My Lyme Disease Journey (On My 3 Year Anniversary)

Hello everyone, I hope that you had an amazing weekend!  I cannot believe that it is Monday again and how fast time flies.

This morning I woke up and realized that today marks three years since I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease.  This day and the three years since have been kind of a roller coaster but I wouldn’t change any part of it.

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When I got out of bed this morning, I felt incredibly grateful.  I slept through the night, was able to stand up without muscle pain, and could walk into the other room without extreme fatigue.  These were all things that I couldn’t do three years ago.  I was also extremely confused, angry and scared when I first got my diagnosis.

I remember the phone call from my doctor like it was yesterday.  We had been through months of various tests without any leads: blood, ultrasounds, urine, physical examinations.  After months of frustration (and years of pain!) my doctor said to me, “I don’t think you have it, but let’s test you for Lyme just incase.”  When he called on October 29, 2015 he was elated that we had finally found something!  He called it “acute Lyme” and thought it would be easy to treat.  It would require just one, maybe two, rounds of antibiotics and I would be good to go.

Unfortunately, this was not the case.  After a few rounds of antibiotics, I still had leg pain, digestive distress, severe fatigue, insomnia, anxiety and brain fog.  We tested my blood once more and the results for Lyme actually came back negative.  My doctor said this was great but that I would probably have symptoms for the remainder of my life.  I was extremely upset and discouraged.  I tried to shrug it off and ignore the pain but it only increased and it was becoming difficult to live my normal life (and to keep teaching fitness classes every day!).  Plus, I was extremely discouraged and lonely.  I would lay in bed crying every night.  Why did this happen to me? And how could one little tick change my whole life????

Luckily, I didn’t have to feel so alone.  I was able to find a vast online community who offered suggestions and support.   In addition, I met a woman in our neighborhood who had been struggling with Lyme for years.  She was able to offer some advice for treatment and we decided to start seeing the doctor that helped her cure her illness.  For the first time in a long time, I was hopeful for a positive outcome……

More tomorrow on how I treated Lyme Disease. Stay tuned ❤

 

 

I’ve decided to go VEGAN…now what???

You have watched the documentaries, you have figured out your “why”, and you are motivated to make the transition to being vegan.  But now what do you do????  Although going vegan was the best decision that I ever made, I find that it can be daunting in the beginning to know where to start.

I would love it if everyone could go vegan overnight, but this may not be the best strategy for long term success (and this should be your goal: to sustainably go vegan so you can stay vegan for the remainder of your lifetime).

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Here are some approachable ways to make the change.  You know yourself better than anyone, so choose a level that will work best for you.

*Eliminate one animal product every two weeks: for the first two weeks, you would eliminate dairy.  The next two weeks you could eliminate poultry.  The following two weeks, you could eliminate fish.  So on and so on….

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*Switch one of your meals to being vegan at one time: for the first two weeks you could have a vegan breakfast.  For the next two weeks you could add in a vegan lunch.  The next two weeks you would add a vegan dinner.  And then all you have to do is add in vegan snacks!  Pretty soon all of your meals will be vegan without the overwhelm.

*Find ways to make your favorite recipes or meals vegan:  if you are like me, you probably have 3-4 meals that you truly love and eat over and over.  Start with your favorite recipes and switch them to being vegan.  You could try vegan cheese in your macaroni, plant based milk in your oatmeal, chickpeas in your tuna fish salad, tofu in your breakfast burrito, pesto on your pizza.   Click here for more ideas. Pinterest is also an amazing resource for vegan recipes.

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*Veganize your restaurant experience: if you are someone that eats out a lot, maybe your first step should be to try to “veganize” your restaurant meals.  If you have a favorite restaurant, look up the menu ahead of time and study what you could possibly eat as a vegan.  If it’s an Italian restaurant, you could try a marinara pasta and lentil soup.  Stir frys are great at a Chinese restaurant and you certainly cannot go wrong with veggie fajitas at a Mexican restaurant.  There will always be something vegan to eat at every restaurant and if you are struggling, you can always ask your server for help.

In addition, to going to old restaurants, it can be fun to try something new.  Visit a vegan restaurant to see what they have to offer and to see how yummy vegan food can truly be.

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                                                          (photo from Veggie Grill)

If you are having a difficult time finding a vegan restaurant near you, make sure to add Happy Cow to your phone.  It is a free App/website that will show you the vegan options in your area.

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There are so many ways to start your vegan transition.  Every bit counts and every small change will add up in the long run.  Just remember that it should be fun!  You are making the commitment to your health, the planet, the animals and this is something that should be celebrated!!!

And please remember that if you ever get stuck, that I am here for you to offer accountability, support and resources.  Contact me anytime!!!  I mean it…..

See you next time!

 

The Important Hormone That You Never Hear About

“You have an abundance of prolactin,” my doctor stated during my last appointment.  Prolactin, what?!  Don’t you mean progesterone, testosterone, thyroid????  Up until my 36th year, I had never heard of this hormone and certainly had no idea what it was for or the many issues it can cause in your body.

Wikipedia’s definition states that Prolactin “also known as luteotropic hormone or luteotropin, is a protein that is best known for its role in enabling mammals, usually females, to produce milk.”  Wikipedia goes on to state that it “is secreted from the pituitary gland in response to eating, mating, estrogen treatment, ovulation and nursing.”   Synopsis: it is responsible for lactation.  Well, as a woman who has never been pregnant, this shouldn’t be something I should be concerned about, right?!  Wrong!

