Category Archives: My GAPS Story

Chocolate Almond Flour Cookies

Chocolate Almond Flour Cookies

Chocolate Almond Flour Cookies

I've had a chocolate cookie recipe that I have made many times for my husband, but have never shared at the blog. The first time I made them was in April of 2013! Time is certainly flying by. When I decided I wanted to make ice cream sandwiches, I thought these cookies would serve the purpose for both the “cookies” in the ice cream as well as the outer cookies. Click here for the Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Sandwiches Recipe.

Chocolate Almond Flour Cookies

Makes 18 cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Add all ingredients to a medium bowl.
  3. Mix together using a hand mixer, the dough will be very thick.
  4. Scoop balls of dough onto a lightly greased cookie sheet, leaving space in between since the dough will melt down. I like using my #40 scoop which measures out 1-1/2 tablespoons dough.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool about 30 minutes on the cookie sheet, if you move them immediately they may fall apart.
  7. Remove from cookie sheet to a cookie rack to allow the cookies to cool completely. I love this three tier cooling rack for cooling cookies, muffins and cake.


Author: 
Serves: 18
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F
  2. Add all ingredients to a medium bowl.
  3. Mix together using a hand mixer, the dough will be very thick.
  4. Scoop balls of dough onto a lightly greased cookie sheet, leaving space in between since the dough will melt down. I like using my #40 scoop which measures out at 1-1/2 tablespoons dough.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool about 30 minutes on the cookie sheet, if you move them immediately they may fall apart.
  7. Remove from cookie sheet to a cookie rack to allow the cookies to cool completely.

 
GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Intermittent Fasting

I mentioned a few days ago that I had begun experimenting with intermittent fasting, and that I was really liking it.

Before I begin sharing my limited experience with you, allow me to make a disclaimer: This post will be about my personal experience with intermittent fasting. Please do your own research before embarking on fasting, and consider consulting your health care professional for advice.

If you are a woman, intermittent fasting (IF) may not be for you, especially if you are in your reproductive years and planning on conceiving, or are already pregnant. In addition, if you are chronically stressed, have sleeping issues or disordered eating, you may want to avoid IF. I realize that most of my readers are women so let me guide you to these two informative posts for women, regarding intermittent fasting.

That said, if I had read the articles I've recommended, I almost certainly would have passed on trying intermittent fasting. I'm glad I didn't, because so far I'm pleased with my results.

Methods of Intermittent Fasting

  • Eat low calories (500) on some days of the week
  • Eat only one meal in 24 hours one to two days a week
  • Fast 14-16 hours and eat only within an 8-10 hour window every day or some days of the week

Possible benefits of intermittent fasting

  • Insulin levels: Helps promote insulin sensitivity – Optimal insulin sensitivity is crucial for your health, as insulin resistance or poor insulin sensitivity contributes to nearly all chronic diseases. Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning.
  • Normalizes ghrelin levels, also known as your “hunger hormone”
  • Increases the rate of HGH production, which has an important role in health, fitness, and slowing the aging process.
  • Lowers triglyceride levels.
  • Cellular repair: Helps suppress inflammation and fight free radical damage. The body induces important cellular repair processes, such as removing waste material from cells.
  • Gene expression: There are beneficial changes in several genes and molecules related to longevity and protection against disease.
  • May prevent Alzheimer's Disease.
  • Bolsters brain power.

Two articles with information:

Authority Nutrition: 10 Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Mercola: Everything You Need to Know about Intermittent Fasting Infographic

Why fasting bolsters brain power by Mark Mattson at TEDx John Hopkins University. Mark Mattson is the current Chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging. He is also a professor of Neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University. Mattson is one of the foremost researchers in the area of cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Which IF method did I choose? 

I knew I would have great difficulty eating only 500 calories in one 24 hour period, or just once in 24 hours, so I nixed those options and opted for the 14-16 fast and eat within the 8-10 hour window.

Skip breakfast or dinner?

It is recommended to skip either breakfast or dinner. I knew skipping dinner was impossible since I cannot sleep if I'm hungry, so I decided to try skipping breakfast. It occurred to me that the as a young slender person, I had terrible issues with breakfast. For one thing, I had daily weekday stomach aches (I believe due mainly to being bullied in the 1st and 2nd grades), and it was very difficult for me to eat breakfast. I remember hating oatmeal, which my mother made often.

If memory serves, once I got out on my own in my 20s, I continued to eat a sparse breakfast for the next 20-something years until I became militant about eating breakfast while experimenting with Dr. Jack Kruse's Leptin Reset back in fall 2011. Dr. Kruse recommends eating 50 grams of protein for breakfast so I have done that almost every morning for these past few years. In the last year I have become less dedicated, but it did seem like eating that amount of protein would allow me to wait five hours for lunch.

While contemplating intermittent fasting, I thought could it be possible that skipping breakfast as a young person had something to do with my natural slenderness? Maybe my body just doesn't like breakfast? We are all different, and it takes experimentation to see what works for each one of us.

Reasons to avoid IF?

As I mentioned in a recent post, I've been having some disordered eating issues. One of the articles I read said if you are chronically stressed, have sleeping issues or disordered eating, to avoid IF.

Well, I experience all of those as far as I am concerned. My life is stressful, my job is stressful. The disordered eating had reared its ugly head and I had gotten to the point where I was feeling awful for almost anything I ate. A constant conversation was going on in my head regarding the fact that I “shouldn't” be eating this particular food, or I was eating too much of it. My relationship with food has really deteriorated in the last year or so. I'm glad I didn't read the article before beginning as it may have deterred me from trying.

