Funny how just wishing something pushes you into the right place to make it happen. Just recognizing that something is attainable, makes it so.
My wish list number 2 was for soft hands and feet. They have definitely been trouble areas, often leading to cracks on my heels and the knuckles of my fingers. I can't wear nylons, or tights, because my dry skin wrecks them before I even get them on. I have trouble doing taekwondo because when I pivot on my heels sometimes the scales catch on the floor, causing the skin to crack further. I tried some martial arts shoes but my feet just aren't shaped right for shoes that aren't adjustable on the top. I've ordered some "fight socks" that look promising. Until they come, I just use a wrap tape to cover my heels in class.
Right now though, I'm happy to say that my hands and feet are soft! I've tried so many things to moisturize and/or exfoliate. Many hand lotions are too heavily scented for me to enjoy using often enough. Many foot lotions either don't penetrate well or don't last long enough. My TKD instructor recommended using coconut oil as a moisturizer, and I've been amazed that that stuff. It workes better than all the many specially formulated things I've tried. It soaks in as well a my grandma's turpentine-smelling lotion, but the softness lasts the whole day (the aformentioned lotion fades after a few hours seeming to leave my feet drier than they were to begin with). The exfoliating stuff (kerasal, callex, etc) do help a bit if I use them often enough, but exfoliation without intense moisturizing seems to leave my feet vulnerable to more cracks.
Then for my hands I tried some DHC CoQ10 hand cream. I've long been a fan of DHC, with my sensitive skin (and nose) their products are often the only way to go, gentle but also highly effective. The hand cream is unscented, it penetrates well and is long lasting, rather than just slathering on top and soon disappearing. It worked so well that I've begun to think that CoQ10 is some missing link for my skin. All the fat soluble vitamins are so important to skin, and with my celiac problems and digestive trouble they are still hard for me to absorb. I've ruled out or successfully treated deficiencies in the major ones (ADEK), but there are others to consider, like CoQ10. So, I've begun cutting open a CoQ10 capsule and stirring it into the coconut oil that I put on my feet. It seems to have really kicked it up a notch, as far as effectiveness goes. (it's a bit orange, so if you try this at home, put socks on after, which is a good idea anyway)
My feet are now a normal pink color and seem to be gradually exfoliating themselves. My hands feel soft and normal again as well. I can feel the texture of what I step on, which is interesting after so many calloused years.
It's been a while since I outlined my health goals. After watching The Secret I set a goal to have perfect health, but what does that mean?
I'm not getting younger, but I have been getting healthier and don't feel older in many ways at all (in fact I feel younger and can do more than I could 10 years ago).
So here is a list of things to check off as I go, in order to have perfect health:
1. Dry skin and acne begone.
2. Smooth feet and hands.
3. Clear scalp (that's where most of my skin-based detox manifests)
4. No more need for thyroid meds (already reduced, but let's go a little further)
5. Improved digestion
6. Improved fingerprint ridge height and loss of white lines (part of #5, they go together)
7. Decreased sensitivity to environmental irritants and chemicals (though I'll still avoid them, it would be nice to not overreact when they come around anyway)
8. Clearer eyes, not dry or red, brighter color
9. Finally lose the baby fat from my second baby
10. Manage rhinitis better
11. Stop clenching my teeth at night
12. Earn a black belt in Taekwondo
13. Thicker eyebrows and hair would also be nice
Most of these things are already in progress, especially #1 with a bit of 6,7 and 8. Some are a stretch, and would be small miracles, but I believe they're entirely possible with strict adherence to the explorer diet.
Many of the above seem trivial compared to what I've already accomplished with the BTD in the last ten years. I initally lost 35 pounds, then lost it again and a bit more, after having my first child. My joints that once ached and often kept me in bed are now quite capable of doing everything they need to for Taekwondo. My eczema is gone as long as I'm good at avoiding gluten and dairy. I have far more energy, flexibility, and physical endurance. I no longer ever need antidepressants or antacids or acid blockers. My cholesterol and trigliceride levels improved immediately.
