Spinach Was Making Me Sick

A young girl makes a face at a plate of spinach.I’ve been hesitating to talk about this because, quite frankly, it sounds crazy and is just a bit controversial.  I’ve known for quite a while that something was off in my diet, but I wasn’t sure what it was.  I wasn’t sick, but I had some pain that didn’t make sense to me.

About six years ago I started eating a low carb paleo diet due to blood sugar issues.  I immediately felt better and my blood sugar stabilized.  I’d gradually tapered off eating meat and leaned heavy on nuts and seeds for my daily protein.

In the past year, I had developed pain in my right side (and in my heart) and thought it was because I didn’t have a gallbladder.  It had been removed years before.  I went to an allopathic doctor and even had an ultrasound, a gazillion blood tests and everything turned out normal.

The doctor said my heart beat was a little off, but didn’t see it as a cause for concern.  I honestly thought the heart pain was due to the loss of a relationship years before and I just needed time to heal emotionally.

I finally went to see my naturopathic doctor, and he was able to diagnose the right side pain as a weakness in my kidneys.  He recommended some dietary changes and put me on hydrangea tincture to dissolve stones and help support the kidneys.

Being me, I took to Dr. Google and started researching how kidney stones are formed in the body.  It is mostly diet related, specifically foods high in oxalates.  All of the foods I had been living on for years are the biggest offenders.  Nut, seeds, beans, spinach, kale and my beloved chocolate are all high in oxalates.  Most people can pee the excess oxalates right out of the body.  I was eating these offenders in excess, and my body couldn’t get rid of them fast enough.  So, it stored them in my tissues, joints, organs, bones, and skin.  Yes, everywhere.

My morning smoothie would consist of one or two tablespoons of nut butter, or a hemp protein powder, super green powder, two big handfuls of spinach and almond milk to mix it all together.  That is about 1,000g of oxalate right there.  And, that was only breakfast.  Don’t even get me started on all of the recipes I’ve posted over the years.  Most of them are high oxalate offenders.

I DID IT ALL WRONG!

It was suggested in the research to find out if oxalates are an issue simply reduce the amount you are eating.  If your body has a reaction, then you are fucked.  I mean you probably have an issue.  What I didn’t hear was to do this slowly.  If you are eating 3,000g a day of oxalates, reduce it incrementally over several weeks until you average 50g per day.  Well, I didn’t do that.  I went all in and reduced all of the high oxalates from my diet.  I went down to 50g a day right away.

The first few days were fine.  No symptoms.  I felt fantastic.  Then. . . dumping began.  Dumping is a term for when the body begins to release the excess oxalates from the body.  You feel like you’ve been beaten to within an inch of your life.  Every. Part. Of. Your. Body. H.U.R.T.S.  And, not just for a few days.  I’m a month into this now, and I still hurt.   But I am better.

I’m not going to explain the science behind all of this here.  There are smarter people than I who have been doing so for quite awhile now.  I will give you links to their info below.

WHAT THIS HAS TAUGHT ME

  • Listen To Your Intuition –  My intuition had been telling me for quite awhile that nuts were becoming an issue.  I didn’t listen because on some level I didn’t want to have to change.  Don’t wait until you have no choice.
  • Slow Down – I am one of those people who is always going a hundred miles an hour.  Nothing has slowed me down like this has.  It has helped me to see that doing one thing at a time or simply doing the next thing in front of me is enough.
  • Think Outside The Box – I’ve really had to completely change how I eat which has inspired me to create new recipes.  I see creating a low oxalate cookbook in my future.
  • Addictions Keep You Stuck – I had developed some unhealthy addictions around food and technology.  Instead of watching hours of Netflix a day I have been reading instead.  I am not sure how this correlates, but I know it does.

IN CONCLUSION

At the beginning of my oxalate dump, I could barely move my body.  I was spending my days either in bed or on the couch.  Exercise was out of the question.  Here I had been eating what I thought was a healthy diet for so long only to find out I wasn’t eating healthy for me.  That made me cry.

