Redesigning my Etsy Shoppe

In October I opened an etsy shop called Lavender Beauty Co. The inspiration for the shop and its name came into being for a number of reasons.

First of all, when we got married, Dane and I had a pound or so of dried lavender flowers left over. They were used for the flower girls to throw as they walked down the isle and for guests to throw at us during the send off. But I’d slightly overestimated how much we’d need…

Our little flower girls with baskets full of lavender.

Our little flower girls with baskets full of lavender.

I started exploring different ways to put it to use. I began making scrubs with lavender, aromatherapy pillows filled with lavender, and even used it for baking making lavender lemon bars, vanilla lavender muffins…however most of what I made were beauty products. This led me to explore other beauty products I could make. Around this time I realized that a lot of the time there is gluten in beauty products. It is often disguised as the fragrance, or as proteins. As many of you who have read my blog know, I have pretty severe celiac disease. So I was reacting to gluten in my make up and shampoos, causing me to break out, have itchy, red skin, and so on. In the process of finding gluten free beauty products, I also started experimenting with making homemade lotions and lip balms and was actually really happy with the results.

I wanted to start sharing my products with others so I decided to open an etsy shop. I couldn’t come up with a name. I am terrible at naming things. It can take me months to come up with a satisfactory name for anything. However, I was overly eager to get this etsy shop started, so I settled. “Lavender Beauty Co”  became the name, because the whole thing was inspired by lavenders, and it was beauty products, so it was just obvious and made sense. For the time being it worked.

Whipped Body Oil

Lavender Scented Whipped Body Oil -made with coconut oil, almond oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, and lavender essential oil.

However as time passed, I had trouble coming up with a design that fit well with the theme that the shop name implied. I wasn’t connected with the title of the shop or with any of the potential labels, logos, and so on that I was coming up. Uniformity was lacking in my shop. I wasn’t connected to the shop, I was even starting to lose interest in my own shop. I could imagine how boring it must have been for the people looking at it.

As an aside, I am very interested in conceptual, minimalist art. The art that I make tends to reflect these interests. The problem with my shop was that the design did not align with my artistic interests. Even this blog you are reading right now reflects the concepts of design (and art) that resonate with me: simplicity, minimalism,  no fluff. But my shop was messy, and its appearance a compilation of a bunch of failed attempts that kind of looked ok together, but did not reflect me. It wasn’t my shop, I wasn’t attached to it.

One of my latest conceptual paintings.

One of my latest conceptual paintings -made with oil paint and turpentine on canvas.

As I realized this I tried to come up with ways to truly personalize my etsy shop. My thought process was: if the shop design is an accurate expression of who I am, then I would have less trouble with maintaining a clear, uniform, and consistent appearance. This would also mean I would actually like my shop and like how it looks. All of this in turn would be more attractive, rather than confusing to potential customers, and provide them with a streamline and concise experience.

So I decided it was time for a remodel. I was going to redesign my shop! I am really excited about this process. Step one was coming up with a name that actually meant something.

As I mentioned, I am really really slow at naming anything. So I started with talking to my husband and sister, to bounce ideas off of them. This process started in December. They responded by asking what was the philosophy behind my shop, or what was I even trying to express in a name? This got me thinking. I wanted to express the idea of minimalism. I make my products with very few ingredients because I want to showcase how amazingly beneficial particular ingredients can be. For example, my lip balm recipe contains nothing more than some high quality coconut oil, local beeswax, and essential oils for scent. The people who have used this lip balm have all told me it is the best lip balm they have ever used, and I agree! These testimonies go to show how the use of a few, quality ingredients can have remarkable results. So I wanted this philosophy of quality, simplicity, and minimalism to be part of the inspiration behind the name.

Meanwhile, my husband (who is a major math nerd) was dragging me to our little white board every night to show me cool equations he’d learned about that day in school. Generally everything he showed me was way over my head (math is just not my forte) but occasionally I was truly intrigued. One day as we were discussing potential names for my etsy shop he referred back to something he’d recently shown me- natural log e. Natural log e equals one. It is represented by “ln e”. I immediately knew that was it. It was simple, it represented the number 1, what could be more perfect?

So came the name. Once I had the name, the design was the next step. I toyed with the idea of making the shop super mathematical in design, but I soon realized that I was likely to make up things that made absolutely no sense, and anyone who knew anything about math would spot that immediately. Also, this would once again lead to the problem I’d run into before- this would just not be me. I would be constantly depending on Dane to help me with this sort of design (and let’s be honest-that’s not really how he wants to be spending his time). So I backed away from that idea.

