Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Monterey--One of God's Great Gifts

Indescribable Beauty.  The Fresh Smell of Pine.  Luxurious Wine.  Ocean Waves Beating Against the Cliffs.  Rough Rocks and Smooth Stones.  

Monterey County is an exploration for the senses and a place for relaxation.  Enjoy the sites...

Monterey Peninsula

The Lone Cypress, Pebble Beach

Views from the drive to Big Sur

The Waterfall at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Sangiovese Grapes Ripening on the Vine
My Love Upon the Rock

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Endocrinologist's Assesment

Well, I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.  And I am relieved to know it.  The endocrinologist appointment went relatively well.  He basically told me that if my numbers are normal, then I just have to deal with the symptoms.  But the more we talked, the more he realized that I probably do have an issue.  He did think I may have a B12 deficiency (pernicious anemia), but I didn't.  He made reference to the "autoimmune disorder [I] have inherited" and "hashimotos."  Well, he ordered labs and my TSH levels came back on the high side, but it was my antibody levels that were off the charts, which confirms that I do indeed have Hashimoto's.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Hashimoto's disease is a disorder that affects your thyroid…the thyroid is part of your endocrine system, which produces hormones that coordinate many of your body's activities (from digestion to metabolism to reproduction)…Hashimoto's disease is an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system creates antibodies that damage your thyroid gland. The disease causes inflammation of your thyroid gland (thyroiditis), which may impair the ability of your thyroid to produce hormones, leading to an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). Then, your pituitary gland attempts to stimulate your thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormones, thus causing your thyroid gland to enlarge (goiter).

So, what does this mean?  Not much, really.  I need to watch my TSH levels.  They need to be kept lower than normal.  My thyroid will eventually "die."  But this means my levels and symptoms will even out and I will be completely dependent on synthetic thyroid hormones (which doctors prefer, I have been told).  It is more reliable.  Hashimoto's, because it is an endocrine, autoimmune disease, can lead to lots of other, unsavory things, but this is extremely unlikely as I am on medication and have been.  

I really am extraordinarily relieved to know what my issue is.  I've known I've had an issue and it feels good to finally have that confirmed.  Having Hashi's is really no different than plain hypothyroidism in regards to treatment and outcome.  But, there is always the possibility of having more endocrine issues.

One final note...I did ask the doc about avoiding goitrogenic foods (this was distressing me as many on the list are regulars in my diet) and he said that I would create more problems than solve by eliminating these foods.  He told me there was no way I'd ever be able to eat enough soy to inhibit iodine absorption at a level that would affect anything.  I'm still breathing a sigh of relief.  :0)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Vegetarian Month: A Recap

Vegetarian month was awesome!  I LOVED it!!  We will be doing it again in January.  My eating has changed dramatically and part of me REALLY wants to become a vegetarian.  But, it's not going to happen.  Too much prevents it for me, at this point in my life.  But, vegetarian meals now play a much bigger role in my life.  For the month of August, I think I've cooked meat three times thus far.  I've eaten it more out, for sure, but at home--many more veggies.

I've got a ton of new recipes I want to try, as well as a bunch of red lentils, french lentils, barley, black beans, quinoa, and other random stuff in my pantry.  I made more falafel this month and it is fantastic.

My body has also really decided it likes vegetarian food.  I have not felt near as good in August as I did in July.  I've had lots of issues and have been more tired and have lacked energy and concentration.  This last week really enlightened me--the conference was in town, which meant my busiest week of the year.  My food choices were not my own (mostly).  I did make turkey sausage, "egg," and veggie burritos for the week as I needed something extraordinarily filling for the mornings.  But, my tummy complained--so much so that I had to take pepto in the mornings before eating them.  I was thrilled to get back to you yogurt and berries.  But lunches were at the conference.  One day, after feeling yucky and really not thrilled about the bacon wrapped, cheesy-filled, artery clogging chicken, I ate three salads for my meal.  They had roasted tomato halves, roasted red onion, and asparagus.  Eaten with the vinaigrette, they were phenomenal.  I didn't even want the dessert.

But anyways, I digress...

So, did I reach my goal?  Yes.  I am much more comfortable cooking vegetarian recipes and incorporating more food in my diet.  I am eating healthier and less, my body is functioning properly, and I've been loosing weight.

How has it changed me?  I am much more opened minded about food (as long as there are no mushrooms or tofu)!  I am happier eating this way and I want to continue it.  I have begun to consider health over low-fat or low-calorie.

Friends were fascinated by our experience.  Some thought we were crazy, some were impressed, and one even joined the fun. Another friend sent us an interesting article that put into words some of what was going through my head when I decided to do this.  The article is about gluttony, but it touches on being willing to give up things, or at least consume less.

All that to say.  Veggie month was a success and I highly recommend it to people.  Choosing to forgo meat for one month is doable for anyone.  Open your mind.  Experience something new.  And learn.

And for something completely unrelated...here's a photo of the Tennessee River taken from the helicopter this past week...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Oh Wine, How I Love Thee

It's late, I'm tired, and I've had 1/2 a bottle of wine.  For me, lately, this is a lot and I am certainly feeling the effects.  I've cut way back since October (bad, bad night) so I normally don't even drink half a bottle.  But, tonight's wine (Sebeka Chenin Blanc) was excellent.  Very light.  Slightly citrusy.  Very mild.  Very soft nose.  Enjoyable.  We drank it with grilled chicken (Hubby's first time grilling chicken--roaring success), tourlou tourlou (adapted from Elly Says Opa), and pearled barley (cooked in veggie broth, with a bay leaf thrown in for good measure).  The veggies were like butter.

Dinner was tasty.  I loved it.  Dinner last night was good too...we went to my favorite restaurant in town and had a great steak with a good glass of cabernet.

That is all.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

So Long...

But not farewell...I have not forgotten about you!  Life has been extraordinarily busy the past few weeks, both at work and at home.  It's also been ridiculously hot, which has made me want to be lazy.

Here are some things I owe you, so be on the look out:

-Report on the endocrinologist and diagnosis
-Recap of veggie month
-Recipe for some yummy Glazed Carrot Soup I made last night.

One final note...we drank the Kool-Aid and both got new iphones this week.  They are pretty awesome.