Want to know more about my Diabetes Management program?

If you are a woman with Type 2 Diabetes, want to follow a plant-based approach, and need help, consider Enlighten Health & Wellness.  I do not regret working with the Zamans one bit and would do it again.  This is not a sponsored post. 

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The end of 2017 was hard, y’all.  My blood pressure was not changing, I developed Type 2 Diabetes, and was not getting inflammation or weight under control.  While I was not gaining weight, I was not losing, either (just the same 5 pound every month).  I knew I needed help, but there is no local plant-based Diabetes education class offered in Charleston (I’m working on this, so stay tuned).  I went to Facebook and found a plant-based Diabetics group and visited daily.  I discovered that I was not alone in the struggle and found some comfort in that.  I also found the woman who changed my life.  I responded to her post about a coaching program and was excited when selected to participate.  I’ve been working with her for a few months and have seen my A1C, cholesterol, triglycerides, and weight come down.  I’ve also come off of Metformin and had my blood pressure medication dosage reduced.

Thinking and writing about this course makes me teary.  Bear with me.

Marie Howe Zaman is the coach who helped inspire and encourage me.  She gave me tough love when needed and made me work.  She is the coach and co-founder of Enlighten Health and Wellness and the Enlighten for Diabetics program.  I believe it is the main reason I finally saw a difference.  The program is for women with Type 2 Diabetes and is worth the time, effort, and work.  The focus is not just on food, and that is key.  Diabetes education, fitness, food, accountability, and support make this program invaluable.

It started with a call and goal setting.  Once my specific and attainable goals were set, the work began.  There were articles, videos, and quizzes.  Yes, I had to work, but the work is what made the difference for me.  I learned more about myself, my motivations, and reasons why I easily fall off track.  These lessons gave me focus and a way to combat my demons.

While the lessons helped me get my mind right, the food and activity portions of the program also played a role in my success.  While I had a fitness tracker, it was not compatible with the app that gave Marie insight into my food, activity, and sleep.  I found a Fitbit Flex at Marshalls for a steal and it worked just fine without connecting multiple apps or any hassles.  The only time I needed to take additional steps was when my Fitbit was charging and I used my other tracker.  Tracking was easy and the app provided a direct line to Marie whenever I needed an ear or had questions.

I’m still torn between a Fitbit and Garmin as my reward for hitting my 2018 goals at the end of the year.  Which do you prefer?  Sleep and heart rate tracking are a must-have feature.

Access to a cooking course and meal planner are included with the course.  I thought my cooking game was on point, but I still learned a few things.  And I have not purchased any commercial vegan mayo or salad dressing since starting the cooking course.  While I had several recipes for substitutes at hand, I was not ready to let go.    If you know me, you know this is huge.  I love my condiments, but they don’t always love me.  I’ve known that for a while and have finally made the switch.  It does not take much time to whip up the cashew (and white bean) sour cream that I use as mayo and a yogurt substitute and I truly love the taste.

In addition to access to a coach, whole food plant-based cooking course, meal planner, tracking app, and courses, there were bi-weekly one-one-one meetings with Marie and bi-weekly group meetings with a small group.  I loved seeing how my fellow students were doing and especially appreciated the Q&A sessions with Dr. Tarique Zaman, MD, MPH.  Dr. Zaman is Marie’s husband and another driving force behind the program.  His input adds even more value to the program and helped make lessons stick.

As it is a 12-week program, I’m a little sad to see it end, but it isn’t over.  I have no plans to stop working the program and will keep in touch with the Zamans as I continue to see progress.  As I told Marie, she should prepare to be Facebook stalked, lol.  Not in a scary way.  I’m a member of her Beat T2D Naturally Women’s Support Group and have no plans to leave.  Apply for membership if you want to learn a little more about her approach.

Before you say anything, yes, occasional setbacks are still progress.  It helps me see when I fall off course and paints a clear picture of the need for a change somewhere. 

To learn more, visit Enlighten Health & Wellness on Facebook or schedule a free Discovery Call.

I am so happy that I reached out to Marie in December 2017.  I feel fantastic and she is a huge part of why.  Thank you so much, Marie!

What happens when I stop tracking

Morning, y’all.

v cuts mug

I love this mug from the Vegan Cuts Coffee Box! 

