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Beauty's Journal, from the beginning!

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  • Beauty's Journal, from the beginning!

    Hi All,

    I've started writing my journal, and I have an idea about how to post it. I am including much about my history, so I will post it in segments. I tend to write A LOT when I write, so this will help make it more digestible for anybody reading it. I'm always very happy to receive comments, so don't be shy!

    Beautyís health and fitness history: Childhood.

    I grew up in the 80's and 90's eating mostly junk food as a kid: I ate Captain Crunch cereal, Oreos, Dad's cookies, processed bread and cheese, Ritz crackers, Kraft Dinner, bags of candy, and sweets from the bakery, among other things. Luckily, we always had some kind of meat, carbs, and boiled vegetables for dinner. My parents meant well, they just didnít know the importance of food. I played soccer, danced, and was very active in all school sports-so that probably saved me from being overweight. Still, this was not a good start for my digestive health!

  • #2
    ...continued from where I left off...

    In my late teens I became vegetarian and started doing a lot of my own cooking. I had many smoothies with soy protein powder, and started buying organic everything. I soon became vegan and very starved. I developed an overeating disorder, gorging on dry organic corn puffs, raw broccoli, and vegan cookies whenever in sight. I managed that, however, pretty soon after reading a very helpful book from the library, which stated to only eat when hunger pangs erupt from the stomach. Fat was bad, soy was good. I had a strict exercise regime consisting of weekly hour long runs, 3X a week at the gym lifting weights, and 4-5 mornings a week doing yoga.

    I incorporated some cheese once in a while in the next couple of years and backed off on as much exercise, except for jogging. In Ireland for 8 months, I drank copious amounts of Guiness and became my heaviest at 150 pounds.

    The next few years I continued to stay away from fat but not meticulously. Eggs and cheese were around, and sometimes I even bought organic cream for my coffee, guiltily taking sips of it straight from the carton when no one was looking. I was heavier than I wanted to be, but not too upset about it. I went jogging around 2-3 times a week and worked out at the gym often. I considered myself healthy with a little bit of extra.

    I guess I was vegetarian for a total of 6 years into my twenties. I slowly dropped some weight afterwards, finally maintaining at 135ish, and feeling *pretty* fit, good enough.

    To be continued...


    • #3
      Love and Marriage

      When I met my husband I fell so in love that I could barely eat. This man was way out of my league! (But he was really into me:-)). I dropped 12 pounds and was my thinnest, and probably quite toned, as I with all my extra energy from being in love, I exercised.

      We moved to Finland just after I became pregnant. I ate and ate and ate when I was pregnant. I ate lots of brownies. I gained 40 pounds, which I know isn’t as much as some people. The pregnancy was stressful as it included the move across seas and continents, then our new house needed repairs, and we had to move out when I was 8 months along.

      Soon after my son was born, like within the week, I had what I thought were terrible gas pains. They were excruciating, but they went away on their own, so I never mentioned them to my doctor.

      Over the next year I had more and more terrible gas, bloating, mental fog, and exhaustion. I finally pinned it down to gluten and got tested for celiac disease. The results were inconclusive, but consistent with the beginnings of celiac disease, so I went gluten free. Problems persisted until I realized I had a leaky gut and went 100% grain and sugar free in December of 2009, first under the protocol of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, then according to the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet, which I consider to be consistent with PB. I discovered PB at the beginning of Jan.

      To be continued...


      • #4
        [COLOR="rgb(0, 100, 0)"]This Year[/COLOR]

        In December 2009, I began weighing around 132 pounds, and lost 4-5 pounds within the first week (water). I was happy about that little bit of weight loss, but happier still about there being no more bloated, gassy feeling. Copious amounts of nuts and honey were consumed around my son’s birthday and Christmas, and I DID react to them, but apart from that, things were fine. I did cycling sprints and weights at the gym, and kundalini yoga through December.

        Then came January, and things changed! We moved to southern UK for a stint for me to do an internship for 5 months. Upon our arrival we all fell very ill with a bad cough and fever for a couple weeks. Throughout my illness, however, I felt compelled to try products from this new and interesting country, and I also preoccupied myself with baking with nut flours. Raw honey was available here, and I had to try it. So was unhomoginized milk. I made litres upon litres of yoghurt and fruit smoothies. And I ate and ate and ate anytime I was not breastfeeding my son.

        I have to point out that I did feel hungry, or at least some need to nourish myself, as my son was on my breast possibly up to 15-18 hours a day when he was sick!

