I was writing a nice blog in my head about the 4-5 pounds that I put on during January and February. This happens every year. It’s not holiday weight. I think of it as winter weight, because it usually goes away in the spring. I was going to ponder whether it is caused by cold weather, a slightly more sedentary winter lifestyle, or some unknown factor.
I was also going to write about belly fat. While winter weight gain happens every year, this year it stuck around my tummy. That has never happened before. I was going to ponder whether the change was related to hormones, age, or some unknown factor.
It would have been a good blog. I would have tied in statistics about belly fat’s relationship to other health problems and about my resolve to shed the pounds before it was warm enough to wear shorts.
Then I read the article about a starving mother trying to deal gently with her starving children in Africa. I posted that article, and began to ponder why I (and most other people in affluent societies) am so obsessed about weight gain. There are no obese people among the poor in India. There is no overweight problem in impoverished countries in Africa. They don’t gain weight because they don’t have enough to eat.
I on the other hand am bombarded by ads for diet programs, diet pills, and diet books that promise me that I can over eat and not gain weight. Bunk!
True, eating the wrong kinds of food can make someone put on weight faster and make them put on fat instead of muscle. That’s one of several reasons I follow the BTD. But basically if I am already eating healthy food and I want to lose weight, I should eat less.
Before I go on – I have to issue a caveat. I went through 3 years of an eating/exercise disorder with my Darling Daughter. If your BMI is low, you do not need to lose weight. If you are obsessed with making your body look like some model’s body you do not need to lose weight. Only in affluent countries do women voluntarily starve themselves. I am more firmly convinced than ever that eating/exercise disorders are spiritual problems.
So first of all find a website that calculates your BMI. If you really need to lose weight, cut back on your food intake.
Before you say you couldn’t possibly eat less, think of the millions of starving peoples around the world. They would think it was a miracle if they had two of the three meals a day that we normally eat.
I’ve been feeling rather worn out for the past few weeks. I felt like I was buried in responsibilities. Some days I tried to take a break to care for my body, but my work piled up and I’d feel guilty about that. I’d create extra stress by not having a clear space to cook dinner because I’d never cleaned up from breakfast! Or Hannah couldn’t find clean gym clothes because I hadn’t washed them yet. Other days I would trudge through the housework and get it done, but I felt burdened and resentful as I went about my day. Any little unexpected thing would put me over the edge, and I was snapping at my kids A LOT!
I didn’t know why I was feeling this way. I thought I was being careful with my diet and supplements. I know exercise is a big factor, especially for O’s, but I find it hard to exercise when I’m tired, dizzy, and in pain. Overall, I was feeling hopeless and depressed, because I didn’t know what caused my fatigue, so I didn’t know how to fix things.
This past Saturday was the Bar Mitzvah of a close friend’s son. There was no way I could miss it, even though I really wanted space alone and was dreading the large crowd. It wasn’t as bad as I’d anticipated; it was kind of like I was exercising emotional muscles. It was hard, but it felt good. I also made some “less than perfect” food choices at the party. I stayed away from wheat, potatoes, and obvious corn, but I didn’t worry about additives in the fish or deli meat, or what might have been in the salad dressing, and I ate the tomatoes and cucumbers. Overall I ate lots of veggies and protein, but I also know I ate chemical food additives, "avoid" oils, vinegar, possible potato starch, and either sugar or corn syrup.
By Monday, I was even more of a mess than usual for me. Once I recognized that I was reacting to what I ate on Saturday, it helped me put things into perspective. I know that food reactions are temporary, as long as I proceed to eat right so my body can clear out the toxins. The physical symptoms were still present, but I had hope again. I also analyzed how I’ve been eating the last few weeks, and realized that a few “avoids” have managed to slip in. I ate some sweet potato chips made with “avoid” oils, along with a lot of mozzarella cheese and a little bit of tomato sauce. That can probably account for a lot of how I’ve been feeling.
I’ve been eating clean again since Sunday, so some of these toxins are getting cleared out. Yesterday I made “self nurturing” my primary focus. I went clothes shopping for myself, and I took a hot bath in the middle of the afternoon. But more than the specific things I did, I gave myself permission to be a little self-indulgent, and not spend every waking moment worried about the house or the kids. That attitude shift has made a world of difference.
I’m feeling a whole lot calmer now, and ready to tackle my work.
As the sun is setting and the day is ending, a mother starts a fire and puts water in a pot to boil for dinner. For the next few hours, she stirs the pot and answers her children’s continuous question: “When we will eat, Mommy?” The mother responds back, “Look, I am making it now. You just have to wait a little longer.” The children grow tired, until they finally fall asleep without getting any food. Afterwards, the mother takes the pot off the fire and puts the fire out. The problem is not that the children fell asleep too early to get the food, but rather that there is no food to be found. People are starving in Mali.
This was on the International Mission Board prayer request list for today. But yesterday I came in from doing yard work an hour past lunch time and said, “I’m starving.”
