Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Inability to Walk

This is the first time I have written about what happened, and what I went through, after what was to be a simple office procedure. It is a very emotional and difficult time on which to reflect. I had symptoms of Nystagmus (involuntary eye movement), my hands were involuntarily grasping/grabbing, and a neurologist had concerns about weakness on the left side of my body. In 2006, I received an MRI scan, and was given a lumbar puncture - a procedure done at an office visit to rule out MS.

I went home after the office visit, still sedated on anti-anxiety medication, and went straight to bed. When I awoke, it was to a living nightmare. I couldn't get out of bed, and was experiencing more pain than I ever had in my life.

It was at that point my life drastically changed. I had to sleep beside my mother, so I could wake her when I needed to get up. At the age of 24, I had quickly regressed to infancy, lifted from bed by a tired mother.

The pain was unbearable to the point where I couldn't walk without the assistance of crutches, often using a wheelchair when I could find one. I couldn't get up from a lying position, I even required a catheter for a period of time. Beyond my physical pain and limitations, I suffered mentally. The combination made a simple lighthearted conversion impossible. A friend I had known since kindergarten would call and say she missed me, and just wanted to talk; I remember telling her to stop calling. I could barely work, which meant my credit score went from 'amazing' to 'default' very quickly, and was brought to near financial ruin.

I forced myself to do a few four-hour shifts at work, often taking bathroom breaks to cry of pain resulting from simply the standing my job required. For the most part, I was not working because co-workers could see how dire things were, and quite honestly, I was unable to fulfill my duties.

I was enrolled in physical therapy, received injections in my groin area, wore a TENS unit, and was prescribed a cornucopia of pills, including neurological medications, muscle relaxers, pain medication, sleeping pills, as well as anxiety and depression medications. I asked the doctor how long this could last, and his answer was 5 or 15 years; he didn't know. At this point, no medication could ease my pain enough to live normally, and nothing could lift the devastation that hung over me.

Over the course of about 1.5 years, I frequented hospitals in the area when the pain was too overwhelming, or when I was unable to urinate. Adding insult to injury, I was often treated like a drug addict, receiving neither answers, nor relief.

The doctor who performed the procedure (and many neurologists in general), will tell you that what I've written here is not the result of a lumbar puncture, that it simply wouldn't happen. Well, let me tell you: it DID happen. Not only to me, but to my little brother at the age of five, when a hospital visit was needed to rule out meningitis. He was admitted to a Children's Hospital in Detroit for months, and the doctors claimed it a was mystery, and even tested him for Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD). It wasn't until I had mine years later, that I made the connection of the lumbar puncture with the pain and inability to walk. I speculate there may be a genetic abnormality in our spines, making such a response to having a lumbar puncture a reality. This is further evidenced by a (closed) sacral dimple on my daughter's lower back at birth. She is fine, but she will never receive a spinal puncture as long as I have a say.

There was no point of 'healing' or 'recovery' since then. It has been a slow and gradual 7 years since, and I still occasionally deal with nerve pain. There are times during the year which I spend up to a week lying on my back as much as possible, just waiting for the pain to subside.

Although it is still hard to reflect on, there is an overall picture where I find strength within the entire experience. I have come so far from where I was, and so very slowly. I see life differently. The sun shines a little brighter than before. I appreciate the little things in life. I celebrate the simple things, like walking; just living life (for the most part) not in pain. Never in my life did I imagine I would be running. But here I am, and I feel like a living miracle.

Ghost N Gobblins 5K- 2013

The busiest race I have ran so far! around 4,000 people registered for the Dayton, OH Ghost N Gobblins 5K. What an experience it was! A local group I am part of ran as a group.

Things I learned? Get to the starting point a bit early. For the first complete mile it was like trying to run though a club. We had started in the back (what can I say, I had to use the potties and the line was long!) and had a lot of walkers/slow runners to get past- in volumes.

I'm happy with how things went though. I know there will always be a bit of a crowd at a popular race, but I will applaud any race that has staggered starts ;)

I had already planned on taking it easy. Being 23.5 weeks pregnant and not used to running on cement OR in evenings- I knew I would be a little out of my realm.

I went to have fun- and you bet I did! And guess what? I didnt do so bad after all!

