Sunday, April 18, 2010

Greetings from Sick Bay

Tissue, anyone? Day 7 of Declan's mono diagnosis and all's well. Well, not totally well, but better. His symptoms last week were mostly like a very severe cold--lots of coughing and blowing out gunky stuff. Ick.

The thing that's troubling to me is that there is no conventional treatment for mono. What to do? What to do? I tried various and sundry homeopathic remedies to ease him symptoms, but to no avail. He was pretty miserable.

And then I called a friend who is a naturopathic doctor and asked what she thought. We went in to see her and she provided us with some supplements and herbal remedies, AND she did acupuncture on him! It was so cool. I've always wanted to try it. Declan thought it was slightly less amusing to be a human pincushion, but he was pretty cooperative.

That night was a really tough one--this is apparently common when the symptoms are coming out from the acupuncture. And the next day, there was marked improvement. By Friday, I was wishing I'd sent him to school. He was well enough to be squirrely and annoying after a week at home. I'm happy to report we both survived the day. We went back for one more acupuncture treatment, during which he cried and then laughed hysterically--again, something you sometimes see as a reaction. But the bottom line is that boy is ready to go back to school.

At least he'd better be. I have lunch plans with a friend tomorrow.

Anyway, I've been interested in naturopathy and homeopathy for quite awhile. We did some of both with Finn during treatment and I tried to learn more about it so that when anyone is getting sick, I treat it homeopathically instead of with over the counter drugs, which scare me to death especially since the FDA has decided, "Hey! That stuff companies make for your kids? It doesn't work and it's not all that safe anyway!"


Homeopathy is hard. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I don't. The beauty of homeopathy is that when you get it wrong, nothing happens. You don't cause any further problems. You just wait a bit and try a different remedy. And it's like hitting the sweet spot on a golf ball when you get it right. Or so I hear. I don't play golf.

I'm a bit of a compulsive nut. It's true. When I hear about something, I like to go learn more about it and see if it's something I want to jump into willy nilly or run from screaming.

Mostly I like to jump in willy nilly on health and nutrition things. My latest kick, as I mentioned a few posts ago, was two weeks of eating as a gluten-free vegan.

It was a challenge through an online fitness forum I take part in and it sounded hard at first. What, exactly, was I going to eat? Yes, I knew I could do a lot of raw eating, which I did several years ago and have strayed violently from, but even when I did a three week raw challenge in the past, I could set my own goals. Then I chose to eat raw all day and have a small piece of meat at dinner. No meat at all? Could I do it? Dairy? Wheat? Cheese? You should know that I love cheese.

It loves my thighs right back, incidentally.

Anyway, I got a bit of a slow start. I didn't prepare any wheat free stuff prior to the challenge and I was hurting those first few days. I consumed a lot of raw vegetables.

But then I got my footing, dehydrated some buckwheat groats for cereal and some seed bread, got some beans on the shelves and I was off and running. I had a few stumbles here and there. I was in Boulder 10 days ago (oh my word--did I write about our trip to Boulder to meet Chef Ann Cooper? The woman who has reformed school lunches in Berkley, in school districts in Texas? She's the U.S.'s Jamie Oliver! And are you watching his Food Revolution? We'll talk about that during the next post. Whenever it happens.) Where was I? Boulder. I was in Boulder. A city that has a college campus and many wonderful restaurants INCLUDING Indian restaurants, possibly my favorite ethic food. I was chowing down on a thigh of Tandoori chicken and dipping it in Raita before I remembered I was a vegan.

I confessed all on my forum's thread and then moved on.

Overall, the challenge was a great learning experience and what I'm taking away from it is that I will not be going back to gluten/wheat. I cannot believe the changes in my sinuses. I thought they were in generally good shape after my sinus surgery four years ago, but now, after two weeks of no wheat/gluten, I can't believe it. My nasal passages work ALL the time. Not just sometimes. I wake up in the morning and I can breathe. It's very lovely, really!

I think the thing that surprised me most about the challenge is that I don't miss wheat products at all. I'm trying to figure out now what I should do with all of the wheat-based cereals and crackers around here. Do I/we eat them and then go through the detox process again? That wasn't a fun few days.

And I'm determined to get the boys and Eamonn eating gluten free as well. I think that will help everyone's sinus issues and the, um, digestive issues as well.

As an aside, Tara and Erin are both doing gluten free, too. Erin is hardcore and went all the way--no gluten. In fact, her results inspired me to do the challenge. Tara has done experimenting.

