Tag Archive | rheumatoid arthritis

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 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These boots were made for walking… walking pneumonia that is.

One year ago I was fighting to come off prednisone after being on it for nine years and I wrote about how incredibly hard it was and how I wasn’t feeling particularly strong or brave. But I did it. It took a few more months but I was finally weaned off. And I’ve done pretty well but find it ironic I write this as I sit here recovering from walking pneumonia. I was injected with 125mg of steroids last night and given another 60 today. I feel defeated by this setback. I’ve worked so hard and here I am, my cheeks red and puffy from the prednisone, I can’t sleep from the high doses and I was quite alarmed to see a series of about 20 bruises out of nowhere. Yes, it’s Halloween and I’m back in the Prednizone. And yet I’m reminded this is temporary. When you have an autoimmune disorder you are going to have setbacks. It doesn’t mean you are a failure. Things happen. Stress happens. Grief happens. These things all affect our health in ways you can’t imagine. But you stay the course. Because it works. Eating clean does not mean there will never be another setback. It means the number of setbacks and the length of them diminish significantly and that is what I hold on to. Below is the blog post I wrote exactly one year ago:

“Be mindful of your cape when you pee.”

And now a little about the last week. This time last year we were rooting for our beloved Cubbies in the World Series and this year our Dodgers. A great two years in our house. You have to have good food while watching a ball game, so I made Paleo nachos. So easy, good and filling: plantain chips, pulled pork, radishes, pico de Gallo, cilantro and guac. Did I mention how tasty these were?

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I started a tradition years ago with my girls making rice krispy treat “monster eyes” and I continue that tradition with my grandkids. But I also wanted to make a healthy treat as I’m trying to teach them young about eating healthy. And so we made these incredible green smoothie muffin “monster eyes” as well. For the recipe, please go to this link for the recipe from The Natural Nurturer. http://www.thenaturalnurturer.com/blog/paleo-green-smoothie-muffins  These muffins were kid approved and she even watched me add the spinach!

Now what do you cook when you aren’t feeling well or are in a pinch for time? I make a simple apple sausage skillet filled with whatever leftover veggies I have in the fridge and added some of my mineral broth and chili sauce for some heat. Delicious and just as good the second night. Excuse my little plastic plate. I don’t feel well and grabbed something I could quickly microwave.

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It doesn’t have to be fancy and sometimes good enough is good enough. And you would be amazed how “good enough” tastes.

So, what now? I push through and I stay the course. Because of the high doses of Prednisone I’ve been given, I have to do all I can to boost my immune system: kombucha, green tea, lots of water, rest, vitamin C and Zinc. I’ve upped my turmeric and added more ginger and drinking my immune boosting green smoothies. And am constantly washing my hands. I’m not like “regular” people and have to be more vigilant. It’s work, sure, but in the end is so worth the effort. And if I can do it, you certainly can too!

Hapoy Halloween everyone!

 

 

 

 

Listen to your Body’s Whispers, Before They Become Screams

As I lie in bed recovering from the virus that is currently making the rounds, I thought perhaps this is a good time to share the things I’m doing to get well. I suspect many others are affected by this crummy virus too.

Let me begin by mentioning that last Thursday was World Arthritis Day. What does that have to do with why I’m sick? In a nutshell, everything. I have rheumatoid arthritis. I was diagnosed two years ago. At the time, I thought life as I knew it was over. I was told to stop running and I was devastated. After my initial pity party, I decided I refused to accept that. I found an amazing support group filled with people who still run. We support one another and cheer each other on through the good days and bad. Most people would have no idea I have RA because I’m as active as I am. What they don’t see are the days I struggle to walk down the stairs, they have no idea the days my feet hurt so bad that it feels like every bone in my feet are broken and walking is excruciatingly painful. I suffer in silence as so many of us affected do. Nobody knows what it takes for me to run a race. How much of a toll it takes on my body. Because I don’t complain – there are so many worse off than me. Those of us who suffer from RA or the myriad of autoimmune diseases are warriors. We are fighters who live with a crippling disease of which there is no cure. We all belong to a club we don’t want to be a member of but we make the best of things and go about life suffering in silence. I consider myself one of the lucky ones.

Now back to what RA has to do with why I’m sick. I am suffering from an arthritic flair which started this week. This should have been a clue to me my immune system was going haywire but… here I am. I should have listened to my body. Because I didn’t, I am writing this blog from my bed. And now I’ll share what I should have done and what I’m doing now to recover.

Usually when I feel a flare coming on, I step up the turmeric, I take boswelia, ginger and borage, steep astragalus root tea and take ashwaganda. I also make a huge batch of Rebecca Katz’s Magic Mineral Broth (see link to recipe below) drink my healing smoothies (from the Wahl’s Protocol), drink golden milk and rest. Fortunately I did make a huge batch of my broth last week – didn’t start drinking it until yesterday. Life happens, we get busy and complacent. The problem with being complacent, for me, is my health suffers greatly. I cannot afford to slip however I am human and I do. And then I deal with the consequences, get back on track and move on.

Today I am feeling a little better. I am making smart choices and resting my body. Walking down the stairs is painful, my body aches, my throat hurts and I’m tired. But… I’m feeling better. Normally I wouldn’t bounce back as quickly. Through this journey, I’ve discovered how to heal my body by eating the right food, taking the right supplements and staying active. These are the things that work for me. I’m a huge proponent of eating to get and stay well. Of eating with purpose. And it’s not something I do on my own. I am guided by my doctors and then take what I’ve learned and do the research so I can follow what they insist I do to stay healthy or as healthy as I can. If you are struggling with an autoimmune or just can’t seem to get over illness after illness, seek out an integrative medicine doctor. I promise you will be glad you did.

And now for those links I promised:

https://www.rebeccakatz.com/magic-mineral-broth/

https://whole30.com

https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/nutrition/immune-supporting-astragalus-tea/

http://www.gaiaherbs.com/products/detail/774/Golden-Milk

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