Plant-based week two

The second week of plant-based eating has been better than the first. I’ve been less clumsy, had slightly more energy, dealt with a different kind of breakout, and experienced completely guilt-free eating, which I never thought about going into to this little experiment.

First, less clumsiness – thank God! I didn’t think I could take another week like last. I consider no bloodshed a win. Nevertheless, I still suffered a nasty scrape and bruise from the corner of our hallway table along with a retailer’s door slamming into me, which resulted in a not-so-pretty blue and yellow splotch on my arm.

In general, I try to not to hold on to events like these for too long and chalk them up to me burning negative karma. I’ll take a cut or bruise over something more serious any day.

The scratches, cuts, and scrapes that I mentioned last week have all healed incredibly fast. This is surprising. The stubborn blisters on the back of my heels obtained in early May, which had been lingering for weeks, also healed completely last week.

I’ve had about the same energy level, maybe a little more during the afternoon when I usually felt like taking a nap under my desk at work (George Costanza-style), but instead would get an americano from the espresso bar. I didn’t really need either as of late.

As far as my skin, I still have had little breakouts, but different from before. These little white bastards pop up on my neck too, and they’re painful. My sister told me she breaks out from tofu, so that’s something for me to keep an eye on.

Vegan meals from restaurants usually have tofu in them so it’s hard to avoid it if I want a hot meal. I could ask to hold the tofu Β but then the meal would be a few measly veggies in some sauce.

Overall, I’m enjoying the food more and more. I’ve found I’m not hungry between meals like I was on the Whole30 or when counting calories. Oddly enough, I also seem to be gravitating toward healthier options when given the choice.

Part of this is simply because the healthier option sounds tastier, but the other part is I’m also making sure I’m getting enough iron and protein in my meals.

As an example, I had the choice of eating vegetarian refried beans on a tortilla with all the fixings of a taco or making a southwestern salad instead, skipping the tortillas and replacing the refried beans with whole black beans, and I chose the latter.

Not only did I feel the salad would taste better, but the black beans had a little more iron than the refried. No brainer. And the salad was delicious and incredibly satisfying all for 460 calories.

One of the side effects of plant-based eating is the lack of guilt when praying over food. I used to have to thank God and the poor animal that gave its life or gave of itself resulting in milk, butter, yogurt, etc. so I might be nourished. There were feelings of guilt in those prayers. Not any longer! It’s a different type of prayer and feeling nowadays. What a completely unexpected, but welcomed, side effect.

My mood is lighter too. I’ve been a little happier in general even though these have been some of the toughest and trying months at work. Hooray for good mental health powered by plants.

Unfortunately, my achilles is only a little better, but not close to healed. I was hoping for better results by week two. I’ve heard of people coming off of all their diabetes, asthma, anxiety, etc. meds in two weeks on a plant-based diet so maybe I was expecting a similar result with my leg and achilles fully healing. Not even close.

Granted, over the past week, the tendons in my ankle on up along the knee and into the back of the hip all hurt quite a bit less. Yesterday, I took a couple 2-mile walks. One after lunch and the other after dinner. They took their toll in the way of stiffness this morning, but after a calf stretch, it felt a little bit better.

I continue to roll out both legs at night and the injured side continues to be lumpy and painful. I’m trying to stay optimistic.

Four more weeks to go.Β πŸ₯¬πŸ₯•πŸ“πŸπŸ’πŸŒ½πŸπŸ‘πŸ₯”πŸ™πŸΌ


A vegan in the woods

It’s only been a week, and I’m so over this vegan diet. Finding acceptable food has been difficult and time-consuming and annoying. I’ve also seemed to forget how to operate my hands, feet, head, and body to my own detriment. It’s been a miserable and bloody week.

We camped in Big Sur last weekend. My heart goes out to anyone who has had to find something non-animal-based to eat over a campfire. Even friggin marshmallows have animal products in them. If you don’t know what I’m talking about and like marshmallows, don’t look it up. Gelatin is pure nastiness.

🍑🐷πŸ”₯

While my friends enjoyed copious amounts of processed meats and a delectable selection of artisan cheeses for happy hour, I reluctantly chomped on sugar snap peas and hummus. For dinner, they indulged in sausages, feta cheese, chicken, pizza (with cheese and sausage), and more sausages. I ate an ear of corn and sweet potato. I mean, shit.

