PaleYo

Cracked the Cramp Code … Maybe

tree lake

What you’re about to read is based solely on my own observations.

I think I may have cracked the code on menstrual cramps!

I suffer from very bad cramps – have most of my life.  I used to take Aleve like it was going out of style.  I would have to take it a day or two in advance, in order to try to prevent the cramps.  My doctor even prescribed me higher strength Aleve.  Looking back now, this probably has caused some of my adult stomach issues.  I haven’t taken Aleve since going Paleo almost 3 years ago.  Sometimes heat will lessen the pain, but not always.  My doctor also tried to put me on birth control – but I decided against it.

I was trying to figure out what were some good natural ways of eliminating cramps (or at the very least, just lessening them).  I know that when I was really strict Paleo I experienced no cramps.  While I was going through it, I attributed it to just shock.  I thought since I cut out all of the bad stuff and essentially stopped cold turkey on my emotional eating addiction, that my body went into shock and wasn’t sure what was going on.  Could it have been the gluten, or maybe the dairy? Couldn’t have been either because neither has been reintroduced into my diet.  Maybe caffeine?  Nope, definitely haven’t had any caffeine.  I read somewhere that low magnesium levels could cause more cramping, but before I start taking supplements, I want to do a little more digging.  So what could it be?  I eat rice occasionally (sushi or a little with some grilled chicken) – but how would that attribute to cramps?  So I did a little bit of research.  Rice is a high carb, high glycemic index food – so it spikes sugar levels.  Okay, so now we’re getting somewhere.  Aside from rice, sugar has been introduced back into my diet.  Not in a crazy way, but more than I should consume.  So I figured maybe it’s not the rice so much, as it is the sugar!

For 2 months I decided to cut down to pretty much zero sugar intake.  The first time my cramps came around I was going to make observations, but really, the true test would be the second month.  So the first time around the cramps were moderate, not severe.  They were still there, lasted the same amount of time.  The second time around was much different.  I anticipated that I would feel cramps leading up to it – I didn’t.  Okay, so that was a good thing.  Then I was waiting for the real cramps – there was NONE.  I was almost worried, but delightfully relieved.  I made it through with no cramps and no exhaustion!  I wanted to run to the top of the mountains and scream at the top of my lungs – I didn’t.  Ha Ha

So I enlisted my friend as my first test subject.  She is also a sufferer of some pretty incredibly painful cramps.  I told her for 2 months, cut out sugar, and after the second month, report back to me.  Guess what?  No cramps.  So maybe it’s just a fluke, but I would say that’s a pretty solid result.  Sugar causes menstrual cramps.  Therefore, cutting out sugar or lowering your intake altogether will help ease the pain.

I haven’t done much research as far as looking into sugar as an inflammatory ingredient, but I know it is.  I just can’t explain why at the moment.  I did a quick search and came up with this on experiencelife.com.  It says, “…a too frequent or too heavy supply of sugar pushes the pancreas into overdrive, causing it to release too much insulin, and an excessive release of insulin spells inflammatory trouble.”  ’nuff said…at least for now.

If any ladies out there with awful cramps are willing to try this experiment – 2 months zero sugar, and would like to talk about their discoveries, let me know.  Just leave a message in the comments!  I’m interested to see what other’s say.  This may not work for everyone, but it’s certainly worth a try.  Also, any Paleo ladies – what has happened with your cramps since going Paleo?

“Eat less sugar.  You’re sweet enough already.”

My Endoscopy Experience

lake

I read a lot about endoscopies and people’s experiences with them before I got mine done.  Mostly I read good things, but there were a few that had me like, “WHATTT?!”.  I know you’re probably saying not to believe things you read online, but I just wanted an idea.  I had never been put under anesthesia before, so I had to obviously Google it!

Just in case you were wondering…an endoscopy is a procedure that the doctor inserts a little camera with a light down your throat to check out your digestive tract (please Google that for the full, proper definition).  Some people said they felt nothing, other’s said they could tell when they inserted the camera and they heard the doctor ask them to swallow the scope!  I got nervous reading it, but quite the contrary when I arrived for the procedure.  Usually, in a situation such as this, I would probably be a ball of anxiety, but I wasn’t.  I was just relieved that we were getting to the bottom of my problem.  So the day of the procedure, I had my mom drive me.  You need someone to get you home, if you’re getting knocked out.

