The Citrus Life

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"You Don’t Eat Meat?! It’s Okay, I make you lamb."

I love, love, love black bean soup. It’s been my main source of protein these past few days. I have even cheated a little and sautéed some bacon and thrown it in to flavor the bean purée. I have also been obsessed with Whole Foods Indian Red Lentil Soup (pictured above with puréed ground turkey). I have been a vegetarian for almost 2 years now due to health concerns. I love the creativity that is required to make amazingly delicious and healthy meals. When my Naturopath, Dr. Ginger Nash, suggested that I add ground turkey to my recipe repertoire, I cringed a little and simultaneously danced a jig.

I had been craving chicken and cheese for over a week and jokingly tossed around the delicious combination with my boyfriend as if it were the new and trendy noun around town. Words would flow like, “let’s chicken and cheese it!” or “what are you doing today?” My response, “chicken and cheese.” This was the first time in 2 years that I adamantly craved meat and I knew that my protein intake was lacking due to my inability to swallow enough protein rich foods. So, when the word “Turkey” rolled off her tongue, I was elated and yet fearful. She instructed me to choose my meat wisely. “Meat selection is the easy part since I practically live in Whole Foods,” I thought.

I went on a meat shopping extravaganza and purchased two large chickens with an Animal Welfare Rating of 4, which Whole Foods defines as:

"Step 4: Pasture centered
When living outdoors, chickens and turkeys get to forage, pigs get to wallow and cattle get to roam.”

I also purchased ground turkey with an Animal Welfare Rating of 2:

"Step 2: Enriched environment
Animals are provided with enrichments that encourage behavior that’s natural to them — like a bale of straw for chickens to peck at, a bowling ball for pigs to shove around, or a sturdy object for cattle to rub against.”

I’m not terribly excited that I will be blending and eating a turkey that has been kept indoors and given a toy to occupy its time but nevertheless I was excited to find the whole chickens with such a high rating. I’m still crossing my fingers and hope to score a turkey with a rating of 5+ which is defined as:

"At Step 5 the well-being of the animals is the primary focus; efficiency and economy are secondary. Animals raised to Step 5+ standards must be born and live their entire lives on one farm."

Since turkey is not a hot topic until the Holidays roll around, I’m going to have to do some digging, farm hunting, and farm hopping to grab a naturally raised, healthy, and happy bird that is heading toward the end of his farm life in a peaceful manner. I must first find the haystack before attempting to find the needle, and I’m glad turkeys are larger so hopefully this bird will be easier to track down.
Wish me luck ;-)

Live Happily!
-Angela L. Montanez

A Labor of Love.

It’s been a few months since I have been able to train with Devin, my trainer. I haven’t had the energy to train hard since I haven’t been able to eat enough energy that will burn. I have noticed the weight loss since I can only take in liquids and more recently, puréed foods. Getting back on the fitness horse feels like climbing a mountain but the drive is definitely there. The top photo shows myself (in the blue Nike shirt), Devin, and my twin sister. This photo was taken a few months ago, possibly April or May. The bottom two photos were taken this week. The weight loss is noticeable.

Even though swallowing and gaining enough energy is a chore, I’m still driven to garner a great deal of nutrient rich liquids and puréed foods so that I am not deficient. It’s definitely a labor of love.

Live. Eat. Connect. Love
-Angela L. Montanez

Dr. Ginger Nash, Naturopath.

So it’s been roughly 3 1/2 weeks since I first developed strep throat and I’m still having trouble swallowing. It’s not nearly as bad as the first onset of strep but I miss chewing food. I had already received a shot of penicillin in early July and apparently that was not enough. Instead of going back to my doctor and receiving more liver-dangerous medications, I decided to make an appointment with my twin sister’s naturopathic physician, Dr. Virginia “Ginger” Nash. I was delighted that my father’s wife, Michele, was able to attend with me.

Dr. Nash’s office is located in Woodbridge, CT. It is harmoniously calm, sweet smelling, serene and yet lively. Set on a hill, the office overlooks the town’s shopping area and boasts a beautiful scenic mountainside. Lots of healing happens here especially with an onsite chiropractor, hydro colon therapist, and much more. I lost a considerable amount of weight since I have been unable to take in as much as my body is used to which is why I try to take in a good amount of vegetable juices-as much as I can sip-and even black bean soup puréed. Between the supplements and drops she has prescribed, I have noticed that with each passing day, I am slowly feeling better and better.

I contemplated for a few days just how and when my body began breaking down. It began when my PCP prescribed me a steroid inhaler for my asthma called, Advair. There have been studies on the effects of Advair on African Americans and people of color that links usage of Advair to an increased risk of heart attacks. In addition, the Fluticasone Salmeterol steroid in Advair also causes Candida aka “thrush” in the throat and body. Oftentimes, your primary care provider will suggest and prescribe a “spacer” to be used to prevent or minimize the effects. However, since my immune system is weakened and suppressed, the Advair caused an immense amount of candida overgrowth in my body over a short period of time as well as bruising. I even began to have GYN issues. This spiraled into intestinal issues and my gut took a hit with heavy reflux. I was taking many antacid medications and even doing apple cider vinegar shots 2 days before my visit with Ginger Nash just to ease the discomfort.

It’s been almost a week since my first visit with Dr. Nash and so far so good. I’m still learning to live happily through this process, eat naturally even though the hunger had me craving crazy processed foods, and connect spiritually as I tried to associate this season in my life as a time of fasting and praying. It was and is still tough but hopefully the wisdom attained and lessons learned will outweigh the hardship of the lesson itself.

*Crossing My Fingers*
Live. Eat. Connect.
-Angela L. Montanez

My first meal. Gluten free oatmeal with flaxseed, coconut oil, goji berries, and coconut purée, dandelion tea, and half of my first round of vitamins and supplements. First it was the severe constipation then the strep throat and now I’m back to the severe constipation. Two months and I’m still on this roller coaster ride. I just started swallowing better again even though chewing is taking longer. Been taking apple cider vinegar shots today as well. Just have to keep pressing on day by day. #oatmeal #applecidervinegar #glutenfree #coconutoil #coconut #goji #berries #dandelion #vitamins #supplements #constipation #strepthroat #fatigue #cirrhosis #autoimmune #fighter #warrior

My first meal. Gluten free oatmeal with flaxseed, coconut oil, goji berries, and coconut purée, dandelion tea, and half of my first round of vitamins and supplements. First it was the severe constipation then the strep throat and now I’m back to the severe constipation. Two months and I’m still on this roller coaster ride. I just started swallowing better again even though chewing is taking longer. Been taking apple cider vinegar shots today as well. Just have to keep pressing on day by day. #oatmeal #applecidervinegar #glutenfree #coconutoil #coconut #goji #berries #dandelion #vitamins #supplements #constipation #strepthroat #fatigue #cirrhosis #autoimmune #fighter #warrior