Wednesday, October 4, 2017

It takes so little to be your best self.

I think about my body every day. I wake in the a.m. and I assess. How do I feel? Am I energized, buoyant? Do I feel rested and sharp? Or do I feel sluggish? I look at myself in the mirror. Have I noticeably lost more weight? Have I visibly slimmed down a few more lbs? Or do I look more bloated than the day before? I have a set of goals and with a little daily mindfulness, I am not only meeting those goals, I'm even exceeding them. 

All of this ties into my habits, my diet, my activity level, the supplements I take. Everything I do on a daily basis has a result, and those results must be assessed if I'm to maintain a mindful increase in general health and strength and a decrease in weight and illness. I think very carefully about EVERY food or substance I ingest. I eat with a purpose. I make it pleasurable, to be sure, because I'm a good cook, but it matters what I eat and what goes into my body. Food is information and it tells your body what to do to you, or for you. I choose the option of having it do something for me... Every single day. 

I work out and stay active in a myriad of ways, not just in the gym, but also in daily life. I can walk for hours now. I fuel myself based on what I have planned. If I'm going to the gym and know I'm going to lift really heavy, I don't eat at all before and wait hours after my workout to consume anything but a little protein drink. Then, in the afternoon, I feast on higher protein, lots of veg and fat. Two days later, I have more muscle, and am slimmer. This simple equation: Lift heavy-move often-rest-eat with purpose= the healthiest me of my life. I've conquered the Lyme, I've slowed (or perhaps even stopped) most of the RA, and I’ve slowed the clock in many ways. I'm almost 55 and am told I look barely 40.  My classmates in school were talking about how awful it was working with 50-year-old "old ladies" and I spoke up and said "Hey!!! I'm older than THAT!" They said "yeah, but you're like us, you aren't an old lady..."
I'm altering my cognition, hopefully lengthening my telomeres and am consistently happy as a little clam as I've also regulated my neurotransmitters with this routine and a few supplements. 

I get that food is about pleasure. I get that it can be the best part of a communal situation. But the fact that so many of us equate healthy whole food with deprivation, and it's only when eating food that is literally poison that we mentally feel we're not missing out or punishing ourselves, in a world filled with illnesses caused by exactly those foods... that is an astounding reality to me. That we would purposefully shove toxic, damaging poison into ourselves 3, 4, 6 times a day, and do it day after day knowing full well that it will shorten our lives and cause us to live a significant portion of said lives as medicated, miserable middle aged patients, just leaves me gobsmacked. I will never go back to the standard American diet. Ever. I feel amazing. I'd love to see everyone around me reach down and pull up his or her best self as well. If I can do it, anyone can!!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Death takes a stroll

Death stood beneath the brilliant sun, his eyes squinting against the glare from the storefront window, an aura of scintillating colors, grabbing greedily at the spectrum around it and throwing off sparkles in violet, pink, blue and a few other colors not visible to the human eye. He rolled his head back and let the sun strike his skin like hot water under a shower. Most people think of night, dark, shadows and shades when they think of Death, but truth be told, he loved the sunlight. Basked in it like a reptile, a slow smile creeping across his ageless face. He looked much as you would assume Death to look, dry, bland, a will o the wisp dressed in dun. Yes, all of this was true. But, look closer and there was a shifting light in his eyes that belied humor and self-deprecation. Death was not joyless, merely weighted by the burden of shifting souls to and fro for millennia. And if you really dug deep, Death possessed a sensuality that few ever tasted. Held in reserve for a select few who might receive the real aspect of all that he was. Death was born of war, in blood and pain. War and cleansing fire consumed the flesh and death was born, sprung fully formed to cull forth the souls of the bodies that littered the field of the first race on earth during their first time of conflict. The trial run, he liked to call it. Giants with clubs and an inability to get along, much like the children occupying this global tenement now, as a matter of fact. On that first morning, Death stood up on shaking coltish legs and moved into the fray, reaching out his hand and pulling the wriggling life force out of body after body, until none were left alive to tell the tale afterward. He was young and overzealous. He’d learned to moderate, now. There was so much blood on that first morning that the ground had been stained with it ever since. Red clay they called it. God, sighing, reached his hand in and scooped out a lump and with deft fingers and a whisper of intent, created Adam and Lilith, and started again. Lilith. Now there’s a story best told over tequila and tears. Death had only told one other being about Lilith and he, Karma, his best friend and sometimes lover. She never judged him for that time with the first demon. But then, Lilith wasn’t born a demon, she simply took the free will that their father allowed them and ran with it. They’d had their best times when she was naughty, and Lilith knew how to be very naughty indeed.

