Unprepared 

With two weeks to go until Tough Mudder, I think it is very safe to say that I am not even close to being ready. I had fully intended to keep up with eating well and training whilst being off work for two weeks. Being ill for the first week and then being completely demotivated for the second, as being away for a long weekend, have not helped in the slightest. In fact, I think all I have managed to achieve is about an 8lb weight gain. 

Thankfully it is the half mudder, but I’m still not prepped for that or even feeling up for the challenge. Being strict for the next two weeks is the best I can do, and attempting to not injure myself of course! I’m sure someone said this was meant to be fun! 

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The drudge

I am once again struggling to shift some sort of virus, it started last week with migraines and I am just generally lethargic, bloated and rough!  I am sick death of not being able to drag myself into the world of the well, I just seem to completely incapable of dealing with a lack of sleep.  I seemed to manage when I was breast feeding, but I just feel like my body is failing all around me and that terrifies me.

Having a child drags your mortality out of hiding in the shadows and hits you repeatedly around the face.  The fear of not being there for Leo and being able to watch him grow up and guide him through life strikes fear deep in my guts and I hate it!

I have never felt this consistently unwell and I feel like I have lost faith in good eating and exercise, I feel like it isn’t worth all the effort and hard work on top of feeling like shit and I hate it! I am genuinely a little concerned about my health, I just want to have energy and feel happy and light, free of worry and fatigue and no matter what I try I just seem to be able to get there!

The quest continues 

We found Huel whilst looking for a time saving, waste saving, fully balanced meal alternative when I went back to work. The idea was to replace all meals in the week for simplicity and the time eat normally at the weekends. 

This failed for two reasons, I love looking at food. I love a plate full of brightly coloured yumminess, it lifts my spirit on a dull day. So, there is fail number one. 

If it was that alone, huel would still have its place because I actually really enjoy it and it’s easy to grab and it’s vegan, which is key now I am on my ethical eating drive. Alas, it is not just that. Since they have changed the recipe, I can not tolerate it for more than one day and one meal: the second I go to more, I suffer terrible tummy cramps. Not really sure why. 

As I still need a decent go to, I have gone back to a brand we used to use but ruled out when we found huel as it is more expensive by quite a way. Garden of Life is a raw, plant based nutritionally complete option but the issue I have with it is that it is really quite gritty and no where near as enjoyable. So, I am on a mission. 

I have another incentive for it as I want to help my friend who is basically allergic to every food known to man and he needs something when he is out and about so that he doesn’t default back to bread and then die immediately. I am in the process of collating all nutrional information for all vegan, gluten free and nutritionally complete meal replacements so that I can see what is what. I want to compare ingredients too, as I suspect the issue with Huel for my friend is maltodextrin as he seems to have a complex carb intolerance and maltodextrin is a known irritant there. 

It’s wrecking my head a little at how long it is taking, it’s mainly because they all list in different formats so I am having to convert. Anyone who knows me will know that a) I am utterly shit with maths b) I am utterly shit with Excel.. Winning combo right there! 

I have found another I want to try, Vega that’s not too expensive, I will see if Holland and Barrett do the sample packs. I just need to ascertain if they are nutritionally complete. 

I am genuinely gutted about huel, but I can’t risk irritating my gut when that’s just not a normal thing for me. I will find something, it may be that I just force myself to tolerate the gritty Garden of Life option..

The minority 

It’s a funny place to be, when you are surrounded by supposedly intelligent and well thought out people who randomly go off on a tangent when you inadvertently question one of their life choices. I say inadvertently because it’s when you make a life choice that they themselves aren’t comfortable with, they seem to think that’s its OK to turn into a dick about it and attack your stance with what is basically bullying tactics. 

I am talking about the whole ethical eating thing, so many people suddenly decide that you are an idiot and one of the girls I know who is embracing it, had even been told she is selfish and is just easing her own guilt. What can she just do by herself as one person doesn’t a difference make. Wow. 

I am so glad that there are individuals in the world that fought against the tide throughout history and continue to do so. The world we live in would be a cruel and dark place right now if they hadn’t and their fight wasn’t over simply spending a bit more money and feeling good about the origins of their food. 

Being responsible 

I am cross posting this from my other blog as I feel it is relevant to both contents. 

The quest regarding the ethical consumption of animal products continues.  Just reading about it all was sending me under and I had decided to just bite the bullet and go vegan, but then one of the girls that works with me, who is also doing the same thing, pointed out the necessity of calcium consumption. We do have a history of osteoporosis in the family too! 

