Naked Confidence

We’ve heard it, read it and from time to time many of us experience what true and utter confidence feels like.  Like you can literally DO anything, right? Totally unstoppable. Don’t give a second thought to what anyone else thinks (in the most loving way of course), in your zone and nothing is going to stop you, you won’t let it.  And then, poof, maybe one day something happens out of your control and throws you unsteady, wavering, on the edge just barely able to talk yourself into getting dressed in the morning not let alone put in any effort. Or, maybe you are on the roller coaster ride — you know, one morning you wake up owning the day and while this happens quite often, but still have a few days a week or a month you just don’t feel it.

So how exactly do you recover? How do you just snap back into that amazing feeling and place? How can it be here one day and feel like it is gone the next? Truthfully, it is ALWAYS there, it is up to you (me included) to recognize it, even on the most shittiest of days when anything and everything feels like it is being turned upside down. HANG IN THERE. Trust that you WILL bounce back and be freaking better than ever. How you react during those moments are telling and lay the groundwork for growth, expansion & personal evolvement (ha, is that a word?! SP is telling me no!), but you know what I am saying.

Naked Confidence.

No, I don’t mean standing naked in front of the mirror or streaking across your backyard (or RV Park / Hotel in my case) – strip away the expensive handbags, sunglasses, uber photo filters that erase every laugh line and slims the face just perfectly, forget the size “mini – me” pants size obsession, thigh gap goal and no root days, ever. I mean really, take the pressure off! I am talking about naked confidence, WHO and WHAT you feel at your your core. Inside, out without all of the flashy stuff. Truuust me when I say I like fun, new & sometimes expensive items, a sexy lipstick and a great hair day, but take it all away and what do you have? That’s my point. Once that is paid attention to, worked on (yes, exactly like a muscle) and developed more & more from the inside out — those days, those days you are like where the hell did my confidence go become fewer & fewer in-between as you rock that inner, naked confidence regardless.

I totally get it, it can be really hard to love yourself in a world that is filter crazy, photo shopped and told through carefully posed photos on social media. We are all guilty from time to time, but come back, always come back to YOU and work that inner confidence muscle that gets stronger if you spend some time with it.

You.

You are doing just fine.

You are EXACTLY where you need to be at this moment.

You have so much to give, just being you.

You are worthy of every single thing that you receive and more.

You ARE truly doing amazing.

Think it.

Say it.

Believe it.

Let go of being so hard on yourself. Love the imperfections, the silly mishaps, the freaking roller coaster of life and laugh it off. That’s what makes you, you.

Breathe.

Celebrate YOU.

You have everything you NEED, right inside of YOU. Go ahead, give it a little attention and notice what happens. 😉

XX

~ Renee

 

 

Realizations and a really, really remarkable”before” picture

Do you ever have those conversations with friends when all of a sudden, WHAM….something just crazy triggers in your mind and you are like, “Why didn’t I realize that before?!” Maybe it’s the fact that we are so present over other times and the thoughts are able to come pouring in, or perhaps it is just the right time. Recently, I was chatting with some friends and answering questions about what I do and WHY I was hit with so many realizations and I had to share one of them, right here.

In addition to being an Event Manager by trade and on the road about 10 months out of the year, I am also a Consultant with Rodan + Fields.

I was NOT looking for an opportunity by any means when I found Rodan + Fields, I was looking for a possible solution, that’s it.

I had just gotten off of the phone with my Momma who was wrapping up with her 36th radiation treatment and she was and IS doing amazing. She never, ever complained about a thing and was going to hop on a plane right after her last treatment to celebrate her granddaughter’s first birthday. She did mention to me that she could really tell where on her skin all of the treatment was focused and while she was trying many things, there was still a redness and sensitive area that was visible and just not improving at ALL with anything she tried. I hung up the phone and I thought to myself, surely after all this woman has gone through I can find something to help with this concern. So, I went to Google and started searching.  I then remembered seeing a B & A on my sister’s friends FB page. I reached out to her, asked what it was and for some info. Then, naturally, I proceeded to do my own research, because that’s what I do! 😉

I wanted to find out who these Rodan + Fields people were… Well, yes, they certainly checked out and quite impressively I may add. I discovered they were the Drs. Who created Proactiv and so much more. At that point, I knew what I was sending my Mom was from a trusted and credible source, not some fake company with jenky cream. I sent it to her and asked that she use it while in AZ.

