This is supposed to be a 1970's kitchen.
This is supposed to be a kitchen in horrible 1970's colors. I had to shrink it down to fit here, and it lost something in the translation.
Part One of "My Story"
Now on to my story
I cannot guarantee the facts of this story. I am giving you how I remember it. Sometimes an event, as we remember it, can be more "powerful" than the way the actual event happened. What I mean is, after we tell a story a certain way for many years, the memory can become move vivid and "stronger" than the actual event. I remember when I was living with my dad and his family; I did not seem to gain weight. Of course I gained weight---I was growing. That was from 1972-1974. I was in the fourth and fifth grades. I just remember remaining 70 pounds for the longest time. But a long time to a kid could in fact be a short time. We used to visit my stepmother's mother in Graham quite often. Us kids would get on the scales in her bathroom. It was fun to see what we weighed. As a typical kid, I wanted to grow or "get grown" faster than was humanly possible. I could not figure out why I kept weighing 70 pounds.
Fast forward to Sioux City, Iowa
It is my seventh grade school year. I was twelve and turning thirteen that year. (1975-1976) I was living with my mother and stepfather in Sioux City, Iowa. It was a very difficult time for all of us. I was on some medication that caused me to have a horrific appetite. That pill also caused me to drink water like a sieve. I had already started wetting the bed some during my sixth grade year. In Sioux City, it only became more frequent. In about December of 1975 when my mother took me off the medication the bedwetting stopped. It was not until sometime in 2000 or so, when I looked up that drug on the Internet, that I learned that this medication has a side affect of "involuntary bladder contractions". I assume the medication also caused me to look somewhat bloated.I know that I was very hungry. I would get home from school and eat "half" a box of crackers. I would tire of the taste of that kind, so I would eat "half" a box of another kind. I say, "half a box", I can't really remember how many crackers I ate at one time. It just seems like it was a lot. I even remember eating the dirt out from under my fingernails after completing the evening meal. I was getting the message from my mother that I was eating too much. There was an economic issue to all of this. We were living in a small apartment. We were struggling to live on my stepfather's "per diem". It was a sort of stipend that his company gave him so he could live away from home while he was on assignment. We also had a house back in Missouri and the mortgage needed to be paid on it. That is where most of the regular salary went. My mother may have been working as a secretary too. All the economics of the situation is of course my interpretation of what I remember from the time. I might not be 100% accurate. But what it means is, that when I ate expensive crackers by the half box, it was not a light matter. My mother could not afford to buy me clothes every two minutes. And she couldn't afford to buy more crackers all that often.I am sure I had other clothes, but I remember having this one particular outfit. It was pants and a pull over shirt. At Thanksgiving of 1975, we had a family portrait taken. I was wearing that outfit. I was embarrassed by that photo for a long time because I looked fat. Of course "fat" is relative. My mother would have to help me struggle to fasten these pants. The neighbor lady let these pants out as far as they would go. She even managed to sew some of the pant's material (from the hem maybe?) into the seams at the waist and hips, trying to make them larger. I was being told that I needed to quit eating so much because I was outgrowing my clothes too quickly. Here I was, eating so much after school. I really felt hungry then. I have always gotten hungry around 3:00 in the afternoon. I would say that I was hungry, and then be told things like, "You can't be hungry, you just had a large lunch". "Didn't you eat lunch"? I have since learned that maybe humans aren't meant to eat three large meals a day. I am beginning to think that four or five small meals are better. I also have thought about my shape at that time. I was becoming a woman. In the next year or so, I was going to start my period. I was probably starting to get hips at this point in my life. I am just not a small person, even if I am "thin". There were a great many other things going on in Sioux City, besides "my eating". It was a very difficult time for the whole family. At some point I learned that I weighed 90 pounds. To me, it seemed as if I had jumped from 70 to 90 pounds in a short time. Of course that is probably not the case.
I move back to Missouri
The next chapter in this story is my move back to Missouri. My family stayed in Sioux City. I was placed in a hospital institution for various non-medical reasons, which are unimportant here. While I was there, the residents complained about the food. I could almost eat anything they served. But it was institutional food. Eventually I convinced myself that I did not like the food. I remember after a while that I only ate one or two dishes they served. Whether this is an exaggeration, I don't know. I chewed lots of bubble gum. I developed something of a bubble gum habit while I was there. I had convinced myself that I was not hungry. The weather was getting warm out by that point. I usually don't eat as much or get as hungry when the weather starts to warm up. My pants were getting baggy. I was obviously losing weight, but I did not know that. I was oblivious to that fact. The staff at the institution were talking to me occasionally. They would say something about "forced feeding" and "tubes" if I did not start eating. I did not take the conversation seriously. When they would ask why I was not eating, I would say that I was not hungry. I had managed to turn off my appetite. Sometime during my stay at the institution, I read an article about anorexia. "They" were just discovering that condition. The article was in a teenage magazine given to schools, I think. This was maybe a magazine with current news articles. The magazine was for learning about current events. At least I think that was the type of publication I was reading. I do not believe that the article influenced my behavior at all. I would not have believed that I was at all anorexic. It was only much later on, when I looked back at this time, that I figured out what probably happened. I was spared the forced feeding with "tubes". Sometime while I was institutionalized, I was introduced to a woman from the local community. She was a volunteer. She and her husband agreed to become my (informal) "foster parents". I went and lived with them. This is a whole "other" story in and of itself. I will just write about one aspect of that story now.
