No idea

addy

A subject line for this post eludes me.

I walked Friday; that was the hit by a truck post. I walked Monday, and it was much better. I added a lap and did interval jogging, and by adjusting my form, I wasn’t hurting badly that night or the next day. That made me feel great, about my muscle memory, and I couldn’t wait to go walking again today.

But last night, my eating caught up with me. The jellybeans and the Zaxby’s and whatever else has been waiting for its moment, and in hindsight, I realize now that the overfull feeling I have been experiencing here and there wasn’t just being overfull; it was my gall bladder giving me a nudge. Last night, after a nice bowl of chili, after 2 days of “good” eating, my stomach started to hurt and I was almost sick. Thankfully, I recognized it for what it was, and Les had appropriate meds lying around from his bum tooth this month, so with a little meditation and 800 mg. of ibuprofen, I was able to sleep.

I spent today treating myself right, drinking water and herbal or green tea, and thinking about how done I am with doing this to myself. It’s been 2½ years since I’ve felt that pain, and it wasn’t something I wanted to experience ever again. The average doctor thinks the gall bladder is about as useful as an appendix, and surgery is usually recommended if flare-ups become frequent. Once in 2½ years isn’t something to worry about, obviously, but it’s one more instance than I’m willing to permit, when there’s something I can do about it that doesn’t require surgeons and laparoscopy.

I’m adjusting my diet, starting journaling, and will go walking again tomorrow. One day at a time.

 

Anybody get the license number of that truck…?

Considering how mild our winter was, I have absolutely no excuse for my lack of physical activity the last 3 months. I adore cold weather, and the first 2 years here found me regularly on the track by my house, freezing my tail off in yoga pants, coat, scarf, gloves, hat…

But it was a stressful winter. Money’s not coming in as well as in months past, and my stress level is high. That usually translates into overeating and lassitude, and this winter was no exception, unfortunately. By some miracle, I haven’t gained back most of the weight, the whopping 16 pounds I dropped last year when I did the Whole 30. But I’ve got a long way to go, and plateaus suck arse.

The advent of Easter candy in the supermarkets turned on the binge button in my brain (yea, OK, those Whitman’s Samplers at Valentine’s Day couldn’t have helped either), and I’ve mainlined a couple bags of jellybeans in the last 2 weeks. I’ve eaten Zaxby’s more than once too, and the side effects from that particular food make me feel like I’m shortening my lifespan (or at least giving myself angina), never mind that the jellybean intake is enough for me to have fantasies of my pancreas jumping out of my body and punching me in the face…..it really is a wonder I haven’t had a cholecystitis flare-up. And I’m quite tired of waiting for the other shoe to drop in that respect…

believe

I’ve been reading Swim Bike Mom again. I don’t know if I’ll ever actually compete in a triathlon, but I say that knowing that I want to, that it’s something I’ve thought about since college. Never mind that I don’t have a Y membership or own a bike right now; one thing at a time, please. But this isn’t about triathlon—it’s about getting healthy enough to do one without falling over and requiring medical attention. And that’s a tall frickin’ order.

Meredith scheduled an impressive (or insane, depending on your viewpoint) number of races this year for herself, and she’s in incredible shape, eating right, training well, no booze…so the gods recently tossed a roadblock in there in the form of a stress fracture, forcing her to drop a race and shift her training. For some reason, that hit home with me, because if that had happened to me, right now, I’d be looking at 8 weeks of couch time…I mean, she’s supposed to be non-weight-bearing for that time period so what more can you do? But when you’re an athlete at her level, there’s plenty you can still do: core work, upper body, swimming, maybe some bike training after the first month (and of course, sticking to the healthy eating regimen).

Kerri

It was a lightbulb moment for me. Because I realized it’s not just about getting healthy for me anymore; it’s about becoming an athlete. I’m middle-frickin’-aged, and time is no longer on my side. I don’t live and die by what the medical industry puts on their damn charts, but I do understand that as we age, our bodies lose muscle and bone density. With the level of arthritis I already have, I NEED to become an athlete just to retard further progression of it and ward off any other diseases that feed off acid-based body chemistries. I’ve been this weight for far too long, my medical insurance situation is iffy, and once again, I’ve run out of excuses.

