Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 40 - Fighting Illness in my Cave World

Hello Paleo friends.  Well, it has happened.  Despite my best efforts, my body has succumbed to the wonderful yellow film of pollen covering our vehicles and porch and ground in central Texas...ah, lovely allergies.  I awoke yesterday morning with horrible ear pain.  I fought it with Advil all day long to no avail.

Now, here is the wierd part.  I normally have HORRIBLE seasonal allergies this time of year.  I walk around in a continual state of sniffles, coughing, and clutching a handful of tissues all day long.  However this year I really haven't felt bad.  There has been a noticeable lack of sniffles and coughing and all of those related things that come along with seasonal allergies.  I have attributed this to my new found paleo lifestyle.  Inflammation all over my body has been so dramatically reduced...from the disappearance of my plantar fasciitis to the absence of neck aches and pains after a long day of teaching.  This year...not much of anything...until this ear thing left me feeling like I had a butcher knife stuck in my head all night last night.

So, lucky thing is I had already planned on taking a day off today (long story, I had to help close on a house that my parents have purchased and I am the power of attorney...unfortunately we don't live in caves anymore!) and so I was able to call my physician and schedule an appointment.  The pain was so bad this morning, I took 4 Advil to cut it.

When my doctor came in (note, this is my primary care physician...NOT my diabetes doctor who recommended the Paleo diet to me in the first place), he asked me what was wrong and went through the know what I'm talking about.  Temperature check, blood pressure, felt my glands, looked in my ears, throat, etc, etc, etc....(and I closed my eyes when they weighed me...keeping my vow to not look at a scale except once a month!)

Now, here comes the strange part...I do NOT have an ear infection.  My ear looks perfectly normal.  Seriously, at this point I am beginning to think brain tumor.  What else would cause this pain?  But brain tumors just appear overnight?  Not a doctor...but I am guessing the answer to that is a big "NO".

Doctor then tells me that he thinks I have a sinus infection and that the pressure from my sinuses is pushing from the inside and causing my pain.  But, here is the part he cannot figure out...I seem to have an absence of nasal congestion and drainage.  Everything looks swollen and red like it normally would with an infection...but he cannot figure out why I have no...well, let's just say it....mucus.  All I can think of is the lack of dairy and grains in my diet has greatly reduced this ummmmm.....aspect of my body chemistry.

So, I have my prescription for antibiotics and I am still doubling up the Advil and I hope to feel better soon.  I know our Paleo ancestors got, it's not like I was expecting perfect health from here on out...but I can't help but think...I wonder if they ever had to blow their noses?


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 35 - Invasion of the Body Snatchers?

Ok, don't know why I remember this movie...but it is an oldie, probably from the 50's.  The general plot is that people are being replaced by their identical doubles who are grown from pods by space aliens (at least that's what I remember about it!).  At first, no one believes this guy that thinks people truly aren't themselves, but then of course, as all horror movies go, everyone finds out that it is indeed true...people have been replaced by identical duplicates who are trying to get everyone to be replaced by these pod people.

I swear, I'm beginning to think that I've been replaced by another cave mom grown from a pod!  LOL!  Why?  Because the way I am thinking and acting lately has nothing to do with how I have always thought and acted in the past.  I literally am not sure who I am anymore!

I have always had certain habits and thoughts that I have just assumed were a part of who I was and how the good Lord made me to be.  Things like, "I will always want the chips and salsa!", "I hate to exercise.", "One of the best things in the world to eat is anything with drippy, gooey, cheese melted on top.", "I would never actually prefer a salad to something deep fried.", and "Fruit is NOT a sweet...chocolate is a sweet!"

But lately, this space alien pod version of me is finding that those statements about myself just simply are not true anymore.  It is mind boggling to me what this paleo lifestyle is doing to me and my attitude about food.  I am a lifelong "fat girl".  I am the one who is supposed to think those thoughts.  I am supposed to have low self-esteem and feel inferior...that's just who I am.  I feel like that by definition...who I am and who I am supposed to be is...the fat girl.  But, all of the sudden, I am not thinking like a fat girl anymore and to be honest, it is sort of freaking me out.  I am not sure if I can even put my arms around the thought of thinking about myself as anything but the "fat girl".  It's like I am almost scared that I am going to lose a part of my identity and now I have to go on this soul-searching journey to figure out who I really am.

If I am not the fat girl anymore...then who the heck am I?

