“The Mindy Kaling” -Sweet Tooth Smoothie

Much like what my parents say about me, this smoothie was the best accident that ever happened. I was out of ingredients for my usual sweet tooth stopper, so i decided to just scavange around my house for whatever i could find. What ensued was possibly the second best thing i ever did by accident, (the first best thing  was this one time, while i was trying to find the newest episode of Grey’s Anatomy, i accidentally clicked on “The Mindy Project,” and stumbled upon my Guru.) Actually, much like Mindy this smoothie is sweet, quirky, and dressed in a smokin shade of pink-purple. It also couldn’t care less about convention (the ingredients get weird.) Try reaching for this as a dessert option instead of that bowl of ice cream, and your system (and abs, actually,) will be singing your praises.

So without further ado, i present to you, dolls, the Mindy Kaling (Omg, celebrity named smoothies? I feel a theme coming on…)

The Mindy Kaling

Handful Frozen Strawberries

(BIG) Handful Frozen blueberries

Half a Banana

Pure 100 percent Pomegranite Juice

As much kale as your brave heart desires

Half a Cup Ceres- Litchee Pear Juice**- If you don’t know what this is, close the laptop you’re on right now and smack yourself over the head with it. This is the best line of juices ever to be created, as they never ever add sugar and its just fresh fruit purees and juices. No added anything. They are swoon-worthy alone, and UNREAL when artfully used in a smoothie.

**If you don’t have access to this, i would use fresh pear or maybe a pure mango juice. Something with a high natural sugar content.

Top with Unsalted Slivered Almonds for a little craving-smack-down protein kick.

Try not to pass out from the sugary perfection.

Stay badass,

Leah

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“The Beyonce”

One of my most favorites, i call this smoothie “The Beyonce,” due to it’s timeless, simplistic elegance and it’s ability to make you feel like the Queen Bee herself. One sip of this and you won’t care whether or not there’s a ring on it…smoothies are the only love you need.  This is my go to breakfast or post gym snack, and even my junk food junkie friends lap it up.

The Beyonce:

About one cup liquid base of your choice ( I use coconut water, but almond milk, regular water, or really whatever floats your boat will do. It’s a really flexible recipe.)

One cup Kale (You won’t taste it, i promise.)

1/2 cup Fresh Blueberries

1/4 avocado- (You wont taste it, but it makes this TO DIE FOR creamy consistency and adds a little calorie-good fat value.)

One cup frozen mixed berries (Try to get the ones that the ONLY ingredients are frozen mixed berries.)

Half a fresh banana (I usually eat the other half during smoothie prep. )

A drizzle of honey

Optional add ins:

Chia seeds- (for protein, usually my after-gym add in.)

Extra ice- (For more of a slushie, less of a smoothie consistency. Not my cup of tea but little kids seem to prefer it this way.)

I usually top it with pomegranate seeds and fresh raspberries for a little crunch and antioxidant boost. Swoon.

Stay badass!!

Screw Diamonds, Smoothies are a Girl’s Best Friend

Ohhh smoothies. Revered by all as the ultimate “fit girl food,” these low cal, high nutrient, dessert-like masterpieces are something i might be just a little bit TOO passionate about. They also happen to be the  unsung heroes of nutritional value. No matter how much credit they get, no matter how many instagram accounts are dedicated solely to the purpose of worshiping them, they will always be underrated to me. As someone who, to put it lightly, sucks at eating, i will be forever in the debt of these lovely little nourishment super drinks. Because of the blending process, the nutrients are all ready to be absorbed by your body, without you poor gut having to do any of the dirty work. They also have the benefit of giving you all the energy of a full meal (when done right,) without any of the belly ache or time consumption. Don’t get me wrong, i am a TOTAL foodie. I love food. I’ve had romantic feelings towards chocolate before that far surpass anything i’ve felt for another human. But on those days when i want to feel like a rockstar, hit the gym, ace the exam, and come out swinging, it’s all about the blend for me. SO, without further ado, i present to you the section of my blog dedicated to my one true love. Smoothies. I intend to add new recipes on the daily, (as i discover them,) and also post my classics for specific symptoms or goals. Whether it’s curing a headache, shedding a few pounds, shedding more then a few pounds, gaining a few pounds, fixing a mood, a little detox or just a craving, there’s a smoothie for it. And i intend to master them all.

