Thursday, October 31, 2013

IVF Clinical Trial, and How I Know I'm Still Not There

With fame, comes heartache. Of course, I use the term "fame" with a grain of salt. I do understand that being featured by Fertility Authority might get me some additional readership, but I'm sure I'm not getting a book or movie deal anytime soon.

Nevertheless, I have been contacted by a drug company doing an IVF clinical trial.

Sadly, my initial reaction to seeing the email was of hope. Pure hope. I thought they reached out to me because they had the miracle drug, the one that would work for me, and they wanted me to be the first guinea pig. And as I read the email, even though there was nothing in the email that asked me to participate, I felt this drug was meant for me: they are looking for women that have undergone three unsuccessful IVF cycles.

I clicked through to the website, and was immediately faced with reality - I am too old. And at that realization, I have to admit I cried. Ugly cried. In that 90 seconds it took to read the email and click over to the study website, I had already committed to a few weeks of medical leave to make it happen. I had hoped that this miracle breakthrough could rectify my ovaries lack of cooperation. I had hoped that this would be the opportunity my heart was looking for. 

Apparently, my heart isn't embracing child free after all.

Regardless, they asked me to share this clinical trial with other infertile women, and I am more than happy to. I hope that this helps other women conceive a baby that they felt they may never meet.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Research Study 

The Thrive-IVF Research Study is currently seeking participants at approximately 15-20 clinical research sites in major metropolitan areas across the US. The study is evaluating the efficacy, safety and tolerability of NT100, an investigational medicine, in women who have had repeated IVF failures despite having good-quality embryos.

NT100 is a novel treatment that is being evaluated to determine if it improves your chances of getting pregnant after IVF. For more information about NT100, visit www.noratherapeutics.com.

You may be eligible for the Thrive-IVF Research Study if you:

* Are between 21 and 38 years of age

* Have had 3 or more failed IVF cycles that included transfer of good-quality embryos (at least 2 of these involving the transfer of fresh embryos)

Qualified participants will receive study-related tests and procedures at no cost, including:

* An IVF cycle, including procedures and medications

* Study medication

If you are interested in learning more about the Thrive-IVF study, please visit www.ivfresearchstudy.com.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Desire for Motherhood

As much as I know I have come to peace with childfree, I also still have those pangs. Any infertile understands exactly what those pangs feel like - the cramp of the stomach, the tingling in your eyes and nose,the pain in the heart. The longer I am away from the effort of overcoming infertility, the less often they come, but they still hit and usually at the most unexpected moments. And that makes me question if I am truly embracing childfree.

Then I start thinking about the desire for children. I have wanted children with my husband from the moment I knew I loved him. However, I can't really explain why. Does anyone actually have a good reason to have kids? I think it's mostly The Selfish Gene in action. Wanting a child is something that nobody can really explain. Why does one person want parenthood and another does not?

I already know that I will survive this. I already know I can be happy without having a baby. But I also want to alleviate the pain, and I haven't found a good way to do that yet. I just know that the intensity and frequency of the pain seems to lessen with time and activity. The more I do to make myself happy now seems to make the difference.

I spent too much time putting my life on hold while trying to conceive and undergoing fertility treatment. If there is anything I learned, it is to live your life for now, not to put anything on hold for any reason. Your happiness is determined by you, and while outside circumstances can threaten that happiness, you can't let them determine it.

Thank you to Fertility Authority for featuring me as their Blog of the Week. Fertility Authority is a fantastic resource for anyone whose life has been touched by infertility, with access to information, support, referrals to infertility specialists, and more.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hypothyroid

Another nutrition appointment.

Today we talked about my thyroid. You see, Sunday I watched a presentation about healing your thyroid with real food at the Real Food Con. I was interested because I have been diagnosed with an under active thyroid, in addition to being cold often and of course that disaster of an RMR test which is the whole reason I started seeing my nutritionist in the first place.

Very interesting. A basal body temperature of less than 97.4 indicates a low functioning thyroid. During the day it should be much  higher - Do you know that ideal is 98.6? Yeah, I know that's what they've always said but I never believed them. I so wish I had known this years ago. I've seen at least two nutritionists in the past, both while I was still trying to get pregnant. I was charting my basal body temperature and could have told anyone how low it was! 

Anyway, my temp yesterday morning was 96.99. Bummer. So we talked about it. It takes about 90 days for all hour cells to regenerate, so it could take that long for my body to react. Maybe longer! My temp was 97.23 today. Wah.

Anyway, so we keep doing what we're doing. I have a feeling all those "warming" foods my acupuncturist used to tell me about, and probably those herbs he tried to give me would have helped. Why am I so resistant? Anyway, so we'll keep on with the liver detox and the thyroid and adrenal support. Hopefully I will see a difference in another 10 weeks. Ai yai yai!

