Monday, April 25, 2016

Making peace with the past

Once upon a time, I was pregnant.

This is a very scary and sad fact that not even my family knows. Very few people in my life know this truth about me, and I can name them on one hand, and still have fingers left over.

But, before we get to how and what - we have to start with the who and why.

It's no big secret to anyone that I've had major self esteem issues my entire life. For a very long time - well before I met my husband - I believed that I should settle for any person who would have me - because, who would love the unlovable me. At least, that's how I thought of my self back then. This didn't start in my 20's. Hell, it didn't even start in my teens. I felt pretty worthless near my entire life, and a lot of my self esteem issues stem from the sexual abuse I endured in my childhood. I felt disgusting, and ugly, and unlovable.

And I know that if my family reads this post, it is probably going to hurt them. I'm sorry for that. It's not my intention with sharing this story about myself. I'm also not sharing this to shame or dishonor them. I'm sharing this because I think that it's important for people to speak about things that are hard - even things that may cause severe consequences or judgement against them. I want people to know it's ok to use their voice, to be heard. My story is just one of hundreds of thousands. Healing starts with one. And I'm hoping that by sharing this very vulnerable and terrifying part of myself - it may help someone else heal, and deal with their scars.

I never dealt with my childhood scars. In fact, I wanted nothing to do with them. I ate them away, drank them away, and stoned them away. I dealt with my issues in some of the most destructive ways possible, because I thought at the time being numb was better than accepting the reality of my circumstances. This goes far beyond bullying. I was my own worst bully. I believed that I deserved what happened to me. I believed that I was unworthy of love. But I so desperately wanted to be accepted, that I literally sought it out from anyone that would show me what I thought was kindness.

Living with this kind of mentality for as long as I had when I met the person who almost fathered a child with me - it destroyed any positive self image I may have had about myself. I knowingly and willingly put myself in situations, because I didn't care very much about me. And that's pretty scary. We truly can be our own worst enemies, sometimes. And that's the problem with not dealing with your problems head on. Eventually, it catches up to you. Sometimes, it's too late. I'm grateful that it wasn't too late for me.

I met a person after my long term boyfriend Ben and I had broken up. This person moved to NJ to live with me in 2002. It was almost instantly that I knew I had made a mistake, and that I didn't love this person. Hell, I didn't even love myself - but I was so resigned to the idea that I should just accept and be with whoever would have me - that I ignored the warning signs, and stayed in a bad situation. Not only did I put myself in this situation, I put my family through hell in the process. (Sorry Mom and Dad...)

This was a toxic relationship. I truly hated this person, and I wanted him gone. But I was so afraid of being alone. A few months after moving in with me - I found that he was being inappropriate with girls on line. This, topped with being arrested (TWICE) for shop lifting - was the last straw. I told him to get his father on the phone, get a fucking plane ticket, and get the fuck out of my life. I didn't want him in my house. I didn't want him in my bed. I certainly didn't want him touching me ever again. We had agreed that he would sleep in the living room.

He had sex with me that night - while I was sleeping. I woke up during it.

It wasn't until years later, after talking with my husband BJ about this event - that I realized what he had done to me was rape. I, of course, was angry the night this took place because 1. I told him we were done. I gave him back his ring. 2. He was fucking around with young girls on line - and that above ANYTHING is grounds for me to immediately lop your balls off. 3. I didn't love him, didn't want him, and wanted him out of my life, my house, my family.

It was a very turbulent relationship. I hated him. But I was terrified to be alone. He was manipulative, and sneaky, and conniving.

As a result, I ended up pregnant. And I was fucking TERRIFIED. I didn't want a child with this person. I didn't want any part of him near me, let alone growing inside me. It made me feel sick, and disgusting, and it made me hate myself even more. I was a manic mess. The spiral of depression that came as a result of this was unlike anything I'd ever felt before. I panicked. Instead of being angry about what had happened - I was ASHAMED and blamed myself.

I had an abortion.

