Category Archives: Practical Advice

Share Your Story!

ShareYourStory

Last week, I shared part of my story with you by giving an update on my health through the past few months. Now, it is your turn to share your story!

All of us are unique and experience different events in life. We build relationship and internalize our problems differently, and develop our own sense of humor. When it comes to food restrictions and health, one person’s problem may appear to be similar to another’s but the state of our bodies vary so much that similarity doesn’t mean the same.

Every person’s journey towards wellness is as unique as they are, and has the power to inspire others. What inspire us though, differs from person to person . We will sometimes form connections with people and they have the instant ability to encourage and inspire us. With that said, you never know when you can have that effect on others.

So, don’t be afraid to share your story. Please, please, please do not be that person who only talks about themselves but don’t keep your journey to yourself either. Talk to your friends by bringing parts of it in a conversation. Work it in casually, it doesn’t have to be forced but if the timing seems appropriate then go for it.

Don’t be ashamed of what you are going through because it is happening for a reason. Let people know about your story. You never truly know the power you posses to help and inspire others in their own journey. Even if you don’t see the effect you have on them know, you can’t predict the future and how your story may effect them then.

So go ahead! Share you story!

I would love to hear about your journey! You can email me at edibleattitudes (at) gmail (dot) com!

Can Food Save Me?

CanFoodSaveMe

So much of my life revolves around the food  I can and cannot eat because it affects my daily life. It is easy to get caught up in everything and believe that what I am eating has the capability of saving me.

Regardless if I am to overcome these health problems or not, which I do believe I will, God is good and sovereign. He has a plan for all of this, and He sent his Son to save and guarantee me an eternity with Him that doesn’t include suffering of any kind. See, I am already saved. I admitted my sins to God, and I am forgiven through the sacrifice of Jesus’ life. The perfect substitute for my brokenness. I don’t need food to save me and besides, it can’t.

Obviously, food is very important and I need to be eating well, but I often put too much emphasis on it. While food can help heal and protect my physical body, it cannot save my soul – which is far more important than my health. I will forget this though and rely on food to save me. God has the power and capability to save my soul and also to heal my body. Whether He uses diet or not is up to Him, it is out of my control.

I’m not going to stop eating beneficial foods though. Waiting for God does not mean not doing nothing. I can eat well. I can exercise. I can get enough sleep. The results are in God’s hands. God’s timing is not my timing, which can be frustrating beyond belief but probably a good thing because God has a plan (Mark 5:21-43). All I can do is pray to and trust God for healing and remember that food is not my Savior – Jesus is.

This post is part of: Wellness Wednesday

Don’t Let Your Dreams be Dreams

DontLetYourDreamsBeDreams.jpg

Dreams are powerful things. They can drive our actions and determine our attitudes. They have to power to crush us and to motivate us.

With softball season starting soon, it would be fair to say it is on my mind a lot. Bear with me through this sports analogy!

As kid with food restrictions, you may be familiar with the feeling of being held back because of your health and diet. It is time to take responsibility for your health and step into the batter’s box. Don’t let your health problems hold you back as your dreams pass by you. Yes, life is going to throw you some curve balls and change-ups and an occasional out of control rise ball will come flying toward your head but it all about how you handle it.

You can either drop the bat and get out of the box because you are too afraid to swing or you can stay in it, being smart enough to get out of the way of the pitches about to hit you, but still swing. Every now and then, you can’t get out of the way of a wild pitch in time and it will hurt and leave a mark but then you get to go to first base. Good things can come from hard times depending on your attitude and if you are looking for the positive instead of the negative.

Your dreams don’t have to be dreams, they can be a reality. They will take work to achieve and require you to get into the batters box though. Take the risks, live life to the fullest, and make your dreams a reality. Don’t waste your life by just going through the motions. The pitcher winds up and the pitch is coming in hot. Are you going to get out of the box or are you going to crush it out of the park?

Summer Camp

SummerCamp

Summer camp is one of my best childhood memories! Starting in 5th grade, every summer my best friend and I went to camp for a week. Playing camp night games, singing songs to God with a hundred plus other kids, going on hikes, and spending time in the craft shop were just a few of my favorite activities. The food at camp was of course delicious with it’s excess of processed foods and the counselors insisting we eat one scoopful of vegetables a day.

