22 August 2011

Reflection: Three Weeks of "Clean" Eating


I took the plunge and have been eating "clean" for about three weeks. I put clean in quotation marks, because I can't be sure where every bit of my food was sourced from, and I have slipped up on occasion throughout the past twenty one days. (*cough* hot dog at Adele concert *cough*)

I am not doing this for vanity's sake. I am doing it strictly for my health, my endometriosis, and my fertility. It is imperative that I am on this diet. When your life depends on it, you shape up and follow the rules. When I cheat, I cheat my health.

After meeting with our fertility doctor a few times, I have come to realize that the severity of my endometriosis was downplayed greatly by my gynecologist, and I'm not sure why. Was she not qualified to deal with this? Was she trying to be nice? Was she too busy to remember? I love my gynecologist as a person, but I'm not sure why I wasn't informed of this sooner. Make no mistake of it, my endometriosis is Bad, with a capital B. Some might call it "severe".

My poor, poor body. I feel so bad for it!

By nature, I am a problem solver. My mind goes into overdrive, and I have to try and make sense of things. Despite all that Western medicine has tried to do, my body is still not well. The surgeries, the pain killers, the birth control. They have done little to help my situation. I can't sit around any longer and wait for a miracle.

It makes sense to me that I have to do all I can to help my body to heal and get better. So I am pumping it full of vitamins and the freshest foods I can get my hands on. I have spent all my spare time at the farmer's market, Whole Foods, and this amazing co-op market in Santa Monica.

Currently...

I eat greens with every meal.
I sprinkle flax seeds on my morning yogurt and salads.
I read every food label in my house.
I am trying to go gluten-free, and have mostly succeeded.
I have given up all red meat for now.
All of our chicken and fish are organic, antibiotic, and hormone free.
All of our greens are locally grown.
All of our fruits are locally grown.
I eat minimal sugar, and processed foods. I'd like to cut this down to zero.

I am making a lifestyle change, and it is so empowering. Over the course of these past few weeks, I feel stronger than I have in years. Even when the fertility doctor continues to tell us things we don't want to hear, I don't flinch. Nothing he can say will really get me down.

I'm doing this all with the support of my husband, family, and with some help from modern medicine. I'm not a crazy doctor hater or anything. But I have been apt to trust completely in doctor advice, and have been let down numerous times. I have taken a backseat when my health is on the line. I hope I won't make that mistake again.

The most important thing I have learned thus far: Love your body. Nourish your body. Respect yourself. Simple words to live by, but they are getting me through some pretty tough times.

What do you do to love and nourish your body?



12 comments:

  1. I don't really have anything great to say, but I think it's awesome that you are taking control of what you can! I hope your change in eating habits will contine you empower your future!

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  2. You're definitely an inspiration. I'm sure you have your hard days, but you've been largely positive on your blog...it's definitely tough to read sometimes because I want to say something wonderful and insightful and helpful, but I'm not sure what, if anything, would help. You have a wonderful outlook on this situation even though your situation may be Bad, with a capital B. I hope with all hopes that everything you're doing helps your body and your infertility. I'll be thinking of you.

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  3. I think this is amazing. You have handled your situation so well.

    So, here is my question as I am preparing to start this process...did your doctor say to do all of this (gluten-free, etc) or is this something you are doing on your own? I'm wondering if that is something I should try as well.

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  4. AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME! I'm so glad you're coming to this revelation! I had a similiar one when they took out my ovary.

    One more thing you can do to help yourself out - cut down on SOY as much as you can. Most soy in the US is processed in such a way that it acts as an artificial estrogen, which can throw off your body's chemistry.

    You're doing what you can to help yourself and that's really all you can do. It sounds like you're focusing your stress related energy into something PRODUCTIVE and HEALTHY for you. That's awesome! Are you walking daily as well? The lower you can get your stress hormone, the better you can increase your chances of getting pregnant. To put it this way, when your body is stressed out, it doesn't think "Hm.. Yeah, it's safe for me to have a baby." It thinks "Holy crap! How do I survive this?!" and does all sorts of crazy things. Maybe throw in some yoga, meditation (just a minute a day can make a HUGE difference - the most recent fitness magazine has some good strategies).

