Guest blogging

Just had to share, the lovely older daughter (Miss G’s mommy) asked me to do a guest blog on her own family blog that focused on the eating plan I am working with. 

What great fun and…I didn’t realize until she posted that I am her very first guest blogger! That’s an honor for sure 🙂

If you would like to check it out take a moment to stop by The Randazzo Family

 

So how’s the eating plan progressing?

I have officially finished 1 week of the plan after eliminating sugars, wheat, dairy and what initially seemed like most other food.

The realization came quickly though that I am not without food choices. I am however without the crap, quick, unhealthy, sweet, processed, packaged food choices that I would often reach for just over 1 week ago.

I am okay with that.

I’m getting the hang of what to pair with what, trying food combos that I would never have before, delving back into my vegetarian cookbooks, plus the new one from Jeff & Mer that I got for Christmas. I certainly hadn’t gone away from vegetarian eating, but I was definitely stuck in a rut. A lot of the veg recipes contain grains that I can’t have right now, plus cheese, which is also off the list for two more weeks. I’m finding that this mental stimulation of trying to adapt recipes is actually rather fun, albeit time-consuming.

I am eating well, and a lot, as there is no portion control up to a point. Proportion is the key with this plan and veg & fruit always take center stage over protein and grain. I have also decided to include a bit more fish (cause remember I was never a total veg just a mostly plant based diet eater) as well as some organic, free-range chicken breast at times. I’m finding that a bit of protein at each meal makes me feel better and the plant-based protein choices are rather boring on the plan.

We can even have chocolate! It has to be 100%, no sugar chocolate and only a few squares per day, but the antioxidant benefits are why it’s included. I have never liked dark chocolate and this is obviously DARK. I can however have a square with some protein, so I am going to create my own Reese’s by placing a bit of organic almond butter on a square and trying it out. I’ll let you know.

I am pleased so far, actually greatly excited as well. I was cutting out my RX medication for arthritis anyway, and had gone to just Aleve as needed when I started this last week. It is now 4 or maybe 5 days that I haven’t even used any Aleve. None. I would say something is decidedly improving. I have lost weight as well, although I think it is mostly water weight at this point. I did learn that both the prescription OA meds and Aleve are big culprits for water retention, among other side effects that could be applied directly to many things I assumed to be associated with aging and menopause.

I am hoping when all is said and done that I can, at the very least, take a lower dosage of BP med, but really hope that it can go away altogether. Time will tell on that one.

Watch for more updates…and remember-make veggies 2/3 of your plate!

I wouldn’t call this a resolution…

I am not one for making New Year’s resolutions because I don’t keep them. I am also not one for jumping on diet plans, eating plans, fad diets, and the like. Okay, I did use Atkins for a time years ago to lose some weight before going to Hawaii. It worked, but not for long and that was before I became a non-meat eater as well. I often wonder what all that bacon did to my arteries.

After me recent mini vacation with family I literally saw on the news, the day after returning, a short piece regarding one of those eating plans, but what caught my attention from the other room was the words arthritis and inflammation.

I did some research, talked about the concept and classes briefly in a post over at The Perpetual Student, and made the decision to see what (if any) help I might receive from these food changes. It is pretty involved explanation wise, so the link to the basic process can be found here. In very simplistic terms, you are what you put into your body and that stuff you cram into your mouth is directly related to how your body functions. This is not a vegan or vegetarian only plan, although fruit and veg is strongly encouraged as the bulk of your meals. The actual way of eating is not difficult at all, at least not for me, being someone who goes into this process eating a mostly plant-based diet anyway. It is however very time-consuming because eating healthy means no running to the cupboard for crap. Period.

To figure out how your body uses and responds to foods means that you have to get rid of most everything that doesn’t, or at some point hasn’t walked, crawled, swam or grown from a plant source. Wheat, dairy, peanuts, and all sweeteners are out for 3 weeks as well even though some of that falls into food categories we think of as healthy.

While encouraged not to add the sweet things back into your life after those 3 weeks, at least not as a separate food group, you do reintroduce the others and take stock of how your body feels. This isn’t about weight loss. It is about feeling better, and for me that means the arthritis taking less precedence in my life. Loosing weight will be a side benefit that will make me happy as well, if it happens.

That is a very simplistic overview but the guiding principle is that until you know what works and what doesn’t you can’t make meaningful decisions and/or changes about the foods you may want to put into your body.

I am on Day 3 and have actually noticed some changes. I have been keenly aware that sweets are my downfall and once I start, stopping is like a crack addict on withdrawal. I have not simply stopped eating cookies, or ice cream, or candy. I have taken all sweeteners out of my diet. That means reading labels compulsively. It also means thinking in chemical terms because a sweetener, rather natural or artificial, has roughly a million ways to be listed on food labels and almost all foods have a million different sweeteners in them.

I have read things about refined sugars and arthritis. I have also read things about dairy and arthritis. It seems like taking a step back from those aspects of my life for 3 weeks to make a decision about how my body feels is worth it. I never thought that wheat might be an issue, but taking that away isn’t killing me and who knows what I may discover.