        But I noticed once I my cough went away, and I started trying to wear my regular clothes, that they didn’t fit anymore! And I tried to go for a run, but my rear end was flopping up and down like I’d never experienced. Now, I had always in the past trusted my body to be able to handle bouts of what might have been overeating. Perhaps it was the nuts-I WAS reacting to them throughout my experiments in January (bloated belly, gas, foggy head)—causing inflammation? I bought a scale, and sure enough, I had gained 10 pounds, and importantly this was NOT muscle.

        January and February consisted of eating all sorts of yummy food we couldn’t easily get in Finland: duck, venison, lamb, parma ham, fatty ground beef, grass-fed everything, etc, etc. I ate a lot of protein. But my body was being weird. I was not loosing any weight, and it felt like it was holding on to everything I ingested. I began to feel toxic inside. My limbs were heavy. This was not the fit self I had imagined I’d be by this time this year. What was going on?!?! In addition, I had the worst trouble not overeating and craving nuts and dried fruit like never before. I indulged many times and only felt worse. Officially these foods would be considered ‘primal’, but I was way overdoing them, and also becoming very irritable and depressed.

        To be continued...


        • #5
          Bringing us up to the current date!

          Around the turn of Feb-March I was late, so I took a pregnancy test and was surprised that I was pregnant! To confirm, I took several tests, and only two of them showed a faint positive line. I was shocked, excited, and frankly pretty worried, as our family’s future home-country had yet to be determined (another move is on the horizon).

          Two days later I got my period. Further tests showed no pregnancy. I confirmed with the doctor that this was a chemical pregnancy, and that I was probably only about 6 weeks along. Honestly, I was more relieved than anything. This was not the time for another baby, and my body was definitely not ready. I was/am totally OK about it. And it explained that toxic feeling I had been having, plus the inability to loose the pounds that I gained in January.

          March marched on my, and I was more determined than ever to get back on track! I had about a week long experiment with raw milk, and that just made me constipated. I also tried having one fruit smoothie a week, but they made me feel out of control and craving something I couldn’t put my finger on. So no more fruit for now.

          But other than that, I’ve been eating very clean. I do have watered down coffee and butter, so those are my only things I indulge in that aren’t 100% ‘primal’. Taking magnesium and potassium, and now a ‘lo salt’ salt substitute which has lots of potassium has helped with things like water-retention and irritability.

          My current situation


          I walk up and down fairly steep hills around 3 times a week for an hour. I do yoga about 2 times a week. I try to fit in a set or two of 50 burpees a week. And I’ve just started re-incorporating sprints into my walks, as well as swinging a big tire around in the yard and squats.


          I’ve experimented with trying to increase my calories (I’m breastfeeding) but I was really just stuffing myself and feeling too full to do anything. So, I eat to satisfy and that usually means about 2000-2200 calories. My ratios have been around 70% fat, 20% protein, 10% carbs.


          I live in the countryside where I wake up to the birds singing, with no alarm. I set my own hours for my ‘job’ and I can work wherever I like. My husband and I are always kind to each other, and music is always often played in the background. I am immensely lucky and grateful for this.

          Actual stress comes from not knowing where we will be living in the next year. Our permanent residence is in Finland, but I dislike living there, so job applications have been distributed to other countries. We’re waiting.. hovering in a holding pattern like planes waiting to land above an airport.

          The other source of stress comes from being a mother to a 2 year-old boy. I’m a worrier, and being a 2 year-old, my son has break downs, and every parent knows that IS stressful. I’m reading up on the Waldorf tradition of parenting and learning as I go how best to manage those stressful moments.


          So, I’ve been good

          My body:

          5’6.5, 140 pounds, scale says 25% body fat, 35% muscle.

          I’ve been good, but I don’t feel good. Actually, wait! I feel great in some ways. I have a clear head, and I’m not bloated, and I usually have more energy than I’ve had since I can remember. And I’m not addicted to carbs anymore, and I don’t even crave them. I’ve finally come to a point where I can’t even bring myself to eat fruit or nuts because all I can think about is how they make me feel horrible. So, I feel good about those things.

          But I feel bad about a few things. I still have this extra heaviness that I gained in January. In fact with all this effort, I am only managing at this weight, barely. I very easily gain more weight—that is fat. And it’s more than just the 10 pounds that’s bugging me. Most of it is awkwardly situated around my waist. I had to remove half the clothes out of my drawers because they don’t fit anymore. My legs are heavy walking up the hills, like tree trunks. Even when I was my heaviest, at 150 pound, I didn’t experience this kind of discomfort. And I have waves of intense fatigue, with a dependency on watered down coffee to get me through my parenting hours.


