“Eat” Life, Laugh, and Love

Our family has enjoyed a great summer, and I have not been as diligent with my blogging. We have never traveled so much and enjoyed as much down time. Part of this was due to the financial burden of debt that was lifted as I talked about in a past blog. Part of it was due to a concentrated effort of de-stressing and taking the time to enjoy each other. The value of family can never be discovered in the busyness of the rat race nor can it be assigned a monetary figure. Maybe we should think of our family’s net worth as a large net in which we catch as many memories and heart felt moments as we can because this life is temporary. Our treasure won’t last forever, so cherish while possible.

The more I experience life in the big world, the more I notice the sicknesses of others and their desperation to feel better. There seem to be a couple trains of thought. One is to do everything western medicine tells you and keep on every medicine prescribed. Another is to seek out any natural method you can in order to heal naturally. This is through whole organic foods, no medicine, limiting toxins in your environment, and adding a naturopathic doctor to your team. Some people incorporate both of these trains of thought and marry the two in a way that is comfortable.

Candida overgrowth changed my life. My views on healthy meals, my doctor interactions, my diet, my thought processes, my grocery shopping, and the order of importance in my life have all changed. I have never felt so passionate, scared, hopeful, excited, and disappointed depending on where I am in this battle. It’s crazy! It’s all that and a bag of chips (kale chips, of course). I have never spent so many hours researching health information and collecting recipes as I have during this journey. I often pray and confess to the Lord, “I know you can heal me, but please help me with my unbelief.” Like the story in Mark 9:23-29 When a father is asking for the healing of his child.:

“Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’  Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’

Very few things in my life remain the same. In some ways, it is better. I can help my kids make better choices. I can help others as well. Although I get discouraged at times, I know there is a greater purpose.

While I can’t tell people what to do, I am very passionate about my experiences and seeing others get well. I am so tired of seeing digestive issues tear people up and don’t even get me started on cancer. Our gut is the place where great health begins and ends. Without taking care of our gut, we neglect our immune system, leaving us open for whatever ailment enters our body. We either eat “life” or “death” every day. Food can be medicine if properly administered.

Our choices are cyclical. Let me give you an example. Candida feeds off carbs, sugar, and caffeine. When Candida is multiplying in my body, Candida makes me crave foods that feed it. If I start to make bad food choices, it not only makes the Candida multiply, but it also cranks up my cravings for those foods. My emotional state and stamina get compromised and it is more difficult to refuse that food. On the other hand, if I make good choices, the cravings decrease and sometimes get replaced by good cravings. My example focusses on just one specific bacteria in the gut. Scientific evidence shows that there are good and bad bacteria in the gut. It is important to have more good bacteria than bad bacteria for obvious reasons. We can upset the gut balance depending on our eating choices, stress, and antibiotic use.

Supporting our good bacteria is helpful. Eating probiotic foods that contain live cultures is one way. Working in the dirt and not using antibacterial chemicals are other good ways to support good bacteria. Yogurt, kefir, and kombucha are all probiotic rich foods. I have homemade sauerkraut and kombucha recipes from past blog posts that will be helpful. Be careful not to buy anything with added sugar or high amounts of sugar. That will defeat the purpose. Lactose naturally contains sugar and that is ok, but nothing more. Some Kombucha flavors have higher amounts of sugar and I avoid those, too.

In closing, I want to give another great resource for wellness. The Maker’s Diet by Jordan S. Rubin. It is eye-opening. I can identify with him on some levels, but the difficult times he went through makes my life look like a cake walk. He was dying and no one seemed to be able to help him. He tried so many things. When he finally started getting better, he wrote a book to share his journey in hopes of helping others.

