In the beginning there was meat…..and cheese

Okay, so my whole life I have eaten meat!!!! I was raised with all kinds of delicious European meals being as my Mother’s family is from Slovakia. You can only imagine the types of meals that I was fortunate enough to eat !! To add to this, my paternal Grandmother is from France and let’s just say that I am fond of cheese !!  With a food background like that, you can only imagine how difficult the choice to become Vegan could be for me.

As of recently, within the past few months, I have dabbled with the idea of becoming vegetarian. The reason for this came from the fact that every time I cooked meat, I was a bit repulsed. To see blood sliding around in the package of meat as I put it into my shopping cart was not too appetizing. Cooking it was worse, my food, in the pan and simmering with blood moving around it. Blood pouring out of my food as it was cooking. Ewww…….I was just one step closer to Vegetarian. But what about bacon? And all of Mom’s traditional Slovak foods?  Mmmm…..and what other options do I have left for food without meat?

Now let’s take a little step back. During my pregnancy, the doctor recommended that I limit my red meat intake and NO seafood at all !! I know all you Mommies out there are familiar with this schpeal. And so, after research, I followed Docs orders. Now , let’s think this through for a moment. Why would the Dr’s tell pregnant woman not to consume meat or seafood during pregnancy? My Doc took it a step further and informed me that human’s aren’t even supposed to consume cow’s milk. What? I have never heard that one before. But, because my Mom had acquired 8 cavities during her pregnancy with me due to lack of calcium, I was all over the milk drinking and was consuming 2 gallons of milk a week throughout my pregnancy !!!! I thought I had it planned out so well, that I would never be calcium deficient. After all, I had two Grandmothers with Arthritis, one of which couldn’t use her hands at all. During all of this milk drinking it never occurred to me that I should be consuming Vitamin D !!!

So let’s jump back to the here and now. As of a few days ago, Wednesday April 7th to be exact, I have declared myself Vegan. To be honest with you, I don’t miss meat a bit !! And I know, it’s only been 5 days but I have a feeling I’m not going to care too much about meat in the least. Frankly I am becoming pretty repulsed by the idea of eating animals. We love them and give them a home, but have no problem eating them? There is a reason Doctors don’t want pregnant woman eating meat and there is a reason humans shouldn’t either. After reading all the facts, this is really becoming quit easy !!

Livestock feed is routinely beefed up with slaughterhouse wastes like blood, bone, vescera as well as the remains of euthanized cats and dogs” -(Michael Satchell & Stephen Hedges, The next bad beef scandal, US News & World Report, Sept 1, 1997)

So if you think you are safe buying organic meat that are only grass-fed think again. Red meat has been linked to all the following health conditions…Heart Disease, Cancer, Osteoporosis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Bingo !!!! There is part of my problem, red meat linked to arthritis? Well, logically one would stop eating it and so I have !!

Red meat contains a molecule known as Neu5Gc that has been linked to found in Cancer tumors. But Humans do not produce this molecule. What we do produce is the antibodies which fight it and that leads to …………..inflammation. So for those of you sitting there thinking, “How silly of her to give up meat and think it will heal her” Sit on those facts for a bit.

Here are some links with some more facts in relation to this topic.

Why didn’t I find out about this sooner? I really hope that in the future, this type of information will be accessable in our schools. Children and their parents should be informed about this and the public has the right to know. I’m sure that many of those living with cancer would rewind to go back in time and take meat out of their diet if it meant not developing Cancer or one of the many other diseases linked to it. Remember, my inflammation didn’t start until a month after my soon was born. After nine months of no red meat ! 

Now that I have given you a few facts, on with the show !!! So no meat, no dairy. So far, so good !! So, what have I been eating? I have always loved salads and my new favorite is a simple salad composed of baby spinach topped with fresh-cut strawberries and balsamic vinaigrette. Yum !! For snacks, I love to have grapes, raisins and any type of fruit available. I find that raisins come in handy as a small dessert after having something spicy. Another great snack is corn chips and salsa. You get a small serving a veggies in this way too !  A good way to get your protein is through beans and tofu. And there are lots of ways to eat tofu, so don’t write it off just yet ! Now a days stores like Wegmans and Whole Foods offer so many selections on Vegan foods. Many companies will  print Vegan on the front of the package to make it a little easier to find. And let me tell you, there are many yummy desserts to choose from. I have these great chocolate doughnuts that you keep frozen !! And boy do I love chocolate. Also, there are many meat like products available that are Vegan. I have bought Vegan chicken nuggets for some time now and they are wonderful, even Joe likes them !

