My Life with Candida Albicans(Here I Go Again)

Afternoon everyone, hope your Wednesday has been a blessed one so far. Today I want to share an update on my candida detox, plus an article I just found that explains what foods to eliminate when you suspect you have a candida overgrowth, and a recipe that I made a couple of nights ago that was absolutely delicious and dairy free! So this will be a jam packed post, but bear with me! ☺️ Below is a picture that is NOT the most flattering, but it shows just how bad this mess has gotten. 

Picture from Sunday night. It spans from shoulder to shoulder, the worst of it in the center. It’s still creeping slowly up my neck, but for now it’s not as bad as it was last Wednesday. As of today, it only itches around the edges of the rash site. There is a soap I found that I plan to try, it’s designed for these areas so I’ll share more after I give it a go. 

For a while now I have been dealing with this candida overgrowth and die off. Ever since my first die off from a few years ago I have done just enough to get over the worst of the symptoms and once the die off would clear up I would slowly begin to add certain foods back into my low carb diet. I can already hear the clucking of tongues from certain folks 😉, trust me I have been kicking myself since last week for not having realized sooner how detrimental that decision was to my health. Just like low carb/keto is more than a diet, it’s a lifestyle, so is eat to keep your candida in check. And yes, EVERYONE has candida in their bodies. It’s a nasty bacteria in your digestive system and when we aren’t eating right, when we are pumping our bodies full of antibiotics(including the animal meats we eat) we are feeding the candida. That’s when things get out of balance and we start having issues with our sinuses, allergies, skin related problems(ie rashes, eczema), flatulence, brain fog, IBS, fibromyalgia, yeast infections, and so on. It just seems to snowball and we can’t figure out why all of the sudden we are having all these issues. 
That’s been my life now since 2011 and quite possibly longer if I think about it. This could explain my most recent issue with the top of my left foot. It was hurting to the point where I could barely walk. Which that has actually started to improve over the last few days! I’m not hobbling around as much and I can stand for short periods of time with minimal issues. This is great news since this means I will be able to get back to my workouts! 

So what is it EXACTLY am I doing to improve my health? What protocol am I following to eliminate the candida overgrowth? It’s not any one thing or method. I spent last weekend reading anything and everything online, refreshing my memory of what needs to be done. The first thing I did was change my diet. Since I am already living a lower carb life, I knew I was going to have to give up more even MORE foods that may have been contributing to the overgrowth. And Saturday night proved to be a near breaking point for me. I was emotionally drained and frustrated by the realization that I would have to give up a lot of my favorite low carb foods for a while(possibly forever) and it all hit me that night. I was hungry and wanting stuffed green olives. My go to snack food when I have the munchies. High in fat, zero carbs, and I can easily eat half a jar! No judging. 😒My 13 yr old comes in and asks me what I’m doing. Trying to keep the shreds of emotions in check I tell him I’m hungry and can’t have the things that I would normally go to. At this point I could feels the tears welling up and I absolutely hate crying in front of people. When I cry it’s messy and ugly, so I took a few breaths to calm myself and without skipping a beat G-Man told me “so fix yourself some eggs.” 

I won’t lie, I scoffed at that idea. For one eggs don’t like me. Honestly, they make me sulfur gassy(and there goes any hope for finding a future husband). Before I could stop him, G-Man was already grabbing the container of eggs and asking me what meats and veggies I can have. He was shocked when I told him I can’t have sausage patties, deli ham or turkey, and no more bacon. Pitiful, I know. 😔 So he grabbed tomatoes(which aren’t EXACTLY a safe thing but it added color to my dish), frozen green beans, and a green onion. He stood there watching me fry a couple of eggs in coconut oil with a handful of green beans, added in a few tomatoes for color, seasoned it all with Himalayan seas salt, black pepper, and turmeric. Garnishing the top with thin slices of green onion. And that was dinner! It was so satisfying, delicious, and simple! 

I know not too many folks like to give God credit these days, but I have to take a moment to. If my son hadn’t come into the kitchen when he did I wouldn’t have eaten such an amazing meal. I would have eaten half a jar of stuffed green olives, maybe some cheese slices, and hated myself later. God intervened by using my son to ground me (meaning forcing me to focus) and get me thinking what I should do instead and kept me from eating the very things that have led to this overgrowth and further the issue more. 

Sunday was even better! I had to make the decision to stay home from church since I was experiencing some IBS issues(again I’m just killing my prospects here lol) and didn’t want to chance anything. I rarely eat breakfast y’all, I take after my Memaw, leave me alone for an hour after I get up and let me enjoy my morning coffee(only for her it was hot tea). Coffee fills me up but I made half a cup instead and fried up two eggs just so I could get something into my system. Lunch came and I was starving! That’s when I made this…


All right, it’s not the prettiest bowl of food, but it was tasy! Stir fry veggies and garlic ginger chicken, it made four servings so I had enough for dinner and some to freeze! Sunday afternoon my detox pills arrived and I was actually excited! Me, I hate swallowing pills, but I was actually excited about having THOSE! I know, crazy. 😏 With my biggest meal I take my pills every day and haven’t had too many issues with them(mild burping…I’m batting a thousand already who cares anymore?!). And this is what is helping me to combat the candida overgrowth. I still pine for the foods that I used to eat, but I know in the end it’s better that I go without and finally get well after years of neglect. 

So…

Goodbye to : dairy(heavy cream, butter, cheeses, cream cheese), processed meats(kielbasa, spam, hot dogs, bacon, pepperoni, deli meats), mushrooms, peanut oil, mini sweet peppers, fathead pizza dough and bagels, creamy/cheesy casseroles, homemade ranch dressing, ketchup, mayonnaise, low carb brownies(because of the chocolate and butter), pork rinds, low carb protein smoothies(because the protein powder I love has whey in it), mashed cauliflower(I tend to make it with cream cheese, parm cheese, and heavy cream), pickled foods(sliced jalapenos, dill pickles, stuffed green olives), naturally sweet veggies and fruit, and the list goes on. 

