Friday, April 27, 2007

Eat to Live

Chapter 7: Greenmama stops looking at everyone else and takes a good hard look at herself.

When my youngest had just turned a year old, the family decided to take a 4 day trip to Washington D.C. to march in a protest and visit a friend.

My husband had just recovered from an obstructed bowel. His doctor had told him to take some laxitives and come in for more drastic measures if that didn't work. He was also told that it was probably related to high blood sugar.

In the enclosed space of our car on the 10 hour trip, I demanded that we come up with a plan of action for life. This blow-up argument was about more than his health, but his health played a major role in it. Poor man, the things he's had to endure from me.

Anyway, my argument was, how can I raise three kids by myself when you die in 10 years, as you're sure to do if you continue on this path.

On the way home we stopped in Chicago. I wanted to go to Karyn's to try it. I don't even know why? I think it was a place that I had seen many times when I was in Chicago and I knew it was vegetarian and raw. I only had a vague concept of what raw could mean. But I like food adventure.

We found out that Karyn's had moved and expanded. It was much more tony than it had been when we knew of it a few years before. For all of the beautiful surroundings, the food was just o.k. The nori wraps with walnut paste and strips of peppers and carrots--to die for! The corn soup--just eh. Something, I can't remember what, had baby tomatoes in it that were flavorless and past their prime. I remember thinking how expensive it was for mediocre food.

But the book store! I found so much to inspire me. And, in a gesture of good faith, my husband bought the book Eat to Live, by Joel Fuhrman. I bought Vibrant Living: Over 250 Heart Healthy Live Food Recipes, by James Levin and Natalie Cedarquist. I bought it for fun, thinking it'd be neat to try out some different recipes. No thought of going raw. On the way home, my husband promised me that he'd get back on the path to health.

We both read Eat to Live. I actually only read it because I was going to help him by preparing meals that fit in his plan. (I prided myself on how much I knew about health and nutrition. I ate 5-9 fruits and veggies a day. *I* certainly didn't need to eat better. God, it's embarrassing to realize how dense I was!)

After reading Dr. Fuhrman's explanation of the China Study, as well as his statistics on how much we actually should weigh for maximum health, a lightbulb went off in my head. Duh, you ninny, you're overweight. Not to mention you have several risk factors for diabetes. And you're eating eggs and some dairy, thinking they're healthy or "not that bad".

The whole family went on Eat to Live, which meant lots of salads, vegetables (especially dark colored), fruits and beans. The kids ate more grains than the adults. We ate raw nuts and seeds only. I dropped 30 pounds in 6 months.

Over the next year and a half, I gradually added more and more exercise to my routine as well. Walking to school with the kids, aerobics videos, some weight training.

My husband moved on the path toward overall self-improvement. He began exercising more, addressing his emotional eating patterns, studying Taoism and other eastern religion and philosophy. He has lost 97 pounds and counting. His blood sugar is back under control without medication and his blood pressure is normal. He snores less and doesn't have apnea episodes that I know of. His back pain is gone.

A success story. Right?

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