[Feel-Good Friday: I think I'm about to change my life. Want to change yours with me?]How to feel good every day of the week.
Last week I was gifted a book. My dad's girlfriend handed it to me with a face full of hope and concern. "I think this could finally help you." Not to look a gift-horse in the mouth, I smiled and gave my thanks, but I'd heard this same encouraging promise of a solution before. It's been over six years of dealing with my chronic health conditions, full of countless visits to a list of doctors that could form their own UN if you'd put them in a room.
GP's, Oby-Gyn's, traditional Chinese medicine doctors, homeopaths, Ayurvedic practitioners, naturopaths... I'd been around the world in $40 co-pays with every doctor left scratching their heads. "Your bloodwork comes back completely normal. All your metrics are great. You have a healthy weight. You exercise regularly. You don't drink, don't smoke, you have a fantastic lifestyle... I don't think I can help you.
I even had one physician suggest that I was getting sick all the time simply because I was "being exposed more." Right.
Because my very predictable, recurring symptoms are just coincidental, just too many unlucky run-ins with viruses in dark alleys.
Suffice to say, I was at the end of my rope, settling into the acceptance that I'd sooner hang myself with it than be able to whip my health back into shape. I was tired of false hope, of throwing my money away on tests and appointments that only left the trail cold. I figured I'd just deal with my vague, non-life-threatening symptoms forever.
But as I cracked the spine of this new book, two things happened.1. I started to feel like maybe there was one last, compelling avenue yet to be explored.2. I realized that like those of the author of the book, these "vague, non-life-threatening symptoms" may be harmless now, but they are likely serving as warning signs of a total body meltdown on the horizon. RED ALERT. RED ALERT.
So what's the final stronghold that may be the Obi-Wan Kenobi of my health? Diet.»Uh... you seem pretty health-conscious to me? What about all your healthy #TableforTen cooking lessons, and Slow Food championing?
Now, let's be clear: I eat fairly healthfully all 'n' all. I'm a life-long vegetarian, I buy exclusively organic whenever possible, I eat my veggies, know my ANDI scores... I even like chard, you guise.
But the same three ingredients repeat over and over again as the center of my diet:Sweets, starch, and dairy.
And guess what these all break down to?Simple sugar, sugar, and sugar.
And I know I'm addicted. I crave it like crackhead, often not feeling satiated after a meal until I've gorged myself on a bowl of ice cream or cereal just to get my fix. Not good.»Great. So what's the book and what's her deal?
The book is called Crazy, Sexy, Diet
(I know, I know, I was rolling my eyes, too), and it's by Kris Carr, a NYC party-girl actress who ended up turning her entire life around after being diagnosed with terminal (incurable) cancer. Guess what? It's seven years later, her cancer is (seemingly miraculously) in remission, and she's happier and healthier than ever. She's now being heralded as a health guru, with her own TV show on TLC and even a feature visit on Oprah.
Okay, so maybe I'm drinking the (sugar-free made from all-natural organic ingredients) Kool-Aid a bit here, but paint me encouraged. I'm about halfway through the book and I'm already convinced that her overhaul is the solution for me. I'm bursting with excitement and feeling so inspired.»All right. Consider my curiosity piqued. But what's this got to do with me?
I want you to do this overhaul with me. I want you to make these changes, too. I want us to do this together and use Google+ as a tool for supporting each other and sharing resources, including having regular Hangout check-ins with each other. Even if you don't have chronic health issues like me, you can definitely benefit from this book's suggestions. In fact, you may have chronic health issues that you don't even recognize. Bloating? Acne? Fatigue? You may have underlying imbalances you're not even aware of.»Hmm. Sounds cool. I could use some positive changes in my life, both in diet and lifestyle. What's this involve?
The first part of the book is jam-packed with all the fascinating, and sometimes startling, evidence that our "Standard American Diet" is way off track and contributing to widespread disease and illness, and why, on the contrary, a plant-rich, low pH diet is ideal as the right fit for our bodies and serves as a cure to many of these illness. That's right. Diet and lifestyle changes can not only prevent diease, it can actually reverse it.
