“Everyone Knows Someone Who Needs This Information!” (TM)
I’ve been overwhelmed this month — some for happy reasons, others for stressful, life-threatening reasons. How to survive the Peaks and Valleys and reach the balance-point that everyone, especially diabetics, need to find to be Healthy?!
I think the recipe is: stable well-thought out routines, drinking plenty of spring water, eating healthy alkaline food, using effective stress reduction techniques, having a positive outlook and moving your body!
After the happiness of a family-wedding and family visits (which we enjoyed and needed), we were plunged into the great stress of having 2 weeks of roller-coaster rides to the ER and a 4 day hospital stay for my 86 year old Mum.
Getting out beyond her normal routine was good on the one hand, and devastating on the other. I think the disruption in diet, especially not drinking enough water on car trips and not walking enough (using her wheelchair instead) anywhere, made a huge difference.
She has had a return of blood clots in her legs which became pulmonary emboli, and those blood clots which entered her heart and lungs were / are life-threatening until her body re-absorbs them.
The emergency room doctors and internal medicine “hospitalists” were very clear:
___ if you want to keep your legs, move!
___ if you have to be very sedentary (as she is), then exercise-in-place while seated. The physical therapists gave her 5 or 6 exercises to get the venous blood moving back to the heart at a better pace and which will improve her leg muscle strength. She’s to do them at least twice an hour, if possible. Her oxygenation levels were excellent, even at rest, with the clots — amazing how your body copes.
___ even for seniors, drink at least 2 quarts of pure water a day, even if you are not “thirsty”. (Most seniors have impaired signals for thirst.) Drink by the clock, through-out the day, until you have completed at least that quota. You can start right away at that amount, unless you have known kidney disease (in which case, follow your urologist’s guidelines).
Additionally, I will mention:
___ Dr. Robert O. Young, PhD would say to drink 1 quart of pure spring water for every 50 pounds of body weight.
I’ve also seen suggestions to pre-load as much of a quart of spring water as you can while you do your morning wake-up routine. Your body has all the waste it gathered during the night to flush out or sweat out — so help!
___ If you do not have enough water every day, your body will “rob” your tissues to put more of it into keeping your blood at a flowable level. This will dehydrate your tissues and your cellular biochemistry cannot work properly without water! Diabetics are always “thirsty” for a reason!
Robbing tissues will also not necessarily be enough for the right blood viscosity, and so your blood-pressure may rise, as your heart is trying to pump “sludge” instead of easily-flowing blood!
___ Nothing else counts as fluids except water. Other “liquids” may actually be dehydrating, as tea and coffee are, or require so much water to dilute the havoc of ingestion e.g. drinking any soda pop requires something like 50x as much more water to dilute it for your body! If you drink 8 oz. of soda pop, then it’s like you’d need to drink 400 ozs. water to get your body back to Balance and Health! Most people don’t do that. So, they keep getting more and more pH acidic. This kills your Health and takes your life.
___ Life-threatening clots can form in overly-acidic, viscous blood. Soda pop, carbonated beverages, sugar, artificial sweeteners, prescription medications, some over-the-counter medications are major causes of causing acidic pH tissues. Smoking, alcohol consumption and stress also cause acidic body pH levels.
___ If you are going to eat meat, only eat grass-fed animals — ones which are NEVER given “grains” or “finished” in feed lots. Online, you can find the Grass Fed farming’ association members at www.americangrassfed.org . Grass-fed, organic animals are best.
___ If you are going to eat fish, make sure that it is NOT farmed! Make sure it is not endangered or over-fished (check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium site), Make sure you know about the cleanliness and safety of the waters where it was fished! www.seafoodwatch.org
___ The Paleolithic Diet Pyramid above shows what our Paleolithic Body expects for food (it doesn’t know we are in the Space Age or Computer Age). Our body is still the same human design that its been for the past 100,000 years! It wants organic vegetable foods, grass-fed animals, clean fish, only naturally-occurring sweeteners in natural quantities, pure spring water, naturally-occurring fats, whole-foods (not fractionalized by industrial processing).
Now, to the hospital realities.
___ In looking at the menus within the hospital (one of the 10 best in the US for nursing care, I might add), I saw that there was too much leeway for people to make poor choices among “healthy” foods. Even though there was a dietician available, and you were pigeon-holed as to type of diet, and each floor had a diet-host to consult with, I don’t think anyone was paying attention to our actual food orders from the “approved” menu.
That wasn’t good enough for me, on Mum’s behalf. I was allowed to stay 24/7 and I did.
I monitored her water intake. I encouraged her to drink, when she and busy nurses weren’t thinking about it.
I insisted that she couldn’t keep having grilled cheese sandwiches, even though it was a small, easy-to-eat meal like she wanted. It just wasn’t going to help-her-heal as it was filled with denatured protein, acidic cheese and grains etc. etc.
Even when we ordered “side salads”, they weren’t big enough to combat all the pH acid-producing foods — from any sugar, artificial sweetener, dairy, grain or meat foods, all readily available on her “approved” menu.
The biggest entree salad was a healthy meal — salmon to help with Omega-3 oils to thin blood and lots of leafy veggies and anti-oxidant fruits.
But most of the meals were too heavy — especially the pastas etc., which combine all the big acidic pH producers.
