Thursday, February 24, 2011

Eating Like It's My Job

Over fifty years of shopping for food and preparing food in certain ways creates some deeply ingrained habits; and changing habits requires focus, dedication, determination, and a belief that what you are doing is worth the effort. I am hip-deep in changing lifelong habits, and I am finding that it is incredibly time-consuming. Those who know me well, and who know how much I love food, will find it hard to believe that I actually do NOT like thinking constantly about what I am going to put in my mouth; but it's true. I will be glad when some of these changes become habits, so my brain can be freed up for other thinking about what time I can take a nap.

Right now my goal each day is to eat nutrient-dense meals. Before this, I thought I was eating a healthy diet....and by most standards, I probably was. For instance, I haven't eaten "fast food" in decades, unless you count an occasional salad at Subway or an indulgent 6 pack of chicken strips at Chik-fil-A as "fast food." However , I have discovered that I really have been robbing myself of a great way to fill the tank by not filling up on fruits and vegetables, but that it takes planning. In short, I have been including so many more vegies and fruits in my daily diet, that it is consuming big hunks of time just keeping them on hand, not to mention preparing them. The up side of all this is that I am seldom hungry between meals.

The best thing I recently have discovered is that some frozen vegetables, like cauliflower and brussel sprouts, turn out very well roasted with olive oil. Previously, I had roasted only fresh vegetables, which I love; but frozen ones are so much cheaper, easier to keep on hand, and entirely acceptable as a side item with lunch. I might still serve fresh to guests, but for my daily servings of cruciferous vegetables, frozen works just fine.

And liquids. Lord have mercy. I am floating, but still not drinking enough on most days. Of course, because I am taking additional vitamins and supplements, sometimes between meals, I do try to drink a significant amount of water when I am washing them down. And I know that soon my body will want more liquid as it gets accustomed to being supplied with more.

All in all, I feel so pleased with the steps I have taken toward better health. Whether or not this effort prevents a recurrence of breast cancer, only time will tell. But in the meantime, I feel much happier with myself for having taken charge of this part of my life. Plus, I know that I am healthier in general, with more energy and a positive outlook. And if the cancer does recur, I will still be ahead of the game in my physical and mental well-being.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Naturopathic Approach to Health

Where to begin? First of all, my mood is back in the normal zone. I am feeling even more hopeful and energized than I was when I wrote the last entry. My appointment with Dr. Jillian Sarno Teta at the Naturopathic Health Clinic went very well, from my perspective, in that she offered easy positive steps which I can take to strengthen my immune system, cleanse that old workhorse - the liver, and get rid of excess estrogen, which is the baddie which can fuel the cancer. As soon as I left her office I felt better, mainly because I regained some control.

I am not foolish enough to believe that I am actually in control of the ultimate outcome. However, I do feel stronger, knowing that I have done everything in MY power to assist my body in throwing off this invader. If there is a recurrence, I will accept it more easily if I have "done my part" in the fight.

Second, the prescription for my health involves some dietary changes, but nothing that has proven to be onerous, and, for me, being engaged with a project has its own set of rewards. In general, I am just eating more lean protein and less fat; avoiding sugar; bumping up my intake of cruciferous vegies; sticking to organic meats, fruits, and vegies; drinking tons of water and other good liquids; making sure that my daily intake of food is nutrient dense; and generally avoiding bad fats, processed foods, coffee, and black tea. The hardest part for me is taking in enough liquid. I feel like I drink and drink and drink, and still I do not meet the basic requirement of one half my body weigh in ounces per day.

Another thing I wanted from this meeting was an assessment of the vitamins and supplements I was taking. Over time, my "bag o'pills" had gotten rather hodge-podgy, and I was beginning to think I didn't really know what I needed. There has been so much press lately about Vitamin D, Calcium, etc., and I just couldn't decide which way to jump. Dr. Jillian helped with that problem also. Of course, she wants me to take the brand of vitamins and minerals that she recommends, because the drugstore brands I was using are not compounded in the most bio-available way. No problem there. I am willing to pay the extra money for the assurance that I am taking good quality supplements in the correct dosages at the right time of day, etc.

Additionally, Dr. Sarno put me on some enzymes. I have read quite a bit about enzyme therapy for cancer treatment, and although it is still looked at askance by the medical establishment, I believe that the day will come when its efficacy will be more widely acknowledged. I mentioned in an earlier post about the research concerning papaya leaf tea, which releases a vital enzyme known to weaken cancer cells. I am still drinking that tea on occasion, but I am glad to be taking these pills twice a day as well.

Finally, as a result of this new diet, I have reaped another benefit: I have lost the last few pounds left over from the gain during chemotherapy. I cannot attribute this loss to any other source because my exercise habits are pretty much the same.