Living Life with Sjogrens Syndrome

Life is hard with Sjogrens Syndrome.

When you’re dealing with a disease like Sjogrens Syndrome  that is constantly changing, traveling and effecting various parts of your mind and body at different times, waiting is the hardest part of living. The realization that Sjogrens Syndrome  is for life. Never knowing when the goods days will go bad. Never knowing what part of the mind or body will be next. It’s like living in a war zone in constant anticipation of the next explosion, never knowing when it’s going to strike. On the edge of your seat, on the edge of life, that is what Sjogrens Syndrome is.

We are what we create.

As I write this, I have tears welling in my eyes. The reality is hard and there are days where I fight for more courage. I will not lose hope. I will not give up. I have made great choices with my health which are fuelling my fight against Sjogrens Syndrome . I am not writing this for sympathy. It’s OK to cry. We all should allow ourselves to free our emotions and crying, like writing, can be very cathartic. I am writing this so you know, I understand. You’re not alone. We are in this fight together and you can live a wonderful life with Sjogrens Syndrome.

Hope will not breed hopelessness.

For those who do not know, I have an autoimmune disease known as Sjogrens Syndrome. There is no cure, it’s progressive and pervasive. You can go through long periods of remission and then without warning, a new or old symptom smacks you in the face, or mind or other body part. It can mimic thyroid issues, lupus, Fibromyalgia or Celiac but, is also often diagnosed along with those other autoimmune diseases. Sjogrens Syndrome   effects every person differently.  It can come with any combination of dehydration, chronic fatigue, dry eye, dry mouth, dry skin or neuropathy. The biggest challenge for me has been as soon as I  think I’ve figured it out, it changes. Leaving you feeling defeated with the frustration of having to start all over again. As an outsider, you can’t see it.  We all look “fine”. Even now, it’s hard to explain. I have never been tested for anything else because, frankly, for me, it wouldn’t matter. How I approach treatment would be the same.

 I have been searching for clues to understand why Sjogrens Syndrome happened to me…

I’ve been searching and learning about Sjogrens Syndrome  for over four years. I reached a point in my life where I was no longer willing to give in to the pain and the fatigue. This will not be my fate. I do not have to feel this way. I abandoned the excuses of age and the “disease” and searched for the truth. A truth I’ll share with you as I continue my journey learning more at every turn.  I won’t always have all the scientific mumbo jumbo or statics. My mind looks at relationships and correlations. I am not a doctor or a nutritionist. I can only share what I found, the effect it’s had on me and my solutions.  Do the research and when you start to look back at your child hood, the pieces will start to come together.

 Gluten and sugar are evil.

Dairy can have it’s own issues, but at the root of what I’ve found is gluten and sugar.  Hydrogenated oils and other GMO products add fuel to fire but that’s not where I found it started. Leaky gut is one of the prevalent conditions plaguing people today. When I go back to my child hood, I have always had stomach issues. I was told I had a “spastic” stomach and it was basically ignored.  I still have no idea what that really is. I also craved carbs / sugar.  Fatigue set in during my late teens. I was active in sports, worked part time and was going to school. In college I worked full time and went to school full time. Of course I was tired. My blood work wasn’t always great but, I looked “fine”.

 Our bodies have the ability to heal itself.

Yes, we are extraordinary works of art. They key is allow our body to do its job. I was sabotaging it. Grains were not something the human body relied on as food source.  Regardless of what you believe about the “primal” food print, gluten itself is not the same as it was decades ago. As a result of environment factors, depleting nutrients in the soil and “modifications” made to ensure its survival, the molecular structure of gluten has changed significantly from its ancestral roots.  It is the expression of the genes in wheat and its interaction with human genomes which wreaks havoc on our body. No wonder our body is confused and starts to attack itself. It was never intended to digest this type of food.

liver detox for health

The body is always working to keep us in homeostasis.

