Want to see what I’ve been eating lately?

I track my food at Daily Plate on Livestrong. Yeah I realize Livestrong is sort of a giant facepalm now, but I’ve been a member for quite some time and they have a huge bank of food items, so tracking food is super easy. Don’t worry, I don’t pay them, AND I use AdBlock (haha, take that!). Anyway, I’ve noticed that when you eat really clean, it’s actually pretty hard to eat ENOUGH calories, especially after you take exercise into account. We went out a couple of times in the past few days, which was a little refreshing, as we hadn’t gone out for food since all of this happened. Having intense food restrictions kind of puts a damper on going out to eat if you have to ask people what’s in everything. Fortunately for me, Asian food is mostly gluten and dairy-free, and also happens to be tasty and pretty much what I eat at home anyway. I try to plug in what I think I ate and figure that there are probably 100-200 more calories in oil/fats on top of that.

I’d prefer to embed my diary but I haven’t figured out how to do that or whether it’s possible, so click on this link if you are really that interested in what I’m putting in my face these days: food food food

My cooking crowning achievement this week has been making my own creamy, dairy-free salad dressing. If you think it sounds tasty, you may be required to go to an Asian grocery store, but I’m sure you can handle it.

Spicy Coconut Milk Salad Dressing

1 can of coconut milk (I use Chaokoh)
1 TBSP fish sauce (I use Tiparos. If you can’t find Tiparos, fish sauce should only have fish, salt, and sugar, so look at the ingredients list before you settle on a brand)
1.5 TBSP sesame oil (I use Kadoya, but as long as your sesame oil is pure any brand will do)
2 TBSP sriracha (The one, the only)
Juice of one lemon

Shake your can of coconut milk before you open it. I recommend you move the coconut milk to a different vessel to mix lest you waste precious, precious milk on your countertop. Mix with a fork or a whisk. It’s kind of watery, but does the trick. A serving would be probably around 1/8 cup. Pour the rest into a mason jar and put it in the fridge. If it’s too fishy or too spicy you could always reduce either the fish sauce or the sriracha. Conversely, if it’s not fishy or spicy enough, just get more liberal with the squeezy bottle! If anyone paying attention has any (dairy and gluten-free) ways to thicken this up, I’m all ears.

LA has big roaches

The roaches in LA are huge. Like, obnoxiously huge. Like tropical Asia huge (reference). I live in downtown LA, right across from Pershing Square. Pershing Square is supposed to be a park, but mostly ends up being a sleeping area for the local homeless population and a place for protests to gather. If you’ve never been to LA, LA is a lot different than other cities. Downtown LA is NOT the pride and joy of the city. Sure there are a ton of office buildings and hotels, but depending on your location, downtown can be a not very nice place to live.


Getting stroooonger

My location, across from Pershing Square park AND Metro station puts me in one of the undesirable areas of downtown. The bonus piece is the automatic public toilet right outside of the metro station, which seems to be abused as a den of drug use and other questionable, illegal activities.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is it’s dirty. And when it’s warm and dirty year-round, what happens? That’s right, roaches. They are everywhere. These aren’t your average, run of the mill roaches. These roaches have evolved. They don’t scurry away when they see you coming. LA roaches stand their ground. LA roaches hang out in the daylight with no problems. LA roaches fly. You’ll be standing at the corner, waiting for the light to change, and the roaches are waiting with you. That’s right, they have evolved enough to use the crosswalks. These roaches must have seen Rocky in the 80s and felt like they could make something of themselves.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this blog post. But, roaches. UGH. Been here 2 months now and I still can’t get used to them. Our apartment building is full of children, apparently. They like to leave food waste in the halls and when something won’t fit in the trash chute, instead of taking it down to the dumpster they leave it in the hallway. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!! My building has a roach problem. We have roach proofed our apartment with weather stripping under the door, diatomaceous earth under the appliances and under the sink, roach motels, etc. We keep our apartment as clean as possible. No food is left out overnight and all open food packages go into the fridge. The unfortunate reality of roaches though, is, if your neighbors have them, well, you’re screwed. The people who lived here before us must have let a few adult roaches in because we had a couple of eggs, which is what we’re dealing with now (and that is fortunately easy, because the only roaches we’re killing are babies and once they’re all dead we should be good). But, in a place like this, sometimes they’ll just get in, whether they climb up through the drains or sneak in while you’re carrying groceries or something. From what I can tell from talking to other people who have lived in LA, roaches are just a fact of life here. :(

You know where else roaches are a fact of life? Florida/the south. People will tell you, “Oh, we have ‘palmetto bugs.’” Mofo, no you don’t. You have ROACHES. The term “palmetto bug” was invented so people didn’t have to fully realize the reality of living with flying roaches. At least LA isn’t deluded in THAT regard.

