inflammation, Open Blog, Uncategorized

Dealing with Inflammation

I have terrible inflammation.  It hurts and I know its a symptom of something worse going on inside my body.  In today’s blog I’m going to offer some ideas on how to deal with this inflammation and swelling using my experiences and some found during research that I have yet to try. (Yesterday’s blog: Inflammation & You)

#1: Chronic inflammation is a serious problem and should be discussed and presented to a medical professional, which I am not.  I’m just a regular person whose had some experiences to share.

#2: It’s really important to identify what is causing the inflammation.  It’s natural to want to treat the inflammation because it can come with some mild to severe pain, can limit your range of motion and just be unsightly in general.  I hate when I can’t fit into my wedding ring because my fingers have become swollen sausages!

#3: After you’ve identified the root causes (#2), you need to deal with them.  It’s of no help to know what’s causing the problems but ignore it.  Basically, you’re going to need to get healthy and heal yourself.  This can be done in many ways, but you definitely want the support and guidance from your doctor or you could be risking making things worse.

Sometimes, you come across something that impacts your life and things change for the better.  Sometimes these great changes improve other areas that you were not intending.  Personally, I desperately want to have children with my husband.  I’m overweight and have serious health problems, like PCOS (polycycstic ovarian syndrome), anxiety and allergies with a lovely (not really) chronic sinus infection.  Most of my health issues are intertwined but are easily seem as different issues.

I’ve had a lot of failures but the many doctors that I have seen seem to think that if I just lose weight I should have no problem getting pregnant.  Having PCOS makes it dang near impossible and being sick with sinus infections keeps me in bed a lot making it difficult to go to the gym and workout.  I’m a mess.

I am happy to share that I am far less a mess today that I was even 1 year ago.  I stumbled across Keto from a friend at work and I am so grateful!  Not only is it easy to follow, I’m not hungry all the time, or crabby, or starving…and it worked!  Not only has it been working, I’m getting healthier in more ways that just losing weight!  And, I’m also having success with improving my other health issues, like anxiety.  I went in to try to lose some weight and now my hormones and blood sugar are balanced and where they should be, I’m no longer a prediabetic, I’ve seen improvements with my mental health and I’ve really seen a difference in my inflammation!

It took a long time to identify that I had anxiety issues.  I thought I was losing my mind and doctor’s couldn’t figure it out either.  Mostly it’s the anxiety and burnt adrenal glands that seem to impact my inflammation the most.  Now, I have noticed that I can handle more stress (good or bad) before a reaction…and, when I do have a reaction, the inflammation goes away much more quickly.  I’m loving this improvement and it gives me hope that one day I might be done with it altogether.

For me, the ketogenic diet really helped me to address many mental and physical health issues that I have.  In addition, I take supplements and prescribed medications to address the problems individually.  Technically, I do not do anything in efforts to rid myself of the inflammation as it is now healing itself.  It kind of helped me to know that the swelling was a reaction to something else going wrong.

Whatever you do, follow the three steps above to begin dealing with your inflammation.  It’s so important that we do not ignore this as just something that happens.  Swelling and inflammation should not be ignored because its your body telling you that something is seriously wrong!

Here are a few things you might want to ask your doctor about or research to help address inflammation:

  • Adrenal and cortisol relief herb/supplement…I like the one from Dr. Berg but just started the one from Mother’s Market and don’t see much difference.
  • Avoid or limit certain foods that may increase or irritate inflammation: sugar, high fructose corn syrup, margarine, vegetable oils, grains and grain flours (breads and pastas), french fries, alcohol, processed meats, MSG, aspartame (most diet sodas), too much protein, dairy (milk, heavy whipping cream,
  • Add certain foods that help reduce inflammation: fresh fish (not farmed), tomatoes, avocado and olive oils, avocados, green leafy veggies (kale, spinach, etc), strawberries, blueberries,  nuts, coffee (but don’t go too crazy), garlic, spices and herbs (basil, thyme, oregano, curcumin, chili peppers), green tea, onions

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please write in the comments section below.  I’m hoping that this helps even one person out there in this world to feel better and know that something can change for the better.  Also, if you would like to share your experiences with inflammation, please add it to the comments below so that you too can potentially help others.

Feel free to follow this blog to be notified of new postings and share the information to help others!

PS-Tomorrow I’m interviewing a nutritionist today about inflammation and I could not be more excited!  I will be recording my first video for many months and will let you know what it’s posted on YouTube for your enjoyment.  Keep a look out!

Health Progress, Keto Basics, Open Blog, Uncategorized

Inflammation & You

What do you know about inflammation?

Quite honestly, when I thought of inflammation pre-keto I mostly thought about the way my fingers and neck swell in response to a stressful event in my life.  I didn’t realize that inflammation has such a huge impact on the body.  I had no idea that inflammation is a symptom of something more, as well as being adding strain to other areas of your health.

It seems that it doesn’t matter if the stress/anxiety is caused because of joy and happiness or drama and a heavy heart, my body still responds with an inflammatory response in a negative way.  In the year that I have been following the ketogenic life, I have noticed a real change in my inflammation.  It takes more stress to cause a reaction and it resolves itself much more quickly.

In addition to following keto and avoiding foods to avoid inflammatory response (except dairy…I’m just not there yet), I’ve worked really hard to get my anxiety under control, remove unnecessary stress, added supplements that support my adrenal glands and cortisol responses and allowed myself time to heal.  The latter seems to be the most important.  Nothing is an overnight success but requires time and effort to allow the body to heal.

Definition:  According to Medicinet.com, inflammation is “A localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a result of infection, irritation, or injury.”

Additional information about health risks and issues associated with inflammation:

Inflammation is a process by which the body’s white blood cells and substances they produce protect us from infection with foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses. … In these diseases, called autoimmune diseases, the body’s normally protective immune system causes damage to its own tissues.” -WebMD

I read an interesting article from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Inflammation that I recommend you checking out.  The basic gist is that inflammation can be good to protect you, but it can also cause problems, including, “arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, blindness, cancer, diabetes and, quite possibly, autism and mental illness,” which are obviously bad.  It can even kill you (that’s the ugly, in case you were wondering).

