Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Back On Track

Recently, I became aware that all three of us were having "episodes" of "un-well-ness." Not really sickness, but definitely not well either. And I realized that we'd been slipping on our food goals. After sitting down and taking a somewhat unpleasant, but honest, look at our recent eating habits, I recommitted to eating right.

Now, everybody's body is different, of course; so, I don't think there really is a one-size-fits-all diet that is perfect for everyone. But over the course of this journey, I have come to better understand what my body needs, and what seems to work, more or less, for the kids.

I function best on a high protein diet with lots of veggies and limited whole grains and fruit. So, a week ago, I got serious (again) about eating the way my body needs me to eat, and cutting out the crap that I had let slide here and there for all of us. The change has been huge. Truly enormous.

For one thing, I have tons more energy. My skin looks better. But best of all, I have less pain. For several months, I was relatively pain free with regard to the rheumatoid arthritis. If you've been reading here a while, you know that I quit all my meds a while back to see what changing my diet could do for my RA symptoms. But as I started sliding off the routine, I started experiencing more inflammation, until I had a full blown flare not long ago. Come to think of it, that's actually when I had the wake-up call to get back on track and realized the kids were having issues of their own. A week back into clean living and I am nearly pain free.

We are just beginning to eat out of our garden. Until that is in full swing, we'll continue raiding the farm stand and farmers market (although, this last Saturday I bought nothing at the market because there was so little food there- our market has a policy of limiting vendors so as not to cause competition between vendors; but competition between vendors is what pushes vendors to supply amply and with variety, in my humble opinion).

I have developed a rhythm of purchasing from various local suppliers, and this has helped me learn to plan ahead a bit more. This is still not my strong suit, but as long as I am progressing I don't think I can complain. I am also coming to accept, and better understand, the higher prices for local and ethically-raised meats and dairy products. It is still a challenge for me with regard to my budget. I have cut back, and then cut back some more, and then a bit more, how much meat we eat. I am thankful eggs are more affordable, and they have become an important staple in my bid to keep my protein intake up where I need it to be, although the kids still don't want to eat them.

The fallout from this one decision- to eat what I should eat- has been surprising and wonderful. Having all this energy has made the idea of maintaining a fitness routine seem entirely doable. The Girl, the dogs, and I have all gotten a lot more exercise than usual lately. We haven't quite figured out what activity to do to entice The Boy to come along with us, but we're working on it!

Figuring out how my body needs to be fed involved a lot of trial and error, as well as a fair bit of frustration and soul searching. But it was an exercise well worth undertaking because feeding your body how it needs to be fed is sort of like turning a magical key in a door between Blahsville and So-This-Is-Life Land. If you are on this journey too, and if you sometimes lose your way or become discouraged, know that improvement is only one better decision away, and that each better decision takes you closer to the life you want. Keep looking for the right fit for you; it will be worth it.


  1. Interesting post Maggie. Encouraging too, as really, this is what I need to do. My energy (and hence enthusiasm) level has been gradually dipping downward. I've read so many theories on diet though, that in the end I just scratch my head. Of course you're correct that diet needs are very individual. I just have to figure out where I've gotten off track.

  2. Thanks Leigh. :) You bring up a good point regarding the plethora of diet theories out there. The confusion is really what pushed me AWAY from following a specific set of diet guidelines and into (out of desperation) trial and error based on what bits of various theories made sense to me. Basically, I stopped listening to theories and started listening to my body! Also, I should mention that, while my body likes a lot of protein, I am NOT avoiding carbs. I just don't feel as good when carbs- even brown rice, which had become a staple- make up a big part of my diet. It's been a process of paying attention and then tweaking the results.