My week

delishThis has been a calmer week. I sent exactly zero therapist emails this week. I didn’t feel I was upset enough to send any. Which is good.

I’ve been obsessed with diet this week. My digestive issues continue. Now I’ve developed chronic heartburn instead of the nausea. Some supplements from the naturopath helped, but I still had it. My diet was already quite good, IMO, and I’d cut out a lot of ‘sins’ because of the issues. I eat veggies, fruit, no fast food, nothing deep fried, cut out coffee, tea, alcohol, chocolate, most sugar, dairy….It seemed completely unfair to me that despite all this, I got heartburn from most meals.

I’ve found the standard medical type advice pretty much useless. Part of it I’d already been doing, other parts didn’t help one bit. But finally, I found a series of articles on heartburn written by Chris Kresser that were actually well written and seemed intelligent. He says heartburn is actually caused by too little stomach acid, not too much. He says that some people (or everyone, i forget) cannot digest grains or legumes very well. This causes gas to build up, which is a cause of the heartburn.

He advocates the Paleo diet – lots of meat, no grains or dairy. Plus a supplement that actually contains stomach acid, and does not reduce it.

I’m ready to try anything, so for the last few days, meat and no grains, lots of vegetables, and the acid supplement. I am used to eating grains and legumes, so I’m not thrilled with this idea. However, the diet seems to be helping. Not sure if it’s the supplement or the diet, since I started both pretty much together.

I really hope I can cure this with diet. If I go to the doctor with this, she’ll put me on acid reducing drugs, which people stay on for life. The article points out that the drug companies have no interest in curing people – their motive is to make a profit. By targeting the symptoms, acid in the esophagus, they provide symptom relief but do not touch the cause – a perfect scenario for them, as they now have customers for life.

Sometimes I wonder how the world of medications would look if pharmaceuticals were not run for profit. It’s such a conflict of interest for them, the pursuit of mega profits vs. people getting better.

Anyhow. End result, I’m feeling quite a bit better.

I’m a little uncomfortable with the idea of this diet though. It seems so Western and privileged. It’s not a sustainable way to eat at all. And they advocate natural meat as well, which is heavy on the pocketbook. But if it’s meat, I want it naturally raised, for the animal’s sake. I can afford this. However, a lot of people couldn’t. And we couldn’t feed the whole world on a meat heavy diet without grains. So I’m uncomfortable ethically.

But I need to feel better, so I will continue with it for a while. Maybe if my gut heals up, I can inch in some grains again, who knows.

There’s a lot of information to read, and a lot of questions come up. For instance – what can I have for breakfast besides eggs? There is apparently a recipe for a kind of nut porridge, though it too contains eggs.

My city has been a steambath for the last week or so, with one episode of torrential rains and flooding. I was without power for a day or so. It was kind of calming really. No electronic input. I’d just started on the Paleo kick though, and still had some bread in the fridge, and there was nothing else much I could eat without cooking besides a sandwich. So Paleo went by the wayside for this emergency.

I’ve been reading True Refuge by Tara Brach. I really enjoy her approach to Buddhism. When I started meditating, it seemed like a torturous procedure which I had to endure as long as I could stand it, which was not very long. Brach’s take on it is to emphasize compassion for yourself. Holding yourself in compassion. Exercises where you breathe and visualize / feel yourself loved.

My take is that you are trying to hold a space for all of you, and hold all of you in compassion. This is not what I naturally tend to do with parts of myself. With parts I don’t approve of, like the dark voice, I tend to try to squash them down. Or that part takes over, which is dangerous and painful. What I want to do is hold space for those parts to be there, but not be all of me – I want to remember that I am much bigger than this particular part.

I found Brach’s book Radical Acceptance helpful also. Just I forget everything, mostly, once the book is back at the library. Maybe they’d be worth buying.

That’s about it. Today I went for a walk in the park, and read my kindle under a large tree. I am officially working, but there remains little to do. I’ve informed my client I am up for any projects she may have, but she didn’t respond directly. We will meet on Monday. She is retiring at the end of the month, so likely simply wants to tie up loose ends.

I’ve decided to keep active at home, not hover over my laptop in case there’s an email for me. I feel better when I keep going out, doing errands, getting some things done. At last I’ve planted one of my planters – it’s looking rather pretty, in pink and white. I have the other one still to plant. And I’ve bought a silk filled pillow. I seem to be allergic to polyester and down, so hopefully this one will be OK. It’s about the fourth pillow I’ve bought in the last year. It cost a lot, so it better work!

I don’t feel much better about the last group, but no longer think about it obsessively. If I do think about it, I’m right back in the pain of Ron not responding and not supporting me. He doesn’t see it like this. Maybe I could get a clearer idea of how he sees it now I’m not longer as upset. I kind of think I have some right on my side. Very true I was triggered though. Sometimes Ron is less helpful than others, but as that was the last group session, there was no time to experience him as helpful again.

I feel if he somehow could even see how I could have perceived things as I did, it would help. But he doesn’t. I think now the thing that hurts most is how he was so concerned about M’s feelings of having been hurt by me, and that she should have space to express them all, but didn’t express any interest in how I was feeling. The group already expressed all kinds of sympathy for M. I obviously had feelings too – I’d stalked out of the group the previous session. Anyhow. I think this all stands in stark relief because it was the last session, and nothing could be done.

