Monday, August 31, 2009

Cleanse: Day 1 Final Update

My head is aching so much I am nauseous. I can barely think.

Is this really about a lack of caffeine? Good lord!

Cleanse: Day 1 Update 4

4:30pm - Life without caffeine is maddening. I only have 1 shot of espresso (50mg caffeine) a day so I am shocked that going without it is having such an impact. I feel like I am walking around in a fog. I have a headache that is getting worse by the minute.

Twice today I have thought of throwing in the towel but my friend is going to join me starting tomorrow and I want to tell her that you can, in fact, survive day one.

Also, I have been drinking a ton of water, hoping to help flush all the junk out of my system.

Cleanse: Day 1 Update 3

2pm - all day I have been looking forward to my salad at lunch. Lettuce, avocado, peaches, craisings, almonds and chick peas with an olive oil based vinaigrette. Only I don't have slivered almonds or check peas. So it was really just a fruit and veggie salad with no protein. I have to say, I am not fulfilled, at least in the traditional sense that I am fulfilled after lunch.

I am wondering if this will be an experience in learning what true fullness (as opposed to stuffed-ness or feeling full of carbs) feels like.

The most unpleasant part so far is the caffeine headache. It's not a brutal one, but it is omni-present. Like a little nat buzzing in my ear.

Cleanse: Day 1 Update 2

Just got back from Ben's first day of preschool. He has one of my absolute favorite teachers this year so it is exciting for me to have him back in the swing of things. He's going to have a great year. I wish my kids' entire life could be like their days at this school.

I was definitely feeling the hunger during preschool (parents stayed today). My mind kept thinking, well after this I'll go get my latte or go get a bagel. I automatically go for the carbs for that nice, full feeling. I can get full on fruits and veggies, but it's really the carbs that make me have that full, content, ahhh, all is well feeling. Almost like endorphins are released.

Anyway, I digress. I made it home from preschool, definitely jonesing for a coffee, but grabbing instead a pint of raspberries. I just popped them in my mouth and drank a glass of water while I was checking email. I'm not necessarily hungry anymore but I certainly do not feel full or content. Still thinking about that next meal.

CleanseL Day 1 Update 1

7am - Hungry. Instead of ignoring it and waiting until I can get my morning latte, I reach for a banana.

Going without the latte will be the hardest part of the cleanse, I believe. I don't think it's the caffeine, although we shall see if I get the dreaded caffeine headache, but rather the sheer indulgence of walking into a store and having someone else make me a soothing drink which I could easily make for myself. It is my single indulgence in the day and I look forward to it and savor it.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Evening Before

So, with a little encouragement from my friend Mel, I am starting my cleanse tomorrow. She will be joining me on Tuesday. My goal is to do the cleanse for 3 weeks. The alcohol will be no problem as I rarely ever drink. The dairy won't be a problem b/c the only place I regularly consume it is in my daily latte. But the no wheat, no added sugars and no caffeine? Lord have mercy!

Today I thoroughly enjoyed a triple-shot whole milk latte at starbucks AND a glazed donut AND a bowl of ice cream after dinner. All 3 were divine, especially the latte.

My outrageously fabulous and supportive neighbor took Ben for me this afternoon so I got a fabulous and totally unexpected break. (Sam was at a bday party, Jack went to a Giants game with Aaron.) I hit the grocery store and planned out some of my meals.

Breakfast will be rice chex cereal with rice milk. (When Sam was a baby I was on a no dairy diet for a while and found this breakfast to be pretty tolerable). Lunch will be an enormous salad with my favorite home made vinaigrette dressing. I will miss the blue cheese in the salad but will revel in the avocado. Dinner will be pork tenderloin in an orange ginger marinade.

I spent far too much money on fruits and vegetables at the market but how wonderful it will feel to fill my body with these real foods.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


1) My f-ing back is f-ing hurting again. What the hell. Tell me this is not what happens when you hit 40.

2) I am thinking of doing a 3 week cleanse. No caffeine, no added sugar, no wheat, no dairy, no alcohol. Basically, fruits, veggies, nuts, protein. Thoughts?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Jack's First Day Kindergarten

This is the conversation between Jack and I when he got off the bus today.

