Ultimate Reset – Day 4…Ode to Peet’s, where are you Peet’s

12 Sep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I realized this morning as I lifted (barely as if you have been reading my posts, I am almost upright when I sleep) myself off the couch with only 4 hours of sleep, I was hoping and praying that my husband would bring me back a large Peet’s coffee instead of herbal tea.

I was so psyched to do this cleanse and purge all of the drugs from the surgery from my system and restore a natural balance to my digestive system.  One of my commitments to doing the cleanse was to blog my experience so that maybe others can learn from my experience.

Doing a cleanse of any kind, there is always the good, the bad and the ugly.  I like to end on a high note, so let’s start with the bad and the ugly.

THE BAD & UGLY:

NO COFFEE, when you like coffee is hard.  I am a Peet’s lover and the smell of a fresh brewed cup of Peet’s coffee and that first sip is part of my morning ritual.  Teeccino is nice and all and maybe would work if you like Starbucks, but Peet’s drinkers won’t be pleased (I do Peet’s french press extra strong, so this is rough).

– SLEEP is HORRIBLE.  Yes, there are those who are going to tell you that their sleep is amazing and they have SO much energy.  That cannot always be true for everyone.  I am a fitness instructor and on those days when I am not teaching, I am usually out on a 10 mile run, doing my own workout or at CrossFit.  This is on top of my regular job.  On these regular days, I am out like a light – head hits the pillow and I don’t move until the alarm goes off.  During this cleanse and without exercise (sorry folks, walking is what you do to get from point A to B, it doesn’t fall under “exercise” for me), I can’t fall asleep, my sleep is not sound and I am not energized.  There is no endorphin rush, there is no “I feel better than I have ever felt before” – there is just an unwavering yearning for Peet’s coffee and a square of 88% dark chocolate.

DIGESTION is HORRIBLE.  Hey, I promised at the very start of this blog when I started with my surgery that I was going to be honest even if some folks might not agree (guess what, that’s okay too, because I am talking about how this is impacting me).  The lack of exercise and the pairing together of new foods as slowed my digestion to snail pace.  I am actually looking forward to Phase 2 (AKA Week 2) when I get to start taking the Detox.  I am on Day 4 today, but am really hoping my digestion improves.

My MOOD SUCKS.  Admittedly the combination of no exercise, no Peets and not sleeping well is making for a very grumpy and short-tempered Amy….that is never good for anyone around me.  If there is some high to ride from this cleanse, I have yet to experience such a high (see, can you hear the grumpy sarcasm).

ALRIGHT ALRIGHT ~ enough of being Debbie Downer with the Bad and the Ugly, I promised that I would be ending on a high note, so let’s get to the good.

THE GOOD:

– The FOOD is DELICIOUS.  Yep the food is fantastic.  There are some pairings that I have not tried before that I really enjoy.  Having been vegan for 12 years, I am no stranger to a plant-based diet, but I did not make a lot of soups and sauces before.  These are all really really good!

– The supplements are palatable.  I read a lot of reviews about how horrible they were, but the alkaline is okay.  I guess all of my green smoothies make the taste okay.

– My skin looks brighter and healthier…I mean the part of my skin that is all squeezed up over the collar, not what’s stuck under the collar with all the stuff that gets stuck down there over the course of the day.

– I get to improve my “Chef” skills.  If you didn’t know, I am a self-proclaimed chef, so an opportunity to give new spices and recipes a try is fun.

– My husband is LOVING the meals.  Since I cook the meals, he eats what I have, except he adds chicken or fish to the meals in the evenings.

– My husband is getting hooked on Vegan Tropical Berry Shakeology.  Since I am not drinking it during the cleanse, he is having it and is loving it.  He hated the chocolate, so I am thrilled he is giving this a try.

Let me give a quick recap of the meals from Dinner Day 2 to breakfast this morning (Day 4).

Day 2 Dinner ~ Stir Fry Vegetables over Brown Rice and Hearty Miso Soup.

