Monday, June 22, 2009

Once You Stop Eating Chemicals & Sugar, This Diet Is Self-Correcting.

Well, its rolling into the 3rd or 4Th week of seriously eliminating as much crud from my diet as is humanly possible. I've hit that time we all know so well. It isn't new, novel or exciting anymore.

Oh Lord, I hate having to explain to people at church why I no longer eat deserts, why I don't drink Coke, or 99% of what's popular as "comfort/party" food. I find my mind longing for, oh, chocolate cake, Doritos and sugar and milk in my coffee!

I discovered that putting milk in my coffee sets off the "this would be PERFECT with some SUGAR longings. So, (sigh), I now take coffee black.

Last Thursday the ladies at church had a real "tea party". We were exploring this as a possible fund-raiser for later in the summer. It was totally awesome. China tea pots, decaffeinated tea and HEALTHY food. Salad, Fruit medley and baked chicken. I felt free to chow down. It was all wonderful.

Suddenly I saw (out of the corner of my eye) that platter of already sliced yellow cake with chocolate icing go by. I stopped my friend and got my piece of this "no-no, oh-heck-I-can-get-away-with-this." desert.

I was surprised that it didn't taste as good as I remembered, but I cleaned up my plate.

Friday I woke up late feeling "strange". I sensed that something wasn't right. I felt like I was sick enough to have to not go to noon prayer. Nah, just lazy. I got up and -- aw-oh! I had the "trots".

It took almost 12 hours for my poor digestive system to stop having its tantrum. I had plans for this day and holding court on the throne was not on my agenda.

So, now I realize that, at least when it comes to sugary deserts, my body will force me to give them up. That is a first!

Once the sugar again cleared out of my system, I returned to my stronger state of health. I have slight lung congestion, but I suspect that is simply my immune system finally having enough room to clear out some of the damage I've done to my body via over 10 years of smoking cigarettes, pot and hash.

Well, that's it from the health front. I will be writing of my two mini-vacations (with pictures) over the next few weeks.

I have to brag. I worked 11 hours today, taking frequent brakes, but no actual nap and I still have energy to take care of a blog post, dinner and spending some time with a vaporizer. Its a miracle I tell ya, just a plain miracle.

Since I don't use the Gabriel Method CD, what do I do to replace that part of his plan? I spend at least ten minutes a day sitting in God's presence thanking him for what I desire. A truly healthy body.

I thank Him for helping me to root out all those old memories of abuse which still make me angry. I have to "release my right to punish". 'I release them and pray that good things will happen to them. If I am grinding my teeth in rage while I do this, I know I still have to work on that person, or institution.

I thank Him for the gifts of protection and assurance, which are healing and bringing to the surface people I'd thought I was finished being angry at. When I catch myself wanting to hurt them, I know I have work to do. The more I do, the more stuff comes up. Getting rid of all that free-floating rage can't be anything but good for my body, soul and spirit.

Prayer really heals all that anger. After awhile, God shows me something about the person which causes me to see what they did in a more realistic light. Something which brings up my true compassion for them. Then after several more days, I realize I've stopped having the "rage fantasies". When those little movies of me smashing in a skull, or stabbing someone truly stop, I know I'm over one more person who is a lot more troubled then I have ever been.

Do I always want to attend to all of this? Heck NO, but I've learned through other hard lessons that the reward is in doing what is right every day, little bit, by little bit to create a tomorrow much better then I could imagine.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Finding a "sane" way to eat.

Shortly after my last post in March 2009, I went on a week's vacation to Portland Oregon. Eight of us went to support our pastor when he preached at the church of one of his closest friends. I overate, drank too much coffee and had a blast. Everything from hotel vending machine banquette Ala Junk Food, to a home-cooked soul food meal.  It was totally lovely. I'll share all the vacation goings on in another post.

When I returned home, within a day I was flat-on-my-back sick. After six weeks of mainly being bed ridden I called my HMO to see if they could give me a shot, or something. Our area was full of this dry cough, fever, sniffles and flu wipe-out. The frustrated advice nurse listed home remedies I'd always dismissed as goofy . A sinus clean-out with warm water, small amounts of salt and baking soda, inhaled (I thought of straws and cocaine). I was to sit under steaming water, while keeping my room humid with the steam and taking two over-the-counter medications. 

To my shock, this man actually asked me if I intended to follow his instructions! I figured I had already lost six weeks of work, what's another four days? I got better quickly, just like he said I would. Being that sick scared me into rethinking how I take care of myself.

For years, I've consumed three to five pounds of white sugar a month. Sugar I mainly use in my coffee. When running around in the afternoon, I'd just buy a couple of those small bags of Doritos and coffee for lunch. Well, sometimes I'd have that for breakfast, or dinner too. Yeah, I finally got it. I would have to change my ways, or face another bought with illness, like I had just gotten through.

I heard an interview with Jon Gabriel, who went from 400 pounds down to his normal weight in a year-and-a-half. After four years, he's still keeping the weight off. He had a method I thought I could live with for dieting, AND nutrition. Improve your nutrition, straighten out your thinking and attitudes about weight and then your body will loose the weight naturally.

I've been bothered by my 80+ pounds of extra weight for months now. This idea appealed to me because like John, I'd been through diet-hell. Both the health food and weight loss varieties. I never got healthy, or thinner.

