Vitamix: Day 7 / Yesterday

At 6:30pm on Friday I was sitting at my desk, singing along to Christmas music, just having finished creating and ordering a bunch of Christmas presents, after a long day of laundry, chores, and running errands.  And I suddenly realized… hey, it’s 6:30pm and I’M STILL AWAKE.  Not one single nap all day!

It feels like my energy is increasing every day.  I suspect it’s at least partially because I’ve been actually putting effort into what I eat.  (Also, Vitamix.)

I’ve been really trying to pull myself out of the vicious cycle I mentioned a few days ago.  Not only that, I’m actually getting excited about being in the kitchen and preparing food again.  I’m not eating the same 3-4 things because I’m too tired to think of and/or prepare anything else.  Or worse, skipping meals because I just don’t feel like making food.

On Friday night, I went to the Movember gala in Toronto with some friends.

I only had one small drink and we left early (11pm-ish), but I wasn’t in bed until around 1:30am.  I could hardly get out of bed on Saturday.  I was WRECKED.  My doctor told me the most important thing I need to do is go to bed, get up, and have meals at the same time every day.  That’s what I was doing all week, and it was working. It’s amazing how throwing off my schedule by a few hours completely undid everything.

All day yesterday, I dragged myself around like a zombie.  It felt like all of my limbs were too heavy for my body and I just wanted to go to bed and sleep for the whole day.

And I couldn’t think of anything to make in my Vitamix aside from my morning smoothie that didn’t involve a walk to the grocery store for ingredients.  I did make apple sauce because I needed some for a recipe.

Apples in a blender.  That doesn’t count.  (Plus I ended up using store bought applesauce in my recipe anyway.)  So, no Vitamix recipe yesterday.  I suck.

Speaking of recipes, ugh.

My friend’s birthday party was last night and I wanted to make cookies.  I’ve been wanting to try more stuff from the BabyCakes cookbooks, so I picked Sugar Cookies from BabyCakes Covers the Classics.

I have Erin McKenna’s original cookbook as well, and I’m really sad to admit that I haven’t been overly impressed with either.  I bought them because there are such rave reviews about the bakery, and the pictures in the books are AMAZING (I’m shallow and easily distracted by pretty things), but so far I’ve made a handful of things and none of them have turned out.  I don’t know if it’s because I suck at baking (although, as of today, 56% of Amazon reviews for her first book and 43% for the second book are 3 stars or lower, so it’s not just me), but it’s really frustrating, especially when ingredients are so expensive.

She uses a lot of coconut oil.  A LOT.  At $30 per jar and 3/4 cups of coconut oil in a recipe, that’s a lot of money to waste.

Anyway, Lori cookies.  For Lori’s birthday.

The recipe was fairly easy, but it took more than a few tries to get the hang of cutting out shapes because the dough was so soft.  Overall, everything seemed good until I took the cookies out of the oven.  They just tasted gross.  My boyfriend said “there’s no sweetness to them.”  I thought they tasted like bland cardboard.  He suggested I make a glaze, so I quickly whipped something up and dunked the cookies.

Then they just tasted like gross cookies covered in sugar, on top of looking like they were prepared by a five-year-old.  At that point, there was no time left so I just brought them to the party anyway.  The birthday girl herself said they tasted salty; her husband said they didn’t even taste like cookies.  Everyone agreed they were not good.

I really wanted to try making cinnamon buns and ice cream cake and all sorts of things from her books, but I’m not sure if I should even bother.  I am a big giant baby when it comes to being disappointed.

How do you deal with baking failures?

6 Months Gluten-Free

I missed my 6-monthiversary of being gluten free, on November 1st!

My last update was after 1 month gluten-free.  Before that, 1 week.

To recap, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in September 2010.  I was put on Synthroid, and felt fantastic… for about 1 week.  That began a series of incredibly frustrating doctors’ appointments in which I was told that my blood tests were in the normal ranges and Synthroid is flawless and therefore not feeling well was certainly NOT from my autoimmune disease and must be caused by psychological problems. That drove me to google, which sent me to the book Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal.  In the (amazing, life-altering) book, he says that people with Hashi’s should not eat gluten.  You can read more about the gluten-thyroid connection here.

Which brings me to:

6 months.  My health has gone up and down like crazy over the last 6 months, to the point where I have no idea what’s causing me to feel worse and what’s causing me to feel better and if not eating gluten has even helped me.   I’ve written about these issues quite a bit.