I’m taking this week to get my house in order, rereading Integrative Nutrition, getting myself an appointment with a nutritionist maybe (there’s a free offer through my doctor’s office), starting journaling again, creating meal plans, and meditation and workout schedules.

The subject line is because I went for my first walk today, in probably 3 months. Even though my legs felt like lead, I even jogged just a bit. It amazes me how different my body feels, even just 15 pounds lighter than my last race. I’m feeling it in my core now as I work at my desk, but it was so delicious to get out there again. I found myself fantasizing about shedding my “fat suit.” If only it were that easy…I wouldn’t appreciate the tiny triumphs, like how different my body feels, even after 3 months off. 15 pounds is still 15 pounds. Time for the next 15.

Images from Swim Bike Mom.

 

 

Reminder

I woke up this morning feeling like I needed an oil can, joints screaming, which was unusual when you consider I didn’t exercise yesterday or do the standing work station I’ve started easing my way into. I did the standing thing twice last week, for 2 or 3 hours at a time, but that was Monday and Wednesday; this was Sunday.

Then the Hubs said it was snowing outside and it all made sense.

Since moving north (yes, I know, Asheville’s more like middle, but everything’s north when your original destination was Florida), I’ve noticed my body’s ability to let me know when the barometer’s taken a dive. My arthritis is pretty confined to my knees and feet, but I’m also still in the 200s with my weight too, so those joints can’t be happy with me.

I gave up on sleep, because I couldn’t get comfortable, and got puttering, but the way my body was hurting struck memory, which has me thinking today.

*****

We lost Dad in 2007. A year and a half later, we lost Nanie, his mom; so that was December of 2008. We buried her in a blizzard; it was literally pouring down snow as we huddled around the gravesite at St. John’s in Norwalk, CT. We got back to Dan and Karen’s (my uncle and aunt), and Meara and I changed clothes and went out to play, quite literally. We were both still living in Florida then, and hadn’t seen white stuff of this magnitude in ages. We twirled and threw it, made snow angels, took pictures galore. It was a really nice way to burn off steam after the sadness of saying goodbye to Nanie.

I remember the pain in my knees, remember thinking that it was in part because of the weather, and while that fascinated me, it also punctuated that my body may not ache that badly if I lost the weight and got in shape. I remember making promises to myself, to get walking more, to eat better, so that I’m not tied to medications and miserable in my old age.

Fast-forward…7, going-on 8 years later and what’s changed? I’m 8 years older, 15 pounds lighter, I do eat better, but I’m no better at exercising. Eight years from now, I fully intend to be on my own land, working a garden, tending to animals. Do I really want to be popping Advil like candy with my morning coffee to take the edge off?

*****

The snow’s already melted, unfortunately, but we’ll get more this week as the temps stay low. The Advil only took the edge off, so I’m waking up my brain and moving around, doing household stuff, but wishing I had a little something more. It sucks hard that I’ve reached this point, because while it does feel good when I exercise, gets fluid moving to my joints; it also means I have to do less if I don’t want to be down and out for 2 days after.

So exercise needs a brain shift; it can’t be about trying to lose weight anymore. That will be a happy bonus, but the real reasoning behind exercise has to be keeping me out of pain, retarding the already-too-progressed arthritis in its tracks.

 

Choices

One of the reasons I enjoy Jenna’s blog so much is because she understands the importance of reveling in what you have. I’m relating quite a bit more these days, as the bank account sits nearly empty and we eat from the larder and occasional good choices at the market.

It had me thinking about the choices we make, food-wise, and how crucially important it is for people to do their research and make wise decisions. One of the things that struck me during Food, Inc., was the blue-collar family who have trouble making ends meet while buying crap. They’re “forced” to feed their kids the sodas, Little Debbies™, and cheap hamburgers at the local drive-thru because it’s less expensive than the good stuff (never mind how devoid of nutrition that lifestyle is). And as I sit here, pondering where our next meal is coming from, that certainly feels true. And I’m not dissing that family per se, because I get that their kids are growing up in a modern world where sugar is everywhere, and their culture/neighborhood makes those decisions easier (“but everybody else is eating that!”). But it really is about personal choice.

