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TIGHT SQUEEZE

I have been in a few caves in my life. Some with guides some not. Lewis and Clark Caverns comes to mind as an incredible example of the hollowed earths potential for beauty.

My sister in law and I have started a bit of a tradition to book some bucket list activities for our summer entertainments in Banff National Park. When she mentioned caving I paused. In the past I have sat in caves and watched others shimmy down a shaft or cotort their bodies into impossible crevices. I agreed to go and made a promise to myself that this time I would not sit and watch I would face my fear.

The hike up to Rats Nest Cave just outside of Canmore is an easy 45 minute warm up. We got some instructions from our guide on how to put the harness on under our coveralls which was comical to watch and do. I would be glad for the orange jump suit and knee pads once we got going into the cave.

The rock is quite slippery in places having been polished to a glass surface over the decades. There were ropes to help pull yourself up into the mouth of the cavern. You have to have upper body strength to leverage which I am lacking so it was challenging.

Caves are full of illusions. What appears to be impassable is the way forward. What is wide open and seems simple enough to pass can lead to a 100 foot drop or dead end. We went down 55 metres as we squeezed through rock piles, slid across bridge like formations and landed right by an underground little pool. You have to turn your lights off at this point. Everyone is always curious how it feels to be in the earth belly in the dark. The cave felt very young and fresh. It’s only 10 thousand years old which is nothing in cave years.

Rats Nest Cave Canmore Alberta

What you go down you must come back up. I had put that mantra in the back seat on the way down to worry about later.

It was later. We started back up and everything looked very different now. The easy parts had become hard the hard parts were now easy. You know you have come this way before and yet some how it appears to be uncharted. The guide said lift you leg up on a tiny notch half way up the sheer glass like wall. Then pull yourself up. Hmmm. What is option two? I made a couple of attempts then got some help with a borrowed knee to put my foot on.

It took some serious self talk about my abilities and realizing that unless I wanted to be pulled out if the cave it was up to me to now ascend back towards the surface. Push, pull, squeeze another inch forward and rest. I finally made it back to the entrance. I was feeling pretty elated. I did it!

Mind over matter. We often limit ourselves and resolve to live a watered down version of life. It feels empowering to push through the tight squeeze. It builds confidence for next we face our fears that we are capable of many things.

Are You Retirement Compatible?

When it comes to retiring are you and your significant other on the same page?

In life and relationships we talk about a lot of things in regards to goals, religious beliefs, values, children and who is going to clean the toilet…lol. Most often, we gloss over at what age we are going to retire as it seems so far away when we are young.

These days though, many partners are talking about taking a break from their jobs for a year or two fully expecting they will find another job eventually. Some are trying to catch up with retirement funds, paying off debt that was unexpected and dealing with the cost of relationship breakdowns. Life can get complicated and a large amount of people put time away from working on the back burner. We live in a world now where you could be working into your seventies.

So, have you had the talk with your partner? Are you retirement compatible? What if you aren’t aligned on timing, expectations and lifestyle?

I remember thinking in my twenties that I would retire at 65. I would work, most likely, at one maybe two jobs. I would have a pension and some savings and life would be awesome when I turned 65. Well, we all know what happens to life while we are living. So many things are unexpected and not planned for. You wake and realize that those you love and expected to grow old with or around have either passed away or in bad health. You feel older. You slow down when you are hiking. You are weaker and feel pain in your joints. When did I start to get older? I thought all those things happened in your seventies not your fifties. I watch those around me and I realize my window of opportunity to live with abandonment is shortening. I can’t rely on being in good health when I am 65. I know my abilities today and I feel that if I can continue to build strength and endurance now that as I get older the longevity should hold. At least that’s my theory and I am sticking to it.

I have been talking to many friends and family about their plans. Some wanted to take time off to travel now and then maybe go back to work when they get tired of doing that. Others plan to work until they can’t work anymore well into their seventies or beyond. Others plan to work and play and juggle the two. What has been a common theme though is that most find themselves in a bit of a pickle when it comes to agreement from their partner as to both being on the same page.Life throws us curve balls. I am a firm believer that the universe shakes things up when we get too complacent. 

My universe is telling me to squeeze the lemons now. Get as much juice as you can out of this existence. My husband is planning on working another 9 years or so.I am hoping he will decide that there is more to life than stock piles of money and things. You can’t rush someone else’s discoveries. You shouldn’t wait though to “do you”. It’s scary to venture out on your own. It’s even scarier to sit and wait for someone else to get on board.

