Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eating For Health continued

To continue, my health was getting worse instead of better even though I was eating so nutritionally.

Well let me back up a little bit. My high cholesterol and high blood pressure is what brought me to, "Eat To Live", but other health issues were already going on too.

When I reached the age of fifty is when my health first began to decline. Well no, that's not totally accurate, so let me back up a little bit more. :-)

Twenty nine years ago I was diagnosed with lupus, and then later on they said it was FM (fibromyalgia) and not lupus. I was relieved at that news even though I felt horrible.

There are a lot of symptoms I suffer on a daily basis. Some of the symptoms of FM mimic lupus. They still want me to have a blood test periodically to made sure I don't get lupus. There's one blood test that still comes out positive, so they think I may end up getting it.

Okay, back to when I reached the age of fifty. I had Grave's Disease and didn't know it. It's one of those things, which was my habit, that I blamed on the FM.

During a yearly medical exam I told my doctor that I wasn't sleeping well. I was taking 4-6 benedryl nightly trying to get some sleep. When I finally did fall asleep it was in the wee hours of the morning. When I awoke I would drag myself through the day as if I were a zombie.

My doctor did some blood work and the
test results revealed that I had Grave's Disease (hyperthyroidism). I also had a goiter which is common with Graves Disease. I was told I could either have surgery or I could take a radio-active iodine pill. I chose to take the pill.

So now my thyroid is non-active (dead) and I have to take Synthroid for the rest of my life. Looking back, I wish I had known about E2L. It may not have changed anything, but then again it might have; at least it would have been worth trying a nutritional approach first.

Some of the symptoms of Graves disease are: hot flashes, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, rapid heartbeat, sensitivity to heat, weight loss, brittle hair, etc. Basically my immune system was attacking the thyroid.

I visiting many websites and
read up on the thyroid to find out what was going on with my body. It amazed me to find out that that a tiny little organ affects so much of the body.

After treatment, it took over a year for the doctors to find the proper dose of medication for my needs. The insomnia continued, and I had hoped that the it was due to the wrong thyroid dosage, but was disappointed when my sleeping didn't improve.

I also finding out during the yearly testing, that I have osteopenia which is a precursor to osteoporosis.

Another thing I was dealing with while they treated me for Graves disease was that my liver enzymes were elevated. They couldn't give me the normal drugs they give patients before receiving the radio-active-iodine because the drugs would have been too hard on my liver. They were only able to give me a beta blocker to help protect the heart from this treatment. So the specialist warned me ahead of time that I'd probably be really sick. And I was.

What happens is that all your thyroid hormones dump into your system all at once when they give you the iodine pill which can be dangerous to the heart. My pulse was beating rapidly and the beta blockers are suppose to help bring the pulse to a normal rate to protect the heart.

I went for months with little to no sleep each night while going through the process of the thyroid dying. To be candid, it was one of the worse times of my life.

I was in bed 24/7. When I finally had my first appointment to see the doctor, she waited too long. My body went to the other extreme and went totally hypothyroid. She tried to prevent that, she just waited too long for a check up. She did apologize for not bringing me in sooner.

A couple months later I had to have all my teeth pulled and had to be fitted for dentures. That wasn't a pleasant experience either. I tell everyone who ever mentions wanting dentures that they really don't. There's nothing like having your own teeth.

With all that going on with my health, the day of my next doctor's appointment is when I found out I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. That was like the last straw for me. I had reached the last thread, and was ready to let go. I cried . . . I was depressed. I just felt like every time I turned around my body was giving up on me, or attacking me. I wasn't sure how much more I could take. I cried out to God during this time and He really helped to see me through it all.

To add another trial to this ongoing list, my husband lost his job. We ended up needing to live in our RV. When he found a job about four months later we were forever grateful, but he was only making 1/3 of his previous salary. More new challenges were added to the list.

The greatest thing that happened during all of this is that I saw the hand of God at work in Tim's and my life. He truly is an anchor for the soul.

One day I met with a friend and shared what I was going through and explained that I wanted to treat my new health issues with nutrition and vitamins, not medically, so she loaned me her book, "Eat To Live". I'm so thankful to her for letting me borrow it. I read and read, and read some more, and then purchased a copy of my own.

I decided I would follow this new way of eating and within three months the blood pressure's back to normal and the cholesterol began to improve.

By the way, this was a really difficult diet for me. I cried and thought I'd never enjoy food again. I went from SAD to jumping right in and doing E2L completely.

I didn't like the foods I was preparing. So I mostly ate smoothies and salads. I did like Dr. Fuhrman's chili recipe, but that's about the only recipe I made that I actually liked the way it tasted. When I'd try and prepare new recipes I would throw them all out because I thought they were awful, especially without adding salt for flavor.

But, I perservered, and made it through each day, one day at a time. I slowly began to enjoy eating again, and kept trying new recipes, and found some soups and dishes that I can say I really enjoyed.

Excited about the benefits of eating nutritionally when I saw the improved blood results, I tried to do a ten day fast but couldn't even make it through the second day before I gave in and ate something.

A yearly physical was due, and a bone density test. The results showed the osteopenia has turned into osteoporosis in one of my hips and also the lower back. An x-ray showed I also have osteoarthritis.

