Sweet Beet Salad

Sweet Beet Salad

Sweet Beet Salad

I intended to share this recipe next week or the week after. However it has a story to go with it that pertains to my health in the last week so I wanted to share both while it’s still lingering in my head.

Last week Tuesday I started itching near bedtime. I was scratching furiously and I thought it was hives. It started my brain whirling. What did I have to eat that is different? What have I used that is different?

I had it narrowed down to the beet salad or the comforter and European pillow shams I took out of a space bag which had last been washed when I still used scented fabric softener.

Two days later a rash developed. On my arms, my legs, and my hips. I realized that it was a familiar rash. The same one I had several times last year and drove me to urgent care where they just gave me a prescription for steroids and sent me on my not-so-merry way. This is the same rash I haven’t seen since removing eggs from my diet.

It was bad this time around. I caved and took diphenhydramine. Something I shouldn’t be taking because it exacerbates Sjögren’s symptoms. But when you’re scratching yourself raw so much that you can’t bear to sit still, lie still, or the feel of clothes against your skin, something has to give. I only took at at night for a few nights. It helped me sleep through the night, then it stopped working. I slathered myself with my Skin Soothing Mask every morning before my bath and let it dry before washing it off. It gave me some relief for a few hours. I dug out my Natralia Eczema & Psoriasis Cream that I used on the same rash last year.  Again, some relief for a few hours.

Things got worse over the weekend. Waking up in the early hours of the morning with wild itching coursing through my body and unable to return to sleep for a few hours. It was so bad that I had to cancel my ophthalmologist appointment in Louisville on Monday, as well as visits to see two people while I was supposed to be in town.

I went in for my allergy treatment this morning (Wednesday) and let the doctor know what was going on and what I suspected. I didn’t think it was the beet salad, but it was the only thing different and I knew from the rash that it was definitely something I ingest. He played around a little to see what my brain was responding to. Surprise of all surprises, coconut oil. Something I used topically, for oil pulling, and to pop popcorn in. I like to use it in baking, but I haven’t been baking with all these food allergies going on. 

Not only was my brain saying it didn’t like coconut oil, it was telling my body to have a full-blown IgE reaction to it. If it’s one thing I’ve learned about my body, it doesn’t do anything halfway. It likes to go big and hard. Forget going home. That’s for wussies.

So, he treated me for the coconut oil as well as some other oils my brain wasn’t liking (but not to the same degree). Cottonseed oil, flaxseed oil, fish oil, sunflower oil, vegetable oil just to name a few.

This is only the third time we’ve done a food related allergy treatment. Since the initial two visits where he treated sugars and food preservatives respectively, it’s been treatments for things like carpet, dust, dust mites, myself (yes, it IS possible to be allergic to yourself), flowers, etc. I cannot use any oils topically or ingest for the rest of today. I joked that it would make dinner interesting. Then I realized, how am I going to fix dinner without oils? I had my answer before I was two blocks from the office.

Now I know that it definitely wasn’t the beet salad I made, which makes me a little sad because I tossed some of the leftovers just in case it was the cause. I am definitely going to be making it again. I intended to make it with just the beets. While I was pulling the produce out of the fridge for my mise en place I wound up tossing the apples to make my Gingered Apples (to go with the pork chops I was making) next to the beets on the counter.  The sight of the beets and apples next to each other gave me pause. A long pause. Why cook apples on a hot night when you can grate them and mix them in with beets?

I used some raw local honey because I used lemon juice in the dressing and to keep the apples from oxidizing. I wanted to make sure the lemon didn’t overpower the rest of the salad and it didn’t. I think the sweetness of the apples was enough to cut the tartness. You can omit the honey or use another sweetener if you are vegan.

Sweet Beet Salad – serves 6-8

4 Fuji apples, grated (skin on)

3 beets, peeled and grated

1/2 lemon, juiced, divided

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1 teaspoon raw local honey (optional, or use another sweetener of choice)

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Coat grated apples with the lemon juice except for 1 tablespoon set aside for the dressing in a large bowl. Add the beets and mix well. In a small bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, grapeseed oil, sweetener (if using), and ginger. Add the dressing to the salad and mix well to coat. Serve room temperature or cold.

This post is linked to Wellness Weekends at Diet, Dessert and Dogs. 

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.


Accidents Can Happen Happily

Multi-purpose? Why, yes!

I just recently got over a rash that plagued me for nearly a week before I finally went to Urgent Care because I couldn’t figure out a cause for it and it wasn’t getting any better with topicals or Benadryl.  I was getting increasingly worried that I was experiencing a dermatitis herpetiformis explosion and needed medical intervention whether I wanted prescription medication or not.

I should preface this by mentioning that the last time I took prescription medication was 3 years ago when I was on Synthroid.  In fact, it’s just over 3 years that I discovered the Synthroid was making my symptoms of Hypothyroidism worse and not better.  I’m fairly loathe to take prescriptions now that I take much better care of myself.  I am not myself when it comes to taking prescription medication.  My years of taking Lyrica for idiopathic neuropathy is proof.  I was a walking zombie and friends commented on how I wasn’t myself.

So, before even taking Benadryl and using cortisone creams and all-natural creams, I tried making my own topical.  I made a lot of it because the rash was covering my shins, my arms around my elbows, and my hips/pelvic area.  This was probably the only thing that really helped, but walking around covered in this mix isn’t quite feasible.  I did sit in the tub with it on for about half an hour before washing it off and then throwing some gluten-free oat flour into some bath water.  It oatmeal soak helped, but not as much as I would have liked.

Oatmeal has avenanthramides and beta-glucan that give it the itch relief and anti-inflammatory properties.  Raw honey has anti-inflammatory properties and so does lavender.  Lavender and chamomile are also soothing and relaxing.  I needed that as the rash was stressing me out a bit.

I made a bit too much of this and was staring at the leftovers, wondering what to do with it.  I was thinking, thinking, thinking.  Then I remembered the aspirin mask I love to use is mostly honey.  Why not use this as a mask/exfoliant?  The results I’ve had with using this as a mask is super smooth skin.  Do not leave this on too long if using as a mask.  You will feel a bit drugged if you do because of the amount of essential oils.  I accidentally left it on too long one night while reading and felt like I was in a Benadryl stupor.

Skin Soothing Mask/Exfoliant

4 tablespoons gluten-free oat flour

2 tablespoons raw honey

10 drops lavender essential oil

10 drops roman chamomile essential oil

filtered water

Place oat flour and honey in a small bowl and mix well.  It will be quite pasty, but you want the honey and flour to be well incorporated.  Add essential oils and mix well.  Add a little water and mix again.  Keep adding water in very small amounts until you have an easily spreadable paste consistency.  Apply to face gently and either wash off right away or allow to dry for about 10 minutes.  No longer than 20 minutes.  You will have leftovers, so do not try to use this all at once.  Store leftovers in an airtight container.

What happened with my rash?  Well, after going over with her that I definitely haven’t changed soaps, laundry detergent, etc. or eaten anything I shouldn’t have, she called it contact dermatitis and put me on Methylprednisone.  I’m still not convinced that she was correct, but if it pops up again, I have a plan.  The meds helped calm everything down that first day and through the course of taking them, but I didn’t feel right (and yes, they were gluten-free) and even had to call off work one day because I was a bit light-headed and unfocused after taking them.