Hip Tests Are In, And…


Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I don’t have a stress fracture. YAY!!!! But I do have osteoarthritis in my hip, am suffering from iliotibial (IT) band syndrome and have a hamstring that is too frickin’ tight. A triple whammy!

What does it all mean? How do I get back on my feet again? Is training for a 10k completely out of the picture? Are any of these new problems related to my chronically tight calf muscles?

Physical Therapy Here I Come
The answer to the first two questions is up to me. I have to do the work, and a lot of it. Tomorrow I meet my physical therapist for a 90-minute evaluation that puts me through my paces. From there I’ll have  PT twice a week for at least six weeks (maybe longer) and daily homework that tackles the hip and my supposed chronic calf problem (more on that later).

The osteoarthritis is very mild and my doctor assured me that with physical therapy and a year to a year and a half of work, the hip pain goes away AND I put off surgery until my golden years.

Diet will be a big part in minimizing osteoarthritis. I’ve put on way too many pounds after my cancer diagnosis in 2016.  To me, that’s the trigger in this latest saga with my left leg.

As for the IT syndrome, it’s normally associated with knee pain. However it does cause a dull ache or a sharp, acute pain in the hip. The band runs along the outside of the leg. While there are lots of causes for the inflammation, my doctor things muscle tightness in my glutes and quads are leading culprits.

All I know is when he started bending my leg like a pretzel, I wanted to smack him upside the head.

Oh And About My Calf Problem
It turns out that my calf isn’t causing the pain in my Achilles tendon. Two years of stretching down the drain. Ugh!

When we discussed my chronic Achilles pain thanks to my overly tight calf muscles, the doctor quickly started stretching my foot and examining the calf, and announced “Your calf isn’t tight…it’s your hamstring.”

So I spent 2+ years not addressing the root cause of my pain. So say I’m a little annoyed is putting it mildly. But at least I’m on the right path.

Path Forward: Exercise, Nutrition & So Much More!
From what I surmised, my whole left leg is jacked up.  My doctor assured me that with PT and strength building I’ll be moving around with ease soon enough.  But it will take 12-18 months of hard work for me to feel 100% again.

I just need to exercise some caution. My inclination is to go full bore…and cause another injury. Maybe that dull, nagging pain in my hip can keep my natural tendencies in check.

As for diet, I’m reading a very interesting book, Wired to Eat by Robb Wolf (Mr. Paleo himself), and I love what I’m reading.  Although I’m eating carnivore for the rest of this month, I’m actually more excited about next month. That’s when I’m doing Wolf’s 30-Day Reset.

I just finished the book and plans for my reset began this morning. Unlike my failed keto reset, I’m feeling confident that the 30-day reset be different. My head is back in the game after being benched for 2 and 1/2 years.  It is a shame that it takes pain or a medical crisis for me to act, but hey, at least I have time to act.

I’ve had success with keto, but paleo seems to have more of the full picture — nutrition, sleep, gut biome, inflammation and movement (to name a few!).

Paleo really zeros in on overall health. Weight loss is a side benefit.  I had that attitude when I started my little low carb journey in 2012. And it worked! Now it seems like everything I’m reading about LCHF/keto all about weight loss and the blasted macros!

That doesn’t mean keto is bad at all. In fact I’m thinking of doing a keto version of paleo after the 30-Day Reset.

It’s just that you need the right mindset when changing your way of eating. My greatest success happened when I viewed my journey as a science experiment with me as the scientist and guinea pig. I was on a journey to get healthy. No pressure from the scale.

That’s what I want to get back to.





Evidence That Meat Causes Cancer Is More Than Lacking

Does meat really cause cancer? Nope. Our evolutionary history says otherwise. Human ancestors survived and thrived by eating meat. Meat is way more calorie dense and has all the essential amino fatty acids we need. Plus, humans would not have developed the size brains we have without meat.

I think a much better case can be made that our current food chain, which relies on heavily processed low-fat foods with a ton of added sugar, is a much better candidate for cancer and other metabolic diseases that have exploded over the last 40 years.

The attack on meat (and it is an attack) seems more political than science-based. Check out this lecture by Dr. Georgia Ede. She actually read these observational studies (not the gold standard in research).

I didn’t post this to bash those who don’t eat meat. That’s your choice just like I choose to eat low carb, moderate protein and high fat foods. If a vegan or vegetarian diet works best for you, great. LCHF with awesome animal meat and fat works best for me.

But there is a part of me that this video tweaks those dietary nannies out there (and all diets have them!). They corrupt science to make political points and claim moral superiority. All in an effort to scare or shame me into a certain behavior they approve. Control is the game. They don’t care about my health.

Sorry, but not everything is political (nor should it be). Eating for my health is my business and it is up to me to make those decisions.

I’ve wised up and no longer listen to scare tactics.



February Food Challenge: 28 Days & Nights Of Paleo

February if Paleo month for me. Yep, I'm unleashing my inner cavechick and taking the Paleo Diet Challenge.

February if Paleo month for me. Yep, I’m unleashing my inner cavechick and taking the Paleo Diet Challenge.

Beginning in February I’m going to dig deep to find my inner caveman woman and take the Paleo Challenge. For the month I’m going to follow a Paleo food plan, while staying within my 32 Weight Watchers daily points.

Since I went low carb nearly two years ago, I’ve been Paleo-curious. Not one to follow popular trends, I’d kept my distance. But after reading The Paleo Primer, I’m excited to give it a try.

So What Exactly Is This Paleo Craze?
As best as I can tell, there is no one absolute Paleo diet.  Some plans limit fruits where others don’t. Likewise, dairy is banned on some but not others.