Adam had wailed and wept over Lilith, her betrayals and the damage she did. She had grown tired of his childlike nature and had begun to daydream about him disappearing. Death hadn’t been visited on this new race yet and murder was not even a twinkle in anyone’s eye at the time. Lilith was wild and bored and didn’t have the tools to deal with her burgeoning emotions. God called Samhael to him and told him to go to Lilith and tempt her into the forbidden garden, the one with the tree of the fruit of knowledge, to allow her to grow in strength and faith, to mature into his good and faithful servant because trials seemed to work better than reward for this. Now, most people think of the apple when they think of this tree, but no; It was a bitter fruit, shaped like a human heart and it’s juice a foul brew that no one in their sane mind would willingly eat. And the garden? Not a paradise, no sir. It was cold and shadowed. Drizzle fell on a bleak landscape where no sun ever fully penetrated, and there were nasty creatures in there guarding those plants. These were the materials God had pulled into a fifty-acre space, raw materials for his projects. Some failed, never to come to fruition, some alive and kicking happily out in other parts of the world, like the platypus and the pterodactyl. There were a few dragons in a cave somewhere as well, but they were cranky and solitary in nature and even God left them alone. Lilith would find them eventually and when she climbed on the back of the big red one, she began a reign of hellfire that lasted for over one hundred years. But on that fateful day, Samhael swooped down and planted his saturnine self in front of our naughty not yet demon and cooed temptation into her delicate shell pink ear. Wasn’t she tired of living like a baby yet? Wouldn’t she like to sink those little white teeth into something that would make her heart race and her blood sing? Because just over the hillock past the edge of her land was the answer, hanging low off the branch of a tree that moaned when you pulled it’s bits off of it, and wouldn’t she like to just take a peek with him? Lilith felt something stir within her, something she’d never felt before, certainly not with Adam, that loathsome lump of hair and stupidity, with his big innocent blue eyes and his complacence. This being, glowing white with flowing black hair and sparkling red eyes, this was something else altogether and it made her stomach clench in ways that were both thoroughly unpleasant yet incredibly appealing. For those of you paying attention here: this was the moment sexual excitement was born.  Samhael is a naughty angel, you see, and all angels are capable of small forms of creation. He reached deep into her belly and pulled forth desire, turning it too and fro in his hand, watching it bubble and shift and burn. He liked it very much, it matched his eyes and when he tasted it, it was sweet and salty all at once and he wanted to taste it some more. So, he winked at Lilith, smiled with his pretty red lips, his forked tongue snaking out to flick at the corner of his mouth and told her he’d take her to paradise if she’d take him there first. He watched her wrestle with her fear, her doubt and her desire until his tongue tasted her pretty peaches and cream flesh and in the end he took her there in the dirt. He debased her in ways she couldn’t have dreamed of and pleased her with all of the filthy splendor the act of procreation has ever since been able to render. After, Lilith being newly enslaved to sexual passion and willing to ruin her life for a man, happily trotted off with Sam to the garden, wrapped her sinful lips around the pulsing fruit she didn’t even bother to pull from the tree and was struck down, writhing on the ground of that awful place as every bit of what she’d been unknowingly reaching for slammed into her cranium. She lay there in agony for days as her mind unfolded, her brain, having nowhere to grow to, folded back in on itself, downloading knowledge, painfully, while she retched and moaned. On the third day, she rose, dusted herself off, noted that she was naked and it seemed odd suddenly for the first time. She reached out and grasped the fruit she’d bitten into in a vicious grip, the juice steaming down her arm, and she wrenched it off the limb with a bitter twist. Angry at having been delivered into this situation by the angel, who by the way, was nowhere to be seen. Angry at God and determined to make sure his favorite toy, Adam, got a little taste of her fate, off she marched and as the story goes, she batted her eyes and fed the fruit to the first human man. She sat, chin in hand, and watched Adam writhe and learn as she had. God, who really IS all seeing, watched from his perch and with a sigh, swept open the gates of the paradise he’d created to view his experiments, and bid them to go out into the world and do as they would. Thus, free will was born. Adam refused to go. He burned with a new found capability for hatred, which he applied with liberal force to Lilith who had destroyed his internal paradise, and struck her with his fist. The first violence took place in this new society, and Lilith, familiar with pain by now, simply shrugged and set off on her own, pleased to be free of Adam and hoping to run into Samhael again. Thus, the cycle between men and women was born. Adam, as we all know, went on to have Eve, whom God created to quiet Adam’s distress at being alone. This time, he created a woman who would be more easily tamed by modifying the chemistry that surged within her. They too discovered sex, after all, it was already roaming free in the paradise, and soon God used it to outsource creation of new human beings.  Not his idea by the way, that was the suggestion of our girl Karma. The whole, you wanna play, you’re gonna have to pay scenario she’s so fond of. Adam and Eve settled into a boring nomadic lifestyle of trying to survive outside the paradise in the real world where most everything was trying to kill them, and Eve brought forth sons in sorrow. Not surprisingly, as Adam gave birth to violence, his sons were afflicted as well, and Cain and Abel played rough yet happily until that little mishap when Cain, roughhousing with Abel and beginning to argue, shoved him too hard and his head struck the rock and burst like an overripe melon. Humans vilify him to this day, calling him the “father of murder,” but that’s not fair, really. And it pisses death off every time someone says it, as he feels, rightly so, that the title belongs to him.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

