ZERO FOX GIVEN cause it’s international day of HAPPY!

[[International Day of Happiness is March 20th. ] 

I’m not letting anything get in the way of my happy…So today I decided I’m GOING IN that gosh darn pool! Cause holy smokes was it HOT. I should be avoiding [chlorinated]pools like the plague. but I went for it :)    I feel like we always need an exception to the rule. (especially on vacation) Right? Like today. It’s been 3 days straight  of 95 degrees and I’ve holded out for this long from getting in that pool. But today I’m like, FOX IT.  And plus. my DAD was in the pool. I think I can count on one hand how many times in my 29 years that I’ve had an opportunity to swim with my dad! So there. Definitely worth it. It’s important to not get hung up on the rules ALL OF THE TIME.  So we do what makes us happy. AND THAT’S OKAy ;-) [not to say that staying within my restrictions makes me unhappy. Cause that’s definitely not the case. I’m quite happy with my lifestyle + grateful to know what the tools are to keep me feeling well and in remission.]. I’m just using today’s ‘happiness day’ as an excuse to get an extra bit of happy ;-)


When I was in the pool I was cringing just thinking of all the chlorine soaking in to my body LOL (it’s destroying all the good bacteria in my intestines). but I was only in there for about 10 mins so hopefully I didn’t  too much damage. Probably not any more damage than this snack and wine I’m having right now :P

So for my fellow #ibdfighters here’s what’s up with my snack (pictured above):

I’ve got lime flavoured bean ‘tortilla’ chips. (I’m trying to make a little bit more of an effort to stay away from corn. but when I don’t at the LEAST I make sure it’s non-gmo) beans are legumes and legumes contain phytic acid, lectins blah blah blah…so always in moderation with legumes is best for me. Definitely not a staple in my diet. I guess it’s a good thing I’m not vegan. I’m trying hard to avoid soytoo.  Then there’s the salsa.. And tomatos are a damn nightshade.  This is a tough one for me to stay away from.(and a new elimination food for me) Especially in the summer…who doesn’t love taco chips and salsa? (When I do have salsa it’s usually organic) And then there’s my fav. RED WINE. (organic as much as I can). Gosh I love my wine and cheese. and this cheese is DAIRY,  yes, and I’ve been off dairy for the last 12 years. the only cow’s milk cheese I will cheat on is UNPASTEURIZED, ORGANIC cheese.

So back to happiness.  I got to play tennis this mornin’!! which made me a happy girl.  It kicked my butt, but it was awesome. I hadn’t played for over two years. (can’t believe I got my dad out on the court. first time EVER.  Insert another happy face here)

I feel like I’m often taking note of the things that make me happy. I am usually always mindful of the things and moments that make me happy. And often enough it’s the super simple stuff. Like waking up and seeing the sun. Or noticing the friendly smiling bus driver. AND it’s the things that matter… like spending time with my family.  I’m in a constant state of gratitude towards my happiness, which in turn ends up yielding me more happy, I think? Cause like attracts like. Right? It’s no secret. ;-)

How many people out there make it a priority to have happy in their every day life? Who else fights a battle with colitis (or anything for that matter) yet still remains happy? I know I’m not the only one.  Talking about this reminds me of a friend who recently kicked cancer’s butt. From his diagnosis, thru the ups and downs, he kept such a positive attitude and I am so proud of him for that. The last thing we want to do is stress about our shitty (:P) diseases. It just adds to the problem. and I know, easier said than done. But it’s worth the effort to get there.

I value happiness. It’s something that I make a priority in my life. And when I’m not happy, I do whatever it takes to get me back there.  And that doesn’t mean there’s no room for sadness and pain. We’re allowed to be happy and sad at the same time. In fact it’s an emotional state that I appreciate and value because I don’t think everyone can get there. Maybe it’s only ever happy OR sad for some?! I dunno. But my thoughts on happiness go on and on so I will save them for another post. ‘It’s better to feel pain than nothing at all.’ I LOVE that line and song by The Lumineers, Stubborn Love.

Okay, two things before I go:

how cute is that fox mug!! :P. Amazon showed it to me when I was buying my Boswellia extract supplements aka my FAV: Frankinsence (it’s for inflammation. and worth checking out especially if you have arthritis or joint pain.)

And to my Arizona pals, how the heck do you guys survive the 100+ heat in the summer!!!!? Common’ up to Lake of the Woods, Canada, my darlings. We’ll treat you to some perfect summer weather up in God’s country ;-)

Bye for now. xo.


fun, eventful, weekend. living life!

holy bleep did I just make a big freakin mess of my kitchen! but man did I make a masterpiece for dinner. I enjoy pinning recipes / food + beverage ideas on my  pinterest board ‘Bon Appetite’  and tonight’s meal was inspired by spaghetti squash chow mien + egg roll in a bowl . actually the idea to make this came from the left over cabbage I had from the sauerkraut I made this afternoon.  and then I used the pinterest recipes as my guide. and it was faily easy! though you’d prob wonder if you saw my kitchen?!