My husband did everything I did, but his Miso Soup was without the vegetables (he had extra Miso to taste, green onions and wakame seaweed) and then a splash of Braggs Amino.  He also paired it with Ahi Tuna and wasabi and said it was the best (albeit expensive) dinner he has had in a while

Day 3 Breakfast – plain greek yogurt, 2 cups of low glycemic fruit and one piece of rice toast.  I spread my yogurt on my toast and topped it with the kiwi and it was so good.  Wow wee.  I had herbal tea awhile later and then teeccino just before lunch.  Again not Peets, but it is what it is.

Day 3 Lunch was better than expected.  It called for 1/3 cup of humus, but I totally

screwed this up and got less than 1/4 cup from Good Earth.  I also don’t do red peppers, so I substituted half cucumbers and half celery.  The other dish is a quinoa salad.  I love salads, so I must admit that I loved the Microsalad and the Green Salad much more than the Quinoa salad.  My digestive system also likes the raw greens, but the quinoa salad is also good.

Day 3 Dinner ~ last night we did the zucchini/cashew soup, roasted root vegetables and quinoa.  The soup was seriously amazing.  Even my husband commented on how amazing it was.  The roasted root vegetables were good, but I prefer just regular roasted vegetables.  The root vegetables feel very heavy and I have never done well with a lot of sweet potatoes, but I am going to keep going with the foods that are not on my avoidance list since there are already so many foods I can’t have.

Last, but not least, I took Days 3 breakfast from the Ultimate Reset book and made it my Day 4 Breakfast.

That tasty concoction is egg whites and spinach in 1/2 tsp of olive oil.  The book called for 2 eggs, but the eggy taste of yolks makes me want to hurl, so I did 5 whites instead and 4 cups of spinach (I love spinach).  Spices added include cumin, smoked paprika and chili powder and a dash of finely ground Himalayan salt.  I again went with the toast from yesterday and topped with the egg/spinach.  It was pretty tasty I must say.

All in all, I know that the cleanse is worth it because my system needs to be cleansed from all of the drugs during and post-surgery.

Do I recommend this for others?  Absolutely.

Is it hard?  Undoubtedly.

Would I do it again?  Probably, but it would have to be another time when I lay off of my workouts again due to necessity as it is tough.

Will I keep the recipes and use them post-cleanse?  We will use about 70% of the recipes post-cleanse and I will likely come up with a monthly menu board (maybe it will end up on Pintrest…follow me if you want to).

Have questions about the cleanse or the food?  Just email me @ basefitmarin@yahoo.com or fit4lifewithamy@yahoo.com

Enjoy

~ Amy

10 Annoying things about wearing “The Collar”

10 Sep

The Collar…it’s become a permanent accessory, I was trying to think of the one accessory that I wear 24/7 now and quite honestly, there isn’t one, except for my equally awesome Biomet Spine Fusion Bone Stimulator.

I know, I know…all so jealous, but I must say, I’ve grown accustomed to these two marvelous accessories.  I say that without a hint of sarcasm because I have a strong expectation that these two accessories are increasing my chances of a full recovery.  Nevertheless I have come up with my own…

TOP 10 ANNOYANCES about “The Collar” (and bone stimulator)

10. The Collar clashes with all but 2 outfits

9.  Any time I tell a man that I am wearing a bone stimulator, he laughs.

8. I can’t drink out of a regular cup

7. I can only gaze down, but can’t actually see my feet

6.  When I brush my teeth, toothpaste and what you normally spit out ends up all over the collar pads.

5. I constantly drop food or liquid in the collar that gets stuck or stays wet between my chin and the collar pads.

4. The beeping sound on the bone stimulator that signals that one of the pads has come away from my neck wakes me up at least twice a night.

3.  The collar requires that I sleep almost upright in order to get any amount of sleep

2. The back of my hair is never dry because it is always in the collar

1. I haven’t been able to wash or comb the bottom half of the back of my hair since August 16th

Annoying as it may be, The Collar is forcing me to move at a slower, more intentional pace.  Here’s to hoping that what I have learned thus far really sticks on the back side of my recovery.

