Fighting back against chronic pain with a simple, creative, & healthy lifestyle. Inspiring others to become warriors.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Recently, #LeoHusband went on a trip to Scotland. He always likes to surprise me with something on his trips that speaks to my soul. This trip was no exception he brought me yarn from the Isle of Iona.

From an arts and craft store called Iona pebbles that he literally ran into on his hike across the island. He got to meet the sheep that the yarn was made from and spoke to the owner.

Back before the s*** hit the fan and I was able to keep up with my blog every day, I was talking about national craft month.

I really enjoyed talking about my love of sewing and quilting because it keeps my body moving, which is so important when you have a disease like arachnoiditis. In fact, keeping moving helps other diseases like fibromyalgia and MS as well.

Sometimes though, we, chronic pain warriors, are in such pain that all you can do is be in front of the TV and try to get through a really bad pain flare. This is when I turn to things like knitting and crochet.

I keep a box next to the couch of crochet projects, and I swore that I was going to start knocking projects off my crochet to do list. Needless to say, I was very surprised when #leohusband brought me seven skeins of yarn.

Instead of sitting on the yarn and not doing anything with it, which is my usual MO, I decided to immediately find a pattern and start working on it.

I found this gorgeous shawl by Mama in a Stitch called smoky mountains triangle crochet wrap.
I don’t know why but making a wrap/shawl felt right with yarn from Scotland.

She also has a YouTube video on how to get started.
This is a very easy project so if you have never crocheted before you should have no problem doing this with her instruction.

She also has a nice pdf version of the pattern for sale which I highly recommend you support another artist by purchasing her patterns. I have several of them and she is a great pattern artist.

I am in no way getting a commission from Etsy for this pattern sale. All proceeds go to Mama in a Stitch. Support Independent Artists.

Monday, May 20, 2019

So you have just gotten a diagnosis of Arachnoiditis or Adhesive Arachnoiditis.

Before you push the panic button, take a deep breath. No seriously. Do it now. In through your nose and out through your mouth. Do this three times...I'll wait.

You are going to be ok.

You are at a crossroads where you can choose to live a life filled with love and joy or a life filled with the pain you are in now.

I want you to choose to fight as I have.
What is Arachnoiditis?

Arachnoiditis is classified as a rare disease.

The majority of Arachnoiditis cases are iatrogenic which means caused by medical intervention. There are numerous causes of arachnoiditis:

1. Direct mechanical injuries (dural cut/tear) caused by surgical interventions, especially repeat spinal operations, after fusions or minimally invasive procedures requiring corrective surgeries.

2. Trauma to the spinal cord.

3. Epidural disc prolapse.

4. Repeat manipulation during catheter or leads insertion.

5. One or multiple spinal taps.

6. Several steroid epidural injections.

7. Injections of epidural steroids gone intrathecal.

8. Difficult epidural blood patches.

9. Injection of myelogram dye into the spinal cord.

10. Infections that may cause meningitis (viral, fungal or bacterial).

11. Epidurals during childbirth


All of the current, non-existent, research says that it is an incurable and progressive acute inflammatory condition that occurs in the dura (exterior) and the arachnoid (interior), two of the three membranes that cover and protect the brain, the spinal cord, and the nerve roots leading from the spinal cord.

The arachnoid contains the cerebrospinal fluid which circulates from the brain to the sacrum every two hours. The fluid filters any invasion and usually responds first by inflammation. Secondly with a chronic life-long phase characterized by scarring and fibrosis.

As a result, abnormal adhesion of nerve roots to the dural sac or to each other (clumping) occurs in a variety of configurations that alter significantly the function of the nerve roots, the spinal cord, and the cerebral fluid.

This causes a variety of neurological deficits and severe chronic neuropathic pain usually located in the area affected and referred pain to the extremities.

Now what to do about it?

First, read my blog posts on how to get pain free days.

6 Steps to Have Pain Free Days
Day in the Life of a Chronic Pain Warrior

Second, get a knowledgeable doctor that has time to listen, learn, and work with you. I found a functional medicine doctor so I recommend googling "FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE" doctor for your area or a "NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE" doctor.

Third, research, test, and figure out what is going to work for you. Check out these materials by Dr. Forest Tennant and Practical Pain Management

What does your future look like?

