The Kind of Growing I Can Get Behind

My cabbage

The netting helps keep the cabbage looper caterpillar from laying eggs.

I am growing a cabbage on my deck, and lucky for me I decided to do so, because a fat rabbit ate most of the other cabbage growing in my yard. Bastard!

After we’d put our cooking videos on hold, I needed to find something to keep me busy. With the long hours needed for my husband’s new project, this had to be something I could do given my limited mobility.

I’ve always wanted my very own garden. I had one when we first moved into our little “Love Shack.” It was tiny, but I loved it (except for another rabbit that ate all my lettuce). But alas, it was not meant to be, as my husband had to put in a huge deck right where I was planting.

main garden

My tiny container garden.

Due to my hip pain and lack of mobility, I ended up watching a lot of YouTube, which we all know is the “gateway drug” for anyone who loves hobbies. Gardening videos were the hook for me. I started reading everything I could on square-foot gardening, container gardening, annuals and perennials, making your own growing soil…it was a enormous rabbit hole.

I told myself to start small – a simple container garden. Just buy a tomato plant, herbs, a few flowers, and container soil from Lowes. Easy-peasy, right? Turns out that’s just not my style. I decided to grow from seeds. Oh, and if I’m growing from seeds, and I grew a lot more than I expected: eggplants, tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers (including a Ghost Pepper!) zucchini and yellow squash, watermelon, onions, scallions, green beans, lettuce, pumpkins, strawberries, cucumbers, basil, thyme, rosemary, catnip and big ass sunflowers.

Cabbage and snow peas are my fall crops.

tomatoes

My tomato corner, featuring a Red Beefsteak, Yellow Brandywine and Yellow Pear.

I loved growing my own food. For me, it tasted better than anything from the grocery store. But the real benefit was it got me moving.

When your leg feels like it’s disconnected from your hip, the last thing you want to do is walk. On top of that there’s the pain… The last thing you want to do is move around. But the pain doesn’t go away unless you move.

The garden became a type of physical therapy. Every day, rain or shine, pain or no pain, even before coffee, I’m in the garden watering, fertilizing, harvesting, and trimming plants. At dusk, I’m treating the plants for disease or fungus – that is when I’m not fighting caterpillars, vine borers, Japanese beetles, and those dang rabbits.

lemon tree

My newest addition – a Meyer lemon tree – which arrived a few weeks ago. I moves indoors soon for the winter.

When I first started, my movement was difficult, but I wanted the garden more than the comfort of not moving. It took a few of months before the walking, bending, squatting, and kneeling didn’t hurt as much. Of course, I had a few big spills (my balance sucks) but that didn’t deter me.

I think the garden also helped me get back into the keto game at some level. This week, I told you that I was feeling mighty sorry for myself thanks to my unstable hip. That self-pity lead to eating a lot of highly processed carbs and weight gain. At a subconscious level, the healthy me was screaming to take control, and I believe the garden was a voice for that.

There was no rhyme or reason to what I picked gardening. I just wanted to see if I could grow something from seed…or so I told myself. With the exception of the watermelon and beefsteak tomatoes, my garden was pure keto.

Heck, even with the watermelon, I only grew one small one, and I only ate ½ a cup (the husband devoured the rest).

nice_edited

A bit of the husband’s photography. He fell in love with our sunflowers.

It’s almost mid-September and my garden only has about 4-6 weeks left before the first frost hits, but I couldn’t be more excited. I’m busy planning out next year’s garden. We’re getting rid of the lawn and building raised beds. I just love growing our own vegetables, and the idea of making a truly ketogenic garden excites me.


Summer of Hip Therapy & Bad Eating

We’ve been so busy this spring and summer. It looks like fall and winter are shaping up to be just as, if not more, hectic. Obviously posting and making cooking videos have taken a back seat. But my cameraman/editor husband and I are fine. We’re just super busy.

This spring we made the decision to put a hold on making new videos. A big work project landed on my husband’s lap that demanded all of his time spent on filming and editing our videos. The project’s end date was late August…but here we are in September and it is still rolling along. Now it’s looking like the end date is closer to November/December.

