Avoidance

I have been busy that is true as to why I haven’t written a post in almost two months! But there is truthfully the driving factor of avoidance that is here too. I didn’t want to write a post. I didn’t want to have to fess up and say I’ve been living like pre 2016 me; that is to say living like I don’t know better. The mind is a masterful thing. To turn a blind eye to your own habits, to pretend like it isn’t happening, to convince yourself it’s fine…epically masterful.

I’ve been eating whatever I wanted to. Vegan wise of course. I’m sure I’ll be vegan the rest of my life. Heath wise, a vegan incredibly processed, and fatty hotdog or hamburger isn’t much better than a regular one. Same as the vegan Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos isn’t any healthier than the Nacho Cheese Doritos. And vegan ranch dressing is just as fat filled and processed as regular. So why do I bother sticking to vegan junk? The environmental impacts are what motivate me. I love being outside. I love exploring uncivilized natural places, it’s what brings me peace and balance in my life. So for me I want to do my share in keeping the planet healthy and that is the single biggest thing any one person can do to promote a healthy planet. So that is why I remain vegan among other reasons. The point is that I wanted to clarify that vegan junk food is still junk food. Junk food = junk food.

My confession then is that’s what I’ve been eating. Mindlessly. With no thought to my health, body, wallet, reproduction….truly mindlessly. I convinced myself to look the other way and apparently duct taped my consciousness’s mouth so she couldn’t nag at me.

The biggest reason I think this happened was my utter frustration and obsession with my temping and reproductive setbacks. M’s super crazy work schedule was the second thing that led to my justification for all those poor food choices. But it started with my negative pcos thinking. I slipped into that pcos cycle: my body isn’t working the way it’s supposed to, that makes me sad and frustrated and upset, which leads me to not care about my body, which leads me to eat junk, which leads to worse pcos symptoms and repeats.

M and I have decided to work around this. My dilemma was I needed to stop obsessing and being let down daily by my temps and long cycles but I still wanted and needed that information that OvuSense could provide me. So we figured out that I would still use OvuSense every night but that I would give it to him on his phone to download that day’s temps. He would use a a new password so that I couldn’t login to it and that way we’d still have the data to look back on but it would no longer be the huge obsession of my day. I will have the chance to focus on the rest of my life again. I can focus on food choices and everything else. I can have a chance to think positively because I won’t know what my temps are doing. If I’m in a good mood I can focus more easily on healthy eating.

To be clear this is not an OvuSense issue this is a me issue. I like knowing what my body is up to and for a long time it was powerful to have that information. I still want that information as it’s invaluable however, I can’t have the day by day replay of it for right now. Perhaps in the fall I can do that again without it controlling me. So what about conception? We will do an every couple day bd schedule and if we get lucky that’s great. But I think I need to have my brain focus on health which will only benefit me long term for both me and a baby if I’m lucky.

Lastly, I will be continuing to take a break (as far as current me can see) on my blog. It takes me a long time to make each post and I just want to take a break from as many “responsibilities” that I can right now. I plan to be back writing much more regularly at the end of August. However now that I’ve said that to you all I’m sure as most things go in my life that it’ll be the complete opposite and I’ll just be bursting with thoughts to pour on the screen. 🤷‍♀️ So I guess we’ll all be surprised. I could probably update KKA’s instagram account easily though so look for those! Happy healthy rest of summer to you all!

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Backwards Slide

Ughhh! Or perhaps its more of an arrrgghh! All I know is that I was tested and I failed. Miserably. Ok let’s back up here and talk about what went down. So my last post was all about coming up on our two week full McDougall and mostly maximum weight loss McDougall to boot. We were feeling good, losing weight, and had very few cravings. We were on track and on target and I felt no desire to veer off path. I even had intentions of staying if not mwl then at least regular McDougall on my upcoming family meet up in Minneapolis.

