Friday, October 7, 2016

How Primal Gave Me Freedom from Depression, Pain, and Discomfort

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. In fact, I have a contest going right now. So if you have a story to share, no matter how big or how small, you’ll be in the running to win a big prize. Read more here.

realifestories in lineYou know that Texas Style Toast?! It’s thick, white, and usually comes with mouthwatering butter spread across it?! Or even better, the French Toast version of Texas Style Toast? If you do you know it, you know it tastes amazing. *Mouth begins to water* Bet you never thought you would read the words TOAST on MDA. That’s okay, I would have never expected it either, but this is where my story semi-begins.

I honestly never felt good growing up. I always had a stomachache and without fail was continually bloated. I have pictures around the age of 9 where you can tell I have something wrapped around my stomach. I laugh now but my nine-year-old self would self-prescribe and wrap those hot pads you buy from the drugstore to relieve the pain. Even then I sensed something wasn’t right.

My anxieties throughout my childhood were crippling. I struggled to be happy yet I had every reason to be happy. I had amazing parents, a great life, but my little kid brain didn’t see it that way. It was like I couldn’t help but feel scared all the time. I hated it.

I was involved in the sport of gymnastics for about 12 years. And even though it was great, and taught me more than anything ever has, I would write in my journal how I wished I could be less scared and criticize myself less for being too tired during practice. I wanted to feel like all the other kids. But again I was too young to pinpoint what was wrong. I just didn’t know and lacked the knowledge to look toward what I was eating.

In high school, I tried doing cross-country. I loved running and the way I felt afterward. Suffering from anxieties and depression, the running ‘high’ would give me a little relief and I was grateful for it, but then I would proceed to sleep for hours after that. Looks started to become super important to me. It was nothing abnormal for a high-school girl, but I started noticing how no matter how hard I ran, I still gained weight. This didn’t help with my confidence and depression. Again, the red flags were popping up and I was noticing.

I remember I was traveling with friends for a high school event and we ate at Texas Roadhouse. By this time I was eating “healthy,” or what I thought was healthy. I was eating a lot of fruit, dairy, and processed carbs. But this specific time I decided to have the glorious smelling Texas Toast, and almost immediately, I felt super sick. My stomach hurt, I felt like I was going to puke. My friend exclaimed, “Kristina, how come you always feel sick?!” Ding!

Oh and here’s another interesting point, maybe a little TMI, but I still hadn’t gotten my period yet. RED FLAG.

Now that I think back, maybe it was all the stress I was putting myself under (obviously I hadn’t discovered ADRENAL FATIGUE lol). But either way, I wanted to feel as confident as I knew I was capable of being. Gymnastics had already given me the reality to know I could be strong.

Fast forward. I went off to college for my freshman year. I thought I was eating well. Lots of fruit and dairy from the dining hall, and had done enough self-reflection to know that bread was not sitting well with me. I went gluten-free but not completely and considered gluten-free processed food good for me. I wanted more and more to feel good. By the time summer break came along I had hit my breaking point. I wasn’t doing as well as I would have liked at school. I would keep to myself in my dorm room because of my social anxieties and would binge on all that gluten-free processed food and sugar.

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(Side note; I had been to doctors throughout high school who put me on Synthroid and told me to workout more. I was the typical story you hear on StopTheThyroidMadness.com. I love this website, by the way.)

My mom, that summer, brought me to a functional doctor who turned my whole life around from the first appointment. I broke down crying in front of my doctor. I wanted change. She put me on a non-processed foods diet. Higher protein, low-carb and no sugar. I didn’t question her, I was desperate. I’m not joking when I say that I felt like a whole new person within five days. I honestly did not realize how fast I was improving. People asked me if it was hard and I replied with, “You know what, it really wasn’t because nothing was as hard as how badly I had been feeling.”

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And I think that was the key and what kept me so consistent with never going back to my old habits. Hard was not being able to be fun around my friends. Hard was feeling sick and tired all the time. Hard was being unable to believe in myself. Hard was not feeling like I couldn’t physically doing things people my age were.

Within two weeks my acne cleared up, my period came, my bloating went away, no stomach aches, and the depression lifted. I had morphed into the person I knew I had always been. The person I had always wanted to feel like. It sounds too good be true, but oh my gosh I couldn’t be more honest here. The shift was so evident I knew I never wanted to EVER go back. I loved myself enough to know that this was worth the effort.

That week I started researching a real food diet and stumbled upon Mark’s Daily Apple. Never before this point had I realized the impact food had on me and could have on others. It’s been almost six years since that point. I still struggle but nothing like before. The knowledge saved my life. And continues to do so.

My mom has been a huge lifeline for me and always believed in me from day one. I still struggle with bouts of flares from Hashimoto’s, but nothing like they could be. I have the knowledge now to know better and help me through. Plus podcasts have been such a helpful way for me to discover more. MDA podcasts are GREAT!

A lot of the success stories involve pictures of weight loss and mine included weight loss too. When I was first going through this, I thought weight loss was the best part. Weight loss was the success I needed to see at that point to continue. But that was not the best product in the end.

I can get up in front of a large group of people and talk. I can hang out with my family and friends and smile. I cook a lot now and rarely feel sick.

I have been coaching gymnastics and the gymnastics and CrossFit correlation has been so fun getting to learn!

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I love everything that this lifestyle has given to me and continues to do so.