We’ve been feeling it, the poverty, for 2 months now. It’s hard to make the bills, I’m dragging my feet getting the insurances started again in the new year, and there’s zero fun money right now. And boy, do you realize where the fun money was, when you’re this strapped, but that’s another story. This is about how we’re still eating relatively well, in spite of the fact that we can’t feed ourselves (meaning we don’t have a farm yet).

Because without even discussing it, Les and I both knew that we couldn’t backslide to that way of life. Yes, ChefBoyardee™ frequented the house recently, and I’m glad he did because he was able to remind me that I don’t like his crap anymore; it doesn’t satiate me nutritionally or emotionally. I lived on canned goods, boxed mac & cheese, and ramen in my 20s, so it shouldn’t have been too hard to slide back to that lifestyle for the sake of our wallets.

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Image found via Google, quote from Food Inc.

Except it was. I’m a label reader and documentary watcher now, and we live in an amazing area, filled with farms and Whole Foods™ markets, and even in the winter, it’s pretty easy to get your hands on organic or locally grown foods. So we’re spending money where we need to, and still living quite well. There aren’t enough green vegetables in the house lately, but that’s a seasonal issue, not just a money issue. The stuff coming from California these days doesn’t look that great, a testament perhaps of the flawed idea of a 365 growing season. So we buy lettuce and stuff when we can, but i’m not spending the money right now if it looks like it sat in a warehouse for 3 weeks. When you’re used to locally grown greenleaf during the growing season that’s bigger than your head, the decision barely requires thought.

I stood in front of the stove an hour ago, organic potatoes roasting in the oven, local breakfast sausage and organic eggs frying in their pans, while drinking Starbucks House Blend….snickering to myself about how the coffee choice is definitely an indulgence, while the entire meal seems positively decadent. We’ve been feasting this week on a small grass-fed pot roast; there’s still “friendly” chicken breasts and hamburger in the freezer, and organic eggs and milk. I’m not worried about our protein consumption, and it’s a serious relief.

Ever since the Whole 30, in spite of my plateauing, in spite of my occasional poor choices, I’ve been able to read my body and see where those poor choices shouldn’t be occurring anymore. Perhaps it’s aging, perhaps just my body getting tired of said poor choices, but I’m grateful for it, even as it disappoints me in the most dionysian way. I was lamenting to my Lil Sis the other day about how I can’t eat cookie dough or cake batter anymore, because I feel blah afterward. Pretty sure that’s not a bad thing.

 

New Year’s Revolution

Functional movement based: Push, Pull, Lunge, Squat, Balance and Rotation. It is designed to improve your Postural Stability, Mobility, Movement Efficiency, Core, Balance, Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Muscular Strength and Endurance, Flexibility, Metabolism, Coordination, Speed and Power. Our programs are results driven and are meant to give you the optimal combination of strength building and fat burning and are purposefully designed to give you greater strength and confidence to perform everyday tasks at work and at play.

—Excerpted from the January IFMA newsletter

As I read this, my motivation ember started to burn bright. Only $34 a month, for a gym membership plus personal training perks! Any other time in the last 3 years, that number would be considered doable. In my head, when I read it yesterday, New Year’s Day, it still was. I could make that work! It would probably be auto-debit, because they want a year commitment, and I hate that, but hmmm…..

thanks-not-laughing-absurdly-new-years-ecard-someecards

But time brings clarity. Woke up this morning, January 2nd, reminding myself that our auto insurance is coming due, which means what little food money we have earmarked in our account is going to be $40 less in about 2 days. And our situation is far too tenuous right now for me to be investing in a gym, when I likely have everything I need right here at home. And if I were going to invest in a gym, I’d make it the Y, where I’d have access to cardio machines and a pool. The gym in question in this deal (sponsored in part by my doctor’s office), is a Crossfit box trying not to be a Crossfit box. That doesn’t scare me off, but it does remind me that what I’m looking for in a gym might not be at that particular gym for at least a year. I have some real work to do on my body before I can even think of those kinds of workouts. Hell, yea, I want to lift tractor tires and lunge with kettlebells, but can we reach a point where my knees don’t hurt from simple walking first? I’m not being defeatist, just prudent.

