Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Gluten Free Strawberry Mousse with Cocoa Tahini Icing




















Gluten Free Strawberry Mousse
An original recipe by Shirley Plant

Ingredients:
3 cups fresh strawberries
1 cup almond or soy milk
3-4 tablespoons agar flakes
1/2 cup water
Juice of 2 lemons
2-3 tablespoons honey

Directions: 

  1. Blend strawberries with the milk in your food processor. 
  2. In a saucepan, add water, agar flakes, lemon juice and honey. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for a few minutes until agar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let stand to cool down. 
  3. Combine with the strawberry pulp mixture and pour into glass dessert bowls and refrigerate. Serve chilled with a strawberry on top or drizzle cocoa tahini icing over the top. 
Cocoa Tahini Icing

Ingredients: 

1/4 cup tahini
1/8 - 1/4 cup nut or soy milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Directions: 

  1. Blend all ingredients in a bowl and chill. Use as a cream over fruit pies or puddings. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Request from Iris

I have a request. I know many of you are following along with the Gluten Free Health Challenge, and I really hope you will continue to do so. But I have to admit, I really miss you! Seriously. I know I can't see you, but somehow I know when you're there. And I like writing to you. In fact, I'm still writing to you even though many of you are no longer reading my posts.  

You see, I'm writing over at my new blog now, and it would feel so much more "right" if you were there too. So here's my request. Take five minutes to read my latest post, An Open Apology to All of My Weight Loss Clients. And then if it resonates, and it feels like you want to read more of what I have to say, then subscribe to get my posts via e-mail over there. (The link is at the bottom of the post there.) If you just want the recipes and aren't interested in my new posts, that's okay. That's what The Daily Dietribe is for. But at least read one post, and then decide...deal?

Deal.

Okay, the challenge may continue now. Tomorrow I'm sharing a recipe for Strawberry Mousse from Coach Shirley Plant...

Love from,
Iris

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Gluten Free Vegetable and Quinoa Hash

From today's post at Your Fairy Angel: An Open Apology to All of My Weight Loss Clients
(Remember, I'm no longer posting here. You can sign up for my newsletter at Your Fairy Angel if you still wish to receive my posts.)
Love from,
Iris
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Vegetable and Quinoa Hash



























I'm always working with my clients to find creative ways to get more nutrient-rich and energizing vegetables into their diets. Breakfast is often the toughest meal for people, which is why I love to recommend this delicious vegetable and quinoa hash. This is my go-to recipe for brunch guests, and I always make extra so I can eat leftovers all week.
-Drew-

Vegetable and Quinoa Hash
An original recipe by Drew Parisi

Ingredients: 
1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil
2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 leek, white and pale green parts only, rinsed well and sliced
2 cups spinach, kale, or other greens
1 cup cooked quinoa (from 1/4 cup dry)
3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 large eggs, poached or over-easy (if you're sensitive to eggs, consider adding sausage or ground turkey to the hash for protein)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. Toss sweet potato and bell peppers with 1 teaspoon of melted coconut oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring halfway through, until tender, 35-40 minutes. 
  3. Thinly slice spinach or other greens. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add greens, leek, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until tender and lightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Stir in cooked quinoa, thyme, and roasted vegetables. Cook until quinoa is warm, 1-2 minutes. 
  4. Separate into 4 servings (store leftovers in fridge for another day), top with 1 egg, and season with a pinch of pepper. 

Serves 4.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Gluten Free Bean Salad with Chard and Mushrooms







































Bean Salads, to me, have always screamed summer with their simple flavors, light taste, and easy preparation. Here, I give a twist to the typical bean salad with the addition of chard, yellow onion, and mushrooms. By adding these to your bean salad, you increase the nutrient content, add color, and give a bit of variety to the texture. Chard is a great green for your summer dishes, adding a bit of flavor and tons of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins K and A, and magnesium.
-Georgianna-





















Bean Salad with Chard and Mushrooms
An original recipe by Georgianna Dolan-Reilly

Ingredients: 
1 bundle swiss or rainbow chard, stripped from stems and chopped into 1-2 inch strips
8 ounces mini or button mushrooms, thinly sliced (Baby Bella, White, or Crimini)
1 medium yellow onion, minced
1 15-ounce can black beans
1 15-ounce can kidney beans
4 tablespoons red wine vinaigrette
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste (I used 1/4 teaspoon of each)

Directions:

  1. Wash and dry the chard and mushrooms. Prepare chard, mushrooms, and onion as directed above. 
  2. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil and half (2 tablespoons) of the red wine vinaigrette over medium heat. 
  3. Meanwhile, empty beans into a colander. Wash, drain and dry, then set aside in a large bowl. 
  4. Add the mushrooms and onions to the sauté pan and cook for approximately 5 minutes, tossing often. 
  5. Next, add the chard and the remaining red wine vinaigrette. Toss together until chard is wilted, approximately another 5 minutes. 
  6. Add mixture to beans. Toss until well mixed. 
  7. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to mixture and toss. 
  8. For best results, cool mixture before serving. 
Serves 6-8 as a side dish. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Gluten Free Raspberry Coconut Muffins

A quick gluten free question for today: What's your favorite gluten free muffin recipe? Mine is this recipe for vegan banana muffins, which is easily adapted with various ingredients. Leave a link to your favorite recipe (or the cookbook it's from) in the comments below!
-Iris-
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I was grocery shopping at Trader Joe's this morning and couldn't pass up the beautiful organic raspberries they had on the shelf. As I was completing my shopping, I decided those raspberries would be perfect with some lemon and coconut in muffin form. I don't know about you, but raspberry, lemon, and coconut are all tastes that remind me of summer. I love to have muffins around for breakfast, snacks, and when that after-dinner sweet tooth sometimes hits. 

Raspberry Coconut Muffins
An original recipe by Sarah Dochow, MS, CN, LMHCA

Ingredients: 
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup maple sugar (you can use any kind of granulated sugar you'd like)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil or butter, melted
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 ounces fresh raspberries, chopped
Zest from one lemon

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk flours starch, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt together in a large bowl. 
  2. In another bowl, whisk oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla together. 
  3. Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir. Fold in raspberries and lemon zest. 
  4. Fill muffin tin with 12 paper cups and spoon batter into tin. Bake for 24 minutes or until golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.    

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Paleo Zucchini Coconut Waffle Wraps (Gluten/Grain/Dairy/Soy/Nut/Refined Sugar Free)








































Did I get your attention?

I thought so... Put together the words paleo, waffles, and wraps, and what else could you want? I know...egg-free. Sorry, this one is not egg-free. Although considering that it's a waffle and doesn't have to rise, there's a chance you could make it work with egg substitutes. But I'll leave that up to you to try. Today, I made these with eggs because after avoiding them for years, I'm now able to eat them again (just not all the time). Of course, if you want a similar recipe but without eggs, you could always try my buckwheat crepes or my waffle mix made with almond flour. They're both vegan and the waffle mix can be made paleo.

Ready for the recipe? Head over to my new blog where you'll find me from now on.

The Daily Dietribe will continue to be the home of The Gluten Free Health Challenge. I love seeing how these women are progressing! But I (Iris) will be nesting over at Your Fairy Angel now. Hope to see you there! (You can subscribe to my updates there by adding your e-mail address to the box on the right sidebar of the Fairy Angel blog). It's a work in progress (after being on blogger for years, learning something else is complicated!), but I'm figuring it out and working on making the new site as user friendly as possible.

