Paleo – Feelin’ Skinny

Minus 50, Feeling Skinny

I have to go shopping.  I’m tired of my clothes literally falling off.  Complaining about that might be considered bad taste.  Sorry.

Hey, I think my flare is about over.  I think the culprit is a combination of things… coconut milk ice cream… (%^**&%R^I%”:!!) and not exercising.  I’ve been so bad about exercising, but finally got back into it a week ago.  That’s helped.  I’m worried something in my newly found yummy coconut milk ice cream is causing a problem too.  I hope it’s not coconut.  Maybe chicory root?  I’m not sure what that is, but I’ve seen it in Paleo cookbooks and thought it was likely ok.  I could still have a problem. with it.  We’ll have to put it to the test.  White potatoes are a root, and I have issues there.  Sweet potatoes seem ok for me, but I read recently that folks with autoimmune conditions should peel the skins.  I’m not sure of the reason.  More investigating.  Later gators!

Paleo – Roasting Cauliflower

I’ve never been one to enjoy raw vegetables.  I’m not sure why.  I grew up on boiled (without seasoning) mixed frozen vegetables.  Although I was a good eater, I don’t think this did much to increase my enjoyment of veggies (no offense Mom and Dad).

Anyway, a friend of ours made this awesome cauliflower (something I don’t like raw and used to eat covered in cheese!).  This recipe doesn’t work well with my cauliflower I grow in my garden, but works great from the solid heads of cauliflower from the grocery store.  I changed his directions slightly.  If you don’t like cauliflower, this would be an awesome recipe to learn to like it!

Take your head of cauliflower (after washing thoroughly) and chop off the stem and leaves at the bottom.  Place the cauliflower on a cutting board, stem side down, and chop it in half with the biggest, safest knife you’ve got.  Take one of the halves, and place it flat side down.  Cut it diagonally (yes!) with 3 cuts so that you have 4 large, flat pieces of cauliflower.  Do the same to the other half.  Dump your cauliflower into a plastic zip bag or bowl with a secure lid.  Put a few tablespoons of olive oil on, close it up, and shake well until coated.  Dump the cauliflower out on a foil covered cookie sheet. Cover with foil on top.  Place on bottom rack of preheated oven and bake at 375 for lightly roasted, 400-425 for medium roasted, or 450 for slightly blackened.

Bake for 10 minutes covered.  Remove foil.

Bake 10 more minutes.  Then flip it.

Bake 10 more minutes, and it should be done.

We did 2 heads of cauliflower for these photos.  I don’t recommend making your cookie sheet this full.  It makes it hard to flip.  Enjoy!

How to roast cauliflower

Rheumatoid Arthritis – Sleep

Oh gosh, I hope ya’ll appreciate me letting you see the mess that I am.  I hope that you love me anyway!  Let’s talk SLEEP!

I’m sure you’ve read a million articles that talk about the importance of good sleep when you have RA.  Do you have good sleep?  Any bed/bedroom practices that help?   I’m not the sleep expert, but I do have some things that are working for me.

Please appreciate the photo below, and the fact that I’m allowing the world to see the messy room that I have.  And yes, this is what my bed typically looks like, including the dust on the headboard.  My bed gets made about twice a year, and THIS IS OK!  I’m not a 1950s housewife, and I’m just not holding myself accountable to a magazine cover perfect house.  I have RA and some things must be adjusted accordingly…. plus I hate making the bed, so it’s a good excuse!

Here’s the deal.  I toss and turn a lot.  This does not make a good night’s sleep for me or my husband.  Note the satin fitted sheet.  It’s slicker than snot.  It makes rolling over much easier (aka, I don’t wake my husband up so much).  I can’t use the satin top sheet or pillow cases because they’re so slippery, they just slide off.  We have a queen sized bed.  A king would probably work better, but for us this would involve losing a lot of storage in our queen sized headboard unit.  It’s summer right now, so we each have a blanket and no sheet.  Because I toss and turn so much, we each have our own blankets (my tossing and turning makes less impact on him, plus it’s another good excuse to not make the bed).  In the winter, I usually add a flannel sheet and heavier blankets for us both.  He has a thick pillow with memory foam.  Mine is thinner.  I may try memory foam again, but the one I have is way too thick.  General rule, if you have narrow shoulders like me, you probably need a thinner pillow.  Keep your neck in good alignment (advice my PT gave me).

We have a firm mattress.  I’ve seen many articles that talk about having a mattress that’s soft so that you don’t have pressure points.  I sleep TERRIBLE on soft beds.  Here’s my thinking.  If I make it through the whole night without moving, I am a mess in the morning.  My body NEEDS to shift positions, and a firmer mattresses helps with that.  Everybody needs to find what works for their needs, but that’s mine.  Find what works for you.

I would love some comments on what works for your sleep!  Please share!

