Saturday, February 15, 2014

10,000 Steps to Health

So for a few years now on our health journey, we have come across many who have suggested that we might give up wheat.  Neither Mike nor I found the idea very interesting, on the consideration of giving up burgers and pizza alone!  But last fall, while coming home from our trip to Salt Lake, we visited a friend who recently moved to western Colorado (a little community called Cedar Edge, now one of our top 3 for consideration to moving there).  These friends have a son who works at Natural Grocer (aka Vitamin Cottage) in Grand Junction and used to be a personal trainer, and whom Mike worked with on our friends (whom I shall begin to call Gloria and Gary) barn for a summer in Jackson.... So we know, like, and trust him.  Through encouragement of the son, Gloria and Gary, have taken on a healthier lifestyle.  They love living in Cedar Edge, primarily for the great produce in the area.  We were justly inspired.  Gloria cooked many wonderful things that were gluten free, whole food based during our visit, and we were encouraged.  She was looking and feeling great.... (Gary too).

Gloria also mentioned that Natural Grocers everywhere have free nutritional training that is sorely underused.  I decided the next chance I got I would go get some "training".  It is, in fact, a GREAT resource.  Although come to think of it, I haven't gone back, perhaps I should.  Anyhow the gem I got from the trainer was that most people don't go gluten free (wheat free) forever, they do it for 6 months or so, until their body has had a chance to heal itself from the effects of eating wheat (which is in most every processed food, along with sugar).  Then you add back wheat, on a limited basis, and see how it makes you feel.  If it doesn't feel bad, then you can eat it.. If it does, then you won't WANT to eat it.  I was very inspired.  I thought I could really do this for a year.  So November 1, I went Gluten free.  Survived the holidays with no wheat, barley, or rye.  I actually was fairly surprised how easy it was.  2013 was the first year ever that I didn't even THINK about baking Christmas cookies, and I didn't miss it.. I didn't even realize that until the holiday was almost over.

Next I read Wheat Belly.  I had a friend give me that book probably 2 years earlier, and I finally picked it up.  Oh my goodness!  It is a very interesting read and has some very compelling arguments against eating wheat.  Wheat destroys the lining of your gut and causes (amongst many other things) deterioration of the intestinal lining and results in Leaky Gut Syndrome, which Mike has been diagnosed with, and is suspected to be blamed for many of his food allergies... which, by the way, is why we started this journey anyway, to heal Mike's allergies.  He agreed he ought to try it too.  He was already not eating non-natural Pork or any processed meats, peanuts, bananas, any dairy of any kind.... Before he thought he didn't want to give up wheat, because what would he have left... Now he thinks if he can give up wheat for a year, perhaps the other allergies would get better... And besides that, even with as restricted as his diet was, he would get much better for a while, and then start to develop a new allergy.... all symptoms of Leaky Gut.

We have a friend that is a acupuncturist that has gone Paleo, and encourages us to try it every chance she gets.  Over November when I'd mention to any friends that we had gone Gluten Free, shockingly many of them announced that they had gone Paleo, and were feeling great.  Mike and I decided that would only be one more step on our journey, to go Paleo.  A bigger step for me, however, because I was eating dairy, unlike Mike, and I LOVE sugar... and have a harder time with sugar than Mike.  Paleo, if you don't know, is eating like humans ate forever, until the fairly recent development of agriculture... SO to eat Paleo you are avoiding all grains, all legumes, and all dairy, instead you eat lots of grass fed meats, and vegetables, seeds and nuts.  That's it in a nutshell.

SO with all that in mind, we decided to clear out our pantry of all of those foods before New Years and try to be very strict Paleo in 2014, then see where that take us.  We signed up for a 2 week detox through our Chiropractor, which started January 27.  I was chomping at the bit to get going, so I gave up dairy January 1, but alas didn't give up sugar until January 27.... So the good news was that I was able to break myself in easy, over the 3 month period.  The better news, is that this is going GREAT!  I am shocked at my lack of cravings for anything, I am not hungry, I am satisfied with less food, and I'm beginning to feel like I want to get more active... All supposedly side effects of the Paleo diet.  I gave Mike a Paleo cookbook for Christmas and he has been very creative coming up with all sorts of fabulous dishes.  It's a big change for him, but his culinary skills are really growing.

To shift gears a little, a couple of girlfriends (two of which had gone Paleo themselves) came for movie night to my house in early January.  Somehow we happened upon my vision board from 2013.  I have intended to do a vision board each year, but realistically I have done them every 2 years for the last while.  So I really wasn't on a path to do a vision board this year, but the girls talked me into it, and wanted me to organized a "spa" day with massages, hot tubbing, warm fuzzies, atmosphere to create your dreams and we would all create visions boards.  So we did that... had a great relaxing fun day, got a massage, and produced this.

The week before this weekend there was a "New Year, New You" seminar that Mike and I listened to on line.  One of the speakers hit home with the idea of a treadmill desk.  I had never heard of that before, but I googled it and found the one below (which is on my vision board) and found out that while expensive, many people kluge together their own.  I do have a treadmill, the wheels started turning.  The concept is not that you walk hard and try to get your heart rate up, but that you walk for a few hours a day at a leisurely 1-2 mph so that you can work, but still move.  Currently when I work, I tend to hunker down in my comfy IKEA chairs in my living room, cozy up with a blanket, put a computer on my lap and hibernate for HOURS.... Not good either.  Some changes needed to happen.

Oh also that lecture I heard touted the virtues of wearing a pedometer and walking 10,000 steps a day, a goal which I have embraced a number of times over the last few years, but not so much lately.  I immediately pulled out the pedometer, got a new battery, and was dismayed by the fact that my regular routine was only producing about 2000 steps a day.  I NEED a treadmill desk.  I mentioned earlier that I am feeling more like moving a bit, so all is aligned.

I had also heard a few years ago that it is healthier to have a standing height desk, that people live longer, merely by being encouraged to stand most of the day. humm, that ties into the treadmill desk.  My brother has had a standing height desk in his office for the past few years, and I happened to see him the first of February so I could discuss his successes.

I also had on my New Year resolution goals to work on having a paper-free desk.  IN other words to abandon my habit of piling paper onto my desk with the intent to read it someday.... Really!  Who am I kidding!  Never gets read.  Just piles up, really no reason to keep it there, cluttering my space... and therefore my mind.

All this in mind, and the vision board to remind me daily, last weekend I swapped desks with Mike, for a table that adjusts to standing height.  I cleaned up all the paper off of my desk, and moved my trading computer up there.  I left the other desk low for now, so that I can have options and don't have to work at the high desk all day, but it would be easy enough to put that desk on blocks if I want them both high.

I found a board and some clamps in the garage, sanded the board and clamped it only my treadmill and Voila!! it works great... (I am typing on it now).  My made over office gives me a reason to want to be in that room.... so I've abandoned the IKEA chairs in the living room for evening relaxing activity.  Which in itself will be healthier for me.  I'm pretty excited for all the changes we are implementing fairly rapidly.
In the three days since I have put this together I have walked 90 minutes a day and got off merely because I don't want to overdo.  And, BTW I walked over 13,000 steps each of the days since I put it in.... Yeah!