CrossFit-Meme-01
Image from http://breakparallel.com/please-coach-no-more-burpees-15-crossfit-memes/

It takes New Year’s Resolutions and deals like this to wake me up to the fact that I do have all I need already. That’s something that’s painfully easy to forget when you’re neglecting your health, but it’s true. From the track 2 miles from our place, to the weights and resistance bands in my workout gear, to the living room space for yoga, to the pages upon pages of material in this computer that I can reference for eating and exercise tips…it’s all here, just waiting to be used.

I’m learning about action plans in the Healthy Living Workshop, baby steps on the road to success. They really are baby steps; the leaders are eager to emphasize that. If you say your action plan for the week is to walk 5 days, she wants to hear 3 days, because that’s more doable and has a greater chance for success. Again, it’s not defeatist, it’s just more realistic in the face of all that goes on in our lives. I have a really bad tendency to hit the ground running, do EVERYTHING in my plan for the first 2 days or so, and then find myself a drooling ball in the corner on day 3, unable to move. No more.

all-the-things-meme-generator-do-all-the-things-424951

This week, I’ll be creating action plans. I’m pretty excited about 2016.

Accountability and Predictable Stupidity

Started writing this one on Dark Meadow and realized it totally belongs here instead.

So I’m participating in a workshop that is partly sponsored by my doctor’s office. With the simple name of “Living Healthy,” it’s a 6-week course started at Stanford that shows how by creating action plans for yourself, and tackling projects one piece at a time, you can accomplish more and improve your health in the process. It’s actually designed more for old farts, folks like my mom who live with chronic pain, aren’t aging as gracefully as the magazines make it look, and need ways to cope with the daily trials of life. But as a person with depression, cyclothymia, and arthritis, for starters, I quickly realized I could adapt what I was learning to fit my life and help me cope with those around me in similar situations.

After texting with a fellow classmate last night and recognizing that this week’s action plan was off to a slow start for both of us, I determined this morning to get my ass up and moving. The plan this week for me is simple: 30 minutes of walking, 3 days. Ridiculously doable. But after blowing it off 2 days in a row, I woke this morning after a bit of a lie-in and knew I had to move. Didn’t want to do the track, so I’d just walk 15 minutes up the road, turn around, walk back. First thing.

The good news is the heavy equipment noise I’ve been hearing in the background outside the last 2 days was likely the county, clearing both sides of the road as a winter prep. The bad news is I still really have no business walking much on our road, because it’s just too sketchy, safety-wise; it’s a main thoroughfare (which is funny to say, because we are definitely rural, but it is a main road) with a speed limit of 45 mph at least, no sidewalks, and choppy terrain on the sides. It’s a good workout, if you can keep from being clipped by a car.

I started out and the first stretch is fine, the air cool, high 40s. Trash isn’t bad on this road, but I really should carry a plastic bag with me when I walk it. I think about finding a side road to turn off on, but the closest one is one I’m familiar with and I’m not in the mood for a heavy climb. I pass a rental development of mobile homes and soon after, spot a dirty needle on the side of the road. A sad reminder to keep an eye peeled on your neighbors…they’re down the road quite a ways, but still, there’s a lot of meth heads in these backwoods. I amuse myself thinking about whether or not those folks choose rental developments based on their proximity to fire houses, just to hedge their bets. Reems Creek Fire Station is only another mile down the road.

I find a side road that doesn’t have no trespassing signs and turn off. A lot of the rental developments around here have them, mainly for solicitors, I’m sure, though given the possibility of what I was just discussing last paragraph….anyway, the way seems friendly, no “keep out” signage, so I wend my way up a gradual hill, where it turns to a newer development of damn nice houses. I realize it’s a development on the edges of the local golf club, trying to make money on its proximity. The houses are huge, prob start at $250K on less than an acre, catering to single-family folks making a decent living. The hill gets much steeper, but I try to hoof it and get about 2/3rds up before my timer goes off, signaling the end of 15 minutes.

