THE HEALING POWERS OF BACON

THE HEALING POWERS OF BACON

I am halfway through my first week of working from home on my own terms and so far, here are some things I learned:

  1. The hardest decision this morning was whether or not I wanted to walk down and back up our steep, wet, asphalt driveway to retrieve the recycling bin wearing flip flops. (I made it).
  2. Bad habits are not due to lack of time. Bad habits are bad habits.
  3. Bad habits can be broken. Easily. Just do what you are supposed to do.
  4. I could spend an entire day reading in the Word. Non-stop. Never gets old.
  5. Eating bacon for every meal of every day causes sore gums and teeth. I’ll explain in a bit. Keep up.
  6. Planking for exercise works muscles that don’t otherwise get worked.
  7. No Netflix/movies during the day was a good choice. Music only.
  8. I have so many writing projects to accomplish and being able to be at home and edit the first book has led to ideas for more. Look at that…sowing seed produces fruit.
  9. Even working from home doing what I want there are not enough hours in the day.
  10. I do not miss driving in traffic in the least bit. I may have now developed an even further dislike for it. I know my attitude while driving is going to be one of the things God and I talk about when I hit those pearly gates (a long, long time from now).
  11. Three guinea pigs and a Disney-eyed chihuahua are enough distractions. The squeezes must be kept at a minimum from 8-5pm.

My dream, my hope, my desire, it that this will last. God knows the desires of my heart because He is the one that put them there. I just have to work towards them and be faithful in my walk. That’s what I’m doing. Even if it’s in flip-flops.

Bacon. Yes, bacon. My husband and I have been on a Ketogenic diet since May 30, 2016. A regular Ketogenic diet involves more than bacon but I hit a stall the last couple of months and came across an article about the Bacon Experiment and an interview with Dan Quibell. He and his wife Crystal have a Facebook page you can check out called The Bacon Experiment. Basically, he ate bacon for 30 days. That’s the simple way of putting it. I’ll let his page do the talking for him, he does a great job. They, along with the moderators, keep the page friendly, which I like. Be kind and read the pinned post first if you join. It will answer a lot of the questions you may have right off the bat. They have been awesome at welcoming me into the group as I’ve skulked around learning more about the bacon journey.

The more complex way of describing it is figuring out how much bacon to eat to meet your macro requirements. Macros = fat/protein/carbs. A Keto diet is a high fat, low carb, medium protein diet. The amount of each “macro” is based on your height/weight/goals. There are plenty of websites that have a Keto calculator to help figure this out for each individual.

Since this was the first week of being at home full-time, I thought what better opportunity than to go ahead and see if a bacon fast would break my stall. Let me give you some background.

About 11 or 12 years ago I had a car accident. This car accident involved me and a parked car. Yes, a parked car. I tripped. I fell. This is probably where you are figuring out I myself was not IN a car. I fell into the parked car on my right side (my ribs) against the grille leaving a dent in the hood with my elbow.

The car left a bruise, a broken rib near my spine and my left lung 75% collapsed.

I think the car won.

Four days and a chest tube later, I was released from the hospital with a fully inflated lung. The broken rib was still broke, obviously. Nothing they could do. Not even a wrap. Nothing. Every breath I took made the rib pop in and out of place which I could not only feel but hear. Kinda gross but fun at the same time.

They said it would just have to heal on its own and it could take a few weeks. Liars.

Well, over the course of the next 8 months, I slowly built up my momentum to a regular walk. I think the popping stopped after about four months. I was glad when I could take more than baby steps. You don’t realize how long it takes to recover from a collapsed lung in combination with a broken rib until it happens. I don’t recommend it, just take my word for it.

Honestly, the entire incident was a blessing in disguise. Pretty sure the lung was partially collapsed from an incident months prior involving me standing on the outskirts of a mosh pit. It was the same type of pain I had then. Calm down, I wasn’t living for Christ at the time. I was in my mid 20’s and living how I wanted to which involved many things I no longer do. Again, a story for another time.

With limited mobility for those 8 months, I had put on about 20 pounds. Not a huge deal since I wasn’t overweight before the incident. A little bit of exercise and it should come right off.

Well, I maintained. For a while.

I started gaining more weight. I adjusted my diet. I gained more weight. I’m not talking pounds at a time but a pound a month or so. How was I gaining weight when I was exercising and eating right? It was baffling. This went on for about five or six years. I had to exercise like a mad-woman to even maintain my weight but nothing was helping it come off. Chalk it up to being in my 30’s and a slower metabolism, right? I refuse to fall for that.

