God Grant Me the Serenity

Today marks one year sober for me.

I never thought that would be a big deal. I never thought I had a drinking problem. I was more of a problem drinker. You know the type…drinks when they have problems…drinks when the problems are solved. Weekend warrior. Binge Drinker. Whatever you want to call it, it wasn’t healthy and it wasn’t a means to cope with my emotions. I was never an alcoholic, but that’s not an excuse for my behavior. Once I started, I couldn’t stop.

I never really made a conscious decision to stop drinking. Well, sort of, and I’ll get to that in a minute. It’s odd that the more my life started to crumble the less I wanted to drink. It just sorted faded out as a part of my former life. I have The Big Man Upstairs to thank for that. (By the way-I stopped drinking and the weight dripped off of me like water. Alcohol makes you fat folks.)

This weekend marks another pause in my life from a year ago as well. I closed on my house a year ago this weekend. I had tickets to see Kevin Hart and went out with someone I really cared about to celebrate. We had a great time. I no longer have contact with this person and that really, really hurts. That was the last time I had drinks. I was dreadfully hungover for an extended period of time after only a couple of drinks (and I was pretty buzzed after only a couple of drinks). My conclusion is that a medication I had started to take (and still do) must interact with the alcohol. I very rarely was drinking at that point anyway, and that was the last straw. It wasn’t worth it to be sick.

There’s several memories tied to this weekend in May. I lost my dream of home ownership, but I could be done with the house and move on. I had a fantastic time with someone I really cared about and now am not on speaking terms with. We were actually very close to a shooting in the parking lot of that Kevin Hart show and got blocked in by the crime scene investigation for a while before we could leave.

When I look at where I am today vs a year ago it just seems surreal. That was the point I thought my life was maybe going to settle some. So, so much has changed since that point. There have been moments in the last year, especially in last 6 months, when I didn’t know up from down or right from left. There was more than once when I didn’t get out of bed for multiple days except to walk the dog, and if I hadn’t had to that, I wouldn’t. But, I’m still here. I’m still figuring it out day by day. And never once in the last year did I try and wash my problems away with a bottle.

Week 2 Blues

Week 2 is not going well.

My symptoms have returned, and I am not sure why.   I have not eaten as simply as I did last week.I stuck to mostly 1 ingredient foods last week: hard boiled eggs, pot roast, broilled zucchini, applesauce, peaches, etc. You get the drift. I do cook on occasion (gasp!) and thought that I can do this; I can cook GF/DF.

Before I get into my use of kitchen appliances, I have to mention that suspect 1 is pumpkin as I’ve had symptoms in the same day as having pumpkin seeds and in the same (but separate) day as having pureed pumpkin. Sunday night I made vegetarian enchiladas and grain free cookies. (It was only waaay later did I realize that the enchiladas had tomato pasta in the sauce. Oops. Good thing it is low on the list of reactors. That should be suspect 2 I guess.) I added Diaya cheese (totally not impressed btw) to the enchiladas too. This is a first for my gut-not milk cheese like product. Suspect 3. I had these for lunch on Monday. The grain free cookies were chickpeas, peanut butter, honey, and Enjoy Life chips and shouldn’t have been anything harmful. It has been a while since I made them, so who knows. I have to include suspect 4 as Miralax. I took a dose Monday morning to improve the previously mention side effect of this GF diet.

Monday afternoon symptoms returned with a vengence. With.A.Vengence. I was up and down all night with the same old, same old, nausea/uber bloating/stomach churning/burping/abdominal pain that I’ve had off and on for the last couple of years. I ended up sleeping on my back on 3 pillows to try and rest. For a stomach sleeper, that’s a major sacrafice. I am totally willing and able to give up wheat, dairy, and probably any other food if it means my gut will feel normal and I can sleep ok. Last week I thought I was on the right path. This week…Feeling a little defeated. It will get better again, right?

Week One Down and Food Without Emotion

I’m about to wrap up my first week on my new wheat free/dairy free life. I’ve decided to do a total elimination of anything that registered red (above .2) on the IgG scale for the first month. I’ll start challenging in foods between .2 and .25 at that point. My doctor said values over .25 were significant so those foods are going to be a no go for a longer while.

