I just want to document this real quick as it supports what I’ve come to believe based on my own research – wheat/gluten is unhealthy for everyone.
My husband and I are now Official Parents.
So my 18-year old son tells me.
As of today, he is finished with high school. Next week, he’ll receive his high school diploma. Apparently that makes my husband and I Official Parents. Ha! The logic of a teenager…
Actually, there may be some truth to it. Hindsight bestows us with the clarity of 20/20 vision, providing us with knowledge gained from the past 18 years of parenting the kid. It seems unfair, to us and our kids, that this 18 years of knowledge isn’t bestowed upon us as a gift at birth. A roadmap, if you will. Complete with a personality assessment of this brand new person we are meant to prepare for the world. But then, I suppose life wouldn’t be much of a journey if there were a map showing us exactly where to go. But boy, it sure would make parenting a heckuva lot easier! Especially through the dark foreboding forests of the teen years. Oy yoy yoy! If anything, we should be awarded a Parenting Purple Heart for having survived the teen years.
But I’ll be happy with my son awarding us with the very honorable title of Official Parent.
Now that I’m feeling better—yes, recovering from my not-so-favorite time of the month can take awhile—I want to document the steps I am taking to get back on track. These steps also work for a weight loss program, not a diet, but a program involving lifestyle change. I lost 20 pounds after I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and began cutting dairy and gluten from my diet, which was a bonus side effect to treating my MS naturally.
1. Begin saying NO to gluten/dairy/sugar-laden foods.
Begin, as in allowing a slip up here and there. Every time I make the right choice, a small battle is won in the bigger fight for eliminating these foods from my diet. This way I can celebrate each victory, making a positive movement upward toward my ultimate goal of complete elimination. If I say yes, I chalk it up to a minor defeat and look forward to the next battle, with determination to win!
A few YESes help balance out all those NOs. Say yes to more vegetables. Instead of wondering what to do with that bag of broccoli wasting away in the fridge, chop some up and add them to a salad. Instead of that yummy looking pastry, get a bag of mushrooms at the farmer’s market or grocery store and add them to that salad.
2. Combat cravings with water.
When a craving for any gluten/dairy/sugar-laden food hits, drink water. While it doesn’t satisfy the content of the craving, it does not go unanswered, free to pester me with its temptation. Drinking water acknowledges the craving, but does not give in to it.
In addition to helping me combat my cravings, it also helps me work toward what seems a ridiculous goal of drinking the recommended half my weight of water in ounces each day.
Currently, I start the day with a full 33.8 ounce bottle of water. I manage to down about half of it, which is almost one-quarter the amount I should be drinking. I’ve got a long way to go!
3. Whistle while you work.
Whistling, or bursting into song, at any given moment can only result in positive energy and happiness. Especially for those around you! I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen or heard anyone whistling or humming angrily to themselves. Is that even possible?
Essentially, this is about choosing to be happy with whatever you are doing whenever you are doing it. Making changes that will improve your lifestyle is a good thing. It is a thing worthy of celebration.
If whistling or singing are not your thing, then create a playlist of songs that make you happy, and play it often.
4. Connect with the MS Community.
There’s a huge online community of people with MS. HUGE! But I don’t spend a lot of time participating in it. I spend most of my online time reading about and looking up topics that interest me. Currently, that would be food and gardening.
Reading up on how others are dealing with their MS, particularly those who have also chosen to treat it naturally, reminds me that I’m not alone. Sometimes I get lucky and come across gems, such as The Cancer Gene over at The Self-Healing Coach. What affected me most was in Karen’s response to Greg’s comment:
illnesses are indeed the universe’s calling to us to evolve. evolve or die. and though some choose the latter, the call to evolve is a great one to get, if you answer it and step up. and i consider myself privileged to have received it
Wow. You see what she did there? She made some really yummy lemonade with her basket of lemons. Considering my diagnosis to be a calling from the universe to help contribute to humanity’s evolution is revolutionary, to say the least. How can I say no?
So yeah, connecting with the MS community can not only serve as a reminder that I’m not the only one living with it, but it can push my reset button, providing me with a ginormous ah-ha moment… with fireworks.
5. Plan and prepare.
Ugh. This is where everything can fall apart for me, and usually does. If I do not plan and prepare, I am more apt to eat food I shouldn’t.
When starting out, or getting back on track, the simpler the plan the better. For one week, eat the same food for lunch, breakfast, and then dinner. Have a piece of chicken and handful of baby carrots for breakfast every day. Cut up a piece of chicken and put it on a salad for lunch. Cook frozen vegetables for dinner, and eat them with a piece of chicken.
The preparation for that simple plan is shop for frozen chicken breasts, frozen vegetables, baby carrots, lettuce or spinach, and other fruit/vegetables/nuts for the salads. On Sunday, cook enough chicken for the week, maybe even shred some baby carrots for the salads, and chop/slice/dice the other salad ingredients.
It’s really quite simple and, yes, plain. I add flavor with spices and seasonings, my favorite being olive tapenade with the chicken and vegetables for dinner.
So, that’s it. Those are the things I’m doing to help me get back on track and hopefully return to that “best-I’ve-ever-felt” state of mind and being I experienced last summer.
There are certainly more steps and things to do, such as eliminating coffee or exercising, but these are the foundational steps that help me get moving in the right direction.
