Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Brrr.


So, I'm fantastic at keeping up with this blog apparently. To be fair, I've been busy with my amazing new job. And life.

I've been enjoying daily walks to work. It's a mere 6 minutes, but despite the brisk cold, it's a daily highlight. Each morning has presented a few extra gorgeous moments of sunshine. One month ago - walking in darkness. This morning - the sun was well over the horizon!

However, despite the increase in sunshine, the evenings and mornings are still a bit cool...



This chilly weather doesn't keep me from being outside. Snowshoeing, biking, walking... no amount of frost can hold me back!





I've been fairly consistent with my nutritious eating regimen. HOWEVER ... I am getting allergy testing with the Naturopath tomorrow, so I was informed to eat some of my suspected allergens to the test will be more sensitive. Dairy and gluten. My poor belly.

Fortunately, I've had some forbidden items come my way to help with this. Dinner with friends. Even delicious cupcakes delivered to me at work from a client!

Nom Nom Nom

Otherwise, the usual. I haven't been making any exciting new meals worth writing about. It's been fairly routine. Green juice, smoothies, lots of greens. Et cetera.


Blood Oranges. Love.
I had one for the first time in Italy. It's the tastiest combination of sour and sweet. I've been eating two daily.


Only a few more days of this... then off to a much warmer climate!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Eat It Tuesday



I'm still getting accustomed to the free time I now have with a much shorter commute to work (12 minutes versus two hours daily!). So what to do with all of this free time?

Food. Delicious, homemade food.


Avocado. Chocolate. Mousse.
It's delicious, especially topped with raspberries and chia seeds. It's a recipe I last made four years ago, and it's almost perfect. I plan on spending some time making more chocolate mousse over the weekend to perfect the recipe, then will post it for all to enjoy.

Tough weekend ahead. Chocolate and sleeping-in. Woe is me!


My raw vegan breakfast is full of nutrition, flavor, and keeps me full for the morning. It's also easy on my delicate tummy, which doesn't like heavy or complicated meals early in the day.



Matcha green tea, green juice (cucumber, celery, carrots, apples, lemon, parsley), chia pudding, and some much needed hydration. It's dry and cold up North. Lots of fluid needed in the morning.


I love my new glass straws. That is all.


Morning snack:



With some exciting literature. You know you're a nurse when you can read about abscesses and eat at the same time.

For lunch I went home, which is such a joy. Being in walking distance of my work is pretty wonderful. Not taking it for granted EVER!




Miso noodle soup, homemade flax crackers, and hummus!

I was still hungry after eating the soup, so I made a slice of sprouted bread toast with hummus, sliced cucumbers, and broccoli sprouts. I dub this "hippie toast".


It looks very "granola", but it is delicious. I was first introduced to this while living in Saskatchewan, after having this combination as a baguette sandwich in an organic restaurant. With a side of soup. And a cookie.
Someday I'll go back and eat this daily. Maybe twice daily.

Afternoon snack:


My favorite apple: the Pink Lady. 
I go through about two 2-lb bags of this per week. I suppose it's better than eating two 2-lb bags of sour patch kids.

Dinner was a bit of a flop. I wanted to try something new - I had plans to make an Indian Chickpea Stuffed Sweet Potato.


The sweet potato took   F O R E V E R  to bake.


Big fat meh on this one. I was generous with the cumin and curry for seasoning, added cashew parmesan, but it was still meh. The texture wasn't fantastic either, and I even went as far to mash it! This is a fail.

It's time to give up - the only sweet potatoes I like are in the shape of fries.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Three Years


It's hard to believe that it's been three years of Remicade. 


This treatment has been my lifesaver. 
There was a time when I was unable to eat, sleep, had intense pain, was anemic, and unable to put any weight on. It was a sad, sick, and desperate time. I was initially apprehensive to initiate Remicade due to the intense side effects and thought of being prodded with needles on a regular basis, but this was short-lived when considering the improvement in my quality of life. The day I was able to eat a meal without intense nausea, slept through the night, went days without pain, and had stabilized weight (yes, I put on weight... and I love every soft curvy inch!) - I felt like I was given a new life. A new beginning - as a "healthy" person.


I unfortunately had a flare-up of my condition in the fall, which was disheartening. It was a wake up call - a reminder that my health should be a priority. I refuse to go back to the days when I was so sick. Thus, I have been making changes to improve my health. It's been a slow process, but I relish in each step of progress I make.