It’s been more challenging mentally than anything I think. Now that I can’t have cheese pizza, all I want is cheese pizza. Know what I mean? In reality, there is no reason the lack of wheat or dairy should hold me back at all. I just have to stop pouting about it. Now, avoiding the dozen other foods on the list for the next month…errrrr, that agitates me already. I was in the parking lot of Juice Shop this afternoon, cash in hand, stepped out of my car, and then stopped. There was no point. I can’t eat banana for the next month. I never did get dairy in my smoothies here anyway, but without banana, it would be really thin and I don’t like that. I planned Tamle Casserole for dinner one night, even asking around about making cornbread without buttermilk…but wait, salsa is a primary ingredient. I can’t eat tomato for the next month. I wanted to pick up a KIND bar to snack on during a long meeting I have tomorrow where they serve snacks. I stood and read ingredients for-ev-er looking for one without almonds or cashews. Almonds rated over .25 and cashews are out for the next month. I settled on a blueberry one and will ignore that cashews are very low on the list of ingredients. (I’ve already decided that banana, tomato, and lettuce will be the first 3 foods I challenge back into my diet.)

My gut has felt much better. I had one incidence of burping and indigestion on Friday. I’ve kept a food diary, and will continue to do so. My suspicion is that it was my snack that morning that did it: a homemade trail mix (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, raisins, and 2 dates). I will have to challenge each of these separately I guess. Pumpkin, sunflower, date, and grapes are all under the .2 mark on the IgG scale, so I’m not sure. Who knows. The bout of illness I had on Friday was less than what I have experienced in the past and didn’t last as long, so that is a definite victory. I have also slept immensely better in the last week than I have in a very long time, something I wasn’t expecting from this diet change but I have nothing else to which I can attribute it. I only pray that this keeps up. Insomnia was a significant problem for me. However, what has not improved, and I dare say has gotten worse, is constipation. Dr. Google says that this can be a side effect of a GF diet. Sigh. I may have to call my doctor on this one. I already had this problem, I really can’t stand to let it get worse.

On a completely separate note, I want to express the delight I have over living alone. It is quiet. Things are just the way *I* want them. Only the food I CAN eat is in the house. Did I mention that it’s quiet? With that said, there are times when I feel like I would enjoy having someone to cook for, or at least someone to converse with while I cooked. That seems to be the time I notice the emptiness of my living alone. I dirty up an entire kitchen, make a meal, set the table, and it’s just me. I say this not for sympathy, pity, and certainly not for anyone to feel the need to invite themselves over for dinner. Food and emotions were so tied together for me, as they are for so many people. Somewhere along the line I lost the desire or ability to eat when I am stressed/sad/angry/hurt/whatever. Now during those times, the thought of food literally turns my stomach. I have trouble relating anymore to people who say they find sooooooo much pleasure in food. I don’t understand. It simply does not register with me as something that is suppose to draw a level of excitement or happiness. It’s something you do so you don’t die.  So when food and eating and cooking become a life chore and activity, where does that leave emotion?

Cold Oatmeal Isn’t As Bad As It Sounds

Day One of Wheat Free/Dairy Free life and month long detox.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a morning person. I just need some space in the morning to get myself together before I am functional and ready to face the world. I have a tendency to sleep late. I like breakfast; I need breakfast (and soon after rising). However, I don’t like to cook breakfast, especially not when I have to hurry to be somewhere…like work.

For years I relied on cereal or sandwiches or fast food. In my real food switch I have come to love and adore plain yogurt. Especially with my homemade granola. Especially for breakfast. It is quick, easy, and ooh.soo.gooood. Alas, yogurt and I have had to part ways. I’ve tried soy yogurt and coconut yogurt and may have those on occasion. I think the big lesson I need to learn is not to have the same.freakin.thing.every.morning. Variety is good, right?

Enter Overnight Oats.

So good I ate half of it before this picture was taken. Note the digestive enzymes in the background.

So good I ate half of it before this picture was taken. Note the digestive enzymes in the background.

Frankly, the thought of cold oatmeal grossed me out. I mean, ew? I barely like the stuff hot, but cold? G-R-O-S-S. I scanned blog after blog last night looking at overnight oats. I was heartened to see that almost every one I read said they felt the same way I did. Everyone was initially skeptical but was won over with the first bowl. I figured what the heck. If it was super gross, I’d toss it out and have grits.

In my little bowl (don’t be fooled, you don’t have to have a mason jar, I used a small bowl):

1/3 cup oats
1/3 rice milk (plus an extra splash)
6 or 8 frozen raspberries and blueberries
In the morning I drizzled on just a touch of honey, because honey makes everything better.

 

 

I have to say, I really liked it. Cold oats were good. Tomorrow I might try 1/2 cup of oats and a 1/2 cup of rice milk. I was hungry mid morning. I could see this being a good thing. I could add lots of things to this. Peanut butter would be good, especially Trader Joe’s PB that’s already on the runny side. Mmmm.

