Body Mind Spirit

This is what I see when I arrive and leave the Alliance Institute for Integrative Medicine

My body is reacting to something.  I am trying to figure out what it is but if I went by what I feel like, I would think I’m getting glutened.  Which I know isn’t happening.  I am changing things one by one to see what helps and what doesn’t.  So far, coconut has helped the most with the rashes, itchiness, and flaky scalp.  These symptoms haven’t been much of a problem since going gluten-free.  With the exception of the rashes I had earlier this year.

There is also muscle fatigue and overall general fatigue.  The kind where I’m coming from work and not wanting to do anything other than sleep.  There are nights where I end up crashing on the sofa before bedtime.  Some heart palpitations.  A lot of inflammation.  So much inflammation my plantar fasciitis is in a constant state of swollen pain and nothing helps.  Nothing.  Not icing, not stretching, not rice, not golf balls, not yoga.  It’s quite frustrating because I know the inflammation is driving the fatigue.

There is a constant state of chaos and stress right now at work with a major store remodel in progress.  In one night, it is possible for a project I’ve worked on for days to be completely undone and have to be re-done.  Things are in a constant state of flux and answers are hidden away somewhere.  Probably in the disaster of a fixture room in which I always feel like everything will come crashing down on me if I move just one thing the wrong way.  There is also all kinds of crap in the air.  Dust, paint fumes, chemicals, sawdust.  Who knows what else is lurking in the air.  I could blame it all on the remodel, but a lot of the symptoms started before anything was touched.

We leave for Los Angeles on Thursday.  Time with my best friend and her family, whom I haven’t seen in nearly three years.  A football game on Saturday for my alma mater.   The promise of a beach and other friends from long ago.  The possibility of a musical at The Old Globe Theater if Chaz agrees.  

I’m hoping the time away will help me at least narrow down what is setting my body off on this massive reaction.  That way, when I get back and see my doctor the week after, I can present her with my findings, leaving the potential for the amount of testing low.

You see, the practice she is a part of practices what they call Transformational Medicine.  It combines integrative and functional medicine and they take everything into account when making an assessment.  It’s not just about what’s going on in your body today, but yesterday, last week, last month, and last year.  They consider stress, nutrition, metabolic function, immune system, hormones, and your body’s alignment.

I’ve been going to this practice for a year and a half now.  I get acupuncture, chiropractic, and the occasion energy healing when needed.  It’s not covered by insurance, but worth every penny because not only can we head things off before they get ugly, we can prevent.

I look forward to my appointments.  I know they will listen, take care of me, and I’ll be relaxed throughout my time there.  What doctor’s office plays music you normally only hear in posh spas?  That’s right.  Mine.

The founders of the practice, Steve Amoils, M.D. & Sandy Amoils, M.D., recently released the book, Get Well & Stay Well.  They share their journey of learning other types of healing after finishing medical school and how transformational medicine works.  It’s a great book even if you have no clue about alternative medicine and want to learn more.  For those of you who are familiar with alternative medicine, you’ll see how combining the different practices along with Western medicine can benefit you.

I may not find all the answers at my next appointment, but I know I’ll feel better when I leave.



Taco Salad

Taco Salad

Taco salad is one of my favorite things.  Probably because I love tacos and taco salad is like having tacos on a grander scale.  Tacos are my measurement of a good Mexican restaurant.  Something sadly lacking in the Mid-West (and the upper part of the South).  For me, taco meat should be well seasoned.  And by seasoned I mean full of spices.  Bland taco meat is unforgivable.  Much like the unforgivable curses in the world of Harry Potter.

If I’m unhappy with the tacos I get, I usually say to Chaz, “I make it better.”  He’ll usually nod in agreement.  I think that’s just to placate me though.  I can get pretty opinionated about the Mexican restaurants out here.  Can you blame me?  I lived in North County, Southern California for a few years.  Authentic Mexican food is everywhere.  Visits back to see my best friend would always include Mexican food at some point.  I believe there were a few places she took me where I just sat back and rolled my eyes from sheer joy.   Or maybe I exaggerate.

