Diet: Its a Lifestyle Not a Fad

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I have been thinking a lot about this one particular topic.  My diet.  I have been researching the diet and learning as much as I can about how to eat successfully on the diet.  Now, when I say diet, I am using that word very loosely.  I’m not referring to a fad thing, or a temporary means to lose weight.  I’m talking about an entire lifestyle change for the long haul.  I’m talking totally rewiring my brain by educating myself on what is really healthy for my body.

Vegan.  Oh yes.  I said it.  I used to make fun of vegans.  I used to think, “Why would someone not want to eat meat?”  Well, I’ve changed.  It is interesting to me, that many things that I was very dead set against doing in the past has become my future.  ie home educating my kids, and now cutting animal products out of my diet.

There are two components that I want to address.

1. Ethical reasons

2. Health reasons

Ethical:

I get it, God gave us animals for our use.  I am very grateful for that.  However, I do not believe He intended them to be slaughtered en mass as they are now.  I think our society has begun to grossly over-eat and over-indulge in meat, because it is there.  I am not totally against it though.  This is where I differ from “Vegans,” and where I like to draw the line.  I do not refer to myself as Vegan, but merely eating a vegan diet.  I don’t like how many vegans have allowed that one word to define themselves.  They aren’t bad people, but I think, in the name of saving the animals and the planet, they have gone a little far.  But that is the humanist type of thinking.  I am not that.  So, take this for what you want to take it as.  I would eat meat if I didn’t have anything else to eat.  I one day plan to have a self sustaining farm, where I would love to benefit from organic chicken eggs and even raw milk of a cow.  But until then…

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have a health code called the Word of Wisdom.  This is basically things that we should refrain from and the things that we should consume in order to be healthy.  We believe that we are closer to the Holy Ghost, and therefore God when we allow our bodies to be clean and healthy.  We refrain from tea, coffee, alcohol, tobacco, and other addictive and harmful substances.  Essentially, all things in moderation are good.  When something is in excess, that is not good.  I have learned, that for me, a harmful and addictive substance is soda…especially caffeine loaded sodas.  I have also come to the conclusion that meats, dairies, and other animal products (except for honey) are not good for my body.  You can find this health code here: Doctrine and Covenants 89.  I want to draw attention to the verse 13 in this section that addresses the use of meat.  It states, “And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.”  Now, there are many who will argue that in other scriptures, God specifically says that he is unhappy when we don’t use them.  This is where you have to pray for yourself and determine what it is you are willing to give up, and what you believe to be right.  I found a fantastic article on this topic that really drove the nail home for me.  You can read it here.  Past prophet and leader of the LDS Church, Lorenzo Snow said, “Unless famine or extreme cold is upon us we should refrain from the use of meat.”  There are many other quotes by apostles of the Lord and prophets in these latter days.

I’ll let you make up your own mind as to what you believe to be right.  The wonderful thing that we have is our free agency to decide those things for ourselves.  So, yes, for me eating a vegan diet is somewhat ethical, but more of a spiritual decision about what I believe to be right in the sight of my Father in Heaven.  I don’t think He eats meat.  Do you?

Health:

Which brings me to my main reason to choosing the vegan diet.  I have eaten a raw vegan diet before, last summer, and I felt amazing.  I had so much energy.  I lost a lot of weight.  My skin cleared up.  I was producing less skin oils, and most all of my PCOS symptoms started to let up.  But sadly, we couldn’t afford it like I needed it then, and well, I quit.  I slowly started eating all of those processed foods and drinks that I had liberated my body from, and that weight came right back.  So, I have done it before, and I had amazing results.

So one year later, with answers in my hand, concerning my health issues, I know what works for my body.  That makes it easier to take that step and cut out animal products.  I’m not perfect, but I’m being successful, because I understand what is at stake.  I want to be healthy, and I want to have more children.  In order for me to do that, I must take control and give my body what it needs to heal.  I love it, and there are so many options to getting new and unique recipes…or even copycat recipes of classic recipes that I ate before switching my diet…like pizza, pasta, Mexican foods, Chinese and other Asian foods just to name a few.

There is still the issue of how much it costs to eat a vegan diet, because let’s face it.  You have to eat a lot in order to get enough calories.  Last year when I was eating the vegan diet, I was working to bring a produce co-op to Hobbs, NM.  I trained and did everything that I was supposed to in order to get Bountiful Baskets to come here.  It took SIX months for it to start up, but it is finally going, and that saves me SO much money!  This has been a huge blessing and has cut my produce budget in half, if not more!  So, I took it in my own hands to make this diet possible for myself, and through answered prayers, it came to be!  Prayer is powerful!

I am NOT a Vegan.  I do not like the humanistic side of that label.  However, I do recognize the benefits of the health aspects.  So I will gladly eat vegan foods.  It is going to be a difficult journey.  It already has been, and I have been official for about 2 1/2 weeks now.

