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…and the shiatsu adventure begins

ok. as it does sometimes, the desire to write has entered my system. I realize that I’m about to embark on a grand adventure. Well, I haven’t been on a grand adventure for a long time, but this one feels more like a pilgrimmage.

I had set my sights on a shiatsu conference in Switzerland, which the topic this year would be the business of shiatsu. In the process of deciding to go to Europe, I also decided that I couldn’t possibly go to Europe without visiting my good friend Catherine who happens to live in Barcelona… which happens to be the city in Europe I most wish to visit.

 

A couple of months ago I realized that if I didn’t try to raise the funds to go to this conference, it was most likely not going to happen. I have volunteered so much of my time and energy into the preservation into what has become a rather frail shiatsu community over the last three years, and I was feeling like this was a worthwhile cause. I was hoping that funds could have been raised through my association but it became abundantly clear that it was going to be my own project. So, I got the guts up to do some crowdfunding, and put it out into the universe. To my utter shock and disbelief, I had over 50% of the funds raised within three days. Amazing!! Apparently people believe in me, and in shiatsu. Now, just 24 hours before I board the plane I have fundraised the whole trip. How incredible is that? I am infinitely grateful to everyone who has stood behind me now, and also all of the way through this journey.

 

As life does sometimes throw us some twists and turns I am lucky enough to have learned a little bit (and I do mean a little bit) about navigating these paths. Since last December my brother has been in Thailand, somewhat stranded there from a back surgery that did not go as was hoped. We are not completely surprised as it is his ninth back surgery and no-one should have nine back surgeries. However he has, and he is there. His friends who he travelled there with left in April and he has been left alone with an ipad, a magic jack, and a world of pain. He has been trying to stay positive, although as his family we know that he is suffering greatly on all levels. On top of the back surgery, he can’t seem to beat the infections that he keeps getting. From a medical perspective, this is tissue necrosis which is what can happen when there is too much trauma to nerve and muscle tissue. The tissue simply dies, and the body has to try to remove the dead cells. It is very hard on the system and it gets overloaded, causing infection. My whole family has been worried sick about him for months, and feeling very helpless.

 

When I realized that most of my Switzerland trip was going to be funded, I decided to look into what it would cost me to continue my flight to Thailand to visit my brother there, and to give him treatments to hopefully help him get more strength. To my utter disbelief the ticket was not much more than the flight to Geneva. I quickly booked that ticket before it went up in price. Since then, more good keeps flowing in as my cousin who is a nurse and very close to both my brother and myself has decided to come along on the journey with her daughter. Amazing! A support system!

 

So, here I am the eve before my flight doing all of my last minute packing and trying to remember everything that I forgot before packing my friends car to go to the airport tomorrow.

 

… let the adventure begin…

No carbs, no sugar... no problem

Day 2
To be honest, day two was not very memorable in terms of food. I felt pretty normal in the morning… a bit tired as I stayed up beyond when my body wanted to sleep. I’m not sure if that is because I’ve cut sugar and carbs from my diet or not.

I decided to boil a bunch of eggs – good quick sources of protein. Unfortunately, last winter I realized that eggs give me foul gas. So, I’d all but stopped eating them. Even when I ate foods with eggs in it I would be gassy. But somehow they were calling me, and so I wondered if maybe they would be ok…

I haven’t mentioned my supplements yet… I started taking some supplements as soon as I found out about my thyroid and cortisol. I immediately took everything off of my plate as quickly as possible, started sleeping, and taking down time. On top o f that I went to the health store and finger tested supplements. Finger testing is a technique that I learned from my studies with Ted Saito through his Shin So Shiatsu training. http://www.shinso-shiatsu.com/

I am taking Nutra Sea EPA and DHA omega 3

AlgaeCal plant calcium with magnesium and vitamin D

THYROsmart – its full of trace minerals and iodine

I then bought the e-book http://www.amazon.ca/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=the+metabolism+miracle&tag=googcana-20&index=aps&hvadid=7015261643&hvpos=1t2&hvexid=&hvnetw=s&hvrand=11091767531145041360&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_93od7b9i5b_e

All morning I was running back and forth to my computer, checking the carb value of various foods. I was sad to see that I couldn’t eat and red or orange veggies, except a little bit of red pepper, small amounts of tomatoe, and spaghetti squash. Well, it is temporary… and by the time it is actually the right season for those veg I will be eating them again!!

