Friday, February 8, 2013

Winter Weather Blahs

So the weather has been less than delightful the last month or so. The storms and cold air have taken a toll on my family. First we were in an accident that caused our SUV to be in repair for 5 weeks leaving us slightly off-kilter to say the least. Secondly we are Irish & Welsh which means the cold air is abusive to our skin. My kiddos are chapped from head to toe with mom in dad in a close second place. We have been cooped up inside for these reasons and its caused a lovely panic in our house of whining, crying and my back being oh so sore.... So what does a gal in distress do? She knits!! She cooks!! She does yoga!!

Below is the result...

The Superbowl was this past weekend and we went to a friends house for a party. A good guest always brings something yummy so we brought beef with Gorgonzola sauce for dipping - Yum! The recipe is from Ina Garten and it was beyond delish!


 The flu/bug that has been floating around has been brutal this year and I was lucky enough to pick it up. After 3 days of nausea I made this yummy Gluten Free minestrone soup. I added a 1/2 slice of Neapolitan pizza but was only able to eat 1/2 of what you see. I was a little sick. But the food was uber yummy.

Another fun thing to do in the freezing is knit! And knit this gal did. A hat for muah and 2 sweaters for my darling daughter. She is such a fun model but next up needs to be wee-boy because hes just as sweet.

After knitting and cooking my back was particularly ornery so yoga was a requirement (plus, I love it and dont do it enough to serve my addiction)

 So thats all. If you are in the region of NEMO, please keep warm and safe!


inspired by: knitting, winter, and kids
cheers, meg

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Gluten Free Spaghetti & Meatballs

Every once in a while a good recipe occurs (by happenstance) and ill snap a pic and write down the recipe to remember. Some friends on Facebook liked this latest & greatest and a few asked for the recipe so I thought... lets add it to the newly revived blog!

Preface: I am NOT Celiac. I have Gluten allergies and we live a 90% GF lifestyle. From the research I have done everything below is Gluten Free, but please check to be sure if you have Celiac.

2 lbs of Tomato Puree (when things are lull and im fiesty ill make my own, but there are a lot of great brands available if you dont have the time.)
1/3 cup of sugar
3 tbs garlic salt
1 tbs paprika
1 tbs celery salt
3 garlic cloves crushed
A pinch of basil, rosemary and red wine (if you dont have the wine, it still tastes yummy!)
Salt to taste

I let it simmer on low for about 2 hours then Ill add 1/3 cup of parm cheese about an hour before serving. If you are making meatballs, I like to add them in to simmer for about an hour as well. YUM!


2 lbs ground beef (I like 85/15)
1/3 cup of Gluten Free Breadcrumbs or Panko
1 XL large egg
2 tbs garlic salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 tbs celery salt
5 garlic cloves (we love garlic!)
1 small onion minced
1 small green pepper minced

Roll them into balls, then put in a baking tray for 20 min at 350. I then take them out and put them in the sauce to cook further and with the sauce to make them extra juicy!


We only use quinoa spaghetti. Here is our favorite brand (You can find it at Wegmans in Dickson Cit as well as Amazon)

And that's it! Happy eating!

inspired by: FOOD!
cheers, meg

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A year in the life...

I cant believe its almost been a year. So much has happened!  Well, to begin, here are my "babies" now, all beautiful and a year older. Im so lucky to have them as my kids. They bring my life and light every day.(Thank you to my amazing friend Paula and her photo skills for capturing their smiles for me).

I suppose updates are in store:

We are in our home 1 1/2 years and love it. The kids are so happy and comfortable here its been a huge blessing to us.

My business, Keen Bean Design is going great! We have grown to 7 strong and I have been blessed to have met some amazing people through the growing process. We have big plans and have a great team so expect big things! :)

Im still Gluten Free (well mostly) NO real pastas and limited breads. Everything else, GF and happy. Even the kiddos like it (they still have me pick up cheese crackers and pop-tarts on occasion) When I stick to it 100% digestion is amazing. So it really shows how your body is in tune with your surrounds and consumption. Luckily Rob and the wee-ones are great with the choices and love my homemade breads :)! Today NEPAmom featured 2 of my recipes - HERE

Our garden last year was great, but the deer and squirrels were a huge problem. This year we are re-designing for a new layout to prevent the critters from getting in and eating all of our goodies!

