My New Year's Resolutions

Posted by Wendy Neal Wednesday, December 28, 2011 Bookmark and Share

I don't usually participate in this crazy thing that we call New Year's Resolutions, because I'd like to think that I always try to practice good habits and a healthy lifestyle on a daily basis.  I think it's kind of funny how gym usage goes way up in January, only to slough off in February and the remainder of the year.  However, I've gotten into a few bad habits lately that I want to curtail and this is a great time to put pen to paper and list out my goals so that I'll have some accountability for myself.

So without further adieu, here is my list of New Year's Resolutions for 2012:

  1. Stop eating potato chips.  So I admit, I've probably eaten a few too many chips over the last year.  It's probably my all time favorite snack food.  I always joke that you could place a plate full of cake or cookies or chocolate next to me and I have absolutely no desire to eat them.  But place a bowl of potato chips next to me and I could easily eat them all!
  2. Start exercising again at least 3 times a week.  I used to be religious about exercising at least 3 - 4 times per week, but I've gotten a little lax lately.  I just got the Wii Fit with Balance Board for Christmas so I'm gonna start doing a little yoga and strength exercises at least 3 nights a week.
  3. Start walking on my lunch break at least 3 days a week.  This is something I used to do consistently as well, then we started having meetings 3 days a week from noon to 1 so it became harder to do it consistently.  In February I'll be moving to a different project team so my lunch hours should clear up and I'll make it a point to walk more often at lunch.
  4. Try to eat more organic food.  Within budget, of course.  Organic food can be expensive, so you have to be selective.  I think there are certain fruits and veggies that are OK to not eat organic, and there are others where you really should try to eat organic because the toxic residue from the pesticides are very high (do a Google search on "Dirty dozen organic food" and you'll see several articles).
  5. Post to my blog more often!   I forgot how much of an outlet writing can be so I'm gonna make it a point to write more often.

How about you?  What is on your list of New Year's Resolutions?  Please share via the comments below.

Traveling with Food Allergies - Tips For Eating Safely

Posted by Wendy Neal Friday, December 9, 2011 Bookmark and Share

First of all, I can't believe it's been over a year since I last posted to my blog.  Bad Wendy!  I really have no excuse of any kind to offer, so I'll just jump right into this post, and I promise to post more often in the future.

As mentioned in previous posts, I was diagnosed with multiple food allergies and sensitivities in January of 2010 - primarily dairy, gluten, and egg whites.  In addition I try to avoid soy as much as possible, and I avoid peanuts now as well.  Soy and peanuts did not come back positive on my allergy test, however I believe they are best avoided for me as I seem to be sensitive.

It would seem that this doesn't leave me a lot of options of stuff that I can eat.  Actually it's not as bad as it seems.  Yes, while there are probably tens if not hundreds of thousands of processed food items that I can no longer eat (because they contain soy, dairy, and/or gluten), this doesn't bother me really because why do we need that many choices anyway?  Plus most processed food is extremely unhealthy for you.  I do just fine with my limited choices, which consist of meat (usually either chicken, pork, beef, or fish), egg yolks, raw or cooked vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, seeds, and non-gluten grains (usually quinoa or rice, and occasionally corn).

Lesson Learned: ALWAYS Check Food and Supplement Labels

Posted by Wendy Neal Wednesday, September 1, 2010 Bookmark and Share

I learned this lesson the hard way. When you have food allergies, you always need to check the ingredients on the label every time you buy something, even if you've bought it before and it previously didn't have any allergens in it.

I thought I had been doing everything right - for the past 8 months, ever since I found out I'm allergic to dairy, egg whites, and also gluten-intolerant, I had completely eliminated these culprits from my diet. Or so I thought.

The other day when I went to buy some multivitamins at the health food store because I was nearly out, I could not find the ones I normally buy. In their place were something similar, but they were labeled "Ultimate Vegetarian Multi" (instead of "Ultimate One"). I looked at the label and the vitamin and mineral content looked exactly like what I had bought before and was currently using at home; I couldn't immediately see any differences.

Recently Diagnosed - Type 2 Hypothyroidism

Posted by Wendy Neal Wednesday, June 30, 2010 Bookmark and Share

Holy cow, I just realized I haven't posted since end of April! A lot's happened since then. Let's see, I found out that I have Type 2 Hypothyroidism, also known as "thyroid resistance". Once I found out, I did some research on it, and let's just say that the world makes perfect sense to me now!

