Paleo – A Respectable Summer Drink

Raspberry Black Tea

Word Press is being a pain today and not letting me do what I want. I barely was able to get this picture in, so I guess I’ll be happy with that despite its enormous size.

Anyway…. drinks on Paleo.  I’m bored.  Water and hibiscus tea only go so far.  My husband drinks Sweet Leaf Green Tea like crazy, but Target recently quit carrying it, and supposedly it has been purchased by Nestle.  Not a good sign, plus it had sugar, so probably not the best thing for him to be drinking anyway. He tried to make a replacement yesterday…. green tea, honey, mint.  No go.

The swill looking picture above is my attempt at a sweet summertime drink that’s not too far off the Paleo track.  I boiled some water.  Gosh I wish I was better at measurements.  I think it was a 2 quart pot.  I used 3 tea bags of black tea (English breakfast tea) after I took it off the burner and let them steep about 3-4 minutes.  Then I added 6 oz of fresh pureed raspberries and 1 tbsp of raw honey.  I stirred it up, added some ice to cool it down, and poof, I got the above, a raspberry black tea, seeds and all.  It’s pretty good.  I’m not sure how long it will keep.  I imagine we’ll have to finish it in 24-48 hours.

Paleo – The Picky Eater

My son is an extremely picky eater.  He’s not Paleo, but he does eat mostly what we eat for breakfast and dinner.  The big exception is lunch at school where he usually eats a sandwich and stuff we pack.  I also let him eat cereal sometimes on the weekends. I know, the Paleo gurus would have me thrown in cave-prison or something, but they don’t live here, so they don’t know!

My son had HORRIBLE, and I do mean HORRIBLE allergies and asthma when he was younger, and he wouldn’t eat hardly anything (weight was under the first percentile).  He would often vomit up his food, particularly if it had any kind of texture to it (protein and veggies were nearly impossible).  He eats better now for sure, but he goes in spurts where he complains beyond rhyme or reason about any little thing he “has to eat.”  Yes, I am the mom that MAKES him eat.  You can argue the poor logic on that with me until you’re taking a leave of absence from work because your child has chronic pneumonia from vomiting and aspirating vomit from choking on any food with a texture.  Yeah, it was that bad.

This morning was one of those mornings with a zillion complaints.  He wanted cereal (which he does have occasionally on weekends, but not on a school morning because he gets hungry again in an hour when he eats cereal).  I “made him eat” eggs and bacon as well as strawberries, cherries, and banana with coconut milk on them.  Such a cruel mom, huh?  Well, he thought so this morning.  He told me how he was having a bad day already because I made him eat eggs (which he used to like) and cherries, and he had gotten a time-out for whining and yelling.  On and on about the “bad day” he complained.  On the way to the bus stop, we had a conversation about how his bad day was my good day.  His 8 year old self was actually intrigued by this.  I reminded him about how sick he used to get, reminded him of all of the medicines (2 forms of nebulizers, allergy medicine, steroids, antibiotics, etc…) he used to have to take all the time, how miserable he felt all the time, how he used to get in trouble in preschool during allergy season because the allergy medicine made him so irritable.  I told him that even though he was “having a bad day” because of having to eat these things, I thought it was a good day because he did indeed eat them and his body now has some nutrients it needs.  We talked about how his body needed these things to pay attention in class, to learn, to grow, not get sick, etc… He didn’t believe me about that paying attention and learning parts, so we had a deeper conversation about that and attention problems, and he actually started talking about kids in his class who have those troubles and can’t pay attention.  I reminded him of what happens when he has cereal.  We experimented with that last summer, and he clearly was able to see and understand that he gets hungry and cranky about an hour after eating cereal, while he can easily go to lunch time without issue when he eats a good whack of protein instead.  I also reminded him how right now (March-May) is the worst part of allergy season for him…. tree pollen season.  He has had no medications, no sniffles.  All is well <knock on wood>. 

His uncle is coming to visit tonight.  I asked my son what Paleo dinner we should make.  He didn’t have any good ideas, as he still doesn’t like protein.  I asked him what Paleo dinner he “tolerates” the best, and he said “fish, the pink salmon kind.”  Progress, one step at a time.  My kid tolerates fish.  That’s a celebration.

He hopped onto the school bus still pondering all of this, singing “Let It Grow” from The Lorax.  He seemed to be in a better mood.  I wonder if he’ll talk about it when he gets home today.