Recipe: Paleo Zucchini Coconut Waffle Wraps

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cooling Cucumber Salsa (Gluten/Dairy Free)


I was so happy when I saw this recipe from Coach Eryn for her Cooling Cucumber "Companionment." Cucumbers are exactly what I want to eat in this hot weather. Thanks, Eryn!


Gluten Free News: 

This Wednesday (7/24/13), I'll be talking with Jon Gabriel of The Gabriel Method about the gluten free diet and using hypnotherapy for health. You can register for the talk here. 

Coach Mia Davis shares a guest post at Girls on the Grid called "Donuts and Health Coaching in Sacramento." I love Mia's down-to-earth approach to health. She knows that every woman can find health in her own unique way, and has a gentle way of working with her clients. No shaming. No guilt! 

Enjoy the recipe!

Love from, 
Iris
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This recipe was inspired by my housemate who was craving something cooling last night for dinner. Here in Seattle, we have been enjoying (some not so much) temperature highs in the 80s! For a Vata constitution like myself, I am in heaven when it is "hotter than hell" for others, especially native Seattleites such as my housemate. As temperatures hung steady in the high 70s, conceived in a desire for something cooling, this salsa of sorts grew from the contents of the fridge. My housemates and I don't often get the opportunity to share dinner together, so this creation was my grateful offering as their dinner companion. It proved a tasty, cooling accompaniment to the hearty tamari-glazed tempeh and the green beans almondine. In traditional Eryn fashion, it added a bite of spice to the occasion as well. 

Try this as a tasty "companionment" to BBQ, honey-glazed or other hearty meat dishes. It complements nicely. 

Cooling Cucumber "Companionment" 
An original recipe by Eryn McEntee

Ingredients: 
1/2 organic medium red onion
1 large or 3 small organic English cucumbers (can also use pickling cukes for a tangier salsa)
3 medium sized organic radishes
2 medium organic plum, pitted
1/2 cup fresh organic dill, finely chopped
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons dulse, snipped (optional)
1/2 teaspoon chopped, seeded jalapeño pepper or dash of cayenne pepper (not both, optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions: 
  1. Preheat oven to broil. 
  2. Slice red onion into paper thin slivers into a small sized serving bowl. 
  3. Add 1/8 teaspoon sea salt to the bowl and mix gently. 
  4. Quarter and seed cucumbers: Wash cucumbers in cool water. Slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise. Lay the halves flesh side down on the cutting board and cut the halves in half lengthwise again. Pick up one of the cucumber quarters so that the flesh faces upward; position your knife over the top of the seeds, and using a downward motion, slice down diagonally to strip away the seeds in one segment. Discard seeds. Repeat with remaining cucumber quarters. 
  5. Shave cucumbers on the diagonal to create ribbons: Using a vegetable peeler, peel seeded cucumber quarters on their edge to create ribbons into the bowl with the red onion, and mix gently to combine. Take care that as the cucumber become thinner not to catch your fingers in the peeler!
  6. Wash and scrub radishes to remove any dirt. Slice into quarters. Shave radish quarters into the bowl with the cucumbers. Mix gently to combine. 
  7. Slice plum in half lengthwise and repeat to create 8 slices. 
  8. Broil plum slices for 3 minutes, rotating to other side of flesh half-way through. 
  9. While plums broil, add finely chopped dill, grated ginger and optional snipped dulse and jalapeño to bowl with veggies. Mix gently. 
  10. Remove plums from heat. Turn off oven and chop plums into thinner segments. Add plums to bowl and stir to combine. 
  11. Add freshly ground black pepper, sea salt, and a dash of cayenne (if you haven't used jalapeño). 

Enjoy!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Cranberry Kale Salad and the Power of Letting Go


























"You see it's not just about letting go. It's also about believing that you deserve what's on the other side. You deserve to try something you've never tried before. You deserve to laugh and play like a child. You deserve to love yourself. You deserve to be happy.

Do you believe that? Is there a voice within you that judges you and tells you that you don't deserve it? I know that voice. I also know it's time to let the other voice become stronger. The voice that tells you to break through, that WHO YOU TRULY ARE is your greatest gift to the world. The voice that tells you that nothing beyond that wall could possible by as scary as the thought of staying in your chrysalis forever."

(This is an excerpt from my latest blog post on Your Fairy Angel. To read more, click the link for the full post. If you're a subscriber here and want to continue reading my posts, you'll find them at Your Fairy Angel from now on.)

Love from,
Iris
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Today, I'm sharing a recipe from Coach Mia of Team Kale. Appropriately, it's a Cranberry Kale Salad. I think we can all agree that it's too hot for anything warm right now. My body is craving salads and fruit and not much else. Oh, except Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.

Mia has been working with Amy for the last two months, sharing her wisdom, gluten free coaching support, and recipes like this one. Enjoy, and be sure to stop by Mia's Facebook page and say hello.

Cranberry Kale Salad
An original recipe by Mia Davis of Blissful Chicks Wellness

Ingredients:
Simple Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
Salt and pepper to taste

Salad:

1 bunch kale, big stem taken out and torn into smaller pieces
1/4 cup mixed dried cranberries and raisins
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup red bell pepper
1/4 cup feta cheese (or omit if dairy free)

Directions: 

  1. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a bowl. Add in kale and toss with hands, making sure to massage the leaves with dressing. Let sit for 30 minutes. Leaves will begin to wilt slightly. 
  2. Toss with cranberries, raisins, sunflower seeds, bell pepper, and feta. Enjoy!  


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Dorothy's Diary: Weight Loss Success on My Gluten Free Diet

Congratulations to Dorothy, our Sunday gal we just love to root for. (If you want to know why we're congratulating her, you'll have to read her post.) Dorothy's coach, Drew Parisi, has been helping her to navigate this gluten free lifestyle. If you don't follow Drew on Facebook, here's the link to her page. She's a great resource for healthy eating!
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There is more to write about Mr. Dynamic, and that will come soon. For now, let's take a little break from all that and check in with my life on the Gluten Free Challenge.

July 3, 2013
I don't have a scale in my home. I haven't in a long time because I don't want to focus on weight consciousness. I don't want to get caught up in a numbers head trip. Instead, I care about how I feel.

On a whim, I stopped by the gym to weigh myself. I was just curious. I hadn't weighed myself since my last doctor's appointment on May 23rd. I knew my clothes fit looser, but I still wasn't prepared for what happened next. I took off my shoes and stepped on the gym scale. 18 pounds lighter. What?!?!?! I stepped off, then stepped on the scale again. It was the same reading: 18 pounds lighter. Unbelievable!! Wait, I better really be sure. I asked one of the gym trainers if they had recently gotten a new scale. No, it's the same one as always. Okay, so it's real. I have actually lost 18 pounds since May 23rd. This is definitely due to the Gluten Free Challenge! It's really working! Wowza!!! 

