A Care-free Period? Seriously. This is a lifesaver!!!

Warning:  Discussion of menstruation to follow.  Back out now male readers…  I have to share this news with you, my blog friends.  It is the BEST change I have made in female hygiene in my entire adult life:  THE DIVA CUP.

Things changed for me after birthing a few babies and my period was quite a challenge.  I hated my life for a few days each month.  Until, I tried the Diva Cup.  It is awesome.

Here’s why you should try it:

  1. It is tidy.  No leaks, no mess.  Ever.  Really, I promise.
  2. It is fresh.  No odors.  No trash.
  3. It is freeing.  No granny panties.  Wear whatever undergarments you want.  Or, wear none.  Your period is your secret.  🙂
  4. It is calm.  No stress.  No anxiety about how long its been since you went to the potty.  You’ve got 12 hrs. before you need to check in with the Diva Cup.

O.K.  Ask away.  Any questions you have, I will be happy to answer.  My book club gave it a try.  They all loved it too.  It is the best $20 I have spent in a long time.  🙂

PS – It does take a few days to get used to it.  But, after one cycle, I NEVER went back…

(photo: mommyisgreen.net)



Self-Experimenting With Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting fascinates me.  A break for your digestion.  Re-training your appetites.  Realizing your self-control.  Choosing when and how you eat.  Breaking free from schedules.  Enhancing your immune system.  Reducing cancer risk.  Really, what’s not to love?

Truly, I hold intermittent fasting in high regard (see more here).  I believe in its health benefits.  All those things above?  I.F.ing did that for me.  It was wonderful.  For six months I tried I.F. in various forms.  Two 24 hr. fasts a week.  16 hours fasting/8 hours eating.  20 hours fasting/4 hours eating.  It all worked like a charm.

Except for one little thing.  I didn’t lose a pound.  Not one!  In fact, over the period of those six months I slowly put on five pounds.  Is intermittent fasting all about weight loss?  NO.  But, that was my goal.  And, my new motto is, “If it doesn’t work, why are you still doing it?!”  So, I’ve stopped.

It’s been two months.  Even though I now eat three times a day on most days, instead of just once like before, I haven’t gained any weight.  The caloric differences between those styles of eating should have made me gain lots of weight.  (It proves to me that weight-loss isn’t simply calories-in; calories-out.  But, that’s another topic for another day!)  Before I started intermittent fasting, I had read that it didn’t always work well for women.  No one seemed to really know why, but the same did hold true for me unfortunately.

I certainly don’t have all the answers but I will leave you with this:  If you feel like food is controlling you, and you want to choose when to eat, try I.F.  If you are concerned about the general wear and tear your body has seen over the years, try I.F.  If you are a man, God bless you, try I.F. – It always seems to work for men!

But, if you are a woman and feel like you are a bit trapped by those last 5, 10 or 50 pounds, check out this podcast by Chris Kresser on body fat set-points (it includes a transcript for those of you who hate listening to podcasts).   Hopefully you will be a bit more compassionate with yourself.  Weight loss is a crazy and complex thing.  Your answer is out there.  You just might not have found it yet.  🙂

PS – For those of you ready to take the I.F. plunge, I have an excellent guide to internet resources for intermittent fasting here.

To Your Health ~ Crunchy

(photo: jobs.i-cool.com)

Sugar-Free in January: Sesame Chicken and “Rice” With Fiery Ginger and Chile Sauce

I promised to share some phenomenal recipes with you all during my sugar-free year.  Here is one entree from Mark’s Daily Apple.  It is true comfort food.  Mmmm…..

Sesame Chicken and “Rice” With Fiery Ginger and Chile Sauce

There are some ways to streamline this recipe:

  1. Cook and pre-shred your chicken ahead of time (I have always just cooked my chicken like I was making broth and not worried about the seasonings mentioned or the ice water bath.etc.).
  2. “Fry” the grated cauliflower in coconut oil with the lid on instead of slow-cooking it in broth.
  3. Make double the sauce and use on salads or Asian-inspired dishes all week.

You always have permission to pop by with a plate of this for me.  I am never too busy to try yours out and make sure that you’ve mastered the recipe… 🙂

The Nutritional Trifecta For Thyroid Health: No Gluten, No Dairy, No Sugar

Not surprisingly, if you are struggling with Hashimoto’s I would suggest taking a look at your nutrition first.  I believe that many of your symptoms can be alleviated with some dietary changes.  Anecdotal evidence indicates the same – the individuals who reported changing their diet in the comments section of my post on Hashimoto’s and gluten definitely have experienced the most symptom relief.

(That’s right, hypothyroidism: we are kicking you in the face!)

So what to change?  Well, I can’t promise that these are easy changes, but they are simple.  Get ready to cook for yourself because almost nothing in a package can meet these standards!

1.  Go Gluten-Free – I have dedicated a post to the science behind why eliminating gluten can bring relief to Hashimoto’s symptoms here.  I have also given a step-by-step approach to removing gluten from your diet here.  I know it is tough.  I know it is everywhere.  But, the fundamental concern with Hashimoto’s is to stop the autoimmune attack that is occurring.  Removing gluten will help in BIG ways.  (And, by removal, I really mean, REMOVAL.  Decreasing gluten consumption by 60% is not going to cut it.  To stop the body’s autoimmune attack you will need to remove it entirely.)

