Beautiful Winter 2014!

I know most people are already over this whole snow / blizzard type weather we’ve been having but I find it really beautiful. Had so much fun going for a walk with my husband at night to admire the beautiful creations of nature. Here are several photos from our walk.

Nika Photo, Dominika Czekanski Winter Snow Nika Photo-2 Nika Photo LLC, Dominika Czekanski Nika Photo LLC, Dominika Czekanski Nika Photo

Going Gluten Free for Health and Hopefully Pregnancy and Baby Reasons

Recently, as in two weeks ago, I discovered some interesting and important news about my health…I found out I have a gene mutation, and that it’s actually very common one, about 45% people have this mutation, but also that it affects pregnancy. I found this out totally by chance, since I had blood work done on the request of my new doctor….since my husband and I have decided to try to start a family and have encountered issues of infertility for over a year. Being that I like to research anything and everything and find a solution to any and all problems, I have been on a quest for the past year to determine what was causing my infertility. I went through countless blood tests, and have seen lots of doctors, always searching but never getting the answer, that magic solution. At one point I had so many blood tests done in the span of one month (as in every other day) that I felt drained (literally) of all my blood. I started joking that the lab I was going to must be working for vampires cause it’s impossible that they would need this many vials of blood each day! But any woman out there who is suffering through infertility treatments can account and vouch to that what I am saying is true. I was put on all types of drugs to treat my infertility, but since I have a pretty sensitive system, my body rejected pretty much every single type of medicine that was offered to me as the “cure” to my no baby blues. At one point in August last year I was put on a newer injectable drug called HCG, now if you know me, then you know I am not a needle person (as in, I pass out when I see needles haha). Well my motto this whole time has been “anything for baby” so I sucked it up and taught myself to bear and grin it and get over my fear of needles and actually would give myself injections every other day for two months  into my stomach of this HCG stuff….well like I said my body is not very good with responding to medicine/drugs and by my second cycle of this stuff I ended up in the ER. I practically stopped breathing, so basically my body said “NO I don’t like this crap!”. I was devastated as the doctor had told me that this was my best chance at getting pregnant since I also have endometriosis. Then I started thinking that I’ve always steered towards more natural solutions and decided that maybe instead of drugs I should look into figuring out what my health issues were and then doing everything in my power to fix it naturally, meaning via the food / diet I eat. Afterall the saying that “you are what you eat” is pretty accurate. By November my husband was done training for the NYC Marathon and that meant that we could start eating more healthy and well-balanced meals instead of eating tons of pasta everyday. I went on-line everyday and tried to find information regarding infertility and how to treat it with food.

Then one day I came across a book  called “The Infertility Cure” by Randine Lewis. It’s a book based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and it looks at every part of your body and well-being to figure out what is out of balance and then gives suggestions as to what foods you should eat and which ones you should avoid depending on how you answered the questionier in the book and it’s definitely more specific to your body and not just the standard general issue take folic acid (more about this later) and eat an apple a day! I am not kidding but the day the book arrived in the mail, I sat down and read it from front to back in one sitting (all 283 pages)! I grabbed a highlighter and marked any pages that I found particularly pertinent to my case and issues.  Before I was done I was seeing a pattern already and everything was making sense, there was logic to it all, and I love logic!!! haha

