New Year, New Journey

2018 was easily my favorite year. The journey I took during this past year has been everything I needed it to be and more. It was the year I finally found myself, the year I found my incredible other half, the year I tried new things, bought a car, moved out on my own, started a job, quit a job, put my foot in the door of corporate America, continued to raise two kick ass little ladies, ate way more donuts than is recommended, and all of the other amazing little things in between. However, if you’ve been following along, you know all this already. This time last year I was so ready to put 2017 behind me and never look back. On January 1st I posted a picture of myself with the caption “ Here’s to a year of loving myself, achieving my goals, and never settling for less than I deserve.” I can safely say I did just that! This year I’m finding myself reliving all of the moments of that journey and pausing to take in how truly grateful I am for all the blessings this year has brought. So what’s my caption for 2019? “Here’s to a year of living life to the fullest, enjoying all of the little moments, celebrating my blessings, and finally figuring out what the heck is wrong with me.”




It’s that time of year again! All of the new diets and exercise routines are flooding your newsfeed. The “New Year New Me” hashtag is all over the place. The discounted work out plans designed to “Get a plumper booty,” “Lose inches of belly fat,” and “Love your body again!” are more popular than politics right now. While I don’t completely hate the idea of New Years resolutions, or a reason to get yourself back on track with whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish, the fact is that most people don’t stick to these things so we tend to just roll our eyes. “That’s great Karen! New year new you! I can’t wait to see you stuffing your face with cheeseburgers at our February potluck!”


With that being said, I’m jumping on the bandwagon. Not because it’s what I’m “supposed” to do this time of year, or to be honest, even what I want to be doing right now. It’s what I need to do.


I’m not going to blow up your inbox with reasons why you should join me on this journey. Promises of workouts that are ONLY 20 minutes and you WILL see results! I won’t ask you to join my “team” or be some kind of brand ambassador or some strong female role model to all of the moms out there living their lackluster existence. I’m not going to sell you on some crazy fad diet and push you to try it too. I won’t even share with you my before and after photos of my success (on the off chance I actually have some). I’m simply going to share my journey with you because, quite frankly, it’s going to suck something major, and this will be a way for me to bitch and moan about it I guess.


So why am I doing it, and what exactly am I doing? Let me share a little bit of back story…


A few years ago I woke up with my face completely swollen and itchy (please tell me you’ve seen the movie Hitch.) Never before have I had any type of allergies, so I thought for sure something had bitten me in the middle of the night. I took a ton of Benadryl and nursed my swollen eyes and body for several days. A few months later, it happened again. At this point I thought, okay something might be up. I talked to my doctor about this, among other things that may or may not be relevant here, and she set me up with an allergist. I went through the full on (all over your back and arms kind of) allergy testing. The doctor I saw said that pretty much nothing came up on my screening, and that he felt strongly this was stress related. I could understand that maybe, since I was more stressed at this time than any other point in my life. He did however say I had a VERY mild reaction to peaches, oysters, and walnuts, but if I had been eating these things then I could continue most likely without any consequences. I think he was telling me these things to pacify me to be honest. A few more months passed without any kind of reaction, and I thought maybe I was in the clear.


Skip ahead a few months, and I had one of my worst reactions. It had been a little while since I had the testing done, so I called the allergist asking what exactly it was again that I was allergic to. They reminded me, and one thing stuck out…peaches. I thought for sure that must be what was causing it, and they called me in a steroid to help with the swelling and a refill in case I had any future issues. All I had to do was stay away from peaches, and I’d be just fine. Or so I thought.


I had the refill on hand, but it eventually expired before I could even use it. I went a good 2 years or so without any kind of sign or symptom of an allergy. Unfortunately, I had a reaction this past October that ended up lasting a full month. I battled it, trying to figure out what on earth changed in my life as far as any personal care products, diet, etc. I eventually (after weeks of suffering and eyelids so swollen and raw they were almost bleeding) saw a doctor at my office (thank goodness for an on-site doctor!) and got on a steroid to clear it. I got myself back to the allergist to have another full panel run, and this time I was left with even less answers. There wasn’t a single thing that came up on my screen. This guy said that he didn’t even see how I could have come up positive at all for the peaches, oysters, and walnuts, and that he truly doesn’t think this is an issue of stress. Alright doc, I can agree with you there, because this is the least stressed I’ve ever been in my life! I removed any new soap, lotion, etc. etc. etc. from my routine, continued to stay away from peaches, and did fine for a month.


Right before Christmas I had another reaction. Perfect timing! Now I can look like a festive blowfish for all of our holiday pictures! Thankfully the allergist quickly called me in a steroid and my holiday was saved. Until I got off of the medicine. Right back to reacting again two days clean. Again, I’m thankful for my on-site doctor because I damn near had a panic attack sitting at my desk feeling the itching and swelling returning. She prescribed me yet another steroid (I’m gonna have the biggest muscles in this office before long) an epi pen to start carrying around with me since I have yet to get any answers as to what on earth I’m allergic to, and lots of prayers for me to figure this shit out.


I guess maybe the “among other things” is crucial to the story now. One of the other issues my doctor was concerned about was a potential auto-immune disease. The specifics here aren’t necessary, but the fact that my body is allergic to something (possibly even itself) and we can’t figure out what it is, means that this is a road I’ve started traveling down as well. So whatever this is, good/not so good, I’m kicking off my 2019 trying to figure it out. In addition to the long list of bloodwork, more allergy testing, and doctors visits that will be in my near future, I’ve decided to take my health into my own hands. That’s where this long winded post was going! New Year New Me!


I’ve done all kinds of research, got lost down way more Pinterest rabbit holes than I can count, and settled on a diet that’s supposed to be completely life altering for those struggling with inflammation and/or autoimmune issues. I won’t try to sell you on all the specifics here (it’s called the AIP diet if you care to google it,) but what I will tell you is that it’s an extreme elimination diet which forces you to give up:


  1. Grains
  2. Dairy
  3. Eggs
  4. Legumes
  5. Nuts & Seeds (including coffee)
  6. Nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, pepper related spices)
  7. Sugar
  8. Alcohol
  9. Anything processed period.


It’s like Paleo meets American Ninja Warrior.


And it’s going to suck.


However, despite my massive donut and coffee withdrawal, I am currently on day 4 (of a minimum of 30) and I’m doing OKAY. That could also be my steroid talking though. Only time will tell. My biceps have been looking extra plump lately.


My kids are mostly on board with it too saying things like, “Wow Mom! That’s really going to suck!” “You can’t even have coffee?! Can we have the coffee?” “I would rather stick myself with an epi pen every day than not eat all those things for a whole month!”


All of their lovely commentary aside, they have been open to trying new recipes to make this the least painful experience it can possibly be. When I come across one I particularly enjoy, I’ll share it with you! Just because cooking and sharing good food is something I truly enjoy, not because I feel you should do this too. In fact, don’t. Unless you really need to. Then do, and I’ll help cheer you on with a cup of green tea sweetened with my tears.


I’m all about go big or go home, so in addition to torturing myself with this diet, I’m going kick up my yoga routine as well and do a 30 day yoga challenge. Thankfully, I found a free one (if you’d like to know which just ask) cause I was about to spend $40 on the promise of a total body transformation. While I’m all about these fitness gods making bank (#jealous) I think I’ll stick with the “If it’s free it’s for me” mantra and hope for the best.


Who knows? At the end of this I might just end up looking like the prettiest cup of organic kombucha that you ever did see. But, I won’t be sharing those after pictures so you’ll just have to imagine it.




My favorite recipe so far:

I made this in the crock pot too 🙂 Enjoy!




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