My back is still bad. Im at the University of Penn now and they are really trying. I beg them not to give up on me. That I will fullfill my promises to be active like I was if they can help. Dr. A Popescu is great and he sees the importance of being active and painfree!

Im back to knitting and loving it. Some FO's: More to come :)

Im still practicing Yoga, although my back has been so bad its been tough. Im starting from scratch which is really frustrating but there is not other choice. I love doing it and it helps so fighting through the pain is the only plan. I go to a great PT Clinic: Body Dynamic - they are working with me through deep tissue, pilates, yoga and soon pilates equipment! Im very excited. Sounds silly but only a few years ago I could like 100lbs and could climb a tree TO save my life! I was strong and active. Through the last 5 years physically its hard but it has affected me mentally. I have battled bouts of "depression" for lack of a better word b/c my life is so different. Trying to remain positive and fill my life with the tools needed to get back up that tree!

So I suppose thats all. If any of my followers are still out there - please let me know how you are doing! I have missed you!! xoxo

inspired by: 2012

cheers, meg

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Food Allergy Results....

Today the results came in and boy, did they come in. I am allergic to quite a few things. Our grocery list will be significantly changing and our eating habits will be dramatically different. ANY guidance, suggestions, recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Im very nervous & excited to start this journey but am very uneducated on it.

Im thinking of buying a bread machine b/c we consume a lot of bread and gluten free bread & dough is quite pricey. Any recommendations on machines you love?

Cereals & Cookies & Pasta will be bought,and our garden will supplement our veggies, but until then - the store will be the source of shopping for those items as well.

The Results: 
Score of 0-2 Score of 3-5 Score of 6+

Butter Apricot Peach
Crab Blueberry Pineapple
Cantelope Barley Corn-Yellow
Salmon Grapefruit Gluten
Lettuce - Leaf Lemon Wheat
Sweet Potato Orange Aspartame
Yogurt - Cow Spelt High Fructose - Corn

Corn Syrup Corn Oil

Sugar - Beet

Milk - Cow

What do the numbers mean?

0-2 : consume not often - once a month (at the very most)
3-5 : consume rarely - a few times a year (at the very most)
6+ : avoid entirely

So the doctor told me the good news is that my energy will increase, my back pain will decrease and I will have an overall big improvement in life. I am very excited for that but am intimidated as to where to start.

He also told me that I need to decrease stress. That my work habits, c-section surgeries, motherhood, & life are taking a toll and I need to be kinder to myself. Im not sure how to do that. I need to do the things I do and cannot limit the time I invest in any of it. So how do I fit in "relaxation"? Its very frustrating. 

Any advice would be great - please!
inspired by: the possibilities of feeling GOOD!
cheers, meg

Friday, February 3, 2012

Another Amazing Medical Phenom

Hello again :) Since the last time I posted a few new amazing blessings have entered my life and my health. I cant tough enough how my OBGYN (actually a DO) helped me in treatment of my thyroid problems. But she told me that it isnt her specialty and at some point it would be wise to have a specialist involved. (i love truthful physicians :) ) Anyway, a friend of mine had an amazing experience with a Dr about an hour + away and recommended I go. So last week I brought all of my labwork results and headed to Bangor, PA. I met with an AMAZING doctor. He is an MD with his specialty being general practice, but he is also a DO (doctor of osteopathy) . He is a lovely man (looks about 65) and sat with me for an hour and a half telling me there is hope for my plethera of issues. He told me the weight gain, dry skin, lack of energy, thinning hair, swollen neck etc are NOT normal. He promptly scheduled me for a "Stealth Test & an Organ Function Test". I needed to come back in a week for those tests and to come right upstairs (without an appointment!) for him to read them to me and explain whats happening. He assured me: You Will Be Better.

So yesterday I went and had the tests done. My mom came with me and we headed out for lunch, came back and within 7 minutes, he called me back to talk about my results. Now, I now people are sensitive to sharing information. I understand and wouldnt share anything I didnt feel would help others. Its my personal preference in this case. I think after 8 years of suffering, I question home many others are too?

