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Wednesday, September 5, 2012


I'm currently in week two of the Shift Cleanse, and things- digestive things- are looking up! The first 7 days were not as bad as I thought they'd be... let me give you a little background.

I. Love. Food. I always have, and I always will. When I was growing up it was a dream of mine to be a chef. EATING- it's a hobby. A sometimes expensive hobby (it's where most of my paycheck goes), but I'd rather spend my money on an amazing meal and drinks than other kinds of things (except travel. A good portion goes to that). For most of my life I got away with eating and drinking whatever I wanted with relatively no consequence- sugar in my water with lemon at restaurants (seriously, who was I), fast food any time of day or night, brown sugar mixed with butter as a snack (AGAIN. WHO WAS I). I put whatever I pleased in my mouth, and my weight fluctuated like crazy as a result. I was at my thinnest my last year of high school, and once I went to college, gained the Freshman 15 (and then some). By sophomore year I had lost most of it, but realized I had gained something else- some serious abdominal discomfort.

 For a couple of years I lived with very uncomfortable pain on the right side of my stomach, and my senior year I was finally diagnosed with a very sad gallbladder. I had a huge stone that was blocking my bile ducts so much that my gallbladder was functioning at a scarily low percentage. I made the decision to have it removed while I was still covered under my parent's insurance (it seemed a lot better than living with the pain another 1-2 years while I tried alternative treatments, but now I can't help but wonder... :\ ). After just a few hours in the hospital I was sent home with my sparkly gallstone in a plastic container and directions to limit fatty foods for the first few weeks while my body (especially liver) adjusted to the missing organ. I was told to limit fatty foods for the rest of my life, actually, but it took me less than 2 weeks to go back to my old way of eating (I'M SORRY BODY!).

When I moved to Portland, I continued to eat what and when I wanted and wasn't even shocked or motivated to change my ways when the pounds started to pile on. Even though I was experiencing some kind of pain (mostly intestinal, I think) almost daily I sort of came to see that as the norm, which made it even easier to excuse my poor eating habits. I'm going on my 5th year here, and am now the heaviest I've ever been. Recently something snapped inside of me and I've realized more than ever the time to start taking care of myself is NOW. It's been now for a long time but I've just been too stubborn, lazy, and unmotivated to do anything about it. I don't want to just exercise to maintain my health- I want to be conscious of what goes in my body. Heart disease is the number one killer of women- diabetes, cancer (not to mention people who've had gallbladders removed have a higher chance of getting colon cancer, yikes!), the lists of horrible diseases go on and on and I want to be sure my chances of  finding my name on one of them is as small as possible. Frequent abdominal pain (with a hefty dose of heart burn more recently) is surely not a sign of good things to come, and I am finally listening to what my body has literally been SCREAMING at me for the last few years. ENTER: My decision to follow through with this cleanse, lovingly laid out by Skylor at Sprout.

This blurb doesn't even touch on the emotional aspect of my indulgence. I guess that's a story for another time. :)

I just finished up week one and will be starting day 10 tomorrow. The first day I felt pretty normal- some heartburn and intestinal pain. I was EXHAUSTED and actually in bed- asleep- by 9PM. The next day was pretty much the same, but a rather annoying headache had formed by the evening. I was asleep and in bed by 10. Day 3, I WANTED TO DIE. Just crawl under my desk at work and DIE. I kept waking up during the night because of my headache and the damn thing lasted all. day. long! No amount of water, lunch time power nap, or deep breathing would help (I didn't want to take any meds for it because this is a cleanse... ya know!) and I was seriously pissed about it. There were a few minutes where I felt like puking and spent a few good dry heaves over the toilet... ugh. I've done juice fasts and mono diets before and by the end (3 days each time) I feel GREAT- energetic, sharp, pain-free. Why this day 3 was different I had no idea, and I never expected detoxification to manifest itself like that in me (although I know those symptoms are super common). I felt like I needed to run and sweat to help my body get rid of things, but when I got home I wanted a hot bath like NEVER BEFORE and ran one, then another, then another- probably a good 2 hours of soaking. When I got out it hurt to even open my eyes so I collapsed in bed for another early night....