To keep things in balance. What we’re feeling is our body trying to pull us back in line. Sugar puts our body in a frenzy in much the same way. What have we been told? Fat free is the way to be. So we ingest tons of artificial sweeteners under the guise of “no calories”. Our body treats it the same and still produces the same amount of glucose. How do you feel after riding roller coasters all day? A bit dizzy? Not so stable? Bingo, your body is no different. Not to mention, sugar has been proven to be just as addictive at cocaine. Keep in mind, natural sugar is still sugar and you really shouldn’t have more than a tablespoon of natural sugar a day. Carbohydrates, by the way, plays into that sugar addiction and there is evidence of highly addictive qualities of wheat as well.

We need to allow our bodies to heal.

Stop sabotaging habits and fuel ourselves with real whole foods in the way nature intended. We need to help our body bring us back into homeostasis. How do we do that? Here’s what I’ve discovered…so far.  Yes, I use Paleo as a framework for food preparation. You would think, that was a result of my research, but to be honest, I started eating “primal’ before I knew what Paleo was. I learned to listen to my body and with the help of muscle testing to confirm my suspicions, eliminated foods causing chaos in my body. Trust me, I didn’t’ want to hear I needed to say goodbye to French fries, corn, chilies or tomatoes (that’s a short list)  My favorite food was Thai,  Indian and Mexican.

Intermittent fasting is where I started.

If you’ve read our article on the five two diet, you’ll know the reason we chose that lifestyle three years ago was about longevity and not weight loss. Yes, you will lose weight. It’s a nice side effect. The 5:2 diet allows your body the time to repair damaged cells by lowering IGF-1 levels (insulin like growth factor 1). We have high levels at birth and during our growth period as part of building new cells through splitting and duplication. When we run out of food or bodies switch from building new cells, by lowering IGF-1, to repairing existing ones. For example, we all have a certain amount of cancer cells that exist in our body. Whether they get ‘turned on’ or not is dependent on multiple factors but that’s for another time. What’s important here, is to limit the duplication of the cells and encourage their repair. Remember, this is about giving your body what it needs to do its job.

There is an alternative to anything.

If there’s a will there’s a way. I am not a cook nor like to spend time in the kitchen cooking or cleaning. The truth, living without, for so many years, prevented me from changing. I had all the excuses. I don’t have time, it’s too expensive, it won’t taste good. I’m “mostly” gluten and dairy free. Well folks, your body doesn’t’ acknowledge “mostly”. Sjogrens Syndrome does not accept half measures.   If the “evil” is there, it knows and treats it no different than if you ate the entire pizza or chocolate cake. The truth, I was forced to find alternatives when I had to eliminate dairy from my daughters diet. The truth, there are some really bad dairy free alternatives out there. While it served a purpose, the choices didn’t facilitate healing. The truth, I chose to say no to the pain. I chose to say no to a future of medications, doctors’ visits and debilitating and/or terminal illness.

 I am living with Sjogrens Syndrome  and it’s hard.

I will not give up the fight. I take advantage of every training, white paper and article I can find to learn more every day. Food really is nature’s medicine. We need to give our body a fighting chance to do its job. The message in the video “We are all ONE“,   is intended to be about mother nature. For me it reflected what we do to ourselves. We need to stop pushing the limits and take responsibility to preserve what we have and allow our body to live in harmony with itself.  I am not perfect. I have and continue to make progress. I chose this profession, because I want to help others improve the quality of their life. I want and will share what I’ve learned about Sjogrens Syndrome  with you. I will show you how to make better choices for your life.  There is a better way. I am living it!


I want and will share what I’ve learned about Sjogrens Syndrome with you. Click To Tweet

In closing…

Thank you for allowing me the time to share my thoughts. Life with Sjogrens Syndrome is hard. Many will not read to this point, for those who do, thank you. I have included a few resources if you like that sort of thing. It is, by all means, not an exhaustive list. Having a strong and positive support system is vital to our health. I am fortunate to have the support of my husband and children. If you don’t, I invite you to join our community of support. The door will always be open, you are not alone with Sjogrens Syndrome.

Wishing you good health for life,



How To Improve your life with the Five Two Diet

How To Improve your life with the Five Two Diet

The Regularity of the Five Two Diet

What did you eat last week on Monday and Thursday? We can tell you what we ate on the five two diet for the last three years…500 – 600 calories. Read on to discover how intermittent fasting on a five two plan can improve your quality of life.


