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Category Archives: Low-Carb Cruise

A Low-Carb Friendly Military Healthcare Provider – Really?

English: Blood pressure measurement.

English: Blood pressure measurement. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few days ago, I scheduled an appointment at the clinic of our new duty station to get some blood work drawn, mainly to have a baseline to measure my progress for next year’s low-carb cruise.  I was so inspired by the success stories of this last cruise, that I made a promise to myself to make this year count.  I was particularly inspired by the stories of Andrew DiMino from Carbsmart, Dana Carpender, Amy Dungan, Susan Winkler, Kent Altena, Kim Eidson, and Vanessa Romero, just to name a few.  With all this motivation, this is definitely the year to get healthy!

At first, I was worried about the reaction of my new doctor, because every time I went to see one at the military clinic at our last duty station, which was usually a different physician each time, and mentioned that I was eating low-carb, they were appalled that I did not eat any HEART-HEALTHY GRAINS and that I ate SATURATED FAT.  Of course, they told me that what I was doing wasn’t healthy.  At that time I didn’t have any ammo to counter with yet.  But this time would be different!

Before my appointment, I made sure to do my homework.  I asked my new expert buddies at the Low-Carb Cruise Facebook Group, which additional blood tests I should get done, and made my list:

  Standard tests
  Full Panel Thyroid
  LDL Particle Size
  A1C
  Vitamin D Level

 I also played out in my mind what I’d say to the doctor, when the low-carb thing would come up.  None of my previous physicians were open to this lifestyle, so I wanted to be ready.  Some things I wanted to say were:

  I eat more veggies than ever in my life.  What’s wrong with that?
  Isn’t this how diabetics should eat?
  Isn’t this how food addicts in recovery eat?  Nobody says that that’s unhealthy.  Why can’t I?

So, confident that I was ready for my appointment, I drove to the post hospital, ready for battle, if the need would arise.

At the clinic, a Red Cross volunteer took my vital signs.  I was shocked that my blood pressure was 154/105.  What?  It’s never been that high!  Yes, I had high blood pressure for years around 145/95, which was easily controlled by meds.  Then, after I lost some weight by eating low-carb, I stayed off my low-dose HCTZ and monitored my blood pressure, which was usually fine.  When I returned from the cruise, it was still normal for a few days, then shot up to the 150s/90s and I thought my machine at home was broken.  Since I had no way to test it, I just waited a few days for my appointment to verify that my blood pressure machine indeed went belly-up.  But I was wrong.  We checked twice.  Yep, I was really up there.

The volunteer then told me that my physician assistant will be with me shortly and left the room.  What?  I’m seeing a PA?  Nothing against PAs, but I really expected a doctor.  Oh well, nothing I could do at that point.

A few minutes later, the PA came in.  After some small-talk, she asked me why I was here.  I told her that I’m due for a physical and that I just came off the Low-Carb Cruise with a lot of experts and that I wanted some blood work done, so I can compare results right before the next cruise.  She nodded and got her pen ready:  “What tests do you want?”

Really?  No push-back?  I like that lady!!!  So, I rattled off my list to her.  She repeated the tests to me to make sure she got them all, did a quick physical and then we discussed the blood pressure issue.  She thinks that it could be the altitude, since I just came from a week at sea-level back to Colorado at 6200 feet.  She wants me to come back in two weeks for a follow-up and to see if my pressure goes back down.  We’ll then discuss my test results and if I need to get back on blood pressure meds.  As I went down to the lab, I was still amazed about my PA’s reaction, or non-reaction.  That was easy!

Update:  Thursday afternoon, I received a phone call from the nurse.  My PA wants me to come in sooner to discuss my thyroid test results.  Great, now I have to wait until Tuesday to find out what’s off on my results…

To be continued…

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2012 in Low-Carb Cruise, Low-Carb Diet

 

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2013 Low-Carb Cruise Success-Story in the Making

If you have never been on a Low-Carb Cruise, you’re missing out!  This year’s cruise departed from Galveston, TX and stopped in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, and Cozumel, Mexico.  When we weren’t having fun playing with the stingrays and sea-turtles in the Cayman Islands, we got to hang out with all the low-carb experts (and yes, they are normal people, just like you and me), learned a lot from awesome lectures during sea days, and made tons of new friends.