In what ways does inflammation impact you?
What has helped you with your inflammation?

Did you know you can be having inflammation as an allergic response?  This week I will be interviewing Laura Maldonado, a Nutritionist with information that can help us all with improving our health through Keto, paying close attention to identifying and dealing with inflammation.

Stay tuned for the interview video to be posted on YouTube.  For up to date information, be sure to follow this blog and join the BeckDoes keto support group on Facebook for shared experiences, recipes, mildly humorous memes/jokes, and the support of those trying to improve their health.

Extra note: the image is from Violet from Willy Wonka and the Choclate Factory.  I thought it was fitting because when I have issues of inflammation I feel just like this.  Well, not blue, just round and uncomfortable.

Health Progress, Open Blog, Uncategorized

Anxiety & Keto, my experience

I’ve been doing Keto now for 1 year and 15 days.  But I’ve been dealing with anxiety for much longer.  Before I began Keto I was doing fairly well and was stable on my medication.  I saw these two, Keto and anxiety, as very separate not thinking one could have an impact on the other.

Technically, when I started Keto, I think I was off my Lexapro for almost a month.  I think many of us find that Keto has greatly helped improve mental health but seems to make it spark up at the beginning.  In combination of excess work/life stress and the beginning of Keto, I had to go back on Lexapro and stabilize.

It wasn’t until about April 2018 that my psychologist suggested that I try again.  She really felt that I was ready.  She was also super supportive on Keto.  I had to wait until the end of the school year because I knew from last summer it would cause some problems.

July 2018 I started stepping down from the Lexapro to 7.5mg daily

August 2018 – 5.0mg daily

September 2018 – 2.5mg daily

And in about 10 days I will be on 0mg of lexapro daily.

Each time I dropped I had a freak out/panic attack.  This last step really has me going though.  This is my second panic attack and I just want this all to stop.  It’s totally worth it because I hate this feeling and I don’t want to go through this withdraw again.

When it gets bad I take my prescribed Ativan to help me calm down.  The part that I hate the worst, more than being frustrated and irritable about every little thing, it feels like I’m jittery with electricity throughout my body.  It feels like my heart is pounding but I am sitting on my bed doing not much of anything.

You might be wondering why I’m writing about my anxiety on a Keto blog.  The fact of the matter is that Keto effects every single aspect of your mental and physical health.  Sometimes it can be a little rough in the beginning, especially if you’re already having an issue with anxiety, but after that little bump, there is nothing but a brain healing itself.

Keto has helped me more than group and individual therapy, medication, stress reduction, and meditation ever has.  Everything I could do was to help me identify and cope with my issues.  I really couldn’t do much to help heal my brain.

I started Keto without the goal of improving mental health but am excited to tell you that Keto really does help with brain issues.  Now, I am not a medical professional.  This is my experience.  I ask that you use common sense and the advice of your medical professionals.  But don’t be afraid to add Keto to your regime.

If I had known Keto could help my brain heal itself, I think I would have tried it sooner.  It’s was a pleasant surprise.

What are your experiences with Keto and mental health?  Have you had any improvements?

Long story short, I’m 10 days from being off of my medication and I attribute this all to Keto.  I expect a few bumps after I’m completely off, a few bad days that I should keep myself from other humans so I don’t freak out and take it out on them.

___________________________________________________________

For those of you who haven’t ready about my anxiety adventures before in this blog.  I’m sharing because when I looked for information about how people got off their anxiety medications and their experiences, I simply couldn’t find it.  It was scary for me.  I hope that someone can benefit from me sharing my story in some way.

Please take care of yourself.

Previous posting: Getting off Medication

 

 

Health Progress, Keto Beginner, Open Blog, Uncategorized

1 Year Anniversary

It’s been a year.  Whoa.  I cannot believe I managed to make it this far.  Not because the keto lifestyle is hard or I’m hungry or whatever, but because I have tried and failed so many times and so many ways just to get healthy.

The Starting Point

Let’s talk about where I was when I was finally willing to give Keto a try.  I had just returned to work after a summer vacation of trying to lose weight with traditional diet and exercise, I had been taking the metformin prescribed by my dr to help me control the insulin resistance, PCOS and prediabetes, I had zero hope of getting pregnant, I was wearing dresses that were very forgiving if I gained or list (but you know I was gaining), my anxiety was okay so I was able to get off of my lexapro (until I went back to work, it got crazy and I had to go back on nearly immediately), I kept swelling and turning red with achy joints and didn’t know why (adrenals were shot and I didn’t know it), I wasn’t sleeping very well, I had regular and daily headaches due to stress, sinuses and who knows what else along with migraines that were pretty frequent, regular chronic sinus infections which meant a lot of antibiotics regardless of what I did to try to keep it at bay, regular-ish cycles which really weren’t that regular but I did have them (thank you PCOS), nails that split and broke and peeled which caused concern about the bones I couldn’t see and their health, I was always hungry, had IBS and chronic, daily diarrhea (those pool signs were a joke because I never had diarrhea from being contagiously ill, just from everything else in my life), exhaustion and sometimes I had a hard time focusing and thinking straight…I actually could go on.  But I think you can see here that I was a hot mess!

At that point, 1 year ago, I was 37 years old with no idea how to fix myself.  I knew I was killing myself and had often in recent years simply given up on how to be healthy because everything I did failed so miserably.  If I managed to lose anything, I would gain it back immediately.  I spent a lot of time and money trying new diets, old diets, cleanses, supplements, etc.  I could not figure out what my body needed to even survive.  At 37 I found myself ready to begin desperate measures…surgery.  I actually researched various surgeries.  I had even gone to the classes my insurance company provided to help me learn more about health, lose weight, use their dietary supplements and food replacements (that aren’t actual food), but mostly I went to be held accountable and still failed miserably.