We get there, they asked me a few questions, and put 2 bracelets on me – one to identify me and the other to let everyone know I’m allergic to penicillin.  A few minutes later I go inside the prep room.  It’s a bunch of hospital beds behind curtains.  They put me behind one of the curtains and tell me to take off only my shirt and put on a gown.  I could take my shoes off if I wanted to, but it wasn’t necessary; I took them off.  I put all my stuff in a bag and climbed into bed.  Another nurse asked me a million questions about my health and history, and whether or not I had ever been under anesthesia before.  I said no, and made the mistake of asking her what it was that they would be using…propofol.  That’s the stuff the MJ really liked.  Ugh!  Now I had that in my head, but I got over it fast!

They put you into what’s called a twilight sedation.  So essentially you won’t feel a thing, but you’ll breathe on your own and you’re still kind of conscious (or so I was told – this is open to interpretation).  Okay, so ANOTHER nurse comes to give me my IV – well, get it ready.  She looks at my arm with my tattoos and decides she’s going to the other arm.  Her first attempt she “blows out” my vein!  This was not a pleasant feeling.  To my understanding, this is when they literally pop your vein, or something to that effect.  Instant bruise!  I learned later that it was blood leaking out – not as horrific as it sounds, but painful, nonetheless.  She has to poke my arm again, up by the elbow bend.  She gets it in, tapes it on, and starts a drip.  I think it was saline, but I think it had a sedative in it.  Because like I said before, by this point I would be completely anxious; I wasn’t.  I started to shiver uncontrollably, so a nice nurse gave me a blanket.  I couldn’t bend my arm because of where the nurse put the needle, but I might have just been in my own head about that.

So I waited there, listened to the music playing, listened to the woman behind the curtain next to me talk to everyone…tried to time out the procedure by who left and when they came back, but of course the guy right before me was going in for a colonoscopy AND endoscopy – so that wasn’t a good gauge.  Then I guess I figured it to be about 15 minutes for each person.  So a LONG time passed as I was waiting…like an hour and a half almost.  Then it was my turn…finally, I would be going in and finding out what was going on with me, and I would maybe be fixed…maybe.

Two nurses roll me into the room.  They hook me up to monitors – I had the cuff on my bicep, some sticky things on my chest/shoulders, an oxygen mask…and I noticed the anesthesiologist prepping my sleepy medicine.  Random fact about me – I never got NO2 gas at the dentist, because when I was little he told me I would go to “La-La Land”…um, nope.  Haha

Okay back to this long drawn out story…

So the anesthesiologist is asking me if I ever had the medicine before, and she asked how old I was.  I told her 32 (at the time)…she couldn’t believe it.  She said I looked so young.  Then the doctor came in, he’s a cool guy.  One of very few doctors that I actually trust.  I was trying not to focus on anything taking place, but I was getting a little anxious/uneasy.  He went over what was going to happen – I can’t really remember what he said exactly.  He told me to bite on this thing to keep my mouth open during the procedure.  I put it in, but of course, immediately, I had to swallow.  So I took it out quick, one of the nurses was like OMG YOU HAVE TO KEEP THAT IN!  But another nurse came to my defense and said I was just swallowing.  Okay, so I get it back in, they tell me to lay on my left side, straighten my left leg, bend my right leg.  At this point I couldn’t see the lady who was going to put the stuff in my IV – she was behind me somewhere.  The doctor said, “Okay, you’ll be asleep in less than a minute.”  I’m a jerk and in my head I’m like there’s no way.  I tried to keep my eyes open, but suddenly it looked like I was looking through jell-o.  Boom!  15 seconds later (or so it seemed) I was in recovery.  I remember NOT ONE SINGLE MOMENT after the jell-o vision.  I don’t know if I was awake or talking for awhile in recovery, but I remember the nurse asking if I wanted a drink.  I asked for water, and she said no – cranberry or apple.  I asked for diluted cranberry.  That was all a blur to me, but then I do remember being sat up and drinking.  A few minutes later I got dressed, waited for the doctor, and I was out.

Just for the record, the papers I got from the doctor said the procedure started at 2:56PM and the doctor signed off at 3:13PM.  Then I don’t remember seeing the clock until almost 3:45PM – so I ended up getting a pretty decent nap in!  I wasn’t groggy when I got up, just really out of it.  I got in my mom’s car, opened a bottle of water, and spilled it all over myself.  Whoops!