Now that I am past the grief I am hopeful.  My body is getting better every day.  I know there is a way to go yet, but I am positive that in the long term my body will thank me for the pain I am causing it now.  This crazy experience has changed so many things for me in such a positive way that I am incredibly grateful it happened.

RESOURCES:

This really is the best oxalate talk yo will ever see.  Once you get past the moderator (on the left) you get to hear Elliot Overton talk everything oxalate.

 

Sally Norton is a Health Coach who has a very informative website about oxalate poisoning.  You can find her here.

One of the best resources I have had is the TLO (Trying Low Oxalate) Facebook group.  It is helpful to know you are not alone on this journey.

 

Intuition vs. Knowledge

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Image by Ciro Marchetti

I have been struggling with finding the right and perfect diet for my body.  This is not a new struggle.  I’ve been exploring this most of my adult life.  If there is a diet out there, I have tried it. .. and failed.

I get a new book on the latest fad diet and inhale the information.  I go down the youtube rabbit hole and ultimately feel frustrated by all the conflicting information.  

When tuning into Guidance this morning, I got that knowledge leads us to intuition but it is not the end result. 

Being armed with knowledge can actually get in the way of hearing our intuition.  So my answer this morning regarding my diet is to eat more veggies.  That is the one thing all of these diets I’ve been researching have in common. 

Disclaimer:  I am not looking for a weight loss supplement so no solicitations please.  My journey is to find the best way to eat for my body for optimal health.

Find out more about Della and her healing services here.

Shamanic Journey: Hummingbird Medicine

bm6gr0Whenever I have a question that my logical mind can’t answer I practice a technique called shamanic journeying.  Steven Farmer has a beautiful guided shamanic meditation on Hay House Meditations (free on their podcast app).  This particular journey invites an animal guide in to help you gain insight into your question.

I have been struggling with how and what to eat that will best support my body in being it’s healthiest expression.  My question was what should I be eating to accomplish this.

As I have done this meditation many times, it was easy for me to drop into my sacred place in my imagination an allow Guidance to pop in.  Guidance showed up in the form of a tiny little hummingbird flying around.  At first, I was confused because hummingbirds eat all. of. The. Time. And mostly nectar (sugar).  I’m like, that can’t be right!  And, then, I let go and was able to discern the deeper meaning of hummingbird.  Hummingbirds in many spiritual circles represent joy.  It isn’t what I eat that matters so much as how I eat.  I rarely eat with joy.

I often have a lot of angst attached to what I eat, when I eat, how I eat, what I am doing while I eat, etc. that eating becomes a stressor instead of a pleasure.   As joy only exists in the present moment, it reminds me to savor and deeply experience the food when I do eat.   It’s an excellent place to start.  I think the rest will fall into place if I allow joy to be my guide.  Before I eat something I can start by asking myself will this bring me joy?  It’s an interesting experiment that I am looking forward to exploring.

Read more about Della here.

My Vegan Experiment

TELEMMGLPICT000138591023-xlarge_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqaHd6X3lW3lGv45Ug3tlONf_OGHOsQ32iExBHnajUJiwIt all began with pain in my liver/gallbladder area.  I went to my medical and my naturopathic doctors, and they didn’t find anything amiss.   Since I had my gallbladder removed 20 years ago, I knew that it wasn’t gallbladder disease.  I suspected that I wasn’t processing fat efficiently in my body as a result of that lost gallbladder.  I also felt I  wasn’t absorbing the nutrients in the food I was eating.

My intuition first guided me to start drinking celery juice every morning and to cut animal fat out of my diet.  I thought, all right.  I’ll experiment with this new way of eating and see how things go.  At first, I was eating a ton of raw foods, and even though I felt energetically lighter, I became incredibly bloated because my body could not process that many raw veggies.  So I started to research and eat an ayurvedic diet according to my body type, and I began to feel better.

