I have a friend, Coco, who I've referred to once or twice before in past posts...the other *loving* (ehem) moniker I have given to her in real life is, "The FOOD NAZI".
My friend (who shall now be known as "FN" for this particular post) is an all organic, grow-most-of-my-own-food, wouldn't say *McDonald's* if she had a mouthful of it, person who spends a lot of her time with her food. Tending her garden in the summer months can take up entire blocks of days, let alone PREPARING the fruits of her harvest. She only buys organic label and wouldn't eat/drink processed sugar unless it was slipped like a date rape drug in her glass jar of well water! She is the epitome of *natural*...no chemicals added, which I guess also makes HER organic meat! Although not vegetarian, she consumes mostly all fruits and vegetables in her daily regimen of food intake. I think she may even crap fruit baskets and trail mix...but we're not THAT close of friends for me to ask such a personal question. LOL (And I KNOW you are reading this, FN, so maybe you could enlighten me after all!)
In the past, I have sometimes become annoyed by her insistence of a *chemical-free* diet...after all, the CHEESE just kicked the Mountain Dew habit 6 weeks ago (speaking of nuclear toxic drinks...which I still secretly wish to have!). It takes a lot of time and focus to maintain such an intake plan...time I have sometimes wished we used on other things when we are together...like trashy movies, junk food, and wayward gossip.
But lately, I have found a new respect for FN and her dietary structure. Several of you have sent me emails lately wondering just what the CHEESE WAS subsisting on if there was no Mt. Dew pulsing freely through my veins? A few of you have inquired just what *fad* diet I was partaking in to have lost (now) 18 pounds in 6 weeks? Has this change in dietary needs affected my overall negative view of the world and dampened my sarcasm (that last question was obviously asked by someone who does not know me well!)?
Well, preciouses...I'm about to expose a food day in the life of the CHEESE over the past 6 weeks! Aren't you excited?!? Crack open that can of Mt. Dew (I even miss the SOUND Dew makes, which is not like any other soda pop...sigh) and get comfy. THIS is what the CHEESE has been doing for the past month and a half:
About 2 months ago and deep in the throws of what was becoming a seriously depressed mood, I made a conscious decision I HAD to change some things in my life...or the alternative was to lay down and die. That's how miserable I was feeling. I was catching EVERY bug that circled within a 100 mile radius of my immune system and I not only EMOTIONALLY felt like crap, but also physically. I made a decision to change many things in my emotional/mental world (like cutting out so many of the extracurricular tasks I had taken on at work and shutting out gossip from my life, etc.) and was desperate to spark some kind of change in my physical self. 6 years of an MS diagnosis, DMD's and experimental drugs, and somewhere around 35 (yes, that number IS correct) IV's of steroids took a major toll on my body, causing excessive weight gain with each infusion...weight that moved me well into the obese category and something I struggled in vain to shed.
Life sucked like the hose of a vacuum cleaner...for a lack of better, visual analogy. LOL I couldn't find clothes that fit (not that I've EVER enjoyed shopping for clothes, mind you), I was exhausted ALL of the time (and not "normal" MS fatigue either), and I was finding it harder and harder just to muster the energy to rise out of bed each day.
**Insert sound of a running vacuum cleaner nozzle here**
In my process to find SOMETHING that might fit my particular needs and make sense to my scientific mind (rather hoity toity to call my feeble, fart-humored mind *scientific*...really), I stumbled upon a book written by a dietitian from New Jersey (go Jersey girls! Said for YOU, Jen...ehem). The author's name is Diane Kress and the book is called, "The Metabolism Miracle". Much of what I read preliminarily about her book in press releases struck a chord in me as if she were TALKING to me. The *plan* is a 3-step plan of changing dietary habits, resting one's pancreas and liver for the first 8 weeks, then gradually moving into eating changes that become a lifetime habit...she even said in the press releases SHE, herself, suffered from what she has labeled, "Metabolism B".
You may find this amusing to learn, the CHEESE comes from a genetic cesspool of pudgy, overweight, diabetic, heart-diseased, cancer-ridden blobs (although I'm only referencing my DEAD relatives...which are nearly ALL of them!). CHEESE MOM was chronically hypoglycemic her entire life (too low blood sugar), but with a diastolic blood pressure (bottom, or second something number of the reading, *something over something*) that could rise into the low hundreds...she was not fat, per se, but had her own bizarre health anomalies (like aneurysms, which were only discovered after one KILLED her). And CHEESE DAD (who is often referred to as "EP" or...the man my mother slept with...too long a tale to complete in a blog, so leave it!) was an overweight, high blood pressured, coronary artery disease, diabetic old fart who ALWAYS seemed to have the shadow of the Grim Reaper lurking behind him.
As I said: A genetic cesspool.
