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January-May 2022 Update!

Obviously it’s been a while. I think I’m mainly just embarrassed to be talking so much about what I am and am not eating. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But some of you seem interested in that, and there’s more than food here too. ๐Ÿ™‚


Thankfully nothing to report ๐Ÿ™‚

Other health related things:

I’ve been experimenting with food (mainly trying dairy again: see the “What I am eating/cooking” section) and I think I need to eat closer to the way I was eating on the clinical trial. I’m still trying to reduce meat, but I don’t do well with a lot of grains (even gluten-free) except in limited amounts, and I don’t think I can eat dairy on a regular basis.

Nothing major happened, but while I was eating dairy I noticed that I was tired, my skin was breaking out (I didn’t realize how clear my skin had gotten until I started breaking out again), and around mid-March I realized that I had some eczema on my R index finger. I hadn’t had *any* eczema for probably over a year, so that was noticeable (used to be a big problem, for almost as long as I can remember).

Migraines continue to be fewer and milder ๐Ÿ™‚ I started taking vitamin B2 sort of on a whim because I read that could help, but I plan to drop it because I don’t like taking so many pills. I’m on a B complex so that should be sufficient.

What I am eating/cooking:

Well, it’s been a rollercoaster. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I decided to do a trial of dairy which was unsuccessful. Honestly though, I’m fine with it. I feel better now knowing that my body really does better without it, so I’m not just putting myself and others to this inconvenience for no reason. I didn’t want to just be doing it because Dr. Wahls or anyone else said I should. For the same reason (and also because I was craving sandwiches) I tried putting gluten back in my diet (yes, there is gluten free bread, but I was looking at regular bread in our house (Peter had some) and I just went for it) and so far that seems fine. I’m still not doing a *lot* of gluten products, because that tends to be refined carbs. But sometimes I make a sandwich on whole wheat bread, or lately I’ve been SUPER into burritos on whole wheat tortillas. (Previously I was eating sandwiches multiple times a day. I get really into something, and then I get so tired of it I almost can’t stand the thought of eating it again. ๐Ÿ˜‰ That’s one of my problems, because I start to run out of foods. Usually I can put things back into the rotation after a while, but sometimes I kind of go off of them.)

In my last post, I talked about how much oatmeal I was eating. Well, that was too much, so I had to cut back to only an occasional treat.

I then got SUPER into chia pudding. (Noticing a pattern? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) I still like chia pudding I’m just not as into it as I was. I tried several flavors (partially in an attempt not to get tired of it) and most of them were good, but this raspberry one is the best. (A note on chia pudding: I read a chocolate chia pudding recipe that recommended grinding the chia seeds, and that does give it a different/better texture. And THEN I read that grinding them is actually healthier for you, and if you don’t know this by now, I’m really into maximizing the health benefits of whatever I’m eating, so I started making all my chia pudding with ground chia seeds (super easy to do in the Vitamix). BUT, we figured out that there’s a slight bitterness with them that way that you don’t notice when they’re whole. It’s not really noticeable at first, but as it sits in the fridge it gets worse. So it’s one thing if you’re going to eat it right away, but if you’re hoping to make it last it gets a little bitter.)

I am off this “diet” more than is probably best. I kind of made a deal with myself that I would be on the diet at home, but not worry about it for social functions, partially so I could more fully enjoy those social functions, and partially because I didn’t want to inconvenience people. But this is the post-Covid social life, and there are too many social functions for me to be “cheating” at all of them, I think. It’s a good problem. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I’m still trying to figure it out. For Memorial Day I took this quinoa salad to our family celebration, and people seemed to like it. ๐Ÿ™‚ That way I could eat what was offered, but also have something I was guaranteed to be able to eat just in case. AND I was sharing it so I wasn’t just sadly eating my own food. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (My Mom even liked that salad, and as some of you know, she’s not a fan of quinoa. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Also, a few months ago I was really tired, which I attributed to depression, and responded by exercising more AND getting stricter with my food. Nothing crazy: I was eating healthfully. More green smoothies, less chocolate, and the chocolate I was eating I was trying to switch from 70% to 85%. None of those things are bad on their own. But as I was studying (see the next section) I realized that with all the exercise (I was training for my 5K and getting serious about pull-ups again), I probably wasn’t getting enough carbs. And a lot of what I was doing to eat healthier was actually reducing the carbs more. So, I relaxed a bit. ๐Ÿ™‚ And either the carbs helped or it was a coincidence but I started to feel better. ๐Ÿ™‚ (And then I realized that I had relaxed too much. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s a very delicate balancing act.)

One of my friends sent me this pasta sauce recipe and I made it that day and then again about a week later, I think. I really like it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Per one of the recipe suggestions I added sun-dried tomatoes, and I think that really makes it a lot better. I served it over Banza (garbanzo bean pasta).

