Random Bits

  • My doctor’s appointment went really well.  One, I am not crazy, and two she said my weight was “perfect”.  Perfect! Who doesn’t love that?  I wanted to run right out and eat a hot fudge sundae.  As for the not crazy part, wheat could very well be making feel cranky and causing my joint pain.  It is normal for changes to occur with age and the wheat intolerance could be a new thing and not even related to my thyroid issue.  Hmmm.   So this week I am back to avoiding wheat and  expecting to feel on top of the world again by Friday.  My thyroid antibody level is good, well in the normal range.  If I feel bad in the spring I will get tested again.  The doctor doesn’t think there is a known (proven) link between allergies and hypothyroidism but every person is unique and  I may have one.  Hmmm. 
  • What has been crazy is this heat. I really don’t want to leave the house or cook or do anything the least bit strenuous. There have been a few days where I wait until late afternoon when the sun is less intense before even getting in the pool.  I call this nauseating heat or crazy heat, as in I must be crazy to live here.

 

  • Summer lasagna. I have been doing pretty well using my CSA items each week. We had a couple of eggplant we had picked when we picked apples right before school started and I made ratatouille which was okay but not a fave. So when we got 2 eggplant in our CSA box I was a little stumped as to what to make. It was much too hot for a traditional eggplant parmesan but then I found a different recipe for a lighter version and modified that a bit more to keep things easy. I cut the eggplant into ~1/2 in slices, skin on and brushed both sides with garlic olive oil. I broiled each side for about 5 minutes then put it in a baking dish. I topped the broiled eggplant with leftover homemade spaghetti sauce that I had in the freezer. This sauce had ground turkey and diced summer squash in it . Then I threw a layer of mozzarella on top. That was it. I popped it in a 375 oven, set the timer for 30 minutes and went and jumped in the pool. When we came in the house it smelled just like lasagna and the taste? Wonderful and yet light enough for the heat wave. I could not believe how much we loved it.

 

  • My new downstairs office.  Not really loving it.  I miss the privacy and space upstairs, having a desk to spread things out on and a bulletin board to hang things on. My new space works okay during the day when I am home alone but I have given up trying to get anything done after 3:00p.  I still have no idea where to hide Christmas presents or the Santa wrapping paper.  I am still working on finding the best way to organize paperwork.  One positive side of the move is the view out the side window.  In the mornings I set up my workspace in the dining room.  (i.e. take my laptop out of the drawer and put it on the table.)  Then I open the dining room sheers and I have an unimpeded view of our grassy side yard and trees. I  can actually forget I am in the desert with this view. Since the window faces west it is nice and cool in the mornings but the sun in the late afternoon makes the room too warm to be comfortable  and too glary to see well.  So I close the sheers again.  Now I am wondering if I need to buy and install a second curtain rod so I can close the regular curtains in the afternoon.  I have put buy and install second curtain rod on the to do list. (Done!  I will get to test it out this afternoon.)

 

  • Right now I am drowning in good books to read.  This happens every once in awhile.  Sort of like your eyes are bigger than your stomach adage.  Yesterday I started reading “Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks”  by John Curran despite being in the middle of “Some Luck” by Jane Smiley and “Bertram’s Hotel” by Agatha Christie.   I need to pick up “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” from the library as after a very long wait it is finally my turn.  And I have four more library books on my shelf waiting patiently to be read.

I have words to write and words to read, Life is Good.

Why was I feeling better?

Up until about a week ago I was feeling really good.  Happy, energetic, sleeping well.  Now I feel sluggish and blah again.  I get cranky very easily too.  I have my doctor’s appointment at the end of the week so I can get some input from my doctor.  I already had my lab work done and saw my results online.  Everything looked good, no flags, even my thyroid level is in the right range.

I have been doing some thinking and some research about what could be making me feel bad (in addition to my hypothyroidism).  The most likely culprit is diet.  For awhile I was eating very healthy, not too much sugar and I was avoiding wheat.  I wonder if I may have a wheat intolerance?  Wheat can not only cause gastro issues but also mood swings.  While I avoid bread or rolls while eating out that doesn’t mean I avoid wheat.  Even here at home I haven’t been fanatical about not eating wheat.  I am not actually allergic but now I want to avoid wheat more diligently and see how I feel.  I am also going to ask my doctor if there is a test to see if I am wheat intolerant and to what level.

And then there is sugar.  I was doing really well not snacking or eating candy and then PMS hit.  I had no control and when my PMS ended I didn’t stop mindlessly eating the candy.  So now I am back to square one and determined to regain control.   Odds are I will do well until I get hit with PMS again in a few weeks.  I need a plan.  A good plan.  It is not pretty when the sugar craving slams me and I have nothing in the house.  Fruit and nuts might work, maybe with a small piece of dark chocolate kept in a very inconvenient place.

