Paleo Progress

So, I’ve been eating Paleo for 15 days. I made some adjustments. I added in oats in the morning, which is against Paleo. Again, I wanted to make this something I could stick to for the rest of my life. I’m not seeing drastic results because I already was eating pretty healthfully before. I feel like I’m getting in control of my health for the first time in my life. I’ve only lost 3lbs, but looking forward to slowly getting back to a size I’m comfortable with, which is only 10lbs away from my current weight. For the next 15 days, I’m going to commit to having oats every once in a while and being grain free most of the time. The reason I didn’t give up grains up completely is because my nutritionist cautioned me that I could develop sensitivities to it if I cut all gains from my diet. Plus, I was starving. The oats mitigated that. Now, I’ve gotten creative with my meals. I’m eating more vegetables than I ever have been. 
I’ve come to realize that I’ve had a life-long addition to sugar and desserts. For the past 15 days, I’ve cut down my sugar to only an apple a day, the occasional berry smoothie, and dark chocolate at night. Some days are better than others. I had 5 pieces of chocolate last night instead of just one. Today is a new day and I’m getting rid of all my chocolate except for the fancy stuff. Baby steps. For the next 15 days, I’m buckling down. I also don’t plan on baking anything ‘paleo’ that is grain free and sweetened with honey. Yep, honey counts too! I’m taking cutting off sugar cold turkey. I will allow myself fruits, but limit them. I didn’t even have dessert on my birthday. I’m not sure if I can give up dark chocolate, which the Paleo diet allows some of occasionally. I’m going to push myself to further reduce my red wine consumption. I went from 2 glasses a day to 1 or 1/2 a glass.

I’ve started working out 3 times a week. No excuses. Even if I’m in pain or I’m tired, I workout. I’ve noticed that it makes me feel better. It also has make me mentally stronger to handle my medical issues. I found workouts I can do at home and using my own body weight. No halloween candy for me! Actually, that chocolate isn’t up to par for me anyway. 

The Paleo Diet or, as I like to call it, the everything-free diet

In recent months I’ve begun experimenting with my diet to understand the link between the way I eat and my chronic health issues. I went Dairy-Free, except for goat cheeses and grass-fed butter. By doing this, I discovered I have an allergy to dairy. I started to show symptoms with goat cheese, so no more cheese for me. I know, you must think I’m crazy for giving up Brie, yogurt, milk, and ice cream. Haagen-Daaz Double Chocolate Ice Cream, I will forever mourn you! Instead I found coconut milk ice cream. It turns out I can eat a whole pint of this no problem. So, that became off-limits. During this time, I was also experimenting with going Gluten-Free then adding it back in to see if I had any symptoms. Well, I didn’t feel any ill-effects from adding it back in. Then a very wise friend of mine suggested I keep at it. So, Gluten-Free I became. I bought special bread, special oatmeal, and special pasta. I also decided to limit my sugar intake. I went from 160mg-200mg of sugar to 40mg from fruit. All was fine and dandy. I ate my Gluten-Free bread slathered with almond butter, bananas, and cinnamon every morning. 
Then, I started gaining weight. I needed to gain a few pounds, but not 15 extra pounds. So, I was looking for a lifestyle that would focus on limiting inflammation as much as possible while also adding an exercise plan that I could actually do. I wanted to be Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Sugar-Free (plus no added sugars), Processed Foods-Free, Corn-Free, Peanut-Free, and Dessert-Free (except for a piece of dark chocolate). I’m sure I’m forgetting a few other things. Why am I doing this to myself? Well, I want to live life as fully as possible. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. My pain management physician recently told me that I really have no other treatment options other than the medications I’m currently taking and seeing if surgery for my degenerative neck is a viable option. Surgery is a scary option because there are no guarantees. I might even have more pain! As for the medications, I hate taking them. I hate how they make me feel and I hate the side effects. Most of all, I hate that I have to rely on them. As I shared before, my wish is to have a better quality of life and live pain free. I need a change and fast!

After a bit of research online, I found the Paleo Diet. When I first heard of the Paleo Diet, I only remember that you couldn’t have peanut butter and I thought I could never do that! Well, I’ve been peanut-free for a few months and after reading up on the benefits, it seems like Paleo is the way to go. It perfectly fit with the type of intense anti-inflammatory lifestyle that I wanted to lead. I’m going to give it a solid try for 30 days and watch the results. The only exceptions I’ve made are: I am allowed a glass of wine a day (with skipping some nights, others have 1/2 or 1/4 of a glass), I’m still eating legumes, and I’m allowing myself a piece of dark chocolate. Pretty much, the diet centers on eating proteins and healthy fats at every meal. No grains, no dairy, no processed foods, no sugar. Only grass-fed meats. The only exception to dairy is that you can have a bit of grass-fed butter.

Today is day 3 and it is going well. I accidentally bought the ‘Original’ Cashew Milk, which has sugar and I went so far as to replace it with the unsweetened version. I also did a 4 1/2 mile hike today with the support of my boyfriend, John, for the first time in years. My neck started hurting and spasming like crazy 20 minutes in, which is when I would normally stop. I did something differently today: I kept going. And you know what? The pain and spasming subsided! After about an hour in, there was no more pain. I call that a success. I can’t wait to see how else my health can improve!

So, let me know what you think? Have you tried to change the way you eat to help with a health issue? Has exercise helped you through a health crisis? Sound off in the comments below! All of you dystonia friends, I would appreciate your imput along with your diagnosis.

Much Love,

Whitney

Pain Spike

I’ve been going through a pain spike ever since I got facet injections (steroid) shots. I wanted to share some things that help me recover quickly and get back to living life!

  1. Go through denile. Try to “suck it up” and continue life as normal for a while. After you do this for a while, it’s time to STOP and take care of yourself!
  2. Cancel all your commitments for the week
  3. Call your Doctor. Hopefully, you have built a good relationship with your doctor where they listen and really hear you when you say it’s bad.
  4. Treat your self. I bought a few things. A dress, a belt, and a purse. I eat lots of chocolate.
  5. Lay down. Watch mindless TV or binge on your favorite sitcom.
  6. Ignore phone calls. I don’t know about you, but when I feel like crud, I don’t feel like talking.
  7. Repeat any steps as necessary.
  8. Go slowly when getting back into normal life. Example: on your fist day back, just do a half day.

What tips would you suggest when you are going through a flare up?