USA Hockey National Championships: A Win For Everyone!

USA Hockey National Championships: A Win For Everyone!


Me, My Mom (she was crying in like every pic), My Bro G & My Dad After the Championship Game!!
Me, My Mom (she was crying in like every pic), My Bro G & My Dad After the Championship Game!

My parents have always been my biggest supporters. Everything I did they’d be front row, cheering for me. I was always so grateful for them and they made me feel so proud to be their daughter. They always said that I’d never understand how proud I made them until I had my own kids.

I don’t have my own kids yet, but I’m pretty sure I understand what they mean now.

I have a sister who’s 23 and a brother who’s 17 (as of Monday!). My sister is my best friend and my brother is an amazing guy. Growing up my sister was quite shy and quiet. I guess she had to be because she had me as a big sister and I basically always wanted all of the attention. My brother is very much like my sister in the way that he’s quite, but if you get him talking he’s hilarious and really comes out of his shell.

In high school my sister tried out, and made, head bethette – which is the pom pom/dance team for our high school. I think that experience really brought out her confidence and I feel like ever since then she’s continued to push herself to the limit. Today, now graduated from college, she teaches kindergarten and is such a motivating and inspiring young woman.

My brother has loved hockey ever since he was born. We still have no idea where this love for hockey came from, as my Dad is a huge Steelers fan and didn’t used to follow hockey as much. He wanted to skate and pushed and pushed until my parents agreed to let him. I remember him being teeny, tiny out on the ice learning to skate. So adorbs.

Through the years he’s played on numerous teams and traveled all over the region playing hockey. 8th and 9th grade he played on the freshman high school hockey team, was a JV call up and in 10th grade he played JV. He was bummed he didn’t make Varsity call up, but was determined to make it his 11th grade year. Last summer he would go and run and try to condition himself so that when tryouts came around in August he’d do his best. Try outs came and went and unfortunately he made JV and was placed as a Varsity call up. He was devastated. All of his friends made full Varsity and he didn’t want to have to play on the JV team. He contemplated quitting all together – that’s how upset he was. Over Labor Day, my mom’s side of the family rented a lake house in Deep Creek, Maryland. A few of my uncles are really into hockey and talked to my brother about how he shouldn’t quit. He should take the opportunity he’d been given and really fight for what he wanted.

That September he started practicing with both teams and really began to get in shape. The kid spent HOURS running, skating, and lifting. By the beginning of the season he was told he was full varsity and not just a call up anymore! To put icing on the cake, not only did he make it to full varsity, but he was on the starting line at the USA HOCKEY NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS that their team was invited to this March.

I don’t know how an experience like that COULDN’T change you. It gets me teary eyed when I think about it. My Mom and I joked that we now have to announced him as National Hockey Champion Gary haha like Academy Award Winners!

Celebratory drink after our first win!!!
Celebratory drink after our first win!!!

My Mom and I spent 6 days out in Nebraska and I was worried because since I started my elimination diet/anti-inflammatory lifestyle I haven’t really traveled. I’d eaten out, of course, but not for every meal.

In life everything is about doing the best that you can, making good choices and having everything in moderation. I did the best that I could with the options I was given… And definitely participated in some drinking activities.

Up to this point I have added wine back into my diet, but I haven’t had a beer since my Texas trip in the beginning of October. One of the parents has celiac’s and said she likes to drink gluten free beers. They’re obviously not as good as regular beers, but it’s better than NO beer! So while we were at the rink of the first day I ordered a Red’s Apple Ale aka sparkling apple cider. I mean, how can you not enjoy drinking a delicious apple cider while getting 5% alcohol? I knew this beer had started me down a slippery slope. By the end of the week I had had several ciders and even tried a gluten free beer called Estrella Damm Daura. Daura, to a person who hasn’t has a beer in 5 months, tasted a lot like Stella (at least to me).

IMG_0815I was worried that drinking would impact my energy level, but I can honestly say that all week my energy level was amazing! There was one day that I slept until noon (we only went to bed around 1:30am though), but my body really, really kept up! I was so freaking happy about that! I could tell a huge difference between my trip to Texas back in Sept/Oct and my trip to Nebraska. I think my lifestyle changes are making a huge difference! That’s living proof right there!!!!

I saw a huge change in my anxiety levels too from the previous times I had traveled with my crutches. I didn’t even second think any of it! Airports really make it so so soooooo easy for you by getting people to push you in wheelchairs and by helping accommodate you (for the most part). I didn’t take one Ativan the whole trip! (Well, I probably could have taken some during a few of the hockey games! HAHA!)

Gluten free chicken sandwich & salad at Paradise Cafe
Gluten free chicken sandwich & salad at Paradise Cafe

During the trip we went to many restaurants and found so many options for me to eat while I was out. Except for the sports bar types of places (aka bar food), I’m really surprised to see most restaurants are starting to think consciously about food allergies. I was even SO excited when we walked in TCBY and I saw not only did they have Silk Almond Milk yogurt, but they had no sugar added chocolate chunks on the toppings bar too! I had already accepted the fact that I couldn’t eat anything in there and I was pleasantly surprised! Even the Chicago airport had a kiosk of healthy options for travelers. I’m loving this healthy food movement!

The team, Shock Doctor Mascot & Joe 'The Bus Driver'
The team, Shock Doctor Mascot & Joe ‘The Bus Driver’

The weekend before we left my Sister and I went to the Pittsburgh Farm to Table convention. While we were there we came across “Barre” bars. They’re all natural, super food bars that are delicccccious! I had bought a box while we were there and took them on our trip. They definitely came in handy as a grab and go snack option. The Ballerina Spirilina is delicious and so is the pirouette cinnamon pecan. I haven’t tried the black swan chocolate berry, but as I’m writing this I’m in the middle of ordering a box of mixed bars 🙂 They’re SO good.

I’m so happy for my brother and his team, but I cannot help being happy for myself too. This trip was a NATIONAL victory for the bethel park varsity hockey team and a PERSONAL victory for me. Every day can seem monotonous and sometimes you don’t notice the changes made in your life. This trip made it so clear to me that I’m on the path to complete health and I’m definitely loving this journey.

Congratulations Bethel Park Varsity Hockey Team



Wishing You A Pain Free Day!