I'm also going to stay grain free for a while - my allergies have been so much better without grain. I already know wheat causes a major attack, but I had some allergy issues as well as bloating when I ate properly prepared quinoa last week. I guess I have to say I'm feeling better without grains. Gluten is also really bad for thyroid, as is soy and Goitrogens. I can have goitrogens cooked, but not raw or even fermented. No cabbage in my immediate future! But unfortunately, no peaches or pears and those were the fruits I have been eating this week. Grrrr. I'm also going to start taking fermented cod liver oil. Yes, I will probably gag. And I'm sure to share it all with you, so you're welcome!

Anyway, back to the presentation. I guess I need to be eating more things from the sea - seaweed, fish, shellfish, sea salt. Coconut oil and butter is good - probably why I'm supposed to eat so much of it? You can also oil up your feet with coconut or sesame oil before bed and put socks on them. Not sure how that works, but it's supposed to help.

I'm so looking forward to fermented cod liver oil.




Monday, October 21, 2013

Conversation with a Coworker

Very cliched start, but I was standing at the water cooler, filling up my bottle.

Coworker: "Hey, skinny! You look great! What's your secret?"

Me: "You really want to know?"

Coworker: "Yes, I really do."

Me: "I'm eating crazy healthy, emphasis on CRAZY."

Coworker: "Really? Like how?"

Me: "Well, I'm eating organic, as natural as possible. Coconut oil and butter, natural meats, no processed food at all. I'm only eating raw dairy, but I get to eat all the butter I want."

Coworker: "Really? I love butter."

Me: "I love butter too - that's the best part about this way of eating. Oh and I don't eat any grain."

Coworker: "No grain at all?"

Me: "No, well, that's what I did for about 6 weeks. Now I can start adding grain back in slowly to see if I have a reaction. Of course, they have to be properly prepared, soaked in fact."

Coworker: Blank Stare.

Me: "Yeah, I soak and sprout a lot of what I eat - grains, nuts, beans..."

Coworker: "Yeah, no."

Me: "I know, it's not for everyone and it takes some preparation, but I feel great!"

Coworker: "Yeah, and you look great, but I'm not doing all of that."

...

Kinda funny what people are willing to do and not willing to do. You can be presented with the fountain of youth, the weight loss solution, the "magic" pill to health, and if people think it's too hard, they won't do it. Man, we are lazy as a society.

And to think I didn't even tell her about the coffee enemas or the supplements. LOL


Friday, October 18, 2013

Making Hard Cider - Part 2: The Process

In case you missed it, Part 1 of Making Hard Cider

So, hubby and I had two different missions. His was to make an amazing cider while spending a good amount of money. Mine was to make hard cider from scraps and "found" ingredients. 

So, for my cider, I first peeled the apples I was going to use in my apple butter and applesauce.


I collected the peels and cores in a food safe bucket.


Once I was done collecting peels, I poured boiling water over them and let them sit for 3-4 days to start the fermentation process with the wild yeast naturally found on the apple peels. After it starts to bubble and gives of a yummy, boozy smell (I might be a boozer...), it's time to sterilize your bottle and vapor locks and strain the liquid out!






















In the meantime, Husband started pasteurizing his fresh pressed cider. He wanted to control the yeast that would do the fermentation, so he had to kill off the wild yeast first so he could then add his purchased yeast. LOL




I get it, you never know how your hard cider will turn out if you 're using wild yeast, but I still laugh a little at him. I guess he's the one that will laugh if mine is really crappy. LOL


Once we pasteurized his cider and sterilized the carboy and vapor locks, we poured the cooled cider in. We also bloomed his yeast in warm cider with sugar. Apparently white sugar (as much as I hate it in it's GMO glory) is all fermentable, so shouldn't add sweetness to the end product.


In the meantime, my cider projects from scraps are doing well. Bubbling and being all awesome and stuff.


We let mine ferment for almost three weeks, and his just until it stopped bubbling like crazy, which was about 2 weeks, maybe 2.5.

Stay tuned for Part Three!

This post is linked to Old Fashioned Friday!



Thursday, October 17, 2013

Foraging for Pine Nuts

I am fortunate to live in an area where we have a small opportunity to forage. Unfortunately, the two most prevalent plants we have seem to take the most work! Today I will talk about pine nuts. I love pine nuts and grew up on them. However, a few years ago I had a bad case of Pine Mouth after ingesting pine nuts from China which were bought at Costco. Since then, I refuse to purchase pine nuts unless I can see their country of origin!

There are many species of pine trees that have pine nuts in them. My local trees are Jeffrey Pines which are a cousin to a sugar pine. Before attempting this at home, I strongly suggest researching your local pine trees to ensure their pine nuts are edible!

I also take the laziest approach possible, which isn't all that lazy because this is time consuming! As I'm walking around town, let's say with my dogs, you usually see pine cones on the ground, having fallen from trees. Sometimes you will notice these pine cones are not yet open. When this happens, I pick it up and put it into a bag and take it home.

Now, these closed pine cones are hella hard to open. So I don't even try. I leave them in the bag until they dry out and start to open.

Opening cones

Some of the pine cones need a little help, which is where I throw them onto the pavement in front of our apartment. I have to be quick at picking them up though, because our pup seems to like pine nuts too!