Official time was 37:01 min and my pace was 11:57 min- @ 23 weeks pregnant? I'll take it!!!! :D

Before race photo

After Race- with the Moms Run This Town Miamisburg, Ohio Group (I am pictured on the right)

A Setback- Planter Fasciitis

A little before my first race I had a setback- Planter Fasciitis.

Planter Fasciitis is a painful inflammation of the connective tissue on the bottom of the foot. Mine was/is located along the arch, though some will also feel it in the heel. I have only had it once before while hiking, so bad that I bailed on the group I was hiking with. It is quite often the biggest 'injury' fear to a runner. 

At first I was crushed reading pages about how it can take 6 months to heal and the #1 recommendation is to stop running for a period of time. 

I decided to do everything I could to heal it and take things day by day. 

What did I do?

I stopped running, stretched my foot and calf through out the day and rolled my foot on ice atleast twice a day. I have not had the pain return since it has healed!

My recipe to healing and prevention: 
  • Dont ignore the first signs of pain! The sooner you put time into healing, the less time it will take!
  • Stop running and any other activity that can further irritate your foot. Basically, take it easy. Which is not an easy thing for a runner with an upcoming run on their calendar. An alternative? Try swimming or biking for cardio in the meantime. Who knows- maybe that will give some inspiration to do a triathlon!
  • Ice your foot minimally 2 times a day. Best thing to do is to take a disposable cups and fill them halfway with water and freeze. Run the frozen cup under warm/hot water for half a minute or until it easily comes out and place into a ziplock bag. Try to get the air out as best as possible. Roll the ice on the arch of your foot for at least 15  minutes. I always wear wool socks and that kept a perfect barrier from the ice so I didnt hurt my foot with it being too cold. If you dont have wool socks you can add more layer of socks until your foot is chilled but not in any pain from the cold. I kept 3 cups on rotation in the freezer; took one out, put one in and if I didn't get around to replacing it, I had two backups! 

  • Stretching! Every morning (when the pain is the worst!) and though out the day I would stretch not only my foot, but also focus on my calf. Best time to stretch is with warm muscles- try after a shower or after a short warm-up run- sometime after your first half - mile of running.

  • Once you feel your foot is ready for a run- take it slow! It wont hurt while you run but you will know the next morning if the pain is still there.  

  • Continue to make sure you stretch to PREVENT Planter Fasciitis from coming back. Chances are if you have had fascia pain in the past you are more likely to have it return. 

More on Prevention: 

  •  Don't increase mileage too fast. I often read to only increase 10% at a time. 
  •  Warm up /stretch before a run
  •  Make sure you are fitted for the correct shoe and support. Your local running shop should have a professional that will fit you properly. 

My First Virtual Race!

I completed Oh Baby! Race hosted by Fit 4 Life.

It's simple:
  • Sign up for the race online and print your bib.
  • Pick at date/time/location and distance for your run
  • Do the race and track your time
  • Enter your data online to complete! 

It's great for those that have really busy schedules. Those who want to set personal goals and have an incentive to do it- especially between races. Also, if you are part of a group- you can get people to run together as a small-scale race.

I ran a 5K on my own stomping grounds where I run trails every Sunday. Here is the medal and an adorable onsie they sent for my little running buddy when she comes!

A group called Mom's Run This Town (find a group in your area!) that I am a part of throws two virtual races a year, summer and winter. I am definitely looking forward to running more virtual races!

Keeping a Training Regimen

Twice a week I participate in a local program called Stroller Strength. We do various strength training and cardio fitness. I am very grateful for this program- it gets me up out of the house bright an early and I each day I look forward to it. I am always welcomed with the (often large- up to  wonderful group of ladies that attend and get an amazing fitness workout from the instructor. My daughter comes with me and enjoys being there as well. She often cheers me on, "Go Mommy! Go Mommy!" is what she says when I am running, her in tow. I have this program to thank for keeping me on track with my weekly routines. 

Call your city or township to see what fitness programs they have to offer. If they don't have a program- Start one! Your town will thank you!

Detoxing Your Home- Non-food Items

It's time to be aware of how you treat the biggest organ in your body-  Your skin. It is the largest and fastest-growing organ in the human body. It is the vital layer that protects your insides from the outer surroundings.

So why is it necessary to switch your cleaning and bathing products?

Absorption. Transdermal medications show how effective this can be. They have patches for nicotine, pain, birth control, among many others that are administered via the skin.

Now lets go back to the products you use, and what your skin has exposure to.

