Underground Wellness

Friday, November 23, 2012

It's been a much needed break from many things these past few months. Taking a semester off of school and walking away from blogging for a while turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. It's that moment when you realize that life is jut to full and you need to take a step back and re-evaluate what is important and immerse yourself in the things that are the most important and let the rest slide away for awhile. What have I been up to? Homeschooling, yoga and farming. This picture was taken on the last day of my CSA workshare. I was actually sad to see the season end. What started out as a way for a newly single mom to provide local and organic produce for my kids turned out to be one of the highlights of my year. There is nothing like spending a few hours in the fresh air getting some exercise and meeting some truly amazing people. There was always something new to learn. Homeschooling is  proving to be both challenging and exciting. I have not regretted the decision we made and look forward to watching my baby continue to blossom in ways that I can't begin to describe. We are finally settling in to a good rhythm here at home. It has been an interesting year full of new beginning all around and I look forward to getting back to blogging. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Quick and Easy Meal Prep Idea

Today I am excited to announce that I am guest blogging over at The Holistic Mama. With the start of the school year this week, head on over and read my article on prepping your fridge for quick and easy meals and snacks. A great way to keep things healthy as we switch into the hectic schedules of homework and after school activities.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

With Fear and Excitement

This picture was taken 3 years ago in October of 2009. It is a picture that stays with me always in the back of my mind. My 15th wedding anniversary. He took me back to the place of our honeymoon. It was a best of times, worst of times moment. You see my husband and I had spent the past two years recovering from the 13 year itch and we were at the peak of our marriage, life could not have been sweeter. Yet this trip also signified the moment my life would forever be changed. On this trip I would realize that something was not quiet right. I could not put my finger on it, but I remember specifically knowing that something was off on this trip. Two weeks later I would come down with a migraine that would last a year and a half  with out a break, and that was just the beginning of a long line of  problems, before I was able to reach the turning point. I some days wonder how I ever survived it all. An additional year and a half have passed. The healing journey has been just as difficult and the marriage was unable to survive it all. Then last week the phone call came. The one I've been expecting and dreading since the healing began. After three years of hard work, my hormone levels are finally coming down. My meds are being adjusted and we go back into more frequent doctor visits for monitoring. It's what I've been working on all this time. Yet, if I have to be honest, I go into this with fear. Life with Hashimoto's is never easy, even on the good days. Just when I think things are going well, I get reminded that I have the disease. It's not a day by day prospect, it's hour by hour, and just as I'm getting used to the rhythm it's time to ride the roller coaster again. I'm excited to have reached the point where putting this disease into remission becomes a real possibility, and yet I sit at the top of the hill with my heart doing flip-flops as this coaster gets ready to make that first dive. I've decided to meet fear head on this time and I'm looking forward to the journey. Sometimes you just have to jump out of your routine and see what the unknown has to offer. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Time for Some Self Care

Half way through the summer semester of college I ran into a road block. To be honest, I was actually kind of expecting it. After over a year of steadily recovering my health, I had finally hit a plateau. I was still dealing with my Hashimoto's but from a much better place and I was ready to start taking my life back. I so I pushed myself to see what would happen. To be honest, I was having the time of my life. Then it happened. Brain fog, exhaustion, hand rashes, slow wound healing, and the list continues. The thing was that this time, none of my usual self care tricks were working. So as the semester ended I had to make a decision. The decision to take the fall semester off and dive into some serious self care in the hopes of coming out even stronger for the next round. First on my list was a little weekend get away. For me this means getting back to nature and so I headed off without my girls to the river.
This was a "solo" trip, just for me (with a few friends to hang back as a safety measure). The weekend was spent in the seat of a kayak. Just me and the river. It was just what I needed. To be honest, the first evening was spent at a local festival with live music and some amazing fireworks, a great way to begin. Then off to the river were I have spent countless summers and the memories of each bend came back to me just like riding a bike. This was the first time I had been out here alone and it was a great time for some self reflection. The realization that.....

"Tension is who you think you should be.
Relaxation is who you are." - Chinese Proverb

...hit pretty strong out there for me. You see, even though I'm pretty comfortable with my life these days, if I had to admit it, I've never truly excepted the Hashimoto's version of me. In my day to day life, I have expectations of myself, out there on the river I had none, and it felt good.

So I am home now, back to the real world, with two realizations. One, that it's time to be who I am, and two, I need to get out on the water more often. Which I plan to do this evening.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Time for Some Change

I've decided that it's time. Things have been slowly evolving for me over the last few months. Big changes in several areas of my life have lead me to make some big changes around here. So over the next few weeks don't be surprised to see a different view until I settle in on what I want to see here. If you have any suggestions on what you would like to see or not see please feel free to leave me a comment. Please bare with me until I get situated here.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

And the Winner is....

And the winner in the Grocery Budget Toolbox is....
if you could contact me with your e-mail I can get this out to you. Thank you to everyone who participated in this giveaway and don't forget that for a few more days you can still receive a discount by using the code "health".