Jordan S. Rubin works with Dr. Josh Axe. If you have been reading my blog, you know that I agree and reference Dr. Josh Axe’s work a lot too. He has some great recipes and holistic remedies. You can look online for his resources at https://draxe.com/

 

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Time For A Candida Jailbreak

If stress was the primary cause of Candida overgrowth in your life, we probably have a lot in common. Being a people pleaser, overcommiter, worry wart, empathizer, a determined to get things right person, has definitely contributed to my sickness. Because these elements are so deep in my personality, it takes a reworking of thoughts and behavior patterns. Just as much as the Candida diet takes reworking, behavior and thoughts are no different. This is a lifestyle change all around. That’s why the beginnings of this journey seem so difficult, but I pray that others will see there is hope. Taking one step at a time and reaching small goals makes life after Candida a little easier.

Looking at my personality defects or strengths, however I want to judge them, I can see there is a need to step back and relax or refresh. Of course, I am not good at taking time off or relaxing. There’s always dishes to be done, homeschool field trips to orchestrate, or income to be earned in order to propel us forward. Sometimes, I just have to “run away” and do it. Getting away from the house may be what it takes in order to get that much-needed rest or reconnection with family.

Candida affects the brain. It not only makes you crave foods to feed the Candida, but it also creates symptoms of depression. I tended to isolate myself when I went through harder bouts of it which further pushed me into those depressing thoughts. I had to consciously push myself out of my feelings and just do it.

Going away can cause additional stress, especially after embarking on this journey of whole, organic, home-cooked meals. It’s almost counter intuitive if you have been practicing great health choices at home. Preparing ahead of time will relieve stress.

My family had a great opportunity to go to Catalina Island on a ship out of San Pedro, California. It was a family science camp that the homeschool was sponsoring. The trip was through Mountain and Sea Adventures. I hadn’t been on a ship since my teenage years. I am prone to motion sickness. I bought the motion sickness bracelets for the whole family because I thought it was the best option. I try not to take meds even over the counter options because of the effects on the body. Having Candida has made me painfully aware of the negative effects of ingesting anything less than nutrient dense food or herbs. My friend also recommended taking Saltine crackers and club soda. I took these for the rest of the family as I shouldn’t have Saltines.

The galley on the ship was providing food on the trip, and I submitted my special diet, but I wasn’t sure if I would get enough veggies. It’s so hard to explain the Candida diet to people who aren’t familiar. People tend to understand allergies or gluten-free diets, but it’s harder for them to understand no carb, no dairy, gluten-free, no sugar. “No, I’m not allergic, but I have other issues.” Sometimes it is embarrassing because I think people may judge me…”Why is this thin person such a pain? Like a carb would kill her.”

As I prepared for the trip, I had additional limitations I had to face. There would be limited refrigerator space. We were also informed that anything we brought had to be “nut” free because of an extreme nut allergy. My original plans of taking nuts or almond flour muffins had to change. I packed a few fresh vegetables like organic grape tomatoes, carrots, and snap peas. I also packed hard-boiled eggs. I bought a few canned organic vegetables, including refried beans I could eat out of the can. I bought some dried vegetables that Trader Joes sells in foil packages like okra, and inner peas. I also took thick coconut flakes. Of course, I checked all the ingredients to make sure no added sugar or GMO oils were added. The great thing about Trader Joes is anything with their label on it, is non-GMO.

I’m sure I overly-prepared, but it made me feel better knowing I would have what I needed. I was nervous that I would be out of my comfort zone, out of my diet, and physically exerting myself. All three of these things together could bring on symptoms. I made sure to take all my supplements, but I wasn’t able to take my Kombucha. Kombucha has been so powerful in my recovery that I wasn’t looking forward to being without.

I did get seasick on the way out to Catalina. The crew said it was best to lay on the bow of the boat stomach against the deck to exert pressure. I lay there most of the way out. My husband brought me the Saltines and club soda, and it was working, but I was worried about the carbs. I stopped eating those and just lay there. Another person gave me ginger supplements later to take. It seemed to help, but I had been sick for at least three hours, so I decided to take Bonine the next morning. I don’t recommend this normally, but I felt desperate.

