Trying something new…

I am writing this from bed as I recover from my latest “blip.”  This has been a rough year for me health wise.  I had the dreaded flu in December and January and have just not been the same since. And I’m now experiencing a cough that just will not go away. And not only will it not go away, it’s violent and awful and I’m fairly certain those around me are just as tired of it as I am.  I’m supposed to be training for a 12k, but have accepted that we will just be walking this year. And that’s ok. I’m disappointed, sure, but have come to accept that sometimes life just happens.  We can either roll with it or fight it, but having an autoimmune disease means this will happen occasionally, even doing everything right, and so you just do as you’re told, rest your body and move on. And by doing as I’m told, I mean the dreaded prednisone and breathing treatments.  As much as I hate both, there is a time and a place and this is one of those times  So, I stepped up my supplements, am resting my body, getting enough fluids and eating wisely the foods that will bump up my immune system.  Or in my case these days, just get it to work. (For information on living with prednisone, please  see a previous post: Prednisone tips)

Last I wrote, I was doing a Whole30. How did it go?  It felt great. A re-set every now and then is a good thing. For everyone. I also started using Vital Proteins.  Can I just say that stuff is AMAZING?!  I mean, it’s like a miracle powder.  My fountain of youth.  The small lines around my eyes have lessened, my hair is growing like gangbusters, my nails have never been this strong and I have eyelashes that go on for days.  I can’t wait to see the continued results. It also keeps me full and I’m loving that added benefit as well. Vital Proteins has lots of different products – check them out: https://www.vitalproteins.com/collections/all-products  

We also went on a few trips and, per my usual I packed snacks and food.  One trip was by plane and that makes it a little difficult, but here are my tips:

  • Pack an empty water bottle or travel mug to get through security and then fill it up.  I go to Starbucks and either order a tea in my mug or ask for hot water and use a tea bag I brought. It’s important to stay hydrated – especially when flying.
  • Besides your carry on bag and purse, you are allowed to bring a small, collapsible lunch bag on most airlines; just all ahead to be sure.  I use a freezable one.  It goes through security just fine but IT NEEDS TO BE FROZEN.  I pack fruit and lettuce wraps, etc.  Just don’t pack anything that is smelly and will offend other travelers around you.
  • I also pack almonds and pistachios, Larabars and beef sticks in case I’m stuck and need protein.
  • Once you arrive at your destination, scout out a store for any provisions you need. It’s not hard.

If traveling by car, your life is so much easier because you can pack a cooler with supplies. And boy do I bring supplies because I don’t want to be stuck with nothing to eat.  I’ve also found that most gas station stores now carry healthy options.  On our recent trip, I was happy to see Larabars, RX Bars, paleo meat sticks, fruit…

And now to the something new… Healing yourself means not only minding what you put IN your body but what you put ON your body as well. My doctor has talked to me about pulling toxic cleaning supplies out of my house, using safe/clean personal products, swapping out my plastic food storage to glass and I have been slowly making those changes.  The problem with beauty products is that companies will claim they are “clean products” but they still contain soy or other fillers, have parabens, etc. And then a friend introduced me to Perfectly Posh. I watched her video and said “YES! These products are what I’ve been looking for!” and have been using them for the last two months and I am hooked! And very impressed.

These products are safe and natural, filled with ingredients such as shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil, salt, sugar, etc., and no harmful ingredients such as parabens, sulfites or fillers. Many products are vegan, they are gluten free, are not tested on animals and, they are made in the United States! Best of all, nothing costs more than $25! All things I can get behind. And have I mentioned I love these products? In fact, I love them so much, I took the plunge to become a consultant.  If you are interested in taking a look for yourself, check out my web page:  http://lisacan.po.sh/

Getting and staying healthy takes a lot of work.  But it also takes perseverance because there will be times when, no matter how hard you try, your body does what it wants anyway.  The thing is to keep fighting and, most importantly, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!!  If you do not have an Integrative Medicine doctor, I suggest you find one. There is a place for traditional medicine; I honestly believe both go hand in hand.  But in order to get and stay well, you need the balance of holistic and traditional. And if your Doctors do not support the holistic, find one who does.  It took me a while but I have both.  And I can’t imagine going through this ride without either one.  Stay strong and stay the course, take one day as it comes, and remember you can do this. Honest. If I can so can you!

