Hello my Crohnie friends! I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving and got to enjoy it with your friends and family with a lot of delicious food that didn't cause you any tummy issues. My holiday definitely was great and brought A LOT to be thankful for... when it rains it pours, right?! That being said, that is why my posts have been a little sporadic lately. In this post I am going to update ya'll on what has been going on in my life and set the intention for the upcoming plans in the Crohnically Blonde Camp.
Basically, like I mentioned before, when it rains it pours, and the end of 2016 has put a lot of goodness on my plate. For the remainder of the year I will be playing around with different types of posts, different segments, post frequency, etc. to see what sticks and then come 2017 I will hopefully get some feedback from my followers and get going in full force with the best of the best. I wanted to wait to start this thing until it was absolutely perfect and I was ready to throw everything into it but would the timing have ever have been right? Plus I am rather enjoying the evolution of this pretty little thing. Anyway, comments and suggestions about upcoming content will be greatly appreciated! My number one goal for the new year is to provide all of the realness and quality content that you guys actually care about.
So back to what has been going on....
Matt and I are buying a house!
Yup... you heard it here first! We are making the big step into adulthood and purchasing a home, woo! That being said, the home buying process comes with a whole lot of stress, paperwork, and playing the waiting game. It also comes with a whole lot of planning and lists when you are an OCD queen like myself. So if I have seemed a little preoccupied it is because I totally am. We are so excited to get our home up and running as our first real space of just our own. I am also super pumped to create a space that is conducive to me dreams and schemes and fun little creative projects I have in store. The physical home of Crohnically Blonde is being born!
As of buying a home isn't enough of an undertaking, I have been preparing to interview for a promotion at my company. I won't say too much about this because I like to keep stuff like that very personal but I definitely have been throwing a majority of energy that way as well.
WHAT ABOUT THANKSGIVING?
My Thanksgiving and time around it was absolutely great and much needed. I got a chance to spend quality time with my family as well as some pre Thanksgiving time with Matt's family as well. We had a full gluten free feast at my parent's house which was SO FREAKING DELICIOUS. So delicious that I dug in before I had the chance to even think about taking pictures of it for the blog (whoops).....
My mom sent over some gorgeous blooms for me to enjoy with a sweet note which I appreciated to much.
I miss her so incredibly much and am counting down the days until she gets back from overseas where she is living at the moment. Shoutout to her though for still bringing all of the holiday feels to my home from all the way across the world.
I would have to say that one of my all time favorite things that I got to do was just hang out with my boys. We honestly have the best time just hanging out and doing the silliest things. I know it makes us sound old and boring but Matt and I love playing board games together, and the pups like to crash them. They are just too funny and our weekends together never disappoint.
SO WHAT ABOUT YOUR HEALTH?
Oh that... So as ya'll know. With stress comes Crohn's probs. I have had a super obnoxiously long flare up that has been seriously effecting my day to day life but I just have to keep things going and push on through. I have another appointment with my gastro this Friday for my Cimzia shots and to discuss what the heck to do. For about a month now I have been on Apriso in addition to Cimzia but noticed no real difference. I know it has only been a little so I am going to try and stick it out but there have been talks of some other options. Cimzia may have run its course on me. It started out working for about 3.5 weeks out of the 4 week period and then it went down to 3 then 2.5 and now 2. It is definitely wearing on me. My doctor has suggested potentially switching to Remicade because he would like to see me go into clinical remission in no more than six months. That seems totally out of reach thinking about how I have been feeling but I am trying to stay positive. The thing that people don't realize is that Crohn's symptoms are so much more than just the assumed GI issues. Between the body aches, fatigue, brain fogs, and everything else there is so much more that I wish could be done! I am trusting the process and doing my due diligence in researching and acting on any natural healing practices that can assist in my treatment. Worst comes to worse we would have to consider some type of surgical action but I would really like to avoid getting to that point.
All and all I am trying to stay super positive! I want to end this update on an amazingly happy note! As my fellow Crohnies know, your illness will always have to be some kind of part of your life and it is an ever evolving journey. I am so happy and so thankful for all of the beautiful opportunities that are being brought into my life right now and I can't wait to continue to share everything with you all. I don't know what I did to manifest this overwhelming movement towards change but I think I like it!