P.S. A bit of advice from my 9-year-old self: If you are a parent please look into the food your family is eating. It has the ability to change your whole world around in the most positive way! 🙂 Seek the knowledge.

Kristina

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Pumpkin Millet Porridge

This post is sponsored by the National Milk Life Campaign

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Millet is something I normally think of as a side dish at dinner, the base of a salad or perhaps birdseed! But this grain-like seed makes a wonderful breakfast porridge too. It takes a wee bit longer to cook than oatmeal, but the texture is worth the wait. Think of it as a cross between steel cut oats, rice, and couscous. Millet is also naturally gluten-free, so it’s a good option for those who are gluten-sensitive.

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Naturally I turned my millet porridge into a fall party packed with pumpkin and the spiced flavors of cinnamon and vanilla. Pumpkin stirred in near the end of cooking adds vitamin A and fiber, cinnamon and vanilla add flavor, and pecans and raisins add crunch, chew and nutty, healthy fats.

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I used milk as the backbone of the recipe for an extra boost of morning protein and nutrients. Since I always have milk in my fridge, cooking with it is one of the easiest ways to incorporate more protein into my meals. Eight ounces of milk provides 8 grams of high-quality natural protein, plus other essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, so it’s worth making your porridges with more than just plain water. Pair this porridge with a glass of milk on the side, and you have yourself a breakfast that will help keep you feeling full all morning. I’ve eaten this for breakfast four times in the past few weeks and never have I needed a morning snack.

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Add the millet, milk, water and salt to a sauce pan and set to medium heat. Allow millet to come to a light boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for about 20 minutes, until thick. Keep stirring to keep cooking even and the milk from creating a film.

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When porridge becomes thick, stir in pumpkin, maple, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and raisins.

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Allow everything to heat up together and then portion evenly into four bowls.

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Toast your pecans until fragrant – be careful not to burn them! A few minutes is all you need.

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Enjoy with milk!

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Pumpkin Millet Porridge

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Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 1 cup dry millet
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Pair each serving with:

  • 8-ounce glass of milk

Instructions

  1. Combine millet, water, milk, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium high heat.
  2. Allow millet to come to a light boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for about 20 minutes, until thick. Stir often!
  3. While millet simmers, toast pecans in a toaster oven or dry skillet until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Be careful not to burn them.
  4. When thick, stir pumpkin, maple, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and raisins into millet.
  5. Portion porridge into four bowls and top each with a tbsp of pecans.
  6. Serve with an 8 ounce glass of milk on the side.
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Pumpkin Millet Porridge 26

Thanks to the National Milk Life Campaign for sponsoring this post. 



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Nutrition News: Autumn Weight Gain, Salt Reduction, Kids and Online Ads


Adver-games exposed
Once upon a time, parents’ fears about advertising’s sneaky effects on their kids were more or less confined to TV ads. Nowadays food and drink companies are able to reach kids online in ways parents aren’t even aware of — and research indicates that exposure to these marketing efforts does influence kids’ consumption habits. Writing in the Washington Post, nutrition expert Casey Seidenberg ticks off a few of those methods. They include using “adver-games” featuring the products, directing kids to their products to retrieve “codes” and incentivizing them to invite their friends to play; using GPS tracking and notifications to push coupons and discounts to them on their phones based on their locations; using social media to track and reach them and encourage them to influence others in their peer network; and collecting and analyzing kids’ personal data via mobile apps to better target them and build loyalty. Creepy.


Don’t let your weight rise in fall
In autumn, as the weather turns crisp and cool, many of us find ourselves putting on a few pounds, which doesn’t feel cool at all. Writing in U.S. News and World Report, Healthy Eats nutrition xxpert Toby Amidor offers tips on how to battle the seasonal bulge. Among them: Make lighter versions of fall-favorite baked goods (halve the butter and sub in nonfat plain Greek yogurt). Stay active (take an indoor exercise class; hop on that dusty treadmill). Don’t go nuts on the Halloween candy (buy a kind you don’t like to hand out the kids, so you’ll be less tempted to eat it yourself). Lighten up those comfort foods you crave (cut calories and fat by using leaner meats). Don’t OD on takeout, delivery or fast-food meals just because life is busy (plan and prep your own meals ahead of time instead).


Strategic salting
Confused about how to respond to the FDA’s recent move to reduce the recommended daily sodium intake from 3,400 milligrams to 2,300 milligrams (1,500 milligrams for those with, or at risk for, hypertension)? Chefs and dietitians consulted by the Wall Street Journal suggest cooking from scratch using fresh ingredients at home so you can control the amount of salt added to foods; limiting salty ingredients (like anchovies and capers) and balancing them with high-potassium foods (like leafy greens and potatoes); switching from granulated salt to flaked sea salt (larger crystals mean less sodium per pinch); avoiding salty snacks, cured meats and sneakily sodium-packed canned foods; and using herbs, spices and other ingredients to add flavor. That’s not to say you need to avoid salt altogether, unless you have a medical reason to do so. Our bodies need some salt — just don’t overdo it.

Amy Reiter is a writer and editor based in New York. A regular contributor to The Los Angeles Times, she has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, Marie Claire, The Daily Beast and Wine Spectator, among others, as well as for Salon, where she was a longtime editor and senior writer. In addition to contributing to Healthy Eats, she blogs for Food Network’s FN Dish.



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