It’s been a slow week for me. I didn’t plan it to be this way.
Before Monday, I’ve been enthusiastically listing things down: future plans, short-term goals, to do’s, to buy’s, all the thoughts that I’ve been lugging in my head for sometime now because I wanted to unload, and unloading them would mean starting the week with a clearer mind and hopefully, a well-running one, too. So I thought I was in for a productive week.
But Monday came, and one thing didn’t go as planned, and everything just followed unfortunately. The whole week went by as if a reluctant employee dragging himself to work. And now, it’s Friday already. Try as I might to pinpoint which exactly curbed my inspired I’m-ready-for-work mood, I just can’t. I just don’t know which.
Maybe it was the heat. It’s been particularly hot this week, but we mostly stayed inside our room with the AC turned on. So maybe it was the lack of sunlight or the stale air or the positively charged ions emitted by the AC (in the world of ions, it’s the negative ones that create good vibes), that’s kept me in the unmotivated and lethargic state that I am this week.
Or maybe it’s my thyroiditis acting up again. If it’s any consolation to me, having a thyroid problem gives me something else to blame for my brain fog episodes. That’s a valid medical excuse, thyroid problems affect the functioning of the brain.
Or maybe because I got the colds. Most members of the family had been sneezing or coughing last week. I guess I finally caught the virus and have been having bad mornings with teary eyes, clogged nose, sore throat and a lot of sneezing.
Or maybe, it’s because something’s been on my mind again. Actually, it’s been there for, what, I think 5 years or more already and it just resurfaced lately.
These two, Jack Cheng and Paolo Coelho, they definitely know better.
One effect of holding something in your mind for the longest time without doing anything about it is it can paralyze you. It works subliminally, affecting your mood, your mental processes and behavior. Even if you think you’re not thinking about it, it stamps your every thought like a watermark – that faint but still annoyingly visible mark in an image that you wish to use. You can ignore it, but you’re only fooling yourself.
It also causes one very time-wasting, hard-to-resist activity that take up most of your time without you being aware of it: daydreaming. Yeah, I’ve been daydreaming a lot.
And that is my week so far. Tomorrow, I’m off to the beach with my family (rejoice!). Hopefully I’ll get more than enough doses of negative ions to keep me up for the weeks to come.
I don’t know when it happened, but I suddenly become interested in shoes. And I wasn’t like this a few years ago.
If there’s an antonym for shoeaholic, that would describe me before. I used to own only a maximum of 2 pairs at a time – one was the main pair: usually neutral-colored leather flats that will go with most of my clothes, which were just t-shirts and jeans predominantly – and the other pair: sneakers, sandals or another flats for when the main pair doesn’t match my outfit.
But as I experimented with clothes, I realized that certain styles of shoes go with certain styles of clothes. Now that I’ve reduced my pants to just 2 pairs, and added some skirts, shorts, leggings (printed ones, too) and dresses, my shoe collection will need to catch up. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Imelda and I don’t think I will even own more than 10 pairs at a time. But at least now, I have options and I feel there’s still some room to wiggle in a few more pairs.
I’m still obviously a flats person. Given my lifestyle, which is stay at home and stroll at the mall most of the time, I don’t think I need those snazzy and sometimes scary heels (but wedges are okay).
Colorful Loafers – I have two white and one brown pairs of loafers/slip-ons. So there’s a need for colors and prints.
Lacy Black Flats – Ironically, I find it hard to pair black flats with anything now (there was a time when black flats were all I had). They look boring, at least my black Ballerina flats do, so I want something in black but with a little oomph! And lace would be perfect, lending a dainty texture to an otherwise drab color. Perforated flats can also have that effect.
Printed Oxfords – I’ve been wanting to buy oxfords for the longest time. Maybe I’m just waiting for the right print.
Nude Flats or Wedges – They say nude shoes can elongate the legs. That, and because I find nude wedges cute, is my reason for wanting to buy one.
Silver or Gray Flats – I can’t explain but I know I need a metal color, though not necessarily metallic. While I feel gold might be too glitzy for me, silver or gray would be just fine. I used to own a pair of metallic gray flats before, in faux snakeskin with a simple bow on top, and they’re the best alternative to neutral-colored shoes.
I’ve introduced her here before, although I think that post got deleted by accident. So I’m bringing her back – Chuchay, our little darling (but a darling she isn’t exactly). But she’s cute and cuddly and we love her to bits.
She’s a Persian cat, given to us by my aunt more than a year go. This is how she looked as a kitten:
Even then, she has always been fond of D. But was indifferent to me and the rest of the family. It was only with D that she’d be her charming self.
Now, she has grown so big. But notice how she still tries to charm D, the way she looks at him. Such a flirt. But she has mellowed up to me, sort of, especially when she wants something, like food, or when she needs to drink. She drinks from the faucet, by the way.
Sometimes, she likes to amuse us with her crazy antics. Sleeping on top of the vegetables, for example. Here’s she was like saying “I’m sleeping on your veggies. Do you have a problem with that?” Why she loves carrots, not to eat but to rub herself with? Beats me.
Here’s another one, watching an Anime movie with us and playing a staring game with one of the characters. First one to blink loses. Guess who won?
That is our Chuchay. I’m sure there’s more to come from her.
