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Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's Baaaaack!

I'm back. And so is my sinus infection. It took an attack on my sinuses to get me to write again. Guess there's a reason for everything. Can't believe I'm sick! Also, can't believe how long I've been able to go without getting sick. About a year. And I've gone 20 months without any antibiotics or steroids.

I'm hoping not to have to turn to either antibiotics or steroids for getting me better. I'm going to give my body a chance to kick this thang out.

So what's my plan?

When I first noticed cold symptoms I cut out the little dark chocolate I typically eat every day. Figured sugar wasn't going to make me better. In chocolate's place I've been eating 2 to 4 dried organic figs. Love them.

I also cut out...well threw out all the gluten free, processed cereals my husband and I usually eat. We both noticed after eating them, we felt tired. My husband found he was getting a headache. In its place I've been having a smoothie and or oatmeal or quinoa flakes. Not sure how processed the flakes are. Guess I'll see how I'll feel. Some mornings I have a slice of g-free bread with avocado on top. I usually smush into the avocado some fresh chopped garlic, lime and salt.

Garlic. Been trying to eat raw garlic everyday. Usually in avocado is the easiest way. Garlic is an anti-viral and antibiotic. Just make sure to brush teeth afterwards.

I started taking my supplements again. About three months ago I said goodbye to them. I read that if you're eating a diet high in vegetables and fruits then you more than likely don't need supplements. I was doing fine until Monday. I'm back to taking zinc, selenium, Ester C, Vitamin D3 (which I still take daily), antioxidants, magnesium and nettles. I also take echinacea and mycoferon drops regularly. So continuing this.

Spicy lemon ginger tea. This stuff makes you feel warm and cozy inside. Perfect for combating chills brought on by fever.

Green tea. Drink in the antioxidants. Can't get enough of this stuff.

Gargling warm salted water. Works like a charm every time. Nothing is as good or as cheap for a sore throat relief.

Sinuscleanse bottle. After going several months without having to clean out my sinuses this old favorite is back. Helps get the yucka out.

Breath Right strips. Nothing wrong with these nose bands that help relieve congestion while you sleep. Except for finding one stuck in my hair when I awoke. They're drug free and helpful. Just make sure you remove all the oil from your nose before applying. I swab my snoze with alcohol.

Green juice. I've been purchasing raw, pre-made green juices. They're a splurge. But worth it. Again the more ginger the better. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory. On my way to work this morning I stopped by Jus at The Coffee Shop where I ordered a carrot-apple-ginger. Sucked it down in record time.

Sleep. Wish I could stay in bed all day. But I'm freelance. Can't afford not to work. I've been hitting the sheets between 8pm and 9pm. Up between 6am and 7am. So if you have the luxury of fulltime employment, call in sick. Stay in bed. What The Real Housewives. And get well.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

B is for Benign

Last Friday I got the best news ever. That the results of my double breast ultrasound had come back as Benign. In my happy relief, I suddenly wondered, well then what are those lumps in my boobs? My doctor explained that the left is a fibroadenoma and the right a clump of fibrocystic tissue.

What the heck are these things? Well, a fibroadenoma is a clump of fibrous and glandular tissue. According to Wikipedia, there lumps are referred to as breast mice owing to their high mobility in the breast. Should I leave out some vegan cheese for these little friends?

As for the fibrocystic tissue this seemly means I have lots of lumps and bumps in my super dense tah-tahs. No smooth moves here.

Now that I've expanded my vocabulary, I asked the doctor, "What can I do to make sure I don't get any more and that these lumps disappear?" His response, "They get smaller with age." The opposite of wine.
I kind of expected to be underwhelmed by his answer. I feel like while allopathic medicine offers many healing wonders it overlooks prevention and out of the box thinking.

I've been reading Spontaneous Healing by Dr. Weil and highly recommend the book to anyone battling a sickness. The book details many individual stories of healing as well as outlines what you can do to boost your own spontaneous healing. The section on healing visualizations has been most enlightening for me. This is one area that at times I've overlooked or not utilized nearly enough.

It's amazing the power the mind has over our bodies. If you don't believe me take into account the effect sexual daydreams have on the body. That's simply the mind at work.

There are a number of healing visuals and breathing exercises I've been trying to incorporate. One I really like it to lie or sit quietly with eyes closed. Recite these lines in your mind. With each line, breathe out fully then take a full breath in.

Before me peaceful
Behind me peaceful
Above me peaceful
Below me peaceful
All around me peaceful.

From this point I usually speak to specific areas of my body. I picture myself sitting before a cozy fire place, surrounded by candles or in a sunny, warm place. As I refer to a specific body part I imagine it experience absolute peace and it's image in my mind's eye is one of perfect health and vibrance. Kind of weird to picture sinuses but stick with me here. For example you could add:

My left sinuses peaceful
My right sinuses peaceful
My left breast peaceful
My right breast peaceful
My lungs peaceful
My right knee peaceful

And so on.

Give it a try if you're feeling like you're having trouble relaxing or battling some sort of illness.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Double Biopsies

"I have another one." The tech spoke into the phone as I lay with a napkin covering my chest on the exam table. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to mentally prepare for a steak dinner or a double biopsy. Make that another two.

I asked her if it were normal to have to biopsy both breasts. "Yes, we do a lot." Probably what she neglected to say was, "Double biopsies double the charge to your insurance."

"Why no green tea?" I asked next. It was one of the no-nos on a list which included Naproxen, Motrin and blood thinners.
"We're taking it off the list," she answered.
"Why was it there in the first place?"
No response.

A few minutes later the doctor entered. I asked if anything had appeared on my mammogram or if only the lumps were visible on the ultrasound. "Your mammo was normal and probably nothing bad will be revealed by the biopsies." What I heard was, "We're only doing this to make some money off you. Thanks for the donation."

Having lived through fifty-six sinus vacuumings, I think I have a high threshold for pain and discomfort. There was a sting as the doctor injected my righty with a local anesthetic to numb the area. Then he had a biopsy probe which I did my best not to look at. I didn't feel the specimen collector pierce my skin, but I did feel the slightest of pressure. The freaky part was that it seemed to take some real elbow power from the doctor to work the probe through my tissue and find the evil lump.

"There's going to be a snapping sound," the doctor cautioned.

I considered adding some clapping or whistling to the snapping but both were hard from a lying down position.

The mechanism for collecting the sample had a spring attachment that dug deep to get a piece of me. The biopsy kind of reminded me of the fake pieces of gum I had as a kid. When you went to grab a piece, a metal spring snapped your finger. However the biopsy was surprisingly less painful. Either way I didn't get a piece of gum.

Instead my lefty was shot with a needle of numbing juice. This time the doctor proceeded to collect three samples. Must be some lump to go for a trifecta. As he was "collecting",  he and the tech were watching the ultrasound screen. They commented that that lump was decreasing in size. I asked what they meant. The doctor explained that as he took samples the lump was simply getting smaller. Sounded good to me.

