Winter Warm-up Soup

It is cold up here in the Pacific Northwest! At the beginning of the month, we had some  days where the world was softened with white, sounds muted by the quiet snow. Now it finally feels as if  the heart of winter has passed, and that Spring is just around the corner. But it isn’t here yet, and I look out my window at another grey, wet day.

I haven’t written here for a couple of months. January was full of activity, with both my daughter and my birthday’s, along with all the regular busyness of raising kids.

Then, during  the snow days, both my husband and son got the flu. It hit my little six-year old and held him down for days. It was hard to take care of him at the same time that I felt his suffering, almost as my own. Thankfully that is behind us, and health has been restored!

How do we warm ourselves up and keep our internal fire burning strong through this cold season? As usual, my remedy is born in the kitchen. I had this soup in the crock pot during our snowy days and it truly fortified me for all that I had to take care of. My family LOVES it when I make this, and I know it fortifies them, too.

Rosemary smells amazing. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, and helps keep our memory healthy. Living with Hashimoto’s, a memory boost is much appreciated 🙂  Garlic is a wonder plant. It has anti-bacterial properties that give our GI tract a tune-up. Garlic backs up the ‘good guys’ within our micrbiome – the little world going on within our bodies. Pepper is a powerhouse this time of year. Black pepper helps dry out any excess phlegm in the system. It also gives our internal fire extra pep – something we all need this time of year in the Northern hemisphere.

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ON CUTTING VEGETABLES

I invite you to make this soup. Cutting vegetables is a truly soothing activity, so even if you feel too tired, or too busy to try making this, consider taking a Sunday afternoon, or any time you have free, and doing it anyway. Put on your favorite music, use it as a time to BREATHE deeply and evenly. It always amazes me how centered I feel while I’m cutting vegetables. Maybe having our hands on earth’s bounty somehow makes us feel more connected to the natural environment. Whatever the reason, making this soup feels like a healing activity for me. And it is YUMMY.

RECIPE for WINTER WARM-UP SOUP

First we create the broth. I have talked about the numerous benefits of bone broth in other posts. It will strengthen you from the inside out!

Broth

1. Buy quality grass-fed beef bones. Neck bones are fabulous, and it’s good if they have some meat still on.

2. Roast a few bones in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes, to bring out a yummy flavor.

3. Place bones in large stock pot and cover with 4 quarts of filtered water. You can easily double the amount by adding more bones and more water.

4. Add a couple tablespoons apple cider vinegar.

5. Let it sit without heat for twenty minutes. The vinegar will begin to pull minerals from the bones.

6. Add sea salt and ground black pepper. Bring to a boil for a couple of minutes.

7. Turn the heat to low, cover and let it simmer for 24 to 30 hours.

Soup Recipe

Slice three organic sweet onions and add them to a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil over a medium-low heat. Add five cloves of garlic, and lots of fresh rosemary leaves. Sprinkle pepper over the mix. Stir often and let the onions lightly glaze.

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Cut up your veggies. I use lots of zucchini, some red potatoes, sweet potatoes or yams, purple potatoes and carrots. Put these veggies into your crock pot. Scoop the top layer of fat off your broth with a ladle and pour it onto your veggies, careful to keep the bones out of the crock pot. Add the onion mixture, a generous amount of additional pepper, a few more garlic cloves, and sea salt to the pot. Browned beef chunks are also an option; I personally like it without beef chunks better, but both ways are good. Simmer on high for five hours, and enjoy. You can turn the heat to low and keep it in the pot for 24 hours, eating as desired. Keeping this in your system for a couple of days will fortify you, warm you up, and make you strong! The picture below shows my soup right as it’s starting to simmer in the crock pot. After it’s cooked, it will look more like stew. Oh so good!

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Halting the Inflammation Train

It is my two year anniversary of being hive-free. Yes, a strange event to have an anniversary for, but if you’ve ever had a health issue that took months or longer to resolve, you can relate. I had hive flair-ups all over my body, every single day, for one year, and then one day they went away, never to return.

During the year when I experienced the hives, I felt tired and groggy constantly, even when I first awoke in the morning. Life was an uphill battle – just the little things took extreme amounts of will to accomplish. I remember looking at the clock at 9:30 am and thinking I am way too tired to make it through this day. Even though I was only thirty-eight, I felt very old, like the best part of life was behind me. Not a fun, or productive, way to live.

