Happy Sunday Spoonies! I hope everyone had both a fun and restful weekend and are ready to start Monday morning with a happy face. I laughed at myself while typing that... wishful thinking at it's finest, mainly for the Monday morning part. I did have a really relaxing weekend though and got to spend some QT with my family which I definitely needed. Part of my weekend was spent eating out at one of my favorite places (gluten free flatbreads to die for) but that also left my stomach dying. That is usually how it goes, but never fear, I know what to do. Once I feel a not so great couple of days coming on I switch up my diet to lots of liquids. Now I know this is different for everyone as to what makes them feel better. I've heard some people do a lot better with solid/bland foods like bread and rice but for me that hasa very counterproductive impact on my insides. So I stick my tried and true smoothies (shout out to my dad for getting me the BEST Ninja Blender ever).
Usually I stick with water (sometimes coconut water if I'm feeling crazy), frozen fruit, a handful of spinach or kale, some greek yogurt and then my favorite part... SUPPLEMENTS!
I used to use a bunch of shake mixes and stuff like that which I am by no means knocking but I realized I like the excitement of customizing my smoothies. I have tried a variety of different "add ins" but these two are my absolute favorites right now. They have great health benefits specific to what my body needs and they are pure, delicious, and don't upset my stomach. Also, total tangent but blending up spinach and kale doesn't upset my stomach but eating it raw and whole does, anyone else have this too? Anyway, I had to share my growing obsession with Chia Seeds and Spirulina Powder.
I love these bad boys. They add a bit of texture which I know isn't for everyone but I am all about it. I'm just going to start out here saying I KNOW I am going to get shit for saying I like Chia Seeds for a Crohn's diet. Technically you are supposed to avoid nuts and seeds but these have done a lot more good than they have harm.
A lot of people suffering from Crohn's (and any chronic illness really) are lacking in nutrients. Sometimes your body isn't processing things correctly and sometimes it is just because, well, eating is hard. I have a love/hate relationship with it. Honestly, days where I feel like crap the last thing I want to do is take a bunch of vitamins and make sure I am getting all my food groups. Like, shit, I'm lucky if I can eat some damn gluten free crackers. Anyway, I like to make things easy and get my nutrients mixed into other things. I also do this with vegetables because hey, those are hard to, lets be real for a minute.
Chia seeds are packed with antioxidants, high quality protein, Omega 3s, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and fiber.
So what the eff does this actually mean?
You can throw a tiny little serving size in your morning smoothie and get a ton of goodness without having to add additional things in your diet.
Another fun fact. They keep you full for really long so if you are trying to be healthy and not eat all of the donuts that your office always has hanging around, adding a little scoop of this in your morning snack will really do the trick.
I'm not a medical professional so don't live and die (certainly please don't die) by what I say, but I just have to stand behind my good friends, chia seeds, and say they may be a seed but they are friends for us Crohnies... at least in my opinion.
I'm going to be 100% honest. When I bought this stuff I had no clue what it was. When I realized it was actually some algae basically, Matt laughed at me and was like "uhhh did you know that". I obviously had to pretend like I did to prove that my impulse purchases are, indeed, necessary and decently informed. This one was not and Spirulina and I met by chance. I accidentally exploded this blue/green powder all over my freshly cleaned kitchen and wanted to punch myself in the face. Eventually when I got my shit together, I looked into what this stuff actually is and was completely shocked.
Like chia seeds, spirulina powder is one of the most serious of superfoods. The benefits are extensive and you can read about them here because they are way too long to summarize and I really don't want to bore you.
What my absolute favorite benefit of spirulina happens to be is the positive impact it can have on people with autoimmune diseases. HELLO! Spirulina has been proven to reduce the candida or "bad bacteria" in your gut. This is what my acupuncturist always tells me is a huge problem for me and actually my doctor does too. The treatment approaches are very different though. My doctor gives me a variety of antibiotic cocktails that make me feel like death has come to take me out slowly but surely. My acupuncturist recommends something a lot more palatable... lots and lots and lots and lots of probiotics. I am all about that and live like probiotics are my best friend, but why not get some extra help from spirulina? Aka trying real hard to ditch the antibiotics for good.
Just a tiny little scoop in my smoothie in the morning packs in a serious dose of nutrients and candida ass kicking power. Also, random fact, since I've been drinking it my allergies have improved. GUESS WHAT! Another benefit right there that I must have totally skimmed over during my first run through of research.