I used to serve these with tortilla chips, normally made by myself.  I went through the evolution of frying them myself to baking them.  Baking is definitely faster and easier on the feet.  I don’t do tortilla chips much anymore and I didn’t make any this last time.

Since this is one of my first original creations from way back, it has been made many different ways with many different proteins.  Ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken, chopped chicken, tofu, beans.  So, whatever your preference for your protein, it is doable.  Just note that when using chicken, turkey, beans, or tofu, you will also need to add the step of oiling your pan.   You can also do a half and half of meat and beans if you want to cut back on your meat budget for the week.

Taco Salad – serves 4 -6

1 pound ground beef (or protein of your choice)

1 onion, chopped and divided in half.

1 tablespoon, cumin

1 tablespoon, chili powder

1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


1 head lettuce (I used red leaf for the picture), chopped

tomatoes, chopped

avocado, chopped

black olives, sliced (I buy the pre-sliced ones, it saves me time and from eating half the can while slicing them)

Heat a skillet over medium.  Add ground beef and brown.  If you are using other proteins as mentioned above, remember to oil your pan first.   Add salt to taste and then add half the onions.  Stir.  Add in the cumin, chili powder, and cayenne.  Stir occasionally until meat is cooked through.  Remove from heat.  To plate, cover bottom of the plate with lettuce and top with ground beef.  Sprinkle with tomatoes, onions, and black olives.  Add avocado around the edges of your salad.

If you are able to eat cheese or if you are dairy-free and use dairy-free cheeses, you can add it after your ground beef.  In my dairy days, I would used shredded colby jack.  I am not fond of the dairy-free cheese so I don’t bother with it.  I just add more avocado so I get the similar texture from the avocados.

Red Sangria And White Sangria Poptails With A Bonus

Berry Sangria Poptails

Shirley shared a poptail recipe on Facebook by another blogger a few weeks ago.  This not only spawned a conversation about poptails and retreats between the two of us, it also gave me an idea.  Two ideas to be exact.  Red Sangria and White Sangria.

I have wanted a Zoku for a while now.  I decided this was it.  Chaz even laughed when I told him I was going to get one and about the conversation Shirley and I had.  He did not protest once.  The next day I bought one and the fun commenced.

I’m keeping this short and sweet because I have a mid-shift this afternoon and I’m trying to get this out before I have to get ready.  Besides, I’m sure you’re more interested in the recipes than my ramblings.  These recipes will have some leftover if you use a Zoku and manage to get the 9 that one will make.  No worries because the leftovers can easily be frozen to a granita or just drink it straight.  It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?   They also have no sugar added.  You can use any wine you prefer but if you use a dry wine, I would suggest adding a little sweetener of your choice.

Berry Sangria Granita

Berry Sangria Poptail

1 pint blueberries

1 pint blackberries

1 pint raspberries

1 cup red wine (I used Barefoot Sweet Red)

Wash the berries and set out to dry.  Place the berries in a bowl and add the red wine.  Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.  Remove from the fridge and add to a blender.  Blend well.  Pour into your molds and let it set.

Fruity White Sangria Poptail

Fruity White Sangria Poptail

1 Golden Delicious apple, cored and chopped

1 pear, cored and chopped

1 white nectarine, chopped

1/2 orange

1 cup white wine (I used Junebug Moscato)

Juice the orange into a bowl.  Add the chopped fruit and coat it well with the juice.  Add in the white wine, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.  Add to a blender and blend well.  (If you taste it after blending, this is where you’ll do a big WOO! like I did)  Pour into your molds and let it set.

Happy Hour!

If you have leftovers and want to make a granita, pour the mix into a shallow container and place into the freezer.  After an hour take it out and scrape down the frozen parts with a fork.  Put it back in the freezer and repeat every hour until it is all frozen and scraped down.  If you happen to forget about putting it in the freezer, you can still scrape it down when you remember and have some granita.