Today, while still aware of the underlying condition that caused the hives, I feel vibrant and alive. The here and now is fulfilling. Exhaustion doesn’t hit me until 10 p.m. when I happily crawl under the covers feeling that a rest has been well earned. I’m actually excited about life – I know that while I have already lead a full life with many awesome memories and experiences, the best is yet to come.

What I now know is that an autoimmune disease was part of the underlying cause of the chronic hives. But I believe that at the root of my problem was chronic inflammation – the inflammation was a precursor to the auto-immunity. Our bodies use inflammation as a mechanism of defense against unwanted intruders or pathogens, but if the wrong factors are present (like poor diet and excessive stress) and the inflammation train gets going, it can accelerate to destructive levels. Once this train is going out of control, it is not easy to calm it down. Inflammation is only meant to be turned on when the body is in real danger, not chronically.

Two years ago I did what is called an ‘elimination diet’. For thirty-one days, I ate only organic bone broth soups with vegetables, cooked vegetables, simple 3-ingredient, blueberry smoothies, and an Indian dish called Kitcharee. On day seventeen of this month, the hives did not show up, and I have not seen them since (celebrate).

After the elimination diet, I slowly added foods in, one at a time and only one every three days – it can take three days for the body to adversely react to a food. My body was fine with all the foods I added – granted, I have stayed with a whole-food, gluten and dairy free diet this entire two years. As hard as this sometimes is, I feel so much better without the inflammation, I refuse to get that train going again.

A lot of us live with low levels of chronic inflammation. This presents as sluggishness, a little extra weight on the body, aches and pains, low libido, bloating, and a general lack of passion. It is interesting to consider ways to calm the inflammation, to care for ourselves in such a way that illnesses such as autoimmunity and other chronic yuckiness do not develop in the first place, or to keep the symptoms calm and dormant if they already have.

One simple practice is deep breathing. Christopher Bergland, author of The Athletes’ way: The Biology of Bliss, writes about deep breathing in his article, The Neurobiology of Grace Under Pressure. This article is about the Vagus Nerve, a very interesting subject. This nerve wanders from the base of the brain down through the body, touching several key organs along the way – including the heart. He writes, “A higher vagal tone index is linked to physical and psychological well-being. A low vagal tone index is linked to inflammation, negative moods, loneliness, and heart attacks.”

He also discusses how diaphragmatic breathing increases vagal tone.

So, pull up a cushion, silence the cellphone, and treat yourself to some deep breathing. Even five or ten minutes a day will give results. First simply observe the current rhythm of your breath without judgement. Due to the hectic pace of modern life, most of us function on a jagged breathing rhythm. After noticing this for a minute or two, begin guiding the inhales and the exhales to a smooth, even rhythm. Counting the length of the inhales and the exhales and nudging them to even is one method. Sometimes it is nice to have the exhales be slightly longer and to envision stress being expelled from the body with the breath out.

This simple exercise will tone the vagus nerve, signalling to the brain and heart that all is well. Practicing regularly has huge impacts on soothing inflammation and promoting well-being – I know from experience.

This is a picture  our family out hiking in August. I am grateful to feel well again, so that I can live my life in the fullest way possible!

 

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When Springtime throws you a Wintry Day

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Springtime in the Pacific Northwest is never predictable. Last week my five-year old and I met friends at the beach for a sunny day that satisfied my Vitamin D craving, and more; today, the sky is characteristic grey, a cold wind is making the leaves shimmy, and I think it may rain.

When I saw today in the forecast, I was actually happy. A soup day!

I had been a pescatarian for a very long time – almost twenty-five years – when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. This means that the only meat I ate was fish, on occasion. But, after the diagnosis, I quit eating gluten completely and after so many years of being mainly vegetarian, I realized that I just may need some animal products. The healing protocol I designed for myself, based on the amalgamation of many experts, included bone broth soup.

This week is my two-year mark of being 100% gluten free, and I feel so much better that it still feels like a miracle. If you’re interested in exactly why I cut the gluten, check out my earlier post entitled “The Gluten Piece.” Here, I will only say that while some are still skeptical whether leaky gut syndrome  exists, I am convinced that it is quite real, and able to be healed.

