Friday, August 11, 2017

Low Carb Life: Progress Update

Yesterday I came home from the Doctors office with some amazing news. All the hard work over the last few months has paid off!

Weight...January 173...March 166...April 160...August 146
I am extremely happy to see some of the weight gone, but my biggest goal is not necessarily with myself although it is an important step...I want to break this cycle so that my children don't have the same issues in their adult years. My hope is that if I can beat this and give them the tools they can understand that it isn't something you just accept.

A1c 9.8 in April...Today A1c 6.1
(A1c is a protein marker used to diagnose the severity of diabetes...a normal range is between 4 and 5; at risk range is between 5 and 7; above 7 is diabetic. At a 9.8 I was told that I should have been on Insulin and at least two oral medications...maybe three...That would have been a death sentence for me. I knew I would not have followed it right and that wasn't good enough)

Fasting Blood Sugar March 230/ Fasting Blood Sugar August 130
(Normal fasting blood sugar is between 70 and 90; between 100 and 125 someone is at risk of developing diabetes; and anything above 125 is diabetic)

That means that I am no longer in diabetic, but still at there is still a lot of work to do...but it is a good start. I did have a bit of a back slide during the month of July, but it wasn't horrible and I am going to begin again...

In three months it all gets checked again and a cholesterol check. I have to say the cholesterol numbers bother me even more than the diabetes numbers...I really do not like the threat of a statin in my future, and that is what is coming.

Carrying around extra weight and having unhealthy issues with food have been a struggle since I was a child. Going through life I always had the idea that one day I would deal with it and that there was plenty of time in my life to fix the issues before I got to an age where it would be too difficult. I had moments in my life where I was healthy and in very good shape, but it usually didn't last long and I would slip back into old bad habits that have lead me to where I am today. I'll be 45 in a couple of months and I always promised myself that I wouldn't let myself be unhealthy at that I'm determined not to...We'll see what happens.

Over the years I have watched several of my family members develop and struggle with diabetes. My Grandmother, some of my Uncles, My husband's Mother, recently my Mother and my Brother. Knowing that there was also a history of it in other family members on my Father's side it was something that just seemed to loom in the future...especially my children's future. My brother and my mom have been a huge inspiration. They have both turned their eating habits around and made huge progress in the right direction. 

I have had gestational diabetes with every one of my kids and "knew" it would catch up to me. Every single pregnancy put me one step closer to being diabetic. Each time I had symptoms worse than the previous first I controlled my diet, the next time I still controlled my diet but was warned that a subsequent pregnancy would probably mean that I would be medicated...I was. With that pregnancy I was at the edge of needing insulin and warned that another pregnancy would probably mean that insulin injections would be necessary...and that is exactly what happened. The last pregnancy was still controlled by insulin, but seemed to go easier...but unlike every other time I went home with higher than normal blood sugar that just didn't go away...I ignored it because I didn't want to continue to deal with it. Fast forward four years and now I have to deal with it because ignoring it is not an option anymore.

All of what has been accomplished up till now was because of elimination and diet modification, not much in the way of actual consistent exercise. Recently we(mostly the older kids and Matt) are training(Couch to 5K) and I have switched my diet from paleo to Keto, I expect that the next 3 months will be even better.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Copperhead Falls

Today's adventure took us to Copperhead Falls in Abbeville Mississippi. Much like the trip to the creek for the fossil hunt except this lovely little outing took us down a back road to an area near a bridge where we parked along the roadside and walked down a steep rocky slope. At the edge before we got to the creek, the kids discovered the remains of something and had to investigate. After a short time, they came to the conclusion that it was definitely not human and it was okay to continue on with our adventure.

I of course had to take a moment to photograph the two beautiful butterflies resting on part of the spine of the dearly departed stinky critter. Moving on, we worked our way down a rather steep, rocky bank that went down. There we noticed several pairs of shoes on the edge of the bank that lead to a pretty little shallow creek that was ankle deep. The stream meandered left and right around several sandy and clay banks with rocks of various sizes intermingled.

As we walked upstream over and around the rocks along the creek bed that was winding left and right  and around corners, the stream wove its way through the wooded landscape going over rocks, under fallen trees and around the sand and clay banks.  Eventually we heard the rushing water of the waterfalls.

Now, I don't want to deceive you  into believing that as we rounded the corner we came across these fabulous rolling falls that you may be imagining. It is Mississippi after all and the landscape is still relatively flat, these are small low falls that were rambling over the rocks in the middle of the creek that created small pools that poured into other pools.