Throwing against the pavement

Many times the seeds will fall out into the bag, where you can pour them directly into your bowl.

liberated pine nuts with their wings still attached
 Then the pine nuts need to be removed from their wings, leaving their hard shell on them.


After all of that, you still need to crack the seed cases open, and I am still looking for the lazy method of doing that. In the meantime, I am using my my fingernails mostly. I told you it was tedious! I know, most people have more money than time. I don't have much of either, but between the raw milk, organic veggies and pastured meats, I have slightly less money than time. I do most of the pine nut processing on the couch while watching TV.

Anyway, there you have it! In case you ever wanted to. LOL Enjoy!

Edited to Add: I'm participating in a Real Food Blog Hop with this post at Let's Get Real. Go check it out!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Typical Day of Eating Real Food

I know a couple of my Twitter followers were very interested in what I eat daily. It always changes, but here is a pretty typical day.

Breakfast
3 large eggs
Organic Pastures Raw Butter, 1 tbsp
3 breakfast sausage links

Morning Snack
Artisana - Raw Coconut Butter, 1 Tbsp
Large pear
1 Tbsp Great Lakes Porcine Gelatin in Tea

Lunch
Pork shoulder, 1 cup, shredded
Organic Pastures Ground Beef, 4 oz
Asparagus - Roasted , bacon fat, Salt, Pepper
Organic Fresh Herb Salad

Afternoon Snack
Artisana - Raw Coconut Butter, 1 Tbsp
Organic Pastures - Raw Skim Milk Kefir, 0.5 cup
Organic Pastures - Raw Milk Whole, 1 cup
Stevia

Dinner
Pork shoulder, 1 cup, shredded
Organic Fresh Herb Salad, 4 cups
1/2 small delica Squash, roasted
2 Tbsp Organic Pastures Raw Butter

Evening Snack
Artisana - Raw Coconut Butter, 1 Tbsp

This puts me at 2336 calories, 36 g fiber, over 100% for all tracked nutrients, 19% carbs, 25% protein and 56% fat. I still need to work on more lean cuts of meat so I can up my protein without increasing my fat intake. I can't afford to eat all organic meat all the time, so I'm fine with adding more butter LOL

I average about 2400 calories a day for maintenance according to my Fitbit and MyFitnessPal. Although my weight was creeping up, I am a little more than 10 weeks into my reset so I'm not worried. I am actually about the same size too, which is good. No growing out of my pants here! I think this is because I'm still eating healthy, even if higher calorie. And now that things are starting to come together nutritionally (aside from the wheat debacle) the weight seems to at least stabilizing, if not actually dropping again.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hugs to all the Childless Mothers

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day and I've barely looked at my blog feed without tearing up.

I just want to reach out to all the mothers that can't hold their babies today. The mothers who lost their infants early in their short, sweet lives. The mothers who experienced stillbirth. The mothers who endured a miscarriage. The mothers who have had chemical pregnancies. And of course the mothers who have never even had the fleeting joy of a positive pregnancy test.

I will never forget about you. And I will never forget about her.

Austin and her two siblings when we still had hope

Monday, October 14, 2013

My Life is Over

Over!

I think I'm allergic to gluten and/or wheat.

I'll let that sink in. Me, the baker. The lover of bread, cupcakes and all that is floury. WHEAT. WTF Universe?

I never thought that I would be here. You know those people who eat healthy for a few months, go out and eat a cheeseburger, and then talk about what a mistake that was because they have indigestion/diarrhea/etc.? That was NEVER me. I can eat healthy for a year and then go eat a gut bomb and not notice the difference. BUT I've also never been grain free before.

So, last weekend I went to an Oktoberfest event. I drank beer, ate bread, baked a pie for the competition and of course tasted the crust. Then my allergies went haywire. I almost felt like I was getting sick, except I didn't have the aches and other symptoms that usually goes along with having a cold so I chalked it up to allergies and took some Benadryl.

Then I had my nutritionist appointment, where I had my AHA! moment. The gluten!! We discussed grains and how I should be preparing them properly, adding them in slowly, and of course, only after I had recovered from my gluten induced allergy extravaganza.

Fast forward to this weekend - it was the last day for pie at Rock Creek. Of course I'm going to have some pie, try some crust, and evaluate their pie-worthiness to my own. So when my jerk of a husband suggested pizza for dinner the night before, how could it hurt, right? I was going to be eating wheat again in 12 hours, what's a little extra tonight?

O.M.G. I thought I was going to DIE. It was like the flu came to wear me down so that every other virus in the area would have it's own chance to kick my ass. Raw nose, sore throat, coughing, phlem, itchy eyes. You name it, my body was experiencing it. DING DING DING! Muthereffing gluten.

Of course it could have also been the GMO whatevers, crappy ass pasteurized cheese, and corn fed pepperoni. But still!

So here I am back at ground zero. I need to get back to normal before I can even think about testing a different, properly prepared grain, much less trying some properly prepared wheat. I guess I can try that again, much MUCH later. Please universe, please let me someday eat normal pie crust again. I will make it with soaked organic flour and grassfed lard, I promise!

In the meantime, FML. Again.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

Something is Going Right (and I'm Buying a Steer!)

