Posts Tagged ‘Health’

It has been approximately 1 year since my first major onset of multiple sclerosis and a lot in my life has changed.  I would have to say though that it has all been for the positive. I remember at about this time last year my legs were completely numb and that feeling would spread all the way up to my chest.  I couldn’t get to bathrooms fast enough and would have to wake up at least 3 times a night to use the bathroom.  I was getting horrible migraines where the only time I would get out of bed all day was to throw up.  I was severely depressed to where I didn’t want to do anything or see anybody.  I remember 1 night where I woke up to find I had wet the bed (at age 31) and thinking “this disease is taking over my life this quickly”.  That was one of the more depressing times that I can remember.  I didn’t have a whole lot of hope after that.  All I could think of was wheel chairs and catheters.

Then my wife stumbled across Dr. Terry Wahls on the internet and everything has changed since then.  I started the paleo diet, I started exercising again, and I started eliminating stresses in my life and learned how to relax more.  With those changes I am happy to say that 1 year later I am feeling great!  I have minimal amount of numbness and I can usually pinpoint what has caused it.  I continue with the diet and am constantly working on improving what I eat.  I continue to workout and am currently in the best shape I have ever been.  I have dropped my running times from 9 minute miles when I started running 2 years ago to 7 minute miles currently.  I am signed up for a bunch of running races and triathlons this summer and I can’t wait for it to warm up so I can get outside.

One of the few times I ran outside this winter.

One of the few times I ran outside this winter.

It has been a long, cold, hard winter.  I think we had something like 45-50 days below zero.  That has made it hard to stay sane.  A lot of days stuck inside.  I tried to get out and run or snowshoe when I could but the weather just made it miserable if not dangerous.  I was able to stay fairly active thanks to my stationary trainer and my treadmill.  Very boring, but it helps with mental toughness.  Even with it being one of the hardest winters I can remember my health is 100 times better then it was a year ago.  So something I am doing is working.  This gives me a lot of hope for the future.  I am especially excited for this spring and summer.  We are getting more chickens for both eggs and eating and I can’t wait to get our garden growing and start eating foods from my own land.  I am also excited for the arrival of our third child come the end of August.  A little nervous though to have 3 year old twins and a newborn…

I read a couple of good books this winter and just yesterday started “The Wahls Protocal”. (http://terrywahls.com/about-the-wahls-protocol/) I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone, especially anyone with MS or an autoimmune disease.  It really goes into depth about how our body works and how it uses the foods and nutrients that we put into our bodies.  Another good book that I recommend reading is “The Grain Brain”.  http://www.drperlmutter.com/about/grain-brain-by-david-perlmutter/) This one also talks about nutrition and how foods effect our bodies and how what we are told to eat today by the media, corporations and even our government is completely wrong.  (I’m not trying to get into conspiracies but I truly believe this and my health is proof).  It is written by a neurologist which I think makes it even more interesting because it is the one of the first books that is connecting foods/nutrients with every part of our body. Not just your stomach and intestines.

Well I hope everyone had a good winter and I will try to stay more current with my posts.

Thanks for reading!!

I’m Back!  It has been a while since I have written so here is just a quick post.  Things have been good but very busy with work and the holiday season.  It has been 9 months since my first severe onset of MS.  When we first decided that it was most likely Multiple Sclerosis (thanks to the internet) I decided to adopt the Paleo Lifestyle, and let me tell you that it is great!  My symptoms went away rather quickly and have stayed away for the most part.  There are still some days when I am stressed or overly tired that a few of the existing symptoms will come back lightly. Nothing as bad as the first major episode.

It has been 7 months since my MRI that showed the lesions on my spine and brain and 7 months since I was officially diagnosed and 7 months since I made the decision to not do any drugs or steroids.  I was putting my faith in my diet and exercise.  About a month ago I got another set of MRI’s done and today I met with my neurologist to go over the results.  No new progress!!!  I will call that a victory.  I know that I have not had this disease for a very long time so it is a little too early to start claiming that I have beat it, but no new progress, no drugs, no steroids, and I the fact that I am getting healthier, more physically fit, and even trying out new sports is enough to keep me on the  right track.

