Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Story of How I Got Like This, aka You should read this first

This will not be short. But it just may help someone who is having some health issues that remain elusive to traditional doctors and medicine. I will try not to curse out the doctors who didn't listen/ blamed me/were total ass hats too much.

I remember my tummy hurting in kindergarten. A lot. I'm pretty sure the teachers and nurses thought I was lying just to go home. But it seemed that I would worry a lot, and worry led to tummy ache. Cut to about 8th grade. We go to my pediatrician with my symptoms (I wake up really nauseous every morning). She first asks if I'm pregnant. I have yet to get my period or go on a date, so no. Then, we think ulcers. Makes sense- I hate school as I'm teased all day long about everything relentlessly. The cure? Some medication that didn't seem to make any difference whatsoever.

First day of high school- mom makes me breakfast, I'm looking all cute cause it's my birthday and I'm a freshman now and it's do-over time from the hell that was junior high. Get to homeroom. Proceed to vomit all over desk. Since I'm old, this was prior to our household owning an answering machine (we quickly got one after this little episode). Am forced to sit in nurses office all day long, while she happily chirps to EVERYONE that it's my birthday, I'm a freshman, and I puked in homeroom. Cue the pity looks from all the upper classmen. Awesometastic.

Soon after, the beauty of mother nature makes an appearance and I get my period. I also get days of pain that doubles me over and 3 days straight of puking. Every. Single. Month. Back to the pediatrician (yeah yeah yeah i did NOT want to see the "icky" doctor yet). She prescribes 4 ibuprofen, every 4 hours, starting a week before and going through a week after my period. Monthly. To those that know the crap they put in otc meds, your mouth is probably hanging open right now. If not, let's just know that ibuprofen is known to cause intense stomach issues- like chewing through the lining of it. So if I didn't have an ulcer before, I sure have one now. Did I keep up this regimen?  You bet! Did the cramps or nausea get better? Hell no!

Full Disclosure- I developed an eating disorder all through high school.  I was a cheerleader, I was carrying around some MAJOR insecurities from junior high (being called fattie, lassie, rin tin tin, and being mooed at on a daily basis will do that to you) and honestly, I just felt better when I didn't eat. And if I was forced to eat? I would puke. I was such a champ at it already, it wasn't hard to force it. I barely had to. I have no idea how it's possible, but I never got under 112 pounds. I will say that I thought this was absurdly unfair, but I suppose God decided I needed to not be rail thin, and so it goes. I guess that did not help my digestive system. I just got used to not feeling well.  I would especially make sure never to eat before any event- football game, play, concert, hanging out with friends, taking a walk. I'd find that my stomach could not handle it, and I would get super nauseous, AND the other end would start acting up. Yup. I'm doing it. I'm talking about poop. And not dainty little female poop either. I'm talkin' loud, embarrassing, I WILL NEVER DO THIS IN A PUBLIC RESTROOM poop. Do you know what the definition of hell is?   It's giving a girl a SERIOUS intestinal problem AND intense bathroom stage fright. Just. So. Wrong.

Anyway, all that to say that I did zero to help my stomach issues, and probably just exacerbated the problem. Things didn't get better in college. I was still holding onto my eating disorder, and my stomach began to betray me. Like, sitting in a quiet, crowded room and holding in gas only to have my stomach FART FROM THE INSIDE. So loud. So embarrassing. So the opposite of what I was trying to do. At least it didn't smell...

I eventually went to the icky doc to discover that I had endometreosis via surgery. The cramps got a bit better after that (as did the meds...thank you percocet), and I was put on a strong birth control to help the endometreosis not come back. My stomach liked none of that. We went to a gastroenterologist. I wish I was making this up. But this actually happened. They said there was a strong chance that I had a dairy intolerance, but they couldn't do the test because SOMEONE STOLE THE MOUTHPIECE OF THE MACHINE YOU BREATHE INTO.  I'm fairly certain crap like that only happens to me (the story of how I couldn't take my driver's test because the driving teacher I had broke the steering column of her car in half, or the tow truck driver taking me and my car home who fell asleep behind the wheel doing 70 on a highway and I couldn't wake him up fo a while so i made him just drop me off at some gas station in the middle of nowhere....yup. those happened too.)  So I stayed away from dairy. Didn't help.