Spring came one year and my husband and I bought mountain bikes. We began biking 10 or 12 miles in the morning and another 10 or 12 in the evening. Still no weight loss.

What the???

I had an overall feeling of yuck. Just yuck. No matter what I ate, how much water I drank, how much exercise I did, I felt horrible. Not emotionally, physically. I knew something was off with my body.

So I made a doctor’s appointment. I prayed. I knew there was something off. I had to know what it was so I could pray about it and seek God for a solution.

A few doctor appointments and tests later, over the course of probably three months I suppose, here is what we found:

  1. I had sleep apnea. Both types. Not extreme but enough to mess with how my body functions. The weight gain was more than likely the cause of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Okay…so lose weight, solve that issue. Yell at my brain to work right and solve that form of sleep apnea.
  2. I had developed metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance). On my way to the “Diabeetus.” Lack of sleep caused the body to not cycle properly which means my organs were overworking, underworking, whatever. They weren’t doing what they were supposed to do when they were supposed to do it. Weight loss could improve this and prevent me from actually developing diabetes. Hmmm.
  3. My triglycerides were elevated. Not extreme but my blood work had always been perfect before. Lose weight/exercise and this could solve it. I was already exercising. So, lose weight. Okay.
  4. Spastic esophagus with mild IBS. My esophagus muscles evidently have a mind of their own. They will either swallow food or not swallow food. They may just decide to spasm, with no food, and mimic a heart attack while driving down the road after church and scare the holiness out of you. This trip to the ER is how I found out I had a spastic esophagus and mild IBS. The IBS was more than likely caused by the spastic esophagus because my digestive system was not operating properly and moving food through me the way it was supposed to. This also, in turn, was adding to the weight gain. It was suggested weight loss could improve both aspects. Really? I would have never guessed.
  5. Restless Leg Syndrome. I’m sure this helped with the sleep apnea. I think I recall the doctor saying lose weight and the RLS would subside. PFFT.
  6. Asthma. I smoked from the age of 16 to 28. I have allergies to top it off. This was no surprise. Guess what would help improve the asthma since I had already been smoke free for about six years? You guessed it! Everybody together now…Weight loss!

I wanted to throw my mountain bike off the side of a cliff and flip over every piece of gym equipment while I spat on it.

The doctor I was seeing had a nutritionist in their facility so I went to the nutritionist to see what help he could offer. He explained to me all the issues I was having as if I didn’t already know. His solution…lose weight.

After I stared at him for a moment and reminded myself I was a Christian, I asked how he suggested I do that after I explained the things I had already been doing, for years, with no results.

His response was as follows:

   “Your body is fighting against you. It has made it almost impossible for you to lose weight. It is in this vicious cycle where one thing institutes another. You need to keep doing what you are doing and at least maintain and hope you begin to lose weight.”

He looked like a piece of gym equipment in that moment.

I went home and prayed. I told God I know better. I know HIS Word. I know His promises. I refused to believe the report of the doctor and I refused to let my body destroy me. I rebuked the enemy because He only comes to steal, kill and destroy.

I asked God, as I had all along, to give me insight and wisdom. Now that I knew all the issues that were going on, what was His direction in how to take care of them?

Strange how it started but I promise this all ties back to it. I have lost a few family members and friends to different types of cancer. I have seen friends and family members healed of it as well. The Word tells us our bodies are a temple and we are to take care of them. This is not me saying cancer is from not taking care of ourselves. This is me saying the Word gives us wisdom.

I happened to come across an obscure article a couple of years ago that talked about how cancer cells die when we starve them of sugar. Refined sugars. Regular sugars. Sugar. I’m not going into my rant about greed, money-making and pharmaceuticals. I will say that we individually have a choice as to what we put in our bodies and we have the freedom to research what is good for us and what is not.

 

That article stayed on my mind. I began paying attention to the hidden sugars in “healthy” foods. Keep eating that granola and yogurt, see where it gets you. This stayed on my mind because I already had pre-cancerous cells cut out of my left calf a few years back. A girl’s trip to Florida in my 20’s and I had a mole that thought it wanted to party too. Ha! Showed it.

Fast forward to May 2016. A conversation with my co-worker about dieting led to her making the following statement,

     “I know a girl who says she lost weight by only eating beef jerky.”