Well, I decided to try everything, and I mean everything. Yoga, meditation, changing my diet, reiki healing, acupuncture, dry needling, IFC therapy, Epsom salt ice baths, light therapy, chiro therapy, chiropractic, medicine, supplements, dry brushing, fasciablasting, inversion therapy, traction...the list goes on and on.

The point is I didn't give up and it took two years of working on my health every single day to see improvement but gradually I did.

The hard part, your health is now your career. If you want your pain to decrease, doing what it takes is now your job.

Good Luck.

If you need any advice, feel free to leave a comment or send me a message.

Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

Thursday, May 9, 2019

I hate to bitch about April of 2019 constantly but it was seriously a bitch. Pun intended.
After I got home from seeing #breadwinnerbff at Harry Potter World I was so tired physically from the demands I placed on my body in one day. I didn't really get the chance to recuperate because we adopted a senior pup on Easter Sunday, just 4 days after my trip.

New pup = Nights of little sleep for about a whole week. Friday ended with me desiring some chocolate chip cookies and wanting to work on a paleo recipe.

This is the first batch I came up with, I'm sure over time the recipe will evolve but these were pretty tasty.

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cassava Flour

Ingredients:
1 C of Cassava Flour
1/2 t of baking soda
1/2 t of salt
1 stick grass fed butter
1/2 C Coconut Sugar
1/2 t Organic Vanilla
1 egg
1 C of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips or Morsels
1 C Pecans (optional)

Oven to 375 Degrees • Baking Time 9 - 11 minutes

Melt the butter in a large bowl and let cool while you mix the dry ingredients.

In a medium sized bowl whisk together the cassava flour, baking soda, and salt.

Add the vanilla, coconut sugar and egg to the melted cooled butter and whisk.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir. Add the chocolate and pecans, if using, to the batter.

Using a cookie or ice cream scoop, create drops of cookie dough on a parchment covered baking sheet. Press down each drop to create a flat cookie base. Refrigerate for 10 - 15 minutes.

Pop into the oven and bake for 9-11 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

Monday, May 6, 2019

I'm really into supplements for my chronic pain. Before I even met with my functional medicine doctor I was already on a supplement protocol that I had pieced together for myself from different resources.

In January of 2017, I still was undiagnosed, I didn't know what was wrong only that my second back surgery had made my life into a living hell.

Thinking I just needed some massive rehab and that my current program, doctor, and physical therapy wasn't working. I set out to educate myself with as much information about pain and what helps it. I looked for new doctors and consulted the ones I trusted.

If you shop through any of my links in this post, you help support this blog at zero cost to you. Thank you for your support.

Supplements for Chronic Pain

In my education search, I came upon two great books.
Ending Fibromyalgia & Auto-Immune Disease: A Comprehensive Holistic Protocol by Tony Xhudo MS HN

Alternative Treatments for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome by Mari Skelly and Helen Walker.





I read one and my mother read the other and we compared notes. I talk about these books in this post here and I highly suggest reading that one too because right now I'm going to talk about supplements.

1. The first thing I tried was Bovine Colostrum.

This is the brand I take and I take two every morning as soon as I get up:


2. Then I took Proteolytic Enzymes.


Both of these supplements help with inflammation, muscle and tissue recovery, blood circulation, immune response, leaky gut, and reduce pain.

3. Tumeric
I also started taking 6000mg of turmeric a day, which I built up to slowly over a period of 8 weeks.


Tumeric is an anti-inflammatory similar to an NSAID but without the side effects to your stomach or liver.

4. and 5. Vegetable Blend and Fruit Blend Juice Plus

My podcast cohort, Rebekah Svensson aka Awkward Yet Healthy, got me into Juice Plus around this same time period. Juice Plus is actually not a supplement, it's food. It's a serving of organic fruits and veggies in a capsule form. I will be the first to admit how hard it is to get all of your daily intake of vegetables. Even with a vegetable at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I still can't get 5 servings a day of vegetables.

Juice Plus takes care of that. It's eating an extra dose of veggies. I will say that while it does not specifically help with chronic pain, it helps me be healthier, boosts my immune system and energy, which allows me to deal with chronic pain better.

