Sunday, October 28, 2012

Do You Have to Pee All The Time?

Because I do.

And no, I'm not pregnant. 

This started about a year ago, and has gotten progressively worse over time. At first it was just that I seemed to be in the bathroom every hour. I didn't think much of it because I drink a lot of water. Then it became every half hour. More recently I've had some bouts where I literally had to pee five minutes after going! Imagine trying to get a good night's sleep???

It didn't matter if I was drinking water or not. I could go hours without drinking but still have to use the bathroom. And it wasn't just the urge...every time I sat on the toilet, I swear I would pee a river!

Now I'll tell you. I've had bladder infections before, and this did not feel like a bladder infection. I don't even know how to describe it, except that it didn't feel normal.

When this first began, I went to the clinic at Bastyr and was given homeopathic yeast infection medication, which strangely helped. But then the symptoms came back full force after a weak period of eating sweets. After that it didn't seem to matter how I ate. The problem wouldn't go away.

Actually, let me rephrase that. It did matter how I ate. I couldn't get rid of the problem by eating a certain way. However, I did notice that eating certain foods would trigger those intense bouts of peeing every five minutes. For me those foods were things like peanuts, almonds, and definitely sugar.

My doctor has been wonderful and my headaches have been relatively nonexistent since seeing her as long as I'm avoiding a laundry list of foods. But I couldn't help but be frustrated that none of the supplements she gave me (and we tried  many different ones...not exactly wonderful for my bank account...) made a difference.

After my last appointment, I was feeling quite defeated. I've pretty much given up on traditional doctors, and I was tired of spending money trying things that weren't working.

Then I had a breakthrough. 

I was re-reading my copy of this book and in a moment of desperation decided to try the fast recommended in the book. The purpose of the fast is to regulate your blood sugar, but the author states that it should only be undertaken if you are insulin resistant, not if you're hypoglycemic. He also cautions that it should only be done with doctor supervision and that there are specific supplements your doctor should be helping you with. With all these yellow lights, I had never felt comfortable trying the fast.

That day I didn't care about taking precautions. I just wanted to be able to go to the grocery store without using their restroom twice in one shopping trip.

During the fast, you're supposed to drink a mix much like the master cleanse: water with grade B maple syrup and fresh lemon or lime juice. You have to drink every 15 minutes so that your blood sugar never drops. The author notes that you may have to pee often due to drinking so much.

The opposite happened to me. After a day, I began to notice that the uncomfortable feeling and constant urge to pee was diminishing.  I was actually having to use the bathroom less rather than more!

Lightbulb moment. My bladder problem was related to my blood sugar.

I stayed on the fast for 3 days, during which I noticed that the one time I felt like I needed to pee more was when I forgot to drink every fifteen minutes and my blood sugar dropped.

This was when I began to make some connections. I had always felt like the bladder problem was worse when I was eating paleo, would get better if I caved and ate something super carby, but then would get worse again hours later. Now I realize it wasn't paleo that was the problem. I just wasn't doing it the right way for my body. 

I realized I needed to stabilize my blood sugar levels, so I immediately began eating again the way I used to when I was at Jenny Craig, which is a plan that works well for diabetics.

I began limiting my starches (grains, sweet potatoes, etc.) and fruits to one serving (approximately half a cup) per meal. At Jenny Craig, I would do two servings per meal, but I suspected that might be too much for me right now. I made sure to include protein in each meal, and went back to eating every two to three hours. Snacks were a small amount of carbs with protein or healthy fats. Meals would be about half a cup of a starch or fruit, protein, fat and vegetables.

Within days I noticed a big difference.

Since I've begun eating this way, I have also been transitioning into doing the autoimmune paleo protocol. I've tried this before, but I'm now convinced that I wasn't doing it the way my body needed me to. Because I crave food less on paleo, I end up eating at irregular times, sometimes going all day without food. But now that I've realized that keeping my blood sugar steady is so important, I've continued to eat at regular intervals. I'm also including fruit, sweet potatoes, or winter squash more often than I did when I tried paleo before. I'm realizing that I need small amounts of carbs throughout the day to keep the bladder problem at bay. Not too many, not too few. Just a small amount. This seems to be working for me right now. At least in terms of my bladder.

I am always hesitant these days to post about how I'm eating and what is or isn't working. I know from experience that it seems to change a lot. I also don't want to lead anyone in the wrong direction because I truly believe our bodies are all different and that what's right for mine may not be right for yours. On the other hand, if you're dealing with the constant urge to urinate like I've been, then you are probably feeling as desperate and frustrated as I am. And so this post is a continuation of my desire for us all to share our struggles and our triumphs as we continue on this collective healing journey. With that being said, if you've found a different solution to this problem that works for you, please let us know in the comments so that we can all benefit from your experiences as well.


Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and I am not trying to tell you that if you do as I do, your bladder problems will go away as well. If you have to pee all the time, please be smarter than I am and go see a doctor. Bladder infections can lead to kidney infections. And since I recently had a friend end up in the hospital because of this, I can tell you it's definitely serious! So anyway, I'm just sharing what's working for me these days. Consider it a story, not a prescription for your health.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dairy-Free Pumpkin Fettuccine Cream Sauce (Soy-Free, Nut-Free)

I've been trying really hard lately to actually plan my food photos. Have a nice set-up. You know, make it look all professional like.

That went out the window with this Pumpkin Fettuccine Cream Sauce. There was no hint of professionalism in how I went about this photo shoot.

