Dot to Trot

My world is expanding as my butt is shrinking!

Archive for the category “Wellness”

Building A Better Burger

butter burger 2

One of my attempts at creating a Chipotle Butter Burger using 95/5 grass-fed ground beef. This one came out too dry. The applewood smoked gouda cheese on top helped to salvage this dinner.

It’s grilling season, which means it’s time to experiment and create the most awesome, badass burger. Last year we couldn’t get enough of the guacamole burger (guacamole was inside the burger!). This year I’m working with 2 key ingredients – chipotle peppers and butter.

Oh yeah! My own butter burger.

My first couple of attempts didn’t work out as planned. Either there was too much fat in the ground beef (I use 73% or 80%) or too little (93% and 95% don’t have much flavor to me).

Too much fat (I can’t believe this low carber is typing “too much fat!”) triggers lots of flare-ups on the grill. The meat ended up as tough as a hockey puck. Yuck!

Too little and it taste like cardboard.

Maybe when I hit the sweet spot I should call it the Goldilocks Burger. Heh!  Read more…

11 Weeks Of Training

crossing finish line 2015

The big action shot of me crossing the finishing line of my first 5K where I ran the entire 3.1 miles. Can’t wait to do the same for my first 10K…and yes, I am still awesome!

Over the last year I’ve tried training for a 10k with no luck. It’s just hard for me to train without an actual deadline. Well now I have one – September 10. That’s when I run 6.2 miles along the Potomac River to Mount Vernon for the George Washington Patriot Run.

While I don’t want to injure myself, I am going to push myself a little with my training schedule.  My thinking is my body can handle it since I’m not asking it to do something it hasn’t done before (just more distance and time).

Which means rain or shine, I have to run 3 times a week. It also means adding some non-impact cardio twice a week. My gym is testing a 30-minute speed cycling class this quarter. I might as well give it a go.

My current strength training, walking and yoga sessions provide a nice cross training.

But first thing up? Replacing gear. I’m heading out this morning to replace my running shoes.

I think I’ll also re-watch From Fat to Finish Line this weekend.  My training kicks off on Sunday and I’d like to go into it as excited as possible.

Celebrating The Good News

fireworks

Photo courtesy of Freedigitalphoto.net and Praisaneng.

Every 3 months I have to go in for a check up to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned. Nearly a year post surgery and I just got the latest lab work back: All clear.

My oncologist told me I’ve got another year of this “aggressive” testing. Then for the next 2 years I get checked just twice a year. Then the 5th (and final year) I’m tested just once. If all is clear after that, then I’ve officially kicked cancer’s sorry ass.

So how do I celebrate the good news?

I’m lifting weights today. And if the weather holds, a bike ride. Finally I’ll cap the day by grilling a burger to top my tasty, big-ass salad.

Learning To Say “No” Again

This morning I find myself sitting down with a cup of coffee and a book I read more than a year ago – Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin. I find myself in need of remastering one simple yet special word.

In a world where nearly everything is at your fingertips, it’s a word you don’t hear very often — “No.”

“No” was my essential tool in losing 150 pounds over 4 years.  But if you don’t use it you lose it. And I haven’t used it for a long time.

The Vacation Is Over
I just got back from a weeklong visit with family in Texas. It was fun but I discovered I lost the ability to tell myself “no” when it came to snacks, desserts and alcohol. I told myself, “Your on vacation. Enjoy it.”

The problem is my vacation has lasted 373 days. Read more…

Kicking Caffeine To The Curb…Seriously This Time!

morning turkeyJPG

My Saturday morning project .

While most people like to sleep in a little Sunday mornings I’m up at 5:00 am. Why? Turkey. Yep, I’m roasting a 22-pound bird this morning. Tomorrow I start on the real cooking: LCHF versions of curry turkey, turkey pot pies and a turkey & bacon casserole.

While I enjoyed some coffee this morning, I am bright-eyed and bushy-tailed without the black nectar of the gods.  It’s looking like my new-found energy isn’t a fluke.

Part of this new energy is a serious effort at cutting back on my caffeine intake. I tried giving coffee up cold turkey, but the headache that hit me was insane.

Giving Up Coffee…For Real This Time
Okay, I’ve written about attempts to give up coffee before, but this time I’m seeing tangible benefits. As my coffee intake goes down so does my anxiety and stress levels.  Read more…

New Boost Of Energy

vitamins

Changing up my supplements has helped to boost my energy level and greatly reduce my menopause symptoms.

Besides mixing up my workout routine, over the last month I started changing up my supplements. Between mood swings, hot flashes, insomnia and fatigue something had to give. For now I gave up the generic multivitamin. I just wasn’t sure what a one-size-fits-all approach was doing for me.

