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 https://www.ruled.me/keto-calculator/

(here's another- https://keto-calculator.ankerl.com/) 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???

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Serving up sass and gratitude, baby!

Today is a good day. It's a great day. I've had an amazing summer and there isn't much that doesn't make me feel grateful right now.

I feel better than I've felt in years. Many years.
I'm sore. Like, really sore. Muscles yelling at me whenever I sit or rise, and it's wonderful. I can actually do "leg day" now. I have hamstring muscle bulge. I have lats that stick out. I have biceps. Surgeons said I'd be an invalid and I did not go quietly into that goodnight! I am nourished and energized and I know with certainty that this is just the beginning of the best part of my life.

I have celebrated the birthdays of two very important people in my life, my aunt and uncle, both mid to late 70's, they're going strong and I am immensely grateful for their presence in my life. I got to spend time with brothers, nieces, nephews, cousins and "friend family" and I am full to bursting from the sheer joy that brings. My baby brother married an amazing woman with 6 beautiful children who I am growing attached to, and I couldn't be happier for them. I got to meet new members of my family in California, and have more babies to meet here at home now. Babies are wonderful!
I spend lots of time with my family, I have stopped chasing superficial things to fill any emptiness I might have and have turned to the things that make a life truly fulfilling: love, support, community and experiences with other humans. That's where I invest my time and my money, and the returns are amazing.

I feed my body quality nutrition and I do the same for my brain. I fill it with things that will enrich me, I reach beyond my grasp and know that I am capable of anything I passionately desire to attain, and I kill it in school.

Yes, my expectations are high. They are highest for myself. What was said to me in an attempt to impugn my nature 3 years ago is now my motto. My expectations are high, and the daughters of lions are lions too. Damn right they are, and I'll never lower them again, nor be with someone who is anything but complicit in my expectations of my own self to live to my full capacity. Only people who will push and challenge me daily need apply. And those people had better be prepared to bring it as well.

I have come to the realization that he did me the biggest favor he could have done by uttering that phrase because of all the things said to me, that one dug in and spurred me upward. It was a confirmation that lowering standards leads to lowered experiences. And, if all of that hadn't happened, I wouldn't be where I am now. Am I wealthy? Nope! The exact opposite. But that's not permanent and money comes and goes. Am I high powered? Only on the inside! But boy am I!

What I am is free.

I now know that I have the freedom to flow wherever I choose and can reach well beyond any shelf I've done before. I can do all the things that my soul urges me to, change the world in ways that call to me, and believe me, I couldn't have done that before I was set free.  As much as I cared for him, and I still care about him, he was a tether on my higher goals. I knew that for a long time, but loved him too much to openly face it. Face the fact that we weren't well suited for the long run.
I didn't become my best self until the day I had to leave. But I'm grateful to him all the same, he shaped me in his own ways, and there were many moments that he gave me strength, even if he wasn't a big fan of the changes that needed to happen for me to grow. And he has been a good person to this day, a friend still. I wish him happiness and even joy and understand now that in order for me to be who I needed to be, I had to do it without him.
I learned what was unacceptable for me as well, and I learned that being alone and large is always better than being safe and small. And if there's one thing I'm not, it's small.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

What I did on my summer vacation, by Gypsy Gazaway.

I had made the decision that this summer was going to be different. Sort of a relaunch of my joy. I had decided that I was going to take some time and enjoy my friends and family, and get back to my essence, if you will. Unlock the chains on my gypsy soul. Oh shut-up, I know it's corny, but it's what I am at the core. An intrepid, nomadic, type A gypsy.  I've spent the last few months rambling around, reconnecting and enjoying myself tremendously. Rediscovering who I was working on becoming before grief hit me with it's hammer for a few years. And Mjolnir packs a punch. But, who knows, maybe the grief was part of making me who I am meant to be. I can live with that. Turns out, I can live with a lot.

I went to visit my brother Jeff and his husband, Felipe, in California. It was high time, and it was marvelous. I love their home, their pups and them more than I can put into words, and every visit is perfection. It's always incredibly difficult to leave, I lived in the SD area at one point and loved it. Honestly, I spent most of my life in California, and it's an amazing place to reside. Who knows, maybe I'll end up there. Saw old friends who are like sisters to me, Lee and Ruthie. Even the nephew, Ethan, came out, making the whole thing like it has whipped cream on top, it was so enjoyable!! Seriously, leaving there is like getting a root canal.