Say hello to: dark green veggies(kale, broccoli, chard, romaine), cruciferous veggies(cauliflower, cabbage), organic meats(beef, chicken, and pork…not a fish fan), peppers, fermented foods(soy sauce, sauerkrauts, kimchi), squash, zucchini, green beans, onions, garlic, coconut oil, evoo, safflower oil, avocado oil(and avocados), hemp seeds, chia seeds, almonds, eggplant, blueberries, unsweetened cranberries, stevia, xylitol, vitamins and supplements, and candida detox pills(two pills once a day). 

Here’s a link to a site I found today that gives a basic outline of what foods to avoid and what foods are safe when killing off the candida. CLICK HERE

A friend recently asked me how my ice cube diet is going. 😏 I love her cheekiness! If it were anyone else I wouldn’t have laughed. For the most part I am able to maintain my low carb lifestyle while incorporating more of the anti-candida regimen. I don’t feel as bloated, the gas is slowly going away, mental clarity is emerging, I’m not as tired during the afternoon, but I am still battling with cold extremities, that might take a bit longer to get over since I’ve dealt with it for years. Plus I actually dropped a pound over the weekend which I haven’t been able to do for a while! 

Now, what yummy recipe do I have for you?! 


It’s baked chicken legs(you can use breasts, thighs, wings, or the whole chicken, go nuts!!) with oven roasted broccoli and cauliflower, served over a very basic romain salad topped with spicy brown mustard. 

What you’ll need:

12 chicken legs, skin on

No salt added seasoning of your choice(the one I used is pictured below)

Evoo

2 pounds frozen broccoli

1 pound frozen cauliflower

Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

Directions:

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two sheet pans with non stick foil. Coat the chicken legs evenly with salt free seasoning and place on sheet pan. Bake for 40 minutes uncovered. Crank the heat up to 425 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes. 

In a large mixing add frozen broccoli and cauliflower. Drizzle on evoo and season with pink Himalayan sea salt. Spread out on remaining sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes or until it reaches a desired doneness. 

Serve with chopped organic romaine lettuce and use your favorite dressing. It’s simple, it’s easy, and leftovers are great the next day for breakfast with a couple of fried eggs. Leftovers can be frozen or used for those Bento boxes. Just make sure to debone the chicken first before storing. Makes it easier to enjoy later on! 

Below is the no salt added seasoning recipe I used. 


I store mine in a regular mouth glass jar and washed off a screw on lid from a Kraft Parmesan cheese container. This way I can shake on the seasoning on one side or measure it out from the other. I can’t remember if I doubled or tripled the recipe at the time I made this, but it is worth it! I use it on my eggs, veggies, beef, pork, and of course chicken. 

You can make a non-spicy version by leaving out the cayenne pepper. I think the next batch I make I’ll add turmeric and ginger powder since both of those are amazing anti-candida seasonings. 


If you have any questions please feel free to ask me below or email me at nightowlkitchen@yahoo.com, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram(@nok_amandagayle). I tend to post a little more frequently on IG these days since it’s quicker. But I hope this post has helped to shed some light on this growing issue. If you suspect you are suffering from a candida overgrowth, here is a link with a list of symptoms. CLICK HERE. This is definitely something you DO NOT want to leave untreated. I will be honest with you, there is a lot of controversial information out there, please be careful with your research and take a majority of it with a massive grain of salt. What works for one person won’t always work for another, there is no one size fits all protocol. There’s a basic outline that we all have to follow, but how I am approaching treatment is not necessarily going to work for the next person. 

In the meantime, take care, happy healthy eating, and hope you all have a blessed week! 

Be a Drop…

Ok, third times a charm right?! I was originally going to do a post about how plastic containers are making us fat, it was basically going to be a long boring article. Bottom line…use glass or stainless steel containers to store your foods. Here’s a link that talks about it, it’s the 4th Health Risk if you want to know more.

I was going to then write about my issues with morbid obesity. Another long and boring post. We get it, PCOS +Weigh Gain goes hand in hand.

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I’m going to give you all a challenge. Instead of focusing on personal struggles, which I know we all have our fair share of them, I challenge you all to be a drop in someone’s life today. A drop creates a ripple effect, how can you be a drop in someone’s life?

  • Share kind word
  • Send an encouraging text
  • Surprise someone with a cup of coffee and spend time catching up with them
  • Do something that is going to make someone else smile.
  • Pay it forward to someone behind you in the grocery store or the drive thru
  • Randomly offer a hug to a stranger who is standing next to you at a crosswalk.
  • Stand in the middle of the park and with everything inside you begin singing Amazing Grace.
  • Bring someone a flower, card, or favorite candy.
  • Surprise someone with a gift card to their favorite store.
  • Make weekend plans(and keep them).
  • Get together for dinner and bring a surprise dessert or pick up the check!

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Because by doing something for someone else it will help you as well! The days when I can send a message out to a friend and it makes them laugh or smile it actually boosts my mood as well! It’s so easy to let depression take over, to feel sorry for ourselves and think everything is out to work against us.
When we take our eyes off of ourselves and focus on loving our neighbor(s) we will receive a bigger blessing than we could ever begin to imagine!

  • Who can you bless today?
  • Who can you make smile?
  • Who can you share a laugh with?
  • Who needs a hug?

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Have a blessed day!

~5 Faves Friday: A tribute to my Plus Size Cysters~

I think it’s time I reveal one of my new favorites…Hilda the Plus Size Pinup! Let’s face it, society has decreed that being plus size is a crime. In fact the worst crime ever committed. You all can gather that I’m not a small woman, look at my birthday pictures from a year ago(my birthday post). I don’t deny that there is more of me to love, but neither do I like being ridiculed for something that is partially out of my hands to control.
Nope, not making excuses just stating a fact. When you live with an endocrine disorder and a hypothyroid you tend to get the short end of the stick 90% of the time. I have exercised to the point where I;.’ve injured myself more times than I can remember. I do my level best to eat the right foods, to minimize my carb consumption, and stay as active as I possibly can. I know when my body has had enough, and some days it doesn’t take much to slay me.

