Stacey! You really need to cut your toenails…

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I had my first moonboot mani pedi this weekend.  I had a wedding, and while I always planned to get my poor feet, left who is swollen due to excessive hopping and body support, and right, dry and shriveled from being secluded in Velcro darkness for too long, scrubbed and trimmed, my plans were cemented when a colleague looked down at poor righty and with a disgusted look on her face, crinkled her nose and told me I was long over due to get a toenail trim.

Well actually she said it much ruder than that, and from the look on her face I thought she was going to vomit at any moment, but ill let that slide. Mind you, she also took the prime opportunity of telling me after I had successfully managed to hobble almost a kilometer down the street with her for lunch and was sweating and uncomfortable. One would think given I have been strapped into a moonboot immobile for two months she would have let my slightly long big toenail slide also, but hey, each to their own phobias.

Ok, so I should back the truck up. It’s been weeks since I have bothered to write. I know what you are all thinking, I should have loads of time on my hands to sit in front of the computer and think of slightly humorous stories about my recovery.

In truth, my days are shorter thanks to sleeping in, my nights longer thanks to not sleeping, and I am tired all the time. The voice in my head that commanded my attention for the better part of this year has been silenced. Both of them. Pitchfork holding and prodding me has taken a holiday to some dark and exotic location, and angelic me just looks at me with wide eyes and sets her mouth in a straight line no matter what I do.

Even when I fail miserably at keeping a paleo lifestyle, and worse, make excuses for why I haven’t been able to.  I try to pretend its only because people sometimes bring me meals that contain potato and defiantly sugar. Or because my non-paleo, now home husband has been doing all of the cooking and hasn’t quite mastered the against all grain mentality. Or because sometimes its too hard when I forget to take lunch to work, and the café upstairs only has a beef salad that will contain soy and most likely gluten, but its that or a burger because walking up the street is too far.

But sometimes its because I really want to eat that Tim Tam.

And the choc peanut M&Ms. And the container of strawberries. And because the Thai restaurant only has rice, not cauliflower rice and a curry isn’t the same without a base. And because, well because I just want to try a piece of that cake.

The paleo flag I was once flying with pride has been somewhat ripped and is a little disheveled due to some rough winds as I continue on the adventure that is my recovery.

I’ve given up trying to exercise. A few days here and there in gym gear and a moonboot, doing my own workouts of sit-ups, push ups, leg lifts and a few other movements did nothing to really excite me so I gave up all together.  I’m not sure if it was the boredom of exercising on my own, or the image of myself looking ridiculous with crutches and weights at once, but I soon got over it.

Just using crutches all day takes my energy away, and hopping from one place to another on my good leg has meant lefty is now well and truly double the size of righty.

Something that was well noted when I got my mani pedi.

Lefty had to be scrubbed silly and massaged with intent before the tension from standing alone for months began to soak away and the layers of dead skin finally broke away to reveal a softer, smoother foot underneath ready to be calloused and abused.

Righty sat in the footspa for 30 minutes, the longest time she had been on the ground and in water, and no sooner after I raised her in the air for a slight exfoliate, did the skin start falling away from my foot. Literally. No scrubbing, no brushing, no blade needed. She was literally wasting away.

Disgusting I know. But the poor old sod has been shielded away from sunlight and air for too long so the skin melted away like the evil green witch in the Wizard of Oz.

She turned a deeper shade of purple. Righty does that sometimes. Since finishing the self-administrating blood clotting preventative injections a few weeks back my circulation doesn’t always match up. And I’m only a week down on my new foot angle. One more purple arch to go in the boot and then I will be set flat again. My heel will touch the ground and ill be good to go.

But lets not get ahead of ourselves. I still have seven months ahead before running will be on the cards, and while the 18th of November is the date penciled in to see my good friend the surgeon again, he might only relieve me of the crutches and not the boot.

I still have a long way to go.

Which is why Righty is purple, and every few hours, despite my toe wiggling I have to massage her myself and watch with fascination as the blood moves to another part of my foot and she turns from beetroot red to casper white.

Two months down and it’s not only the colour of my foot that has changed.

My right calf is no longer there. Seemingly overnight it has been replaced with what I can only describe as an arm like version of a leg. My ankle smaller than my wrist. The calf the size if my arm – and not my bicep or my shoulder – my arm.

