Sunday, January 24, 2010

Health on the Homefront

I've been enjoying a lot of reading lately during this bit of hibernation, most recently the Foxfire book series. In fact, I don't think I'll ever get tired of rereading these and maybe can one day find a used set to purchase or barter for. It's nice my local library had these.

I've been leisurely taking notes as I've made my way through some reading, and the other book that's occupied my attention (between lucious full color spreads in the incoming seed catalogs) has been the book There Is A Cure For Diabetes, by Dr. Gabriel Cousens. As you may have read in some of my past posts, I also began a 30 day experiment implementing a high percentage of raw foods (mostly via blended greens-and-fruit smoothies) into my daily eating, since that seemed to be the one element most lacking from my meals.

Many things have converged and I'm a little overwhelmed by the happy mess I find myself in :) My body absolutely loved and craved the change over to so many more whole, raw greens and the fruit smoothies. Since the goal was inclusion eating rather than focusing on exclusion, the emphasis was on uppping my percentage of dark leafy greens, something I find hard to eat, usually, in very consistent quantities. I also hate store-bought produce, which contributes to that preference. I ate fish and lean meats about once a day along with one cooked meal a day which included homemade soups and bone broths, baked or roasted root veggies and tubers, sometimes a small amount of rice, and lots and lots of spinach. Milk and dairy just didn't make in on the menu since I was keeping things to the above ingredients.

Well, anyway...sleepiness and some really heavy nights of sleep were the detox effects I felt the first two weeks, and on the few occasions I had a meal (usually on the weekend while out running errands, etc) that was out of balance or included things not on The Plan, the only real drawback was a couple times I ate processed carbs (i.e. stuff made with white time was pancakes, that sort of thing). Yeah, I paid for those with major headaches and other not-fun symptoms.

This past two weeks I've been having a wrestling match with my mind vs. my emotions, and it's the only time in the past two months (can't believe it's now been that long) I've had to take myself in hand and insist (with reasoning) that I'm not going to let this new way of eating fade away and return to the Standard American Diet...because the SAD's like poison to my body.

I'll never say some poisons don't have their pull, though. I've fallen off my goals repeatedly in small ways and large in the past two weeks and am sort of doing battle. I'm doing so differently than in the past, though...I'm not going to allow stress to build up or be the taskmaster, instead opting for "the examined life" if possible. I'm trying to chase some of these impulses with reading, reading, reading.

I'll likely post some of the notes of what I'm finding, but the short of it is that I've learned about some of my limitations and have sorted through which goals will continue for the long term. Here are a few things quickly:

1. I can do raw for the long term, but I don't know if I can maintain it at 80%, or if I want to.
2. I do want to redraw my daily eating in terms not necessarily of trying for higher and higher percentages of raw (not exceeding 80%), but DO want to try to make my TOTAL food intake 80% fruits and vegetables, or higher, with the emphasis on the greens and low glycemic fruits and veggies.
3. I still need to do better to fully eliminate all processed foods, even very small amounts of white flour and sugar. I do better with eliminating the sugar, but getting a hamburger out is still a habit I fall into.
4. I am very VERY pleased with substituting flax seed oil for other oils. I use minimal olive oil if cooking in a skillet.
5. I've lost my taste for many things my head still thinks of as good-tasting. I much prefer my smoothie now, my favorite of which is 1/2 part blended greens and the other half frozen banana, frozen wild blueberries, frozen black cherries, blended till it's like a milkshake consistency. I'm using less salt and only sea or kosher salt.
6. I need to have a garden, which is in conflict with our reality that we probably won't have a garden this year. I'm still very conflicted about that.
10. I have successfully transitioned to drinking water, or lemon juice/stevia mixed together as a lemonade. I usually never want anything else but those, so we don't buy anything else.
11. Our shopping did increase slightly in price with all the fresh greens and frozen berries and fruit, but since we eliminated other things at the same time, it's not an extreme difference.
12. Sometimes I get bored with trying to vary the meals. Thankfully Jack likes homemade food that's simple, and he really still like the smoothies very much.

Lastly, the next push is in tandem with continuing the raw and the high greens content of my eating: it's to try to reverse my diabetes.

I'm taking THIS part VERY slowly. I still don't feel completely like I have a handle on the raw and high green eating yet. I REALLY need consistency in place in that area before I tackle some of the additional areas that are meant to transition me from my meds to not needing any.

1. There are a few supplements I will use. They have to be inexpensive and readily available because I don't want to switch from a dependence on pharmaceuticals to a dependence on high priced supplements I may or may not be able to afford or find later down the road. Thankfully, there are many I can utilize AND grow myself with not much expense.

2. At some point, I'll go in for another yearly physical and bloodwork to confirm that the changes are positive. I'll only do this after tracking my blood sugars carefully for about a month. I haven't started that part yet. I'm still assembling my collection of supplements meant to help me transition to that.

3. I'm rereading that book. I wish I had the expendable income to actually go and try the 21 day diabetes reversal in person, as Dr. Cousens' center does several of them through the year. It would be so great having that luxury and a naturopathic doctor there close at hand, etc. But hey, if it works, I should be able to make it work from a distance, I hope.