The day after our two week mark I got horribly ill. It was probably one of the worst colds I’ve ever had. But my temperature took a beautiful steep jump up on OvuSense! We had our bases covered so I was really hoping that despite all the sickness this was our month, especially because my temp had never jumped that high before. The first night I was sick M cooked McDougall at home for us. It wasn’t mwl but it was still whole food plant based. The next day I was so unbelievably miserable but I did’t want to take any cold medicine in case it interfered with my ovulation which I thought was happening right then. My head was so congested that my eyeballs hurt and would water with a throbbing face all over. In a desperate attempt to try natural remedies including nasal rinsing, hot water cloths on my face, and a steam shower I decided we could break McDougall to order some of the super spicy Thai food (vegan) to try and get some movement in my nasal passages. M brought it home and unfortunately it didn’t help much at all just made my lips burn. For supper he was hungry and had been busy and we were now out of groceries. At that point I didn’t care about anything so I said pick something up from a restaurant or get a veggie sandwich from Panera I don’t care. That same attitude carried over to Sunday. “Get what you want, I’m too sick to care.” That day my temp soared even higher and I thought well it’s either a fever or I’m pregnant. I decided I had to take medicine as I couldn’t even sleep at night. Thankfully the medicine helped give me enough relief to sleep a couple of hours at a time. The next day my temp plummeted but it was still above my cover line and OvuSense confirmed ovulation! I was thinking it was possibly an implantation dip. I was still thinking this was all good news. The next night I was able to sleep almost the whole night comfortably. The next morning my temperature took another major fall and then I knew that those spikes were not from pregnancy or ovulation. Even though I didn’t have a basal body fever my core temp had risen to help fight off the cold. This was frustrating and sad for me and I honestly didn’t care what we ate for food. I was still unwell enough to not want to leave the house for a big grocery shopping run and M was too busy with work so it was more take out orders.

Well wouldn’t you know that my temperature rose a little bit the next day. I didn’t think too much of it as I was more worried about getting OvuSense support to delete the false ovulation from when I was sick so that it could still pick up ovulation for cycle 5. I ended up starting a new cycle even though I didn’t’ have my period but I wanted to make sure I could get an ovulation confirmation that wasn’t a false positive. The next day my temp rose again and now I realized that I had just ovulated the day before! So we missed all those fertile days because I was sick. I was so upset. Now I was feeling better physically but let my emotions dictate what we put in our mouths. Popcorn for snack every night…who cares? I don’t want to grocery shop or cook, fine by me. I was having a a pretty big pity party for myself. Ovulation then was predicted in cycle 6 but at this point support was able to move some things back to cycle 5 and delete cycle 6. I ended up losing a large chunk of data points so it was basically a hacked out cycle.

I did still have all my temps logged into Fertility Friend. Even after discarding my “fever” temps on Fertility Friend it still kept saying I ovulated before those spikes. Well that was exciting maybe I did ovulate just before getting sick!? Realistically I knew that there was a very slim chance it was correct but, as I had missed all chances of catching the egg if I ovulated now, I wanted to believe, no matter how small a chance, that the dip really was implantation. Then my body gave me even more pregnancy clues. My nipples became very tender. This has happened before a week or so before my period but it maybe only happens once a year. It is not a typical pms for me. Holy buckets maybe I actually am pregnant! Once again I was incapable of concentrating on anything at all. Every moment was spent obsessing over temps and trying to decide if these clues meant anything important. I peed on a pregnancy test every morning squinting and turning and digging through the trash after old ones past the time limit to see if anything appeared later. It was full on ttc crazy mode.

Nasty trickery of my body, can you see why I convinced myself it was implantation?

Last Friday I was starting to realize if I had ovulated when Fertility Friend guessed I had that I would have tested at the very least a faint positive by now. I had ovulated the day after I was sick I was sure now.

I was able to go enjoy a mother daughters weekend in Minneapolis. This morning I woke up to aunt flow. It’s over now. I have made peace with the craziness of cycle 5 and let it all go. I’m sad that between the sickness, the screwy temps, and M being very busy at work all got between us and a healthy diet that we had worked so hard on. Now we have to start back at square one and avoiding those first couple days of cravings for junk. But we both want to get back to where we had been so we are feeling capable and willing. I bought some groceries last night and I’m cleaning out the refrigerator and prepping the house for fresh food. A clean house and clean food just make the body and mind feel fresh and ready don’t you think?

The silver lining you ask? Ovasitol and the mwl diet cut my ovulation time in HALF this cycle! I wonder what we will get with this cycle? I think I should have some back up plans ready for when I start to spiral and obsess on what my body is doing. I will think on that and get back to you and write it all down so we can hold me accountable. 🙂 I also had a couple drinks with my mom and sisters this past weekend because I knew at that point my period was coming any day so that was another silver lining.

*TRIGGER SECTION BELOW*

I also want to take the opportunity to wish everyone a happy mother’s day. Especially those mothers of children that are no longer with us. What a sorrow filled journey you must be on at times. You should be honored too for having the hardest mother job of all. We see you, appreciate you, and think of you on this special day as well.

Here are some pictures that show what’s been going on since I wrote last. Enjoy and I’ll update you again very soon!

