relieved. happy. hopeful. positive. grateful.
that's how i feel today.

today has been the first time since i stopped eating gluten that i've really reflected on the changes i've made and how far i've come. 

i remember in elementary school, my doctor thought that i had food allergies, but since none of the maybe two that he assumed were the culprits were a problem, he decided it must be nothing.

it didn't really show up as a digestive issue for years, at least not one that i noticed on a daily basis. growing up, i was always sick a little more often that the other kids, and when anyone at school was sick, it was a sure thing that i would be too. right after high school i even got whooping cough. seriously? my neighbor called me and said "hey the 1800's called, they want their diseases back."  i even joined a group on facebook called "my immune system hates me". also after high school, my stomach was upset more often and i stopped doing a lot of things that i enjoy, like hiking and running. pretty much exercise in general.

fast-forward a few years to a bad end to a worse relationship, and i was sick for months. i thought i was just really stressed out, so i even went to a therapist. after a couple of weeks he told me that there was no way my stress was making me as sick as i was. i was projectile vomiting multiple times a day, not to be disgusting, but there's no way to put that mildly. i'll spare you the worse details of those what? like 6 months? at least.. it was terrible. (celiac disease can lie dormant as a digestive issue for years, until set off by a period of great stress)

i went to a doctor who did tests on my colon and gallbladder, and my gallbladder was shutting down. he said that this happens sometimes and they aren't sure why, but that it had "turned to sludge" and he was going to have to take it out. (note: i'm active on celiac forums and have heard a lot of people say they lost their gallbladder before their diagnosis as well. a couple of women said they refused the surgery and went gluten-free and that their gallbladders healed themselves over time. i have no medical proof, but i'm guessing there might be a correlation there.)

after my gallbladder was taken out, things didn't get better. i was still sick all the time and now even more depressed about it. seriously guys, chronic illnesses are SO depressing to the person suffering from them. so anyways, another fast-forward a couple of years to going gluten-free and then having the diagnosis confirmed by a new, competent doctor: i've been off of gluten for a little over a year now. and i feel amazing. not only has all that "terrible bloating that comes when you're constantly putting things into your body, only to reject it" gone away, but i eat a lot healthier, and that makes me feel great too. the best part? i regularly go on hikes now and exercise almost every day, although school sometimes leaves little time for it. AND last night i ran an 8minute mile in the cold rain! i know that isn't a great time or anything, but for me it's amazing that i'm even out there doing it again in the first place. :)

i feel good. i feel like i've come a long way in this regard. being sick held me back from doing a lot and from being really happy. it ruined my self-image for a while. now i feel like i'm reclaiming my body from gluten. that sounds extra dorky, but i'm extremely relieved that this is all working out. finally.

oh and in the past year and however many months? i've had maybe 2 or 3 colds. the only time i'm really sick is if i somehow accidentally ingest gluten.

[edit] i should also note that it hasn't been easy, and while sometimes it does get easier, it just goes right back to being a challenge. it's definitely not the easiest lifestyle, but i would so much rather live this way than ever go back to how i felt before. i'll take the hard road any day if it benefits me this much. :)



the other day on facebook, i saw someone post a picture of the shepherd's pie he and his wife had made following the paleo diet recipe. it looked amazing, but when i read the recipe i wasn't too excited about cooking with two pounds of beef so soon after my juice fast (this morning caught me up to the end of day five). i also realized that it took two hours of marinating the meat, and then six hours in the crock pot, which is completely fine, but i really didn't have the time for that today, so i modified the recipe a little bit. i used only one pound of lean, all natural turkey and a pound of mushrooms instead of the beef and then just cooked it all in a dutch oven instead of crock pot. it turned out pretty delicious, and i actually liked the slightly smaller amount of meat, since it really gave the veggies voice in the dish. in case any of you want to try this out, here's my recipe:

1 lb ground turkey
16oz fresh mushroom (chopped very small in either a food processor or blender)
9 cloves of garlic (minced; separated into 6 cloves a
nd 3 cloves)
1 yellow onion (chopped)
1 head of cabbage (chopped)
4 carrots (chopped/diced)
4 stalks of celery (chopped/diced)
1 head of cauliflower (removed from core)
3 Tbsp green onion (chopped)
2Tbsp olive oil
1/2Tbsp butter
1 small can of tomato paste
sea salt and pepper
(i didn't measure out the oregano or thyme, just used an amount that looked good to me)
a splash of water
a splash of milk

Combine turkey, mushroom, olive oil, 6 cloves of garlic, or
egano, and thyme in a bowl until turkey and mushroom
are coated and set aside in refrigerator for later use.

