2013! It's been two years and a month since I quit smoking. As it turns out, smoking was my way of self-medicating my dangerously low heart rate. Even as a kid, my step-mom would complain that I had no energy and would always be sitting down (when I wasn't being a competitive swimmer with 4 hour practices, but hey!) LOL
It's was two years ago that I was about 5 pounds from goal, but so, so tired. Then one day I passed out & my heart stopped. Thankfully I woke up to the cat standing on my chest...how long was I out? Went to the ER & two days later had a pacemaker. Just an electrical problem...no meds, no worries, until I started to gain, and gain and gain. Went to all the docs, it was something with my G.I. and I was on five medications. By last year I'd gained 50#. I was desperate. My hippie child on the west coast sent me some info from a naturopath who felt that I needed probiotic-rich foods to counteract the masses of antibiotics given during the heart surgery. But I ate Fage yogurt! Wasn't enough...the bad bacteria, yeasts & other nasties had taken hold, depleting my mineral reserves and changing the pH of my gut which sets up weaknesses in the intestinal lining allow food to go where it shouldn't. That triggers auto-immune problems like arthritis....NOT a quick or easy fix for that.
I've studied and learned a lot since last spring and I have a lot more to learn. I'm taking an online course to become trained as a Fermentationist & beginning Herbalist which means I have a pile of textbooks I'm slowly getting through. I spend hours each week reading websites & forums to learn all I can about wellness and natural alternatives but applying them to my better-than-average medical knowledge so I can work out what makes sense (for me) in both the Eastern and Western worlds. I've learned that part of my problem is genetic (Eastern Europeans all should be suspicious of gluten), part medical (antibiotics), part industrial (food allergies have risen exponentially since the introduction of genetically modified foods two decades ago) and part my own fault (smokers trash their lungs, heart, GI, pancreas and adrenals).
When you have the wrong "flora" growing in your digestive tract you crave carbs, you tend to not absorb nutrients properly which also makes you hungry, it can lead to depression & mental fogginess as well as weakened immune system. Things I'm doing to help heal my gut:
~eating fermented foods: raw, fermented unpasteurized sauerkraut, veggies & kimchi, kefir, kombucha & miso.
~avoiding all grains (for now) understanding that I will probably always be gluten-sensitive
~eliminating white sugar from my diet including all the fake sugars out there. I will use the occasional raw honey or maple syrup but in really limited amounts
~soaking all beans, seeds and nuts (and eventually grains) to reduce the phytic acid which interrupts the absorption of minerals.
I will be adapting my food plan from a combination of the GAPS and Paleo types of diets and relying heavily on fermentation suggestions from the Nourishing Traditions Cookbooks. I'll be eating green smoothies and soups made from bone broth, getting my food from the cleanest sources I can, following food combining principles and probably even do a cleanse.
Already my skin is clearer. I've seen a direct relationship with "cheating" and arthritis flare-ups. I had been off nuts over the holidays but started them again with the New Year. My GI got wonky and I immediately gained 6# of bloat. It's clear to me I need to soak them...which I'm doing right now. Everybody's body is unique....you have to keep trying different things.
I WILL figure this out.
Fermented Gingered Carrots I made this Fall--absolutely delicious!