self-care: old habits die hard

i’m feeling right back where i was 3 months ago when i wrote about how the level of commitment it takes to practice self-care, especially when you’re stuck with some significant dietary issues. i’m in a slump and honestly haven’t been trying very hard to get out of it. mainly because i’m too distracted with school and too tired to care when there are actually moments in the day to figure out food. three weeks of unexpected illness followed by a complete absence of appetite threw me into a new year’s slump. my old habit of walking to the fridge, opening it, looking in, closing, and walking away has resurfaced.

what’s troubling about this habit is that it puts me in a weird place. like anyone else, when my body has no fuel and is still running all over the place, things go downhill fast. i want to sleep constantly, and give into naps at 5 p.m. on a regular basis. i feel distracted and distant and unsettled. i don’t take any of my vitamins or probiotics. in desperation, i eat a burrito bowl from chipotle (the only “fast-food” i can eat) three days in a row because i don’t know what else to do and can’t get myself to make a meal or snack or anything but almonds and oranges. and then end up with a killer stomach ache from too much rice and black beans. you would think i’d learn my lesson on day 2.

this is a cycle i’m in. it’s consistent. i happens every 2-3 months. you could track it on this blog. my therapist swears by it. i’m trying to determine if it’s simply food-self-care burn-out or something more. but i’m beginning to think that it just boils down to frustration: i hit a wall and suddenly i just don’t care anymore. i don’t want to practice self-care. i want a time-out.

i love to cook. but i’d also love to hire a personal chef who knows all of my dietary issues to drop soups and stews off every 2-3 days so i can stop thinking about my health for a few weeks. but then, who doesn’t want a personal chef…

i just ate the most beautiful eggs my friend meredith gave me, straight from her chicken coup. and i’m sipping detox tea in hopes of getting my body back on track. today, i’m making a massive pot of curried lentils and sweet potatoes. i’m hoping that getting back to my old eating routines will help kick-start my appetite and pull me out of this lull. and not write another blog post like this for a very very long time.




desperate deadlines call for desperate measures: first coffee since christmas day.
almond milk latte…

fingers crossed for no digestive drama.

book recommendations

i’m really excited about the gardening and food books i received for christmas this year. here’s the line-up:

the edible front yard by Ivette Soler. what i love about this book is that it’s not a “how to” on how to create vegetable gardens. instead, it shows you the ways you can create landscapes in your yard that are both beautiful but also contain edible plants, so you can get the best of both worlds. Soler has some interesting plant combinations and the book is full of bright photographs. it’s my spring inspiration while i watch our yard turn white with snow and then muddy with rain this winter.

make your place (affordable, sustainable nesting skills) by raleigh briggs. this is one of briggs many books that grew out of her DYI/zine projects. it’s full of useful tips and recipes for making your own cleaning products and keeping your living space free of chemicals and other nasty things that often give me headaches. the entire book is hand-drawn, making it even more fun to read:

tart and sweet by kelly geary and jessie knadler. i’m MOST excited about this book. first of all, it’s beautifully photographed. i want to eat everything in it. geary and knadler write about the canning process in simple terms that make it so appealing, i want to start today. the second half of the book is all recipes and are arranged by seasons. some of the winter recipes: candied kumquats with cinnamon and star anise, lemon herb pickled garlic, horseradish lemon pepper sunchokes. seriously. i’m hungry writing about it. read more about knadler’s interesting life on her blog, rurallyscrewed. love that.

last but not least, i asked for this book on a whim because the sub-title looked interesting: The Feast Nearby. How I lost my job, buried a marriage, and found my way by keeping chickens, foraging, preserving, bartering, and eating locally (all on forty dollars a week). i also judged this book by its cover: the woman is holding carrots and wearing Hunter boots. two of my favorite things.

the book is a collection of essays and recipes by robin mather, former food journalist for the Chicago Tribune. i’m only on chapter 1. can’t decide what i think yet, but i’ll post back here if it gets interesting.

any food-related book suggestions?

holiday brownies

how i made the most amazing dark chocolate gluten-free brownies for the holidays, in pictures:

*start with amazing dark chocolate. (this is the only brand i could find locally that was guaranteed gluten and dairy free. it’s excellent!):

*slowly melt chocolate and coconut oil:

*combine dry ingredients:

*beat in melty chocolate coconut goodness:

*chop up half a chocolate bar to put on top of the batter:

*add to batter in pretty pie pan:






i’d rather have broken elbows. or a stomach bug.

