Tuesday, January 23, 2018

In all honesty ... recent struggles

I'm trying to be better about posting once weekly, but last week go away from me. Actually, last week was a bit of a struggle for me. I have been home now for a little over a year and some weeks are hard to get through. There are many reasons I like not working - I keep up with all of the housekeeping, banking and shopping so that my husband doesn't have to worry about it. Well, sometimes, he comes home and ALL of the laundry is on the bed to be put away, but .... he never complains and we put it all away together later. Having four dogs requires time as well, so it's nice to be home to tend to their needs. My oldest dog is starting to decline somewhat and I'm not sure I would be comfortable with him home all day as he has very limited sight and mobility.

We are all trying to eat healthier as well and my being home means that I have time to prepare menus and cook dinners for us all without having to make dinner after a long day at work. When I was working, I often didn't feel like spending time in the kitchen at the end of the day. I FINALLY lost about 15 lbs last year and I KNOW it is because I was home and away from the food people bring in, the potluck celebratory lunches, and the out -to-eat lunches with my fellow employees. In addition, I now have time to exercise in the morning when it suits me best. Finally, I have time to enjoy my own pursuits - crafts, reading, learning on the internet, etc.

However, being home means that I am alone most of my day. Being introverted means that isn't such a bad thing, but I do miss the chit-chat that occurs when working with others. I often find myself spending hours on the internet hopping from page to page reading up on health or spending time reading posts on various group pages. Often I consider this wasted time and feel guilty for being home doing absolutely nothing. Bleh. My biggest issue is I feel like I should be doing something productive with the time I am given and I feel bad when I don't do anything. My husband doesn't care what I do with my day as long as I am happy and the basics are taken care of, so this is pressure I am putting on myself. It's still something I need to work on, I guess.

My biggest struggle lately is thinking about food ALL DAY LONG because of my desire to eat keto and sugar free and to try to heal some of the medical issues I deal with. However, I am failing miserably at losing my craving for sugar. I have not bought a candy bar yet this month, but I have had some desserts and foods that I shouldn't be eating. I have the first two books below which I would like to use to try to get off sugar. However, I think I may need to buy the 21-Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide book to get it done right!


The only problem is that I cannot have ANY artificial sweeteners while trying to beat my cravings and I just cannot imagine NOT having my morning coffee with my husband before he heads off to work. I've fixed a morning coffee daily for years and years now and I love the ritual as well as the taste. I drink decaf so it's not about the caffeine, and it's not like I can switch to hot cocoa because I still put sweetener in that. I'm just not sure if I will ever get over my sugar cravings and that bums me out big time.

I was feeling a bit frustrated trying to eat keto and fixed myself some recipes from my cookbooks by Maria Emmerich, Quick and Easy Keto and Easy Dairy-Free Keto. I looked for some yummy breakfast fixings and these hit the spot. Unfortunately, I had a really hard time eating only ONE of them, but both the Pumpkin Cream Cheese and Blueberry Mug Muffin were great! We won't discuss the fact that I ate SIX of the pumpkin cream cheese muffins in ONE day ... sigh ... so, for now, I will not be making recipes like these because they just taste too darn good!

I love collecting keto cookbooks because eating low-carb is probably going to be a rest-of-my-lifetime thing for me as it helps me control my weight and I find myself eating whole foods when focusing on this type of eating. So, for my birthday (which is tomorrow the 24th!), I bought the last keto cookbook on my list, Everyday Ketogenic Kitchen, and boy, is it a good one! Here are some pics of the Table of Contents and I can't wait to dive in and try some of these recipes!

Unfortunately, the caveat with eating low-carb and keto is that I have three food sensitivities which really put a damper on preparing meals. I have an intolerance for nightshades - these include tomatoes, potatoes and peppers as well as spices that include these items. I also find that if I eat too much dairy then my asthma/mucus production flares. So I am trying to figure out what wiggle room I have when using these items in my meals because sometimes they just cannot be avoided. So far, I think I can have tomatoes 1-2 times weekly and I can have a bit of dairy daily - some cheese on a salad or heavy whipping cream in my coffee. What I cannot do is have dairy at every meal or eat tomatoes daily. Everything in moderation, right? I've also pretty much eliminated all grains/gluten from my diet because it causes GI issues for me. I will have a piece of bread a couple times a month, usually when eating out, and that doesn't seem to bother me at all.

