Thursday, August 21, 2014

On cosmic hamsters, Grainy Golden Girls, and Swamp Thing

I think I am done complaining and stressing (for now. I suspect this is cyclical and I am but a senile hamster trapped on this cosmic running wheel). Life is a mixed bag for all of us. No one gets everything. The hope is that no matter how insane your mix is, you at least get something in it that you value, whatever your values are. Luckily for me, I value my faith, and poor health not only does NOT reduce my faith, it can actually increase it. So there.

I am now trying to see what I can do to make things a bit more manageable. I’ve started trying to slowly reclaim my lost strength and stamina. A year ago, I worked out over an hour 5 days a week, but I’ve not done much of anything for about 6 months, after I started feeling my aneurysm twinge to the beat of my pulse. Earlier this week I finally returned to the gym, and have begun the agonizing process of trying to get fit again. I'm still limited to lifting no more than 5kgs, so I’ve started with walking on the treadmill at a brisk pace for 30-40 minutes. I stop when the skin on my feet starts to blister or rip (a lovely EDS side effect). Aside from the foot pain, I feel fine. Or rather, I felt fine. Until the day before yesterday. My hips, back and neck have been on fire ever since and I’ve got a limp that’s one part cowboy one part got-shanked-in-Sing Sing. I guess that’s either my fibromyalgia or my arthritis. Take your pick. Whee. :D

I’ve read a lot about the impact of food/nutrients on the severity and manifestation of various illnesses and symptoms and am looking to cut out the 'bad foods' and replace them with good ones.

I kind of grew up on aspartame (my well-intentioned mom’s attempt to keep her kids from sharing her weight problem), but have been avoiding it for the past year. The cancer in mice research you once scoffed at before somehow becomes much more ominous when you’ve had cancer yourself. So I take Stevia in my tea and coffee now and try not to rely on ready-made diet sodas or foods that contain aspartame or its ilk.

I’ve done low-to-zero carb for months on end and have not noticed any change in how I feel, so I’m not actively trying to cut them out now. I don’t eat a lot of bread or rice as it is, but I am going to try to avoid more processed foods, like cereal and crackers. And while I’m not gluten intolerant, there seems to be a lot of claims that our wheat reliance is not good for our health, with at least some research supporting that it can worsen IBS symptoms. I do have IBS-like symptoms often, which is pretty normal for EDS, so I’ve been looking at the alternatives being touted in the ‘ancient grains’ trend.

The ‘ancient grains’  trend claims that the grains our ancestors ate are better for us because they’ve not been selectively bred and genetically modified over the centuries like wheat, corn and rice. Debates on the dangers of GMO withstanding, I figured it’d be worth trying them, especially as some have more protein, insoluble fiber and nutrients than the usual stuff. So I’ve picked up a bunch of locally-available ‘ancient grains’ – quinoa, amaranth, barley, and millet – with the notion that I will start working them into salads and making ‘rice’ with them. So far though, they’re chilling in the cabinet, having ancient grain conversations. Y’know, catching up on what’s happened since Roman times, complaining about grains these days, worrying that Frankenfood is taking their jobs, etc. I imagine something like Grainy Golden Girls, with more patrician accents.

I also want to eat more highly nutrient dense foods, in the off chance that somehow my poor health is being exacerbated by a missing nutrient or two. Though I eat healthy, I tend to eat repetitively, and have had a diet based around apples, cabbage, chicken, coffee, popcorn and lettuce for years. I had a bunch of superfood powders brought from the US – acai for its highest Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity among fruits, flavonoids, and anthocyanin effects; goji for its beta-carotene, immune system support, energy and improved gastro function; kale for its vitamins K, A and C, antioxidants, iron, fiber, anti-inflammatory Omega fatty acid; spirulina for its protein, amino acids, gamma linoleic acid, chlorophyll, omegas, calcium and tons of other nutrients/vitamins; and wheatgrass for its vitamins A, C, and E, Iron, iron, calcium, magnesium, amino acids, and the long list of diseases it supposedly fights. A spoonful of those all go in the blender with aloe juice, coconut oil, gelatin, green tea, gooseberries, spinach, cucumbers, banana, carrots and agave – all things that have valued nutrients. I give it a whirr, and the resulting dark green sludge is my breakfast of champions. With that unbeatable mix, either I start feeling better, or I start becoming Swamp Thing. It’s a win-win.

Bottoms up!  


  1. If you can read Urdu (I'm not sure an English translation is available) then this book called "Tib -e- Nabawi" is really good. It explains natural (sunnah based) ways to treat many illnesses/ailments. My mom had a lot of problems and meds didn't work. She read this book, treated herself and is doing fine now Alhamdulillah.

  2. There's the hadith where a man told Rasulullah that his brother has stomach pain and the Prophet responds with - give him honey. He returns the next day with the same complaint and the Prophet gives him the same response. This happens a few times till Rasulullah says- "sadaqa Allah wa kaziba batnu akheek. Allah has said the truth and your brother's stomach has lied." That is, the truth of the revelation isn't dependent on how it manifests in you. All that to say - honey, black seed, zam zam, the 3 quls, surat fatiha, the duaa "Allahumma rabba an-naas, azhibil baas" ..... Sadaqa Allah, sadaqa Allah.

  3. Thanks Uni and Unknown for the suggestions. I'll look into them. I had been taking black seed and zamzam, but will add honey to the mix.