Wednesday, December 22, 2010
I had a fatty summer of running. It started off with pacing Alisa Springman for 38 miles at Western and built from there. There were weekends to Winthrop, a day in Yosemite, and a “fun run” with the Skagit Valley Runners. Then things got a little out of control. I had an unexpected 60 miles in Colorado and the killer Speedgoat 50K about a week later. I ran Waldo 100K and swept 25 miles of Cascade Crest the following weekend. Then I paced at two different 100s on consecutive weekends—Rich White for 38 miles at Wasatch and Alvin Crain for 30+ miles at Pine to Palm. I just about froze myself solid during the first and just about drowned during the second. Throw in a week of running in Moab between those two pacing duties where I got severely dehydrated and the result equals me exhausted and falling apart.
It took another weekend of running in Winthrop to realize things were not right. I could barely manage to keep up with Varner, et al during a whopping 4 mile run and running the unofficial Winthrop half marathon the next day took much longer than it should. I had both Alison Hanks and Candice Burt work on me and jam their elbows into my psoas and glutes that weekend to no avail. Frustration.
In 2008 I had a disastrous first 100 miles at Big Horn and ended up with a stress fracture on my left femoral head. It took months to heal and I’ve had hip problems ever since. Last year, I dropped from White River 50 due to psoas, hip attachment, gluteal medius… issues. With chiropractic help from Elite Sports and Spine and some massage, I was able to get through Cascade Crest. Things were better-ish. After all the running this summer, these hip issues seriously flared again. For awhile there, every run caused me to tighten up. My back would seize, both hips would feel solid, and my hamstrings burned. After a couple of weeks taking it easy and not running, I still couldn’t get back into it and I started to believe it was more mental. I’m tired of being injured and the thought of continuing to run through injury was holding me back, but it felt an unnecessary hold up. I needed to break through.
Enter Devon. Devon won the national 50 miles championships the weekend before I flew down to San Fran to visit and run with her every day. I love Dev. She never lets me feel slow compared to her super speed. I told her what was going on and asked her to help me and help me she did. She wasn’t a task master, she simply took me running and when I would fade or whine, she’d gently suggest I go a little farther. It was that easy. I mean, as easy as it is keeping up with those long legs, but it got me the results I wanted. I also earned a free session of Active Release Techniques (ART) by assisting with a video her sponsor Psoas Massage was making. A few days of running with Devon and one sesh of getting my hip ripped apart by one of the therapists and my mind was back where it needed to be—I felt like a runner again.
The ART session reminded me I should go back to Elite Sports and Fitness. I made an appointment with Dr Jeff Schwan and he’s been diligently putting me back together for a couple of months now. He’s thankfully focusing on my right knee as well. Somehow I forget it’s also bothering me. It compensates for my hip and takes some abuse. Things seemed to be coming back together; however, about a month ago….
Sisters Belated Halloween Party. A group of runners got together at Sean Meissner’s house for a weekend of running, costumes and general debauchery. I was stoked, although nervous because pretty much everyone at the party was a speedster and I’m a solid mid-pack runner. I’ve run with Sean and Amy Sproston before who’ve been great with me, but I was less familiar with everyone else and it always stinks to be the one person holding everyone up. Yet, it would turn out to be a nonissue. I hurt my back. Or rather, someone else hurt my back. It’s embarrassing, but hell, there were jello shots involved. Dear, sweet Chris is almost a foot taller than me and 50-60 pounds heavier. We were in Sean’s kitchen standing on a wet floor. Chris, with his tallness, picked me up to hug me and slipped on the floor and brought us both down. Lucky for Chris, I broke his fall. Not so lucky for me. At the time, I was worried about the fact I’d hit my head, but it was my back that was the true problem. When I woke up the next morning, I could barely move. It was clear there wouldn’t be any running for me that weekend. I hiked and it felt better when it warmed up, but any period of non-movement caused it to stiffen. I couldn’t bend down, had trouble getting dressed and lifting my right leg was painful. It hurt to the touch and I hobbled around like a little old lady. Chris of course feels horribly horrible and continues to apologize and ask how things are improving. He came out of the fall unscathed though he claims he bruised his heart when he realized what he’d done. (insert “Aw” noises)
I saw Dr Jeff the following Tuesday and he said I had lumbar strain and whiplash and that it appeared as if I’d been in a car crash. I cried on his table as he tried to adjust me and massage out the spasm-ing muscle with some menthol cream. Jeff taped me up with kinseo tape, so my back had pretty pink stripes. He told me to use a heating pad to loosen the muscle so I went home and did so. Oh, it felt so nice and warm, but never too warm. Later that night, being the good little patient, I started my prescribed stretching. I noticed the tape on my back was irritating me, so I pulled a bit off and took skin with it. Holy stinging hell. I left the rest of it alone figuring I should leave its removal to a professional. I decided the tape and heating pad was not a good combo, so skipped its use for the next couple of days. Wednesday, my skin was itchy under the tape and I couldn’t wait to get Jeff to take it off. Thursday morning I woke to go to my appointment and felt my back. Blisters. There were blisters under the tape, a good cluster of dime-sized blisters. What the eff? I felt like such a wreck. Jeff performed some minor surgery and it took a good week to heal everything up. Jeff says the remaining scars resemble the Hawaiian Islands. I take that as a good sign somehow.
