Update

The phone seems to bring more bad news than good news. As my mom dialed the doctor’s office to hear their “message” for me, I was prepared for the worst, but I tried to focus on how green the trees were. “Just be serene like Jesus was.”

I know that sounds really silly.

Finally, the suspense was over. “Her tests all came out fine,” the lady said, “we just wanted you to know that.”

I smiled, how could I not? I”m not diabetic! At least I think so- you’d think they would have told me, right?

Whatever, if fancy medical tests can’t find anything wrong with me, then I suppose it’s not my place to find out what’s wrong with me either.

What’s there left for me to do? How will I spend my time now that I no longer have much cause to worry about my health? I suppose there’s nothing left to do but praise God and pray for those who really are sick. You know, like I should have been doing all along. Life really is short- if there’s one thing I’ve learned from all this, it’s that I must enjoy the moment- however imperfect, however dull, however fleeting- because I know that one day, I’ll remember fondly the flavor of this time in my life. You know, God willing.

I guess there’s not much time for me to worry about if I’ll be here tomorrow, or twenty years from now, or sixty years from now. Who can know for sure anyway? I’m here now- I guess that’s all that counts.

Anxiously Chasing After Well-Being

It has happened. My mental health has caught up with my physical health.

It started a few weeks ago. If you read this blog, maybe you remember my crazy, frantic posts. That was precisely my state of mind. There was no peace, no rest in my mind. My heart was racing constantly, my brain was grinding its gears like a poorly oiled machine.

My appetite has been on the decline lately, which is weird for me. You see, I have always loved food. I was never a finicky eater. As a kid, I devoured the world. Five slices of pizza, three hotdogs, a half pound steak followed by an ice cream, nothing could faze me. A few episodes of acid relfux, however, served as a good wake-up call. When my growth spurt ended, this calmed down a little, but I was still capable of great fetes of feasting, and even took pride in this. No traumatizing event could keep me from eating for long. In fact, sometimes I would eat more in hard times to try to fill the void. 

For a while, I have had a concept of healthy eating, but didn’t follow through most of the time. I didn’t turn down the sweets, and I made no valiant effort to really change my lifestyle. 

I always thought that if I just ate real food, vegetables, and fruits (and some of the other stuff), then everything would be okay. 

So, anyway, now I’m eating about 1000 calories a day because I can’t eat any more, and even that seems like too much. Nothing seems to get along that well with my stomach. And this in it of itself may not be a problem. If I can get by on less, then why not? Many would probably love to have less appetite. Isn’t it just American culture that shuns any kind of minimalism?  

I am also experiencing diziness, lack of balance, fatigue, and some other symptoms as well that I would rather not go into.

What does it all mean? Are my efforts futile? Should I go on a cupcake diet and see if that does the trick? I do not deny that I am a little discouraged, but I wouldn’t say that it was all for nought. The reality is that I have been healthier relative to myself, but obviously I am not doing enough. I know I can do more. I know I can fight harder. Yesterday I went to Inn-n-Out (in my defense, I only had about 500 calories), and today I had a slice of homemade pizza even though I told myself I was only going to eat fruits and vegetables. So clearly I am not a total hippy-dippy, even though my body probably needs me to be. 

What I’ve learned from this is that sometimes being healthy isn’t as easy as it sounds. Sometimes you need to go to extremes, swallow your pride, and start eating tofu. I’ve learned that I need to stop being a crybaby- health problems are nothing new. I will accept this challenge from God. I will try to survive, I will try to stop worrying because anxiety is what triggered some of these problems in the first place. And I will see the doctor as soon as possible so I can stop wondering at least.

Why Sandwiches Are Evil

Okay, the title is kind of a joke to catch your attention… Did it work? But seriously, did you know that protein and starch is technically a bad food combination because one digests in an acid and one in alkaline? If you didn’t know, aren’t you really mad at me for telling you that? I found out the other day by doing a somewhat related Google search, and I know I was upset. I’d always believed the opposite- that protein and starch somehow balance each other out and go well together. I believed the food pyramid of lies. I’ll bet the pyramid builders didn’t want to rock the boat because they’re all in bed with the big food corporations. Okay, so I didn’t actually take it that far, but the resentment is real. 

There are actually many “bad food combinations.” You don’t usually hear about them in our if-it-tastes-good-eat-it society, but they are out there. In Asian cultures, these are more often heeded (but not necessarily the protein-starch one). You can dismiss them as old wives tales, and indeed, maybe some of the liver+x=death ones are exaggerations, but there might be something to it. I mean, don’t you sometimes get that less-than-awesome feeling after a meal for no apparent reason? 

