What I eat
I was asked by several readers what I actually eat. I share this with the reminder to all readers that all bodies are different and what works well for me might not work for you. We are all wonderfully different from each other. We have varied likes and dislikes. We have different cultural backgrounds and foods we grew up with. Our food history will influence our current eating habits. Our nutritional needs are not uniform but as varied as we ourselves are. So keeping that in mind, here’s what I like to eat and how I manage food.
In order to get better from my eating problems I first had to change my environment. For many, this won’t involve a drastic relocation as I did, but that’s what worked for me. Then, I realized I was free to experiment and find out what was truly helpful. I didn’t want to do what other people thought was “good for me,” but what my body demanded and what I myself preferred.
Did I listen to “Ed”? I don’t think there’s an Ed. I know this was invented by the System as Devil-symbol. We were told we have Devils inside of us. This is a scare tactic that keeps many people stuck. Whenever I protested or tried to speak out in “care” I was told “That’s Ed speaking. Don’t listen to Ed.”
This negative message is now proliferated in “care,” especially with young people since the idea of a make-believe bad guy is so much ingrained in young people’s culture. While there may be good guys such as Santa or Superman, there are also bad and good witches and scary characters in children’s literature, TV, and movies. These aren’t bad in themselves but what matters is how the concepts are used. The idea of Ed often works to scare kids into blind obedience.
I know that when I mentioned “human rights” in care, I was immediately slammed down and told I was “listening to my illness.” I know that mental health is first and foremost a human rights issue. Human rights is at the backbone of mental health. I am saying this because “care” states we have no rights as patients. What they are really saying is that we are inferior, subhuman, therefore lesser beings than real humans. We are told that the “team’s” agenda is more important than our right to free speech. We cannot vote and are told this is a minor issue compared to keeping us under lock and key and charging us for it. Our right to privacy and freedom from searches and seizures is by all means denied. Kids are taken out of school and even from their parents. I don’t think this is Ed speaking at all. If it is, I want to listen to Ed more!
Devil scare tactics are used in church abuse including cults. “Don’t quit the church, that’s the Devil speaking to you. Pray harder for those thoughts of dissent to leave you.” Cults sometimes teach their members that non-members are unclean and influenced by the Devil. Why? Because it works well to control people and keep them submissive. Thankfully, I never bought into the Ed deal, but these threats were tried on me a lot.
Once free of forced weigh ins and other threats, I was free to do what I wanted. I was free to make errors and not get berated for being human. Any person, whether scientist of musician or any other field that invents or creates also uses experimentation. If I do this, what happens? Will it give me the results I desire? I was free to have many false starts. I was free to forgive myself when I was mistaken, and free to try again without worrying about ending up incarcerated or called a failure.
I was dealing with problems restricting my food intake and also with a binge eating problem. It wasn’t as simple as “You are bingeing because you are hungry.” In fact, I never binged when I was hungry, only when I was already full. So following a meal plan wasn’t the answer for me at all. I needed to really feel hunger and feel satisfied, not overstuffed. I needed to eat food I liked. I needed to stop listening to other people’s standards of wellness for me.
I also needed to realize that “care” tells patients NOT to listen to their bodies. This is a harmful myth since it is backwards. We have eating problems because our bodies are telling us something very important. We need to listen closer and carefully. This is a loving approach. Denying how you feel is body hatred.
One thing I recall is seeing an entire roomful of young people holding their bellies and moaning in pain. I saw every single patient lined up after every meal for stomach remedies since they felt sick and bloated from forced feeding. They are told their bodies lie to them and they should ignore how they feel and listen to “staff” instead. They are told that the pain is “Ed.” Nope, it ain’t.
If you hate your body, there’s a reason for it, and it’s not from some mythological Devil. Your body is sending a very loud and clear signal to you. You don’t have to suffer like that. Realize that this is a thought that was caused by something that you can make changes to. Many are environmental. Do the people around you appreciate and love you for who you are? Are you being denied certain freedoms? Are your parents doting on you too much, or ignoring what is really important? Are you constantly invalidated? Do you have a voice?
I experimented in many ways. Some completely flopped. Others seemed to work. I tried to notice patterns. I believe the idea of “trigger foods” is important even though I don’t like using “their” language. I began to study nutrition with a fresh eye. What was true, and what was just a money-making gimmick?
Topamax did indeed work for me to stop binge eating. I found it helpful but I hear it doesn’t work most of the time for most people. I found that of all the drugs I took, it harmed me the least. There were so many! Science doesn’t even know what happens when many of these drugs are combined. I was on seven all at once. That’s scary and irresponsible of the prescribers who insisted I “needed” them.
The worst flop happened in the States. I decided that since I couldn’t stop binge eating, I’d get drunk after meals and combine it with pills so that I was so loopy I’d go to bed without bingeing, or pass out. This lasted about two weeks. I’d say it didn’t work because it wasn’t safe. Finally, after I fell onto my bookcase and broke it and broke a bunch of dishes, I realized I had to stop before I caused something awful.
Here’s another flop: I tried a diet pill to control binge eating. It seemed to help. After a while, I felt like shit. Then, I began to get fevers, that is, a drastic rise in body temperature. I knew it was the pill and stopped.
Here’s another flop: OA. I tried it four times then told myself I wasn’t going to try it again. The first time, no one in the group had that coveted “abstinence” so it was all kind of pointless. It seemed totally hypocritical. Another time, scare tactics were used and I was put on a rigid “meal plan” i.e. diet. I felt like a slave. I had to weigh and measure everything. I didn’t like following a formula that was designed by someone who hadn’t even met me and didn’t know who I was. Following the meal plan cost me a lot of money, too, and was inconvenient. Finally, after my sponsor told me to eat in a restaurant bathroom, I realized I didn’t want to belong to this cult-like group.