This lady and her husband lived at a "spiritual community". Most people would consider it a "hippy commune". It was not a "Christian" community, although they did read the Bible as well as other "spiritual" writings. They were strict vegans. That means, no meat, no cheese, no eggs, no leather etc. They did drink some caffeine soda pop. That can have caramel color, which as I understand it, is an animal product-although they never thought of that. If we were visiting somewhere, we could eat cheese. The food was a very strange thing to me. They ate things like tofu and soybeans. I had never heard of some of the foods they ate. The food took some getting used to. One of the first meals I remember being served, was made with "crumbly tofu". It was sort of a tofu made from soy flour. Regular tofu is something like cheese, but it is made from soymilk. It is an involved process. The "crumbly tofu" is sort of a short cut item. It was difficult for me to get an appetite for these "new" foods. I remember weighing early on there. I don't know what I weighed, but I saw a belly on myself. It was as if I wanted to continue loosing weight. I remember some of the ladies there saying that I thought of myself as fat, and needing to loose weight, even though I was so thin. It was painful for me to sit in the bathtub during a bath. I had no padding. The belly I saw must have been the lack of muscle tone in my abdomen. I have never been too athletic. When I was so thin, my fingers were still "fat". I placed my hand up to a petite woman's hand. My fingers were "fatter" than hers. I must have large bones.Some Fridays, my mother would come to take me out to dinner. By the end of the week I was in bed with nausea. I would rarely feel like going out with my mother. I have no idea how long this was going on. It could not have been all that long, I am alive and writing this. I just see this as one of the MANY times where God was especially watching over me. God was and is always watching over me, but there were times, when he must have been extra vigilant. My mother began to wonder if I had stomach ulcers. She could not understand why I would not eat. I assume she was also "worried" that I was sick on the Fridays when she would come.Eventually I did start eating again. I remember the ladies of the "spiritual community", plying me with special store bought cookies. They were trying to get me to eat SOMETHING. I have a photograph of myself a few months after this time. I looked so thin in the face. I still have a shirt I made sometime during the year of 1976-1977. It is so small! When I did eat their food, I must have had terrible gas. I don't remember any "pains" from it. I just know that if I rode in the car with my mother, I was forever having to roll down a window. "Can't you hold it in"!? Come to find out, "soy" was probably the culprit. We also ate a lot of "brewer's yeast". That can cause gas too apparently.
Could I have had anorexia?
I must have had a mild case if I had anorexia. I think the adults in my life "intervened" early enough when they plied me with cookies. (They used other foods as well. I just remember the cookies most.) It seemed to do the trick to get my appetite going again. It took a few months to see the results. It was a slow process, my getting back to eating. If I had waited longer then I would have gotten to that point where there was no going back. I think a lot of anorexics have turned off their appetite for so long, that they can't turn it back on, even with therapy. The longer you tell yourself and believe that you are not hungry, the more entrenched in it you become. God had to be watching after me, because I did not get that far with it.
The Move from, Missouri to Tennessee then back to Texas
My appetite eventually came back. I moved to the main "branch" of the "spiritual community" that was in Tennessee. There again, is yet another full story which I will leave for another time perhaps. We ate a lot of "beans and tortillas". One good thing that came from my time at the "commune" was that I had bagels for the first time in my life. I even learned how to make them. It was not working out that I live in Tennessee. I went to live with my mother's parents in Texas.