Thursday, July 26, 2012

An E-book Review and Giveaway

In recent weeks I've had the opportunity to review this wonderful new e-book by Anne over at Quick and Easy, Cheap and Healthy. As single mom on a budget these days, I was beginning to struggle with maintaining our whole foods kitchen and looking for new ideas. This book was just what I needed to get back on track. It is packed full of resources for eating healthy while keeping within your budget. She covers budgeting, keeping a price book, sourcing healthy food, once a month shopping, price caps, coupons, do it yourself, along with gardening and preserving. There is also information on saving online and an extensive list of resources and printables to get you started. Along the way there are some exercises that help you focus in on finding what works for you. For example, setting your nutritional priorities. In the top seven areas of food what would be your priorities in terms of highest nutritional quality? Mine...

Produce - 1
Meat - 2
Fats - 3
Sweeteners - 4
Grains - 5
Dairy - 6
Everything Else - 7

As a family who eats a mostly plant based diet with meat as needed and a love of sweets, this allows me to see where I want to focus my food dollars.
There are even a few recipes for easy make at home items and ways to stretch the food you have.
From now through Monday I will be giving away a copy of The Grocery Budget Toolbox to one lucky reader. Head over and check out The Grocery Budget Toolbox and then leave me a comment on your favorite way to save. The winner will be chosen on Tuesday. Anne has also been nice enough to offer a 20% discount for the next week, just enter health as your discount code during checkout. If you purchase the book and become the lucky winner you will be refunded your purchase price. Good luck!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sometimes You Just Have to Have a Little Faith

Recently I've been feeling restless. I'm in that place where dreams and reality are colliding and while things are exciting and wonderful these days, there is also a sense of the complete unknown going forward. I am a control freak and so this not a welcome place. As a sat thinking last week, the tune of this song came to me. It took me a week of humming in my head to get enough of the words together to even begin to look it up on  YouTube but it finally came to me tonight. After listening to it again after so much time, it instantly reminded me that sometimes I need to let go of my need to control everything and just go along for the ride. Sometime I just need to have a little faith, and so I thought I would share it with you. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Time for an Update

It seems yet again that this blog has gone idle. Life has been full. As you can see above, seven different courses. That doesn't include the daily life of a single working mom. But I have to be honest here. Life is good! You see, I actually started this blog a few years back under a different name. In the middle of being extremely ill, not finding any information that would make me feel connected to my situation, I started this blog to journal my days. Maybe someone else in the same situation would feel a little better. I let it go idle. Life was full of just trying to survive. Then one day I started to finally get better. New blog name, new mission. I was going to now share how I was getting better. Maybe yet again, it would help someone. The funny thing was, looking back, for me getting better was not an easy path. The vision that comes to mind during this time was of the original Aliens movie, when the alien is coming out of the guys stomach. It was agonizing, both physically and mentally. What I've noticed over the last few months though, is that I am no longer falling in a downward spiral of the unknown, nor am I going through an agonizing recovery. I am here.. My life is far from perfect, but I am now in management position. Life is settling into a normal pattern. Things have stabilized for the first time in five years. I am me, myself and I again. I've decided that as much as I lacked the courage to tell my story while I was in it, that maybe now I can go back and share my journey. Over the next few weeks I've decided to use this blog to tell that story. I've also been pretty busy with my workshare CSA. I've actually moved to posting about that over at my other blog, it seemed to fit better over there. So, if your interested in reading about my journey with local, seasonal and organic food, head on over and take a peak. I've have lots of new ideas moving forward here and I look forward to sharing them with you as they come together. It's time.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Perpetual Student

Life has been full! It seems I have become the perpetual student. I have reached the midway point in my Family Herbalist Program and now my Natural Skin Care Program is just beginning. I am very excited about the prospect of supply my family with our own good quality skin care products. I am running along smoothly with my second year with IIN. The summer semester at the local college is up and running. Two classes back to back on Wednesday makes this pretty easy to fit in. Everything seems to be flowing smoothly. There are days when I wonder what in the world I am doing, and yet I look at this time as a quick stint in a much bigger picture and so for the moment I will play the role of student. The only thing that sits on the back burner is my Yoga. I need to make that a bigger priority. We will see how things flow over the next few months. Well off I go. All those books are calling my name.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Catching Up

Wow! I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted here. It's been a busy few weeks of finishing up the spring semester at school. Take my first Immersion test for IIN and moving along on the Family Herbalist Program. I've been playing the active roll of student.

My first CSA share of the year arrived last Wednesday. I was so excited to see all those greens. I'm hoping to post my CSA share every Wednesday so that you can see all the exciting things that are coming my way. This week:
Mixed Salad Greens
Dandelion Greens
Turnip Greens
Bok Choy
2 heads of leaf lettuce
I have to say here that if you have never had the opportunity to join a CSA it is well worth it. I acually joined a CSA two summers ago thinking that local, organic foods would play an integral part of healing my body. I came away from the experience with so much more. For me, the wide variety of produce that I had never tried became the highlight of my week and I ended up loving some new foods I had never heard of before then. I missed having that last summer when it was decided that it just didn't quite make the budget. This year I was excited to find a CSA that offers a work share opportunity. Now not only will I get local and organic produce from May to November, but I will have the chance to spend Saturday morning working on the farm and seeing how things are done. I'm looking forward to going behind the scenes to earn my share this year. It is amazing that having local and organic foods is really available to anyone who seeks it out.

With all those greens and the warm days we've been having this salmon salad as made a daily appearance. A quick fix for an on the go mom.

