First juicing experiment

Finally put my new juicer to work today. The general plan is to substitute a meal or two a day with either juice or a smoothie … we’ll see how it goes. 

For the first experiment, I needed to use watermelon. Mostly out of necessity. While putting away the groceries, I had dropped the watermelon and needed to use part of it before it went bad. 

Kris Carr over at recommends 3 to 1 veggies to fruits ratio. I thought I would try 2:1 and see how that went. I did spinach, watermelon and celery. 

Learned a few things — lots of spinach doesn’t really makes lots of juice and very little watermelon makes a lot of juice. The other thing I learned, celery takes over the taste of that juice combination. 

I made it halfway through the juice before I went in and juiced an apple in to the mix. Celery, spinach, watermelon and an apple is a pretty tasty combination. 

Self Worth

I was planning on writing a post this weekend about self-worth. The past couple of weeks at work have been tough. I’ve been super busy, and we hired a new person who has been doing an amazing job. The two collided, and I was left questioning what I was bringing to the table. Was I doing enough? Why was I getting so emotional over things?

It was a pretty tough time.

There have been times in my life, like now, where too much of my self is tied in to my work. If I don’t feel like I’m doing well at work, I have a hard time feeling like I’m doing well at anything. There’s no balance.

On Friday afternoon, I realized a couple of different things. A) I needed to do a bunch of thinking and get my head straight, and B) I needed to not work much over the weekend.

I basically had a “come to Jesus” meeting with myself over the weekend and got my head back on a little straight. I read a couple of books (pure fiction) over the weekend, and I drove out to Modesto to see my brother, sister-in-law and my super cute niece and nephew.

While out in Modesto, I heard the news about Trey Pennington. I’d never met Trey personally, but I had exchanged messages with him on Twitter. I was devastated to hear about his suicide and it made me think even more about the things I had been thinking about earlier in the weekend.

For me, the best way to describe my depression is like the three pigs and the big bad wolf. I have to be constantly vigilant and not let the negative thoughts in. Sometimes, I’m less vigilant and the house is like the “house of straw” and the depression comes barreling in. Other times, it’s more like the “house of wood” and the depression is out there knocking on the door and will sometimes break down the barriers and get in. Most days, I feel like I am living in a house of stone and as much as the big bad wolf is pounding on the door, I’m able to keep him at bay.

My biggest challenge continues to be finding balance. I need to find things outside of work that allow me to feel a sense of self worth. I need to find people I can turn to when the wolf comes barreling in. I’m just not quite sure how to do those things yet.

“Protect This House”

A friend of mine posted this video to Facebook earlier today. And, it got me thinking a bunch about some things.

If you know anything about Mormon modesty and purity teachings, one of things that is often mentioned is that the body is a temple & a house for the soul. While the body that I was “blessed” with is far from perfect, the damage that my eating habits and other poor choices have done it have certainly not treated it as a temple.

This video is going to be part of my new motivation. How will the choices I make regarding food and other things I put into my body “protect this house”?

The FAQs on The Diet Coke Quest

Starting on August 1st, I’m going to be giving up Diet Coke. For those that know how much Diet Coke I consume on a daily basis, this is a pretty big deal. Because it wouldn’t make sense to give up Diet Coke but then substitute that with other artificial sweeteners (Crystal Light, etc.), my ultimate goal is to give up all artificial sweeteners starting on August 1st. I’m doing this for a number of different reasons and thought it would be worthwhile to list the reasons why I’m doing this.

  1. Dependency is bad. I truly believe that dependency on anything is bad. And, right now, I’m dependent on two things – Diet Coke and food. Tackling these two things are necessary to my happiness. In thinking about it, I know that if I tried to tackle the food problem first, it would only make tackling the artificial sweetener issue harder later. I feel that I have a chance to win in tackling both by approaching them in this order.
  2. Diet soda causes weight gain and larger waist sizes.
  3. Is aspartame a neurotoxin? I don’t know and there’s articles on both sides of things, but it is an interesting question.
  4. I need weight loss, and I don’t think I’ll get it without dropping artificial sweeteners. Back on 8/1/2010, I set a quest to go the entire month of August without fast food, specifically without going through a drive thru. In a few days, that one month quest will have stretched in to a year. People always ask me if I feel better, if I’ve lost weight, etc. And, the answer is no. I’m glad I’m not putting that much fat into my system, but I haven’t lost any weight in the past week. I really believe that artificial sweeteners are a large part of the reason why I’ve been stuck.
  5. The cost. A low estimate on how much I spend on Diet Coke a week is $30-$40. Some weeks, it might be double that. I know that other people have habits where they spend much more than that per week, but it would be great to eliminate that expense.
I’ve warned people at work that this is going to be painful. And, I don’t really know how it will go. But, I’m going to try and see what happens.
Wish me luck and think good thoughts.