It’s Saturday.  I usually sleep in until around 9-10 am as a weekend treat (and because I usually stay up until 2 am or so on Friday night/Saturday morning).  Not today.  Why?  In part because I went to bed just after midnight and because it’s a high pain morning.  The pain level this week had me thrown.  Yes, there’s a spike twice a month, but this spike has been 3 weeks long.  I decided to jump on the scale to see what’s what and found the culprit.  I’ve gained – part of it is due to typical hormonal changes and the other part is due to tracking.  Well, the lack of.

Why did I stop tracking?  I did not completely stop, but I did slack off.  I stopped paying attention to portions.  Yes, I still need to keep portions of some things in check, even when following a primarily whole foods plant-based plan.  This may not be the case for everyone, but it is for me.  More nuts and seeds (I’m looking at you peanut butter, cashews, and pecans) and letting too much bread and oil get in hurt when I overindulge.  The extra treat days don’t help, either.  I slipped back into an old pattern and am paying the price.

Why did I slip?  I get a little lazy and bored.  I feel like I can let go of the routine a little more than not and have not worried as much since my blood pressure and glucose readings have still been great (90-110 range fasting and 120-135 after meals) which keeps me on track for coming off of more meds.  I still have more energy and generally less pain than after the weird muscle spasms a few weeks back.

I know what I need to do and how to do it.  This gain was not a surprise and I should have paid more attention.  This it not beating myself up.  This is just a statement I need to see in print (well, on the screen) and a reminder that exercise alone does not work for me.

So, what’s next?  Getting back in gear and following my plan the way it works:

  1. water
  2. produce
  3. protein
  4. whole grains with portions of trigger foods in check
  5. treats twice a week at most

See, that’s not so bad.  It’s not boring when I put some thought into it.  The heat has sent my cooking mojo into hibernation, so i need to find ways to mix it up a bit.  Produce is banging this time of year, so between farmers markets and the produce department, I can be inspired.

Right now, I’m enjoying my morning smoothie (a blended salad as Dr. Fuhrman calls it), coffee, and water.  While my coach is not fond of me drinking my calories as a regular thing, she is happy with the way I make the program work.

I’ll share more about my fantastic Diabetes coach soon.  Until then, have a fantabulous day!

Peace!

 

 

Bloodwork update, May 2018

Xena 3-2018

Say hi to Xena

Howdy, y’all.  What?  I said I’d get back to the regularly scheduled posts.  This one is a quick update on how 2018 is working so far.  My goals for the year are to get off more medication and continue to get stronger.

As of February I am off of Metformin with an A1C at 6.1 thanks to plant-powered menus  and am working on getting off meds.  At the tail end of May, I had a 3 month follow up to see how things stand.  They stand on point!

Bad cholesterol is down 20 points.  In three months.  Believe me, the happy dancing started in my head and my smile almost hurt.

Weight was down 5 pounds.  Not a huge drop, but it was still lower than my February appointment (and after lunch, fully dressed) and it’s worth celebrating.  The happy dancing continued.

The biggest news was the A1C.  It was still at 6.1 and a sign to the doc that I do not need Metformin and am on my way to prediabetic levels. You hear that. Prediabetic!  Once my A1C is under 5, I’ll be in remission.  I almost cried.  Seriously.

Doc also cut one of my blood pressure meds in half and said I may come off of them too as I continue to lost weight and get my numbers down.  She said to keep doing what I’m doing and recommended I add in exercise a few days a week.  I go back for more bloodwork in August.  I plan to see better results.

What am I doing?  Tracking my meals and water on My Fitness Pal has been huge.  I see how I’m doing and where I need to tweak things.  I eat more greens, oats almost daily, limit processed foods and sweeteners, and planned cheat meals.  My coach may not approve of the cheat meals, but I know myself.  If I do not have the flexibility of the occasional treat, I will end up on a free-for-all of all the forbidden foods.  Not that anything is really forbidden, just limited.

I’m looking at you, coconut, nuts, seeds, Nada Moo, and Go Max Go Bars. I love you all.

I’m walking more.  I take the psychos out every morning and get in a mile.  If I am up to it, I take another lap or two around the neighborhood. I keep a moderate pace and add faster intervals.  Xena has a pretty quick pace naturally, so when I’m ready to jog, she’ll be by my side.  Victor is getting older and likes to take his time.  He’s the perfect warm up or cool down partner.

My yoga/Pilates PT routine should be a priority, but it has slipped aside in favor of daily flexibility.  Just 10 minutes a day is the plan for now, but I see a 3-Week Yoga Retreat in my future.  I need more flexibility to help ease the daily pain and with recovery.  I am not 21 anymore and I feel it on a daily basis.