The whole rest of the trip was amazing. We got to snorkel, kayak, explore tide pools, mud flats, dissect squid, and jump off the ship and swim in the ocean. The crew was wonderful at working with in my diet, and to my surprise, there were many others that were gluten-free or had other allergies. I snacked in between meals with all the food I brought.

It was an amazing time to connect with family and enjoy nature. I am so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone. The kids loved this trip and will talk about it for years to come. I didn’t suffer any symptoms, and actually felt invigorated. I took naps in between activities, while the kids played with other kids onboard. I think there were 9 families total. It was a great dynamic on board with the wonderful staff and beautiful families.

It’s important to step away from daily stress whenever possible and go play somewhere. Don’t let your illness keep you captive. Make it a priority because work and stress will always be waiting for you. Time with family is limited.

 

 

 

Onions Have Layers. Candida Recovery Has Layers.

When I talk about Candida overgrowth in this blog, I am referring to Candida Albicans. An overgrowth of yeast can occur in the large intestine. As it flourishes, it becomes parasitic. It leads to inflammation throughout the body causing aches and pains. There are many symptoms including thrush, vaginal yeast infections, exhaustion, and depression. The causes of this overgrowth are stress, a high-sugar diet, or lots of antibiotic use. I have talked about this in my early blog posts.

Being on this relatively new Candida journey presents new challenges to my life. Being born with an allergy or affliction obviously is different from developing it later in life. I’m in no way saying one is better than the other. I feel that I am still “new” to this process. I am hoping that my learning curve benefits others by exposing this condition, building support, and demonstrating the necessity of ongoing self-educating.

With any new challenge in life, comes fear, anxiety, maybe even excitement at times. Looking back, I had so much fear at the beginning. It is cyclical. The more anxiety I had, the more cortisol (sugar) my body produced, insulin production went down, and Candida thrived off that “sugar stress.” As time went on, learning to navigate Candida within my own body, became easier. My stress levels have come down, not only dealing with Candida but also in general. I have made decisions to cut some stressful situations out of my life. My husband and I were also able to pay off our business debt in April. Thank God for that because that had been a huge stress in my life. Debt is bondage. It robbed my spirit of joy and left me with a sense of hopelessness. I recommend strongly to get out of debt and seek Dave Ramsey’s resources like Financial Peace for financial counseling. Click here for more info: https://www.daveramsey.com/ I am so thankful that my stress level has lowered tremendously. It makes a huge difference when battling Candida.

There are so many layers to this journey. Getting on a good diet is #1. The diet I started with was The Ultimate Candida Diet. For more information, you can click here: https://www.thecandidadiet.com/ultimate-candida-diet/ Finding a functional medicine doctor to guide you on this journey, and minimizing stress in your life are the other pieces to the puzzle. Doing all three will ensure your success. These are the beginning steps. It also takes time. Success occurs with consistency over time. In the beginning, I thought Candida overgrowth happened to me overnight. I suddenly got sick. Nothing could be further from the truth. I let myself go down this path for a long time until it smacked me in the face and beat me down. I had no choice but face it at that point. That being said, recovery is not going to just happen overnight. It will take practicing good health choices for months or even longer to get strength and good health back. It is achievable.

Once I got these steps down, I became healthy enough to start experimenting more with diet. Many Paleo recipes are suitable for Candida overgrowth. Just watch for added sugar or dairy and make adjustments. There’s a lot of recipes online that are very beneficial and easy to access. Dr. Axe has a lot of great recipes online and I highly recommend his books. I also went to the library this past week and got a lot of amazing cookbooks. The Wellness Mama cookbook by Katie Wells and Against All Grain by Danielle Walker are among my favorites. Since my kitchen was well-stocked with the Candida diet ingredients, it was an easy transition to pick up these cookbooks and start cooking.

If you want to prepare your own kitchen with Candida health ingredients, here are some great gluten-free, low-carb, low sugar staples. I choose organic whenever possible to keep toxic intake down.

