Friday, January 6, 2012

Random thoughts about my food issues and Chapter 1 of 'Potatoes not Prozac'

As of January 6, 2010, I am now reading Chapter 1 of Kathleen DesMaisons' book called "Potatoes not Prozac."

Potatoes not Prozac by Kathleen DesMaisons (2nd edition, copyright 2008)

I bought my copy from Amazon. I  have included the link above.

I processed the Introduction and am eager to hear how she explains Chapter 1 which is entitled "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."

Interesting Tidbit #1: I Googled Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as I could not quite recall the original author. It was Robert Louis Stevenson. He wrote it in 1886. Dr. Jekyll is the "nice" character. He occasionally transforms into the "bad guy" character of Mr. Hyde. I certainly have served my time of transforming into [Mrs.] Hyde in my 53 1/2 years of life. I am all too human in that respect. How about you?

Memory Recall #1: On page 7, the author talks about "You lose energy and get tired. You crave sugar and turn to sweets and snack foods to get yourself going again."

Man! I cannot count the times that I have done that. I snack when I drive on long trips to keep myself awake. I have snacks set up by my computer when I'm writing to keep myself going. When my husband wants to watch our shows late at night and I find myself drifting off to sleep, I use snacks to wake myself up.

I think I should describe our rather strange schedule. My husband is a sports writer covering the Vols. He mostly works at home except when he has to drive to UT Knoxville to cover a home football or basketball game, go to a press conference, interview a coach or player, etc. Otherwise, he spends hours everyday writing sports articles for Inside and for their sports magazine called "Rocky Top News." To see more, here is their website link: My husband is Randy Moore. He is the editor-in-chief and a senior sports writer for this site.

On typical days when I do not have a storytelling gig, we both get up around 10 a.m. We each retire to our respective offices. He writes, writes, writes all day long, rarely taking a break. He may or may not eat lunch. He will have a couple of cookies or so for his breakfast and a caffeinated drink. Around 5:30 to 6:30, he goes to the nursing home to feed his invalid mother her dinner. She has Parkinson's and other disorders that prevent her from being able to take care of any of her personal needs. Randy is a very loyal and wonderful husband to me and son to his mother. He gets home around 8:30 to 9:00 and continues writing. Sometimes, he will take time to eat his dinner when he gets home. More often than not, he will eat his dinner around 10:00 to 11:00 to even 12:00 when he is done writing for the night. I vary my eating schedule. Sometimes, I go ahead and eat dinner while he is gone and leave him a plate to warm up. Sometimes, I'll eat as late as 10 pm.  

We then watch our pre-recorded favorite shows until 1:30 to 2:00 am. We sometimes watch as late as 3:00 a.m. Sometime during that time period, I take a power nap on the couch. We will both snack during this time. He goes to bed first. I usually stay up longer. When I finally get to bed, it often takes me a long time to turn off my brain enough to go to sleep. Then I sleep for 5 to 6 hours or so. He usually gets his 8 hours.

So, my eating habits definitely have many needs-improvement opportunities built in to our rather odd schedule.

Question to Explore #1: The author mentions a number of factors that she attributes to the possibility of being sugar sensitive. Some of these seem to apply to me and some don't. I will list them below. 

These apply to me:

  • I crave sugar and/or snacks to get myself awake and alert enough to work, stay awake driving, stay awake watching TV with my husband, etc.
  • I do sometimes eat compulsively.
  • I sometimes appear to lack self-discipline when it comes to my food intake: quantity plus nutritive quality.

These do NOT appear to apply to me:

  • I have been moody in the past; however, I am usually a glass half-filled kind of a girl. I don't often suffer from depression and haven't in a long time.
  • As to being overwhelmed, I do not always balance my do list, but I'm not really what you would call overwhelmed.
  • I feel no need for being on an anti-depressant.

Then my question is: How many of those have to apply before I should or could describe myself as being sugar sensitive? 

The author, Kathleen DesMaisons, states on page 8 that "Your body chemistry may respond to sugars and certain carbohydrates (such as bread, crackers, cereal, and pasta) differently than other people's bodies do." She mentions that this could effect mood and behavior. She also states that "How you feel is physiologically linked to what you eat - and when you eat it."

I am hoping to figure out whether that status applies to me.

By the way, I have never been addicted to alcohol or drugs or nicotine. I am a non-drinker, a non-drugger, and a non-smoker. My only real chemical vice was Diet Coke. Prior to getting breast cancer and going through chemo, I drank Diet Coke for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and during snacks. I now cannot stand Diet Coke or any kind of cola due to chemo. I have not had a caffeinated soft drink since October 26th. I don't miss it. I have only had a non-caffeinated soft drink like Ginger Ale or Sierra Mist a couple of times since that date. I mostly drink water and do not miss the soft drinks at all. I also enjoy juice, lemonade, and Cappuccinos made with 1% milk.

