Becoming a Better Me: Supplements

This isn't even all of them. At least three other supplements were used up and tossed before I thought to take a picture!
This isn’t even all of them. At least three other supplements were used up and tossed before I thought to take a picture!

While this journey to becoming a better me is a lot about diet, I have been getting some additional help in the form of supplements from my chiropractor. Lots and lots of supplements. I’m regularly taking multiple pills and making different drinks with powdered concoctions. Some pills I take once a day, others a take with each meal, some I take every other day. Sometimes it’s one pill, sometimes it’s two pills twice a day. Luckily, I have the dosages written out on the caps of each bottle to keep track of what I need to take and when!

So, what do these little pills and drops and powders do? I have no idea. I mean, my chiro has been awesome with explaining everything, including why these will help me, but I can’t seem to keep them all straight. I know the ClearVite I take daily is to help detox my liver and gallbladder, the pill I take with meals helps with digestion, some of the pills I used in the beginning helped to get rid of the chronic infections, others are to help stabilize my hormones, some to repair my gut, others are for ….. I don’t know. But they were each explained to me, in detail, when they were first given to me.

Can diet alone make good, lasting changes in your body? Possibly. Will good quality supplements used at the advice of your health care practitioner help? I believe so, yes. My lab work shows that things in my body just aren’t working the way they are supposed to, and these supplements along with the diet changes are helping to correct that. The goal is to get my body working the way it’s meant to work and then stop the supplements, or only take certain ones as needed. Fortunately, I have access to great supplements, like the OmegaGize³™ pictured above. With my chiropractor’s permission I am able to use my Young Living supplements whenever possible. Bonus!

I’m nearly 7 weeks into the program at this point and still in the reintroduction phase. I’ll post soon about how I’m feeling and the changes I’m noticing, as well as what those around me (like Hubby) are noticing.

So far, so good!

 

 

 

Becoming a Better Me: Diet II

Some of the things I've been eating all month!
Some of the things I’ve been eating all month!

30 days of no grains.
30 days of no dairy.
30 days of no sweeteners or processed foods of any kind.
30 days of no caffeine.
30 days of no alcohol.

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? And that’s not even the full list of no-no’s during my initial 30 day diet!

So, what did I eat for 30 days? I wish I could tell you. If I had kept a food journal, this post would be much easier to write. But I didn’t because, well, it just didn’t cross my mind. And I was really, really grumpy in the beginning, so odds are I wouldn’t have kept up with it anyway…

We’ve been eating a lot of eggs. (I’m on a modified AIP diet, so I’m allowed eggs and nuts. Woohoo!) We have easily been going through 4 dozen eggs each week at my house, and only three of us eat them. Thank goodness for Costco! Also, avocados, which sounds awesome until you realize you can’t have them as guacamole with chips (because no corn) or salsa (because tomatoes are also on my “no-no” list). I mean, I love me some avocados, but still. Sweet potatoes. I’ve eaten more sweet potatoes in the last month than I had in all the years of my life prior to this past month. Luckily, those have kinda grown on me and I’ve been enjoying them, especially when sautéed with some onion in bacon fat. Yum. I’ve also been inhaling almonds. I grab a handful of raw almonds as a snack with berries and carry them with me everywhere I go. Another favorite snack – apples with almond butter. Delish. And just spoonfuls of almond butter. That has become my dessert of choice since I have no other options. Obviously we’re eating a lot more meat and veggies. A lot more. Especially since we can’t get eat the usual “fillers” like rice or pasta or even beans (also no-no’s). The good news is that by eating this way, we’re getting a ton more nutrients in our diets. The bad news is that it’s putting a serious dent in our budget.

I keep saying “we” because I wasn’t going to do this alone. Actually, scratch that. I wasn’t going to buy/cook foods that I couldn’t eat. So really, there was no choice for Hubby and the kiddos. I’ve kept very little dairy or gluten products in the house, so everyone has had to adjust a bit. No bread. No cheese. No baked goods. The kids have been getting long-grain rice cooked in bone broth or brown rice noodles with their dinner on occasion, as well as gluten free cereal some mornings. I decided that was tolerable and necessary for my sanity. The amazing thing is, the kids have actually been eating. Turns out they will eat more than just plain noodles, chicken nuggets, or cheese quesadillas! Who knew?