Life’s obstacles are constant and ever coming at you. I had journeyed with an eagle in the past and it had shown me to put the chaos in my palm and squeeze out order and decisions from it. It’s an exercise I can do physically to help me focus on which direction to follow. Mistakes will be made, that’s how we move forward. It takes more courage to act than to stand still and watch.

Next week I am taking a break from van renos to hang out in Banff with my sister in law. We have decided to go tandem skydiving and caving. The waivers are signed and the deposits are given. I am making lemonade with the sweetest ingredients I can find. I am not saying that finding common ground with your partner isn’t important. It totally is. Respect for each other and practical goals are key. Time away from work doesn’t have to be expensive. I find a balance of things I do that are free and things that are epic adventures that may cost me a bit. It’s the doing that counts. The sharing of the experience. We all relied heavily on our memories during COVID of things we had done in the past to get us through the rough patch. I thank my lucky stars that I was blessed with so many adventures in my life so far.

It’s funny how the biggest regret in life is usually the ones that involve not doing something rather than taking the leap and trusting you will land safely. The journey is worth it!

Hopefully your partner agrees that taking breaks sooner rather than later is the way to go. If they don’t then it’s up to you to decide whether you stay put and wait for them or…

Get into that harness, secure the lines and find someone who is compatible with the here and now of your awareness.

Vantastic!

Everything is fixable….it’s my new mantra

Ok, eventually I promise, I will run out of puns here but in the meantime….

I believe in synchronicity. My life has been full of experiences that seem to appear custom made to help me learn something about myself, teach me an important lesson or skill or heal a whole in my spirit or heart. Sometimes, the crisis or drama is created for me to enjoy until another event happens to get us back on the right track. There are no coincidences in my life nor the people that appear out of nowhere to join me on my latest adventure.

The pandemic has been hard on families. Mine has been scattered and a bit disconnected. My mom died at the start of it all and we are all still grieving that loss. I parked my van at her house in a nearby town. I plan to work on it there with my siblings and extended family. It has been a way for us to reconnect and find some comfort in each others presence. Humans need humans. We are all lonely even if we have people living in our houses. It feels right to rediscover their gifts. To get to know them again and understand their point of view. The van has given us an opportunity to move forward in our new space that doesn’t have our mom to keep it all together.

I started looking for a van at least three years ago. Even before the pandemic, I was longing to go on a roadtrip with a house on wheels. To be out in nature with my musical instruments, creating art, discovering plants and wildlife is my jam. I love to hike and explore the mountains. Heck I grew up in the foothills of Alberta. The Rockies were my nursery and then my playground growing up.

I started to gather my board of directors and advisors for the Van-Essance build. Everyone I have contacted so far has been so helpful and eager to try their hand at creating an epic home away from home with me. I take great stock in symbols and appreciate the universe’s lessons.

The key to the ignition of the van broke off in the ignition. I could have taken the whole van to a locksmith and got them to get the key out. I had some anxiety about it being bad and stuck and costing me lots to get fixed. Fear is an interesting thing. 

False Expectation Appearing Real. Have you ever noticed that when we face our fears they are rarely as bad as we built up in our head? My helpers popped out the container for the ignition and I took that part into the locksmith. Within an hour I had it fixed, two new keys and it cost less than twenty bucks. 

I have a feeling that this is only the start of me facing my fears. A few blogs back I wrote about a dream I had in a vacant pool with a cobra and a snake charmer. The snake kept pressing it’s snout into my cheek. I knew it meant I had to face my fears head on. It was no longer serving to sweep them under the rug. 

What do I fear? 

Failure. What if my husband is right and I am not mechanical? That the skill can’t be learned? What if I bought a lemon and it turns out to be a mistake? So many what if’s running in my head. I can let them paralyze me or I can conquer them one step at a time.

What is failure? To me, it’s not trying at all. I have lived many years in a place surrounded by bubble wrap. I created that place. It’s safe, it’s comfortable but it’s missing a key. The key is broken in the lock. I think that getting a new key and starting a different narrative in my head is what is needed.

One step then another. Have courage to move out of the bubble wrap. At the ashram I really enjoyed walking meditations. It’s moving with awareness. Take a step, connect with your body to intentionally shift your balance as you choose your direction. Those teachings are coming in handy now that I am back in the “real world”. 

Time For Fessing Up

I have a confession to make. I have a phobia about asking for help, for things or even directions when I might be lost. Where does it stem from? Well, I can probably spout many options to answer that question but I won’t. What, for me, is important is what to do about it.

