Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Whole30, Day 24 Update

Holy moly.  If last week's lesson was to take me out of constantly thinking about me and food and how it's all affecting me, this week's is a big smack in the face (or in my left arm) to remind me that life is random and no matter how good a handle you may think you have on your health - we are ultimately not in control.

(Ironically, not being in control is also a theme expounded upon during Jurassic World.  Which despite being depressingly non-feminist, was super fun)

So this week's adventure: I got bursitis in my elbow and it got infected.  Lord only knows how on earth this happened.  I didn't even know what bursitis was (it's this), and then suddenly my left ( and dominant, of course) arm was in excruciating pain and I could no longer bend it.

But what?  This diet is supposed to REDUCE inflammation in my body!  WTF!  Also, this apparently happens mainly to elderly people...and I'm 30.

My sister's wise answer:  "Bodies do weird things sometimes."

Why did she get a tumor in her jaw a few years ago that ruptured and became infected?  Why did my mom need knee surgery when she never had a noticeable incident or accident to injure it?  Why do otherwise healthy, vibrant, fabulous people get cancer?

It doesn't mean throw in the towel and don't work hard on your health.  It's actually all the more reason to take an active role in your health and well-being.  That way, the things that diet, sleep, exercise, etc can help, prevent, or control are as taken care of as they can be.  As for the rest?  Bodies just do weird things sometimes.  The better your baseline health, the better shot you have at dealing with the weird curveballs.

It's been a frustrating and humbling few days.  I think Monday evening was one of my strongest moments in terms of temptation - lord, how I wanted tortilla chips, wine, and chocolate.  It was all I could do to keep from polishing off an entire bag of dates when I got home after the weirdness and pain and stress and frustration of the day.  I'm thankful Marc was home yesterday during the worst of it to help dress me and feed me and bathe me and try to give me perspective and to do pretty much everything for me.  I'm thankful to live in a country with access to antibiotics - this would totally have killed me on the Oregon Trail, but instead it's just a temporary injury that will hopefully get knocked the hell out as soon as possible.

Tempted though I've been (and man, being home alone from work is prime breeding ground for boredom-eating for me) during this little curveball, I've stuck to Whole30.  Buying a $5.00 grilled salmon at a grocery store Monday after Urgent Care and awkwardly eating it on the subway - holding it arm's length in my immobilized left arm while stabbing at it with the fork in my nondominant right hand - was worth it to stay on plan and probably hilarious to everyone around me.

I always get very angry and very frustrated when I get sick or injured and my best laid plans get knocked around.  It's good for my control-freak to be shaken up like this, as much as I hate it.  Once I get over it, it always helps when I'm humbled with a bit of perspective.  I don't need to eat through a straw for weeks on end like my sister, I don't need knee surgery like my mom, and I don't have frigging cancer.  Time to suck it up and heal and move on!

To that end...time to end this entry and ice my elbow.  I've got a 5 mile race to run on Sunday (and possibly a woman to help through labor between now and then!) in celebration of my hamstring's PT "graduation."  Though it's totally like me to get totally randomly injured before a race and just keep pressing on like an idiot, I'm going to not push it and just cross my fingers that come race day I'll be healthy and 5-mile ready.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Whole30, Day 18 Update

Just barely squeaking this into Week 3.  It's been a crazy one.  One of my two doula clients for this month had her baby on Tuesday, and it was an extremely intense almost-24 hours.  I stayed on track, Whole30 wise, but the circumstances surrounding the birth and everything else has shot Whole30 firmly into the backseat of my priorities!

I've been a little disoriented and my sleep has gotten off track a bit as a result.  I'm supposed to be in the "Tiger Blood" phase of feeling amazing, and I'm sure I will be once I feel like I'm back to normal.

I also just don't feel right writing about my little Whole30 adventure when just 48 hours ago I was in the midst of a much more intense life event for my wonderful client and her amazing family.  It feels quite small by comparison, but out of respect for her privacy I can't go into any details about the birth or how I've been processing it (let alone how she's been).

