One of my all-time favorite Sunday Fundays last summer…the rain forced us to find an alternative to our usual lake time, so we headed out to Boulder Lodge. As you can see, we did an alright job of salvaging the day… (at Boulder Lodge)

One of my all-time favorite Sunday Fundays last summer…the rain forced us to find an alternative to our usual lake time, so we headed out to Boulder Lodge. As you can see, we did an alright job of salvaging the day… (at Boulder Lodge)

Northwoods Spotlight: Midwest Roasters

Northwoods Spotlight: Midwest Roasters

midwest_roasters07 To say I love coffee is like saying that Taylor Swift likes to sing about boys. Coffee brings me joy. It picks me up when I’m feeling low. It calms me down when I’m spazzin’ about real life. It motivates me to get shiz done when all I wanna do is watch Law & Order (SVU, for the record. That Officer Stabler really knows how to fill out a button-down shirt). Coffee takes bad days and makes them…

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The Candida Diaries: Doin’ it and doin’ it and doin’ it (wow)

Yesterday began the new (restart? phase? redo?) Candida treatment for me. It’s fitting that it happened on July 15th, since I started the original treatment back on January 15th - there’s something to the 15th with stuff like this - the 1st feels like too much pressure, but the 15th, man…it feels like you’re just kind of slipping into it, like sliding across a hardwood floor on woolen socks.

I saw my doctor and we did testing for Candida Overgrowth, and even though we haven’t gotten my results back yet, we both agreed that going on a modified version of it for now is the way to go. It’s been super fun to kind of break all the rules and flirt with my old food loves - ice cream, frappucinos, pasta, gourmet cheese, etc - but at the end of the day, it’s kind of been the same as making out with a guy you know is absolutely no good for you - super fun in the moment, but the next morning you wake up feeling like crap. Physically and mentally, I just haven’t felt like myself these past two months. My old food addiction stuff returned with a vengeance, too - I found myself looking to food to make me happy again after a long day, and started feeling like good things (like Real Housewives) just weren’t as much fun if I wasn’t eating an ice cream bar at the same time. It kind of bums me out to know that no matter how much work I do on the health side, that stuff might never go away - that it’s more an issue of reconfiguring patterns and eliminating triggers, since exorcising it totally from my brain will probably never happen - but on the bright side it’s good to have an awareness of it so that I know that those things are stumbling blocks for me, and probably always will be. 

So we’re back. The difference with this time is that my doctor wants me to sliiide into treatment gradually, vs. the all or nothing approach I took back in January. Even though I constantly battle with my tendency to want to go full-frontal on everything, I know that she’s right about this: It will help cut down on the detox bullshit that I went through in January (lots of naps, tons of crankiness (and self-pity), and some headaches) and make it that much easier to commit to the process as a whole if I feel like I can gradually eliminate stuff instead of having it all taken away from me at once.

Her guidelines were as follows:

Apple Cider Vinegar shot every morning… if I can stand it and it works into my schedule, before every meal is ideal.

Drink lots and lots and lots of water. 

Eight hours of sleep, minimum. (I laughed when she told me this - I’ve seriously been clocking in 9-11 hours of sleep every night this summer)

Take a probiotic supplement. She gave me a recommend on some good ones out there, and I have a couple that I’m looking into. I’ll update you on what I decide on next week.

Think about Kombucha. I told her that I would think about it - every time I buy Kombucha, it ends up sitting in my fridge past the due date. I’m a little scared to try the Kombucha, friends. I know there are friends of mine who love and swear by it - Dave, Erin, Erica - but I can’t quite make myself do it yet.

Week One: Eliminate what I would call “Carby-carbs” - bread, crust, crackers, buns, etc. Basically, anything with lots of flour and yeast in it. These are the biggest culprits to my treatment (but oddly, also the easiest for me to say goodbye to).

Week Two: Eliminate dairy (except Greek Yogurt, which is really good for candida treatment and has only a trace amount of lactose). Ain’t no thing - I still barely do any dairy, besides cheese.

Week Three: Eliminate simple and processed sugars. Natural sugars (like fruit - YAY!) and raw (not processed) dark chocolate are still okay - on an occasional basis - for now. If I find myself craving this stuff more than once a day, though, I gotta cut it out - because then that means my body (and brain) still can’t handle even the smallest amount of sugar without going sugar-fiend crazy.

