Tag Archive | running

To the Finish Line and Beyond

My doctor suggested I read a book called “The Wahls Protocol” and I’m already fascinated and I’m just on chapter one! As most who know me know, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and something called ABPA. I am lucky in that I’ve been able to manage both through what I eat – a strict paleo diet and after a very difficult year am now off all meds. A miracle? Sure. But also a lot of hard work. A passage that spoke to me from her book: “You are made of cells…Cells come in different sizes and shapes and they all do different things, but they are, essentially, the building blocks that make up our bodies… They need certain nutrients in order to do the work of keeping you alive and healthy. Without those nutrients, the cells begin to malfunction, even die. Where do those nutrients come from? They come from the food you eat, nowhere else… Your genetics may determine WHAT goes wrong but when the cells aren’t getting what they need, the body doesn’t work right and something (usually many something’s) will go wrong somewhere.”

“People often wonder whether health is mostly a matter of genetics. Do your cells work well or poorly depending on your DNA? If it were up to your genes, then what you eat and how you live wouldn’t matter very much. However, we know this isn’t the case.”

Wow! Just wow! I’m living proof of this. I went from being very ill two years ago to sitting in the car traveling to run a half marathon in three days. I was once so ill that, at the rate I was declining and had someone very dear to me not stepped in, I would not be here today. I’m certain of it. I was then referred to a Functional Medicine doctor who saved my life through diet and supplements. Of this I am sure. I went from being bedridden and weak with such bad thrush I couldn’t eat. The oral thrush then moved into my esophagus; a testament to how very sick I was. The very medications I was being given to cure me were slowly poisoning me.

I’ve written about the struggle to be weaned off prednisone. It was hell. There were days I didn’t want to continue but I knew deep down I had no choice so each taper I fought through the extreme pain -my body hurt to the touch, every joint hurt terribly. The mood swings were awful, I couldn’t sleep or eat. By the time things settled down, it was time for the next taper. And so it went for a year until I was finally free of all meds and, to this day almost eight months later, still am.

I’ve been training for this run for months. I’ve trained through minor health setbacks, including a cracked rib and a separated shoulder. I’ve trained through sinus infections and asthma attacks. And through it all I’ve managed to push through and move forward, one mile at a time.

This is not my first half marathon. My first was four years ago – right before all of this began. But this one is most important to me. Because, you see, I’m me again. I’m strong and healthy. I’m a little battle worn but isn’t anyone who has fought such a battle and won? I’m proud of how very far I’ve come in such a relatively short amount of time. I am a fighter. And I believe with all my heart and soul where I am is because of how and what I eat. And this is why I write this blog. Why I passionately share with anyone who will listen.

To come to terms with what I’ve been through I had to believe there was a purpose to all of this. And my purpose is to pay it forward. To be that person to someone in need. To share what I’ve learned and perhaps make it easier for others. So that even if just one person knows they are not alone and can do this, then all of this will not have been in vain.

And as I cross that finish line on Sunday, I know there will be tears but they will be tears of joy. Of triumph. I’m not just running this race for me but for the many who have been there with and for me the last two years. Those of you reading this know who you are. The ones who prayed with me, cried with me, made me laugh, helped me with my workload, just simply loved me… you will all be with me on Sunday.

I am ever grateful to you all.

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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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Paleo and traveling

This time of year, we all have trips on the mind. Hopefully not the trip I had a couple of weeks ago. Right down the stairs. Cracked a rib, had a mild concussion and a HUGE contusion on my leg. But back to trips of the fun kind. If you are like me and on a special diet, there is an element of planning you must do. Long gone are the days of just hopping in a car or a plane and just grabbing a bite. I can’t trust I will find what I need so here is what I do. Yup, more planning:

Whether traveling by car or plane, bring food with you. The length of the trip determines what I bring. If I’m traveling by car, I like to bring a cooler with some already prepped food: eggs, compliant lunch meat, lettuce, bacon, my ranch dressing, chopped or roasted veggies. I also bring nuts, Lara Bars, beef jerkey, plantain chips and almond butter. This way, no matter where I am, if I’m in a pinch I can make a meal. Here’s an example of what I take with me. I fill a larger container with some of my provisions. It goes from my fridge to the cooler back to the fridge – everything contained in one spot.

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In that container I have things like salad dressing, guacamole, apples, eggs, etc. you get the idea.

If I’m going by plane I make lettuce wraps ahead of time.  Or I may make paleo breakfast cookies or bars. I also know I can hit up a Starbucks for fresh fruit or grab a salad someplace if I need to. But I try to not count on that because if there is some sort or delay, I don’t want to be stuck without food.

