My Gallbladder Journey

out of order text on persons belly

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When my gallbladder was removed in October of 2017, I thought it would solve so many of my digestive issues. I have gotten better but it took me much longer than the surgeon or all of my doctors thought it should. This has been a very trying (and expensive) 10 months but I have finally turned the corner and wanted to share my discovery with you.

Before my surgery, I would describe my eating as almost intermittent fasting. If I ate anything during the day, it was a small amount and low carb/keto (a bit of meat or cheese … something like that). My biggest meal was dinner with my husband and, to get in all my calories, it was a pretty big meal.

After my gallbladder was removed and I was healed, the surgeon said, “Go back to eating like you normally do.” So, I did and that was a HUGE mistake. I did my best to slowly ease back into my typical eating pattern but once I did, it was awful! It would vary between instant nausea as soon as food touched my stomach to feeling like I had a giant boulder in my gut. My stomach was distended and painful, lasting for up to 6 hours at a time.

black horse lying on green field

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When I was little I was told that a horse’s intestines could get knotted up when they rolled around on the ground (I still don’t know if that’s true … never bothered to look it up). This is what went through my head after I had my gallbladder removed: I thought there was something terribly wrong and my intestines would just explode if I kept eating anything solid. I finally went back to the doctor and that is when the expensive part of this “adventure” began.

First, my gastroenterologist told me to eat low-fat, no solid meats, and low fiber (I have a friend who describes this as the “white bread diet”).  So, that’s what I did, eating ground, low fat meats, eggs, cottage cheese, rice, potatoes (without skins), etc. It did ease some of my symptoms but it caused others (like a 20 pound weight gain).

Next, I had an ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, upper endoscopy, colonoscopy and so much blood work that the lab technician knows me by name. So, what did they find? I have a minor hiatal hernia, GERD, and had 2 polyps removed. Were any of these the cause of my specific gut issues? Nope! None of the doctors knew (or know) what has caused any of my symptoms but I think I have figured it out (thanks to Google).

I tried digestive enzymes. I tried ox bile. I tried apple cider vinegar (this and the ox bile gave me instant heartburn). Then, while frantically Googling, I finally discovered what was causing my issues: I was eating too much food at one time. See, The gallbladder stores bile. When we eat fats/protein, the gallbladder releases enough bile to aid in digestion. Without a gallbladder, bile is slowly released constantly by the liver. So, if you eat a lot of fats or protein at one time, it takes more time to digest.

So, I started eating smaller meals throughout the day instead of one giant meal. Then, I slowly started cutting back on my carbohydrates and adding fats. This has made a huge difference and has enabled me to finally lower my carbohydrates back down to below 20 grams total for the first time in over a year! I read that, over time, my body may adjust on its own (by maintaining a higher level of bile in my digestive tract). This seems to be the case because last week I was able to eat a large T-bone steak without any discomfort at all! Overall, though, I am happy with eating 6 or so small meals per day.

I may never be able to ever do intermittent fasting again but I am thrilled to be able to eat my glorious fatty meats again!

Next week, I will share about my next major health hurdle: atrial fibrillation.

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Don’t Wait For The Middle Finger

white haired man in jacket with watch

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Young ones (well, anyone younger than me, aka 50 and younger), please don’t be like me.

I treated my body like it was immortal: nothing I did or didn’t do would have a lasting effect. Despite the little things (which just kept building up) I felt when I turned 30 years old, I kept right on rolling, downing that Crunch Berry cereal while doing virtually no physical activity. The scale didn’t matter, how my body felt didn’t matter, all I cared about was what goody I was going to put in my mouth next to drown out my emotions. I told myself I didn’t care what anyone else thought and I didn’t. The problem was, I just didn’t care, period.

I only looked in the mirror with “tunnel vision”, seeing only my face to put on tons of makeup (to cover up my blotchy skin and apply contour to my double chin) and fix my highly damaged hair but never looking at my body. I cannot remember ever looking at my body just out of the shower.

The year I turned 42 years old, after YEARS of warning signs, was the year my body stuck up its middle finger at me and said, “I’m done”. Thankfully, I have never had high blood pressure or high cholesterol but I became allergic to just about everything, I got sick if anyone looked at me funny, and I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Through diet and exercise over the past 8 years, I have reduced my A1C from 9.0 to 5.7 (my first ever fasting blood sugar was 400). I am very proud to officially no longer have type 2 diabetes and did it on my own.

Unfortunately, there is only so much proper (for me) diet and exercise can do after 42 years of neglect and abuse. Here is a partial list of the issues I am dealing with:

  • Allergy shots for the next 5 years
  • Gallbladder removal 7 months ago
  • Severe intestinal issues that were not resolved by removing the gallbladder. I am still undergoing testing to figure out what is causing this (upper endoscopy, MRI, so much blood work the technician knows me by name). Next will probably be scheduled for a colonoscopy (if none of the current tests reveal anything).
  • Just had a TIA (mini-stroke) in my eye last week. There was no permanent damage but this means more tests (went to the lab two days in a row this week and have 2 MRI scans next week), more doctors (in addition to my allergist, dermatologist, ophthalmologist, primary care, and gastroenterologist, I have an appointment with a neurologist and am waiting for a referral to a cardiologist) AND I had to stop exercising because that TIA could possibly lead to a full-blown stroke (can you say stress?).

To be brutally honest, I have no idea how much of what is still wrong with me could have been avoided if I had cared about myself earlier in life but now, I will never know. All I can do is hang on, say a few prayers, and do whatever I can to get through this so I can (once again) start over on my fitness journey. As soon as I am given some sort of clearance, I am hitting the weights and my neglected exercise bike (there will also be some digging in the yard going on, too, since I was not able to finish planting before this all happened).