Life with my Grandparents
I left the "commune" in Tennessee in February of 1978. I lived with my grandparents until sometime in the summer or fall of 1982. My Granny was a wonderful cook. Her menu was maybe a little limited, but it was good home cooking. I know I gained weight while I lived there. I may have gotten up to 140 pounds at the heaviest. I believed that if I got past 140 pounds, it would be all over. I knew that if I started gaining, it would be difficult to loose the weight. I fluctuated between 13? and 140 pounds. When we would go to buy school clothes it was a difficult time. My Granny would poke me in the stomach and make a comment of some sort. "Suck it in" or some such. Of course that was my famous "belly" again. I think it was just lack of muscle tone. I wore a Jr. size 14. The next size was "women's" sizes. I wasn't probably too far from a women's size 14. That is the beginning of the "plus" sizes. If my mother came with us as we shopped, she would complain about how I couldn't gain any more weight. It seems as if I was nearly out of one size and into the next. They could not afford to buy me new clothes very quickly. I had better stay in "these" until I wore them out. It was the same type of message that I received in Sioux City. I still had my after school "hungries". My mother or grandmother could not understand why I was hungry if I had eaten a good lunch. To my grandmother, I was just craving a food, like a snack item. It was not real stomach growling hunger. The sensation was just my wanting a taste of something. She would suggest that I eat a spoon of peanut butter to try and satisfy the "craving". Of course I did not understand that a sandwich would do the "trick". I would go after something like cookies or crackers. It took two to four cookies to begin to satisfy the stomach growling. And that was not really a good "fix" of the problem. My grandmother would complain that I grabbed so many cookies. My mother would say that I just needed ONE cookie. There may have been times when I grabbed a pimento cheese sandwich. Ah, then I would hear things like "We are going to eat soon. Can't you wait?". "Wait? But I'm starving!" "You can't be hungry we just ate a big meal!"
Part Two of "My Story"
An eating disorder in the making?
The subject of, "my eating", really got worse when we went to a doctor near Ft. Worth. He put me on supplements and took me off sugar. He diagnosed me with hypoglycemia. I now believe that hypoglycemia is not a "disease". I think it is a normal human reaction to sugar. I am coming to believe that the whole world may have "hypoglycemia". Of course a lot of the information we got from this doctor was wonderful. I was a teenager and I refused to listen to it. I was once again addicted to bubble gum and the "sugar free" variety did not taste the same. I was put on caffeine free/sugar free soda pop. It was difficult to find. The "worst" part of it was the reaction of the adults in the family. All I seemed to hear were phrases such as, "Don't eat that"! "How many of those have you had"? "Put one back"! "You just need one". "Why don't you just have the crust of the pie and leave the gooey part". I know that everyone was well meaning. But all this did was drive me into wanting and eating more of the "forbidden" foods. If you can't have it, that is what you crave most.
I thank God that I did not develop an eating disorder!
I really could have gotten on the "road to dieting" during this time. My mother and grandmother could have started me off in the famous "12 steps of losing weight program" that a lot of people do. I could have started on a yo-yo dieting cycle that could have seen me weigh up to 300 pounds by now. I thank God that they did not start me down that road. Besides, I was stubborn and only half listened to their message. During my high school years, I developed an attitude that if my mother liked it, there had to be something wrong with it. I think that is normal teenage "rebellion". I may have carried that a little further than the "norm". I did hear enough of their message that it has impacted my life to this day. Words really do matter. I still find myself in desperation at 3:00 wishing I could have eaten something like a sponge for lunch. My goal at times is to eat something that will fill me up or satiate myself to the point that I won't be hungry at 3:00. My mother still believes that I am not getting proper nutrition because I am always hungry at 3:00 -----AFTER eating a good lunch. It is a battle against what I know to be true, and what the "mother" in my mind says. Then there are the times when I get so frustrated and I say to Douglas that I wish I could turn off my appetite. He growls at me to not even think of such a thing. Maybe I do need some extra vitamins from supplements. I am learning about that now.I remember my mother being concerned with her weight. She was never overweight much, if at all. She always tried to make the "sugar free" version of a recipe. When the "experts" started pushing the "low fat"/ "no fat" ideas, then she got on that kick. Then she was cooking the "low fat" / "no fat" version of recipes. ("I did good". "If you didn't know what I put in it, you'd never know the difference".) Once I started thinking about it, I always preferred real food as opposed to the "chemical" version. With Mom, there was always this equation of "heath" with "size". I know that after I moved to Virginia and I gained weight, the conversation would sometimes drift towards, my losing weight. I would hear phrases like, "You do need to get 'healthier'". It was as if my size made me unhealthy. The doctors never said I was unhealthy. My one youngest sister is very beautiful. (Both my sisters are!) I just remember that she struggled with her weight too. But it did not seem to me that she overate. I remember talking to my mother and that subject came up. I remember my sister eating fresh fruit all summer long. She ate things like plums and lemons like they were candy. I remember mom saying something about how eating so much fruit causes you to gain weight. I don't know, it sounded bizarre to me. I only wish I had the taste for fruit that my sister had. Douglas always tries to encourage me to eat more fruits and vegetables. I was always a little angry that "they" were so concerned about my sister's weight. You could tell it was just that her genetics were such that she was not small in places. I do not think she is "abnormally" fat at all.
Be cautious when you visit a doctor.
