Yes, it looks like baby food. Deal with it, y'all.

Let me start by saying that I am not a food blogger. In my five years of blogging I think I may have posted two cooking projects on the blog, so be kind if I look like I have no clue what I’m doing.

Now, while I stick to the literary stuff over here, my instagram feed is full of What I Ate for (Insert Meal Here) pics. A lot has changed in the last few years regarding my health and necessary dietary changes are the rule, not the exception. Instagram has been a connector in that its allowed me to find others on the same #paleo bandwagon as me. (Yes, I just hashtagged that. Because that’s how I roll. And those nifty little hashtags once known as pound signs preceeding each key word are the rabbit hole of Insagram-Land leading you to everybody else who drinks the same Kool-Aid you do.)

I’m allergic to everything and I’m not exaggerating. Apples, dairy, all grains, gluten, eggs, soy…. you name it and it’s probably on my list. To make things even more interesting, I have to avoid natural stevia products because it tends to mess with my insulin resistance. It seems that sugar or not, my body treats it the same and then just hates me when the sugar it expected never actually hits my system, leaving me with more insulin my body can’t process.

And then there’s the autoimmune protocol diet I’m following to combat my numerous issues. That takes away all beans (including coffee, cacao, and vanilla), tomatoes (bu-bye spaghetti squash happiness), and so…much..more. I’m also sensitive to phyto-estrogens and have to avoid a lot of the little I had left keeping me sane. Olive oil, sweet potatoes, pistachios and almonds, asparagus are just a few of the newly banned items. I could list them all, but that would just depress both of us, I think, so I’ll stick to telling you what I can eat.

Ready? Just don’t blink cuz it’s gonna be quick…

* Wild caught fish

* Grass-fed beef

* Bison

* Coconut EVERYTHING

* Avocados

* Cucumbers

*Kale

 *Spinach

* Scallops

* Maple syrup (in small quantities)

* And?

Wait. Never mind. That was pretty much it.

All this fanfare isn’t to make anyone feel sorry for me. Yes, traveling is a bitch and going out to eat is pretty much not something I can do, like, ever, but it is what it is. Suck it up and deal, my friends. Also? It’s a miracle what you can come up with with such a severely limited diet. Necessity is the mother of invention, my friends, and this mother isn’t about to let a little food allergy issue keep me from having a good time in the kitchen.

A few nights ago I posted a picture — yes, on instagram — of my latest concoction. I needed something sweet after my canned wild-caught salmon and sliced avocado dinner and I got to work in the kitchen, mentally mixing flavors in my head with the safe foods I have available. I ended up with what I call Breadless Banana Bread because that’s what it reminds me of. The result was magic, my kid hated it, and I didn’t complain because that just meant more for me.

 

What you need:

* 1 banana (I used a ripe one because I hate fruit flies)

* 4 cups of good quality shredded coconut (and no, I don’t mean the crap that tastes like paper sold in the baking aisle)

* 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup (or according to taste)

Now for the directions. Hold on to your hats, boys and girls, so you don’t get lost.

Ready?

 

Step 1: Throw that shit in a food processor or a Vitamix and process it until it looks like cookie dough.

Step 2: stick a spoon in that bad boy and smile.

 

And there ya have it. Maybe one day next week I’ll try making it and adding a dollop of homemade coconut milk whipped cream on top. For now, though, the rest of my Breadless Banana Bread is sitting in a pretty little covered bowl in my fridge for when I need another bite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise and The Eating Disordered Mind

I just had a 20 minute argument with The Husband about his need to be excited about EXERCISE and GOING PALEO because he just read A BOOK and now he sees the proverbial light. He wants EXERCISE and is full of suggestions for what I NEED TO DO and and it’s all in the book (which I have promised to read) and LET’S GO, TEAM!!!

It’s probably a good time to point out that I can’t eat anything that isn’t Paleo anyway and am allergic to most of the Paleo diet. I read the things he is reading now last year and saw the light with regard to how my own body responds to sugars and carbs and grains (not realizing allergic issues played a serious role, also) and then got pissed off when the doctors told me I can’t eat eggs because there went most of my meal plan. In any case, I am happy he’s now understanding things I have been saying for so long but I’m also not able to explain to Captain Cheerleader that I don’t respond well to the RAH RAH RAH when I’m just keeping my head above water.
Here’s the problem: I am eating disordered.