So, you young whipper snappers, please. Take a good, hard look at your lifestyle. Take into account that you will not be in your 20’s forever. Our bodies age, whether we want them to or not. How old do you want to feel when you are 30, 40, or 50? Do you want to be able to do whatever you enjoy or would you prefer to get out of breath walking to the mail box? Do what is best (not easiest) for your health now so you do not end up like me.

My View About Atkins Products

I know I have been highly critical about Atkins Nutritionals over the years (especially once I realized what Dr. Atkins original vision was). Dr. Atkins stressed whole, real food and for them to push meal replacement bars and shakes really irritates me. That being said, I have eaten and enjoyed their bars in the past and, if you feel the need, you should too!

Those bars kept me sane. They kept me on track. Those Atkins bars gave me something I was happy eating, when what I really wanted was a giant Snickers. I began with the free bars they sent to me. Then, I bought them by the box. I would eat one a day (more or less). After a while (maybe a couple of months), one box would last me well over a month. That is when I stopped buying them. I just didn’t want them any more. This, as a lifeline in the beginning of any weight-loss journey, is where I think any of Atkins’ ready-to-eat items should be: a temporary solution until cravings have subsided. I have never (and probably never will) tried their shakes or other snacks/meal replacement bars.

There are a lot of other, less expensive (and higher quality) options out there. Just take a look wherever they sell protein bars. Read the labels (especially total carbohydrates). Look at the ingredients. I know a lot of people who have never looked in that aisle of the store who are shocked by the variety that is out there. Just think about all those people around the globe who have been in the fitness/body building industry for decades! They have researched and come up with items that are typically high in protein, while being low in fat and carbohydrates (that doesn’t taste like you are chewing on a vitamin).

Just today, I experienced my 4th low blood sugar day since having to switch around my diet. So, while at the drug store, I grabbed a Powerbar Protein Plus bar (chocolate peanut butter). It has 25 grams of total carbs and 4 grams fiber (perfect since I have to limit my fiber). Comparing this with Atkins version, which has 23 grams of total carbohydrates and 14 grams of fiber, the Powerbar is much bigger and more filling. It evened out my blood sugar until I could finish shopping and, if I recall correctly, tastes about the same as the Atkins version but didn’t leave me still wanting more. I also checked out my Costco’s selection of protein bars and the Kirkland brand bars are reasonable on carbohydrates (17 and 16 total grams).

 

As for shakes, if you choose to use them, take a look at the various protein powders that are available (that are not Atkins branded). I am finishing up a container of MusclePharm Cookies and Cream protein powder now and just bought ON Gold Standard Chocolate (both from Costco). They are protein powders … these will not cause massive digestive side effects like most “diet” ones do and taste great while still being lower in sugars. I just paid $40 for 50 servings! Try buying any of the diet shakes (like Atkins or Slimfast) at that price! My Costco only carries one flavor but go to this link and check out the other flavors they offer. I wish Costco carried Banana Cream or Strawberry!

Atkins’ frozen meals were highly disappointing. The price was too high for such a small amount of food that was just edible. If you are willing to read labels, you need to look at the other options that are in the freezer aisle. Not everything is breaded or covered with gravy anymore.

The points I am making are:

  1. Just because a product is labeled “Atkins” does not make it either good or unique. Look around and you will be astounded by the options that are out there;
  2. Do not listen to those who may belittle a product simply because the ingredients are not whole foods, 100% natural, organic, paleo, sourced from the jungles of the Amazon by angels riding on the backs of unicorns. You do whatever you need to do to keep yourself sane and on track to become as healthy as possible!

“Spam” and Eggs … Help!

Well, it looks like my gallbladder was just one part of my health issue. Since having it removed in October, I started feeling a little better, then slowly went downhill. All my organs look good (especially the surgical area), so last week I had my first audition for a porn movie (Upper Endoscopy). There wasn’t anything dire but they did see several inflamed areas. I am currently waiting for the biopsy results (they took several) and waiting for my insurance to approve a scan to make sure there aren’t any rogue gallstones floating around anywhere.

In the mean time, I have been instructed to change my eating to low fat, little to no fiber, nothing hot/spicy (especially black pepper) and no large solid chunks of meat that will be more difficult to digest. EVERYTHING in my house is high fat! Last week, I was whining and crying because I have no idea how to even cook low fat (and no solid meat)!

So, now that I have calmed down, I wanted to show you my way of getting at least some meat in my belly for breakfast:

This is 2 eggs, half a cup of baked on a rack so it is lower fat DRY ham, and just a bit of half and half blended and cooked in a non-stick skillet sprayed with PAM. It’s actually tasty and surprisingly filling but I need help!

Does anyone have any ideas/recipes that I might be able to tweak that aren’t all scrambled eggs? I could boil meats to remove more fat but then what? My intestines HAVE been happier/less fetal-position painful but I need ideas! All I have in my house is meat and full-fat everything else. Please help me!

Keto, Atkins, and now Carnivore? Sigh.

Watch out for health buzzwords.

I really hate fads. Atkins was the first. Then Caveman (which morphed into Paleo). Keto is just starting to be a bit more recognized but now I am beginning to see the Carnivore diet. Now that I am sitting here, writing and researching my own book (basically, a simplified companion book to the original “Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution”), I keep running into all these faddish buzzwords that cause me to jerk my fingers from the keyboard before I make a total ass of myself.

I have never (and will never) go on a fat fast (eating nothing but fat) or an egg fast (eating nothing but eggs) or a soup fast (diet? I have no idea what the buzzword associated with this one is) simply to lose weight. If this is what I need to do to lose weight, I might as well buy some Dexatrim and live off of Slimfast shakes (that way, all my hair can fall out like my mom’s did when that is what she resorted to for quick weight-loss).

Fad diets have been around for quite a while (I used to have a women’s style book from the 1920’s that included a “Hollywood Diet” that somehow left out the illicit drugs they were doing in Hollywood at the time). When I first hear about Dr. Atkins’ “Eat Nothing But Bacon And Lose Weight” diet, I viewed it as just another fad. This is why I refused to read any of Dr. Atkins’ books (until I had to).

