Thursday, April 4, 2013

D - The Dieting Dilemma

I have been on  a diet, more or less, for my entire life. If you look at my photo you can tell that my efforts have net been terribly successful. I have been through the pantheon of eating disorders including anorexia and bulimia. I have even had lapband surgery, which has been the most successful, but thanks to my messed-up thyroid it still hasn't been the fix I had been hoping for.

As the struggle continues some surprising things have been happening. I have been giving in to some of my food cravings and miracles are occurring.

Now I have had people scoff at my food craving theories. A woman I once worked with told me that food cravings were just something people use as an excuse to eat chocolate cake. I then posed to her that I would get cravings for broccoli and asked her to explain that in her context. Of course, she couldn't. This woman went on to get heavily into macrobiotics.

I eventually expanded my theory into the food cravings and being overweight and having chronic disease all being linked to poor nutrition. If your body does not get the nutrition it needs, it signals you to continue eating in search of that nutrition. Most people are not recognizing the root of the craving to get to what they need.

My case in point: Last year was an exceedingly stressful year for me with my mother being hospitalized twice and then passing away. As the only child, everything fell to me to take care of. In the middle of all this, contrary to conventional knowledge, my blood sugar levels dropped mysteriously at a time when they would have ordinarily been on the rise and out of control.

I had to stop and look at what had been happening with my diet. Late spring and early summer found me picking and eating fresh strawberries and raspberries in my garden, often without leaving the garden. I had already discovered the link between red berries and lower blood sugar and decreased inflammation. Check. Okay, what else?

Because of the stress I had been allowing myself to indulge in certain of my favorite foods and not in one of those limited ways given over to portion control. They were also foods that I had been warned for many years to shun as eating them only sometimes. I had been indulging in avocados and pistachios day after day.

For awhile I had felt a bit sick, with a mildly upset stomach and diarrhea, and a bout of peeing like my diabetes was completely out of control (which it wasn't). I realized that this period was probably a bit of my body detoxing.

I was able to stop using one kind of insulin and reduce the use of the other by more than half. I could occasionally indulge in foods I had previously had a great deal of trouble with -- like potatoes.

Once my body was cleared I only needed a small amount of avocado and pistachios daily to keep the effect going. While they both tend to be a bit on the expensive side for my budget, they are cheap compared to the cost of insulin.

Ever the researcher, I have repeated this twice with the same results. I am not suggesting that every diabetic do this. Each person needs to find what works for them. But my cravings helped me find my way.

I also eat a lot of raw cabbage, cauliflower, and radishes to help control my hyperthyroid. They have something in them called goitrogens that lower thyroid function when eaten in quantity. Cooking these veggies even a little destroys them. So if your thyroid is low you don't need to run from them. Just cook them or eat them in moderation.

It's time we learned to eat our medicine.


  1. I agree. Food is the answer as often as it is the problem. Best of success in finding the answers that help you best!

  2. I too struggle with maintaining a healthy diet so I can totally relate. You may be on to something with your theory!

  3. I agree with your 'findings', and I hope that it continues to work for you. It's always interesting, in a way, for people to decide that you just "want" something when you have a craving. Even chocolate has been studied, it's a possibility that magnesium is low when you crave it... ??? But at least it's a reason not to feel guilty, but figure out why.