This secret I've been keeping. This lie... it's been eating me alive for over a decade. I tried to justify this as a medical necessity. I've even gone as far as saying miscarriage. The raw hard truth is that I terminated a life that was unwanted by me. And I've struggled with this decision that I made so long ago every day of my life since.

March and April have always been very hard months for me. This is mainly why. March he raped me. April 24th, 2003 I terminated the pregnancy. I was 6 weeks pregnant.

I'm now 36 years old. I have PCOS, and am unable to get pregnant. I haven't gone as far as IVF yet. But, I've sometimes wondered if this is my punishment for the choice I made so long ago. There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not haunted by the life that was once inside of me. There isn't a day that I don't wonder what my child would be like. What kind of person they would be. And it wasn't until very, very recently (like, the past month recent) that I've finally forgiven myself for what I chose.

I'm sure that there will be back lash from my revealing this truth. I'm sure there will be people that will distance themselves from me because of political and spiritual reasons - and I understand. But I am not going to apologize for my past any longer. I don't live there anymore. I am the one that has to live with my choices. I am the one that lives with that pain. And I chose to take these pieces of me, the good and the bad, the right and wrong choices - and turn them into something beautiful.

I could have either allowed my past to swallow me whole, or I can face it head on, and hopefully help others who may be hiding in the dark like I was for so long.

I can honestly say that I met my husband at exactly the right moment in my life. I truly believe he saved my life. And he saves me more and more every day. He is the kindest, most gentle person I've ever met - and I never knew that love could be this way. I never knew I could feel love like this.

I know that on my judgement day, when I meet God, I will answer for my life choices. All I can do now is live the best life I can by helping others.

Unborn

That child inside still grows
With the same force of life as before
God himself couldn't remove that seed
Not even Heaven could even the score

I lost the child before I knew
The life that grew inside of me
Would give me so much more than
What I expected or prayed it'd be

In the mouthes of babes truth be told
That in this period so short of time
Once a thought, a body, a mind
Coursed through these veins of mine

I speak of regret in the hardest way
Than can be recognized by the human heart
To find that lost stollen child of mine
Where to begin? Where do I start?

I can not say more simply than this
That I take with me the greatest of pain
That fills this body with the blackest night
No sight be seen, no hope held in vain

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Finding Peace in Sadness

Sometimes my heart is heavy for absolutely no reason. I can be reading my news feed on facebook, and WHAM! My heart hurts. It's rare that I get a few private moments to myself to allow myself to FEEL the sadness. I don't like being sad when other people are present. And I really hate crying in front of people. So, I usually suck it up and push it down - which I know is totally unhealthy, and something I should not be doing.

I have, in the past year, started listening to my heart, mind, and body more. I lived for so long wanting to be completely dissociative and numb that it took me a while to figure out the things my body was telling me. I'm still trying to figure some of it out. I deal with a lot of compulsion emotions, stemming from years of negative self talk, not dealing with my past, and not learning how to manage my anger properly. It's sort of like have a mangled mess of electrical wires tied up in knots. I'm still trying to unravel the mess.

But, sadness is something I'm feeling more, it seems. Not in bad ways. I think it's good to allow yourself to feel sadness and grief. There is a tenderness to my heart that allows walls to crumble slightly, and that sadness transforms into compassion, and empathy. It allows me to be more open to others, to feel what they are feeling, to give and receive love. So, while I may still be working on my anger control issues, I believe that my ability to soften when times call for it has improved.

Right now, I am sad. There is no particular reason. Nothing bad has happened, I'm just blue. And that's ok. I feel stronger for it.

There is such an ignorant stigma attached to showing emotions, that I think it creates a disconnect between everyone. We're not built to be alone, we're not built to hurt one another. Yet, we won't show emotion, because we concluded in some asinine way that it means weakness. I for one think that a person who has the ability to show and share their emotion has incredible strength to allow that kind of vulnerability to be seen by society. I'm working on that (as I said, I hate crying in front of people) but it's a social conditioning I think we all learned at a very young age.

