Eating my words






It really wasn’t that long ago…ok, it’s been at least five years…that I’d hold up a whole chicken from the grocery store in front of Maria.  I’d hold out its wings and let its drumsticks (aka LEGS) dangle, and I’d make the poor headless thing do a “chicken dance”.  She would giggle and giggle!  Then I’d roast it.  Then I’d eat it.  Mmmm, mmm, mmmm!

Chicken, I figured, was one of the best proteins…lean and tasty.  I had taken a class offered by Jazzercise in the ’80s called the “Know More Diet”.  It was basically a good class.  But, in that class, fat was clearly the enemy.  I came to understand this.  Look for stuff with monounsaturated fat or no fat.  Polyunsaturates were are next best friends.  Stay away from all saturated fats.  So, no butter, but potato chips didn’t have saturated fat.  OK!!!!

Enter the ’90s and new millenium.   Now hydrogenated fats are the enemy as well as white carbs.  Let’s eat Adkins or Paleo.  And forget about white flour, too!

For me, enter cancer.  And for 50% of you, you’ll join me in your lifetime, so don’t be a slacker and think it will never be you!!!  More reading.  More education?  Maybe just more confusion…

I was totally convinced that I should be a vegetarian.  Quite honestly, I am “morally” a vegan.  With the exception of eggs.  (because, if I buy organic ones, esp if I get them from farmers I know, the chickens are treated very well and the eggs are taken by hand…the chix are never harmed).  But, I struggle with animal farming.  That’s a whole different blog post, though.  I read enough material that convinced me that eating animals is highly inflammatory for our bodies.  And, I still believe that most of what’s in your grocer’s meat section is not fit for you to eat.  Inflammation in certain areas causes your immediate concern…an open sore on your skin, a toothache.  But, you cannot always feel the inflammation on the inside, so it gets ignored.  Do you get headaches, bloated…inflammation, silly!  Eating plants seemed to be the answer to good health.  Mix those with whole grains, and voila…good health!!!  I tried all sorts of new grains…quinoa, amaranth, millet.  I use their flours, too.  These new additions are still welcome in my pantry.  They are not too white.

This Christmas I was a cheater.  I cheated my body of nutritious food…well, I ate my nutritious food, I just added the yuck on top.  Too much of it…alcohol and cookies, specifically.  Those are celebration calories for me!  I was celebrating a good scan, Thanksgiving, Christmas, kids home from college, New Years, Thursdays, you name it…And I gained some weight.  So, in February, I did a 3-day cleanse to jump start my new re-commitment to vegetables.  Since mid-January, I had been 90% vegan.  The cleanse was 3 days of vegetable juice, (home made) and fresh fruit smoothies.  I could snack on nuts, seeds, dried fruit and coconut flakes.   I lost four pounds in three days, just the jump start I’d hoped for!  Then, I got blood drawn for labs.  My hbA1c (sugar test that measures ave. blood sugar over 3 months) was 6.3…up .5 points…up 8% in three months, and too high!!  Does 8% seem like no biggie?  If you weighed 150 lbs in November, would you want to weigh 162 lbs in February??  Heck no!!!  That sugar number pissed me off!!!

The one consistency throughout every diet or wellness plan I’ve encountered is this…sugar is the enemy.  Not just the pretty white crystals.  The pretty white bread, the pretty white rice, the pretty white pasta, too.  And, also, just about everything you’d use to substitute for that “cocaine”.  Stevia seems safe.  Honey, maple syrup, and molasses, are at least nutritive as well as sweet.  But a person with a healthy blood sugar, is a person with a very happy internal environment.  Those sugar numbers are a good indication of happy guts…or not so happy guts.  So, this new number threw me.  Ok, ya, I ate some cookies.  But, then I was nearly VEGAN.  Lotsa greens.  I was eating especially healthfully.

Alas, not for my body chemistry.  I guess the moral of my story is this…read, read, read.  Be educated about what goes into and onto your body.  Because, everyone, the FDA does not care a hoot about you INDIVIDUALLY.  Listen to your body.  I went to Whole Foods after my February oncologist appointment, as I routinely do.  John was perusing.  I was figuring out how to put meat back on my plate.

DownloadedFileI had just gotten myself to think of it as something short of poison.  I picked up a package marked “young chicken” and, embarrassingly, tears filled me eyes.  I could see the cute little thing in the barnyard, hunting and pecking.  Cackling.  Trying to run.  But, dang, I was gonna eat it.  And I did.  And I may have eaten his/her brother or sister as well.  I am careful from whom I get my meat.  I try to only buy pastured chickens and beef.  But, they are back on my plate.  And, ya know what?  Three months later, my hbA1c is at 5.9.  Headed back the right direction.  So, what I’m trying to say is this….I thought I had it figured out.  And, what I had figured might be exactly what would get your body into alignment.  I check my blood regularly to watch sugar and inflammation levels.  (along with other things that my doc watches, like liver enzymes)  But, what I thought was right actually raised both my blood sugar and my CRP, which measures inflammation.  It intuitively makes sense to me to eat only plant-based foods.  And I REALLY am at peace eating that way.  But, my insides disagree with my brain.  So, I am retraining again.  Adding animal proteins hasn’t changed my inflammation levels, but it brought down my blood sugar.  And, so, I continue to tweek.