Ultimate Reset Review – Quick Overview

10 Sep

Not a lot of people would be crazy enough to take on a 21-day cleanse after surgery, but 3 weeks post-surgery, I decided that I needed to basically RESET my system from all the drugs, trauma of surgery, etc.  My digestion has been horrible since the surgery (lack of exercise means lack of movement with your entire system), I’ve had the strangest metal like in my mouth that has made certain foods that I normally love taste horrible and I am finding that I started eating not the healthiest “mushy” foods.

Ultimate Reset is a 21-day cleanse program offered by Beach Body.   I have been following several people on the cleanse at various stages, to decide if this was something I wanted to do.  I knew that I would probably never do this cleanse at any other time as you are not able to exercise during the cleanse.  Also, I knew that being home would be best as there is a set schedule for taking all of the supplements and time invested in the food preparation.  If there was ever going to be a right time – now is that time.

I have done a lot of research on the supplements used and I really believe in this program…but I always find that there is so much more validity in words when you try it for yourself…so here I am, trying it for myself.

Here is a quick overview and please, if you want to reach more about the cleanse, head on over to this link and watch the videos http://myultimatereset.com/basefitmarin).  Also, please feel free to ask any questions along the way.  I provide reviews of products and I try to be honest, but I don’t always hit everything.

Week One is Reclaim:

You have a set meal plan that you follow for all 3 meals each day.  During the first week, you are allowed eggs twice for breakfast and chicken and salmon each once during the week.  The remainder of the week is predominantly vegetarian.  I know that Paleo folks may shun this as both grains and beans are included, but there have been enough people who have done the program now (yep, even CrossFitters and non-vegetarian/vegan folks) and will skeptical, the results are in (many do blood panel work in advance.  I will do mine in the end as I had all my blood work done right before my surgery).

I have food aversions (yep, I did the full diet elimination last year to find out which foods are on my high sensitivity list), so I am mixing the food for the week.  My aversions include soy, nightshade vegetables (so no potatoes, peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, and tomatoes), milk (but am okay with yogurt), citrus acid, gluten, avocados, coconut, and peanuts.  I did email the consultant for Ultimate Reset and was told that I can switch out any meals within the same week for those meals containing ingredients that I need to avoid. 

Day 1 – Breakfast: I did fruit plate and Greek yogurt.  I am fine with plain yogurt, so I don’t add sweetener.  I didn’t do the toast as I don’t do wheat bread.  Lunch: Greek salad with hardboiled egg instead of chicken breast.  Dinner: black beans and rice tacos, with salsa and steamed kale.   

I am a big planner so I did all shopping on Saturday, washed and cut up all vegetables and put them in the proper marinades (EVO, Him Salt, etc).  Yesterday I made a pot of MISO soup and a pot of the zucchini cashew soup.  I roasted a variety of nuts/seeds for salads and I made quinoa, brown rice and the roasted root vegetables (since they take the longest to cook).  I find that it is best for me to be able to pull food from the refrigerator in the evenings without having to take a lot of time to prepare a meal.  I find those are the times when I snack until dinner is ready, so I am taking those extra steps to ensure success.

 

Day 2 – I did gluten free steel cut oatmeal, 1C berries and yogurt.  Lunch: Quinoa salad and micro green salad.  Dinner: Miso vegetable Soup, Stir Fry Veggies and 1/2 C Brown Rice.

You drink approximately a gallon of water today and 36 ounces of that water is 30 minutes before meals with Himalayan salt provided as well as other supplements.

Day One I felt a little hungry midday and I suspect that is due, in large part, to the fact that I was preparing all of the soups. During my normal Sunday food prep, I generally don’t eat regular meals as I am tasting all of the foods that I am preparing for the week.

Day Two – it’s been more than 3 hours since I finished breakfast and I am not even a little hungry.  Pretty surprising for me, but the steel-cut oatmeal packs a serious punch.  I will continue to give an update and review.

As a side note.  I didn’t take a starting weight.  The day of my surgery I weighed 126lbs and I lost 8lbs while in the hospital from my surgery, but have since regained some of that weight.  I will take an end weight and I will take measurements later today to see where I am.  I also didn’t take any pictures yesterday.  I was a chaotic day, so I will try to do pictures today or tomorrow for start and finish.

Have questions?  Feel free to ask away.

