Entyvio · Ulcerative Colitis

#14: How to Sparkle in the Dark

Ouch! They just took blood from my forearm. It doesn’t matter how much fluid I drink before I come to get my infusion, they can’t find my veins & I get blood drawn from random locations. I guess the most important part is that they are able to find blood still & that my numbers are still good. 👍🏻

Facebook memories bring out my thankfulness! Thankful I’m on infusion #14 & it is continuing to work. Thankful that I don’t look like this anymore. 

This picture was 5 years ago & a lot of pounds & muscle ago, 56lbs to be exact.

I think I look a little better today! Don’t mind that growl on baby mans face, he really is a lover!

I am thankful that I have learned an insane amount about how to live comfortably with ulcerative colitis. It wasn’t smooth sailing at first. It took a lot of diet trial & error. I searched Google often praying that I would find the miracle foods that would help me magically heal & take the pain away. That research led me to some interesting realizations and helped me learn to sparkle in the dark. It’s like “fake it til you make it” dipped in sparkles!

5 secrets to sparkle in the dark:

I am about to be honest with you, completely, brutally, raw honest about trying to sparkle in the dark. It’s not always easy or convenient but it is possible. It is possible through all life’s ups & downs & knuckle balls & strike outs to hit a grand slam despite your burdens. The hubs will be proud of this baseball reference 😉

You are strong even in your illness! You can do it, no matter how bad your gut, I mean life, may seem. Also remember, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Sometimes you just need to know that & to see hope through listening to others stories & advice. If you are completely healthy, you are awesome! I hope you can take away a nugget from this gold mine. If you are sick & hurting, I’ve been there too & I wish someone could have gotten it through my thick skull that the dark has to come before the light.

So my mind is full of thoughts about my journey & how I have changed & stretched & been pulled out of my comfort zone. Sometimes you just need to stretch to be the light you are meant to be. You have a story so share it. 

Here’s my tips to shine.

1. Have a sense of humor about your new normal- My husband will tell you that I’m not a haha, funny type person all the time. In fact, I have a tendency to see the problems before I see the positives. I think that comes with some types of personalities. I like to think that I’m just trying to stop problems from arising but sometimes I struggle to see the positive first. 

Humor about your disease is definitely a necessity. You have to talk about your problems or struggles with autoimmune diseases because they can be downright confusing & heavy. It’s nice to be able to talk to others who have been there too! If you have multiple autoimmune diseases like I do, ulcerative colitis & juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, you need to add humor to your tool belt of coping skills. I have included some of my favorite bathroom humor for your enjoyment. 

2. Do something completely liberating. I know I am a wild one, I just look wild, don’t I?! I am the middle child in my family & by far was the wildest child when it came to rebelling. This may come as a surprise but I like to control, well, everything. If you read 5 Years & Counting (I wish not), you know that I try to feel in control all the time but God typically has other plans for me. When I feel a complete loss of control, I try to do something liberating. 

My secret 😉, I cut my own hair! This may not be your idea of liberating so search to find what you need to feel your center of control. This is not to be confused with “me time” because that’s of utmost importance too! This is something that lets you regain a little of the control you feel you lose because of external factors. 

As far as cutting your hair goes, I’m not saying take a whole inch off or anything, unless you really need to but a small trim here & there gives you a little extra pep in your step & knowing you did it yourself gives you a little extra sparkle!

3. Don’t stress my pet! Back to that control freak part of me. If you can’t control it, don’t let it control you. Both my UC & JRA are strongly affected by stress. I used to stress about everything & when I stepped back to look at why I was continuing to struggle with pulling out of disease flairs, I realized I stress too much! 

I sometimes envy my husband. He is not a stressor & when he does show stress, he speaks it & it’s gone. I hold onto stress like my favorite blankie & for far too long it controlled my health. As they say on Frozen, “let it go, let it go!” 


There is nothing good that comes from stress. If you are already sick, you will get sicker. If you can slowly (or quickly) drop that stress off at God’s feet everyday, you will be healthier. My main stress was money, I mean, what adults’ isn’t. This adulting thing is definitely a work in progress. So I mentally had to work on not stressing. For awhile, my not stressing looked a lot like not giving a crap about our money. My honey would ask how we were doing financially & I would not have anything to tell him because I stopped looking at our bank account. The stressing wasn’t because I thought we didn’t have anything, I just thought I needed to stress over it to make sure it went where it was supposed to. Boy was I wrong, that money goes where it needs to without my hovering daily! So I have learned to pay bills & be done. I rarely check our accounts & I feel much less stressed. If your stress is money, hopefully I helped, but whatever your stress, let it go!