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This is only a blip

It has been a while since I’ve written an update and I’m currently writing this from bed. Because I’m on Dr.-ordered bed rest. And you know what? This time I didn’t argue. It has been an incredibly difficult nine months for me, filled with a lot of loss, grief, change and stress. And I’ve not been kind to myself. And, because of that, here I am in bed trying to get my strength back. But rather than wallow in self pity for this latest blip, I’m looking at this as a positive. A reminder that we MUST take time to care for the most important ones… and that is OURSELVES!!!  It’s like when you are on a plane and the oxygen masks drop. You must first put on the oxygen mask before you are any good to anyone else. The same thing goes for life. You must always come first. And I mean that by eating right, exercising, getting the rest you body needs. So what am I doing as my body heals? You know besides naps, checking in with my family and friends and cheesy lifetime movies? I’m back to the basics – a completely clean AIP (autoimmune protocol) diet to heal my gut, I listen to my body and am resting and napping when I’m tired and have bumped my supplements back to the blip I had a few years ago. A complete and total re-set.

1 – Probiotics: I use VSL3 at the recommendation of my dr. You can only get it with a prescription (actually my doc said it can now be found at Costco) but it is the best I’ve come across. It is rather expensive but is the only one which really works for me. I put it in my smoothies each morning.

2 – Vital Proteins Collagen: I love this stuff!  I put a scoop in my coffee or smoothies, water, etc. It’s water-soluble and tasteless. I’ve been using for the last three months and LOVE it! I have eyelashes for days, my hair is healthier and I’ve seen a change in my nails and skin. I also believe this is one of the reasons my blip is just that and not what it could have been.

3 – Supplements: I take tumeric, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and ginger. I also add Soothing Calm when I’m sick. Please do not take this because I say so, check with your doc First before starting any supplement regimen. I also add astragalus root to my tea. It is great for an immune system boost. Licorice root is also good for  gut health and inflammation. And because my RA and fibromyalgia is also acting up, I’ve added ashwaganda back to the mix.

4 – I can’t say it enough, people. SINUS RINSING!!! I do this religiously. I’ll save you the gory details but this is a must!

5 – Food: Right now I’m just keeping it simple: scrambled eggs, green waffles from the natural nurturer’s website (check them out – soooo good), smoothies, bone broth. And if I want gluten free toast, I’m having that too. I also made a giant pot of my chicken noodle soup GF style. YUM!  But everything I ingest right now is purposeful. Chia seeds, collagen and probiotics in my smoothies. Turmeric in my eggs. Simple things that will heal my gut and strengthen my immune system. By mindfully eating, I am allowing my body to not have to work as hard and rest.  Because, let’s face it, I’m in chaos because I didn’t follow this as well as I should have when I had the flu in January or the respiratory infection earlier this month. So here I am.

But here’s the thing. Isn’t life full of ups and downs? It’s how you handle the downs that matter. Use them as learning experiences. I’ve learned I can’t slack on clean eating. Ever. That a piece of fudge at Christmas or an occasional beer or bagel, etc. are things I just can’t indulge in. And while that’s may sound difficult to you, let me tell you a health crisis is more so. And now I rest, reflect and heal. From the inside out.

And now I want to talk a little about “from the outside in.” You know I believe it’s important, not only what goes in your body but what goes ON your body as well. I’ve been looking for quite some time for products that are clean and safe. And I found them! Totally vegan, cruelty free, natural products made in the good ole US of A and none of the products cost over $25. What?!!! I KNOW! I will be sharing more about these products as I’m planning to join and sell. I never thought I would say such a thing but these products are something I believe in. I have been trying them for a bit and am in love. These are amazing products I can’t wait to share. Stay tuned…

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Whole30 – week one down and I’m still alive

Week one has been going very well and I’m not feeling deprived. I’m not even missing my wine. Go figure. And I already eat a modified diet so taking a few more things out of the equation is not a big deal. Thirty days, folks.

I’m often told by people they could never do this, it’s too hard, etc. And they are correct in that it does take work and planning. For me, it’s a conscious choice I make to stay in remission. My fungal infection and asthma do not have a cure. My RA and fybromyalgia do not have a cure. But by eating deliberately, by eating what works for MY body, I can manage symptoms. So why wouldn’t I take the time? Why wouldn’t I invest in my health in this way? So I ask you. Why wouldn’t you invest in yourself? Aren’t you worth the commitment? Anything in life worth doing is challenging, but think of the payback, and in this case: joints which no longer hurt, fewer infections, less inflammation… I’ve been fighting off an infection all week. The thing is, this reset in just one week’s time has my body fighting. I can actually feel my immune system working. I told my husband this morning how I envision my white blood cells as little soldiers protecting me. This is about the time of year that if I’m going to have a relapse it’s gonna be bad. Not this time. I am using everything in my arsenal: clean eating, the right supplements, exercise… because I’ve come too far to go down that road again. I may temporarily fall off the wagon, because I am human, but I will never let things get so far that I have a total collapse of immune health again.

