On February 1st, we talked about journalling our health baseline and getting our anti-inflammatory plan together. Have you done it? If not, go do yours right now and then come back, or read on to see what my Assessment looks like if you need some inspiration.
Need even more motivation to do this? Just in case you missed this on Wednesday, Anti-Inflammatory Challenge participants can be entered to win a copy of either Nourishing Traditions, The Paleo Solution, or The Primal Blueprint at the end of the month by commenting with their own progress and challenges on each of the Anti-Inflammation Friday posts (this is the first of four Friday posts).
Okay, here’s my assessment and plan.
Anti-Inflammation Challenge Baseline Health Assessment and Plan
How do you feel physically? Generally I feel fine. I have a lot of aches and twinges that I attribute to asymmetric carrying of a 22 pound child on my hip for much of the day and very little exercise. I’m tired a lot, which I attribute to not sleeping very much.
What physical concerns do you have? Specifically, my diagnosis of an auto-immune-related skin disorder and my likely allergy to most common treatment for that condition. Generally, feeling like my body which used to be so strong and healthy has gone and fallen apart on me without my permission.
How do you feel emotionally? The unknown of how to respond to my recent diagnosis is stressing me out and the potential down-the-road complications scare me. I’m worried about my little boy and his weird blue hand thing. Finally, I’m frustrated that when I called my doctor to express my concern about the reaction I was (possibly) having to the medication she prescribed, she told me to find another doctor, in essence firing me as a patient and leaving me with another thing to manage.
Weight: 165 (My “ideal” weight, what I weighed pre-baby-#2 and found very comfortable and easy to maintain when I was sleeping and getting to the gym, is 155. To all you ladies and gents out there that think 155 is a lot of weight, I’ve got one thing to say: muscle density counts.)
2. Current Lifestyle Assessment:
Hours of sleep/night: 4 to 7. Highly variable based on son’s waking schedule.
Typical sleep schedule: Chores and computer work until 11 or midnight. Asleep around midnight, usually awake between 4 and 6 am to nurse son, often continue to drowse while nursing.
Typical meals: Highly variable but generally healthy, I’d say. Almost no processed food. Almost everything homemade from whole foods. Dinners are usually salmon or meat, veggies and whole grains (rice, whole grain pasta, wheat berries, etc.). Lots of fruit – I love fruit! – fresh, frozen, dried or home canned peaches, berries, apples, pears etc. make up snacks. I garnish with lots of fermented foods like salsa, pickles, etc. Yogurt is used as an ingredient or on its own. We have the occasional homemade dessert. I eat a lot – very large portions. I have bread when I make it, and milk or cream in coffee. I use lots of fat: lard, butter, etc. for cooking. No soda and only rarely juice in the house, but I’ll drink a diet coke when I buy a Costco hot dog. I don’t make a lot of treats, like cookies, etc., but I tend to eat a lot of them if they are around (which is why I don’t make them often…).
Caffeine use: Frequent. 3-4 cups of coffee a day.
Alcohol use: More frequent than I’d care to admit. At least a small glass of homebrew or wine a night, but often 2 or 3 glasses.
Tobacco use: None.
Other drug use, prescription or otherwise: None.
Vitamins/supplements taken: None.
3. Anti-Inflammation Challenge Goals:
Diet plan: From Feb 1 – Feb 29, I plan to eat lots of veggies, meat, eggs, seafood and fruit with very limited quantities of dairy and legumes and no gluten. I’m going to drink lots of water and tea and stay away from caffeine (maybe one cup of coffee in the morning…), alcohol and sugar including, for now, “natural sugars” like honey, maple syrup, etc.
Exercise plan: Walk or task-on garden at least 15-45 minutes per day, attend the functional fitness class at my gym 2 days a week. Play with kids.
Sleep plan: Computer off by 10 pm; lights out at 11 pm latest. Ideal: computer off by 9 pm, lights out at 10 pm.
Other: Generally, I think most “supplements” give you little more than high-priced pee, but for the duration of February I will supplement with 2000 mg of Salmon Oil (600 mg of total omega fatty acids) and 4000 IU of vitamin D3.
I’d also like to rock this challenge to the best of my ability without having to buy a lot of new stuff. So as much as possible I’m going to try to make what we already have in the house work within the rules of the challenge as much as possible. Except for the coconut oil – I had to buy the coconut oil.
Finally, I will continue to make progress figuring out the proper steps to take in terms of treatment for me and my son.
4. Progress So Far
Since Feb 1st I have followed my outlined goals and I feel…well, pretty much the same, actually. But it’s only been two days. One shouldn’t expect miracles overnight. But one thing I noticed yesterday (Thursday) was a decrease in my hunger pains. I can get sudden and dramatic hunger pains – like I start salivating and need to eat now. Sometimes I even feel a little light headed. Usually it passes and its not that big of a deal, or I shove something in my mouth and then I’m fine. But I’ve noticed that I’m not hungry as often and I don’t feel that need to eat as critically.
I have definitely stuck to the diet. The only thing I’ve caved on is caffeine – I’m still having a large cup of coffee (without sugar or milk) in the morning.
The best part of the anti-inflammation challenge so far has been giving myself permission to drop the kid in childcare for 2 hours and just take a long, leisurely walk around my home town in the cold winter sunshine. I was by myself, with huge waves crashing up on the beach and the mountains clear and sparkly across the water. It was wonderful.
In terms of treatment goals, I have scheduled two appointments, one with a conventional doctor and one with a naturopath, to get alternative opinions on what the best course of action is at this point.
If you haven’t yet done your own health assessment, now’s the time. You can click the “Print/PDF” button under this post if you want to use mine as a jumping off place. The print feature will you to delete all the stuff that’s about me so you can fill in your own info.
So let’s hear it, Challenge participants – what is your primary goal from this Anti-Inflammation Challenge and how are you going to reach it?