I know that I have talked about the Paleo Lifestyle in past posts but I truly believe that our bodies are capable of so much healing and prevention if we give it what it needs, or rather stop putting harmful things in it.  I will leave this post with that.  I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!!!  2014 is going to be a great year!!!!!!!

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Thanks for reading.

This picture is me after finishing the Tough Mudder Minneapolis.

This picture is me after finishing the Tough Mudder Minneapolis.

Part 2: Exercise

In Part one of this series I talked about how the Paleo Diet has changed my life.  I mentioned in the last post that My health is better, my endurance is better, and my overall feeling of life is better.  I will give credit for this to the Paleo Lifestyle, but not just in the way of eating, but rather in opening my eyes to other aspects in your life that are just as important as nutrition.

Before I was diagnosed with MS I was an active person.  I have been a cyclist for most of my life and had just recently gotten into running, and fitness was becoming more important in my life as I got a little older.  In March of 2012 the first serious symptoms of MS really acted up after a snowmobile trip to West yellowstone.  I got fairly sick while I was out there and just couldn’t kick it so I went to the Dr. and got an anti-biotic.  After 3 days of anti-biotics my feet had gone completely numb.  (The anti-biotic is a story for another day)  This had happened before in prior years but it was never to this extent and it would come and go, I just chalked it up to a pinched nerve from one of my previous injuries.  This time however instead of coming and going it just kept coming, working its way up my legs.  It got to the point where I couldn’t feel my legs.  I would lay in bed and snuggle with my wife and couldn’t tell if we were even touching.  (That was depressing to say the least).  As time went on the numbness moved all the way up to my chest.  I could still walk and did some downhill skiing, but my legs were very heavy and it took a lot of effort to move them and I couldn’t feel anything.  Once it was up to my chest I started to have some other health issues that were terrifying.  Not to get too in depth but they involved bathroom functions.  I remember one instance where I was driving and had the sudden urge to pee.  Lets just say I wasn’t able to stop the car fast enough.  I had been going to the Dr. for quite some time by this point trying to figure out what was going on.  Though I had pretty much figured it out thanks to the internet.  I would have to say that this was the low point during my MS experience.  I was very depressed and had stopped exercising and my symptoms were at their worst.

My wife had been doing a ton of research into how to treat MS and that is where we came across the Paleo Diet.  We started with removing grains and I noticed a big difference.  Spring was also starting to show it’s face which cheered me up a little bit and gave me some urges to get out of the house and do something.  I decided to start running again.  It was very hard at first.  My legs were still fairly numb and heavy as could be.  Once I got moving though (about a mile or so into my run) I felt great.  By the time I had finished my run my numbness was almost gone.  This went on for quite some time.  Some days my legs would feel good and others the numbness would come back and my gait would be off  (Hot days are worse).  on those days as soon as I would get home from work I would go for a run and things would get better.  At first I was trying to stay active because I thought that “if I can still run I am beating MS”.  But then I realized that if I didn’t run, MS was going to win.  This is when I realized how important exercise was going to be in my life.

My diet was going well but I had now decided to go full Paleo.  I wasn’t really drinking or eating very much dairy at this point.  A little cottage cheese here and there and some half and half in my coffee.  When I took dairy out though…….My numbness went away in about a week and has rarely come back, and when it does come back it is minimal.  So at this point I was feeling pretty good.  My spirits were up and my symptoms were down.  I was back to exercising most days of the week and could feel definite effects if I didn’t.  In the middle of the summer 2 of my friends decided to do a Try-a-Triathlon.  Basically a mini triathlon without any pressure of the bigger races.  I decided to do it and signed up the morning of.  The gun went off and we were off.  The swim was hard, I only swam one time before this.  The bike went well because that is my strong point and the run went well too.  I ended up winning.  That was a big boost for me (having been diagnose with MS a few months prior) and has gotten me to where I am now.  I did one more triathlon last summer and surprised myself with my results in that one as well.  I have now decided that I am going to pursue the sport of triathlon for a couple of reasons.  It is a hard sport that requires you to exercise on a regular basis in multiple disciplines.  That means you are using almost every muscle in your body.  It is also very mentally challenging, forcing you to go beyond what you think you are capable of.  Whether you are racing against other competitors or the clock or just trying to finish, the sport holds you accountable for how hard you trained and the time that you put in.  This is a great lesson that I have carried over to other aspects of my life as well.  If you put in the extra effort there will be a reward.  Maybe not instantly or even noticeable but at some point it will benefit you.

