Friday, January 31, 2014

Today, Tomorrow

Today was a depressing mess of job stress (searching for a part time job to supplement the poverty wages I'm paid to teach), worry about the future and feelings of failure.

Ahhh... Depression is a tricky creature. I thought I was past it, but I get sucked into the cyclical depressive anxieties again and again. I have a doctor's appointment in two weeks to get referrals for help.

Hoping tomorrow is better- going to head to the mountains again for another 9 mile hike. It's a toughie but I feel physically stronger than I did last weekend. Hopefully it will cheer me.

<3

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Yep, it still works!

Normalcy!!! I am down to 121.5 today after resuming normal life for over a week.

I canNOT believe that, after over a decade of being obese and then many years of being stuck around 135 pounds to 140 pounds, that my body has normalized at around the 120 pounds! I truly owe it all to CLEAN eating (at least 90% but often closer to 100%) and eating paleo. Getting rid of grains (and chemicals!!) has completely changed my metabolism and body- for the better!

I eat lean protein, veggies and healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil or avocado) mostly throughout the day. Last nights dinner:


Natural chicken sausage, mustard, Brussels sprouts/onions/mushrooms sautéed in olive oil :)

I really don't know how to impress on people how easy it is to eat this way. And how amazing your body feels when you do. I know that I am an anecdotal example of clean eating and eating Paleo working, but I know it can work for so many people.

It is so simple. There's no reason to make complicated recipes or to try to emulate the standard American diet with "Paleo" foods ... Just eat real food! Keep it as clean as possible. If you wouldn't see the food in the natural world, it's not the greatest for you. I'm not perfect at this, I will never claim to be perfect at this. I do eat coconut milk yogurt in the morning, and that's not a food that is naturally occurring, but the ingredients are simple and clean. 

My 1st rule: eat whole foods (as pesticide free, hormone free, etc as possible)

My 2nd rule: if it IS processed, make sure it is minimally processed and that you can pronounce all the ingredients!

My 3rd rule: avoid grains more than 95% of the time (like I said, I'm not perfect!)

Feeling great and feeling healthy.

My outfit for work yesterday:


Namaste!!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sharing

This isn't weight loss related... Though I guess the day I'm posting about marked the big turnaround in my life where I started down the path to obesity....

I just wanted to share.

I finally got around to clearing out my dad's desk (1 1/2 years later, ha)... And I found calendar pages he had ripped out and kept, marking important days in his life.

This was the day my mom died:


He was a strong, sweet man who did more than I ever credited him for. He did his best. I finally understand the strength it must have taken to raise a young family after his wife died... I wish I could tell him how sorry I am that he lost her, sorry for the pain he went through. I was always so focused on my own pain.

I miss him. I wish he was here.

Back to normal programming tomorrow. 

Namaste, my friends.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Soda Side Effects and My Food and Breakfast for Dinner


Just thought I would share the above infographic. I haven't drank soda in so long, I can't even remember when. It's not even something that I indulge in once in a while, at a party or something. It's been so long since drinking soda, I actually now remember it as being gross! Too sugary. Sugary in a chemically bad way (even the non-diet kinds). You will never find soda in my house, that's a promise. 

I also really don't see the point of drinking your calories like that... if you drink your calories, I would hope they would have at least SOME nutrition (like a blended fruit smoothie or a good juice or something!).

Anyway, here's some of my food from the week. I LOVE being able to eat paleo again, after the hospital scare. I need vegetables and fruits in my life.... lots of them, fresh ones!!


Roasted chicken and a big old pile of roasted veggies (they lined the pan that the chicken was in, so they cooked in the chicken juices as their only seasoning..... sooooo good)

My lunch at work - spinach salad with beets, tomatoes, shredded roast chicken and my FAVORITE Annie's papaya poppy seed dressing :D

I didn't take a picture of dinner last night (it didn't look pretty AT ALL) but it was AMAZING.... roasted up acorn squash halves, filled them up with a sort of east Asian spiced mix of ground turkey, bean sprouts, onion, mushrooms, carrots. Then topped them with the best guacamole I have made to date (ingredients: avocados, lemon juice, onion, tomato, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, black pepper). Somehow got all the ingredients proportions JUST right and it turned out really creamy and delicious.

Making up for the lost vegetable time :D

Weight is back down to 122.8 today, so just within my range I like (118-123). I'm settling back into my exercise routine and my eating habits AND my drinking water habits (I got off track with drinking water while sick). 

I'm glad I am wasting no time getting back to the place I like to be.

Some friends are having us over for breakfast tonight :D Eggs, sausage, and OJ... and we are bringing a sweet potato hash! Staying paleo while socializing = ideal!

Have a great day,

Namaste!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Office, weight, life


Here I am at my little temporary office at school, getting ready to lecture soon!!

Not much to say today, my weight is up over my preferred range (124) and part of me is a little miffed at myself because I overate after the hike (I was ravenous!!!).

But I'm here, breathing, alive and with all the chances in the world to do better. And I will!

Life is hectic: dog has diarrhea with blood, so have to get a sample to the vet... Chris' car needs repairs... And we're about to have our first attempt at DIY plumbing tonight. Being grown up us lame ;)

But, like I said, I'm alive and that means there is always hope for better... 

Off to teach!

Namaste <3

Sunday, January 26, 2014

From hospital to high peak :)

I did it! 9 mile hike (part snow shoe, part microspike) up a trail-less High Peak, Nye. I opted out of the extra mile needed to hit the second peak, Street. We had to do one big climb to get to the ridge line where both the mountains are, so I felt accomplished enough to hit the one peak! The ridge line was super cold and windy and I just wanted to get back down to the valley where the weather was more pleasant. Once we climbed off the majority of the mountain, there was a 3-4 mile beautiful hike through the snowy woods that I REALLY enjoyed - the snow was lightly falling and the forest was quiet.

But still, I felt very accomplished and strong to be out in the snowy weather, climbing one of NY's High Peaks! A High Peak, no matter if it is the tallest or shortest or exposed or treed-in, is ALWAYS tough, and I was exhausted by the end of it (almost fell asleep in the car on the way home!).

