I have been feeling out of sorts.
In December, I was plagued with an intense headache that came and went with no apparent cause. Having rarely experience headaches, it was disconcerting. I also felt low energy and just generally, not myself.
After the first 10 days, I went to the doctor. An MRI showed nothing irregular, and my blood work only showed a slightly depressed sodium level, which both my mother and grandmother have, and is not really new for me. I also had an echo cardiogram, which showed some sort of super mild abnormality, which one doctor thinks may be the cause of my slightly elevated blood pressure, for which I have been on medication for about nine months with no side effects and a positive effect on my BP. There was nothing overly concerning, so while I need to see a cardiologist next time I am in the States, it is not likely the source of my headaches and malaise.
The intermittent headaches continued. Sometimes one glass of wine triggered it, sometimes not. Sometimes doing inversions caused pain and pressure, sometimes not. Doing inversions, however, has made me realize I do have sinus congestion. It is not nasal, but seems to be up in my skull. This is also a new phenomenon. I have never suffered from sinus issues. I have been trying steam and essential oils with minimal effect. I hate neti with the fire of a thousand suns, so this yogi will NOT be torturing herself that way. I may see about a less traumatic saline flush.
One thing that came up in my urine was a bit of yeast, sorry if that’s TMI, guys. A PH imbalance can lead to yeast infections, urinary tract infections and kidney infections, but I have never had anything other than mild yeast infections and mild urinary tract infections, which are super common. Acidophilus, found in yogurt is one way to reset this. I sometimes take a caplet in the morning, especially around my period when things feel more out of whack.
My energy was off. Some days I felt fine; others, lethargic. Some nights a headache woke me up in the middle of the night. Some nights I slept through.
My 20-20 eyesight has been slowly failing me since I turned 30 and then 40. Far away, I can read the fine print, but I struggle more and more up close. Since I sit at a computer all day at work, even though I feel like I read it fine, I thought that maybe the blue light and struggling to read may be a problem. I started using the glasses I was prescribed three years ago even though they don’t seem to do a thing, and I went to the eye doctor for a new prescription. I await the delivery of those glasses, which I ordered from DIFF since they are a company that gives back.
I had guests throughout December and January and did a lot of in-country and then, recently, international travel. On the flight over, I had one of the small bottles of wine (not my usual 2-3), and got one of the super intense migraine headaches. I spent an hour nauseous in the airplane lavatory, which is about as pleasant as it sounds. I got off the plane completely depleted and my body just shut down. I travel a lot, and that is not normal for me.
The food in Turkey and Georgia was amazing, but heavy with a lot of cheese and bread. I was seriously limiting my wine intake, so as not to set off a headache, but one night I went out and shared a bottle with a friend with no ill effects!
So here I am. I’m back in-country. My guests have all left, and I found myself housebound this week due to being on-duty and needing to be immediately reachable by phone for work. I decided that this was a good moment to try to do a fast to reset my system, re-balance my PH, get rid of what ails me and maybe feel myself again.
I figured a week of fasting, juicing and detoxing was just what the homeopathic doctor ordered!
I have previously done the lemonade fast made famous by Beyonce, but never for the 10 days they suggest. I loved the effects of it and it inspired me to drink a version of it every morning. For years, I have started my day with lemon, maple syrup and warm water. In more recent years, I added apple cider vinegar. (Since I am supposed to be increasing my salt intake, I now add a dash of salt, but that tastes truly awful!) As someone who definitely does not drink enough water, this is a great way to kick start my morning.
What I have decided is to do a two-day flush using this recipe:
1/2 cup lemon
1/4 apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup local honey
1/4 maple syrup
48 oz of water
The instructions for this generally say to drink as much as you need and want. I made a large batch of it. Ideally, lemons should be squeezed and drunk quickly, but it is so much easier do it this way, so whatever. I think I drank about a gallon yesterday.
Because I drink coffee every morning, and I was trying to get rid of headaches not bring them on, I decided on one cup of green tea with honey in the morning and I like chamomile tea with honey before I go to bed. I also am a La Croix addict and see no reason to cut that out. It mixes nicely for a lemon fizz.
