One year later – more or less

I still don’t miss sugar. I avoid added sugar most of the time, won’t touch artificial sweeteners, but now will have dessert when eating with others. I drink club soda and iced tea by the gallon (not together…).

And I had to buy all new jeans, slacks, etc because the stuff I was wearing a year ago is falling off.

I’m down to a size 8 (and that’s a little baggy) and I never went on a diet. Just a long term science project in which I was the lab rat.

Let’s hear it for science!

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PTSD and Living in Holland

This is copyrighted (see below) and I borrowed it from a good friend. Kudos to the original author. Some things just need to be shared far and wide. I don’t live in Holland full time anymore, but thanks to a couple of unrelated kidlets and living with PTSD, I have a vacation house in Holland on the coast where it’s sometimes stormy and sometimes it’s beautiful in  a way that only God can create. This post is how life happens while you’re making other plans. It’s also about learning to dance in the rain. And, above all, it’s learning that there are tulips in Holland and tulips are proof that God loves us.

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I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this:

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

It’s like that with PTSD, too. There are days when your triggers are tripping so hard that you tilt at the damn windmills in Holland and can’t see the tulips. If you’re lucky, you find a great therapist that becomes your tour guide and you start seeing the tulips sprinkled about. You’d give anything not to have been on the plane when it was hijacked to Holland, but you’re there – and the important thing is that you’ve got friends there if you look around. They may live in Italy and they have a hard time understanding what it’s like to live in Holland. There are days when I realize that even though I frequently vacation in Holland, it’s where I’m supposed to be – because there’s going to be another plane hijacked to Holland and another person with PTSD will come off that plane and into my life. That’s the thing I’ve learned – when you get to the point of recognizing it in someone else, you’re beginning to heal. And then you find out that God placed you in Holland for the friends that will land there after you. To have PTSD means that what didn’t kill you, didn’t kill you – and in that realization comes the rank of survivor instead of victim. And Holland isn’t so bad when it gives more meaning to your life than Italy might have….

Thank you Emily Perl Kingsley. What you wrote 24 years ago is still brilliant.

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OMG – The Warrior Dash!!!

Impulse Driver (ID) just informed Lab Rat (LR) that ID wants to do the Warrior Dash. ID wants to do this really a lot.

http://www.warriordash.com/

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Stevia and me – for science

I’ve been happily cruising along drinking iced tea, water, and beer since before Thanksgiving and then I tripped over soda made with stevia. What is stevia, you ask? Thanks to Wikipedia, I give you the following:

The species Stevia rebaudiana, commonly known as sweetleaf, sweet leaf, sugarleaf, or simply stevia, is widely grown for its sweet leaves. As a sweetener and sugar substitute, stevia’s taste has a slower onset and longer duration than that of sugar, although some of its extracts may have a bitter or licorice-like aftertaste at high concentrations.

With its steviol glycoside extracts having up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar, stevia has garnered attention with the rise in demand for low-carbohydrate, low-sugar food alternatives. Medical research has also shown possible benefits of stevia in treating obesity and high blood pressure. Because stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose, it is attractive as a natural sweetener to people on carbohydrate-controlled diets.

Turns out they’ve been using it in Japan since the 70’s.

For Science: purely for science, because LR (that’s me, “Lab Rat”) decided to try it. It’s called Zevia. http://www.zevia.com/  I haven’t had the guts to try the cola version yet. So I started, with great trepdation, with the Ginger Root Beer. Wow. Tastes like root beer. Cold, over ice, lots of bubbles, and that weird root beer flavor. Today, LR move deeper into the science lab and tried Orange. I’m not a huge fan of orange soda, but used to like it on occasion (like root beer), so I tried it at work this afternoon. Note the 4 monitors above – they were all active at the time.

Lab test shows: cold, wet, full of bubbles, not quite as neon orange as other orange sodas (but definitively orange), and tastes like orange soda. There’s a slight oddity that I can’t wrap my palate around.  I didn’t quite finish it, but it was the first pop I’d had when fully conscious since before Thanksgiving. This is late January, so 2 full months…unless you want to count the Coke in the recovery room when I had rotator cuff surgery 2 days before Christmas. Note to self: don’t do that 2 days before Christmas again.

Back to Orange Zevia (Zevia Orange?), if I sat and analyzed the taste, it was just a little off. If I worked and drank it without actively thinking about it, then it was just a normal glass of orange pop.

I still like iced tea better.