With all that said…Hilda is an inspiration to me and many of my other plus size gal pals. Certainly there is beauty all around us in all shapes and sizes. It is widely accepted that if you’re a particular size then you are inherently beautiful! However, when a woman is packing on more jelly rolls than what comes in a Little Debbie box, then we must ridicule her until she loses the weight. Hilda breaks the mold and her little sassy hot mess self pretty much makes people stop in their tracks and giggle! Her misadventures are truly epic! She does know how to bring a smile to ones face 😉

1) HILDA

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My favorite is the one where she is in the hammock and has the fishing line tied to her toe 😀 And even better she’s enjoying a good book, is there anything else better in life?! Nah!!!

2) My Big Fat Fabulous Life star Whitney Thore.

big fat fab life There are many reasons why I love this show, though I would love it more without the language, but here’s a PCOS Cyster doing the very thing the rest of us wish we could do(ok, maybe only part of us…I’m too introverted to be on tv)…spreading the word about PCOS!! And not just on social media and in our own hometowns, but on TV!! Where millions of people tune in and actually learn something about why most women are fat. I will say this, she is definitely more limber than me and her positive outlook is infectious! A lady at my church came over to me and asked if I had watched the show and of course I have. She confessed she actually learned something new and was seeing me in a new way. I give a hearty thanks to Whitney Thore and others who are able to reach out to the masses. Join me and others in the  #NoBodyShameCampaign. This is for all sizes, no one is excluded!

3)Pinterest board, Plus Size Modest.

It’s a personal preference for me to dress modestly. I’m not a fan for wearing things above my ankles, but I do enjoy seeing what’s out there. Below are a few faves from that board…

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IMHO(In My Humble Opinion), the only thing missing from the second picture is a light cotton cardigan, but this gives you an idea of what I like in the way of fashion. Long and flowing, in fact I’m going to go out on a limb and share a personal picture. This is not easy for me and by sharing this I will be inviting criticism. *drum roll*

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It’s not the greatest photo, but I felt the most comfortable the day it was taken. I never dress to impress people, I dress for personal comfort. Fashion has never been a big thing for me. If it’s clean, modest and I can button it, then I’m gonna wear it! Simple. I’m a no fuss kind of gal, if an outfit has too much going on with it then I’m gonna opt for cozy knit pj’s and slippers. Wear what you love and makes you feel comfortable!

4)Be Kind. Always.

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I’ve shared this one a couple of times on social media sites.
And it’s so very true!
You will never know what someone is
going through until you are going/have gone
through it yourself.
This holds true not just for overweight
folks, but for those with
incurable diseases, cancers, life struggles,
losses,etc. There is
already so much hatred in this world, and it will
continue to
get worse unfortunately, but when you body shame someone
you are
only making yourself look bad. Making everyone
aware of your own
insecurities and intolerance. If you
really want to help someone, just
be kind.
Be thoughtful. Be considerate. Be genuine. Be loving.

5)Focus on the Healthy

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To be fat and healthy just doesn’t seem to go
together. It is possible to eat right, exercise
daily, do everything that is humanly possible
and never lose all the weight.
To never be the size that society says is acceptable.
AND THAT’S OK!! Look, with PCOS there’s more
to this health issue than just the weight. Yes,
the weight is a big concern, but there are hormones,
insulin, and a bunch of other little nasty issues that
we have to put up with on a daily basis. So there’s
absolutely no reason to push yourself to the point where
you are injured at the end of the day, or where you become
too depressed because you aren’t reaching the impossible
standards. Embrace the healthy life, eat the right kind
of foods for your Nutritional Type(a Dr. Mercola reference)
and do what you can when you can. Give up the overly
processed foods, seriously those aren’t good for anyone.
If you feel led to detox then do it, if you want to cut out
the carbs then do it, if you want to enjoy the healthy fats
then do it…do whatever it takes to be a healthier YOU!
Just don’t shoot yourself for not doing what everyone else
is doing. There are more important things in life than worrying
about a number on a scale. It’s a nice thing to check on
from time to time, but do not let it rule your life!

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We all are!
Have a blessed day<3

~Homemade Tang~

Afternoon everyone, hope you’re all doing well. My thoughts and prayers go out to those up in the New England area. Praying you all have enough supplies and stay warm.

Here in my neck of the woods we’ve been inundated with illness. A lot of my friends and their families have been sick with stomach bugs, the flu and the cold. We, ourselves, have the cold going around in our house at this time. Dad purchased a bag of clementines(Halos) and instead of letting them go to waste, I decided to make a vitamin C boost drink to help our immune systems.

With homemade tang? What??!!

Yes, it may sound strange but Clementines(aka Halos, Cuties, pick a name) are 60% Vitamin C. That’s pretty good for a little fruit, and coupled with lemons which are 51% Vitamin C you have a super boosting mix that is sure to shock what remaining cold virus is left in your system! I have run into some conflicting information concerning concentrated lemon juice. While fresh lemons contain 51% Vitamin C, it is said that ReaLemon Juice from Concentrate(which is a brand we prefer) contains 60.5% Vitamin C. I’m not going to get into a debate about fresh or concentrated juices, but I found it odd that one would have more than the other. Could be that ReaLemon Juice is more concentrated than fresh and therefore would contain more Vitamin C. Purists however may opt for freshly squeezed lemons in the end. Whichever you prefer to use  I leave that up to you, I won’t judge you one way other another.

JJ was leery at first of my concoction, I’m not a beverage making gal. He was raised on the powdered tang, powdered gatorade, and powdered lemonade. We’ve gotten away from all those chemical laden powdered drinks since G–Man came along, but on occasion I get to hear how much so and so misses tang and various other flavored drinks. I braced myself for some harsh criticism…

 

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(It’s so pretty! just love the color of it!!)

Homemade Tang

1 cup ReaLemon Juice from Concentrate(or 5–6 freshly squeezed lemons)

7 clementines, squeezed

1 1/2 cup Stevia in the Raw(less if you want it more tart)**

6 cups water

In a 2 quart pitcher, add lemon juice, clementine juice, and Stevia. Whisk to combine and add water. Continue whisking until all the Stevia is completely mixed in and enjoy over ice.