It all came down to choosing a font. Ever since watching this documentary, I have loved the Helvetica font and have wanted to use it for something significant. I decided rather than to have a logo or something, I would just simplify my design to the name and the font. It ended up working quite nicely I think.

Lip balms from my shop with the new design!

Lip balms from my shop with the new design!

The shop is all pretty much set up with the new design. Check it out here. I’d love to receive any feedback!

 

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Crunchy Coconut Almond Energy Chocolates

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Below is a recipe that was adapted from a recipe I found on this post. It’s made up of a delicious combination of some of my favorite things: chocolate, chia seeds, and coconut oil. I’ve become gradually more and more obsessed with coconut oil, the more I’ve learned about it’s health benefits, and I’m always looking for another good way to eat chia seeds. So when I saw this recipe and found that I could have them both in the form of chocolate, I was excited to try it.

Since I the first time, I’ve made it several times and every time I try different variations, based on the ingredients I have on hand. Below is the most consistent of the basic of those variations.

They’re (almost) raw, refined sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, energizing, very high in fiber, full of healthy fats, a good source of brain food…the list goes on. And they taste super good, they’re hard to stop eating once you’ve started.

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Coconut Almond Energy Chocolates

Ingredients

  • I cup organic cacao liquor
  • 1 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2-1 cup coconut sugar according to preference (or honey)
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup flax seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup raw almonds

Directions

Put the cocoa liquor into a pan set on medium low heat and melt, stirring regularly to keep from sticking or burning.

Add the coconut oil and continue to stir until completely combined with the cocoa liquor.

Add the coconut sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. (Note: When using honey,, it doesn’t need to be dissolved obviously, just mixed in. Honey tastes slightly different and equally delicious, though often a bit sweeter depending on the coconut sugar. I’d recommend trying both!)

Next add the cocoa powder and mix until completely blended.

At this point I turn the stove to the lowest setting, so that the mixture stats melted, but does not start bubbling. This also helps prevent it from burning.

Add the chia and flax seeds and stir to mix.

Add the shredded coconut and stir to mix.

Add the almonds and stir to mix.

Prepare a 9×13 pan with parchment paper. (Note: I recommend parchment paper because then it is easy to pull out the whole mix when it has hardened and cut it on a cutting board. I suppose though, that you could use coconut oil, olive oil, or some other non-stick option, though I have not tried it so I can’t guarantee the results.)

Pour the chocolate mixture into the pan, using a spoon to spread out the ingredients so they are evenly distributed throughout the pan.

Place the pan in refrigerator and leave it there for an hour, or until it hardens.

Once hardened, remove the pan from the fridge. Pull the parchment paper up by the edges (a spatula is sometimes helpful) and you now have a giant chocolate square. Place on a cutting board. Either peel off the parchment paper or just cut over it peeling as you go.

Cut the chocolate into bar-sized pieces (about 2×4 inches or so) according to preference, and enjoy!

To store, put the cut bars into a ziplock bag or Tupperware and keep in the fridge. Be sure they stay in the fridge or they will turn into a messy chocolate puddle.

Good for up to 2 weeks in the fridge or 2 months in the freezer (assuming they last that long.)

 

 

Pizooki’s! (kind of) and Reflections

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The first time I ever saw a dessert recipe with garbanzo beans as the replacement for flour, I was skeptical. That was when my friend Ali posted this recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Since then, that cookie recipe has become an all time favorite in this house, and every person who’s ever happened to be over when I made them was totally impressed and really enjoyed them.

I think that a lot of times people treat recipes kind of like how people treat traditions. You don’t want to change them because…well this is how it’s always been done. The first example that popped into my head actually, was how so many people within churches don’t want to see change in the structure, music, etc., believing that the way things are done (and have been done for the past 80 or so years) are biblicly based. Sometimes upon deeper reflection, it becomes evident that the basis is less Scripture, and more tradition.

So anyway, the point of that silly analogy is this: I’ve come to realize, through my eating restrictions, that I am not actually at all restricted. There are limitless replacements for all the basic staples of baking: flour, eggs, sugar, and milk to name a few. Nearly every plant can be dried and ground to make a flour. There is corn flour, potato flour, garbanzo flour, coconut flour, rice flour, tapioca flour, arrowroot flour, and more. For every recipe, refined sugars can be replaced with honey, palm sugar, date sugar, coconut sugar, etc. And any visit to the grocery store will reveal the every expanding variety of dairy free milk alternatives.

