Thursday, September 26, 2013

Whitney

So, four days ago I was standing at the highest point of the contiguous United States. Higher than anywhere else, yo. And I got there on my own two feet.

We started before dawn with headlamps. The plan was to start at 4:00, but we lagged and didn't get on the trail until 5:00 am. If you ever want to hike this trail, start earlier rather than later.

Sunrise on the trail looking towards Lone Pine



Alpenglow


My buddy the Blue Jay near Lone Pine Lake. Hikers either feed him or drop food inadvertently.


Meadow near Mirror Lake


More meadows on the way up the trail



Consultation Lake. Almost to Trail Camp!


Partway up the billion and one switchbacks. It's usually called 96, 97, or 99 Switchbacks, but has anyone ever counted them? I sure wasn't going to!


A switchback.


Still feeling pretty good!




Trail crest! Those switchbacks are behind us!


Looking back into the Sequoia National Park.


The first gnarly bridge. The wind was blowing so hard, I was a little nervous to get blown off the mountain.



The windows.




This was maybe the worst part. You get to the top of the switchbacks and think you're home free. Then you see how far you need to go the shack is a title tiny dot on the top of the furthest peak. My husband actually thought it got further away from us!




We made it! It was FREEZING! The wind was blowing so hard. I had to go into the shack to add clothing, since I wasn't exerting myself as much. After taking a few pictures of course...







Now came the hard part. It was actually a surprise to some, that the way down was just as long as the way up. My husband, who I could just throw under the bus here, was in some major pain. Maybe because the longest hike he did all summer was 4 miles? Did I mention the round trip to the top of Mt. Whitney is 22? Anyway, he lagged. Big time. I waited for him no less than two hours over the course of the trail. I should have timed it.

The backside of the mountain (Trail Crest to peak) is very rugged, the drop offs can be steep, and the wind was howling. As someone who is pretty afraid of heights, I was soooo happy to see the top of the switchbacks. 


I thought once we got to the eastern side of the crest, the wind would drop off. I was wrong. And waiting for my husband sucked because it was so cold.


Filling up our water and running out of daylight.


I think when I took this picture, we were still almost 5 miles from the trailhead.


Well, as you might be able to tell from the last photo, we did not finish in daylight as I had originally planned. I had anticipated us to take 8 hours on the way up and 6 hours on the way down. With our late start, that still would have put us a little behind, but it still took us 9 hours to get up and 7 hours to get back to the car. I blame my husband who thought his active job would adequately prepare him. ::eyeroll::

What I brought as far as food was good, as I didn't really have any altitude issues other than breathing a little heavier. We should have filled up our water at trail camp instead of the spring a mile or two before, but we had read that there was a spring on the way up the switchbacks. Unfortunately, we didn't see it which meant hubby went a few miles without water. Side note - we did use a water filter made for the backcountry. There are mountaineers that will dip and sip, but the last thing I wanted to have at the top of Whitney was diarrhea. Just saying.

If I were ever to do this hike again, I would camp, even if it was just one night. The worst part of  he hike was getting to the bottom of the switchbacks and realizing you still have 6 miles left. I would still get up super early, dropo camp at Trail Camp and then summit with a small camelback, come down and pass out in my tent, and then take a leisurely stroll back to the care the next day after sleeping in. That last six miles blows, and the last three blow three times as hard.

It was definitely an experience and it was gorgeous. However, there are many, many gorgeous places in the Eastern Sierras so this hike is really about the accomplishment, you know? Bragging rights. That being said, I don't think Mt. Whitney is an unattainable goal for almost anyone - was it harder than a Marathon? If it was, not by much.

So if this is something you're ever crazy enough to want to do, go for it! If you have any questions, I would be happy to try and help.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hiking Fuel

A little side note before I get into my latest rant. Pastured and Pasteurized are two similar words that mean huge differences in your health. Odd, don't you think?

So, I don't really know what to call this way of eating I have embarked upon. Some might call it GAPS, it's certainly not Paleo, but it's not unlike Paleo. Given the popularity of Paleo, you would think that a Google search for Paleo hiking foods would bring up all kinds of great suggestions. Well, maybe you wouldn't, I but I sure as shit did.

Not so much.

Don't even try to good GAPS hiking food, since hiking and mountaineering terminology also includes gaps.