I have looked back at my early life before I was in school, and I remember spending a lot of time in doctor's waiting rooms. Either I was waiting to see one for myself with various childhood things---immunizations, colds etc. Or I was with my mother, my grandmother or someone. I am exaggerating with this statement, but it almost seemed like my mother, my grandmother and my aunt had a hobby of seeing doctors. I know they had real problems, and they were seeking relief. But if you have a strong belief that doctors are where the real answers are, and if that is where you put your trust, you can be open to problems down the road. I am not saying that doctors are a bad thing. I have just developed a healthy skepticism of doctors over the years. There are tons of doctors who specialize in treating the "disease of the week". People who have chronic pains or maladies that defy diagnosis seek out these doctors. They endure sometimes painful and sometimes unorthodox treatments in their search for "relief". These treatments are usually expensive. Not all of the treatments are considered to be "scientifically proven". I believe some of the treatments are genuine and some are not. If you want to know what the "main stream" scientific community thinks about these treatments see Quackwatch.com www.quackwatch.com I do not always agree with this web site. I just know it is easy to get "taken" the more "faith" you put in doctors. You have to look into things and learn some things on your own. You also have to know your own body too. DO NOT believe everything you read on the Internet!
Yet again another doctor sought in order to get relief
In the process of trying to get relief from some other situations, my mother took me to various doctors to try and sort out the problem. Most of these doctors came highly recommended from friends and family. I went to the one vitamin doctor I wrote of earlier. He was a really nice person and he was not too much of a quack. I think he was in the business of the "disease of the week" like a lot of doctors. He was just more "genuine" than most of them. (I later learned that another aunt of mine went to this doctor as well. She had good results from her treatments.) At one point we went to this "allergy" doctor. I was skeptical from the very beginning. When you walked into his "office", he or his partner, had patients on I.V. drips right in the waiting room. That smacked to me of "expensive" treatment. His waiting room was always full of people. As we talked to this doctor, he did not talk to us; he talked to his tape recorder. I thought that was rude. I like doctors you can talk to and share things with. I felt right away that this was a doctor that could smell insurance money. The first thing he tried to do is get a diagnosis. He was trying to learn what things I was allergic to. He had a lab. take a blood sample. They would put various foods into this blood sample. If I was allergic to that food, the blood would coagulate or something. I am not sure how it worked. I know that if I used any antihistamine before the test, it would not work. To my knowledge this is NOT how they normally test for allergies. Normally a doctor will do skin testing. So they found I was allergic to various things that "most" people are allergic to. The one food I remember being allergic to is eggs. The next thing he was going to try involved a hospital stay. We had very good insurance at this time or we would never have been able to think of these "tests". The doctor said they would put me in the hospital and starve me for three days. At the end of the three days, they would introduce foods. If I got sick, (as in nausea or throwing up I guess) that would mean I was allergic to that food. I was so afraid of this form of "test". I already had a limited amount of foods that I liked. Then there were limitations to what I was "allowed" to eat. This treatment was going to make my life even more difficult. I saw this as something very drastic. Since my bout with anorexia some years before, I knew that I would have nausea from lack of eating. When the doctor told my mother and I about this idea, I broke down and cried. The picture flashed before my eyes of the list of foods that warranted a, "Don't eat that!" or a "How many of those have you had?". That list was going to grow exponentially. My mother said she would think about it and we would schedule this "test" some time later. I don't know if we were seeing the doctor over a spring break or what. I think we had to wait to do the hospital stay in the summer when I was out of school. In the mean time, my mother took my sister to this doctor for a routine cold or flu. The doctor examined my sister and they were finishing up. My mother had some question to ask the doctor. It was relatively important. The doctor said he would answer her question in a minute, and that he would be right back. He left the room and came back right away. He handed my mother her bill and then he answered her question. It was about that time that my mother saw this doctor for who he really was. After that, she took my sister to the vitamin doctor for routine visits. My mother and I talked about, this incident with the "allergy" doctor some months later. She said that she finally saw why I was so upset about this doctor.
Finishing high school, I move to Ft. Worth
When I finished high school, I moved to Ft. Worth. I lived near my mother but was really "on my own" for the most part. These are the days I call, "when I was young and stupid". I ate pretty much what I wanted. I would call my mother and say, that I ate a king size candy bar and a diet soda for breakfast. (As if the diet soda was going to cancel out the candy!) I will forever crave sweets first thing in the morning. But it took some living to learn that I can't do sweets for breakfast if I want to function. When I had to learn to get myself out of bed, and off to work, then I learned some valuable lessons. I had to have a clear and useful mind. Sugar was not conducive to a good mind. I learned that I could not eat sugar first thing in the morning if I was to have a useful mind later on. (I can have a bite, but I must have protein and other good foods. Liverwurst sandwiches are very good!)Somewhere along in here, I learned (remembered) why I did not like the taste of sugar substitutes. Before I was in school, my mother used to carry saccharine "pills" in her purse so she could sweeten iced tea while we were out. I found them and ate a hand full thinking it would be sweet like candy. Well, it was very bitter. I have never acquired a taste for diet soda. I tried. Now that I know about artificial sweeteners, I am glad I never got a taste for it. Another thing is that my grandfather would take my flat, sugar free/ caffeine free cola and put a shot of whiskey into it. That was a horrible tasting version of a popular drink. (I never acquired much of a taste for alcohol either. Thank God! Not that alcohol is a "bad" thing, I am just glad I never grew to like it much. I think I would have liked it too much.)
