Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Good Things that Came Out of My Gastritis

 (My first gastritis post can be found here. Gastritis hacks post can be found here.)

If you know me personally, you may know that I am one to always try to find the silver lining in things. Does that mean that I never complain? No. Does that mean that I never have rough spots in life where I am down? No. But when all is said and done I tried to find the good in every situation.

Although it sounds pretty simple and isn't at all life-threatening, gastritis was one of those rough patches that was really hard for me. I physically just felt bad. Not sick. But bad. Getting the diagnosis and figuring out what exactly was wrong with me was hard enough. But not being able to eat and feeling weak and short of breath all the time was awful. Especially as I was trying to continue on with my daily life and take care of my son.

But! Now that I am I on the other side of the hump, I can see that there are a few good things that have come out of my gastritis.

1. I am actually aware of what I am eating and putting into my body.

Before I was diagnosed with gastritis, I never looked at the ingredients in food items. I was super careful about looking at ingredients on skin care items, but as far as what I was eating... If it looked good, I ate it without thinking twice. I've been very lucky that I don't really have any severe food allergies. So I never HAD to check ingredients before even though I probably should have.

Having gastritis means following the gastritis diet. And I followed it very strictly in the beginning. (It's only recently that I've been able to veer away from that strict diet now and then.) So that meant looking at the ingredients and making sure there was no dairy or anything acidic hidden in the food that I was about to consume. I also learned that dairy products and citric acid are two very common ingredients and in things you wouldn't ever expect.

I seem to have gotten used to looking at the ingredients of everything I eat because now I do it without thinking.

2. My diet is comprised of more fruits and vegetables.

Although I've always enjoyed fruits and vegetables, my diet before gastritis was heavy in dairy and carbs. Once I learned I had to cut dairy out of my diet, I knew I had to fill it with something else. At first, I ate mainly carbs because that's all my body could digest. But that left me feeling yuck most of the time. I slowly began filling the space dairy left behind with bananas, watermelon, sweet potatoes, green beans, and Brussel sprouts. Because there wasn't much choice in the matter, and this is how I had to eat to feel okay, it became a habit. And now my diet is still mostly fruits and vegetables.

3. I kicked my caffeine addiction. For the second time.

Caffeine is a big No-No when it comes to gastritis. And this was one of the things that I was so upset about cutting out of my daily life. I was knowingly addicted to caffeine. To the point that when we go to the store to buy hurricane supplies, I make sure to buy plenty of instant coffee so that I can still have coffee even if the power goes out. (And so I won't have to go through caffeine withdrawal during a hurricane.)

I had kicked my caffeine habit in my early twenties. And I remember the withdrawal being horrendous. But then I started working at an accounting company during tax season and my caffeine addiction was reignited. I had come to terms with the fact that I would probably be addicted to caffeine for the rest of my life. Because I just didn't want to go through that withdrawal again. But, again, I didn't have much of a choice. After all, I choose feeling like I can breathe over drinking caffeine. I was able to wean myself off of caffeine this time so that my withdrawal wasn't as bad. And now I no longer need to make sure I have a cup of coffee in the morning to survive.

4. I'm a tad better about getting enough sleep.

I am an insomniac. A night owl. I always have been. I like to stay up late and I'm not a fan of waking up early. Because I had to kick my caffeine addiction, I could no longer use those cups of coffee as a crutch to get me through the day due to my lack of sleep. I now had to either get through the day feeling every bit of that exhaustion or be a bit more responsible when it came to making sure my body had enough rest. Sometimes that meant going to bed earlier. And sometimes that meant choosing to take a nap over completing a task. It forced me to listen to my body and put my body's health first. Which, if you live in the United States, isn't usually the priority that we are taught. Work is usually the priority, not health.

Now that doesn't mean that I walk around fully rested all day every day. I'm still a night owl. I'm still an insomniac. I still have nights when I just can't fall asleep. But now instead of pouring myself a third or fourth cup of coffee, I lay down during the day (even if for just a few minutes) or make an effort to go to bed a little bit earlier.