2.  Eliminate Dairy – Dairy does not have as much research behind it as gluten.  However, it is a known allergen.  It is extremely difficult to digest in its pasteurized form.  Dr. Datis Kharrazian, author of Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests Are Normal?  found that often patients needed to remove dairy along with gluten to see marked improvement.  If you aren’t convinced, perhaps reading the Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. McBride or The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf would give you more conviction that dairy can trigger autoimmune attacks.

3.  No Sugar in 2012 – OK, so that is what I am doing this year (see here).  Care to join me?  I have done enough reading to be convinced that thyroid issues will continue to plague me until I balance my blood sugar fully.  Specifically, research has shown that insulin surges can drive tissue destruction in Hashimoto’s patients.  (Kharrazian, 97)  Of course, it is difficult to quit sugar because it is delicious!  And, addictive!  And, in everything!  That’s why I would suggest that you follow my journey of being sugar-free this year.  I hope to share some strategies as I learn them.

There you go!  Now that you have nothing to eat, you have the perfect diet for thyroid health.  😉  Obviously, that isn’t true, but I know it can feel that way at first.  Perhaps you would want to conquer one of these steps at a time?  And, be patient and kind with yourself in the process?  I have been making these changes for well over a year.  It takes time!  It isn’t easy, and it might take awhile to change, but I am convinced it is worth it…

(photo: funnyshirtz.info)

Being Sugar-Free For Christmas: Totally Worth It!

I am super-excited to be sugar-free this holiday!  Really and truly.  I am done with feeling gross and bloated.  It feels good to do something so solidly right despite the cultural pressure to do otherwise.  Seriously, friends.  Who knew that sugar was in every single thing consumed this time of year.  I knew it was bad, but it wasn’t until I tried to eliminate sugar that I realized it was ubiquitous.

I do have a confession to make.  I had a handful of dark chocolate chips the other night.  I know, I know.  I went to a friend’s house to bake cookies and somewhere around batch number twelve the chips started calling my name.  I had a few.  One more confession.  I delivered a plate of those cookies to a Sudanese neighbor the following day.  The next thing I knew, I was being ushered into her home, given a tray of lemonade, cookies and chocolates and her wedding albums to look through.  I kid you not.  And, despite how strongly I feel about sticking to my convictions, I am NOT going to be rude to genuine hospitality from a foreigner.  So, I had a few sips of lemonade and a piece of chocolate.

There you go.  Conscience clear.  Right back on the saddle, folks.  I am changing.  Before my dysfunctional brain would have said, “Well, you have had a piece of chocolate.  The whole plan is ruined.  Eat whatever you want, because you have failed.”  Now?  I am more interested in developing lifestyle habits.   That’s why it’s right back to the sugar-free challenge for me.

How ’bout you?  Do you have a strategy for the pending holiday?  I hope it is one that will leave you feeling stronger and free to be healthy, happy, and at peace within yourself.  🙂

Thanks for reading – Crunchy

Big News!!!

Wow!  This past week has been crazy!  For sometime now, my husband and I have discussed whether we would like to adopt a child.  There are many pros and many cons – my mind would start to race a bit…  Will I love this child just like my biological children?  Will I have the capacity to handle if my adopted child needs to pull away from me to seek out his or her birth parents one day?  Will my other children get their fair share of my time and emotional energies as we transition?  Will I have the patience to juggle life for four children?  Questions.  Questions.

(Do these kids look ready for a new sibling?)

When it comes down to it, the most important thing was to know whether God wanted us to adopt.  If He did want us to He would take care of every detail.  It would be the right choice for our family.

So, last weekend I prayed again.  “God, I will adopt if you want me to adopt.  Please show me what is right for us.  In fact, please have someone give us lots of money so that I know it’s what we should do!”  (People do not usually give me lots of money. I don’t know about you, but that is a serious sign in my book!)

48 hours later I went to the mailbox.  Inside was a newspaper with a headline article on National Adoption Day.  One quote stood out from the page:  “God says take in the orphan and the widow.”

And, wrapped inside the paper?  A card from one of my husband’s relatives with $5000 dollars in it.  This relative normally gives about $350 to our family at the holidays.  I don’t know that I have ever seen a personal check for that much money!  Instantly I remembered my prayer.  Wow.  What a clear answer.  God knew what my heart needed.

So, I have been busy getting the application in for our adoption over the past five days.  For those of you who have done this, you know that there is a lot of paperwork initially for the home study.  We are in the thick of it.  Would you please continue to pray for my heart in this process?  I know God is in it, but my faith is sometimes feeble and I need to be reminded.  There are many steps to this journey.

Thanks for reading – I just had to share it with my bloggy friends.  🙂

Sugar-Free Holiday: Day 15

Just checking in for a quick “no sug” update…  The other day, I wasn’t even thinking and I ate a few banana chips.  I didn’t think to look at the package to see how much added sugar they had (a lot!) until I had eaten a handful.  Sure enough, I have had TRUE INTENSE sugar cravings since then! And, there are mint chocolate-covered espresso beans in my house.  How much can a person really take?!

But, thanks to you all – I have stayed strong.  Accountability wins again!  So, just a FYI, for those of you who are trying to be sugar-free:  if you eat foods with hidden sugar, you will probably be plagued with more cravings.  Best to avoid this scenario, and pseudo health foods like banana chips.  Learn from my stupidity.  🙂

Bobbi, Dawn, and others who have committed to a sugar-free holiday season, how is it going for you?!  You are in my thoughts today – I wish you fabulous success.  Here’s to our best December ever!

(photo: brooklynimbecile.wordpress.com)