The soups were well done, and were light, as well as keeping all the nutrition in the original vegetables. But saltine crackers were ever-present, even for someone on blood-pressure medication. What’s with that! Read all about my views on “salt” in the archive. It’s important!
The only dessert I allowed her when we made up the menus was yoghurt a few times — as it had the probiotic bacteria her immune system needed (80% of your immune system is in your intestines — did you realize that?) and calcium, an alkaline mineral.
You may have to sign-up for Dr. Mercola’s site before you read the following article, but it’s worth it to learn lots.
I tried to have her avoid the grains as much as I could. If it had been me, I wouldn’t have had them at all. At every turn, there were grain “snacks” and “desserts”.
She also avoided the fruit juices in favor of whole fruit. This is not just good for fiber content and not spiking blood sugar levels, but it’s also imperative because you are getting ALL the nutrition, which does not happen in juicing.
___ Now, she’s back on the two-edge sword of a Coumadin / Warfarin routine. It’s really difficult. You have to be constant through the week with the ingestion of the high Vitamin K foods (which save your life, if you need to have blood-clotting).
A reasonable daily amount of Vitamin K for regular people is normally around 80 mcg (micrograms). Those on Coumadin therapy can aim for this too; what’s important for them is to have stable amounts daily, so the medication is balanced for it.
In the past, the Vitamin K charts we’d been given by the doctors just “grouped” foods into categories. This time, I got actual numbers, and there were surprises!
1C blueberries, raw = 28 mcg.
3 oz. tuna, canned in oil = 37 mcg.
1C frozen asparagus = 144 mcg. (other charts differ)
1C cooked broccoli or Brussels sprouts = 220mcg. (other charts differ)
1C boiled carrots = 21 mcg.
1C celery = 56 mcg.
1C raw cabbage = 53 mcg.
1C romaine lettuce or green leaf lettuce, raw = 97 mcg.
1C iceberg lettuce is only 13 mcg. which points out how little this “food” has of anything!
10 sprigs of parsley = 165 mcg.
1 C peas, cooked = 48 mcg.
1C spring onions / scallions = 207 mcg.
and now the powerhouses:
1Cmustard greens = 419 mcg.
1C collard greens = 1059 mcg.
1C Kale, cooked = 1146 mcg.
1C spinach, cooked = 1027 mcg.
1C spinach, raw = 144 mcg.
This spinach differential between “cooked” and “raw” values points out that raw greens are best! Their Vitamin K amounts are more likely to be bio-available in just the quantities we need, without excess.
It means that when I construct salads from now on, just a few raw leaves go a long way to helping get the nutrition we need and that there are some sneaky, non-leafy sources that we need to be aware of, so we don’t over-use them, either. A sprinkle or small portions of some foods really is all that can be used to stay close to the optimum daily goal.
Even for people on Coumadin / Warfarin, it’s important to keep the dark green leafies in your diet. Get the medicos to adjust for them. The leafies give you important sources of alkaline pH minerals, B vitamins to combat stress too. Vitamin K levels are not the whole story and people on Coumadin may become nutritionally bankrupt if they don’t eat properly from laziness or from fear.
For recipes which are safe for people on Coumadin / Warfarin, (but you will still need to tally up your Vitamin K consumption and keep it fairly constant), use:
___ After this experience, I really recommend that a family member always be in the room with a senior family member – day and night. Under stress, fearful and unwell, many seniors will not remember or absorb what’s going on — well enough or at all. Nursing staff changes constantly as does the medical staff. They only have a few minutes to assess a senior’s cognition, and I have to admit, many times my Mum seemed quite cogent and in control, when most of the time, knowing her and being with her constantly, she showed me that was NOT the case.
___ Now that she’s back home, she’s gradually settling down. That’s good. We won’t be out of the woods for weeks yet. I’m trying not to let that stress me out. All of us are eating as well as we can, getting extra rest, as needed. We’re reaching out to other family members who weren’t there for the craziness and letting them support us in various ways.
___ Keeping Mum as independent as possible, while watching out for her is primary. We’ve also instituted better in-house protocols — new, modern baby monitors in her room and portable receivers for us; new multiple walk-around phones in all the places she sits, so she can just call our cell on speed dial etc. We found that having a loud bell at bed-side didn’t penetrate distances well enough, but we’ll keep the bell there to be loud through the baby monitor.
___ We’re doing her exercises with her when we finally get to sit and watch some TV, so we know that at least some exercise sets got done.
___ All of us were happy when we drove away from the hospital — not with the balloons flying out the window (but that’s how we felt!)(they were covered by a blanket, so not to hamper vision while driving).
Hospital was a benign jail, and just as in any incarceration, you’d better have an advocate and you’d better learn the ropes, fast!
___ I kept a spiral note-pad with me at all times and entered all the discussions, questions, procedures, who cared for her and our instructions in there. It worked out well, especially over many days and multiple ER visits.
I hope all these tips will lessen the likelihood of you ending up in the Emergency Room.
And, our thanks to all the ER personnel and Cardiac floor personnel, too.
I’m glad I no longer have to administer abdominal injections to my Mum and I’m going to try to catch-up on more of my own life within a reasonable-goal scenario.
Be sure to read my archives at the Titles Tab above, to learn more to help you.
Best to all,
(c) 2009 Em at http://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com
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