I got home and immediately texted Iris. OMG OMG OMG OMG. I gave her the good news. She texted right back. Iris asked if I had been dieting at all or just eating as I normally would. I wrote back. No diet, just normal eating. OMG, I really can't believe it. I understood immediately, this Gluten Free Challenge is going to save my life. It's going to take me from "surviving life" to living life again. It may even change my career path. I feel so much better than before. Iris asked if I thought this was a sustainable way to live. I said yes, as long as I can keep cooking. It also means I can't go back to my old schedule of working lots of overtime and attending too many meetings and events after work. It takes time to cook and take care of yourself. I can't go back to the old lifestyle.

I can't believe I haven't been starving or feeling deprived and I still lost weight. I have learned that I need to eat. I really have to eat or this doesn't work for me. If I wait too long in between meals and snacks, I get too hungry. And it even makes me cranky. I have to drink lots of water and I have to eat plenty of food. I love it! Eat more, not less! 

Spicy Chicken Tacos



Honey Glazed Salmon




































Favorite New Gluten Free Meals
-Still love the green smoothie - make it almost every day. 
-Turkey Burgers in a Bowl (Drew Parisi recipe) - Love it!
-Honey Glazed Salmon with Walnuts over Curried Lentils - Yum!
-I tried to make Coach Mia's recipe, Sweet Potato Wedges with Guacamole. Mia's photo looked so pretty. My wedges look more like...not wedges. But they taste great!
-Watermelon with Lemon Juice and Mint (thank you, Mia).
-Spicy turkey (or chicken) sausage sautéed with onions, garlic, white beans, zucchini, and spinach (Drew Parisi recipe).
-Roasted acorn squash with cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper and coconut oil. 
-Tilapia served over quinoa, sautéed onions, and spinach. I mix the veggies right into the quinoa.
-Spicy Chicken Tacos - Really good (especially if you don't mix up the paprika and cayenne pepper. Oops!)

July 4, 2013
Okay, just got out of the tub. Nice long soak. I looked in the mirror. I didn't try to avoid looking at myself. My brown eyes are sparkling. I feel good. I feel like a woman. I'm singing along to Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman" and I'm feeling it.

I bend down to put lotion on my feet. I look at my feet and ankles, and notice that the usual swelling is gone. I look at my right foot, which has a big bunion and (normally) lots of swelling around the big toe. Hey, wait a minute! I think the swelling around the toe and bunion is gone. At least it is way down. I feel the bunion several times, and rub. I actually think the bunion is slightly smaller. Can that be possible? I try to bend my big toe, which has been ramrod straight for quite a while. The big toe bends. It actually bends!! Is this from the gluten free diet? Holy crap! This is awesome. AWESOME!

Between the weight loss and the feet/ankles, I am seeing more changes and improvements with my new way of eating. I knew this Gluten Free Challenge would be good for me, but I didn't know it would be THIS GOOD.

July 17, 2013
A follow-up visit to the doctor's. I've lost 2 more pounds. That means I have lost 20 pounds in about 7 weeks. Also, my blood pressure dropped from 150/100 to 134/90 (both with medication). Another wowza!

I will definitely keep going with the Gluten Free Challenge. This is a great start, but I have to be in it for the long haul. One of the reasons it's working for me is that I don't feel like I am on a diet. I'm not going through deprivation. I'm just finding new foods to love. Let's go!

How do I feel now?
-Lost 20 pounds! Blood pressure reading dropped!
-Inflammation and swelling in feet/ankles is gone.
-No coughing anymore, no throwing up, stomach feels better.
-More energy.
-Better mood, better coping, more calmness.
-I see some "sexy" in the mirror. I feel my power again. 

When I cook and eat, the food tastes delicious to me. I haven't been craving the old foods very much, which is pretty unbelievable. Before, I used to eat at restaurants a lot. Now I'm enjoying cooking and trying new recipes. I don't "run as hard" as before. I focus on coming home, cooking, writing, and making my home. I'm gaining a desire to organize and get rid of clutter. A desire to decorate, finish unpacking, and make a home I can be proud of. Time to let people in. 

I have a new community, new friends, and new connections. A new support system of wonderful, honest, caring women (and now men too). I don't feel as alone and isolated. I am enjoying writing, and it's therapeutic too.

The secret for me is having NO GLUTEN IN THE HOUSE.

My Biggest Challenges
I have given up my coffee and hazelnut creamer. Drew wants me to have one cup in the morning with a meal, and that's it. She also said I should consider using a different non-dairy creamer. The hazelnut creamer I love and adore has too much sugar. I'm drinking less coffee, but not just one cup in the morning. It feels like comfort food to me, like a friend, like pleasure. Coffee and hazelnut. OMG so good. How can I give that up?

It's a close tie with my love for Nut Thins. I can eat a whole box for a meal. I love the crunchy texture. I love the taste. I feel like writing a love poem to Nut Thins. Well, to coffee with hazelnut creamer and Nut Thins. Please don't make me choose.

I'm still doing some emotional eating - but now with gluten free items. Especially late at night. This is a work in progress.

NOTE TO SELF: Do not make the full recipe of Iris' delicious Strawberry Shortcakes recipe. Don't make all 12 muffins or I will eat all 12. Iris offers a recipe for 3 muffin shortcakes and that is the way to go. Even the batter is delicious! I put the shortcakes into a bowl with the fresh berries, then poured coconut cream over it like a bowl of cereal. OMG that was decadent. It would have been perfect if only I had 1 or 2 shortcakes in the bowl instead of...well, more than 1 or 2.

I need to start a daily meditation practice. I can't just keep e-mailing Iris. (Fairy Angel Iris, whose support is helping me SO MUCH.) I know how. I just need to make the time. And do it. 

-Dorothy-

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Shannon Speaks: The Calming Place

Last week, Shannon spoke of the clutter in her office. Today, she talks about the clutter in her mind. I think we can all relate to that feeling, when your brain is all jam-packed with STUFF...mental stuff that we just need to CLEAR OUT. When that feeling comes up, it's good to have some practices in your toolbox, actions that you can take to help settle and detoxify your mind. Starting August 4th, I'll be holding a program to do exactly that. Plus more. Join me in my new program, the 28 Day Challenge: Breaking the Chrysalis. Actually, it's really an old program, my Anti-Diet 30 Day Challenge. It's just been revamped and upgraded to make it feel more...well...you know...right. Less cluttered, let's say. Simpler and more effective. But don't check it out yet. First, read Shannon's post (it's gut-wrenchingly honest), then check out my program to decide if you're ready to start breaking the chrysalis.
Love from,
Iris
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Along with my desperate need to declutter several rooms in my house, I need to do the same with my brain... So I decided to try yoga again. I had tried it many years ago and just couldn't stick with it. My marathon training coach suggested that I give it a shot. She said it would help with the distance walking and loosening up the muscles. I felt that the people in the class were watching me screw up the moves and that I wasn't good enough, so after maybe four to five classes, I quit.

This is sometimes a cyclical thing for me. I don't give myself the chance to really work at something, to be able to be adequate or excel. If I do it a few times and I don't think I'm good, then I quit. I have an office full of crafting supplies and unfinished or not even started projects to prove it! I tend to stick with what I know I am good at, which, in my mind, isn't very much. It has been a struggle to get into going to the gym. I want instant results in weight loss/toning. I don't want to wait for months for it to begin to look like something is happening. That was one of my biggest fears with going gluten free: that I wasn't going to be good at it and would quit. 


