The first week we had planned on a ton of new recipes. I spent hours in the kitchen. I ruined things, burned things, didn’t like most of the things (cilantro was in many recipes, and it turns out that I really don’t love cilantro), and basically was just miserable. The timing on “experimenting” was horrible because I was already a cranky beast. I was getting zero coffee, zero sugar, and zero wine. In hindsight, my planning was definitely not well thought out. By day three I was ready to quit. Fortunately, day three was also a doctor’s appointment, and she talked me off my ledge.

Week two was better in the food department because I just decided we’d be boring. I don’t do fancy in the kitchen (unless it involves baked goods, and this most certainly does not). That’s how we started on eggs most mornings, salads or leftovers for lunch, and basic dinners consisting of meat and veggies. Nothing fancy. Pork chops with roasted brussel sprouts. Chicken breasts with broccoli. Pot roast with sweet potatoes. You know, “normal” foods that I could actually make without bursting into tears. The second week was much better than the first.

But something was missing… Pancakes. I attempted to find some recipes so I could feel like we were eating “real” pancakes, even though I couldn’t have butter or syrup. *sigh* I did manage to find a recipe that I tweaked and all of us enjoyed. Well, the kids loved them, but I think it was really just because it’s been so long since they had “real” pancakes that they imagined they were better than they actually were. Hubby and I just tolerated them. I also attempted a “cookie” recipe that the kids won’t touch (and I don’t really blame them), but I eat because it “feels” like a cookie, even if it doesn’t taste like one. The lack of baking has definitely taken a toll on me because that’s the one thing I enjoy doing in the kitchen.

We did, however, find recipes that we really and truly do love. We have a turkey sausage recipe that we all enjoy, and we’ve been making at least 2 pounds each weekend to have during the week. Hubby and I love sweet potato hash, whether it’s at breakfast topped with fried eggs or dinner with some leftover chicken mixed into it. And the best one? Bacon burgers. We chop the bacon and mix it into the seasoned burger meat and grill it to perfection. Topped with grilled onions, it’s to die for. (No bun of course.)

Now, I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that it was an awesome 30 days. It wasn’t. I was cranky a lot the first half and had my bad days throughout the month. I still want donuts and wine and cheese and wine and coffee and did I mention wine? I had hoped that the 30 days would “break” me of wanting those things, but no such luck. There were many days that I felt crabby and wondered if it was even going to be worth it. I distinctly remember one day telling myself, “there’s not really anything that wrong with me, so I don’t really need to be doing this…” But I stuck with it. I have no idea how, to be honest, because I am not known for willpower, but I made it all the way through my 30 days with no cheating. Actually, that’s a lie. I cheated on accident when I tasted a smoothie I made for the kids and it had yogurt in it. But it wasn’t a purposeful cheat, so I don’t think that counts as a real cheat. Right?

Now that my 30 days are over, how do I feel?

First of all, I’m starving all the time. I am eating three meals a day plus at least two snacks – more than I ever used to eat! With the amount of food I’m eating, you would think that I would feel full often. But no, I am always hungry. Amazing what happens when you take out all the empty calories and fillers. I just ate a pretty big meal about an hour ago, in fact, and I’m realizing that I’m hungry again as I’m sitting here. Pumpkin and Hubby are the same way. The three of us are constantly famished. Peanut, not so much, but she’s also the one not really eating like I am because she’s the pickiest. I’m not sure why I’m always hungry, but I am. So I just keep on eating.

Now, I was kind of expecting a moment somewhere during the diet when the heavens open and the angels sing and the sun shines down on me and I suddenly feel awesome. Because I really, really want to feel awesome…. but that hasn’t happened. Instead, my body is working better. (Please don’t ask me to explain. Just trust me.) I think I’m sleeping a little better, and I’m getting up early without too much struggle. And energy? I don’t necessarily feel it, but I must have more energy. I mean, I’m not bouncing off the walls and cleaning every corner of my house (wouldn’t that be a nice side-effect?), but I’m not lethargic during the day. I’m not having to spend time on the couch because I just.can’t.move. I’m actually busy and productive during the day and into the night. I’ve been out and about frequently during the last couple weeks, and that’s unheard of for a self-proclaimed hermit like me. I’m even still dressed by the time Hubby gets home from work in the evening instead of in my robe on the couch in mombie-mode.