I want to do anything I attempt perfectly from the second I set my mind to it. I have had to teach myself to be patient, and continue to remind myself that I must give myself a chance to work things through and figure out how it will work for me.

Don't eat three hours before bedtime

So, I decided to try fasting for 16 hours a day. But it nagged at me that one of the firm rules states we should not eat for three hours before going to sleep.

Dr. Jack Kruse also had a rule with the Leptin Reset that we could not eat past 7pm or just go to sleep without eating. (I cannot sleep if I'm hungry. I cannot function if I'm sleep deprived. I fall apart at the seams trying to manage my stressful life).

So, I decided to ignore that little rule, even though while reading Dr. Mercola's site, in reading about IF, the article went into some detail about how one is harming one's mitochondria when they eat too close to bedtime. Which threw me for a loop for a few days. Basically the way my life is right now, I eat right before I go to bed. The schedule I'm on allows me to have a 2-3 daily commute. If I were to try to get to get to work earlier, due to rush hour traffic that time would expand into 3-4+ hours. The other option is getting up at 4am to get to work by 6am and I can't get up that early any more. I just can't tolerate it.

Jumping in feet first

So… even though I had a few strikes against me, I decided to stop worrying about all the little details and just jump in feet first. I told my husband I was going to start skipping breakfast, because he would often make me my requisite 8 ounces of meat in the morning.

I hate to admit it, but I was keen on testing this method of eating to see if I could lose weight or at least stop the weight gain.

I've been intermittent fasting for two weeks. As I said, I started out to fast 16 hours a day, and eat with an 8 hour time period, but an article I read said that women sometimes benefit from a shorter fasting period of 14 hours. Some days I can wait 16 hours, and eat only during an 8 hour window, while other days I only wait 14 and eat within a 10 hour window.

Here is what I like about IF so far

  • I am just not hungry in the morning. The first few days of skipping breakfast I felt a little bit on edge because I was worried that it was going to be an issue, and I did notice that I was slightly short tempered and agitated easier than usual. But just for the first few days. My body adapted quickly to the new routine.
  • I can actually do this! I can put off eating until noon or 2 or 3pm for that matter, without much difficulty. The fact that I can actually go for 16 hours without eating makes me happy, because I remember a time not too long ago when I had to carry a food bag with me since I couldn't go more than 3 hours without eating.
  • I have regained at least 30 minutes each morning that was previously devoted to cooking and eating. I really like being able to get out of bed, jump in the shower and leave for work within 1/2 an hour.
  • Less kitchen cleanup.
  • Previously I ate ~8 ounces meat every morning, so I'm eating 3.5 pounds less meat every week, which means a reduction in grocery costs.
  • My relationship with food has improved. I am not badgering myself about every morsel I put into my mouth. This is huge.
  • I like to eat large meals and eating only two meals a day makes this possible (still working out what is enough, but not too much).
  • No calorie counting or portion control. Yes!
  • My weight is fluctuating slightly but hasn't gone over 195 pounds, which is where I started. I'd rather stay at 195 than keep on getting heavier. I am not happy that I'm so close to 200.
  • I am sleeping really good, 8-9 hours a night.
  • No night waking to urinate!

That last one is really amazing to me. I have long been disappointed by the fact that I wake up in the middle of the night, sometimes more than once, to urinate. I have never really been able to retain why this is an issue, but when I was more closely following the Stop the Thyroid Madness groups, it was a big topic. In a quick Google it seems one of the big reasons is diabetes/high blood sugar issues.

I felt powerless to stop the night time urinating/waking so tried not to worry about it, yet still felt some annoyance/concern every night when I woke up. Now I wake up at 5:30 or 6:30 and I'm so surprised that I slept for that many hours!

I have also been sleeping consistently for more hours each night than I have in years. I have an app on my phone called SleepBot and it tracks my sleep. In the settings I indicated my goal is 8 hours sleep and I am often running a sleep deficit. But since starting IF, I am sleeping so well that I am right on target, and even have had a surplus of sleep (as opposed to a deficit) some days.

My weight has been down by three pounds, but so far is still going back up to 195. I feel part of the reason is that I do eat  too much food. But another reason I feel is to blame is that I am still eating foods which are most likely allergens for me. I never eat gluten, and try to sugar and dairy, but have given myself permission to have corn. I am very curious what will happen if I cut out those foods which are possibly allergens for me. I suspect I will eat less and will lose weight.

In the meantime, I feel it is benefiting me, and I am going to continue experimenting.

 

 

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Food Allergies and Food Addiction

tomato-fork-tape-175392

Most of my recent posts have been recipes, reviews and promotions. It has been awhile since I wrote a post from a personal perspective. My life at times feels like a blur. I have a new passion which brings me great joy and I have been working full time at my job since January 2015. Previously I worked 32 hours, now I'm at 40. I stepped into my supervisor's job this past September which added about 30% of work to my already full workload. I often feel like I am driving a vehicle which has a blown tire and it is pulling hard to the left. It is hard to keep holding the steering wheel straight. Some might say, just let the car drive itself, but I'll be veering off into oncoming traffic. At least that is how it feels sometimes.

To add on top of everything else, I'm not happy with the weight I've gained. More than likely, my stress levels are almost certainly playing a factor in my weight gain. I was so cocky, thinking I'd mastered the solution for my body. I never got down to the weight the charts say I should weigh, but I was happy at 165-170. And then of course since I was maintaining my weight easily sticking to full GAPS foods, I decided it was time to transition off of GAPS. That was apparently a big mistake. I keep saying I'm going back to full GAPS, and I do for a few days, and then I end up straying again. I have come to believe what is happening for me has to do with food addiction possibly caused by food allergies.

