Health

World IBD Day

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If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I have Crohn’s Disease.  For those of you that don’t know, Crohn’s Disease is a type of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases that causes chronic inflammation in the intestinal track.  Because today is World IBD day, I wanted to write a letter to all of the people I know that have Crohn’s or Colitis. I have been so fortunate throughout my life to have made so many incredible friendships with other people that have IBD.  They empower and inspire me, and have been there for me in some of my darkest moments.  This is for them.

My Crohn’s and Colitis Buddies,

People who don’t have IBD can never fully understand what you’ve been through, but I do.  There has been incredible pain and tremendous fear, but there has also been unmeasurable strength and courage.  You are some of the most inspiring people that I know.  Many of you have gone through more terrifying experiences than anyone should ever have to go through in their lifetime, but all it has done is made you stronger.

It’s made you more loving.  It’s made you reach out to other people and care for them without worry for what you yourself are going through.  I am so incredibly proud of the people you have become and the things that you have accomplished.  I’m in awe of the moves that you have made no matter how terrifying they may have looked in the face of your disease.

May you continue to impact the world in such powerful ways with your stories of all that you have been through.  May you never been afraid or ashamed to talk about your disease.  May your openness bring hope to someone that needs to most.  May they be able to relate to your experiences and be inspired by your attitude.  I know that I have been.

When I am temped to feel sorry for myself or wonder why I have suffered like I have, I remember you.  I remember that you have shared those same feelings and come out on the other side.  I remember that because of this illness we are all connected and without it, we may not have met.  And then I don’t have to wonder why me anymore, and I am thankful.  Thankful that I know you and that you have helped to make me who I am today.

May this day remind you how incredible you are.

A Simple Way To Fuel Your Day + A Giveaway

A Simple Way To Fuel Your Day + A Giveaway

When I was little, I was a very picky eater.  My mom used to jokingly call me a cerealarian because most of the time all I would eat were Cheerios.  It didn’t matter if it was Thanksgiving dinner, most likely I was just going to be having a bowl of cereal.

As I got older, my tastes have grown a little more sophisticated, but I still love my cereal.  Every morning I get up and the first thing I do is pour myself a bowl. Having breakfast really gets my morning off the to right start and gives me energy for the day.  Trends suggest that fewer and fewer Americans are regularly eating breakfast.  It makes sense because if people are anything like me and hate getting up early, it’s hard to squeeze in time to prepare something to eat.  That’s why I love having a bowl of Cheerios in the morning.  It’s a quick and simple way to fuel your day. Add a glass of 100% Florida orange juice to that and you have a great source of vitamin C to keep your immune system strong.

Right now there are several ways you can save on Cheerios:

1. Head to you local Publix and ave $2.00 when you buy any (1) Cheerios 10.9 oz or larger AND (1) 100% Florida Orange Juice 59 oz or larger (coupon found in Lucky Saving flyer in store)

2. Download this coupon to save $1 on 2 boxes of Cheerios.

3. Head to readyplansave.com to check out Cheerios products and then comment below telling me what your breakfast routine is.  One comment will be chosen at random to win $15 Pay Pal Cash to try Cheerios and 100% Florida Orange Juice.

What’s your breakfast routine?

New Years Resolution Recipe – Light Yogurt Fruit Salad + A Giveaway

New Years Resolution Recipe - Light Yogurt Fruit Salad + A Giveaway

This year, I chose the word “Commitment,” as my theme word of the year.  While I’m using this word to motivate me to grow my blog, learn photography, and strengthen my marriage, I am also using this word to push me to make healthier choices.  So often I am reaching for a snack or meal that is quick and inexpensive, but leaves me feeling like I’m not feeding my body healthy options.  Thankfully, General Mills and Weight Watchers offer products that not only help you meet your health goals, but are also affordable and convenient.

Some of their great options are:

Yoplait Greek 100 Calorie Yogurt
Progresso Light Soups
Yoplait Light Fat Free Yogurt
Green Giant Frozen Boxed and Canned Vegetables

I went to Publix and got several Yoplait Light Fat Free Yogurts to create an easy fruit salad to take with me to work.  Yoplait has so many great flavors such as Key Lime Pie or Boston Cream Pie that taste like dessert, but at just 90 calories, won’t ruin my health goals.

Here’s what I used to make my fruit salad:

  • 1 or 2 Yoplait Light Fat Free Yogurts in any flavor (I choose Strawberry Banana to complement my fruit choices)
  • Two Bananas
  • One small carton of mixed berries
  • One can of pineapple chucks

The steps are quick and simple:

  • Cut the bananas in to small slices
  • Place the bananas in to a large bowl with the mixed berries
  • Drain the pineapples but keep a tiny bit of the juice in a small bowl
  • Add the pineapples to the fruit mixture.
  • Pour the little bit of pineapple juice left on the fruit (this will keep the bananas fresher longer)
  • Add the Yoplait Light Fat Free Yogurts.