So I'm a total asshole and do not have a cute, staged photo for this week's Meal Talk Monday. Originally I was going to share something cool that I made before but I made this soup tonight that was the bomb dot com so I wanted to share ASAP.
I'm writing this in bed feeling like complete crap thanks to a nasty Crohn's flare which I cannot seem to get rid of. Thanks to my lovely situation I have been ordered to revert back to my ever dreaded liquid diet. Luckily I have been down this road many times before so I have perfected the things that don't send my stomach into turmoil. That also being said it can get a little boring so I need to mix things up and try and add in new items. Soups are my main go to and especially since the weather is getting chillier.
I came across this recipe for the apparent "best mushroom soup" and I had to go for it. Matt hates mushrooms, like seriously despises them, so since he worked tonight I got to freely enjoy my perfect portobellos in peace.
I was actually really shocked at how delicious this simple soup recipe is and how freaking easy it is to make! I would say it earned the title of best mushroom soup. AND it was a nice addition to my liquid diet that I think is here to stay.
If you are a huge mushroom fan, like myself, you need to get on this ASAP. I also just learned that mushrooms are actually a surprisingly good source of vitamin D which it turns out I am very low on. Shroom away Crohnies.
So I made this soup again and switched a few things up. I am even more obsessed. I added a bit more vegetable stock and I used 1% milk instead of heavy whipping cream to make it less heavy and it was just as AMAZING and even more healthy. I also cooked the soup for a little less time so the mushrooms still had some heartier texture to them. Not being able to eat a lot of carby items makes me really crave some substance here and there so I like the hearty texture, I still made sure they were cooked through enough as to not upset my stomach. I know this picture doesn't do it justice but I swear to ya'll this soup is heaven, especially on upset tummies!
I know this post seems a little out of season but I promise there is an explanation. Matt and I have a January adventure planned to the gorgeous island of Maui! Neither of us have ever been before so we are beyond excited.
Now there is nothing that freaks me out more than the thought of slipping into a bikini right after holiday season. Thanks to Crohn's the days of carefree bikini wearing are long gone for me. Between fluctuating weight, bloating, and injection site bruising all over my stomach I've decided that I couldn't be more thankful for the return of the one piece. When I first told Matt I was perusing Amazon for some new one piece bathing suits, he looked at me with the strangest expression and asked if my next purchase was a mini van. Definitely effing not. I had to school him on the revolution that one pieces are no longer just for soccer moms or swim team practice anymore friends! They can be sexy, stylish, and 100% romantic vacation approved. Another plus... more skin coverage to protect from UV rays... aka you are protecting your precious skin from skin cancer and aging. Yay!
Shout out to these trendy monokinis for making my life so much easier. Not only can I be super trendy, but I can also adventure through Hawaii without feeling self conscious and uncomfortable. I've rounded up six of my favorite styles, three in my tried and true basic black and then three colorful patterns to mix things up a bit.
Depending on the day you may catch me feeling sassy in a bikini but for now I'm going to stick with these babies (;
Click the photo below to shop my picks!
Football season is my jam. As are football snacks. Unfortunately, a lot of game day foods are fried and full of stuff that I just can't have. Last year, I fell in love with sweet potato skins that are just as tasty as other options (if not even yummier)! Sweet potatoes are not only a complex carb, so a healthier option than white potatoes, but they also have anti-inflammatory properties which is great for those with IBD.
I've been using THIS recipe which seems to be the best I've found so far. You can top them with anything you want! I know some of you have sensitivities to dairy so you can opt for some vegan cheese. I have mixed it up and put kale or spinach on top with some plain greek yogurt and made a delicious, healthy meal out of it!
No matter which way you mix it up, sweet potatoes are a great base for any game day snack and the plus side is, these skins taste great even for those who don't have dietary restrictions!
What kind of question is that? A question that I get from just about every person that I meet who hears about my Crohn's and my symptoms/side effects. Often times I avoid even sharing that with people because I dread hearing the question so much.
The answer is, I just freaking do. I don't know how else to explain it.