Food addiction problems plague my family of origin. There is a part of me that thinks I got lucky because I don't have a severe problem, like bulimia or anorexia. But I definitely have some disordered eating issues.

“Disordered eating refers to a wide range of abnormal eating behaviors, many of which are shared with diagnosed eating disorders. The main thing differentiating disordered eating from an eating disorder is the level of severity and frequency of behaviors.” From Eating Disorders Victoria

I believe my problems are minor, and at times brought on by my own behaviors. For example, if I attempt to count calories or impose portion control, I begin to have problems. I start feeling like I can't eat anything, I feel guilty for the things I do eat, I feel like I'm a bad person, I'm a failure, I'm a loser. And then I eat more. One upside of counting calories and focusing on portion control… apparently I eat too much food. Ironically, recognizing that makes me feel even more guilty. And I eat more.

Part of the stress with calorie counting is because when you eat “real” food, it becomes a major time suck to count calories since the food doesn't come in a neat little container with a label that tells you exactly how many calories.

The other part of the neat little container though, is the ridiculous serving size. Really? Two handfuls (okay, large handfuls) of mixed nuts is four servings? That tiny little bag is 400 calories? That's crazy. When I look at that, I feel like I should comply and eat “one serving”. I know the bag of nuts isn't telling me what to do. It is how the manufacturer conveys to us how many calories are in that bag. I just wish one little bag of nuts would say “1 serving” = 400 calories. I'm smart enough to realize if I eat half a serving I would get 200 calories.

Why do I even torture myself looking at the nutrition label?

Anyway… my point in beginning this post was to talk about an article I found recently which helped me immensely. I have heard before that in many cases if you crave a food, it is almost certainly a food that you are allergic to. I grew up thinking if I crave certain foods, it was because my body knew that I needed some nutrient in that food. And that could be correct, but I am now leaning more towards food addiction.

I notice it especially with high starch foods, like white potatoes. If I abstain from eating potatoes for a few weeks, I am not tempted when I see them. But if I have been eating them regularly, it is close to impossible to stop myself from having a strong craving for them to which I must give in. I have stopped buying them for home use, but at my job the cook makes one variation of potatoes or another at least once a week. It might be mashed potatoes, or hash browns, or fried potatoes, but if I have been eating potatoes regularly you will see me there eating 4 or 5 or 6 or 10 “servings” of potatoes. Cook also makes rice once a week, another weakness of mine. She also makes pasta, but I draw the line at gluten products.

So this article I read which I want to share with you is called Food Addiction, Food Allergy and Overweight by Sephen Levine, Ph.D. Please take the time to read the entire article yourself to get the full impact, but here are a few snippets that jumped out at me (emphasis mine):

“Food sensitivities may cause allergic people to crave those foods to which they are allergic. Just as a drug addict suffers withdrawal symptoms when the drug is withdrawn, allergic people experience discomfort when they lose access to a particular food.

Obese people can testify to the overwhelming power of food allergy addiction. Compulsive eaters crave and continue to eat those allergenic foods to which they are addicted day after day. The obese person has no idea that his daily food cravings or eating habits are based on a physiological need to stop withdrawal symptoms caused by food allergy addiction.”

So… I have experienced this. In the years I was committed to GAPS, one of my coworkers told me, “You just have so much willpower. I couldn't do what you are doing.” I tried to tell her that I don't have willpower. When you stop eating foods to which you are allergic, the cravings stop. They really do stop. It is almost miraculous.

“Water retention, or edema, is particularly common among allergic individuals and is an important contributing factor to obesity. The removal of an offending food will often result in a rapid water loss of five to ten pounds within a week’s time, all without the use of a diuretic.”

And this is why people often lose weight after going on a diet which eliminates a lot of the common allergenic foods! If you can break the cycle, and understand that is what you are doing, you will have better luck. It is a nice feeling to eat good tasting food that is enjoyable and delicious, and being able to actually feel positive about eating, rather than beat myself up for eating anything when I'm in the throes of my disordered eating.

“This neuro-physiological analysis is shared by William Philpott, M.D., a clinical ecologist from Oklahoma City, who has written extensively on the subject. Dr. Philpott speculates the frequent contact with allergenic foods triggers a rise in the brain opioid enkephalin. The enkephalin is a narcotic produced by the body that is as addictive as externally supplied narcotics.”

Now THAT is some pretty powerful information! And really speaks volumes to me. And gives a possible explanation for the reason why, when I eat those foods that are addictive to me, I wolf the food. I barely chew the food, so eager am I to get it down my throat. (Chew one bite of food 30 times? HAH!)

“What’s most important is that it’s extremely difficult for these allergic individuals to lose weight unless they ultimately gain control of their food allergies. They must identify the particular allergens, break the craving and then eliminate the chemical or food.”

I feel that I have learned how to tell the difference between foods which are allergens to me, and those that are not. It is not too difficult… if the food tastes good to me, but I am eating it normally, it is probably not an allergen. But if my mouth is watering and I can hardly wait to eat the food, then stuffing it into my mouth as quickly as I can… almost certainly an allergen. I will eat and eat and eat until the food is gone. Even if my belly is full and aching. I'm so glad that I don't do that much anymore, but I do remember asking myself why was I eating so much that my stomach hurt. What was wrong with me? I have to take protective measures against my behaviors by making just a serving or two of the food. (What's the point of cooking 1/4 cup rice? “None,” my allergic cravings say. Have you ever tried cooking 1/4 cup of rice? It's not that easy!)

Some foods that trigger uncontrollable eating behaviors for me: rice (brown or white), white potatoes, cottage cheese, corn products. (Again, I don't include pasta because I don't eat gluten, but I'm sure if I were eating pasta I'd be devouring it in huge bites).