I felt almost completely normal! I would say I felt extra fatigued, but I haven't been active in any sort of considerable way in two weeks, and I was just recently hospitalized with minor surgery and transfusions. However, my friends weren't really in any better shape than me at the end of the hike. Everyone was tired from the climb! So it was pretty normal that I was a little wiped out.

I'm a bit sore this morning and slept a little extra, but otherwise, everything is normal.

I got a lot of comments and messages expressing concern that I would be pushing it to do a long hike yesterday, that I should be careful with my body. But the doctor gave me zero exercise restrictions and I haven't felt any pain or discomfort for the entire past week (just a little extra tired). I knew I had the strength to do the hike and felt very confident I wouldn't hurt myself doing it. I, obviously, always had the option to turn around if I felt wonky at all - but I felt fine. No stranger to being exhausted on a hike, we have done some really hard and long hikes in the past four years. The feelings I had on the climb yesterday were pretty normal.

I'm excited, actually :) I was in the hospital on the 16th and climbed a mountain on the 25th - I am back, I am capable, I am strong, I am healing. I am absolutely alive.


Me at the summit marker!

Friends!


Feeling good after the summit... ready to head back down, though!
I've learned to be more careful - to listen to my body better. To pay attention to things that change or go wrong, etc. I won't ignore symptoms again!! (I have a primary care physician now, so I can call and get some good advice from nurses or a doctor that knows me!).

I was careful yesterday - I wouldn't have hiked if it felt wrong. But it felt SO right.

Moving forward!!!

Namaste <3

Friday, January 24, 2014

My core circuit

Ahh, such a relief to be done with restrictions!! I haven't eaten yet this morning (I have to take a prescription antacid about an hour before breakfast and an hour before dinner... Just to ensure that my stomach doesn't get acid-y and hurt the wound). BUT I will be eating my normal egg scramble when I do :)

I truly feel normal now- no more weird stomach pains, no more lethargy, nothing. I know I still have to be careful, not eat crazy rough and spicy things, but I just feel GOOD! 

Back to normal diet, back to normal exercise... I have this circuit focusing on core strength that I'm working on:


(Please note my awesome wolf shaman stationary)

I'm doing this every other day or so. Other days, I use my exercise app to work on other strength and cardio.

Tomorrow I'm waking up around 3:30AM to go snowshoe hiking - goal: two Adirondack High Peaks. We're meeting friends at the trailhead and hope to have a lovely, snowy day :)

It will be a real sign to me that I'm back to my old self!!

Till then, my friends,

Namaste.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Last day of diet

And I could not be more thrilled!

I'm no stranger to limiting/removing certain foods from my diet - going paleo means I removed grains, legumes, dairy and processed foods.

However, it wasn't 100% and sometimes I'd eat cheese at a friend's house or a piece of bread at a restaurant.

I've had to follow this low residue/low fiber diet to the letter! I got scared when I left the hospital that I wouldn't heal right and would start bleeding again (and they warned me that if the bleeding started again, it would be more serious because the wound was bigger after they removed the polyp).

Scary stuff.

I'm going to ease back in to veggie eating tomorrow and only eat well cooked ones, but I'm so excited to get back to NORMAL.

Never in my life would I imagine I could be sad that I couldn't eat vegetables, hahaha. Ten years ago, when I wanted to start losing weight, I'd have to force myself to eat vegetables and sometimes gag them down! My taste buds had been destroyed by years of drinking soda and eating total junk food (cookies and Doritos mostly!).

My tastes have normalized... And I crave the real, whole food that grows on this earth! 

And tomorrow I'm done with prepackaged foods!!! /does a little dance

Weighed in at 121.8 this morning, even though I treated myself to some pure sugar last night. We finally got our fireplace in working order (it hadn't been used for a decade!) and I wanted to feel that nostalgic delight of sitting in front of the fire and roasting marshmallows with a cup of hot cocoa...


And it was as awesome as I remembered. Some friends came over for an impromptu gathering, it was fun to make everyone cozy on the SUPER cold night with a crackling fire, drinks and nice times :)

Namaste - till next time!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Back to Life

Today is my first day teaching at the local university. I haven't been nervous about it... at all. Except for right now. I got a little nervous because it is so real! But I am prepared and experienced enough (thanking the professors who I used to assist who MADE me teach one of the lectures during the semester... it's not an unknown for me, now).

It's nice to be back to life. I still feel a little... unreal, sometimes. I can't believe I am just here, alive, healthy, living my life. Having something very seriously wrong with me that could ONLY be fixed with modern medicine and surgery or else I would die... it scared me. It also made me incredibly grateful. I think I am still a little bit in shock.

I got a lot of life stuff taken care of yesterday. For example, I FINALLY hired someone to inscribe the death date on my dad's gravestone (it is a joint stone with my mom, so the rest of it was already inscribed). I don't know why I waited so long. But I've been thinking about it for a long time and it's been plaguing me. Inscribing something in stone is just so damned final.

The other thing I did: made an appointment with a doctor's office so that I can have a primary care physician. Someone who has all my records in one place and is in charge of keeping that all straight. Someone I can call when I am very sick and get advice (they probably would have advised me to go to the hospital if I had called them with my symptoms over a week ago... saved me a few days of walking around with almost no blood, haha).

Weighing in at 122.6 today. Lack of vegetables makes it impossible for me to eat as well as I need to to weigh 120. But that will be over soon - veggies come back on Friday!!!!! :D :D

I also don't mind weighing a little more if it means I get to be alive.

PERSPECTIVE.

I've been urging many people in my life to start caring about their health (not to lose weight, necessarily, but to focus on health)... because I am newly scared about these weird, freak health scares. I came out of it so well because I eat very well and keep fit. I don't want to lose anyone I love because their body wasn't strong enough to heal! People are putting up with me because they love me, hahaha :) But if even one person takes a little better care, I'd be happy.

So, off to the university to teach!!

Namaste <3

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

No/few veggies = gas pains

As you know, I'm eating limited amount of veggies on my low residue/low fiber diet. The veggies I'm allowed to eat must be very well cooked and preferably out of a can. And no type of greens at all (no spinach, no broccoli, nothing with roughage). And I'm supposed to limit even the allowed veggies.