Whether I’m traveling or not, I ALWAYS have food with me whether it be nuts, a Larabar, dried fruit or an apple. ALWAYS! Better to prepared, I say.

Once you arrive to your location, what do you do? I try to look up menus before hand so we don’t end up in a place I can’t eat. And never be afraid to ask to alter a meal to suit your needs. Most restaurants are happy to comply. Last night I ordered a grass fed burger without the bun, cheese or condiments. It had bacon and a fried egg on top and I swapped out the fries for broccoli and had a fantastic dinner!!

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Traveling while on a paleo diet is totally doable. You just have to do your homework and plan ahead. Organization is the key. It’s still work but once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature. Now my family is used to it and knows it’s just what mom has to do to keep healthy.  You can do it too. Honest. Happy traveling!

 

 

 

Now what?

Perhaps you have been dealing with an autoimmune disease for some time and are tired of all the meds. Or your doctor suggested you follow an autoimmune protocol diet (AIP) or paleo or Whole30 and you don’t know where to begin. Here are some tips to get you on your way.

  1. If you have not already done so, seek out or asked to be referred to an Integrative or Functional Medicine doctor. There are lots of certificated specialists and that is probably just fine, however I’m more comfortable knowing who I see is also an MD. At your first visit you will be assessed and odds are they will run a bunch of tests, including a food allergy panel. This is to give them a baseline to see where you are. For me, I was then put on a very restrictive Elimination Diet for three months. I was also told to start eating as much fermented food as possible to start healing my gut.  All of this was so that we could bring down the inflammation levels and calm my body down so I could heal. After my first visit, I left with tons of notes and handouts and even more questions. This is where my inquisitive nature kicked in as I pondered “Now what?”
  2. “Now What” – Fortunately there is now so much information available. Unfortunately there is now so much information available.  How do you know where to turn and which information is correct? Some people claim things are AIP or Whole30 compliant and yet those things are not.  First of all, your doctor should have given you a list of compliant foods.  Keep that.  You will be referencing that often.  In my searches, I found that Against All Grain has been my go to for everything.  She keeps all the different food allergies and diets in mind when creating recipes and her cookbooks also delineate which recipes are nut free, AIP, etc.  She’s a great resource! http://againstallgrain.com/  Through her blog, I was introduced to the Whole30 and Melissa Hartwig.  Melissa’s tough love and humor caught my attention and I’ve followed her ever since.  https://whole30.com/ And I’m now also stalking Chrissa from Physical Kitchness because she cooks like I do! Simple, easy meals. http://physicalkitchness.com/
  3. The next step is to go through your pantry and refrigerator. Remove any foods which are not compliant. And I don’t mean by eating them. Throw them away and then restock your pantry with the following to begin with.  Almond flour, coconut flour, coconut milk, arrowroot powder, compliant spices, nut butters… you can also go to my previous blog for a complete list.
  4. Meal plan. They key to staying “on the wagon” is planning ahead and staying organized. Once you get he hang of it, it becomes a habit and you get better at it. I sit down on Saturday and plan what I’m going to cook all week for breakfast, lunch and dinner and then shop accordingly. I always keep my pantry and fridge stocked with the basics and fill in with fresh produce and protein. I also play meals so that tonight’s dinner can become tomorrow’s lunch or even breakfast. Learn to change your mindset of what breakfast should be. I also take leftovers and turn them into other things. Tonight’s tri tip will become tomorrow’s steak salad. Or mixed with scrambled eggs and sweet potatoes. We don’t waste food in this house. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Blueberries and eggs are good honest! I would have never discovered this if I wasn’t open to trying different recipes. I’ve also discovered plantain chips. Where have these been my whole life?

Some days will be easier than others. Be kind to yourself and embrace the journey.  Know that knowledge is power and arm yourself with as much information as you can. I didn’t have anyone to walk me through this. I had to discover all of this alone.  And because of this I hope that what I’ve been through will be of help to others.

Becasue it is now summer and vacations are upon us I’m sure you are wondering how to deal with travel and eating out. Tomorrow I will share my tips and hacks on how to survive both.

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Embrace the lessons

Still sick. It’s a sinus infection gone sideways and now my jaw is locked. Seriously. Can’t make this stuff up! And now I don’t care if I never see another bowl of applesauce again. COMPLIANT applesauce because even though I can eat precious little right now, I’m still keeping to the plan.