New Years Resolution Recipe - Light Yogurt Fruit Salad + A Giveaway

  • Mix until all the fruit is coated.

I stored my fruit salad in separate plastic containers to take to work each day for a snack between breakfast and lunch.

If you would like to try this fruit salad or any of the other healthy options from General Mills and Weight Watchers, be sure to visit this page to download coupons before you head to your local Publix.

And Now A Giveaway!

Giveaway

How would you like to win this gift basket  complete with salad tongs, a dressing emulsifier, and salad shears? All you have to do is visit the Yoplait, Progresso, or Green Giant websites to see what other recipes you can create with their Weight Watchers endorsed products.  Let me know what recipe you’d like to make for you or your family in the comment section, and one person will be chosen at random to receive this fun prize.

Thanks to Weight Watchers, General Mills, and Publix for sponsoring today’s discussion

13 Years With Crohn’s Disease

13 Years With Crohn's Disease

It was 2011 and I was 11.  My parents were getting a divorce and suddenly I was losing weight.  A lot of weight.  Standing at 5’4, I only weighed 67 pounds.  So the doctors told me I was anorexic.  Because why else would a prepubescent girl whose parents were getting divorced be losing massive amounts of weight?

I told the doctor’s I wasn’t hungry.  I told them it hurt to swallow.  I told them I got full too fast and they just suggested I eat more cookies.  No tests were done and each week they threatened to send me to an anorexia treatment facility.  I stuffed quarters in my pockets to hide that I was still losing weight and a psychiatrist told me that I was causing my parents to get divorced by pretending to be sick.

I remember the first morning there was pain.  It was September 11th, 2001 and I woke out of nightmare doubled over in pain.  My stomach was on fire.  My dad was up early too and we watched the news as the second plane crashed in to the World Trade Center and I felt more pain.

By November there were still no answers and I was losing time.  My parents took me to UCLA to get help and within 30 minutes of being there a doctor said he believed I might have Crohn’s Disease.  I had no idea what that meant, but I was just thankful my pain had a name.  It wasn’t imagined.  I wasn’t just not eating to lose weight or to make myself sick.  I wasn’t trying to push my parents apart.

My pain was named on November 11th, 2001 and it’s been 13 years since then.  In those 13 years I’ve been on medications that made me gain weight and turned my face in to a balloon.  I missed countless days of school, parties, and vacations.  I had two surgeries and I’m now missing 2 feet of intestines.  I’ve stayed in the hospital more times than I can count.  I’ve had test run on me that I’d rather not repeat again.  There were tubes placed where no one wants tubes to be stuck.

Some years have been harder than others.  2013 was one of my worst health-wise.  2014 one of my best.  My immune system is constantly attacking my intestinal track causing pain and absorption issues.  Sometimes the damage it has done has been irreversible causing parts to have to be removed.  Other times, medicine has controlled my disease so well that I forget that I’m any different than anyone else.  Except I’m always aware of the nearest bathroom.  Always.

But 13 years has taught me some incredible lessons.  I’ve seen that I’m stronger than I could have possibly imagined.  I can handle some pretty terrifying circumstances and I can handle them even when I’m alone.  I’ve learned that everyone has a battle that they fight and that sharing what you are going through can help other people immensely, even when what you’re going through seems embarrassing or unrelated.  I’ve learned that every healthy day is a blessing.  I seen that those who truly care about you will be with you in your darkest moments, and those who walk away are not worth worrying about.  I’ve found that no matter how much I may struggle, there is always someone that has it harder than I do and there’s no point in feeling sorry for myself.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, as much as I’d love to wish my Crohn’s Disease away, I am thankful for what it has taught me.  I’m a better person because of all that I’ve experienced.  I’ve met some of my greatest friends by sharing my experience and by going to camp or support groups.  It’s pushed me to seek God more and that’s lead me to other great relationships, including meeting my husband.  I believe my parents and I are also closer because of what we’ve gone through together.

I hope that in my lifetime I see a cure for Crohn’s Disease and other related diseases. But I wouldn’t change the last 13 years, even the worst moments.  I know without them, I would not be who I am today.  And I’m pretty proud of that person.

World Suicide Prevention Day 2014

World Suicide Prevention Day 2014

Today, September 10th, is World Suicide Prevention Day. According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) one million people commit suicide each year. That’s more than the number of deaths due to homicide and war combined. However, too many people are still ashamed to talk about Depression as openly as we talk about any other disease that can be life-threatening. And that’s what it is. It’s not personal problem that should just be “gotten over.” It’s not a weakness of character. Depression is disease. So today:

Visit The International Association for Suicide Prevention to learn more about the signs of depression.

Hug someone that’s having a bad day.

Smile at a stranger that looks unhappy.

Pray for those who have lost a love one due to mental illness.

Let the people in your life know that you love them.

Tell someone they matter more than they know.

Be brave enough to tell someone that you are depressed.

Be courageous enough to ask your friend if they are considering suicide.

Watch and share this video with someone.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) anytime for a confidential conversation with a trained counselor.