Wednesday, I finally made my way up to Austin to review my lab results from blood, urine, and stool samples taken 2 months ago. Here is my post on what my first visit was like with a functional medicine doctor. Before I go over the results, I would like to share with you my 2 biggest reactions:

1) I finally feel validated. I am NOT crazy. I knew I had some major things going on regarding my health that were just not being addressed by my previous doctors.

2) Finally, I know what is wrong so I can fix it!!!

Zonulin Profile

The first set of test results we reviewed were my zonulin levels. Zonulin is a protein that will be present in large amounts if you have a leaky gut since it is known to facilitate the permeability of intestinal cells. High zonulin levels are often associated with people who have celiacs disease and several other autoimmune diseases. This is a really good article if you are interested in reading more about zonulin.

My zonulin levels were extremely high.  We pretty much knew I had a leaky gut, but I didn’t realize my results would be on the complete right side of the graph.


Food Sensitivity C3d and IgG Report

Food sensitivities are a REAL thing.  Just because someone isn’t diagnosed with celiacs, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have issues with gluten or any other type of food for that matter.  If you don’t believe me, sign up and take an immunology course at your local university.  I had to take immunology for my Physician Assistant prereqs, and it completely opened my eyes to delayed onset sensitivities.  This means that you could eat cow’s milk, for instance, on Tuesday, but won’t feel the effects of it until  Thursday or Friday.  This sometimes makes it hard to pinpoint if you do have a food sensitivity or not.

This is a graphic from one of my lectures:

Screen Shot 2013-08-16 at 1.10.23 PM

You all might be familiar with Type I immune responses if you have seasonal, peanut, latex, or bee allergies.  A person with Type I immune responses can develop hives, start itching, sneezing, or even go into anaphylaxic shock.

As you can see from the graphic above, Type II and III immune responses are a little different.  Symptoms can be severe like fever, chills, shock, renal failure, and death for hemolytic reactions.  Thank goodness, most foods ingested won’t cause these types of reactions!  However, some apparent symptoms can be headaches, migraines, flu-like/ seasonal allergy like symptoms, skin rashes, digestive issues — villus atrophy in small intestine, inflammation, and poor absorption just to name a few.  This test was looking for an IgG (antibody) presence as well as the complement C3d (which is an activator in the complement cascade) when certain foods were introduced to my blood.

My doctor made this youtube video talking about this specific test.  The testing company that she is using now is different than the one mentioned in the video.


There were 5 levels of reactions on this specific test:

1) Severe Reaction

2) High Reaction

3) Moderate Reaction

4) Mild Reaction

5) No Reaction

The nutritionist in my doc’s office said that for the severely, highly, and moderately reactive foods, it doesn’t matter how healed my gut gets, I need to stay away from these foods.  For the mildly reactive foods, some might just be mildly reactive because my gut is so damaged.  For those foods, I was told to limit to 1-2 times/ week.  Eggs came up as mildly reactive for instance, so I can’t have those for breakfast everyday anymore! Some mildly reactive foods were very close to being moderately reactive (like rice for me) which means I probably will always be reactive to it.

My results:

Severe Reaction
Gluten (not surprised there)

High Reaction
Coffee (I literally had a mini freak out session in the doctor’s office b/c of this, and yes, I clarified that it wasn’t caffeine that is the issue)
Cow’s Milk
Whole Wheat (this is not referring to the gluten content)

Moderate Reaction
Rye (again, not referring to the gluten content)

Mild Reaction
Rice (this was actually one tick away from a moderate reaction– suggested to only eat 1x month)
Benzoic Acid (used in food preservatives)
Egg Albumin
Egg Yolk
Green Peas
Goats Milk
White Potatoes
Collard Greens (My husband from the south is not happy about this! lol)

I have more test results that I will share next week if you are interested.

Have you ever had one of these tests done?  Do you suspect you might have a food sensitivity? 

Test Results Part 2



This is such a random post, but it seems that lately all my posts have been that way. hehe.

Yesterday, my run started off so magical. My legs felt weightless; the weimies weren’t dragging me; my breath was calm. We were dodging trashcans like we were on some type of obstacle course. I felt like I was 10 again.

It was awesome…until I tripped over my huge feet and uneven sidewalk and fell flat on my face. Thankfully the dogs didn’t just take off running when I let go of the leash while I was in midair. When they realized I had fallen they came back to check on their mom. They are such good dogs! Of course, I did this same exact thing while in Albuquerque for family pictures in May. What can I say? I’m living in a Bobby’s World cartoon. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, I am definitely aging myself. haha.


My Thoughts on the Paleo Diet

I’ve read a few blog posts lately that have been anti-paleo cautioning their readers that our ancestors didn’t eat chicken, broccoli, coconut butter/oil, coffee, chocolate, and therefore the entire basis for eating “paleo” is ridiculous. Also, these bloggers seem to think the paleo diet is mostly about eating meat. I have to chuckle at this because it is obvious they aren’t very familiar with the paleo diet and the many interpretations of it. Most people I know who follow the paleo diet aren’t eating a 64 ounce steak or an entire chicken with every meal. In fact, most of their diet consists of fruits and veggies. Personally, I do try to get in some type of animal protein with every meal, and most of the time it is the size of a deck of cards and comes from humanely and sustainably raised sources. The rest of my plate comes from plant sources!