While I've mentioned it before, I couldn't help posting again a picture of my kids favorite go to meal. I've noticed more and more when talking to busy moms that they just don't know what to fix on the run. Between work schedules and kids sports, there just doesn't seem to be time to cook. This recipe cooks up in about 15 minutes. My kids love this so much that they actually didn't leave any leftovers. It's as simple as a bottle of veggie juice, a few cups of your favorite frozen veggies (mine like the mixed veggies in this), and a good quality pasta. It thickens up into more of a stew than a soup. While I admit to bottles and bags on this one, it is a great option for those on the go moments.
With the CSA season in high gear. I look forward to posting more often on all the new foods that are coming in and what I will be doing with them. So until then.....

Monday, April 30, 2012

Word Cloud

Today is the final day of the Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge. For the final prompt, I created  my word cloud. This sums up all the things that have been created here over the past month. I was hoping to be able to post it here, but I cannot seem to figure out how to move it over. I hope you will head over and take a peak. Thank you for a very inspiring month.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The First TIme I...

I'll be honest here. I'm not usually afraid of much. I'm a go with the flow kind of girl. I always see new adventures as learning experiences. An opportunity to get out of my box. But If I had to choose one thing, it would have to be the first time I made sauerkraut. Would I do it right? Would I make myself sick? I new it was something I needed to try for the sake of my health, but I kept postponing it. When I finally got up the courage to give it a try, I have to say that of course it what not nearly as bad as I thought it would be, and yes,  the benefits far surpassed any fear I had when I started.

Friday, April 27, 2012

My Top Five

The top five things I have found most difficult about having an auto-immune disease:
1. The unexpectedness.
I am a perfectionist. I need to have a plan. But disease has no plan.
2. The exhaustion.
There is no time for exhaustion when you are raising a family.
3. The digestive issues.
Food intolerances that change make it really impossible to enjoy meal time.
4. The moodiness.
This speaks for itself.
5. The brain fog.
I really have a difficult time with this. Sometimes I just can't be the person everyone needs me to be and I feel I am failing them in so many ways.

The top five thing I have found most positive about having an auto-immune disease:
1. Experience.
I have been through so much.
2. The learning curve.
Know matter how much I thought I knew before I got sick, being ill has forced me to search for answers to questions I didn't even know I had.
3. Slowing Down.
In our fast paced world must of us only dream of slowing down and taking real time for family and friends. Being Ill forces me to slow down. This has produced so moment with my children that I would not want to miss for anything.
4. Bravery.
Finally being strong enough to take charge of my own life and doing it my way.
5. A Purpose.
The knowledge and ability to make a difference in the health of future generations.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Health Tagline

Okay, so today I am creating a tagline for my blog. My existing tagline is "Creating the happy, healthy life you deserve". I do actually kind of like that. In my profession, it's what I do. The funny thing is that when I was looking at the prompt for today, I realized that I do really need to keep a notepad and pencil attached to my hip. So many of these prompt have come and I've had to say, "oh, I just had a good one for that". Yet the memory always escapes me. So the tagline stays, but I have learned a valuable lesson. Post-its are going in the purse.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Third Person Post

A memory, written as if I am watching from a distance. I see it clearly....
She sits in a waiting room. Filled with chairs. A few other people sit around her, but she barely notices. She looks around, everything is so quiet. Her nerves are on edge. She has traveled so far to be here. It is her last chance for answers. It hurts her to sit, she is so thin. Her brain can barely think straight and the long walks through this amazingly large building are exhausting. She laughs to take the edge off. The waiting is long and out of the small bag beside her she pulls out a set of knitting needles. Something to make the time go by. Something she used to love. A small dishrag in the making. She only has enough energy to concentrate on small projects. Her husband sleeps beside her. She thinks of her children back home. I week with out her girls is a long time. She hopes to have good news for them. Outside the weather is bitter cold. Back home they will receive the biggest snow storm ever and she will miss the snow days with her children. She is called in to see the doctor and the news is not promising. Will she be around to raise see her girls grow up. Tests are scheduled and the rest of the afternoon is free to explore the town. There is not much to do here. Back at the hotel she calls home to check in with everyone.  Questions run rampant but she will do what she has become accustomed to. Take each moment is it comes and just keep moving forward. Enjoying each moment to the fullest and holding on to hope.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Daily Schedule

Today is Health Activist Choice Day 2. I get to write about what ever I want. So it goes without saying that I could not figure out what I wanted to write about today. So I've chosen to do a bonus prompt. My daily schedule. I get to let you peek into a day in the life of me. I usually wake up at 6:30am. I head straight into clean up mode. Switch the laundry and empty the dishwasher. Dust through the whole house, clean both bathrooms. Sweep and mop all the floors, all 1600 sq. ft. of them. Clean the litter box and take out the garbage and recycling. At this point I take a quick break for a cup of yerba mate. Then it's time to wake the oldest one and get her set to head off to school. Once she is out the door I hit the showers. Next it's time to wake the little one and get a head start on her homeschooling day. At about 10:15am we pack up. Me to head of to work and the little one is off to dad's for the day. She brings her workbooks and the computer to do quiet work. Dad works nights and so it works out nicely. I work until 3pm. During this time, if I have any breathing time, I will catch up on any school work that I have. I am currently attending classes at the local community college, working on my second year with IIN, working on a Family Herbalist Course, and Yoga Certification. Thankfully, almost all of my classes are online. At 3pm I run any quick errands needed for the day and head over to pick up the little one. We make it home a few minutes after the older one gets home from school. The afternoons vary. This time is usually used to finish up our homeschool day, mow the lawn and work on the garden. If the oldest is in an afterschool event at the time, we are usually off to watch her. To be honest, with all of my food sensitivities, meal prep is no longer a fun activity for me. Once a week I hit the grocery store and spend the rest of that evening doing fridge prep. Lots of cut up fruits and veggies. Precooked grains and potatoes. Hard boiled eggs and precooked bacon. The fridge is filled with easy to put together healthy meals that the children can put together as they please. After dinner is homework time for the oldest. Snacks and a movie round out the evening. I usually like to head to bed around 9pm. If it's been a rough day illness wise for me, I will just crash. Otherwise, a little reading is in order. Sometimes I am finishing up some studying, but I've been trying to do some just for fun reading. Computer work comes either first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Soon Saturday mornings will be filled with 4 hours of workshare time at a local farm for a CSA share, and season passes to the local amusement park will fill our free time. It's a busy day from start to finish. Some of you may notice the one missing piece to this day. Yes, I know I should fit consistent exercise into my day, it just never seems to quite make the daily schedule. When time allows, I head over to the local forest preserve for a 2 mile walk, but as of yet it has not made it into my daily schedule. Someday.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Health Madlib Poem