The meal M made for me when I was sick that first night. It was delicious!

We fostered this amazing sweetheart puppy for a weekend. Yes it’s possible to fall in love after only a couple of days. I cried so hard bringing her back. Due to a few reasons we are not able to foster this baby girl long term so if you live in MN or a surrounding area go adopt her! 🙂 She was also a good distraction from my ttc drama and I thank her for that.

I told M I loved this caution cone Snapchat filter because it perfectly matched my mood of, “back away from me, I’m busy being a hot emotional mess.” 😂👌🏼

I had a great time hanging out with my momma this weekend, lots of laughs, shopping, and fun.We took a dinner cruise ride around lake Minnetonka as part of our Mother’s Day weekend. It was fun if only the weather had been a little warmer 🙂 

All our lives people have mistaken me for my younger sister and vice versa but I just don’t see it….

My family wanted to have Mother’s Day brunch at Country Kitchen and surprisingly I was able to piece together a tasty meal for myself as well! 

The sunset from the boat: perfect.

Spring Has Sprung

A family saying, and really a midwestern saying, is: it isn’t spring until you see your first robin of the year. Well I am pleased to say the robins are back, the snow is gone, the sun shines late, and the smallest hint of color is appearing on the earth. Another sure sign of spring is all the people outdoors again. I’ve been taking Jackson on some good long walks and we pass a dozen people or so each time. Yes, spring has most certainly sprung here in North Dakota.

So how has the fully compliant diet been going you may be wondering? All things considered it’s been going really well. It’s almost been a full two weeks since going total McDougall and majority of those meals have been maximum weight loss to boot. The first week I lost 8 pounds but please keep in mind I believe that to be inflated. The week before we had mentally prepped by eating a lot of junk (haha #truelife am I right) and the morning of I felt bloated and puffy so I’m sure some of those 8 is water weight and what not. I’ve noticed my energy level has been higher and though I may be mentally tired my body really wasn’t. That’s been a cool feeling. My OvuSense temps have been fairly steady and I feel this cycle will be much shorter. So that’s about as far as I am on the positives side. Negative would be starting to get low on Maximum Weight Loss meal ideas already. I am still waiting for my book to arrive in the mail so I can have good recipes on hand. That’s really the only negative I can think of.

Pre baked potato then chopped up and cooked with some mushrooms, onion, and pepper with seasonings for a tasty hash.

We haven’t had pasta as per mwl requirements but I made the Mac and cheese sauce and poured it over brown rice with some broccoli and mushrooms.

My first Shepard’s pie! M looooved it! Like his new top 3 favorite. I thought it was good but not top 3 good.

Chili to burn your bottom….why? Because there was a labeling error and my “chili powder” was actually cayenne!!

We’ve had back to back weekends for PRIDE training (learning about foster care and adoption) and we only had 30 minutes for lunch and Wendy’s is the closest restaurant but it worked out perfect thanks to their baked potatoes!

The McDougall Program For Maximum Weight Loss

As you most know we have been vegan for a little over a year. In that year we have bounced in and out of the regular McDougall diet (and parts of Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen) and a blanket of vegan choices. Well I finally finally feel prepared enough to try McDougall’s Maximum Weight Loss diet (commonly referred to as MWL). I can take you through the process of how I got ready to do this.

Last week I had my fertility appointment with Kate at OvuSense. She was wonderful to talk to. We had a nice chat about what’s going on with my charts and my body. She mentioned as does just about everyone I know that low carb is what is necessary to fight the insulin resistance from the PCOS. At first I was crushed because I didn’t know how I was going to be a low carb vegan but I really wanted to get my body back into an optimum condition for conception. What do I do?? Well as much as I trust all the information and appreciate Kate’s time I had to check in with McDougall first whose whole life has been about studying food and the relationship with the body. So I found a web chat where McDougall talks about insulin resistance and a high carb low fat diet. Here is the video I’m talking about. Start at the 19 minute mark for the discussion on insulin resistance. And it reassured me that it is absolutely possible to eat a high carb low fat diet and fix any insulin problems I may have. And because this was still all kicking around in my brain and I was looking for more and more knowledge I finally watched a Chef AJ video. I have seen some of her recipes before, I have heard her talked about in the McDougall group on Facebook, and I knew a little bit about her history. But I watched the video where she talks about it all (watch it here) and was really inspired.