When I first heard of the Paleo Diet, my husband and I were living in Germany at the time, and the crossfit scene had just exploded on Ramstein AFB. I had several friends who were REALLY into crossfit, and when they told me that they had cut out all grains, legumes, and dairy from their diet, I thought they were absolutely insane. I am from New Mexico after all, and the thought of giving up my beloved pinto beans, cheese, and my grandmother’s homemade tortillas was pure craziness. I couldn’t even fathom it. That was until my digestive issues started taking over my life, and I wasn’t finding any solutions from numerous doctors. I won’t go into detail here about it. You can read this post if you are interested though. Cutting out grains, dairy, and legumes didn’t solve all my digestive problems as I learned that I also had a FODMAP issue, but it definitely helped. Going through a thorough elimination diet has helped me gain some insight into what foods I can tolerate and which ones I can’t. When I eat most grains including anything with gluten, I feel like crap. When I eat soy or any legumes for that matter, I feel like crap. When I eat dairy (and I LOVE cheese), I feel like crap. I pay for eating all these things with severe stomach cramping, horrible bloating, migraines, constipation AND diarrhea, brain fog, insomnia, acne, etc. It isn’t fun.

Obviously, if you are only eating chicken breasts, broccoli, and coconut oil on the paleo diet, you probably need to take a look at some paleo food blogs and/or buy a few cookbooks to help you with your meal creativity. Transitioning to this way of eating was not easy for me simply because it is drastically different from the way I grew up. Once I got used to though, I didn’t deprived. I don’t feel like my food choices are restricted. This way of eating makes sense to me and makes my digestive system happy. I don’t feel like taking a nap after a carb heavy lunch/dinner. This is not to say that the paleo diet is necessarily low carb. You make it what you need it to be. There are many options for starchy carbs. I’m working out 3-6 hours/week which is nothing compared to my 20+ hours a week that I used to train for my Ironmans.  So for me, eating low carb fits well at this time in my life. Of course, my interpretation of low carb could mean something entirely different to someone else.

I eat about 95% “paleo,” and I carefully choose the meals when I want veer away from that way of eating. Let me explain. Yes, most of the time, I will eat paleo. However, I do love my pho, my mom’s beans and chile when I see her once or twice year, and gluten free pizza with cheese from Mellow Mushroom. I love sushi with white rice dipped in tamari. We don’t eat out very often, and it just depends on where we go for what I decide to eat. If we are out to the Yard House, they have a g-free menu that is basically paleo since they don’t have any gluten free substitutions. I usually get a lettuce wrapped burger and a side salad. I am full afterwards, and I have no stomach issues so life is good. If I have a couple slices of gf pizza from Mellow Mushroom (happens every 6 months maybe), I enjoy it, but then I have to deal with constipation, bloating, and acne for 3 days afterwards. When I was traveling in Rome a couple years ago (when I was only gluten free), you better believe I had gluten filled pizza, pasta, and gelato everyday. It was my first time in Rome, and I enjoyed all it had to offer, but I paid for it dearly during that week and a week after.

I guess the main point that I want to put out there is this: The vast majority of the time, do what makes YOUR body feel the best. Don’t get turned off from a certain way of eating just because of the name. Honestly, I couldn’t give a rats ass whether our ancestors ate this way or not. All I know is that I feel great not eating grains, legumes, and dairy. I still eat my chocolate and drink my wine. Life is good.

If you feel great eating dairy, gluten, legumes, or whatever on a regular basis, that is wonderful!! If you have seasonal allergies, fatigue, insomnia, acne, digestive issues, eczema, migraines, brain fog, or you just don’t feel as good as you think you should be feeling, please take an honest look at your diet as you may have a food intolerance. My husband has a “stomach of steel” and can eat practically anything he wants. However, he did suffer from really bad seasonal allergies, and they have decreased in intensity since we started this paleo way of eating. I’m not saying that the only way to eat is the paleo diet, but eat what nurtures your body and stop judging others for their food choices especially if it is working for them.

Okay, I’m done with my rant. Sigh. If you are still reading this, thank you for sticking around. haha.

New Kind of Coffee


Well, it is new to me. I picked up some Chameleon Cold Brew yesterday at Whole Foods and made myself a nice little iced coffee this morning. I LOVE IT! It is not as acidic as most coffee, and it goes down smooth. The 4 oz. that I tried this morning was a little too strong for me so I think I will try 2 oz. tomorrow with water. I drank it about 6 hours ago, and I’m still buzzing. I don’t know if I’ll come down from the caffeine high, but it feels pretty good for now. I posted this pic on instagram this morning.

Do you judge people regarding their food choices? To be honest with you, I used to judge people and their food choices until my IBS got out of control, and I started researching different ways of eating. I realized the everyone is slightly different in the way their bodies can handle various foods. :)

What kinds of coffee are you loving right now?  

Do you ever feel like you are in a Bobby’s World cartoon?  If you remember it, please comment so I don’t feel so old!  