I had nothing prepared to put it on top of, no pasta, no rice, not even any veggies.

I grabbed the nearest dish towel to use as background. 

I couldn't find my camera so the sauce sat cooling for a while.

I was wearing my pajamas.

The sauce tasted so good I kept taking bites instead of pictures.

I was supposed to puree it but didn't want to bother with the extra dishes. So I didn't. 

I knew I didn't get a good shot and I didn't care. I was hungry.

When all was said and done, I found some lone sardines hanging out in the pantry and served myself a bowl of sardines topped with Pumpkin Fettuccine Cream Sauce.

Did I mention this was my breakfast? 

And you know what? That bowl of sardines was the highlight of my day.... Until dinner, when my boyfriend baked acorn squash, stuffed it with sauteed veggies and topped it with the Pumpkin Fettuccine Cream Sauce. Then that was the highlight of my day.

Moral of the story? Get thee to your kitchen and make this sauce. STAT. You can put it on anything and it will taste good.

Pumpkin Fettuccine Cream Sauce (Print me)

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 rutabaga, diced
1 leek, sliced (just the white part)
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
1 sprig fresh thyme, minced
1 pinch fresh rosemary, minced
1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1 can full-fat coconut milk
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Notes: Feel free to replace the fresh herbs with dried herbs or Italian Seasoning. The pumpkin can be replaced by sweet potato or any winter squash. The rutabaga isn't necessary for the creamy texture but does give the sauce a bite that reminds me a little bit of cheese. If you can't find one, you can go without, but I highly recommend you try it with the rutabaga!

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan on medium-low. Add rutabaga, leek, herbs and spices. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Add pumpkin and coconut milk, stir briefly, then put top on pan and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. 
  3. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste. At this point, you can serve as is (I left it this way in the photo above) or puree in a blender for a uniformly creamy consistency. Serve hot over pasta, veggies, or use in casserole dishes. 
Serves 4. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

You Might Be Crazy If...

You might be crazy if: 

You sometimes feel crazy.

You have constant headaches.

You get paralyzed by rage that is so intense you have no idea what to do with it or where it came from.

Sometimes it feels like it hurts to think. 

You get really gassy and bloated, no matter what you eat. 

Sometimes you feel like you have a phantom double chin, as if you gained twenty pounds over the course of five minutes.

You feel like you can actually see the clutter in your brain. 

You feel like you need more sleep than the average person, but half of the time you can't actually fall asleep at night.

Sometimes one of your toes turns white and feels numb, as if there's no blood circulating there. Just one. 

You forget things all the time. 

You have really intense neck pain. All the time.

You get really panicky when you get hungry. Like, might kill somebody panicky.

Your moods vacillate like you're on a constant emotional roller coaster.

You're cold all the time and would live in the sauna at the gym if you could.

You feel like your body rejects all food.

You really need a nap at 2pm every day. 

You feel great the week after your period and feel like you're dying the week before. I'm not talking normal PMS, I'm talking seriously debilitating depression and/or body pain.

You have to pee every thirty minutes. 

Your body feels achy, like when you have the flu. Except you don't have the flu.

You get so depressed all you can do is lie in bed and stare at the ceiling.

You pick fights with your boyfriend for no discernible reason (actually this one might just be every woman?)

You've spent thousands of dollars on various doctors and every single one had a different treatment plan for you.

Yep, you might be crazy. I certainly am. Oh wait. Or you might just have Hashimoto's.

One of my doctors told me that 1 in 3 American women have Hashimoto's, although many are not diagnosed. And for many of us who are, a diagnosis doesn't do that much to help anyway.

I can tell you this. You're not crazy. You're not a wimp and you're not a complainer. You're a warrior. You get up every day, determined to find an answer, determined to live your life, determined to heal.

And some days that's all you can do. You just get up.

Friday, October 19, 2012

1st Ever Safe Spaces Healing Retreat for Women

This week I've written about the power of women and how much stronger it is when we support each other in reaching our dreams. Today, I want to tell you about my dream, how I'm making it a reality, and how you can be a part of it.

Imagine this: A small group of women coming together to support each other in their healing journeys. A diverse group of women, each with her own story, her own perspective, her own energy. Together, in a safe space, they learn to listen to their own inner wisdom. They discover the steps necessary to take action and move forward in their lives. The unearth the healing power they all own within them. And together, they emerge with renewed strength, vision, and inspiration.

This holiday season, give yourself the gift of self-care. Take the time to nourish yourself and your dreams so that you can enter the holidays and the new year refreshed and loving your life.

Give yourself the gift of joining us at the 1st ever Safe Spaces Healing Retreat for Women. This is my dream. And I'm hoping it will fuel yours.
On December 7th-9th, 2012, join my fellow soul sister, Elise Brianne, and me for a weekend of healing on every level.

You are beautiful the way you are, the way you flow.

And everything you want to be, you already are...


When you read the above statement, how does it make you feel?
Do you believe these words to be true?
With every ounce of your being?

As women, we spend a lot of time and money improving our outer selves. 

We paint our faces. We color our hair. We go to the gym. We watch what we eat.

Some of us adore the artistry of it. Some of us feel burdened by it. 

But one thing is true for us all: 

Beneath that carefully constructed outer you, there is a voice—an inner essence—longing to be acknowledged, embraced, accepted, and understood. And though often overlooked, this voice holds the key to unlocking your true potential.

At the moment, she may be manifesting in your body as chronic pain or illness, emotional and mental instabilities, or as an addiction to food, drugs, alcohol, or other substances and self-destructive habits.