5. I have a healthier relationship with food.

I have always been the girl that doesn't hold back when it comes to eating. Yes, I'll have dessert. Yes, I want some of those loaded cheese fries. Yes, I'll order the hamburger and milkshake. But the problem wasn't that I often chose junk food when out or at an event. It's okay to indulge from time to time. It was that in my head the food MADE the event. So if an event didn't have good food, to me the event wasn't great.

Anytime there is any kind of special event, whether it was a birthday or graduation or a big family party or a gathering with friends, I was most excited about the food aspect. And that's not a very healthy mindset. Food can be a highlight of an event. But it shouldn't always be THE highlight of an event.

Having gastritis meant, for me, that now food was just there to give me nutrients when I was hungry.  And to also keep hunger away so it didn't trigger a migraine. There were a lot of things that I couldn't indulge in. And making something that I could indulge in took so much time, effort, and preparation that it often times wasn't worth it. So food stopped being the star of every event. And started being what it should have always been, a way for my body to get nutrients.

6. I stopped overusing NSAIDs.

I've had migraine since my teens. And before Imitrex was commonly prescribed, the only relief I got was from NSAIDs- Medications like ibuprofen and aspirin. I know I overused both of those medications. Because when you have a migraine, relief cannot come soon enough.

My doctor and I believe this is how my gastritis came about...Years and years of regularly using ibuprofen and aspirin. During the last several years I used BC powder. Which is basically ground up aspirin and caffeine. It's effective but horrible for your stomach. And I often took it on an empty stomach or with coffee (which is very acidic). And though I always waited four to six hours before taking my next dose. I know that I was taking more aspirin than the typical person since I got migraines multiple times a week. And headaches almost every single day.

But now my stomach can no longer tolerate aspirin or ibuprofen. I did find the source of why my migraines were so frequent and so bad (it was my birth control). I'd discontinued the use of that birth control right before my gastritis even really started. So I no longer get headaches every day and my migraines are much less frequent. But I still get them. And when I do, I take the medication that was prescribed to me instead of trying to treat it myself first with NSAIDs.

7. I drink much more water.

I basically can't really drink anything else regularly. Soda, most teas, most fruit juices, and coffee are out - at least when it comes to daily/regular consumption. So that leaves me with water. I also drink more water because filling my stomach with it can dilute the stomach acid and thus relieve any irritation that my own stomach acid is causing to me.  So now I almost always carry a water bottle with me and I am rarely dehydrated.

I know how absolutely draining and disheartening everything can feel at the first onset of chronic gastritis. But it DOES get better. And you will figure out a new normal that isn't just oatmeal and bananas. It will take time, but you'll get there. It helps to try to find the positives. So here are some of mine. And once you too are past those rough beginning stages, maybe you'll be able to tell me the good that came from your gastritis as well. 

Saturday, March 9, 2019

A Sweet Way to Make Even the Most Ordinary Day Special

Written by a contributing writer 

When you want to start the day with a feeling that life is just a little bit spectacular, one of the most delicious ways to do that is by enjoying treats like the fine pastries Schaumburg has to offer or pastries from your favorite local bakery. There's nothing quite as lovely as starting the day, whether before work at a cafe or at home with loved ones, with a delicious sip of coffee followed by a bite of one of your favorite flaky pastries.

Baked Goods Make The Day Good

As the saying goes, the way to a loved one's heart is through their stomach, which is why wonderful pastries are always a great surprise gift idea. It's been shown that offices that bring surprise gifts of appreciation to their employees, like a tray of bagels and cream cheese or a plate of scrumptious bear claws and frosted cinnamon danishes, create an amazing loyalty in their employees. Bringing in an assortment of pastries for that last minute office meeting will make the conference that much more enjoyable, due to the good feelings a gift of tasty goodies is sure to bring on.