Well - this low fiber diet is doing what it's supposed to: not irritating my stomach wound site.

However - UGHHHH. I'm all backed up, bloated and having gas pains throughout the day. Food doesn't move easily through the system without my huge plates of veggies throughout the day!!

My USUAL diet includes spinach, tomato, onion, mushrooms and sweet potatoes DAILY... And then whatever extra veggies I could find on sale.

This feeling reminds me if how I used to feel on the Standard American Diet, which I ate for almost 30 years. Even when I lost the weight and ate a little better, I was still eating grains and dairy and those took up precious calories that I could have otherwise been using for the REAL right stuff: veggies, sweet potatoes, squashes, avocado, nuts, etc. Also, the grains and dairy were inflaming my guts and body- adding to that bloated, gassy feeling.

I spent soooo much of my life bent over, clutching my stomach, waiting for gas pains to pass. If I had been like most Americans, I would have been popping antacids and drinking pepto bismol. But I hated taking unnecessary medicine.

I just thought that stomach discomfort was a part of life, I never really questioned it. In fact, I barely noticed it or thought about it, it was so normal.

Then I went paleo- bolstered my diet with tons of veggies, nutritious roughage, and cleaned up the rest of it. I ate clean and simple.

And for the past two years, I haven't experienced that bloaty stomach gas pains at all. At. All.

My body began to work like it was meant to!!!!

This week of low residue/low fiber (which even the nurse said was not a "good" diet but necessary for healing) is just reminding me why I eat the way I do - to heal my body, to fuel my body, to let my body work the way it was intended, without gumming up all the works with low nutrition filler food.

Can't wait for Friday and the end if this diet!!!

Peace, my friends :)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Low Residue Diet and Paleo

As most of you know, I am on a low residue diet until Friday. For ease, and for variety, I added dairy back into my Paleo diet (yogurt, cottage cheese). I also added in grains in the form of cream of rice.

But, otherwise, I am trying to eat Paleo foods. The only vegetables I'm allowed are very, very well cooked (and still not the most roughage-y of veggies like broccoli or leafy greens). And I'm supposed to limit those. Same with fruits- limited to soft fruits like ripe bananas, melons, peeled peaches, etc. Poultry and finely ground beef is allowed.

Dinner last night (and a cat):


I'm basically living off mashed sweet potatoes!! But got my protein (turkey burger) and veggies in, too!

Weighed in at 122.2 today, so a half pound drop. Feels good that the change in diet hasn't destroyed on my progress. Relief!!

I also added back exercise the last day or two. Saturday, I went for a walk with the dog. Yesterday, I did a little bodyweight strength workout. My arms felt like jelly!! Haven't used my muscles AT ALL in a week- strange feeling.

Knocking on wood, I think I am well on the road to recovery. I'm still taking it easy, and obviously, eating all the right things. I'm taking the medicine that they prescribed and I'm being very careful.., but I also feel very good! I've been saying the last day or two, that aside from a little fatigue (which I'm curing with lots of naps), I wouldn't even know that anything drastic it happened to me last week. I don't feel like I was in the hospital or had blood transfusions or had minor surgery!

Normal life feels so sweet.

I'm more grateful than ever! Grateful for my body, for my life, for my loved ones, for all the beauty in the world. I love being here. I will continue to act in a manner that will KEEP me here as long as possible. 

Namaste!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Weight after the hospital-

Woke up feeling miles better today! I slept a lot yesterday, ate food strictly low residue, and got lots of loving:


It was Chris' birthday yesterday (which he spent taking care of ME and I obviously had no time this week to do anything special for him) so about 15 people came over last night, bearing gifts for him and stayed past midnight, laughing and chatting (and dancing a little!). It was great- made us smile so much our cheeks hurt.

I decided to weigh myself, just to get a baseline and see how I was doing... Between starving for a couple days, getting tons of IV fluids (sugar, salt drips, medications) and blood transfusions, then being forced towards a more carb-heavy diet (and eating grains and dairy because otherwise I'd be eating only sweet potatoes and poultry!)... I was worried.

BUT, I am the same weight as when I went into the hospital: 122.8!!

So hopefully I won't have too much work to do when I get back on track next Friday :)

I do feel bloated from the extra carbs and sugar, but I can deal with it for a week.

Still trying to be gluten free even though I'm adding some grains back for a week- the cream of rice was very good!! I put some honey in it :)

Going to attempt a walk with Chris and Koda today, I have no exercise restrictions (I didn't walk yesterday because I was exhausted, but I feel so much more energetic today!).

Good Health, my friends <3

Friday, January 17, 2014

Home and scared...

They let me go home last night. I'm still kind of a mess though... And nervous. I can't quite come to terms with the fact that I almost bled to death >.<

This whole thing is really serious, and it scares me. I just want to be well :(

The doctor said that my heart/lungs/body are in excellent shape to have let me maintain consciousness and walk around for the 3-4 days I was living with less than half my blood supply!! That was nice to hear.

They started me off yesterday with cream of wheat and milk and custard:


Then, for lunch, upgraded me to a low residue diet, which means I can't have fiber or any roughage or any foods that won't just easily slip through my stomach. No raw veggies or fruits (except ripe bananas and melon), not even cooked greens!, no nuts, etc. 

Allowed is poultry and eggs, milks, yogurts, sweet potatoes without the peels, very well cooked or canned low fiber veggies, strained soups, WHITE bread/pasta (no whole grains), cream of wheat, etc. Nothing high acidity or with caffeine.

So I have to eat the opposite of how I normally eat, basically. (I eat nuts, fruits, and veggies mostly! And no dairy or grains... I still probably will steer clear of the grains mostly.) The nurse joked that this recommended diet is the only one like it, that she normally would never recommend her patients to eat like that. It's not a "healthy" diet, per se, but it's necessary to not aggravate my wound.

They gave me a meal of turkey, cooked brand, mashed sweet potatoes, barley soup and PUMPKIN PIE:


It was doctor approved, but eating all that food (and I DID eat it all because I was starving) made me super aware of the wound in my stomach. For the first time there was pressure in my stomach from being full, and I can feel the pain now. Scary.