My food sensitivities were not too obvious at this time. I’d bring lactose intolerant pills along and to my mortification, I had to go to the nurse’s station to take my vitamins twice a day. Besides that, everything was fairly normal.

Since then, my family and I have gone back to camp and lots of planning went into making the trips possible. We started off by contacting the camp to find out if they would be able to accommodate to our diets. Luckily, we were not the first campers to come with gluten, dairy and countless other sensitivities.

Here is how it was possible for us to go…

A few weeks before leaving for camp, we contacted the cook and talked specifically with him to create a plan. My mom asked him to email her the menu the week before we left. She’d read through it and mark all the foods we would not be able to eat. If she had more questions after that, she called or emailed the cook again.

The camp was able to make a few substitutions or remove an ingredient or two to make parts of meals okay for us but for the most part we prepared food ahead of time. For example, if the meat wasn’t allowed in one meal, for whatever reason, then we’d cooked a hamburger or packed a few hot dogs to be made instead. None of the desserts were safe so cookies were baked prior also.

All the food was put into ziploc bags and containers marked with the date or meal they were meant for. We took the food with us and went to the kitchen as soon as we could when we arrived. The kitchen staff then kept it in a cooler and warmed it up each meal.

I had only positive experiences at camp and have been blessed with an amazing staff who was willing to make it possible for me to go. With registration for many camps already open, if you are considering going to camp but are unsure if it would be possible for you to go because of your food restriction then I highly encourage you to contact them before ruling it out.

Camp is an amazing experience you don’t want to miss if you don’t have too!

This post is part of: The North StarMostly Homemade MondaysNatural Living Mondays, Fat Tuesday, Tuned-in Tuesday, Wellness Wednesday, Fight Back Fridays, Unprocessed Fridays

Why I’m Painting My Nails

WhyI'mPaintingMyNails

I have followed the rules of my diet for over 2 ½ years now. I’ve cheated along the way and definitely have not be perfect but I’ve basically always followed the rules.

The rules have changed though and sometimes pretty frequently. For two months it may have be okay to eat fruit and the next three it may not have be. Often, I would create other rules for myself, such as, how often to rebound, to avoid certain hair products because of the chemicals, or stop painting my nails because it promotes estrogen dominance.

All of these other rules were good and helped my body but they would overwhelming at times. Rules. Constant rules. When I’d break one of my own rules, I’d feel like I was letting myself down which, at times, was almost worse then letting down others.

For Christmas and my birthday this year, I received a few new bottles of nail polish. I was grateful but disappointed because I knew I wouldn’t be able to use them because of my no nail polish rule. I’ve been staring at those bottles for a few weeks now. I was tempted to paint my nails but I refused to let myself down by breaking that rule.

When I told my mom she told me to just do it. See, all those rules can weigh you down and cause you to not enjoy the little things in life. It is very important to take responsibility of your health and to care for your body but when the little rules consume you and cause stress, then it is likely the rules, or treatment, are causing more harm than good.

I need follow my diet and most of my own rules but not painting my nails was an extra thing that I was never told specifically not to do. I’m taking care of my body and doing almost everything I know how to so I’ve decided that it is okay to paint my nails and enjoy breaking this little rule for a week and when it starts to chip I will take it off right away.

Is there anything in your life like this?

This post is part of: Mostly Homemade Mondays, The North Star

Food Restrictions Bring Freedom not Limitations

FoodRestritionsBringFreedomNotLimitations

Out of curiousity, I looked up synonyms for restriction. A few of the words I found were constraint, limitation, restraint, and confinement.

Those words were how I would have defined food restrictions for nearly two years. On the surface these words are true. Food restrictions and elimination diets limit and restrain you from doing things giving you a feeling of confinement.

Now think about it for a minute. Are food restrictions really restrictive? No, they are freedom.  Freedom from health problems and the affect they have on your life.

They may prevent you from doing things now and you may feel held back at times, but in the long-term by dealing with these issues and healing your body you are gaining freedom.

When I realized this, I had this mind-blown moment. This is so true but sadly not how we often view them. Our perspective of food restrictions affects our attitude which in turn affects our actions. Remember the freedom you are getting in the long-term over the constraint you have for short-term, and you will find your perspective, attitude, and actions changing.

