Changes in body, exercise and weight …


This week I met with my personal trainer who is now taking me to Phase II if you will of my exercise routine and getting my body as healthy as possible.

With some recent tweaking of my diet by my nutrionalist, I am now only 21 pounds away from having lost a total of 100 pounds!  Just reading that is startling. Continue reading

My AMAZING Grass Story – Part 6 of 6: Dominique’s Amazing Smoothies


If you haven’t read the first five parts of my story, you can catch up by going to, the INCIDENT , Repercussive CONSEQUENCES , Slippery SLOPE , ONE year later and Benefits and Bonuses.

"Original"

Original Flavor

I now find myself at the end of this six part series and I am a little sad.  lol

This journey I have been on this past year has been an amazing one, to say the least.  But it is one that I would re-do in a heart beat.  It has taught me much about who I am as a person, a woman, at my core, my faith, as well as, what my body needs and what it is truly capable of.

Again, while I have had this amazing and miraculous improvement, please understand that I cannot attest to the fact that my journey will result in the same results if you undertake it. Continue reading

My AMAZING Grass Story – Part 4 of 6: ONE year later


If you haven’t read the first three parts of my story, you can catch up by going to, the INCIDENT , Repercussive CONSEQUENCES and Slippery SLOPE.

"Sunset"

Sunset

There is something about meeting your immortality face to face.

Often our time on earth is not something we give much thought too.  However, when your body ceases to function properly, and eating and digesting food, talking, walking, and all the other basic normal life functions become almost impossible, you really have no other choice but to have a major stare down with Mr. Immortality. Continue reading

How I Started MY Weight Loss Journey


"Eating for Health"

"Eating 4 Health"

Every once in a while I will get a comment from one of my readers that becomes great fodder for a post. Tamara, author of, Empty Thoughts, Rewritten, left this comment recently.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about diet and wondering how changing it could help me. However, I have no idea where to start – should I start cutting or adding? etc. Not to mention that I don’t often have the energy to make proper meals. I would really appreciate it if you could do a post on how to get started when considering changing your diet to improve health.

While I do not proport to be an expert on diet and ME, I have discovered a few things that I can share in hopes that perhaps my discoveries will help you as well.

First, before you start, I would highly reading Jodi Bassett’s website, The Hummingbirds’ Foundation for ME, because she has done an amazing job in writing about food, nutrients, etc and how they impact ME. I would recommend you start with her page, Treating ME: Food as Medicine and go from there.

"Switch Diet"

Switch Diet

Second, you might want to read my article, Lost 30 Pounds by Making 6 Switches, which is actually how I chose to start my journey on losing the 125+ pounds I had gained from medication, poor eating, and inconsistent exercising.

Basically, what I chose to do to start the ball rolling was to,

I decided to switch from one ‘not so healthy’ item to something that was much more healthy ever single month. Each month I would make one new switch. Simple. Direct. Easy. Thus, in the past 6 months, I have made the following 6 switches.

  1. January – switched from coke (except when sick) to (mostly decaf) tea, (decaf) coffee, and water.
  2. February – switched from butter to Ghee.
  3. March – switched from my favorite Scottish butter cookies to organic ginger snaps.
  4. April – switched from white rice to brown rice.
  5. May – switched from ginger snaps to gluten free peanut butter cookies/cut out most gluten products.
  6. June – switched from all meats to mainly fish and chicken. (only Alaskan wild caught fish and farm raised chicken).

For me, these minor changes ended up helping me to lose thirty pounds as a result.

From there, I would recommend a nutritionalist if you can manage that. For me, the nutrionalist helped me figure out that I could not eat grains, gluten, and corn by doing an elimination diet. It also helped me to see that I need to increase my caloric intake while balancing out my protein and fat intake.

In the end, the most profound thing I have learned in my journey with food and illness, is that every single thing I put in my mouth should be food that feeds my body to heal itself.

Determined to continue forward,

"Red Signature"

 

 

food INPUT Dictates (energy) OUTPUT thus MORE quality DAYS


"Food"

"Diet"

The past few weeks I have been working with a nutrionalist and trying to figure out how to increase my caloric intake as well as fill in the holes in my diet. I originally started out using livestrong.com diary journal but it just didn’t work in my brain.

So I recently changed to myfitnesspal.com and I love it. (BTW, their mobile version is fantastic!) It is user-friendly and anything I eat that is organic is in their database. You can also create your own meals (recipes), they will tally all the nutrients, fat, calories, etc, and then you can save them to add to a future day.

I also love that once I have entered a days worth of food – if I eat the same thing the following day – I just check off the items from the day before and add it to the day I’m on. So simple. Love that.