Well this has been an interesting day. Today, I was to create a poem based on a mad lib. Fill in the nouns, verbs and adjectives and then you get to see what the poem is. What a mess! I have spent the better part of the day going back to the poem trying to create something that would at least make some kind of sense. So without further ado, here is the poem that has taken close to 8 hours to create. I hope that you enjoy...

Good life's Good life

I read my words and all the truth comes home; 
I fill my days and all is well again. 
(I relax I build you up inside my mind.) 

The thoughts go spining out in time and space, 
And bright sun flows in: 
I follow my heart and all the world stands before me. 

I loved that you talked me into search 
And let me grow, judged me quite clearly. 
(I relax I build you up inside my mind.) 

Illness takes from the soul, Hashimoto's thyroiditis drains: 
tired body and brain's fog: 
I follow my heart and all the world stands before me. 

I dreamed you'd stay the way you where, 
But I set free and I trust your vision. 
(I relax I build you up inside my mind.) 

I should have planned a vacation instead; 
At least when family visits they head back again. 
I follow my heart and all the world stands before me. 

(I relax I build you up inside my mind.) 

- Amy & Sylvia Plath

Thursday, April 19, 2012

5 Dinner Guests

If I could invite any 5 people to dinner, who would it be? The first person on that list would be my grandfather. He passed away 8 years ago and I miss him terribly. He was an amazing man. He spent his whole adult life with one leg and battled cancer three times. Even with those trials he raised 6 wonderful children and traveled the world, making friends everywhere he went, started his own business, and was always there when you needed him. I would love to be able to talk to him now about all that has happened in my life. The second person would be Joshua Rosenthal, founder of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. He has been such an inspiration to me over the passed year and I have learned so much from him. It would be amazing to meet him in person and find out what lead him to do what he does. Number three is an interesting one. It would have to be Sully Erna, lead singer of Godsmack. This one is purely selfish. He is just to darn good looking. He is also amazingly talented. It's not my usual music pick, but talent is talent. Onto number four, Nicholas Sparks. The man has never written a book that I haven't loved. Last but not least, my fifth guest would have to be my soon to be ex-husband, aptly named the x-man. My superhero. My best friend. An event like this would just not be complete without him. While I have to admit this would be the most interesting dinner party ever, I also think it would be a lot of fun. With such a wide array of background, it would be amazing to see how these people would interact with each other. I do know that it would be very entertaining and I would come away have learned much from the evening.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Open Book

"We are all on a spiral path, Growth does not occur in straight lines. There will be challenges along the way, There will be shadows. But they will be balanced with whispers of joy, And baskets of happiness." - The Gift of Yoga by Gena Kenny.
When I see this I realize how absolutely true it is. Life is ever changing, and sometimes all that change can leave our heads spinning. But it's right at the moment that we feel we cannot take another step that something amazing and wonderful happens. I've learned this personally. Being sick can be extremely draining. It is no longer as easy to see the brighter side of things. But there are those moments. Curling up on the couch with my girls, taking a walk in the woods, or just a moment when all is quiet but the birds in the trees. In those moments, all is right with the world.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Learned the Hard Way

There are a couple of thing over the years that I have learned the hard way. The most important one being....STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF. Like most women I know, we put others before ourselves. Ingrained in to my nature was the combination of taking care of others and being fully excepting of other people. For me this meant that there was no one better or worse than me, just different. I was always seeing the good qualities in everyone and overlooking the bad. Combine this with my need to serve, and I all but drained the life out of myself. While it is good to meet people where they are at, at what point do we do this at the sacrifice of who we truly are? At the end of the day I realized that I had completely given of myself to so many others by become who they needed to be at any given moment. I lost sight of who I was. Being flexible is one thing, but you need to stay true to who you are in the process. Do what you love, be authentic, and those who truly appreciate you will love you all the more for it and you will feel so much more comfortable in you own skin. The second thing I learned the hard way is DON'T WAIT TO SEE A DOCTOR. I'm the natural girl. Yes, this is still for me the way to go, and I have found that it has been the most beneficial to me. But there comes a time, when that little voice in your head says that something is just not right. This is the time to go see your doctor. It may be nothing or it may be the biggest event to hit your life. Get a jump start and you'll be much farther ahead. I waited, I knew something wasn't right, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I waited and waited, until one day I woke up and barely knew my own name. The road back up has taken years away from me and my young children. Years I will never get back. These are things I have learned the hard way. If I could go back in time, I would have done differently.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Today' post is on pinterest. Since I've been pinning for awhile I have several boards already in motion. So today I would like to invite you to take a look at my health and wellness pinboard. This is the place where I pin items that I feel may be beneficial to my health. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My Dream Day