In essence, leaky gut is when the wall of our small intestine becomes compromised due to food sensitivities. When the intestinal wall is irritated, it can become more porous than it should be. Small particles escape into the bloodstream and alert our immune systems, leading to inflammation, and if left unchecked, autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto’s. Modern day gluten causes food sensitivity in some people, due to its difficulty to break down by the digestive system. I say ‘modern day’ because the gluten we eat is not the same product that our grandparent’s ate, but that’s another subject altogether.

If you’re not sure if this applies to you, I invite you to cut gluten out of your diet – 100% – there is absolutely no grey area on this one. Give yourself about a week, and then check in with yourself. Have any digestion issues improved, even somewhat? Have you noticed a difference in your energy levels, even subtle? If so, you may want to continue your gluten fast, and work on repairing your gut.

Bone broth is a powerhouse in this respect. Homemade bone broth contains numerous minerals and amino acids that are readily usable by the body to restore damaged tissue in the small intestine, connective tissues, and other organs. It is a truly healing food – I can attest to this firsthand after healing from the state of total exhaustion and inflammation resulting in daily hives – to a state of wellness I have never experienced in my life. The bone broth has been one component in my healing, and an important one. Using organic ingredients whenever possible is important, to minimize chemicals and toxins. I still eat meat rarely, having been vegetarian for so long. But the broth can be amazing in veggie soups too!

As the Mother of two kids – my little girl is eight and my son is five – and the wife of a big, hungry man, my soups have come in handy. Tonight, my family will enjoy a beef soup that has been simmering in the crock pot all day.

Here is the recipe. If you get handed a Wintry day this Spring, give it a try.

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Bone Broth

4 or 5 Grass-fed beef marrow or neck bones (organic if possible)

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

12 cups filtered water

1 Tablespoon sea salt

2 pinches black pepper

To prepare:

Bake the bones in an oven heated to 350 for 30 minutes to improve flavor. Place bones in a large stock pot along with the water and vinegar. Allow to soak for 20 minutes to extract minerals. Add salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Boil for three or four minutes and turn the heat to low. Simmer for 12 to 24 hours. Pour broth through a strainer so that only the liquid remains.

 

Wintry Day Beef Soup

2 large red onions

8 peeled cloves garlic

2 tablespoons sea salt

2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves

Lots of fresh thyme

One pound steak cut grass-fed beef chunks

4 large yams

4 large zucchini

2 cups baby carrots

Coconut oil

To prepare:

Cut sweet potatoes and zucchini into large, bit-sized chunks. Heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil in skillet. Add carrots and fry on medium heat for fifteen minutes. Pour bone broth into crock pot. Add vegetables, including garlic and and basil. Turn crock pot on high.

Cut onion into long pieces. Warm onions on low in 2 tablespoons coconut oil in skillet. When onions become translucent, add beef and sprigs of thyme, and fry until beef is cooked on the outside, adding a couple pinches of salt. Place meat and onions into soup. Add 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves and stir well.

Cook soup on high heat for six hours. Serve to someone you love, and let the healing begin!

 

Root Vegetable Delight

I am always looking for ways to make beets taste delightful – they are so  packed with health benefiting properties!

Beets support the liver. We all know how much the modern-day liver must deal with in terms of environmental toxins, medications and food additives. Giving this important organ support offers a big boost in how we feel, and beets are one of the very best foods for this purpose.

If we are living with any type of autoimmune disorder it is important to remember that all of the organs and systems in the body are interconnected. When we eat foods to heal the liver, we are helping our entire body heal, since the liver is such a key player in the overall function of the body.

This dish makes an excellent mid-winter lunch or dinner, and also works as a tasty side dish.

 

Recipe:

Ingredients

3 or 4 organic beets

3 large, organic yams

1 organic sweet onion

Ghee

1 Tablespoon Curry powder (can be straight ground curry, or if you have a mixture you like, that works)

3 Tablespoons Turmeric (the SUPER spice)

1 Tablespoon sea salt

1 cup organic basmati rice, soaked (soak rice for 24 hours, rinsing and changing water halfway through)

1 can organic Coconut Milk

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Peel beets and yams and cut them into cubes. Cut onion into strips.

Place beets, yams and onions on large glass baking dish and drizzle generously with melted ghee. Sprinkle with sea salt. Place in oven and roast, stirring occasionally, for an hour.