Every day (hopefully,) you’ll see a new smoothie recipe added to the drop list.  Explore away, sparklemice. Revel in that smoothie feeling.

Stay badass,

Leah

My Story (Featuring a Period Cake, some Kardashians, and a very interesting diagnosis.)

You came back!! I knew you would.

Hey, Dolls. So I figured before we get to the goods (ie; the smoothie making, the laughing at my expense, the rambling about life and food and beauty,) I should give you a brief overview of my sitch. This post is to give you some context, for the stories, like a timeline. Only interesting. Usually, I make a person buy me a drink before we start discussing my super un-cute bodily functions and whatnot, but I suppose given the circumstance this unfortunate sobriety will have to do.

In the spring of 2014, I noticed I wasn’t seeing the clock so well. I know this doesn’t sound very exciting, but as you can imagine this escalates quickly. I figured that I might need an eye checkup, so, like any other human with other things to think about, I immediately proceeded to not get an eye checkup. The only time I was ever reminded of my mildly blurry vision was when I tried to look at the clock, and being a lazy, irresponsible freshman in college, that was like once a week, while i was waiting for Game of Thrones. As long as the pages of People Magazine were clear enough for me to properly analyze the new cast of SNL, and I could see my iPhone, I really didn’t see the problem. I let it slide. Khaleesi and Khal Drogo were about to sail the black sea, and i just didn’t have time to deal with irrelevant issues like obstructed vision. You don’t mess with the mother of dragons. Priorities.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I notice my face is getting a little swollen. Again, I decided to ignore it. Every morning I just slapped on some Mac Studio Fix concealer and bronzer and went about my day with an artificially contoured face, a la Kim Kardashian. No problem. Thinking that maybe it was a freshman fifteen thing, (although the scale wasn’t changing,) I swapped my Skinny Chai Latte for a green tea and my daily jog for a sprint. Life proceeded as usual. Unfortunately, within the month my vision was almost totally useless. I started experiencing ungodly stomach pains, (think like, swallowing a cheese grater,) and a serious case of ugly swollen face. I was too fatigued to think a coherent thought. My usual happy, sunshine personality was replaced by a shell of a girl who I didn’t recognize, (or particularly enjoy the company of.) My gym addiction was replaced with an inability to get my own water, and my sense of humor…was actually still on point. I was basically I blind swollen Tina Fey. Anyway, prior to this, I had been relatively healthy my whole life. Sure, my blood pressure was a bit low and my metabolism a bit slow, but that was it. Nothing major other than a couple of fainting spells after some particularly strenuous situations (once after a root canal, once after a marathon, etc.) The whole thing hit completely out of left field, and the doctors were stumped. Soon, I was reaching the point where I couldn’t leave my bed, cause I was blind as a bat and my joints were positively useless. My blood tests were no bueno, but nothing was adding up. My friends would come visit and could not get over my un-Leah appearance. My eyes faded to a lighter color, and I had a butterfly rash across my nose like the worlds un-sexiest suntan.

Now understand, my family is basically the Jewish equivalent of the Kardashians. Everyone is in everyone’s business all the time, always, no exceptions. There are no secrets, ever. Not one. Like, before I even decide whether or not I like a guy, both of my sisters (and my sister-in-law,) have Instagram/google/facebook stalked him, both of my brothers, (and my brother-in-law,) have decided to hate him, and my parents have memorized his lineage from his neanderthal ancestors till his parents. This phenomenon is most easily relayed via what I mentally refer to as the “Period Cake Incident.”  During my first, um, visit from aunt flow, i, (a gawky long-limbed hippie 12 year old who liked her guitar more than boys,) came home from school only to find a scarlet red Baskin Robyn’s cake with the words “You’re a women now, PERIOD,” gracefully scrawled across the top in a delicate sans-script cursive. Oh yes. I got a period cake. My entire family and even some extended family partook in the period party. Boundaries? No comprendo senior. What is this word you speak? Brother in laws and cousins should get to eat period cake, too.  Totally normal.