Simply put, she is screaming for your attention. 

So, when was the last time you listened to the voice of this mysterious inner you?
Do you even know how? 

At our first ever Safe Spaces Healing Retreat, we will show you how. 

By combining the forces of our innate gifts, which we have explored and cultivated on our individual paths to healing and wellness, we’ve discovered a very gentle way to dive deep, beyond the layers of mental clutter and into the inner realm where everything you want and need in order to become more fully you—in all your beauty and power—resides.

This retreat is our chance to take you along for the ride.

Through guided meditations and medicinal music, we will draw you into and through the watery depths within, and help you to create your very own safe space.

And having us for a whole weekend of self-nurturing means we won’t leave you hanging once we bring you back to the surface. Elise will lead you in therapeutic writing exercises to ease your minds and anchor you to the voice (or voices) you uncover within. I will prepare wholesome and nourishing, allergen-free meals to strengthen your bodies and calm your insides.

We have a few other tricks up our sleeves to get you feeling cozy and safe in your own skin, but ultimately, the rest is up to you and your willingness to embrace the inner—as well as the outer—you.

We will most assuredly laugh, talk, hug, cry, dance, sing, and be silly.

But most importantly, we will bask in the sweetness of beingwho we are as we are: 


Now I'm asking you, if you believe in this moment that this could be an important step in your healing journey, click here for more details. We only have room for a small group of women, and if you know that you're ready to begin healing, we want you to be a part of this life changing experience.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gluten-Free Acorn Squash Stuffing Muffins, Updated (Vegan and Grain-Free Optional)

I bet you thought you would never see another recipe from me again, huh?

Well, my fearless friends, I can't stay out of the kitchen. I've tried. It never lasts.

But that's good for you. Tomorrow, I'll be telling you all the yummy details about my upcoming retreat. But today, I've got Thanksgiving on the brain. Specifically, stuffing.

This Acorn Squash Stuffing is an updated version of an older recipe. It was originally paired with my mashed potato stuffing, and I realized that having two recipes in one might confuse you. So I made it again this week, first the regular version with egg, then an egg-free, nut-free version for myself. I've also added a few herbs for deeper flavor and will include some suggestions on variations.

Think it's too early for Thanksgiving recipes? It's never too early to get your Martha Stewart on! Practice now so you don't stress it later!

Gluten-Free Acorn Squash Stuffing Muffins print me
updated from this recipe

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 cup mushrooms, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Handful parsley, minced
4 fresh sage leaves, minced
1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced
1 sprig fresh thyme, minced
2 acorn squash, baked and mashed
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chicken broth
1 large egg
5 cups cubed gluten-free bread

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly oil 9 large muffin tins or 12 regular muffin tins. Alternatively, you can also use an 8 x 8 inch baking dish. 
  2. Heat oil in a saute pan over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add celery, mushrooms, garlic, cinnamon, and herbs. Cook until the vegetables are all soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove the vegetables to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the acorn squash, cranberries, and pecans. 
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the broth and egg, then stir into the stuffing mix. Add the bread and mix well. 
  5. Spoon into the muffin tins and bake for an hour.
Substitutions and tips: 
  • To make this egg-free, simply leave out the egg and follow all other directions. 
  • To make this vegan, leave out the egg and substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth. 
  • To make this grain-free, use a grain-free bread recipe such as this one or this one
  • To make it grain-free and vegan, use my waffle recipe with almond flour and tapioca starch. This is what I did in the photos above.
  • To make it nut-free, leave out the nuts. You can use sunflower seeds if you like the added crunch.
  • Dried cranberries can be replaced with 1 cup fresh diced apples. Simply cook them with the vegetables in step 2.
  • I don't call for salt in this recipe because my chicken broth has plenty. Use your discretion if you think you need more salt. 
  • Feel free to replace the fresh herbs with a tablespoon of Italian seasoning or poultry seasoning. You can also increase or decrease the amount of herbs used to your liking. Cooking is a big game. Have fun with it!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How I Deal With Bingeing Setbacks

I recently posted a survey for readers. In it I asked what question they would like me to answer here on the blog. A few readers asked about bingeing. One asked how I deal with setbacks. So I thought today I would answer both of those questions together.

As you may have noticed, I treat this blog much like a journal, only sorting out my feelings through the act of writing. I never know what I'm going to say until I type it. So today's post is as much for me as it is for you. I'm trying to understand for myself how I've been dealing with a setback.

When I first found hypnotherapy, bingeing had already become a rare thing for me. I'd been struggling with it for a long time and in the last couple of years, that fight had calmed down immensely. However, there were still slips here and there, and I used self-hypnosis to help uncover some issues. After one particularly healing session, any urge I still had to binge just disappeared. I was aware that there were still problems I had to work through and that this wouldn't be enough. But at that point, it was such a revelation. I remember on more than one occasion thinking, "Oh this is when I would have binged in the past. But I don't really want to. I'd rather go take a walk." It was like a switch had finally been turned on in my brain, and now when I was tired/sad/had a bad day/etc., I could recognize the tight sensation in my chest as the feeling that used to make me want to binge. But it no longer had that power. I could detach from it, recognize it was there, and go do something else.

Miracle of miracles!