So, as I sat around trying to shake off an insidious depressive state and still see my gnarly hobbit feet sticking out from under my frame, I got "The Metabolism Miracle" book and I read it...and dayum, if it didn't sound like me on every page (because, after all...the world IS all about me)! And...here's the kicker...it wasn't really my FAULT, but more my PROBLEM to deal with. I can't go into great detail here about the book's content, lest I find myself sitting in a court room settling a plagiarism lawsuit, but I suggest if you are interested in hearing more about Ms. Kress' plan, get the book from your local library or order one online...it's still only in hardback copy and about $22.00 to ship from Amazon dot com...and NO, I am NOT being paid to plug her book in this blog. As a matter of fact, if she knew someone with my reputation were plugging her book, she'd probably force feed me doughnuts until I exploded!
Anywhozit...what I CAN say in my own blog is exactly what I have been doing these past 6 weeks as I personalize the *plan* and follow the book's instructions. You might be shocked to learn I am NOT sitting around eating twigs and berries! Far from it actually.
The *plan*, as I like to call it (sounds sort of like a pyramid scheme or door to door Shakley sales...hmmm), consists of eating EVERY 5 HOURS WHETHER I AM HUNGRY OR NOT and taking in 5 grams of carbohydrates during my every five hour feedings. The goal for my first 8 weeks is to rest my over-functioning pancreas and liver and to only provide these organs enough blood glucose necessary to function. People with Metabolism B tend to crave carbohydrates, eat lot's of them causing blood sugars to rise and fall rapidly, then crave some more...folks with Met-B ALSO tend to be pre-diabetics or become diabetics, too, if dietary changes are not made. This is because of a vicious cycle that sets in as the pancreas OVER responds to the blood glucose levels, which cause too much insulin to be squirted out and circulating in the blood stream, which in turn RAPIDLY decreases the blood glucose level too quickly. In layman's terms: My metabolism has been like a hamster chasing air on a wheel...except the *wheel* has not provided me any EXERCISE and has only made me retain more fat than burn it!
"If the CHEESE is not eating twigs and berries, then what IS she eating?" you ask, scratching your heads and worrying about Mt. Dew withdrawal coma. Well, funny you should ask...I eat a LOT of CHEESE!!! (Hehe) And of course, several other items as well.
5 grams of carbohydrate is NOT a lot...carb content of some breads would mean I could only eat about a 1/4 to a 1/2 slice, which would make for a teeny, tiny finger sandwich. So, I have to shop diligently for LOW CARB items and sugar free items that don't taste like I've just licked the inside of a rusty tin can (and there ARE some great low carb/sugar free items out there...never thought I'd EVER put that line in print). The things I CAN'T eat right now are:
- Fruits...ALL fruits...not even a berry here or there.
- Corn, potatoes, peas, carrots, or beans.
- Mountain Dew...I dew miss you, my friend!
- Any high carbohydrate-containing food.
My day usually starts out with eggs or a product called *Egg Beaters* (not to be confused with *wife beaters*) scrambled with Canadian Bacon (because American Bacon just doesn't taste the same...good on ya, Canada!) and sauteed onion or other vegetables and cheese. I am supposed to eat 5 grams of carbs within an hour of waking, so I usually have a piece of Dakota Bread from Great Harvest Bread Co with some sugar-free strawberry jelly. My mid-morning snack will consist of a handful of nuts (because nuts are considered a FREE carb on the *plan*...woohoo!) and/or a piece of string cheese or other cheese. Lunch might be a lean hamburger crumpled over a bed of salad and veggies, or a 5 gram carb tortilla wrap filled with roasted chicken, deli meat, or tuna and lettuce/other veggies with about a tablespoon of Philadelphia cream cheese for flavor (and the cream cheeses COME flavored also). For dessert, I have a sugar-free jello cup. Mid day snack might be more cheese or peanut butter in celery or some other concoction of protein, such as smoked salmon. My evening meal will also contain a piece of Dakota Bread usually, sometimes several ounces of grilled steak or other meats, steamed or grilled vegetables and a side salad.
As you can see, I am now spending a LOT of my time focusing on the foods I buy and prepare for myself to eat! And I haven't even added in my hour long walk/2.5 mile hike I try to take daily just so my changing metabolism recognizes what is FAT and what is MUSCLE lurking inside my skin!! Oddly, I have NOT found myself to be a stark-raving, carb-craving lunatic as of yet...this is a good thing I believe. :-) And I have consistently awakened with more energy and less and less body pain each day. I jokingly now tell my friends (who are conscious enough to notice the CHEESE is shrinking slowly), "Yeah...now I'm only about 500 pounds away from being labeled MORBIDLY OBESE to just OBESE...WooHoo!" (Disclaimer: I do NOT weigh 500 pounds, thus making the statement a *joke*)
I have a very LONG way to go in making this plan/behavioral changes stick...I'm not so naive as to think 6 weeks of doing something will result in a lifetime change. But the key here for me is to recognize I AM making changes and I CAN feel better by putting some effort into it. Who knows? Maybe one day I will earn the coveted title of FOOD NAZI...Moohahaha. Better yet, I'd rather LOSE the title as the FAT CHICK with MS...