Nice title, huh? I read that quote in an article awhile back. They used it in the negative sense, but I kind of loved it. That’s kind of been my approach lately. Let me explain…
I think I’ve had an “it’s complicated” relationship with food ever since 7th grade. I remember in FACS (home ec.) class learning about calories and fat grams and nutrition. As everyone else zoned out, the teacher had my full attention. This was back in the low fat era so I started avoiding fat like the plague. I wouldn’t touch butter. I’d make popcorn with a butter-esque spray. Gag.
While my knowledge of nutrition has greatly evolved since then, has my relationship with food? My relationship with my body?
I had a bit of an epiphany. I had thought, almost obsessively, about food and diet every single day. For way too much time each day. I just kind of realized what a complete waste of time it was. I was sick of forcing myself to “try harder” at staying keto when I was, frankly; over it. I was sick of being so restricted.
For the past month or two I have been eating what I want. No restrictions. No fasting. At first my weight did go up pretty quickly. I had to trust my body. I had to push through some uncomfortable “fat” feelings. I haven’t stepped on the scale in ages. It is literally covered in dust. But I can tell that I’ve slimmed back down to what is probably my body’s healthy set point.
I’m feeling really good.
I think some of us are naturally drawn to more extremes. But extreme doesn’t always equal healthy. While I think the ketogenic diet is a good diet and it helps a lot of people- it is also very restrictive. When I would “fall off the wagon” I would eat junk excessively. For some people, that very restrictive way of eating triggers more unhealthy behaviors. I am definitely one of those people.
Some people really benefit from structure and discipline but others just need to chill. Life is so much better when you have figured out how to listen to your body; feed it what it wants, make peace with it, treat it well.
I’ve been listening to my body and it’s been really great. Every morning I want scrambled eggs with cheese on buttered toast. So I eat it. I’ve still been adding collagen and goji berry powder to my coffee and my hair is growing really fast and my skin looks better than ever. I’ve been enjoying carbs, oh yes. I might again launch into a healthy eating plan in the future, but I’m pretty happy with where I am at the moment 🙂
I’ve written a bit before about my son, Gabe, and his health issues. One aspect we deal with is the ups and downs that occur with his health. He has allergies and a very sensitive immune system. Allergens seem to have a massive systemic affect on him and of course, his skin problems. He had been doing really, really well this summer but I was dreading this time of year because it has always been very hard on him. Here, in Minnesota, the ragweed gets really bad through late August and September. The ragweed affects him terribly. So much that we have to shut up the house and run two big air purifiers 24/7.
As August stretched on and Gabe continued to go downhill, it dawned on us that he was in no shape to go to school. The allergens triggered a big flare with his skin. Areas that had been healed for a long time became red and flakey and painful again. He deals with a lot of pain every day to the point that we have little bottles of children’s ibuprofen stashed around the house.
I signed him up for an online school, because I was not about the make him suffer through another school year. Last year was pretty bad. He spent so many days quietly suffering while trying to be a “normal kid”. He had something crazy like 47 absences. This year we are going to give him the break that he needs. I’m his learning coach and his caregiver so I won’t have as much time to blog.
But I absolutely will continue to research all things health and natural wellness. In an attempt to help my son (and myself!) and whoever happens across my blog.
What has been helping Gabe the most lately has been…*drumroll*… goji berry powder! I got mine here. I actually bought it back in February but didn’t do much with it. I was keto with a vengeance and once I realized it had carbs, it got shelved. I was organizing my kitchen cupboards awhile back and rediscovered it and figured I should give it another shot. I started making “recovery drinks” or post workout drinks with coffee, ice, collagen powder, a heaping tablespoon goji powder, a tablespoon of raw cocoa, pyure sweetener and a bit of milk. The shake is so good. Not only does it taste amazing but it’s jam-packed with antioxidants. and a bit of protein from the collagen. I noticed I felt really amazing after drinking it and was experiencing less soreness after workouts.
So yesterday, when Gabe was just dragging and too tired to even do school work, I decided to whip up a fruit smoothie with a secret scoop of goji powder included. He sucked down his smoothie (goji, while not super tasty on it’s own, blends really well with other flavors) and was bouncing off the walls for hours. It was really wonderful to see him happy and full of energy again. He’s had a really rough month. He got all his work done and even some extra stuff.
It’s definitely something I’ll incorporate into his regular routine. I’m also going to look into Indian Gooseberry, or “Amla” because it is like Goji berry on steroids.