I realized the total difference in my thoughts at lunch today.  6 y/o daughter and I were out grocery shopping in between a thousand other things on our "to do" list and stopped for a quick bite for lunch.  There was a salad bar and I made a delicious looking (and tasting) salad with fresh greens, carrots, celery, onions, some olives, artichoke hearts, sunflower seeds, grilled chicken, and a dash of oil and vinegar on top.  Sweet darling daughter had a huge, ooey-gooey, slice of pepperoni pizza.  As we were eating together, I thought of how many times in the past I have finished my children's meals for them when they said they were full.  I thought of how many times I have wanted to "skim the top" of pizza and eat the melted cheese and pepperonis off the top.  I thought of how much I loved pizza.  Then...and here dear readers is the CRAZY part, I glanced down at my daughter's plate and looked at her slice of pizza and it actually repulsed me.  It was all greasy and the cheese was melted over the edges...and it just looked actually disgusting to me.  My salad was so fresh and crisp and crunched in my mouth...and my daughter's pizza just looked downright nasty to me.  WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?   I am supposed to love pizza.   As Velma would say...Jinkies!  (And if you don't get that are either way too young or I am way too old!)

All I can do is keep going on as I am going on.  I know I am eating healthier and feeling's just downright crazy that I am actually enjoying it and actually preferring it to my old lifestyle.  Dieting and healthy eating are supposed to be miserable...right?

Well, here in paleo world...I guess not.

It's a journey for sure...who knows where I am going to end up when I get to the destination.  Only time shall tell.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 34 - Confession Time

As you may remember, our school had our Spring Break vacation about a week ago and I was traveling and "on the road" much of that time.  Up to that point, I had completely given up Diet Coke.  For some reason...don't know if it was for comfort, for stress relief, for ease of availability (we were at my parents' house where Diet Coke cans are constantly chilling in the fridge), or just moments of weakness...or perhaps a combination of them all...I started drinking Diet Coke again.

At first, it was only a can one afternoon...then, the next day I had probably three or four cans while we were working on the house.  By our return home, I was drinking them again...and have had at least one or two every day since.

It's not like I don't like water now...or unsweet iced tea...or herbal teas...or black coffee.  I like all those things.  There's just something about popping that top and taking that first sip out of the can that I love.  Yeah...I'm just a tad whack-a-doodle...I know.

One side of me says it could be so much worse.  I could be regressing back into Taco Bell bean burritos or Butterfinger candy bars or macaroni and cheese.  Heck, I could have an addiction that is truly harmful or illegal...alcohol, smoking, drugs.  I know it shouldn't be a big deal...but for some reason it is.

I think it goes back to the post I made about being scared of cheating or slipping.  The anal retentive/obsessive compulsive/perfectionist side of me says that I need to stay Paleo and not waiver.  I feel like it's that slippery slope thing...when I waiver a little bit, I am so afraid that all of the sudden I will be completely off the reservation and eating deep dish pizza and sharing a pitcher of beer with friends somewhere.  I don't want that to happen.  And the crazy part of my mind is telling me that allowing Diet Coke back into my life is the first step to letting that happen.

So, as of this minute, I am going to stop all the Diet Coke and go back to tea, coffee, and water.  If I am tempted, I plan to come back and read this list of ingredients -- carbonated water (the only thing healthy), caramel color, natural flavors (really???  natural???), phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate, aspartame, citric acid, acesulfame potassium, caffeine...and that alway present ominous warning on the can...contains phenylalanine.  I don't even know what that is...but if they are having to warn people about it, it can't be a good thing.  I would bet a pretty penny that our Paleolithic ancestors didn't drink phosphoric acid and aspartame, etc...

Not a sin, as far as confessions go....but I do feel like it needed to be said.

Thanks for listening/reading/responding...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day 33 - Not About the Numbers

Hello all, after getting on the scale the last three days in a row and fretting when I don't lose anything and even questioning the amount when I do...I have come to a decision.  I am going to stop getting on the scale.  I am way too tied up in the numbers.

I am realizing that the numbers have been one way that DD (see previous posts...DD is the Diet Demon who loves to sabotage me and destroy my attempts at dieting) gets to me.  I can be super disciplined one week and then beat myself up when I get on the scale and discover that despite all the discipline I might have only lost 1/2 a pound or even stayed the same.

Likewise, in my long and illustrious diet career, I have many times of cheating and not being disciplined only to get on the scale and lose weight anyway.

That darn scale is messing around with my brain!

Yes, I agree with you naysayers that the number is important in some respects.  It gives medical personnel a lot of information.  It does provide a good record...over a length of to whether or not a new lifestyle or eating plan is effective.  But, I think the key here is "over a length of time".  The daily weighing and checking in has to stop.  There are just too many variables, especially in women, that can affect our weight on a daily basis.

So, from this point on, I have decided to only weigh myself once a month.  I started this journey on Feb. 20.  I have my weight at the end of my 30 day challenge.  The next time I plan to get on the scale to measure my progress will be April 20, then May 20, and so on...  I am just not going to be caught up in the daily worry of analyzing what went wrong or what went right the day before.

In reality, I do not want to think of Paleo as a "diet".  I want to think of Paleo as "just the way I choose to live my life."  I can just tell from my daily activity that I am losing weight and feeling better each and every day...I don't need a scale to prove that to me.

So, check back on April 20 if you want to see how I am doing...number-wise.

But, keep coming back before then if you want to see how I am

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 31 - Challenge Accepted and Complete!