4. Be healthy! I know, I’m a hoot! If it was as easy as me telling you to be healthy, our world would be a totally different place. By “be healthy” I mean, we are already an unhealthy group of people. Our bodies like to fight against themselves so why not try fighting back. I believe with all my currently healed, happy gut that health can be boosted to fight against autoimmune diseases if you will get your vitamins & nutrients from natural food sources. I will talk much more about vitamin rich food sources in my Healthy Hair Series.

I saw the idea of vitamin healing work  when I was trying to have baby #2 in 2012. I saw an infomercial for the NutriBullet system & decide to make the investment to buy the cool looking blender. It’s not a blender, BTW, it’s a nutrient extractor. Learned that real fast! 

It was a leap of faith that I’m so happy I made. As I began to drink my vitamins through the daily nutriblasts, I noticed a change in energy, lessening bathroom trips, my hair & nails were growing, & I just all around felt better. I won’t mention the funny orange color of skin I noticed from putting the extra orange veggies & fruits in there at first but I’ve evened out to my special shade of copy paper white again so no foul. It took awhile for my body to get to where it had balanced my vitamins back out, approximately a year to be exact, but when I did, baby #2 was on his way. Because nutrition is within your body & we don’t always want to listen to what our bodies are trying to tell us, you have to make it a point to listen. Give it the nutrition it needs & it will act more appropriately. 

5. Enjoy life! It was hard to come back to this place in my journey. I was aways nervous that a peak (remission) would always have a valley (epic remission fail) to follow. That’s not always the case. 

If you think about life, you will always have those valleys but, good gosh, sometimes those valleys aren’t disease filled & sometimes those peaks don’t have to be during a remission. When I stopped wallowing in self pity, I decided to find my sparkle again. Life never goes as fully planned so enjoy the game changers & forks in your road. The biggest part of my life that was affected by this was my family. I was leery taking trips or sometimes even going grocery shopping because I did not want to be in public & have a toilet emergency. I stopped doing those daily things that put us in front of people to, ya know, socialize & stuff. My disease was controlling me & dulling my sparkle! I feel like I had to fake it til I made it just to get back to my normal. 

My kids at school were making me a gift one day & asked my favorite color. I told them sparkles, pink sparkles if I got to choose. Even on the days that I don’t feel my pink sparkly self, I tell myself, God enjoys watching his people sparkle so go light up the world!

Ulcerative Colitis

Vitamin C Blast Recipe

Summer cold or allergies dulling your sparkle? Chances are that you vitamin C intake has been lacking & you could use a giant pick me up! Here is one of my absolute favorite recipes to pack in my vitamin C. This is on my mind as our pollen count is on steroids & I’m ready for a winter freeze.

This beautiful mix of fruits and veggies  contains 292% of your daily value of vitamin C! What, whaaaaaaat!!!!! 
Check out this post for why you should crave vitamin C!
I like to mix this up when I feel a cold coming on or my allergies are kicking my tail! I also find that it gives me a fabulous energy jolt if I drink it post cardio workout. 
Just to let you know, affiliate links are contained in this post and if you order through the links, we receive a small percentage of your purchase at zero extra cost to you. I do not ever recommend products that I don’t absolutely 100% love!

I have had many people balk at my green mixes or whatever shade they might turn out that day. Then they smell it. Every one of them has walked away scratching their heads because the blast smells amazing! It has to with the aromatics of apples & strawberries. The point here is that people may look at you like they’d rather eat shoe leather than drink a blast but you know how delish it is.

I recommend you use the NutriBullet RX when you are making this recipe so that the nutrients are completely extracted by the blending process. 

 

If Heaven has food, this is what my bed will look like. It’s so fluffy and healthy! You can alter your spinach amount depending on how much room you have in the cup. Use no less than 1 cup of spinach per blast.

 

 

I found out very early on in recovering from ulcerative colitis flair ups that I do not break down iceberg lettuce without alot of pain so I switched to spinach. Spinach is without a doubt the only food that I can eat with absolutely no pain involved.

