Saturday, December 26, 2020

My Trip to Mayo: Part 2

Mayo turned out to be just what we needed to settle on a treatment plan for the near-term. The trip was a whirlwind, full of appointments and tests, but also playing in the snow, our first hotel experience with the boys, and making memories. 

In terms of testing, I was very pleased with the thorough approach each set of doctors took to dig deep into the outstanding questions. I'll admit, though - I felt like a rag doll by the end of the trip, having been poked and prodded seemingly 24/7. The turnaround time of results was phenomenal. If I had done even one of these tests through a local doctor, it would have taken days or weeks to find out the results. I would have had to schedule childcare and factor in drive time and wait time. At Mayo, with my parents there take care of the boys, the testing was so much smoother. For the blood tests, I received results in my online portal within 4 hours. The bigger tests took a day or two so the doctors could review and interpret the results. It was amazing! Here are some of the tests they performed:

  • bone density
  • x-rays of spine and hips
  • abdominal ultrasound
  • CT of small bowel
  • MRI of liver
  • 10 vials of blood
  • 48 hours of fasting
  • colonoscopy

Thankfully, we were able to return home after 6 days of testing and take the consultations virtually from the comfort of home. We really hoped we'd be able to leave sooner than expected, and that is just what happened. 

I am SO thankful to my husband, who supports me in every step of this medical journey and took time off from work to be with me at the appointments and be with the boys while I underwent testing. We could not have managed this trip without my parents who made the (LONG) drive to Rochester, MN to help take care of the boys whenever Jacob and I went to appointments. Our time there seemed more like a vacation to the boys than a medical trip. They enjoyed building a snowman, playing with trucks outside at the biggest sandbox I've seen full of communal trucks, exploring a children's museum at the Apache Mall, and running around the Rochester Athletic Center playing miniature golf, air hockey, building towers, jumping on trampolines, and climbing towers. These activities truly made the trip possible with the boys!

The tests were draining, but the appointments were so informative, and the team approach from the doctors was critical to ensuring my treatment plan considers all necessary components. My three main issues are GI distress, high liver numbers, and osteoporosis. By seeing a GI doctor, a hepatologist, and an endocrinologist at Mayo, they coordinated care recommendations. For example, due to my low bone mineral density, I should not take Prednisone (ideally ever, but realistically as short as possible until treatment begins). The hepatologist was able to communicate the considerations for my liver with the GI doctor and made recommendations how we will monitor over the next year. He also advised against some tests GI my doctor here in TX wanted to perform due to their invasive nature and potential side effects. I'm so glad put a pause on treatment until after our trip to Mayo!

The ultimate diagnosis from Mayo is ulcerative pancolitis, which involves inflammation throughout the entire large intestine. There are many components, but that is the gist. It is an autoimmune disease, so any treatment path I take will involve immuno suppressants, which will lower my immunity. It will be very important for me to take care and avoid sickness. While it is scary to think about in the season of COVID, God is not a God of fear, and we will pray for protection.

More to come on this journey, but we appreciate your prayers as we make decisions each step of the way and trust for God to provide wisdom!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

An Anthem for 2020: O Holy Night

At the end of this year 2020, I imagine there are many things people want to forget.
  • Forget the pain, sickness, death, and hardship a year wrought with trouble brought every single one of us without exception.
  • Forget the anger with which we responded to people who didn't deserve it and weren't the root cause.
  • Forget the sadness we couldn't push away.
  • Forget the fear of each other that oppressed us with a pandemic sweeping across the world. Fear that kept us from gathering together and encouraging one another because what if we infected each other? Fear that was founded, on most occasions, but robbed us of the joy of community that is at the heart of humanity.
  • Forget the isolation of staying in our homes and not knowing when or if things would change.
And yet, as Christmas approaches, the lyrics to one of my favorite carols brings me to tears with their relevance to more than one social event we have faced this year.

"O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;

Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine! O night when Christ was born.
O night, O holy night, O night divine...

He knows our need, To our weakness no stranger!
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend.
Behold your King! Your King! Before Him lowly bend.

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is Love and His gospel is Peace;
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother,
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful Chorus raise we; 
Let all within us praise His Holy name."

Christ is the Lord, then ever, ever praise we.
His pow'r and glory, evermore proclaim!
His pow'r and glory, evermore proclaim!

