Head vs Gut

Whenever people ask me…better yet, whenever I contemplate to myself about what my favorite food is, my answer is always pizza. What is there not to love about pizza? Nothing beats the precise amount of hot delicious gooey cheese layered upon a delicate amount of marinara sauce; and lets not forget about the fluffy (or crunchy) crust that is responsible for keeping this work of art held together.

No matter how many people try to convince me there are delicious glutard pizzas out there in this world, I have yet to find one. Due to my constant disappointment I have had to take a break from my neverending search; yet I continue to stay optimistic and believe that someday somebody will perfect this recipe and will teach me their ways…or at least sell it in grocery stores near me. It is heartbreaking; nonetheless I know if I do cheat on my required diet change, the effects that gluten has on my gut and my bowels are far more devastating.

I have not been formally diagnosed nor do I know the official term to why my gut is so temperamental. What I do know (more like what I constantly learn day to day) is that if I eat certain foods that contain certain ingredients (mainly gluten) my body will have a temper tantrum that makes five year olds jealous. Best case scenario, it will take about a month for my body to be liberated of all side effects.

If I were to claim my every day diet is perfect, that would be a lie. Every day I struggle between eating what I crave and love or eating gut friendly food. The only thing that motivates/requires me to change my dietary habits is due to the painful and uncomfortable side effects that result from my lack of self control . I wish I could provide more insightful ways on how to change ones diet and provide tricks, how to’s, etc…. but I cannot.

A quick disclaimer: I do not believe everybody should be a glutard; to tell you the truth many glutard products contain just as high and in most cases higher amounts of carbohydrates than the products that do contain gluten. So if you are thinking that cutting gluten out of your diet will aid to loosing weight, you should probably rethink that idea. Not to mention, many products that do contain gluten have necessary vitamins and minerals that benefit the body. As many say, consult a doctor before you change your diet; or at the very least, visit credible websites and research the h** out of your diet so you can be somewhat knowledgable about how to keep your body nourished and healthy.

The History Behind the Big Decision 

I always joke that whatever I enjoy eating is exactly what my gut does not tolerate; and sadly enough that statement is true. To tell you the truth, most memories I’ve retained from my 23 years of life have a common ending…me running to the nearest bathroom. It all started with being lactose intolerant. I was not a happy child when I learned I couldn’t binge eat cheese and ice cream without any repercussions. As I grew older I luckily grew out of my intolerance to lactose. For about two years I binged on anything and everything that my college budget could afford. It was not until I was studying in Puerto Rico, when I started feeling the beginnings of my current situation. Not only was I constantly gaining weight, but on top of that I constantly felt uncomfortably bloated…shout out to the copious amounts of Medalla I was drinking and all of the deliciously addicting fried Puerto Rican delicacies.

Other than the fact that I felt like a whale from the 20lbs I gained during my stay in Puerto Rico, I felt more like a pregnant whale due to how bloated I was on top of my weight gain. I stopped liking the photos of myself, I started developing health issues, and I just felt uncomfortable. It was then when I decided to do take action and change my bad habits. A life lesson that my mother and my experiences have engrained in my puny brain, was to start with changing my diet. Many people would be surprised how having a healthy diet can change various health issues. The first thing I cut out was beer. Luckily for me, the only reason I was drinking beer was because it was generally cheaper; because beer is not my go to drink, I happily came to terms that I would just have to pay a couple more dollars extra for something I enjoy more and doesn’t make me feel like a pregnant whale. Although my body was relatively happy for this choice, it wasn’t the reaction I was hoping for. So I spent MONTHS reflecting and researching how certain foods affected me. This usually meant either cutting out certain food groups until I found the corporate; or it meant find certain foods that upset my gut and finding the common ingredient. That is how I came to the conclusion that it was gluten.