I see Jeff weekly and do as he says. He’s pleased with my progress as he continues to work on my back, hip, knee and IT bands doing ART and graston techniques. All the bruises and scratches from trail running and his therapies are starting to make my legs resemble a 3rd grade kid’s, but it’s all working. And if I can quit falling on slippery bridges while out running which just aggravates things and if Chris holds to his promise not to pick me up again until after HURT, I should be good to go come race day. Things are going to be okay. I’ll probably fall apart after it’s all done, but that’s fine. I know where to go to get put back together again. HURT is going to hurt, but I’m ready for it.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I've been reflecting a lot on what my "vegan" ways even mean. I think it's less meaningful and more cosmetic than most vegans would ever want to admit. The blogger goes much more into depth to illustrate this than I will here. For me, it really is as simple as not wanting to eat an animal that was once walking around, breathing and possibly had thoughts and emotions. That's really all. It’s nice to believe I've saved lives and made some huge environmental impact, but really? I'm one little person who only consumes so much. How much of a difference can I really make?
It's too bad people feel the need to judge others by what they eat. I have maybe one vegan friend and a few vegetarians, but everyone else eats meat. I've always made it a point to let people know my beliefs are my beliefs and to not impose them on anyone. I feel rare in the vegan community though because I don't and won't vegangelize and I’m open-minded to other food philosophies. I thought The China Study was a crappy book and think paleo might be a better way to go. I was there when Devon took her first bite of cheese after being vegan for a while. She looked at me with a face that said, “Please don’t hate me for doing this” and I didn’t. It felt like what she needed to do and I understood that. I'm also afraid to admit to my one vegan friend that I loves me some honey and I don't tell people (until now!) about my day of not being vegan in San Francisco because vegans and even non-vegans will judge me. I grew up Catholic. I’ve lived with enough guilt without people making me feel bad because I want a pb & honey sammich so I refuse to do it to anyone else.
Much like the blogger was saying, it's more important to be local and organic than it is to be plant-based. People should simply be thoughtful about their food. I once overheard a friend at the meat counter ask what the animals were fed and it made me happy. Another friend does this whole sort of penance thing and will kill chickens and turkeys at an organic farm because he believes he should be willing to do something like that if he wants to consume it. It keeps him connected to his food source and I find it admirable. I think that's all I really hope for--that people are mindful of what they consume and choose local, organic, sustainable foods when they can, but also remember to consider their own health.
Meat of any kind will probably never be on my menu. Probably not dairy either. That day in San Francisco (tres leches cake at Tartine! Yum!) and the resulting stomach cramps that woke me in the middle of the night reminded me of that. I do think about eggs. As I train more and harder, I find my energy level waning and wonder if the added and different protein would be beneficial. I might do and I might not. But I will make a thoughtful choice and I would kindly ask not to be judged as anything but someone who cares about animals, the planet and herself.
Friday, October 29, 2010
I paced for the first time in 2007 for Rich White at Cascade Crest 100. I met him in the middle of the night at Kachess Lake and brought him in. It was my first exposure to that distance and what it took to organize and help someone complete their goal. I didn’t have to do too much. Rich was a truck and never stopped moving, except for maybe one time. He came to a tree root that had made a natural foot high step and he stopped and contemplated how he was going to get down what probably looked like Mt. Rainier to him. I put my hand on his back and said, “It’s just a step” and he stepped down and kept going. I ended up unofficially pacing for Jamie Keizer at the same time and got to be there to watch them cross the finish line together.
