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*
When I was deep in the throes of my physical misery (severe acid reflux) I felt desperate for a fix. So desperate that I took prescription meds and we all know how that turned out. If you don’t have a peek here.
So, I told you that after stopping the horrible meds and one session of Bowen, I began to feel better.
Six days after my first appointment, I went back for a follow-up, which by then I was 98% clear of any acid reflux. My sinuses also were clearing greatly.
Now, you may be asking, ‘what is Bowen anyway?’.
Well, I don’t fully understand it but I do fully believe in it.
What I do understand is that it focuses on the muscular structure and fixes any misalignments.
What happens in a typical session?
Bowen is not like getting a massage.
You do lay down on a massage table but you are fully clothed.
The practitioner feels around your spine and muscles then leaves the room.
These slight touches are called moves.
A 2 minute break between moves allows the adjustment to take place, so to speak.
This continues throughout your body for close to an hour (yes, he/she leaves the room every few minutes so don’t be alarmed when this happens).
Because I went to aid my stomach and sinus issues, my practitioner also honed in on these areas.
The session ends with a few standing exercises and adjustments in needed.
When done, I left feeling relaxed and content.
For 48 hours after each appointment, it is advised to not have any other treatments or apply excess heat to your body (heated blanket, hot water bottle, hot tubs etc).
After my second session, I was advised to wait 2-3 weeks before returning. I was told that after 10 days, I may feel my symptoms return and even get worse but that did not happen. I just continued to get better and now, I have zero reflux and aside from am occasional runny nose and mild congestion (which is the norm for me) my sinuses are clear most of the day and night.
My third session is booked for tomorrow and then I plan to return once a month.
Bowen Therapy (aka Bowen Technique) originated in Geelong, Australia over 50 years ago. Founder, Tom Bowen believed that “that the underlying cause or source of many musculoskeletal, neurological, neuromuscular and other health or pain problems could be found in the soft tissue or fascia.”
For more information about this holistic therapeutic therapy, click here.
I’ve just stuffed down a piece of homemade (by me) pumpkin pie topped with fresh whipped cream. I had to force it down because I am so full from dinner: 3/4 of a veggie pizza and 3 beer.
Yes, I’m on a binge.
No, I’m not happy with myself.
I’ve had a shithouse day full of disappointment and self-induced stress but nevermind that, the binge was premeditated.
See, tomorrow is the start of another health kick or health booster as I’m calling this latest stint.
I’ve fallen back into the habit of drinking alcohol everyday, whether I really feel like it or not and my eating habits are getting slack as well.
I’ve been baking too.
Raspberry white chocolate muffins
Banana cake, chocolate chip cookies, muffins…and of course, I eat it! The muffins…yummy!
I’ve also had a hamburger and I don’t even eat RED MEAT!!! Damn, it was delicious!
Hamburger with homemade pesto and salad
I said it before. I love food. I like to have a beer or two on a hot day. I love homemade baked goods and I’m pretty good at making yummy things. But it’s now time to listen to my body.
I’ve had a few headaches lately and my respiratory system is becoming clogged up again. Thankfully, I still have my sense of smell and taste, which is great but also makes it hard for me to resist good food. And when I hear the word resist, I think of Eckhart Tolle when he says:
“What you resist, persists”
I truly feel ill at the moment. I’ve eaten so much tonight that I feel sick but I am still thinking, ‘only 3 hours left of today, then it’s back on the wagon, what else can I eat?’
But I cannot eat or drink another thing tonight so for the next 4 weeks (minus Oct 27th when I have dinner plans in Perth), I will be on my health booster which will include the following guidelines:
Fruit: ONLY berries, green apple, pear, lemon, lime
Drinks: Decaf tea/coffee, soy/rice milk, water – NO ALCOHOL or SUGAR Drinks
Limit sugar, fat, processed foods
Fitness (mind and body)
10 minutes meditation Daily
5 Healing Tibetans/yoga (15min) Daily
20 minutes (min) of cardio 4 times per week (M*, T, Th*, Sat)
1.5 hour yoga class Wednesday
* Training with Mr M
I do not need to lose weight, just tone and get rid of the beer bloat. I know for sure that I feel and look better when I cut out all the junk that my body doesn’t need. Gosh, I know I sound like a broken record and I truly hope that someday I will get to where I want to be. For now, I will get back up after I have fallen…again and again and again.