    I think GYNs generally downplay endo because it's incurable. They can remove it, but it usually doesn't stop the process entirely.

    There is a reason why it's called "practicing medicine". Every body is different and also responds differently.

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  5. I keep meaning to write more about the changes I've recently started making in my own eating habits, also due to health reasons (mine appears to be gallbladder problems). Anyway - I've also been doing it for about three weeks and it's amazing how much better I feel. No more pain, no more problems, sure I don't get to eat some of the food that I used to love, but again, I'm not in PAIN anymore!

    Good luck with your eating journey - as you said, when your health and body depends on making some changes, it's amazing how much easier it is to give a few things up! Looking forward to hearing more about this process for you.

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  6. @Amanda: My doctors have never suggested I change my diet. My blood tests are usually normal, so I guess they never thought to mention it! I have been reading obsessively about how diet affects fertility, endometriosis, etc. I don't know if I am allergic to gluten or not, because I haven't gotten an allergy test. However, I have had digestive issues in the past, so I figured experimenting with gluten-free for a few months could help me figure out the cause of my digestive problems. So far, my stomach has been doing really well. Good luck with your journey! If you have any questions, I'd be willing to answer to the best of my ability. :)

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  7. Just sending your happy thoughts!! And so happy that I was eating an organic cucumber as I read this and not all the ben and jerrys that I ate this weekend. Yoga has really helped me feel better recently.

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  8. @J. Darling: Thanks for the tips! I've heard that about soy, so I cut it out of my diet immediately. I used to eat tofu every now and then. I have been exercising daily, and doing my yoga. I've been reading a lot about the importance of exercise with endometriosis. Sometimes it is a catch 22 because endo makes you so tired, but we have to keep trucking, right?

    RE: Gynos downplaying endo - that kinda infuriates me. My gyno knew we were trying to conceive! She told me my tubes were fine, and they weren't. An oversight or a lie? Also, if I had a doctor that took my endo symptoms seriously when I was 19, perhaps I wouldn't even be in the position I am today. Yes, endo is incurable, but I think the sooner you work on a treatment plan, the better. Something should be done about this. Women are suffering far too much and too long! :( I'll get off my soapbox now...

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  9. I also started to eat extremely clean this year, after watching the documentary "Food Matters" on Netflix streaming. I highly recommend it! I also take several tablespoons of Carlson's Fish Oil per day (with meals) and spread RAW honey on ezekial bread as a delicious, healthy snack. So many benefits to raw honey that I never knew! Very different from commercialized honey. I still eat red meat and I don't totally deprive myself (I'm very addicted to Pinkberry and ice cream in all forms), but my mentality is not to deprive myself, but to ADD TO my diet - that way I never feel like I'm "missing out". By default, the healthy eating has slowly pushed out the not so healthy stuff.

    Good for you for taking ownership of your body and giving it the nourishment and love it deserves!

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  10. I just watched "Crazy Sexy Cancer" - a documentary by Kris Carr about how she made some pretty big life changes in an effort to take back control over her body in the midst of serious illness. I know the diseases are TOTALLY different, but your post reminded me of the way she talks about it in the film. Pursuing cooking, clean, whole foods is a significant part of the doc - if you're interested, you should check it out! I thought it was really cool. I hope my comment isn't annoying - if so, ignore me. You just reminded me of that film with your post, and I really enjoyed it, so I thought you might like to check it out.

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  11. This is awesome and I'm so proud of you for sticking so closely to it too! I've been eating flaxseeds on my cereal every morning too. It's great! We also eat only organic meats and fish and as much as possible organic fruits and veggies. It's an expensive lifestyle though! I try not to let that get to me and remind myself that I make up for that cost when I shop at Ross instead of department stores. ;) Way to go Carly!

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  12. Stumbled across your blog while searching for diets and treatments for Endo, I just had a laparoscopy to diagnose and remove endometriosis last week and am still coping with the news while trying to educate myself as well. Thanks for putting this out there. I will look through your blog to see if you reported on whether this diet helped you out any or not. I'm hoping that it did!

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