I was really worried about what I would do about breakfasts. This will go in the rotation for sure. Now that summer is quickly approaching I will go back to having smoothies too. What can I thicken smoothies with other than yogurt? I can’t have banana for another month either. Banana will be in the top 3 to be challenged back into my diet (along with tomatoes and maybe lettuce).

IgG Allergy Testing and Coming to Terms with Major Diet Change

I sat down with my new Integrative Medicine Doctor this morning to review the results of my IgG allergy test from a month ago. He had warned me at the previous visit that his suspicion was that dairy was a big part of my problem and probably wheat too.

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All that red? Yeah…that’s the foods I’m suppose to avoid now. The fabulous news is that I only had one number that was super high. Bad news: it’s my favorite food: yogurt. All of my individual dairy items are red (cheddar cheese, swiss cheese, cottage cheese, cow’s milk, casein, whey) but yogurt takes the cake at a reaction of .89. Anything over .20 is red and my doctor said really to avoid the foods over .25 for at least the next 3 months.

Oddly enough, the number two offender on the list is brussel sprouts. Really? Ok, that’s easy enough to avoid. They never were my favorite veggie, I only ate them for variety. Other veggies I will be bidding bon voyage to: green peas, cranberries, radishes, and squash. There is a large group that fall between .20 and .25 for me and I might cut them out totally, but may sneak a serving here or there for variety: asparagus, banana, carrot, cauliflower, celery (ick!), cucumber, lettuce, tomato, watermelon,  cherries (ick!), and lime. Thankfully many great summer fruits are all A-OK: peach, apricot, strawberry, blackberry, plum, and pear. Blueberries are not listed, so I may tread lightly with those. Lemons are also ok. Stoked about that!

Giving up dairy will not be that hard. I will mourn the loss of my morning yogurt. I will miss the occasional piece of cheese, but if I get to really wanting it, I can get Diaya. My dad has been dairy free since before I was born, it’s way of life for him. It will be a minor mindset change (and some breakfast rearranging 🙂 )

Now for the harder parts. Wheat and gluten ride the fence for me at .224 and .226 respectively. The doctor said I didn’t have to give up wheat; he did say he was surprised that my number was this low. He strongly urged me to give up wheat. I know I should. I really should. I will read Wheat Belly. Maybe I will make myself buy it this weekend for the extra incentive. I’m intimidated by having to learn to bake all over again. I have so much wheat based food here! I have an unopened loaf of Ezekiel Bread in my fridge. I can’t throw that out!! I have pounds of flour (AP, white whole wheat, regular whole wheat), not to mention a loaf of banana bread on the counter and whole wheat muffins in the freezer. It just overwhelms me to think about where to start.

To add insult to injury: no more almonds. At .291 It’s got to go for at least the next 3 months. This is a favorite snack and the only milk I drink. Now I need to investigate new milk again. I don’t drink much, but it is good to have occasionally. Rice? Hemp? Back to soy? I love nuts to snack on in general, but as of now, no more almonds, cashews, walnuts, or pistachios. Must rethink snacking too. Even though peanuts cross the line at .204 doc said I’d be ok to keep eating those. I think I’ll moderate my intake though.

Not to make this the longest blog post ever, but isn’t it weird that vanilla bean ranked pretty high too? Crazy!

I think my plan for now is to finish off the perishable dairy items in my fridge this weekend, and be dairy free by Monday morning. I’ll think about the wheat and nuts. I’d do about anything to feel better all.the.time about now.

Fitness Goal Met

This week I accomplished a goal I never thought possible.

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I finished a 5k.

I won’t say I ran a 5k because I didn’t run it all. I ran more than I walked, but not every step. I never, ever, ever thought I would run anything, let alone a 5k and I did run probably 2/3 of it. Maybe I even ran a little more. It wasn’t the fastest time in the bunch, but it wasn’t the slowest either. It was the fastest I’ve ever done, and I beat the goal I set for myself by 3 minutes. I am pleased.

Not only did I finish this 5k, I trained for this 5k. I started training about 10 weeks ahead of time. I made a plan, and I stuck to it. It sucked at times. I realized that my body is in pretty crappy shape for running. I may be in the gym 4 days a week lifting weights and doing cardio, but my joints were not prepared for pounding the pavement (or treadmill).

Even when I hurt myself I stuck it out and got back on the treadmill and got back at it. A few days of rest and back to the grind.  I maybe wasn’t able to make it the full 5k running, but I walked it out each time. It certainly was a new kind of experience for my body to train for an endurance event rather than the burst of energy expenditure of weight lifting.

