Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A New Pledge

After more than six weeks on medications--two antibiotics, steroids, nasal inhaler, nasal spray, muscle relaxers, painkillers, anti-inflammatories, licocaine injections--two of which I'm still on, I've given a lot of thought to giving my body a natural break. I won't say these are toxins, if only because they've certainly helped me, but I am leery of the effects of so much over a short period of time. Beyond that, I just have a need to put only natural things in my body for awhile, when I can. I've heard that some doctors suggest to chemo patients that they embrace a vegan diet during treatment, if only to give their systems a rest from digesting meat. And while I'm not in any way in the same place as a chemo patient, I can see the value of such a break.

But mercy, the ideas I've read online. Just Google "cleanse" or "detox" and you'll be amazed at the suggestions. Overly processed powders mixed in juices. Or wheatgrass. Nothing but maple syrup and lemons in water, I think was one. Or was it cayenne pepper. Or the more natural juices and smoothies, raw, with all manner of green vegetable. Plus colonics.

I don't think I can go for that either. The ingredients might be natural (except those powders) but the idea isn't. And so I'm trying to think of my own plan. Nothing extreme, because I'm not a doctor or nutritionist or naturopath. But I'm looking at veganism, with the addition of no refined sugar or gluten, for a week or more, something like the vegan workshop Sew and Sow did (and here). Maybe even 40 days.

Remember last year? My 40 day pledge? The Bread Pledge. The Bread Miracle. I made all our family's bread products for 40 days. And beyond. Until my back injury, I was still making a loaf or two a week; it had been a year since we'd purchased a loaf of bread. But in the beginning of the pledge, I didn't really even know how to bake but learned from friends at church and received recipes from family. It's one of the best things I've ever done.

It's that time of year again. The UU 40/40 pledge began on Earth Day. But I didn't. In fact, the idea of combining veganism with the pledge only occurred to me yesterday. I'm part of the way there, further than I was as a bread-baker, because I'm already a vegetarian. But I love my dairy products and rely on eggs. I also eat refined grains and sugar. Those will be harder to give up than dairy and eggs, I imagine. And I don't want to be the kind of vegan, however temporarily, that relies on overly processed soy and fake meats.

But I'm not starting yet, mainly because I'm not really in charge of my food right now. Friends are bringing some meals (thank you! thank you!). Mama is cobbling together everything else, for breakfast and snacks that can be stored in my room so I can get to them. Now is not the time to put even more restrictions on things while people are being so generous and helpful and while I cannot do things for myself. It also gives me some time to investigate and research how and what I want to do

Meanwhile, Mama is undergoing her own food transformation, having listened to Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma during her commute for the last week or so. CAFOs, antibiotics, pesticides, corn, etc etc etc. Did you know there is butane in Chicken McNuggets? She is not really considering vegetarianism but wants to give her meat-eating a lot of mindful attention. And she is now firmly committed to local, organic, humane, and less meat in general, as much as we possibly can, which includes when we eat out . . . and thus trying to wean Sis from chicken fingers and Bud from ranch burgers.

And she's agreed to join me in the vegan pledge, or whatever I end up calling it. I'll let you know. Hopefully soon.

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