A song penned so many years ago yet so applicable to our year 2020. We are a "weary world." We long for a "new and glorious morn." May we "fall on our knees" as we realize our dependence on the God who saves us. He knows our needs, for He is no stranger to our weaknesses since Jesus came to earth and lived life as a man.

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:15-16).

"But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (2 Cor 12:9).

"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. for we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words" (Romans 8:26).

"Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:4-5).

May the words of this familiar carol settle more deeply in your soul this Christmas. 
May we encourage each other and love each other in meaningful ways from respectful physical distances that hopefully do not distance our hearts from one another.
May we look to Jesus as our Ultimate Gift - the only One we need to survive all the trials and tribulations of life.



Sunday, December 20, 2020

My Trip to Mayo: 2020

Oftentimes in life, there is not a clear answer, especially when it comes to health. 
We are trained as students in the school systems to come up with the right answer on the other side of the math equation or produce the correct response for the years of the World Wars. We pass or fail the spelling bees and the answer is right or wrong on the SATs.

On the other hand, as we progress into college, if we have the *right* professor, we are taught a very important lesson: We learn the rules and then we learn when it is appropriate to break them. This is a lesson my bassoon professor Will Roberts taught me. I studied bassoon with him and practiced hour after hour to get the fingerings and timing down to produce the perfect solo line...only to then be coached to make it my own - to add my "voice" and my "heart" to the melody. As a rule follower, it was a challenging assignment, but one I am grateful I learned.

In this season of my life, I struggle with when to feel settled with an answer and when to dig deeper. With the health struggles I've faced these past 5 years, I've learned to ask more questions instead of simply accepting a diagnosis. Sometimes, my questions have led to positive strides and more answers, but sometimes they have delayed a course of action that would have helped if I'd accepted the guidance and started sooner. With each situation, it takes thought and research and prayer and community input. 

Most recently, a diagnosis I received did not feel right or complete. The consult with the doctor seemed to miss the mark. Maybe it was due to my lack of knowledge and understanding at the time or maybe it really did stop short of the root cause. Either way, I sought out a second opinion doctor. He agreed with my intuition - there was something deeper. After four months of additional testing, we still did not get to the root, and some additional symptoms progressed to a concerning level. 

After prayer and consultation with my husband and family, we decided to make a trip to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. At Mayo, I will meet with a number of specialists to look at how my unique set of symptoms (GI, liver, and bone) are all connected (most likely) and how we can determine the right course of treatment. As a mom with two small children, I became overwhelmed with the prospect of trying to find and meet with three (or more) different types of doctors in different practices where we live, each wanting to do labs and procedures and have follow-ups. And how would I get them to "come together" to figure out what is going on? The thought of calling all three offices back and forth to ask questions, get approvals, and coordinate treatment was beyond daunting. It is also very difficult to schedule appointments with little ones and naps and preschool and life. My family is beyond helpful with watching the boys so I can make as many appointments as I can work, but it became just too much.

I completed a health questionnaire online for Mayo, and a doctor reviewed my information to see if I was a viable candidate for the program. Thankfully, I was accepted. We scheduled our visit to start on October 20, 2020. Mayo advises its patients to prepare for a 7-10 business day visit. It sounds long, but when I think about meeting with three or more doctors, having 2 or more days of labwork and imaging, and possibly undergoing a procedure like a colonoscopy while there, I think the time will go fast. 

We decided to take the boys and make it out to be a vacation for them (hey - they're 4 and 1, and this will be their first stay in a hotel room with an indoor pool in the lobby!). My brother-in-law did his residency at Mayo, so my sister-in-law gave us some wonderful ideas of activities to do with the kids. My parents graciously agreed to travel with us for the first half of the trip to be with the boys during my appointments so my husband can be there to support me and hear the guidance first-hand, and his parents plan to travel up for the second half of the trip, if needed. We are so thankful for the generous gift of their time, and our boys will LOVE spending their days with Grams and Pa and Nana and Papa. 

I've got my binder ready to go with all my medical records, and I'm finalizing packing all the food and goods we will need to start our extended stay. Thankfully our hotel room is an extended stay suite with a little kitchen, so I will be able to cook for us and my food sensitivities. There is much to think about, but the Lord is guiding each step.