My gratitude at being able to turn around and go down is quickly squelched by the fact that downhill is actually harder for my knees. I have iliotibial band syndrome on my left knee; the pain is sharp and causes me to limp. I take it slow, and figure out that straightening my leg is better than moving the joint. I make it down the hill. Lesson learned. That hill will be an awesome workout, once I’ve done some strength work on my knees. Not before.

I make my way toward home, thinking about not much of anything, how fresh and beautiful it is outside, wondering what they’re building on the Brigman property area, wondering what they’re building on the wildlife club property. I can hear and see heavy equipment through the trees. Hope it’s not residential development. More likely just private folks doing improvements.

I reach home feeling fantastic. Grab a shower, plow through the dishes, make myself breakfast. All that movement has my knees screaming by the time I sit down to eat, so I slather both with Arnicare (call it a homeopathic version of Ben Gay). It does the trick and I get to work, heh, well, except for writing this blog post.

Would I have walked this morning if Kristin hadn’t texted me the night before? Not sure….and that bugs me, because I know how much better I feel when I get exercise and eat right, so what the heck causes such bad behavior? I mean, I REALLY know now….the best thing I could have done for myself was the Whole 30 back in June, because it taught me how very much better I could feel if I took the proper steps. I’ve been plateaued in a weird place ever since. My portion control has gotten better, with Chipotle being the exception mostly, but my knees have been back to angry for months and that’s ridiculous.

These past couple of weeks have been sketchy food-wise. I went through a phase of baking sweets, and more recently breads, until I realized the sugar and white flour ain’t helping me one bit. We’re so tapped for cash right now though, that I’m making whatever I can from scratch to keep us from feeling too deprived. But it’s also had me figuring out how to adjust certain areas of my diet, experiment a bit. Most of these experiments have been bleak failures, but my mindset is definitely adapting. Ran out of potatoes, add brown rice instead. Found a decent roll recipe for sandwiches. Eating a lot of eggs. Starting to crave vegetables, now that the crispers are completely empty. Damn good things to be craving.

Dodged a bullet

Yea. It’s been awhile. No one reads this really, so it only matters to me. The good news is it still, most definitely, matters to me.

When did I do the Whole 30, Juneish? Now, here it is already October, and for the last 2 weeks or so, I’ve been saying, “time for another Whole 30.” That’s because I’ve been eating whatever, alternating feeling like crap with sugar-induced highs, and wondering where the hell my focus went.

The subject line is a gift. I stepped on the scale and discovered something very lucky. I haven’t gained any weight. I haven’t lost any either; I’ve been plateaued for months now. But between last weekend’s wedding celebration and the Panthers winning streak, I was concerned. The wedding was a family affair, so I drank hard and stress-ate all weekend. The Panthers thing is pure lack of self-control – every time they win, Krispy Kreme offers their dozen glazed for $3.99 the Monday after (here in NC and SC). We’ve partaken a coupla times. The good news is they’ve been winning enough where I think we’re burned out on the damn things and can refrain for the foreseeable future. Then again, they’re on a bye this week…talk to me next Sunday….

The thing about Whole 30 though, is that it really is a reboot, not a lifestyle. Sure, there’s plenty of nutters out there swearing by the Paleo lifestyle, but I’m an Irish girl…if i don’t get white potatoes, white bread, and dairy occasionally, I’m liable to cut a bitch. And that’s not me being lazy; it’s me recognizing that my body can handle those foods, but it definitely doesn’t have to be a daily experience. Maybe it would be easier to make food decisions if my allergies were digestive in nature, but unfortunately they’re mainly upper respiratory and not food-based, so I have to use my brain to make food decisions. That’s where the laziness comes in.

