Friday, January 27, 2012

Pelvic floor rehab, week two

Just when I started to feel like I was getting stronger, just when I felt like I was ready to start working harder at the gym, I get the news that I need to back off. My pelvic floor is somewhat thrashed from childbirth, and I need to fix it before I do further damage.

I honestly had no clue that I was in such bad shape. My pain is minimal and my problems are not all that obvious to me. I decided to schedule an appointment with a pelvic floor rehab specialist mainly for prevention, and because the subject came up at the mom-and-baby group I attended (in short, the doula who leads the group commented that it was a good idea for every new mom). I thought I was just being proactive. Turns out I really need this!

I'll explain the details of the diagnosis and the anatomical issues later on (I'll need to write that post on a quiet day when my baby is napping and I can think -- she is very rambunctious today) -- for now I'm going to talk about my symptom (yep, just one), treatment/prognosis, how it impacts my workouts and things I've heard others say that suggest that they they, too, might benefit from pelvic floor rehab.

The symptom: I pretty much just feel like I've been kicked between the legs, especially when I'm in certain yoga poses (like butterfly and warrior) or when I squat down to get something out of a low cupboard.

Treatment/prognosis: The short version of my diagnosis is that my pelvic floor muscles are weak, and that things never returned to the correct position after childbirth. Going back to the gym a mere five weeks after my baby was born probably didn't help my situation, but in my defense I felt totally fine and I really really really needed to be back with my gym community and I needed the physical challenges and adrenalin rush that I get from my workouts. Plus, I was cleared by my midwife to start working out again. Her only requirements were that my uterus had returned to its pre-pregnancy size (it had) and that all my stitches were healed (they were). As for treatment, I am seeing the physical therapist once a week for about six weeks for starters. Depending on how it goes, I'll then see her once a month (to make sure the therapy is holding).

This will probably surprise some people, but part of the physical therapy is more akin to something you would experience at a gyno's office. I know it probably sounds weird because this is a physical therapist and not a medical doctor -- but to me it just makes sense. My PT (who specializes in the pelvic floor and has even written a book on the subject) is not just guessing as to what is going on inside ... she actually knows. And she's been able to give me very specific instructions on how to properly do kegels, etc. I'm not doing hundreds of kegels a day or anything, either. Just a few. I also have some stretches and two exercises I do every morning that are supposed to to re-align everything. Workout-wise, the rules are 'low impact' and 'no heavy lifting.' If I'm disciplined and follow her instructions, I should be back to normal before I know it. It is difficult (mentally) for me, though, to scale back my workouts. Yesterday, I jogged on the treadmill while everyone else did a benchmark workout of push presses (I think it was push presses -- might have been something similar) and hurdle hops. I was envious. Extremely envious. But I know it is for the best, and I'll do what I need to do to get better. My plan is to keep attending my normal classes even if I can't do the workout. The treadmill is always an option, and I probably need some treadmill time anyway so I can start re-training myself to run. 

Do you need to see a PT for this? I often hear moms talking about how a little bit of pee comes out when they jump or run, and I have heard the phrase "I feel like my insides are falling out" many, many times. I think we've all been led to believe that this is just par for the course, but it doesn't have to be. Sure, these symptoms are technically normal, but they are also signs of pelvic organ prolapse! Yikes! I guess what I'm saying is if you feel like your insides are falling out, take off those running shoes and get to a pelvic floor specialist! Right away! Because your insides probably are falling out. I don't have these symptoms (or pelvic organ prolapse), and I still have a done of work to do to repair my pelvic floor.

Just a couple more quick things before I call it a night: I've had a couple of people ask me to write about my progress as I go through this therapy -- and I totally plan on it! I hope I can provide some useful information for others who might be in the same boat.

Finally, I received some comments regarding kegels, squats and the best way to strengthen the pelvic floor when I initially posted about this last week and I wanted to mention that -- while I completely trust my PT and believe that what she is prescribing is exactly what needs to be done -- I appreciate the feedback and I will definitely consider what everyone has to say. So, thank you!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Homemade baby wipe solution

A few weeks ago, I mentioned on Facebook that Carl and I were in the process of making our own baby wipe solution. We started out using Baby Bum Drops, but after going through one very expensive box ($13.95 for a three ounce container, and it only lasted about six weeks) we decided that DIY was the way to go. Carl spent some time researching/experimenting, and this is what we ultimately came up with ...