live-a-great-story-blog

so this is what I did: I threw the spaghetti squash in the oven,  fried up some ground turkey with onion flakes, garlic, salt / pepper. fried up the cabbage, shredded carrots + red onions. then made my sauce: extra virgin olive oil, garlic, ginger + coconut aminos [i’m really trying hard to limit soy in my diet. cause hormones].and garnished with green onions.

so now that dinner is done I’m having some cravings for the damn cookie dough I made yesterday. i’m trying hard not to have any because I’ve been cheating a little too much lately. testing myself. pushing the envelope, eating things that I should not be eating. like POTATOES. OR. eating lots of something I should really only be eating in moderation. like…. cookie dough. and wine. I maybe drank too much wine last last Friday and then again this past Friday. BUT, I feel like i’ve been managing my stress levels well and I’ve definitely increased my gym visits. so no flare-ups allowed!

cheese. I also had some cheese on Friday. cause wine. too much wine. in fact it was a child’s third birthday party, ha. but that’s our fam. and we do fun.
my sweet birthday boy, Mason, helped aunty make her special pizza. while everyone else ate 222222222222. and I can guarantee mine was SO. MUCH. BETTER. in the yummy sense and health-wise. (obviously).  >>insert some reader’s eye-rolls here<<     lol. it’s okay.

love-life-pizza-wine

so, yes! a great, busy, fun-filled  weekend was had….

kate’s place / maseman’s bday party on Friday night with all my favourite people. {well some were missing, yes}. yesterday I did a lot of work with just believe and this blog… been working on my next post about SALT. then my mom and I hit up the parade of homes yesterday. I made my fav cookie dough. [which, yes, dammit, I am eating now.]
today I had no one to get my butt to church so I just attended online :) ..did lots of house chores and some packing cause i’m gonna be flyin’ high again soon. finally got to making my  sauerkraut. now it has to ferment for 6 days. then started step 1 of another batch of my sprouted /fermented homemade bread. and I am still so excited about the yummy dinner I threw together. I think my mama mia over at the mia cucina blog would be impressed ;-)

it’s also worth mentioning that today I woke up to two really sweet / encouraging / motivating / inspiring / comments here on the blog. from STRANGERS. so that is always exciting. thank you to those who take the time to give me feedback. it really means a lot and makes a difference because sometimes it’s easy to get off track or get caught in the ‘what if’ thoughts. lose confidence. get scared of putting myself out there. worried about what others will think etc. etc. I guess this blog is good practice to get away from that fear. get me some thicker skin. feel the fear and do it anyway. right, Bax? lol. his expression here cracks me up.

feel-the-fear-and-do-it-anyway
this is my boy, baxter, and he’s the best.

so that is all. thanks for being here! and somebody come take this cookie dough away from me.

lots of love. ciao. xo

calm and peace can always be found at the lake

back to April…

last week started off not so good for my brain and heart.  sadness and anger and worry hogged the majority of my thoughts. and this time I can’t blame it [these feelings] on a lack of Vitamin B (or so I thought). without going in to detail about what happened, a few different things just added up [from sad thoughts, to mean people, to worry and anger and back to sadness] and gave me a sucky Monday. AND it was still cloudy after a weekend full of clouds and cold and wind. at some point tho the sun did come out cause I remember it when I took a breather and walked to the Thrift store on my lunch. I guess my mind was too distracted to notice  that I had stormed out of the office without my purse. #damnit.

Tuesday I woke up feeling very depressed about all the new thoughts Monday had given me. and of course what you throw out in to the universe… the law of attraction, and all that magic, it’s very very real. sooooo > > > one bad thought leads to the next bad thought and one spilled smoothie splattered all over leads to your crabbiness about your blush colour looking horrible and you messing up your eye liner. and running too late to worry about garbage day and the litter box is full and oh! okay, lets miss the bus by 5 seconds. and kaBAM we’re playing a wicked game of dominos. oh and yay, more clouds. by the time I was almost at work standing at an intersection waiting to cross the street, I was fighting hard to hold back some tears. at that point I was sad and angry for being sad and angry. and then, like meant-to-be kinda stuff , this old rough looking homely man with a cane came hobbling towards me and as he crossed in front of my path he looked over to me and said, ‘GOOOOD MORNING! Can we get a smile! (???)’  and it completely overwhelmed me with [more unneeded] emotion. I gave him a half-big smile just as it was my turn to cross the street. I made it to my desk just in time for the tears to start flowing. I was incredibly moved by the old-man-smile moment, sad about Monday’s thoughts and the clouds and also mad that I was even crying and feeling all this crap in the first place!!! the old man thing was a huge moment to me because, one > i’m usually always smiling. two > he doesn’t even  know that i’m having a sucky day. and three. > strangers don’t usually blurt things out to other strangers, so the chance of that happening to me in the state that I was in…. was a big ‘woah’ for me.

anyway, maybe hard to understand but that moment shook me back in to perspective. I was still crummy for the rest of the day but at least mindful about trying to fight to get out of it. this too shall pass. or so I thought.

later that evening I was going through my journal and reading some old entries as some sort of therapy I guess and I came across a post that actually put me at peace for a moment. I guess maybe it brought me back to my exact feelings in that exact moment. and I was there again. and I felt GOOD.