Now that I have read the books, I am glad I was wrong. What Dr. Atkins did was brought the clinical ketogenic diet (which was designed in 1923 for treating epileptic patients) into the mainstream by eliminating most of the counting (he focused solely on carbohydrates) and, since most of the public would balk at remaining on such a low carbohydrate diet, revealed a pathway back to a somewhat “normal” way of eating.

If you do not know what a clinical ketogenic diet looks like, check out this page: https://charliefoundation.org/diet-plans/ (which has 5 variations of a ketogenic diet) or watch this short video from Charlie Foundation:

And now, there is Carnivore. What is it? Meat, eggs, butter, and cheese. Doesn’t this sound similar to the clinical ketogenic diet? All they did was remove virtually all carbohydrates (I say virtually because the softer the cheese, the more milk sugars, thus carbohydrates, it has).

It’s almost all branding (or re-branding) to sell books, lectures, courses, or products. So, which of these is the best? That is up to you. If you want to limit your food variety and never count, look into the Carnivore diet. If you don’t mind counting a little, then the original Atkins is for you. If you like to micromanage every bit of food you consume, then Keto is the way to go! Just please, do not go on the Cabbage soup diet!

Dr. Atkins Interview

While researching, I stumbled onto an interview that Larry King did with Dr. Atkins in 2003 (just before he passed). I spliced, edited, synched the audio and uploaded it to my channel. I may have missed a commercial break or two but I hope you enjoy it as much as I did (though I REALLY do not like Larry King). This was just before he published “Atkins for Life: The Next Level”. If you listen to him, what he says really hadn’t changed since he published his first book in 1972 (except in 2003 there were many more options for low carb eaters).

 

How the H*ll Did I Gain 2 Pounds Overnight?

Once I began this journey (and finally figured out what food my body did and didn’t like) one of the most frustrating things was magically gaining 2 pounds overnight. It happened so much that, at one point, I stopped weighing myself every day (choosing to only weigh myself once a week). I became obsessed with my daily weight, weighing (and limiting) my food and increasing my daily activity so I would lose those mysterious pounds again. Even though I have now adopted a broader view of my weight (I weigh every day but my focus is typically how I am doing over the course of the week). I never really looked into the why of it all. This year, with my renewed focus on my health, this is what I decided to do.

I have been tracking all of my food in My Fitness Pal since June. I had been using a different app on my phone but thankfully, someone told me how to work the app on my phone. I am loving it even more than before, especially since it has a UPC scanner! I am even able to scan a store-brand food item (from a local store) and it pulled up all the information on it! The idea of having to input (or rely on someone’s sketchy input) always made me tired. If you haven’t used it, try it! Grab that family pack of steaks and scan it with the app. It’s (almost) a miracle!

So, I have been going about my business, losing or gaining a pound, and usually I could attribute it to some specific food item, until two days ago. I had an especially busy day and hadn’t eaten as much as usual but what I did eat was typical. The next day, I had gained 2 pounds. The first thing I did was go over my food. Nope, that couldn’t do it. What about fluids? Nope, I drank my usual amount. I did notice, however, that my breathing was a bit off and I felt a bit “swollen.” That’s when I remembered all the dang reading I had done for so many years: my weight gain was caused by inflammation.

One of the biggest issues that is typically addressed within the low carb/paleo/gluten-free community of experts is how some carbohydrates (it seems to mostly be grains but we all know every body is different) cause inflammation within the body. It is usually that inflammation that wreaks havoc on our bodies, causing all sorts of illnesses/health issues. So, if you ate great all day but decide to eat that burger on a hamburger bun and gain 2 pounds overnight, it’s not simply the gluten or carbohydrates (or corn syrup) that caused that weight gain. It could be the inflammation caused by one (or all) of those properties of the hamburger bun that did it.

Or, if you ate fantastic all day, yet still gained that weight, what happened? After thinking everything over and going through my activities of the day, I figured out my weight gain was due to allergies. I had decided to tear apart the front room because it is that time of year when mice are wanting to come inside and I one had boldly walked through the house into that room. I vacuumed everything, rearranging what I could to make it easier for me to move things to clean (storing my son’s items in this tiny house is a bit of a challenge). Two of the things I am still allergic to are dust mites (check) and mice (check).

If I had been lifting heavy things (like lugging buckets of river rocks from one side of the yard to the other) or actual weight training, I could have gained water weight due to my muscles retaining extra water. The point of this post is, unless you truly ate garbage the day before you “magically” gained weight, it could be any number of things that caused that temporary weight gain. There is no need to beat yourself up, starve yourself, or overdose on water. 9 times out of 10, that weight will be “magically’ gone in a day or two, so just breathe. You are doing great!

 

Doctor Day! My Results Are In!

After 10 years, I am still med free and can officially say I no longer have type 2 diabetes!

A few months back, I went into the doctor weighing 207 with an A1C of 6.9 (normal is 5.6 and below). Keep in mind, I hadn’t been to the doctor in over 5 years and had been eating just about anything I wanted. His instructions were to lose 20 pounds and fix my diet.

So, I pretty much gave up all carbs during the day and ate whatever I wanted for dinner (but stopped eating almost all sweets of any kind, including sugar-free). The first thing I noticed was my desire for food began to lessen. I am now at the point where I may eat a meal and a half to two meals per day. I am just not hungry during the day but I eat something so I don’t get ravenous (and start shoveling any food into my mouth).

Today was my follow-up visit and I managed to lose 17 of the 20 pounds and brought my A1C down to 5.8! Do you see that? I am .2 above normal! It was so funny: he was reading through my blood test results, “kidney function is good, liver function is good, no diabetes … ” and I yelled, “WHAT?” (I think I scared him a little). The rest of the results were perfect. This time, his instructions were to keep doing what I am doing and mostly focus on my weight (I will mostly focus on what I put in my mouth and maybe incorporate some actual exercise if it ever cools off here in Central California).