These are some of the important ones, I think.

1. Egg + sweet potato- don’t do it!

2. Chicken + celery- contrary to everything we’ve believed in

3. Melons+anything

4. Acid+peanut butter (Actually, acid does not go well with protein in general, but this particular combo has ruined my day before. But it doesn’t affect some people)

5. Banana + milk- this one is for real

6. Spaghetti- I know, I want to cry 😦

7. Sugar and starch- still crying

 

The reality is that we will probably not follow the rules of food combining all the time because there are so many of them that I didn’t even mention here and life is very busy. But, I think awareness does help. If we know that protein+starch= :(, then we may do it less, throw in a legume (peanut, bean, pea) to help the process, or eat some veggies with it. Our bodies are forgiving, but we shouldn’t take advantage of this forgiveness all the time. 

 

Where I got this info:

No. 5 &6: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-3615/10-Common-Food-Combinations-That-Wreak-Havoc-on-Your-Health.html

No. 1& 7 (Do check out this website): http://www.acidalkalinediet.net/correct-food-combining-principles.php

And the thing about the legumes: http://www.trustedhands.com/content/fcbeg.pdf

 

 

Eating through the Narrow Gate

My stomach growls in anticipation now as we get closer to lunch time. Which reminds me of something… Health. Let’s talk about that, Even though it’s hard. I certainly don’t always eat healthy. I go through periods where I take reasonably good care of myself… And then I just regress into indifference. It’s not that you want to deprive yourself of nutrients, no one does, but you just get busy. And it would help if french fries didn’t taste so good.

So what now? Should we just give up? Let the food corporations win? Turn a blind eye to the genetic-modifying, supersizing, preservative-lacing?

I think not.

I am fortunate enough to have fruit trees in my yard. Not everyone does, and for many eating healthy is simply too expensive.
Also, it seems like at a certain point you should just give up if you haven’t been doing it.

I don’t believe in that. So what you had a half a pizza and a cinnamon twist? A salad couldn’t hurt, and an orange late in the day might be beneficial. Let’s face it, most of us are going to eat trash. But that doesn’t mean that we can’s still be healthy, to some extent. We can burn it off (I don’t know if I’m willing to take this advice). We can supplement our diets with healthy food, and maybe eventually make some better choices in general. I’m talking about real food. Fresh vegetables, organic fruits, oils, nuts, protein, fish, aloe vera, even wild dandelions and milkthistle from the backyard (just make sure you don’t eat any raw snails, and that you are actually eating an edible plant. Seriously, you probably want to cook the stuff, don’t eat raw snails!). Dip an apple slice into some runny peanut butter if you feel inclined. You don’t need to be perfect. I like donuts as much as the next person. But make sure that everything is going well inside… You know what I’m talking about. Because you’re worth it. You’re worth the extra money, if you can spare it. God gave us food, so let’s try to use it better.

If Every Day Was Thanksgiving

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This was the first year that my family didn’t have an actual turkey, which kind of threw us off, but you know, what does it really matter, we had other good food. And I still gained a bit of weight. I suppose I didn’t spend a whole lot of time being thankful today. I found myself sulking at one point in the day, which was kind of ironic. But then I thought… Why is that a bad thing just today? Shouldn’t every day be like Thanksgiving? Even without the gravy, the extended family, the parade, the shopping? Shouldn’t every day be spent giving thank to God for life, health (if applicable), family, friends, resources, work (again, if applicable). And yet, our society tells us that we should make thankfulness a temporary thing, and the rest of the time should be spent climbing up ladders and gawking over things that we don’t have. As if that’s any way to live.

photo credit

Musings of a Hypochondriac

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Yesterday, Day 3 of the apple detox, I was watching the film “Send Me No Flowers (warning-mini spoiler ahead). The best part of the apple detox for me was having a very good excuse to sit around. After all, when you literally have no energy, who’s going to make you do anything? The movie was very funny, by the way, I thought the absolute best part was the cemetery plot scene. Now that’s satire for you.

Anyway, if you’ve seen the movie, you know that Rock Hudson’s character thinks he’s going to die of hypochondria. Well, while I was watching, I was naively thinking, “How awful it must be to have hypochondria.” And then I remembered- hypochondria means the absence of disease! It means that your worst ailment is thinking you have a disease. I’m sorry if I’ve just ruined the movie a little for you, but you were warned.