But I'm home. I'm very tired from my hospital stay, it wasn't restful and it was very stressful. I thought I'd be feeling a little bit better today but I'm not really.

I'm also very nervous and very stressed out. I am trying to keep an eye on how my body feels and any symptoms I might be experiencing that would indicate that the wound opened up. I can't quite tell the difference between general lethargy from my ordeal and lethargy from blood loss. And, sorry for the TMI, but my stool will really be the best indicator of if I'm bleeding again. Black or tar like stool is a dead giveaway of bleeding from the G.I. tract.

Being restful today, being careful to rest and follow the diet.

This is a health and wellness blog, it's very interesting to look at food once again as medicine, but in a very different way. Food that I've been eating for years could really hurt me right now, so I won't eat it. 

It's an interesting analogy to the past. I used to eat junk food for years and then it became clear that the food I had been eating for years would hurt me, so I stopped eating it. However, this situation is different in the sense that there is no room for cheating or slipups. It could legitimately cause me to bleed again.

Food is our medicine, it keeps us alive, and I take that more seriously than ever.

Also, to everyone who doesn't really take their health and diet and fitness very seriously, remember that I only came out of this as well as I did because I've been keeping my body strong and healthy for a number of years. This was a freak medical situation that could happen anybody. It is so worth it to be healthy now and to take care of yourself now. You never know what the future will bring.

Namaste.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Short update- polyp

They found the cause of the bleeding during the endoscopy, a polyp that had grown in my stomach and become ulcerated. So they took it out, cauterized the place where they cut, and that was it.

I spent most of the afternoon kind of sedated from the procedure. I finished with the blood transfusions. My blood pressures has still been really low, even till this morning. I'm hoping it's good enough that the let me go home, though.

Being in the hospital is not great. Very little sleep, a lot of stress. I have three IV sites in my arms, and they hurt. I'm still on a clear liquid diet. I ate for the first time yesterday at 6 PM (pretty much 40 hours after my last bite of food and my last bite was very small!).

Just wanted to let you all know how I was doing, your comments and well wishes are very kind. :)

Hope that my next update is from my own bed. 

Namaste.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Well...

No time/energy for weight loss blogging...

I'm in the hospital :(

I fainted at a grocery store, they called 911, the paramedics let me know my vitals were absurdly low. I didn't go in the ambulance, but had a friend bring me to the hospital.

Turns out I wasn't sick.. Not with a cold or sinusitis. I have a bleed somewhere (they're doing an endoscopy today) and have been getting blood transfusions all night. My hemoglobin was at 5 (supposed to be 15) and they were scared and kind of scared me... Keep saying how lucky I was, how serious this is.

I'm not dizzy anymore, but being in the hospital SUCKS, I have three IVs and they hurt and I can't sleep and the oxygen tubes hurt and I'm so uncomfortable and anxious and want to be healthy and go home :( :(

Thank God  Chris came home early from traveling... He's with me now.

So scared. I hope the bleed is easy to find and fix. Positive thoughts ate welcome.

Monday, January 13, 2014

My night, hidden sugars

Well, that was a rough night! Rough morning, too. I will not take for granted the simple pleasure of feeling WELL again!

I'm still very dizzy, my vision is kind of blurry and I can still hear my heart loud and clear (and my pulse is definitely elevated.) I can stand for about a minute, but it becomes overwhelming fast - my pulse rate goes up, get dizzier, and I have to sit down (been doing a lot of weird sitting down on the floor or stairs or wherever I happen to be!). 

I feel so weak and helpless. The poor dog is getting ignored pretty hard :( it's been almost 5 years since I've been sick enough to need meds/help. And Chris isn't here, so those trips up and down stairs to care for the dog or get some food seem reallllllly overwhelming. I need a shower desperately, too, but can't risk falling down in there...

Yikes. Can't wait for the antibiotics to work!!!

I feel a new empathy for those who struggle with illness or disabilities. I've never been so completely unable to use my body... Like I said, won't take it for granted again.

So, looks like another day down the toilet... And just so my post isn't ALL doom and gloom, thought I'd share this article on nutrition:


Just more reasons that eating whole foods, prepared yourself, is best. Even grabbing a smoothie on the go is not a great idea (though they seem healthy.)

Peace and Light (and I wish everyone good health!!!!)

Update

Went to urgent care (with a self imposed goal of having a primary care physician before the month is out!). Thank GOODNESS for great friends. My friend, Randy, took me and helped me out a great deal (Chris is traveling.).

Acute sinusitis, causing all the fluid build up, etc. As expected! 

So I have my antibiotics and other items... 

Me, at the pharmacy, looking SOOO healthy:


I don't love going to the doctor OR taking medicine. But sometimes that IS the right and only thing to do...

Heading home (Randy is driving me!) to take my meds, fall down, exhausted, and hope tomorrow is healthier.

Thanks for the kind thoughts!!

Pulsatile Tinnitus

Feeling better today - however, I still have pulsatile tinnitus (can hear my heartbeat in my ears), which I'm pretty sure is due to fluid build up in my ears. Which would mean I've had a decent sinus/ear/throat infection the past couple weeks.

I think I am going to go to an urgent care today, because I can barely sleep through the pounding of my own heart!!

I don't have a primary care physician yet (didn't have insurance for years... I took care of teeth and lady parts once I got insurance, but now it's time to get the PCP).

My weight is up a little (122.5) because of my absolute laying around for the past 4 days... I'll care about it once this ringing in my ears stops!!!!

Will let you all know how it goes- sorry for the lack of informational or inspirational posts!! Got to get the machinery of my body working cleanly again first :)

Peace and Light to you all <3

Sunday, January 12, 2014

My weekend - and thanks!

So, I went away for the weekend, a bunch of our friends have birthdays in January and we often go up to a cabin up north and have a fun weekend together. Unfortunately, I came down with a very strange sickness on Friday night once I was already up there that had me laying low all weekend. It's a sickness like I'm never really experienced before, if I stood up for more than 30 seconds, my heart rate would skyrocket, I'd get dizzy and have to sit down.

I spent all Saturday hanging in a cabin by the fire, reading a book and cuddling with my dog. Friends would stop in and chat throughout the day. Wasn't a total wash!

