Slow-cooker chicken breast recipe (low FODMAP friendly)

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-1.5-2lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast (mine was frozen, and that was fine!)

-2 large Idaho potatoes OR 4 new potatoes, diced with skin on (I used Idaho potatoes because it’s what was in the pantry, but I think new potatoes would be even better)

-2 tbsp of garlic-infused olive oil

-2 large lemons, juiced

-1/2 tbsp rosemary

-1/2 tbsp oregano

-dash of black pepper

Mix olive oil, fresh lemon juice (NOTE: don’t use the lemon juice that comes in the crappy plastic lemon and expect this to taste just as good), rosemary, oregano, and black pepper. Pour about 3/4 over chicken in slow-cooker, and pour the rest over the diced potatoes layered on top of the chicken. Close slow-cooker and set to high for four hours, or low for 6-8 hours.

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If you want to make this and you’re not following low FODMAP, feel free to add minced garlic and some diced onion to this recipe! Very aromatic, and you’ll come home from work feelin’ 50 shades of accomplished!

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This could also be layered with green beans and be delicious. I steamed some broccoli separately, and it made for an easy meal.

I intend to make some chicken salad with the leftover chicken. mmm.

Let me know if you try this recipe! Feel free to tweak it! Confession: I have a *hard* time measuring ingredients. I’m more of a pinch and pour kind of cook, so if you feel like it needs more or less of something, make it your own! It’s YOUR kitchen! Go crazy.

Hope you have a great Wednesday 🙂

-Stacey

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Weekend Recap + GF & Low FODMAP PB Granola Recipe

Hi, Friends!

It’s been a minute. Last week was spent juggling phone calls with insurance companies and doctors in between naps. I’ve been flaring hard, running to the bathroom 16 times a day or so and fighting to stay hydrated, so I was begging for the insurance companies to comply and get me infused. One phone call, the representative asked if I had tried a “generic” brand of medication, one that was “less expensive and less of a hassle than an infusion.” I’m not sure who gave insurance company reps a license to practice medicine, but GAH THEY SUCK. Rant over.

Finally, on Friday.

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Four years on this medication, and it’s losing its efficacy, but I’ll go for an appointment next week to brainstorm more solutions. But I am still SO thankful that symptoms have slowed down a bit since. PRAISE!

My parents came for the day on Saturday, and we took them to Torchy’s Tacos. If you live in Texas, Colorado, or Oklahoma and you’ve never been to Torchy’s, you should re-prioritize your life to include Torchy’s. My dad was pretty stoked about it. Then, they kindly took a “family photo” of us with our little house before they left.

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After my parents left, we drove to the lake and watched the sun set. Perfect ending to a day.

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Jaxon was thrilled to do some exploring. The little deaf dog is doing better at obeying sign language.

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On Sunday, I made homemade granola while we watched a healthy dose of Netflix.

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The very best part about this recipe is that it’s Low FODMAP AND gluten free (AND delicious). Recipe at the end of this post :).

Sunday was capped off with a four mile walk/run. Isn’t campus beautiful? I went to UT Austin, so this is a very genuine compliment coming from a rival school, where football is blood and life (even though we have been strugglin’). Really though. Such a pretty place for a run.

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The first two miles were rough. Getting back into it felt like my lungs forgot how to give me enough oxygenated blood, and I literally saw stars from being dizzy once I made it to the top of some hills. I fully believe that the first couple miles are the worst part of running. I decided to walk/jog the two miles home. My body is still working to heal from this flare. It felt so good to be out on the pavement again, though. My happy place.

As promised…

PB granola recipe:

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If eaten in a quantity equal to or less than 1/4 C, it’s low FODMAP.
-2 tbsp coconut
-2 C gluten free old fashioned oats
-2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
-1 tbsp chia seeds

-1 tbsp pure maple syrup
-2 tbsp melted coconut oil
-1/2 C softened PB

mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, then mix them together. Put them in the oven on aluminum foil for 30 minutes on 350, tossing occasionally. Ta-dahh! Granola. My personal favorite way of getting carbs in the early morning

Hope you are having a great Monday, or at least find comfort in the thought of tomorrow being Tuesday 🙂

Keep moving forward

-Stacey

 

 


My Diagnosis Change + Remix to Remission

Thank you for all the good ju-ju, prayers, and humor! I made it through the fun time colonoscopy just fine.