Well Cave Friends...On February 20, I started this blog and told you about Robb Wolf's book, The Paleo Solution.  I had heard about this book from my diabetes doctor and with some urging from dear hubby decided to accept his 30-day challenge of trying the Paleo lifestyle.

I finished that challenge yesterday.  As Mr, Wolf states in his book...just try it for 30 days and see how you feel...then decide if the Paleo life is for you.

Well Mr. Wolf...I'm sold.  I've drunk your Kool-aid (as my college sons tell me when I decline bread and pasta) and I will continue to ask for more.

So, you all may ask...what are the results?  What are my feelings?  How do I feel physically?  Let's just make a small list here:

  • I have lost a total of 18 pounds.  (I was down 20 before traveling out of town on a very stressful trip where I probably indulged in too many salt & pepper pistachios and servings of is true what they say...stress does affect your weight loss).
  • I have a TON of energy.  I suffer from chronic anemia to the point where I have to receive I.V. infusions of iron once a month just to keep my hemoglobin up.  I literally have more energy now then I have had in years.  It is incredible.  I can't wait until my next visit to my hematologist to see what my ferritin levels are!
  • My clothes already fit better.  18 pounds does make a difference.  I've lost that continual bloated feeling.  
  • I am satisfied with my diet.  As opposed to EVERY other diet I have ever tried...I never feel hungry or cheated on the paleo diet.  For the first time (possibly ever), I am listening to my body and its hunger cues.  If I am hungry...I eat.  If I am not hungry...I now am realizing it's okay to actually not eat.  Just because we are raised and conditioned to eat at 8am, noon, and 6pm...doesn't mean we actually have to eat at those times!  Who would've thought?
  • I am becoming a great chef!  I am learning to adapt some family favorites and I am also exploring new vegetables and foods that I had previously been timid about trying.  Calabaza squash!  Kale!  Lamb!  Tamari Sauce!  Coconut Milk!  Coconut Oil!  Bulb Garlic!  I am also learning how to combine things into interesting dishes that both hubby and I are loving every evening.
  • I am becoming an advocate and witness to the Paleo life.  Since I have started, my in-laws, a few other relatives, a teacher friend, and another friend have decided to try it out as well.
  • And perhaps most of all...I am optimistic and encouraged.  For the first time in a VERY VERY long time, I feel like perhaps my destiny is not to just be the nice, fat, red-headed girl in the room that everyone likes, but secretly pities and feels sorry for (I know people say, "Thank God I don't look like that...or "I would die if my wife was that fat."...I know people think it...I'm not stupid).  Perhaps...just future holds fun, interesting, inviting opportunities!  Perhaps I can actually do things like snow ski with my children, go kayaking with my husband someday, actually take up running and jog with my marathon-running husband now and then, buy clothes in the "regular" section of the store, take my kids to a water park, not panic if I ever have to go an airplane and worry about fastening the seatbelt, not worry about fitting into a booth at a restaurant...actually feel like a "normal" person for a change.  I've NEVER felt normal.
So what does this all mean?

It means I am just getting started baby!  I plan to keep on eating Paleo, sleeping Paleo, exercising Paleo...just living Paleo.  I feel great.  I feel happy.  I feel hopeful.  I feel encouraged.  I feel like the rest of my life is ahead of me and I CANNOT wait to see what it holds!

So, check back here because I intend to keep posting about this journey.  I jokingly entitled this blog "The Incredible Shrinking Cave Mom" a month ago...but now all I can say is incredible!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 28 - Back Home Again on a Slippery Slope

Hello again!  I am finally back from the Land of the Lost, or in my case...Houston, TX!  LOL!  I spent my Spring Break vacation there helping my parents clean out the rest of their house in preparation for a move to a much smaller house here in my hometown.  While they are not "elderly" yet, they certainly need to be closer to myself and my brothers so that we can help take care of them in the coming years.  We all know that time has come for them to relocate.

Needless to say...not the most relaxing break from school and work...but one that needed to get done.  That being said, I don't think the week would have gone near as well if I had not been eating Paleo for the three weeks prior to the trip.  Even dear hubby has noted that I am never tired anymore, never want an afternoon nap on the weekends, and definitely am acting like a younger version of myself lately!  ;-)

For the most part, traveling while eating Paleo was very easy.  We made sure to pack plenty of snack type foods and fruit for the car, including various nuts, raisins, and some dehydrated apples we bought at Costco that are deeee-licious!  We stopped at Buc-ee's for our regular pit stop (do they have Buc-ees in other parts of the country????   Cause we love them in central Texas!) and bought jerky, smoked pork tenderloin, a giant dill pickle, and ate the fruit while the little kids were able to have a hot dog and tater tots.  For meals there, we either ate out (lunches at salad with all the veggies, no cheese) or helped out and cooked ourselves.  Since there were a lot of family members gathered together, we even smoked 3 racks of baby back ribs one evening and made a giant salad for the Paleo eaters and had the regular sides for the rest.