As the years went on, and I started teaching high school music, more of my body started to fail.  I got really really really bad acne. Like I took acutane TWICE and it still didn't go away bad. And I was sweating like a man. A big, hairy, heavy man who just ran a marathon. Sweatstains from pits to pelvis, which looks fabulous when I'm conducting a choir. I just thought I was doomed to be abnormal and won't these be funny stories to tell me kids someday if I'm not too grotesque to land a husband ha ha ha.  So I used prescription strength deoderant (bring on the aluminum!), stayed on the pill to help my skin, continued to not eat in public, or before any events, or really anywhere except my house, and I got married and moved to Washington.

And s*** got real. I started putting on weight like crazy. I felt awful ALL. THE. TIME. I was always so tired and so sick to my stomach. My poor hubbs. We literally couldn't do dinner and a movie, because after dinner I would immediately have to go home to use the bathroom, where I would spend a good portion of my evening cause it was a continous thing, not just a one and done deal.  We never went out, we cancelled plans all the time because I was just ill. Then came MY YEAR OF VOMIT. I threw up, every day, about the same time (6 pm) for a little over a year. And I was still gaining weight. GAINING WEIGHT!! So back to the gastroenterologist I went. She was a gem. She didn't really register what I was saying to her, she completely dismissed the fact that my aunt had been having abdominal issues that they diagnosed as IBS for 2 years until they discovered that she had ovarian cancer, she told me it was just IBS and gave me a book to read on it (gotta love an Irritable Bowel Syndrome book), gave me FIBER which just made the problem a million times worse, AND the cherry on top?  She said to me "IF YOU WERE THROWING UP EVERY DAY, YOU WOULD BE SKINNIER". R.A.G.E.

Colonoscopy, upper GI tests, all uncomfortable, all finding zero wrong with me. I was sent to an allergist, who poked my arm with 6 different needles and told me I was allergic to nothing.

And then, my chiropractor, Dr Dana McCracken (yes that IS his real last name) asked how I was feeling.  And I was honest with him. and he said "we have an awesome naturopath that we share an office with. Make an appointment with her". And I thought, doctors are stupid, so no. This was 2 years after I took myself off of birth control, and there were no pregnancy scares. 2 years, and I thought "well I really wanted to be a mom, it's all I've ever wanted but maybe it's just not in the cards for me. maybe I'll just be a really good auntie some day".  But I finally made the appointment. I sat down and told her everything. She said it sounds like you have food allergies. Here let's take some blood. Blood went onto index card  with 8 little circles on it. Mailed to lab. 2 weeks later, back in her office we went over my results.

There are 96 different foods on this IgG/ IgE antibodies test. I was highly sensitive/allergic to about 92 of them. She had never actually seen someone who was allergic to carrots. She said that my poor body had been out of whack for so long that it just couldn't process any foods any more. So I had to eliminate EVERYTHING I was allergic to. For at least a few months. Then we would do the test again and see if my body was able to reset itself.

So I basically ate lettuce from the end of November til March. I immediately dropped 15 pounds, felt a million times better....and got pregnant with babygirl on February 6th. Turns out, eating foods that you are sensitive to can cause infertility.

Not gonna lie- my pregnancy SUUUUUUUUPER sucked. I threw up all the time. I couldn't keep anything down. Crackers and toast were the only things that sounded good. and it lasted the entire pregnancy. And babygirl came 10 weeks early, due to a placental abruption. We spent the first 2 months of her life in the NICU. I knew God had blessed me with this teeny little miracle who was SUCH a strong fighter, SUCH a jersey girl. and I knew I had to do everything humanly possible to ensure she was healthy and happy. I lived in the NICU, I pumped, I snuggled skin to skin with her, and I read. A LOT. The thing about reading is, you can't UNREAD it. you can't UNKNOW things. I felt responsible for her early birth, but I sure as hell wasn't gonna continue to make the same mistakes. no more chemicals in our food. no more processed garbage. no more pesticides. no more hormones and antibiotics. no unnecessary vaccines, no unnecessary medications, no formula, no added empty calories. this girl had gone granola for sure. and babygirl and I, we healed together. the docs and nurses and nutritionists listened, and we worked out plans for her not to be supplemented. and they said it couldn't be done, but babygirl left that NICU BREASTFEEDING- not taking it from a bottle. We went home and we bought only organic food. We started with meats especially, and dairy, then moved onto produce. We moved to condiments, then started cutting out almost all condiments because even the organic ones had crap in there we didn't want. We stopped taking over the counter meds- mainly because all the body aches and head aches disappeared. Nothing we eat comes out of a box or a can. We use only glass to store our food. We threw out the microwave and replaced it with an oven hood (the smoke alarm no longer goes off when we're cooking!!!) We didn't feed babygirl ANYTHING besides breastmilk for the first year of her life. and after that, it was all organic, and all made from scratch by me. I know I know, it seems a little extreme but a) i'm a virgo, type a, perfectionist freak job and b) i never want her to have the kinds of stomach issues i did so we're militant about what she eats.  We started buying the organic, hormone free soaps for her, and recently i've been making my own facewash and shampoo. We buy natural deoderant, natural soap, natural laundry detergent, no fabric softener or dryer sheets. no fluoride in our toothpaste. no tap water, ever. Replacing all of our hygiene/cleaning products was the final piece to the puzzle, and my weight has not been this low since the first year of our marriage. plus i have energy and we rarely get sick.