My diagnosis has changed.

The CT showed inflammation, and the colonoscopy confirmed that I have “active disease” but due to the location of the lesions and the biopsy, my new doc switched my diagnosis from Crohn’s disease to ulcerative colitis.

My family is all pretty stoked about this, because technically ulcerative colitis has less playing room than Crohn’s disease, which can affect any area of the digestive tract. Ulcerative colitis, however, is limited to the colon. This is, in a way, a small victory.

Weekend recap:

Zack and I had a few friends over. Then, I made piña coladas for everyone (except me), and my punny friend Becca proudly dubbed them “piña colitis”. I like her.

This was also the night I ruined my low FODMAP elimination diet and had to start over, because I ate chicken fried steak, fried pickles, and a few fried okra. It thought it was worth it, but now I’m kinda sad about starting all the way over. These are things to think about when chicken fried steak is staring you in the face. Just.Say.No. grr

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We went grocery shopping and found the largest carts known to man. Shoutout to my sweet sister and her BF for visiting!

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Reflections & Remission:

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One year ago, finish line at the NOLA Rock n’ Roll Half-Marathon

This weekend a ton of people ran the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon in New Orleans, and many of them fundraised for cures to Crohn’s and Colitis with Team Challenge for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. These people are my heroes!

And this got me thinking. I’m completely ready to move on, and I’m tired of having goals for tomorrow. I’m ready for action and hard work. I’m fed up with feeling fatigued. I get it. Sometimes getting better requires rest. But I’m tired of feeling tired. I want to be better. So, I’m starting with (very) small goals. This week, I’m running.

Yes, I’m past due for an infusion. Yes, I just spent all day juggling insurance phone calls with symptoms with naps. But I have to start moving again, for the sake of my sanity. I hear so often “listen to your body” and my mind is an important team member of my body. My mind needs a run.

Running mileage goals for the week: 3 miles.

I’m being real here. This is my space. This is my exhale. So, yes. Three small miles for a whole week are my goal.

One foot in front of the other. Moving forward. This is the remix to remission 🙂

-Stacey


It’s the BUSIEST time of the year! AHH

I can honestly say, with complete confidence, that this is the busiest I’ve ever been in my life. Make it stop.

In the past month I have moved all my things to Oklahoma from Houston, finished my nonprofit job in Houston (today-  bittersweet), had a FUN bachelorette party, managed to find time to Christmas shop, juggled doctors (currently), got more lab work, got a marriage license…and I feel like there’s more. I can’t think.

OH. had a trial for hair/makeup. CHECK OUT MY FACE!

Shoutout to my talented makeup artist, Veronica, from Austin. She even let me play with her German Shepherd puppy during the session, which was worth the drive in itself. I asked her who her favorite celebrity clients were and she said, “Shakira! She complemented ME the whole time Oh. Drake was pretty nice, too.”
In case you didn’t know, I hang with Drake’s people. *hairflip*
It’s cool- we can still be friends.

Here’s a recap of my bachelorette party in the Big D:

All I wanted to do was go ice skating. I have an obsession with the sport of figure skating, so my college roomies (below) took me on Sunday after the festivities had died down:
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We had a snapchat filter THAT I DIDN’T SAVE. But we looked good, you get the point.
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I sang and danced on dueling pianos and was serenaded by a dozen bald men. It was sensational! Go to Louie Louie’s if you’re ever in Deep Ellum!!! Or make a trip especially for the experience. CRAZY FUN.

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My IV Crohn’s medication has been slowly losing its efficacy, but I can still get down. Hi, I’m embarrassing. But I can’t stop laughing at myself, so I probably won’t calm down anytime soon. Anyway, REALLY excited to meet with a Crohn’s specialist in OKC next week after Christmas.