 

With my newfound knowledge, I went to one of my favourite grolamb burger

cery stores, Lady York Foods and stocked up on veg. I wanted carb free things to snack on, as well as some nice veg and salad to go with the salmon I had thawing for a BBQ at my brother’s house. I spent my afternoon resting and lounging by the pool, ending with a bunch of brisk laps. We fired up the BBQ, the boys got roasted potatoes and we otherwise ate the same dinner of green salad with green onion, raddicchio, red leaf lettuce, cucumber and a lemon balsamic olive oil dressing with brussels sprouts and grilled salmon. I was not impressed with the salmon. My brother thought it was overcooked… my son said it was rubbery, and I thought it was gross. I looked more closely at the packaging… made in China. What? I usually bought my meat fresh and ethical, so this was a hard pill to swallow. I had picked these fillets up at Costco because they were individually packaged and looked really nice. The packaging was pretty, and impressive if you don’t read the small print. We all fall into the trap! The rest of the salmon sadly went in the green bin.

My evening involved diving into the Metabolsim Miracle. So far I have had the process of reprogramming the metabolism explained to me in general, and I’m in the first of three phases. The first two phases are two months each, so I guess I will see how the rest of the book resonates with me. I got to the point where I started to see some recipes for the first phase, and I’m impressed. Less than 5 net grams of carb per 5 hours is not very much. I am going to basically go carb free, and assume that any unknowns in sauces and whatnot will be my 5g.

DAY 3
According to the Metabolism Miracle, today was supposed to be the tired day. I go myself prepared to feel sluggish and set myself up for a difficult day.

The first thing that I did was that I habitually put sugar in my coffee… I quickly realized it and gave it to my son. ‘I can do this no sugar in my coffee thing…’ I’ve already gone half decaf in the morning, now I’m moving toward mostly decaf, we’ll see how that goes. The taste of coffee without sugar will certainly curb my urge to drink it. No problem…

Breakfast started with a boiled egg – no gas and I’m realizing that I no longer am experiencing the uncomfortable gas that I was previously suffering from (or should I say everyone else was suffering from 🙂

This is the point when I actually decided that I needed to blog about this experience. This might be quite the journey!!

My first trip to the store on this diet was astounding. Looking around at everything, all I could see was what I couldn’t eat. Shopping had become a real chore, reading labels and realizing that other than fresh foods, green vegetables meat and dairy a no carb diet was quite limiting.

At dinner I realized that I’d regained my sense of taste. This is why the salmon tasted so obviously terrible to me. I hadn’t actually realized that my sense of taste had been dulled, but it made sense as to why I hadn’t had an appetite for several months.

I didn’t feel so tired today, I don’t know what that book is talking about

 

omelette

Day 4
Today I feel a bit more energy, and I’m happy to have my sense of taste back.

 

This day started with a beautiful breakfast omelette of leftover lamb, feta, and spinach burger with a bit more feta, red peppers, kale, onions and zucchini. It was too much food so it also became lunch. It was so delish!! I don’t know if it was so much better than anything else, or if I am just tasting everything so much better. I thought I’d just lost my appetite, but apparently I lost my taste for food as well.

 

The day was busy and a bit stressful. It is the first time that I have felt myself going into that stressed state since starting this diet, and I did not enjoy it. I had a second decaf coffee just after noon, but still felt mildly headachey. In the early afternoon I realized what I was feeling – sugar craving!! It would have been so easy to fall off the wagon at that point, or at any point today. My afternoon snack was some cucumber and hummus, and cottage cheese. Then I had to do some errands which took much longer than expected and I needed to eat. I crashed really hard, could hardly lift my head up and felt really crappy. I started to second guess this process, and what I was doing to myself.

 

 

Dinner was yummy. I warmed up some of the chicken breast that I’d prepared the other day, and had fajitas without the bread… chicken, salsa, cheese, guacomole wrapped in lettuce leaf. Yummers!!

