Saturday, October 1, 2016

509 Days In: A Big-ish Update

Saturday 10/1/2016

It has been quite the transformative fall thus far, and it ain't over yet. I'll synopsize:

The company I worked for was bought by another company.

The CEO of the new company turned out to be full of baloney. He claimed to raise funds that he never raised, and we were collectively broke, because the old company was about to shut down when we were bought. Come to think of it, I'm not sure how you buy a company if you don't have any money... but that's a different problem for a different blog.

The new company ended up being in terrible financial straits, and that right quick.

The new CEO flailed, listed to the wrong influencers, and fired people.

I was one of the people fired. Two-ish weeks ago.

Not fired-fired, mind you: terminated. Not for cause, but because they needed to cut costs.

The next morning hubby and I left for a long awaited weekend in the mountains.

I cried and got angry, communed with nature (and some large cattle) in the backcountry, and healed my soul a little bit.

We came home and I decided to turn this blog into a book. Yes, this blog. Exciting, no? Well it is to me. 

So that's what I've been working on ever since. I have become peaceful, happy, grateful, lighter of mind and de-stressed. I sleep until I wake up which, surprisingly, usually means that I'm up within 30 minutes of the time I used to get up to go to work. I take care of my dogs, have some tea, watch Columbo, eat breakfast, get the dogs outside, then back inside and bedded down for the morning, I wander up the stairs with a second cup of tea in my paw, shower, dress and sit down to write. 

Holy shit, it's the best thing that's ever happened to me. The best - by a lot! - thing that's ever happened to me. Except for the supportive hubby, of course. That's the best, because I don't have to worry about a thing for the moment. He's not pressuring me to find a new job and thank God, because my heart is just not in it. After I give this book thing a go, then yes, I'll look for a job. But for now I'm perfectly content to be at home, not moving or shaking, not attending meetings of sitting in an office staring out the window and wishing I weren't sitting in an office staring out the window. I listen to the music that I love and sing out loud when I feel like it. I run or walk when I need a break, I eat lunch and at some point I make dinner, or run errands, or both. 

I am free. Unencumbered by nonsense, making no heavier decisions than what to thaw for the next day or when to go for a drive up in the mountains. I've never had an experience like this in my life, and I mean to make the most of it.

I'm still seeing the NUCCA guy, and he's helped me tremendously. I've also continued my pursuit of food additions and lately had two major (I'm talking earth shattering) wins: tomato and cashew. Both of them. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat? For reals, and I'm beside myself with joy. Tomato for obvious reasons, I mean, come on - tomatoes rule. Cashews though, why such unbridled happiness? Because the cashew is central to paleo baking, and I'm just itching to do some good baking. I have a couple of fantastic paleo cookbooks that are not necessarily AIP friendly, but they can be by simply making some substitutions. I'm learning this stuff the hard way, I can assure you. That's how I learn pretty much everything! 

Anyway, the books are by Danielle Walker, and they are titled Against All Grain [blah blah etc.]. I got the first one from my NUCCA guy and then picked up Celebrations at Costco last weekend. OMG, this chick is not playing! She knows what she's doing. So far every recipe I've tried has been a knockout (in the good sense) and I'm dying to try more. There are recipes for cakes and cookies and breads... I could go on, but I won't. Get the books. Get them. 

Back to cashews, right? Right. Her bread recipes and lots of other baked goods have either cashew butter or raw cashews in them. I was super hesitant because of how the attempts to add cashews went in the past, but after tomatoes passed (4th time's the charm for food additions, apparently) I felt particularly ballsy and just said "fuck it". I bought some crazy expensive raw (not even organic, mind you!) cashews and threw a handful into my gullet. Raw cashews leave a little something to be desired flavor-wise, but after eating this way for well over a year I'm pretty much used to things being not-fantastic in their raw state. 

I waited. No reaction for 4, then 6, then 8, then 24 hours.

I ate another handful. Hey, they were starting to taste pretty good by the second handful! I jumped in with both feet, and had another handful later that day. 

I waited. No reaction for 1, then 2, then 3 days. 