I move from Ft. Worth and learn some things about my "eating past"
Later on, after I moved from Ft. Worth I learned a lot more about my body. I learned to listen to what it was telling me. It has taken many years to learn what I know now. At one point I saw a doctor on a talk show. She was talking about food allergies. Some doctors call her a "quack" I am sure. But she is highly anti-sugar. She treats children with severe behavior problems. When they eat sweets or they drink something "harmless", like orange juice, the child goes on a tantrum. I was reminded of some of the things I put my mother through when I was a child. We used to go to the doughnut shop before church sometimes, as a special treat. I could not have milk because I had a milk allergy. I would eat the sweetest doughnut in the shop, along with a large glass of orange juice. Suddenly I felt like an open wound. If my mother spoke to me or tried to be nice to me I became like a bear. I can't remember exactly what would happen. I just remember getting in trouble after a "meal" such as this. I also remembered what the vitamin doctor in Ft. Worth said about fruit juice. He was commenting on how much sugar they add to something like apple juice. Apple juice is naturally sweet---VERY sweet. Now days, they recommend that you do not feed a baby full strength apple juice in the bottle or sippy cup. The juice will sit on their teeth and rot them. It is that sweet! All the fruit juices are mostly sugar----naturally occurring sugar. I now know that I don't feel good when orange juice hits my blood stream and goes right to the brain. It will do that on an empty stomach. When I was a child in the doughnut shop, I did not know that I was not feeling right. I was in a doughnut shop having a treat, I should have been happy. I also learned from my early memories of school. My mother had difficulty getting me out of bed. Then she had difficulty getting me to bed at night. That is still a problem for me. When I went to the vitamin doctor, he suggested that I eat something like a banana before bedtime. Now I eat a sandwich or something like that. I don't eat just before bed. I simply take away the "before bed hungries" a while before I go to bed. When I was a young child I remember being hungry before bedtime. My mother could not see how I could be hungry, since I "just" ate a good meal at dinner. She would give me a piece of "bread and butter" (no butter, it was margarine). Of course I had to be satisfied with that. For breakfast I would have cereal or something. I could not have milk because of my milk allergy. I would have kid cereal and orange juice. Maybe I would have other things as well, but I can't remember. (I know my stepfather introduced me to "omelets". I have never been able to eat them. The way he made them, they had bell pepper in them. Ever since my mother made stuffed peppers one time, I have never been able to eat bell peppers. They just have this horrible bitter "green" taste.) I remember asking my mother many times if I could have cake for breakfast. I always seem to crave sweets the first thing in the morning. She would always scold me and refuse to give me cake for breakfast. But I could eat doughnuts and kid cereal. They were just as sugary as cake. Recently, I mentioned this after our Bible Fellowship one Sunday, and the whole room chimed in. My mother was not the only one to refuse her child cake, but yet allow "him" to eat other sugary foods. I know that when I was in school it was by about 10:00 in the morning, that I would be so hungry. My stomach would be growling. It was difficult to concentrate on my schoolwork. I dreamed of eating lunch later. I would have the usual school lunch and then by 3:00 I would be hungry again. I have always been like this. No matter how big a meal I eat, I get hungry at around 3:00. A simple snack of a cookie or a banana just does not cut it at 3:00.
Psychology played a part in my gaining weight
In August 1986 I moved to Portsmouth, Virginia to teach people the Bible for a year. I ended up staying about three years. During my fitst year in Virginia, (1986-1987), I was informed that I was not fat. I had believed all this time that I was fat and needed to lose weight. Yet I had stayed at a size 14 for a long time. Of course I started to gain weight as soon as I realized that I was not fat. Several things contributed to this; I turned 25, I quit walking everywhere and I started eating out in restaurants more. It was in February 1987 that I met Douglas, the man who became my husband. He gave me rides to work and other places. He also took me out to eat a lot.
