This week I was surprised to learn, through a bit of a medical adventure, that a person can be regular and constipated at the same time. Meaning that things move along slowly, even though they generally keep moving. Without getting things in gear, I'm at risk for diverticulitis, colon cancer, and according to some sources, appendicitis. I was constipated most of my young life, thanks to celiac disease, and although it has improved significantly, I still consider it status quo and often think nothing of it.
I think this is a good turning point for me as far as my health goals go, and I've started to lose weight again, whereas I had stalled pretty well despite being quite compliant for a week or two. I'm now ingesting soluble fiber whenever possible (with lots of water). The doctor prescribed Miralax, but I prefer something natural, as opposed to eating some weird polymer. It takes a lot of natural soluble fiber to have the same effect, so I'm currently getting that from many sources.
The fiber section at the HFS is extensive...and few products say on the front what they actually are. So it took a while, but once I got past all the slightly scary products, I found some interesting things. (Don't forget NAP's arabinoglactan, which is probably the best of the best).
Fiber Xpress, inulin fiber, 2 grams of soluble fiber per packet. Derived from chicory root, with nothing added. There are other inulin fibers with artificial sweeteners and all kinds of additives, so I was happy to find this, and it's so convenient to use. It's taste/texture is quite undetectable in a liquid.
I also found soluble fiber from rice (which the label says usually gets rinsed away in the preparation of brown rice), that looked promising. There was also apple fiber powder, with pectin, although it was only 25% soluble fiber and 75% insoluble. I think soluble fiber is the best at first, at least initially.
Explorers can also have most glucomannan sources, including shirataki noodles (they say they're made from yams, but these are not the yams that are avoids, these are actually konjac, an explorer superfood). I didn't seen any glucomannan powder at the HFS, but have seen it online.
Chia seeds are also great. They can be ground or eaten whole, and used in a variety of different ways. Sprinkled on cereal or porridge is the way I usually eat it, but stay tuned to this blog for news on my first attempt at making chia crackers.
Of course nothing beats a bowl full of jerusalem artichokes, or some dandelion peasant soup!
I'm spending today on my computer figuring out a meal plan for my family. It will be a blend of Explorer and Teacher, with my youngest on the explorer plan, and my oldest on the teacher plan. This was mainly my husband's idea because he is ready and willing to try the diet full-bore now, both for weight loss and long-term health. So, that's an opportunity I'm not going to pass up! He doesn't have very much weight to lose, but for a teacher, the long-term implications outweigh the weight implications when it comes to diet. That's the case for everybody, but O explorers tend to have longer lifespans than A teachers, so I want to extend his years (mine too, of course). From the Dr. Laura perspective, too, I need to be taking better care of him, food-wise. He often fends for himself while I scramble to make something for the kids and myself. That can be overcome with planning, and then executing the plan. Everyone in the family will benefit from that.
I have to say that I've had a good week diet-wise. I did an explorer cleanse, along with a couple days of vegetable and fruit fasting (eating just veggies and fruit). That got my appetite more in line, and made for a more compliant week. The explorer cleanse seemed to work a bit better than usual, sometimes I can't really tell a difference, it's so gentle, but this time I could tell. I'm in a weight-loss slump, however, and fighting frustration with this day of planning.
I'm also in a workout slump. I tweaked my rotator cuff (practicing break falls on the high school track pole-vault cushion). My doctor told me to take it easy on my shoulder, but I'm feeling the need to get some motion now that the soreness is gone. I want to get back to taekwondo next week. I meant to go back today, but it was a rough night at our house, so I didn't make it.
Anyway, lots to do...comparison charts of explorer and teacher food lists, and menu plans, with grocery shopping tomorrow.
Ok, if you had a frappacino yesterday, this may not hit the spot, but for someone like me who has never had one, never will, this is a good substitute...
Brew some Raja's Cup herbal coffee substitute, and make it strong. Filter and pour about 1/2 cup of it onto ice cubes (about 2 or 3 cups) in a good blender that can make slush out of ice easily. Add some vegetable glycerine and/or agave, or honey if you can have it. Add a tablespoon of carob powder (or cocoa if you can have it), a bit of milk of choice (rice milk in my case), and blend into a smooth slush.
It's a good way to break up your herbal tea routine.
I also made a winner of a recipe last week from Cook's Illustrated for braised lamb shanks. That was so yummy and fairly easy. I highly recommend their cookbooks. I tried a recipe from another source tonight for cornish game hen that didn't turn out so well and took twice as long to cook as it claimed. I think I'll stick with Cook's Illustrated...anybody need my other cookbooks?