i have been extremely ill and only just beginning to operate “normally”. new year’s eve, i came down with a head cold, just 24 hours after bragging to my friend that despite all of my digestive issues over the last few years, i hadn’t had a cold in over 2 years. i’m not sure what’s to blame for that, but my uneducated guesses are: an extremely healthy diet; being forced to drop out of school last year because of my health and therefore avoid a lot of germs most teachers come in contact with daily; the reality that my digestive issues force a lot of stuff through my body at a fast pace, if you know what i mean; and my favorite prevention: thieves. if you don’t have it, get it. i swear by it. this is the first time it failed me.

by wednesday, my head cold had turned into combination ear infection, sinus infection, flu-symptom catastrophe. my doctor put me on an antibiotic, which did absolutely nada for 5 days. during those 5 days, i barely slept, took 4-5 showers a day (sat on the floor of the shower and let scorching hot water pound my head in hopes of relief), was so feverish every time i slept that i soaked through sheets and blankets (this happened 3-4 times a night), and was generally miserable. C was miserable taking care of me. my mother came out and massaged my aching jaw and sinuses and back in hopes of providing relief. by sunday, my doctor had me on another antibiotic which finally started working by tuesday.

all together, i went through:
*6 boxes of tissues
*2 bottles of NyQuill
*1 & 1/2 bottles of cough syrup
*4-5 jugs of orange juice
*6 lemons (added to hot water to drink)
*2 packages of Ricola lemon mint cough drops (yum)
*2 pots of soup

c came down with my cold on sunday, so we were both hot messes with no one to nurse us.

one form of amazing relief was steaming my head over a massive pot of boiled water with drops of this amazing chinese oil. my acupuncturist introduced me to this stuff years ago and i use it for massage, tennis elbow and muscle pain, on my temples to wake me up or when i have headaches, and now, to help clear out my sinus.

i can honestly say this: i would rather have a stomach bug than go through that hell again. i’m used to stomach aches, throwing up and sitting on the toilet. i’m not used to stabbing ear pain, the inability to breath through my nose, clogged ears, and pounding headaches. breaking my elbows was seriously less painful than last week. kidney stones still top my list though for worst pain ever.

it’s friday and i’m low on energy, still have a head cold, my ears are plugged, everything sounds muffled, and feel like i’ve been hit by a truck. i still have no appetite and can only taste things that give you bad breath (garlic, onions, etc). i’ve only left my house 3 times in 13 days, so the outer world feels large, cold, and foreign right now.

*i’m a convert to the neti pot, thanks to my friend and neighbor alex
*alex also has me on garlic pills. (i’m sure that’s not helping the breath i can’t smell.)
*i’m 2 full weeks behind at school, but hoping to still meet my deadlines by feb. (wish me a lotta luck.)
*C made it through with only a cold and small fever.
*my bathtub arrived post-illness, but i still get to finish out my cold soaking in it as soon as it’s installed this weekend. it looks like a giant egg.

i have so many food and health-related things to write about here this january, so here’s hoping the rest of the month is healthy so i can start posting more regularly.

hope you’re staying warm and healthy!



C found the most amazing pancake mix: Pamela’s mix. unfortunately, i ate three pancakes before asking if he had read the ingredients list. oops. they contain buttermilk. which is probably why they were so good. fingers crossed that nothing drastic happens digestively tonight. i already have a massive head cold.

if you can have dairy, try the mix. it’s are worth the price. so yummy.

2011 holiday realizations

things i discovered over the last 2 weeks:

1. coconut milk eggnog is amazing. coconut chocolate mint milk with a shot of coffee in it is even more amazing. i had that twice and it was heaven.

2. i love sheep cheese. a lot. my sister made me a gluten-free lasagna with raw cheddar sheep’s cheese for christmas day. it took me 4 days, but i ate exactly 7 pieces between last monday and thursday. i think i’m done with lasagna for another year.

3. my mom is a saint. she made me gluten-free, diary-free, soy-free, refined-sugar free pumpkin pie. it was amazing, despite all those “frees.” C even liked it. i ate it every day for breakfast for 5 days.

4. i miss sugar much less than i thought i did. when confronted with sugary options i could actually have, i found myself just wanting to eat more lasagna and drink tea than anything else. i think it’s been out of my system long enough that i’m over it.

5. after a solid week of having others cook for me, i’m lazy. i want to walk to the fridge and pull out an already prepared meal by my mom or sister and heat it up rather than cook one myself. this laziness needs to pass soon or i’ll be eating carrot sticks and hummus for the month of january.

6. i finally slowed down enough to get sick. i brought in 2012 with a red wine/NyQuil cocktail and have been awake approximately 3 hours total in 2012 thus far. the only up-side is C is making me chicken soup, allowing me to prolong my laziness one more day.

7. i have some 2012 food goals to share later this week, once the head cold diminishes enough that i’m up for more than an hour at a time.

happy healthy new year!