My One Year Anniversary

Today is exactly one year since I took control of my health and started eating healthy, cutting out all processed foods and replacing them with nutrient dense foods. I began with the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) Diet which is like the Paleo Diet but it also eliminates nuts, seeds, legumes, night shades, dairy, and eggs.

I never cheated on the diet except 3 times by having a tortilla while eating out with friends and family. Other than that I do all my cooking at home using only organic produce and grass-fed/wild-caught/free range meats. Nine months ago I started going to the Functional Medicine Department at the Cleveland Clinic and with the guidance of a doctor and nutritionist I have reintroduced eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes into my diet.

My auto immune diseases (Dermatomyositis, Arthritis Lupus, Sjogren’s & Graves’ Disease) are not all in complete remission but they are under control enough to get me off the 9 prescription I was taking including IVIG infusions at the hospital. The only prescription I take now is 3 mg of prednisone. I was taking 12-20 mg of prednisone for 23 years, and several times a year my rheumatologist would bump me up to 60mg taper. I have now lost all of that prednisone bloat and am down 50 pounds to what I weighed in my early 20’s.

Last year I was bedridden with no hope for recovery. The medications I had been taking not only stopped working, but their side effects were making me even sicker than the illness itself. Long term steroid use was giving me rosacea worse than the lupus rash. I could not get my sugar under 300 even though my family doctor kept increasing the Metformin dose. I am off the Metformin and no longer need my blood pressure, cholesterol and beta blocker prescriptions. No more immunosuppressant, anti-inflammatories, or analgesics either.

I recently tried reintroducing grains (i.e. arrowroot and rice) night shades, and legumes, but due to an autoimmune skin flare I’ve temporarily stopped all to see if one of them is the culprit. I still have a glucose sensitivity so I’ve cut back on all fruits except for berries, kiwi & pomegranate.

Learning yoga, getting regular cardio & strength training, reducing stress, avoiding toxins, and getting nine hours of sleep a night has significantly helped too. It’s a lifestyle change but well worth it to get my life back from hopelessness one year ago to realizing my dream of opening my own gallery downtown. So Happy Anniversary to me!

LorraineMarcellaIf anyone is suffering with autoimmunity and has any questions I would be glad to share what I’ve learned this past year with you. Everyone’s recovery plan is as individual as they are but I have gained a lot of knowledge from research and personal experience and some things are universal.

 

 

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Basil Day

It’s Basil Day At Marcella House!

This morning I took the potted basil out of my windowsill herb garden and set it on the coffee table. I decided it’s time to educate myself on herbs so the plan is to learn about a new herb every day. I sat on the couch in front of the basil plant with Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs and read the whole section on basil. I had pinched off a leaf and rubbed it between my fingers to release it’s fragrance as I read. When I was done I got the kitchen scissors out and pruned a nice batch off the top of the plant to encourage a more dense growth. After setting the clump of cuttings on the coffee table I read the Essential Oil’s Desk Reference on basil. It pretty much repeated the highlights from the Herb Encyclopedia. I was now inspired to defuse some basil essential oil and contemplate how to implement the cuttings in my cooking today. 

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When lunchtime came around it was a grass-fed turkey patty with Himalayan sea salt, tumeric for taste, topped with a basil cutting. While it was cooking I sliced up the rest of the basil leaves and stems to put in an organic salad. I read that the flowers are edible so I tossed them in the salad too. It ended up being the most enjoyable salad! My dressing was First Fresh Olive Oil and Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother). 

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(Turkey burger w/ Basil sides: onion, mushroom, garlic clove, sauerkraut, and a date)

I have no idea what the herb of the day will be tomorrow… Maybe Mint?

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The Auto Immune Protocol Diet

Today I begin following the Paleo AIP Diet. To keep myself from hopeless thinking like, “On no! I can never eat normal food again!” I am only committing to 21 days of it. That’s how long it take to form a habit and that also brings me up on the weekend of my 60th birthday.

This week I have been eating all the dairy, grains and nuts in the house so they will be out of reach in a moment of weakness. I also have been watering down my morning mug of coffee and cutting down to one small glass of Diet Dr Pepper a day and to avoid caffeine withdrawal when I eliminate them completely. I have already cut out all alcohol over a week ago.

So why the drastic measures? Well I may bore you with the details in another blog but basically I have several auto immune diseases and the medical treatment that has worked for many years has stopped working. The only medical solution now (and it might not even work) is to “bring in the big guns” as my dermatologist put it. They are known as Biologics, genetically-engineered proteins derived from human genes. You may have seen ads for them on TV with all the scary risk factors listed at the end. Because my liver is compromised already I’m am not a good candidate for using them. Honestly, I chose this diet out of mortal fear!