 

This particular grouping of ingredients completely fills the cup so make sure you tighten the lid extra tight to prevent spills.
In your cup, add:

  • 6 strawberries (minus the tops)
  • 2 small oranges (I use Halos)
  • 1/2 lg tomato
  • 1 cup spinach (packed)
  • 1 apple (red or pink are sweeter)
  • Water to the full line

You will be tempted to fill your cup with water to the top. Don’t do it! The water in your ingredients along with the water you added will overflow and be more likely to spew like a frozen and thawed out water bottle. 

 

After the Nutribullet Rx has done its magic, carefully remove the lid as the liquid will drip off the blade when its removed. I drink directly from the cup but you can pour it into a fancier cup if you want to.

 

Make sure you drink your Vitamin C Blast and any other blast fairly quickly because you want to get the most out of the nutrients you just extracted. Think about an apple and how fast the air starts to turn it and that is about how fast you need to drink. So, go drink up and enjoy your Vitamin C Blast!

 

Ingredient List:

 

Health · Ulcerative Colitis

Healthy Hair: Vitamin C & D

I have a friend that I teach with who swears by Emergenc. You know what I’m talking about, the times a billion vitamin C packed effervescent tablet that you dissolve in water & drink to ward off a cold. She swears by the stuff & starts drinking it at the first sign of a sniffle or a ticklie throat. Her claim is that it shortens the cold & keeps it from getting too intense.

 

There may be evidence to back up this claim. Vitamin C, according to this WebMD article, is most notorious for its healing qualities. Benefits that interest my autoimmune community would be protecting the immune system.


What does this have to do with your hair? Vitamin C deficiency can cause hair to be brittle & causes it to fall out. When your body hits the reject button on food before it enters your mouth, like a crohn’s or ulcerative colitis patient, you become deficient in the vitamins your body so desperately needs to heal itself.

The trouble with Vitamin C supplements is that they can be harsh on the stomach & gut if you do not take a non-acidic supplement. My gut doesn’t need help misbehaving so I’m all about eating my Vitamin C. Check out my favorite Vitamin C Blast recipe.

The WebMD article goes onto state that the original amount that scientists thought was adequate is not & it advises you to take a vitamin C supplement if you don’t eat 9 servings of fruits & veggies per day. Lucky for you, I’ve included the foods you need to up your Vitmain C intake and avoid an extra supplement.

Remember, I am not a dr & I am doing my darndest to find food sources to replace supplements in my big ole box of pills. If you need a supplement, take it!

The following list was borrowed from DrAxe & contains many foods that I love to eat!

One of my absolute favorite foods to eat in salads or sliced as a snack is a fresh tomato. The tomato did not make Dr Axe’s list but it tops mine because of its heart health benefits & I just love the taste.

Two other foods that I love to squeeze into my water are lemons and limes, both high in vitamin c. My particular obsession is lime because it reminds me of junior high when I was introduced to the “lime squeeze” at Bucks Drive In. Oooooo, its soooooo good! Sonic ice + fresh squeezed limes + salt= Heaven

 

Vitamin D

I have been told off and on throughout my adult life that I am deficient in Vitamin D. It is very common for women to be deficient in Vitamin D and it tends to go hand in hand with ulcerative colitis.

 

Vitamin D benefits are outlined in this article found on Healthline.com.

If you do not get enough vitamin D, you risk bone problems, softening of bones, unexplained fatigue (and who needs that!).

You can tell by this list that the absolute best Vitamin D source is the sun so get out and play with your kids or take a walk. The winter months you will have to up your food intake since it’s cold out but there are days in Texas where you can still get good ole fashion sun in the winter.

 

My particular favorites on this list are tuna, eggs and mushrooms but I have never tried them all together.

 

I have always had an aversion to milk but I have found Fairlife and we will live happily ever after because it tastes so much better than milk without the lactose. I know the list says raw milk but Fairlife Whole Milk (the red bottle) has 25% of your daily value of Vitamin D. As far as vitamins go, your still getting a good amount from Fairlife.

 

Here is your fabulous Vitamin C & D shopping list:

  • Guava (never tried it but I will)
  • Red & Green Peppers
  • Oranges
  • Spinach (I replaced Kale)
  • Kiwi
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Grapefruit
  • Strawberries
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Raw Milk (I like Fairlife)
  • Eggs
  • Mushrooms
  • Cheese (O yeah)

Its time to go shopping and enjoy your healthy hair benefits.
Don’t forget to add your other healthy hair vitamin A and vitamins B6 & B12 shopping lists!