The thing is, I secretly look forward to these “restricted” periods. For some reason, I cannot go without unless I give myself a date and some rules. Control issues? Probably, but whatever works at the time.
October and November is a great time to get healthy before the Christmas season kicks off. Nobody in their right mind tries a health plan or restricted diet during that time!!
If you’re trying a new eating regime, remember this: it’s hard work and you really need to want it bad enough to be successful at it. (Yes, I’m talking to myself here…lol.)
Since I recently took a dose of Prednisolone to help relieve my mystery illness, I am pleased to announce the re-birth of my sense of smell and taste.
Chronic nasal polyps often results in the loss of these senses. It’s easy to get used to not smelling anything so when it re-appeared, it was like being given a new toy. I wanted to smell everything! It was exciting.
It’s now been 2 weeks or so since the re-discovery and although I want it to last, I may be contributing to its demise. Now, I want to eat everything too.
I’m eating food I wouldn’t usually indulge in because I just cannot get over the taste sensation! I ate 3 pieces of cold pizza on the weekend. Bread, cheese and salami are not happy players with nasal polyps.
It’s like tasting food for the first time…what a dangerous time in my life!!
Chocolate actually taste like….chocolate!! Who knew?
Another thing I notice is the fact that the world smells so perfumy. Why do tissues need to smell like perfume? I think it’s irritants like this that may contribute to sinus and respiratory issues in the first place.
I am taking my western meds vigilantly and also have faith in the power of suggestion to prolong my new sense!
So, I’m not on my restricted regime anymore. The demise started last weekend when I was feeling like absolute crap.
I was taking Panodol just to stay upright but still felt the effects of a mysterious internal infection. The day before, I made chocolate chip biscuits for Master 6 and the kids I was looking after for the weekend. Well, I decided that I wanted to try one…just one to perk myself up a bit. One wasn’t enough. However, I did stop at two. They were delicious.
The next morning, I made bacon and cheese tea biscuits (similar to scones) for the boys’ breakfast and lunch boxes. I had one. I could not resist it. Today, I made chocolate banana muffins. I thought about resisting but I choose not to and had 2 mini muffins ( baby size).
The chocolate banana muffin (regular size not the mini version).
It was the third time in 10 days that the word resist came to my present moment. When asked by my yoga teacher why I did not go to the doctor I said, “I resist western medicine.” As soon as I said it aloud, I knew I had to reflect upon it.
Then when I thought in my mind ‘I can’t resist that tea biscuit’, I knew it had to end; the controlling relationship I have with food. I remember what Eckhart Tolle said, “What you resist persists.”
It doesn’t mean I went on a binge and devoured all restricted items. I did not. But I’m over with being such a tight-ass. I don’t do this strictly because of my health condition, although that has always been the premise. I think I do it out of the need to control a situation that only I can. I know this sounds vaguely like the mind of someone with an eating disorder. I am now on a mission to change my thoughts about food. I know I have conditioned myself enough to moderate food now…in the name of my health.
That is why I made an amazing dinner tonight including one thing I normally would not eat and haven’t eaten in 8 months: Wheat Pasta. I normally insist on eating only gluten-free pasta.
The dish I wanted to create is nicer with a fresh egg fettuccine. The Garlic Lovers Pasta Sauce is a recipe handed down to me from my very good friend, Gillian McKenzie. She used to make this when we were flatmates in Vancouver, Canada. Now, it is a regular menu item at her restaurant,The Seaside Shanty in Chester, Nova Scotia. It is easy, fast and yummy! Here’s how to make 2 servings (or 3 small).
