Wednesday, January 27, 2016

GAPS update and other musings.

So, I've been weighing myself daily, and today, my weight was at 182.8 lbs.  That means, since the beginning of the year, and in spite of cheating a couple of times (popcorn and other things while at my Nephew's wedding, plus a couple of Breve Lattes and that one time I already wrote about), I have lost 10.8 lbs.

Here is my update picture:
My exercise clothes are fitting better. I'm not sure
the change is all that noticeable, though.

I'm getting to the place where I have no more excuses--I have to stick to this if I want healing! I'm working on being better with following the diet.  I also got behind on my fermentation, so I spent a couple of hours last night putting up some new ferments: beets, and carrots.  I plan to put up some sauerkraut later this week as well, since I'm down to half a jar. Getting a food processor for Christmas has to be the best gift EVER!

The ferments and most of my food processor. That one quart of carrots looks darker because I used sauerkraut juice to prime it for fermentation.
I finally started walking the dogs again today, as well--It was derailed because of sickness.  Being sick during the first week of school is never fun. When you accidentally drink left over tea in a travel mug you forgot at the office, you end up giving yourself several more days of coughing.  I was almost over the cough when I re-infected myself, too! I'm just glad that the fever didn't return as well.

So, I have been hacking and coughing up a storm, and if the cough doesn't go away soon, I will have to go back to the Dr. about it.  I'm really hoping it doesn't come to that.

This last weekend was the wedding of another of my nephews.  His bride seems really nice, although I didn't get to talk to her all that much.  I did, however, get to spend time with my siblings, which was a wonderful, wonderful thing.  I wish that all of them could have come, but I understand having family and kiddo obligations.

Sister Selfie--It was a joint effort. I couldn't figure out how to push the button, so my sister did that while I held the phone.

My outfit for the wedding.  I'm so glad for fashion advice!
Watching my sister dance with her son at the reception, I realized that this is an experience I will probably never have.  It is part of the cross of following Church teachings on sexuality, and I embrace that.  It is just a tiny bit bitter-sweet, even as I rejoice in my nephew's joy and my sister's transition to a new stage of life as well.  Every yes has a no embedded in it, and my lack of children means that I'm free for other things.  I look forward to seeing where the Lord will lead because of my obedience.

In the mean time, I color!  (This is a page from the coloring calendar I got for Christmas!)
Procrastination at its finest!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

When the Going Gets Tough (PHFR #5)

So, I'm currently working on stage 4 of the intro diet, and I'm trying to accelerate the process so that I can be on full GAPS by the time I go to Kansas City for one of my nephew's wedding.  So, the add-ins are accelerating, and I'm afraid that I'm kind of mixing and matching the additions.  But, I am still trying to go as slow as I can.  No matter what, I'm going to switch to full GAPS when I get on the plane to Kansas City next Friday.  It is just too hard not to be on full GAPS while travelling. I may cycle back and do the intro again this summer.  We shall see how I feel, and how my gut is doing.

In the meantime, I've lost about 8 lbs. since starting the Intro. I suspect that it will slow down/stop now that I'm adding more foods, but it is still nice to see that at least some of the weight is coming off.  I've decided to do pictures for every 10 lbs I lose, so hopefully I can give you another picture of what I look like in a week or two.

Some observations about so far--one of the things that are recommended to help eliminate some of the die-off symptoms is a mixture of honey and ghee taken in small quantities over the course of the day.  As I look toward (hopefully) getting back into running, I'm thinking that this mixture will work really good as a goo substitute on long runs, especially if I add a bit of salt to it.  I just have to figure out what to put it in, as my 4 oz jars are a little heavy to put in my pockets during a run.

Now, on to PHFR (Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real through Like Mother, Like Daughter, in case you are wondering)


The sun setting over some nearby open fields.
So, I've been walking every day with the puppies since we got back from Christmas, and this is what greeted me on one of those walks. Little Miss Sassy Pants is still learning not to pull on the leash, but we are all getting the hang of walking daily.  I'm finding that my feet do better in the evening than in the morning, so I've changed our time.  It has been really nice because I was able to run about 1/4 of a 2 mile walk earlier this week.  I'm hoping and praying that the trend continues.  It feels SOOOO good to run--my body has really missed it.