 

 

lettuce tacos

DAY 5

This day is starting off with the old feeling of fatigue, stress, and an overall sense of ugh. I wish I could say that the euphoric feeling of the first three days had continued, but it hasn’t. The book cited day three as the hardest day, but day four was definitely rough for me. I know that I’m dealing with some deeper health issues, and in the middle of a move as well so I shouldn’t expect things to be perfect… but I liked how I was feeling!!

Breakfast was a decaf coffee, hard boiled egg, cucumber, a couple of slices of cheddar and a slice of salami. Today is going to be a good day… but I am really feeling super fatigued. I hope there is a time for me to take an acu-nap!!

A friend showed up for dinner with ‘sugar and carb free’ truffles. Well, it is not completely, as the centre of the trufffle is made with a raspberry reduction. Hmmmm….. the dilemma… what are the chances that I can have a sliver of this truffle without disrupting my diet? I can’t disappoint my friend, he spent ages in his workshop developing this truffle especially for me. I cut the truffle in half, then took a wedge of it. As I was raising it to my nose I could smell raspberry. It was like I’d just nudged a raspberry bush the smell was so fresh. So, I popped it into my mouth, and my first sensation was creamy dark chocolately paradise.mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!! Next came the raspberry. Intense, like sweet concentrated raspberry puree and it stayed in my mouth as the chocolate taste went down. I’m not sure if its just because my tastebuds are acutely aware or if that truly was the best truffle I have ever eaten. Even if it was just a sliver!! I will save the rest for later…

DAY 6

The day before moving day… so, I woke up pretty rested and felt normal in the morning. For breakfast I had some cottage cheese and a hard boiled egg, as well as some cucumber slices. I’m starting to get used to coffee without sugar, which I never thought was possible. My day of food was pretty insubstantial except that I made sure that I had no carbs so that I could justify having a quarter of a truffle after lunch and dinner. I also had wine in the afternoon as today is the day before I move so it was pretty intense. No cravings or different feelings in my body to speak of. Lunch was the rest of the lettuce leaf tacos, and dinner was leftover steak with leftover spaghetti squash with sauteed veg on top and salad with leftover chicken on top. Delicious use of leftovers and an empty fridge for the move!!

DAY 7-22

Not much different. I really thought that making this substantial diet change would be much more difficult and that there would be more notable changes.

Today is softball playoffs. I am going away for a week vacation in two days, and have decided to give myself a break and eat fresh fruit and rice and beans while away. Thinking about the diet in Costa Rica, I cannot imagine how I would be able to be sugar and carb free while there without a lot of cooking and hassle. So for that reason, I am going to try to stick with my diet during our barbeque but I am also going to forgive myself if I don’t.

seafood

As it turns out, except for marinades on the barbequed meats, it was very easy to stay with the diet, I bought a bunch of tapas, made some salads so there was plenty of options. The only possible cheat were the marinades on the meats but I feel that they were not overly sweet.

Truth of the matter is that I feel better overall and with the stress of moving and settling into a new place this blog once again took a back seat.

…jumping ahead…

DAY 24-31

Costa Rica rest and relaxation. I gave up the idea of staying with my diet while always being cognizant of my options. Breakfast was rice, beans, eggs and fruit. A couple of mornings I also had a tortilla so I definitely failed miserably on breakfast. Other than that, I drank coconut water and ate regular and small amounts of lychee, and some coconut jelly. I also ate plantain when offered with my meals but tried to keep my rice and bean consumption to a minimum except for breakfast.

 

fish

 

DAY 32

Back to the metabolism diet. The transition back to the diet was very easy, and I felt immediately better. Funny, as I know that we need sugar and carbs in the long term for survival but right now my body seems quite happy to go without. In fact, I ate way less fruit on my vacation that I expected. I simply love exotic tropical fruits.

Day 37

Today I retested my thyroid. My feeling is that overall I am better, but not where I would like to be. My biggest concern is actually that the test will come back normal and that my doctor will not hear me when I talk about how I am feeling overall. I have come to terms with the idea of taking thyroid medication to try to get my body functioning a little better without having to work so hard as it seems that my thyroid has been a little high for a few years.

DAY 39

Thyroid results in. As I felt and hoped, my thyroid had improved in a somewhat substantial way but is still too high. So my bloodwork reflects how I feel. Interesting when I think about it that my thyroid pattern also follows the pattern of when I am having regular acupuncture treament. Although the acupuncture did not fix the thyroid and bring it to normal, it certainly kept it balanced and consistent… and helped some.