Can I ask, what is the deciding factor on which product you choose to purchase- is it cost? Smell?

Now, lets go though your daily routine. Wake, shower, put on lotion, brush my teeth,over the counter acne medication, put on makeup, occasionally use a tampon or pad, dress myself, put hair product in my hair to style, drink some water, eat breakfast, wash my hands, do some laundry, clean the house.

Now, had I really paid any attention to WHAT I was using? Had I read the labels? Most products used in the store contain many of the top allergens (wheat and soy protein are very common!). And most contain chemicals to keep them shelf stable (preservatives) that are carcinogens. 

When I first started I slowly switched over my old products with new alternatives. There was some trial and error, as some of the first products I had tried I found unsatisfactory.

Take for instance, Shampoo and Conditioner- I had tried some products that left my hair greasy, some that made my hair feel wet all day, some that dried out my hair, some that made it feel 'squeaky'? (Ew! I never knew that could even be a possibility!) I also found that some products claiming to be 'natural' indeed had ingredients I found unnecessary and undesirable to use on my body.

So lesson #1, and this lesson will be repeated throughout- READ YOUR INGREDIENT LABELS! Not just on your food, but any product you purchase.

Did I see a difference? Yes. I have twice as many eyelashes then I've ever known. My hair is thicker. I dont sweat or smell as much when I strength train or run. My face has less acne. My skin looks more vibrant and I can swear my skin even looks a bit younger (less wrinkling) !

A great website I used when I first started  to make the switch is Skin Deep  a non profit website where you can search specific products and the website has ratings for hazardous or toxic ingredients. Bonus: they also reference to studies and reports.

It can be pricy making the switch. As my products ran out I just replaced them with healthier alternatives. Some products can even be made at home- I have now gotten to the point where I make my own deodorant, dish washing tablets, shampoo/conditioner, laundry soap- and my next project is to make bar soap!  Future blog worthy? You bet!

So start taking notice of how often your skin comes in contact with day to day products. Also, what you are breathing in- air fresheners and perfumes. Start reading labels and educating yourself on what you feel to be safe or unsafe to use.

I highly recommend doing a detox from conventionally used products and see how your body reacts! 

Here are the following products/items I have used that were up to my standards:

Pictured from Left to Right: 
Meyer's liquid hand soap
EO Performace Shampoo and condtioner
Witch hazel- face toner
Coconut Oil-face moisturizer/deodorant
Shea Moisture Baby Head-To-Toe- for the little ones!
Alba SPF 45
California Baby SPF30+
California Baby Bug Repellent Spray
(second row)
Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap
Jason PowerSmile toothpaste
Hugo Naturals Soap

Pictured from Left to Right: 
Eucalan Wool Wash
Baby Ganics All purpose cleaner
Meyer's Shower spray
Meyer's All purpose cleaner
Meyer's Laundry detergent
Baking soda- Ingredient for homemade cleaning products.
Kosher salt- Ingredient for homemade cleaning products.
Grab dish soap
Washing Soda- Use as directed and also an ingredient for homemade cleaning products.
Vinegar- Ingredient for homemade cleaning products.
Olive Oil- to remove sticky residue
Lemon Juice- I get the super cheap kind (marked Not For Food with a sharpie!). Ingredient for homemade cleaning products.

My Little Running Buddy!

Lets go back to my first race- a 10k back in June. Little did I know that was baby's first race too! I was unknowingly at the time about 6 weeks pregnant. We had been not trying, but nor preventing and I thought if I DID get pregnant it would have been the few months before the race- not that month of! My husband had been not home much for that entire month because due to work and as ultrasounds confirm, I had ovulated at a strange time of the month. Low and behold, the best surprise a mom could ask for!

My doctor assured that my running was still safe as long as I kept hydrated and cool and I have been running since. All of my ultrasounds and blood work has come back more then satisfactory. We are so blessed <3

At around 16 weeks I could 'feel' my tummy and purchased a support belt- that fixed that problem. And around 20 weeks I started to slow down a little bit, I assume from extra blood volume, but I am still just so enthused that I can run and still feel so great doing it!

Cant wait to meet my little running buddy!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Elimination Diet

I am often asked about the Elimination Diet, how to start, and how it works. Here I will explain the basic steps I took. I will go into more detail of certain specifics in later posts.