I'm glad that it is still January as it means I have 11 more months to work on these struggles and figure out what works for me. In the meantime, I will be thankful that I can stay at home to take care of my family and make things easier for them. I did crochet a baby blanket last week, so my time was well-spent on that. Time to start up another crochet project and my these hands to good use!

I hope you have a productive week while also taking some time for yourself each day!

Friday, January 12, 2018

The weekly wrap-up

This week was ok overall. Gizzy had his eye surgery on Monday and we had a bit of a scare after bringing him home. The vet actually decided to keep him overnight and I picked him up Tuesday morning, but he wasn't walking well at home. He was kinda dragging his back legs or stumbling trying to walk on them. As it turns out, he was pretty much back to normal by late Wednesday afternoon. It just took a while for all of the anesthetic to leave his system. He has done well with his recovery and I've only had to put on the "cone of shame" one afternoon so far!

I spent most of the week reading up on ketogenic eating as we continue to transition to the way of life. I have to admit that I fell off the wagon as I am a huge sugar addict and I caved and ate some chocolate and then a piece of turtle cheesecake from a local restaurant. However, I'm back on the wagon today and not beating myself up about it. This is a process and I have to re-teach myself how to eat!

The most recent book by Maria & Craig Emmerich, Keto: The Complete Guide to Success on The Ketogenic Diet, including Simplified Science and No-cook Meal Plans was released on Tuesday and it is amazing! 

This should be a "go-to" book for anyone wanting to learn all they can about keto. It explains all of the hows and whys of this kind of eating. The best section is Chapter 6: Modifications for Disease which explains how to modify keto to help heal from certain diseases/diagnoses. It also lists supplements to help in the healing process. As someone diagnosed with hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, PCOS and depression, this section really spoke to me! I will definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about the keto way of life. My grocery bill has gone up about $20-30 weekly, but that's a small price to pay for a healthier body!

I'm still using my planner and trying to figure out how to make it work best to keep me on task and organized. I have been reading a lot about bullet journaling and I do think I would like to give it a try. My current planner goes through June so I figure I can bullet journal the last 6 months to see if I like it. If I don't, I'll just make my own planner again. I found this article very instructive on how to set up a bullet journal if you are interested.

I'm back to the gym this week! I joined Planet Fitness as it's only $10/month. I'm still hesitant to lift weights as I still "feel" my healing tummy when I do simple things like get off the couch or turn over in bed. So until that sensation goes away, I will limit my workout to the machines, mostly the treadmill for now. I finally found a copy of the classes they offer and so am going to take their stretch class after my walk. I have no flexibility and so hope this will help.

I'm working on getting my "crojo" back ... that is the mojo to crochet! I have worked out a plan for my son's "summer forest on the lake" blanket and hope to get it going this weekend.

I worked this up in Excel and it is meant to represent the reflection of the forest in the lake. You can see the sky and sun above the forest. I believe this will be a pretty blanket once it's completed. I also have plans for at least 3 other blankets, so I best get crackin' or I won't get them done!

Those are probably the highlights of my week. I'm still wasting too much time on the Internet, but I know how to fix it and so will work on that next week. My husband and I finally finished our marathon of watching all of the seasons of Game of Thrones. Can't wait for the final season in 2019! We've got HBO free for another 2 months, so better make the best use of that time and watch some other shows we won't be able to view after our trial is over.

I'm looking forward to a better week next week. Here's hoping I can continue to improve in the areas where I know I have issues.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

New habits for the New Year!

I love the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. It is a time to review the past year and take note of what I accomplished as well as things I didn't finish (or even start!). It is also a time of introspection as I look forward to the next 365 days and decide what my goals are and how I want to spend my days. I have high hopes for myself in 2018. I am going to have to set aside some of my crochet time in order to meet some other goals.