In a large skillet, grill the rest of the garlic and the onion until reduced in size and then add the turkey mixture and cook until browned. Transfer the mixture to the dutch oven on medium heat (approximately, my stove is gas so i'm not sure what it woul
d be on an electric). Add the cabbage, carrots, celery, a splash of water, and sea salt and pepper to taste. Stir up and cover to cook veggies.

While this is simmering, steam the cauliflower. Once s
oft, mash with potato masher (or put in food processor) until it's about the consistency of mashed potato. Add a splash of milk and 1/2Tbsp to flavor, stir and then stir in the green onions.

Scoop the turkey and vegetable mixture into a bakin
g dish (mine looks small in the photo because i had to use two dishes) and top with the cauliflower mash. Set the oven to 500 (or use the broiler) and place the baking dish in for about 10 minutes. Again, mine is gas and seems to be a bit off from the cooking time of other recipes i find online, so just keep an eye on it. It's done when the bottom part starts to bubble up and the cauliflower mash starts to become golden brown on top.

It's definitely a new take on the dish, and with my tweaks i could probably never serve it to chef ramsay and call it shepherd's pie, but it tastes pretty wonderful :)

(this is also the first recipe i've posted besides the kale chips, and since i sort of make stuff up as i go along, let me know if anything sounds amiss!)

(adapted from this recipe)



i really should be doing homework for my five classes tomorrow, but i've been juice fasting and so many people have been asking me about it that i thought it should be blogged. It all started when i read Fast Food Nation years ago, then i saw Super Size Me, and then Knive
s Over Forks, and finally Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. So basically for years, i've been disgusted by fast foods and other processed goods, but i didn't have the education to eat any healthier and the worst part of it was that i kind of thought that i was being healthy for the most part. my sister tried the Reboot Your Life fast from the Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead documentary and it started a chain. next was my mom, followed by me and oscar. day one was super easy for me because i was so ready to give up my unhealthy habits. day two was also surprisingly easy, until the evening hit and i was home from school. i got through classes from 8am to 5pm perfectly, but on the way to see Beauty and the Beast 3d, my gps wouldn't cooperate and i had a little bit of a melt down in the car. then when we got home i immediately fell asleep on the couch. today is day three and it's going so much better! i don't think we'll do the full 7 days that we had planned on, probably just 4 or 5, but afterwards we plan on juicing and having fruit and veggies throughout the day and then having a super healthy meal for dinner. i usually have terrible stomach and headaches, and my headaches slowly seem to be going away; my stomach hasn't been hurting at all the past three days and i don't feel bloated at all. oscar's skin is clearing up a lot, too. so many benefits from a healthy lifestyle!! we've been needing a boost in our lives and something to kick start a new, healthier and happier lifestyle, and i think the Reboot has done it! :)

pictures: (one) day one dinner of veggie soup, (two) day two breakfast juice of kale, carrot, green apple, golden delicious apple, and grapefruit, (three) day two dinner of kale, cilantro, orange, cucumber, and green apple, (four) day three dinner juice of bell pepper, carrot, tomato, kale, apple, and celery with a side of slightly overcooked kale chips, which were still delicious, (five) showing off my dinner, (six) just a photo i snapped today of my precious(giant)cat

recipe for kale chips:
Wash kale and cut stems out, then tear or cut into bite-sized pieces
Arrange on a cookie sheet (i put foil on it to keep it clean) and drizzle with about 1 Tbsp of olive oil and sea salt to taste
Bake in oven at 350 for under ten minutes (mine were overcooked at 10)