“The allergic reaction itself can result in a drastic reduction in blood sugar with the accompanying symptomatology: weakness, hunger and irritability. Allergic hunger is pathological in that it does not respond to the normal satiety control center in the brain when food is consumed in normal amounts, so both the addictive and allergic responses to allergy can cause uncontrollable eating behavior.”

*Light bulb*

Is this why I had to eat so often before I started GAPS? I remember after being on GAPS for about a year, I was SOOOO delighted that I could actually eat three meals a day and not have to carry a food bag around with me! I probably could have moved to three meals a day much earlier, but was still convinced that I had to eat many small meals every day or I would be cranky, weak, tired and starving hungry.

I keep reading that last quote over and over. That is huge! Blood sugar drops are possibly caused by an allergic reaction to food! Wow.

And allergic hunger does not respond to normal feelings of being sated. Another light bulb just went off. So that's why my belly can be full but my mouth is insisting on more, more, more, more, feed me, more, more, more, feed me, feed me, more, more, more.

These are important things to know, it helps to arm ourselves with knowledge. If I can use my logical brain to persuade the addiction, I will have better success.

So what about you? Do you relate to any of this? Don't forget to go directly to the article and read the whole thing for yourself: Food Addiction, Food Allergy and Overweight

Stay tuned. I've started Intermittent Fasting and I'm liking it a LOT.

 

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Easy Delicious Pot of Soup

Stop a Cold Before It Gets Worse

Easy Delicious Pot of SoupFor me the first sign of catching a cold is a scratchy throat. If I am diligent at putting the following steps into place I am able to stave off getting too sick. Where a cold typically is said to last for a week to 10 days, I am very sick for only one or two days.

I don't get sick very often, so I am fortunate in that regard, but sometimes everything aligns against me and I end up with a cold or the flu (once every 2-3 years seem the norm for me). It surprises me that I don't get sick more often as people are sick a lot at my job. Some are out sick at least once a month with one ailment or another.

My youngest son visited last Sunday night and by Tuesday he was sick. My throat started feeling scratchy on Wednesday, so I think I caught the cold from him. I believe what aligned against me this time is sleep deprivation. I'm trying to get to work at an earlier time regardless of how much sleep I get. After my adrenal fatigue incident, my boss said I could make my own hours and sometimes I don't arrive at work until 10:30 or 11am. This does not set well with me and I've decided recently that I need to get to work by 8:30 or 9am.

This means sometimes I don't get enough sleep. I get to bed with enough time to get enough sleep, but some nights I wake in the middle of the night and can't sleep. Last week I had a bad night and only got 5 hours sleep. If I weren't trying so hard to get to work earlier, I would have just stayed in bed and tried to sleep for another two hours before making myself get out of bed to get ready for work, but I decided to get up and get going. I also drank coffee [affiliate link] that morning since I needed it to get myself going.

I ended up leaving work a couple hours early since my throat felt scratchy and I felt exhausted. Since I tend toward having asthma and allergies (which rarely bother me nowadays) I thought it could be a reaction to something but just in case it was a cold or the flu, I decided to give my body all the help I could.

I have several tools in my “fight a cold before it gets worse” arsenal:

  1. Liposomal C
  2. L-Lysine
  3. Completely avoid sugar
  4. Chicken soup
  5. Detox bath
  6. Raw garlic
  7. Drink plenty of water and clear liquids
  8. Rest and sleep
  9. Wash your hands frequently
  10. Dispose of tissues properly

Please note some of the following links are Amazon affiliate links.

Liposomal C

I first learned about Liposomal C from the story of a man named Allan Smith, a dairy farmer who in 2010 was dying from Swine Flu. Literally. But he survived to tell the tale and here is an update from 2014: Allan Smith today.

After I got home, my throat started feeling more sore. My first line of defense is Liposomal C. My husband keeps a fresh supply in the refrigerator at all times.

Two years ago my husband, son and my mother all got sick with the flu and they were sick for many days. My son and husband got sick first and I didn't realize they had the flu but four days later when my symptoms started I realized this was either a cold or flu, and made a batch of Liposomal C. I started taking it right away and put my son and husband on it, too. I was sick for only 3 or 4 days compared to them being pretty sick for more than a week. My mother didn't want to take the Liposomal C and ended up with bronchitis and had a cough that lasted for weeks. I ended up taking two days off from work but was able to keep on taking care of everyone else in the house that was sick. I was convinced of how well Liposomal C works for my body.

Increase Absorption Dramatically – Regular vitamin C is absorbed at approximately 19%, the balance remains in the gastrointestinal tract to attract water and loosen the bowels. Nanotechnology, liposomalized vitamin C is absorbed at 93%, measurable in the blood stream. A 390% increase in absorption! Get IV results with oral dosage! ~https://www.quantumbalancing.com/liposomalC.htm

L-Lysine

In 1991 I got a sore on my lip, plus my gums were inflamed and sore. I went to the doctor but he was not able to figure out what was happening to me. He even swabbed my mouth to test for STDs! A few weeks later, another sore on my lip began. My mother-in-law told me that was a cold sore. I had never had one before, and learned that most people harbor the Herpes Simplex virus which causes cold sores. Often the virus will manifest for the first time when a person goes through a period of stress. I also learned that taking the amino acid L-Lysinee can be taken to greatly reduce the healing time and will also reduce pain. If you can learn to detect the tingly numb feeling of a cold sore which is just beginning, you may even be able to prevent it from fully forming.