Again, I am not a medical professional so you don't have to believe me but it has definitely had a positive impact on my body. I am still in the beginning stages of my experience with these supplements so I will update if anything else earth shattering happens.
I am just going to say this one more time so no one freaks out at me or something: I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. Clearly. But my opinion is my opinion and I think it is a pretty awesome one. Kidding.....
Let me know if you try these out in your morning smoothies and how AMAZING they make you feel! Or how horrible they make you feel because, hey, I'm not always right.
I hope you all kick Monday's butt.
Meal Talk Monday is actually on a Tuesday this week.... better late than never right? I actually made this quiche last night though so technically it was a Monday masterpiece.
I recently decided to switch things up with my workouts/meal plan and took the plunge with The Bombshell Body Guide from The Skinny Confidential. If you guys haven't gotten the memo yet, I am really into all of the content she creates and she is a huge business inspiration for me. Recently I have gotten so down on myself doing the same workouts (which lets be honest, aren't as often as they should be) and eating the same recipes recycled from my "gluten free" Pinterest board. I am usually not one to purchase a "meal plan" online or anything like that because I spent years seeing nutritionists that would completely shit on them.
I decided to say eff what I've heard (seriously resisting a DJ James Kennedy quote right here) and bought what I have to say is the most content filled $50 I have ever spent. I will do a whole separate post on this later but let me just tell you, this guide is SO worth it.
When I was meal planning for this week, I decided to make this "Skinny Quiche" (that was actually in the lunch section... living on the edge) for breakfasts this week. Lucky for me, Maryland got a yucky snowy, icy situation last night so this morning I was able to wake up early and whip this up before starting my day working from my dining room table (score!). It has a mixture of egg whites, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, ham, broccoli, and some other good stuff. All really, really attainable ingredients. Promise.
I served up a delicious slice with mango piece and a hot coffee with almond milk and my morning was completely made. This is so easy to make. The prep time was about 5-10 minutes and the cook time was 45 minutes which was great because I let it cook while I showered and got ready for the day. Honestly, it tasted really delicious and kept me full for way longer than my usual protein bar does. I love a good savory breakfast situation and this totally hits the spot.
I usually will link to the recipe but this is actually embedded in the online version of The Bombshell Body Guide so I can't. What I will link to, though, is the website to purchase the guide and I promise you it is worth it. I don't get anything from posting this (also promise that, wish I did hehe), but my 100% genuine opinion is this thing kicks ass.
And this quiche is effing delicious.
This is probably the most serious post I've done in a while. Usually I like to think of my Crohn's Disease in a happier light. I joke a lot about what I go through and the struggles that pop up in my life. This is just my coping strategy. In life, I never like to be seen as vulnerable and sharing how upset and scared I can be about certain situations is the most anxiety inducing thing I can think of.
I started this blog to be honest though. I want to share exactly what I am going through, no matter how vulnerable, because I know there are others out there who are going through the same thing and are just as scared to share.
I'll dive right into it.
My Crohn's is not improving. As much as I would like to think the Cimzia has made things better, it has not gotten me into remission like I had originally hoped. This past Friday when I went to the doctor, he suggested I switch over to Remicade. I agreed, took some literature on what the effects of Remicade would be, and signed the forms to get the treatment approved through my insurance.
I've been seriously thinking and researching this past week and have to admit I am so scared. Number one, the stakes on the table for this treatment working feel incredibly high. Right now the chances of me being able to have children in my current state of health are very low but if I can manage to get and stay in remission for a decent amount of time those odds improve dramatically. I also am getting to the point where I struggle to make it through days between my pain and fatigue. Me wanting to be the bad ass at work and at home that I want to be, that just can't be the case. The stakes of trying Remicade also seem to be pretty bleak though.
Through my online research I have found a plethora of side effects (even more extensive than Cimzia) that make me cringe while I read them. It seems so superficial but just the thought of gaining weight and losing my hair brings me to tears. Being on Cimzia already caused me to gain a bit of weight which seems trivial but to someone who suffered from and eating disorder can't be taken lightly. Remicade seems to promise similar side effects from potential weight gain, to cancer, to hair loss, even all the way to Lupus and Fibromyalgia symptoms following treatment. I have found myself questioning, is this even worth it?
As of now it is. To be able to have a chance at kicking ass in my career and having a beautiful family of my own, it is definitely worth it. The health risks scare me and honestly, I am a superficial mother effer so it does bother me that I may gain weight and lose my hair.... as it would basically ANY woman that I know. But what would YOU do? What would you do if you were faced with this option?
