About Me

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I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and businesswoman with a passion for life. I try to keep my priorities in life straight - Faith, Family, Friends. I love to try new and challenging things, spend time with friends and family, sew, embroider and laugh. I run a custom apparel decorating business from my home. I enjoy spending time with my grandchildren.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Eat to live or live to eat?

When we were first married, almost thirty-nine years ago, I could eat anything I desired.  Or at least I thought I could.  And I did.  Sweets, whenever something looked good, any kind of meat or main dish, vegetables and fruits were among the favorite, but long story short - I loved to eat!  And I got by with it.  My metabolism allowed me to do that and most of my adult life I was kind of skinny. Or maybe it was because I was always chasing after four small children, running a household, helping run our farming operation, gardening, sewing, blah, blah, blah.  At any rate, ate I did.  I remember Rick once commented to me, "You live to eat and I eat to live."

Fast forward to today, "I eat to live."  Life has taught me that.  I have become a royal pain to feed.  In fact last weekend I was on a retreat and took most of my own food, just so the cooks wouldn't have to deal with me and my fussy body.  Why?

At the age of twenty-three I began having trouble with dizziness, extremely shakiness, trouble with a feeling of light headed a couple of hours after a meal.  I was a young mother with a toddler and a newborn.  During a routine check up for my children I mentioned it to the doctor, who became more concerned about me than my children.  A glucose tolerance test was ordered.  Long story short - I fasted and then drank a high glucose (sugary) drink.  I remember it tasted like Coca-Cola.  Each hour for five hours my blood was drawn to see what happened.  I don't remember what hour it happened, but while in the waiting room I could feel myself melting into the chair.  A nurse took me to an exam room and I passed out.  Seems, that was the wrong thing to do.  My blood sugar had dropped dangerously low (39) and I guess the doctor wasn't very happy with her.  Anyway, I received a diagnosis of Hypoglycemia (http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/tc/hypoglycemia-low-blood-sugar-topic-overview) and my days of eating sweets were over.  Guess my body doesn't like sugar.  I basically began eating as a diabetic eats, concentrating on frequent small meals as opposed to a few large meals/day, eating protein at each meal to help my body utilize the carbohydrates I consume.  For over thirty years this has worked with a few tweaks along the way.  I hope to avoid the diagnosis of diabetes that so many of my ancestors received.

As long as I can remember I have gotten head aches.  I didn't mention it to anyone for a long time.  I just thought everyone had them.  I remember in high school my head hurt so bad on an overnight with my friend that I kept turning my pillow over to find a cool side.  The coolness gave me some relief, but still I didn't tell her.  I kept my head on the pillow and at one point  fell asleep - while she was talking.  It was many years before I shared with her why, and I think she has finally forgiven me.   In my thirties I discovered the cause of my migraines - food triggered them.  Through a series of experiments I discovered what caused my head to feel like it was exploding.  Biggest offender:  chocolate; next in line: eggs, followed closely by chicken (where does a chicken come from?), turkey, basically anything with feathers; and final blow: red wine and alcohol.  I zeroed in on these five things by removing them completely from my diet for six weeks and then eating it.  I recorded my reaction.  Yup, a migraine soon followed.  I repeated this several times to be sure it wasn't a fluke.  It wasn't.  I began to read all food labels.  I was just ahead of the curve on that one.

Then at  forty-eight I  learned I had Macular Degeneration,http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/macular-degeneration/ an inherited eye disease that is one of leading causes of blindness in elderly.  My father was almost completely blind because of this when he died.  Being the geek that I am, I researched it and learned the best foods to eat to help with this.  I now have a daily intake of blueberries, spinach or kale or romaine lettuce.  A couple of years later I learned I have high cholesterol, high blood pressure and the beginnings of Osteoporosis http://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/default.htm?names-dropdown= ( all those years of being a skinny, white, female...)

As a result of learning what my body needs and why, my eating habits are dictated by a desire to be healthy and to feel well.  My typical breakfast is:  
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup rolled oats (not cooked)
3/4 cup blueberries**
1/4 cup strawberries**
1 tsp flax seed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
.5 ounces chopped walnuts (I toast mine and store in refrigerator)
**Thaw fruit if frozen or use fresh when available.

And coffee, I drink coffee mostly because I love it and it is an indulgence I hope I never have to give up.

As a result of research, all my soups meals include kale, I eat a salad most days, using Romaine lettuce or spinach or both, adding sprinkles of cheese and bacon bits and some type of protein.  After all life is short, eat bacon.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

I enjoyed reading how you came to having a healthy disciplined eating lifestyle. I'm on a path right now of figuring out which foods aggravate my hot flashes. So far caffeine is a culprit which I've gone without for the most part for two weeks. I know wine is also a no-no but I'm not ready to give that one up just yet.