As for me, the one word to describe the past 8 months is “frustration.” My unstable hip dominates everything I do.  For months on end sitting, standing, stretching, walking or rolling over in bed caused intense pain. It’s been difficult to do basic things like cooking, cleaning, walking to the mailbox, or grocery shopping. I found if I sat for more than 30 minutes I wouldn’t be able to walk more than a foot or two without risk of falling.

No matter the amount of physical therapy or stretching “3 times a day,” it just felt like my hip muscles were getting pulled into a tighter ball instead of lengthening.  I know my orthopedic doctor warned me it would take about 18 months to stabilize the hip. But patience with one’s self goes out the window when you’re use to physically doing what you want when you want.

Rather than being patient with myself and having that laser-focus on my health, self-pity won out this summer. So rather than focusing my time on getting healthy I went back to my old bad eating habits.

To say my carb count “crept up” is putting it mildly. There were days (most) I ate like the old 300+ lbs. me, and days where I was strictly keto (far too few).

So this summer I added a lot more weight…and didn’t care. I was too busy feeling sorry for myself.  I knew what I was doing was wrong and frankly, stupid. But as they say, you need to hit bottom before you turn your life around.

It wasn’t until August that my hip started really responding to therapy. I became more mobile and flexible. The pain isn’t constant. For now it feels like I’m over a hump. My trainer recently cleared me for biking and interval running. That’s huge!

And sure enough, around the same time that mental funk started lifting too. I’m starting to eat out less, cutting back on alcohol, and making better food choices.  In September I decided to do another keto reset (for the zillionth time…but whose really counting) with a 30-day challenge.

Since I’m on a video hiatus, I decided to go back to where it all began for me…this blog. I’ll try to do 1-2 posts a week. The posts will focus on my reset — the successes and failures.

 

 


Pain…Lots & Lots of Pain

I’d hoped to be blogging about my experiences on doing a 30-Day Carnivore Diet Challenge (ongoing). Instead, I’ve spent the last few days hobbled and in pain. I’ve written before about my tight calf causing pain in my Achilles tendon. That hasn’t gone away. This is something new and a little more worrisome than my Achilles.

A few weeks ago, I started doing lower body stretching. I figured since I can’t really workout right now I might as well work the muscles with some stretching. After that first attempt, I felt soreness where the front of my leg meets my pelvis. Not a biggie, since I expected some soreness.

That soreness came and went. And after a few days, it turned into jabbing pain. “Nothing to worry about. I probably pulled a groin muscle,” I thought.

Fast forward to the last few days. The jabbing pain has become more frequent. The pain hits when I climb stairs, move my leg too far to the left, right, backward, or forwards.

Walking is difficult. I call it a “walk,” but it’s more of a very pronounced limp. I find it hard to stand straight without feeling a dull, painful, tightening sensation in my hip.

Thursday was the worst. My whole left leg ached all day. The hip felt hard as a rock and hot to the touch. I was immobile all day. It was time to call for help.

My husband’s company offers a wonderful service that helps you navigate the insurance and health care system. I contacted them for my best options. They quickly put me through to one of their nurses – Barb.

After going through my symptoms, pain level, family history with osteoarthritis, and overall issues with the leg, Barb told me I needed to see a doctor immediately. Because it was Thursday afternoon, that wasn’t going to happen. The next best thing was skipping my primary doctor and going directly to an orthopedic specialist. Thankfully my insurance doesn’t require referrals!

Barb gave me a list of specialist to contact and sent a bunch more. I hit gold on my first call and got an appointment the next morning.

Hoping For PT, But…
I arrived at the specialist office and pretty quickly had x-rays taken of my hip. At that time, I thought worst case was a diagnosis of osteoarthritis, and that it had completely wore away any cartilage. Meaning a hip replacement was needed.

But I held out hope for a really bad groin pull. Fingers were crossed that I just needed some physical therapy.

The x-ray showed very little arthritis and the start of a bone spur — but nothing that should be causing the pain.

Once the PA started moving my leg around, she pretty much ruled out a pulled muscle. Something else is triggering the pain.