Here I was worried about getting tuck shop arms that would flap in the breeze, and instead it’s my leg that now jingles and jangles during my routine bio oil treatment each night.

There is effectively no muscle there. Not ‘there is a muscle I just haven’t used it’ muscle. Not ‘I have really bad calf muscles from not exercising’ muscle. But a ‘there is no muscle in there because there is really no muscle in there’ muscle. My poor old Achilles hasn’t quite stretched far enough to move my foot yet let alone to reach into my calf muscle and join it, let alone define it.

That will be another month at least.

On the bright side, at least my toes look nice.

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Morphine Madness

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Sometime later, after my gluten free hospital roast lamb and vegetables – that of course also included potatoes, and when my stream of visitors eventually subsided, the pain started to crawl its way into my body.

Julie had just left for the night, saying her goodbyes ironically through the locked toilet door after I had managed to negotiate the bed lowering mechanism, lift myself into the strategically parked wheelchair and using my one good foot push/pull myself to the disabled loos.

I thought about trying to sleep through the pain, but I remembered Julie saying a night nurse should be in around seven for my next round of drugs and it was now almost half past. And besides, I was craving a coffee and a gluten free snack.

I used the buzzer. The one that looks at you with a warning almost daring you to press it. Everyone will tell you it’s there to be used, to be pressed, especially for those that can’t walk. But really its not. It’s a in an emergency button and if you press it when it’s not an emergency… well let’s just say you get crossed off the night nurse’s Christmas card list.

I pressed it.

And heard the sound of the buzzer, its whining every second, from my bed. The girl who I was rooming with heard it too, as I imagine many other patients did also.

I automatically felt guilty, but my pain was creeping its way up from my toes to the throbbing where I imagine my incision was made. The only thing worse was the craving for coffee.

Eventually Miss Night Nurse (I never got her name) came.

I plastered an almost too wide smile on my pale face and greeted her with all the enthusiasm I could muster

Hi! (fake smile and high pitched voice)

I was just wondering, I think I am due for a pain killer?

Ok, well we are just doing handover, just checking. I will have a look and get back to you when we can.

Oh (no longer smiling) Ok (voice level and pitch dropped significantly) well can I also have a coffee and some water please?

You want coffee, water ok, give me a minute let me finish handover.

The buzzing stopped and she was gone.

I was still thirsty, hungry and in pain.

But I waited.

And waited.

Eventually she came ‘rushing’ back with a few pills and a glass of water.

I have some panadol, and your medicine, and some water.

Oh thanks so much! Fake smile was back on my face a moment before I snatched the pills greedily from the table and dropped them down my parched throat with a swig of the water.

And now I’ll get your coffee.

Do you have any snacks? I asked timidly.

You want snacks? Ok yes we have some.

Umm…. Anything dairy and gluten free? I almost apologized, although not sure why.

I should have just taken the allergic option that would have had me wearing a red warning beacon around my wrist of my ‘gluten intolerance’ but given it would have changed the medication I was supplied thought I best be a little more flexible.

I’ll see what we have.

At least I didn’t have to wait long. Night Nurse was back in a flash with my coffee, long black, luke warm, no sugar.

And she had snacks.

An array of snacks.  It was as though she had taken one of everything she could find from the kitchen in order to satisfy the fussy patient in ward 15. But there, buried among the cheese, the savoy’s, the sugar filled nougat, there were even gluten free options.

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But nothing paleo.

At least the blue pills had managed to warn off some of the pain and I even managed to doze off half way through The Footy Show.

A few hours later however I woke due to the now violent throbbing in my leg.

The ward was quiet; lights were out, curtains drawn. It was almost 11pm. Across the bed from me I could hear the muffled whispering of my roommate and her boyfriend but of course there was no nurse in sight.

Thinking perhaps I had just slept funny, and maybe a roll to the loo would help the discomfort, I again managed to negotiate the wheelchair solo.  But an empty bladder did nothing for the aching in my achilles.

I was going to have to buzz again.

Now just in case you think I am a light touch, a sissy or just fond of the pills let me give you some background.

I have a high pain threshold. I know this, and have had it confirmed by other professional medics. And yes I might brag about it a little, but compared to a friend who once said Yoga hurt while she was down dogging (not my friend Nisha just to clarify) I know I have a much higher tolerance than some.

