Monday, October 21, 2013

Running and hip pain

Running and Hip pain

(PLEASE use the links throughout this blog!!)

I hate to run... always have, probably always will.  What I like is how it makes me feel AFTER I'm done.  Like I've actually accomplished something fantastic... something the fat Debi was unable to do...  even all the way back in high school, when I was was skinny and malnourished at only 90 lbs, I still hated running!!  Since it was always so difficult for me, I just hated it.  
Ease into 5K app

However, once I lost my weight late 2011... I wanted to try running since the AF fitness test demands it.  So, I came across a program called Couch to 5K (C25K) and downloaded an app that would allow me to play music while a disembodied voice called out to me when to walk and when to run.  The PT in me LOVES the intervals it uses in order to get someone like me used to running.  ALL workouts are 30-40 minutes long.  I liked that as it could definitely fit into my day.  I also liked that as soon as I felt like I was out of breath and could not possibly run another step, it dinged and I'd be told to walk.... a little bit later, as I was recovering from the run, a voice would tell me to run again.  Slowly, over 9 weeks, it gets you prepared to run a full 5K... still with a 5 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down sandwiched around the running.  The PT in me liked that even more!  

When I started the program in 2011, I did so on the treadmill.  It was running, but it is NOT the same as running outside or on a non-moving surface.  Though I knew that, it was wintertime and I needed the comfort of working out inside my house.  Treadmill it was.  However, as I hit the 9th week and ran... for the first time in my life, a distance of 5K (3.1 miles), I noticed left iliac crest pain.  Not really hip pain, as it was higher than my hip, but wasn't my side.  I looked it up and realized it was a strain of the muscles of the hip that attach on the iliac crest and of the side of the trunk that help lift the hip and also attach at the same spot.  It got so painful that I had to stop my running and walking workouts all together.  Definitely soft tissue as I could replicate the pain.  (more on that later)
Random photo showing results paying off on the running!

Well, I've run on and off since then, but never got to the point of running greater than 10 minutes at a time until we moved away from Japan to Hawaii.  I started it (the couch to 5K program) all over again, determined to be able to do my physical fitness test doing the run portion.  I mean, shoot... I'm in Hawaii now... beautiful weather 365 days a year.  OK.  GPS was working on the non-usable Japanese iPhone... all my music on there... good to go.  So, I went... outside and started running from week 1 again.  I even continued when I went back to the mainland USA for my reserve 2 weeks this summer and visited family.  Everyone was impressed and I was feeling invincible !  I even looked forward to my time alone... I was actually beginning to ... *gasp* ... enjoy running!!  

I took my time through the 9 week program as I really wanted to run faster for my fitness test... so, instead of doing more time, I did more intervals and then hung out at the 6th and 7th weeks that would get me to my goal of under 12 min/miles to do even better time for my run.  Well... two weeks ago, I was running and noticed pain in my left hip.  NOT the same as the previous left hip/iliac crest pain.  This was in the groin.  That's not usually a good thing.  I iced and rested for 4 days, then ran again.  No pain... even added a little time and felt great.  The next day?  PAIN.  again.  Farther on in the run, but worse.  This time, no relief in 2 days, so I tried some stretches in standing that my husband showed me (they were interesting stretches... I figured I'd try them even though our bodies are incredibly different and he's no PT)... since they were in standing, they were weight bearing.  

Its the runner's stretch we've all seen with crossing the legs at the ankles, knees locked and leaning to the side.  OH MY HOLY LORD!!!  The pain caused me to fall to the floor and cry.  Seriously.  Not.   Kidding.  Problem was, the pain was not on the side of my leg (that's an ITB/TFL stretch for the lateral leg/hip), but in the groin extending almost to the iliac crest.  DEEP, searing pain... ice... ice... heat... ice... heat... ice... hot bath... ice for the rest of the day.  

Needless to say, since it's been 5 days now and I'm just now walking with a minor limp, I'm not running anytime soon.  So... let's look at the ITB or the Iliotibial Band.  It's one of the most frequent causes of hip and knee pain in runners.  Why?  It's stressed something huge with running and needs to be stretched.  Why in me?  Well, I have a shorter right leg, putting the ITB on stretch on that side.  My pain most likely comes from a slack ITB and overworked Tensor Fascia Lata (a small muscle in front of the ITB).  So.  What does one do for an ITB that's NOT tight?  

Well, you don't stretch it... you have to tighten it.  See where the TFL is?  It's very intimately positioned with the ITB.  Therefore, strengthen the TFL, and the ITB should tighten up a little.  ALSO... look on the opposite side and see what's tight.  Yep, you got it.  My right ITB is very tight.  

Nope... not me, got it from Runnersworld.

My favorite stretch is for the Vastus Lateralis (lateral quadriceps muscle) and the ITB... I call it the pretzel stretch.  Obviously, I did not come up with this one myself.  However, my right ITB has been tight since I had a soft tissue surgery at 18 yrs of age... it created a band of scar tissue along the lateral side of my patella (knee cap).  So... for YEARS I did other stretches, but finally figured this one out and NEVER do any others for my right side as this one takes the cake.  Absolutely works the BEST for my leg.  