I wanted to make sure that babygirl and I were on the right track, so back to the naturopath we went for a blood test. My results were astonishing. There are only 4 or 5 foods that i am still highly sensitive to. Babygirl has a sensitivity to gluten and citrus, but she's young enough where we think her body might reset once we've removed them from her diet for a time. And she's SO healthy. SO happy. SO perfect.

So i'm just a little bit passionate about this whole organic way of life. i'm not sure if you got that....


EPA Regulations, or Just How Stupid is Our Government

EPA Water Regulations

Go ahead.  Click on the link. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll probably think "there's just NO way this is real".  But it is. And if it weren't so freakin' scary, it might be laughable.

Here's the thing.  These people are regulating what is put in our water system.  You know, the stuff you drink, cook with, brush your teeth with, water your plants with, bathe in.  No big deal, just everything. We are told that when we travel to other countries we MUST NOT DRINK THE WATER!!!!  You'll die of diphtheria, or just crap yourself silly (see: Charlotte in the Sex and the City movie). They say this, but then what they PURPOSEFULLY put in our water supply??? Not ok.

I would love to just copy and paste this entire link, but that seems like plagiarism, so I'll just give you some highlights.  To their credit, the EPA does note both what the added stuff is supposed to do, the health risks they've found that are caused by it, and how to get it out of your water. I would give them more credit if they simply stopped allowing/ putting it in there. But I digress.  Some of these show up in our water due to run-off from factories, and some of them are run-off due to things that are sprayed all over our non-organic food and plants. That's a nice double whammy since we're ingesting it and drinking it. Here are just a few:

Chlorite- byproduct of drinking water disinfection.
 Potential health effects from long term exposure:
Anemia; infants & young children: nervous system effects.  Well isn't that fun.

Alachlor & Atrazine- Runoff from herbicide used on row crops.
Potential health effects from long term exposure:
Eye, liver, kidney or spleen problems; anemia; increased risk of cancer
Cardiovascular system or reproductive problems.
WAIT. So what they're saying is, they've DONE STUDIES to show the harmful, long term effects of herbicide on our bodies, they ACKNOWLEDGE that the above issues are a potential consequence, and yet they've let Big Ag companies run rampant with not only spraying the crap out of all of our food, but also GENETICALLY MODIFYING seeds with herbicide INSIDE of them so they can withstand MORE of the herbicide spray!?!?! I had to read those a few times. and I had to wait to stop shaking in anger before I was able to type. because to me? That's CRIMINAL. Especially when they REFUSE TO LABEL GMOs (the genetically modified seeds I referred to- a post I will definitely get to soon).
Fluoride- Water additive which promotes strong teeth; erosion of natural deposits; discharge from fertilizer and aluminum factories
Most of the chemicals are listed as 0.8, 0.2 etc. Fluoride is listed as a 4
Potential health effects from long term exposure:
Bone disease (pain and tenderness of the bones); Children may get mottled teeth

Take your time.  Read that last sentence as many times as you need. Read the whole paragraph.  They ADD fluoride to our water because it "promotes strong teeth". In the box RIGHT NEXT TO THAT, it states bone disease and mottled teeth are a potential health effect. RIIIIIIIGHT.  I've read a lot about fluoride in the recent months. We've stopped using toothpaste with any fluoride in it (again, there will be a post about it later....). I mean, there's probably a pretty good reason they don't put it in children's toothpaste and they say DO NOT SWALLOW on the toothpaste tubes. Funny then, how it's totally fine to put a rather large amount of it in the water we are drinking.