Fun fact: Zack bought me the Nike Airs as “Honeymoon Shoes”. Not sexy shoes, like stilettos. Purple Nike’s. I’m honestly completely thrilled about them! Best honeymoon gift EVAH. We’re a little weird, and I’m happy to embrace it, Nike Airs and all.

I have been wanting to go on one final run in Houston, but with being “homeless” for over a week now and couch surfing…it has been tough to find the time. Last night I went to the Houston Zoo Lights to do Christmas festivities with friends, and I got my wish. I had to park in the Texas Medical Center garage, about a mile and a half away from the Zoo entrance. If you’ve ever lived in Houston, you know that the area surrounding the Zoo isn’t known for being pristine or safe, and the pedestrians are actual inhabitants of the area. So I ran from my car, in my santa shirt, in the dark, with my friend on speakerphone, through the medical center, across the open field adjacent to Ben Taub Hospital, across Cambridge (thanks to the Police Officer directing traffic), dodged strollers in Hermann Park, safely to the zoo entrance. It was exhilarating and entirely too hot of a run for a December night. My hair stuck to the back of my neck from sweat and humidity, and my jeans were tough to pull up around my waist from my sweaty legs pulling them down. I felt like it was a goodbye solute to Houston, and I liked that. I was happy. Bye, Houston! I won’t miss your awful traffic, but I’ll miss the diversity and melting pot of cultures. I’ll miss Memorial Park and Buffalo Bayou running trails, and I’ll miss the people I love there, most of all.

Hope you’re enjoying the holidays! SLOW DOWN and chill. Much love!

Keep moving forward 🙂

Stacey

P.S. December 23rd. 82 Degrees in Houston. That is all.


How to Start Running in 4 Easy Steps

Have you ever thought, “I’d really like to run, but there’s no way I can run __ miles.” OR “I used to run all the time! But I haven’t in forever.”?

Fear not, I’m here for ya. Solidarity.

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When I started running my longest distance was a 5k obstacle race that I basically walked with my kind, patient runner roommate back in college, and that was a good four years before I decided to lace up with effort. In high school, I was a baton twirler who avoided running like the plague, so you get my drift. Not. A. Runner. SO from a non-runner turned runner, the BEST advice I can give to someone who wants to start running for fun, for distance, for whatever your motivation is:

1. Start running, and run outside. Find a little neighborhood that you wish was yours if you’re like me and you live in the scary as shit inner city. Find a park, run around the street, go to an old high school track and run bleachers. Wherever makes you a happy, go there and put one foot in front of the other, but DO NOT run on a treadmill if you hate treadmills. Get outside, friend.

2. Set attainable goals, especially with running. Don’t lace up and expect to be the next Usain Bolt, and don’t lace up on your very first run thinking, “Five miles, baby. No stopping.”
NO, SILLY!
Setting distance goals are AMBITIOUS AND WONDERFUL, but start small and work from there. Don’t hurt yourself-that will NOT help you learn to love running! If you’re running and you find yourself struggling to keep moving, set an even smaller, realistic goal like “I’m going to make it to the sign by that tree, and then I’ll walk for one minute.” Next time you run that route, I’ll bet you make it past the sign by the tree.

3. Probably most importantly, FIND GOOD RUNNING SHOES (and socks when you go longer). When I started running, I knew nothing. TMI, but my toenails soon turned black and were threatening to fall off, because apparently my hot pink Asics were too small. Oops. Evidently it’s not good to run in the same size shoe you normally wear for fashion. Go to a running specialty shop and ask to be fitted; you won’t regret it. (Favorites in Texas: Luke’s Locker)

4. Be kind to yourself, and be patient for results. Some runs are going to suck, and others you’ll feel the full effects of the “runner’s high”. Sometimes you’ll probably hate running, but I promise if you stick with it, you will learn to appreciate what your body can do with just a little bit of time and consistency.