Family · Kids · Mommies · Stress Relief · Ulcerative Colitis

Guide to a Stress Free Start to Your Week


Adulting is time consuming & stressful but what if you could reduce your stress. Can you imagine being able to say, “I have time for that” instead of “there’s no time for that”?

I find my mind wondering to ways I can prepare myself on the weekends so that our house runs smoother during the week and reduces stress. Some evenings, I don’t get home until the boys bedtime or later so having plans made & the house in working order is a must for us when Monday rolls around.

Don’t get me wrong, I married superman but a good marriage is about teamwork and we try to be consistent when it comes to a 50/50 split. Ok, ok, I might not be so good at cleaning but I cook so it gives him energy to clean. 😉

Here’s my favorite tips on building a stress-free week.

1. Do your laundry on the weekends. Between the constant weekend errands & church & family & friends, I still find myself eager to get all the laundry washed, dried, folded or hung up before our eyes shut tight to start a new week. It gives me a sense of accomplishment!

Image result for never ending laundry basket

I think this habit started for our family when we were first married & lived in an apartment. I would rather have just bought new clothes weekly than carry ten ton laundry baskets across an apartment complex & go back again & again to check on it. Don’t ask why I didn’t just drive the baskets to the laundry room, I was younger back then.

Laundry on the weekend gives you more control over your weekday evenings & you won’t find yourself falling asleep thinking “is my favorite outfit clean?”

Tip: I have found the laundry runs much smoother when we do the kids laundry on Saturday & our laundry on Sunday. Why break it up & not just pile it? If you wash the laundry room by room, you only have one room at a time to put clothes up in. It goes much faster & there’s less chance for toddler hands to try to sweetly “help” fold things.

2. Relaxing “me” time on the weekends is a must to reduce your stress. Happy wife=happy life!

Image result for happy wife happy lifeYou can try these things to have a little “me” time:

  • Unrushed showers- You know, actutally rinse the conditioner completely out and shave!
  • New face mask- Personal fave right now is the Mary Kay Charcoal Mask.
  • File your forgotten nails- I forget this for weeks at a time. You could add this in while letting your mask dry.
  • Go to the bathroom without children barging in- Just a dream!
  • My personal fave…Tell your family your going to pick weeds from the garden so you can go enjoy mindlessly scrolling through Pinterest or your favorite blog, www.sparklewithuc.com uninterrupted, you can always pick weeds for real later. Don’t forget your cup of coffee & some sunglasses! You may be there awhile or until some tiny human sniffs you out.

Your week will run much smoother when you are less stressed which means your house will be more likely to be calm & peaceful which, lets be honest, translates into less mommy yelling & less guzzling of adult grape juice.

Glass of Wine on the Table Free Image Download

3. Grocery shop on Sunday afternoon or whichever day you choose. My children have started eating like ravenous bears before hibernation every night before bed & anytime we’re about to eat a meal. This doesn’t help me avoid the grocery store but I’m glad they’re eating something other than GoGurt & cereal bars these days.

This is momma’s dream cart, full of adult grape juice!

By shopping on the weekends you will start your week with the peace of mind that the fridge is full & ready for your little bears to snack away & eat you out of house & home. You will also know what meals you can make throughout the week so you can have meat defrosted or I know ahead of time if I need to pick up any items from the store on my way home.

4. Cash budgeters listen up. We are giving this our best shot but it doesn’t work so well if I wait until a weekday to pick money up from the bank. We have such a smooth way of talking ourselves into eating out that “just this one time” eating out without our cash turns into 2 or 3 different meals.

When your out and about on Friday (or Saturday if you have a bank that’s open on Saturdays), take out your food and gas allowance for that week. If you’re just an amazing planner, you might even be able to take out the next few weeks worth until payday hits again. That would prevent any lapse of your cash flow so you don’t have any need for your debit card.

5. Last but not least, family time. With two youngins, spending extra time with them before the crazy week begins is a must for them & us. Sunday night dinner is usually the time that we talk about what is coming up the next week between both our jobs, my oldests’ school activities and my classes. I’m soooooo ready to be finished with my master’s. 21 hrs down, 15 hrs to go!

I know that there are things that I don’t realize that I do to help reduce stress during the week but I will tell you that I have incorporated stress reduction into my daily life, fairly seamlessly.

Comment below to share your ideas for reducing your stress.

