Ulcerative Colitis: Autoimmune and inflammatory bowl disease

Recently I found out that I have ulcerative colitis. Basically, my body things my colon is a foreign entity and is attacking it. It was quite a shock to me, but I’m learning about UC and learning how to live with it. I’ll admit that I did see it as a setback at first, but now I’ve come to terms with it as part of my life. Anyone struggling with a disease or chronic problem can probably relate.

Since I’ve already had chronic headaches/migraines since I was 12, it was a blow to learn that I had one more thing wrong with my body. Does anyone feel sometimes that life just keeps dealing them crappy hands? Are you just waiting for it to get better, and it doesn’t seem to? I’ve recently come to the realization that it’s all in the perspective. We either let our problems overwhelm us, or we overcome them. It’s easier said than done, trust me, I know. I’ve had countless setbacks. For me it has been easier to take it step by step, one little thing at a time. I’ve just been taking it one day at a time, and one minute at a time. I’ll worry about tomorrow when it comes.

Thankfully, I have a great example to follow. My elder brother has Crohn’s disease, another disease of the bowls/intestines. He’s had it since he was a teenager, and he has managed to live a very healthy life due to a miracle medicine that he has found, and healthy life choices. A lot of people with these two diseases end up having to have surgery to remove parts of their intestines at some point in time, but that’s not always the case. I have hope that I can live a perfectly normal life, just like my brother and many other people who struggle with diseases and illnesses. I also believe that God truly does heal, and I have faith that he will take care of me, even in the rough times when things aren’t looking good.

I’ve started learning what I can and can’t eat, which is honestly the toughest part. Staying away from seeds is essential, so my favorite dessert, blackberry cobbler is out the window. That was a huge bummer. Thankfully there is still peach cobbler and it’s also amazing. I suppose there is always an alternative. That helps immensely when big changes come about in life. Anyway, at first I was overwhelmed with all of the potential triggers of ulcerative colitis. Granola, seeds, nuts, raw veggies and fruits, alcohol, carbonation, legumes, artificial sweeteners or an excess of sugar… sometimes even dairy can be an upset. These I’ve found online. The main culprits my doctor warned me about are seeds, iceberg lettuce, and MSG; msg is frequently used in Chinese and Asian cooking. I’ve also heard bad things about popcorn..

So obviously my options are limited, but it’s not the end of the world. I’ll have to find out my particular triggers and the rest I’ll be able to eat without worry. Not everything I listed will be a problem, I just have to figure out what my body likes and doesn’t like. It’s going to be a major life change. But for instance, I can still eat veggies. I just have to cook them. I can still have a balanced and delicious diet, I just have to be careful of what I eat. My brother eats whatever he wants, not a worry in the world. So it’s different for everyone.

It’s important to take a daily probiotic, with live and active cultures. Whether it be a pill form or yogurt, it’s important to keep the bacteria in the gut under control.

Exercise is imperative to staying healthy and stress free. Stress is one of the major triggers of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. I’m seriously thinking about starting yoga, which is recommended. Stretching or meditating are great relaxers, keeping stress levels down. I’ve been needing to work out for a very long time, this just gives me the best excuse possible. Now that I have to stay healthy, it’ll also help my diet. Lean meats, fish, and cooked veggies will be a big part of what I eat now. That’s much healthier than what I used to eat, that’s for sure. So there are good and bad aspects to this, but I’m choosing to focus on the good things and move on with my life headed in a positive direction.

No one is alone in their problems, we are all struggling with something. It’s up to how you cope with it, and hopefully you have someone who loves and supports you to help you along the way to finding the best way possible for you to live happily. We all need love and encouragement. And to be able to make the sacrifices necessary to have a happier, healthier life is a big thing. I hope we can all do what’s best for ourselves, no matter our circumstances.

Simplicities of Life, slow down and take some time for yourself

Sometimes our busy lives leave us forgetting the simple things in life, the things we take for granted. For instance, who can take the time to enjoy the view? In your own town, where you live, the things you see everyday seem to lose their beauty because they’re always in the same spot. Take a second look!

My ideal relaxation would be having a cup of warm coffee on my porch, looking into the changing colorful leaves with a good book in hand, the temperature just cold enough to want a light blanket. That’s so simple, yet I never do it. I never take the time to. How many of us let simple pleasures such as this pass us by, when we could easily make the time to slow down and enjoy the moment? 10-15 minutes seems like a long time, but in reality it isn’t. Compared to a long day at work, something like this could be just the right medicine that we need to unwind.