Feeling slightly better today, but might head to the doctor tomorrow depending on symptoms that remain.

My immune system was certainly compromised from the sickness that had me last week, so I think my body was opened to all sorts of germs and couldn't fight them. Ah, well - such is the biological life of a human. We are vulnerable, after all.

Thanks to everyone who left me awesome comments on my post from Friday! It's a great experience blogging with everyone, sharing. I love having an arena in which I can finally be open and honest about my struggles with food and what I'm doing to try to overcome it. It's not really an appropriate topic of conversation in polite society, in general!

Some pics from the weekend:





Namaste <3

Friday, January 10, 2014

No Grains, No Gains - First Installment :)


No Grains, No Gains: A group a of Primal/Paleo/Grain free women who blog about their experiences/life/benefits without grains. A great way for others (who may be wanting to lose weight, reverse an acute/chronic health trend, and/or transition from commercial weight loss programs) to read about real life women who are living the life and succeeding!


I am beyond thrilled to group up with several rockstar blogging ladies who I have been reading for a long time, women I look up to and look to for inspiration when I falter (links at the end of the post). We will be all writing on the same topic once a month, so if you want to see how different people who eat paleo/primal in different lives approach the same issue, it is easy to click around, read and compare!! My goal here is for others out there contemplating this way of eating or new to this way of eating can get a more well-rounded look at all the different ways you can approach paleo/primal and find a way that works for them. Eating paleo has changed my life, and I'd love to share it with you!

Our first topic as a group is an introduction - who we are, why we live the way we live. Good for any new readers that happen upon us and set a foundation for the rest of the blog series!

So, about me.

The physical: I am 31 years old, 5'4, and maintain my weight between 119-124.

The life stuff: I am newly married, an archaeologist by trade (lecturing at a state university this year, working on my PhD), a dog owner, a music lover (my husband and I spend a lot of time at concerts and music festivals), a hiker (an Adirondack 46er!) and someone who tends towards romanticism and Buddhist spirituality. I end most of my posts with "namaste" which is often how yoga classes are concluded, is a salutation and generally implies that I wish you to be well. People might describe me as new-agey or "hippie-ish", but the truth is that I am a very moderate and normal human being, but I very deeply believe we should all respect the light and truth in ourselves and each other. When we recognize the humanity in each other, kindness is the result. So bear with me and my hopeful ramblings, I care about you (my readers) and wish peace for you!

About eating Paleo:

Now, this is a long and involved story, but I will make it as concise as possible.

The reasons I found this way of life start early - and they start with grief, sadness, and obesity. My mother died when I was 10 of cancer. My dad had to work, obviously, and us kids were left to our own devices (we ate a lot of pizza, cookies, chips and drank a LOT of soda... played on the computer instead of outside). I was obese by the time I hit high school. I was never really taught about nutrition, portion sizes, or activity. Just general health class lessons that didn't really impart real life knowledge to me. I was shy, dorky, and buried myself in books and the internet for many, many years. I had very few friends and never really experienced life.

This all lasted till college ended. I was sad, so incredibly sad, and knew life was passing me by. Something had to change or I knew life would become even more unbearable as an adult. I weighed myself for the first time in years (a pound shy of 200!) and I made a change that very moment. I took a year off between college and grad school and spent that time walking and cutting out junk food. I had a very basic knowledge of nutrition, but started to count calories, trying to stick to 1400 calories a day.

I will also cut in here to mention something that is hard for me: I was definitely a disordered eater (though never diagnosed with an eating disorder) since I was a teen. I was a binger for most of those years, occasionally starved myself for days before binging again, a binge-and-purger off and on through high school and college (though it never affected my weight), and still struggle with the bulimic impulses. It is mostly a control issue and rarely has anything to do with my weight - when life is out of control and a mess, disordered thoughts become louder and louder. This is a problem I have been forcing myself to be aware of for five years and actively trying to change. (Oddly, eating Paleo reduces these impulses - I have no desire to binge on meat, nuts and veggies/fruit or to purge them!) 

Because of my tendency towards disordered eating, I tried not to involve myself in "fad diets." They are often arbitrarily restrictive and unhelpful AND increase my weird control issues. I have slowly been developing a pathway towards total and complete health, body, mind and spirit. And though the Paleo Diet seemed very fad-like, the academic in me found it to have some very reasonable and sound science behind it. It seemed.... right. It was just a feeling at first, but the more I read about it, the better it sounded. Eat clean? No processed food? Meat and veggies? Shake up my whole understanding of food? Why not!!

Here is a basic timeline of my slow awakening towards total health:

2001- 2003ish: calorie counting and light exercise - drop 60 pounds in first year, weigh around 140 by age 23

2004-2008ish: starting to learn that TYPE of food matters, eliminate fast food completely, junk food levels drop as well. Also, at new lower weight, desire to be an ATHLETE appears - start running, participate in races, and develop love of hiking. Start to maintain weight in the 130s.

2009-2011: meet Chris (well, meet him again, I spent a summer doing archaeology with him during my last year of college), future husband, we both are surprised that neither of us are fat like we were in college! We both fall in love with each other and develop a passionate love for hiking. I truly become an athlete at this point in time. We hiked every weekend and were doing really long, hard, endurance hiking, backpacking and camping. We both are pretty interested in nutrition, being former fat kids who want to be great athletes (as it were). We drop white flour and refined sugars from our diets. After some "new relationship weight gain," and then getting back on track by joining a gym, I maintain weight in the low 130s.

Early 2012: I become an Adirondack 46er (hiked the 46 tallest mountains in New York). I am the strongest I've ever been at this point. I want to go further - be healthier, be fitter, be lighter, be stronger than ever before. I see it is possible. I want to get below 130 for the first time as an adult

April 2012 - I am interested in how much better I feel since dropping white flour from my diet. I hear rumblings about the Paleo diet (basically eliminating grains, legumes, dairy and sugar) and make some educated conclusions. I always feel worse after eating too much of those things... what if I stopped eating them altogether? So we did the Whole30 together (Chris' support was KEY). I dropped 8 pounds in a month, Chris dropped 10, we felt more energetic, healthier, less bloated and less inflamed than EVER before in our lives. I hit the 120s and never felt better.

