This morning I got off to a late start. Cole, our little foster dog, was scheduled to be neutered, and I had to have him at the vet before 8 am for his procedure. I usually begin feeding around 7, but since Cole couldn’t eat breakfast (per vet’s orders), I decided to delay the morning feeding until I got back. Food is one of Cole’s favorite things in life, and I just couldn’t imagine feeding the others while he looked on.
Anyway…. my late start really bothered a few of my critters, but especially this one particular hen. We have nesting boxes in the chicken coop, and generally that’s where the hens lay their eggs…… except for this one hen who apparently needs privacy when laying her eggs. I opened the chicken coop door (mind you, about an hour later than normal), and this little hen goes running across the yard as fast as she can with a single mindedness that bespoke of urgency at hand. The poor girl was in labor and trying to get to her private L&D suite as fast as her little feet could get her there.
By the time I finished feeding I could tell she was in the throes of delivery…. she is VERY vocal when in active egg production and makes a very distinct type of cluck called (informally) a laying cackle (you can learn more about the language of chickens here :).
Later this evening as I was making rounds to feed, I gathered the eggs in the coop, and then headed over to the private L&D suite for this girl. She surprised me today with 2 eggs! Congrats Ma…. you’ve had twins* :).
One of my most favorite things about wintertime is grapefruit! I was prepping my breakfast this morning and I felt a surge of gratitude that I could eat something that I loved so much. I know…. it probably sounds weird. But way back when…. about 20 years ago, grapefruit suddenly landed on my ‘no no’ food list. That list became a very significant part of my life for about 12 years.
I think I was 33 when I started having peeing problems (sorry if that’s TMI!… just being real here). I simply felt like I had to pee all. the. time…… but especially at night. There were nights I probably got up 8-9 times to go to the bathroom. Doctors ruled out infection and said I simply had an overactive bladder. How does this even happen? I mean, how does one simply ‘acquire’ an overactive bladder? I wasn’t that old…. and had never had any children (both risk factors). We tried a few medications to limit the frequent trips. Pharmaceutical fail. The side effects of dry eyes, dry mouth, blurred vision, and dizziness and drowsiness were not a good trade off for the minor decrease in the number of trips to the bathroom at night. Just when I was approaching my wit’s end, I went to another doctor who finally gave me a definitive diagnosis: Interstitial Cystitis.
If you’ve never heard of IC, here is a short clip from the TV talk show, Drs as a way of explanation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mzAQgQaauM
IC is a beast. I was relatively fortunate…. and only had the urge to pee with ungodly frequency. Many other women have IC much worse, and the urge is accompanied by pain. The medications used are modestly effective at best, and have an impressive list of side effects. Daily self catheterization, surgical procedures, and even cystectomy (bladder removal) are also treatment plan options. My doctor was ahead of her time 2 decades ago. She recommended that I start a very restrictive diet as a means of helping control the urge to pee. I literally began the diet with a menu that consisted of 4 foods…… slowly adding one food at a time back into my life. Looking back, I realize that as awful as this diagnosis may sound, it was thru this that I was given the gift of culinary discernment and the ability to read even minute clues within my body based on how my bladder reacted to what I had eaten earlier in the day.
Here’s a sampling of my crazy ‘no no’ list: most citrus (except blood oranges, which are lower in acid and seemed to be okay for me), pineapple fresh or canned (but it’s ok to eat pineapple if I am actually in the country of origin), onions, peanut butter that had hydrogenated oils (natural was ok), food with dyes, fried foods, spicy food, tomatoes (unless they were yellow… also lower in acid), coffee, many over the counter medications…. the list went on….. but the biggie: processed foods. Those were like a lightning bolt to my bladder.
I learned that getting dehydrated definitely made things worse (and so I became a dedicated water drinker…. another blessing in disguise). I also learned that stress made an awful companion to a temperamental bladder, and have learned ways to mitigate stress. It was many years later that I actually learned I had inadvertently joined the ranks of 1 in 5 adults….. I had an autoimmune disorder.
I talk about this from time to time with people. Our bodies are like buckets and toxins drip slowly into that bucket on a daily basis from the moment we wake up til the time our head hits the pillow at night. And then, if you are an air freshener girl or guy (like I was), you’re lucky enough to be adding those toxins to your body even while you sleep. (Throw those plug-ins away and get yourself a diffuser and some toxin free oils… I promise you, your home and office space will smell awesome, AND you’ll be deriving therapeutic benefits instead of being slowly poisoned to death). Once that toxin bucket is filled and begins overflowing, well that’s when the trouble really starts…. and you get diagnosed with something fun like IC, or a host of other autoimmune disorders. Which autoimmune disorder you get usually depends on which part of your body is the weakest. In my case, it was my bladder.