Forty minutes later, place drained rice and coconut milk, along with two cups of water, into a sauce pan or rice cooker to cook. If using sauce pan, bring mixture to a boil, then cover and turn to low heart.

When veggies are done roasting, melt 2 tablespoons ghee slowly in large cast iron pan on low heat, stirring in turmeric and curry powder. Stir constantly until a nice paste is formed.

Place roasted veggies into the pan, and turn heat to medium. Stir veggies to coat with paste.

Place almost all the way cooked coconut rice into cast iron mixture. It is good if it still has a moistness, even a little wet still.

Stir in well and fry together with veggies for seven to ten minutes, continuing to stir.

YUM!

Your liver will thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reset Your Digestion and Assimilate Your Life

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December is here! There is something unique about this month. Another year, wrapping up. Tis the season to take stock of all that has occurred, to allow it to sink in. Wait – most of us barely have time to breathe this time of year, let alone reflect!

But, every experience must be digested. The obvious association with the word ‘digest’ is food and the digestive tract. However, everything we go through – all that we read, the conversations we engage in, the experiences we have –  must be processed. The physical system of digestion is but one mechanism used for this type of purpose; there are also the spiritual and mental levels. These levels are equally important, if not more so, to our health and well-being.

We are overwhelmed with news right now. Information is coming at us so fast, there is no time to assimilate it on top of our already busy lives. And so,our systems are becoming backed-up at alarming rates. This is impacting the state of our collective unconscious. We are collectively clogged up.

How can we remedy this? The benefits of meditation are gaining solid, scientific backing. Slowing down, even for a few minutes a day, and simply breathing deeply can help immensely.

Another way we can give our overloaded body/mind/spirits a chance to properly assimilate everything, is to give our physical digestive systems a rest. Between parties and festivities this month, consider eating only an easily digested food for a couple of days. As the digestive system rests, the other areas have a chance catch up – to deal with all that we are being forced to deal with.

Here is a recipe for Kitcharee – the perfect food for this type of reset. I make up a big pot and save some in a glass container in the fridge to be warmed up throughout the day. The idea is to eat nothing but this food. Water and tea can be consumed, but this reset only works if we truly give our bodies a break from sorting out myriad foods and additives.

Give yourself a rest, on the level that you can affect, while still engaging in your busy life.

 

Simple Kitcharee

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked organic basmati rice – soaked (Soak your rice in water for around 8 hours to make it easier to digest. Drain the water you soaked it in, leaving only the rice)

1 cup  green mung dahl – soaked (Same process as with the rice, but dahl can soak for 24 hours) This legume can be found in the bulk section of a good health food store.

5 tablespoons organic ghee

2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds

1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds

3 tablespoons organic turmeric

1 teaspoon sea salt

7 cups pure water

To prepare:

In a big stockpot, melt the ghee over low heat. Add the coriander seeds and cumin seeds, stirring continually. When you hear the coriander seeds begin to pop, add the turmeric and salt, as you stir. When the paste is mixed together, add the mung beans and stir them in well. Now add the rice, stirring well. Add the water and turn the heat up to high. Allow the mixture to boil for about three minutes, then cover and turn the heat down. Simmer for around forty-five minutes, until the water is gone and you have a soft porridge. You may add steamed veggies of any kind, except for white potatoes, to add variety.

 

 

When the Light Shines

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After I was diagnosed with the autoimmune disorder, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, I went through a dark time. It was depressing to try to accept that the lack of energy and brain fog I had been experiencing for almost a year would never go away. Not to mention the horrible hives that covered my skin every morning and evening that had not abated, even after being treated for this condition.

As a person who loves yoga, and understands the value of accepting things as they are, I was frustrated because something within my spirit refused to allow me to accept THIS.

I was so tired. I remember looking at the clock to see that it was 9 am, after getting my little girl off to school, and being totally overwhelmed. 9 am? But, I’m ready for bedtime NOW. You mean I have to make it through at least twelve more hours? The thought was daunting.

It was impossible to explain this to the people in my life. As they had nothing to relate it to in their own experience, I held my tongue, not interested in coming off as lazy on top of everything else. I knew I wasn’t lazy – just TIRED. There is a profound difference.