P.S. I finally joined the rest of the world on Instagram.  It took me a while, didn’t it?  Feel free to follow me.  I post some of my eats and random life happenings there. 😉 


I have some good news that I want to share with you all before we get to my grocery buys and new workout DVDs. I finally got a job! Since I was still having issues getting EMT certified in TX from WA (even though I’m nationally certified), I decided to go and get certified as a nursing assistant since it was cheaper and less time than retaking an EMT class here in Texas. I took the class on the weekends last semester, and I didn’t start looking for a job as soon as the semester was out because we had some traveling to do. It took me about 6 weeks to find a patient care assistant (PCA) job at a hospital here in Texas, but I think I found a good fit for me. In one of the interviews that I went on, the nurse asked me, “You do know you are overqualified for this position, right?” Then she kept asking me that over and over again. I am fully aware that I have a masters in engineering. haha. I am aware that this is basically an entry level position within the hospital system, but this is necessary if I want to LOVE what I do for a living. The average student who gets accepted to UT Health Science Center for PA school has 85 months of paid clinical experience. I have zero. How do most PA school hopefuls get their experience? They get it from being either an EMT or PCA.

I haven’t started yet since the hospital has hired a lot of people lately, and the orientation schedule is a little backed up, but I’m really excited to start gaining this “hands on” patient experience. I should be in an orientation class by the middle of this month hopefully!! This position, unfortunately for my sleep cycle, is on the night shift. If any of you have experience with working the night shift, let me know!! This will be a first for me. I read this blog post by Nom Nom Paleo that had some really good tips in it, but I’m open to more suggestions to make this an easy transition. Regardless, I’m eager to learn about how a hospital functions and all the medical terminology that comes with it.

Now onto my grocery basket from Trader Joes! I’ve gotten a few emails asking me what I buy when I go grocery shopping, and I like seeing what other bloggers are buying; so I thought this would be fun. I bought all my meat from Whole Foods earlier in the week. I look for sales when I shop there otherwise I would be broke.


So, from right to left, I bought:

* Sea Salt
* Peppercorns
* Cumin
* Canned smoked oysters (really good with plantain chips, potato chips, carrot slices)
* White potatoes (I have my white potato challenge this week)
* Sweet potatoes
* Lemons
* Bananas
* Nectarines
* Avocados
* Orange bell pepper
* Honeydew melon
* Grapes
* Blueberries
* Celery
* Green Onions
* Brussel sprouts
* Zucchini
* Carrots
* Kale
* Mixed Greens
* Shredded cabbage
* Cucumbers
* $5 bottle of wine
* Dried pineapple
* Dried mango
* Dried mango with chili (the hubs LOVES these things)
* Pine nuts
* Banana chips


I know this probably seems like a lot of veggies, but we go through them pretty quickly since we don’t eat any grains in our house anymore. This week, I actually didn’t plan a menu, but I’m pretty good at using almost EVERYTHING in our fridge before I do back to the store. I’m not kidding you. Our fridge is mostly bare including the produce drawers probably except for the condiment shelves and one main shelf before I will go back to the store. I hate wasting food!

As you know, my doc isn’t letting me do anything crazy as far as working out goes (trying to heal my gut!), and I’m getting a little bored from lifting weights at the gym. I used to be such a gym rat, and I don’t know what happened. I just don’t enjoy the gym anymore after years of training outside for triathlons. Plus, the gym on base is ALWAYS busy. There are no down times.

I have been wanting to join a Crossfit gym, but I think my doc would freak. haha. Plus, at $125 to $150/month we just can’t justify spending that much money when we are trying to be debt free in a year or so. As an adult, I actually have to be responsible with how I spend my money! Once we are debt free and I’m healed, I definitely would LOVE to give it a try though!

I was missing my ZWOW workouts, so I’m back with doing those and:


Good ole, Jillian Michaels. Her workouts are 30 minutes long (including warm-up and cool down), and they kick my butt. Shred-It was $7-$8, and the 15 lb kettle bell was $20 on Amazon. Don’t get your kettlebells from Target!! They are twice as much!  If you have Amazon Prime, it is free shipping which is quite a good thing with a 15 lb kettlebell.


I also ordered Zuzka’s ZCUT Power Strength Series for $15 on Amazon. It comes with 12 workouts, plus 3 bonus workouts, and a workout calendar. I’m still running 2-3 times/ week, so I think this is exactly what I need. The calendar says to complete 5 workouts/week, but I don’t think I will be doing that many a week. I was listening to a podcast with Rob Wolf and Jason Seib last week, and they specified that anyone dealing with adrenal fatigue should only be working out 3 times a week (10-15 high intensity) + warm-up and cooldown. That is what all of these provide.

P.S. If you aren’t familiar with Zuzka, you need to be.  She puts together short HIIT workouts. I would compare them to crossfit but without the heavy weight lifting component.


So, that is what I’ve been up to! Well, that and running with the puppies…


Have you ever worked the night shift?

What do you think about HIIT workouts? These ladies are pretty buff from doing them!!

Anyone else suffer from adrenal fatigue?  How long did it take to heal?