Here we are a month later, and the pain in my liver has reduced by about 90%, and I am happier than I have ever been.  I have dropped a few pounds and am feeling better in my body.  I am not as stiff and sore as I once was either.  My skin looks better, and my hair isn’t as oily.  I find I am having a great deal of fun eating this way because I have to think beyond my usual go-to foods like meat, dairy, and eggs.

As long as I keep feeling better, I am going to keep eating this way.  If my intuition guides me otherwise then I may, once again, include animal proteins back in.  But, for now, I like this new me.

Find out more about Della here.

Pecan Nut Butter

pecan butterThis yummy nut butter is both nutritious and delicious.  It takes all of 5 minutes to make.

Ingredients:

1 – 8 oz. bag of unsalted dry toasted pecan pieces (I used Trader Joe’s brand)

3 drops liquid vanilla flavored stevia

coarse sea salt

In food processor place nuts and stevia into processor bowl and process until smooth and creamy.  As the pecan pieces are small it only takes a minute or two.  Once the nut butter is creamy add a small amount of coarse sea salt to taste.

I want to give a shout out to my friend Maureen who taught me how to make this.  🙂

Fad Diets Don’t Work

Disclaimer:  I am not a nutritionist nor do I play
one on t.v.

When I was pregnant with my son 22 years ago I started having issues with low blood sugar.  Considering all this baby wanted to eat was Dove Ice Cream Bars its no wonder!  Up until that time I could eat anything I wanted with no ill effect.  Pregnancy changed me forever in many ways.  My feet got bigger and stayed that way.  My belly looks like I’ve had a baby and my hips are no longer the boy hips I once had before I had a 10 lb baby.

The low blood sugar started me on a path of study to find the perfect “diet” to balance my blood sugars and my hormones.  Over the next 20 years I would become vegetarian, vegan and even a raw foodist.  Later,  I realized I felt better if I ate meat so I tried the Adkins diet.  When that didn’t work I moved on to low-fat, gluten-free and then paleo.  And that’s not even the whole list.

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What I’ve learned from all of this experimentation is that there is not one diet for every body.  And if we use our intuition our body will tell us how to feed it properly.  I am continually asking my body what it needs to experience optimal health so I am consistently fine tuning what I eat.

Today I am eat mostly low carb, gluten free with moderate protein.  I am feeling more and more healthy the older I get and I’ll be 50 this year.  I do treat myself to a naughty day once in a while and that helps me be more honoring of my body’s wisdom the rest of the time.   Exploring what diet works and what doesn’t has been a valuable resource.  I have learned a lot about nutrition over the years and have become a better cook as a result.

I invite you to research any diet you feel “guided” to explore.    I also recommend two books about learning to be present and thus intuitive while eating.  The Slow Down Diet by Marc David and Savor by Thich Nhat Hanh.

May all your future meals be deliciously savored and enjoyed!

Find out more about Della here.

Quinoa Porridge

Quinoa Porridge_FotorI love a warm yummy bowl of porridge in the morning even when its warm outside.  Oatmeal use to be my go to breakfast meal but at this time in my life my body doesn’t digest oats very well.  I came up with this recipe as an alternative to gluten based porridge.

RECIPE:

Serves One

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 – 2 tsp. ghee

1/2 cup coconut milk (or any nut or dairy milk will do)

2 tbsp of nut butter (I use almond butter for its sweetness and creaminess)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp cloves

1/8 tsp cardamom

dash of sea salt

sweetener of choice.  I use coconut palm sugar for its low glycemic index

DIRECTIONS:

Add all ingredients into a small saucepan and heat to desired temperature.

ADD INS:

Nuts, berries, shredded coconut, etc.

NOTES:

How thick you want your porridge will determine if you use less or more of the milk. The spices can be increased or decreased depending on your taste.  Cinnamon helps lower blood sugar levels and makes digestion easier.  Cloves also helps digestion, the liver and has anti-bacterial properties.  Cardamom is good for cardiovascular health and is an anti-carcinogen.

Enjoy!