Raw Food & Me

I didn’t think a daily post was needed and Wednesday was a wild day for me. I have Graves’ Disease (hyperthyroid) and if you know anything about how the body works, your thyroid is dependent on your blood sugar and your blood sugar is dependent on your thyroid hormones, because they’re both part of the body’s endocrine system. When my thyroid was very high (and undiagnosed) my body was saturated by the hormone. I would wake up with a fasting blood sugar of 40. I was diagnosed hypoglycemic because no one thought to check my thyroid.

Anyway, back to Wednesday, I had eaten all raw food all day, but I had more caffeine than the previous days. I don’t know if it was the catalyst, my high thyroid, or the fact I hadn’t taken in enough calories for what I had been burning the prior few days, but I felt terrible. Here’s some of my food I had with me that day:

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(The baggie had semi-dried pineapple, too.)

About an hour before I got off work I started to feel dizzy, tired, irritable, anxious and in general pretty weird. I almost went to the ER, but instead I had “emergency food” right when I got home. No, it was not raw. Yes, it was still vegan. I was bummed because I had done all raw that day like I planned, up to that point. I felt better once my blood sugar came back up.

That led me to believe that for now, until my thyroid is no longer high at least (hopefully a couple months), I cannot eat fully raw. I am still going to eat as much raw as possible, and as much just straight fruit & veggies as possible, but I won’t be getting disappointed and upset if I eat cooked food. I noticed I’m also FREEZING even more than usual without cooked food. That’s just part of my journey, which is different from yours or his or hers.

So, meh… That’s how the rest of my week went last week. I do need to keep the soy away though. That stuff makes me feel like yuck when I have it! I also cut the caffeine back out. It’s whack too!

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Day Rough… I mean, 3!

Can we title this day, “I don’t want to talk about it?!” Day 3 of anything is usually the hardest in my experience. It’s when my brain starts chiming in with a lot of, “What’s she doing?” “Where is my junk food?” “I think I’m starving!!” “We were plenty healthy before, Lady!”

I also made a rookie mistake today, I didn’t take enough food to keep myself from dying of hunger by the end of the day. I had an appointment right after work, so I didn’t get home for an extra 1.5+ hours. By then I’m starving and my resistance is weak. Foodies, I wish I had just stopped at the soup tonight. But I didn’t.

I did have some nice warm soup. Same kind, all veggies. (I love split pea this winter apparently!) But then I had some chips. Nothing chemical or “bad” but not per the raw plan I’m trying to make a go of here. Ugh! Then some sweet potato fries found their way in my belly. The shame just kept going… BUT! We were kind of “celebrating” my daughter’s college acceptance tonight, which further proves our society is too engrained in food. 😦 But I am very excited for her! Yay!!

So really, 2/3 of my day was raw and dinner was not. I’m clearly still trying to get the hang of how much food I need during the day and I solemnly swear I will take an extra banana tomorrow and perhaps a salad too. I don’t think it’s cutting it waiting to have salad with dinner. I need more food while I’m at work and less for dinner.

As one of the great fruitarian ultra-runners mentioned, you will fall off the wagon, but when you do you’ll feel so gross it will be easy to get back on! Yes! I have such a stomach ache now. Tomorrow I’ll try harder. Day 3 do-over!

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Day 2 of my RAW life!

Things I’ve observed in the first two days: I have a really easy time eating 80/10/10, you need less water eating fruit all the time, and meal prep is super simple!

Let me elaborate on these things. I have tracked calories for 2 days now and I can eat mostly carbs all.day.long. Hitting the metrics are pretty easy. Eating enough calories is almost the hard part. Being able to eat tons of fruit makes me happy. 🙂

The downside is, in this cold weather it is HARD for me to never eat something hot. Especially after a workout when I am typically freezing. Tonight was no exception. I had soup. *hangs head in shame* Yes, it was all vegetables and herbs, but it wasn’t raw. 😦 Something makes me think I should have tried this in the summer. Hmm…

The water observation is easy. I always monitor my hydration and drink between 96oz and a gallon of water a day. With the fruit intake, I just don’t need to drink that much. It’s been kind of nice not to stress that I got in all of that water. I have been drinking a couple cups of hot tea, so that does help. I think I’ve had about 80oz max today including the black tea.

And finally meal prep… Many of my friends on Facebook meal prep on Sundays for the rest of the week. I am far too lazy for that. LOL. This sort of thing isn’t required when you eat whole food. How did I make my lunch and breakfast this morning? I grabbed 2 bananas, 2 apples, a bag of baby carrots, a little bit of dried fruit (as in, less than a handful), and a handful of whole cashews. I am out of the house for 10ish hours a day and it took me all of 3 minutes to get my food together. Score! I love easy!

