The Unspoken Side Effect 

Since March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, I thought I would share some information about a side effect from the disease that few people without it ever consider: depression. 

  
Conspiracy theories aside, many biographers think the cause of Marilyn Monroe’s battle with depression and eventual suicide was caused by her trying to escape the pain of her endometriosis. I am considered by my loved ones to be a pretty upbeat positive person, but even I can’t escape it. For me personally, there are a few different reasons this illness brings on depression.  

1. You can’t escape it. You can leave a bad job and a bad relationship if it’s bringing you down, but you can’t leave your own body. A flare up (that’s when the endometrial tissue becomes inflamed and the adhesions bleed, causing debilitating pain) can ruin social plans, effect your performance at work, and makes you feel pretty useless in general. There are steps you can take to minimize the pain, but there is no cure, and sometimes there’s no pain killers strong enough or a heating pad hot enough to even touch it. 

2. You think you’ll never reach your full potential. I live a pretty full, productive life compared to even a totally healthy person, so I can’t help thinking sometimes how much more I could do if I didn’t have a chronic illness. How much cleaner would me house be? How much more could I get done professionally? How many more adventures could my husband and I go on? How much more fun would my social life be? When I do feel well I take full advantage of it, but when I’m sick nothing’s getting done except some Netflix binge watching on my couch in the middle of my messy living room I’m too exhausted to clean.

3. It’s hard to get people to believe you. I don’t look sick, and my personality it to downplay everything anyways. When I do complain it’s usually met with “I get bad cramps on my period too” thanks but that’s not the same thing. My first round of depression came when my original doctor didn’t believe there was anything wrong with me. (You can read my full story about finding a diagnosis here.) Let me tell you, when a medical professional brushes your life altering symptoms off and tells you that you’re fine, that will mess you up. I felt like a crazy person, and that feeling didn’t go away for a close to a year. 

4. It’s isolating. The only people who truly understand you are people who also have endometriosis, and with 1 in 10 women suffering from it, you’re not really surrounded by people who get it. I love my EndoSisters but it’s not the same as having someone who loves you really understanding the illness. My family and friends are supportive, but there is a jealousy that happens when you see them going about their unaltered lives with complete control over their body, able to push themselves and eat junk with no immediate consequences. 

So how do you make it through with all things considered? I have a few ways I cope. I take as good of care of myself as possible; between my diet and my work with a holistic practitioner I try to give my body it’s best chance for success with the hopes it will return the favor. I surround myself with people who love me, just knowing I have their support is enough motivation to keep me going. I treat myself when I can; if I’m going to live in my heating pad on my couch or bed, you can bet they’re going to be the nicest  damn heating pad, couch or bed I can afford, I do not skimp on luxury because I know I’ll get my money’s worth. I also don’t feel bad about splurging on my social life, when I am well enough to go out, I’m not going to feel guilty when I rack up a tab celebrating with my friends. I do things that make me feel good; I get a massage every month, treat myself to reiki when I want, and I recently did a photo shoot where I got to be pampered by three fabulous ladies while I drank champagne. I highly recommend doing a shoot like this, it sounds conceited, but on days I feel the most broken I can look at my pictures and think “Yeah but look how hot you are!”. It’s important to love your body, especially when you feel like it betrays you. (You can see my shoot here if you don’t mind a little skin!) I’ve also had to stop comparing myself to the old me before my endo got bad, removing thoughts like “I used to be able to clean the whole house on my day off” has made a big difference in my mood. Look, I know depression is going to happen, you are allowed to be upset about your chronic illness, and if you need to spend a week on the couch feeling sorry for yourself go right ahead, but don’t unpack your bags and live there. If you do find yourself unable to overcome the negative feelings, please get help, you’ve already survived 100% of your bad days up to this point, there’s no reason to mess up your perfect track record. 

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PALEO SPICY KALE AND ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE SOUP

Below zero weather in Ohio and a stuffy nose calls for soup, and this paleo spicy kale and andouille sausage soup is just what the doctor ordered! (Actually the doctor would probably order rest and antibiotics, but I don’t have time for that nonsense, so soup will have to do!).

