Now, my approach is not for everyone and after a severe, life altering scare I experienced (which is something I would never wish on anyone), I decided to make my physical and mental health the number one priority in my life. You only get one shot at this life…why was I wasting it doing things that were making me physically and mentally unwell? So, I first began by focusing on my diet to try and heal my thyroid (which was barely doing its job) as well as my adrenal gland (which I was overtaxing by a go-go-go lifestyle and stress). My husband had recently flown with a gentleman who had found functional medicine which helped address some of his own thyroid and adrenal gland issues. So, I checked out The Thyroid Connection, The Wahls Protocol, and Dr. Westin Childs based on his suggestions (I am not a paid endorser of any of these books, programs, or supplements…I have adapted aspects from each of them that have helped me. Please work with your personal care provider before embarking on any diet and exercise changes.)
One big step was stopping my consumption of all alcohol and reducing my caffeine and sugar consumption. That kind of made Thirsty Thursday with Mandy a challenge! I have been asked by friends if I missed my wine and foofoo coffees…eliminating wine was the easier change I incorporated because I needed my coffee! But honestly, the biggest challenge was eliminating all nightshades, including my beloved tomatoes and potatoes (I also avoided sweet potatoes.) Now, yall know I have followed Whole 30 in the past and my most recent journey into Whole 30 allowed for these foods now. Clearly, my body was struggling to metabolize them properly. I also curtailed my consumption of gluten.
I followed these programs (adapted for me) since June of this year. I fasted often and when I did eat, I stuck with one smaller meal focused on healthy protein (a lot of eggs and fish), fats (no seed oils…I opted for avocado oil, butter, and ghee), a surplus of veggies, especially green veg, and fruits for when I wanted something sweet (apples and cantaloupe were often what I chose.) I began my day with lemon water with a small pinch of Himalaya pink salt and when I needed some caffeine, plain coffee (8 oz with half and half) or green tea were my go-to pick me ups. I consumed half my weight in water (I was 144 pounds when I began this, so I drank 72oz of water daily.)
I have also spent more time in meditation and prayer in an effort to reduce my stress and subsequently, my cortisol levels. I do my more intensive workouts in the morning and make sure I am out in the sun without sunglasses and sunscreen to increase my Vitamin D production and exposure and help my circadian system to reset. I tried to walk after dinner every evening and even did a challenge to Stop Soldier Suicide by walking with Loki Dog of Mischief every day, a mile each day (we did that and then some.) Those walks were slower, calmer, and more deliberate and I often listened to a podcast or prayed the Rosary using the Hallow app. With the exception of one or two days, I walked at least 10,000 steps a day…some days, I doubled and even tripled that.
I recently successfully reintroduced a number of foods…tomatoes and potatoes are back on the menu, in careful moderation (gnocchi, because of the potato and gluten, with tomato sauce is almost certainly a special occasion only kind of meal now!) I am also able to process gluten successfully again (how do I measure my responses to these foods? How I sleep, how my joints feel, my resting heart rate, which has dropped to from 74 to 59 beats per minute, and blood pressure, which was 128/84 and is now 115/75 as of this morning, and my bladder and kidney function all clue me into how my body is functioning when it comes to my diet. I began logging every day how things affected me while I was eating, after I was done, and how I felt the next morning.)
My cortisol levels have returned to a more normal range and my thyroid is showing signs of improvement as well. Hooray! Am I back to tasting and drinking wine? No, not yet. Tasting is limited to actual tasting and then spitting. One thing this experience has done for me is to make me so much more appreciative of the tasting experience, reminding me to be more mindful of the sensations, aromas, bouquets, and interaction with my pallet.
I am just a few pounds away from my ideal weight based on my age and height. I am feeling great, waking refreshed after a good night of sleep, and I can really tell a difference in my hair and skin. I have had a great partner supporting me (thanks, Paul) and even though I have made several trips to Las Vegas and the beach during all of this, I haven’t fallen back into old eating habits or put the weight I have worked so hard to lose back on…I guess, like A-rod, I am more into a maintenance role as I reintroduce foods back into my diet.
We’ll see how alcohol treats me once I start having it again…it may just be a new reality that I will simply be a taster instead of sipper, which is okay by me.
Until next time, cheers and namaste.