I only made this once so far, but it was a hit: Indian Style Creamed Spinach (except I left the spinach leaves whole) with Coconut Lentils. It was a little tricky to have them ready at the same time, but they were both really good.

A final note on milk/cheese/yogurt: after being off of those things for over a year, I still *like* them, but they don’t have that super addictive, “crave-able” quality that they used to have. It was far easier to give them up the 2nd time (except for social situations where I eat things I shouldn’t because I didn’t plan well *facepalm*).

I started taking a creatine supplement because I read that it could help with building muscle, and may be especially helpful for vegetarians (I’m not completely vegetarian, but it’s supposed to be helpful anyway). AND it has some potential other good benefits for my brain. ๐Ÿ™‚

AND I read that cayenne pepper could help me lose weight, so I started taking that, but this is all getting to be too many supplements again and I’m not sure it was helping much anyway, so I’ll probably cut that one out.

We’re still trying new plant foods, but I haven’t really been counting. It’s still fun to try new things though, and also have a broader “repertoire” of foods because of the exploring we did last year.

How I’m doing emotionally:

Life continues to have its ups and downs, as I’m sure is the case for all of us. Honestly, I probably also had some seasonal depression thrown in. As I said above, I responded by exercising too much and being a little too strict with my food, and then I went the other way and wasn’t exercising enough, so it’s been a challenge to find a balance.

As many of you know by now, Peter took a promotion, which I think is a blessing in the long run, but it’s been a tough adjustment from him being part-time to now working about 50 hours/week. So that’s definitely contributed to me feeling a bit down.


I’m now a Fitness Nutrition Specialist!! For my Health Coach certification, I have to earn a certain amount of continuing education credits every 2 years. Instead of taking small courses throughout the 2-year period that are approximately 20-30 minute classes and arenโ€™t worth very many points, I like to do them all at once because then I get more letters after my name. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Last time I did a behavior change specialization, so now my profile looks like this (okay, the letters arenโ€™t actually after my name in the photo, but you know what I mean ๐Ÿ˜‰ ):

I learned how to be a better coach, but I also learned a lot that I applied to my own life. It was a lot of work but definitely worth it. ๐Ÿ™‚ (I signed up around the end of December but let it slide until I was getting close to the deadline, so it was a very busy March. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Several of you asked me about oil pulling. Honestly, I’m not doing it on a regular basis, although I’m trying to get back to it. It’s not that I mind the oil, because I don’t, it’s just that you’re supposed to do it for 20-30 minutes, and I often don’t think of it until I’m going to bed. So, my gums actually bleed occasionally when I floss. So, this might be a perfectly valid thing to do if you’re really consistent with it, but I would advise against giving up your usual mouthwash unless you’re going to be super consistent (unlike me, who actually used regular mouthwash the other night. I’m not giving up on oil pulling but I’m trying to be reasonable).

I’m also not trying any fasting right now. I still think there’s a lot of science to back it up, but I actually started doing the opposite of what you normally hear, and having a bedtime snack most nights. That helped my sleep ENORMOUSLY. I’ve had trouble sleeping for as long as I can remember, and I was often a little nauseous in the mornings. I feel SO much better when I wake up now. This was easier to do when I was eating dairy because I would have some cheese or yogurt, but now I’m back to tofu blended with frozen fruit as a sort of “ice cream”, or just another serving of whatever food I was eating during the day, or occasionally I’ll have a meat stick. (They sound gross, and some of them are, but PaleoValley’s are actually good.)

Oh, and I haven’t been taping my mouth closed anymore. It was hard to get used to.

Probably my most fun and exciting project was my lawn redo! I had a small patch of lawn (it was about 9×7 feet) that I have been working on for years. Mom had gotten rid of all the grass out front, but then I put a patch back in because I really like to have a patch of grass to lay on in the summer. But it was never really up to Mom’s standards (and I can’t really blame her) because I don’t like to mow/edge/weed. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So, last wednesday, I was out for a walk, and saw at least one house with a fake lawn, and thought “maybe I’ll just do that”. (I had thought about it before, but not seriously.) I will probably be picking up some extra shifts at work this summer, so I wanted to maximize my down time when I’m at home. ๐Ÿ™‚ So I went home and looked up reviews, and the next day I ordered a piece of synthetic lawn, and on Memorial Day I started taking the existing lawn out, my new lawn was delivered on tuesday, and on wednesday I had the rest of the lawn dug out, the gravel/sand spread, and the new lawn installed! (The point is, this was about a week from me deciding to it being completed. It felt a little reckless.) It actually looks better now than it does in the final photo, because it continued to get un-smushed as it was out of the package for longer. I didn’t really like it at first, but now that I’ve had more time to look at it and it’s looking better, I think I’m going to be happy with it. (Mom has been very supportive, and she says it looks good. ๐Ÿ™‚ ) It was a very hard day of work (I still have sore muscles from all the digging and hauling) but now I don’t have to work on it again! (Except maybe refining the edge a bit. Some of the part I trimmed is a bit rough, and we might decide to round that corner because I think that’s part of why it looks fake: it’s too straight/perfect.) Also, a big shout-out to Mom and one of our neighbors who helped (mostly my mom ๐Ÿ™‚ Our neighbor only helped for a few minutes. But still, it was helpful and nice of him and very much appreciated ๐Ÿ™‚ ). It was also a little sad to be digging out my lawn that I had worked on for years, but Mom was able to use a lot of it by burying it in one of her vegetable beds where it will decompose. It had very healthy soil with a lot of worms in it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Before (See? It needed to be mowed/edged/weeded!)
How far we got on monday
All the grass is gone!
Gravel spread and leveled