I really like this next graphic as it shows how to get yourself into the pretzel position... it's extremely important to pull the leg back BEFORE adducting (pulling your knee toward the other knee) as it allows the ITB to stay overtop of the greater trochanter on the femur (the graphic 2 above has a RED spot over the greater trochanter as this is the area that hurts when the ITB rubs over it in most people... if you don't extend the hip before adducting, the ITB stays in front of this spot and doesn't get a good enough stretch!).  

From Laurel Chiropractic 

The next thing is to strengthen weak TFL AND the gluteus medius.  The Glut Med is a SERIOUSLY important muscle... it stabilizes your pelvis when you are weight bearing on that leg.  So... each time your foot hits the ground and you take your other foot off the ground, it's responsible for keeping your bootie from dipping down and staying in midrange... No, you don't want to shake your booty while running!!  Ha ha!  The graphic on the right is to strengthen the abductors of the hip.  Note that in two of them, your foot is pointed straight ahead... the last one, the leg is slightly rotated outward and you're moving diagonally backwards.  This one gets the glut med the best.  You can do this in lying on your side, standing and with lunges.  Since I cannot seem to exercise bearing weight right now, it's lying down for me!!  

Are there other things that can cause hip pain from running?  Yes!!  I've just pointed out the most common ailment.  There's also femoral neck stress fractures (very uncommon), psoas tightness, adductor tightness, and a few other muscular issues.  Yes, you can get bursitis in the hip, though that tends to be rarer in runners (in my clinical experience) and more in the middle aged, semi to very sedentary person.  Can a tight ITB cause bursitis... absolutely!  Deal with the ITB before it causes the bursa (a pillow-like structure that keeps the ITB from rubbing against the boney prominence of the greater trochanter) to inflame.  

One quick word on inflammation versus mechanical pain.  Inflammation hurts when you are just sitting there... it can be caused by a mechanical issue (such as a tight ITB).  However, if you're not inflamed (which is a chemical process), you don't really need to worry about anti-inflammatories like aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin), or naprosyn (Aleve) or use ice.  How do you know you don't have an inflammatory process going on?  The pain goes away when you stop using it.  Like me, the pain goes away after I sit down and take the weight off my leg.  Thus the reason I'll heat it, too!!  

I hope I've enlightened you a touch about hip pain and possible cause from running.  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Dogs and the loss of a beloved aunt...

My poor dogs... they're loving Hawaii (yes, I'm back!!), but the small stickers and dirt of the dog park is NOT good on their skin.
AFTER grooming!!

Her tummy and all the small red spots.
Poor Cheyenne has her little sores all over her tummy again... that hasn't happened since BEFORE I made her Paleo!!  Poor baby girl...  I think they're mainly from the fleas in this hotel room and at the dog park in the sand.  Since she finds it so difficult (possibly painful) to stand for long periods of time, she'll often lie down in the sandy dirt.

Buddy was so long haired and dirty that it was adorable.
However, apparently, he had more fleas than Cheyenne!!  So... I checked out Yelp to see what groomers there are in the area close to where we will be living (oh, yes!!  We are closing on a house on the 20th of Sept!!).  Found one that had excellent comments about the groomers, but the only negative was the aesthetics of the shop.  I'm one of those people who'd rather have a less cute place for the talent and love of the person grooming my dogs... so, I chose Pat's Poodle Grooming.  WOW!  She not only said "when can you get here" but fit in BOTH dogs!!  Definitely a "family business" to which I'll be returning!!  Actually, Buddy has another appointment on Halloween.

So, being back in Hawaii is good... however, on a sad note, my Aunt Dodo (Dolores, on who's birthday I was born) died in hospice care yesterday after having suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns to her legs in an accident the night before our birthday.  She was a true Christian Catholic, and I'm sure she's up there asking God all kinds of questions as she was curious about everything and everybody!  She's also dancing cheek to cheek with her husband, Uncle Ted, who preceded her by a decade.  (According to my cousin, she was wiggling in her bed earlier yesterday morning 'dancing' to the music by Fred Astaire!)

All 4 of her children got to see her and many of us called and spoke with her while still in hospital.  I'm glad it went fairly quickly and that she didn't suffer endlessly for days or weeks.  I'm also praying for my cousins, especially my dear cousin, Richard, who was her rock and biggest supporter/fan.
3 Reunited in Heaven:  Aunt Phyllis, Grandma Mary, and now, Aunt Dodo.

Cousins Linda & Mike, Aunt Dodo, Uncle John, and Cousin Richard in Colorado 2012

Rest In Peace, Aunt Dodo:  9 Sept 1931 - 12 Sept 2013  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Eating in a hotel suite

So, I'm still in a hotel... however, this one is smaller than the one in Hawaii.  I'm in Florida for my reserve weeks and in a larger suite (2 bedrooms), but smaller kitchenette (no range, just a small fridge and microwave).  So... how does one eat with limited resources??

Well, besides the obvious of buying dinner and cutting that in 1/2 for the next day, I do buy stuff to fill the fridge.