I thought the increased pain I was having was the fibromyalgia, but it was the arthritis. The insomnia that began while I had Graves Disease only got worse, and I was feeling horrible.

My health was getting worse. About the only thing I could do with little to no sleep was to get on the computer and surf the i-net and check email with my laptop.
I'd get up from bed and move a few steps to the couch.

While my health was declining, I had signed up to take a writer's course via the internet, and that helped to give me something to do, and keep my mind off my problems.

Every muscle in my body was a mess and in pain. The back of my legs were in so much pain it hurt to simply sit on the couch. I tried to walk a little in the house or back yard, but I didn't have a whole lot of strength to do anything, but I would try.

I couldn't cook or clean for a while either. That made me feel so useless. I hated it when I had to watch my husband do the things that I should be doing.

I wasn't able to prepare healthy food for myself, and my husband eats the typical diet, and he doesn't cook, so I ended up reverting back to eating unhealthy foods. I did try to still eat somewhat healthy, but it was the standard diet for the most part.

Months passed. I tried a couple of sleeping pills the doctor prescribed, but they weren't helping. After some time passed with no relief in sight, I decided to try benedryl for sleep. It helped some, and I began to feel somewhat better after a few months. It was all a process and took a while. The doctor prescribed some muscle relaxants which seemed to help me to sleep also.

Time passed, and when I was able to prepare my food again, I began to eat more healthy and soon got back to eating the E2L way almost 100%. I still struggle with sleep, but it's so much better than before. I am so grateful to be able to get five or six hours of sleep, but here lately I've been getting seven or eight. My usual is one or two nights with little to no sleep, but the rest of the week I sleep. It's wonderful

I'm now doing the six week challenge. This is my second week and I've lost three pounds. I weighed in at 134.5 and need to be at 123 if I want to reach my ideal weight. I'm not sure I'll lose all of that. I'd be happy right at 129 to 130.

I'm walking three days a week with a friend when I can. It all depends on whether or not I sleep the night before. I still suffer with lots of pain and weakness. I'm hoping that the longer I eat this healthy, nutritious diet it will benefit me and change some of the health issues I'd like for it to target. But if not, I'm still going to eat this way because it's benefiting me in so many other ways.

A recent finding is that my vitamin D is really low and the doctor prescribed mega doses of a prescription vitamin D. 50,000 IU's twice per week for 3 months. I've been on it for a month now, so in two months she'll do a blood test and see how it's doing.

So I'll keep on keeping on eating the nutritarian way, and hope for the best. I'll be honest though, this isn't the easiest way to eat. I still struggle because I loved eating the standard diet.

My plan is to continue the six week challenge until I get to a comfortable weight.

So here's to greens, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies that God gave so abundantly for nourishment. I thank God all the time because He is really the one who led me to Dr. Fuhrman and his nutritional program.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Spiral Slicer - A must have tool

Joyce Chen Saladacco Spiral Vegetable Slicer

I bought a spiral slicer a couple three weeks ago. I finally got it out and used it today. I'm so glad I did. Why did I wait so long? I highly recommend you buying one if you don't already have it.

I made zuchinni spaghetti for supper tonight, and it was wonderfully delicious. And fantastically easy, what a quick meal.

I happen to be growing summer squash in my garden this year and had some sitting on the counter.

I spiralized a couple of them, medium in size and topped them with Walnut Acres low sodium tomato basil spaghetti sauce. I warmed the dish in the microwave for a minute or two, just to warm it, and wow. The crunchy texture of the raw zuchinni, and the tomato sauce delighted my palate.

I love this dish so much that I know I'll be eating it often. And the slicer was easy to use, easy to clean, and actually it was fun to operate.

Next I'm going to give carrots a try and add them to my salad. I love new kitchen tools, don't you?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Eating For Health

Back in 2006 a friend loaned me her book, "Eat To Live,"
by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. After reading the book I joined his membership website and implemented his suggestions by changing the way I eat, from a standard American diet (SAD) to eating a healthy diet of nutrient rich foods.

I also read his book, "Fasting And Eating For Health." I had hoped to do a ten day fast after eating healthfully for a few months.

For about a year or so I ate the E2L way, and tried fasting, but I couldn't make it through 2 days. I felt like such a wimp. :-)

My health was compromised which is the main reason I decided to try eating this way. I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol too. I also suffered with fibromyalgia for over 20 years. I was hoping that this new diet along with a possible fast would heal me, or at least lessen the pain. There were some other health issues also that I'll mention in another post.

After the first year my of eating fruits, veggies, greens, beans, nuts and seeds, very little sodium, no oil, and limited starches, I saw some benefits to my health within three months.

My blood pressure was 139/95 and I brought it down to 120/70. My cholesterol was 295 total and it came down to 231 within 3 months time. The bad was 206 and I brought it down to 161.

I am so thankful to God and to my friend for introducing me to the book, "Eat To Live."

Those are wonderful benefits and even if that would be all the benefit I'll ever see, it's worth eating a nutritarian diet.

My doctor had wanted me on drugs for the high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure, but I told her to give me some time to bring the levels to a better range, by changing my diet, and wow, I did it. Yay! :-) I was so thrilled by the results.

But then a little later on my journey to health I got really sick - my health deteriorated even more which was surprising to me because I was eating such a high nutrient diet. I was so discouraged.

To be continued.....