There is one issue that it turns out I have had since I was 18: gallbladder. I had a CT scan in July and there was a gallstone. He asked about pain, I described the intermittent pain I get, and we came to the conclusion that I have had a messed up gallbladder for 30 years. I have gone to multiple doctors over the years for the pain but they all said there was nothing wrong (even went to the Emergency Room out at County about 15 years ago and after doing no tests, the doctor told me my pain was an ulcer). So, I am waiting for a referral to a surgeon. If I can get this taken care of, I will be even more unstoppable! 🙂

Hello!

I’m sure you are wondering who I am, since it has been SO LONG since I posted anything! 🙂 I wanted to let you know I am still around and am currently working on this blog. I added a Contact page (https://atkinsjourney.wordpress.com/contact/) so you can actually send me questions (or make suggestions) AND a basic FAQ (https://atkinsjourney.wordpress.com/faq/) page! I am also changing/adding to/improving my About Me page (https://atkinsjourney.wordpress.com/about/), since it was cold, dull and I hadn’t really read it since I threw it up here.

I was told that, due to my theme, links are not very noticeable, so I will be changing them all to show the URL (so you know it’s a link and not just slightly darker words on the page).

In addition to these changes, I will be posting an update sometime around September 5th. I finally broke down and saw a new doctor (it’s been 5+ years since I left my last doctor’s office in tears and swore I would never walk through his door again). It has been roughly two months since my initial visit and I go in for the follow-up on September 5th. No matter what the results are, I will let you know (just went in for my pre-appointment blood work yesterday).

OH! And my husband is 2 years cancer free! That’s it for now. I hope you are having a wonderful week and remember: my lazy rear-end is most active on Facebook. Here’s the direct link to my page there: https://www.facebook.com/myatkinsjourney/.

“But You Will Look Like A Man!”

A Year Today – Cancer and Life

It has been a year today since my husband’s surgery to remove a polyp that turned into a cancer diagnosis. It has been one heck of a roller coaster ride. I spend my days alone, while he is at work, yet when he was in the hospital I was like a little child, lonely and weepy, eating everything I could get my hands on, drowning my sorrows in food. It was awful!

Then, when he got home, it was time to play “What can he eat?” It has taken a year for him to be able to eat the fattier cuts of meat without pain or it running right through him. With that year of food uncertainty, I let myself go. It didn’t click how bad it was until I stepped on the scale and it lied to me, telling me I was 201 pounds. I tried it three more times before I realized it was correct. June 3, 2015 (15 days before his surgery) I weighed 176. That was the last time I weighed myself until this month.

I am happy to say that not only is he STILL cancer free but he has decided to begin exercising to build up his strength! So, while we slowly figure out how low carb/keto he can go, I am taking it slow. Very low/possibly keto during the day, then a normal dinner together (which is much better now that there are no children in the house again). And this is my current favorite exercise (which I have already posted on my Facebook page, so sorry about the duplicate):

Kettle Bell Swings

I actually read about them in the “4 Hour Body” by Tim Ferris. I knew what a kettlebell looked like. Heck, I even carried one into the house when my son was moving but I had never looked into exercising with it. So, I stole it from him (well, borrowed it). I began lowering my carbs and exercising March 29th. Day one, I managed to do 20 kettlebell swings. That was it for the week. I was wobbly and sore. The next week, I did 26 swings. This week, I have done 30 on Monday and 48 today. Since March 29th, I have lost a whopping 2 pounds according to the scale but I have lost 10 inches all over my body!!!! My goal is to work up to 3 times per week with as many as I can do while still keeping good form. I can truly feel this all over my body (in a good way) so this is the exercise I am having hubby do. Thanks to the work he currently does, it won’t be too long until we will have to purchase a heavier kettlebell (since his first day he did 50, which was Wednesday … I need to write that down).

This exercise has not aggravated my carpal tunnel (which decided to flare a bit, thanks to writing a book) or a gem of a gangleon cyst that formed at the base of my right middle finger (no, I didn’t get it from overuse) OR my still-slightly-tweaky shoulder. I am hoping to take almost-before pictures tomorrow (kinda hard when I am alone). Not sure if I will post those or hold onto them to include with “progress” pictures.

I do have an entire folder of recipes to go through and share here (313 at last count) but if you want to see anything more immediate, please join me on Facebook. It’s so much easier to share there (https://www.facebook.com/myatkinsjourney/).

The “After” Myth

2015. So Far

This year has taught me a lot and it’s not even over yet. I have learned that, despite being alone for 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, I do not like being without my husband. I learned that, no matter how long I was physically away from my family, we still truly love each other and can have a wonderful experience through a very dark time. I have also learned that I can eat whatever I want as long as I accept that my body will hate me for it.

In May of this year, my mom was diagnosed with liver cancer. Stress, worry, and the fact that we are a 15 hour drive from my family felt like too much to bear. While my brain kept trying to figure out some magical way to manifest the money to make the trip, I went through bouts of hardly eating anything the entire day to eating everything in sight. Thankfully, my blood sugars did not react adversely to these binges.

A month later, after a colonoscopy, my husband was in an operating room, which was supposed to be a pretty routine surgery (removal of a polyp) but in the course of the surgery, they found carcenoid tumors. He was in the hospital for 4 days and I sat here, crying and binge eating anything I could get my hands on (while extremely thankful we had no sweets in the house). Between June 1st and August 1st, my mom was going through chemotherapy and surgeries while my husband was undergoing surgery, and tests that even the lab technicians had to look up, since they are done so rarely. Around August 1st, my husband got the “all-clear” (his tumors are non=aggressive and they saw no signs of more) but he will have to go in at regular intervals to make sure no more appear.