NOK Tips

**Stevia in the Raw– Why not sugar or some other sweetener? It’s a personal preference in my book, feel free to use sugar or other sweeteners that you may prefer. I’ve read the pros and cons about Stevia in the Raw, I’ve also used Pure Stevia powder in the past. To me, the powder was more bitter and difficult to use. However, using Stevia in the Raw takes all the guess work out of how much to use since it measures cup for cup like sugar. Stevia in and of itself is a very alkaline all natural sweetener that is actually good for our bodies. Unlike aspartame, which is synthetic and causes many health issues, Stevia comes from a plant. 
Again, I leave the sweetener up to you. I just find that using alkaline foods when sick actually help to knock out the virus or bacteria more quickly. Viruses and bacteria need an acidic environment to thrive in, neutralizing the body will make it less habitable for the cold and flu survive.

JJ was in love with this homemade tang and is wanting me to make it again!! He said it tastes better than the powdered stuff. That is high praise coming from the powdered drink king 😉
This recipe can be altered to make a Lemon–Limeade. Instead of Clementines, squeeze 5–7 limes and add the remaining ingredients as listed.
For an all out citrus blast, squeeze fresh lemons, fresh limes, and clementines for a NOK Citrus Beverage. Freeze concentrated lemon, lime, and orange juices into ice cubes(adding a little water or another fruit juice to aid in freezing), add fresh slices of each fruit into the pitcher, and serve over ice. Pomegranate ice cubes would look amazing in this drink, just add the juice to an ice tray and freeze. It’s a yummy treat on a hot summer day!

Have a blessed day!!

It’s Almost the Middle of the Month Already?!

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Have. Mercy. Cannot believe that this month is nearly half over. It feels like it was just yesterday that we rang in the new year. I have missed writing and sharing with you all, and I’m sorry it’s been over a month since I’ve added anything new. I was busier than I anticipated and put all my time and energy into the holidays, which left no time to take gobs of pictures or have enough mental juices left to concoct a blog post.

 

 

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How I felt every night after spending hours in the kitchen prepping, baking and cooking during December…I may have drooled a couple of times 😉 But I have no proof!

If I had been working in a restaurant I would have clocked 12 hours a day with a two hour break in between that I spent in the kitchen for a week and half before Christmas. I was SO ready for an actual vacation! You’d think that a three week vacation that was planned would have been enough, but alas it wasn’t. After Christmas was said and done, I was destined to have one more week of time off before our new school year was to begin. Thankfully, and honestly I cannot thank my Mom enough for this, my Mom told me to take an extra week for myself! I was beyond grateful! December 29th came and I declared that for that week I would do little to no cooking. At that point I was sick of being in the kitchen, tired of making food, and wanted nothing more than to just sit with my feet up. I almost held true to my words, there were a couple of times I got in there to help my Mom cook dinner 🙂

January 5th rolled around and thus began my week of leisure. Sunday evening, on the 4th, I started a trilogy by my favorite author and by Tuesday morning I had finished said trilogy. Immediately after finishing her trilogy I started reading her fourth book and by Saturday morning around 5am I was finishing up her 5th book. I have waited an entire year to read her books and FINALLY was able to get through them all within a week! I loved them all, each one taking me to different places(Victorian England, Medieval England, and my own Home Town) all from the comfy of my own bed. Now I did get back into the kitchen to cook dinner every night, but spending all day and late into the night reading her monster length novels was truly the escape that I needed. I saw very little of my family here, G–Man would come up every night to my room and hang out with me, bring in his legos and talk my ear off for a bit and I would listen intently to him relaying to me how his day went. Don’t judge me now, I rarely do anything for myself. I can count on my hand the times I’ve done anything remotely relaxing or enjoyable. Which amounts to two other times!
I’m not a mom who goes out and gets mani/pedi’s every month, neither do I go out with my girls every month, or send my child off to the grandparents because we live with the grandparents! And I’m in no way passing any judgment on those who are able to do the above mentioned. We all need those times when we can steal away for ourselves an hour, two hours, a whole weekend…or a week! It’s glorious when it happens and I confess even when I get two hours of time alone I never know what to do with myself. I’m so used to doing things around the house, doing stuff with G–Man or prepping up something that just to sit and do nothing…I have no words for it. It was a time I surely will never forget, a time well spent and coveted for the rest of my life!

And now we are in our post holiday school year, today was our first day back. The classroom was a balmy 47 degrees when we came up here, though the heater is on at the moment my fingers are still frozen. Tis’ the season! So what will this new year bring for the Night Owl Kitchen Blog? Hopefully tasty delights, healthy recipes, fun crafts, more 5 favorites, and as blessed a year as 2014 was! Truly there was so much to be thankful for last year and already I’m beyond thankful that our family hasn’t been stricken with the cold or flu *knock on wood*. 

I will however share one thing that I’m currently doing and it’s the 2015 Reading Challenge. I’m not going in order of the list of categories, but with 5 books already marked off(one being a trilogy) I’d say I’m doing pretty good!

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Anyone else willing to take this challenge with me? There’s still time to get in on it! I personally love this reading challenge because I can pick and choose which books I want to read within the categories listed. I don’t personally like having to read previously chosen titles of books that I would never in my life read. It reminds me too much of the AR program(Accelerated Reading program) in public school. But the above list allows the reader to choose books within a set category thus branching out from genres that we may necessarily not venture into. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of Pulitzer Prize-Winning books, but I am carefully considering a couple and will make a final decision soon.
Currently I am reading a book my Mom loves, and this was hard for her to even decide on because she loves so many! But she did finally choose one from her collection and it’s titled Katherine(c.1954). I started reading it last night and will spend this week reading it when I can, but since I’m 5 weeks ahead of the reading challenge I could take some extra time enjoying it 🙂

And that’s all I got for today, I do have some recipes lined up to share and hopefully I haven’t lost any of you with my month long silence. Come back when you can, the kitchen is always open!!