peace-and-calm-at-the-lake

Wednesday rolled along and with it brought a lot of good things to be happy about. nothing in particular…
the SUN, for one. frick YES.
international pink day and an excuse to wear the brightest pink shirt I have. + pink popcorn. he he. of course NOT to eat tho.
great workout at the gym – it’s so incredible how powerful exercise is for the mind.
my #pimpinJOY bag finally arrived. which is about spreading good things and thoughts to one another. so very fitting to arrive on a day that is about our fight against bullying.
my residential design class was starting back up and the excitement of almost being graduated ensued.

international-pink-day-

aaaand my happy was back. please don’t leave me again.

but it did. I think maybe only a day or two later and my friend sorrow swooped me back up. (but WHY?)

* * *  * *     **     *  * * * *    *    * * **        * ***      *********

the above note was written over 4 weeks ago. which was also supposed to be ready to post, 4 weeks ago. but the (above) emotional mess I was in + more physical illness (that I’m dealing with now) got in the way of that.

today I am finally able to reflect on what has happened and I’m putting my thoughts in to words. up until now I couldn’t bring myself to write. I kept putting it off cause my mind was so full. of everything. full of to-dos, and planning, and dreams, and ambitions, and cloudy judgements, and failure, and unachieved goals, and physical + mental stress and illness. full of gratitude. full of worry and challenges. anxiety. full of THOUGHTS. my mind is always full of thoughts. usually mostly positive ones! but this time, this round in this game of life, has been a little more challenging.

about 3 weeks ago I had an appointment to see my naturopath – it was supposed to be a quick appointment to go pick up a homeopathic treatment to get myself off the birth control pill, because apparently it’s a really bad thing to be on. and I’ve been on it for 12 years. and I’ve had colitis for almost 12 years…hmm. (I went on the pill for excruciating cramping)
interesting enough is every time I go in to a flare it’s right before my woman cycle starts. (more on that later.. I’m pretty sure there’s a theory there).
so this 15 minute appointment turned in to a 2 hour therapy session. everything that’s been weighing on my mind and heart, the emotional stress that I apparently had bottled up, all unloaded on to my poor doctor.  I guess I was just mentally and physically exhausted from all the illness that seemed to be ongoing – flare numero uno started on Feb 14 and lasted for my entire vacation. then after my flare was done, my body was weak and  I caught a wicked flu/cold that lasted for almost 3 weeks (who knows, maybe I picked up a bad bacteria that took residence in my gut). then after that I got a ridiculous cold sore. after the cold sore was thru my tummy started bloating up really big (which was not normal even for colitis girl) and I was getting a pain in my lower abdomen when I had to go pee.
my body was exhausted. and so my immune system took a hike and left me for the wolves.

so bring on another flare why not!

and it’s bad this time. I can’t remember a time where I’ve ever had two flares back to back. except way back when – those were the days that the flares never actually stopped. those were the days of prednisone. this is my grade 12 grad photo. that I never ordered.

prednisone-face

speaking of prednisone. for those following the blog, remember back in March when I became desperate to have a half-decent vacation and I took prednisone to get out of my flare? well, yesterday I went for an MRI of the brain as part of an IBD research study. When I got there I had to sign some waivers and go through some prep checklists. one of the questions was – have you been on any steroids in the last 4 months? ah, YEAH. good ole pal, prednisone. so she said, sorry, we’re going to have to cancel and reschedule your MRI.
for the life of me I CANNOT UNDERSTAND why these questions were not asked prior to me making a special trip down to the hospital? especially in my condition! I asked her why it mattered if I had been on prednisone. and the answer is because it F* up my brain. in a nutshell : )
seriously though. the prednisone messes with the chemicals and the hormones in the brain.
and now I am quickly reminded how important the mind and body connection is. (and going a little easier on myself for the emotional mess I was in last month)

