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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…

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

50 Races by my 50th Birthday

I am back in training mode because, let’s face it, I’m crazy. I also committed to finishing 50 races by my 50th birthday which means I have 20 months to finish 12 races. I can do this. Right? And because I’m back in training mode, I thought It would be fun to share what it was like for me to run my latest race. And what I learned from it.

I trained incredibly hard for the Disney Half Marathon this past September. For twelve weeks, my entire life revolved around my running schedule and my every free thought was wrapped up in routes, nutrition and pain. Lots of pain. And after two years of health issues and a pretty serious fall about three months before my race (separated shoulder, mild concussion and cracked rib), I was ready.

The night before the race, we had a pasta dinner (gluten free for me) and then reflected at the start and finish lines to get ourselves in “the zone.” Then it was back to the hotel to set our things out and settle in for an early night of slumber. Now, I have to ask who really sleeps the night before a big race? Because my mind was all over the place. And did I mention how HOT it was? Good God we were in for a tortuous run.

The alarm went off at 2 a.m. and it was time to load up on the body glide, tape up my shoulder and don my race attire, only to find I had pinned my bib all the way through my shirt. With bib re-pinned, I double and triple checked my pockets, made sure I had my nutrition, ear buds, ID, etc., I forced myself to eat my pre-race breakfast and out the door we went. 3:00 a.m., 80 degrees outside and 70% humidity. WHAT? What the Hell were we thinking? We arrived at Disneyland only to discover there was a yellow flag warning and folks with health issues were encouraged to back out of the race. I am now of course, a bundle of nerves and have to pee every few minutes “I don’t have to pee. I don’t have to pee. I DON’T have to pee…” Perhaps if I say it enough times, I will convince myself that I don’t have to pee. Of course at this point I’m now questioning my training over the last few months and whether or not I will make it to the finish or be swept. Why the Hell is it so hot? Can I do this? Why did I think I could do this? And then the National Anthem plays and we all sing it together. What a beautiful moment. And then the realization hits that this is it. The moment we all trained so hard for. And, we are off.

As we run out of the safe confines of Disney and head out onto the open road, I notice the first of a many ambulances. It has barely been three miles and people are already dropping like flies. Did I mention how hot it was?! At this point there isn’t much to look at because Anaheim isn’t really that much to look at and it’s all mind games at this point. Although I am thankful for the kind souls who lined the race with their creative signs such as “Smile, remember you PAID to do this.” Yup, it takes a special kind of crazy to run 13.1 miles for FUN after paying $200 to do so! (And just so you know, I was having this EXACT conversation in my head as I was running.) As I approach mile 8, I’m fairly certain I cannot go any further. My fingers are so swollen, they are like sausages and I cannot bend them. I’m tired and feel overwhelmed by the heat and my feet hurt and I start pouring water over myself at each water station because I’m so miserable and it’s so hot.  I’m also bargaining with myself at this point and making myself promises in the event I actually survive this stupid race that I actually paid to run. And in that moment the race flag is changed from a yellow flag to a red flag warning. UGH. The game has changed. Now it’s all about survival.

We enter Angel Stadium and the sheer cool factor of running out onto the field makes up for the misery I’m feeling at this point. I run around the stadium high-fiving every spectator I pass in the hopes their positive energy will somehow enter my body and give me the boost I need. And, you know what? It worked! For a while. We run out of the stadium and through the parking lot down the street and see this giant overpass looming up ahead, in direct sunlight no less. And another person collapses. For a brief second I wondered (hoped?) perhaps it was me who collapsed and I was having an out of body experience. No such luck. And so I push on.

Mile 11. This is about the time I started crying. Yes, I actually started crying. It was hot, I was miserable, I couldn’t bend my fingers, I didn’t want to run ever again and I still had 2.1 miles to go. So close and yet so far. Some random woman in the crowd beckoned to me and held up one of those cooling neck rags to give me. At first I wondered why I was being singled out, but if I looked as bad as I felt, there was my reason. God bless her. That and the ice she poured into my bra was what got me and all my delirious glory to mile 12.

Mile 12.  I can see Disneyland. I mean, I can see actually see it. I’m close. Only 1.1 miles to go. OMG. I still have 1.1 miles to go… This race is never going to end. There is a saying that the longest mile in a race is the last .1 miles. Do you want to know why? Because at that point you are wondering where the HELL is the finish line. Because you want to finish strong (ok, who am I kidding at this point. I just want to finish upright) and so you need to be able to conserve your energy for that last sprint to the finish line. I was in such a fog, I didn’t even realize I had crossed the finish line until I did. So much for my happy finish photo. Let’s just say my photo looks pretty much like I’m sure you are imagining at this point. But no matter. I finished. I pushed through the heat and the tears and the pain and I FINISHED!

This race was not the best run of my life. It wasn’t even in the top ten. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is I believed in myself and accomplished something not everyone can do healthy, much less with the health issues I have. I learned that we all have so much more inside of us than we think. That even when my body is begging to stop, to be strong and reach deep down and fight. But, most importantly this race taught me not what I am capable of. It taught me to believe that I AM capable.

And as I walked to the medical tent to ice my shoulder, I smiled and began to plan my next races. Because there will be more. Twelve more to be exact.

 

The Prednizone Part Deaux

Have I mentioned lately how much I HATE this stuff? Now I get that walking pneumonia is no joke and the docs bring out the big guns. But man… I’ve been cranky and emotional and tired and never mind the night sweats or that every inch of my body hurts to the touch today. I can’t sleep to save my life and I’m doing everything short of locking the fridge so I don’t snack aimlessly. Three more days. I can do this. I just hope those around me survive. Just saying it’s gonna be close.

I did a lot of food prep today and will post the recipes below as they are not my own but man are they good. There’s something so wonderful about spending time in the kitchen on a fall weekend. That is truly when I’m at my best. I did create a recipe today for GF/Paleo pumpkin, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I had to put them away or I would have eaten every last one. I will post the recipe later (I actually wrote it down this time).

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffins: the recipe is from the Against all Grain cookbook from Danielle Walker

Instant pot mashed potatoes (I used fresh dill  instead) http://pretenditsadonut.com/2017/10/19/instant-pot-mashed-potatoes/

Crispy Sweet Potatoes: https://thewonkyspatula.com/2017/05/12/sweet-potato-cubes-with-basil-guac/

Breakfast sausages: http://pretenditsadonut.com/2017/08/18/jalapeno-cilantro-breakfast-sausage-patties/

Turkey stuffing meatballs chock full of carrots and kale and no stuffing. But with the spices and flavor combo, nobody will know the difference. https://m.facebook.com/OfficialWhole30Recipes/posts/1596723503681251:0

Buffalo chicken tacos: http://www.thewholesmiths.com/2017/11/02/football-family-and-buffalo-chicken-tacos/

I still need to make chicken nuggets for the grandkids but I forgot to buy sparkling water (necessary to get the batter just right) so I will make those tomorrow after work. That’s how easy these are.  But you can find the recipe here: https://againstallgrain.com/2014/09/18/gluten-free-chicken-nuggets/

I want to point out I did NOT spend all day in the kitchen. Thanks to my instant pot and these super easy recipes, it’s not quite 3:00 pm and I’m resting on the couch. And yet my family will now have healthy, tasty meals for the week. A win in my book. PS -the baked goods are an attempt to apologize for what has or will come out of my mouth the next few days… I’ll let you all know when it’s safe.