So, that’s the update. If you have any questions for me, just ask.  You know I’ll answer.  I know this is not an easy path, especially if there are chronic issues and emotional eating in the way.  I’m learning to work around my limits and finding my best path.  I hope you can find yours.

Until next time, peace!

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Victor thinks he should help me with my practice.

 

Review: Herbal Medicine for Beginners

Howdy, y’all.  It’s been a minute, eh?

Well, I am back with a book review.  I have made my love of herbal remedies known and have spent a good chunk of change on teas, tinctures, and vinegars from local shops and one in Hilton Head.  While I like the convenience of ready-made options, I am curious about making my own.  Katja Swift and Ryn Midura’s book for beginners makes me feel more comfortable about taking the plunge.  

Over the years I’ve played with adding herbs to my food and making skin care products that include pain-relieving benefits.  I have made bath oils and body washes to help boost my energy and clear my sinuses.  I am in love with the spicy goodness of the Herbal Fire Tonic from The Herb Room in Hilton Head, SC.  I worry about not getting the recipes right, mold, and the cost of messing up a batch if I make more medicinal remedies.  Swift and Midura’s Herbal Medicine for Beginners addresses these concerns and makes me feel like I can do this.  I was lucky enough to receive a review copy and have already made the Warming Compress (page 141).  It’s on my wonky ankle now.

This book covers the bases in a way that is easy to understand.  There are recipes and general processes for making herbal medicines, profiles of medicinal herbs, a list of required and optional tools, and full descriptions of the types of remedies available.  Even if you don’t decide to make your own remedies, this book may help make you more comfortable about reaching for these options when you need them.  Each recipe includes a list of “Herbal Allies” that help with the healing process.  I easily see the Sinusitis and Sore Throat remedies coming into rotation thanks to these allergies.

Will I break out this book every time I need something?  Probably not.  Wil I make a few things to have on hand during certain times of year?  yes.  Will I use the information I’ve learned to help me with my future purchases?  Most definitely.

Are you a fan of herbal medicines?  Thinking about it?  Swift and Midura have answers for you.  Check out what other readers think about this book.  Herbal Medicine for Beginners is available now and if you’d rather have a physical copy, pre-orders are available.

On that note, I have more reading to do.  Or dinner to make.  Whichever appeals more.  Until next time.

 

 

 

 

2018 is almost here!

It’s been a minute since I’ve posted here.  Time literally got away from me.  Wasn’t it just August?  Anyway, the end if one year always results in me looking back and ahead.  Join me in my look back.

2017 was my PlantFusion New Year that saw me rock my second 5K, increase flexibility training, and come out as a person with Type 2 Diabetes.  I added new knives to my kitchen collection and embraced both the Instant Pot and Air Fryer as necessities.  I also spent a few months back in physical therapy after a car accident (and hubby was right there with me).  Now that the year is about over, I do not regret any of it.  Off-plan meals, iffy days, and other things that made up my days were part of what made me.  Embracing the good, bad, and ugly experiences of life helps keep me honest.  That’s my short and sweet review of 2017.  Come on, 2018!

What about you?  It’s not too late to end 2017 on a high note and not too soon to make plans for 2018.  I’m always around on Facebook and Instagram, so if you want to cheer each other on, give me a shout.   I always have your back!

Until next time, peace!

Reappearing

It’s been a while, eh?  You may be wondering where I’ve been.  If not, I’ll tell you anyway.
It started with a car accident on July 31.  Hubs and I were minding our own business when another driver hit us hard enough to bend the car’s frame.   We did not think we were hurt at first, but we were both wrong.  We both felt the result of the impact a few days later and are both currently in recovery (meaning physical therapy, massage therapy, and meds).

What else am I up to these days?  Working as much as I can.  Because two kids in college are almost as expensive as they were when they were younger.  Scratch that.  They’re more expensive now because the needs grew up with them.

Something had to give, so my blogs took a back seat while I worked out the kinks.  My fellow spoonies, you know how it is.  I’m still around (just check out my Facebook and Twitter feeds), but not as chatty as I have been.

So, let me know what you;d like to see.  The holidays are coming up, so expect sample menus and other yummy goodness.  Until next time, peace!

Catching up

train shirtMorning, y’all.  Your friendly neighborhood Sherrie is slowly coming out of hiding. Between losing my boy Oz, extended pain flares, and a bit of a spiral, I have slacked off on taking care of myself.  Eating like crap (mostly junk) and minimal exercise (stretching enough to make moving easier and walking while shopping) led to increased pain, more fatigue, and losing a little bit of me every day.