For now, I'm just happy to have posted something on the blog, as I'm trying to stay faithful to updating once a week.  I'm also quite proud to have stayed on the plan - never have I wanted a glass of wine more than when I was walking home on Tuesday night!  I will hopefully have something more substantive to say next week, and when my next client goes into labor I plan to be just as well prepared to take care of myself while taking care of her!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Whole30, Day 9 Update

Hello hello!  I'm actually writing a blog post within a week of my last one - will wonders never cease.  I'm hoping to finally jump back on board to consistency with this thing.

Consistency is actually one of the biggest gifts I think I've gotten from the Whole30 so far.  Strangely, I don't feel compelled to blog much about food - although I will obviously mention it!  Maybe that's where I should start:

First of all, I do not feel deprived - generally speaking.  The food I'm eating is so delicious and because I absolutely love to cook, I'm still feeling excited about the program because I'm learning so many new recipes and having to get much more creative than usual.  According to the Whole30 Timeline, I'm encroaching on the point where a lot of people have to really fight temptation to quit.  A big cause is often food boredom.  I'm feeling incredibly grateful that I'm not falling into that category!  The Whole30 book and their awesome recipes are a big part of that.

Now, did I almost dive head-first into the bowl of tortilla chips at my friend Gemma's 30th birthday party this weekend?  Did I want my friend Morgan's insanely amazing fig gin?  Did I cry inside a little because I had to pass up incredible Brooklyn farmer's market cheese my friends Aaron and Lu brought for our Tony Night Extravaganza?  Do I miss chocolate and wine almost as much as I miss my nephews and niece?

Yes.

HOWEVER - my enjoyment of the program, excitement of the benefits I know I will reap, and my desire to really, truly, honestly complete it are all stronger than those things.  It's pretty amazing to acknowledge that there is a force in my willpower stronger than chocolate.  Brave new world.

So what does consistency have to do with this?

Because I've had to be so completely on-top of meal planning, what I'm eating, label-reading, and so consciously in tune with my body (such as nixing eggs - sadface), I've naturally fallen back into good habits that I've tried to maintain for so long.  The Whole30 program is also huge on the importance of sleep - and even if it wasn't, my lack-of-sugar crashes on Wednesday and Thursday were epic enough that sleep just shoved its way to the front of the importance line - and so I've been guarding my sleep even more fiercely than usual. (For those who know me well - I know it's hard to imagine me guarding my sleep more fiercely than usual, yet it has happened)

My body has always naturally been early-to-bed, early-to-rise, but a lot of things will often conspire to get in the way of that.  This past nine days, I have been consistent with that, which has lead to more time in the morning, which has lead to a consistent morning routine, which I always pine for but so often just completely suck at maintaining.  I've blogged/whined about it more times than I can count.

My mornings are now open enough that I can fit in all of the stuff that I both need and want to do for my health:  mobility work (for physical therapy), meditation, journaling, finally becoming consistent in taking my supplements, and dry brushing.  Then by the time my day starts, I actually feel settled instead of rushing around like a maniac and barely getting out the door in time!

Overall, I feel like with Whole30, rather than putting the emphasis on sad, scary deprivation, the emphasis has turned to my overall health.  It's been really awesome so far, even with the crazy brain-fog sugar crashes, and I'm really excited to keep going.  I can already tell it's having a huge, huge impact on my overall physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Whole30: Day 1

First of all, I can't believe it's been a month since I've written.  For shame!

The good news is, May was a pretty awesome month overall.  I bought a one month unlimited new student special at Y7, a fabulous hot yoga studio just upstairs from Karma Kids Yoga.  (Can't beat that for convenience!)  Extra yoga, more running with my physical therapist and on my own, a race to look forward to at the end of June (my first in over 18 months!!!) and a gloriously long Memorial Day weekend in PA to visit Marc - I can't find much to complain about!

Except...

Like every other person in this country, I have a funny relationship with food.  I was a deeply, deeply picky eater (my poor mother) as a kid.  Although I also had allergy testing as a tween that revealed some strong allergic reactions to corn, wheat, milk - you name it - I never made an effort to cut any of these foods out.  I honestly would have subsisted only on carrots and celery if I had done that because I was just so. damn. picky.