First you should know, this will test and challenge you in every possible way, physically as well as mentally.   Your body might go though withdraw much like a drug addict would go though. Many chemical additives are added to processed foods to make foods have a long shelf life, which is at the cost of the consumer who eats it. Some even claim that these man-made additives are also addictive. And though I cannot say for sure that is true, what I felt when I did the elimination diet sounded and felt just like a withdraw. Things were really difficult for three months, then it got easier from there, so much to the point where you dont want or crave those foods at all.

The elimination diet is mostly done with all whole foods. Selecting a product with many ingredients will make it difficult to know what is causing issues. So, in the beginning at least, stick with whole foods made from scratch.

A little heads up- you will spend more money on food, and yes, it's worth it and I am willing to bet you will save more on medical bills if you don't! Tip: look into CSAs (community supported agriculture) and local farmers markets, check out different grocers/store locations to see what they have to offer.

This is a long process, but a thorough process to correctly identify foods that could be causing aliments. Be committed for the long haul!

KEEP A JOURNAL! Write down what you eat right as you eat it. Believe me, you will forget!

Lastly, read up! The internet is a plethora of support and information. Google Search allergen free recipes, ingredient replacements, and companies that support your exclusions.

Step 1- Contact your doctor and make sure you are healthy enough to start this diet. In the beginning it can be very difficult for the body as it is detoxing from not only allergens but additives that are put in most foods sold today from the grocer. You might also want to contact a nutritionist and also follow up with blood work to make sure you are getting enough nutrients and also to document progress. This diet is not for just anyone.Those who are diabetic for example would need to take extra precaution and track glucose levels most often. Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I am sharing my experiences and rules I went by. Please be safe.

Step 2- Major Detox part 1. Even before you start the diet you might want to take a look at shampoo, conditioner, soap, laundry soap, deodorant, perfumes, toothpaste, cleaning products lotions and makeup. Ever been asked what the largest organ in the body is? It is your skin. Anything that touches your skin is absorbed and goes DIRECTLY into your bloodstream. Many ingredients in these common house hold items are allergens and harmful chemicals. For instance, most commercial deodorant contains aluminum that clogs your pores so you don't sweat, also it has been found to cause cancer. Perfume/air freshers contain formaldehyde- yes, another carcinogen. Shampoos and soaps contain gluten and wheat products and also phthalates.

Check HERE To see what household items I have fell in love with (most homemade and way cheaper then store bought!). There are many alternative and better options out there then the most use commercial brands.

Step 3- Major Detox part 2- Food- For the first two weeks you will be eating three or four top allergen-free foods ONLY.
Top allergens include:

  • Milk - Dairy of all kind- including cheese, and butter
  • Eggs - More commonly the whites are the culprit for reaction, but yolks can also be reactive. 
  • Peanuts 
  • Tree nuts (such as coconut, almonds, cashews, walnuts)
  • Fish (such as bass, cod, salmon)
  • Shellfish (such as crab, lobster, shrimp)
  • Soy (Miso, natural flavor, vegetable oil, lecithin)
  • Wheat - or anything that contains GLUTEN (rye, semolina, spelt, barley) 

I chose Chicken, Yams and Quinoa. Yes, I ate this for breakfast, lunch and dinner for two whole weeks. No spice, nothing but.

Step 4- After two weeks, you add ONE whole food item into the diet then wait three days for a reaction.
A reaction can come in many forms:

  • Bowel issues (diarrhea, constipation)
  • Breathing issues (wheezing, swelling in face/neck)
  • Acne 
  • Stomach Pains ( I felt pains in my upper/small intestine)
  • Excessive Gas
  • Anxiety or Rapid heart rate
  • Nausea  
  • Rash 
  • Lack of energy

Step 5- Pass or Fail. If there is no reaction, then the item has 'passed' the test. Congrats! You get to add another food to test for the next three days! 

What if you think you might feel a symptom? If you feel you may have had a reaction,  you will need to take the food out of your diet until symptom have diminished. The bad news? It can take up to two to three weeks (dairy for instance stays in your system for this long, gluten possibly even longer!) Once symptoms are gone, add the item back into your. If symptom comes back you have a 'Fail' and you have to wait until symptoms are diminished before testing a new food. If they don't, that means the previous symptom was not related and this would be classified as a Pass! Add another item and wait three days- and so on :) 

Step 6- Keep your sanity! Yes the first three months are the worst. To me it felt just like a with drawl, I had super strong cravings, even bouts of crying that lasted up to 20 minutes, I wanted to give up so bad! But just like a with drawl, all this went away at about three months and got better from there. Try to focus on what you CAN eat and be creative with it! 
I ended up creating what I called a 'Sanity Cheat' to help me cope with the difficulty of the diet. Which I will post about soon. 