Print the picture below to hang up as a daily reminder.

FoodRestrictionChart

This post is part of: Mostly Homemade Mondays, Fat Tuesday, Tuned-In Tuesday, Wellness Wednesday, Fight Back Fridays, Unprocessed FridaysThe North Star

Take Responsibility for Your Health

TakeResponsibilityForYourHealth

If you are dealing with health problems as a teenager, then you know how hard it is. I don’t have to remind you because you know from experience. If you are like I was then sometimes you can’t stand your parents for making you eat a certain way or get upset when you have to do certain things that they think will help you. There are times you eat what you aren’t suppose to when you leave home and then deny that it makes you sick. Maybe you are angry that you have to deal with these issues and rather not address them by tackling them head on.

But guess what, it is time to step and deal with your problems. Enough of the whining and the complaining and expecting others to do everything for you. It is your body, not your parents’ or your doctor’s – yours! You want to be healthy? You want to live your life without your health holding you back? Great! Then step up and take control of your health.

Taking responsibility for your health means that you research and understand what you are going through. It is shown by being self-motivated, following your diet in and out of your home, helping with cooking, and having a positive attitude.

You are a teenager, an official adult in only a few years. You are old enough to understand consequences, see the big picture, and have an affect on the dreams and goals for your life. This also means you are old enough to know that the consequences of not addressing your health could have a detrimental affect your goals and dreams.

Some day, you will move out of your house and not have your parents around to tell you want to do and eat. You will be on your own soon and will have to make smart and responsible decisions. Your parents wanting you to have a healthy life is not enough. You have to want it too. If you start to make good choices now and create a healthy lifestyle then it will be much easier when you are independent.

I learned this through my own experiences. I went through the motions and followed my diet restrictions as minimally as I could for a year and half. I was angry and upset, and I really didn’t like any part of what I was doing. I’m not saying that I love my food restrictions now, but once I figured out why I was changing my diet and decided that no one could heal my body but me was when my attitude changed. I truly believe that our attitudes shape our actions. The first time I fully committed to regaining my health was when I changed my attitude and took responsibility and there has been no stopping me since.

I’m going to say one more time. It is your body, your health, and your life – not anyone else’s. Time to take responsibility. 

This post is part of: Mostly Homemade Mondays, Natural Living Mondays, Fat Tuesdays, Tuned-In Tuesday, Wellness Wednesday, Unprocessed FridaysThe North Star

Preparation for School Lunches

PreparationForSchoolLunches

What is essential or beneficial to have for school if you or your child has food restrictions? There are three things that I have found to be important for school: thermoses, lunch boxes, and water bottles. There are also three things that are nice extra bonuses to have for lunches: containers, spork (yup, a spork!), and an icepack.

Thermos I love, love, love my thermoses*! In my home, we own six and they are in constant use, not just for school lunches either. They are good for anytime you want to keep your food warm or cold for a longer period of time. I have used mine for traveling, softball tournaments, and eating at friends’ homes. Buying a stainless steel one is crucial because they are more difficult to break and will not release the same harmful chemicals in plastic. This thermos comes with a collapsible spoon on top, which is perfect for traveling. Bonus- they now come in cranberry, raspberry, and midnight blue colors in addition to black.

Lunch BoxI’ve heard the argument that you may as well put your lunch in a plastic or paper bag but let’s be honest- if you are a kid with food restrictions, you are going to be using the lunch box* for a lot more than lunch. Find a one with a color a pattern that you love because it will get lots of use.  Lunch boxes* can be bought almost anywhere. PackIts are cool because the icepack is built into the lining of the lunch box.

Kleen Kanteen Water Bottle Water, quality water, is super important for the human body! With spending many hours a day at school water should be consumed there as well as home so bring a water bottle*. Make sure to be following your school rules though because some do not allow water to be brought into the building. Glass water bottles* are best but not always ideal for school. Decide if stainless steel or plastic is a better decision for your family.

Anchor Glass ContainersGlass containers* are great but only if you can make sure that they likely will not break. Otherwise buy plastic or stainless steel* ones. They are better than Ziploc bags because of being reusable.

SporkI just love these sporks*! Fork, knife, and spoon all in one! It is so convenient!