Discovering I had so many food allergies was one of the most devastating things to ever learn, initially. Yet so much good came out of it. I was forced to get creative, forced to try things I would have never even been interested in, and as a result, my eating habits became immensely, if not extremely, (not to mention accidentally) healthy.

This month is one year exactly since I’ve gone gluten, dairy, soy, and refined sugar free*. I was reflecting on this last week and I realized that these restrictions were ironically liberating. I used to hate food/eating because it was my enemy, I was sick after nearly every meal I ever ate. It is amazing because soon after I found out about my dietary restrictions, I started writing my thesis paper for my undergrad degree on food as a gift. What followed was a major paradigm shift. The synthesis of studying food theology, philosophy, aesthetics, and sociology, while simultaneously in my day to day/meal to meal life practicing new eating habits, I was beginning to have a new experience with food. Food no longer made me sick. Food still actually tasted good. Really healthy food could be more tasteful than anything I’d ever eaten before. (I didn’t actually even set out to eat healthy initially, I just set out to eat something out of all the seemingly “nothing” that I was aloud to eat.) Eating was not only enjoyable, but was right. Humans are made to enjoy this gift.

All this to say, today I came across another desert recipe with garbanzo beans. Desserts like this sound “gross” to some people…which inspires me all the more to make it. It was a recipe for a pan chocolate chip cookie “pie”, but I tweeked it a lot to make it double chocolaty aaaand added “ice cream” to go on top because then it’s like a pizooki! And I haven’t had a real pizooki in like 6 years.

Below are two parts to this post, one with the pan cookie recipe, and the second with the banana chocolate ice cream/cold frosting thing. Enjoy!

*(I’m not actually allergic to refined sugar, so when I’m out and there are allergen free food options with refined sugar ingredients, I do eat them. I just never bake/cook with it.)

Part I: Pan Cookie

Double Chocolate Chip Flour Free Pan Cookie

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cans (15oz) garbanzo/chickpea beans
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used flaxmilk)
  • 1 tbs almond extract
  • 3 tbs oil (I used coconut)
  • 6 tbs pure honey
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cup coco powder
  • 1 cup oats (certified gluten free)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F

In a food processor, blend the garbanzo beans, applesauce, milk, almond extract, oil, and honey and blend until smooth.

Next add the baking powder, baking soda, and cocoa powder pulsing the food processor between ingredients so as to ensure it is well mixed.

Add the oats and coconut and process again until mixed. Lastly add the chocolate chips and mix.

Scoop/pour mixture into a prepared baking dish (I used a square 8×8 one, but I actually recomend using a slightly bigger one so the cookie batter can be spread thinner, and the final result is more like a cookie and less like a brownie or cake in thickness) and bake for 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crispy.

When it’s finished let it cool for at least 15 minutes so it can set.

Part II: Banana Chocolate “Ice Cream”

There is nothing icey or creamy about this recipe really. I’ve been seeing all these pinterest recipes lately for these easy ice cream or milk shake recipes involving bananas and cocoa powder. While I was making dinner, I thought about how I should have bought some frozen yogurt to go with the chocolaty dessert that I could smell cooking in the oven. Then I remembered that I had two very ripe bananas in the freezer that I’d frozen a few days back to keep from going to waste. There was the answer: the time had come to try one of those pinterest recipes. However, I was too lazy to try and scroll through all the photos, compare recipes, and find the one I had all the ingredients on hand for. I’ve read them plenty of times anyway…so I made this one up and it turned out delicious. Unfortunately, and as per usual, I didn’t really use measuring tools while throwing this together. So in the recipe below I’ve estimated the measurements to the following ingredients.

(Note: In order for the ice cream to be ready in collaboration with the pan cookies, I recommend starting it as soon as the cookie goes in the oven or even before making the cookie)

Banana Chocolate “Ice Cream”

Ingredients:

  • 2 very ripe bananas (frozen or not-this will just affect how long it has to be frozen afterwards to set)
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used flaxmilk)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Directions:

Add all the ingredients to a food processor or blender. Blend well until smooth. Pour into a bowl and put in the freezer until firm.

