This last few months have been full of change, chaos and challenges. Sometimes I lose track of myself through it all. My 2nd grader (type A+ secretor, teacher genotype) is having tummy and immunity trouble, so I began homeschooling him so I could be in more control of his diet. He has still managed to come down with a lot of colds, flu and gastroenteritis in a little over one month. That along with other challenges has caused me to have some trouble doing things specifically for my own health.
Green Smoothies have been my saving grace some weeks. My favorite has cranberry juice, water or apple juice, lots of kale, chia seeds (liquefy all these ingredients first), then add frozen blueberries and any other frozen fruit, once that is smooth add a banana and blend just a bit until it's blended in and smooth. That keeps me from my newest pitfall of skipping meals... that never was a problem before, I tend to be a stress-eater, not a stress-faster, but either approach has similar results.
Every time I fall, I get back up and start over, and I'll continue to do so. Last week I got to spend some time in Southern California with my family, which was great for my SAD. I've plugged in my happy light as well, but have had trouble forcing myself into the cold outdoors to get real sunshine and exercise.
It can be done, and you don't have to be superhuman to do it.
My friend in San Francisco wrote this blog with some good ideas.
I wish I knew where to buy mutton around here! The cheapest healthy meat I can find is ground turkey, which is quite versatile. Free range beef is a bit more expensive than regular, but that can be dealt with by eating a bit less of it (the benefits will be greater than eating more of the grain-fed kind), and by using up every bit you buy. You can also buy it in bulk from local ranches, for some savings, as long as you know you'll use it up and you have room for it in a freezer.
Another point is that avoiding processed and pre-made food also saves money. This is especially true for gluten free and specialty food, it's much cheaper to make from scratch.
You can fill up a cart with produce pretty cheaply, and some produce doesn't have to be organic. The top twelve LOW in pesticide produce items are:
The following twelve should be bought organic:
You can download a pdf or an iphone list here: http://www.foodnews.org/walletguide.php
It can be hard to find super fresh organic produce, at least where I live, but food co-ops are becoming more numerous and many offer organic (or local organic standard but not certified) options. I've found the one that I tried (Community Food Co-Op of Utah) to be very fresh and good. I just finished off the lettuce and spinach from last Saturday and it was still fresher, cleaner and tastier than anything I see in stores. (I did clean and spin it dry on Saturday and then stored it with a paper towel in a bag in the fridge to keep it fresh.) The radishes were gone almost instantly (I'm a fan of radishes, they're good for explorers, and these were beauties). I still have a couple heads of fresh garlic to work on, and the share included a potted herb that I planted in the yard last night. Their regular share is also a great deal and includes more variety at this time of year. In this area, Bountiful Baskets is another good option. I haven't tried them yet, but have heard good things.
It also saves money to stop eating out almost entirely. Restaurant food is never as healthy as homemade and it usually isn't any faster by the time you decide and go and order and wait, etc.
Of course the other key is just to avoid waste. Healthy foods are easy to re-use and come up with tasty results. It's not hard to scramble some eggs and add some leftover meat, rice, veggies etc. Soup is also an easy and way to reheat simple leftovers. Broth, onions, ume plum vinegar and seaweed are always a good base. You can add fresh veggies into the soup (like carrots or celery, and raw veggies on top (like green onions, sprouts, avocado, whatever). Salads are a great way to use up leftover steak and veggies as well. With a few basic recipes, you can go a long way toward reducing waste without getting bored.
In a week and a half I'll test for my Red Belt in Taekwondo. This represents a rank that I've long been intimidated by, and still am slightly. It's well beyond my initial goal when I began. The amount of material required for red belt testing is more than any rank I've advanced so far. Throw in a bunch of dive rolls and board breaking, and I still have a few things to pass off before testing, but I'm far enough along to know that it will all come together for testing.
This shows just the advanced belts, there are 12 belts total. If I keep testing at every opportunity, I'll be black belt recommended in December (I'm not sure when my final black belt testing will be). Basically everything I learn now is in preparation for black belt testing. It gets intense at this point, with more self defense demos coming up, as well as the sparring requirements. I began taekwondo just because I expected it to be hard, I wanted a challenge, something new. I didn't expect it to come naturally, I didn't even expect to be able to do it all. That has actually made it very fun. I also did it to get more of a backbone, and that is working. For those who know me in real life, don't be too surprised if you find that I do voice my opinion now and then or stand up for something. My online friends and readers may not think of me as wimpy, because I'm brave on paper, but in real life I've always been quiet, soft, and one who avoids confrontation at all costs.
I also do taekwondo simply because my body works, and I am thankful for that. I am thankful that I CAN. In my early twenties I was in nearly constant pain to some degree, mainly my lower back. I was also sick and tired most of the time, sleeping 11-14 hours a night, plus naps. I never would have thought anything like this was possible for me. I love proving my past self wrong, and proving that anything is possible if you are willing to sacrifice and work and take a leap of faith (or 20). I've been tested for Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, and a few other doozies in my past, and I am ever so thankful to have a clean bill of health today. I'm 35, so maintaining that will take work from here on out. With age, it becomes harder to lose weight, harder to keep my immune system in balance, and harder to keep my hormones in balance, but I am optimistic and will continue to work at it. I want to still be kicking and doing yoga as a senior citizen, and that will take work and self-control.
My diet has improved significantly since figuring out and eliminating the source of wheat in my pills. My cravings are less, my appetite is less and for more healthy foods. I'm losing weight and feeling and looking better, and stronger. There's always more work ahead, no more coasting, but things are looking up! I haven't been cheating, and when I don't cheat, I lose weight, simple as that, thanks to Dr. D'Adamo's research (things used to not be so simple, but enough background for today!)
