“Hitting the ‘F’-it Button”

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 ūüôā

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My Daughter and I

 

Goji Berries for Chronic Illness

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. ¬†Image may contain: 1 person

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*‚Ķ 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.¬†20180913_1401202792594796765434391.jpg 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 ūüėČ

End of Summer (Hallelujah!)

“Stop growling at me!”

“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.

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My Self-Care Jello Salad

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.

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If you’re a mom and you don’t get excited for back to school….we can’t be friends.

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. ¬†

Coconut Oil and Candida

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.  See the source image

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. 20180803_1156428093723573880223056.jpg

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.

Day One, Get’er Done

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.¬†See the source image 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. ¬†See the source image

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.

Birthday Cakes and Icy Lakes

Yesterday was my 32nd birthday. I went on a roadtrip to visit my mom’s side of the family for a reunion in Wisconsin.

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*Pretending to do lakeside Yoga*

My husband gifted me some pretty sweet bowflex select tech dumbells.  He knows the way to my heart!!

It was fun and included an iced dark chocolate mocha, french fries and an ice cream sundae. #noregrets

But today is going to be a fasting day.¬† I just got done watching most of the “Skinny on Fat” series and¬†Supercharged¬†the movie.¬† The series really should have been more condensed.¬† Each episode was over 2 hours long and there was a lot of repetition.¬† The Supercharged movie was pretty cheesy (low carb!) but had some good info.¬† But again, mostly just more of what I already know I¬†should be doing. ¬†

I say “should be” because the two things that stick out to me are two things that most human beings are pretty resistant towards- fasting and purposeful cold exposure.¬† #notfun¬† But if you want to get the best results, as far as being healthy, lean, and staying young- you have to embrace some discomfort.

One thing that sticks out to me is that now science is backing up practices that people have been embracing for health reasons for eons.¬† Fasting as a religious practice has basically always been practiced.¬† When I read about other people’s struggles to get into ketosis, it taking days and being very uncomfortable, I was surprised.¬† I got into ketosis the first day and it really wasn’t a difficult process.¬† Now I chalk that up to the fasting I’ve done over the years for spiritual purposes.¬† If you go extended lengths abstaining from food you¬†will¬†go into ketosis even if you don’t mean to or have any idea what that means.¬† At that point you have more fat-burning flexibility.¬† Your body is much more adept at transitioning.¬† Fasting has been embraced as a powerful spiritual tool throughout human history but now we can appreciate the truly amazing¬†benefits .¬† Fasting is probably the closest thing to the fountain of youth that we currently understand.

Up here in Minnesota we have what’s known as the “Polar Plunge”; where people will cut a hole in the ice (on a lake, of course) and jump into the freezing cold water.¬† I used to live by a dentist who swore by this and would jump into our icy lake often.¬† I thought these people were nuts.¬† Nuts, maybe, but now we know the amazing health-promoting¬† properties of exposing your body to intense cold for brief periods.¬† It’s even better if you can alternate hot and cold.¬† Like they do in Scandinavian countries- go from the sauna to the ice.¬† If you don’t have access to a frozen lake you can always mimic this in the much less cool (but still effective) basic ice bath.¬† Or even just cold water bath.¬† I think there’s one in my future that I am currently psyching myself up for.

Why go through all of this?¬† Well, I am 32 and I want to get better and feel better with age.¬† I spent a lot of my 20’s feeling horrible and I have a lot of life I want to live.¬† Oh, and I also want to look great while doing it. ūüėČ

So here is to living life.  Enjoying sundaes and fundays but also getting out of your comfort zone to tap into powerful, ancient health-rejuvenating powerhouses!!

Growing Kids and Lectins

Having your kids on a keto plan means that you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the kitchen.¬† A lot.¬† Cooking, baking, cleaning, oh my!

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Michael, with his 2nd keto brownie 

My plight is perhaps even worse because of the fact that my oldest child is growing like an inch a week and always hungry.¬† He’s only 13 and he is almost 5’9″!

They’ve been getting sick of eggs in all their different forms. so I’ve been making a lot of chocolate shakes for breakfast.¬† I just blend up half and half with peanut butter, raw cocoa powder and my monk fruit sweetener blend.¬† They really like the shakes and get a gazillion calories to fuel their weed-like growth.

We agreed that Friday would be a “cheat” day were they could eat whatever.¬† I figure it’s a good bribe to keep everyone happy and they are still getting the benefits of ketosis while getting a good dose of carbs once a week.

My daughter spent the weekend with my mom.¬† I wasn’t about to try to make her follow the keto plan at grandma’s house so Shiloh had a weekend full of fun and gluten.¬† I just got her back this evening and…wow.¬† What a difference.¬† She’s burst into tears no less than 10 times.¬† I had to take her to the grocery store and it was like trying to herd a stray cat through a maze of frenzied shoppers.¬† I guess it really serves as confirmation that at the¬†very least¬†she is benefiting greatly from a gluten free diet.¬† On the keto plan I have seen her become¬†way¬†more calm and focused.

I’ve been watching Naomi Whittel’s¬†documentary series on the ketogenic diet.¬† One really interesting thing that I’ve learned is that mankind actually shrunk a foot when they transitioned from a hunter/gatherer lifestyle (think paleo) to and agricultural one.¬† One reason is, many of the grains we consume today are high in lectins– effectively an anti-nutrient produced by plants as a defense against getting eaten.¬† It’s the reason that if you eat beans that aren’t fully cooked you can get very ill.¬† The lectins are tearing up your gut.¬† They cause the gas, bloating, lethargy and poor absorption of nutrients that many people just live with.¬† The two main ingredients that make up the bulk of processed foods- wheat and soy (which are also mostly GMO) also happen to be the highest in lectins.¬† I’ve noticed going keto has really improved my digestion.¬† So when I occasionally eat a treat that is¬†definitely¬†not keto or healthy, it doesn’t affect me nearly as much as it used to.¬† I suppose my gut is healing on this much less inflammatory diet.¬† Since gut and brain are intimately¬†connected; it makes sense that a flexible keto approach to eating would be a wise choice for growing kids.