Well, she did and it got me to thinking. A few weeks ago, my Friend Janae (Emergency Room Doctor in Newark, NJ and Former Paramedic) and I sat around the table at our Medic Station eating lunch. We were live streaming Heather Jackson kick ass and take names at Ironman Lake Placid and stuffing our faces in between calls. Janae watched me systematically go in the refrigerator a few times and pull out a few pre packed meals and eat them like I was going to the chair.
"Can I ask you a question, Tracy, Do you follow a specific diet for all the training you do?" My immediate reply was... "Yes!! I eat everything" Then I got to thinking. No one has really asked me that before. I mean really, I was never handed a guide book on what to eat when you have Auto Immune Disease and Celiac's. I just knew in the beginning not to eat wheat, what made me feel crappy and what didn't. Becoming an endurance athlete added a whole new dimension to my meal planning and eating habits.
Listen, I am just a Paramedic who treats really, really sick people. I am not a dietician, doctor or endocrinologist. I just fix dead people, so I was kind of on my own when I got diagnosed. Having been 2011 when I was, I had the benefit of the world wide web at my fingertips so that is where I started. I read. I read more. I read even more than that. It would have been easier if I had someone to text, call or guide me and do all of the leg work for me on a whole new lifestyle of nutrition. I didn't, it was just me.
Let's be honest. Most public service employees (Police, Firefighters, EMS providers, etc.) don't exactly eat right. We don't eat to be healthy, we eat out of necessity. We eat in what's usually a super rushed environment, we are never guaranteed to even be sitting down, let alone have time to properly digest whatever crap we put into our mouths. We have a joke in my house, keep all appendages away from me when I sit down to eat, you might be missing something when I'm done. Its a matter of conditioning. I eat fast. Now I eat fast and I eat right.
I started following certain blogs, websites and reading every article I could. The resounding theme: think about what you put into your body. It is a machine that instead of being well oiled and functioning properly, it is in a constant battle with itself. AID sufferers know the struggle well. We can't just go out and slam down few beers, eat potato chips or whatever we want. Well, actually we can but then we pay the price. Gut pain, cramping, swelling in your face and joints, chicken skin, rashes, I could go on but you get it.
One of my favorites to read is by AmyMyersMD.com, it is titled "7 Foods you should be eating if you have Hashimoto's". It is a step by step that explains why, what and how our food works in our new AID food reality. Lot's of B's. ALL OF THEM! (B1, B2, B3, B9) IODINE. All the dark veggies, spinach, kale, sea weed and my FAVORITE Collard Greens. IODINE. All of the dark fruits. IODINE. PROTEINS! Beef and Chicken. IODINE. Salmon. IODINE. Avocado. IODINE. Bone Broths. IODINE. All the oranges too! Carrots, Sweet Potatoes. Did I mention Iodine? Good. Cause no one told me how important it is to thyroid health. Something so simple like switching to table salt that contains Iodine fixes it.
Here are a few more links to some good sites:
I work long 12 hour shifts. I get up at 3:45 in the morning, fumble my way to the coffee pot and sit for about 5 mins to figure out which way is up. Then I start my circuit. I either run for an hour, bike for an hour on the virtual trainer, or do a combo of both in rapid fire sequence to train the legs that even on a good day I can't feel very well. This shit is hard. Really Hard. It's a full time job trying find that perfect balance between training time, work, kids, boyfriend, family, proper nutrition and staying healthy and most importantly: listening to your body. Meal prep helps. I buy only what I need for a few days, I don't like to waste. I cook and pre pack everything to save time. My time after work is spent preparing whatever I need to get me through the next shift, while tackling homework, sports, college shopping and social calendars for Jake and Courtney. And the Laundry. (Did I mention how much laundry two teenagers produce on top of a Mom who trains for Triathlons???)
Here is a sampling of my daily meals:
Coffee. UGH. COFFEE, how I love you. (I am a coffee selfie nightmare on social media)
Refrigerator Oatmeal: Certified Gluten free Oats, Chobani Chocolate yogurt drink, chocolate flax and chia seeds, honey and topped with fresh blueberries or blackberries.
Starbucks Unsweetened Green Tea. (I love going there to see my favorite people)
Snacks bags of Almonds (avoiding peanuts) carrots and hummus.
Grilled chicken cooked with coconut oil, usually topped with home made pesto, or some sautéed tomato and parmesan cheese.
My Ka'Chava shake.
Minimum Three liters of water. (I usually drink Essentia 1.5 liter bottles)
Fage 5% yogurt, Kind oats and honey granola a banana and honey.
Dark Chocolate. Let's be honest, it keeps me sane and this makes all of my coworkers happy.
I eat. A LOT. Michael says "you need to feed the beast" I say I need to not be hangry. Speaking of, it's time to feed the troops and tomorrow starts a long week on the Medic truck. Stay safe and be good to your body! ~ T