Proof point number one –

The only time I have ever had to have a filling I was more scared of the injection that was meant to numb the pain than the filling itself. So much so the dentist said he would start and slip it in without me knowing. I went through the process eyes shut and mouth held open.  Every now and then he would ask me how the pain was and I awkwardly nodded my head – there was none. A slight discomfort, nothing really pleasant, but no pain.  When eventually the procedure was over and I could close my mouth enough to swallow and then talk, I asked when he had given me the injection.

I didn’t. The dentist replied. You have a high pain threshold, so thought you could have the filling without having the injection to numb you mouth.

Proof point number two –

Numerous previous injuries have seen me sprain (never break) arms, wrists, ankles and feet but instead of hopping off the netball court or soccer field I would play the game out only to discover my foot was so swollen my shoe wouldn’t come off until it was iced or that my little finger was actually broken not just jarred.

Proof point number three –

Two days after getting all four of my wisdom teeth chiseled out of me (I say chiseled as they were so crocked they had to be broken in my mouth and piece by piece removed to save my normal teeth) I had reduced my pain killers by half – although was still in somewhat of a delusional state given I thought I could once again eat foods that did not have a consistency of baby slush.

I tried my old uni favorite the 2-minute chicken noodles (I shudder at the processed thought now). I had not tried these bad boys for years, and forgotten the effect the preservatives had on my stomach. The noodles themselves went down without too much hassle; it was a few hours later when my bowel tried to digest them that the trouble occurred. And by trouble I mean the pain of my digestive system screaming at me for feeding it such fowl food. The run to the toilet and the combination of the pain killers and the poor food choice left me reeling in pain – so much so I should have taken more drugs right then and there. But I didn’t and instead when the pain got so much my body cracked it and I fainted (still on the loo).

Actually maybe that goes against my theory…

Either way, by now I was in excruciating pain.

So I buzzed that ‘don’t buzz me’ warning beacon again.

It had been a few hours since my blue pill, and by now the anesthetic would have well and truly worn off, so there was no way I was over reacting – right?

Well Night Nurse seemed to think I was.

For when I told her that I was in a lot of pain and could she give me something she nodded, made some comment my brain couldn’t comprehend in the situation and left.

Half an hour later she still had not returned and I was about to bite my own leg off if it meant the pain would stop.

I could still hear the girl in the ward opposite, she too was calling out for more relief.  She too had buzzed. She too had a quick visit from Night Nurse and asked for something. And she too was still waiting. But unlike me, she had support. Her boyfriend was still by her side, refusing to leave until the medication came.

It was only when Night Nurse came to kick her other half out did he demand some relief and he was not leaving until it came.

Naively I thought his stance would be something I could piggy back on. That when Night Nurse bought his girlfriend (who had something removed from her back that had left a hole big enough her mum had to learn how to pack it before discharge) her pills, I would get mine.

I was wrong.

The two measly almost see threw curtains that separated us and the ten feet of white hospital tiles was like an ocean and I was forgotten.

It had almost been an hour.

I buzzed again.

I had no choice. I honestly can say I had never experienced such pain as I was in currently.

Never in my life.

Not one to compare mild pain to labour, I had the terrifying thought that if childbirth was worse than this I was never signing up for it.

I think I went a little delusional.

Thank goodness, the nurse who answered my buzzing this time around was not my slow shuffle night nurse by Miss Matron.

My polite demeanor was gone, I was in agony.

My pain is really bad… I could hardly formulate a sentence

Out of 10? Miss Matron asked all business like

9 (I left 10 for childbirth).

Ok ill bring you something straight away.

I tried to breathe through it – wasn’t that what they told you do to? I tried the breathing I had recently learned in Yoga but it was too loud in the ward and it sounded odd, like maybe I was in labour so I stopped and sheets gripped so tightly my knuckles turned white, prayed to anything that would listen Miss Matron wouldn’t be too long.

She wasn’t.

The sheets came back with a flourish, a light was switched on and both Miss Matron and Night Nurse were at my side in a second.

Miss Matron – Stacey given your pain is almost at a 10 we have a shot of morphine for you

My fear of needles momentarily forgotten Miss Matron held my shoulders down while Night Nurse primed the injection. It wasn’t until they had pulled up my nightie and swabbed my stomach with an antiseptic that I realized I had been squirming in pain and was moving too violently for the needle and that’s why I was being held.

I wish it was Miss Matron who did the deed but it was Night Nurse who gave me the morphine hit.

