Diets Get a Bad Rap

I’m not a fan of dieting.  Too many diets that I read are nutritionally unbalanced, wrapped around a single principle, such as grapefruits, and selling something, like a magic pill that melts all the fat away.  You can’t google anything without something diet related showing up.  They all guarantee quick success while showing you the “biggest loser” pictures.  There are no guarantees because everyone has different needs and various problems affecting their health and/or weight.  So, all that to say that I started a diet this week.  How’s that for hypocrisy?

Actually, the connotation of the word “diet” is what has gotten a bad rap.  A diet is seen as a starve-yourself-silly for three weeks to squeek into that new pair of jeans.  The true meaning of a diet is the selection of food, in terms of quantity, quality, and composition.  So, in essence, you are what you eat.  Did anyone see that coming?

I’ve heard lots of people tell how they dropped 10 pounds by giving up sodas and candy.  Umm, duh?  It stands to reason that the less junk you eat, the less of a weight problem you might have.  And no, Diet Coke doesn’t cancel out the dozen donuts you scarfed.

Over the last five years, I’d say, I have been working toward a healthier diet.  I started making our bread from fresh-ground whole wheat.  We cut out a lot of white sugar, except for the Christmas sugar cookies we all like.  We went low sodium after my heart failure episode.  We eat very little fast food.  McDonald’s is a special birthday treat for the little ones, but more for the playscape than the food.  We don’t drink sodas at all.  I don’t prepare any processed food that I can think of, though your definition of processed can vary depending on how strict you want to be.  I cook mostly from scratch.  We eat a lot of fresh vegetables, lean meats, and fruit.

All that to say, even a good diet doesn’t guarantee good health.

I think I can trace the start of my health problems to my fourth pregnancy when I went into congestive heart failure, known as Peripartum Cardiomyopathy.  That was a very rough ride for several months, and though my heart function returned to normal, my body had been through a traumatic ordeal from which it was just starting to recover when I got pregnant with baby 5.  Her pregnancy was a breeze, unless you like seeing a different specialist every week or two for 35 weeks.  No symptom was normal, and I was poked, ultrasounded, tested, and questioned and observed with microscopic detail.  When we got to the delivery, we all thought we could breathe a sigh of relief, until the umbilical cord prolapsed.  I was rushed into emergency surgery and have a nice vertical incision to use for guilt when she becomes a teenager.  That seemed to be the breaking point because since her birth I have struggled with various health issues.

First I was diagnosed with low Vitamin D, then early bone loss, and possibly an autoimmune disorder.  I gained 20 pounds in less than two months with no change in my diet or activity level.  I started having digestive problems, which was what concerned my husband the most because he used to call me the iron stomach, a tribute coming from a man who has trouble eating almost anything.  I talked to two doctors, both of whom brushed off my descriptions and told me to eat less and take more synthetic vitamins/medications.  That was not the merry-go-round I wanted to ride.

I know of several people who have gone on elimination or purification diets and decided that might be something that would help.  I started working with an accupuncturist to help with pain relief and natural supplements, and she suggested the particular diet I’m trying, but there are others that are similar.

I’m using the Standard Process Purification Program.  It involves a 21-day diet with nutritional supplements.  I eat only vegetables the first eight days, then I can add in lean protein, such as fish and chicken.  I’m on day two, and I can tell you that I’m smelling the chicken already.  The three weeks gives my body a chance to stop reacting to any foods to which I may be sensitive.  Then at the end of 21 days, I start adding in foods one at a time to evaluate what is likely causing certain reactions.  I suspect grain, which will make me very, very sad.  I love bread.

I hope I lose some weight, but it is not the primary goal.  I believe a gradual weight loss will be more healthy in the long run and will correspond with correcting other health issues.  In other words, I believe that much of my weight is a symptom of another health problem, not the problem itself.

If you don’t mind, I’ll use my blog to share my progress and probably my food cravings.  So, check back next week, and I’ll let you know if survived week one.

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