I started off with the Green and Red Blend. If you are interested in Juice Plus send me a DM and I will get you started.
Next week I'm going to talk about my diagnosis with Adhesive Arachnoiditis and the supplements prescribed by my functional medicine doctor.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Guys! April was a crazy month and it's already spilling into the beginning of May. If it could go wrong it did. I'm not a fan of weeks of disappointment and failure, especially when some of it is my fault, to begin with. I feel like I'm constantly putting out fires.

However, I'm making a concerted effort to get back on track. As promised back at the beginning of April, here is what I do on a daily basis to manage my pain. If you haven't seen 6 Steps to Have Pain Free Days, check out that post first.
If you shop through any of my links in this post, you help support this blog at zero cost to you. Thank you for your support.

Day in the Life of a Chronic Pain Warrior


First, I start off my day with The Miracle Morning.

The Miracle Morning is a lifestyle program developed by Hal Elrod. Check out my post here and here for more information.

Basically, it is completing a set of tasks with the acronym S.A.V.E.R.S.

Silence
Affirmation
Visualization
Exercise
Reading
Scribing (Journaling)

My alarm goes off usually at 6:30. I get up and put out Luke Dogwalker, our newest family member, and feed him. I then take my pre-breakfast supplements and medications. More on that to come...

Then I head back to the bathroom to dry brush my body, take my zero THC CBC oil (given to me by my pain doctor), wash and moisturize face, brush teeth, and I down 12-16 oz of water.
Then I either take Luke for a 30 minute walk or do 30 minutes of yoga if #leohusband is walking him that morning, but lately, I've been doing both which has my glutes in an uproar.

So my E from The Miracle Morning's Life S.A.V.E.R.S. is complete.

I then meditate, using the Headspace app, do my affirmations (which are now saying I love my life), visualize something I want to accomplish without pain (like bending over to wash my face or our up and coming trip to Europe).

Now my S.A.V. is complete.

I then make breakfast. Two free range eggs and bacon with green beans or riced cauliflower and a tea. I do the last two S.A.V.E.R.S., R and S, while eating breakfast because of my stage three adrenal fatigue. I can't go too long without food in the morning or it further stresses my adrenal glands.

Then I play a bit with Luke and jump in the shower where I lightly Fasciablast my quads, hamstrings, hips, and glutes.

When I'm done with my shower. I have a little me time and crash on the couch with ice bags on the areas that have nerve pain and to rest up to keep my adrenals in balance.

via GIPHY

I usually write a blog post, work ahead in my bullet journal, read, or catch up on a TV show.

I spend some snuggle and play time with the aforementioned doggy and then eat some lunch. Usually, paleo leftovers from the night before or a quick and easy salad or wrap with 24oz of water.

Lunchtime depends on the day.


One of my awesomest friends, Rebekah Svensson and I are starting a podcast in June, called Chronic Warrior Women.

If it's a podcast recording day I do that with my awesome co-host Rebekah Svensson.
If I'm feeling drained it's a nap.
If I'm feeling crafty, I sew to keep moving.
Maybe it's the day I'm getting dry needled, because I do this once a week, twice if I'm having pain flares.
Maybe it's the day I'm seeing my chiropractor...
I have a snack around 2-3 which is usually an apple and raw almonds and a cup of green tea.

I set out ingredients for that night's meal and then do some work around the house.

I start cooking at 5/5:30, we eat at 6, then walk our doggo together after dinner.

I start getting ready for bed at around 8:30/9.

Night time routine is as follows: an Epsom salt bath, hanging upside down on my inversion table while doing 4, 7, 8 breathing, and then reading until lights out.

I do this *almost every day. I may take off a day or two during the week if I have excessive physical activities. For instance, when we brought Luke home from the foster mom's house he had a pretty severe flea infestation. So I used my physical energy last week to stay on top of cleaning my house every day. That combined with zero sleep with a new doggy, last week was shot for me. However, I got my first full night's sleep last night in over a week, so hopefully, I'll be bouncing back soon.



Thursday, April 4, 2019

One of the things I do miss every once in a while is a good cupcake or brownie. I've tried a bunch of paleo brownies and they are delicious, but as I'm trying to avoid bananas right now (they're not great for adrenal fatigue) I'm looking for a way to get my once in a while brownie or cupcake fix.If you shop through any of my links in this post, you help support this blog at zero cost to you. Thank you for your support.