I ate a few more for good measure. For a snack, actually. And it turned out to be true - cashews passed!

This proves to me, once again, that what I'm doing is the right thing for my body. After taking time to heal and avoiding foods that I reacted negatively to, I was able to add back in the two biggest offenders. 

A few weeks ago I also added rice back into my life. No reaction. I avoid it like the plague because of the carbs, but this opens up a new world of food to me. Pho! There's a Pho place nearby with GF Pho, and rice noodles that are so pillowy you want to lay your head on them. My goodness, it's a true winter delight! I'll be able to have it again this year. 

Right, that's probably enough for now. Back to working on the book for me, and back to healthy living for all of us.

Cheers to a new life!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Deep Thoughts, by Me

August 11, 2016

I guess it's time for my daily spewing!

Today I bring you my head. I'll open it up for all to see, put my thoughts on display for you. Ready? It won't take long.

This little gem came spilling out of my cranium yesterday:

"People who say they need to find themselves are full of it. If you sit still long enough, yourself will come to you, and it's gonna want answers!"

Now where on earth did that come from? Deep I tell you, deeeeeeep inside. It is definitely a statement on how all of my dreams and my daydreams have been reminding me of the person I wanted to be, the person I could have been, the person maybe I should have been, the person I am now, and the person I will become. 

The way I see it, many of us are physiologically flawed. Some of us are born that way, others acquire their flaws throughout our lives. I don't know which category I'm in (I can guess but I have no proof) but I can see now that all of the decades of my innards being screwed up had an impact on me in numerous ways that are just being revealed to me. This sounds like some serious hippie talk - to me too! - but I'm starting to internalize it.

Today's pearl is probably not original but..

"Be the light that you seek." 

Boy if that doesn't sound like a bumper sticker from a yoga studio or an ashram in Oregon, I don't know what does. I meant it in the best possible way - don't look to others to make you happy or enlightened, look within. 

Is all of this healing really revealing the person that I once was that has been silenced by the mess my guts made of my brain? Is that so hard to believe? Yes it is, I'm a skeptic, but I'll be damned if all evidence isn't to the contrary lately. I mean - WOW. I'm waking from a 30-year long nap, I'm a little disoriented and don't recognize my face but my heart is slowly revealing itself to me, and I remember a lot of things about it. 

In case you're wondering, no, I'm not high. I swear! Or maybe I'm just high on life, and how incredible it feels to be getting well and emerging from my slumber.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Welp. Today. N Stuff.

August 10, 2016

I was late today due to an adjustment; they happen twice weekly at 8:00 AM, so I am perpetually late, it seems. But today offers new revelations and new insights, and I feel that it would be a mistake to overlook them by not recording them. Things are definitely shifting. Is it the NUCCA? Is it the result of having changed my life completely over a year ago, and the benefits are just starting to show? Is it both? Is it neither? Is it my age?

Bottom line: I honestly don't know. But reap the benefits I shall! In the end does it matter from whence the change comes? Imho that part doesn't matter as much as the transformation itself. 

Today: slept really well last night, even ignoring my bladder until 4:30 AM, which is unheard of. Oddly though, I'm not as thirsty at night and have probably cut my water consumption by 50%. Hooray, I still get enough but I'm not constantly running to the bathroom!

Back to today... I looked at myself in the mirror this morning and I looked lighter somehow. Not weight-wise, but in general. My color appeared to be lighter, brighter. Even my hair! This is so strange to experience but I'm starting to think that it's because some filter has been lifted from my brain. I no longer see care, worry, concern, anger, fear - but I just see me. Does that sound as crazy to you as it does to me? I hope I'm not going off the deep end here but - I am in earnest. I'm noticing things daily, and processing crap right outta my system. 

Two days ago, running, I came face to face with a bunch of garbage that has been holding me under its spell, some childhood guilt nonsense that wasn't my fault, and some other stuff in the present that I wasn't letting go. I tramped down the sidewalk on Cascade Avenue repeating "I forgive, I forgive, I forgive!" until it was gone. Here's what surprised me about this overly simplistic approach: it worked! This is now a ritual I practice when I'm running; face down a demon or two, process the guilt or anger or whatever, and basically exorcise it from my psyche. I'll be dipped in doodoo if it doesn't work.