Coconut flour

Pure stevia powder (Be on the lookout for anything added to ingredients, like maltodextrin =sugar. Get the pure stevia only)

Cassava flour

Arrowroot flour (thickener)

Full-fat coconut milk in a can (The carton coconut or almond milk has a lot of unidentifiable ingredients)

Unsweetened shredded coconut (gives sweet taste without sugar)

Free range eggs

Cinnamon (gives sweet taste without sugar and has health benefits)

Turmeric (anti-inflammatory)

Many fresh and dried herbs to create diverse flavors

Unrefined coconut oil

Virgin olive oil

Local raw honey

Coconut aminos (soy sauce substitute)

Himalayan pink salt

Cashews and almonds to grind into flour, make into milk, blend into nut butter or use whole (store nuts in freezer to avoid mold and nut butter in refrigerator)

Fresh lemons or limes to season with juice or use zest

Unfiltered raw apple cider vinegar with the mother

Pure vanilla extract (adds sweet taste)

I hope this encourages you today to fight the good fight. The war is won by all the little battles we fight and all the good choices we make. We may fall down from time to time, but we are not out. Keep fighting! I will end this post with a great gluten-free pizza crust I found. http://www.paleorunningmomma.com/paleo-pizza-crust-grain-free-dairy-free/

QUICK AND EASY PALEO PIZZA CRUST

Serves: 10-12 inch crust

INGREDIENTS:

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet(round if you prefer) with parchment paper
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, tapioca or arrowroot, 3 Tbsp of the coconut flour, onion and garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and salt. Stir well to fully combine.
  3. In a measuring cup, combine the water, oil, and vinegar, then pour into the dry mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.
  4. Now stir in the whisked egg to combine well. Once you have a sticky mixture, you will slowly add the remaining coconut flour. I recommend adding a Tbsp at a time and mixing well until you have a dough that’s still a bit sticky yet able to be spread out. Don’t add more than 3-4 additional Tbsp of coconut flour in this step.
  5. Sprinkle extra tapioca or arrowroot on your parchment lined baking sheet, transfer the dough to the sheet and sprinkle with more tapioca/arrowroot. Work the dough into a 9-10 inch circle (12 for a very thin crust), then bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes depending on how crispy you want the crust. I baked mine for about 12 minutes before adding my toppings, and baking again. Bake time will depend on the toppings you plan to add, how crispy you want the crust, and how thin you spread it out.
  6. Top your crust however you like! Enjoy!

Maintenance Required

The question this week has been, how do I give others the maintenance perspective. I came from the same mind frame of traditional medicine. Once a year is enough. Get the physical, and whatever checkups are required. No need to do anything not covered by insurance, especially since I was healthy. Now that I am on the other side of the fence with my health maintenance, I can’t imagine climbing back over that fence.

Imagine if you lived in a house or an apartment for several years. In that time, you never vacuumed or dusted. You never made an effort to put anything away. Maybe occasionally you cleaned a toilet or washed a few dishes. What would that house look like? With the passing of time, that house would look pretty bad. Aren’t our bodies more important than a house? We can’t buy another one or move out of the one we have. A maintenance or improvement perspective is what we should have about our bodies. Just like an oil change or servicing your car, your body needs to be serviced. If we don’t do the maintenance, over time, we will experience the cost exponentially.

For years, I thought, why spend the money? If I am “healthy,” why go to the doctor? In the “health culture” that we live in today, it is imperative to fight against those thoughts. The excuse of “I am getting older, that’s why my health is declining” has to stop. I thought the same thing at 40. “Am I now old?” Is that why I am in so much pain? If I stopped at that mindset, I would be unemployed and in bed by now. Much of my life would have changed if I would have stopped there. I was not only in a lot of pain, but my mental health was fragile. Candida overgrowth would have taken over my life. If you read my older blogs, you can see all the health issues I was dealing with and the challenges I faced.

Instead, I was desperate for answers. I started with my primary doctor which led to a bunch of tests. All the tests came back normal. I was put on prescription antifungals with the only diagnosis of potentially having fibromyalgia. The antifungals were losing their potency over time. My vaginal yeast infection frequency was increasing. I was exhausted, in pain, and losing hope. I went on a Candida diet with the help of a friend even though my primary doctor didn’t recommend it. I was getting positive results but stopped too early.