My Body Image issues are fucked on a level I can’t even understand, and I carry an epi pen for the very food allergies which I ignore when my brain is in self sabotage mode. I need to be active without thinking it’s EXERCISE because if it’s EXERCISE my mind will shut down and I will swan dive into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

Ice skating is the perfect example of something I can do without feeling like I’m doing anything at all. Just to get an idea, I did plug in my current estimated weight (I don’t know the actual number because it’s a trigger for me) and figured out that an hour of recreational skating was more than enough to feel good about. I just started and love it. My legs hate me when I’m done, but I can do it and I go back for more.
Yoga is the next step back to normal. Once I am one with my Ohm I can breathe in some serenity and move on to Zumba or something else I know I enjoy and can stick to and that isn’t just EXERCISE! I love this man, but how do I explain to someone who has no concept of an eating disordered mind trying to claw it’s way back to normal that there is absolutely NO FUCKING WAY I am lunging from the kitchen to the living room because it’s simple and easy to do because it’s not just going to be something I’ll stick to. I’d pay lip service. I’d go for the “college try.”

And I’d put on a pretty decent show before falling flat on my ass, figuratively speaking, because I’m not going to stick to lunging from one room in my house to another because I didn’t want to do it in the first place. It’s just an open invite for the next pity party to start before the celebration even got a chance to kick off.

It’s gotta be one step at a time. My therapist nodded today when I explained to her how if I focus on anything 0ther than how I feel, I’m back at square one and square one tastes like brownies. She’s only been seeing me a short time, but she at least pretended to understand with a thoughtful nod and well-timed chuckle. The Husband, however, is at a loss for what to do.

He is excited because he wants to support me. He is excited because he loves me. He is excited because EXERCISE isn’t a bad word to him. He’s I love him. I love his support. And I understand his concern. I also want to strangle him whenever he gets all Pollyanna on me and starts chirping about EXERCISE and then gets all annoyed when I glare at him for being an asshole.

Okay. No. I get it. He’s not being an asshole. He’s trying to help me.

But sometimes his idea of help is getting all I CAN FIX THIS and YOU JUST NEED TO STOP THINKING THE WAY YOU DO because he is the kind of person who has the mental strength to make things happen just by thinking them. I love that about him. I also hate that 1) My mind doesn’t work like that and 2) I wish it did.

But then, if I saw things the way he did, I wouldn’t be referring to myself as a life-long recovering bulimic, would I? And if he did get it, that would mean he saw the word EXERCISE the way I did, for the same reasons I did, and we’d both be a raging mess.

I’m pretty sure he is right and I argued illogical things because that kind of goes par with the course. But the fact remains that I know myself. And right now, it’s one step at a time. If I jump into the deep end before I’ve even gathered the strength to tread water for a sustained period of time, I’m just going to end up letting myself sink. And I don’t intend to let that happen anytime soon.
So we argue. About the inside of my head. Because I can’t explain. Because he loves me. Because I feel like an asshole for not being as excited as he is about EXERCISE because the word leads me down a worm hole of calories burned and weight lost and BMI and self worth and you’re a fat ass and here’s a brownie and Ben & Jerry’s is NOT a single serving food and then I find myself hitting bottom again, wondering how the hell I got there and cursing yo-yos.

And there’s that epi pen in my purse to think about.
I just fixed my head again. I’m working on the rest of me.
I just need time to move out of this fog and into the place where EXERCISE isn’t a bad word. I’m not there yet. And it makes him mad because he only sees the woman he married fighting his support and concern. It makes me mad that I can’t explain it without turning into a five year old with my arms crossed yelling I DON’T WANNA!
But that’s where I’m at and that’s where it is and he loves me and we argue. And he thinks I’m blocking him and I explain that no, I’m actually not because blocking would be nodding my head like I’m okay with everything he is saying and all for it and then dipping into the Hershey candy bar stash we have in the pantry for his work lunches after he’s gone to bed. Me arguing? Me bristling in front of him and telling him to shut up and just listen and let me grab my ice skates and head for the rink for open skate time? Me telling him that I’m not lunging in the house just for the sake of lunging in the house because lean muscle mass matters? Me rolling my eyes and calling him an asshole for not understanding?

People? That’s progress. That’s communication. That’s me not bullshitting and then closet-eating with the chocolate I’m allergic to. Because my body doesn’t function well with sugar. Because I am allergic to the world. Because I function best on a strict paelo diet not because it’s a diet but because that’s how my body needs to be be nourished.

Because I am eating disordered. And because I’m trying to focus on loving myself just the way I am and then starting over every time the sun rises.

So he goes to bed. Not understanding.

And for that, I am grateful because that means he’s still going to push and I’ll continue to push back.

Every time he pushes, I’ll push back.

And become stronger for it.

 

 

It’s not often that life kicks my ass so hard I can’t make five minutes to at least repost old material with a brand new headline, but it does happen.

