Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gone Vegetarian...

The birth of Milk and Cookies Jr. was a most delightful interruption...

We now return you to our regularly scheduled broadcasts...

Now, one of my life goals has always been to become vegetarian...

It has been more of an imagination than anything.

Why, I've thought about it often, especially when I'm chowing down on a barbeque rib sandwich or a merrily eating a 2 piece spicy chicken dinner from Popeyes.

Always thinking about it, but never mustering up the courage to go through with it.

But, I noticed something particularly interesting during the fasts that we have at church every January. Sometimes I participate, sometimes I don't make it through. It is never anything stringent (like total water fasts - negroes will act a jack behind such), but usually involves some type of detoxifying element, like no junk food, no red meat, no white food (rice, potatoes, other high starcy stuff), nothing bad for you.

Very detoxifying indeed. The heart and mind is very clear during that time.

But like I said, I noticed something very interesting happened during these times:

My lupus symptoms virtually disappeared.

I could go so far as to say that they disappeared, because I don't remember any symptoms.

During those times I felt, what's the word... NORMAL.

And yo... an Oldgirl was REAL happy about that.

And soon as I'd go back to my old ways, well... the symptoms would raise their ugly heads.

Now my symptoms aren't terrible, as I am functional. I always have a low grade fever. I don't sleep well (only 6 hours a night, and constantly waking up). I have constant inflammation, and a little joint swelling. It gets a bit bad during PMS. I have spontaneous nosebleeds from time to time. Sinus infections prevail.

Like I said, I am very functional. I work everyday. I am limited in activities (2 on the weekend, 3 during the week). Anything more and I am virtually wiped out with fatigue.

I've always been proud of the fact that I can take care of myself. I am not dependent on anyone. Being completely debilatated had been a fear in the past.

But there was something about those periods of fasting that stayed on my mind.

And I looked into it one day.

I read all types of things on lupus, but one day I saw something interesting: that symptoms can be exasperated by animal protein, to the point where all the symptoms could be some sort to an allergic response. Essentially getting too much animal protein could cause all kinds of inflammation problems and kidney problems. I have had both at some time or another.

It could be bogus. Who knows. I blew it off and went on to something else. I don't see much about this in my mainstream book that I have on the subject. Such is to be expected from a book more centered on Western medicine.

But it isn't bogus to me because of what happens when I eliminate animal protein from my diet for periods of time.

Mix that with meeting one of Cowgirl Cre's cousins at one of her family functions who was a vegetarian just this past Memorial Day Weekend.

Our convo was interesting:

"So you're really a vegetarian?" I asked.
"Yes," she replied.
"So how long you been like that?"
She laughed. "You make it sound like I have a disease."
"No, I was just wondering."
"For 10 years."
My curiosity was peeked. She was a young chick, couldn't be over 30. "And why did you decide to do that."
"Because I had an animal protein problem that put me in the hospital, and after that, I stopped eating meat. And if I try to eat it now, I just get sick."

Hmm. I didn't know what to say. We all went on talking and joking about other things. I was trying to catch her alone but couldn't. I was nosy as hell. I wish I could've gotten her number so we could talk privately. I wanted to know what caused her protein issues. (But I didn't want her to think that I was hitting on her. LOL!! Maybe I'll see her at another family gathering (as I tend to crash Cre's family stuff often)).

Anyway, I thought on that for awhile. And not to mention, me and Dr. HazelEyes, another sista Doc on my job, had decided we were going to fast together. (She'd done some similar fasting like I'd done in January).

So we made a pact to do the darn thing.

"We're starting June 1st, LadyLee," she said.
"That's cool, I'm ready," I said. "And I'm kicking it for the whole summer, babes."

She looked at me like I was crazy. "Naw, I didn't say all that. The month of June, that's it. I'll work it out past that when we get that far."

"I'ma do the darn thing, girl. And if I can make it to the first of September, I'm shooting for December 31st. And if I can do that, then shoot girl, I'm gonna just stay that way."

*Dr, HazelEyes looking at Lee REAL crazy-like*

It is a most daunting goal indeed.

It is the most positive and interesting thing I did last quarter.

How am I doing?

It has been:

46 days

1104 hours

66,240 minutes

3,974,400 seconds...

Since I "turnt" vegetarian.

How am I REALLY doing?

1. No constan low grade fevers.

2. I can't remember the last time I had any arthritic pain or pain from inflammation. (Well, yes I can: late May, that's when).

3. I sleep like a rock. I get 6-8 hours of sleep per night. And even if I get 3-4 hours of sleep, it is a very good DEEP and satisfying sleep. I am not groggy for the rest of the day on short sleep.