Honest Review Simple Mills Chocolate Muffin and Cupcake Mix

So I found Simple Mills mixes and thought I'd give them a whirl. A. They're paleo B. They only have 7 ingredients!

Almond Flour
Organic Coconut Sugar
Cocoa
Arrowroot
Organic Coconut Flour
Baking Powder
Sea Salt

How amazing is that?!?!

Directions were easy enough, just add your eggs, milk (I used unsweetened coconut milk) and oil. Volia, paleo dessert. I made these on a high pain day (which was mainly why I wanted the treat) and they were really easy to put together.

The back of the box tells you the different ways you can fix it:
12 muffins, 8" round cake, 12 cupcakes, or 9 brownies.

I went with the brownies style and it turned out delicious. Ok, I wanted cupcakes but I didn't have any liners...oh well, guess I'll have to get another box! HAHA!

If you're looking for a quick treat and don't want to have to figure out all the paleo substitutes then this is a great go-to!
I even tried the frosting which isn't paleo, but it is organic.

It has a bit of a funky taste on its own but tastes great with the cake.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Well, I did it again...I "threw out" my back. The weird thing is I don't even know how I did it. I did my normal routine and after my shower, boom. The sharp pain, the inability to move, the agony!

I'm already wondering what I'm going to do tomorrow to keep things moving smoothly. I've been icing every hour for 15 minutes and I've got my TENS Unit on. Thursday I'll take an Epsom salt bath. However, this really got me thinking, are there any signs that you're about to have a problem.

Well, after my Google search, turns out there are!

4 Signs Your Back is About to Go Out

I love these guys. They're so friendly and knowledgeable about your physical body. This video is great and make sure you subscribe to their channel!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

I can’t believe April snuck up on me. I really enjoyed taking a break in March, but it’s time to get back to the desk.

I have my bullet journal set up, and this month I went crazy!

I went with a Harry Potter theme because I am lucky enough to be able to celebrate #BreadwinnerBFF birthday at Universal Studios Harry Potter world this month.
I wanted to get excited for my adventure so I grabbed my prisma color pencils and went to town on drawing Hogsmeade, a Quidditch pitch complete with snitch, and how I always envisioned the Firebolt to look.
My favorite book is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban so I took my cues from that book!
If you were a chronic pain warrior or a chronic illness warrior, and you haven’t started a bullet journal yet to keep track of your symptoms, pain levels, and day-to-day activities I highly recommend you starting one. You can start in the middle of the year it doesn’t have to be January.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Hello April!

I took a nice vacation with #leohusband for our 7th wedding anniversary. During that trip, I posted a picture of me getting ready for a nice dinner where I talked about having pain free days. One of my followers, PM'd me and asked me how on earth did I have pain free days...

Well, the short answer is I worked hard to get to having pain free days.

The long answer involves the process in which I got to a place in my life where I do have pain free days.

If you shop through any of my links in this post, you help support this blog at zero cost to you. Thank you for your support.

6 Steps to Have Pain Free Days
1. Research and Diagnosis

If you are still in the "I don't know what's wrong with me but I hurt all the time" stage, then you need to start researching for yourself what you might have. You want to get a second and maybe even third set of eyes on what you have going on.

One of the key things I did was switching to a new pain doctor. When I called they asked me what I was coming in for and I actually said I need a fresh set of eyes on this and don't want to have any preconceived notions of what may be wrong. The receptionist said ok and noted that in my file and gave me the paperwork to fill out.

At the initial visit, my new pain doctor wanted her co-doctor to do an ultrasound of my areas of extreme pain to check for inflammation. If you've read my medical story, you will find out that I had none, and after checking my last MRI, he said you have Adhesive Arachnoiditis. Keywords from my MRI Report...nerve root thickening and clumping in the arachnoid at L4/L5.

Once, I had my diagnosis I was able to stop doing the things that made it worse, namely spinal injections, overstretching, heat, and deep tissue massages.

I found out that one of the many problems with arachnoiditis is spinal fluid not circulating properly so I got an inversion table. I learned to balance sitting, avoid standing at all costs and move frequently to keep the pain at bay. I learned to get a back brace for times when I may be sitting for a while or when I might be jostled.