We improved our health, wealth and longevity following a five two diet plan.


Shrimp and Basil Pesto Flat-bread Pizza on a five two diet
You CAN eat this: Shrimp and Basil Pesto Flat-bread Pizza on a five two diet!

The Fast diet is ingrained in our lifestyle because we don’t like restrictions on tastes and flavors. Friends know to bring chocolate cake over on our non-fasting days. Yes we eat chocolate and all forms of tasty and flavorful Paleo foods. Here’s how it works.

Five Two  intermittent fasting is controlling calorific intake over short periods of time. We eat a Paleo diet without concern of weights, measures, and restrictions for five days.

Your body will naturally adapt to the best fasting plan, when you begin two days of reducing calorific intake to a quarter of the usual amount. Studies have shown that 5:2 intermittent fasting produces the same results as daily restrictions. We find two days of fasting refreshes our energy levels. Then we enjoy our normal eating days even more!

The five two diet has an unfair balance towards enjoyment. By lifting the restrictions over five days and fasting on two our bodies digest food better. We eat with a genuine appetite as we understand how our hunger tricks us. Our food tastes better, and organically we begin to make better choices for our body and minds.

Create your own 5:2 menu Click To Tweet

The possibility of embarrassing questions of side effects are not asked enough when talking to people considering a five two lifestyle. This is how it works; we have eaten pizza each night for a week, drunk a gallon of coke, and we’re constipated and low on energy!

We stop doing that and plan our meals and our body’s rhythm changes. This is a natural process. Our body is cleansing.

You will begin to:

  • Understand how the feeling of hunger comes and goes during fasting
  • Feel how fatigue does pass during fasting
  • Discover how amazing water tastes over a sugary drink
  • Learn what to do with all the extra energy you have!

How much weight can I lose in a week on a Five Two Diet?

When the 5:2 is followed correctly you can expect to lose 1lb a week, and continue to lose 1lb a week until you hit your ideal weight.  We personally have lost over 50lbs between us!! in just a 2 year period, then maintained that weight for the last 12 months.

Our friends who take weight training seriously where skeptical about the 2 5 diet as they require such high calorific intake. After absorbing our teachings on The Get Healthy Weight Loss program they realized there was more to training than eating dry tins of tuna!

Now they pump harder, save money on protein powders and have increased and enjoy better fat burning when preparing their summer beach bodies.

Five two diet man with energy
Feel invigorated when you follow a five two diet plan

Fasting benefits include:

  • Steady, long term weight loss
  • Decreased risk of diabetes
  • Increased longevity
  • Increased cell repair / re-generation
  • Improved liver function
  • Feeling amazing and being full of energy

Losing weight makes you feel fantastic on the outside. The five and two diet is a plan for life to avoid the ‘yo-yo’ effect of sticking it all back on. Adopting this lifestyle you have improved chances of lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  Any improvement in insulin sensitivity could be the difference between living with medication everyday or not.

Getting started on the Five Two Diet

To start getting the benefits of fasting, you need no special equipment, expensive powders or weekly fees. If you have eggs in the cupboard you can try this omelette.

Approaching your first fast you should remember the objective of why you are fasting. Perhaps start to eat smaller meals or try the ten best swaps for healthier eating.

Get your sugar rush from natural sources” Click To Tweet

Your next step to beginning a five two lifestyle

5-2 Fasting eGuide
A Quick Start Guide

Click on the image ==>>

to Download our FREE eGuide to 5:2 Dieting……

Reach out and speak to others who embrace this lifestyle and ask, “Could this be as amazing as people say?” Over come fears today.

The honesty of the lady in this video who used intermittent fasting shows the real life results. Forget six packs and be proud of your body. Take inspiration from this amazing woman.

Suggested reading: Take action with programs that teaches sustainable weight loss techniques, Reiki and household budgeting to maintain your new lifestyle changes.

If you want more information about our lifestyle approach, check out this book by Dr. Michael Mosely, the founder and author of “The Fast Diet” .

