Category Archives: Healthy Lifestyle

Friday Favorites #3

Happy Friday, all. Welcome to Friday Favorites #3.

Aloe Vera for Acid Reflux

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I have just about every digestive problem you’ve ever heard of…all camped out in one body. I’m a lucky gal. That includes the more common symptom you’ve probably experienced– acid reflux. When GERD, or acid reflux symptoms get more extreme, they can completely alter appetite, activity levels, mood, and general quality of life. When I get a bad acid reflux attack, it even affects my breathing. My doctors’ first instinct was to put me on Proton Pump Inhibitors (like Zantac) which lead to nutrient deficiencies over time, and can lead to even more volatile acid production. Aloe Vera is a natural and safe alternative, and it works about 100 times better for me than prescription antacids. I take this brand, which has no taste. Since I started drinking aloe, My symptoms are much less frequent, and only about half as severe as they were before.

Lemons ‘n Lyme Blog

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Victoria, from Lemons ‘n Lyme was diagnosed with chronic Lyme Disease in college. She’s been on multiple antibiotic treatments, and followed her own anti-inflammatory protocols for years. She also follows the AIP (diet), which you’ll recognize from some of my posts, and has recently begun to treat SIBO. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, which means she managed to make it through college with chronic illness (wow!). This girl refuses to be victimized by her limitations, and her blog offers a lot of personality and insight. Victoria will be guest blogging on Sedentary Superwoman next week, so keep your eyes open.

Mango Cucumber Salsa

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Noms! I’ve been eating this stuff on everything: coconut oil chips, fish, veggies, ice cream… I kid. But really, go make this. It’s delicious. If spicy is your thing, add some jalapeño. My stomach would hate me if I did that, but it sounds delicious.

Ingredients:
1 mango
1/2 medium cucumber
1 bell pepper
1 handful fresh cilantro
1/4 red onion

Combine ingredients in blender or food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Of course, you could also do the old school thing and chop with a knife.


Of Monsters and Men Beneath the Skin

This album isn’t really new anymore, but if you haven’t hopped on the Beneath the Skin bandwagon yet, do it! I love these Icelandic weirdos, and I think this album is better than their first. It’s a little more introspective, and a little less myth/storytelling than My Head is an Animal. My favorite song is “Wolves Without Teeth.” The whole album is awesome, though. These guys are really good with cryptic metaphors and catchy melodies.

This Book: Aaron Lynch’s Though Contagion

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This book is pretty incredible, so far. It’s based on the science of memetics, which is a newer realm of thought, developed by scientist Richard Dawkins. Memetics focuses on outlining the patterns and spread of human behavior. It’s sort of like an evolutionary exploration of thought. It was really interesting to see the science applied to religion and gender roles, especially. It’s hard to explore those fields without bias, but Lynch’s theories are fairly neutral and really fascinating.

My blogging assistant wishes you all a wonderful weekend!
My super trusty and adorable blogging assistant wishes you all a wonderful weekend!
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Friday Favorites #2

Ello Loves! Welcome to Friday Favorites #2. Here are some things I want to share with you this week.

Lemon Balm as a Natural Soother

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Modern western society is so eager to jump at antianxiety medications or brain-altering drugs, like Valium, to take the edge off after stressful days and make busy lifestyles easier to handle. There are so many side effects that come with those pharmaceuticals that they are much more dangerous than they are helpful. Once you alter the serotonin and dopamine levels in your body, you can upset your circadian rhythms, which will lead to irregular sleep, digestive problems, chronic inflammation, and can even increase the severity of anxiety attacks. Natural soothers can’t always meet all your needs if you have high levels of anxiety, but you still want to lessen your reliance on seratonin reuptake inhibitors and other seratonin/dopamine altering drugs as much as possible. Lemon balm is an herbal remedy that has been extremely effective for me for its calming, anti-anxiety properties. I take it in the evenings as either a tincture or a tea, and it works wonders. You can combine it with chamomile for an even stronger relaxing effect.