Breakfast ideas:
Fage - whole fat, with blueberries and other berries, sliced almonds, pecan pieces
boiled eggs (yes, you can find them in grocery stores!!) and bacon
Intermittent fasting... (yeah, some mornings it's just coffee and cream)

salad with left overs from the day prior
cafeteria at work...
roll ups:  lunch meat and cheese roll ups with lettuce and veggies on the side

Roll ups
take out:  my favorite place here is Moe's!!  They have organic produce and grass-fed animal meat!!
Left overs brought from in-laws
bacon, bacon and more bacon
salad with bacon, left over boiled eggs, etc.

Needless to say, I could use some ideas as only one week of this is already OLD!!  However, I know that it's for a short time, so I also practice some intermittent fasting.  I ONLY fast when I'm just not hungry... I do NOT fast when I am hungry as that's just not healthy.  It's not listening to my body.  I noticed that sometimes I'm not hungry in the morning after a large dinner the night before.  Conversely, I'm not hungry for dinner if I've had a larger lunch.

I have had some excellent conversations this week dealing with... da da da dum.... Saturated Fat.

My favorite book right now is The Great Cholesterol Myth:  Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won't Prevent Heart Disease - and the Statin-free plan that will,  by Jonny Bowden and Stephen Sinatra.  Dr Bowden is a Nutritionist and Dr Sinatra is a cardiologist.  

Now, I'm nowhere near done reading this book, nor even a 1/2 way through.  However, there's so much amazing information and research presented within the first few chapters that I feel I'm learning so much I just have to share!!  What convinces a geek like me that saturated fat is NOT the devil as I'd been told all my life and taught in PT school and beyond, is the amazing amount of research.  Not just RCTs (randomized control trials), but meta-analysis of research!  There's this one recent meta analysis that show NO correlation between saturated fat in the diet and CHD (coronary heart disease) or CVD (cardiovascular disease).

I do not feel I've read enough of the book to do it justice in a review, and have ALREADY loaned it out (to my MIL and I'll get it back this next weekend), but I promise to write more about it and try to teach you the 'finer' points as I learn them. :)

Friday, August 2, 2013

We are waiting...

Yes... the waiting game.  Not my favorite thing to do!!  What are we waiting for?  A house.  We remain in the Navy Lodge... a good enough place for a few days, but we're closing in on 2 weeks.  We spent 8 days house hunting and put in 2 "back up" offers on homes, then on Wednesday, we came across the FIRST house I truly could see myself in!  We immediately sat down and compiled all the paperwork necessary for putting in an offer and it was in by 2pm that day!  They were supposed to respond by 5pm tonight (a day later)... the response?  Wait until Monday when they've gone over ALL the offers on the house.  Ugh.  Though I don't tend to be a pessimist... each house here we've even remotely liked has already had an offer on it.  Feels like we're just one step behind ALL the time.  This house?  We found it right away and actually attended the broker's open house... so did others.  Ah well... waiting and praying now.

So, how's the running and diet?  Great!  Thanks for asking.  I'm on Week 2 Day 3 tomorrow.  Day 2 was weird in that my map shows ALL over the place.  Not sure what happened there, but I did NOT run 5 miles with a 6 min mile run nor 10 min mile walk!!  Strange.  Very strange.  The only thing I can think is that I used two apps together:  Ease into 5K AND Charity Miles.  Though I love the premise behind Charity Miles... I may try again tomorrow, but then give it up if it screws up more of my workout.  Perhaps when I'm running on my own without the C25K app giving me commands to "walk now" or "run now" or "you are half way there"... but, right now I kinda NEED those commands!!  They're incentive!

Today, I took a LOT of pictures in the dog park... my Japanese "English student" texted me that she missed my dogs so much, so I took a bunch of photos of them for her and posted them on FaceBook.  Here's my favorites:

Cheyenne:  her 11th birthday today

Buddy... so happy in the park!

They just love being out here!  The park goes all the way to those trees...

The entrance.  You can also see the Navy Lodge and how close it is.
As for diet?  Well, it's hard to cheat when you've no oven... my cheats mainly comprised of what I could bake using Paleo ingredients.  So... perhaps a little more yogurt/Fage?  Some extra fruit?  Yeah... I better be losing more poundage!!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Life goes on...

Isn't that the truth?  Life goes on...

I've always said that a person is the center of his/her own universe and the main star in a One Act Play... meaning that everything comes from our own perspective and can seem so meaningful to us, but absolutely zero to another person (unless they love you or are invested in your life).

Well, enter our Realtor.  She actually 'gets us'... I saw her turning her nose up to certain areas based on our wants and desires.  She's good... not just capable, but GOOD.  Unfortunately, we seem to see anything that actually speaks "live here" to us a day too late.  Yep, we've put in two back-up offers on houses that "just accepted an offer this morning".  Oh well.  I have to believe that we just haven't found "the ONE" yet.

Came out of lodging to this gorgeous site pre-run!
In the meantime, there was a tropical storm, Flossie, that was downgraded to a depression and really fizzled out prior to hitting Oahu.  I woke up yesterday thinking that our plans to view 2 houses and me going running were going to be a bust, but the storm just never hit.  Thankfully!!

Did I run?  Yes... during a lull in the rain.  BOY was it MUGGY.  AND... the bugs!!  Holy cow.  I got some in my eyes and splattered on my chest and legs when I was running/walking into the wind!  Thought they were dead, but I guess they were stunned as when I got back to the room most woke up and started crawling around on my shirt and pants!!  My son noticed.  Thanks!