I'm embarking on a ridiculous stunt adventure tomorrow, and I need food. We'll see how my body handles 14.5K feet of elevation, but most discussions on the topic discuss the need for food as well as the apparent distaste for food that most feel at or above 12,000 feet. Therefore you need to pack your favorite foods! Not just things you eat regularly, or even moderately like. Something you kinda like at home, they say, is downright inedible at 12,000 feet. What are the popular suggestions? Peanut butter cups, candy bars, cookies, etc. etc. etc.

Which leads me to my dilemma: Did you know that just about EVERY piece of commercial chocolate manufactured is made with soy lecithin? Which means I CAN'T HAVE IT. I also can't have granola bars or Clif Shot Bloks, or anything else I like to eat when traveling 20+ miles on foot.

Here is what I packed: Soaked almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds and squash seeds. Organic coconut shreds and organic, soy free, vegan chocolate chips. A jar of peanut butter, dried figs, and coconut water. I hope these things do the trick as I watch my hubby drink Gatorade and eat snickers and granola bars, because I'm sure he would share and I'M BEING REALLY GOOD, so I don't want to fall off the wagon.

The plan is to start at 4:00 am. I'm afraid we might not finish until 8:00 pm. Gah.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Crazy?

I know many of you think I am absolutely insane for doing what I'm doing. Cutting out ALL grain? Only eating raw milk products? Spending the bulk of my budget on food alone when I could be having fun? Intentionally putting coffee up my bum?

Of course, I expect healthy, fertile people to be appalled. If you've never had a health condition that forced you to alter your diet, or struggled to have a child, none of this would have ever entered your brain, and it probably does sound crazy.

However, if you have struggled to get pregnant, especially those who have undergone fertility treatments, is it really crazier than the craziest thing you have done? Like injecting yourself with hormones and drugs, spending more time in a clinic during a single cycle than most people do in years, electively undergoing SURGERY under ANESTHESIA in order to collect some eggs so that a embryologist can inject a single sperm into each of them and then incubate them for 3-5 days so that they can be procedurally placed in your uterus with a hope and a prayer that they will decide to live. Does that really sound less crazy?

I'm just saying that out of all the things I have done to my body trying to get pregnant, a coffee enema isn't really topping the list. It's a hell of a lot cheaper too! And with any luck, I will come out of this healthier and happier. Instead of 15 pounds heavier and even more depressed, which is usually how I ended up after an IVF cycle.

Just saying.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Frustrated

That's my word these days, and in more ways than one.

First of all, this way of eating is not easy. Apparently, I can no longer eat out. We went to dinner last night, and the only thing I old have with confidence was the salad bar, and even then, I know those veggies aren't organic, the eggs aren't free range, the beans were from a can. I did the best I could, even foregoing salad dressing, and I didn't touch the cheese bread, pizza or beer. Yet, I paid for it today. Not sure if it was the sunflower seeds or the canned, probably unsoaked, and certainly not sprouted, beans, but today I feel like crap. Gassy, bloated and a headache despite eating the right foods and drinking enough water. Perhaps I should be happy that I'm finally feeling something different.

So not being able to eat in a restaurant totally BLOWS. You know what else blows? Being limited to raw dairy. The one reason this way of eating started out fun for me is that I LOVE real food. Butter, bacon, cheese, fruits and veggies are my favorite things! Unfortunately, so are fresh baked bread and creamy risotto. Le sigh. I was able to give up grains fairly easily, but the dairy is killing me. I spent almost half my monthly budget on raw milk products and dairy, including some raw cheddar. Umm, raw cheddar is just not as satisfying. I'm dying for some Brie, some Gorgonzola, some fresh mozzarella!! Grrr.

I'm also still frustrated about food. Why is it so hard? Why are food companies allowed to produce such toxic products? Why is it that 99% of the food in the market is practically inedible? Why is it so expensive? My grocery budget is hemorrhaging and I'm not even eating the way I should be. I've cut out the grain and I'm now only eating only raw dairy, and while most of my produce is organic, not all of it is. Very little of our meat is pastured and/or organic because we just can't afford it. This is one of those moments where I am unhappy that I live in this small town in the middle of nowhere be wise everything is harder to get and you pay more for what you can get your hands on.

I'm getting better at coffee enemas, most of the time I can hang in there for the full 12 minutes. I hope they are helping.

