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In honor of Lyme Disease Awareness Month (May) I contributed a guest post to MissDiagnoses.com.  In it I open up about my past and the interconnection between art, eats, and healing during my holistic recovery from chronic Lyme. 

This should come as no surprise, but I ADORE comics. Growing up I was endlessly amused by syndicated newspaper greats like The Far Side and Calvin and Hobbes (and if you’re like “never heard of them,” know that Granny Kat is just reminiscing about days of old.)

As I grew older, and in turn grew sicker, I couldn’t help but notice that the cartoons I’d always loved didn’t depict the things that were dramatically affecting my life; In the comic-sphere, invisible illnesses where noticeably invisible.

Thanks to indie web comics and zines, that’s changed. In the last few years I’ve discovered a number of fellow “chronic cartoonists” inlcuding Miss Diagnoses.

Her comics about having Lyme, chronic illness, and brain fog are ohmygoodness SO GOOD, I immediately despaired of ever creating anything nearly as funny or relevant (to date I’m pretty sure I haven’t, but that’s okay #goals.)

Anyway, so when she recently invited me to do a guest post on her blog, I fan-girled a bit, then promptly responded “heck yeah!” 

In my Spoonie Artist guest post for MissDiagnoses.com I talk about:

  • My (sorta difficult) history with art
  • The real reason I starting cooking
  • My life with Lyme and chronic illness
  • And the 5 things that were most impactful for my healing 

Check it out and get to know me a little better at MissDiagnoses.com. Then be sure to stick around her site for some healing belly laughs!

May you eat well, live well & enjoy a New Wellness.

Humor & hugs,

Are there any chronic illness bloggers or cartoonists that really inspire you?

Did you enjoy this post/my guest post? Subscribe to my newsletter and never miss a post.  And for everyday wellness tips and inspiration be sure to follow me on Instagram and Pinterest.

“Choose to focus your time, energy and conversation around people who inspire you, support you and help you to grow you into your happiest, strongest, wisest self.” ~ Karen Salmansohn
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I recently came down with the flu, and it reminded me of how ungracefully I can respond to sickness, even after years of dealing with chronic illness.  Yes, I’ve gotten waaaaay better at accepting that being sick means doing less and resting more.  But when I paid attention to my thoughts, I saw that I was still blaming myself for being sick and I caught myself feeling in turns frustrated, disappointed and guilty because of my symptoms. 

Ultimately in order to heal I had to forgive myself for needing to heal in the first place. 

No matter what kind of sick we end up with, there’s always a number of contributing factors.  Unfortunate genetic expressions, toxic exposures, a bite from a tick, sub-optimal diary habits, or the accumulation of everyday stressors can all leave us vulnerable to developing illness.

And every possible co-factor can be linked to potential self-blame.

Especially for us Type-A types it’s all to easy to feel responsible for not living up to perfectionistic ideals.  Like being able to do all the things all the time while remaining impervious to inconveniences like illness.

After being knocked down for two weeks with a gnarly bug, I decided to sit down with myself, get quiet and get to the bottom of what was going on.  See, I had this sneaky suspicion that something was holding me back from achieving my self-healing potential.  And I planned to find out what.

This is what I “heard” from the Wisdom within:

And like that *BOOM* it was so clear. In order to move forward and out of illness I had to forgive myself for getting ill.  The things that had been limiting my healing was my own frustration, disappointment and self-blame around not healing faster.

When we haven’t forgiven ourselves, we remain tethered to the past. And the past depletes us.  Carrying the non-present around in the present is energetically draining, and when we’re sick we need ALL of our energies to be available for self-healing.

Forgiving ourselves for getting sick and for not meeting what are often completely unrealistic expectations allows us to live more fully in the present which is ALWAYS where the healing happens.  Not in the past.  And not in the future.

Your healing is always occurring in the NOW.

Once we forgive ourselves we’re freed from what’s already happened.  We’re free to use all of our energy for healing.  This is why forgiveness—including SELF forgiveness—is so vital. 

Once I recognized that I needed to forgive myself I had to figure out a way to do so.  So I created a self-forgiveness practice that allowed me to fully forgive myself and move forward.

Within two days of doing this practice I was back on my feet after two weeks with the flu.  So I know my intuition was right: self-forgiveness is powerful medicine, and a lack of self-forgiveness can be an obstacle to self-healing.

Here’s the practice:

To begin get yourself a pen and paper (or a journal or notebook app.)  Take five deep breaths in and out to center yourself, and if you like, light a candle. 

Step 1

List out everything related to your illness that you’ve held against yourself, judged yourself for, or felt guilty about.  Leave a few space between each one.