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Raw Food Experiment

Most everyone knows I dabble in eating plant-based food typically. When faced with an office party or gathering I don’t go crazy over it and demand I be given a vegan option, but I do try to live it 95% of the time because I believe it is much better for optimal health if done right. That doesn’t mean eating a box of cereal with almond or soy milk, following it up with a box of Oreos, and then indulging in a bag of chips. While those may all be plant-based foods, that isn’t nutritious either. With that said, I have had very little desire to eliminate the cooked vegetables and soups from my diet, because in the cold winter (that I hate) it feels really good to have warm food sometimes.

Recently I was reading an article about an amazing ultra-runner that eats mostly fruitarian and pretty much 100% raw. She looks amazing and just turned 50! It got me thinking and reading more about it and I’m intrigued. While doing the reading I came across yet another epic ultra-runner who eats the same way. I didn’t realize that there were so many of them who I would fit in with. (If I ran ultramarathons, that is!) Finally, a group of people who won’t think I’m a freak when I don’t want to eat a bunch of fat based foods and down a corn-based nutrition product. Yes!

Don’t get me wrong, I tried the high-fat diet with butter in my coffee. I felt absolutely *terrible*. My heart raced. I retained water. I felt like a slug for 2 weeks while my body tried to transition to burning fat. I didn’t get any of the weight loss other people claim, which was a bummer. I did fit into my smallest jeans better, but I felt gross. I’m also allergic to corn, so that nutrition product was out too. That lifestyle may work for others, but my body clearly works differently and that’s okay with me. I feel healthier on plants and I know others do too, so after my experimentation I went back to mostly fruits, veggies, and nuts. I tried keeping lean meats again too, but I’ve never been much of an animal consumer, so I naturally phased it back out.

Maybe it’s my allergies that have made me a pickier eater or perhaps they are just what drove me to crave feeling better? Either way, I am usually limiting my grain consumption as well, because it bothers my sinuses a ton. Between a severe grass allergy and a corn allergy pretty much none of the grains agree with me (due to cross-contamination). Yes, my foodie life is complicated, but I’ve learned to deal.

Once I began reading these ultramarathoner’s stories and getting more information on the 80/10/10 way of eating I decided to try it. These numbers represent a food intake of 80% carbohydrates, 10% fat, and 10% protein. In order to achieve this for optimal health most of the 80% of carbs comes from raw fruit, the remainder from raw vegetables and a bit of fat from nuts or fatty fruits (coconut & avocados). Please don’t ask me if you need more protein than this. You don’t. 😉

Today was my first day of eating 100% raw. I just had blood testing done and I have to go back in 2 months, so I’ve decided to see if I can maintain this for the 2 months and document how I feel and how hard it is here. I’m interested to see how my testing is after this experiment. I won’t kid myself (or you) into thinking I won’t fall off the wagon. (I kind of already had some vegan hot cocoa today. Hey, it was snowing a ton for the 1st time this winter. It was warranted!)

I will do my best to be honest and real about how it makes me feel and how easy it is to follow. Right now I’m counting calories to see if I’m eating the right amounts. Today was pretty easy (read: EAT ALL THE FRUITZ!). I came in at right around 1200 calories with a 78/14/8 ratio, which is really darn close for being a first time! I ate 3 bananas and an entire head of romaine lettuce myself today, which makes me laugh, but it was good! In total I had 6 different types of fruit today too. No coffee, just tea. Wow.

I hope you’ll come along for my journey if for no other reason but morbid curiosity! 👍😏

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Vega Sport Bars – Fuel Your Better

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Disclaimer: As a Sweat Pink ambassador I was provided Vega bars to review, but all opinions are 100% my own.

As a runner and triathlete I have been using Vega Sport chocolate protein for years. It makes an excellent post-workout drink when mixed with chocolate almond milk and crushed ice. I love freezing it into fudge bars for after hot summer workouts as well. Yum!

I had never tried their energy bars, so I was very curious about them and pleasantly surprised that the flavor was AMAZING. Vega is a complete line of plant based products that can replace whey proteins and bars full of added sugar in your pre and post workout fuels. I tried the chocolate almond coconut flavor “energy bar” as part of Vega’s Fuel Your Better campaign.

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How did I use it? As a CPA I am very busy and interestingly enough, right after I received the box I learned I needed to fly across the country the very next morning. I tried my first bar in the airport to hold me over until I could get a hearty meal. I was happy to realize the bar kept me energized for hours while traveling.
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After this surprise trip I used the bars for pre-workout fuel. I typically get to work out at about 4:30pm, so I have always made it a point to eat something around 3pm to fuel my workout and fulfill my afternoon snack. These Vega Sport bars will be my go to from now on!

Why I liked them? Because they’re a natural, all plant and gluten free food not only did they taste good they also don’t cause a sugar crash or hunger spike a couple hours later. Not only do they work for fueling long swims, rides or runs, they work well as a snack for a busy business person or mom on-the-go.

So how do you fuel your better? Tell us on social media using the hashtag #fuelyourbetter!

