One Year Blog-iversary!!

This time last year I embarked on a new life style with keto.¬† There’s been lots of ups and downs and lessons learned along the way.¬† It has definitely been worth it though.¬† I still believe, at least for me, that keto is the best way to eat.

After a lot of Holiday indulgences, I have been really getting strict.¬† I’ve had a good week where I’ve hit 25-50 grams of carbs a day.¬† I feel like my extra holiday “wiggle” is melting away.

I know I’ve said it before (I’m a glutton for learning the hard way!) but being strict keto is so much easier than a more lackadaisical approach.¬† If I am eating a little sugar, it quickly escalates to “more” sugar.¬† If I eat it, I want more.¬† If I cut it out, the cravings go away.¬† I feel much more content.

I’ve been aiming for more protein this time around.¬† I listen to the ketogenic girl podcast and she has had good results with incorporating more protein.¬† I’m not a huge meat eater so it’s been an effort to eat more chicken and beef.

Another big thing I have been doing is drinking pour over coffee.¬† Why?¬† Well, it tastes better for starters… but more importantly; it’s a much¬†cleaner¬†cup of coffee.¬† I was recently slightly horrified to learn that virtually¬†all¬†coffee makers have aluminum heating elements.¬† The water is being boiled by the hot aluminum.¬† This is a big deal because, especially over time, more and more aluminum is being deposited into your coffee.¬† Here’s a video on the topic from Dr. Dennis Crouse… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jmt9keoVz08

You can hunt down a coffee maker without aluminum but is isn’t easy.¬† I packed away my coffee maker and bought an inexpensive ceramic pour over. 20181202_0850206085283468224575690.jpg

It takes about the same time to make, or maybe even less.  I boil some water in a glass tea pot then slowly pour the hot water over fresh coffee grinds.  The resulting coffee is aluminum free and well worth a little bit more effort!

I’m not a big tea drinker but I’ve been trying to branch out and try new things.¬† One thing I have discovered that I love is cold matcha lattes.¬† I work at a Starbucks so I first tried them there.¬† Nom!¬† But sadly, the Starbucks matcha powder is half sugar by weight.¬† It tastes good, but is definitely¬†not¬†keto friendly.¬† I picked up this unsweetened matcha at Wal-Mart today. 20190109_160049-15035507395074814450.jpg

I blended a tablespoon of matcha with slightly less than a cup of half and half (or breve, if you’re used to Starbucks jargon!) and a tsp. of pyure sweetener.¬† It was just as good as the starbucks version but much healthier.¬† Clocking in at about 10 grams of carbs instead of the 30 you’d get from the Starbucks version.¬† I’m not a tea person but this drink really hits the spot.¬† It’s great for a sweet afternoon “pick me up”.¬† You’ll get energy without jitters along with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Anyways, thank you for all of you who have read the blog through this past year.  I hope your new year is off to a wonderful and healthy start!

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Speedy Recovery

I am now 8 days out from my bunionectomy and hardware removal surgery.¬† I am walking around quite a bit (with my weight on my heel).¬† I’ve done a couple workouts.¬† Just upper body weights and some abs.

The first 2-3 days I took pain meds as often as needed.¬† That first morning after my surgery I hadn’t taken anything in hours and the numbness wore off.¬† I was caught off guard and after that I made sure to take something every few hours so the pain didn’t get that bad again.

I am the teensiest embarrassed to share about my bunionectomy because… it sounds like an “old lady” issue.¬† It’s dumb to be embarrassed though.¬† It’s just a bony growth.¬† Who cares, right?¬† In my case, it’s genetic.¬† My mom had to get a double bunionectomy.¬† Her mom before her.¬† All my siblings have bunions.¬† *sigh*¬† It’s just the magic of genetics. ūüėČ

You know how sometimes you wonder how useful it is, in a practical sense; to stay in shape?¬† Or at least, sometimes I do.¬† It has proven¬†very¬†useful for me.¬† I was very glad that I had put on all those hours working on functional fitness, agility, balance.¬† Getting around on one foot and going about your day can be tricky.¬† The first couple days I was crab-walking up and down the stairs many times a day.¬† Yay for strong triceps.¬† I braved costco on crutches.¬† It’s been apparent that being physically fit¬†before¬†a major surgery aids very much during recovery.

After day four I decided to go off pain relievers.¬† Mostly because they aren’t great for your liver or stomach.¬† Dangers of NSAIDs¬† I also didn’t want to be on oxycodone longer than absolutely necessary (for obvious reasons).¬† Plus, you don’t want to completely inhibit the inflammatory response because it is part of the healing process.

I started doing red light therapy on my foot a few days ago.  I do feel like that helped a lot with any lingering discomfort. I just shined this on my foot for about 20 minutes each night.

