Wellness And Foods You Choose
Anyone who reads this blog with any regularity know that when it comes to diet and exercising I am no expert, wannabe expert, advocate of working out, health and fitness guru – do I need go on? I love all kinds of foods but have not made the best choices about the ones that I eat.
There has been one disease or another plaguing me since my 23rd birthday. My father died from the complications arising from diabetes and that he was an alcoholic. No one told me that but even with the few visits that I had with him, it was clear to my 10-year-old eyes that he was. My mother was a diabetic as well and she too died from the complications of the illness – ones that were highly preventable. Without being unkind just truthful, the challenges that my mother faced with her condition were exacerbated by poverty, yes, I will admit that. However, it was more her lack of willingness to curb her appetite, limit her indulgence and a general lack of mental fortitude to follow nutritional practices that were suggested to her. Her eating habits, the foods she chose when others were possible, are a large part of her demise.
“Like mother, like daughter,” is a phrase that I know very well because that was the truth when it came to my attitude about diabetes for many years after being diagnosed. Christmas was not the only time that I over-indulged and gorged myself with starchy, sugary foods and scoffed at the more healthy vegetable options. There was a time when I convinced myself that I was allergic to vegetables. Growing up in Jamaica, Easter was another time of the year that we celebrated with food – bun and cheese, fried fish, bammy and so many other delights that threatened to rival the Christmas spread. They were mostly starchy, sweet and/or fried.
Totally Out of Control
The chicken would come home to roost in my 40’s when a doctor gave me an ultimatum – either I started injecting myself nightly with insulin and watch my diet or live for only a few more years before my kidney or heart gave out. He was a short man – and I really do not get on very well with short men – but this one was not backing down, so I did. My levels came down a bit but not where he would have liked given the almost 20 years of abuse to my body so he referred me to a specialist.
He was just a little taller than my general practitioner but not much. By the time I was leaving his office, I was sufficiently scared because everything was out of whack and it was time to take a more drastic measure. That measure might be content for another post but suffice it to say that I now take not one but two injections each night.
Over these years, I have tried many supplements and alternative “cures.” They either did not work, were too costly or worked but only so long until you had to step up to the next level which meant signing on to some multilevel marketing programme. After many failed attempts – with supplements or schemes – I gave up. Even as recently as a year ago, I was introduced to a really good supplement that did wonders with my sugar levels that I actually signed up to be a part of the programme just to have access to the discount. That particular supplement actually reduced my need to inject nightly. My levels were the best without insulin but there was a bump in the road. When I moved back to Alberta, due to the distance from the warehouse, that supplement was no longer an option as the shipping cost was just too prohibitive.
Finding Natural Foods That Heal
Diabetes is one of those conditions that impact so many aspects of your health and wellness. It compromises your overall system and poses a real risk to longevity. What I found as it spiraled out of control in my body, the functions of other systems gradually deteriorated. For example, my eyesight that was never the best since I started watching television close up, only got worse. My thyroid glands went berserk in my early 30’s and my digestive system started gnawing at itself. Whether these dysfunctions were a direct result of diabetes, they most certainly were exacerbated by it.
Being on Facebook as often as I am, my news feed fills up with posts about natural foods that heal. Many of these foods are ones that grow and were readily available on my island home. Recently I shared a post with you about some of the foods grown on my island home Jamaica. As you read about some of these natural foods or remedies, they can seem way out there but I decided to try a few to see whether they would relieve any of the discomforts that I was experiencing. Here are some that I have safely incorporated, ones that have not interfered – at least not negatively – with my other regimen:
Lemon – I have drunk this citrus fruit a lot. First thing in the mornings before breakfast, lemon and honey water is my opening salvo. What this has done is to help me with chronic stomach ache that before had me taking enzyme tablets to ease. One “side effect” of this beverage is that it has reduced my coffee intake which, as an avid lover of that brew, is not something that I am necessarily clicking my heels about. There is a lot of information available online about the health benefits of a cup of this warm brew – read this one and check Google for others.
Ripe Bananas – I told you about my love of green bananas but not the affair that I have had with the ripe variety. This is a more recent thing, after reading a post on the health benefits of eating a few of these guys each day. Some say three a day, others recommend as much as 10. I manage about two bananas a day and that has also done wonders for my digestion, satisfies my craving for sweets by making really nice desserts and best of all – it is extremely affordable even here in Canada. Read some of the history and benefits of this wonder fruit here.
Turmeric – When I was growing up, my mother went through many culinary phases. One of these was her inclusion of turmeric to every dish she created, whether that meal was breakfast, lunch or dinner. She added it to omelets; it spiced up our lunchtime meal of callaloo (spinach) and it flavoured our chicken backs at dinner time. Turmeric was had right through the year – from our first meal of the day one January, through Easter right up until Christmas when the chicken was marinated in a turmeric mix and then pot roasted. This did not end until one day my mother got a bad case of diarrhea and decided she had enough turmeric. Today, I see Millennials and others touting the health benefits of turmeric – even making tea (hot beverages) with it. My mother was not so crazy after all it would seem and since reading these reports of the health benefits of the spice, I have started to slowly re-incorporate it in my diet. Read up about the spice here and maybe you too will have turmeric eggs?
Honey – With or without lemon, honey is a must have in your kitchen. Only a couple of days ago, I was reading how good (and inexpensive) option honey is for facials – that it can be used to remove blackheads from your nose. That one I have not tried as yet but honey has most certainly taken over from sugar in my kitchen. No longer does sugar reign supreme. Honey now rules the roost and is featured in my bedtime cup of tea, in salad dressings, in my cooking and in just about anything that requires some ‘sweetness’. The only thing that I have not used honey for is my coffee but neither did sugar. That is the one thing I will not be using this wonder product in. Described as “nature’s energy boost,” honey is an healthy option for people with sweet tooth like me. Read more about the health benefits of this natural sweetener here and check your pantry and see whether you have enough.
Natural Foods And Your Christmas Menu
There are so many other natural foods available in places across our world – too many for me to list here. As the weeks and months go by and I continue to explore natural foods that heal or that can at least help to better manage our health and well being, I will most definitely share with you. While I have no problems with supplements and those who make or promote them, at this point in my journey finding natural foods that improve my health are my first choices. They are for the most part affordable and most certainly do not need me to sign-up for anything. Best yet, with some creativity, they can enhance our meals especially at Christmas and other holidays when the temptation to eat too much or not to healthily is great.
Do share your experience with introducing or creatively using naturally healthy foods in your diet and holiday menus. Leave a comment, a link and even a picture below. As well, you can subscribe and join the ongoing conversations on issues that affect our health and wellness with every choice of ingredients we make.
Have a great day!