Thursday, May 12, 2011

Happy Dance

So I'm not really sure what to say, but I feel really happy right now. Life has been interesting and challenging lately, but I think I have kind of liked it. Recently I figured out that I have Candida (its basically a bacteria overgrowth from being on too many antiobiotics, whatnot) and that pretty much the only cure was to change around my diet completely. And I mean completely. Apparently the bacteria likes things like sugar and carbs (which was pretty much my diet previously) and a diet like that can actually make the problem worse. Which was starting to cause my migraines, my intolerance to sugar, sluggishness, and brain fog. Can I tell you how happy I was to find out that I wasn't just an Idiot?! :D So I have started to go on this diet (as of early last week) and I have already noticed almost a 180 turn around. I still have alot of the problems, and apparently Candida is suuuuper hard and long to cure, but I can't tell you how amazing I have felt and how much of a change it has been for me. Ok, so let me tell you a little bit about the diet... Cause when I first read it, I thought it was simple enough, but after researching it more, I thought it was kind of a joke... Because, well, the list of things I CAN'T eat are longer than the list of things I CAN eat. Here goes-- NO sugar, NO dairy (except plain yogurt, and I drink almond or soy milk instead of cow), NO refined wheat, rice, yadayadayada (I can have buckwheat, brown and wild rice- all has to be gluten free), NO fruit (thats right.. Fruit. Too much sugar apparently, Although I cheat a little with pineapple cause the alkaline level is high enough it becomes kind of a catch 22... and PLEASE.. I'm not THAT strong!). I'm supposed to stay away from anything but free-range, organic meat (the antibiotics and hormones they put in animals can irritate the problem), NO processed food, certain kinds of nuts, or corn, potatoes, almost all vinegars, and absolutely NO yeast (which weirdly enough rules out alot of spice flavorings). Oh, and I'm supposed to stay away from microwaves. As in, don't heat up any food unless you want to use a skillet or an oven.

Needless to say, I have eaten a disgusting amount of raw vegetables, steak (which I am actually starting to get sick of, who would have thought?) chicken, seafood, and cold leftovers. All of this hasn't been so bad actually. I have to give my family super Kudos for being supportive and understanding, and even trying to find things I can eat. (It was almost comical going through the fridge and pantry trying to find things I can eat. Folks, look at your salad dressings- I dare you to find one that doesn't have sugar, dairy, or vinegar in any of them.) I love them so much, and I'm so greatful they are my family. My sister Katie is an angel, and one night I came home and she had even tried to make fajita's with whole wheat tortillas (which I'm not really supposed to eat, but it really can be so hard to remember with this dumb diet), but the whole ensemble was too sugary for me and I could tell it wasnt gonna be good for me so I couldnt finish it. But the fact that she tried really made my whole night, and I just lit up like a Christmas tree. The woman cooks for a housefull of people so to try to change things up for me in what would obviously be less appealing fashion for everyone else was such a sacrifice. I also have to give my friends props for not mocking me and being pretty understanding as well. I kind of figured that alot of them would think I was weird or that I was trying to do some extreme weightloss fad. I do NOT have enough willpower to skip out on as many chocolate covered donuts, chips, pasta salads, and dessert menus as I have just to shrink my reflection in the mirror.

After the initial 'I can do this!' and extreme optimism, which I am proud to say lasted at least a few days, and then reading a longer list of Don'ts and breaking down crying, and then having a friend build me back up again, I have to say I am actually starting to look at this as a challenge I should be greatful for. I did the same thing with my migraines, where I just told myself, its God's way of helping me to stay healthier by having to stay away from as much sugar. But apparently I didn't learn my lesson enough and I needed a little more guiding. (Hello. I'm a girl.. Do I need to tell you I like chocolate?) But it has actually been kind of fun to look online and find recipes or look for things that I actually CAN eat. has become my new favorite website and life link. I'm even planning on making my own recipe book of things I can eat. Oh, I think I forgot to mention that this isn't one of those diets that you just have to stay on for a few weeks. People who have Candida are often prone to getting it again, so you have to stay pretty close to the diet for the rest of your life. Yep. FOR-EV-ER. The good news is that after I get rid of the initial overgrowth I can start to eat a tiny bit of sugar and other things. But for the most part I will most likely be gluten-free and low sugar, low processed foods for the rest of my life. If I'm that strong. Which I hope I am. I don't want to be one of those stories I have read where the problem comes back and I have to do this again.

Ok, I have to mention that I did break down a little yesterday, so I'm not perfect.. It was my Dad's Birthday and we went to Red Lobster (I can eat most everything on their menu to my hearts content. Butter weirdly enough is actually allowed, and lemons are actually encouraged cause they are one of the few fruits that are initially acidic but change to an alkaline state in the body. I feel so smart right now. :)) And I have been taking this stuff that my dad gave me to help kill it, and I kneeew I might breakdown with those yummy, flakey, cheese biscuits they have there. So I let myself give in.. just a little. And then my dad had ordered a virgin strawberry daquiri that was delivered in a Martini glass that was a big enough size for a baby turtle to swim in and decided he wanted to show me how well the stuff he gave me could work. So I had some.. alot of some. And then I had some more biscuits.. and then some strawberry cheesecake.. And it was Amazing! But after even several sips of the daquiri I was starting to feel sick. My head was getting fuzzy, my stomach queesy, and some of the old symptoms were starting to flare up. So through trial and ERROR, I can say that this diet is really working for me. I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn so many new things, about nutrition, greater willpower, the love of my family, a newfound desire to cook and help others feel better too, and that my Heeavenly Father loves me. Alot. This could change me for the rest of my life and help me to help others for the better. Which I love to do. So even though this may make things seriously hard for dating, my mission, my grocery budget, my family, and my willpower, I am thankful that I am being kicked in the butt to be healthier and given the opportunity to grow. I hope everyone can see the trials in there life as hidden blessings and take them as the opportunities to learn and grow that they are. I'm not excited for the future conversations I will have to have of explaining why I can't have this or that, but I am excited for the newfound freedom I'll have from my symptoms and the health that comes with it. And hey.. who says that smaller reflection isn't a great side-effect? :)

Hoping you have a great, sunny, WARM day. :)

P.s. A new tip I have found- If you want to make a salad dressing that is healthy and actually GOOD for you, try making yours from Plain Yogurt. Buy the Ranch packets in the store and just add it to the yogurt instead of Sour Cream. Tons less fat, lots of probiotics (good bacteria thats needed to fight the bad, and good for digestion) and it tastes almost exactly the same. (Greek yogurt is good if you like thicker dressing, and the yogurts can come in Fat-Free too. Bonus!!) :)