An increased amount of prolactin can affect the body significantly.  In women too much prolactin can cause:

  •  Irregular menstrual periods/or no menstrual periods
  • Milky discharge from the breasts when not pregnant or breast-feeding
  • Acne and excessive body and facial hair growth
  • Infertility

Women, you aren’t alone.  Too much prolactin can affect the men in our lives as well.  In males it can cause:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Decreased body and facial hair
  • Uncommonly, enlarged breasts

In both sexes, it can cause:

  • Low bone density
  • Loss of interest in sexual activity
  • Headaches
  • Visual disturbances
  • Infertility

The body never ceases to amaze me and the craziest thing about too much prolactin is that it can be caused by tumors on your pituitary gland (you know, that small gland that sits at the base of your brain….that basically controls all of the other hormones in your body!!!).  Most of the time, the tumors are benign but need to be lessened with medication or surgical removal.

Long story short, if you have any of these symptoms, make sure to ask your doctor to check your prolactin levels with a simple blood test.  Listen to your body; it will tell you if something is wrong.

In the meantime, spread the awareness about this ignored, yet crucial, hormone…PROLACTIN!!!!!

 

What NOT to Ask a Woman of a Certain Age

Happy Healin’ Vegan is a blog that will help you “create a happy and healthy life.” Although I intend to maintain a positive space, I will also share parts of my story that we can all learn from. This blog is a vulnerable one for me but is hopefully something that can help us all grow as happy and healthy individuals.

 

As I reflect back, I realize the most difficult part of being in my 30’s has definitely been not having children. And this was not because of my desires to have a baby, but because of society’s expectations for me to do so.

It was literally the day of my 30th birthday when people started sending diaper coupons to my email and when people started asking the “none of their business” questions regarding my fertility. In the six years since then, people have said things to me like, “You’re not getting any younger,” “Have you been to the doctor,” “Being a mom is the greatest gift in the world,” and my all-time favorite, “If you’re not going to use your uterus, maybe you should just have it removed!”

Maybe part of it was my fault. I always loved children and was a nanny who couldn’t stop raving about what Bobby or Tiffany did or said during my workdays. It was only natural that I would get married and immediately have children. But as I grew up, my desires changed. I longed to have a successful, life-changing career. And being diagnosed with an incurable illness was an obstacle that put being a mother on the back burner.

I am not saying that I don’t want to have children (Lord knows that I have been saddened and have cried with every baby announcement that has come my way). However, I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and that my time will come if and when it is right. In the meantime, not being a mother doesn’t make me any less of a person….or a WOMAN. I have amazing gifts to offer, a kind heart and a passion to heal the world.

The bottom line is that a woman’s desire to have a child is no one’s business, except those that she decides to share her aspirations with. It’s not a question that you should ask or a subject to comment on. You never know what that person is going through or how long your questions will stick with them. So next time you meet a childless woman in her 30’s, ask her about the weather, about her job, or about her pets…Do not ask her if she is having children. If you are someone she wants to discuss it with, she will bring it up.

 

 

It’s Still Me! Don’t go Anywhere!

Hello all of my wonderful followers,

First of all, thank you so much for your support and for sticking with me through the ups and downs of figuring out my purpose in this crazy business.

I wanted to give you a heads up that I have changed my website name, but IT’S STILL ME!!!!  Please don’t go anywhere!!!

Although my new blog will have an emphasis on Veganism and animal compassion, I will still offer fitness, nutrition, health, Lyme Disease information and positivity.  There is still plenty of good stuff coming your way, without being interested in a vegan lifestyle.

I hope that you will take a moment to check out the new site, layout and offerings.

*Also, I am looking for health, fitness, Lyme, and Vegan bloggers who want to collaborate.  Please contact me if you are interested.

Thank you again for supporting me!!!

<3, April (formerly from Fitness Nutrition and Moor)

The Happy Healin’ Vegan

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Hello everyone,

I hope that you are having the most gorgeous day 🙂  I wanted to share a new, exciting venture that I am going on….

A few months ago I started feeling unsettled.  Although I absolutely love my career and clients, I felt like there was something more that I needed to be doing.  As someone who completely believes that there is a power greater than us (I’ll refer to it as the Universe, but it can be whatever you believe in), I started asking for help.  I journaled, mediated and tried to surrender my career to the Universal energy.  Then one night when I was taking a shower, because all of my answers come to me in the shower, it came to me….

I will become…….The Happy Healin’ Vegan!!!  And just like that I was flooded with purpose, emotions and tears of joy.

You see, two of the worst (and somehow most inspirational) days of my life took place over the previous year:  the day that I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease and the day that I lost my dog (and best friend).  Throughout my Lyme journey I have healed my body with proper nutrition, rest, meditation and a positive outlook.  With healing the grief and sadness of my lost pet, I have realized my true aching to help and rescue animals.  In addition, I have gone back to my vegan roots.  I will never aide in the suffering of another animal after watching my boy struggle to breathe.

I am extremely passionate about spreading my message, helping others heal from illness, and to educate the world about animal cruelty and how we can make a difference.  But I need your help…..

With any new idea, there are so many different ways of approaching it.  And in the world of social media, there are only so many things that you can do at one time.  I would love to hear from you to see what your needs are.  Which do you need help with: fitness, nutrition, healing through food, meditation, becoming more happy, vegan recipes, or anything else?  I am here to help you 🙂  In addition, would you rather that I create a separate website for this cause?

Thank you so much for all of your direction.  I am truly excited to see where this new purpose takes me 🙂