But the stakes were higher with the lifestyle change. My body was so sick that I was starving babies to death. My body wasn't able to do what it was made to do. My lack of properly absorbed nutrients turned me into a murderer (for lack of a better word). I know, I know, that's a bit harsh. But I needed the reality to be up front and ever present for me to succeed. I needed to be gluten free, not just for myself but for my babies, those gone and those to come. I gave myself no other option than to be successful, no matter how much I wanted to quit sometimes.

It seems as if I have gone off on a tangent, but I promise I'm coming back around. I've gone back to yoga. I've gone to maybe four classes at this point. It's at the timeframe where normally if I weren't able to do advanced yoga headstands like a pro, I would have quit. But this time I won't. I'm seeing that, in only four classes, my stretches have gotten deeper, and I can go from cobra to down dog, rolling over the tops to the balls of my feet in one fluid motion! Is it possible that I may be *GASP* good at this?!?!? I don't feel as if the other people in the class are watching me work through some of the moves and judging me. I feel as if they're all there for their own intentions, for the quiet and calm, to center themselves.

I have yet to experience anything in the class thus far that frustrates me. If it's a difficult move, I try it. If I can't do it, I modify it and try my best. I'm not the best at it, and I've come to grips with that. The 75 minutes that I'm in the studio, lights dimmed, candles lit and music playing, is super calming. Even the instructor talking through the moves is soothing. I really enjoy focusing on our intention for the day, breathing away my stress and meditating at the end.

My sincerest wish during meditation is that I'll be able to "see" my son during that time. I'm not very religious, but I feel very connected to the spiritual aspect of it. I notice that I'm less angry than I usually tend to get over stupid things (we'll see how that transitions into the school year though), that I sit up straighter, and that my back doesn't hurt as bad when I sit tall. Maybe yoga didn't work for me in my mid-20s because I was in a very different place than I am now. I am very thankful that it is working for me now though. I'm making it a part of my healing process and trying to soothe the emotional scars that the last year and a half have left upon me. And what girl doesn't enjoy a little "me" time a few nights a week?

What I need to do now is find some good poses to do in the morning for a few minutes when I wake up to get the blood flowing, and at night to settle and calm me before bed. Any suggestions, my fellow yoga-goers?

What I am about to do, right now, is go upstairs and make that cluttered office my bitch! And when I'm done, she will be pretty and will want to be used frequently.  

-Shannon-
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Now check out my new program, the 28 Day Challenge: Breaking the Chrysalis. It's all about being you. The real you that exists when you let your walls down. The you that wants to break out and begin to fly. Register now, or even better, find a friend to join you and have Chrysalis Breaking Parties.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Marie's Musings: When Life Intervenes

As the "host" of the Gluten Free Health Challenge, it can be hard for me sometimes to sit on the sidelines and allow the challengers' lives to unfold without jumping in and telling them what to do. But that's not my role. As their Mind*Body*Spirit Coach, I have the opportunity to do workshops and hypnotherapy with them. But I try my best - and mostly succeed - not to tell them what to do. We each have a spark of divine wisdom within us, and I trust each challenger to follow her own spark. Sometimes I want to cheer these women on. Sometimes I want to hug them. Sometimes I want to strangle them. Always, I am excited to read what they share with us.

With Marie, who I will admit is a friend I've known for about 4 years now, I generally want to strangle her, hug her, and cheer for her. All at once. Today is no different. Mostly I want her to know how wonderful she is and just how much happiness she deserves to have in this lifetime. If you read this post today, perhaps you can take a moment to send some loving kindness her way? 
Love from,
-Iris-
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Hello, world! Alright, this is going to be a somewhat short confession blog. I have failed. This week has not been gluten free. The stresses of life have overwhelmed me and I fully admit I have fallen off the wagon.

Scratch that. “Falling off the wagon” is not even something I can remotely relate to. If  the gluten free wagon is a horse drawn buggy strolling down a side road, I’ve been going 100 miles per hour down the freeway in a sports car headed in the opposite direction. That’s how much I’ve messed up.

Long story short, my grandmother passed away a few days ago. I’ve been drowning my sorrows. In beer. Golden, glorious beer. Is this healthy? Nope. Have I done it anyway? Heck yeah I have. I cannot say I am proud, nor am I ashamed. This is just like a journal to me to share my thoughts and tell you what I’ve done, but my thoughts have been all scattered this week.

My eating has actually been okay. No real struggles there, which I suppose is... some type of progress? I’ve had no desire to binge. Food doesn’t seem that interesting. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what I’ve eaten this past week, as it’s really been a blur. My solids, at least, have been gluten free. My (solids) diet for the past few days has included a lot of sour candy and Frosted Flakes by the handfuls. Okay, I’m not saying it’s been a healthy week. I guess those are some comfort foods for me. My grandmother used to always make me cream cheese and jelly sandwiches when I was a kid, which would be an ideal comfort food at this time, but being vegan that doesn’t much appeal to me now. I’ve found comfort elsewhere.

Since starting this challenge I’d gone for whiskey when I’ve wanted an adult beverage. However, when I got the call on Saturday that my grandmother was on a ventilator and a few hours later I would get to tell her my last goodbye I felt I needed some liquid... I don’t want to say courage. But maybe, liquid relief? The thing is, whiskey makes me sleepy (which is why I drink it in the first place). I didn’t want to be sleepy when I told her my final words, but I didn’t want to be myself, either. It all felt surreal and I wanted to feel surreal, too. Natty Light it was. Enough to take the edge off, but not enough to help me forget. I’ve been drinking ever since. This is day five. 

Since Saturday I have transgressed with Natty Light (a lot) and Steel Reserve, a malt liquor which tastes like awful but does the job. Both contain gluten. 

I don’t feel like getting too personal now so I will just tell you how it’s made me feel.

Mentally, I feel divine. I’m sober enough to be there for and comfort my dad, but buzzed enough that the sting of loss doesn’t hurt so bad. I feel alert, even happy at times. When I hear a story about what a badass my grandma was I’m able to laugh. Even be happy for a little while. I found myself laughing and singing in the shower yesterday. It was almost joyous, even. So that part is nice.

Physically, I am sore and bloated. Sore because I’ve still been exercising and recently (like, as of this week) started incorporating strength training along with cardio. I really think I am sore because I’m working muscles I’m not used to using, but it could be the beer that’s making my muscles protest. The bloating is no doubt from the beer. If it’s the gluten or carbonation or anything else I truly don’t know. My body just feels puffy and gross. I feel fat and my fingers are swollen which is definitely a sign of water retention but I don’t care. My digestive system is still working normally, which is a massive relief, because at least now I know that it was the dairy that caused me to be sick for so many months and not the gluten. 

I guess that’s all I want to say for now. I’m sorry this is a bummer blog, honest. I want to give myself a few more days to wallow and then I fully intend on getting back on track. The beer is something I feel helps me kind of totter towards being mentally okay. I’m working on my third can of the day right now. See? I’m functional. I just don’t want to feel like myself at the moment. I don’t want to feel like the person who hasn’t seen her grandmother in three years, who hasn’t talked to her for two because I was too caught up with family drama. I just want to not think right now. I am so sorry I messed up but to be bluntly honest, I still love myself and I forgive myself for it.

As much of a setback as I’ve had this week, I think that last sentence speaks volumes as to who I have become and how I feel as a person. If you are going through something tough I want you to be okay, too. I want you to know that whatever challenges you are facing, I love you and I am here for you. I may not know you personally but I want you to know that I am cheering for you and I hope you’re having a good week. We all go through rough times. It’s okay. If you are struggling, that’s okay too. I won’t think any less of you and I will continue being your cheerleader, as I know you have been mine.