Another sighting of the rainbow during the run! 

There WAS a beautiful rainbow I spotted in the beginning of my run that I spotted again when I turned around to run into the wind.  It certainly gave me something to watch and from which to gain motivation!  (Yes, in that photo, you can see the historical airtraffic control tower on Ford Island and the Pacific Air Museum next to it... that's my view on my runs)

Speaking of motivation... NOT going to wait until that late in the day (about 4:30pm) to run again!!  Too hot and muggy.  However, I DID impress myself in needing to tack on more distance to the run as I ran a little faster and went farther.  Week 2 differs from Week 1 in the Couch to 5K by increasing the running intervals from 60 seconds to 90 seconds, and the walking intervals went form 90 seconds to 2 minutes.  Those are done for 20 minutes sandwiched between the 5 min warm-up walk and cool-down walk.  Needless to say, the run/walk intervals lessen in number as they increase in length.
Click here to see my run stats
Well, next run is tomorrow!  I'll try to take other photos during my walking intervals to share...

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A gentle nudge... or kick in the a$$?

A delightful blogger, Jared, from Primal Fatso, wrote a blog that resonated with me yesterday.  He was asking for someone to help him be accountable.  So, after reading his blog and all three comments already written in response.  Though the responses sounded helpful, I still felt the urge to write to him... that's the helpful person I am ;)  Read his blog here, then my response now... though I typically refrain from using off-color language on my blog, I did in my response to him.  Please excuse the more colorful language!!  What you will notice, if you read my blogs at all, is that this blog sparked me to write my last blog posting... yes, I'm keeping accountable to Jared, but to you, the anonymous reader out there...

I read all the previous comments before commenting myself. Currently, I’m in the midst of a move from Japan to Hawaii. Yes, moves are stressful, and yes, I’ve eaten a few things I’m not proud of (like all the Hawaiian treats in our Welcome Basket!!). However, with that being said and me noting my bitchiness lately (sorry, but that word accurately conveys how I’ve been acting… poor hubby), I realized that I, too, needed a swift kick in the rear!!
Now, I’ve been reading your blog and following your progress and seem to be pretty much a similar person as you (or the you I’ve come to know through your writing). I’ve empathized with much of your trials and understood each goal as it came. Unlike you, I did not have as much to lose. I DID have huge health issues that have pretty much resolved.
So… Needing someone to say “Wake the *F* up and get your ass in shape!!!”… I understand that, too. So, how about I say it to you and you say it right back at me!!
1st: STOP eating that shit!! Moderation is OK for some people who can stop themselves from eating more!! Eating a ‘cup worth’ is awesome… for me? I just refill it!! So… Quit it!! If it makes you feel worse after eating it, STOP. OR>>> MAKE YOUR OWN. I know you know how to do it with DARK chocolate and coconut oil and stuff, so do THAT!! We both know that by the time we’ve made it and it’s ready to eat, we’re not AS hungry for it anymore (or have sampled the stuff so much our tummy aches already). But at least you know all the ingredients.
If you DO pick up some crap at work to eat… stop and read the ingredient list. Then remind yourself how crappy that processed shit is!! That you don’t want those chemicals in your body anymore!! Like me, get a bag of goodies for your desk or work fridge and snack on those. I NEED crunchy stuff daily… if not celery or carrots, then homemade sesame crackers or something. (Still have yet to make those freakin’ kale chips!! but, if you have… perhaps some of those)
2nd: Get a cheap app and get using it. I have SO many reasons NOT to exercise, it’s not even funny. However, when I first “went Paleo/Primal” I was doing the Couch to 5K running plan 3 times a week and saw my weight just drop off. Can’t say for sure it was ONLY eating Paleo or a combination… but I do know that I plateau’d when I stopped exercising (yeah, the past year). So… during this stressful time of moving from foreign country to another overseas assignment (yeah, we’re “in the states”… have you SEEN the prices out here??!!), I realized that I could and should get my butt out the door (sheesh, I’m in Hawaii…).
So, I took my Japanese iPhone (nope, the phone doesn’t work here in America, but I’ve figured out the GPS does) and put on earbuds and stepped out the door around 9am Monday to my Week 1 Day 1 “Ease into 5K” program. It sucked and I sweated SO much. It also was god-forsaken HOT outside with the sun beating down on me… but, I persisted. Today I finished up with Week 1 Day 3. Still sucked, but I got out there at 7:30am instead and sweat probably half as much. I had my workout music (yeah, sucked it up and bought a playlist that keeps 100 – 120 beats a minute the entire time) and sunglasses.
Next, the same app company (Bluefin) made another app called the 7 minute workout. So, I went ahead and bought that… plan to do that on my “off” days from running. It has 12 activities, and each one is for 30 seconds. I’m sure I can do that. I read some of the reviews and they say to add a second and third time as you get stronger. What appeals to me is that I don’t have to go anywhere or bring a gymbag to work!! Or have weights… or any other apparatus except my own body (and that’s heavy enough for these exercises!! lol)
- jumping jacks
- wall sit
- push ups
- ab crunches
- step ups
- squats
- triceps dip
- plank
- high knees
- lunges
- push-up and rotation
- side plank
So… I’m game if you’re game!! (I actually might blog this myself!!)
your friend and fan,