This is MUCH better than our old couch, Mom!
So, I was able to buy a new couch set from Craigslist about a week ago (for only $70, too!).  The dogs love it, and so do I!  It is incredibly comfortable, although I really don't think my living room is big enough for a couch, loveseat, and an ottoman.  I'm not thrilled with the upholstery, but it is very sturdy, and very comfortable, so I'm planning on getting some sort of couch cover for it in the near future.
Daisy enjoying the couch and the quilt
I am currently working on.

Space wise, It helps that I don't currently have a TV. That frees up some of the placement issues.  I will figure it out eventually, but I need to think on it some more.


My lunch today: Fermented Ginger Carrots, 2 GAPS pancakes made from the linked recipe, and some Smucker's fruit and honey spread to put on the pancakes.  You can tell I was running late this morning because I didn't spread the jam on my pancakes before leaving home.

Now that I can make something other than soups, I'm working on making sure I bring my lunch every day.  It is less expensive, and it keeps me on track with GAPS. I does make for some weird combinations, though.

I have a full set of  4 mugs like this (purple, orange, blue, and red), and I lost the purple one during training this week.  Thankfully, a friend picked it up, and I will be getting it back.  I lost a mug last semester that I was really sad about. I need to put my name and office # on the bottom, I think.
I'm not the only forgetful one.
 While I'm forgetful of my mugs, my students keep forgetting their thumb drives in classrooms after giving their speeches.  I'm starting a collection of them here in my office.  I'm not sure what I will do with them if they don't get claimed.  Some of them are really nice, too.  If I remember right, both of these are 16 GB.


With the start of the spring semester around the corner (only 5 days left!!!), I'm scrambling to get everything done that I need to.  Grades for my winter-mester course, cleaning up my office in preparation for the spring, and making copies of everything for the first week are at the top of my list.  The race to the beginning is going full tilt in my world.
Once I'm finished grading my mini-mester, I have to deal with this mess--all of the extra handouts from last semester. Filing is never a high priority until right before the next semester.
The animals are both much needed and sometimes unhelpful distractions.
I still love them to pieces.
The cats helping me grade. Candles and Tea make
everything more enjoyable.
Now, if only I could keep them from hurting themselves or the furniture.

I suspect this gash is the product of some rough-housing that got
a bit rougher than usual.  Sassy is on antibiotics, and I will never
know for sure, since it happened while I was at Mass.
The real reason I need slip-covers--dogs are hard on furniture. Sassy is the culprit for this, and it was the day after she had gotten a bath. I've resigned myself to never having a clean dog: she likes digging too much, and she is all white.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

"Cheater, Cheater, Pumpkin Eater..."

Yesterday was not a good day for me, at least in one respect.  You see, I went to my office to get some work done, and in the process, I ended up eating a WHOLE BOX of cookies.  Yep, I ate a whole box of these puppies.  It is what I get for not cleaning out my office stash before I left.  Eating them was its own punishment, as it made me feel yucky the rest of the day, but it also means that I'm at least going to have to extend my time on the introduction part of GAPS in order to get the results I want (specifically the first phase).

The diet that I have started (and totally blew yesterday), GAPS, begins as an elimination diet. You start with bone broth and tea with a little bit of honey, then add veggies cooked in the broth, then the meat that you used to make the broth.  You stick with just this for a few days, while also adding probiotics (juice from fermented veggies and whey from yogurt that has fermented over 24 hrs--I'm not doing the whey because of my allergy issues, though) , then add egg yolk and ghee in the second phase (and full on yogurt/kefir, if you are doing dairy).

Third phase, you get to actually add the fermented veggies, not just the juice from the fermentation, scrambled eggs, and avocado.  You can also make pancakes using nut butter, squash and eggs (I've had them before, and they are actually really good!).

There are more phases, and you can read about all of them here, but basically, you get the picture.  The whole point is to make digestion easier for your body, while giving your body the building blocks it needs to heal itself....and cheating, like I did yesterday, undermines all of that.  So, I'm back on the wagon: I no longer have anything in my office that I can cheat with anyway.

I know that, if I can get through to the third phase, I will be fine, as my food choices will open up wildly, but these first days are a bit brutal.