I actually discovered my sensitivity a lot sooner than later…meaning I probably knew about a few weeks into my investigation that the corporate was gluten. But I had to gather enough evidence to come to terms with this unfortunate discovery. It is a huge life decision to go completely glutard; I mean gluten in almost everything. If you don’t believe me just visit: https://celiac.org/live-gluten-free/glutenfreediet/sources-of-gluten/ 

It has been about two years since my discovery. I can say that majority of my diet is gluten free; but like I mentioned earlier sometimes my self control…isn’t that controlled. Although the repercussions I experience are usually a reminder for me to stay on my glutard diet, I try to always remember my mothers mottos: “How you treat your body when you’re young, is how your body treats you when your old.” and “Nobody is required to be responsible to take care of your body, but you.”

Difficulties of Being a Glutard

  • Not being able to eating delicious pizzas, bagels, fresh bread, or amazingly delicious desserts.
  • Having to research gluten free meals in restaurants and not being able to just pick what pleases your tastebuds or cravings.
    • On top of that, trusting that the restaurant will provide you with a gluten free meal. I have had restaurants fail to do so, even after I nicely asked them…in this case it is a good thing I do not have celiacs.
    • Going to restaurants that provide free bread as appitizers, such as Olive Garden. I just to stare at the bread and quietly resent the unsuspecting waiter. I usually stare at it, salivating, and arguing to myself whether or not its worth it…kind of what dogs look like when they see food, or right before their meal, or when they are begging for food.
  • Making tasty meals: More then my fair share of meals were trash bin worthy. However due to my lack of heavy income, I force it down my throat.
    • Having to relearn how to cook and bake with glutard ingredients: I have found that many glutard recipes do not make my tastebuds delighted nor entice me ever to eat it again or try making it again.
    • I’ve also learned that glutard ingredients tend to be more temperamental.
  • Many glutard foods either DO NOT taste the same or have the same consistency; and it is usually a combination of both of those factors.
  • Not being able to eating delicious pizzas, bagels, fresh bread, or amazingly delicious desserts.
  • It makes the time at the grocery store longer. I have to read labels just to make sure what I want to buy does not contain gluten.
  • In my case, my husband is lucky and can eat whatever he pleases. However, he has to learn how to buy, cook, and eat gluten free if we are eating the same meal.
  • Eating in group settings can be difficult due to the fact that most of my friends and colleagues are not glutards. And when everyone wants pizza, I am tortured to watch my friends devour this gift from the baking gods or forced to feel the power of my gut.
  • Did I mention not being able to eating delicious pizzas, bagels, fresh bread, or amazingly delicious desserts!?

The Optimism Behind It All

Although there are many things I have to learn and just deal with in order to be healthy, there are always good things that result from hardships.

  • Due to not being able to find a tasty glutard version of many desserts I no longer eat as many sweets.
  • I am perfecting my few delicious recipes that I’ve made and if I am productive…or if y’all are lucky…. I will someday post the recipes on my blog.
  • I am becoming a tad faster at finding glutard items in the grocery stores and becoming more knowledgeable to what I should order in restaurants.
    • I am also becoming better at reading labels, which is a skill everyone should possess.
  • I am teaching somebody (aka my husband) new things about nutrition, and making him rethink his food beliefs….I do want to reiterate that I do not believe that not every one should be on a glutard diet nor am I technically forcing my husband to eat gluten free. What I am doing is helping him become more aware about nutrition, and teaching him how to be more aware of what he eats.
  • My acne is not as common and skin has been a lot happier.
  • I have been slowly coming to terms with not being able to eat my favorite foods. And when I say slowly, I mean it; and if I could I would emphasize that as much as possible; but at least it is progress!



Stepping into Intimidation (Life After College)

“We don’t stop going to school when we graduate.” ~ Carol Burnett

       It has almost been a full month since I graduated with my bachelors; however, it only feels as if I am just on winter break. Now that my roommate has gone back to school, reality is finally setting in; I am now an alumni of Fort Lewis College.  Alike many others who have already graduated, and many who have yet to feel this phenomenon, it gives me mixed emotions.

