Monday, October 20, 2014

Getting Started

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Heaven

Well, I had a really great plan in place today. I was going to start my new "regimen" of menu planning / eating. I started the day with a smoothie, my favorite Blueberry Peanut Butter Smoothie. I added a heaping scoop of Metamucil to that today because I'm on a slew of meds to help control the pain and swelling in my arm. I was told it was arthritis, but my physical therapist believes it is a herniated disc. Either way, things are rather slow going in the bathroom, hence the Metamucil! Sorry, TMI. ;-) I added a piece of Trader Joe's Daily Bread toast with a little butter.

For lunch I was planning on making this salad, which I believe I can get my boys to eat with me. But...we ended up at Taco Bell... What to eat? What to eat? I ended up with a Chicken Cantina Bowl. It's like something you might get at Chipotle but not quite as delicious, and oddly enough, with fewer calories. The total calorie count for the meal is 490 (as posted on the menu). I usually would ask for no sour cream and guac on the side, but of course I forgot. So I ate about 2/3 of the salad. It has grilled chicken, romaine, black beans, white rice, guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo. Not bad, but minus the rice and the sour cream I could've saved myself a lot of calories!

Then I woke up from my little afternoon nap, (I was up since 1 a.m. because somehow the Valium I've been prescribed as a muscle relaxer is giving me insomnia!!!) and I had two peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, which are deeeevine! And a mug of warm apple cider. Not exactly on the meal plan for a healthy day. Whoops!

Soooo good!
So, here's the recipe for these beauties! I love this recipe because it's easy and everything just goes right into the mixer. There's so much less mess! I substitute chocolate chips for the peanut butter chips, but you could use butterscotch or white chocolate, or whatever suits your fancy. When I'm really feeling indulgent I'll chop up a cup of dark chocolate and toss that in instead of the chips. It creates gooey chocolate strips throughout the cookies and they taste like peanut butter cups, but better. Yeah, it's possible. You should definitely try that.

For dinner I have a lovely crock pot full of turkey chili. Just bell pepper, onions, garlic, ground turkey, chicken stock, and white beans, and of course, lots of chili seasoning. YUM! My house smells so good! Hopefully tomorrow will be healthier!

Here's to peanut butter cookie heaven!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Finding Healing

Over the last couple weeks I took part in a "Heal Your Gut" bootcamp Facebook group. Through the week I learned a lot about digestion, how and why my gut is unhealthy, and the beginnings of how to heal it. Lydia, the leader/teacher of the group, has enlightened me to many new ideas about how my digestion affects the rest of my body, and what kinds of foods and medicines may be reponsible for my aches and pains. You can read more at her blog Divine Health from the Inside Out.

There is so much I never knew about this subject and so much I still have to learn. From what I can tell, at the most basic, one of the biggest and most damaging reasons for my GI troubles are antibiotics I took when I was young (sometimes I would have 4-5 courses in a year), and a highly processed diet. In any case, an elimination diet is suggested to help me discern which foods are likely causing pain and inflammation. Two to four weeks of only a handful of foods is daunting!

What I've notice about myself is that I like to jump into a new diet/food regimen with both feet and then after a week I find myself giving up. Because I acted on a whim I fail to stick it out in the long run. Ugh! I hope to break this cycle and my plan is to spend an appropriate amount of time researching and preparing before I begin an elimination diet. Beginning in January, after all the holidays and temptation that I may or may not be able to resist, I will do the Whole30 elimination diet. My hope is that this will give me a good basis to start figuring out what is going on in my body.

So what am I doing now? I decided that since I've got a few months before I start the Whole 30 I am going to really work hard to eat healthy foods and eliminate bad foods from my diet so that the elimination diet isn't so sudden and difficult to adapt to. I would like to "crowd out" the bad (processed, sugary, fried, heartburn inducing) foods as I add good, whole, healthy foods to my diet. Obviously this takes planning and preparation, which can sometimes prove to be difficult. I've made a template for myself for now and it looks like this: Breakfast -- Sandwich with eggs, thin slice cheese, light + fiber english muffn, handful of spinach OR a smoothie with lots of greens and fruit; Lunch -- Big Salad with seeds, nuts, dried fruit; Dinner -- Beans, any way, any form, just get them in! Plus a serving of cooked veggies. This is loosely based on a Dr. Fuhrman style menu, getting as much greens and beans in as I can.

