The Blood Test Results Are In…

Yippee for great results! Photo credit www.ahead.ie
Yippee for great results! Photo credit ahead.ie

The findings floored my doctor! YEA! (And my doctor is not easily impressed.)

I was commended for my hard work; the difference was significant. Two of the three markers of concern regarding my liver disease include my AST and ALT levels – those were within normal for the first time in as long as I can remember! It went from hovering above 32 and 42 respectively to 28 on both (normal is below 30). My third marker (Alkaline Phosphatase) is still above average, but also down (from 172 to 132, normal is below 115); so I’m well on my way.

Other areas also showed signs of a dramatic shift toward a healthier body. Four months ago, my triglycerides (a kind of fat) were above the normal range at 156 (normal being below 150). After the detox, it went way down to 61 — almost a 100 point drop! My cholesterol (non HDL – the bad stuff) went from 118 to 68.

The bottom line: my diet most definitely heals or harms my liver and my entire body, depending on what I choose to put in it. So I must continue to make the effort to eat whole foods. When I do, my taste buds change to support my new habits (e.g. now I crave nuts instead of cookies.) My brain tells me that I still want that piece of candy or some potato chips on occasion… and I have given-in after the detox; but to my surprise, it didn’t taste as delicious as I remembered. This shows me that I can do without some of my psychological additions to junk!

The  challenge will be to keep it up, to continue the reprogramming of my head. My plan moving forward includes giving myself treats a couple times a week (like cheese… a great weakness and I’m sad to say, it still tastes good to me!) And I will continue to do my best to avoid foods that inflame my system (mostly gluten, dairy, and added sugar.) I have to remind myself constantly and have others support me in this: whatever I can do to help lessen the negative effects of my disease and general poor health, these things are worth keeping up. It’s worth it to have energy and feel good all day.

With my one body, my one life, I am choosing to treat what I have been given with care. This is a way to worship and honor the God who created me. This is a way to stay around longer, to be at my best for the ones I love and to live out what I was put on this earth to be.

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God Gives the Goods, Youth Renewed

Photo courtesy of images online
Photo courtesy of images online

Praise the Lord… who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. -Psalm 103:5, NIV

As I watch my 6-year old hop circles around me (because walking is “too boring”), I’m reminded of an idea I often hear — the desire to bottle a child’s energy and sell it for a fortune.

My renewed energy is like a drop from that bottle. Except, it is not harnessed from a child, it is a gift from God. Nature is from God; so when it comes to veggies (whole and simple foods),  I eat as Daniel in the Old Testament ate, and my body responds favorably, as it is meant to function and thrive.

In the Bible (Daniel 1:12-16), Daniel and his buddies are given “royal food” for their optimal health. But Daniel challenges the thoughts of the time and responds, “‘Please test your servants for ten days (sound familiar? 10-day-detox!): Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food’… At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.”

The “royal food” of our day is the stuff of rich nations: convenient, abundant, fatty and preservative-filled to last longer. What seems “good” to us is in many ways, a bad habit that has forced our taste buds to change. I am right in there with everyone who suffers from this “royal food” habit. So the psychological switch to alter what I’ve known all my life is daunting… but ultimately doable.

I took my blood test on Friday and will share my results when I receive them at the end of the month. So for now, after the official detox and roughly 17 days on my new meal plan, I take the next step… in the direction of wholesome and sustainable eating habits. Even if my blood result is not as impressive as I hoped (maybe in time it gets better?), this change in lifestyle is ultimately good. But I have a sneaky suspicion my results will speak loudly for itself; and like in Daniel’s time, I will be and look healthier than when I ate the “royal food.”

Detox Day 1: Already Lost 1 Lb. From Prep Days

The never-ending breakfast shake.
The never-ending breakfast shake (and still more in the blender.)

Let me reiterate from my introductory detox post: I am not doing this to loose weight, but that is certainly a welcomed side effect! I’m doing this because:

1. I have autoimmune liver disease/PBC and I don’t want to have it anymore.

2. I’m getting older and the bad food I put in my body doesn’t hide as easily. It comes out as sickness and a growing waistline and…

3. I want to be an example to my family, that we can all do this and still enjoy good food. I truly want to make this the beginning of a life change, not a 10-day test of my will.

