Virtual coffee date {decaf edition}

How about a virtual coffee date on this fine Thursday morning?

  • How often do you go through your social media accounts and unfollow ones that no longer suit you? A few weeks ago I went through my profile and unfollowed accounts.  It’s something I do every few months or so. I’ve been feeling really withdrawn lately, and decided that I only want to see things that are uplifting, inspiring or bring some sort of enjoyment to my life. Then it opens myself up to finding new accounts to follow.

  • I switched to decaf coffee. It’s true. For the last few months I had terrible anxiety. It’s something I deal with on a regular basis, but this was increasing and out of control for seemingly no reason at all. Like, I’d get incredibly anxious/panic feeling on my way to work every single morning. I LOVE my job & often feel very excited to go to work, so it was really confusing. Then my Functional Practitioner offered two very wise suggestions: 1) Think about going off coffee (maybe that’s common knowledge ha!) but the other thing she said stuck with me. 2) Sometimes the body misinterprets excitement for stress. Ah-ha! That was so eye opening. Things just clicked when she mentioned that. My anxiety got a little better, but still was a nearly daily struggle. So one day I switched from 2 full caf shots of espresso to decaf cold turkey, and my anxiety completely went away. Problem solved. On to the next one!

  • Going back to work early this season has been so healing for me. When I was so sick in December, I thought work was going to impossible, but thankfully it has been quite the opposite. I know a lot of folks who are unhappy with their jobs right now don’t get this sort of thing, but my job is something I am so, so thankful for. Plus it’s totally fun and let’s be real, it’s the best job I’ve ever had in my life.
  • Sometimes we don’t push ourselves to do things we’d like to do, because we underestimate our abilities. I was recently talking to a woman who has a serious heart condition. She was struggling to take her dogs on a walk around the block due to shortness of breath, so she was having a friend do it. She explained that to her cardiologist in Stanford and he said “you can’t breathe because you think you can’t.” Shocked, but willing to give it a try, she started walking her dogs to the end of the block and back, increasing the distance every day. Guess what? She can now breathe. The mind-body connection is absolutely incredible!
  • We officially have our summer vacation planned! I am getting so excited about it!

What are you up to?

What kind of accounts are you drawn to on social media?

Is anyone planning a summer vacation?

Weeding the garden

 

Hey hey! It’s been awhile since I last checked in. I’ve been back to work and really, there wasn’t anything to update y’all on. It took a few months of testing, but I finally have a diagnosis and treatment plan.

After months of sickness and testing, we finally have some answers. It is not at all what both my Functional Practitioner and I suspected. We both felt strongly it was SIBO. Like, we were shocked that test came back fine. Then she was shocked the extensive wheat & gluten test came back great. Me, not so much. I just knew it wasn’t wheat or gluten. LONG LIVE BREAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

During the testing process, my body increasingly started to react to nearly every food I put into it. Except chicken and white rice. That has been my go – to meal on the worst of days. You’d prolly think I’d be sick of it, but it’s actually my favorite meal because it’s comforting.

Then we did a large intestine test. Probably one of the least glamorous things I’ve done in my whole little life.

However, it was worth it because it gave us the most insight on what’s going on with this broken gut:

  • Candida – colon and likely SIFO
  • Low beneficial strains in colon
  • High number of commensal bacteria
  • Possible hydrogen sulfide SIBO – we can’t prove it, but strongly believe it’s there.

Additional issues we are and will be addressing:

  • Sluggish liver
  • Low HcL
  • Food intolerances

I had the Candida diagnosis in November of 2014, at the same time I found out about my food allergies & intolerances. Back then it was a very mild case that I tried to get under control with a huge diet modification. Which for the record I will never do again. I didn’t try antimicrobials, which in hindsight, I should have. Then in April of 2016 I had gallbladder removal surgery and never fully recovered since.

Here is my theory on what I think happened:

I already had a mild yeast overgrowth, then had that traitor gallbladder removed. During surgery they pumped me full of antibiotics, which killed a lot of good gut bacteria. I never fully recovered, partly due to the yeast taking over even more. During this time I was taking probiotics, but I believe they may have been the wrong strain(s).