Travel is always an interesting thing, tho, isn't it? Thousands of people navigating the airport trams and hallways, hours under fluorescent lighting hurriedly shoving junk food into their faces, some with hours to kill, most running to make connecting flights, then strapped into little metal tubes and thrust high into the air and shot toward whatever city they're trying to get to. For such an amazing modern convenience, there's nothing about it that feels convenient. Not to the traveler, anyway. The stress of it shows in fairly predictable ways and often brings out the worst in our fellow humans. Not always, I've had people actually help me put socks on in airports when I was crippled, but often enough that bad behavior is a thing. I'm a pretty seasoned traveler, by anyone's standards, and I learned a loooong time ago to just lean into it, relax and let it go. When relying on airlines to get you to your vacation/business meeting/family event, you are impotent once you get into that terminal, and you may as well just let it go and flow with it. Plane late off the tarmac and you're going to miss your connecting flight? Not a darned thing you can do about it. Fretting won't fix it. Venting won't fix it. If the airline is at fault, they're gonna get you on a flight, eventually. Will you miss your event? Still nothing you can do. The best thing you can do is to front load your time cushion, and while not everyone can do that, it's the only measure of control the traveler has. Often, I travel for pleasure, so arriving 6-10 hours late is not a big deal, and I know one way or the other I'm going to get my seat on the plane in some fashion. Yes, I've been one of those sprinters down the concourse, more than once. But when things get wonky, I stay calm and settle in and read. Let go and let Delta...

It's interesting who you meet while traveling as well. I noticed that when in coach, people seem to be more talkative. Maybe that's because you're jammed on top of one another. But on the longer hauls, in first class, folks are less friendly. Nice enough, and conscientious about shared space and courtesy, but not chatty. On the way out, the lady next to me only spoke a bit with me at the end of the flight, when we had to shut off entertainment. She was a San Diego local, and perfectly lovely, but our interaction was appropriately polite and short.  On the way back, I was seated with a young guy, in his 20's. Now, on a side note, the first class return staff out of Atlanta were NOTABLY inferior to the first class staff out of San Diego on the way in. Like, order of magnitude less quality. At mealtime, I waved at the attendant twice, he saw me, ignored me. He ignored mine and my seatmates call buttons as well. Took literally 18 minutes to get him to come back and then he was hostile. I don't understand why, he was done serving and was literally doing the "can I get you anything else" part of meal service, but me and my seatmate were ignored most of the flight.

 I was unable to figure out where the call button was, the guy next to me watched me fumble for a few minutes, then silently punched a few icons on my screen and activated the call button for me, before going back to his meal. All without a word. In fact, all told over the course of over 4 hours together, we may have spoken 8 words to one another, and that only at the beginning of the flight as we jockeyed for initial seating position. He was a silent partner, and it was bliss. Sheer bliss, given the volume of conversation I had been subjected to for the day, from the man from Michigan who was so into himself that he literally cut me off anytime I attempted to contribute to the conversation in order to tell me more about him and his fabulousness. It was astounding and I was rather surprised he was still married, or not the victim of a homicide! The pregnant young woman from Louisiana, sweet as meringue and worn out to boot, and then the mullet sporting young man with a drawl even stronger than hers that sat down and discovered that he and the woman were from the same town and knew all the same people! The three of us sat with ever widening eyes as they played 7 degrees of the bayou at how small the world really can be at times. Then there was the VERY fidgety woman on the final leg who clearly gets very bejiggety about flying and was shuffling 3 tech devices, dropping them, and elbowing me. I felt very annoyed by her at first, twitchy people irritate the shit out of me, but I calmed my knickers and told her it was alright and that she should get comfy however she needed to do and I'd just move in tandem with her, she gave me a grateful laugh and it turned out that she was a lovely person. Just experiencing back pain and nerves. She lives in Florida now, but was from Morgantown originally. She knows exactly where I live, and knows who my family are here in town. We chatted for a blissfully short bit, and then wished each other well as we exited the plane. Yep, the world, for all it's vast miles and miles of space, is really just one big small town.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Never give up, never surrender.

