Adventures In Carb Lovin’ And Clean Eats

Today’s Happy Note: Got my blood work back and everything is roughly normal!  My iron and blood cell levels are all a bit low but that is to be expected at this point.  Nothing that requires hospitalization=a good thing.  I kept having nightmares last night that I had to go in and get a blood transfusion.

They are still doing tests to figure out what I actually have.  Probably some sort of creepy bacteria.  Yuck yuck yuck.

But wait.  There is more good news.  I can now eat things besides bread and plain noodles!

Exhibit A:

That, my friends, is melted dark chocolate.  Which may or may not have been on the list of approved foods.  But screw it.

Exhibit B:

Scone.  It had a weird texture (a bit dry) but a great flavor.  Tomorrow, I might venture into muffin territory.

Exhibit C:

This is pasta with a little EVOO and a lotta salt.  An inappropriate amount of salt.  And basil.  I’m supposed to be consuming salt like it’s my job, don’t hate.

Other things on the safe food list: bagels, toast, gatorade, vitamin water, dry cereal, and rice.  I can’t actually remember the last time I had a vegetable, which is scary.  I have been eating little bits of frozen fruit here and there.

I want meat.  Bad.  I want some ribs and some fish and some chicken.  And eggs.  And meatballs.  And cheese.  And hummus and sandwiches and peanut butter and waffles and tofu.  And protein ice cream and smoothies.  Not all at once though.  That would be weird.

I actually have no interest in dairy right now.  To be honest, I am a little grossed out by the idea of it.  I know it is hard to digest and supposedly mucus-producing; normally I don’t have a problem with 1-2 servings a day, but I think I’m going to skip out on it for a little while.  I read that sometimes even after a bad GI issue like this clears up, people can’t eat dairy products.

I have felt simultaneously very alienated from and intimate with my body these past few days.  A strange feeling.  I trust in my body and love it’s ability to recover but it is scary to think how sensitive we are; one tiny strand of bacteria can knock us out for days, or even kill us.  I already know how “dirty” the American food system is, but this just made me even more afraid.  How do I know that my lettuce in a bag from California never encountered bacteria, or that my milk is completely clean?

I guess we don’t really know.  Part of me wants to say “that’s why we should choose local, seasonal, and organic.”  Okay, but I already do that.  Literally half of the stuff in my fridge right now is from the farmer’s market.  In fact, I have a suspicion that that might be where the contaminated food came from.  I always wash my produce, but I suppose I could be better at it.  The frustrating thing is that there aren’t many answers here.  Short of growing everything I eat, it’s impossible to ensure my diet is perfectly clean.

I am honestly a bit afraid of food right now.  I hope this doesn’t persist; I like food too much to be afraid of it!

But what can we do?  How do we keep a food supply clean when we don’t know where most of it is coming from?  How do we ensure that bacteria or diseases don’t have a chance to enter our tummies?

Therapy Tuesday

Today’s Happy Note: I have discovered that I can safely eat dark chocolate.  My life is so much better now. 🙂

Some thoughts:

  1. I have purchased an LSAT study guide.  I am officially going to apply to law school in the fall.  This is very scary. If I am in law school — no, if I am even applying to law school — I must be an adult.  A real live adult.  Weird.
  2. I miss running.  I’m going to have to do some yoga or else I will go crazy.
  3. Books are good.  Books are my friend.  Books never let me down.  Sometimes people let me down.
  4. My parents are the best parents in the world.  Trust me.  My mama calls me Bunny Rabbit and my papa calls em Cupcake.
  5. Summer and I are not friends.  As I was explaining to a real friend the other day, summer just makes me wilt.  I honestly get exhausted, tired, cranky, overheated…I hate it after about five minutes.  I hate walking the ten minute walk to work and arriving with my face covered in sweat.  I should not have to be mopping my brow at 9 in the morning.  This is why my family lives in Canada and Michigan (although summers there are rather hot as well).  I am moving to Norway.  And becoming a reindeer herder.  When I grow up.
  6. I need to bake.  ASAP.
  7. I am graduating from college in less than a year.  I still feel like a baby.  I’m pretty sure most of my relatives think I’m about five.
  8. I have eaten non-bread foods today!  Not much, just a bit here and there: frozen berries, frozen coconut bar, a bit of oatmeal, a few peanuts.  Just to break up the monotony a bit and get some energy into my system.  I am craving veggies, meat, and healthy fats like nobody’s business.
  9. The first meal I make after this wretched infection is gone might have to be Averie’s rice paper wraps with tofu, avocado, zucchini, and peanut sauce.
  10. Yes I am planning ahead for what I will eat when I’m all better.  Also on the list: Mediterranean pasta salad, spaghetti with meatballs, hummus and cheese sandwiches, quesadillas, fish, shrimp salad.  Greens with EVOO. Real food.  And lots and lots of protein.