"Organic Tomatoes"

"Organic Tomatoes"

What doing a food journal/diary has shown me is that I am definitely not hitting 1200 calories a day. Most days I am taking in about 500-800 calories. This would explain why I have hit a plateau and stopped losing weight.

In addition, though, it also explains why I have days were I am suddenly ravenous and eating everything in sight.

While looking over my entries for the past two weeks, I noticed some things that I thought I would share with you.

"Amazing Grass Super Food"

Amazing Grass Super Food

First, what I put into my body, absolutely and concretely, has a major impact on how I feel. Maybe not the day of (although some things affect me immediately) but within 24-48 hours. And I almost always see a major decline in my energy levels when I eat things I know I shouldn’t, as well as, an increase in cognitive impairment.

As someone who has recently been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I am seeing firsthand what happens when I eat anything with gluten. Instant intestinal pain, energy crash, cognitive difficulties, mood swings, itchy skin, bloating (serious), gas, bowel changes and on and on.

But beyond that, I believe the gluten just makes the ME that much worse. As do grains, corn and beef (I can only tolerate it occasionally and it has to be farm raised.)

And that brings me to what I have come to realize through this process.

"Greens"

Salad and Greens

Second, what I put into my body ultimately determines how well or how poorly my body will be able to handle the ME on that particular day.

If I put gluten, processed food, or anything I have problems digesting like grains into my body, my body is then relegated to using my precious energy to deal with digesting and breaking that particular food down.

Many days, that is energy that I cannot afford to do without because that means I am in a crash mode and other things that I might want or need to do, suddenly have to be put off to another day.

This insight is really huge for me. While doing my Morning Pages this morning and trying to process this revelation, I realized that my energy levels need to be handled much the same way I handle my budget.

"Food and Energy Budget"

Energy from Food Budget

I have X amount of money for the month and all my bills must be paid. If I make a mistake and am short, then I have to move things around in my budget so it can get that bill paid. Often, that means I must do without something in order to take care of that bill.

Eating for energy is much the same thing really. If I put food into my body that requires an enormous amount of energy to break down, or if I put a food in my body that creates havoc because my body sees it as the enemy, that means my body must make decisions about where it will take energy in order to deal with the issue at hand.

And that energy that my body reroutes means I am left with less energy to meet the day. Sometimes – and often – I am met with a crash.

Third, the food choices I make while trying to give my body the best fighting chance it has with the ME and FMS, must be food that nourishes my body; that feed it nutrients that help my body do what it was created to do – heal and run efficiently.

"Broccoli"

Quality Nutrients

I, like Dr. Terry Wahl, am becoming convinced that diet is so intricate in healing that what I put in my body is of paramount importance. Not just for taste and variety, but to fuel my body so it can go about its business of fixing and repairing.

For me personally, eating too much protein, gluten, and grains is really hard on my body. So I am now in the process to find the proteins that are best and easily digested, cut out grains and gluten, and add easily digestible raw or organic dairy.

My only treat, for real, is organic dark chocolate.

Fourth, because of my age and of ME and FMS, I must take digestive enzymes and probiotics everyday. It just is what it is.

"Organic Blueberry Kefir"

Organic Blueberry Kefir

I have recently added Organic Kefir to my diet and I am telling you the results are absolutely amazing. It’s almost as if I can feel the Kefir (liquid yogurt, if you will) healing my intestines. Kind of like when you put aloe vera on a cut. And my bowels are completely regular without any drug or over the counter medication. Nice.

I have also upgraded, if you will, to Garden of Life digestive aids. Actually, after the results I have had I am slowly switching over to all their herbs and products.

I tried their (digestive enzymes) raw enzymes-women because the one I was using was discontinued and I wanted to switch to organic/raw vitamins/nutrients. My best friend was having serious issues with her stomach and gut so I gave her a week worth of these new herbs. Within 15 minutes (or less) she no longer had any pain. By the end of the week, she was doing a 100% better.

Again, probiotics and digestive enzymes help my body do what it needs to do with food without overly taxing it in the energy department.

So what does this all really mean for me? I need to be aware and cognizant of everything I put into my body because in the end, what I put in it will dictate what my body can put out in energy, and that energy, will determine how many quality days I have and how well my body copes with ME and FMS.

Determined to continue forward,

"Red Signature"

 

 

Running the ME/FMS Marathon … to Win


"Marathon Runner"

Preparing 4 My Marathon

After living with Fibromyalgia (FMS) and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) since December 1992, I have tried everything and anything I can think of.  My progress has been one of great highs, and also, some incredibly scary lows.

In the beginning, I like so many, navigated this journey by going to doctor after doctor and doing whatever they recommend.  The results for me personally, were disasterous.  More often than not, the medication created severe side affects that only exaberated the illness itself.