So... it's only been a few days of daily coffee enemas, adrenal support and heavier liver detox. Part of the reason (in addition to my bloodwork) that we know there are issues is because my weight continues to creep up. Well, today I was down 2 pounds. That indicates progress to me! It's nice to see some results after all the suffering I've been doing! LOL

Image courtesy of Dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


In other news, I am buying a grass fed steer! Ok, really, I'm splitting it with a co-worker, but I'm excited nonetheless! Why am I so excited?

1. I'm saving money as well as providing my household with a healthy protein and fat source. If I'm LUCKY, I can find conventional (corn fed, antibiotic laden, hormone injected) for $3 a pound, but it's usually in the range of $6-$10 a pound. Grass fed at the store is even more. This steer will end up costing us between $4.50 and $5.50 a pound, depending on the yield. That's less than grass fed ground beef on sale! And I know that my ground beef is going to be from one single animal.

2. I'm eating humanely. As a former vegetarian who loves animals, I find it very morally difficult to eat meat from conventional farming. These animals are sick and abused and aren't allowed to be animals. They are treated like machines and it's very sad. I know that this steer lived a happy life eating grass with his herd, able to roam, play, and be a steer. Yes, his life will be cut short, but he had a good life, which is more than I can say for any animal in factory farming. It bothers me that so many people get to eat these animals without having to face the fact that they ARE animals that once lived and breathed. We need to be closer to our food so we respect the source and the animal that gave it's life

3. I'm saving the environment. One thing I love about this is my steer grew up about 2 hours away from where I live, and will be processed about an hour away from where I live. Which, unlike this operation, is going to save the planet greenhouse gases and fossil fuels. I also a big believer that local food has the health benefits needed by you for the climate you live in.

4. I'm going to use the whole animal = very little waste. Another thing I hate about the supermarket is that there are very specific cuts available. It in no way represents the entire animal. I also know in my heart that parts of these animals go bad and are thrown away. A display of ten tri tips reminds me that (at least) 5 animals died to provide those roasts. I am asking to get all the bones and fat from my animal. Why? Because I will use it! I will boil the bones for collagen and render the fat for tallow. Grass fed tallow is VERY healthy to cook with! More so than olive oil.

You know what else I'll get? Any or all of the organs I want! Hmmm. I know they are healthy, but I'm not sure I can actually do it. Growing up as a vegetarian has made me just a little meat squeamish. I am far better than I used to be, but I'm not sure I'm going all the way to offal eater. But I also don't want anything to go to waste.

Any suggestions from my readers? Any amazing liver, heart, pancreas or other organ recipes that will make me a believer?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Puppies

My little puppy is growing up. Remember what he used to look like?


Now look at him:









He's such a good boy, even though at 7 months he completely in adolescence. Overall, he listens and is a sweet loving boy. Only sometimes does he look at me in defiance. I'm going to consider that amazing. When he loses all that puppy energy and defiance, he is going to be a GREAT dog!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Meal Planning

Apparently, I ask for too much. I was this close to purchasing a meal plan, but then I looked at said meal plan. It asked for mozzarella. Simple enough request right? Except I'm only eating raw dairy and raw dairy mozzarella is impossible to get here. Impossible? Nothing is impossible, right? I suppose I could try to mail order it, but there's no picking it up at the store on your way home.

So, I started to think that my answer to the age old question to "What's for dinner?" simplified shopping lists with little waste, saving money and only 1-2 trips a week to the store would be in revisiting a meal planning system. The last couple of winters (when my work is crazy busy and I barely have time) I was using the store website and app for shopping and handwriting what each night's dinner was going to be. Mostly so I wouldn't be coming home at 5:00 pm, realizing I had nothing planned, and then of course opting for takeout.

I want something more sophisticated. I want something that will tell me exactly how many eggs I need over the next week (since I'm eating them all the time I run out quickly!). Since I eat some things every day, I would like a copy option. This would be useful for this woman's plan as well! I would be open to doing another physical, manual, or otherwise cumbersome system, but considering the tech obsessed person that I am, an app would be ideal. I would also like something that has a web platform that can be used with an app so that I can add recipes and plan easily on my desktop computer, but also look at my shopping list and recipes on my phone or ipad for convenience.

I told you I asked for a lot!

So, I have tested and tried just about every meal planner known to man. Some, I won't even go into a full review about. I read that Springpad had a meal planning tool, but I couldn't for the life of me find it so it probably no longer exists. Cozi only plans dinners. That's great and all, but since I seem to go to the store 3x a week just for eggs, I think I need to be planning breakfast a little better. I also get my raw dairy order once every three weeks, so being able to plan ahead is crucial. PrimalPalate was easy to use with some great included recipes, but it doesn't allow you to add your own.