I belong to several auto immune support groups and those that have been disciplined enough to follow the AIP Diet have gotten good results. So wish me luck… I’m running out of options.

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My first official AIP meal was Cuban Style Mojo Chicken Wings & Collard Greens with Bacon. Thanks “Paleo On The Go” for making this thing whole thing possible. There is no way I could have shopped for and cooked this on my own.

Ingredients:
Collard Greens, bacon, onions, sea salt, chicken stock, lard, balsamic vinegar
Cuban Style Mojo Chicken Wings – pasture raised antibiotic free chicken, lime, garlic, oregano, cilantro, olive oil, arrowroot, sea salt

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The Basket Case

The delivery of baskets has arrived to help feed my creativity about how to fill them with gifts from Maysville. It is now obvious my next step is to order fancy paper to help nestle these gifts into the baskets and then bows to tie them up.

But first I must finish up my logo so it can be printed on sales bags and other paper products that should probably be ordered at the same time as these fancy papers and bows.

1 million decisions to make and none of them are wrong!

The Baskets

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The American Queen

I can just see it now… me, sitting on my back porch and right in front of me passes the world’s largest, most luxurious river cruise ship ever built! That’s right, the Steamboat American Queen will be churning up the Ohio River once again, and the most exciting part is that it will be docking right up the street from me at the Limestone Landing! The passengers will disembark and spend the day exploring Historic Downtown Maysville and Old Washington.

The American Queen, which is 418 feet long and 89 feet wide, is currently undergoing a $5 million renovation. She has a capacity of 436 guests and a crew of 160. When the steamboat comes into port during the day, the same drivers and the same guides (from past days) will be there. They actually follow the boats up and down the river during the entire season, integrating the shore excursions into the cruise experience. The American Queen made its last trip up the Ohio River through Maysville in 2008.

The American Queen is a six-deck recreation of a classic Mississippi riverboat and is the only authentic overnight paddlewheel steamboat sailing in the United States. At the end of April the grand American Queen will journey from Memphis up the Ohio River to Cincinnati with a stop in Louisville on the day of the Kentucky Derby and participate for the first time in the Great Steamboat Race against The Belle of Louisville and the Belle of Cincinnati!

 

The Steamboat American will be in Maysville 4 times during the month of July, the dates are approximately the 14th, 21st, 23rd, and the 31st. For more information check out the links at the bottom of this post. These beautiful scenes are from the owner’s website.

http://www.greatamericansteamboatcompany.com/

http://www.steamboats.org/steamboat-pictures/american-queen.html

http://travel.usatoday.com/cruises/post/2011/09/american-queen-steamboat-cruise-mississippi/549826/1

http://www.travelagentcentral.com/river-cruises/conversations-with-top-great-american-steamboat-execs-33812

http://maritimematters.com/2011/09/american-queen-approved-by-marad/

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Great Smoky Mountains Artist-in-Residency Program

Normally I share my thoughts here but today I want to share a wonderful opportunity for my artist friends…

“Great Smoky Mountains National Park Artist-in-Residence program offers a remarkable opportunity for artists to pursue their artistic endeavors while being surrounded by the park’s inspiring landscape. The 4-6 week residency includes a free furnished apartment and up to $300 for materials. This residency is for professional artists including writers, musicians, craftsmen, composers, painters, sculptors, photographers, storytellers, performance artists, and videographers…”

http://www.ekap.org/EKAP/home/SmokiesAiRBrochure2012-1.pdf
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Silver Lining

I’m trying not to be upset over the fact that I had to send in my main camera lens for repair. It refused to focus properly, especially when zoomed into infinity.

I don’t mind, so much, that I am without my lens for a few weeks… I mind that the repair cost may be several hundreds of dollars that I do not have. (At least it isn’t my expensive macro lens on the fritz!)  I tried to get away using it with limited focus range but after a photo shoot on the observation deck of the Carew Tower (the tallest building downtown Cincinnati) I discovered I was getting way better photographs with my iPhone.

So now I am without my lens but not without my need to capture everything I see. I started taking lots of iPhone photographs and then out of boredom I searched the AppStore for camera editing applications. I was ultimately fascinated with the “Grunge” apps, downloaded a couple of them, and they have become the silver lining in this whole lens fiasco!

Now I keep my mind consumed by learning all the texture and tone varieties in the apps, and capturing my world thru a new (dare I say… grungy) pointy of view.

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