The Color Run was the perfect first experience at a 5k. There’s a reason they call it the Happiest 5k on the Planet. You can’t NOT have fun doing this.

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And I can’t end this entry without saying a big thank you to my BFF Kim for nudging me along into this. I would never have believed fitness could be this much fun.

Detox

Ug. I have fallen off the clean eating wagon this week, and boy does my body know it all freakin over. I decided I wanted to try this really yummy looking recipe for stuffed shells I found on Pinterest (damn you Pinterest!). Well that’s all fine and dandy until I get to the grocery store only to realize that I can’t find any whole wheat shells or even manicotti. Oops. Weeeellll, I guess regular old pasta won’t hurt this once….and then for left overs…and then left overs again….and damn that was good, let me take that for lunch one more day…I swear the rest is in the freezer now. That brings me to later this week. I had a work function that was going to include lunch. We’ve been over before how that makes me mildly apprehensive. I knew that the Board of Directors had had Panera at their meeting a couple of weeks ago, which is an absolute NO for me. The meeting was off site in a church, so I was betting on a repeat catering. I planned ahead with a big breakfast and brought a whole food snack to contribute to the group. And I packed a discrete lunch…kimbap. This is totally one of my newest loves. The Japanese version is called onigiri. I linked to that particular website because the instructions are so clear on how to make them, and I think the video is just smile worthy. Who doesn’t love some Bobby McFarin? Anyway. We ended up at a local restaurant where I was able to order a meal that fit my dietary guidelines without worry. That still left me with 3 delicious kimbaps to devour over the next couple of days. While I love them, they are made of sushi rice. White sushi rice. Add to that I think I had a crescent roll at my parents’ house when I had dinner there (maybe?) and the (are you ready?) Starbucks scone I ordered before I could stop myself this morning and I have hit the overload point on refined crap.

I was already feeling not so hot, but that stupid scone, that I regretted the minute I bit into it, has really thrown me over. I’ve been more sluggish than usual, and feeling tired earlier and earlier. Yesterday was probably the first day I didn’t eat refined grains this week and the only day I’ve been able to stay awake easily until my normal bedtime. I have to wonder if this has anything to do with why I haven’t been sleeping so well lately too. I’m back to taking something every night to keep me asleep, which I haven’t needed in quite a while. I’m practically jittery this morning. And I’m not even going to get into what my digestive system thinks of all this.

It is totally detox time. No excuses about that. This weeks’ shopping list will include lots of fresh fruits and veggies. Detox Salad from Oh She Glows is on the menu. I actually have most of the ingredients already. Just need to pick up the broccoli, cauliflower, and fresh parsley. Also planning on this Quinoa and Sweet Potato recipe I found on allrecipes.com There will lots of lemon water and green tea to complement this as well. I did an extra session of cardio on Saturday, and I need to make sure I up the sweat factor for a while in the gym.

It’s a time to forgive myself for the bump in the road. We all have them. But time to climb back on the wagon and keep moving. Lesson learned. None of this is worth feeling crappy for. A bite here or there is nothing, but the cumulative effect of something everyday builds up quicker than I ever expected.

Any favorite detox recipes would be greatly appreciated as I work to reset my system.

Public Confessions and Other Commitments

There is something about telling another person your sins that make them real and helps you to move on. That’s why the Catholics like confession I guess. That’s why one of the 12 steps is to admit your wrong doings and make amends whenever possible. Well, I have some confessions to make.

1. I eat WAY too much peanut butter. This is not a new love affair for me. It’s a life long love that only grows stronger. But in the last 3 months, I would venture to say it is really getting to be something I might openly admit to having an addiction to. I love PB so much I named my childhood cat after this my beloved snack food. And my hippie parents never batted an eye. Dad loves the stuff too 😉 Now, lets get something straight. I am a peanut butter snob. I really love natural, fresh ground peanut butter. Nothing but peanuts in my peanut butter please!

2. I really don’t like cooking. I especially don’t like cooking that involves a lot of work. I tend to eat the same things over and over just because they are easy and I know I can make them without setting the kitchen on fire.

3. I REALLY don’t drink enough water. This used to be the easiest thing every for me. I had no trouble getting in 8-10 glasses a day and 12-15 on exercise days. Now I barely get in the 8 on exercise days. I’m not sure what happened, but I have to improve the H2O intake for sure.

This brings me to the public commitment part of today’s programming. I’m here to say that I am committing to drinking 8 glasses of water a day for the next week. I will. I will finish off at least 2 before lunch and at least 2 more before I leave work.