Scoop out like normal ice cream and enjoy over the pan cookie recipe above, or just by itself.

Sweet Greens Kiwi and Ginger Juice

Last fall for my school newspaper, I wrote an article here about the benefits and uses of ginger root. Ginger helps a lot of things such pain, healthy blood flow, stomach issues, and more.

A couple days ago I felt as if my body would benefit from some ginger, and I hadn’t had any in a while. So I made this ginger juice drink. It was VERY gingery, but I love ginger so it was delicious. When you make it, add more or less ginger according to preference. I’m always amazed by how much more energy and vitality I have after drinking a fresh glass of juice, and this case was no exception.

Juicing, more an anything else, has shown me the amazing healing and sustaining properties of whole foods, and vegetables. I’m not really a vegetable eater unless I’m really intentional about it, so juicing works perfect for me, as a way to get the amount of fruits and vegetables each day that I need. I love it.

Sweet Greens Kiwi Ginger Juice

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 large leaves of kale
  • 1 inch long (more or less) nob of ginger
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1 large apple
  • 2 drops liquid stevia concentrate

Directions:
Begin by juicing the spinach and kale. Next juice the ginger, kiwi, and last the apple. Add the drops of stevia to the juice and whisk to mix. Add some ice, if you’d like, and enjoy the benefits of greens, ginger, and fruit!

Gluten in my…toothpaste?!

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Yesterday I bought some new toothpaste that told me on its packaging that it was gluten free. My first thought was, does toothpaste normally have gluten?? And once again I was blown away by the mass amount of gluten that is found in the most random products. So this blog post is all about my shift that began a few months ago, to not only having a gluten free diet, but also using completely gluten free products.

After going gluten free last May, I immediately felt better within the first few days. Yet, better, I soon realized, was still not quite “good”…whatever that meant. After a few years of feeling sick all the time (migraines, bloating, fatigue, apathy, joint pain, hair thinning, etc, on a daily basis) I had forgotten what it felt like to feel “good.” So it was only when I started to feel better, that I really began searching for every possible way to eat the way I needed to, with the goal of eventually feeling good.

Over the next several months (and this process still continues to this day) I did tons of research, following blogs, reading articles, figuring out what nutrients I was deficient in, taking supplements, making and remaking recipes, trying new ingredients, comparing and contrasting, etc. Surprise after surprise came as I realized just how many things had gluten in them, explaining to me yet again, why I was still feeling sick. For example, I once ate some Hawaian bbq beef, only to realize after taking several bites, that the sauce had teriyaki in it, which has soy sauce in it, which has wheat in it… even though I tried to throw it up, I was sick for the next two weeks. Similarly, my mom always is super excited for me to make Pad Thai and Thai Coconut Curry Soup when I go visit, and one of these times I randomly checked the ingredients to one of the sauces I’d always used, only to see it contained wheat as well! As my researched continued I realized the importance of not eating food that has been contaminated by wheat. So, Dane and I designated the left slot on the toaster for his bread, and the right side for mine. This also began my habit of meticulously wiping down the counter after someone has cut bread, had a cookie, or any gluten containing ingredient that had the possibility if leaving crumbs behind. Also, Dane can’t kiss me after he’s eaten anything containing wheat until he brushes his teeth and has had a lot of water. With each of these gradual changes, I’d say that overall, I’ve steadily been feeling better over the months (especially after the juice cleanse I did in March, which I wrote about here.)

I think a very important factor most recently in my improving health however, has been using gluten free hair and body products. I came across an article (which I now can’t remember the source of unfortunately..) that discussed the presence of gluten in hair and body products. Lots of shampoos, bodywash, lotions, and so on contain gluten ingredients, especially the ones that advertise added proteins, or being volumizing. A lot of shampoos, lotions, and conditioners are not even clearly marked as containing gluten because it is in the fragrances, or the vaguely marked, “other natural ingredients” (or in the case of food, “other natural flavors”). The same day as having read this article ironically, I’d just picked up some organic shampoo from Target. I thought, organic, natural, awesome, but upon reading the ingredients I saw it contained wheat protein as one of the key ingredients…so that was returned. I also read in various places that a lot of powdered make ups have gluten in oat or wheat form. Some supplements and pills even use gluten as a filler or binder. Although its still up in the air the extent to which a gluten intolerant person will be affected by using lotions or shampoo containing wheat, up to 60% of the gluten applied to your skin can be absorbed by the skin and get into the bloodstream. That big of a risk was too much for me, especially since I have celiac disease, I’m not just intolerant. I began a search for healthy, natural, gluten free products. Since the switch, my skin has had better coloring and cleared up a lot, my scalp and hair have not been itchy at all, and overall I have more energy, less headaches, and less stomach aches. I can’t prove that all of this is related, but I do know that everything we put on or in our bodies affect us. So below, I am going to share with you some of what I found.

