Welcome!

This is a new adventure for me. I'm not a writer. I'm not a designer. I have no training as a chef. I have no medical or nutritional education. All I know is what life has taught me. I am blessed to be able to surround myself with people who love and support me and am lucky enough that one of them happens to be one of my besties, Gina from Design Intervention, a vegan graphic design goddess. She's the one who came up with the idea of me writing a blog, designed my logo and my website. So here's my first one–a chance for you to get to know me a little better.

Photo courtesy of Mary Olmsted

Photo courtesy of Mary Olmsted

This website and blog will revolve around gluten-free and vegan recipes, health and fitness, and soon I will be adding a page to sell the bags I design and sew.

                            Diaper/Overnight bag designed and sewn by yours truly

                            Diaper/Overnight bag designed and sewn by yours truly

So why gluten-free and vegan? Firstly, I am celiac. I promise, that's a whole separate blog post in itself! If I eat gluten now, I get mouth sores and bad stomach issues. Enough said. Secondly, three years ago I decided to become a vegan. Gina (my graphic designer and good friend) had been vegetarian for many years and decided to go vegan as a last ditch effort get her hereditary high cholesterol down...which she was finally able to do with a vegan diet.  Although I was a vegetarian for five years in my late teens, I had been a meat eater since then. Two months after she went vegan, I decided to go too. It has been life changing. Yes, it can be a pretty restrictive diet, especially since I can't eat gluten either. But I love knowing that I am fueling my body with nutritious food, that I am significantly reducing my carbon footprint and water usage, and that I am living a more compassionate lifestyle. As you will find out, I'm not perfect. But it's not about being perfect–it's about doing the best you can.

I love to challenge and push myself to my limits. This may very well be a flaw of mine. I practice a style of yoga called Prana Vinyasa Yoga, which has really transformed my body. And it helps keep me somewhat injury free as a runner. I'm usually a pretty casual runner, but from time to time I like to train for and run long distance races, like half marathons, full marathons and ultra-marathons. Personally, I think half marathons are the perfect race. I have run this distance probably over 30 times. I have run 4 full marathons and am training for my second 50k (32 miles) ultra-marathon in two weeks. I enjoy creating training schedules and hope I can share my love of running with those of you who have always wanted to give it a try.

                        Tripod headstand                                My first marathon (above). Hiking in Canada.

                        Tripod headstand                                My first marathon (above). Hiking in Canada.

So now that you know a little about what I enjoy doing, it's probably a good idea to give you a glimpse into my limitations. I have some crazy health issues. You already know about my celiacs, which is an autoimmune disease. That's an easy one–don't eat gluten and I almost forget I have it. I also have pernicious anemia, which is another autoimmune disease where my body doesn't absorb vitamin B-12 through my stomach. I get anywhere from weekly to monthly injections to replace this essential vitamin. I currently have about 6 other micronutrient deficiencies–which I shouldn't have with my healthy diet–that my doctors are trying to figure out why I am not absorbing or transporting these. Those all pale in comparison to my grand-daddy of health issues...secondary adrenal insufficiency. Two years ago, my adrenal gland just decided, for no apparent reason, to stop producing cortisol. Cortisol is your body's natural steroid that essentially makes all your systems function. At this point it is considered "idiopathic, isolated secondary adrenal insufficiency" (a.k.a who the hell knows why, you are screwed). There is a good chance this is due to an unknown autoimmune disease. Since my adrenal gland no longer produces my body's life-sustaining steroid, I have to try to mimic what it needs by taking replacement steroid pills every 4 hours. It can be tricky because, say if the average person decides to go for a run, their adrenal gland would automatically start pumping out more cortisol steroid than it would if they were just sitting on their couch. So when I run, I wear a race vest with my steroid pills (which I take extra doses about every 4 miles), my own electrolyte drink and fuel, and my cell phone. I just bought a new vest for longer runs that has an extra pocket in the back that I can store my steroid emergency injection kit in as well, should I get into trouble. Essentially I have been told, if I stop taking my steroid pills, it's game over within a day or two.

So the reason I am tell you all this personal information is to encourage you. Man, I got a hundred and one excuses...and I use them sometimes. I know you do too. But if I can live a full and rich life, you can too. I'm not saying to go out and sign up for a marathon. However, get out there and walk your first 5k race or go on that trip to the Grand Canyon you've always wanted to take. I'm not unique, we all have limitations. It's only when we start seeing them as potential for growth that they no longer have power over us.

For those of you who have autoimmune diseases or are interested in learning about them, I will also dedicate blogs to discussing how to live with them.

Needless to say, I love sharing my experiences just as much as I love hearing about others. I'm a "glass half full" kind of girl and truly believe in the power of positive thinking. I hope you sign up to receive my free guide on "5 Way to a Healthy and Compassionate Lifestyle" and decide to follow my blog.  I also hope you all take advantage of my comment section at the end of each blog post so that I can get to know all of you better as well!

XOXO!