Because this trip was so family-focused, sweet loving hubby did treat me out to a "date night" at Flemings Steak House one evening.  We were doing fine...ordered a glass of cab to "share", ordered our entrees (filet mignon w/lobster and scallops for him, lamb for myself, roasted asparagus to share instead of salads), and were just settling in for a nice conversation that promised to be about anything other than children, our parents, or our jobs...when IT happened!  What might that be, you might ask?  The first true temptation both of us have had since going Paleo.  A piping hot, straight from the oven loaf of sourdough bread, topped with parmesan cheese...with two spreads on the side.  One was a sun-dried tomato/basil/herb butter and the other was a feta butter cream.  OH NO!  Seriously?  What were we supposed to do?  Actually pass on that deliciousness?  We eat at a $100/dinner date place about once every 5 years or so (remember, we have 4 kids, 2 in college, and I am a happy (non-unionized in Texas btw!, but still underpaid) school teacher.  We don't go to these fancy schmancy places very often.  We might never get a change to eat feta butter cream every again.  Were we supposed to politely just decline the bread?  Were we supposed to scream in agony and throw it across the restaurant at those other potato/bread eating people?  Were we supposed to give in with the realization that our paleo ancestors surely would have given in as well if presented with the opportunity to eat something so luscious?  So, what did we do?  We looked at the bread, waited a beat too long and the waiter walked away, looked at the bread again, shook our heads at each other and said at the EXACT same time, "It's not worth it." and pushed it to the end of the table and never looked at it again!  We rock!  So proud of us.

But, I did have a few "slip-ups" on this trip, despite my best intentions.  I ate some house vinaigrette (have no idea if I spelled that right!...when some book publisher decides to pay me thousands of dollars for the rights to my blog, I'm sure they will correct it at that time...LOL!) one evening on a salad because there was no olive oil or vinegar as an option.  The next evening, I ordered a Cobb Salad and then realized once it was delivered that it had a couple of tablespoons of bleu cheese crumbles on top...I LOVE bleu cheese.  Despite trying my best, I did not get it all picked off and ate some.  Then, today at the grocery store, I found myself reading just about every prepared salad dressing label on the shelf with the hopes that surely one might be paleo-friendly.  I love salads, but the olive oil/balsamic vinegar thing is getting old...I need another option.  I bet I picked up at least 20 different brands to organic brands to "healthy" brands...not one had an absence of sugar or corn syrup or corn starch or sour cream solids or wheat flour...NOT ONE!  Unbelievable what I have been ingesting for years without bothering to read anything.  So, unless someone out there can email me a great Paleo alternative, I guess I will stick with olive oil and vinegar.

But, I am worried that I have had a few little stumbles.  As I have said in a previous post, getting off a diet can become a VERY slippery slope for me.  I guess my saving grace is that I don't feel like I am dieting.  I am just eating healthy and liking everything about it.  In 2 more days, we will be at the end of our 30 day challenge.  I am dying to see how much weight I have lost, but at this point, we are not even considering getting off of it.  We both feel so good and want to question about it at all.

College boys drive back to college tomorrow.  For their last night at home, I am making lamb chops, roasted mushrooms and asparagus, mashed cauliflower with garlic, and grilled pineapple w/cinnamon on top for desert.  Now, even my reluctant eaters should eat that...right?

Rocking on in my cave world!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 23 - On The Road

Well, I am taking the true Paleo lifestyle to heart today as I get ready to travel for a few days with my family.  Unfortunately, we will not be "hunting and gathering", we will be "cleaning and tossing" as we travel to my parents' house to help them clean it out, organize, de-clutter,  get it ready to put on the market and downsize to a smaller home.  LOL

The challenge will be staying Paleo while on the road and staying away from my own kitchen.  I think the thing that concerns me the most is eating out in restaurants and/or fast food places.  I may or may not have Internet while I am there, so if you don't here from me for a few worries...I shall return.  Hopefully with a wonderful success story of how easy it is to stay Paleo, even away from your own comfortable surroundings.

I am so thrilled with how good I feel and how much weight I am losing at the same time.  I hit the 20 pound mark yesterday...and it has seemed so effortless.  I am finding it easy to find new things to eat, as well as tweaking old, family favorites.  One of my college-age sons came home for Spring Break and asked for his favorite meal...taco salad.  I made it the way I normally would except for a few changes.  Omitted the cheese and crumbled up tortilla chips.  Added a chopped bell pepper and doubled the amount of tomatoes and diced avocado that I would normally use.  Substituted salsa (after reading a thousand labels of the different ingredients...some salsas are nothing but chemicals and corn syrup!) for the ranch dressing.  It was delicious and actually better than it used to be.  Even my college son called it a success and wants it this way from now on.  Go figure.

