Fitness

How to Heal a Broken Bone 95% Faster than the Doctors' Orders

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Last Friday, I broke my elbow. The doctors said six weeks to heal. I gave myself two, and I think we’re going to make it. Here’s how: (But before any of this, a caveat that simply, I’m thankful: That the break wasn’t worse, or anything other than my elbow; that this is the first hard hit in the years I’ve been biking aggressively in NYC; and for everything I've learned that’s allowed me to give this body what it needs to heal – fast.)

7/24: I took the day off of work to tend to life. Hopped on my bike and ran the rounds, as is standard weekend practice. 20 miles later, en route home, feeling the love, I reflected on the appreciable fact that I’d not had a regrettable wreck yet. Rounded a Williamsburg corner casually and life said, get down.

Some combination of swinging right to avoid a car, and hitting a pothole I had seen clearly, laid me out. I remember palm and road, I believe there was a roll involved, and I ride in clips so the bike was along for that part of the ride too. A couple of pedestrians helped me up, I assessed damage, calmed the shakes, and then with what seemed like full right-body road-rash but nothing, heh, broken, I rode home.

And swore pretty much the entire way back as my right palm was partly missing, there was definitely dual wrist damage, and my left arm was starting to seize.

All said, here's what the route looked like:

By the time I got home, I could barely open the front door, couldn't rotate wrists to wash my hands, nor reach one elbow to the other to clean myself up.

I’ve never broken a bone before so had no pain reference. What I thought was, “This feels deep, and cold.”

Your fiercely independent woman who praises singledom and dreams about monkhood was damn glad to have a boyfriend this week.

-

7/25: I’m determined that we’re still hiking Bear Mountain today. Buy me a sling and lets go. (At this point, I’ve lost nearly all mobility in my arm – it’s pretty well locked at 90 degrees, and hurts.) By the time we get to Grand Central it’s clear that I can’t walk quickly without arm seizures that cause me to curse, and stop, and nearly cry. So instead of the hike, we go to urgent care.

Xrays, pain meds, a tetanus shot, a doctor’s visit prescription and total disapproval of my having chosen to dress the road rash with raw honey. :)

The rest of the day, we stroll around the city, stopping so I can swear every couple of blocks, and despite getting into the vicodin (it was that bad) I excuse myself to cry more than once. I’ve not experienced that consistent a severe pain ever. But, bodies heal. So that became the game.

7/26: I strap the arm on, boyfriend dresses me and ties my shoes, and we go to the gym. Running on the stairmaster was heaven – my ego was elated. At least the rest of me could move. And then I have to get a blowout because washing my own hair is out of the question. So is opening pretty much anything – the right side far from 100% as well, I’m … dependent. Also pick up some bone broth from Chelsea Market to start the process.

7/27: Stumble on the subway steps heading to work, layer some wounds on top of the colorful right knee and wrist and think that I am absolutely positively totally and completely receptive to whatever it is the world wants me to learn from this.

Thereafter, my days were full of the following, which appear to have worked wonders. Note that starting from a strong healthy place helps – but I’ll be saving this first-aid 101 for the next broken bone that crosses our paths:

(*Update: It should (MUST) be noted that all of this is supplemental to a diet which deserves the majority – by far – of the credit for recovery. That diet is, as you likely know by now: plant-based, mostly raw, very vegan, grain-free, alkaline, without processed food, sugar, alcohol or caffeine. Without that, these additions are nothing. And had we to choose one over the other, the vegetables would win, always.)

  • Arnica: oral and topical. All day everyday.

  

  • Acupuncture: trigger point (deeper – needles into your muscles)
  • Bone broth: daily

  • Vitamin D: I was taking this daily already but if you’re not, do.
  • Minerals: Calcium/magnesium daily – also something I was already doing.

  • Turmeric (anti-inflammatory): Added a supplement on top of my fresh-juiced. And ginger.

  • Blue-green algae: I was daily but tripled my dose
  • Serious greens (as in chlorella, wheatgrass, spirulina): again a regular for me but doubled up.
  • Dragon’s blood (acupuncturist recommendation, topical) “for stagnant blood due to trauma”. That would be me.
  • Heat, ice, heat ice, heat. A lot of self-wrap jobs and no shame.