My PA ordered an ultrasound and an MRI. The ultrasound is needed to rule out a blood clot. The MRI is needed to see whether or not I have a stress fracture. Yes, the x-ray didn’t show any signs of a fracture, but MRIs can see things that the x-ray can’t.

She also wants me to use a cane or walker to help alleviate the weight and stress on the hip. My sister beat her to it. She drove me to my appointment and gave me my mother’s cane to help me walk. The cane works. I don’t feel any pain going up or down stairs.

Plan For Getting Me Back On My Feet
The PA told me regardless of what next week’s test shows, a plan is needed for my calf as well. I’ve been on and off for 2+ years with this pain. My mobility is limited, and I can’t do simple activities like walking, hiking, bowling or just swinging the golf club.

So I’m feeling relieved tonight. There’s forward movement to figure out what is going with this leg.

Oh, and carnivore? It rocks. So far!


Conspiracy To Keep Me Out Of The Gym

fight

I can’t prove it, but I suspect these 2 conspired to keep me at home and away from the gym this week.

After a week of taking it easy so my ankle can start healing, I was ready to hit the gym. Albeit, in a very gentle way.

So what does life toss at me? First up, a lethargic 17-year-old cat who refused food for 2 days.

Spider has kidney disease. We know at some point we’re going to have to make the “quality of life” decision. A few days before kitty stopped eating we noticed his jumping skills declined sharply over the last few weeks. Missing easy jumps. Falling off furniture (and not landing on feet).

The next up he refused food and instead just wanted water. More and more water. Read More


Lots of Physical Therapy In My Future

Strasburg sock

How do you fix chronic Achilles tendon pain? By wearing the Strasburg sock while you sleep. Ugh!

First the good news – no bone spur. Which means no surgery in my future.

 

The bad? According to my physical therapist, my calf muscle is “one big knotted ball.” Which means it can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months to fix…depending on how I respond to therapy.

Limited Mobility
I learned the calf is made up of 2 muscles, the gastrocnemius (upper calf) and the soleus (lower calf). My issue is the gastrocnemius is overly tight and, as a result of that tightness, shortened.

The gastrocnemius is so tight that I’ve lost a lot of mobility in my left foot. My therapist had me sit on a table with my legs straight out and tested how far my foot moved as I stretched my toes towards my body. Normal mobility is between 12-20 degrees.

My right foot is 15 degrees. The left? Four degrees. Read More


Achilles Tendon Fights Back!

Achilles Tendon

After a week of awesomeness in the gym, my Achilles heel decided it’s had enough. But I’m not waving the white flag just yet when it comes to the Gold’s Gym Challenge.

This week is looking promising, no?

I started in earnest on my Gold’s Gym Challenge. My trainer upped the intensity of my sessions (i.e., heavier weights). I’ve enrolled in boot camp and yoga classes, each 3 times a week. And my idea of cooling down after each session is about 30-40 minutes on the elliptical (it’s just too cold to walk outside).

But Sunday is rest day…thank god!

Physical Therapy In My Immediate Future
I’ve hit the wall when it comes to my Achilles tendon.

I’ll have 4-5 really great days. No pain. Oh sure my ankle is very stiff mornings, but it loosens up with some stretching.

Yet one day a week I’m now in intense pain. All day. Eventually my ankle loosens up and the pain isn’t as intense. But that’s not good enough.

I’m now worried surgery is a possibility. Crap!

So this morning I’m putting in a call to the big dogs. My doctor and a physical therapist – someone with an emphasis on sports injuries.

Last night I noticed a bump behind my left ankle…and it hurt…bad.  My right ankle was pretty smooth. I get that swelling happens. But this is different. So there is a possibility of bone spurs.

There are just too many things I want to do. From running a Tough Mudder to ice skating, all require a healthy Achilles tendon.

Pain relief is my first goal. But I also want to make sure I’ve got good movement. I certainly don’t want any unnecessary strain on my Achilles.

Rethinking Gold’s Gym Challenge
It goes without saying that boot camp is out for now. So is walking. My trainer has work arounds when it comes to strength training that don’t aggravate my ankle.   As for yoga, it seems like most poses require ankle power.  I’ll probably have to talk with my instructor to see if there are alternative stretches I can do in class.