A dear friend said she’s praying “It’s enough Lord” for me. No kidding, right?! But that got me to thinking… perhaps the prayers should be that I embrace the lessons and be grateful for the journey. Because it’s through this journey that I see goodness and hope. People are now reaching to me for help with their illnesses. Friends are sharing what I’ve been through with others and encouraging them to reach out to me. And that they actually want to hear what it is I have to say is still hard for me to wrap my head around…

I’ve been praying for the Lord to show me His purpose in all of this and every day it becomes more clear. Perhaps not only is each experience meant to make us stronger but we are to then to go forth and share those lessons with others. And that is now where I am in my journey. Talking to people. Sharing what I’ve learned and where to turn for help.  Holding their hand through this as someone held mine. Modeling that having a chronic illness does not have to mean the end of the world but that it is instead the start of a new one full of promise and hope.

I’m not perfect. Dealing with my illness is hard and I have to be ever vigilant. And there are times, such as now where I could easily give up and stop hoping. Times where I don’t want to do any of this anymore if I’m going to be brutally honest. But what keeps me going is hope. Hope that I have more good days than bad. Hope that I can make a difference in this world. In somebody’s life. Hope that all of this isn’t for nothing.

So whatever it is you are going through. Be grateful for it for there is a lesson just waiting to be embraced. One which could change your life for the better.

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The Prednizone

Nope, not a typo. I’ve entered back into The Prednizone. Third day in and I’m exhausted. I haven’t slept in two days, I’m cranky and just so darn tired my eyes hurt. But I have to power through a few more days of this hell . Why did I give in and let them prescribe this to me? Well, it’s keeping me out of the hospital. That’s why. There will be times I must have a prednisone burst because of my asthma and ABPA, and this is just one of those times.

So, because I’m so wiped out from this trying to breathe thing, I’m making very simple meals, one that flows into another. Quick and not energy zapping. I bought cauliflower and sweet potato rice this week and have used it for breakfasts and dinners: under fried eggs, under a Hawaiian chicken patty and added to other leftovers. A little pop of color and it tastes great. We don’t waste food here so one meal is just repurposed into the next. Even breakfast can become a sweet potato and some leftover pulled pork with avocado. It’s using what you have and yet being creative. Last night, I took a sweet potato and then covered it with leftovers consisting of broccoli,  riced cauliflower and sweet potato, ham and apple sausage and then drizzled my dairy free ranch over the top; a simple meal that was pretty to look at and yet quick and filling.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult. I do all my prep work on Sundays so the rest of the week is a breeze. Heat and eat. And by repurposing leftovers, you are keeping things interesting and also not wasting food.  The key is to prep things on Sunday which can be worked together during the week.

My ranch dressing recipe:

1/4 cup avocado mayo

about three tablespoons of coconut milk or enough to get a ranch dressing consistency

1/4 tsp celery salt

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/2 -1 tsp dried dill (I like lots of dill)

small pinch of salt and pepper

mix until the consistency is smooth and this will last a week in your fridge.

Another tip is to take that small amount of   Dijon mustard you are about to throw away and add a little champagne vinegar and honey. Shake well and you have a nice vinegrette. Again, no waste.

Once you get the hang of repurposing meals, it gets easier. Honest. And if I can do it, so can you. So, what are you batch cooking this week and how will you turn those varied leftovers into meals?

Signing out from the Prednizone. Maybe I’ll get a nap today. Oh, who am I kidding?

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What a difference

What a difference hard work and determination can make, and what a long way I’ve come. The photo on the right is 4 years ago, full of prednisone and a few months after surgery number two. The photo on the left is today-completely weaned off all meds and in remission. Life is good. And looking at these two photos, how can you not believe that clean eating is the best thing for you. Is my journey over? No. I have a long way to go. But looking at this photo, I see how very far I’ve come.

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It’s St Patrick’s Day and I hate corned beef. So, this is what was for dinner. Salmon with Dijon mustard, honey, lemon and dill in the instant pot and green beans with a little Cajun powder from Penzies Spices. Much tastier, I say.

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I also was wanting something special for dessert and came across this recipe from Barefoot Provisions:

For this epic shake- you’ll need:

1 cup almond milk
2 handfuls ice
1-2 tbsp coconut sugar
3/4 tsp mint oil or extract (fresh mint would be great)
1 tbsp cacao nibs
inch of vanilla bean
1 tbsp of your favorite nut butter

These are ingredients I always have on hand. And, because I’m still fighting off a sinus infection, I also threw in a little VSL3 probiotic for good measure…

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So, you see, anything is possible if you work hard enough for it.  I’m not missing out on anything and, most importantly, for the first time in a really long time I feel great and I think it shows. Honestly, if I can do this, so can you!