But as I said, I knew there were still core issues I needed to untangle and deal with. When one of those issues popped up in July, I found myself suddenly ripped back in time as if all those years of work had never happened. One night I ended up at the grocery store, buying a (gluten-free) pizza and bag of cookies, knowing I would go home and eat it all in one sitting. And I did. Another night I remember rustling through my pantry looking for the old candy I'd never gotten rid of. I sat on the floor and ate it like a petulant child, not even tasting it but mostly just mad that this addictive behavior had come back. My weight fluctuated wildly, as only those with such eating issues might understand. I knew what had triggered this relapse. I just didn't know what to do about it.

As the days turned into weeks and then months, I became only more frustrated. Not only did I feel like I was back where I had started, but having just made the decision to begin working with women regularly as a wellness coach, I felt ashamed of my own behavior. This blog had always been the place I could be honest about my bingeing, and for the first time, I wanted to keep it a secret.

That changed one day when I fell apart - more or less literally - in my boyfriend's arms. Sobbing as if someone had died, I confessed my secret behaviors and the stress that was eating me up inside. He thought I should write about it here, but I argued that I was supposed to be beyond that. How could my clients trust me with their problems if I couldn't even deal with my own?

He told me that people aren't looking for perfection. They're looking for someone human. That my own struggles are the very reasons I am able to help other women.

I realized something during this conversation. My attempt at presenting a perfect face on my blog was making me resent it. I seriously considered quitting, tired of the business side of blogging and my own desire to please everyone. For a couple of days, I sat with that thought. And then I had a conversation with my business coach that shifted my thinking. (Yes, I have a coach and he's think I have any clue how to run a business??)

I realized that I had two warring desires. On the one hand was my desire to throw in the towel and quit blogging. On the other hand was my need to speak up. I realized that my bingeing had less to do with the actual triggering event than it did with how I had handled it. When faced with a difficult situation with a family member, I chose to remain silent rather than speak up about my feelings. At about the same time, I went through a falling out with a friend, and once again, I chose not to talk to her honestly about how I felt. It hadn't occurred to me until then that it wasn't the old family wound making me want to binge. It was my silence.

And so I made the decision to keep blogging and to do it my way. The posts you've seen this past week have been the result of that. So has the release in pressure I've felt emotionally. Once I gave myself permission to write whatever I wanted on the blog, my desire to binge started to calm down.

I'm not going to lie. It's still there. I still have more work to do before I get back to where I was a few months ago. But I'm no longer feeling so discouraged. In fact, for the first time in months I feel like I'm back on the right path.

Many people have commented lately here and on Facebook about how wonderfully my life is going. And this is true. I am absolutely blessed and grateful for everything happening in my life right now. But of course there is more going on than I always want to admit. And as I honor the good in my life, so must I be appreciate the setbacks. I know there's a reason for them. I know I still have learning to do.

This is why I want to share some of the struggles with you. Not to complain and not just for my own sake, but also because I think it's important for us to see each other in all our humanity. I think if my own facade of perfection can cause me such strife, then maybe it's doing the same for others as well. And so as I encourage you to be strong and face your fears, I also ask you to be vulnerable and know that those things within you that may feel like a weakness...

Those may in fact be your greatest strengths, your greatest gifts.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

For The Ladies


I've gotten some arguments from men for being a Women's Wellness Coach and hosting Women's Healing Workshops. I've been told that I'm discriminating against them, and that men and women need to work together to heal rather than separately. Well, men, I hear ya. I hear ya, I love ya, and I will happily work with you if you want my help. In fact, I have worked with a couple of men in the last few months and I've loved it. But when it comes to my workshops and my upcoming retreats, sorry guys, they're for the ladies.

Here's why.

"Imagine what women could accomplish if they stopped hating themselves and each other and started loving themselves and each other."

Once upon a time, someone said something similar to this and the quote stuck with me. I just don't remember who said it or exactly how it was said. So this is my version. Think about all the energy that we spend hating our bodies and competing with other women. Imagine if we took all that energy, simply popped the air out of those old negative tires, and allowed that force to be used for positive change. What if we loved ourselves? What if we loved each other and supported each other each and every day? What would the world look like if women started coming together to make shit happen? You'll have to excuse my language here, but this is something I feel strongly about and so these words tend to come out.

We have a beautiful world that is falling apart. I see it, you see it, and I think we all know that if some big changes aren't made soon, it's going to be too late. Yet I see glimmers. I see hope. And I believe that women can be that hope. We can use the glorious power that we all have within us to effect change.

In working with women one-on-one, I see certain themes. It doesn't matter what the woman's age, race, marital status, sexual orientation, religion, or health status is. Every woman I've worked with has shown me that there is a core of power within her and that when given a safe space to heal and be nourished, she will become stronger than she ever believed possible. Every woman I've worked with has made a light bulb go off in my head. It happens so often now I just have to smile every time I feel that click. It's a click that says, "YES. This woman has a purpose. She is going to help change this world for the better." EVERY SINGLE WOMAN, even those that don't yet know it or believe it.

My purpose, I believe, is to help women find that core of strength from which to move out into the world. To be a safe space where women can heal and learn what they need to do in order to nourish themselves daily.

My hope is that with every woman who regains her power, that energy will radiate out into the world, making it exponentially brighter every day.

My belief is that when women begin to love themselves, amazing things happen. And when women begin to love and support each other, a cascade of awesomeness will unfold.