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~Health Check Tuesday Celebration~

How can we not celebrate health this week?! Even if it’s just one good thing you’re doing today, be proud of that! It’s one thing that will help improve your life. Even if it’s just getting 6–8 glasses of water a day, opting for a salad instead of burger at lunch or dinner, or even taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Be proud of yourself 🙂

Health Check Tuesday came about as something that I wanted to initially use to bring awareness about PCOS to the masses. But over the last few weeks it’s morphed into sharing some of my weight loss triumphs and set backs, while encouraging everyone to continue on in their journey, which I love! No matter where we are in our health journeys we’re all heading toward the same goal::to become a better version of ourselves. We’re all striving to make changes that work for us and here on NOK Blog it’s important to emphasize good habits over any particular lifestyle, while also sharing the benefits I have personally received from living lower carb/alkaline. One of the things that PCOS women tend to struggle with is finding what works best for them. The temptation to find an easier solution is so great, especially when you’ve tried it all! I know, I’ve done most of it! I grew up on the food pyramid and ballooned. As a young adult I went to the more obscure and dangerous things such as laxatives, weight loss patches, thermogenic drinks, pills, starving myself, and it was all for naught.

The key I was missing in unlocking that door to losing weight, in a safe and natural way, was to stop depriving myself and just eat healthy food. I absolutely cannot tolerate much carbs. If I so much as go over 30 grams a day I start to feel tired, sluggish, and the numbers on the scale go up. When I over indulge and find myself in a food coma the symptoms get worse.

One of my fears when I began writing this blog a year ago was that people would EXPECT yummy comfort food all the time and that’s what I strived for. My health certainly took a turn for the worse the more I tried sharing the things that I *thought* people wanted from me. The weight I had lost came back with a vengeance and then some. That miserable sick feeling started to come back and I knew I needed to change what I was doing, but again worried that it would hurt this blog and folks would start losing interest.

I felt that people wouldn’t be interested in reading about my lower carb alkaline lifestyle, people could care less about my need to be gluten free, and most certainly didn’t want to push a particular mindset on others. But I’ve watched how those posts about lower carb recipes have gained views and visits from people all over the world, local readers telling me how much they have enjoyed reading my Health Check Tuesday posts and how they have learned so much about PCOS. That they never knew it existed until they started reading about it here. Let me tell you what an amazing feeling that is, to know you have just empowered someone with knowledge and they are sharing it with others and are now meeting other women who are struggling with this same condition! It’s almost surreal 🙂

So, in honor of today I want to look back at a couple of my favorite Health Check posts and want to encourage you all to share these with your friends and loved ones. They are really posts that everyone can benefit from so don’t think that people you don’t know someone with PCOS that they too wouldn’t enjoy reading something on here.

  1. Healthy Check Tuesday: Positive ThinkingThis post is full of steps in thinking and living more positively. We’re all living busier and certainly more hectic lives now than our parents ever did! What’s changed? We need to examine our lives, determine what can be cut out and what should be changed in order to make our lives simpler and yes more positive. It’s amazing how I much enjoy life when the wifi isn’t so readily accessible. Technology seems to be my downfall, when I let that little ipod device rule my day with it’s constant dinging, pinging, and ringing…letting me know when someone has liked, shared, or messaged me. When the wifi is out I’m not constantly picking it up to check what’s going on. For me, a positive change has been cutting back on my ipod usage. It’s amazing just how less stressed I feel, how much drama I miss out on, and happier I feel! Could that be the same for you too?
  2. Health Check Tuesday: Memory Loss & PCOS–This piece was especially beneficial for me to write. I struggle a lot with remembering things. That was hard for me to admit since there are people who rely on me to remember certain things. When I forget I feel like I’ve just let the world down! I know that it’s impossible to actually do that, I’m just this speck on the map of the world, but still I hate that feeling that I’ve dropped the ball yet again. Sometimes it’s easy to disguise it when online, I can google or bing something real quick and go “oh yeah duh Amanda!” and go about my merry way with a conversation! But in person it’s a different story, even with a list of things I need to remember to do or ask someone I still find myself forgetting something along the way. At the end of the day I just remind myself, the world has not ended because I forgot, tomorrow is another day, and if it really mattered THAT much someone would have said something. In other words, don’t sweat it!

 

Today, I want to look at why bacon is the culprit in making so many PCOS women fat…but pasta is.

pasta photo     V.       bacon photo

18 years ago I would have argued how bacon was fattening, that pasta was healthier, and you would have found me with a plate of of my Mom’s spaghetti going to town like a mad woman. This is why I’m so thankful I learned a few years later just how wrong that mindset was for our family. The issue with carbs, specifically pasta/rice/potatoes/bread is that they raise the insulin levels dangerously and in turn that causes cells to pull in more fat which results in more weight gain.

But how is it then that bacon isn’t the culprit for weight gain?

 

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I love these pictures, but still some might wonder where’s the evidence, I need the proof…give me more input!

To further break this down here’s a transcript from the smarter science of slim show that I stumbled upon not too long ago. It helps to explain this a bit better. The hosts of the show are Jonathan Bailor and Carrie Brown. I’ve started the quote after some back and forth chatter and picked up where Jonathan begins talking about the science of how fat isn’t the culprit of weight gain.

Jonathan: There is something that is really bad. It’s called ketoacidosis. That is a different thing, but as is common with things in the health world, if two words sound alike then people are like, oh well, ketoacidosis is horrible for you. Therefore, ketosis, which sounds like that word, must also be bad; it is not. They are two very, very different things.

So, ketosis – first of all, when you wake up in the morning you are in ketosis, because ketosis, very high level, just means your body is fueling itself using fat rather than sugar. That’s really all it means.

Carrie: How could anyone think that was bad?

Jonathan: Exactly. There is this mythology that your body requires carbohydrate. This is not an episode saying that we should all go on low carb diets; it’s also not an episode saying low carb diets are bad for you. They are absolutely not. In fact, they’re one of the most scientifically valid and studied ways of eating in the world.

But it is to say that this assumption that we have been told for the past forty years that 60-plus percent of our diet – excuse me, 65 percent plus of our diet should be carbohydrate because that’s the optimal fuel for our body is patently false. There is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. There is such a thing as an essential amino acid, aka protein, and an essential fatty acid, aka fat. If you never ate a carbohydrate in your entire life, your body could fuel itself just fine via the process known as ketosis, aka burning fat as fuel. And it could also create all the glucose, aka sugar, it needs through a process that we talked about on the show “Gluconeogenesis” whereby protein is converted into sugar.