Friday, July 26, 2013

Moving overseas to overseas

The move is complete.  Well, almost... or not quite... well, we are in Hawaii!!
Narita International Airport, Japan to Honolulu International Airport, Hawaii, USA

Phew!!  What an adventure!  I tried to map it for you, but google won't play fun as when I mapped getting to China from Japan years ago (it actually told you to jet ski across!!).  For us, we went from Narita International Airport to Honolulu.  It was, thankfully, an uneventful trip!  The dogs did very well and other than having a child seated behind me playing a game on the touch-screen TV on the back of my seat, we did too.  We were "lei'd" by my hubby's new boss and wife once they found us.  That was neat as the leis smelled great.  Supposedly, there's an entire ceremony or specifics regarding how to lei someone... will have to look that up.
First view of Oahu from the Northwest side!!

So, we're on Ford Island for now in the Navy Lodge.  It's nice enough, though I'm lamenting over not having a "real" kitchen.  The dogs are doing excellent and LOVE the dog park that is right across the street.  Buddy is loving the large area in which to run and chase things.  Cheyenne, still sticks close to me in the park, but is building up her walking endurance as we go there 2 to 4 times a day and I try to get her to walk to the back side of the park for exercise.

Chevy Volt 2013
Currently, we're in the search mode.  We're searching for a house.  This is NOT easy in Hawaii!!  First of all, my hubby wants a garage because he just leased a Chevy Volt and needs a place to plug it in securely.  That's a cool little car, but since the dealership leased it to us with ZERO battery charge, we can't see what it's really like when charged at all... so far, it gets about 34 mph.

A roadside park had gorgeous views... just above Kaneohe on the windward side.

So... what has this to do with BabyPT being Primal?  Well... during a move, there's stress.  There's also a learning curve to figuring out how to eat in a new country/new locale.  Us military have the commissary in which to grocery shop... however, the organic selection and clean eating sections are pretty slim.  I found local, organic full fat milk, and decent cheeses, but VERY limited organic produce (no shopping for the dirty dozen/clean 15 at the Pearl Harbor DECA!!).  I also had zero luck in egg selection.  Yes, they had a few different brands, but the only organic or "pastured" eggs were from 100% VEGETARIAN fed chickens!!  Ummm... I know it sounds gross to eat bugs and snails, but that's a chicken for you.  Needless to say, I caved and got one of those because I felt the happier chickens might be better for me.  Well.... the yolks were so pitiful and light yellow that I cannot imagine there's any omega-3s in them!!  Remember my old post on Japanese eggs?  Yeah, those eggs I used for the "American" comparison would have put these to shame!!  Needless to say, I caved when the hubby came home with Eggland's Best eggs that are "high" in omega-3s.  Not orange yolks, but more of a medium dark yellow compared to the other ones.

Week 1 Day 2:  24 July 2013
Now, being on the island of Oahu made me decide I needed to do SOMEthing healthy... so, I restarted my Couch to 5K (C25K) program.  First day out, I started at about 9-9:30am... too hot!!!  I was dripping wet with sweat when I returned to the hotel room!!  I had to keep reminding myself that "Sweat is fat cells crying"... oh well, it was worth a shot!!  Anyhow, I realized that my Japanese iPhone might not be a 'phone' over here, but the GPS worked great while out there!  So, I'm able to map the workout!!  That made me happy.

The neat thing about being here on Ford Island, is that the airfield (well, it used to be one!!  Think Pearl Harbor - The Movie) seems approximately 1 mile long.  So, when I run/walk in one direction then turn around, it's 2 miles.  Now I'm wondering how long of a distance is the bridge...

My next adventure is to begin working out on alternate days from the C25K using my newest app:  "7-minute Workout", by the same company, BlueFin, as my C25K app:  "Ease into 5K".  (Here's an alternative app from Cool Running.)  It is comprised of 30 seconds of 12 different activities:
- jumping jacks
- wall sit
- push-ups
- ab crunches
- step-ups
- squats
- triceps dip
- plank
- high knees
- lunges
- push-up & rotations
- side plank

Wish me luck!!  (for the exercises AND house hunting!!)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

UPDATE: my daily 'to do-s"

WOW!!  My last post was... months ago.

Well, I read a post by a fellow Paleo person, Jared, and realized he's right... its hard to post when you've been Paleo over a year and aren't seeing the results as quickly or having as much fun experimenting with foods.  Its not that I don't still experiment with food, but its become a daily habit.

They say to make a habit, one must do something for over 20 days.  Well, I celebrate my Paleo-versary in August and it's my 2nd year.  So, I BETTER have the lifestyle as a habit by now!!
Tropical Traditions!!

What types of things do I do now that are habit?  Glad you asked!!

1.  Coconut oil in my morning cup of coffee.  Yes.  I drink coffee!!  Even when I had West Nile Virus years ago, I told the neurologist that I couldn't go without it.  That stands true today.  What I don't put in the coffee is sugar.  I use heavy whipping cream and coconut oil.  It's SO creamy and delicious that some days I forget to eat breakfast it can be so filling!!  Is it "Bulletproof"?  Not yet, but some day I'll get that far...

