Sunday, August 12, 2018

Time For Nutrition!

Baltimore, MD, USA
I had my first nutrition appointment this week with Courtney of Real Food Court, a local dietitian (and fellow blogger) who's office is actually less than a mile from my house! 
Courtney is locally known in the area as the top in her field, and you can often catch her on several local tv channels!

It was nice meeting with Courtney because she is non-judgmental and while I already consider her a friend, she's also just very easy to just chat with about everything. She makes you feel comfortable and asks great helpful questions.

First up- I learned, that the immune system health all stems from your gut health. This makes so much sense after having stomach issues right before everything went downhill at my latest hospital visit! So I need to get that in check, and I'm so glad to have this information.
First thing on the list- probiotics.
Courtney gave me several options for brands, and I liked that they ranged from top cost to middle to low cost and ranking of brands. She even told me what she takes personally. Love that!
I ordered it and will receive tomorrow. So I cannot wait to get started.

Next up, we created a "plan of attack". 
She told me the best natural probiotics as well, like my favorites- sauerkraut and kombucha!
We decided to lay off of the sugar and cheese, because I feel better without them.

Then I made a plan to try one new veggie each week, and a new recipe. 
I'm keeping a food log to see how my energy goes (although this weekend did NOT look good), and then formulate another plan afterwards.

What my goals are for now:
Better immune support
More energy

Courtney even did research before my appointment and wanted to know all about what supplements I was taking to make sure she suggested the right ones. She also suggested to let my holistic doctor know what I'm taking so we are all on the same page. I thought that was a great suggestion.

I can't wait to update you all on the progress, but I highly suggest reaching out to Courtney for any nutrition needs that you may have. She doesn't put you on any trendy diets or expect you to cut out several foods. She has a very realistic and kind approach to how you eat, and will give you awesome tips that will help you reach your goals.
I can't wait to get my grocery shopping underway tomorrow!

Have a great week!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Proverbial Positivity

"Positivity is key.
Think good thoughts.
Stay positive.
Positive vibes only."

We hear these phrases often. They are good. Positivity is always good.
It's never "good" to be constantly negative. Right?

But what if you can't help it?

This was a situation that I found myself in when my dad passed away.
It doesn't always take a major life event for this to happen.
It's common for it to be a trigger though.

What frustrates me more than anything is when people start talking to me about their visit to the therapist in a hushed tone, asking me to please not tell anyone.
Not tell anyone what? That you saw a therapist? 
I'm frustrated because we SHOULDN'T have to feel this way.

 There is such a stigma
And for what? 
Because we want to feel better?
Because we want to fix relationships or stop having panic attacks?
Because we (God FORBID) have feelings?
We aren't "normal" if we need a therapist?

I started seeing my therapist at Terra Baltimore (she was at a different location at the time) shortly after my dad died because I realized that crying every day all day, may not be normal part of the grieving process. 
I liked it so much that I stayed there, and I have been still going just not as regularly.
Bonus- she also does business counseling. 

Everything that I envisioned of what therapy was like, was wrong.
I didn't lay on a couch and stare at the ceiling while regaling my woes of the other real housewives of Baltimore.
Yes, this is what I had imagined.
Also, I'm not a housewife.
This is what they make it look like on tv though, amiright?

No, instead, I went in and I said "this is how I feel, and I don't think it's how I should feel".
We discussed everything about me, of course not in one session. 
It made so many things make so much more sense. 
I tried meds, I didn't do well with them. I think everyone is different so I won't share that part of my story. And if they help you, DO IT. There is nothing wrong with meds.
I went the holistic way (as stated in the last post) and I do take some holistic boosters for my mood.
I also just applied for my medical marijuana card.
Oh lord, that's a whole new judgement piece to write about right there.

When you can finally piece together why you are the way you are, and how to change it for the better, it's absolutely life changing. 

Do I try to stay positive? 
But not because I think I need to shove constant positivity down your throat at all times.
Rather, because positivity brings ME up. 
Negativity brings ME down.

I'd love to tell you- I'm all better now! Things are roses! My instagram completely matches my personality at all times.
But, it doesn't.