In Type 2 Hypothyroidism thyroid hormones, T-4 and T-3, appear normal in the bloodstream, but they are inactive (resistant) at the receptor-sites (this is similar to how Type 2 Diabetics have plenty of insulin, it's just resistant). In addition, nutrient deficiencies can affect thyroid conversion, including vitamin D, vitamin B12, and iodine deficiencies, all of which I was deficient in.

Here are some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism:

• Hypothermia/low body temperature (feeling cold when others feel hot)
• Fatigue, exhaustion
• Puffiness and swelling around the eyes and face
• Pains, aches in joints, hands and feet
• Morning headaches
• Slow heartbeat
• Irritability
• Difficulty concentrating
• Forgetfulness
• Shortness of breath and tightness in the chest
• Feeling the need to yawn to get oxygen
• Eyes very sensitive to light
• Strange feelings in neck or throat
• Lightheadedness, dizziness

Garlic, Garlic Everywhere!

Posted by Wendy Neal Tuesday, April 27, 2010 Bookmark and Share

A couple weeks ago we found out that my son has food allergies just like me. It was no surprise to learn that he is allergic to dairy, gluten, wheat, and egg whites. But what was surprising is that he's allergic to garlic as well. Which seems silly because garlic is so healthy for most people.

What was even more surprising to me, downright shocking actually, is that garlic is used in so many products, and that according to law, it DOESN'T NEED TO BE LABELED on the food ingredients! It can legally be included as part of "spice" and "natural flavor" without needing to be listed separately in the ingredient list. And did you also know that garlic is prevalent in almost all tomato products, including ketchup, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, salsa, etc.? And also in most salad dressings? And chicken broth? And gravy mixes? And bread mixes (even the gluten-free kind)? And just about all other processed food? I didn't.

For the first week of my son's new diet, I thought I was doing good to avoid all his food allergens. The dairy, gluten, and egg whites were easy because I'm on the exact same diet. I thought I was avoiding garlic as well until I started researching online about garlic allergies, just to see how common it really was. I was surprised to find A LOT of people are allergic to garlic, yet garlic isn't recognized as a common food allergen, and therefore doesn't need to be labeled as such.

Like Mother, Like Son

Posted by Wendy Neal Sunday, April 18, 2010 Bookmark and Share

Wow, it's been three weeks since my last post.  I've just been so busy!  With spring also comes track, baseball, and T-ball season.  Seems like we're always on the go.

So my son has been pestering me for the last few weeks about getting tested for food allergies. I guess he had seen the tremendous transformation I went through after eliminating all my food allergens, and how much better and healthier I felt and looked. I had also mentioned to him in passing that after just a few days my skin had completely cleared up and I no longer have acne. Being a 13-year-old, I think this fact really peaked his interest, because he does seem to have moderate acne and is not happy with the way his skin looks. He had even been researching online and discovered that not only can food allergies cause acne, but that it's also hereditary, and he was just convinced that he was allergic to something.

I had also read online that food allergies can cause a whole host of other problems; in particular it can cause ADD or ADD-like symptoms. My son has never been diagnosed with ADD or suspected of having it by teachers, but over the years I have noticed minor symptoms including constant daydreaming, inability to concentrate, short attention span, etc. And it seems to have gotten worse since he became a teenager. He has probably only watched a handful of movies in his lifetime all the way from start to finish, because he just can't pay attention long enough to understand the plot, so he just quits watching it. And his grades have started to slip a little since he got into junior high, I think because he doesn't pay attention in class so he gets lost. He is extremely intelligent, so I know it's not that.

First Experience Dining Out After Food Allergy Diagnosis

Posted by Wendy Neal Sunday, March 28, 2010 Bookmark and Share

If you've been following my blog, you know that a few weeks ago I was diagnosed with severe food allergies to dairy (from cow's milk) and egg whites, and moderate allergies to mushrooms, psyllium, alfalfa, and turmeric. And while I don't have an allergy to gluten, I'm evidently sensitive to it so I'm following a gluten-free diet as well.

My new diet had been going very well for the first few weeks - mainly because I was preparing all my meals myself and I could control exactly what was in them. I had not yet gone out to a restaurant since my diagnosis. That is until one day a bunch of coworkers and I decided to walk down to the local lunch spot just down the street from our office.

Let's just say that the experience was less than stellar. First of all, nearly everything on their menu contained wheat. So I ended up ordering a burger without cheese, and planned on not eating the bun. Also instead of the greasy fries that normally comes with it, I substituted chili (the only type of soup they had with no gluten and/or milk in it).

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