Getting back to where I feel most comfortable…

23 Jun

If you read my very first post, you know that after months and months of testing, I had an extreme…I am talking dangerous B12 deficiency requiring 2-3x weekly injections for 6 months and then tapering off to 1x a week for another 6 months.  I was also told that I needed to start eating meat…my naturopath even suggested some buffalo…the thought alone made me want to gag.  As a vegan for more than a decade, the thought of meat in my diet made me cringe…so I started with eggs. 
 
I then started researching the Paleo Diet and starting trying out the recipes.  I was cooking chicken, using coconut oil, even baking bacon (which vegan or otherwise, it smells good even if it doesn’t taste great to me), making Paleo bars, etc…and I tell you, it takes a lot of time.  I did a 21-Day Sugar Detox to see if the conversion to being a meat eater would be easier.   I tried weeks where I would ditch my morning smoothie (which, BTW was awesome back then, but seriously rocks the boat now…more on that soon).

I tried balancing out my meals with eggs or protein, healthy fats and lots of vegetables and some fruits.  As a vegan, I was used to eat lots of fruits and vegetables and rice and sometimes gluten free bread.  I will be the first to admit that I love bread and if there is going to be something worth cheating for…it’s going to be a warm french baguette from the Farmer’s Market or from Good Earth.  I digress…it was hard.  I kept telling myself that now that I was CrossFitting, shifting to Paleo would improve my performance, I would get leaner, stronger and but a lean, clean, wrecking machine.

Unfortunately for me that didn’t happen.  I was having serious digestive issues all the time (even after a year of taking digestive enzymes), I was finding that I was having sensitivities to foods that are big in the Paleo Diet.  I was gaining weight…not of the lean muscle mass kind, but the kind where I couldn’t fit into half the clothes in my closet – WTF, that is NO BUENO.  I didn’t feel better and I didn’t think that I was performing better ~ runs were sluggish and I felt thirsty all the time.  I decided to start toying with my diet again to see what changes might make me feel better. 
A friend turned me onto Shakeology ~ a chocolate shake that included all of the ingredients I wanted and needed without needing to add anything extra?  I crunched the numbers and this was a better choice than my old smoothie, so I decided to give it a try for one month and see what happened.  Well, it’s not Paleo, because it contains Whey – but guess what, it takes me about 6 minutes to make and freeze 3 breakfast smoothies!  After a month, I felt better, digestion was getting better and I had more energy…so, decision made ~ shakes a staying.  I love these so much, that I stand behind them and offer them as part of my fitness and nutrition coaching.  I have done the 3-Day Cleanse with these with great success.  I am super excited that they are coming out with a Vegan Chocolate Shake using Peaberry and Rice based proteins…the current berry one is a little too sweet for me.  Check out the ingredients for yourself.  http://myshakeology.com/esuite/home/basefitmarin 
I wanted to keep moving in a positive direction and see how I could feel completely better again.  Was there a way where I could get back to where I was a year or so again, moving back closer to being Vegan without ending up with that B12 deficiency again?  If I were going to move back in the other direction, I needed to make sure that the protein choices I made were smart choices and that my diet was rich in B12 sources that would not lead to deficiencies.  Well, with Shakeology, the B vitamins and protein are there and with eggs keeping one yolk, I am getting the fat and the B12 I need.  Now, I don’t need gluten…that just tears up my stomach, but I like brown rice…in fact I really like it.  Not necessarily every day, but I like to make a big pot of it and have the option of the entire family having this over the week.  So brown rice is also back in.  Also, my kids love homemade baked cookies and I love toying with healthier recipes, so back come the cookies using Rice and Quinoa flour, grass-fed Irish butter and vegan (dark chocolate) chocolate chips.  These come out light and almost cake light tasting…these are a hit and a great treat.  As for fruits and vegetables – there are lots and lots of them…and I don’t have to count calories or measure these foods…folks don’t get fat from eating lots and lots of vegetables…especially not all of the greens I love to eat. 
 
I am now about 3 weeks into moving back to being quasi-vegan keeping eggs and Shakeology and I feel a world better.  I feel stronger.  I have lost weight and am leaner (only 5 more pounds to go to get back to where I was).  I don’t feel sluggish.  I am sleeping better.  I am not counting calories or measuring food.  I feel satisfied.  My runs are stronger and faster.  And guess what, some exercises I was really struggling with in CrossFit I can now do.  Is it because of all of these changes?  Who the heck knows for sure, but what I do know is that I feel so much better…so I am sticking with these changes for now.  I will do blood work in about 3 months to see where my levels are, but I think that I have found a winning balance here. 
 
I know that Paleo loving CrossFitters may not agree, but ultimately, I support and follow clean eating and finding a balance with good healthy food choices that help you feel and perform well every single day.  For me, I have found that balance.  So for now, I am going to be a quasi-vegan, running mom, CrossFitter, fitness instructor, enjoying a thick chocolate shake every day and eating omelets packed with spinach, salsa, olives, broccoli and lots of spicy seasonings…YUM YUM.
 
Hope you all can see that finding that balance for yourself is really important…listen to your body!
 
Enjoy the weekend folks.
Amy
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