As many of us know, life is busy and gets even busier when visiting family, so we really didn’t get to catch up full on until about 2 weeks later.

She called me, was standing in the shower with a towel wrapped around her and said, “I cannot even tell where the treatment area was. All of the redness & irritation is gone.”  My heart swelled with happiness and my eyes with tears. All I wanted to do was take away one less thing for her to worry about after all she had been through – and it worked. ❣️ Then, I started thinking….what if I could connect people with these products to do the same thing for them?! I mean, why should anyone have to go through more than they need to when solutions exist, right? In all honesty I am a 99 potential solution girl, not 99 problems. 👊

At that exact moment, for the first time in my life I was struggling with Cystic Acne. Utterly embarrassed, I kept thinking I had no idea where it came from and had no idea why, but clearly looking back now, I was in complete denial of what was happening in my life.

I was in the midst of figuring out what went wrong with LASIK eye surgery in not one, but BOTH eyes permanently damaging my corneas, my Momma was rocking through battling breast cancer, but I wanted to be there to help her as much as possible AND for the first time in my life I walked away from a project that was NOT what I thought it was going be and put me in a really bad spot, jeopardizing what I believed in. As a Freelancer, that also means consciously walking away from a paycheck, without another solid contract – but for me, choosing integrity was the right choice. Alllll while trying to remain calm as Crohn’s Disease thrives on stress!!!  Ha, and I was wondering WHY my face was a wreck!

Eyiyi….I had been dealing with this for a solid 8 months at this point.

So, I ordered the line for acne and let me be really clear here (no pun intended;-)), it was not overnight, but over time the Cystic acne became less, it felt less painful, started to clear up, the redness began to diminish and even a little glow in my complexion started to come out. Soon, I wasn’t subconscious about wearing a pony tail or messy bun any longer and before I knew it, I was Cystic – acne free all with no drugs, no prescriptions…just skincare that was made to work with each product creating real results. I was floored. Now, reality check here, I was never ever the girl with gorgeous porcelain skin, I was way too much of a sun goddess ☀️ — but wow oh wow have I ever improved my skin to literally have the best skin of my life, no messy foundation all in my mid – 30’s and here on out! I can’t even imagine what it would look like now if I didn’t try….or 20 years from now.

🌠 So, as I am talking with my friends this weekend I realized I am so, so grateful for being open to trying something new and finding the patience to persevere that lead to not only a solution, but a beautiful restoration of confidence and a desire to help others. I have always held myself to the standard that if I don’t love something, I won’t do it, I won’t back it (hence the quitting reference up above) and I sure as hell won’t be connected to it, that is a promise I intend to keep in all things life. ❣️

Truly, if you are curious about what R + F can do for you, and that is as simple as just being great skin care, (you don’t need any major concerns) that improves the health and future condition of your skin without wasting money on stuff that just doesn’t work, we should chat. Please do reach out. I would love to listen and see how I can help. 😊

If you want to help to reach others who need a solution, feel free to show some love and share, comment, love and tag on this post. 😘💪 Together, we are better. 👊

Discover your customized regimen for your skin by answering just a few questions – and be sure to include your email address so I can send you a thank – you mini facial! Solution Tool – Click Here

Keep on being AWESOME!!

XX

~ Renee

Choose Your Own Adventure ~ Chattanooga, Tennessee

The sweet south always has something magnificent to offer from southern home cooking to the friendliest hospitality around. A visit to the beautiful state of Tennessee always delivers in charm, beauty and makes you feel right at home! Today, I am highlighting Chattanooga, TN with a few local favorites and touristy must – see’s!

Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge – believe it or not, this walking bridge located in downtown Chattanooga is the world’s longest walking bridge. It connects DT Chattanooga to the trendy North Shore and gives stunning views of the city. After you have worked up an appetite strolling the shops of the North Shore, enjoy a local favorite handcrafted ice cream cone from Clumpies Ice Cream in Cooldige Park!

 

Pictured: The Tennessee Aquarium

The infamous, Ruby Falls! If you are anywhere near the south, you have probably seen the signs for miles & miles. Take it from a girl who is cautious about overly advertised attractions — this one is SO worth it and the cave is pretty awesome. Check the website for package deals for Rock City & the Incline. We ran out of time that day, but Rock City looked really cool and will be on the list next time around. I would suggest at least 2 hours minimum for Rock City and be prepared to walk!

SPOILER ALERT!!!

Falls are pictured below, but does not do them justice in any way, a total must see in person!

Ruby Falls

Point Park – is a 10  acre memorial park that offers stunning views of Lookout Memorial Battlefield, Chattanooga & the winding Tennessee River. There is also a museum on – site that we missed by a few minutes. This park is so worth a stop and picnic lunch! I believe that there is a small park fee of $5 upon entrance. We ended up visiting Point Park instead of Rock City the day we were exploring because we were running out of daylight hours. Either choice is a win – win!

Point Park Overlook

The Tennessee Riverwalk is an awesome way to get a little exercise and enjoy the beauty that Tennessee truly has to offer. Parking & bike rentals are located along the entire 13 mile paved path. The path will wind you alongside the river, past parks, the exquisite Hunter Art Museum, and right into downtown Chattanooga. An excellent way to enjoy the afternoon.

The Smokey Mountains On the Riverwalk

 

Choose Your Own Adventure!

Good Eats

Looking for where to sit down and enjoy some good food? Here’s a few suggestions:

FIVE Chattanooga – relaxed & fun bar / restaurant with a full menu and a patio overlooking Renaissance Park. Super cool spot, loads of parking & the very friendly staff! Serves Brunch, too! Check the website for weekly specials. & Happy Hour.

Top Food Picks: Baked Avocado, Deviled Eggs & Fish Tacos

Flying Squirrel Bar – Southern food with a twist! Offering craft beer, cocktails & an open air atmosphere. The upstairs is great for big groups. Sunday brunch.

Top Food PIcks: House Cut Fries Loaded w Garlic, Cuban Tacos & Squash Risotto

Flying Squirrel – Date Night

Boathouse Rotisserie & Raw Bar – Relaxed, comfortable dining (inside or outside on a covered patio) offering a gorgeous view right on the  Tennessee Riverwalk, a 13 – mile paved riverside path that runs parallel with the Tennessee River.  The Boathouse prepares many entrees in the wood fired grill.  Check the website for daily specials

Top Food & Drink PIcks: Steamed Clams, Calamari & the Lawton Rita is AMAZING!!!

Champy’s Chicken – Known for what else than their southern fried chicken and all of the delicious southern sides to serve up a true meal from the south. A relaxed atmosphere with a fun vibe! Check the website for two locations in Chattanooga.

Top Food Pick: ANYTHING chicken, of course!

Depending on your group and the vibe of the day, Chattanooga truly is a “choose your own adventure” type of city! There is so much more to share & offer, but that should give you a pretty good start!

Thanks so much for stopping by and if you do explore this wonderful part of Tennessee, I would love to hear all about it!