Mince 5 cloves of garlic. Add it to 2 TBSP of oil in a saucepan; sauté until soft, about 1 minute. Do not burn.
2. Add 1tsp of dried basil or mixed Italian herbs (that’s what I use)
3. Add 1/5 tsp of chilli flakes or cayenne pepper. ( I use a little less)
4. Add 1tsp each of salt and pepper.
5.Add 2 cans of chopped or crushed tomatoes. (I use chopped)
6. Simmer for 30 minutes. Take lid off pot half way through.
7. BBQ 2 free-range chicken breasts. I season with salt, pepper, and olive oil only before cooking. Cut into slices when cooked.
8. Cook a package of fresh fettuccine pasta according to the package instructions. Or make your own if you’re real keen. Sometimes, I am that keen.
9. Twist pasta onto a large plate.
10. Top with 2 large spoonfuls of sauce.
11. Grate fresh parmesan cheese over the sauce.
12 Top with sliced chicken.
Step 13….don’t serve with recipe card!!
One item I am not ready to resume is alcohol. I love a cold beer on a hot summer day so I can wait until those days arrive. My goal is November. I will try the moderation thing with alcohol again. I used to do it so there is no reason I can’t again.
I know I have said all these things before and then I go and stick myself back on a restricted regime that I don’t really enjoy.
I love to cook. I love to bake. I love to eat the foods I make out of love and joy. How can that be wrong?
I do have a respiratory condition that I need to monitor but I am so grateful that I am not celiac or diabetic or have a condition that calls for me to never have the foods I love again. I think it’s time I let go of my control freak ways and just enjoy life. Isn’t that what we are all here for?
By the way, I finally gave in and saw a doctor on Friday, August 24th. I am now on 2 medications: prednisolone (which is great, I’ve been on it several times over the past 17 years) and clarithomycin tablets, which I believe is an anti-biotic*. The doctor said 17 days with a cold or flu is not the norm and he even took some swabs of my throat and nose for testing. Two days on and I am feeling much better although I haven’t had a proper night’s sleep. I’ve been awake since before 4am this morning and it’s now 9pm. My early morning coughing fit has not subsided yet. Maybe tonight’s the night.
If you are maintaining a new eating regime or trying out a restricted diet for weight or health reasons, I urge you to stick with it for a minimum of 3 weeks. Often new habits are formed around this time and you just may not even want the “bad for you” foods as much or again. If you fall off, get back up there the next day. I have been up and off that wagon so many times now that more often than not, I will choose gluten-free, dairy free, yeast free and alcohol free items first anyway. It’s about your conditioning and priorities. If your health is in question, then it’s a no-brainer. Yes, it’s damn hard especially when you’ve lived your entire life eating the foods that are making you ill.
The question is: Are you living to eat or eating to live?
*always take a probiotic supplement or have some live culture yoghurt daily while taking as away to maintain good bacteria in your tummy.
Inner Health for ummm inner health
I love this yoghurt.It may be dairy but it’s good for the tummy!
Do you struggle to stick to a diet or restricted eating plan?
I’ve been up and down on different regimes over the past 8 years or so and have failed to make a permanent lifestyle change. Mind you, I am fairly healthy and my eating habits are very healthy….most of the time.
Yet here I am once again flapping on about food and my struggles but that fact is: I like to eat and drink!! I love FOOD!! But I am destined to live a life of deprivation and limitation.
It’s August 1 and for the next 31 days I am challenging myself to restrict the foods and drink that I know for sure interfere with my health (and waistline):
Red Meat (I don’t eat it anyway)
Sugar needs to be on the list too and I will not add sugar to anything but I am not going so far as to totally ban it….life’s too short for that nonsense.
Right now, I’d say my biggest battle will be with the withdrawal of alcohol. I’m not an alcoholic by any stretch of the imagination but I do like a beer or two come 5pm most nights.