All in all, it's been a good ten years, and I'm hopeful to continue turning back the clock. Last year I had a bit of a time with rhinitis related trouble, but that is improving, and may always take some maintenance with the neti pot and quercitin nasal spray, and permanent dairy avoidance. If rhinitis is the only age-related scar I've come out of the last ten years with, that's pretty managable. I think I'm doing pretty well for an explorer and a celiac.
I met somebody I hadn't seen in almost 10 years, and she asked me what my secret was because I haven't aged a day in my appearance. I guess she's right. I didn't expect the question (those who know me know better than to ask me anything health-related), or I would have given her the answer, but you all know what my secret is.
With knowledge and proper nourishment, I can have many more good decades ahead of me. It's good to be an O, and it's good to be an explorer. Life is always life, full of opposition and conflict. It always has moments of pain, misery, doubt and fear, until the end, but life is still good. I'm thankful for the life that I've been given, the shoes I'm in, and all those who have helped me along the path.
In some of Dr. D'Adamo's writings, explorers sound pretty awesome. Our adaptability and healing ability can sound almost legendary. The flip-side of that coin is equally weighted, however (I suppose that's true for all the types), and sometimes it gets a little disheartening. We're the canary in the coal mine type, and the air isn't good here, today. I look at my happy, healthy, childhood and feel great nostalgia for everything that made it possible. The air was cleaner (except in public places that still allowed smoking), the water purer, the pharmaceuticals less numerous...the next generation of explorers isn't so blessed.
Yet, explorers aren't the only ones suffering from the environment. We just feel it more immediately. We feel the pain, while others develop the tumors. We avoid many foods out of necessity, while others develop heart disease. We walk forward with blisters on our feet, and notice over time that fewer and fewer loved ones are walking with us. We bear children and pass our genetic burdens on to them, into a world that burdens them further, and hope that they will walk on after we can no longer. We hope that the knowledge we pass to them will balance out the genes we pass to them.
We hope that our vitality and vigilance will move forward, and allow us to move forward without being held back by some new chronic syndrome. We hope that we have some purpose in life other than lying down in the bottom of a birdcage and hoping somebody notices in time to get fresh air.
Use the recipe below with discretion, but if you crave an onion ring once a year, here's your chance. I'll try to justify creating the recipe in this blog, but can't fully since we all know fried foods are bad for more than a couple reasons. However, since they taste good, and some readers out there may be underweight like my sons, and some others may indulge in avoids unnecessarily in seeking out fried foods, I feel I must share my recipe.
Some updates first though. Things are still going well for me. My weight fluctuates a bit as a lose fat and gain muscle, but I'm heading in the right direction. I love being able to do more and gain new abilities with training and taekwondo. My double kicks are getting pretty sweet, and when I started I could hardly jump and rotate my hips for a double, much less stick my feet out at the end. I'm just now starting to get some power into those feet for the kicks.
I finally got a secretor test sent in for my six year old. I've been exploring the thought that maybe he could also be an explorer. However, the test came back and he is a secretor, and as an A+ secretor, he can't be an explorer. I was hoping for some way to explain or address his allergies to dairy and eggs, which should both be good for teachers. The good news is that we don't have to take away his favorite staple foods, like soy and peanuts. Teacher children can have some trouble growing, as he has had, but he's been making good progress the last few months.
One way to get more calories in him is the Southern practice of frying just about anything. Today I even fried his sandwich... he wanted something new and his dad was worrying about him not eating enough, so I went a little crazy, in a good way. He ate it all; he was happy, I was happy, and his dad was happy...nothing resolves confict like fried food
I know, fried food is terrible, but it's so tasty and if there's a healthier version of it then it's a good recipe to put some weight on underweight kids. I buy Rice Bran Oil from Azure Standard, and a gallon isn't too bad... not near as cheap as ol' Wesson oil or whatever, but when you consider the difference in health-effect, it's very worth it. Rice Bran Oil ranks up with Olive oil for health benefits, but withstands much higher temperatures.
So...enough attempted justification, here's the recipe for the batter. It's milk free, egg free, and explorer friendly. The tapioca isn't so good for teachers, but to replace the egg that my son is severely allergic to, it's the best solution I've found thus far. For those who can have eggs, one of those should do the job instead of the tapioca, for those who can have milk or buttermilk, you can use that for the liquid.