Not wanting to be dogmatic or anything, but I just find it ironic that for a predominantly Catholic country, we don’t really celebrate Easter in the same exuberance that we celebrate Christmas. When, if you’ll analyze what Easter is about, it should be our ‘Christmas’.
The New Testament teaches that the resurrection of Jesus, which Easter celebrates, is a foundation of the Christian faith. [SOURCE]
Anyway! Whatever the occasion means to you, I’d like to greet you a Happy Easter. Here are some organic Easter Eggs – to health and to a resurrected life!
I know I said I will be transitioning to Paleo AIP, but I can’t help but share this easy and tasty treat. It’s both Paleo- and GAPS- friendly anyway.
“Squash squares” sounds like a tongue twister. But they taste so good I couldn’t stop popping them inside my mouth. Even D grabbed a handful. An ideal GAPS diet snack to satisfy those I’m-not-hungry-yet-but-I-want-to-eat-something moments. Roasted squash (I used the Kabocha variety that’s commonly available at local markets) has a sweet nutty taste, which goes well with cinnamon. But don’t use too much so it won’t mask the natural flavor of the squash.
The problem with a very strict diet like GAPS diet is if you get one crucial food wrong, it could compromise the whole diet. My one crucial mistake came in the form of commercial yogurt.
Right off the bat, GAPS diet stressed the importance of taking probiotics with every meal. Probiotics promote the growth of good bacteria in the stomach, which helps restore the healthy gut flora. GAPS diet allows 2 types of probiotics: dairy-based, such as yogurt and kefir, and vegetable-based, like sauerkraut or other fermented vegetables. But the catch is, they have to be 100% natural, and the only way to ensure that is to make your own.
I considered making homemade yogurt because when I asked D what sauerkraut tastes like, he said I wouldn’t like it. But making homemade yogurt is a bit tricky (at least to me). Kefir would’ve been easier to make but I don’t have kefir grains or kefir starter kit to culture. So to make the long story short, I bought a commercial plain yogurt.
I thought it would be okay and won’t be a major offense against the GAPS diet protocol. I was wrong.
Practically every dairy in Northern America has Dept. of Agriculture instructions for making commercial yoghurt. They may start with liquid milk straight from the cow (pasteurized) or they may start with milk solids. However, at the beginning, they ADD additional milk solids. This automatically increases the lactose content… Because of the additional lactose added at the beginning of the process, the yoghurt often contains at this stage as much, and probably more, lactose than a glass of milk would… The companies also use a very short incubation time which is not even sufficient to convert normal milk lactose completely. [SOURCE]
I was diligently boiling meat stocks, living on mostly soups for days and taking a spoonful of commercial yogurt every single meal. And I thought I was doing great, having almost no die-off symptoms. What I didn’t realize is that I was feeding myself with the something that is prohibited when one has a gut problem – lactose.
I was close to moving to Stage 4, but after learning this, I suddenly felt that all the other 3 stages had been failures. I mean, I already have issues with eating non-organic meat, poultry and vegetables to begin with. And then I found out I was also giving myself lactose, albeit unknowingly. Eating non-organic food was probably still forgivable, but consuming lactose - a disaccharide sugar – is not (or am I just being paranoid?).
This completely turns everything around. Despite the bland-tasting food, the sickening soups, the extra expenses and time in preparing a separate meal for myself, I love the GAPS diet. I feel good, I have more energy, my stomach has never felt so light, the bloated feeling was gone, and (yes, girls) I lost a few inches off the waistline. I truly believe that the GAPS diet has a great potential in treating my autoimmune condition. But this potential can only be achieved if I do the diet properly.
This is the reason why I want to do it right, as close as I can, from the start. The right foods, the right probiotics, the right way of cooking. The sacrifices of being on GAPS diet are not small. This isn’t just about not eating grains, or sweets or dairy products. This is about throwing away most of your regular meals and eating habits that you probably grew up with out of the window. This is not just about restraint but discipline, a complete and cathartic overhaul of your diet and lifestyle, as far as food is concerned.
If I will be making these sacrifices, and I have for the past week now, I want to make sure that I’m reaching the full potential of this diet. Otherwise, I don’t see the point. If my mistake of taking commercial yogurt means I am bringing in more lactose into my system and will compromise the effectiveness of the GAPS diet, I think it makes sense to stop. For now, at least, until I can get a proper probiotics, and maybe more organic foods.
I’m not quitting, I’ll be starting over.
But this doesn’t mean that I’ll start eating regular foods again. No, that would be counterproductive, because I believe that somehow the healing of my gut has started. So the plan is to switch to a less stringent diet that I’ve mentioned before: Paleo AIP Diet (this deserves a separate post) and go back to GAPS Diet when I have the right food supplies (actually, it’s only the probiotics that’s problematic, but it is a crucial one).
Why not just continue with the GAPS diet?
I’m on Stage 4 right now, meaning I can eat roasted or baked meat, chicken and fish. If I stop taking probiotics, this stage of the GAPS diet and beyond are just similar to Paleo AIP, with only a few additional prohibited foods. Actually, Paleo AIP also allows probiotics, but the non dairy-based and it doesn’t require soup in every meal. The switch will be painless, almost imperceptible and the changes will be minimal. Although, for some reasons, I feel the Paleo AIP is less strict and has a more variety of allowed foods to choose from. Or maybe it’s not the food choices but the allowed methods of cooking that offers more room.
I’ll make a comparison and we’ll see.
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