There is not a lot of information on how to deal with arachnoiditis so I looked at other diseases that were similar and what worked for them. I researched Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and MS. I developed my own program and system of getting well.

One of the biggest things that helped was these two books:


2. Do the Work

If you want pain free days then you have to do the work. You have to be willing to change. That means commitment.

Change Your Diet - Whole30, Keto, Paleo, or AIP (research and find one to follow and stick with for the rest of your life)




Change Your Exercise Habits - Walk, Swim, or Yoga (do it every day or at least every other day)

Take Supplements - mine are prescribed to me from my functional medicine doctor, on top of the ones listed in the pain books above.

Meditate - Get a meditation app or Read You are the Placebo and start meditation, I recommend Headspace, they have a 30 day medition on Chronic Pain.



Get a Therapist - you need to talk and work through the new normal with a professional, chronic pain goes hand and hand with depression and while you may think you aren't depressed (I did for so long) you might be.

Try Alternative Treatment Therapies - find one or several that work for you - acupuncture, dry needling, e-stem, IFC unit, fasciablasting, dry brushing, inversion therapy, ice baths, etc.
3. Everyone Must Be on Board

Your family has to be willing to change with you. It's a team effort. If #leohusband wasn't ok with me changing both of our diets, I never would have succeeded. You can't be in pain and cook two different meals.

It takes a family meeting and loving understanding that your family wants you to not be in pain. They know that but airing out the logistics, concerns, and feelings in an open setting before you start your journey will go a long way if everyone is in understanding.

Hey, it means you will all get healthy. Your family eating healthier will give them a boost in their energy and mood to help deal with the stress of being a caregiver.

Plus, healthy food if cooked correctly is amazing and delicious.

Here are a few of my favorite cookbooks to get you started.



4. Keep Notes

I kicked off my 'I'm going to get better or die trying' campaign in January of 2017. I kept track of my pain levels in my bullet journal so I could see actual, tangible results that this was working. Where was my pain? How many days in a row did I have pain? What days was I in a good mood? a bad mood? If you don't keep a record, you might think you are not getting any results.

Because it takes months if not a whole year to see results. I went from two good days a month to three in the next month. The third month I had one good day a week and so on.

I started in January 2017 and by October of 2017, I was having five low pain days a week! However, without tracking, I would have given up. I changed everything and it was hell on top of all my pain. I hung in there by grit, determination, and support. My bullet journal kept me on track, especially on the days when I didn't want to do all the things, my brain convincing my body that this was pointless and wasn't working. It was. I had proof.

Bullet journals are also great to bring to your doctor with real data of what is going on! I'm happy to say that in January of 2019, I had five days of zero pain. That's huge.
5. Find a Good Doctor

If you are not satisfied with your healthcare then find someone else. If every visit is stressful and in your head, you are telling that doctor to f- off, that's not a good relationship. You want a good, and knowledgeable primary care physician. I'm lucky in that I have one of the best in the country. He even knew what arachnoiditis was, that's how good he is.

Having a doctor that is understanding and patient with you is key.

I also see a functional medicine doctor and I recommend trying to find one near you.

What a functional medicine doctor does is work on the whole picture. In the words of my functional medicine doctor, we can't heal the arachnoiditis but we can make your overall health better, which will help you deal with the arachnoiditis better.

If you can't find a functional medicine doctor try to find a naturopathic doctor, you are wanting someone to advise you on what supplements to take and to make sure they do not interfere with any medications you are taking.
6. Get on the Right Medication for You

I started out with the usual thing all pain doctors start with, gabapentin. Ugh! The worst. It worked for a week and then the pain came back. Then they upped my dosage and it worked for a week and then the pain came back. I also gained 35 lbs on it and I started having weird side effects like rashes and bladder problems.

Then they gave me Lyrica, which didn't work and one of the side effects is suicidal thoughts and attempts for a reason. It's dangerous and as far as I'm concerned shouldn't be on the market.

Cymbalta gave me migraines. Nucyenta made me itch all over. Zipsor made me throw up. Some other pain patch gave me narcolepsy. Seriously, I tried it all.

