Friday, March 6, 2009

Health, Purity, and When Does the Maturity Kick In?

I've been feeling overall worse the past few months, and it's my own fault.

Last year during Jack's mom's hospice stays, I succumbed to frequenting the Diet Coke machines for those really cold "good burn" cans of Diet Coke, even though truth be told I'm not crazy about the flavor. But the cold and the burn was soooo good in the middle of all that parade of pureed food (Mima's), hospital smells, and sacks of cold take-out food.

I didn't do so well getting off that little treat once things settled back down and I was back home. It manifested in liters of root beer, Vernor's ginger ale, and more root beer, though we kept the kombucha going and always drink a lot of water. But I really didn't need that many "treats," and they eased their way into my grocery cart a lot more than they should have. (My own fault)

I also tried to get us off breads and empty starches so much, and have done so-so at that. I'm pretty happy most of our breads have been those I've made, but cheap sandwich bread has sneaked back in more and more.

And then recently, I just felt BAD..probably fighting off the creeping crud everyone in town seems to have to a greater degree than we have. I noticed my emotions hitting a bit harder than usual, cravings I don't usually have making their appearance, and my work schedule at night creating an unnatural cycle for my sleeping...which also impacted my eating.

I'm not a Diet person...never will be. But I do believe in objectively meditating on (not in the eastern sense per se) the habits I have from time to time, to examine just where I stand. In short, in the past few months I've begun to feel very unhealthy.

Some things are long term projects and some are short term. Short term, I can make some very important steps to return to better health:
1. Completely avoid aspartame and any other synthetic sweetener, in anything (meaning the diet drinks...I don't use artificial sweetners in anything else) I actually like most drinks unsweet, and if I need a sweet fix, I can use a tad of Xylitol (natural)
2. I've overloaded the proportion of my eating with red meats and taste substitutes. It's hard to be honest about this, but flavorings are chock full of preservatives and I've eaten stuff with those flavor enhancers all up in them. We've also been eating a lot of red meat. For myself, I need it now and then but to beef up (ha, pun!) more on my dark greens for those B vitamin fixes.
3. I've overloaded my body with large portion sizes. This also happened gradually...I'm not a snacker, so it mostly happens at mealtime...which is why I've not gained weight. But I feel like my system is overloaded. It needs some lightness.
4. I've made poor "fast food" choices when it comes to eating at work. I've actually bought and eaten pure old Seven-11 junk food, and last week ate Ramen noodles (yes with those awful preservative-flavor packets) nearly every matter how bad they made me feel!! I was hormonal then, so I won't beat myself up about it, but the solution lies in never buying the stuff in the first place...I know better and know how it makes me feel, but ignored my better wisdom I know not why. Rebellion maybe? Well, it didn't end up making my world better. Better to have one or two fantastic pieces of real chocolate next time than carb-o-gazillion empty starches. Ugh!
5. Dramatically ramp down the fungus-loving foods...processed sugars, and much of the bread. I'll have to always watch the quantity of things like bread since I just like them so much. I have a hunch what with my diabetes and all,the anti-fungal connection is something I need to pay much more attention to, and make the very simple and satisfying substitutions that make my body unfriendly to a proliferation of things like candida, and other "fungus stuff"...meaning all the foods that feed disease rather than defending against it.
6. Ramp UP the probiotics...mature kombucha will be our main thing for this. We love it but have drunk less of it because I havent made as much of it as I was...but that's changing now.
7. Yerba buena. We're going to use it daily in our just has so many benefits and does so well in the climate, we need to use it! and it's delicious.

Thankfully, our modest pantry and freezer stock of staples has been a really makes those trips to the store so much less expensive and it just doesn't take much to eat right...except eating right!! :)

I don't spend time beating myself up, and I've been thinking of what my body seems to be crying out for. I was delighted today on payday to be able to get a few things from the health food store to that end...