I also learned that L-Lysine is a helper of the mucus membranes, so for any pain or sore involved with my mouth or gums I will take it. If I burn my mouth while eating something hot, I take L-Lysine. If I feel a cold sore starting, or if my gums are inflamed, I'll take some. I feel that I have a good sense of what my body needs. I'll usually begin with taking 1000mg L-Lysine and then as I think about it throughout the day I'll take 500mg several times.

Completely Avoid Sugar

I've been allowing myself some sugar, mostly in the form of chocolate chips! But when I am sick, I stop all sugars. I even make a point to avoid honey [affiliate link], fruit and concentrated fruit sugars (like dried fruit).

Chicken Soup

Next I pulled a chicken from the freezer to make chicken soup. It really doesn't need to be elaborate, just pop the whole chicken into a pot covered with water, onion, celery and carrots and start it boiling. While the soup is boiling, either lie down and relax or take a detox bath. After a couple of hours remove the chicken and take off the meat, return it to the pot and add in a few more vegetables, boil half an hour and you're soup is ready to nourish your body!

Detox Bath

Taking a detox bath will help your body remove toxins and usually makes me feel a lot better. I actually crave getting in a hot tub of water when I'm not feeling well. I use one of three ingredients: usually I opt for Epsom salts, but I will also use apple cider vinegar or baking soda [affiliate link]. Just fill the tub and add one to two cups of one. I ended up staying home from work on Thursday and took three detox baths, alternating ingredients.

Raw Garlic

When the soup is done, I pour a nice big bowl, crush some fresh garlic and mix it in with plenty of sea salt [affiliate link]. It is so soothing and delicious! Garlic is a powerful healing food with antioxidant, anti-fungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties. If I have zucchini on hand I'll spiralize a couple and put it into my soup and it makes me think of ramen noodles.

Water and Clear Liquids

When I'm sick I drink a lot of water. This time I just happened to have in stock several cans of coconut water, so I drank quite a bit of that. Drink soothing teas, there are some made specifically for colds, some for sore throat, and coughs.

Rest and sleep

If you can, stay in bed all day long. Try to sleep as much as you can. Your body needs to have this down time to recover. I stayed in bed for the whole day. I tried to sleep, but every time I felt drowsy and was just drifting off to sleep someone from worked call me!

I went through two boxes of tissues, my nose was running like a faucet, eewww, I hate when that happens! I was able to get a good night's sleep and the next day I had to go into work as I was working on a project that had a set deadline. I thought I would be there for 3 to 4 hours but my computer was not working properly and I had to wait around for the IT department to get it repaired. Finally I was able to do the work and ended up being there for a full day. This was day 2 of a cold, and I was able to stay at work all day. Normally on the second day of a cold I am not good for much more than staying in bed and watching television!

I am really grateful to have found these helpers for my body and love being able to decrease the days I'm uncomfortable with cold symptoms – without having to take over the counter medications!

Wash your hands and dispose of tissues properly

Okay, these last two I added mostly to help prevent getting the rest of the family sick! You're already sick so you probably won't get any less sick if you wash your hands and throw away your tissues. When I was younger, we used Lysol to spray the bathroom handles but nowadays I just make sure to wipe them down after spraying with water mixed with apple cider vinegar.

And I know when you're sick it might be tempting to throw tissues every which way all over the place, but make a point to bring a trash can or grocery store bag and put it next to your bed to contain them.

Do you have any secret weapons against the common cold?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Walking

Walking for Exercise – How Using a Pedometer Helps

Walking

About two weeks ago my chiropractor told me she wanted me to get more exercise, specifically at least 10-15 minutes every day. I told her I was pretty sure I was getting at least that and more the four days a week I am in the office. I do a LOT of walking at my job, especially when my boss is out. At home it's easy enough to get in a good amount of walking since we live on a fairly big property. My chiropractor asked me to find an app that I could put on my smartphone, she said there are a lot of free ones and report back to her the next week with how many steps I was getting.

I downloaded an app the next day and immediately didn't like using my phone as a pedometer. There are a few reasons. The app that I downloaded was free, and so it wouldn't count my steps unless the screen was active which kills the battery. I don't carry my phone with me every single minute of the day and very often it is charging up so I don't want to unplug it just to take it with me to the ladies room or to grab something off the copy machine. There are a lot of steps I wouldn't be counting if I continued to use that app. My sister really wanted me to get FitBit (Amazon affiliate link) but it was a little expensive for my taste, plus I wasn't even sure if I was going to track my steps for more than a few days.

I decided on an Omron pedometer (Amazon affiliate link) because it had good reviews and I felt the price was affordable. I also ordered batteries and a leash (Amazon affiliate link) to keep it safely attached to me.

The Omron pedometer has to be set up for your stride length in order to correctly track your steps, and you also enter information such as your height and weight.

I noticed a few things right away in using a pedometer which I feel are helping me to get more walking in each day.

No problem, more steps

I have always tried to do things efficiently. I learned in one of my first jobs the benefit of efficiency in movement and steps. Say for example I have to go from my boss' office to mine, I would gather everything I need to take with me in a pile and also anything else that I have to drop off along the way, and I would also stop by the ladies room since it is on the way, grab my lunch from the kitchen, etc. If I forgot something, or had to go back, I would feel annoyed at myself for not remembering. That's not only at work. I get upset any time I have to “go back”. Especially if I have already left home and have to drive back. Or if I buy groceries then get back to the car and realize I forgot something.

However, wearing a pedometer caused me to have a total paradigm shift. “No big deal, more steps!”

Now I find myself embracing these opportunities to “go back” because my steps for the day will increase.