Anyway, as I was finishing up the apple detox, I was thrilled to finally be taking the olive oil. Seriously, I was giddy. I’m thinking “Now it’s over, now I’m going to be cleansed!” and so on. Rarely do I find myself that excited about a bowel movement.

I had done the detox by the book. I even made a trip to this apple orchard to get the right variety. So I had a lot of hope going into this thing, and I talked about it with my family a lot, maybe partially to brag. But I did it for my health, because I felt that slipping away from me a little. And if you read the Bible, it says that your body is your temple. I would like a clean temple, thank you very much! And as recommended by Cayce, I took almost half a cup of olive oil (which believe me, is disgusting). In hindsight, this amount might have been the thing that messed it up. But I am inclined to believe it simply wasn’t meant to go as planned.

So, post olive oil, initially I felt good. I did feel the churning I can tell you that. But then I started hiccuping a lot, and feeling nauseous and extremely full and like I NEVER wanted to eat olive oil ever again. Well, fast forward to the present time. Still no bowel movement.

I woke up early in the morning, not feeling so inclined to go to the bathroom but to pee. And I started imagining that I had all kinds of diseases. There was something wrong with my colon, my liver, heck, I was probably suffering from a mild form of mercury poisoning (thanks to leaking button cell batteries in my house, not a good thing for a neurotic person).

But then I went back to sleep after reminding myself of the joys of salvation and changing the song that was playing in my head. Why was I worrying so much about my health? Like Jesus said, that which you should really watch out for is that which can corrupt the eternal soul, not the body. The body is here today, gone tomorrow. I’m not saying you should neglect your health- take up smoking, eat whatever, and drink yourself into oblivion. NO, okay that’s not what I’m saying! I’m saying that you should do whatever is in your control, I suppose like I did with the apple detox and some of my dietary changes. But clearly, some things are out of our control, and that’s okay. So, maybe I do have some kind of disease of the liver. Maybe my intestines are unhappy (isn’t that a pleasant mental image?) But you know what, it’s okay. I tried, that is true, but clearly I had too much faith in my own ability to improve my health and not enough faith in God.

None of us are immune from disease, no matter how many broccolis we eat, miles we jog, vaccines we get. None of us are safe from disaster, no matter how good our alarm system is, where we reside, or what our homes are made of. What is steel construction to God? And none of us are guaranteed the rest of today.

If God wants to take away my health, my passion, my wealth, my family, my cherished acquaintances, my very life- then I pray that I will have the strength to endure it all with joy in my heart, as long as my spiritual house is built on a big, solid rock. And if that’s the case, I know that everything will truly be okay.

 

 

Photo: healthcareresorts.wordpress.com

Day 2 of the Apple Detox

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So today is actually Day 3, but I couldn’t post this yesterday for technical reasons. Anyway, stay tuned for Day 3 later!

If you’re unfamilar with the apple detox, it’s basically a thing where you eat nothing but apples for three days. Apples of the jenneting variety are recommended, like red delicious, but I myself am using the Arkansas Black as pictured above . It is supposed to detoxify your body, and hopefully your soul a little as well, leaving you refreshed and rejuvenated when it’s all over. On the night of the third day, you’re supposed to drink a couple table spoons to half  a cup (Edgar Cayce, who originally discovered the apple diet through divine intervention apparently, recommends half a cup). And this is suppose to flush out your colon, if you catch the drift.

On day one, I had a grand total of 6 apples. I felt okay in general, just a little weak and tired, but able to function. There where times when it was difficult to be cheerful. Only one bowel movement occurred, in case you are curious about the effect of the detox. This morning I have a darker yellow urine to report, which was a little alarming. “Why isn’t my body happy? I haven’t been giving it any junk!” is what crossed my mind. But I am trying to remain optimistic.

But I feel that I need to focus on reaping the spiritual benefits of the detox. Along with literally cleansing your body, I believe it can also cleanse your heart of a lot of the unnecessary junk that has built up over the years. It can be seen as a conquering of the flesh, that is, the desires of the body. The flesh can drive us to do crazy things, and if it is not tamed, it will control us for our whole lives. That is why Jesus died- to free us from this

to free us from this unfortunate reality.

When Jesus was wandering in wilderness for forty days, he had a familiar visitor, the Devil. Here’s a little snippet of their conversation:

The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: “ ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

-Matthew 4:3-4

Man shall not live on bread alone, I’ve always thought those were such powerful words. It is somewhat intuitive, but at the same time, it is a little contrary to our base desires. So what does this mean? It means that we must make every effort to tame our desires (I am definitely talking about MUCH more than food) and to “Die to ourselves.” I would not advise trying to fast for forty days. You’ll probably just die. If you read the rest of Matthew 4, there’s also a sentence about not “testing” God.