My first real crewing experience was for Devon Crosby -Helms at Vermont 100, 2008. It was unbelievably easy. Devon was super organized (to be expected from my twin librarian) and always knew exactly what she wanted from one aid station to the next. All we had to do was trade her used pack and bottles for new ones, then refill things using the lists she’d made of what she’d want and when. She was predictable, patient, efficient and very grateful. Such a breeze!
I’ve been hooked since. It hasn’t always been so easy as Rich and Devon, but I’ve come to find a satisfaction in every experience. On a basic level, pacing and crewing is a great way to get miles and to see a race course without having to pay the race entry fee. Generally, you go a slower pace so it’s easier on your body, although it can still take its toll when the miles are longer. On a higher level, it’s inspiring to be a part of someone’s goal. I love this sport of trail and ultra running and can understand how important that finish line can be. Helping someone get there, watching their process as they go through lows and highs and fight through so much really gets to me. I think I’ve often cried more at the end due to pride for my runners than they have for themselves. I put these images into my brain and use them as motivation when I’m running my own races. It’s amazing. Being so close to that reminds me what human beings can do mentally, physically and emotionally.
I have so many stories: Alvin Crain and I singing “I like down hills and I cannot lie!” and him making me laugh so hard I really did fall off the trail. Jess Mullen’s one liners like “Sugar makes me want to vomit” and “I’m so proud of my legs.” Pouring an entire bag of ice over Devon as she sat in the tub post-race. Jamie K. thinking she saw a semi truck on the trail. Listening to Meghan Z. and Adam Gifford debate which element is the best one on the periodic table. Becoming buddies with Rich White Sr. and him calling me babe. Meeting a shepherd in the middle of Colorado and playing with his puppy. I could write a book and maybe I will someday.
It isn’t all trails lined with candy and roses though. I’ve been so frozen my joints hurt for days afterward. I’ve been rained on so hard I could still see the raindrops for hours after the downpour stopped. I’ve given away the clothes I’m wearing and suffered rain and wind in a short sleeve shirt. I’ve had things thrown at me. I’ve had to deal with panicked runners who wouldn’t listen to me. I’ve told a runner he was looking good while I was secretly trying not to throw up from altitude sickness. I’ve given away all my food and then been dropped and left alone without food, water or a map for what felt like forever. I’ve been yelled at, snapped at, lectured, and scolded. I’ve cried silent tears of frustration and pain. It’s part of the deal and I deal with it.
Catherine Horton gave me some sage advice—the runner has to take care of himself. As a crew person, you are there to assist and encourage, not to be their servant and commanded about. The runner needs to know what s/he wants and give you the chance to give it to him/her. There needs to be a basic plan and if there is a deviation from the plan, the crew person needs to be ready to adjust, but the runner also needs to be patient through the adjustment. A moment’s pause can mean a huge difference, usually for the better.
When those times have been tough, it’s been important to remember these races are not about me, but about my runner. That’s why those tears are silent and I don’t mention I was trying not to throw up until well after the run. Getting my feelings hurt or complaining isn’t helpful. There’s a grace period for the runner to be less than wonderful. It depends on the length of the run/race, but I usually give at least the day before, the day after and the duration of the race. This gives the runner some leeway to be bitchy, cranky and rude. There are still boundaries, of course, but this grace period is why I’ve managed to maintain some friendships post-event. We aren’t always at our best in the middle of a cold night after tons of miles and climbing. It’s good for all parties involved to be forgiving.
I don’t think I’m the best at this—there can only be one Steve Stoyles, but I show up ready for anything as best I can. I like to discuss with my runner what kind of encouragement works best, what their goals are, and what their favorite foods/treats might be. If I can surprise them with something along the way, like a good chocolate chip cookie, PB Puffins, or that burger and Coke (not Pepsi, Alissa!), then it can be a great motivator. I try to be somewhat familiar with the course and cut off times. I’m ready with stories, from my own to the plots of books I’m reading to full recitations of children’s stories. I’ll sing, although I never know if this is helpful or not…. And I’ll be quiet when asked or if I can sense the runner needs some time to settle. I’ve learned (the hard way) to bring extra clothes and food for myself and the runner. I carry their camera and take pictures. I run up ahead (and sometimes back if they’ve forgotten something) to aid stations to get their drop bags and grab the things they need. And I’m ready to spout as many “good jobs,” “nice works,” “you look goods,” and “you can do its” as necessary. Believe me when I say pacing and crewing can be just as exhausting as running the actual race. There’s a lot to do.