Walking my dogs in the chilly weather, a sweater on the chihuahua of course, made me stop and look at the beautiful scenery. The trees were wonderfully colored, with plenty of pretty leaves scattered in my path. It made me think back to my childhood, out in the woods with nothing but nature. I would often sit in the nook of a crooked tree by the creek and read, the happy trickling sounds of the water soothes me. How long has it been since I did that?

Moments like these are different for each person. Maybe you’re not an outdoor type of person, or a book loving person. Nonetheless, I’m sure you have an image of your own happy moments just like I do. We as human beings need to take a few moments to ourselves and remember how to enjoy the simple things in life. Busy, everyday things can make us lose sight of ourselves. It’s good to remember who we are and what we love, even if it only lasts a few moments.

If you honestly can’t find the time, then get help from a friend or a loved one. Maybe you have your hands full with your kids, and never get a break. Seek out the help of a babysitter and relax, with by yourself or with your significant other. It can make all the difference. Everyone needs “me time,” it just comes down to making the necessary arrangements and the time for it. At least every once in a while, you deserve it!

Eating Healthy and Fun #SmoothieBowls

How many of us struggle to eat healthy? Yeah, we might say we’ll eat healthy as our New Years resolution, but how many of us actually follow through with it? I’m one of the people who doesn’t follow through. Recently though, I’ve found an amazing and fun breakfast (or any time really) food, smoothie bowls! IMG_0625This looks yummy, right? I thought so too! Health nuts always seemed like crazy quacks to me, I couldn’t understand how healthy food could be “delicious.” I found these recipes online, which is where the photos came from, after I saw an acquaintance eating a smoothie bowl. It seemed like an interesting idea so I looked it up. IMG_0639There ended up being all kinds of smoothie bowls! I’m not a big fan of smoothies myself, I get tired of it after 1/3 of the way through, and then I just don’t want anymore. Smoothies are on the boring side for me, and I’m the kind of person who loves pizza and hamburgers. I mean, who drinks a meal? I thought it was ridiculous. Then I found out about smoothie bowls. After seeing all of the toppings and reading the ingredients, I became intrigued.IMG_0629I recently made the tough decision to finally get serious and eat healthier, it was time to stop saying, “I’ll just eat this for now, and start eating healthy tomorrow.”

I’ve been having some gut issues, involving bloating and just feeling like I have an upset stomach, but I’m not sick. I’ve just been feeling “blah” lately, and I started to wonder if it was my poor diet. So today, I made my first smoothie bowl! IMG_0631First, I’ll talk about the ingredients and what goes into making a smoothie bowl. Essentially, you pick a “creamie” as they call it, like a banana or an avocado, this makes the smoothie creamier. Next, you pick your fruits and/or veggies. You’ll use about 1 cup. A lot of people like to use frozen fruits, as it thickens up the smoothie. Otherwise it ends up being pretty soupy.

IMG_0633After you’ve decided on these, you then pick your liquid. You’ll use about 1/2 cup. If you’re trying to be healthy, lactose intolerant, or vegan, some good choices are almond milk, coconut milk, coconut water, soy milk, carrot juice, orange juice, pomegranate juice, or plain milk if you prefer. You can also use yogurt instead, or add yogurt as well as the liquid.

IMG_0635

Mmmm, chocolate, right? I’m excited to try this one!! Okay, so the next step is to add a sweetener. You’ll use about 1-2 tablespoons, unless you prefer more. You can use peanut butter, pure or raw honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, or even almond butter. At first, I thought that almond butter sounded nasty, as well as agave, which I had never heard of. But surprisingly they were good! I decided to branch out of my comfort zone with foods that looked or sounded like they would taste yucky, and I’m so glad I did, because I found new foods that I like that are healthier alternatives.

IMG_0637Lastly, you choose your toppings. You can put pretty much anything you want on top, but here are some ideas. Nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, cereal such as rice krispy treats or corn flakes, granola, coconut shreds, dried fruit, or fresh fruit cut up. IMG_0641You can even drizzle more honey, peanut butter, yogurt, or whatever you want on top! As long as it’s not excessive, you’re still eating healthy.

IMG_0643You can tweak it however you like! The ideas and possibilities are endless.

IMG_0667This is the first smoothie bowl that I’ve ever made. It’s not as pretty as the pictures online, but it sure was tasty! I was planning on following a recipe, and then I decided to improvise a little. I blended 1 cup of raspberries, 1 banana, 3 strawberries, 1/4 cup almonds, 2 tablespoons almond butter, 1/2 cup almond milk, and 1/2 cup of ice.