  • Two drops of lavender essential oil (we use Aura Cacia)
  • Two drops of sweet orange essential oil (again, Aura Cacia)
  • Two drop of baby shampoo (we use Burt's Bees Baby Bee)
  • 16-ounces of water
Mix everything together in a container that pours easily (we just grabbed a small Rubbermaid bottle from the kitchen) and shake. That is it! Nothing to it!

For the wipes themselves, right now we are using Prince Lionheart Warmies -- but I am not very impressed. After the first couple of times through the wash, they lost all their softness. Now, they just feel like a regular (cheap) wash cloth. I won't buy them again. I also bought the accompanying wipes warmer at a garage sale for $5. The seller assured me it worked, but when I got home I discovered it didn't work at all and some of the pieces were missing! I have no plans to get a new one, though, because after three months of cloth diapering, the idea of a wipes warmer seems totally unnecessary. We just use it to store and saturate the wipes (just because it is there), but you could use just about any container for that.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The 21 day sugar detox is over!

Officially, that is. But I have no plans undo all of my hard work by adding copious amounts of fruit and other forms of sugar back into my diet. I did have a small piece of dark chocolate today, as well as 1/4 of a slice of some pumpkin bread I baked yesterday. The dark chocolate was delicious, and I was happy with just that small piece. The pumpkin bread, however, was just too sweet for me. I actually felt like spitting it out. I should have spit it out.

So, here are a few random thoughts about my experience:
  • I lost two pounds! Not much, but I didn't really expect to lose much. I'll still need to lose 10 more to make it to my pre-pregnancy weight.
  • I now fit into a few pairs of pre-pregnancy pants. These pants, however, are not just my pre-pregnancy pants -- they are my pre-paleo pants. I still have pants that are one and two sizes smaller that I would eventually like to fit back into.  
  • Just as I don't believe in eating food that makes you feel bad just because it is tasty, I also don't believe in eating food you don't like just because it is part of a particular plan/diet philosophy, etc. If I ever do this detox again, I'll choose the fruit I like best -- pears, Fuji apples and berries -- instead of the fruit listed as 'acceptable' in the 21-Day Sugar Detox guide (green apples and green-tipped bananas). 
  • Sugar is everywhere, from the gluten-free menu (and the regular menu, too) at P.F. Chang's to the organic deli turkey at New Seasons Market. Why? WHY?
  • In the final days of the detox, I felt like finishing it out was really just an exercise in discipline for me and no longer all that beneficial from a beating-the-carb-and-sugar-cravings perspective. In fact, I think I was probably past that phase within a few days. I actually found myself feeling annoyed this past weekend that I couldn't have a small glass of wine simply because it wasn't January 23rd yet. I mean, I've gone almost an entire year without wine already (save for the two glasses I had in December) and I'm tired of waiting. I like wine and I want to drink it and that is that. It wasn't a craving; it was just Saturday night.
  • Going forward, I am going to continue avoiding sugar, i.e. no sugar in coffee/tea, no downing handfuls of grapes while watching TV at night, no giving in to social pressure to have treats, etc. I'm not, however, going to freak out about the minuscule amount of sugar in the Trader Joe's turkey bacon that we like. 
  • My diet is very predictable and repetitive, and during this detox it was even more predictable and repetitive than ever. Eggs, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, almonds, grilled chicken over and over and over again. I like a lot of different vegetables, but I tend to gravitate toward the same ones all the time. When I try to branch out, food (and money) goes to waste. From now on, I'm just going to buy what I know we will eat, and I'm only going to buy extra stuff like kale and jicama if I know I am going to use it right away.
  • I eat way too many almonds and macadamia nuts, and I need to get a handle on this pronto. I think I'm going to stop snacking on nuts altogether. Almond butter to pair with my Fuji apples, yes. Handfuls of nuts as snacks, no. 
  • I have to admit that at some point I'll probably need to do this detox again. Right now I am feeling great and very motivated to keep my diet super clean, but life happens. 
  • Finally, I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to participate in the January detox group! And I love the Balanced Bites detox guide ... it is packed with great info on healthy eating, and it is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn more about paleo. I'm sure I'll refer to it a lot when people ask me questions about my diet. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sugar detox, day 21!

Yay, I made it! I spent the last day of the 21-Day Sugar Detox doing exactly what I did on day zero -- grocery shopping (this time Trader Joe's was open!). I'll post my re-cap tomorrow.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sugar detox, day 20: FAIL

Sugar is everywhere. I was reminded of this last night, when we wound up meeting some friends at P.F. Chang's for dinner. We didn't plan on P.F. Chang's, so I didn't head out knowing or even imagining that I would find myself consuming sugar. I thought we were going to Bugatti's, where I always know I have at least three paleo options. But that didn't work out, and P.F. Chang's seemed to have everyone's vote. So we went.

