Trying Not to Drive Myself Insane

The last week has been a bit of a rollercoaster for me, hence the lack of posting. This blog is a happy space for me, and so when I don’t have anything nice (or at least somewhat constructive) to say, I refrain from writing. The reality is that sometimes life just throws you for a loop, and for me that was a juice cleanse that seriously back-fired. To be fair though, I can’t completely blame the juicing. Things like stress and big life changes also play major roles.

Green Juice
Not evil, but not happening again anytime soon.

I had gone into the three day juice fast hoping it would help to clear up the persistent eczema on my hands and generally¬†be a good re-set for my burnt-out system. What happened, instead, is that my eczema flared like never before immediately after that third day, to the point where I could barely use my hands. Simultaneously, I started experiencing what felt like extreme environmental allergies (pollen, I suspect). I honestly thought I was getting the flu because of the congestion, sneezing fits, aches, and inability to sleep at night, even with an air filter. My hamstrings also became crazy tight out of the blue and no sleep position was comfortable. Do you ever have those 2:30am mornings when you’re on the verge of a mini meltdown because you just cannot fall asleep? Those are the worst, and I had several right in a row. But once I pulled myself together (thanks in large part to help from Aaron and Allegra), did some light stretching, and a solid session of 3am foam rolling, I finally got some sleep.

Sweet Potato & Kale Chips with Roasted Chickpeas
Sweet Potato & Kale Chips with Roasted Chickpeas. Never gets old.

For the last two weeks, I’ve been keeping a very detailed food journal to help pinpoint which foods are causing reactions. I’ve identified two that I would never have suspected; however, I’m starting to piece together that this is a larger issue and possibly a cross-reaction to environmental allergens. I’ve been saying for a while now that I feel like my body overreacts to everything (and my mom’s been countering that by saying I just need to eat some jelly beans or whatever candy she chooses that day). I keep cutting out lower nutritional value foods in an effort to get my body to take it down a notch, which is not such a bad thing in moderation, but this can drive a person a little nutty, especially when, as a vegan, I start feeling like my body is rejecting fruits and vegetables. Getting caught up in Google searches and self-diagnoses makes things a million times worse.

I have to give a shout out to the truly wonderful Gena of Choosing Raw here, because she helped me out earlier this week when I was feeling completely exasperated. Gena not only gave me sound advice on what type of doctor to consult and which allergy tests make sense for me, but she also reminded me to relax, better manage my stress, and try not to “drive myself insane trying to tweak my diet to fix myself.” She also gave me a few suggestions to help reduce inflammation and pollen allergies, with one of them being daily nettle infusions:

Dried Nettle Leaves

Fingers crossed nettles are an acquired taste, because I don’t love them…yet.

The last couple of days I’ve been more mindful of these things, which has ultimately led to me mostly sleeping through the night and my rashes beginning to subside. I also have a doctor’s appointment next week so I can get a referral to an allergist to get some more concrete answers.

In the meantime, I will just keep sipping my iced nettle infusions, foam-rolling religiously, and trying not to consult Dr. Google.

Iced Nettle Infusion

Thanks for all of your comments and emails during this bump in the road. I hope to be back in the kitchen soon.