Now a hard reality: meditation doesn't work for me, not really. I enjoy it while I'm doing it but even after almost 30 sessions I don't remember to be mindful at various times during my day, and I never take a moment to bring the attention back to the present. I don't have terrible monkey mind either, so I'm okay with this revelation. I did just pay for a year of Headspace and I will use it here and there for relaxation or specific tracks of mediation, but it's not going to be part of my every day. I have zen enough to go around thanks to clean eating and the toxin expelling exercise I partake in.

Finally, for today; I sat down at my desk and plugged into Radio Paradise. The first song to play, from the very beginning? Disappear. My second favorite Porcupine Tree song (it's close, but it's second to The Rest Will Flow). I was delighted! For the first time in the history of my knowing this song, I sang along with it and didn't get choked up. It's a sad song that I once related very closely with (witnessed in an entry in my other blog) and it always choked me up. NO MORE! That's a small but mighty victory.

For the next few days: Dr. NUCCA-man and I talked briefly about hiding behind things, because I left my glasses on and he removed them so as not to smash. He told me he had lasik and had never been so grateful as that first day he could see without glasses on. I scoffed, said I have an astigmatism (so does he) and quietly admitted that I don't know what I'd do without glasses. I kind of hide behind them, use them as a shield. I have known it for years and may have said it a few times, but it never became so damn clear. He challenged me, asked me what would I do if I didn't need to hide any longer? ARGH! Contemplating that one hard for a day or more... I'd love to know the answer.


Monday, August 8, 2016

Transformation, Period

August 8, 2016

Hello all, and if I may - sorry it has been so long! I think about posting all the time but my life and my body are in flux right now so that makes it hard. That's not a good reason for a lack of posting, it's just my reason.

Today I came to a startling realization: I am transforming. There are several reasons for this that I promise to at least touch on, but the reason this is important is because it has a major impact on everything that is me. Everything I think, say, do, dream, eat, drink - it's all being impacted by this tidal wave of change washing through my body and mind. 

Well over a year ago now I undertook the life changing step of starting on a strict Paleo AIP lifestyle. This step alone was transformative as it led me to lose weight and start healing. Part of that was emotional too; I was able to let go of lots of negative "things" that were hiding, crouched in the dark corners of my brain. Some of those were guilt, some were just terrible memories, others were regrets.

Ah, regret. 

A regret isn't always something that you're directly responsible for you, y'know? Sometimes it's a thought that you wish you hadn't thunk, or an action that you wish you'd taken, a word you wish you'd used... this list can go on. I lived my life sitting on a trunk full of regrets, bursting at the seams. Had I not sat on it they would have come crashing out, overwhelming me. 

I like to say that I don't have regrets, not the real "Oh I really screwed that pooch!" kind at least. There are so many things in life that are out of our control for which we end up carrying a burden; so many. I would love to live without guilt and regret because those two things hold me back. They hold all of us back from achieving our highest level of being ourselves. Yes, I truly believe that.

Anyway, I dealt with all of that and thought I had a pretty clean slate. Last summer and fall left me feeling good about myself. I was able to let go of some very old demons, forgive myself for some old stuff, and I thought, move on. 

Fast forward a year and a month, to June of this year. I'd been doing a good job of washing my conscience clean of guilt and processing regrets as they surfaced. I'd been faithful to my diet for a year and was feeling good. But physically I was in pain and I do mean that literally. I was hurting all the time. I kept on running and eating healing foods but my neck was hurting so badly that I feared something was really-really wrong. I was losing sleep, having a tough time running, even holding my head up felt like a burden. The base of my skull burned with pain and turning my head caused a hot jolt of pain to travel right up the back of my noggin to the top. It felt like it was shooting out of my eyes for God's sake. I had debilitating headaches every afternoon that lasted well into the evening. It was scaring the crap out of me. 