Week one in review:

I started using Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides this week. This stuff is great! I mix a scoop in my smoothie in the morning and then another scoop into my herbal tea in the evening (BTW, sipping on herbal tea in the evening is a great way to fight the sugar dragon and also to wind down). I’ve noticed that I stay full much longer and I seem to have more energy. I’ll keep you posted on what it does for my joints, skin, hair and nails.

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As for what we have been eating:

Sunday night was a one-pan cashew chicken meal. I swear it tasted like takeout! We served ours over cauli rice to stretch the meal into Monday night.

 

Tuesday night I made chicken wings and served with lemon-garlic kale and a yam with a little ghee and cinnamon on top. So good.

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Wednesday night, it was just me. We had a great workout so I didn’t want anything heavy but wanted to make sure I had protein. So, I made what I call a Dump Salad- spinach, shredded carrots, mushrooms, a hard boiled egg, some chicken breast, avocado, blueberries, strawberries and a compliant dressing. Seriously I could eat this every day. And blueberries on a salad? Oh yeah…

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Thursday night was chicken/pineapple patties with sweet potato fries, a salad and half an avocado.

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Friday night we had a gluten free pizza, no cheese and loaded with chicken and veggies. Don’t judge. This is more clean than most meals people eat so I will not apologize.

This morning we went on what was supposed to be a three-mile run. We ended up doing six. It was a beautiful foggy day (great running conditions) and we enjoyed one of the many trails in our neighborhood. As you can imagine, you are hungry after a long run. Breakfast was what I call “Clean out the fridge hash with eggs on top.” Clever, huh? I sautéed onions, peppers and garlic in coconut oil and then added what was left of the cauli rice and spinach and crumbled the leftover chicken patties into the pan. I then added fried eggs to the top and served half an avocado on the side. We ate around 10:30 am. It’s now 4:30 pm and I’m still not hungry. Deliberate food that does your body good.

Lunches this week? Leftovers. I ALWAYS make enough for leftovers and then pack them into containers so I can grab and go for work. I mean, I don’t even need to think about it. If I am hungry during the day, I eat fruit, hard boiled eggs, nuts dried apples or a Larabar. And for extra fuel before a hard workout I will have an RX bar.

If you are still unsure of what a difference clean eating can do for you, here is a before and after for you. The photo on the left was taken last month. The photo on the right was 5 years ago with me on very high doses of prednisone – I’m now medication free.

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So I ask you again? Aren’t you worth the investment? I think so.

For the recipes from above and more of the same, (not including my salad or hash), please check out Pretend it’s a Donut and Physicalkitchness. Not only are these women funny and insightful, their recipes are off the hook? Wait, does anyone say that anymore?

And here is my regular disclaimer. I am not a medical professional. I eat the foods which are right for ME. I’ve been tested and followed by a doctor. If you would like to make a change, look for an Integrative Doctor in your area. I am just sharing the tools I have learned and the resources I have discovered to help you on YOUR journey.

Stay tuned for my continued Whole30 and half marathon progress…

 

 

 

 

This crazy ride called life

What a crazy ride this thing called life is. Right? One minute I’m ready to throw in the towel, and the next I am being interviewed by a national magazine about my health journey and how a Paleo diet made all the difference. Yes, it has been a crazy few days for me. More on the magazine later.

So, I started the Whole30 this week and things are going well. Today is day three and I’m noticing a bit of thrush coming to the surface but I attribute that to my body detoxing itself. I am also tired. TIRED!!! I fell asleep hard and fast early last night and this morning was rough. Otherwise, I’m feeling good. No, great actually. If you recall, I also began my half marathon training on Monday as well. Because, why not. It was raining on Monday and I couldn’t get home fast enough to change and go for a run in the rain – one of my absolute favorite things to do! I think it was kind of symbolic, the rain. A fresh start.
I cooked up a storm this weekend in preparation for this week. On Sunday, I made a beautiful salmon served over a mixture of shredded brussels and cauli rice and it was delicious. I had some leftover cranberry sauce (paleo from Danielle Walker’s Celebrations cookbook) that I heated up and served over the salmon. It paired so well. On Monday, we had this amazing meal from Pretend it’s a Donut – a one pan meal that consisted of cashew chicken and roasted veggies – I served ours over more cauli rice. Yes, cauli rice is a staple in my house. This recipe was company-worthy for sure and has been requested to be added to my regular repertoire. Yes, it was THAT good! Follow her. Good stuff! Tonight I have a date at the gym to get some cross training in and another run. I’ll be cooking for one so I’m sure it’ll be something along the lines of roasted veggies with an egg on top and some avocado. Breakfasts have been super easy because of the frittatas I always make ahead – filled with veggies and protein, you can’t go wrong.