Part Three of "My Story"
We move to Michigan and I begin a journey of learning about health and nutrition
Over the years, I have learned that I can eat pretty much what I want. (to a point) I have learned to listen to my body and I know when to stop. I can tell when I am "sweeted out". This is when I feel like I should give sweets a rest for a while. At some point, I learned the importance of "healthy bacteria" in the intestines. You need bacteria in the intestines in order to digest food properly. We moved from Virginia to Michigan. After a few years, I went to work at a discount drug store. (discount, chemist's shop) While I was there I had to straighten isles. I noticed that there were many varieties of over the counter stomach remedies. There were laxatives, heartburn remedies, gas relievers, and other such medications. We did not sell all the varieties and "flavors" of such preparations either. As I rang up customers, I became very thankful that I did not have any serious health problems. I also started to seek after the truth about health and nutrition. I was always wondering which remedy was the "right" one to take for certain ailments. I finally realized that we were meant to have stomach acid in the stomach so that we could digest food. So, the reasoning is, if I take a potion or pill to reduce my stomach acid, I could be doing harm to my body. There had to be a reason why I was getting heartburn so often. While I searched for an answer I learned many other things. I was trying all sorts of supplements from the "vitamin" isle. With some of them, I would take one pill and feel "funny" so I wouldn't take it anymore. I was getting very confused. And the lack of knowledge was getting expensive.
One great mystery solved
While I worked at the discount drug store I noticed that people who worked there got headaches easily. There were a lot of chronic health things happening to the employees all the time. Most of it was just a part of living. Some of the problems were avoidable! That is one reason I eventually quit. For example, they would schedule me at 10:00 and not allow me to have lunch until the relief came in at 3:00. I could not last that long without lunch. Then there was the matter of the doorway. When I first worked there, the row of cash registers was back a ways from the door. They had ceiling fans above the registers. Of course they changed owners, and re-modeled the layout of the store. It was awful. They moved the cash registers forward so they were under the vents for the heater/air-conditioning. Now the register I kept getting put at, was literally right in front of the door. It was the middle of winter and I stood with my back to the cold. Every time the door opened I got a blast of cold. My back muscles went into spasms. The older women at the store said that I had a "cold" in my back. I don't know what I had, but it was painful. One day I stood there ringing up customers in a coat, my hat and I had gloves on with the fingertips cut out. The manager laughed at my "outfit" because he could not understand why I was dressed that way. They eventually took out that register. The reason I kept being put on that register is because I preferred the cold to the "alternative". The alternative to working at the register in front of the door, was working at a register that was right under the air vents. The vents to the air-conditioning and heating were right above every other register. They also had an air vent above the customer service counter. The women, who worked customer service, were plagued by headaches. When I worked under the air-conditioner vent once, I got a terrible headache. It was one of the migraine headaches I would get. After I went to the vitamin doctor, I believed that my headaches were due to not eating properly. I just thought they were regular headaches, until I described them to some epileptic women I worked with in Ft. Worth. They said that I had migraines and that the doctors told them that migraines were related to epilepsy. One day, I was working under the air-conditioner or heater vent in the store again. This time I smelled "fumes". The smell was very familiar. I complained to the manager about these "fumes" but he did not notice them. It was some time (days or months) before I recognized what the smell was. It was mildew! Mildew is a known trigger of migraines. That solved a great mystery! I thought back through the history of my headaches. When we first moved into the house here, and we were cleaning the basement, everything was covered in a black substance. I would get a terrible headache about once a week. And when I was in high school, I would go with my grandfather to his farm on Sunday afternoons. There was this horrible smell coming from the air-conditioner in the pick up truck. My grandfather laughed and said not to worry about it as it was just mildew. It burned my sinuses. I guess I am sensitive to mildew. It was always a strong smell to me in the pickup. On the way home from the farm, I would invariably get a headache. I did not know how to combat them at the time. Here in Michigan, at first I believed that the headache was caused by lack of eating. I would panic at the onset of a headache and try to eat something really fast. That generally made the headache worse. Then I discovered that water eased some of the headaches. So I would drink water like a sieve. That did not always work either. Eventually I discovered that aspirin taken as soon as I discover the headache is coming on, could take care of it. I like headache powders, better because they work much faster. I eventually discovered that mildew was a trigger of the headaches, and that information eased them the most. My granny had also suffered from similar headaches for a long time. I was sitting with her one day and we were talking about these headaches. She had forgotten that I got them. Of course when she knew about my headaches, we did not know they were migraines. By this time I think she was not having these headaches so much. She described the headaches she got. I finished her sentence for her. She gave me the strangest look. It was like she was horrified and in empathy at the same time. She knew what I went through. I saw her many a time in agony with one of these headaches. Doctors still do not know that much about migraines. I wish I had known about mildew being a trigger all those years ago. I could have possibly saved my granny some grief.