Ultimately, what is it I want from doing this? Just some appreciation. My runner at Western gave me her finisher’s medal (don’t worry, she kept her buckle!). I’ve gotten some cute t-shirts out of these deals. Ooh, and Alvin gave me the headlamp he won—that was sweet. Yet I don’t do this for the tangible things. I have no ulterior motives and am really confused when people think otherwise. What else could I get from doing this, but extraordinary experiences? I’ve been to the best places and seen people do the greatest things. All I want in return is some acknowledgement (not necessarily publicly) and a genuine hug of gratitude. It’s an honor to help someone achieve their goal. I love being a part of it.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
In my last posting, I included a breakdown of my nutrition for the day and it turned out I had eaten just under 2000 calories. I received a number of responses telling me this was way too low for me. Yes, I do know that, but this one was single day in the grand scheme of my life. The very next day I ate much of the same, but added soy yogurt and went back to my two, yes, two healthy bowls of cereal before bed. The point of the whole food for a whole day was to see how it would work for a day and to see if it was something I would want to continue in a reasonable manner. I've stuck mostly to it, but I'd say I'm closer to 80 - 90% whole, with some liberties for added calories and purely because there are some foods I just want to eat.
I really enjoyed eating this way. I'm enjoying it now. I like how it makes me feel and the energy I seem to have. My body isn't wasting energy processing processed foods but is efficiently working on simple foods allowing my body to use its energy elsewhere. But I'm not planning to go all crazy on this. If I started eating so little every day, then that's when one should worry. I want to be healthy and continue having a healthy mindset about what I eat. I've been unhealthy about my eating before and I never want to go back there again.
Warning: shit's about to get real. In 2002, I would say I was anorexic. Thankfully, it was a short lived bout, yet it happened. I restricted my calories like I can't even believe now. Currently, I stay between 120-125 pounds. At the time of my anorexia, I was 105...with shoes on. I looked awful and felt awful. I think about my daily diet and can't understand how I even functioned. The place I worked had lots of food in the cupboards and fridge for us to eat, so my intake began there and was well thought out for my entire day. I can still remember it.Breakfast: 1 Clif or Luna bar, whichever was available and had the fewest calories.
Snack: 1 piece of fruit.
Lunchtime: I would either go for a run or walk to the market and get some fresh dates to eat from a fruit stand and maybe a meringue or some bread at the bakery.
Snack: 1 small bowl of veggies.
Run or work out.
Dinner: I concocted who knows what and always made sure it was less than 400 calories, the lower the better.
Dessert: one small bowl of cereal or a yogurt.
I subsisted on coffee and tea. I used sleeping pills to help me fall asleep through my hunger pains and then got up with coffee and caffeine pills. I was obsessed with food. I could barely think of anything else. I spent hours on the computer looking up recipes and figuring out how to reduce calories and fat grams. I browsed pro-ana sites. I watched Food Network like it was porn. My eyes always felt blurry and glazed. I was weak and tired and cranky. And I thought I liked it. Feeling hungry was a sign of success. That hunger headache meant it was working.
People started saying things to me and I had to come up with excuses. I was fine. I ate more than they knew. I just didn't want to fall into the typical American way of overabundance (as if anorexia was activism). Oddly, guys seemed to enjoy it...or more likely I was dating the wrong guys. Yet even the concern was reinforcement telling me that I was getting skinnier and it was still working.
Then I ran my first marathon. I had no clue what I was doing and so didn't understand the idea of needing to eat during the race...not that it would've made much difference. I doubt I would've let myself consume much. I stuck with water rather than the sports drink because I didn't want the calories. The only thing I ate for the entire 26.2 was a large tootsie roll. I have no idea how I made it through without falling completely apart during it. After I finished, I weighed myself at the gym and was elated to find I was only 103. But then I did start falling apart. I was wasted the entire drive home. I actually did want to eat, but I couldn't. Everything hurt. Food made my stomach cramp and I couldn't digest it and I got sick. Even with my sick sick brain, I knew this wasn't good.