4. No lupus flares (suddenly worsening of symptoms) during PMS.

5. No spontaneous nosebleeds. (Gosh... I HATED that).

6. No sinus mess going on. (Thank the Lawd for that).

7. Lost 17 pounds (Doctor Bhaji was happy about that). I can't tell, but it is what it is.

8. Doctor Bhaji said my hands had gotten smaller. *Lee sees crickets flying around that statement* In other words, no real inflammation and fluid retention isshas were seen on my last doctor visit.

9. My cholesterol dropped about 60 points. (It had been borderline high- around 220). That was from a June 9th test. Might be lower now.

10.Much better concentration (I usually have the concentration of a flea, which is lupus related- I cannot STAND that).

11. I am more energetic.

So, uh... should I stick with it? Or should I let it go and go get some Popeye's chitlins?

LOL...

So, Chele, I hope I answered your question of why I went vegetarian. Purely for health reasons. I think this is one of the most important decisions I made in the second quarter of the year.

And now the question is... Am I vegetarian or vegan?

There is a difference, you see...

To be continued...

10 comments:

  1. Hi! I have systemic lupus with organ involvement (heart, lungs, bone marrow, blood and kidneys) that did a number on me in 2003. That led to 4 years on disability.

    Over those years, first I was led to yoga and meditation. Now I understand the science of why that calms the lupus wolf. At the same time, I became vegetarian. I have been working again for 2 1/2 years and in remission for about a year and a half. Not one flare!

    Next, because I was working and could afford it again, I joined a women's gym. I do cardio for 30 minutes 4-5 days a week and two circuits of weights. We lupus folks have 5 to 6 times the risk of heart attack or stroke. The vegetarian lifestyle cuts that risk as well.

    I am 57 and have never felt this good in my entire life. Who knew?

    Good luck to you. Please visit myblog at copingwithchronicillness.blogspot.coom

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  2. @Ms.CopingwithChronicIllness... See, that has been a concern, much less in the past few years: being out of commission for YEARS. 4 years? That's a long time. It all did a number on me back in 2002, but I was only out for about 3 weeks, which was MUCH too long for me. 4 years? GEEZ!

    I've thought of yoga and meditation, and have even attended a free session, but haven't been able to wrap my head around it. I do remember it killing a lot of tension, for sure.

    I did tell my doctor a couple of years ago that I feel GREAT when I make it a habit to walk 2-4 miles a day. I need to pick that habit back up. I was also thinking about joining a gym. Your story inspires me to consider that and to try to find time for doing such.

    And like you said: Who knew?

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with me. It is always helpful to talk to others who are coping, and making progress.

    And thanks for stopping by my spot:)

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  4. t's easy to spout off numbers and quote historians about our journey to this land where we are Americans but...

    Before we got here, our ancestors native to Mother Africa had none of 'this' as a part of their lifestyle, diet and atmosphere and they had strength and longevity.

    Even European, Asian and Native Americans lived healthy and lived long free of dis-ease and physical problems. This Standard American Diet (which is a SAD thing) is the killer... Tons of un-natural food choices manufactured with items not meant for human consumption.

    Imagine what this does internally.

    The hardest part for me, like many of us is to cure myself from the addiction because at one time I triumphed healthwise due to being vegetarian and now...

    I'm going to die soon because I reverted back to animal protein and my wife? She'll never move to what The Creator has given us because her family told her not to and I'm finding this hard to break.

    And every single one of them are near death. Unhealthy, full of disease and arrogant in their personal mess.

    I guess you are truly what you eat huh? I am a product of my environment. SAD, isn't it?

    Congrats on your transition to optimum health LadyLee. Keep leading.

    Sorry for the long winded blog in your comments.

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  5. Wow, I never knew that some ppl had problems with animal protein. I'm glad that you have realized what makes you feel better and you are sticking to it!

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  6. I bet not hear about you eating Popeye's!

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  7. I'm almost motivated to modify my diet, but I need to get back on my exercise regimen. I've been slipping.

    Congrats, Leezie. I hope the best years have yet to come.

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  8. I really need to do this too. I'm such a hard head!!! Congrats Lee, you are doing-T it!!!!

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  9. The Green Eyed Bandit9:42:00 AM

    Congrats Lee! Sept 1 here you come!

    I have taken back out "Write it Down. Make it Happen" I have some major things to accomplished. Thanks for the inspiration

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  10. I believe one and all must glance at it.
    Crepes Ensenada

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Slap the *crickets* out the way, kindly step up to the mike, and SAY something!!