Check out more delicious and healthy recipes here


Avocados – 5 health benefits of this super food in your diet

Avocados – 5 health benefits of this super food in your diet

Avocado a super food gift from nature

Avocado is a unique super food fruit that is very healthy for you. The avocado is different than most fruits in that it has a much higher nutritional value and is considered a ‘superfood’. It is loaded with essential nutrients that are good for your body.  It has many healthy attributes along with a great taste and makes a great addition to your pantry.

Avocado is a positive Paleo food.  If you are not familiar with the Paleo diet or lifestyle, it is a word to describe the ancient cave man diet.  These early hunters and gatherers ate mostly nuts,  berries, meats and other good whole foods, with none of the farmed grains that are part of many mainstream diets. We really love eating Paleo, as it gives us a simple framework to good healthy clean eating. One of the other major benefits we’ve found with Paleo, is we stay satisfied between meals, reducing the need for snacking, and the temptation for less healthy foods.

avocados super food1-Avocados Are Full of Good Nutrients

Avocados have many vitamins and nutrients. Vitamins B, C, K and E all in significant amounts. There is over twelve percent of potassium per serving in these green bumpy fruits; its why they call them a super food! The fruit is also very low in sugar, which has many health benefits, especially keeping inflammation at bay.  The carbs that exist in avocados are mostly dietary fiber. It also contains smaller amounts of trace minerals like zinc, copper and iron. These fruits taste great and they are nutritious too.

chicken-bacon-avocado-lettuce-wrap - super food2-Avocados Contain “Good Fat”

Over seventy percent of calories in avocados are made up of fat.  They contain some protein and NO trans fats.  The good news is this green super-food contains ALL good fats.  This is great for healthy eating. There is only a half gram of saturated fat in this wonderful fruit.  Eating good healthy fats can actually lower your body’s cholesterol, provides a more stable, slow release energy source.
hass-avocado-super food

3-There are no GMO Avocados

There are no varieties of avocados that have been modified in the lab, so you don’t have to worry about your avocados being GMO (Genetically Modified Organism). It’s tough alligator like shell prevents pesticides from making it’s way into the tasty fruit.  This fact puts Avocados onto the clean 15 list each year.  The clean 15 helps to indicate which produce we need to buy organic (the dirty dozen) and which are ok to buy non organic (the clean 15).

Avocado super fruit helps with pregnancy - super food4-Avocados are a natural source of Folate

One of the most important nutrients for expecting mothers is folic acid or folate. Folate is the natural form of this B vitamin and better than having to take the synthetic form. Folate helps to prevent the baby from having any deformities. The lack of this vitamin can also lead to depression in adults. Folate from avocados provides the natural source of the vitamin that is readily absorbed by your body.

green-smoothie-super food5-Avocados Are a Good Replacement for Dairy

They can be used in many of your favorite recipes that require dairy. A good example is to use avocados to make a creamy dressing or instead of butter when baking.  They make great thickener for smoothies or shakes and even work with ice-creams and other deserts as a cream replacement. The durability of the fruit makes it one of the finest super foods you can include in your diet.


Below are some of the recipes from our site that contain Avocado

[ultimate-recipe-grid name=”Avocado Recipes” template=”default” images_only=”true” filter=”” multiselect=”true” match_all=”true” match_parents=”true” limit_author=”” limit_by_tag=”ingredient” limit_by_values=”Avocado; Avocado Dip” sort_by=”date” sort_order=”DESC” limit=”30″]What’s your favorite use for avocado in your daily meal plan ?

My Quest for the Best Paleo Bread

The Best Paleo Bread Quest Begins…

My quest for the best paleo bread started because one of the hardest things to give up when you first remove Gluten from your meals is bread. I have found many store bought brands but not all Gluten free breads are created equal. Read the labels and you’ll  find many not so healthy ingredients. Hence my quest for the best Paleo bread began. Not only did it have to taste great, but it had to be easy to make. Suitable for a non-cook, non-baker. There are tons of recipes out there but, as I’m sure you’ve experienced, they don’t all turn out quite like the picture or taste great. After all, isn’t great tasting food what we want?