1. Women's Hormone-supportive herbal tea blend. I think that will ease a lot of the triggers I'm feeling as far as cravings
2. An affordable 10-day Stress Cleansing kit (herbs to address stress and cortisol, gentle cleansing herbs to get my system reset from the overload of yuck
3. Acai berry capsules -- for support, wide range of benefits, and I want to try it to see how it does with my body as I cleanse

I'm going to do a gentle cleanse, drink the hormone-support tea each day, and take the acai berry for additional support, while eating only small meals that are fish or lean chicken, dark greens and salads, water with lemon, plain water, or kombucha. I think that may help me to get back on my feet and understand how to fine tune my health a bit.

It's time for the mature part of me to put some constructive limits on the throw-all-care-to-the-wind part of me. Ultimately, I need to lose all my weight and see if I can ditch this diabetes once and for all. THAT would put a lot of things right in my world :)

I'm very aware of the purity of foods, too, and this is a longer term target area...namely GMO foods. It's said that 70% of foods are full of GMOs and are unlabeled to that effect. That makes me furious, frankly. So I'm becoming aware of the foods most often genetically modified (not meaning hybrids but meaning DNA tampering by the likes of Monsanto)....these are corn, soy, sugar, and canola...and I'm not sure what else yet. But soy and corn (think HFCS and other sweeteners) are in SO many foods...for instance, try buying a salad dressing that doesn't have soy or canola in it...nearly impossible. And think of what your food ATE...meaning cows, chickens, etc...was their primary diet corn, soy, things with hormones/chemicals/pesticides? They are what they eat...and we are what we eat when we eat them.

The other purity issue is preservatives. Since we're not buying much in the way of processed foods ( yeah, I know...Ramen noodles, in the trash you go!), this is not as much an issue, but it's still sneaky. To purchase a package of chicken breasts, you have to read the fine print...what was injected into them? Ah, a solution....?? (what sort of a solution, blehh) Was it packaged in plastic? Sprayed with something to preserve its color, freshness, keep from spoiling? Chemicals.

We have not been able to eliminate chemicals entirely...yet. We don't buy solely organic. I don't care what anyone says, we can't afford it. Yet. We're working towards that. First, to simplify our spoiled tastes and our habit of instant gratification, and our habit of overeating. This week's shopping trip brought home a couple small cabbages, some lettuces, celery, some grape tomatoes, one small pack asparagus, a pack of chicken breasts, 9 lemons, and a lot of clean drinking water (we have sulfur stinky water here).

That'll do us well...we have beans, turkey, staples like basmati rice & such, a couple calabazas and that Musquee Aux Provence we haven't cut into yet, along with the last quantity cooking I did a couple days ago (spaghetti sauce w/lots of herbs & a bit of rigatoni) to round things out.

I'm VERY happy to be working from a pantry-based list rather than a store-based one! I'm also really happy about fasting from heavy meals and going to salads and a lot of water and support herbs to get back on track.

Vitamin D? It's time to get outside and soak up some sun puttering among the seedlings! And then get some more much-needed sleep....ah, gotta love shabbat and that "enforced" day of rest, wooo! :)

Hope you have a lovely night and weekend!

Shabbat shalom from our family to yours :)


Melissa ~ Wife to 1, Mom to 5 said...

I'd love it if you'd post an update - I've been eyeing the Acai berry supplement too but wondering if it's worth it.

Very mindful of you to come to these conclusions.

In general, when spring fever hits, that's when I feel like eating lighter too. I think the change of seasons makes us want to shed the "heavy" stuff for lighter fare whether it's food, clothes or what not.

Thanks for sharing.

warren said...

ugh...I have just come off of caffeine and diet is tough but I think great and important step

hickchick said...

Thanks for the great post-it's got me thinking again about my diet-where can i tweek it where do i completely change things, I too would love to hear how the acai berry and other herbal affected you. I am eating and working out in defense mode-knowing that I am likely teetering on the edge of pre-diabetes. K

Brenda@View From The Pines said...

All the crap we succumb to eating today is probably why kids are unhealthy and obese these days. You're so right! Now if I could just make myself stop craving a nice occasional steak from Outback Steak House!