Today I get to write about what my dream day would be. I actually do this every few months on my own. I find it a great way to connect with where I am at and where I would like to be. It keeps me on track for reaching any goals I have and allows me to reevaluate. Life is ever changing and my dream day will reflect that. So here we go...
A wake up with the sun. Spend the next few hours getting the house cleaned and in order. Fix my self a cup of yerba mate and take it outside where I will work quietly in the garden as meditation. Come in and put in rebounding, yoga and weight bearing exercise. Wake up the children to get them ready for school. Fix a health breakfast for all which we eat together leisurely. Send my oldest one off to school and sit with my youngest while we work on our homeschooling . Send the youngest to work on special interest project of her choice while I go into my home office and see clients for the next few hours. Meet my oldest daughter off the bus and pack a healthy bag of snacks and some paper and pencils and head of to the park or forest preserve and spend the afternoon outdoors in the fresh air enjoying time connecting with my children. Coming home to cook a fresh from the garden meal in my outdoor kitchen. After dinner I would relax with the x-man and maybe a few neighbors while all of the children and dogs run around enjoying the setting sun. The evening would end either around a fire outside or with popcorn and a movie.
There are moments when parts of my perfect day come together and I feel completely at piece. I am still working on coming home full time to my home office, and I haven't quite perfected the exercise part of my day. Some days it all fits in and sometimes not. I hope you've enjoyed this sneak peak into my perfect day.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ten Things You Couldn't Live Without

When all else fails, this is my go to food.
Need my yummy real food probiotics
I'd be lost without something to read.
It is an ingrained trait, I must create.
They are the light of my life.
It's so multipurpose. It can wrap you up on a cold day or be laid out on the beach on a warm one.
I have to say, this is the only soap that I don't break out with, and it's great for general cleaning too.
They love unconditionally.
A girl has got to have her chocolate.
Sad but true. I need my meds to function.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Stream of Consciousness Day

"Today I looked in the mirror and...."
Realized that striving to survive is the easy part, striving to create a life is the not so easy part. I give a huge round of applause to all of those out there suffering from auto-immune diseases. I am a perfectionist, I'll admit it. I like to have my days planned, my future planned, the whole nine yards. I work best that way. Disease does not allow you to do that. You never know what each moment will bring with it. I looked in the mirror today, and saw that I spend way to much time looking in the mirror these days. Comparing myself to who I was 20 years ago, or even just last year. I realized something very important, I'm human. I don't need to look perfect or act perfect. I don't need to look at myself and see the great days ahead. Today is a great day filled with amazing possibilities. The irony of this post is that while today I looked in the mirror and saw...., I would encourage you to not look in your mirror today. Just go on out and have an amazing day.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Theme Song

Today I've been given the opportunity to pick a theme song for this blog. Wow, that's a tough one. So many choices. It's interesting that what I would pick just for me isn't the same as what I would pick for my blog readers. So in an effort to go out on a limb here I have chosen what resonates with me in the hopes that it will actually be an inspiration for others. This song embodies the journey that having Hashimoto's has lead me through. I did not create this video but I hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dear 16 Year Old Me

Dear 16 year old me,
It's been a long time. I still remember vividly how strong and healthy you were. Always ready to have a good time. The things I could tell you about what your life is to become, you can't even imagine. I think you already knew all the things that would prepare you for the future. All but one. Believe in yourself. You are stronger than you think. Don't let anyone get you down. Oh, and one more thing. Don't wait to see a doctor!
Love ya,

Vintage Remedies for Tweens

You've heard me talk about Vintage Remedies before. They are a great company. I absolutely love what they are teaching. So I thought I would share that now through Friday they are offering their Vintage Remedies for Tweens curriculum for half price. So if you have been thinking about teaching your children about real food, natural skin care and herbs, this might be the time to check them out. Priced at only $15.00 through Friday. Feel free to click the link on the right. Just use the code "tween" when you check out.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Keep Calm and Carry On

With the Easter holiday yesterday, enjoying family and friends became my top priority, and so I chose to take a slide on participating in the Health Activists Writer's Month Challenge. Today, I am back on track and here to create this poster for you. A version of the old "Keep Calm and Carry On".
It's been my mantra for quite some time. Always keep moving forward. There is always hope when we keep moving in a new direction from the ones that don't work for us. It's is powerful to know that no matter what, as long as we keep moving and striving for something better, we can do great things for ourselves and those around us. So today I encourage you to "Just Keep Moving".

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Health Activist Choice!