  • Physical therapy.
  • Other than weight-bearing exercises, I continued the gym, and as soon as I got permission, moving my hand and arm. Knowing the difference between good pain (muscle, nerve) and bad (bone, which I’m reminding myself is still broken) meant I could start working it out. This foot grab is a victory:

A week later, I’m not wearing my sling, have nearly full mobility back (meaning I can straighten my arm – almost, and rotate my hand – almost), can tie my shoes and even washed my own hair tonight. There are overambitious moments (like when I attempted to climb onto the roof today and realized I can’t hoist myself through the hatch -_-) but those are better had than ‘woe-is-me’s. (Not that I wasn’t desperate to tears to get my clothes off and hair up on any one of the recent 90+ degree days.)

As for that breeze of life that chose now to flick me off my feet, and the world’s lesson through this humbling bout, I believe it’s that:

We’re human. We’re breakable, and we’re mendable. So often our default is to indulge injury sickness or discomfort, rather than to right it. Because my situation is incomparable to the severity of illness possible though, I’ll leave it at that – and delicately.

Also, independence is dependent.

Love,

Rachelle

Hawaii: 10 Days & 120 Hours of Sleep

Aloha lovers - now that I know what that word actually means, which is not just "Hello".

In the Hawaiian language, aloha stands for much more than just "hello" or "goodbye" or "love." Its deeper meaning is "the joyful (oha) sharing (alo) of life energy (ha) in the present (alo).

As you share this energy you become attuned to the Universal Power that the Hawaiians call mana. The loving use of this power is the secret for attaining true health, happiness, prosperity and success."

Source: The Aloha Spirit, a little paperback book which I was gifted by one of the hosts.

I put this post together as I was (am) readjusting to wearing clothes again. I will not wax on the heaven that tropical paradise are, period.

Winter holidays in NYC were well spent, in Hawaii. A bit outside of the tiny town of Pahoa, I had my hut, a jungle backyard and 10 days to do as I damn-well pleased.

Which was basically: sleep, explore, lay on the ground somewhere staring at something, yoga, and write. In that order, every day, and without a hint of boredom, restlessness or anything other than peace and happiness that spread into total rest and a sort of smiley daze that probably doesn't stand a chance against NYC, but which surely added an extra year or few to my life.

My hut was one of two with electricity - the rest were anything from a tent to a simple, screened bamboo box.

The kitchen was communal. The shower was solar-powered and in the jungle. <3

(And, I've spared those not interested in geeky foods from those photos. See: Hawaii Eats: Island Food Finds for the hunting/gathering details.)

By day, I'd run and/or ride (4 miles to the beach). The beach was a breeze to bike to and a bitch to get back from. 500 foot elevation difference over the four miles. Meaning, uphill the whole way. The bike I borrowed was two small and it took me five days to kick it out of three gears but of course I rode it to death.

When the sky started its sunset, I'd sit down to write. It became my favorite time. The breeze would pick up and I'd leave the door to the hut open to a backyard of huge swaying palms and a view of the ocean below those 500 feet. (The writing is a different project - from my other side (creative, fiction aka not ErthlyDlights stuff) hence the quiet over here lately (sorry!)).

Nights were starry and covered in Coqui frogs.

And more, and less but I wrote myself out of words there. So, in pictures and no particularly order:

DIY Juice Cleanse | How-to, Recipes & Highlights From My Six Days

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For some reason, I have never done a juice cleanse. Or “juice fast”, diet, whatever you want to call it. Just juice, for at least a few unbroken days, at least. I do tend to fast for a lot of the weekends – juicing only or eating really clean and raw, but again, never the regime that’s for sale from every other corner shop these days.

So, inspired by my coworker’s delivery of the day’s juice arrived last week, I decided to do my own. Easy enough, right? I have a juicer, know my way around the produce department, and most of the juice spots post their cleanse menus online.

Here it is, then: Their recipes, my recipes, and the play-by-play, which decreased in frequency as the days passed and it got easier. At the time of writing, I’m on Day 6.