Carrie: So, we all want to be in ketosis then.

Jonathan: So, we want to be – it is absolutely critical that we give our body the ability to effectively fuel itself using fat. And that sounds obvious, but if our body is not good at using fat for fuel, keeping fat off our body is going to be extremely difficult. And this is why actually eating fat – we talk about it on the show a lot, how things that are intuitive aren’t always true. Right?

It’s intuitive that the earth is flat. Look outside; it looks flat. And if it wasn’t flat wouldn’t the people on the bottom fall off? We know there’s gravity; we know that’s not how the world works. And it’s intuitive that doesn’t eating fat make you fat? It is fat, you put it into your mouth and it just goes and sits on your hips, right? That is intuitive but it is wrong.

Here’s a better and a more scientifically accurate way to think about it. Okay? When you eat your body gets good at fueling itself based on what you eat. Makes sense, right?

Carrie: Right.

Jonathan: The more sugar you eat the better your body’s going to be at running off of sugar.
Because it’s like, this is the normal state for me, I better get used to this. Now think about how this works. If your body is best at burning sugar, meaning sugar is its preferred fuel source, for all intents and purposes your body does not store sugar. The only way to store energy on your body, practically – there is some level of glucose in your muscles and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah – but practically it’s in your fat. So, the way your body stores energy is through fat. But if you eat mostly sugar and your body is good at burning sugar, and prefers to burn sugar, then let’s say you eat breakfast and it’s a Pop Tart and orange juice, very common breakfast here in the States. Sugar, you basically had some sugar for breakfast. Well, in an hour your body has either burned through that sugar or more likely shuttled it off into your fat cells. So there is no sugar around, so your body needs energy. Well there’s no sugar around, so what’s it going to do? It’s going to make you hungry because the only way to get more sugar is to take some through your lips.

Carrie: Okay.

Jonathan: Now, think about if your body’s more accustomed to burning fat for fuel, and let’s say you have a delicious frittata with vegetables for breakfast.

Carrie: That was me today!

Jonathan: Exactly. Right? So you eat mostly fat. Most of your calories are coming from fat. You got some protein and you got some extremely healthy carbohydrate in the form of vegetables.

Carrie: Yum. It was delicious.

Jonathan: It’s delicious, so you get your calories, you get your nutrients, you get your energy and then when you – a few hours later, you’re sitting in the office or you’re sitting at the house, you’re sitting with your family and friends, and there’s no more energy floating around in the blood stream. Your body’s like, I need some more energy, and do you know what I like to use for energy? Fat. Oh hey. Good news; there’s some sitting right here on the hips. Or there’s some sitting right here maybe on the belly a little bit.

So the opposite of eating fat makes you fat; in fact, eating fat, helping your body to become conditioned at fueling itself off of fat, makes you better at burning fat. Because when you get into a state where you have a shortage of exogenous energy your body can just say, well, that’s okay, I don’t need to take any more fat through my lips. I can just eat it off my hips.

Carrie: The compelling reasons for not eating sugar just pile on and pile on. Don’t they?

Jonathan: Well, think about it, Carrie, it’s a, why is it?

Carrie: I can actually visualize what you just said happening in my mind, which is great, right? Because now every time I get that craving for sugar I’m going to go, nope, I don’t do that, because that’s going to help my body to think that sugar’s not the way to go and so I can visualize that; that’s super-helpful for me. Thank you, sir.

 

I absolutely loved his visuals! You condition your body to burn fat by eating fat. I know that isn’t going to sit well with most of you. Trust me, it took a lot of relearning for me to finally accept that after being told for years that bacon, olives, coconut, butter and yes eggs were all bad for me and I should eat those in extreme moderation. One of the first things I did after discovering a lower carb lifestyle was gorge myself on green stuffed olives! Oh yes, I think I ate half the jar in one sitting and I didn’t feel sick later on. In fact I felt pleasantly full for hours! Which was a new thing for me because I was having to eat every few hours and the weight was piling on like crazy! The first time I lost 50 pounds(I was 16 year old) people were beyond shocked when I told them how I was doing it. They were even floored when I told them that I was eating all these fatty foods and was losing weight hand over fist! So why didn’t I keep going? Life…I got thrown several fast curve balls and struck out one too many times. Wasn’t even allowed to walk the bases. When I finally was given the fourth chance to change my life I punted the ball and yes I’ve been running the bases ever since! (That’s the extent of my baseball knowledge, don’t go thinking I’m some fan…sorry, sports aren’t my thing lol)

I may not be dropping the weight like I did years ago when I first learned about this lifestyle, I’ve missed that golden opportunity, but at least I’m losing it. It’s going to take me longer this time to get to my goal weight(at least five years) but that’s ok too! The important thing is that I’m feeling better, I’m staying active, and there’s a little extra give in my clothes! How can anyone judge those results and say it’s all unhealthy?! That I’m doing something wrong and I need someone to take over my health for me? We’re not all cookie cutter here, therefore a cookie cutter lifestyle isn’t going to work for anyone. We have to figure out what works best for each of us and stick with it! Find new ways to spice it up, treat ourselves every once in a while(don’t call it cheating, that suggests it’s something bad, unhealthy, that should be kept a secret when it’s perfectly alright to have that special meal and stop when you’re full). Are carbs bad for everyone? No, but for the majority of Americans yes they are bad…toxic even. Should everyone jump back on the Atkins or South Beach diet wagon? Nope, in fact I don’t support either of those. They are both loaded with soy and not a healthy option for PCOS Cysters.

If you’re truly curious about what nutritional lifestyle you should be living I encourage you to take Dr. Joseph Mercola’s Nutritional Typing Test. I’ve taken it three times and get the same results. I’m a Protein Type, this is why a lower carb lifestyle works for me! All you have to do is enter your email address, he does not spam you nor will he sell your information to second or third parties. This is strictly to discover what nutritional plan you should be living. You are not obligated to buy anything, the test is free to take, all you have to provide is accurate information to get honest results.

My hearty thanks goes out to everyone who has liked and shared these Tuesday posts. I look forward to sharing more about my journey with you all and hope you continue to enjoy the lower carb/alkaline recipes along the way!