I've recovered pretty well from that vacation, and have been feeling pretty good. My compliance improved dramatically, and is still steadily improving. I'm not 100% cheat-free, but getting there quickly.
I've been gardening. We planted snap peas, kohlrabi and green onions in my shared garden area. There are many more rows to go. As small as the garden looks, it sure gets bigger when you start working in it! My own backyard squares are doing pretty well too. The radishes should start maturing soon, the peas are still happily growing, and everything I planted is coming along pretty well. I planted some asparagus in most of the second box I have. I think it will do well. My new elderberry bushes seem to be establishing themselves well enough.
Taekwondo is also going well. I don't know if I'll ever get to the point that it never makes me terribly sore, today I am in such a sore state. My feet and ankles in particular...so many small muscles that I didn't know I had!
If I told you some of the things I ate on my vacation, you'd be amazed that somebody as sensitive as myself came back alive. Don't ask, don't tell. Road trips with the kids can be stressful, and this one was no exception, although it did end on a good note. We had some good days at legoland and my confidence in my mothering abilities was re-affirmed when I caught my son by his legs as he accidentally head-dived toward some concrete. He gets hurt a lot, just loses focus and falls or whatever, and I always feel guilty when I don't save him, but this was a pretty amazing save.
In any case, I'm ready to be super 100% compliant now. I would like to see some real progress before the conference. I'm thinking I can lose 10-15 pounds by then with high compliance, although the numbers don't matter as much as how I feel. After 24 hours home I feel pretty good, though I have some detoxing to do and a headache that comes around now and then.
For dinner last night, I made some lemony rice with great northern beans, a side of steamed pattypan squash (which my 6 year old actually liked), rotisserie chicken (a pretty compliant one, just some spices and salt on it), and a salad with apples and frozen pomagranate seeds (those are not so good, nothing like fresh, but on a salad, ok). I didn't have too much rice like I used to.
For breakfast I had cooked quinoa with a bit of glycerine and just a touch of maple syrup, with kumquats sliced on top and some licorice tea. It wasn't quite enough, considering that I went for a 2 hour walk with my son before lunch; I should have had some protein.
For lunch I had a repeat of last night's dinner, veggies and all.
I need to make dinner, which may be another repeat of last night's dinner, but this time with asparagus. I'm craving shredded beef, so I'll thaw out a grassfed flank steak to make tomorrow...maybe with some quinoa tortillas.
Funny how just wishing something pushes you into the right place to make it happen. Just recognizing that something is attainable, makes it so.
My wish list number 2 was for soft hands and feet. They have definitely been trouble areas, often leading to cracks on my heels and the knuckles of my fingers. I can't wear nylons, or tights, because my dry skin wrecks them before I even get them on. I have trouble doing taekwondo because when I pivot on my heels sometimes the scales catch on the floor, causing the skin to crack further. I tried some martial arts shoes but my feet just aren't shaped right for shoes that aren't adjustable on the top. I've ordered some "fight socks" that look promising. Until they come, I just use a wrap tape to cover my heels in class.
Right now though, I'm happy to say that my hands and feet are soft! I've tried so many things to moisturize and/or exfoliate. Many hand lotions are too heavily scented for me to enjoy using often enough. Many foot lotions either don't penetrate well or don't last long enough. My TKD instructor recommended using coconut oil as a moisturizer, and I've been amazed that that stuff. It workes better than all the many specially formulated things I've tried. It soaks in as well a my grandma's turpentine-smelling lotion, but the softness lasts the whole day (the aformentioned lotion fades after a few hours seeming to leave my feet drier than they were to begin with). The exfoliating stuff (kerasal, callex, etc) do help a bit if I use them often enough, but exfoliation without intense moisturizing seems to leave my feet vulnerable to more cracks.
Then for my hands I tried some DHC CoQ10 hand cream. I've long been a fan of DHC, with my sensitive skin (and nose) their products are often the only way to go, gentle but also highly effective. The hand cream is unscented, it penetrates well and is long lasting, rather than just slathering on top and soon disappearing. It worked so well that I've begun to think that CoQ10 is some missing link for my skin. All the fat soluble vitamins are so important to skin, and with my celiac problems and digestive trouble they are still hard for me to absorb. I've ruled out or successfully treated deficiencies in the major ones (ADEK), but there are others to consider, like CoQ10. So, I've begun cutting open a CoQ10 capsule and stirring it into the coconut oil that I put on my feet. It seems to have really kicked it up a notch, as far as effectiveness goes. (it's a bit orange, so if you try this at home, put socks on after, which is a good idea anyway)
My feet are now a normal pink color and seem to be gradually exfoliating themselves. My hands feel soft and normal again as well. I can feel the texture of what I step on, which is interesting after so many calloused years.