August 8, 2011

Thoughtful, Responsible, and Healthy Cooking

I posted this entry in August 2011 under a different banner.  Today I remain on this path of nutritional discovery.  I do not consider my food choices akin to being on a diet nor do I feel deprived.  This is simply the way that I eat. 

It has been a while since my last post.  I have files of photos of foods that I have been preparing and recipes to share with you for sinful treats like burnt caramel ice cream, barbequed baby back ribs, and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.   Shame on me for not being more diligent about delivering the goods, but I have been on a steep learning curve changing the way I cook and eat.

It all started around March of 2011.  I thought I was suffering from seasonal allergies.  Some days were better than others, but days turned into weeks, and weeks into months.  I felt achy, tired, out of shape, and so puffy that I could not wear my watch or wedding ring.  By the end of June, I was starting to feel defeated by the incessant lack of well being. 

I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia over 5 years ago, a condition which I have kept under control mostly due to diet, supplements, and exercise, and decided that a visit to my rheumatologist might be in order since I was in a great deal of pain.  The aches were not new.  After all, I was used to living with a condition that made my muscles ache like I had the flu.  But I was experiencing pain in my joints as well.  My doctor explained to me that the joint pain was not connected to the Fibromyalgia.  Fibromyalgia affects muscles.  Arthritis affects joints.

I got a call from my doctor as we were entering into the 4th of July weekend informing me that my blood work indicated a 96% chance of having Rheumatoid Arthritis and a prescription for a heavy medication to be delivered in the form of a weekly shot.  Even though the diagnosis was confirmed by a second reputable opinion, I did not want to accept it.  I decided that I had to do something to change the way I felt in conjunction with the medication.  My general physician is a specialist in integrative medicine and has encouraged me to stay away from sugar, dairy and eggs for years.  Aside from having a conclusive diagnosis at that time, it was clear that there was a great deal of swelling in my hands and knees.  He had suggested an anti inflammatory diet without gluten, and to consider a vegetarian or, better yet, a vegan diet since I already try to stay away from dairy and eggs.

 He that takes medicine and neglects diet, wastes the skill of the physician.        -Chinese Proverb

Within a few days, I began a new adventure with food when I embarked on a 30 day all organic vegan cleanse.  I jumped in headfirst and gave up caffeine, sugar, gluten, dairy, eggs, alcohol, and all forms of animal proteins. I had made a sacred commitment to myself to stay the course without fault.  I succeeded.  I feel like a different person, and will continue on this remarkable journey indefinitely.

I still intend to deliver the recipes for the decadent dishes I mentioned above and more, but with The Conscious Kitchen I will be putting my primary focus on the way I cook and eat now.   I will share with you the changes I have made in my kitchen, how I integrate them into meals for my family, and the reasons why I am choosing quinoa over chicken, raw agave nectar over sugar, and garnet yams over yukon golds.  I look forward to sharing my experiences and satisfying recipes with you.

Categories: Food for Thought