How Long I've Been Eating This Way

Since the Whole30 in April 2012: We are no longer strict paleo, but we still eat about 95% paleo, for almost two years! We also learned even MORE about food and also went clean (we eat organic when possible or eat the "Clean 15" when not, also buy local and grass fed meat). I have never seen the 130s since going paleo.

In fact... I have been maintaining UNDER 125 in all of 2013 and will continue to do so in 2014. A weight I thought was impossible, having been obese for so long. But here I am. 

I have been tested. Life has been hard. In September, 2012, my father died tragically and unexpectedly. I inherited his house and his dog and a host of crazy responsibilities I wasn't ready for under the weight of my grief. But, with Chris' help, I persevered, didn't let my health get off track and began a long healing process in 2013. I got married almost a year to the day after my father's passing in September 2013. 

Staying paleo and staying healthy, keeping my body strong and energetic, helped heal my mind and spirit last year.

I know I will never, ever, ever go back to the Standard American Diet. 

Grains and processed foods inflame my body and cloud my brain. It was harder to live, love, thrive and be successful with that diet - even though it WAS possible to lose weight by reducing calories and eating grains, the difference in my body and life since ditching them has been immeasurable. 

The difference is so striking, people OFTEN come up to me in real life and ask what I do to look/act the way I do (Chris and I are known as an athletic couple with boundless energy in our social circle) ... I tell people I don't eat grains, dairy, processed foods, chemicals or junk. They kind of shy away and immediately act like it is impossible for them to do.

I used to think that, too. No bread? No cheese? I would miss them too much, I thought. I couldn't imagine what I WOULD eat if not bread and rice and pasta. Pizza was my favorite food!!

It was easier than I could have imagined.

My grocery shopping, meal planning and life have gotten exponentially EASIER since going paleo. I buy meat, fruit, veggies (including sweet potatoes - my staple!), nuts and fats (olive oil, coconut oil, avocados). I stock my house with them. I cook them simply. I am kept full and satiated on less food (though I have found I can actually eat more calories and maintain a lower weight when I eat paleo.... 2000 cal/day maintains my weight, whereas I had to eat 1500/day to maintain on the Standard American Diet). 

I am on no medication. My blood pressure is perfect. My doctors love to see me for checkups. I have more energy at 31 than at 21. I am better able to handle life's craziness.

I reap all the benefits without being a super strict paleo crazy person (I drink alcohol about twice a month, eat dark chocolate, and give myself a few days a year to indulge in some decidedly non-paleo crap).

I am happier than ever, ever before and my diet is a HUGE reason why. It is impossible for me to be mentally and spiritually happy if my body is sick, inflamed and working hard to get rid of the constant toxins that are in the Standard American Diet.

I am a big anecdotal reason to give paleo/primal eating a try.

Sorry for the long winded post - but I am passionate about living well. And about sharing this with others. If you had known me 10 years ago, you wouldn't believe it was possible for me to be where I am now. But here I am - strong, fit, healthy, and happy.

Namaste, my friends. 

If you want to hear other perspectives and other approaches to this way of life, give my fellow bloggers a read:


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Applebee's - why not!

Rare treat for us last night - we went out to dinner.

We only went because we had a gift certificate (I am rather frugal as well as serious about not eating crap food).

And... we went somewhere we would never normally go. Applebee's.

We are not chain restaurant type of people. Since we so rarely go out, when we DO go out, it is to a decently expensive place that focuses on quality, fresh, local food and great cooking techniques. We have a few local places that are our go-to.

But, I am not one to turn down a free dinner. So Applebee's it was. I think, for a chain restaurant, it's not the worst. It's all very corporate and mass-produced, but what can you do? Also, I do like that they have their calorie counts on the menu (which nicer, small restaurants don't have, but chains are required to).

I had 1000 calories left in my daily calorie allowance. I ordered the Roma Chicken and Shrimp (410 calories) and a margarita (330 calories). I know these counts can be off, so I round up to an 800 calorie meal out. Meaning my day ended with room to spare! I didn't stay totally paleo (alcohol and some red potatoes, and a sprinkle of cheese on the chicken) but not a big deal compared to the rest of my awesome on-plan week! (Same weigh in today as yesterday.. No harms done.)


The waiter was pushing the appetizers (Mozzarella sticks!? Jalapeno poppers!!!!!) and the desserts (Come on, LAVA CAKE) pretty hard. But my meal was more than enough. And my drink got me a little buzzed. I needed nothing else.  

It was just nice not to cook for myself one night. To have someone bring me a drink while they cook my dinner. To sit and chat with Chris with nothing to do but SIT there and chat. No cleaning to be done, no dog to care for, no dishes to wash, nothing. Just hanging out :)

So that was the real benefit of the night. Some awesome down time. And no damage to my wallet or my body!

Pleasant Wednesday evening that ended with watching some awesome American Horror Story in bed :) Got plenty to do today, though, so off I go!

Namaste <3

After yoga picture...

Feeling kind of buff and fit after my at home yoga session today and wanted to share since I haven't done a check in photo recently:


Wearing my fleece lined, high waisted leggings which I absolutely LIVE in (seriously, home life, working out, hanging out, going out, everything!).

Ok- warming up (haha 15 degrees), so the dog gets his walk now!!

Namaste :)

Dealing with stress: good food and Buddhism



I feel much better than yesterday. I am the type of person who occasionally reaches max capacity with stresses and other emotions and it all comes out over the course if a day or two.

Got to work on that - not the healthiest!!

The quote I posted above is something I heard Thich Nhat Hanh speak on when I went to see him. He advocates peace, calm and happiness. But he is not asking us to pretend we don't suffer or that things don't hurt/bother us. In fact, he asks that we be critically aware of this suffering in order to nurture it (it's an odd way of say it, but I understand it... Suffering us a part of life, but we don't have to let it make us ugly. We can learn from it, let it make us more compassionate.).

Today, I am breathing freer, and don't want to miss life because I'm sad sometimes.