2.  Sleep.  I religiously get 8 or more hours of sleep a night.  Period.  If I have to be up early the next day, I count back 9 hours and get my bum to bed then and the light is out no later than the 8 1/2 hours mark.  This I truly learned from my hubby as he's been doing it for years.  However, as a dutiful wife (lol) I had to read it on multiple Paleo blogs before believing it and doing it myself.  Silly girl!

3.  ALWAYS (did I emphasize that enough??) carry snacks with you when travelling.  Yes, it is heavy at first, but if you're a water bottle carrier, you are used to lugging something extra around.  Living in Japan makes it very difficult to eat gluten-free, much less grain-free.  However, I've learned that even cheating with rice causes undesirable side-effects for my body.  So, I make my own trail mix using nuts of every kind (well, no peanuts, but those are legumes, so they don't count), mix in a few different varieties of dried fruits that I cut into bite-sized pieces, a little dark chocolate nibs and put all in a ziplock baggie!!  No recipe needed, but lots of folk as me for a handful... I'm share-y, so I make a LOT before a trip!  I've also been known to travel with beef jerky (natural kind) or a Lara bar (not on my favorite list anymore, but they'll do in a pinch).

4.  MOVE everyday.  Do something!  I'm 2 1/2 months out from my next PT test, so I'm beginning to do the specific components required for that.  However, typically, I walk a LOT.  I purposefully "forget" things upstairs to walk the stairs many times during the days.  Take the escalator and climb it, or just take the stairs!  Park far away from the building to walk (unless I'm in a hurry... I get that!).  Take the dogs for a walk, they need exercise too!

5.  Figure out what foods work for YOUR body and which ones do not.  My first "does not work" food was beans.  Yep, beans (legumes).  When I was sick from the gallbladder stuff, the beans were THE food that would push the pain to a 10 out of 10 and me in the Emergency Room.  I got a LOT of advice from the gal over at and that helped start me on my path to better health.  However, once I started "going Paleo" I suspected I was gluten sensitive, then I read Wheat Belly and figured out that I truly AM wheat/gluten sensitive. THAT helped the most.  If I'd listened to my physicians at that time... I shudder to think of how I'd be today!!  NONE of them thought wheat was an issue.  Partly since I was "fat", I didn't "fit" the profile for a celiac.  Now, I know that many celiacs look like I did:  39% of celiacs are overweight or obese!   (that number could be more as this study was done in 2006 and we know so much more about celiac disease and gluten sensitivity since that time)

6.  NEVER trust a food prep person, possibly even the manager, of a restaurant as to if something is truly gluten-free.  I cannot tell you how many times I have and still have a reaction to what I've eaten.  Look at labels yourself, and if in a restaurant, demand NO spices on your food.  Many restaurants use "natural flavorings" as a spice and think it's harmless... its not.  If you DO go out to eat, and have food intolerances... clear your schedule for the next day "just in case"!

7.  MAKE YOUR OWN MEALS from products that do not come in a bag or jar!  I have discovered a whole entire new way to prepare meals that doesn't rely on Hamburger Helper or frozen meals.  GUESS WHAT?  It takes me about the same amount of time to cook my meals both ways!!  Therefore, I wasn't truly saving time (as I thought I was buying foods that way).  I enjoy farmer's markets and keep my "dirty dozen" app/list handy for buying produce.  Basically, if you can peel it, it doesn't have to be organic.  However, I also make sure I know what the GMO foods are and buying organic helps me to avoid those!  USA top 10 GMO crops:  sugar beets (if the ingredient list says "sugar" its from a sugar beet), potatoes, tomatoes, squash, oils - cottonseed, canola and rapeseed, salmon (yes, salmon... don't buy "farmed"), soy, corn, and rice.

8.  EDUCATE yourself!  I never stop reading research and the blogs that read it for me and give an unbiased summary.  Too often we hear the news anchor tell us something like "Eggs are worse than smoking cigarettes "  AND WE BELIEVE THEM!  WHY?????!!!!  Just because they are on air?  Most, if not all, 'research' reported by the media are actually touting causation of one food on an entire part of human behavior/health.  Always remember CORRELATION DOES NOT EQUAL CAUSATION!! (meaning just because a researcher saw a higher number of something within an unhealthy group does not mean that one 'something' was the absolute root cause of the disease.)

I know that in a few days or even hours from now, I will want to add to this list.  These are the main things that fit into my daily lifestyle.  Even if we eat a non-prepared meal, it tends to be meat and veggies... typically left-overs.

Be healthy... get healthy.  Stop expecting your government to tell you what to eat because the root of all their suggestions is someone (or a company) making money to support their politician.  Think for yourself.  READ labels, books, blogs, etc.  Figure out your body and do what it needs you to do.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Doing great...

Doing great! 

Yep, life is going well with my lenten observances... unfortunately, that doesn't mean I'm any better at blogging more often!  Oops.  Best intentions...
Ready to ski first day!!  That's me on the right!