My journey progresses
Douglas and I have studied the Bible for many years. We have heard many teachings on various subjects. We once went to a meeting where an obstetrician gave a talk. She had asked God to tell her about the human body so she could help women deliver babies better. She told some incredible things about how God designed the human body. The mother's milk is a wonderful thing. Early on it is high fat and high cholesterol. Those nutrients go right to a baby's brain. It helps develop the brain. The mother also imparts her immune system to that baby. As they say, "Breast is Best". This doctor also told about how it is better for a woman to "squat" to have a baby. It is not good to have her lay on her back. Let gravity do some of the work. It is very difficult on the mother if she lies on her back. The mother has to help some. It used to be that a doctor "delivered" the baby. Why? If the woman is awake and able to participate, the doctor only needs to "catch" the baby. I also read some of this in a book about the history of having babies in the U.S. (I have a link to a story below, that is about this very subject.) I was watching one of the news magazines once. I saw an article about the Ketogenic diet for epilepsy. This is a special high fat diet that was used for the treatment of epilepsy-before there were anticonvulsant drugs. At one time the Ketogenic diet was all they had. It seems like a miracle diet. I do not understand why they take half of someone's brain out when they have this wonderful diet. I have not heard too much about this diet. I learned recently that it does not work 100% of the time, but I think they should try it first. I think society is so "anti-fat" that it affects a lot of stuff. I was wondering about a lot of things after I heard about this diet. If a baby needs the high fat and high cholesterol right away, and they do not get it, could it lead to epilepsy? Of course not every baby that does not breast feed, gets epilepsy. I did not get epilepsy. Another question I had was, does the Ketogenic diet mimic the feeding patterns of early breastfeeding of the baby? Could that be why it works? I haven't looked up the answer to that one on the net yet. I only looked up how to spell Ketogenic. From our study of the Bible, I began to think that God must have a "diet" that is best for humans. Eating is an important thing in the Bible. I haven't studied it 100% from the Bible. I hope to do that soon. (I will stick it on this web site if I get it done in time.) I was hunting for a nutrition system or "diet" that worked with the body the way God designed it. I did not want to "swim up stream" as it were and eat things that went against the way the body works. I know that, each person has to figure out what is best for him or her. God made us as individuals. What is safe and effective for one person, might not work for another person. I wasn't looking for a losing weight diet. I just wanted something that would give me a good quality of life without all the "side affects". I think I have found what seems like a good "diet". It is difficult to do it 100%, but in principle we try to stick to some of the tenants. Of course I am also learning about supplements. If you can't get the vitamins via your food, you need to get them "some other how".
Useful information from the radio
Around the time we moved to Michigan (December 1989) I discovered a radio talk show on the short-wave bands. It was on a short-wave station originating here in the U.S. The host talked about all sorts of "alternative" topics dealing with health, history and politics. The program was "Radio Free America" and the host was Tom Valentine. The station of course was WWCR out of Nashville, Tennessee. (World Wide Christian Radio http://www.wwcr.com/ ) The "Progressives" (very far left) in this country, consider this program to be the first of a long line of "right wing hate" programs on U.S. "domestic" short-wave. I have never heard "hate" on "Radio Free America", unless it was from the odd caller or maybe rarely a guest. The reality is that this program is live unscreened radio and you get surprises that way sometimes. WWCR got a lot of flack for airing such political programs after the Oklahoma City bombing. They still air this type of programming. Tom Valentine and "Radio Free America" are still on the air, but on a different station now. I enjoy the alternative history and health subjects of his show the most. One night when "Radio Free America" was still on WWCR, the guest was Dr. Mary Enig. She has the Transfat Info. Website. http://www.enig.com/trans.html Dr. Enig was talking about fats, soy and the dangers of the modern propaganda against animal fats. I learned so much! I found out that Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon put out a cookbook called "Nourishing Traditions". It is really an information book rather than just a cookbook. When I quit working at the discount drug store, they gave me a gift certificate to our local bookshop. I special ordered the first edition of "Nourishing Traditions". I now also have the second edition. If you want to learn more of what I learned from Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon see the "Healthy Eating" page of this web site.