That means cycling classes are in my very near future. So tonight I’m digging out the cycling pants and shoes.


2018 Gold’s Challenge

2014 golds before after

My before & after photos from the 2014 Gold’s Gym Challenge. So Yeah, I’m a believer in this challenge.

Once again I’ve sighed up for the 2018 Gold’s Challenge. This is my 3rd time and I do love challenges. In my effort to loose my post surgery pounds, I’m off to a slow start. I feel I’ve finally righted my diet (no more eating out and no alcohol).

When it comes to losing inches, I need to jump start my exercise routine. Right now I’m more turtle than hare.

To be fair, I wanted to see the results of my 3D body scan before coming up with a plan of attack. While I want to do full body workouts, there is a part of me that wants to target my abs and thighs.

My doctor told me it would take a year for my abs to fully recover from surgery. He wasn’t kidding. It’s been a year and a half and while my abs are stronger, there’s still a lot of exercises I either can’t do (like that damn Roman chair leg raise) or am limited in how many I can do (I’m looking at you sit ups). Read More


Ankle Still A Hot Mess; Skipping The 10K

I’m not a happy camper this morning. It’s already mid August and I’m still not running yet. Heck, I’m not even doing my daily walks. For a month I’ve diligently stretched my calf and foot in an effort to deal with the Achilles tendonitis.

The pain in the morning is just as bad as ever.

Now I’m finding that the comfort my sneakers provided in decline. Great.

That means I’ll miss the George Washington 10k in September. I can’t run it if I’m not training. And I certainly can’t run on this ankle anytime soon.

With the pain not going away, I’ve decided a little more aggressive action is needed. First up is an ankle splint. I’m picking one up this morning.

Next is massage therapy that focuses on the tendon and the main culprit, an overly tight calf muscle. I found this video online showing the massage technique.

Next up are more stretching and strengthening exercises. This physical therapy video demonstrates techniques that I can try using my stairs and resistance bands. The video also demonstrates how I can massage my tendon myself.

Hopefully I’ll feel a difference over the next few weeks.


Q: Who Are You To Trust With Your Health? A: Yourself

badgovt

After 50 years, the government, medical, fitness and food industries are still peddling the same bad advice that is making us sick and fat. Time for a change.

I keep harping on the experts in the field of diet and nutrition not being all that expert. Why? Because they are so boneheaded dogmatic about their own beliefs they can’t see the mountains of evidence that those beliefs are wrong. The article  Health Authorities Continue To Fail Us poses a great question: Who are we to trust when it comes to dietary advice?

The article is a great read that sums up that our “experts” have gotten so much wrong, much to our detriment. From calories in/calories out to saturated fat is bad — it’s all bunk.

Yet the American Heart Association, American Medical Association, nutritionist, dietitians, doctors, fitness industry, Big Pharma, the food industry…hell the whole lot continue to push the same bad advice for more than 50 years.

The results? Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and a host of other chronic diseases have skyrocketed.  That isn’t evolution. It’s environmental.

The food chain, built on this advice, is slowly killing us.

Since the medical, fitness and food industry has no interest in changing, the writer of the article has a very simple solution for you — not easy — but simple:

“So who are we to trust then? The list would appear to be getting smaller every day.

Now more than ever the message is clear: if you want to truly be healthy, it’s up to the individual to do their own research and come to their own conclusions. There is a mountain of information out there to go through, and you’ll need to sift through the bias of people selling you diets, fringe groups promoting their social agenda, and the media misinterpreting real research findings.

While it may sound like too much trouble, is your health really of that little importance that you’d trust it to anyone else but yourself?”

Amen!

 

 

 


Am I Getting Stronger? Getting A Handle On My Progress

Dot Workout Log

My new workout log. Time to start tracking my goal of building strength.

While I track what I eat, my exercise tracking is lacking to say the least. It’s a good habit I never tried to reinforce. But without tracking my progress it’s hard to know if I’m actually building strength.

To get stronger I need to constantly challenge myself physically. That means increasing the difficulty of my workouts. But if I can’t remember what or how well I did my last workout, then how do I know I’m doing better? Read More