The BTD is about eating the right foods so that I will be healthy and energetic. But I never want to be so self focused that I forget that there are millions of people who have no food at all.
I am NOT writing this because I want some government to step in and solve the problem. Perhaps my favorite quote about poverty is this: Socialism says, what’s yours is mine and I’ll take it. Christianity says, what’s mine is yours and I’ll give it.
I hope to be less self indulgent this year and more generous to IMB World Hunger, Compassion International, Neverthirst, and other volunteer organizations who are working to solve the root causes of starvation.
I made a double batch of chili a few weeks ago, and froze half of it. The weather was cold and rainy last weekend, so I got the leftover chili out of the freezer. I was going to make millet bread - which tastes so much like cornbread that it goes perfect with chili, but I was out of eggs. Instead I made garlic toast with the ends of spelt bread for HH. I had rice bread with ghee. It was adequate, but not as good as chili with cornbread. There was enough chili left for one meal. I grocery shopped and bought eggs.
Wednesday I started warming the last of the chili, and began again to make millet bread…I was out of millet. I was so frustrated as I stared at the shelf. I had quinoa, amaranth, rye, and buckwheat, but no millet. Rather than have toast with our chili again, I ground 2 cups of buckwheat groats into flour.
I made the bread exactly like I would have made it with millet. The first hint of success was the way the bread smelled while it was baking. I knew it was going to be good.
The buckwheat bread was a little drier than the millet bread, but it was not too dry. In a way, the texture suited the different flavor of the buckwheat. However, I might add a little more milk or oil next time I make it.
The chili is all gone, but I’m looking forward to another slice of buckwheat bread this afternoon.
If you missed the millet cornbread recipe, here is the link: millet cornbread
Wishing a cloud away
So it don’t rain on me
Can’t stand in the rain
In a puddle by the tree
Wishing a cloud to stay
To keep the sun off me
Can’t walk in the heat
Far from the shade tree
Why don’t the clouds
Pay attention to me
Can’t live my life right
If clouds must be free
Physicians have useful information and skills from schooling and practice that can make a tremendous difference in one’s life. There are many things the medical profession does very well and other things it does adequately. Some various things have not yet reached the stage of adequacy. I have also had many experiences with physicians making medical judgments that reflected poor judgment at best.
As one example, a primary care physician from my past prescribed an ACE inhibitor type of blood pressure medication which I had a bad reaction to. A second variety of the same type was prescribed under the thesis that the different varieties do not always elicit the same reactions, but in my case the reaction was the same. At that time yet a third variety of the same drug class was prescribed but I resisted and we wound up with a different and more suitable medication.
Unfortunately, I could relate many other instances. Some where I maintained control, some where I didn’t. The first couple of instances might best be thought of as learning experiences.
Last month I failed to maintain control for a variety of reasons. The result was about a week of severe short term memory impairment, slow thought and reaction time, and significant added fatigue as side effects of a new prescription. Whether there was poor judgment in the prescription process is debatable, but the person who had the final control and the ability to make an informed decision was me. Had I followed my preferred procedure and researched the medication prior to taking it, there would have been several things that should have led to my refusing the medication. There were also other errors made by the office staff, the physician and by myself regarding prior history communication that could have resulted in the medication not being prescribed, although I view this as only a minor possibility.
Whether or not a particular treatment works for an individual might color their view on how adequately the medical profession handles that particular issue. It would also be nice if the medical process was less prone to errors of judgment and process. In spite of what flaws are in the medical system, I have a degree of awareness of them. I have an ability to protect myself from some types of poor judgment or procedural errors. It is also easy enough to look up the clinical trials data, investigate other treatment possibilities and consider the value of treatment when treatment is optional. Some years ago I did not know these things. It can make a difference. This time I let control slip past me.
It’s time for my daily walk. I best put on my hat and head out the door.
Chicken Fajitas with rice and (lima) beans
Chili Mac with black beans
We got home from a perfectly relaxing vacation, but when I went to the health food store to buy spelt bread for HH, the delightful feeling of calm vanished. The checker handed me a flyer that said in big red letters “The FDA will take away thousands of supplements unless you act now.”
According to the flyer and articles on google news, when Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 it restricted the Food and Drug Administration from exerting authority over supplements as long as manufacturers made no claims about their products treating, preventing, or curing diseases.
In 2011 the FDA surprised supplement manufacturers with a proposed Guidance that would require “all dietary ingredients introduced into the marketplace since 1994 to undergo drug-like safety testing prior to marketing.” News reports go on to say that the new guidelines would require tests that could cost millions of dollars for each new ingredient.
Opponents of the guidelines say that many of these dietary supplements have been on the market for over a decade without significant side effects. They say that the FDA's proposed new dietary ingredient guideline appears to be nothing more than an expensive paperwork exercise intended to eradicate many safe products from the marketplace.
HR 3380 has been introduced by Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana to stop the power grab by the FDA.
As I often remind you, I am a volunteer blogger. I have never met Dr. D. I have not talked or corresponded with him about this issue. These are my own thoughts.