Have gone skiing since lent began, and YES, I cheated with rice while away!!  Really, I had to... there was about 3 small chunks of beef in the beef curry the one day and I was so hungry from skiing!!  The next day, there was NOTHING on the menu for this Primal gluten-free girl except "seafood pilaf"... so I got that, hoping for more seafood than rice.  Um.  Good try, but nope.  There were about 10 small, I mean small scallops, about 4 small shrimp and perhaps 5 peas in a yellow rice concoction.  Ate it all.  Of course, both meals were eaten with lots of prayers (you know how the guilt works in us Catholics...).  

Well, other than having rice for those two meals, the others went well as the hotel staff understood quickly my gluten intolerance (called "allergy" here as they truly understand those!!) and prepared special meals for me.  I had tomato sauce over a non-breadcrumbed meatloaf for one dinner (many other people wanted what I had instead of their dark sauce with mushrooms), and for breakfast a typical Japanese one complete with Nato.  I opened it, forced the hubby to try it, took one small bite myself, then promptly shut the little box it came in... smelled it all day.  Ugh.  Definitely one of those dishes one MUST be raised on to enjoy!!  That breakfast also contained miso soup with tofu (drank the soup, ate the mushrooms, but left the soy pieces behind) and tamago (think scrambled eggs in a form, but lightly sweetened... not my favorite as I  like my eggs with SALT, but edible).  

My biggest problem that first week was the coffee.  Yes, I must be a little 'mad' as that is my ONE thing I've never allowed the docs to take away from me in my years of being sick and migrainey.  Yep, told the neurologist to get a life when he suggested going decaf, same thing to the cardiologist when he suggested decaf would help slow down my fast heartbeat.  However, 12 days later and I'm still getting caffeine  just through the green tea.  It's all good.  No headaches, no withdrawal... hopefully, when I start drinking it again, I'll be content to be sugarfree!!  

My son and me, at top second day!  
So, after 12 days, have I lost weight?  Yep.  5 lbs or 2 kg.  Yeah, me!!  What's better is the tummy bloating and retaining water in my legs is gone (except a little right legged swelling after the two lunches of rice).  AND... my clothes are already fitting better.  Niiiiice. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Its been 2 days

So... it's Friday and I've been practicing these promises for the past 2 days now.  How hard?  VERY when it comes to my morning coffee!!!  Remember, #5 was to only drink green tea and water, so that means no coffee.  WHAT??  Why would I give up coffee???  I'm such a proponent of this brew... so, why?  

Well, for me, coffee is not drunk black, but full of cream and flavor.  I know, I know... NOT Paleo or even Primal.  Well, kinda primal with the cream, but not with the flavor as it's from a bottle.  I developed quite the addiction to the new Coffeemate creamers that are "natural".  They sucked me in with their ingredient listing of NONFAT MILK, HEAVY CREAM, SUGAR, NATURAL FLAVOR CONTAINS MILK.  So, what's the problem with those?  NOT grass-fed cow milk #1, and #2 the sugar is probably GMO sugar beets... and what the heck is "natural flavor"???  Read this from Health Basics and you'll see that "natural flavorings" can be really yucky stuff. 

So, I figured to reset my coffee drinking habits, time to give it up for a bit.  I was, however, drinking a tablespoon or more of coconut oil in it every morning.  THAT, I'm looking forward to restarting!!  

Yes, I've had mild headaches the past 2 days.  But, remember, I'm drinking Green Tea, so I didn't go "cold turkey" from caffeine.  I know better than that!!

I have noticed, though, that the tea... yes, even green tea purchased in Japan, has some kind of aftertaste.  So, I'm planning on making it without the bag and see if perhaps that's the cause of the aftertaste.  

I DO have more energy.  Whereas I was just sitting my bum on the couch watching TV during the day or evenings, I'm up doing things and getting more done!  A slight flare-up of fibromyalgia and joint aches though, not sure why... will see if that goes away as my system detoxifies.  

Oh, dinners and lunches!  What HAVE I been eating?  

Salmon and stir fry with avocado. YUM!

Ash Wednesday adhered to the Holy Day rule of eating dinner only, so that was pan seared salmon, stir fried zucchini, diakon, and onions with a wheat-free soy sauce, ginger, garlic, salt and cracked pepper seasoning.  All that numminess with a 1/2 avocado on the side with red wine vinegar and cracked papper.  Boy that avocado was PERFECT!!  

Thursday, I had the Peppered beef salad without the tortilla strips at Chili's for lunch and broiled Kobe steak (salt and pepper) while I stir fried zucchini, carrots and onions with ginger in basil-macadamia nut oil.  Water for drink, followed by lovely warm green tea afterwards and a blood orange for desert.

Now, what fun things have I been doing?  Had a tour of AFN Tokyo (Armed Forces Network) with my culture group and got the chance to sit at the anchor desk!  Thrilling to be in a dark studio with all the lights on me.      

The newest Anchor of the Pacific Update:  Your very own, Debi... BabyPT!! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lent 2013

No, this isn't me!!  Just liked her getting ashes outside Starbucks!! 
Yep.  I observe Lent.  For us Catholics, and some other Christian religions, it all begins on Ash Wednesday.  I typically go early in the day for ashes because I just don't hide them... others, go in the evening and take their shower right afterwards.  Believe it or not, wearing the ash cross reminds some to go get their ashes, and others it sparks conversations.  Typically, not conversations that are anti-Catholic (thank goodness!!).