Today I have the opportunity to send out a big thank you to Wego Health. I have spent the better part of the past year with the passion to share a message. I have just not been sure exactly how to share that message. When I decided to participate in this years Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge, it was because I knew it would be the push I needed. The topics were already chosen and all I had to do was write. The thing is, I use to be a beautiful writer. I was the person everyone came to when they wanted something written and they were not sure how to word things. Hashimoto's took that away from me. I've been afraid to write. This past week has been amazing for me. It has allowed me to get past the fear of putting myself out there. It also reminds me that some days are good and some days are not so good, but to write anyway. A few days ago I had no words. As a wrote, nothing seemed to come together. While I couldn't figure it out at the time, it turned out to be one of those days. The rest of the day progressed in much the same way. Everything I typed got mixed up. It's on those days that my energy is usually up and I think it will be a good day that my brain decides to fail me. When I decided to start blogging, it was for this reason. To show someone out there the bad days. So for today, as I write about my health, I want to send out a big thank you to Wego Health for giving me the courage and the opportunity to get out there and do what I've been wanting to do for a very long time. Hopefully, I will be able to make a difference in the lives of others as you have made a difference in mine.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Health Haiku

Today we turn health into poetry. I've never been good at poetry. After much thinking and scribbling, I have come up with this...

I wish I had known
That life would be this amazing journey
I would have packed better.


How I see the world
Through the eyes of a  foggy brain
Is not an easy task.

and I different take on the Haiku, a Tanka...

The birds outside are chirping
The sun brings forth warmth and light
The grass upon my feet.
The breeze feels good on my skin.
Nature never judges who I am today.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Today's post it to be inspired by a picture. This picture grabbed my attention unlike anything else. Unfortunately, I could not figure out for the life of me how to repost the image here. I hope you will take the time to click the link and view the image. If I have to be honest, I've rewritten this post at least 5 times trying to think of the words that would express what this picture means to me and how it connects to my health focus, but today I just can't seem to come up with the words. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I hope that for today the picture will just speak for itself.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Write About My Health Because....

Why do I write about my health? I remember when I first got sick. After the official diagnosis of Hashimoto's, I came home and did what everybody does. I hit the internet! Search after search and all I got was a list of symptoms. I wanted something more. Answers! Ideas! I'm not sure what I was looking for but I needed something. After the first year I realized that what I needed was companionship. When everyone around you can't figure out why you are barely functioning, because you look just fine. I wanted to have someone to share my trails and accomplishments with, in the hopes that it would take the stress away from those who share this disease. Sometimes the best thing we can do is have someone to talk to. Someone who understands. Common ground is a powerful thing. I write because I hope that someone out there who gets diagnosed with an auto-immune disease can find my blog and not feel so helpless, hopeless, or alone.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Superpower Day

Day 3, Superpower Day. This one is easy for me. SUPER STRENGTH! Actually, this one came so easy to me that I actually took the time to go through some other ideas, but no, with out a doubt it has to be super strength. You see, as a health coach, I talk to many people. Some are battling illness. Some are actually quite healthy, and some fall in between. There is one thing that they all have in common. Fear. Fear of making a change. Fear of taking that next step. All the "what ifs" of the world are sitting on their shoulders. If I had super strength, I would carry their burdens, just long enough for them to see clearly and make a move. A move that would allow them to see past all those things that are holding them back. They could move forward without questions or fears of what lies ahead. They would then have the opportunity to see what life could be like. Yes, super strength it is.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Quotation Inspiration

"It's not who you are that holds you back; it's who you think you're not." - unknown

I'll be honest here. Once upon a time I was the person that had it all together even when I didn't have it all together. Then one day a ran into a brick wall called disease. In the beginning, I just fought to keep it all together for my kids and those around me. I was in survival mode. A constantly reminded myself that I am not my disease. Interestingly enough, as I've gotten better it becomes much harder to except the limitation that I still carry. When I saw this quote, it hit home for me. Don't get me wrong. I don't feel sorry for myself. I think that it's more that I'm hard on myself. I have a message I want to share and I keep thinking that I need to have all the answers so I can save the world. That's not who I am. I realize in this quote, that it is who I am right now, with the progress I've made, the good days and the bad, that makes me real. Maybe it's the person I am today that has something important to share, not the person I think I should be. It's a little nerve racking to be putting my faults out there. Recently, someone very close to me called me out. He asked me if I follow my own advise. That hit home for me in a very real way. So today, I am being me, and I'm moving forward.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Health Time Capsule


Do you remember as a child filling a shoe box with items you loved, to bury in the backyard to be dug up when you were older. A reminder of what life was like way back when. I have to admit, I would only last about a week before I would dig it back up. Today I am revisiting that theme, with a new twist. I am filling my time capsule with my life now as an adult with Hashimoto's thyroiditis. It will not be opened until 2112, one hundred years from now, when I am long  gone. A legacy of sorts for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, or maybe just someone passing through. Hmmmm, what do I put in this box. I'll be honest, I've thought about this for days and I am really struggling with this. Do I put in this box the items I wish I'd known before I got sick, the items that have helped me along this journey? Do I put only the good things, or the bad things too? Do I put visions of what I hope my life will be "when I get better"? One thing that absolutely comes to mind is a photo. A photo that I pass be everyday. It was taken on Easter of 2010, almost exactly 2 years ago. Only 4 months after my diagnosis.