I called my dad, who is basically my rock, to vent about this and he told me that the longevity and quality of his daughter's life means a whole lot more than how pretty she is... easy for a dad to say, right? But then I started to think about it. How many women do I look up to, especially in the chronic illness community, who I think are the most beautiful women in the world who probably doubt themselves and have struggled with these same side effects. I look at them and think, damn, because they did it I can. So why can't I be one of them?
Why. Not. Me.
I 'm going for it. I am trying out Remicade. Side effects and all. I will take it as it comes. I will conquer Crohn's. Because I want the happy spark back inside of me. Because I want to be the best version of me that I can be in every aspect of my life. Because I want the chance of having a family someday. And because I want to inspire others and show them that this can be conquered no matter how defeated you may feel.
My fellow Remicade users, please feel free to reach out via any platform. I would love to hear your experience and your story as well as get tips and tricks from you. Do not hesitate to reach out. We are a community.
There has never been a more true statement ya'll. I just spent a week of my life at an insanely beneficial but mentally draining corporate training. I love that my company invests in their employees and continuously helps us to grow. I do have to say that while I am away at these things I miss my usual routine, my boys, and own bed. I also seriously miss having time for my side hustle... aka Crohnically Blonde!
Distance makes the heart grow fonder though, right? A week away had me itching to post and also had me brainstorming some awesome ideas for content in my down time. I used to feel really guilty when I had to do something for work that caused me to take a break from blogging but now I have just come to terms with the fact that this isn't my full time job. I love my 9 to 5 (even though it usually ends up being a 7:30-6:30 most days) and I love this in a different way. If it weren't for my job, I wouldn't have the funds to support Crohnically Blonde. So, yes; I do have to pause sometimes and hyper focus on my career but in the end it all comes full circle.
To all the other ladies working it in their careers AND killing it in their side hustle. CHEERS TO YOU.
Here are a few links to some serious goodness I came across this week that I wanted to share with you all:
The Skinny Confidential takes on H8s that gon' hate.....here
Taylor & Stassi... CAN WE BE BEST FRIENDS... yes?
Can tequila help my Crohn's?! LOL... probably not but this article makes me believe a little bit
One of Matt's favorite little pleasures in life is breakfast for dinner aka "brinner". As a gluten free gal, breakfast can be very underwhelming if you are leaning more towards the sweet side of things due to the lack of yummy gluten free options. French toast has always been one of my favorites from when I was a kid so I figured if we were going to perfect something it should definitely be that. The bread is, in my opinion, the make it or break it on this one. Luckily, Matt and I actually found a pretty decent brand of GF bread that doesn't taste like cardboard. It is Schar Gluten Free Artisan Baker White Bread and we got it at our local Wegmans. We have some organic maple syrup from Trader Joe's which we can't get enough of and then we threw on some whipped cream and berries and called it a day. Matt is really into bacon so of course we had to have some of that on the side. I have to say that I think the bread really made this one a success.
What good would a breakfast be without a mimosa? Matt loves the classic OJ and champs mix but it can get way too sweet for me and the acidity and sugar mix just does not do well for my Crohn's. I do my own take on mimosas which I will share with you guys. It is a lot less sweet, very refreshing, and a lot better for you!
Here's what I do:
Cheers to a gluten free & Crohn's approved meal/drink combo. The best thing about this is you can have it for a Sunday brunch or a random Thursday dinner. Up to you and just as delicious at either time!
I wanted to start the CB Book Club for a few reasons.....
1. Because I personally love reading (one of my favorite under the weather & relaxing moment past times)
2. Because books get you thinking, talking, and sharing which, in turn, helps you connect with others about things you never knew you'd connect about
3. Because I have read a ton of really freaking amazing books that I want to give shoutouts to and recommend to others
So here we go.
Basically how we will do this is.... I will share a book that I have read/am reading. I will read it. Whoever reading this blog who wants to will read it. And then we can discuss via your comments or what I usually get are Instagram DM's or emails which are totally fine as well. All of the books are carefully selected, they aren't just random things that I read and decide to throw on the blog. Promise. So have full faith that I am steering you in the right direction as far as these recommendations. Time is limited so we can't just be reading any old boring AF book now can we..... It is all about the purpose.