To be clear, I take full responsibility of the crappy planning. I’d been on a plant-based diet for only a couple of days and had absolutely no business trying to camp on said diet. But life happens. It’s too easy to put something off because it’s inconvenient to begin. If I did that, I’d never start. Life is inconvenient most of the time.

Camping was happening. So was going plant-based. It was unfortunate that they coincided, but it gave me the chance to see what it would be like camping newly vegan-style. And it sucked.

Not only was I not able to have s’mores over the campfire every night, my adjusted vegan meal usually consisted of simply removing the meat and cheese from the meal, so I was left with a couple of warm vegetables and some pasta. Never again will I go camping so unprepared. No – never again will I go camping on a vegan diet.

Switching gears to a meal I really enjoyed: breakfast. I stumbled on these single-serve instant hot cereal cups, and on a whim picked up a couple of them. Angels must have been with me because they were delicious!Β πŸ‘ΌπŸΌ

They’re organic and contain multigrain oats, chia and dried berries. All I needed to do was add hot water and bam! instant breakfast goodness. They’re also reasonably priced at a dollar and some change per cup at Whole Foods. I added nuts, seeds, and dried cranberries (vegan trail mix), and it was a perfect camping meal.

I also enjoyed the snacks I brought – dried mangos, dates, walnuts, and homemade granola. Side note about going vegan, the amount of fiber that is added to your diet overnight will clean a body out. Go easy on the dried fruits, girl.

My first week on a plant-based diet has also been the clumsiest week of my life. And that’s saying something for someone who has had two hundred stitches put in and taken out of her body, excluding the hernia stitches. (They just kept those in.)

Last week, I burned, cut (thrice), scraped, banged, gnashed, stubbed, knocked, hit, twisted, and poked various different parts of my body. Half of it included bloodshed. I have new scars, bruises and swelling throughout my body from injuries I’ve sustained while on this diet. Can someone tell me why? What’s happening to me?

Not only has my own body taken a hit, I’ve done really clumsy things. Before leaving for camping, I spilled almost an entire bag of popcorn seed while transferring them from one container to another. What felt like hundreds of thousands of them poured on to the counter, floor, sink, stovetop, and God knows where else. It sounded like I hit the jackpot on the slot machine. Ring, ting, ting, tingle, dingle, ling. When all the chaos was over and the last kernel it the floor, it looked like my kitchen got the chickenpox. Oy vey.

The lack of food options while camping, the injuries I’ve sustained, the injuries I’ve caused (mostly to my kitchen and myself), and my bad attitude have all contributed to an awful week one on the plant-based diet. Plus, my face broke out for no apparent reason. Finally, my achilles is exactly the same, if not more achy and sore than it was last week.Β πŸ˜•

Five more weeks to go.

πŸ₯¬πŸ…πŸ₯’πŸ₯•πŸ“πŸŒΒ πŸ™πŸΌ


Can diet heal tendonitis?

Shows a rainbow of vegetables

Happy June!

It’s been a couple of months since returning from Antarctica and almost four months since the injury to my achilles happened.

The pain has moved around, from my achilles to my arch to my hamstring and back to my achilles again. It’s like playing whack a mole with the pain.

On Monday, the PT told me she is going to start treating the achilles problem like a chronic issue instead of an acute injury. My heart sank. I don’t want to be labeled chronically anything, except happy, rich, or spiritual.

Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”Β And I say, hell yeah to that. If rest, icing, taping, massaging, and physical therapy aren’t working, could it be something in my diet?

It’s been five years since I started eating meat again. I’d been vegetarian for the previous seven years. In 2014, I was diagnosed with severe anemia and when iron supplements didn’t remedy the problem, doctors encouraged me to eat meat.

Looking back, I’m not sure that was the best thing for my health, but doctors strongly recommended it and I didn’t want to stay anemic and tired.

After learning more about iron intake and requirements, I feel like I could have found another path to health, but I chose the easiest, fastest, and most convenient. And, in a few months, the blood tests indicated that it worked.

So imagine my surprise in 2018, after four years of eating meat, a routine blood test showed I was anemic. Again.

Instead of reexamining my diet at that time, I added an iron supplement and forgot about it. Maybe eating animals and animal products had become too convenient and ingrained my life for me to think there was another option. Going back to vegetarianism didn’t even cross my mind.

