Disclaimer: If you are faint of heart or think health issues are TMI, then please stop reading. Because I get into the details. WHY? Because if someone else is going through similar things, I want them to know they are not alone.
You know how they say hindsight is 20/20? Yeah, I have been having a lot of those moments in the last few years. As I got diagnosed with one serious illness after another, I was so grateful for the ease in pain and the sense of relief once I got prescription to deal with the symptoms. In the last 2 years I have managed to keep my weight hovering around the same 4 lb stretch, finally putting a stop to the 10 lbs I was gaining per year. But I felt worse and worse. I knew this was not the way to feel at 35 years old. I knew there had to be a better way. And I KNEW I could not continue at this pace. I hated taking a pillbox full of pills every day, like someone in a hospital or twice my age might take. I could not lose weight despite all of my best efforts. I was afraid I'd be in a wheelchair soon, through the end of my life. I'd “forget” to take my pills –maybe because I couldn't remember but also because I probably just didn't want to take them.
A few weeks ago Xaver and I started watching documentaries about health, diet, the food industry, the history of food, development of man, and anthropology. Over and over we saw lots of common themes:
- Processed food is not the way we were intended to eat
- All of the chemicals, antibiotics, and chemical changes applied to our food made it equivalent to poison for our brain, our muscles, and our well-being
- There is a reason American is “fat” – and it is WHAT we eat, not how much. It is NOT McDonald's fault.
- We're messing with our body chemistry by putting BAD things in our bodies and then taking meds to correct that
- We, as a family, need to get healthy because this is NO way to LIVE
Here are some of the documentaries we watched:
Yes, I am not one to buy into propaganda. But I loved when these documentaries explained things on a scientific level, explained what happened IN our cells when we digest food, explained how what we are doing now is different from how we ate for 2 millions years, how we are kidding ourselves by thinking we're healthy by eating food that is processed all to hell, like slim-fast, low-fat & fat free, and lots of grains. Sometimes they had propaganda and rhetoric and hyperbole….but after watching so many of them, we could easily strain out the facts and toss the propaganda down the drain.
While watching these, we decided to do the Dr. Oz 48 hour Weekend Cleanse. That was last Friday. We pulled up the menu on our smart phones and went shopping at Target to get all the necessary ingredients.
I felt like I needed to try something and maybe a detox was a way to start. I mean, I have failed at so many other diets — this one was only 2 days, I could do that.
Here's what I've tried in the past:
- Arbonne's diet and detox system
- Working with a nutritionist
- Working with a trainer
- Low glycemic
- Weight Watchers, multiple times in the last 20 years
- Soup diets
- Liquid Diets
- Juice Diets
- Other shake based diets
- South Beach Diet
- Weight Lifter's Diet
- Diet where you eat low carbon but after 20 mins can eat what you want once a day (forget the name but was on this one in the army)
- 500 cal a day diets
- A bunch of other diets that I had books for at one time or another
- Reading labels and not buying things that were super processed or had too many ingredients that I could not pronounce
They all worked for a little while. And then I felt like crap. Or they were not realistic. Or they caused some other problem.
If you looked in my pantry, you would think we were super healthy! No sugary cereals – the sweetest thing I had was Honey Nut Cheerios. Lots of grains, beans, rice, oatmeal….hardly anything canned unless it was in a jar or we canned it ourselves…all natural ice cream…no processed cheeses like American and no meats like Bologna… no cookies or processed snack foods … I did have tortilla chips… no Little Debbie or Capri Sun or sodas or any of that CRAP — my kids were not getting any of that to eat in my house. But we still not did feel that great for all this effort. We were doing what the Food Pyramid said to do!! I got really tired of people trying to tell me what we needed to do to lose weight and get healthy. Seriously, people are lucky I didn't slap the crap out of them for being so audacious as to think I am a moron in need of their unsolicited tutelege. It is was insulting. And it seemed the fatter and more unhealthy I got, the more people felt they needed to impart their pseudo nutrition expertise upon me. I guess I NEEDED them to remind me I was fat and did not feel well? Cuz I must not notice it?! Good grief, people are real donuts sometimes. So if you are “skinny” stop saying things to your friends that are fat. Unless you don't want to be friends with them any more. Cuz we REALLY don't want to hear it UNLESS we ASK YOU!
Being that I have so many health issues, all at one time, I started to become very aware of my body. But some days it seemed like the fire alarm, flood alarm, earthquake alarm, and tornado warnings were all going off in my body at the same time– it was difficult to tell what I had done that somehow had this terrible effect on me on that day. Here's what I was going through:
- Daily naps, sometimes 2-3 naps a day
- Inability to go to sleep when I needed to
- Constantly feeling exhausted
- Diarrhea nearly every time I ate
- Gas and Bloating
- Chronic Sinus Infections
- Inability to walk or stand for more than 15 minutes due to chronic gout
- Inability to focus and concentrate
- Intense muscle spasms and cramps around my back and abdomen
- KNOWING that my mind could work so much faster and better (like 100 mph!) and FRUSTRATION at the reality of it only going at a slow pace (like 25 mph)
- Chronic Pain
- Inability to exercise or even perform household tasks becasue of my pain level and FEAR of the pain after I did too much work
- Working in spurts when I did feel well, trying to get as much done as possible because I knew it would not last
- Caffeine made me sleepy and upset my stomach
- And more
Sounds horrible, right? I sometimes wonder how I got out of bed every day and didn't just give up. Imagine if I wasn't as passionate and motivated as I am!?