Society has a "don't worry - be happy" sort of mantra that is unrealistic. You can't be 100% happy 100% of the time. It's emotionally and physically impossible. Happiness triggers brain chemistry to react in a "Ok, this is familiar and safe" sort of way, while a negative mood or sadness leaves a person more open to being vigilant, non-judgmental, and attentive. Happiness and sadness both have benefits. But to say that you can achieve happiness or a positive attitude all of the time is just not possible, nor is it healthy. Again, societal standards - if you're positive and happy = successful, while being sad or negative = not successful. This is simply not true.

I guess what I'm saying is - don't rush past the pain and sadness. Allow yourself to feel, and process it. Something that took me 35 years to realize, it's ok to feel your feelings. And it's ok to not be happy again based on someone elses time frame.



Lemon Raspberry Low Carb Pancakes

Weekends are my favorite time for breakfast. Why? Because I can actually spend the time to make a delicious AND beautiful meal. During the week, everything is so rushed. This morning I got up at 7:30am - BJ was still asleep. Mornings on the weekend are always peaceful, and I don't mind getting up early. I make coffee, I write, I clean, and I cook.

Now that it is spring, we're looking for more fresh and light recipes to invent - whereas in the fall / winter we prepare warm and comforting. I've been very into lemon anything the past few weeks - hence the discovery of my lemon cheese danishes from a previous recipe.

So, today I made Low Carb lemon raspberry pancakes. This is light, and fresh, and a nice change up to an old favorite.



3 Large eggs
6 Ounces whipped cream cheese
1 Tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tsp lemon zest
3 Tbsp Erythritol or Truvia sweetener
1 Tsp Lemon extract
3 Tbsp coconut flour
1/2 cup fresh raspberries

In a large bowl, beat together eggs, cream cheese, lemon juice, and lemon extract. Add baking powder, Erythritol, and 1 Tbspn coconut flour. If the batter is still too thin, add 1 more Tbsp coconut flour. If still too thin, add the last 1 Tbsp of coconut flour. Fold in raspberries and lemon zest, but don't over mix and break them.

Spray griddle with coconut oil, and ladle 1/4 cup of the batter with 3-4 raspberries onto the griddle. I like to cover my pancakes while they cook on the first side. Once bubbles appear on the surface of the uncooked side, I gently flip to cook the other side until golden brown.



Serve with your favorite toppings. These are absolutely delicious - yet they taste as though you are eating something naughty. Low Carb, Sugar Free, Gluten Free, and all the great fresh tastes of spring. Bon Appetite!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Week 3 meal plan - this is going good!

I haven't weighed myself, but I am liking the structure of not having to guess what I'm going to eat, and when. I've never really been an overly organized person. I try, but most of the time, I end up falling back into old habits, and thus, mess. But, we've been doing really well with keeping to the plan, keeping to the portions, and eating within our carb limits for the day / week. I think after I become more comfortable with this structure, I will pay closer attention to my macros. I think that my fat / protein / carbs may need to be adjusted.

OH! We FINALLY have our home gym set up. BJ bought our weight bench last week, and it arrived Friday. We put it together last night, and had a 1 hour body smash session. Beast mode circuit that involved the elliptical, beating the shit out of the strike bag, pumping iron, swinging kettle bells, and squatting my ass away. It was nice to have the side door open with the cold night air filtering into the house - because let me tell you - it was fucking HOT in here last night.



So, onto planning this week.