4. I can't do what's called a "Juice Feast" anytime soon. That is where you jump start your body's healing and rejuvenation by feasting on (mostly dark leafy greens of all sorts) juiced fresh raw veggies for a given time period. The difference between that and the blending I'm doing now? The blending uses about 1-2 lbs (optimally, mine's usually less) of fresh greens a day whereas the Juice Feasting uses somewhere in the range of 11-12 lbs a day...yeah. That's a LOT of produce daily and I don't have it growing, so no can do.

I'll write more later, but I'm still in semi-hibernation mode. I plan to check in here more regularly instead of letting it atrophy too much :)

Some supplements we're looking into but have no decided about yet:

Large dose vitamin C
A.G.E. mitigating herbs

Ones we'll continue:

Proteolytic enzymes
Hyaluronic acid
Magnesium citrate

We're also looking into some teas. More on that later, too :)

I got a bit off topic from the beginning of this post where I mentioned the Foxfire books. While reading them, I noticed that many of the personal interviews (of mountain folk slower to adopt a city lifestyle, and who retained a memory of many of their fathers' ways) had to do with a personal self-sufficiency for every type of problem on the, gardening, tool making, laundering, and so on. It struck me time after time while reading that folks used what they had and the ability they had, and that was that. There just was never mention of Entitledness.

I'm trying to let those words and good sense seep into me, especially to help me in areas the larger community nowadays would try to convince me I'm powerless in. Such as with my diabetes. The medical community is not set up to offer a cure, and promotes diabetes as being incurable.

Well, I'm not sure what will happen, but I do have to try, because it makes no sense to stay dependent. I will stop before this turns into my little rebellious diatribe against the so-called necessity for health insurance at large, and so on. I do know that for myself, if I could get my sugars normal, I'd cherish the hope again to possibly have a baby with my sweet hubby, and see my body enjoy a much healthier weight as well. Let's see. Those are emotional issues, and I'm keeping that in check and doing what CAN be done right now.

I'd be better to keep my eyes on the long term and my hands at what can be done now :)

I'm also trying to spend more time in a prayer mindset and reading the scriptures, too. I feel like good change has happened, and this is the first time I've met with some sort of real resistance, (hormones? resistant habits? an entire medical community with nothing to offer but pills?)

I know God wants these good things not just for me but for my whole family. He's also the giver of wisdom, and the great Teacher. So I'll keep on trying to learn and listen...

More later...I hope you're well and having good weather in your neck of the woods :)


small farm girl said...

Good luck on trying to get your health issues. It sounds like you are moving in the right direction. You can get the Foxfire books on Amazon or you might try the Jesse Stuart Foundation. They sell all those books. Plus they sell different types of books just like the Foxfire series. I hope you find what you are looking for. We are going to start collecting them too.

karl said...

it sounds like your well thought out plan is on the right track. does wheat grass count as the green? i say this because it is allegedly easy to grow on flats in decent volume in a cold frame setup.

tabitha discussed a juice fast the other day. we might try it together.

Wendy said...


Thank you so much for sharing this information. I'm not diabetic myself, but many of my family members are. In fact, my husband's aunt is currently in serious condition due, in part, to poorly managed diabetes over the past twenty years. In short, if there's a chance that diabetes can be controlled (and better, reversed!) with diet, I'm all for learning as much as I can.

My thoughts are with you on your journey. ~Wendy ;)

Robbyn said...

Small farm girl, thank you! I've got so many good things on my wish list all I can say is thank goodness for the library :)

The Hippocrates Institute is well known for using wheat grass juiced fresh to help heal a lot of things. I'd love to incorporate that and yes the flats of it seem to be easy to grow. It does seem you need a particular juicer for the grasses like that, but I think a basic manual one can be had for around 30$ (I think). I actually like the taste of the wheat grass juice I've had, but it's strong and potent. If you do an intense juice fast, taking some psyllium seed or flax seed ground up and mixed into some water and drunk helps with the detox healing crisis symptoms. They keep the die-off bacteria moved out of the colon so the symptoms are not as severe while the cleansing keeps removing toxins. How exciting to try the juice fasting! I can't wait to hear how it goes for you :)

Thank you so much for your encouragement :) In some of the reading, I'm learning that some other conditions that don't seem related to diabetes still seem to be precursors in that broad category of hormone, inflammation, toxicity, and insulin resistance/syndrome X categories. I seemed to have a range of seemingly unrelated physical things happening off and on throughout the years prior to the Type 2 developing...I'm convinced they are all related to the standard american diet and actual diet products, all of which are processed. Wow, do I have a long way to return. Dr. Cousen's book is truly worth its price and the bulk of the food is raw greens, low GI and citrus fruits, some legumes, nuts and a few non-gluten grains like quinoa. No processed anything. I don't know that I can do that entirely, but at least possibly close enough to kick this. He includes no animal products and that's about the only point I think I have to vary to include some fish and lean meat or eggs. Let's see! :)