I didn't start making a conscious effort to eat vegetables or connect the dots between not just food and weight but food and health until my early 20's.  Becoming a runner and a yogi at that time got me more into cooking and my sister's forays into the culinary world helped expand my previous palate of cheese-chocolate-noodles. It didn't necessarily help my massive addiction and emotional attachment to chocolate, but you know - baby steps.  I flirted briefly with vegetarianism after moving to New York and starting my vinyasa yoga teacher training...and then I started dating Marc LeVasseur and was reminded that I am a carnivore for life!

I've gone through different phases, like everyone else, when it comes to healthier eating.  Sometimes I'm more in sync with it than others, sometimes I'm more motivated than others.  Pre-wedding or during a yoga teacher training = High motivation.  Laid out by an injury during a polar vortex an unable to do any of the physical activity that makes me feel strong and healthy = Low motivation.

I think it's because May was an overall good month, health-wise, that I'm inspired to take on this dietary experiment with myself.  As I wrote in my last entry, I've struggled with eczema and skin issues my whole life.  While switching over to more homemade products has been helping, it's also made me pay closer attention to it and to how I feel overall.  After a wine-and-chocolate-and-popcorn-and-you-name-it bender of a Memorial Day weekend, I felt pretty crappy and my skin was furious with me.

As fate and Facebook would have it, I noticed a random post from my fantastic former yoga teacher and current CrossFit guru Keith about the less-than-healthiness of legumes.  I've never understood why legumes were "vilified" by some nutritional camps, and when I asked him about it he provided a link that led me to reading about Whole30 - which I recalled my good friend Gemma committing to do for the month of May.

After reading more about it, I was hooked on the idea.  It's not permanent, and it's not exactly a diet.  It's a 30-day nutritional reset.  It's pretty damn intimidating to look at the rules and what not to eat, so let's start with what I will be eating the next 30 days:  Lean meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, nuts, spices & seasonings.

Now, the list of what I will not be eating:  grains of any kind, legumes (this includes peanuts and soy), dairy (!!), alcohol (!!), and added sugar of any kind, including honey and agave (!!!!).

There's a lot of stuff I love deeply on that list above - which is why this isn't forever!  The purpose of this re-set is to basically learn more about myself and how food affects me - physically, psychologically, and emotionally.  Physically, the factors that the above foods on the "no" list can adversely affect are digestion, skin (big one for me), energy level, sleep, and general inflammation.  Psychologically and emotionally, it forces me to detach from the habit of turning to a glass of wine or a brownie (or as so often happens, two or three or five) to unwind at the end of a long day, or to eat all the mini peanut butter cups in the Karma Kids fridge (sorry, Shari!) during that 3:00 crash because I need/deserve/whatever a mid-day treat.  The habit of chocolate with every meal (yep, even breakfast.  I'm a master of chocolate chip oatmeal variations).

This stuff is honestly a big part of my identity.  I'm passionate about good wine, I love to cook, and it's something Marc and I both love and bond with together (we went to France on our honeymoon specifically for this reason!)  After life as such a picky kid, it's exciting and liberating to be at a point where I'll try almost anything new and like almost anything that's put in front of me.  And when you live in New York City, the culinary possibilities are endless!

But as I said - this is not forever, and it's not a diet.  It's a venture to improve my health, my relationship with food, and to allow me more awareness of how what I eat affects me.  When I reintroduce corn, does that cause my skin to flare up?  When I reintroduce gluten, how will that affect my digestion?  I'm curious to see if my hamstring (which has been healing really well thanks to physical therapy) feels better at the end of the thirty days too.  I've had a couple medical professionals recommend I eliminate one thing or another from my diet but it all sounded like too much deprivation to me and just not worth it.  I guess I'm just at a point now - maybe it's because we recently turned 30, maybe it's because more people in our circle of friends and family have started to have serious health concerns - where having the information is worth it.  Information on my health trumps dessert.  (And I can honestly tell you that is something I never thought I would say!)

So, here we go.  Day #1 of 30.  I'm nervous and excited.  I'm curious how bad the sugar crash/cravings will be.  I'm wondering how I'll do at social events without alcohol.  But I suppose all will be revealed.

More information about the Whole30 can be found here, and I'll be one of those annoying people posting food pictures on Instagram at yoginiannie.  (I sort of already am one of those people, but this month it'll have way less cheese and chocolate!)  Not every meal, because - good lord.  But I'll be there!  Anyone care to join me?


...anyone?