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In recent days, I've been doing a lot of research surrounding my condition, pelvic floor dysfunction, and its relationship to stressors on the body. This research has led me to believe that a number of factors have been playing a huge role in my condition and its progression.
Under-eating, over-exercising, and failure to destress are all extremely wearing on the body. All three of these factors cause tension; in my case, that tension took residence within my pelvic floor muscles. Because I wasn't showing myself the tender love and care that my body so desperately craved, things began to tighten up, wreaking havoc and causing a great deal of damage.
Nowadays, I can acknowledge that I have overworked myself. In doing so, I did my past self, my present self, and my future self a huge injustice by disregarding human beings' most basic need - rest. Failure to slow down and breathe resulted in my body's failure to function properly. That said, I refuse to stand idly by any longer. I am going to my life back.
In order to take my life back, I decided that, first and foremost, I wanted to see where my stress hormones are standing nowadays. There are a number of ways to achieve this—saliva tests, blood tests, and urine tests. After meeting with my family doctor, he decided that my best bet would be to do a 24-Hour Urine Collection. This particular test, he said, would be able to test VMA, Metanephrines, and 5-HIAA. And so, I agreed to go ahead with the testing. There was a catch, though.
When testing VMA, Metanephrines, and 5-HIAA (through a urine collection, anyways), your diet needs to be restricted. How so? For two days beforehand and the day of, you cannot eat: bananas, plums, kiwis, caffeinated beverages, chocolate, vanilla, nuts (especially walnuts), avocados, tomatoes, or eggplants. This was a bit of a problem for me. I eat bananas, chocolate, vanilla, walnuts, and avocados just about every single day. Three days without them would most definitely be a struggle. Here I am, though, still breathing, having survived the unthinkable feat of excluding these delicious, healthy foods from my diet.
Admittedly, being a pescatarian who doesn't eat dairy, gluten, soy, corn, zucchini, cucumbers, and peanuts, preparing food required a bit of planning. I was suddenly even more limited in the foods that I could eat. I mean - even most of my protein powders contained chocolate or vanilla flavouring. However, I managed. Having done so, I'm going to share day one of my short-lived banana, chocolate, vanilla, nut, and avocado-free diet.
By now, it's no secret that my all-time favourite food is pancakes. Oat flour, coconut flour, plantain; it doesn't matter. I just really love pancakes. And so, that's exactly what I made for breakfast. To make mine, I blended the following ingredients in my Magic Bullet: 1/4 cup of oats, 2 tbsp of coconut flour, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk, 1 tsp of baking stevia, 1/2 tsp baking powder, and a pinch of pink Himalayan salt. Next, I simply poured the batter into a non-stick pan over low-medium heat. And then, once bubbles formed and began to burst, I flipped the pancake, waited for it to rise, and removed it from the heat. Once all of my fluffy pancakes were ready, I topped them with Walden Farms cinnamon raisin "peanut butter."
After breakfast, I wasn't fully satisfied, obviously. I had anticipated that this would happen. Since upping my fats and overall calories, I have been going through food much faster. That being the case, the night before, I prepped chia seed pudding. To make it, I combined 2 tbsp of black chia seeds, 1/2 scoop of Vega coconut almond protein powder, and 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk in a small dish. And then, I sat it in the fridge and let it sit overnight. Note: If you're making this the day of, I would recommend letting the chia seeds soak for at least two hours.
When lunch time rolled around, I was craving a big bowl of oatmeal; no surprise there. To satisfying my craving, I cooked together: 3/4 cup of quick oats, 1-1/2 cups of water, 1/2 tbsp of ground flax seed, 1/2 cup of frozen riced cauliflower, 1/4 cup of frozen blueberries, 1 tsp of baking stevia, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, and pink Himalayan sea salt. Once my oats were done cooking, I let them cool down and added in 1/2 scoop of Vega coconut almond protein powder. To top everything off, I added extra frozen blueberries, a big spoonful of Walden Farms cinnamon raisin "peanut butter," hemp hearts, pepitas, and black chia seeds.
As a "post-lunch snack"—you could call it—I had one of my favourite foods, it is a Japanese sweet potato. Now, let me just say that you cannot go wrong with Japanese sweet potato, in my opinion. I love it baked, steamed, boiled; you name it. That said, I had just cooked a large one in my family's Instant Pot (by pressure-cooking it for 23 minutes on the steaming rack, with about a cup of water). And so, I mashed a quarter of it with a fork and ate it with a spoon. Admittedly, it sounds weird, but I swear that it's a thick, creamy, and delicious snack.
Something that I've been doing lately is following my lunches up with a hot coconut oil drink. I feel like including this in my diet has been doing wonders for my skin. Plus, it helps satiate me and keep weird cravings at bay. From day to day, my hot coconut oil drink varies. Some days, it's hot chocolate. Other days, it's an almond milk turmeric latte. Today, however, it was simply: 1 tsp or so of extra virgin coconut oil, 1 heaped tsp of decaf instant coffee, 1 tsp of Krisda stevia sweetener, a shake of pumpkin pie spice, and boiling water. I definitely recommend trying something similar, if you're someone who tends to snack a lot between lunch and dinner. I used to have a really bad habit of doing so.
If you keep up to date on my blog posts, you're no stranger to my recent cabbage obsession. For a good month or so now, I've been obsessed with suppers largely-comprised of this cruciferous vegetable (paired with whatever veggies I have on hand and some variety of beans). This night, I whipped up a pan of sautéed onion, garlic, celery, white mushrooms, green cabbage, red cabbage, flaked light tuna, and pinto beans (my favourite!). The mixture was seasoned with my favourite spices: turmeric, ginger, black pepper, and pink Himalayan sea salt. When serving, I tucked all of this plant-based goodness into romaine lettuce cups, and I paired it alongside a big plate of baby spinach, honeycrisp apple, pepitas, and prepared yellow mustard.
Lately, I've been obsessed with making a batch of avocado energy balls on the daily. They're quick and easy to make. Plus, they're high in healthy fats, making them a satiating snack (or, as we're concerned, here - dessert). If you remember my list of restricted foods, though, you'll remember that I couldn't eat avocado during this time. For that reason, I had to get creative. I ended up mashing together: about half a cup of pressure-cooked Japanese sweet potato, 1/2 a scoop of Vega coconut almond protein and greens, and 2 tbsp of coconut flour. Once everything was well-incorporated, I rolled the mixture into bite-sized energy balls. Admittedly, they were a little sticky, but it was my first time making such a thing, so it was to be expected. In the future, I'll either use less sweet potato or more dry ingredients. Either way, they were good enough to eat the entire batch (which made 10 energy balls) for dessert.
Following my "Japanese sweet potato energy balls"—you could call them—I was finally full and done eating for the day. All in all, day one wasn't too, too bad. All of my food tasted good, so it was satisfying in that way. However, I definitely needed a greater volume of food to physically satisfy me. Taking out my two main sources of fats - avocados and nuts -made it so I had to eat a lot more "lower-quality" sources, such as oats, coconut flour, and seeds. As well, I'd be lying if I said that I didn't seriously crave bananas, chocolate-coated protein bars, and vanilla coconut yogurt all throughout the day. Regardless, I ended the night feeling full and content.