I knew about their gluten-free menu, and I assumed that would be enough to keep me on track. WRONG! The gluten-free selections might not contain gluten, but they do contain sugar, rice wine vinegar, gluten-free soy sauce, oyster sauce and in some cases cornstarch. Why was I surprised? This is a chain establishment that serves what Carl and call engineered food. Of course it is full of sugar.

I spent about 10 minutes contemplating what to do. I could sip tea while everyone else ate. I could spend $13 on the one salad on the menu (hold everything except the lettuce and chicken) or I could just order something and let it go. It was already late and I didn't really want to sit there for two hours sipping tea, only to go home to scrambled eggs and carrot sticks. The salad didn't appeal to me either (it was cold and wet outside; I wanted something warm). So, I decided to just order something and let it go. Carl and I shared the gluten-free broccoli beef and the gluten-free sugar snap peas. And you know what, I think they must put about 3 tablespoons of sugar in each serving. The broccoli beef was so, so sweet. I thought I was just really sensitive since I haven't had sugar in three weeks, but no -- Carl (Mr. Sweet Tooth) agreed. Why on earth does broccoli beef need sugar? I make it at home without sugar all the time. And we like it MUCH better.

Anyway, I'm not happy about the experience but I decided not to give it a second thought. It is over and done, and I still feel like I've succeeded on the 21-Day Sugar Detox.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sugar detox, day 19 + sweet treats

One of my favorite fun time activities is baking. I love love love baking. Cookies are my specialty. Today, I baked these yummy treats ...

Flourless peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.
No, these cookies are NOT part of the 21-Day Sugar Detox plan. No, they are NOT paleo (though they are flourless). And no, I did not cave in and eat any. But they are delicious (I know from experience).

This, for me, is one of the biggest challenges of the paleo diet. I want to encourage others to live healthy and eat right by example, but I also truly enjoy baking and sharing my baked goods with others. I'm willing to "give up" a lot in order to be healthy, but I'm not willing to give up baking. Paleo-ized baked goods are a very poor substitute for real baked goods. And I'm not just talking about flavor and texture here; I'm talking about process (if you bake, you know what I mean).

So, how do I reconcile this? I don't really know, actually. I just try to be mindful about when I bake and with whom I share my baked goods. But I doubt I'll ever stop baking altogether. Fortunately, I've discovered that once you do something like the 21-Day Sugar Detox the desire for sweets is pretty much gone. The result: I can bake, but not partake.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sugar detox, day 18

We're in the home stretch! Only three more official days, but I have no plans to call it quits anytime soon. I doubt I'll be as strict about sugar as I've been for the past three weeks ... but I'm glad to have had this reset. Honestly the daily blogging has been more challenging for me than staying away from the sweet stuff, which is part of the reason I made a commitment to daily blogging in the first place -- I needed a writing challenge to jump start some of my other goals. I hope to keep this part of the challenge up, too, after the 21 days. I might not blog every day, but maybe a few times a week? No more blogging tonight, though. Baby seems sleepy, and if she's going to go to bed at a reasonable so am I!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sugar detox, day 17 + pelvic floor rehab

Every new mom has a frustrating day now and then. For me, that day was today.

I guess it all started last night, when the baby refused to go to bed. I think we were up until about 2am. She got to sleep in, but I did not. I had to get up early to pump and get us both ready and out the door by 10:15am for my pelvic floor rehab appointment. Usually, I am able to pump about five ounces every morning but this morning I only managed to squeeze out about two.

We made it to my 11am appointment, and she slept through it (yay!). The appointment was good in the sense that I am going to be able to repair the damage done to my pelvic floor during childbirth. The not-so-good part is that a problem even exists. I'll do a more detailed post on pelvic floor rehab later on, but in short my pelvic floor muscles are very weak (despite doing lots of kegals during pregnancy), and if I don't do something about it know I might end up with pelvic organ prolapse. Not fun. My treatment protocol for now is a couple of pelvic stabilization exercises in the morning and lots of kegals all day long. I also have to wear a sacroilliac belt, and I have to scale back my workouts a lot. And by a lot I mean A LOT. This is really disappointing to me because we are in the middle of doing a bunch of strength challenges and benchmark workouts and, well, I have goals. But, my therapist implored me to avoid any heavy lifting, as well as squats and lunges or any other move that might put pressure on my pelvic floor. Yoga is also out. Wait, no yoga? And here I thought I was doing myself a favor by making yoga a priority. Great!