When being called "salty" is a good thing!!

                                               I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar.
                                               Hoban Washburn

I approached the big white whale, it's maw gaping, the invitation perfectly clear; come on in, the water is warm. Alright, it's not *really* a whale, even tho it looks just like one. 
Today I did my very first isolation pod float. I'm the curious sort and have been reading about these little suckers for years, and when Spa Oasis in Fairmont, WV, acquired West Virginia's first pod, I couldn't wait to splash myself into it. Apparently, the licensing agency in Charleston had NO idea what to make of them and the big salty whale they wanted to provide for us, and it took some back and forthing to make it happen. 

I'm glad it happened. I'm always on the lookout for something cool to try on my journey to health and wellness. Believe me, when conventional stuff reached it's maximum capacity, I was not shy about adding in anything that would help get me back on my feet after Lyme disease literally forced me off my knees, and into the operating room multiple times! 

The pod is something else altogether and Spa Oasis got it right. The gent at the counter gave me the full tour, then a tutorial for what to do and how to make the experience the best it could be.
You shower, then climb into moby, and shut the lid. The water is massively salted with epsom salt, you do NOT sink, lemme tell ya! Even my plump rear end achieved an astounding level of buoyancy. Bounce bounce, baby, indeed!! I bobbed and listed for a few mo, until I slithered down into the water and let the salty liquid do it's cradle thing. Whoa. There are lights and music, which I quickly ascertained would not be needed. You can turn everything off, and if you want, you can even push the intercom and chat with the gent at the desk, "if you get bored," he said. I couldn't help but like the guy, he complimented my hairs!! Lord, I am vain about my hair. SMH. 

Now, you are instructed, or advised, to put in earplugs pre-shower to prevent salt water nesting for an eternity in your ear, I heeded that advice. I also heeded the advice to shun all raiments, and yes people, my normally modest self slid into that thing buck mother nekkid. And you know what? I'm glad I did. I think any clothing, even underdrawers, would diminish the experience. It feels interesting at first, then amazing.  I have lived with varying degrees of pain for 12 years, and if a bed is even a skosh too hard, I wake up thru the night aching. To be fully reclined yet have the feeling of NO pressure on anything. NO pain, ANYwhere... It literally feels like floating on air. For a girl with lots of arthritis, is was bliss, just for that reason. I had an image of myself as a leaf on a pond. I imagine I felt much like a leaf, falling slowly toward the ground to land in the softly shifting water, cuddled into the experience and lulled into meditative calm.

What was the deeper experience, you ask? Weeelllll.... That's between me and deep dark dregs of my brain and psyche, because believe me, after the first 15 minutes of an hour or longer float, during which I giggled a lot at first, you will meet the real you. That you that you shut up with noise, activity, tv, food, whatever. It's just you and whatever God or demon you choose to commune with. Let's just say that at about the 1/2 hour mark (and I'm guessing because you have NO way to track time) me and God got pretty darned deep and things were said. Cough. Yep.

I have a pretty good internal clock, because I suddenly just knew I was done, popped up, struggled valiantly to maintain my balance enough to open the lid and then try to figure out how to hoist my salt slimed carcass outta that big old thing... I had trouble gaining a purchase on the sides, managed to slide onto my knees, which hurt way less than normal due to the buoyancy, and got my leg up under me and stood.  Actually, it was much much easier than it would have been anytime in the last 12 years. All the gym time must be achieving it's goal, my legs are not my biggest issue anymore. 

I showered again, dried off, and got dressed. The salon offers a little area to fix your hair and makeup, and I was very pleased with all of it. I'll need to condition the heck outta my hair, but I found myself bouncing out to my car with a high level of happy, calm energy. I felt amazing. I will most definitely go back, the epsom salt alone soothed my sore gym muscles in a most lovely way.