Someone asked me this the other day and it really irritated me more than usual. I thought about why this got to me so bad and I think it is because I don't actually like to think about it. I just do what I do and keep trucking along. When you look at it from an outside perspective I guess it does seem pretty crazy though. In my mind I feel like I'm pretty normal but when you break it down there are many things that people without Crohn's or chronic illnesses just don't do.
I've come up with a list of things that may seem foreign to everyone else but I have mastered..... You can never say being sick didn't teach you anything! My fellow Crohnies will definitely relate....
1. Budgeting massive amounts of money for medical bills/medications
2. Buying three different pants size for malnourished, normal, and bloated to the point of looking 6 months pregnant
3. Checking the menu anywhere and everywhere before agreeing to go out to eat
4. Being the annoying girl that orders "Tito's with soda water please" when everyone else is being the "cool girl" drinking beer
5. Sneaking your own snacks everywhere
6. Planning out a hibernation period after "shot/infusion days"
7. Becoming best friends with your doctor and everyone that works in the office so they actually call you back when you call them saying that you're dying even when you may or may not just be having a bad flare (I do this often)
8. Never actually knowing what a hangover feels like anymore because you always feel bad or have a steady flow of Zofran in your body
9. Playing off brain fog with impeccable improvisation
10. Looking at life's crappy moments in a funny way because, hey, how else are you supposed to do it?!
Happy Thursday friends! And for me happy Cimzia Eve. Yup. Tomorrow is that lovely day of the month! I have been thinking about the content for this post for a lonnnnng time and finally am getting a chance to share. Ever since my diagnosis I have been searching for any treatment possible that does not involve stabbing myself in the stomach once a month (sounds simple but the shitty side effects are not my friends). I just have never liked the idea of being on so many medications when I know my body has the power to heal itself. Now I am not saying I don't need my biologic or my anti nausea or a Xanax here and there, but my goal is to eliminate as much extra crap from my body and let it do its job! I'm not one of those people who just goes off of every medicine cold turkey and lives happily ever after and I have never been, but hey, the more I can do to better my insides the better, right? Over time I have narrowed down some holistic things that have literally changed my life and my health. I know that the effects are different for every person but I figured I would share what has worked for me. If it works for you, great, if not, feel free to share what DOES work for you! Whether or not you suffer from chronic illness or not, these tips and remedies are great for anyone who wants to feel and function better. I also have proven to myself that these remedies actually help prevent or can get rid of any yucky sickness that you are coming down with. With cold and flu season upon us... you may want to listen up.
1. Time on the table
Yup. Time on the table. Acupuncture. I am hoping to replace one kind of needle eventually all the way, with another. I have been a lover of acupuncture since early college when I got sinus surgery and it failed miserably. And I ended up miserable. And unable to breathe. So I opted for some natural treatments at the Maryland University of Integrative Health including acupuncture and some herbal supplements. I legitimately almost got kicked out from living with some of my college roommates for brewing Chinese herb tea that stunk up the house for days if not weeks... I'm not kidding. So anyway, my first stint with acupuncture helped with my sinuses, my stress, and actually even the occasional hangover. Eventually I got more into the practice and was going on and off for the past four years or so. Recently I picked up going again and got really serious about it. My current practitioner is the coolest and we talk for hours about weird documentaries, GMOs, and how pharmaceutical companies are killing us....again, not kidding. Are you starting to realize how crazy I am? In addition to just being really freaking cool, she also has a way with the needles. I mean, she knows how to calm me when I'm feeling crazy, make my stomach stop freaking the eff out, and release anger that I have been holding onto. Over the years I have realized that my Crohn's gets worse when I am stressed out or holding onto unneeded emotions so I love the fact that acupuncture helps me not only with the pain management side of things but also the stress relief.
I know a lot of people don't believe in the power of acupuncture and let me tell you, at first neither did I. But when you have something completely change how you physically feel in two hours with needles and cups, it is a bit convincing. About the cups, yes I get those too and they help so much with my pain and the stress that builds up in my back. That is mainly from sitting all day at work though aka not Crohn's related.
Acupuncture is one of those things that I completely recommend to everyone just because I have seen the amazing effects not only that it has had on me but on others in my life who get it as well.
