I apologize for all the yin-yang posting lately; this comes rapid-fire on the heels of my last post. However, although it’s not quite the end of the month yet, I know I’ve got a busy week ahead, with school and work beckoning, so I figured I’d take the time to post now, while I can. The calm before the storm, and all that.
Looking back, especially over the past 12 months rolling, I’ve made some excellent steps in the right direction. Hell, I’ve taken some great steps in the past month. And I’m gearing up to take some more.
And I thought I’d share them publicly, to offer some sort of help to anyone to whom it could be…well, helpful. (That started out so strong, until it flopped lol).
Last year at this time, I was practically living on a spinal decompression table, I had talked a bit about my dietary/nutrition, stress management, and sleep hygiene. I had given myself stars for the natural detox sauna that is South Texas In The Summer and rehydration, although I think my good marks were more for my time spent outside than drinking much by way of fluids. My sleep hadn’t changed much yet (I was still way off), and my nutrition still left a bit to be desired. I had exercised by way of walking short distances, something that fell off my radar completely during fall, winter and spring.
…Which brings us to mid-summer.
Being in school for the program I’m in (which involves nutrition) has given me a great kick in the butt to start implementing some better strategies for myself. Teaching me about unfamiliar foods and reminding me of forgotten/neglected ones has been a major eye-opener.
I’ve taken some important steps lately.
One is that I got my blood work done. The results were a little scary, until I realized that yes, some liver enzymes could still be quite elevated even a week after hard exercise. Seriously? Yes.
Which implies–and it’s true–that I did indeed exercise! I did indeed join a gym in April of this year, and I’ve begun some weight-lifting, on machines with a controlled movement arc. It’s still quite possible to injure yourself using these, but the risks are lower because the weights are not free-weights. I’m building some muscle, dammit! I’ve been to the gym only a handful of times, but I figure that’s better than none. Yay!
My other blood test results, however, were concerning. Apparently I’m iron-deficient again, despite the fact that (TMI, sorry) I’m not visibly cycling every month. I’m cycling, just not visibly. The iron issue could indeed be related to chronic low-level systemic inflammation that runs hand-in-hand with the kicked-up autoimmune activation pattern I saw on those same blood test results.
(FunFact: the lipid panel isn’t just for checking for Metabolic Syndrome, cardiovascular disease, etc; it shows nonspecific markers for autoimmunity, too! And mine was pretty ghastly. I don’t feel any noticeably symptoms from it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there, making mischief underneath the surface. My next step there is to run a newish test through a specialty lab that checks markers that serve as the “hormones” of the immune system.)
I’ve begun to drink water again. For the first time in a long time. I haven’t drunk pure water in about 10 years; since then, it had always been some kind of flavored water like VitaminWater Zero from 2010-2013, after which I discovered SoBe and drank that, up until a year or 2 ago, when Costco (and everybody else) stopped carrying them. By then, VitaminWater didn’t taste that good to me anymore (more like a thin cough syrup), so I went for sweetened green tea–with organic sugar. Not the high-fructose corn syrup junk, but still sugar. And caffeine. Ouch!
These days, I “make” water by taking distilled/reverse-osmosis water (no heavy metals, chlorine, or fluoride) and add a concentrated trace mineral supplement (for now–I’ve already formulated a 3-month batch of custom mineral blend, which I’ll start as soon as it arrives), and a half-dropperful of stevia to give it a hint of natural sugar-free sweetness. I add a few ice cubes made with distilled water (our tap water is grungy). Everything is combined in an insulated stainless steel BPA-free thermos and then shaken to distribute everything evenly. Yay!
My goal is to drink at least 3 of these thermoses (they’re 40oz or 1192mL) per day, but so far I’ve only hit 2. But hey–I’m moving on it! 🙂
FunFact (and this is TMI, I’m sure): the minute I started doing that, my urine went from so cloudy I couldn’t see the bottom of the commode to totally clear, for the first time in 4 solid years.
My summer classes primarily focus on foods and their nutritional content. During these first few weeks, I’ve realized that I’m not getting nearly enough fiber. (More TMI, but I’ll share it here because I’m sure I’m not alone and this might help someone: my bowel regularity is OK, so I never thought my fiber intake was a problem. Turns out that fiber does a lot more than regulate bowels; it actually feeds certain types of good bacteria in your intestines that do all kinds of good things for you, like regulate your calorie absorption, regulate your immune system, and produce energy for you and your lower intestinal cells. Fiber also helps balance hormone levels, and lord knows my unopposed estrogen is too high, which I know is a genetic thing, but it’s a very common genetic thing and it can be extremely problematic.)
