figure out why I have had these severe intestinal issues for the past 7 years has been a repeat of the same process. I will spare you the details of these issues, they make for quite the gag reflex in most people, especially ones who are eating. Let me just say that I was way, WAY beyond miserable with these symptoms, and I will leave it at that.

So here we go again, with doctor’s visits and specialist visits, and tests and procedures galore. And what was the result of all this? You guessed it, zip, zilch and nada. Not a darn thing! After a while, you get very tired of hearing “Well….we don’t really know what is wrong with you.” Oh great, not this again, seriously???

I am going to digress for a moment……By this time, it was the end of 2010, and we were in the process of moving back to Northern Wisconsin. My parents and my husband’s parents were there, and it was going to put us closer to other family as well.

Once we got back to Wisconsin, in 2011 I was finally able to get the breast reduction I had needed since the 5th grade. I had a really wonderful surgeon, very down to earth, and just an all around nice person. She was even surprised herself that by then end of the surgery, she had removed 6.4 pounds. That’s more than I weighed when I was born!!! I woke up after the surgery, and could see my feet for the first time in years, it was amazing! Recovery was a terribly slow process. As anyone with an auto immune disorder will tell you, trying to get your body to heal after major surgery can be a nightmare. After a terrible bout with a nasty infection on the left side, I finally healed up more than 5 months after my surgery.

So moving forward to this year, I had been working with my primary care physician, who was actually a Physician’s Assistant. She could not figure out what I was having such terrible intestinal issues either. She referred me to a Gastroenterologist that she used to work with in her younger years, and he and his team started trying to figure out what was going on.

Standard procedure seems to be to schedule an Endoscopy and Colonoscopy, so that’s what we did. I remember being in the recovery room after the procedure, the doc comes in, circles a picture from the procedure showing hemorrhaging in my ileum, and says “It looks like Crohn’s.” They do biopsies and the whole gamut of testing, and then come back and say “Nope, it’s not Crohn’s.” So more tests follow, and scans and ultrasounds and xrays, and I am getting to the point where my head is spinning and I don’t know which way is up.

The doctor schedules what seems to kind of be a “final followup.” He comes into the room, and admits that he doesn’t know what is going on, and he is going to put me on a prescription strength anti-diarrheal.

But wait a minute doc? What about those pictures of the hemorrhaging? You said that was a sign of Crohn’s? Why are those there? You can’t just give up now, I need to know why those are there?

Making a terribly long saga somewhat short, the doctor agrees to try me on 14 days of a “well tolerated” Crohn’s medication. And what happened? Yep, you guessed right, it’s working beautifully…..imagine that.

Maybe they need to teach doctors in medical school that you can run all the fancy expensive tests you want to, but sometimes when it looks, walks, and quacks like a duck, perhaps you should admit that it is a duck!!!!

So to close out this post, I would like to give the following piece of advice to all of my fellow “invisible chronic illness” brethren out there: When you are feeling ill and you know that something is wrong, just because a doctor tells you that nothing is wrong with you, it doesn’t mean that you have to believe it. You know your body better than anyone else on this planet. If your body is screaming at you, trying to tell you that you are sick, listen to it! There are plenty of us out there who from the outside look just fine, other than the dark circles and bags under our eyes from lack of sleep. But we know better, we know that something is wrong.

If you go to one doctor, and they tell you that nothing is wrong, then find another doctor! And if that doctor tells you the same thing, then find another one. Do not give up! At some point, and it may take years like it did for me, you will find someone that will listen to you, and dignify you by listening and trying to help you. Just remember, it’s an unavoidable fact and numerical statistic: just because someone graduated from medical school and has the letters MD after their name, they still could have graduated in the bottom half of their class!

You will get through this!!!! Hang in there!

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