I’ve also been doing hot and cold therapy.¬† I bring a big bowl to my bathroom.¬† I fill my (clean!) sink with hot water and ice water in the bowl.¬† I alternate between having my foot in the hot and cold water every minute for about 7 rounds.¬† This helps with pain and speeds up healing.¬† It really isn’t as unpleasant as it sound.¬† It feels nice on my still slightly swollen foot.

I won’t include any picture of my franken-foot just yet.¬† I’ll spare you all. ūüėČ

The Other Side

I had my bunionectomy done this Wednesday, so I am two days post-op.¬† I was a bit nervous going in, for sure.¬† I haven’t had surgery since the last bunionectomy 20 years ago!!

I had nothing to fear though.¬† The nurses took great care of me and I was pleasantly passed out the entire time.¬† I joked it was my first nap in years! ūüėČ

My recovery has been going pretty well.¬† I have to mostly stay off my foot and keep it elevated because it is very swollen and still very tender.¬† I’ve been alternating tylenol, ibuprofen, and oxycodone.¬† I seriously don’t get how people can abuse that stuff.¬† I accidentally took it with just coffee the first day and got¬†so sick.¬†¬†It helps with the pain but makes my head feel fuzzy, like taking benadryl.¬† Nothing really wonderful about it.

I went back today to get my dressings changed and was able to talk my surgeon.¬† He said when he opened the joint it was full of red fluid, which is unusual.¬† I want to research this more but he said it’s a sign of inflammation.¬† It seems to support my theory that my body has been reacting to the metal screws that were in there for so long.

I am really (!!!!) hopeful to see some improvements in my health.¬† For years I’ve had so many issues and struggles.¬† I’m not sure what to expect, but I’ll blog as I (hopefully!) see improvements.

My doctor was able to fix the problem by drilling two holes through that big toe joint and tightening things up with my own ligaments and some dissolvable sitches.¬† Oh and shaving down the bone.¬† Yuck!¬† Sorry!¬† Basically, it’s “ghetto-rigged”.¬† Lol¬† The great thing is that the bunion will be gone and there will be no metal in there.

Coincidentally, I keep running across stories of people becoming ill¬† with “Breast Implant Sickness” or from other foreign implants in their body.¬† It makes me wonder how many people are ill with a variety of symptoms, no real diagnosis, poor quality of life; and no idea that their implants or dental work or knee replacement is the source of all their problems.

Heavy Metal (Toxicity)

I was listening to the ketogenic girl podcast a few days ago.¬† fast keto podcast¬† Check it out, BTW, the is lovely and has interesting content.¬† Anyhoos, I was listening to episode 50 which was all about breast implant sickness.¬† Now, I don’t have breast implants.¬† But I do like learning just for the sake of it.¬† As the lady described her symptoms my interest was increasingly peaked.¬† Aches, pains, chronic fatigue.¬† She mentioned that¬†any¬†implant in the body could cause a debilitating autoimmune response.

Lightbulbs started going on over my head.  I had a bunionectomy done when I was only 11 or so.  Years of dance and genetics meant I was the unfortunate kid with horrible feet that were flat and deformed with big bunions.  Cry a little tear for me, please.  Well, it was in vain because that bunion grew back.  Oh yes.  So now I was left with a big, unsightly bunion with a gnarly scar and two steel/nickel screws embedded in my bone.

All this time I have struggled with chronic fatigue and a weird array of symptoms.¬† I’ve developed celiac’s disease.¬† I’ve had issues with my thyroid.¬† I’ve been anemic.¬† I’ve had random bouts of hair loss.¬† All this time I was trying to detox my body and I have been quite possibly being poisoned from the inside out.¬† Lovely.

I started googling and learned that most metal implants at the time were stainless steel bonded with nickel and other metals.¬† Nickel is carcinogenic.¬† Nickel is proven to cause inflammation and auto-immune issues.¬† Another dot that I connected is the fact that I have a contact allergy with most metals.¬† I can’t wear jewelry without my skin burning and even things like metal buttons on my clothes bother me.¬† That’s a major sign of toxicity.¬† ://thesmartchoice.com/autoimmune-diseases-metal-implants-devices/

I visited a podiatrist as a woman on a mission.  He x-rayed my foot and suggested a far more complicated procedure than I wanted.  Titanium plates and screws.  Image result for hell no gif

I politely asked to skip any more metal.¬† Please and thank you.¬† He agreed to go in, shave down the bone, and remove those blasted screws.¬† It won’t fix the root of my foot (teehee) problem but it will a. Make my foot less hideous and b. get the metal the heeellll out of there.

Will it improve my health?  I am cautiously optimistic.  I am reasonably hopeful.  I believe it enough to go under the knife.

My surgery is scheduled for the 19th of December.¬† I actually pretty excited.¬† I’ll be out of commission and unable to HIIT my workouts (I’m so punny, I know) for about 6 weeks but I’ll find a way to manage. ūüėČ

 

“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. ¬†