Unfortunately, my mom was not so lucky. They were finally able to shrink the tumor enough to do surgery and discovered it had not only damaged her liver too much but had spread. On August 18, 2015, one more beautiful star was added to the heavens. She was a beautiful woman who, despite the trials she dealt with throughout her life, always had a smile on her face and love in her heart. Due to our distance, it had been too many years since we had seen each other. With normal life events getting in the way it becomes so easy to say, “I’ll visit next year” (which was our original plan). My husband had not had the chance to meet her and now he will only in the stories we share with him. We drove down there for her memorial service (non-stop, which I really do not recommend if you are not accustomed to driving that distance without sleeping) and I saw not only my immediate family but some of my family from Mexico who I had not seen in 33 years. It is amazing how, despite that many years apart, it was like we had never been separated. We laughed, cried, hugged, and loved together. It truly was beautiful, despite the sadness of our reason for reuniting.

I am still reeling from the emotional roller coaster of this year. I have gone from 176 pounds up to 186 (possibly closer to 190 but I stopped stepping on the scale for a while) and now, am back down to 176 pounds. My body has been extremely angry with me this entire time. As I binged, my lower legs would bloat so bad it hurt to walk. I had extreme intestinal issues and my kidneys actually hurt (all this without blood sugar spikes). When I stopped eating, my blood sugars would eventually dip to dangerous levels, with me becoming so exhausted that it took all my energy to eat anything. Thankfully, those days were rare. I’ve come back from Arizona a little sick. I keep telling everyone I’m just allergic to California but I’m pretty sure it’s the massive amount of smoke in the air. You could see it as a light brown layer all across the valley as you were heading out of the mountains. The first night home, I had to use my inhaler for the first time in about 6 months but thankfully, none of my extraordinary allergies have returned. I am on the mend but the emotional toll this year has taken has me still quite exhausted. I think it’s time for lunch (Del Real Chicken Asado, shredded cheese, sour cream and jalapenos). Thank you all for being here. 🙂

Get Keto Quick … I Mean Get Rich Quick Schemes

I just received a message from someone on Facebook about a fantastic line of products that will get you into a state of ketosis in 3 hours.  From the little I read, you drink two of their drinks (two separate products), eat their “special treat”, then subsidize the rest of your calories with meat and veg.

O.k.?  Well, if any of you have read any of my blog (at all), you can receive the same results in just a little more time for the one time low, low price of … FOOD!  No gimmicks, no special drinks, no special bars to buy.  Just buy some meat and there you go!

I will not tell you the name of the product (or the name of the person who sent me the message) but just do me a favor, everyone.  Remember these words: There are no quick fixes for better health.  It doesn’t matter which eating plan you decide to embrace.  It took us quite a while to ravage our bodies.  For me, it took 42 years to put my body into shut-down mode but it only took 12 months to recover (see that?  Not another 42 years or even 42 months … only 12).

If you truly feel the need to embrace some quick fix fad, go ahead.  I will still be here when you get back, posting recipes and occasionally being a human and posting words I type.

Adding Fats Into Your Diet

A MyFitnessPal friend just adopted a ketogenic way of eating.  A few tips that just popped out of my head and through the keyboard that I thought I should share with all of you: how to incorporate more fat into your diet without scooping out spoonsful and eating it like ice cream.

Yes, I did that in the beginning.  I was desperate to get all the fats into my diet that I needed to.  For those who don’t know, the basic way it works with the ketogenic approach is you replace all the carbohydrate calories you normally eat with fat calories.  In the beginning, when you are just starting out, that is a lot of fat!  That’s why you see so many people (and I did this for almost the entire year I was strict keto) drinking Bullet Proof Coffee (if you google that, you might not see what I drank.  I just added a tablespoon each of butter and coconut oil to my coffee and just stirred it in … much better together than either butter or coconut oil by themselves). Or they eat fat bombs. Really. I tried one recipe and it was just cold fat with something (I think it was peanut butter) meant to make you forget you are eating a chunk of fat but it failed.

The problem with doing drinking my bullet proof coffee every day was those nights when we would indulge in a fantastically fatty rib eye steak, I would go over on my fats (a lot).  So, I slowly began skipping my bullet proof coffee days and consuming more fats with my meals.  Eventually, it got to a point I did not need my bullet proof coffee.

So, what were these fantastic tips I gave my friend?  The first tip: Starting now, buy fattier meats.  Through so many years of being told to eat less fatty meats, we had switched from 80% ground beef to 90%, bought chicken breast instead of other cuts, and purchase pork loin instead of the fat-rich cuts that didn’t require sauces to make them edible.  Now, we buy the 80% ground beef.  We buy chicken thighs instead of breast.  Did you know that most of the wonderfully smelling chicken that is grilled outside of Mexican markets is de-boned, skinned chicken thighs?  That’s why it is always so juicy and WONDERFUL!  We buy pork chops, the fattier the better and when we want steak, it is either rib eye steaks (with that glorious marbling) or tri-tip roasts.  I’ve also (as I’ve written about before) begun branching out with pork butt roasts and even some beef roasts, leaving as much of the fat as I can.  Don’t forget fish: any form of salmon has more fats but have you checked out canned fish like smoked herring or sardines?

The second tip (which I don’t think I told her): Track your fat!  When I input my meals into MyFitnessPal, I would almost always forget to track the fats I used in cooking.  On the days when I remembered, I would almost end up over my allotted fat amounts.

So, there you have it.  Two tips to ensure your intake of fats is mostly from whole foods instead of a spoon.  OH!  I almost forgot.  If you want to order fats in bulk (instead of paying outrageous prices for tiny containers at the store and do not mind if they are not organic), go here (this is not an affiliate link, I just really like them): http://naturaloils.com/shop/Default.htm

Have a great Thursday!