This is a long story, so here are the clif notes: if you are celiac or wheat sensitive only take prescriptions or over the counter meds that are guaranteed gluten free. Recheck them now and then too.
So after some cyst trouble with my former method of birth control, I went back on the pill. It was nice to be rid of the cysts, but it caused me to get a monthly migraine that put me out for a week at a time. I checked everything, changed everything in my diet and environment, changed types of pill (but same brand) even had my heart checked for defects that could cause migraines, but of course, the answer is always in the last place you look, and it was the first place I should have looked. Of course, I had other gluten symptoms that I blamed on other things, even eczema and a bit of dermatitis herpetiformis, which I blamed on trying some of my kids' gluten free oats. Then I finally thought to check my prescription, (TriNessa and MonoNessa), to find that they didn't claim it was gluten free, or that it wasn't. The starch could be from any source the feel like using, and perhaps wheat starch is getting cheaper due to food allergen labeling laws...more foods companies are sticking with corn starch. (P.S. my heart is in good shape).
So I stopped taking Nessa in the fourth week (the inactive pills) and my budding aura faded never to return. (I believe the inactive pills had the most wheat in them, as the DH flared up in that week as well). The name brand, Ortho, had been fine before, and is gluten free, but the Nessa generic is not. As elated as I am to be without migraines (and cysts), I'm appalled at how easily I could have prevented the migraine misery (one google search would have done it). I did not know wheat caused me to get migraines, although I probably had nearly-constant auras back before BTD wheat-freedom; I just didn't recognize them as migraines at the time.
A constant drip of wheat toxin is NOT a good thing. I feel like I could conquer the world now, without it, yet I'm still healing from all of its effects. I'm taking Deflect on an empty stomach a few times every day, with a little D-Mannose thrown in for good measure. My lower back still is a bit achy and I'm a bit emotional, so I'm looking forward to progress on those fronts in the coming weeks. My appetite has decreased (I was even beginning to crave wheat, without even knowing I was getting some, I'd forgotten how addictive it is! I still could never intentionally eat it, but the craving had been long since forgotten.)
So I'm a little angry, mainly with myself. Allergen labeling laws could be improved as far as medications go, too. Foods have to declare wheat, meds can leave it ambiguous. Fortunately some will volunteer the information. Check your meds! Whether you are new to wheat freedom and not getting the results you hoped for, or it is old hat to you and you may have even become complacent or forgettful about it, check them! At least I don't have to take very many pills, thanks to BTD, so that's less to check up on!
I found a picture of myself in 2004, after losing the baby weight from my first pregnancy, and then some, in preparation for the next pregnancy. (I gain 40 pounds per pregnancy regardless of compliance). I was almost a waif back then! You don't know what you got till it's gone, right? I'll get back there. I'm thinking of how high I'll be able to jump and how much easier black belt testing will be, my goal is to let go of the fluff by the end of the summer. That's easy when I stick to the diet. I'm going to start a bit of running, it's quick stress relief even if I only run a short distance, and it was one of my keys to weight loss before, just for the stress relieving aspect.
One of my dietary downfalls was having kids who are celiac and gluten sensitive...there are too many goodies in the house that won't make me instantly regret eating them. It's easier to have self-control while shopping, then the junk never makes it home. But when it's staring you in the face and you haven't had lunch yet and/or you're stressed out, that makes it a bit harder. Not too hard though, the choice is always mine to make. There are a few of their treats that will no longer make it into the shopping cart, on account of how much they tempt me, but they will still have plenty of other stuff to eat.
Looking back on my life and various stages of dietary knowledge and compliance over the years, I've come to the conclusion that I have no regrets for choosing the right foods and refusing the wrong foods. In the moment, it seems like a big deal..."everyone else is eating it, I want to eat it" or "I'm having a really hard day, that bit of junk would make me feel better for a moment". In the end, it never was worth giving in in the moment.
Here's what I do remember: I remember what it was like to always be sick, in pain, and/or tired. I remember missing out on activities due to not feeling well. I remember being depressed or anxious, for no good reason, I remember not being able to think well or feel the emotions I deserved to feel. I regret not being more "there" for my family and friends. That was when I ate whatever I wanted...it didn't give me the life and memories that I longed for.
Then, I remember feeling good again. I remember getting out and active and having energy instead of pain. I remember that clearly, and am reminded of it every day I continue on that path. Every morning I go to taekwondo I make more memories and feel more grateful for my improved health. Every day I go for a walk with my husband or play around with my kids, I make more memories and feel more grateful. Those are the memories that stick with me. I don't remember the donuts or twinkies I refused to eat, I don't regret picking something healthier than a milkshake or cheesecake, even if at the moment it seemed hard.
Kind of makes self-control worth the effort, doesn't it? Now that I am less sensitive to avoids and toxins, I have to think about things more, I no longer get instant retribution when I eat something I shouldn't (unless it's wheat). I have to remember how I once felt and remember that if I eat wrong for too long, I'll end up back at square one. If I increase my compliance, the rewards are increasing, and the sky is the limit. So now instead of choosing between feeling lousy and ok, I'm choosing between feeling ok and exceptional. Something about me found the "slap on the hand" more motivating, but it's time to grow out of that and find a higher motivation.
I recently turned 35, and even with some recent dietary blunders, I feel better than I did at 25. (I think I look it too). As we age, we can see the cumulative effect of our choices and be blessed or cursed for them in more obvious ways. My body has only gained ability in the recent years, and I want to keep it that way. The thirties can really be the prime of life, if it's a life well lived and nurtured. (Maybe I'll say the same thing in my 40s...I hope so!). Maybe my best decade will be my 90s, the sky is the limit.