Anyway, I know the scaling back and the crazy belt are for the best, but it still put a damper on my day. For the next few hours, everything just felt a bit askew. Spit-up in my hair, dirty diapers left on the changing table, a sink full of dishes, the realization that I do not like the Zella Activewear that I bought at Nordstrom last month, etc. Plus, I felt irritated by the 21-Day Sugar Detox. It is citrus season for goodness sake, and citrus (in moderation) is healthy! I seriously felt like giving in and enjoying a fresh grapefruit. But Carl reminded me how disappointed I would be if I didn't see this through till the end, and he's right (instead, I had carrot sticks, almond butter and decaf Nespresso ). Four more days till the 21-day challenge is over. I can easily do this.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sugar detox, day 16

Well, it took me 16 days to deviate from the 21-Day Sugar Detox plan. Until today, my compliance was pristine. This afternoon, however, I snacked on a Fuji apple. Only green apples are allowed, and only one serving of fruit is allowed per day. I had already had my daily allotment of fruit (a frozen green-tipped banana) with my breakfast.

The apple was a conscious choice. It was not the result of a moment of weakness, a decision to give up or a mad sugar craving. I weighed the pros and cons, and the pros won. I do not feel bad about it, and I do think this one apple will instigate a sugar spiral. I still feel like the sugar detox is a success for me.

Nonetheless, I feel compelled to explain myself (because 100% compliance is very important to me). Essentially, it comes down to a near-empty fridge, the inability to go to the store (the stroller was with Carl at work -- we forgot to switch it back over to my car after we went out in his the other day) and the realization that I have been eating the same things over and over (and over) again. It was either break down and choose the apple, or make another snack of cucumber slices and canned tuna. And really, the tuna/cucumber option wasn't really an option at all because I had already exceeded my weekly tuna ration (fish is generally not my friend, but I can handle tuna and some other varieties in small doses). Under normal circumstances, I would probably just skip it altogether ... no apple, no tuna, no cucumber, etc. I would just wait until I could get to the store. But that scenario doesn't really work for a nursing mom. I need to make sure my baby is getting adequate nutrition in her diet, and that can't happen if I'm not getting adequate nutrition. This one Fuji apple was the best choice available to me. And I thoroughly enjoyed every sweet, crisp bite.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sugar detox, day 15

Before I became pregnant, I stayed away from coconut. I liked it, but it didn't like me. Oddly, it didn't bother me at all during my pregnancy. I took full advantage of that by enjoying coconut often ... but not too often.

I had hoped my coconut intolerance wouldn't return, but alas -- I'm afraid it has. I didn't really notice until a couple of days ago when I started feeling not quite right. I have to assume it is the coconut because I've been consuming a lot of it in various forms since the detox started. I could be totally wrong, of course, but just to be sure as of today I completely cut coconut out of diet (again). For the time being there will be no coconut oil, no coconut butter and no coconut flakes. Boo. It kinda limits my choices and means I can't partake in cinnamon coconut butter truffles), but that's OK -- I am a firm believer in staying away from food that makes you feel bad. No matter how tasty.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sugar detox, day 14

One bunch of kale, two parsnips, a cucumber, two oranges and one jicama.

Nope, that isn't my grocery list ... its the list of all the (not-so-fresh) produce I threw away today. I try to be careful about buying more than I know I can use (or buying things I don't have immediate plans to do something with), but two weeks ago when I gearing up for the 21-Day Sugar Detox I thought for sure I would go through a ton of veggies (the oranges were in the fridge prior to the detox). I was wrong, and as a result some pretty great produce (and several dollars) went to waste. Sigh.

On the bright side, my Brussels sprouts were still in good shape! On the even brighter side, I did not leave them in the fridge to rot. Instead, I roasted them in a very hot oven and served them alongside London broil and sauteed bell peppers. So glad we have leftovers! Tomorrow might be the first time I do the whole dinner-for-breakfast thing that seems to be so popular among paleo enthusiasts.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sugar detox, day 13

Last night the three of us went to a retirement party for one of Carl's co-workers. I decided to make a snack (cucumbers and canned tuna) before we left because I assumed (rightfully so) that the dinner would not be 21-Day Sugar Detox approved. The only thing that looked even remotely tempting to me was the wine.