anyway, every flare is bad, but this one is bad bad. bad like they used to be 10 years ago. it started at the end of April and it came out of nowhere. or so I thought. my first mistake this time around was pretending like it wasn’t happening. I was in mega denial that it was happening again. ESPECIALLY because last year I went an entire year in remission and now this year I’ve had TWO flares already? and only a month apart? wth.
(so yes, I was in denial.)
At the very first sign of a flare I have to reeeeallly tighten up my diet. and that means NO COFFEE. and I love my coffee so that’s a really painful one. and it also means no roughage – no nuts or seeds, raw veggies, anything that is hard/crunchy etc.  it also means, no cheating – when I was in remission last year I was able to have the foods/drinks that I should be staying away from…  dairy, gluten, potatoes, popcorn, alcohol + more. anyway, the flare started and I continued to have my coffee like a moron. 4 days later I accepted what was happening and said my goodbyes to Joe. I started pureeing all my food to give my intestines a break – when I go in to a flare-up they are raw and full of open bleeding sores. so yeah, liquid food, not so fun. a week in to the flare and only eating ‘liquid’, I was getting worse. so the liquid diet thing must not be helping then, right? WHO KNOWS. but I convinced myself that it wasn’t and went back to eating more solid (but soft) foods. by the start of last week I was falling a part in every way. I was going running to the washroom 20 + times a day, my brain started working weirdly, and I was still trying to go to work. which I know wasn’t a good thing – I was overdoing it but we had an event coming up that I thought was more important than my health? or something stupid like that. STEP ONE in curing any illness is REST. so I’ve been off work since last Wednesday (missed the event and all that insignificant stuff.. in the big scheme of things) and I’ve been getting lots of rest which in itself has been very beneficial. when I’m in a flare as bad as this one, a simple glass of water will make me sick. every time I leave the washroom, I only have enough energy to go lay my head back down. when I saw my naturopath last week he said I was on the way to anemia from all the blood I was losing (remember I go in to flares also when my cycle starts. yes, FUN TIMES) so he gave me a B12 shot which gave me my energy back for about 2 hours. I really should have gone for blood work because my iron was probably for sure low. I’ve just been so sick of so many dr. appointments. all I wanted was to lay on the couch and get lost in someone else’s world on tv. my brain was paralyzed. a glass of water was enough to make me run to the washroom. and after running to the washroom 20 + time I’m pretty much just passing blood and rubbing my tummy over and over praying for the pain to stop. sorry for the TMI (too much info) but I have to be careful not to sugarcoat this disease. a really big struggle of mine is dealing with an invisible disease. when people say to me, oh you don’t look sick, that hurts. a lot. and this disease is a tough one to talk about. but after 11 years I’ve finally found the courage. I will try to be the voice for so many who can’t speak about it. you are not alone and I hope pray you find this blog.

The major game changer for me in healing this particular flare has been a very very powerful probiotic I started last Tuesday. I’ve known about it for quite some time now but never tried it before because it is very expensive. and it’s not covered by insurance. It’s called VSL#3 and the pharmacy orders it in. It’s $114 for 30 packets. I would recommend it to anyone suffering with gut problems. If you can afford it, it’s worth the try! there are a lot of testimonials out there  –  it’s even being used for Autism and some have noticed a significant difference  (that also includes being on a specific diet)
I started with 1 pack per day but quickly upped it to 1 + 1/2 packs a day because of how much of a positive difference it was making in my gut. it only took two days of being on this stuff  that I started to noticed an incredible difference. Today I’ve been on it for 1 week and am going to start taking 2 packs per day to try and get me out of this flare quicker.  I was taking one before bed and FINALLY started sleeping through the night. so now I’m also going take one first thing when I wake up.

colitis-flare-remedies
my ulcerative colitis flare-up fixes: cognitive behaviour therapy (don’t STRESS), sweet snuggles, and VSL#3!!!

the two very big changes I had made to my diet a year ago was eliminating gluten and adding bone broth bone broth bone broth. this is what I believe played a big part in keeping me in remission for that entire year. (exercise and stress are two other key components). What took me out of remission (and lead me to the flare in Feb / the flare that just keeps on givin’) was chronic stress [about something specific] and not following my diet. I had two alcohol ‘binges’ 13 days apart. SO ridciulous of me. but heck did we have fun! ;-) (not so worth it now)

I’ve been on asacol for 11 years.(and that scares the shit out of me – LOL no pun intended) this is a drug used for maintenance and for flare-ups. so when I’m in remission I take 3 800 mg pills per day. when I have a flare-up I take 6 of these pills. this medication is specifically designed to only ‘open’ when it reaches the intestine. and yesterday I found 3 unopened/undigested pills in the toilet. so yeah. my digestive system is still broken.

so the mayhem continues. it actually all started around the time I started this blog. which is kind of ironic because one of the reasons I started this blog was because of how well I was doing with my colitis. and wanted to help others. funny, I want to help others and I can’t even help myself.
that’s not true. but sometimes it’s easy to believe.

aside from being a little broken [physically] at the moment, I am happy to report that my sweet friend sorrow has left me. which is a perfect sign that I am slowly healing. (they say the gut is our second brain. and these IBD research studies I’m involved in are studying the brain. I am VERY happy that is being studied ) I am also so so thankful for all the support I have from my family, friends, and colleagues. impromptu visits with Kate and my Mase man <3, my (better be future) sis-in-law did my grocery shopping for me last week. bless her. my boss and colleagues are so caring and understanding – they’ve got my back and have been stepping in for me. what a great team. a very sweet lady I’ve only met once, texted me her work schedule and said to call her for whatever I need (SO kind). my instructor is an angel and has been so accommodating with all the classes I’ve been missing.  my mom, my hero. she is still taking care of me like she did when I was a child. except now she has two kitchens to clean! ha ha. messages from friends and fam checking in on me. it all means SO MUCH to me and I THANK YOU.

as long as we have love in this world, everything will be okay.

-always with a grateful heart,

j

 

home sweet home. and holy, life is full.

mother-nature-confused

well here I am peeps. finally.  [just read kate’s reply post. tee hee. she makes me smile.]

it’s Easter Monday and I am thankful for having the day off work. well, ‘work work’.. the work that pays my bills. I am also on a three-week break from the interior design and decorating program i’m enrolled in. i’ve been working towards this certificate, part-time, since sept 2013. I have one more class to go and i’m GRADUATED this june. which feels very cool.

