Friday, May 30, 2014

Wedding Flowers: A Calculated Reduction of Stress

Wedding flowers are tricky things because they have so many variables to them. They must be in season. They must be delivered on the correct date. They must be kept at the correct temperature. They must have the correct amount of water. They must be tended to the correct number of hours in advance so that they bloom at the correct time for the ceremony. To summarize, they were a portion of my wedding that I was not particularly looking forward to and I kept procrastinating on the decision. Finally, I decided to do something non-traditional.

Photo by Rebekah Sampson Photography.
Flowers by Posh Studios.
I found paper origami flowers on Etsy.

Photo by Rebekah Sampson Photography.
Flowers by Posh Studios.
In searching for something low-stress and practical, I stumbled upon something absolutely beautiful and better than any of my dreams.

Photo by Rebekah Sampson Photography.
Flowers by Posh Studios.
My wedding bouquet contained pages from Sherlock Holmes. My father gifted me this book as a young child and my husband likes to claim that my brain works frighteningly similar to Sherlock's mind. Even the small detail of the print on the paper, a detail I didn't even know to ask about, was perfect.

Photo by Rebekah Sampson Photography.
Flowers by Posh Studios.
Because I had a destination wedding, I did not see the flowers until the day before the wedding. My flowers arrived in the desert before I did! Yet they looked exactly the same the day they arrived, the day before the wedding, the day of the wedding, and the day after the wedding. This worked to my advantage considering the amount of rain we had on our wedding day! All of our formal couple pictures were taken the next day with my bridal bouquet showing no signs of wilting.

Photo by Rebekah Sampson Photography.
Flowers by Posh Studios.
It is impossible to eliminate all stress from life. And frankly, I wouldn't want to. That's not truly living. Life is all about experiencing both the happy stress and the not so happy stress. Cortisol is the buffer that allows people to handle all types of stress. Because I have Adrenal Insufficiency, I produce no cortisol. This leaves me two options: I can either surrender my life to my disease or I can fight it.

Photo by Rebekah Sampson Photography.
Flowers by Posh Studios.
Paper origami wedding flowers in lieu of live flowers allowed me to save spoons for my wedding day. As I think back to how I found the perfect wedding dress, I also smile as I realize I found the perfect wedding flowers as well.

Photo by Rebekah Sampson Photography.
Flowers by Posh Studios.
I choose to fight to be Clearly Alive. I choose to LIVE with my Adrenal Insufficiency. I choose to reduce unnecessary stress so that I can focus on good stress and live my life to the fullest.

Photo by Rebekah Sampson Photography.
Flowers by Posh Studios.

Friday, May 23, 2014


On April 25th, my husband and I flew to Singapore. We decided to take the trip on that Monday, booked our flights on that Tuesday, and flew out that Friday night. We had no itinerary. We just knew we wanted to see Gardens by the Bay.

Goal of the weekend: See those Dr. Seuss trees.
When I woke up on Saturday, my first thought was "What's for breakfast?" Although better cortisol coverage has lessoned the severity of my hypoglycemic like episodes, I still have a limited window of time from when I wake up and when I must eat substantial food. I grabbed my pre-breakfast snack of a mixed nut bar, left a note for my still sleeping husband, then ventured down to the river to scout out food.

Our hotel was located right on the river.
Eating gluten free in Asia is proving to be a challenge. This isn't because all dishes have gluten but rather because they are not accustomed to being asked about the ingredients. Food allergies seem to be uncommon here which creates a lack of understanding. However, as I wandered the small cafes and shops along the river, I stumbled across a hole-in-the-wall cafe that looked promising. The owner was un-familiar with gluten intolerance, but he could explain every ingredient in his dishes. I brought my husband back to this cafe and we enjoyed our breakfast alongside the Singapore River.

Our river taxi, with some of the Singapore skyline in the background.
After breakfast, we began our journey to Gardens by the Bay. We took a water taxi and ended up at large mall on the bay just as it started to rain. For my Florida friends, picture the daily afternoon downpour that you can set your watch to. As we waited out the storm in the mall, we decided to eat lunch.
Pure Fruit: Definitely Gluten Free.
Roasted Animals: Can be gluten free, but be very careful with the sauces they roast them with.
Pure Flour: NOT Gluten Free
Pure Seafood: Gluten Free
I was very appreciative of this mall's food court. Most of the employees still could not answer the question of "ingredients" when I asked, but all kitchens were open. I could see how the food was prepared. My husband and I decided on Baja Fresh to enjoy a little taste of home. I did chuckle at the amount of rice in our burrito bowl. The rice to bean ratio of Baja Fresh Singapore is much higher than that of Baja Fresh Arizona. Also, we did finally make it to Gardens by the Bay. Somehow a ten minute walk from the water taxi stand turned into a three hour journey with Baja Fresh but we didn't mind!

Dr Seuss Trees success!
However, due to the second impending storm, we were not allowed up the Dr Seuss Trees.
Then it was time for dinner, my husband's choice. He took me to Singapore's only gluten free restaurant: Glee Kitchen. I wanted to cry tears of relief when I walked through the doors. I could eat anything on the menu and not be afraid. I could just enjoy. Woah.

Fresh salad with made from scratch dressing.
Lemongrass rice pasta with prawns.
Gluten free chocolate cake.
So. Good.
Glee Kitchen is a fairly new restaurant and Keirra's passion. I loved chatting with Keirra and learning about her journey. Six years ago, she took her son off of gluten to see if it would alleviate behavior problems. Doctors told her she was wasting her time but she refused to give up her hunt to find the true problem. She was tired of masking symptoms with more pills. Parts of her story reminded me of my mom's own determination to fight for her child's health and to never give up. Keirra described her journey as living through the dark ages of gluten intolerance.

Eugene and Keirra. Eugene's cooking was amazing!
She explained that in America, people are beginning to grow accustomed to the question "What is this made of?" In Asia, this is not a common question. They did not have to worry about ingredients because they were eating real food. Keirra also explained how Asians are starting to discover the ill effects of highly processed food due to the sudden influx of Western style food.

Standing outside of Glee Kitchen.
In that respect, Glee Kitchen is ahead of its time for Singapore. The open air kitchen and amazing home cooked food reminded me of a smaller version of True Food Kitchen. If you are in Singapore and are gluten free, you must stop by Glee Kitchen. This dinner was the highlight of our quick weekend get-away.

You can see the kitchen as they cook.
This experience also reminded me of the importance of a healthy life style. There is no cure for Primary Adrenal Insufficiency. My daily medicine is just a band-aid patch to sustain my life. I do not buy into the false promise of swallow these pills and return back to a "normal" life. However, I am living a seemingly normal life with my Adrenal Insufficiency. But I also place a priority on my health which includes actively monitoring my diet. What I feed my body plays a huge role in how well I feel. I want to eat real food and only real food. I want to understand the ingredients. I don't want to eat science experiments and things I cannot pronounce. Changing my diet was a purposeful choice that left me feeling more alive and all around healthy.

Am I diseased? Yes. Am I healthy? Yes. Am I Clearly Alive? Always.

My Husband is a bit more adventurous than I am.
That's as far as I was going out on that palm tree!