I'll try to be eloquent about this. I'll probably fail. These ass hats are not only allowing this garbage to be put in our water- they're ADDING it to our water. And they're also ADDING it to our food supply (hello pesticide/insecticide/herbicide). And they're spending a lot of money to ensure that they DON'T HAVE TO TELL US about some of those additives.

As for my house, we'll be investing in a water filter system for every single place water comes out of- shower, bathtub, kitchen sink, sprinklers. For right now, I get to stand at my refrigerator door for a half hour while getting enough water to boil pasta.

And fyi, you can thank my little bro, Richie, for this post. He's visiting right now, and he's the one who not only got us started on our organic journey, but who happened upon this link today and made me read it. All. His. Fault.


Friday, April 26, 2013

My First Post!

Well, I've done it. I have no idea what I'm doing- is this the right place to start a blog? Does this format suck? Do I suck?  Who knows, but we'll soon see.

What I'm really worried about right now is whether or not my blog page is pretty. And how I can bling it up a little. Cause it's all about aesthetics for me.  Seriously, I would buy just about anything if it was wrapped up in a pretty package. I'm pretty sure that's the Jersey in me. Ah well, vanity you are my favorite sin. 

Anyhow, I've started this blog because I continue to be told that I should and sometimes I succumb to peer pressure. I have a lot to say, and instead of forcing all of the nice folks on facebook to listen to me, I should probably have a space to rant in that doesn't show up on their newsfeed constantly.  So I'll keep it light, as this is my first post and I kinda just want to see what my page looks like when I've finished with it.

I eat only organic, non-processed, real food. There are just SO many reasons that I do this, and at the top of the list is because if I don't, I WILL vomit. A lot. And I'm not sure if you've tried it, but vomiting while caring for a very active toddler is complicated.  The noises scare them, but they're awfully curious about what it is you're doing...and then they try to "help". Messy, and just not fun. I only feed babygirl the same, and we're still nursing 20 months in, mainly so that she doesn't end up with a digestive system like me. This does not mean that I don't enjoy food and life, that I don't allow sugar or dairy or food goodness in general. we LOOOOOOOVE food. I'm Italian; we find reasons to celebrate so we can eat. I just make everything from scratch using organic ingredients that don't rot me from the inside out. The hubbs and I are foodies and babygirl is quickly following in our footsteps. And we like it that way. Do we go out to eat ever? Not very much, but when we do we try to ensure that we go to reputable places that are conscious about the origin of the food they serve. Do we eat everything? For the most part, yes. Babygirl and I just got our IgG antibodies tested for food sensitivities/ allergies (I will write a whole post on the sheer MAGIC of this test and how it totally turned my entire life around for the better) and it turns out that she is moderately sensitive to gluten and citrus. HUGE BUMMER, but we're coping and I'm hopeful that after our 6 week shun of all things gluten comes to an end, her little system can reset and tolerate gluten later in life.  Do we diet? HELL. TO. THE. NO. Diets are of satan. For starters, as soon as you shun a food group, you want nothing but that food group. And I don't like to inflict that kind of misery on myself daily. Also, any food that claims it is a diet food??  CHEMICAL S*** STORM. For reals. I make desserts. They are delicious, and just a little bit totally satisfies because it's REAL food.  

Is it hard to get started? Not really. Just start small. Start replacing things that you use every day- like the milk/ cream/ sugar in your coffee- make it organic. Or start buying organic, farm fresh eggs. Use the dirty dozen list as a guide as well- the things that you really should be eating organic because of the insane amount of chemicals/ pesticides/ GMOs etc (we'll get into ALL of that nonsense in another post as well). 

Go here to see the Dirty Dozen list 

I hope you'll keep reading. I hope I can keep up with writing. I hope you like me. I hope you realize that once we get a little more comfortable with each other, I will be talking about poo.  And remember, if anything I've said in here offends you, go ahead and blame Anna, because clearly she didn't translate correctly.