Elimination Diets and Food Sensitivities

Hi there! Recently in one of my Institute of Integrative Nutrition course we covered autoimmune disorders and food sensitivities. There is scientific studies that have closely linked certain foods and food sensitivities to autoimmune disorders. The main culprits were listed as gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, and corn. My course explained that these 5 foods have been known to cause inflammation in the body and increased inflammation can lead to autoimmune disorders.

When i was 15 or 16 I started to have issues with my right eye. It became red, light sensitive, with blurry vision, and pain. All of these symptoms came within 7 days and I was diagnosed with viral pink eye by three different doctors but the medication was not working so my mom demanded we see an eye doctor. The eye doctor took one look and diagnosed me with Uveitis which is medical jargon for inflammation in the eye. Uveitis can be caused three different ways, the first being trauma to the eyes, the second being an autoimmune disorder, and the third is simply unidentified causes. At that time I revealed I took at least 4 advil a day to help with my back pain that we had assumed had come from carrying my backpack around all day. At that point the eye doctor took more blood tests and it was revealed that I had a gene that is linked to the autoimmune system so I was referred to a rheumatologist. At that appointment I was fine but the next day I woke up and could not walk because my ankles had swollen the size of lacrosse or tennis balls. When we called the doctor she diagnosed me with juvenile arthritis. From there I was placed on multiple medications to suppress my immune system which I am still on today. It was supposed to be around a 7 year journey to get better and off the medications but we have hit the 7 year mark and we are just now slowly getting off the medications. This background is the reason I found the food sensitivities and inflammation lecture so fascinating.

The lecture suggested people try an elimination diet where you cut out all 5 of the foods for three weeks and then slowly re-incorporate them back into your diet one at a time. I thought that would not be too difficult and I eat a lot of soy and gluten products so I would be interested to know if I feel better without them. I made a mock meal plan and am now in the middle of the second week of the elimination diet. I honestly did not think it would be this hard. I really want tacos for some reason and it has taken all my strength not to break. However, I am hopeful to see how it works out. I will also post the meals that I had eaten during the elimination diet at one point.

Have you guys ever completed an elimination diet or found out you have a food sensitivity? Let me know in the comments below.


Life Update

Hey guys! I just wanted to write this post to apologize. I had plans for this blog and I have not followed through on them. Recently, I have not been posting and the things that I have posted have not been up to my standard. Therefore, I want to apologize for not following through on my commitment to this blog. I am going to start posting again and spend more time on writing content that I approve of. I still want to explore food, fitness, and wellness. I also want to be more transparent about my life and my fitness journey so far. I appreciate all of your understanding as I figure out the best way to run this blog.




Wellness Wednesday: Tech Detox

Good Morning! Today’s post will be a wrap up about a wellness challenge I completed over the last 30 days. I stumbled upon the audiobook, How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30 Day Plan to Take Back Your Life by Catherine Price. In this audiobook, it talks about the side effects of technology use and the recent discovery of how addicting technology has become. I really enjoyed this book because it literally gave you a task each day that was a step to break away from technology. It is aimed towards phones but I also used it as a way to spend less time on screens in general.

At first I did not think I had a problem with technology but the second she said we would be deleting social media apps from our phones I immediately in my mind denied I had a problem and became worked up about deleting social media apps.  Throughout the 30 days we were assigned small tasks to work on throughout the day and the following weeks such as tracking your phone usage with an app and then comparing the results to how much you thought you used your phone. Another thing we did was rearrange the way our apps were shown on our screen so that only useful apps appeared and you had to go looking for apps that made you lose track of time or start scrolling mindlessly. All of these tasks were leading up to taking a 24-48 hour break from all types of screens. I chose to do a 24 hour period from a Friday evening to Sunday Morning. During which time I cleaned and organized a large portion of my apartment and then spent the rest of my time enjoying the Harry Potter series.