On the road soon...rocking on in my cave world!  Smile at someone today and be happy!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day Twenty-One - The World Divided

Well, it seems like I have many more people reading my blog than I thought!  I don't have a lot of  "Followers" and did not think many people were checking in, but after my last post on my fears and doubts, I have received many comments from friends and family and even a couple of strangers!  Although, let's not refer to you as strangers, let's refer to you as new cyber-friends!

I seem to have hit a nerve with so many people.  Many have told me how much they identified with my thoughts, how true my feelings were and that they totally understood the internal turmoil and struggle with faltering on a doubt and the almost near impossibility of getting back on board.  Others have shared that ups and downs are just a normal part of any struggle to lose weight and if you have a bad day, as we almost all will certainly have...then just get up the next day and get back on track.  Ahhh...if only it were that easy!

From the feedback I have received, I have now determined that our good Lord, in his almighty omniscience has just decided to divide us humans into two camps...those of us that I will call "true slims" (TSs) and those of us that I will call "truly not slims" (TNSs)  LOL!

TSs are able to have ups and downs in their relationships with food.  Sometimes they may overindulge and have days or time periods where they binge out on vacations and holidays, etc.  But, for TSs, they are able to pick themselves up and get back on the wagon without much of an effort.  TSs like food, as we all surely do, but they do not "love" food.  TSs very rarely experience that miserable feeling of eating something to the point of nausea...simply because it just tastes so good.  TSs are usually able to stop when they are full.  My daughter is a TS.  I know this because she can stop in mid-lick on an ice cream cone and say, "I'm full" and throw it away!  WHAT!?!?!?  Who EVER gets full with ice cream still left in the cone?  TSs...that's who!  I think the key is that TSs do not have emotional issues tied to food.  They seem to live that age old adage, "they eat to live, not live to eat."

The rest of us, and according to statistics there are more and more of us all the time, are TNSs.  TNSs cannot even fathom throwing away an ice cream cone with ice cream left in the bottom!  TNSs tend to throw all caution out the window when at a favorite restaurant and order their favorites, despite the consequences.  TNSs can find many reasons to "cheat" on their diets...they can come up with over 150 days a years that should be diet holidays...actual holidays, weekends, obscure holidays (come on, who diets on Arbor Day?), birthdays, anniversaries, and even whole time periods (really, don't we all overeat the entire month between Thanksgiving and Christmas?).  TNSs have moments of clarity where we feel good and get our wits about us and are able to stick to a healthy food plan.  But, as I said in my last post, when we falter, we tend to start self-talking ourselves back into failure and an eventual return to unhealthy eating.  TNSs, for many different reasons, have an emotional attachment to food.  We look to food for comfort when we are down.  We eat when we are bored.  We eat when we are happy.  We look at food, especially our favorites, as a friend.  We "live to eat, not eat to live."

Now, if you are a TNS like have probably spent countless hours thinking about, reading about, journaling about, praying about, even seeking professional counseling...why is it that you have this ridiculous attachment to food?  Personally, I cannot pinpoint any particular "normal" reason.  I wasn't abused as a child.  I wasn't emotionally neglected as a child or an adult.  I wasn't forced to "clean my plate" when I was young.  I do not have a spiritual or emotional void in my life (I am very happily married for over 22 years, have four loving, healthy children, and am a Christian believer).  It comes down to...I don't know why I have this thing with food and eating...BUT I DO!

I guess if I could figure it out, I would publish a book, solve the world obesity issue (or at least my own!) and make a million dollars and retire to the Rocky Mountains.  Alas, I just don't know the answer.

So...I know none of this post was about Paleo (which is still going great, btw), but is more about my thoughts on how differently so many of us look at food.  I guess in the ancient cave world, I would have been a cave mom...and I wouldn't have had deep dish pizza, authentic Mexican food, and deep fried deliciousness and food wouldn't have been an issue...other than to hunt and gather enough to ensure my survival on my daily basis.  I would have been eating to live.  Perhaps down deep, at some core level, that is why the Paleo lifestyle if appealing to me...perhaps I am hoping to re-awaken some part of my ancient DNA that will help me see food as fuel, not as a friend.

What do you think?  Post a comment and let me know!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day Eighteen - The Honeymoon is Over

Well, I knew it would happen sooner or later...but the honeymoon is over!  Kaput!  Done!  Finito!

Today was the first day since going Paleo that I have even had the thought of wanting to cheat or go off plan.  I do not know if it the fact that I have been on the plan now for so long that I am bored with it.  I do not know if it is the fact that I am a teacher and Spring Break is only 2 school days away and like most teachers this time of year, I am desperate for a break!  I do not know if it was the fact that lunch today in the school cafeteria was delicious looking cheese enchiladas with chili on top.  All I do know is that when I saw my fellow teachers chowing down on their enchiladas topped with chili and jalapenos...I really wanted some as well.

Now, I didn't cheat.  I wasn't even close to actual cheating...but the thought was there.  It crossed my mind that those enchiladas sure did look delicious.