I want to start that cascade NOW. I'm already seeing some rather amazing work unfolding. And I say we take that to the next level. Here's how:

  1. Tune in on Friday to learn more about the 1st ever Safe Spaces Women's Healing Retreat I'll be hosting in Bellingham, WA with my beautiful soul sister, songstress Elise Brianne.
  2. Join the pinterest board, "Heal The World" and pin your visions.
  3. Tell the women in your life how beautiful they are. And don't stop there. Tell the random woman walking down the street how beautiful she is too. And strong. And smart. And so much more.
  4. The next time you're feeling a gossipy hate fest come on - and I'm a Cancer so I can do this with the best of them -  stop and tell yourself ten things that you love about yourself. Replace hate with love - and that love starts by loving yourself. After you've finished your own love fest, find ten things that you admire about the woman you were just about to bash. Come on, get creative! 
  5. Think about a change you would like to see happen. What women do you know that might be able to work with you to make that change a reality? Start talking with other women. When you put your dreams and desires out there, you'll start to find women all around you with the same visions. What seemed impossible when it was just you may suddenly become quite possible when you have the power of sisterhood to back you up. 
  6. Finally, believe. Believe in yourself, in your power, in your dreams and visions. Believe that you can change the world, that you are important. Believe that it is not only okay to take care of yourself, but imperative. Cherish yourself, for you are a key player in this ever changing world, and no one else can do what you're meant to accomplish.

Monday, October 15, 2012

This is My Confession

First of all, I want to thank those of you who have read and commented on my last two posts. I know that this has primarily been a recipe blog, and you might be wondering where the recipes are. Well don't worry. I have some good ones coming. But as someone with multiple food sensitivities, I've been doing my best lately to focus my energy on things outside of food. While eating the perfect diet - whatever that means - may be important to my healing, so is self-care. And in taking care of myself over the last few months, I've learned more than I expected to about what I need in order to be happy and healthy.

Perhaps more than I wanted to.

You see, about two months ago I made a commitment to my own self-care. I decided that I was going to give myself three things I needed every day. No matter what.
  1. 8+ hours of sleep a night. 
  2. Daily exercise. 
  3. Daily self-hypnosis. 
As a hypnotherapist, I believe in the power of the subconscious to tell us what we really need to know. I've been wanting to understand so many aspects of my life on a deeper level: my desire to binge, my food sensitivities and how to heal, the path my life is going in and what will make me happiest, my purpose in life...

That's a big one, right? Life purpose.

To be perfectly honest, that's been the easiest part of the puzzle to decipher.

It only took 30 years.

As a Women's Wellness Coach, I work with my clients through hypnotherapy and guided meditations to help them focus on their own self-care. To help them see their own power, the possibilities in their lives, and if I'm lucky, to help them understand their purpose in this world. You see, that is my ultimate goal. I don't believe it's my purpose to change the world. I believe I'm here to help you change the world. And I have complete faith in the women I work with and the strength they carry within them.

Having faith in my own purpose and strength has been much harder.

When I began to do self-hypnosis on a daily basis, I knew my subconscious had a message for me. Frankly, it was pretty loud and clear and it really scared me. It wanted me to go against everything that had always made sense to me, had always been easy for me, and was what I thought I should do.

It wanted me to drop the "shoulds" and just do what I truly wanted, deep down. Despite the fear.

So, readers, this is my confession. For some reason, I've been afraid to tell you.

After two years of struggling to feel excited about a program that I had realized almost immediately wasn't right for me, I've decided not to complete my master's degree in nutrition. And before you say it, I'll say it for you because I've heard it all. I've spent thousands of dollars on this program, gone into further educational debt, I don't have that much to go, and if I quit now, I'll have wasted all that time and money. I should just finish it!

I know it all. I've agonized over it. And then one day, I couldn't ignore the screaming in my head anymore. The screaming that said, you know what you want to do in your life. You'll never heal and you'll never be happy if you don't do it. Now is the time.

Last month, I sent back my newly disbursed loans and dropped out of my classes. I gave my landlord and my housemates notice that I was moving. I gave the family I nanny for notice that I would be leaving. I made the decision to move with my boyfriend to a more affordable town north of Seattle (Bellingham, for those of you wondering). And I made a commitment to myself.

To devote myself one hundred percent to what I feel is my calling. This month, I've taken on a new client in my Six-Month Self-Care Program. Next month, I plan on taking on more clients and working for myself full-time. In December, I'll be hosting my first women's healing retreat (more details later this week). No more falling back on school. No more falling back on a day job to pay the bills. Just me and faith in what I'm doing.

Well, maybe it's not just me. It's my boyfriend who will be by my side through all my breakdowns and breakthroughs. It's Elise, my soul sister and partner in workshops and retreats. It's my clients, who unknowingly renew my faith when it falters. It's my family, my friends, and it's you. My readers, who I adore even though I've never met most of you.

This is my confession: When I listened to my inner wisdom, it told me the path to healing was not food. It was life. And so I'm living it. Fear and all.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Maybe I'm a Mean Girl Too. What About You?

I went to the gym yesterday after writing this post. My mind was on mean girls, good girls, and the thought of women and power. I knew there was so much more I wanted to say, but also that there were too many directions I could go in, and I would end up writing on this subject for days. I needed to clear my mind, to understand exactly what it was I needed to get out.

While dutifully sweating away on the elliptical, I read ELLE, just about the only magazine left there that I hadn't already picked up. When I'm at the gym, I want to be distracted with candy, like US Weekly. ELLE is mostly just pictures of tall, thin women in fancy clothes sandwiched in between long articles in small type that I can't read while running. Hence the reason I was on the elliptical. Note to ELLE editors...if you want me to choose you at the gym over US Weekly, you need bigger font and some women under 5'7" in your ads.