          Some of the test results have come in (today!), and we are waiting for others.

          Here they are:

          TSH 1.74
          T4 13.1
          T3 3.5
          Thyroid peroxidase antibody level POSITIVE

          So far the diagnosis indicates consistency with autoimmune thyroid disease, from those last two readings. Not surprising, since I have celiac disease.

          We’re waiting for the Thyroglobulin and anti THS antibody test results to come in. I don’t know what those are.

          I’m hoping that once we get my thyroid under control I will feel 100%. I know I’m doing all the right things. Please, anyone, if you know more about how to interpret my thryroid results, let me know. My doctor admitted she hardly knows anything about them.


          • #6
            My favorite thyroid site is The forum there is very good. The members really helped me when I was struggling with my thyroid issues.

            Here's a link that talks about antibody test


            • #7
              I would think it would be very hard to lose weight when pregnant anyway. I wonder if the thyroid problem is due to the vegan diet. I read somewhere that they often have enlarged thyroid glands.
              My journal where I attempt to overcome Chrohns and make good food as well


              • #8
                Beauty, your history sounds just like me! Mind you were better at keeping at regular fitness than I was But I was vegan, soy-loving etc. Ended up with autoimmune problems, excess weight... I'll be reading your journal to see how you progress! Thyroid can be tricky but hopefully the suggestions others made in the thyroid thread help you out.

                Why don't you like Finland, if you don't mind me asking? I have highly romanticized the Nordic countries


                • #9
                  Hi FabMandy!

                  I have not checked, do you also have a journal going? Which autoimmune problems do you have? I'm learning more and more about them, but it takes time.

                  I like a lot of things about Finland, and I dislike a lot of things about Finland. There are pros and cons to everywhere, and during my first year there I was on the fence. But in the second year things became clear as I got to know myself and Finland a whole lot better. When it comes down to it, I've learned that for me to love or like the place in which I live, it has to move my soul somehow. I'm not a religious person, but I feel a deep connection to nature and to a lesser but growing extent to culture. I grew up in Vancouver, BC, Canada, where it is green year round and where old growth forests are still accessible. I would seek out special spots in nature to gain perspective to feel better whenever I was feeling down, and to feel even better whenever I was feeling happy. I'd always experience gratitude for this life if nothing else.

                  The lack of green in Finland for 7 months of the year gets me down. I feel at peace at our lakeside cottages in the summer, and enjoy the silence of blueberry picking, but I don't feel the same degree of connection to the land. I like most Fins I've met, but I've found some things that are considered normal or socially acceptable there that unfortunately only bring out the worst aspects of myself. Long silences are common (even more so since I don't speak the language) and uncomfortable for me, since I'm not all that outgoing myself but have always been around people who are and bring me out. There's also a large degree of the population, being Lutheran, which intentionally treats nobody as *special*. This was hard for me when I was pregnant. Compliments are rare, especially in the case of my husband's family, and many people don't smile when their photos are taken. These are quirks which I am happy to be around for short spurts but, on a day in day out basis, really get to me.

                  Of course I could write a lot more, but let it suffice that I have nothing against Finland in itself, it's just not a good place for me to live.


                  • #10
                    [COLOR="rgb(255, 0, 255)"]Two Imperfections[/COLOR]

                    Ever since I was a little kid, for some reason I made sure never to be 'perfect'. I always thought that being perfect as I saw it would be boring, but I don't think that's the only reason. There was and is this part of me that holds back from doing what I think I should do, a part of me that likes to live in the haze, slightly above ground, where I can see things slightly less clearly than I would otherwise. Does this make me an artist? If so, I get that from my mother... Then again, maybe it's my thyroid?

                    In my estimation, there are two things that I'm doing health-wise that are not perfect: 1) Coffee 2) Dairy. With the recent news that I probably have Hashimoto's (autoimmune thyroid disease) I've read that depending on the condition of your adrenals, these two things should be eliminated. I have a couple books to read about this, as well as more tests, so I'm not so sure in my case, if this applies.

                    The thing is: I love coffee. Actually, this might sound weird, but coffee causes me to fall in love. 5 minutes after a good cup, I literally feel in love with everybody and everything. Is this a good thing??? My son gets showered in hugs and kisses, I feel more mobile, awake, inspired, and my libido goes way up. What does this mean? Does coffee make me feel like I should be feeling normally all the time? I went through my whole pregnancy without coffee and a few months afterwards. But as soon as I had my first cup, I was on top of the world! I have 1-3 Americanos per day, containing only a shot of esspresso each, which is about equivalent to a cup of tea each in caffeine. As long as I don't have more than that, I don't feel jittery, or anxious.

