Grain Free

Going Primal

If you have been following me on The Ranger Project on YouTube, then you know that I have recently gone primal.  My wife and I have pledged to go primal for the entire month of September, excepting ONE meal at our little guy’s 2nd birthday party later this month.

We’re on day two, and I know I have no rights to say, “It’s going great!”  There are still a lot of tough days (potentially) ahead of us.  However, we are finding it easier knowing that there are a lot of great primal/paleo recipes out there.  (I’m leaning toward primal, Tina is leaning more paleoish at the moment.)

Last night, we had Paleo Chili Rellenos, which were astounding delicious.  Those will definitely be going in the dinner rotation.  I was a little disappointed in how mild the poblano peppers were.  I am by no means a heat fiend.  Jalapenos are about as hot as I’m willing to go, but these were about as mild as green peppers.  (My wife thought hers were hotter; maybe I just got a dud.)

Tonight, we are having bacon cheeseburgers with homemade paleo mayo served on green lettuce leaves.  We wanted butter lettuce, but I couldn’t find it without going to another store, so I just got green leaf lettuce.  It should be a lot better than iceberg, regardless.

Planning our meals out ahead of time is clearly what is going to be our saving grace.  We’re also cooking enough for every dinner that we have leftovers for the next day.

Eventually, we want to get our little guy on the primal/paleo bandwagon, but we’re not being too worrisome about that, yet.  He still enjoys his morning oatmeal, and the kid is so scrawny (80% height, 25% weight, but his pediatrician doesn’t seem worried, so we aren’t either), we’re just pleased when he’ll eat.  Getting him off of junk food once he left daycare was tough enough, but we’ve finally (mostly) won that battle.  (Grandparents still feed some junk food, but that’s just what grandparents do, and neither of us are so stressed by it that we freak out if our not-quite-two year old eats some Cheetos with grandma.)

I’m also not getting on the scale until October.  I weighed in at 399.8 about a week or so ago, and I am pledging to be scale-free until October 1.  I’m hoping to see a weight in the 380s, at least.  I think that’s extremely doable.  The last time I gave up the scale for a month, I obsessed a bit about it.  So far, I’m doing okay.  We’ll see how the rest of the month goes.

Exercise-wise, I am doing a mix of Body Revolution by Jillian Michaels and the pool.  I am not following Body Revolution by their calendar.  With the still-recovering (but much better) knee, I imagine I’ll be on Weeks 1 and 2 of Body Revolution for quite a while.  That is perfectly fine by me.

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Life Stuff

I have not been around for a few days. This may be a fairly length blog post, so if you want to know what has happened and what will be happening to me, please read ahead to find out.

First of all, the good things. Tina and I recently returned from our babymoon in San Diego. It was a great last trip before we have the baby. Baby Logsdon is still doing great (although our last ultrasound revealed he was going to be a very LONG baby – I’m not surprised; his mother and I are both six feet tall).

Other good things – my entire family is still with me, even though if things had been just a little different the other day, I couldn’t say that now.

I’ll explain that one, first.

My mother is a Type 2 Diabetic. She was diagnosed when I was in middle school. I’ve watched her struggle with it my entire life.

I got a call from my father at 7:30 a.m. yesterday morning, a Saturday. We were all going to meet up later that morning to go to my nephew Clint’s graduation. He was calling to say they would not be able to make it, and he further explained why.

My mother almost died in bed early Saturday morning. Her sugar crashed in the middle of the night, and she was unable to wake herself up to consume orange juice or something else with sugar. Dad only knew it was going on because he heard her trying to scream to get his attention.

He tried to get her to drink orange juice, but at that point, her sugar was far too low. He called 911, and the paramedics were able to get her stable. She didn’t have to go to the hospital, and now, she is fine.

Her sugar has certainly crashed before, but it has never crashed that drastically or caused her to have that dramatic a reaction.

This is the part that scares me. If my father had not been there, my mother would be dead right now.