As most of my friends know, I've been on a journey to regain my health for over a decade after having my body damaged greatly by Lyme disease. This journey has led me all over the place, trying everything that seemed even remotely feasible. When you are in pain 24/7, crippled up and unable to take care of daily needs, parsing out energy for tasks and choosing the one or two things you'll be able to accomplish in a day, like dishes or grocery shopping, vacuuming or laundry, cooking a meal or cleaning the house, you reach for any tool that might help. I've been so disabled that I've had to have strangers help me put on my socks in an airport! I've had to ask my husband to help put my hair in a ponytail, or put earrings on me, because I couldn't reach my own head, my elbows were so locked and rigid. I had a number of corrective surgeries and got back on my feet, found some amazing healthcare practitioners and improved to the point that I could go back to work, but was still far from well.  After I started my life over on the east coast, sans spousal unit, I began to dig even deeper and make alternate choices. I found myself drawn to health and human services, something I would never have dreamed of previously. I went back to school and gained access to knowledge that set off in me a desire to dig even deeper. I began pulling the threads that I'd teased free a few years before with years of exhaustive blood tests and genetic testing. I read, researched, studied and learned an incredible amount, in bits and pieces over the last two years and have little by little implemented habits, supplements and changes that have improved my life dramatically. It's required that I step outside the norms that most of us consider comfortable, and it's not always easy. Some of it is downright off the grid, but if I get to wake up feeling the way I do right now, this very moment, I'll take off grid actions any day.

I have a number of genetic issues, some were present before the Lyme, some activated post Lyme, inflammation being one of my worst enemies. Thyroid disease was pretty much forgone for me, and the methylation and neurotransmitter dysregulation ties into that. I am dopamine, norepinephrine and oxytocin challenged.  The dopamine problem, which is fairly significant for me, puts me at high risk for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, and along with some of the other issues, for significant risk of cancer. All of these conditions play out across my family over and over. The doctor used the words "probable more than possible," when talking about my risk level. Scary, right? Factor in the knowledge that I'm on my own, with no one to care for or advocate for me should I end up disabled, and it's unacceptable to my highly independent mind. I work in a group home that provides care to individuals with severe disability, some of whom have Alzheimer's. And while we provide excellent care for our charges, whom we are very attached to, I KNOW this industry, and what it means to be stuck in a nursing facility and what level of care I'm likely to receive as a lone old lady unable to manage her own care. Nope. No thank you.

So I decided to try to figure it out and front load my chances. I mean, I've got good habits in place already. I never smoked, haven't been able to drink alcohol for years, get enough sleep, and had better than average eating habits. The standard American diet hasn't been my gig for years. I read everything I could get my hands on as far as treatment of or mitigating possibilities for dopamine deficiency illness. I discovered neuroprotective supplements, nootropics and racetams. I wrote a 30 page report just for myself, listing all the substances, their derivations, functions in the body, optimal dosage and timing. I set about testing 3/4 of them over the course of 5 months now and can say with certainty that they have made notable changes in my cognition, focus, learning and memory retention. I did make the Dean's list last year... Some of these have been in use since the 1940's, have a clear and proven track record for absolute legit treatment of neurodegenerative disorders. They're all synthesized from plants or vitamins, but altered in such a way that they become supercharged, and cross the bbb. Others are edgy, fringe options, and are more experimental. I figure, what the heck. If I'm already sliding, and believe me, I was sliding, I'm willing to go pretty far off the path to put on the brakes for that. I haven't gone so far as to buy the injectable stuff, even tho it has clinically proven results. The mildly edgy stuff has worked a treat! So, I have a veritable chem lab, bottles and bags of powders, potions, choline and chemistry, scales and a self written instruction manual culled from months of biochem research. Turns out, I looooove chemistry and research. I'm not just an artist after all!

And while that helped my head function much better, my focus improved and I found I could power thru even  the dreaded healthcare statistics chapters, I still had physical issues. Over the winter, as dad began to decline, I experienced depression, and gained weight. His death hit me hard, and if I'm honest, I'm still mourning him. Quite a bit. I don't think that hole in my life will ever heal, honestly. I'll just have to remain wounded. I looked at photos of myself from his funeral and loathed what I saw. I'm not one for status quo, so this spring, I decided to fix it. Make the outside match the inside. I went back to research and something kept popping up over and over. I'd seen it in researching the Alzheimer's, and it was recommended as a treatment for that and Parkinson's, cancer, epilepsy, diabetes and ADHD over and over. The high fat, low carb diet known as the ketogenic style of eating. I decided to go for it. Why not. I read everything I could, starting with the typical "bro-science" websites, gym bro's who used diet and supplements to hack their bodies into athletic super machines. They led me to more scientific websites and the silicon valley bio-hackers who are naturally inclined to push the boundaries of body and brain. (for the record, this is also where I got a lot of info on the noots. The sili valley boys are hella into substance play in search of that limitless pill) These guys are big on real science, and I soon found myself neurotransmitter deep in the real research and reading and listening to biochemists and doctors who have made this general subject their life and professional specialty. And, I found, the science in support of the protocol was there. For people with neuro disease, inflammation issues, insulin resistance, hypo or hyper glycemia, gut issues, cytokine issues, metabolic disorders... this was not just a fad, but a legitimate treatment plan. And I have manifestations of all of those issues.