The thing about booze, especially beer is that it makes me fat. There is no doubt in my mind that a few beer everyday has contributed to the BBB (bloated belly blues) I have and the additional 3kgs I’ve been carrying around since mid-June. Like food, my alcohol intake has been inconsistent over the years.
I was 14 when I got drunk for the first time. My friends and I were on our way to a school dance (hey, it was 1986!) and I downed 3 bottles of beer not knowing the effect it would have. Well, I have no idea how I made it through the doors of the school because I couldn’t even walk!! Booty shaking was definitely out!
Over the next 18 years, I used the drink as a way to party and socialize. I was a classic binge drinker and usually only drank to get drunk. It was never a loved pastime so when I began to reflect on my health and change some consumption habits, booze was easily off the intake list!! During the years of 2003-2009, I rarely drank but then something changed.
While living in tropical Australia, I realised how good it could be to enjoy a cold beer after a long, hot day at work. This easily became a habit and before long I was drinking 5 out of 7 days a week. For the first time in my life I was drinking to wind down and cool down, not for the purpose of getting wasted!! But I knew it was going to catch up with me.
After my 2nd nasal surgery in 2008 and several allergy tests that all proved to be inconclusive and unsuccessful, I had to accept the fact that it was food and drink products that were playing havoc with my sinuses.
I’m trying to avoid this look ( I have no idea why this photo refused to stay upright)
August 15, 2012 will mark the 1 year anniversary of my 3rd nasal surgery to remove nasal polyps and the last 12 months have been my most consistent year of restriction so far, though my eating/drinking habits are constant peaks and valleys. I know this is how I must live my life in order to stay out of the hospital and to just breathe easier. I recently had the all clear from my Ear, Nose and Throat doctor so I’m doing something right.
That is why today marks the beginning of yet another stint of going without. This newest deadline is set at 1 month but I know I will have to keep it going well beyond September 1.
Along with the forgoing of alcohol and the danger foods, I am committing to:
Daily yoga practice at home
Weekly Iyengar yoga class
Weekly Pilates at home
Daily practice of The 5 Healing Tibetans
Twice weekly kickboxing
My end goal is to just be healthy…..bahaha…………. and look damn good in my bikini by November 1!!!
Easter was always about the chocolate for me. Today was the first time since Dec 31, 2011 that I had chocolate. The best part about it though was that I didn’t totally binge on it. I had a few small Easter eggs and a couple marshmallow eggs and enjoyed them without the guilt or feeling like I was a failure. It was good, but I’m not hanging out for the next piece.
Today is also my birthday. There was no big party, no dinner out, no ice cream or chocolate birthday cake either.
I made my own dinner: salmon, sauteed carrots and cabbage and basmati rice. I even added a bit of butter to the rice and veggies. It was simple yet healthy and delicious.I really would not have wanted anything else.
My birthday cake was also made by me: lemon polenta cake with lemon syrup. Not quite the same as a double chocolate mousse cake or ice cream cake but it was still yummy.
Having some dairy today did nothing to my sinuses. I felt no ill health from the bit of dairy that I consumed. This, I’m very happy about!
Maybe 3 months on a strict, healthy diet is enough to set a new pattern. “Everything in moderation”. I used to hate that saying because I couldn’t achieve it.
Now, it is where I aim to be. In the past, it was not something that I was capable of; it was all or nothing for me. But now I feel that I am quite capable of having things in moderation but I guess time will time.
All in all, it was a great day. Happy Easter everyone! Eat chocolate and enjoy!
This post marks the end of the first week of a new year and new regime. Although I did not blog everyday, by now you get the gist of what my daily diet will be: oatmeal, rice, fruit, vegetables,nuts, seeds, fish, chicken, smoothies, decaf coffee, rooibos tea(and more, of course) are all foods that are healthy and “clean”.
Clean eating is free of excess sugar, fats, heavy sauces and processed ingredients. Remember the old saying, “You are what you eat”?