I recall taking amitriptyline for “depression” and “sleep issues” only to develop a severe seizure disorder.  At my worst, I was having over a dozen seizures a day.

At another time, I can remember taking an antibiotic “that I would have no problem with” and found myself being rushed to the emergency room with what looked like a heart attack.  Not only was this a particular type of antiboitic that I should not have been given (it only treated certain illnesses) but I didn’t have the infection that I was told I had.

After years and years of being a guinea pig, I started to realize that if I were ever going to get well, or at least get as well as I possibly could, it was paramount that I take control of my own health.

That led me into herbal products which then led me into eating a raw, unprocessed, organic diet (very much like the Wahl’s Diet) and supplemeting with herbs.

Then I suffered an extremely severe relapse as the result of being poisoned by a toxic household chemical.  That relaspe was so severe I was bed bound, house bound, and wheel chair dependent.  I had problems speaking, was in the dark repeatedly with one stint lasting 8 weeks, couldn’t watch tv/movies, couldn’t read books which is my passion, couldn’t lift my arms above my shoulders without serious heart complications, unable to eat and digest food, swallow and on and on.

I don’t think I have ever been so scared or unsure of my future as I was at that point.

Despite that, I had learned a truth during this ardous journey that gave me the tenacity and motivation to try one more time.  I knew … and believed with everything in me … that what I put into my body was critical to my ability to reclaim my health.

So, I started drinking Amazing Grass (and nothing else) for six weeks.  Before I could even imagine it, I was up and out of bed and functioning at a 40% level, whereas prior to the introduction of Amazing Grass, I had been lingering around 5-10%.

If you haven’t lived there, you have no idea how utterly devastating and overwhelming every day becomes.  Hope is hard to hold on to.  Determination is difficult to muster. A life of possibilites is almost impossible to dream up.

Everything you are taught about doctors, medication, health, healing, and recovery turns out to be this mirage.  The closer you get to your goal, the harder it is to find it, attain it, or even see it.

While I am really blessed and proud of the progess I have made, I am not 100% and I still have severe PENE (post exertion neuro-immune exhaustion) on many days, plus I am still unable to grab my dreams by their coattails and run with them.

One of those dreams that I have held onto all these years is to run the Boston Marathon.  I don’t know if I will ever be able to do that.  But I am determined to get to a place where I am the best I can be.

In that vein, I have come to another cross-roads in this journey with two chronic illnesses.  I am now at a place in my life that I realize I need to seek help outside of myself for this last stretch of the journey, if you will.

So, yesterday I hired a personal trainer who I spent two hours with (Thanks Becca) and went over everything from my illnesses, eating, weight, muscle tone, goals and dreams, gut issues and on and on.

At the end, I have a woman who will help me map out a plan that can be tweaked and modified as needed that will hopefully lead me to further improve my health.

I also am journaling what I eat this week as we discovered that I am probably not even eating 800 calories on any given day.  While that may not seem like a big deal, now that I have lost 75 pounds, I am plateauing and I need to make sure my caloric intake is over 1,000 calories a day.  Something I find very challenging to do most days, especially when I eat such a pure diet.

Additionally, I will be changing my eating patterns back to every 2-3 hours to help my body maintain a more constant energy level.

Lastly, I will be working with another woman to help me become gluten free and learn how to manage my diet without any gluten whether I am eating at home (easier to do), eating out, or eating at family and friends (very hard for me to do).

While the VA is torn about whether or not I have Celiac Disease, I have been playing with my diet introducing gluten than removing it.  The devastation to my gut is almost indescribable.  Pain, gas, swelling, weight gain of up to 5 pounds, inability to process and break down food, itchy skin, fogginess in my thinking and on an on.

Most people think gluten is not really a huge deal and I will be honest and say I was one of those people.  I mean, how much havoc could gluten really cause a person right?

Until I heard this story.

A friend of my personal trainer was training hard for a marathon for six months.  She didn’t lose ONE pound.  Not one!  She determined that perhaps gluten was the issue and so removed all gluten from her diet and then proceeded to lose THIRTY pounds!

If that doesn’t show the incredible havoc that gluten can wreak on those of us with Celiac Disease or even a gluten insensitivity, I don’t know what else does.  It totally convinced me I couldn’t mess around with whether or not I had a gluten issue or not.  The time was now.

The part I think I am most excited about, however, is the Egoscue Method for becoming pain free.  There are two books which many of my readers may want to order and read (and which I have ordered).

I will be writing about my journey over the next 12 weeks and how I do on this protocol, including the up and downs, as well as any modifications that I have to make in order to do it.

The first book, Pain Free, A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain, is – from what I can tell thus far – the Bible of the Egoscue Method.