` XX

Renee

The ONE Skincare Product that Everyone Needs

If you are familiar with the word, serum, you probably already know that is the powerhouse in your skincare arsenal. If dullness, wrinkles, fine lines or uneven skin tone top your list for personal skin care concerns, a serum packed with antioxidants & peptides is exactly what you need to look for. While it is the most potent skincare product in our regimens, it is also the one we tend to invest in the most. One of the unique things I recently learned is that oxygen actually affects the efficacy of serum. I discovered that every time the bottle is opened and the squeezy thing comes out or with every pump, oxygen actually makes all of those powerful ingredients that much less effective. So, essentially, it is literally like money spent, money wasted and our skin is missing OUT! Who knew?! That is exactly why if you have ever received a mini-facial from me and used the Night Renewing Serum, you may have noticed it comes in these beautiful little pearl – like microsponges. But why? Why does this specific nightly dose of serum come in a cute little, spongy, blue pearl? When you twist the top off, you actually apply the entire contents to your face (neck & chest, too!) Given that each pearl holds enough serum for one full application, there is ZERO chance of the product being compromised by oxygen, meaning all of that yummy retinol stays in tact. The other cool thing that makes this already powerful serum even MORE effective is that the retinol is time released overnight for a whopping 12 hours!  Due to the scientifically time released capsule, the retinol changes from liquid form to powder form in 45 seconds. This process makes the retinol react as if it were .15% dosage of retinol (double the actual retinol in it, gahhhh!!! Essentially more bang for your buck and more action for your skin!). Additionally, the skin is treated over a number of hours for HUGE results, making it much more powerful.  The other cool perk is you know exactly how much to apply, taking all of the guesswork out! Boo – yah!

Benefits of Using a Serum (The following applies specifically to the serum in a blue microsponge)

  • Intense anti-wrinkle treatment
  • Peptides signal collagen production reducing the appearance of lines.
  • Retinol renews skin, improves skin texture, minimizes the appearance of pores and visibly brightens the skin.
  • Time released microsponge technology for longer results and works allll night long to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and pores for firmer, younger looking skin
  • Please know that a serum does NOT replace the benefits of a fantastic night moisturizer

Who knew there was actually a way to make your serum that much MORE powerful making you look that much more radiant!

If you would like more info on the above little pearl that packs an anti-aging punch, just comment below or reach out personally and I will be happy to answer all of your questions!

 

 

 

Virtual Capes

If you could choose ONE, just ONE Super Hero to be for a day, who would it be and why? Try not to over think this, just jot down who pops into your head at first thought.

— For me, it was Wonder Woman, followed by Batman.  They’re both bad – ass, look out for the well-being of others are incredibly strong  and the one thing that really motivates & fuels me is that they  don’t ever give up and they SHOW UP because they know that people NEED them and they don’t want to let people down.

Not exactly Wonder Woman, but the absolute closest I ever came to flying!

Next up:

What is at least one superpower you have? And, don’t skip this one, you DO have a superpower, actually, most likely more than one. This is not the time to be humble. Maybe your superpower is that you are an incredible listener, super organized, hilarious or maybe you’re full of a beautiful energy. Whatever it is, it is YOURS’ no one elses’. Because, you see even if it is similar, they can’t do it just like you can.

–For me, I have a never-ending will of steel (some may call this stubborn) and I also happen to be extremely compassionate. Putting myself into the shoes of others comes very naturally to me.

Ok, now, make a quick visual & mental note – How are you sitting, standing, reading this blog post at this EXACT moment? What is your current body posture? Are you huddled over your computer, standing straight up or maybe sitting on a balance ball right now? How would you describe your body posture most of the day?

I promise this will make sense….

What if I told you that you could possibly change the outcome of a situation with a power pose?  Sounds too simple, right? That’s just it. As humans, we try to overcomplicate so many things when the basic, small shifts can lead to a much more desirable and positive outcome.  But wait, what exactly is a power pose? Think about the way your favorite super hero stands. Upright, chest sightly outward, arms on hips or even up in the air, opening up a little bit more. Those are all examples of a power pose.  Try it, stand up straight, take a deep breathe, close your eyes, exhale out and envision for about a minute exactly what you would like to happen.

This past fall, I had the honor of listening to a TED Talk by Amy Cuddy who shares the effect of a “power posing” and how simply changing your body language can truly impact the end result. She also got really vulnerable in her talk and shared how she pushed through re-gaining her once lost identity when she felt utterly and completely out of answers.  This is worth your time, I promise you! Watch Here

Make it a beautiful day and don’t forget your virtual cape on the way out of the door !

 

 

Tuesday Treats!!!