In September of 2016 I was still working with the IBS Treatment Center, and the doctor increased my probiotics. I was taking 100 billion a day which made me feel even worse. Gah I felt so unwell, with even more gut issues and struggled to make it through the day. My health was spiraling downward at a fast rate. That’s when I stopped working with the IBS TC and went Stanford.

In the beginning of November of 2016, I was on another round of antibiotics for a UTI, and the following week is when my health tanked. Even though I took a probiotic with the antibiotic, I think my gut was just too wrecked from everything else.

Treatment is a lot different this time around. You guys know I’ve been working with a new Functional Practitioner here in Monterey and I love her! She’s also my acupuncturist. Her approach is so refreshing. She explained that because I’ve been sick for so long, we are going to approach treatment like taking out a garden at the end of the season. Instead of dumping Round Up all over it, we’re going to pull weeds & plants one by one.

For someone who suffered greatly on the anti-Candida diet, and is still very sick, this is so refreshing. I feel so optimistic because our plan has baby steps that are broken down. We can deviate from it if something doesn’t work or whatever the case may be, but I have an outline of what lies ahead.

Before I get into how we’re treating my gut issues, please know that this plan & natural herbs are tailored to my specific needs. We did a lot of testing to figure out what works best, so if you have gut issues, please reach out to a Holistic/Chinese Medicine Functional Practitioner. Don’t follow the protocol some chick on the internet is doing.

Treatment:

  • First thing is to support the liver. I have a mysterious pressure/slight pain just under my right rib where the gallbladder was. At first I could literally feel it expand when I ate any amount of fat, but now it comes and goes. No one can identify what it is or where it’s coming from. So to be extra cautious, we are supporting the liver by taking Milk Thistle twice a day and taking Sunflower Lecithin with meals that have fat.
  • Continue HcL. I take this with meals that have protein and it has been a huge game changer in aiding digestion.
  • Antimicrobials. There are two, but we are going to start with introducing 1 at a time. If I tolerate it well, we will add the second. When taken at the same time, they work better together.
  • 2-4 weeks after antimicrobials, rebuild beneficial gut bacteria with pre and probiotics.
  • We may use biofilm, but we’ll see how everything else goes first.

Last night I started the first antimicrobial using the “low and slow” method. Things went great, so I upped the dose a little this morning. In a few days I’ll introduce the second one and cross my fingers I don’t have a horrible die off reaction. I’ll update the blog as we go along.

Has anyone worked with a Functional or Holistic practitioner? Please share your experiences. 

Have you had or have Candida or gut issues? How did you treat it?

Stop being so damn hard on yourself

Stop being so damn hard on yourself.

I know this isn’t some new, profound thing, but it has been eating me alive for so long. With all of the health issues I’ve been facing lately, it has manifested into my daily life and after realizing it a few weeks ago, I have made a conscience, yet failed effort to escape from that mindset.

It slapped me upside the face this afternoon when I got home from picking up some fresh, beautiful strawberries, rainbow chard, sweet potatoes & papaya from Whole Foods. But all I wanted was a giant bowl of Cocoa Krispies. Full of sugar, chocolate, GMO’s…probably one of the most non-healing foods on the planet.

So I poured a giant bowl with some almond milk and sat down. It was so delicious. Like, my brain was so happy. But I couldn’t shake this thought of disappointment in myself for choosing such a terrible snack. Especially when I just picked up some of the most healing foods on the planet. How’s that for a first world problem?

Then it hit me. Stop being so damn hard on yourself. Having one bowl of crappy, yet amazingly delicious food doesn’t cancel out the good stuff. I just need to arrive at a place of balance. Life is too short to worry about small crap like this. Heck, a month ago, there was no way my stomach could have handled it.

I truly believe it’s nothing short of a miracle that I gained 2 pounds back, retrained my stomach to work a bit better, finally got some test results that revealed a few underlying problems and I can now go for a walk without a Zofran in a Ziplock baggie tucked into my waistband. Also, I am completely off all prescription medications. Yep, I stopped taking every single one of them and am feeling better every day.

I went from a fucking hospital bed in December, being told by some of the best doctors in the world, that I had gastroparesis with no explanation, cure or treatment other than Bentyl & Zofran. They said “you should get better eventually, but it could take months to years. And if you do get better, this condition will never fully go away.”

