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!

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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

Healthy Skin (Part 3)

Caring for your biggest organ is important!

This final piece of the series about Healthy Skin, I’m blogging about the benefits of a healthy diet to improve your skin.  I’ll also have recipes that you can use and enjoy.  In previous blogs, I had written about proper moisture and care of your skin and avoiding sun damage (Part 1), and aging (Part 2).

A Healthy Diet to Improve Skin

Your body has needs.  Are you meeting these needs through your diet?  If not, consider making a few changes to your food and drink consumption to maximize your health and improve your skin.  Obviously, I advocate the Keto diet, but you don’t have to do Keto to make some changes to help your skin.

#1: Avoid foods that you’re allergic to.  Your skin may be irritated as a result to an allergy.  Growing up I had terrible eczema from a wheat allergy.

#2: Identify rashes, ie: keto rash, eczema, dry skin, poison ivy, etc.  This can help you to figure out the best treatment.  It kind of overlaps #1 above, but it’s important.

#3: Moisturize from the inside out!  Don’t drink the lotion.  You should be eating healthy fats (avocado and salmon), and including healthy oils (coconut oil) into your diet.  You can also supplement with fish oil, krill oil, Vitamin E, etc. if you can’t get enough in your daily diet.

#4: Make sure your body can absorb the nutrients and fat you’re giving it through your diet or supplementation.  It may seem odd, but just because it goes in your mouth doesn’t mean your body can do something with it, even when it needs to.  For example, did you know taking a Vitamin K2-MK7 helps your body absorb Vitamin D3?  And if you’re low in D3 your body likely isn’t absorbing calcium…and we all know we need calcium.  You may need to make adjustments to maximize your absorption depending upon your body and it’s particular needs.

Delicious, Skin Improving Recipes

Guacamole – mashed avocados, chopped cilantro, lemon or lime juice, pico de gallo and salt

Tomato & Avocado Salad – diced tomatoes and avocados, lemon juice, salt and chopped basil

Salmon with Broccoli & Herbed Butter – pan fried salmon cooked in butter and seasoned with salt and pepper, steamed broccoli, all topped with your choice of herbed, salted butter

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Oysters on the half shell

Salmon Cakes with a side salad

Extra Tips

  • Try to eat an avocado every day.  It’s easier in California, I know, but try to find them in season and freeze them for later if you have to.
  • Pamper your skin (and yourself) with a trip to the spa for a facial, back facial or something scrub brushing.  My mom and I like to go to a local beauty school for facials and back facials once or twice a year.  It feels amazing.  Our skin looks great.  And it’s not very expensive.
  • Pay attention and listen to your body.  Are you thirsty?  You’re dehydrated.  Drink some water.  Does your skin itch and feel dry?  You’re likely dehydrated.  Drink some water and put some really good lotion on your skin.  Have another problem?  Research a solution, talk with a professional or try something new.
  • Your skin has natural lubricant, so be aware that over using things like lip balms and moisturizers can create a situation where your body will not make the necessary moisture needed because you’re supplementing it with other moisturizers.  (I used to be addicted to lip balms.  It was a tragedy and very hard to stop.)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this mini-series about Healthy Skin.  I’m not a professional, so please use common sense and do your own research when trying a recommendation.  Also, please leave comments, questions and topic suggestions.

And, as always, be sure to check out the facebook group for support, encouragement, success stories and recipes at www.facebook.com/groups/beckdoesketo!

Health Progress, Supplements, Uncategorized

Healthy Skin (Part 2)

Caring for your biggest organ is important!

I’ve already discussed the importance of proper moisture and care of your skin, how to avoid sun damage and what to do if you do burn your skin.  If you’re interested in reading about that, check out Part 1 of this series about Healthy Skin.

My mom has the best advice (usually).  She always said that to have great skin you should drink lots of water and moisturize.  Well, I think she was mostly right, specifically when thinking about aging and your skin.