I felt dopey for a day or two after, but then I was okay.  If I had to get it done again, I would.  It was really nothing – and I’m afraid of everything!

Hope you enjoyed this story!  Maybe you just wanted to know what endoscopies were like, or maybe getting anesthesia – either way, hope this gave you some peace of mind!  Would love to hear your stories!

Oh, P.S. I have also read stories about people who don’t get sedated for this…all I can say is, YOU’RE CRAZY!

“Your gut and your emotions are a two way street.  They both impact on each other.  So addressing the state of your gut health, not just the food you eat, is incredibly important to your mental health.”

Commitment Leads to Success

466199853

I’m really making it a point to get really healthy again.  I know I may have said it before, but really, it’s important this time.  After a brief talk with Dr. Noah, we both decided that after I finish the PPI’s (April 27th), that I will try a regime of natural digestive enzymes and a high potency probiotic, as well as, encapsulated peppermint oil.  My diet will change to be a high fat, high protein, low carb diet (back to strict, strict paleo).  Also, I need to finally get back to exercising.  I gave it up when all these problems started happening.  I felt really awful and I was very concerned as to what was causing them.  Including more exercise will help raise my serotonin, which might be the root of most of the problems.  I’m one of those people that internalizes stress and all of my problems.  It really takes a toll on you.  I was mediating on a very basic level for awhile – but I think I need to step it up a notch.

I’m not really sure if I’m explaining things exactly how they are medically described, but I’m telling you how I feel.  Hopefully this information can help someone else out.  I beat my body up for a long time when I was a kid, when nothing really effects you.  I drank soda all day every day, never drank water, ate sugared cereal, drank a glass of whole milk often!  I was really active, so there was no issues, but I think it all caught up to me.  I went to paleo in 2013, and felt great for the first time in a few years.  Followed it religiously for a year (every 30 days I treated like the first 30).  Then I slipped off a little bit.  When I got the h.pylori and was treated for it, I think it sent my initial problem of acid reflux into a tail spin.  It killed off all of the bacteria (good and bad), and I wasn’t informed on how to REBUILD that little awesome colony again.

I’m committed.  Although, PPI’s can be pretty rough on the body if you use them for a long time, they have been the only thing so far that has made me feel better.  My spirits are up and I’m able to eat again (gained 3 lbs. since my endoscopy)!  I’ve been taking all my vitamins again, and I’ve been sleeping better.  But now, once these meds are done, I’m committed to being healthy.  I got a little nephew that I have to run around with – I could use a little energy boost!

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment.  When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient.  When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.”  
— Kenneth Blanchard —

GERD and Paleo

heart-rate

So I recently found out I have a hiatal hernia with mild esophagitis due to GERD.  When I was VERY STRICT with my paleo, I didn’t suffer from any of these issues.  Just mild heartburn once in awhile, but nothing a few Tums wouldn’t take care of.  Then it got bad.  I was constantly feeling air coming up from my stomach and then it developed into trouble swallowing every so often.  Long story short, my endoscopy showed what was going on.  Now I’m on a mission to make myself feel better, and NEVER have this happen again.  Right now I’m on high doses of PPI’s (not my favorite thing), but they are allowing my esophagitis (irritation of the lower esophagus) to heal – and I’m all for that.  I only have about 2 weeks left of the medication.

Okay, so what is GERD?  According to WebMD, it is Gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach.  In most cases, GERD can be relieved through diet and lifestyle changes; however, some people may require medication or surgery.  My own personal definition – when it gets to the point where I’m at (which isn’t even that bad), it is worse than a constant migraine for 4 days.  Honestly.  I just don’t feel normal.  I don’t even want to go out and eat because it’s so bad…well it was so bad.  I feel almost 100% better at this point, so whatever was wrong is on the mend.

What is a hiatal hernia?  Again, quoting WebMD, hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach moves up into the chest through a small opening in the diaphragm.

Most sites say that all of this can be contained/resolved by dietary changes.  So that got me thinking.  I felt amazing when I started paleo, but having introduced some things back into my diet – such as rice and gluten free bread occasionally, I may have messed with the balance of my belly.  I decided to see what people have written about GERD and paleo – and there were quite a few things written.  I started reading through most – and the conclusion – Paleo can almost eliminate GERD.  I believe it, now to just achieve it.  I ordered a book called, The Paleo Cure by Chris Kresser.  I’m curious to read what he has to say.

My doctor told me he’d get me back to normal drinking coffee again!