It may take a few minutes she said snapping off her gloves. So take these too

More pills. I swallowed them without water and then washed them down for good measure. Hoping I would be in a phase of fog soon and the pain would be gone.

Miss Matron filled up my water and smiled at me with concern.

Buzz if you need anything else that should help you sleep.

It did, but only a few hours.

The injection had left a small bruise on my stomach and a red pin mark, and it had also left me foggy enough that the pain which had returned (enough to wake me) was almost bearable.

Just suck it up Stacey my inner red horned pitchfork holding self said.

It’s probably not that bad. Miss Hole in her back is sleeping.

I’m not sure if she was, but at least she was quiet.

This time I took my inner self’s advice and ignored the buzzer.  Mastered the wheelchair again on my own and drifted in and out of a painful sleep for the rest of the night.

At least I was going home tomorrow.

Pop goes the achilles

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Pop.

That was the sound my achilles made as I turned to run another 10 meters.

I wasn’t even running fast, let alone sprinting. It was death by 10 meters and I felt great, was at the head of the pack, keeping up with the men. I knew I could go further and faster when I had to, had hardly broken a sweat and can be a little speedy when I have to be. I am better at speed than distance.

So I turned and heard a loud pop.

For the first few seconds I thought I had just stood on the cone, or kicked it. It wasn’t until I pushed off my foot and realized there was something wrong with it, all floppy and not working the way it was meant to, that I linked the popping sound to my ankle.

I tried again, before realizing I couldn’t put any weight on my heel. I knew then it was my achilles.

I was at the game when Jaryd Roughead from Hawthorn did his. What looked like a seemingly normal move resulted in him hopping a few seconds before sitting down and putting his hand up in the air to call for the stretcher.

I think I did similar. Poor Leasa, her face all stricken and not quite understanding what I was saying as I hopped over to her waiting shoulder.

Everyone thought I had just kicked the cone, a few thought I was opting out of the challenge gone hard too early and was now just a big failure. I struggled on Leasa’s shoulder to the front of the room and sat waiting for the pain to kick in.

Strangely, it never did.

A bit of a dull ache and throbbing but no shooting pain to let me know a major injury had just occurred. Nothing like the horror stories of feeling like I had been kicked in the back of the leg or the pain being so bad people have passed out.

Not much swelling either when runner came off. A slight concave ball at the back of my ankle and my toes curling forward a little but nothing that would suggest a full ligament had gone wrong.

If it wasn’t for the pop to begin with, I would have thought I had simply jarred my ankle or something. I could still point my toes, just not flex.  But when I tried to walk it was clear I was missing a crucial something that could help me bend my foot – my right foot – my driving foot – my I am right sided foot – and allow me to walk. Instead I had what felt like a dead fish at the end of my leg.

Someone pointed out to me if I had no pain it was most likely due to the fact I had torn my nerves off. Thanks David, not helping in this moment.

Leasa and I turned to Google to self diagnose, but were a bit put off by one helpful website who encouraged us to find a 10cm needle and inject it into the back of the foot to see how much damage had been caused…

Both a little nauseous we shut Google and put the phone away.

I had to ring Joel to get me. He eventually arrived, flustered and coming across more troubled by the inconvenience than by my injury. Shaking his head he entered and hardly looked at Leasa or me. I knew this look. It was his ‘I’m shitting myself and very worried but trying not to show it look’.

It’s the look he gets when he is stressed and overly concerned, so of course I flew into fixing mode and all on the way home in the car ride tried to reassure him it could just be nothing, but we better go to the doctor just in case.

The next seven hours I spent being pushed around in a shabby second hand wheelchair that we had ‘borrowed’ from the first doctor’s office by my father in law. It was uncomfortable, I could feel its metal prongs stabbing through the thin material I was sitting on and it didn’t quite steer straight.

Overall however it was better than having to hop everywhere on one foot, which is what I had been doing before we decided it was easier to take the wheelchair with us for the xray and the ultrasound appointments and deal with the questions later.

I was just going through the motions. Still no pain, but I knew what I had done and had already resigned myself to the fact that my achilles was broken, or if still there, literally hanging by the thread.

I saw it in the doctors face as she pinched my ankle tried to move my toes and looked at the indent above my heel that used to hold a muscle.

I saw it in the xray technician’s face as she told me nothing was broken, and almost said it apologetically – for if it was a broken bone the recovery and rehabilitation would be much quicker and easier.