The vegan diets that I am leaning toward is 80/10/10 fully raw, and even more so Raw Until Four, because I like the idea of still having cooked foods.

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Warning: Challenges ahead

This year has brought me some interesting challenges to my life.  More than likely life long challenges.  Knowing the name of these challenges though, gives me that Oh, that makes sense kind of thought.  All at the same time, giving me that, Ugh, I really have to do something about this type of feeling.

I’ve debated coming right out with it, mostly because it feels like a private matter.  But what if there is someone out there struggling with this same thing, and I could somehow help, by helping them feel included  not so alone?

Two weeks ago, today, after blood tests to eliminate other illnesses, and an ultrasound to confirm the most likely, I was diagnosed told that I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.  “Diagnosed” is such a loaded word.  It’s so final, like I’m terminal.  At least that is how it makes me feel.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a disease of the endocrine system.  The symptoms include cysts on the ovaries, among many other symptoms and possible issues from severe hormone imbalance to the possibility to cancer in the future (if not treated).  Most women with PCOS are over-weight to obese due to these lovely imbalanced hormones, but not only that, PCOS makes it harder for a woman to lose weight.  Some women are under weight and have a difficult time gaining to a healthy weight.  But most all of these women suffer from infertility and irregular menstrual cycles.  Like I said, it explains a lot.  For a full list of symptoms go here.  For a full list of complications if left untreated, go here.

Treatment:

Everything Most information I read about PCOS states that it cannot be cured or healed.  It is just something I’m going to have to deal with for my entire life.  However, I have scoured the intenet for information on PCOS, and while there is still so much more to learn about it, I have found at least 2 cases where the woman shows no signs or symptoms of the condition, along with being able to have children after “healing” her body naturally.  They achieved this by getting to a healthy body weight naturally through diet and exercise.  A very clean diet I might add, eliminating all animal products and processed foods from their diets.  Other than that, I have not heard of a cure.

It isn’t or wasn’t a surprise for me that the doctor immediately wanted to get me on medication.  One of those medications was much needed to help regulate my cycles.  I accepted that, and will be on that medication for a few more months.  But what didn’t sit well with me, was that the ONLY treatment option that my doctor came up for me, was to put me on another medication, one without a sign of ever getting off of it.  I’m not against medication when it is really needed, but I personally believe that a long-term prescription to any medication is really just treating the symptom and not root cause, and ultimately keeping the person sick.  So, that is a last resort for me.  When I told her that I wanted to treat my PCOS naturally, she blinked at me, fumbled around mentally and said, “Okay, cut back on starches and dairy….but eat yogurt.”  That. Was. It.  What kind of wellness plan is that?

Disappointing.

One thing going for me is the education on health that I have gained over the last handful of years about diet and exercise.  I have learned a lot about what works for my body, and I have come to the conclusion that I CAN heal this condition through a careful change in my lifestyle.  These changes won’t be easy.  I’ve found great success when I have done these changes for a few months, but it is hard to maintain, because it costs more money, and takes more effort and time.  Heh.  There is a naturopathic doctor that I plan on seeing, but our insurance doesn’t cover it, so I want to save up for it.  In the meantime, I’m coming up with my own plan.

I am arming myself with education on nutrition.  Real nutrition.  Not the idea of nutrition taught in schools, or what people generally assume to be nutrition.  I’m digging deep into what we eat today on average, compared to what was eaten 100 years ago.  I have a handful of books on my reading list to get me started with a plan.

I have a diet and progress tracking journal that I have started, and I love it.  Its and ARC notebook from Staples.
It is totally awesome.

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A picture of me on front showing when I was much healthier for positive focus. I plan on adding more pictures.

In this journal, I am planning meals, journaling about my day, week, month…about things that I try out that fail, or things that work.

My calender tracking my goals, a week long menu, and my journal of my progress.

My calender tracking my goals, a week long menu, and my journal of my progress.

I’m even writing down the things that keep me from succeeding.  There are many things I am finding that happen that have me reverting back to old habits.  These I track in order to learn how to see them coming and prevent and prepare for them.  I am also making monthly goals that I am writing down and tracking on a calender in my journal.  So far, it is working wonderfully for me.  I look forward to learning more about myself through this journey!

My attitude is as such, that I am ready to make the life changes that I need to in order to provide my body with the healing tools that it needs.

MY CURRENT READING LIST
Original Fast Foods by James and Colleen Simmons (currently reading)

See also website

Eat to Live by Joel Fhrman, M.D.

The 80/10/10 Diet by Dr. Douglas N. Graham

MY HEALTH DOCUMENTARY LIST
Hungry for Change
Food Matters
Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
Food Inc.