When the Candida symptoms started coming back, I reached out to a chiropractor/nutritionist who wasn’t going to band-aid my symptoms. I found someone who was going to search for the root problem and continue treating any other problems that came up. She was going to help me manage a diet that would heal me, and give me nutritional supplements based on whole foods that would help my body support healing itself. This is much different than being put on a prescription drug for life that leads to terrible side effects. You know what I am talking about…. the fine print on your prescription medications. How about those commercials where at the end, they say they might cause death, explosive diarrhea, or heart problems? What!? Tell me, which path would you rather travel? Sometimes prescriptions are necessary, don’t get me wrong. As a culture, though, are we reaching for those as a last resource or as a quick fix to our problem? There are many health ramifications for this that we don’t consider because it is so widely accepted. I was no exception to this until I was terribly sick with Candida. I learned that everything we take in, will either encourage good health or bad health. It starts with the balance of our gut bacteria. If we eat poorly and medicate regularly, our good bacteria in our gut will diminish. In the absence of that good bacteria, the bad bacteria will multiply and take up the space our good bacteria left behind. The longer this problem gets ignored, the more inflammation our bodies endure. Soon, we experience all kinds of symptoms, leading to the decline of our immune system and opening the gateway for all kinds of illnesses. The foundation of good or bad health is built in the gut. It all starts there. We can change it for the better or worse every day. Two great books about this topic that I highly recommend are Eat Dirt by Dr. Josh Axe and The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long Term Health by Erica Sonnenburg and Justin Sonnenburg

Whether or not you are suffering from chronic pain or an illness, body maintenance is required for better health. Depending on the person, maintenance may be weekly, bimonthly, or monthly. In addition to exercising 5 days per week at a level that is appropriate to how I am feeling, I visit my chiropractor/nutritionist for an adjustment once per month to keep my body and immune system functioning optimally. When I was at the height of my sickness, I went every two weeks for nutrition only, focusing on muscle testing. This helped to see if I was battling parasites, bacteria, viruses, food sensitivities, or toxic overload. It also showed me what organs were being temporarily weakened. I spent many months doing that before I started chiropractic treatments. If new issues come up now, I do muscle testing to help discover what’s going on and how to solve those problems. This has made a huge difference in my life. If I would have had that maintenance perspective sooner, I would not have had to endure all this. Prevention is the best medicine. Regular maintenance prevents the bigger problems from occurring. On the contrary, the longer you let illnesses take hold, the more drastic your treatments may be and consequently, more expensive.

I hope you will consider seeing a functional medicine doctor to keep your health in check. One that will encourage your body to heal itself. One that will treat your root problems, not just symptoms. Someone you trust and build a relationship with is best, so you both come up with a healthy unique maintenance plan that changes as you do.

 

Food Is Medicine

The past couple of weeks have been going pretty well. I have been almost free of Candida symptoms. I have been keeping my diet strict with no carbs, no dairy, no sugar. Occasionally I will enjoy some berries or ½ green apple as those fruits have the lowest sugar content.

The last issue I remember blogging about was the bloating. It seems to happen every couple of weeks. My gut begins to extend outward until I look about 4 months pregnant. I have seen the chiropractor/nutritionist and my regular doctor. The chiropractor/nutritionist gave me a digestive enzyme to help my gall bladder break down fats, bile, and toxins. During my last visit, she said my digestion is getting better, but I still need the help of the enzyme. My regular doctor couldn’t find anything. I have been keeping a food journal again to see if I can recognize any food patterns that can be linked with this issue. Along with writing down my food and drinks, I write how I feel that day, bowel movements, gut measurements, and anything unusual. Out of the 2 weeks I have been doing this, I am still not sure that any food sensitivity is causing this. The bloating hasn’t been nearly as bad since I started keeping the journal. I will try a little longer, and I should probably keep track of my hours of sleep as well. The amount of sleep I get affects digestion as well.