How Does She Do It
PROS: Free, easy to use interface, simple to create your own recipes, fairly easy process to add your own recipes to the planner. Integrated mobile app.
CONS: App costs $2.99, but worse than that, shopping list is a Sunday - Saturday, no exceptions deal. At most, you can print out two weeks. Considering my normal shopping day is likely to be a Monday or Tuesday, that doesn't work for me, unless I want to be shopping 5-6 days before I will use the food, you know? Also, there wasn't an easy way to add a recipe from a web source, only cut and paste, and there are too many other planners that do that well. Also, no copy option, which is going to be crucial for my rotating meal plans. The last thing that sucks is that it doesn't add up your ingredients. My butter was listed in 2+2+2+2 Tablespoons (one 2 for each recipe added) instead of doing the math to 8 tablespoons. I can do the math to equate tablespoons to pounds, but this is annoying.

Pepperplate
PROS:  Free, very easy to add recipes and I LOVE the shopping list customization! You can actually organize your shopping list by the way your store is laid out and the directions you like to walk. Free App!
CONS: The web platform is a little wonky - when adding meals, there are a lot of steps and the page jumps around when you mouse gets to a certain place. It's really odd and not very easy to navigate. Adding to the shopping list is cumbersome, and if you make the same thing day in, and day out, it does not compute the totals for you. For example, I make fried eggs every morning, but if I add fried eggs to every day of the week and then add those days to my shopping list, it gives me the ingredients for one day. Grrrr.

Say Mmm
PROS: Free, easy to import recipes from any site on the web. Selecting days to include on your shopping list is easy - you just select the start and end dates and it will populate the list for you! The math on the list is done for you too - it will tell me for seven days of fried eggs that I need 7 tablespoons of butter and 35 eggs (yes, we eat a lot of eggs), and that is way better than 5+5+5+5+5+5+5. It also had a feature in the paid subscription upgrade to track costs so you can better determine when the sales will be what good prices are. The paid subscription is $3 a month.
CONS: No app, only a mobile website. Platform isn't as slick looking at others, adding recipes/meals to dates is still cumbersome.

Plan To Eat
PROS: Love this site. It's pretty, it's functional. You can plan meals with drag and drop ease, as well as see a month at a time. Shopping list is customizable to your own grocery store(s) layout, lists can be separated by store, and can be based on specific dates as well as all kinds of other options. It adds my ingredients together for me! It also has a place to track nutrition as well as approximate costs per serving! In fact, Plan to Eat is so awesome, it has me wishing for more features, since it answered most of my needs right off. Now, if I could specify in ingredients which store that ingredient will come from, it would have everything! (yes, I know, I ask for a lot!)
CONS: No app, just a mobile site. Recipe import is buggy - about 50% of the recipes I wanted to add I had to add manually. Not free. It's $4.95 a month or $39 a year. However, considering how hard I am to please, I'm giving this one a go for free for 30 days!

So, I'm pretty sure I'm going with Plan To Eat, as it's only $3 a year more than the premium Say Mmm membership. If the tracking of costs doesn't prove worthwhile, then I will fall back on Say Mmm free edition. However, just the ease of planning the month of meals will probably be worth $39 a year. Stay Tuned!

How Many More Hoops Will I Jump Through?

I saw my nutritionist again yesterday. It was a good appointment, but a shitty appointment all the same. Life is going to change again. There was good news and bad news. Knowing me and my fucking ray of sunshine disposition, I'm sure you can imagine I'll be focusing on the bad news. Right?

One thing she says she likes about me: I'm transparent. She said it herself. Yes, when she tells me something new that I need to do, my face shows exactly how I'm feeling. Ha! Anyway, on to the appointment.

Bloodwork. We have the results. While it overall looks like mumbo jumbo to me, aside from the few things I have been taught to think were good/bad, she definitely was able to pick things out. Biggest issues are my liver (still clogged with fake fat, pesticides, etc.), my thyroid and my adrenals. I am also vitamin D deficient (odd since I rarely wear sunscreen and spend a good amount of time outdoors, perhaps not at lunchtime though) and iron deficient. I might also be forgetting something else that was discussed. Regardless, I have a whole new slew of things to do. She did give me the option to do some of it now, and then add in the rest of it later, but I'm tired of picking at the bandaid. It's time to rip it off.

#1. Eat more protein. Ugh. I'm supposed to be eating organic and preferably pastured. I honestly couldn't afford any of this already, but if I'm to add protein.... I'm not sure how else I can afford to except for purchasing conventionally raised meat. I just read this article, and perhaps I should be concentrating my protein purchases on lean proteins since the fat is normally what hold the pesticides, hormones, etc. and adding the good fat from my grassfed raw butter and grassfed lard and tallow, which is much less expensive. Anyway, I'm still taking the supplement to help me digest meat better. A side note - apparently the first five years of my life as a vegetarian dictated by my food nazi father is probably the reason why my body doesn't have the tools needed to process and absorb protein. I guess I ate a lot of cheese, but that apparently didn't do it. Thanks dad. Unfortunately, I think my brother and sister have befallen the same fate, and of course my father who stopped eating dairy now has osteoporosis. Of course, there is no reasoning with him because he's always right. And since I don't have a relationship with him,  I won't bother telling him any of this.

#2. Continue taking the fat digesting supplement, but dropping it back to three tablets a meal.