If you have read my blog or know me IRL, then you know I’m not an emotional kinda chick. But these last few months have brought out so many emotions than I ever knew existed. I have tears streaming down my face writing this post because I feel like I beat so many odds. There is still a ton of work ahead and I may never know how it feels to feel great physically on a daily basis, but as of right now, I couldn’t be happier with the progress.

I look forward to sharing more with you guys soon. Honestly, I haven’t felt like myself lately. Things that I once loved and looked forward to don’t feel the same. Blogging, taking pictures (which is why this post has zero pics), interacting on social media feels soul draining right now. I’ll come around…..I just need some time and I don’t want to force it.

In the meantime, the next time I want a giant bowl of GMO’s & sugar, I’ll go for it. Without being so damn hard on myself. The meal following it will be a bit more balanced and healthy. And I hope you would do the same.

Virtual coffee date

I have a few minutes this morning, so let’s do a virtual coffee date to catch up!

  • Last week I worked ProAm. It.was.insane. In the best way possible. We had a record breaking sales day, which was totally RAD. I was a bit nervous to see how my body would react after being sick for so long then catapulting back to work more than full time, but turns out I did really well. I am so completely happy about that. Working a ton of hours closely with the same co-workers also gave us the opportunity to build a lot of comradery. Which is a great thing, because we all know how badly things could have gone, ha! We were riding high all weekend, deliriously texting at our 4:00 am wake up times, making up songs and getting shit done. It was exactly what my soul needed and I’m so, so thankful for them.

Here is a picture of the sunset on our way in one evening.

Then back to work the next morning to watch the sunrise.

  • I just finished reading Life-Changing Foods by Anthony William using the Kindle app. It is such a fantastic read, I ordered the book, along with his first book, Secrets Behind Chronic & Mystery Illness and How To Finally Heal to reread and refer to.
  • The Life Changing Foods book explains 4 reasons why illness seems to be at an all time high and provides 50 real foods that treat and help cure them. Anthony talks about what he refers to as “Spirit” who helps him identify illness in people around him and what to do. He also talks about the foods in detail, sharing qualities about them science hasn’t even discovered yet. Not completely sure how accurate it is, but still full of interesting information.

I’ll admit at first it’s kinda odd to wrap my brain around it…(I believe in God, but felt a little apprehensive at first) but once I embraced what he was writing, I felt much more comfortable. It’s a bit odd to admit, the book made me a little emotional and I’m not usually an emotional kinda chick.

  • Yesterday, we got my test results back for the extensive (and expensive!) wheat & gluten test. Turns out I am completely fine with wheat & gluten. As in zero problems. LONG LIVE BREAD!!!!!

This is fantastic news, but still doesn’t shed light on why I still have digestive issues. In the meantime, I am feeling SO much better, keeping up with weekly acupuncture treatments, waiting on one more large intestine test results. Oh and I actually figured out how to (mostly) get my “slow stomach emptying” to work better again. I’ll share more on what I’ve done later because I’m still tweeking things to see if I can improve even more….or actually cure it.

  • If you are dairy free or just looking for a plant based yogurt, you need to try Kite Hill almond milk yogurt. It is my new favorite thing, until my next favorite thing. Especially with fresh blueberries mixed in.

Another good one is So Delicious brand coconut yogurt. Especially using it to make chia pudding with fresh fruit.

Okay, I gotta go. Hope you are having a fantastic week!

What is your current favorite thing?

What are you reading right now?

The magic of the unfollow button

I made this for you! It’s 3 chilled, fresh squeezed oranges. That’s it. Unless you’d like to add some Titos…in that case, you’re smarter than you look. 😉

Have a seat, relax. We’re going to have a chat about energy & how it affects others around you.

Every once in awhile I go through social media accounts I follow to clean it up. I unfollow accounts that  don’t inspire, bring me joy, happiness or make a positive impact on my life. While it may sound kinda dumb, but even something as small as an account you follow, has the power to infuse energy into your life. Both good & bad. Even if it’s just a tiny bit, it adds up over time.

Lately, I noticed I am suddenly hypersensitive to the energy around me. It’s like I can actually feel it, both positive and negative and it really affects me. Am I going crazy? Wait, maybe that’s why I love my dog so much? Ha!