I am always on the hunt for quick, yummy & nutritious snacks! This past weekend, we were  introduced to a simple, delicious and fast snack idea that is packed with healthy benefits (and the kids and / or hubby will never know it!! Shout out to Health Coach, Crystal Jarvie over at Healthstyles4You for the intro!

Swap out the butter on popcorn for coconut oil + Himalayan salt = pure deliciousness!!

Popcorn

Butter is an awesome treat every now and then and I am totally all for it —  there truly are way worse snack choices out there. But, switching it up a bit saves some calories and provides some amazing healthy benefits. A little something every day goes a looong way!!

Himalayan Salt

Himalayan-salt

A few benefits

  • Contains the 84 trace minerals
  • Effective for detox – helps to push toxins OUT, especially those heavy metals
  • Promotes healthy sleep patterns
  • Improves circulation
  • Reduces the signs of aging
  • Promotes a healthy pH balance

The above benefits are all from various different uses of Himalayan salt, which is the purest form of salt we can choose to digest. Here’s a great link to the how’s and effects: Surprising Benefits of Himalayan Salt

Coconut Oil

Coconut-and-Coconut-Oil

A few benefits

  • Reduces Inflammation & Arthritis
  • Improves Energy & Endurance
  • Improves Digestion
  • Balance out Candida or Fungal Sources that can cause many skin conditions
  • Helps with Weight Loss
  • Prevents Heart Disease & High Blood Pressure

Just as with Himalayan salt, there are different uses of Coconut Oil to create the above listed results. Check out the list here 20 Coconut Oil Benefit

Who knew popcorn & a movie could be so healthy & delicious!!

Chow down!

Much love,

Renee

 

 

Forever Sunsets…

My Pops text me this pic of a sunset just a few days ago. This was the sunset he was looking at  – clearly they live on a beautiful lake!! At the time, it was a busy day (aren’t they all?!) so I looked at it, was wowed for a minute and then went back to what had me so preoccupied in the first place.  I believe I probably commented a one – word response back along the lines of “wow” or “awesome.”

IMG_20160712_200052

Fast forward a few days…

I quit something today. I quit a project that I had taken on after many attempts at resolution, after letting it consume almost all waking hours for five months straight, after doing all of the protocol bullshit steps I knew I was “supposed to do” when challenges arise. Let me be clear, I don’t like to quit things, ever. If it means I suffer for the sake of not quitting something, then, by all means, I will put myself through agony. Just being honest. Sometimes I am too stubborn for my own good. A fine line that could be described as determined but soon crosses into stubborn. Okay, back to the picture – I came across the picture again and paused this time and you know what came over me? Joy, peacefulness, comfort, happiness, tranquility & the best part —  knowing that I can think of SO many sunsets, similar to that one that I have been able to share with my Dad, my Mom, my loved ones because I took the time. Because I truly made the choice to be there. Because I made other choices in my life to put me in those kind of moments.

I am proud that I have found the freaking strength to make the tough decisions in life. Are they easy, never. Have I always had this strength. No. (I can think of three distinct choices I made NOT to be somewhere and I should have, to this day) Do I know it at the time, helllll no. If only. But, am I getting better at identifying the fact that pride does not always have to win over happiness. You bet.

I am NOT saying go out and start quitting stuff just for the sake of quitting. But, what I am saying is when you put your heart & soul into something and it doesn’t give back, it is time to start looking at other options. Life is too precious, moments are soon memories and we make choices all day long. Start making the choice that makes you proud, energized & excited to create new memories every single day.

Start creating your own forever sunsets…

With love,

Renee

Own Your 24

There’s 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week which equal a whopping 168 total hours. Of those hours, lets take away 8 hours a day, say for sleeping, which leaves us with a total of 112 hours to CHOOSE how we spend it.

Alright, alright, enough with the math, the point is that we have over 100 hours a week to spend working, parenting, living, relaxing, exercising, cleaning, traveling, cooking, connecting, you get the idea. Time is precious and what is here today may not be the same tomorrow.  I have always been of the mindset that if I was going to spend so much of my time out of a day working, I better not settle for something that just gets me a paycheck. I knew from a very young age that I have to love what I am doing with a fierce passion, a drive & motivation to help others; especially because so many of the hours in my day would be work – related, money doesn’t grow on trees, and I have some pretty big goals!