One thing I know for sure is that the thyroid swelling / choking feeling in my throat is gone.  It was mostly gone a month after I cut out gluten, and then completely gone after I started taking dessicated thyroid instead of Synthroid in August.  Sometimes that feeling was so bad I would just go lie in bed because it was too uncomfortable to even hold my head up.  So having it be completely gone is amazing.

As for the rest…

Fatigue.  This is my biggest problem.  Sometimes I can hardly get out of bed; sometimes I have enough energy to go an entire day without any napping.  I am confident this has very little to do with food/gluten at this point.  My new doctor thinks this is caused by my adrenals, and I’m not absorbing vitamins properly.  I’ll learn more at my appointment next week.

Exercise. Haven’t been able to do much of anything due to weakness/shakiness/dizziness/heart issues.  I no longer think this has anything to do with food/gluten either, and it’s probably related to my thyroid and the other problems that are causing my fatigue.  Taking magnesium supplements has helped with the heart palpitations I was experiencing a few months ago.

Weight Loss.  I haven’t lost any more, but I haven’t gained any back either, which is great since I haven’t been able to work out very much and I’ve stopped counting calories and I take great joy in baked goods.

I’m proud to say I haven’t intentionally cheated on my diet ONCE.  I’ve made a few mistakes, most notably:

  • Not realizing most Asian sauces are made with a soy sauce base.  I’m still not sure if Pad Thai is as safe as I thought it was.
  • Toiletries.  I just found out my favourite shampoo and conditioner have like 5 wheat-based ingredients in each.  Also: nail polish remover, moisturizer, etc etc etc.

Things I need to get better at:

  • Planning meals before I go out / on vacation.  3 days in Venice, asking every single restaurant if they have anything senza glutine and hearing a resounding “NO” really put a damper on the trip.  As did eating mostly salads in Vegas while sitting around watching my friends eat THE BEST PIZZA I’VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE, because I didn’t realize that “gluten-free” and “vegetarian” are not frequently overlapping concepts in the US.
  • Cooking.  I’ve come to realize that I LOVE baking, but hate cooking.  Unfortunately 3 meals a day of cupcakes is probably not the best for my health.
  • Eating at regular intervals.  If I don’t eat every 2-3 hours, I turn into a complete mental case.  This is probably a blood sugar thing.
  • Preventing cross-contamination.  I am considering buying new kitchen stuff to better avoid cross contamination.  This is TOTALLY NOT AN EXCUSE to buy new kitchen stuff.

I still genuinely enjoy eating gluten-free.  If, at my appointment on Tuesday, my doctor said “JUST KIDDING you can eat gluten!”  I would still eat gluten-free.

One thing I am concerned about is my thyroid antibodies.  I saw my recent blood test results at my Bad Doctor’s office last week, and my antibodies have doubled.  One of the theories about the gluten-thyroid connection is that not eating gluten can stop your body from attacking your thyroid.  So in theory, my antibodies should be lower, not higher.  I am going to speak to my Good Doctor next week and he should be able to explain what’s up.

Keep on Truckin’

I saw the endocrinologist today.

She was nice.  She didn’t rush through the appointment, she spent lots of time, and she went over my whole medical history and asked lots of questions.  But at the end of the day, my blood tests show that my TSH is normal and she believes it’s in my head.

She says I’m putting blame on my thyroid when it’s not to blame.  I don’t know what to blame.  I don’t know why I feel so crappy.  She asked me what I’m afraid of – what do I think I have?  ”Everyone googles their symptoms.”  She asked me if I was afraid I have cancer or something else.  No – genuinely, no, I don’t think I have a terrible disease.  I do think something is causing my body to be unbalanced and out of sync and I just want to find out what it is and fix it.

I have a lot on my mind.  Maybe the doctors are right, and I’m looking for someone who will tell me what I want to hear instead of the truth.  Maybe I am secretly depressed and anxious and that’s why I don’t feel well.  But you know what?  If that’s the case, then I STILL NEED TO FIX IT.

At the end of the appointment, I said, “I just don’t want to live like this anymore.”  She sounded surprised. “Really? It’s that bad?”

I didn’t know how to respond to that.  No, it’s not that bad.  It could be a million times worse.  But why should I live my life feeling mediocre and crappy when I could live my life feeling AWESOME?  I’m not going to feel guilty or stupid about wanting that.