[in 2011 my first-love aka #illinoisboy and I bought an older home (from my dad..he’s a flipper-upper) – I think it was built in the 1930s – and we tackled a lot of cool reno projects to make it a really perfect place. I say ‘we’ but he did all the work while I told him how to do it  I wanted it ;-) !except! .painting. I did/do all the painting. and it’s never ending. anyway, there’s always still ‘the next project’, so for the last couple years i’ve been able to count on my dad and brother to help me with the latest. i’d really love to share all the before and after pics with you all some day. more about the design part of my life, later.]

okay, so thinking about my post before the last one, takes me back to my new favourite state >> !!hello AriZonA!!<<
the night I wrote the ‘colitis sidelined me’ post was the eve of a really cool day to come. some really awesome peeps from home//Winnipeg// were actually in Arizona at the same time as me, little did I know, so I was surprise+excited when they messaged me the night before to see if I wanted to go for lunch. and that they would pick me up ON.THEIR.MOTORCYLES. (!!!!!!!!!!). this was SUPER cool and I was bleepin’ excited. i’ve always wondered when I would get to go on my first motorcycle ride in this lifetime of mine. (!!!!!) and to top it off, we rode through the mountains. (!!) don’t think I could top that as a first ride.

mesa-fun-for-colitis-girl

later that afternoon/evening it was back to the mountains!!  I got to go 4x4ing with my local bestie. in her Jeep. what a freakin blast we had.  [all the bouncing around did make my #colitistummy upset at times tho.]

the next day was home time. sad face. and thank goodness my mom taught me how to pack. when I first piled up all my crap I wondered if I had maybe done a little too much shopping?!? I honestly didn’t think I was gonna be able to take all of it home. shockingly I made it work. roll your clothes my friends, roll roll roll. I even had an extra 4 pairs of shoes and my larger toiletry bag to add to the mix.

roll-n-pack

my first week back home was busy with work and fun and schoolwork. on vacay I missed 3 classes and I was a little worried. my final project was due only 4 days after I got home. stupid planning on my part. yes. but i’m pretty happy with the project results.

I did have to forfeit one day of #projecttime for a family affair [which is always at the top of my priority list anyway. (spending time with family)] kate’s sis-in-law had her Young Living launch. I hadn’t heard of Young Living before… it’s an essential oil company. kate and I got excited and both bought the premier starter kit which includes 11 different pure essential oils and the diffuser. one thing I did not know about essential oils is that they are not regulated in the US and Canada. so an oil we buy from the health store, or wherever, can be labeled as a pure oil but that may not actually be true or at least we don’t know how concentrated it is. it could be diluted. Young Living has a seed-to-seal promise – their oils are as potent and pure as they can come. I was really impressed and even more so when they finally got delivered last week – I’ve been putting them to the test for all kinds of things. and katelyn, you are going to be super excited about one of them. think: answer to your question. [!!!!]

well, it’s lunch time as I write this is so I think I’ll share what i’m having cause it’s one of my favourite dishes. it’s so good.
organic quinoa on a bed of organic spinach with avocado and cucumbers. after the quinoa is cooked I sprinkle on pink himalayan salt (healthiest kind of salt), extra virgin olive oil, and freshly squeezed lemon.
quinoa-salad-high-alkaline
it has been one of my favs since kate introduced it to me – they make a similar quinoa salad at her restaurant. if I hadn’t just come out of a flare-up, i’d have a ‘cheat’ and add feta goat cheese… YUM. and it’s in my fridge too so it’s stupid tempting. adding the goat cheese would also kill the alkaline boost I’m getting right now from everything that’s in it. come to think of it, I was eating this salad with the goat cheese and hard boiled eggs (both mega acidity) a lot before I wound up in this last flare [I am still weaning off from stupid prednisone. down to 5mg today. woo hoo.] and dairy is usually a big no-no for peeps with digestive issues and for sure for my loves with an inflammatory bowel disease. mind you. i’d argue that diary is good for no one. but I’m not looking to piss anyone off so i’ll stay away from that one, ha ha.

since we’re on the topic of food [one of my colitis ‘cures’], the first thing I had to do when I got back from Mesa was whip up another batch of bone broth. and i’ve already cooked my second batch.. it finished this morning. actually it’s on my counter waiting to be strained so i’m going to do that right now..it’s been sitting for too long.