It’s actually kinda a good thing, because most of it is in our control. A lot of times you can limit or cut out the bad energy through the magical power of the unfollow button. Of course if you have to live or work with someone, that is a different story. And if there’s someone who constantly drags you down….sucking every ounce of your good energy, it’s probably time to cut that dead ass weight out of your life and move on. Family included. Sounds harsh, but if you needed a little tough love this morning, here it is.

Though…..you may not want to take my advice, I lay on a sharp acupuncture mat for fun every day…..

When you get rid of all of those negative things holding you down, it creates more space for new, positive energy. Cool shit that inspires you, brings you happiness, joy and makes you laugh. Things that challenge you, your perspective & beliefs in a constructive way.

So think of it as adding quality, good for the soul energy into your life, not just what you’re deleting.

What makes you hit the unfollow button?

What are some of your favorite accounts to follow?

It feels so good to feel good

Last Friday I had a blood draw for an extensive wheat/gluten test. They sent a phlebotomist to our house, how crazy is that!? I had no idea that was a thing.

After I went to an acupuncture treatment. You guys, I am totally obsessed. So much that, I bought an acupressure mat, which has turned into a love/hate relationship just like the foam roller.

Anyway back to the treatment…I went in feeling good, and walked out feeling even better than I had in months. Months! So I scratched the stupid to do list and spent the rest of the day doing all the things I love. Best.decision.ever.

It was sunshine & blue skies, so I dropped the top, went to my favorite little coffee shop (Bright Coffee) for an almond milk latte with coconut sugar and took Bam to the beach. It was absolutely perfect.

We played for an hour and a half, which is quite a long time for an old blind dog. After I gave him a bath & bone and tucked him in for a nap. 4 hours later, dude was still out. I opened a bag of popcorn, his favorite, and he didn’t even lift his head ha. Beach day success!

Bam-rito

The rest of the weekend felt like spring and all I wanted to do was play out in the sunshine. We took a drive along the coast, shopped a little and I walked a lot.

I’ve made a lot of changes that have contributed to feeling better lately. If you google gastroparesis, a bunch of really scary things will pop up. The most terrifying ones are those with feeding tubes and no cure or hope of getting better. I am determined to make it out of this against the odds. I’ve already gained 2 pounds back this month, after losing maybe 10 since November. I know for most, this is such a first world problem, but for me it’s a huge deal. After being at my lowest weight in December, being so sick I just moved from the bed to the couch, I remember telling Mike “I’m going to die from this.” And I kinda believed it.

So to say I am thankful to be heading in the right direction now, is a complete understatement.

But today, just one month later, I have SO much more hope. I’m able to eat more and move a lot, and have more good days than bad.

Walking is something I love to do, but even more so now because it helps with digestion tremendously. It’s a good thing my buddy is always up for a walk {or sniff if you’re Bam} around the ‘hood or beach.

I’d like to add some more cardio or strength training, but any kind of exertion makes me nauseous. It’s so weird, but I think about running back in the day, I felt like that a lot as well. I just assumed it was because I was pushing it too hard and/or eating foods I’m allergic to. Even though I had no idea I even had food allergies at the time ha!

I know things could change for the worse, but for now, I am so happy to have some good days, eat real food and be able to move.

Are you going through major life changes right now?

When was the last time life forced you to make changes?

Mini goals, Podcasts & yoga

Each week I set a new mini goal. It’s something that brings a little daily structure, is completely attainable but still takes effort. Last weeks mini goal was to hit my step goal every day. Which I did. 10 days in a row now boom!

A few months ago I reset my Garmin to adjust my daily goal based on current steps, instead of 10,000, which I was failing miserably at reaching. Mostly because I’d been so sick. Best decision ever.

This weeks goals are to keep the streak alive and adding some stretching, yoga, and/or foam roll every day. You guys!! This is so difficult for me. I love to keep moving, but my hips, legs & feet are so stiff. They are in desperate need of some love.

I had a killer physical therapy session yesterday & was quickly reminded how stiff my hips & quads are. Especially the left, surgery side. I foam rolled, stretched, walked a lot & did yoga. Freaking yoga! Like who am I?

A few things about yoga & SCB…it’s hard for me to be still & clear my mind for a session, I’m super picky about the instructor and I prefer to do it at home, on my own time. So if I look like a wet noodle flailing around, only Bam will see. Or not ha!