On Friday I had my second "quick" infusion, which will take 45 minutes to one hour off the infusion time. I had one in the summer, which I was exhausted afterwards and did not want to relive. Until now.



Fortunately, the infusion went well and I was only mildly exhausted, even returning to work afterwards. (Did I mention I have a new job that I LOVE?). I've been napping over the weekend, with some light meditation, cooking, and much-needed grocery shopping.


Trying to eat much healthier = Lots of green!

I'm feeling like another nap is coming on. Here are a few lovely words of inspiration, and wishes I share for everyone I love in the upcoming year:



Friday, January 17, 2014

Coincidence



So, I've been having some interesting coincidences lately.


I was kindly approached twice my young ladies in my hometown, who were curious as to if I am the Red Deception who has a blog (hi there!). These ladies expressed interest in my musings and insistence on discussing what new meal has been keeping my belly full. A kind reader sent me this message on Facebook: 




Then, a post from another blog in which I was mentioned was brought to my attention:


Needless to say, I was touched. And my motivation to begin blogging again has been reignited. 

I deleted many of my past posts in the summer, as I was feeling discouraged by some aspects of my past that were less than delightful. I now wish I had kept these posts, as a reminder of how much I have accomplished and overcome in the past year. However, my own memories and recollection of this will have to do.

The past year or so has shown many uplifting moments and shattering relapses of my UC. My previous health triumphs were put aside for other obligations, and more stressors on my body mounted. I forgot my love of cooking... even biking, my previous source of bliss and meditation.






I am now putting more focus into my own health and well-being. I'm fortunate that I have outside support with my personal relationships and professional support from other nurses, nutritionists, and my physicians. However, the most significant aspect of this complicated puzzle is ME - if I don't make myself a priority, then I will end up back to an unhealthy place.

I'm excited to be back in a more positive place - to continue with my musings and thoughts on this blog. Next up - Remicade infusion!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Courage.


So, what makes me boast such a bold title? Living with courage and without regret? It's a strong stance to stand behind, and it has very significant meaning to me.


A little about myself first. I am a 28-year old woman living in the far North of Canada. I am a Nurs, aiding those seeing non-biased, non-judgmental, friendly, feminist, and compassionate health care services. But, this blog isn't about my professional career, but is regarding my own personal health journey as a young woman with a chronic illness.

My guilty pleasure is traveling, I have been to Italy, Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Scotland, England, the USA, Costa Rica, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. In most of these instances, I backpacked solo, which I find to be a trek that builds independence and character. While I was in Italy I took cooking lessons (again, solo) and fell in love with the fulfilling task of preparing simple, delicious meals and appreciating the beauty of food and it's flavors.

I really like sharks, reptiles, and dinosaurs. Whenever an exhibit arises with any of these options, I am there getting elbows-deep. Two of my lifetime goals is to see a great white shark in it's natural habitat and to dig for fossils. I admit, these interests may seen a bit odd, but I revel in the unique aspects of these interests. They make me happy.

I could happily live without television (my present television is only on when I have company or I'm sick). I could read a great novel for hours. Painting is my most fulfilling and tranquil hobby. As much as I try, I am a terrible athlete, but a good sport. However, I consider myself to be somewhat of a cycling aficionado - riding my bicycle is my biggest source of joy. I even bundle up, throw on some studded tires, and bike during the winter months.

I think the most important things in life is health, love, happiness and adventure. Which brings me back to the title.

I have had a chronic illness since I was 11 years old: ulcerative colitis. It is a gastrointestinal disorder that impacts the large intestine, which debilitating effects. This disease has caused me a great deal of pain, exhaustion, loneliness and unhappiness. I spend years without remission, which plagued my quality of life. I have had years of weight loss, medication side effects, severe pain, and colonoscopies. It seemed that my only end would be surgery, of which I was terrified.

On December 24th, 2010 - I was given my first IV therapy infusion. Although a potent medication, it had given me what I desperately longed for for so long: Remission. 



I was given a new appreciation and respect for my own health and wellness, which has been evolving since. I've used traditional medicine, holistic nutrition, physical activity, acupuncture, medication, preventative medicine, juicing,  and sleep hygiene to assist in managing my condition. I still get excited that I can consume a complete meal, or eat a salad, or have a glass of wine... without feeling severe pain or nausea. Being able to ride my bike for hours without agony and exhaustion is bliss. 

I am certain that this journey is far from complete, in fact, I feel as though I am presently in a force of transition. I am curious as to who I will be when this transition has completed, and excited to the adventures yet to come.