I had a friend about 20-some years ago who also observed lent and she would "take on" something instead of "give up" something.  She had a great point in taking on something new... they say it takes 20 - 22 days to create a habit.  Well, lent is 40 days, so that's truly long enough to create a good habit.  So, what would she do?  Typically, something healthy for herself such as drinking 2 or 3 liters of water a day, exercising each day, or only saying positive things to herself.

Fast forward to now, and it's my turn.  Why?  Well, I promised myself and my readers that I'd go "Strict Paleo" at the start of 2013 as I'm on a plateau.  Happened for a few days, then the chocolates would call to me, or I'd go and eat out.  In Japan.  Yep.  Rice comes with EVERYTHING.  Since I'm severely gluten intolerant, I "allowed" myself the delicious, non-GMO rice they grow in this country.  How do I spell plateau??  R-I-C-E and CHOCOLATE!!  Yeah, I know... when I ate chocolate, it was dark and as dark as I could find (yes!  I found a 99% cacoa bar here!!  It was bitter, but only a bite or two and I was good!).

Clearly NOT 100% as they would be brown/grey in color
 I then started allowing myself some buckwheat, called soba in Japan.  These noodles are everywhere and some noodle shops carry the 100% soba (most are 80% soba and 20% wheat).  Well, a Japanese friend of mine purchased these 100% noodles for me and I ate them with great aplomb... with spaghetti sauce, in soup, or just cold (yep, that's Japanese in the summertime).

So, my Lenten Observances are set to get myself back on track.  Why?  I figured that if I couldn't get back on track for myself, then this little Catholic Primal girl would get back on track for her faith!  It's MUCH harder to let someone else down than yourself, and the Big Guy?  He's the hardest to let down!!  So... here goes, from 13 Feb to 29 March, these are my promises:

1) Holy days and Fridays will fast until dinner, then meatless (seafood OK)
2) Only consume meats, veggies, nuts/seeds, and limited fruits
3) NO GRAINS (corn and rice, too), NO beans/legumes, NO dairy (yogurt OK)
4) any food eaten out will be subject to these rules…
5) Drink only unsweetened green tea and water.
6) exercise every day... Do something active!

Now, as my hubby pointed out, #4 is a "given".  But, for me, it's not.  Even when I was "strict Paleo", I still would eat the rice while out on culture group events or just eating out. I felt that if I didn't eat the rice, I'd starve.  OK. Fine.  Great for "not lent" time, but this IS a time of sacrifice.  So, what that means is that I'll have to get into the habit of bringing beef jerky and my nut/fruit mixes with me when we go out.  THAT WILL BE CHALLENGING!!  I have a LOT of culture group outings this month and next, plue two ski trips.  Ski trips are even MORE challenging as typically, one feels the need for a carb like rice while skiing for more energy.  I can't even think of what I might find as we embark on this first ski trip this weekend that doesn't contain rice.  I'll post on it and let you know!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pumpkin Beef Stew

So... I took down all the Christmas decorations after "Little Christmas" (Epiphany, 6 Jan) and noticed my little pile of golden squash, kobucha squash, sweet pumpkins and my large, uncarved pumpkin from Thanksgiving time!!  So... what to do with all this bounty without it going bad??  Well, I came up with two delicious things for these items.  My favorite?  BOTH!!  :)

Kobucha squash... THAT gem was cooked last night by cutting into squares and lavishing a bunch of olive oil goodness all over it, then sprinkling with sea salt and cracked pepper.  Cooked at 450 deg F for 25 mins and VOILA!  Lusciousness to my taste buds.

Pumpkin Beef Stew:

1 lb beef stew meat - cut into small bite-sized pieces
1 large Japanese sweet potato
1 small sweet pumpkin
1 yellow onion, cut into small squares
3/4 cup brewed coffee
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 large carrots (I used julienned carrots from salad earlier in the week!)
salt, cracked pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

1. Put coffee into crock pot and turn on high.
2. In the meantime, saute onions then add beef pieces, sprinkle salt and cracked pepper while sautéing   Cook beef pieces just long enough to brown each side, then place all beef and onions into crockpot.
3. Brown garlic in saucepan then add to items in crockpot.
4. Slice pumpkin in half, seed and place in a glass casserole dish with 1/4 cup water.  Cook in 350 deg F oven for 20 minutes.  Remove and cut off skin and cube the pumpkin.  Pumpkin pieces should still be soft, but not mushy or firm.  Add to crockpot.
5. Skin and cube sweet potato, add to crockpot.
6. Skin and slice or julienne carrots and add to crockpot.
7.  Continue cooking all in crockpot for 4-5 hours, or until sweet potatoes are soft.

Serve while hot.  Left overs are delicious, too!!

Enjoy the recipe!!  You probably could substitute beef broth in place of the coffee, but I feel the coffee flavor really pulled out the darker hints of beef.  YUM!!

Thought for the day:  When willpower seems lacking, get with your supportive people.  Sometimes, BEING the supportive person for another fills that hole!!