Here is some more information about acupuncture, cupping, and gua sha, all of which I highly recommend!
If you live in my area and have questions about my specific providers feel free to reach out via email and I will give you details.
So apparently according to WebMD "Researchers have discovered probiotic bacteria can influence the activity of immune cells and the cells that line the intestines,". But that is super basic and makes no sense to me or how it will impact my life. Honestly I did not understand what a probiotic was or how important they actually are until I was in the hospital on IV antibiotics for a week and experiencing some pretty nasty side effects. As someone who took over 20 years to get properly diagnosed, I have basically tried every antibiotic on the planet and experienced every shitty side effect. Probiotics actually prevent these from happening by adding the good bacteria back into your body that the antibiotics kill. I also realized that my own body was actually attacking my gut and all of the good bacteria in there. Clearly my body was not going to get it together and needed some help so I opted for some probiotic pills. I took these for a long time and still do here and there but now I make a huge effort to try an incorporate probiotics into my diet naturally. My favorite way to ingest all of those yummy little bacteria is kombucha!
Synergy is my personal favorite brand. They don't have crazy amounts of added sugar and the flavors are delicious. Sometimes I expand my horizons to other brands which also can be great but Synergy is just my tried and true. Mango and the Raspberry Chia are my flavor picks of the moment and can be found at Wegmans! They seem like they are a bit pricey but to me they are definitely worth the investment. You can buy them in bulk as well but beware, they can expire pretty quickly so be careful if you do get a bulk order to use them before they expire. You can also make your own kombucha but lets get real I am not at that point yet... maybe someday.
3. NATURAL ANTIBIOTICS
Lucky for me, I cycled through just about every antibiotic in my day and am at the point where I respond to just about nothing. The things I do respond to are so strong that they rip apart my stomach and cause me usually to end up in the hospital on IV antibiotic and a slow drip of Dilaudid. Obviously, I try to avoid that at all costs and the best way I have discovered is this natural antibiotic remedy that my acupuncturist told me about. I am kind of obsessed with it even though it tastes like total shit and makes you want to vomit. But I do it and let me tell you, whether it is a UTI or a sinus infection, this stuff will knock it out. I didn't believe this stuff actually worked until I was at my wits end over an obvious sinus infection and boom. I do this and and the next day I wake up feeling like a new person. Now it isn't always that quick as far as results and sometimes it takes more than one round but it freaking works.
Basically what I do is combine a bunch of chopped garlic, honey, and cayenne pepper into a cup and stir it until it looks nice and blended. Then I take spoonfuls of it intermittently with warm water to wash it down. I usually just eat enough until I feel like I might vomit and then I know it is enough. I know this sounds like I am being sarcastic here but I really am not. I actually do this.
4. YOGA AND MEDITATION
Recently I have incorporated a lot more yoga and meditation into my life and have noticed a significant difference in my mental and physical state. Physical activity is so important even when you feel like absolute poo. There are so many days where my body aches so bad that there is no way I am hitting a Barre class and you know what, I don't. What I do is at least get in a nice stretch, sun salutation, or hand stand sequence. Honestly, when I am feeling stressed out, I just chill out and do hand stands for a long time. My dogs come up and give me kisses while I'm upside down. Being inverted is pretty cool because you are so focused on holding your pose that you forget about the bad things like what is stressing you out at work or your chronic pains. That's how I feel about yoga as a whole. It helps you focus on your body and being one with it and not focusing on the pains but the things that feel good. As far as meditation, this one is a bit harder for me because my mind is CONSTANTLY going. It does help to just be calm and feel outside of my body for at least a few minutes morning and night. Meditation helps me focus inside myself and focus on what my mind and my body need. When I know what it needs, I can nourish it properly!
Excuse my rant, what I am trying to say is there are studies that prove that yoga can improve your immune system and meditation encourages self awareness and self acceptance, all of which are so important when dealing with chronic illnesses of any sort.
Check out this article for some quick and fun poses to help boost your immune systems for cold and flu season... HERE!
I hope this helps even a little bit and you can take my personal experiences as advice! As always, I am open to any and all feedback! Thanks again for supporting Crohnically Blonde.
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.