Passion. What makes your heart sing? What gets you up in the morning to face your day? It is the ultimate mark of health and vitality.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD sucks the passion out of every crevice of your being. It is like being alive without truly participating in life. A lack of passion leads to more sickness and dis-ease.
Approximately 4 years after my accident, in March 2015, I hit rock bottom in my overall health and well-being. My blood pressure spiked to 160/120 (healthy bp= 120/80); essentially, I was a stroke waiting to happen! My fasting glucose was a huge red flag at 14 (healthy=4 to 6). My family doctor immediately referred me to an Endocrinologist. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a leaky liver, and high blood pressure.
For a few months, as I quietly took the medication for diabetes and high blood pressure, I sank deeper and deeper into a dark hole of self-pity and despair. It was challenging enough dealing with chronic pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety and other PTSD symptoms. I was overwhelmed.
But then…I got angry. I got defiant. I started asking questions. Do I REALLY have to just “live with” diabetes and high blood pressure? This question lead me to a medical doctor named Dr. Mark Hyman and The Blood Sugar Solution.
Now, let me clearly state that I love and adore food. If you want to be my friend, sit down, be present and have a meal with me. If you don’t care much for food, well, then, I’m sorry, we are incompatible. I do not own a scale. I do not count calories. The word “diet” is not in my vocabulary. However, the word “nourishment” surrounds my life like a warm, fluffy blanket; self-nourishment is an important part of effective self-care.
Basically, The Blood Sugar Solution focuses on nourishing yourself with high quality proteins, organic vegetables and greens, slow-burning carbs, omega-3 and healthy fats, healing herbs and nutritional supplements. I am especially amazed by the healing impact of magnesium glycinate, vitamin D3, fish oil and alpha lipoic acid. Did you know that alpha lipoic acid can clear up to 50% of glucose from the blood and is extensively used in Europe for the treatment of type 2 diabetes? Ask a nutritionist.
My biggest challenge was this: Preparation of life-affirming, healthy food takes time, energy and concentration! Living with the fluctuations of chronic pain and fatigue, how could I possibly prepare nourishing food for myself? This seemed like a monumental task, so a redefinition was necessary. I, Krysia Marie, decided to define food preparation as my daily exercise.
As in any effective exercise program, I started off slowly. Instead of using energy to put processed food in the microwave, I placed nutrient-rich ingredients into a blender for healthy protein shakes. Instead of using my energy to walk to a restaurant, I stayed at home and ever-so-slowly started to chop softer greens and herbs. And then something miraculous happened…
I’ll never forget the day I was chopping a fresh basil leaf. At first, as usual, I could feel the pain in my shoulder blades and neck as I chopped. But then, I smelled the earthy scent of the basil, breathed it in, breathed out, repeated. The aroma brought back pleasurable memories of some amazing thai meals I’ve had. My heart smiled. I continued to breathe deeply. It was then and there, facilitated by a small piece of basil, that food preparation became an exercise in mindfulness, a real-life meditation.
As the months went by, I continued to gradually implement Dr. Mark Hyman’s The Blood Sugar Solution at my own pace within my own comfort level. For me, 80% on this program and 20% “eat what I want” works just fine. I think balance is the key to all successful enterprises.
So, at the end of November 2015, I went to my fourth appointment with the specialist. Surprise! My fasting blood glucose was normal at 5.7. My liver was healthy. My blood pressure was normal. My Endocrinologist stared at my blood work results; he had a baffled look in his eyes. I had tears of joy in my eyes. Yes, I had reversed type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure without the use of pharmaceuticals.
Yet, there is something more profound beneath the surface. This has to do with passion. Nourishing myself with life-affirming food has been the key to resurrecting my first post-accident passion. Ironically, by eating healthy food, I have re-ignited my passion for all food!!! I embrace this passion and hold it close to my heart (and stomach)!
Just for the moment, I will consider the words of Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Photo credits: Thank you to Lisa Sharpe for the header and Nora Serna for the “Mozzarella di Bufala” feature picture.