Aging

No one wants to look old.  No one wants to look older than they are.  Everyone wants to look happy and healthy.

These are generalizations that most of us can get on board with.  When I was younger, I did want to look older.  It was tough to look so young when I starting my career…I wanted to be treated like someone who knew what they were doing and had experience, which I did (or at least I thought I did).

I’ve lived most of my life in Orange County, California.  It’s quite nice here, I’m not going to lie.  But there is a lot of vanity here.  As if it’s not enough to have pressure to be wafe-thin, which I can’t ever be (bone structure) and don’t want to be, there is a lot of pressure to look young and healthy.  The pressure and sanity levels seem to decrease the further away from Hollyweird you get (just a personal theory).

Anyhow, back to aging.  We want to look young and healthy.  Take care of your body internally and externally.  We don’t all get the gift of genetics from our parents to look young (I know, I was blessed).  But you don’t have to make the situation worse!  By eating healthy and providing nutrients and essentials to your body, you will be helping yourself look better too!!

Avoid the following, if you’d like to help your skin look as healthy and young as possible:

  • Excessive smoking and/or drinking
  • Harsh drugs, prescribed or recreational
  • Dehydration and toxins
  • Avoid sun damage

Do the following, if you’d like to improve or maintain your skin:

  • Drink plenty of water and moisturize your skin
  • Lower stress levels
  • Smile and try to be content with what you’ve got to work with!
  • Improve your internal health through nutrition and exercise, like the Keto diet, supplementation, body appropriate exercise
  • Eat foods high in antioxidents, such as berries, dark chocolate, pecans, etc
  • Add antioxident supplements, such as beta-carotene, Vitamins A & E, resveratol, grape seed extract, etc.
  • Follow a ketogenic diet (Here’s some more info)
  • Read part 1 for more ideas

Stay tuned for Healthy Skin (Part 3) for information about a healthy diet to improve skins with recipes and list of what you consider adding or removing.

And, as always, be sure to check out the facebook group for support, encouragement, success stories and recipes at www.facebook.com/groups/beckdoesketo!

 

Health Progress, Supplements, Uncategorized

Healthy Skin (Part 1)

Caring for your biggest organ is important!

Your skin is the largest organ of your body and acts to protect you.  It’s easy to take your skin for granted, but it is so important for the health of your body.  But how do you go about caring for your skin?  And what are the best ways to care for your skin?  It can be quite confusing.

Moisture/Dryness

Achieving the perfect moisture level can be complicated and challenging.  If your skin is dry you can age and have irritated, itchy skin.  If your skin is overly moist you can have acne from clogged pores and it’s just socially seen as unsightly.  The “best” is the combination” skin…that’s where you have some areas that are dry and overly moist my favorite…in the most sarcastic inner voice.)

It’s been my experience that men seem to not notice or care and women spend a lot of time correcting their skin…and a lot of money!  It’s also my experience that what you do in life often shows in your skin, so you really can’t hide your health for too long.

If you have dry skin, you may want to consider:

  • Washing less often as you’re washing away precious oils
  • Are you having a reaction to a change in your diet or allergies?
  • Lower the temperature of your shower…hot water is not great for skin!
  • Increase your water as you may be dehydrated internally
  • Try increasing your electrolytes, specifically your magnesium, potassium and sodium through either foods higher in these nutrients or supplementation
  • Change your moisturizers and lotions for something more natural, perhaps coconut oil (refined has no smell) or even making your own concoction
  • Perhaps increasing oil and fat consumption, fish oil or fatty fish, Vitamin E, Krill oil, coconut, olive and avocado oils should all help to add moisture internally

If you have overly moist skin, you may want to consider:

  • Make sure you’re using oil-free moisturizers and lotions
  • Wash your skin up to twice daily
  • Consider a possible hormone imbalance (Androgens) that might need addressing, or even addressing ovary or adrenal issues
  • Supplement with zinc, DIM
  • Increase cruciferous vegetables, like cauliflower and broccoli
  • Try lower stress, decreasing carbs (20g or less daily) and intermittent fasting (IF)

If you have combination skin, you’re in real trouble: (Just kidding!)