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Ice PacksIf you food is at the temperature you prefer, it is more desirable to eat. Icepacks* will help keep your food cooler.

*Affiliate Link (read more here)

This post is part of: Mostly Homemade Mondays, Fight Back Friday, Natural Living,

Food Strategy: Combining Foods

FoodStrategyCombiningFoods

You may be asking what is a food strategy is. My definition is a way to make cooking and preparing food more convenient or quick.

Cooking and preparing food can take a lot of time if you don’t have a good plan and know how to make it go quicker. My favorite method is to combining foods.

What is Food Combining?

Combining food is taking multiple vegetables, meats, or fruits and making them into one dish. Instead of warming up all your vegetables individually or separately, place them into one pot or pan and just mix it together.

Here are three examples of foods I combine…

1. Cabbage, Frozen Peas, and Chicken

Put your desired amount of cabbage in the pot first. Then put the frozen peas and chicken on top. Cover the pot and turn the heat on to medium. The liquid from the cabbage will be trapped in the pot and warm the peas. Mix when the peas begin to thaw. Then you’re done! Put it in a bowl and enjoy!

2. Frozen Peas, Carrots, and Hamburger

Place a pan on the stove and turn the heat to medium. While oil is warming on the pan, cut carrots into slices very thinly and place then on to the pan. Next, cut up a hamburger or use browned hamburger and put it into the pan as well. Finally, put the frozen peas in and cover the pan. Stir when the peas begin to thaw. Place all of the ingredients into a bowl and eat up!

3. Frozen Strawberries, Apples, Coconut Milk, and Coconut Flour

Peal and cut the apple into thin chunks. Then place the apple chunks and strawberries into a pot. Turn the heat onto medium and cover the pot. Pour in the coconut milk and cook until the strawberries have thawed. Mix in a small amount of coconut flour to make it pasty and there you go!

These are only three examples of combining foods and there are plenty  more! So be creative and try combing your most commonly eaten foods and see what happens! Not everything tastes well together but you’ll get the hang of it and may save yourself a lot of time and dishes.

What have you tried combining?

Normal People Live Normal Lives

NormalPeopleLiveNormalLives

I always desired to be normal and  fit in. I struggled with wanting to fit in socially starting in 7th grade but the desire to be “normal” came in 10th grade when I started to change my diet. When I started my sophomore year of high school I had only been off of gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, and corn for about a month and none of my friends really knew why. I stuck out and my life was suddenly dramatically different than theirs.

A mentor of mine had the unfortunate pleasure of listening to me say many, many times that all I wanted was to be normal and eat like everyone else and not have to be concerned about my health. She asked me what being normal meant to me. My response was that being normal meant that I didn’t stand out. She kind of smiled and then said, “Normal people live normal lives and you have no desire to have an ordinary life”.

This has stuck with me for the past year now and has positively influenced my view of my health issues. All of these problems and struggles that have come with them have happened for a reason and I am growing from it. I have learned lessons and developed characteristics that I don’t know if I would have without my health issues and food restrictions.

I don’t know about you but I have no desire to live a normal life. I don’t want to only be going through the motions and not be doing something with my life. That has no appeal to me. I want to travel, care for others, and change the world! I want to stand out and be extraordinary! If I don’t want a normal life then why do I want to be normal? It doesn’t make sense!

My poor health would prevent me from doing all those things. My health would be part of what makes me live an ordinary life. So, how do I change that? I change my health. I change my diet. I stick out and live differently so I don’t have to live a normal life.

Wanting to be normal isn’t wrong; it’s pretty natural actually to want to fit in. That desire doesn’t go away though until you make it, until your desire for something else is bigger then your desire to be normal. Do you want to be normal? Do you want to live a normal life? If not, what is it that you want? Focus on that consistently and you will find your desire to not stand out and be normal slowly going away making this journey easier.

You can learn more about my journey by reading my book, “A Teenager’s Perspective on Food Restrictions: A Practical Guide to Keep from Going Crazy”. Find out more about the book here or go ahead and purchase for only $1.99 here!

This post is part of: Mostly Homemade Mondays, Wellness Wednesday, Fight Back Friday, Unprocessed Fridays, Natural Living, The North Star