Despite my general dislike, apparently this was the magazine I needed to be reading right then. Serendipity was calling. In the January 2011 issue of ELLE, I found this:

"Ask the most successful woman you know whether she's ambitious. Chances are that her reaction will recall the faux feminine coyness of Miss Piggy, the Muppet who'd flutter her eyelashes and simper, 'moi?' at such a question - even as she aimed a lethal karate chop to get you out of her way." 

The author goes on to comment that she has interviewed countless famous and powerful women. Yet only one ever admitted to being ambitious. Every other woman fell back on being humble, demure, and thankful that life had somehow graced her with such luck. The author further questioned whether successful women minimize the power of their own actions because they really believe what they're saying or if they're simply giving the public what it expects to hear.

I have a feeling it's both. 

As I read this article, I thought back to the last year of my life. I wrote two cookbooks while working on a master's degree, maintaining this blog, and beginning my own wellness coaching business. I remember more than once being asked how the books came about. My answer? "Oh I was just in the right place at the right time." Never once did I say, "Well, I worked hard. I met another woman - my co-author - who was as ambitious as I was, and together we worked our asses off to make it happen. That's how the books came about."

Even as I was devaluing my own efforts, I would e-mail with fellow bloggers and cookbook authors, commending them for their work ethic. Telling them how amazing I thought they were because they could keep up with their blogs, their jobs, and write a book at the same time.

So why couldn't I give myself that same credit?

For one, to admit just how much I was accomplishing would be to acknowledge that I'm pretty fucking awesome. I would have to see myself honestly, which would mean standing up to the truth that I was capable and powerful. And that seems to be a truth that I, and many women around me, have trouble with. If I am strong and smart and can really make things happen, then I have no excuse for sitting around feeling sorry for myself. I cannot blame the world for anything I have yet to accomplish, for any perceived lack in my life. I can no longer just think about my dreams. I have to act on them. Because owning my power means my dreams can come true, and the only thing standing between them and me... is me.

And you know what that means. I have to roll my sleeves up, get in the dirty muck that is my own fear, and work even harder.

It's a lot easier to just go on believing everything is luck and you either have it or you don't. 

The other reason I find it difficult to give myself credit, and I suspect that I'm not alone in this, is precisely because it does go against societal norms for women to tout their own accomplishments. As a "good girl," I want to be liked. I want to be seen as kind, moral, and a friend to everyone. Somewhere in me is this little seed of belief, this niggling judgment, that if I am ambitious, then I am no longer good or moral. That if I were truly a good person, then I would get a desk job to pay the bills so that I could do the work I truly feel called to for free. The very thought of admitting that I want to be a successful businesswoman and make a living doing the work I love elicits anxiety in me. My desire to be successful is like a secret I have to hide for fear people might suddenly brand me with the scarlet letter. A for Ambitious. And if ambitious, then therefore greedy, a money grubber, and worse, ungodly.

I don't think it's a coincidence that food blogs are primarily written by women. While we've wised up and begun learning to market ourselves and actually make money doing something we spend so much time on, the fact is many of us just do it for free. Because we love it, yes. But maybe because we're also uncomfortable with valuing our work, with saying that what we do is important?

Just a thought.

As a female food blogger - here I am finally moseying my way around to what I knew was in there struggling to get out - as a female food blogger, I am ambitious. Many of us will deny it, but it goes with the territory. If we didn't have aspirations, we would just write in our diaries and share our recipes with only those friends who ask for them.

Yesterday I talked about how competitive working at Jenny Craig was. That's perhaps not very surprising. But you know what surprises me? That nobody talks about how competitive the food blogging world is. I suppose it shouldn't shock me. We're mostly women. And so many of us won't admit what we all secretly know.

We are all ambitious. We all check our stats. We all love what we do and want to be able to make money doing it. We all want to live out our dreams. What a dastardly secret we hold.

I could write a whole other post dedicated to the games I've watched occur behind the scenes as bloggers work to get more readers, to be the most popular girl in high school. But that would simply be a game of my own. Look at how everyone else acts when no one is watching. You should read my blog. I'm the nice one, I'm the good girl. You should like me the most. You see, even after all this self-analysis, a part of me still falls into this trap of wanting to be seen as the kindest of them all.  The purest of pure, a veritable Snow White slaving away in my kitchen.

There are a lot of mean girls amongst us, and even more good girls. Most of us, myself included if I'm being honest, are a little of both. And in the end it doesn't matter because we're all the same at the core.

We all want to be successful. We all have dreams.

The only thing getting in our way now is admitting it, fully and completely, and without judgment.

So I admit it. I am ignoring my morality stick, that one that even now is shaming me. "Oh Iris. You can't put this out there. You can't say what you really think, what you really want. What will everyone say to you? Worse, what will they say behind your back?"

You know what, morality stick? Shove it. I kick ass, I'm going to work my ass off so I can kick even bigger ass, and I'm tired of denying it to myself or anyone else.

And you know what, reader? You kick ass too. What do you think about that? 

Friday, October 12, 2012

What do Mean Girls and Good Girls Have in Common?

When I interviewed for my job at Jenny Craig back in 2007, I asked what the most difficult aspect of the work was. The answer was that it was the competitive environment. Since we all worked on commission and the majority of the staff were women, I was told there was a tendency for things to get "catty."

I hate to say it, but this was true.

Over the course of my three years there, I experienced more "mean girl" behavior than I ever had in high school. I remember going into my supervisor's office one day and just breaking down in tears after finding out another coworker had been spreading lies about me. On another occasion, I called in sick - something I never did - because I couldn't stand the thought of facing the women that day. There was a cruelty towards each other that seemed rooted in desperation, and it wasn't something I knew how to handle. 