Step 7- ENJOY LIFE! This diet has changed my life drastically for the better. I no longer have heart issues (sinus tachycardia) , symptoms of MS are gone, no more high cholesterol, anxiety/depression, diarrhea, nausea, constipation, stomach pains, sinus infections ( I would get a minimum of two infections a year, and up to about six!), my weight has be STEADY for over a year now. And I gained so much more- I don't need medications for anything, I can taste more, smell better, and best of all- I CAN RUN!  

Friday, June 21, 2013

I Came in FOURTH


I did it! What fun! I had a blast! And that is all that matters :)

My pace for the 10K was 12:13 per mile- Its a start. It only gets better from here! 

 The blur to the right is me!

Homemade Kombucha- Continuous Brew

Here are directions on how to make a continuous brew of kombucha, if you don't have a crock, a large glass container will work just as well.

What you will need to start: 

-1 SCOBY- (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast)- You can either grow your own or acquire one from a friend. Feel free to message me if you need one I might be able to mail it to you for cost of shipping.
- 2 cups Starter liquid (Kombucha)- I had about a cup from the person I obtained my SCOBY from and I also added a bottle of Original GTs Kombuch from the store.
- 12 cups Filtered Water-  Tap water contains additives such as chlorine and fluoride that will compromise the SCOBY. Filtered well water works good too.
- 4-6 bags of Tea- Black, Green and Oolong Tea are most common. Do not use teas that have oils or flavorings as they can kill the SCOBY
-1 cup of Organic White Cane Sugar- other sweeteners dont work well or kill the SCOBY, if you dont have organic, non-organic white cane sugar will work as well. Keep in mind most sugar will be consumed by the SCOBY by the end of the brew. 
- Crock with a spigot. I purchased a lead free crock from Amazon. Make sure it is lead free! If you dont want a continuous brew, you can also use a glass jar (no lid  needed)
-A piece of tight woven Cotton Cloth large enough to cover the top of the crock- I started with a kitchen towel until I obtained a nice quilters cloth.
-Large rubber band- I re-used one from a produce purchase.
-Glue gun or duct tape to help the rubber band not come off the top of the crock.
-White vinegar- Use this to clean hands, crock, pot. Soap will also damage or kill the SCOBY.
- Wooden Spoon - To stir the Sweet tea, metal will damage the SCOBY. 
- Pot to boil water
 -Measuring cup


Read here (link coming soon!) about how to prep the crock with glue gun so the rubber band doesn't come off. 

Clean everything with vinegar and warm water and dry completely.

Boil filtered water in pot, remove from heat and add black tea and sugar, stir will. Cover with a clean towel to keep particles from contamination. Let sit for 3 hours or until it has cooled down to at least 95 degrees. 

After tea has cooled, mix in started liquid. Pour into crock and add SCOBY. 

Cover with clean towel and tightly fasten with rubber band.

Leave in an undisturbed place away from the garbage and in an area that has good air flow for anywhere from 5-10 days depending on the temperature. The best temperature is around 80 degrees, or ranging from 75-85. Anything below will take more time to ferment and above might ferment faster. 

I always take a look inside every couple days to make sure things are growing good but making sure not to disturb the liquid. It is very normal to have brown pieces or even 'balloons' come off of the SCOBY- this is the good yeast. The only thing you dont want to find is black, blue or green fussy growth on the surface of the tea. This would indicate that your culture has been contaminated and would need to be disposed of- SCOBY and all.

After your tea has fermented to your liking (PH will be around 2.5 if you have litmus strips), make a new batch of sweet tea (make sure to cool it!). Pour finished tea  into glass containers that have a lid (make sure to leave at least two cups of finished tea for starter liquid for next batch), and either put in the fridge or flavor your kombucha with a second ferment (link coming soon!).

Comment and let me know how your kombucha turns out!


If you notice in the first photo, I have the spigot hanging over the table for easy access later.

Here is the start of the new SCOBY, a thin film on the surface of the tea.