Brenda

Quick Update

As I’ve said before, I flew off the rails once I discovered my fish/seafood allergy was gone. Well, life (my subconscious, the gods) have a funny way of throwing me back on the rails. As I’ve noted before, my husband has had health issues that coincided with not only my type 2 diabetes diagnosis but my first go at Atkins. It was the “New Atkins New You” version, though which version does not really matter. HE did not eat low carb and when I look back, I think I shoved even more carbs in their diet (my son was still with us then) because I did not want them to feel deprived (like I did at the time, having not only given up sugar and carbs but all seafood too, which we lived on at the time). Well, 5 years later, we have a bit of a diagnosis (we’ll know more in a week or two) but the initial diagnosis for my husband’s ill health is gluten intolerance (or allergy). They did biopsies Monday for celiac disease. Well, having almost no gluten free foods in the house, I’ve gone lower carb. lol In two weeks (this is how much I was eating before), I’ve lost 5 pounds. I can feel that most of that was water but the better part of this story is I have begun to exercise again!

One morning last week, I walked into the back yard, looked up at the beautiful blue sky, smiled and stretched, then realized my shoulder didn’t hurt! I’ve been working on my shoulder this entire time, paying attention to how it’s positioned when I did anything (from sitting here at my computer to cleaning the house). I just didn’t realize how good a job I had done on it until that morning. So, I moved my barbell out of the garage, hauled some of my weight plates into the back yard, and now am working out in the fresh air (early enough in the morning so I don’t burn myself on the sun-baked metal).

So, I have begun tracking my workouts on Fitocracy AND am tracking my food on MyFitnessPal (the good, the bad, and the ugly … why not track everything so I can see it all), have updated my stats and posted a new picture from last month (being girly in the apron I sewed, at 181 pounds). I’m not rushing into dropping my carbs too low because at this point I think my head would explode. I need to find foods for my husband. It’s truly amazing how many foods out there contain wheat that really shouldn’t (Knorr Chicken bouillon granules and Kikkoman Soy sauce, just to name a couple of the most surprising ones). I’ll be experimenting with various gluten-free mixes to find things that will satisfy him, so we will be eating those together. I’ll also be trying out some of the more complicated recipes I’ve posted (I was a boring eater, pretty much eating the exact same things week after week).

Four Things Nobody Tells You About Successful Weight Loss

I know I just told someone that this way of eating was like a marathon but I was wrong (and Dick Talens was right). You need to read this article.

Four Things Nobody Tells You About Successful Weight Loss

The Brutally Honest 6 Reasons You Are Still Overfat

See, this guy … this is what I like to see. He is the kind of guy who doesn’t look for a politically correct or sensitive way to say things. He just says it. The meme he includes in the post pretty much sums up his way of thinking:

You really should read this post!

http://strengthcoachtaylor.ca/uncategorized/the-brutally-honest-6-reasons-you-are-still-overfat/

50 Fat Torching Tricks for 2015

Most of the time, I don’t like lists like this but since this one was from Bodybuilding.com, I thought I would give it a read.  I like it!  Obviously, there are some tips that don’t apply to those going low carb but too many of the others can help, especially if you have been low carbing for a while and/or exercising for a while.  We all can use a little variety in everything we do.  It keeps our journey fresh.

My favorite is #15: Add Some Caffeine but there really are too many great tips on here to list the ones I like (I will tell you this: I HATE green tea!  I’ve tried multiple times to like it but no matter how I prepare it, I can’t stand it.  So that one is definitely out for me).  There’s one tip that I think needs to be expanded on: #6: Start Your Day Off With A Balanced, Larger Breakfast. I really think this depends on you and your body. There are days when I’m fine with just my coffee until lunch time and others when I’m ravenous as soon as my feet touch the floor in the morning (these are the mornings when I’m thankful for the bacon I already cooked the day before or the salami all sliced up and waiting to be devoured).

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/50-fat-torching-tricks-fire-up-your-fat-loss.html

Secrets From Your Personal Trainer – Give It a Year to Lose Weight

This really is the secret to long-term success: give yourself time.  If you don’t see immediate progress, give it more time.  Some people (like I have mentioned before) see tons of weight come off immediately (or at least it seems that way) while others have bodies that are more stubborn than some.  See, my initial frustration at my lack of weight loss was why it was so easy for me to quit back in 2010.  Once I changed my focus from weight loss to better health, I developed the patience to persevere.  So, read this article for a bit of a true reality check.  🙂

http://exercise.about.com/od/gettingweightlossresults/fl/Secrets-From-Your-Personal-Trainer-What-We-Wish-We-Could-Say.htm

It takes more than a few tries to get through these stressful interruptions while still exercising, still eating right and still taking care of yourself. You’ve got years, decades, maybe even a lifetime of ingrained habits to contend with. Think about how long you’ve been:

Cleaning your plate
Stress or emotional eating
Sleeping until the last possible moment, rather than getting up and exercising
Stopping for fast food on the way home because you’re too tired and too hungry to make dinner
Eating out because you don’t have anything to make for a healthy dinner
Not even knowing how to make healthy dinners
Sitting for hours a day, leaving you with a stiff, achy body that feels too much pain or discomfort to exercise
Dealing with fatigue or lack of energy with caffeine or energy drinks rather than physical movement

How Your Body Responds To Exercise – The Oatmeal

I have wasted … I mean thoroughly enjoyed this man’s comic strips! http://theoatmeal.com/

Update – Seafood Tests Completed

When I first began this journey, the first foods to be eliminated (before sugar) were all seafood. My allergy was so severe that I didn’t even try seaweed just in case (I’m not sure if I mentioned but I could not even be near aquariums). So, that eliminated a lot of food establishments. If it was a small diner, they usually used to the same frying oil for french fries as they did for fish filets. Most of the Southeast Asian restaurants use fish sauce. Many barbecue restaurants use Worcestershire sauce (which has anchovies) and I couldn’t even think about Caesar dressing (again, anchovies).