Anyway, my big goal for the next couple of weeks is to chew. Don't ask how I know I'm not masticating my food enough, but I'm not! One of the biggest goals of this whole thing is to get my digestion up to par.

By the way, my last remaining vice is wine. If that gets taken away, I might riot.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Read At Your Own Risk

If you are squeamish, closed minded, or don't really want to her about the adventures of my ass, you are invited to close this Internet window now.

Still here? Okay, you can't say you weren't warned!

I'm going to start by saying that there weren't any major accidents, so if that's the reason you are reading, I'm so sorry to disappoint. That's not to say there weren't drops spilled, but fortunately the process as a whole was fairly clean.

I started by making the coffee. It's not entirely unpleasant smelling, but definitely lighter than I expected, and not something that you would ever make the mistake of brewing in your coffee maker. It doesn't smell like something you want to drink. Good thing too because that's not where it's going.

Every step of the way is a potential disaster - buckets with holes, tubes, clamps, and one wrong move could cause your coffee to end up on the floor. Fortunately I was so freaked out concerned about doing it right that I was VERY careful.

I set everything up in the bathroom as recommended. A pillow, a book and a puppy pad (the pup is potty trained now so what else should I use them for?) I dry brushed twice before to help stimulate the blood flow and release of toxins, and then lay down to do the deed.

It wasn't entirely unpleasant, and was way cleaner than I expected it to be. I think I did okay for my first time! One thing that was surprising is that the hose leaks a bit even when the clamp is on. Not a huge deal, just a couple do drops here and there. I'm supposed to do it twice in one session, and hold each assfull (assfull is appropriate, right?) in for 12 minutes, which is 3-4 cycles of blood through your body. It was easier to hold it in than I thought, since I had nightmare visions of leaking all over my bathroom floor. However, the longer it's in, the more you want to let it go! The first time, I was only able to hold it in for about 10 minutes, the second time only about 7 minutes. I don't care if you try to read or listen to to music or what - your brain is completely focused on keeping your ass closed. It's really hard to ignore the pressure so time will go by faster. I didn't get a gall bladder release, maybe next time. If I'm doing this three times a week, I'm sure I'll be getting lots of practice and lots of opportunity to fine tune my skills.

I do find myself looking forward to my next go at it, just to see if I get better. LOL. And that was the cleanest my ass has ever felt. I can actually see why people get addicted. 

So there you go! I'm hoping this works... ;)


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Actually, that title is a misnomer. I have plenty of words, but I do expect you to be wordless after reading!

Nutrition appointment last night, and a lot to process. We talked about my struggles to get grain out of my diet completely. By the way, one of my favorite salsa brands has CORN solids in it! WTF??? The food companies are really pissing me off. Ok, back to the appointment. We talked about symptoms, and that I haven't really felt different. Of course, I might be healthier, but I've never really been in tune with my body. That being said, I don't feel more energy and I'm certainly not jumping out of bed in the morning. My memory isn't better and I'm having a little trouble in my regularity department. Not a ton of trouble, but a little here and there. I've never been an every day without fail kind of person anyway, and I guess that's an issue!

She did some nutrient muscle testing, but I'm not exactly sure of the outcome. I'm not too worried because she did change up my protocol:

1. COMPLETELY grain free. No more excuses, no more fair food, no more sips of beer, no more accidental "oops I ate that" moments. On the straight and narrow! Which means I better not eat anything I didn't make myself, because after my salsa revelation, I'm not trusting the food mafia.

2. No more pasturized dairy. Towards the end of the appointment she said "Ok, continue what you're doing - no grain, no dairy..." Wha wha WHA? I actually told her I might kill myself if she took away my cheese and yogurt. So we compromised: only raw dairy. Now, I've been looking for raw dairy and nobody, I mean NOBODY, sells it here. However, good news for my belly (not so good news for my wallet) is that they started a food co-op that brings raw dairy to my town every few months! I may or may not have spent well over $100 in my first order....

3. I'm increasing the supplement that helps me digest fat

4. I have to be more consistent with the dry brushing

5. The Pièce de résistance. Wait for it....


Coffee Enemas.

Yes, you read that right. I'm apparently going to fill my colon with coffee, voluntarily, three times a week. 