The van purchase has motivated me to get past my fears and tackle speaking and asking for help as much as I need to. I think it’s going to be good for me. Part of me really wants to try my hand at doing some of the work on the van. As a woman who grew up in the era that girls didn’t “fix things”, girls didn’t sign up for automotive classes or wood working in high school. I got the option of home-ec and/or band. I won’t tell you how bad of a sewer I am and the tragic nightgown that I threw away right after class was done. I think the flannel beast weighed close to a 100 pounds. I can cook but we didn’t really cook that much in class. I always walked past the shop and peeked in. Envying the opportunity to learn a skill that would be very useful right now in my fifties ambitions.

My husband is very handy but not really thrilled that I bought an old campervan. He has basically stated I am on my own. I am ok with that. The anxiety level is through the roof with getting it right or at least making sure any thing I do doesn’t fall apart around me as I travel. I have watched tons of restoration videos so far and those people don’t fool me. I know the art of editing and angles to make the most of making it seem simple while hiding the big flaws.

What a trip though if I can pull it off no? Renovating a piece of classic Americana that has remained functional and desirable. So, for the big stuff, like appliances, electrical and vehicle repairs I will leave it to the experts. What about the things I can learn to do like making a slide out bed or building cupboards or trying my hand at sewing again? What is life without a challenge?

It would be so much easier to pry my wallet open and dole out the cash to someone else to do it for me but my spirit tells me I at least have to try. I do have a handy crew of relatives who I might be able to bribe to help me. My brother use to work in a trailer factory. I have a niece who is partnered with a heavy duty mechanic. A sister who used to fabricate fixing airplane bodies for a living. So expertise is there. We are not without resources for sure. This winter could be an interesting time where I could gain huge confidence in my abilities and finally learn how to use power tools.

Stay tuned to see who wins the argument my spirit, my sanity or my husband (scenario where I just resell the beast and call it a day).

Van-Essance

I have wanted a camper van for some time now. I follow a few vloggers who are living a “van-life” existance on Youtube. I am a realist. I know that vanlife is not as glamrous as some might think. It sounds romantic and care-free but in reality it can be scary and full of hidden costs. Yet…here I am..I bought a van. Not just any van. A 1978 classic Chev camper van. It has low kilometers, fridge, stove, bed, character and is full of potential. It was formely owned by a tattoo artist that used it to travel around to convention and tattoo shows. It’s perfect…for me. My husband thinks I am nuts. Why buy something soo old to which I reply well “I am older, aren’t I worth restoring?”.

I can use it “as is” if I would like as it drives well so far. We (my brother in law) drove it from North of Vermillion all the way to Raymond which is about 550 Km. It was great on the road and handled well.

What do I hope to get out of owing such a vehicle? Quenched curiosity. Have you ever drove on a highway and seen all of those locals attraction signs? Tours of a honey farm or the worlds largest Easter egg lives here or a Ukranian flee market 12 kms that way. I want to stop at them all and be able to say I have been there. Why not? YOLO is a thing.

So, for this year, I am thinking get the van as comfortable as I can and as mechanically sound as I can and hit the road. There is no time like the present to take advantage of good weather, cheap-ish accomodations and the time to explore anything and everything up and down this Province that I live in.

I can’t wait to start the “VanEssance” adventure series. Hope you join me for the ride. If you see me on the road wave or better yet leave me a comment here and perhaps we can meet up and go for coffee or go see what is interesting in your hometown.

Cheers to the adventures of Midlife Arises continuing…

Namaste

Week One

Remember how I said I was going to start Whole30 in July? Well, plans changed. I thought it’d be easier to cut out refined sugar, dairy and alcohol in the summer months, but my boyfriend pointed out that: a) we enjoy going to pubs together and b) I enjoy having a drink with my friends. It would, in fact, be easier to follow the eating plan in the winter. Sure, I could give up alcohol for the summer – but why?

OK – I get that. I also get that I am ready to make a change. So, I’m doing a modified Whole30. I have food allergies (carry-an-Epipen-just-in-case-type-of-allergies) to all nuts, legumes and lentils. Giving those up? Done. I already avoid most grains because they don’t agree with my Hashimoto’s Disease. I feel better when I don’t eat them. So – grains? Done.

I love cheese. I mean, I LOVE cheese!! Giving up dairy? I’m on Day Four. It’s not easy. I also like having fruit and yougurt for breakfast. Not happening. My body knows it. It sent out a craving for ice cream today that was overwhelming. It didn’t help having temperatures in the high 20’s (Celcius) and living in a condo without air conditioning. I was SO tempted. I even drove past the DQ thinking, “I can start again tomorrow.”