#3. Reduce coffee enemas to one, more concentrated cup each assfull. This is the good news, since I was doing two enemas each session of two cups each. The bad news is that I need to now do it seven days a week, but I guess that means if I dry brush beforehand, I will be getting my daily dry brushing done as well. So there's that.

#4. Add an herbal product made out of rosemary to help cleanse my liver. Apparently, caffeine and peppermint will affect it's potency or something like that. Which means no more coffee and no more of my peppermint tea. At least for the time being. Glad I didn't order any more of that heavenly raw cream. I'm also not brushing my teeth with the peppermint toothpaste options I have. Today I brushed with coconut oil. Apparently, it's antibacterial and whitens. It worked okay, I guess, but I don't have fresh minty breath. However, that rosemary extract adds a pleasant herbal quality to my breath. I have to ask though, can;t I just chew some raw? That would save me some money! I keed, I keed.

#5. Add a vitamin D supplement. Supposedly after this next month of vitamin D I won't need the supplement any longer.

#6. A bunch of other supplements to support my thyroid and my adrenals. The pill count is getting up there.

#7. She did an iodine patch on my arm. If I absorb the iodine really fast, then I'm deficient. She thought it might be gone by this morning, but it was still there, albeit faint. It's actually still there right now. Yay for not being (too?) deficient!

#8. This is the fun part! I get to start eating GRAIN again!!!!! Okay, but the deal is I need to add it in slowly to see if I get a reaction. I also need to soak and prepare it correctly, which means eating out is still going to be a shit show. No gluten though, at least not yet. Since I was bad and drank beer and ate pie crust (I was entering a competition, yo. I HAD to taste it!), as well as some other random baked goods, I have to wait a few days. funny enough, my allergies were going crazy this weekend, and I think they started after I ate my first roll.  Which means I'm screwed. She also told me about the best pie crust recipe in Nourishing Traditions made out of organic whole wheat flour that has been soaked. Ummm, yeah, but that's  unfortunately not going to win any baking competitions. My baking career is over before I even really started. Apparently, now I need to purchase that book too.

I have to say my level of frustration is rising. Up until this started a couple months ago, we had a $75 a week grocery budget for the two of us. Now it's off the charts and I'm STILL not buying everything organic like I should. Ugh. I'm typing that word a lot. Ugh. On the horizon is hopefully a freezer (ha, and I've been trying to justify a $130 food processor?), a side of beef ($1100 worth should last a year and that's only about $20 a week), and new meal planning tool. I'm currently reviewing some and will release my results as soon as I've made a decision on which one is the best.

Without the additional cost of food, I've spent about $800 on appointments, bloodwork and supplements. I am torn between optimizing my health and being fiscally responsible. However, it's still less expensive than an IVF cycle. I do wish I had known about this crap back when we were first diagnosed. We would have had easier access to the organic crap too!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Making Hard Cider - Part One

I took the husband apple picking at the coolest little organic farm about an hour away. I had this great idea I was going to make apple butter and then hard cider with the peels. When we got there, he saw an apple press and asked the owner how he got to use it. Apparently it's a 100 pounds of apples minimum at $0.50 a pound. Less than 100 pounds is $1.50 a pound. At that moment, the husband decided he was pressing apples for his own cider.


Happy Chickens



Fall colors have come to the apple trees



What kind of bug is this?? O.o

Apparently it takes less time that you think to pick 100 pounds of apples. We actually only had to pick about 80 pounds, because the owner had some granny smith's in cold storage (since the trees are done producing that variety). That put us well over the 100 pound mark, so we got to take some home to eat and make apple butter, applesauce, and my own cider project.


First the apples need to be rinsed, and then put into the grinder.



Then they are pressed to release the juice. The oxidation of the apples is what causes the juice to be brown. It was delicious nevertheless.




We ended up with about four gallons of fresh, unpasteurized cider. The owner of the farm brought us glasses so we could all try it right then and there. It was delish. It's almost a shame to make alcoholic! I have a mason jar in the freezer though, maybe I'll break that out to enjoy over Halloween. It's hilarious, my husband wants to go back for more! I asked him what we would do with another 4 gallons of cider. I guess it's times like these when we really need to get a freezer!


To be continued - hard cider two ways, applesauce, apple butter and apple pie, oh my!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Next Steps in Ridding Toxins

I can't say I have been all that vigilant in immediately eliminating toxins from my home. It drives me a little crazy to throw things away. That's the cheap, penny pinching ex-couponer in me. But, I am slowly moving towards better health. Here are my goals for the next six months.

1. Clear out the Pantry. While there are some pantry items I will donate to a food bank (if that ever comes up again in this teeny town!), there are others that aren't that bad and I would rather be able to use them than lose them. I have packaged food that isn't terrible, such as Trader Joe's soups or canned beans. While I won't be buying any more, I prefer to use the ones I have now, and start replacing things in my cupboard with better choices.

2. Move away from plastic storage. I am very, very attached to my Ziploc containers. They are my go to to save leftovers, hold condiments, carry salad dressing, etc. This is my frugal side - I eat leftovers (saving money) and these things don't cost much money and they last forever! Ok, maybe not so much. I have read that they longer you use a piece of plastic, the more it leaches. Ack!