The beginning of Keto was actually early Summer 2017.  My coworkers and I had a weight loss challenge for the summer.  We all put in money, I think like $40-50 and the winner got to keep the entire pot.  This was really what I needed.  Accountability and support.  I lost 17 pounds that summer from recommended diet and exercise.  And then when I got off my anxiety medication I gained 16.  So, all that work and I lost 1 beautiful pound.  I was not happy, to say the least.  I worked really hard.  But, in the end at least I tried and I was also off my meds (lexapro, not metformin).  Then we returned from vacation and we all did our weigh in.  I didn’t think I had won because I only lost 1 pound, but I didn’t think my coworker, Hannah, would just kill it either!  She was already pretty small but wanted to lose a little of what she called “baby weight.”  She looked like a different person and lost something like 35 pounds doing Keto.  HOLY CRAP!!!

Yes, you read that correctly, my friend lost a ton of weight that I didn’t even know she had to lose, won about $700 cash and felt great.  She’d been trying to tell me a little about Keto and what she was doing here and there, but I honestly just thought it was bonkers.  No seriously, how do you lose weight eating fat?  And how in the world and I going to give up all sugar, grains and most fruit and the starchy veggies that I loved the most?  I figured, based on my past experiences that she must have been starving herself, eating foods that tasted terrible and really damaging her health just to lose a few pounds.

I was wrong!

Naturally, I was ready to hear more about Keto and what Hannah had done to lose the weight.  I think I asked her a million questions, many repeated questions, etc.  Honestly, how could she lose weight like that?  It really seemed impossible given my experiences, comparing Keto to the Standard American Diet (SAD) and the FDA’s recommendations that I’ve been told my entire life.  But…Keto does sound like something I should try before I go under the knife and permanently change my body out of desperation.

Yes, I tried Keto out of desperation.  All else failed.  So, I gave it a go.

There are few things you should know about me, in case you don’t already…

  • I grew up being taught to question everything (Thanks dad)
  • I grew up taking supplements (Thanks mom and dad)
  • I grew up and never knew why I was so sick…we were doing what we thought was right and my body didn’t respond like it was supposed to
  • I often have what can be considered weird ideas and beliefs because it can go against popular ideas and experiences, but eventually got tired and sometimes just went along with the “program”…I’m more of a think outside of the box kind of person
  • I knew I could heal my body but didn’t know how
  • As I got older, I saw more and more people, especially women, having similar issues as myself…I was no longer that uncommon, but it seemed that no one had the answer
  • At church, they did the Daniel Plan…I was curious but not interested in another failure at the time, so I passed.  From what I gather, you eat foods that God made, so no processed, store bought foods.  Is that right?  ( I honestly don’t know, sorry.)
  • The medications were making me sicker but I also needed them
  • I needed a miracle.

So, along comes Keto.  Did I already know that Low-Carb was good for me?  Yes.  Did I like it?  No.  Did it work when I did Atkin’s a long time ago?  Yes, until I stopped…but I was always hungry, the food wasn’t that great and I really wasn’t cooking that much, so I probably wasn’t really doing Atkin’s as it should be done with real food.  Low carb has a ring of truth for me.

Moderate protein?  Well, I like protein and have never had an issue with it.  I guess I could try.  At least keep track and see where I’m at.  I wasn’t sure if I was getting enough or too much.  But, could you have too much protein?  I didn’t think so back then.

High fat?  Now you’ve lost your dang mind!  Now this is where I struggled the most.  Does it taste good?  YES.  Did I already know that going in?  YES.  But every bone in my body and cell in my brain was trained to think fat was bad, very bad.  VERY BAD.  Eating fat makes you fat.  Obviously.  Except it doesn’t.

To be honest, the biggest struggle I had doing Keto wasn’t giving up the carbs, which was hard because I was totally addicted to carbs of all kinds, especially sugar and flour).  My biggest struggle was mentally dealing with the fact that I could, and should, eat fat.  I should enjoy it.  Fat doesn’t make you fat.  Fat helps your body operate appropriately and is the best fuel source for your body.  Carbs make you fat.

I used to feel so guilty when I ate things like a whole avocado, bacon, butter, the fat from a delicious steak, etc.  Oh my goodness.  I really struggled with this.  I wanted to limit this so badly.  But when you do, you get hungry and mean and tired and crabby and hungry.  Did I repeat myself?

When an idea or information is so ingrained into who you are (and it’s a popular viewpoint), it is a true challenge to go against it.  Taking time to think about what you’re doing, how you’re doing it and why you’re doing it is a key to success here with Keto.  You can be successful if someone just tells you what to do and you blindly follow it, but it’s better if you are making these decisions for yourself.

D-Day of Keto:

Once I decided to give Keto a try I made a plan.  Cold turkey?  NOPE.  That doesn’t work for me.  Besides, going low carb in the past has given me headaches (I know, I already had headaches, right?  I told you I was a mess.)

The plan was to reduce carbs as much as I could as I tried to learn more and prepare for Keto.  At this point I really didn’t know much except I needed to look into macros and start tracking.  I got an app on my phone and began the logging.  I had no idea how many carbs were in food I thought was healthy!  It was a big shock.  One day I stopped at Del Taco on my way to work and got a cup of beans and cheese.  It’s delicious, I’m not going to lie to you.  I loved beans and always thought they were healthy for me.  I got to the parking lot at work and logged my meal into the app…and then I discovered this tiny cup was literally 18 grams of carbohydrates.  I blew my entire day practically doing what I thought was the right thing.  BTW, that was the day that I learned legumes are not keto-friendly.

After 2 weeks of lowering my carbs and keeping track I realized I didn’t eat carbs that day.  That was my first day of Keto.  September 1, 2017.  I was jumping for joy that day when I realized what I hadn’t done.  I was telling my husband, who I didn’t really think would consider Keto, and he was somewhat interested.  Then I went to bed and woke up the next morning to find that my husband was up all night watching YouTube videos about Keto and doing research.  The first thing he said to me was that he’s going to do Keto to!  What?!?  I didn’t expect him to do this with me and was happy to have coworkers to have support…but what a huge blessing this has been on our whole family.