Here are examples of mine:

  • Getting sick despite being knowledgable of wellness stuff.
  • Having margaritas with friends even though I suspected I was coming down with something.
  • Eating dairy and other foods that aren’t normally part of my “healing diet” because they were easy and comforting.
  • Not being able to maintain a consistant work schedule.
  • Totally ignoring the “laundry situation” for weeks.
  • Getting sucked into negative, low vibe moods a bunch.
  • Not making it to mass and my Social Justice Ministry meetings.

As you can see, they run the gambit from catching the flu to not folding laundry.  It doesn’t matter what it is, if it’s something we feel even a little bit bad about, right it down.

Step 2

Write down an affirmations using the following pattern:

I (insert full name) fully forgive myself for (rewrite what needs forgiving.) 

Once you’ve written it out, say it out loud. (I’d once read that this formula is the most effective way to use affirmations.)

Step 3

Think about the thing you’re now forgiving yourself for.  What was the situation?  How were you feeling physically-emotionally-spiritually?  When we reframe how we think about things we literally rewire our brains.

So the last step is to write two to three sentences reflecting on the forgiveness item from a place of compassion and self-friendship.  Ask yourself, what would a good friend say?  If it’s easier, you can even write this from the 3rd person.

Here’s a complete example from my practice:

  • Getting sick despite being knowledgable of wellness stuff.
  • I Kat Woods forgive myself for getting sick despite being knowledgable of wellness stuff.
  • Kat, you’d just moved AND lost a loved one. No wonder you were run down! It’s not your fault and I know you’ll bounce back from this. Also, its okay to get sick, it happens.  Even when you are knowledgeable about being healthy.  

Continue with Steps 2 and 3 for the rest of the forgiveness items.  When you’re done take a deep, cleansing breath in and then release it imagining you’re spewing out any remaining unforgiveness. 

Step 4

The last step is to move forward into your new relationship with yourself by offering an intentional act of self-friendship.  This can be absolutely anything that feels kind: making yourself a nice cup of tea, running a hot bath with yummy smelling essential oils, or putting on your coziest cozies and curling up to watch a favorite show.

You know you and you know just how to offer yourself friendship.

Forgiveness can be hard.  But having a specific practice to turn to when self-directed thoughts of guilt, blame, frustration or disappointment pop up makes it much easier to free ourselves from their draining effects.  I’ve found this practice to be incredibly powerful, especially when illness is dragging on despite ongoing treatments.

Often, without even really knowing it, I’ve been harboring unforgiveness and the key to renewed healing is simply self-forgiving.

I hope you’ll try this practice in order to experience it’s transformative power for yourself.  You deserve forgiveness.  Always.  And it is always available to you. 

May you eat well, live well & create a New Wellness.

Tea cups & hugs,

Is there something you need to forgive yourself for? Something that you’ve been blaming yourself for in regard to your health or the limitations that come with illness?

“Self-forgiveness is essential to self-healing.” ~ Ruth Carter Stapleton

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Food is medicine, and like all medicine, the potency makes all the difference.  When it comes to healing severe or chronic illness, we need strong medicine and that means including the freshest and most nutritious ingredients.

1. Fruits and vegetables grown in season contain more nutrients.

Eating in seasons can DOUBLE the nutrients you’re getting from your food.  When researchers compared the vitamin C content of broccoli grown in season with broccoli imported out of season, they found the latter had only HALF the vitamin C.

2. Seasonal produce is allowed to ripen naturally and reach it’s nutritional peak.

Food that’s harvested out of season has to travel long distances, so its often picked before it’s ripe so it’ll travel better.  Produce that’s picked unripe never gets the chance to fully develop and reach it’s nutritional peak.

Unripe produce is then commonly treated with “ripening agents.”  For example, bananas are picked when green and artificially ripened after shipment by being gassed with ethylene. This may make the bananas “ripe” but doesn’t add back the lost nutrients.

3. Food grown in season travels less and retains more nutrients.

The longer produce sits on the shelves, the more nutrients and antioxidants they lose.  According to research from the University of California, Davis, spinach and green beans lose two-thirds of their vitamin C within a week of harvest.

Combine that with long transport times (1,500 miles on average!) and time spent sitting on grocery store shelves and most of our produce’s healing nutrition is lost before we even buy it.

Alternatively, by choosing in season produce you’re fueling your wellness with fresh, VIBRANT fruits and veggies!

