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Friday, May 10, 2013


In January of this year I set out to transform my life.  I had been feeling tired every morning, Ellie wasn't sleeping at all...again, and I was just sick and tired of being tired and in pain all the time from a variety of things namely osteoarthritis to start.  And I am not even that old to have such a thing which incidentally has my doctors also scratching their heads.   I was also still so wound up from the previous months of finishing my dissertation and hosting a huge family party and dealing with a promotion which brought with it a lot of extra work.  No rest for the weary and I was weary.

Last summer I started exercising and that helped. I road my bike all summer which was a lovely thing. Though I was limited on how much I could ride by time but also Boston traffic which is a killer. The good people have deemed themselves "massholes" and they live up to this reputation and sadly as a result many cyclists are killed each year. So during peak traffic hours I don't ride. Then the bad weather hit...

However, from my bike racing days I had a perfectly good wind trainer collecting dust in my attic. I pulled it out and have been riding away, nearly every day regardless of weather or traffic. Now that it's warm I can do both inside or outside rides but ride every day.

This was a good start. Then I decided to give up meat, dairy, fish, sugar, caffeine, white flour, and gluten...yep it's a big list.   I was inspired by and her books. Her book Crazy Sexy Diet contains a great deal of information I had heard over the years in various places but not so well explained. It's worth the read. 

As a result I pulled out a champion juicer that Dave had found at a low, low price on Ebay in 2003 that was collecting dust and began to use it every day to make versions of Kris' Make Juice Not War juice. I started drinking 16 to 32 ounces per day as well as blending up green drinks that were originally inspired by whole foods fresh smoothies which now are not nearly as tasty as what I blend myself. Instead of high glycemic fruits I blend up spinach and green apple and cucumber, cilantro and hemp seeds with water and fresh lemon. Yum.  

By doing all of this I lost 18 pounds and no longer wake up in the middle of the night from aching joints.  (Gluten has been linked to arthritis.)  The diet Kris proposes is a low inflammation diet - which is also really important for Ellie. I realized that some of her food is really high in inflammatory food so I changed that. For example I make her a dish called Green Goodness that was avocado, apple sauce, and strawberry coconut yogurt. Very high in sugar.  So I changed it to avocado, cucumber, mint and fresh pear and sometimes some plain coconut yogurt. And she eats it and loves it. I also add in hemp seeds. 

Instead of roasting her sweet potatoes for her puree I cook them at a low temperature so that they don't caramelize (which increases the sugar content). I also started her on 16 ounces of the green juice and got her off dairy.  As a result her nose is not constantly running and she has been sleeping through the night - nearly every night since she started getting the green juice. For those of you who have been following this blog for awhile - you know that is saying something!

I also have had allergies for years starting about 10 years ago that have kept me up hacking away and wiping my nose while I am trying to present.  Not fun. Cutting out dairy has changed all that. And I love cheese so it had to take something big and not having any allergic reaction to the tree pollen etc. is a huge change in my world for the better. 

I have also been meditating and practicing being more mindful.  All of this has turned out to be a way to transform my inner life and in so doing my outer life. I am 18 pounds lighter, way more rested because Ellie is sleeping and I am making a point to make sleep a priority, and so much happier.  I feel like I am finally decompressing from 10 years of really hard times in some ways (good times too).  But let's be honest, when you have a baby early and almost both die in the process then proceed through 134 days in the NICU and through multiple surgeries, illnesses, seizures, dealing with back issues of your own, having the expense of transforming your home to be accessible, and on and on and on - there's a lot to decompress from. And stuff is still going on that is really challenging to do with Cerebral Palsy as Ellie grows, e.g., her muscles and bones not keeping up with her growth, scoliosis, hip displasia, and on and on. 

So how do you get renewal out of that?  From the inside out in my case. I thought - I can't control her not sleeping or the stress of the world but I can control what goes into my mouth and what I think. The first part of that is way easier by the way.  Choices for eating are much more explicit and easy to manage than choices for what I think. But I am working on transforming both to be more positive, hopeful, proactive, abundant and most of all nourishing (for body and soul). And it's working. 

Often preemie blogs end by the time the kid is 8 or so.  I understand that.  But I want to keep going. Ellie's blog has been a way to keep time with myself, reach out to others in hopefully a helpful way, make connections that have taught me loads. There's a lot to report on, on this end.  

I wanted to share some things that have helped.

1. One green juice and one carrot, ginger, beet root juice
2. Ellie on Easter morning finding gifts from the Easter Bunny. Fijit ears to replace the ones that someone pulled out....very exciting indeed!