Salt

Salt

Last Saturday, Hubby and I went to a salt cave for the first time. Months ago, I looked at a couples massage in a salt cave for a weekend getaway but didn’t end up going. When I saw a deal on Groupon for a local salt cave, I jumped at the chance to try it for the following reasons:

“Halotherapy is known to help relieve skin conditions, stress, high blood pressure, respiratory infections, hangovers, and allergies. Salt is a natural anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antimicrobial.”

And also because I didn’t want to shut down any modes of therapy that may prove beneficial just because I don’t know much about it.

I set a 45-minute appointment for two chairs at a spa that primarily does float therapy and has an infrared sauna. The cave was dimly lit with 4 cream-colored reclining chairs. We were surrounded by bricks of Himalayan salt from Pakistan and the floor was also covered in salt. We were each given a fresh pair of socks to wear as to not track salt back into our own shoes after the session. 

 

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I don’t know if it was the gradual release of salt-infused air into the cave but I drifted off easily when I chose to use the wireless headphones provided to us.

When our session was over, I just thought it was a great way to get quality rest. However the next day, that changed.

I don’t know if I can attribute it to the salt but the nagging pain in my left ankle from the light sprain and the strain on the left side of my right knee disappeared. It’s been a few days and it hasn’t come back. I am willing to explore it more because I have heard of the healing properties for people living with psoriasis.

Since the completion of 75hard, my desire to experience life more fully has only grown and I am glad it now includes halotherapy.

On the Other Side

On the Other Side

As I drove to work this morning, I listened to the first part of a sermon about patience.

And it made me wonder, after all of these years, why it is something I still struggle with.

I am in a hurry, in my current situation, for a loved one to heal.

I am in a hurry for my body to fully recover and recognize that it is going to be alright. Instead, it rebelled and robbed me of breath and sleep this past weekend.

I am in a hurry to figure out how our lives are “supposed to look” next.

I realized that being in a hurry, fraught with fear, can mean many things:

I am human.

I don’t know what is next and that is no different from other parts of my life. Sometimes failing, falling, crawling, careening into ambiguity is the only way to move forward.

It also can mean I am not completely trusting God to carry me through every moment. I believe He is not surprised by it either. God knew what He was getting when I was created. It doesn’t mean I don’t work on strengthening my trust.

It means I give myself grace.

I give myself space for the trust to develop, to heal, to write, to read, to pray, to forgo blame and the weight of trying to understand “why.”

I give myself space to rest, breathe, listen to wise counsel and pour my love into others.

On the other side of this, I hope patience finds me a bit sooner and not in a hurry.

Process

Process

Over the past few weeks, I have thought a lot about what I need to do to feel better, to be a better writer, wife and self-care practitioner. I have gotten massages, journaled, spent less time on the phone, gone to church, a yoga class, went to an awesome lecture about laughter yoga, prayed, walked many miles, spoke to a counselor, stepped back on the scale without fear, showed up to doctor’s appointments and lunch with a friend, reached out to friends, listened to inspiring podcasts and powerhouse sermons  and even started to accept the reality that it may take all of that to feel completely like myself or who I am growing to be.

Something else was brought to my attention. While I am doing all of these things to reclaim Kristina, I might also need to let up on pressuring myself to do everything right now, as if I am trying to hurry up and solve “anxiety.”

I speak and write and try with varying success to think positively but I also have to do all of that with more patience. There is no snap of the fingers when it comes to “process.” There is forwards and backwards, trial and error and an understanding that it never really ends.

So here I am. Embracing process, trying not to be in a hurry and forgiving myself for the times I have and inevitably will, not treat myself with Grace and Love.

 

 

Healing

Healing

I don’t have much in me today. I am not sure if it’s because I am 26 days in and it feels a little like I have senioritis.

But there are 4 days left after today so something will be written each day until I have accomplished my goal. So here it goes:

In my post about being whole, I wrote about wanting to start a yoga or Pilates class in the new year. I was talking to a co-worker (and devoted Yogi) about self-care and all of a sudden, I couldn’t come up with a reason to wait. She told me about a studio close by. I found a class on the their site that embraces women of all shapes, sizes and levels. My first class starts Sunday. I haven’t been this excited in so long. When I read the description, it clicked and even if it doesn’t live up to my expectation, I will know I took steps.

I didn’t wait for my healing to begin.

Transformation

Transformation

On June 3rd, I wrote FACE

It was about accepting how far I have come in my health journey with psoriasis. Even though I wasn’t thrilled about what happened to my face since being diagnosed, I had come to a point where I was happy with the progress I had already made.

And then I challenged myself to be a raw vegan for the month of July and with the exception of a few bites of hummus here and there, I succeeded.

Then something else happened. My skin started changing rapidly. The picture above is the transformation from June 3rd to August 3rd. The pink scales started to clear and my real skin appeared. My real brown started to emerge again. I walked out of the house several times without a stitch of makeup except for lip gloss. It has been years since I felt comfortable doing that.

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Out and about feeling like a real psoriasis warrior!

Even though I indulged in cooked food a few times over last weekend, I know how key this is to my healing and I know I’ve written it many times now, but I am not letting it go. When I first looked at those pictures side by side, I was bowled over by the change. There is an answer for me that doesn’t look or sound like injections or pills or steroids.