3. Seasonal foods are more likely to be free of pesticides, waxes, and preservatives.

Humans are crafty, and we’ve created a number of ways to preserve foods that are out of season so they can last longer and travel further while still looking “fresh.”  In order to make out-of-season items widely available, they’re often covered in pesticides, waxes, and preservatives.  NONE of those serve self-healing, so whenever possible its best to limit our exposure to them.

4. Eating with the seasons supports seasonal wellness.

Choosing seasonal foods helps us reconnect with nature’s natural rhythms.  The foods that grow in each season offer us the specific nutrition we need to thrive during that season like vitamin C rich citrus in winter, and electrolyte-loaded melons during the heat of summer.

Mama Nature is smart; she provides us with the the ideal medicines for each season!

6. Fresh, seasonal food simply tastes better.

This last one might not seem as important, but it is.  The pleasure you get from biting into a perfectly ripe, sun warmed piece of fruit sets off a cascade of “feel good” neurotransmitters in the brain.  Those same neurotransmitters help us to to feel positive emotions like love and gratitude which studies have shown can support self-healing.

So where can you find fresh, in season ingredients? The best place to buy farm-fresh produce is at farmer’s markets.  To find a farmers market in your area, you can visit:

The Local Harvest Website can also help you to find a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box.  CSA boxes are weekly subscription programs that offer boxes of various fresh produce from farms, and many will deliver right to your door. So they’re a great option if getting out and shopping at farmers markets is a challenge.

The newest community cookbook AIP By Season is ALL about embracing seasonal eating for superior nutrition and holistic wellness.

It’s the ULTIMATE guide to eating what’s in season in order to support your self-healing and it’s entirely Allergen-free and 100% AIP.

The AIP By Season Cookbook includes 101 Paleo AIP recipes organized by season.  Fresh, seasonal ingredients prepared in simple, flavorful ways? HECK YES!  Inflammatory ingredients like grains, gluten, eggs, nightshades, nuts, seeds, legumes or refined sugars? Absolutely not!

You’ll also find reference charts on what ingredients are in seasons when–and this is my favorite little feature: it’s also got an ingredient index at the back.  So whatever season it is, and whatever produce you’ve got on hand, you can quickly and easily find tasty recipes to cook up.

Shopping at farmers markets and eating fresh, seasonal produce is one of the things that supported my healing of Lyme disease and chronic illness. It makes a HUGE difference when your ingredients are fresh, vibrant, and as nutrient dense as possible. I’ve contributed five recipes to the AIP By Season Cookbook because I firmly stand behind it’s goal:

To help YOU create simple, tasty recipes with in-season ingredients so you can provide your body with the best possible nutrition to fuel your own self-healing.

To learn more about this new (and drool-worthy) wellness resource head on over HERE.

Or you can just snag your copy for download right now:    

What’s season are you most excited to eat in, and what are some of your seasonal favorites? I’m a  Spring girl myself & loooove those first-of-the-season bitter greens!

May you eat well, live well & enjoy a New Wellness.

Citrus & hugs,

“Look to the seasons when choosing your cures.” ~ Hippocrates

Stay in touch! I’m on Instagram + FaceBook + Twitter so come be Social with me!

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The foods I’ve missed most since adopting an AIP diet to support my wellness are from other countries. I’ve longed for comforting Irish fare. I’ve hungered for spicy Thai curries. I’ve bemoaned that I could no longer just order Chinese take out. And I’ve missed sushi. Badly. 

But try finding a tasty traditional eatery that serves up dishes that are gluten free, grain free, dairy free, nightshade free, soy free (or as I call it “everything free.”)

Even in a big city like Seattle, it doesn’t exist.

Fine. Whatever. Don’t matter.

Know why? Because the newest AIP community cookbook is entirely devoted to world cuisine recipes.

Yup, The Global Paleo AIP Kitchen is out NOW & includes recipes from 11 different countries put together by 18 of your favorite AIP bloggers who share their cultural and travel experiences via their recipes.

So you know the food’s legit.

It features real world cuisine made with real food ingredients to support holistic healing. So whether you plan to cook for yourself, or for a loved one in your care, you know you’re preparing recipes that are as healthy as they are tasty.

The Global Paleo AIP Kitchen is an Autoimmune Protocol cookbook, so every single recipe is 100% free of gluten, grains, dairy, eggs, nightshades, nuts, seeds, legumes and processed sugar.

It doesn’t get more allergen-friendly than that! Whatever food intolerances or allergies you’re navigating, now you can nom on your favorite world recipes worry-free.