This all led me to spend my Saturday evening alone (M was out of town) listening to McDougall’s Maximum Weight Loss audio book. (I used hoopla to check it out for free and used Thrift books to buy a cheap hard copy version that’s coming in the mail later this week). I had a pretty good idea of what MWL looked like thanks to the Facebook group that talks about it often. It’s basically a more hard core version of the regular McDougall diet. I hadn’t been focusing on it at all in the past year because we had a hard enough time sticking to the regular program. Well by golly actually reading the book has made me feel so confident, ready, and willing to take on MWL! It is such a good book and I’m only a third of the way through it. I’m a logical person who likes facts and reasons and McDougall provided all of that for why a low fat high carb diet is the optimal diet for humans. It’s not gimmicky and he’s not selling any products to “help you achieve” anything. He just gives you information and you choose what to do with it. So we are doing it. And I can’t wait to report the results back.

We have seen some progress with the McDougall program more so in the beginning than lately because lately we haven’t been following it. We were just vegan and that’s not what McDougall recommends at all. They aren’t the same thing at all. But now we are fully McDougall and the best part is I feel like I’m really prepared mentally to do it. Reading the book was the trigger I needed and I feel confident and capable. Just read the book and see for yourself. And if you have such a difficult time going high carb (when all your life you’ve been told carbs are evil) like I did just try it for two weeks and see what happens. I’ll update you on how we feel during and after our two weeks of MWL.

A MWL meal of brown basmati rice (my new favorite), sautéed veggies and a teriyaki style sauce. Yummy!

Fresh Starts

Ahh fresh starts! My period has come finally! I’m hoping this new cycle will be significantly shorter than the last. I never had a confirmed ovulation last cycle so looking forward I’m hoping to see a nice clear high rise this time around. And no false starts would be even better! Tomorrow I have my fertility consult with Kate from OvuSense. I’m nervous because social situations make me uncomfortable and also because I’m anxious to hear what she has to say about these old ovaries.

Now that my period has come and with it an overall better mind set we have sworn of the oil once more. And slightly warmer temperatures are here so it has been just warm enough to enjoy a walk again. I’ve downloaded Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen app and the See How You Eat app to help stay focused on the food goals. Kicking oil for good feels as impossible as giving up animal foods but know we can do better than what we have been. I’m vowing here and now to eliminate all oil and processed foods until the last weekend in April when my family is in town. I’ll check back in on here or my instagram account to make sure I’m sticking to it!

So far so good though as seen below 🙂

Here’s a screen grab from that See How You Eat app. And yes I had extra helpings on some of those meals.

I’ve been on a soup kick this week. This is a vegan gnocchi soup that was very good. I also made a minestrone that I forgot to take a picture of.

I always love Mac and cheese and asparagus.

Aldi is finally coming to Fargo! Got this huge compliant haul for under $80

Burrito bowls hot off the press.

Vacay Bay-bay

Have you heard about LOL dolls? They are these small plastic dolls sold in a mysterious ball package. The height of the thrill of this gift is in the unknown. Will you get the ultra rare something or the other or will you get another same old same old? My nieces are obsessed with these and it’s all they ask for for any gift. Anyway, little Leighton wants the “Vacay Baby” doll very much and I just love the way she says it, “Vay-cay bay bay”.

This spring I was lucky enough to be a vacay baby myself. The biggest of those trips was a week down in Jacksonville, FL with my childhood best friend. Seeing her was great but I won’t lie the food was amazing and the ocean is always my favorite thing. I also took a quick trip out to Nebraska with most of my siblings and all of my nieces and nephew. We even did a stay-cation with my mother-in-law over St. Patty’s Day.

I’ll fully admit I’ve been a junk food vegan lately. This has ranged from a full on fried food meal (Good Friday we made a vegan fish fry) to lots of grains veggies but made with fatty coconut products or oil. I have enjoyed it but I also know that it’s time to go back to fully healthy choices for weight loss purposes and reproductive health.

Here are some snaps of the food and the fun!