Some positives so far:

I am eating really good, really fresh food.

I am trying new recipes and new food combinations that I would never have anticipated. These by the way are being created by my own brain and a few vegetarian cookbooks that have been neglected lately.

I am sleeping better.

I don’t wake up stuffy and congested every morning, sick or not.

I have stopped taking prescription RX for my arthritis. (I actually stopped that a few days before this whole process because my hands and other parts just aren’t as painful now that I am not working)

I switched to Aleve if I have pain. This never worked for me before but usually only 1 per day is enough now.

Today, for the very first time in YEARS, I have not taken any meds (RX or OTC) for my arthritis pain. That one is pretty major since up to this point I could not be awake for more than about 1 hour without needing something to dull the ache in my hands. It is almost 2 pm, I have used my hands as usual all day, been at the computer as well, and there is NO PAIN. That is monumental to me and worth never having refined sugar again if that proves to be the culprit, which I suspect.

Some negatives so far:

This process takes a lot of planning and a lot of prep work. It’s amazing how much you can eat but how that sort of initially consumes your days in planning and shopping and preparation.

Giving up wheat has by far been harder than giving up sugars. I am so hopeful that wheat will not be an issue when it returns because I really want a lovely, crusty multi-grain ciabatta roll.

ciabatta-multigrain

Really, that’s about it for negatives. I have access to a support blog and I feel lucky to be undertaking this process as someone who (with that sugar exception) ate pretty healthy going in. I read about many people struggling with these concepts and asking lots of questions geared toward side-stepping around the not-so-good-for-you foods. You can also see that this process could be really challenging if you work full-time or are trying to balance family meals and such. It’s not impossible, but we all desire the easy way. This takes some effort.

I am the universal skeptic and go into this with an open, but questioning, mind-set. We shall see what comes, and I will update as I go, especially if some weight loss just happens to go along with the process! I feel like this may be answering some questions for me, questions that I have had about my personal health issues. Like any lifestyle change, a big question will be if this process is sustainable for me and to what extent. I suppose that will hinge on how I feel in a few weeks and how I want to live the rest of my life.

No promises, but maybe a challenge that will lead to some other long overdue decisions and changes.

Wedding photo montage

Here’s a smattering of the fun and festivities from the son’s wedding.

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Thanks to Aralani Photography for the great photos!

Vacations: away and at home

I was off for a few days to much warmer parts south, but alas have returned to wintry weather again. To be honest sun and 75 degrees is a rather nice way to start 2014, but the reality of my home is that we are meant to have chilly temps, although no snow yet.

I went to San Diego with the oldest daughter and family, Miss G’s parents. Christmas trees just didn’t fit into the picture there and seemed truly abrupt in the midst of palms and cactus. It was however still the holiday celebration time so tinsel and pine and jolly old St. Nick was everywhere. While we don’t generally ever have a white Christmas, besides frost, in Washington, I’m just not sure that I could ever get used to sun and high temps during the holiday season.

It was a short trip, with the family set to return early this coming week. That means that I also have continued vacation as Miss G’s dad is not returning to work for some time yet so my grandma services are not needed right away.

While it was nice to get away and see an area of California that was new I just never feel quite right when I leave my little, well-known part of the world. I would like to believe I could be a traveler, although doing much travel without flying would be tough, things always just seem slightly off when you aren’t in familiar surroundings. Maybe that’s just me though. Does anyone else feel this odd, time-travel confusion when they leave home?

I was having some neck issues and riding in the car was tough so I know I missed seeing many things that would have made for some great pictures and memories. We did take a little drive to Coronado and I have decided that if I get some courage a trip back to SD will mean staying at the Hotel Del Coronado, shopping there, and spending hours looking at the amazing architecture while dreaming and scheming on how to raise millions to purchase a house on the island.

Miss G ended up with a horrible cold yesterday when I left. This is her heading to the Urgent Care clinic to have her ears checked. She just finished a round of antibiotics for a nasty ear infection and mom, the great nurse that she is, wanted to preempt another. At this point, just a nasty cold, but look at that face-

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I survived two flights, although it never gets any easier. Heading south I could be somewhat distracted by entertaining Miss G. Coming home I was on my own, but I don’t think the couple sitting next to me knew how terrified I was. I have decided however that sitting next to the window is not a good idea. It seems to add to the terror that I conjure up in my own head about crashing, flipping and seeing the ground (or water) rising up as we plummet down. I kept the window closed.

I have also returned with a rather irritating cough. It started with an obvious “I-want-you-to-know-I’m-here” force yesterday and just continued. Luckily the guy sitting next to me on the plane sounded worse than me so I don’t think I bothered him too much. I had my suspicions that it was all psychosomatic-my terror of flight manifesting in physical symptoms, however it hasn’t left me this morning.

Anyway, I have to get some food so grocery shopping is my first priority this morning. In other news, the October wedding pictures are ready! This means that I can post a few so watch for a second post later today, or soon at least.

I also have to figure out what to do with another full week of vacation. I think the beach is out for me here. Gray, icy, and windy just doesn’t compare to the warmth I just left.