Continue reading “Stepping into Intimidation (Life After College)”

Aqui Te Espero

“I choose you. And I’ll choose you over and over and over. Without pause, without a doubt, in a heartbeat. I’ll keep choosing you.” – Unknown

Our paths crossed on a Sunday afternoon  (August 29, 2015). It was my third week in Puerto Rico, and my roommate (Amy) invited me to go to the beach with her and a friend (Brian). I had no idea we were even picking anybody up until Brian called his friend to be ready in ten minutes. As soon as he walked out of his house my heart stopped; here was this incredibly attractive latin man and he was walking my way. I was trying to suppress my giddiness and not act stupid, but I could not help myself from smiling as he opened the door.

It was not easy knowing that the person you are falling for is going to be far away once December came; not only did I originally live in Colorado, he was also starting the US Marines in February. We knew we had many obstacles to overcome but that didn’t intemidate us from growing closer and closer together.

Ever since meeting this man, I have lived a happier life. He is both my best friend and my boyfriend. He has helped me work though so many insecurities and walls I have put up. He cares for me when I am sick, calls me beautiful even when I gained weight or look like I woke up in hell, he calms me down when I am anxious, and supports and cheers me on to be the best.  He’s the man I have always dreamed of, but never thought I would get the opportunity to love. I am so thankful to have somebody in my life who is as loyal, caring, supportive, loving, and thoughtful.

It’s funny because everyone tells me how surprised they are to see me in a long distance relationship since I used to always be so against them. However it only took the right person to change that. I do have to admit that is difficult and hard; everyday we have to deal with  conflicting schedules, sometimes we miscommunicate or there is a lack of communication, most often one of us is stressed or having a bad day, etc. Sometimes the hardest part is not knowing when I am going to see him again.

I will always be by his side as his best friend and his girlfriend. I cannot wait for the day that I will be close by his side and we aren’t separated, however I will continue to wait for however long I have to.