I buy supplements from several sources: some online and some at local stores. I have tried a number of D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition supplements, and I take two of them regularly.
Dr. D wrote “Eat Right 4 Your Type” in 1997, and developed his supplement line after that. It looks to me like Personalized Nutrition products would be among those requiring the new and expensive FDA testing.
News reports say that for now, industry associations want to lobby the FDA to withdraw the proposed NDI Guidance. I’m sorry for my cynicism, but with the Obama administration seizing control over ever widening aspects of health care, I find the idea of the FDA paying attention to anyone who asks them to go in a more conservative direction highly unlikely.
Rep. Burton is a Republican. As I see the current climate in Washington, almost every bill that passes the Republican controlled House, is tabled and never comes up for a vote in the Democrat controlled Senate. However I did contact my Congressman’s office and express my support of HR 3380.
There are lots of issues involved in the 2012 Presidential election. Health Care is only one of them. But I believe that people like us on the BTD will have to seriously evaluate how much freedom to manage our own health in a preventive and manner we want to keep, and how much control over the manner in which unexpected health problems will be treated, we are willing to give up.
I think I need another vacation…but I can't afford the gas.
When we turned onto our street last night, we saw that the live oak trees were brown, and one of the brownest was in our front yard. Our hearts sank. First impression was that after hauling gallons of gray water last summer during the drought, we had still lost a beautiful native tree. Then we laughed. Spring arrived in central Texas while we were in Oklahoma. The live oaks are supposed to lose their leaves and put out new growth as soon as the danger of a hard freeze is past. This morning I see that a few wildflowers are beginning to bloom. When I walked the dog I passed a lovely patch of verbena.
We left DG and EG in Oklahoma City and went to visit DB and NB in Tulsa. Tulsa appears to be one of those outdoor-oriented cities. There were bike and walking trails everywhere. We saw lots of signs pointing to green belts along the river. HH and DB first became friends when they were in college together and found that they not only shared a love for engineering but a love for hiking as well.
We went to Swan Lake and took several laps around the lake. There really are swans at Tulsa’s Swan Lake, and the sunset was beautiful. We had dinner at Los Cabos. The menu was lower carb and more BTD friendly than the Tex-Mex food that is prevalent at home.
We didn’t have WiFi for the last part of the trip, but I had to find a way to send work files to clients, and we both had to check e-mail. We started off going to McDonalds for lunch because they have free WiFi. I would pack a meat and veggie bowl in the morning and would eat my lunch in the car. That way I could log onto the laptop while HH ate a grilled chicken sandwich. He could check his e-mail after he finished his lunch. The grilled chicken sandwich was adequate for him, but McDonalds fries proved to be too much of a temptation.
The third day on the road we stopped at a Subway, and were told that most Subways not only have WiFi, but offer a free secure connection. You get the code when you buy your meal. This is a much healthier choice for HH. I can even get a salad, though I prefer to make my own meat and veggie bowl.
We stopped to see DD and HH’s Mom on the last night of our trip. Drum Roll…..I want you all to know that DD and ESS are engaged. She has bought her wedding dress, and she modeled it for her grandmother and me. I still have the smile on my face when I think about the moment. I’m sure I will be blogging about wedding food choices as the summer wedding date gets closer.
I was planning to write a blog about the Jewish holiday of Purim; one of the happiest times in the Jewish calendar. But I just can’t get myself into that spirit right now. All I can really think about is that my father passed away two days after Purim last year.
The Jewish laws regarding mourning for a parent last for a full calendar year. I really haven’t been myself this whole time. I wonder if I’ll feel more whole once the year of mourning is complete, or if his yartzeit (anniversary of his death on the Jewish calendar) will just dredge up even more pain. I suppose the point is to have the mourning process go through the whole cycle of seasons, and all the holidays, and this is the last holiday in that cycle.
It’s not like my father and I were even close. He worked 70+ hours a week when I was growing up. Most of my telephone conversations with him consisted of “Hi Dad, it’s Ruth. Is Mom there?” Even the last few years, when I lived in an apartment in my parents’ home, I still didn’t see much of him, or talk to him much. We just never had much to say.
Thinking of him is more about regret. What could have been. Opportunities I didn’t take to get to know him. Jealousy that my son had a better relationship with him than I or my brother ever had. This isn’t about thinking of a great man I knew and loved and miss, and I feel kind of guilty about that. This is all about what could have and maybe should have been.
Could he have been saved if he’d eaten right for his type? We only found out his blood type a month or so before he died. I did notice that he seemed more peaceful and easier to connect to when he wasn’t eating chicken, which is an avoid for B’s. Could we have at least gotten more out of the time he had with us if he’d eaten better, even if we couldn’t get any more time with him?
But then I have to remember that not everything is about blood type or diet. Knowing his blood type 15 years earlier might have changed nothing. I can’t fix the world; I can’t make anybody else take care of themselves, and I certainly don’t have the energy to take care of everybody. Some days I barely have the mental energy to take care of myself. Today is one of those days.