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This recipe was inspired by a version from a local Columbus bakery, Sassafras, except they do it with collard greens and black eyed peas. It is delicious! (And while you’re there you might as well pick up a flourless coconut truffle, because you deserve it!) I was craving the original, but I started another round of Whole 30 so I needed to paleo-fy it! I took the black eyed peas out, doubled the sausage, replaced the collard greens with the kale I had on hand, and used homemade nourishing bone broth as the base. It’s close enough to the original, so it satisfies my craving and they only make it every once in awhile, so I highly recommend having this recipe on hand to get you through your own Sassafras withdrawals!

Ingredients:

4 ounces andouille sausage; chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion; diced
1 and 1/2 quarts organic chicken stock (or homemade bone broth)
5 stalks of kale; chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

In a Dutch oven or stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat; add andouille sausage and cook until brown, stirring occasionally. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Turn stovetop down to a simmer, add the chicken stock and cover for 20 minutes. Place the kale in the pot (it looks like a lot but it cooks down quite a bit) cover and allow to cook for another 5 minutes; or until kale is tender but still bright green. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

PALEO CHIPOTLE MAPLE ROASTED PECANS

Spicy/sweet might be my favorite flavor combination, so these paleo chipotle maple roasted pecans are extremely addictive!

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As I was packaging these up to give as gifts this holiday season, I couldn’t help sampling them in a “one for you, one for me, one for you and two for me…” manner. After my husband tried one he made sure to check “these aren’t all being given away right? You’ll keep some for us?” So I guess you can say they’re a hit!

Ingredients:

2 cups pecans
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp melted butter or ghee
3 Tbsp maple syrup

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Place pecans in a medium bowl, combine maple syrup and melted butter and add to pecans, stir until evenly coated. In a small bowl mix salt, cinnamon and chipotle powder, toss with pecans until evenly coated.

Spread pecans out on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 15 minutes, stirring the pecans every 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool. If they hang around long enough to need stored, just keep them in an airtight container. Enjoy!

MAPLE ALMOND PALEO MERINGUES

Biting into these maple almond paleo meringues is like eating a cloud made out of cinnamon toast crunch.

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Im not much of a baker (cooking is an art, baking is a science, and I’ve always been more of an artist), so I had to rely on the talents over at Gourmande in the Kitchen to get me through this round of holiday baking. These turned out perfectly! The only tweak I made was using ground almonds instead of chopped almonds because I got a little eager with the food processor, and I also omitted the sea salt sprinkle on top.

Here’s a word from the wise (because I made this mistake) don’t package them up with anything particularly moist, I put them in a tin with some paleo marshmellows to give as a gift, and the meringues absorbed the moisture from the marshmellows and turned into a dense, sticky mess. Whomp whomp!

Enjoy! And tell Sylvie at Gourmande in the Kitchen that I sent you!

HOLIDAY GIFTS UNDER $30: SMALL BUSINESS EDITION

I wanted to share one more special Holiday Gift Guide featuring my favorite items from small businesses in my community. If you’re looking to grow your small business year round, Kabbage specializes in helping small businesses! While I have not personally used their services, it seems like a great alternative to traditional loans!

Since I already focused on getting those hard to buy for people on your list taken care of a few weeks ago (here!) I wanted to round out your holiday shopping with a few last minute gifts. At this point you’re probably running low on time and money (at least I am) so I kept all of the gifts under $30 and all on the same street: Grandview Ave in Columbus, OH!

Earth Elements: Seabolt & Co. Hydrate Toner $18

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I am obsessed with the “Hydrate” toner from Seabolt & Co. Technically it is geared towards men, but I use my husband’s body wash and deodorant sometimes, so that doesn’t stop me. It’s all natural, sulfate, paraben, preservative and gluten free, vegan, and never tested on animals. This is the perfect gift for the person on your list who is constantly on the go. They can toss the spray in their bag and use a spritz to freshen up after the gym, between the office and meeting friends for drinks, and before going into the office the next day if those previous night’s drinks have them looking less than fresh. For a more personal gift, Earth Elements provides custom skin care blends such as lotions, shower gels and bath salts.