So naturally, my older sister was on the case the second the doctor uttered the word “confusing.” That was just not an answer she was going to accept. There is no confusion when it comes to sibling health, there is only obsessing until you know EXACTLY what’s wrong with your blind swollen little sister. Just to clarify, I was being observed by top-notch physicians of all disciplines, analyzed from every plausible angle. Nobody had answers. Neurologists, neuro-ophthalmologists, Gastros, you name it, all stared at me like a bunch of color-blind kids with a Rubics cube. It was unnerving, to put it lightly. As anyone with any kind of medical drama can attest to, there is no sentence more annoying then “it’s probably just viral.” After weeks of the psychological hell of not knowing why my body was quitting on me, it took my sister (she is not a doctor,) approximately 14 seconds and a tiny conversation with Siri to confidently diagnose me with Celiac. Sure enough, a few blood tests and biopsies later, (another amazing story for another post,) I have an official diagnosis. Hardcore, full on, dysfunctional intestine celiac. Sexy, right? Nothing says “meow,” like leaky gut syndrome. Please, boys, don’t all swarm at once.

Desperate to feel better, I became a gluten-phobic whole foods freak. I cut out all gluten, all processed foods, dairy, and anything that had ever been in a factory. I did Yoga to detox my blood every day. Within days my vision was back, my skin was glowing, and my mood was perfect.  My metabolism was fast. Like, really fast. Think two soccer mom’s simultaneously spotting the last copy of 50 Shades at Barnes and Noble fast. Everything worked again. I got back to my usual routine, both athletically and academically, and attacked both school and the gym full force. I thought it was over.

Unfortunately, I was new to the world of autoimmunity. Just like the general mercurial nature of these things, a week or so later I was back in bed, with immobile joints and the worst vision yet. But my stomach was better.

In may, (my birthday is also for another post, but a fantastic story that involves my amazing mom dragging my sick, gnarled body 4 hours to NYC to go hear Idina Menzel. Because “birthdays do not pause for illness.” ) it came up that I might have this relatively rare disease called lupus, but the odds were tiny. Ten minutes with a specialist, and the mystery was solved. On June 1st, I was diagnosed with SLE (lupus,) and fibromyalgia.

I spent the next month gathering what information I could on the disease, clinging to the hope that I’d be able to go to Israel on my gap year as planned. After putting me on a ridiculously high dose of prednisone (I hate you, demon drug. DIE. I WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU, YOU DECEPTIVE LITTLE PILL OF MASKED EVIL, but more on that later,) and Plaquenil, i was told I could go if I wanted to, as long as I was sure to be on top of my blood work and maintain my stringent diet and rigorous workout (once again, that’s a whooooole post in it of itself. That was absolutely crazypants.)

So that’s the timeline, dolls. Three months of nervous, jittery confusion, to the point where my diagnosis hit my ear like a song. Ignorance is not bliss, it’s hell. Each of those phases had experiences that will be written about in other posts, each was it’s own deep, crazy, roller coaster. But now you have an overview. and the knowledge that I got a period cake.

stay badass,

Leah

 

How to be a Badass

 