I’m not really allergic to milk anymore. It probably increases my mucus, sure, but it’s not the culprit for my eye allergy. That’s an outside factor, literally outside; when we started opening the windows again, my eye responded angrily for the first week there. I should probably see an allergist, but my symptoms are pretty minor. I’m learning that my sinuses will nail me in the teeth (literally…it hurts to chew with my back teeth, because my sinuses are so close to my jawline) in the spring, and that my eye is more susceptible to irritation in both spring and fall. I’ve been testing the waters by drinking raw milk, but the cost and seasonal nature of that is going to send me back to the grocery store for a half gallon of Organic Valley grass-fed, I think, to alternate with my almond milk. That’s where self-control will play; having whole milk in the fridge for bread baking and recipes, not my morning coffee. Because for me, coffee with real milk needs a little sugar and then we’re in slippery slope territory.

So. Winter goals: I acquired Nourishing Traditions and the Nourished Kitchen for my birthday, and I’m combining their suggestions with rereading Joshua Rosenthal’s IIN primer. I’ve gotta stop reaching for the bread when we’re short on ideas for dinner, and instead reach for the rice and beans. I’ve gotta get my sugar consumption back under control. And I have to get exercising again; my knees aren’t pleased with the latest food choices and inactivity.

Grain brain

When i ate poorly pre-Whole 30, I’d kick myself because “I knew better.” Now that I REALLY know better, I don’t even get the chance to kick myself…my body does it for me.

Laziness with dinner last night. Took pizza dough out of freezer the night before, and just turned it into breadsticks…slathered ’em with butter and garlic salt and baked ’em for 15 minutes, with pizza sauce for dunking. Took care of my hunger, but my brain literally shut down within like 10 minutes of inhaling them. I couldn’t work anymore, couldn’t string together the necessary synapses to click the damn mouse. I was done for the night.

I’m starting sourdough this week. I tried Danielle’s paleo bread recipe and while it was successful, it’s just weird enough to keep me figuring out alternatives.

I recently pulled out a pile of health/diet books from my shelves with the intention of sending them off to a local used bookstore or the Goodwill. Realize now that that’s the last thing I want to do, because those books will be reference points for me in creating the material for my book about figuring out Paleo, and how the American health/insurance industry is broken. Those books aren’t going anywhere; I’ll pile ’em up someplace else for now. I’m looking forward to rereading every single damn one of them with a highlighter and laptop nearby, to glean notes for my work.

Back on track this morning. Need to catch up on work a bit, but should walk later.

Finding my way

This journey is fascinating. It’s also annoying.

I’ve figured out that sugar gives me a headache. Natural sugars are OK, but “bad” sugars are out. I get that this is actually a fantastic development, but figuring it out has been annoying. I got these stabbing headaches for 2 days straight after indulging in gum drops, and it probably didn’t help that I was chasing them with wheat and dairy.

It dawned on me as I was hiking today, that my head wasn’t hurting. When you’re an emotional eater, there’s no rhyme or reason to your cravings, so the first thing I thought was cool, I could have gum drops again…..I won’t, of course, but it’s interesting to me how the brain still tries to do things to hurt me.

*****

I’ve plateau-ed, of course, in the 3 weeks post-Whole 30, as I dip my toes in the wheat and dairy pools again, finding my groove. I’m understanding that if I want to continue to lose weight, I need to live a fairly Paleo lifestyle. I’m OK with that, because I’m finding that when I don’t do that, I graze more and the calories I’m eating aren’t the good kind.

*****

That 15 pounds I dropped thanks to Whole 30 is still giving me lessons. I haven’t been hiking since Whole 30, and have barely walked in the last week and a half…we’ve been in real trouble financially around here, and my focus was elsewhere. I’m up to 2 miles at the track, but it’s a flat walk. Today, when I ran out of sites, I knew I wanted to do “the loop”. It’s 2.25 miles in my neighborhood with some gradual climbs and quite a bit of traffic-dodging. About 2/3rds of the way through that hike is a church with a bench under a tree, where I normally rest and grab a snack. Normally when I hit the bench, I’m spent, but I shore up that Irish stubbornness and it propels me the rest of the way home.

I got onto Eller Cove Road and started climbing, talking to the occasional dog who barked at me and breathing in the beauty of people’s gardens. That stretch is residential rural, people with their little patches of land. Guys mowing their lawns, a rooster crowing. We need rain, and it gets me thinking about how if I owned “that” garden, I’d have to carry water to it because hoses wouldn’t go far enough….that walk was just what I needed after this week, to remind me why we need to get the financial sitch under control so that we can own our own patch of land.