Note the satin fitted sheet, lack of regular sheet, and 2 blankets

Paleo – How I’m Doing

Well, there’s a lot to chat about here.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I started breaking out in hives around March sometime.  After 2 different doctors (general and dermatologist), it was recommended I see an allergist.  Well, I still haven’t done that.  To be honest, I’m getting tried of the doctor drama and no answers. It’s probably the wrong thing to do, but I started to try to fix it on my own.  I’ve been reading a lot about high histamine foods, and many are fruits (as well as balsamic vinegar, which I eat a lot of and is “off the charts” high).  Anyway, I’ve cut back drastically on those foods, and bingo, I think that’s my problem.  My hives are totally gone, and my itchiness is sometimes gone, but  sometimes mild-moderate. I think bananas are a huge problem, as is almost any fruit in excess (dang it, and I LOVE dehydrated mango!)

As I got my hives under control, my RA became slightly more active.  It’s kind of been that annoying active.  The kind where it sucks to get out of the bed in the morning, and you feel like you’re doing everything in a frustrating slow motion.  Then 1-2 hours later, you’re fine and wondering what the deal is.  I could simply take an ibuprofen and be completely fine as soon as it kicked in (and not have this AM issue hardly at all), but I know that ibuprofen works like grain or dairy or white potatoes and messes my whole system up.  If I take it 2-3 days in a row, I’m a total mess for at least 3-5 more days.  If I’m desperate to have a good morning, I take one.  This has happened maybe 3 times.  Otherwise, I’m toughing it out.  I’m sure there is something I’m missing, and I will figure it out.  It’s just going to take time.

Here’s the cool thing.  I have every faith that I can figure this out.  With as strict as this diet is, it’s given me a new sense of control I’ve never had before.  I have this sense of “I did this to myself, and I can undo it.”  Is it true?  Maybe, maybe not.  Still, it’s how I feel, and how I’m moving forward.  If you’re interested in this diet, talk to your doctor!  I’m not a doctor and can’t give medical advice!  But I’m sure you know that…. I just have to repeat it when I’m talking medical junk!

On my list of things to try:

Get strong again (I got lazy in my workouts and am trying to get back into them, but I’ve gotten weak).

Eliminate coconut milk (dang it, and I just found c.m. ice cream!) to see if that is impacting me.

Get more veggies in my diet (I’m not a fan of raw vegetables, and don’t cook as much in the summer.  If I’m not eating fruit/enough veggies, am I getting enough vitamins and minerals?)

Be more consistent with taking my vitamin D.

I strongly believe that 1 or more of these things is likely going to get me back where I was a few months ago.  If not, I can always try COMPLETELY giving up sugar, but ugh, that would be tough!  I don’t wanna go there, but I will if I need to.

I was doing so well at my last rheumy appointment, that he said I didn’t have to go back for 6 months.  I typically see him every 3-4 months.  I almost wish I was seeing him now.  He’d want to put me on another med, and I’d probably refuse, but I wonder what my inflammation markers look like right now.

Ok, enough for me.  It’s late.  It’s the 4th of July!  Hope ya’ll sleep well!  Good night!

Paleo – Well It’s NOT the Swimsuit Picture or the LITTLE Black Dress

Here’s the deal.  I was 185 pounds 2 years ago.  I started an exercise rehab program at the hospital where I see my rheumatologist, and it was awesome.  I could FINALLY exercise!  It did take some doing.  Still, by 18 months ago, I was about 173 pounds.  It was a start.  I started Paleo at 173 pounds on January 9, 2012.  The photo below was me on August 25, 2012.  I’ve probably lost another 10+ pounds since that picture was taken.  I’m thinking I was probably in the mid 140s in that picture.  I was so happy to fit into that dress again, but I still haven’t had a place to go out in it.  Suggestions?  Note my hair is never done!  Ugh!  Do I share too much?

Paleo – Thyroid Eye Disease

In one of the Paleo books I read, it recommended taking before and after Paleo pics of yourself in minimal clothing.  So, fresh out of the shower the first day of Paleo, I put on an old heinous swimsuit and had my husband snap a photo.  10 months or so later, I had him take another.  Part of me would love to put up the whole picture on each one, but truly, I am embarrassed!  Even now, at 135, I’m not proud of my body.  Perhaps that’s something I need to work on in my own head.  Media has destroyed the idea of beautiful, hasn’t it?

Anyway, I was looking at the pictures today.  Even though I had my glasses on in both pictures, you can see a huge, absolutely enormous improvement in my thyroid eye disease.  Although my TED was considered mild, it certainly was bothering me.  Basically, Thyroid Eye Disease commonly occurs when you have Grave’s Disease (autoimmune hyperthyroid, which I also had).  Mine developed several years after Grave’s.  If you google images of TED, it’s horrible.  It reminds me of those squeeze dolls where you squeeze their bellies, and the eyes bug out of their heads.

But here I thought Paleo hadn’t made a big impact on my eyes.  To me, they still look buggy compared to pre-disease.  On occasion, they still cause a little discomfort.  I think it’s safe to say they’re doing better though.  I cropped my heads out of my Paleo pictures.  See what you think.

First picture, left, taken January 9, 2012. Second picture, right, take November 21, 2012.