Therapy Tuesday (lots of thoughts today — bear with me friends!)

This was my first session — and pretty much my first significant interaction with another person — since my illness/hospital visit.  I started by telling L all about that.  She was very responsive and sweet and acknowledged my thoughts and fears.  I wanted to talk more about the experience but I couldn’t really get beyond “I was scared.”   I did talk about how loving and helpful and supportive my mom and dad were.  That was really important to me these past few days.  I didn’t realize this at the time, but I didn’t want today to turn into a look at my relationship with my parents.  What I wanted — and needed — was a very gentle session in which L just sort of metaphorically held my hand.  All weekend, that’s what I wanted: for someone to hold my hand.  That was what I needed today and, unfortunately, I didn’t consciously realize that.  L was by no means mean, but today was absolutely a tough session.  Once I broke down I never really resurfaced.

One thing I did enjoy about today was that L focused on our relationship sometimes — the “here and now” or “in-between” of psychotherapy.  It was refreshing and a bit fun to think about how she was making me feel in the moment or how we were perceiving one another.  Mostly, I felt a lot of confusion-frustration towards L.  Which I told her about.  I felt like this because it seemed like we just kept miscommunicating.  I often feel like she is criticizing people I tell her about (for example, my family members).  But when I told her this, she made it clear that she is just trying to figure out the situation — not to judge anybody, especially people she doesn’t know,

Specifically, we talked today a lot about how people in my family deal with emotions.  This was interesting, if not frustrating.  My mother is emotional and compassionate to a degree that affects her personal and professional life.  My father has always been much more objective and rational, but he has always kept his emotions locked inside; he isn’t really managing his feelings either.  We talked about my impressions of these examples and how they affect me.  For some reason it made me really angry when she brought this up.  After a while I figured out why: I don’t care.  Or at least in the moment I don’t care.  I told L this and told her that it upsets me to not care.  But for some reason in her presence I just get frustrated when we talk about serious things and I respond by not caring. When I told her about my not caring issue she said (albeit gently) something along the lines of, “well, we have to figure out why.”  This further frustrated me: when she says this kind of thing, it makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong.  Like I’m no good at therapy.  Like I’m not getting better.  I have really struggled a lot with feeling like I’m not “improved” lately.  I know I mentioned a few weeks ago that maybe it isn’t about consciously improving, maybe it’s just about relating to L, sharing my experiences, telling my stories and seeing how things fit together.  I honestly don’t know.

We spent a lot more time talking about how I feel “stuck” and “not ready.”  I’m not sure where this phrase came from, but it caught on pretty quickly: I feel like I’m not ready.  For new friendships, meeting men, getting out more, being member of the “real world.”  I guess I feel more ready than I did nine months ago.  But when I get upset during therapy, in the moment, I panic. I panic so hard and I only just realized this.  My  biggest issue with feeling unready — besides the panic — is that I feel like being stuck makes me destined to live in misery until we fix things, which might not happen for years.  Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of misery already.

Mostly, I just want this feeling of stasis to go away.  First of all, I know it’s not true.  Secondly, it’s really damaging and hurtful to me.  I pointed this out to L and she reminded me that she isn’t hurting me: this is a story I’m telling myself. Speaking of stories I tell myself:

I also spent time today talking about how much I miss the very intimate, powerful friendship I had with my writer-friends.  It was a set of very rare relationships and circumstances that I feel like will never happen again.  Why do I feel this way?  Because good things don’t happen to me.  I don’t have friendships like that.  People don’t love me that way.  At least, this is what I tell myself.  I have loved my three years of college tremendously and I have many dear friends, but haven’t experienced that same wonderful relationship.  Yet.  L politely pointed out that I do not have a crystal ball.  I will have friendships like this again in the future.  This is another story I tell myself.  It is simply not true.

Why am I so negative?  How can I try so hard to believe in myself but still feel like such a failure?

At the end of today L asked me how I was feeling and I just told her “frustrated.”  Terribly, terribly frustrated.  I am not sure why, but she asked me where — physically — I was feeling this.  It was totally in my hands.  They were tense, anxious, zipping around.  I was trying desperately to show her my frustration in the way I moved my hands.  I meant to ask her why she asked me this but I didn’t.  I think the way we physically feel things is important, but at that point, this didn’t feel the most relevant.