Even so, I think that God has a particular sense of humor.  I tend to use Jennifer Fulweiler's Saint generator at the beginning of the year for a saint's life to focus on for the year.  This year, my saint is St. Wolfgang of Ratisbon. Among other things, he is the patron saint against stomach diseases!  I'm not sure my food allergies/digestion issues strictly count, but it is funny that he is the person who came up, not once but twice (I forgot his name the first time, and used the generator again a few days later--seeing it again jogged my memory)!

At least I'm walking my dogs daily, like I wanted to, so far!  I'm currently on a 4 day streak, and I'm pretty proud of that.  I even got up early to do so, which is quite a feat for this particular night owl.

The sunrise was rather pretty today.
The dogs are loving the walks, and they are slowly but surely figuring out that we don't go anywhere until they calm down.  Sassy is also learning not to pull on the leash, which is also nice. Sometimes I think Ginger is helping her to learn the way things work.  Now, if only I could get them to understand that getting their leash on doesn't always mean a ride in the car--they tend to make a bee-line for the car door in the morning!

Oh, I should mention that Ginger (the original Dig-dog) has had a new sister since right before Thanksgiving.  Meet Sassafras (Sassy, for short).  

This is her the day we got her. She now has more brown
 spots that are showing up on her coat.

Sassy decided that she didn't want to be near the other dogs
on the way home, so she crawled onto the luggage.

Another picture of her, just because she was being too cute for words.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A New Type of Pilgrimage

As many of you know, I was planning to walk the Camino again this year in celebration of my 40th birthday (my birthday present to myself), but my body has had other plans....I'm currently able to walk/hike about 1-2 miles pain free, and that is about it. That is also without a full backpack, although trailing behind 2 energetic dogs on leashes can have their own challenges.

So, the focus this year is to get healthy.  My sister posted an article about choosing a word to focus on for the year, and in going through the process, the word health is what came up for me.  I am actually trying to low-ball my goals, as I'd like to actually meet and/or exceed them. I'm not sure that all of these will be possible, but I'm willing to go all out to do so.

Me, Yesterday before walking the dogs. Weight: 193.6 lbs.
When I talk about health, I'm thinking not just physical, although that is part of it. I'm also looking at mental, emotional, spiritual....the whole gamut. With that in mind,  There are 2 major things I have decided to do this year, and a few minor thing that I hope to be able to incorporate.

First, I've started the GAPS diet, and am currently working through the intro diet.  I've done this before, and in the process lost quite a bit of weight, as well as felt one million times better, and that was in spite of not following it very well.  My goal this time around is to fully follow the protocol in the hopes that I can curb some of my food allergies.  I'm sick of having to play 20 questions in order to eat at just about any restaurant.  It won't be a permanent thing, but I'm hoping that, in following this diet for 18 months to 2 years, I can get healthy enough to add back some of my favorite foods again.  Losing some weight will also, I hope, alleviate some of my foot pain, as they will have less stress on them.  At the same time, I'm not expecting the dramatic weight loss I had last time--one of the hazards of weight yoyo-ing is that you lose weight slower the next time around.  I will be happy if I can even lose 10 lbs, but am healthier inside and out.

Related to that, I don't plan to go back to my bad eating habits afterwards.  This is what happened the last time, and why I am where I am right now.  I'm not sure what my new normal will look like, but it isn't going to be what I was doing before I started yesterday.

Second, I'm going to walk my dogs every day (and maybe eventually run with them). I'm sick of not being able to run, hike, etc.  And, the only thing I can think of to get to that point again is to walk until my feet begin to hurt and go home.  This currently means a little less than a mile each time.  I'm hoping, by the end of the year to be able to run a 5k (3.1miles).  I will settle for being able to walk that far.

This also helps my mental/emotional health, as it helps me to clear my head and gives me quiet time to think.

As for the small things I plan to do, I want to volunteer somewhere here in town, I want to join a book club that isn't work related, I want to start dating, and I want to not bring any work home from my office.

I have decided that this year of pursuing health is not so much a new year's resolution, but a pilgrimage--a path of discovery of what works best for me to grow, to change, to follow God's will.  While eating weirdly and exercising isn't necessarily thought of as a spiritual exercise, taking care of our bodies, which are the temple of the Holy Spirit is.  I'm looking forward to what the coming year will bring, as it will be an adventure, even if it doesn't take me exactly where I expect to go.  That is the fun of a pilgrimage...your journey is always different that what you expected it to be. :-)