~ Amy

 

Back to Square One

7 Sep

Yeseterday was filled with frustrations and humbling moments as I realized that when I am finally released to get back to any type of workout, that return is going to be incredibly painful.  I have been trying to walk a few miles each day, if for nothing else, to have something else to look at and to enjoy the fresh air before I go completely nuts from being inside all day.

I dropped something in the bathroom and am not supposed to lean forward at all (you have no idea how many times I have leaned just from habit…they probably should’ve extended my hard collar to a body collar to avoid this mistake), so I squatted down to pick the item up and hit the doorknob with my shoulder really hard.  I screamed, not a pain scream, but that kind of frustrating scream that sounds like, “What the hell!  I am so OVER this stupid collar, and being locked up, and not being able to do anything!” – you know, that kind of scream.  That was my cue to get out of the house immediately.

I had no place to go and no one to see, but I needed to get out.  It was such a beautiful day and I was feeling “adventurous” (intrepretation = going to walk a path I normally run to see if I can get up over this massive hill).  I start marching up our street towards this massive hill that I normally run with great ease (not fast, but with ease).  This was my test – can I at least walk this hill now that I haven’t done any form of exercise in 3 weeks (yep, 3 weeks).

Humbled, but not defeated, I made it up and over the hill (TWICE since I took the same route back).  I had to stop about every 5 steps for a break. WOW – this is what I have been reduced to, walk, pause, walk, pause.  This is hard.  I can’t believe how quickly my fitness level has declined.

Back to square one! Yep, so it seems, that is where I will start.  All of a sudden, I will have to start slow, with modifications and progress slowly.  This is not a place where I am comfortable.  While I don’t have a problem giving this advice to others,  I am not used to take anything slowly.  The teacher will now be the student.  I realize that it is about time to think about daily meditation and doses of daily affirmations and small goal setting.  It will be a long road before I am going at 110%, but perhaps this was the test I was meant to be given.  For so long I have been striving to achieve a better balance in my life, maybe this is that time.  Now is the time to make those life changes so when I come out of my recovery on the backside, life is more balanced.

I often move so quickly focusing on what needs to get done (I am a doer and giver) instead of simply “being in the moment”

Last night, I had the rare opportunity to be alone with my son.  We spent 45 minutes taking turns reading a book together.  At the end my son said, “Thank you mommy for reading with me.  Can we do that again tomorrow?”

Everything in life happens for a reason…I have been waitiing for the storm that is my recovery, when all I need to do is learn to dance in the rain.

 

Kids don’t lie.

5 Sep

The long holiday weekend had such beautiful weather and Saturday morning I was cleared to go out and starting walking ~ nothing fancy or crazy, but I will take it.  Being stuck in the house all day, everyday, with no one to talk to, feeling stuck and frustrated was really getting me down.  I could feel myself wanting to crawl out of my own skin, becoming increasingly more frustrated that I need so much help to do the simplest of tasks.  I can tell you this now, all of us take for granted being able to wash our own hair, being able to open a pill bottle to take your medication, take a bowl out of the cabinet, being able to take warm clothes out of the dryer or being able to get in a car and get yourself where you need to go.

Saturday marked a day of pure frustration that seemed to just consume me.  I got out of the shower, got myself dressed, picked up my keys and was determined to drive myself to the store to do the grocery shopping.  I was tired of feeling helpless…though let’s be honest, I am not supposed to push a shopping cart, pick up anything over 5lbs or reach over my head or bend forward, so I was obviously being completely irrational because I wouldn’t have been able to do the shopping on my own had I actually made it to the store without killing myself or someone else.  Rational or not, I was tired of not being able to just simply “GO” – where?  It doesn’t matter! for how long? until I am done!  I was a caged animal needing to break out.  Don’t worry, I came to my senses and waited for Mark to come with me to the grocery store.  Mostly bexause I wouldn’t have made it two blocks without crashing. 

