Before writing a post about bentonite clay, food-sourced anti-inflammatories, and the benefits of alkaline eating I need to write an honest and real post about cheeseburgers. I am not a purist. I have followed a strict alkaline diet and consumed my 8-10 servings of veggies a day. I was juicing and steaming and gagging down the healthiest of plants. But then I snapped. No improvement in symptoms and worsening digestive issues made me question why I was cutting out certain foods (except nightshades, they always caused pain and a bad “flare”). The only cure for a “snap” was a trip to a diner. During my worst herxes, when no IV solution or pill or massage helped, my mom would whip up a cheeseburger and all would be well. Illogical in many ways, I know, but when something works you stick with it. And now, despite a desperate desire to eat super clean I find solace at the golden arches. Of course I eat lots of alkaline fruits and vegetables and take things like chlorella and clay to stay healthy, but I throw a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches and burgers into my meals. Here’s how it all started. And honestly, I am not ashamed. Hoping all my followers who think I am crunchy, granola, green, etc. aren’t too disappointed.
In the beginning of my worst days I quit eating sugar and dairy and processed foods in an attempt to calm the storm. I began taking numerous supplements. The most significant problem was pain. By 2011 I had a constant dull headache and severe neck and shoulder pain, but only on the right side. Some days it hurt so badly I would be throwing up, excusing myself from the classroom every couple of hours. I would power through the work week and get ready for weekend activities, but soon my husband had to attend events alone. Instead of feeling excited and getting ready, I would stand sobbing in the shower, hot water streaming onto my neck.
I suffered in silence as much as possible, although it was becoming obvious considering the amount of sick days I began taking and that my purse contained cans of coconut milk, peppermint tea bags, and jars of fennel. These were my attempts at settling a bloated and angry stomach and reducing inflammation. Finally I caved in and saw a naturopath who assured me I was not sick, I did not have a digestive disorder. I just needed to detox my liver. Really? After eating super clean for almost two years? I went along with the plan to do an intensive detox (nothing against detoxing, I do need to do this, but an elimination diet and dandelion tea are not going to cure serious blood infections or the strep infection that wreaked havoc throughout my GI tract. I needed strong medications, but my health problems went undetected at this point
I dove into the extreme special diet and cleansing program in the spring of 2012. I lived on green peas and brown rice and dandelion tea. I placed cod liver wraps over my liver at night as advised. During this “cleanse” my choir students were gearing up to perform our annual “rock show.” It required much orchestration and many volunteers. The large choir was on top of their game and ready for extra rehearsals. I made special trips in the evenings to a nearby city to rent equipment. The show required an extra ten to twelve hours a week of energy, which I did not have, on top of diploma preparation and extra tutorials for my senior high students. The clean diet while working these kind of hours was brutal. At night I would crash into bed with the flannel cod liver pack over my liver. The night before the concert, I woke at three in the morning. My pajamas and the sheets were soaked in my sweat. Removing the pack, I felt stabs of pain. A hardened lump had formed under the pack. I woke Marcel to help change the bedding, and when the lights were turned on he saw I was yellow, jaundiced skinned and eyes. At dawn puss began streaming from my eyes. I called for a sub to be brought in for my morning classes so that I could overcome this jaundice, feverish episode. I needed to regroup and recuperate if I was going to conduct a concert that evening. However, it was brought to my attention that some lights were not working and more fog solution was required. I hauled myself out of bed to make the drive to the city to rent more equipment and to return by noon to the school. Staggering and reeling, I pulled on jeans and t-shirt. I couldn’t say no to this errand, nor did I feel cancelling the show was an option.
I remember looking in the rear-view mirror while backing out of the garage, squinting into pussy jaundiced eyes, and puffy pale face. I envisioned collapsing backstage or in the orchestra pit that evening, and never regaining consciousness. This sense of impending death scared me. I needed to snap out of it. Just as fear gripped me, a helping hand seemed to reach out of the sky. Sunlight beamed off the golden arches and shone into the vehicle. Magnetically, magically my hands turned the steering wheel into the forbidden drive-thru lane. Too hell with green peas and liver cleanses. The solution lay between two glutinous buns and in a large cup of caffeine. A voice that seemed not to belong to me ordered a quarter pounder with cheese and a coffee, WITH CREAM! Minutes later I mowed down the burger. Before even reaching the summit, the top of the highway that leads out of my valley home, the weight lifted. It was like an out of body experience. A rush of sugar, gluten, dairy, and carbs flooded my system. Half-way to the city I looked into the rear-view mirror. This time clear eyes reflected back, no more oozing or yellow. The puffiness of my face had diminished. Despite all we know about healthy eating and the laws of digestion, that day McDonald’s defied the odds and became medicine.
And ever since then, on a really bad day, even a toxic day, only a cheeseburger and coffee calm the pain, neurological problems, and weakness. Go figure? Please keep this in mind in the next few weeks when I am extolling the power of green foods and bentonite clay! I am a real woman just trying to enjoy a little bit of the rough path I am on.