Category Archives: Health

How Things Evolve

I knew I needed a change a year ago when I went to the doctor and I weighed the most I’ve ever weighed in my life.  Long story short, I started eating more whole foods and started to go through different diets.

I wanted to juice, but didn’t have a juicer.  So I made lots of smoothies chock full of kale and spinach and some berries, coconut water, flax seed, hemp seed, chia seeds…….and we ate mostly raw and whole foods.  I felt better than I had in…well maybe ever.  I started running with the C25K program.  I ran a 3k, then a 5k.  I lost 30 lbs.  Then our lives got incredibly stressful, I started feeling sick, and things just changed so so much.

We moved, and somehow gradually slid back into eating the same old things we used to.  The sickness that was afflicting me was getting worse, and I felt such a strong desire…a deep need to change things.  So we tried the Whole30 plan.  Basically, it’s a drastic way to shock your body into using it’s own fat stores for energy and helps your body function the way it is supposed to.  The way it was designed to.  To stay away from things that have been domesticated and genetically modified, and from things that appear good for you, like grains and beans, but actually contain a lot of things that our bodies can’t digest.  And a lot of the nutrients in those things are bound by other things that we can’t digest, meaning we can’t really absorb much nutrition.  To add to it, things like gluten can reek havoc on the lining of the intestines, and even work its way outside of the digestive system and affect a lot of other bodily systems.  A lot of diseases and sicknesses can be traced back to it.  This is where my problem was, but I didn’t know exactly what was bothering me yet.  I had gone off of so many things that even though I felt great, I didn’t know what the  culprit was.  The Whole30 plan was so difficult for me because not everyone ate the same way, my kids weren’t totally on the plan, and basically, cooking a million different things and trying to plan ahead only to have those plans fall through and spending way too much on food made me exhausted and tired of trying so hard.  So after three weeks, despite how good I felt, I stopped.  And I fell back into my old ways.  And then the holidays hit.

So after the holidays and a 10 lb gain over two months, I decided to do something similar to the Whole30, but not as drastic.  Enter 21DSD.  The 21 Day Sugar Detox.  There are three levels.  I wanted to use it to work my way to a primal diet, and make my family do it too.  I made it a week, then broke the sugar fast.  But since I stayed off of grains, I realized where my problem was, and I was able to go off of the medication that kept the cramping at bay.

Saturday I ate four pieces of pizza while at my dad’s, feeling like I didn’t want to make someone cater to me.  The whole next couple days I was sick as a dog.  Problem super-confirmed.

Lately, I’ve gone off of grains.  Which is definitely necessary.  I was getting sick at least once a week.  Debilitating intestinal cramping, bloating so much that I looked pregnant again, feeling like I was rotting from the inside out.  Lots of bad.  I went off of grains and beans and sugar for a week, then couldn’t fight the sugar thing at the same time.  Changing everything….no bread or crackers or pasta….it seems so hard.  But then I really got into making new recipes.  I have a great pinterest board for food, and I’ve gotten the hang of making all kinds of things without grains and I love it.  While a lingering part of me misses the ease of eating like most people, and I miss big chunks of bread to dip in soup….it hasn’t been that hard, really.  My bigger struggle has been the sugar ordeal, but by replacing sugar in the things I make with raw honey, real syrup, or coconut sugar, I am starting to get the hang of things.  And my stomach hasn’t had any problems at all.

Until I tested it.

So I’ve come to this conclusion.  That we all have these health issues, sometimes they come on suddenly, but most likely, they creep up on us.  We don’t even realize when they start, because it is so gradual.  We deal with them as best we can, and they keep getting more intense, more serious.  Until one day, the symptoms can’t be ignored anymore.  This point is different for a lot of people.  Some people catch things early.  Some people have massive heart attacks.  Sometimes it’s because they didn’t see it coming, but I bet a lot of the time, we choose to ignore the warning signs.

I believe with all of me, because of everything I have read and seen and watched and researched, that a huge, HUGE majority of these issues are caused by the food we eat.  That even though inactivity can be a big problem, the food we eat is a much bigger issue.  If the food you eat makes you feel lethargic and fatigued, you aren’t going to exercise.  You are barely going to make it through the day.  I’ve actually never seen anyone who had a lot of energy who ate a diet of mostly processed food.  At least, not someone over 30.  It all catches up with us.  I’m realizing, even though I am not even 30 yet, that the choices I have made for the last ten years have greatly affected my health.  And now I have to work a lot harder to change, to institute habits that will get me on the right track.

And what is the right track?  Is it an elusive, intangible thing?