Is it true that sometimes you have a season where you have to do things as an adult that you wouldn’t necessarily choose to do unless you absolutely had to — absolutely. Do we have to make choices to get us to the next chapter or level or though a transitional period, for sure. But that’s just it, those are stepping stones to create a better life, a life of abundance, a life that you can show up in every day as the best version of yourself for you and the people who surround and matter the most to you in life.

If you are not happy where you are, change IS possible. If you feel like your 40 hour work week, your 9 – 5, working for someone else who you feel is less appreciative of your time just isn’t fulfilling for you, you can have a better 24. We as humans are moveable, teachable, mold-able and adapt to change quite easily. We are not a tree with our roots planted. Have a pep talk with yourself, get real and be open to what your heart & little voice may be whispering. 😉 And then…

make the change one step at a time!

985e5b11c096c5a7c05fda98f125d381

#ownyour24

Have a great day!!

xx

~ Renee

Inflammation is at the ROOT of most diseases, that’s the title, but the REAL story is deeper…

When people tend to write or speak passionately about something it is usually because they feel some kind of connection to the cause, purpose, person, event, etc., You get it, there is a personal, vested interest. Here lies the good stuff…when we dig in, dig down and really understand the why behind the reason a person chooses to share what they will, credibility is often discovered and a story is unveiled.

One of my favorite things to chat with people about is how to bring anti-inflammatory foods into their diet. Why: Because it is so much easier than one may think . Before I jump into all of the yummy, delicious, disease fighting food that you can start to easily add to your diet to fight inflammation, this is why I am invested.

I was diagnosed…

with Crohn’s disease when I was 28. My grandma died of Colon Cancer when I was 9. My sissy was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at the age of 5. Deep breath. When my Gastroenterologist said the words to me, “You have a chronic disease that you will have forever, there is no cure and you will always need medicine to control” I felt immediate suffocation. My world stopped. The next thing I felt was hot water running down my cheeks, tears. And then, anger. Why?! I exercised, maintained a fairly healthy diet, tried to make good choices, I wasn’t even 30 yet. I didn’t share all of this right away with hardly anyone, I couldn’t . Actually it was really tough for me to tell my closest family & friends. I still have the email. It wasn’t embarrassment, I was just having the most difficult time coming to terms with the fact that I now have my very own long term disease, forever. It was almost as if I didn’t verbalize it, it wouldn’t exist. Denial, if you will. While I was having some symptoms at the time, it was nothing like what I would experience in the major flare up years down the road. I remember trying to wrap my mind around “medicine forever” and told myself I would do everything in my power to not have to be reliant on medicine. That was the beginning. That very weekend my doctor started me on medicine right away.

getting to know my disease…

As a researcher, I became familiar with my disease, learned the ins & outs and soon became incredibly grateful that I was considered “mild” at the time. I’m an “all in” kinda girl and I figured once I got past the pissed off & shocked stage, it was time to own it. I understood that the medicine was what helped to control my inflammation. Not alone though, stress, diet, exercise, every single choice I made truly impacted the chances of my disease being disrupted. Within the same paragraph though, I would read that unfortunately, research has not been able to prove that one food or another may cause a flare-up. There were “possible” foods that could cause aggravation, but nothing concrete. Basically, every person may react different. I read about progressive cases and knew a beautiful, young woman who was going through a hell of a fight on her own, in her early 30’s.I had no idea and still am uncertain about the ugly beast that could rear its head at any moment and take control of my gastrointestinal (GI) tract, but I am certain that I will do everything in my power to avoid that from happening and the rest, is out of my control.

