That morning, I hobbled downstairs to make the coffee, wheezing. I told my mom glumly, "I don't think I can go to Power Hour." (we had planned to workout together that day.) She looked at me and shuddered. I could barely lift my arms over my head. By the time Brian woke up, they both convinced me to hit Urgent Care.
Several hours later and armed with a 10-day prescription for Augementen for my newly diagnosed sinus infection (my face had doubled in size; that should have been my first clue) and upper respiratory infection later, I slept for the rest of the day. And then slept all day Tuesday. And all day Wednesday. My mom baby-sat the child as only as grandma can: with tons of park visits, special treats, and love. I felt terrible that I was missing her visit, but I suspect a touch of exhaustion was at play as well. I now understand why some celebs could be hospitalized for "exhaustion." My December schedule was insane. Some nights I would go to bed at 11pm, wake up at 3am, start wrapping, hit the 5am Power Hour class, shower and then see clients all day. I estimated that between my other (amazing) wrapper and I, we did over 600 gifts during the month of December. That's a lot of tape, folks. A lot of tape, many cut fingers, and a whole lot of hunching over a table.
So it was no surprise that by the time I finally started working out again on January 2, a full NINE days off, I felt like complete and total poop. The infections had been cleared up, but the antibiotics were messing with my system. That Monday, I ran to Power Hour, four measly miles away. Mile 1 felt incredible. Mile 2 was slightly more taxing. I was panting with exhaustion by Mile 3 and limped mostly through Mile 4. Wth? Had nine days off completely wiped out my fitness? I mean, I had completely 50 days of Power Hour in a row on December 23rd. One little illness wiped my fitness slate clean?
Thankfully, experience kicked in. This isn't my first rodeo. I knew 1.) not to panic and 2.) what to change. There was still plenty of time until Boston; this little January hiccup *should* be clearly up by the of end of the month, without a doubt. But it was time to change some things around.
Namely, food. I didn't go nuts in December, but my normally very clean diet was sporadic at best. I just wasn't eating on schedule and I was grabbing whatever was convenient. We were also eating out a lot, and getting lots of take-out. I simply didn't have time to cook. My work day was condensed to 9-3pm, since I was still on kid-duty, but I was up at 4am most days. In the afternoons, I would work/wrap from when we got home until bedtime, usually around 10 or 11p. The last thing I wanted to do was cook dinner. One night, Brian brought home my favorite salad from Crazy Pita and I had three bites of pita bread before heading back to the wrapping table. Never touched the salad (until breakfast the next day). Processed carbs, combined with an abnormally large consumption of Chardonnay, made me feel starved and then bloated then hungry again. Gross.
Thankfully, that has all ended. Bring in the clean foods. It's January, after all! Break out the blender and stock the fridge with all kinds of green foods. I knew I had to get my digestive system back in order, so bring on the ground flaxseed. I'm convinced this is a miracle food, especially for people with sluggish pipes. Seriously - add a tablespoon to your morning smoothie for a week and tell me how it goes. You will be amazed.
Next, I was fairly certain I had taxed my adrenal glands to the max. By the end, I running simply on fumes. So maca root powder, which I used quite often last sprint, went back into the smoothie. Again, just a tablespoon a day will do you. I like the gelantized version and order mine off of Amazon. Easy peasy.
And finally, I knew I had to give up stimulants. ::insert sad music here:: Coffee and caffeine were simply whipping my already exhausted adrenal glands. I knew this logically but just didn't want to say good-bye to my morning cup of Joe. In December, I reached for the good stuff way too often - and by borrowing all of that free energy, I paid for it later, namely those first few days of January. Not to mention, all the coffee was causing sleep disturbances at night which was causing me to reach for the Advil PM. I was a hot mess of OTC pharmaceuticals.
The first week of January, I cleaned out my medicine cabinet AND our pantry. Coffee is such a tough thing to let go of, so I did a step-down approach. Happy to say, I'm down to about 1/4 a of a cup per day, with the hopes of completely extinguishing the substance by this weekend. My sleep has already improved immensely. I'm also allowing myself to sleep as much as possible, which my body clearly needs. I can feel myself slowly coming back. It's a good thing.
And while we all have New Year's resolutions and goals, consider adding some new flavors and tastes to your daily menu. Consider taking out some things you may not need, or things that may be making you more tired. Below is one of my absolute favorite recipes: blueberry oat bars. It's made from all clean ingredients and they taste amazing. I'll have a bar pre-workout or post, or as an afternoon snack with a glass of homemade almond milk or hot tea. Plus, they are gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, high in plant-based protein and 100% vegan. It doesn't get much better than that!
Blueberry Oat Energy Bars
Coconut oil or Pam spray
¼ cup ground flaxseed
¼ cup water
½ tsp cinnamon
1 scoop Vega protein powder, Vanilla
½ cup buckwheat flour
1 ½ cups rolled oats
Pinch of sea salt
15oz can chick peas, drained and rinsed
15 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped (if the dates are large, use 8-9)
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup brown rice syrup (can use maple syrup or honey too)
1 tsp almond extract
High-quality dried blueberries (I get mine at Sprouts)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray or grease with coconut oil. Set aside.
Mix flaxseed and water together; let set for 2 min. This acts as a binder, much the way an egg would.
Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Set aside.
In food processor, combine beans, dates, applesauce, flaxseed mixture, brown rice syrup, and almond extract until smooth. This will take several minutes for it all to be properly broken down. Once it’s smooth, fold this into dry ingredients until a thick paste has formed. Don’t over mix, but make sure all of the dry ingredients have been incorporated.
Gently fold in berries.
Spread mixture into pan evenly. Bake for 22-26 minutes. Makes 45 bars.
Nutrition info (based on 45 bars):
Calories: 48-50 cal/each
Fat: 1.0 g
**Fun fact: these are also high in potassium and iron! Yum!