Thursday, April 3, 2014

Creating Our Garden - Herbs

Since going on Paleo I find that I get out of the house a lot more. On some of those outings I’m either scouting for farmer markets or making more frequent trips to the grocery store. At this point I am committed to eating fresh veggies and fruit. I enjoy the juicing and meals I am creating but let me be REAL for a moment…………… eating organically and eating low processed meats adds up fast on the pocket book. Now not to discourage anyone because in all honestly the amount we were paying going out to lunch and then picking up food for a fast meal added up to the same amount if not way more. I think it’s just actually seeing the large dollar amount all at once. However to save a little money, and enjoy getting outside more and an opportunity to play in some dirt with my son I thought it would be nice to start growing what we can at home.

A few weekends ago we got our herb garden up. My husband had worked hard a few years ago building our privacy fence and he really cringes anytime I say “honey this would be good on out fence”, so with that being said I was trying to find a way to create a vertical garden for our herbs. I knew the location I wanted it in because eventually we would like to do an outdoor kitchen/deck and it is a must that it’s vertical because we have two very large Rhodesian Ridge-backs that either like to roll around in my plants or pee on them. I already have on the fence a few pots that I used Hang-a-Pot to attach them. I love this product and they have lasted for about 4 years now but still I wanted something a little different for this project.

I have seen where a lot of folks make a vertical herb garden by using old wooden pallets and I liked the idea but it's still not what I wanted. When at the hardware store the idea had come to me when we were pricing the materials for our deck. They have pre-made deck rails made from pressure treated wood, about $30 a piece. I thought why not place them vertically into the ground on some post and then attach window boxes to them.

This is how it turned out! I am very pleased with it. I drilled some holes on the planters and placed them in a way that when watering the top one it will drain and help water the ones below it. Also in the above picture you can see the flowers I had planted using the Hang-a-Pot.

Now that the herb garden is complete we are now working on building a garden fence so we can plant some veggies that I got started from seed.

Do any of you have your own home herb garden and if so how and where do you have them?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Starting New with the help of Paleo

It has been far too long since I have taken the time to write about my journey. The past few years have been a struggle but with the help of family and friends I am starting to feel like myself again. I finished my last round of chemo a few weeks ago and considering I am feeling really good. I am still having kidney treatments but I see an overall improvement.

Back in December, weighing in at 266lbs from the combination of medicine and eating from depression I decided to look much deeper into what I can be doing for me and my family. I am not new to watching calories, going on diets, exercising and trying to start a new healthy lifestyle. I have started and stopped for years with maybe hanging in there for a month to two before burring out. I desperately wanted to make this commitment for myself. The pain from my headaches was becoming worse. One of the tumors on my brain had hemorrhaged causing an immense amount pain. I was told my brain kept swelling but couldn’t ever find the true cause. I become more depressed, and trying to juggle a full time job, a five year old, chemo treatments, and find time for my husband it became all very overwhelming.

Other than the obvious of not wanting to be sick anymore I had to find what drives me. That’s always been easy, that’s my family. I want to participate in my son’s life and not just be a spectator. We have a great relationship and I love being a mother but with everything my body has gone through it was just plain out too tired to hang with a 5 year! I needed to find something that I can do for me. Again I have tried so many things in the past but would get derailed for a multitude or reasons and it would take me months to get back into the swing of things again.

What changed for me is when I watched a documentary of Netflix called Hungry for Change.

After watching this film it was as if someone had flipped the switch on for me. Everything made more since to me, including why my attempts have failed in the past. I highly recommend watching this film because it puts so much about nutrition and the American diet in perspective. The one thing that I realized while watching this film is what I eat overall doesn’t really resemble food.

That got me thinking what if I cut out all the processed food in our diet and just stick to eating as clean as we can. This is when I came across a Paleo lifestyle, also known as the Caveman diet. At first looking at what you cut out of your diet I thought to myself there is no possible way. I always considered myself a “carb lover” and cheese….. Pretty sure I was in a hot steamy romance with it, but what I have been doing before wasn’t working and I wanted to get away from those foods, right? Being introduced to Paleo was saying “goodbye” to grains and gluten, processed foods, legumes, dairy, white potatoes and saying “no” to added sugar. I also learned that Paleo is more than eating nutrient-dense foods it’s also about the other factors in your life, quality of sleep, movement, stress levels, sunlight, supplementation and overall your thoughts.

As of today I am currently 95 days in. I have successfully cut out the entire “No, No’s” on the do not eat list mentioned above. Remember when I said I thought it would be hard to cut it all out? By far the easiest plan I have ever followed. I started juicing organic vegetables and fruit along with this process and I notice I don’t struggle with cravings at all. I feel full and I actually feel satisfied, not to risk sounding like someone on a late night commercial but I already see and feel a difference. I haven’t had a headache in over 90 days!!!!! This is truly a miracle for me. I have been in pain EVERYDAY since ’05. Anyone that really knows me knows how much I felt captive by my pain. My doctors believe that a large part of my headaches were due to I have an abnormally large brain (I have been telling my family that for year. Had to be the reason why I’m so brilliant), and 7 tumors, so when my brain swelled it had really nowhere to go. Paleo is known to help reduce chronic inflammation as well as stabilizing blood sugar, clearing up gut and skin issues, and assist with getting a good night’s sleep. (Note: I am not in the medical profession so please research and talk to your doctor if this is something you would want to start). For me this has been life changing. I feel happy again and not like every day is a fight to get out of bed. I am enjoying preparing our meals with my son, and teaching him at an early age. I’m starting to get more active and this past month started incorporating exercise. I weighed myself on my 90 day mark and I am currently down 32.4lbs and 8 inches from my waist. It’s an overall good feeling but what I enjoy the most is not the number on the scale but being more active with my son and being able to play with him.