Now that I have “survived” the first week with NO issues, I will aim to blog 2-3 times weekly about my personal journey. As time permits, I will include one health and wellbeing piece.For today though, here’s what happened.
Exercise: 20 minute walk after dinner
Fruit smoothie with LSA and rice milk
A handful of toasted nuts
Decaf coffee with rice milk
Vit C 1000mg
Salmon and vegetable risotto
One raw carrot
Vit C 1000mg
Decaf soy latte
Home-cooked roast free-range chicken with roast potato, beetroot, onion, garlic, carrot and steamed peas and green beans with a small amount of homemade, gluten free gravy.
Vit C 1000mg
Physically: I feel awesome.
I am drinking more water.
I am having daily bowel movements with NO issues.
I am not having that afternoon tired feeling that I have when I eat excess sugar or bread products.
My sinuses are improving greatly.
I’ve only used my ventolin twice this entire first week.
There is so much literature out there at the moment about New Year resolutions and how they are set up to make you fail or how you can achieve them or whatever. I think if you are true to yourself and you are doing something entirely for yourself, there can be no failure. 2012 is going to be a great year; I can feel it.
Nasal polyps are small grape-like sacks that grow in the sinus cavity. There is no confirmed cause and there is no cure.
Symptoms are similar to hay fever and the common cold. When the polyps multiply, breathing becomes laboured. Some people suffer from sleep apnea and even lose all sense of smell.
Because there is no cure, the symptoms are generally suppressed by steroidal nasal sprays and prescription medication. For severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
I developed nasal polyps in 1994 but was misdiagnosed for a year. More than a year after that, I had my first surgery.
From 1996-2007, I struggled with these pesty growths, and asthma, trying several different western and eastern medications and lifestyle changes but with little relief. By 2006, I lost my sense of smell and taste for good.
In 2008, I had my second surgery. Within two months, the polyps were re-growing and my ENT would remove them in his office. After ten months of bi-monthly visits, he gave me the all clear to yearly check-ups.
Yearly checks were a mistake because come my first one, I was full up with polyps again. Once again, surgery was recommended.
He also recommended that I try a restricted diet and that maybe candida was an issue. I must say, I never had a big problem with thrush or other common candida issues. But alas, I gave it a go.
My doctor’s version of this anti-candida diet was not very strict, although I did think so at the time. He did not even restrict fruit!! I have to restrain for all the other culprits: gluten, dairy, all fermented food and drink (esp. alcohol), SUGAR, caffeine, nuts, dried fruit…..the list seemingly goes on and on.
I did feel much better; no more bloat or constipation. I did sleep better but my polyps remained.
On & on it went, until I started to cheat. Then I went on holiday to Asia and damn the diet. All food was back on the menu and I started drinking beer again. I was on again off again from July 2010 until August 2011.
Then on August 15, I had my third surgery.
After my third nasal surgery....attractive, eh?
A week after, I started a very strict anti-candida diet, this time add to the resticted list: all fruit, all starchy or sweet vegetables. I did well for two weeks and felt great. I was over the moon when my sense of smell returned four days into the regime. Then my life changed and kept changing throughout September.
When I reintroduced potatoes, the sweet vegetables and apples I felt ok. But within two weeks, I was stuffy and congested and miserable.
Misery loves to eat so I started having the occasional hot chocolate with rice milk, then I was craving lamington cake. I must report that I was going through a very tough emotional time: I had just had a major lifestyle change and a death in the family. I ate cake…..and I cried. And this went on for…..actually it’s still going on. A piece of mud cake is taunting me right now.
On October 10, the local GP confirmed that indeed, the polyps are returning. So, true to my personality, I will go full force on all the naughties until I can convince myself to do another detox and restricted diet. At least I’m not drinking beer again. Too cold in NZ anyway!!!
Gotta go now. I have to murder a piece of cake.
Wanna read more about my journey? Check out my post on the I’m not fussy website :