My prayer for this trip is for the doctors to take in all the information, see what they need to see in labwork and images, and come together to determine the best path forward. I want to be strong and healthy to enjoy life with my dear family. I pray this trip will result in some answers to questions that have left me sleepless at night and in discomfort and pain during the day. I pray for more clarity and fewer unanswered questions. I am thankful for this opportunity.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Choosing Spontaneity

Spontaneity is not my default. I’m a planner. I thrive on schedule and routine, and there is nothing wrong with either. I’ve actually had to give myself some grace for having this “bent” since I’ve heard negativity towards being a planner. Even many self-proclaimed Type A’s make self-deprecating statements about their plan-ful ways if they feel pressure.

BUT, there is also nothing wrong with (and lots of joy in) being spontaneous! Getting married was the beginning of my journey towards spontaneity. My husband thrives on it, and he’s gradually nudged me in that direction.

Now as a mom of 2 boys, I’m learning I have a choice: I can choose to create a schedule and develop routines that are *usually* helpful guides and allow spontaneity to be a source of excitement and joy OR I can be rigid and restrictive, oftentimes causing hurt feelings, disappointment, and unnecessary arguments.

I CHOOSE spontaneity. I choose to go to the pool and get wet even though I just washed my hair. I choose sweating at the playground when I’d rather relax on the couch. I choose baking in the kitchen with my *helpers* when it would be 100x faster by myself (and way less fun).

Lord, help me see moments of spontaneity as teachable moments...for me and for my children.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

From Frustration to Faith: Trusting God with My Crohn’s Disease

Do you ever feel stuck? Does it seem as though you’re wandering in a wilderness with no escape?

Many things in life can contribute to this feeling:

  • Losing a job

  • Losing a loved one

  • Unanswered prayer

  • Facing a chronic health condition

We all experience many different things in life, but oftentimes we can empathize with those around us facing trials.

My life hurdle in this season is facing Crohn’s disease. Before my diagnosis, I went through a myriad of medical tests and tried many approaches to alleviating my symptoms such as the MRT food sensitivity test, going dairy- and gluten-free, and cooking every meal from scratch. There is more to the story of how I arrived at the diagnosis of Crohn’s disease, but I’ll save those details for another time.

One of the challenges with Crohn’s disease is knowing what to eat. Every person is different. Some can handle cruciferous vegetables; some cannot. Some can tolerate dairy; some cannot. Some can eat nuts and seeds; some cannot. It feels like a game of Russian roulette because when you try certain foods, you have no idea whether they will go down without issue or cause a flare of your symptoms.

In the past few weeks, I’ve become discouraged. Currently, I quite literally eat the same foods every day (smoothie and bone broth for breakfast, pureed carrots or squash with fish for lunch, and steamed vegetables, chicken, and avocado for dinner). There is little variety in flavor or amount of food. Almost all my food is pureed, with the exception of soft proteins and greens that are steamed to mush. My inflammation rates are low according to bloodwork, but I still have symptoms almost daily.

I found myself complaining in my head (and sometimes aloud) about my daily menu, comparing what I can eat to what my family and friends eat. It just didn’t seem fair.

Then I realized I sounded like the Israelites. God rescued them from slavery to the Egyptians, guided them safely across the Red Sea, and traveled with them day and night, yet they complained about what they did not have in the wilderness. I reached for my Bible and looked up Bible verses about God providing manna for the Israelites. Although I was familiar with the basics, a review of the details struck a chord with my current situation:

  • The Israelites grumbled against the Lord and wished they were back in slavery because the food was better (Exodus 16:3 ESV)

  • God provided a solution that sustained their bodies in the wilderness (Exodus 16:4-5)

  • The Israelites ate manna for 40 years until they “came to a habitable land” (Exodus 16:35)

Wow. How I resonate with the Israelites. When I compare myself to others (or even to myself just a few years ago), I wish I was in a different situation. However, when I focus on the love of God and His provision in my life (loving family, food I can eat however limited, medical tests and treatment), my frustration morphs into faith. God continues to provide. Even if I must eat these same foods for 40 more years, my body will be nourished, and I can enjoy each day with my family, doing the work He has set in front of me for each season.