So what did I eat? Breakfasts were things like dehydrated buckwheat groats. It's like Grape Nuts, which I love. I'd top them with a banana, raw agave syrup, and either soy or hemp milk. I have to say, I love hemp milk. That sounds very hippie-ish. Or I might have gluten-free vegan waffles. Yes, they do exist. Van's makes them or I also made them myself. I liked to top them with pureed fruit and flax seeds. I also like to soak oat groats over night and top those with almonds, raisins and soy or hemp milk. I know it's strange, but I love millet porridge. I figure if times get really hard, I can dine at the neighbor's bird feeder now and be just fine.

Did I mention I'm very regular when I eat like this? TMI? Thought so.

Lunch could be a salad with all sorts of toppings. Or veggies like grilled eggplant on my seed bread. I made tacos and used corn tortillas and filled them with beans and olives and avocado and salsa. I am also a tortilla chip addict. That should be known. I can't keep my head out of the bag of Kirkland Organic Tortilla Chips. One day I made a veggie roll up in romaine lettuce leaves. In addition to veggies, there was a seed "cheese" in there, which I didn't like (see below). And I was supposed to roll them veggies in a collard leaf, which I didn't have. The romaine wasn't the greatest substitute. Now I have collards so I guess I should try it again.

Dinners. I made a black bean stew that lasted for days and got spicer by the minute in the fridge. Eventually I had to throw it out because I was literally burning my lips off. I also made a kale and bean soup that was delish. I like soup. My family does not. I ate a lot of soup on my own. For many, many meals in a row. The other night I made spaghetti sauce and ate it with quinoa pasta, which tastes exactly like regular pasta. I was shocked. I also bought a few frozen Indian dinners that were gluten free and vegan. I love them. They stink while they're cooking. But I'm OK with it.

I had a few misses. One raw recipe calls for using jicama slices very thinly on a mandoline, which I actually bought for $10 several years ago at Marshalls, of all places. So you have these thin jicama slices and use it like a ravioli wrapper. You put a "cheese" made of ground sunflower seeds, pine nuts, lemon juice and Nama Shoyu. Unfortunately, I didn't like the flavor the Nama Shoyu gave the "cheese" so the whole thing flopped. I want to make it again and just leave out the Nama Shoyu. I'll get right on that.

For sweets, which I cannot do without, I ate dates. Medjool dates. I just bought a new container and they crappy Medjool dates and I'm tres unhappy about it. Snacks were things like raw walnuts and raisins, apples with peanut butter, rice crackers--don't get me started on how good Nut-Thins are. And, of course, popcorn. If being a gluten free vegan required forgoing popcorn, all would be lost.

So that's it. My latest freaky thing that I'm doing. I know. I'm a whack job.

I'm OK with it. But I'm not OK with the dates. Definitely not OK about that.


jean said...

Didn't I send you my recipes from my 10-day raw vegan detox back in January? If I didn't, let me know & I'll do that - maybe it will help broaden your recipe repertoire. They're doing the detox again in May - have to decide by the end of the week if I'm participating. But I hear you about clearing up the sinuses - I just can't figure out if it's wheat or dairy (or both).

Beth said...

Yowza! I'm feeling very unhealthy after reading all that! Here I was happy that I've switched to decaf tea.

The word 'groats' just doesn't seem right to me.

Acupuncture--very cool.

Lisa L said...

my husband was diagnosed with celiac disease several months ago and we've gone totally gluten free. my biggest hurdle is trying to make a decent bread! slooowly, the bread is improving, but not sandwich material by any stretch. if you know of any good (non bread machine) recipes i would love to see them! just wanted to add ... don't be in too much of a rush to send your declan back to school. with mono the spleen enlarges, and you don't want to risk him falling or rough housing while he's recovering. he could do some major damage to his spleen. my oldest had mono (we lived in denver at the time) and i don't think i have ever seen her sicker.

Gerry Rooney said...

Hey Natalie, Sorry to hear about Declans Mono. Is that what we call Glandular Fever over here? If so both Eamonn and I have had it, YUK! Please give Declan my love and a big hug.
Glad to hear that the Acupuncture has worked, maybe I should try it as I have had a rough few weeks.
Huge well done re the vegan diet. I have cut out coffee,bread, pasta and refined sugar products, which initially made me feel good, but I just feel tired and sleepy now. Rats! we dont have all the options over here to replace gluten/wheat products so my carbohydrates have been friut or potatoes.

Anyway love to you all and heres hoping for a healthy summer for you all.

Gerry XXXX

1dreamr said...

Ughh...hate to hear about the mono - I hope he's back to himself soon. I tried acupuncture for my elbow a few years ago, and have been a believer ever since. Kudos for doing the gluten free thing, I'm impressed... good job!