Lab Homework: this one’s for me. I’m going to try and get my family to taste it. Bwahahahaha….

Oh, um, Oikos? About that chocolate greek yogurt? Epic fail. I’ll stick to your phenomenal blueberries. Having announced I was in a long term relationship with Oikos Greek Yogurt with Blueberries, I should have known better than to cheat with Oikos Chocolate… ::sigh::

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On ADHD and Product Labeling…a Rant

Two blog posts in one day? Not my intent, but for those of us with ADHD, it’s an inherent problem. And KU is womping on Texas 18-3 right now (Rock Chalk!) so I don’t have to control the ball.

Here’s the thing: I like yogurt. I recognize it comes with scientifically proven good things for my health. I also recognize that it comes with some sugar. That’s why I decided to go from 15g of sugar a day to 35 or less. My body was used to getting by on no fake chemical sweeteners and I liked what I was eating, but the lack of fruit was disturbing. I love blueberries (also scientifically proven to be both a) fruit, and b) good for you). 

Where’s the rant? My friends, if I’m going to use the few sugar grams allotted in this here science experiment, in which I am the lab rat (LR), then damn it, I want full control over how I use them.  Simple request, yes? I’m an adult. Sort of…

TechGuy and I went out for breakfast this morning (3g sugar with my Egg McMuffin, Hash Browns, and 64 oz of unsweetened Iced Tea – remember, I’m only counting sugar grams and avoiding chemical sweeteners). In fact, let me pause for a moment and thank my mother for serving me unsweetened Iced Tea from an earlier age than I can remember. Tea does not need sugar. Iced tea is your friend – you can shift up the varieties from black tea to orange pekoe to green tea to Earl Grey (yum!) and pretty much avoid all calories while downing your caffiene AND drinking something ice cold that makes your metabolism work a little harder to warm you up. Whoa. Did I suggest that metabolism responds to cold? Huh. I think I did.

Commercial break: my Jayhawks are now up 20-9 over Texas. Oops. Make that 22-9. Rock Chalk!

 Where was I? Basketball game. Iced tea. Ranting. ::scroll up to see where I started:: Oh yeah! Product labeling and ADHD.  ::sigh::

I picked up Oikos Greek Yogurt with Blueberries in a 4 pack, but they’re smaller than what I ate the other night. Then TechGuy spots slightly larger, individual containers and I get all excited. They’re only $1 per container and it’s OIKOS!!!! I could wax poetic for hours about Oikos Greek yogurt. I could have a serious relationship with Oikos. $1/container is a seriously good price for Oikos. I was excited!!!!  I’m addicted to Oikos Greek Yogurt* and freely admit it.

Rapid segue to mid-afternoon snack.

For Science: you should find a mid-afternoon snack with protein that makes you happy. Protein does some awesome things to your hunger sensors and then this Lab Rat (shall we call me LR?) isn’t starving at dinner time. LR is hungry, but not crazy hungry. So I like greek yogurt and blueberries for my mid-afternoon snack. I also like whole almonds or dry-roasted peanuts. Watch the calories in the nuts though. Savor them or slam a handful, drink some water, walk down the hall, loop through your office space and get back to work. Don’t eat nuts mindlessly.

Back to my yogurt (since, after all, that’s what this rant is about). LR is, in fact, ADHD and generally sees it as a huge gift from God because it keeps life so effing entertaining unless I need to work and meet deadlines on reports and such.

I open my Greek Yogurt this afternoon, settle in to watch my beloved Jayhawks, take a bite, and do a double take. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, LR asks! This doesn’t taste right!  ::whine:: Well, thanks a lot Dannon. Your damn product labeling is a little TOO close to Oikos for me to notice the difference in WalMart, but my LR tastebuds sure figured it out in a hurry…

FOR SCIENCE: if you’re an Oikos addict like me and your ADHD tricks you into inadvertently buying Dannon? Stir it up. It helps a lot. 

LAB ASSIGNMENT: track down some Oikos Greek Yogurt with Blueberries (unless you don’t like blueberries). Don’t stir it. Just start eating the yogurt at the top. I swear it tastes like superawesomewonderful blueberries just by itself. And then, you get to the blueberries at the bottom of the cup.  Is LR nuts or is this stuff worthy of a long-term relationship?

Jayhawks, at the half, are up 35-23.

Rock Chalk!

* According to my middle big sissy (she speaks Greek), Oikos means ‘home’ in Greek. Random side note, but I thought it was pretty interesting.