Afterwards he placed Bandaids in the shape of Xs on the two spots where he inserted needles. As for the results, the doctor said, "I'll call on Friday and by the looks of things everything should be normal." "Next time could you eat more Big Macs and M&Ms?"

I got redressed then meet my husband in the lobby. We left the doctor's office and walked through Central Park. I wondered what the point of a mammogram is if an ultrasound is better at detecting tissue changes. We stopped at Belvedere Castle where we discovered that the city's weather tracking equipment is housed in the stone structure. Whenever you get a local weather report, it's being recorded right in the park. We walked around, peering out windows at the overcast day. Even though it was rainy out everything seemed less stormy.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lumpy Boobs

Last Thursday I had my yearly mammography. I also requested an ultrasound. The night before the test I had had dinner with a friend who said a series of mammographies never detected the lump in her breast. It was an ultrasound that confirmed her suspicion. So the receptionist called my OBGYN who quickly faxed over a prescription for an ultrasound.

Whoever designed the mammography machine had several advanced degrees in designing crude and unusual torture devices. My favorite moment was when my boobs were squished between several tons of radioactive machinery the tech said, "Don't move." Where exactly did she think I was skipping of to?

When my boobs were finally released from the tight squeeze I was allowed to sit in a waiting sort of area. I looked around my surroundings in hopes of finding some sort of diversion to pass the time. What did I see? Wall art of clocks. Really? Who's idea was this. I can just imagine the brainstorm session when it came to decorating the waiting area.

"What kind of soothing imagery can we adorn the walls of the breast screening waiting area?

"Images of Paris!"



"I got it! Clocks."

By the way, it was a cool melting Dali clock.

After waiting about half an hour I was called into a closet where there was an examining table and an ultrasound machine. I laid down as the tech squirted gel on me. I was surprised that the gel had been warmed. I had this procedure in 2009 and I recall a freezing cold room, cold gel and a rude wand being pressed without care over my boobs. I became so hardened and cold that I was concerned about being confused for a cadaver. This year's was already better. The wand was also warmed and the room wasn't set to Sub Zero temps.

At some point the tech stopped. I looked at her screen. I saw her zoom in on an oval black shape. I had seen this done before during past ultrasounds. I wasn't concerned. Then she moved onto my other breast and did the same stop and zoom motion. She finished. Handed me a paper towel to cover myself with. Is this Marc Jacobs? She said she was going to show the doctor and she'd be back in a moment. So me and my non designer paper towel hung out for about ten minutes.

Then in walked a doctor. I knew something was up when he extended his hand to mine. He said, "We found a little lump in each breast. You'll come back so we can do a biopsy of each. We'll numb the area first and then do the biopsy."


The doctor exited. The tech gave me a wad of scratchy paper towels. I think I may have cut a nipple in trying to wipe away all of the gel from my chest. I started to get dressed in the ultrasound closet when the tech told me to take it to a changing room. I wrapped my hospital top around me, grabbed my stuff and left.

So tomorrow is the date of my biopsies. I've been doing lots of stuff to prepare for this. I'm reading Spontaneous Healing by Dr. Andrew Weil. Love it. Amazing anecdotes and tips. This one passage really hit home:

It is not a good idea to stay in treatment with a doctor who thinks you cannot get better. 

This reminded me of my previous ENT who had said when I asked him why I kept getting sick that I was like him and I would always be sick. The book talks about a negative placebo affect caused by doctors telling patients things like my old ENT told me. Other examples include: "You have a greater chance of getting colon cancer," or, "You have 2 years to live." If you hear these from your doctor, please find another who can lead you on a path to healing.

Some other things I've been doing is drinking green juice everyday, eating raw garlic which enhances the body's natural immune system and blocks the formation of some carcinogens (I smush it in guacamole), taking extra Vitamin C, exercising everyday even if it's just walking from jury duty to work (that's what I did today), and lots of healing visualizations.

Today I popped into Organic Avenue on my way into work and asked the woman working, "What's good for disintegrating lumps in breasts?" She suggested the Chlorophyll Booster Shot. I also left with a small bottle of Green Love. I drank half the booster mixed with the Green Love and the rest straight. I feel amazing. I'm planning to buy a couple more for tonight and pre-biospy.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Holy Jicama

With all my countless food sensitivities, I'm CEO of meal prep for moi. I'm always thinking of what to make that can last a few days for easy to pack for work lunches. This past Sunday night I made a vegan chile and a pot of brown rice to bring for lunch. I had planned to eat it along with some avocado, cilantro and lime. While shopping at Whole Foods I rolled right up to the much sought after jicama. (Pronounce the 'j' like an 'h'.) I hadn't found one at my "steps from Fairway". That's how all the real estate websites describe living near the grocery store. 

After looking up online how to cut a jicama, I diced some of it up. Then mixed it with avocado, cilantro, pineapple, a big squirt of lime juice and a few fist turns of cracked pepper. This jicama relish is delicious on top of my spicy vegan chile. Plus, the tuber is big enough to last all week for lunch. Lunch mission accomplished. 

I was curious as to jicama's health benefits. One of which is oligofructose inulin, a soluble fiber that isn't metabolized by the body. So it's super low in calories. Also, the veggie is packed with tons of Vitamin C, which helps boost immunity and acts as a natural antihistamine. It also contains B complex vitamins folate, riboflavin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid and thiamin which lower homocysteine levels.                                                                                          

Homo what? Homocysteine is an amino acid that affects the cellular metabolism and production of proteins in the body and can also increase the risks of heart disease by damaging the lining of blood vessels. It's a byproduct or protein digestion. According to the book, The Ultimate pH Solution, reducing consumption of meat can lower homocysteine levels, meanwhile eating folate-rich foods like jicama can also reduce the levels of this bad guy hormone. 

So trade that t-bone for jicama and you're on your way to a better version of you. Yee-jicama-haw!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Brad's Raw Chips

Last weekend while shopping at Organic Avenue I picked up a bag of Brad's Raw Chips in the Hot Red Bell Pepper flavor. The little bag was pricey but luckily, 30% off. I had the crackers along with a bowl of cauliflower soup and a salad. I really liked the flavor and the spice. I shared the bag with a friend who said they tasted like dried soup mix before you add water. I could kind of taste this but in a good way. Last year I sampled some of Two Mom's In The Raw Garden Herb Crackers which I found to be too flaxy with all the unground flax seeds. Brad's chips offer a better balanced flavor and texture.