That doesn’t mean the multivitamin is gone forever. I’m just waiting until I go in for some hormone testing next month. At that point, the doctor I’m seeing for menopause will make some suggestions on my supplements and exercise routine based on actual data. What a concept! Read more…

Meditation Explained

Ugh! I never knew it was so stressful trying to destress.  I downloaded an app to help me with practicing mindfulness (a.k.a. meditation). The app – Insight Timer — is good, but I’m spending a lot of time searching for “guided” sessions to help me release anxiety and with sleep.

I think the skeptic in me has a hard time buying into the concept of fighting stress by just “being in the moment” and focusing on my “breath.”  So I’m not giving the recordings a fair shot.

With all my frustration with mindfulness, I turned to the only source I could think of to help me let go of my resistance to meditation: Ultra Spiritualist JP Sears.

I met with a new doctor last week (I’ll post about that meeting tomorrow) and she suggested a few recordings to check out. Of course I didn’t…until now. With my insomnia, I just don’t have the energy to be overly critical anymore. So this morning I’m checking out the doc’s recommendations. Hopefully the search ends soon and I can start relaxing and sleeping again.

Thinking About Eating Before A Workout? Think Again

An interesting article in the New York Times about the potential benefits of fasting before exercising. I know a lot of bodybuilders and athletes play with timing their meals and workouts. And scientists like Jeff Volek have studied ketogenic diets and athletic performance. Well a new study looks at us regular folks and how when we eat may play a role in lowering insulin levels.

Gee, I wonder where I heard that before?

Anyway, it’s nice that science is starting to put to the test the “benefits” of fasting.

‘Foreign Diets’ Are Dieticians’ Unicorns

An interesting read was making the rounds this weekend in the twitterverse. It was a perfect take down of the latest variation of the Mediterranean diet. According to this version, the people of the Mediterranean don’t eat red meat or butter so neither should you. Wow!

Just one tiny problem. The article’s writer, Joanna Blythman, is an investigative food journalist and someone who has actually traveled around the Mediterranean. She’s learned about their most popular foods. Turns out, dishes aren’t so free of red meat and butter. You can read the article yourself.

diet myths

Sorry, but there isn’t a mythical foreign diet. The best way to get healthy and stay that way is to eat real food and avoid processed foods (a.k.a., fake food) rather than healthy fats.

Adventures In Medical Indifference

holistic-medicine

When it comes to cancer causing menopause, traditional doctors are lacking in care.

Apparently deciding to see an endocrinologist to help balance my hormones is easier than actually getting an appointment with one. Turns out the two hormone doctors my physician referred me to feel I’m not worthy of their time.

 

When I called to schedule an appointment, the receptionist pretty much blew me off before I could give specifics as to why I needed to see one of the two doctors I was referred to. She didn’t need to hear that I my very high estrogen (a hormone) levels caused my cancer or that I was insulin resistant (an other hormone problem). Once I said “menopause” I was told to “just go see your gynecologist” because “it’s just menopause.”

I ended up calling 3 other endocrinologists and pretty much got the same result. However, during one of these calls I was asked, in a somewhat hopeful tone, if I was a diabetic. When that didn’t pan out as hoped, the voice on the other end of the phone told me to see a gynecologist.

So I did contact couple of gynecologist offices. They were up for pelvic exams (I already get 4 of those a year via my oncologists!) or hormone treatments – a big no-no for me.

Sigh.

Enter Functional & Integrative Medicine
This week I visit a doctor with a functional and integrated (F&I) medical group that treats menopause. I’m curious about this visit. While the idea of integrated and functional medicine is appealing, I also know marketing speak when I see it (“we don’t just treat the disease, we treat the whole patient”).

So what is functional & integrative medicine? Well the best that I can figure is that both rely on conventional western medicine (testing, labs, medications, etc.) but integrative doctors include alternative treatments like vitamins, minerals, acupuncture, or stress reduction techniques. Functional medicine tends to stress nutritional therapy.

And I’ve read lots of articles online about the traditional medical community hating on F&I community. “Quackery” is the main word I see when talking about F&I.

Certainly when it comes to nutrition, western medicine has it’s own “quackery” to own up to.

Traditional doctors still embrace the standard American diet (high carb, low-fat) despite following its introduction the obesity and diabetes epidemic began. They believe exercise makes us thin, and many pretty much reject my embrace of the ketogenic diet to drop 150 pounds. Hmmm…

There are aspects of F&I that I’m very skeptical of, like HeartMath or detoxing (the kidney & liver do that just fine!). But unlike traditional medical practitioners, I’m not skeptical about essential oils, eliminating foods from the diet, herbal medicines, supplements or mindfulness. I never considered any of these things as alternatives to treat my cancer. But my own experience tells me they have a place in helping me become a healthier person.

The bottom line is that traditional medicine is driving me to integrated & functional medicine. But hey,  “it’s just menopause.”

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