Park farther away from the entrance

My husband and son have done this for years and always try to get me to park farther away from the store entrance. They park farther away because they don't like being so close to everyone else. I don't mind parking right up at the front. Sometimes I drive around the parking lot a few times looking for the closest parking spot, or sometimes even waiting for someone to leave their spot. Not now. Parking farther away is an opportunity for more steps! I guess I'm probably saving time and gasoline by just parking farther away. I used to kind of dread going to Wal-mart because they are so huge but now I think differently, more steps! Just parking farther away from anyplace I go is a way to effortlessly add more steps.

Look for opportunities to walk

So now when I'm at work, I find myself doing what my boss always does. She works on one thing at a time. She then walks that item to wherever it needs to go and goes back to her office. Guess what? She's naturally slender and has even had trouble keeping weight on in her life. I always thought she was, well, I admit, I thought she was wasting time. But since I'm trying to get in as many steps as I can each day, I am doing a similar thing. I mean, there is a point where a person would be wasting time but I'm just not forcing myself to do everything all at once just to save steps, since my goal is to get more!

Set a goal for your steps

A common goal is 10,000 steps each day which equates out to around 5 miles, depending on your personal stride. My goal is 10,000 and most days I get close to 8,000. A couple of weeks ago at the annual summer dance we have at my job I actually ended up with 11,000 steps! My feet were sore and it was neat to know the reason why was because I had taken so many steps. I used to just think my feet were hurting without realizing that was probably because I'd walked more than five miles that day.

Five miles in one day! I feel proud of myself for that!

It seems that most days I get in at least 2 miles and since I began tracking, as many as 5 miles. I am so grateful to be able to walk without pain. When I first started GAPS my feet ached so badly. I can still remember how painful it was, and how I had to wear these horribly ugly men's casual wear shoes. Men's shoes! Yuck! And while my back was “out” I could barely walk. I really would like to get 10,000 steps daily, so I will continue to look for opportunities to get in more steps. Once it cools down here in Arizona in a few months I will probably start walking around the block at my job. I'm sure that will be an easy 1000 steps.

Have you ever worn a pedometer? Do you know how many steps you get in one day?

 

 

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Troubleshooting Lower Back Pain

In my previous post I shared why I started to see a chiropractor. Last year I started to have lower back pain and my most recent episode in May did not go away within a few days like the other incidents. It scared me and I went to Urgent Care. They sent me home with a prescription for muscle relaxers which didn't really seem to do much for me.

So today I want to share some of the things to pay attention to if you have lower back pain. I've learned apparently once a person experiences lower back pain, it is common to recur.

Dr. Karen Lee, a holistic chiropractor physician says,

“There are many causes  for low back pain (LBP) and unfortunately, if you have had one episode, the chances are, you will have another. And to avoid a re-occurrence, you have to treat the cause. But more importantly, you have to be proactive and take preventive steps.”

My new chiropractor set me up on a five month plan. She wanted me to come in three times a week initially, but I am only in town four days a week, so we settled on twice a week. After a month, she told me to come in once a week.

Every time she adjusted me, my back felt quite a bit better. But it kept feeling off, like it was threatening to go out again. I was feeling very frustrated that I was still having stiffness and discomfort. I was starting to wonder if I was just going to have to put up with it. It wasn't really very bad, it was just making my life difficult at times. For example, bending over to look in the refrigerator, or picking something off the floor was a challenge. Five years ago I would have chalked it up to “old age” but now I know better.

Sleeping Position

One of the first things my chiropractor did was ask me how I sleep. I usually sleep halfway on my side and partly on my stomach with one leg drawn up. She told me that I needed to cut that out and sleep on either my back or my side. I cannot sleep on my back, I've never been comfortable that way, so I've been trying to train myself to sleep on my side. Just a couple weeks earlier I'd read on OraWellness that it's bad to sleep on your stomach because you could be making your teeth crooked! So, two reasons to train myself to sleep on my side.

Worn out or Bad Shoes

Clarks Collection 26065748Last week my chiropractor says, “I'm going to spend some of your money for you. I want you to get yourself a new pair of shoes. I'll give you some brand names to look for, have fun shopping!”

I've been wearing the same pair of shoes to work, and at home when I need to have shoes on, for probably three years. The brand was Isotoner, so they were probably good supportive shoes at one time. I've been telling myself that I need a new pair of shoes. I did get a pair from Ross Dress for Less, but they hurt my feet so I donated them to Savers (I'd worn them too many days to return them). I asked a friend if she would come shoe shopping with me and we went after work to one of the outlet malls.

While trying on shoes, I noticed just how bad my Isotoner's had gotten. I knew there were worn spots where my toes touch, but I had not realized how badly the left side of the left shoe heel had been worn. I found a pair of Clark's sandals and wore them out of the mall. It seemed like right away my back was feeling better. By the way, I found them at Famous Footwear for $41.99. I don't know if I've ever paid that much for a pair of shoes in my entire life!

I thought it was a good call on my chiropractor's part to look to my shoes. If she were the kind of chiropractor who has clients coming in three times a week, maybe she wouldn't have done that kind of troubleshooting.

Walking and Exercise

When my chiropractor told me to buy myself a new pair of shoes, she also told me I needed to get more exercise. She said she wanted me walking at least 10-15 minutes every day. I told her I was pretty sure I was getting that much walking in at work, and she asked me to get an app for my smart phone and just be sure. I downloaded an app but it was kind of a pain because it wouldn't work unless my phone screen was active. My sister really wanted me to get into FitBit but I decided to get just a simple pedometer that I could wear in my pocket. It was much cheaper and so far I'm happy with it. On the days I'm at work, I am walking from 2 to 4 miles so I was kind of impressed to see that!