But it was the ultrasound assistant who confirmed it for me as she rubbed cream on my dead foot before placing the camera on it and sighing the moment my missing muscle was displayed on the screen.

A full rupture of my achilles tendon, just as I expected.

My father in law and my husband were devastated. Shaking their heads and rubbing hands through their hair, the same scowl on their faces.

To be honest, I was devastated too, although I locked up my little parcel of grief and anger and hid it deep inside of me to deal with later. It was more important at the moment to try and stay positive.

Plus we still had the surgeon to see.

I called in a favour before hobbling up the stairs to see the stranger who was set to fix me. My friend Laura, who works in orthotics and prosthetics and knew about these things helped me to stay focused and on track

“Often with achilles repairs they immobile ankle in planer flexion (foot pointing down) to promote healing and gradually bring it back to natural (90 degrees) over a number of weeks.  Make sure you ask if you are allowed to weight bear, and time frames for whatever treatment they prescribe Surgeons often don’t explain things in much detail.”

I took her advice and my notebook into the meeting with Dr Raphael Hau, and was glad I did. He took one look at my films, a quick glance at my ankle and sat back in his chair.

So, surgery, 3% chance of you doing it again after recovery compared to 15% if you don’t have surgery.  Three months in the cam walker and with crutches, should be walking unassisted between 4 and 6 months, no weight for two weeks while stitches in. Can’t take the cam walker off at all, between 6 and 12 months for full recovery. Don’t expect to run again before 12 months. 6 weeks of injecting medications to reduce the chances of getting blood clots. I can do you on Thursday morning.

Back the truck up.

Laura was right when she said Surgeons don’t explain things in much detail – what was this crazy business of injecting daily for six weeks to prevent blood clots??!!! I can’t even look at a needle without feeling woozy and have never been able to give blood thanks to my irrational fear of something sticking in my arm that hurts.

Who is going to inject me daily?

You will, in the stomach.

For six weeks?!

Raised eyes behind glasses as if not quite comprehending my fear based questions.

Yes, for six weeks. It’s only a small injection. Nothing to worry about.

I swallowed, and tried to regain my composure.

Ok. Do most people my age have surgery?

Yes, it is much better. If you don’t it is still the cam walker and then it might not heal properly.

And how long is the operation?

About half an hour. We keep you overnight, cut you at the back of your ankle and go in, tie the ends up. It’s like a mop, the ends of your tendon like spaghetti, I go in and grab the two ends and tie them up again.

So she’ll have a scar? Joel asks.

Yes, of course. Dr Hau looks at us as if we are mad.

Of course she will, only a small one, between five and ten centimeters depending on how much I have to cut to find the tendon.

Joel looks more shocked at the fact I will have a scar than anything else he has heard so far.

She can wear socks to cover it.

Not sure if it was an attempt at humor or not, but nobody finds it funny.

Ok so, no weight for at least two weeks, and then I’ll be in a moonboot for at least three months.

The cam walker, yes, and you will have physio every week as part of your rehabilitation.

So no running, no exercise nothing for at least six months maybe 12?

Again Dr Hau looks at me as if I am mad. If Joel’s biggest worry is the scar, why is mine exercise?

He nods.

That’s right. We see this injury a lot in people your age, or weekend exercises. Those that don’t do anything Monday to Friday and then think they are still in their 20’s on the weekend.

But I’m not like that. I wanted to yell at him. It’s Monday! I did this on Monday! I exercise everyday!! I’m not like that.

Instead I nodded and tuned out when he told me that exercise could be bad and that maybe I was overdoing it. That is was quite common he does this operation all the time, but the first few weeks were very important to prevent infection, swelling and setback.

I was still adjusting to the “no exercising for at least 6 months” comment along with the “inject yourself daily” comment and the “three months in moonboot” comment.

A little bit of sympathy would not have gone astray!

Instead I went through Laura’s checklist, signed a few forms, told Dr Hau I would see him Thursday and hobbled out of the hospital feeling more deflated that I had prepared myself for.

Not sure if it was the surprise injections or reality finally coming crashing down. Maybe my parcel of grief was floating to the surface, begging to be unwrapped.

Maybe I was just naïve to being with, but all I could think about was it could be 12 months before I got back to doing what I loved. No crossfit, no yoga, no completion of yoga challenge, no running. Nothing.