The Paleo diet (Lifestyle as I like to refer to it) has really made me look at life in a different way.  We eat clean food.  That is food that is grown or raised without the use of chemicals.  I don’t use any products that contain chemicals on my body.  Start reading your labels on shampoo, deodorant, hand soaps, lotions, etc. It is amazing what we put on our skin.  (Yes I still shower and use a deodorant. I just use natural or homemade alternatives) I consciously drink a lot of water throughout the day.  I try to remain as stress free as I can and enjoy the moment that I am in.  I follow a strict sleep schedule to allow my body the time that it needs to repair itself.  Exercise and triathlons have helped with all of these areas.  I want to perform well so what I put in my body is important.  I want to recover quickly so my rest is important.  I have found that nothing relieves stress better then exercise.  There is something about being out on the road with your bike or running on a trail with nothing but you and your thoughts is very therapeutic.  I start everyday with 30 minutes of core exercises and stretching.  If I don’t follow through with these disciplines my stress levels go up, my anxiety goes up, my patience with my family goes down, and my MS symptoms start to come back.  If you recall from my last post I have just had a knee surgery so I haven’t been able to run in a while or exercise like I would like to and I can definitely feel the effects.

So, I’m not saying you need to get out and do Triathlons (though they are fun),  but get out and exercise and enjoy nature!!  It will benefit all aspects of your life.

Thank you for reading!!

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Sleep is one of the most important things that we need in our lives.  It’s right there with food and water, yet it is the easiest aspect to set aside and neglect.  Since I have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis I am looking at many ways to improve my overall health.  Sleep is one of the most important issues that I have come across.  So what makes sleep so important other then the obvious reasons. Well lets start with what a lack of sleep can do.

A lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain, a diminished immune response, lack of concentration, irritability and depression.  That’s quite a few serious negative effects from ignoring something that feels so good to do.  How does a lack of sleep effect these topics listed above?  Lets go into that next.

A lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.  Not to mention the lack of energy which will most likely lead to a decreased desire to be active.

A diminished Immune response: Your immune system is the key player in keeping your body healthy.  There are specific types of immune cells that peak during awake hours, as well as specific immune cells that peak during sleep hours.  Therefore it is important to allow both types to do their jobs.  This one is extra important to people like myself with an auto-immune disease (where something has gone haywire and your immune system is fighting the wrong things) to allow your body to heal.

Lack of concentration and irritability: This one is pretty self explanatory.  If you are tired you do not have the patience to deal with situations you might find unpleasant or irritable.  Also it is hard to focus or concentrate when your brain is telling you that you need to go to sleep.

Depression:  This one goes both ways.  A lack of sleep can lead to hormone disruptions, irritability, and moodiness that can affect your overall well being leading to a depressed feeling.  While on the other hand, once you suffer from depression a number of sleep disorders can arise such as insomnia.  Now we have gone full circle!

So what are some ways to get more or better quality sleep?

There are quite a few different tips and techniques.  You will need to first narrow down the reasons that you are not getting enough sleep.  Maybe you are having a hard time getting to sleep, or are waking in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, or maybe your just not allowing yourself enough time to sleep. Whatever your reason here are a few tips that I have come across and a few that I use myself.

Clear your mind, try to forget all of the days problems.  There is nothing you can do about them lying in bed.  Put a note pad next your bed.  When you think of something that you need to do the next day write it down.  That way you won’t lay awake worrying about whether or not your going to remember to do that task tomorrow.

Get physically tired.  Do some exercise during the day.  It is not recommended to do this right before you go to sleep for it will actually stimulate your body.  If I do a hard workout during the day, I can hardly make it to my bedtime before I’m sleeping.

That brings me to the next one.  Have a schedule.  I know it seems childish to have a bedtime but this one has been a huge help to me. Along with having a bedtime, you should wake up at the same time every day.  This way you are making sure that you are getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep.