If you are faced with a limited list of foods your body tolerates due to food sensitivities, autoimmune disease, or any other limiting conditions, be encouraged. We can reach out to God - cry out to Him. He hears us. He may not intervene and change our situation, but He can comfort us and change our hearts and attitudes. May we trust in His faithfulness to provide what we need when we need it.

Monday, August 6, 2018

60 days in

Two months seems like a short amount of time and a lifetime.

I remember feeling that way about summer break when I was in school. When I planned out the summer and imagined all the things I would enjoy and accomplish, it seemed my two-month break was never long enough. By summer's end, though, I felt like a different person - as though all the things I had experienced helped me emerge with a refreshed mindset, ready to tackle a new year with new challenges and dreams.

As I began #myleapjourney with the MRT test and the ImmunoCalm diet protocol, I was just focused on the next day. If I looked too far ahead, it was daunting and full of the unknown. One of the things that helped me through the overwhelm was making a weekly plan. I created a template with fields for supplements, meal planning, and ingredient tracking which then helped me with grocery shopping, knowing when to thaw meat/veggies from the freezer in the fridge, and identify the best times in the day to prep food (having a 2-year-old often requires flexibility and creativity to get meal prep done!).

I am also in the habit of using two food-tracking apps which help me identify any major deficiencies: Cronometer and mySymptoms. Both of these apps require daily entry of ingredient-level detail for all meals. It's a bit tedious but very helpful!

Cronometer has a whole-food database which tracks over 60+ micronutrients and supports specialized diets. With just a few taps of the screen, I can see my macronutrient ratios (fat, protein, carbs), and also make sure I'm getting enough micronutrients such as calcium, folate, iron, etc., and it shows me where the amounts of these nutrients come from in my food consumption that day. I usually key in what I'm going to eat a day ahead so I can make sure I'm prepared for the next day and know I'm getting enough of what my body needs.

The mySymptoms app was recommended by my dietitian as a way to track not only food but any symptoms I experience along the way. The symptom-tracking ultimately helps the user identify trends in how they feel based on what they've eaten. The trick here is making sure to focus on one new item at a time over the course of 2-3 days since symptoms can take a little while to appear at times.

So back to the long and short of it. At this point, 60 days in, I would say 60 days sounds short but feels long. I can remember how I was eating before I started the protocol, and I remember how bad I felt and the severity of my symptoms. And yet I feel I've been eating according to the protocol for longer than 60 days. I've developed some systems and routines that help me get through and have refined some cooking processes that make food prep a shorter, more enjoyable process. I'll share some of these tips and tricks in another post.

Regarding my progress, it was slow at first - slower than the average - but I'm in a pretty good place right now. I can usually identify if a food is an issue for me (since some of my "green" - a.k.a. "non-reactive/allowed" - foods have been) and add it to my do-not-eat list. It's empowering to make those decisions for myself based on how I feel after eating a food. I used to just eat whatever sounded good/healthy/filling, but now I'm actually listening to my body. Sometimes it's disappointing, but I don't want to go back to the physical state I was in 60 days ago.

Next steps: I've got 30 more days on this rotation of "green" (non-reactive/allowed) foods. Then, I can begin testing foods that were not included in the MRT. I've got a list of foods I want to try such as plantains, sardines, acorn squash, pumpkin seeds, etc., so I'm looking forward to adding in some more diversity. I am supposed to wait closer to 6 months before trying any of my "yellow" (reactive) foods, so I will likely hold off until January 2019. I want to give my body plenty of time to heal...and I'll also need to decide which of those foods really are important to me to include in my regular diet. No sense adding something back in that I don't really care about if it has the potential to cause a flare.

Here's to the next 30 days in #myleapjourney!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

It's all about perspective

Has anyone ever asked you: What is the one thing you would choose to eat if you had to eat it every day for the rest of your life? What's your answer?

In the past, I've probably joked about how I could eat half a loaf of bread at a time (no, seriously...I used to do that) or a mountain of cinnamon oatmeal with almond butter. 

In response to this question, some people might name a dessert like fudge chocolate cake or a decadent treat like truffle mac & cheese. For others, it's a bag of potato chips or a sleeve of Girl Scout cookies.

These days, I'm not eating the things I would have listed years, even months, ago. I don't have that luxury if I want to feel well. But to be honest, I'm really enjoying what I can eat. There is freedom within the constrains of the ImmunoCalm protocol.