DIY Juice Cleanse – How-to:

  1. Pick your menu.
    1. I opted to follow Juice Press’s 6-Juices per Day “Alternate Cleanse”.
    2. Buy your produce. About as easy as it sounds. And cheap. Say $20-30 bucks versus the $200+ that a couple-day cleanse costs.
      • The first night, I didn’t even shop. I just used what I had in the fridge.
    3. Juice. (*And, blend.)
      • I recommend doing this each night for the day ahead. You could do it all at once for a couple-day cleanse, but it’s ideal to drink the juices as soon after juicing as possible. And I didn’t find it a huge undertaking. Just put vegetables in piles respective to which juices they’d make.
      • For the nut/coconut milks, you’ll need a good blender. Worst case, you could buy (GOOD QUALITY) milks, to supplement your juice. “GOOD QUALITY” means read the ingredients. There’s so much weird shit in almond/soy/rice/coconut milk these days; the ingredients should be nuts, and water. That’s it.
    4. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
      • First day or two is the toughest, and then it clicks and your body celebrates being cleeeeeaned out. You give you belly a break from digesting, your liver a rest from gross/weird/otherwise foods (or alcohol) and mentally, you re-establish who’s in charge. (You are.) {Read more about
    5. Notes:
      • If you're planning to DIY, I suggest being familiar with blood sugar, fasting, food combining and some dietary basics as well as your body's boundaries. OR, just follow the pro's recipes. (That'll still save you hundreds of $.)
      • It’s not about starving yourself, though you will need to appreciate some hunger.
      • The basic structure of all of these cleanses is: lots of greens; a serving of fruits; maybe a serving of protein; and one serving of healthy fats (at night, and not mixed with fruits or protein). There are reasons for this structure (e.g. fat digest slowest and so make sense for evenings when you don’t need immediate energy, and will be going without food for a long time). Follow the structure.
      • With Intermittent Fasting, this diet is very, very effective for losing weight.
      • Exercise is optional. I exercised, per usual, hard. A personal test of sorts – liking to see what I’m made of. And loving the results.
      • Have fun. Do it because you love yourself and you want to show yourself a good time.
      • x

The Play-by-Play or, a semi-neurotic "My First Juice Fast" diary

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DAY 1: THURSDAY

  • 7-8am: Coffee + 1 tbsp MCT oil. Feel fine. This is normal.
  • 11am: Juice 1 (14oz) tasted awesome. Drank it pretty damn fast though.
  • 11:20am: Also think I’m getting a headache. Probably gonna do more coffee.
  • 11:48am: Okay maybe I’m okay.
  • 12:20: Just cracked open #2. Feeling aight.
  • 1:30: Hungry but feel good. Fiery creative meeting was a good distraction.
  • 3:50: Pretty hungry but happy to dive into the more substantial juice. Pop open #4 and realize I skipped #3. Oops … I guess I’ll switch them and hope I don’t regret not having waited it out.
  • 4:40: Stomach hurts. Probably because there’s something in it.
    • (Didn’t have the second one earlier. Headache never happened earlier either so that’s good.)
  • 4:45: Thinking, this is way easier than I thought it would be. Maybe it's because the sun is going down already and that makes it feel like the day’s over.
  • 6pm: Juice #4, still have two to go so trying to get through this one semi-quickly actually. Not hungry. Feel good. Going to the gym tonight and then to restock the produce drawer.
  • 820pm: Leaving the gym - got dizzy but pushed through. Really cold walk home but this last juice is hearty. Feel great.
    • Produce re-upped. Looking forward to Day 2.
    • Though, briefly considered buying the blue cheese salad dressing to add to one of my green smoothies. Creative (disgusting).
    • Also, note: December is not the ideal time to juice cleanse.

DAY 2: FRIDAY

DIY_juice_cleanse_Day2_1

  • Not as hungry as I thought I’d wake up.
  • 10:15: Juice #1. Getting started so I can get through all of them today. The apple in this one makes the greens delicious. I didn’t have much fruit yesterday (nearly none) but today’s juices have quite a bit.
  • 11:00: Ate some almonds.
  • 1145: Stomach is killing me. Either it was that juice or paybacks for cheating. Ow.
  • 1215: More almonds. And a digestive enzyme and some warm water. Stomach still hurts. Can’t get to my next juice because of a meeting.
  • 1245: Going for yesterday’s skipped juice. Tastes … like a lot of algae. A lot.
  • 1:09: Last few almonds. Not gonna cheat any more today. Still working on this Lawn Grass.
  • 3:15: Thought I was going lose the Lawn juice. Went way heavy on the algae and, phew. Feel better now that it’s mostly digested. Looking forward to #3 which is light. Orange, lemon, carrot.
  • Evening: Only made it through three and a half juices today. That green one was too serious. Felt fairly nauseous for the rest of the night. Misplaced (as in lost) my #6, which I was looking forward to for dinner. Baked some cauliflower instead and called it a day.