Fast-forward to Feb 2019 when my injury happened. I’ve not thought of changing my diet as a way to heal myself, but after four months of nursing a lagging injury, it came like a rocket during a meditation session in the form of a question. What are you eating?

The answer to the question was a little embarrassing. In February, I had just come off the bulletproof diet and was recovering from a terrible reaction to the flu shot. I had been back running only for a week or two when I was injured.Β (The bulletproof diet encourages copious amounts of grass-fed cow butter in your coffee along with meats and veggies, oils, and proteins.)

When I look back at my food log, I’d been eating various forms of meat, including processed (but paleo) bacon, sausage and lunchmeat, butter, yogurt, and cheese two or three times a day. I’m not saying this is what caused the injury, but the correlation is interesting.

Previous to bulletproof, I did the Whole30 diet time and time again, which focused exclusively on consuming copious amounts of meat, fish, eggs, fruits, and vegetables.

I lost weight, and after two weeks of suffering through terrible grumpiness and sugar cravings, settled into it. But could it have been hurting me?

I don’t know, but I’m going to run my own little experiment. For six weeks, I’m going on a plant-based diet.

My goal is to see if this diet will help heal my chronicΒ achilles/foot/leg injury. I’d also love a little more energy (and happiness) throughout the day, but I’m not going to get pushy.

Let’s see what happens next.

πŸ₯•πŸ₯¦πŸŒΆπŸ₯‘πŸ’πŸπŸ‰


Achilles agony

It’s been four months since I first injured my achilles. A full recovery has eluded me, but I’m committed to coming back to long distance running.

At the time of injury – back in February – there were four weeks left before the race in Antarctica. I went to a physical therapist because after resting and icing it for two weeks straight, it was still hurting and I was worried I might have partially torn it.

The PT did a few stress tests and decided I had not torn it. He was explicit in his instructions. Continue to ice and rest it for a few more days, then start stretches and some heel lifts to strengthen it. Come race day, if it started to hurt, which it probably would, it was okay if I pushed through it. I couldn’t hurt it any worse.

Got it. Okay, thanks, PT. So, I did as instructed. I rested it. I iced it. I stretched it. I did heel lifts.

When race day came, I ran through the pain knowing I couldn’t hurt it any worse. All in all, I don’t think I did. Of course, it was really sore after the race and throbbed during, but the pain in the following days wasn’t any worse than the days that followed the initial injury.

When I got back home in late March, I rested some more and resumed with the prescribed therapy: stretching, ice, rest, and heel lifts. My achilles was feeling a little better, but not back to normal. I tried running a couple of easy miles on it at the beginning of April, but it ached during and after again. I took another two weeks off.

In the middle of April, I did a six-mile slow and relatively easy hike and it was just as painful as if I ran on it. So I rested it, I iced it, I stretched it and took another two weeks off. I also called the PT and asked for help on expediting the healing. He prescribed more exercises.

I did more exercises and the pain and soreness increased over the following two weeks. Finally, on May 5, almost three months after the original injury, I went to a new physical therapist.

After listening to the history of the injury, she did a few strength, flexibility, and balance tests. Then she spent twenty minutes digging into my leg and foot to feel out the inflammation and loosen up the calf and fascia. It hurt and I was sore after the appointment, but it helped and lessened the pain the next morning.

She also prescribed far fewer but more targeted stretches and exercises, which I did as promised. She recommended coming in 2-3 times a week, which I was happy to do.

It’s been nine days since I started, but the change in treatment has made a world of a difference. I’m actually starting to feel like I could really be running again in a few more weeks with this treatment plan.

I’ve learned two lessons in all this. First, it’s important to seek help early and often. It didn’t help that I waited almost two weeks before my first appointment and it didn’t help that I didn’t visit the PT again before the race or after I got back home.

Second, who your PT is matters more than you might think. I guess it’s like anything, the person who does a good job – either installing a dishwasher or repairing your knee – matters a lot. Whether it’s for your body, your mind, your mental health, or your spiritual healing, get help quickly, but shop around. Meet more than one expert. Get a few opinions. Don’t settle.

If you’re in the same boat, I’m happy to share any of the exercises or stretches that have helped me so far. Actually having the PT put their hands on your injury and work out some of the knots has made a huge difference too.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to take a little time off, but I’m so ready to get back to it.Β πŸ™πŸΌπŸƒβ€β™€οΈβ€οΈ