Finding your inner Italian sports car

It began so uninspiringly, in the dentist’s chair.

He had just adjusted a crown for me, as I’d been having some jaw pain. “I think we were just a millimeter or so off on your bite, but that’s enough to cause the pain,” he said.

He joked that my then husband was built like a Mack truck—rock solid jaws with limitless tolerance for being “off,” whether by millimeters or inches—but that I was more like a Ferrari, with very tight specifications for optimum performance.

Huh. A Ferrari. I like that. Sounds better than Princess and the Pea.

What began that day was my slowly dawning how-the-hell-did-it-take-me-until-middle-age-to-figure-this-out knowledge: What I put in and on my body really affects me. More so than the average bear.

Case in point: The crown I just had removed from my mouth years before its expiration date, because my mouth had felt “annoyed” by it for ages. Turns out, it had a metal base because 14 years ago when I got it, that is how they made crowns. The moment—and I mean the MOMENT—it was removed, it was like cold water on a sunburn. Sweet relief. Turns out my body was having an allergic reaction to the metal.

This roundabout story of my dental adventures—while scintillating– is just to say that I’ve realized many of us (because there are plenty other highly sensitive bears out there) need to take charge of our well-being in a way the world hasn’t.

I think many of you, like me, have thought the grown-ups were in charge. I was raised on cow’s milk and the usual snack foods. Only to find that farmers were feeding their cows hormones to up production that then made their way into my body. That snack foods usually contain gluten, which attacks the thyroid (as does dairy, by the way). And now here I am with a thyroid that needs attending to.

At some point, I realized my makeup contained neurotoxins and the plastic bottles I drank my water out of contained harmful chemicals.

And now, in middle age, as I try to eat clean and whole to fix said thyroid and lose the extra pounds I’ve packed on because of it, I realize that chemicals and additives are in just about everything we eat out.

And as my neighbor chats with me about how high the cancer rate is nowadays, he sprays his lawn with a chemical fertilizer and weed killer. One that will wash into our water table. Hmmm—wonder why that cancer rate is rising?


I tried the Whole 30 diet for a month. It made me feel as spartan as a monk and cranky many days. Until I started to wake up feeling refreshed. No aches. No creaks. My energy levels amped up. My thinking was crystal clear all day long. My hair got shinier, my skin started to glow. My “symptoms” of thyroiditis and rosacea started to dissipate. I found my waist again.


As I try, within reason, to go gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, preservative free and chemical additive free, I feel I may resort to eating the sticks my maple tree drops in my yard. But I’m thinking those may not even work, thanks to my neighbor’s weed killer on a windy day.

We need to care. Not just about our own health but about the collective good. What were those dairy and consumer goods executives thinking as they flooded our personal products and diet with chemicals? I highly doubt much beyond their year-end bonus. And guess what? They’re still doing it. They’re just getting smarter about the labeling, making it more complicated for us to figure out what is what.

It’s a tiny stake in the ground, but I’m trying to buy clean and natural, cruelty-free. I don’t want lotions tested on tortured monkeys, food that will last months without spoiling, little squares of a sweet something that contain no ingredient with less than 12 letters.

If more of us did this—voted with our wallets—think of the change that would have to occur. Wouldn’t that be a great world?

If you’re a Mack truck, you may read this and think it’s all too much effort and so very silly. But, I have a feeling more and more of us are finding our inner Italian sports car.

Given the choice between the two, who wouldn’t want the racy cherry red model?



39 Comments Add yours

  1. Voting with our wallets is such a great idea. Its the only weapon we have against companies who only care for profit.

  2. Aunt Beulah says:

    Ah, I read this earlier this morning just after taking my thyroid medication and rubbing a prescribed unguent on my rosacea-prone face. I, too, improve each year in my efforts to eat more natural, unprocessed, home-cooked food. If only we had known earlier what we know now.

    1. candidkay says:

      I’ve thought that many times over the past year! And now that we know-is it too late to reverse things? I certainly hope not.

  3. cristi says:

    Welcome to the club! I’ve been no gluten, no sugar, no dairy for a few years now. It’s not easy, but it gets easier. And the payoffs are so worth it. You are right…one person at a time voting with their wallets will bring about change. Thank you for talking about this and making it real, it’s an important subject. Cheers to all us Italian sports cars!

    1. candidkay says:

      I’m hoping it gets easier as companies and restaurants start changing what they offer us! Kudos to you for being able to sustain it.

  4. A great call to action Kristine – yes we should certainly treat ourselves and our world as treasured things.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thanks, Andrea. With all the political turmoil here, I’m heartened every time I see someone who values the collective good . . .