Another flop: I decided that since I couldn’t stop binge eating, I might as well try to throw up. The only way I could do this was to ingest a whole ton of poisons. I tried drinking booze which rarely made me vomit and always made me sick. I tried a few other poisons but usually I still couldn’t vomit. I tried every method I’d heard of.
Humans have a gag reflex for a very good reason. If you are choking on your food, your gag reflex could save your life. If you accidentally eat poison, your body will reject it. It might not reject it in time and you could die first. If we eat something and then learn it was poison, or if it makes us feel nauseous, vomiting will relieve the nausea by getting rid of what was irritating our stomachs. So vomiting is a natural and normal human response. Too much vomiting will make you very sick. I don’t recommend forcing your body to do this. However, I never really self-induced it since I found that putting my fingers down my throat didn’t do anything.
So what indeed did work for me? I realized that probably certain drugs helped me via appetite suppression. I knew that binge eating wasn’t a matter of poor coping. That’s why therapy never helped. I asked myself why going on a diet so often preceded this problem. I concluded that if in a malnutritioned state, the body will instinctively stuff itself. It wanted something. I wasn’t allowing it something, not food in general, but some very specific things. I had to assess my nutrition and examine which nutrients my body was craving. I also asked myself what I might be denying myself.
Why did I see myself as unworthy? Hadn’t the mental health system repeated that to me over and over? They told me I wasn’t worthy of finishing college, or having a job or living in the community and participating. They claimed I had an ugly-sounding mental disorder. They deprived me of a normal life and stole what I already had begun. After a while, they told me I wasn’t worthy of proper medical care and not worthy of anything but drugs and lockup. Lockup was to keep society safe from me, so I was seen as a monster that everyone hated. They told me lockup was where I belonged. I wasn’t worthy of being listened to, told over and over to keep my story down to one sentence or that I had one minute to explain things to them. Once I was asked for the “one word version.” I was walked out on so many times by people who thought I was worthless. I was kicked out of offices and told to shut up and that no one wanted to hear what I had to say. They told me I was wasting their time, again and again. No one can win in that situation. The drug companies and profit-making institutions are the winners at the expense of patients and their families.
How can a person eat or treat themselves kindly when they are being treated like that? My only escape was into yet another highly restrictive diet. Fighting them was senseless and got me nowhere. Why should I eat if no one gives a shit about me? This unfortunately led me right into their hands. Is this happening to you? Do you keep going back? Maybe it’s time to stop and consider that maybe it’s not such a hot idea.
I knew that appetite suppression would help binge eating. What if I knew and was reasonably certain that I wouldn’t binge? I would feel free. I wouldn’t be handicapped from physical torture of an overly full stomach. Think of what I could do! My life would be productive again. How could I accomplish this? I knew diet pills weren’t the answer. But what if I used food to control my appetite?
I tried pine nut oil. This did work and it wasn’t that expensive if I shopped around. I realized, though, that this was a huge moneymaker. Why not other nuts or oils? I found these worked just as well as pine nut oil. The way you use pine nut oil is take a very small amount before a meal, or a meal. This worked for me since I only binge after eating a meal. If I re-ordered what I ate during the day, being mindful that some foods are uppers and some are downers, I could manage this. If an upper works like caffeine, then it doesn’t only energize a person, but it will cause a person to crash down after a while. I studied Aryuvedic lists and realized these lists were verified by Western medicine. You can see for yourself. Go look at foods to avoid if you suffer from hot flashes. These are upper foods, such as coffee, cayenne pepper, or cacao. Other upper foods include red bell peppers and many red foods and many veggies. Downers include milk and many dairy products. Go look it up. Some foods are neutral.
I found I needed lots of uppers and fewer downers. I found I felt really good if I ate a morron rojo, a red bell pepper. The first time I had one here in Uruguay, my whole body tingled. I loved eating it. I intended to share it with Puzzle but instead, I got very selfish and ate the whole thing.
So this was how I learned. I learned which foods to ingest if I needed an appetite boost and which foods to ingest before eating anything else if I needed to fend off a binge.
Edema was a constant problem since I have kidney disease from one of the drugs I took. I knew I had to be careful and not eat foods that caused it. Edema tended to come from too much of certain nutrients that my body couldn’t process fast enough. You can even die of edema. I also had muscle cramping from electrolyte imbalance, again caused by my kidney problems. I learned to control that, too.
Because I had the freedom to experiment, I rejoiced at every new discovery. I will always have these eating problems as part of my history, but I don’t have to live out those problems anymore.
Posted on September 10, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.
Oh my god, Julie, this is one of the best posts you have ever written. May i reblog it? I have so many friends who could benefit from what you have written and sadly too many who will refuse to do so as well. Nevertheless, this post is a small miracle and i want to tell you, privately and publically, BRAVA!!! My heart just jumps with joy and puredee admiration for your feat and your courage and your plain old ass-kicking bravado in telling those fickers to (in essence) to shove it and their ED where the sun don’t shine! MTFFGBWYA (may the forces for good be with you, always)
Your friend in Vermont,
LikeLiked by 1 person
Reblogged this on WAGblog: Dum Spiro Spero and commented:
This is one of the best posts i have ever read, on eating “right” on why we should listen to our bodies, and why the “care” system doesn’t give a shit…by a woman who has more courage than sixteen put together. Read it, please.
Gosh, Pam, that’s so kind of you. I don’t know why, but an awfully sad thought crossed my mind just now. Then, my phone made a noise and I realized I had forgotten to shut it off. But that was your kind comment coming in. Keep up the good work and we can make the world a better place. If all else fails, Puzzle can eat all the world’s problems for dinner and we can discuss HER meal plan.
LikeLiked by 1 person