Pod floating is something everyone should try at least once, I know I'll be visiting moby again in the near future. Thanks Spa Oasis, you rock. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

On conquering illness, and next... the world!!

Grocery day!

The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that offers many health benefits. Studies show that this type of diet can help you lose weight and improve health and may even protect against diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease.  It is beneficial for anyone with metabolic disorders as well. It involves significantly reducing carbohydrate intake, and replacing it with fat. The reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy (You have NO idea the energy I have now!!)  It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain. Ketogenic diets can cause massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels. The increased ketones have numerous health benefits and when coupled with exercise, will reduce body fat and weight. Kiss hypoglycemia goodbye.
One study found that people on a ketogenic diet lost 2.2 times more weight than those on a calorie-restricted low-fat diet. Triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels also improved, this has been my experience, my cholesterol is down to 160, triglycerides optimal. 

Try to remember that keto is high in fat, moderate in protein, and very low in carbs. Your nutrient intake should be something like 70% fats, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrate or a variation close to thisTypically, anywhere between 20-30g of net carbs is recommended for everyday dieting – I keep mine at 30-40 g to keep my thyroid happy. If you have thyroid issues, you will likely have to boost carbs and protein amounts and lower fat a tad bit. Protein should always be consumed as needed with fat filling in the remainder of the calories in your day. You will be much more satisfied for much longer and will not need to eat as much food as often as before. You will consume fewer calories naturally, and will be satiated and nourished. I look better now than I did at 40.

The mantra is: protein is a goal, fat is a lever, carbs are a LIMIT!  If you feel hungry, have some protein with a little fat.

There are a lot of calculators out there, this one is from

(here's another- if the #' are diff, shoot the middle.

I will say this, most ppl advise you to set your activity level to sedentary to get macros on any calculator. However, there comes a time when you have to adjust up if you exercise as much as I do. I put my activity level to mid line, and the macros suit me MUCH better. If you do genuine, hard workouts 3 or more times per week, set macros for moderate active, so you'll get enough calories and protein. Too low on that and you'll mess up your hormones and might lose hair (I lost a bunch of hair, upping my calories and altering macros fixed it).

This site, ruled me, has a ton of valuable info on this way of eating (WOE)
My ratios will be different than anyone elses, my body has it’s own unique issues and needs, play around with the macros, find what works for you. I added resistant starches for gut health because my stomach was so damaged from the Lyme and then the treatment for the Lyme. I used to take tums at least 5 times a week, wake up in the night with stomach bile pooled in my throat, choking on it in the middle of the night. Now, my gut health is greatly improved and I have no more intestinal issues. I don't even think about my stomach anymore. Every meal used to shut me down and I would have to crash after eating. My inflammation is super low and my thyroid is so good I have to slash my meds.

Studies are finding that the optimal state is a body that can switch easily between ketosis and out of ketosis in the presence of carbs, then switch back to ketosis when carbs are depleted. I let myself come out of ketosis once a week, eat more food in general and higher carbs. This promotes metabolic flexibility and in the long run, burns more fat by keeping the body from going into stress mode and shutting down the metabolism. I busted thru a serious stall by changing it up with a re-feed day. The weight has started to just melt off as a result.

I also do Intermittent Fasting (IF). Not everyone wants to do this, but it’s gaining a lot of traction in the fitness industry and the Silicon Valley area for improving mental clarity, improving health profiles across the board, lowering inflammation, and has been shown to increase longevity. I LOVE IF. I can go several days without eating, and feel amazing. It's not harmful in short bursts, our body is made to handle a variety of fed states, fasting actually initiates autophagy and has massive health benefits. Here is some basic info:

What foods should you avoid:

This link is comprehensive and perfect, with explanations.

Foods to eat:

Eat fat w every feed.  Do NOT fear fat!
I use olive, avocado, macadamia nut oils, coconut manna and oil, butter, ghee, lard and duck fat. 

Eat enough protein. Calculate your macros and stick to them and see how you feel. I use Cron-O-meter, it’s a customizable food diary that will give you amazing levels of detail. I used it everyday for the first two months until I had the macros on lock. I now just use it when I’ve had an atypical day to make sure I’ve eaten enough protein or to check my numbers, and they’re always on target. If I’m short on protein, I keep shrimp in the freezer, it’s a quick way to bump up to the right amount. Or I’ll eat some pepperoni and cheese.

I don’t count veg carbs. Veg are nothing but good for you. Eat as much of non-starch veg as you like, just make sure to eat protein and fat with it.
You MUST drink a lot of water. MUST!!! You will pee a lot more. Like, more than ever before. This WOE alters the way your body uses ADH. I pee more than I used to. I never have water bloat and my poor old bony hands and feet show it. 