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Health · Ulcerative Colitis

Healthy Hair: B6 & B12

Healthy hair: do care! I know, I said that totally wrong but my students always reveal my bad quoting of their pop culture terms. If you don’t have teenagers in your life to point out your flaws, your missing out! They keep me on point with the latest…..everything!

 

I tend to research B Vitamins on days when I don’t sleep well. It takes longer because my fingers are dragging from exhaustion but B vitamins are partly responsible for your energy.

 

My first research on B vitamins was when my iron anemia was in hyper-drive and when I was exhausted from not absorbing, wait for it…………..my vitamins!!!!

 

Just because you take a pill vitamin doesn’t mean you absorb it. In fact, if you have any health condition where food does a disappearing act when it hits your mouth, you will do best by eating vitamin rich food.

What can B Vitamins do for you?

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I know, your wondering how these vitamins affect your hair. Hair growth has many different components to making it work. B6 helps regulate hormones & can in turn protect from hair loss. B12 helps to prevent anemia which was a major cause for my hair loss.
Pssssst, don’t forget to copy down your vitamin A shopping list herevitamin C & D shopping list from here!

So, what you came here for. Here’s the the top food by Dr Axe for each B vitamin I’ve talked about.

 

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Shopping list:

  • Turkey Breast
  • Grass-fed Beef (B6 & B12)
  • Chicken Breast
  • Pistachios (I just grab these when I go into a convenience store)
  • Tuna (B6 & B12)
  • Pinto Beans (gassy people back off, not too much or your spouse might leave)
  • Avocados (oh yum!)
  • Sunflower Seeds (a summa time fave)
  • Beef liver (It’s the highest B12 but I won’t eat this)
  • Raw Cheese
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Raw Milk
  • Salmon
  • Eggs

 

Hint: Pay close attention to nutrition facts so that you can gauge if you are meeting your daily value of B Vitamins. If you can’t find the nutrition facts, Google it!

 

If your like me and don’t like drinking milk, add milk to your morning Nutriblast! It gives it a smooth consistency and you don’t have to choke it down by itself. You can add most things you don’t enjoy veggie, fruit, nut or liquid wise and not be able to tell its in there.

 

Click for Vitamins C & D.

 

Take this advice with you for your day! Have a fabulous day, sparklers!


(Disclaimer, this is just my research & I do not have any medical training whatsoever. I am just a woman on a mission for my own healthy hair sharing what I discover.)

 

 

Ulcerative Colitis

#13

Hi y’all! Today is infusion day!

I was thinking on the way here that coming to get an infusion is a necessary evil. Who wants to drive themselves to get an IV! Well, me!

Another thought that made me a little emotional last night was anxiety about what the dr would say. I have been more tired lately & I hoped that my blood count was good & there would be no problems that the dr would find. According to my dr, my blood count is still getting higher each visit & the diameter of my blood cells is still growing which he says helps when my body produces new blood. Yay, still on the upswing!

So, the last 8 weeks my gut has been good to me! It allowed me, without incidence, to take a group of students to Washington DC.
Arlington National Cemetery
The White House
Washington Monument
The Capitol

We had so much fun & learned a lot! Before Entivyo, this trip was full of looking for the next bathroom & hoping I didn’t have to make our coach pit stop. This trip, I focused on learning & fun (& of course, the kids).

This necklace is my infusion necklace. I have 2 like this. This one says “inspire” & my other says “blessed”. Maybe I should wear them both!

The definition of inspire is to  give somebody the urge to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

Inspiring others doesn’t require big fancy words or a billboard. It just requires you to tell your story & keep steady in your journey! I hope you will continue following me through on my journey to keep kicking tail & sparkling in the face of Colitis!


I’m currently working on trying to grow and maintain healthy hair so keep up with my research about healthy hair foods in my Healthy Hair Vitamin Food series.

Ulcerative Colitis

Popsicles for Breakfast

Our typical summer day….

 

My hubs goes to work by 7:30ish so the boys and I wake up when my 2 year old decides to come cuddle with me. He doesn’t cuddle much without digging his feet in my side so we end up needing juice and Paw Patrol fairly quickly. I then make my first cup of coffee & I take one long, uninterrupted sip. If you’re a parent with a coffee addiction, you know this is the most glorious part of your morning!

Now, we are potty training currently & as I finish the first long drink I hear, “mommy, I gotta go potty right now!!!!!!” So the coffee cup gets set on the counter where it stays until baby boy has pottied and gotten dressed, eaten breakfast and I get him squared away with whatever his 2 year old fleeting interest is in at the moment. Back to my coffee only at this point it is now cooled coffee. Not so yum!