Monday Breakfast - egg, cheese, bacon, bagel sandwich - 3 carbs
Monday Lunch - 4 ounces shrimp, 2 tbspn bang bang sauce - 3 carbs
Monday Snack - Avocado brownie - 2 carbs
Monday Dinner - Strip steak, sautéed mushrooms & onions - 4 carbs
Monday night snack - Lemon cream cheese Danish - 2 carbs
Monday total carbs - 14 carbs

Tuesday Breakfast - 2 scrambled eggs, 2 ounce chili meat, shredded cheese - 4 carbs
Tuesday Lunch - Pulled bbq pork w/ cheese tortilla wrap - 6 carbs
Tuesday Snack - Bagel w/ butter - 2 carbs
Tuesday Dinner - Fajita chicken w/ peppers, onions, mushrooms, and cheese - 5 carbs
Tuesday night snack - Whipped cream "ice cream" - 2 carbs
Tuesday total carbs - 19 carbs

Wednesday Breakfast - 2 cream cheese pancakes, 2 scrambled eggs w/ cheese, 2 piece bacon - 4 carbs
Wednesday Lunch - Tuna cakes w/ tartar sauce, salad w/ tomato and chicken - 3 carbs
Wednesday Snack - 12 slices pepperoni & 2 ounces cubed cheese - 2 carbs
Wednesday Dinner - BBQ Pork Quesadilla - 10 carbs
Wednesday night snack - Lemon cream cheese Danish - 2 carbs
Wednesday total carbs - 21 carbs

Thursday Breakfast - 2 fried eggs, 2 slices bacon, 2 slices fried bologna - 3 carbs
Thursday Lunch - Strawberry chicken pecan spinach salad with blueberry vinaigrette - 4 carbs
Thursday Snack - Shrimp with 2 tbspn cocktail sauce - 3 carbs
Thursday Dinner - Spaghetti squash w/ taco meat - 12 carbs
Thursday total carbs - 22 carbs

Friday Breakfast - Egg, cheese, bacon bagel sandwich - 3 carbs
Friday Lunch - Pulled pork soft taco wrap - 7 carbs
Friday Snack - Bagel w/ butter - 2 carbs Friday dinner - Crab stuffed baby bella mushrooms - 8 carbs
Friday total carbs - 20 carbs

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Low Carb Lemon Cheese Danishes - OMG YUM!

There are just some days where I NEED something comforting like a Danish. You call it a special occasion, I call it Tuesday. So, maybe I want Danishes all the time. At least now I can have them (all the time if I wanted) because I've developed a low carb version that hits all the right lemony notes, and keeps me satisfied.

Ingredients:

8 large organic eggs - separated. Whites in one bowl, yolks in another. I prefer to use glass bowls for this, not plastic.
1 additional large egg - not separated. Set aside.
16 ounces WHIPPED cream cheese - separated into two 8 ounce quantities.
1 tsp baking powder
Lemon juice (will give measurements below - I keep a bottle on hand in the fridge. You can use fresh if you like). 1 Tsp lemon extract
1 Tsp vanilla extract
Erythritol sugar alcohol - granulated (will give measurements below) 4 tbspn coconut flour - separated 2 & 2

In one bowl, beat the egg whites with 1 tsp baking powder, and 2 Tbsp granulated Erythritol until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In second bowl, beat the yolks with 8 ounces whipped cream cheese, 2 Tbsp granulated Erythritol, 1 tsp lemon extract, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 3 Tbsp lemon juice. Add 1 Tbsp coconut flour, and beat until smooth. If the batter is still too loose, add 1 more Tbsp of coconut flour, and beat again. It should be the consistency of a thicker pancake batter.

Take 1/3 of the egg white mixture, and gently fold into the yolk batter. DO NOT OVER MIX. Take another 1/3 of egg whites, and do the same until all the egg whites are incorporated, and the batter is light, fluffy, and doubled in volume. If you overmix the egg whites, they will deflate, and you will have a runny mean. So, make sure you only fold in until just incorporated.



Spoon about 1/4 cup of the mixture into circles onto a parchment lined baking sheet.



Set aside. In a clean bowl, mix the other 8 ounces of whipped cream cheese, 1 large egg, 3 Tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 cup granulated Erythritol. Add 1 Tbspn coconut flour, and mix. Let stand a few minutes to allow to thicken. Once thickened, drop approximately 2 tbspn worth of the lemon cream mixture into the center of the egg white base on the baking sheets from earlier.

Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 8-10 minutes - until golden brown.



Allow to cool completely before serving. Recipe makes 18-24 danishes, depending on how big you make them on the cookie sheets.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Meal plan Week 2!!! Low carb, and lovin' it!

So, week 1 of meal plan went good. Tomorrow we finish it off with the last of our groceries we bought last week. I believe that we will not only see that we're eating less carbs, more healthy foods, but it going to cost less, too.

Monday - Breakfast:
Bagel, egg, cheese, bacon - 3 carbs

Monday - Lunch:
Spinach chicken salad with strawberries and pecans. Homemade blueberry dressing - 8 carbs

Monday - Dinner:
Shrimp w/ bang-bang sauce, garlic butter scallops, asparagus spears - 4 carbs

Monday - Snacks:
12 Pepperoni slices w/ cheese cubes - 2 carbs

Monday total carbs: 17 carbs


Tuesday - Breakfast:
2 cream cheese pancakes, 2 scrambled eggs, 2 slices bacon, SF Maple syrup - 4 carbs

Tuesday - Lunch - Chicken pita sandwich with sargento cheese, mayo, and lettuce - 3 carbs

Tuesday - Dinner - Fajita chicken with onions, peppers, and cheese. Broccoli w/ butter. - 5 carbs

Tuesday - Snack - Bagel with butter - 2 carbs


Tuesday total carbs - 14 Carbs


Wednesday - Breakfast:
2 scrambled eggs, chili meat, and shredded cheese, 2 slices bacon - 5 carbs

Wednesday - Lunch - Tuna cakes w/ tartar sauce, shrimp w/ bang bang sauce - 3 carbs

Wednesday - Dinner - Steak rolls with mushroom pork rind stuffing, grilled zucchini - 3 carbs

Wednesday - Snack - Lemon Danish - 2 carbs

Wednesday total carbs - 13 carbs


Thursday - Breakfast:
Cream cheese waffle w/ strawberry compote, 2 scrambled eggs w/ cheese, 2 slices bacon - 5 carbs

Thursday - Lunch - Spinach salad with chicken, avocado ,tomato, and cucumber - 5 carbs

Thursday - Dinner - Crab stuffed portabella mushroom caps, asparagus spears - 5 carbs

Thursday - Snack - whipped cream ice cream - 4 carbs

Thursday total carbs - 19 carbs


Friday - Breakfast:
Bagel, egg, cheese, sausage sandwich - 5 carbs

Friday - Lunch - sauted mushroom, onion, cheese pita sandwich - 5 carbs

Friday - Dinner - Porkchops with caramelized onion and bacon dressing - 5 carbs

Friday - Snack - lemon cream cheese Danish - 2 carbs

Friday total carbs - 17 carbs

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Low Carb Meal Plan for the week

I'm really bad at keeping track of things. Car keys, cell phone, calories... you know, normal stuff. I decided I need to write out a plan ahead of time for what I plan on having this week, before I put it in my mouth. Good call, right?

So, here goes. This is my meal plan for this next week with carb counts.

Monday - Breakfast:
1 Low Carb everything bagel from NetTrition website - 2 net carbs
2 Fried eggs with salt & pepper - 1 carb
1 Slice American cheese - 1 carb
2 Slices bacon - 0 carbs
Total breakfast: 4 net carbs

Lunch:
2 cups Spinach - 2 carbs
4 ounces chicken - 0 carbs
4 Medium strawberries, sliced - 3 net carbs
3 TBSPN homemade blueberry vinaigrette - 2 carbs
1/4 Cup chopped peacans - 1.2 Net carbs
Total lunch: 8.2 net carbs

Snack:
1 Low carb pumpkin spice bagel from NetTrition - 2 net carbs
Butter - 0 carbs
Total snack: 2 net carbs

