Thursday, November 27, 2014

Diet and School updates

Dietary Change update:
It's been about a month and a half now since I went vegetarian. It has been so easy for me. I really thought it was going to be hard, but I don't even miss meat that much. I'd be losing weight if I stopped eating peanut butter m&ms. I ran out of those last night and don't plan on asking Hubs to buy me any more. I hope to start seeing some weight disappear then. Thanksgiving has been the first holiday since I made this change, and I figured I might cheat and eat a little turkey. But Dad said that he's making a ham instead, and I hate ham, so it's a win-win situation! I'm making my usual from scratch green bean casserole - yum!

School update:
I finished my Anatomy and Physiology course with a final grade of 96. Woohoo! I've started my next class, Natural Heath and Nutrition. It focuses on the foods we eat that are beneficial for us and I'm really excited to learn more. This is exactly why I wanted to study nutrition!

I wanted to highlight some of the things I learned in A&P that I have already changed in my own life.
**The health of your intestines is super important. It's where all of your vitamins and nutrients are gathered and distributed. If your gut isn't happy, nothing else will be. And the top suggestions for gut health? Prolonged chewing and a probiotic. We don't chew long enough. I remember learning in elementary school that we should count to 100 when we chew. I always thought it was too damn long, but now I realize that it had benefits. Our digestion starts with our saliva. When we don't chew very long, we don't give our saliva time to do it's job before our food heads to the stomach. Proper mastication (such a fancy word for chewing!) results in almost no solids before we swallow. Imagine taking your food, throwing it in a blender, and drinking it. That's how our food should be once we finish chewing! The added bonuses of taking a long time to chew are mindfulness and portion control. The longer we take to eat, the more we can focus on the taste, and our body has time to tell our head that we aren't hungry anymore. Our gut also needs healthy bacteria, and if we don't intentionally focus on it, health pretty much goes out the window. A probiotic will help with the bacteria. Sugar and candida (yeast) do not help our gut at all. So if you eat a lot of sugar, and/or have candida overgrowth, then your gut needs some assistance. Because of this, I decided to start taking a probiotic. I chose the Ultimate 16 strain probiotic from Swanson Vitamins. I'll continue to post about any results I see from this. (Link here)

**There are a couple of vitamins and minerals that people believe vegetarians/vegans don't get enough of. My main concerns were protein and iron - then I saw just how much protein is in certain veggies when compared to animal protein. Check out this infographic!

As for iron, I know that I don't get enough, and I'm slightly anemic. I usually take an iron supplement anyway, but I switched to one that was more bio-available. That means our bodies can process it more easily.

**Glucosamine - This has been important to me because of arthritis. It's the only supplement shown to reverse the progression of arthritis. Holy crap, right? I started taking a glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM supplement after I was diagnosed, but it was great to read that I was already doing something right.

So here's my current list of supplements that I take daily.
Iron complex
Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM
Turmeric - many benefits for mental and physical issues
N-acetyl cysteine - shown to work as well as metformin for women with PCOS
Vitamin D
Folic acid
Probiotic
DHA fish oil

I love my classes, and I can't wait to share more as I continue my studies. As a disclaimer, I am not a licensed medical professional, so it's a good idea to talk to a doctor before you make any dietary changes.

Happy Turkey Day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ch ch cha changes!

Today is a day of change again. My psychiatrist and I decided to try a new anti-depressant. Although the process freaks me out, I understand and need this change. My doctor believes that being able to function isn't the only thing that we should focus on. I should be happy, not just functioning. So after increasing the dosages on my previous meds and not seeing any benefits, we decided to change. Change scares the crap out of me. As the sole income earner in the household, the thought of trying a new med makes me worry that it could affect not just myself, but the Hubs and the zoo. What if I get super depressed - worse than I already am? (even though you couldn't tell by just looking at me) I've missed a lot of work this month due to my body falling apart. Oh, I don't think I've talked about that yet, so we'll put a pin in it and I'll go back to that in a minute. So as it currently stands, missing any more work this month will lead to a lack of grocery and gas money next month. Unless my awesome bosses decide to surprise us with a Christmas bonus again this year, but I'm expecting it. 

I've already talked to my coworkers, and they are watching for any weird actions on my part, because besides Hubs, they are the ones that would notice anything. I realized that I wasn't as open with the employees at my last company, so it feels really good to be able to rely on others to notice things I might not. My hope is that the new meds work and don't throw me off kilter. Doc expects to start noticing differences within the first week, so I've got a couple of days to go before I might see any difference. So far today is good, so that's a great start.

Now back to the falling apart. When a cold front came through a little over a week ago, my back decided it didn't want to work anymore. I couldn't stand, let alone walk around. I was in tears just getting out of bed. Painkillers and muscle relaxants weren't doing any good. Hubs found a heating blanket and I started lying on it when I'm home. It helps a little - not enough to get out of bed, but enough to stop crying, so that's nice. A wonderful friend of mine has loaned me a walker and wheelchair, so I have a way to get around. Although I hate admitting that I'm rolling around in a wheelchair, it's much better than lying in bed all day. 

I've written a second post talking about the diet changes I've been making, so look out of that tomorrow! Have a great Thanksgiving! Gobble gobble :)