It is so beneficial to have a functional medicine doctor. Functional medicine involves treating the whole individual and not just symptoms. “Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D., known as “the father of functional medicine,” explains it this way: ‘We need to move beyond asking what drug will treat the symptoms, and instead ask what mechanism creates altered neurochemical or neurobiological function or systemic physiological change.’”

Sometimes, aliments are not detectable by regular medical testing. I was so frustrated when I was struggling and no one could help me. All the tests were coming back normal and yet I felt like a walking zombie with chronic pain. Something had to be wrong. Thank God, I was finally able to see someone who could identify the problem. It has been invaluable to see the chiropractor/nutritionist not only for the first diagnosis, but also handle any other issues that pop up. We use food and natural supplements as medicine.

I really think our culture needs to change its attitude toward food if we want to change our health trajectory. Food is medicine. Over time, our bodies will either give out from being fed poor nutrients over the years or they will be sustained and fight illnesses that come our way. It’s not about length of life necessarily, but about the quality of life.

Mung beans are a great medicine food. You can read about mung bean health benefits here: https://draxe.com/mung-beans-nutrition/ I found a great recipe that the kids even love. You can add more seasoning as desired.

Avocado and Bio-Mung Bean Hummus

http://www.shashabread.com/recipes

Ingredients:

Bio-Bud mung beans washed, fully drained, and cooked

  • 2 medium ripe avocados, cored and peeled
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for serving if desired
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 fresh lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • ½ Tsp Himalayan Salt
  • 1/2Tsp and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2Tsp freshly ground cumin
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro leaves

Directions:

Add Bio-Bud mung beans, olive oil, tahini, lime juice, and garlic in a food processor until smooth, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste (I did a scant 1/2 tsp. salt and about 1/8 tsp. pepper), add cumin and avocados and pulse mixture until smooth and creamy, about 1 – 2 minutes longer. Serve topped with more olive oil and sprinkle with cilantro and red pepper flakes or you can also blend the cilantro along with the other ingredients.

If you are trying to adhere to a Candida or low carb diet, serve with raw vegetables. Jicama is amazing with hummus. It has so many health benefits. You can read more about Jicama’s health benefits here: https://draxe.com/jicama/ I also love snap peas with this.

Enjoy!

The Gluten-Freeway

Gluten, what’s all the fuss? That question had been on my mind for a while. I knew many people suffered from Celiac or gluten sensitivities, but what about people not suffering with these issues? Does gluten have an impact on our health and why? You can read more about gluten here: https://draxe.com/whats-the-deal-with-gluten/

Apparently, gluten slows down the absorption of valuable nutrients in the gut and also increases gut permeability. When gut permeability is increased, meaning particles can more easily move in and out of the intestine, undigested food particles and bad bacteria can get out. The body then attacks these “foreign invaders”, leading to inflammation, pain, and the overtaxing of the immune system. Too much gut permeability leads to “leaky gut.” You can read more about leaky gut here: https://draxe.com/4-steps-to-heal-leaky-gut-and-autoimmune-disease/

There are many gluten-free flours that I make at home. With my Ninja blender, it is easy to make quinoa flour, gluten-free oatmeal flour, any kind of nut flour, buckwheat flour, garbanzo bean flour, etc. I just choose the ingredient and put it in the blender. I let it blend until the granules get small enough. I could buy flours at the store, but I like to know what is going into the flour and how fresh the ingredients are. Lately, I have been sticking with almond flour and cashew flour because of my struggles with Candida. If I have to store any flours, I put them in the freezer. There is one type of flour I consistently buy and that is organic coconut flour. I have not tried making that yet. I also like to sift my nut flours right before they go into the recipe to help create less dense baking products.