DAY 3: SATURDAY

  • Stuck to it. Only three juices today, plus a carrot-ginger soup from Whole Foods for dinner. Feels great. Not much else to note.

DAY 4: SUNDAY

  • So, I drank one big green juice today and that was it. Then I had my squash, pear soup for dinner. Talk about level blood sugar (I was barely hungry). And the day was not sedentary. I ran errands, had an intense workout, etc. It is worth noting that I eat a lot less on the weekends - I’m not sure what it is - more sleep, less stress (it’s surely not less activity as I’m more active than on weekdays) but I require less food, for whatever reason.
  • Re-stocked the produce and planning to continue though next week. 

DAY 5: MONDAY

  • Didn’t even journal because it was nbd. Did have to push myself through the recently-doubled gym-time, but it was more mental than physical.

DAY 6: TUESDAY

  • Woke up and saw the payoff immediately. Made a couple of extra juices today to ensure we’re well-“fed”.
  • Don’t intend to stop until I feel fully rebalanced. You know when that is for you. Or, you will learn.

<3

-

NYC Juice Cleanse Menus:

Juice Press’s 6-Day Alternate Cleanse

  1. Red apple, pineapple, kale, lemon, ginger
  2. Green apple, kale, spinach, lemon
  3. Grapefruit, orange, lemon
  4. Coconut water, banana, straw, rawp, blue berries, agave, hemp protein, coconut oil
  5. Cucumber celery, aloe, lemon, kale, algae
  6. Coconut meat, coconut water

Rachelle's Recipes: (Day 1 - it changes daily but follows the same basic structure noted above)

  1. Beets, collard greens, lime, ginger
  2. Collard greens, carrots, cilantro, cucumber, cayenne, sea salt
  3. Kombucha, lemon, ginger, turmeric, aloe
  4. 1 banana, 2T coconut, 1T raw cacao, 1 date, 1T MCT oil, orange peel, 1T currants
  5. Broccoli, turmeric, cucubmer, 1T algae (which was, way too much), 1tsp moringa powder
  6. 1/4C coconut, 1/4C pecans, water, cinnamon, vanilla

BluePrint’s “Excavation” Cleanse (greens and nut milks only)

  1. Green: Romaine, apple, celery, cucumber, spinach, kale, parsley, ginger, lemon
  2. Spicy Lemonade: lemon, agave, cayenne, peppers (habanero, jalapeno, peppers)
  3. Cashew Milk: cashew, agave, cinnamon, vanilla (extract & specks)

Love Grace Foods: (all 16 oz except Ginger Bomb)

  1. Purify (16 oz): Coconut water, celery, chard, spinach, cucumber.
  2. Ginger Bomb: Orange, ginger, lemon, oregano extract, sea salt.
  3. Super Cider: Apple, carrot, ginger lemon.
    1. OR: Longevity Tonic: Lemon, shilajit, cayenne, agave, sea salt.
  4. Green Sunshine: chard, kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, apple, lemon.
  5. Green Protein: banana, flax seed, kale, dates, spirulina, hempseed, chia seed, coconut oil, lemon, sea salt, wheatgrass powder.
    1. OR: Chocolate Superfood: Banana, goji berry, cacao, maca, vanilla bean, dates, coconut oil, flax seed, sea salt.
    2. OR: Probiotic: Banana, flax seed, almond, lemon, dates, probiotics, sea salt, coconut oil
  6. Restore: carrot, beet, celery, cucumber, parsley, spinach, lemon, orange

Organic Avenue’s “Love Deep”:

  1. Dragon’s Breath Shot:
    1. Orange Juice
    2. OR Sweet Greens
  2. Sweet Greens
    1. OR Green Love
  3. Ginger Lemonade
    1. OR Green Love
  4. Green Love
    1. OR Medicinal Green
  5. Sweet Greens
    1. OR Green Love
  6. Coconut Mylk
    1. OR Sweet Greens