In the last few weeks alone, I’ve dealt with a lot. Some big, like being diagnosed with adult ADHD (and suddenly high school makes sense) and some not-so-big but totally drama worthy for an ADHD/OCD woman barely holding on to the keeping it all together. Not that I’m naming names but this woman mayu or may not have three dogs, one husband who just announced he is switching to swing shift right about the time a certain girl child starts kindergarten, effectively erasing all chances  to pee in peace for at least three months. She also learned how hard it is to apply red lipstick from an adult-sized tube onto the tiny red lips that would smile big enough on stage for me to see from where I sat. So she asked another mom to do it, which is probably why my child looked like a demure ballerina princess in the enchanted rose garden and not a toddler in a tiara.

Every missed opportunity to save a moment with my words for posterity is still stored in my head. But between the two weeks of digestive hell I’ve been dealing with and today’s craziness, I think it would be extremely responsible of me to be proactive for once in my adult life and sign up for a sponsor and the nearest AA group before getting all I Love You Guys drunk and sloppy.

Buttercup and I left the house at 10 a.m. this morning for the hike across town to see the first of three doctors, all scheduled for the same day because they all happen to be five minutes from each other whereas I live 45 minutes on the other side of the world. My super-powered nurse practitioner figures my fingers look like I ran them over with a lawn mower because I was in desperate need of an ADHD medication change, the ENT guy agrees with my crazy bloodshot eyes being caused by the mesquite currently burning in New Mexico that I should probably not only Stay Indoors At All Times but that if I leave my house it should only be to get the hell away from the Southern border, because of the Being Severely Allergic thing, and my naturopath walked me through my food allergy panel test results (hint: air and water are on the safe list. Except for the air currently filled with the pollen from the burning mesquite carrying over from New Mexico. That air is totally the opposite of being on the safe list. Also? The last time I looked like this, I was sitting in a college dorm room wondering why feet suddenly turned into ice and why she had a towel tucked under the door and that was accidentally way more fun.

I’m exhausted and want a new hobby that doesn’t involve insurance co-pays and waiting rooms. And a pony. I’d totally love one of those. But I’d settle for trashy daytime TV and time to pretend I’m a famous blogger. My head is spinning with thoughts like what I’m wearing to my cousin’s wedding in a few weeks, dealing with a cross-country flight and family members and Routines that Are Not My Own. I’m crazy with worry over finding the perfect shoes for BFF Heather’s wedding next March, how the hell I’m going to get any work done with The Husband home all morning and Buttercup all afternoon, and how behind I’ll be tomorrow with my to-do list if I don’t have time to finish it all tonight.

And that’s when I remind myself that blogging is on my list of things to do because it matters and keeps me sane(ish) and sane(ish) is a good place to be. So I force myself to sit back down, turn the Mac back on, and log back in.

 

Ten minutes. That’s exactly how long I have been staring at a blinking cursor while trying to figure out how to start this post. It’s not every day I get referred to an OB for possible confirmation of an extremely rare autoimmune disease that would have me considering the possibility of a hysterectomy before my 35th birthday.

According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, only about 50 published cases of autoimmune progesterone dermatitis, although I have come across many more stories on forums dedicated to APD. Basically, it’s a really long way of saying that those who do have it are allergic to the progesterone produced by their bodies. Symptoms typically include severe cyclical rashes and in some cases, anaphylaxic shock. The first time a doctor suggested the condition as a possibility, I think I laughed. I was 30. I’m now 34 and after one nurse practitioner, one naturopath, and one allergist have all told me that yes, I am indeed allergic to myself, I’m wishing I hadn’t laughed four years ago.

To be honest, I thought I was in the clear. My weird and painful full-body rash that seemed to come and go with my cycle had minimized to a tolerable and not so painful rash limited to just under the bra line and my inner thighs that felt more like goose bumps than something to go crying to the doctors about. I had enough things wrong with me already with the hypothyroid and the insulin resistance. The goose bumps I could deal with.

If we hadn’t tried for baby #2, I might have just kept dealing, but the prep for the IUI where they tried to plant a baby with a syringe included a shot of progesterone to get my ovaries moving. I’ve been a fucking mess ever since, tested for lupus three times, eliminated everything but water and air from my diet in an effort to rule out food allergies and put more miles on my gas-guzzling SUV driving to multiple appointments with different doctors trying to figure me out than I care to calculate. It wasn’t until I decided to be a smart ass and suggest to the BFF that I was probably allergic to my hormones that a memory got jogged. A frantic search on Google was immediately followed by combing through my medical records ( because I can keep track of those but I lose sunglasses like I wish I lost weight ) had me looking at that fancy phrase that means I might be allergic to myself.