I wish I had used frozen fruit, but fresh fruit was all I had at the time. It was only a little soupy, but next time I’ll definitely be using frozen fruit!

As the toppings, I sliced up 2 small strawberries, threw a handful of blueberries on there, 1/4 cup of granola, and I drizzled honey on top! It was scrumptious! I’ll definitely be eating smoothie bowls from now on. I’m hooked! Every day? Probably not. But frequently? That’s a definite yes.

If you’re interested in making your own smoothie bowl, here’s the link to the website I visited with the recipes to all of the delicious looking pictures above! Don’t worry if you don’t see the recipes immediately. You’ll find all of the recipes at the bottom of the page, below the pictures.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/lindsayhunt/smoothie-bowls?utm_term=.rszkr6R4l#.qbNqjGQl2

Or you can just google smoothie bowls, that works too. It seems like a hassle to make, but honestly it only takes a few minutes to make, and believe me, I’m a lazy person. So if I can make the time, I know you can too! Branch out and try something new!

Monday’s are Monday’s

Monday’s are usually not the highlight of one’s week. It just accentuates how much longer you have until the weekend, when most people have off of work.

Of course there are also those who work weekends and have Monday’s off, so on the contrary, that is most likely their highlight of the week.

Days off of work, no matter when they are (unless your a workaholic, nothing wrong with that of course) are usually looked forward to. I know I do. Time to relax, unwind the tension that has built up during the week, and to get some projects around the house done, or simply have some fun.

I for one am very much looking forward to the summer, when I can go outside and swim on my days off. Or read a book in the lush grass underneath the nice, cool shade of a tree. Iced tea and ice cream on hot days… In my opinion, summer is definitely worth looking forward to. Unlike Monday’s… (for me at least😉)

New beginning, Spring

Has anyone other than me thought of spring as a possible new beginning, or a new start? Most people would of course say that the answer should be New Year’s, hence New Year’s resolutions. I, on the other hand, like spring.

Spring cleaning makes you feel fresh again. It’s good to keep things clean in order to keep a calm mind. Disorderliness can stress you out, more than you know. I tend to let clutter build up, so spring is definitely good for people like myself.

Spring is also great for getting your fitness back up to par, for those of us who slacked off over winter and gained a few fluffy pounds. Nothing makes you feel better than getting your swimsuit body back!

Most of all, the aspect that I love most about spring is the scenery. Being immersed in the surrounding greenery and blue sky, enveloped in the fresh scent of new growth, and hearing the symphony of singing birds in the morning and frogs in the evening.

The only downfall is that pollen kills me (I have allergies) so I sneeze constantly, but it’s completely worth it.

Every season has its own pros and cons, and those are different for every person, but I think spring is beautiful. In my eyes, the new growth is a symbol of how I myself can grow and become a better me.

Work in progress ~ Book ~ Writing ~ Stories ~ Books

Today I was brainstorming on the fiction/supernatural/romance book that I’m writing, and I FINALLY made some great headway!

The main character has trauma and memory loss, but I couldn’t think of any reasons for it. What was the traumatic event that caused her to lose her memory? I finally thought of an answer.

Also, I couldn’t think of how the bad guy fit into the story. I had no clue what the reason was for him to be targeting her, I just knew that there was a deep meaning behind it. I finally figured out his role and his connection to the main character.

I also figured out a little bit more of the relationship with her childhood friend/best friend. He’s a very important character but I needed to focus on their childhood a bit more, how they met and became close. That’s something I’ll need to think more on.

I started this story not knowing where to go with it (that’s what usually happens actually) but I had a decent outline. It’s just hard figuring everything out in the story. People who’ve never written probably wouldn’t think about it, but there are so many different aspects to writing and I’m a complete beginner.

Let’s see, there’s the plot of course. You have to make sure the entire time you write that everything is going in the direction you want it to, so conversations in the story can be tricky. There are the in between parts with no talking where you have to describe places you either imagine or real world places that you’ve never been and have to research. There is a lot of research involved in writing. You have to describe the characters thoughts throughout the story.

The interactions between characters is hard. What I struggle the most with is the characters themselves. Their personalities, how they think, how they react. You really have to understand people to create multiple different characters with different personalities. You have to think about things like, what makes this person laugh, what makes this person tick, why is this person the way they are, what happened to them in their life to make them the person they are, how do they think, how do they feel? I struggle with that. I’m not very good at reading people or understanding them, much less how they think. Especially guys. Guys are a complete mystery to me, so they’re hard to write.