More About Ehlers-Danlos

Way back in January (three months ago to the day), I had an idea of writing a bunch of posts that would serve as a backstory about some of my health issues. I did one post and then got sidetracked with work and other things. Here’s post #2 about me and Ehlers-Danlos.

I could go in to a long story about what Ehlers-Danlos was like in my college years, and there definitely were a lot of ups and downs (literally). During my Freshman and Sophomore year, it wasn’t all that bad. It definitely limited my activities, and I certainly had plenty of dislocations and falls, but overall felt mostly okay. Right before my junior year, I had a bike accident that made my knee troubles and Ehlers-Danlos issues a huge part of my college experience.

My rough junior year was one of the main reasons I had to leave college after my junior year. I had plans to go back to school, but due to medical bills and the debt I accumulated going to the college I did, I haven’t made it back yet.

Ehlers-Danlos Backstory: Part 1

I plan on using this blog to talk about more personal issues in 2011, and I thought it would be helpful to give a backstory on some of the important things in my life — my history with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, my struggles with weight, dating and other family topics.

Dislocations and the school years
I was born with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. They “removed” the extra fingers at birth but wanted to give my feet more time to develop to see what would happen with my feet. When I was five, they removed my extra toes. After that, I was a really clumsy kid and no one really could tell me why. I believe now that I was having minor subluxations or dislocations from the beginning.

When I was 8, I finally convinced my mom and step-dad to enroll me in youth soccer. It was great, but I started coming home from practice and my legs would ache. Sometimes, when I was running, I would fall down for no real reason and my legs – specifically my knees – would hurt a lot. When my mom initially called our pediatrician, they just thought it was growing pains. I had an upcoming appointment with my podiatrist, and we decided to check with him. He felt it was worthwhile to do some diagnostic tests and take some x-rays and that’s when we found out two major problems – a) I had really loose ligaments around my knees and b) my knees were shaped incorrectly and I had what most people referred to as a “floating kneecap”.

I was put on restrictions after that to not run or jump and this is how I lived through elementary school, junior high and high school. I was teased a lot about it, largely because it was hard to explain and didn’t make a lot of sense. I would have about a dislocation a week on either knee, but within a day or two, my knee would feel good enough to walk on again. I’m sure students that I went to class with thought that I was faking things, and since I didn’t have any real diagnosis, it was hard to explain.

Even though I had other pain, there was never any reason to think that the problem was anything more than just having bad knees. In high school, I swam and that seemed to help, but it also hurt. I couldn’t get a great start off of the blocks and sometimes when I was pushing away from the wall, my knees would slip out of joint. I wasn’t very competitive, but I felt like I was doing something.

During high school, I had two dislocations that were “memorable” and should have been a clue to something else. One occurred while I was at church camp. I had been swimming in a lake and my knee dislocated in the water. Unlike most times when my knee would have problems and then go back in to place, because I was in the water, it didn’t happen this time. And, because I was camping and not really in a place that I could rest (or have access to my brace), my knee really never settled down like it usually would. By the time I got home, I still had bad swelling and “water on the knee”. My mom wasn’t happy and neither was my doctor. I basically didn’t go anywhere for a week and just rested my knee and things settled down. The only other time that my knee didn’t go back in to place was right before my junior year in high school. I tripped on a cement block in a parking lot and my knee locked out of socket. It hurt worse than anything I had ever experienced in the past. It was the only time I’ve ever had to go to the doctor to get my kneecap put back in place.

Up next: Ehlers-Danlos and the college years ….

The joys of subluxations

My wrist is “out” again. Or, it could be my elbow. Or, it could be that my ulna is slightly subluxed at both the wrist and the elbow. Either way, it’s annoyingly painful. It’s not painful in the “worst pain I’ve ever had” category. And, it’s not likely to turn in to a full dislocation. It’s annoyingly painful.

I haven’t found any good way of getting it back in place on my own. It will annoy me for a day or several days and then it will resolve itself on its own (usually while I’m asleep).

I’ve been trying to write a blog post for most of the afternoon, but my brain seems to want to focus on the annoying pain in my arm instead.