Dealing with my dad's jeep (he looooooved that car) brought out a lot of unexpected grief that I hadn't felt in a while. But I cannot run from it.

Just like last year, during the grieving process, I must feel it. And live despite it and with it and because of it.

I did NOT turn to food yesterday for comfort (though I did eat some chocolate that was verrrrrry pleasureable!). My day:

Breakfast: yogurt and coffee
Lunch: sweet potato, ground turkey, peas
Snacks: leftover roasted chicken, chocolate bar, banana with sunflower seed butter
Dinner: eggs over spinach with salsa, bowl of chunky, organic tomato soup

Not bad, but I need more veggies. So much easier to obtain fresh, affordable veggies in the summer!! I've been changing strategies and buying frozen veg - the organic frozen veggies from my local co-op actually taste AMAZING!

Oh yes, I weighed in at 120.8!! Sickness bloat and weight gain came right off.

So, onward and upward from small meltdown.

Will do some calming yoga after breakfast, get some work done before walking the dog (it's 5 degrees right now.. The weather is insane!! Polar vortex?? What the hell!)


50 degrees on Saturday?? I just...

Oh well, I'm doing my part to save the environment and mitigate the global warming situation (composting, recycling, reducing, walking instead of driving, etc). But if it's well on its way, it's well on its way. Going to deal with the reality of what we have.

Peace to you all - enjoy today.

Namaste <3

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Paleo diet ranks last on 'best diets' list - CNN

In the interest of being a well-rounded, open-minded human, I will share this information with you that Kelly just posted on facebook, because I don't like to pretend that what I do is the be-all, end-all best. I like full disclosure!! So here is this article:

Paleo diet ranks last on 'best diets' list - CNN

I will post this blurb:

"Being last on the Best Diets list doesn't mean Paleo is the worst diet ever (the "Cookie Diet" didn't even make the list). But U.S. News & World Report's experts said the Paleo Diet was too restrictive for most people to follow long term, and that it limited some essential nutrients. They also cited a lack of research proving the Paleo Diet's cardiovascular health and weight loss benefits in their ranking.
The Paleo Diet tied for last place on the list alongside the Dukan diet, which is also a high-protein, low-carbohydrate approach."

In my estimation, it is not too restrictive and has actually helped me experience food as a healthy, normal human being. But I can understand, in this day and age, why living without wheat would be classified as near insanity by some people!!

And, I think, as a well-informed and responsible healthy eater, I am NOT missing any essential nutrients in my diet. In fact, I think I get MORE because I have replaced my wheat, rice, pasta, etc with vegetables, seeds and nuts! And I take vitamins :)

But - it is not for everyone.

And - it is not an easy way to live.

HOWEVER.... it works for me. And all I ask is that people be open-minded about that! I don't really care how other people eat, I don't have to live in their bodies. But I do want to share my experiences, because life is so much better for me now, better in ways I could never imagine!

Looking forward to sleeping and a better tomorrow <3

Stress and Salad

Things are NOT the most awesome in this weird apocalyptic winter hell I like to call a home. Life stresses are UP (you know how that goes... remember about a month or so ago I was telling you all how GREAT everything was going? What goes up must come down, and vice versa.). Fun task for the day: waiting for a jump from AAA and then bringing my dad's jeep in for an assessment to sell it. 

So, yeah, just accepting that and moving on. Down to 122 today, so at least I'm not eating my way out of the stress!!!

I truly don't have much to say, I am in a not great place and don't want to be a huge downer. I'll leave you with a picture of my awesome salad from last night in my old school 70s bowls. Spinach, organic tomatoes, shredded chicken breast and Annie's poppy seed - papaya dressing (have you tried Annie's Organic Dressings? If not, you should!


Alright, I'm out - have a good one!!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Food's role in healing

Back when I was obese, heck, even when I lost the weight but still was eating the Standard American Diet, I would get sick a lot during the year. And the sicknesses would last a long time.

It's been almost two years since I've changed over to a mostly paleo, clean, unprocessed diet with a focus on organic foods.

I don't think I got sick even once last year.

I got sick last Friday (combo of missing a night of sleep and being completely surrounded with sick people!!) and I'm already over it (mostly)!

My head is clear, my throat is not sore, my glands are not swollen, and I just feel better all around. However, my nose is running like it is scared for life. But a runny nose is a sign that your body is expelling all the germs and bad things. The mucus is clear, it's just something my body has to do.

So, Friday I was a little under the weather, Friday night SUCKED, Saturday was the real day of sickness where I just laid in bed, Saturday night was better and Sunday I was almost 100% (but needed extra sleep and rest).

So about two days lost because of the cold. I'm not exaggerating when I say that a cold could lay me up for two weeks in the past!

I really attribute my clean, whole diet to my ability to heal faster. (I also take vitamins to fill in the gaps!) Eliminating grains and other things that inflame my body also helps immensely. When my body isn't inflamed and bloated, it can devote all its energies towards my immune system.

I still follow the idea of GOMBS, which I've written about before = Greens, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries and Seeds. Foods that should be eaten every day for optimal health... And I do eat them every day! Usually in the form of spinach, whatever organic onion is on sale, crimini mushrooms, frozen blue or black berries, and flax seeds or sunflower seed butter.

Nutritious foods packed with all sorts of antioxidants and minerals perfect for our bodies. I also eat a lot of sweet potatoes, coconut oil, and pasture raised chicken eggs or other lean meat (with no antibiotics.)

Our bodies are precious machines. The fuel we put into them matters.

And I won't say I'm perfect, and that I don't eat some cookies or other junk once in a while- I'm not! I drink alcohol couple times a month, for example.

But most of the food, most of the time, that goes into my mouth and my body is healthy, clean fuel. So much of it is the good stuff, that when I do put something like alcohol into it, it has the ability to clean the bad stuff out efficiently.

So back to normal today - though it is raining hard here, so the dog walk will have to wait (Koda doesn't mind, he's sleeping off a hard hike he had with Chris yesterday!!! See pictures below.)

Koda on one of the tallest and most beautiful peaks in NY, Gothics:




I'm sad I missed the hike, but giving my body the chance to heal completely is important!