My response,

“No way, there has to be more to it than that.”

That weekend my husband and I were grocery shopping. Note, my husband is a weight lifter and competes in Scottish Highland Games in our region. You can follow his blog here. Physical care is something we take seriously for may reasons.

As we were walking along, my husband points and says,

“Oooh, beef jerky!”

To which I responded,

“*insert co-workers name* said she knows a girl who lost weight eating nothing but jerky.”

And my husband said,

“Well, I don’t know about just jerky but there is a diet that consists mostly of meats and green leafy vegetables.”

This is what led to an onslaught of Google searches and article reading. We spent the Saturday of Memorial day weekend 2016 getting rid of all the “healthy” food in our house. Go big or go home. All in or all out. I wish I had a picture. The shelves and the fridge were mostly empty. I told God I was giving it a go. I had run out of all other options. Nothing was working. We did our grocery shopping that evening and bought the Keto basics.

It felt so strange looking at the bacon, eggs, butter, other random meats and chicharrons in our basket. We already had plenty of green leafy vegetables at home. I watched the face of the cashier as she ran each package of bacon across the scanner. It was like the classic magic trick where the scarves just keep appearing! It was magical.

That Sunday, we started our Keto diet. I was amazed at how full I felt. I was amazed at how quickly my blood sugar leveled out. No shakes. No “I have to devour something right now before I break things” moments. It was weird. I felt guilty eating bacon and eggs every morning that first week. I felt guilty eating big slabs of meat. My mind was having to catch up with what was happening to my body. I had a few days of “Keto flu.” I really wish it wasn’t called that. I think that scares people more than anything. It’s basically just a period of a few days where your body is purging itself of toxins and sugars. That didn’t help, did it?

It’s a fogginess, like you’ve slept for too long and can’t quite focus on stuff. And then, it goes away. And then, there is clarity! I have never felt better in my life! I think clearer. I feel fantastic! I will never go back to a standard “healthy” diet in my life. I know this because we have had a couple cheat meals here and there and it was not worth it afterwards. Sugar is the devil. There’s no other way to put it.

Two weeks into the diet and I had a full blood panel run. All of my levels were normal again. Two weeks is all it took. Normal glucose. Normal insulin. My triglycerides were down and almost back to normal. That alone was amazing.

I no longer have IBS symptoms. I have had very mild esophagus flare-ups, maybe twice over the last year. My sleep has become restful again. No more RLS. In fact, as I was sitting here typing that, I tried to remember the last time I had issues with RLS and I can’t remember, it’s been that long. I have only had to use my inhaler once in the past year. No more metabolic syndrome. No more insulin resistance. To top it off, flu season usually sends me to the ER for breathing treatments and week out of work because of the upper respiratory issues. Everyone in my office had it. I never had the first sniffle. Healthy and whole.

I have lost right at 35 pounds. Let me help you gauge that…it’s a case of Nestle water bottles, the 32 pack.  I still have weight to lose. I’m not at my goal yet. I hit a plateau with the weight loss but I know how my body works. When it gets used to something, I have to yell at it by shocking it into submission again. I’m doing this with the Bacon Experiment. Eating nothing but bacon, taking my supplements to keep my electrolytes on point and I still have my morning coffee with a tablespoon of heavy whipping cream, a tablespoon of coconut oil, a scoop of our protein powder and almond flavoring. My macros are in check.

I wasn’t going to weigh in until a full week to see how it all worked out. I did anyways. Four days in and I’ve lost two pounds. That’s progress in my book considering I am a slow loser.

So why the sore gums and teeth? Look at this picture! Photo credit to my husband.

 

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This stuff is like breakfast ham when cooked! Delicious. It’s chewy and crunchy all at the same time and it’s all I’ve eaten for four days. I’m not sure I can do this for a full 30 days but time will tell. My hat off to those that have. Even if I only do this for a week or two, I’ll be going back to the regular Keto diet when it’s over.

I don’t knock doctors. They have a purpose. They have a calling. I believe that.

I believe more in the Word of God and when man fails me, God doesn’t. He does His part, we do ours. I am to take care of this body because He has great plans for me. I put the work in, He heals. He and I have an agreement that I will be in my best health ever by the time I hit 40 which is a little less than two years away. I’m looking forward to it! What woman do you know has two thumbs and is excited about turning 40? This one! Yes, I gestured at myself with my thumbs.

 

1 Corinthians 6:19

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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