Week Four: Eliminate caffeine. (This is one will be easy-peasy, since I almost never drink caffeine anymore, anyway)

Week Four: Testing week. This is a week of eating carb, dairy, and sugar-free, at the end of which I’ll analyze how I’m feeling and how my body’s responding. If I’m feeling better, my body’s responding well, and I’ve started to shed a majority of candida-related symptoms, then I can keep going with natural sugars and raw dark chocolate and consider myself in lifetime maintenance mode. If my body is slow to make progress and the symptoms are still showing up, then I move into Week Five…

Week Five: Eliminate natural sugars and raw dark chocolate (sad face).

Week Six: Full blown candida diet in effect.

She also had some strong words about my alcohol usage (whoops). I will admit that I have been drinking a lot, even for me…but it’s summer! I told her. I’m out with my friends, doing summer stuff! I whined. She basically called me a moron and pointed out that drinking tons of alcohol was one of the worst things I could do to my body, which…both are true. While she did begrudgingly celebrate with me over the fact that I can now drink a beer (or three) without feeling like I’m getting a cold, she put the kibosh on making it a regular habit. Since I was totally, brutally honest with her about the fact that there was no way I could go drinks-free for the rest of the summer, we compromised: Four drinks a week, with six being the absolute maximum (my rule, not hers - who are these people who only have two drinks on a Friday or Saturday night?!). And I gotta stick to drinks like gin and tonic or light white wine. If I want something fruity (always my downfall in the summa), I can (sparingly) add cranberry juice to the gin and tonic. I can have two beers every other week, but the moment I notice symptoms - including feeling bloated - I have to stop drinking beer and switch to something else.

AND, if I hit Week Four and my body is still sluggish in its response to treatment, then I gotta eliminate alcohol during Weeks Five and Week Six.

At the end of Week Six, I’ll check back in with my doctor and we’ll review my progress. The big hope right now is that Week Four is a success. If it is, then after Week Six I can start testing things like quinoa, oatmeal, smoothies, etc, and just basically work toward having a more well-rounded diet.

So I feel good about stuff. Yesterday and today were super easy - it’s weird how bread stuff is the hardest on my system but easiest for me to eliminate - and I know this week will be a breeze. It feels weird to eliminate bread but still be able to have sugar…and don’t get me wrong, I’m totally, totally enjoying an extra week of being able to have a soy mocha or a piece of chocolate (Bucket List for this week: Ice cream at West Dairy. I’ve literally lived here off and on for more than a decade and have never had it. Crazytown), but it almost feels even more forbidden to be able to have sugar and not bread than to just go cold turkey off both.

Also, since I won’t have to deal with so much detox shiz, I am fully planning on upping the fitness component of my life. A couple weeks ago, this girl walked into the place where I sling beer for cash and I stopped dead in my tracks - her arms weren’t big, but they were CUT. I was like, “WHOA. I WANTS.” My body has always had some pretty decent muscle tone - underneath the flab, my arms are actually pretty dec when it comes to their strength, and my legs continue to be my favorite body part - but I want to ramp it up a bit. I actually have a program that I did last winter that I loved, but haven’t blogged about yet because I wanted to write about it while I’m actually doing it, so I’m probs going to pick that up and then tell you all about it. I also need to look into shaking up my yoga routine with poses that actually challenge my strength…my focus this past year has been on building flexibility, which has been awesome, but it’s also allowed me to be kind of a wuss when it comes to my routines. So if anyone out there knows of any great online videos/tutorials for yoga routines that will help build some serious strength, please let me know about them in the comments!

And on that note - thanks to everyone who has been following along with the Candida Diaries! When I first started writing about it, I figured that it would be something that would be important for me to write about as a way to keep myself accountable to….myself…and a great way to vent, but that it would be way boring for everyone else to read. The amount of great, positive feedback and cheering on that I’ve received since starting this series was totally unexpected but also totally, super awesome. The Candida Diaries has catapulted me on a journey that I’m excited to continue and build on…beyond the restart of my treatment, there are some other really fun and exciting things in the works that totally jive with this year’s mission to feel great inside my own body, and I’m excited to share it all with you guys in the next few weeks!

Stay tuned… ;)

The Candida Diaries: According to morosophic on Snapchat, it’s all just beds and cats with me. And FOOD, morosophic. AND FOOD.

(New morning reading/writing/coffee drinking nook.)
The first couple of weeks in a new place always seem a little like a vacation, or suspended reality - like you should be excused from all obligations and other established routines, because hey, you just moved and you need to unpack and get settled in and figure out what your routine should be. 

Or maybe that’s just me, using it as an excuse to do nothing but rearrange my closet and desk and shuffle a bunch of paperwork from one place to another while simultaneously feeling oddly productive. 

