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Hi Friends! I hope your week is off to a great start. My Monday started off slow but I had a good evening catching up with B (he was out of town for the weekend) and playing with Stella. We took her for a quick trip to the park last night; it was pretty cold but I think she appreciated the chance to run free for a bit ūüôā Hopefully she’ll have more park time today, we’re expecting a high of 51 degrees and 60 on Wednesday. Fingers crossed!

This cold spell we’ve had the last few days has really put a damper on my mood, my training intentions for the Cork Town 5K¬†and my social life. I swear that it’s the coldest it’s been all winter. And just when I thought we were out of the woods and was getting excited for spring. Hrrrumph.

So I went to see my doctor yesterday. It was basically a general check-up but I also wanted to ask him about my snoring. (I know, embarrassing.) B says that I snore and once he found out that my Dad had/has sleep apnea he suggested (insisted) that I talk to my doctor about it and look into having a sleep study done. I snored as a child before I had my tonsils and adenoids removed. After that surgery I never had a problem with snoring (that I’m aware of) until recently. Lovely, I know.

One of the reasons I like my doctor is that he definitely has a more holistic approach to wellness. He really emphasizes natural and sometimes dietary remedies before suggesting drugs or more invasive medical procedures. This is awesome for B and I because we have a very similar approach to wellness. As I’ve mentioned a few times already, we definitely have been on a healthy eating journey together, really for the entirety of our relationship. When I told Dr. J I was interesting in possibly having a sleep study done he listened intently and suggested that while it might be needed down the road, a sleep study is very expensive and might not be¬†necessary. After we ruled out tonsillitis again (Dr. J said my ears, nose and throat all looked healthy!) we talked about other possible causes. First, he suggested that I have my dentist examine my bite as sometimes even a small misalignment at night can cause snoring. So I’m going to have my dentist check that out at my appointment next month.

One of the other possible causes could be allergies. While I do have some seasonal allergies and¬†they’ve never really bothered me much, sometimes I do wake up really stuffy and congested. So that could be a possibility. But there is another cause of allergies: food allergens. We chatted a bit about my current diet/eating patterns and he suggested that my snoring could also be caused by allergies to something (things) that I’m eating. I¬†have noticed being a little stuffy lately and my throat glands are frequently¬†a little swollen. (TMI?) So maybe there’s something to this. He suggested that since I’m already giving up alcohol for Lent, maybe it would make sense to try to eat as cleanly as possible for the next month (and it turns out perfectly that Lent ends in exactly 30 days).

Specifically, we talked about removing gluten and dairy. Soy¬†would be another good one to eliminate¬†but I already avoid soy. I’ve really cut way back on products containing wheat in the last few years. It took me a long time to realize that I have a really hard time digesting anything with a good amount of wheat gluten in it. I just avoided many of these foods subconsciously before realizing that pastas, breads, and my favorite types of beer (Oberon!) really killed my stomach after consuming them. Honestly, as much as I love spaghetti, when I think about eating it I cringe to myself because I can almost feel how painful it can be to digest.

So for the next 30 days I am going to really focus on eating as cleanly as possible. I am also going to do my best to keep a daily journal detailing what I’m eating, my exercise routine and my sleep schedule. Now, I really haven’t felt like snoring has caused me a lack of sleep, but it’s kind of hard to tell because maybe I’m just used to getting less at this point. I’m not sure, but I think it will be helpful to keep track of how much sleep I’m getting so if I’m especially tired on a particular day I’ll have a record of how long I slept that night, what time I went to bed and got up, and what foods I ate that day which could be contributing¬†factors to any lack of sleep I experience.¬†I know,¬†riveting stuff here!

So let’s talk a little bit about “clean eating”. What is it?¬†I’ve done a lot of research on healthy and clean eating and honestly, everyone has¬†their¬†own, slightly different definition.

The basics of clean eating tend to include:

1) Plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. I’ll also add that ideally¬†these would be organic. As a former raw¬†foodist, I’m excited to share some of our¬†favorite raw dishes with you because so many of them are made entirely of¬†raw, fresh fruits, veggies, and nuts! Yum.

2) Whole grains instead of processed grains, and balancing proteins with complex carbohydrates.

3) Avoiding refined, fake and added sugars. Eliminating sugary sodas, and other beverages. B and I don’t drink pop to begin with and I stay FAR AWAY from the fake sugars like Splenda and Equal so that won’t be an issue, but I do like the occassional dessert! I’m definitely going to be more mindful of little snacks and candy I consume especially at work.¬†Home isn’t too bad because we don’t buy many sweets aside from dark chocolate which I¬†refuse to give up. I¬†really love the super dark chocolate the most anyway which tends to have way less sugar¬†than milk chocolate. I also¬†really love unsweetened Baker’s chocolate squares which have no sugar added anyway so those stay!

4) Another tennent of clean eating is eating several small meals a day to maintain even blood sugar, avoid crashes and cravings. Pretty much have this one down.

5) Drinking plenty of water. I’m usually really good about drinking tons of water throughout the day.¬†Since I don’t drink coffee,¬†drinking a huge glass of ice water in the morning (plus the green smoothie) really wakes me up.¬†For the last¬†few weeks though, for some reason I haven’t been drinking as much water throughout the day. So another thing¬†I’m going to try to keep track of in my daily journal is how much water I’m drinking.

6) I’m also going to stay away from any fried foods, alcohol (which I already gave up for Lent), and caffeine, which I gave up a couple years ago. (Source for info in clean eating.)

So that’s the plan! I figure the blog will be a great place to share this little 30 day journey and also to talk about any changes I’m seeing whether positive or negative, and to detail my feelings about everything, any physical symptoms, energy levels, cravings, as well as the daily eats, recipes, exercise and all that good stuff. I won’t put everything on the blog that I put in my journal but I will try to give you guys an update as often as I can.

So, anyone interested in joining me?¬†(Crickets….)

You can participate however you’d like! Maybe you are like me and just need to eat a little cleanER, or maybe you need help or support getting started. Or maybe you just want to work on one thing, like giving up soda (POP for all you Michiganders:)). <— This one I would HIGHLY¬†recommend! It’s just so terrible for you! Sorry, but¬†it is.

And that actually dovetails¬†perfectly into a topic I hope to discuss¬†later tonight or tomorrow… Stay tuned for that and a little recap of my first day of the Challenge!

‚̧ S

P.S. I have to put a little disclaimer in here… I hope you all know by now that I am not a medical professional, I am not providing medical advice¬†and please check with your doctor before making any changes in your exercise routine¬†or diet. I want this space to be more about supporting one another in our own journeys toward better health, and sharing successes, short-comings, challenges, tips¬†and insights. Oh! And recipes ūüôā I love good food.