In conclusion, I will never, ever go back to my old food habit. My brain functions SO much better. I come up with clever life hacks to make my daily chores, homework, everything, better. I feel like a predator must feel, you know, king of the jungle, ruler of the Savannah kind of good. This isn't easy at first because it's so antithetical to the standard American diet (they call it the SAD for a reason...), and there are certain medical conditions that aren't a good fit for this WOE, a more gentle paleo diet might suit better. I highly recommend research and a gentle weaning into it over a period of two weeks, read, read READ! There are youtube vids galore, but here are some of the folks who have science to back their voices:

Dr. Jason Fung
Dr. Dominic D'Agostino, USF
Thomas DeLauer   
Primal Edge Health (he's really on target, even if he gets on my nerves a bit...)

Sampl meals for a month-

Mon                 tues             weds            thurs             fri                  sat                sun
am- IF

Chicken salad lettuce wrap (lots mayo, some pickle)

Salmon w butter, lemon asparagus, garlic
am- 2 eggs, cheese, butter, ham or bacon

salad w chic, cheese, assort veg, extra olive oil, blue cheese dress

ham cheese mayo rolls
Am- IF

Blt lettuce rolls w bacon mayo and tomato

Pot roast made with butter, garlic onion, herbs & veg, maybe some sour cream w horseradish


Sashimi, very little soy sauce, some MCT oil and lots of veg

May have some halo top ice cream (keto fav!)
Pb protein shake w coconut milk and berries (fat filled)

Early dinner of chicken, asparagus and mashed cauliflower loaded w butter,duck fat and garlic
Work day

Re-feed but still keeping to paleo at a minimum. No sugar, but might go up to 65 g of carbs

Primary reefed day
Work day

Re-feed but still keeping to paleo at a minimum. Less carbs on this day.

There WILL be peanut butter tho!!!
Ham cheese omelet w tomato/onion

Small protein shake, almond milk only

Nuts, cheese, olives

Lettuce wrap chs burger w ham, mayo or ranch, avo pickle (sugar free)

Tilapia w butter, olives, parma,tomato, veg

Bone broth w egg cracked in and then heated

Salmon in oil broiled with blueberries, balsamic vinegar, veg

Chicken skewers w onion and peppers, chimichurri sauce

Halo top ice cream

Big mac salad- cheeseburger on lettuce w pickle, onion and special sauce

Ham cheese mayo tomato lettuce wraps
Work day

Re-feed but still keeping to paleo at a minimum. No sugar, but might go up to 65 g of carbs

Primary reefed day
Work day

Re-feed but still keeping to paleo at a minimum. Less carbs on this day.

There WILL be peanut butter tho!!!
Half salted avocado w nuts and scoop of almond butter

STEAK!! Ribeye cooked in butter, garlic, herbs w mushrooms and veg

Leftover steak in a salad w veg and blue cheese

Keto cauliflower breadsticks and low carb tomato sauce

Tuna steak w salad, ginger Asian dressing

Pork chop w mashed cauli lots of butter
Avocado and pepperoncini
Eggs scrambled w cream cheese, bacon

Small protein shake, almond milk

Lite veg dinner, but w fat and some cheese

Taco beef w salsa, guac , cheddar shred melted into scoopy chips

Bone broth w egg

Cream cheese, stevia, blueberries
Work day

Re-feed but still keeping to paleo at a minimum. No sugar, but might go up to 65 g of carbs

Primary reefed day
Work day

Re-feed but still keeping to paleo at a minimum. Less carbs on this day.

There WILL be peanut butter tho!!!

A big bowl of shrimp w either garlic butter or cocktail sauce

Chic tossed w ranch buffalo sauce, cheese, tomato on a salad

Fat filled protein shake, berries, pb, coconut milk

Omelet w brie, caramelized onion, pepper, ham, zucchini cooked in duck fat
Bone broth w egg, duck fat

Protein shake

Pork chop w bacon sizzled greens, zucchini, tomato

Halo top
Nuts cheese  bone broth

Chsburger w caramelized onion, brie, mayo, asparagus

Pb cream cheese w honey

Salmon skewers w onion, pep
Avo, zucchini


Halo top
Work day

Re-feed but still keeping to paleo at a minimum. No sugar, but might go up to 65 g of carbs

Primary reefed day
Work day

Re-feed but still keeping to paleo at a minimum. Less carbs on this day.

There WILL be peanut butter tho!!!

                                     When did THIS                replace  this???