I was a medical guinea pig and had to be to finally arrive at the following:

There are a lot of medicines out there and sometimes a medicine that is prescribed for something other than what you have can make a difference.

For example, my PCP prescribed me .5mg of Xanax instead of Lunesta or Ambien for sleep. This was because in talking with me we determined that I needed help falling and staying asleep. Lunesta and Ambien help you fall asleep but not stay asleep.

We also found that adding a low dose of a muscle relaxer helped with morning pain.

A few months later, talking with him we decided to give Wellbutrin a try because I was having PMDD - which I realized from my bullet journal notes. Unbelievably, the Wellbutrin really helped my pain. It was a definite turning point in my treatment.

However, this is what worked for me, you need to find what works for you, and unfortunately, be prepared for the side effects that can occur.

This is a good starting list but I know you are probably curious as to what I actually do on a day to day basis. That post is for next week my friends so stay tuned.

Monday, March 11, 2019

I was chatting with my sister this past Monday about health and options. She's got a house full of hungry kids and she's trying to make healthier choices for herself and her family. Trying to get away from the S.A.D. diet. The Standard American Diet.

She laughed when she said nothing in her pantry is healthy and didn't want to throw it out. I came up with the idea that when something runs out, buy a healthier alternative.

So she asked me to find healthier alternatives for granola bars first, so let's get into the thick of it.

When I think granola bars I'm instantly transported back to childhood and the nostalgic flavor of the gooey Quaker Oats Chocolate Chip granola bar washes over me.

If I'm going to find healthier alternatives then I'm first going to the Quaker Oats website:

Information taken from Quaker.com

I'm going to bold all the words for sugar.

Ingredients

GRANOLA (WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS, BROWNSUGAR, CRISP RICE [RICE FLOUR, SUGAR, SALT, MALTED BARLEY EXTRACT], WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED WHEAT, SOYBEAN OIL, DRIED COCONUT, WHOLE WHEATFLOUR, SODIUM BICARBONATE, SOY LECITHIN, CARAMEL COLOR, NONFAT DRYMILK), SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE CHIPS (SUGAR, CHOCOLATE LIQUOR, COCOABUTTER, SOY LECITHIN, VANILLA EXTRACT), CORN SYRUP, BROWN RICE CRISP (WHOLE GRAIN BROWN RICE, SUGAR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, SALT), INVERTSUGAR, SUGAR, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, GLYCERIN, SOYBEAN OIL. CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF SORBITOL, CALCIUM CARBONATE, SALT, WATER, SOY LECITHIN, MOLASSES, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, BHT (PRESERVATIVE), CITRIC ACID.
CONTAINS WHEAT, COCONUT, SOY AND MILK INGREDIENTS.
MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF PEANUT AND OTHER TREE NUTS.

Holy crap that's a lot of sugar. They should call it Crack-er Oats for the chemical addiction your brain must have to them.

via GIPHY


I guess the first question I have is, is this a snack or a meal replacement or dessert? (Hint: These granola bars should be treated as a dessert)

I'm approaching this from the standpoint of this is a snack. The kind of snack you would partake in after a day of school before you sit down to do your homework or run off to your part time job.

Also, transitioning from the S.A.D. diet can be hard so you many want to start with something on the sweeter side and transition to things like veggies and protein snacks.

I'm also approaching this from the standpoint of convenience, price, and ease. My sister is a chronic pain warrior as well so she needs something that is easy to throw together.

If you shop through any of my links in this post, you help support this blog at zero cost to you. Thank you for your support.

14 Healthier Alternatives to Granola Bars

1. 100 Calorie Almond Packs

A Quaker Oat bar boasts that it is 100 calories, but it's empty calories because of sugar. It would be better to invest in the 100 calorie nut packs.


2. Rolled Up Turkey Slices

Everybody needs more protein. Take 2 - 3 slices of a lean turkey or chicken lunchmeat and put your favorite spread on them. I'm crazy for Maille Mustard. Put a small handful of spinach leaves in them and roll them up. Close with a toothpick. Boom! Super simple to make and very cost effective. You can even throw in pre-shredded carrots!