P.S. If you can find a community or friends to run with, it is SO.MUCH.EASIER. to not give up. If not, invite your friends to support you at the finish line after your training has paid off 🙂

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^ View from my run on Sunday’s “fall” Houston weather. No Garmin, no gadgets, and no headphones for this one. Just me, my two feet, and a beautiful afternoon = bliss.

Keep moving forward!

-Stacey


One Year Race-iversary

My very first half marathon was in wine country.

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Apparently I can be convinced to run if I know wine is waiting on me at the finish line.
I ran (and walked and trotted) the forever sold-out Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon, exactly one year ago from today’s date.

I was never a runner before this race- not even a little bit. Before Napa the greatest distance I had ever committed to was a 5K years before this race, and I distinctly remember walking alongside a participant who was drinking a beer between strides…if that tells you anything about my speed situation. I honestly just decided to start running, which is the best advice I can give to anyone who is thinking about running.
Just go for it! 

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Why now? I’m a Crohnie, and I needed to prove something to myself- I stumbled across the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s website after I discovered that my Crohn’s disease wasn’t going away, which took a couple of years for that sweet news to really sink in. I honestly didn’t realize there wasn’t a cure, and after nearly three years of on-again-off-again symptoms between infusions at the hospital every six to eight weeks, I was disgruntled and began searching for answers. That’s when I found Team Challenge.
(I know, this sounds like an infomercial. It’s not! Hang in there with me…)

Team Challenge is a fun-loving group of crohnies and/or caretakers or strangers who fundraise for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and train together for half marathons near, far, and beyond (they also do triathlons, too!). The funds raised support patient programs, provide education to the public, and my personal favorite, fund research. The particular season that I joined happened to be training for Napa. Sign me up!

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It was tough, especially balancing active Crohnie probs with running. But I was running with people who understood, or at least cared for someone who understood. Some mornings were amazeballs and I’d pump out a fast ten miles like it was nothing, but occasionally I’d have to cut a run short and sprint home to make it back in time to be sick. Other days I just couldn’t get out of bed, but beyond all the trials running changed me. Team Challenge changed me on a molecular level, and helped me accomplish more than I ever imagined for myself. Because of Team Challenge, I now identify as a runner (which in my mind sounds like I’m a little badass)

After the first couple of months of training, I actually began enjoying running. I even enjoyed early mornings (see? it changed me!)! Some runs were HARD, as in listening to the nike lady congratulate me through my headphones for my 12:30 pace hard. Others were amazeballs, and the good, brisk runs made me thankful for all the hard, terrible runs. Without perseverance through the hot, hard days of training, I wouldn’t have so many good runs. Every time I got a new PR, I cried happy tears- what a nice, normal sight for strangers to see. But I wasn’t in a hospital bed. I wasn’t in a fetal position on the bathroom floor. I wasn’t in my bed fatigued. I was defying sickness. I was testing the limits, and I was feeling truly alive.

Life is like that, too. Sometimes you wake up thinking, “How did this happen to me? How did I end up here?” Well. It’s not the end. You are going to be looking back one day thanking God and your lucky stars for keeping you through all the rough times, because they truly do make you stronger. Strength is something that’s hard to develop, but persevere. Reach, persist, believe, be determined, and stick it out. You will rise above. You’ll look back and marvel. And you’ll live to tell about it.

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Lindsay greeted me at the finish line with the biggest smile and sweetest hug (even though I was sweaty)! I don’t know my time from this race, but it was something ridiculously slow. The point to me was to finish, and that I did! I ran up hills and down through valleys next to family-owned vineyards and past small children with lemonade stands. I ran in wine country, yall! And I did it for cures.

One year race-iversary, and I’m hooked. Never.looking.back.

Keep moving forward 🙂

-Stacey


P.S. I am tremendously grateful for each of you who supported me through prayer, good ju-ju, or straight up financially so that I could cross the finish line and raise hell on behalf of fellow Crohnies. Thank you for believing in me, and thank you for believing in cures! I am always thankful for you (Phil 1:3)!