My New Vocabulary.

7 Comments

Eosinophilic Esophagitis… Say that 3 times fast… or even one time slow.

Lewy-Body Dementia… Sounds like a cartoon character with memory problems.

GMOs… the stuff of science fiction.

Organic, “grocery stores are full of poison”, allergies, Monsanto, preservatives, artificial colors, hybrids, leaky gut, vaccines, the dirty dozen, immunoglobins, additives, gluten-free….

All of these words and phrases are constantly floating and banging around in my head these days. Ouch. What are these words, you ask? Thanks for asking! I shall tell you! You see, my daughter has Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) a relatively “new” disease that, in laymen’s terms, is an allergic reaction to food that occurs in the esophagus. Treating this disease is complicated because, obviously, we can not see the esophagus so to understand what she is allergic to is a guessing game of sorts. Some people who have it can’t eat food orally at all due to inflammation of the esophagus. We are “lucky” so far that she can still eat most things, but that could change. My father’s autopsy showed not Alzheimers, but Lewy-Body Dementia, (LBD) which is, for lack of a better and easier way to explain it, a cross between Alzheimers and Parkinsons. No scarier than Alzheimers but still scary because my father was an otherwise very healthy and active man who lost his life at 67.

That is your crash course in two disorders you probably have never heard of but will probably begin to hear more about as they both are increasing in occurrence (as are all allergies and dementias). With these diagnoses, I have begun to do research. I am the type of person that dives in head first and wants to learn everything I can, be part of every support group and website, and participate in every fundraiser. I am nothing if not informed.

My research has led me to want to understand the cause of increases in these problems…which has led me straight to the very food that is sold to us. Thus, all of those other words dancing around in my brain. Sadly, I have learned that I am uninformed, and I am now frightened by a world which I apparently should not have trusted.

I thought I knew how to eat healthy. I know how to eat a balanced, healthy meal and not get fat. I know how to lose weight. Don’t eat at McDonalds. Eat fist-sized portions. Say no to butter and salt, etc, etc. I was even aware that weird ingredients are put into food, and I knew food dyes and preservatives were unhealthy. I got that, but what I didn’t get was that the very food we are buying at the store – even our vegetables – may be poisoning us and killing us.

I am not going to go deeply into how this is all poisoning us other than to say that the industry has worked very hard to save a buck and make a dollar at our expense. You all can do searches and see the research that is out there. Soy is hazardous in high amounts, and soy is in almost everything. We should all stop eating anything with GMOs in it – but, as my husband points out, if we stopped doing that and ate what is available that does not contain GMOs, then this country would not have the food supply to support it. I am not one to believe conspiracy theories, but I do believe he has a point. The problems go on and on.

We are killing ourselves and killing our families. Jamie Oliver, a well-known celebrity chef who is on a healthy eating campaign, said recently, “We, the adults of the last four generations, have blessed our children with the destiny of a shorter lifespan than their own parents. Your child will live a life 10 years younger than you because of the landscape of food that we’ve built around them.” He is primarily talking about obesity as the root cause but do not deny that this is all related. We have turned a blind eye to the food we eat for so long that we no longer pay attention to the food we put in our bodies. In this country we eat for the wrong reasons – we focus on convenience and pleasure rather than nutrition (though I don’t think they are mutually exclusive).

I am in the process of shifting my life – I am taking baby steps and educating myself. I have family and friends who are guiding me along the way. I am lucky to be part of a very food-conscious, health-conscious extended family. I even have a cousin sending me gadgets and food plans and being my cheerleader. The change won’t be easy but it is necessary, and I hope that others will follow. I need my daughter to be healthy. The excuse of ‘organic is too expensive’ won’t be an excuse if we all buy organic and the supply goes up. 100% organic should be the norm rather than the alternative choice. Stores must see that this is what their consumers are asking for. We need to be eating healthy, wholesome food that has nutrients. Common sense. It’s common sense.