The Candle Lab: Pour Your Own Candle $16

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This would be a fun gift to give to someone where you come back later and make candles together! You pick your container, custom blend up to three scents and get to design your own label! Another cool option is to bring in your own container and have it filled for $1.75 per ounce.

Peabody Papers: Holiday Cards $11

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I like to give my regular clients at the salon a little hand written card around the holidays. This is perfect for the people in your life who you might not buy a gift for, but you still want them to know you’re thinking of them during the holiday season! Peabody has tons of beautiful readymade cards, or you can work with them to design your own. I just love how sophisticated these black and gold ones are, and for $11 for a pack of twenty, you can’t beat that!

Vernacular: Old Fashioned Glasses $20

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How sexy are these glasses?! They’re like drinking out of Don Draper and Roger Sterling (Yes please!). These are perfect for the mad man in your life who enjoys a good drink! Vernacular (formerly Objects For The Home, don’t worry, same owners, same amazing finds) is full of awesome gifts for everyone on your list, whatever your price range.

The Oilerie: The Oilerie Balsamic $20

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This 25 year aged balsamic is AH-mazing! If you have a foodie on your shopping list, look no further than this. I’m not kidding when I tell you in my house this stuff goes on everything! I’ve put it on roasted vegetables, salads, steak, and even ice cream! (Told you I’m obsessed!). They also have a bunch of different infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars, I highly recommend the truffle olive oil!

Elli Nail Spa: The Care To Indulge Manicure $26
You didn’t think I’d leave out the best nail salon in Columbus, OH did you? Pick up a gift card for The Care To Indulge Manicure, and treat someone on your list to sugar scrub, a warm towel wrap and a massage with the lotion scent of their choice. After all the wrapping, cooking and washing of dishes, a manicure is much needed! You deserve one too so you might as well pick up a few!

What’s your favorite small business you support?

AN APPLE A DAY AB&J (OR PALEO ALMOND BUTTER AND JELLY SANDWICH)

Last week I had a real hankering for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, however now that I’m 90% paleo, that wasn’t going to happen. Also there wasn’t any bread or peanut butter in the house, so there’s that… You know what they say though: necessity is the mother of invention; and satisfying this craving was very necessary.

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I hate to even call this a recipe, I slapped some almond butter and strawberry preserves on an apple, but somehow this became my most “liked” Instagram photo of all time, so I felt the need to post it!

Ingredients:

1 Apple
Almond Butter
Jelly (I used homemade, processed sugar free strawberry preserves)

Slice and core the apple, spread as much almond butter and jelly on a slice as you prefer. Top with another slice of apple. Enjoy!

*this recipe is totally customizable, use any nut butter, jelly or even chocolate chip combination you want!

PALEO, VEGAN AND GLUTEN FREE CHRISTMAS COOKIES

If you have someone with dietary restrictions on your Christmas cookie list (or you are the person with dietary restrictions and don’t want to miss out on delicious holiday treats!) you have come to the right place! I have something for everybody: gluten free, dairy free, grain free, nut free, paleo, vegan and a combination of all! These Christmas treats are sure to please everyone, including those who can have the real thing!

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M&M Monster Cookies: Gluten Free

Buckeye Bark: Gluten Free, can be made vegan with non dairy chocolate and butter substitute

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies: Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Carrot Cake Cookies: Paleo, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, can be made vegan by replacing egg with a “flaxseed egg”

Ooey Gooey Mint Chocolate Brownie Cookies: Gluten Free, Nut Free, Grain Free

PALEO BAKED CAULIFLOWER FRITTERS

Paleo cauliflower fritters, dumplings, bites, balls….I have no idea what to call these except delicious! I’ve topped them with gravy, dropped them in soup, dipped them in BBQ sauce, they can be whatever you want them to be! I made a big batch and neutrally seasoned them so they could be really versatile, but you could also add Italian seasoning and top them with marinara, or add parsley for faux falafel! The possibilities are endless!