My diagnosis of IC set my future in motion in ways I’m ever grateful for. IC became my dietary enforcer. I mean, who wants to eat something that will make them pee every 30 minutes ad infinitum? I also came to realize that being surrounded by chemicals (even basic skin care products) didn’t help the situation at all, so we began switching to nontoxic alternatives. My toxin bucket was clearly full and overflowing given the evidence my bladder had coughed up. It was a slow process…. this detoxing our lives….. and I’m not going to lie….it’s still an ongoing process. We are picky about where we eat (is the food freshly prepared, and preferably organic?), and we are picky about what we are willing to expose ourselves to. Do I fail? Oh yes. I’m not anywhere near perfect. I still have a hard time resisting Reeses Peanut Butter Cups (the peanut butter in them are of the devil as far as my bladder is concerned). But falling off the wagon will nearly always guarantee me the need to pee often and with urgency…so it’s usually not worth it.
I’m not saying it will work for everyone with an autoimmune disorder, but think about this…… If one in five of us are so sensitive to toxins that our bodies begin revolting in whatever unique manner it chooses to…….. why in the world wouldn’t you want to minimize the exposure to those toxins simply so that your life would be less complicated, less painful, and even less embarrassing? (I’ve had some truly embarrassing moments. Trust me.)
Fast forward to 3 years ago. The cleaner my personal environment got, and the more balanced my body became with essential nutrients, the calmer my bladder became. Just like a pesky sibling, I know exactly how to rile my bladder up and can do it in a New York minute, but why would I? Most of the time, when I do suffer with IC these days, it’s because I did something stupid. I got dehydrated. I got careless with food. I allowed myself to become stressed out.
Today, my bladder is a fairly normal organ. Yes, I still have IC and I probably always will. But I have healed considerably. I still have a ‘no no’ list of foods that will set my bladder off, but take a look at it now: processed foods (anything with a chemical component) and coffee. My bladder….. sensitive little creature that it is, can usually even tell the difference between what is organic and what is not. And really…. you gotta respect that in an organ :).
Grapefruit…. it’s what’s for breakfast! I am grateful indeed.
Hugs and love~ Liz
One of my passions in life is pursuing all manners of sustainability. I believe that whatever you are passionate about overflows into all areas of your life.
I was sitting in an airport back in June watching people. Summer is a huge family vacation time. Vacation should be synonymous with Happy, right? And yet…. the vast majority did not appear to be all that happy. Granted, flying isn’t necessarily fun anymore, but still… where was the joy in the journey? During the flight, I had a growing conviction that I needed to do more in life to spread Joy and Happiness to others. I started researching and found that I am not alone in this. Did you know that there are actually college classes now on finding happiness? Seriously. Are we that bankrupt on happiness and joy as a country that college classes are needed to find it?
This month, with the help of some friends, we’ve got a Facebook event called Project Joy and Happiness! If you’d like to join us, feel free to do so. Our goal is to spread holiday cheer this December, and hopefully teach others how to spread both where ever they go year round. Let’s make Joy and Happiness contagious emotions! We’ve got science, psychology, posts that bring a smile to your face, and even weekly giveaways.
But wait, aren’t Joy and Happiness the same thing? Uh….no. Happiness is an emotion reserved for moments in time. Joy is the sustainable emotion…. once you choose Joy, it stays with you as long as you continue to choose it. (You’ll learn all about the nuances of Joy vs Happiness in the Facebook event).
Yesterday, I saw the greatest testimony to the difference between Joy and Happiness. It came in the form of a funeral.
You see, a friend within our Young Living family lost their daughter Layla last month to childhood cancer. Her parents, Bryan & Sara, held her celebration of life service yesterday. It was a true celebration, with balloons, snow cones, fun for the kids that attended, bright colors and happy music.
No, this was not a happy event. Happy is not a word that describes a funeral. Ever. And yet….. the service was filled with smiles, laughter, and many many tears. Tears that were joy filled and sadness filled simultaneously. This is the difference between Happiness and Joy. You can’t be happy and sad simultaneously, but you CAN be joyful and sad simultaneously.
Biblically speaking, deep within Psalm 30 you see the words “….Joy comes with the morning”. Joy also comes TO the mourning when a child of God meets Jesus face to face. I believe that celebrating the beautiful life of a beautiful girl who is now sitting on the lap of Jesus is worthy of Joy. Nobody is happy that she is gone, but thousands of her friends are filled with Joy that she is now in the presence of her heavenly Father and is healed.
I can think of no better example of Joy than this.
In all my researching these last 6 months, I found that one of the things that boosts your happy and joy quotient is giving without respect to what you might receive in return. If you’d like to help Stamp Out Childhood Cancer (a 501c3 nonprofit), please consider donating in memory of Layla Stamp (nothing would bring her parents greater Joy than that). Please visit LaylaStrongFoundation.org for more information. I am 100% in favor of practicing what I teach….. so when donating to LaylaStrongFoundation, please reference The Wellness Prepper (in the message section of your paypal donation), and we (Charlie and I) will match donations up to a cumulative amount of $1000.
Find your Joy today my friends, and celebrate! Joy lasts a lifetime. Happiness comes and goes depending on the situation.
Hugs and Love, Liz
Hey there....thanks for stopping by! This is me (Liz James)... an eclectic mixture of holistic (and organic) farmgirl meets pharmacist. It's a synergy that works well as I speak truths and dissect fact from fiction. If you're looking for healthier living options, you've come to the right place!