A part of me is slightly panicked because I don't even want the smallest nugget of doubt to creep in to my mind that I might not be able to accomplish this.  But the practical part of me says that just having a thought is obviously not cheating and that I am fine.

I guess I am scared because of my scarred diet history.  Like I said in a previous post, I have NEVER been a long-term successful dieter.  I do very well for a week or two, sometimes even longer...and then I mess up...get discouraged...vow to go back on "the program", whatever that might be at the time...try to get back on track...fall off the wagon again...perhaps try one more time...and then give up and gain all my weight back again, usually with a few extra pounds to spare.


This is really working.  I don't want my emotions over food to get in the way of how I am actually treating food these last couple of fuel...instead of as my best friend.  I don't think I am in danger of slipping yet...but it sure did sort of freak me out to even look at something else longingly.

I guess I need to learn how to cope with the fact that I might slip up someday and if (probably more like when) that happens, how am I going to react?  Is it okay to not do something perfectly?  Can you still be successful even though you have bumps along the road?

I wish I knew the answers....

Monday, March 7, 2011

Day Sixteen - Why to Trust Only Your Doctor!

So, two days ago on Saturday, by a convergence of circumstances much too convoluted to explain here, my employer required me to attend a "Health Check" hosted by a local grocery store.  This snapshot of my health included weight, height, BMI, blood pressure, blood glucose, total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides.  Now, take note there were NO physicians at this health check.  There were NO nurses at this health check.  There were NO physician's assistants at this health check.  So, who was running the show, you might ask?  The grocery store employees who work in the all fairness, there name tags said "pharmacy technician".  I have no idea if this is a position that requires special training at all.  There was also a pharmacist available to answer your questions after you received your results.

Everything came up within normal ranges except for weight, BMI (no surprise there...already knew that going in) and my blood pressure.  The girl doing all of my readings looks over at me and says, "Your blood pressure is 220/140.".  WHAT?!?!?!?!?  Seriously?  That's like....ready to have a stroke high!  To say I was a tad FREAKED OUT would be an understatement.

Not only am I an insulin-dependent diabetic, but I also suffer from chronic anemia and iron deficiency.  My anemia is so bad that I have monthly visits to a hematologist where I have to be given iron intravenously through an I.V.  Because of both of these conditions, I see at least one doctor every few weeks.  I have NEVER had a blood pressure issue.  I am even on a low dose blood pressure medication, as are many insulin-dependent diabetics to help prevent kidney disease.

I gathered my wits back about me and politely told the pharmacy technician that I thought perhaps her blood pressure machine had not recorded my blood pressure correctly, as I could not believe it was that high.  I politely asked her if she could check it again.  She gave me that know the one...the one that says, "yeah, fat girl, keep your head stuck in the sand and deny you have any issues".  Well, the second time...again, my blood pressure was sky high.

To say that I was a bit panicked would be a fair statement!  One of the reasons that I was so worried is that the only thing that I have changed since my last visit to the doctor was starting the Paleo diet.  Surely eliminating all grains and dairy couldn't just elevate your blood pressure 100 points, could it?  I felt fine.  I had energy.  I didn't feel like I was about to suffer a cardiac arrest or aneurysm...but good grief, that darn machine was saying I needed to start making reservations at my local cemetary...and soon.  I had felt so good since beginning to eat Paleo and for the first time in a very, very long time...I saw a light at the end of a very dark tunnel of long-term obesity and fatness.  I had become convinced that I was enjoying this diet and felt great...and if all of that was true...then why in the heck was my blood pressure all of the sudden registering at near-death levels?

Finally, yesterday afternoon, I had worried enough and while shopping, I decided to go ahead and purchase a blood pressure monitor to keep at home.  I brought that baby home, plugged it in and it said my blood pressure was 112/72.  Ahhhh...feeling a bit better.  Maybe the people at the Health Check had a faulty machine...

Then, the clincher came this afternoon.  I had my monthly visit to my hematologist for my office visit and iron I.V.  My blood pressure was 102/68....perfectly healthy and normal.  I asked the doctor about it and she looked back through my chart of having visited her over the past 3 years and told me that I had not once had a high blood pressure reading.  I explained the Paleo diet to her and she was intrigued and said to "go for it"...that there was certainly nothing unhealthy about eating protein and fresh fruits and vegetables!

So, crisis averted...I'm not going to drop least not tonight.  I was going to be really ticked off if I had finally found an answer to my long-term food and health woes to have it just jerked out from under me that quickly.

Of course, now I am wondering how many other people left the Health Check on Saturday morning also thinking that their blood pressure was about to kill them?  Ugh.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day Fifteen - I am Becoming a Top Paleo Chef!

I have always been a good cook.  I have never been one to just follow a recipe.  I very rarely even use recipes.  I am just one of those people that throws some of this and some of that together and it usually turns out pretty darn good.  This is a bad thing when someone asks how to make my famous chicken enchiladas or borracho beans...because it's not like I really have many things written down...they are just in my head on how to do it...