I contacted Leanne Vogal, author of one of my favorite blogs, Healthful Pursuit. She pointed me to the site for this brand, Green Beaver. They have a line of gluten free products, such as gluten free shampoo and conditioner. I have not tried it, but she recommended it, so I do plan on trying it eventually.

The first shampoo I ended up trying was the Natural Shampoo from Original Sprout. I happened to see it at a small natural foods store, and it was clearly marked on the front as free of parabens, nanoparticles, lavender, tea tree, petroleum oils, musk, propylena, glycol, sulfates, gluten, soy, or dairy. It was a bit pricey (as most gluten free products are, unfortunately) but since I was the only one using it, it lasted me well over a month. I only had to use a small bit (and I have thick hair) and my hair was really clean (but not overly dry). It also had a very enjoyable, clean, subtle scent to it.

The next shampoo that I purchased was from Dessert Essence, who’s products are marked on the back as 100% vegan and wheat/gluten free (as well as biodegradable and cruelty free). I bought the coconut shampoo for normal to dry hair, because I love the smell of coconut. So far, this is a great product as well, and a bit less pricey than the former. I bought mine at Whole Foods, but I’ve seen it at Sprout’s and some grocery stores as well.

The conditioner that I bought, and was really pleased with was Beautiful Curls, leave-in conditioner. This conditioner if marked on the back as wheat, soy and gluten free, vegan, biodegradable, mineral oil free, and synthetic fragrance free. I was quite skeptical of a leave in conditioner, fearing a greasy or “gelled” look. The conditioner was actually great though, my hair didn’t look like I’d gelled it, or like I hadn’t washed it in weeks. This also detangled my ridiculous hair that dreads so easily, far better than most of the conditioners I’d tried before. Not to mention…it smells amazing. After this bottle runs out though, I plan on trying to Dessert Essence conditioner to compare.

From the very beginning of my search I also began looking for gluten free make up. After a lot of searching, I decided to go with Bare Minerals. I’m still not sure if this is the best or the most natural of products out there, but I went with it because I’d used it years before and really enjoyed it, and they have a list on their website of all their gluten free products. I started with this starter kit and so far I’ve been really pleased and my skin has cleared up. I still plan on doing research on the best make up however. Someday I’m also going to try some of these natural make up recipes from the blog “Wellness Mama” found here.

Last but not least, as mentioned at the beginning of this post, I just (accidently) switched to gluten free toothpaste. It is Desert Essence Natural Tea Tree Oil Toothpaste. I have no idea if I’d previously used gluten containing toothpaste, but it does make sense, if it was used as a filler. I’d purchased this one because I’d been intending for a while to find a healthy toothpaste option. The Desert Essence toothpaste is also SLS and fluoride free, so that was the initial attraction. I’d also chosen this toothpaste because it contains tea tree and essential oils that work well for people with sensitive teeth, such as my husband, containing healing properties. So this switch was an advantage for both of us.

That’s all for now. I will update this post as I try new things and review them. This slow shift to healthier living in all aspects of my life has been an exciting process. It began in resentment at my food allergies, and has slowly shifted to a more holistic view of nutrition. What we take in affects our mood, health, appearance and attitude. We are made up of body, soul, mind, spirit and so on. It has been amazing to see the actual change in my own personal life in very tangible ways, through living a clean and natural lifestyle. It is well worth all the meticulous planning, research, and planning, in fact, I’m at a point now where I am passionate about nutrition, and enjoy the topic immensely, and I no longer think of it as the terrible and unfair burden that I saw it as at the beginning of it all.

Why Health? Going Gluten Free

This post was taken from a column I wrote in February 2013 for my school’s newspaper, found here: http://thebeggarblade.com/lifestyle/2013/02/08/why-i-write-about-health/

“My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,” Psalms 63:5. The Bible has much to teach on the subject of food, and how human beings, especially Christians, are to interact with it. Throughout Ecclesiastes, the message is clear that food is God’s gift to man, for his enjoyment (Ecclesiastes 3:13). Though I had been interested in health for years, it was when I came to Providence that I began to learn the scriptural teachings about food through Dr. Swanson’s Bible classes. Food theology, shown in Scripture, is by far, the most important foundation for my interest in health.

