My First Weeks as a Nutritarian

There was a waiting room, followed by an exam table, the doctor typing on a computer, taking my blood pressure and looking over my lab results. But unlike any other doctor appointment I’d been to, this doctor gave me zero prescriptions to fill. Instead I got a complete diet overhaul, and an order form for nutritional supplements as well as tests for adrenal stress and other blood work to be done. I was told to continue practicing yoga every day to keep my blood circulating and for stress relief.

Looking over the many printouts when I got home, I soon discovered I was on the autoimmune protocol designed by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, a plant-based doctor with a nutritional approach who founded the ANDI nutritional food scoring method used to easily determine the nutrient density of foods. Logically, his diet is designed around the idea that one should eat as much of the foods with the highest ANDI scores as possible.

So for the past two weeks I have been OFF the pharmaceutical drugs and on a very specific food diet that has nothing to do with counting calories and everything to do with consuming nutrient rich foods. Here is an example of what I eat in a day:

Breakfast: Cup of steel cut outs with raisins and ground flax seeds, 10 oz fresh green vegetable juice (80% cucumber or celery, 20% anything else including carrot, apple, greens, etc).

AM Snack: Fruit

Lunch: salad with spinach, lettuce, arugula, radish, celery, cucumber, carrot, any vegetables topped with sunflower seeds, 10 oz green juice (leftover from the morning)

PM Snack: Protein drink (inflammacore plant-based protein powder and water)

Dinner: another vegetable salad with hemp seeds, a bowl of vegetable/pea soup, steamed cruciferous veggies with brown rice.

Dessert: coconut milk/berry/banana smoothie with chia seeds

I’m also taking a digest supplement with every meal, probiotic, multi-vitamin, omega fats marine oil, and a liquid vitamin D.

It has been difficult to keep up with eating the correct foods and avoiding other types of foods, and getting used to not using salt or sugar has been a challenge. Overall, the ease of eating this way came about after the first week. Now I wake up and look forward to my fresh juice in the morning, and more and more I’m enjoying the taste of this simple food. My arthritis symptoms have gotten worse, but I keep reminding myself that there is still a lot of work for my body to do to heal itself and it will not happen overnight. Some people take 2 months or more to see results. Reading Dr. Fuhrman’s books have been eye opening, and motivate me to continue on with eating this way even after I heal my autoimmune disease.

When you know better, you do better.

I look forward to continuing on this journey and being amazed at the results!

 

Trusting Intuition

Intuition is a deep feeling in our gut we get when we add moments of silence to our days. We are all born with this deep intuition, this psychic ‘knowing,’ but there is so much noise in the world in the form of visual, auditory and socially engineered input flying at us from every direction that finding this time for quiet contemplation can be a battle unto itself. First a quick update on how my week of self care is going:

I haven’t been keeping notes or marking off any dates on the calendar, but I’d say my week of self-care that I had proposed to start in last week’s post has been a success. I ordered myself a new book from Amazon, (Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.) which is a book that when I first started reading it, was very skeptical about, but has slowly penetrated down to my soul. I highly recommend it for everyone- feminists, free spirits, housewives- women- and men too- of all walks. After I put my daughter to bed each night at 7:30, I have done something for myself. Usually it’s been making a cup of chamomile tea, putting my most favorite essential oil combination in my bedside diffuser, rubbing lotion, taking a bath or putting on a face mask, and lying in bed naked (how I sleep best) with the book and my tea, ready to relax utterly. I used to find that I had to put the house in order every night before bed, and while yes, that is a great idea, at this time I think it’s more important I prioritize that quiet, restful, pleasure-ful time by myself. I’ve found that I have no problem catching up on the dirty dishes and floors, and the toys scattered all over the living room the next morning as my daughter is playing. I’ve found that prioritizing these little “rituals” with and for myself, I have something to look forward to and also find myself more willing and able to take on the day when I wake up in the morning.

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But now for our regularly scheduled programming. Our intuition already has these seeds deep down inside- seeds of ideas. The seeds will sprout and begin to grow at different ages and stages in our lives, the trick is to get to that quiet, trusting place where we can identify when a seed tells us it’s time to start growing. Then we need to give it the water (time) and sun (attention) that it needs to grow. The larger the seed grows, the larger our idea becomes, and the harder it is to ignore and the more pressing it becomes for us to turn that idea into a reality- to transplant the bud from within us to the outside world. Sometimes these ideas involve a process of “giving up” something. This is much in line with the post about me giving up TV, but I want to talk about it now in terms of a more general idea of adaptation.

As humans it is in our instinct to “gain.” We get great pleasure and find security in having “more”. More options, more safety, more money, more amenities. To an extent, these things are all good. We need certain things to live- and of course in this culture we have in the West, money is right up there with oxygen unfortunately. But the first step is realizing that there does come a point at which ‘enough’ turns in to ‘too much.’ Commerce would like us all to ignore this point, and it would make them so happy if we had no concept of this point existing at all, as many people do. But of course, we aren’t like those people. We have given ourselves thought, energy and space to hear our own intuition out, even, and sometimes especially, when what our intuition is telling us is going against the grain of our larger culture. We’re the types of folks that when we give up something, we know it’s to gain something else- something better. Most often, we’re giving up material possessions in exchange for non-material, but still very real, commodities or intangible aspects to our lives. These elements that we gain, though you can’t hold them or necessarily see them- they are felt. Some examples: the immediate choice of trading TV for more free time, trading unhealthy food for a longer, more exuberant life, trading expensive cars for our future financial independence, trading a high-paying job that is soul sucking for a lower-paying one that makes your heart soar. A bigger house for a tiny one which is easy to pay for, maintain, and keep organized (even to move around the country!)

For me right now, it is food. I’ve gone whole foods vegan several months ago. Recently (in the past few weeks) I’ve also gone gluten-free and cut out nightshades and high oxalate foods (you can check out this youtube video with a detailed description of the lesser- known last term from a nutritionist). Also check out this humor-filled video about gluten free folk (we have to poke fun at ourselves from time to time so as not to take ourselves too seriously).

Cutting out all these other foods that I loved, and was so used to eating (we’re talking about dishes I’ve made myself for DECADES), has been painful for me. I’m still at the rounded area of the steep learning curve. Finding new recipes, new ingredients, serving my daughter foods that I can no longer eat as well has all been a struggle. But I know my body needs as little obstacles caused by my nutritional intake as possible considering all my other health issues that it’s battling. I’m embracing the concept of food being my medicine. I know that no condition of ill health is worth nutritionally yucky food- no matter how temporally satisfying it is. The video below is one that has rekindled my fire for making all these dietary changes, and bird jokes aside, I hope it will light or kindle your fire within to keep you going on the sometimes painful changes you’re making in your life for your ultimate health and happiness. Let me know about what changes you’re making and how it’s going for you. We’re in this together!