There are things I try not to do like:
-Watch the news 24/7
-Watch horror movies on a constant basis
-Drink consistently 
-Most recently, be around people who are judgmental or otherwise not supportive
-Engage in any kind of political discussions
-Watch sad movies
-Watch sad videos online

There are things that I try to incorporate now like:
-Happy journaling (good things that happen)
-Talking to positive friends
-Getting advice on my thoughts via friends or therapist
-Taking holistic meds geared towards mental health
-Listening to helpful podcasts (Jen Gotch is OK SOMETIMES is excellent)
-Walking my dog every day
-Making myself get into a routine
-Getting more sleep consistently 

Now, almost five years later, I'm a different person.
I am aware of my feelings and mood, and work actively to make them better. 
I look at things from a different lens. 
I identify people who once brought me down or made me sad, and I move on (even when it's hard).
I share how I feel.
My friends care, and support me. My mom does too, although sometimes it's a struggle.
It's hard on us both to lose that important of a person. That's not anyone's fault, it is just the situation that we are in. My dad was our life for a very long time.

And for those who feel some way about this or about me because I go to therapy, or because I sought help or took/take meds or whatever the judgement may be...
To them I say-
Perhaps you should get some therapy, because judgement can also be fixed.

Have a great Wednesday.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Healing, the Holistic Way

When I first mentioned that I would be going to a holistic doctor, many of you said you wanted to hear about the experience!
I'm going to be honest, I had heard many different accounts of what the "holistic experience" would be. I tend to lean on the side of hippie most days, so I was ready and excited to try this new experience. But what I found wasn't hippie at all, but rather, a doctor who actually cared about my total wellbeing. 

I commonly teeter between anti-doctor and "ok I need to go straight to the hospital". 
The Background. 
I know I've been illusive with my situation, so here it is.
I have a rare auto immune condition called Myasthenia Gravis.
Like many auto immune conditions, MG happens when your body has a miscommunication and starts attacking itself. It affects your muscles, i.e. they become fatigued and can just stop functioning properly. This started for me about 2 1/2 years ago (Jan 2016) when I discovered I couldn't open my eyes completely, and had zero control over it. I couldn't drive, I couldn't work, I couldn't really even watch tv. You know what's annoying? When you are "sick" and you can't do anything except lay there with your eyes closed for days...and days.
I had an excellent neurologist who discovered the same day what the problem was, and for that I'm eternally grateful. But the hard part came when they started with my meds. I had a very bad reaction...meaning I threw up every day, for an entire month. No one could figure out why. After a month of missing food...because I LOVE FOOD, I took matters into my own hands. 
After research I found, the medication I was taking did not interact well with dairy, sugar, or fried foods. I found this out completely by myself.
 The day I cut those out, is the day I stopped throwing up.
Why did I have to figure this out on my own? 
Well, MG IS rare, and there's not a ton of info on it. 

The moral of this story is- sometimes you have to take your health into your own hands. 
I went into remission after 10 months, something that is unheard of, and I've been in remission ever since because of my auto immune diet that I started taking seriously.
The doctors asked me how I did it.

Fast forward to today. 

I keep getting sick. I've been very ill twice this year, and the last time I went to the hospital. 
I was also in the hospital once last year. 
No one could figure it out and I was left with no answers.
(Because of my MG, the muscles that can also be affected (if triggered) are my breathing muscles, which as you can guess, would be very bad. So whenever I'm sick like this, I just head to the hospital, because if I do stop breathing, I want to be there.)
So, that didn't happen (thankfully), but I didn't get a resolution either.

Well, I determined this wasn't good enough. 
Again, taking my health into my own hands. 

Enter Charm City Natural Health.

What is holistic medicine?
It's a practice that doesn't focus just on what to take to get better (big pharma), but instead your person as a whole, and considers making changes to lifestyle and diet instead of heading straight for the medicine cabinet. They look at much more natural and healthy types of remedies.
For more info, visit here.

I had started going to them after my first sick experience this year, before I went into the hospital most recently.  I had a mysterious illness of swollen neck and horrible sore throat, but no positive strep or anything you would guess. So I needed better answers.
I've never had a doctor experience like this before. I go to Dr. Paddock. He asked me so many questions about everything in my life pertaining to my health. He made connections that had never been made before to different issues that I've had in the past. He's prescribed meds (holistic) that have helped me more than any big pharma med has done and hey, without crazy side affects.