3. Two Clementines (and maybe a handful of nuts to balance the carbohydrates)

Two clementines clock in at 70 calories and they have 60% of your daily recommendation of Vitamin C. They are sweet but they are a natural sugar. Simple to peel and very portable, it's so easy to throw into a backpack or purse. You can get crazy big bags of them at any grocery store!
4. Apples

Let's get fancy ya'll. This is my current favorite snack. A sliced up apple sprinkled with half a handful of bare chocolate coconut chips and another nut, like pistachios or almonds. You get that hint of chocolate but there is no dairy or soy, and they are sweetened with coconut sugar which does not have the glycemic reaction that normal sugar creates. The coconut has a bit of protein to balance it out.




If you really want to get that bar experience in, then I suggest the next two bars:

5. Larabars

Today at Costco I saw a 20 pack for $13.49. That's a great price. Amazon has good prices of Larabars too. Some do contain sugar so read the label. I will put some of my favorites below. Note that for a snack these should be cut in half! Unless it is a meal replacement don't eat the whole thing. They're around 200-250 calories a bar so a 16 pack, is really a 32 pack.



6. RX Bars for Kids

I had to rope #breadwinnerbff into this one. So I gave her a ring and asked what she feeds her kids. Half the price of the normal RX bar and half the size which is good because this is a snack, not a meal replacement. Normal size RX Bars are a meal replacement.


I asked her about KIND Bars and she said, "they're a candy bar."
7. Deviled Eggs (or Angel Eggs depending on where you are from)

Protein is good and so are eggs! According to WebMD, they have 7 grams of high-quality protein, along with iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids. The egg is a powerhouse of disease-fighting nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin.

Everytime I bring a platter of Deviled Eggs to a summer BBQ they disappear with in seconds. Why wait for summer BBQ's? Eggs are cheap and some stores even have already boiled eggs in a bag.

You can keep the eggs for up to four days in the fridge. In order to do this, keep the whites and egg yolk filling separate. Wrap the egg white halves well with plastic wrap and keep the egg yolk filling sealed in a Ziploc bag with all the air squeezed out (which is how you mix them anyway). Just fill when your kids (or you) are ready for a snack.

8. Watermelon

Watermelon season is just around the corner. This is a great hydrating snack for the summertime. Watermelon also contains thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, choline, lycopene, and betaine.

According to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, watermelon contains more lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant with many health benefits, including sun protection, improved heart health and a lower risk of certain types of cancer.

9. Frozen Grapes

These are a delicious snack, just make sure you fill up a small bowl instead of eating straight from the bag. These are great for a good transition from S.A.D. diet because they are a sweet treat but still has health benefits.
10. Unsweetened Go-Go Applesauce

This is an easy to go, mass produced item that actually isn't that bad for you. Amazon has a 48 pack for around twenty bucks!
11. Ants on a Log

Cut up celery or get the precuts in the store. Top with almond butter or peanut butter (read the label and make sure there is no sugar added, check out my post on the different names for sugar) and raisins. You can also get fancy and top them with apple juice sweetened dried cranberries. Just make sure the cranberries don't have added sweetner.

12. Baby Carrots

Carrots are a great end stage transision snack. It's a veggie that does have sweetness due to a higher sugar content then most veggies. However, still a great snack. Especially when paired with my favorite Paleo Ranch Dressing.

13. Bananas

Natural beta blocker and easies anxiety are great qualities as a fruit. Start out by eating ripe bananas when you are making the transation from the S.A.D. diet to your healthier lifestyle.

14. Greek Yogurt with Berries and a Squirt of Raw Honey

Accoriding to all of the new research fat is good for you. I'll tell you to watch Fed Up, a great documentary about the sugar industry and the sugar lobbies in the government, but you may not have 2 hours. Instead watch this short clip from Adam Ruins Everything, which is a great summary of the Fed Up documentary.


So get out there and buy some full fat greek yogurt. Top a 1/2c of yogurt with a handful of berries, strawberries, blueberries, etc. and a tablespoon or less of raw honey.

During this transition phase if you or your kids find themselves still hungry, make sure the snack is eaten in conjuction with 16 oz of water, 2 glasses. Too many people mistake hungriness for thirst.

Let's not forget that boredom can also lead to unnecessary snacking. It is national craft month. Pick up something and learn or get outside and enjoy the weather.

Hell, one of the main reasons I knit and crochet is so I don't snack in front of the TV.

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