I found a fantastic yoga instructor on YouTube, Boho Beautiful. I adore Juliana’s calm voice. Her instructions are clear and videos are incredibly beautiful. I did the Perfect Yoga for everyone class yesterday. LOVED it!

Another thing I’ve gotten into lately are Podcasts. I’m currently digging The Skinny Confidential Him & Her. Oh my gosh I love listening to them while walking Bam or cleaning the house. They cover topics like relationships, natural supplements, entrepreneurship, travel and acupuncture <-{Lauryn was the main reason I tried it} Oh and you guys have to listen to episode 42 about their wedding last November. Dying.

The Healthy Gut with Rebecca Coomes is another fav. If you struggle with gut issues – especially SIBO, she offers tons of natural tips & covers tough topics. They get down to the nitty, gritty details. I feel Rebecca asks her guests all the right questions.

I just started listening to Revolution Health Radio with Chris Kresser yesterday. From what I gather, Chris is highly regarded in the Functional Medicine community. From reading his blog and listening to one episode, I can tell his approach to healing the gut aligns with the direction I’m heading. He is also my FM doctors trainer, which I recently found out!

His treatment plans focus on healing the gut with both natural & pharmaceutical medicine, starving gut bacteria, not the patient. I was overly discouraged on the Candida diet a year ago as it was too restrictive, so I appreciate his more attainable, yet effective approach much more.

Do you listen to Podcasts? If so, what are your favorite recommendations?

Random question, does anyone else struggle with having their head down too much while doing yoga? It gives me a little bit of a headache, will it get better with more practice?

Should Mini Goal Monday be a thing? Would you join in?

Weekend with Pops

Pops (my father in law) came to visit for the weekend. We didn’t want him to spend the first Birthday of my MIL after she passed last year, by himself.
Unfortunately Mike came down with a head cold all weekend. So I made tons of fresh orange juice to help Mike feel better and get some extra vitamin C to keep the healthy folks healthy.

Cinnamon rolls are one of Pops favorite treats, so I whipped up a batch from scratch.

Pops helped take this photo, which he was quite stoked about.

I used this recipe, One Hour Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls I found on Pinterest and while I can’t personally vouch for them, (allergic to a lot of the ingredients) Pops & Mike polished off the whole pan.

They were made with REAL butter, REAL dairy, all the gluten and all the love.

 

We considered taking Mike to the Vet, but we let him rest instead. So with him down of the count, I did my best to show Pops a good time. We went to the aquarium, which he had never been to. He LOVED it!

After the aquarium we noticed the storm surge and the biggest waves I’d ever seen, so we took a drive along the coast. We have lived here (Monterey, CA) over 3 years, and I have never seen swells that big. Serious bone crushing waves. Turns out they set a new record for the largest swells for Monterey ever – 34 feet! It was an incredible sight.

I was driving and wasn’t able to get a shot, but I found one on Instagram in case you are wondering what it looked like.

Pops left yesterday (Monday), Mike is feeling much better, so we are back to normal ’round here. I set some mini goals for the week. I’ll do a post about them tomorrow. Oh and I finally broke down and ordered a new cold press juicer. Ahhhhh I am so SO excited!

Do you get along with your in laws?

Yes! I have always loved and adored them both. Probably more than my own family ha!

Anyone else get nerdy excited about new appliances? Does that make me old now?

Any interest in a post/video on the differences between a cold press juicer & centrifugal juicer?

Strawberry chia jam recipe

Yesterday, I had an acupuncture treatment.

2 months ago I would have judged me. In my mind it’s such a hippie thing to do. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s just not me.

I mean how can putting fine needles just under the skin, tap into the digestive system and help alleviate pain?

If you would have told me that, there is no way I would have believed you. None. Nope. It’s too weird.

Buuuuuut it is truly one of the only natural things that helps with my horrible digestion. I have no idea how it works, but it works. And after I feel so amazing, full of energy, anxiety is reduced and the ridiculously slow digestive tract moves, if you know what I mean.

 

After acupuncture, I came home to a super awesome mail day. I won a giveaway from Nutiva on Instagram.

I only enter giveaways for products I genuinely love or would buy. The coconut manna was the reason for entering this one, which was promptly popped in the microwave to soften up. The verdict: freaking awesome!