Welcome, dolls. My name is Leah, and last June I was diagnosed with a slew of super sexy, life-altering diseases. Now, lest you become all starry-eyed and excited for the personal blog of Hazel Grace, be forewarned. Unlike in the books and movies about the sick kids, there’s nothing particularly Nicholas Sparks- esque about my life. I am not an angst-riddled, metal loving, misunderstood outcast with a touching story and a broken heart. I don’t pout, or ponder the abyss of death, or write “why me,” poetry.  On the contrary. I am a normal, yoga obsessed, Instagram frequenting, standup-comedy watching, pumpkin spice drinking 18-year-old. I like anthropology and pizza. There is no tragically ill boyfriend/love of my life. (Actually, i might be the single-est person alive. My Augustus Waters/ Edward Cullen/ Christian Grey is Netflix.) There is no tale of stoic bravery, where I battle my Lupus/Fibromyalgia/Pots/Celiac and arise victoriously.  I am not a brooding, introspective genius who nobody understands. I am a happy, open, zen teenager with the minor detail of my dearly misinformed, charmingly useless immune system. No filter, no soundtrack, no montage scene where I fall deeply in love with a fellow sicky. 

Now, what there WILL be is as follows. This is the story of the part the camera pans away for. This is the part that nobody talks about, and it extends far past the good, the bad, and the ugly. L-U-P-U-S, five little letters that essentially mean my immune system can’t differentiate between healthy tissue and foreign invaders. In other words, if my immune system gets triggered by anything, my uber sexy bod goes all sons of anarchy on me, and just full on attacks itself (more on that later.) Now there are many different reasons, if i may say so myself, to read this blog. It just depends on who you are. For those of you who don’t suffer from any autoimmune diseases, maybe you’ll get a laugh, (not maybe, you will, I’m hilarious,) or a firsthand view into a lifestyle that’s not your own. Maybe you’ll just get to read relate-able stories from a brutally honest, compellingly witty 18- year-old songwriter stuck in her bedroom with a laptop.  Maybe, just maybe, it’ll raise a little awareness for these faceless, cure-less, diseases that could use a little attention. Now, for those of you stuck chugging along with me on the autoimmune crazy train from hell, this blog serves a difference purpose. I want you to see that you’re not alone. Those nights in your tank top on the bathroom floor, those flirting sessions ruined by steroid-induced brain fog, the (countless,) pics you can’t Instagram because of puffy eyes, I get that it feels like you’re the only one who could possibly have such random garbage to deal with. I know you think you’re the only one (under the age of 80,) who has to worry about if your joints are gonna be working tomorrow morning. I thought the same thing. Surprise! You’re not. There’s a whole bunch of us, and we all hate swollen prednisone face too!! The effects of these disorders, (or diseases, whichever,) are physical, emotional, spiritual, social, and psychological, and we ALL feel them. This isn’t “wah us, we’re so sick,” pity party. This is a gathering of badasses who are going to laugh about the things we can’t control.  This is my chronicle (CHRONICle. hehehe. Medical pun,) of living with this unpredictable insanity.

I want this blog to show the entire spectrum. Should you decide to come on this Journey with me, (okay gag, can’t believe I couldn’t think of a less cliche way to say that, cringe,) I should warn you the path changes. A lot. The stories will be sad sometimes, and funny sometimes, and it all gets very deep and introspective. Even medical and boring, on occasion. But the one thing I promise not to change is that they will remain consistently honest. More then just the physical nonsense, this blog will cover friendships, and gap years (I studied abroad,) and guys, and being forced into responsibility wayyy to young. It will cover the how to’s, and how to not’s, and the golden rules of being an autoimmune badass (or just a regular badass. Whichever.) It’s about the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Hashtag no filter, dolls. Pretty is for the weak 😉

Always,

Leah

SIDENOTE:

Lupus, also known as “the cruel mystery,” is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system cant differentiate between healthy tissue and foreign invaders. There is no known cure. Symptoms, prognosis, and all that fun stuff will be included in a later post (like, um, all of them.)

Fibromyalgia involves hypersensitive pain receptors, cognitive fog, fatigue, and muscular problems. There is no known cure.

Pots is an acronym for a longer name I refuse to commit to memory, but it basically means low blood pressure and quick heartbeat.

Celiac is a fancy term for “i’m terrible at eating, especially gluten.” No cure, but treatment currently consists of dietary restriction.

While that’s just a teeny, one-dimensional outline of those suckers, it gives you a reference point for the rest of my posts. Cheers, dolls 😉 stay badass.