Well, yesterday was my final test. I had mussels … with no reaction. As of today, I have eaten fresh water (tilapia) and salt water (tuna steak) fish, crustacean (shrimp) and shellfish (mussels) with no need to use my epi-pen. I am truly free. AND that has been my dilemma. Friday, hubby and I were on our way to do our bi-monthly shopping and he asked me what I wanted for dinner (figured we wouldn’t have time to cook once we got home) but he added, “since you can eat anywhere you want.” That’s when it hit me. I can eat wherever, whatever I want. 4 1/2 years of extreme limitation that had nothing to do with carbohydrates and now I have total freedom!

So, I’ve been living a bit loosely this week. My average carbohydrate intake has been around 75 grams per day (with normal blood sugar readings) because I can eat wherever I want AND whatever I want! LOL! I even ate Popey’s chicken today (they fry their seafood in the same oil as everything else). I know this is temporary. I will get back on track (I’ve put on 4 pounds this week) but I wanted to disclose that I am human, too. I have made decisions that have thrown my body for a loop (and 1 mistake … crepes at IHop).

Everything we put in our mouth (or don’t) is a decision we make. Every exercise we do (or don’t do) is a decision we make. We have the power (an image of He-Man just popped into my head) to do whatever we choose, beneficial or not. Despite the shakes I got in the beginning when I “couldn’t” eat those Cheez-Itz that I could smell from a mile away, I was not (and am still not) addicted to carbs. It was all a habit. The same with smoking. I am a smoker (have been for going on 27 years). I have quit a few times. It was the habit of smoking that was the hardest to give up. I smoked like some people drink alcohol (or do drugs). I smoked to escape. It was my “quiet time”, smoking outside away from the kids (or when stressed, it calmed me). It was what meditation can be.

And it’s the same with whatever food we think we can’t live without. If I didn’t have type 2 diabetes, I would be in big trouble. Sweets have always been a big issue with me (natural, as in fruit or man-made). If they were in the house, I kept eating them until they were gone (there is no “just have one” for me). This is why, now, I am thankful for my diagnosis. If this hadn’t happened, who knows how bad my health would have gotten. As of this morning, I am at 166.6 pounds and my morning blood glucose reading was 76. Tonight’s dinner will be grilled shrimp skewers (salt, pepper, butter, and garlic) and MAYBE even a salad. 🙂

Update – July 15, 2014 – Blood Sugar Success

Well, this past week has been busy and full of experimentation.  My typical physical training went out the door, due to the weather and my improved mental state (and physical).  When we bought this house, there was so much that needed to be done (and only a month to complete it before we moved in) that we focused on the main areas of the house (you know, the areas that we did not want to move furniture to finish painting).  So, that’s what we did.  I worked like a mule.  We had to rip out carpet, deodorize and seal the floors (dogs were allowed to do their business anywhere they pleased), scrape as much paint as we could, prime and paint, plus clean like crazy!  Heck, I had even managed (by the skin of my teeth) to get a garden in that year.  Well, it’s taken me 2 1/2 years to build my strength (and health) back up but I have to say, our house is finally on its way to being our “home”.  Two weeks ago, I focused on the kitchen.  I’m still in the process but pulled up the linoleum in 2/3 of it (still have to deal with the area where the fridge is) and now I’m focusing on the kitchen cabinets and finishing painting (figured I should do that before making the floor in that area pretty).  With my brain, though, I’ve also managed to get the basic structure of our front yard in place (all that I need to do is add to it, now) AND we pretty much have a working (as in cat-urine carpet pulled up, everything rearranged to enable us to work without catching anything on fire) garage.  All this I logged as yard work on Fitocracy, since there is no listing for “scraping paint”.

On the blood sugar front, I decided to test what I can and cannot eat.  I started testing with crackers (Wasa Sourdough, which only have 9 carbs total per cracker) and not only did my blood sugar not spike, I didn’t gain an ounce.  Then, Friday came (and so did the biggest test for me).  Pizza.  As in real New York style pizza, crust and all.  I ate 2 slices that first night, then 2 more the next day.  Guess what?  My blood sugar went from 89 pre-meal to 91 post-meal! Can you believe that?  I bet you CAN believe that since Friday, though, I have gained 4 pounds!  😀  It was worth it to see that, eventually, I will be able to incorporate more carbs into my diet without solely focusing on my blood sugar (for those who may not recall or were not here then, in August of last year, bell peppers spiked my blood sugar).

So, as of this morning, I am at 170.4 pounds (still a loss of 41 pounds) and despite the bloating and intestinal discomfort (this time both hubby and I are constipated, since I bought him a ton of bread, too) I feel fantastic!  I am thrilled that this is my turning point.  It has been just about a year since I refused the meds my doctor wanted to give me went low carb/keto.  It’s been about a year since I cut my carbs so low that some days I was lucky to take in 10 grams.  So now, I think my main focus can shift to weight/inches lost and strength gains.  I’m one happy and grateful woman!

What Is The Ketogenic Diet?

Look what I found! This is a fantastic interview with authors Jeff Volek, Ph.D., R.D. & Stephen Phinney, MD, Ph.D.