  • You may need to review both lists above and focus on increasing supplements or dietary needs to address lack of good oils, nutrients and a possible hormone issue
  • Also, don’t wash your skin with harsh soap or cleansers, with water that is hot and always moisturize
  • Consider trouble shooting specific areas, like putting coconut oil on the dry spots only instead of your entire arm
  • Definitely, lower your stress, carb intake and try IF

Sun Damage

You want to protect your skin!  You’re doing a lot to help improve your health, so don’t be crazy and forget to protect your skin.  Conventional wisdom is to cover your skin, avoid the direct sunlight at the highest points of the day (usually between 11am and 2pm), and slather on chemical laden sunscreen/sunblock.

I’m not sure if you can tell, but I’m not a conventional wisdom follower.  I prefer to know the conventional wisdom, understand how the conclusion came about (why) and really decide for myself if it’s best for me and my family.  In no way do I think you should just do what I say without considering your options and making an informed decision for yourself.  I also am a-okay with you doing something different than I do (no judgement).

With that said, I generally avoid the direct sunlight midday, usually because it’s really hot and I don’t like it, but also because that’s when my skin burns the fastest.  I do coverup, but I’m not wearing long sleeves and pants on a Summer day, that’s just not happening…read previous sentence about being hot.  And I don’t use sunblock or sunscreen.  I know, crazy right?

I really find the correlation between skin cancer increasing and the use of sunscreens/sunblocks interesting and something I cannot avoid.  People lived for hundreds or thousands of years before this invention of covering your skin in chemicals to avoid burns.  I would rather put mud on my skin than whatever is in that spray bottle!  I’ve felt this way for many years, far longer than I’ve been doing Keto.  I find that I can avoid being burned with simply covering up and avoiding the midday sun.

Interestingly, I recently read something about someone saying that they increased their Vitamin B (I don’t recall which one, so just take a complex), D2 and K3 and it helped their skin to not burn as quickly.  It made me think about skin protection from the inside out, instead of the outside in.  I kind of like this and looked a little further.  You should know, I’m a pale white lady that tanned fine when I was a kid but as I got older and more pale, I just burn very quickly (pre-Keto).  I also have read some people adding other supplements to their diet to increase skin protection, including beta-carotene, astaxanthin, and Vitamins A & C.  The original blog can be found here.

This summer I find myself with more energy and interest in being outside.  I’m certain it’s because of Keto.  Anyhow, I am increasing my supplements to include beta-carotene, astaxathin, and Vitamin A (I already take C).  I’m curious as to how my body will react…I’ll certainly let you know!

Prevent Sun Damage:

  • Cover your skin with clothes or an umbrella
  • Remember that cloud coverage is not helpful!  I remember this from childhood.
  • Avoiding the direct sunlight midday when the sun is at it’s highest point
  • Have healthy skin!!!  Consider increasing supplements to improve skin health, Vitamins C & A, beta-carotene, etc

Healing Burned Skin:

  • Avoid direct sunlight if your skin is already burned..give it a chance to heal
  • Use aloe vera to help sooth the burn and assist in the healing process (Aloe vera is a great plan that’s hard to kill, consider having one at your home…it’s great for burns, cuts and other skin issues)
  • Avoid stress and other inflammatory add-ons…your body will heal faster
  • Add oils to moisturize and hopefully help your skin heal, instead of blister and peel

Check out Part 2 of this series where I talk about aging and how to help improve your skin to look as young and fresh as possible (without doing anything crazy!)

And, as always, be sure to check out the facebook group for support, encouragement, success stories and recipes at www.facebook.com/groups/beckdoesketo!

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.