Here is my SCOBY hotel (link coming soon!), where you keep extra SCOBYs with a few bottles in their second ferment (link coming soon!).

Friday, June 7, 2013

A Review- My Favorite Leafy Greens Recipe

Take a quick look at Just A Taste's  Raw Kale Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette  recipe.
Maybe even print it out for later. 

Let me be honest. I had never had kale in my life until winter 2010, about two and a half years ago. I started out with Kale Chips. And I loved them. But now I've graduated to actually enjoying kale in its raw form.

Behold- the Kale Salad. So many recipes and dressings. I've had a few and liked them. My stomach and digestive system really enjoyed some hearty and super healthy greens. Even WebMD claims Kale as one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet!  Cant go wrong with that!

I stumbled upon the recipe and listed among the ingredients were bacon (who can resist the B word?), and pepitas, otherwise known as the pumpkin seed. These seeds pack some great nutrients.  Kale + Bacon and Pepitas = I just HAD to try this recipe!

I honestly wouldn't change a thing. The punch from the mustard and apple cider vinegar in the dressing is amazing. And warming the kale just enough to turn them bright green is most ideal!

After making this a couple times, I don't need to look at my printed recipe any more. This is one of the few recipes that make it into my brain and stick there for when I'm craving an easy and delicious nutrient packed salad.

Fuel your run! Eat some leafy greens!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

7 Days Until My First Race

Here is my new outfit. I feel like I just bought a dress for prom. Excitement, nerves and all!

Chocolate Dipped Fruit with Almond or Coconut Butter and/or Medjool Dates

I stumbled upon a couple recipes that looked delicious, Frozen Chocolate Covered Bananas
and Coconut Butter and Almond Butter Cups

Undecided on which recipe I would make, I decided to make a hybrid of both-

Chocolate Dipped Fruit with Almond or Coconut Butter and/or Medjool Dates. 


1 cup of Semi-Sweet or Dark Chocolate Chips (mine were Enjoy Life allergen friendly chocolate chips) 
4 tbls Coconut Oil
2-3 Ripe Bananas cut into disks
7-8 Strawberries cut in half or in circles
Homemade Almond Butter or Justins Almond Butter or Coconut butter
Medjool Dates, pitted and cut into half circles or circles

Cut Fruit and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet.

Pit and cut Medjool Dates

Arrange cut figs and almond/coconut butter on frozen fruit

Place in Freezer for a minimum of 2.5 hours. 

When everything is frozen, prepare chocolate by melting chocolate and coconut oil slowly in the microwave or on stove.
I used the microwave, 50% for 1 min, stirred and then 100% for 20 seconds.

Drop frozen and decorated fruit into melted chocolate and turn with a spoon.

Place back on wax paper to cool. The chocolate will harden almost immediately and a hard chocolate shell will form. 

Once hardened, place in a Ziploc bag and keep in freezer until ready to eat.

Perfect for an after run treat to cool you down! 

Printer Friendly for copy/paste:

~Chocolate Dipped Fruit with Almond or Coconut Butter and/or Medjool Dates~

1 cup of Semi-Sweet or Dark Chocolate Chips (mine were Enjoy Life allergen friendly chocolate chips) 
4 tbls Coconut Oil
2-3 Ripe Bananas cut into disks
7-8 Strawberries cut in half or in circles
Homemade Almond Butter or Justins Almond Butter or Coconut butter
Medjool Dates, pitted and cut into half circles or circles

Cut Fruit and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet.
Pit and cut Medjool Dates
Arrange cut figs and almond/coconut butter on frozen fruit

Place in Freezer for a minimum of 2.5 hours. 

When everything is frozen, prepare chocolate by melting chocolate and coconut oil slowly in the microwave or on stove. I used the microwave, 50% for 1 min, stirred and then 100% for 20 seconds.

Drop frozen and decorated fruit into melted chocolate and turn with a spoon.
Place back on wax paper to cool. The chocolate will harden almost immediately and a hard chocolate shell will form. 
Once hardened, place in a Ziploc bag and keep in freezer until ready to eat.

Perfect for an after run treat to cool you down! 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I Can Run!

So I will!

I was told I couldn't run.
I was told I was a good candidate for heart surgery.
Unrelated to my heart, there was a period of time where I couldn't walk.
I couldn't get up from the lying position.
I even had a catheter.
Never in my life would I have thought that I would be a runner, and even more- LOVE it!