Not tempting.
But enough about yesterday. Yesterday is old news. Today has been a totally delicious day! And not because of anything we had for breakfast, lunch or dinner ... it is because I am now the owner of a Nespresso Pixie, and I just enjoyed an Americano in my own kitchen!

Until recently, I wasn't really excited about the idea of a Nespresso machine because I love my French press. But with a baby in the picture, the French press is just too time consuming. It takes about 10 minutes from start to finish for each cup (not to mention clean-up). I don't have that kind of time anymore. With the Nespresso, all I really have to do is push a button, and within a few seconds I have a perfect shot of espresso. I'm so excited!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sugar detox, day 12

Another day, another boiled egg. Sometimes, I feel like boiled eggs are the only thing on the menu. Does anyone else feel this way? At some point, I'm sure to get sick of them. Then again, who knows. I've yet to get sick of chocolate, coffee and blueberries.

In other news, guess what I found at Trader Joe's this afternoon? Two new (to me) items that do not contain sugar or any other toxic ingredient, like soy or weird oil! Meet the TJ's Puttanesca Sauce and Olive Tapenade Spread ...

I'm particularly excited about the sauce, because all the other organic/sugar-free sauces I've found are crazy expensive. This one is only $2.99. Score. I just hope we like it!

Well, that's all I've got for today. We're headed to a retirement party for one of Carl's co-workers, so I have to hurry and get the baby ready for a night out (which involves packing a few diapers and a change of clothes, along with a full bottle of milk). Sayonara for now!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sugar detox, day 11

Day 11 and good things are happening! With me and the baby. I'll start with the baby.
  • Her already soft, smooth and clear baby skin looks prettier than ever.
  • She knows longer screams her head off every single time her diaper is wet. She still informs me that she needs to be changed, but in a quieter fashion.
  • Her random cat naps have transitioned into longer naps. As in, two long naps per day!
  • She's no longer eating, like, 20 small-ish meals per day. Now, it is more like four or five (plus one or two middle-of-the-night feedings) full meals. OK, she was never eating 20 times a day -- but it sure did feel like it. 
  • Baby fat! I'm starting to see little rolls and chubbier cheeks. She even has cankles (cankles are cute on infants).
I don't know how much of this has to do with my diet. Babies are changing and growing all the time, and perhaps some of these changes just happen to coincide with the 21-Day Sugar Detox. Either way, I'll take it! Especially the napping.

As for me ...
  • I feel like I have more mental clarity; like I can focus more. The result: she naps, and I check off the to-do list at lightening speed. Awesome.
  • I am remembering to take my supplements every single night. Prenatal, B-Complex and Ovega-3. During my sugar-binge stage, I skipped them far too often. Now it is a priority and a habit.
  • My skin is looking better, too. 
  • I am totally off Advil. The pain from inflammation I was feeling is bearable in the morning, and completely gone by noon. 
  • Little-by-little, I am starting to pull a few items of clothing out of my pre-pregnancy drawer. 
  • Even though I cannot find the time to cook interesting meals (I suppose could cook while she naps, but honestly I have other priorities), I am doing just fine sticking to the program. I seem to have it pretty streamlined. We haven't had an "oh no, there is nothing for dinner" night in almost two weeks. Well, until tonight that is. Ugh.
In short, I feel healthy, balanced and strong. Kinda like I felt a year or so ago when I was several months into paleo but not yet pregnant. I felt healthy, balanced and strong during pregnancy, too -- but it was a different kind of healthy, balanced and strong.

How has the 21-Day Sugar Detox helped you so far?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Paleo snacks at the mall + sugar detox, day 10

The mall is not the place to go on an empty stomach when you're doing the 21-Day Sugar Detox. Actually, it is never the place to go on an empty stomach. The dining choices are abominable. Pretzel kiosks, Orange Julius, psuedo-ethnic joints in the food court, etc. Gross (in the case of Orange Julius, delicious -- but still gross!). We do have one place we like, though -- The Nordstrom Cafe. It is tucked away in the corner on Nordstrom's second floor, far away from the noise pollution of the food court and other mall dining establishments. When we go, I always order the lime cilantro chicken salad (hold the cheese, corn and dressing) and Carl gets some sort of panini. We end of spending $20. Too much, but it is money well spent when you consider the alternatives.