Years ago, make that about 7 of them, I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis and given a nerve root block of C-4/5 because I was in a tremendous amount of pain and nothing helped. Nerve tests showed a disconnect, so the block was applied and voila! I was better for several years. Naturally the recurrence of that kind of pain scared the bojangles out of me. Not being a huge fan of conventional medicine I thought it might be time to consult a chiropractor because something had to give. Also being a bit skeptical of chiros, having seen a few in my past and then having seen them do me no good whatsoever, I started listening to people. Some of my friends had been seeing this NUCCA chiro for a while and were reporting miraculous results. 

Here's a lil bit of info on that for you, should you care to check it out

Being doubly skeptical of some voodoo sounding nonsense, I went in for a consultation and x-rays. I didn't want to believe it because, well, I just didn't want to. I'm stubborn. But after he took x-rays and did a scan of my spine, he was able to tell me what was going on with me physically and mentally. Ever the yes-I'm-still-a-skeptic type, I allowed him to adjust me. It bears explaining that given the extent of the neck problems I've had in the past, I was quite hesitant to let anyone touch it, let alone a cracker who would warm me up and then crank my head at terminal velocity to allow the neck bones to crack (horrible memories of this!). Well these NUCCA guys don't do that, they do only soft tissue manipulation of the cervical spine. So sure, do that thing you do.

Welp - the first adjustment was nothing short of what everyone told me; it was miraculous. I felt nothing during the adjustment but as soon as it was done I burst into tears. There was a very warm sensation at C1, where all my pain lived, and after a few minutes it got downright hot, then POOF - the heat and the neck pain were - ready? - gone. Even I can't believe it, but it's true. And that day, no headache. I mean seriously, I thought this was insane!

So now I go twice a week and for the most part the adjustments leave me feeling physically better and better.  But when your spine has been holding your body and your mind hostage for decades, shit starts to get real when the spine shifts. I have been undergoing some major changes. Major. Physical, yes. Emotional, yes. Mental, yes. Big time.

Several weeks and 12 or so adjustments into this journey that may last a couple of years, I've started having the most vivid dreams. There are lots of snakes (representing transformation, probably) and reliving shit from my childhood. But what I've come to notice over the past couple of days is that it's much, much bigger than that. Everything inside of me is shifting. Some of it very uncomfortably.

High level: I feel like I don't really know myself. I'm trying to explain to me who I am, and that's not been easy. I feel lost. My confidence is in the crapper. I'm worried and ruminating and Jesus good Lord, I don't like it. I worry worry worry worry worry worry worry. I'm afraid that people don't like me (which is NOT LIKE ME at all, I don't care, I'm a take it or leave it kind of gal), I'm forgetting things and I pour my guts into running because right now it's the only thing making me feel better. 

So I run every day. Yes, every day. With very few exceptions, and I feel fantastic! In the running at least. The rest of me is like a quivering mess of self doubt, bad memories, fretting over stupid crap, etc. 

I know that this is part of the bigger picture and that all the shifting happening in my spinal cord is making waves of OHMYGOD happen to my body and my brain. I know this intellectually, but I still have to process all of it. And when I say all, I mean ALL. I'm questioning what I do for a living (do I really want to do this until I retire? what is it anyway? remember when you wanted to make a difference? well are you? are you following your dreams? remember when you wanted to be a writer/anthropologist/radio DJ/ventriloquist/go-go dancer? what happened to those dreams? huh? what?!), how many hours a day I sleep, my interactions with oh, everyone on the planet -- are you getting the picture? It's like a big nerve between my spine and my brain was pinched for decades and now that the pinch has been relieved the floodgates are OPEN. 

All I can say is yikes. Its scary! I'm 53 years old and to have all this stuff surface on me now is a nightmare. I'm questioning everything there is to question, and stuff that doesn't need to be questioned too. The huge, looming, $64,000 question is: do I just process this stuff out, or do I act on some of it? Or none of it? 


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

As The Stomach Turns...

There is a part of me, I'm quite certain, that loves to stay in denial. It's the eternal optimist, I think. I'll call her Kenina - a terrible name, and one I escaped having written on my birth certificate by a moment of clarity after my birth. Dad - Ken, Mom - Nina. Get it? I know, right? I think I would've ended up being a truck driver with that name -- but, I digress.