                    The question is: why do I need coffee to feel this way? And deep down, I know it's the thyroid and possibly more. Yesterday and the day before I did not have coffee in the morning. I held off as long as I could, which ended up being 1:30 pm both days. You know how I felt? I was SAD! I felt like crying. My chin was involuntarily quivering! My heart ached. There was also a deep fatigue there, but I was able to keep moving, dealing well with my busy two year old. Has coffee been covering up long-pent up emotions that need to be dealt with? I don't know! Has it been causing harm to my thyroid and adrenals or has it been providing me with a simple stimulant that I need while my thyroid and possibly my adrenals are not doing their jobs? I will be seeking out the answers to these questions in the coming months. In the meantime, until I have the right information, I am going to lovingly continue to drink my coffee.

                    Now, dairy is the other issue. I have not experienced much of a difference when I go one or two weeks without it, but I'm not sure. Maybe it causes me to be constipated. But maybe that's the lack of free T3's in my system. Maybe milk causes a kind of subtle excitement sensation at the top of my chest (mucus?), but I think I've found that raw milk, butter, and double cream do not have this effect. Besides, that excitement feels kind of good.

                    Ever since reading someone's post (and subsequent ones) about eating butter on its own, I've had butter eating as a habit. This is how I am keeping my fat intake so high. I like to slice it thin and let it melt on my tongue. Some days I eat more than others, but I've been weary about it. I keeps me from indulging in worse things, satisfies but doesn't make me feel too full, and tastes good, but I'm confused about whether this brings my daily caloric intake too high. I'm slowly understanding Hashimoto's (and low free T3's) to indicate a slower metabolism than most people, which also points to an explanation for my weight gain and inability to loose it. To decrease my total calories, I've decided to reduce my protein A LITTLE BIT. I do believe I was eating too much at almost 200 grams a day there for awhile (another reason for the weight-gain?). So, I indulge in butter. But I've read elsewhere that if I have adrenal insufficiency, I should not decrease my calories, and possibly increase. I'll have to wait and see how my adrenals are doing.

                    Yesterday I did something unusual and bought some local, organic, double cream. This stuff is 50% fat, and I slurped back 150mL of it in one go. I felt fine. It filled me up after over an hour of walking, pushing the stroller up big hills, and I had a few hours before getting home where a yummy, bloody, steak was waiting for me. This could become another food source, if I continue to not react to it, and if I don't read something to convince me otherwise.

                    To add to yesterday's discovery, a children's programme on TV this morning showed a recipe for how to make your own ice cream out of double cream. I could easily omit the sugar, and just add a bit of shredded creamed coconut and vanilla for flavour and make my own!!! You just whip it up with a whisk and put it in the freezer for two hours! I'm excited.

                    So, with coffee I feel love, and with dairy I feel satisfied. In my confusion about whether these are actually good for me, I hover in the haze to which I have become so accustomed.


                    • #11
                      Beauty- your story could almost be mine, too! I'm also coeliac and did the vegan thing and have similar spiritual beliefs to yours.


                      • #12
                        Beauty, I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease a few years ago. Within a month of that, I was also diagnosed with endometriosis - which isn't across-the-board thought of as autoimmune, but there is a faulty-immune-system component in that with a healthy immune system it is supposedly able to clean up the wayward endometrial cells. I also have some sort of vestibular/inner ear disorder, which no docs have been able to put a label on, liver issues (also no label - just funky lab results), and allergies - which I think are the "first" autoimmune disorder people experience in a lot of cases.

                        Thank you for sharing about Finland. It's one thing to visit, another thing to live there, I guess! Not that I have done either (one day!). So you said that a large part of the population are Lutheran, which does not encourage treating anyone as special? Sounds like it makes for a seemingly cold mindset. At the same time I love little culture quirks like that. Maybe not to be around it for long periods of time, though!

                        With adrenal insufficiency, I think it's good to keep protein adequate. I do think keeping a calorie deficit might be perceived as stress and just create more problems in that area, but I don't think you need 200g of protein per day either. Was your fat lower when the protein was higher? And that's when you gained weight, with the higher protein? (Sorry if I missed the explanation of this somewhere!)

                        The ice cream recipe sounds delicious. Let us know if you try it out
                        Last edited by FabMandy; 04-18-2010, 12:15 PM.