My 5 rules for recipes

I am not a cook or have ever really enjoyed cooking. In fact, if you told any of my friends or family that I’d be baking my own bread, making my own granola or vegan grounds they would think you were crazy.   Therefore, I have a few ground rules when it comes to making things at home.

  1. Easy, meaning few ingredients, few utensils, and no complicated cooking methods. Sifting is as complicated as I get.
  2. Reusable ingredients. I have to be able to use the ingredients in other recipes which means they need to be pretty basic cupboard items.
  3. Meals have to be pan/stove to table in under 30 minutes. For baked items and some of my staples like granola and vegan grounds, I’m willing to allow more time because I’ll be saving time in prep during the week.
  4. Has to be nutritionally balanced and accommodate an average breakdown of 20% carb, 55% fat, 25% Protein. ( as a meal or full day breakout not always as an individual item)
  5. Has to taste great! ( defined as I would want seconds)

Over the years, I’ve found a few that fit the bill. They each have a different texture and taste which means they are better suited with some foods or condiments then others. Here are a few of my favorite finds, links to where I’ve found them (if available) and the meals or snacks I’ve used them with.

  • Flax Bread: Maximized Living. Has a very earthy flavor and spongy texture. Works best with hearty meals like soups, sausage sandwiches and burgers. Also works well as a fried egg sandwich and I enjoy it toasted with a bit of almond butter.
  • Coconut flour bread: All Just Choice. This is one I’ve experimented with combining a few recipes and baking tips. Lighter in texture then the flax meal bread. Not as dense and a bit sweeter. It’s great with dairy free butter and natural preserves. Still a great option with eggs and makes good French toast. Yum!
  • Jalapeno Skillet Corn bread: The Recipe Hacker. Yes, it’s Paleo and there is NO corn! We ate this with soup or a vegan chili but to be honest, I would eat it for desert. I have to make it now without the Jalapeno’s (nightshade) but it is still just as good. It’s a little more effort ( ok 2 steps vs 1) but was extremely worth it.

While all the above are great in their own right, none really worked well as a basic sandwich bread that I would use for a PBJ (Peanut Butter and Jelly) sandwich. I have to admit, I do miss those and it’s such a staple lunch box option. I started to wonder if my quest was doomed, could there be a ‘best paleo bread’ or would I never find a replacement for basic sandwich bread I used to enjoy?  Then I came across a Paleo bread recipe from Elana’s Pantry. She has a great site full of a variety of Paleo friendly recipes.

I have to admit, I was a little hesitant at first. The coconut flour bread had become my default go to bread because it tasted great and had only a few ingredients. I was looking for ways of upping the protein content, bread after all, no matter which way you slice it, will always be higher in carbs than protein.  At first glance, Elana’s recipe looked more intense but when I compared the breakdown, it won out so I gave it a try. In actuality, all the ingredients are staple items in my kitchen and once I put it all together it was just as quick and easy as the other Paleo bread recipes. When I compared the nutritional breakdown, Elana’s recipe won out.


BreakdownElana’s Paleo BreadPaleo Coconut Flour BreadMaximized Living Flax BreadThe Recipe Hacker Jalapeno Corn Bread
Calories / slice11394221*337
Carb %12201519
Fat %71696970
Protein %17111610

*to be fair, the slices are large but in all honesty you wouldn’t want them any smaller J


The final result of the best paleo bread…drum roll…..

Elana’s Pantry is the best Paleo Bread! It was moist and not overpowering with flavors which makes it a great option for PBJ.  My version of PBJ, is really ABJ (Almond Butter & Jam).  I add a tablespoon for Almond Butter and a tablespoon of Mrs. Miller’s homemade Guava Jam. This jam is made with all natural ingredients. Not to mention I love guava and it reminds me of growing up as a kid in Hialeah. My inner child was extremely happy at 371 calories. Our Avocado dip was great on some thinner slices toasted. Imagine using it for bruschetta?! Give the paleo breads a try and let me know what you think along with how you chose to pair them.  I can’t wait to hear about your creations!

 Coming up Next … the quest for the best Paleo Vegan Bread. This one is in the making and I could use your help. If you have a favorite Paleo Vegan Bread recipe that fits all the “rules”, Please comment below. I will post the outcome next month… the saga continues.