Then what on earth was I going to do with myself…

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The Primal Challenge Day 16

I had another strange dream last night. Not about food this time, but I still feel the reference was there. I was on a tram but on the outside of it, standing on the railings like it was an old fashioned carriage you would still see on the streets of San Francisco. The tram was on a hill, had just come to a stop at the very top.

The stranger next to me had stopped the tram by pulling up the old fashioned handle; it swayed and tilted a little, tiptoeing over the edge of the hill facing the steep decline below, rocking on the old hinges and tracks.

There were people in front of me, people I knew, standing in front of the tram, with their back towards me and they wouldn’t turn around or move, even after the tram began to rock more frantically, and the stranger kept pulling at the handle of the tram, and it kept moving, kept rolling forward. I knew at any moment it would capture momentum and roll down the hill, squashing those in the way who were not fast enough to move, and causing me to hold onto the tram for dear life.

The people moved just as the tram took flight. I managed to hold on, just.

And then I woke up.

Now maybe I just had one too many strawberries (4 in total) for dessert last night and the fructose sugar I have been craving more heavily the last few days took control of my subconscious, or maybe it was one too many ‘I still can’t stop’ long blacks or maybe it really was my subconscious trying to tell me something. I’m not sure yet.

But if I was a dream expert, I would expect to be told it meant something about feeling like I am loosing control, and that the loss of control not only affects me but others around me.

Yikes.

Maybe I am loosing control with my mental stability and running over others with my new clean eating preaching and cant stop!

Maybe I am loosing control with my Primal Plan and have eaten too much fructose and feel like I am loosing control with my challenge!

Maybe because I haven’t done a WOD since Friday I feel like I am loosing control of my fitness – that it’s running away from me and my pent up energy and excitement is ready to literally send me over the edge and off the rails!

To be sure, I did what everyone with a strange tram dream would do. I googled.

The meaning of tram dreams – you would be surprised what you can find out.

This is what I did –

Option 1 –

  • To want to get off the tram in a dream when it cannot stop means that in real life you have got involved in a case, which now seems to you rather doubtful.

Hmmm no don’t think it is that. Happy with the Primal Plan, next…

Option 2 –

  • Public or shared transport tends to indicate that the “trip” you are on may be some change or transition which many people go through.

Well that makes a bit more sense. Cutting out most of what has been my daily diet, what I thought was a healthy eating plan for the last few years is a bit of a change and transition.

Option 3 –

  • To see a tram in your dream suggests that you need to be more disciplined in certain aspects of your life.

Ouch.

Maybe I have overlooked a label, eaten one too many strawberries, or just maybe need to pick up the exercise.

I stopped googling after that.

Maybe I need to be disciplined in my eating ‘sharing’… Stop preaching to others about what I am now practicing, and share the love instead.

Nobody appreciates a Jehovah’s Witness or Born Again Christian knocking on their door with a message from the lord when they are an atheist (sorry to the above two religious groups, but its true).

An ex-smoker who can’t stand the smell but instead of moving to the non-smoking side of the bar provides a lecture on how smokers are not just killing themselves but everyone around them, is a little annoying (even if true).

A vegetarian who lectures you about how an animal is killed while you are tucking into your steak deserves a slap and a vegan who wears leather shoes is just confused.

So a day 16 clean eating – challenge still not finished – newbie i.e. me, is premature and annoying in promoting their greatness to others when they have never bothered to notice the greatness before.

Just like my sister-in-law who is trying (and almost there) to get back to her pre-baby weight and has taken a liking to some of my newly tried recipes…

Two kilos to go (Sister-in-law)  –

When you made your Bolognese sauce with coconut oil, could you taste the oil?? I might have to jump on this oil bandwagon….Just did a bit of reading on olive oil and its cooking temperature!

Newbie (me) –

Nope, I cant but I try not to use too much of it.

Because I am trying to ensure the other stuff does not have sugar, it actually would taste the same if you used stuff with sugar e.g. sauce etc. but without the nasty’s….

Yes olive oil no good at high temperatures and all other canola etc. are BAD

Throw out your marg and get some butter too.

(See how eager I am to show off my ‘new’ knowledge, I automatically think everyone else knows nothing).

Annoyed at my naivety (Sister-in-law) –

Stacey. You don’t know me at all. I absolutely DETEST marg and everyone who uses it!!!! And I have never been a fan of low fat diary products. Full fat all the way for me!!

