Sunday, May 23, 2010

Grass fed beef: Moo!

I was really happy to find a local source of grass fed beef through the Ottawa Valley Food Cooperative link. I'd love to get a quarter of this beef, as grass fed beef has significantly higher levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, which have really important health benefits.

I'm dreaming of a quarter of grass fed beef from Dobson Farms. However, my family doesn't think we'll go through 150 pounds of finished weight in a year. I don't know - I do most of the cooking, and so I think it's possible. In the meantime, I'm going to try to at least get a large order of ground beef for the freezer, and to visit them at the Carp Farmers Market.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Food intolerances, some research

Just a quick update this evening. A friend of mine had some food allergy testing done, and I'm looking into it for myself given my elder son's wide range of serious food allergies. It's not unimaginable that I could have less severe food in tolerances causing inflammation in my body.

Tonight's reading: Testing for food reactions: The good, the bad, the ugly, published in the April 2010 edition of Nutrition in Clinical Practice. I'm interested to see what they say.

In the meantime, fruits and vegetables, avoiding wheat and high sugar or refined and processed foods as much as possible. Dark chocolate is definitely in, and is calling. Yum!

Where to start?

I've really been doing this for a few weeks now. I started overhauling my diet after reading "The perfect 10 diet." I'm not a fan of popular diet books, as the science shows that most "diets" aren't successful in the long run. (PS I'm not trying to lose weight, just trying to become healthier! If I lose some weight in the process, great, if not, I don't care!). However, this book had an interesting take on the way food interacts with your body's hormones, and since I wasn't ready to crack open the hard core text books yet, it was a good place to start, clearly read with a grain of salt. Note: I don't read anything without a critical eye.

Main take away points (it's been a few weeks now): Fruits and vegetables are in, grains are mostly out, good fats in, bad fats out (definition to follow!), healthy protein sources in. I think that's the core of it.

The fruits and vegetables were easy. Increase them. Full stop. No interpretation necessary. So, I went ahead and ordered a large organic fruit and vegetable basket to be delivered weekly by Ottawa Organics. We used to do Bryson Farms, but they don't deliver out to our new house. The first week, we were successful in going through almost the entire basket, plus top ups of specific fruits and veg from the grocery store. We're now on week two. What the heck am I supposed to do with Tatsoi? It ends up that the green is great on its own, with a bit of Asian salad dressing.

Next order of business: more on good fats/bad fats. This one I need to research. I'm still a little confused although so far, at least it seems Omega 3s are unilaterally good!

Friday, May 21, 2010

And we're off!

Last year chronicled the rise and return to sustainability of my small fibre arts business. This year, I'm tackling something a little more serious. I've been struggling with a lot of fatigue, and my inflammatory arthritis has been ramping up and I'm not willing to give in to regular cortisone injections just yet. I'm also not thrilled at the idea of increasing the folate disrupting DMARD (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug) that I'm on. It makes me tired and nauseated -- which doesn't sound like a good trade off for tired and sore, although I agree with avoiding long term damage to my joints.

So with spring here, I'm taking a really dedicated approach to improving my health through the means that I control. Food and exercise are indeed medicine as well, so I'm starting there. I can't help but think that the large things I put into my body on a daily basis might outbalance the small little (albeit potent) pills I put into it. Don't get me wrong -- I'm all for living better through chemistry (the pharmaceutical kind) when necessary. I also want to take control of what I can as well.

As a scientist, I expect this journey to be evidence based. I've been inhaling many books on nutrition and health lately, and verifying on a regular basis what I take away through the peer reviewed research. I'm amazed at how much there is out there!

Hang out while I chronicle on a weekly or even daily basis, my return to examining diet, exercise and other life habits with a view to living better with chronic arthritis. It should be a rewarding year -- I can't wait to look back on it!