The entire day was filled with so many frustrating moments where I felt like I was going to explode.  I imagined myself throwing my hard collar into the street and running over it over and over again…I suspect that once I am cleared to bid my collar farewell,  someone will find it flattened out in the middle of our street.  I have no problem admitting that there are so many moments when I am difficult, but I am okay with that right now as this is a difficult time for me.   At one point, Mark said he understood that I was frustrated…I think that there was steam emanating from my head.  Understand?  Really, he understands?  How is that possible!  He has never had surgery.  He has never had his neck sliced open.  He doesn’t have to ask or wait for help for almost everything.  He understands?  Those who know me; know me well enough to know that was just adding fuel to the fire. 

Saturday ended with me getting a pill stuck in my throat and I couldn’t get it to move in either direction no matter what I did.  No one can hit my on the back and the heimlich manuver would undoubtedly land me back in the hospital.  I started to cry out of pure frustration and exhaustion with the realization that I still have weeks to go before this gets better.  After 10 minutes of struggling and gagging, I finally vomit all the water and the pill all over the living room floor.  I feel relief but so defeated.  I am done for the day.

Sunday was a blur.  I can’t actually remember what we did for most of the day.  I only recall that we made it to the pool.

Monday was my first day out for an actual walk.  My daughter and I walked to the pool and while I would have loved to have walked longer as it was such a nice day out, but it was nice to walk and talk.  It is rare that we get those quiet moments and it was nice to just listen to her share about kindergarten and how much she is enjoying her class and her new friends.  The pool was filled with neighborhood families and my daughter was having a blast.

I was just sitting under the shade watch and play, but as I am sure you can imagine, it’s difficult to be inconspicious when you are the only person in the pool wearing a hard collar and have two wires hanging from her neck attached to some electric pad attached to her dress.

A little boy, he must have been 7 or 8 was pointing at me and asking his dad about my neck.  His dad was trying to explain to him about my neck and then finally turned to ask me what happened.  I was explaining what happened and about the surgery and the boy asked, “Can I see it?”.  The dad said it was okay.  I opened the hard collar brace and showed him the scar and the two pads connected to my neck down to the bone stimulator.  The boy turned to his dad and said, “See Dad, I told you it was going to look like someone tried to chop her head off.” 

KIDS DON’T LIE!  All the adults who has seen my scar have been downplaying how bad it looks (duh, I see it everyday, I know it looks bad).  But kids, they don’t lie.  They give you the raw honest to go truth.  I have to say, his honesty was refreshing and actually made me laugh.  If you ever want to know the god honest truth, ask a little kid.  They will give it to you unfiltered and raw.

Two weeks behind me…ready to start moving

4 Sep

Last Friday marked week 2 since my 3-level anterior laminectomy fusion.  It also marked the end of my first week back to my daytime job, but thankfully from home.  Sitting all day is challenging without cervical spine surgery, but I have had to get up and either lay down or move around to find a comfortable position and also allow my neck a break from being in front of a computer all day. 

This also marks the first week that I have been able to move to mushy foods!  Yep, lots of overly steamed broccoli, mushy scrambled eggs and yogurt.  I still gag on pills, bread, and most other foods and I am sticking to at least two protein shakes daily and drinking lots of water, but really making sure that I don’t overdo it.

My body is still healing from the after effects of surgery.  The medication and dehydration has done little to help my digestive tract and the stress/trauma of the surgery has some of my hair falling out.  Equally challenging is the overall lack of sleep I am getting because it is challenging to find a comfortable position   I keep hearing that all of this gets better by week 4, so I have 2 more weeks to go.

I am going to start making strides…literally!  I am going to try and get out and walk for an hour each day ~ get my moving a least a little.  It would also be nice to see something other than the walls of the house and it might motivate me to finally put on some regular clothes instead of spending all day in my PJs.

I am still having a really hard time seeing that scar on my neck and I wonder every day if it will heal.  Here is my scar just before last Friday…I don’t know, maybe I am looking at it too closely, but it doesn’t look amazingly better to me.  The little gadget I am holding in my left hand is the bone stimulator (no inappropriate jokes please) which are the two pads attached to my neck.  They are meant to help with the fusion and increase the overall chance of success.  Let’s hope everyone is right.

