I’ve done a lot of soul-searching in the last year. While doing so, I failed to also look after my body as well as I should.
I know about nutrition, I know how I should be eating. I know, for the most part what works for my body and what doesn’t.
I’ve done Weight Watchers, I’ve been vegetarian, I tried Atkins, I’ve gone Paleo. The best thing I’ve ever done for my body, though, was an elimination diet. I discovered what foods were truly a problem for me.
I learned to cook more creatively. I expanded my diet and tried foods I’d never explored before. Thai curry became an instant favorite. Sesame anything did as well. Though Tahini was an acquired taste, I crave it now. Seaweed is another food both my son and I crave and eat regularly, but I would have been reluctant to try in the past.
I also learned that jogging, hiking, raising my own poultry, and gardening were physically and spiritually some of the best things I could do for myself. I obsessively read and re-read Animal, Vegetable: Miracle and Born to Run. When weight gain made running difficult, I switched up hiking thanks to the wonders of the Pacific Northwest. I found inspiration in reading Wild.
After moving to Seattle, a lot of my healthy habits fell by the wayside. I never really excelled at gardening here. Raccoons picked off our chickens, and after the last batch, I raised were killed despite our efforts to reinforce our coop, I’d had enough.
Our schedules changed and I was soon driving my son to therapy rather than jogging. I was stressed from his difficulties at school and exactly what his autism diagnosis meant.
I was also writing a great deal, which was great, but I gained weight. Jogging became increasingly difficult. My son no longer fit in his jogging stroller, so jogging was only possible when I had child care, which was, and still is, very limited. We have a treadmill, but my drive to jog stems from my love of the outdoors.
Our budget is tight, and healthy foods aren’t always affordable. I began to give in and ear things I knew I shouldn’t. It started small, just a latte here and there, bread and cheese on occasion. Soon enough, all the things I knew I shouldn’t eat were regular go-to items.
Then I started working again. Fitting in time to exercise and cook is harder than ever.
After hitting and emotional and physical low this spring, I’m determined to make a change. It was a long, hard winter and my body was very low on Vitamin D, and for a time, I was anemic.
I’ve begun supplementing again. A few years back, after my struggle with Lyme Disease, I did Leanne Ely’s 28 Day Break Free diet. It was basically an elimination diet with shopping lists send recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for four weeks.
I’m a little sad she doesn’t have that particular plan anymore, but her Paleo plans are great as well. I still have the PDF file and have fond memories of combing over the information to learn what additives and ingredients to watch for. Soy was the hardest to cut. It is in so many things.
I was jogging almost daily at the time and struggled with energy. Regular vitamins made me nauseous. I tried chewable and liquid vitamins, but eventually discovered Nature’s Way Alive! Pea Protein powder. It has massive amounts of vitamins and I can digest it without a problem. Plus, it’s soy and dairy free!
I’ve stocked up on my protein powder, along with back up gummy multivitamins (they don’t have anywhere near the punch of Alive! But I can stomach them), and have been adding B12, Iron and D as well. This past week, I didn’t feel need to nap after work despite being up at four am, driving an hour plus to take my kiddo to therapy after work on Monday, and cooking and going to Cub Scouts after work on Tuesday.
I’m also super excited that I discovered Seattle Tilth’s Good Food Bag, an affordable, CSA program with a pick up hub just down the street from my house. It’s a special subsidized program, and the bag is pretty small, but it’s a perfect way to force me to experiment with produce I may not purchase as regularly. The small size of the bag lessens the chance of it going to waste. And the quality of the produce is phenomenal.
The final change I need to make is regular exercise. We are walking and hiking more, which my dog loves. Now that my kiddo is able to ride a bike, and has the impulse control to be trusted on sidewalks and quiet streets, I’m hoping jogging will be a possibility again. We’ve just got to find him a new bike (he out grew his old one) and get started!
This year, I hope will be the year I manage to pull it back together. For my health, my family and our future.