Day 23 – why are asthmatics always nerds?

I am certain that the prop most used for a nerd in movies is an inhaler. We are always skinny, sickly, unathletic and as pale as Wonder Bread. They are almost always male. So at least I have that going for me.  Although I have to say I am kind of embarrassed to use my inhaler in front of someone because it is just so uncool. It just seem so weak. My daughter’s field hockey coach actually told her team that there is no such thing as asthma, it is just a matter of being out of shape. That’s just super. Now my daughter can feel like an out-of-shape faker nerd when she has to use her inhaler. Unknown.png

So I think we need an equal rights for asthmatics campaign. No more diseasism. Yup, I just made up that word, that came right out of my head this very second. Okay, that has probably been used before, but I am not going to check and so I am good to go. Back to us nerds: we deserve the respect that other diseased people have, people with leprosy for example. You hear me Hollywood! We would be picketing you right now except for that those heavy signs make us out of breath and tired.

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So when I finally get rid of this asthma it will be Revenge of the Nerds Part V and we will get our respect back (did you know there were actually four Revenge of the Nerds movies?! This blog is so informative!). Anyway, we will be all over that, and you can call us names, hurt our feelings, make us feel small – it doesn’t matter we will prevail. Just don’t chase us maybe cause it is hard to use an inhaler when you are walking away quickly.

Day 22 – asthma is gone again. Weird.

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Yesterday I wrote that the asthma was back again and quite bad. Today it is gone again. I haven’t even needed the rescue inhaler, even with a long walk with hills. So, I don’t know what to think. I guess there is ups and downs and as long as the general trend is for the better then that is good enough. I mean, this is supposedly an incurable disease, I need to be grateful that I am even off the steroid inhaler. Big picture here!

However, on the upside I have SO much energy. I didn’t have a great sleep due to the asthma (5 hours) and yet the next day I was going steady. I gardened and did housework and then that evening co-facilitated a 3 hour workshop and had energy to spare. So I have expanded beyond just having steady energy to having extra energy. My mom said the same. She gets up earlier and she doesn’t need a nap anymore. If she does nap it is just 15 minutes rather then an hour or longer. And, I had a skin tag disappear. It was right where my bra sits and so I am happy to see it gone!

Day 21 – Asthma disappointment

 

I was doing really well with the asthma and then last night it came on with a vengeance. I had to use my inhaler once during the night, and then several times during the day.  And it doesn’t seem to really be getting it under control. I may have to go back to Advair (daily use inhaler) which would be really disappointing. The weird thing is that it feels different somehow. Not different good, just different. My chest is really tight, and feels constricted somehow but the air seems be flowing in and out of my lungs okay. I know that sounds weird, okay that doesn’t even make sense, but I don’t know how to explain it. It isn’t a chest cold. Anyway, regardless of it feeling different it is still asthma and that is pretty disheartening to have it come back this bad. However, I know that I have had some good success and I am grateful for that. I have hope!

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On the bright side I think my mom is having some dementia symptoms start to clear. I just had a conversation with her about buying tickets for a play online. This is not something she does, and it was a confusing site. Also, if you haven’t bought anything online before it is challenge. Even the concept of navigating a website is new for her, she basically just uses her computer to email. Anyway, our conversation was different then usual. Usually when I explain any new concepts she isn’t able to absorb the new information even though she tries really hard to comprehend it. However, this time she was really clear and able to understand. I have seen this a few times with her so I am hopeful.  Sometimes she is clearer then others, but I find that she in the past she is consistently unable to absorb new facts. It takes repetition over time for it absorb. What comes and goes is memory, both short term and longer term. This was true even before she had high blood pressure which was something that came on fairly suddenly. So a good news/bad news day for us today!

Day 20 – Real news about fake food

 

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I just read the book Real Food Fake Food by Larry Olmsted. He writes about food fraud: food being sold as one thing when it is actually another, omitting ingredients, substituting ingredients, false advertising and transhipping items. Transhipping means that a country will send their products to another country, and then forward it on to the destination country. This disguises which country is really sending the food and allows food to be sent from a country with a ban on their products or a poor reputation. Shrimp producers have been guilty of this. Some of the foods he mentions being tampered with are honey, maple syrup, cheese, ground coffee, tea, olive oil, basmati rice, spices (oregano, turmeric and nutmeg were the worst), fruit juice and fish. Sushi was tested in various restaurants and up to 50% (they varied depending upon the area) were not serving the fish that you ordered. Red snapper is a fish that is often switched out in restaurants. It also includes saying food is organic when it isn’t. Apparently food fraud is right up there with fake news. Maybe we should get Trump on that.

 

 

Day 19 – staying motivated on a 28 day cleanse tip 2

My second tip for staying motivated during a 28 day cleanse is to rope someone else into doing it with you. This helps in the following ways:

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  1. Misery loves company
  2. You can eat your salad together when everyone else is eating pizza
  3. You can both look for recipes. Hopefully one of you likes to cook those recipes!
  4. When one is down the other is up and you can pull (drag) each other along
  5. They can assure you that you are not in imminent danger of death even when everyone is sure you will perish
  6. You can take turns making celebration dinners
  7. You have someone that agrees with you when you determine that yes, you should actually eat a baked sweet potato on your raw food cleanse. Only for the weekly celebration of course

Day 18 – Staying motivated on a 28 day cleanse tip 1

I having been watching every documentary I can to keep me motivated. It works really well! Netflix is a great source of food documentaries, I would say it is their biggest documentary category in Canada.  A lot of them are about eating a whole foods, plant based diet. There are also some about factory farming and sustainable living. I even watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead again with Joe Cross. I figure that if he can drink just juice for 2 months and come out the other end healed and off all his medications then I can pull of eating fruits and veg for a month. He must have loved that first bite of apple.