When I decided that I was not going to accept this state of being – NO WAY – I began researching and learning. As I empowered myself with understanding, it became clear what I had to do. I developed a year-long program to heal myself, because the more I learned about autoimmunity, the more I realized that it would take a year to heal. That the layers of complexity involved would take time to unravel, was clear. The body is remarkable and intricate, a puzzle to solve.

As I gained momentum in my year to heal, the darkness parted and the light shined through. It is amazing how when the light shines into a dark place in our lives, it is more beautiful than we have ever seen it: the brightness in such contrast to the denseness that it pierces, its triumph is invigorating.

As I emerged from the cloud of fatigue I was transformed. As I embraced a year to heal – even though it was hard work – my entire being was renewed. And so, the sickness becomes the catalyst for the greatest growth. If you are tired or sick or sorrowful, know this:

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls.

The most massive characters are seared with scars.”

   ~Khalil Gabrin

Once I was well past the overwhelming fatigue, the hives and the despair, and the light had shined into my life, I began to realize: this light has come from a place beyond the ordinary. There is more to it than can be understood with the intellect, or comprehended with the brain. This beautiful mystery is captivating, and gives life a feeling of underlying excitement. To discover the nature of this light is motivating, and engages us beyond our usual senses, carrying us into a state of wonder and aliveness.

“Sunlight fell upon the wall; the wall received a borrowed splendor.

Why set your heart on a piece of earth, O simple one?

Seek out the Source which shines forever.”

    ~Rumi

The Sweet Taste

Biscuits

Next week I celebrate one year of being gluten free. As a half-Italian woman who was known among her friends as the bread-eater, this is no small celebration.

I remember a time when I would go to the grocery store and buy a loaf of fresh French bread, soft and warm, and eat it all by myself – in one sitting. It is interesting how food can provide a feeling of comfort. I believe this to be a gift – the way food can ground us, make us feel safe, or define a holiday such as turkey at Thanksgiving.

But, when this gift is abused, lack of health ensues. I was a person who was totally attached to bread, at the expense of saving an appetite for protein and vegetables.

Ayurveda, the ancient Science of Life from India, is a system of health and healing with much to offer. When I began studying Ayurveda last year, I was fascinated right away. This new way of thinking exercised my brain, pushing me to consider all aspects of life in a fresh light.

Balanced living is the key component in Ayurveda. What we choose to eat is paramount to good health; food is an integral part of living, and as such, Ayurveda discusses it extensively. All food is divided into six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, astringent, pungent and bitter. The perfect diet includes a little of each, providing balance in the foods we ingest.

Bread, and gluten products in general, fall under the sweet-taste category. Ayurveda informs us that sweet is the taste that comforts the body. Most of us can attest to that – who hasn’t reached for a cupcake or a doughy chunk of bread when in need of comfort?

When I  discovered that I was suffering from an intense sensitivity to gluten (think daily hives), I knew I had to make a big change. It certainly wasn’t easy. Now, one full year later, free from hives and feeling better at forty than I did at thirty, I am seeing clearer than ever.

One thing I had to figure out over the course of this year, was how to provide myself with that super-important taste: The sweet taste. There are lots of good recipes out there for gluten-free breads and muffins that I enjoy baking; many include mashed-up vegetables of kind, such as pumpkin or yams, and herbs, such as sage.

I designed this simple recipe to satisfy the sweet craving. The biscuits go well on a plate that includes other tastes, or all on their own.

Sweet Biscuits

2 Cups almond flour

1 Cup coconut flour

1/4 teaspoon aluminum free baking soda

a pinch of sea salt

2 heaping Tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

3 organic eggs

2/3 Cup coconut oil (don’t be afraid of this fat – it is your friend)

To prepare:

Preheat your oven to 350. Begin melting your coconut oil by placing the jar in a pan of water over medium heat on the stovetop. When you add the oil, it is best if it is in liquid form. Mix all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the eggs together in a separate bowl. Add the other wet ingredients to the eggs, and whisk. Slowly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ones. After washing your hands, take a rounded Tablespoon of the dough in your hand, and form it into a ball shape. Place onto a glass baking dish, about 2 inches apart. They don’t need to be perfectly shaped. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out dry. Store in the refrigerator.

Get your sweet taste on!

The Gluten Piece

I know, I know, everyone has heard the term ‘gluten-free’ by now. In fact, some are sick and tired of hearing it, annoyed at how fad-ridden modern health and nutrition has become. But, this is one fad that has serious solidity.

