Friday, May 25, 2012

Going Caveman

The sphygmomanometer inflates, deflates and flashes a number at me that I don’t really like.

It’s back on the program once again.

There is something in my nature that hates doing what I’m told – absolutely hates it. So when the doctor told me a few years ago that I should be on blood pressure medication, it was with a great deal of trepidation that I took the prescription, filled it at my local chemist with a whimsical ""Ευχαριστώ" and started taking the drugs. Two weeks later, I was back at the doctors complaining that the medication made me feel like crap – I was a walking zombie – couldn't function, couldn’t think, lost my libido, wanted to eat and cry all the time – plus I had a hacking cough.

She changed my medication.

Script in hand, back to the chemist with a doleful 'παρακαλὠ'  as I handed over the script and the money, I dutifully took the meds – only this time, after three days, though I was no longer walking around like the living dead, but I’d shoved on a couple of kilograms in weight and it felt like I had cankles – my legs were heavy with fluid, my ankles, the pride and joy of my lumpy body, felt like they belonged to an elephant.

Not impressed, I went back to the doctor, who said my ankles looked normal. When I said that they were normally the most emaciated part of me and that I could feel the skin stretching, she suggested coming off the drugs and try another sort of blood pressure medication. It was at that time told her politely where she could shove her medication and that I was going to find another way of managing my blood pressure issues.

Which has lead me to the four year health and fitness journey I’ve been undertaking. It’s meant shedding weight. It’s meant taking up running. It’s meant that I’m a local at my gym. It means when I feel symptomatic with hypertension (headaches, palpitations, hot flashes and other general malaise) I traipse back to my lovely hippy doctor (naturopath) who gives me some herbs to drink to flatten it out again and I go all hard line with my diet and exercise to reign things back again.

I’ve learned in the last few years that I can only eat cheese in strict moderation – cheesy pizza sends me sleepless with palpitations for a few days. Alcohol can also be taken in moderation - a glass or two a week and I have no ill effects. A bender every so often - but that is it - none of this 14 glasses a week for me. I have to be careful around sugar and processed foods. Chocolate is not my friend. Salt is the enemy as well.

Then again, on the good side, daily exercise helps keeps things in check – which isn’t a problem at all as it works on so many levels – it keeps me from feeling strung out and depressed too.

Which leads me to where I am now. With a blood pressure reading that the doctor would be shouting at me for and the knowledge that I’ve packed on a couple of kilos as a result of negligence and a stressful sedentary job,it’s time to get back on track again. It’s time to get with the program. It’s time to release my inner cave man for a few weeks.

Yeah, just call me Alley Oop or Captain Caveman.

It’s time to detox and go Paleo for a while. Time to embrace my inner cave man.

Thinking about it, I’ve been quite fond of cavemen in the past. I have dim memories of grunts of ,“Woman! Come here, woman! Woman, good! ” as you’re dragged off to some foul smelling pit for fifteen minutes of sloppy kisses and rough cuddles. Okay, cavemen lack a bit of finesse, but you know where you stand…)

Alas, this caveman isn’t a hairy beast who has a need for food and sex. It doesn’t mean I’m going to look like a caveman either, stopping waxing my legs and eyebrows, grunting after my morning coffee and not bathing.

It’s back to the Paleolithic diet. Bye bye dairy and grain, hello protein, vegetables, fruits and nuts.

The concept is fairly simple. Reindert and my naturopath have been suggesting it to me for ages – go back to basics. Lean proteins. Lots of green vegies. Fruits. Nuts. A hunter-gatherer diet. No processing. No salt or sugar. This time, for the first 28 days, no legumes either. Just meat and vegetables and a few nuts - after a four day detox to set everything back to zero again.

In other words - eat like a caveman for a month, after four days of purging the crap out of my body.

What's the bet that my blood pressure is back to my form of normal (130/80) by Wednesday next week.

This is also a good chance to the exercise regime back on track. I've been decidedly slack over the last few weeks - still fit, still strong, but I feel myself slipping.

I've put myself in a race a month for the next few months. The 10 km Run Melbourne, where I would love to run the distance in under an hour. There's the Sydney City to Surf in August, the City to Bay in Adelaide in September and the Melbourne Half Marathon in October. Lots to train for, not just for time, but for my health and happiness. 

So here it is. Back on the plan. Back to being a slave to the weights room and the treadmill and the juicer and the like. 

Broccoli is my friend. Goodbye macarons for a little while.

My one wish is that I could get rid of this bloody ear worm that has been in my head for a few days on knowing that I'm going on the cave man lark. I'm showing my age. I reckon my father used to play this to me as a kid.


Kath said...

Sorry to hear that the numbers weren't right for you, Pandora.

I'll be keen on following your Paleo diet progress - I did a few detoxes 'back in the day' but ended up on medication afterwards because they scoured my system out so badly that my good bacteria disappeared along with the bad!

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

I remember Alley Oop - my dad used to like it. I have not heard it for decades.

Good luck with the caveman diet.