Right in the thick of things, when I had no idea how much worse things would get before they got better. When I look at it I remember what it felt like to be in that body and yet we looked so happy, and we were.
The next thing I would probably add would be the wonderful book I found 6 months later, the beginning of the climb back up. Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? I would probably also add a copy of my IIN Program Guide. Without it, I don't think I would be alive today. When all else failed, this helped me put the pieces together, to customize and take charge of my own health. There would also be a bottle of kombucha, the only probiotic that reset my stomach, and coffee, who would have thought that taking up coffee would lead me to find out that I had very low stomach acid. Some dried fruit, nuts and herbs. A sampling of the importance of real foods. These are the many things that would tell specifically of my journey thus far. I look into my life and my health focus. I would also add a book that has yet to be written. A book detailing my journey, the ups and downs, the ins and outs. With stories of the autoimmune diseases before me. The genetic makeup of a long line of disease, and hopefully an end to the line for future generations. A letter, that says we have the power within ourselves to make a difference. Lastly, a postcard, maybe designed by me, that states 'IT'S ALL GOOD!'. We need to let go of the perfect life and complete control. Sometimes, that makes all the difference. Oh yes, and one more thing. I homemade knitted dishcloth. I leave you guessing on that one. When I try to visualize what the person who finds the capsule will think, I hope that they will find that no matter what our struggles, we are fully capable of making the best of our life and making it better. I hope that somewhere in that box will be the Aha! moment for someone who needs it. The right place at the right time. One hundred years from now it will probably look like folk lore, but sometimes that's just what we need.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge

Hey everyone - I just wanted to tell you about a new activity I'll be doing this April. The Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge hosted by WEGO Health. I will be writing a post a day for all 30 days. I hope you'll join me in writing every day about health. It's going to be a lot of fun and I'd love to see what you have to say about each of the topics, too. All you have to do to join is sign up here: Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge and you'll be able to start posting once April rolls around. Looking forward to writing with you!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fast Food Anyone

I am a huge fan of greens. So this afternoon, when I needed a quick fix snack, I grabbed a bag of kale from the fridge, filled a small frying pan, add just a pinch of water, and set it to steam on the stove. With in about a minute they kale was a nice bright green and just slightly wilted. While a was pouring into a bowl, I had to laugh. There are times when we are hungry NOW and we usually will grab junk instead of waiting for a decent meal to cook. Yet, here I was with a healthy meal in less time then the time it would take me to put my shoes on and head out for fast food. Topped with a few nuts or seeds and I've also created a complete protein. How's that for fast food!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Taking Care of Our Skin

I must admit. When it comes to skin care I battle with the costs of the more natural products. As a busy mom on a budget, when a choice needs to made on what goes in us as opposed to what goes on us, I will always choose the first. Over at Vintage Remedies, they have just come out with a new program. Natural Skin Care Development. A complete course on all aspects of skin care. Finally, an opportunity to incorporate personalized all natural skin care into our family's daily lives.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Building your Puzzle

A few years back, at the worst of my illness, it dawned on me that like is like a giant jigsaw puzzle. We spend our lives building our puzzle piece by piece. Finding the right job, getting married, having children. Each piece forming who we are, locking in to the piece next to it. As we get older the picture gets clearer and clearer until it all comes together in to this beautiful and wonderful life. We are content and happy. Life is good. Then one day, someone comes along and bumps the table and the pieces we have spent so long putting together go scattering in all directions. It is different for all of us. Job loss, death, divorce, disease. I'm sure you can put your own name to the situation. In my case it was Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. I spent a lot of time trying to pick up the pieces and put them back together again, to recreate that wonderful picture. But as we all know with any good puzzle, when we go back to rebuild there is usually a piece or two missing. Some days I look at that picture and see the beauty in it, missing pieces and all. I see how far I have come to putting it all back together. Some days I realize that sometimes we just need to set aside the old puzzle and start a new one. I know that someday, as I work on each piece and they come together, it will be a beautiful and whole picture. Different from the first but just as or maybe more beautiful than the first. When I look at it this way, the bad days don't seem so overwhelming. Some pieces just take more time to find where they fit. I wish you many joyful days of putting your puzzle together, may it be as beautiful as you expected.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Good Day for a Walk

Well I must admit it, of all the areas in health and wellness, I come up short in the exercise department. I just can not seem to get a good, consistent practice going. I can make some really good excuses too. I am a working mother holding down two jobs while going to school part time. I have tried work out videos of every variety, work out equipment has come and gone through my doors. My intentions are good, but it is always the first to go. A few months ago I decided to try something a little different. 6 minutes. I trip around the block before bed. It started out because I really wanted to do something, anything that I could call exercise. The first night I came home invigorated. How is it that something as simple as a 6 minute walk around the block could have such an effect. It is a combination of things for me. The fresh open air, the movement, the meditation and relaxation. I can accomplish so much in those few minutes. I think many of us think in terms of trying to get those 30 minutes in 3 days a week. If  we can't do that we must be failures and so do nothing at all. If you are in this group, like me, why not throw all the rules out the window and give it a try. See what happens. It's a start and who knows, maybe it will lead to two trips around and then three. It all starts with 6 minutes.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What a Difference a Year Makes

Last year at this time a was packing a bag and getting ready to head to the Mayo Clinic. It was freezing and we were just a few days a way from the biggest snow storm to hit the area in years. This year I have made great strides in my health and it is 57 degrees out. What a difference a year makes. In a few weeks I will be graduating from a one year distance learning program as a health coach. At my worst, when all else had failed, I turned to this school in hopes of answers to my rapidly declining health. I got those answers and so much more. I will forever be greatful for what this school has given me. For the next few days this school is giving me the opportunity to give one person a $1000.00 scholarship. If you are interested in learning more, please leave a comment below. This will only be available through Friday.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Chocolate Walnut Butter