As I said, my running is going well. I’m still a little slow going, but my pace will improve as I continue on in my routine again. I know that about myself and so I’m not stressing over it. Instead, I’m focusing on how free I feel on my runs. It’s just me and my music. I love how it feels as my feet hit the pavement, how I feel as if I’m flying (in actuality a toddler could probably beat me) and totally invincible. I feel strong. And the competitive side of me loves it as I surpass a goal. You even can see me fist pump every so often as the voice in my ear from my running app lets me know I have done so.

Now back to that bit about the magazine. As I have repeatedly said, life is just crazy sometimes. Last week was one of reflection. And God beating me upside the head repeatedly until I received the message. BTW, loud and clear. Thanks! Last Friday, I couldn’t sleep and wandered downstairs to pour myself a glass of almond milk. (Does it do the same as regular milk, I wonder?) Anyway… I sat at my kitchen table looking through Instagram and noticed Danielle Walker had posted a video about an upcoming article on her in a national magazine. She said the magazine was looking to hear from and feature her followers on THEIR story and how a Paleo diet changed their life as well. What the Hell, I thought, so I typed up my story, attached a photo as was requested and hit send. And I didn’t give it another thought. I mean, she has a HUGE following and I’m sure there were stories far better than mine. Cut to this morning. I received an e-mail from the magazine asking if I was still interested in being featured and that she was on a tight deadline. Um, what?!!! Seriously?! Absofreakinglutely! Next thing I know, I’m on the phone answering questions and filling her in on my health journey. Like I said, life is a crazy ride.

I don’t know what will end up happening with the magazine. Either I will be featured, or I won’t. The thing is, that’s not the point in all of this. The point is to believe in yourself. Always. To take chances. To listen when God speaks and be open to new possibilities. To never give up on yourself. Ever. I’m usually very determined and when I set my mind to something, God help the person who tries to talk me out of it. I firmly believe my health journey happened so that I could share the importance of a paleo diet and how it CAN change the course of your health. Of how you CAN make a change in your life and stick with it. Even if you have to start over each and every day. If you have a story to tell, tell it. If you have advice to share, share it. We all have something wonderful to offer. It’s just taking to the time find that voice and the platform from which to share. I’m so glad this is mine, that you continue to be on this journey with me and, most of all, that I didn’t give up. Thanks for believing in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself.  Together we CAN do this.

Stay tuned for more on the magazine.

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Whole 30 or Bust… my pants

In my journey to get back on track, a Whole30 is in order so I can do a complete re-set. And because I’m not like everyone else and did not start on January 1st, I will begin on Monday. I’m actually looking forward to these 30 days of getting back to basics. Whole30 is strict – no sugar, no grains, no dairy, NO ALCOHOL, etc., but doable folks. Completely doable. I mean it’s only 30 days. And there are so many resources out there and so many amazing recipes that we never feel we are being deprived. To read about Whole30, go to this link: https://whole30.com

I just made my grocery list for the upcoming week. It is filled with protein and healthy fruits and veggies. My menu for the week will consist of a cashew chicken pan meal loaded with broccoli and bell peppers, salmon over a bed of shredded Brussels and cauliflower rice, baked chicken wings served with sweet potatoes and lemon-garlic kale. I will also make a giant frittata for breakfasts for the week and cut up veggies and fruit for snacks. Another tip is to hard boil eggs to keep on hand – I use my instant pot for super fast- super peelable eggs. I also make sure I always have snacks which travel well: tuna, freeze dried fruit(make sure the ONLY ingredient is fruit) and RX and Lara Bars so I’m not tempted to eat something I shouldn’t. On Monday my local supermarket has a special on La Croix water and you can bet I’ll be stocking up! You are probably thinking – she’s mentioned breakfast, snacks and dinner; what about lunch. That’s simple. LEFTOVERS! Usually I’ll just pack up some leftovers for lunch and call it a day. Or I will make a salad of some sort and load up on veggies and protein. A smoothie is ok, too. Just make sure there isn’t any sugar added. The Natural Nurturer has some amazing smoothies and I must admit the cauliflower blueberry smoothie is the bomb!  Who knew?! https://www.thenaturalnurturer.com/blog?category=Smoothies

Now for exercise… I have been really good about working out this week. So good, especially the last two days, that I’m currently having difficulty walking up and down stairs, sitting, getting in and out of the car… ok basically just existing. And as much as it hurts, I feel this giant sense of accomplishment every time I move and wince. Or whine. My husband says I’m whining… either way, this pain I’m feeling? I feel like it’s the pain of letting go and moving forward. Of starting over. And to me, it’s fantastic! In a really weird and twisted way. And I can’t wait to go at it again tomorrow. That is if I’m able to get out of bed. And half marathon training also begins on Monday because why not do everything at once!