I can’t believe, after all the reading and so called awareness of nutrition, that something as obvious as that didn’t cross my mind! I just thought of the obvious leafy greens then, but of course I had no idea how much I would need to be consuming; so remiss. 

And then of course, the question of all other nutrients. The biggest being B12, this little powerhouse is not to be ignored.. Or under consumed! So, it’s back to the ethical quest. 

Jess had found a dairy that doesn’t force mass production of milk and stress out their herd, which was great, but we were still breaking our hearts about the calves (they did start this entire dilemma!) so it was just still only a last resort.. And then, I found this beauty: The calf at foot dairy! AMAZING! The calves stay with their mummies.  It’s a little bit pricey,  but for no compromise on what I deem ethical, it’s a price worth paying whilst we are in a position to do so. 

My issue does still lie with Leo having formula. I’ve always been uncomfortable with it, (especially after reading it has palm oil in it)  but when we gave him milk, he had terrible diarrhea. He may be different now, but the ‘problem’ with this dairy is that it is raw milk and I’ve read scary stories about listeria and other nasties in raw milk. Apparently, now cows are clean and cared for and the equipment is too, this isn’t an issue, but I do need to understand it a little better before I risk his health. He is more important than any of the process. Raw milk is meant to be just outstanding for overall health though, so I will be giving it serious consideration. 

Eggs.. This is a tricky one, finding somewhere that gives their hens an amazing life is really, really simple. For me, it is the step before that. Where do they source their chicks from? Is it somewhere that mass produces and gasses the male chicks? The obvious place to look is at the heritage breed handlers. I have contacted Clarence Court, as they really do appear to give a shit, they are even really aware of the environmental affect of packaging products and have information on how theg handle that, no mention of source though. We shall see. 

Pork: I have contacted a place that looks great as far as the pigs life, but I have enquired about where they get their babies from and then I will find out how they handle them, especially from a castration perspective. 

We have the power to be responsible. It may be hard work and it may be a little bit more costly, but it makes me feel good in ways beyond the gratification of consuming the end product.  

N.B. One thing I have also found on this journey, is that so many vegan products contain palm oil and it isn’t necessarily responsibly sourced.(although, ethical sources are also questionable)  How does this work? We love our cows, pigs, hens etc, but the orangutans and the oxygen of the world can just swivel? I hope vegans of the world are aware, or they are a joke to me.. More so than the blinkered, die hard carnivores.

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin deficiency 

I’ve known this has been an hereditary  condition in the family on my paternal side for many years, but as with BRCA-1 it is something I chose to ignore. I was tested for BRCA-1 before we decide to have Leo, and thankfully, I wasn’t positive. 

I hadn’t really paid a thought to Alpha-1 for some time, my dad has never been tested, but both of his sisters had it and one was very poorly with it. It wasn’t what killed either sister in the end though. 

I had been struggling to shift being ill for months, so went to the docs a few weeks ago and just mentioned Alpha-1, so he tested me for it. I have it. 

The variation that I have is Pi MZ, a homozygous mutation,  which means I have a normal alliel and a faulty one. Being a carrier means it is fairly uncommon to suffer any clinical symptoms, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. They have called me back in for more tests though as my serum levels for antitrypsin are lower than they would like, the lower the level, the more at risk. I have a lung function test in a couple of weeks and they are referring me to a specialist unit for more guidance. 

I have lots of things to understand, (including the potential  impact on Leo) and but the lifestyle I currently lead is hitting all the bases for the best possible outcome if I am affected or to be affected. It is what it is, I need all the facts so I know what I am dealing with and then I can do the best I can to help my body be well. 

It’s beginning 

Whilst the change in weight isn’t anything to write home about from when I began, I dingo up before I came down! It’s a start regardlessof 2lb down, roughly 1lb of that being fat which is obviously the best news! 

I feel infinitely better too, which is also important. I have managed a couple of 4am starts to fit the cardio in and have loved them. Early morning gym sessions are definitely my preference if I can fit them in. I feel my strength coming back too, so the tone will be returning.. Wooo 

I treated myself to some bands to work on my pull ups. I hadn’t thought about the fact that I needed to get up to the band to start off with so had to do some creative climbing! It felt good though, that is the most resistant one and I managed 3 sets of 5, the last 5 being questionable! It just felt good to have a session where I could feel my muscles shaking in a dark corner afterwards, that has been some time and it has been missed! 

I got myself out of bed at 5 this morning to get a workout in before starting the day with my favourite boys. I’m pleased with how quickly I have got my motivation back this year, it’s just what I needed.