Mom: Jack! How was school, buddy?
Jack: (dryly) Not good.
Mom: Why, what happened?
Jack: There was no air hockey.
Mom: Did you think there would be air hockey?
Jack: (incredulously) Well, who's ever heard of Kindergarten without air hockey?!

To answer the obvious questions, I have no idea where he got the idea that there would be air hockey in Kindergarten. And he has never talked about air hockey at school before.

In addition, one of his assignments at school was to draw a picture of him on his first day. He drew a picture of him playing air hockey with his buddy, Ethan.

And so, life's disappointments begin for the little guy!


Friday, August 21, 2009

Trying to Do

The following are 4 things I am trying to do and 1 think that is more like a stretch goal.

1) Wash my face morning and night.
2) Moisturize my face morning and night.
3) Brush teeth 2x a day.
4) Floss. every day.

Pretty basic, yes? Yet I am embarrassed that I do not cross them off my list every day. I regularly fall asleep on the couch or fall into bed with out washing my face and brushing my teeth. Gross.

My stretch goal is to moisturize my skin every day. Now I do my arms or legs if they are showing, otherwise, not so much.

That's all for today.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chiro Thoughts

I visited the chiropractor for the first time in my life last Thursday afternoon when my back pain was so bad that I could only stand straight up without moving or lie down on the wood floor flat on my back.

I think I could go on forever about my newfound respect for the chiropractic profession. However, suffice it to say that the doctor healed me. And that is no understatement.

My path to the chiropractor was also a bit interesting. I called my regular MD and she offered to prescribe me some combos of valium to relax the muscles and Percocet to diminish the pain. She also said she’d call in orders for me to have X-rays and casually mentioned that I may also need an MRI (or a CT scan or something like that). I was skeptical of all of these things. When I told her I don’t know if I want to start down that path just yet, she said, “Well, you can always call a chiropractor.”

And so, with the encouragement of many of my friends who have been helped by chiropractors, I went in to see one that is highly recommended and has been in practice for over 30 years. He explained the science of chiropractic to me. It seemed to make sense.

45 minutes later I was walking out of his office. Not 100% perfect but feeling infinitely better. Total cost to me: $150.

I went back for my follow-up visit today and while he massaged and adjusted, we chatted. I asked many, many general health questions. Here are some of the more interesting things he said:

1) Cross training is the key. Doing the same exercise every day leads to essentially repetitive stress injuries. He said a person should move their bodies every day – running, walking, yoga, weights, pilates, biking, etc.

2) Everything in moderation, including moderation

3) I asked if he had any absolute health no-no’s. He said, “yes, playing in traffic,” Thought that was funny and an insight into his healthy approach to life.

4) I did not know this, but our body is constantly replacing its cells. As he said, that is what distinguishes us from a rock. We are living, they are stagnant. He quoted a lot of stats, but the one I remember is that the heart has a complete turnover of cells every 30 days.

5) In that context, we talked about what to feed your body. He reiterated that our bodies are designed to replenish with things found in nature. Not chemicals, not artificial ingredients. The food and oxygen we put in to our body is the fuel that replenishes those cells. Think about the health of those cells if we feed our body real things vs the health of our cells if we feed artificial crap. Our bodies do not even know what to do with that junk.

6) To that end, it’s a great idea to eat organic when you can.

7) I asked about artificial sweeteners. He said, again, everything in moderation. In minimal amounts (eg to sweeten a cup of coffee) it is probably not going to do irrevocable harm to an adult’s body. HOWEVER, he said those chemicals are, by design, neuro-toxins and should not be given to little developing bodies.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Little Life Lesson

Or maybe it's a big life lesson.

This will be the cliff notes version because I should be going to bed.

On Sunday morning I woke up with a twinge in my lower back. By yesterday (Wednesday) I was moving carefully but still completing the list of to do's I had for myself before Aaron's parents' arrival on Friday morning. Within an hour of being awake today, I was barely able to walk without serious pain. The only comfortable position was standing straight up. I leaned a bit to pick up my water out of the top shelf of the refrigerator and actually yelped in pain.