During a recent trip to Whole Foods I picked up a bag of the Indian-flavored Brad's Raw Chips. OMG! These were the most delicious chip. I'm a fan of spicy, funky flavors. For example, sour spicy lemon pickle doesn't scare me. I had to close the bag to keep from devouring it in one sitting. I ate the chips straight up but they would be great dipped in guacamole or hummus. According to Brad's website the chips are a meal in a bag. I will definitely be packing these next time I have travel. I find that most processed chips and foods congest me. However raw, whole foods chips and snacks seem not to bother me.

I'll be chowing down on some more this weekend. Happy weekend.

ps: I just saw the Space Shuttle fly by my window at work. Super cool.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Candle Cafe West

I really over did it Sunday night. My husband and I celebrated my one year free of antibiotics and steroids with dinner at Candle Cafe West. We each had two drinks at a nearby bar before dinner. By the time we hit the restaurant, he was starving and so was I. We began with the nachos. I had the seitan and tofu placed on the side. The chips were covered in slightly spicy beans, a tapioca cheese and guacamole. It was so filling that I probably could have called it quits right then. But not me.

Next the Paradise Casserole– layers of sweet potato, millet and black beans over fresh steamed greens. The sweet potatoes were infused with cinnamon. The scent was amazingly fragrant kind of like paradise. I ate the entire dish minus a few greens. My husband had the Grilled Seitan Burger. Messy but yummy. At this point I was definitely full. However that didn't stop me from sharing a slice of the vegan carrot cake with my husband. I had been having a few good sinus days so I felt like I could handle a little gluten. 

The cake didn't disappoint. I'm not sure if the icing is made from coconut but it tasted like classic cream cheese icing. On top of the icing was a carrot glaze swirl. Something you don't see on non-vegan versions. I can't recall the last time I had cake. Since going g-free and eating mainly whole foods, cake rarely comes my way. I tend to rely on a little organic dark chocolate or a raw truffle for a sweet fix. 

My body took the gluten in stride. I find that when I'm feeling well, I can get away with a small amount of certain offending foods as long as get right back to my vegan, g-free, food-sensitivity free diet. 

When we finished dinner we had a nice 15 block walk home in the rain. It was a good way to burn a calorie or two after such a filling meal. I can't wait to go again. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Happy Anniversary

I wasn't sure it was possible. To go one full year without oral antibiotics or steroids. This is coming from a girl who hadn't gone more than eight weeks before being represcribed drugs for endless sinus infections. Considering all the visits to the otolaryngologist I made over a ten year period, not once did the doctor suggest dietary changes or natural supplements to help give my immune system a boost and prevent future infections.

As of now, I have gone one full year without any of these drugs. The past year has taught me how much doctors and patients over use antibiotics and steroids. Through dietary changes, I've discovered that I can control a lot of my symptoms. Often, when I get sick it's my body telling me I fed it too much dark chocolate or too many fries. When I switch my diet, my symptoms diminish.

My actual anniversary of this event came and went three weeks ago. I've been too busy to mark the occasion. I also got hit with a cold, seasonal allergies and freelance work on top of my full time job.

So, this weekend I'm celebrating with dinner at the new Upper West Side Candle Cafe. Can't wait for a little down time with my husband and to properly toast the occasion. With a shot of echinacea of course.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Results Are In

Last Thursday I received the results from the ALCAT allergy test I took two weeks ago. I had been really excited to get the results. Not sure why. Well, I want answers. But it wasn't like the test was going to reveal amazingly great news. It was going to reveal and confirm food allergies and sensitivities for 200 foods.

According to the test I had no severe intolerances. Good news there.

For the rest of the list:
Banana (WTF?)
Barley (also on skin test)

Acorn Squash
Asparagus (also on skin test)
Black-eye Peas
Broccoli (also on skin test)
Butternut Squash
Carrot (ugh)
Chili pepper
Cocoa (WTF!!!)
Cow's milk
Egg white & yolk (also on IgE test)
Grape (guess this means raisins are out)
Rice (Life is truly unfair. What's a g-free girl to do?!!!)
Soybean (also on skin test)
White Potato (lovely)

That's some list, right? But that's not it.

According to my skin test I'm also sensitive to:
Sweet corn
String bean

Sick of reading? There's a few more. According to my IgE test I'm also sensitive to:

Feel sorry for me? I feel sorry for myself which isn't very empowering.

I got hit with a cold last Tuesday. The good news there is that the real yucky part came and went in four days. That's the shortest cold that's ever lived in my body. I must be doing something right and well something wrong to get sick. When I saw my doctor last Thursday he was concerned about my getting a cold, fearful of it turning into a full blown sinus infection. He asked if I was still taking echinacea and mycoferon. I admitted I had totally forgotten. Back on the regimen now. Eye droppers of elixirs are getting dumped into shots of water, which I'm downing with regularity.

My doctor suggested I avoid all the foods on my various lists for a week and then see if I'm feeling better.

Chocolate is impossible to avoid. Instead of avoiding my goal is to cut back. But eating 2 dark chocolate bars in three days hardly qualifies as a cut back. This morning at Trader Joe's I practiced absolute restraint by purchasing zero dark chocolate.

A feel a little like I'm in an eating conundrum. It's not fun in the conundrum even though the word has drum in it.

So this week I've made big batches of sweet potato and black bean soup with wild rice and curry quinoa. Just realized that I put dried chipotle pepper in the soup. Does this qualify as chili pepper under my sensitivity list?

Breakfast is a real head scratcher. Oatmeal and rice-based cereals are out. I tried to make smoothies without banana yesterday and today. They're just not as tasty.

Any ideas? What would Jesus do?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Feed Me

Wednesday night I was subjected to one my worse dining experiences yet. Well, there was the time about 15 years ago at a Bennigan's when I saw a cockroach scurry past my table. My waitress killed it within a few feet of my plate of food. But back to Wed nite.

All week long I had been looking forward to my meal at Employee's Only. I had recently finished production on three commercials for Frontline Plus. The production company was taking out the entire ad agency team to celebrate a successful production.

Over the past years, I've consumed many ah-mazing cocktails at Employee's Only. I had never eaten one single bite. Who needs food when you have alcohol? After viewing the menu online, I saw some salads and veggie sides. Just to be safe I called the restaurant and asked if I could get a veggie plate for my main.

The response: "No."

Really? Isn't the guest always right? I was just doing the kind thing and giving them the heads up. They already serve veggies. How hard is it to place them all on one plate? I came to discover that this was the impossible mission.

Cut to Wednesday night. Trays of cheeses, patés, and charcuterie were being passed around as I patiently waited for my arugula salad. The waitress appeared midway through the appetizer course to take everyone's main course requests. I re-gave my order for an arugula salad and then the veggie plate as my main. Thirty minutes later plates of sirloin, salmon and pasta were placed in front of each guest.

However, not a single morsel for me. I asked the bus boy if he knew the whereabouts of my salad. Five minutes later it appeared. I dove in to the arugula, fennel and preserved lemon mix. Tasty and just what I needed. Having watched eight others enjoy rounds of apps and main dishes, I was famished and annoyed.