More about Lemon Balm: Benefits of Lemon Balm

My Water Bottle from motivationalbottle.com

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You’ve heard it before– you’re dehydrated and don’t realize it. CBS reports that 75 percent of Americans are in a state of chronic dehydration. You should be drinking at least two to three liters of water a day (if you suffer from health problems, probably three). This bottle filled up three times is about three litres. It has measurements printed on the side to help you keep track of how much water you’re drinking throughout the day. Plus, it’s cute!

Heartbeet Kitchen Blog

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Amanda at Heartbeet Kitchen has been diagnosed with SIBO and Leaky Gut symptoms, similar to mine, and she uses healthy food as medicine to help guide her healing. Her blog has awesome recipes for food sensitivities, as well as healthy eaters in general. She has followed the AIP, which is a diet I’ve used to help mitigate my digestive symptoms. Her recipes incorporate a lot of nutrition without sacrificing taste. Check out Heartbeet Kitchen, even if you don’t have food sensitivities. Amanda offers a lot of lifestyle and nutritional wisdom, and her photography is gorgeous!

Zoya Nail Polish
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Ladies, have you ever stopped to consider how many freaky chemicals you’re putting into your bodies with your beauty routines? Nail polish, alone, contains 5 major toxins, and that’s only a small fraction of the cosmetics you’re coming in contact with. Toluene, linked to anemia, formaldehyde, a respiratory irritant and known carcinogen, DBP, which has been shown to cause multiple birth defects, formaldehyde resin, a skin allergen, and camphor, causing headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Zoya nail polish is free of all five of these toxic substances, plus it’s vegan, animal-cruelty-free, and offers awesome colors to keep your nails just as fancy as the gross poisonous ones. The teal color I’m wearing is “Dillon” and the Burgundy hiding under my finger is “Tiegen.”

Roasted Spaghetti Squash
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I have been loving squash lately. My meals have to be nutrient-dense because my body is depleted and my stomach can’t handle very much volume. Replacing any grain side with squash is a way to exchange mostly empty calories with nutrients like niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese. It’s great served as a pasta substitute with bolognese sauce, or on its own topped with olive oil or butter. You can also do spaghetti squash “hash” for breakfast. If you want to supercharge meals with nutrients and lower your empty-calorie carb consumption, any of these meal/snack ideas are great options.

I hope your Friday is better than Tiger Lily Applesauce's. She just CAN'T EVEN today.
I hope your Friday is better than Tiger Lily Applesauce’s. She just CAN’T EVEN today.

Lifestyle Changes to Boost Your Brain and Body

Happy Easter, Everyone! In accordance with the new blog direction that I mentioned in my last post, I’ve decided to share some lifestyle changes I’ve discovered that help me cope with my disability.

Yoga: Yoga is a huge game-changer for me. When practiced on a regular basis, it helps my muscle pain ridiculous amounts- more so than any medication, and more than any other exercise (although exercise alone is extremely important in recovery). It also helps maintain mental clarity, and boosts focus and self confidence. Yoga is all about respecting and honoring yourself, even in sickness. You can tailor routines to fit your needs, and you can always use a supporting block or a modified pose when you’re having too much pain or weakness. Routines are designed to help the body strip off the pollutants and burdens of life, and reach a state of elevated health, strength, and relaxation. It’s all about celebrating the life inside you, and bringing you to a heightened level of respect and knowledge of yourself and your body.

I am so zen...
I am so zen…

Zentangling: Zentangling is a type of meditative drawing that’s really helpful in eliminating the brain fog and stress that tend to accompany chronic illness. It’s sort of like yoga on paper. It involves drawing with repetitive motions that result in visually pleasing abstract “tiles” of art. It’s a good way to kill time in a waiting room, and it’s also really effective for stress relief. Another bonus: you feel accomplished once you’ve finished each piece. Anything that helps you feel productive and skilled when your resources are down is a good thing for the chronically ill.