(If you’re interested, my husband created a folder of saved YouTube videos to help organize helpful information.  You can check it out by clicking here.)

Even after the official start of Keto, I continued to learn a lot and make changes.  I would do something I thought was healthy and later realize it probably wasn’t the best idea, so then I would make modifications.  It’s important to forgive yourself because you won’t be perfect and that’s okay.  You’re relearning how to be healthy and it is not always obvious.  Be kind to yourself!

Healthy Update:

I have some serious improvements.  I am not done healing.  Some changes are obvious and some are not so obvious.

I followed Keto for a year with just modifying my intake and not exercising.  Every time I exercise I have serious inflammation issues, though it is getting much better and recovery is faster than it was before Keto.  So, basically I changed my diet but not my exercise.  The only thing I’ve changed in regards to exercising is that I have more energy and feel like moving more, so I walk more and feel more like doing fun, active activities than I did before.

To date, I have lost about 65-70 pounds, am no longer taking metformin, have regular cycles, have longer breaks between needing antibiotics for my sinus infections, have improved adrenals with a quicker recovery to inflammation, have regular BMs daily and diarrhea is rare, have improved mental health which include trying again to get off of my anxiety medication (don’t worry, I have dr support and I’m weening very slowly) and fewer panic attacks, stronger nails and hair that grow so fast it borders on annoying, I can think more clearly.  The list goes on.  My blood work is amazing.  My blood pressure is perfect now.  I have hope of having a child of my own with my husband now.  Real hope.  While I’ve plateaud for the past 7-8 months, I have still lost inches and am still healing my body internally.  I went from a size 26 (I’m not totally sure, I was buying 24 and squeezing myself into extra forgiving dresses and leggings with baggy shirts with lots of stretch) to now I wear a size 20 (for real).  The hump on the lower neck, upper back area is significantly smaller.

I feel free.  I feel like I have been healing and am confident that I can easily continue healing.  I feel really good.

I went to a party yesterday with family and friends, many of whom I don’t see often.  I got a lot of great compliments, even from people who saw me after my initial big weight drop…so it made me feel good that the weight plateau didn’t mean I wasn’t improving.  Whew!

I intended on taking updated pictures in the same outfit as a year ago.  I apologize for it not being ready, but I will do my best to get to it.  Life is crazy and I have a gnarly sinus infection at the moment…one day I will just have a busy life and no illness (I hope anyway!)  I’ll work on the before and after pictures.  I definitely want to share them, but I think I need to see them.  I often look in the mirror and just see me, not the slightly smaller me.

Going Forward:

I need to tighten up my eating.  I haven’t been keeping track of my macros and I’m curious to see how far off I’ve been.  I suspect I generally am lower than 50 grams of carbs but need to lower it back closer to 20 grams.  I’ll begin journalling and keeping track of my consumption in my app again very soon…probably after I finish this blog posting.  I’ve also been eating dirty and would like to focus on being more strict more often.

In addition to the consumption, I have begun including exercise into my health improvement plan.  My choices are swimming, going to the gym and walking on the treadmill or elliptical (though, the elliptical still kind of intimidates me), going for a walk outsides, riding my bike, and playing a game…like tennis or basketball.  I plan to do this 2 days a week for a while and then boost to a minimum of 3 days per week.  I think the fact that I’ve been moving my body more has helped.  But adding actual exercise for at least 30 minutes 2-3 times a week should help and I expect to see some improvements.

I’m still focusing on improving my adrenal glands and keeping my blood sugar stable while also preparing for pregnancy.  I kind of feel like I’m still a bit unhealthy to be able to get and maintain a pregnancy, but I’m not sure I’m too far off.  I’m going to try now and see how it goes.  After all, I’m not getting any younger and will eventually run out of eggs to even try to cook.

In Closing:

Keto isn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be.  The struggles, after you get beyond the adaption phase, are really mentally accepting what is okay and how it conflicts with what you’ve always been taught and “known” to be true.

I’m happy.  I’m successful.  I could do this forever, and actually plan to do this forever.  It’s working and it’s not hard.  I’m not hungry.  I’m actually getting healthy.  I’m getting healthier every single day and it isn’t hard.  I’m able to get off my medications that hurt my body while trying to help it.

If you’d like more information about Keto, check out my blog about Keto Basics and Getting Started.  For a Keto support group, check out BeckDoes Keto…And, So Can You! on Facebook.  And, if you’re looking to watch some of my videos, though there aren’t many right now, check out BeckDoes Keto on YouTube.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe and follow to get up to date access to resources as they’re posted.

Keto is a good thing for me.  I hope that you find what you’re looking for to help your health.  It’s worth giving Keto a try, if you haven’t already.

Health Progress, Open Blog, Supplements, Uncategorized

Basic Blog 08/10/18

Friday, August 10, 2018

I feel amazing!  So I had some pretty crummy days this week as I made yet another drop in anxiety meds going from 7.5mg to 5mg.  The first decrease from 10mg to 7.5mg had similar symptoms, so I knew what to expect.  The only real difference from the first decrease to this second was the fact that the detox symptoms came much quicker…like in 2 days from the decrease versus over a week before.

It kind of wrecked my weekend as I was planning on having more time before the crummy, flu-like symptoms hit.  Oh well.  I missed a birthday party and stayed in bed for a couple of days.  Who am I kidding, I’ve spent most of this week in bed, but gradually getting better and getting more done.

Yesterday (Thursday) was the first day I felt good enough to drive myself any kind of distance.  I got a bunch done in the morning, then drove up to my husband’s work to go run errands with him and have lunch.  After I got home (about 2pm) I was pretty wiped.  Fortunately, we had leftover lunch and ate that for dinner.  Then, we went for a swim and talked a lot and I was asleep by about 9pm.