I have to say, that there weren't any areas that I would call particularly deep and I wouldn't say that there was anything at any point that was particularly treacherous, but because of the clay and algae covered rocks, I would warn anyone who might be unsteady or carrying any kind of special electronics like phones or cameras to be a little cautious. There were a couple of times that I lost my footing and almost drowned my camera. But, I digress...

It is a rather beautiful and unique site and I was very happy to experience it. We came across other people enjoying the day and hanging out. We explored the area and kept walking around a few more corners to see just what lay around the next bend. Eventually the creek became too overgrown to continue and we turned around.

We came across lots of different types of native plant species and some invasives growing along the bank also. A huge beautiful Green Dragon(Arisaema dracontium)-a relative of Jack-in-the-Pulpit-was standing tall right at the entrance with a beautiful group of berries still green at this point.

The intoxicating smell of kudzu flowers was amazing. It was probably my favorite smell along the way...a whole lot better than the decayed critter near the roadside entrance that the kids took an interest in and had to examine to figure out what it was. There was also beautiful orange spotted jewelweed(Impatiens capensis) lining the banks with their little spotted orange flowers dancing on the breeze.

One of the kids noticed a tree that had either berries or some type of seed pod that looked like they could have been mulberries, but I wasn't sure because our mulberry tree at home has already fruited sometime in May and it seemed late to me.

There were quite a few critters to see also, snakes, dragonflies, damsel flies, butterflies, minnows, frogs, and algae in different colors. The snakes were harmless water snakes, but it is always important to maintain a safe distance and give them their space. The small snake in the water had just caught a snack and was on it's way to find a safe place to eat it.

The kids played at the falls for a while longer and eventually we headed back toward the car. It was a great day and a great place to explore. We will definitely be back occasionally to enjoy this space hopefully seasonally so that we can see it at different times of the year to watch the changes of the season within the space.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

W. M. Browning Cretaceous Fossil Park

   Today's adventure took us to Twenty Mile Creek in Frankstown, Mississippi. It is known for prehistoric shark teeth and other fossils. This fossil park is a day use area just off of Highway 45 Near Boonville, Mississippi, about an hour from where we live. We have been planning to make this trip for several years after some of the boys were given one of the best birthday presents...a bag of sand and a sieve. Eventually realized that it was dug from this area and even though the bag of sand was lots of fun to search through and find stuff we just figured it would have to be loads of fun to go out there and dig for "hidden treasures".

This morning we decided we should just go, so we packed up the kids and headed out...we stopped off at Walmart to look for kids sand toys or something that we could use as a sieve. There weren't any more, so we decided on cat litter scoops and some sink sieves. When we go back for a second try I think I'd like to be prepared with a bigger sieve box.

 We arrived and headed down to the creek and I quickly realized that even though pictures would have been fun, the camera would have most likely gone for a swim. I made the right choice it would have definitely drowned a couple of times from either falling or sinking into deep spots. The entrance to the creek was very steep and very slippery with no where to go but straight into the water. So I took a few pictures before we explored and searched for prehistoric shark teeth and other possible fossils.

We spent several hours sifting through the creek bed sand and gravel. It seems to be a relatively safe area. The current wasn't overly strong, and the deepest point was probably at the top of my legs so even Benjamin(4) was able to stay above water at all times. Everyone found something interesting to take home; several shark teeth, shells a few fossil pieces. Benjamin found "peanut rock" it was bigger than him so we couldn't bring that one home, but we know where to visit it. Some of the other interesting finds were the critters in the water.

There were bunches of minnows to chase through the water, tadpoles to watch, dragonfly nymphs, some small blue dragonflies...but the most interesting that was weird, interesting and a bit creepy were the tiny bright blood red worms that I was really worried were some kind of leech. It was actually the larval form of a type of midge fly and thankfully harmless but definitely very interesting to come across.

One warning that I did read was that May was the best time to go because at this time of year there is a heavy accumulation of algae. They were definitely right about that and it did affect the ability to sift through the sands and it was a bit icky to rub against in the water. The water was mostly clear, but I would definitely recommend wearing some type of shoe in the water. No one got hurt, but while sifting through I found several pieces of glass a nail and some old pieces of barbed wire.

This would be a great field trip to do with some experienced people that could explain some of the formations and types of rock and soil that are found in the creek bed. 
I really loved the rock formations in the creek, they are called concretions. If you look closely on them many have fossil shells on the surface.  The article below explains how they are formed. 

This was a very interesting history of the area that I enjoyed reading.