Before I get into what I have read about GERD and how Paleo can make you feel a whole lot better, I first want to talk about PPI’s.  PPI – is a proton-pump inhibitor that your doctor can prescribe that cuts down acid production in your stomach.  By cutting down the acid production, it my case, helps the healing process of my esophagus.  It’s not the best thing having acid production stopped, because our stomach’s need the acid for a number of things, but at the moment – it’s working.  The doctor has me taking them for 4 weeks – then a visit with him.  I don’t think he’ll keep me on them, but we’ll see what he says.  They are safe for short term use, but some people who use them for a long time develop a lot of problems.  They don’t allow your body to absorb vitamins, they also don’t allow your body to fight off infection as well.  They weaken your bones because of the lack of calcium your body absorbs.  And if I remember correctly, I read that they cause an imbalance with good and bad bacteria (and being paleo, I know all about that).

So back to GERD and paleo.  I googled GERD and paleo – and so far all I’ve seen are good articles, but I’m sure there are a few out there with failed successes.  I’ll research those later – maybe.  Found on ChrisKresser.com – “If GERD is caused—or at least contributed to—by low stomach acid and bacterial overgrowth in the intestines, it follows that the best way to treat it is to improve stomach acid production and reduce bacterial overgrowth. This strategy actually addresses the underlying causes of the problem, whereas the conventional approach (acid-stopping drugs) merely suppresses the symptoms.”  Seems like it makes sense.  It’s the low-carb, no gluten or dairy, no processed food diet that can resolved GERD without the PPI’s.  I read somewhere that it can take up to 6 months to heal and for you to feel better.

I have to look a little more into it, and wait for my book to arrive.  I promise to keep you guys informed on what I find!

If anyone suffered from GERD, and has been helped by paleo, please post in the comments below!

“I really regret eating paleo. – said no one ever.”

Deana’s Magical Chicken

rolling-along

I must tell you about tonight’s dinner!

I cooked it on the fly.  I knew all day I was going to make chicken, and I was thinking maybe spinach.  Well, when I got in the kitchen…the magic began.  I’ll give you my not-so-formal recipe for it!

I started with some melted Kerrygold butter and cut up quarter of a yellow onion.  I let that get all yummy and fragrant.  Then I cut up 3 chicken breasts into 2 inch cubes (or close to that).  I threw that in the pan.  Added some salt, pepper, and ground ginger.  Mix that all up and let it cook through a little bit.  Then I added half a bag of frozen spinach from Trader Joe’s and covered the pan.  I added a little bit more salt.  Then Trader Joe’s has jalepeno stuffed olives – I took 5 or 6 of those and sliced them up.  Add them to your magic chicken dinner and stir it up.  Let it cook until the chicken is cooked.  I kept it on medium heat and let it bubble a little.  While it’s still cooking, slice up some lacey swiss cheese (I cut up about 4 slices).  Throw it in, let it melt – and serve!  I made a side of frozen vegetable fried rice, also from Trader Joe’s.  It’s not so paleo, but it’s what I do!  🙂

I would have had pictures, but it wasn’t until after I finished this magical chicken dinner that I thought I NEEDED to share it with you!  So I apologize.

If you make this, post your photos!

“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

Today is My Birthday

122415882

Today is my 33rd birthday!  I’m feeling better than ever, despite having a rough year for my stomach ailments.  Now that I know what’s going on with my stomach, I plan on working on getting myself back to 100% and then really kicking healthy living into gear.  I’d like to run a few 5Ks this year.  Happy birthday to me – I certainly don’t feel 33.

Once you figure out what works for you, you should stick with it.  I stick to a decently healthy, paleo diet…but if I have a weekend of “celebration” with treats and not-so-paleo food, I feel it – and I can see it on the scale!  The weight doesn’t stick around too long, but it isn’t just water weight.  Sugar really does effect us, especially a weekend where you decide to have a few ciders, wine, or gluten free beer.

My stomach is starting to feel better, but I’m really paying attention to what I put into my body.  I’m also making sure that I take my probiotic, B12, and cranberry pills in the morning.  Because of the condition I currently have, and the acid blockers I’m on for 4 weeks, my body has trouble absorbing magnesium and B12.  The cranberry pills help with the magnesium, and I’m also eating at least half a banana every morning to help with that as well.  I was feeling a little light headed the other day and after some research, I figured that that was the problem.  I stopped taking my vitamins in order to rule out things that were bothering my stomach – stopping them didn’t help at all.  I’m still going easy on the amount of stuff I ingest, in order to let the acid blockers work to their full potential!  It’s a lot to take in, but I am making progress, I think.