Throughout this process of slowly “breaking up” with technology I have come to appreciate the simple things. For instance, I love reading books and I used to spend a full day of doing nothing but binge reading a good series. Then I went to college during the height of Netflix and Hulu binging and I do not think I read a single book for pleasure. Simply because I would instantly turn to technology to amuse myself. It also made me realize that if I want to truly make changes towards a more balanced, healthy lifestyle I need to stop relying on technology for so much and start paying attention to the world around me. I enjoyed spending time away from technology so I have a goal to take 24 hours off of all technology, minus phone calls, each week or at the very least every other week. It was fun to think of all the different things I could do with my time that I never seem to have time for because I spend all of my time at work on the computer and then at home on the computer and in between that time or during my “breaks” I would be on my phone.

Overall, I realized I definitely had a problem and am still working on expanding my hobbies and my entertainment to things outside of technology related activities. I would recommend you try a technology detox or at the very least download an app that tracks your usage in the background so you can get an accurate idea of how much time you spend on your phone, it may surprise you. Comment below how much time you think you spend on your phone or computer not related to a job.


Munchie Monday: April Recipe Test

This month my coworkers picked two recipes for me from a random cookbook I own. This month they picked one savory main dish and a dessert. The main dish was the mac n cheese dish from The Vegan Bible. The recipe requires the following ingredients:

  • Elbow noodles
  • Chopped onion
  • Chopped red bell pepper
  • Chopped celery
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Flour
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Dairy free milk
  • Mustard
  • Hot pepper sauce
  • Paprika

Overall, the recipe was super easy to make, probably the easiest vegan mac n cheese I have ever made without processed ingredients. Basically you mix the seasonings with the diary free milk in a saucepan until in thickens into a cheese sauce. You add the cheese sauce to the cooked elbow noodles and mix in the chopped veggies. It tasted really good and creamy but I definitely think I would double the cheese sauce to noodles because I like it saucy. I will say that while it made enough to last a whole week by the end of the week it was not as appetizing. I really did not want to eat it at the end of the week.

The dessert recipe was a chocolate chip banana bread from the Gluten Free Vegan Baking cookbook. It requires the following ingredients:

  • Vegan butter
  • Gluten free flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Brown sugar
  • Vegan chocolate chips
  • Chopped almonds
  • Ripe bananas
  • Almond milk
  • Canola oil
  • Almond extract

Like most dessert recipes you combine the dry ingredients and then the wet then pour into the pan to cook. It was easy to make but difficult to cook through fully. The outside of the bread was finished cooking fairly quickly while the middle was not. I had to put it back in the oven several times because the middle wasn’t cooked. Even when I thought it was fully cooked when I went to cut it into slices for my coworkers the middle was not done and the rest was falling apart. It ended up being a hot mess, however, it did taste good. If I ever made it again I might try adding a flax egg or something to keep it together more. Overall, it was a good week and I definitely think I could play around more with the mac n cheese to fit my tastes better.

Comment below what cookbooks you love to use?


March Favorites

It’s a little late but here are some of my favorite things from the month of March!

  1. Herbalife Protein Cookie Dough: Towards the end of this month someone came up with the idea of using our Herbalife protein powder to create a mock cookie dough. It is supposed to be a meal replacement but I have found that cutting the recipe in half and having it as a dessert at the end of the night is amazing. It is a healthy substitute for cookies or ice cream and it can be made within a few seconds.
  2. Trader Joe’s: This month I have tried many of Trader Joe’s vegan options such as their vegan queso and soyrizo. I have been obsessed and keep going back to get more and more. I think their vegan options are amazing and most of my meals this month have focused around them.
  3. Harry Potter: This month I have been trying to read as much of the Harry Potter series since my friends said it was necessary. I never read them as a child so my friends insisted it was a must. I have been spending most of my free time reading them and I am more motivated than ever to finish the series after this month.
  4. Netflix Date with Friends: For the month of March, a friend and I have started to have netflix dates where we meet at one of our apartments and watch Gilmore Girls together while eating yummy vegan snacks. It has been a very relaxing way to catch up with each other and I truly hope they continue.
  5. Cat Cuddles: My cat Elle has been very cuddly this month so I have been making it a priority to cuddle with her every morning and every night before bed. It always helps me relax after a stressful day and it helps my cat stay well adjusted to her new location.