How blessed am I for having access to fresh fruits and vegetables? How blessed am I that I have access to information about how they heal and how my body wants to heal itself? I am grateful that I was open to it.

I was open to my healing.

Meatless Mondays: A Retrospective

Meatless Mondays: A Retrospective

I wrote a post months ago about having to say no in order to say yes to myself. Well, I am doing it again. I have been working extra hard lately and tonight, I will nourish myself and rest. I also thought about something special to share. I have made many vegan dishes–mostly cooked but several raw vegan. I had many favorites like African peanut stew, Raw No Bake Brownies, Vegan Shepherd’s Pie, Sweet Potato Enchilada Bake, Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo and Raw Taco with Cashew Sour Cream.

I look back and think how proud I am that I pushed myself to find and cook these recipes. I didn’t just rely on salads (but I have made plenty of those!). I can’t believe it took this long to become more creative with my cooking but mostly I am grateful that I used this as a way to take better control of my health.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings as I start to prepare more raw meals and watch food play a much bigger role in my healing.

 

 

 

Raw Food Detox

Raw Food Detox

Today is the fifth day of my July Raw Food Challenge. I have eaten a raw food diet before for a short period of time. The biggest difference I see this time around are the detox symptoms. I did lose weight this week (4.6 lbs) but parts of my body are covered in red rashes. Apparently, it’s a common symptom  that I never experienced before. I had fatigue and headaches in the past but watching myself breakout like this has been jarring. I think because of my psoriasis the thought of my body being covered in something I can’t control unnerves me.

It doesn’t mean I will stop. I am telling myself that it will go away in a matter of days. I just have to wait it out. I am holding onto the benefits and staying excited about my results at the end of the month.

Your turn:

Have you ever experienced any detox symptoms? If so, how did you cope with it?

31 Days Raw

31 Days Raw

In July, I am embracing a raw vegan diet which is fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. I have tried it before but could never make it stick long-term. I am not interested in adopting it long-term but hoping this challenge will springboard me into incorporating more raw foods. Over the past year, I realized I depend on vegan processed food a bit too much. That has been harder to let go of than meat and dairy by far.

This past week, I lost 2.8 lbs. I still ate a mixture of raw, cooked and processed food. And it was all great–the vegetarian festival, the vegan potluck with friends and our regular meals at home.

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At the veg fest this past weekend

However, I know if I don’t cut back on processed foods I may never heal the conditions I sought to in the first place. I am excited to see what this month brings–one raw meal at a time.

Your turn:

Have you ever tried a raw vegan diet? If so, what did you think?

One-Year Vegan Anniversary!

One-Year Vegan Anniversary!

Today, my article sharing 3 tips to going vegan was published on 30seconds.com.

It was fitting because today is my one-year vegan anniversary. Hubby and I started for health reasons and eventually grew to care more about the environmental reasons, too.

During the course of a year, I have learned many things. I learned about my dependence on processed food, that cheese was the hardest food to kick, the importance of reading labels and that there is a plethora of delicious and diverse plant-based options in the world.

I also learned eating this way has been healing. I no longer deal with acid reflux or heavy periods. I also sleep better than I used to.

I have found a community that supports this lifestyle, too. I go to vegan potlucks, pop-ups and community festivals and lectures. Food justice in underserved areas is a real issue I care more about than ever thanks to the David Carter lecture I attended in Baltimore.

I feel more aware, healthier and it helps that I walk this road with a partner who reaps the benefits, too.

I am looking forward to what comes in year two. Year one opened my eyes to a world I don’t ever want to be closed off from again.

 

FACE

FACE

Who are you without your “face?”

I never thought about it until psoriasis came for a visit and never left.

I barely ever wore any kind of powder or foundation and rarely got pimples.

I basically had the luxury of rarely thinking about it.

But then psoriasis came to visit and never left.

Even though it came slowly and didn’t seem threatening at all, it did eventually ravage my body. And no steroid could fix it and I am not fond of exposing my body to biologics. In fact, I have spent most of my life scared of all medications outside of OTC and antibiotics.

So after fielding multiple questions such as “What happened to your face?” I started to delve back into plant-based healing and learning about the devastation inflammation brings (for me, psoriasis and PCOS). So even while I waited for the flares to become less frequent, I had to figure out how to cover the pink and red flaky patches on my face. Of course, it was makeup and if for some reason, I didn’t have my makeup brush and Dermablend with me, my spirits would sink. I remember on one particular day not wanting to get out of the car when I parked at church. I drove away and found somewhere to cry.

I felt like a monster without my “face.”

The pain of an itchy scalp, raw thighs and a scarred face sometimes felt like too much of a strain on my mind, let alone my body. I often smiled through a lot of it but I felt like I was wilting on the inside.

As we all know, we can’t escape our own mind or body.

It took a long time to start to see some improvement and I don’t have flares as often as I used to but damage was done.

People who meet me now will never know what I used to look like and it seems like a small thing but it was a real adjustment. I believe my smiles are more genuine now. It’s funny that I am actively pursuing a profession that puts me front and center when I can remember feeling like that’s the last place I really want to be or should be.

I think it took blogging and writing classes and prayer and fruits and vegetables and talking it out over and over again with my husband, family and friends for healing to start taking place. I know I have a long road ahead of me but I think I found a formula that works.

I think I know who I am without my “face.”