Today is even better than yesterday.  It’s not quite 10am, but I woke up before 6am, hung out with my husband, made our morning Magic Coffees, watched some helpful YouTube videos that I was backlogged on, got going on the laundry and began packing more (we’re moving Monday morning).  The buyers we sold the home to will be here to check the state of the property this afternoon, so I have to be ready for that.  I also want to make steaks that I defrosted earlier this week so we can eat them as salads this weekend and then make dinner.  Today I’m planning to cook dinner, but not according to my Meal Plan as that was thrown out the window a few days ago.  I’m thinking a roasted chicken with roasted carrots and radishes and a sauteed greens mix with crispy pan-fried bacon ends.  Did I mention I had to pack more stuff today?  It’s going to be a full day.

I realize this was kind of a ramble.  I probably didn’t need my morning Magic Coffee with mushrooms, but it’s so yummy!  I really am feeling more like my normal, morning-person self right now.  I might get worn out later today, but I’m going to be forgiving of myself and aware of my actual abilities…and most importantly, enjoy the energy, focus and normal feelings I currently have while they last.

I hope you all are having a good day.  We all have lives.  Just thought I’d share mine because it’s a struggle getting off anxiety medication.  Oh, I almost forgot that I wanted to tell you about the comparison from last summer to this summer.  If you’re interested, read further.  If you’re not, I really hope you have a wonderful day!

Throwback Comparison

As an educator I do my best to plan changes for the Summer.  This gives me time to rest, relax and adjust.  When I was on Metformin, I would adjust my doses in the Summer so that I could suffer the brutal consequences in the Summer when I’m not restricted on restroom usage and I can feel crummy and it doesn’t impact anyone else.  More recently, I know that making changes to my anxiety medication, Lexapro, needs to be done in this off-season as well.  As a teacher, Summer is the off-season, btw.

Now, you should know, if you don’t already, changing medications like Lexapro should be done with the support and guidance of a medical professional, which I am not.  I’m just a lady trying to get my life straight and my anxiety under control.  I have a doctor who is supportive, guides me and is encouraging me to try to get off the medication.  That all being said, let’s get on with the comparison.

Summer 2017

My first try getting off this medication, but my doctor really wants me to try.  I really want to try as well, even though I wasn’t sure what to expect.  My husband and I have been wanting to get pregnant and grow our family for many years and I know I need to be off this medicine if I can be for the benefit of the baby.  It’s kind of a lot of pressure.  And I was scared that once I got off the meds I would find out that I really need them and stay on for the rest of my life.

I was dieting and exercising, looking for work and interviewing, preparing for the new school year, binging a lot of tv shows and just trying to be rested.    I ended up losing 17 pounds and gaining 16 pounds that summer (yep, a grand total of serious effort for a loss of 1 pound).  I got really sick from detoxing, but the worst part was that I was having a hard time focusing and getting weird brain zaps.  I remember it was hard to drive because I didn’t know if it would become dangerous or not.  So, my dad and husband drove me places and I had stuff delivered.

At one point my father and I drove (okay, he drove me) up to San Jose for an interview.  I was well qualified for the position and very excited to talk with them about the direction of their school and the impact they have on the community.  I had my digital portfolio and copies of brochures and lesson plans and all kinds of “impressive” documents to bring and share.  Just before the interview I started getting weird brain zaps.  Yes, the worst time possible.  I quickly Googled what to do and read in a few places that increasing fish oil and Vitamin B should help.  So before the interview dad drove me to Costco and bought me Krill Oil and Super Vit-B Complex.  Naturally, it wasn’t enough time for them to do their job, but it couldn’t hurt and I had time to waste.

The interview didn’t go well.  I had a difficult time recalling information that I know, discussing my experience, etc.  I must have looked like an idiot.  Did I forget to mention that I suddenly had issues with body temperature regulation that caused me to freeze and then sweat like crazy?  I’m not surprised I didn’t get the job offer.

It took a long time for things to calm down.  I may have decreased the medication too fast, but I should have given myself time to just rest and relax without having to go on long road trips or impress anyone.  Looking back, I see what was really going on.  I should have not accepted job interviews.  Live and learn, I guess.

After summer ended, I returned to work and learned that my friend had lost of ton of weight from doing Keto.  She had been telling me about it since she started at the beginning of summer and I thought it was another fad diet.  I chose to stick with traditional diet and exercise.  I forgot to mention that most of my coworkers and I were in a Weight Loss Challenge over the summer.  I lost and my friend won.  She won a big pot of money, but more importantly, her health was good and she lost weight.

From that point I realized I needed to learn more about what she was doing.  What is Keto?  Are you really never hungry?  Are you sure it’s healthy?  You know, questions any sane person would ask when something is completely against “conventional wisdom” and everything we have learned our entire lives.  September 1, 2017 I officially started Keto and my husband began the next day.

Life was looking up.  I was off my medications and was on this journey with my coworker and friend, as well as my husband to get healthy and lose weight.  It’s been a dream to get healthy, but it was always so darn hard before.  I was feeling really good.  Really good.

Anyway, the saddest part of this whole thing was that after being off Lexapro for months I started really struggling again.  I had to get back on the medication.  I was so stressed out from work that I just couldn’t cope.  I felt like a failure.  I didn’t want to quit my job.  It was such a mess that I didn’t realize for a while that my sources of stress and anxiety were mostly coming from work.

I thought this meant that I would have to be on anxiety medications for the rest of my life.  Not only is that a bummer that my brain can’t function like it should, it meant that if I did get pregnant my baby would be impacted by this drug.  But, I was doing what I had to do and feeling calm and happy again.

Late Spring 2018

I had my annual appointment with the doctor to talk about my progress and what all has been going on.  She and I were both pleased.  Keto had made a clear and obvious difference in my life and I was feeling mentally very well.

The doctor suggested that I try to get off the Lexapro again.  I told her that I thought since I failed before it meant I had to be on it for life.  To support my claim, I did learn this from one of the depression/anxiety classes I took at Kaiser.  But, the doc said it wasn’t true and she wanted me to try again.