Between losing my boy Oz, extended pain flares, and a bit of a spiral, I have slacked off on taking care of myself.  Eating like crap (mostly junk) and minimal exercise (stretching enough to make moving easier and walking while shopping) led to increased pain, more fatigue, and losing a little bit of me every day.  Although I have realized that my normal means that I will hurt and feel tired more often than not, I started feeling sorry for myself and pictured my future with more pain and less mobility.  This sent me down a darker path and binge eating.

What brought me out of it was a combination of things.  Well, I’m still in it, but fighting to pull out of it.  Physically, I’m getting better (thank you anti-inflammatory foods and support sleeves), but the brain still needs work.  Hubs and I joined a gym and are still tweaking our schedule.  I’m learning to recognize and listen to my body. I know when I need to switch to a different body part while training, when to start getting my heart rate down, and to start more slowly so that I can get stronger without hurting myself.  After a little over an hour yesterday (treadmill and a full-body lifting session), I don’t feel that bad.  The BCAAs do make a difference.

I would love to skip supplements and get off all meds, but that is not in the cards for me now and may not be later.  And I’m okay with that.  I refuse to let anyone shame me for doing what I need to do.

Some days are better than others, but that’s how things are with everyone.   I may move more slowly than I used to, but my inner athlete is coming back.  And she is badass.

Until next time, peace.

Human Barometer and yoga

I think that my new nickname should be Human Barometer. It doesn’t matter how good I’m feeling or moving when the changes in barometric pressure are dramatic.

It always starts in my ankles. They feel a little tight, but not tight enough for a support or anything. I’ve I’d been training, I usually chalk it up to that. Then my knees get sore. That makes me check the weather a little more closely. If I see rain in the forecast, I know what is on the way and get out the turmeric and Aleve.

Once my hip and spine stiffen and go from an ache to throbbing pain, it’s on. So much on. Right now I’m typing this in a recliner with my back, neck, and head firmly against the back of the chair, legs raised in a partial recline. It’s the only comfortable position at the moment. My ribs, elbows, wrists, and shoulders are feeling it now, too. Tropical Storm Cindy is not heading my way (be safe, y’all), but I feel it anyway. Rain is coming ad we’ve had some here in Charleston since Sunday night’s thunderstorm.

Weather-related pain flare aside, I will get in some yoga today. It is International Yoga Day after all. I recognize my current limits and have a mix of workouts in my arsenal. I also know that I will always have a dog on my yoga mat if I step away.  16422838_10154381378520679_8437767875822278167_oFlexibility training helps make these bad days easier and make good days better.

Between yoga and walking, I am getting stronger physically. It just doesn’t feel like it on days like this. I’m trying not to fall into the pit that seems to open up whenever a flare is extended. Spoonies, you get me, right?

Happy Wednesday, Happy Solstice, and Happy International Yoga Day! May it be amazing!

I’m addicted to kitchen toys

If you like to cook, then you may share my problem — I’m addicted to kitchen toys.  I love them!  Knives, scales, mandolins, containers, blenders, mixers, Instant Pot – all of them.  I don’t use love to have them around, I use them.  I don’t like spending money on anything I won’t use just because an ad or infomercial caught my eye.

But before I grew to love kitchen toys, I had to pick up the essentials.  You know, the basic kitchen equipment that fit my needs.  Here’s a quick peek at some of my kitchen essentials.  This is not a list of thinks everyone must have, but my personal collection of go-to tools.  If I did not have these, I could not get anything done in the kitchen.

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I’m working on my fat/weight loss goals, so the right tools are essential.  I picked up Snapware bowls for the things I cook in bulk for the family and the individual portions I make for myself.  I’ve noticed that when I pack leftovers as full meals, I tend to stick to the cleaner path.  I also use divided containers by Orgalif to refrigerate or freeze perfectly portioned meals.

bentos

They help me keep on point on bad pain days.  If I don’t have something ready to roll, I give in to the pb&j (well, Sumbutter and jelly or jam) on whole wheat rut.