But I can't say I was blameless. With my silence, I allowed the problem to continue, complaining to other coworkers rather than talking with the women causing the problem. I grew up, as most of us women do, wanting to be a "good girl." Wanting to be liked. I have never had a strong voice, never been one to speak out against a crowd or bring up a problem if I can avoid it. In all my years at Jenny Craig, I only once confronted a coworker, and only then because the situation was so uncomfortable I had no choice. Most of the time, I did as so many of us do. I smiled and faked kindness while inwardly wincing and wanting to run away - or worse, bash the woman on the head. I think perhaps we would all have done much better if we had been given rubber bats and been told to go at each other. At least then, our feelings could have been out in the open.

So what did those women and I have in common? The mean girls and the good girls? We were both desperate. Desperate to be seen a certain way, to be liked or envied, to uphold an image of who we thought we were supposed to be. And we were both silenced. Silenced by our belief that we could only act a certain way. Silenced by our inability to talk with each other, to deal with confrontation, to speak our own truth. To stand up as women and not be afraid to be seen as we really were.

The woman who had been cruelest to me at Jenny Craig was someone who had always struggled with her weight and overeating. I understood her because I was like her. Smaller perhaps, but equally overcome by my obsession with food. Sometimes, when I have the desire to overeat or binge, I notice it's almost like a physical pain in my throat. A conflict between my need to speak my truth and the fear that propels me to force that truth down. As if by stuffing food down my throat, I can stuff down any desire to speak louder, stronger and with more confidence. I can stuff my own truth back down.

Why do I bring this up? This isn't a recipe or tip on how to eat healthier. Perhaps it doesn't belong on The Daily Dietribe. But somehow it seems important. It's been on my mind for a long time, something I've felt the urge to talk with you all about.

It seems like it has something to do with my relationship with food. And perhaps with yours?

It seems like it has something to do with women and blogging, with friendships, with relationships of all kinds. And it seems like I have so much more to say and I'm not done. But the clock is ticking and I have to go.


To be continued...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

How to Love Your Inner Demons

I've developed a really loving relationship with my inner demons. Well, at least the ones I've had the courage to meet. There are others, I'm sure, but that's a different post for a different day.

Today, I want to introduce you to that inner demon I like to call, "Super." And I can hear Super right now, and she's telling me she's offended that I'm calling her a demon. So let's call her an Inner Taskmaster.

Better? Okay.

My Inner Taskmaster is that part of me that regulates my desire to be Superwoman. I want to be perfect and she's trying her darndest to help me get there. I call her Super. She looks like a cartoon character out of The Incredibles. Imagine Edna with long straight, red hair (why red, I don't know...) that gets all wild and unkempt when she's been working too many late nights. Which happens all too often, as you might imagine it would in the impossible pursuit of perfection.

Truth be told, Super threatened to quit on me the other day if I didn't give her more time off.

I gave her a day off and she came back with her hair in a tidy ponytail, ready to work, with a smile on her face. She did warn me though that I shouldn't wait so long to give her another day off.  

Let me tell you how I met my Super, and how you can meet yours. Yours, by the way, might not be called Super. It might not be a person. It might be an animal, an object, a piece of fruit. I don't know what's going to come out of your imagination. I'm thinking you won't know either until you try it. Nudge nudge.  

How to Meet Your Super
Your super is your inner taskmaster. It's that part of you that can't calm down. The part that keeps you up at night, that writes lists when you're trying to meditate, the part that quits yoga five minutes in because there's just too much else to do. It's that part of you that's always working, even when you're not at work. It's that part of you that you can sometimes feel running around in circles, making it hard to breathe. That's your super. How do you meet it?

You'll need about thirty minutes the first time around. After that, you'll be able to call it whenever you want to talk. But the first time, just find a quiet spot and close your eyes. Take three deep breaths to center yourself in your body. You don't have to worry about being able to be calm right now. That's not the goal. In fact, the more anxious or stressed out you are, the better! It means you're super's right there with you and will be easier to find.

Think about that part of you that can't stop, that's running lists in your head even as I type. As you take another breath in, ask yourself where in your body that part of you lives. Take a moment to mentally breathe into that part of your body.

Now, this is where you give your inner child complete permission to be imaginative. You don't have to be an adult right now. Be a kid and have fun making something up. Imagine that "go-go-go" part of yourself as a cartoon character and really paint the picture. What does it look like? Is it an animal, a person, something else entirely? Introduce yourself and ask it it's name.

Okay, have you met your super? Great. Now here's the part where you become bosom buddies. 

How to Love Your Super
Now that you've met your super and learned it's name, it's time to find out a little more about it. Ask it what it's doing there. Give it time to fully answer your questions without interrupting it. Ask it what it needs from you. Perhaps you might ask it if it likes being stressed all the time, and what you can do to help it relax. Allow yourself to sit down and have a cup of coffee tea with your super and really listen to it. After all, it's there for you. The least you can do is also be there for it.

Your super is not someone to try to banish or ignore. If you want to relax and your super's getting in the way, just take a moment to talk to it and find out what will help it chill out for a little while. Me personally? When I'm trying to meditate, I ask my super to go sit comfortably across the room and just observe. I let her know that she can analyze my meditation and my life as much as she wants after I'm done, as long as she just sits quietly and watches during my session. Then afterwards I listen to what she has to say. I learn more about myself and she gets to do her job. And lately, she's actually been asking for more vacation time. I don't really know what she does then. Maybe goes to the hair salon to get her brown roots touched up.