I think I have to give up my beloved (and BPE free Nalgene bottle) after reading this and this. So sad. Note. I will still use my plastic bottles for those times I need something unbreakable, such as hiking and bike riding. And I refuse to purchase a fancy glass bottle covered in silicone protection, so if anyone has ideas on how to protect a mason jar, please let me know!

So, what's my plan? Empty glass containers and Mason jars. First, empty glass containers are free. I mean, you already paid for them when you bought your spaghetti sauce/mustard/coconut butter, right? So why are you recycling them or throwing them away? I have started washing them out and using them for food storage. Since this is a somewhat new move for me, I have more storage needs than glass containers. That's where mason jars come in. They are cheap ($1-2 each) and they do double duty for preserving! Slowly, but surely, glass jars will be taking over my kitchen, and it's a good thing.

3. Stop using chemical laden cosmetics. This is going to be a hard one. First, I tend to buy things in bulk. I have gobs of shampoo and conditioner and antiperspirant and even my favorite moisturizer. Once again, throwing things away kills me, so for the time being I'm going to soak up the chemicals. But, as things slowly get used up, I am purchasing or making the replacements. I tried to go "poo free" a year ago, but it didn't go so well. I think my biggest issue was cold liquid dripping from my head to my body. Brrrrr!!! But I might try it again. It was cheap, after all! I have also pinned recipes (I lurve Pinterest) for deodorant and body butter. I also had a weird pimple pop up on my chin a few days ago, and after one application of coconut oil, it went away. Whoa. Sold.

4. Try to grow something. I learned something this fall about preserving. It's a whole lot cheaper when you don't have to buy the item being preserved! :/ While it's an awesome thing to do when your CSA overloads you with amazing produce or you catch an amazing sale, but it really makes sense when you can preserve your own harvest! So, my plan for the spring is to grow tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs, and maybe even pumpkins or some other winter squash plant. The tomatoes and cucumbers would fulfill the two things I tend to buy packaged the most - Pickles and Canned tomatoes/sauce.

Okay, so there are my four goals! I'm sure I am missing other options, but I think these four are plenty to start with. If I'm able to do all of this, imagine the amount of toxins I would eliminate!

Is there something I'm completely missing? Something different you would do instead? Let me know!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Funny Vs. Coffee in my Butt

Contrary to the dreary tone this blog has historically taken (woe is infertile, childless me with no future), I like to be funny. Sometimes my sense of humor doesn't translate in words, because even when I am funny, I'm very likely to be that dry funny, where people aren't sure if you're really just a bitch or if you were joking.

So when I heard that my nutritionist spit her wine out when reading my "Read At Your Own Risk" post, that made me very happy. I think I should write more funny posts. So what better way than to update you with my coffee tales?

I've been doing them three times a week for several weeks, and no, not everything has always gone exactly to plan. Have I had a major blowout? Sorry to disappoint you, no. No major blowouts. But I have had a couple of near misses in that area.

The hardest thing for me is holding it for the full 12 minutes. I get there maybe 50% of the time. I don't have a flexible schedule, at all. And that morning energy has yet to kick in. Maybe because it's dark when I should be getting up. Isn't there something about sunlight and our natural circadian rhythms? So, I'm not doing them in the morning, unless I have a day off, and that means I'm trying to cram it in between all the other things I have on my plate in the evenings: walking the dogs, making dinner, cleaning, laundry, tweeting, blogging, and all the other random things I never think about until it's midnight and I'm still running around like a mad housewife. Now you know why my poor blog is so neglected. Anyway, back to my butt.

To help with holding it in, I'm doing a warm water enema to "clean me out." Yes, you read that right. I am now, voluntarily, putting liquid up my ass three times a session. I do find that the emptier I am, the easier it is to hold it in.

But not always. There are times when, if I were standing, I would be doing the potty dance. Full on dance around like an idiot clenching buttcheeks kind of potty dance. In fact, I do a horizontal potty dance sometimes. Not to be confused with another horizontal dance. This blog DID spend many years as a TTC blog...

I find the easiest way to try and forget about the assfull of coffee (that was the word that inspired the wine spewing) that your butt would like to release sooner rather than later, is to watch YouTube videos. Scrolling through Pinterest or Facebook just doesn't provide the full on distraction that is needed to get your mind off the toilet.

So, what horrible things have happened? Once, I forgot to close the enema tube, and all my warm water leaked all over the bathroom floor. That really wasn't that bad, except for trying to clean up water and make more, all with trying to hurry up and get this over with before the dogs flip out/the phone rings/my husband comes home. At least it wasn't my coffee which takes a minimum of 20 minutes to prepare, not including cooling time.

Sometimes, even when you clip the tube closed, it still leaks. Those are times when I am thankful for the puppy pads. What am I going to do when I run out???

I have had moments of anal leakage. Not a lot, and only on the puppy pad, but it's humiliating. Even though nobody else knows it happened. Except now you do. I'm telling you to amuse you so please appreciate it.