I already use & love the coconut oil buttery spread. Holy smokes this stuff is legit. 100% vegan but smells & tastes just like REAL butter. I use it on roasted potatoes and popcorn.

Later in the evening, I cracked open the bag of chia seeds and made strawberry chia jam. It only requires 3 ingredients,  so if you have chia seeds on hand, you will likely have everything you need to whip up a batch right now. And I totally think you should!

Click HERE to save this recipe for later.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups strawberries (I used fresh, but frozen would work)
  • 1/4 Cup maple syrup (honey might work too)
  • 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • Optional a squeeze of fresh lemon if you like a little acidity.

Directions:

In a small saucepan on low, heat strawberries & maple syrup. After they soften a bit (2-3 minutes) use a potato masher to get a smooth consistency. You could also use a food processor, but I’m lazy and didn’t want to wash more dishes.

Stir in chia seeds and simmer until mixture thickens. 3-5 minutes. Stir often.

Pour into a glass container and cool, then refrigerate.

**This was not a sponsored post nor did Nutiva request a mention. I just really love their products and wanted to share them with you.**

What do you make with chia seeds?

Do you have a current trendy favorite food?

10 Things….

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on the last post. Looks like virtual coffee dates are still a thing! Schweet.

I figured it’s a good time to do a little ‘get to know me’ post. Turns out there is more to me than gut issues. Who knew? Below are 10 things about me…most of which you probably don’t want to know, ha! I hope you will share some things about yourself in the comments.

  • My name is Jacqueline, my husband is Mike and we have a blind Jack Russell, Bam. One of us chews our butt on a regular basis. We live in a cozy beach house in Monterey, CA about a mile away from the beach.
  • I bartend on the golf course at Pebble Beach, where I drive a beer & snack cart on the golf course and make a lot of friends all day. I absolutely love my job! Everyone is always happy (they’re playing Pebble, so heck yeah they are!) and I have beer, so we are pretty much going to be friends. There is never a bad day. I’m off right now as I take the winter months off with the exception of ProAm in February. And yes, I get to meet celebs & famous people, but approximately 98.99999% of the time I don’t even recognize them. Oops.

Chris O’Donnell requested a Charlie’s Angels pose.

  • Some of the celebs I have met & had very pleasant conversations with are Chris O’Donnell, President George W. Bush, Vanna White, Clay Walker, Andre Iguodala <-{he correctly guessed my shoe size}.
  • With all of this hoopla around work, I’m just a down home country girl. I try to never let life get too big for my britches, take a keen interest in the simplest of things and people I love.
  • I have terrible anxiety, but you probably wouldn’t even know it.

  • If you meet me IRL, you would probably assume I’m very outgoing, but I am quite the opposite. I am more of an introvert…being home with my boys, my germs, my coffee, some candles and lots of warm cozy blankets are heaven.

  • I love coffee. If you’re a long time reader, you already know that. But with all of the stuff I’ve given up (dairy, bananas, lemon) I refuse to give up coffee. I will die before that happens.
  • When I see dogs missing a leg or eye, deaf, blind, high anxiety or rough looking, my husband will surely get a text begging for us to adopt it. He says that I like the ugliest, most messed up and will probably never find a home dogs. He also is worried how he must look if that’s what I’m attracted to.
  • I have a dark sense of humor. Good thing Mike does as well. For example: I asked him if we can retire along the coast where it’s warmer year round, like San Diego. He said no and I replied, “well I’m going to move there when you die.” Don’t worry, he came back with “that’s funny, with all of your health issues, you think I’m gonna die first.” Good point cowboy, good point.

  • Mike & I refuse to grow up. We are very professional, we get shit done and have the whole adulting thing down. But we are all about having fun and enjoying life on our terms. One of our favorite things to do while in Vegas is to photobomb people while in the lobby of the Bellagio. We usually spend over an hour sitting in one place where everyone stands to take a picture and then jump up at the last moment for the bomb. Our other trick is one of us will offer to take the picture with their phone/camera and the other will jump up from the back and bomb the hell out of them. If this has happened to you in the Bellagio, we will gladly sign it for you. It will be worth absolutely nothing.

Now it’s your turn!