I really wanted to start with honestly one of the most influential books in my adult life. Most of the books I like to read are personal development related and the more they speak to the soul the better. This book gave me all the feels and made me personally reflect on how I treat my body and how I live my life. "The Goddess Revolution" dug up some serious emotions and actually urged me to revisit my story of the struggles I have had with body image and loving myself.
Before I explain how influential this book was to me I feel like I have to give a bit of a backstory as to why it made such an impact. Throughout high school I struggled with anorexia and eventually after years of battling with myself and striving for an unrealistic goal of perfection I made the best decision I have ever made. Right after I graduated high school I voluntarily went into a hospitalized program for anorexia. Throughout my time in treatment I discovered why I am the way I am and really figured out what drives me and what makes me truly happy. I met people who will continue to inspire me for the rest of my existence and I gained the courage to share my story and help others. I have been pretty shy about publicly sharing my story around my eating disorder but I was always open to sharing and being full disclosure in private when others were in need. It is kind of strange now to think about how open I am regarding my Crohn's Disease but how my struggle with anorexia has become an ugly, distant cousin that I hide away in the closet. After reading this book, I revisited my uncomfortable feelings regarding my ED and realized that I have lived these past seven years since treatment not speaking about what I went through openly. It is not because I am embarrassed, but because it is something that I will always struggle with so I don't want to call attention to it unless it is with someone who understands.
When I got diagnosed with Crohn's, my body changed. My metabolism changed. My medications made me look and feel ways that I never had before. It was uncomfortable and as of today, it still is. "The Goddess Revolution" was a beautiful sign brought into my life that pulled me out of what could have been unhealthy again and helped me re-appreciate the beauty that is this body I live in. I was randomly scrolling through Instagram when I came across Mel Wells' Instagram where the beautiful bombshell shares her struggles with eating disorders and her holistic approach to creating a happy, balanced, and full life. I happened to stumble upon it right when her book, "The Goddess Revolution" was just released. I immediately ordered it on Amazon and as soon as it got to the house I marathoned through the first half. For some reason I just couldn't get any further at the time. I think it was because I wasn't ready. I spent months going through many new changes at home, at work, and in my health and recently just finished this amazing book during my trip to Maui.
Now that I have worked through the whole thing I am so thankful I did. There are truth bombs on every page but for every moment where you think "oh shit that's definitely me" there is a story or a quote or a solution delivered by Mel that immediately makes you feel like you aren't alone. This book isn't like any other diet or lifestyle book. It doesn't tell you the secret to looking like one of those Instagram butt models or to never feel like eating that extra dessert. It teaches you how to love love love yourself, your body, your life. I don't know how else to explain this book besides the fact that it helps you to invoke true self love and respect for yourself. And that is something that I know we all deserve.
I do have to say that I am happy that I have been though what I have been through with my ED treatment AND with my Crohn's. Both of these struggles have made me a better person and helped me connect with great communities. There is nothing to be ashamed of whether you struggle with a chronic illness or a mental illness. Your genes are your genes and you have to embrace what you've got and turn lemons into lemonade. The way I look at it, I've dealt with what I have dealt with so that when I have children I can help them live full and happy lives without negative feelings around food and with an understanding that if you feel like something isn't right it is better to share and resolve it than keep it in for years until you explode. I like to think that my self discovery and struggle will provide a better life for my family.
Mel and her story gave me the courage to share my full story with you all. I hope that no matter if you've had an ED or not, whether you think you 100% love your body or not, or whether you think you are beyond emotional repair or not.... I hope you read this book and let Mel's beautiful message speak to you. Because you deserve to love yourself the way that this book preaches you should! Check out Mel's website to learn more about her approach to life and her retreats that she hosts for goddesses like us. Let me tell you it is a serious goal of mine to attend one of her retreats or at least an online coaching session for now! I recently passed this book along to a woman in my life who I love so much and who I hope takes this message and transforms herself with it. This woman is my mom, my hero, who I know deserves all the self love that will come her way after delving deep into her emotions through this book. I hope that you all pass it on to all of the amazing ladies in your life after you read it.
Read up and let me know your thoughts via comment, email, or Instagram. I love hearing feedback and connecting people within our community. As always thanks for the support and I hope you all continue to appreciate me sharing with you.
"The Goddess Revolution" can be find online through Mel's website or through my personal favorite.... Amazon. #nextdaydelivery
Blonde babe. Maryland native. Crohn's crushing puppy mother to two sweet rescues.
Welcome to my unfiltered commentary on crushing chronic illness in your 20's and everything that goes along with that.