I kept driving. If I stopped, I’d be letting myself down. I’d only be dragging out the withdrawal effects. I had a constant headache and extreme fatigue all day. A “quick fix” of dairy would have made me feel better. But, would it? Psychologically, yes. Physically, maybe not. That’s why I’m doing this. I want to cut out things I know to be inflammatory and reintroduce them one at a time to observe the effects on my body and mind.

I’ve also stopped eating or drinking anything with refined sugar. I know alcohol has it, but I don’t drink very much. Reducing by 90% is better than not reducing at all.

Over the weekend, I stocked up on fresh produce. Did you know cotton candy grapes actually taste like cotton candy?? I froze some and it seems to have intensified the flavour. I snacked on cucumbers today. I haven’t done that in ages. When the craving for something sweet got too strong, I made a fruit smoothie. I have chocolate protein powder that is dairy/gluten/sugar free and thought it might help. It did – minimally.

I’m eating whole foods. Nothing refined or processed. Only things found in nature. I’m not counting calories. I eat when I’m hungry and until I’m full. I took the forecast into account and cooked up eight chicken breasts yesterday so I don’t have to use the oven this week. If you knew how much I dislike grocery shopping and cooking for one, you’d know this way of eating is a big effort and commitment for me.

Today was a rough day. My body knows something is changing. I expected it. I was sorely tempted to say “F*** it!”, and I didn’t. Tomorrow might be similar, and that’s OK. Next week will be better.

I hope.

Staying Cool

I am luxuriating in the cool temperatures of 19C this morning. After the last week of mid-to high 30C temperatures, this is a welcome respite. I don’t care if I need to put on a sweatshirt later – every window in the house is open to let the cool air blow through it.

I’ve always believed it isn’t necessary to spend thousands on central air in Alberta. We have such short summers, a week or two of high temperatures doesn’t justify the expense (though I admit, it’s nice to have!). We spend the majority of the year in winter and I remind myself of this when it gets too hot for comfort.

Staying cool in a home without air conditioning proved to be a challenge. By late afternoon, my indoor temperature was 81F (27.2C). My normal room temperature is 67F (19.4C). Fortunately, it cooled down slightly overnight, so by 0100 or 0200, I was able to sleep.

What did I do to try to beat the heat?

  • I kept all curtains and windows closed during the heat of the day. I’d only open them after the outside temperature dropped below what I had indoors.
  • I draped cold wash cloths over my fans. That didn’t work very well.
  • I froze water in 2l pop bottles and set them in front of the fans. This worked better than the wash cloths.
  • I bought a personal evaporative air cooler. It was better than the pop bottles. It kept me cool while I worked or sat on the couch, but not nearly enough to cool a room.
  • I took cool showers.
  • I put fans in the windows overnight to blow in the cool air. I got up early to remove the fans and close windows/curtains before temperatures started to climb again.

Today, I’m researching how to keep seniors cool in the heat. Martin’s dad is in his 90’s and still lives independently with his wife. The a/c unit in their apartment isn’t strong enough to keep up with the heat happening in their area.

What have I learned? A few things I should have tried last week.

  • Drape cool towels behind the neck and around the shoulders. I should have thought of this. I have a cooling jacket for Keo when we go to outdoor dog shows in the summer. Same concept.
  • Sip fluids all day to stay hydrated. Seniors are especially prone to dehydration.
  • Soak feet in cool (not cold) water while sitting.

I’ve also found cooling blankets online. I’m not sure how well they work, but the reviews seem to indicate they help for sleep (and, I’m assuming, afternoon naps).

Most cities also have dedicated cooling stations open during the day where people can go to escape the heat. With COVID restrictions lifting, there are also options to visit a library, mall, or coffee shop to get relief from the heat.

The trick will be convincing his dad to try these things.

For my area, the temperatures get back to more seasonal summer heat. Unfortunately, other parts of western Canada aren’t so lucky and will still be experiencing the heat wave.

For readers without a/c, do you have any other tips for staying cool in the heat?

Birds of A Feather…

I have always been fascinated by birds. Dreamed I could take flight and drift on the currents just like the eagles. Watched Robins make a nest on my patio and lay 6 eggs. Then defend the nest fiercely from me as I tried to enjoy just a square inch of my patio space and take pics of the new arrivals as they grew. Blue Jays have landed on my chairs and chatted away to me. Magpies have ripped apart my flower baskets and helped themselves to my moss. The variety of birds that come to visit daily in my gardens and yard are wonderful and welcome.