Next walks out Jax, my sweet 7 year old, who is self sufficient and doesn’t need potty help but we’re working on learning how to do chores so its time to make his bed, feed and water the dog and eat breakfast. Alas, after I change out a random load of laundry and filled up the swimming pool for the afternoon, I get to drink some very lukewarm, if not cold, coffee. Insert light bulb here! Instead of reheating my cup o joe I thought let’s make some popsicles.
Now, I know you think I’m crazy & I can’t change how you feel about my wacky ideas however, I can change how you enjoy your morning coffee if its going to get cold anyway.

 

 

Let me just tell you, frozen coffee pops are to die for! You know how you make your best cup of coffee with that perfect amount of your favorite creamer and just the right measurement of sugar? Well, when you don’t get to it in time to drink it hot, pour your perfectly made mixture into the ice cube tray. I have included pictures of my coffee making incase you wondered what my perfect cup looks like and for those who are visual learners.

Look at the time on the pot. I like to use my leftover coffee for coffee pops too! It makes me feel a little “zero waste”.

First things first, its time to make your pot of coffee. I know, I said pot! I am a little old fashion and only use my Keurig during the school year. I know on a normal day that a lukewarm cup of coffee can be revived if I have more coffee in the pot heating so I use a plain jane Mr. Coffee coffeepot to guarantee a chance at atleast a few sips of hot coffee throughout the morning.
I am quite partial to Folgers Simply Smooth Coffee. As a UC sufferer, I have trouble drinking any of the froo froo coffees, with Starbucks being a particular problem. It can guarantee a morning in the bathroom for me. The Simply Smooth is easy on my gut and has allowed my coffee addiction to thrive despite having UC.

 



I do enjoy a little coffee with my creamer! I try to measure out my creamer and sugar just so I know how many calories and grams of sugar I had that morning. I use 3 tbsp of fat free creamer. My particular favorite is french vanilla but various flavors will make your popsicles feel a little more fancy.

I hope your ready for the most difficult step! Pour your coffee blend into an ice cube tray. Place syran wrap over the top and make sure it is wrapped tight so your toothpicks will stand tall.

Now its time for freezing. Place them in the freezer and go do something productive. I gave the boys a bath, relaxed a little by using my favorite Mary Kay Charcoal Mask and got ready for the day. I also watched an episode of Pioneer Woman and I dreamed a bit about going to the Mercantile and meeting her.

Snap, back to the reality of kids wanting to watch cartoons instead of adult tv and me yelling “don’t put your brother in the closet!” I need more coffee!!!!!!

Your pops should look something like this minus the Yoshi Jax thought needed a coffee pop! And, they will be stuck so those of you who have always had ice makers will need a little practice in removing these from their current home. Put a hand on each end of the tray and twist the two sides in opposite directions. You have now loosened your ice cubes and can slip away into coffee pop paradise!

On a side note, I do not make iced coffee often because hot is where it’s at for me but if you make iced coffee at home, you need a good amount of ice in your cup. These little babies double as fabulous coffee pop ice cubes. When they melt, you will not water down your coffee because inevitably, you didn’t get to drink your iced coffee in time either.

I hope you enjoy your coffee pops and it helps you sparkle a little brighter today!

 

Image result for coffee makes me sparkle

Sparkle · Ulcerative Colitis

Sparkly Cup Giveaway

Sparkles are my favorite color & you’re my favorite people so it’s time for a giveaway! Help me grow by liking my page, SparkleWithUC,on Facebook & tagging 3 friends who are your strongest supporters, your light in the dark. Giveaway ends 6-17-17 @ 11:59pm. The more people you tag, the more entries you get!

Win my absolute favorite sparkle quoted coffee mug!

No automatic alt text available.

 

Image may contain: one or more people and indoor

 

The more the merrier!

Health · Sparkle · Ulcerative Colitis

Healthy Hair: Vitamin A

I have been in so many different hair “seasons” as you might call them. I was an 80’s fro-kid. This was not intentional but my mom thought it was cute & a no fuss hair style so she let it ride for years.
 & years! Thanks mom!
 