Anyway, other than the snacking I have been eating fairly healthy meals.  The CSA box has been great for that. We have had salmon and corn on the cob, corned beef and green beans, ratatouille, squash and pork chops as recent meals. Last night  I am made spaghetti but I ate spaghetti squash instead of pasta. I used ground turkey and cut up a summer squash and put it in the sauce.  In this heat I like the lighter spaghetti squash even more than pasta.

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I have also been swimming most days, I walk my son to and from school and am walking the dog around the block in the morning.  So,  I am getting some exercise in despite the horrid (terribly hot, muggy, broiling sun) weather.

It is not easy to eat healthy every single day.  I am doing well with meals, it is the in between meals where I am failing epically at the moment.  Especially with sugar,  it seems one slip up ruins weeks worth of work.  But I really liked feeling better.  It was great not snapping at my son all the time, waking up looking forward to the day, getting lots of projects done and being able to stay awake past 9:00p.  All I can do is keep trying, taking things one day, one hour at a time.  I won’t beat myself up when I err but try my best to put it behind me and move on.  And maybe the doctor will be able to give me some direction and tips.

Yesterday’s this and that

With the increase of my thyroid meds I am feeling soooo much better. Not looking forward to dealing with the doctor but I will have to remind myself how much happier I am when my meds are correct.

Since I have resumed my computer time on the treadmill and started averaging about 13k steps a day I have been sleeping soooo much better. The other thing I have been doing to help with sleeping is turn the a/c down a few more notches. I sleep better when it is cold enough to use a light quilt or blanket. It may be having the extra weight as much as the temperature. I  know I do not sleep well under just a sheet. I decided I am worth the extra few bucks on the electric bill.

I finally took care of two annoying tasks that have been hanging over my head for awhile now.  I have wanted to cancel my book club membership and the newspaper delivery.  I tried to cancel them via e-mail months ago but they make you call so they can deliver the sales pitch. I knew this task would take way more time than I wanted to spend on it so I kept putting it off.  This morning I finally bit the bullet.  It took 45 minutes, most of that hold time. I put the phone on speaker and folded laundry, read the comics (yes, in the paper I am cancelling) and straightened up the family room.  I am not proud of this but I really wasn’t in the mood for the sales pitch so I lied.  I told them I was moving overseas and my internet access would be spotty.  I am sure I saved another 10 or 20 minutes of wasted time.  I am glad to finally get those tasks off my to-do list.  I may have to celebrate by watching “Mr. Selfridge” this afternoon!

Resuming the routine despite the thyroid

“Her normal life pleased her so well that she was half afraid to step out of its frame in case one day she should find herself unable to get back.” Jan Struther from “Mrs. Miniver Comes Home”.

 

I was a little worried about what life would be like after Spring Break.  Would I be able to resume my yoga and writing and ten thousand steps?  So far the answer is yes!  And that was despite horrible allergies that led to a sinus infection.

I have also been so very tired and very impatient, a result probably linked to my thyroid.  It seems every spring when my allergies start up my thyroid symptoms return.  So far I have been able to push through my days but I go to bed really early.  Most nights I am asleep between 8:30 and 9:00p.  My eating habits are horrible. All I want to do is eat and eat junk food.  I am not hungry in the slightest and I find myself foraging around the kitchen looking for candy or cookies.  It has been really bad.  It is a real challenge to distract myself from food. I am blaming this on my thyroid too.

Just knowing that I feel bad because of my thyroid helps.  I use to think I was losing my mind or a really mean, terrible person or incredibly lazy.  I have to remind myself that this is a chronic condition, that I will have bad days or off days.  Yesterday I only walked nine thousand steps because I wanted to try and save some energy for my bowling night.  It didn’t work but at least I tried something. 

So now I have done what you are not supposed to do.  I found an old bottle of lower dose thyroid medication and increased my dosage by the same increment my doctor usually increases it.  And we will see what happens.  If I feel better then I know I need to go to the doctor and get tested and officially get my dosage adjusted. And if I don’t feel better?  I don’t even want to think about that.

In the meantime I will keep walking on the treadmill and working on my latest project (to be revealed in a future blog post!).  I have also requested “The Omnivores Dilemma”  from the library in the hopes that reading about healthy eating will actually help me eat healthier.  The book is by Michael Pollan and I already read  “In Defense of Food” and found it very enlightening.  I will try to enjoy this last month of my school routine.  Yup, my son’s school gets out mid-May and then I get to develop a new rhythm for my days, which of course will really be our days.  I am looking forward to our days together.  I hope my thyroid cooperates.