Abuelos: Grandparents

My grandma, Phyllis, and my grandpa, Donald, are some of the biggest role models in my life. There are various contributing factors to why I have looked up to them my entire life; some I can explain (which I will attempt to demonstrate in this post) and some I cannot interpret from my emotions to words [because in some instances, words cannot and do not have the capability nor the power to explain the connotation of an emotion], which only allows me to explain it by hugs and visits. They both have always given lessons and advice to each and every person in my family no matter if they wanted it or not, they were always there even after it was apparent your should have taken their advice or warning, and no matter the distance, they are always there to support their family. However, they also taught me lessons and affected me in ways they would never imagine; only because of who they are as a person, as a couple, and as a family.
          My grandparents were married for (I think) 58 years. My grandparents were lucky; they were able to experience and be married to somebody who made them feel like they were loved; for what seems like an eternity. They relished in their relationship by cherishing and supporting each other, even when it was difficult to do so. They created a beautiful family together and they loved every single child unconditionally; as well as providing nothing but love, support, and many great life experiences for each and every one of them. My grandmother stood strong by my grandpas side during his time in the military. Not only was she supporting him throughout his career in the military, [which is something many spouses cannot endure] she also moved all over the world with him. All at the same time, some how they were able to do all this, with the accompany of their children.
           My grandma supported my grandpa and loved him through thick and thin. She was his wife, a friend, an adventure partner, and a mentor; she was his framework and support in his life. My grandpa was the same for her, he tried to be the best man, friend and husband that he possibly could and reciprocated his love, support, and friendship to my grandma. All at the same time,  being amazing parents, mentors, and life coaches to a bunch of crazy children. 😉
          They were fortunate to experience true love and how powerful/meaningful it is. Like I have come to believe, nothing that has significant importance will ever come easy. You will have to fight for it and there will be sacrifices you will have to make. There will be a range of: simplex and easy lessons to very long, hard, and complex lessons you will learn. Despite the fact, that there may be times you will second guess yourself and what you really want, or if you have the endurance to keep going, and you may feel lost at times (or many). In the end, it will be worth it; but only if you work hard and believe in yourself and that this is possible [even when it feel impossible.] Because not only will the reward will be unfathomably amazing, this process of sacrificing things and learning every type of lesson, will only help you become a stronger person and show you that the impossible is in fact possible. And even if what you are working for is love and a good/healthy relationship (which is a never ending goal for every couple/marriage), you will only continue to strengthen your love with your partner and your ability to work through any obstacle in the way.
          Although my grandpa unfortunately passed away December 2014, he has always and will always be in my heart. He had an amazing life and many opportunities to experience things that many people could only dream of or read about. Even during the times he was sick and in the hospital, he was the most thoughtful, compassionate, and outgoing man I have ever seen. No only did he never stop showing his love and appreciation for his wife and each and every member of his family, but he always provided compassion and love to his friends and acquaintances, his coworkers, and even to strangers. His heart was so big and no matter what there was always room for more. A few of my friends were lucky enough to met my grandpa. After being introduced he would instantly try figure out their life story. He would make every guest feel like they were part of the family. After meeting someone, he would continue to inquire about their wellbeing, even if he never saw them again. Which was surprising to me because I would sometimes assume he would forgot about who they were or sometimes I would ‘naively’ think he didn’t care to know. I will always remember everything he taught me from: making me cry because he yelled at me for picking up a knife the wrong way, to making sure I do not step on peoples noses when they push me up from the pool to the diving board/be careful when my limbs are close to peoples faces while they try to because it can and will give people bloody noses. One characteristic that my mother learned from him and then I learned from both of them; is to show compassion to everyone and get to know somebody and everybody; because having a caring community is powerful for: the soul, the individual, and for everybody.
          I has been around a year and three months, and still to this day, my poor grandma (and our family) grieves his death. However, she never ceases to amaze me. She has had to experience one of the worst situations that life has to offer; the loss of somebody you love. Within this year she has had to learn how to do live her life without the support and love she’s had for at least 58 years, she’s had to learn how to grieve; and even thought it may not be close to being over; she has already endured so much. She is the strongest woman I know! No matter how hard it is and how lonely it must be, she is able to keep her head up and is able to living her life to the fullest. Not only was she already able to recuperate from a surgery, but she also travelled to Hawaii, and is now completing her life long dream to go to Australia and New Zealand.
          I am beyond lucky to have such amazing role models and positive influences in my life.For, everyday I have people who support me, teach me, love me, and encourage me. I am proud to call my grandparents my family, and as well as to be their granddaughter. As well as not forgetting, that thanks to my grandparents, I have the best mother a girl could possibly wish for.
          Although this family they created, is odd and weird to say the least; we are strong, we are silly and can make anything fun, we flourish with each others love and support no matter the distance, and we accept each other through thick and thin. I can safely assume, that everybody from their children to their great grandchildren (and everybody in between); we all have always had the best guidance, support, and love from them both. Although the guidance and advice they give can be bit critical or something you may not want to hear, they both just want the best for everybody. I will admit that sometimes it can be hard to live up to the high expectations they always had for each and every one of us. At the same time, it is always comforting to know that there is always somebody routing for me and believing in me, and somebody who knows my self worth, even when I can’t.

*I do have to say that, that I am proud of all parts of my family. And I am lucky and will forever appreciate everybody in it!

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Long Distance;

Status of this unadorned blog:

          Because I am currently working 30 hours a week and take 15 credits of classes that love to give me an insane amount of homework and projects; I lack any time to keep my blog more then a post every blue moon or so. And quiet honestly when I am rewarded the  opportunity free moment,* I either take a quick nap or write letters to my best friend/boyfriend who is currently in the marines. However, I could’t resist posting this poem I found because it explains my feelings at the moment. Even though, this relationship is rather young in time, there are times when a person can tell the connection they have to somebody is worthwhile.

Don’t let the miles between us
Keep our love apart
Just listen close and you will hear
The beating of my heart

No distance, will ever keep
My heart from loving you
There are no more tears for it to weep
For a love that runs so true

I’ll be there with you one day soon
To love you everyday
And then my heart will sing a tune
And you will hear it say

I’ve finally found my one true love
As true as one can be
And now your all I’m thinking of
Forever stay with me

Author: Unknown


*free moment: Has an undefined amount of time, because it varies every time this phenomenon occurs. The phenomenon occurs commonly when one procrastinates their homework; or becomes distracted because the of the lack of being focused during their homework.