I kept expecting each time the waitress approached for her to place my veggie plate before me. Minutes ticked by. No plate or dish was presented to me. The bus boy appeared again. I asked about my veggie plate. Two minutes later I was brought a small dish of swiss chard. It was either steamed or sautéd. I was hungry and even more annoyed.

Finally, the waitress looked my way. I asked her why it took so long for me to get my appetizer salad and what happened to my veggie plate. She said she thought I wanted them together. Huh? I'm not sure what gave her this impression since I precisely asked for the salad first and the non existent veggie plate second. Needless to say she didn't care. The rest of the party didn't care that they were being happily fed while I wasted away in a state of starvation.

The good part of the meal was that it was free because it wasn't worth paying for.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What A Nut

It's so much easier to spot the villain in an empty room. Over the past week my sinuses have really cleared up. No more mucus draining 24/7, which means some of the inflammation has calmed down. My sinus cavities are like vacancies where fresh air is free to move in. All this clear breathing and good feeling makes it so much easier to tell when a specific food isn't agreeing with me. Before it was like EVERYTHING I ate caused a major upheaval throughout my body but especially my sinuses.

Yesterday morning I played with fire. I reached into the fridge for the jar of almond butter. I spooned a nice wallop into my smoothie. Hit the high button on the Vitamix. Then I sipped. I sipped a bit more and then– choke, cough, choke! Not a typical reaction to a smoothie. Something was bothering me. Since I had consumed the other ingredients without as much drama, I figured it was the almond butter.

Almond is one of my sensitivities. I was hoping I could now handle it. But that's not the case. No wonder I used to be so sick. I love almond. Almond cookies and chocolate covered marzipan used to my two of my favorite treats.

I spent the rest of the day with thick mucus handing out on the back of my throat. Annoying. Hoping to feel better in time for my production wrap dinner at Employee's Only tonight.

Next week I visited Dr. Firshein with the results of my ALCAT test. I'm wondering if he can make desensitizing drops for almond. Fingers crossed that almond and I can mend our broken relationship.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Split Pea Coma

I've been fighting sleep for several days. The weekend was really hard. I ended up giving in by taking a 30 minute nap Saturday and Sunday. I asked myself, "What's wrong with me?!" As I was waking from yesterday's nap I had a flashback to when I used to get the split pea soup from Hale and Hearty for lunch. This was at least five years ago. Whenever I ate the soup, I'd find myself fighting to keep my eyes open as I stared at my computer screen. 

All last week and through the weekend, I had been eating this split pea soup. It is delish. Afternoons can be hard enough to stay alert through. But last week was unusually tough. I'm not sure if I suffer from a food sensitivity to the peas or if they're just sleep-inducing. I found this post on natural sleep aids. Split peas make the list. 

As much as I loved the soup, I think I have to say no to it for awhile. This week it's spicy carrot soup. I hope the orange stuff keeps me amped-up all week long. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Measuring Allergens & Tiny Buddha

This morning during my visit with Dr. Firshein I asked him about the ELISA allergy test. I had read about how this screening tests hundreds of foods on PURE2RAW. He said it's different from the skin scratch and IgE blood panel tests. First of all he explained exactly what each of these two tests does.

The skin scratch test actually reflects exactly what your body is allergic to at that moment in time. While the IgE test reflects the body's potential to have an allergy to a certain food or substance. If the potential is there, then it's only a matter of time until the allergy manifests itself.

The ELISA test also known as ALCAT measures the potential for your body to have a delayed reaction days or weeks after ingesting or coming into contact with an allergen. The great thing about the test is that it measures hundreds of foods at once. The not so great thing is the price and the fact that some health insurance companies do not cover the test. I'm hoping mine doesn't fall into that group.

These days I am doing dramatically better. I'm reacting less and less to the foods I eat. I've overhauled my diet. I've kicked most of the junk, all animal-based foods and coffee to the furthest reaches of the universe. However, I'm still having some congestion, wheezing and mucus. Obviously, something is continuing to stir up trouble. Since I want answers, I opted for the $595 ALCAT which tests 200 foods.

According to their website, the ALCAT test measures food intolerences. Symptoms of food intolerences can include migraines, chronic fatigue, IBS, Attention Deficit Disorder, Eczema, asthma, arthritis and fibromyalgia. I have asthma, a tiny bit of arthritis in my hands and left knee, a pinch of Exzema and in the past some delightful IBS. Geez...I'm a disaster. Definitely not dating material. Thank God I'm married.

Just how much of a disaster I am will be determined in two weeks when I get the results from my ALCAT.

While at the doctor's, I also had acupuncture applied to my sinuses, adrenals and knee. Once again my left knee is feeling a bit off. I think this past weekend's yoga class didn't help. The usual teacher was away. The substitute had the class do a move, that if one did it wrong, could aggravate knee issues. Thanks for that bit of helpfulness. Did I mention this was a Basics class? Is it really necessary to put basics students through advanced moves that could hurt them? I can't wait for the regular teacher to return.

During my chat with the doctor his office got very warm. He opened up the window. As he raised the blinds I caught sight of a tiny head that was holding the window open about two inches. He raised the window up, relieving the tiny head of its job. I commented that I liked the tiny head. The doctor laughed. Then he explained that it's supposed to keep all evil spirits away; not that he was superstitious or anything. The two inch security system looked kind of like this:

While I do enjoy watching Ghost Hunters, I'm not particularly fond of evil spirits. So, I'm thinking of adding a two-inch head to my wellness arsenal. Anyone else considering this?

Monday, March 19, 2012


Friday I received the results of my blood test. I had retaken the test since my results from Feb were scary awful. Also, I hadn't fasted before the Feb test. I had been at the doctor following up on allergy related stuff when he suggested I get a full blood panel. The nurse hadn't thought the fruit smoothie I drank before the test would affect things. Boy was she wrong.

For the past ten years my cholesterol has hovered in the 170 to 188 range. I've never had an awful reading. Since I've given up all animal-based foods I expected my cholesterol numbers to be sparkling. The results:

Total Cholesterol: 153
HDL Cholesterol:   82
LDL Cholesterol:    64
Triglycerides:          34

Wowsers! I've never seen such great numbahs in my life. If anyone is considering giving up meat, fowl, fish, and cheese for health reason or dramatically cutting back, I strongly encourage it.

Also, my sodium was in a normal range at 140. Back in Feb it was 153. My doctor asked if I had exercised before my test back in February. I had visited the gym that morning. She said exercise can cause an elevated sodium reading.

Another interesting number I found on my results is ph. Mine is 7.5, which means I'm alkaline. Many books I've read on wellness have stressed how a plant-based diet makes one more alkaline. And when you're more alkaline, you're less likely to get sick. Other than my allergy flare-ups, I haven't been hit with any week-long colds this year.