Munchie Monday: Electric Cheetah Review

Happy Monday! Today’s Munchie Monday is a restaurant review! A friend and I spent a Saturday hanging out downtown Grand Rapids and wanted to try Electric Cheetah because it is a hyped up restaurant in our area. Nearly every college kid has been there and highly recommends it. We both have dietary restrictions, I am vegan and she is gluten free and mostly diary free. The menu had several gluten free options clearly labeled as well as vegetarian options also labeled. However, there were no clearly labeled vegan options. This was because they did not have a single vegan option on the menu which is strange because their “sister” restaurant has at least 2 vegan options everyday. I examined the menu and found that I could get a vegetarian salad without the cheese and even add tofu for an added price while remaining vegan. I considered doing that as well except for the cost. The salad was $13 as is and to add a small amount of tofu would have cost an additional $6. I typically do not eat salads and I never order them from restaurants because I think if I am going out to eat and spending what I spend for a weeks worth of groceries in one meal it should be something I don’t or can’t make at home. With that said I ended up ordering a side of french fries that was half regular fries and half sweet potato fries. Usually I don’t mind ordering just a side of fries at fast food restaurants but at this point in time I kind of expect sit down restaurants to have at least more than one side that is vegan or can be made vegan. I will state that we did not look up the menu before hand so it is entirely my own fault for not having many options but as this is a review I would have to say I would not go back and I do not think it was worth the prices. Let me know what your favorite restaurant is down below!


Fit Friday: Barre Wrap Up

Good Morning and Happy Friday! We have made it through another month:) This is my wrap up and first impressions from completing one month of Barre classes. I completed all of my classes at a local studio 10 minutes from my apartment called Studio Barre. I attended 4 classes per week in the evenings. I found the classes challenging because the positions feel unnatural and it took all of my focus to remain in the correct form. The movements and positions you do cause your entire body to shake and it feels as though you are going to collapse if you remain in that position any longer. With that said I have enjoyed Barre because it is difficult and you can feel the muscles working but you typically don’t sweat too much.

The community at the studio I attend is wonderful which is the part that I love the most. The instructors know every students names and are so knowledgeable about the body. They always come around and correct your form if you are not doing something exactly right and make suggestions to alter the movements if your are injured or your muscles are straining. The studio also offers workshops every few months to its members to get more detailed instructions on how to keep the correct form. I went to their most recent workshop and it was excellent! I learned so much but it was also the harder then any class I’ve taken so far. My muscles were shaking and sore within the first two minutes. They focused on what you are supposed to do with your muscles without any equipment that way when you add equipment back into it you get the most out of your workout. Overall, I highly recommend checking out a local barre class! The only thing I would be interested in is if there are other formats of barre classes. I even signed up for a monthly membership to keep going! Let me know if you have any recommendations for what fitness classes I should try next.

Since this is a new month it is time for a new fitness challenge! I loved Barre so much that I intend to keep going at least two or three times a week. On top of that I have decided to focus my efforts on training for a 5k this month since I made running several of my yearly goals. In order to afford to keep doing this challenge, I have cancelled my Planet Fitness and Orange Theory memberships. I have almost the whole month of April left at Planet Fitness so I will be using the gym to train for a 5k and since it is getting nicer outside I am hoping to train outside as well. Once those memberships fully expire, I intend to join a local gym that offers unlimited group classes as well in the monthly membership. That way I can use the group classes over the next few months for this challenge. Comment below if you have any suggestions or tips for beginner runners.