Keep It Fresh

If you are planning to surprise the gang with an assortment of tasty items from your favorite bakery, be sure to pick them up on the way so everything is fresh. Though day old pastries can still be delicious, the truth is that nothing really beats the taste of a croissant that's come straight from the oven and into that pink pastry box. The incredible flavor of a fresh almond croissant will make all the difference when it comes time to close that deal at the end of the meeting. Baked goods will also light up a lot of smiles when out of town guests come to stay in your home. Treat everyone to a wonderful breakfast of fresh pastries, and watch them light up with smiles that just won't stop.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Special Apparel for a Special Occasion

Written by a contributing writer 

It’s important for your kids to look their best, especially for special occasions. Maybe you’ve been invited to a friend’s wedding. Maybe you’re headed on your first family cruise and want to make sure you’re ready for formal night. Whatever the occasion, you want to make sure that you get the right apparel.

Focus on the Material

The material that you choose for the outfit should be of quality. It’s easy to tell the difference when you get close to a child. You want to make sure that they look great. Whether you’re buying a dress for a young lady or a suit for a young boy, the material should be capable of withstanding a lot of play. Otherwise, you’re not going to get the wear and tear out of it that you need. The last thing you want to worry about is the fabric ripping when you are getting ready to be captured by a photographer.

Explore the Designs

Some designs are more sophisticated than others. Often, you’ll find the best designs at a boutique as opposed to a traditional retailer. Plus, you won’t have to worry about any of the other young kids wearing the same outfit as your child.

Consider the Footwear

No outfit is complete without the right footwear. Childrens leather boots can help your child to make a fashion statement. For younger kids, the boots will also give them more confidence to walk because of the stiffer sole. Whatever footwear you decide on, be sure that it’s capable of withstanding even the harshest of play dates.

Once you know that there is a special occasion coming up, you need to start shopping. Have an idea of what you want your child to look like. Then, focus on the quality of the outfit as well as the full ensemble so that they are picture perfect.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Staying Healthy: The Key To Loving Your Appearance

Written by a contributing writer

Picture Source

A lot of us experience doubts with regards to our appearance. Maybe you’re not quite as comfortable in front of the mirror as you were when you were younger, or maybe you were never comfortable in front of the mirror. Whatever the case, the most important thing in life is taking care of your health. If you focus on your physical and mental wellbeing then your appearance will flourish as a result. There is no perfect facial shape or hairstyle, but you can certainly maintain a glowing look by staying healthy. If you want some help in that regard then here are some helpful pieces of advice to help you gain or regain confidence in your appearance.

Follow a nutritious diet.

The food you eat has such a big impact on the way you think and feel. Obviously, we all know this is the case when it comes to the waistline, but you might not realize just how extensive the impact of a diet can be on your overall appearance. For instance, the food you eat can have an effect on the healthiness of your skin, but we’ll talk more about improving your skin quality later. Eating the wrong kind of food can also have a negative effect on your mental state. The food in your gut influences the way you think and feel. If you want to be a more positive and enthusiastic individual who pursues a healthy lifestyle and feels more confident about their appearance then it’s in your best interests to start eating a more nutritious diet. In terms of the things you should consider when improving your diet, the key thing is to avoid fads. A lot of diets involve gimmicks designed to produce fast results on a short-term basis, but that won’t help you to achieve a healthier diet in the long-term. Additionally, it’s an incredibly unhealthy way to live.

The key to eating healthily isn’t simply to eat less but to eat less of the wrong food. Your body needs sustenance and nutrition from food in order to stay healthy and energized. You should be eating meals that are full of all the vitamins and minerals you need, such as calcium and iron. Protein and carbohydrates are also important components of a filling and sustainable diet. You might achieve a healthier weight more slowly but you’ll be able to maintain that healthy weight if you follow an eating schedule that’s realistic on a permanent basis. You might want to try switching out red meats for other protein sources such as lentils and other plant-based foods. Excessive consumption of too much meat can lead to heart problems and other issues. But the important thing is simply to eat a balanced and moderated diet. In turn, you’ll have a healthy and balanced weight; you’ll also improve your mental health. You’ll definitely be able to look in the mirror and feel more confident about the person staring back at you. That’s because you’ll know you’re taking care of yourself.

