Food & Health: Meals & Medicine


Well, I wrote the other day that I hadn’t been admitted to the hospital in about 5 months, and then the day after I wrote it, I ended up with that same infection on my face again–it’s being caused by the nasal cannula. I’m a staph carrier. We know it. There’s nothing we can do about it. We have used the anti-stuff on the fingers and nose, bleached everything in the house, use Hibiclens to bath with, flush the nose with stuff. I’ve done it all. But when the humidity gets a little low here, the oxygen is dry and the nose gets little cracks or tears in it, and with the steroids and the immunity and poor health, it’s just a matter of time until the staph kicks in and flares up into an infection.

The good news is, this time, I knew what it was, because I’ve had it before, so I was able to get into the doctor before it got bad. It seems to be responding to the antibiotics. That’s not a guarantee I’ll avoid the hospital, but it’s a good sign. I’m keeping my fingers crossed I’ll be able to stay out of the hospital this time.

If the food were good, I wouldn’t mind the hospital so much. But the food sucks, big time. They serve a lot of starches, noodles, breads, pasta (with no sauces), and almost zero vegetables or salads. We started asking for salads and sometimes they would make us a small, nasty tossed salad, but at least it was veggies. I try to eat organically. I cheat all the time, I do. I admit it. But I try to eat as healthy as I can, and  my cheats aren’t horrible. For example, the other day, my mother and her husband took me out to lunch at Steak & Shake, and I had a jalapeno crunch burger and a few french fries. I admit I didn’t eat near as many as I wanted to, but I did have some. That’s not on the diet, for sure.

But the point isn’t to be perfect all the time. I’d never have any fun or live any if I didn’t allow myself to cheat now and then. Even with the cheats, I eat healthier now than I ever have, and I have to say, I feel better for it too. It’s tough at first, but once you get used to eating without all the processed stuff, it’s amazing how good food starts to taste.

One of the things I noticed was that I was a salt addict. I love salty foods, love salt on my foods. Well, with congestive heart failure, salt has to be limited. They originally had me at 7 grams of salt per day–and that’s actually quite a lot. When teh fluid retention got bad, though, they told me to limit it to 2 grams per day. That’s a little tougher, but it’s actually still quite a bit of salt. When I do use salt, I use sea salt, my favorite being the nutrient rich, mineral rich Himalayan sea salt that we grind ourselves. Love that stuff. At first, food tasted so bland and I was a bit depressed about it.

It took about two weeks, but now, I have learned not to love salt so much. I still like savory, salty things, but I like them a lot less salty than I used to. And food now tastes so good! Salt is a flavor enhancer, but it does cover up the natural flavor of foods too. Vegetables started to taste almost sweet to me when I learned not to use salt. It’s amazing the difference.

Fresh veggies just taste better and cook better than canned or frozen ones. I want this spring and summer to start shopping at farmers’ markets on Saturdays. It’ll give me something to do, to force me to be active and get out of the house. It’s very easy with my health issues, as tough as it is to get dressed, get my wheelchair and oxygen loaded, and then make it out to the car, to then think it’s just not worth the effort and energy. But I’ve also learned that when I force myself to do it, I tend to feel a little better. Being active, getting out of the house, it helps me.

Not only that, but for some reason, I can’t write if I don’t get out of the house once in a while. It’s like I need to get out and recharge my batteries or something. I stagnate in the house.

Anyway, I’ve learned that food is medicine, and just like medicine, it can be poison too. It all has an effect on the body and that can be good or bad. If I eat the wrong foods, eat too much, I feel lousy. You do too. Think of how miserable you felt the last time you overate. You probably asked yourself, “Why do I do this when I know I always feel awful?” We know this at an intuitive level, so it only makes sense that food can be used to bring about better health.

First thing a doc looks at when you have any medical condition that’s chronic is your diet. Diabetes? Type II can be CURED by changing diet. Type I is treated by adjusting diet and taking medication–both are required for optimal health. Liver disease? Change your diet–lower fatty and fried foods, no alcohol, etc. Obesity? Of course, that’s a diet change. Heart problems? Low bad fats, low sodium.

The point being, there’s not much that can’t be improved medically when you change your diet.

So why not change the diet before you get sick, preventing the need for medication and staving off many illnesses?

It’s not easy. It’s super easy to drop back into bad habits and bad eating too. Fast-food is convenient and it’s often cheap (though not always)… I understand how easy it is to fall back into old habits.

But I’m trying. And I feel it’s making a difference. I have physically felt the difference.

Anyway, that’s my health babble for the morning.

Love and stuff,




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One Response to “Food & Health: Meals & Medicine”

  1. Derek Odom says:

    I’m weening myself of salt, as well. I *love* the stuff, but after a few bouts with kidney stones and then the appendicitis, I just lean toward less salt period. Damn, it’s good, though. 😀

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