The Desire to Travel, Even During the Impossible

Whenever I have troubles with insomnia (or have homework to procrastinate) I travel somewhere. However, these journeys do not involve airports or planes and bidding farewell. These quests simply require the use of one simple tool: my computer, so I can access my photo albums! And a big thanks to Marty McFly, because we all learner and know that the best ways to travel…is back in time.
The moment my eyes see a photo, I can instantly travel the networks of my brain to that specific memory. The details of each photo contains vary, but each have some sort of thought and memory. The simple facts about the photo are what come the quickest; the location, time range/date, who is in it, what camera I used, etc. And automatically the rest of the information will be accessible. I.e. what or who inspired me to take the photo, who it was intended for, what I did that day and who I was with, my thoughts and feelings. Sometimes I could remember my goals, accomplishments, motivations, and even if I bought something that day.

On occasion it can be difficult; the desire to travel will become ineberating to the point that I feel imprisoned; I see people who I miss and wish to be close to; I even can remember events that I’ve tried to annihilate from my memory. Yet the absolute worst part, is when I am not able to recognize the individual staring back at me in the photo…but in reality, it is just me looking at a photo of myself. Nevertheless, the contents of my history cannot be tampered with. They are permanent (whether I like it or not) and each one has shaped me into the person I am today. These memories for better or for worse, have taught me many life lessons and they will continue to to teach me more. And with every storm that came into my life, I was fortunate enough to have the support and care I needed and could ever wish for.

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As each day passes I am approaching the end of my stay in this island of paradise. To say that I am feeling sentimental about this chapter of my life ending, is an understatement. I don’t know where to start because I can easily contradict what I say with another thought. For example, I am thankful for all the experiences I have had in Puerto Rico. I got lost in Old San Juan, explore and watch monkeys in a forest in Cabo Rojo,  enjoy the beautiful bioluminescent bay in Parguera, celebrate Oktoberfest in Bavaria, jump from old ship docks at Crashboat, Aguadilla, celebrate a beautiful wedding in Mayagüez, and not to mention sunbathe in various beaches. However, I was not able to travel to as many places as I would have enjoyed to go. I  failed to visit the caves, go zip lining, explore the Yunque rain forest, and see many Puerto Rican cities. It did not take many days to live here to realize that it is necessary to buy/rent a car in order go to places; because the public transportation here is non-existent and nagging your local friends only works a few times. I cannot blame them, for they have lived here their entire lives and have many more years to visit the places they have not yet seen, whereas I have until December 22 to do so. This is why I always tell myself that it is necessary to do as much as possible in a country that I am visiting because I would rather be content with what I have done than regretting the experiences that I failed to complete. Before traveling I always tell myself that this is a one in a lifetime experience, and I do not know if I would be able to return again. By convincing myself of this uncertainty, it helps my motivation to adventure as much as possible.

Being an exchange student also brings in another factor. In reality, I came here to study and perfect my Spanish. I should be giving school my first priority, not traveling. However, what is the point of doing an exchange program, if the entire time you are stuck in school or your apartment? It is a fine balance that I feel so many people struggle with when they go on exchange. As I look back on my entire semester, I can admit that there are multiple instances where I should have focused on my school career and failed to do so. Because I did come to Puerto Rico to help my knowledge in another language, I luckily do not need just a classroom to accomplish this. As I am sitting and writing this I can say that my Spanish has improved since I have been here. Sometimes it has been difficult because so many people start speaking in English because they can see that I either have difficulty speaking in Spanish or that I have said a word in the conversation because I am spending the entire time translating. I enjoy that they speak to me in English because it is a lot easier talking in my native tongue; however I did not come to Puerto Rico to do so.

Overall, Puerto Rico has treated me well. Although I cannot wait to see my family at home and see my friends I have abandoned, I will be very sad leaving this island. It will forever be a part of my life, for it has given me so much. I knew coming here I would have an experience of a lifetime, however I am pretty sure I didn’t expect it to be this great. This only makes me crave to be finished with school so I can travel even more.

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