But this is tough!

My head is still aching, albeit less than 2 prep days ago when I cut off tea, liquid sugar, excessive carbs and dairy.

I have to prep and cook 2-3 times a day, no more easy stops at a drive-thru.

This morning I made a shake, a delicious and satisfying breakfast. And it kept me full until dinner because I sipped it for hours thereafter. I still couldn’t finish it by dinnertime.

But the instant gratification is the weight loss. When I weighed and measured myself this morning, I was lighter and thiner… already, from just 2 days of prep work. During those days, not only did I take myself off the aforementioned, but I got the okay from my liver doc to take all the supplements (make sure you do this if you are on any prescribed medication.) But I’m easing into the supplements and not taking the full dose of everything that was recommended. Use your own good judgement about any diet or detox (usually they are general guidelines for the entire population.)

So how do I feel on day 1? The truth is, not that great. Like I mentioned, I still have that nasty headache, I’m grumpy and tired, and my head is in a bit of a fog, as I was warned. But I will continue because I said I would and because I know this is good for me in the long run. So I press on!

10-Day Detox: More Than You Think… Join Me?

I am fat. I don’t look fat; but from a number of indicators, I know I’m fat, at least on the inside. (This can really happen. Look it up!) I love donuts, liquid sugar in my continuous flow of teas, chips, cheese, anything sold at a bakery and all things dessert-like. I even convinced my kids I have a “dessert pocket” in my tummy. No matter how full I am, if my dessert pocket is not filled, I am not done eating.

What's wrong with this picture? My car before my diet. I need some serious help!
What’s wrong with this picture? My car before my diet. I need some serious help!

Since this is a “community for the young at heart,” I thought I’d share my journey into making my heart and body younger… through the gift of better health for the next 10 days and hopefully beyond.

And this is certainly a GIFT I’m giving myself because it COSTS!

First, I purchased a book to get started: The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet. After some research about ways to beat my autoimmune disease,  I found this book by Mark Hyman, MD. The doctor explained the problem and the solution in ways that made sense to me. I’m paraphrasing here but the general idea is that my autoimmune issue is like an infection caused by stepping on a rusty nail. Instead of treating the infection only, I need to get that nail out.

So when the proverbial nail comes out, I might even be able to gradually come off my medication (and bonus – lose 10 lbs. in 10 days while kick-starting myself into a healthier lifestyle.) An important note here: I am not getting any benefits from endorsing this book; I just like sharing a good thing!

Second, this gift is costing me my comfort. To begin with, today is a prep day before the  detoxing tomorrow and I have the nastiest headache and nausea from cutting off all my caffeine. I am an addict! Thankfully, this painful fog is supposed to go away within 2-3 days… I’m counting on it.

Another cost is on my time. I will have to prep food and cook more. But this is also a good thing, right? Right. (There’s even a recipe for Korean bibimbap and kimchee – just WOW!)

If you can see my notes, you'll see this is very difficult for me!
If you can see my notes, you’ll see this is very difficult for me!

This “gift” also costs in terms of supplements (at least $130 worth!) But then again, my autoimmune drugs, bad health, trips to coffee/tea houses and eating out costs me more in the long run.

I know changing my diet helps. Once I did a pure juicing detox for a couple weeks and my blood test improved dramatically. But I couldn’t live that way… just drinking green juice 24/7; so I fell back into my unhealthy habits.

Unlike my juice diet, the 10-day detox is full of eating (only with certain foods and excluding mostly carbs and sugars) and so more doable.

So for the last 2 days, prep days before the plunge, I have cleared out and organized my cupboards, bought a ton of new and weird foods and supplements, connected with an online community of detoxers, weighed and measured myself, and have decidedly committed to the regiment of the next week and a half (including daily detox baths, my favorite part!)

So begins my journey to good eats and health. Join me or at least tell me if you’ve ever done anything like this and how it has helped! Then throw up a prayer for me. This happy eater needs the support.