Das Boot and My New Ice Friends

Das BootI have a new friend for the summer, have you met Das Boot? Isn’t it fun and fashionable?

What happened you ask? I know you’re curious (please, random people stop me on the street to ask what happened, so don’t act like you don’t want to know too). I picked the wrong bull to ride at the rodeo, I was trampled by a herd of frightened giraffes, run over by a produce truck…

No, I made those up. The problem is that the real story is so boring that I feel the need to spice it up a little and I will usually answer different strangers in a variety of different ways. You should see their reactions; priceless!

Sm boot shot

The real scoop is that I got a bad case of plantar fasciitis  which aggravated my achilles, resulting in achilles tendonitis. After months of stretching, cortisone shots (ouch!!) and awful pain, the result is this boot. The good news is that das boot is actually healing my foot! And my new ice friends really help with the pain. From frozen 2 liter bottles to frozen vegetables (hey, anyone else need help defrosting dinner?) anything that I think might help my heel, I freeze it and ice with it! That’s right, don’t come too close or you too could end up in my freezer (don’t worry, it’s a small freezer, you probably won’t fit).

iced spinach

Frozen spinach…I can’t eat it anymore so it might as well make itself useful…

Beer pong anyone? Oh wait...wrong cups...

Beer pong anyone? Oh wait…wrong cups…

inside ice cups

Frozen Dixie cup heaven!

ice cup

Another downfall of IBS is that my stomach can’t tolerate anti-inflammatories (aka NSAIDs: aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.) so that’s hindering my progress a little. But it could be worse…that panther could have chewed my leg completely off instead of just mangling my foot, right?!

2 liters of frozen bliss

2 liters of frozen bliss!

In honor of  my new BFF I think a Letterman style top 10 is in order. Here are 10 signs that my boot has a major attitude problem:

10. It is super clingy; it never leaves my side – even when I ask politely.

9. It has anger issues; it is constantly at war with my laptop power cord. boot cord

8. It thinks unstable vacuuming is the latest and greatest extreme sport.

7. It mocks me like a drill sergeant when I want to sit down with comments like “what are you, weak? You sissy!”

6. It believes it always has the best recipe ideas and conveniently every single one of them calls for ingredients that have been crushed on the floor.

5. It encourages random break dancing sessions at the worst possible moments.

4. Not only is it an alcoholic, but also a sloppy drunk; always loud, clumsy, and awkward.

3. It is convinced that it’s battle scars are far worse than mine.boot toe

2. It refuses to dress for dinner…or any other event for that matter.

And the number one reason that I know my boot has a major attitude problem is:

1. It thinks it is better than any other footwear in my closet because it’s not co-dependent on a matching mate; it goes solo!Boot

Have you been forced to befriend a boot before? What are your survival tips?

The Good, the Bad, and the UGLY…A Food List

Fruit Collage1

It is now officially time for a heart to heart. As you check out my recipes, I think it is very important for you to know why they are the way that they are and exactly how they got this way. It was (and still is) a painful and twisted game of elimination, trial and error style. Would I love to add exotic and spicy flavors to my recipes? Absolutely! Is it possible? Absolutely NOT…well at least not right now. I have found that the best rule of thumb for me is “the blander the better”. That being said, it’s not the saddest thing in the world (though yes, it is pretty sad…) it’s a challenge and I am working really hard to make food taste great without making myself sick. I know it can be done, and I know I’m not alone with my weird food issues! Check out my food sensitivities list below and see if any of these sneaky culprits are affecting you too. Sometimes just hearing that someone else has an issue with a food that you thought was safe brings on a “lightbulb” moment. I know it has for me.

My Food Sensitivities List

The low FODMAP diet was originally developed by Dr. Sue Shepherd in 1999. The information on her website is very helpful, but my favorite FODMAP list is the one that Cassandra Forsythe has put together. There are a million different versions of the FODMAP list out there, along with some confusing disagreements on food classifications, but this is a good guide to get started. If you prefer more of a table versus a list you might like this outline better from ibsgroup.org. At the end of the day, what it truly comes down to is what foods you yourself can tolerate. The hardest part is that it is completely different for everyone.