Until next time, be kind to yourself.

-Marie-

Thursday, July 18, 2013

From Rose's Garden: Namaste'


Rose will be posting her journal entries on the first 3 Thursdays of every month from now until December. During this time, she'll be receiving free health coaching from Shirley Plant of Delicious Alternatives and Iris Higgins of Your Fairy Angel.  

Learn more about the challenge.  
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(Today, I am sharing pictures of stuff in my cubicle. It's the stuff that I like to look at every day. It just kind of evolved. I never really gave it much thought or had a theme. One of my coworkers referred to my cubicle as the Zen Spot. And after thinking about it, I believe she nailed it. It's my way of creating a peaceful spot in an often stressful, yet mundane world.)

























Namaste' (as defined by Mahatma Gandhi) - In India, when people meet and part, they often say, "Namaste,'" which means, "I honor the place within you; of love, of truth, of peace. I honor the place within you, where when you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us."


Such power in this simple word...isn't there? Power and peace and light and truth. I have taken up yoga recently, after many years of non-practice. I got started back up because a new studio opened up and it is five minutes from my home. I have only made it to one group class, but this class sparked the purchase of some yoga DVDs, and I have been practicing at home a couple nights a week. I am very thankful to welcome yoga back into my life. It has arrived at precisely the perfect moment in time.

























This is a time of great change for me. I can literally feel the changes that lie ahead. Yoga allows me the freedom to experience so much in just an hour of meditation and poses. I remember being afraid to take yoga classes in group situations. Not because I was worried about looking silly or my form or anything like that, but because, to me, it is a very personal time and I felt so vulnerable that practicing alone just felt more natural.

























So here I am, trying to find my "place" at work, at home, in life, while maintaining - actually, while rediscovering - the person I am deep down. Peeling away layer upon layer. All these layers that I have allowed to be piled upon me. This is not an easy task in a world that applauds and encourages conformity. I seek balance in my life at this time. I seek peace and love and truth. I want to bathe in light and feel the calm and move even further into better health...physical and emotional wellbeing.

























Much that concerns the quality of our lives is "up there," in our minds. How we perceive our situation and our life makes a huge difference in our wellbeing. Yoga just makes everything okay at that moment in time. Stress has such an effect on my health. It affects the way I process thoughts, how I interact with those around me, my job, my relationships...everything, really. I desire to manage my stress and to learn to let go of a lot of "stuff."

























I read a typed affirmation to myself every day, and I have it hanging in a discreet place in my cubicle at work. It's one of Louise Hayes' affirmations and I have stuck with it because I still need to receive it and accept it fully. I can feel my body and mind listening to the words and doing the work. I can feel my body breaking up a lot of the baggage and blockages that I carry around in my body and within my heart. Yoga is my place of solitude and peace. I take all of my problems and joys to the mat and I breathe through them. I imagine each and every cell in my body dancing and releasing all the toxins. I envision that I am getting over the remains of disappointments from the past and releasing my need to control something in my present.

























I have read that we hold all of our experiences on a cellular level somehow. There is no pill that I can take that could ever possibly heal me in the way that yoga does. I see my practice as a miraculous source of healing and restoration.

Namaste'
-Rose- 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Rebecca's Balancing Act: The Challenge is Working

Rebecca shares her birthday this week with fellow challenger, Marisa! Wish them both a happy gluten free birthday by leaving a comment here and on yesterday's post from Marisa.
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Grilled veggies, with strawberries and figs with balsamic - Yum!





















Ugh! Why is there wheat in soy sauce? Can someone please answer that for me?

Of course I knew there was wheat in most soy sauce, and I avoid it, but I missed that there is soy sauce in one of my favorite pre-made Trader Joe's freezer rice blends. Maybe I'll try making that recipe for myself and freezing it, using real soy sauce...made from soy (crazy). Of course, that would entail cooking so it's not super likely to happen.

A few slip ups this week, aside from the hidden wheat. Had one spinach wheel at an open house but otherwise stuck to fruits and veggies. Had a bite of fiancé's buttery cheesy noodles. OMG was that good. Then had about a serving of regular noodles (didn't need that). Also had a bite of a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie at the place where we were getting our wedding rings. Fresh-baked. That's just mean. Don't they know brides are coming in there? Or maybe that is the point. ;) None of these things is the end of the world but they add up and I will see the results in my health if I let in those little slips. Helps to be part of this challenge as it makes me more aware of my habits and choices.

On the other hand, most of my eating has been per plan, my favorite night being the night we grilled up most of the veggies in the fridge and added strawberry and fig kebabs with balsamic - oh yum! And I drizzled truffle oil over the corn - wow! We are slowly getting better at cooking but in reality there is a lot of work left to do there. The only way to be successful at that would be to spend part of Sundays planning for the week, but until I am not working until 8 and 9 at night, it's just not going to happen as regularly as I wish.

All in all, though, it's hard for me to know what to write this week because, in reality, the challenge is working. I am eating healthier foods, sleeping more, walking... My next big challenge is to work fewer hours so that I have time to rest too. Is everything perfect? No. But on the 13th, I turned 36 and I am pretty darn happy with where I am in my life at this time. I'll just wallow in that good feeling for now.





















Boutonnieres for the wedding made with old watch faces (get me to the church on time...get it?)

Wedding Countdown:
-66 days as of writing this post.
-Next Wedding Girls' Night: Making place name cards, sewing pennants, writing fortunes, making coffee sleeves, and trying out cakes. :)
-Diet Freakout: OMG PROGRESS - Down 2, now only 5 pounds heavier than when I bought the dress.

THIS WEEK'S KEY TO SUCCESS: Walking almost every night with my fiancé, from 4-7 miles!! Yea!

THIS WEEK'S PERSONAL CHALLENGE: Continuing with the daily 20 minute walk, and at least 2 glasses of H20 (small goals are more achievable).

-Rebecca-

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Marisa's Menu: Birthday Gratitude

This week, we're celebrating the birthdays of two of our challengers (they actually share the same birthday), Marisa and Rebecca. You can leave them comments here and on Rebecca's post tomorrow to send them gluten free birthday love.
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With my gregarious Yellow Naped Amazon Parrot, Merlin, who is in her mid-30s and is hilarious. 

It is 2013. July of 2013. This means another birthday for me. I feel very fortunate that I am not one of those people (my gender seems to be notorious for it) who dreads each birthday and fears the number. I have never felt old, hid my age, or gone through any major emotional upset around my birthday the way quite a few people I know seem to do. I also don't have a ticking clock with deadlines for a list of expectations that I have placed on myself within a certain time frame either. For that, I am even more grateful. I would like for all of the loved ones in my life to let go of those unrealistic and restrictive expectations and goals (as they call them - they don't seem like healthy goals to me). Year after year, those goals make them feel like failures and lead them into a state of depression. I don't know how I got so lucky to be sans this pressure that others seem to put on themselves. But this year while thinking about my birthday, I realized how incredibly lucky I am. The only thing I even seem to be dreading is the reality that we will likely be spending my actual birthday in Kansas City versus taking a trip to a more Marisa friendly city (i.e. a place where I can have dinner at a restaurant with a dedicated gluten free kitchen that also uses non-dairy milk and gives me the peace of mind to order "like a normal person" would at a restaurant).