Burning Daylight and Buying Old Books
In my quest for "healthy eating" I have been reading old books. I also like to study "how they did it back then". Some of the books I run across are mere curiosities. Sometimes they are downright funny. The book with the bread recipe that calls for three barrels of flour---JUST for the "setting sponge"----that book is quite a "laugh" at times. (The "setting sponge" is the early part of the bread dough. You add more flour to finish the recipe.)I have been reading old books as I learn about "real" foods. I like to collect old cookbooks. I like real home cooked meals. There is a "slow foods movement" in Europe. I am learning that some of the "wisdom" that they had about 100 years ago is still true today. For example, it was well known that men who did physical labor needed more calories than men who worked behind a desk. Now days they have these one size fits all diet instructions. The instructions tell us how many calories we need from fat, carbohydrates and other items. It is all on the side of a cereal box. Carbohydrates are at the top of the list. I don't believe that this diet on the side of the box is for everyone. Another thing I have learned is that "they" don't tell you everything. "They" don't tell you how much money it took for the cereal manufacturers, to influence the "food pyramid".I am into history so the old books are fascinating. I have a small but ever growing collection of old medical textbooks. One is a book for obstetric nurses from 1880's to 190?. (It has several copyrights.) The authoress of the book told you everything you needed to do to have a baby. In those days, women were "confined" after they had a baby. The abdomen and breasts of the mother were bandaged. I thought of that book when I received an old photograph from my mother. One of her uncles was handing out copies of a photo of my granny's grandmother. It showed my great-grandfather as a teenager. It is a nice picture. My great-great-grandmother looks so tired. Of course she had a child every time she could have one. She died young. She was a farmer's wife in the late 1800's. Did she have a long "confinement" after she had her babies? Did they bandage her up and make her lie in bed for weeks or months? I would venture to guess that she did not have that luxury. She would have had to get up and work, unless someone, like a sister or another relative, came to stay with her each time she had a baby. A relative might have come for a few days? It would be interesting to find out what that part of life on the Texas prairie was like in the 1880's and 1890's. I haven't studied it to know the whole story. Another great book I found at a garage sale, is "The Horse and Buggy Doctor" by Dr. Hertzler. He wrote a fascinating book! It details what it was like to become a doctor in the late 1800's. Then he tells of his early medical practice. He died in 1944. He saw many "advancements" to medicine in his lifetime. I am also learning that some of the "old" ways are better. They are less invasive and cause fewer side affects. But try telling that to a drug manufacturer. I like to hear the stories that my grandparents and their generation tell about the "old ways" of doing things. My grandfather told me a story about this one family. This seems like it might be typical of farm families in Texas. I have no proof of that though. This family ate a very large hearty breakfast early in the morning. I am not sure if it was right after they got out of bed, or if it was after they had worked a while. Then they had another "breakfast" around 10:00. And of course their noon meal might be brought to them in the fields. My granny remembered bringing the noon meal to the "men" working in the fields. The family might have eaten a simple supper. But the way I remember hearing the story, they were just so tired when the light was gone (the sun light) that they just went to bed. I know that this "diet" was a high calorie diet full of fat. I know it was good for farm laborers. It needs some modifications for sedentary office workers. It just shows that people did not always eat just three meals a day. Eating just three meals a day, is not for everyone.
My story is forever ongoing
We are forever learning things about health and nutrition. Either we learn it from the Bible or we learn it from other sources. It is an ongoing process. I am learning about herbs and supplements. I am also trying to learn how to grow vegetables and such in the garden. If you want to exchange seeds let me know. So long as they are from legal plants, and they don't come from overseas, I can get them legally. I am going to try and grow some "tussilago farfara" or "coltsfoot". This plant is originally from Europe. It is a wonderful thing for clearing out the lungs if you have such ailments as pneumonia. Of course you have to take it as you need it and in small amounts. In Ontario, Canada our neighbor's to the north, it is considered a "noxious weed". You cannot legally grow it there. Of course it grows wild naturally by country roadsides in parts of North America. If you have any NON-copyright, home cooking, family recipes, with real food ingredients, let me know. I will try and put them on my recipe page. (If someone shows me how to do it.) I guess I am finishing up this page. If you have anything to teach me or add to this page, let me know. Have fun! God Bless!! Robyn
Here is some ammunition for "My Story".
These are articles, which talk about dieting or the dangers of dieting. There are articles that pertain to other topics on this page as well.
This first article is from the BBC News website, as are a lot of the articles below. It is about how women are obsessed with their bodies. Even "normal sized" women will say that they need to lose weight. It is a real shame that we are promoting this behavior in our culture!
This is from the BBC News web site. Girls are more apt to diet than boys. Girls, diet even if they don't need to loose weight.
This is a very good article! Restricting a child's food choices makes them want the forbidden food even more. Duh! As if we did not know that already. I think children should be taught how to eat properly-rather than just saying, "you can't have that" all the time. From what I understand, it is an uphill battle to change a child's eating habits. But I think, if from the beginning, all a child knows is good food, they will eventually prefer it to "junk". I always liked the foods I grew up eating, better than "foreign" or "strange" foods. (This probably meant that Mom had difficulty getting me to eat, if she tried anything new.) The foods I grew up eating, have become "comfort foods" to me. You can't keep a child from being exposed to "junk". But I think if the foods they get at home are mostly good food, then it will work out in the end.
Women who follow fashionable diets may be putting their health at risk.
An anti-dieting book was written by a Canadian-Chinese woman. It tackles the big Asian dieting craze.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/2905645.stm "Slimming 'fad starts in playground'". Girls as young as nine are turning to dieting after being teased at school. This is an awful situation!!
Another one from the BBC News site. They still use midwives a lot over there. The article is about how midwives are losing their specialized skills, because they are using them less and less.http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/2180682.stm
This one is about the Ketogenic diet. Very good story!!