Food

May 29, 2012

I can’t believe Piggle is still sleeping. He won’t sleep much longer. It doesn’t matter when he goes to sleep, whenever I take out the computer, he wakes up a few minutes later. Anyhoo…

I should label this post food and exercise because I think I’ve figured something out. There are some things that when you know them to be true, even if you don’t want them to be true, it would be in your own best interest just to follow the truth and stop playing devil’s advocate with yourself. 

In the past with me and food, this has worked itself out in a couple of obvious ways: I can’t eat sugar most times of the day…I can almost never eat candy…and I certainly can’t eat candy in the afternoon on a empty stomach…unless I want to feel faint and sick to my stomach and then get a headache. I’ve known this for years and years and years and I’m not pretty good at following my own advice because it’s not worth it to feel the way I do when I eat sugar like this. After all, when the effects are so immediate, it’s pretty hard to tell yourself it’s NOT the sugar you just ate making you feel sick.

The more recent lesson I’ve learned is that I can’t really drink any caffeine ever. Even if I drink it with a meal and in the morning when my “constitution” is at its best, I get a spike in anxiety followed by shakes and then the familiar feeling of a blood-sugar low described above and then a feeling of sick hunger (as my brain is trying desperately to find the missing sugar it dumped all that insulin into my bloodstream for) that is actually quite hard to satiate. 

The problem is that for a year or more, I drank a cup of coffee every morning (I CRAVED that cup of coffee) for more than a year even though I’d read a ton of convincing literature describing what I was most likely doing to my body. Cravings are more powerful than reason.

In the meantime…I have been guided, as it seems to me, to more and more and more literature regarding health and diet and I have met person after person who has described being healed – for lack of a better term (although I do firmly believe that’s actually what has happened) – from many different kinds of chronic illnesses by changing their diets. I have a couple of friends in my day to day life who have kept (albeit not strictly) to ways of eating to which I aspire who have convincing testimony of the kinds of ailments with which they suffered while eating some of theses foods. Foods like wheat. Sugar. Caffeine. Pasteurized Dairy. 

So. Now I am pregnant again. My diet has changed for the better (I eat eggs in the morning now instead of cinnamon toast and coffee) but it’s not where I’d like it to be. I still give in to cravings for white flour and sugar. I still sometimes drink something with caffeine in it even when I know how it will make me feel. It doesn’t mean I’m not totally convinced that what I’m doing is ultimately bad for me, I’m just weak. But when you start noticing something it’s kind of hard to stop noticing it. I’ve had a couple of conversations with friends lately about giving up grains. One friend of mine gave up grains in her pregnancy with her newborn daughter and told me the week before she had her that she wasn’t feeling any of the typical discomfort associated with late term pregnancy at all. She did with her other kids, but not this one. Hmmm, I thought. That sounds really good. Then yesterday I was talking to a friend with a similar range of health issues (minorish but still annoying) like blood sugar problems and she told me she’s had to go off grains and sugar too because of her joints. She said she was getting so much pain in her wrist that she couldn’t hold the frying pan steady. She tested negative for rheumatoid arthritis, went off the “bad food” and got rid of the pain. It comes back when she eats it again. I told her yesterday how I JUST realized – it’s taken me 6 months of my second pregnancy and a LOT of sensitivity to food to realize this – that there is a correlation to my often feeling nauseous at night and what I’ve eaten during the day. I haven’t narrowed it down, but if I don’t eat too much wheat, sugar or dairy, that doesn’t happen. And when I made that correlation it came to me: I have been getting nauseous at night for many, many years. Like, since I was a child. I just never thought it could be food-related. Even though it originates in my stomach and my stomach is primarily for processing food. Interesting. Then she asked me, “do you get joint pain like I do?” and I was all, “No. I definitely don’t get joint pain. At least I don’t get joint pain.”

Guess what I noticed today.

Guess what I realized. It’s ALSO been happening for YEARS. But it’s been accelerating lately. I thought it was pregnancy, but it ALSO doesn’t happen when I don’t eat too much wheat, dairy or sugar.

Incidentally, I made Chicken Tikka Masala last night. From scratch. It was perfection. It was food porn, as Henry so lovingly quoted from Anthony Bourdain. And I made Naan from scratch from a recipe I found in Joy of Cooking. It’s not so great with 1/2 whole wheat flour. Just not the right texture. But it was pretty good. Oh yeah, and the yogurt I used for both things? I made it. From scratch. In my crockpot.

