Growing Into Paleo

Every day is getting easier.

I’m starting to have some regular go-to recipes that I can make from memory now. I’m making larger servings that I can save or freeze. I’m trying new foods like bison and rutabaga (both yummy!).

I still have slip ups. My top priorities when I eat out are no gluten or dairy as they can affect me for 3-4 days. But last week I had a whole container of meringue cookies. They are gluten and dairy free but still. I was disappointed in myself.

But yesterday, I went to a holiday banquet and ate perfectly. I ignored the desserts and cheesy potatoes and ate chicken, roast beef with au jus, veggies and a little fruit and a couple bites of rice. And drank unsweetened iced tea. I did have a Larabar when I got home because my sweet tooth was crying after seeing the dessert buffet. But I was glad I made the right choices.

For Thanksgiving I ate perfectly except for dessert – turkey, ham, veggies and fruit. I turned down stuffing for the first time ever (next year I will make Paleo stuffing). I did have 2 ginger cookies and a thin slice of pumpkin pie with no crust – and had a stuffy nose & heartburn for 3 days!! The pie was worth it but not the cookies. Gluten is not my friend.

I feel like I’m developing a better understanding of the effect food has on how I feel and I hope that will help me with my goal of doing strict Paleo in 2015. I really like my progress so far and want to improve even more!

Super easy new dish that I tried this week:

I took 2 fresh organic, pastured chicken breasts and sprinkled them on both sides with salt, onion & garlic powder and Herbes de Provence (a mix of dried lavender and other spices).

Then I sliced a yam in thick slices and dabbed avocado oil on both sides, also sprinkled with salt. I baked in the oven at 350F for 20 mins then flipped it all over, increased the heat to 375 and cooked another 20 min. Next time I think I’ll do 4 breasts and start at 375. It was sooooo good! Even froze and reheated well but next time I’ll dab some oil on the chicken too. The potatoes kind of carmelized on the end. Really yummy & easy!

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Better Every Day

I’m starting to see some real progress to my health as I continue the Paleo diet.

I realized the other day that although I have been eating relatively low-carb for 9 months now, I probably still am producing too much insulin. That’s one of the reasons I plateaued, in addition to the adrenal fatigue.

My energy improves daily and I have snacks if I need them, but much less frequently. My sleep apnea is a distant memory.

I’m healing faster too from cuts and burns. I haven’t been sick in 9 months. I don’t seem to need the heater at night anymore – before I would shiver and be unable to sleep when it got colder in November. I am walking around in short sleeves when others are complaining about the cold weather (not really that cold – about 50 F degrees, this is California!)

My hair is getting thicker, but the other day I got really stressed and my hair started noticeably shedding. I’m trying to really protect myself from stress as much as possible. My eyes are still super light sensitive but a little bit better.

I think in January I will commit to going 95% paleo for a year. I’ve been more like 70% lately, especially with sweets. I need to be stricter and I think my health will improve faster. I’ll save my exceptions for special occasions or dining out.

I’m exercising regularly (but moderately) now and that’s helping control my insulin levels. I had a setback the other day when I fell down the stairs and badly twisted my knee. But I’m recovering very quickly and am able to walk slowly on the treadmill again. My legs still swell after exercising but overall the circulation is improving.

I’ve easily maintained an overall weight loss of 29 lbs without effort or hunger.

Although I still have a ways to go, it’s exciting that I’ve found something that finally works!! I know that each day will just get better. Instead of getting sicker and more incapacitated, I know I will get thinner, stronger and healthier. I’m really looking forward to my next doctor visit!

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What’s For Dinner?

Just tried my first dinner from Pete’s Paleo delivery and it was delicious!! It was seared duck with butternut squash & Brussels sprouts. Really tasty and a good sized serving. Lots of meat! The flavors are delicious. Not cheap but worth it. They have a cookbook, Paleo by Season (by Peter Servold), and I might give that a try!

I bought some other Paleo cookbooks too recently. The first few I bought originally a couple months ago were more special-occasion books and the recipes included lots of nuts, honey, almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot starch, potato starch & tapioca flour. I’ll definitely use those books occasionally , but lately I’ve had issues with almonds and sunflower seeds and I need to keep my sugar intake low for medical reasons.

I just got some new books I’m pretty excited about – Well Fed and Well Fed 2 by Melissa Joulwen, the 21-Day Sugar Detox Cookbook by Diane Sanfilippo, Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook by Sarah Fragoso, and It Starts With Food by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig.

All these books adhere mostly to the stricter Whole 30 type of Paleo meals and will give me a good foundation for everyday. Focusing mostly on the basics: meat, eggs, fruit, spices, and veggies. I’m learning that I can just defrost a chunk of meat and a chunk of veggies and add seasoning for a quick meal, but sometimes I want more of a recipe. These books offer sauces and seasoning mixes that are Paleo compliant so I can get the same types of flavors I miss from dining out. Lately I’ve been cheating and buying some sauces with preservatives, sugar or vegetable oils, so this will keep me on track. What’s great is that all these books are available on Kindle, so I can take them anywhere!