So fast forward another 2 months and this January 2014 I had some extra blood tests done that my mom’s doctor (Hemotologist) suggested totally by chance since my mom mentioned to him that I was having trouble getting pregnant and he told her that there is actually blood disorders that can prevent women from getting pregnant so he suggested I do a few of these test…little did I know that this blood test involved 15 vials of blood being taken but in this case it turned out to be very beneficial. The test revealed a C677T mutation and a Factor II mutation, which basically is associated with early pregnancy miscarriages and blood clotting issues. As soon as I got the results in the mail 2 weeks ago I was on a mission, I wanted to learn everything possible about this, and that’s how I discovered that because of the MTHFR C677T mutation the methylation process in my body is defective and that means that my body can’t process Folic Acid!!! Again, if you are any woman trying to get pregnant you know that is the first thing a doctor tells you is you must take a folic acid supplement because it’s good for preventing major birth defects in the fetus…well that is not the case for the 45% of women who have a C677T mutation because their bodies can’t process and break down the folic acid. People with the C677T mutation though can get their needed nutrients naturally from food in the form of folate, which folic acid is the synthetic version of folate. This little discovery was eye-opening! For the past year I have been basically poisoning my body with folic acid because I thought I was helping myself and prepping my body for possible pregnancy, when in turn I was doing the opposite! Now I will be cooking and eating a diet rich in natural folate to supplement this imbalance, that means dark leafy greens and beets. I also went to see a doctor locally who is trained in traditional Chinese medicine and he is currently putting together a diet plan for me that is hopefully going to put my body back into balance and help me conceive. Already he told me that due to my gene mutation I have to stay away from all wheat products, hence my gluten-free diet, since my body is unable to process gluten. I have to say that in the two weeks that I have stopped eating anything with gluten in it, I have already started feeling more full of energy and healthy, but the most surprising was the fact that my belly, which al.ways looked bloated and I used to make jokes that it was my preggy belly when I was younger, magically in the past two weeks has almost completely disappeared since I stopped eating wheat! I lost 5 LBS, which is not huge but in a span of two weeks I think it’s amazing! I am very excited to see what the new TCM doctor gives me as my body specific diet outline because I am already seeing results just from these changes. Sending Baby Dust to all those out there trying to get pregnant, and those who were successful I would love to hear your stories and any advice you may have that helped you get pregnant.

Awesome Super Easy Hearty Mushroom Soup

Nika Photo

Easy to make Hearty Mushroom Soup

SUPER EASY HEARTY MUSHROOM SOUP

INGREDIENTS:

1 Large carton of Bella Mushrooms from your local supermarket

1 oz of Porcini Mushrooms

2 cans of Beef Broth (14.5 oz cans each)

1 Large Onion diced

3 garlic cloves minced

1 TBLSP of Olive Oil

1 TBLSP of  Thyme

3 TBLSP of French Brandy

Salt & Pepper to taste

The Easy RECIPE:

1) First in a 3 to 4 Quart pot add olive oil and heat the onions on medium heat until golden yellow.

2) Then add the finely sliced mushrooms (both types), and the salt & pepper, the thyme, and the minced garlic. Simmer on low heat until the mushrooms turn a nice rich brown color and the onion and mushroom flavors blend.

3) Add the French Brandy and simmer for 1-2 minutes longer to allow the flavors to combine.

4) Pour the contents of the two cans of beef broth into the pot and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cover, simmer for another 10-15 minutes. And Voila you have a hearty mushroom soup. Enjoy!

rolls of meat and avocado

Italian Sushi Appetizer

This is my take on Italian style sushi, or a roll-up, but I like sushi better cause I love sushi!

You will need:  Pesto, Avocado, Tomato, Mozzarella, and Procciutto

Nika Photo Food

The ingredients, mozzarella, avocado, tomato, procciutto, and pesto

It’s super simple, just place the procciutto on a cutting board and then add slices of avocado and mozzarella, and place small tomato slices on top of that.

food recipe italian

Mozzarella avocado and tomato on a procciutto slice

Next add a dalop of the pesto on top and PRESTO! You’re almost done!

pesto

A dalop of Pesto

Next just roll it all up, just like a sushi roll.

roll up appetizer Nika Photo

Roll Up the prociutto be carefull not to tear up the delicate texture of the procciutto

Then just cut it up into bite size pieces and you can add a tooth pick to each one for easy grabbing off the plate, but watch out they’ll be gone fast! 🙂

rolls of meat and avocado

Voil-a there you have it Italian style sushi thst’s sure to make any party a success