Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Nutritionist

Got my voice back today and I am at work. After I had completed my radiation treatment this morning I was informed that I had an appointment to see the Nutritionist. I have always been very involved in food and nutrition and using common sense. I listen to all the “new” information they have about food and what causes cancer and what is good for you and what is bad for you, etc. and then I use my own common sense and how my body feels to determine what is right for me. At one time I had some health issues dealing with low blood sugar and adrenal glands that work way too hard and a liver that does not produce an adequate amount of chemicals to properly process animal fat, so I had become a vegan. I am not talking about someone who read books and said, “Oh that is what I will be.” No, I choose a vegan life style because I had never gained weight my entire life and all of a sudden I gained 30 pounds in 3 months. My parents put me in the hospital and they determined that although I obviously had low blood sugar I am not a true Hypoglycemic in that when I eat sugar I have a small almost insignificant raise in my sugar level in my body, but not a spike, which is common for real hypoglycemics, a huge spike and then the blood sugar drops and does not stop. Ok, I have a very small spike and a big drop that keeps dropping. And when I ate meat I became bloated, the food did not get digested and I received little to no nutrition from it, but instead terrible cramping and vomiting. So, I had seen a nutritionist in college and he suggested that I cut out red meat for 2 weeks and see how I felt. That is when I took charge of my own nutrition. Up to that point my Mother, whose grandmother was the first woman to graduate from NY City College as a nutritionist, had given all me all my beliefs about food. My Mother’s mother was also very wise and observant about food, and read everything she could about good nutrition, although she was an elementary teacher, not a nutritionist. My mother was way ahead of her time, nutrition and food wise and we were always eating things that my friends had no idea about. Our diet consisted of 3 squares a day with fruit as snacks in between, candy only on Friday nights, and then a very limited amount. We did not eat bread at every meal which is the custom in my small Southern town. We did eat salads at almost every dinner and we ate beans. Yep, every kind of bean you can imagine. Only poor people ate beans where I come from. People with money ate red meat and only had baked beans at cookouts, and usually my mother brought those. And all the kids ate bologna or olive loaf or some other kind of processed meat at lunch on white break, where we ate peanut butter. My brothers liked PB&J. I am not a jelly eater, but as a hypoglycemic, that was probably a natural reaction to how I felt after eating sugar. No, I liked Peanut Butter with shredded carrots, shredded celery and lettuce sandwich. It did not seem odd to my Mother or me. After all, most weddings served celery with cream cheese and celery with Peanut butter as a large part of the food at the reception. That is if food was even served. It was more common that weddings had cake, nuts, mints and punch only. But I digress.

So I ate peanut butter, carrot, celery and lettuce sandwiches, and yes, my brothers either ignored this odd food or made fun of me. But come on, what is the difference between celery and peanut butter at a wedding and eating the same thing in a sandwich?

So after I was diagnosed with low blood sugar and the nutritionist told me to quite eating meat for 2 weeks, I started feeling better, stronger, more alert, no stomach problems and I lost that weight in a month. Which I understand is not healthy, but the point of changing my diet was not to loose weight, it was about feeling good and being healthy. So I quit eating all animal products. And I also took it another step further and quit buying animal products such as leather boots and shoes. I don’t know, it seemed to make sense and we are talking early 70s, hippies and love the planet, etc. My parents thought my diet was a phase, and I guess in some ways it was, but now 30+ years later I do eat poultry, mostly chicken and turkey, and once in a while crispy duck at Chopstyx in Gainesville. And I do not drink sodas or any meat other then the poultry, fish and mollusks or eat a lot of sugar. I try to save my sugar for dark chocolate and red wine. And I do eat when I drink. The main part of my diet consists of fruits, veggies and complex carbs like whole grain breads and pasta, fish, chicken, turkey and mollusks. And honestly I don’t eat that much pasta. Oh, and beans and rice. And for rice I like the brown basmati jasmine rice or the multi grain rice that I buy at Mike’s seafood. I love all kinds of beans and I eat a lot of garlic and try to buy what is in season in this area, in that I do strongly believe in a connection with the seasons where you live and what is in season in that it usually provides you the best nutritional benefit for that season. I do binge at times, but maybe once every month or two. And I believe in gaining weight in the winter and slimming down in the summer, but that is because our diet and exercise changes in those seasons. I try to only eat as much food as I use up in activity, I have good genetics so I tend to be on the slimmer side, and have small wrists, but I think I have normal size ankles. Even today I try to get up 20 minutes early in the morning and do some stretching and light weight lifting and crunches. It helps me wake up and although I always wake up hungry, it gets the juices going so that instead of eating one bite and feeling full, I will eat my entire breakfast, the most important meal of the day. I love the sayings, “Eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch and a pauper for dinner.” And “Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.” Simple, common sense advice for eating.

So I was not too worried when I had to see the Nutritionist this morning. Ms Elizabeth is a block of a woman. Not heavy or unattractive, just very square shaped with a sweet child like voice and steely eyes that drill into you and does not buy your story. Apparently I have lost 4 pounds in less then a week. First I would like to say in my defense, that I have gone to the bathroom. That is an event in itself and should be figured in any weight loss. But she is right as my throat got sore I have without realizing it stopped drinking water like I normally do.