There has definitely been a learning curve with figuring out what to eat as a vegan. At this point, I feel like I've really hit my stride. I can easily figure out what dishes to make to have for multiple lunches and dinners. I know what items I need to keep stocked in the kitchen. And which chocolates are vegan.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Move Over Clearasil. Aloe Vera to the Rescue

Two weeks ago my partner at work got hit in the nose with a hockey stick. Big time ouch. I asked if he went home before going to the ER. I had a feeling about him. He said he went home, ate a sandwich (not sure what kind) and then went to the ER. He had a few stitches for about week and then a yucky scab.

I noticed that his nose seemed to be healing rather nicely. Was it the sandwich?

He attributed his beautiful recovery to the Aloe Vera plant. I immediately begged him to bring me a slice of his plant. When he forgot to do so the next day I began texting him 24/7 reminders.

For a little over a week I've been slicing off small filets of my aloe stem. Next I rub the clear inner meat over my Bermuda triangle of zits. I haven't really seen much change yet. Patiently waiting...

I have read about women having scars from breast surgery. Their scars healed beautifully by applying aloe vera topically to the scar over a series of weeks.

Fingers crossed my face transforms from flawed to flawless ASAP.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bermuda Zit Triangle

It began with one hidden under my chin. Then a second sprouted within plain view. Now a third is growing just under my lower lip. The Bermuda Zit Triangle. The first two have run their acne course, leaving behind huge red round areas on my otherwise light skin.

Now my most disliked thing to do is to look in the mirror. Every time I go to the bathroom (which is often since my body doesn't absorb water.) I'm faced with the mirror. There I stare at the trio of red splotches.

I called the cosmetic derm who I've seen off and on for many years. Her next opening is May 4th. A girl can't wait. I called another doctor. The charge for the laser procedure to eliminate redness is $800. Choke.

I usually pay $250. Nothing to sneeze at. But $800 will cause me to sprout another zit. Also, it usually takes two visits to scare away the redness.

Should I buy some scratch offs? Or wait for a UFO to whisk me away from my world of acne?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Numbers Game Continued

Friday morning I visited Dr. Rein for a physical and blood panel recheck. She reviewed my blood results from my test taken in early February. She said my cholesterol break down was good. She wasn't worried about my overall cholesterol level number. However my sodium level did cause her to take notice.

My sodium level has been high for a good year now. I'm not the kind of person who adds salt to meals. When I cook I usually add no salt or very little. I explained that I'm always very thirsty, and that I drink water constantly throughout the day. I also told Dr. Rein that only drink water, green tea and fresh juices. I broke up with coffee and most alcohol last year. The doctor wondered a loud if my body is having trouble absorbing the water I'm drinking. She said this could be caused by a hormonal imbalance and a blood panel will give her more insight.

Also, my blood pressure was a bit elevated. She had me take a few deep breaths. Then she measured again. The number had dropped slightly but was still a bit high. She said this could have something to do with the high sodium level.

Needless to say I left the doctor's office famished. When I woke up that morning I had felt wiped out. Going without food first thing didn't help. So, I took my first official sick day since I began my new job last June. I emailed my partner, boss and the producer I'm working with. Not one wrote back with an obligatory, "Feel better." So much for niceties.

I spent part of the day in bed reading a book. The other part traveling to SOHO to get my hair cut and highlighted. I only get my hair done four times a year. But each quarter, I dread it. It's such a time suck. The cut, color and commute take about 4 hours. There are so many other things I could do with four hours than sit in a chair in a basement salon. I'm a slave to this beauty ritual.

Saturday was my bday. I took an Iyengar yoga class in the morning. Then came home to fresh artwork by my son and husband, balloons and UliMana Dark Chocolate Truffles. Woo-hoo! My son tried to eat one. Guess he couldn't handle the chocolate intensity. He ran to the trash and spit most of the candy out. What a waste!

We all went out for a birthday lunch at Le Pain Quotidien where I had the gluten-free vegan quiche. I had tasted this dish a few weeks ago and couldn't wait to return for my own plate. I could have easily eaten three slices of the eggless quiche. I want the recipe.

We continued our eating tour by visiting Chelsea Market next. I was really eager to get a juice from the Lucky Duck Takeaway. When we reached the market I had to go to the bathroom. The line was easily 30 people long. No joke. A fresh juice was out of the question. Instead, I bought my son a 2-pack of Lucky Duck's raw oreos. For myself, the Chocolate Crispies.

My son hated his $6 oreos. I ended up buying him a 49 cent lemon lollipop that made him very happy. Metal note: my son has cheap tastes.

I ate about half my bag of Crispies then spent the rest of the day very congested. Too bad. The Crispies were really tasty. Buckwheat is one of the ingredients in the Crispies as well as the quiche I had earlier in the day. It's also one of my food sensitivities. So, possibly I should avoid this ingredient. What to do with the other half of the bag of Crispies?

At one point in the afternoon, I pulled out my phone where I found many missed calls and voicemails. As I tried to retrieve messages, my phone's screen faded to black. I tried to revive the device but no luck. I walked into a T Mobile store where I was informed that the company no longer makes batteries for my model of Blackberry. WTF?! Happy birthday to me.

From there I returned home defeated to an evening of laundry. I felt really poopy and crabby. Not the festive mood imagined when it's your birthday. My sweet husband ran out to a generic cell phone store and got me a brand new battery. I spent the evening googling high sodium levels. All night I wondered if I have Diabetes Isipidus.

Sunday morning my phone was recharged. And after a Basics Yoga class so was I. So this is what turning a year older feels like.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Acupuncture To The Rescue

I had my third acupuncture treatment two weeks ago. For me, acupuncture isn't an immediate BANG of relief. It seems to take a couple of days for the treatment to slowly kick in. I usually forget that I even had needles placed on various points all over my body. But about five days after, I find myself full of energy. I feel like I've downed several espressos. 

Another plus is that many health insurance companies cover acupuncture treatments. Give yours a ring to find out. 

I have no idea how acupuncture works. It's been around 1000s of years so there must be something good going on with these needles. 

I found this one explanation online to help explain this ancient healing technique:

The Eastern Explanation for how Acupunctures works is that the life energy flowing through the body which is termed Qi (pronounced chee) can be influenced and balanced by stimulating specific points on the body. These points are located along channels of energy known as meridians that connect all of our major organs. According to Chinese medical theory, illness arises when the cyclical flow of Qi in the meridians becomes unbalanced or is blocked. 

Keeping one's energy flowing correctly seems to make sense. Think about when there's a bottleneck near a tunnel. What happens?  Pretty much nothing as all movement comes to a screeching halt. The same thing is happening in your body.

All kinds of things can cause energy blockages. For me, rain seems to be one.