Last semester I began a column about nutritious eating, but before I continue with it, I would like to explain how I became interested in health and nutrition.

In middle school, I became interested in food for healing, homeopathic medicine, as opposed to antibiotics and chemical medicine. In high school I went through phases of fascination over the prospect of unprocessed foods, smoothies, raw foods, fasting, and occasionally vegetarianism.

Despite my interest and somewhat serious efforts, healthy living never seemed to work for me. Particularly in my first three years at Providence, my health grew steadily worse. I was at the point where no matter what I ate I would feel ill, so for the sake of managing school, I would often go whole days of classes eating little to nothing until evening.

At the same time, I was always exhausted, had almost daily migraines, and was overwhelmed in apathy. I began to care less about school, my greatest passions such as art, relationships with people, and even theology and Scripture. This was because when one’s body is not being fed proper nutrients, one’s mental health is drastically affected.

In summer 2012, I came home for a short visit and my mom was appalled by my appearance and health. She resisted my obstinacy and prejudice against doctors, and I found myself sitting in the dreaded doctor’s office later that week. After a lot of questions and blood testing, I was diagnosed with celiac disease. Previous blood tests in high school had shown that my body was intolerant of soy and dairy, so I was frustrated to find gluten added to the list.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that is incurable; every time I consume gluten, my intestinal lining attacks and destroys itself, making my body unable to absorb any nutrients from food. The only treatment for celiac is to completely cut off gluten from the diet. Untreated, the disease leads to severe malnutrition, which leads to many other illnesses.

Besides being the main ingredient in bread and cookies, gluten is found in many sauces (i.e. soy sauce, teriyaki sauce), most gravy, flavorings, soups (as a thickener), green naked juice (wheat grass), a lot of granola bars, cereal, and more. I was exasperated by this new list of restrictions.

As I struggled with my own health while studying nutrition over the years, simultaneously I struggled with the idea of dualism between the body and mind. Dualism teaches that the spiritual realm is superior to the material world. In extreme dualism, the physical is evil and the metaphysical is good. My own life seemed to support this idea because even as my mind thrived, my body was always a stumbling block, no matter how healthy I tried to be.

In anger, I would go to the extreme of not caring about my body (namely, by not eating), and in those times, I often felt better, sometimes I even felt a high by how much better I felt in contrast to my norm. Yet my struggle with food contradicted everything I was learning in Bible classes to be true about food. As mentioned earlier, Ecclesiastes particularly teaches that food is a source of nourishment and gift from God for enjoyment. Learning this was convicting but only added to my confusion. My first reaction after learning about my celiac disease was stronger feelings that my body was my enemy, at war with me, and dualism was true.

Yet, when the body is thriving in the way it was created, this dualistic idea is no longer adequate. The first few days of going gluten free, I felt like I had been freed. When you are sick for so long, you forget what it feels like to be well. Not to have a stomach ache or a migraine becomes a thing of the past, that you know exists but is no longer in your experiential memory.

The effects of going gluten free to my body and mind were immediate. My dualistic tendency was challenged as I could think again, when so long I had been living in a fog. The crippling feeling of dread and sickness that came along with eating lessened. Though it takes one to two years for the adult body with celiac to completely heal after the necessary dietary changes, the difference I felt already was well worth saying goodbye to all my favorite gluten containing foods.

I believe in eating well. I am interested in learning about food nutrition and what foods best feed the brain, the heart, your blood, and so on. If a diet is perfectly balanced (along with exercise and ideally, good sleeping patterns), the human body can intake all the necessary nutrients required for a strong immunity, healthy body, and therefore mind. Personally, as I continue to heal from the affects of celiac, studying nutrition for healing is interesting and I find, effective.

For that reason, I consulted the editor, Marissa Branson, on writing a health column for the Beggar Blade. I hope that my readers will continue following these articles as I share the new things I learn. My hope is to write on things that will be applicable to you as you manage the precarious balance between success in studies, and taking care of your body that God has graciously given.

3 John 1:2 states, “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” This is only one example of many passages in Scripture that reveal to us that it is God’s will that the people he created thrive in the body and the mind, as distinct but united parts of the human being.