Sunday, July 18, 2010

Food: Medicine or Menace?

"Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food."   - Hippocrates (460-370 BCE)
Using certain foods as medicine is not a new concept. In fact, Hippocrates, considered by many to be the father of medicine, knew all along about the importance of proper nutrition. So, how have we come to forget this important concept? What will it take to make raw fruits and vegetables become THE staple of our diets? For us, not much from here on out.

We are now coming to the end of our third week with our detoxification diet. The last 14 days of our diet consisted of only fruits and veggies, half of which were consumed raw while the others were either lighted steamed or sauteed in EVOO.

We'd be lying to you if we told you it's been an easy 2 weeks. It has been a struggle to stay satiated on such a limited diet. We have certainly enjoyed all of the seasonal fruits and vegetables, but in the absence of whole grains, nuts and legumes our only complaint is that of growling stomachs. We'd find ourselves completely stuffed after each meal only to be starving an hour later. What we can say with certain validity is that with such limited choices our creativity has increased as we began to treat each meal as if it were a canvas of art.

After a few days the hunger began to subside. Were our stomachs shrinking or was it the fact that we were eating more than three meals each day? Being as hungry as we were our energy levels were not affected at all! In fact, we actually felt like we had more energy than we did prior to this diet.

Week three began the reintroduction phase. We are beginning to reintroduce some of the foods that we omitted in week two along with some of the foods that could pose potential issues with Tia's asthma. As we reintroduce certain foods back into our diet we'll be keeping a diary of any adverse reactions to those foods such as digestion, headaches, skin, energy levels, joint/muscle and nasal/chest congestion. Already we have noticed some abnormalities with Tia after reintroducing Sunbutter and black beans. After eating the Sunbutter she suffered a severe migraine. We'll probably reintroduce it again this week to make sure the migraine wasn't from something else. And after eating the black beans she suffered more bad asthma. She ate black beans a second time and again had another asthma attack. Once we have a new list of possible food allergies Tia will return to her Allergist for additional testing.

And since food origins and quality have been on our mind the last few weeks we've tried to spend a lot of our free time reading and watching documentaries on Netflix. Some of the recent videos/books/articles we've seen, and recommend are: Food Matters, Food Inc., King Corn, Fast Food Nation, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. We have a few more in the queue for our next free evening!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Canning and Composting

Our neighbor and local farmer dropped off 6 pounds of cucumbers over the weekend for us to pickle. It just happened to be perfect timing as we are down to our last jar from last year's harvest. If we can get some more rain he'll have another batch for us mid week! And that's not all we have for this week. We've got okra, blueberries (homegrown), peaches, tomato sauce and hopefully more pickles on the list for canning. Our jelly cabinet will certainly be full and overflowing and the canning season is still young!

With all of the recent canning activity and our new fruit and veggie only diet we've felt the need to upgrade our compost pile to one that is protected from the critters. We've set it up so the front opens up for turning, but we'll have to wait and see if we need to fashion a top to keep the pesky squirrels out.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Neat Nicks

When we started this diet 2 weeks ago we decided to not only detox our bodies but also our house. Our ultimate goal is to get to the root of Tia's asthma and we knew that our diet was not the only cause. In fact, our diet was pretty good from the start, but not perfect. We eat local foods, either from our CSA, our neighbors farm or locally grown foods from the farmers market or whole foods. We even try to buy organic as much as possible, or when our budget allows for it. But we still let sugar and processed foods slip into our diet from time to time and that's what we are trying to curb. We've learned a lot about nutrition and plan to continue on a very similar diet when these 4 weeks are over.

So, on to the house. For about the last 2 months every time Tia would sit on our couch she would have an asthma attack and her eyes would swell up and water. Our couch is only 7 years old and to the naked eye doesn't appear dirty. But, it must have been full of dust mites which did show up with off the chart numbers on Tia's allergy test. After a few calls and 2 days later we had our couch dry cleaned. Magic! Tia can now comfortably sit on the couch and enjoy our Netflix subscription without all of the sneezes and sniffles!

Our bed was the next concern. For the past several months or so Tia has been waking up every single night with a very serious and severe asthma attack. There were even times she would wake Brad up from her wheezing without even waking herself. So, we ditched our pillows and emptied our wallets for brand new organic Allergy Luxe pillows. Magic, it worked again!

We also decided it was time to deep clean our house but we didn't have the time, energy or noses to rid our house of the dust. We called a local company called Eco Maids and they came out and provided a deep and thorough clean. They have their own supplies but will work with you if you'd rather have them use what you have. This was great for us since we have all bamboo and cork flooring and we needed them to use our approved cleaning supplies. Our house is now spotless! Wait, Maya just got home, forget that last statement :)

It's been a little over a week since we got new pillows and our couch cleaned and only 4 days since we had our house cleaned and it's already proving to have worked a great deal. Tia is still suffering from occasional asthma attacks but with much less frequency. Most of them now occur due to the occasional run in with pets or the heat and humidity. The past few nights have been great and we hope this will finally provide some relief. If not, our next step will be to test our house for hidden mold. Let's hope we don't have to go there...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Night Sweats

Night Sweats, originally uploaded by BradandTia.

Maya has recently been soaking our bed from night sweats while sleeping. We normally don't have our AC on at night and try to keep our room cool with fans and open windows. It was a little hot last night, but enough to cause her to sweat this much? 

When we moved her there was a pool of water under her stomach and she was completely drenched! As a result, we're having to wash our sheets more than once a week!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

First Cast = My First Fish!

On Thursday night of last week Uncle Tony, Aunt Lindsey and Roscoe surprised us after driving in from Atlanta. They were on their way up to Delaware and had to pass right through Raleigh. It was so good to see them but having two more people in our house who are not eating what we're eating made things a little difficult! Watching people eat the things that are restricted from our diet just makes us drool. Since the weather was so nice all weekend we spent most of our time at Harris Lake playing frisbee golf and fishing which helped to keep our minds off of our stomachs.

We promised Maya that she could fish with Uncle Tony if she walked the first 8 holes of the course. She threw the line around a couple of times but was more interested in playing and falling in the water.

Since we never caught anything at Harris Lake we decided to hit the neighborhood pond. Maya caught this bluegill on her first cast! We ended up catching 10 fish total, 4 for Maya! Maya was using worms from our compost bin and she couldn't keep the fish off her hook!

Detox Update Day 9:

The headaches have subsided and the hunger has set in. Just the mention of a grilled cheese sets Tia into a frenzy. Day 7 started our vegan and semi-raw diet. For the next week and a half we are only eating fruits and vegetables. Simply put, milkshakes, fruits, veggie sticks and salads. Our shakes have included some or all of the following: cucumber, spinach, strawberry, carrot, watermelon, cantaloupe, peach, apple, zucchini, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, bananas and of course protein powder.

Our book says that after the first day or so on this stage of the diet the hunger pangs will subside. It says to have a peach or an apple handy in case we start feeling dizzy or feeling like we have low blood sugar. We were told that this would be the hardest week to sustain physical activity such as an extended work out so we will see how Tia fares with yoga and Aqua Moms and Brad with the construction of a new compost bin for our worms.