Just a few weeks ago, my dad left the house at 2 a.m. for a week straight because a nonprofit agency he is the head of was doing security at the Kentucky Derby. If this had happened then, when my mother was alone, she would have had no one to call 911 for her, and she probably would have laid in bed and died, alone. The nonprofit agency is a Rescue Squad, and that means they frequently go out on calls in the middle of the night to search for people who have been reported missing. If he had been out on a call, she would have died.

I may be 34 years old, but I’m not ready to give up my mom yet. She’s only 67. She should still have many years of life left in her.

I called her Saturday afternoon, and we talked for a while. She knows she has to get her health under control. She did Weight Watchers with me in the past, and she was successful at it. But as circumstances change, she stopped going.

She wants to be around for the birth of my son. I want her around to watch my son graduate college.

She and I are going to start going to Weight Watchers again. There is a meeting in my city every Saturday morning at 10 a.m., so she is going to drive up and we’ll attend together. With the structure of the meetings and the weekly support and weigh-ins, I feel very confident that she’ll overcome this obstacle. I hope, sometime shortly down the road, I can write a blog post about how her type 2 diabetes is completely overcome.

Just as importantly, I know that the group support of Weight Watchers will be useful for me, too.

Something else has been going on, too. Let me explain this one by explaining my thoughts on dieting. (It’s relevant, I promise.)

I am a huge fan of moderation. That’s why I can’t ever subscribe to ONE diet plan, because I want to eat… well, everything. I can’t commit to being vegan forever because I like meat and cheese. I can’t commit to being paleo forever because I like cheese and bread. I can’t commit to Atkins forever because I like fruits, veggies, and bread.

But, that said, there is one food that I will never, ever, ever, as long as I live, consume again.

Artificial sweeteners.

They are literally poison, and I am suffering from the effects right now.

Before I explain, let me give a little back history.

When I was in my mid-teens, I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. It primarily affected my upper body, mostly my hands, and it was painful, crippling, and embarrassing. I remember my fingers swelling up so large they wouldn’t bend. I went to a doctor, was put on some anti-inflammatory meds, and by the time I was 15, it was over and in remission.

In my late twenties, I began having pain and swelling in my right knee. I truthfully ascribed it to my obesity, and kept saying, “Well, when I get to goal weight next year, it won’t hurt anymore.”

I’m now 34, and I’m still not at goal weight. My knee still hurts. It typically painfully swells about two to three days out of every ten. The other days, I’m fine. My chiropractor even told me she suspected it wasn’t because of my weight, as if it was, both knees should have been affected. Regardless, she agreed losing weight would help it.

About three and a half weeks ago, I went through a two-day binge of Diet Dr. Pepper. I drank maybe twenty ounces of water over those two days. My food was fine and spot-on. My diet soda consumption was three two-liters over those two days. Not good. It was, in my mind, an acceptable, calorie-free binge.

On day three, I woke up with the most painful swollen knee I have ever experienced. I took four ibuprofen and the hottest shower I could stand to even be able to move around somewhat easily.

My wife has been trying to get me to give up artificial sweeteners for years. I made a very clear association – my sweetener binge led to a swollen knee. I was done.

I threw away my Crystal Light and poured my last 2-liter down the sink. If I want soda, I’ll have the regular kind and count the calories.

Well, an interesting thing happened.

My body lost it’s freaking mind.

My right knee, which is the only joint I’ve been having troubles in for YEARS, decided it wanted company. Left knee. Both ankles. Alternating elbows. At one point, my left elbow was so stiff, I couldn’t straighten my arm out more than about 120 degrees. Two days later, my left elbow was fine and my right elbow was so stiff, I couldn’t touch my right ear.

Oh, and the newest pain to join my old-guy-aches? Fiery hot nerve flare-ups on the back of my left hand.

I was beginning to believe I had developed rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, or lupus. Or all three. I couldn’t exercise. I could barely walk, and this was with me taking MULTIPLE ibuprofen a day. You know how the bottle says you shouldn’t take more than six a day? Some days, I took sixteen.

I scheduled an appointment with my doctor, fearing the results but knowing I had to do something. But then, on a lark, I visited Dr. Google, and I got the best news I had ever heard.

I wasn’t alone. I probably didn’t have RA or lupus.

