The magic potion that’s saving my bacon

Where do you get your energy?
Where do you get your energy?

My neuro recommended that I get more electrolytes. So, I drank a bit of Gatorade. Then I looked at the ingredients. Glycol ester of wood rosin? And that other stuff I can’t pronounce? No thanks.

So, I picked up some Pedialyte and juice, and I’ve been drinking that. It’s good, but there’s still all sorts of God-knows-what in there.

So, I did some research. And I found out what else I can use.

And the magic potion I whipped up yesterday, is exactly what I needed to stave off the mid-afternoon lull and the craving for junk food. Here’s the elixir of life that is both energizing and delicious:

  • 1 can Goya coconut water (it has pulp, which is tasty, and I’ve read that it’s full of electrolytes) – or you can use any type of coconut water
  • 1 small bottle of Ocean Spray Cran-Grape (without that nasty fructose stuff)
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • Distilled water to taste
  • Shake/stir it up to mix in the salt, and sip (if you can keep from gulping it down)

Not since I started drinking my rocket-fuel coffee, have I had this much energy from a drink. It’s absolutely amazing! Holy smokes! I got so much energy from it — and not that crazy wired buzz you get from energy drinks ‘n’ such. Plus, it cut down on my craving for snacks in the afternoon, which is big for me, because I’ve been snacking too much — need the energy — and I’ve been gaining weight as a result.

This is good. This is awesome. It’s not full of ingredients I can’t pronounce or spell, and it’s full of electrolytes. I can feel it. And it is so delicious.

Try it – I think you’ll like it.

The difference between FEELing not-up-to-it and BEing not-up-to-it

So, I’ve noticed more and more, lately, that there often is a big difference between how I feel and how I am — what I feel like I am capable of doing, and what I actually am capable of doing.

When I am tired and disorganized and don’t know what happens next, I feel like I can’t deal with anything. And I tend to drop what I’m doing and go do something else (or do nothing at all).

When I am rested and organized and I know what comes next, I feel like I can do anything (well, within reason), and I move forward with my plans.

The main ingredient is really rest. Feeling strong and together and energized keeps in in the action. When I am feeling weak and de-energized, I try to get myself out of the action.

This is how, so many times, I have gotten so close to my goals, then dropped out at the last minute. This is how I have “sabotaged” myself time and time again, over the years. It’s no big mystery. It makes perfect sense. It is the ideal recipe for bailing — and then looking back on my life and thinking, “If only….”

Well, I’m tired of thinking, “If only…” I need to follow through. I have some big deadlines happening over the coming days, and I’ve promised myself I would move forward with them. That means, in the midst of all the crazy activity, I need to stay well-rested. I need to take breaks. I need to eat right — which I have been doing more, eating a lot less junk food and more healthy food to keep me going.

Ironically, switching to healthier food has put me in a bit of a funk, because it’s not this steady stream of cheap carbs and sudden sugar rushes. That’s the thing about getting off junk food — you go through a bit of a withdrawal, not having those regular sugar spikes. And doing less caffeine also takes it out of me, as necessary as it is. I’ve got to keep my mind clear and hold firm to my resolve — which means not giving in to the desire to stuff myself with really bad food… all the while reminding myself that the withdrawal is for a very good purpose.

In a way, it’s really bad timing, to go through junk food withdrawal at the same time I’ve got these big deadlines. On the other hand, it’s the best time of all. I just need to remember that just because I feel like I’m running out of steam does NOT mean that I’m not going to be able to finish what’s in front of me. There’s a big difference between feeling a certain way and being a certain way — and that’s more and more clear to me as time goes by.

Having a lot to do requires a lot of energy, and it’s easy for me to get run-down. Fortunately, all that energy is renewable, provided I eat right and get enough rest.

Speaking of which, it’s time for a little nap. I’ve had a big morning. Time for a little siesta. Then back to it…


The magic of the right foods

You know, for years, I thought that my “mental health” issues were all about what went on in my head and my heart. I thought that the depressions I experienced, and the wild mood swings, and the general discontent with my life had to do with some sort of character defect or somesuch.

I got a lot of reinforcement from others for this, too. According to them, if I wasn’t feeling well in my head and my heart, it must be some psychospiritual malady. (I guess it comes with the territory of having lots of therapists for friends.)

Then I had a bad health scare, when someone close to me was hospitalized — out of the blue — with a pretty serious health issue. The crazy thing was, their health issue was totally preventable and it had developed largely as a result of plain old crappy lifestyle choices. Sitting up till 3 a.m. eating chips and cookies and drinking soda, and then sleeping in till 3 p.m., when they would starve themself all day and then eat a huge meal before sitting down in front of the t.v., seemed like a great thing to them… and to be honest, I didn’t think much of it — I just figured that’s how they were — until they ended up lying in a hospital bed in one of those gowns that doesn’t close in the back, with lots of tubes sticking out of them.

We both made some drastic changes. And I credit that crisis with having clued me in to my TBI issues.

How? Because I quit eating all that crap. Granted, I wasn’t up till 3 a.m. every night, chowing down on non-foods, but I took in more than my fair share of candy and cakes and cookies and chips and junk and soda and all those different sorts of “food products” that really gunk up your system. I also drank milk and had anywhere from 4-6 cups of coffee a day. I was constantly going, fueled by processed sugar and cheap carbs and caffeine, and when I crashed, I crashed hard — wiped out and still wired and not sleeping very well.

A lot of my craziest eating really took off after my most recent fall. I had trouble getting going in the morning, so I fell back on sugar and carbs and caffeine to pick me up. And I had trouble relaxing, so I just pushed myself till I dropped. I really depended on the sugar highs, the cheap carb highs, the jolt of coffee and coffee drinks (no Red Bull for me, thanks – I could never stand the taste). And it totally wreaked havoc with my system.

I just kept putting on pounds. Not a ton of weight, but a pound here, a pound there, till about 1/5 of my weight was nothing but fat. To some people that might not seem like a lot, and since I have a tall frame, it didn’t show on me that much, when I was fully clothed. But appearances aside, I just felt like crap.

And I couldn’t figure out why. I knew, in the back of my head, that I should be eating better, but I wasn’t sick all the time, so I must be okay, right?

Well, judging your health by whether or not you’re mortally ill is a lousy way to judge. It wasn’t until I stopped all the junk, started eating regular meals that made good nutritional sense, that I realized just how lousy I’d felt before. Lousy and foggy. What’s more, in the past, when my blood sugar was on a wild see-saw from all that junk food, and my adrenaline was really pumping with all that caffeine, I’d literally been blinded to how bad I actually felt and now much of a negative impact that bad eating had on my thinking and my behavior.

Once I quit chowing down on the junk, a couple of things started to happen:

I started to notice that something was not quite right in my life, and I was having trouble with things that I shouldn’t have been having trouble with (like money and reading and managing my day-to-day).

I realized that if I could notice something was wrong, I could do something about it. I started taking steps to identify and remedy the situations I was in — and in the process of noticing more and more of my issues, I put 2 and 2 together and realized that my fall in 2004 had totally screwed me up…. and that this wasn’t the first time I’d fallen or had my head injured in a way that messed me up for some time after.

While I was still pumped and primed with all that junk, I just raced through life, careening here and there, making a mess of things, but never stopping long enough to really examine what was going on.

Once I stopped the junk and started eating in ways that supported my body and my mind, I was able to commence the very difficult work of piecing my fractured life back together.

If I hadn’t stopped the crappy eating, I’m not sure where I’d be.

Good food was literally — in more ways than one — a lifesaver.

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