I've convinced myself that the salad is paleo, but the honest truth is I have no idea whether the chicken marinade contains sugar. I could ask, of course, and next time I will. But when I was at the mall on Monday with the baby, I was not in the mood to ask. Nor I was in the mood to sit down and order lunch. I just wanted to run in, return a shirt and get home. The morning had been crazy and we had just spent two hours at our mom-and-baby group (which we have since decided to bag, but I'll save that story for later). I realized, though, that it was 2:40pm and my only meal so far that day had been one green apple (this is not typical for me; I almost always make breakfast a priority). I was frustrated that I had put myself in this position -- at the mall, with a fussy baby, on an empty stomach, right in the middle of the sugar detox. I could have been more organized, I said to myself. I could have planned ahead. I could have packed a snack. But the bottom line is I did not, and there was no sense in beating myself up over it. I just needed to find a solution. Leaving the mall and heading immediately home was not an option, because home is 21 miles from the mall and I had a tired/wet/hungry baby on my hands. Fortunately, I remembered that the Nordstrom E-bar has boiled eggs! And that Starbucks has plain roasted almonds! Problem solved. I got my snack (plus a decaf Americano), I fed and changed the baby in the fabulous Nordstrom mother's room, I returned the shirt and I made it home by 4pm. Success! 

Now on to today! Today is day 10 and, while I went to sleep last night feeling victorious, I woke up this morning feeling defeated. The joints in my fingers felt swollen again, and I just felt tired and blah overall. I also made the mistake of stepping on the scale. Two pounds gained this week, what?! This puts me at a net loss of zero pounds since the detox started. $*#& scale. I'm swearing it off for the next 11 days. The scale alone isn't a good measure of progress, anyway. I should know this by now.

Come to think of it I probably consumed too much salt yesterday -- the Trader Joe's chicken sausage I like has a lot of sodium, and I also put olives (again, lots of sodium) on the salads I made for lunch and dinner. That explains everything.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sugar detox, day nine

We're nearing the halfway point of the sugar detox, and I can't stop thinking about how happy I am that I decided to do this. I don't even think about chocolate anymore, and I'm totally over the idea of eating fruit three times a day. I'm at that "I'm never touching sugar again!" stage for sure. To be honest, I feel relieved. I was totally overdoing it on the sugar, and I didn't even realize what it was doing to me until I started feeling normal again.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sugar detox, day eight

Blogging is just not going to happen tonight! I'll be back tomorrow with tales of shopping malls, new mom groups and how I'm still not doing much cooking.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sugar detox, day seven

Have you ever found BUGS in your coconut milk? It happened to me this morning. I opened up a can of Thai Kitchen brand coconut milk and noticed lots of brown specks floating around. Carl took a close look and informed me that he thought the specks were some sort of insect. YUCK! Could they have been coconut husks? Maybe, but Carl seemed pretty convinced we were looking at bugs. So gross, and so much for my banana/coconut smoothie. No more Thai Kitchen coconut milk for me. That's OK, though. I like the Trader Joe's brand better, anyway.

Speaking of Trader Joe's, I have officially decided that it is the most efficient place to shop for paleo eats. They carry everything ... meat, eggs, veggies, fruit, nuts, grass-fed butter, nut butter, etc. It is pretty much a one-stop shopping experience (unlike other stores I frequent). Even some of their packaged stuff is paleo-friendly (read the labels, though, because sugar hides in so many things!). The only downside: the produce isn't always local. Neither is the meat. In fact, I would say most of items in the store are not local. Bummer. Anyway, my point is we went there today and filled our cart with everything I need for another great sugar detox week! I even managed to get out of the store without buying chocolate (a first, I think!).

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sugar detox, day six

Today I ...

Woke up another pound lighter with no visible swelling on my hands! I can still feel some inflammation, but compared to a week ago? Barely noticeable!

Made the Food Lovers Primal Palate's chocolate and peppermint swirl truffles. Yum!

Went out to lunch. My plan for these 21 days was to avoid restaurants altogether, but this afternoon the three of us really need to get out of the house. We went to a new restaurant in a nearby suburb that I spotted this morning on my way home from knitting class (yep, I'm learning to knit!). I did not have a lot of choices, but I did manage to stay completely detox compliant. The best part: Carl's dessert didn't look even remotely appealing to me (um, I guess he changed his mind about avoiding sweets during this detox?).

Saw this display at my local New Seasons Market ...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sugar detox, day five

When I went to the store last Sunday, I bought an insane amount of vegetables. Partially because I had all these grand aspirations of trying out new recipes. I should have known better! My maximum amount of time in the kitchen these days is about 30 minutes, so if I can manage to cook up a decent and simple dinner, well, that is accomplishment (tonight was chicken and broccoli -- boring, but good enough). A new/interesting recipe would be a huge stretch. I hope we're able to get through all the remaining cauliflower, kale, jicama, carrots, cucumbers and lettuce before its too late.