I finally took over my hair duties around 6th grade & permed it right up as often as mom could afford it. In junior high & high school, I don’t know that my hair came out of a pony tail because I was always doing something sporty.
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I will continue my hair journey for you when I introduce you to the tantalizing world of Vitamin B12: A vampires dream.
  • Vitamin A is critical for good vision.
  • Plays an important role in healthy bone growth.
  • Vitamin A is essential for reproduction.
  • Plays a role in cell division and cell growth.
  • Supports the immune system.
  • Supports skin health.

When trying to find vitamins in your food that are beneficial to your hair, you can also count on those same vitamins to be important to healthy skin and nail development. A bi-product to so many vitamins is that they benefit multiple areas of health. When you strengthen your hair, your nails and skin are sure to follow.

5 Vitamin A Deficiency Symptoms

Deficiency Symptoms include:

  • Eye inflammation (got it)
  • Night Blindness
  • Skin changes (got it)
  • Alimentary tract changes (your digestive juices)
  • Respiratory tract changes

If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. They would be more than happy to help you diagnose deficiencies.

Image result for take care of yourself, no one else will

A little info for you…your daily IU is the international unit use to measure the amount of Vitamin A. According to the Mayo Clinic, the recommended amount of Vitamin A daily is as follows:

  • Adult Males: 3000 IU
  • Adult Females: 2300 IU
  • Pregnant Women: 2600 IU
  • Lactating Women: 4300 IU
  • Children 1-3 years old: 1,000 IU
  • Children 4-8 years old: 1,300 IU
  • Children 9-13 years old: 2,000 IU
  • Children 14-18 years old: 2,500 IU

 

The following list includes the foods which contain a high concentration of Vitamin A and the serving size which you need to consume to reach the daily IU’s of that food. The ideal way of consuming would be all at once but look at the serving size. I love carrots but a cup is a little much sometimes so I would usually end up combining carrots and broccoli or a combination that tastes good together to get to my goal.

 

So, onto what you have all been anticipating!!! Food!!!! Dr. Axe is the best place that I have found that puts together a comprehensive list of foods in order from greatest IU’s to least. The best part, you get pictures to go with it. I know, you didn’t need pictures but it just makes it more fun to read.

 

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A charted breakdown of some of the highest Vitamin A foods from BestNaturalFoods.com:

 

Plant Sources of Vitamin A
(as carotenoids)

 Serving

Vitamin A
(IU)

%RDA
Women

%RDA
Men

Sweet potato

1 med.

28,058

1215%

935%

Pumpkin, canned

½ cup

19,065

825%

635%

Carrots, cooked

½ cup

13,418

580%

445%

Spinach, cooked

½ cup

11,458

495%

380%

Collards, cooked

½ cup

9,769

420%

325%

Kale, cooked

½ cup

9,558

415%

320%

Turnip greens, cooked

½ cup

8,828

380%

290%

Winter squash

½ cup

5,353

230%

175%

Red peppers, cooked

½ cup

3,738

160%

125%

Cantaloupe

1 cup

5,411

235%

180%

Lettuce, Green Leaf

1 cup

4,147

180%

135%

Green peas, cooked

1 cup

3,360

145%

110%

Apricots, dried

3

2,022

88%

65%

Butternut squash, cooked

1⁄2 cup

1,900 IU

80%

60%

Broccoli, cooked

½ cup

1,208

52%

40%

 

So, its time to go shopping! If you are mom to little’s, this shopping list will contain foods that your children might eat or might throw across the room, depends on the kid. It’s hit or miss in our house most nights but, you can get an extra serving of your veggies if you have to clean up their plate. Just saying! BTW, I have excluded anything that I wouldn’t eat as well.

 

Shopping List:

  • Carrots (gigantinormous bag)
  • Sweet potato
  • Spinach (I eat atleast 1 salad a day so a big container is necessary)
  • Apricots
  • Broccoli
  • Butter, butter and more butter (My tribute to Paula Deen)
  • Eggs (Note to self, buy chickens someday to save on eggs)
  • Red Peppers
  • Cantaloupe
  • Parsley (grow your own, I did)
  • Asparagus
  • Tomatoes
  • Basil (grow your own)

 

I’m going to throw you for a loop or maybe you already knew this, smarty pants. Any type of animal product through this Healthy Hair series is best from grass fed animals. Why you ask? Grass fed means that the animal was natural, vitamin rich food sources so that they in turn could produce vitamin nutrient products for you.