Genetics, family history, being a female, geological location, the water, soil, the speculation about what could cause any of the diseases in the Irritable Bowl Disease category goes on and on and on and on. Clearly, there’s a lot of uncertainty when it comes determining what actually causes IBD. Frustrating, absolutely. (And they say to keep stress down to manage flare-ups…such a  double edged sword!!) But, that doesn’t change the diagnosis or symptoms of the disease. Crohn’s is an auto immune disease. There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases. At the root of autoimmune diseases, inflammation. It can be a killer, if not controlled.

crohns-disease-s5-illustration-of-crohns-disease-and-ulcerative-colitis

According to several definitions, the definition of an autoimmune disease is : An illness that occurs when the body tissues are attacked by its own immune system. (Sounds like an internal war zone going on in here!) The immune system is a complex organization within the body that is designed normally to “seek and destroy” invaders of the body, including infectious agents. Patients with autoimmune diseases frequently have unusual antibodies circulating in their blood that target their own body tissues. Your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake.Yikes is right!

what you cannot see can hurt you

Autoimmune diseases can affect many parts of the body. Some of the first and very common symptoms of an autoimmune disease is: low fever, fatigue, muscle aches. Inflammation which can cause redness, pain & swelling is also extremely common. It is really important to note that inflammation is something that can’t always be seen. Therefor, what you can’t see can harm you. That is why it is SO important to make as many choices as one can that may help to prevent & reduce inflammation. The key is to keep the inflammation at bay. Once the intestine becomes inflamed (during a flare-up) the damage is done, the GI tract is scarred and the inflammation and scarring cannot be reversed. Inflammation, especially for extended periods of time results in more and more scarring of the intestine, eventually leading to surgery.

Fact: About 23 to 45 percent of people with ulcerative colitis and up to 75 percent of people with Crohn’s disease will eventually require surgery. Some people with these conditions have the option to choose surgery, while for others, surgery is an absolute necessity due to complications of their disease.(Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation)

when my world came to a screeching halt

In my personal case, I can always tell when I am having a mild flare up. My body runs very warm, especially when I sleep, my stomach becomes distended, to the point it is painful and it feels like a potato peeler is scraping the inside of my intestines. Graphic, yes, but not near as graphic as what could happen if I don’t  do everything in my power to control my urges, make good food choices, control stress  & exercise. I have had one debilitating flare – up. It knocked me down for almost 3 months straight. Fetal position, fever, couldn’t keep food in, blood in stool, excruciating cramping, the drop you to your knees kind of cramping, the whole nine yards.When there is a flare up as described above, the following is what is actually happening on the inside: chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Chronic inflammation impairs the ability of the affected organs to function properly, leading to symptoms such as abdominal cramping, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, and fatigue. (CCFA.org)

I look back now and realized that if I was to ever have a flare up like that one, the timing couldn’t have been better. Considering the fact that I live a near 100% mobile lifestyle, I was actually between projects at that time and could focus on my needs to get healthy. It was a slow process and I had no choice but to take the healing process slow. I went from pounding out 10 mile runs with no problem to barely jogging for 15 minutes  without stopping due to exhaustion. I learned to be thankful for that though because in the months prior, I was no where near jogging anywhere, except in my mind. I came to truly appreciate everything I could actually eat, taste and keep in. I took full notice of when my stomach wasn’t in knots causing me to be curled up in a ball. In the beginning, the relief would come maybe twenty minutes at a time and I was so grateful for every minute I was given. I learned that I couldn’t always control my body and that I had to respect it, listen to it and try to give it what it needed. There was colonoscopies, endoscopies, suppositories, steroids and several medicines involved. The good news was that we were able to get myself back under control. The bad news, my meds were 4x what they were pre – flare up and I will always wear that scarring, on the inside.

the storm has calmed, for now…

I maintained the higher meds for about a year. Personally, I was happy to be under control, but as someone who believes in the healing power of food, exercise & lifestyle, I was disappointed and didn’t want to accept the fact that I would be reliant on prescription medication for the rest of my life. Not to mention I was spending close to $360 a month on a bottle of medication. Being self – employed, individual health insurance is a battle on its’ own to be fought. We’ll save that for another day. The trade off was that I was and am currently in remission. Don’t be fooled, this is a silent sense of security. Remember, just because you can’t actually see what is going on, does not mean it is not there. Remission is: a period of time the person is symptom free. Remission can last for months or years. The person can feel just fine and this is where it gets tricky, the disease still lives within you…and for me, I do everything NOT to disturb it. There are no guarantees, though.