It was a FAIRLY good meal, health-wise. No veggies. I used brown rice and the naan had wheat. And I didn’t use raw milk for the yogurt. I’ve been too lazy to go back to my co-op. Sigh. So, the pain in both my arms and wrists today and the huge, bloated, I’m-way-too-pregnant feeling today was probably due to all the wheat and stuff I ate yesterday coupled with the chai I’m probably going to have to give up that I had this morning…

But here’s what’s happening with me and exercise and what I’m starting to suspect just correlates to the food choices I need to make. A few weeks ago, I had a three week unrelenting stint of depression that really, really scared me. Every day I was crying and hating my life. I don’t want to sound glib, just pressed for time, but I prayed. I cried out the name of Jesus, actually, at one low point and He answered that prayer. He didn’t answer by changing any of my circumstances, but that very night I started to feel happier. And the next day a thought entered my head, from outside, “what if you just change one thing in your life right now? What if you ask Henry to make breakfast for Piggle and you use that time to run?” So I did. And I felt so. much. better. And now I know that when I run, I have a good day. Period. I haven’t run every single day, but it’s been enough to make it last. And don’t worry. I have a belly band and I run real slow.

My brain, which before has thrown out all kinds of opposition to such things simply because sticking to something is hard, has started (with Jesus’ guidance, no doubt) to just believe and act. I usually can get myself out the door because I know how I will feel if I don’t run. 

I was telling a friend that I’ve decided just to do things I want to do this Summer and to not do things I don’t want to do. I think I should have said more that I’ve decided to take care of myself. I don’t so much WANT to run as that I want to feel good. So, I’m hoping to make this happen for me with food; or happen more with food, I should say. I don’t WANT to give up grains, but it’s starting to be a really stark choice. Either eat the muffin or feel good. But if I eat it, I can’t fix it afterward. It’s interesting. 

I want to hear your experiences with food! Have you come to any realizations? 

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2 Responses to “Food”

  1. noel miller Says:

    Love this! I think you and I have probably walked a similar path when it comes to our “food enlightenments” or some such thing. I have been blessed to not have very many food sensitivities, but Alan has ulcerative colitis, which has improved since we cut back on grains even just a little bit (and he’s lost weight). It is our goal to keep grains at a minimum, and to eventually try to soak/sprout the grains we do eat. Have you tried/noticed any difference with sprouted grains?
    Also, I can totally sympathize with having trouble giving something up, even though you know full well it’s not great for you. I’m still so addicted to refined sugar and carbs, and if we go somewhere where those things are in abundance (like a kids birthday party) I’ll look at Alan like “please stop me” but i’ll keep cramming cake into my mouth. As far as the food we eat at home, its an organizational thing, and for some reason living in an apartment with limited space makes me feel like I can’t get my ish together to properly prepare food (I think it’s mostly a mental block).
    What coop have you bought from?

    • jswankdesigns Says:

      Noel –

      I have thought I noticed a difference with sprouted grains. I usually eat sprouted toast with my eggs in the morning. This week, though, I had my usual breakfast and felt really bloated. It might have been because of the chai latte, though. 🙂 I’m not sure if what’s causing my symptoms is just one of those foods or a couple of them together. I notice different symptoms more strongly with different foods. I can’t eat much ice cream, for instance, or I get sick and I think that’s mostly from the dairy. Giving up the processed flour and sugar is a huge, uphill battle. I feel for you! I know people who’ve done it, though, at least mostly. I started (but didn’t finish) reading “Lick the Sugar Habit” which is all about cravings for sugar and flour being indications that you are actually more hurt by them. Your body is trying to keep you from feeling that withdrawal response when you go without them. I wanted to do a juice fast for awhile to try to help myself detox in a bigger way – knowing I’d feel awful for several days and then hopefully break some of that addiction. But I was breastfeeding and my midwife said I shouldn’t do a full juice fast while breastfeeding because toxins get dumped in breastmilk. And then I got pregnant. Ugh. She thinks the juice fast is the only way to really break the habit. So…someday. Organization is a bitch. You can get it down for a week and then it can totally slide for another two! I don’t have a good answer for that, except that when I was cooking for another family, I was a lot better at being organized but then my whole life revolved around the getting and prepping and cooking of food. I don’t know how anyone does it, much less how they make all these things from scratch, like raw cheese and soaked grains!! I’ve used a coop out of Vandalia, Michigan which does deliveries in Downer’s Grove and Wheaton. They have any kind of meat you would want, diary, eggs and usually seasonal veggies you can buy when you pick up your order. It’s once a month in each of those places and it’s pretty good prices. You have to pay a membership fee to get the raw milk, since it’s illegal to purchase raw milk in illinois without being an “owner” of the herd. I haven’t gone in awhile because we really haven’t had the money, but I’d go for the raw dairy, or else I’d get some from a place I’ve heard about in Glen Ellyn. Much easier, although more expensive. 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts! I’m glad Alan has found some relief with less grains. Chronic illness is the worst!


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