That is a topic for another day.  But I will say this, you can grab ahold of your health and control it, and by doing so, make your life a life worth living to it’s fullest potential each and every day.  It is possible, and if you want it enough, so very doable.

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What is up with all of this….yawn…what was I talking about?

Where am I?  How much time just passed?

Did I just fall asleep?  Are my two toddlers really pulling all of the wipes out of the container and covering the entire living room floor with them?  It could be worse.  It has been worse.  Remember the pancake batter all over the kitchen floor?  That was messier.  I can fix this.  And then my eyelids droop.  I can’t keep them open.  They weigh thousands of pounds.  I battle them.  I sit up so I can stay awake.

Then….I’m laying on the couch, snuggled under a blanket that I’m pretty sure my three year old covered me up with.  Because I fell asleep again.  This time ten minutes passed.  Last time it was almost thirty minutes.

I drink 32oz of coffee over the course of two hours.  I eat a protein packed lunch, no white sugar, some fruit, lots of good fats (I heart COCONUT!).  This should make me feel satisfied, belly happy, and full of energy for the rest of the day.  At least now I can manage to keep my eyes open, right?  But it is still a battle.  Why is it so hard?  As I write this, a part of me wonders if I’m even making sense.

What is happening to me?  This is the result of kids being up in the night?  That can’t be it….that’s been my life for over three years.  I don’t think I’ve slept a whole night through in probably closer to four, if you count my first pregnancy, but I usually end up getting a pretty good amount of sleep .  It can’t be a matter of sleep.  But I could sleep for days.  I want to.  More than anything.

Just a few more hours.

Do all moms feel like this?  Like nothing gets done?  In between things getting done, that nothing is getting done?  Guilty for not doing enough?  Guilty for feeling lazy, fatiqued, tired?  For yelling at the kids?  Not teaching them enough?  Using tv too much?  Just so tired?

It’s not all the time.  But when it happens, it feels like it has always been like this and always will be.  That my life with be taking care of toddlers and being tired forever and ever, because it has been forever and ever.  And yet I know the things you could tell me.  The encouraging things.

And I know God is there, with me, loving on me and blessing me.  I love my kids and I’m glad to be a huge part of their life and development.

I’m just so tired.

Diving In….will I surface?

I wanted to post something today because I have noticed a HUGE difference between days 1 and 2 of the Whole30 plan and 21DSD. I’m not craving anything! In fact, my biggest complaint is feeling lightheaded, which is probably because I haven’t eaten enough today.

Here’s what I made today:

Avocado chocolate pudding, cold pork roast, and green peppers for lunch, rosemary crackers, my very first original recipe for coconut chocolate banana muffins, and I’m headed to the kitchen after posting this to rice a ton of cauliflower. I have no idea how much to rice, or how it translates…I love experiments! Both days without grains, legumes, and sugar have left me feeling way more energetic, clear headed, and tired at the right time for sleeping. I did not expect things to improve so quickly, and I seriously can not wait for weeks two and three. I’m loving the challenge of finding recipes for meals and baking that don’t have any added sweeteners. Bananas are my best friend. I’m trying to get along with eggs too, but I have a hard time eating them every morning. I also have a hard time eating a regular meal, like steak or something, first thing in the morning. I like to drink a cup of coffee and eat something yummy! Oh, and speaking of coffee, I also made a mocha frappuccino for JD and I, and when that made me really cold, I made my own creamer. I guess I should post links to the stuff I’m making, and post my originals too.

I know it is nothing new to share a journey of sugar detoxing online. There are tons of blogs out there that do this, but you know….the reason for posting is more of an accountability and support thing. I want to find other people who are doing this successfully. It’s motivating. I hope I can help motivate others as well!

21 DSD – Preparation Phase

Wow it’s been awhile since I have posted on here. I was in a pretty good place last October. On the Whole30 plan and making the shift to paleo. Only major life happenings got in the way. Again. That’s like, inevitable. Yes?

Our household is not all on board with eating the same. Because of this, whenever I am battling cravings, there’s something bad there to satiate me. I am weak.

Another thing that happened is I allowed way too much stuff to enter my life. Since I stay at home and there’s not much for a photographer to do in the winter, I kept adding things to my plate. I let the holidays run me completely off course. And my battle with GI issues reached a head an I finally caved and went to a doctor. Who diagnosed me with IBS. Woohoo. I’m on medication that makes me dizzy AND blurs my vision. But maybe I needed all of this to get me here. Where I am finally ready to do something about my life again.

The first thing I did was cut down on the commitments. Instead of being a jack of all trades, but master of none, I want to focus on one thing and really pour myself into it. I haven’t narrowed it down completely, but I have cut a lot out that, while worthwhile, was really bogging me down and stressing me out.

