Let's Talk Food

There is one thing that is a constant in my life so far...my OBSESSION with Food.  My life journey has taken me in so many directions over this subject that I decided to write it all down for whoever feels like reading it.   I might add that I have passed this obsession on to many of my children...you may have to be the one to decide if this is fortunate or unfortunate.  So let's start at the beginning...I was born constipated.

(Right now my children are rolling their eyes...I love it...)   For real.  I mean I remember sitting on the toilet for hours straining, it was a very big deal and something that was an issue for me as a kid.   My mom would just say...just relax and it will come..ya, when I'm 32?   It didn't help that I was eating mostly cheese and white bread.  I was so picky.  Looking back, I feel sorry for my Mother.  A house full of teenage boys wanting only meat and potatoes and 2 little girls that wanted only candy.  She was raised in England and then moved to Canada with her family when she was 13.  Her legacy, be it many wonderful things, was not...I repeat NOT making beautiful healthy meals.  We would eat well, mind you....just not that healthy.  I remember my mom telling one of her friends that she always planned every meal around what was for dessert.  I believe she was being serious.  Roast on Sunday...(with potatoes), meatloaf on Thursday...(with potatoes) and rice pudding ( I mean every Thursday for my whole life) and most vegetables were offered up with a cream sauce.  Creamed peas, or creamed corn....didn't make a difference.  If she wanted us to eat it, it had cheese or cream on it.  Her desserts were plentiful and wonderful...I have to admit.  And honestly,  I learned how to cook in my mother's kitchen.  She did know how to make it taste good.

When I was around 10 years old, I began doing much of the cooking.  She did work outside of our home at a little fabric store, but she also had  dealt with cancer for most of my life.   I think the amount of pressure she was under would have leveled most women today.  We were supposed to have dinner happening before she got home from work....so at 5:45p.m. every night, we would throw a pound of hamburger in the skillet and pretend we had a plan when she walked in the door.   If we didn't get that done...many times she would revert to her favorite standby:  macaroni noodles with tuna fish and canned peas. (I still shudder...)   I think you get the picture.  So let's fast forward a few years.

By the time I was 18, my mothers health had deteriorated significantly.  My Dad, bless his heart, had tried tirelessly to figure out a way to cure her cancer, and this included Health Food.  He had been raised in Utah, and  was what you would call a certified "Health Nut", always looking for just the right thing that was going to change us all into super-heroes.   I love this about him.  I remember crazy things at our house, like spirulina, tigers milk, aloe vera juice, and vitamins that would choke a horse.  All of this before it all became so popular, today.  He studied and studied every new health idea, I think spurred on by his desire to save my mother.  They even went so far as to go to Mexico for an alternative medical treatment, that was illegal in the states, that included a drug known as Layatrill (I'm not sure of the spelling), and coffee enemas, along with colon flushes.  It was a pretty severe treatment plan.   Unfortunately it was all too little too late.  My mother had suffered for years going through radiation and the like, then throwing her body into detox plans...her body just gave out and she died at the age of 60 after having battled cancer for 14 years.  I was 19 years old.

One could say, my parents left me with conflicting ideas about food.  But in reality, I feel like all these factors could just be the heavens letting me see all the sides to an issue.  I began my own journey of health not long after her death.   I married a year later, became pregnant a month after that, and within 2 weeks was sicker than a dog.  Hormones can kill....your spirits at least.  I was throwing up like nobodies business....the honeymoon would seem to be completely over just that quick.  Ahhh, but let's throw in one more wrench, ("If you can dodge a ball...you can dodge a wrench!")  I ended up with a blood clot in my groin that threatened my life, and the life of my baby.

"What does this have to do with FOOD?" you ask?...I promise I'm getting there....

This blood clot was the first of a long line of many to come.  Kindle was born, and everything ended up being OK.  But my body revealed what would be my cross to bear...for a long while.  Every time I got pregnant I had a blood clot to go with it.  We thought it was just a pregnancy thing, but when Mattie was about 9 years old...I ended up with another one out of nowhere.   The doctors put me on coumadin again, and told me then that I would never be able to come off of it.  It was a life sentence.  I did what I was told.

Along the way,  my good husband and I were constantly in search of Health.  It seemed elusive for me.  We read books, tried cleanses, and tried new diets.  We have been Vegetarian, Vegan, done Food Combining...you name it, we have done it!  It has always been the same, some elements we liked, but others were too hard to maintain. And, it would seem like the pendulum would swing hard!  We were completely Vegan for about 3 years, and then when we decided to add animal products back in, we would all of a sudden be on the junk food/fat food/sugar food diet of the century....( I guess trying to make up for missing it all those years.)

This back and forth craziness did not help my health situation.  In 2002  I tipped the scales at 200 lbs., had constant leg pain, and was on very high levels of coumadin, not to mention that the stress levels of life had hit an all time high for me.  I started to have what are called "mini" strokes...usually a precursor to a massive, "all out, kill you, or make you a vegetable", stroke.  Serious business, this.   My doctors were not interested in helping me..."there is nothing we can do, except give you more coumadin..." was all that was said. They usually just deal with the aftermath.    I had a bright red line going down the length of my swollen leg....looking like an infection.  "Rob, I think my blood is infected" I told him one day.  This thought led me to the internet.  I googled "blood infection".  Low and behold, not one thing came up about blood clots....no, NOT ONE!  In fact the only thing that came up was everything under the sun about COLONS.  "Blood infections, are caused by toxins leaking out of the colon and into the blood stream."  It made so much sense.