Here is some more more info on the amazing health promoting effects of goji berries. You can add it to coffee, yogurt, smoothies. I even used it as the “flour” in some dark chocolate brownies. They were amazing and had a flavor like the brookside acai chocolates but richer and more complex. Maybe I’ll post a recipe in the future 😉
“Put those scissors down now, you are not giving the dog a haircut!”
“Well just hit him back…”
These are all things I have said to my children in the recent timeline in the adventure of my life. To say I’ve been stressed is an understatement. To make issues worse; my middle child (Gabe) gets really severe seasonal allergies this time of year. It’s been tough to venture out at all. He gets purple circles around his eyes and his eczema flares up terribly.
Whatever constitutes as my “self-care” has totally been back-burnered. Er, just pushed off the stove all together. The pan is cold, dusty and the contents are congealed.
I’ve been on and off the keto wagon. I even did a memorable 3 day “zero-carb” stint. It’s been major struggle bus all summer. I need alone time. I need quiet. I need to be able to vacuum without worrying about my daughter expressing herself artistically on our van with a sharpie. True story. It happened.
When I am stressed it is just so hard to stay away from the snickers and other feel-good carbs. I know eating sugar really exacerbates my stress and anxiety but still… the struggle is real! I’ve also noticed that when I fall off the wagon I tend to balloon up immediately. At first I thought it was fat, but then I realized that it’s extra water and glycogen. And…some fat too.
I just keep trying to keep a good perspective. The number on the scale is not that important in the grand scheme of things. I know soon my stress levels are going to go way down. It might coincide with the arrival of a giant yellow vehicle.
Back to the zero carb, or “carnivore”. I know, it’s crazy. I decided (crazy person that I am) that I should at least try it. The good; I had almost no cravings. I felt very calm and focused. I like cheeseburgers. The bad; I felt tired and definitely got hit with some keto flu or die-off or something. Digestion was not great. Not to say I wouldn’t try it again, maybe as a “reboot” before going back to regular keto but I wouldn’t want to do it long term. It’s crazy restrictive. It’s plain crazy. People who end up on zero carb long term usually have to because they have severe auto-immune issues and react to salicylates in vegetables. It makes sense because plants technically can’t run to avoid predators. They produce compounds to avoid being eaten or digested. Think beans. Cows notoriously have 4 stomachs to break down grass. We do not. I also know that when I do eat a meal of veggies (like a huge salad) I usually end up feeling gross, full but somehow not satisfied. If I ate a big, juice (bunless!!) burger I feel really good.
I’ve learned quite a bit about the zero carb movement and it does make sense to me. It also doesn’t seem as crazy as it did at first. It’s something I’ll keep on my radar for sure. If you curious about zero-carb, check out Kelly Hogan’s amazing story.
Hopefully I’ll be back at regular blogging with more adventures and self-experiments. I’d also like to have more of an emphasis on intuitive eating and health over weight loss. I’ve definitely realized that if you are approaching your diet with a single-minded focus on your weight and size, you are probably going to end up feeling miserable and deprived. Especially if you don’t lose weight as quickly as you hoped. If you approach your diet as a holistic plan to be healthier and to feel good, those inevitable weight fluctuations won’t bother you so much.
On day four I am doing really good. I feel more clear-headed. I feel like it’s working and that is probably the most important thing. I’m having some cravings here and there (chocolate…) but I am bound and determined to do this.
I had an irritating experience yesterday. I’m in a fitness group on facebook. There’s a certain lady that posts frequently as she is trying to get into shape. She had posted about how hard it was to give up sweets. I reached out, mentioned candida, and sent her a link to my blog.
Which is not something I do lightly. I know this is a public blog but it’s really my space. I am pretty candid, 100% real. I’m not selling anything and I don’t make any money doing this. I do it really just to share my experiences and maybe help someone looking for answers. That’s it.
So when this woman took a few minutes to peruse my blog and then came back dismissing basically (what amounts to) my years or researching and personal experience…also claiming that it is impossible to heal yourself of virtually anything. She had a lot of diagnoses (ADD, asthma, whatever…) so she was an expert on all things health.
I had to talk myself off the ledge. At this point I had just consumed hot liquids and coconut oil on my fast so I was pretty quick to get in touch with my primal anger.
I corrected her on a couple points that she had incorrectly inferred, ending succinctly with “If I thought the way you do I’d probably still be sick and miserable.” A little sassy, yes, but not close to what I wanted to say.
