Taking A Different Approach Part Four

I am sharing a small personal journey that I just completed.   My journey addresses an aspect of my life that I needed to work on as it was affecting my health.  I am not endorsing any products or methods for dealing with the subject of these blog posts.  I am sharing my thoughts and feeling and what I decided was the best course of action for me.

Part Four

The Cleanse

Day One
I made it and didn’t kill anyone. It’s a win! I tried a couple of the included recipes. For some reason the red cabbage salad sounded good but in reality, it was pretty awful. I think it could have been better but I am not trying it again. I had roasted root vegetables for dinner. Oh. My. Goodness. That was a winner. It seemed a bit carb heavy to me but after the cabbage salad – who cares. The best part was the little golden yellow beets. Roasted. They were so good. I made enough to have leftovers the next day.
Day Two
Not as fun today. Headache, tired. Didn’t feel like cooking just made the shakes and juiced some veggies and fruits. I did make kale chips. I think this was the day that the lack of caffeine hit me. I notice I am really tired. I am still trying to get the shake to be appealing and not make too much. I am using coconut milk as there is no dairy.
Day Three
I spent the day running errands, and then when I got home I slept four hours. Wow. This is not the norm for me. I found that eating out vegan with the added caveat of no grains, which includes rice, is not easy (at least where I was today). I really miss eggs and cheese. The headache is gone at least.
Day Four and Five
I think I am figuring out how to make this work for me. I am not very good with the no cheese part but I am managing and have yet to stray from the plan. Funny what one misses when one can’t have it and which ones take top ranking in that list. I have lost seven pounds so far and can see a bit of a change, though not much. Guacamole is not the same without chips and the zucchini chips are lacking without the cheese but it was better than nothing.
It is at this point that I am telling myself this is good but I will never do this again. 😉
Days Six through Ten
I am learning how to make this work for me. I have found that I really do not like vegetables. Well I do but I like them better when someone else cooks them. Zucchini and avocados are my go to foods. I like the shakes in the morning.
In this purification cleanse, there are two fiber options – one in capsule form and one as a powder to be mixed in the shake. I was given the powder. When I added it to the shake it made it thicken up to sludge pretty fast. It was gross. So I started making the shake with the SP Complete powder and drinking the fiber mixed in water separately. It worked SO much better. I have found now that I am able to create food that meets the criteria. I do not want a second shake during the day but I am still taking the supplements as directed and the fiber three times a day.
I am finding I have more energy than in the early days and I am incorporating other veggies into my meals but not many.
This was the note I made about how it was going and it is pretty much what I stated above. This was the day it kind of came together for me:
I am on Day Ten of the cleanse. I have lost ten pounds and I am sort of getting used to this. One thing I am finding is that food for me is not just for sustenance. In my family food relates to celebration, birthdays, special occasions, a way of showing people you love them or as a comfort when angry, sad or depressed. It is one of those things that can be justified to buy because we all have to eat, right? I am hoping that this cleanse will help reset some of that food dependency and I will incorporate other ways to deal with emotional eating and keep the treats to happy, special occasions, plus make better choices when I get back to a regular diet.
Day Eleven:
Good day. My husband’s birthday is tomorrow and I will be cooking a large seafood meal for him and there will be cheese cake. So far I have been able to stick with my regimen and cook for the family too. I am determined. I am doing a ton of internet searches for vegan recipes and having to weed out recipes that have grains or nuts.
*At this point I am telling myself that this is not so bad and I might do it again, lol*
Day Twelve
Wow. I spent the day cooking. I made Creamy Pesto Shrimp for the family as well as breaded shrimp and fish Veracruz. I grow a lot of basil, so I decided to try something new for me. I made the traditional pesto for the family. For me, I modified the recipe and used hemp seeds (which I very lighted toasted) and coconut milk. Instead of cheese, I added nutritional yeast. I was pleasantly surprised. One of the guests said they liked it better. The nutritional yeast gives it a slightly nutty flavor but also a bit like cheese. Since I could not have shell fish, I just had the sauce over spaghetti squash. I was able to eat the fish Veracruz but sadly it did not turn out as well as expected. I am allowed quinoa so I may try it over that tomorrow. The cheesecake was the only temptation but I held strong. 
I had some friends ask for the recipe. It was a combination of several I found as I was looking for vegan pesto. Here is what I ended up doing:
Vegan Pesto
3 cups fresh basil
1/4 cup hemp seed – lightly toasted (I can’t have nuts now or I would have used pine nuts)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
I then added three tablespoons of nutritional yeast. This gave it a cheese like flavor, helped thicken it and gave it a slightly nutty taste. (I am sure you can add more or less to taste. This was the first time I used it)
Add all ingredients to food processor or blender except for olive oil. Process while slowly adding olive oil.