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Reading: I loved to read even before I got sick, but now it’s a vital part of my self-care. Before, I was going to class, seeing friends, getting constant sources of new information right in my face all the time. Now, I have to dig for those types of stimuli, but books are a way to keep my curiosity moving and my mind sharp. They are also a good distraction for when symptoms get bad, and they don’t take much physical energy.

Fault in our Stars

Diet: Listening to your body is the most important component to any healthy diet. You’ve heard it before. Unfortunately, “listening to your body” gets a little more tricky when you’re sick, and it also involves more restriction than someone with a healthy body might have to endure. Avoiding the standard “junk foods,” e.g., anything with cheese powder, MSG, or hydrogenated fats will help you feel better no matter what your health base is. Additionally, I’ve found that I do better with less carbs (not a fad low-carb diet) since I’ve been sick. I’ve also developed allergies to dairy, almonds, and certain fruits. If you have symptoms of chronic illness, it might benefit you to have food sensitivity testing. Overall, though, you’ll hear a ton of information about which foods are “evil” and “the perfect human diet” and there really is no such thing. Food in our culture involved too much guilt and too many fads; the most important thing is eating what makes you feel good, and when you feel hungry. If you’re craving red meat, your body probably needs the iron. If you want sugar, have some fresh fruit, but don’t deny yourself the occasional ice cream or brownie (even if it needs to be coconut milk- based or gluten free).

Setting Small Goals

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I woke up this morning and everything seemed impossible, hopeless, sad. I’ve been sick the past two days, wanting to go out with friends, wishing I were outside, waiting for everything to be different than the way it is now. I miss having the energy to wake up and go for a run, being able to order a latte without upsetting my stomach, feeling alert, valuable, active.

I have very little energy. I’m hungry all the time, but my stomach problems have gotten so bad I’ve given up eating. I drink sugar-free vegan protein shakes instead. Yum. I’m bored and lonely, and I’m alone with my pain too much. Today, all of the bad in my life seems a lot more prominent than the good. All of the negative thoughts keep rushing to my head. I thought, there has to be something I can do to make this better. I can’t just sit here and hate myself and my situation anymore. There’s only so much crying we can do before we realize it doesn’t change the situation that’s making us cry. So I got up. I felt dizzy and depressed and nauseated, but I could still stand. Then, I went for a walk. The walk was short, and I still felt sick, but it felt good to be outside–see other people, hear the wind. I saw some kids I knew from the camp I work with. They were excited to see me, and said they missed me when I was sick. That made me feel A LOT better– it let me know I was making a difference, I meant something to the kids I spend time with at work. Even while sick and very restricted, I can still find ways to be helpful and valuable. Then I went home again, drank some water and a protein shake. That helped me feel a little stronger. None of these things cured me. They just helped, a little. When we set small goals, they’re a lot more easily attained than large ones, and they bring us a lot closer to our ultimate goals than anger and tears will. I didn’t climb Mount Rainier, I went for a walk. But maybe for my current state, the walk was a metaphorical Mount Rainier.

There are so many things I wish I could do if I had the physical resources. I want to play volleyball all the time. I get so envious when I see the nets at Liberty Park. I would to start Tae Kwon Do again. I was a black belt entering high school. I want to learn how to mountain bike. I want to learn how to ride a horse. I can’t do those things right now. It sucks, but I know that already. I can’t control that part of my life, and there are so many things that I can still do that aren’t sitting on the couch being sad and lonely. Even if I’m bedridden, I can set small goals– read, write, draw, do small amounts of exercise. I can talk to people. I can get up for short amounts of time. I still have awesome roommates, a great GPA at the University of Utah. None of us lose all of the good things in our lives when we have bad days. We just have to break past whatever negativity is looming over us, and get back a little closer to the good, even if we don’t quite make it back into the good. Climbing a small mountain is much more rewarding than sitting still.