So hey, I just moved, I’m all unpacked (secret? It took me, like, a day to unpack, but I suuuper enjoyed using that excuse for an entire week to get out of stuff), and I’m finally settling into a routine at the new place).

(New bed. (a.k.a., magic portal to heaven). I told my friend Megan that more guys should sleep with me just so they can experience my comfy bed making. #thiscouldbeus #butyouplayin)
When I first decided to move in with Jen’s, I had this sort of vision of what the rest of my summer would be like - yoga in the backyard in the morning; long, meandering walks to the post office, coffeeshop, and/or grocery store around noon; afternoons at my desk in my sunny bedroom; starry nights around the campfire in the backyard. 

(This is the new backyard in which I (sometimes) do yoga.)
And it’s kind of been like that…one thing I’ve noticed about myself, however, is that when I move, when my environment is disrupted, my habits are disrupted, too. I love structure but I hate routine, so it’s been a bit of a challenge, getting back into the daily schedule of things. 

(Meditation space/altar and book nook (I’m liking the word “nook” lately, kay? Leave it alone!)
It also doesn’t help that I’m in the testing phase of my Candida treatment right now. Basically, to catch everyone up, I was given permission by my doctor to go a little lax on my treatment the past few weeks so we can retest and see how much actual progress has been made. Which, in all honesty, has been GREAT - I haven’t been going crazy with it, but it’s been really nice to go out and order something and not have to think twice about whether or not I can have this or that. I already know that I’m going to have to restart some semblance of my treatment soon - my eyes still get blurry when I have too much sugar, I still fall into a coma after simple carbs, I can tell that my moods are still severely affected by both sugar and carby stuff, and my skin is less glowy - but the best discovery from this phase? I CAN NOW HAVE BEER. And more than one - multiples, even - with feeling like I’m getting a cold! I cannot tell you guys how much this absolutely delights me - I can drink beer like a normal, cool, totally awesome beer-drinking person again!!! My gut may never like carbs ever again, and my body definitely cannot handle sugar, but probably the best thing to come out of this treatment (other than the weight loss and the glowy skin) is that it’s healed my gut enough that I can drink a beer around a campfire, just in time for summer. 

(Creative corner. I am inspired by famous faces of fitness, a smartass baby, a speaking award masquerading as a Twilight meme, and outakes from a decades-old modeling gig where I was supposed to look cool but messed everything up with my dorkiness.)
My one big hope from retesting is that I really want to reintroduce fruits back into my diet. Especially now that it’s summer, it’s really hard to think of passing up fruits like blueberries or strawberries or even blackberries because my body can’t handle even the natural sugars in them. I used to crave strawberries the way drunk sorority chicks crave Taco Bell…and then I would literally devour them because  my body would respond to the sugar in them the way a hipster responds to the sound of a PBR being cracked open. But there’s just something about having fruits in my daily diet that just makes me feel healthier, so I’m hoping that my gut has healed enough that I can have fruits in moderation. 

(Took myself out to breakfast today because I love myself, and also stuffed French Toast.)
That being said, while I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being in this lax phase, I’m actually kind of excited to get back to treatment. I just feel better, both mentally and physically, when I’m on it…and even though it was such a freaking struggle when I first started, I think I’ve actually grown to like the structure and the restriction of it. Whether this is good or bad, I don’t know (and don’t really care) but I’ve learned that when there are many choices, it’s so much more fun for me to pick the bad ones. It’s like I’m giving myself a dare…”So, you *could* have the scrambled eggs and lean turkey, but I DARE YOU TO HAVE THE STUFFED FRENCH TOAST.”

It’s just how my mind works. And I know myself well enough by now than to know better than to fight it. 

So next week (it was supposed to be a couple weeks ago, but like I said: I had to get SETTLED! I was MOVING! And also I needed to have stuffed French Toast JUST ONE LAST TIME) I’ll be going in for retesting, and then from there we’ll have a clearer picture of what my lifetime maintenance is going to look like…a.ka., what are the things that I can still have in moderation, what are the things that I should just stay away from for the rest of my life, and what are the things that I can start adding in and testing? ALL WILL BE REVEALED NEXT WEEK. 

And until then, please enjoy this photo of my new cat roommate, Chandler: 

Chandler is Jen’s cat, and today I realized that he’s basically the male version of the late Deloris Pookerton Carter (miss you, Pooks!): He never shuts up, he can’t just mind his own business, and nothing is ever good enough for him. For instance, I love how HE’S annoyed with ME for taking a photo of him while he’s laying on and messing up MY bed. 

So of course, I’m already half-way in love with him. 

Beds, cats, and food, people.