I was experiencing the common after effects of going cold turkey on artificial sweeteners.

Except for headaches (which I never get), the symptoms were like a checklist of what was wrong with me. Other people had gone cold turkey and their bodies suddenly hated them. I kept my doctor’s appointment, but I felt a great relief.

But then I got some bad news. Most of these people said it took two to three months to get back to their normal, pain-free lives.

Crap.

So at over two weeks out, I was still hobbling. I was still in extreme pain.

It sucked. My wife and I went to San Diego, and I was in extreme pain for the entire trip.

I did a little research on diets that would help with inflammation.

Time and time again, I kept coming back to various forms of paleo. Give up the grains and the inflammation will disappear.

Paleo, as many of you know, is giving up grains, dairy, and legumes (beans and peanuts).

Last Monday, I decided I would start a paleo-ish diet. I can’t say that I am paleo, because I’m not being too strict on dairy. I don’t really drink cow’s milk anyway, so I have cut that out, but if I want cheese once a week or so, I’ll have it, provided it is a hard cheese. Basically, my “paleo” is giving up grains, legumes, and most dairy. I know some paleo people would call me a heretic, so if people ask, I mostly say I’ve just given up grains.

Giving up legumes is not a big deal. I hate beans and literally eat them only for the health benefits. It’ll be no trouble cutting them out. I do like peanuts (a legume), but I’m going to give them up, too, just because saying sayonara to peanuts or peanut butter won’t be that difficult.

As I said, last Monday, I started giving up all grains, all legumes, and most dairy. By Wednesday, I was taking only two ibuprofen a day. My results were anecdotal only, but I felt SO much better. My daily weigh-ins showed that weight was coming off fairly steadily, too. My suspicion for this? Without eating starches, it is fairly difficult to eat high calorie. I was eating proteins and fats (along with LOTS of veggies and some fruits), and I had no trouble getting satisfied and keeping my caloric intake low. It was clear that I was walking better. I still had soreness, but I felt tons better.

You’d think it would be easy to just keep giving up grains, wouldn’t it? Well, I gave up grains for five days, and I fell off the wagon on Friday. I ate a slice of pizza and had two breadsticks.

By Saturday morning, I was a crippled old man again. It hurt to lay in bed. It hurt to sit on the couch. It hurt to hobble around the house.

Dare I say it? Grains are the devil.

This can’t be a coincidence. Tina asked me if I thought it might be psychosomatic.

If it is, sign me up for crazy pills because I’ll take relief in whatever healthy form I can get it.

I plan to keep eating grain-free. I know that I will eventually have bread again. I’m hoping that someday, I’ll be light enough with healthy joints so I can occasionally have a slice of bread or pizza without being crippled. But for now, at my weight, that is not an option, so if my options are pain-free days or eating bread, I’ll take the pain-free days.

Upcoming Plans

I need to blog more often. It keeps me sane, and it provides an outlet. I know this blog isn’t widely read, but it’s useful for me. (And to those of you who comment or read without commenting, I thank you for being there for me, even if we’ve never actually spoken.)

I’ve come up with a schedule for blogging. I want to blog daily, at least until such point that it becomes a chore. I have a proposed schedule I’m going to try.

Monday – Motivational Monday
Tuesday – Healthy Recipe
Wednesday – Wednesday Weigh-In
Thursday – Geeked Out Weight Loss Review
Friday – Open Letters (a.k.a. Stellar Path Stalks Celebrities)
Saturday – Photog Friday (a photo recap of the previous day)
Sunday – Horror Movie Weight Loss Review

As other things occur that I want to blog about, I am, of course, at liberty to abandon this schedule as I see fit.

Starting this upcoming Saturday, my mother and I will begin attending Weight Watchers. I will continue eating grain-free, and I’m still trying to decide if I’m going to post my Weight Watchers weigh-ins (late on Wednesday, obviously) or if I’ll just continue weighing in at home.

In Conclusion

I realize this was a long, slightly random post about a lot of different things, but I had a lot to get out at once. Thanks for reading.

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Randomness

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12-31-13 - 412.0
1-3-14 - 407.0 (-5.0 pounds total)