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Meet Fidget the Widget and Dammit Granite

Fidget is actually my Fitbit (www.fitbit.com)  As mentioned before he goes virtually everywhere with me (like a cat, he’s opposed to being underwater). I was introduced to one of his friends that goes everywhere with my friend, MBG.  Let’s be honest for a sec, I’m slightly, mildly, kinda-sorta, freaky competitive.  Not in a Keep Up with the Neighbors way, because that’s just sorta warped, but in an “I can beat the numbers” way.  So MBG who is also slightly, mildly, kinda-sorta, freaky competitive has this goal of getting 10,000 steps per day on her Fitbit. I’ll have to find out if she named hers and get back to you. I named my Fidget because the little twerp has that impact on me. Have I mentioned that I’m screamingly ADHD?  If the ADHD test is one that you want to flunk, I passed it with flying colors. Top of the class. And I’ve got this job where I’m supposed to sit at a desk or in a conference room or in a board room for hours at a time working on a computer.

Enter Fidget. I was sitting at my desk on one long, long, unending conference call with my Backstreet Boys headset on a few days ago. I couldn’t work on anything because analyzing data would be too big a distraction from the long conference call. The phone was on mute unless I needed to say something and then Fidget got fidgety and said (I swear) “Take me for a walk!” and that’s when I realized that I was wearing a long-range headset and took Fidget for a walk. We logged over 600 steps on that conference call! If I could tell something was coming up that required my input, we cruised back towards my desk, un-muted (de-muted?), walked in circles around my big, leather, executive desk chair (because I am, in fact, a big, leather, executive) until I could mute the phone again and off we went. Fidget had a grand time. If I’d figured it out faster, I bet Icould have logged 1,043 steps on that conference call. ::sigh::

How did my relationship with Fidget the Widget start? I’m an unrepentant gym rat on good days (this is good for managing both ADHD and PTSD). I’d just gotten back into the gym a week after rotator cuff surgery, was surviving loving my beloved elliptical when I got an email from the gym. The January special was 15% off the Fitbit with free shipping. Woohoo!!!, said ID. [ID is my best, most entertaining friend, Impulse Driver]. ID got excited at a level that’s not legal according to our corporate policy. ID remembered a bad case of Geek Envy over MBG’s Fitbit. Her Fitbit is in an online relationship with MP’s Fitbit. I ordered Fidget faster that I can order from McDonald’s drivethru (which , as you may know, is fast – but I didn’t have to drive to order online).  And then I had to wait for Fidget to arrive. Ground ship. Fidget was crate-freighted to my door. Poor little guy – it’s really cold in my neck of the forest.

The day after I ordered him, I noticed this weird marble under my ribs on the left. Self, I asked, what is that? Self replied “FIIK?!!?” which isn’t real nice, but mostly stands for “if I know”. Over the next 4 days, the marble grew to the size of a big hunk of granite. Under my ribs… Again, I asked, “Self? What is that?” and Self just groaned and said “F. Ow. F.”  Somewhere in the midst of that discourse, I decided twas time to call in Dougie the Doc.  It seems that I’ve decided, FOR SCIENCE, to try having Shingles and Mono at the same time. Really? No way. Off he sends me to the local imaging joint where I’ve had joints imaged 3 other times in the last 7 months (different post – be patient) to get an ultrasound on my spleen (now named Dammit Granite*).

Dammit Granite comes back listed as “Unremarkable”

Wut? I’m NEVER ‘unremarkable’, but I suppose it’s a good thing in this case. Dammit Granite is not my friend. I’d like to keep him as a body part though – just a smaller one!

How in the world do Fidget the Widget and Dammit Granite tie together? I develop a relationship with Fidget just as I’m banned from the gym. I’m lucky to hit 4,000 steps in a day (at ‘leisurely stroll’). I have yet to hit the desired magenta with Fidget showing “very active” and I can’t even enter into the competition with MBG and MP’s Fitbits BECAUSE I DON’T STAND A CHANCE! Dougie the Doc said “leisurely stroll and no, you can’t do that on a treadmill. Stay the hll out of the gym until I tell you otherwise.” ID just growled, but Self said to ID, “If Dammit Granite gets any madder about this situation and blows up, all of us land in the hospital under some carving knife.” and ID said “Oh.”