Last year I lost 30 pounds. Yay me, right? Except I lost that all by August, and then reached a point of stagnation. While my health was on the back burner, I really found myself growing spiritually. I really believe that I need to be healthy and not fatigued. That total growth includes it all, and they all work together to make us better people.

So, I’ve gained about six pounds of that 30 back. I’m having intestinal cramping, bloating, and many other terrible GI issues, major brain fog, pain in my joints, irritability, fatigue, and depression. I’ve decided to combat this naturally, and I’m laying it all there to see where I started.

I’m in the preparation phases of the 21 Day Sugar Detox. First step, kick the sugar addiction. Which is so, so, so bad. Next step will be shifting primal or paleo. I haven’t decided on the dairy issue yet. I know I don’t need it, that it makes me bloat and I feel better without it, but it’s my crutch right now and I’m going to do this one step at a time.

I’ve been pinning recipe to Pinterest like crazy and I’ve made my grocery list. After JD’s bday celebration Monday, we will be diving in. I’m excited! And I totally need your support!

An Issue I can't run away from

For a few months now, I’ve been dealing with a strange issue.  It has taken a backseat to my kids and JD’s weird neuro whatever that has been going on, so I haven’t really dealt with it.  It seems to be getting worse, so I’m writing about it.  I don’t know why, but it feels good to acknowledge it.

Every once in awhile my stomach gets rock hard, and not in a good way.  So completely bloated and then I get intense, way-worse-than-labor-contractions stomach cramps.  My intestines hate me.  Other things happen too, but I won’t go into the gory details.  Basically, it isn’t good, and I feel godawful sick for the better part of a day or two.  But it definitely isn’t some sort of virus, and it has been recurring at least once a week for months.  Getting worse.

I haven’t been able to track down the culprit, I’m thinking that it probably isn’t just one thing.  That it isn’t necessarily a certain food, but something wrong with me that reacting to a group of foods.  The best I felt was when we did the Whole30 plan for about three weeks.  We didn’t make it to the end, and we didn’t switch to eating paleo.  Instead, we went back to eating horribly because it is so much cheaper.  Not nutritionally cheaper.  I think we got really frustrated, because it’s one thing to buy more produce and to not buy processed foods.  It’s a whole nother thing to replace flour with coconut and almond flours, to only use raw honey and real syrup as sweeteners in baking, and to eat a lot more meat and produce, taking out grains, beans, dairy, sugar, yada yada.  But I know that is what I need to do.  I’m at a point where I just don’t know how to do it all.  I can never think of a good recipe, especially that my kids will eat.  I would love to get them off gluten and processed foods as well and make a lot more fun stuff together.  But it is SO expensive to bake things!

Then I get really frustrated and I give up.  But then I feel like I have today, which I had popcorn and a few cookies last night….not sure what it was.  I had a lot of sugar over Thanksgiving, and never had an issue.  I even made a delectable salted caramel apple pie that was amazing, and way too sweet.  Nothing really happened to me.  Maybe a day of discomfort, but nothing like it usually is.  The thing is, I could go to a doctor, and they could diagnose me with something weird like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s, celiac disease, or nothing at all….and the result would be the same.  I don’t want medicine.  I want to fix me with food because I am 100% positive that would work.  Wish my health insurance would pay for it!

Also, I ran a couple weeks ago, but haven’t since.  My ankle felt pretty good, but I almost twisted it AGAIN and I think my shoes must be out for me!  We don’t really live in the best neighborhood, and JD has been gone during all the daylight hours, so I don’t really have a chance to run right now.  I’m sure that would probably help too.  It’s frustrating to want so desperately to do things differently, and not have the resources and ability to do it.  I’m having one of THOSE days.

Day 4 of Whole30. No quirky lines for you.

I am being reduced to a soulless, primal being.  All I want is a venti salted caramel mocha from Starbucks.  It’s all I think about.  I need to talk about something else.

At the end of day two, because I had skipped breakfast (slept through it…a very rare luxury), I needed something at the end of the day.  Made some guacamole and used tomatoes to dip in it.  OH SERIOUSLY WOW.  It was so good.  So here’s my recipe for some really awesome guac.

AWESOME GUACAMOLE

  • One avacado, scooped out of the skin and chopped and smashed
  • 1 tsp or so of lime juice
  • salt
  • red pepper flakes (to taste for added PIZZAZ!)
  • garlic (or garlic powder)
  • chopped onions
  • two roma tomatoes

Mix all the ingredients except the tomatoes.  Now, if you can eat chips or whatever, then just chop one tomato and add it to the guacamole and enjoy.  But if you want to cut that out, use the fleshy romas (or other veggie that can be cut to a good dipping size) to eat the guac.  We sliced them in about 1/8″ slices, thick enough to hold their shape, and used a spoon when necessary to scoop onto the tomatoes.  It was devine.  An amazing and very healthy snack.   I was so hungry, I didn’t take a picture.  But it probably would just look gross…I mean, a bowl full of smashed green things with lumps of other things?