Some day I’ll get used to it. Some day. In the mean time, I’m too grossed out to squish any roaches larger than the babies. They’re just so huge. :(

So what does all of this mean?

It's sooo beautiful!!

It’s sooo beautiful!!

So I might have MS. Big whoop right? Well yeah, it kind of is (I’m kind of a big deal you know). Considering how many times I’ve posted on this blog about “new ways of life, man!”, you can sort of imagine that this is, I guess, a theme in my life. I’m fat, have been pretty much my entire life. My life is a revolving door of diets and failed “lifestyle changes.” It sucks to say it but I have a history of not being able to stick to a plan. Even when I’ve been successful, been seeing results, I screw up once and that’s the end of it all. It sucks even more to say that a health issue might finally make me buckle down and stick to something. If I’m on a diet or something and I mess up or cheat, it’s not that big of a deal. Yeah it sucks that I screwed up my diet but it’s not going to really hurt me.

But what if screwing up my diet DID hurt me? What if I discovered that I have a condition that’s exacerbated by alcohol? What if I decide to have a pizza and then the next day I can’t freaking walk? That’s kind of what’s going on at the moment. I haven’t seen a doctor yet so right now I’m just researching and speculating, but I can say with certainty that whatever is going on in my brain does NOT play well with alcohol. So I stopped drinking.

I also stopped eating gluten and dairy, and I’m trying to avoid soy. The dairy… I have a theory that I’ve actually been sensitive to dairy my whole life. I’ve been getting migraines since age 8. From ages 8 through 20, I suffered through frequent migraines. When I moved out of my parent’s house, the migraines mysteriously stopped. When I lived with my parents I drank a TON of milk – probably 2-3 huge glasses of milk EVERY DAY. When I moved out, I was a broke ass college student and I couldn’t afford to drink that much milk… so I stopped drinking that much milk. Is it a coincidence that the migraines stopped when I stopped drinking so much milk? Maaayyybeee… I chalked it up to moving out of my parents house and being less stressed by family life, but since I really never picked the milk habit back up, the (frequent) migraines never really returned, and I have DEFINITELY been more stressed than I was in my parents house since age 20.

Gluten is easy to cut out when cooking at home, but eating out is more of a challenge. I can’t just walk into a Subway and pick up a sub anymore. I would say I’m completely off of soy, but soy seems to literally be in EVERYTHING. So, I’m mostly just avoiding it whenever possible. Why gluten, dairy, and soy? Gluten and dairy because they’re common allergies and generally inflammatory things to eat. Soy for the same reasons, but also because it sometimes mimics different human hormones when consumed frequently.

So basically, I’ve become your quintessential whiny Californian with lots of dietary restrictions. :) I think I’m OK with this – at least for now. It forces me to take a closer look at my food intake and what’s on the labels of packaged/processed foods. Does this mean I’m never going to eat bread again? No. Does this mean I’ll never quaff beers while out with friends or on vacation? Nope. I am definitely going to be strict the next few months while I deconstruct my life and rebuild, but I’m not outright banning anything. Maybe I don’t have MS. Maybe I do but I can mostly avoid dealing with it by being careful about my diet most of the time.

I do need to learn to manage my stress better. I have a tendency to push myself and keep pushing until I can’t take it anymore, then my body steps in and lays me out on my ass. Clearly I can’t do that anymore. Fitness has been, so far, the best stress relief I’ve experienced. Focusing on fitness forces me to take a half hour or an hour to shut off my brain and concentrate on intervals, times, or sets/reps. Pushing myself back into fitness will have the dual benefit of stress relief and keeping my muscles in shape. Keeping my muscles in shape is more important now, because if I have another flare-up, muscle weakness will hopefully be lessened by keeping more active, stronger muscles.

I’ve also been thinking about taking some meditation classes. You jerks can laugh all you want about that one. #california

The saga continues…

When I left off my other blog post, I had plenty more to write but I was starting to get fatigued. I finished my course of steroids over the weekend but with last week’s events I’m still sort of figuring out my energy levels. I had fully intended to finish that long ass blog entry on Sunday night but my brain didn’t want to work anymore, so here I am.

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Free with your cross-country move: An auto-immune disease?

So Ann, it’s been 2 years since you posted on this blog. Certainly there must have been a few exciting events since the last time you posted. Well, you would be correct. In fact, something so exciting has happened that I’m using this blog to work through my thoughts about it! I went to the hospital! My life has changed drastically since last Saturday (9/28). Let’s start from the beginning… [by the way this is a REALLY LONG ENTRY and I'm splitting it into two parts, so, sorry for the cliffhanger]

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