Less caffeine and alcohol.  Caffeine stays in your body for 4-8 hours.  So though you may not feel the effects of the caffeine it is still running through your body.  This goes for alcohol too.  Alcohol stays in your body for 4-5 hours after your last drink.  Once it has cleared your system it triggers your brain to become hyper-aroused and usually will wake you up.  This can last for several hours, thus the reason that so many people wake up around 3 in the morning and can’t get back to sleep.

Reset your internal clock.  As soon as you wake up (assuming that the sun is up) step outside and get some sunlight.  Sunlight drops melatonin levels (the hormone that prompts sleep).  This will wake you up sooner hopefully making you more ready for bed once your bedtime comes around.

Here are some of the things that I have found to really help me sleep better.  I start turning off the lights around 9pm to make my surroundings dark.  This triggers my body to get tired.  Next I drink a glass of Homemade Ginger tea with a scoop of Magnesium + Calcium in it.  Ginger tea helps calm the digestive system (along with a lot of other health benefits) and the Magnesium + Calcium work together to calm your body.  I use Natural Calm (http://naturalvitality.com/natural-calm/) for this.  Then I am in bed by 10pm.  If I’m not quite ready to sleep I either meditate or read a book or magazine (not an iPad/phone/or T.V.  These all emit a blue light spectrum that will keep your mind awake).  I also use a white noise app on my phone that is plugged in across the room.  I don’t have a clock in my room so if I wake up in the middle of the night I can’t see what time it is and stress about not being asleep at 2 AM.  And finally I wake up pretty close to the same time everyday.  I might hit snooze once or twice if I have no reason to get up but I’m almost always up within 30 minutes of the same time everyday.

Today’s blog was a little more informative then they usually are but this is an important topic that I think a lot of people will benefit from.  Hope it helps.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave your own thought and methods of sleeping below or on our facebook page.

Time to be stress free

Posted: October 6, 2013 in Health, Lifestyle
Tags: , , ,
Time to be stress free

Enjoying the Scenery on my ride.

The other day I went for a 30 mile road bike ride and it was absolutely the best day of the year for cycling.  It was about 70 degrees with a slight southern breeze of about 4 mph.  The sun was shining but in a way that you were just fine if you didn’t have sunglasses on.

I am always competing and rarely stop when I am on my bike.  Whether it be with myself, Strava, or training for an upcoming event.  But on this day (though I did get a K.O.M.) I made 3 stops along my ride to take in the beautiful scenery that Mother Nature has to offer this fall and even snapped a few photos.  The picture above is one of the lovely roads that I was lucky enough to enjoy.  This brings me to my topic today.  Living Stress Free                                                                                                                                                                              I have noticed a lot of articles lately about the importance of eliminating stress from your life.  The amount of harm that stress can do your body is quite remarkable, and in today’s fast paced life we are all living with loads of stress that we do not even notice.  We are always by a phone, checking emails, checking facebook or twitter.  In a rush to drive somewhere.  In a rush to get dinner whipped up as quickly as possible.  If your like me you are tied to your cell phone for work so you never feel as though you have a day off.  Here are a few things that i have started to implement into my day that have helped me stay calm and stress free. (at the least, less stressed!)

When I wake up on the morning I try to take a few minutes to myself before anyone else wakes up.  I will usually go to a room by myself and think about how fortunate I am that I am able to take in a new day.  That my MS is not winning.  That I was able to provide a safe home for my family to sleep in last night.  Your thoughts don’t have to be deep, meaningful, drawn out thoughts.  Just come up with a few simple things that you are thankful for and say them to yourself.  Then repeat them to yourself through out the day.

I find when you are a little worked up.  Say dealing with the children or sitting in traffic. Taking deep breaths in through your nose (as deep as you can) and then letting them out slowly really helps calm your body.  I do this throughout the day and reflect on my morning thoughts as I do this.  It helps bring you back to your calm, happy state.

My final thought has to do with the picture above.  I am really learning to slow down, take in the simple things in life.  Mother Nature has so many amazing, beautiful settings/moments every minute of every day that we pass right on by because we are in such a hurry.  So next time you are driving and the traffic is moving a little slow, look around and see what you can take in.  If your on a run or a ride, it’s OK and healthy to stop and look at your surroundings.  It won’t destroy your workout and your mental side of the workout will thank you.

I hope these thoughts help you in your journey to be stress free!!