So, that being said, so far, this Paleo thing hasn't been too horribly difficult as far as cooking.  I am pretty darn adept at knowing what herbs and spices work together, different ways to prepare meats, and just coming up with something pretty tasty off the cuff.

But, tonight's dinner was so darn tasty, I am going to actually write it down for future reference so that I can make it again!  Plus, maybe some of you fellow cave men and women might want to try it as well!  ;-)

Our entree was grilled salmon.  I bought a nice side of fresh salmon with the skin still on.  About 30 minutes before grilling, I made the following marinade after looking at several different recipes online and adjusting to  our flavor preferences:

  • 2 T. brown mustard
  • 3 T. tamari sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped fine
  • probably 1/2-1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • probably about 4 T. olive oil.
  • good generous pinch of cayenne pepper
I split the marinade into 2 equal parts.  One part went on the non-skin side of the salmon to sit for awhile.  One part went into a gallon baggie with a bunch of trimmed fresh asparagus.

While all of that was marinating, I made a quick cucumber/tomato/sweet onion salad with a balsamic dressing and fired up the grill to start heating.  Once the grill was ready, I threw the asparagus into a quick foil packet and threw that on one side and the fish on the other.  After about 5-6 minutes, I flipped everything and let it cook another 5-6 minutes.  After pulling off the grill, I let the fish rest a bit, peeled off the skin and sliced the long filet into individual serving sizes and served with the other half of the lemon cut into wedges....I cut open the foil packet of asparagus being careful to watch out for all the steam escaping...and we ate away...


If this is how the cave men ate...then I am all for being a cave mom and cooking in my cave world for my cave family!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day Fourteen - Going to the Dark Side

No, not the dark side of the moon....not the dark side of the Force (see, to my skeptical college sons...I do know SOME Stars Wars references! Ha!)  I am talking about the dark side of sleep and rejuvenation!

Part of the Paleo lifestyle involves getting adequate rest.  In The Paleo Solution, Robb Wolf recommends 8-9 hours a night in complete darkness.  I have just started reading The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson and have not come to that section of his book, but I do know that one of his ten rules for a Paleo lifestyle involves adequate rest as well.  Again, all of these recommendations are based upon studying how our ancient ancestors lived and how our bodies were actually designed to live and survive on this earth.

Throughout history, our sleep patterns were largely determined by sunlight.  Our bodies are hard wired to respond to light.  When there is an absence of light, we sleep.  When there is a presence of light, we want to wake up.  Our bodies contain sleep hormones (melatonin for one) that are triggered by the absence and presence of light.  It is only in recent history, especially with the invention of the electric light, that we have been able to alter our sleep patterns to what we consider a more "convenient" way in order to live our lives and give us more waking hours to accomplish our know what I'm talking seems to be all about staying busy lately....

One of Mr. Wolf's recommendations is to purchase blackout curtains for your bedroom.  Initially, we did not do this as we have 4 large windows...but after a few days of eating clean and seeing the difference in how we felt physically, we decided to take the plunge (financially) and purchase blackout curtains.  They are not super pricey, don't get the wrong idea...we just have 4 kids (2 in college) and we live on a very tight budget.  I believe we ended up paying a little over $100 for everything.  Luckily, we already had the hardware from a previous set of curtains that used to hang in our bedroom.

In addition to blacking out the room at night, it is also important to "wind down" in the evenings.  This means turning off the TV, not rushing around doing a last load of laundry, etc.  You also have to make a committed effort to turning in earlier than you normally would.  My alarm goes off at 5:30am every morning.  This means that around 9pm, I need to start thinking about ending my day.

Well, the first night...what a difference.  Wow!  The room was so dark compared to what it normally was with just the wooden blinds.  Surprisingly, I fell asleep very quickly and dreamed vivid dreams all night long...which means that I probably was experiencing more REM sleep.  I have a history of sleep apnea and never even getting to sleep deep enough to experience REM I saw this as a good sign.

However, we still had a few problems...things we had never noticed before were like shining beacons in our bedroom now!  The little red LED light on the smoke alarm.  The tiny green light on our house alarm pad.  The "glow" from underneath the bathroom door where we have glass blocks in our shower (which relays the neighbor's flood lights in their backyard to our bathroom most nights).  These things had never bothered us before because we simply hadn't noticed them.

So, after a couple nights of tweaking some of these issues, including covering up the smoke alarm light with a tiny strip of black electrician's tape...last night, we were finally able to get our bedroom totally dark.  I mean, we could not even see our hands in front of our faces when we held them up.  It was that dark.

We slept like babies.  Totally rested...totally rejuvenated...totally convinced that the blackout curtains were totally worth the money.

Just another notch on the belt of persuasion that perhaps the cave mom life is a life I want to keep living.

Off to start my day...tons of energy, totally rested, and feeling great!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day Twelve - Inexplicable!