Maybe she was a bit over the top with the detest comment, but ill forgive her because a) she tried the zucchini bolognaise recipe (even if she did use her own sauce mix which probably – most likely – almost certainly – contained sugar) and b) she is thinking of coming to the next Primal Junction clean eating seminar.

She also later in the day sent me a photo of her bacon, zucchini and egg muffin, and judging by the looks of it, could do with a few of the Primal recipes and helpful hints…

There I go again, judging….

I hope in tonight’s dream she is not driving the tram or that I am eating margarine.

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The Primal Challenge Day 15 – Half Way!

I arrived at work later than normal this morning (8am) because I am still off the exercise which means I leave home about the same time as every mother in their oversized four-wheel drive and need to battle the traffic of Camberwell to reach my daily grind.

I was not feeling the best for a few reasons –

  1. Still no exercise
  2. Still painful back
  3. Work moving day. I was losing the desk I loved (natural light, space, close to kitchen and thus food supply) and moving to sit with my new team. I couldn’t decide if it was just the desk I was upset about losing, or saying goodbye to the old role and starting the new. Sappy I know, especially when I was only moving twenty meters to the other side of the room and I’m excited by my new role, and given my old role has not been replaced yet, will no doubt be doing that too, but change always brings a sense of melancholies.
  4. Traffic.

Maybe I am pre-menstrual. Too much information? Sorry I apologize.

So when I finally got to my desk carting my laptop, ipad, handbag and two bags of my weekly food, I was pleasantly surprised by the brown paper wrapped cookbook I found waiting for me.

Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar.

I forgot I had asked a friend to get it for me, and it was a great Monday morning surprise!

My cooking and my baking will be taken to an entire new level with this easy to read, follow and fall in love with cookbook. And as one person said ‘if I could get legs like that I would quit sugar too!”

Along with my new cookbook, another clean eating friend sent me an image of this little treasure which I never knew existing (and haven’t decided if it’s a good thing I found out about it). Paleo chocolate!!!

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At first I thought it was a little controversial and somewhat contradictory – I mean isn’t clean eating all about stripping back the processed, the man made, the human touch? And looking at this elegant wrapper and patterned dark chocolate goodness, I’m not sure it’s all that well aligned. But it is handmade, gluten free, dairy free, soy free and has no refined sugar. So I guess when I get to the local health food store post this 30 day challenge it is worth a taste test.

Speaking of controversial and contradicting, that’s exactly what my sister Megan pointed out via email I was like after yesterday’s blog post….

Subject line – It’s too late for you!

This comment contradicts everything you listed….

You are one of those people!!

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Ouch.

But she was right, I was!

Somehow I had started a war on sugar with my nearest and dearest and at the same time started a war on morals… and judgment and contradiction….

The email banter continued when my other vegetarian clean eating sister joined in….

Heidi (Vegetarian clean eater who has been ranting about organic and free range for many years)–

I distinctly remember a time not too dissimilar to this at a family do when everyone was chowing down on junk and someone offered me a soft drink and when I said I don’t drink soft drink S Mase rolled her eyeballs at me!

MY HOW THE TIMES HAVE CHANGED!

Megan (Often gluten free due to boyfriend, but otherwise open to all food groups. Favourite meal used to be cheese and tomato sauce on Strasberg) –

YEAH STACEY, YEAH!!!

I’m going to poison you with sugar as punishment

Me (clearly new to this eating plan, but now I have found it look down at those who don’t know it’s there) –

That must have been a while ago, I have not drunk soft drink for a while….  Thanks for your support friends. I know I am eating humble pie but you don’t have to make it taste so bad

Megan –

Poiiiissssssooooonnnnnnnn

PS I assume this humble pie has no sugar?

You see what being the oldest of six siblings four of whom are girls gets me right? No wonder I was driven to sugar.

But I did deserve it.

I have been parading my relatively new (day 15) clean eating practice in front of others who didn’t deserve it. And as I am finding out, many others who have silently and with far more humbled modesty quit sugar or gluten or something previously but unlike me did not feel the need to wave it around in front of others faces’.

But it’s now HALF WAY…. Surely I get some grace of goodness for being so good?

No wagon fall off, no slight hiccup (let’s just forget the red wine jus shall we?) nothing! I have a new eating plan I have stuck to with determination and grit and actually (for the most part) liked it.

I am amazed by the support (excluding the above) I have received from friends and family who make a conscious effort to ensure what they have prepared can be adapted to suit my needs.