The Gabriel Method is simple. He believes our average diet is really nutrition poor. He believes that our attitudes toward weight can literally keep us fat, no matter what we try to do to get thinner. I can vouch for the attitude thing because when I have been thin, I hated the unwanted sexual attention I received. Now that I'm 80+ pounds overweight I no longer get the unwanted attention. So, I mentally and emotionally feel "safer" being fat.

Jon also believes your subconscious will obey the pictures and goals you have for yourself. All three things work together to remake your body and life in about a year-and-a-half. I ordered the book and read it while cat-sitting in early May.

I had a simple battle plan. At every meal and snack eat something nutritious as well as the other food  I was craving. As my nutrition improves, many of the cravings for junk food will leave. Drink filtered water, not ordinary tap water, to cut down on the chemicals coming into my system.

This is the easiest nutrition improvement scheme I've ever seen:

  • Add things with omega-3's (fish, nuts, oils and or supplements)
  • Eat some protein (meat, eggs, etc.)
  • Eat some raw vegetables and or fruit.
The mental work is also manageable:

  • Work on finding ways to feel "safe" every day. 
  • Work on getting used to thinking of myself as healthy and thin. This brings up what I fear, abuse, etc. 
  • Know that it is possible to truly get healthy and have a different, energetic and satisfying life.

He claimed that as the nutrition improves, the energy level would improve to where exercise wouldn't be as difficult. I have found this to be true after only a few weeks of attempting to follow the Gabriel Method.

He provides a CD, or a free download of the CD with the book. The CD messes with your brain waves and helps you image all of the above. I've had seizures and didn't like how the weird CD music made me feel. He recommends that people with seizure conditions DO NOT use the CD. It was a bad feeling for me, so I just take the ideas of his book and add them to my daily prayer life.

When I ran out of white sugar, I just didn't buy any more. Surprise; I went through drug withdrawal! It was like a milder version of getting off alcohol. This made me angry. I didn't realize white table sugar is a DRUG! Yeah, just like caffeine in coffee. 

Oh, yes, the "coffee headache". Makes sense, Caffeine is a drug and I'm addicted. But I am angry that table sugar is a drug also and I was addicted to it.. 

After several days of laying around sleeping, I rose from bed and noticed I was feeling better. Not leap over walls better, but something good was starting to happen.,

I next began taking omega-3 capsules along with my vitamins. I did exactly as John's book suggested. I discovered I really wanted oranges, spinach and more oranges. I'd have a cheese sandwich, or eggs, or my yogurt and protein mix for breakfast.

Lunch and dinner are huge salads with vegetables and fruit. One night I had a lovely dinner of one of the largest artichokes I'd ever seen. This thing was the size of a small pumpkin! Gads, was that good.

I stopped shopping at Safeway and began shopping at Trader Joe's. They carry organic products. Things which  have less sugar, or no sugar. They feature food with no extra chemicals added. I love grabbing any vegetable I fancy. I bought a bunch of avocados, bags of dark leafy salad mixes, nut butters, oatmeal, raisins, mixed nuts, bread, butter, milk, yogurt and a bag of oranges. The ingredients lists are short and in larger print.

I only had $50 on me and got ready to put back some of that lovely food. It was only $40! I almost wept at the checkout stand. So home I went and ate three basic meals a day with several snacks, if I wanted. I began to drink 8 glasses of water a day too.

I HATE drinking water. Had to chase down a Britta filtering pitcher. Reviews and friends all recommended Britta as the best filter for a low price. So, now I have a 144 oz pitcher to filter water. I figured it was not really necessary, but I do not like the chlorine smell in the tap water. 

So I tried this "filtered" water.  It reminded me of that great water we used to get at the office water cooler. Within hours I was craving water. I just couldn't seem to get enough of it. Coffee with this filtered water tastes so much better. I noticed my elimination patterns were changing. I just felt better, not as shaky or off balance. I could do almost twice as much physical work before becoming sore. I felt like I was getting more out of my sleep time. I actually could stay awake for an entire day, with only a short nap, or no nap at all. 

So now, I'm dog sitting, eating non-organic food and drinking unfiltered tap water. I don't like the smell of the water. Its like my throat wants to close up when I try to drink this water. But its only for 3 days. Next time, I'll have a portable 72-ounce Britta filter for when I'm not at home.

I am fully off white sugar and doing my best to stay away from any chemicals. Sweet Maria is a little amazed at the change in my food requests. Instead of ice cream and pizza, I now want fruit, vegetables, yogurt and chicken. 

She was going to get me my beloved garlic bread, but made me a quiche instead. The garlic bread has a lot of junk in it. I'm glad she didn't get it for me. So, with very little sacrifice, I'm working my way to health. What keeps me running is refusing to EVER get as sick as I was for that awful six weeks of being in bed.

So, for awhile, when our church has a dinner with all the things I love, but choose not to eat anymore, I stay home. I know it will be a few months before I can be in a room with all that sugar and chocolate. I plan on visiting lovely healthier versions of chocolate, but not for a few months.

The real shock of all of this is realizing that God is teaching me that I am safe in the world. Not because the world has suddenly become "safe", but because God will protect me. When something makes me nervous inside, I ask God to protect me and give me wisdom as to what, if anything I need to do in the situation. My body then just relaxes. That is new and I consider it a miracle of Gods grace and healing. I have literally been "scared" all my life. Now that life long habit of fear is gone.