The second book, Pain Free for Women:  The Revolutionary Program for Ending Chronic Pain,  is focused specifically on women and grabbed my attention because it also covered women who have had a hyterectomy as well as were struggling with chronic pain.  Both of which are issues for me.

Perhaps, in the end, I will never be able to fulfill my dream and run the Boston Marathon, but, if I can run the ME/FMS Marathon and win, I will consider that one of my greatest achievements to date.

Determined to continue forward,

"Red Signature"

 

Turning the Corner


I thought I would update you all on the after-effects of the chemical poisoning.  There is good news and then there is some not so good news.

On the good news front, my gait is much better.  I still have problems with my balance but if I am just walking around the house for short durations I am pretty much back to normal.  It appears the detox herbs my natural doctor suggested are working.

On the flip side… Continue reading

My journey from drugs to herbs – Part One


scenic Tulsa4262810p

I was raised to believe in doctors and their wisdom.  Never did I dream of a time in my life where I would start questioning the ability of doctors or pharmaceutical drugs to cure me.  The road to a semblance of normalcy was one fraught with much pain and obstacles.  Despite that, it is one I would gladly endure again, because it drove me to a place where I had to decide what I was willing to accept and what I wasn’t.

In the early years of my illness, I was often bed bound and even wheel chair bound for a period.  I remember longs stretches of time where I would be unable to do anything but lie in bed – and even that was painful – wondering how … or better yet …  if… Continue reading

Attack on Herbal Supplements!


This post is a little different than my normal posts, but I felt this was very important to get out to all my readers and friends.

Hat tip to sodahead.com for posting this letter from the Sunshine Health Freedom Foundation.  I thought I would post a portion of it here with a link to the full article to alert any of my readers who may indeed use herbal supplements in full or in part for CFIDS/FMS/ME.

In essence, this bill would… Continue reading

FOUR life-lessons my PUGS taught ME


The view out my window is lovely today.  The water looks blue (and that doesn’t happen all too often as the Arkansas river is muddy water!) and the sky has this woven pattern of pale blue and white ribbons.  The snow is almost gone and the wildlife on the bird sanctuary in the middle of the river are fluttering about, busy with the days business.  There’s even a lone individual trying to catch tonight’s dinner!  On my window sill sits a little bird, watching the same scene unfold that I am watching.  The river’s peaceful and serene calm, quiet my spirit whenever I sneak a peak, which I have to be honest, I do quite often throughout the day.

As you might have noticed in the right hand column, I have two cute, little pugs.  They have been an incredible joy and comfort to me these past 7  or so years.  As I was taking them for their morning walk, I started thinking about the life lessons I have learned from them, especially the black one – Dekker.

Dekker has Cushing’s Disease, so he and I have a special bond.  We get each other, if you will, because of the obstacles we both must overcome every day.  But… even the ever spirited, Bronte has taught me a few things.  So, today, I thought I would share four life-lessons my pugs have taught me. Continue reading

The Spoon Theory


I sit here  in the early hours of the day, sipping a cup of my favorite tea from England -  PG Tips – while Dekker lies comfortably snuggled  up on my lap, quietly snoring away.  As I look out the window of my view, fog has blanketed our fair city.   Although night has given rise to morning, morning has found herself cloaked in a heavy, gray blanket that has wrapped itself around her.

Lights peek through the haze, alerting me to the dawning of yet another day.  The melancholy and solitary mood of the fog mimics mine today.  A quiet contemplation whispers through my soul.  It tells me, this is a day that I won’t get much done.  Despite taking my herbal sleeping remedy and getting to bed on time, sleep chose to evade me.  After tireless hours of chasing after it, I chose to get up instead.

It never ceases to amaze me how someone who is so exhausted can have so much trouble getting a good nights sleep.  That seems like such a paradox. And yet, several times a week, if not more, I find myself desperately searching for just a couple hours of deep, restorative sleep, only to come up empty handed.

I actually don’t mind days like today.  There was a time when I would have been beside myself.  Being a type “A” personality, taking it easy was never a concept I easily grasped.  But today… Continue reading

To be (in pain) or not to be


Well…today is a better day.  I am always thankful for those “new mercies” when they arrive.  As I sit here looking out beyond my 4Walls at my incredible view, I am thankful that even when I am unable to spend much time outside, I have a beautiful view to look at and keep me company.

Yesterday, I read through all my journals since 1992.  I have been writing in some form or fashion for as long as I can remember so, journals are just a natural progression out of that innate desire inside of me.  It was amazing to look back and see what my thought process was like back then in regards to these illnesses.  And, it was amazing to see just how far I really have come.

One of the recurring ‘themes, if you will, that I spoke about in my journals, over and over, was the issue of pain.

Continue reading