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So This Is What “Metabolically Normal” Feels Like…..

Well, it’s been a long road, but I really seem to be beating this adrenal fatigue and getting my metabolism in order. My Leptin and Ghrelin are functioning properly and I FINALLY appear to be fat-adapted. After 20 years of reactive hypoglycemia this is s big deal for me.

I no longer am hungry between meals and today I skipped lunch because I was doing errands that ran long and I didn’t want to eat junk food.

I’m still able to exercise a little and have much more energy, but I guess I’ll need to be careful for awhile. I tried Tabata interval training – first time was ok, 2nd time I got REALLY dizzy so I’ll stick to just gentle exercise for now.

I feel much better already but I still have issues related to adrenal fatigue such as sporadic cognitive issues (like not being able to do simple addition, or saying the wrong word) and extreme light sensitivity.

I’m happy that my appetite has normalized though and I’m very happy with the Paleo diet (plus white rice& potatoes). I have splurged on gluten free cookies a bit lately, but in general I’m learning to like the taste of real food now. I haven’t weighed myself lately but I can tell from my chin and eyes that I’ve lost more weight without trying, probably a couple more pounds.

I treated myself to a week of Pete’s Paleo home delivery, and my meals will arrive in 5 days! I’ll let you know how I like them! They have great online reviews. If they’re yummy, it might be nice to order once in a while for variety.

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Natural Leptin Reset

I’m happy to report that the adrenal fatigue protocol has really worked!!

Already I’m noticing that I have more energy and am now walking about 30 minutes daily. I walk on a treadmill and sometimes I take a lot of breaks, but every day is better. I’ll start yoga also soon. I started doing a little arm work with 8-lb weights as well.

My Leptin situation has also resolved itself – I suddenly am not hungry between meals so I’ll probably start naturally losing weight soon. I also don’t seem to need caffeine anymore but still have a little bit. I was still eating some Paleo “treats” and honey so for now I’m cutting way back on those. Also cutting back on some of my supplements.

Seeing really good results MUCH faster than I expected! Still taking it easy on my adrenals though ! Long road ahead.

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Multi-Meal Cooking

I can tell my health is improving as my energy has increased. I’ve started doing 3-recipe cooking days again.

I got this idea from Melissa Joulwen, author of the cookbook “Well Fed.” A strict Paleo diet means a lot of home cooking and it can get tiresome to cook 2-3 times a day and clean up.

Sometimes I get busy and end up just grabbing a Larabar or Quest Bar, or nuts or an apple. That’s fine occasionally, but I do it too often lately. I was just notified I’ll be working a 7-day shift on a project for the next month, so I want my diet to be solid.

Today for dinner I made zucchini noodles but made extra for lunch tomorrow & saved in a glass container (just be sure to drain the liquid a couple times).

Then I made a quadruple batch of sweet potato-apple pancakes. I wrap two big pancakes together in Saran Wrap, then tinfoil, and freeze them (in a freezer bag). Not really Eco-friendly but they have lasted for a month this way. Or you could just make a single batch.

Tonight I made little egg muffins! They smell soooo good (veggie dill mix) and it was like 5 minutes prep! Can’t wait to try them.

Here’s the link to the recipe I used & modified: http://www.primalpalate.com/paleo-recipe/egg-muffins/

My version was onions, spinach, pumpkin seeds, chopped yellow, red and orange bell pepper and garlic powder with lots of dill. I used 6 eggs because my tin has 6 spaces. I cooked mine for 30 minutes – I have an older oven.

So yes, I am now on the couch after all that but I’m feeling very accomplished! I’ll be working from home for the next few weeks do I’ll try to do this twice a week so I can freeze extras. I am set for breakfast now (the pancakes are good for dinner too!)

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Adrenal Fatigue Update

I’ve been following basic guidelines to heal adrenal fatigue for the past few weeks, with good results.

I’m getting more sleep, avoiding stress, working 8-9 hours per day only, and eating healthy whole food at regular intervals.

I’m starting to notice now that when I have extra caffeine, gluten or sugar it has a negative impact on me. I’ve cut down to one cup of coffee in the morning and that’s working well.

The Paleo diet really works well for adrenal support since it’s based on whole foods. I fell off the wagon for a bit but am getting back into the habit now. I just feel so much better on that diet. I’m really reactive to dairy and gluten now – even when the gluten is an additive. Hopefully that means my gut is healing. I’m still having small amounts of potato (no skin) and white rice.

Even with my adrenal fatigue, I still haven’t gotten the cold or flu since I started low carb back in March!!! I really think cutting out the gluten has improved my immune system – maybe my body can fight viruses better now that I don’t have chronic acid reflux.

I still don’t have much energy but it’s improving. From what I’ve read, it takes a minimum of 3 months to recover and in my case, probably a couple of years. So I’ll just focus on stress reduction and healthy habits and I’ll get there eventually. I am encouraged by my improvement so far.

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