Last week's rainy days brought on lots of mucus flowing down the back of my throat. Then the sun came out Sunday. The mucus dried up. Since then I've been feeling pretty good. Seems that there's a connection between my mold sensitivity and rainy days. Rain simply helps mold grow. 

I'm already thinking about getting a fourth acupuncture treatment later in the month. I want to keep the good times rolling along. 

Have you ever tried acupuncture? Would you consider giving it a try?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Veg Fest 2012

This morning I arrived at the Vegetarian Food Fest shortly after 10am, when doors opened. I was greeted by an incredibly long line. Not to worry I figured since I'd purchased a VIP pass through Living Social. I walked to the entrance where I was informed that the VIP line was indeed the one I had just bypassed. Begrudgingly I shuffled to the back of the line. More like VUP. Very Unimportant Person. Regular admission was $5 and I paid $15. What was I supposed to expect for an extra 10 bucks?

A little before 11am I finally made it into Veg Fest Land. The first booth was Whole Foods where I picked up a small reusable bag and two pouches of Pop Chips. Perfect snack for my four-year-old who I've cut back on his gluten intake.

I missed the first speaker but I was able to catch Gena Hamshaw from Choosing Raw. She spoke about the gastro issues that subsequently lead her to a vegan diet. While her blog features the word raw she's not your typical raw foodie. She abdicates a mix of cooked and raw. She also sees juice not as a meal replacement but more like a nutrient packed snack. Let's face it it's easier to drink half a pound of spinach than eat one. Having followed her blog for over half a year, I really enjoyed hearing her talk. She offered lots of great advice to the crowd who were full of questions.

After Gena, I made my way around all the vendors. I collected some samples of Lentil and Hummus chips. My son approved. I tasted the most delish Coconut Bliss flavor, Ginger Cookie caramel. The jury is  still out on how coconut affects me, so a sample was the perfect size. But I'd love an entire carton.

I was a breath away from buying a box of truffles from Chocholistic. These raw goodies are packed with tons of super foods like chlorella, maca, lucuma, chia seeds and more funky healthy stuff. I had asked my husband to get me some Ulimana truffles for my bday next weekend. So I managed to walk away without purchasing the chocolates. Hope he comes through.

The most unreal but beautiful food I saw was Caviart. It's highly colorful caviar that's made from seaweed. The stuff real caviar would feed on if it turned into fish. The pic below looks like fish eggs but it's not!

I tasted like little balls of sea water. Probably nice rolled into sushi or sprinkled into another dish. Maybe even good on a bland cracker. Too strong straight up. But pretty.

I sampled a plain and a strawberry marshmallow at Sweet & Sara. I bought my husband and son each a S'mores bar. I've had Dandies marshmallows before which are tasty but contain a lot of soy which is a questionable allergen for me. While Sweet & Sara marshmallows are super sugary they're a good alternative to Dandies. Once I placed my order it seemed like everyone else around me couldn't pull out their wallets fast enough.

There was one vendor with vegan jerky. The two men saddle up looked like they had just downed several rounds of ribs. This was definitely their table. The vegan jerky tasted meaty and had a chewy, meaty texture.

I collected lots of great coupons while walking from table to table. Geez. Now I really sound like a lame mom.

Even though the line to get was off putting, once inside the fest I felt like a happy vegan. I heard one guy say, "I could never be vegan." Couldn't he have said something not so cliche such as, "I could never be a French speaking minotaur."?

Friday, March 2, 2012

10,000 Steps

Yesterday I snagged a free pedometer at work. It was part of a giveaway during social media week. The goal is to take 10,000 steps a day. This is the number that ensures you're adequately active and leading a healthy physical lifestyle.

Shoot, 10,000 sounds like a lot. I wasn't sure if my walking would meet the daily requirement.

This morning after getting dressed for the gym, I clipped the pedometer to my waistband then headed out into the chilly morning. By the time I got back home after working out, the device was already registering over 5000 steps.


Later in the morning, when I arrived at work I had hit just over 9,000. Since I started my job last summer I got in the habit of getting off the subway a stop early. Also, when I leave my apartment in the morning, I have two subway stations nearby. I almost always walk to the one that's further away.

The pedometer is a great device to remind you to keep moving and it also proves how easy it is to get your numbers up. Sure we all have our lazy days. Even if you can't find a freebie, I highly encourage purchasing one.

The device displays the following url: I visited the site and discovered plans to develop a Low Line in NYC. How sweet would a permanent underground oasis park be? Sounds like a good place to take my pedometer for a spin.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Status Update: Good!

Last night I picked up my son to give him a hug. He immediately poked at the diminishing zit/cyst on my chin. Actually it's one of two. Guess this means his eye sight is good. Since I began taking the Singulair again along with using a Clindamycin topical gel, my chin is looking better and better. Thank God, Yahweh, Jesus, Zeus and Oprah. Although I'm not sure what Oprah had to do with it. She probably thinks she's God.

My sinuses have really cleared up. The horrible rampant mucous is no longer a minute-by-minute occurence. Instead of nasal douching up to four times a day. I'm down to one time in the morning. I'm still experiencing some wheezing when I eat certain foods. I'm in denial that the NuGo g-free chocolate rice bars I eat may be a culprit. Although I had a banana, cherry, beet green, kale and raw cacao smoothie this morning and experienced zero wheezing. Yippee! So chocolate may be ok. Only time will tell.

Since I'm feeling better I've upped my cardio routine. I'm now running short intervals on the treadmill. Mom is gifting me a one year membership to a yoga studio. I'm excited about the combo of gym and yoga  over the next 12 months. One thing I've noticed is that extra hard cardio can leave me feeling stiff. The yoga is perfect for stretching me out plus helping me to feel limber.

Vegan cooking is coming more natural to me. I have several goto sites for recipe finding. Here's a short list of a few favs in case you're interested.

This weekend I'm attending the Veg Food Fest. Can't wait to report back. Hoping to snag some goodies.

Happy Vegday!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Numbers Game

Instead of being told to cut back on red meat, dairy or fried foods, imagine being told that you need to cut back on your banana consumption? This might seem within the realm of possibilities is you were a chimpanzee.

I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about the results of my blood panel test. Yesterday I visited Dr. Firshein to go over the results. I was shocked to learn that my cholesterol was the highest it's been in ten years at 206. Last year 170. I don't eat any meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs or nuts as well as fried foods. What gives? The doctor said my fructose level was very high. The body will sometimes turn the extra fructose into cholesterol. Oy. He said I need to cut back on some, not all, of my fruit consumption. Instead of a full banana in a smoothie, try half. Most berries are ok. Tropical fruits not so ok. I really don't eat many tropical fruits. I find pineapple too sweet.

On the flip side my good cholesterol, HDL, increased from 70 to 80. Yay!