Today, I am feeling the need to show some gratitude and share it with those of you following the Gluten Free Health Challenge. I hope that this can be a common birthday ritual for all of us. I want that for everyone. So think about that once your birthday rolls around. Just something as simple as reflecting on any possible thing you can be grateful for. Just knowing that you are living your life, embracing this new age, and starting fresh is great in and of itself. I am grateful today for all of the online resources I have to help me navigate my way through ingredient substitutions and satisfying cravings for my allergenic desserts.  


Birthday treats from Cafe Gratitude last year





























I recall a birthday a few years ago where I had not yet taken so many things out of my diet. I believe I had eliminated only dairy and soy. It had been months since I had even accidentally had any dairy. But I was determined to have it on my birthday. I felt so deprived at that point, as if I had been punished. I felt I truly deserved to have exactly what I wanted. So I visited a new local place, owned by a sweet couple who made the best malts ever. I was able to order a custom shake of peanut butter chocolate with some type of spike to it (maybe chocolate vodka?). It was amazing. I still remember the pleasure I got from that food experience. I also remember developing a respiratory ailment soon after and feeling like I had bugs crawling in my ears for a week. I don't even recognize that person today because I have learned so much about my body and its quirky reactions to things. Not to mention, I've learned from the tons of amazing recipes and non-dairy options that I have been privy to, thanks to people online (like Iris, via this blog).

My initial list of gratitude that comes to mind right now includes:

  • My patient and supportive saint of a partner, who has lived through this challenging journey with me from the beginning. 
  • My friends and family who have accepted me for who I am and what I am becoming. These folks are true gems. They appreciate my authenticity and even find the beauty in my quirks. 
  • My second home and family of choice, Hagoyah, the place where I find peace, acceptance, life changing yoga, and amazing hair styling services. I am so incredibly grateful that this business opened in my neighborhood and is run by the most incredible advocates for wellness that I have ever encountered in Kansas City. 
  • My four adorable, somewhat insane, and never boring pet parrots.  
  • The opportunity to be a part of the Gluten Free Health Challenge and work with my health coach, Eryn McEntee, and my Fairy Angel, a.k.a. Iris. Not to mention all of the supportive people in this wonderful community who are helping me gain knowledge, strength, and support every day. 
  • Business owners who give true consideration to their customers' feedback. I have recently been awed by some of the responses and actions certain places have taken just with my own personal feedback. I have the utmost respect for those people and hope that the trend of understanding dietary restrictions grows. If I focus on the few businesses and people that DO make an effort, I don't get as frustrated with the fact that so many others fall short. It's hard sometimes to get back to that way of thinking, especially when the bad outweighs the good. But those folks who are truly supporting the cause and being respectful should be acknowledged. I hope to do more of that on my personal blog in the coming year.  
So what am I doing for my birthday since we are not going out of town (as I had hoped)? I know one thing: I am not adhering to any schedule. I don't like to commit to things, and I most certainly do not need to be accommodating others on MY birthday. So the plan will likely include a nice dinner at one of my safe places (still making sure to contact the restaurant ahead of time). I am also considering meeting a lovely lady out to celebrate her birthday at a local speakeasy in the arts district. She is someone I respect and adore. And I feel that celebrating her birthday on my birthday may be exactly what I need since I do not like hoopla or anything grandiose when it is related to me.

So, Happy Birthday to me, without any expectations. My intention for this 42nd year of my life is to cultivate a regular practice of gratitude. That is all I really want right now...that and a gluten/dairy free cake, pie, or cheesecake.

-Marisa-  

Monday, July 15, 2013

Amy's Bandwagon: Bread, Family Traditions, and Giving up the Gluten

Amy's journey on the Gluten Free Health Challenge continues the first 3 Mondays of every month through November. Today she's talking about food, emotions, and why giving up bread is about more than just carbs. I'll be running my own program on releasing emotional eating later this summer, so be sure to sign up for my newsletter if you want to hear about it first. It will be an intensive program with lots of individual attention, so I will only be enrolling a small group of women, first come first serve.
-Iris-

You can learn more about Amy's health coach, Mia Davis, on her website, Blissful Chicks Wellness and in her interview here on the The Daily Dietribe.
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One of the things that this challenge has made me think about is my relationship with food and why I eat the way I do. I have never thought that my emotions, feelings, or memories had anything to do with food intake, but I am starting to rethink this. My health coach, Mia, mentioned that my relationship with bread may have something to do with how important bread was when I was growing up. Bread was such a large part of my life that my grandmother's best friend used to bring it over every weekend (fresh baked that morning) and we would even put a candle in it for my birthday. I would clean my plate every Sunday when we had pasta and "gravy." I would clean up the gravy with bread to the point where there was literally nothing left on my plate. My life has taken a huge turn since those childhood days. My father has passed away. My mother remarried and moved to Florida, although she is now back closer to me in Massachusetts. My grandmother passed away; her house is where we used to have dinner every Sunday. My grandmother's best friend passed away. While all these things are expected in life, maybe bread conjures up memories of those days long gone.

I also have this issue with being perfect. I tend not to complete or even attempt anything where I may fail. I think this is why I have never actually done well with going gluten free in the past. Again, Mia mentioned something about my perfectionism and how I spoke about not being perfect and being okay with it. I'm not happy when I eat gluten and give into a craving, but I am now able to realize that all I have to do is start eating gluten free again and all is good. I don't need to give up and think about being a failure. What I need to understand now is what triggers those cravings. Is there something else that doesn't make me feel miserable that will satisfy my cravings? Am I craving something I shouldn't eat because of emotional reasons, because I need a certain nutrient, or because I'm bored? Maybe I just need to give in and let myself have a little so that I don't end up gorging on a food that makes me miserable.

This week has been a little stressful for me. I have worked every day. From Sunday though Thursday last week, and this week I worked a half day, then rushed to pick up my kids so my husband could go to a class about an hour away. I had to get up, get myself ready, get the kids ready, get snacks ready, and get out of the house on time. It's not hard. It's just not what I'm used to. It hasn't been the best week, but it hasn't been the worst. Not by a long shot. I have had a green smoothie every day and I haven't had caffeine in a week. Breakfast used to be my most miserable time of day because most of the breakfast foods I loved and craved were gluten filled. Starting off my day wrong often meant that the rest of the day continued in the same manner. Now, the green smoothie helps keep me on track and I actually enjoy it! I am so happy that I have stopped caffeine. I was getting a crazy amount of headaches, usually caffeine withdrawal, which would then just start the cycle over. I decided to take it slow and give up coffee over a few days instead of cold turkey. Now that I have stopped, I have no plans to start up caffeinated coffee again.

I have been thinking about all the foods that showed up on my blood test as potential sensitivities. It is somewhat stressful to think about giving up all these foods. Sometimes I think I should just eliminate all the foods and see how much better I feel, especially since I have proven to myself that I do feel better when I don't eat gluten. Then I think, maybe it will be too stressful to give them all up at once. I think maybe if I can remind myself how much better I feel without gluten, it will be easier. Mia talked with me about doing a food journal and I think that maybe I should. Maybe that will help me with food triggers. Maybe then I can figure out my relationship with food. I am so happy and appreciative to Mia and Iris for letting me be a part of this and helping me learn all of these things about myself.