 

I feel like a good rule of thumb on shopping in the veggie/fruit section is to get one of everything and try it. If you don’t like it, atleast you know now that you need to find another food combination to buy to get to your vitamin expectation. My husband knows that I spend a majority of my shopping time and our money in the fresh fruits and veggie section. He calls me a hippy but I truly believe that your health is affected by everything you put in your mouth.

 

Oh, another tip. If you buy a veggie or fruit over and over again and it goes bad over and over again before you get to eat it, don’t waste your money on it. Choose something else in its place so that its economical and healthy for you.

 

Happy vitamin A consuming and don’t forget to check back for my next installment on the Healthy Hair journey with Healthy Hair: Vitamin B6 & B12.

Image result for keep calm and eat your veggies

Entyvio · Health · Motivation · Sparkle · Ulcerative Colitis · Xeljanz

5 Years and Counting (I Wish Not)

Chances are, if your reading this, you know I started this blog as a place to talk about my journey with ulcerative colitis & other autoimmune diseases. I try to go along my journey with grace & humor, hence my name SparkleWithUC. There are, however, days that make you reflect on your journey & revisit the good, the bad & the downright ugly times that brought you to today.

This is me & Mr. Wonderful a few months before life changed for what I hope is a very limited amount of time. I hold out a unicorn believers type hope that there will be a complete cure & not just a bandaid for ulcerative colitis while I’m still alive, not that I have plans to go anywhere until I’m atleast 105.

This was Christmas 2011. No hint of disease….yet. 155lbs

Less than 6 months later, May 2012. I have been treated for hpylori with 2 massive doses of antibiotics & have been diagnosed with severe ulcerative colitis. 108lbs

I had to cut my hair because it was so thin & unhealthy. I would do this several times throughout the last 5 years just trying to look a little healthier than I actually was.

Prednisone puffy! The chipmunk cheeks became a cycle. I would complete a round of prednisone & flagyl with mild success. About the time the chubbo cheeks would disappear, I would be in another flair & need more prednisone.

More prednisone puff in 2013. I acted a lot like the bear snoozing between our heads in this picture. I was moody & no one dared wake me up without fear of “poking the bear”. I was in denial that there was a better treatment out there & would not ask my dr for help.

Fast forward through ups & downs & flairs & calm to 2015. Around the time of Cool Hand Luke’s 1st birthday, I was in such a bad flair that Chad pretty much dragged me to the dr. Thank God he did because I started on Entivyo 2 months later. Miracles do happen!

I look healthier & have energy! My hair is growing & I can see the division between new hair & the old stuff. My kids get more mommy time! There’s just too many positive changes to note them all!

I look like my 1st picture, except older, I mean, more distinguished. I know we grow older & we change but it’s so fabulous to change & age with time instead of prematurely because of illness & stress.

There’s always lessons to be learned from the experiences God allows us to get through or pushes us through. I want to encourage you to deal with whatever “it” is because it’s not going away. If you are facing health decisions that need to be made, don’t sit back & let dr’s dictate your future. I cruised along with my head in the sand for several years thinking that I had to do what the dr said or my earth would shake & life would be over. I felt that I was the best I was going to be despite what I showed you in the pictures above, I was obviously not healthy. I had a few people around me who could see through the front I put up. They pulled me out of my comfort zone, to ask for better treatment & I am forever greatful for showing me patience & grace.


My seester!

My sister is one of those pushers. She has crohn’s disease & has had major surgery losing close to a foot of intestines. Who better for God to knock me upside the head with but my lifetime confidant & best friend. He knew I wouldn’t listen to someone who hadn’t been through the ringer herself.

By the way, did you know that God didn’t care for my opinion on the matter & he stacked the odds in my favor despite my stubbornness, as evidenced by my continued breathing. I want to always think that I have the control at my fingertips because I am a control freak, ask Mr. Wonderful, but there are times that I reflect on my journey & realize I was never in control & he has given me plenty of life’s lessons to prove it.

So, on this, my 5th anniversary, I am oh so thankful for more than I deserve in the blessings department. One such blessing is that I have learned more about natural health in 5 years than I learned the first 29 years of my life.

Also, my hair is growing back. Note to self (& you), never take hair for granted again!!!
Oh, & despite my 1st dr telling me that we should just take my colon out at age 29 with only 2 short months of unsuccessful treatment, I have every last inch of my intestines because I’m stubborn & fought to keep them.

So to you, the fighter, keep fighting & in the words of Dory, “just keep swimming.” You can do it!!!