Last fall we figured that I might have a gluten intolerance. So I started cutting out wheat products from my diet. I felt so much better! But I was still having some problems…I was better but not even at “good” yet — I was at “surviving”.
We started the Dr. Oz 48 hour Weekend Cleanse:
1. The first meal was a breakfast of quinoa with prunes, rice milk, and spices.It was awful and I could not even eat half of it. Xaver ate all of his.
Not sure about this cleanse…this looks nasty. Here goes! Wish me luck! dr oz 48 hour #detox
2. After about 6 hours, I was feeling lightheaded and feeling those cravings for carbs. I knew I needed some protein so, while we were on our way to Home Depot, we stopped at El Pollo Loco for some chicken. That took the edge off. I had started feeling better.
3. That night, my urine changed. It was back to how it was in the Army! I drink ALOT of water all the time but you wouldn't know it if you looked at my urine. I could not believe how quickly this detox diet was working already.
That night, we watched a documentary about the Paleo diet, the Perfect Human Diet. And we were sold. The next day, we continued the Dr. Oz 48 hour Weekend Cleanse without the quinoa and Rice Milk. The “salad” dressing they suggest of olive oil, lemon juice, and sea salt is pretty yummy on veggies! I made a salad of sliced cucumbers, radishes, and apples and drizzled this dressing on. It was amazing how quickly pour taste-buds were changing – this would have been bland tome a few days before but now, it was delicious and full of flavor.
My sister came over and helped us clean out our pantry, fridge, and freezer. A lot of that stuff, we had just bought! But no more cereal or rice or beans or wild rice or flour or pasta (not even gluten free pasta) or ice cream…thank goodness her family is pretty active and they CAN eat that stuff no problem.
Xaver printed out a Paleo diet cheat sheet from Paleo-Dietician and put it on the fridge so any time we want to eat,we an see, at a glance, what is okay and what is not. Here's how the rest of the week went:
- Monday – feeling great, got hungry across town,got a pastry at Starbuck's and felt like crap
- Tuesday: realized I forgot to take my fibromyalgia meds so I took them. I was so sleepy and groggy all day that I had to have my hubby drive me home from my dentist appointment – I felt sleepier than drunk! I decided to just try to stay off the meds. I was so exhausted from the meds that I slept most of the day.
- Wednesday: feeling great! Lots of energy and no need to take a nap. In fact, I was so awake that I could not go to sleep. I stayed up until 4am.
- Thursday: feeling great but decided to try to drink some coffee. It put my stomach in knots. So no coffee. Stayed up super late again — TRIED to sleep but could only get in 2 hours, I was not tired.
- Friday: I took my food with me to an all day training I attended in LA. I did great! But I was so tired. Not sleeping finally caught up to me. I slept 12 hours when I got home.
Here is some of what we ate this week – you can follow along on Instagram:
Mmmm smoothie dessert! Homegrown peaches from mom's orchard +almond milk + banana + ice + pineapple #fresh grated ginger. #clean #paleo (maybe! Lol) #tasty (fo sho!)
My delish paleo-esque lunch: cucumbers, cherry tomatoes from mom's garden, radishes, pink lady apples drizzled with lemon juice, olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt; coffee with natural honey and cream; fresh cut pineapple. It actually tastes awesome … we are not eating processed or sugar do things actually taste better…. #paleo #feelinggreat!
Afternoon snack..homegrown peaches from my mom's orchard
Blueberry banana smoothie…Lily wants it! Lol 48hr#detox dr oz
- Saturday: Felt great, eating right! Then, after we picked up our kids from a month long trip they had been on, all went down hill.
Xaver kept telling me that we can “cheat” by staying strict Paleo 80% of the time and eating other foods 20% of the time. I did not want to cheat – I mean, I felt great and wasn't craving anything. But cheesecake sounded good so we all decided to go to Cheesecake Factory. After waiting so long for our table, when we sat down they served bread, which I ate. I felt okay. And then I ate half my entree and still felt okay. We got one slice of cheesecake and split it. So far, I don't think I did so bad….and my entree was pretty paleo compliant.
But when we got home I stayed up to watch TV. And then I drank some lemonade I still had in the fridge. I drank 2 glasses of it. I started to feel hot and bloated so I finally went to bed. I slept 12 hours. I woke up sweating. Xaver said I felt like I had a fever my skin was so hot. I felt in so much pain! My urine was awful and I could barely turn my neck. I felt this unbelievable nausea and headache. That lemonade and whatever else I ate was NOT worth it!
I got right back on paleo this AM. After about 6 hours I started having those incredible cravings for carbs and cake and all the bad things we are not supposed to eat. But now, 10 hours into the day, I am doing much better. It will take a couple days to get those toxins back out of my system. And maybe I needed to remember what I felt like a week ago and how much better I felt this week in contrast. 20% Jennifer, not blow your whole night ;)
And did I mention, in one week I lost 7 lbs?!
Several of my friends and I are going to take this challenge together. We are trying to keep each other on track, motivated, and on our way to getting healthy. That is what we want – to be healthy. I will keep sharing this journey with you and all of my triumphs and failures along the way. Maybe if you are feeling terrible as I was, maybe, this is something to consider. Thanks for reading! I'd love if you joined us!
Thanks for stopping by!