Kenina starts feeling better and thinks "I'm cured!", and then she stops trying so hard to make sure that every meal contains the right balance of protein and carbs, starches and fats. She gets all carried away with her daily pooping and blows off putting some fermenties on her plate at every meal (or two a day, at least - come on Kenina!), and she stops drinking bone broth therapeutically. Oh sure, she has soup now and then but it's summer now, kids, and it's getting kinda hot for soup. Kinda way hot, in typical Colorado fashion, as winter has just turned to summer BOOM - with no real spring to speak of. And yes, I have digressed yet again.

Leaky gut doesn't heal overnight. Dear Kenina, please try to remember that when the next time you get pissed off because your tummy hurts after having a Coke Zero (strictly verboten, I might add!). Also please keep to the routine that got you feeling better in the first place in order to maintain that good feeling, happy gut and continue the healing process WHICH, by the way, can take up to 2 years (or longer!) after a lifetime of foods that only made it worse. That kind of damage cannot be erased over the course of a month or two, or ten. Get over yourself girl - and remember that the longer you do the healing diet, the more success you will have!

Also please stop trying to add things that are problematic. You know that tomatoes are not your friend and yet, you just can't seem to help yourself. On Saturday you thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and eat some Barbacoa from Chipotle -- with guacamole. What does most guacamole have in it? Tomatoes! Smart girl, keep up with me here - NO! So when the tummy was upset for the next couple of days and you had a bout with explosive diarrhea on Sunday, what did you do? You wondered what could have caused that, didn't you? Yes you did, don't try to deny it. DUH!

Thank you. End rant. Onward Paleo soldiers!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Holy Long Year, Batman!

Well my dears, cheers to a year! Lift your glass of (not beer) and give me a chin-chin through the interwebs. Tomorrow will be the anniversary of my foray into this world of gut healing, and it has been mighty long, to say the least.

(Mine is a mug of organic coffee with organic coconut milk creamer, can I get an amen? Thank you!)

Squirrel! Here's the recipe for the coconut milk creamer, again, updated to include only organic ingredients:

1 can of organic, full fat coconut milk, 13.5 oz
2 tablespoon of organic, raw coconut oil (melted an cooled)
1 egg (organic, free range)
1 teaspoon of organic, alcohol free vanilla extract
Either 1 teaspoon (or more) organic liquid Stevia or 1 tablespoon raw, local honey

Add any organic flavorings you'd like to make it yummier, then blend until combined. I use the single serving blending cup for my Ninja and this fits perfectly. KEEP REFRIGERATED for God's sake, there's a raw egg in it! This will keep for up to 7 days but I never have it that long. It's delish on fruit and if you water it down a bit you can use it as a milk for things like Paleo granola. Just - yum!

Okay, bye bye Mr. Squirrel, let's talk!

This long journey has put me through many trials, from which I have learned and benefited immensely. It has been tough, I have been downright vapid at times, and even though "I know better" I still break the rules, but now only when I'm on vacation, and very specifically - at Disneyland. 

I behaved myself all through the cousins' weekend a couple of weeks ago and actually left Palm Springs, CA a few pounds lighter (first time EVER) because I didn't overeat at all, and I didn't break one rule. Not one! Good girl, somebody gimme a sticker!

But then, Disney. And when I say I broke the rules I mean I smashed them to smithereens for two days. Breakfast consisted of nasty buffet eggs, under-ripe fruit and potatoes. Say whaaaaaaaaat? True story. Followed quickly by a coconut milk latte from Starshmucks, which maybe doesn't sound so bad, but their coconut milk is a disgrace (check it: I was tired, damn it! And they don't have almond milk. Even if they did I imagine it would be equally disgraceful, but I digress.

Mid morning snack? Box of popcorn (Pop Secret!) and a diet Coke! And I loved it!

Lunch? A fat, juicy, ginormous smoked turkey leg (recipe! and a Coke Zero (no better than diet Coke, unless flavor counts - then, yes!). 