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Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower
3 eggs
1/2 cup almond flour
1tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder

*Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Rinse and remove leafs from head of cauliflower. In a food processor, pulse cauliflower until pieces are about the size of a grain of rice. (You can also use a box grater to grate the cauliflower if you don’t have a food processor.)
In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, pepper, chipotle and garlic powder, add eggs and cauliflower. Stir until cauliflower is coated completely.

Form the mixture into two inch balls (pack them tightly, like a snowball!), and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Enjoy!

THE STAY AT WORK HOUSEWIFE’S 2014 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

Here’s my holiday gift guide for even the trickiest recipient on your list, because why should Oprah get to have all the fun?

For your super stylish sister:

Greater Than earrings from Eli & Barry.  These dainty 10k gold earrings go with everything, so they’re perfect for your super stylish sister, who most people just get a gift card, rather than trying to match her awesome taste!

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For your mom who never treats herself:

An Ivory Faux Fur Throw from World Market. Would she buy herself a throw that’s over $50? No.  Will she act like you might as well have spent $500 with the way she’ll ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ as she pets it?  Yes.

For your friend who is always networking:

The One In A Million business card holder from Kate Spade will ensure she’s always ready to make a connection.

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For your control freak boss:

The Arc Customizable Notebook by Staples, as a control freak myself, I can tell you that this is the greatest notebook ever!  The size is perfect to toss in a purse, the pages are repositionable, and it gives you the option to add more pages like graphing paper and pocket dividers.  Plus, the leather cover is totally chic!

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For your bibliophile aunt:

Personalized self-inking “This Book Belongs To” stamp from Cre8tive Rubber Stamp.  She’ll never lose a book in Book Club again!

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For your Dad, because Dad’s are hard to buy for:

A personalized wooden beer carrier from MVwoodworks.  He doesn’t have one already, and I know you’re getting tired of just giving him sporting goods store gift cards….

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For your high tech significant other:

The Catchall iPhone 6 Dock from Jigsaw Furnishings.  If your significant other is anything like mine, even though he lives in the same house as you, and most likely was the one who sat his belongings down, you constantly hear the phrase “Have you seen my…..”  Solve that with this smartphone dock that also holds keys, a wallet, glasses and a watch.  Just don’t move it when you clean.

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Did this help you mark anyone off your Christmas list?

PALEO CHIPOTLE ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

Is there anything more comforting on a chilly day than a big bowl of Paleo chipotle roasted butternut squash soup? It is 13 degrees in Ohio right now and there’s a few inches of snow on the ground. THIRTEEN DEGREES!!!! Ugh! It hurts to breathe outside and my nosebleeds are already starting. THE STATE I LIVE IN GIVES ME NOSEBLEEDS PEOPLE! I’m not made for the cold, I HATE WINTER! But here’s the conflicting part: I LOVE wearing bulky sweaters and boots, curling up under a faux fur blanket with Tyler and some Paleo hot cocoa, I’m obsessed with Christmas lights and music, and everything else that comes with being cold, except for the cold! I could handle living somewhere that the low is about 35 degrees, someone find me three salons to manage in a place like that, then convince my family and friends to move with me! Anyways, one of my favorite ways to cope with the cold weather is to make a big batch of soup! This Chipotle Roasted Butternut Squash Soup hits all of my comfort food needs: warm, creamy, spicy, sweet!

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Ingredients:

1 butternut squash; peeled and cubed
1 yellow onion, diced
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
5 cups broth/vegetable stock (I used my homemade chicken bone broth but for vegan/vegetarian use vegetable stock)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 and 1/2 tsp Chipotle powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon

*Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Spread butternut squash and onions onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, lightly coat in olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 45-60 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring halfway through.

In a large pot (I used my Dutch oven) over medium heat add broth, coconut milk, chipotle powder, cinnamon, and the roasted butternut squash and onions. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and blend, either with an immersion blender or in a food processor/vitamix.

I like mine topped with roasted pecans or pumpkin seeds! Enjoy!