By now some of you will have looked up the Whole30 plan and are saying it’s too hard.  Well let me share something from the creator of the Whole30:

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How can you argue with that? So stay tuned for the next 30 days. I’ll take you on my Whole30 journey. I start on Monday. How about you start with me? We CAN do this. I promise!

 

I hear you loud and clear

Life has a funny way of beating you upside the head when you need it the most. The last six months have been incredibly difficult and I’m still working through an immense amount of grief. My boss and friend of six years was transferred and I mourn his guidance and friendship and struggle with the change, knowing in a few months things will change yet again and there will be yet another goodbye. I mourn the loss of a dear aunt whom I adored so very much. I mourn a friend and colleague whose death was a complete shock. I mourn Tom Petty as if he were a family member -yes I realize how weird that sounds. There’s this deep sadness I just can’t seem to get a handle on and started to turn inward as that seemed to be easier. Safer… And because of this shut down I’ve not been good to myself – stress eating and not exercising, not getting enough rest, not doing the things which make my soul happy.  And so I thought it was time to hang up my blogging for a while and get my shit together, rather than let you in on this journey with me. And here’s where the smack upside the head comes in. It took a good friend to look at me and say “get over yourself. Share your journey with us.” She told me to share what I’m going through and how I’m working through it or not working through it. Warts and all.

And then I had some people tell me they were sorry I was taking a break as I’ve helped them so much. That I made a difference. And I look at the stats and people are still reading my posts. THEY ARE STILL READING!!  And received two requests today for my blog to be shared.

So, I had some time alone in the car today and did some soul searching. I can continue to feel sorry for myself and push everything and everyone away or I can take that brave step and let people in. I can show you how I’m picking up the pieces. I made a vow a long time ago I was going to pay forward the kindness shown me by sharing what I learned and helping others. Today at a retreat we talked about care of souls. Perhaps this is how I’m to care for souls: mine and others.

So I’m back and will continue to share my journey – the good the bad and the ugly.  We will walk through this together.

PS – started back in the gym this week and it felt great. Give it a try. Start slow and find something you enjoy and you will stick with it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you and Farewell for now

It’s December 27, and I haven’t written a blog post  in quite a while. The last few months have been so filled with loss and change that to be honest, I’ve not had the energy nor desire to do anything “extra.” That includes writing this blog and really taking care of myself. And it shows in how my body feels. I’m tired all the time, my mood is in constant flux, my immune system isn’t working properly… things are just a bit off kilter right now. And I’m struggling to find the balance I need to change things. I know what I need to do, I just can’t quite find the energy nor desire to do it.

And I share this because I want people to know that while I’ve learned to make the changes necessary for my health, that the struggle is very real. That every day I must choose to eat cleanly to go that extra mile for my health. And as much of an advocate as I am for eating healthy to stay healthy, sometimes I too struggle with the guilt of falling off plan and finding the motivation to get back on track.

For a while I felt that if I could help others, everything I went through would mean something. Now I feel I’m at a crossroads and maybe I’ve taken this blog as far as it can go. How can I possibly help others when I can’t even seem to help myself right now? So, I’m taking a break from this blog thing for a while. Maybe I’ll be back. Maybe I won’t. All I know is that I need to take care of me and work through my grief. So a break from all things extra is in order.
I hope I was of some help to somebody. That what I experienced and learned and shared was useful. That perhaps I was even an inspiration. But for now, my goal for the new year is to go back to taking care of me. Of making myself a priority. Because until I get that back in check, I’m of no use to anyone. Especially me.

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For the new year, I challenge you to do the same. Focus on getting and staying healthy. Take it one small step at a time.
There are so many amazing blogs out there to follow: Pretend it’s a Donut, Physicalkitchness, Whole30, Against all Grain… Follow them. Learn from them. I sure did.

I’m sure I will be back posting at some point and sharing my progress.  Thank you to all who have encouraged and supported me and who will continue to do so. May 2018 be healthy and happy for you all.