But the kicker was the fact that I was not gasping for breath, my legs weren’t screaming, and my head wasn’t pounding. Normally, 15 pounds ago, I’d get done with that walk and drag myself home feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck. That didn’t happen this time, and my god, how fantastic that felt!

*****

This will definitely become a Paleo pulpit of sorts. I need to figure out how to get the word out…and I just realized how my essays on the abomination that is the American medical/insurance industry can tie into this lifestyle. The reason for this thinking today, comes from a FB friend’s post that she is scheduled for gastric sleeve surgery in 2 weeks. It took all my restraint not to comment. I understand her decision; I do. This is a woman who is an ovarian cancer survivor, not even in remission for 2 years yet, I don’t think. She’s always struggled with her weight, and chemo certainly didn’t help that, and now that she’s past chemo a bit, she can’t get weight loss started again, has tried all she’s willing to try, and managed to jump through the hysterical amount of red tape required to get approval from insurance and her doctors/oncologist to take this step. So I’m not about to crap on her parade; she’s relieved and looking forward to this change of life. I just wish she’d tried eating her vegetables first.

I know that’s too simplistic, but there’s so much bad information out there still; and she works in an office all day and probably relies on convenience foods to get her through the week, and can’t understand why Diet Coke and 100-calorie snack bags don’t help with weight loss. I’m putting words in her mouth, but the point is that weight loss surgeries should be the absolute last resort, unless the person’s health is at grave risk. I’m able to say this, because I have a feeling another FB friend had one of those surgeries, but this was a woman who was morbidly obese as long as I’ve known her (since 7th grade), and her health finally dictated that step, and thank the gods, she’s healthier now. But the women who aren’t even 250, who fail at weight loss while watching The Biggest Loser, so they take advantage of this not-so-wonderful scientific advancement, aren’t doing themselves any favors.

I hate how self-righteous I sound. I have at least 70 more pounds to lose before I can even think about relaxing. But that’s what my next book idea is going to entail…this journey and how America needs to change. Small potatoes, right?😉

The Learning and the Accepting

I’ve been post-Whole 30 for what, 2 weeks now? It’s been good, not great…I haven’t been diligent enough in some areas, but my weight isn’t creeping back. The ability to listen to your body is so damn mind-blowing after…..just reconciling myself to that is opening doors and windows to my behaviors and moods that I wasn’t expecting.

Fact: Dairy has had multiple effects on me, ranging from eye allergy flare-ups, to headaches, to congestion of one kind or another. I feel safe recognizing that I never outgrew that allergy, but that in the face of the multiple sensitivities I was ignoring with my eating habits, those symptoms just all blended into one another. When you basically feel like crap everyday, you don’t really care about the why…you just wish it wasn’t so. Now that I’m able to pinpoint the why, I care very much.

Fact: I’m recognizing more mood swings and depressive episodes after I eat wheat. I feel safe recognizing that I have a sensitivity to wheat. If I delve further, I’m sure the gluten in wheat could be suspect, but since it’s not celiac or a true allergy, I’m just calling it wheat.

*****

These realizations are jarring. Actually I’m freaking the fuck out a little. I’ve eaten dairy since age 12. I’ve always eaten bread and wheat products, and up until about 2 years ago, we’re talking store-bought crap (I started making our bread when we moved up here). I live for a good pizza and a beer to wash it down; Christ, we have a pizza joint 5 minutes from the house that gets our business at least once a month! Seriously, if you’re ever in Weaverville, NC, there’s a hole in the wall called Blue Mountain Pizza and Brew Pub….totally worth the wait, delicious pizza, micro-brews, very friendly staff…sigh….But I digress…..

I’ve tried Daiya. That crap has no business calling itself a cheese substitute, not the “mozzarella” anyway. I tried goat’s milk today; still gave me a headache, and the flavor changes when you put it in coffee (started out OK, but turned to ass as it sat). Maybe I’ll have better luck with raw milk in the future, but right now the cost and availability are hard to navigate (it’s not legal to sell raw milk for human consumption here in NC). So in spite of the articles that have come out lately about how almond milk is barely made of almonds, I’m sticking with 365 almond milk for my coffee for now.