I had an especially difficult time at work this school year, so not only did I know I would be trying to get off the meds in the Summer, but I also knew that I would be quitting my job.  It was time to focus on my mental health and well being.

I’ve never felt such a relief as the moment after I gave my notice.  It was planned and discussed with my husband, so financially we would be okay.  We talked about how I struggled when I wasn’t working because I didn’t have purpose and was bored.  Being a homemaker without children is not great for someone who doesn’t like to clean.  It was the right time.

Summer 2018

I started on 10mg of Lexapro with Ativan as needed for panic attacks.  I had been doing Keto for about 10 months.  I had the support and encouragement from my medical doctors and my family.  I had a plan because I remember how I felt last summer, for the most part.

The plan consists of stepping down 1/4 dose each month until I was off.  I also have backup plans for everything ranging from grocery shopping to cooking dinner, household chores (like laundry) to paying bills.  I boosted my supplements to support my adrenals, my brain and my sleep from the beginning.  And, I’m on Keto but give myself a few extra carbs on the days I want them.

The first month went okay.  After a week, I was sick for about 10 days.  I thought I had the flu and was losing my mind.  Then it occurred to me that it was this detox I was going through, emailed the doctor and she confirmed my suspicions…which actually made me feel less stressed because I wasn’t imagining things.  The last couple weeks of the month I felt good.  Quite normal.  I still did things to keep as calm as possible.  I mean, life goes on while I’m doing this.

I’m in the first half of month two right now.  I was expecting to have a week or two before feeling sick.  That didn’t work out at all!  I got sick pretty quickly after the change in doses.  But, I didn’t feel quite as terrible and not nearly as many days.  Unlike last month, I did have a little bit of an issue with shopping without much care…so now I am the proud owner of 2 new swim suits and my husband has 2 pairs of pants and 2 shorts.  He hates it all.  I usually am a bit more frugal with the money and feel a bit bad that I spent money on these types of things without talking about it with him.  All things considered though, I’ve done worse damage buying a new purse at the mall.  Apparently I’m frugal enough to shop at Poshmark while I’m losing touch with my brain.  So it’ll be okay.  We’ve eaten out a bit more than I would have liked because I don’t want to cook or can’t get to the grocery store to buy more food.

I am gradually getting out of this funk.  I am fully aware that it will all come back, or some version of yuckiness will happen when I drop my meds again next month.  But I feel amazing today.  I actually feel good, like I did well before I had anxiety and whatnot.

I really feel like it’s important to share my story with you.  Not because I need you to know me.  Not because I feel special.  But because when I was going through this I really couldn’t find much information or personal experiences.  You are not alone.  For those of you with family or friends going through this right now, please be extra kind and forgiving of them and their actions right now…it’s a crazy time with your brain does crazy things.

I’ll keep you updated as things progress in regards to my mental health.  I hope you all well.  If you have any questions or comments, please write them in the comments section below.  If you have a suggestion that you’d like to share, please do!

And of course, remember to press the Follow button to get updates of new postings, and feel free to check out the BeckDoes Keto support group on Facebook if you’re interested in learning more about Keto or need some support and encouragement from real life people who are also doing Keto.

Health Progress, Supplements, Uncategorized

Getting Off Medication

There is so much information out there about people, just like you and I, getting off their medications with Keto.  It’s very exciting and encouraging!

I want to be on as few medications as possible, particularly anything that may be harmful to a baby.  You may not remember, but my main goal for losing weight is to get pregnant and have a healthy baby.  Before Keto I was on Metformin, Lexapro, a variety of antibiotics, allergy meds, plus the occasional Xanax for major panic attacks.

I have (or had pre-Keto) a lot of health problems ranging from PCOS and that it entails, anxiety and depression, allergies and chronic sinusitis, IBS and chronic diarrhea, plus I just couldn’t lose weight to save my life.  I’ve never been pregnant and I really want to have at least one child with my husband.  I also would just like to feel better and not be so tired and sick all the time.  Did I mention I was pre-diabetic?

Please note: I am not a medical professional and this is just based upon my experience.  I strongly encourage you to consult with your doctor before making changes…I did and was surprised to get their support.

Metformin

I took Metformin because I knew I was insulin resistant.  I had been off and on for a couple of decades.  I hate it.  It makes me feel terrible.  The worst part is getting on or increasing the dose because your body has to get used to it.  I usually lost a little weight, but I suspect it was from the burning, liquid diarrhea caused from the medicine.  Not only does it hurt, but it’s exhausting.  It’s like the life force is leaving your body.  You know, potassium.  So I would eat bananas to help when it was really bad.  Yes, I know bananas have a lot of sugar and would begin a cycle of sickness because it my body can’t process it but the Metformin would “help” it leave my body.  I took a lot of Immodium and frankly, I should have purchased stock in Tucks.  It was a vicious and unhealthy cycle.  Even after months of dieting and being on the same dose of Metformin, I was sick and having frequent, painful diarrhea (like daily).

With the support of my doctor, I made a conscious decision to stop taking the Metformin when I began Keto.  My logic was that the Metformin was supposed to help me process carbs, but you don’t really eat so many carbs on Keto so I’d be okay.  I was insulin resistant, and I think I still am but it’s much better.  Instead of my body processing the carbs for energy, it didn’t know what to do with it so it stored it as fat.  No wonder I got so fat and was so tired all the time.

It’s been just over 10 months and I am happy to say that I’m down about 70 pounds, still am off Metformin and don’t have that vicious cycle anymore.  I have loads of energy most days and am no longer pre-diabetic.  My blood sugar tests are great now!  I save money (no medication), save my liver (Metformin really is hard on the liver), and I saved my butt from the terrible side effects of the medication.