../…/…/…/

bone broth has been a new staple in my diet for the last 13 months. I have it every day. I have so much to say about bone broth that it will take a separate post. but for now, in a nutshell, it’s a miracle worker. bone broth heals leaky gut. what is leaky gut? I learned about leaky gut and bone broth from my new naturopath. [up until last year I hadn’t seen a naturopath since I think 2006. the onset of colitis for me, with bad bad symptoms, was in 2004 – the beginning of the suffering part of my life. little did I know that I would not always suffer from ulcerative colitis. and the naturopath was the one who helped me get out of my very first flare.]
so leaky gut. this happens when the lining of our digestive track gets damaged and toxins leak in to our bloodstream. I’ll explain…
we all have tiny tiny holes in the lining of our intestines. like a net. that’s how we get nutrients into our bloodstream. it’s like our body’s filtration system. over time this filtration system (that’s supposed to let the good stuff in, and keep the bad stuff out) can get damaged from all the the crap we eat and the poison we put into our bodies. > . > unnatural lab-created fake and processed foods, full of chemicals and additives. artificial sweeteners. pesticides, preservatives. gluten. prescription drugs. !!antibiotics!!! alcohol + more. so damage happens and now these tiny holes are too big and nows toxins and undigested food particles can escape in to the bloodstream and wreak havoc. our immune system reacts. it starts attacking our good cells. our bodies are engulfed with inflammation.

anyway, here’s the ‘in a nut shell’ >>  bone broth helps to heal leaky gut << AND. leaky gut is not just a colitis thing. it could be the root of other digestive issues and autoimmune diseases. I encourage you to go visit our friend google.

my first week back to work after my holiday was tough. daylight savings kicked my butt. I wasn’t quite out out of the woods with my flare and making sure I was getting adequate REST was (and is) still a priority. rest, when I am not well, is crucial. actually. rest is important all the time to help avoid being ‘not well’ in the first place. and that goes for all humans.

with being on the prednisone, my sleep pattern was a little messed up. so add the hour timezone difference plus the hour we lost from daylight savings (which of course happened the moment I stepped off the plane). it took me a full week to be able to get back to my regular routine without doing any damage.

it has been go-go-go since the first day I got home….. [and I love it but i’m needing a week now of just vegging now.]

after all the project cramming was done, first thing was first: Costco. and the Ninja!! I ruined my sissy NutriBullet 600 (which was a decent blender for my smoothies. but i filled it one too many times passed the MAX line and now it smells like fire). So now I have the Ninja which has double the power of the NutriBullet. and I got the deluxe set which includes the food processor as well.

what else did I get up to..

>>> I went to check in with my naturopath (hadn’t seen him for a year). I did a little bragging about how I made it *almost* a full year in remission [for the first time ever!]. he was proud of me.

>>> went for a massage // and I should also be getting my butt to my chiropractor to get a good tune-up. my spine deserves better.

>>> finally mastered making a loaf of gluten free bread. third time’s a charm. but also bombed a pan of gluten free biscuits -the tallow from the bone broth *in theory* was a good idea as a substitute for shortening. however, the taste was not good. at all. I threw all 12 biscuits out. had I’d been making a meat pie tho.. it probably would have worked well.
[side note I learned about fat: lard is not the word for ‘fat’ from meat in general. lard means the fat from pork. whereas tallow is the fat from beef.]

>>> mom, my aunty (kate’s mom/my other mom/my mom’s twin) and me hit up the parade of homes. it’s our semi-annual thing we do. we go in the spring and in the fall. and we can’t. get. enough. and now i’m in love with the idea of getting a new couch. when we bought our house it came with fairly decent leather couches. I didn’t love them cause they’re not my style but I would have felt guilty getting rid of something that I should be grateful for having… I saved money not needing to buy new couches when we moved in.   anyway. let’s just say I settled. but now it’s been four years. soooooo…

oh and I guess another big reason I kept them is because they had to come in through the front window. so to get them out… yep. thru my front 5′ x 4′ picture window. so if I want them gone, the window has to come out. my dad says it’s a 4 beer job for him and my brother. sounds like a plan to me!

>>> I made some more of my homemade body butter – can’t wait to use my new oils next time.

>>> family dinners, my niece’s first birthday party, Easter festivities

>>> then a small group of us went to my brother’s friend’s wedding social. goodness I hadn’t been to one in quite some time. I LOVE wedding socials so I was excited to go.
for those of our followers from different places / other countries (#supercool btw), you may not know what a wedding social is, so here goes:
we here in Manitoba (it’s not a Canadian thing either)  have a party – usually hosted in a community centre – to raise money to offset some costs of our wedding. the wedding party is hugely involved in the planning of the event and selling of tickets, which are typically $10 each. money is raised by ticket sales, alcohol sales, 50/50 draw and silent auction sales. you can end up raising a shit ton of cash – i’d say under or above 10K – all depends on the venue capacity, how awesome your peeps are at ticket sales, how great your silent auction prizes are and the time of year / date you pick (you don’t have a wedding social during the summer, because no one will come, because everyone’s at the lake).
it’s like a huge private party with family and friends. and new friends. and cheap drinks, sometimes really awesome prizes, good music, lots of fun dancing (obviously), late night ‘social food’ + more. anyway, #colitisgirl still can’t have alcohol so I was the designated driver for the evening. story of my life. *buuut* guess what? fun can still ensue ;-) …  like two-stepping with my brother!!

wedding-social-two-step
moments like this is what life is all about.