But most importantly, he figured out why I went into the hospital two weeks ago.
I won't go into detail because I do like to keep some things private, but I will say, the reason that I have to take 2 hour naps each day, is because I have a type of chronic fatigue syndrome (similar to constant mono- fun right?).
After looking it up, it causes (shocker) fevers, and neck swelling, all of which I had most recently, AND explained why I was sleeping all day and night. 

Side note: I had been big time shaming myself for having to take naps every day. Social media can make it look like you don't do anything during the day depending on how you post. I never post that I'm taking naps when I am during the week, but I have alluded to the fact that I get up at 6AM so that I can nap later on in the day (if you caught that). It's a constant struggle, and many times you will see me working late at night just to catch up.


He found this by doing his own blood tests that look for specific markers that are more in depth. 

Holistic doctors look comprehensively at the entire person, and this is what makes them unique (by today's standards). The first appointment is 1 1/2 hours, and the second and follow ups are 45 min-1 hour. They ask about your life in general. He's emailed me late to tell me what's going on so I'm not worried. He answers all of my questions, and is NEVER judgmental. It's the bed side manner of the old days, but today.

Yes, I pay out of pocket because our health industry doesn't recognize them as eligible for insurance. But the way I see it, if he can figure out how to treat me and keep me from getting ill/heading to the hospital frequently, then I save a heck of a lot of money in the long run. 
And he's already figured out so much.

**My series this week is on taking health into your own hands.
I'm going to be visiting my friend who is an excellent nutritionist (Courtney) and will be giving you that info as well. We are going to talk about immune support and energy. 

I'm also going to switch gears a little bit, because I want this to be comprehensive, to talk about mental health as well.
Since my dad passed 5 years ago, I've been seeing a therapist, and it has also changed my life and well-being. So we will chat about that too!

I hope this was helpful in some way.
Have an awesome week!

Friday, August 3, 2018

Interview: Golf, On the Water?

I came upon Splash City Golf one day when I was visiting Sandlot.
I wondered, why are these people randomly hitting golf balls into the Chesapeake?
And what about the fish?
The cool thing is- the golf balls are 100% biodegradable AND -WAIT FOR IT- feed the fish. 

Photo from Splash City Golf Website

Splash City Golf was founded in Baltimore by three partners who all have something amazing to bring to the table. Names? Shawn Flaherty, Dan Bucci (who I met with for this post) and Jamie Hodges. They started with a dream, love of golf, and a makeshift golf target (made of wood and inner tubes), but now have perfected the target to include GPS tracking and moving with an iPad(if it moves out of range), and it's a battery operated water drone! That means it doesn't require an anchor, because it can be moved at any time. 
I found this extremely interesting.

Photo courtesy of SCG

Splash City Golf is a one stop pop up golf range on the water. You can hire them for events (corporate or private), and find them at what they call "open swings" such as locations like Sandlot (more below), where I first saw them!
Types of events they've done in the past (and certain companies) include:
- Under Armour events
-Agora Events
-Team Building
-Grad parties
-Bachelor parties

In case you are curious about open swing prices, they are as follows:
$10, 5 balls 
$22.50, 15 balls
$39, 30 balls

There are 6 employees total, who help run the events and keep everything going smoothly. They are known as "splash associates" and they are also starting to get more involved in the business like in sales, and recruiting waterfront venues! They also help with branding ideas. Splash City loves involving their employees in the nuts and bolts of the business. 

Photo of a few of the team members! (photo courtesy of SCG)
Current partner waterfront locations include:

Hendersons Wharf
Rye Street Tavern
Kent Manor Inn
Chesapeake Bay Beach Club
Frederick Douglass- Isaac Myers Maritime Park
Kurtz's Beach
Herrington on the Bay
National Harbor
Weatherly Farm

The list is always getting additions, all partners can be found here.

So consider them for your next event, swing by (ha- get it) and try the "open swings" and do a good deed by feeding our Baltimore fish, or invite them to partner with your waterfront location to bring the fun to every event! For more info, contact Dan at, or visit them via Instagram and check out their website!

Have a great weekend.

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