Ron goes on vacation next week. Hopefully all will be well. If I have another decent week like this week, it’ll be no problem.

I kind of miss contacting Ron by email. I like that feeling of connection I get from writing to him. However, sometimes it’s just good to put everything away for a while and focus on calmness and re-grouping. I’m worn out by the intensity of the last few weeks, and it’s good to rest and focus on daily life.

  1. Gel said:

    Hi Ellen,
    My husband and I are big fans of Chris Kresser’s work. We’ve both been using his protocol for fine tuning his dietary suggestions to fit our individual bodies. I can relate to what you are saying about paleo and meat consumption and sustainability. I don’t think you have to eat tons of meat to make use of some of the principles of the plan. It’s actually the broth made from meat bones and cartilage that are super healing for the digestive lining, not so much about eating lots of meat. And you can use it to get some healing for the gut and then experiment with proportions of proteins to carb foods to suit your body type. I’ve got some digestive problems including upper stomach pain and I’m finally finding some relief. There is a lot to study and learn.

    I also like what you are saying about meditation. I think I’ll look into the book by Tara Brach. Sounds like something I’d get a lot out of. Thanks

    • Gel said:

      I was thinking about breakfast ideas while on a grain free diet. My hubby and I have gotten used to stews, soups and veggies with meats for breakfast in addition to eggs. If you like hot cereals you could try making a porridge with winter squash all mashed up with savory seasonings. My husband also like a porridge of winter squash or yams seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger plus some roasted ground nuts. If you like coconut milk that is a wonderful addition to this porridge “mutation”. I make a pancake with mushed up yam or winter squash, an egg and some ground nut meal. The key is for the yam to not be too moist (bake first instead of boil). And us what ever amount of nut meal to make the ‘batter’ the right consistency.

      • Ellen said:

        OK, I will try these. I especially love the yam pancake idea. Is there particular nut meal you use? The porridge idea is interesting too. Thanks!

        • Gel said:

          I just use raw almonds and grind them in a coffee grinder. It’s not the best grinder ’cause it leaves a few bigger bits but that’s what we have. You can also use roasted nuts or sunseeds.

          Also just realize that the texture will be different than regular pancakes. And it’s a little tricky to get the right thickness of batter. Just experiment. I use coconut oil to cook them in.

          • Ellen said:

            Thanks, I’ll try it out. I have now bought coconut oil. It’s completely melted – it’s so hot in my kitchen!

    • Ellen said:

      I haven’t actually tried making broth yet. I was surprised to see a sign at my buther’s – meat bones, 2.99 / lb. I thought bones were free usually, if you buy meat also. Anyway. Must try. I think it’s really true that we are all different, and need different diets. I actually found lentil soup, and hot cereal, both of which I love, made my heartburn worse. I couldn’t believe it, but here’s a theory that explains it. Thanks very much for this, as I feel like I know nothing and it’s great to get your experience. Is Kressler’s protocol on the web?

      You won’t go wrong with a book by Tara IMO. Cheers.

      • Gel said:

        Yeah they’ve caught on to people wanting bones so now they charge.

        Yes Kresser’s protocol is on his website. I think it’s in the right column and it’s called the Personal Paleo Code. “personal” equals it’s intention for you to find your ideal food choices that fit your health goals etc. If you decide to try it I’d be happy to help you figure it out…although it’s pretty user friendly. But it’s always good to have support persons. And I’ve got a lot of experience in the recent few months of applying the program and I find it quite fun.

        • Ellen said:

          Re broth – it’s so hot at the moment, not sure I want to do broth till the fall. On the other hand, I’d like to heal my stomach, so if that’s what it takes….

          I clicked on Personal Paleo Code, and it looks like you have to buy his book? Did you do that?

          Thank you Gel

          • Gel said:

            I just went to his site and looked….I see that he’s made changes. Click on the one that says “Master the Paleo diet”. That will take you to where the online program is. I guess he titled his new book the same as this tutorial program that I wrote about, so now he’s calling the online program something slightly different. But it looks the same program that we’ve been using. . He’s also cut the price in half.

  2. weareonebyruth said:

    I tried the Paleo diet and I thought it has some interesting ideas. I know one person that eats vegetable soup for breakfast. I tried it for a few weeks but I get really cranky on that diet. I don’t know it is my body’s reaction or an emotional reaction.I think what is important is heal your intestinal track then start experimenting. I know for my sister everyone says use whole grains. Unfortunately, she is allergic to the bran in whole grains. I really think that diet gurus forget that each body has its own tolerance for foods. Personal experimentation is one of the few ways to discover what works. Glad to hear that things have even out a bit.

    I understand about not wanting to accept parts. That is one of the reasons the parts happened in the first place was to isolate a part that was unacceptable. Took me a long time but when I accepted every part of myself, good, bad, and indifferent was when significant healing took place. Just a quick reminder, acceptance does not mean letting the parts take over. It means allowing that they have a place in my life and were important to my survival at one time but not now. I found it to be a careful balancing act of accepting the part without accepting how the part behaved. Your meditation ideas sound like a wonderful way to do this.
    Cheers, Ruth

    • Ellen said:

      I think personal experimentation is the key also. I am already experimenting with ice cream, lol. Seems not too bad if I just eat a small amount. I would not be on the Paleo diet if I didn’t have gut issues, that’s for sure. But it’s worth trying.

      That is the reason parts happened. Thanks for sharing, because this is so similar to me. Take care.

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