I admit I’m going to be a hard sell on substitutions. Those Paleo folks who swear by cauliflower pizza crust must’ve been vegans in a past life or something, but I don’t see it darkening my oven door any time soon. But I’m also seeing that I’m going to need to examine the GF (gluten-free) lifestyle a bit more than I had originally intended. I learn things hard, and don’t go down without a fight though, so I’ll be trying out GF recipes (hellooo, Danielle Walker!) while simultaneously taking cues from Nourishing Traditions. Haven’t bought the book yet, but I’m reading Nourished Kitchen, getting my sourdough starter back in business, and seeing if einkorn and spelt are any better for my moods than unbleached white flour. Also wanting to try some fermentation, such as sauerkraut or kim chi, and try my hand at some sodas with water kefir grains or a ginger bug. Hopefully those will be autumn projects, along with continuing to can whatever we can afford to stock up on for winter. I can already tell that after a lifetime of sweet-eating, that the flavors of some fermented foods may be off-putting at first, but I’m determined to keep my digestive system happy now.

*****

The freaking the fuck out part comes when I start to really think about how long I’ve struggled with depression. In high school, I always chalked it up to adolescent angst…show me a happy high school kid and I’ll ask you what they’re taking to be that way (prescribed or off the street). The hormonal surges alone….never mind that you’re growing from child to adult and learning all that comes with that….you get used to thinking that all kids go through some form of depression at that stage of life. And that’s a tragic freakin’ assumption.

I just figured, after the fact, that I was predisposed to a bit of melancholy (and if there’s any truth to the fact that depression can exist in the ole gene pool, then that’s a viable argument…pretty sure my low lithium came from my Dad). In college, I sought out counseling; as an adult in my 20s into 30s, I continued to seek out counseling and medications to adjust my behaviors and moods. I was diagnosed with moderate depression and cyclothymia, and given everything from SSRIs to anti-psychotics to treat it. I gained the weight, probably a result of both my eating habits and the medications. My primary doctor in Florida pondered the weight gain and suggested different diets, but didn’t give me enough guidance to want to try anything. Then after a decade, she suggested surgery. I switched doctors.

We moved up here and I got in with an Integrative Family Medicine outfit, terrific staff, so even when my Obamacare kicked in, I kept them as my primary. When I had appointments with my doc there, he gave me very specific instructions about what would help me and suggested resource materials. It still took 2.5 years for me to try anything (and I’m over casting blame on myself on that…you can tell someone to change until you’re blue in the face, but until they want to change, it’s wasted air). But I point it out as a difference between the two methods, because when you have standard insurance with a regular doctor here in America, it’s a revolving door; you’re in and out with not enough time to address all your concerns. I’d make a list of all the things I wanted to cover with the doc and have 3 things left before they were pushing me out the door. And then cha-ching, they bill the insurance for a $300 visit on top of your $25 co-pay and you leave feeling less healthy than when you came in.

I’m digressing again…actually I have a whole book of essays in my head about how fucked the American medical/insurance industry is (Michael Moore, eat your heart out). But my point here (and I do have one) is that in all those doctors visits, 2 decades worth from Tampa to Fort Myers to Jacksonville, Florida, NO ONE ever suggested changing diet as a means of altering mood. And that’s infuriating. I needed to travel this road, I get that; but when I think of the years wasted eating “food-like substances” and not understanding why I felt like shit, my head explodes.

I became a patient at IFM, and really did my homework about the Paleo lifestyle. I participated in the Whole 30, and the difference in my mood and energy was life-changing. I’ve seesawed post-Whole 30 a bit, and I know why; and getting back to that mood and energy level is my top priority now. My knowledge overwhelms me, and so I spew it out here. Hopefully it’ll help convince someone who’s on the fence about the Paleo lifestyle. You don’t have to eat chicken livers and bone broth if you don’t want to. Do a 30-day detox though, and figure out what works for you; because your body will thank you every. day. afterward. as you navigate a new relationship with food.