Be active on a daily basis.

Another smart way to stay healthy and improve your appearance is to be active on a daily basis. You might not be interested in training at the gym every day to build muscle mass at a crazy rate and look like a bodybuilder, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss exercise. The simplest workout routine can have more of an impact on your physical and mental health than you might realize. In much the same way as eating a healthy diet, staying physically active is an essential part of staying in good shape. And that should definitely be your priority if you’re concerned about your appearance. Simply being active on a daily basis can make a big difference.

10 minutes of jogging around your local park or even running on the spot in your living room on a daily basis could massively improve your physical and emotional wellbeing. Start taking your bodily health seriously if you want to start loving your appearance. Whilst there is no “perfect shape” when it comes to your body, as was discussed in the introduction with regards to facial structure, there is such thing as achieving a healthy shape. That should be your goal. It doesn’t matter whether you’re curvaceous, skinny, tall, or short. All that matters is taking care of your body so that your heart and mind are kept in good condition and your waistline remains at a consistently healthy level.

Look after your skin.

When it comes to the appearance of our skin, many of us are self-conscious. So many people try wide ranges of cosmetic products in a desperate bid to improve the appearance of their skin, but the truth is that overloading your body with too many chemicals is only going to exacerbate the situation. The best thing you can do to improve the appearance of your skin is simply to look after it. If you want to wear make-up then that’s fine, but make sure you wash it off thoroughly at the end of the day. Make sure you drink plenty of water too. Staying hydrated has numerous benefits for the body, obviously, and a healthy glow for your skin is one of them. You might also want to check out 7 aloe vera face masks for perfect skin. Taking a more natural and organic approach to your skincare routine might help to keep you glowing. When it comes to looking after your skin, the key thing to remember is that healthy solutions are often the best solutions. Simply treat your skin well. The results will show.

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Get a good night’s sleep.

You’ve probably heard people talking about needing their “beauty sleep” before, and maybe you rolled your eyes. But you shouldn’t. A good night’s sleep isn’t just a luxury but a necessity when it comes to your health. If you need an incentive to do so then you should think about the impact it’ll have on your appearance. We’re not just talking about bags under your eyes. Sleep deprivation can slow your metabolism, and that can lead to weight gain. Even if you followed our earlier advice to eat sensibly and stay physically active, a bad sleeping pattern might undo all of your hard work in your new healthy lifestyle. Additionally, a lack of sleep can exacerbate mental health problems. If you’re feeling unconfident with regards to the way you look then failing to get enough sleep is only going to make the situation worse. Getting a good night’s sleep will make a huge improvement to your physical and mental wellbeing.

Of course, you should also think about your habits before going to bed. Perhaps you’re trying to get 8 hours of sleep every night but you just can’t get your mind or body to unwind once you’re in bed. Limiting your exposure to light sources before sleeping can help to improve your ability to fall asleep more easily. Living a healthier lifestyle will contribute too. Watching what you eat and drink throughout the day will also play a role. Cut down on stimulants such as caffeine before sleeping, and avoid big meals late at night. If your body is still working to digest food when you’re in bed then you’re going to struggle to fall asleep. At the end of the day, your priority should be your wellbeing, but you’ll definitely notice a difference in your appearance if you work on your sleeping pattern. In this article, we’ve mentioned a lot of different ways to improve your health and, as a result, your appearance. And all of those healthy routines depend on a strong sleeping pattern in order to have an effect on your wellbeing. That’s why it makes sense to get enough rest. Don’t tell yourself that sleep deprivation can be solved with a cup of coffee and some makeup to cover up the bags under your eyes. You need to think about your health first.