Change your mindset in order to see the results!

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~5 Faves~

Sorry about not doing this last week, got too busy to sit and write. So here are this week’s five favorite things that I shared on my person Facebook newsfeed, hope you enjoy!

 

1) Green Renaissance Pic

Green Renaissance shared a picture a while back encouraging everyone to “inspire the world to grow our own food, in every available space we have.” I love container gardening, it’s perfect for any space big or small. Now if I could just get the right size hazmat suit to keep the mosquitoes at bay so I can go back out to garden again!

 

2) Country Living’s Top Pin for Today

Tis the season for fresh tomatoes and peppers! I love fresh salsa in the summer, it’s a such a refreshing change to the store bought stuff and I especially love how it lacks all those harsh chemicals and preservatives. Click the link above the picture to view Country Living’s top pin and visit their site for the 18 delicious salsa recipes!

 

3) Sweet Friendship

I have seen this particular story several times and it always melts my heart! I am a huge dog lover (I like cats too) and seeing one in pain, sad, or suffering just tears me up. So happy for Lily’s sake she has a wonderful friend to help her along and bring life back into her 🙂 Just seeing her smile in that upper picture you just know she is happy again!

 

4) Be Positive!

   

Aside from all the good one can experience in a week, there can also be a lot of negativity that can and will happen. It is important to remember that a positive mind is the only one that will prevail. You will never progress in this life if you constantly live in a negative state of mind. You’ll be stuck, becoming more toxic to those around you. Surround yourself with positive people who see the glass as half full, remove as much pessimism from your life as you possibly can and always keep quotes, like above, on hand for those days when it just seems like everything is going downhill fast. Remind yourself that what has happened in the past needs to stay in the past, you can’t change people they have to change themselves, and you become most the five people you surround yourself with. Choose wisely!

 

5) Brick Books for the Garden

A friend shared this and I fell in love with it! If you’re a book lover you will appreciate this even more 🙂 You might be tempted to grab one on your way to the hammock, that is until you go to pick it up and feel like you’ve just picked up a brick…oh wait, that’s exactly what it is!!  I know many of you are so amazingly talented I hope to hear that someone has created a few for their garden!! I love how weathered they look, so old and REAL!

 

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s 5 faves 🙂 Share and reblog as much as you want!

Have a blessed weekend 🙂

It’s been too long…

If I could hug this page I would and every single one of you as well! I have missed being able to write on here, the issues with our laptop had gotten to the point where we had to get yet another charge cable. I know it must be time to get a newer machine but really? The time it’s going to take to back up and move everything I need is enough for me to mentally shut down. I don’t like thinking about it. Not only is it nice to have the computer back but also the camera. I had no idea that Dad had taken it with him when he left for his Dad’s funeral. I sincerely thought I had misplaced it. But all is right in my little night owl kitchen again 🙂

 

Today is April 1st, how many of you are actually prank your friends, neighbors, kids, and coworkers? You can share, I don’t judge! In fact, my cousin and I pranked my Dad once. So bad, I had gotten several tampons for free in the mail, well I don’t personally care for tampons. My cousin and I had this brilliant idea to tie them to the inside and outside of my Dad’s car 😀 Under the back bumper where they could dangle, inside handing from the mirror, tied to the air vents, even one proudly tied to the car antenna. Oh, to be young and stupid again hehe I’ve never done anything like that since then, but growing up my siblings and I always enjoyed pranking Dad. My oldest sister would work her make–up magic and make it look like we had bruises, we’d then call Dad and tell him that my brother had beat me up with his baseball bat. Hehe, yeah we were horrible! I keep waiting for Dad to get me back 😀 One of these days he is going to do…just a matter of when?!

 

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I have gotten back to my works outs. Walking every other day, using a workout app on my device to keep help with my upper body. The first day was brutal, squats. That’s just wrong lol And the second day wasn’t any better, squats and lunges! I felt like throwing my iPod out the door hehe but I didn’t, I pushed through it all and burned over 300 calories. Even though I’m trying to lower my carbs and be more mindful of what I make, I do still plan to share all the goodies I can on here. Smaller portions of course and try to keep this blog on track with it’s original intent. Sharing great recipes and reivews! I am contemplating having a separate blog for my weight loss journey, but I haven’t completely settled on that one yet. It’s very hard for me to open up about that with folks because of just how much I have to lose and I don’t want to become the victim of pictures getting snagged for false advertising, or have trolls show up with their nasty comments. There’s a lot to consider, a lot to think about. But so far I’m happy with almost losing three pounds in just a few days. Literally! I started last Tuesday and this past Friday I weighed in and was down no joke almost three pounds. I was blown away! The winds are changing, I can feel it, something is different this time 🙂 And I am doing my best to keep up!!

I’ve taken this post in a different direction than I intended to, but there it is 🙂 I’m just so happy to be back on here, I can’t wait to get my next recipe that’s in queue out for y’all to try 🙂 It’s a vintage one that I found in my great-great aunt’s recipe folder. I couldn’t tell you for sure if she ever made it but it sounded yummy to me. You’ll definitely want to stay tuned for that!

 

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A great reminder!

 

Book Nook Freebies(yes more than one!)

Got four free ebooks here filled with yummy smoothie and juice recipes! If you’ve been wanting to try some green smoothies and weren’t too sure if you wanted to spend money on a cookbook then look no further! Click each image to get your free ebook copy!

All 31 unique smoothie recipes were designed for:

* Increased energy
* Increasing fruits and veggie intake
* Faster recovery from being worn out
* Faster than cooking
* And to taste great

“The book 40 Green Smoothie Recipes for Weight Loss is ideal for those who want to start on a juice diet and even for those who are already juicing for weight loss and want to keep it healthy all the way.”

“40 Juicing Recipes for Weight Loss is a collection of fresh juice recipes for those who want to lose weight effectively without compromising their health. It is a perfect companion for dieters who want to lose a few inches and pounds while keeping their body nourished, strong and healthy.”

 

“Hi, my name is Troy Adashun.

I’m a fitness model, health freak, and long time Smoothie Enthusiast. I am passionate to share some of my favorite smoothie recipes of all time in this book.