I’m sure everyone in Florida knows when a tourist from the Midwest is around…I was the only one swimming in the ocean at Mickler Beach. 
Martini time
One of my favorite meals ever from Toss Green in Jacksonville, FL. Tofu, roasted chickpeas, quinoa, Thai peanut sauce….yum!
Exploring Little Talbot State Park and having another beach day..
I could eat this everyday for every meal for the rest of my life. Vegan sushi with all the vegan fixings *drool drool drool*
Occasionally we can squeak out a good picture 🙂
Trivia and beer night before I headed back home.
My handsome nephew turned 4!
Nothing better than being able to play a round of casual golf with your siblings while having some cocktails. Well actually there is! It’s being able to say you had the best shot of the game!
Lunch at Green House Cafe for St. Patrick’s Day even came with a vegan shamrock shake. #impossibleburger
After my trip to Florida and Nebraska and his trip to Arizona we had sure missed each other!
You can tell we are starting to perfect vegan recipes because this Easter’s holiday meal was so so so good! That green bean casserole is simply perfection! Here is the link for that recipe: Green Bean Casserole Recipe
Good Friday “fish” fry thanks to gardein products. And my first attempt at using aquafaba and oil for a mayo base; lesson learned you should use your blender not your food processor because the blade wasn’t low enough to whip it up. It stayed watery 😦
Forks Over Knives No Tuna Salad Sandwich is awesome! Get it here. I still have a hard time breaking that chips and sandwich addiction. If only I had a microwave and that chip maker to make oil free McDougall approved chips. 
Easter morning monkey bread.
Thanks to veganism for opening my eyes to the world of delicious food outside my comfort zone. Thai food is heavenly an basil fried rice is my newest favorite. 
“The Amazing”…well described 🙂
Trying to find a sit down meal at Universals Studios and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter wasn’t easy. We made do with this veggie platter.
I celebrated our plant-iversary with these vegan cupcakes.

Krystyna’s Story: Part 2

I’m honored again to be guest writing on KKA. I’ve been faithfully tuning in since the beginning and continue to love following the journey.

The last time I wrote, I was DAYS away from giving birth to our sweet little girl. My guest post ran just 4 days before she was born via scheduled c-section. In the last weeks before pregnancy, I found out that I had polyhydramnios–which meant I had a high amount of fluid around baby. Baby looked fine but my doctor was concerned that she would move position and decided a c-section was best. So we strolled into the hospital on the day of our scheduled c-section and hours later had a baby!

Fast forward almost 17 months and that sweet little baby is now a super sassy toddler! She’s into everything and although not walking completely by herself, she still manages to get into everything very quickly. She keeps us on our toes and makes us laugh every darn day! We are so blessed to be her parents.

Being that I had a c-section, I needed about 8 weeks of no exercise before going back to working out. I did NOT jump right back in…I had enjoyed my weeks on the couch, snuggling my newborn, and watching hours and hours of Hallmark Movies. So it took some time and some looking back at old photos to motivate me to get back into it. That sweet little baby helped too.

I started slow–my lower abs felt every move, no matter how I modified and it took quite the mindset shift to give myself some grace. I just had a baby! My body had grown a human and then had surgery to get her out. I had to remind myself of these things often. So no, I didn’t bounce back.

I did a 22 minute program to start. Total body cardio and strength but each workout was only 22 minutes long! Perfect for a new working mom who didn’t have a ton of time. I didn’t focus on cutting calories because I was breastfeeding. Getting back to sweating was just good for my mom-brain, teacher-tired self!

At the end of the school year, my husband and I bought a house and moved about 30 minutes from where we were living last year. Over the summer, I sort of dabbled in different workouts but didn’t complete any programs. I felt a little lost with what to do next and was feeling stuck in my current teaching job as well. At the end of the summer, a teaching position opened up in our new city and I took it! Less time on the road for me and the little lady and more time at home has been a huge blessing to my fitness journey and to my time with our girl.

As the new school year began, I knew I had to get into the right routine. Over the summer, I worked out at nap time but that wasn’t an option as I went back to work. So my alarm was set for 5am! I’ve always been a morning person {you’ll also find me in bed early, too!} but it was still an adjustment. After about 2 weeks of committing to it and getting up, it was habit and I’ve done it ever since! My alarm is actually set to 4:50am currently!

Getting up early has allowed me time for ME! The rest of my day is spent on someone else {toddler, fourth grader, hubby} and the time in the morning is mine. I do my bible study and then my workout–I start my day feeling so fulfilled and strong!

I’m currently doing an 80 day program and LOVING how strong I feel. My nutrition hasn’t been totally on point but what can I say? I’m a work in progress. Overall, I’m thinner than I was on my wedding day almost 3 years ago and feeling stronger and leaner.

Ever heard the saying “When mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”? Well it’s true. Whether you’re a dog mom, cat mom, plant mom, human mom, you have to love on YOU before you’re ever able to be your best for anyone else in your life. Find what that is for you and DO IT!

Find me on Instagram @krystynafreeman to follow my journey! Not just my fitness journey but my whole journey–as wife, mom, teacher, believer!

Thanks again to KKA for letting me update on my journey!