So, fiber it is. I had been following a mostly-Paleo diet that was very protein-centric. Paleo isn’t the bad guy here; there are lots of ways to get enough fiber and nutrients from a Paleo diet and you can totally do it in a healthy way. But, I was in denial about eating a bit too much junk and not enough vegetables and fiber.
Probably the easiest way to incorporate fiber back into my diet is to re-introduce beans/legumes back into my diet. I’ve followed a vegetarian diet before, where we did a lot of beans and brown rice, so I’ll just eat some of those vegetarian meals a few times a week. I can’t follow full vegetarian; I did that for a long time years ago and it could’ve killed me. My body type needs meat sources of food. But I can replace a few with some fiber-rich plant-based meals, for sure. I can also switch the admittedly-non-Paleo organic white California basmati rice for its organic brown counterpart.
I also realized that I need to consume more nutrient-dense foods. I already know I like kale chips, so it’s time to bring those back. I also found–and tried–and liked–sprouted flax/sunflower/sesame seed chips/crackers, so I’ll be sure to eat more of those. These kale chips and sprouted nut chip/crackers are expensive and I admit that I’m too lazy to make my own, so I’ll have them as a snack to spread them–and their expense–out across greater lengths of time.
I’ve begun to use CBD oil (the variety we found is sold through a compounding pharmacist and is totally THC-free), which reduces inflammation and helps me with sleep, focus, and sometimes histamine. I’ve got a sublingual variety and a roll-on external variety. I love both.
I’ve formulated myself several custom supplements. One is a multi-mineral (the one I mentioned above that I’ll begin putting in my water when it gets here), another is a blend that addresses all my hormone issues–adrenal and estrogen excesses, and another is antioxidants and detoxification, based on my detox-related genetics (such as MTHFR, as one example, although there are tons besides MTHFR that are just as important but not as publicly well-known).
I’ll keep sweating outside (I found out that sweat contains 20x the toxin levels found in blood, so it’s good to get that stuff out), and flushing it through with real, custom-mineralized water.
Another new development occurred when I went to a friend’s house and she offered me one of her homemade desserts from her freezer. This is a healthy dessert, and it tasted wonderful! It has (all organic where possible) cocoa, beet powder, almond flour, maca powder, a stevia packet, and I think a couple other things (I’ll have to get the exact recipe). You put all the powders in a little bowl with a small spoonful of gently-heated coconut oil and then let it sit for a couple minutes before pouring into a little cupcake-paper-wrapper and storing in the freezer.
This is important, because one of my major goals for this year is to incorporate more super-foods. These are foods with higher-than-usual concentrations of medicinal and regenerative and healing properties. Energizing, cancer-fighting, antioxidant, etc activities. I’ve eaten more super-foods before, and that’s when I’ve felt the best. They’re extremely nutrient-dense, too. Not all of them are exotic–hell, blueberries and pomegranate are considered super-foods. But there are some exotic ones (to us here in the US) like maca powder and whatnot, that are sometimes tougher to find here. (You’d think in the land of the free, the land of plenty, the multi-cultural melting pot of the world, that you’d be able to find practically anything you could imagine, but no. America is actually pretty boring. It’s all about shit fast-food joints and equally-shit big-box stores. And don’t forget the traffic. But I digress LOL.)
My partner is also learning NET, or Neuro-Emotional Technique, something that I’ve had done a long time ago (in fact, one of my earliest posts on this blog, 2 weeks after I started it in November 2008, is about my first experience as an NET patient – NET really does Free The Demons within and helps us heal from past pain). It sounds woo-woo to some, but the interesting thing is, there’s been some good research published on it thus far, even in extremely complex and enigmatic conditions like cancer. And the results have been pretty promising!
Last year around this time, I was also tired. Not as in sleepy; rather, I felt futile, pointless, insignificant, unimportant, muted, fatigued, overwhelmed, helpless, and so on, in my offline life. My online life was my saving grace there, which is probably a big part of why I’m here now. And honestly, things are much better. They ebb and flow and on some days I’m not totally convinced that things have improved, but I just have to remind myself that I had wanted to start school last year and couldn’t, and that I did this year, so obviously things might be starting to move in the right direction. It’s not over yet, but parts of it are starting to dissipate just a little, like heavy clouds in the sky considering breaking apart, letting just a bit more light in through an area of less density.
We’ll see what happens in the coming months. As usual, I’ll keep y’all posted 😉