Allergy Meds & Antibiotics

These are connected for me as I get sinus infections from allergies a lot….A LOT!  I do everything I can to keep the sinus infection at bay.  I regularly do a sinus rinse (I even add colloidal silver and grapefruit extract that both act as antimicrobials).  I have Flonase to spray in my sinuses.  I take an OTC allergy medicine every night before bed (used to take zyrtec but now use xyzal).  I have colloidal silver spray to coat the sinuses after the rinse.  I use a non-petroleum jelly coat my nose because the Flonase dries it out and causes bleeding, and I have a humidifier by my bed with essential oils.  I have pseudophedrine and zinc to help dry the sinuses.  I pay attention to what’s going on.  In the end, I always lose the fight and have to take antibiotics.  Always.

I’ve noticed a significant decrease in prescribed antibiotics since I began Keto.  I still have some issues with my sinuses though.  The process is still the same, it seems, but it takes longer to cycle through.  For instance, I could get a bad sinus infection monthly before and now it’s every 2-3 months.  I believe this is because my immune system is much stronger and can fight longer.  I’m pleased and look forward to seeing how that changes as time goes on.

Yes.  I’m a hot mess in this department.  It’s still not great but a massive improvement!  I am pleased with the progress and hope to report next year even more improvement.

Anxiety, Depression and IBS

These are grouped together because when I get anxious my IBS tends to be worse, leading me to believe most of the time it’s actually caused by stress in my life (good or bad).  Here’s the thing about stress and my body, it doesn’t care if it’s good or bad stress, my body reacts the same.  It’s been an ongoing problem for years now and was getting worse and worse.  In addition to the IBS symptom, I also have inflammation, migraines, stress headaches, get dizzy and lack focus.  It’s a problem.

It took years to figure out that I had anxiety and depression.  But once I did, I took group classes and had therapy.  I also took medication to help.  The medication and dosages are hard to figure out, but once you do, you are “golden”.  I landed on Lexapro 10mg daily with Xanax as needed (which was later switched to Ativan).

Everything had been going well, so last summer (well before I even heard about Keto), by doctor was encouraging me to try to stop my medications.  You can’t just stop these medications, you must wean yourself off of them and the detox process is brutal.  I managed to get off these psychiatric medications, cope with the brain zaps and all of the detox issues and move on with life.  Everything was so great for a while.  In fact, my sex drive returned (great for a marriage) and I felt amazing and normal and enjoyed wonderful brain functionality.  Then the stress at work hit and it was hard…way worse than it should have been and I decided to get back on my medication.  Dang it.

I remember one of the first classes a nurse practitioner was explaining how some people only need medication temporarily, while others need it for life, but you usually don’t know until you try to get off.  Obviously, I was sad about having to go back on thinking I was someone who had to be on it for life.  Fortunately, I have a wonderfully supportive husband and that made all of the difference in the world.

I had noticed that I have much fewer and more manageable panic attacks since doing Keto.  So, when I was at my annual appointment with the Crazy Doc, she encouraged me to try again.  We created a plan for wean me off of medication.  From 10mg, to 7.5mg, then to 5mg and 2.5mg and then off.  I remember last time I increased my fish oil and B Complex to help with the side effects and it did seem to help.

Today I am 3 weeks on the 7.5mg dose.  The first week was fine.  Did I mention that I waited until Summer vacation before starting?  I waited so that way I wouldn’t have work stress.  Good idea, right?  Right.  The second week I was having some issues, a major panic attack and some weight gain.  At this point I didn’t realize what all was happening.  By the end of week 2 I was talking with my husband and realized my laundry list of current issues could be related to the lowering of my medication…the dr confirmed.  Oddly, a lot of the stress and worry about what I was experiencing went away with the confirmation from the dr.  Man, I’m glad I have a good doctor!

I’ll be keeping you updated as it goes on.  For the most part I believe this will take all summer.  I also believe that I will be having some mental issues, some pain and look forward to being completely off.  I’m sure I will gain more weight, but that is the least of my concerns at the moment.  If I get off these meds it’ll be safe to try to get pregnant.  It’s totally worth it for me to try again.

The reason I wanted to write this was because when I researched information about how people got off their crazy meds (lexapro for me), I couldn’t find anyone who gave any information.  Just that they did Keto and don’t need their meds anymore.  I need a plan, some advice, something with some meat on the bones to really figure this all out.

Not everyone is like me.  My plan might not work for you.  But I will be sharing it to provide encouragement and hope to those in similar shoes as myself.  Please be sure to rely upon your medical professionals before making major changes.

Health Progress, Supplements, Uncategorized

Supplements

I know its commonly said that you can get all the nutrients you need from the food you consume, but I just don’t find that to be the case personally.  Keep reading about my journey with supplements.

Personal History

I grew up by semi- hippy-dippy parents that believed in the power of supplements, herbs, alternative medicines and frequented a local nutritionist.  I’m on board with this as if it’s in my blood.  My husband does not feel the same and thinks supplements are a waste…needless to say, his family never takes supplements and only rely on western medicine for what ails them.

I’m totally aware the the FDA does not regulate or test supplements (vitamins and such) and that it’s difficult to tell the level of quality and nutrition.  Some brands are better than others.  Some are more expensive than others.  Some are more necessary than others.

Before Keto, I took supplements as needed.  I’ve known for a long time about the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV), particularly in regards to acide reflux and stomach aches.

During Keto, I started with a basic regiment targeting my body type (identified by taking the free Body Type Quiz by Dr. Berg), then adding more as needed for different issues that I have.  I have added and subtracted along the way.  Below I have a detailed list of what I take, how much and why.

Taking a Break

After 7 faithful months of taking supplements, modifying my regime and perfecting a system that works for me I took a break.  It’s not that I was really sick of them.  To be honest, we went on vacation and upon returning I didn’t have many pre-made packs of supplements.  When I ran out and didn’t feel like taking the time to make more, I thought it would be a good idea to take a break.  I was feeling really good about this decision.  My husband, of course, was supportive as happy that I wouldn’t be spending so much money on what he considers a waste.

All was well at first.  I didn’t miss the regiment of taking the supplements three times a day or making the packets every few weeks as I ran low.  I didn’t miss having to justify to my husband why I needed to spend so much money to reorder more supplements.  I especially didn’t miss asking him to approve the spending of new supplements that I was wanting to try based on some newly acquired information.  It was a nice break.