Below are the test results:

As you can see from the first test, there are a series of "parasites & viruses" they found. Dont fear its not what you think. Basically from living life, people pick up certain parasites. These are not from exotic trips but from just breathing air. But those parasites attack healthy organs when your body is under duress - stress, antibiotics, major illnesses or injury. With 2 young kids, a business & a household - stress is my issue. The viruses come from receiving vaccines as a child that help the mumps and other various illnesses. Your body normally gets rid of this traces of the live virus, but in my case, it hung on to the "mumps". I have never had them, but my body acknowledged its existence when it went into duress with both C-sections. I am NOT saying do not get vaccinated - I believe in vaccination, I am just explaining what can happen as a result. 

So to fix these issues, I will be going through a series of cleanses for 18 days each to eliminate these issues. He informed me after the series is complete - 6 months - I will not have these issues AND my "old self" will be back. My metabolism, energy, skin, hair etc. My sleep will be improved, my fogginess cleared. I cannot stress how I cannot wait!

The second test, tested my organ function. I am VERY proud to say - LOOK AT MY BRAIN! w00t! However some of my other organs (not ironically the ones that aid in energy, health, metabolism and growth) are low. There is a series of live organ cell shots that I have begun. One a week for 6 weeks. After those 6 weeks I will be retested. They feel after the 6 weeks, all organ function will improve and be above the average mark - INCLUDING my brain. They have only had 2 above 90 - so far - I cant wait to see where mine ends up. I always knew I could be and feel better. I look forward to feeling energized and functioning again.

Next week I will also be going for additional food testing. The food test I did shows a strong chance of me being allergic to gluten. If that is the case, major lifestyle adjustments will be had. Luckily I have a great husband who is on board to change his lifestyle as well and supports any changes we need to make in food. :)

After the 6 weeks, I will post the results and after the 6 months I will do the same. I am also continuing my pilates & yoga practices as well as my PT. I am not relying on these cleanses and shots exclusively.

My reasons for being proactive are simple: I want to be the parent my kids deserve. 

inspired by: real doctors, my children, the future, having myself back again!!
cheers, meg

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hypothyroid & an Experiment

Im going to do an experiment after recently seeing an image of myself 1 month prior to starting thyroid treatments. I will post my updates here along with my regular life events. But this is very important to me. Important bc for several years I have been ignored my modern medicine and im through with their bullshit. Would you like to hear a brief timeline?

(you can laugh now b/c below truly is brief. I didnt have the patience or emotional where with all to post every detail. But trust me, you would have lost it like I did)

2003 - complained of "out of the blue" exhaustion, slow weight gain, thinning hair, constipation, dry skin ++.  First I saw my primary care who did nothing, went to an endocrinologist - said its age, went to a rheumetologist - said I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? What? I explained to all 3 that I am very active. That I multitask well & have noticed a fog in my mind where total clarity once existed. They claimed it was engagement stress. NOPE. I even went to Penn to be checked there and they said even though my antibody test (a test I had to BEG and BERATE for came back off the charts - 496 when it should be between 0 and 30) they said - YOURE FINE. Fine because my TSH level was "normal" *cough cough* bullshit.

2004 - married! (contrary to some - very happily)Since nobody did anything last year Id thought Id do the same process all over b/c I had no clue what else to do.... cue instruments.... "please send me for tests" "please look at my hair loss, dry skin, constipation, weight gain! please help me" NOPE YOURE FINE. Seriously? I spent 29 years of my life one way and now I feel totally different. They sent me to counseling. My counseler said I was depressed. UM, YES because I feel like a totally different person. They handed me medication and sent me on my way.

2005 - 2010 - 2 beautiful babies were born and I fluctuated from feeling OK to feeling HORRIBLE. My weight went up and down finally settling in at 20 lbs more than 2004. In 2010 I started a Vinyasa Yoga class and loved it. It helped me lose a bit of weight and I felt good. I had to stop the once-a-week class due to an existing upper back issue. Here is a picture of my in Feb 2011, one month after stopping Vinyasa:

Now I am going to talk weights & measures. I want to preface with - the info I provide is for ME, not you or anyone else my height, weight, gender, ethnicity etc. im not looking for guidance on my weight and im not looking to promote or aid in unhealthy OR healthy weight habits. Im staing this b/c I think for the overall - it is very important. 

