Tag Archive | finding balance

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Day the Music Died

While I normally post about food and exercise and dealing with an autoimmune disease, yesterday was such a profound day of loss, I had to switch gears a little just this once and I hope that’s ok.

Yesterday was a sad day. The day the music died. I was trying to put into words why I was hit so hard by Tom Petty’s death or by the shooting in Las Vegas. I mean, I never met Tom but his music was with me most of my life and his music carried me through and defined moments in my life. So many memories… And to see him in concert was pure magic. And I didn’t know anyone at the concert in Vegas. And yet it was a tragedy that hit us as a nation hard. And I mourn. We all mourn. As a nation, and as fans.

I awoke this morning feeling the world off-kilter because life is forever changed. And for me, this is yet one more sad change in a sea of change – one more thing, one more person, one more change to mourn. So last night was one of wine and Tom Petty songs and Las Vegas news as we worked through our grief.

Today my world, OUR world is a little darker. We mourn and we weep. And we wonder why. And there are no answers. No right or wrong way to feel. In this moment of time we must be especially kind to one another. Yesterday there was such love in action. Strangers caring for strangers, sharing grief. Loving one another. We must continue to help each other through. Give blood, give of your time and your treasure. Be there for others. Share stories and remember. Most importantly, we must continue to enjoy and experience and share music with others. To not be afraid to congregate in a large group and do just that. And so, I end this with my favorite Tom Petty song:

Alright for Now
Goodnight baby, sleep tight my love
May God watch over you from above
Tomorrow I’m workin’ what would I do
I’d be lost and lonely if not for you

So close your eyes
We’re alright for now

I’ve spent my life travelin’
Spent my life free
I could not repay all you’ve done for me

So sleep tight baby
Unfurrow your brow
And know I love you
We’re alright for now
We’re alright for now

 

A Happy Anniversary to Me and My Blog!

It has been one year since I started this blog. Amazing how time flies! Because of the health issues I’ve experienced and how I learned to cope and heal, I felt the need to help others. To share what I learned and not only be an inspiration to others but a resource as well. And I hope I have done just that.

I remember being handed information as to what to eat and not eat to manage my illness and I felt lost and overwhelmed. Thankfully I’m ever the planner and did a lot of research on how to eat this way – especially when my diet was very restricted. But I felt so alone on my journey. And it’s not that I didn’t have the support of my family and friends. But unless you’ve been there. Truly been there, you don’t know. You can still eat like a normal person. You can choose to eat the way I do or not. I don’t have that luxury. I mean, I can choose to ignore the plan but the consequences for me are serious.

What have I learned/done this past year?

1 –  I LOVE trying new recipies. I’ve continued to follow Against all Grain but I’ve also discovered resources such as the Whole30, Nom Nom Paleo, Physicalkitchness, Iheartumami and countless others. I follow them religiously and love their recipes and encouragement. I also just finished reading The Wahl’s Protocol and am having fun incorporating what I learned into my diet. Yes, this CAN be done!

2 – I’ve discovered a love for things such as my instant pot and spiralizer and the importance of having the right tools for the job. Unfortunately I have a love for all things kitchen-related. But these tools I’m addicted to are used often and loved. I did NOT blow up my house with the instant pot as I feared last year. Instead it has cut my Sunday prep time in half. And Kitchenaid mixer and all your attachments, where have you been all my life?

3 – Organization is key! Each week I sit down and plan my meals. ALL of my meals for each day of the week. By planning and shopping accordingly, we do not have food waste in our house. One meal turns into the next and last night’s dinner can become tomorrow’s lunch or even breakfast. And when all else fails and I’m tired at the end of the day, we have “clean out the fridge” night and I put an egg on it! Those dinner bowls with a fried egg on top have become some of my favorite meals.

4 – This isn’t always easy but that’s ok. I’ve learned to cut myself some slack. And a minor setback is just that.

