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Can Getting Rid of Gluten and Dairy Get me Back to Bootcamp?

Climbing a Rope at Bootcamp

Climbing a Rope at Bootcamp

Besides the fact that I love to write (I mean, who doesn’t know at this point that I do?) What people may not know is that I love exercising. I absolutely adore it, but I haven’t been able to do it in over a year. October, 2012, I had been in a Bootcamp class. I’m talking “hardcore stuff.” Now, I won’t compare what I was doing for an hour with what Marines do day in and day out in their military training, but the Marines who taught us told us that it was close.

Oh, how I loved that class. I love it so much I got up at 5:30 am to get to a 6:00 am class, three to four times a week, where the Marines would “lovingly” yell at me, put me through exercises, make me climb ropes, run laps, lift tires, etc, for a full hour. When class was done, I was a disgusting, sweaty, smelly mess (along with the other fifteen insane people with me), but I felt incredible and I thought I was looking great.

But then I got hurt. In one class, I was doing jumping jacks holding a heavy bar, and thinking I was fine… when suddenly I wasn’t. Something “sort of snapped” in my back. I remember slowly falling to the floor and getting numb. I thought maybe I just twisted wrong (the numbness was my body’s way of keeping me ignorant to what had really happened.) I tried to continue the class but couldn’t and as the day progressed, I was basically crippled. After all the subsequent doctors and MRI’s we discovered two herniated disks. L4 and L5. Sciatica, numbness.. pain. This is basically textbook and nothing new. But, the disks are sitting on nerves and other fun stuff, so no matter how textbook this is… it hurts.

So what have I been doing to fix this? I did nothing for about eight months. I couldn’t. And then this past October I started with a chiropractor who gave me some relief. Then, this past week I started acupuncture and I also changed my diet. I read that gluten and dairy cause inflammation. I figured, “what if I could just get rid of them as much as I could from my diet?” It really wasn’t that hard to do – you just have to prepare. Brown rice pasta has replaced regular pasta, brown rice instead of white, I’ve made quinoa and lentils, I broil and bake instead of breading and frying, and I purchased gluten-free crackers.

What was interesting was this. Two weeks ago, I went on this diet for the first time for a week. I was pretty strict, though there were one or two meals I “cheated” because I wasn’t home and there was food in front of me. Regardless, I would say I changed my diet 90% that week. Looking back, I realize my back felt better. Then when the week was done, I went hog wild and chowed down on Chinese food for two days, started drinking milk again, yogurt and cheese for breakfast, bread at lunch, and wouldn’t you know, three days later my back went out… and bad. Lots of sciatic pain. Hmmm… so, back to the chiropractor, added my first acupuncture treatment and went BACK to the gluten-free/dairy free diet.

Verdict? Three days after being in the worst pain I’ve been in months, I’m so much better. Coincidence? A combination of everything? I don’t know, but I really believe that this “little cocktail of treatments” is hopefully working. The fact is, if I don’t add to my own problems by eating foods that CAUSE inflammation, maybe I can keep the nerve pain at bay – just by watching what I put in my mouth.

So, the verdict is out on exactly how this is going to go, but I’m hopeful. My next acupuncture treatment is Wednesday… I’ll keep up the diet and I’ll report next week. So far, so good.

My goal? Maybe I can get back to bootcamp one day. But for now, I’ll take “tying my shoes without flinching,” thank you very much.

Clean Eating – Will it Make Me a Better Writer?

lentilsMaybe it’s winter. Maybe it’s the cold. Maybe I’m just being lazy. It can be any, or all of these things, and I can make every excuse in the book, but the fact is, I’m not eating well recently. Instead of grabbing a yogurt for breakfast, I’ve been indulging on bacon and egg sandwiches. Instead of a salad for lunch, I’m grabbing sushi, stuffed with tons of rice or these big thick udon soups that are loaded with noodles and sodium. Dinners are usually fine, but then by 10:00 pm, I’m downing ice cream and chocolate bars (and I’m not talking about Hershey’s but the real good stuff – Godiva and Lindt) Can we say sea salt and dark chocolate? I’m drooling.

Now, I haven’t gained as much weight as you would think, but I’m not feeling all that great. My back hurts, I have no energy and I’m finding myself stressed. I’m trying to write a book and I have to concentrate and research things and I’m finding it’s a chore. I can’t seem to concentrate on things for more than a certain amount of time.

So, I’m trying to switch things up. My chiropractor and his wonderful receptionist did this healthy eating cleanse for 21 days. I found it tremendously intriguing and while I don’t have the capacity to do that intensive a treatment since I travel on biz, have a family and go out with clients, I can modify my diet. I’ve set a tiny, teeny, little goal. ONE WEEK. For one week only, I will try to avoid milk, white flour, gluten and meat. I’ve been instructed to “make as much food as I can at home” instead of eating out, go organic as much as I can, and up my water intake tremendously. It’s day #2 of this endeavor and so far, so good.

I’ve made two different white bean dips, mushroom sauce to go on brown rice pasta with salmon, eggplant lasagna (broiled, not fried eggplant) with daiya cheese,tofutti ricotta and brown rice noodles, and lentil stew – stuffed with veggies. Everything I’ve made the rest of the family ate and it’s been a hit. I think they were surprised actually.

For me, I ‘ve snacked on the lentils throughout the day, adding a bit of hot sauce or the bean dip. I’m finding that eating them fills me up greatly.

So, after two days, am I feeling clearer? Can I conquer the world yet? That verdict is still out, but I feel pretty good that I am trying this. What is the very worst thing that happens? I feel better? Get more energy? Lose some weight?

Here’s the recipe for that white bean dip I made yesterday:

1 Can Cannelli White Beans
1/2 juiced lemon
2 garlic cloves
2 tbs olive oil
salt/pepper to taste
handful of fresh parsley

Mix all the ingredients together with a hand blender or food processor and refrigerate. Seriously easy. If you want to up the ante like I did tonight (since I had to make it again because my daughter ate all of it), I cooked cauliflower florets for 10 minutes, mixed it with all the ingredients above and added fresh rosemary. The added cauliflower changed the recipe from a creamy one to more of a hummus texture, which I know will be a hit with my daughter. She loves hummus, but is allergic to it (a chickpea allergy???), so this is a fine substitute.

If you’re feeling adventurous, take a peeler and make strips of parsnip, put on light olive oil and salt and bake at 425 degrees for 10 – 14 min (turn over halfway) – let cool – super good with the dip.

So tell me, what do you do to feel healthy? Any good, simple recipes you’d like to add in the comments below? Love to hear them! Simple please…

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