I'll come back to what happened with my spine in another post, for now lets talk about the main issue I had been dealing with my entire life- my heart.

Up until 2011, I had problems with sinus tachycardia. My heart rate was consistently between 95-110 bmp, but was even recorded at 180 bpm resting rate. Basically my heart rate would instantly go fast with no given warning. The worst part? I felt like I was dying, which led me to have panic attacks. Sadly, this condition was unknown until after secondary school and I had a few attacks that left me in the  hallway crying, sweating, hands cold and curled up on my chest. Hyperventilation even made me pass out a couple times where the EMS was called, but by the time paramedics came, my heart would be back to normal, and the whole ordeal was diagnosed as a panic attack.

It didn't stop at these random attacks. I'm pretty sure my PE teachers thought I was one of those kid slackers. Skinny kid who clocked in last on the track, and asked for too many breaks/rests. I really wanted to be athletic. I enjoyed how it felt after a good sweat. I was on a soccer team, I tried my best. PE? I flunked it in middle school. Made up mandatory credits from being in marching band, thankfully that was something I could physically do.

First time I went backcountry hiking was when I was 19. It was just a small island in northern Michigan  But I feel in love. I love nature, and camping. It was a workout that I could handle and really enjoy the serenity of nature and great views.

Then I went to the Smokey Mountains.  I had gone with a friend of mine thinking things would go just as they had on that island I had hiked. Let me tell you, that climb- was not forgiving! My friend  had taken the slowest hike of her life. She would hike then stop and wait for me to catch up. I felt like I was dying, but I didnt want to give up because I truly was loving the wilderness and views! (dont ask about the bears- I am terrified of bears!)

I must just be out of shape.

 So what do I do? I purchased a gym membership, that included a session with a personal trainer. When I told him that I couldn't run he put me up to the test.

I failed that test. My heart rate was too high.

I would go to the gym and work out, doing things my heart would allow. But I couldn't help but look over at those treadmills and see various sizes and shapes running for much longer then I ever could.

My desires to be fit seemed to be shot down.  That was the point where I decided to see a cardiologist.

I was put on a heart monitor for a month at which they clocked me in at 180 bpm. I went on various tests and was sent to a heart specialist at Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit. They had discussed going in my artery with a wire and taking it to my heart and giving it some electrical shocks that would 'diminish some of the electricity' that was making my heart jump start to the horse race.

Well, I dont think I'm going to die in the next 10 years, how about we wait a bit and see how medical advances are then and go from there. Yep, that is what I told them. Thank goodness I did!

It was 7 years later I would become a mom, and my life would change in more ways then imaginable.

What does motherhood have to do with my heart? Keep reading!

My daughter was not the typical sleep-all-day newborn. She was diagnosed with 'colic' and 'eczema' and 'acid reflux'.  She cried inconsolably for eight hours at a time, the poor girl was hardly getting any sleep. This mom wouldn't stop until I got the right answer. I knew she was in pain and that I had to keep trying to figure it out.

My very amazing doula had mentioned to try the Dr. Sears total elimination diet. My daughter was exclusively breastfed and any proteins I ate went to my breast milk  The diet started out with just a few least-likely allergen foods and after two weeks added one food at a time, waiting three days for reactions. It was a tedious and both mentally and physically challenging diet to say the least. But sure enough, in two weeks my daughter was gradually getting better. Eventually I remember sitting there crying watching her coo and smile, I was so happy that diet was the answer. A mom wants nothing more then to see their child happy and healthy!

During this time I started noticing changes with myself. I felt more energy for one. My heart felt MUCH slower. I was so concerned I had asked my doctor if 70 bmp was normal.  He chuckled and said it was perfect, an athletes rate. Athletes you say? Which got me thinking...

I took the stroller out that evening for our walk. But I decided to do more then that- OH MY! I'm running and my heart was not pounding out of my chest, I didn't feel sick, I could breath. The only beat I could feel was my feet on the pavement, and what a glorious thing!

It has now been almost two years, and I have found a new passion. My passion for running has been combined with my love of nature. I'm now running trails any chance I can. I feel I've been given this wonderful blessing; the ability to run and even signed up for my FIRST RACE! I will be doing a 10K trail race June 9th, 2013. And my ultimate goal for now, to do a half marathon trail run this Oct.
I CAN RUN! and so I will!