Check it out (from the book):
"But when things go wrong with our health, genes often get all the blame. Whether it's cancer, alcoholism, cheating or a fat ass, we're quick to pass the buck to our go-to scapegoat. As Dr. Dean Ornish suggested so eloquently in the forward to this book, our genes are not our destiny. In fact, the relatively new science of epigenetics proves that our daily choices (diet, lifestyle, and environmental stressors) can actually change the way our genes express themselves- without changing our DNA. These non-genetic factors can literally switch disease, obesity, and other health issues on and off."There's even a study that shows that making these shifts in diet and lifestyle for just three months changed over 500 genes
, "...'turning on' disease-preventing genes, and 'turning off' genes that promote many chronic diseases, including a series of oncogenes that promote breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer."
Moreover, according to one doctor, "We believe that between 70 and 80 percent of cancers are linked to diet and other behavioral factors like tobacco and alcohol- and not genetics."
The final part of the book outlines a 21-day cleanse to kick-off this new way of living and eating, with menus, and day-by-day calendar of what to do, and what to focus on. That's what I want us to focus on and experience together. It's pretty amazing, and the book makes it super simple.»Ugh. A cleanse? I've tried that and caved after the third day. I was starving!
Good news! I was hesitant at first for the same reason, but turns out this cleanse is really mellow and is packed full of delicious food! Yay! The diet component in particular is very simple, based in the latest research in nutrition, focusing on balancing your body's pH and reducing or eliminating foods that are contributors to disease and illness. (For example, how's this for scared straight: did you know that there is a 73% increased risk of death from those with glut inflammation related to gluten? You may have this sensitivity and not even know it! Or how about that 75% of the world's adults can't digest milk, and that drinking too much milk can actually cause
osteoporosis, not prevent it? Yeah, I know.
Plus she's big on not making this some over-the-top, change-you-life-all-at-once-and-hate-yourself-if-you-mess-up thing. It's gradual, there's room for error, and from what I hear, once you get going on it, you won't want
to go back. It's self-sustaining and self-perpetuating. It completely transforms how you view and interact with food, and the environment around you. »Oh, thank god. Well, cool. I'm in! What do I need to do next?1. Get your materials in order! First and foremost, buy the book, which will outline suggestions for what you'll need, and it will inspire you to dive in deep:http://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Sexy-Diet-Veggies-Ignite/dp/15992180112. If nothing else, buy a juicer if you don't already have one.
I just snagged this one:http://www.amazon.com/Omega-J8004-Nutrition-Commercial-Masticating/dp/B001RLYOEE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334336726&sr=8-1
I know, it's expensive, but I've spent more than that on just one doctor's visit. Plus, here's something startling to consider (also from the book):"In the United States we spend more on sickness than wellness. Young people are being diagnosed with catastrophic diseases common among their grandparents. Some medical researchers say that the next generation will be the first generation to die younger than their parents. The solution is clear as far as I'm concerned: Combine the latest reliable science with smart nutrition and positive lifestyle changes."
Oof. Scary stuff.
Note that there are three types of juicers you can get. The book details the pros and cons of each, but you can do your own research, too:
i. Centrifugal (good)
ii. Masticating (better)
iii. Twin gear (best)3. Pick up some litmus tests now to test your starting pH, and to monitor the changes as you go through the cleanse.
You'll want to test it for a week before starting this, so I'd recommend grabbing them this weekend if you can. I'm going to start testing myself on Monday, and then start the diet the following Monday.4. Grab a notebook to record your starting problems and baseline metrics (weight, appearance of skin, etc.), then monitor them as you go through the 21-day cleanse.
Okay, you don't have to, but the scientist in me is perhaps excited most about this part. But even if you don't have your white coat on, I'd definitely encourage you to track your progress. As symptoms are relived, you may even discover some that were so chronic that you weren't even aware you had them until you're free of them! Sweet relief!
And if you're still skeptical, check out her website for more details:http://crazysexydiet.com/
It's packed full of awesome info. (As if my post wasn't lengthy enough on its own!)So let me know if you want to join me in this transformative experience.
I'm kicking off my prep-week on Monday, 4/16, and starting the cleanse on the following Monday, 4/23. I'm doing this with or without you because I want to empower myself and finally take my health into my own hands, but you know... safety in numbers? I hope to see your smiling, healthy face in our of our "Crazy Sexy Diet" progress Hangouts, soon. :)