The talks were so informative and motivating and I have learned that even a little bit of wheat acts like an opiate and can wreak havoc in the body, in my case, my hands and ankles swell nicely.  Who needs that?  Another interesting fact I picked up was that consuming artificially sweetened food, can still cause an insulin response, when the food passes taste receptors in the intestines.  If you ask me, I am not interested in increasing my diabetes risk even more than it already is.  Especially motivating was the touching presentation of success stories from some fellow low-carbers on this cruise.  Wow, if these people can make such a huge difference in their lives, I thought, so can I.

My biggest motivator, however, was winning the Low-Carb Cruise grand prize of $500 towards a stateroom of the 2013 Low-Carb Cruise, which is setting sail in New Orleans next May.  I’ll post more about that when I know more.  Anyway, my goal for next year’s cruise is to have a success-story myself.  I really want this!!!

So, What Would I Consider Success?

  No more swollen ankles
  Awesome blood-work
  Comfortably wear a size 14 (or smaller) jeans

My Action Plan:

♥  Stay entirely off wheat (which causes my swelling)
♥  Ditch the diet coke (can cause weight-loss stalls)
  Lay off all sweeteners (can cause insulin response)
♥  Shape-Shift (tone up twice a week)
  Journal and blog at least once or twice a week about my progress
  Get blood-work done ASAP & again before the cruise
♥  And, of course, continue to eat low-carb

So, one day after my return from the cruise (did I mention that I did not gain a single pound on the trip), I’m off to a good start.  I finished off my last diet coke, stayed low-carb all day, and my ketostick was a nice pink.  I like it when I burn fat and make ketones!

Stay tuned for more progress…

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Low-Carb Cruise, Low-Carb Diet

 

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Going on the 2012 Low-Carb Cruise

Yes, I’ve made up my mind!  I’m going on the next low-carb cruise!!!  There’s no turning back now – I already paid the deposit and May can’t come soon enough.

It was a tough decision, though.  I’ve been listening to low-carb podcasts for several months now and everybody made this huge deal about this cruise where a bunch of low-carbers and paleo folks did some sort of convention.  Everybody who has been to one of those cruises sounded so excited about this event, that I often thought that it would be really cool to go on one of them myself.  But who’s got the money? Plane tickets are not cheap if you fly in from Germany.  Who’s watching the cats? Can I get time off from work?

The crucial turning point came on my 40th birthday.  It was in the middle of the week, and I felt neglected and disappointed as I was sitting at my desk, waiting for my hubby and kids to call me in the office to wish me a happy birthday.  After lunch, my boss noticed that something was wrong.  After a while, he asked me:  “What is it that you’d really like to do one day?”  I thought for a minute and smiled as an idea popped into my head. “I want to go on the low-carb cruise.”  Yeah, if only I could…  He looked at me a bit puzzled and I had to explain what a low-carb cruise was.  He then said: “Just go.  You deserve it!  You’ve raised your kids all these years.  You took care of everyone in your family.  Do something for yourself.”

That evening, I went home and thought long and hard.  We are moving back to the States in January.  No, I can’t go on vacation that soon after moving!  We have to find a house, get settled, I have to find a new job, a cruise is too expensive… There were so many reasons why not to go. I asked my husband if he’d go with me, but he said he can’t take leave so soon after arriving at his new unit.  So great, I’d be going on my own… As I was going to sleep, my head was still spinning.  The fear of going on vacation alone (after being married for 20 years) and having to step out of my comfort zone by sharing a room with a stranger almost made me want to say no, but then I realized that this trip would be the opportunity of a life-time.  I’d get to go on a cruise for the first time.  I’d get to meet many of the experts I hear on my favorite podcasts.  Plus, I’ll finally meet some other real-life low-carbers (there aren’t many where I live now).  Also, we’re probably just getting settled at our new duty station when the cruise starts, by then I’m really going to be ready for some vacation.  And so I made up my mind to go.

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2011 in Low-Carb Cruise, Low-Carb Diet

 

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