My youngest son will graduate from college in December 2018 and he has asked me to finish his scrapbooks. I have 10 years of pictures to work through, so my plan is to tackle a year's worth each month and hand him his scrapbooks at Christmas. I'm not sure if I can meet this goal as I have to figure out which pictures to print, but I'm going to do my best!

Another goal that I began working on January 2nd is changing my diet over to a ketogenic eating plan. There is lots of info about this way of eating online and the results for people with medical issues that I have (hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, high cholesterol) are amazing. So many people healing themselves by eating very low carb. To start the year off right, my husband and I had a Cardiac Calcium CT done at a nearby imaging center. I was surprised to learn that my score was a perfect ZERO! This indicates that there is currently no calcifications in my arteries. Based on my genetic history, it is a miracle - LOL! I've had my bloodwork done and most of it is good. My cholesterol is high, but that is due in part to eating lower carb the last quarter of the year which raised my good cholesterol result.

Eating keto takes a lot of planning and a bit of extra cooking. Thankfully, I am home for now and have the time to tackle this. I cook for 5 adults and every person has food they don't like, so it can be a bit of a challenge to come up with a weekly menu that satisfies everyone! I do my best and everyone is appreciative of my efforts and that is a good thing! The biggest task taking my time is counting my macros for each meal (calories, fat, etc.), but that will ease up with time as I get everything written down and can refer back more easily. I think that is why a lot of people give up on eating healthier - it takes a lot of time to track everything.

I still haven't returned to the gym. I will be 3 months post-op in another week or so and intend to begin walking next week. I hope to begin lifting weights again in February. I am pretty much back to normal. I gave up wearing compression garments about 3 weeks ago and no longer experience swelling in my belly. I can tell that it is still healing because I will feel a twinge or pull here and there based on my movement, but I am so happy with the results!

Here is the little stash of books that I will be reading, studying, and enjoying for 2018.

I can't wait to dive into them and let them help me make 2018 the best year yet! I've already started decluttering the house as I am following the minimalist movement to clear out 2,018 things in 2018. So far, we have removed 250 items from our house! I will use the Spark Joy and Tidying Up books to help me declutter the entire house by spring. Then we will have one huge yard sale and take anything not sold to Goodwill. I'm studying the Scandinavian books (How to HyggeHygge, Lykke and Lagom) in order to take a different approach to how I view life and am enjoying what I have read so far. The Year of Cozy and Scandinavian Gatherings books will help me enjoy each month a little more as I make some new recipes and try some new crafts. Making Winter is an exquisite book and I can't wait to dive right in. I will be reviewing these books over the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more details!

I also want to return to the simple and frugal ways that I used to have. You know the old adage, "You spend what you make." Well, that isn't totally true as we do very well with regards to retirement planning, but it is true that we do spend more now than we used to. 2018 is the year of savings - no extra spending, eat out less, make my own cleaners, etc.

I just received these books yesterday and will probably spend the rest of the week looking through them and choosing several tasks to work on. I will be reviewing both books soon. Little House Living is full of 130 simple, DIY recipes for making beauty products, cleaners, edible goodies. The Hands-On Home is a seasonal guide with information regarding lots of DIY for preserving foods, making home and personal care products, as well as recipes to enjoy each season. It's gonna be a fun year learning so many new things!

Unfortunately, we have to start off the new year with a bit of surgery for one of my four dogs. Gizmo, aka Gizzy, has developed glaucoma in his left eye. You can see the ulcer as it was a few years ago (he came to us this way when we adopted him) and if you look closer at the bottom picture, you can see that the ulcer now covers all of his eye. This is due to the glaucoma and he has now lost all vision in that eye. So, next week the eye will be removed in the hopes of eliminating any pain he is experiencing at this time. I hope he will recover quickly and feel better soon!

Well, I guess that is all for the first post of the year. I have plans to blog at least once weekly in 2018, so I hope you will follow along this year and maybe even be inspired to join me in my adventures towards a simpler, more enjoyable and frugal way of living. Until next time .....