Rheumatoid Disease – Perfecting Homeostasis

When I googled the definition of homeostasis, I got this: “the tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes.”  I heard this term recently, and thought it to be a great way to think about my RA issues, but there might be a much simpler definition: balance.

I realize more and more every day that I can control so much of my health, especially my rheumatoid.  I know there are many people out there who haven’t taken this journey, but I really believe it can be done.  Will it cure me?  Probably not.  Will it allow me to live many more disability free years?  I think so.  Will it treat my pain and fatigue?  Absolutely!

Here’s part of the deal though. I’m up and down.  The last 6 months or so, I’ve been up and down a lot.  Leg cramps, kidney stones, low thyroid (a medication issue, not really anything I can control as I will need to take the meds forever as I have no functioning thyroid), some RA pains (mild), and lately some reflux (still trying to figure that out!)  Does that scare me or bother me?  A little bit, but not as long as I get back to my balance, my homeostasis.  In my best recent homeostasis, I’m 133 pounds, have a little bit of muscle/strength, no fatigue, no pain, sleep well, feel good.  In my best recent homeostasis, I’m happy, have more energy, and am less prone to a shock to my system.

How do I get to my perfect homeostasis?  I’m not 100% sure, but I’m working on defining it.  I’ve determined that it needs better definition, but I also believe that my perfect homeostasis definitions may change over time.  Right now, I’m thinking about my “best” homeostasis rather than perfect, because I think my “best” can still improve.

Here’s what I know about my best homeostasis:

  • It includes the Paleo Diet, which has impacted my RA, triglycerides, energy, pain, blood pressure, fatigue, weight, liver function, thyroid eye disease, cholesterol, and more all in a positive way.
  • It includes keeping my Thyroid Stimulating Hormone around 1.0 (or crazy things happen to my body).
  • It includes exercise, particularly light to moderate strength work.
  • Good sleep.
  • Near perfection in all of the above

Here’s what I think I know about improving my homeostasis, but I’m still working on:

  • Improving vitamin D level (dang it if I can’t get above 26).
  • Improving magnesium levels (which I hope will improve glutamate issues I have)
  • Juicing.  I think this helps, and I’ve gotten away from it.  I have to revisit.
  • Better gut health, which I think has improved, but still needs work I “think” around fat digestion and gut flora.

Here’s what I’m currently struggling with:

  • Leg cramps, which might be low magnesium.
  • Reflux which might be caused by my magnesium supplement.
  • Getting back to 133 pounds.  I got up to 145 when my thyroid levels tanked, dropped to 140, and have stayed there for quite a while.
  • Getting my stress under control.
  • Getting back to exercising, which I think got messed up when my fatigue kicked in due to low thyroid.
  • Can’t wait until I’m out of work for summer, so I can focus better on some of these things.  It’s so much easier to decrease stress when I’m not working!

Random things that I do to mess up my homeostasis:

  • Sit out in the cold and rain to watch my son’s baseball game
  • Change shoes
  • Get stressed out/take on more than my body’s capability
  • Sleep too much (yeah, I have more issues with too much sleep than not enough)
  • Eat out when my food might be cross contaminated with non-Paleo things.
  • Cheat too much with dark chocolate??? (RA? reflux?)
  • Drink green tea or have balsamic vinegar (hives)
  • Go to bed too early
  • Drink alcohol (seem to tolerate rum better than anything else)
  • Getting cold in almost any fashion
  • Not being perfect
  • Probably thousands more things

About being perfect.  I can’t be.  I don’t think anybody can be.  Sometimes I want to have an alcoholic drink or eat an entire bar of chocolate after a stressful day.  And you know what?  I can, and I do.  I just know it will break homeostasis, and I’ll have to be better the next few days to get it back.  What happens if I don’t get back to my rules?  Well then, my homeostasis will change for the worse, and I won’t get back to the happy place I was.  That won’t work for me.  I make choices daily that determine how my body will react.  If I continue to make the wrong choices, my body isn’t going to be the happy place I want it to be.  So, I try not to make too many wrong choices.  I choose the harder diet and the stricter rules because it pays off.

What’s your best recent homeostasis?  What can/do you do to change it for the better or worse?

FYI, it’s 3:00 AM, and I’m up writing this because I stayed out in the cold and rain at my son’s baseball game.  I got too cold, came home and got in bed too early, and I’ve been awake since 1:00 AM.  I made the decision to get out of bed, as this break in sleep will likely help me have a better RA day tomorrow than sleeping too long.  Decisions.