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Look after your mind. One of the best ways to stay healthy and take care of your appearance is to look after your mind. Your mental health and physical health are very closely linked. That’s why you should aim to reduce stress in life if you want to improve the wellbeing of both your mind and your body. But let’s focus on your mental state. What can you do to better look after your mind? Well, first of all, you can try to find value and a sense of worth in who you are as a person. Learn to define yourself in ways other than your appearance. Yes, you can control your health to get in better shape or take better care of your skin, but you have no control over your core appearance. Your appearance is fixed. The thing you can change is your mind. You can learn new things about the world, improve your relationships, and gain skills. You need to learn to reward yourself for your inner qualities. Once you can do that, you’ll start to take better care of your mind. And, as a result, you might find that you’re more confident about your appearance too. You’ll start to love yourself for the person you are, both physically and mentally.

6 Ways Acupuncture Could Improve Your Life

Written by a contributing writer

Acupuncture is something that some people believe in and others don’t. If you don’t, you’ve probably never considered it as an option. You might never have researched its effects or benefits and you might have absolutely no idea how it could improve your life.

But, those that do believe in it use it for a massive range of different issues. It can become a part of peoples lifestyle and its benefits can be extensive. To be fair, even if you are on the fence, it can’t hurt, at the very least, you’ll get a bit of time out from your usual mundane or stressful routine. Here are six ways that acupuncture could improve your life if you just give it a try.


Boost Your Fertility

Around 1 in 7 couples struggle to conceive. When we’re younger, or newly married, we assume that one day, we’ll decide that we want a family, and that will be it. We’ll get pregnant within a few months of stopping contraception, easy. For many people, that just isn’t the case. In fact, in every one hundred couples trying to conceive, only 20 will be pregnant within the first month. It’s not as easy as we like to think.

For some couples, there is an underlying cause which might need medical intervention and help. For others, it’s often a combination of stress, anxiety, pressure, and bad timing. Fertility acupuncture can help. It can reduce your stress, but it can also increase blood flow, helping to create a safe environment for the fetus to grow.

It Can Help You to Sleep

Many of us struggle to get a good night's sleep. We find it hard to settle, we wake up in the night, and we feel tired all day long. There are many causes of poor sleep and poor quality of sleep, but there are also many ways to improve your situation. One of these is acupuncture.

Improved Mood

Acupuncture can release endorphins in your body. These are often referred to as natural feel-good chemicals, because they make you, well, feel good. It can also release oxytocin, which is a hormone that regulates your body's nervous system. Both of which can help you to feel happy and more relaxed.

Strengthens Your Immune System

Recent studies have shown that acupuncture can increase your white blood cell count. These cells maintain your immune system and help your body to keep out and fight off viruses and disease. It’s thought that just being happy, sleeping better, and feeling more relaxed can also give your immune system a helping hand.

Pain Relief

If you suffer from chronic pain, or just find that you suffer from daily aches and pains, acupuncture could help. While those endorphins will help to reduce pain, acupuncture could also reduce inflammation and imbalance in your body.

Give You Some Time Out

Going for regular acupuncture is a fantastic way to take some time away from your stresses and worries, to relax, unwind and do something for yourself. It’s safe, there are no side effects, and it can reduce the need for medication. What have you got to lose?

This post is not meant to provide medical advice. Please consult a medical professional before starting any treatment. 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Is Your Garden Really Safe for Kids?

Written by a contributing writer


When we’re younger and living alone, our gardens are rarely a priority. You might plant some pretty flowers and invest in some nice outdoor seating so that you can eat outdoors in the summer, or relax with a good book and a glass of wine on a warm evening. But, that’s often as much thought as we put into our outdoor spaces. Then, kids come along, and this changes. The purpose of our gardens change. They are no longer a space for us to relax and unwind. Instead, they are a safe outdoor area where our children can play, get messy, burn off some energy and even get creative.

This means that safety becomes a primary concern. Kids need protecting in a way that adults don’t especially if you want to be able to give them some freedom to play without your constant hand holding.