Please try to buy meat that has been responsibly raised.  It doesn’t take much research to find a store near you that sells pastured animals.  You really should eat eggs from pastured chickens, too.  If you stopped buying pop and chips, you wouldn’t notice a difference from these purchases in your overall food bill.  At least, not too much.  And, maybe if I could give up my Starbucks addiction, this would help me inflammation levels. Ugghhh.



About nancy5vic

40-something year old cancer goddess (hah...make that 50-something now!!) raising four children and one husband. Diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2008. Love to travel, cook, bake and spend time with my kids and friends. My perfect day always starts with breakfast out...especially fantastic if I'm with John.
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7 Responses to Eating my words

  1. John Ferrato says:

    i wont tell anyone about the fathers day look away ribs that we have no idea where they came from….only that they were yummy!!

  2. nancy5vic says:

    Good thinking! I don’t want anyone to think I cheat sometimes! I’m sure I’d lose all credibilty…

  3. Terry Bedell says:

    Nancy, As always, I LOVE IT!!!! Informative and witty as always. It is all a balance. Thank you for the information and pictures. Love, Alice


  4. yelodoggie says:

    I read your blog post today to Dalene and we’ve been talking about it all day. When she got so sick last year, it totally messed up her blood sugar, and she was diagnosed “borderline”diabetic. They started her out with insulin and metformin, but since then, and since she’s been healing, they have now dropped the insulin. She’d like to stay off the insulin, so she’s been reading up on how she needs to eat. Something she found out from a nutritionist that she was shocked to learn, is how many carbs are in fruit and fruit juices. We always think that stuff is so good for us, but only in very small amounts. When I read the part to her about your sugar, she said, it was the fruit smoothies. She said sugar (though poisonous) isn’t really the thing that raises your blood sugar. It’s the way your body breaks down carbs. A woman is only supposed to eat 30-60g of carbs per meal, and 1 apple…ONE!!!!! Is 30g.

    Balancing your meals with the proper amount of protein, starches, fats and carbs is the best way to stay healthy – although everyone’s body chemistry is a little different, so YMMV. The nutritionist recommended she eat 1800 kcal a day, 77 g protein, 248 g carbs, 56 g fat and a bunch of water…those grams of various things split into 3 meals a day.

    Now, that said….she and I eat totally differently. Most days we prepare separate meals. I was a vegetarian for 13 years, then went back to meats (damn that piece of devilish bacon that corrupted me!). Last summer, after I started reporting on ag-gag legislation, I dropped the meat again. The hardest part has been dropping dairy. Not milk – I switched to almond milk about 7 months ago, but the ice cream and the cheese has been harder to eliminate. And I still eat fish and eggs…but only eggs from local farmers (for the same reasons as you). I love to load my salads with nuts and seeds, but apparently, too much of that isn’t good for you either.

    My dad always said “Eat what you crave, because that’s what your body needs.” And that’s a fine thought, except for the fact that the more sugar, chocolate or cheese you eat, the more you crave it. And apparently, the only thing his body craved was beer….but as you say, that’s another blog post. LOL.

    Dalene eats a lot of meat. She does not feel satisfied unless she has meat in a meal. For me, nothing is more satisfying than macaroni and cheese, but I try to limit that to once or twice a month. She has not bought meat from a chain grocery for about three years.

    Did you know that there are farms in the Valley that are co-ops…where a family purchases a membership and receives as many vegetables and eggs as they want per week and a specified number of fryers, and other meats raised locally? There is one on Rte 303 in Peninsula called the Trapp Family Farm. The price is a little too steep for us right now, but we’re hoping the cost will come down as the Farm gains a foothold. (330) 657-2844 If the commitment of a share is not right for you, they are offering items a la carte at the farm on Saturdays beginning this month.

  5. yelodoggie says:

    P.S. Dalene just finished a big piece of cake, LOL, and now I’m gonna go get a piece.

  6. nancy5vic says:

    Yep, a carb is a carb, I get that. White sugar happens to have no nutritive value, so it’s especially bad. I usually only eat 1-2 servings of fruit/day, and that’s usually berries…a lower glycemic option and full of antioxidants. The fruit smoothies were absolutely a problem! I knew for sure because about 30 minutes after I had them, I got nauseated. Another hour later I was hungry. But, I found that in my nearly-vegan days, I “filled in” the veggies with carbs. If I didn’t, I was constantly hungry and constantly eating. Even if that was quinoa pasta or brown rice, I could feel the sluggishness carbs bring on. If I add a bit of meat…I rarely (but not never, as my hubby may point out!) eat a full 3 oz serving…I feel better.
    I joined the Brunty Farm CSA on Martin Rd. I get chickens and eggs from them. I buy grass fed beef from a local Heinens and Mustard Seed. I also buy from a farm in Missouri. I don’t drink cows milk and rarely eat its cheese, but I do eat some goats cheese.
    I hope Dalene continues to feel better. I’m sure the cake was good for the soul! Those ribs we had for Father’s Day sure were!

  7. nancy5vic says:

    Btw, try ice cream made from coconut milk. And fudgesicles,too. I think you’ll like!

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