I’m not trying to make out that I’m all righteous because I’ve decided not to eat normal food for three days. I just think that there’s a lot to be learned from fasts and detoxes, as well as health benefits gained.

So probably the first lesson is to trust God. If you read the rest of Matthew, there are so many great illustrations of this principle. Matthew in general is just dense with information, not to say other books aren’t, but I think Matthew is one that is easier to decipher and appreciate for those of us who may not have the longest attention span (thanks to the media and pop culture).

Does this mean that I should stop stressing about the color of my urine? Probably. That I should stop worrying that the detox won’t work for me because I have some kind of disease? Yes. Because what is disease, but an abnormality of the flesh? And who healed diseases, um, Jesus! And what can separate me from the love of God (as it is written)? Nothing….

Well, I’ll tell you what happens tomorrow, God willing. Happy apple munching to all!

 

Donut (Doughnut) Coma

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A couple days ago, my family visited one of the very few Krispy Kremes in our general area. I was pretty excited about it because I heart donuts, even if they don’t heart my heart back. Plus I’d only been maybe once before in my whole natural life.

We devoured the free samples and got a dozen, along with a little cup of donut holes, as you can see in the picture. Mind you, there are only three people in our family. And only two of us actually had the perseverance to continue eating them after the thrill was gone.

The thrill is now gone for me. After finishing the last two, I was convinced that I didn’t want donuts ever again. So_much_sugar. But then, I started calming down. Never. Maybe just not for another year… six months…

At this point I wanted nothing more than a pot of black coffee and a big wholesome slice of kale. And maybe from then on I would go on a steady diet of fruits, vegetables, and quinoa. Yes, quinoa. Move to a yurt where the influences of decadent America would cease to affect me. Perhaps raise some llamas and make a modest income that way, enough to buy toothpaste and the occasional dozen of eggs.

Okay, so I’m exaggerating a little. But I was DONE, okay.

Then I went to the supermarket to get some bananas, carrots, and lunch meat for another day. And I started seeing the cakes and pastries, and what have you, and… I’m not saying I was ready to eat them, I mean I have a little self control… I’m just saying that they started looking a little appetizing again. I didn’t want to buy them, but I think I was ready to let bygones be bygones and allow them back into my life.

Habits are easy to start, good and bad. The bad ones are just a little easier to maintain. But I’m here to say that good habits can be formed and kept alive, even if we’ve failed in the past. As long as you’re alive, it’s never too late to start eating well, exercising, reading the Bible, taking up a hobby. And by the same token, bad habits can also be broken. Very carefully, of course, but nonetheless possible. Of course, I’m not an expert on this. I’ve been fortunate enough to have not gotten sucked into drugs or alcohol. Actually, I never really drank before. But am I am still convinced that with God, anything is possible, as it says, even loosing yourself from the heaviest of the heavy balls and chains.

Well, now that I’ve talked a lot about good habits, better peel my eyes off this screen and get to doing a bit of weight lifting. Yay.

I Once Had Geese

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A while ago, I had some baby geese and ducks. I was really excited about the whole thing and was eager to train them and teach the geese to fly, somehow. But probably not the way the girl did it in the charming film “Fly Away Home.”

I thought it would be a good idea to make bird noises so maybe they would think I was their mother. It was pretty embarrassing. I would go “chirp, chirp, CHIRP!” And what do you know? It actually worked. They would follow me wherever I went, as if under some kind of spell.

For a couple glorious days, I was on top of the world with my trained birds. I thought the possibilities were endless with my winged friends. I was  going to be a mommy!

Then they just stopped following me. It was like they couldn’t even hear my voice. I was so frustrated with them- didn’t they know that I had been feeding them?

I later figured out that in order to truly train geese, having them think you are their “mother,” you must be the first thing they see when they are born. It’s “imprinting.” My geese were born in a hatchery. The first think they saw was probably fluorescent lighting.

Considering this anecdote, that I wanted these geese to follow me, why don’t we think that God wants us to respect Him? I did not create the geese, and I am not infinitely greater than them, but God did create us, and He is infinitely greater than us! In that case, why do we think that He doesn’t want acknowledgement? Why do we fancy that people who reject Him will be spared by Him? And why wouldn’t He know what is best for us, since He created us?