Unfortunately, however, garden safety isn’t always as easy as it seems. It’s all too easy to add a tall fence and a gate. But, the dangers of the outdoor world often require more safety measures than these. Let’s take a look at some ways to ensure your garden is safe enough for your kids.

Is it Enclosed?

The first thing to ask yourself is, are they secure when they are outdoors? Could they wander off? While you should be keeping your eyes on them, we all know how much trouble a toddler can get into in just a few seconds when your back is turned, and as they get older, they’ll want more freedom to play alone. High fences are great, but you should also have a lockable gate if your garden isn’t totally enclosed.

Is there Water?

Did you know that very young children can drown in even very shallow water? Even older children can slip and hurt themselves if the ground is wet. You might want to hold off on a water feature until your children are older, but if you’ve already got one, make sure it’s safe and secure. A pool alarm can be essential if you’ve got a larger mass of water like a swimming pool or big pond.

Are there Pests?

By pests, we don’t always mean things like rats and roaches. Bees, bugs, mosquitos, and more can all pose a hazard. They’re not always easy to spot until it’s too late either, so get in touch with a pest control company if you’ve got any doubts at all.

Do You Use Chemicals and Tools?

You might think that your garden is simple, easy to maintain and that you have no need for power tools and harsh chemicals. So your garden must be safe. But, even mild garden cleaners, basic tools like grass rakes and forks and paints can be dangerous in little hands. Make sure even the safest of tools are locked away in the shed or inside when not in use and try not to use them around your children.

Are the Plants Safe?

Most common garden plants, shrubs, and flowers are safe for children and pets. But, not all. You should be especially careful if you didn’t plant things yourself and they were in the garden when you moved in. Try to identify everything, and check its safety as some plants cause rashes and sores and can even be poisonous is eaten.

Make An Impact On Your Household: The Top Tips To Help You Do It

Written by a contributing writer 

Being a mom is not an easy role. Of course, you love it, that goes without saying. You love your children and that’s that. But, as a mom, it seems that not only do you have the welfare of the children to consider, you also have the role of homemaker to fill. This is when things can get overwhelming and you may find yourself feeling that there is just not enough hours in the day to fulfill each duty. However, you can gain some control and make more of an impact in your household. Here are the top tips to help you do it.

Image source

Create a cleaning schedule

It makes sense that having a schedule and routine can really help you gain more control over what needs to be done and help you be more productive with the time that you have. Having a cleaning schedule in place is one way to do this. Instead of looking at the task of cleaning your whole home at once and feeling like too much, a schedule can break down those tasks across the week. Enabling you to stay on top of the chores rather than letting them mount up. It may be that you allocate a room per day or use specific hours to try and tackle some of the chores. This can work well for things like laundry as well, spreading the jobs across the week rather than letting it build up.

Plan ahead

The next thing to consider doing would be planning, not just for your day or your week, although this can be very helpful to help you manage your time, but also for the month and even the year ahead. It’s the things you are likely to forget, such as an ac service or getting your heating system checked. It’s birthdays, it’s Christmas, it’s vacations. Planning can really help you save time in the long term and only requires a little investment from you to think about these things ahead of schedule.

Make meal planning part of your routine

Many of us will already have some sort of routine in place, but one of the biggest issues moms can have is meal times. So make meal planning part of your routine for the future. It takes a little time to think about the meals you are going to prepare and to write your list of things you need, but once it is done it can be a huge time saver. Not only that, but it can also mean that you save money and also reduce your food waste. There will be evenings when you are late and feel frustrated about cooking, but having it already planned out makes things simple and easier to overcome.

Share the load

Finally, it doesn’t always have to be you that does all the hard work. This year why not think about delegating jobs to other family members? Maybe children can be in charge of their bedrooms? Partners can cook or share the load with laundry or cleaning perhaps? It’s up to you to decide what will work for you as a family, but doing this could really help take the pressure off you.

We hope these tips have the desired impact on your household.