I have got back to working with some of my shaman practices and studying birds. Their hunting habits, communal tendencies and not so communal tendencies. I have watched as crows cornered the neighbors cat in the weeping willow. They were not happy the cat was invading their domain and wanted it out now. The cat was cornered and whining for help. I intervened with the crows’ shenanigans and had a chat with the cat to suggest a different route next time it wanted to wander. 

Crows and ravens have alway been present with me for as many years as I can remember. They are the first birds to greet me in the morning and stay with me throughout the day. No matter where I travel to, they seem to be present. I even spotted a crow in the Vancouver airport in 2019 when we boarded a plane to Bali. It was squawking up a storm in the rafters but seemed to disappear as we departed.

My niece and I recently took a little hike to one of my favorite spots on the trail to some caves. We didn’t go that far as that wasn’t the purpose or destination this time around. There is a spot on the way that has a lovely water flow with luminescent moss covering most of the rocks. The sun peeks through the grove and bounces off the water into thousands of prisms of reflective light. It’s divine light. The place feels sacred and special. I use it often in meditation as a visual aid when thinking of a place in nature where the vortex is transparent. 

We sat down by the rocks and I started to drum a bit. The shaman’s purpose was to invite spirit animals to come join us in the grove. It was my niece’s first shaman journey and I hope not her last. The meditation involves listening to the drums as you move through a natural transition into a space of peace. It invites you to imagine yourself in a grove with a place to lay down. In this case a flat rock in the centre with sunlight beaming down on it. Relax and feel the warmth. Take the time to enjoy the release of worries and tension. Invite nature in and ask the spirit of any animals close to come join you in the meadow. I think she was surprised to feel the presence of animals around us. One in particular she described as knowing it was there but not quite willing or ready to join her. It kept the perfereral view. It was obvious what it was and curious about her presence. This was a great success for her first time journeying.

Facilitating someone else’s journey was good practice for me as it has been awhile since I have done any guidance for someone else. At the same time I did feel some of my guides’ presence also and some new creatures hanging around. Prominent was the raven. A large one swooping overhead catching the downdrafts then moving higher to hover close.

In some of the literature I am exploring about birds it talks about the different types of feathers birds have. I am not going to go into too much detail here only to say that collecting ones I find on the ground has become more purposeful in the selection. The differences between those used for primary flight, covert and contour and the down feathers that are soft to the touch while holding great healing properties. I have a new appreciation for how complicated flight is for birds. Something that seems so natural has an ingenious mechanical design associated with it.

I have used feathers for smudging and in ceremonial practices before and know that different ones carry a variety of energy and meaning. As we kayaked around Crowsnest Lake on a recent camping trip, the hawks would swoop and glide high above us. The swooping sounds reminded me of being smudged with sage on numerous occasions. I would like to think the hawks were sharing with me the strength and powerful energy of sight and flight.

I plan to explore more the ceremonies and exercises I can incorporate into my shaman journeys. The yogic practices fit nicely too with many similar theories of practice associated with air flow, breath, flight, dreams and gliding on the wind.

Birds are amazing creatures. We can learn alot from observing them. Meditating with them. Incorporating their habits and life lessons into our own lives. They are always with me, watching, warning me of danger and things to come I need to pay attention to. I had a crow do a dance on my fence three days in a row three months before my mom passed away. I have come to respect their presence and guidance. 

As The Crow Flies…

There is no doubt that summer has arrived! It’s been over 30 degrees for a week or so now. My plants, both in the yard and in the house, are thirsty. I have spent hours watering everything in sight. I took some time off from the “aquatic” management to go glamping with my niece. We enjoyed random camping for probably the last time as the Province put into place maintenance fees to help pay for the privilege of visiting nature on Crown land.

I have always loved spending time in the Crowsnest Pass. My husband and I took the kids and camped, hiked, caved, boated and hung out in the area as much as we could. There are nooks and crannies that are only known by the locals and a few others. Places that take your breath away by their beauty and energy. 

My niece and I paddled from one end of the Crowsnest Lake to the other and explored most of the coves along the way. Our new blow up kayak worked perfectly on the glass like surface of the water. The water is turquoise blue and crystal clear. There are places where it’s less than a foot deep and other places where the depth goes down 90 feet. Legend has it that there is a railroad car full of moonshine somewhere at the bottom. We didn’t see any but we had fun trying to locate it just the same.