  5. I’m reading your post with a handful of Skittles in one hand, and a Pepsi nearby to wash it down with. Not exactly sure how I got back to this point after teaching my body to thrive on more natural and healthy foods (and PLENTY of exercise). My belly has made a return, and I have begun to feel sluggish again by mid-afternoon if I don’t carefully titrate the blood content in my caffeine stream.

    Your words hit me like a well-aimed epiphany. Just one more Skittle, and its time to make a few changes. I miss the healthier, happier me…

    Enjoy being a Ferrari Kristine!

    1. candidkay says:

      I get it, Gabe. It’s hard! I can get myself on a healthy track for a short period of time, but our culture-at least here in the US-doesn’t really support clean eating. So it becomes very hard to sustain. Take a look at the New York Times article link that I put in response to Mark’s comments. It’s scary how little big business has cared for the collective well-being. I think it’s time for us to take charge :-).

      1. Yes. It is. But, I’ll have to join in after I get back from Venice. My wife just told me no dieting allowed 😉

      2. candidkay says:

        The wine, bread, pasta . . . only a monk could give those up!

  6. I loved this! And I passionately agree. We really need to care more about what we put in our bodies! It affects everything. And I think this is particularly important, spiritually speaking. We need a clear mind because it’s our mind that connects us with God.

    1. candidkay says:

      Ah, yes. I did not even mention the spiritual aspect because I know everyone has their own thoughts on this. But, I agree that to be a clear light in this world (and we sure could use a lot of those about now), we have to be clear and light. The physical bit shouldn’t be a hindrance, but a help, in that . . .

  7. suemclaren24 says:

    Blessings to you from another Sensitive Bear (including alterations to tooth fillings).

    1. candidkay says:

      It would be so much easier to be a Mack truck, wouldn’t it? 🙂

  8. dinnerbysusan says:

    You’re singing my song! One person at a time is all it takes for these kinds of changes to occur.

    1. candidkay says:

      I certainly hope so! And I hope the next gen learns from our mistakes.

  9. After researching more of those little delicacies that the chemical companies bind our every morsel in, I realised that if ‘I’ didn’t do something, then they won’t either. I no longer buy anything that has sugar in it…and yes, it is a poison too, especially its ability to not allow your body to give the signal ‘hey I’m full’, so we keep scoffing those sweet, sweet things. And I might add, addicted to as well.
    Why is it so hard to give up those sweet things….because we are addicted to it…and the manufacturer’s know that, that is why sugar is in almost everything. It should be banned…or better still, only allow x amount to be purchased per week.
    And don’t get me started on the chemical hell in our food supply. The cancer rates are catastrophic, nicely in line with our ability to drown all our food in poison or hormones. The food is exactly the same as a hundred years ago…but the production of it has changed dramatically…but of course the holy dollar speaks loudest. Hence my no longer buying a lot of goods.
    Hopefully more will ‘see’ the truth and change their habits and create a wave that can no longer be ignored.
    Great post kristine, glad to ‘see’ you have listened to your body and realised the 21st century will be one you have created instead of the media (in all its forms), and changed for the better. Well done! 😀
    May your Ferrari cruise at any altitude it wishes, whatever your speed 😀

    1. candidkay says:

      I’m with you on the sugar too, Mark! The more I’ve read, the more I realized companies were not just naive, but purposefully feeding us whatever is cheap and habit forming. I find that reprehensible and like you–I’ve voted with my wallet. It’s the only language they seem to speak.

      1. Those figures are the worst I’ve seen Kristine. And the Chinese figures of sterility in their male population after only 15 years, all from plastics in their environment, acting on the human body as an endocrine disruptor.
        When any in the animal kingdom get out of control, a disaster usually strikes in the form of a disease or catastrophic event. We on the other hand are smarter than that, we just kill ourselves with plastic.
        Great piece, thank you for showing me, it is an eye opener 😀

  10. reocochran says:

    I do feel better on days I am careful to eat healthy and “clean” foods, K.
    My Mom never bought anything out of a can except soup or evaporated milk. She used frozen fruits and vegetables in winter. We bought fresh produce from a farm stand or our own small garden. We took food scraps, vegetable shreddings outside to the compost pile. We recycled all sorts of things including cans, paper and glass. Computer parts and technology would go to thrift stores. Living the walk which was more than just talk.
    My youngest daughter had JRA from age 11, gave up dairy, food additives and preservatives, cheese and cold cuts. She has given up gluten more recently. She is 31 and last time her joints were measured and tested (age 21) they were equivalent to a 65 year old. Poor thing. My Mom used to use vinegar and water to spray plants, bleach and water on weeds in sidewalks. I lost 45 pounds in my 50’s during menopause. 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      I am so sorry to hear about your daughter. I am sure that is hard to watch, not only because you are her mother, but also because it sounds as if you had made a point to live a healthy lifestyle. It’s frustrating when no matter what you do, things still go south. And your mother, she sounds like she was so far ahead of her time! That is absolutely wonderful. I still cringe when I remember canned spinach and green beans :-). Although, we did have a garden and eat a lot of fresh vegetables too. How in the heck did you lose 45 pounds during menopause? That I need to know!

      1. reocochran says:

        I am laughing out loud, or at least chuckling, K. We never thought we could do this either. My teacher assistant and I were determined not to look like “two potato sacks” since we felt one year our preschoolers with disabilities or developmental delays class picture looked horrendous. I lost 20 lbs first year, 25 the next. Karen lost 26 lbs and almos
        We ate low fat cottage cheese with chives cut into it with celery sticks for snack time with morning class rather than cookies. I cut sugar and sweetener out of my diet for a whole year, she used Splenda. No cream or milk in coffee. Chicken breast, salmon or tilapia baked and just put under broiler at end. I still love Stouffer’s spinach souffle instead of so many Lean cuisine type meals have white rice. Quinoa boiled up with frozen peas added after cooled, red onions, ricotta or blue cheese, red wine vinegar and a small teaspoon of honey or maple syrup. Less meat, more veggies. Oatmeal on one weekend breakfast with raisins as a treat. Whole grain bread with at least five to seven grams of protein in it. Coffee, tea or lemon water.

      2. reocochran says:

        Thank you for kind thoughts about Felicia. She is still not a quitter, a go getter. I wrote an essay for our Columbus Dispatch paper about how she was my “hero.” Saying things like when some teens tend to slack off, she just barrels on through. She doesn’t take Vioxx, Celebrex or Naproxen. Light yoga, swimming and stretching build muscles and of course, hot showers. This is just in case anyone wanders here and would like to know her “regimen.” 🙂

      3. candidkay says:

        Thank you for sharing. The more we share, the more we help each other.

  11. Great post. We are all so different and its up to each of us to find out what we need and act accordingly. I’ve always envied Mack Truck people, but as the years have gone on, I’ve realised that attending to my sensitive needs, has it’s benefits and turns out, I’m in better condition than some of the strongest truckies around ha! Love your style Kristine 👠😎

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! I think what we know about health now, compared to even five years from now, is microscopic. Can’t wait to see what new discoveries we make!

  12. I am with you completely!!! Monkey’s shouldn’t have to suffer so I can lather myself in toxins!! What is wrong with this world and how did we get here? I made the choice months ago to become a vegetarian because the meat industry can be so cruel and no animal should suffer. I too am eating clean and taking care of my insides before it is too late! Great post!! 😊

    1. candidkay says:

      And how do you feel? I, too, wonder how we strayed so far from decency and health.

      1. I feel fantastic, both mentally and physically! I am following blogs and recipe sights to find ideas for recipes. It is amazing how many fabulous vegan recipes there are available out there. Who knew? Ha! If you do it right, you will feel like a million bucks!

      2. candidkay says:

        Funny you should say that, because I just started a meal delivery service from a Chicago chef. It’s called kitchfix. Gluten-free, dairy free, you name it. It is amazingly good. And I am so picky. I’ve tried other services and never felt they were very good. Here’s to being early adopters in the revolution :-). I hope it continues to take off!

      3. That is great and sounds amazing! People think healthy food tastes bad, BUT IT DOESN’T! Cheers to us, the food warriors!

  13. Well said, K! You raised points that are well-worth thinking about.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Cynthia! I hesitated to write this one because I’m no health expert–but I think if we share our experiences, the tide begins to turn . . .

      1. My jaw has been uncomfortable since the tooth cracked in the accident got repaired. I can’t eat on that side of my mouth, but didn’t think there was anything to be done. Now I am wondering, as a result of your post.

      2. candidkay says:

        In addition to possible allergic reaction, there is plenty on the Internet (backed by science) showing that if there are certain mixed metals in your mouth, your saliva can literally become like battery acid because of the charge the metals carry. You won’t necessarily feel it, but your body may get weird symptoms–and it can disrupt normal functions. You never know . . . I hope whatever it is, you’re able to figure it out and feel better.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this post. Drop me a line.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s