June 22, 2015

The Health Chronicles, Vol. 2...Apparently You ARE What You Eat

I know, I know.  You already know this.  I did, too. I've read it a million times and all the research to go along with it, but it was so easy to fall off that damn wagon.  I mean, really, who doesn't love all those things that are oh-so-tasty?  Fresh doughnuts dripping with sugary glaze?  Fresh pasta with creamy, cheesy sauce?  Homemade ice cream on top of chunky chocolate brownies dripping with caramel sauce straight outta the sauce pan?  S'more?! I see you drooling.

I've learned a lot in the last month.  Mostly I've learned that there are some slow doctors out there.  No disrespect intended, but I could have incubated a baby before some doctors are able to get me an appointment.  Because of this, I've had plenty of time to read up on inflammation.  Lots of time...which is good because there is lots to read...apparently anyone can write a book. Who knew?

One thing that keeps showing up is how much inflammation is related to diet.  I had an intuitive (don't laugh; a nearby metropolis employed him for murder cases!) tell me to stay away from all white foods.  I laughed, but I'd bet he's the one laughing now. Apparently white flour, white sugar, white potatoes, etc. are my kryptonite. Shocker.

When I got home from our family vacation last month, I told the man lucky enough to be married to me that I had to make some changes.  I also told him they likely wouldn't be cheap, but anything was worth a try to make me feel better.  Off I went to the grocery store with no list but a promise to give it an honest effort. That meant organic as much as possible, little sugar except from fruits, no gluten, and no dairy.  Let me break that down for you:  all gluten free pastas, breads, crackers, cookies...no cheese...no milk...no ice cream...no sour cream...

Plants.  And meats.  Plants and meats. Meats and plants.

I've found several amazing substitutes since that first trip.  Almond milk ice cream is amazing.  I am in love with almond/coconut milk.  One of my favorite dinners is salmon with a tablespoon of pure maple syrup, sauteed napa cabbage and mushrooms, and organic rice. A new family rule established by my oldest is we try one new food each week.  Some are huge fails, but others have been tolerable and a few might be repeats!  (Psst!  Anybody know how to cook yellow beets?!)

Here's the big, important part:  Within three days of changing my eating habits, I was headache free with only a few episodes of the burning sensation I was having.  Don't get me wrong, there have been a few moments where I've ached a bit, but I've not had an "oh, hell, I've gotta take to the bed" headache.  Prior to vacation, where I started eating better because, hello, fresh seafood, I was spending about two hours each day in bed with headaches in addition to sleeping 8-10 hours each night.  With all that beauty sleep, I should've been Mrs. America.

I'm not healed.  Forty years of eating (mostly) crappy, inflammatory foods can't be undone overnight.  I still have a long way to go, and I know there are bound to be days where I'm not 100%.  I still need to see my doctors and have bloodwork done. What  I do know at this point is that this is having a positive impact on my life.  I rarely have any acid reflux anymore, and I'm tasting natural flavors again.  Although there is chocolate ice cream in the fridge, I opted for fresh Mt. Rainier cherries.  That's Mt. Everest big, people.

As each day goes by, it gets easier.  It takes more time...Dear Lord, does it ever. This is not even in the ballpark of convenient.  I never would have survived 120 years ago if my family had to depend on me to prepare the meals each day!  There are nights I cook for just myself because the rest of the family just wants some tacos or something, and that's okay.  I'm finding little nuggets of yumminess, like The Piping Gourmet's gluten-free, dairy-free Whoopie Pies. (Seriously, I fight my kids for these.)  Rudi's multi-grain bread is gluten free and quite divine with an egg over easy.  There are plenty of ways I can make this work, and I will because I never want to go back to where I was.  That place was, quite frankly, a little bit too close to what I would envision Hell to be like. I'm no saint, but I envision my real estate in the hereafter to be a little more climate controlled...then again, I might be too optimistic.

Feel free to share any food hacks, comments, or recipes!

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