the next day spring cleaning happened and I purged (woo hoo) stuff that i’m proud of myself for getting rid of. that i was just holding on to. for no reason. cause I’m a hoarder. ha. not. though #illinoisboy and my mother would say that about me.
the thing is, I LOVE thrift shopping and garage-sale-ing. and I find a lot of good deals. and a lot of vintage and old which I love. and I’m a DIY-er. so sometimes the things I collect for future projects get mistaken for stuff that is useless and will just collect dust. but this is just not so :)

what else…

CAA got to know me well this past week. (booooo cause that means vehicle troubles). thank goodness I decided to sign-up with them – only just in January too.
so I still drive the same truck I’ve had since I was 17 years old. and it’s been really really good to me. but, be careful what you wish for, jenna. or what you say around your vehicle. cause apparently they have ears and feelings…
after our jeeping escapades in the mountains, I was HOOKED and in love and decided I was getting a jeep. and for the first week back home, that’s all I talked about. that I was getting a jeep. thankfully the practical part of my brain talked myself out of it cause I can’t comfortably afford a car payment right now.
and then…

my truck broke down.

ha. which happened probably only within 12 hours of me deciding that I should be very grateful to still have a great vehicle that’s paid for. lol. shit balls. I totally jinxed myself. or my truck heard me talk about getting a jeep and thought I deserved a lesson!
I called CAA and got it towed to my cousin-in-law’s shop and he took good care of us (me and black beauty and my wallet). I had to get a new fuel pump.
when I called CAA I learned that the 4 service calls I can make within the year are for ANY service. here I thought I was limited on how many times I could get a tow. both my vehicle and my moms vehicle are old and tows are expensive so I was so excited to learn that I could get 4 tows if I needed!! right then and there I decided that I would never call CAA for something petty. like a flat. cause that’s what brothers are for. [actually baby bro did teach me how to change a flat. good little brother he is. but i’d still call him anyway]
and then ONLY 4 days later it’s Easter Sunday. we go to church, I’m driving us in moms car. church is awesome. we get back to the car. doors are locked and bleepin fricken bleep bleep keys are still in the ignition!!!!
cause I am a doorknob :)
my first thought out loud was, HECK if I’m wasting a CAA call only for them to come unlock the bloody door!!! and then we just started to laugh.
OMGoodness.
but we really had no choice but to call. Easter Brunch with our family + kate’s fam was at my moms place in 30 mins.
boy did we LAUGH. mainly about the irony. and my stupidity of course. and then we laughed some more when the biggest CAA truck in the city showed up. a flatbed semi. to unlock a door. ha ha.
so awesome. and more laughs.

…….
…..

okay well it’s no longer Easter Monday. I had a feeling my brain would get distracted. in the midst of this post I went to Design Manitoba to look at a sectional that i’m in love with. then all of a sudden today’s Friday.

where did this week go? I spent most of it fighting a wicked bug, probably the flu. and I say fighting because I’m taking it’s ass down. I will share how I did it, next time. [providing I don’t die from it this weekend]. it involves my new concoction I made up in Mesa. and now I call it my mesa concoction. it also involves my new oils that I forgot I had. and maybe some silver. and i don’t get the flu shot either. I’m one of those people, yes. and because I have colitis i’m in the ‘high risk’ category and according to the experts I should be getting the flu shot. but I believe otherwise. I also don’t do antibiotics. since almost forever.

on Tuesday my very own vitamin dispensary showed up. backstory: I wouldn’t shut up about my ‘happy pill’ that I’m obsessed with, so a couple friends [and mom and bro] are like, alright, alright, just order me some already, jenna. he he he. success.
its an advanced B complex and it is magical.
i’ve never ordered from the Canadian Vitamin Shop before but they are cheaper than where I used to get them. and shipping was free (if you spend $70) and super fast. I got this nice note too. I will be shopping there again.
vitamin-b-happy-pill

tomorrow my mom and I are going to the Winnipeg Home and Garden Show. I love learning about new products and getting design ideas and inspiration. not going to lie tho, I am MOST EXCITED to see Jillian Harris from Love It or List It Vancouver. Todd’s pretty cool too I guess. [her counterpart].

kay, psych. it’s not Friday anymore.

*>!*poof*!<*  it’s Monday. and now I can tell you how much more I LOVE Jillian Harris. small #girlcrush going on over here. haha. but she is seriously probably my most favourite tv personality. i’ve always been a big fan of hers ever since Love It or List It.  her and Todd were so funny. and funny just like they are on tv. makes their show feel that much more authentic and not staged. they are the exact same people in person as they are on tv. unedited realness. their bickering is hilarious. she’s pretty quick and witty. and she has no filter which is awesome. they killed it.
she also has the cutest little baby bump. and a great blog. thanks for being awesome, Jillian Harris.<3
home-and-garden-show-jillian-harris

something we learned today: wrinkle-free fabrics are made with formaldehyde
and formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. so yeeaahhhh. how bout that iron?

alright, I think that’s about it for now. three weeks have passed since i’ve return from my mesa vacay and certainly life is full! full of outings and events. full of work. full of learning. full of doing. full of prep and cooking. full of appointments. full of fun. full of family. full of love. full of healing. full of gratitude.

speaking of gratitude. the url for our blog is kinda long and lame. and it will be that way until we decide what we want our domain to be. in the meantime, feel free to use gratefulheart.ca if you talk with someone who you think may be interested in following us.

until next time, loves. xo

tag, you’re it, kate.