5 – I rediscovered my love for running. It keeps my mind clear and my body active. I was told, because of my RA, I needed to stop running. I was devastated and then came across this wonderful support group  of people with RA WHO STILL RUN!! They inspire me. We inspire and support one another. They were one of my lifelines and I’m forever grateful. In this past year I’ve run countless 5k’s, two 10 k’s, a 12k and a half marathon. I mentored a running group and ran through illness, arthritic pain, a cracked rib and a separated shoulder. I ran when I was happy, angry or sad. I always say my integrative doctor saved my life two years ago but this past year it was running that saved me. Find what activity makes you happy and DO IT! Movement is so important. Especially for something as debilitating as RA and fibromyalgia. My body used to be so stiff and it hurt to the touch. I’m not saying I don’t still have those days but they are few and far between because I stay in motion.

6 – I’ve learned patience with myself. And to accept and love myself as I am. This past year I finally learned that what others think doesn’t matter. What counts is how I feel about myself. That I’m strong and capable and can do anything I set my mind to. I’m my own damn superhero! And you can be as well. Positive self talk and a positive attitude are everything!

7 – Real food, HEALTHY food tastes good. Paleo, along with my other food limitations doesn’t mean eating styrofoam. We eat a balanced, healthy diet that was created for me to remove inflammation from my body and keep my immune system intact. Everything tastes AMAZING! And most of the time, my family doesn’t realize they are eating “healthy.”

8 – Thanks to three very special people in my life (all colleagues and dear friends), I rediscovered my faith. I spent so much time being angry. I kept saying Why me,  It’s not fair. And then one day it all clicked. I realized I wasn’t being punished. That there maybe was a reason to all of this and I was meant to help people. I went from being unable to pray to being so incredibly thankful for the many gifts in my life, including my life. It was in that moment of clarity I decided to create this blog. That my purpose was to help others struggling with their health. To provide the love and support that was shown me.

Life is this crazy journey of ups and downs and even sideways. And it’s what we learn from those moments that count. There will be failures but so many more gifts and successes than not. I’ve discovered my voice and that people want to hear what I have to say. That you CAN change the course of your health by eating deliberately. I’m living proof. I’m alive because of those changes.

I thank all of you for your love and support of my blog. This year has been a journey and a HUGE learning curve for me, and it continues to be. But it has been a gift and a joy to share my life with you. I don’t know what’s next but I do know I want to continue to teach and inspire people. The how and what I haven’t yet quite figured out. So until I do, I will continue to write and share and encourage because eating to change your health is something I feel strongly about. And a happy anniversary to me and my blog. And remember, if I CAN do it, so CAN you!

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I’ve Lost the Will to Live…

I’ve lost the will to live… that’s what I told myself at mile 7 of my 9 mile run last week. I was so wiped out, I pondered Ubering home but then my inner stubbornness kicked in and I finished my run.  Today was mile 10 day. I felt great the ENTIRE run. No willing myself to die this time. Why the huge difference, I asked myself.  The difference is routine,  consistency and discipline. I allowed myself to fall out of routine and THAT was the game changer.

When training for a big race or just eating Paleo in general, routine and discipline is key.  It’s important you eat right – natural, healthy food that will fuel your body. You must stay hydrated. And I’m not talking the night before your big workout. Daily Hydration helps your body function properly, it flushes the toxins out of your body, it also gives you good skin. For those of you looking for the fountain of youth or who ask why I have such a nice complextion, I’ll tell ya that fountain of youth is no further than the water on your refrigerator door, faucet, etc. Limit your alcohol consumption or cut it completely. I promise you will survive; a glass of sparkling water with lime is just as refreshing. Lastly, make sure you are getting enough sleep and also allow your body time to rest. Rest days are built into a training program for a reason. And if you are injured, for Pete’s sake, allow your body to heal (yes I hear your groans friends and family…). I don’t always follow this. I’m recovering from a cracked rib and separated shoulder and am currently only allowed to walk/run until I’m fully rehabbed. And you know what? My pace has decreased because I’m allowing my body to heal!! Allow your body to heal. It will thank you.

Every run/workout is different. You will have good days and bad ones. But you can increase your odds of good workouts by taking care of your body. After all, it’s the only one you’ve got.

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