Some people just aren’t going to get it. Some people think it’s weird if you question the (cough*pharmaceutical run*cough) mainstream medical advice. If I never questioned doctors I would probably still be eating gluten and half way dead by now. According to one doctor I saw, out of sheer desperation of “I’m in my early 20’s, why do I feel like I am 90 and normal digestion is a faint memory?” Nah, you’re normal. But you do need a flu shot.
Conventional mainstream medicine almost killed my son. What started as minor eczema snowballed as he needed stronger steroids (black box) and oral prednisone and they were pushing immunosuppressant drugs. We woke up to the fact that these drugs were actually causing their own condition that turned out to be a million times worse than his original eczema. It’s taken literal blood, sweat and tears to pull him back from the brink and restore his health. If we listened to the doctors I just shudder to think where he’d be now. 95% of what we did was natural and it’s working.
This was him on steroids. Notice how pale and tired he looks. He was going downhill badly and we didn’t know what to do.
This is what happened we discontinued steroid use. All over his entire body.
His skin turned fire-engine red, oozed and peeled off. He was also completely wrecked from near adrenal failure as he had been on artificial cortisol for so long. He was bed ridden for months. A year and a half later he is returning to being a normal, healthy little boy.
Anyways, I went off on a tangent all to say that THIS is why I am passionate about natural health and true healing. You CAN heal. You DON’T have to accept being sick and miserable.
I am not anti-doctor or western medicine. Not at all. But it’s a very symptom-driven industry. As in, they treat the symptom, not the cause. Not once did a doctor ever ask me about what Gabe was eating. They just prescribed the creams and pushed me to use more. When he developed chronic pneumonia we were told it’s a “triad”. Kids with eczema almost always develop asthma and allergies. But, WHY? No one ever talked about it. Now I know the strong steroids were suppressing his immune system to the point where he had no strength to fight off anything. He would get sick and stay sick. His doctor said it was “normal”. To hell with that!
Now my son is in excellent shape with his cardiovascular system. He can run and skip and jump and his asthma is completely gone. We are still dealing with some skin issues but they are a million times better than they used to be. His energy is back 90%. He is on zero meds or prescriptions. His medicine is cod liver oil, vitamins, astaxanthin, green drinks, and alkaline water and of course a gluten and sugar free diet.
The point is, there is always hope. I believe it with all my heart. I blog to share hope because I know life can be tough. Chronic illness can suck the life out of you. Sometimes you get kicked when you are down. But when you are laid flat you can look up and gain a new perspective. You can find hope where you didn’t previously knew it could be found.
If we had followed doctors orders, I have no doubt that Gabe could have, probably would have; died an early death from the extreme toxicity of the drugs.
We brought him back to his pediatric dermatologist office a few days into his steroid withdrawal, when all hell was breaking loose, looking for hope or answers. They were hostile, blamed us, said Gabe needed to be admitted and slathered head to toe in steroids and antibiotics. We stormed out. Best thing we ever did.
Yesterday I ended up feeling some die-off symptoms for sure. I spose that’s to be expected after consuming an entire cup of coconut oil. I’m a “go big or go home” type of person. Obviously.
For me, it’s really all or nothing.
Part of the reason for the fast was that I wanted to get my drinking under control. That sounds really dramatic. *ugh* I never drank much in my early 20’s. The experiences I had as a teen were drinking to the point of blacking out. I hated that out of control feeling and didn’t drink for years. In my late 20’s I started discovering wine and the fact that I really enjoyed it.
I don’t know when it officially becomes a problem but I know I didn’t want to go a night without it. I was also developing a tolerance and needing more and more to get my pleasant little buzz.
I knew I needed to check myself and that I was sabotaging my health goals. Even lower carb wine is not a great choice if you have candida overgrowth. It’s not great for staying in ketosis. It’s not great when you feel like you *need* it.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying wine or beer or whatever in moderation. But you have to be honest with yourself and evaluate if it is contributing to your goals. Especially if you have a family history of alcoholism (and I do)…
I’m not saying I’m an alcoholic, or that I’ll never enjoying a drink again, I just want to give my body a break. Plus, trying to do any sort of detox and continuing to drink is…really dumb. You’re liver is going to be overwhelmed. You’re likely to stir up toxins that you can’t process and they’ll just redistribute through your body…all while making you feel like death.