The condition can be treated by taking medications to suppress hormone production, but I’m fun in an ironic way in that I’m allergic to a preservative used in so many medications I make my doctors nervous and drive my pharmacist crazy, so I’m not sure if that’s an option for me if APD is confirmed. Even if it is and I end up getting a crash course in menopause twenty years before I was planning on it, the bottom line is that the baby making factory is most likely and almost officially being retired. The plus side is that I don’t have to try to lose the baby weight again because that was a total pain in the cellulite still residing on my ass.

My allergist is sending me straight to an OB/GYN with clear instructions to tell her he doesn’t think I’m crazy.

And now I’ve come full circle.

Ten minutes. That’s exactly how long I’ve been staring at a blinking cursor while trying to figure out how to end this post.

So far, I haven’t come up with anything brilliant.

 

If you’ve been reading the blog for more than five minutes, you already know that I’ve generally held out on reviewing or mentioning anything other than books and writers since I hit publish for the first time. Mainly because of my years on the newsroom and the knee-jerk reaction to not allow The Big Bad Advertiser to take precedent over The Words That Matter.

I know…this isn’t a newspaper. But I do use this space for Words That Matter.

That being said, I didn’t automatically hit delete when I saw an email from aer1™ filter brand, a new line of portable filter technology which can be paired with their Holmes and Bionaire line of air purifiers.. You see, unless it’s a product I truly need and can speak to honestly, I’m not going to waste anyone’s time. Mainly….mine.

Have I mentioned my severe mesquite allergy? Or the fact that Buttercup is also so sensitive to mesquite that she has to use an inhaler before going outside to play? Or my allergy induced asthma that suddenly appeared after moving here? Living in Tucson kind of sucks when I’m allergic to a tree I can’t walk two feet without tripping over. Even staying home bra-less and in my jammies — cuz it’s classy — when the pollen count is high doesn’t work because I’m suffering through 10 minute sneezing fits and watery, burning eyes before I even get out of bed.

And yes, I’m perfectly aware that allergy meds exist. Only problem is I’m allergic to an ingredient used in so many allergy medications that it’s safer for me not to take any and just suffer.

Note to self: Contact Alanis Morisette and ask if she’s interested in updating the lyrics to “Ironic.”

So long story not so short, the Aer1 Brand sent me a fancy schmancy air purifier and a filter and asked me to try it out for a few weeks and then tell you how I liked it.

I can do that.

Ready?

The Aer1 Brand sent me a fancy schmancy air purifier and a filter and I tried it out for a few weeks and I liked it.

I might have relied on just keeping my windows closed and cranking the air all summer long out here in the desert as a way to limit exposure to pollutant and allergens, but it turns out the level of indoor pollutants can be up to 100 times higher than in my own backyard.

Seriously?

Must be. Because in the time I’ve had my Bionaire air purifier and the allergy filter,  life has sucked much less. I can breathe again. My sneezing fits are fewer and farther between.

As long as I stay inside, that is.

Click here for a $20 coupon off of any aer1 ready air purifier. Or you can keep reading for a giveaway that can literally help you breathe easier.

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The aeri1 filter brand has generously offered one Aspiring Mama reader the chance at their own air purifier and filter. To enter, simply do one of the following (or more for extra entries!) Each counts for it’s own entry, so be sure to leave me one comment letting me know what you did so I can add up points! Also make sure I have a way to contact you.

To enter:

*Simply leave a comment on this post for one entry.

* Tweet this for one entry and leave a comment : Allergy season sucks. Check out @aspiringmama for a chance at an aeir1 brand air purifier. http://bit.ly/I3arcm.

*Sign up for the AspiringMama RSS for one entry.

*Like my AspiringMama Facebook page for one entry.

*Keep track of your families allergy symptoms (sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, etc) and what triggers them. Come back in a few days and leave a comment telling the aeri1 brand what those symptoms are. This counts as its own entry.

* Comments will be accepted through midnight, EST, on Wednesday, April 18. Remember that for all of your entries to count, each has to be included in its own separate comment.

* One winner will be selected via Random.org and will be able to select one of these air purifiers along with a filter set of their choice (allergy, smoke, total air, etc). The winner will be announced here on Aspiring Mama shortly thereafter.

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Not-so-fine-print: I received promotional consideration such as gifts, samples, content, or other incentives related to a product, service in exchange for writing about this product. Translation? They sent me the air purifier and told me I could keep it if I wrote a review. Either way, what I wrote is all my own opinion. But you already knew that.

 

 

 

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