Not long after this revelation, I had a...day.  It was a Sunday...a fast Sunday.  I had been hurting so badly in my...groin.  I could hardly sit, lay, stand, or...be.  All the symptoms of stroke were present.  Dizziness,numbness in fingers pain in the left shoulder.  I came home from church, laid on my bed, and cried.   Rob came in and insisted on taking me to the emergency room.  I refused.  We had no insurance, not money, and I knew that we would sit there waiting for this to be an actual stroke.  If it was, then they would deal with it after...if it wasn't, then we would pay $500 bucks just to be there in that magical place.  We both prayed.  He gave me a blessing.  We prayed some more.  I cried.  And then....

Kindle called.  "Mom, I went to the most amazing lecture last night ....we are coming over to tell you all about it."  Click went the phone...and click went my life.

Kindle brought over some books about "RAW" food, by Victoria Boutanko.  A new health idea about eating only raw food: fruits and vegatables, nuts and seeds.  that's it.  The whole premise for this was that all the toxins in your body live in your colon, and that if you clean them out, your body can heal itself.   The best way to keep a clean colon is to put into it only things that have a chance of actually digesting and coming back out.(a new concept to me...)  Raw foods are full of enzymes...the thing that makes food digest in our systems.  Cooked food has 0 enzymes, making our internal organs supply all of the enzymes for that food to be digested....very heavy work indeed, considering that we eat so much crap in our society.  Our digestive systems are completely overwhelmed by the amount of sugar, white flour, fat, and meat that we put into it.  So...what did this mean for me?

I don't know how to explain it...but I just knew that this was my answer.  I am not here to say that this is the answer for everyone.  It's not.  But I knew that God was giving me this answer to help me solve my health issues.  I walked out into my kitchen, and realized that the only RAW food that I had in my whole house was an onion.  Not so great.  I decided right there that I would not eat anything unless it was raw, whole food. So I fasted, until I could go to the store and get some raw food.

I cannot say that the 1st few weeks were not enormously hard.  But the medical miracles accompanied me, and spurred me on.  Within 2 weeks, the stripe down my leg was gone.  Within a month, I felt the pain in my legs disappear.  Within 3 months, I had lost 75 pounds, and for the 1st time in my life...was finally...well...regular!   Over all...I had been learning and learning about health.  I stayed completely raw for about 6 months. (some people stay raw for years and years)  The circumstances for me are difficult to describe.  I was cleansing really fast, and having some issues with that.  The raw food world, talks about this detox...to just wait it out.  I was, at this point, talking to another influence who suggested introducing some cooked food back in...a 60% raw/40% cooked diet.  Keeping raw really high on the list of things you eat.  I decided to do that....it didn't prove to be a failure, but looking back I wished I had just waited and kept myself raw.  Regardless, I never went back to the way I had been before.

Where I am Today?  The journey of health is still High on my priority check list.  Over the next few years, I gained back about 20 pounds after I introduced cooked food back into my diet, but I did take myself off of coumadin the next year after going raw. ( some would say this is risky business considering that doctors don't even want you to eat any leafy greens when you are on blood thinners.) I have not had any issues with blood clots since.

So here is what I Believe:
1.  It really is ALL ABOUT YOUR COLON!  What goes in must come out, and the easier you make that process, the healthier you will be.... period.
2.   I believe that sugar, and white flour, and corn syrup are...EVIL!!!  they are highly addictive and mess up my colon faster than anything else.
3.    I believe that gluten acts like glue in your bowel.   I like to eat gluten free...I do not have celiac disease...I just think it is better for you.
4.   I do not use refined sugar...I do however use sweeteners like honey and pure maple syrup(not raw, but has enzymes intact and a lower Glycemic index than sugar), along with dates, and fruit.
5.   I believe that the whole foods that God made for man is the way to go. This means eating as much RAW FOOD as you can everyday!  It all boils down to eating your vegetables....just like most mother's say...
6.   I believe that meat is to be used for food...but only "sparingly or in times of famine"....in other words...don't eat so much meat!  Sparingly, people, sparingly.
7.   I believe that food can heal us...and that God is in charge, if we will let Him be.
 I am not perfect.  If I fail one day...I pick myself up the next and start over...it's that simple.

At the writing of this...it has been 8 years since I found this answer.  I am not always perfect!!!  But I try to live by these principles.  It is not always easy either. (Try making a wedding cake, and not even taking a bite....) But this is what I know...it works.  It has been a huge blessing to me, and I will always keep trying to be better.  I hope that maybe this will help someone searching for answers in their journey to good health.

Love and Blessings,



April said...

Denise you are an inspiration!!! i totally forgot about how sick you were and all you went through, some of which I did not know. I am so glad that Kindle was able to help along with the spirit to guide her to that! good luck with raw again. I do believe that what you eat is how you feel. I have seen some miracles, though be it small, that have helped me in my life.

Jackie said...

Denise, I love how candid you are with the facts of digestion and how it influences our health. You indeed are inspirational! You probably didn't know (certainly couldn't base it on the dinner you had at our house!) I'm a bit of a health-food nut myself. I'd love to pick your brain when we both have some free time. There's probably a lot I could learn from you. In the meantime, I'll be praying for your success as you tackle the tough issue of diet change. I just love you!

Jenny said...

Denise, your story is really remarkable. I had no idea. I'd like to talk to you about it sometime. Thank you for sharing, and for being so honest about your experiences. I sure do love you!