Also, an honest disclaimer: I am not a doctor, quite frankly, my food sensitivities list is just a list of foods and food items that either work or don’t work for me specifically. Not all of my recipes are low FODMAP friendly. Yes, rebel that I am (why rebel against myself? I’m still working on the answer to that ridiculous question…) sometimes I just eat foods that I shouldn’t. It is as simple as that. I don’t ever eat gluten of course, but sometimes I get carried away with the foods I know I can only tolerate small amounts of. Sometimes when I’m feeling froggy I gamble with my stomach because I still have hope (however delusional it may be) that my stomach issues will just magically disappear and suddenly I won’t have to worry so much about this whole eating thing.

My biggest FODMAP vice at this moment? Onions. I want to eat them day and night. I have been adding them to everything…I might put them in my cereal, I dream of eating them apple-style; it’s crazy, especially since I never even used to like onions.**An important note, FODMAPs accumulate in your system over time. When I started writing this list a few days ago I was on my “onion-palooza” kick and right now I am so sick from the onions that I NEVER want to see one again….EVER. The more I learn about food sensitivities the more I’m starting to realize that my body is hard-core craving things that are really bad for it, things that hurt it…this is frustrating, but also really important to understand in this struggle to gain back control. 

What does your food sensitivity list look like? Did you find anything on my list that made you question if what you’ve been eating is making you sick?


Breathing Gluten?! Straw Allergies…

Straw...the root of all gluten...errr...evil?

Straw…the root of all evil…errr…gluten?

In an attempt to get back to my happy place I decided it was time for me to reconnect with horses. My entire childhood and teenage years were based on horseback riding and spending time in the barn; I was the epitome of a “barn rat”. When I left for college I had to put it all behind me; there simply wasn’t an economical way for me to keep my horse while I was going to school and it broke my heart. It took me a long time to come to terms with that pain; horses had been my identity up until that point. Fortunately, college helped ease me into a new life; with new friends, lots of freedom, and parties, of course. But after graduation I put my connection with horses out of my mind and stuffed myself into a corporate box that didn’t quite seem to fit, for years. Finally, I began to acknowledge the emptiness that had crept back in over the years. There is something about working with horses that calms me in a very inherent way on almost a primal level; it brings me unbelieveable peace.

That being said, there aren’t many horse farms out here in the big suburbs. Luckily, being the determined girl that I am, I was able to find one in need of help; working with Thoroughbreds. I always loved going to Tampa Bay Downs when I lived in Florida, and watching the race for the Triple Crown is one of my favorite yearly events, but that was the extent of both my Thoroughbred and racing knowledge. It has been an exciting road and as expected, I’m learning something new every day. For example, I learned the hard way about straw bedding.

My muck bucket overfloweth...

My muck bucket overfloweth…

With our own horses we had always used shavings for stall bedding. After the first week of cleaning stalls on the Thoroughbred farm, where they use straw for bedding, I noticed that when I got home I would start to get congested, my throat would turn raspy and I would start coughing. I thought that it was odd, but  I didn’t pay much attention to it. I assumed that after being “citified” (aka stuck in the city) for so long I was just adjusting to fresh country air again. Then, one fateful day, I cleaned out the straw bedding storage area. I felt fine at first, but a few hours later I was completely exhausted. I decided to give in and take a quick nap, only to wake up to a throbbing headache. I started throwing up and I was completely miserable. I wondered if it was dehydration, but it felt like I had been glutened! It didn’t make sense to me until I googled “straw” and found that straw comes from crops of “barley, oats, rice, rye and wheat”. I had in fact been glutened. 

Straw Bales

I still haven’t decided what to do about it yet. I try to steer clear of the straw and straw dust as best I can, but it is a barn after all. Honestly, at this point I’m just glad it’s the straw I’m allergic to and not the horses. I had that panicked thought originally; how ironic, that I would finally reconnect with my passion only to find out that I’m allergic to it, right? Seems about right.

Am I breathing gluten?

Am I breathing gluten too?

Have you had these issues with breathing gluten on the farm? What solutions have you come up with?