What I read/am reading (the highlights):

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong ~ The author says in this book that some people think we’re going too far, thinking that everything is affected by our microbiome. But after reading this book, it’s hard *not* to think that! But, I can see the point though, like for instance there are bacteria that help with weight loss, but to feed those bacteria you need to eat a lot of minimally processed, fiber rich foods, and that would probably also help you lose weight. Anyway, it was really interesting.

For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World’s Favorite Drink and Changed History by Sarah Rose ~ I enjoyed this look at a part of history that I wasn’t familiar with. Just the title makes you stop and think, “hmmm . . . when I think of tea, I do think of Asia, but I also think of the Commonwealth. Why is that?” Anyway, probably my favorite part was learning why British people drink black tea instead of green tea (I’m not telling you here! Spoilers! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and just generally learning more about the tea growing and making process. Also interesting info about British colonialism and a bit about the East India Company, whom we always hear about because of the American Revolution.

The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth by Beth Allison Barr ~ TLDR: this book is worth a listen (or read ๐Ÿ˜‰)

This book is arguing against a culture thatโ€™s not the Christian culture *I* grew up with, so I agreed with a lot of the authorโ€™s points before even reading her book.

For instance, she says that her husband was fired because he thought that women should be allowed to teach teenage boys. I agree with that. Thatโ€™s been my experience in my home church, and in fact women are frequently teachers over men & women in adult classes also.

My point is that I didnโ€™t find this book to be as revolutionary as I expected, although it would be if you grew up in a really conservative church. She makes a good case for her perspective and is obviously knowledgeable in her subject. Iโ€™ve heard some of this before, that what we consider to be Biblical gender roles are really just 1950โ€™s gender roles, but that part was still interesting and I donโ€™t think itโ€™s widely known.

I didnโ€™t agree with the story about the woman who left her children crying on the shore so she could go on a pilgrimage. I know that we have to choose God first, but I also think we have responsibilities to our family. Itโ€™s one thing in a situation like that of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who *had* to leave his family because of his faith, but Iโ€™m not sure about leaving your children to go on a pilgrimage. Anyway, Iโ€™m not sure the author even felt strongly about that one, I think she was mostly using it as an example of what was considered acceptable or even laudable behavior for women in the Middle Ages.

Iโ€™m still not sure how I feel about women being the head of the church, but this is food for thought. Itโ€™s interesting though, that most of the examples she uses throughout church history are women who were careful *not* to be seen as the main pastor/priest, but as teachers/evangelists in a secondary role, so if weโ€™re really following the example of our โ€œgreat cloud of witnessesโ€, that seems like what we should do.

The information about Bible translations and how the original language is more gender neutral and also gives women more prominent roles was new to me and also interesting.

One thing I hope people would take from this book is that we should celebrate the *individual* ways that women (and men) can serve and glorify God, and stop making it seem as though youโ€™re not living up to your potential if youโ€™re not married.

Fitness Goals:

I signed up for a 5K which I ran with my friend Priya on April 24th! That’s the only competitive fitness event for which I plan to register this year. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I have plenty of plans to stay active. Priya & I discussed possibly sprinting against each other, I might get back to swimming with my mom, might try bouldering, and just generally plan to be outside, whether it’s walking, playing tennis, whatever. Hopefully more Ultimate Frisbee this year. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m still using the Nerd Fitness Journey app. I did end up paying the $99/year. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I want to maximize it and be signed up for 3 “Adventures” at all times (that’s the maximum number) but that was starting to be too much working out and I got burned out. But you can also sign up for things like “Read More Books” which is one I’m currently doing. ๐Ÿ™‚ I got this really cute shirt for my avatar (and that’s a new “yoga studio” background too)!


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