maintaining remission without prescription

Fast forward / rewind to last year. I was connected through a trusted a source to someone who offered to help me heal with food and wean my way off of medication, which has always been my goal from day #1. If I could control where I am without prescription medication and remain in remission, my sacrifices would be worth it. I learned so much about inflammation, what to look for when grocery shopping, dining out options and what to absolutely avoid all together. It’s not easy, trust me, but the way I feel is so worth it. Will power is something you have to wear on the outside every single day and letting yourself make the easier choice is not an option, it just isn’t. I have been medicine AND symptom free for a year the end of May!!! Please know this was not a decision I took lightly and there was and is risk involved, but it was the right choice for me. I also was NOT going to do this on my own. The memory of a severe flare-up is so vivid, I definitely needed professional guidance on my journey.

Fact: According to the CCFA, Elective surgery may also be recommended for some people with IBD to eliminate the risk of colorectal cancer. Patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease have a higher risk for colorectal cancer than the general population.  Colorectal cancer rarely occurs in the first eight to ten years after initial diagnosis of IBD. The risk increases the longer a person lives with the disease. People whose disease affects most of their colon are at the greatest risk for developing colorectal cancer.

i don’t go a day without

beginning every morning with about 4 ounces of aloe vera juice. It is the first thing to enter my system when I wake up and the last thing I swallow before bed. Aloe is like an internal band aid – soothing, healing & renewing. The next part of my morning routine is a cup of peppermint tea. It is a massage for the internal organs and I swear, wakes everything up! For the first eight months, I had a teaspoon of sauerkraut before every single thing I ate, religiously. I cut out all wheat AND grain, they are not two of the same things. Dairy, gone. Canned foods, had none of them. Any refined sugars, outta here.  I end every day with a cup of Chamomile tea, to calm. This is a glimpse of the changes I had to make in my world to get to a better place.  I could probably write a whole blog entry on that time period, as can my boyfriend. 😉

This post started simple and became an out pouring from my heart. Not a lot of pictures, simply words that paint a picture. There are other details, personal struggles and facts that I could share but what this is about is opening up, hoping to reach that one person who is looking for someone to understand them and to tell you that you are  NOT alone in the struggle. All of our struggles may be different and  similar, but they are each our OWN and no one struggle is  more important than another. To each their own; respectfully.

This post is also about sharing. I want to share with you some of the easiest ways to fight inflammation. It truly is the root of so many diseases and whenever you can, key word….EASILY work that into your life, why not?!?! Take a read!!

My faves?!  Blueberries, pineapple, salmon & ginger!!!

Top 15 foods to fight inflammation!

Hidden Bonus Tip: simply cut ginger into your water every day….yum!!!

Curious about the difference between Crohn’s & ulcerative colitis?  Let me make it simple for you – click below.

Difference between Crohn’s Disease & Ulcerative Colitis

Interested in learning more about some basic, easy, everyday things you can do to improve your overall health? Yes, this Coach is related to me, but it all started with her personal journey…

Health Coaching for a better YOU

Have a wonderful day my friends. And do ONE new thing today that will improve your health over time. Good health is a true gift, but we must take care of it.

View More: http://jenniferhalen.pass.us/reneebaus

Much love,

Renee

You

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110% all in. We may try to camouflage our personality or blend in from time to time with the crowd for fear that others may not like who we are. The truth of the matter is there is only one you, you have the most unique fingerprint. No one else on this entire globe is the same as you. What you have in yourself is a gift to share with others. Believe in it, believe in you. We have one life, one single life made up of several moments, don’t miss out due to fear or insecurities. Those moments can change in a heartbeat. You are loved, you are you, don’t hold back, let your inner light shine!

Much Love,

Renee