-Amy-  

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Dorothy's Diary: The Date with Mr. Dynamic, Part 2 (In Which All Goes Haywire)

As part of The Gluten Free Health Challenge, Dorothy will be sharing her journal entries with you the first 3 Sundays of every month from now until December. She'll be receiving free health coaching from Drew Parisi of Parisi Nutrition and Iris Higgins of Your Fairy Angel during this period. To learn how to join us from home, click here.
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The last time we talked about Mr. Dynamic, we had just had a glorious encounter. What happened next?

Put on your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy ride.

Afterward, we were eating dinner, just chit chatting away. In previous conversations, Mr. Dynamic wanted to know what I liked about him. I told him, and so I thought it would be fine to ask the question in return. I casually asked him (had sort of asked a couple of times before but never really got a straight answer). He continued to evade the question.

Me: I don't understand why you aren't actually answering. 

Mr. D: We've already had this discussion 4-5 times. 

I decide to stay quiet at this point. Now I am silently thinking about the last time I asked him what he liked about me. He said it was how I looked at him like he was meat on a platter and something to the effect that I was looking at him and made it happen. Huh? Didn't he drive to my hangar the next day?

Now I am silently remembering another conversation where he said I picked him. And then I remember how many times he asks me what I want, but it's never about what he wants. Okay, I am starting to connect the dots but it's not completely clear yet. Then it hits me hard...he doesn't really like me and he's not that into me.

Now my feelings are hurt. I start getting really quiet, a bit withdrawn. The Disney music has definitely stopped. I remember telling him last night all the reasons I like him and he kept asking me to tell him more. I said it all very casually. I mean, I like him, but I don't LIKE HIM like him. You know, it's only date #2. I have no expectations yet. Right?  

Mr. D: What's wrong? 

Me: Nothing. I think I'll go lie down and have a nap.  

I can close my eyes, just pretend, try to talk myself out of this mood while he is here. I slide into my bed and close my eyes. He tries to hug me and talk to me. Meanwhile, I'm telling myself: Dorothy, come on, don't cry. Pull it together. This is ridiculous. What is going on? Why are my feelings hurt? I'm confused. I'm turned on. I don't understand what is happening to me. I DO NOT WANT TO CRY IN FRONT OF MR. D.

Mr. D: Hey, what's happening over there? I don't understand. Come on, talk to me. 

Me: I'm just shutting down a little, you know, to protect myself. 

Mr. D.: Huh? I don't get it. Tell me what's happening. 

Me: My emotions and my passion are completely connected. I had to open my emotions to open myself to receive passion. And it just made me cry a little. And now I'm shutting down a bit. It's self protection.

He looks at me with a blank stare.

Me: Do you ever get your feelings hurt? 

Mr. D: Yes, I do. 

Me: What do you do when that happens?

Mr. D: I go drink another beer.

Why am I actually shutting down? DON'T CRY. Oh man, do I actually like him? How can I like him already? I cannot LIKE HIM like him. DO NOT CRY. Okay, Dorothy, time to pull back. It's just great sex. I don't really like him that much. It's fine. Don't cry.

Mr. D: You know, I think you like me. (Said with a little chuckle). 

I start crying immediately. Quick as lightning, I jump out of bed. Without a conscious thought, I silently point to the front door. Then I point again for good measure. My heart is pounding. I'm not thinking clearly. It's fight or flight reaction. Then I run out of the room.

After that was an awkward few moments, ending with him leaving and me crying as the door closed behind him. Honestly, I do not know what just happened. All I feel is total confusion and no self-understanding. 

Later that day, Mr. Dynamic called and left me a voicemail, with a short, "Call me."

I called him back.

Me: Hi. 

Mr. D: What's up?

Me: You called me. 

Mr. D: Yeah, so what's up? 

I don't remember exactly what I said. Something about being overwhelmed by feelings of passion and other feelings, and not wanting to cry in front of him, not understanding my emotions. I think he asked if I was mad at him...or maybe I just told him I wasn't.

Mr. D: You're not mad at me?

Me: No, I'm not mad at you. 

The phone call got disconnected just as I was trying to explain further. The reception in my apartment sucks! I tried calling Mr. Dynamic back a few more times but there was no answer. I didn't leave a message. 

Can I please hit the rewind button? Can someone tell me what just happened? Iris!! Help!

The next day:
I talked to my girlfriend, who gave me some good ideas. She asked what I want, and I realized I could go either way. I've already got some emotional distance. I could walk away and be fine. Or I could talk to him. I would like things to at least end in a friendly place. My girlfriend thought if I had any confusion over it, I should try to go back and have another conversation with him.

I went to the grocery store after work. Since it wasn't June 1st yet (the start of the GF Challenge), I was ready to buy anything I wanted. I picked up a package of apple fritters (which I love), looked at it, put it down, picked it up again, then decided no, I didn't want to eat 4 apple fritters. Put them down and walked away. Then I got a small mini apple strudel pie instead, which was the size of one apple fritter. Then I bought a fresh apple for good measure. Ha! Honestly, I ended up getting pretty healthy things. Not bad, Dorothy. I salute you!

Later, rather than calling, I texted Mr. Dynamic:

I'm very sorry. Seriously. You mad?
Want to run over me with your mule vehicle? And then back up and do it again?
Shoot, brought my purse to work and my black underwear is still in there.

No response. Okay, he must be much more angry or hurt than I realized. Sigh. Okay, well that's it. I still love that I got to have great sex and that I had the absolutely liberating experience of being naked and not worrying about it at all. AT ALL. That's what I have to remember. Ironically, now I'm calm. I'm not crying. But I'm a little disappointed. I can admit that much.  

I'm actually thinking about my reaction. I mean, really, why did I have such an extreme reaction? Why did I go into fight or flight mode? I'm trying to be really honest with myself here. I don't think I had any expectations. I knew it was just sex. I liked him but I was still proceeding with caution because I didn't know him. Yes, I was on a sex high. Yes, my emotions were wide open. Was the shock of realizing it was one-sided that big of a shock to my system? It seems odd. I don't know. I've been through so much in the last five years that I have no idea what's happened to me. I mean, who am I really? I feel completely calm right now and so when I re-read my words throughout the experience, it seems like such a crazy, extreme reaction. I literally couldn't think, process or articulate what was happening to me. I need to think about this, explore it further so that it doesn't happen again on a future date.

Hey, you know what I just realized? I had four bites of apple pie last night. I did not eat the entire pie! I did not pig out. That is a good thing.

Okay, leaving for work now.

After work:
Got a text from Mr. Dynamic saying he needed to "re-look at this." I didn't respond. I need time and distance. He does too. I didn't have any kind of emotional reaction to the message. (Or am I lying to myself? Yes, probably.)

Another text from Mr. Dynamic later that night:

Mr. D: I don't know if I will see you. I felt very disrespected when I left. 

Me: I understand. Didn't mean to make you feel that way. I wish the best for you. Take care. 

Don't think, Dorothy, don't think about it. Walk to the fridge and get the mini apple pie. I'm taking a few bites now. Now I'm eating gluten free crackers. I think this is going to be my dinner: apple pie and gluten free crackers.