I’m a bit stuck now.  I’ll do the tests as requested, but I don’t expect anything to come of them.

I guess my journey into alternative medicine starts now.

Energy

I should have just finished my 2nd soccer game of the season, but a giant thunderstorm began just before half time and the referee called the game.

Which was actually a very good thing, because I’m having a serious problem with energy and I wasn’t sure I would be able to finish the game.  I forced myself to play tonight, but I started shaking, and then my hands started to go numb.

I’m getting sick of this stuff, you know?  I’m doing everything I know how to do, but it’s not enough.

Last week I saw my doctor.  I haven’t posted my medical history yet, but I’ll give you a short summary:  I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in the fall of 2010.  Only he didn’t exactly tell me that’s what I had.  He said “thyroiditis” and put me on medication.  At one of my follow-up appointments this year, I asked him how long I would have to take medication. “Oh,” he shrugged, as if I should have already known, “probably for the rest of your life.  It’s an autoimmune thing.”  Oh.  Sure.  Wait, what?

So I went home and googled autoimmune thyroid disease and discovered Hashimoto’s.  He didn’t actually say “Hashimoto’s” until my appointment last week, and he has given me no information on the disease or how to cope.  And he goes entirely by blood test results – if my results are fine, I’m fine, and if I say I’m not fine, it’s in my head.

I suggested that Synthroid might not be the right medication for me.  ”No, it’s the right one.”  But I feel awful.  ”Then you must be depressed or something because your blood tests are fine.”  Is there anything else you can test for?  Vitamin D, iron, hormone levels?  ”No, it wouldn’t be anything like that.”  Isn’t there another medication I can try?  ”No, this one is fine.”  So why do I feel so bad?  ”Well, it’s not because of your thyroid or anything else.”

I recently found out that there’s an endocrinologist in his office.  I requested to see her, and he said no.  ”She’s not going to tell you anything I’m not already telling you.”

Except… he’s not telling me anything.  So, last week I asked again.  I practically begged.  I asked him to please, please, just let me see her once and if she actually can’t do anything beyond what he’s doing for me, then I won’t bother her again.  He agreed, and I got an appointment for tomorrow.

I hope she can help me, because I don’t know where else to go.  A dietician?  An internet doctor?  A naturopath?   A crazy guy in a basement with a handwritten sign saying “THYROID HELP HERE”?

Back to energy.  Last week I began the first of several photo shoots for a new client.  I photographed 80 kids doing yoga.  I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it, but I made it through the week.  I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated a long weekend more in my life.

It’s hard living your life not knowing if you can complete your day-to-day tasks.  It’s stressful worrying about how much energy you’re going to have when you wake up in the morning.  It’s tough plastering a smile on your face in front of other people when all you want to do is crawl back into bed.

It could be worse.  It could be WAY worse.  But I don’t want to live my life this way anymore.  I keep pushing myself forward and trying to find the next step and the next answer and the next thing to try to see if I’ll feel better.  Sometimes I’m not sure how much more disappointment I can take.

When I started writing this post, it was supposed to end on a positive note.  So, um… GO TEAM?

7 Days of Quinoa: Day 3

Last night, I had the sudden dream-idea to bake yesterday’s breakfast and turn it into some sort of delicious quinoa apple crisp, and I woke up IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT wondering if that would work.  Seriously, who does that?

I’m not the best cook in the world (though I’m pretty damn good at Kraft Dinner), so I decided that was probably a stupid idea and went back to sleep.  Then I was scrolling through my RSS reader this morning and I saw Angela‘s post about baked oatmeal.  Her ingredients aren’t that different, right?  This could totally work!

So I whipped out my leftovers from yesterday, and added:

- 1 more apple
- 1-2 cups of milk

And baked it in a casserole dish at 350°F for 42 minutes.  It… was basically exactly the same as yesterday, except slightly more delicious and apple-y.  I ate it with some vanilla greek yogurt.  I’m guessing the quinoa didn’t get crispy because it was already cooked?  Or maybe because it’s, uh, not oats.

Anyway, that wasn’t going to be my Day 3 post until I was leaving my house this evening and fell down my building’s concrete stairs.  Now I fully plan on doing absolutely nothing for the rest of the day as the entire left side of my body slowly turns into a giant bruise.

Can’t catch a break.