Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Free" Food

Wheat free, gluten free, dairy free, cholesterol free, carbohydrates free, sugar free, peanut free, soy free, corn free, citrus free, additives free and I'm not even hung-ree!

Even though it hasn't been easy, I've stuck to this elimination diet prescribed by integrative/functional medicine physician Dalal Akoury, M.D. for seven days now as best I can. Yeah, I've cheated a bit but it's really, really hard not to indulge a craving, as you all know. Best of all, I've added a new natural sugar, quinoa, flax seed and sea salt, and a number of other foods and products I never would have tried.

I've learned a lot about genetically modified foods (bad) and organic and free-range meats (good) and find I'm eating a lot of rice  - white rice, rice milk, rice waffles, rice mozzarella cheese and even rice cakes. Yes, Delilah Jones of Imagine Publicity, I have found a brand of rice cakes that don't taste like paper towels!

I've also learned that purported healthy food is not necessarily good for you - even those found in a 'healthy' supermarket, grocery or supplements store. It's the food additives that are most hard to avoid. In Dr. Akoury's upcoming book, "Please Don't Eat the Donuts," she lists these additives and their consequences. YUK. I never want to eat 'un-healthy' again.

And I think that's the whole point of "Dr. Dolly's" elimination diet. Even though I am doing a 'toxic cleansing' for 10 days, I am also introducing myself to a wide variety of foods armed with educational materials (that I carry to the stores with me) to make the right choices. In my 16 years as a professional patient I can honestly say I have never had someone in the medical profession present this information to me in such a clear, concise and loving way. I am so glad I went ahead with my first intake appointment at AwareMed Health & Resource Center and didn't get scared.

I'm not going to launch into a lengthy discussion or reference any health food sources here because MY diet is tailored to MY specific needs. And I think that is key. Although Dr. Dolly will extol the virtues of the new food pyramid that puts fruits and veggies on the largest bottom tier rather than meats, there are so many other things to learn about what we put in our guts.

I will leave you with one final story: Years ago, post-chemotherapy treatment, I went to the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York for an Introductory Weekend. I went alone and roomed with a stranger - a first for me. And I went with wobbly legs, chemo brain, and an overall weakened immune system. But I needed to explore restorative health practices including foods, yoga, humor, etc. It was a life-changing experience and I was so proud to have done it all by myself.

One day, we did a session on food and it was obviously geared more towards those who have trouble with being overweight. However, the exercise (which I thought was quite foolish as we began) invited us to chew one raisin for at least 60 seconds; that is, not gulp them down in handfuls like we usually do. We experienced the sweetness, the tartness, the texture and learned how to appreciate a single item of food.

As we went around the circle describing what we'd learned from the exercise, surprisingly, I burst into tears! I realized then that I had been mortally afraid of food. You see, when you are diagnosed with cancer or Lupus or any other life-threatening illness, you are immediately bombarded with messages, information, and books about what kind of diet to eat to prevent or cure cancer. I tried some of Dr. Andrew Weil's stuff (even writing to him in desperation only to get a form letter in return) and a macrobiotic diet (miso soup for breakfast - UGH) and went to a naturo-pathic doctor leaving his office with hundreds of dollars of supplements that I couldn't swallow because my throat was so mangled from the emergency tracheotomy.

So a food imprint was born and I strove to get back to my fairly healthy diet where I ate everything in moderation. That worked until I was struck with gastroparesis a little over two years ago. Since it's time for a food revolution in my body, I am so glad to have a skilled healer to guide me correctly.

So, perhaps, you might start your own new food journey. You can start with one small raisin.

NOTE: I have been told that many of you are having trouble posting on my blog site. Please send me emails at ascrohn@gmail.com and I will be sure to post any comments you'd like. Thank you to those of you who have contacted me in one way or another and, once my website is complete, you will have another avenue to reach out to me. I love reading your comments! 

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