The Global Paleo AIP Kitchen includes:

  • 120+ recipes. Daaaang that’s a lot of recipes!!
  • 78 exclusive recipes. Yeah, you won’t find those anywhere else. 
  • 18 recipe contributors from the world-wide AIP community. My fellow bloggers and I combine our experiences of eating around the world with our experiences of preparing AIP while healing.
  • 11 chapters each focusing on the foods of a specific part of the world. Every chapter includes recipes for appetizers, mains, sides, desserts and drinks as well as info about the food and culture of that region.
  • Full ingredient index so you can easily find recipes with the ingredients you have on hand (genius.)
  • Cultural seasonings recipes to help you create your own recipes.
  • Bonus materials. New to AIP? No worries, it includes an intro to the basics of AIP plus a note on reintroductions.
  • All of this for only $17.49. Have you looked at what new cookbooks tend to cost?? That’s a steal.

This is the third community cookbook I’ve been a part of and—shhhh, don’t tell the other ebooks—but this is the one I’ve had the most fun with. That’s because I worked on the chapter on Japanese cuisine.  Japanese food is my faaaaaaavorite.

I’m such a hardcore Japanese foodie that I own serval well-worn Japanese cookbooks…in Japanese. No other diet has inspired my personal food philosophy more than the traditional Japanese cuisine.

I contributed FIVE Japanese recipes to The Global Paleo AIP Kitchen plus wrote the chapter introduction on Japanese cuisine. In my previous ebooks I shared recipes that I deeply believed our community needed. Recipes that made eating for wellness easier like in The Paleo AIP Instant Pot Cookbook and 30 Minute Meals for the Paleo AIP Cookbook.

And while it’s true that the AIP world was sorely lacking a world recipe cookbook, I contributed these recipes for ME.

I’ve always wanted to share some of my AIP-adapted authentic Japanese recipes so this opportunity was truly a gift. And now it’s my gift to you. I know you’ll taste the love I put into my ebook exclusive recipes: Shrimp Stuffed Shiitaki Mushrooms, Spinach & Mushrooms with Citrus Dressing & Fried Banana with Green Tea!

Not as crazy about Japanese food as I am? No biggie. The The Global Paleo AIP Kitchen also includes chapters on these other well-loved world cuisines: American take-out, Chinese, Eastern European, French, Indian, Italian, Mediterranean, Mexican/Latin American, Thai/Vietnamese and UK/Irish.

Seriously, there’s 120+ recipes in all! And for only $17.95!  

Since traveling with chronic illness can be a challenge, The Global Paleo AIP Kitchen let’s you explore the world without leaving home by enjoy authentic flavors without trouble-some ingredients.

With The Global Paleo AIP Kitchen  you can eat meals from your favorite culture’s cuisine while visualizing yourself actually there. Healing is possible: nourish your body and nourish your dreams. Download your copy & start “traveling” today!

 

May you eat well, live well & enjoy a New Wellness. 

Grain free sushi rolls & Hugs,

P. S. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my other community cookbooks:

“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Stay in touch! I’m on Instagram + FaceBook + Twitter so come say “hi!”

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It’s been about a year since my last podcast conversation with Kami Lingren of LivingGraceBlog. At that point I was just beginning to return to “normal” after first achieving remission from Lyme disease. In my new interview I open up about the ongoing surprises & challenges of transitioning from living with chronic illness to experiencing a New Wellness. 

For those of you who read my recent post What My Life’s Like After Finally Achieving Remission from Lyme Disease & Chronic Illness, I seriously want you to listen to this podcast episode. In it I share things about the reality of finally healing I haven’t shared anywhere else. Like:

  • What’s come up for me that’s been unexpected & shocking.
  • What I’ve been doing to heal at a deeper level & why.
  • How healing’s transformed me & what that’s meant for my life post-illness, especially when it comes to priorities & boundaries.

As the episode title suggests, we also talk about self-care: what it is, isn’t & why it should be ever-evolving. And if you’re thinking, “puhleeze, enough about self-care already,” then this is DEFINITELY a conversation you’ll wanna hear.

I share real life advice on how to tell when you’re out of whack & how to return to your authentic self (which is where the real healing magic happens!) And don’t worry, it doesn’t involve another Pin-able self-care To Do list featuring spa baths!

This is about discovering self-care that’s as unique as YOU are.

Tune in to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Play or listen directly from Kami’s site at LivingGraceBlog.com.

I hope this conversation is as illuminating & soul-refreshing for you as it was for us!

Real talk & self-care snuggles,

Can you relate to anything that we shared or talked about?

“Caring for your body, mind, and spirit is your greatest and grandest responsibility. It’s about listening to the needs of your soul and then honoring them.” ~ Kristi Ling

Stay in touch! I’m on Instagram + FaceBook + Twitter so come say “hi!”

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