INEXPLICABLE!  Webster's defines inexplicable as "impossible or difficult to explain."  That is the only word that even comes close to describing my ability to be happy and satisfied with the Paleo diet right now.

Let me preface this post be saying that I have quite the history with diet failures.  I have NEVER been a "normal" person.  The first time my mother took me to a Weight Watcher meeting was the summer between 2nd and 3rd grade.  She did this not because she was a cruel a matter of fact, she is the polar opposite.  She did this because I was begging her to help me lose weight so I could feel accepted and normal...even at 8 years old! What has followed has been over 35 years of steady weight gain, temporary weight loss (but never down to a normal weight) and then more weight gain.

I have never been "normal."  Never.  My complete identity has always been the "fat girl with the red hair".  I know there are probably many pyschological issues tied to seeing myself this way...and perhaps at some point I will talk more about it here, but the point is...I have never been able to lose weight down to a goal weight and NEVER been able to escape DD (remember him?  Diet Demon?) from sabotaging me in my weight loss attempts and my desire to achieve a healthier lifestyle.  For as long as I can remember...I have been a failure at achieving what the world says is "normal."

One of the most opportune times that DD comes after me is during times of stress and times of depression.  I am normally not only a glass is half full kind of girl, I am a glass is overflowing girl.  I am an optimist and always have a smile on my face.  I am very rarely down.  However these last few days have been pretty darn difficult.  Like all of you, I have many roles in life...wife, mother, daughter, teacher, employee, friend, volunteer, housekeeper,  etc, etc, etc.  Let's just say that the last few days have left feeling pretty much beaten up in all of these areas except my role as a wife (thank heavens for hubby, he's my anchor all the time...don't know why God blessed me so much with him.)  Not only does my cup feel empty lately, it feels like it has a hole in the bottom of it and everything is draining out as fast as it can.  I am being pulled in a hundred different directions for a hundred different reasons for a hundred different obligations that I have.  I am just empty...stressed and just bummed out.

This should be prime time for DD to come pay me a visit....nudging me along with those little thoughts of "just a bite of this" or "boy, wouldn't that taste good" or "I'll get back on it tomorrow".  Nope...none of those at all. And it's not like the opportunities aren't there.  But, I have no desire to cheat of get off of this program at all.  Despite the day I have had, I was happy to come home tonight and make a nice, fresh marinara sauce with fresh tomatoes, fresh bulb garlic, onions, fresh basil, fresh oregano and extra lean ground beef to pour over the spaghetti squash that is currently baking in the oven. Normally on a day like this, I would come home exhausted, put my feet up in the recliner, have a cold beer and order pizza delivery for the family for dinner.  Not tonight.  I made the kids PBJs and chips for dinner...and not even tempted to taste the peanut butter or eat a Lay's.  

Like I started out this post.....INEXPLICABLE.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day Ten - Hooray for Tequila!

Well, faithful followers, today was THE DAY of  THE STATE ACCOUNTABILITY TEST for 4th grade Writing.  Can we just say.....STRESSFUL!  I LOVE being a teacher.  It is the world's greatest profession.  I KNOW I make a difference in the lives of my students.  But, the stress wasn't from concern that my students wouldn't do well or do their best...the stress was from being so concerned about accidentally breaking a rule!  There were monitors from the district watching our every move and every word.  What if I didn't have every bulletin board covered?  What if I accidentally said the wrong thing and didn't follow the script?  I had to be on my feet "actively monitoring the students" all day long...pacing up and down, back and forth, up and down, back and forth, over and over and over.....UGH!

So, my last student does not finish until 3 hours after dismissal and I am FINALLY home with my family, sitting down, have my shoes off, and have time to relax...THANK HEAVEN that Mr. Wolf says that alcohol is allowed on the Paleo lifestyle.  I am not a big drinker.  I used to like a cold beer every now and then and would always have a drink at a bar while waiting on a table at a nice restaurant...but alcohol is definitely not on my "daily needs" list.  But after the day I have had today?  Bring it on!

My apologies to Robb Wolf for not remembering the name of his margarita...I don't have the book near me and I think it is named after his gym...but for our purposes here, we will call it the "Cave Girl Margarita!".  Squeeze the juice of one lime into a grass of crushed ice, rimmed with margarita salt (I think I added the salt part, don't think Mr. Wolf advocates this!  Oops!  LOL!  But isn't the salt delicious?), add a double shot of gold tequila (Jose Cuervo of course!) and then top off with club soda or sparkling water.  Can I just say, DELICIOUS!  Just what I needed after this day of nothing but bundles of stress and angst.

So...the bad news is...only 6 weeks left until THE STATE ACCOUNTABILITY TEST FOR READING AND MATH tests!  UGH!

But...the good news is...despite the "Good Luck" chocolates and the "Congratulations for Making It Through the Day" candy bars I received today...I did not eat any of them and am still living life as a cave mom in a cave world!

Rock on!