Anyway, I ate this again for lunch the next day.  I gave E a little bit of the avacado and ate the rest myself.  I was very full for a few hours.  Then massively hungry.  I made soup last night and it was probably the best soup I’ve ever made.  Take that, comfort zone!  Still, I was craving something sweet afterwards.  I don’t know if I want that to go away or not, but that is kind of the goal of this program, at least one of them.  I just want something yummy so bad!  I actually just made C a sunbutter jelly sandwich….and now that is all I can think about.  And the coffee.  But that is right on the counter….I cut off her crusts….and they are just sitting there…and I want them…..so I ran to the computer fighting tears and wrote this.  I feel better now.  Whew!

My soup was made a day after roasting the chicken.  JD made stock from the leftovers, and we had some really good broth to start with and leftover chicken.  I added more carrots, onions, and butternut squash and WOW.  I steamed the carrots and butternut squash with a bunch of thyme, and then added it to the broth and let it cook for awhile.  I used garlic, ginger, paprika, dill, rosemary, salt and pepper.  It was amazing.  So so so good.  I am good at making soup, but this was a step up.  All because I had to go away from my staples of either beans or potatoes.  I have never eaten butternut squash before, but we got one on a whim at the store.  It was cheap, and we are roasting another third of it with a pork roast right now and will have more for this weekend.  New favorite produce!  I love fall!

Day Two. 29 to go.

I’m in the middle of day two.  Chicken is roasting.  I know that will help with tonight and tomorrow.  Because the kids haven’t been letting me sleep this week, JD let me go back to bed this morning when he got up, and I slept until almost 11am!  I missed breakfast.  Which is vitally important or something like that.  So for lunch (because JD forgot to take his leftovers to work last night…like always),  we split the leftovers and each had a steamed egg and half a green pepper.  He had some spinach, but I had a bunch last night so I passed on that.  Now I’m drinking my coffee with a touch of coconut milk (mostly for the nutrients in the coconut milk) and I am so glad we decided to forgo the “no coffee after noon” rule.  We decided no coffee 8 hours before bed was better.  We have long days, and two kids, and sometimes its that extra cup that really helps us move.  This Whole30 thing is hard, but I already feel better.  Ok, so I’m a little cranky, but it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be.  It would help if I wasn’t home all the time.  There’s a lot of food in this house that we can’t eat, and we can’t change that.  Today I want bread.  A big loaf of sourdough or french bread with garlic and lots of yummy spices.  I would eat a whole loaf right now.  I want to.  I am very thankful for this blog.  It helps me know I have a place to vent and a distraction from my cravings.

healthy snack ideasFor a snack yesterday, I had a handful of cashews and a handful of pomegranate seeds.  SO good together.  I’m not a big nut fan, I could live my life without eating them at all, but in this thirty day period I think I am going to need something acceptable to snack on.  I allow myself one snack a day, basically a mini-meal.  If the kids are eating a snack, and I want what they are eating, it helps to allow myself this so I won’t do something off-program.  It has to have protein in it, and it would be good if it had veggies too.  I’d like to find a kind of dressing/dip I could make for carrots and green peppers that was dairy free and had good fat in it.  I would enjoy that.  That’s on my list for today.

Last night I had a salad because I didn’t know what else to make.  All of our meat was frozen, I wasn’t thinking ahead I guess.  I planned out a meal a day, but didn’t think about when it was going to be just the kids and me.  I like to fly by the seat of my pants, and planning things out is hard for me.  So I opened a can of tuna, and split it between us three.  I had a lot of spinach, cut up some tomato and avocado and at that on my salad.  I should have put some sunflower seeds on there too, and I didn’t use oil or vinegar.  I am looking forward to making some dressing and some pesto.  Maybe I can make a good dressing and/or dip from avocado.  Yum!  I need some flavor!  I didn’t like the tuna with the avocado or with the spinach.  Next time I will eat it on the side.  But I got my protein and my fat and my veggies, and I drank hot green tea with it.  The kids had the same minus the spinach and plus some triscuits.  C had some more pomegranate.  She loves them, but E only throws them across the room.

Tomorrow I am making soup…lots of chicken and onions and carrots.  Not sure what else I could put in there yet.  Any ideas?