Kai Chronicles

Eating, exploring and enjoying life


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Would you give up chocolate, booze and coffee for your health?

“She turned to the sunlight    And shook

Okay, so I’m back on a restricted diet. Not by choice but by extreme necessity.

My sinuses and I assume, my nasal polyps have been quite bad for months now; 18 or so actually. I was  getting on with life but the past couple months, my health has declined to a point where I am having sinus headaches, my ears are blocking up and aching and I’m not sleeping well. And I need sleep.

So, as of July 23 I stopped eating sugar, wheat, dairy, most fruits, booze, coffee and most processed foods (when you give up sugar, wheat and dairy that cancels out processed foods anyway). Now, I will admit to having a couple beer and 2 cookies since but those were my only slips.

Although a miracle hasn’t happened (yet), I do feel better. I actually slept through the night once since *fist pump*

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Confessions of a food addict

It’s been 7 weeks since the end of my elimination diet (the umpteenth one!!). I ended that one with a bang when I got drunk on wine and shots with a couple friends. Boy, that hurt the next day!!

cheers

It’s always a good idea at the time

But my diet remained fairly stable and healthy. Sadly, I can no longer say that.

It all went pear-shaped when I hit the wheat: sweets, bread & pasta.

Once I had a taste of it, I was hooked again. It started off slowly with a piece of toast then went to peanut butter on an English Muffin then a week later I graduated to a tuna sandwich then pasta for dinner with the boys……you get the drift.

And I must say, physically, I don’t feel too bad. But I know if I don’t stop soon, I’ll crash.

I am already noticing the fatigue and the cravings though. I’m eating bread daily – Oh give me my daily bread NOW or someone might get hurt.

Yes, a wee bit mad.

I truly do think wheat is addictive and let’s not forget the sugar I’ve been consuming (it’s in everything). I knew I was crossing a line when I went to the local bakery (Hell on earth) and ordered a lamington (see exhibit B). I pretty much inhaled that the minute I got home (which is only 2 blocks away). It was all downhill from there.

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Welcome to the dark side

Now, I’m consuming wheat daily and I’m back to that attitude of ,’what’s one more day going to hurt?’

But I know I cannot stay here in food heaven – or is it hell? There seems to be no borders lately.

I read this article about how new research is linking depression to inflammation. And what is a main source of chronic inflammation? Diet.

The article states:

 

There are several problems with the modern diet. It is high in foods that provoke inflammation, such as refined flour, excess sugar, oxidized (rancid) fats, trans fats, and a wide range of chemicals and preservatives. And it is low in foods that reduce inflammation, like long-chain omega-3 fats, fermented foods, and fermentable fiber. Numerous studies have associated the Western diet with major depressive disorder. 

And I don’t want to be depressed. Nor do I want to be fat, unfit, sluggish, lazy, anxious, constipated, addicted, wheezy, snotty or sick all the time. All of the things that come to me when I eat a diet full of wheat, sugar and dairy.

So, once again, I am setting myself up for a restriction. It will start on Sept 1 when I go to Bali on a mini wellness holiday. That gives me just over a week to fill my face. Now, pass the caramel popcorn and M&Ms please.

 


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Why I’m peeing on a stick

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I haven’t been well.

For the past 2 weeks, I have been extremely unwell, physically. And for the 4-6 weeks before that, I was unwell, mentally. Now, I have a nice potpourri of physical and mental health issues.

I’m convinced stress and anxiety have caused my physical issues.

I’ve been doing a lot of whinging to myself. Saying things like, ‘why is this happening?’ and ‘I’m healthy, this shouldn’t be happening’, kind of shit.

Today, I was reminded about the mind-body connection and I had, what Oprah calls an a-ha moment.

I was reminded that I am in control of MY life. I can choose to be healthy and happy, if that’s what I want.

Believe me, it’s bloody hard to do when it feels like you’ve got tennis balls stuck in your throat and stomach.

I’m currently being treated for reflux oesophagitis but even the doctor said this was a guess.

Besides the blockage feelings in my throat and stomach, I have experienced burning in my stomach, jaw pain, low-energy, severe cough, excess mucous and this all escalates at night when I lay down, which makes sleeping very difficult.

So, I’m on a  prescription drug called Nexium (which I was so determined to avoid) for 30 days and on a diet that consists mainly of:

  • oatmeal (porridge) with cinnamon & small drizzle of maple syrup (sorry but plain oatmeal is just gross)
  • banana
  • green soup (zucchini, herbs, garlic, spinach, celery, green beans…)
  • avocado
  • wholemeal bread (one slice a day with the avo)
  • celery
  • Almond milk banana green smoothie
  • a couple almonds/seeds if really hungry
  • ginger & lemon tea
  • rooibos tea
  • green juice (cucumber, celery, lime/lemon, kale, spinach, ginger)
  • water (sometimes with chlorophyll)
  • Pro-biotic supplement and/or drink
  • Nexium
  • Mylanta- if needed
  • I’ll add more alkaline foods to this as I feel better

No food or drink after 630pm.

I’m on day two of this regime. Before that, I was eating other food like chicken, potatoes, eggs, rice, chocolate….just regular but mild stuff.  I was still suffering. I haven’t had a coffee since May 3 and I love my coffee.

I’ve replaced my morning coffee ritual with a morning walk ( I cannot do any high intensity exercise) with Tony Robbins. Tony and I walk for 30-60 minutes. He talks, I listen.

Three days ago, he brought up the acid-alkaline diet.

Now, I’ve heard of this before but never ever looked into it. Tony is very convincing so I googled away.