One Week Post-Surgery ~ Stitches Out & Scar/Incision Revealed

30 Aug

The harsh reality of being at home without around the clock nurses to help me quickly settled in.  My first day home was Tuesday (5 days post surgery) and I was feeling overwhelmed and struggling to fight impulses to try and clean everything.  I am used to sweeping and sanitizing regularly and like the house to have that clean smell.  Also, for those who have never been to our house, it’s small and with two small kids, it can get messy and cluttered very quickly.

I realized that I try to tuck lots of stuff into cabinets, that doesn’t work when you are not allowed to lift your arms above your head.  I am not allowed to lean forward or bend from the hips, but instead squat straight down keeping the head upright…you don’t realize how often you bend and lean until you are trying to remember not to do so.  I also find that I keep reaching for things even when I squat down and I am not supposed to do that either.  If I weren’t in a hard collar, I’d probably be (1) in even more pain and (2) prevent the bones from fusing properly.

Once home from the hospital, I started wearing a bone stimulator 24/7.  With each level of fusion beyond one level, you have a 20% less chance of fusing completely.  With 3 level fusion, my risk is 40%, so I have been very diligent in wearing the bone stimulator 24/7.

I also quickly realize, once home that I have to be more diligent with my medication as I no longer have the little black button to press to dispense pain medicaition or a nurse to bring me muscle relaxers every 6 hours.  I quickly fImageound that my pain level could easily get out of control if I didn’t stay on top of taking medications on time.

Sleeping is also a challenging because there isn’t a comfortable position with the hard collar neck brace regardless of how many pillows.  Dare I say…I miss the hospital bed and the ability to set the incline to a perfect angle.

Realizing no matter what, you just aren’t going to look pretty when you can’t comb your own hair, wash your own hair and nothing looks stylish with a hard collar feels harsh when you know you will look like this for 6-10 weeks.  Not to mention how quickly the muscles have all atrophied so quickly – who knew.  Ah and how your digestive system just feels off because of all the medication, hydration and lack of exercise.  This is how my neck looked the day before I was to see the nurse.

There is a lot of chaos in the house the first week home as the kids are back in school (so sad that I didn’t get to take Kylah to her first day of kindergarten or get a photo as she walked into her class for the first time).  I had help for me the first few days from my brother and dad, but a lot of the focus goes to the kids.  I start to wonder if it would’ve been a good idea to entertain going into the assistive care living for the first 6 weeks.  I know that this is challenging on others, but this is challenging on me physically, emotionally and mentally.  Unless you have had this surgery, it is difficult to know how someone feels or to even tell them how to feel (those of you who know me well, know I don’t do well with being told how I should feel).  I envision myself feeling an overwhelming sense of joy once I am able to take off the collar, drive (did I mention I was told 10 weeks before I can drive) and do at least some form of exercise again (I was told that in 8-10 weeks, I can ride a stationary bike – whoa, watch out folks). 

Friday ~ One week post-surgery and this is the day that I see the nurse to have my bandages removed and the ends of my dissolvible stitches removed.  I managed to get out of PJs and put on a sundress I could get on without going over my head.  It’s amazing how hot you get wearing a hard collar, especially on an already warm day.

Today is the first day I get a look at the damage that was done ~ wow, much worse than I thought it would be.  It looks like my skin had a very bad reaction to the bandaging, which makes sense since it was both itching and burning. 

This was really hard to see on my own body ~ holy cow.  How is this possibly ever going to heal to the point where it is not visible?  I am trying to stay positive, I really am and I am really hoping that over time the scar will fade into the natural crease…I am hoping it will be turtleneck season by the time I am back in the office and I may need to come up with a new line of fitness tops to disguise my scar when I teach.

We will continue to take pictures every few days (or at least once a week).

In case you are wondering, those two pads on either side of my neck attach to the bone stimulator, which is meant to help the bones fuse.  I get to wear it 24/7 for 3 months.

As I said in my very first post, this is meant to be honest, so if folks are looking for me to pretend that this is all okay and I am just moving along business as usual, but wearing a cast ~ sorry, but I can’t make that promise.  This is probably the biggest challenge ever for me in so many ways.  Most days I feel exhausted, am in pain, am frustrated, feel down and out and wonder how I will make it through the recovery.  The only answer I come up with is: one day at a time.

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