Real Food Bryn

Epipen-Wielding Real Food Eating

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And then it was November

I’m working really hard to put on the brakes!

It finally got cold here–21 degrees when I got up this morning 😦 I think one of my ultimate life goals is going to be moving somewhere warmer–but not too warm 🙂

As evidenced by the fact that I have once again not blogged for a month, things have been kind of crazy. However, it is slowly getting better. I’m looking forward to the time I am going to spend with my family over the holidays. I also have two really fun trips planned with my girlfriend, both to see bands that we love. We also have some plans to rearrange the apartment which I think will be a nice reset for creativity in the things we are both doing.

A big change, and something I am super excited about is that I went back to school. It was a bit of a scary change (I have spent far too much time in school already and I currently work at one), but I already feel invigorated and ready to charge forward with all of the ideas I have. I am enrolled in the Health Coach Training Program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I am only 3 weeks into classes and it has already made a big difference in my life. In about 6 months I will be able to start working with clients, helping them transform their lives.  So, if you or anyone you know is interested in a Health Coach, let me know!

One of my class assignments this week is to have a positive attitude. Wish me luck, especially today. I am on my way to the dentist, eek!

One photo for today. Here a picture of my breakfast buddy who likes to hang out while I have coffee.

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Life updates

Sometimes life happens.

And sometimes it all happens at once.

The last half of August was a crazy storm of life. In a three week period I was traveling for work, my grandmother passed away, and my girlfriend had major surgery on her knee. Hello, cortisol rush. I somehow missed all of September and nearly all of October. I think things are finally calming down…just in time for the holidays!

I just want to end with a few photos of what I’ve been up to.

My new love of sardines


My new obsession


Also an obsession!


Love you, grandma.


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WIAW – March 6

Here’s what I ate today…

I was running a little late this morning, so breakfast was smoked salmon and some steamed potatoes (which I ate on my way to work).

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I barely remembered to grab a pic of lunch, but I had some cauliflower rice, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, and onion.

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For dinner I had cauliflower rice with roasted veggies (sweet potato, butternut squash, onions, mushrooms, red and purple potatoes) and broccolini.

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And, snacks were candied ginger (yum!), a banana (not pictured), and chips (bad…).

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I also had to sample some of my shipment from US Wellness Meats, which arrived today. This is the best beef jerky I have ever had.

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Weekend Highlights: Coffee, Snow, and French Fries

It was a typical busy weekend for us, but I grabbed some photos of the highlights to share.

coffee. always coffee.

coffee. always coffee.

We also made a quick stop by the Farmer’s market on Saturday morning. I love our local market. They always have a decent selection and loads of friendly people. The one thing I wish is that there was a farmer’s market open on Sunday. I realize that would be hard to come by in the midwest, but I’m just never ready to do my shopping until Sunday.



And then it snowed! We got about 5-6 inches in a 2-hour span on Saturday night. The weather forecast was for a “chance of snow,” and I guess that, technically, they were right. It is already starting to melt, so I’m sure it won’t be around for much longer.

where did that come from?

where did that come from?

Today was my “cheat day,” so we headed to Red Robin for bottom-less fries and gluten-free burgers. It was so freaking good.

"allergy burger"

my gluten-free, dairy-free “allergy burger”


How did I get here?

I got here by getting sicker as soon as I tried to get healthier.

In 2009, I was not at my heaviest (which was ~220-230), but I was still over 200 lbs at 5’5″. I “felt fine” other than the uncomfortable feeling of being heavy. I was on my first full year of being cigarette-free, and regularly walking the 0.8 miles to work every day. However, I was also rapidly approaching the dissertation-writing-and-defending portion of my graduate degree in chemistry and eating all of my feelings about the experience.

bryn 2009 2

circa 2009

Then, I watched my first episode of The Biggest Loser, which quickly turned into a weekend full-season marathon, and it was a great motivator. Watching people overcome weight issues that were much worse than mine was my indication that it could be done. I currently have a whole new set of thoughts about The Biggest Loser, but that is another story. So, I started running and eating what I thought was a healthy diet. Breakfast usually included Grape Nuts cereal with yogurt, lunch varied from frozen Lean Cuisines to whatever I could purchase (slice of veggie pizza, Subway sandwich, Qdoba burrito), and dinner was usually pasta with mixed veggies or more purchased food.

Then one day I started reacting to dairy. First, only soft cheeses gave me hives and migraines. Then, it was hard cheeses, so I switched to goat milk cheese (mmmmm, raw goat milk cheddar, mmmmm).

And then, it was all over. All dairy from cows and goats (and likely other mammals) gave me hives, a migraine, and major asthma 😦 Thankfully (or not), allergies were not new news in our house. My girlfriend has had severe allergies since birth. We were already keeping a peanut-, treenut-, and shellfish-free kitchen, with a few other items that we just avoided. (Check out the About the Chemist page for a full list.) So, dairy was out, but nothing else changed about my diet. Milk became soy milk. Yogurt became soy yogurt and eventually coconut yogurt.

Summer in St. Louis can be pretty brutal, so in 2010, as soon as it started to warm up, I picked up a gym membership, which I was quickly using five days a week. Strict portion control, a steady gym schedule, and the stress of writing a dissertation and finishing my Ph.D. helped me slim down to 140 lbs pretty quickly. (Stress was pretty easy to come by in our apartment that summer. My girlfriend completed her Ph.D. in June, and I completed mine in July.)

After that, not much changed. Stress stayed pretty high as I completed a 9-month teaching postdoc (my longest working day during the week was 7am-11pm and often until 2am). I went to the gym less often as I quickly ran out of time, but managed to lose weight even as I ate more due to the long days of running around.

summer 2011

summer 2011

Several months of job-searching after the end of my postdoc, I landed a position that was great for a number of reasons: my responsibilities fit with my interests in education, it didn’t require moving out of our apartment, and I could still walk to work every day. The down side was what comes with most office jobs–a lovely, ergonomic office chair that was my new constant companion. I also got health insurance (the good kind!) and an allergist. I tested negative for a milk allergy, but my allergist just recommended that I continue to avoid milk. I started getting allergy shots for my animal and environmental allergies.

Office life was–and still is–nice. I liked what I was doing, but I was still not going to the gym, and my visits to the vending machine and the bagel shop were not paying off. I gained some weight back, but not enough to require a new wardrobe.

I Want You!To stop sitting on your butt!

I Want You!
To stop sitting on your butt!

But near the end of November 2012, things started to change. A busy week led to several visits to the bagel shop. I started to get bloated every time I ate a bagel–a reaction that I ignored. Obviously, I was imagining things. By the end of that week, my body had had enough and gave me full body bloating, puffy lips, asthma, and numb hands and feet. I rushed myself to the allergist and was given steroids, antacids, and orders to stay wheat-free for a week in order to be tested for a wheat allergy. Wheat free turned into gluten-free after reacting to oats.

That allergy test (looking for IgE antibodies against wheat) came back negative. When I asked what I should do, the nurse replied, “Well, you can eat bread. Just don’t eat a lot of it.” Completely frustrated (and now constipated with acid reflux from my grain-heavy, gluten-free diet) I headed to my regular doctor and got a referral to a gastroenterologist.

I am currently on a 90% grain-free diet that also excludes dairy and everything else on our household allergy list. I’m doing much better, but worried about the possibility of having Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth. I see the gastroenterologist for the first time next week, and I’m hoping for some guidance about my diet.