Next stop, pharmacy for pH strips to test my levels. I figured if I was having so much acid reflux, I must have a high acid reading.

You have to pee on a strip /stick of paper and watch the colours change.

My reading was 5.

Anything below a 7 is acidic.

So, I got straight on to an alkaline diet, which is most of the foods listed above. Of course, there is much more than that on the alkaline list, but I’m also trying to soothe the reflux. That’s why I’m limiting my food intake. I need to eat every 2-3 hours otherwise I get too hungry.

Today (after on 1.5 days on), I feel better and my levels are closer to 7.

But, I felt better all weekend too so I then ate a bucketful of hazelnut chocolates and within 8 hours,felt worse for another 30 hours. I won’t do that again.

So, once again, food is ruling my life and not in a good or delicious way.

I can’t stand the fact that I’m back here in this place of ill-health and uncertainty but I’m determined to build a bridge and get over it.

I’ve just booked an appointment for Bowen Therapy (I’ve never had it) and I’m sticking to this alkaline diet until I feel 110% better.

So, no booze, no coffee, no chocolate, no pizza, no dairy, very little wheat (the bread actually makes me feels good, believe it or not), very few acid foods.

Has stress every morphed into physical illness for you?

 What extremes have you gone to restore your health?

 

 

 


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Discipline Master or Control Freak?

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My latest restriction was planned as 14 days with no sugar. To me, no sugar means NO SUGAR, including all sweeteners and fruit. I lasted 2 days then I had to have low-sugar fruits and honey. For those 2 days, I felt incredibly hungry and I didn’t sleep well. Since adding the fruit and honey, I’ve been fine.

In spite of this failure of mine,  a friend called me a Discipline Master. I thought this term was so much friendlier than Control Freak.

Now that I have had all my test results back and there is nothing physically wrong with me, I wonder, ‘Well, what the hell is wrong with me?’

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I do not have food allergies.

I do not have a bacterial infection.

I do not have a major hormone imbalance.

I do not have bowel polyps.

I do not have cancer.

I have read several times over the past few months about how restrictive diets are becoming a health trend but if there is no medical reason for the food restriction, you could be adding to your issues by eliminating certain food groups. I am so very guilty of this one.

Every time I restrict, I do it in the name of my health. And I do feel better, eventually. But now, I am beginning to think that all my restrictions are more about power over food, not about my good health.

So, I’m loosening up a little. I had pasta the other night and today I had one piece of chocolate.

All my restrictions started in 2005 when I was in search of relief for my chronic sinus problems (nasal polyps). I knew I had polyps but controlling them was difficult. My former boss had much success with Ayurveda, what Indians call the science of life, so I decided to give it a go.

Each week, I would drive myself from Te Anau to Queenstown (New Zealand) to see the practitioner. She would massage me to work out the toxins. I took many herbs in tablet form. I restricted my diet on her recommendation. I was Vata so I had to stick to a Vata reducing diet. I lost 4kgs (8lbs)  rapidly but I was not overweight at all. She said it was toxins. I was now underweight and extremely thin (which I loved). Within a month, I felt great. It didn’t do much for my polyps, if anything but I felt and looked like a million bucks.

I stuck to this new regime for about 5 months before I caved. Two months after starting the Ayurveda sessions, I moved to Fiji which would be great for an Ayurveda diet. Did you know that half the population of Fiji are of East Indian descent?

I was very unhappy there. I was living and working with my new husband and it was not going well. I started to eat bread. Not all the time but I did have some. I also had the odd cocktail,  those were the days when I rarely drank but alcohol was definitely not part of my Ayurvedic regime.

Not long after that, I got pregnant and once that was confirmed, I allowed myself to eat whatever my body wanted, including meat (I had been a vegetarian).

Eat-No-Meat

The first time I became  vegetarian, I was 12 years old. My family had moved from the city to the country and my stepdad started to kill dinner. I was certainly influenced by an older sister who refused to eat anything “off the farm”. I remained I veggo until the age of 16 when I was a runaway and McDonald’s hamburgers were the cheapest things to eat, but that’s another story.

My issues with food are long and varied. I was a very skinny kid and remember being scrutinised for not eating enough. I was so shy, I didn’t like to eat in front of people, not even my family. I’m sure that is another story as well.

When I was 18, I got a job at Dairy Queen and became the Queen herself. I ate so much ice cream and chicken burgers, I gained 20 pounds (9kgs) in a matter of a coupe months. I had never gained weight before and eventually it got me down. It was gone by the time I was 23 thanks to stress and a prescription of Fluoxetine.

The next 7 years were food obsession free. I ate whatever I wanted, I drank like a fish (some of the years),  I didn’t have a weight problem and besides my sinus and respiratory problems I  was healthy.

When I lived in Sydney in 2001, I fell back in to the obsessive food wars with the added title of exercise freak attached, just for fun. The crazy thing about that is when I look at the photos from that time, I was puffy and not thin or healthy looking at all. I used to binge eat because I couldn’t cope with the restrictions I put on myself. When I think of that time now I think, that was crazy.

But is what I’m doing now any more sane and stable?

Mr M has “suggested” more than once that I have disordered thinking when it comes to food. When it all comes down to the hardcore facts, the truth is this.

I don’t want to be fat. I don’t believe obesity is a disease. I believe it’s the result of gluttony and disrespect to your body. This is not a scientific fact, just my opinion.

I don’t need to go to see a “doctor” to look at my history and see the signs that I have body issues. I certainly don’t need to go on some BIG PHARMA lab concoction that will keep me down and dumb.

So what is it I do need to do? I saw this on Facebook today and I think it sums it up nicely.

Live it up