With that said, I did try out a couple of (easy) new recipes with coconut flour this week. All I can say is BLECH! I need to just give up with that stuff. I've never liked it and I probably never will. On the flip side, are you a fan of kale chips? I'm not going say they are anything like potato chips, but they are pretty darn tasty. I made them for the fist time the other day and I will definitely make them again.

As for how I am feeling on day five, I'm going to rate it an 8 out of 10. Inflammation is still improving, I've lost a pound, my clothes are feeling loser and I have plenty of energy for my workouts (which have been extremely challenging this week). Baby is doing great, too! She is starting to go to bed just a little earlier at night, and she's taken two long afternoon at home (she used to only take long naps when we were out and about). I'm not necessarily attributing this to the improvements in my diet (because she was doing well before, as long as I stayed away from ice cream and garlic), but it certainly doesn't hurt!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Goals + sugar detox, day four

Is it just me, or does it seem like everyone is really fired up reaching their health and fitness goals in 2012? I do not remember this sort of enthusiasm in years past, but maybe that is because I wasn't reading tweets or following other paleo folks on Facebook. In any case, I think it is awesome and I don't want to miss out -- so I created some goals of my own.

Short-term goals
1. Complete the 21-Day Sugar Detox with absolutely zero deviation from the level three plan.
2. Blog about the sugar detox progress every day, even if that means writing silly haiku posts.
3. Try out the local pilates studio. I love pilates and, while I did have one great personal training session with April over at Urban Pilates several months ago, I haven't had many pilates opportunities in recent years. I recently discovered, though, that there is a local place with reformer and mat classes and I am going to check it out asap! If I like it, I hope to make it a regular thing (I loved Urban Pilates, but it is too far for me to drive on a regular basis).
4. Use our at-home TRX (handmade by Carl!) once each week. Right now, I can't get to the gym nearly as much as I would like ... this will help me get an extra workout in. I'll just have to find the time. Maybe while the baby is napping?

Long-term goals
1. Do at least one pull-up, unassisted
2. Climb the rope! I've never been able to climb ropes, even in 3rd grade. I will do this before I turn 40.
3. Lose all of the baby weight (as much as I want to make this a short-term goal, I don't want to obsess over it -- especially while breastfeeding).
4. Get back into shape for running. We did a really tough benchmark workout today that involved three 400m runs and, well, I was dying. I am not sure exactly how I will tackle this goal, but I probably won't think about it too hard for a couple of months. I'm a fair-weather runner, and right now it is just too wet and cold for me.

My plan is to accomplish the short-term goals by the end of January. As for the longer term ones, I will work on this list throughout the year (every month, I'll make new short-term goals that will help me achieve the long-term ones).

OK, and now on to the second goal on the short-term list ...

Today is day four of the 21-day sugar detox. Dare I say that when I woke up this morning, the inflammation in my hands that has been bothering me for weeks seemed ... better? Not completely better, but improved. I'm kinda nervous even putting this down because I don't want to get my hopes up. All I know is I did not take Advil this morning (for the first time in a while). Yahoo! I'm also feeling maybe just a little bit lighter and like the baby bulge is very slowly starting to melt away (I did not feel like this a week ago). My longing for dark chocolate and the sweetness of berries, pears and oranges is pretty much gone, and I've managed to put together decent dinners every night this week. I even made kale chips for the first time (loved them)! I feel like I'm on a roll. The next 17 days? PIECE. OF. CAKE.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sugar detox, day three

I'm so tired right now and baby just fell asleep. I need to take the opportunity to go to bed early (11pm is early for us!). So instead of writing a normal post about my day, I'll write a haiku instead.

Day three, no sugar
I like this diet so much
I also like cookies, though

Upate: Realizing now that I messed up on the last line. This isn't a haiku at all. Let's try again ...

Day three, no sugar
I like this diet so much
Please pass the butter

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sugar detox, day two

I have this pair of jeans in my closet that have has been taunting me for several weeks now. Skinny jeans from Ann Taylor. They aren't my favorite item of clothing or anything, but for some reason I have been obsessed with fitting into them. I've been trying and trying and trying, but no luck. Until today! I stepped into the jeans and lo and behold ... they fit! They don't look perfect, that's for sure. But they zip easily and with the right top no one would ever know that I still have some baby weight hanging around.