The place I like to hang out in has a sandbar that jets out almost the entire length of the cove. It’s almost smack dab in the middle of the water. There is an old dance hall boarded up on the side of the shore. In the 1920s and 30s it was the hot spot to celebrate and gather. You can see parts of the old dock down in the water. Boards that still are held together with tires scattered close by giving evidence to another time in history. The historical site sign talks about the evolution of the valley and mountain range that dates back over 10 thousand years. You can feel the energy of all those cultures, rituals, spiritual sites as you sit in the snow fed waters. Cooling you off from this unrelenting heat of the day. On any given day, the locals come to the spot to give their pets and even a few horses a chance to lower their body temperatures.

On shore we watched as dozens of butterflys came to rest on the wet ground near the water. I watched them for a while trying to figure out what they were doing. They didn’t go to the waters edge but stayed in the wet dirt area. I focused in with my phone camera and could see their snout dipping into the little pockets of moisture. They were drinking up the water through the dirt. It was facinating to watch.

A local tells someone nearby that the original name was supposed to be Raven’s Pass and Raven’s Mountain. The crow showed up and made a nest in a unique tree and the rest is history. I know as a child I knew we were getting close to the area by the landmark of the old leaning tree on the side of the road. Never saw a nest in the tree but I am sure it was occupied on occasion. 

I had researched various types of kayaks before buying the inflatable type. I knew space was a premium for me and it had to be easy to assemble on my own. Sturdy enough to feel safe and big enough to hold myself and maybe one other person of reasonable weight. I am very happy with my choice for lake kayaking. We own a boat but it’s a lot of work to get it ready for just the two of us to use. Neither one of us water skis or board and the kids live too far away to come for a day on the lake. So a kayak was a doable option. 

The water route lets you see so much more. We watched hawks swoop overhead looking for fish. A beaver swam close with some twigs in its mouth. White tail deer are ever present but I haven’t seen bighorn sheep in that area for years. 

Our morning view at Atlas Staging Area was of Crowsnest Mountain. My husband and kids have climbed it in the past. I am thinking I should go up there soon. The time was well spent with my niece. We enjoy each other’s company and now have a new sport in common with kayaking. I even convinced her to go on a bit of a hike that involved three river crossings and a trek up a mountain trail. That adventure we will talk about another time.

Summer Adventure

Reading the title, you might think I’m planning an exciting trip. Instead, my big adventure for the summer is to clean up my eating by undertaking the Whole30 eating plan. I’ve done it once before and know it’s a commitment, and it’s not easy.

I planned to start today, July 1, but changed my mind. I’m going to ease into it. Because of food allergies and having Hashimoto’s Disease, I already avoid quite a few foods. So, during the next week, I’m going to stop eating all grains – not a huge step because I’m already gluten-free. It’ll mostly be rice and my granola bars I avoid. Next week, I’ll stop eating dairy products. This one is tougher because I love cheese and yougurt. Finally, I’ll start the Whole30 eating plan and give up sugar and alcohol – 30 days with no umbrella drinks!

Why am I doing this? I know I’ll feel better at the end. As I reintroduce foods after the 30 days, I’ll have a better idea of which foods my body tolerates and which it doesn’t. I know – once I’m through any withdrawal symptoms – I’ll have more energy and I may even start to sleep better.

I enjoy a challenge. When I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, I followed the Autoimmune Plan (AIP) for seven months. That was the MOST restrictive eating plan I’ve ever done. It was Whole30 on steroids! At the time, I needed to figure out what foods made me feel good and which ones made me feel worse. As a result, I avoid gluten, nightshades, and potatoes. I’m not allergic to these, but I know eating them makes me feel bloated, fatigued, and achey – almost flu-ish.

As much as I’ll miss having drinks on a patio, it’s a good time to undertake Whole30. I’m settled into my new home and job. Martin is working most of the summer so my eating plan won’t be restricting what he eats (he already avoids a lot of foods he likes because of my allergies and Hashis). And, it’s been a couple of years since I’ve done it so it feels like it’s time to hit the “reset” button. I find it easier to adjust my eating in the summer when there’s things to do outside. During the winter, it’s hard to give up hot chocolate. 🙂

So, there will be blogs about this eating adventure. I know I’ll go through sugar cravings the first few days I stop eating it. I’ll get frustrated with having to grocery shop for fresh produce every week and meal plan. Near the end of the 30 days, I’ll start to think I’ve done it “long enough” and contemplate quitting. Blogging about it will keep me honest and on track.

Anyone want to join me on this adventure?