Here is Koda, exhausted this morning, not wanting to move:


Also, down a half pound from yesterday. Now at 123, the high end of my acceptable range, but still in the range, so - yay! :) Good, clean eating continues today!

Namaste, friends!!



Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sickness, Roast Chicken

Since I lost that night of sleep on New Year's Eve, been fighting off a cold. It really hit me on Friday, the same day I got the biopsy done. Friday night was horribly unpleasant, I barely got any rest. The pain from the biopsy and the head colds just laid me out.

The moral of the story? I haven't been doing too well. Lots of laying around, etc. I've actually been insanely hungry with the sickness. I've been eating extra and not really moving.

Weighed in at 123.5... So half a pound over what I like to see. Eh.

I still am not going to get in any exercise today, my side is very sore, and I'm a little dizzy from sickness. But I'm definitely on my way to health, I feel tons better. I'll resume normal activity tomorrow.

Going to try and not over eat, though!!

Chris made a gorgeous roast chicken with sweet potatoes and onions.. We have lots of leftovers:



Roast chicken is a huge favorite around here- requires a little prep and then you just leave it to cook. Makes the house smell awesome, too!!

Alright... Going to go take care of some life things I let slide the past couple days while I was in bed!!

Namaste <3

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Breast Health

Total health, that's my motto, right? Body, mind and spirit.

So... I've been having to take care of a matter that, much like the dentist, people try to pretend they can avoid.

I felt a lump in my breast and I couldn't pretend I didn't. I told my gynocologist and she wasn't sure it wasn't nothing, she referred me to get a mammogram. The mammogram was slightly inconclusive, they did an ultrasound. Everyone is telling me that it is most likely nothing - just a collection of tissue. But, they also weren't sure.

Fast forward to yet another appointment- I meet with a breast surgeon. She also is thinking it is nothing, but again, isn't sure.  She wants a biopsy.

Sigh.

I went to all these appointments, hoping someone would just definitively tell me it was nothing!!

But, though it is hard and scary, this is my health and my life.

So, the biopsy was done yesterday. Results by end of next week.

I was pretty damned sore when the anesthesia wore off... And sore today. The doctor said not to exercise or do anything strenuous this weekend. I now see why!!

Worst part: couldn't sleep on my stomach, which is how I've fallen asleep every night for 25 years. It was a rough night of sleep and I don't feel well. I have a slight head cold, too boot- swollen glands and sore throat.

Today will be a restful day, a healing day.

I tell you all this because I wish for all forms of health and health care to be normalized, not scary, not taboo to talk about and NOT something to be avoided.

Dental health, mental health, gynecological health, nutritional health, whatever... These issues should not be avoided because it's uncomfortable.

My wish for you all- be proactive with your health!!

So - I am fully expecting the result to be a good one from this biopsy. I am not too anxious about it. But either way, it is best to know.

Namaste <3

Thursday, January 2, 2014

When's the right time to get healthy?

In real life and in the blog world, I hear a lot of chatter about what keeps people from getting fit, getting healthy, losing weight, etc. Often, it is life events. School, work, family, deaths, money, kids, and the list goes on. I've heard people say the emotions, stress, etc caused by these life events mean they will wait till next year to start getting healthy.

And since this is the start of a new year, I just wanted to put something on the table.

Life is busy, hectic, sometimes sad and scary. But that's life.

Don't wait for life to be stable to start focusing on your health.

Here's a life fact: there will never be a year when your life is stable, easy and stress free.

But here's a hint: being healthy will give you the energy and clear head and strength you need to deal with it.

I have worked on and found health during some of the hardest and saddest years of my life. There is always time, always. I doubt I would have recovered from the depression and grief icaused by my father's death in the time that I did if I had turned to food. If my body had deteriorated like my mind was doing, it would've caused an endless spiral. But here, almost a year and a half later, I am well into the healing process.

I hope anyone who reads this who might already be coming up with excuses why this year might not be a good year to get healthy, reads this and knows that whatever they must face in this coming year and in the years to come, they will face with a clearer, stronger resolve if they are healthy in all ways.

And as an accountability update: weighed in at 122 today- up two pounds since Tuesday, but still in my happy range (119-123)! 

Peace and Light- I wish happiness for all of you <3

Hedonism and No Chip 2014

Well, I'll be honest. New Years Eve/Day were completely hedonistic and selfish and not concerned with health. I didn't ever purposely set out to eat a lot or to be destructive, but I also didn't stop myself, either!

So, in a nutshell... I didn't eat dinner on NYE, but did eat chocolate, went out to the bar around 9, stayed there dancing till 4 AM (in that 7 hour period, I drank about 5 drinks and ate a piece of pizza).

We went back to our friends where we (and some others) were staying. Stayed up talking till 6 AM (and I ate half my friend's quesadilla)... everyone slept till 10 AM, but not me, because I'm a weirdo. I stayed up reading my Game of Thrones graphic novel.

Chris and I got back to Albany around 2 PM, we ordered spicy Thai soups and curries, and laid on the couch all night eating them and watching terrible TV.

I don't normally act that way, hahaha. But New Years (and a couple other events through the year - like a music festival) are times where I completely let my inhibitions go and act like I am a college kid with no worries, concerns or cares. Eat, drink, party, not sleep, like I have no plans.

But these are isolated incidents.

I don't feel guilty. I hope that's not too weird for all you out there reading!!

I am right back to normal life today. Ate my yogurt, about to take the dog on a (VERY SNOWY) walk, then it will be coffee/yoga/school work time. Food will be paleo and clean and totally healthy for me. There will be no more alcohol for a long time.

And tomorrow will be the same.

And 95% of this year will be made up of the same behaviors. Lots of activity, lots of healthy food, no grains, limited drinking, etc.

And I will end next year at the same weight I ended this last one. It's a promise!! (Like I said before - unless pregnant, haha).

AND...

Since No Chip December was so successful and I didn't miss the chips OR the weight I gain when I eat them.... Chris and I decided we could go this entire year without eating chips. They are devoid of nutrition and full of bad fats and calories.

I guess that's a resolution of sorts! So, there we go.

Hope everyone enjoyed ringing in the New Year and are off to good starts being who they want to be this year!

Namaste <3