I wanted to pop two pills.
After taking the summer off, I played tennis for nearly two hours yesterday and my legs ached from my hips down to my ankles. Also, I had a headache.
Oh, how I wanted ibuprofen to be the answer! Pop the meds, mask the pain, and let me go to sleep. But I decided to hold off. A few little thoughts floated around in my head: What is my body trying to tell me? Could yoga help?
The headache was probably because I was dehydrated. It was hot on the courts. I drank some water and then set the glass down on a table. Sitting on the floor, I raised my arms over my head, clasped my hands together, and turned my palms towards the ceiling. I lowered onto my back and squeezed one knee into my chest while keeping the other leg straight. Switched sides. I did a few spinal twists to remove the stiffness in my hips. Gentle, easy stretches. And I felt so much better afterwards.
That was easy. And it took less than twenty minutes – the time it would’ve taken the ibuprofen to reach my system.
Once I decided to adopt a Clean Eating lifestyle I realized I needed a Plan. ASAP.
I broke my Plan into three parts.
I read a number of books and browsed websites (including Mercola.com, DrWeil.com, Pritikin.com and EatWasaFeelGood.com (the Best Life page has good snacks/recipes)). Then I sat down Saturday morning and outlined a meals for the week as well as guidelines for eating. In a nutshell: I want to wildly increase my intake of vegetables, drastically decrease my consumption of animal products (a maximum of one serving per day), and eliminate sugar, refined flour, caffeine, and alcohol.
Let me add a disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, a nutritionist, or a dietitian. I am simply a 33-year-old woman trying to eat clean foods after discovering that the third ingredient in my “healthy” cereal was sugar and my 100% whole wheat bread contained high fructose corn syrup. Also, I fully intend to tweak my eating habits as I explore what works for my body.
So – back to the Plan. Some changes would be easy. For example, I already found nearby farms to frequent. Eating locally grown grass-fed chicken would hopefully be smooth sailing. Some changes would be hard. I’ve spent the last few weeks weaning myself off of the very large cup of coffee I drink each morning and replacing it with caffeine-free herbal tea. I miss the aroma of those Kona beans! Some changes I’m still on the fence about, like dairy products. I’ve heard all sorts of arguments and ideas (both pro and con) when it comes to milk, cheese, and eggs. This is going to require more investigation. I’m heading to a farm in Virginia next week to learn more about raw milk.
The second part of my plan involved making a list of my ailments. I want to track my physical problems over the course of a year and observe improvements. I’ll spare you the entire litany of conditions, but here are a few:
Eyesight: will drinking fresh homemade vegetable juice and eating clean foods restore my eyesight to the point where my prescription is weakened or obsolete?
Skin Problems: in addition to acne (yes, I’m still breaking out at age 33), my skin doctor is constantly chopping off “suspicious” looking moles. She says they’re benign but she also calls them a not-so-pretty word that I can’t pronounce. I’d love to start getting a clean bill of health during my annual dermatology appointments.
Colds: I’ve heard of people who haven’t had a cold in 30 years. Sign me up. No more colds!
Endometriosis/Infertility: This will be the most personal challege. Endometriosis has not only caused severe physical pain, but has resulted in surgery where the doctor had to remove a cyst the size of a cantaloupe as well as most of my ovary. Plus it has caused problems with fertility. I’m thinking…will Clean Eating restore my hormone balances and clear the way for a healthy pregnancy? We’ll see.
The final part of my plan seemed crucial: restaurants. I Googled all the restaurants within 30 miles of my home that serve local, organic fare. Then I taped the list to our refrigerator. If I’m ever too exhausted to cook or if I completely demolish a recipe as I experiment in the kitchen, my husband and I can escape to these spots – one of which is a restaurant that serves vegetarian Indian cuisine. Score!
“The doctor of the future will give no medicines, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the causes of disease.”
Yoga. Acupuncture. Herbs. A Clean Diet..
As I learn how to take care of myself naturally, all are becoming part of my life.
It’s a slow process. And a process that needs a ton forgiveness (the other day before the going to the movies I ate a “healthy snack” so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat candy – and ended up munching on a box of Jr. Mints anyway!).
Tonight for dinner it’s chicken tacos. Organic corn tortillas, free-range organic chicken, and a variety of vegetable toppings to choose from: tomato, avocado, black beans, dark green lettuce, salsa, etc. Also, some steamed spinach on the side (sprinkle the spinach with a little apple-cider vinegar and it is delicious).
I’m not some fancy chef, but I find myself cooking, thinking, and caring about food a lot these days.
Staying at our retreat home in the mountains of Colorado has me thinking about water. I constantly see large vehicles with oversized plastic containers strapped into their truck beds, full of water. Water is hauled all over the place. It’s dry out here.
I’ve actually become a bit paranoid about water. What is the healthiest way to drink it? Should I gulp tap water and risk consuming substances like chlorine and fluoride, not to mention whatever else the water might be picking up as it flows through the pipes? Or should I buy water in a bottle and risk consuming leeched chemicals from the plastic, not to mention hurting the environment (plastic water bottles take 1000 years to biodegrade)? And if I do opt for store bought water, what should I purchase? Spring? Distilled? Glacial?
The more I read about water, the more confusing the facts. I find this to be the case with fish too (Eat it – it’s good for you! Don’t eat it – tuna contains mercury, fish handlers get infections when capturing rockfish, etc.!)
Here’s my current theory: instead of devoting myself to one type of water (tap, spring, well) I mix it up. That way, I figure I’ll get a variety of chemicals but (hopefully) in miniscule amounts. I take the same approach with fish. I’ll eat tuna on occasion, but not too often. Same with salmon and shrimp and sole. So that’s my theory and I’m stickin’ to it.