While we are on the subject of nut flours, did you know you can make your own nut butters? I use raw cashews for cashew butter, but raw sunflower seeds make very bitter sunflower butter. I tend to use roasted sunflower seeds and look for ones that do not have GMO oils added to them. I make nut butters by grinding the nuts as I would in order to make flour, but letting them stay in the blender longer. Once I see some oils forming at the bottom of the blender, I start to add some organic olive oil 1 TBL at a time. You want to add this slowly so you don’t end up with a watery nut butter. Add as much as necessary for the desired consistency. Let it grind for a couple of minutes in between adding additional oil so you can assess whether more is needed. I also add a little Himalayan pink salt to taste. Homemade butters are much tastier than store- bought butters. I store all nut butters in the refrigerator to avoid mold. Mold is not always detectable by the naked eye. I store all nuts in the freezer as well for the same reason. Mold is especially harmful to the Candida sufferer.

Another nut product that is rewarding to make is almond milk. I never realized how much other ingredients manufacturers put in almond milk, cashew milk, and coconut milk. In fact, the only coconut milk I found with just organic coconut milk, and water was at Trader Joe’s. It comes in a can. The full-fat version is the best for health. It can be a little chunky from the fat, so mixing it or blending it is best.

Almond milk recipe:

Ingredients:

1 part almond

2 parts water

Cheese cloth

Pure vanilla extract (optional)

Directions:

  1. Soak almonds for at least 8 hours. (Almonds will get plump. You can replace the water after 4 hours by straining and rinsing almonds.)
  2. Strain and rinse almonds one final time.
  3. Put almonds in a blender with 2 parts of fresh water.
  4. Blend for a couple of minutes until the almonds are ground into small particles.
  5. Pour a little at a time into cheese cloth and squeeze into a storage container. The milk will squeeze out.
  6. Put the ground almond bits that are in the cheesecloth onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. These can either be baked slowly at 250 or laid out in a glass container to air dry. This can be used later for almond flour. Store in the freezer after it dries. If it clumps up, you can always put it in the blender for a minute to grind before using.
  7. Once you are done squeezing all the milk out, add vanilla if you would like and shake.
  8. Almond milk will last about a week, so keep that in mind when you decide how much to make.

Finding Hope During The Candida Crisis

When I first embarked on this health journey, I naively thought this was temporary. Once I was healed from Candida, I was going to go back to my old life. If I worked hard enough, I could manage this.

I was listening to a message at church a couple of weeks ago, I was overwhelmed at what I heard. “This life is preparation for eternity.” What does it look like to live this life in preparation for eternity? Living my life in light of eternity reminds me that this is only temporary. I saw an illustration of a really long rope on a spool, being uncoiled down the aisle. The very end of the rope, maybe 2 inches, was wrapped in tape that the minister was holding onto. The taped part represented our time here on Earth and all the rest of the rope represented our time in eternity. Then he shook the rope from the taped part signifying that each action on the taped part ripples through eternity. Each action will lead to reward or regret in eternity. “The only suffering I will have to go through happens on the short, taped part of the rope.”

You can listen to the message if you would like: http://desertwindscc.org/filerequest/2725.mp3

I have been so wrapped up in my “defeat” or regression. It happens, but I have to remember that I have been called for a purpose. Without this illness, I would not have been able to help many people. I need to remember to rejoice in my suffering. “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Rom 8:18

I was driving to work three weeks ago, praying “Lord, please heal me.” In my desperation, that’s all I could repeat. In the silence, I heard “in your weakness, I am strong.” I kept thinking what does this mean for me? Am I always going to struggle with this affliction?  I looked up scripture that coincides with this. The apostle Paul repeatedly asked the Lord to heal him. “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

This is painful, but also hopeful. Facing sickness and not knowing the end time is difficult. Remembering that I was created for eternity where there will be no sickness or pain is an encouragement. Romans 10:9 says, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”—that’s where I want to be! That is where you can be too.

I hope today, we can look beyond the pain. We can look towards eternity. I will continue to teach or share as much as I can through this blog, but in essence, this is all fluff compared to His glory. It is important for me to do my part, but His part is where the magic enters my story. The healing is in His hands and for His purposes.