I did notice when I got super strict and low carb the desire to drink went away almost completely. It makes me wonder if my desire to drink wine was, in part, due to the fact that little yeasty bastards were demanding more sugar- in any form. Alcohol and Candida
I’ve talked to some people who had candida issues and they couldn’t stay out of the bread bowl. Or they get shakey if they go 4 hours without eating. Some people become full blown alcoholics. Or, like me, it’s damn near impossible to resist the siren song of sweet. I am really proud of myself for taking these steps. And it’s so important to “pat yourself on the back” when you make steps to break bad habits or better your health. It’s not easy. But it is worth it. Especially since I do have a lot on my plate. My kids are all home for summer break and they follow me around all day. Not silently. No. They want to be fed. They want to be entertained. They want to tattle on a sibling. All. Day.
Switching gears a bit- I’ve been doing pretty well. I decided to do a workout and I noticed more little red bumps with white crystals on my abdomen. Not as bad as last time. What I’ve been doing has had the undesired effect of making me run to the bathroom for round after round of hot watery explosions.
Not the intended effect.
I decided I need to add bentonite clay and psyllium capsules to get more of a real detox- not a “just ate sushi at a buffet in a dive at 4 pm” detox.
I also hope to use this time to not only break bad habits and feel better, but to grow closer to God. I’ve really been slacking, spiritually, of late and fasting is a great way to shake off spiritual apathy.
Yesterday I did end up eating some keto cheese, egg and asparagus muffins and then more steamed asparagus and cauliflower. I had taken my afternoon pills from the cleanse pack and oops! It was a digestive enzyme and was giving me a tummy ache. So I ate some food, but all super clean and low carb.
Today I am aiming for just bulletproof coffees and teas. I’m focusing on coconut oil because it is amazing for getting ketone production ramped up- which practically means energy. I don’t think I could do any kind of zero calorie fast because I just have too many responsibilities. It’s not like I can sit around and meditate all day. Though that’d be great.
Another great thing about coconut oil is that it acts like kryptonite against candida.
Coconut oil is amazing at killing candida and fungus without doing any harm to your body. Many people may feel awful when they first start using coconut oil because they are having die-off symptoms and toxins are being released. I’ve been using coconut oil for years so I have a high tolerance. When you first start out, you definitely want to take it slow and see how your body reacts. Maybe a teaspoon on an empty stomach to start.
Since a cup of coconut oil has almost 2,000 calories it’s a great addition to a cleanse to make it more doable. I can get that easily blended up in coffee and tea throughout the day. I don’t recommend taking it straight (though you certainly can!) it is incredibly hard to swallow it. I have to go to my happy place mentally to get it down. It’s much better blended into a frothy coconutty latte.
I’m doing pretty good so far. I feel hungry for sure but I am enjoying the clear thinking, calmer nerves, and steady energy that come with having high ketone levels. My allergies are still much better. Yesterday I visited a friend with two very fluffy cats and nary a sneeze out of me.
I’ll adjust the fast to suit me as needed. I think it’s probably pretty harmless to add in some cleans foods- eggs, veggies, butter; as needed.
My detox kit came yesterday and I am well on my way, ya’ll. It’s a 14 day plan and during that time I am consuming no alcohol, sugar or carbs. I’m playing the world’s tiniest violin for myself right now.
No, not really. The hardest part is determining to start.
I kid you not, 95% of the allergies that were ruining my life yesterday have cleared up already.
I can tell my ketone levels are very high because my thinking is much sharper and I have that “quiet hum” feeling to my thoughts.
At this point I am doing coffee and tea with ample amounts of organic, virgin coconut oil and some grass-fed butter. The point is not to lose weight. I just want to trigger some major autophagy and clear out my digestive system. I’m hoping to see some Alien-style stuff. Just google mucoid plaque and you’ll see what I mean. Or don’t, if you are eating. It’s basically just a disgusting buildup of a rubbery substance that can line the insides of our intestines. It obviously gunks up our system and prevents proper nutrient absorption. Lots of people have decided to post theirs online. I won’t. But it’s out there if you’re curious. It typically only comes out with extended fasting and a cleansing protocol. It brings shock and horror but I’d imagine if you have gunk that needs to come out, you’ll feel like a million bucks when it does.
There’s is no way I am living off of bulletproof coffee for 14 days so I’ll incorporate some raw veggies too. I’ll try to post everyday with *fun and interesting* tidbits from my experience.