So today was strange.  Very strange indeed.  There were good moments and bad moments.  A lot of frustration.  Not a failure of a session by any means; but confusing.  L simultaneously tells me that I am different now, that I deal with things differently, I cope better.  But also that we need to “fix things” or “improve.”  She doesn’t explicitly say this but that is the sense I get and the sense means everything.  So there is a sort of double message, which I hate.   I hate hate hate feeling like this.

There are, however, good things I took away today as well: it is nice to have someone who unconditionally loves you.  Of course my family members do, but things are different with L.  Looking at our relationship has been enlightening and enjoyable.  It is imperfect, but I also deeply adore her.  It is natural for people to become attached to their therapists (sometimes people fall in love with them; it’s called transference).  I try to be wary of this and to see L as a normal person.  Ultimately, I think she simply cares deeply about me and wants to help me help myself in any way I can.  In the end, I know this and have faith in this, so even frustrating sessions like today don’t destroy me.

Sorry for the monster post!  Sometimes I just have so much in my head  and if I don’t get it out it becomes tremendously stressful!

Reflections on Infections

Today’s Happy Note: Drinking my weight in iced tea.

Hello friends!  Thanks everyone for your well wishes.  I’m on the mend, definitely, although still not totally repaired.  I am having tests done at the doctor’s throughout this week, so we shall see where that leads.  It’s surprisingly hard to keep myself hydrated — I’ve been consuming a weird mixture of ginger ale, gatorade, iced tea, water, and salty broth.  I have eaten a few things — mainly plain toasted bagels and instant noodle mixes, which are surprisingly yummy.  I like the Simply Asia mixes because they are salty and tasty yet very simple (no gluten!  The noodles are rice noodles).

Right now I’m munching on frozen fruit.  I really wanted to change things up a bit and figured frozen fruit can’t kill me.  I know too much sugar is no good but I didn’t have a lot.  I also ate a banana at some point.

Going through this has been very hard on my body.  I’m guessing my weight has probably fluctuated about 10 pounds, plus or minus, in the last three days.  This has also been a big emotional struggle.  Carbs, plain and simple, on their own, are a BIG fear of mine.  And guess what?  This weekend, my diet has consisted of noodles, rice, toast, and bananas.  With a side of salt.  And gatorade.  Not exactly health food city.

I still fear my body — its tumultuousness, its fluctuations, its imperfect shape.  But for the first time, these past few days, I was in awe of it. My body can take this terrible infection — my guess is that I must have lost 10-20 pounds of fluid in about 48 hours — and survive. The pain I experienced this weekend was the worst pain I have ever felt.  I am not sure how it would compare to labor, but I’m guessing it was on a similar scale: intermittent stabbing cramps every half hour to hour for about a day and a half.  And it wasn’t just pain and fluid loss — it was nausea, headaches, weakness, just exhaustion.  Somehow, though, I have strength.  If I have a strength to overcome this, the precise pudginess of my stomach or the disproportion between my huge thighs and my small waist cannot possible be relevant.

I am hoping this moment can continue to be a turning point for me.  I have finally come to not just understand, but to believe in my body: I believe in its bizarre makeup, its inexplicable reactions (I gained five pounds this weekend), its sugar imbalances.  And with this belief comes an acceptance.  I cannot control things.  We have different bodies.  Fuck the BMI scale.  I am not yet perfectly accepting.  But I know that it took two things to get through these past few days: a tremendous physical strength (doctors said I would recover much faster because my body was already so healthy) but also a mental power.  I spent many hours talking myself through a bout of pain that I thought would kill me (okay, so sometimes I’m a little melodramatic).

So I know this: I have raw physical and mental abilities that exceed the shape of my body. When you are writhing on the floor trying to crawl back into bed after spending half an hour in the bathroom, it doesn’t matter if your pants are a size ten or a size four.  It matters that you find the strength within you to make the journey.

Part of the beauty of this illness has been realizing that this strength applies to all things in my life.  At the end of a marathon, no one cares (myself included) if I weigh 145 pounds or 155 pounds.  After making it through multiple 20 page papers at the end of a term, what matters is my ability to analyze, to write, to look at things in new ways; not how many calories I have or have not eaten.

I hope I can sustain this way of seeing things.  I feel lighter; not just physically (although I have lost a massive amount of blood and fluid), but mentally.  I need to believe I am beautiful.  I am.