But I continued to try to stick with it for awhile. I ran more and started to actually train for marathoning. I was so tired and absolutely starving. I found myself starting to binge. I would go out only at night to a grocery store and buy big cookies and start eating them on the way home. I would feel so high and dizzy and would want more and would go get more and eat and eat until it felt like the food was all the way up into my throat. I would be so sick the next day and happy to find I didn't even feel like eating. I tried not to follow this pattern because of how guilty I felt when I ate and how sick it always made me feel, but it continued for weeks.
I was miserable. I knew my obsession with food and losing weight had taken over. I wanted to die. One night after going to the gym, I drove home and parked in my apartment's garage. I looked over at my gym bag which held nothing more than a book and small towel. I thought about how I had to climb two flights of stairs to get to my studio (I refused to use the elevator). I started to cry. It was too hard. I didn't have enough energy to lift my little bag and go up two flights of stairs. That was when I knew things needed to change.
I did read part of the book Intuitive Eating. It has such a simple idea. We forget how to eat. We spend so much time worried about weight, about calories and fat grams and carbs, that we stop using hunger as our reason to eat. When most of us were kids, we ate food when we were hungry and stopped when we were done. I remember that. I remember not finishing a soda because it made me too full. I remember pushing my plate away because I didn't want to eat the rest. My tummy was full of food, so why eat the rest? Some where along the line we stop doing this. We clean our plates. We put way too much on that plate or we deliberately don't put enough on it. In Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, he discusses out we are too concerned about the nutrients and not concerned enough about the actual food so we end up eating processed food-like stuff with their health claims (Froot Loops now has more Fiber!) instead of simply eating simple food. We end up eating too much of the wrong things and don't remember what real food is any more. It's confusing and distorted and it's thrown us out of whack.
This, thank goodness, lasted less than a year, but it took me a long, long time to work my way back out. I did it on my own, without therapy or really talking about it much with friends. I knew I wanted to run and be healthy and so I knew I needed to feed myself. I slowly crept back up in weight and started to remember how to love food again without the guilt.
I started to try to eat healthy foods that I want to eat. I haven't always been great at it. I lose sight of my own health and fall into the Western diet. My weight has fluctuated. I spent a couple of years due to travel and injury much heavier than I'm comfortable. I was 135+ two years ago and it didn't feel good. So about a year and a half ago I started to just pay attention again to what I ate. I didn't count calories, but I switched to eating more fruits and veggies and fewer crackers and snacky foods that had snuck into my diet. I ate if I was hungry and stopped or didn't start if I wasn't. I felt better and the weight melted back off.
It's still tough for me to know what my body is telling me. A lot of people say to me "I never weigh myself" as though that's their evidence they aren't concerned about their weight. But you know what, I do weigh myself a couple times per week. I don't want to ever get back up to 135 again, but even more so I don't want to drop. I used to believe I eat my emotions, but I'm learning I starve them. When I'm blue or stressed or busy, I tend not to eat and my weight plummets. Last fall was rough for me and I ended up at the doctor. I stepped on the scale fully clothed and was only 117. No wonder I'd been feeling depleted and so tired! I upped my food intake and started feeling better soon after. I need that little extra help to keep me on track and I find it is helping me recognize my body's clues. Just a couple of weeks ago when Matt was in town I told him I felt like I was wasting away a bit. He was skeptical, but I weighed myself and sure enough I'd dropped 3 pounds in the week he was here. So I'm slowly but surely learning. Maybe someday I won't need that scale to help me know where I am, but as long as I don't start obsessing about the actual number and am using purely as a health indicator, it's going to remain a tool.
All of this is simply to say that I want to remain healthy and that one day of doing something that isn't ideal isn't going to ruin me. One day of under eating does not represent a trend. I've been through that trend and I never ever want to feel that way again. Nor do I want to end up orthorexic and obsessed with eating nothing but healthy, whole foods. If I want a bowl of puffins or two then I'm going to eat them. And if one day I eat half a tub of Trader Joe's Schoolbook cookies (nom nom nom!) then so be it. One day will not make me blow up. Matt and I are about to do a week's worth of eating from the book Thrive. I think it'll be a fun experiment, but it doesn't mean I'm going to eat that way forever. We'll see. I'm going to do the best that I can, but I'm doing this one day at a time.