AND THEN. Day 4. No headache (actually, in place of the headache was a small red rash at my hairline. It's still there, but pretty faint, and not raised... WHAT in the world is my body getting rid of?!). And from the brain fog came the realization that hey- I hadn't been feeling much pain! Not on day 5. In fact, I haven't felt anything inside my body even REMOTELY close to what I used to. Fiery pressure would sweep over my intestines, I would need to lay on my side, eat Tums, whatever... and now, pretty much NOTHING of note. How incredible is that?! I convinced Josh to do the cleanse with me and even he is feeling great (he has  some tummy trubbs, too). I've always held the key to feeling this way, but it's like I've been dangling it over myself and out of reach like an idiot. That astounds me. I was so much more into what I was eating than how it was making me feel- HOWEVER, I have no problem admitting that I'm super worried I'll go back to my old habits within the first few weeks the cleanse is over. I am going to take some serious time working through that for the rest of September.

Even though I am feeling great physically I am still experiencing emotional discomfort, namely HELLA CRAVINGS. I thought I would want sweets but a lot of what I'm eating now is starting to taste sweet to me. The thing I haven't been able to get off my mind is the margherita pizza from Nostrana. I cannot. stop. thinking about it. When week 3 rolls around the first food I want to test is bread- olive ciabatta from New Seasons (what I really want is Dave's Killer Blues, but I don't want to buy a whole loaf if I try some and it hurts me). Then, mozzarella. And then, tomato sauce. If all of those go smoothly by the weekend I will be having myself a broiled toasty pizza! CROSSING MY FINGERS SO HARD.

An update on this second phase coming next week!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

coming clean

Tomorrow I'm beginning an anti-inflammatory cleanse thanks to the guidance of Skylor Powell from Sprout! It's a 21 day program that I'm hoping will help me figure out which kinds of foods torture my digestive system. I want to write about everything here in hopes that I'll be able to look back at the change from painful to pain free and be reminded how important it is to start taking better care of myself. I've paid extra attention to the feelings of my stomach/intestines this week and I experienced some kind of discomfort more than 4 of the last 7 days. I also had some issues with acid reflux. I'm missing a gall bladder and know it's important for me to eat less fat, but I've pretty much allowed myself to eat whatever I want regardless (eep, that should probably end). I bought all kinds of yummy things like raw honey and coconut oil and made some cashew/date butter (walnut butter next). I'm going to get dates tomorrow and soon I'll pick fresh figs. I'm looking forward to my first week! I feel like this is pretty important right now.

Monday, August 20, 2012

full swing

Early summer adventures have been plentiful this year. The only things I wish I could do but won't be able to: boat ride to Astoria, Farm to Fork dinner, brunch on the Portland Spirit. Sigh. I have to save some of the good things for 2013, right?!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

swollen heart

This is a bouquet of roses from my great Gpa's garden. The bushes are more than 40 years old, and are some of the most beautiful blossoms! I miss my great Gma so much, it has been especially poignant the last couple of days. Grandparents die, I know. Everyone does. Sometimes I feel like I am feeling it too much, and I think about the people who have lost spouses, children, parents and I almost convince myself this shouldn't be so hard given the pain others must feel. But I know everyone processes grief in their own ways, and there is nothing wrong with what I feel- it's true. When I was in Iowa and then Michigan with Josh last fall I had this strange feeling inside of me that was almost magnetic. That's as close to Oklahoma as I've ever been, and I know my Gma was born in Carnegie, and something inside of me wanted to go there and throw myself down on the soil and give thanks to the tiny town that bore her. I wanted to go and find her, I wanted to follow her to wherever she had gone. I wanted to be sure she wasn't alone and scared. Then I quickly remember all she wanted in her last years was to be with my Gpa again, and that's where she is. Not only with her husband, but also a daughter, her parents, siblings and all the family and friends she had lost over the years. I hope it's a long long time from now, but when my day comes, it is going to be the sweetest reunion.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

spring greens

Josh & I live in a studio in a building full of condos so we don't have a yard at the moment. I have this kind-of habit of feeling guilty when I'm not growing some of my own food... so we sneakily put some containers near our parking space, which is at the end of the row near some shrubs where no one ever goes. We have 6 kales, 4 lettuces, & one healthy mint plant. My conscience feels so much better!
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