Lets change our vocabulary to familiar words…organic, healthy, clean, nutritious, local, real food.

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7 thoughts on “My New Vocabulary.

  1. I am lucky to be in a suburban area that has some great specialty stores but,unfortunately, they take 20 min to get to and with two little ones that is a lot of time. I make it works somehow. I dream of living in a place without chain restaurants and stores everywhere and, instead, local and fresh choices. I would love Portland!

  2. I agree – and am trying hard to remain optimistic and not think that we have ruined our world for future generations. I don’t think we can ever destroy all traces of GMOs and make wheat be like what it was for the ancients – now it is some weird hybrid that people’s bodies do not handle well. The kids are handling our gradual transition into clean diets pretty well, but grocery shopping with them has become such a chore – I am constantly having to say no to all the things they want. I tell them these things are not food, they are chemicals and we don’t want to be eating chemicals. I know people are thinking, “oh, let them have the pop-tarts, it’s just one thing” but it isn’t – they are exposed to these chemicals multiple times every day in situations I can’t control. A well-meaning teacher gives them M&Ms for a job well done, the soap in the bathrooms at school are filled with chemicals, a birthday party they are invited to has dyes on the cake and a pinata filled with artificially flavored and colored candies. Even the dye-free children’s motrin has aspartame or sucralose in it.
    There seems to be a connection between inflammation of the gut and many, many diseases. Most doctors don’t seem to get this and just prescribe medicine. Even a lot of the alternative health care practitioners just tell you to take supplements without getting to the reason why you need the supplements in the first place. I had a top-rated endocrinologist tell me there was nothing I could do to keep my thyroid antibodies down. Then why do so many patients swear that their antibodies are lowered significantly by going gluten-free? Even my current endo, who only goes by what is scientifically proven, told me that going gluten-free will help with my thyroid disease.
    I am sorry that I have gone off on a rant here. Love ya, and I look forward to getting ourselves and our kids healthy together!

  3. Rachel – have you looked at the connection between soy and thyroid problems?? I was reading about it yesterday and since soy is in everything… Go soy-free too. I think what we do is do our best at home and understand that they will have treats at parties, etc, that aren’t healthy but are at least not a staple in their diet.

  4. Yeah, I’ve been trying to avoid soy for awhile. I get so angry when I pick up something like chicken fingers and see that they have added soy protein. What is the reasoning for that? There is enough protein in the chicken itself. I guess soy is cheaper than chicken.

  5. Oh how I love this post and I very much hope you write more about your journey towards eating “real food” as this is something I have been struggling with and trying to achieve (and really isn’t it strange that I even have to use the word achieve when talking about the act of eating food?). I, like you, also feel that I have a good grasp on eating well, avoiding fats and overly processed junk that is packaged and labled as “food” (yet another parallel we share in our lives) but I don’t ever feel like I am actually getting it quite right.

    And as a side note, I wonder if my dad had Lewy-Body Dementia for he exhibited signs of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. So healthy until suddenly, so very much not…

  6. I will be happy to write more about it – I am sure I will because it is so interesting how difficult it is – as you said – to acheive this! I am learning a whole new skill set. And its really interesting to pay attention to my internal challenges as well — I have habits that are hard to break (diet coke!!!).

    Look into the LBD diagnosis if you are interested — my siblings and I all doubted the AD diagnosis because he never really lost his short-term memory and he had other LBD symptoms -thus the autopsy. He was confused, hallucinated, and had memory loss but it didn’t follow the typical Alzheimers path. He also was diagnosed with Restless Leg Syndrome and had a terrible sleep disorder which is all quite prevalent in LBD — however, at the point he was being diagnosed, he was still married and we had little control over redirecting his medical care. Then, by the time we were involved, the ball was rolling already and it was exhausting enough just keeping up with his daily care. Would be happy to “talk” with you about it more if you ever were interested – not that I have that much info!

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