So, what has been my biggest challenge so far? I do love all things dairy…cheese, ice cream, etc. Luckily, they do make yummy Vegan Ice cream now. But I have yet to find a cheese I really like. If anyone knows of a brand please let me know. But really, everything is great !! I am still going and soooo excited !!!!!

A little of my health history

So, I’m only going into issues relevant to this blog. But all in all, I have been a healthy person all my life and very fortunate. I had a GREAT pregnancy !! No morning sickness, no swelling or cravings really. Everything was wonderful. So wonderful, that I think I jinxed myself….if you believe that sort of thing. All throughout the pregnancy, people would ask “How are you feeling?” and I would say ” Great !!, so great, I have a feeling something will go wrong in the end” And so, it did. When I was eight months pregnant I started having pain in the middle knuckle of my left hand. As a note, I am left-handed. And so the doctor said “Oh, it’s just carpel tunnel and common in pregnancy. No worries, it will go away after birth !” So quick to write things off, aren’t they?

My mom had previously told me that she experience Arthritis while she was pregnant with me and that is started in her 8th month, but subsided after my birth. So, I had thought my experience would be the same. After all, my pregnancy was the same as hers thus far !

My little guy was born, and all was well…..for a month. Until I woke up one morning and my index finger on my right hand was huge and sausage like !!! As each day went by, it became excruciatingly painful to the point where I could no longer bend it or even use it !! What was going on???? So the doctor tests me for everything……lupus, lyme, arthritis, any joint related disease you can think of. Lyme shows some abnormality and so I start a 60 supply of antibiotics. You should also know, that at this time, I was nursing so my options for medications of any sort was quit limited. After another few months, I start experiencing severe pain in my left hip. Now, I can no longer lift my left leg !! Any sort of lifting…..i.e.-getting in bed or in and out of a car, required that I use my hands (minus one finger) to lift my leg up. Over time I have multiple x-rays and cat scans, of which show nothing. Except, swelling !! Wow, thanks for that! Periodically throughout the course of this, I am enduring pain in my neck, which was the result of being bombarded by 20 shopping carts on the motorized cart mover being used by a teenage boy in the middle of a parking lot at a franchise which shall remain nameless.

Now comes the knee pain, in my left knee but magically months later, my hip pain has disappeared ! Seriously, what is going on here? I have within this time started Acupuncture which has helped me to endure my pain tremendously and I recommend it to anyone with any sort of health issue.  At this point, I have seen multiple doctors all with the same answer “You’re a mystery”  Why, thank you, that’s most helpful. My hand specialists suggest surgery to cut out the inflammation on my finger and test it for diseases and such that may not show up in blood work. This is after several sessions of cortisone injections and physical therapy. So finally, I agree and wean my tenth month old off of nursing. I was reluctant to do so as I had wanted to nurse up until he was a year, but I had suffered long enough (or so I thought). In Feb. of 2009, I had a synovectomy on my finger. Mind you, all of this started in March of 2008. After two weeks of healing and 6 weeks of physical therapy, my tests results were back !!!! Everything was………….Normal…….argh !!!!!!!! How is this possible? Something is clearly wrong. So, back to acupuncture I go and still without any sort of pain medication. Some more time goes by and the pain in my left knee is now gone !! But guess what? It’s in my right knee now. Also, by this point in time, I now have swelling  in the middle knuckle of my right hand. July of 2009 rolls around and I am starting to feel a lot of pain in my finger again. The surgery had provided my with temporary relief, but the swelling was still there. I called my Dr. and asked to go on a short-term supply of prednisone. A week to be exact. After which we both agreed that I would go on it indefinitely. BIG MISTAKE……. I was miserable, angry and irritable and just desperate to stop taking them after about two months. How unaware I was to the fact that I needed to wean off of them. Veeeeery slowly. If I tried to cut my dose by too much at once, I was terribly ill. In the meantime doctors are encouraging me to keep taking these terrible pills. I had to figure this thing out all by myself !! It took a few months to finally get off of these things, but I did it !! So, by Thanksgiving of 2009, I was prednisone free. What I haven’t mentioned is that I also started talking Sulfazine back in August of 2009, the same time I had started noticing changes in my vision !! This drug takes about 3 months to even be effective, great. During the fall of 2009, I start noticing pain in my foot. It’s making it very difficult to wear shoes since the pain is on the side, just under the pinky toe. So, I spent the entire winter wearing Uggs. You know, those ugly boots that are warm and have a lot of room to move in? I have worn those right up to flip-flop weather, haha.