But I did listen to her and her threats of putting me into the hospital to rehydrate me with IVs. I also heard her say that if I don’t drink more that I am increasing my chances of a stroke and that it could impact my chemo. Of course I am not interested in any of those options. So I stopped at Publix, where shopping is a pleasure, and bought a 6 pack of Boost Plus. I am supposed to drink 3 of those a day. Ok, I can do that. On top of my regular meals. Oh, I thought the Boost could substitute for a meal. My bad. And I also bought 3 cases of LaCroix. I thought it might be easier to drink the carbonated water over the regular water. Ok, that is not panning out so great. And I will try and eat higher calorie foods. But not high sugar foods. Everyone keeps telling me to eat ice cream and popsicles. Too much sugar and fake sugars often give me headaches. To the benefit of my Nutritionist, she also nixed the ice cream and popsicles because she said extremes of hot or cold can affect my throat. But she did give me some printed material about how to make your food easier to deal with when you have this type of throat issue. Basically all the recipes include mixing 2 cups of water with one package of unflavored gelatin and then pouring it over your food and letting it set up. This pamphlet claims that will make the food going down easier. I don’t think so. The first picture that jumps up in my brain is a chicken leg in a block of gelatin, bones and all. I know that is ridiculous, but the idea of soaking all your food in unflavored gelatin is enough to make me sick.

And I have a problem with doctors, and nutritionist always trying to scare you into believing them. I think they should try to educate you instead of threatening death, paralysis and stroke. Don’t scare adults, teach them. But what do I know? I admit that I have earned my CPM and my minor was in special education agriculture, and I was on 2 different adult training teams where they taught us about pedagogy versus andragogy, but what do I know? I think she thought I was one of those people who always have a reason you can not do what they want you to do. And other then wanting credit for having gone to the bathroom, I agreed with her that I had not thought about how little food and water I was taking in, because it was difficult and painful and I was subconsciously avoiding these issues. But she had opened my eyes, and I promised I would start paying more attention to what I am doing and increase my water as well as try to maintain my weight, if not gaining a pound or two by eating high calorie nutritious food. And I was serious. I have always mentally kept a tally of everything I eat. Mostly because as a vegetarian you have to balance your amino acids and proteins against carbs, etc. A vegan diet is not for wimps. You have to intake a significant amount of food and make sure that your combinations of food included all the needed nutrition. And since certain combos ensure that nutrition, I plan my meals from the moment I wake up until I close my eyes trying to make sure that I have done what I needed to have a strong healthy body, every day. Monday will be my last radiation and I believe Elizabeth meets with the cancer patients on Tuesday, so hopefully I will not have to go up against that steely gaze again.

This morning I had a mango, banana, orange smoothie, and I had not put any ice in it, so it was too thick to choke down, so I had kept thinning it out with water. So a 12 ounce smoothie took about an hour to drink and was probably over 16 ounces by the time I finished adding the water to it. I was proud of myself, Ms Elizabeth was not. And she was not impressed that my dinner last night was a boost in a chilled wine goblet. No, she was not impressed at all. And as I sit here and keep trying to sip the water and it is not going down easily, and the bubbly water is not any better, darn. But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I will just keep trying to do my best and sip water all day long. My goal is to not loose weight, and hopefully by the first of next week, I will have gained a pound back. I am going to try. And I am going to try to avoid Ms Elizabeth. I think dark glasses and a hat may be called for, and you know how I love to dress up. So if you will excuse me, I have a boost to choke down. I already drank about 2/3 of a pint of chocolate milk. I had bought it yesterday trying to add a few fun calories into my diet. And I have eaten a pack of peanut butter crackers, OK, again, not the healthiest, but they tend to settle my stomach, and I needed them, and I chewed each bite into oblivion and then washed it down with the chocolate milk, and I have almost drank an entire lime flavored LaCroix, but only about 8 ounces of regular water so far today. That is way more water and calories then yesterday. And tonight I will eat Mac and cheese, no wonder I never go. I mean bananas, milk, cheese, isn’t that enough to stop up an elephant? Oh, and I have that yogurt I want to somehow get down. And I want something green, but a salad doesn’t sound that great, maybe I can pour gelatin over it and pretend I am going to a cover dish?!?!?! No, I avoid the jellied food sections at the cover dishes. But I am sure that I can come up with something.


  1. I could make you a delicious pretzel salad! Everything is covered in Jello! Perhaps we should get out the Methodist Ladies Cookbook I have because the entire salad section includes Jello in each and every recipe! And mini marshmallows!
    We'll work through this. I promise.
    (Don't tell anyone but I sort of like cherry Jello with bananas in it.)

  2. Your description with the use of plain gelatin sounded awful! I wonder if Ms. Elizabeth has tried that? I think the smoothie sounds get fruit and you could get some real good protein powder from a health food store to add as well. Use plain yogurt in it..Have you ever made your own yogurt? I make mine and prefer the flavor.
    You really are a healthy woman and what a special deal to have had family that were health conscious..good habits began early for you! Especially living in the South where there are some terrible choices to be eaten....too much fried this or least in Alabama...
    Take care....

  3. Sweet Ms Moon, you are the best, egg custard and soup. And I am enjoying it thoroughly

    Love your comments, we Southern ladies need to stick together. No, no gelatin with a chicken leg in it. But I am making smoothies, and between the swish and swallow and the throat spray I am able to drink more water, and my throat is getting better.

  4. I drink fizzy water but not much regular water. I need to drink more probably. The smoothie sounded great. What about stuff like Ensure that comes in flavors? Is that allowed by Ms. Elizabeth? Good luck with it all.