I think overall the most important goal is to eat whole, real foods that heal instead of hurt. I'm still learning which foods fit this criteria, and, which ones really fit that bill for me in particular. I'm sure my understanding of which foods those are will change as I go along this journey but I look forward to becoming more and more healthy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

So Long!

My Baby started preschool!!!
Wow! What a year it has been. I can't believe it's been that long since I've posted, but alas! It has been a year. So much has happened, good and bad, but what I know most is that I spent much of the time feeling sad and sorry for myself, and really not caring about what I was eating. This of course led to some weight gain, which led to feeling sorry for myself, which led to emotional eating, and so on and so forth. Obviously not good. I must say I had bursts of courage and hope when I would try and force myself back into healthy eating habits and exercise, but nothing stuck.

That is until the beginning of last month, September, when my wonderful and amazing husband had had enough. You see, when I don't eat healthfully, neither does he and his pants were starting to fit too tight just like mine. He decided enough was enough and we were going to get healthy. It really helps to have someone to push you and encourage you. We spent all of last month tracking calories, exercising, and shedding pounds. It was amazing! He lost 10 pounds in just 5 weeks, and I lost 7 in 4 weeks.

I literally felt like a weight had been lifted and I could see through the fog.

In February of this year, we moved into a new house, so exciting and lots of room to move! But a week later I ended up in the hospital with unexplainable chest pain. It wasn't my heart. They told me it was heartburn, possibly stress related.  They prescribed me heartburn meds. When I was finally able to get to see a GI Dr. he said the same thing, but ordered an ultrasound of my abdomen. My gallbladder is full of stones, they told me. But that's not what was causing the pain so I also had an endoscopy done, which revealed Barrett's Disease in my esophagus and gastritis. They gave me more heartburn medicine and a follow up appointment 3 months later. I really wanted to try and control the heartburn through right eating and exercise, but was told it probably wouldn't work and once Barrett's is present I needed to be on the meds. So I ate. Whatever I wanted. Whenever I wanted. I told myself I was being good, but as I look back I was eating emotionally. I was sad that I had a "disease" and since I was on meds I basically gave myself permission to eat whatever passed my way.

Well, when Josh made his decision to be healthy he really decided for both of us and it helped me get out of the funk I was in. I was doing really well, feeling like I can do this and who cares if I'm sick, I will be healthy! I found some really good online resources about healing your gut and all the other parts of your body that can be affected by an unhealthy GI system. I decided to go off my meds and work on my eating as hard as I can.

Then last week I started having terrible pain in my shoulder and neck. I went twice to the chiropractor but it kept getting worse. I finally went to my primary care physician and he had an x-ray done. Apparently I have arthritis in my spine. What the heck!??! That's all I could think. I'm 33 how does this happen?! I felt like I'd been hit with a ton of bricks. Just when I had decided to get healthy and I'd been exercising for a month straight and getting more into I can barely move. I'm laid out on the couch for two days. The meds my doctor gave me for pain and to relax my muscles barely take the edge off. Back to sad and feeling sorry for myself... Oh yeah, and emotional eating.

Once I worked through the feelings of overwhelm and injustice, I remembered that the book I bought about healthy digestion has an entire section about arthritis. Maybe one does affect the other. Maybe I've been preparing for this for the last month. Maybe God already knew this was coming and He's got a plan and a purpose.

My sister reminded me of these verses:
Isaiah 58:8
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Psalm 107:20-22
He sent out his word and healed them;
    he rescued them from the grave.
21 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
    and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
22 Let them sacrifice thank offerings
    and tell of his works with songs of joy.

In our Bible study this morning she gave this verse:
I Peter 4:12-13
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

So I rejoice. I will be on a new food journey: learning to eat foods that heal my body. And I will be on a new prayer journey: learning to pray for healing in my body.  I hope to learn a lot along the way. I hope to share all that I learn so that the glory of Christ may be revealed in the ordeal and trial.