About Me

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I'm a mom, a wife, a best friend. Sick with CFIDS/ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia since 1975 as a result of a nasty flu while still in grad school, it wasn't until the late '80's that I received a diagnosis. Until that flu I'd never really been ill before. With each year I get progressively worse and add to the bucket load of symptoms I'm living with. I've been blessed with an incredible family and best friend who've stayed with me through my struggles as we continue to find a way out of this monstrous illness and its complications. We've tried seemingly every approach to find my way back to health. Often I think our best weapon in this undesirable and unasked-for adventure has been laughter.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Tidbits: You Are What You Eat!

My personal food bible, thanks to my BFF!

Well, here we are again, with TGIF, or as I think of it: TGINFOMO, "Thank God it's not fibro on my own!"  It would be TGINFAMEOMO but adding the "And ME" to the equation makes it a bit difficult to pronounce, I think, no? 

At any rate, that means it's also "Friday's Tidbits," the time of the week when I try to come up with a few tips or thoughts that have been circling in that brain of mine - you might remember that as the place no one in my family ever wants to venture into.  The saving grace is that the "Tidbits" are just that: small, short posts!  (Yeeha! I hear you!) 

As most of you know by now, I've been going on about my hypothyroidism almost ad nauseam, and to subject you to a tiny bit more of what's going on, I thought that since more results from the blood work have trickled in, I'd make a few observations that would perhaps work for just about everyone out there.  (Yes, my generosity of spirit amazes even me at times! ;))

I've been "celebrating" the hypothyroidism since I got the news by eating everything and anything within sight of me even though, paradoxically, everything makes me nauseated.  But really, when has nausea actually stopped a really good woman in "mourning" from eating?  Worse yet, everything tastes like cardboard - and 16th century cardboard at that. Yum!  Nothing like nice stale 16th century cardboard to tickle those taste buds! 

However, since Monday, I've put the brakes on my "celebratory feasts" and decided, "Irene! Ya gotta stop this food nonsense and try to get back to eating properly, d*mn it!"  After all, my year of getting myself to look human is slowly coming to an end (i.e., December 31 is, unfortunately, not THAT far away), I'm hitting a landmark birthday at the end of the month (I'd ignore that little mention if I were you: it's much safer that way.  It will NOT be a very pleasant day in this house, I can tell you that already!) and there have been way too many curve balls thrown at me this year to have put me anywhere near successful in "looking human" once again.  

But after succeeding on Monday with "eating right" I was shocked to see that I was actually able to accomplish one day of doing well!  (Irene style.  Don't forget my mantra: everyone has their own way; you just need to figure out what your own body does best with.)  I was shocked to see that Tuesday went off very well, and then Wednesday and Thursday also!  Oh my heavens!  What was happening to me?  I've not been able to motivate myself to eat "properly" since I got back from my Malaysian adventure.  What's changed?

Well, Thursday evening I got some more blood results back and saw, much to my surprise, that my glucose level is normal!  No wonder I was suddenly able to apply willpower and have it actually work.  No willpower in the world was working before because my sugar levels were all over the place.  (Even my old cinnamon trick wasn't helping me!)  A few other results came in as well, that are kind of funny too.  Not funny as in "ha! ha!," but as in "hey, that's interesting!" In the spirit of brevity, I'm going to make a few observations and tips, combining them for all to make life, as well as this post, (hopefully) more interesting.

  • Did you know that it only takes about three days of determined effort to get rid of old bad eating habits?  Yep.  Once you make up your mind, that is, all you need to do is get through three days of getting rid of awful eating habits and it becomes a thing of the past.  Now that doesn't mean you won't crave "bad" things but the longer you are away from "bad" food, the easier it is to eat "right."  My personal downfall is sugar - and, of course, carbs in the form of potatoes and breads.  But I've not had any of those amazingly delicious foods in three days and though I know that the upcoming week can still be dangerous territory, once I get past the three-day mark, I am well on my way!  For those really interested in what foods I find most helpful and healthy, I highly recommend Jonny Bowden's 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, where every type of nutrient necessary for optimal health is addressed with each "healthy" food mentioned.  (See below picture of what I mean.)  I just find the foods that agree with me best and go to it.  My BFF gave me a copy of this book a few years ago and out of all the healthful-eating books I have in my library, this is THE best, with one exception, which I'll get to one of these days.  I highly recommend this Jonny Bowden for everyone.  And to think I started eating from this book in order to take off 40 lbs!  I actually took 60-75 lbs off the safe and right way and felt much healthier in the long run.  (I've gained with the hypothyroidism so that's why you're getting a range.  But it WAS 75 lbs at one point for a few years.)  So, Jonny, here I come!  I've missed you, baby!
  • The lab work has  also shown that I'm still clinically dehydrated.  All that drinking of water and running back and forth like an Olympian between bath and bed doesn't seem to be working!  However, I've been running fevers galore, so that's certainly a factor in the whole dehydration process.  I'm going to try to take more baths and soak for a bit in order to attack my skin from the outside as well as from the inside.  Wish me luck!  And I so hope the skin elasticity is not all gone!
  • The good news is that I'm again spot on with my Vitamin D levels.  This number had gone down for the first time ever.  Now most can blame it on my not getting out into the sun (and how my mom would chide me - understatement! - for saying this) but the sun and light really are my enemies.  I was shocked to see that despite living as much as I possibly can in a Bat Cave, my Vitamin D levels have always been in the normal range and again, can only find an explanation for this in that I'm getting Vitamin D from my food and/or that my fair Slavic skin is an evolutionary process which doesn't require as much Vitamin D as a darker person would need, like my very dark Slavic mom.  But really, who knows?  These are just some of the things I think about.  And as I've often stated: I LOVE to think, much to my family's dismay!
In the end, I'd like to emphasize that what you eat is often what you are, such a cliché, I know!  However, I like to open a fridge and look at it as a medicine cabinet and skip the vitamin supplements if and when I can.  No, I'm definitely not enamored of salmon - nor any fish of any type - but I'll eat it at least once a week in order to get those important omega-3 fatty acids (while worrying about mercury and other toxicity, of course!).  I learned this food approach (the hard way) from my mom and then loved hearing this from Naomi Judd when she had her Hepatitis C crisis and was on TV with Dr. Andrew Weil, talking about how much better it is to get your vitamins and nutrients in food form.

Furthermore, just in the last few weeks there was a report questioning how helpful omega-3 fatty acids in the form of supplements actually are and the suggestion was that we should try to get those nutrients through food as much as possible (uh, duh???).  My take?   As of yet, we have no idea why actual food works better than supplementation: there may very well be a means that no one's discovered yet as to why "supplements" just don't work as well as the real thing. Just off the top of my head: perhaps the sugars or fiber in the food help the delivery system, but who knows? Yes, I do try to take vitamins and supplements, especially for the parts of me that are "broken," but really, I've found that getting those all-important nutrients through food works best in the long run, if at all possible.  

At any rate, I wish everyone a wonderful weekend with some great company and hope that all feel their very best, only better!  Ciao and paka!

An idea of what the individual sections on each food within its category looks like in this particular Bowden book.


  1. Gosh, talent is a talent is a talent. It doesn't matter what subject you discuss in your Friday Tidbits, I continue to laugh so loud, that my husband have to come out of his office to see what make me that way... Ya "rzhu kak loshad'" and in Russian it means I create sounds of laughing horse... "Roraing by the side of your sickbed" would be my response to the name of your blog...

    1. You are the funny one, Mariula! I still laugh each time I see your comment. Thanks for the funny words, as well as the very kind, supportive ones! Иpинка (aka"Дыньзя") xx