For the creamy part
I melted a half cup of butter and added a can of coconut milk – full fat because you need the richness. After mixing the butter and coconut milk, add 1/3 cup of the pesto and stir until blended. Cook until thickened. Can add more nutritional yeast if desired.

Creamy vegan basil pesto with mushrooms and peppers over zucchini noodles with Black Krim tomatoes from the garden.

I ate some right away and then I refrigerated the rest. It thickened after cooling and reheats well. I was not all that impressed with the spaghetti squash texture that night so I made zucchini noodles the next day. The zucchini noodles are made with this tool called the Veggetti. It has two different thicknesses it can cut.  A friend also recommended this Spiralizer on Amazon.
He really likes it. I chose a smaller one because I wanted one that takes up less space. I may look into the larger one later.
Day Thirteen
Good day. I have now lost 12.4 pounds. I have not added any exercising while on the cleanse, just the stretches and the usual walking up and down stairs all day. I sautéed some sweet peppers and added zucchini noodles then stirred in some of the left over creamy pesto sauce. It was fabulous. For another meal , I had the fish Veracruz over quinoa. It was much better today than yesterday.
Day Fourteen:
Feeling pretty good today. I am having leftovers from the pesto.
Day Fifteen: Woke feeling good. No weight loss in the last few days. I ended up going out to lunch with my daughter and did not find anything that really fit the cleanse perfectly. Since I can have meat on this part of the cleanse, I chose an Italian soup that had sausage and vegetables. It tasted good (not great) and I felt guilty about eating it because of the sausage. Back on track tonight.
Day Sixteen – Decided to try adding the shake mix to my veggie juice. Not my best idea. Yuck. So far I like the fruit shake I have been making.
1 cup coconut milk or Flaxseed milk
Small handful of frozen strawberries or frozen mango chunks (maybe half cup)
1/3 of medium banana
2 scoops shake mix
Tablespoon Flaxseed oil (omitted if I use Flaxseed milk)
Water to thin if it is too thick.
Stevia if it needs a bit of sweetener
Day Seventeen – We went out to eat with my husband’s family for his birthday. Of course, this was a place that I would have ordered chicken fried steak and had pie for dessert before this cleanse. As it was, I was able to stick to the diet with a small grilled steak and green veggies for the side. I cannot have eggs or cheese and most of the salads came with it. I did not want to have to pick things out, so no salad. If I were just low-carbing it – I would have had an omelet.
Day Eighteen – Today I tried a new recipe, Coconut Red Lentils with Spinach, Cashews & Lime. I found it on Food.com. I could not add the cashews because of the nut restriction but it still came out very tasty.

Coconut Red Lentil with Spinach, Cashews and Lime

So far I have lost 14.6 pounds and I am able to get into some old Capri pants I have not worn in a while. Twenty five more pounds to my goal.
Day Nineteen – Good day. I promised my mother I would make a chocolate trifle when my cousin came to visit. I managed to complete the task without any tastes. I call that a win. I have added some meat back into my meals. Tonight I had a small steak with green vegetables. It was wonderful.
Day Twenty – So ready to be finished with the cleanse. My mother gave me a small clay cooker. I had a large one at one time and it got broken, but I had not replaced it. I also have a cook book called Cooking in Clay by Joanna White. I decided to make the Italian Roast pork from the cookbook for the family. It stayed within the guidelines of the cleanse at this point and it came out very tender and oh so tasty.
I am feeling pretty good but I find that I am having trouble sleeping. This is a recurring problem and one I will need to address soon.

Day Twenty-one – Last Day! Finished up the supplements and checked the inventory on the fiber and shake supplement. I have an entire container of shake mix left and a partial bottle of the fiber supplement.