Mid afternoon snack? Box of popcorn and Dasani water. Not as terrible as the previous, I suppose.

By now I was crop dusting the park as the gas began to build and the pooch began to swell. But did I knock it off? No!

Dinner? Double cut pork chop with a few green beans an mushrooms. Mostly meat. And a glass of sparkling wine. And then a glass of red wine. At least I 'just said no' to the gluten free bread, right?!

Evening, pre-fireworks snack: Minnie Mouse chocolate dipped caramel apple with marshmallows and a sugar butt:

Image result for minnie mouse apple disneyland

Just one, not a full tray but -- still. 

Then, nothing, thank the Lord. I was done. And that lovely confection had my stomach gobbed up in knots almost immediately. Bound me up for two days, but I went in with eyes wide open!

I shan't take you though the second day, although it wasn't as bad, I must admit. We left the park at 5:00, had a semi-reasonable dinner and went to bed early so as to get up at the butt crack of dawn and head to the airport.

POOP TALK: No pooping for two days is like an eternity to me now. I cannot imagine how sick I must have been when I didn't poop for 7-10 days straight! That was very typical for me, and at the time I didn't feel great but I had no idea of the poison that was left to fester inside of me. It's astounding how far I've come in only one year, no matter how long that year felt whilst I was living it. 

So, cheers again!

Meanwhile, I came home and cleaned my act right back up, of course. After a few days (and a bout of epic, bowl painting diarrhea) I felt very normal again, and the inevitable junk food pooch was down, so I started running like a maniac over the weekend and -- surprise -- I tried to add tomatoes to my diet again!

I cannot yet say if said introduction (of a single organic tomato) was success or failure, because although I didn't have a major reaction, I did have some phantom lower GI pain last night. I will clean it back up for a week and try it again. I so desperately want tomato back in! 

I've gone on long enough, my dears. Work calls and I think I need to poop (and grab a second cup of coffee, long weekend, not enough sleep), but I wanted to give and update and wish myself a happy food-iversary! 

Love y'all, hang in there - I have more updates to give you but work has been incredibly busy so I will need to make time in the very near future for updating the blog. 

Image result for peace out

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Unexplained Weight Gain Update

The universe seems to be trying to tell me something...

After I posted what I posted yesterday (WUT!) I glanced through State of Slim only to learn that, guess what? It really isn't very adaptable to a Paleo lifestyle, let alone a Paleo AIP lifestyle. 

Well, f word.

Except for a suggestion or two, that is. 

What I can do: make sure I'm active every damn day, for an hour. I can do that. I can also eat smaller meals and spread them out during the day. Got it. Other than that, pretty much nada, because their recommendations have a lot of dairy in them. Just, no.

So yay, small take away. 

This morning whilst cruising Twitter, as I am wont to do in the morning, I ran across an article written by a runner who gained a bunch of weight during a recovery from an injury. She is a distance runner and she didn't stop eating at distance runner levels during her recovery and gained 25 pounds. While this is not my problem at all, I got a take away from that article too: what she did to take the 25 off again was make sure that she got to run every day, and (you're not going to believe this) ate more like a caveman. Small meals with lean proteins, veg and healthy fats. OH, and strength training (which she hates just like I do).

Kind of the same thing as the book, eh? 

Again, I realize that what these two sources are suggestion were never meant to address autoimmune conditions or their complications, surely I can try the two things that I took away? Okay, three things. Strength training wouldn't be the worst thing. I just dislike it so very much.


But seriously, stop calling me Shirley.

I have to do something because what I've been doing simply isn't working any longer and I'm dangerously close to panic over it. The tighter my jeans get, the less I want to eat, and that morphs into a tiny eating disorder and those never end well. 

I'm once again at my whit's end, and that, sadly, is a pretty common state for me. Vacation is less than a month away and here I am, heavier than I want to be and for reasons that I just don't understand. I'm not in denial, I'm not delusional about how much or what I eat or how much I exercise. It's counter-intuitive to keep ending up right back where I started, feeling the pounds come on day after day. 

Why Hashimoto's - WHY?