Believe it or not, I've actually heard of coffee enemas before. I just never thought I would ever be doing it myself. This woman's power of persuasion is obviously top notch. I found it rather comical that she has tasked the best local, organic coffee roaster to roast special coffee for this purpose. It even says it on the label.


I showed the label to the husband, and he said that maybe he should try it. I. Was. Shocked. Then he asked what the bucket and tube were for. He didn't realize that it was a literal enema. He thought the word "enema" on the package indicated the strength of the coffee. Dork.

Aside from the fact that I have already bought the snake oil she was selling, I thought I should Google. I actually found several articles that said it was silly and potentially dangerous. Great. There were also lots of retail websites spouting the benefits. Ignoring those. But when the Weston Price website mentioned it as a beneficial practice, that convinced me. You see, the more research I do, the less I trust conventional medicine and nutrition. I feel there is too much corruption between medicine, insurance, the government and food companies. As Bill Maher says, "there is an axis of evil in this country between the food, pharmaceutical, and insurance industries."

One of the main reasons I am willing to try it is for years doctors have told me I had a fatty liver and general inflammation, but none of their conventional treatments helped. I've done the nutritional shakes, lost weight, exercised and stress management. I've even taken milk thistle. 

For any of you interested, or just have a morbid curiosity about what could be so wrong with me that it would justify all this, click here. This was the most comprehensive post I found about it.

Don't worry, I'll be sharing my experience with all of you. Stay tuned!! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Real Grain Changer

This post is so overdue, it's not even funny. So this is what I've been doing for the last few weeks since I went to see my nutritionist and she said that I should give up grain. GRAIN. ALL grain.

Well, shit.

So no more bread, no more crackers, no more corn, popcorn, quinoa, etc. She must have sensed my distress, so she told me it wasn't forever, just for a little while. She then asked me how much grain I eat. "Not much," I said. "So it shouldn't be hard, right?" RIGHT?

Fast forward to life in general. No more afternoon popcorn snacks. No peanut butter on toast. Ever try eating out without eating grain? I'm not talking about gluten free, I'm talking no grain. Everyone seems to get gluten free now, but say you're grain free and you might as well be a green and orange alien from Saturn. Well, maybe not that bad because they assume you're paleo, but then tell them you want butter and cheese and would also eat beans, and MIND BLOWN.

So, I did it, mostly. Two major slip ups - once at the fair and once this last week during a momentary lapse of sanity due to fatigue. Or maybe that was a moment of clarity and sanity? I'm also not counting the random sips of beer my husband forces on me so I can try this that and the other.

The other thing she asked me to do was dry brushing. Funny, Angelina just blogged about Dry Brushing in conjunction with the Crazy Sexy Diet. I did it a few times, maybe once a week, but I had a hard time remembering to do it. Sometimes I was just too exhausted to remove clothes, and I wasn't sure if just doing my arms and legs would be good enough. I definitely did like the way it made me feel - most likely due to a little endorphin rush from a touch of discomfort. I'm tattooed and pierced so obviously I like a bit of pain.

I see my torturer, uh I mean my nutritionist, again tonight. Hopefully I will be able to blog a tad sooner this time with the latest restriction I have been given.

Slacker

Am I one of those people that never finishes what she starts? I gave myself another year on my 101 things, and still haven't come close, nor do I have a bunch of money to buy my way out of it through charity. I also started a Project DreamCatcher that I promptly stalled out on. The stalling through the lessons wasn't the worst part though - I went to enter a few photos and baked goods into my local fair, only to find out that the three days available for entries was the week before. Such a shame too - I felt I could have been real competition! Next year? (Provided I don't move)

But I'm actually really easy on myself. I've been working a lot. And I've been embarking on this Real Food journey, and doing fun things with that. Things I should blog about, like coming up with creative recipes to utlize the pounds of greens I get each week from my CSA! Like foraging for wild elderberries in my local mountains and learning how to make jam, syrup and more! I also learned how to find pine nuts in cones from my local pine trees, albeit time consuming (I know why pine nuts are so damned expensive) but I feel very proud to be foraging for local and free food.

So why do I make plans like these? On one side I could say that it keeps me moving towards goals, but on the other side, sometimes it distresses me about things I have no control over. I also think that I need the freedom to complete other goals, you know? Goals I may not have even thought of yet.

Do you make goals? Do you beat yourself up when you don't always achieve them?