Sunday, May 4, 2014

The NingXia Red Project: Week 1

One week down. Three to go.

I have kept a daily diary, but instead of doing a daily blog I decided it would be easier to do a weekly summary.

I said in the previous blog (the before assessment) that I would be evaluating six different areas of my life while on NingXia Red (NR).

Those areas were as follows:

1) Energy
For starters, let me say that I drank only one ounce every morning after waking up. This was usually somewhere between 7am and 9am.

One thing I did try to do this week as well was stay off of caffeine. As I said in the "before" blog, I don't drink a lot of caffeine, but I wanted to make sure my "results" weren't altered by other products so I tried to avoid caffeine this week. I did really well until Thursday when I had a Starbucks Vanilla Macchiato (Small (or "Tall")); Saturday night, when I had just a few sips of my husband's Coca-Cola and Sunday morning when I treated myself to some coffee.

Other than that, my beverage choices were all water, herbal (non-caffeinated) tea, or lemonaide.

My energy was very average. I did not feel as though I was more energized or less. On Thursday morning, after drinking a mug of orange spice tea, I got a little nauseous, laid down and ended up napping for an hour or so. That night our daughter decided to wake up at 4am and spent a few hours keeping me awake. The result was that on Friday I was tired. I had an early morning and a few appointments and some shopping I needed to do and on the way home I felt very exhausted.

I've continued to sleep well (when my daughter isn't up at 4am), despite my progressing pregnancy which, I'm sure is a large factor in my balanced energy level as well.

2) Digestion
For being someone who has chronic constipation, I have been pleased that my digestion this week has been very normal. Not like clockwork or anything and some days have been more.. um... comfortable than others. There was only one day in the entire week I did not use the facilities for.. well, you know.

3) Joint/Musculoskeletal
This is hard for me to gauge as with each week my baby grows which can contribute to discomfort and aches and pains. That being said, I've been fairly comfortable. I was able to take a couple of long walks this week and head out to the park with the kids and was not experiencing any quantifiable "pain."

I had a chiropractor's appointment on Friday which actually made things a little uncomfortable for the afternoon but, in general, I feel pretty good for being 34 weeks pregnant.

4) Appetite
I have not been craving sugar like I normally do. While pregnant I seem to have a serious sweet tooth. I crave doughnuts and chocolate and "candy" or sweet drinks at least a couple of times a week even if I deny myself and don't indulge. Throughout the week I only indulged in one doughnut and my coffee and have not felt as many cravings for those things otherwise.

And despite cutting out coffee and my usual intakes of sugar I did notice I experienced no withdrawal headaches or increased cravings.

5) Mental Acuity
I have not felt mentally overwhelmed this week. I've been able to perform mental tasks (including genuine mathematical questions) with relative ease and without feeling stressed or mentally taxed. Reading has been enjoyable and easy to understand. Currently I am reading a book on the psychological development of children and how their brain physiology and training in infancy may effect their long-term development, behavior and psychology. Despite the "heavier" subject matter, I have not felt I've needed to go back and reread to understand as is sometimes necessary when I'm feeling foggy or confused.

6) Mood
My mood has not improved. I can't say it's gotten worse, but it has definitely NOT improved. I always start out my mornings very happy, interactive, energized and tolerable. By the evening I find myself irritated, impatient a bit stressed and anxious (particularly toward the evening). We have two days a week when my son has school, then taekwondo, I go for my long walk with my daughter, my husband has taekwondo and doesn't get home until after 9pm, I have class (that my children have to attend with me since my husband is in class and therefore I have to keep them (somehow) quiet and calm for that hour or so) and I also need to do some shopping and keep the kids corralled, fed and from killing one another despite them being out past their bed time.

Try though I may not to snap at them and to keep a cool, calm approach to those busy times, there is a level of stress and therefore moodiness that I can't seem to avoid on those days and I cannot say I am the mother I would like to be in those moments. 

It was suggested to me that I should try taking a second ounce of NR on those days just before the busiest part of my day and I may implement that advice this upcoming week.

Overall, I'm neither hugely impressed nor disappointed. I do believe it is helping with digestion and a bit in clearing the fog when it comes to mental things but that might also be explained by my healthier diet avoiding sugars which I can attribute to not craving them as much while on NR. I'm feeling good and going to keep this up and see how it goes in the coming weeks. I have a number of appointments next week in addition to my regular schedule so I'm hoping I can keep my energy and mood elevated despite the busy schedule.

One change I would like to implement for next week (and the following weeks) is to drink more water in the afternoon. I have a nagging suspicion that a lot of my stress and moodiness in the afternoon comes from a lack of nutrients and hydration. I may try not adding any more food but an additional ounce of NR and a lot more water and see how my mood on those busy days is affected, if at all.

Bring on Week 2!

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