 

 

A healthy eating update

My 30 days of healthier eating are up today but the challenge isn’t over. The reality is I am looking at ways to improve my eating habits that I can keep to for the long haul.
On the positive side I have conquered breakfast and now eat leftovers or a ground meat and veggie mixture. This morning I had a turkey burger with avocado and salsa, roasted sweet potato slices and asparagus.   Even camping I was able to stick with my new breakfast choices.
In the last 30 days I also confirmed that grains are contributing to my joint pain (hands and shoulders). Last Friday I took my son out to lunch and opted for the reuben. (Which was really, really good!) Friday night was family movie night and I baked a pizza and made homemade soup. I ate two small pieces of pizza. The next morning my hands and shoulders felt stiff and sore. The next step it to see if it is all grains or just wheat (gluten) that make me feel bad.
I am getting a little better when we eat out.  Eating out for me is hard because it always feel like such a treat so I want to order things I don’t usually make at home.  After the Friday reuben I admitted I was going to have to be more diligent about my dining out choices. Saturday we had a picnic to go to and I ate my burger without a bun and added some carrot sticks I brought from home. Sunday we went up to Phoenix to watch a Cubs spring training game.  I ate a smoked salmon chopped salad from a food truck.  On the way home we stopped at Cracker Barrel.  I got the breakfast parfait with 2 scrambled eggs.  (I was also supposed to get 3 slices of turkey bacon which the waitress forgot to bring and then lied about it not being part of the item I ordered.  I checked the menu on the way out and bacon was included, hence no tip for her.  She should have just admitted she made a mistake.)
On the still needs a lot of work side is sugar. PMS hit and that was all she wrote. I scavenged every bit of chocolate I had squirreled away. I don’t crave candy so much as baked goods which hits me with the double sugar and grain whammy. Not having any baked goods on hand I ate candy until it was gone. I am considering different options on dealing with the PMS sugar fix. I could try to stick with raisins, lara bars and greek yogurt and see if that works. I could stash a batch of cookies in the freezer and thaw one for each day. I wish I could eat the junk for a day or two and then go back to healthy eating but once the sugar door is opened it is really hard to close.
Dealing with the sugar issue is my focus for the next 30 days. I think this is  important for better sleep and to control mood swings. I will do some more research and see what others do to conquer the PMS cravings.  Starting today I am back on a strict sugar ban. I think increasing my exercise will help me sleep better, it is certainly worth a try.  I did lose 2 pounds but would like to lose 4 to 5 more and the exercise will help there too.

I would say the last 30 days have been a success.  Progress has been made on establishing better long term eating habits.  I have identified grains as an issue and admit controlling my sugar intake needs more work.  Last night it struck me that my hypothyroidism is a long term chronic condition that apparently popping a pill every morning isn’t going to fix.   It is good to take the time and energy to see what I can do on my own to feel better.  Patience is required to establish new habits, slip ups will happen and I don’t need to be dietarily perfect to feel better.  But I do so want to feel better and if a few changes in diet can make that happen then I am willing to make the effort.

Me and my $@#! thyroid

Shortly after moving to Tucson I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.  It sucks.  I am just now starting to try and learn more about it.  I am on medication and the dosage increases every year.  Before Christmas I was feeling pretty well.  I had reduced the amount of wheat I was eating and had my snacking under control.  And then we went to Flagstaff and ate out for 4 straight days, then I got sick and then it was Christmas.  My exercise/yoga routine was on hold for a few weeks and my eating habits imploded.  I am having lots of joint pain (hands and shoulders), am ready for bed by 7:00p and scary crabby.  It is time to retake control and see if I can help myself feel better.

I have somewhat impulsively decided to eat uber healthy for 30 days.  I made the decision on Monday to start today,  Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.  My 30 days will end the first day of Spring.  It seems like a nice window for self-improvement.

I will sort of be following the Whole 30  rules, but not entirely, hence I am NOT doing the Whole 30.  I have tried it twice and never could complete it.   Three  no-no’s from the whole 30 I am going to break are: 1.  I am going to eat real butter (instead of ghee)  2.  I am going to eat Greek yogurt (at least until the ones on hand are gone) 3.  I am going to eat peanuts (and Trader Joe’s peanuts only peanut butter).

What I will be doing:  eating lots of fresh veggies, some fruits and lean proteins.  Only planned snacks, no random binge eating.  Mid-morning an apple or banana with PB and late afternoon nuts or celery, carrots and/or cucumber.  I will not let myself get too hungry.  I will drink lots of water.  Avoid sugar, soy, grains and dairy (except for the above mentioned items) and anything artificial.  I will be doing lots of cooking and lots of dishes.

This blog will be my accountability watch dog.  I won’t post every day but I will keep track of how things are going.  I don’t know if I will write down every morsel of food but I will admit any slip ups or full scale crashes.  I will also be on the look out for physical and mental changes.

I was going to write “send me luck” but there is no luck involved. What I need is willpower, perseverance and the ability to keep my goals in sight.  My goals are to sleep better (no insomnia and sounder sleep), stop the mood swings and reduce or eliminate my joint pain.  My starting weight is 142.0.  I would love to lose 5 or 6 pounds but that is a secondary goal. For now my scale is out of sight in the cupboard.

I have a good feeling about my success for the next 30 days.  I have very specific aims I am trying to achieve and I am using a plan I have devised myself that should meet those goals.  And if  not?  I will worry about that in 30 days!