I spent the first two weeks easing into it. I won't lie, it wasn't easy and I made some errors, but got on track pretty well by week three. And got keto flu. Not pleasant. But, I'd read about it, knew it was likely, and rode it out. Fortunately, I had the ability to rest a lot that week. I kept researching and learning about ways to tweak so that I truly got into ketosis and what I needed to do to not feel like crap while I adjusted. Pro tip- LOT'S of fluid filled with electrolyte drops. Salvation in a bottle. I made mistakes with too much artificial sweetener, and too much cheese. Too much everything, actually. I got a dietary log called Chron-O-meter and a scale and learned that my "eyeballing" was way off! I don't need to use the scale as much now, but still use it often when I'm being super strict or learning a new food weight. I definitely use the Chron-O a LOT. If you don't log or track, especially at first, you will likely fail. We are notoriously bad at understanding quantity, and logging everything ensures compliance. I'm a tad OCD about data, and when you make a meal, you have to log each single ingredient. I happen to have the patience for that, surprisingly. Shrug. I added intermittent fasting into the mix on the recommendations of the science and after listening to Dr. Jason Fung https://www.dietdoctor.com/intermittent-fasting/questions-and-answers, and Dr. Dom D'agostino http://tim.blog/2015/11/03/dominic-dagostino/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=feed
I won't go into that, but have posted links. I love IF, it has really enhanced the healing process. It's not for everyone, but would help most people. It's not something most are mentally able to consider, so...whatever. It works wonders for me.

I am 7.5 weeks into keto, 5 weeks strict, 4 weeks with IF added in and here's what I've noticed:

My brain is sharp. Sharper than it's been for years. I have a clarity that allows me to stay motivated, on task and come up with solution much quicker than before. I do NOT have brain fog. The only time I feel impaired in any way is if I go too off track, like eat gluten (I'm celiac, so it's quite negative) I just plain get things done. And come up with life hacks I never did before.

I need a lot less sleep yet have much more energy. I can get explosive workouts in a fasted state on just 6 hours of sleep.

I can workout almost at pre-Lyme levels. I used to be VERY strong. I'm seeing big gains in muscle, strength and stamina. I have control of my body, I can move almost normally, I can walk normally up and down stairs 90% of the time now.

I'm melting. Seriously. The fat is slowly, steadily just melting. I lay down yesterday and noticed that my ribs were clearly sticking up and my stomach was in a concave arc downward! I'm down almost two clothing sizes. I've lost some chins. Looks like I'm keeping my bubble butt tho, thank goodness. Don't nobody want a white girl booty!!!

I'm not nearly as hungry, I don't need to eat as often, and when I do, I don't feel bloated or bogged down, I don't want to nap, in fact, I rarely nap at all now, I don't need to. My energy is stable and consistent. On any given day, I eat as follows: 70-90 grams of protein-25 grams of carbs-113 grams of fat. Notice the fat is the highest category. Yep. I eat whole natural food over the fake keto or low carb stuff, I just think that's the better way to go. It takes most ppl a while to transition into the mindset of eating real food, we're so inundated with processed, lab made food. Eschew that crap and you WILL see improvements. I no longer have hypoglycemic episodes. None. After years of serious struggle with this, even to finding myself waking up on the floor after passing out, nothing.

My hormones have boosted and I have no menopause symptoms. My body temp has risen as well. Lets just say, if I "did" have a man in my life, I suspect he would be very happy with the changes...

My post meal blood sugar is 99. I was edging toward pre-diabetes. That's gone.

Did I mention that I'm not as fat??? I can buy clothes in non fat lady stores. Yes!!!!

I have focus, my attention span is much better. I can read and absorb material much better. I'm currently reading 4 books, only one is fiction. I'm retaining information better.

Most importantly, I feel like a conqueror. I'm naturally an independant, somewhat aggressive alpha type person,  and where illness and constant pain had dampened me down to something I didn't like at all, I'm now back to my usual "ready to rumble" nature. I like feeling this way. I like it very very much.

I am having my lab work done this week, and am curious to see if I've corrected the flagged issues from the last few labs. We'll see what the chemistry shows, now and in 6 months. I can tell you from physical observation tho, the positive changes are huge, and I couldn't be happier.  Don't ever accept limitations, always believe that you can surmount them. Never give up, never surrender!!!

Thursday, March 30, 2017