The Elephant in the Room

I think before I speak any more about my ascent to the enlightenment that is ” primal living” I first need to address what is, at least for me, the huge chocolate eating elephant hulking in the corner of the room. And no people, I am not talking about myself in the third person, I may be unhappy about the amount of weight I am currently carting around with me but I have not yet begun referring to myself as a giant hulking pachyderm.

I am of course referring to the irony of the fact that the paleo lifestyle seems to be the only way of eating that agrees with me but also is the one “diet” that I have teased mercilessly on more than one occasion in previous blogs from days of yore.

Is it conspiracy that I have enjoyed many a laugh at the expense of my sticks and leaf munching counterparts only to become one myself? I don’t know, maybe, maybe not but I do just want to clarify one little detail here and now…..

In every organisation , religion or group there will always be the people who choose to follow the general “plan” whilst keeping their family and friend life balanced and then there will always be the ” extremists ”

Even the paleo movement has extremists. You will know these as the weird guys running barefoot over broken glass and used syringes through Central Park because cavemen didn’t wear shoes. This is no joke, there are literally people that do this. Someone needs to explain to them that cavemen didn’t have hepatitis or numerous other manky diseases either but keep running barefoot through New York and you soon will!

These guys eat their meat raw, including offal. Just take a moment to let that one sink in………..yeah….that’s it….gagging yet? They only wear clothes made from natural fibres that would have been around back in the palaeolithic era and refuse to shampoo their hair yadda yadda yadda….you get the picture! Funnily enough they seem able to justify living in apartments with running hot water and electricity but that’s the thing with extremists, they are able to twist and turn anything to fit in with whatever agenda they are pushing at that time.

The point I am meandering towards here is that I may eat paleo but I am not going to actually try to “become” paleo. I swear on my life and the life of my children that I will never ever wear a pair of those creepy toe shoe, foot glove things and that I will always make sure my meat is cooked to food handling and safety requirements….except my steak, I leave that stuff bleeding!

I will also indulge from time to time in some rice or rice noodles because as you know I have previously lived for pasta and a life completely devoid of noddles of any kind if simply not a life at all. The sentence right there would be enough to send a devout paleo nut into conniptions. Besides, I am almost certain that wheat is the root of all evil and the cause of all my problems so a little bit of rice as a substitute is fine by me.

Most importantly , I will still make fun of paleo. And myself. And anything else that stands still for long enough. It’s who I am, it’s what I do and if you can’t have a good laugh at yourself from time to time then you aren’t really living.

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A sight for sore eyes

So coincidence or not, it has been exactly a year since I last blogged. That is almost like a lifetime when it comes to the blogging community. In fact I am sure that some of my followers will struggle to recognise me when I sneakily show up in their email list with a new entry. After all, they subscribed a year ago to receive my updates and then…..nothing.

A year! 12 months, 52 weeks and what a ride. I don’t really know where to start so I am going to sum it up in a few sentences and then elaborate later.

I had a baby boy, my husband got cancer, my husband beat cancer, I got fat….and unhealthy….again!

Around the time of my last blog my husband started getting sick. It happened suddenly and ran alongside my pregnancy thus plunging us into this spiral of illness and doctors and surgeries and appointments and I do apologise but seriously, blogging was the very last thing on my mind.

So long story short and I will tell you the full version another day when I have more time, everything culminated in ” the week from hell” in September when my husband was hospitalised on a Friday, diagnosed and rushed to surgery on the Monday and I had a c-section without him and delivered our second baby, in a different hospital over the other side of town four days later.

There is a funny thing about cancer, or should I say the weird thing about cancer because let’s face it, there is nothing funny about it. I have seen it time and time again in people I know. I am not entirely sure what it is but it is that thing that makes a wife keep smoking even after she loses her husband to lung cancer. It’s that thing that makes you go out and have a scotch and coke after you find out someone you love has been diagnosed with liver cancer.

I guess what I am saying is that you would think that a loved one getting cancer would be this magical wake up call that forces you to immediately give up all of your unhealthy vices and convert to a religion of super foods, antioxidants and early morning workouts. Well dear friends, I can now tell you from personal experience that it does not work like that.

My husband got bowel cancer. At the ripe old age of 37, after a lifetime of not smoking, rarely drinking and a fair amount of healthy activity, he got bowel cancer anyway. Was it the weet-bix
every morning? Too much coffee? Not enough coffee? One too many Big Macs? Trans fats, processed food, environmental factors, genetics? Who knows and trust me, if you think about it for more than a few seconds at a time you risk becoming a super-paranoid hypochondriac cancer-phobic hermit who never leaves the house for fear of breathing in carcinogenic pollutants in your own front yard. It really can do your head in that much!

For the first 12 weeks after his surgery and my c-section, we both hobbled around the house like an arthritic old couple, groaning and moaning at every slight movement. We both ate what we wanted and did no exercise. Exercise was forbidden for the time being so that was that. After husband having lost 30 kilos of body weight including most of his muscle mass, he looked like, well….for lack of a better description…a cancer patient. He was hollow and sickly thin and sunken. So he pretty much got a ” get out of jail free card” when it came to eating what he wanted. As for me? My post baby hormones were in full swing, I ate anything and everything in sight. My mission was to get husband to put some weight back on but in the process I did too, only I really couldn’t afford to!

Six months later, we are back to the old drawing board. Both of us overweight …..again. Both of us feeling old and unhealthy……again. Not even the big C could deter us from that Big Mac, that block of chocolate, that bowl of pasta, that packet of tim tams! Can I just take a moment to say ” WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH US!” It’s like every time we reached for something unhealthy we would have the same dialogue.

“Oh we really shouldn’t”
” Probably not, but you only live once right! I had cancer so I am going have that tim tam if I want to!”
” I had a baby so I deserve that massive piece of chocolate cherry mud cake!”

And now, we are six months post cancer and post baby and we feel worse than ever. I am not even going to focus on the weight part of it but more just the overall feeling of being unwell. Joints ache, nerves twinge and pinch, head pounds. There is an undeniable feeling of overall inflammation. Nausea pays a visit from time to time and I just have the overwhelming feeling of standing precariously on the edge of a serious health problem. I can’t explain it but it is just a strong feeling that if I don’t get this under control now then things are going to happen that I cannot reverse. I am on the fence between reclaiming my health and sliding into a life of chronic illness. It is up to me which side of the fence I choose.

I read a quote the other day, I can’t remember where, most likely facebook. It said that every time we eat food, we are either fighting disease or feeding it. It made sense to me. Enough sense for me to get out my old paleo cook books and download a few new ones. I am going to choose to fight disease. My life and that of my two kids depends on it.

Today I start day 1 of my whole 30 paleo challenge. 30 days to reclaim my health, slay the sugar dragon and reset my brain. I will no longer be an incubator for inflammation and illness. Those of you wondering what the hell a whole30 is can visit Whole30 and find out the nitty gritty. Basically for 30 days I am cutting out all inflammation causing foods and eating only whole, natural foods that our paleo ancestors would have eaten. No dairy means my gall bladder will be most pleased and no grains means my waistline will be Downright delighted. Probably most importantly, no sugar ………

Now I just have to figure out what I am going to do with this?

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