I have accidentally poured enema coffee on my head. Don't ask. It has something to do with contortionists and laying on the floor. I tell myself it's okay because that coffee hasn't touched my ass. I don't know how valid that is, but that's how I continue to live with myself.

I'm sure my husband would be stoked to know that I use my ipad during my sessions. He'll never find out because he doesn't take the time to read my blog. Besides, it's MY ipad FFS. Hopefully this made you chuckle a little, as I am under no illusion that this was a wine-spitting worthy post. But I am going to revamp the blog again, with puppies and rainbows and bright pink unicorns. Just because I can.

You're welcome.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Food Processor, How I Need Thee

I am starting to think about all the things I can do with a food processor, and I think this is a justifiable purchase.

1. Nut butter - I can make my own! You know, decent peanut butter is at least $3 a jar, and almond butter is more like $5-6. I can purchase bulk nuts online, from Trader Joe's, Whole Foods or even my local health food store.

2. Coconut butter - um, yeah! A pound of coconut butter is like $10, on sale! I can buy 5 pounds of organic raw coconut shreds for $14. Score!

3. Mayonnaise? Although my blender does pretty well for that.

4. Well, shit. I'm out of ideas.

I see lots of recipes for baby food, apple butter, etc. but I don't have a baby, and my blender did just fine for the apple butter I made earlier this week. (Man, I have GOT to get better about taking photos and blogging!). I hear pie crust is easier in the processor, but I don't make pie that often and my pastry cutter seems to work just fine for that. I also have no issues chopping veggies for salsa, salad, etc. Chopping hot peppers would be nice to do in the processor, so I don't accidentally touch my delicate bits with hot chili oil on my fingers (been there, done that, it's NOT pleasant). I also have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer which works fine for whipping cream, making cakes and cookies.

I did find this post on the Kitchn and if I could actually use it as a grain mill, it might actually be worth it.

Help me justify a food processor! How do you use yours to cook, make real food, or save money?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Eating Well on the Cheap - Vitacost

I live in a pricey place.

The housing is moderately expensive, but that's not why it's pricey. It's the shopping.

Food, goods, clothing, etc. costs quite a bit more because we are very, VERY remote. Three hours from the nearest (semi) major city, and 5 hours from a real city. We have one major grocery store, one drugstore, one health food store. Kmart is 45 miles away, and don't even ask about a Target or Costco. This means that everything is subject to a higher price because of the fuel involved to get it here. I try to shop for locally produced products, but the other issue is that we have a pretty extreme climate, so local produce is only available 4-5 months out of the year.

So, I do what I can. I pick and preserve the little amounts of edible plants I can find in the area, I purchase and preserve fruit from the farm 50 miles away, and I joined a CSA to support a local farmer while getting organic greens.

The other thing I do is shop online. As much as I want to support local businesses, I find that they either don't carry what I'm looking for or it's prohibitively expensive. I know a lot of people who swear by Amazon Prime, which is awesome, but they usually don't have what I'm looking for either. My first choice for online shopping is Vitacost!

No, I'm not going to lie to you - that is a referral link. But it's an awesome referral link because it gives you $10 off a $30 purchase! I get one too. You may not have noticed, but I'm not making any money off this blog. I want my blog to be about whatever I want, not be tainted by making money. But at the same time, I think Vitacost is awesome, and would share it anyway, so why not get some Vitacost credits on the side? I'm giving you a discount too, so it's not completely self serving ;)

So what kinds of things do I buy on Vitacost that I can't find locally?

Pomonas Pectin: This is an all natural pectin (no dextrose!) that will also work in low sugar recipes. I was using conventional pectin and was no too excited about that 4-8 CUPS or sugar they needed me to add. My jams were coming out a little runny because I was sweetening with honey and only enough for the flavor I wanted. One batch with Pomonas and they were perfect, even without a bunch of added sugar. I'm a convert for sure! Besides, that Kraft Sure-Jell crap is probably loaded full of GMO's too.

Great Lakes Gelatin: Gelatin is considered to be a very healing food, but grass fed gelatin in impossible to find here in this small town. I refuse to eat or feed my family Jello, and yet, my husband is a fan. I bought this to try and make a healthier option, as well as attempt a real food marshmallow at some point this winter.

Organic Coconut Palm Sugar: Not really on my list of OK foods, but it's got to be better as I head into baking season, right? And believe it or not, I could not find it here in town. The closest I got was organic turbinado sugar. Lame! This was a good price too.

Diva Cup: I've been wanting to try a Diva Cup for a while. Saving money, saving the environment, and eliminating the toxins I probably soak up through my hoo ha? Win-Win!

I also find really good deals on things I might be able to find locally and save some money in the process:

Artisana Raw Coconut Butter - YUM!

Bragg Raw Apple Cider Vinegar - A real food staple

A huge vat of Organic Coconut Oil - for baking. Christmas is coming, yo!

Vitacost also offers free shipping to orders over $49, and it comes pretty fast too. I hope I didn't put you off by actually attempting to get some discounts for my food and grooming purchases :) I would love to hear your favorite products if you already shop at Vitacost, or if you think you might give it a try!