I have come to terms with the idea of taking thyroid medication in anticipation that I will start to feel well again. Here is hoping. In the meantime, I have 26 days left in my metabolism diet. I may as well see it through and take advantage of the health benefits of this program. Hopefully within the next couple of weeks I will find the energy to start exercising again and can begin to burn more fat as well.

DAYS 40-46
Started taking a very low dose of thyroid medication, but determined that I will continue to take natural supplements and do what I can to support my deficiencies. I am hoping that I can get off the medication once my system has balanced itself.

DAY 46
Wii fit age 34, 141 lbs and that’s how I feel. That, and hugely relieved. Only 13 more days on the first phase of the Metabolism Diet, then I’ll move into the second phase which is 11-20 net grams of carbs every five hours. Looking forward to having some treats!!

Metabolism and how it is effected by carbs

So, the very low carb diet that I am following is based on the book “the Metabolism Miracle” by Dianne Kress.

http://www.amazon.ca/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=the+metabolism+miracle&tag=googcana-20&index=aps&hvadid=7015261643&hvpos=1t2&hvexid=&hvnetw=s&hvrand=11091767531145041360&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_93od7b9i5b_e

Her theory makes total sense, although she is very focussed on weight loss rather than my own concerns of insulin resistance, high cortisol and hypothyroid.  The idea is that by only eating 5 net carbs every 5 hours, the body learns how to break down its own fat stores and re-learns how to recognize the fats and sugars.  This is a simplified version of insulin resistance.  Either way, it is a stress response in the body and it makes sense.

The carb-free journey is a scary one to think about.  I thought that it would be easy for me, but when I first committed to doing it and realized everything that I would have to eliminate from my diet I felt crushed.

DAY 1

I’m not sure if today qualifies as the first day of this diet.  yesterday I found out about the “Metabolism Miracle” and thought to myself that I would start this diet after Ontario fruit season was over.  So I started this day as any other, breakfast was a low fat half decaf latte and a protein shake.  My protein shake qualifies for this diet as the ‘Net Carb’ is less than 5, but I did have sugar in my coffee. My next stop was the Osteopath, where she gave me a grim look and told me that my organs felt ‘dead’.  Never the message you want to hear.  Right away, she said “forget about your knee… we need to get you your health…” and immediately told me to cut ALL carbs out of my diet for two weeks.  My liver and pancreas would reset, and hopefully start my kidneys working properly as well. Then of course she gave me a referral for a new surgeon.

*segway* Frank… you failed me!! My right ACL is not all there… no end feel on the joint which is not good.  It hurts a bit, definitely it was sore for a week but as soon as I brought out the brace and started doing acupuncture on myself the pain all but disappeared.  Before that, I was liberally applying ‘the magic purple cream’ http://www.bleulavande.ca/index_english.php/fiche/view/10GELC250

the best shit. ever.

 

return…

My Osteopaths reaction was a bit harsh, but I got the message.  And I know… I’ve been feeling horrible for months. I wasn’t surprised when my Dr told me that my bloodwork came back as Hypothyroid and my cortisol was through the roof.  I’ve been working like a fiend for two years now, way beyond what is realistic and normal for one person.  Since last fall, I knew that I needed to slow down and catch my breath and do a little less.  The projects that I was working on are just so amazing and exciting, and a lot of work!  I really wanted to see them all though to fruition and looked for ways to make that happen.

OK back to the diet…

DAY 1: home from the osteopath appointment, I looked in my fridge and saw that the only food which qualified for my diet were some wrinkled up kale, cucumbers, cheese and some leftover steak.  OK so shopping needs to happen… lunch for me was a couple of slices of cheese and some cucumber. I went about packing and getting ready for my move and lost track of time.  The next I knew it was time to get the load of stuff to the Goodwill.  As a treat for my son and I, we went to the local poolhall/chinese restauraunt.  Wings!! perfect!  So we had wings and chow mein for dinner.

Boo, the wings were battered… nice try

well, day one was not perfect.