My chiropractor also gave me an exercise to do that is supposed to help my back become stronger. I think she'll give me more exercises as time goes by. I've also been trying to remember to do leg lifts while in bed since I think those help the lower back.

Bedding

I knew there was another possible culprit for my lower back pain. Our bed. My husband brought home a memory foam topper that was three inches thick. It seemed really comfortable, but at the same time it seemed to hold onto my body as I would try to turn in bed – we were also using a flannel sheet. I couldn't tell if it was the flannel sheet causing the problem, or the memory foam topper. I kept thinking it seemed to be having a deleterious effect on my lower back, but I couldn't tell for sure. My husband kept saying he really liked the mattress topper, so I was a little reluctant to tell him I thought it was affecting my back.

When I finally mentioned it to him, he admitted the topper actually made it difficult to change the sheets. So we removed it and the very next day my back felt better. Now having slept without it for three nights, my back feels back to normal. No weird stiffness or tightness. I'm really glad that my back feels so much better,  especially since my chiropractor will be out of town this week. I'm thinking she'll put me on an every other week schedule once she gets back.

I did some searching on the Internet and found some sites that describe the feeling of sleeping on a memory foam bed as not being able to move on the bed, of feeling as if one is “sunk in wet sand”. That is a good description. There is also talk about hip pain along with the lower back pain, and hip pain was a component in my lower back pain. I can't remember how long we've been sleeping on the memory foam topper – I don't think it has been too long. This article is one that I read which warns that memory foam mattresses or toppers are not the best for someone with lower back pain.

Supplements

I decided to start trying to take Glucosamine Chondrotin with MSM (this is one of Dr. Karen Lee's recommendations) on a regular basis to see if that would help. My mom gave me a bottle a few months ago when my hands were bothering me and it did help. I also take the herbal calcium my sister recommends, although I can't take it every single day or I end up with joint pain. I haven't researched it, but I'm pretty sure some of the herbs are high in oxalates. I can tolerate taking it a couple times a week. I am still off dairy and readily admit I don't make broth as often as I should. That would be a source of calcium if I made a point to do that.

So I did a few things to help my lower back pain. I'm crossing my fingers, hoping it won't “go out” again, but if it does, I'm glad I have a chiropractor in my corner to help me figure things out.

I'm really glad she's helping me to troubleshoot instead of just having me come in three times a week for the rest of my life. It really does seem to be a better solution to figure out if there is anything contributing to the problem, instead of having to just keep fixing and adjusting week after week.

Do you suffer from lower back pain? I hope you can eliminate the cause by trying some of these troubleshooting tips that worked for me.

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Chiropractic Care – My Current Experience

In my last post I shared my experience with seeing a chiropractor for the first time back in 1989. I believe in the benefits of chiropractic care but have been reluctant to go again since my understanding is that most chiropractors want you to come in three times a week. I have heard of some chiropractors asking their patients to commit to that schedule, or stop coming altogether.

My life is really too busy as it is, without having to commit to going someplace three days a week taking up an hour or two each time.

So last year during the summer – I think it was September – I was with my mom at her house and we were cleaning. One wall of her dining room is lined with row after row of mirrored tiles (12″x12″). As I was cleaning and shining each one, I noticed that my back was hurting. I am not one to stop just because of a little pain cropping up so I powered through. Next we went to Walmart for a little shopping. My back was hurting so bad I was having trouble walking. I ended up leaving my phone in the restroom and I had to rush back all the way across the store and thankfully one of the Walmart employees had found my phone and turned it in. After walking all around like that, back and forth, I was having to lean on things, the pain was so bad. When I went to bed that night I was in so much pain that I couldn't find a comfortable position to lie in.

I have no idea what happened, but suddenly I was one of “those people” whose backs just “go out”.

It took a few days for the pain to subside, but it did and I was completely well. No stiffness or pain whatsoever. Then I was at my yearly conference for my job a month later. It was the last day and I checked out, pulled my suitcase out to my car and lifted it into the trunk. I closed the trunk and started to walk back into the hotel and my back was out. It was excruciatingly painful. I had to walk in a stiff fashion, very slow. I purchased pain reliever from the hotel's front desk but it did little to help the pain.

After a few days I was completely well again.

Then a couple months later, it happened again. This time I knew better than to “power through”. I found that if I angled my body with my right hip leading and walked really slow it wouldn't hurt so bad. Again I healed within a few days.

With each incident, I could not really point to any specific incident that would have caused my back to “go out”. I have always prided myself on being able to move heavy things, and lift heavy things and have never had back problems. I am embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I secretly felt superior to other people who had a “weak” back. Oh boy. I'm telling you, once you reach 50, every thing in your life that you ever condemned someone for, watch out, you're going to experience it yourself. Reaching 50 has been a humbling experience for me, to be sure.

In May this year, my back went out for the fourth time. This time it was so bad that I forced myself go to Urgent Care. The pain starts in my lower back and radiates around to the front of my stomach. It is like this girdle of pain. It feels similar to menstrual cramps, but constant discomfort (whereas menstrual cramps usually come and go).

So on Mother's Day I'm in Urgent Care, making sure this isn't something worse, like a kidney stone. My blood pressure was very high (it was 209/135 and I'm sure due to the pain I was in since checking at home it is normal) and the doctor focused more on that than my back pain. He prescribed a muscle relaxer and strongly recommended that I see my regular doctor about the high blood pressure.

The muscle relaxer didn't really do much to help. The pain was so bad that I couldn't walk very far, and I had to resort to using the little driving carts at the grocery store. I had to carefully plan my day at work because I couldn't walk too many steps. It was a challenge to have enough steps just to get to the restroom a couple times a day. It was really frightening to be in such pain and have it affect my mobility to such an extent. Not only was it hurting when I was upright, but I struggled to find a comfortable position in bed.