Smoothies are one of the easiest and most convenient ways to get an abundance of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that will help you become the healthiest and most energetic you possible! The great thing about these smoothie recipes is that many contain both fruits and vegetables. This should not scare you, as the recipes are all tried and tested and blend deliciously – even for the person who doesn’t enjoy vegetables by themselves.

Enjoying one of these smoothies daily is a giant leap forward to fat loss and optimal health. In today’s day and age, many of us are consuming to many calories but are actually nutrient deficient. Enjoying one of the delicious smoothies every day in this recipe book will not only help you lose weight, but increase your overall health and energy levels. Once you feel the amazing health benefits of smoothies, you will not want to go one day without one.

Happy Blending and Good Luck to you all!”

 

I’m in love with each book, they offer delicious recipes, helpful tips and I’m learning how to customize the recipes to fit my dietary needs.

Feel free to share your favorite smoothie/juice recipes below in the comments. Always enjoy trying something new 🙂

CHEERS!

Why THIS and Not THAT…a Look at What Makes Most PCOS Women Fat

Good morning, hope everyone here in the USA is staying warm on this chilly snowy morning. It actually snowed here in North Alabama, enough that it’s not melting right away and there’s more to come tomorrow afternoon! Yes, I am extremely happy 🙂 Now if only it could be like this year round!! I know, y’all think I’m crazy hehe!! I craved turkey bacon this morning. Yes, CRAVED it, and fried it up in some regular bacon grease for extra flavor and because turkey bacon has virtually no fat of its own which causes it to stick to the pan.

Tonight I’m thinking about doing up zucchini and squash noodles with marinated chicken for my dinner. It’s been a recently popular post of mine on Pinterest. I just plan to add squash to change it up. It’s a different option to noodles, I’m also a fan of Dreamfields pasta but even I find I have to be careful with it, I have a strange addiction to grains. Last year I made a big bowl of pasta salad and could literally eat the entire bowl by myself it was that good! This is why it’s a good idea to use a low carb vegetable in place of a grain pasta when I get those cravings. True it’s not the same as if eating the “real deal” pasta but it is filling!

There are several other options, one of my absolute fall favorites is spaghetti squash. Make a light garlic mushroom sauce to serve over it and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve with chicken or meatloaf for a little extra protein and you’ve got a wonderful guilt free meal! I never feel bloated after eating vegetable noodles. However, if you absolutely have to have noodles and you’re trying to eat less carbs here’s a link to lower carb noodle options (click HERE).

I love getting the Insulite Laboratories emails every week and one that I’ve been chomping at the bit to share, just been too sick and too busy to do it, is a great email about Why Pasta, not Bacon, Makes you Gain Weight. I’ve known for many years now that pasta is my nemesis, actually any grain and yeast product is my enemy, and that cutting those things out of my daily diet is actually better for me. Now, Insulite Laboratories isn’t condoning a high bacon diet, but their findings are showing that many PCOS women do fair better when they cut out the pasta and stick with a lower glycemic lifestyle.

Here are the charts within the email…I love charts, especially ones that I can print out and keep.

Below these same charts can be found and enlarged at Fast Co Design.

So just what is wrong with carbs themselves? Basically, they cause insulin levels to go crazy. That, in turn, causes cells to pull in more fat, resulting in the onset of our old enemy, weight gain.

~quoted from Insulite Laboratories email November 26, 2013~

I think we can all agree that diet fads have come and gone over the years. Do they work for everyone? Nope, why? Because we’re not all the same! Not everyone can handle to carbohydrates, just as there are those who can’t thrive without the carbohydrates. Some can do without all that fat and others need it in order to burn off stored fat. But it’s true, there is no cookie cutter diet for everyone, we cannot all survive on the Food Pyramid/Plate that has been pushed down our throats since the early 90’s(when it was introduced here in the USA).

I’m sure most of us PCOS Cysters have tried the Atkins and South Beach diets at one time or another, lost the weight only to pack it back on later. *raises both hands high into the air* I’m guilty, guilty, guilty…not only gained what I lost but then gained a whole lot more! Why is that? Mostly because neither one of those fads has ever taught us how to eat to live, it just teaches you how to eat to lose. Then once you’re at your goal weight you celebrate…for the next three years and find yourself back where you were. Don’t deny it, I’m not gonna lie it’s happened to me! What I discovered is that I cannot follow the Atkins or South Beach diets because of the soy. That is detrimental to my health and compounds the weight issue.

I’ve had to learn over the years to also bite my tongue when I’m in mixed company of women…mixed company meaning that some are all about low fat, low cal, skim milk, multigrain, while others were all about lean meats, no red, lots of fruits and vegetables….and I will say, that there is nothing wrong with any of that, I’m all for doing what works best for you. My beef is, when one way of eating gets pushed onto the masses as “the only way to lose weight” and then you have about 50% of the population that’s overweight, diabetic, infertile, and health issues running amuck…SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE!!!

What can this spell for PCOS women? Understanding that we’re all different and yes that there are skinnier women who suffer with PCOS as well, we have got to find something that works specifically for each of us. I cannot write on this blog and tell you all that you HAVE to eat the same things as I do, for one I’m not permitted to(not an expert) and secondly I’m not insane enough to push what I do onto other people. I can only share what I’m doing and the research that backs it up that proves it works. You have to listen to your body, if you solely listen to your doctor or what the latest health expert(s) is touting you could very well being doing yourself more harm than good. The doctor and health experts do not live inside your body! They do not know on a daily basis, second by second, minute by minute what is going on in your body. Hence the tests, blood work, the wringing of hands, second opinions, third opinions, loss of sleep, countless medications, and thousands of dollars going down the drain without any more knowledge of what’s wrong with you.

Only you will know what your body needs in the end, learn to listen to its needs, the signals to what is wrong and know how to treat it naturally first. A lot of the time what is wrong is a result of a deficiency in minerals or vitamins, a build up of toxins to which a detox would be appropriate to follow, or could be a side effect of a medication(s) you’re currently taking. Take back your health while you still can!

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***Don’t forget to wear your teal on Tuesday***