Isn't that true with life? For example, God provided the Ten Commandments and other laws to protect us - to not only remind us that we are imperfect and desperately need Him, but also to show us how fulfilling life can be within the context of the standards He has set for us. When we know what to stay away from because it will hurt us, it gives us freedom to enjoy His creation and live our lives to the full.

I realize more and more how fulfilling (and filling) it can be to eat whole, fresh foods. For example, it takes a little time to cut up a zucchini, but choosing a variety of techniques really helps. Here are three different takes on zucchini, spices, and a protein:

Steamed spiralized zucchini with steamed cod, sprinkled with turmeric

Coined zucchini roasted in coconut oil and sprinkled with turmeric,
surrounding ground, grassfed beef

Elongated, coined zucchini baked in a convection oven in coconut oil with
basil and turmeric, surrounding ground lamb and basil meatballs

When faced with my current diet limitations, I find it's more exciting and delicious to change things up. This is *big* coming from someone who is such a creature of habit like myself. I typically thrive off routine and consistency. However, I think I would be much less successful on this protocol if I did the same thing for each meal in the rotation.

I'm learning so much from this experience! Feel free to comment if you have other ideas for how to prepare zucchini - I'd love to try something new.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

When you can't eat breakfast

If 10 people were sitting in a diner ordering breakfast, I bet half of them would choose sweet and half would choose savory. Fruity oatmeal, nutty pancakes with maple syrup, a breakfast hash, or scrambled eggs with bacon. Or maybe something a little lighter like a hard-boiled egg and some tomato slices or even a small jar of overnight oats.

So what's a girl to do when she can't eat oatmeal, wheat (any gluten), potatoes, eggs, dairy or even almond milk?

This ImmunoCalm elimination diet approach has required much creativity when it comes to breakfast, and I simply do not have the options available to me to make a "normal" breakfast.

BUT, instead of getting frustrated, I chose to get cooking. Here are a few of my favorite breakfasts on rotation right now.

Turmeric coconut wrap from Thrive Market filled with sauteed peas
red kidney beans, sprinkled with Redmond's real salt
These turmeric coconut wraps are a special treat (read: expensive), but they help liven up breakfast into something more than just a pile of sauteed veggies. There's nothing wrong with sauteed veggies - it's what I'm surviving on! - but when you have them three times a day, a yellow wrap makes you feel fancy.

Steamed spinach along with boiled carrots and celery leftovers from
making homemade bone broth (the texture and rich taste was amazing),
topped with wild pink salmon from Costco.
Homemade bone broth was a major win in my book, especially with these delicious leftover carrots and celery sticks. I'll be adding more to my next batch!

Grass fed beef patty atop green beans sauteed in coconut oil
Many days, breakfast is green and brown (green beans or green peas or spinach topped with ground beef or ground lamb, or sometimes the occasional white fish like cod or tilapia).

Brussels sprouts sauteed in olive oil with a side of tilapia,
sprinkled with lemon juice and Redmond's real salt
This picture shows two ingredients I am now questioning. I think I may be sensitive to brussels sprouts or at least to this many of them at once. I've taken them out of my diet and may try adding back in a small portion in a little while, but for now I'm enjoying not having tummy pain.

Tilapia. So...I've been informed tilapia is not really a fish. That statement in general made me skeptical; however, there is concern about tilapia from China and what they feed on. I'm still researching but for now, I'll lay off the tilapia and focus on cod (found a great deal at Sprouts recently) and wild salmon.

To wrap it up, I'm learning not to put meals in a proverbial box. Breakfast doesn't have to be sweet or savory or "normal" - it can be leftovers, something fresh, a salad, a meat patty...whatever fuels you for the start of your day!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

What I ate today

These types of posts are always interesting - to see what someone really eats in a day. I will make a disclaimer and say my portions are often bigger than what is shown (if there is more in the skillet than will fit on the plate or in the bowl), but the pictures show the complete range of foods I ate in one day. I may do a few of these, but let's just start with one.

My goals each day are to subscribe strictly to my ImmunoCalm protocol in terms of allowed foods and seasonings, eat enough protein, fat, and carbohydrates in proportion, and find a way to enjoy what I'm eating.