I’ve been working on this book off and on for 3 years, but I’ve never taken it very seriously. I just thought, well since I’m still so young, where is it going to go even if I do finish it? I started this book at 17 years old. Now that I’m a little older and slightly more mature, I realize that I really want to finish this book and make a career out of writing if I can.

I’m currently working on 3 different books, but I decided to focus mainly on this book. I’m trying to figure out a good strategy to get this book finished in a decent amount of time. Until I find a good solution I’ll be writing as often as I can and have the foal of writing at least 3-5 times a week.

I’m now realizing that you’re never too young to accomplish your dreams. If you put your mind to it, you can do anything. Don’t let anything or anyone hold you back, and just do what you love!

Wow Moments ~ Ungraceful ~ Klutz

Does anyone else do the most ungracful things at the worst times possible? Or just, you know…on a daily basis…? Just me? I sure hope not.

Example and exhibit A~ literally 10 minutes ago, I sneezed so hard that I slipped and fell on my butt. Yeah stuff like that happens in real life, to me, 24/7. I mean,  granted that I was on hardwood floor and in socks, but still…this stuff doesn’t happen to ANYONE else around me! It’s unfair, but at the same time I believe that it gives me an irresistiblely cute charm. I mean… How else can I look at it? Positive thinking is the key! Otherwise my constant clumsiness would just be flat out depressing. So yes, I’ll just say that it makes me seem cute…

(…Just let me believe it.)

My boyfriend hardly ever has a clumsy moment, so trust me when I say I love it when he does, but I am so jealous. He’s so smooth and can act cool on cue, and it’s NOT FAIR.

So, we like a large variety of music. He’s tried to get me to rap before…that did not go well.  It doesn’t come out semi-cool or even sounding like rap at all. I’m lucky if I can even get 10 words right.  I try to act cool sometimes to match my boyfriend, and every single time it turns into a disaster in one form or another. Usually someone (typical him for some reason-poor guy) ends up getting hurt somehow.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve accidentally jabbed him in the eyes with my nails or fingers, accidentally kicked him, accidentally hit him in the junk with one of my body parts, etc. -I don’t even know how I do these things so often and on such a regular basis… I don’t know how it’s possible to do these things so frequently, honestly. It shouldn’t be possible. I also step on him quiet often, but thankfully I’m fairly petite and small so that doesn’t hurt too bad. He has tough feet. Thankfully!

I swear I’m accident prone; to myself and I make the people around me accident prone, too. My boyfriend gets the brunt of it though, unfortunately for him..

I even try to be careful, and I still end up doing something clumsy. I either trip, drop something(my phone hits the floor at least once a day), drop food on myself somehow even when I’m careful, spill a drink, bump into something or someone-every time we go anywhere he has to keep a hawk eye on me and at a moments notice reach out and steer me away from running into someone or something, or I just say something ridiculously awkward. That’s the worst for me, speaking out loud…especially around people I’m uncomfortable around like his parents. Yikes. I really should just stay quiet. I get nervous of saying something stupid, so that guarantees me saying something stupid.

I’m amazed my boyfriend has put up with the accidental abuse and management of me, he must really love me. It’s not like it happens daily, I mean I only see him once a week, but still… It’s unusual and unnatural how clumsy I am.

Well hopefully I’m not the only one out there who’s a klutz. But since I have no followers, no one will even read this, so who’s going to judge me? I can’t be the only one though! To all of my fellow clumsy cute girls out there, don’t change. We’re great just the way we are. 😊 It’s our charm.

Life’s Decisions

We make decisions more often than we think that affect the rest of our lifes. Whether it’s how we look back on ourselves in the future, the people that are in our lives or are not in our lives, or the paths that we take.

It can vary so much as to changing the color of your hair, getting a piercing or permanent tattoo, to cutting ties with a family member or deciding to have a baby. Maybe it’s a decision to take a job offer where you have to move away from everything you’ve known your whole life. Giving something important up because you know you can’t afford it anymore. Struggles that everyday people deal with.

No matter what decision it may be, or how significant or insignificant, it all matters. This realization can be a very heavy one and is sometimes hard to deal with. All of the decisions in life can weigh you down if you think about them too much or all at once.

That’s something that I’ve been struggling with myself. Do I do this? Do I not do that? Which path do I take and which do I chose? Life is very stressful and can be hard if you let it. What’s important is to take a step back, take a deep breath, and relax. Things will work out. Take one thing on at a time and you’ll be golden. Don’t try to take the world on all at once, no one can do that!

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