It’s not true for everyone, and some lucky folk can enjoy glutinous products daily. However, I believe there are many more gluten-sensitive individuals than realize it. I was one of them my whole life. When I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, I dove into books, articles and seminars on human physiology like a hot person diving into a lake on a summer’s day. That’s when I discovered how big a piece of the health puzzle gluten really is.

Hashimoto’s is always seen in conjunction with what has become known as a ‘leaky gut’, which is common for intestinal permeability. Even if you don’t have an auto-immune condition, it is important to understand the concept of intestinal permeability. The symptoms can be subtle, but the health implications can haunt you down the road if this is left unhealed. The small intestine is an important organ, and when it becomes permeable – when it has small holes in it – bad things happen. Particles that are not supposed to escape into the bloodstream, now can.

Out-of-control sugar or yeast can actually poke holes in your intestinal wall. Yeast is a powerful substance that when fed, grows aggressively. I never had typical systems of yeast, but I’m pretty sure I had a systemic yeast that caused havoc. So, even if you don’t have the usual symptoms such as yeast infections, if you have eaten a lot of sugar, bread, pasta etc. in your lifetime, you may want to consider a cleanse. I will be talking in detail about my gentle cleanse and how to do it, in a later post.

Did you know that gluten is actually a protein? Yep, and on a molecular level, it is a strong protein chain that is difficult for some people’s digestive system to break. Proteins are not meant to be released from the small intestine until they are reduced to a single amino acid. If your intestinal wall is compromised, and you are a person who has a hard time breaking down gluten, protein chains that are NOT meant to enter the blood, have an escape route via the weak points.

When the rogue gluten molecules enter the blood, the immune system kicks in, big time. The immune system is like ‘Get those intruders!’. This can show up as an allergic reaction, which is what happened to me in the form of hives. But, there are other, subtle symptoms – like bloating, gas, a feeling of fatigue or heaviness, constipation – to name a few. As the situation worsens over time, more food particles begin escaping, and more allergies are formed, until you feel like you can’t eat anything without a reaction.

This scenario is also a recipe for auto-immunity. An overactive immune system can become confused, until bodily tissue, such as the thyroid gland, starts to be mistaken as an intruder, In fact, the protein chain that comprises the thyroid gland is identical to part of the sequence of the gluten protein. Bizarre, right? Regardless, it is a fact.

I quit eating gluten as the second step in my Year To Heal. I was scared to do it, and I resisted. I am partly Italian, and eating bread and pasta seemed to be a part of me. The emotion before I let go of gluten was huge.

Thankfully, once I actually made the break and totally quit in April of 2014, it was surprisingly easy. The lightness I began to feel only weeks after quitting was so worth it. My stomach felt better all around. I still had hives, but not nearly as bad. Evidently, it can take six months or more for the gluten to clear completely out of your body.

Although the idea of quitting gluten was terrifying, once I understood the gluten/ leaky-gut/ allergy /auto-immune connection, a protective reaction kicked in. I had to protect myself! Health and wellness became my top priority. When you are unwell, you suddenly realize how crucial well-being is – how tied to one’s quality of life. I’ve always wanted to live this life to the fullest, and with a broken down body, living well becomes difficult. I am so grateful that cutting gluten out of my diet has had such a big impact.

There are different levels of gluten sensitivity, from all-out Celiac disease, to mild allergy. If you have bloating or an uncomfortable stomach, you may want to cut it out for a bit and see how you feel.

I have gotten into gluten-free baking, using almond and coconut flours, and it’s amazing the things you can make! I have found some good gluten-free products out there, but you have to be careful not to over-indulge on these because of their density, and always check the ingredient list for sugar or artificial additives, which are not your friends. I like my homemade gluten-free goodies the best, and I will post one of my recipes soon, for you to try.

It is fitting that I am posting this on Valentine’s Day. Taking care of yourself is a form of love. After all, if you don’t nurture and love yourself, from the inside out, it will be hard to truly receive love from someone else. I now think of choosing not to eat gluten, not as a form of sacrifice, but as a form of self-care. I replace gluten with foods that make me feel GOOD. In this way, I let my body know that I love her! You deserve the same, whatever form this takes for you. Happy Valentine’s Day!