I am 5'11 and prior to 2003 was in the 140's. I was comfortable and was a size 8. I have been a size 8 for the better part of my life and my weight has fluctuated from 130 - 142 throughout my 20's. Sometimes landing me at a size 6, but for the most part an 8. I was married at 153, got pregnant with my first child at 157, lost all the weight after, then put on 6lbs to 163 when I got pregnant with my second. At this point Im 33 and understand the 140's maybe out of reach but a size 8 with proper exercise & diet should be attainable. NOPE. After my second was born I went back to life and settled in at 165. With Vinyasa I lost and stayed stagnant at 157 - I was thrilled. Then in Feb I noticed a slow weight gain. You might think its b/c I stopped vinyasa. But it wasnt. I stopped the once a week class but kept my daily practice and added walking into the mix. I limited soda and lowered my sodium. All to no avail. By June i was 171 and very unhappy. My hair was thin and my symptoms were all coming back......

June 2011 - My longtime general practitioner retired and i had to choose a new one - I chose one that my friend recommended. He told me (after my brief - haha) explanation that im 36 and should accept that i will not have my old body back and will not have the energy and clarity i once did. he basically said roll over and die. I was mortified. I told him that im an active mom and need to feel like myself and weighing as much as i did at 7 months pregnant isnt normal for me, esp when the weight gain was in a 4 month time span. He completely dismissed it all.

Oct 2011 - I was asked to participate in a WEC (Woman's Entrepreneurial Center) video for our local Univerisity. I recently saw it and was mortified at my appearance. See below:

I couldnt believe my neck! The ring! The puffiness of my face! I was shocked. I hopped on the scale and it read 181. I burst into tears. I have changed nothing in my lifestyle to have gained 30lbs in 7 months and yet there it was tied with a ribbon of ring around my neck.

November 2011 - I begged my OBGYN (actually a DO) to send me for TSH bloodwork but also antibodies as well. I told her everything. She was my doctor for both pregnancies, knows me as a normal woman, not a nut. And low and behold my antibody count was 276. She put me on a starting dose of 25 mg of Synthroid.

Dec 1 2011 - I started the Synthroid. Within 1 week my ring disappeared. DISAPPEARED! i also stopped losing chunks of hair in the show daily. To top it off, 5lbs fell off in a 7 days. Seriously.

Today is Jan 2, 2012 - I have been on the medication 1 month. Here is what my neck and face look like now:

The moral of this is: If you are one & in tune with your body - follow your instincts. I need to increase the medication and will be playing with the dosage for years, surely, however, someone finally listed to me. Someone finally acknowledged that I was suffering and needed help. Someone heard. I will never allow anyone tell me to roll over and die. To them I give them the royal Fuck off!

I will be charting my progress for a year through workouts, food journaling and growth in my yoga & pilates practice. My ultimate goal is to be STRONG & COMFORTABLE in my body at whatever weight I end up in. (hopefully a weight that gets me in my pre-baby pants again!) small steps. <3
inspired by: good health
cheers, meg

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A warm November day

The last 2 weeks have been brutal with the kids being sick and lovingly passing it on to me (lol) so when we had this warm November day - I thought - perfect time to go out and blow the stink off of us! My friend Betsy told me about this amazing place - Spring Hills Farm - 6 miles from our house (I KNOW!) and I packed the kids in the car and off we went.

Hannah, Harrison & I went to the Spring Hills Farm to pick up a wreath, maple syrup and pick out our Christmas Tree (waiting until Wednesday so Daddy can come too! :) ) and while we were there they let us roam the property, look at the sheep, chickens & roosters and very cool old cemetery across the street (the resting place of the 2 original owning families dating back as far as the revolutionary war! We had a blast and can't wait til Wednesday to go back!



inspired by: being outdoors

cheers, meg