Containers and a lunch box that holds them at the right temperature all day are important because Hubs (aka FM) takes lunch to work almost every day.  We picked up a couple of lunchboxes that came complete with container and a shaker bottle this year and tossed all of the older ones that needed to go.  With these, hubs or the kids can take enough food to last most of the day.  lunch bagsThis gray, lunch bags 2black, and red bag from HomEquip came with 2 2-cup containers, 4 1-cup containers, a pill/supplement box, bottle, and ice pack that fit nicely.   It’s a little snug when all of the containers are in place, but he doesn’t usually take more than a sandwich, fruit and veggie sides, a utensil, napkins, and a protein or granola bar for emergency snackage.  The grey with turquoise bag behind this one is Hubs’ preferred bag because he can fit his water bottle inside with his lunch containers.  Both bags work nicely when needed.

You don’t need to buy a lot of containers when you have Mason jars on hand.  Pasta sauce jars, pickle jars, and others with tight lids work nicely as storage for dry goods, in the freezer (just don’t fill it to the rim), and fridge for salads or oats.  I also use jars for dressings and dips that I whip up.  Besides overnight oats with berries, I have some Cashew Cream Cheese from Meal Mentor in jars now.

*By the way, if you have not checked out Meal Mentor yet, you can get a free sample at GetMealPlans.com.  Whole food, low fat, high carb goodness.  Most of the dishes I’ve made are omni-approved.*

knivesIn addition to the containers, I need my cutting boards, cast iron skillet and griddle, 5 qt. stainless steel pot, baking pans, and cookie sheets. I need the, so I have a safe place to chop produce (and there is a separate board for the fam to us for non-veggie stuff).  When I get the desire to bake, I pull out the loaf pans, cookie sheets, or square or rectangular pans depending on what mood strikes.  I feel the need for a bean loaf and possibly muffins for next week.

My main tools are my knives.  I have both steel and Ceramic knives.  Until Ozeri sent me this set of three ceramic knives, I had not taken the plunge. I wasn’t convinced I would like them as much as steel.  I use them several times a week.  I’d use them daily, but I don’t cook or prep on a daily basis. The handles feel good in my hands and the light weight make it easier for me to work longer.  Those features alone make my arthritic hands happy.  And they look good.  I kind of dig the black stainless appliances and these knives remind me of that look.

cukesI hope you’ve enjoyed the peek at my kitchen essentials.  I’ll share more about my possibly unhealthy obsession with the InstantPot, air fryer, and J.L Fields’ cookbooks for both another time.

Until next time, peace.

Type 2

Diabetes.  I did not want to hear that diagnosis.  It was already around me (family and friends) and I thought I’d escape it personally.  Nope.

I was first diagnosed in 2015, but I was more pre-Diabetic than Diabetic according to everything I was ordered to review.  Once my script ran out, I did not rush to refill it.  I believed I could handle things on my own with diet and exercise.  I did not plan for extended periods without more exercise due to pain, the depression- and stress-fueled binging, or the frequent ‘eff this’ days that led to fast food dinners.

The ‘yes, you have Type 2,’ was repeated in December 2016.  I’ve been taking my meds, eating decently for the most part until this past March-April, and moving more when I can.  I’m going back in sometime next month for an A1C test re-do and am not sure if I’ll be given the green light to stop meds.  My fasting Glucose has been in the 140+ range for a couple of weeks now.   I’m a little worried.

Yes, plant-based people can develop diseases like Diabetes and Hypertension.  It happens.  No, I will not go Paleo unless it’s completely plant-based.  You heard me.

I have noticed that my Glucose jumps after TexMex restaurant meals, fattier meals. and when I eat at random times in general.  I’ve also noticed that my pain flares are longer and have higher spikes.  Yes, Diabetes can cause that.  And my fat loss is currently at a standstill.  Why?  Pain.  It always goes back to pain.

I don’t mean a general discomfort, Dr. Who-Thinks-I’m-Just-Lazy (yes, a former doc said this to me and she knew about my spinal issues).  I am in pain.  Pain that makes it difficult to even breathe sometimes.   

I am trying to keep it positive, though.  I have a dusted off my copy of Eat to Live and Happy Herbivore cookbooks, have few new cookbooks with oil-free and high nutrient recipes, and follow more blogs that feature the dietary guidelines I need to follow.  I also registered for the 2018 Cooper River Bridge Run and ordered my shirt a size smaller than I wear now.   Training begins now!  Goals!  My PLant-Fusion New Year is still in full-effect.

So, that’s what I’m up to now.  Well, in addition to more appointments to figure out what exactly is ailing me.  You know the drill – blood tests say this, but symptoms point to another thing.

Go with love, y’all.  Always choose love. If you need me, I’ll be over here with a book, game, or napping.  No telling.