Okay, I girl has got to have chocolate. My go to recipe for a chocolate fix? Chocolate Walnut Butter. It satisfies all the elements of comfort food for me in a healthy, guilt free way. It also is a great snack for the kids. Combine 1/2 cup of walnuts with 1 Tablespoon of raw cacao powder and 2 tsp. of honey or maple syrup. Process in a food processor for a few minutes, scraping down the sides as needed until you get a smooth nut butter consistency. Oh, Yum!! Great eaten with sliced fruit or anywhere you would use peanut butter. I image it could be refrigerated and rolled into balls coated in cinnamon or more cacao, but it goes way to fast for that in this house. A powerhouse of nutrients and good fats and protien to keep you going. So the next time you are looking for something to satisfy your chocolate craving, give it a try.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Is Life Getting in the Way of Living?

I love those rare moments when everything just seems to come together. It all started with a new arrival at the library that I just had to check out. In the flurry of activity around my house, the book sat in the corner. I would reminded myself to pick it up before it needed to be returned, but there it sat. Then along comes the new issue of Where Women Cook and there it is, front and center. So I finally opened the book and what an amazing book it is. With in the first few pages I realized what had been niggling in the back of my mind lately. Sometimes we get so caught up in the details of life that we forget to live. There are those days that I zero in so much on WHAT I am feeding my family that I forget that it is more about HOW I feed my family. I would like to encourage you to take a moment and so what areas in your life may just be getting in the way of truly living. What we serve is important, but don't forget to include how we serve it. The winter season of Where Women Cook also featured an article by Clean Food author Terry Walters and raw chef Sarma Melngailis, among others. I am feeling inspired.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

You as an Individual

Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by the amount of information out there that you dread eating, let alone shopping for the food you are going to feed your family. Well take a deep breath and relax. You don't need to listen to what every diet and health expert out there is saying. Just listen to you. Your body knows what it needs and when it needs it. Take the time to learn what your body is telling you and you will feel so much better. You will no longer need to dread dinner time.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Setting the Stage with a Morning Routine

I have to admit, I have not always been a morning person, but like so many generations of mothers before us, I have found my way to the mourning routine. As mothers, we wear many hats, and our days are filled with a flurry of activity. I have found that it is those few minutes in the morning that set the stage for how our day will run. It can run smoothly or leave us feeling frazzled and tired. Each of us will have our own way of centering ourselves for the day. Journaling, meditation, yoga, coffee and a sunrise, I few quick paragraphs from our favorite book. I have tried them all at some point. I have found for myself that I feel best when I use this time to do the house cleaning run through.
 In about an hour's time I can do a top to bottom clean up that leaves me feeling centered and organized before we all head out for the day. With this done, I know that whatever the day brings that our home will be a welcome place to reconnect. It's those few moments of quiet each morning, however we use them, that allows us to face the day as the wonderful mother's we are meant to be. I encourage you today to start a morning routine that will set the stage for a wonderful day, no matter what life may bring your way.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Sourdough Pot

In my house when we make baked goods it usually starts with a good sourdough starter. There are many benefits to sourdough. The fermenting process breaks down the phytic acid in the flour making it more digestible and it also adds many good bacteria. I have several different types of sourdough starters around my house. The one pictured above is of a friendship sourdough. This one seems to be my most active and most used pot. If you have not delved into sourdough, I would encourage you to give it a try.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Taking Stock

As the new year gets into full swing, I've been taking some down time. I do not make new year's resolutions, but every few months I do take a step back and take stock of what is serving me. Life is every changing and with so many things always going on around us I find it helpful to really look at what is working and what is not. Like an inventory of sorts. This needs to be taken off the menu, this needs to stay, and this needs to be added. By doing this several times a year, I can stay on top of things as they come instead of feeling overwhelmed by trying to take on several new ideas that I am not prepared for once a year. With that said, I have spent the past week doing a reevaluation on the homefront. Picking up some routines that have fallen by the wayside in the flurry of activity surrounding the holidays. Tossing out old items and ideas to make room for new items and ideas. This works wonderfully for me. I have taken this opportunity to add some new and exciting avenues to both my personal and professional agendas. Over the next few weeks I'll give you a more detailed look at how taking stock can really be beneficial to keeping things running smoothly.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What to do When your Daughter goes Vegan?

What do you do when your soon to be twelve year old daughter decides to go vegan? Well considering that most children this age are surviving processed food, I think that this can not be any more harmful. I cannot say that I fully agree with her decision at her age, but I also know that this is a time in her life when she needs to start making up her own mind. So I will support her choices and help her to make healthy and safe choices, and make sure that she mantains a balanced diet. With this is mind, the Marquardt Health Coaching blog will be joining Meatless Monday. Stay tuned for Monday posts on our journey into adding vegetarian choices to our meals.


As the new year begins, I have decided to venture in to the study of yoga. When I found out that my body was designed to do best with yoga as my exercise source, I did a little research. Most yoga videos out there just were not doing it for me and my time was limited so a yoga studio was out of the question for now. Then I found Aura Wellness Center . It is a self paced yoga teacher training course. I will be able to learn all the basics of yoga in a way that will work for me, and create a custom yoga workout that fits my lifestyle. Hmm, private yoga lessons, in my personal yoga studio may be in the future? What exercise program best suites you?