For me, I try to savor each process:

  • preparing the food
  • taking a picture of the food
  • consuming the food 

Sometimes this means waking up earlier to get food prep done or working on it during our son's naptime or when I could have some downtime in the evening, but it's worth it for me to find a way to enjoy the limited list of foods.

Breakfast: Today was a full bowl of ground lamb and basil meatballs atop a bed of green beans sauteed in the fat from the lamb. I have found using the meat fat to saute is one of the most flavorful ways to prepare vegetables! This is a new discovery for me - and probably one I would have balked at just months ago. Our society has shunned the word "fat" so much it leaves a bad taste in one's mouth (pun intended), but I'm learning so much about the importance of fat as fuel and brain function. This breakfast was delicious!

Lunch: Leftover roasted chicken and oven roasted zucchini with coconut oil and Redmond's real salt. Not shown: A whole tray of zucchini "coins" roasted until almost crispy. I ate two whole zucchini with this meal.

Snack: Organic, sprouted quinoa. Since my diagnosis of gluten sensitivity, I've learned a lot about grains in general. Here is a link to some information regarding why sprouted quinoa is more beneficial than conventional quinoa, including improved digestibility and nutritional availability.
Note: I prepared enough quinoa for my snack this afternoon plus my snack tonight at the same time and put a bowl in the refrigerator for after dinner. 

Dinner: Roasted bok choy and green beans (with olive oil and Redmond's real salt) with lemon and garlic sauteed shrimp.

Snack: Banana, blueberry, and Malk's pecan milk smoothie, organic pecan pieces from, and more sprouted quinoa.

Over the years, I've developed a habit of snacking at night, so my body really wants to sleep on a full stomach. Plus, with this elimination diet plan, I have to be careful to make sure I eat enough, so a top-off snack at night is always on the menu. What better way to end the day than with a cool, refreshing smoothie?

I hope you've enjoyed seeing a day-in-the-life on this ImmunoCalm protocol. Each protocol is unique to the person and their sensitivities, and my understanding is that our sensitivities can change over time. My hope is to get to a point of more diverse food inclusion and then a good regimen of rotating foods so I don't develop new sensitivities and can enjoy a wide spectrum of foods!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

I'm not monkey-ing around

GUESS what ingredient I get to test out now? Bananas! Although I'll eat them fresh in a pinch, my favorite way to consume bananas is in a smoothie. Years and years ago, I decided I just didn't like the texture of smoothies with fresh banana and ice - the ice was always just too crunchy (maybe it was a cheap blender?). I tried freezing the bananas and not using ice, and voila! The perfect smoothie texture. So needless to say, I'm super-excited to have my smoothies again. My goal, as with other foods at this point, is to mostly have bananas (read: smoothies) every other day.

Frozen banana, strawberry, and coconut milk smoothie,
along with homemade coconut cookies and organic pistachios from
That smoothie hit the SPOT!

Confession time: Much of the time, I eat WAY more than pictured. For example, this lovely plate below...

Thrive Market turmeric coconut wrap with Edison Grainery's
red kidney beans and steamed green peas
...was followed by finishing off the skillet.

How else is a girl going to get full?

Also, one thing I've definitely been learning throughout this process is that breakfast does not mean we have to eat typical "breakfast foods." The above two pictures were my breakfast one day. Since I cannot eat wheat, oats, dairy, or eggs...I've basically wiped most "breakfast-y" foods off the list. It's actually kind of fun to get the skillet sizzling in the morning to caramelize brussels sprouts or steam peas. A change, but a good one.

Here is another savory breakfast I've enjoyed:

Steamed spinach and mushrooms with Edison Grainery's red kidney beans
Okay, here is one of my favorite nighttime snacks: sprouted quinoa, fresh organic fruit, and organic walnuts.

truRoots sprouted quinoa, organic walnuts,
and organic strawberries and blueberries
This is what helps me sleep well at night. I used to eat 1-2 cups of oatmeal at night, along with a smoothie and a Quest bar, so my body is used to going to bed full. On the nights when I have quinoa, fruit, and nuts, I go to bed quite satisfied.

Last on the list for today is lemon basil zoodles and grass fed beef. No fancy sauces (since my ingredients are so limited), but these fresh, high-quality foods don't need much! Seriously, a little lemon juice goes a long way.

Happy eating and hopefully happy digestion!