I called my family doctor, she said take 800mg motrin and call a chiropractor. I was able to get an appointment for 5pm today.

In between 9:30 when I called the doctor and 4:30 when I left for the chiropractor, the boys were absolutely fan-freaking-tastic. I literally followed them around giving them tasks to complete and they did them willingly. OK, so a little bribery helped. But they totally rose to the occasion and I couldn't be more proud.

The good news is that those 30 minutes at the chiropractor were like magic. My back is not back to normal, far from it, but I am walking and able to do things like open the fridge and kiss the boys goodnight (which I could not have done this morning). More good news is that he doesn't expect I have a serious injury and nothing that a few more adjustments won't correct completely. He said I will feel much better tomorrow morning (fingers crossed).

This was the first time I've ever seen a chiropractor and, in all honesty, I've poo poo'd them a bit in my mind. But I'll be damned if he wasn't fabulous and didn't help me tremendously.

But that is not the life lesson. There are two real lessons:

1) I've spent most of my life taking care of myself as a side thought. And I've been able to get away with it. But this is one of life's jolts that reminds you that you need to do the ongoing maintenance and care to keep you body behaving as it should. That includes eating healthy (not picking from your child's plate), stretching and strengthening your muscles (as opposed to going straight out the door to a run and then running back inside without a stretch), and listening to your body (if I listened to the twinge on Sunday perhaps I wouldn't be in this situation today). Will I make any changes? Who knows. But I appreciate the reminder from my body to take care of it.

2) I get very anxious when we have guests come over. I want the house to be perfect. Especially when it's Aaron's parents. I know that's normal but I suspect I take the desire to have things in order a bit to the extreme. I'm nothing if not a little OCD. But this time, many, if not most, of the to do's on my list are not done and are not going to be done. Frozen food falls on you when you open the freezer door. Cookies will come from the freezer, not fresh from the oven. The fingerprints on the windows will remain. And you know, life will go on. None of those factors will determine whether or not our guests have a nice time at our home. They are just things that give me the allusion of having control. And life is nothing if not an exercise in learning that we do not have control.

OK, going to down a bottle of motrin, lie down, and see if I can find a comfortable position.

Take care of your back, friends, because this really stinks.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Meeting an Alcatraz Ex-Con

As part of Camp Mom 2009, the boys, Aaron and I took a short ferry ride to Alcatraz Prison today. You probably know that it's not a prison anymore, but the buildings are preserved and thousands of people visit every day to see what life really was like on the infamous "Rock."

Not surprisingly, after the tour, you are dumped out into the prison giftshop. Normally I try to shuffle the boys through these types of shops quickly so as to avoid the inevitable "Moooom, I reaaaally waaannt this!!"

But today, there was an actual ex-inmate of Alcatraz (attempted to rob a bank and then ecaped from community prison) signing a book he wrote about his experiences in the prison. The man looked to be about 80, he reeked of stale cigarette smoke and he was anything but warm. We asked him several questions, all of which he answered with one word answers, never making eye contact but staring at the cuticles on his fingers that he was picking.

"What was it like living here?" "Awful."
"Did you ever end up in Solitary Confinement?" "Yes."
"What was it like?" "Cold."

Sam and I could barely contain our questions.
I heard someone say that he eventually turned his life around after getting out of Alcatraz and was a foster parent to 94 children.

"What allowed you to turn your life around?" I asked.

This was the only time he answered with more than one word. "Had a boss who believed in me."

"Me, too." I said.

I wish I could say that we made eye contact and some sort of understanding passed between us. But he never did look at me and didn't seem to care at all that we had this in common. And I'm sure he was rolling his eyes at me. What did I know about conquering any sort of adversity and turning my life around? He's right. I certainly can't compare anything in my life to his life. But I do know that sometimes all it takes is for one person to believe in you to change your whole life.

More on this in my next blog. In the meantime, I've got pancakes to clean up after.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Being beautiful

Words from Anne Roiphe:

... I do know that there is a way of being beautiful, even as age takes it toll, that has something to do with the spirit filling with joy, something to do with the sense of having done well at something enormously important.