The next day:
Still thinking about the big reaction on my date. I had such a life-or-death feeling that Mr. Dynamic cannot see me cry. He cannot see that he has any power to hurt me. Oh! That was totally me and dad. Dad used to say, "Don't cry or I'll give you a reason to cry," and he would whip out his belt. And try to beat me down. Mainly I felt that I wanted to show my dad that he would never be the boss of me or have control over me, no matter what he did to me. I WOULD NOT BE BEAT. It was a power struggle. I felt I was better than him too. Now I'm horrified when I recognize signs that I am like my dad. My dad who also had high blood pressure and health problems.

I know logically that it's good to cry and have feelings. Often though, my reaction is to get really mad at myself for "crying again." I hold it in, push down the emotions. And then I still cry. I cry when I'm mad, when I'm sad, when I'm happy, pretty much whenever I experience strong emotions.

A confession about Mr. Dynamic: After the dramatic kick out scene, that evening I stared at my bed. I could see Mr. Dynamic lying there on the left side of the bed. I moved my pillows to the foot of the bed so I was sleeping upside down. And I've been sleeping upside down since that day. For a week now. Reminds me of another break up ten years ago. I dated a guy for a year before I broke it off. I was in love, but he wasn't (or couldn't express it). This is a theme in my past relationships. He had been coming to my house every weekend, spending two nights in my bed, for an entire year. After we broke up, I couldn't sleep in my bed for six months. I would go to my couch and sleep there. Not sure what that means exactly but I see it means something.

A week later: 
I had an e-mail exchange with Iris about what's been happening with Mr. Dynamic. I asked for her thoughts. She asked if I had let go of him. I kept thinking about that. Have I let go? It had been almost two weeks since I'd seen him. He sure was in my mind more than I expected at this point. He'd made a significant impact on my life in those short two dates. No, I had not let go. I decided to be brave and reach out. Just to see. I had no clue how he felt or if he would even respond. I texted Mr. Dynamic:

I am putting myself out there not knowing how you will react. You are still in my head...more than I thought. Have you moved on? All done? It's okay if you are. I won't be upset. But I had to reach out because being silent gets you nowhere. 

No response.

Later, I was on my way home from visiting a friend when I heard my cell ringing. I ignored it, then looked at the missed call. Holy fuck, it was Mr. Dynamic calling! I called him back.

Me: Hello? It's Dorothy. Hello? (Silence)

Mr. D: So? What do you want to say? 

Wow. Okay, so this is going to be hard. I can't remember the exact conversation but it went something like this.

Mr. D: I felt completely disrespected when I left. I've been in million dollar homes and I've never been treated so badly. I can't believe you never even called to apologize. You just sent me a couple of jokey texts. No respect for me at all. AT ALL. (Lots of anger. I can literally feel it going into my body.) 

Me: When you texted me that you were rethinking things and then that you didn't want to see me anymore, I was trying to respect your wishes. I thought you didn't want to hear from me. I texted you how sorry I was. 

Mr. D: Texting, texting! No, you have the decency to pick up the phone and apologize.

Me: I truly am sorry for how I made you feel.

Mr. D: No, it's not about how you made me feel. It's about what you did to me. 

I'm just listening now. I let him pour it out, what the experience was like for him. Then I told him that I was freaking out on the inside, that I was in fight or flight mode, that it felt like life or death for me to get him out of my house. 

Mr. D: Why did you feel like that? What happened to you?

Me: Something you said during lunch confused me. I started going within, thinking about every conversation we ever had. And all of a sudden I had a realization that maybe this was one-sided, that you weren't so into me. I lost my confidence. I told myself I had to step back immediately. I felt very confused. I didn't know what I was thinking but it felt like hurt feelings. I knew it was an over-reaction but I couldn't figure it out. I just knew I could not cry in front of you, but I was about to cry and I didn't know what to do. And then I heard my dad's voice say, "Don't you cry or I'll give you a reason to cry."   

Mr. D: So how was your relationship with your father?

Me: Not good.

Mr. D: Was there abuse?

Me: Yes, physical abuse but not sexual abuse.

Mr. D: Did I ask about sexual abuse?

Me: Well you said abuse. That means all sorts of things.

Mr. D: Abuse is abuse. Do you think you are ready to be in a relationship right now?

Silence.

Mr. D: Do you think you are ready to be in a relationship right now?

More silence. I can't talk without revealing I'm silently crying.

Mr. D: So have you been to a counselor about your father?

Long silence.

Me: I don't think I want to talk about that.

Mr. D: I see. Look, you're a nice girl but you clearly have unresolved issues.

He said something then about me not being ready to date, asking how I can handle a relationship with those unresolved issues. He mentioned both dates being dramatic and emotional. 

Me: What do you mean, both dates? You thought the first date had issues?

Mr. D: Yeah. I want someone who can enjoy herself, have fun, be open.

More silence.

Mr. D: So why did you text?

Me: You were still in my head a lot. I wanted to be able to apologize. I wondered if you were thinking of me at all. Or how you were feeling at this point. I knew it was taking a chance. That you might not respond? 

Mr. D: That I might say, "Fuck you"?

Me: Yeah, that you might say, fuck you. I put myself in your place. How would I have reacted? I probably would have run for the hills. But I decided to reach out. I knew doing nothing would resolve nothing. I just decided to take a chance. 

Mr. D: Look, you're a nice girl. I thought we could have fun. Spend some time together. I do want to fuck the hell out of you. That would be nice. I wanted to see where things could go. See what could happen.

That's the first time I ever heard that...a small glimmer.  

Me: I wish I could hit the rewind button but I can't.

Mr. D: If you could, what would you do different?

Me: I don't know. Maybe I would just cry in front of you. Would that have worked better for you?

Mr. D: No. No crying. Just an adult conversation.

Me: Well, that was definitely not an option for me. I was in panic mode. Look, I told you before, I am an emotional girl, very sensitive. That's how I'm wired. I cry when I'm happy, sad, mad, any time I feel strong emotions. That's who I am.  

Mr. Dynamic said something then about how I only apologized because he brought it up. That I could have called and explained what happened and then apologized for kicking him out like that. I could have treated him like a human being.

Me: No, that is NOT TRUE. You know that's not true. You know I meant it when I said sorry. I meant it with my whole heart.

Mr. D: Maybe some time we can grab coffee together. Have a talk.

Me: Okay.

Mr. D: Okay, good night.

Me: Take care. 

I probably left some things out, but you get the gist of it. I'm confused by the coffee remark. Does he mean have a friendly coffee sometime in the future but it's over? Or does he mean he wants to have coffee to talk? I don't know what that means. There is probably a crack in the door. It's not shut all the way. He definitely wanted me to feel his wrath. He wanted to punish me, make me feel guilty, make me feel his pain. He also listened to me. At least I think he had a little more understanding. The tears had been rolling for me throughout the phone conversation but I think I hid it from Mr. Dynamic over the phone. Or maybe I didn't. I was listening a lot. I was quiet a lot. I learned a lot about him from this phone call. Boy, was it hard. I feel really sad now. Partly about him, partly about myself. I feel tired and drained. But I'm still glad we had the phone call. I needed to say sorry. He needed to hear it. He needed to be heard. I understand that feeling completely. Maybe we both got a little more understanding. I needed to have this phone call, no matter how it went.

Honestly, I think I'm too much work for him.      

-Dorothy-

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