Anyone have any of their own opinions on aloe vera juice, or perhaps anything that may repair an inflamed esophagus from acid reflux?  Send them my way!

“Some things just get better with age.”

Where have you been?

157696894

Friends, I apologize for my absence.  While it’s not easy to maintain a full time job, hobbies, puppies, new nephew, meal prep, AND keep a blog at the same time…I feel bad that I have let you down.

Some updates:

I managed to get 2 A’s in my grad school classes, I had to skip out on the Spring Semester because the program my job has for reimbursement, plus student loan, and how many classes you have to take a semester – all didn’t agree.  Also, my nephew was born February 19!  He’s awesome.

On a more serious note, I’ve been battling a stomach/acid reflux thing again since November.  I was put on meds for a few weeks, but they didn’t resolve my problem.  I then made an appointment with a gastroenterologist – had to wait a few weeks to see him.  Finally got to see him and then he scheduled me for an endoscopy, which I had yesterday.  Went better than expected.  Everything looked good, but I do have a small hiatus hernia with esophagitis.  All of it is treatable – have to really focus on not eating acidic foods, eating 2 to 3 hours before bed, and losing some more weight – just a little.

Anyways, so Easter is coming up.  I’m not really worrying about it being strict Paleo (shhhhh….).  I’m not cooking, but I will be with family.  It’s my nephews first Easter, so I plan on enjoying it.

After my birthday (the 31st), I will try to get back into the swing of blogging.  Stay tuned!

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

Winnie the Pooh

Grad School is Paleo

lake

I started Grad School recently, and it has eaten up all my “Paleo” time!  I’m still sticking to Paleo, and I still LOVE cooking!  I will try to post more recipes in between school work and a full time job!

Let me know if there’s anything you want me to discuss in the next post!

“Anything that is unrelated to the elephants is irrelephant.”

NO Sugar.

awesome

Been pretty focused on having no sugar at all…3 days, 5 lbs. down.  🙂  Today is day 4 and I’m feeling less of the withdrawals.  I’m feeling less overwhelmed the past 2 weeks or so.  I’ve been cooking a lot.  I used my Nom Nom Paleo book, and revisited some of the recipes that I thought were crazy back when I got it.  They weren’t so crazy this time around.  Also, been working on some of my own recipes, and kicking some serious butt, I might add.  Unfortunately, I slacked on taking photos of my meals.  I’m sorry.  On another note, my garden is doing awesome.  I love having fresh herbs!  Trying to grow some celery, and maybe a few other things.  I’ll keep you posted.

Some meals I made recently, chicken with bacon and mushrooms with heirloom tomatoes and shallots on the side, chicken stir fry, and scallops, little lobster tails from Trader Joe’s, and shrimp over spaghetti squash with garlic butter sauce, and green beans on the side.  I’ll try to remember how I made them, and post it.

Just wanted to leave you with a quick post.  Hope everyone is enjoying the summer!

“Sugar?  No thanks.  I’m sweet enough.”

FREE Paleo Crock Pot Cooking E-book

summit-logo

via Dr. Noah

Are you interested in getting your complete, easy, and step by step guide to delicious paleo dishes?  Are you interested in learning how to make some of these delicious and nutritious meals with your crock pot?  Do you like seeing the word FREE?  Well, look no further!  You have hit the paleo crock pot (so to speak)!  It’s better than the lottery, and healthier than lucky charms!

The Centre for Epigenetic Expression has an offer you cannot refuse!  Sign up today for the free Secrets to Healthy Living Updates, and they will send you a free copy of the ebook, Crock Pot Cooking Paleo Style.  Follow this link, enter your name and email address in the form and you will get immediate access to your FREE downloadable ebook. This ebook contains step by step instructions on the hows, whys, and equipment needed to prepare fermented foods in the comfort of your own home.

So what are you waiting for?  GO NOW!  This is an excellent thing!  They invite you to share in their mission as they facilitate The Pain Relief Project – Natural Solutions that Actually Work! Register for instant access to 5 free expert talks at www.thepainreliefproject.com.

“Before you talk, listen.  Before you react, think.  Before you criticize, wait.  Before you quit, try.”