And then all hell broke lose.

It took about 4-5 weeks before everything was going haywire.  I mean, I was a hot mess.  My hormones weren’t doing so hot, but my hot flashes and sweating were back (thanks to my PCOS), my anxiety was out of control and there was no way I was going to try to get off the meds now as planned as I worried that I needed more and I was having panic attacks, migraines and just feeling crummy (work and home life have been a bit crazy), my weight has stalled and gone no where even though I was sticking with the keto.  The only good thing I noticed was that I was craving more salads, which I attribute to the fact that I supplement cruciferous and greens because I’m always afraid I’m not getting enough vegetables into my diet on Keto.

I was really concerned.  It took me weeks of feeling like my old self to realize that the only real difference was the supplements I was taking to support my personal health needs.  I was really dragging my feet to get started because I had to take about an hour to make packets or organize my supplements again.  It sounds stupid, but I didn’t have the energy or the clarity of mind to just do it.

One day, I had enough.  Convinced it was the supplements, I forced myself to get it together enough to make 28 days of supplements (morning, noons and evenings).  It’s been about 10 days back on and I feel almost completely back to my normal Keto and Supplement self.  I’m happier.  Have had fewer headaches and migraines.  Am thinking clearly and am not getting bogged down with my personal and professional life (we’re selling out house and I am working Summer School knowing I need a vacation).  I have had an easier time with Intermittent Fasting and not craving as many carbs.  I feel like cooking for my family more frequently.

I have proven to myself and my family, including my skeptical husband, that I need the supplements and that it is money well-spent.  When I am happy and healthy, the whole family benefits.

I believe we all need a little extra support in various areas of our health.  Below you will find a list of my individual supplements to get an idea as to what I take and why.

Supplements Taken

Black Elderberry

  • 1x each morning
  • Boost immune system
  • Double dose when ill

L-Glutamine 500mg

  • 1x each morning
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Improves leaky gut

Zinc Picolinate 50mg

  • 1x each morning
  • Boosts immune system
  • Provides support for thyroid, diabetes, eczema, sinus/mucus issues, ringing in the ears, muscle cramps and depression

Vitamin K-mk7

  • 1x each morning
  • Taken to provide support and absorption of Vitamin D

Vitamin D

  • 2x each morning with Vitamin K-mk7
  • Improves absorption of calcium and phosphorous, bone health

Theanine

  • 250mg taken 1x each morning
  • Additional 100mg taken as needed for panic attacks
  • Helps with mental health, particularly anxiety and mood
  • Improves high blood pressure

Krill Oil 500mg

  • 1x morning
  • Provides omega-3 fatty acids and anti-oxidant support
  • Helps with heart and mental health

Apple Cider Vinegar

  • 1x each morning and evening
  • Lowers blood sugar
  • Improves leg cramps and pain
  • Helps to settle stomach and heart burn, calms gas
  • Works to help sore throats, sinus problems and high blood pressure
  • Aides in weight loss, ridding the body of toxins and reduces cholesterol

Sea Kelp

  • 1x each morning and evening
  • Provides support for thyroid, weight loss, ovary and breast tissue

Vitamin B-Complex

  • 1x each morning
  • Meets needs to B vitamins while also helping to support mental health, migraines and heart health
  • Provides a lot of energy

Potassium Citrate

  • 1x each morning, noon and evening
  • I pack my own pills for about 1000mg for 3 pills versus the 99mg each pill from the store
  • Essential supplement for survival, especially on Keto
  • Recently switched to putting the powder directly into drinks instead of packing pills (1/8 teaspoon twice a day seems to do the trick)
  • Helpful if you’re tired, getting diarrhea or have muscle cramps

Magnesium Citrate

  • 1/8 teaspoon each morning and evening mixed in liquid
  • Essential supplement for survival, especially on Keto

Collagen Proteins

  • 1/2 scoop each morning mixed in liquids
  • Improves joints, nails, hair and bones
  • My nails are much stronger and split and peel way less often.  I actually find that I am trimming them frequently and they are getting so long and strong that it’s almost annoying.  (What I problem to have, right?)

Cruciferous

  • 1x each morning and evening
  • Provides support for liver, hormone and endocrine
  • Rids the body of toxins

Ginger Root

  • 3x each morning, noon and evening as needed when ill
  • Boosts immune system
  • It’s expensive but my dad packed these for me when I had a bad sinus infection

Goldenseal Root

  • 3x each morning, noon and evening as needed when ill
  • Boosts immune system, acts as a great anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial
  • It’s expensive but my dad packed these for me when I had a bad sinus infection

Dr. Berg’s Sleep Aid

  • 1x each evening
  • Helps with a restful night’s sleep and fat burning

Dr. Berg’s Advanced Adrenal Support

  • 1x each morning, noon and evening
  • Repairs adrenal glands, reduces cortisol response and acts as an anti-inflammatory
  • It’s kind of expensive, but it works, so I buy a 3-pack to save money

Dr. Berg’s Estrogen Balance

  • 1x each morning and evening
  • Regulates menstrual cycle
  • Balances hormones
  • I have PCOS and this has really helped regulate my cycles…and they are not lasting as long either!  I used to have a 10+ day period and I’m not 5-7 days.

Methyl Folate 400 mcg

  • 1x each morning
  • Boosts immune system

Ox Bile

  • I take this to help with Keto Rash, which supports my gallbladder and liver to boost ridding my body of toxins.
  • I usually take 1x each morning but when my rash is bad I boost up to 3x each day (1x each morning, noon and evening)

Note: I do plan to add Vitamin C.  I was under the impression that Methyl Folate was Vitamin C.  Oops!  I will be adding it as it helps with adrenal issues and PCOS, both of which I suffer.  I also used to take Ovasitol.  I really liked Ovasitol, but I was doing this in preparation for pregnancy.  My body is far from ready for pregnancy and Ovasitol is expensive, so I will take this again but maybe in 6 months to a year when I am healthier.