1/2 cup Yellow Split Pea Flour*
1/2 cup quinoa flour (millet flour may work)
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 tsp baking powder**
1/2 cup or more of rice milk or liquid of choice, to bring it to a batter consistency that will easily coat whatever you desire.
spices of choice, a bit of lemon juice if you're frying fish.
*available from Azure standard and other places, or make your own from yellow split peas, garbanzo bean flour would work for those types that can have that, other bean flours would be fine too, but the yellow color is nice and the hearty-sweet flavor it provides is essential, IMO.
**see recipebase for corn-free baking powder recipes, it causes the batter to puff up nicely.
This makes amazing onion rings, chicken fingers, catfish, cod, fried mushrooms, veggies, whatever your tastebuds desire (personally, I can't wait for okra season). I usually do a bit of this and a bit of that to see what they'll eat. Just dip/dredge it in the batter to coat it and fry in pre-heated (medium or medium-high on the stove) rice bran oil. I, of course, have to limit how much of it I eat, and I've gotten better at that, I'm just happy to have just a little when I've gone so many years without any at all. I eat plenty of salad and fresh raw veggies or fruit before and after, to try and find some sort of dietary balance in the meal.
In a good way that is... I've broken a barrier in my weight loss (by re-losing any that I had gained over the holidays and the illnesses that came with them) and now my weight is lower than it was at the end of my last weight loss run. When I talk like this, I sure sound like a gatherer, but my explorer-ness is not in question.
I saw a picture of myself in 1995. I had forgotten how quickly I had gained weight after mono in 1994, but I saw it in he picture. Mono, which effects the liver, is bad news, particularly for explorers, who are challenged to begin with as far as liver function and detoxification go. The path to weight gain in explorers is tied to sluggish detoxification abilities. I lost most of my ability to digest fats at that time, and started eating a low fat diet out of necessity. This was years before I knew anything of BTD or the dangers of wheat, so there was plenty of that in my diet. I know a few other people, most of them I suspect are explorers, who started a slide into weight gain and poor health in the years after having mono. For me, my Gilbert's syndrome also manifested itself in that time, with two bouts of jaundice. Luckily most of that is over now, although I still suspect mono for starting the autoimmune reactions in my gut (celiac) and thyroid (hashimoto's). The explorer's reactive immune system is another reason mono and similar infections can be bad news.
Explorers, take care of your livers.
I've been good on the diet, if you didn't guess by my weight loss. When I put in the work, I get the rewards, and I am incredibly grateful for that. (Sometimes I complain at the amount of work it is, at how hard it is for me compared to others, but then I kick a punching bag's into the corner of the TKD studio and feel better about my situation). I am going to get a black belt... just to know for myself that I am tough and can do anything. Even if I get thrown down on the ground a few times, I am going to do it. A year from now I may need to take a break, as I have a year to lose the weight and prove that I'm healthy enough, then I may decide to have another baby.
That is a monumental decision, and it would be easier to decide otherwise, it is such a monumental sacrifice that basically eats up three years of my life in the pregnancy/baby years, but I have a lot to offer a child. I have a stable home and family, which so many kids don't get these days, and I want to make room for one more. I admit that not all the genes I pass to them seem optimal, but with knowledge, they grow up strong.
Speaking of those bum genes, I'm having to use my knowledge a bit more on my oldest son. The milk and egg allergies that he was supposed to outgrow have actually gotten much worse, in the severe range. I've been letting him eat anything that doesn't make him sick, because he needs calories, but his immune system needs a little more individualized care. It is hard to carry an epi-pen for him, even though I'm pretty sure he'll never need it, I hate to think of the possibility. I have a constant regret for eating milk and eggs and a bit of gluten during pregnancy, which I now know are not optimal for me, and they certainly weren't optimal for him. I'm questioning if he could be a teacher, as I suspected he is, with all those allergies, I need to finally coax him into spitting into the tube for a secretor test. I made him a smoothie last night because he wanted a Costco Berry Smoothie, and for once the one I made was better than the one he wanted. That was good, because I also snuck in some bromelain and quercetin into the mix, and he loved it so much that he drank the whole thing.