So, my body thinks I’m both 17 (Mono) and 70 (Shingles), my ADHD is running rampant because I’m not in the gym, and Dammit Granite is smirking under my ribs. Fidget is sleeping with me, riding shotgun clipped to my jeans, and whining about the day he can finally hit the Holy Grail of Magenta.

And I have to keep Fidget happy, right? So I clipped him to Jamie Furball’s collar and let him ride with Jamie while Jamie chased his favorite toy, Mr String. Fidget got his ONE MINUTE of Magenta and came back to me. Fidget is loyal like that.

ID, on the other hand, said “W00T!” and order 3 more Fitbits so that Fidget the Widget can have friends.

 I can’t wait to see what happens when I start logging Jamie Furball on his own little widget.**

Lab Assignment: this week, my assignment was getting blood sucked in someone else’s lab (I blame Dammit Granite). YOUR assignment is to go to www.fitbit.com and ask yourself, “Might this little geek toy tell me a LOT about what’s going on with my body?” Make sure you read the part about how it uses Wii 3-dimensional tracking and isn’t just a pedometer. For Science, I proved that a bit ago when I was sorting the laundry and folding stuff (and not walking around). I still didn’t hit the Holy Magenta Grail, but it showed some activity in excess of sitting around doing nothing.   

*10 points if you can name the song and the show that is being parodied; get it right and I might post the parody lyrics. I used to do summer stock musicals and learned the joy of good backstage parody. 20 points if you can tell me the show that spawned “Poor Wandering Nun” and “A Pair of Ducks” 
** Fidget is so small that it didn’t phase Jamie Furball in the least to have it clipped to his collar, so don’t sic PETA, Greenpeace, or the ASPCA on me. THIS IS FOR SCIENCE!!!

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15 grams of sugar a day – and then I met Crispin Cider

Funny thing happened one evening. I had gotten totally comfortable with the 15 grams of sugar a day, was happily eating what I wanted, wasn’t missing sugar, wasn’t dabbling in chemical sweeteners – and then my daughter walked in with several different flavors of Crispin Cider (thank you Derek!).  She writes a beer blog (see my links) so sampling various and sundry types of beers has become a form of family entertainment.  I like beer. I love dark beer. No doubt about it, I’m a beer snob. But… I’m a tried and true Cider-Junkie!!!

And holy mother of all ciders, Crispin has invented the best cider to ever wallow in my mouth. 12 grams of sugar per bottle. 12 VERY WORTHY grams of sugar, I might add. Total conundrum – how do I drink this and not blow the 15 grams per day??? Remember, this 15 grams per day is a science project, not a diet, so there’s not supposed to be any cheating here. It’s For Science! ::sigh:: Crispin isn’t JUST another cider and it’s definitely not your college frat-boy beer.** It’s an ADVENTURE!!! http://www.crispincider.com/cider/the-greatest-cider-adventures  See? Even Crispin admits it’s an adventure.

For science…that means empirical, statistical data. Crispin? You blew my data. It was fine when I was sampling 1/4th of the bottle and counting 3 grams of sugar. But Crispin Brut is an enticing little bottle of fresh, crispy apple with champagne-like bubbles…amidst a mere 12 grams of sugar. Pure apple fizzies (and don’t feed it to the kidlets – it’s not apple juice).

Science or Crispin? Hmm.

4 pack of bottles of Crispin Brut for Christmas. Science quivered. The experiment wavered. Empirical data held its breath. And then, Impulse Driver jumped in and that was it. Crispin Brut and I celebrated New Year’s Eve together – over ice as suggested by Crispin – and:

 OhsMyGoodnessGraciouses, that cider is worth eating nothing but bacon and eggs all day! **

Where was I? Oh yeah, I was waxing poetic about the great science experiment. It continues. I lost almost 2 lbs last week. That wasn’t the idea, but OK. It’s hard to give up that much sugar and not have some random impact to the waistline.

TODAY’S SCIENCE HOMEWORK: What? You thought I was the only one in the lab today? Ha! Toddle on over to www.livestrong.com and find The Daily Plate. Plug in everything you’re going to eat tomorrow, limit it to 15 grams of sugar (no chemical sweeteners) and find room for 12 grams of sheer fizzy apple wonderjuice. Pour it and enjoy!

*I’m not knocking college frat-boys. I dated them in college. Ergo, I know that what they were drinking had no resemblence to cider. It had no resemblence to beer, either…
**It seems that bacon and eggs have no sugar. Melikes. Then again, me also likes bacon and eggs a lot.

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