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Spokane Half Marathon 2013

It’s thirty degrees out, a hoard of runners are lined up in front of the big fountain in the park to run 13.1 miles of relentless hills. Some of them are snug in their coats, others in short shorts. I fall somewhere in between these extremes, wearing my new Ink n’ Burn robot capris and a long sleeve tech shirt. My family stands next to me while we listen to the race director bellow instructions, not even needing a megaphone to be heard. Anthony takes one picture of me before the start; I resemble a hunched over old lady scrunching my shoulders while I try to not freeze.

As the start gun goes off I’m mesmerized by the sound of feet pounding pavement. The sound is like a symphony. It’s deafening, it’s encasing, it’s an amazing sound that makes you realize you are a part of something bigger than yourself. I have learned all runners have a unique story. In a race field like this that story might be that’s your first, that no one you love thought you could, you’re running to save your life after being diagnosed with pre-diabetes or like me, that this is your last race for awhile.

About a half mile into the race, my hypnosis from the moment fades and I realize my feet are numb. I’m quite literally running frozen. I try to will my toes to come to life. Around the first mile marker they finally do. I wiggle them a bit; it’s a glorious moment! I had taken off too fast and noticed I was having trouble breathing the cold air. I was reeling myself in a little at a time, when I realized that I had come down too much, so I sped up to 20 seconds faster than my planned pace. I was afraid I’d lose it later, since my training had been lax up to this day (I hadn’t run in 2 weeks). To my surprise I felt good.

The top of the first hill, Cemetery Hill, is the 5 mile marker. I’m ahead of my planned split with some awesome downhills just ahead! Yay, time to fly! I know I can’t get too excited, the worst is yet to come between miles 5.5 and 7. A ton of uphill switchbacks just in time to climb a brutal long and slow incline. I am never happier to be done with that hill when I see the volunteers directing everyone through the 7 mile turn.

I’m thankful at this point that I had 5 mile and 10 mile splits written on my arm and committed to memory, because despite the painful hill my IT band was hating on, I was still on pace to hit the 10 mile split. I could do this! Miles 7-8 you get a constant downhill. I wanted to fly through it, but that cranky knee pain held me back some. Excited to see a flat surface, I cruised across the bridge with Doomsday hill looming ahead.

This hill is epic, no matter how many times you’ve run it. It will own you. Near the top I hear someone yelling my name. I look around for the voice, maybe it’s an angel and I’ve been deprived of oxygen too long? I’m eternally grateful the unexpected cheerleader gave me a final push to get over the hump. Someday I hope to repay this favor. I’m spent, but check my watch to see I’m still going to hit my planned 10 mile split. As I reach mile 11 my energy is waning. I continue to push as much as I can.

Around mile 12 I realize I won’t hit my goal, but I still have a PR within reach. I made it, by a minute. I’m so happy! the symphony of pounding feet reaches its crescendo. I didn’t make my family’s goal for me, or mine, but this was a victory! A last hoorah before weeks of planned rest. I’ll forever treasure this race and the pink & white animal cookies they feed me afterward.

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We were on a break!

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You all know the famous line from the television show Friends, “We were on a break!” It is infamous. Even people who aren’t fans typically know the line. My other favorite line from the show is, “Joey doesn’t share food!” which could also apply to athletes, but I digress…

Back to my point, running and I, we are going on a break. Don’t tell my running shoes, but I plan to see other sports while on this break. I’m not even heartbroken over this breakup. Maybe because I know it won’t be forever? Is it strange that in this relationship the advice of, “if you love something, let it go…” also applies to this situation?

I have spent the better part of a year in this limbo land between “healthy” and “injured”. Am I healthy because I can’t be fixed? Or am I injured because I’m in pain daily? Where do you fit when your body isn’t “normal” but aren’t anywhere near having a disability? You see, I have some spinal defects, but they don’t inhibit my ability to do anything specifically. To my co-workers and friends I look fine. To the doctors I look fine. I shouldn’t be in pain, so what causes it? We can only speculate.

Are the doctors making me stop running? No. Are they suggesting it would help? Perhaps, but I decided to try this hiatus on my own. If you are sick with abdominal problems doctors institute an “elimination diet” to try to determine the cause. I have done this, so I know how helpful it can be. This is in turn what I’m doing by taking a break from running. I am instituting the athletes’ elimination diet.

Normally, the elimination starts by removing most everything and then slowly adding back. I’m going to do this the opposite way. I’m removing running first. During the coming months I will continue swimming, strength training and yoga. Maybe it’s the coffee talking, but I’m excited about this change. Have you seen any yogi bodies that aren’t strong, lean and flexible? I didn’t think so.

I have this feeling that a couple weeks into this I’m going to be itching to go for a run. Another cliché applies here; we always want what we can’t have. Unlike Friends, I hope it doesn’t take running and me six years to get back together, but if that’s what it takes to make the relationship stronger, that’s what I’ll do.

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