Monday, March 29, 2010
I started out my day at the gym where I ran into my doctor, Adrian Call. I'm very lucky to have him as my doc. He's an avid marathon runner and race director and completely understands me as a woman and athlete. He came over to say hi and I couldn't wait to tell him what my day would hold. After explaining the challenge, he seemed interested and encouraging and began to share some of his own stories. Inherent to being a family practitioner, he spends his day talking to his patients about becoming healthier. All day he talks to them about diet and exercise and he's routinely met with resistance and incredulity. What he finds remarkable is how people like him and me, people who exercise daily and watch we eat are now considered abnormal by the general populace. We are looked upon as though we are crazy or odd and his patients often act as though these concepts are too difficult to grasp. They seem to think making healthy changes would be much harder than what they are already doing--which are things that are making them sick and causing them to be in his office in the first place. He told me a couple of things he shares with his patients to try to get them to consider their diets: If you have to open a package of any kind--a box, a wrapper, a can--chances are it's not good for you. If you don't recognize the ingredients, chances are it's not good for you. A serving of cornflakes has more salt than a serving of salted potato chips and even though Cheerios are made from oats, it's so much better to eat actual oats. He wished me well and told me to at least take my vitamin D and was on his way.
I thought about our conversation all day. I've always met with disbelief from people when they find out I'm vegan or don't want to have a piece of birthday cake at the almost weekly potluck at work. People can't comprehend the work outs I do, how much I run and that I actually find it enjoyable. I'm asked so often how I do it. How do you get yourself to run so much? What do you eat all day? Where do you get your protein if you don't eat meat? What I have trouble with is why this so mysterious for people. Maybe it shouldn't amaze me but I can't help it when people don't know about basic things like portion sizes, how much to exercise and what is and isn't a healthy food. I spoke about this challenge today and explained to someone if she tried it out, even a little bit each day, it might help her lose weight. She actually asked me if I'd write out a list of whole foods for her because she didn't think she'd be able to figure out what they were on her own. Even after I said to stick to the produce and bulk sections and I told her what I'd eaten that day, she was dubious and said she needed more guidance. We're almost exactly the same age and grew up fairly close to one another, so I can't say it's because she grew up too differently than me. She's a smart woman, but somehow this is too complicated for her. It's discouraging because I know she represents more people than I represent in this society. Yet I'm encouraged because she was at least interested and I will write a list out for her if it'll help.
As for the actual day, it really did go great! I'll admit I sort of expected to be hit with major hunger at some point, but it never came. I felt quite satisfied and very energetic. I didn't have any cravings, but rather just looked forward to what I'd packed for the day. One thing that made me very happy was how little waste I produced. Apparently, everyone in the US makes about 4.5 pounds of garbage every day. I don't think I even came close to that today. All together I had a banana peel, some rind from my melon and pineapple, an apple core and stems from my grapes--all of which is compostable. Then there were a few stickers off my apple, zucchini and squash and two tea bags and their wrappers. That's barely anything. Every bag or container can be reused when I buy more produce or bulk products, so I'm not wasting those. It's bonus effect of eating this way to be able to reduce what ends up in a landfill or would've needed energy to be produced in the first place. No wrappers, no cans, no boxes, no packages. Love it.
Here's what I ate:
Pre-work out snack: banana
Post-work out, quick snack to tide me over until I could make breakfast: two celery stalks with almond butter and peanut butter chopped into bit-sized pieces. Quite delightful!
Real breakfast: oatmeal with raisins, almonds and cinnamon.
Lunch: lentil salad with spinach, zucchini, squash and mushrooms. apple.
Snack: pineapple, cantaloupe and grapes.
Dinner: quinoa with edamame and roasted sweet potato.
Dessert: rhubarb and strawberries baked with a little sugar.
Drinks: coffee, water, green tea, yerba mate.
My breakdown for the day was just under 2000 calories, about 47 grams of fat and 66.5 grams of protein. Pretty good. Nutritionally, I was overall very good, but low in calcium and vitamins E and D--only 1% which Doc Call warned me about and why he advised I continue my supplement.