My other chemical vice is sugar. 

I will have to read further to discover if I am sugar sensitive and whether my body reacts differently to sugar than the norm. So far, I am thinking this book may not fully apply to me or only apply to me a little bit. Stay tuned.

The reason why I think perhaps this may not apply fully to me is that I am rarely moody, I mostly am not irritable, I have a pretty good self-esteem, and I am more hopeful than hopeless. I also am optimistic about the future.

I would like to lose weight in a permanent safe kind of a way. I want to do it as a life-style change that I can live with. I am definitely overweight; however, I mostly embrace my being Rubenesque, as i like to call it. My husband loves my curves and makes me feel beautiful. So I am not feeling desperate. Instead, I am curious to see if there are practical measures I can take to be less dependent on sugar. That is part of what I am hoping to learn from this book.

I am, as mentioned on page 10, often guilty of "self-medicating with sugars and simple carbohydrates." So, I feel certain that there is quite a bit I can learn from this book even if I am not fully sugar sensitive.

Interesting Tidbit #2: I am grateful to state that other than a step-grandfather, no one in my family is really a drinker and those few who do enjoy the occasional drink are definitely not alcoholics. So that disease has never touched me. That seems to be the partial focus of this book so far.

So far, my two addictions that I know of:
1. Caffeine (not true as of around January to February of 2010)
2. Sugar (still true today)

What intrigues me is that the author, on page 14, seems to be implying that her food issues did not really have "its roots in emotional wounding." If that is the case, it makes me wonder. I have always thought a lot of my food issues has to do with my past history. What if that is not the case after all? Hmmmmm!

However, as I continue to read her back story, on page 16, maybe I am misunderstanding what she identifies as the root cause. Maybe it does have to do with our reaction to our past history after all. Obviously, I need to keep reading.

To be continued ...

Some random thoughts about my food issues and the Introduction to 'Potatoes not Prozac'

As of January 6, 2010, I have just started reading Kathleen DesMaisons' book called "Potatoes not Prozac."

Potatoes not Prozac by Kathleen DesMaisons (2nd edition, copyright 2008)

I bought my copy from Amazon. I  have included the link above.

As I read the book, I can imagine that it will inspire memories and connections between what she writes and what I have experienced. I think best when I write out my thoughts, so I will include some of those thoughts in this blog. Follow along if you so choose.

The thrust of her book is to beat out sugar addiction. In fact, the front cover of the book says, "A Natural Seven-Step Program to (1) Balance your sugar sensitivity and come alive! and (2) Lose weight, heal depression, and and stop cravings."

Given that I am soon to have my bilateral breast reconstruction surgery (I am a breast cancer survivor and thriver) that will utilize my tummy fat to form my breasts, I would like to start focusing on losing weight in the rest of my body in a life-style change kind of a way. I plan to see if this book will prove to be helpful.

Memory #1: My parents would often state, "No dessert until you  finish your dinner." I think many parents have found themselves making the same statement. This makes me question the fact that the whole value system is built around if you will eat this boring stuff, you can have something sugary as a reward. It occurs to me, for the first time ever, that parents actually teach us to place great value with eating something that contains sugar.

The currency is the sugary dessert.

The parent basically is stating, "I will pay you to eat this boring dinner with something sugary and wonderful." Therefore, we children are taught that a sugary dessert is worth great riches. Interesting!

I had never thought about it that way before. Hmmmmmm! It makes you think, doesn't it?!!

Interesting Tidbit #1: It intrigues me when the author states,
"Sugar addiction is caused by a chemical imbalance, not a character defect."

That is indeed comforting, if it is true, that the fact that I have a love affair with sugar is not due to me not being as good or as disciplined of a person as I can be. Instead, it could be attributed to that perhaps I am harboring a long-standing chemical imbalance in my body. This will be very interesting to learn more about how to monitor and possibly fix this.

Questions to Explore: On page 5, the author talks a lot about that children who are born "sugar sensitive" behave the way they do due to that factor more than any other factor. This makes me wonder:

  1. How do you figure out if you were born sensitive to sugar?
  2. When I decided in late elementary school that people only liked you if you were happy and laughing and smiling; and thus, I put on a shield that I perfected by the ninth grade, could any of that behavior been influenced by being sugar sensitive, if that is what I am?
  3. For the author states on page 5, "What you thought was your personality is not who you are at all. It was a result of your sugar-sensitive biochemistry, your imbalance, and your old way of eating." How can I figure out whether this statement applies to me? 
  4. The author claims, on page 6, that "You do not have to master your blood sugar and your serotonin and your beta-endorphin, you just 'do the food'." So how do I 'do the food' as she states?

I will be reading and digesting this book, pun partially intended, with great interest.