Thursday, October 20, 2011

Plenty of Fish

Give a [gal] a fish and you feed [her] for a day. Teach a [gal] to fish and you feed [her] for a lifetime. 
Chinese Proverb

Today I was given an amazing gift.  My friend Robert, a macrobiotic counselor, made a house call this morning to go over my diet and make some revisions.  Currently my doctor has me on a fairly strict diet to starve a slight overgrowth in my GI tract.  This meant going off of all sugar and most starches and taking a hiatus from my vegan diet.  It also meant eliminating any foods that might be triggering a leaky guy - soy, corn, caffeine, alcohol, fermented foods, and gluten (dairy was already out of my diet).  Daily meals have consisted of small amounts of non-gluten grains (like brown rice and quinoa), lots of green vegetables and salads, select nuts and seeds (sesame and almond for the most part) and some organic chicken, turkey and wild fish.

Despite eating foods with higher amounts of protein and eating more greens than I had been as a vegan, I was low on energy and not meeting caloric intake requirements for my half-marathon training.  So I eased up and was only running once a week.  Robert, being an avid runner, wanted to get me back on the running trail, on track with health and with just simply feeling vibrant again.  And what an inspiration he was.

He rolled up to my street with three bags of goodies: a tailor-made list of 7 different breakfast recipes, generous samples of various grains to try, supplements to consider, samples of protein powders, and a couple new brand products to add to my diet.  We went over all the recipes and samples and then started to cook.  He made 5 recipes in less than an hour:

Pressed Salad
Millet Porridge
Veggie Stew
Blanched Greens
Mochi Melt

The foods were delicious and the lessons were invaluable.  There's something so special about a person sharing his time, knowledge, and experiences to help improve someone's quality of life.  And it came at a much needed time.  I felt like one lucky duck today.  Thanks Robert!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

From Here to There

Whenever someone is facing a health issue, be it large or small, chronic or acute, a question that quickly comes to mind is "How did I get here?"

*Was said health issue courtesy of the gene pool?

I had a family history of a GI immune disorder.  Although it's currently been ruled out, it's not clear as to whether or not this disease will develop.  Everyone is born with a certain body constitution.  There's no way to know if my current issue will change.   It might improve but it might never completely go away.       

*Was it a result of my food choices and, subsequently, from sensitivities to certain foods?

That's a "Was it the chicken or the egg?" question.  A weak GI system can lead to food sensitivities; food sensitivities weaken the GI system.  No finger-pointing was going to erase the fact that I had to cut out dairy, sugar, caffeine, starch, yeast, and gluten until conditions improved.  Zero tolerance for now.  I've read that once a GI system is healed and attended to, issues like lactose intolerance might actually be reversible.

*Was it my body's way of saying "f you" and "wake up" to the antibiotics that doctors had prescribed?

It still amazes me, looking back, that doctors never suggested taking probiotics after a round of antibiotics.  And I'm still kinda pissed that one of these doctors nonchalantly wrote a prescription for a "low grade" three month supply of antibiotics for a couple blemishes on my face.  I took them for a month before realizing, low grade or not, it was a bullshit move for my body.  There was never any talk of repopulating the good bacteria that ultimately got wiped out with antibiotic treatment.  And guess what?  My recent test results that actually got to the root cause of my symptoms showed that I was lacking a lot of good bacteria.  In fact, one important strain was nonexistent in my system.

*Was it stress related?

What stress? :P  Stress and stress management play a HUGE role in wellness.  When your body goes into "fight or flight" mode digestion stops so the body can focus on the fighting or "flighting."  This always happens when my nerves get the best of me.  Not healthy. The nervous system is also shaped from birth, which affects one's body constitution.

At the end of the day finding answers to these questions doesn't change where I am.  It would be nice to know the cause, to know that what I'm doing will improve my condition and to know how to avoid issues (if they are preventable) in the future.  But for now, I am here, eating a highly restricted diet and hoping my next test will show signs of improvement.  I'm particularly eager for insight into what my food future holds.  I'm pretty sure a vegan pizza is waiting for me there.