Dinner:
1 T-bone steak with salt and pepper - 0 carbs
6 spears asparagus with butter, salt, and pepper - 1.5 carbs
1/2 cup oven roasted radishes - 2.4 carbs
Total dinner: 3.9 net carbs


Total for day: 19.1 carbs


Tuesday - Breakfast:
3 Strawberry protein cream cheese pancakes - 4 net carbs
1/4 cup sugar free butter flavor maple syrup - 1 carb
2 eggs, scrambled - 1 carb
Total breakfast: 6 net carbs

Lunch:
2 cups Spinach - 2 carbs
4 ounce chicken - 0 carbs
1/2 avocado, sliced - 1 carb
2 slices bacon, crumbled - 0 carbs
3 Tbsp Low Carb white bbq sauce dressing - 1 carb
Total Lunch: 4 net carbs

Snack:
1 Low carb cinnamon bagel - 2 net carbs
Butter - 0 carbs
Total snack: 2 net carbs

Dinner:
4 Ounces chicken breast - 0 carbs
1/4 cup white bbq sauce - 2 carbs
1 cup Brussel sprouts roasted in bacon fat - 4 carbs
Total dinner: 6 net carbs

Total for day: 18 carbs


Wednesday - Breakfast:
4 eggs, scrambled - 2 carbs
3 ounces taco / chili beef - 3 carbs
1 slice Colby jack cheese - .5 carbs
Total breakfast: 5.5 carbs

Lunch:
Un-wich - 1 iceburg lettuce leaf, 2 tbspn mayo, 2 slices bacon, 1 ounce chicken = 1 net carb
1 ounce pork rinds - 0 carbs
4 Tbsp salsa - 3 carbs
Total lunch: 4 carbs

Snack:
12 slices pepperoni - 2 carbs
2 ounces cheese cubes - 0 carbs
Total snack: 2 carbs

Dinner:
5 Homemade meat balls with cheese centers with pork rind crumbs instead of bread crumbs - 0 carbs
1/2 cup low carb marinara - 2 carbs
1/4 cup shredded parmesan romano cheese - 1 carb
1/2 cup cauli rice - 1 carb
Total dinner: 4 carbs

Total for day: 15.5 carbs


Thursday - Breakfast:
2 Strawberry protein cream cheese waffles - 4 net carbs
Butter - 0 carbs
1/4 cup sugar free maple syrup - 1 carb
2 slices bacon - 0 carbs
Total breakfast: 5 carbs

Lunch:
5 leftover meat balls w/ sauce - 2 carbs
1/2 cup cauli rice - 1 carb
Carb Quick cheddar biscuit - 2 carbs
Total Lunch: 5 carbs

Snack:
1 Low carb everything bagel with cream cheese - 3 net carbs
Total snack - 3 net carbs


Dinner:
Rib eye steak with butter, salt, and pepper - 0 carbs
3 sliced white mushrooms sauted in butter - 3 carbs
1 small zucchini - grilled - 2.5 carbs
Total dinner: 5.5 carbs

Total for day: 18.5 carbs


Friday - Breakfast:
1 Everything bagel - 2 net carbs
2 fried eggs - 1 carb
1 slice American cheese - 1 carb
2 slices bacon - 0 carbs
Total breakfast: 4 carbs

Lunch:
2 cups spinach - 2 carbs
4 ounces chicken mixed with 1 tsp taco seasoning - 1 carb
2 Tbspn salsa - 1.5 carbs
2 ounces shredded cheese - 1 carb
1/2 Avocado, sliced - 1 carb
Total Lunch: 6.5 carbs

Snack:
12 slices pepperoni - 2 carbs
2 ounces cubed cheese - 0 carbs
Total snack: 2 carbs

Dinner:
Sirloin steak - pounded out thin, with pork rind onion mushroom stuffing - 3 carbs
1/2 cup low carb marinara - 2 carbs
Broccoli and cauliflower, steamed, with butter - 2 carbs
Total dinner: 7 carbs

Total for day: 19.5 carbs