What is Whole Food?
Wikipedia defines whole food as “Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible, before being consumed. Whole foods typically do not contain added ingredients, such as salt, carbohydrates, or fat.”
In my kitchen I’d like this to mean fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, full-fat dairy (preferably non-homogenized), meats and fish and some grains. Because I also have sensitivity to gluten, this should not include gluten-containing grains but does include rice, corn, buckwheat, oats and quinoa (which are technically berries).
I say “I’d like this to mean” and “should not include” because I am not always well-disciplined when it comes to my diet. My pantry presently has iced-oatmeal cookies, fiber bars and Top Ramen and my freezer has oodles of frozen bread products and pizzas. There’s definitely room for improvement!
A Little History
I was an Adelle Davis baby. For those of you who have never heard of Adelle Davis she’s been considered both a pioneer in human nutrition and a quack. It just depends on who is doing the considering. My mother, though, considered her a genius and followed a large amount of what she espoused, such as lots of fruits and vegetables, copious amounts of cod liver oil (which she mixed with breast milk in a bottle and, after I was weaned, made me consume 2 teaspoons a day until I was at least 5 years old), and way more folate than was government-recommended at the time. For a woman who grew up on white bread with molasses and canned soups this was quite a diversion.
However, I was either an unusually healthy baby, or my mom was onto something. After all, I never got ear infections, colic, the measles, the mumps or croup. In fact, it wasn’t until I was older, and away from my mom’s watchful eye where my diet would veer “off track”, that I started to have problems.
In fact, as an adult, I’ve had numerous issues and the older I get the more convinced I’ve become that these are diet-related. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they are only diet-related, as I live in Los Angeles and am subject to the hazards that go with that. But, on those brief occasions when I’ve been very restricting in my diet, I’ve always felt better. A bit poorer in the pocket perhaps, but better nonetheless.
Here are a few of the issues I’m currently experiencing:
- Chronic exhaustion
- Swollen joints
- Severe PMS
- Hormonal issues including hot flashes and night sweats
- Exhaustion (did I say that already?)
- Chronic Sinusitis, including that disgusting post-nasal drip
- Mild skin problems such as an annoying recurring cyst on my thigh
- All-over back pain
- Inability to concentrate
The other day I sat back and thought about all the ways I go about trying to manage the pains in my life. I was equally astounded, discouraged and inspired. For my migraines I take multiple supplements based on some exhaustive online research I did about 8 months ago when I finally tired of doctors who couldn’t solve it for me. These are:
- B2 (and a B-Complex for balance)
- Co-enzyme Q10
Here are the sites for the research I did:
I also need to take an Excedrin about 15 days out of the month just to get out of bed. This is not only for headaches, but also joint pain and back pain. For my migraines I also have other drugs to use in case I need them such as Frova (at $26/pill!!!) Fioricet, Vicodin and Flexoril. I’d say I have to resort to one of those at least twice a month. I use a humidifier on high every night to ease my sinus issues, use a natural progesterone cream for hormone problems, and take at least ½ a Benadryl every night to help with both allergies and sleep.
No wonder I’m tired. Just managing my health issues has become exhausting. And this doesn’t include trips to my doctors and chiropractor.
What I’d like is to wake up feeling as if I’ve slept, not have to take ANY medications, save for an occasional aspirin, and, basically, to have the energy I spend on feeling better for doing the things I really want to do BECAUSE I feel better.
This begins the journey.