I’ve confessed and committed. Your turn. What do you need to tell the world you’re working on?

Delayed Gratification

Do you know Chocolate Covered Katie? If not, you should. Healthy desserts? Many vegan? I’m in.

Sometime ago, I pinned this recipe for Peach Breakfast Bake. I have a not-so-secret love affair with peaches and more recently with nectarines. Seriously, my addiction to nectarines might be reaching intervention level soon. But they are a superfood! Not when you overdose, Becky. Anyway, I decided there was no way I was going to wait 45 minutes first thing in the morning for this bad boy to bake, so I popped it into the oven last night. Let me tell you that it took every ounce of restraint I had not to gobble it up and “Screw you Breakfast! You can have eggs!” It smelled heavenly and made my whole apartment smell heavenly. But I was a good girl and left it until this morning when I woke up with drool practically hanging to my knees.

As you can see, I put it over plain yogurt, but honestly, I think vanilla would have been better, and ice cream would have been best. I’m not opposed to eating ice cream for breakfast, I just don’t have any. The recipe says it makes 3 servings. 3 servings for who? Elves? Must be for people who don’t like food! I will admit to being a glutton who ate the whole pan. I tried to kid myself by only taking half, but I knew that wasn’t going to do it. My nectarine fetish kicked it the minute my tongue got a hint of that sweet goodness and I had to finish off every single crumb.

Now for my alterations:

-I only used 1 tbsp of brown sugar in the topping and no other sweetener anywhere else. Peaches are sweet.

– I used crushed rice chex since that’s what I had and it’s going stale anyway.

-I used 1 peach and 1 nectarine, again because it’s what I had. Probably could have used 1 more piece of fruit.

-No margarine for me (ick!) I used coconut oil. (margarine and soy “cheese” is where I start crossing hairs with vegans on the “healthiness” of lifestyles)

This recipe is a keeper. And seriously, go check out CCK’s other recipes. And nectarines. Eat more nectarines.

What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been

Disclaimer: I’m not sure what exactly my reasoning is behind this post. Part of me is really ashamed of what you are about to see. Part of me feels like it is way too much bragging. Part of me feels like it is really cathartic. I’m not sure. But it is all part of my journey and something I’ve been sort of mulling on for a while. So, somewhat against my better judgement, here goes nothing.

I keep seeing this motivational image on Pinterest. I’m mildly ashamed to admit that it’s from Koutney Kardashin’s website (but hey, at least I had to use Google Image to determine that).

Source: Kourtney Kardashian (don’t judge)

I feel like I’ve gone in the reverse order. Yes, I’ve lost weight. Yes, I’ve gotten stronger and gained muscles. But, as I’ve said before, I’ve always seen myself as a big girl.  You have to understand that for most of my life, I was a big girl. 

Age 18 maybe (note the irony of the subject matter of my reading material)

 

Then there’s this. This picture is actually in my kitchen right now. It use to hang in my pantry, but for now it’s just sitting on the inside of a cabinet. I have no idea what I weigh in this picture, but it’s probably over 200 pounds. It’s likely the only picture of me close to that heavy. Do you want to know what I notice about myself? My eyes. My face is so bloated that my eyes even look fat.

Age 20

By the time I was preparing to get married in 2004, I was actually starting to look seriously at my weight. I’ve yo-yoed several times between somewhere close to 200 and closer to 140. It didn’t take long for me to go from a decent sized bride (sorry, no wedding pictures, I hope you can understand) to this 2 years later:

Age 23

 

You can see by later pictures that I did get better, but was still always a “bigger” person.

Age 25

Age 26

Fast forward to the current. People keep telling me how different I look. My clothes don’t fit. But when I look in the mirror, I see the girl standing next to Cinderella: above average but not huge and can look ok in appropriately fitting clothes. Like millions of American woman, I have a highly distorted image of my body.

Then I went to the beach this weekend. I snapped a couple of quick pics with my phone thinking maybe I would stick them on facebook. When I looked at them, I almost didn’t recognize myself. The picture on the right is from 2010 (I think) and the picture on the left is from this past week.

2010 (Age 27)/ 2012 (age 29) Yes, its a different (but similar) swim suit

 

Now, it’s not the most flattering picture of me, but the difference is obvious even to me at this point. I have to accept my size. Now I get it. I’m seeing what everyone else saw weeks ago. For the 2nd time in as many weeks someone has commented on my abs. I have abs? Holy crap! I have abs!  

Very old size 14s on underneath brand new size 4s

Size 14 to a size 4. I’ve held on to those shorts “just in case” for several years. I think I might can finally let them go.