Clean Cabbage Slaw: The breakdown

Clean Cabbage Slaw

Just what makes our Clean Cabbage Slaw so healthy ?

Our Clean Cabbage Slaw (link leads to the recipe), shown here with Shrimp and dehydrated beet chips is as versatile as it is healthy. We have a very eclectic family. While we love Paleo, we all have a slightly different versions based on our food choices. We have carnivores, a pescatarian and a vegan. This works for everyone! You can eat it on it’s own or add, shrimp, chicken, avocado or whatever takes your fancy. We’ve also taken it on some of our picnics.  Originally based on our Lime and Walnut Cabbage Slaw, we just made a few modifications based on what was in the house. Swapped the walnuts for pecans and the lime for lemon, added carrot and red onions.


  • cabbage-493308_1280Part of the cruciferous family, rich in fiber and has been shown to cure stomach ulcers.
  • The Red variety is loaded with antioxidants which reduces inflammation, boosts brain function and cancer protection. While the other varieties contain these benefits, red cabbage has shown to have 6X the amount as its green and white counterparts. So, mix it up for better health.
  • Known to be a natural way to reduce cholesterol, it prevents bile from absorbing fat after a meal.
  • It contains glucosinolates , which studies suggest inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

Red Onion

  • red-onions-vegetables-499066_1280A source for quercetin, allicin and chromium.
  • Quercetin has antioxidant properties and has anti cancer, anti fungal and anti bacterial properties. Onion juice is often used as a natural remedy for ear infections.
  • Allicin, when crushed, is known to prevent and treat cancer and reduce high blood pressure and good for cardiovascular health.
  • Chromium helps control glucose levels and why onions have a low glycemic index. Some evidence suggests, a chromium deficiency can make weight loss more difficult or even cause weight gain.


  • carrots-673184_1280Loaded with Vitamin A and rich in Beta-carotene which is known to protect against macular degeneration and support night vision
  • Reduce the risk of lung cancer breast cancer and colon cancer. Carrots produce a natural pesticide called falcarinol which may be the cause for the anticancer properties.
  • Beta-carotene is an antioxidant and which helps slow down the aging process.
  • Vitamin A and antioxidants promote healthier skin by protecting against sun damage, premature wrinkles, and the skins overall appearance. It can even be used as a facemask with a little bit of honey


  • lemon-684203_1280Loaded with vitamins and minerals here are just a few: Vitamin C, B6, Thiamin, Fiber, Copper, Calcium
  • Eases pain of sunburn and bee stings
  • Works as a natural detox to flush out toxins and promote weight loss
  • Natural dandruff remedy and increases shine to hair
  • Solves problems with constipation and indigestion
  • Cold remedy and fever reducer

Almond oil

  • IMG_20150702_113522Excellent source for Vitamin E and contains Vitamins A , D and polyunsaturated fatty acids which has shown to reduce the effects of UV exposure on the skin.
  • It is great for the digestive system and acts as a mild laxative to keep you regular
  • Improves the absorption of Vitamin A and K which makes it a perfect partner for this meal
  • Improves brain and nervous system function
  • Regular use can lower cholesterol
  • Good for heart health as it contains potassium and magnesium and is high in monounsaturated fats


  • pecans-139711_1280Good source of fiber promoting digesting health. Reduces risk of colitis, colon cancer and hemorrhoids
  • Contains heart healthy monounsaturated fats and phenolic antioxidants which have been found to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes.
  • Contains phosphorus for bone and teeth health. This mineral is essential for cell and tissue repair and can prevent muscle pain after exercise.
  • Rich in magnesium which has anti-inflammatory benefits. Magnesium has been known to be effective in reducing the risk of Alzheimer, arthritis, cardiovascular disease. Also lowers blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke.
  • Pecans contain oleic acid which is also present in olive oil. In addition to lowering LDL it is a good source of antioxidants. Oleic acid has been found to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

There you have it. Loaded with flavor, nutrient dense and at only 408 calories for a full meal with shrimp, a winner all the way around. Try it out for yourself. Looking forward to hearing what you think.