Not ‘gonna lie

Thanksgiving looms on the horizon, a good milestone with lots of treats if you’re looking for a short term goal. So, first, after much canoodling with with a few writerly-friends, I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo, which basically means I’ve committed to one of my favorite things, write, every day, for the month of November, with the goal of getting 50,000 words on the page in 30 days. If you’re doing the math, that equals approximately 1,666 words per day, every day, for the month of November.

The beauty of NaNo is that in a way, it takes the pressure off, the pressure writers/artists tend to put on themselves that every word, every sentence, must be perfect. This incessent interior critic consistently gets in the way of just doing the act itself: writing. So, with the goal being quantity over quality, you are sort of forced to let go, and just do. Even in just these first two days, I’ve noticed that instead of hitting the delete or backspace button every time I eek out a sentence on the page, there’s a little NaNo voice now, a reminder, a nudge that says, “Hey, the goal here is to just get words on the page, that’s it, keep moving forward.” And so I do, and it’s quite freeing.

Also, in an effort to drag my body along with my mind in this exercise in daily discipline, I started the Whole30, again. Day 2, and so far so good. It’s really going to be the Whole 26 or 27, because I will be eating stuffing on Thanksgiving, that right there is a deal breaker. So, the last thing on my list, is to start moving again. I could either start showing up to my running group Saturday morning meet-ups. The average mileage is a steady walk/run 3miles. I can totally handle that. Or, hop on the rower in the garage and pair that with some strength training. Following the Wendler Method, starting extra-ridiculously-light, again, taking the pressure off to go heavy or PR or some other term from a lifetime ago.

These are all good things, the hardest part is just getting started, and moving forward in a new routine.

Bone Broth Fast – wrap up

Here’s a picture from my morning commute.

Today is Day 5 of my fast. As of 5pm tonight it will be 120 hours since I began the fast. During that time I have consumed water, the occasional black coffee, and a bowl of bone broth for dinner each night. That’s it.

According to an at-home Ketosis test strip, my body has passed the moderate stage and is in full ketosis. How do I feel? Pretty amazing. The last four nights I have slept soundly and woken up energized in the morning. My brain seems to be functioning at a heightened level of clarity. On a couple of the days I experience an almost tingling sensation all over my skin, something I can only liken to that of a Vitamin B flush. This may have been the result of taking a multi-vitamin on a couple of the days during the fast. There really were no moments when I found myself drooling over the dessert tray in the cafe at work. The smells during lunch time were intermittent reminders that it was time to refill my water. But nothing drastic or unmanageable. No moments of panic.

A totally unexpected benefit of the Bone Broth, I’ve noticed that the skin on my hands seems different, it’s tighter, younger looking, not as dry. Everything here in the north east is dry right now, it’s late fall. But my skin, my hair, feel great. Also, I lost 10lbs. Today I’m wearing a pair of corduroys that have not seen the light of day in a year.

Hard to imagine such a drastic change in 5 short days:

  1. lost 10lbs.
  2. heightened energy
  3. better sleep
  4. smoother skin
  5. achy joints have been silenced.

Also, I just feel sturdier on my feet, more centered, grounded, connected to the world, to people, to my day, especially the mornings, mornings are the best.

So, the big question now: What’s next? Tonight around 6pm I will eat my first meal in 5 days. It will be some wild duck and a red leaf salad. I’ll keep it light, portion small. But, what about the days and months ahead? Thanksgiving looms on the horizon, family get-togethers and lots of indulgences. I’ve given this a lot of thought, and I’m not sure where I’m going to land. Obviously, as soon as I eat I will gain back some of the 10lbs. lost.

But, being in ketosis, i.e. knowing that my body is working off of fat instead of sugar, seems so simple to me, so basic to understand—fundamental and easy to work with going forward. In order to maintain ketosis you must keep carb intake under 20-30grams, depending on your size. That’s hard to do. A single bagel has about 60g of carbs. Plus, I’m going to start working out again. So….

This is a work in progress. More to follow.

Bone Broth Rookie

Here’s a photo of a barn at dusk on my drive home from work today.

As I write this, it is Wednesday night, Day 4 of my Bone Broth Fast.

Here’s the story: I started fasting on Sunday without knowing how long the fast would last. 5 days seemed like a solid amount of time, but it also seemed daunting, so I decided to just roll with this new brilliant idea and see how I felt along the way. On that first day, Sunday, I drank nothing but water. I didn’t even have a cup of black coffee.

If you think about it, Sunday is a good day to start a new habit, as opposed to Monday. There’s already enough going on on Monday’s, the pressure is real. You have to wake up early again, you can’t just do what you want, you have to plug in, the whole I Hate Mondays thing is still a thing according to my FB feed. Why add the extra pressure of trying to start a fast on a Monday? If you start on Sunday, then by Monday you already have a day under your belt, you’re already ahead! This is good logic. The drive for change is strong and I am ready.

After doing a bit of reading, it seemed the most important tool for my fast would be bone broth. Apparently the benefits of bone broth are many, including: it is rich in nutrients, boosts the immune system, and contains good things for the skin like collagen. It’s getting cold and dark around here in the north east, winter skin is creeping in.

I’ve never made bone broth before, but as it turns out, it’s pretty simple. I chose a recipe that is basically the same as chicken soup, but the broth is made from simmering a whole chicken, bones, giblets and all, for almost 18 hours.

To get started you need a crock pot. Then you need a whole chicken (preferably from a local farm, humanely raised, fed an organic/vegetarian diet). Think about it, you’re going to be ingesting the marrow of this animal, you want to know how it lived and what it ate. Then you need some diced celery, carrots, and onion.

On Sunday night, Day 1 of my fast, I offered a moment of thanks to my chicken and then placed him with the diced veggies and some water in the crock pot, and let it simmer on low over night for about 10 hours. The following morning, Monday, Day 2, I turned off the pot and went to work. That night I started it up again and let it cook for another 4. After 48 hours of nothing but water and a cups of black coffee, I was ready for some nourishment.

Having never made bone broth before, I might have made a rookie move in putting all the diced vegetables in the water with the whole chicken to cook. When it was ready after simmering for so long, the meat was plump and juicy and fell away from the bones but I found the task of trying to strain the broth and sift out the smaller bones while keeping the vegetables a bit of a challenge. I don’t like to waste food, so this took some time and a few extra pans and utensils.

bone-broth-in-process.jpg

Heck, I had nothing else to do. It was Day 2 of my fast and I was already bored. It’s amazing how much time we spend on food—thinking about food, planning food, shopping, preparing, eating, and then cleaning up after. I was also feeling somewhat energized after almost 48 hours of fasting and wasn’t in a hurry to go to sleep (this is unusual for me, I love to sleep) so I had time to kill. The soup smelled amazing, comforting, and toasty. But surprisingly, I wasn’t that hungry, and even though I was prepping a lot of freshly roasted solid food, I didn’t cheat on my fast.

After separating out the meat and the veggies and the broth and bones, I enjoyed a bowl of the warm broth and then went to sleep. I slept well.

So, net/net for Day 2: I drank a cup of black coffee at breakfast, water throughout the day, and a bowl of bone broth for dinner. For a majority of the day I felt energized, awake, and plugged in… like a fog had lifted. My clothes even felt looser. The lunchtime smells in the office tempted the senses only slightly, but overall my resolve was strong. I felt ready for Day 3.

P.S. Happy Birthday Mom.