                        • #13
                          Hi FabMandy,

                          Yeah, actually I wasn't counting my protein intake at the time that I gained all that weight, but I reckon that it was too much. But with the thyroid antibody tests coming back positive, I'm guessing that Hashimoto's has more to do with the weight gain than anything. I'm also breast feeding so need a little more protein than most women, but still, how much?


                          • #14
                            So I tried the ice cream! I whipped up 250mL of double cream and added vanilla bean paste and a little ground coffee, and then I froze it. It was yummy, but it could use some zing, like maybe shredded lemon peel or orange oil. I ended up eating all of it in one go. I felt no adverse effects, but I noticed that 100mL is about 500 calories, so I just consumed over 1250 calories!!! But really, that was mostly all fat, and under 10 carbs. Also, I experienced zero stomach upset, and I felt a calm increase in energy and clarity.

                            It will be a light dinner tonight, probably some haddock and salad. For breakfast I had two whole eggs plus one egg yolk made into an omelette with chopped chorizo sausage (a little bit), plus a BAS. I'm about to go for an hour long walk in the hills. I'll probably do some core work and stretching when I get home.

                            So, I've been investigating Hashimoto's (autoimmune thyroid disease) every chance I've had. I read the book by Dr. Kharrazian, and at my doctor's appointment yesterday, I gave it to my doctor! I was surprised she took it! She said she could refer me to any endo as long as they work within the National Healthcare System (or I could go private). I'm hoping to avoid all the frustrations I've read of other's by asking endos straight up what kind of procedure they are willing to follow. I sent out an email so far only to one endo in our region. I don't expect that I should be so lucky that she's on board with Dr.Kharazian's regime, or one that is similar, but I have my fingers crossed anyway. I've read horror stories of people trying to get adequate thyroid help in this country. I dread going back to Finland at the end of May, where the language barrier will mean extreme difficulty in getting the right treatments. It's my goal to at the very least get the tests done that I need here, and to take the results back with me to Finland.

                            Today I went to a Chinese medical doctor to get another perspective. I've gone to Chinese med docs before with some success. He spent an hour listening to me about every single trouble, including emotional, that I've been having. I was given two needles, one just below each knee, to work on the spleen meridian (nothing to do with the spleen). He explained that according to the eastern perspective, my spleen and heart chi are depleted. The spleen is fed by nourishment through food, friendships, and spiritual connection. The spleen then feeds the heart chi, which is the seat of the soul, the physical heart, and other things. He found it interesting that I am affected by coffee as I am. Caffeine is used medicinally as a heart tonic, so it's okay in moderation, but I've got these underlying deficiencies that need to be dealt with. I am to lie down for 20 minutes every day between 1 and 3pm, to spend as much time outside as possible, eat cooked broccoli, and to come back for more accupuncture next week. I love how Chinese medicine incorporates all aspects of health. His explanation make sense. Hopefully he can help me prepare for our upcoming transition at the end of May: our move back to Finland.

                            Enough time indoors! I'm out for my walk!


                            • #15
                              I've been waking up groggy for the last couple of weeks. The back of my head and neck are tense, and my eyes are puffy and dry. I've been consuming dairy since my last post. I wonder if dairy is the cause, but at this point, I'm keeping with the dairy, since we're moving in a month, at which point I will stop.

                              Last night the usual lower back pain was worse than most nights, and I even had a dream about it: I was playing hockey and did a slap-shot which thru my back out. I didn't mention before that I've seen a chiro twice in the last month. On my last visit he said things were moving great, but my lower back still hurt. It's this niggly, pinching kind of pain that comes and goes every few seconds.

                              I've been learning more about Hashimoto's and it's slowly sinking in what I may be facing as the years to come, especially if I don't get the right treatment. Weight gain, mental fog, being cold, depression, lethargy... It makes me all the more determined to get the right treatment now, before things gets worse. And I am trying hard to treat myself with love and to listen to my body more and more. It's weird to realize that you have a disease. Once in awhile I go through denial, thinking that the test results could have been wrong. Other times I think why do I even bother with the exercise, if I'm going to gain weight anyway. But most of the time I think that this poses an extra challenge, and I can and will overcome it! I will loose 10 pounds of body fat this summer. I will have energy to spare on a daily basis. I will write a master's thesis! Yes, yes, yes!

                              Foods I've enjoyed recently:
                              -salt-free sausages (100% meat)
                              -stewed pork ribs (so soft and succulent!)
                              -lamb's liver and onions
                              -double cream in my coffee

                              -hour-hour and a half long walks in the hills
                              -Excellent ashtanga yoga (it helps me the most)
                              -Kundalini yoga
                              -Playing with my two-year old (pure happiness)