I lost 14.8 pounds total and was able to fit back into some jeans that I had outgrown last winter.
My goal is to return to a low carb or paleo diet, incorporate more vegetables in to my meals and lose 20 more pounds.
I started my first non fast day with an omelet with peppers and mushrooms. Day two was another omelet with mushrooms, spinach and nutritional yeast. This was tasty.
Overall, this cleanse was not that bad. I was pretty grumpy the first few days and part of it was the lack of caffeine and me not knowing how to eat vegan. Once I researched some recipes and got over the caffeine withdrawals, I was fine. The more weight I lost, the better I felt and the more energy I had. At first I swore I would never do this again, but I think I would consider it an annual event, one I would most likely schedule after the holidays when giving in to temptation will probably have its greatest occurrence.
I am also incorporating walking into my daily activities. I started with a little over a mile and upped it to two miles the next day. I plan on keeping it around two miles a day for now.
Losing the weight has helped me to move my focus away from food for comfort. The carb cravings are also gone. The depression has decreased somewhat. I feel better about taking control over a part of my life. It is a start. I still need to work on other ways of dealing with stressful situations. Being able to take something that was so ingrained in my way of dealing with emotions and being able to change it is empowering. I am still working on my sleep issues and I am sure I will figure that one out too.

I want to share a sign that I found.  I will keep it handy as a reminder of some alternative ways to deal with emotional eating:




Taking A Different Approach, Part Three

I am sharing a small personal journey that I just completed.   My journey addresses an aspect of my life that I needed to work on as it was affecting my health.  I am not endorsing any products or methods for dealing with the subject of these blog posts.  I am sharing my thoughts and feeling and what I decided was the best course of action for me.

Part Three

Weight gain and depression. What should I do?

I expressed to the chiropractor that these were also concerns. This chiropractor has a holistic approach. After chatting, he recommended I speak with his wife who is also a chiropractor and does nutritional counseling. We started on some supplements and she suggested that I try a cleanse. This is through a company called Standard Process. It is their 21 Day Purification Program. From their website:
“The purification program combines a generous menu of whole foods with supplements that support the body’s ability to remove naturally occurring toxins. This promotes a state that allows for toxin release.”
“The Standard Process Purification Program is not strictly a cleanse diet but rather a structured program that combines whole food eating with supplements, nutritious supplement shakes, and light exercise. The menu includes an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits for the first 10 days with select proteins added on day 11.”

Okay. Let’s refresh. Food is my go to for comfort. I am also a die-hard coffee addict. I even have a page devoted to coffee on the blog. Give up coffee? You have got to be kidding! Did I mention that I love meat and cheese and eggs? Well those were off-limits too. Oh and no grains of any kind, no nuts and I would have to eat vegetables. Get out of here! (Okay – I like vegetables, but not as my total meal) As you may have guessed, I am not a vegetarian and this purification program was going to have me eating as a vegan minus the grains. No way. vegetables-fresh-100715-02
Never say never. When my husband voiced that he did not think I could do it, well, he must have caught me in my rebellious teen mood because I was all “I’ll show him” and I agreed to the cleanse. What did I just get myself into?!

The day I bought the purification kit, I was presented with a large bag filled with shake supplements, Cleanse supplements, Green Food supplements and Whole food fiber powder. I was ready. I did the preliminary shopping and read through the instruction in the booklet as well as the online site. They also have an app for the iPhone. The online PDF can be downloaded and it is a great resource for recipes, tips and what to expect when the cleanse is complete
This was my schedule:
Days 1-7
2-3 SP Complete per day
(2 scoops per shake)
7 SP Cleanse capsules 3 times per day
1 tablespoon Whole Food Fiber per SP Complete shake

Days 8-21

2-3 SP Complete or SP Complete Dairy Free shakes per day
(2 scoops per shake)
1 tablespoon Whole Food Fiber per SP Complete shake
5 SP Green Food capsules 2 times per day

Plus I was on three other supplements that I had been taking to deal with the adrenals, blood glucose levels,and a B-vitamin complex. So I was taking a lot of supplements. This was out of the norm for a person who balks at medications. I decided to think of it as a pumped up vitamin regimen.

Next time: Part Four – The Cleanse


Taking A Different Approach, Part Two

I am sharing a small personal journey that I just completed.    My journey addresses an aspect of my life that I needed to work on as it was affecting my health.  I am not endorsing any products or methods for dealing with the subject of these blog posts.  I am sharing my thoughts and feeling and what I decided was the best course of action for me.


Adding injury to the mix.

Luckily I was pretty active for the most part, so I was about twenty-five pounds overweight. Around the same time as the depression hit, I had some foot problems that kept me from wearing any closed in shoes. It looked as if surgery was the only option. I balked and wore clogs and sandals, was less active and the weight came on. I started a new job and thought that would help but I gained ten pounds in the first nine months (they were big into potlucks).