By this time, my Rheumatologist, along with a second rheumatologists insist that I have either Rheumitoid Arthritis or Psoriatic Arthritis, which is as a result of Psoriasis, which I do not have. My mother however, does. So they examined me head to toe and no signs of psoriasis. There have been cases though when the skin condition shows up after the arthritis. They believe this is a possibility for me since my initial finger swelling was sausage like.

Finally in February 2010, I went to my doctor and said, it’s time to get me on some real medication. Since my husband and I want more children, Methotrexate, is out of the picture. This is a drug they give to Cancer patients. It is ultimately a form of Chemo. Getting pregnant while taking this drug is an absolute no and will on result in a terminated pregnancy. This is not an option. So, the only choice I have left is to take Embrel. A weekly injection I must administer to myself. And “may or may not cause cancer” Great, just great. But I am desperate and want relief. I have been in miserable pain for two years. I can’t even open a bottle of water for goodness sakes !! And I used to lift professional concert speakers for a living !! Not to mention the emotional toll this has all taken on me and the toll it’s taken on my family. I give in and apply to receive financial aid for this one thousand dollar a month medication !! Just a week prior to my first shipment, I see the post by Dr. Mercola on facebook in regards to how toxic medication for Arthritis is. Immediately I start my research and I pick up Alicia Silverstone’s book, “The Kind Diet” and I am instantly transformed to Vegan !! I have seen so many testimonies as to how a change in diet has transformed a persons illness to almost non-existent. I am convinced that what we eat has immediate effect on our bodies, health, mind as well as the environment. So welcome to my journey….!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

About my blog

Hi Everyone !!

 To start off, I have been struggling with an unknown illness for 2 1/2 years now without answers and a LOT of pain. I will go more into the deails of this in my next entry.

To sum up a little bit about me…..I am 28 years old and the mother of a sweet 2 year old boy. Prior to my pregancy in 2007, I spent all of my time and effort on my career as an Audio Engineer. For those of you that don’t know much about this profession, it consists of all physical work !! I spent time working at a local theater in St. Petersburg, Fl. followed by touring across the U.S. with a little show called Disney on Ice and finished up as a Local A/V tech in the Balto. and D.C. area.  These jobs required a TON of heavy lifting and building.  When you go to see a concert, I was one of those “guys” that set it up.The big ass speakers, the lights and truss, the stage, etc.  Your understanding of this will make more sense once I start to explain the depth of my illness. This was not a job I could continue once I became pregnant.

Once my son was born, I decided to go all Organic. And I have been ever since. My husband, Joe has been in agreement on this without too much of a fight, since fresher is always better. Although, he still comes home from work with a burger from Wendy’s…….eck ! I have a feeling getting him to go Vegan is going to be a LOT of work !!!!

I am supposed to start new medication in about a week, which I have been looking forward to since it is meant to bring me tramedous relief. But after recent findings in regards to these types of medications, I am strongly reconsidering. This is a difficult decision for me, since we have recently been approved for help with financing this particular medication which costs $1,ooo a month !! And I am now able to get it for $12 !! If I choose not to start this now, the chances of us getting this approval in the future are, well pretty much absent. So here is why I am taking the risk…

Dr. Mercola, a holistic doctor….although I am not sure if he refers to himself that way…..has a facebook page which I am a fan of. And he posts daily tips for all of his fans, which I love by the way. And ironically, he posted a tip a few days ago stating that most drugs prescribed for RA (rheumatoid arthritis-which doctors suspect I might have) are very toxic !!  His post prompted several response and I read each and everyone. After reading people’s experiences in regards to family members on these meds developing cancer within 6 months of taking them or people testifing to the fact that nutrition and good emotional management has changed their lives, I decided to post a comment of my own. I merely stated that I am supposed to start embrel next week (by the way, the doctor tells me this drug “may or may not” cause cancer !!!!) and now I am reluctant to start. With in minutes I had received responses from people and emails from others offering suggestions and willingness to help. One woman even sent me her phone number !! These are people that went years on drugs until deciding to change things the right way, the natural way and changed their diet. They are now pain free with no drugs !! I was overwhelmed with the power of food and realized I need to make an immediate change. Just going organic isn’t enough !! So here I am, at the beginning of my journey and with the motivation of a few friends, I have decided to document it on this blog and share my adventure with all of you ! I am now a Vegan,  So here I go…………………

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