 

 

The journey to better digestive health - a tour from vegan to paleo

Oh life is such a wonderful journey!!  The ups and downs, the successes and losses and the moments in between are what make this life so rich.  We are so fortunate to be conscious beings with the ability to be aware of our circumstances with the understanding of how to change and improve them.

With all of that intelligence, humans can still be pretty dumb.  We resist what we know helps us, and continue with habits that we know are harming us.  We are the only species that kills for sport, and apparently we find amusement in watching our fellow humans create suffering for others – either fictional like the movies or questionably true through the screens of our television.  Some even go right to the frontlines to observe this phenomenon.  oh, humanity.

IMG_0042

Yet with all of this intelligence we still do not always do what is best for us.  Why?  I would say there are two main reasons.  1.  We are creatures of habit 2. We are a pleasure seeking species.  How do we break good habits?  By teaching ourselves to not enjoy them any more, and by using large amounts of self discipline to stay on course.

I have been suffering with digestive issues since I was a teenager.  Growing up in the country before the internet, there were very few resources available to us to learn about basic digestive health issues except the family doctor.  When the medical route failed, I turned to advice from my chiropractor on what to do next.  I was advised to try an elimination diet.  Sage advice!!  So off I went, eliminating everything out of my diet until I was left with  green vegetables.  Well, obviously I was not going to survive on green vegetables and at this point I was going off to college where more information was readily available.  Veganism was very cool at the time, so it was a perfect fit.    Like many vegetarians/vegans in college who are young and stupid, my diet consisted of beer, pasta, and tofu with veggies.  My digestive health improved in time, and eventually I began to add fish and chicken.

After twelve years of this diet I had a child and found myself energetically depleted.  After receiving bloodwork and tests from a naturopath, I was instructed to start doing blood building supplements, B12 shots, and that I might just have to eat a bit of meat as I was an O bloodtype.

So, yet another shift occurred and I began to eat tiny amounts of meat again.  Eventually, I moved right back into a diet of eating everything and started to see bloating and sluggishness again.  (bouts of gastro attacks have been happening throughout this process, they did not get worse) So, from hearing about the latest craze of gluten intolerance, this seemed to make sense for me.  So, six months of no gluten… leading to worsening of symptoms every time I ate a gluten free carb.  Argh… So, strike wheat, corn, soy, spelt and who knows what else off the list.  Of course, once you eliminate something out of your diet you quickly become intolerant to it.  So, I started back slowly with sprouted bread for convenience sake and occasional pasta and breads keeping them as clean as possible.

More recently I have been diagnosed with Hypothyroid Disease and Adrenal Exhaustion.  As a result of the side effects, I have re-injured my knee and am simply not recovering.  I’ve now been instructed to do a ketogenic diet, all but eliminating carbs from my diet for 2 weeks to two months.

I’ve decided to blog the journey…kneetake2

2 minutes for better eyes

Two minutes a day to improve my eyesight?

Eye exercises

Eye exercises are very simple and can make the difference between glasses and no glasses, or sharpen weakening vision.  They can also help with floaters, tired eyes, and general fatigue.

YES.  Two minutes a day to improve your eyesight.  It is so easy, like so many health matters.

You can do this anywhere… so get ready for the easiest thing you have ever done for yourself!!

Start in a relaxed position, laying down, sitting up, it doesn’t really matter.  Begin the eye exercise by averting your eyes up, as far as you can.  Look into your eyelids and feel the strain on your eyes.  Allow your head to shift slightly, but do not make the movement starting from your head.  Hold for 5 seconds to start, then look down.  Once again, looking at your lower lid and allowing your head to bow slightly.  Holding for five seconds.  next, looking to one side with a slight shift in your head and a strain and again to the other side holding each for about five seconds.  Finally, make a circle with your eyes, stretching your sight line through the full three hundred and sixty five degrees of your vision.

Repeat this eye exercise five times, two or three times per day.  Gradually increase the holding of each position to about 10 seconds.  Watch your eyesight sharpen within days!!  Continue the practise to keep the ocular muscles strong whenever you feel your eyes tired or weak, and these eye exercises will strengthen your eyes!!

You should feel an immediate effect with this exercise.  It is also helpful when doing a long drive, and the eyes become tired from staring at the road for hours on end.

 

Here is a helpful video which demonstrates the exercises…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAF07V_FWe8

 

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