But there are a few consistent rules across plans. Grains and legumes are out. So is sugar. You want minimal processed foods. So when it comes to dairy, raw gets the thumbs up. Meat and seafood should be grain-fed or wild-caught.  And everything is organic.

So What Can I Eat?
The Paleo Primer, by Keris Marsden and Matt Whitmore, offers some great recipes that looked easy to prepare. I’m all about easy when starting with a new food regime!

The foods outlined in The Paleo Primer include:

  • Grass-fed meat and free-range poultry
  • Eggs fortified with omega-3
  • Wild-Caught Fish
  • Fats & Oils
    • Cooking: extra virgin coconut oil, coconut butter, organic ghee, grass-fed butter, lard, beef drippings, and goose or duck fat
    • Eating: Avocados, coconut, olives & olive oil, Animal fats
    • Dressings: extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia oil
  • Dairy — Organic or raw heavy cream, grass-fed butter or ghee, Greek yogurt with live and active cultures, kefir with live and active cultures, raw milk
  • Nuts (limited)
  • Vegetables – locally grown, other wise organic
  • Fruit – limited; however lemons, limes, avocados, and berries on regular basis
  • Raw honey

For the most part, it’s not that much different from when I was eating 20g of carbs a day. But I also wasn’t working out as much as I am now. Thanks to my more intense workouts, I’ve added grains — steel-cut oats, barley, quinoa — back into my diet. Something that isn’t allowed on Paleo.  At least the Greek yogurt and berries I added back in are OK.

Will Paleo Fuel My Workouts?
I’m worried about whether I’ll have enough energy for my workouts. I needed to up my carb count from 20g to 50-100g a day, depending on the type of workout. Less than 50g and my metabolism plummets.

I’ve scanned a few things on the Paleo blogs related to slowing down on exercises, but I need to do a bit more investigation to figure out what that means.

Clearly, my post-workout protein shake is a no-no. That’s a tough pill to swallow, but I’ll figure out something. I’ll need to closely monitor my energy levels and prepare to tinker with my food options and when I eat.

The Cost Of Healthy Eating
The other difference – the potential hit to my pocketbook.  Organic foods, grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, raw dairy…when reading the list of foods, I swear I could hear a “cha-ching!” sound, loud and clear.

So part of this little experiment will look at the costs of low carb vs. paleo. I’ve come across lots of articles on the cost difference of eating healthy vs. non-healthy foods. But I haven’t seen much on the cost of healthy vs. organic healthy.

After the first week, it’s possible I’ll make some changes to the types of foods I buy to avoid breaking the bank. Yes I want to get healthy, but you know a banana, organic or not, is still a banana.

As for Weight Watchers, I’ll need to do some research about the points value of some of these foods. I can’t image lard will have a low point count.  When eating low carb, I spend a lot of points on non-lean meats. I found I’m much more satisfied with non-lean cuts and lose the desire to binge or graze on food.  I’m wondering if Paleo’s grass-fed and organic cuts are more Weight Watchers friendly.

Time to start working on my menu.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup For Start of Fall

Fall's almost here? That means it's time for soup.

Fall’s almost here? That means it’s time for soup.

I’m seeing fall colors on our trees. The turning of the leaves signals the start of soup season for me.

I love making my own stews, soups and stocks. Mixing and matching my own ingredients…creating great flavors…how could you not love that?

The real beauty of home-made soups? Soup is hard to screw up. It’s very forgiving.

So what’s on tap for the weekend?  Roasted Red Pepper Soup. Yum.

Recipe Changes
Today, I’m working on converting my soup recipes from high to low carb. Most are easy to alter.  Just replacing one veggie with another.

For other recipes, I’m looking for ways to replace flour and cornstarch as thickeners. Slimy, bad tasting low carb thickeners are plentiful.  It looks like pureed vegetables and heavy cream will be my thickening staples.

But I might experiment with two options I’ve come across on the Paleo Diet forums – vegetable gum, and nut butters and meals.

  • Vegetable Gum – Gums like xanthan and guar suck out moisture and leave a gel. A little goes a long way. Too much gum and soups and sauces become gooey rather than creamy.
  • Nut Meal and Nut Butters – My friends following the Paleo Diet swear by their nuts. Nut meal doesn’t clump like flour (bonus).  However, both the meal and butters increase my carb count. So I’ll need to use caution.

I’m not sure if I’ll play with these two options just yet. Pureed veggies just seems fresher (they are!) and easier to control the carb count.


Dilemma of a Baker

I love baking. Ten years ago I tried making my very first apple pie from scratch. The bottom crust was too soggy and the top crust too chewy. It was a horrible pie, but it didn’t matter. I was hooked.

Over those 10 years, I’ve made delicious breads, pies, cakes, muffins, cookies, pancakes, cupcakes! I love how my kitchen smells while baking bread. And there is nothing like punching out dough to relieve stress. I baked all the time…until I went low carb.

With the exception of baking cookies as Christmas gifts and two pies in December, I’ve been avoiding baking like the plague. I didn’t get to 325 by just looking at my creations.

I had been afraid that I’ll go on a carb bender if I kept up my hobby. I’ve lost nearly 60 pounds and I’m not looking to take a step back.

But the truth is I don’t miss the food. I miss creating it.

Paleo cookbookI think I’ve discovered a way to start baking again. As I was checking low carb cookbooks on Amazon, I came across Piece of Cake Paleo: The Effortless Paleo Baking Bible. Jackpot!

Yes its for folks on Paleo and I’m on Weight Watchers. However, I’m doing 20-25g of carbs a day and my understanding is that Paleo is low carb. Plus, I’ve been curious as it’s all the rage right now.

So starting in April on the 1st Saturday of each month I’m going to bake something low carb. Fingers crossed.

Oh, the baking happens after weigh in.