He asked if I experience highs and then lows where I become very tired. Yes. But how did he know? Just by looking at my numbers. My glucose blood sugar level was on the low end. He said the fruit smoothie gives me a boost of energy then my body releases insulin, causing the low. He suggested I carry a snack to eat for off setting the low. I'd love to carry a jar of my fav raw, vegan truffles but I'd probably consume the entire jar.

So in the middle of the night it occurred to me when I had the test done that I hadn't fasted. The full blood panel test was kind of sprung on me. I had inquired about rechecking the ANA test. The doctor noticed my last full blood panel had been in April of 2011. He said it was time for another. Just as the nurse was about to draw blood, I mentioned that I had had a fruit smoothie prior to my visit. She said this shouldn't affect the test. But now that the test showed very high fructose plus cholesterol levels I wonder. Hmm...

The doctor also reviewed the results of my ANA test, which is an anti-nuclear body test used to detect autoimmune disorders and inflammation. These numbers had doubled indicating a growing problem. However, I feel amazingly better than when I first had the test in April of 2011. My doctor said while the test was a concern the fact that I'm feeling better makes it less of an issue. But he wants to check it again in June.

I made an appointment with a general practitioner in my neighborhood for a physical in early March. This time I will definitely fast. Curious to see if my numbers are better. In three weeks I'll have the answer.

In the meantime, I'm trying gluten free oats again. I mixed them with some flax and rice Puffins this morning. So far no wheezing or bloating. Hoping the extra soluble fiber helps. Fiber can be confusing. I've been referring to this post on CR for help.

Here's to a high-fiber weekend!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A to Zits

My chin has become home to two large red welts. They might be zits. But usually zits go through a series of steps before disappearing. The things on my chin are stuck in huge red welt phase. And they're kind of itchy. Luckily one of the welts is just under my chin. So that leaves the other completely open to sight. I feel like a third one is trying to pop out of the left side of my nose.

Other than drinking two glasses of champagne Saturday night and a gluten free bagel for breakfast one day last week, I'm following a vegan, gluten free and yeast free diet. Also, I don't touch my face. Ever since my doctor warned me not to, I've banished my hands from my face except when washing or putting cover up on.

When will the hell end?

Any one know of good remedies for removing gigantic hardened rocks from one's face?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Yoga Virgin

How long am I allowed to say that I'm new and totally clueless to yoga? I'm hoping at least a year. I need an excuse as to why I'm often in the completely wrong position. Over the last week, I took my third and fourth yoga classes at Pure Yoga. Last week's was a Basics class. The class left me feeling much more flexible and supple. I've been amping up my gym routine by running intervals on the treadmill. Afterwards, I feel incredible tight and achy. The yoga Basics class relieved a lot of these feelings.

Yesterday's was an hour and a half Alignment Basics. Since yesterday was a holiday this class was very full. I was able to follow along with the instructor until about three-quarters of the way through when I found myself totally lost. I was standing in warrior yet the name of the pose was something entirely different. The last thirty minutes of the class I found myself fighting a nap. Maybe the warm room temp brought on the sleepiness. Or my hunger. The class was ran during lunch time.

After class I came home and made a curry millet dish I discovered on Choosing Raw. I substituted raisins for the goldenberries. It's really good if you like the intersection of spice with sweetness. To date this is my favorite recipe I've discovered at CR. My husband said our apartment smelled like Mughlai restaurant. The dish makes a lot. I just finished another bowl for lunch. No drowsy yoga today.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The '1' Train Makes Me Sick

Since my overall health is improving, it's easier for me to notice symptoms. Gone is my constant wheezing and itching. These things happen daily, but not constantly. However, lately I've been noticing during my morning and evening commutes to work that my symptoms reappear. While riding the '1' train I find myself experiencing light asthmatic wheezing and even nausea. Within twenty minutes of getting off the train, my symptoms subside. Could it be that I'm allergic to the subway?

Where's an unlimited budget for a town car to drive me around? Honestly, I would really hate being driven all over the city in a car. I easily get motion sickness in the backs of cabs and cars. I prefer the zippity-do-dah nature of the subway. Except when the zip is gone and service stalls. Or when I get squeezed into some dude's armpit on a packed train during rush hour.

What's happening down in the subway causing this sickness? Or, should I not ask? (An image of a man I once saw eating a fish complete with bones comes to mind. He licked his hand clean and then wiped it on the pole. Who knew a metal pole doubled as a napkin?! ) I imagine in addition to horrific bacteria and viruses there's tons of mold lurking. Mold and me don't get along. I gave up blue cheese eight years before I nixed all dairy from my world. I may never really know.

Last night when I got home from my asthmatic commute, accompanied with heavy coughing and itching, I broke out my juicer. I whipped up a carrot, pear and apple blend. Check out my non orange orange juice.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Couch T-bones in a Cheese-atative State

Being a writer sometimes a find words or phrases that make me say, "WTF?" 

According to one of the meanings of the phrase vegetative is:  Of or being a state of grossly impaired consciousness, as after severe head trauma or brain disease, in which an individual is incapable of voluntary orpurposeful acts and only responds reflexively to painful stimuli.

Then there's couch potato. A person whose leisure time is spent watching television.

Let's face it, phrases like these really don't give vegetables a good Klout score. However I know very well the positive power of vegetables on well being and on the environment. I have now been following a vegan diet for about seven months. My diet combined with a mix of supplements, juicing, acupuncture, exercise and meditation has made me feel so much better than 15 years of oral antibiotics and steroids ever did. 

Instead of couch potato maybe the phrase should be couch t-bone? A friend of mine commented that when she used to eat a steak, she had to spend two days on the sofa recovering. 

How about replacing cheese-atative state for vegetative? I've read more accounts that I can count of people who have given up eating meat, dairy and eggs in exchange for plant-based diets. In return, these people have been reawakened with vibrant energy as there ailments diminish or even poof!– vanish. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Vegan Eating Bender

Last weekend my two friends from high school, Dana and Regina, visited me in New York City. One is a vegan and the other liked veggies way before I even knew what a brussels sprout was. During their two-day stay, we managed to eat at four different vegan and veg-friendly spots.

Friday night it was Candle 79 where we spotted Woody Harrleson. He rolled right up to our table with a baby in hand. Not sure who the baby belonged to. Any one missing one? I had recently read an article in which Woody talked about being vegan. So how apropos to see him there.

To begin, I orderd the Guacamole Timbale.. I've ordered this dish before and once again enjoyed the multi-flavor layered app with caramelized onions and black beans. Since I can't have soy, the crackers that accompanied the dip were off limits. Instead, I dunked chip-shaped pieces of jicama and cucumber into the timbale.

For my main I had the incredibly filling Brussels Sprout Salad. It was a cold salad featuring roasted brussels sprouts, turnips, jerusalem artichokes, and baby carrots with a garlic-rosemary dressing. Dana jumped in on the sprouts too.