-j

colitis sidelined me on this vacation. but that’s okay.

colitis-eating
[it’s okay] because, it could be worse. > > > I could’ve been on an all-inclusive vacation!! I would’ve been SOL. I would’ve had to cancel probably. can’t eat ‘normal’ food and bevies are a DEF no. SO. I am very gratefuI that I was given the means to survive on this vacation. cause being here in Mesa, with papa Gordie allowed me to prepare and cook my meals the way I need to.. being in a flare-up. and the comfort of a home to rest versus a hotel, super good thing.
prior to my arrival dad was tasked with finding a farmer with grass fed cows to get me my organic beef marrow bones. for my [miracle potion] bone broth. (/a big\ MORE on that later.) and he was also tasked with making it for me. it takes 48 hours to cook and was done on my first morning here. woo hoo. merci buckets daddy-o. it also cost him a small fortune to feed me these past two week. organic / non-gmo everything. also suuuper grateful for that. the money I brought down to pay for my food instead allowed for a shopping spree. ha. YES.

since my ‘coming out post‘ things got a little worse for me here. gosh darnit hey. I’m not for sure certain that I wasn’t getting better but I definitely was paranoid (because I felt and saw some changes) about getting worse. and started thinking about the evil monster, prednisone.
prednisone and I go way back. and we are not friends. prior to last last January (2015) I hadn’t had to think about prednisone for probably about 7 years.
rewind to last January. that was probably my worst flare-up in 8 years. and it started about 4 weeks before my holidays. It was only a week before my trip (to Mexico, then Mesa) and there was no reprieve from that flare-up in sight. I was freaking out because I couldn’t be on holidays in that condition. my specialist gave me two options: either I sign up to participate in a new trial drug that would involve me going in to the hospital every 6 weeks to be injected intravenously  OR I go back on prednisone. (actually there was another stupid option that involved me injecting myself every 2 weeks. yeah hell no. God bless you diabetics) anyway. for those of you that have experience with this drug [prednisone] long term, you know how horrible it is. but what option did I have? I sure as heck wasn’t about to try out any new drugs (+ trial?!) only a week out from my trip.
frick.
so anywaaay.
I took the damn prednisone. [side note: the first 3 years of this disease I was on prednisone all the time. and it didn’t even get me out of flares back then. and the side effects are hell.]
long story short, I ended up getting out of my flare half way thru my week in Mexico. I was on the prednisone for a total of 5 weeks (the last 2 weeks were small small doses just to ween myself off). then after that I swore I would NEVER go back on it. but then hey look at me here in Mesa thinking about the devil again.
so here’s what happened. I had some left over pills from last year and  took them with me. just. in. case.
and I was thinking about them like a bloody drug addict. (not a drug addict.) I only had enough to last me like 5 days, at a small dose (20mg). and I had them in my hand ready to pop them down and I talked/guilted myself out of it. I had done such a great job at keeping this flare under control (this time around) that I really just wanted to get out of it on my own knowing that I could do it without succumbing to stupid prednisone.
then the next day I was pounding those pills back. cause it just felt easier. like a done deal I guess. a deal that I would get to fully enjoy my vacay.
but deal my ass. by the 4th day of me self-medicating I wasn’t seeing any noticeable signs of the flare taking a hike. and all my selfish-self wanted was that ‘guarantee’ that I could enjoy the rest of my vacation and for the love of God just FINALLY have a cup of damn freakin COFFFEEEE. how in the hell preggo people do it for 9 months is beyond me.

so last Wednesday morning I had a good little cry. and then dragged myself to an Urgent Care. to get me some more damn prednisone.
and guess freaking what. because she [the doc] wasn’t a GI Specialist (Gastroenterologist) she couldn’t/ wouldn’t give me more than a 5 day prescription (and at that point I had 11 days here left). OR. she could schedule me to come back for a list of a gazillon different tests that would reconfirm the disease I’ve had for the last 11 years. like FOR REAL. I already had my colonoscopy for this year, thanks. they are not fun.
So I begged her for the biggest dose she could give me. I knew I’d have to cut it down and make it last for the remaining 11 days of this trip. (I did not tell her this).

and here I am tonight, feeling like today was my first day coming out of this flare. WOO HOO. (!!!) betcha I’m 100% good-to-go by the time I board the plane home on Saturday ;-). but that is okay. yes, I was limited on what I was able to do and had to pass up an awesome hike up Superstition Mountain – super sad to have missed that. and having no alcohol on vacation is kinda painful too. *but* I still really did make the best of my trip. it was as great as it could be. and I made chocolate muffins out of QUINOA. I will share the recipe.
tomorrow I have some really exciting plans for my last day here. will tell you all about that + more, next time.

subconsciously I think I was worrying and stressing about not being well for my trip which in turn made things worse for me in the end. it’s unreal how crazy important the mind and body connection is. mindset is half the battle.

and I feel guilty for turning to prednisone this time around. but whatever. i’ll get over it.

bon nuit my peeps.

– j