(screwed up that last publish, my apologies for double posting)
In my last post, I confidently declared a return to cutting dairy & gluten from my diet. But I was soon put on alert that my not-so-favorite time of the month was waiting around the corner. I’ve had some cheese, ice cream, gravy, and cocoa. Dairy is my weakness. My knees would agree.
Not only that, but my lower back started hurting, enough to warrant a day lying flat at home… and eating cheese, apparently. I haven’t been very active. The extent of my activity is walking to where I need to go and moving my fingers up and down as they type while sitting for hours on end. The weather’s been getting nicer here. Sunday was gorgeous. My daughter has a class downtown on Sundays. So when I picked her up, I walked about 10 blocks from the car parked in the garage at my work to the location of her class. After her class we went to the mall nearby and walked around looking at a few different shops, then walked the 10 blocks to the car and drove home. It was the next day, later in the afternoon, after sitting at work all day, that my lower back started hurting. I also felt an occasional sharp pain in my left front hip. I figured a night of rest would do the trick, but there was no improvement when I woke the following morning. I stayed home to rest.
This is not the first time I’ve experienced lower back pain like that. One time it was so bad I could hardly walk, and ended up paying a visit to the urgent care. They said it was Sciatica. It could have been. But now, knowing that I have Multiple Sclerosis, but not knowing how long I’ve had it, we wonder if it was related to my MS. Does the lower back pain I am now experiencing have anything to do with my MS? We don’t know. It could be. Google search found people who think their back pain and MS are related. I’m not sure mine is. I think it’s more likely that my inactivity + burst of activity + inactivity = a back trying to tell me that I’m really out of shape. Boy, I sure hope that’s what it is because I can do something about it. I’m already walking around more at work, and have started to take stretching breaks. I just need to make it a habit… baby steps toward a decent fitness program.
Needless to say, my return to true intentions for this blog is on course. Next week, after my not-so-favorite time of the month has passed, I will return to using food as my medicine. I’ll be better prepared anyhow. We need to pick up a new blender so we can make super good for you healthy shakes. I can’t wait to blog about them!
Boy, it’s been awhile.
I think I figured out something. I do my worst eating when not blogging. I think. It’s been a little over two months since my last post and I have not been eating as I should. The reason I started this blog was to document my progress, blog about new ways of eating and whatever else I learn about MS, inflammation, the food supply, how we are all making ourselves sick. I thought it’d be a great way to help keep myself accountable to my own self-prescribed treatment plan. I still think it would. I just got a little lost back there, focusing on the blog and what to do about/with it instead of just writing.
As of today, I am returning to cutting dairy & gluten from my diet. Focusing on one week at a time seems to work for me. I am also returning to the true intention for this blog. Returning to both these things today will truly help document how changing my diet affects my health and overall sense of well-being.
For example, at this moment, I have a headache. It hurts. I’ve had them most days the past few months. Although I have not intentionally consumed any dairy or gluten today, I know that it will take some time before I begin experiencing the benefits of the change. About a week or two, in fact. It may get worse before it gets better. Such is the nature of withdrawals… yes, food withdrawals. Weird, I know. You can also experience food hangovers—just as fun as the other, more well known type of hangover.
To the return of true intentions!
It was a Thursday. The afternoon of February 4, 2010. My eyes began misbehaving. I would refer to it as a dizzy sensation, because I knew of no other way to describe it. I wasn’t dizzy, but my vision was.
The dizzy sensation was faint. It was like when you are lying/sitting down, stand up real fast, and experience that flash of a head rush. But it persisted, ever so faintly. The next day, it remained. I worked a full day, expecting it to go away at any moment.
But it didn’t.
It was still there when I woke up Saturday morning, and stronger. My husband and I thought I might be experiencing a visual reaction to our new 27” iMac we bought the previous week. The wide-screen certainly was an adjustment! If it was a reaction to the wide-screen, surely it would clear up in a few days.
I stayed home from work on Monday, to rest. Perhaps a full day resting at home would help make it go away? With a family, it can be hard to rest during the weekends. A nice quiet day at home might do the trick.
But it didn’t.
Tuesday morning was no different from Monday morning. The night before, we decided that if there was no change Tuesday morning, we’d go to urgent care. So we did. They took blood and a few days later they had the results. Nothing. As far as my blood was concerned, I was perfectly healthy.
I stayed home from work the entire week, resting and hoping it would just go away.
But it didn’t.
- Early Signs That You Might Have Multiple Sclerosis (everydayhealth.com)
- Multiple Scelerosis Explained (physical-disabilities.suite101.com)
There was a lot of fuel behind the fire that motivated me to sign up.
Fuel #1: I want to blog more often
Once a day is too much for me, but I’m pretty sure I can do once a week. Because it seems doable, I figured signing up for something to which I would have to commit will help me write more frequently.
Fuel #2: I want to redirect my blog
In all honesty, I don’t want to exclusively write about multiple sclerosis. Sure, it’s become a pretty important part of my life, but I want to write about other stuff too. If I had focused-topic blogs, I’d probably have one on MS, Food, and Pugs. So instead of managing three separate blogs, I’ll just make those my main categories.
Fuel #3: To care, or not to care
Since I started this blog, I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not I should blog at all. People I know may come across it. They may learn something about me they don’t know, something I didn’t tell them (GASP!). Essentially, it comes down to whether I care about taking that risk. I am finally able to say, “No, I don’t care!”
I figure that this is my space and I can do what I want here, regardless if anyone’s paying attention.
With that, I welcome the challenge of posting at least once a week. Now that I have freed myself from being a singular topic blog, I will have more to write about anyway!