Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The first wealth is health. Ralph Waldo Emmerson

Spring is here! It was too wet and cold to go for a walk I told myself last night. It is so easy to talk myself out of doing something. It’s too late this morning to exercise. Just one won’t hurt, but of course, whatever it is I never have just one.

My knee has been bothering me for more than two months. My son-in-law sprained his ankle on Saturday and he was fine within three or four days. Dr. McDougall says to give his Starch Solution three weeks. I’d already cut out dairy, then I cut out eggs, now I’m cutting out oils, meats, nuts, and processed foods. I’ve found a sourdough breath without dairy, oil, or eggs.

For three weeks I can do anything. That is how I started the vegan challenge my son challenged me to in 2015. It’s the food that will make us healthy. We are what we eat, we’ve heard it all our lives but it doesn’t always register how much control we have over our health especially when we have the choices we have in our supermarkets and buy according to what tastes good instead of what is healthy for us.

Mom lived on cream-of-wheat porridge for twelve days. I could be exaggerating but I think this is true. This is how she dealt with many of her health problems over the years. She’s lived with gall bladder problems by adhering to a low-fat diet. It is watching Mom deal with issues that color how I deal with mine.

I hurt my knee years ago and pain flares up now and then. In January I hurt it again and it is getting better but I don’t want a chronic problem if I can help it.  My son-in-law’s mother is dealing with type 2 diabetes by diet alone. This might not be possible for everyone but when we search for stories about people who have dealt with health issues through diet the stories seem endless, and the diets they use are varied. The common denominator is when people eat healthy food, not too much, and if they eliminate foods that don’t agree with them they get healthier. Figuring out our problem foods can be tricky. This is where elimination diets come in.

Health is like money we never have a true idea of its value until we lose it. Unknown

If Dr. McDougall is right that most healthy populations lived on starch and as they adopted diets richer in meat, sugar, oil, and processed foods their health declined then this is good news for us. Starches are the most economical, easiest to grow, and most widely available foods.

Starch and fat make us fat. We can eat fats and proteins with non-starchy vegetables and not gain weight. We can eat starches without fat and not gain weight, but when we combine starches and fat we gain weight.

Suzanne Somers’ books are where I first learned about food combining for health and weight loss without giving up the many pleasures of food. Even following her plan my weight inched up as menopause hit. She recommends bio-identical hormone replacement but I have stayed off of hormones and tried to find ways to work with my natural body.

If Dr. McDougall is right the mistake I made when following Suzanne Somers was I made my diet too much about protein, fats, and non-starchy vegetables and too little about healthy starches with little fat added.

There is so much pleasure to be had sharing meals with other people. I don’t want to become that person, the one that won’t go out with a group and eat what is on offer. Perfection is not the point, health is, and we need to be able to join in on the feasts and celebrations, we just need to not make it our everyday fare. If we find one food that causes us a problem it can be a real problem if it is something that is in almost everything. I am hoping that figuring out if there is a food that is causing the problem and eliminating it most of the time will make it so if I go out and encounter it in a dish it will be okay. I will have to be careful thinking if I get away with it a little bit it is okay to bring it back into my diet more and more until I have a problem again.

Health is the first wealth, when we are healthy and pain-free we have many dreams, when we are in pain we just have one, can this pain go away. I’m hoping by limiting my eating I can get rid of the nagging pain, which is far better than excruciating pain, and soon I will be pain-free. I can go for a long walk, dance at my son’s wedding, go shopping without thinking how much walking will that be. Feel at ease in my body again.

Here’s to choices that lead to better health, and an all-around better life. Is your relationship with food a battle, or a blessing?

It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver. Mahatma Gandhi

Health is the first wealth; the second one is a happy marriage. Unknown

When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost. Unknown

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The Starch Solution by Dr. John McDougall
When Can We Get A Puppy by Belynda Wilson Thomas
Secrets and Sorrow by Belynda Wilson Thomas
Secrets and Silence by Belynda Wilson Thomas