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As we come nearer to the end (9 days away!) we have started to think about what comes next. My mom has decided that she won’t be eating meat. I am thinking that I probably won’t either, mostly for ethical reasons but I do think it is healthier. The vegans I have been seeing in all these documentaries look pretty healthy. Some are in their 70’s and 80’s and going strong; they are not your average senior in a senior’s home. However, I would say that you can definitely be an unhealthy vegan, there is a lot of vegan junk food around. As with gluten free, vegan food can be loaded with all the same crap that goes in regular processed food. Sometimes they add chemicals, fat or sugar to make up for the missing taste. So I think it takes a commitment to eating whole foods and a balanced diet which takes some work. I believe that staying off dairy for a long time would be a big help with the asthma. But – cheese! My love for cheese runs very deep. It would be the toughest thing to give up. How do you achieve ooey, gooey meals without that melted cheese? Please let me know if you have any recommendations for vegan “cheese” that is healthy, tastes good and melts (and you can get in Canada). I went off dairy for awhile a few years ago and one I tried tasted like those horrible candies that you left at the bottom of your halloween bag. We ate them only when the good stuff ran out. Note that I didn’t say we threw them out, no we powered through the molasses/unidentifiable weird taste. Our standards were pretty low and by then we had turned into sugar monsters and needed our daily fix. Remember these:

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So send me your cheese ideas please!

 

Day 17 – weird stuff is happening

So I had a white “bump” on my eyebrow, not very large or obvious. It made it annoying to use eyebrow pencil because it wouldn’t go over it but otherwise didn’t bother me. Then a friend pointed out that those seemingly harmless white bumps on your face can be cancerous. So I planned to check it out with the doctor. However, today I woke up and it was gone. It has been there for years, maybe 10 or more.

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I am getting lots of questions about my energy level. I wouldn’t say I am high energy, but I am also still not sleeping well. My energy is really steady during the day though which is such a change from the coffee/sugar high and lows. As for the asthma: I am still off the Advair inhaler, but I still have to use the rescue inhaler periodically. As I mentioned before, it is also hay fever season and I have had to do a lot of yard work because the weeds in my yard just keep on growing. I haven’t had the itchy eyes and sneezing I usually have with hay fever this year. I still sneeze from the dog sometimes, but not as often.

My mom is doing great. She eats the exact same thing every day which wouldn’t work for me but she is okay with it. Both of us would like some cooked food. She still does not use blood pressure medication. I haven’t noticed a big change in her memory, but I don’t see her everyday. She does seem to be more clear thinking in her conversations when we do talk though.

Day 16 – Protein is the hip kid

 

images-4In North America we have a strange tendency to favour one of the macronutrients at a time. Macronutrients are the basic components of food. There are 3 categories: protein, carbohydrates and fats. For some reason only one is allowed to be the cool kid and they get to be the king of all the land. They rotate in popularity: protein is in, carbs are out. Carbs are in, fat is out. But then fat is good again and sugar is bad (including all sugars such as fruit). Many diets will pop up to support that one macronutrient and by extension one type of industry that has a vested interest in their product being popular.  Protein and fat have been BFF’s recently because protein that is animal based also includes fat. And lately fat is where it’s at. In this clique the only carbohydrates that get to play are soy and corn, mostly GMO (genetically modified organisms) that are grown to feed the protein and fat (animals). These guys have some power on their side: the agribusiness lobbyists have a lot of money to buy government support. This includes the whole factory farm industry, dairy and cattle industry and Monstanto.

It seems to me that we are currently obsessed with protein. There seems to be a concern that somehow we are not getting enough, but in North America it is not a big issue unless food intake is very low. Both my mom and I have been asked about the lack of protein in our cleanse. My mom, in particular, received a lot of comments. Even a hairstylist that she went to the first time told her the cleanse is “dangerous”. A staff person at a whole foods market told her that “there is no protein in plants” and she has to supplement even though she is on it for one month. However, no one thinks anything about the dangers of inhalers I use or the blood pressure medication my mom was taking. Shouldn’t getting off that stuff be much more of concern than lowered protein levels for a month? One of the warnings on the Advair inhaler I no longer use states “Salmeterol, one of the active ingredients in ADVAIR increases the risk of asthma-related death” Hmmm…. So I am MORE likely to do die from asthma using asthma medication then without it? They rate how often we experience certain symptoms. In the “common symptoms” column is “pneumonia (COPD patients), increased cough, fever with shaking chills, shortness of breath, sharp or stabbing chest pain during deep breaths and increased rapid breathing”. The rare and very rare symptoms are of course more severe. So is lower protein still a concern here?

Also, to set the record straight: there IS protein in vegetables. Not as much as in animal products, legumes and seeds but there is some. Vegetables such as dark, leafy greens and sprouts both have an abundance of essential amino acids which are the building blocks for proteins. Secondly, this is not a permanent diet, it is a temporary cleanse. I don’t think anyone would dispute that proteins are important, but certainly a month of lower protein is fine. I think the high protein and high fat trend is fading and there seems to be more and more interest in a whole foods, plant based diet. One that includes protein, carbs and fat by the way! Okay, my rant is done. Thanks for listening!