Checking In

Today’s Happy Note: Drinking blue Gatorade.  Forgot how good it actually tastes, in a sugary electrolyte-y way, since I never really have it. It’s helping me rehydrate right now!

Just a quick check-in.  Things worsened a lot last night; I was up every half an hour or so doubled over in pain.  There were a few times when I just went to sleep on the bathroom floor.  This pattern continued today, with a bit less intensity, however, I started becoming much weaker.  My parents and I agreed that it would be best if I went to an ER.

I have never been to an ER before!  Well I have, but never as a patient — I have been to plenty of hospitals with my parents (both doctors).  I used to get to play games at the nurses station.  Today, however, was a bit scarier!

I was by myself and had never been there before.  I checked in and then waited.  And waited.  And waited.   I saw some nurses; after two hours I saw a doctor.  They agreed that it could be a more serious condition such as salmonella or E Coli, but that we have to get it out of my system.  I had to pee in a cup (ewwwww!) and was shocked when I saw that my pee was basically brown!  I was given IV fluids while lying down for another hour and a half or so.

I am not afraid of needles and I don’t think getting shots or IVs hurts, but they make me nervous because I usually pass out.  Thankfully that didn’t happen today.  I did start crying though!  The nurses were really nice to me though.  They knew I was young (I was actually in pediatrics!) and by myself.  I will be following up with my regular physician tomorrow.

Not sure if I’ll be able to work tomorrow.  The doctors told me to wait at least a week before running or trying to really workout again.  That makes me nervous, but it is also good news for my exhausted body.

I feel a bit better now; rehydrated and in much less frequent pain.

Being sick like this sucks.  I hate being stuck in my room, stewing in my own boredom and weakness.

Sorry for the graphic post; just wanted to share my experience of visiting an ER.  Definitely health-related…

What is the sickest you’ve ever been?

Tummy Troubles

Today’s Happy Note: Watching TV (Superbad, Chopped, Diners Drive-Ins and Dives) and having nothing else to do.  Sometimes an evening relaxing in front of the television is just what the doctor ordered.

Speaking of what the doctor ordered: something is terribly, terribly wrong in my gut. Again. The last few days I’ve had some weird on and off cramping that I thought was stress-related (I tend to hold my stress in my tummy). I worked until 3:00 today and the pain was there on and off, but manageable.  But once I got home, it was all downhill. Not gonna share the details, but I was *this close* to picking myself up off the floor and taking a cab to a hospital.  It was one of the worst episodes of pain I’ve ever experienced.  Doctor momma thinks it might be salmonella or another GI infection.  If it is not gone by Monday I will definitely go see my doctor.

In the meantime I’ve been doing a lot of sleeping.  In between sleeping, I’ve been lying on my bed with a giant stack of books (can I say I might be in love with Jhumpa Lahiri?) and watching mindless TV.

I actually walked two miles this morning before I felt sick, so there was some movement in my day.  I feel stressed because I really wanted to swim or lift weights or do a medium-long run, and now I’m not sure I will be able to tomorrow either.  Weekends are my time for longer workouts, so Sedentary Caronae=Sad Caronae. Meh.  We shall see how I feel tomorrow.

I did have a mini adventure yesterday before things got bad!  I headed down to Shake Shack for a custard (flavor of the day!).

Black raspberry!  Sometimes stuff from the Shack is just too big, but this was the perfect size.

Eats since then: bread, oats, fruit.  Pretty boring.  Hopefully they will make me feel better soon!

I honestly don’t understand why tummy troubles come to me.  I very rarely go out to eat (I actually had a piece of pizza last night, but it was after the onset of the pain), I eat very healthfully, and I always clean and prepare my food in what seems like a safe manner.  I feel like people who eat at McDonald’s five times a week should get this kind of thing.  Not me.  Can you tell I’m bitter?  Grrrrrrrrr.

Any advice is welcome! If you have ever had a similar issue (it feels like someone is wrenching a knife around in my abdomen), please do tell me what worked for you.  I am a very active girl with a busy life and I hate being sick!

My Body Can Do That!

Today’s Happy Note: Scoring some excellent loot at the farmer’s market!  There were some of the best offerings I’ve ever seen today.  I picked up skim milk, chocolate milk, yellow squash, bok choy, cucumbers, fava beans, apples, and cherries.  Most delicious!