I did this on a weekend when I had nothing I needed to do in case my energy was low, but so far, I feel fine. It is Sunday 1:30pm and the last food I ate was Friday dinner. I woke up feeling achy, which happens when I don’t exercise, so I did a moderate yoga/Pilates practice. I started with about eight sun salutations and then focused on twists, bends, and ab work to stimulate digestions.
I do feel a little hungry, but I don’t feel weak or deprived of energy (I have even felt inspired enough to write for the first time in an eternity)! I sort of cheated a couple times and chewed some sugar-free gum because my jaw was bored. I slept fine last night, and I have not had a caffeine-deprivation headache, so I am glad to know the small amount in green tea is enough. I may reduce my 12 oz of coffee each morning to 8oz. (I have also been thinking about switching to espresso instead of French press because it would be lower in caffeine.)
I have been peeing A LOT, as one might imagine. It went from yellow, to clear, back to deep yellow (which I thought was super interesting and maybe indicated a detox moment) and back to clear. I eat a fiber-rich, vegetarian diet, so constipation is not a thing for me, and this has not impacted that aspect of my day one way or the other.
Yesterday I looked up different smoothie and juice recipes, but I suck at following recipes, so Ima make up my own! I drink a smoothie every morning with pineapple, mango, banana, avocado, coconut water and flesh, papaya, passion fruit, green powder (wheat grass, chlorella, macha, etc.), aloe, and soy milk. I figured I can make my own versions of what I like and what I know they do with what I can buy here.
I bought a ton of fruit and vegetables at the grocery stores, bought some fresh coconut water and flesh from a street cart and avocado from the avocado vendor lady. I already had some ingredients because I keep my freezer stocked for my daily smoothies. I did some squeezing, chopping and prepping to get me through the week with less effort at the crack of dawn when I have to be up! I will actually make the days’ worth of smoothies at that point. I know they say that you should drink them IMMEDIATELY, but that is not feasible. #workinggirl
NOTE: I have been taking my prescribed blood pressure medicine and taking a high-potency pro/pre-biotic twice a day to see if I can fix my PH, um…down there. I am not taking any of the other herbal and vitamin supplements I normally take.
My plan is continue drinking the lemonade first thing and then as I need to throughout the day this week since the high sugar content helps provide energy. Then each day, I will have a different smoothie as my main food. I emphasize that I am putting these in my powerful blender, not juicing. While I know people love juicing, I want the fiber and substance of the whole fruits and vegetables. I am not anti-juicing. I just like smoothies and I don’t own a juicer, so there’s that.
Day 1-2: Lemonade fast. (Plus green tea, chamomile tea, fizzy water and 3 cheeky pieces of Trident!)
Day 3: Green smoothie: kale, spinach, avocado (the fat should help me feel full), watermelon (for sugar and to replenish any electrolytes and potassium I may be missing after all this peeing!), cucumber, celery, green powder, aloe vera juice, fresh lime juice.
Day 4: Orange smoothie: fresh ginger, fresh turmeric (reduces inflammation), black pepper (needed for curcumin absorption), fresh oranges, carrots, papaya (a great digestive aid), mango, coconut water (like the watermelon, replaces electrolytes), coconut flesh (much like yesterday, the fat should help make me feel full).
Day 5: Purple smoothie: fresh beets, frozen organic blueberries, pomegranate juice, coconut flesh, pineapple, bananas.
Day 6: Salad: I think I will start my day as I normally do with my smoothie, and then I plan to eat a cucumber, avocado and tomato salad for lunch and dinner.
Day 7 will be Friday, and I plan to basically go back to normal. I may introduce yogurt with bananas and granola first. (My pre/pro-biotic supplements will actually last 2 weeks.) I will ease my body back to normal food and then feel free to enjoy my usual healthy, vegetarian lifestyle over the weekend complete with COFFEE!!! And,of course, wine! I, am, after all, only human, and a happy one at that!
I will try to post the “recipes” and how I am feeling as I go through the week.
I am a nutrition nut, but not a trained nutritionist, doctor or health professional. My choices this week are based on my own research of the benefits of certain foods, but I would not profess that everyone would benefit from them. My experiences will be my own, which will be purely anecdotal and would not necessarily indicated what someone else would experience. It is also important to note that I am not doing this for weight loss, and am intentionally including fats in the smoothies, to try to avoid losing weight I don’t want to.