This was all the motivation I needed this morning. I woke up I was craving sugar like mad and wondered how on earth I would survive the next 20 days. As soon as I put on the jeans, though, I was able to visualize myself successfully completing all 21 days of the detox with zero deviation. My body still wanted the sugar, but my mind was determined to beat the temptation. I want to wear all of my pre-pregnancy clothes again, and if getting there means 21 days or 41 days or even more without sugar, well, bring it on.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sugar detox, day one

Whew! I made it through the first day of the 21-day sugar detox! It wasn't as tough as I envisioned, but I did realize that I have developed a serious dark chocolate addiction. Yesterday might have been the first day in two months that I haven't had chocolate. No wonder I haven't lost the last 12 pounds of baby weight! Too much chocolate! Chocolate, I am going to miss you.

Otherwise, the day went well and I feel really good. No headaches or withdrawal symptoms (yet!). I started the day with my normal breakfast (scrambled eggs and avocado), had some carrot sticks, green apple slices, pecans and leftover roasted turkey for snacks, and for dinner we made spaghetti squash with tomato sauce and ground beef (one of our quick/easy dinners) along with a cucumber/mixed greens salad. For fun, I also made the sweetener-free cinnamon coconut cookie recipe in the sugar detox guide. The cookies weren't my thing, though, so I threw them away. Three perfectly good (and expensive) eggs gone to waste. Oh, well. If you're going to experiment in the kitchen, you have to allow for some ingredient casualties now and then.

The one big mistake I made today? Not drinking enough water. I drank a couple of small glasses this morning, but didn't drink another glass until about 6pm -- and by that time I felt really thirsty so I was probably dehydrated. The two giant mugs of (black) coffee probably didn't help, either.

I guess that is it for now! I feel like I should have more to say for some reason, but I need to get back to my baby. She usually stays up till midnight, so for us the night is still young!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sugar detox, day zero

The baby stayed home with Carl this afternoon while I went out to stock up on everything I need for the first week of the 21-Day Sugar Detox. The two of them had a great time walking around the neighborhood while I (missing her terribly) tried to get in and out of the stores as quickly as possible.

Originally I intended to get a lot of the things on my list at Trader Joe's, but it turns out Trader's Joe's is closed on New Year's Day! Instead, I went to Winco and New Seasons (Winco is probably my least favorite place to shop, but I do go there for certain items, like cucumbers --theirs are only 58 cents).

At Winco, I bought ...
  • Golden Delicious apples
  • Avocados
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Bananas
  • Raw almonds
  • Cucumbers
  • Green beans
  • Coconut oil
  • Broccoli
I also bought some Corn Chex and peanut butter for Carl (he's not doing the detox with me, but he is going to avoid sweet treats and white flour products). Total at Winco: $37.22.

At New Seasons I bought:
  • Coconut butter
  • Organic Dijon mustard
  • Canned tuna
  • Chili powder
  • Monte Bene marinara sauce (I actually found a sauce with no added sugar!)
  • Applegate Farms smoked turkey slices (I checked and double checked -- no sugar!)
  • Eggs
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Jicama
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Orange and yellow peppers
  • Lettuce
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Ground beef
  • Basil chicken sausage
  • Chicken breasts (shoot! I meant to get thighs!)
Some milk and yogurt for Carl, too, and some sweet orange essential oil for our homemade baby wipe solution. Grand total: $109.71.

A few of the items on my list are new to me, and I'm excited to give them a try. Like the Golden Delicious apples. I've always hated green apples, but the green apples recipes in the detox guide actually sound pretty good so I decided a second chance is in order. The kale and jicama are first-time purchases, too. I do love jicama, but I've only had it on salads in restaurants. And actually, I don't know that I've ever even tried kale (well, unless you count the awful store-bought kale chips I tried last summer -- yuck!).

So, I think I have all I need to get me through the next week or so (we also have quite a bit of grass-fed beef in the freezer). I didn't plan out specific meals, but I know I have enough stuff on hand that I'll be able to throw dinner together really quickly (and we should be able to have something different each night). I just hope I can find the motivation to do it!

On another note, I did get a jumpstart on the detox today. I'm not counting it as day one because I know there is a wee bit of sugar in the Aidelles chicken sausage that we had for breakfast. Plus, I had cream in my coffee and I also had a Fuji apple for a snack. A good start, though, and I know I am already well on my way to a clean diet once again.