As cheesy as it sounds, things also seem brighter to me. I remember driving back from a doctor’s appointment one morning and noticing how blue the sky looked and how bright and cheerful everything seemed. I even rolled my eyes at myself for thinking it, but it’s true. Life just seems better. Am I happy all the time? Of course not. But I think I’ve been happier and less stressed lately. And that’s a win for me!

Ok, so, now what?

I’m only one month into a five month program. I’ve just entered the re-introduction phase. On Wednesday I got some foods back like nightshades (tomatoes and peppers!) and all fruit (bananas!). I also can have beans again (hummus!) and sweeteners like honey and maple syrup within reason. (We have to keep my blood sugar levels consistent.) Those are my “go for it” foods that I can have as long as I have no ill effects. We’re also slowly adding other things back in, one at a time every 4 days. I asked for wine, but that was a no-go. (Sad but not surprising.) Instead, I settled for oats. That gives me something else for breakfast besides eggs. After four days, if I have no reactions to the oats, I can add rice (and rice pasta). I figure that’s a good second step because, again, it opens up so much more for meals. Next week we get to decide on two more items to add back.

I think I’ll try the wine again.

I’ll keep you posted as I move along!

 

Becoming a Better Me: Diet I

Ah, yes. Diet. The word just about all people love to hate.

Let’s clear up what my “diet” is and is not, shall we? First of all, my diet is NOT for me to lose weight. Hubby has lost some weight by following this diet (mostly) with me, but that is not the goal for me. That being said, it is a nice side effect. Next, this diet was NOT my idea. At all. In fact, this diet basically took away all that I love to eat and drink. There is no way I would do that to myself without really good reason. Heck, even with a really good reason it was hard to decide to do it! So, why am I putting myself through it…..?

If you read my why post, you know that things needed to change with me. I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t tell you exactly what. I was tired, unmotivated, depressed and easily overwhelmed, plus I had actual physical issues like migraine headaches, recurrent UTI’s, digestive problems, and other things that, while not life threatening, were nonetheless taking away from my every day living. Something just wasn’t right. So, I went to get outside help.

To start this process, I had a neurological workup done and a huge questionnaire packet to fill out. From there, we moved on to comprehensive lab work to find out what was actually going on with me. Turns out, I’m not crazy! There are actual, real, measurable problems that need to be addressed. Nothing too serious, but had I continued on the path I was going without intervention, things would have gotten much worse. I’d love to explain it all to you, but to be honest, I don’t think I could. It all made sense when my doctor explained it to me and broke each test result down, but as soon as I left the office, the information was just a mishmash of long words. But the lab results did show that there are real reasons for my all of my issues. That in itself made me feel a better. At least there is something to work with – something to be “fixed”. It’s not just all in my head!

Let food by thy  medicine and medicine be thy food.

~ Hippocrates

First step in fixing my issues is to fix my gut. I’m a firm believer that most of the population in this country has gut issues because of the “foods” we regularly eat. What most people don’t realize is how important a healthy gut is to our overall health. I’ve done some reading on it in the past but was still blown away when my doctor tied everything I’ve been dealing with to gut (and liver) issues. I’m by no means an expert so I won’t weigh in too much on all this, other than with what I’m experiencing personally.

So, how does one fix their gut? By eliminating foods. A lot of foods. Foods that I consume regularly. And you know what? That’s really, really hard to do! My doctor put me on a 30 day modified RepairVite program, which is an AIP (auto-immune protocol) diet. I call it Paleo on steroids because it’s more restrictive than Paleo, but along the same lines. Basically, it takes out everything. No grains, no dairy, no sugars of any kind (natural or otherwise), no nightshades (peppers, tomatoes, etc), no soy, no beans or legumes, no high-glycemic fruits like bananas and dried fruits, no condiments because they usually contain gluten, no caffeine, no alcohol…… There are a lot of “no”s in this diet. (Did you see the no coffee and no wine?!?!) Fortunately, I have no autoimmune issues so I am allowed to have eggs and nuts (just not peanuts). That’s why my diet is “modified”. For 30 days, this has been my life. There were a bunch of times when I wanted to quit, but I didn’t. There were loads of times I wanted to cheat, but I didn’t. If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it right!

And I did.

Next up, what I have been eating, and any changes I’ve noticed….