My sister wanted me to allow my niece to give me a massage. My niece is not trained or licensed but she purportedly helps people with massage so I decided to take a chance. That went okay, but then while struggling to get into a sitting position my niece took my hands and pulled me up quickly. I know she was just trying to help but it twisted my back and I felt like I was back to day 1 but even worse.

It was at this time that I called uncle and I knew I had to get some professional help. I'd already tried the medical doctors, and they just gave me drugs (par for the course, plus they didn't really help) so I decided to find a chiropractor. I found one close to my job who takes my insurance and she was able to get me in that day and with the very first adjustment I felt relief.

I was really happy to learn that my new chiropractor doesn't believe in making her patients come in three times a week for life. We agreed that I would come in for five months, beginning with two times a week, then going to once a week and then on an as needed maintenance schedule.

This time my back hasn't completely healed like it did the previous times. I suspect that my niece aggravated the injury so it is taking longer to heal this time, or maybe this is just the natural course of these lower back pain episodes.

Dr. Karen Lee, a holistic chiropractor physician says,

“There are many causes  for low back pain (LBP) and unfortunately, if you have had one episode, the chances are, you will have another. And to avoid a re-occurrence, you have to treat the cause. But more importantly, you have to be proactive and take preventive steps.”

Learn more in Dr. Lee's post How to Prevent Lower Back Pain Naturally. I am already following some of her recommendations, but I need to start doing a few more.

I have gained some weight around my stomach, so I think that is part of the problem. I'm taking Glucosamine Chondroiton with MSM and also an herbal calcium. I need to start exercises which I think will help a lot. Every couple weeks my back flares up and threatens to get worse (I'm so scared for it to get to that point again where I can't walk – I really appreciate being able to walk without pain!) but with each chiropractic visit it feels better. I'm really glad to have a chiropractor to go to that can help my body return to normal function.

Have you ever gone to a chiropractor? Was it a positive experience? Do you go now?

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Chiropractic Care – My Early Experience

Have you ever been to a chiropractor? My first visit to one was in 1989, just weeks after my youngest son was born. We went specifically because of the complications of my son's birth.

To digress for a moment, it saddens me that I never had the chance to have a home birth but I had insurance at the time and it wouldn't cover such a thing. We were living from paycheck to paycheck so couldn't come up with additional funds to pay a midwife. So my next best choice was my family practitioner who also delivered babies. He was a pretty cool doctor and one thing I really appreciated was that he was reluctant to prescribe antibiotics except for extreme and necessary situations. In my case, just days before my son was due I had a splitting headache which he diagnosed to be a sinus infection. We tried many natural supplements but nothing helped. Eventually my headache was so bad that I was vomiting from the pain and at that time he prescribed an antibiotic. But back to my story.

Due to meconium (the baby's first bowel movement and an indicator of stress for the infant) in my waters, there was some concern by the hospital staff that my son should maybe come out by c-section. I remember a surgeon and pediatrician standing by while I labored, and at one point my doctor took them into the hallway and had a talk with them, informing them that he was going to give me a chance to birth my son naturally. To help speed things along and I believe to pacify the other doctors, once my son's head was birthed, after suctioning his mouth and nose, my doctor took hold and started to pull and twist in a figure 8. It was very painful for me, I can't even imagine how it felt to my newborn baby to have his head pulled in such a fashion.

We were in the hospital for less than 12 hours and came home. My oldest son Matthew had a cold and my baby caught it. My doctor was worried the fever was due to possibly aspirating meconium into his lungs so back we went into the hospital for several days where he was given antibiotics.

My son was inconsolable from the time he was born. This was shocking to me since Matthew was such a good baby who rarely cried and slept easily. My newborn cried almost constantly and slept only a couple hours at a time. I walked him, I rocked him, he nursed until he threw up. I would sit on the side of the bed and bounce him, in a daze because I was so exhausted from my sleep being interrupted. Nothing helped, he continued to cry and couldn't sleep.

I had a doula with me at his birth (she was actually a lay midwife and had attended my nephew's birth just two months earlier, how I wished we could have been at home birthing my son) and she suggested that we take the little guy to a chiropractor as she was certain he could benefit from an adjustment.

He was such a tiny little thing, and the chiropractor used her thumbnail to carefully press his neck into alignment. My baby slept five hours for the first time in his short life. It was an incredible relief. We settled into a routine of going to the chiropractor three times each week. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we drove 9 miles there and back. In the beginning, it was definitely necessary. My son was happy throughout the week, but come Sunday – when he hadn't had his every other day adjustment, he started to get very fussy.

I ended up seeing that chiropractor until she moved out of the state. She recommended another chiropractor so we went there once or twice, until my son Matthew was banned. Yes, banned. So, off on a rabbit trail for a minute… apparently Matthew brought in a metal nail file and somehow the chiropractor got the impression Matthew threatened him. He wasn't having any of that, so his staff told me Matthew was not allowed to return to the office.

Matthew was 7 years old at the time. Matthew has Down Syndrome. I was with him in the room the whole time. He did not struggle with the chiropractor, he was accustomed to being adjusted. At any rate, I stopped going to chiropractors at that time.

For the last two decades I have been extremely reluctant to go to a chiropractor. I believe wholeheartedly in chiropractic care but the main reason was because I didn't want to have to commit to going three times a week. I just don't have the time to fit one more commitment into my life.

This post is getting very long so I am going to share my current experience and why I'm now seeing a chiropractor in another post.

 

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.