I am also startled by what I can only call the ‘paleo revolution’ with many different forms of primal clean eating coming out of the woodwork – or caves if we need a bad pun – and offering up menu plans and advice, and as we have seen with the chocolate, food lines.

So 15 down and 15 to go, a new cookbook in hand, some more MODs coming fast and strong and only one major event looming on the horizon that brings me trickle of nerve Next Saturday’s girls Christmas in July dinner…

But never fear, paleo friends are near, and tomorrow is day 16…

sarah

The Primal Challenge Day 3

Dinner. Out. With friends. Food. And wine. And I survived!

I had booked the Meat & Wine Co before the challenge, but was not overly worried about what I would eat – odds were I could get stuck into the meat and leave out the wine. Without sounding like a moderate to heavy alcoholic, it was the wine that was my biggest worry.

I quite clearly voiced my ‘I’m off the grog’ mantra, laughed at the pregnancy remarks (that indecently only ever come from men, but that is also a different blog post, mantra and rant) and watched as everyone else ordered a good bottle of red to join their cut of meat, and instead drank about a liter of sparkling mineral water. I drank so much of it my nose began to twitch and my stomach flutter and for fear of burping and not being able to stop I switched mid meal to tap water. But more importantly my wine glass stayed empty, and I was silently pretty chuffed with myself.

If I’m honest, I didn’t even find it that hard. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, its only day three.

The food was also an easier option than I thought. The menu quite clearly outlined which cuts were grain fed and which were grass (tick) and the waitress did not even bat an eyelid when I refused the chunky golden goodness of chips and instead offered a side salad. She even smiled sweetly when I asked for no dressing on the salad (keep that potentially rancid oil away from me) and held the smile when I asked could they steam some vegetables and hold the butter.

Their website even claims “The Meat & Wine Co Hawthorn East is pleased to offer Gluten Free, Nut Free and Lactose Free alternatives for those with food allergies or a specific diet to follow” And has a 16 page dietary requirement menu for you to download and check out your options before you dine. So if I had to face potential humiliation by eating out in public, this was the restaurant to do it at.

I ate my meal and watched as next to me blue steak was tipped in blue vain cheese sauce and buttery button mushrooms were found hidden in a puff of pastry, and did not even feel jealous.

Dessert time and nothing on the menu even twitched an element of desire in my now healthy being. Instead I pushed sugary goodness onto others, almost forcing our guest of honor to order something. Maybe I do still have a bit to learn…

But hey – day two, dinner two and I was already taking on a fully fledged restaurant chain!

So why then, when my alarm went off this morning at 5:20am did I let the shrilling beep go on for a moment too long, letting doubt crawl down my arm and to my alarm clock to hit the snooze button?

In that short movement from the bed to the phone next to me, my arm registered the pain from yesterday’s kettle bell swings, and my head registered a heaviness of not having a great night’s sleep, and before I could even try to talk myself out of it, the red dressed Stacey complete with a pitchfork and horns had pushed and poked the angelic me aside and I had pulled the covers up and dived back into sleep.

I’m not sure if it was that extra hour of sleep, lack of physical activity, or my body rejoicing and recoiling simultaneously at the reduction of toxins it now holds, but even after my frittata breakfast I’m feeling sluggish and my head throbs with a dull ache.

My joy at conquering dinner is forgotten as I realize my preparation for lunch is nonexistent (yikes!) and back to back meetings means a trip to the supermarket or market or ANYWHERE but the upstairs café will be tough.  Even the emergency packet of pumpkin soup in my filing cabinet that promised it was lactose and gluten free with no artificial additives has hidden potato in it.

Oh day three the challenges you bring!

My solace comes from the latest Primal Junction facebook posts that reassures me this is all NORMAL.

This is part of the detox and like any good substance addition, withdrawals and the subsequent physical and mental affects will come and go as the days and weeks do.

Preparation is a MUST so mini mental breakdowns (such as the one I am currently having) don’t take over the positive approach and strangle your clean eating goodness with recent withdrawal, shaking hands resulting in primal carnage and ultimately a challenge failure.

So lunch so far is my biggest obstacle. What can I eat that a simple café will be able to offer me? Where can I go with limited time to stock up quickly on clean eating items? And why does pumpkin soup contain potato?!

And its only day three. See I told you not to get ahead of myself….photo