I hope to sustain this longer. I feel very good, inside and out and would like to see how it'll make me feel in the long term. I don't think I'll be 100% whole foods all the time. I'd like to keep my soy- and coconut milk-yogurts as I feel the probiotics are important for my system. They fight infection and help with my tummy's digestion and the versions I eat have by far less sugar than the conventional dairy yogurts. I'll also admit I still can't see completely giving up cereal for all time. My doc even says I can certainly afford to eat it and it's important to allow yourself some comfort food in moderation. I like something sweet before I go to bed and tonight the strawberries and rhubarb were indeed super tasty. But the crunch of cereal soaked in almond milk...mmm...makes me smile all over. Even so, I would like to reduce my intake by eating only one bowl thus ending my nightly statement of "I think I ate too much cereal" as I rub my full belly. I've been challenged to forego it for a week. I can do that...maybe next week. I want to be reasonable and healthy about my entire diet. Last thing I want to do is to become obessive or too strict, but I think a balance is easily obtainable. We'll see how it goes. So far I like it. I'm into it.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
I'm already vegan and try to eat mostly organic. I make sure to eat fruits and veggies, good proteins and grains every day. For the last couple of months I've been eating out less so more in charge of what I ingest. I've noticed I've leaned out a little and feel overall better. Yet I know I've still become lazy in how I eat. I used to love trying new recipes and have several favorite cookbooks with bookmarks and stains of food splattered on the pages. Now I eat the same things over and over throughout the week and just assemble things from packaging--frozen foods, cans, boxes without considering what's really on the inside of those packages and how it affects me and the planet. So the idea of eating foods with only 1 ingredient would simply further the progression of my diet to being healthier, more interesting and creative, and less wasteful. I know it'll help me really consider what I put in my body, what I buy and what I waste.
Speaking about this with people over the last week the one concern people voiced was cost. Isn't it more expensive to buy food that way? I didn't think so and my grocery bill proved it. Take away the cereal, soy-yogurts, almond milk and dinner I bought at Whole Foods last night and my bill would've been less than $60. I focused on the produce and bulk sections and walked out with apples, bananas, avocados, melon, pineapple, sweet potato, spinach, carrots, celery, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, quinoa, almonds, raisons and even freshly ground almond and peanut butters. As Matt so lovingly putt it, I eat a "shit ton" so believe me when I proudly say this is a lot of food. Not bad for $60, eh?
My personal concern has been protein. Usually I get a fair amount from a scoop of soy protein with my oatmeal in the morning, but since this is processed and doesn't follow the 1 ingredient rule, I have to drop it. Otherwise, I always mixed my proteins and get my requirements from many forms. But since soy is the only plant protein that is considered complete, I worried I'd need to start complimenting my protein sources in order to optimize my amino acid intake. I know I'm only doing whole foods for one day, so I shouldn't worry too much about what one day would do to me protein-wise, but I can't help but think in the long term. If I wanted to sustain this how complicated would my diet need to be? Shouldn't I already know this stuff anyway? Thankfully, a little research showed me the idea of protein complimenting is obsolete. As long as I eat a wide variety of foods, which I will and do, I will be fine.
I'm doing this tomorrow. I'm jazzed about it. I think it'll be interesting and easier than anyone can imagine. I'm hoping I'll be able to sustain it longer and see how I can reasonably incorporate it into my daily life. I'll tuck into a big bowl of cereal tonight, but I'm betting I won't miss it tomorrow.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
But Cosmo is getting older and he’s always had some hip problems. I certainly can feel his pain on that considering my weak hips have given me so many issues over the last couple of years. Yet I can explain what’s hurting and I can understand when my doctor tells me I need to take it easy, whether I like it or not. Cosmo can only understand that he isn’t moving like he wants to move. Rich has had to help him get around lately, picking him up to get into the car and sometimes even just up a stair or two. And Cosmo just takes it. Rich slipped the other day and put Cosmo down faster than he wanted to, almost dropped him and Cosmo simply landed and started to roll and grunt because he thought they were playing.
I’m at Rich’s house for the weekend hanging out with the stud muffin dog while Rich is out of town. As soon as Cosmo realized who it was coming into the house, he was so happy to see me and practically knocked me over with love and hellos. I saw right away his movements are different. His back hips are stiff and he’s not moving fluidly. He seems to move one side more to the side than should be necessary and he’s definitely slow. It’s tough to see this tough guy in pain. He’s moved over to his favorite chair, the one that’s the perfect size for him to curl up on and almost the exact same color as him so he’s hard to see. He’s not as happy, but he seems resigned to this and I bet he knows that Rich is doing everything he can to get him better. Surgery is scheduled for March 1st. I pray that it’ll at least make him more comfortable so their daily trips to the park can begin again.