Workout: I have been having a major workout dilemma lately!  I cannot get up in the mornings — I just can’t for some reason.  Then after work I feel too tired to move.  Literally, I feel like a slug — and usually it’s so deathly hot outside that working out would be miserable anyways.  Maybe this sluggish feeling will pass — hormones, stress, anxiety.  Lots of explanations.

I worry, though, that I’m just being purely lazy!   Also, evening workouts totally screw up my hunger/meal timing.  I ended up having a small afternoon snack and two late afternoon/early evening mini meals tonight before heading out around 8:00.  I will admit, part of the reason for my workout today was that I felt guilty about eating so many snacks.  I would much rather workout because it makes me feel good.  Blech.

I told myself to just run for a mile or two and then I could stop.  I ran five then lifted weights for 40 minutes — totally turned the evening around!  So I felt bad before the workout but much better afterwards!  That always seems to happen. 🙂

Morning power fluids: diet fake-sweetened snapple iced tea, chocolate milk, and water, of course!

Smeary PB bagel.  Thursday=treat breakfast day!

Farmer’s Market beauties.  Including purple beans!  Anyone know what they are?



Forgot to take pictures of everything else, including dinner!  Oh well.  Snacks involved berries, peanut butter, coconut, flax, and coconut gelato.  Not all at once though.  Or maybe it was all at once.  I like weird combinations.

My Body Can Do That

I tend to feel depressed about my body at the gym — the mirrors upset me a bit.  Instead, today I turned my perspective around and thought “My body can do that….!”  I started filling in the blank with a bunch of different things…Don’t laugh.  I’m working on my confidence!

My body can…

  • run across a path, a street, or a block really fast and make me feel like I’m flying!
  • lift a 20 pound barbell!
  • hug my friends and family
  • lift and pull heavy carts of books at work
  • walk through CP
  • help me explore the best city in the world
  • catch fireflies with my sister
  • look for birds in the woods with my parents
  • carry me through ultramarathons
  • help me bake up delicious new concoctions
  • keep me going through hours of studying
  • dance and twirl whenever I want
  • let me travel all over the world

As you can see, my body is pretty damn good to me. 🙂  What does your body do?

Anti-Anxiety Plan of Attack!

Today’s Happy Note: Reading in the park.

Mental Health Note: I was so wound up when I left work today that I could barely walk in a straight line.  I have no idea where this came from.  I guess part of depression is feeling inexplicably sad, lonely, or confused.  That might be it.  It was a pretty straightforward day at the office.  Very routine.  Normally the routine soothes me, but today it just unsettled me.  Maybe because I couldn’t stop thinking about all the other things I had to do.  On my way home, I devised an anti-anxiety plan of attack!

  • Take a few moments to myself to walk through the park, look at the trees, breathe, and read.  I rarely leave the house without a book, and today was no exception.   I had “The Gift of Therapy” by Irvin Yalom with me.  Yet another book borrowed from L.  I am devouring it.  It is most wonderful and calming.  Not in a creepy way, but it reminds me of L, which reminds me to stay calm; that someone nearby loves and appreciates me unconditionally is an instantly comforting thought.
  • Make a list of specific things bothering me and plan out howto deal with each thing (i.e., just do it, shelve it for later, ignore it, etc.).
  • Don’t worry about a workout.  I like to take one weekday rest day each week and I purposely don’t plan it ahead of time precisely because of days like this.  The idea of traveling to the gym or the gymnastics center or the yoga studio or dripping with sweat in the 90 degree heat was unappealing.  I work out enough that responding to a day of stress by not working out actually makes sense.  I did do about three miles of walking.
  • Take extra time to write in my journal.
  • Don’t stuff my face, but do have exactly what I want for dinner…

Which leads me to these masterpieces:

I was craving frozen fruit all afternoon/evening!  The first bowl has frozen cherries with one spoonful AB and one spoonful PB.  The second one is Talenti coconut gelato topped with dark chocolate, frozen berries, unsweetened shredded coconut, and a few mixed nuts.

Coconut, berries, nuts: I could have done way worse.  Definitely plenty of sugar.  But oh so tasty.  Sometimes food needs to serve both a physical, nourishing purpose and an emotional, satisfying purpose.  I think I successfully accomplished both here! 🙂

Don’t worry, other eats of the day involved veggies and protein!  Like lunch:

Giant tuna mess with hummus, herbs, snap peas (nom nom nom!) and peppers.

Off to do work and clean my room!  Neither of which I especially want to do.  Sigh…

What do you do when you are inexplicable feeling down?

Favorite frozen fruit?

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