But when she comes back, I like to check in. "Hey Super," I say. "How you doin' today?"

She's sitting next to me, I realize, and she just smiles. She looks down at her list.  

Blog post. Check.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Kombucha Sangria

I think I'm a little late in the season for sangria, but we've been having the most lovely warm and sunny days here in Seattle. So sangria seemed perfect for the potluck we hosted at our house last Sunday. This recipe is just an outline, as I feel most sangria recipes are. Have you ever followed a sangria recipe exactly? I know I haven't...

Here's what you do: 

Take a bottle of wine (red or white...or even better, half and half) and pour it into a large jug.

Add about 32 ounces of kombucha.

Add in sliced fruit (apples, pears, pineapple, grapes, etc.).

Stir and allow to sit for at least a few hours in the fridge.

Taste, and add sweetener if desired. (I used 10 drops each of lemon stevia and orange stevia, but I don't think it needed it.)


Simple. Tasty. Colorful.

Monday, October 1, 2012

My Home Remedy for Yeast Infections, Warts & Dandruff

Got your attention with that one, didn't I? Before I give you the good stuff, I have something for you and something for me. The something for you is that I'm giving away a 90 minute transformational session with me. This is your chance to deeply relax and explore how best to take care of yourself.  The something for me is that in order to enter to win, you have to fill out this survey. Don't worry though, it's short and fun. I'm making some changes in my life (I'll fill you in once I get past my fear/trepidation/excitement) and as I do so, I want to check in with you and make sure you're getting the most out of my blog. 

So here's your chance to tell me what you like, what you want to see more of, and what you really want to know about me.

Click here to fill out the survey.  

And now you know that I have yeast infections, warts and dandruff. Well, I am nothing if not honest.

I promised a while back to tell you my yeast infection cure, but then I held off.


Here's what happened. I realized one day I was getting a yeast infection. All those wonderful signs were there. Itching. Burning. Other gross stuff. Honestly, I had been lax on my diet and had been eating too many sweets. It never fails.

I've tried Monistat, I've taken that pill the doctors give you, I've even tried yogurt suppositories (for the record, that made things ten times worse). The only thing that really works for me is a strict no-sugar, anti-inflammatory diet.

But what do you do when you fall off the wagon and need quick relief?

I decided to try garlic suppositories and apple cider vinegar. I know the internet is not the most reliable source of information, but it's been a better doctor to me than most actual doctors, so I looked up all sorts of information on garlic, apple cider vinegar and yeast infections.

Finally, I decided on this: Every day, I would take a garlic clove, slice it up a bit with a knife, then soak it in apple cider vinegar. Then, just like putting in a tampon, I would slide it in.

It worked. After a few days, my yeast infection went away.

But then a month later, it came back. I decided I just hadn't used the garlic long enough. I did it again.

The yeast infection went away.

A month later, it came back.

When it happened for the third month in a row, I realized I was getting an infection the week before my period (this is also the same week my food reactions get worse every month). As soon as I got my period, the infection went away.

Had the garlic and apple cider vinegar actually helped? I'm not really sure. So my big cure turned out to be not so exciting.


Yes, there's a but. Two other things happened. One, I finally discovered a probiotic I don't react to, and once I began taking that, the monthly yeast infections disappeared (as long as I stay away from sugar).

Inner-Eco Dairy Free Probiotic Kefir is a miracle worker. The last time I bought some, the cashier told me I'm not the only one's who been raving about it. He said everyone who buys it swears by it. I certainly do. So in the end, this is my yeast infection remedy. It's not a home remedy and I can't tell you how to make it, but I can tell you to urge your local health food store to carry it.

The other thing that happened was that I decided to test out my garlic and apple cider vinegar cure on my wart and dandruff. And in both of these cases, it has been a success!

How to get rid of a wart with garlic and apple cider vinegar: 
Cut off a small piece of garlic and place it over your wart. Soak a small piece of cotton or paper towel in apple cider vinegar and place it over the garlic. Tape on with sports tape. Repeat morning and night until the wart is completely gone. I'm not going to lie...this eventually starts to hurt as the wart is killed, but it does the trick. Just be sure you continue with the treatment until the wart is completely gone or it will come back.

How to get rid of dandruff with garlic and apple cider vinegar:
In this case, the garlic is the most important piece. If you don't have apple cider vinegar, garlic alone will do the trick. But apple cider vinegar seems to help it along. I zest a clove of garlic, then mix it in a small bowl with about a teaspoon each of apple cider vinegar and oil. Then I scrub this through my scalp vigorously, paying special attention to the areas where the dandruff gets bad. Then I wash and condition my hair as normal, and my dandruff is gone! I have to do this about once a week, but it beats using dandruff shampoos, which never really worked for me anyway and are full of chemicals.

Now a little laugh for those of you who read this whole thing. I told you I would let you know why my yeast infection remedy was so embarrassing. Well, here's the story. My boyfriend had just arrived home after being in Hawaii. We hadn't seen each other in six months. There was only one thing on our minds. Until the moment I yelled, "Wait, there's garlic in my vagina!"  I don't know what went through his mind then, but I don't think I have ever seen someone look so shocked.

I still burst out laughing every time I think about it. 

And there you have it. Between this post and my constipation post, I don't think we have any more secrets between us. After all this, you've got to fill out my survey, right?


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