Sunday, July 30, 2017


Back in March I started the 2 week test to eliminate sugar & processed foods.  My main goal was to eliminate the garbage prior to starting radiation for breast cancer.   After the test I started to add some foods back into my daily diet.  Mostly fruits & a few whole grains.  I still stayed away from added sugars & processed foods.

Several weeks after finishing the test I decided to start tracking my daily food intake on My Fitness Pal.  I was curious to know how many calories I was eating plus I wanted to know my macro breakdown. I was still eating high fat foods which mentally was hard since I was raised in the 80's during the low fat era.  After a few weeks of tracking I was on average eating about 1500-1800 calories per day & my macro breakdown was as follows: Carbs 30-35%, Fat 45-55% & Protein 15-20%.  This was in the mid-May time frame.  Overall, I was feeling really good health wise & feeling satisfied with my meals.  I was starting to wonder how this way of eating would hold up long term & if it was sustainable as I started to add in longer workouts.

About this time Swim Bike Mom started advertising a new nutrition program she was rolling out with Dina Griffin, a Registered Dietitian & certified MET Specialist, called Optimal Thrive.  Dina works with Bob Seebohar in Colorado.  When I first started triathlon in 2009, Bob came to Lexington to discuss his book about eating metabolically efficient to train your body to be a fat burner instead of a sugar burner.  I knew of several folks that bought the book & implemented this way of eating.  At the time I was just trying to figure out the sport & didn't bother too much with my nutrition.  Fast forward 8 years, hearing SBM was offering this on-line program I was very interested.  The timing was spot on since I had just finished the 2 week test & was looking for direction on how to move forward.  The first Optimal Thrive session began on June 1st. 

Optimal Thrive started out as a 5 week session but they extended a couple weeks during the program so folks could have more time grasping the material.  The format was good.  It was exclusively on a Facebook private group.  No emails. They would send out via Facebook a few worksheets a week. They would have a Q&A thread every Friday.  They also had a meal thread where everyone in the program could add photos / recipes of their meal wins.  There were weekly Live videos with Dina & 2 or 3 Webinars with both Meredith & Dina throughout the program.

About the worksheets - there were a total of 21 worksheets over the program.  So not daily but several times per week.  The essence of the worksheets were to teach you the principles of eating Metabolically Efficient & to give you the tools on how to implement into your life.  The worksheets were not a weekly meal plan telling you what & when to eat. A few recipes were given but not a book of recipes.  A few examples were given on how different athletes should eat for their day but not a slew of meal plans.

In a nutshell, how this program was run can be summarized with this famous quote: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."  Personally, I loved it. I rather have the tools to understand the why I am doing what I am doing then just being told what to do.  You need to understand this is how the program is run because some folks don't want to or are not ready to think. They just want to be told what to do.  Sometimes, you need to slow down & learn the basics.

Since starting the 2 week test I am down over 10 pounds and 17 inches in my thighs, hips & waist. My deep sleep has improved significantly, I will talk more about that later in this post.  I am still waiting to get healthy to see how my energy levels are & how this way of eating works with longer workouts.

Below is a typical day meals:

Breakfast: Green Smoothie - Almond milk, Tera's Whey protein powder, spinach, carrots, almond butter or plain greek yogurt, frozen banana & berries or Veggie & Meat Omelette.

Green Smoothie

Omelette, Bacon & Sprouted Rye Toast
Lunch: Spinach or Cabbage Salad with sweet peppers, carrots, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cheese & some kind of meat - grilled chicken, tuna, turkey.  Either olive oil & balsamic vinegar or organic ranch dressing

Cabbage Salad
Dinner: Grilled Zucchini/Summer Squash & green beans, grilled chicken with peanut sauce

Grilled Corn & Summer Squash
Snacks: Fruit & string cheese, almonds/cashews/pistachios, veggies & hummus

The other thing I have been doing since being sick is listening to podcasts on health & nutrition. A couple things I recently introduced into my diet is Kombucha & Apple Cider Vinegar.  This is to combat the damage the 3 weeks of antibiotics did to my system.  Both are said to help to rebalance the good stuff in your gut.  Kombucha is definitely an acquired taste. I have been drinking 1/2 - 1 serving per day.  The first thing I noticed is that it gave me an immediate burst of energy.  The first time I drank it was after my first day back to work after pneumonia.  I was drained from the day.  After drinking 1 serving I immediately felt perked up.  I had similar results the next day. I even got Steve drinking it & to my surprise he really likes it.  I have been drinking it for a week now & my belly feels a lot better.  Steve had similar comments.  It's not cheap, about $1.50 - $2 per serving.  There are a ton of flavors & brands so we have been trying different ones.  Even Target has their own brand but be careful theirs has added sugar. So far our favorite is Traders Joe's Pink Lady Apple at $4 per bottle.

This is our favorite so far - Trader Joe's
They even make some with Chia seeds.  If you are not familiar with Chia & what they do in liquid, think bubble tea. If you like Chia seeds, this one is good as well. I have drank about 4 ounces a day & haven't noticed any energy boost like I did with the Trilogy & Pink Lady.  It is also higher in calories because of the Chia seeds.  Personally, I will skip the Chia ones in the future.  Not that they taste bad but because of the calories & no noticeable benefits.

Grape Chia
I will continue to try new flavors & possibly do a post in the future.  For now, read THIS post regarding reviews of Kombucha for a giggle. The first one we tried was the 2nd one in her post, Synergy Enlightened Trilogy.  Like I said, it's an acquired taste but we were able to drink it with relative ease.

On of the benefits since starting the 2 week test is my sleep quality is off the charts compared to before I started the 2 week test.  My average deep sleep went from 3.5 hours per night to almost 6 hours per night. I wonder if that will hold up after getting healthy, fully back to work & working out again.

One of the podcasts I am listening to is Bulletproof.  I pick up one of his books, Head Strong, at the library this week. One thing that really jumped out to me on page 232 is about sleepy snacks.  "If you wake up between three & five AM and can't go back to sleep, it's often because your blood sugar is dipping during the night, causing a cortisol spike, which wakes you up."  Holy crap!  This used to happen to me EVERY night. I would wake up between 2 & 3 every night, toss & turn, for a couple of hours.  After I finished the 2 week test, my deep sleep improved by about an hour a night.  After finishing the Optimal Thrive program & recovering from pneumonia it has improved an additional hour.  Last week, my deep sleep average was 5 hours, 40 minutes which is up from 3 hours 28 minutes in mid February.

So yeah, I am very curious to see if this trend continues after I am fully over the pneumonia & back to my normal way of living.

Speaking of normal way of living....I am 4 weeks into my pneumonia recovery.  Yesterday was the first day that I felt I had good energy & could join the group for a walk.  It was slow but I managed 2 miles around the Arboretum.  It felt great to be out.  It helped the weather was perfect.

First Post Pneumonia Walk
Today I finally was able to join the weekly free Yoga at Ashland.  Again, the temperature & humidity were perfect. It feels so good to move the body.
Outdoor Yoga is the BEST
Tomorrow I go back to the Pulmonary doctor for a follow up.  I am hoping to be able to ease back into the Livestrong program this week.  I have no intention of running or biking until after I see my follow up CT scan on 8/21. I am going to ask the doc about swimming.  It would be nice to get a few more swims in during August.

Stay healthy, y'all!

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