After consulting with two surgeons, they determined I had two bone spurs in my right heel. One is a Haglund’s Deformity and the other on the bottom, is a calcaneal spur  (heel spur). The bursa on the back of the heel from the Haglund’s deformity was no longer fluid filled and had formed a large, painful ball which was irritating the tendon. There were two options for surgery. One would have me off my feet for eight weeks with a possible eight month or longer recovery. The second option was less invasive but still required three complete weeks of no weight-bearing then several weeks in a boot, but it would not totally fix the problem. The thing that scared me most was being told that if I fell, I could damage the foot more than it was before surgery from either procedure. The second option recommended orthotics after surgery, but the surgery had to be done first.

Below is an x-ray I found online that illustrates what my bone spurs look like.  The tenonitis in the back of the heel has progressed to tendonosis.

What’s the difference?  Achilles tendonitisis an acute, inflammatory, repetitive stress injury of the Achilles tendon,commonly affecting athletes and active individuals. When tendons (tendons attach muscles to bones) are inflamed they may become painful. Research, however, indicates that when there is ongoing or chronic pain from a tendon such as the Achilles, the tendon is not persistently inflamed but actually degenerative, with thickening, scar tissue, and sometimes partial tearing. This degenerative condition of the tendon is referred to as tendinosis. Understanding the difference is changing how tendon “overuse” injuries are treated and is crucial to effective management of these conditions.”  Excerpt from Achilles Tendonitis or Tendinosis? Minnesota Sports Medicine.

Bone spursOf course I turned to food for comfort and I was up to forty pounds overweight. Did I mention that I am pre-diabetic? Well, this weight was not helping and I could feel changes in my body and how I responded to certain foods. I really needed to do something.
This is when I took my husband’s advice and went to see his chiropractor. He said he could work on the shortened tendon and muscle that caused the problem initially and possibly give me relief with orthotic shoe inserts (ok, I had heard about orthotics before but this time there was no cutting of tendons involved with this option). The ball on the back of the foot would most likely remain but not be as painful. I was skeptical but it was a better option than surgery. Besides, I could always have the surgery if it didn’t work.
When I went to the chiropractor I also found that I was out of alignment. This helped explain the bit of length difference in my legs as well as the pain in my neck, shoulders and lower back. I have been going to bi-weekly sessions and everything is lining up, so to speak. I am able to move more comfortably, I stretch daily to keep the muscles loose and (gasp) I am now wearing closed in shoes with the orthotic inserts. I am very pleased about that.
So that should help get me back to being more active, right? It was a good step, but there was still that pesky depression to work on.

Next: Part Three, weight gain and depression.  What am I going to do?


Taking a Different Approach Part One

Over the next couple of weeks I will be sharing a small personal journey that I just completed.  My journey addresses an aspect of my life that I needed to work on as it was affecting my health.  I am not endorsing any products or methods for dealing with the subject of these blog posts.  I am sharing my thoughts and feeling and what I decided was the best course of action for me.

Part One.

A couple of years ago something changed and I just decided not to care about my health. I am not sure why. I was going through menopause, I felt depressed and on a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Life was not all that bad. My perception was that it was and that there was some elusive magic something that would make it better.
Growing up in my family, food was the answer for all situations and feelings. My stressed-is-desserts-spelled-backwardsgrandmother had breakfast ready for us in the morning and was already planning lunch as she cleaned the kitchen. Dinner was ready when my grandfather came home from work, and we always had dessert. Always. When friends came over she made us treats. If I was sick, she would prepare a favorite food; if I was sad, there would be comfort food. Something wonderful happened, we would celebrate with food. At the holidays she baked everyone’s favorite cake or pie. I equated taking care of those you love with food.
So this is what I did. I used food for comfort. Happy, sad, angry or even bored, food was the answer.
The more weight I gained the more depressed I felt. There was also the apathy about doing something to fix the problem, on top of the menopause symptoms with mood swings, hot flashes and night sweats.
If you are wondering why I didn’t seek medical advice about these issues, I am not one to take medications unless it is absolutely the last course of action. Caffeine and ibuprofen are the only two medications I would use. If that didn’t fix it then I would just have to deal with it. I have always leaned towards a more natural or holistic approach to health (well, before I didn’t care). I have watched family members become so dependent on various medications without working on the underlying causes. They did not always find the answer in the medications and the side effects were more damaging than the initial problem. I am not against medications if one needs it and understands the benefits and risks. It’s just not something I choose to do. I want to explore what is causing the feelings and how I am responding to them and try to determine what avenue I need to try. Sometimes it just helps to talk to someone I trust or seek out advice from another source. This was enough to deal with, I thought, but there was another issue I had been putting off taking care of.


Next time, Part Two.  Adding injury to the mix.