My Own You Tube Channel

It’s not pretty, nor is it filled to the rim with wonderful information or fantastic recipes but it’s only been in existence for less than an hour-ish. No more having to wade through my smaller government/prepping/crochet videos. This one is strictly low carb/ketogenic/fitness related (and where I’ll post any videos I make, if I ever make any more ~grin~). I’ll be switching links all over this blog and pages (haven’t finished that up yet) but here it is, in all its glory:

Atkins Keto Journey

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr8SzC_w8hShp5TfEfzBVKA

Fitness Is A Skill article and another mini-update

So, after a month of inactivity and a week of stretching/strengthening my shoulder, I did my first weight training this morning. I feel great, though my muscles already are a bit upset that I did more than sit in the chair all day. My shoulder isn’t sore at all and I think that’s because I altered my training to cable/machine only. I’m putting all free weights aside until I’m sure my shoulder is fully recovered. I’ve updated my Physical Training page to reflect the cable versions of the exercises. My weight is up (I think … can’t remember what I logged last time) but I’m bound and determined to bring that back down. I’ve been a scarfing fool and, after really thinking about it, I think I would consider myself a binge eater. When I like something, that’s all I eat until it’s gone (or I want to puke just thinking about eating it again). Both hubby and I are that way. When we discovered Del Real Chile Verde, that’s all we ate for 4 days straight. That’s just one example. Another was pre-made hamburger patties. They were so easy and we could make our own Mc Doubles, so we did, they tasted great, and that’s pretty much what I lived on when I started this in August of last year. Now? I have 5 patties in the freezer, taunting me to eat them before they get freezer burn, but the thought turns my stomach! AND that’s where I come to Russel Stover Sugar-Free candies. I bought some because I wanted an occasional sweet treat. Well, as of yesterday, I was averaging 4-5 per day PLUS all my food. Of course, I didn’t log them in My Fitness Pal, because “I was only eating a few”. Well, that few sure totaled up! 110 calories and 13 total carbs EACH. So, obviously, if you multiply that by 4 or 5 then add that to all the other “real” food I was eating … I’m surprised I’ve only gained a few pounds! I’ll go grab the tape measure as soon as I post this and update my stats (since it’s been forever since I have). All I know is I weighed 172.2 this morning and size 14 jeans are still a little loose.

And that brings me to this article. Though he’s speaking of fitness and training, this also goes for what we choose to put in our mouths. It’s not about motivation or willpower. It’s me, sitting here, listening to the call of the candy (which is within arms reach) and telling it no. That’s a conscious decision I’ve made, since yesterday I started my day with willpower and became depressed and paced around the house like a caged lion until I binged on candy (and just about anything else I could get my hands on).

http://dicktalens.com/fitness-is-a-skill/

A Month Of No Training

It’s been approximately one month since I stopped all training (weight and otherwise). Once Spring sprung, it was like getting slammed into a wall. So, I had decided today was the day. Of course, I was up at 12:30 AM due to my allergies but I digress. I went back to bed with the intention of beginning fresh once I got some sleep. Well, one lift of the weights and my dang shoulder tweaked like anything. So, for at least a week, I’m solely focusing on my shoulder.

In addition to these movements, I stumbled onto two more videos today that I will incorporate into my daily routine. Hopefully, a week will be enough to regain some pain-free mobility in my shoulder.

Now, this one requires the use of an exercise band. I don’t have one but have quite a few heavy duty bungee cords.

http://www.ehow.com/video_6561838_treat-tendonitis-shoulder.html

And this one is simply stretches for the neck. As I was sitting here, watching the video and doing the stretches sitting up, there was slight discomfort, so I guess that means these need to be done also.

http://www.ehow.com/videos-on_11638_physical-therapy-neck.html

Although I’m happy I began this journey to better health, there are times I wish I would have done it sooner. Sometimes, I just feel like an old fart.

Should Giving Diet Advice Be Against the Law?

Everyone here who even remotely suggests a change in diet needs to read about this case.

“How blogger and former diabetic Steve Cooksey became a scourge of the American nutritional establishment, and why his legal predicament matters to all of us.”

http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/should-giving-diet-advice-be-against-law?fullpage=true

Fiber and You (Leptin Resistance)

So, this isn’t a talk about poo (I’ve already done that one). This is something else. Out of curiosity, I clicked on one of those paid links Facebook is now including on our home pages about the one weight loss secret for women. I sat there, listening to one of those annoying 3 minute “videos” that you can’t pause or turn down just so I could find out what the guy was preaching about. He finally (I swear, it must have been 2 minutes and 40 seconds into this thing) mentions Leptin resistance. Well, me being who I am, I hit Google. It turns out, there is such a thing and it sounds like it goes hand in hand with insulin resistance.

So, after reading about all the whole grain, less meat suggestions, I stumbled onto a study about some fancy shmancy African mango seed extract (The effect of Irvingia gabonensis seeds on body weight and blood lipids of obese subjects in Cameroon) that, according to Natural News (Reversing leptin resistance naturally), is supposed to help. My initial reaction was, “Where can I buy this stuff NOW?” until I read the entire study. The study shows fantastic results regarding obesity (more inches lost and vastly improved blood panels over those on the placebo) but the first line in the Discussion section is what got me:

The soluble fibre of the seed of Irvingia gabonensis like other forms of water-soluble dietary fibres, are “bulk-forming” laxatives.

So, it’s not the extract itself but the water-soluble fiber? Well, if that’s the case, then why pay all that money (I saw some bottles for well over $20 for 150 pills)? Why not just get some psyllium husk or Metamucil (if you can’t spare the calories) or increase our intake of foods that naturally have more soluble fiber in them? Here is a list of low carb foods that contain more fiber for you caloric buck:

Avocado
Broccoli
Collard Greens
Nuts (especially Almonds) and Seeds
Flaxseed
Psyllium (or Metamucil)
Cucumbers
Celery
Brussels Sprouts
Asparagus
Chia Seeds (still need to buy a Chia pet)
Zucchini

I recently started a nut eating run (stumbled on some at Walgreens, ate some every night, then went to Costco and BAM! They have the best nut mix with no peanuts EVER!). This has pretty much been my evening snack for the past week and I have now dropped down to my low weight again. I’m thinking, since reading all the above, that it may be from the fiber (and other goodness) of the nuts that finally broke my stall. I hope so. I hope this isn’t some fluke of a thing but I feel better, my bowels are almost too happy, and I have lost inches despite being a lazy-ass and playing a video game for a week.