Saturday we kicked things off with lunch at Peacefood Cafe. My four-year-old son joined us too. He gobbled up half a plate of soy nuggets. I admit, I told him they were chicken. I had to have the chick pea fries and my goto order of roasted Japanese pumpkin and brussels sprouts. I think I may have over sprouted. I had so much food leftover that I packed it up and took it home. I also indulged in a fresh green lemonade juice. On the way out, my son picked out a gluten free chocolate chip cookie to go. I somehow managed not to order one for me. A true test of restraint.

We spent the afternoon at the MAD. Two of the floors were closed so we were only charged half admission, $7.50. What a score I thought. But after perusing the 2 floors that were open I felt gypped. The main attraction of the museum is the roof top bar when jaw dropping view of Central Park. Late afternoon we rode the elevator up. I was feeling so sleepy. I expected my friends to order cocktails or wine. When they began checking out the tea list I followed their lead. The green tea with jasmine blossoms really woke me up. I felt rejuvenated and super charged. The tea also smelled fragrant. My $5 cup of tea plus tip and view, now this was a deal.

When I got home, I popped open the jar of UliMana raw, vegan truffles Regina had given me. These were yummymana. Another lesson in restraint ensued as I kept from devouring the whole jar. Will have to purchase more of these, that is if I can trust myself.

That evening we dined at Gobo. My friends had a tough time deciding which dishes to order. There were so many good ones. In the end they each ordered the same main dish some kind of lettuce wrap and shared the pan seared vegetable dumplings and the scallion pancakes. I went for the yam fries and the roasted veggies. No dish disappointed. I was excited to have plenty of yam fries to take home. The leftovers went really well with gaucamole and my office computer.

The next day we kept things simple and affordable by dining at Whole Foods. Afterwards we hit Juice Generation where I discovered the Hail to Kale blend of kale, watermelon, apple and lemon. This juice was like a shot of espresso. I felt hyper and giddy afterwards. At least this is one bender that ended with me feeling radiant.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Macrobiotic Lunch

Friday was a big day for me. Instead of hauling my lunch with me, I went out for a macrobiotic meal with my coworker Kayte. Kayte is also a veggie girl. And I'm sad to see her leave the office for a new job. Her last day is tomorrow.

The two of us had lunch at Souen. As we walked through the restaurant to our table, I couldn't help but notice how beautiful all the diners looked. Maybe it was the sun-flooded restaurant lighting everyone up? Or maybe it was the internal glow from consuming fresh juices and healthy macrobiotic food? Possibly they had really good makeup artists? Whatever it was, I wanted to glow.

To kick things off, we each ordered a fresh juice. I had carrot, lemon and cucumber. Kayte chose beet, ginger and apple. Check out our vibrant juices.

For my main I went with the classic macrobiotic plate of brown rice, beans, seaweed, steamed kabocha, carrot and greans. I love how the plate was served with a huge knife sticking out. You usually only see this at steak houses.

I had to abstain from any of the side dressings since they all contained soy. I think the seaweed had some soy in it. I got congested during the meal. But ten minutes after leaving Souen my congestion resolved itself and I felt pretty good.

My first lunch out was a grand success. The food was fresh, healthy, delicious and amazingly affordable and I had a blast with Kayte, who I will miss. I hope to stay in touch with her over a future veggie meal.

Friday, February 3, 2012

World's Greatest Zit

I almost called in sick today. Not because I have a cold, fever or a bad tummy. Instead I'm cultivating the world's largest zit. It's growing from under my right nostril. I guess it could have chosen to take root from the middle of my nose or between my eyes. Despite this eyesore on my face, I managed to show up to work.

What exactly is the cause of the world's greatest zit? I eat zero dairy as well as any animal-based foods. I consume very little refined sugar. I think the culprit could br 15 years of antibiotics and steroids. I imagine these drugs are still lingering deep in my tissues. They're trying to get out any way they can. They seep out as nose snot, slither down my throat as think mucous and plop out of my pooper as caca. I guess the typical passageways weren't available so they decided to make a grand exodus through my face. Thanks Levaquin!

I'm getting closer to my year anniversary that'll mark a year without ingesting any oral antibiotics or steroids. I have about two and half months to go. In the home stretch.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Food Journaling Make Over

My handwriting is awful. So bad that I can hardly read it. I had an intervention with myself. That it was time I cleaned up my food journal hand writing. As you can see from the image below, the left side is my previous illegible version. The right side is the new cleaned up, easy to read version. Hopefully.

I took both with me to see Dr. Firshein today. My homework was for me to track everything I ate along with any symptoms experienced. Honestly, every single day I experience light wheezing and gross, thick mucous draining down the back of my throat. As bad as this sounds, this is a vast improvement. A year ago I ran a fever daily, had zero sense of small, used my emergency inhaler about five times a day and spent my days choking on pistachio colored mucous. 

These days I can smell my fresh veggie juice, perfume and the subway. With good comes some bad I guess. I haven't used my inhaler in almost two months. I drink green tea constantly which some how relaxes my airways. I've also almost gone a full year without ingesting any oral antibiotics or steroids. Can't wait for the anniversary party.

As my doctor scanned my food journal he brought up some interesting points. He said many of the foods I'm eating are not the most easy to digest. One of my latest issues is a lot of bloating and belly rolling after eating certain foods. He asked me what my family and relatives eat. I mentioned my dad's love for meat and Wendy's. The doctor said items like goji berries and cacao nibs, while healthy, are somewhat foreign to my body. Foreign things are harder for my body to digest. He looked at a long list of ingredients I threw together to make a smoothie: banana, blueberries, flax, spirulina, maca, rice milk, vanilla and stevia. He suggested I simplify. Remove goji berries and spirulina. Try a different brand of rice milk. And so on. He said my goal is to find a small group of ingredients that cause zero reactions. Then I can mix and match these when creating meals. 

The doctor commented that my diet is perfect for prevention of cancer and heart disease. But a challenging one for someone with food sensitivities and digestive issues. Prevention is good. And continuing to track my eats, while tedious, should lead me to a safe eatery haven. 

I also had a bone density test. The nurse had me remove one boot and sock. Then I placed my naked, freshly pedicured foot into a machine. She turned on the machine which gently squeezed my heel and then released. Done. The doctor read my results. He said I was in an ok place, but borderline bad. He said if I were to maintain my current level of bone density into my seventies, then great. He plans to give me a super duper bone-building supplement after my next visit. He didn't want to throw another supplement into the mix since I'm having some digestive issues.

He had the nurse do a full panel of blood work. Last April when I had this done, one test for ANA, showed slightly elevated levels. An ANA (antinuclear antibody) blood test is used to help screen for autoimmune diseases. I'm really curious to see where my numbers pan out this time around. Here's more info about the test:

Any one else keeping a food journal?