Sunday, April 6, 2008

To share or not to share (nutritional info, that is) -- that is the ?

I just have to write my thoughts since they're swimming around in my brain. A good friend was over yesterday and was telling me that she's been so sluggish lately. She has no energy, has suffered depression for years (and takes medication at times, but goes off other times because she knows how bad the stuff is for her), and has gained weight pretty suddenly in the past year or so after a lifetime (35 years) of being very slim. She talked to a few women who said they both have thyroid problems and the two main symptoms were lack of energy and fast weight gain. So she wants to get her thyroid checked.

My mom has had a thyroid imbalance for as long as I can remember. I know it's a real thing and that medication can make a huge difference. The only time I ever remember her not on her medication, she stopped taking it just because she was out of town and ran out while in the druthers of taking care of my grandpa before he died. We've talked about it since -- how she was really upset one night (and uncharacteristically so) and how she realized the next day that she'd missed her thyroid medicine, got the refill and was back to normal. So I know it's vital for many people.

HOWEVER, (and this isn't directed at you mom -- I know you read my blog :)), while I was talking to my friend, I'm thinking in the back of my mind that for many people (especially women, but men too as they hit middle age), they can eat whatever they want for many years and then all of the sudden gain and have to really watch it. This happened for me when I was a senior in high school and was a huge battle through college. I was able to maintain it much better after college and through most of my marriage with a greater effort on the eating and exercise. But ever since I just about hit 40 (and into the present), I can gain 5 pounds in a weekend if I'm not careful. This happens to a lot of women after puberty, after childbirth, upon menopause, etc.

So that wasn't a convincing factor for me. The second thought I had was that I've read many accounts of women going OFF of their thyroid medication from adopting whole food diets -- whether it's Eat to Live, raw food, or whatever. So I'm thinking, "Why go onto medication that can cause new problems, continue unhealthy eating practices which can continue to bring health problems?" -- But what am I saying to her? I'm just listening and supporting her in what she says.

Today it bothered me that I didn't say anything. So I called her tonight and told her there was a "what I was saying" version and a "what I was thinking" version going on at the same time. I think she'd like to hear the thinking version (she loves brutal honesty) and I told her that we should get together and talk about it. I thought she'd be intrigued, but she said she probably knows it too, just isn't willing to do it. But I think there's more to it. I think we all have this "eat healthier" is better knowledge and don't match it (or rarely do anyway), but I think she and most others think that a Standard American Diet with some more fruits and veggies, less meat (she's actually a fish-eating vegetarian) is healthy enough as long as you're exercising. Maybe it is good enough for some, but it sure doesn't stop the health problems from coming. And it's hard for me to see my friends encounter them or suffer from them.............

And I don't know if they know that my efforts don't always match my knowledge either. It's a struggle. It's a journey. Sometimes I think I contemplate food WAY too much, but it keeps me coming back to fighting off my quite awful (and even life threatening with as bad as my asthma is) health problems.

I don't have a cute picture for this post -- sorry! :) And my kids need the computer. So I'll have to close. But I just wanted to get this out. It's a big question of whether to share with friends what I really think about the role food plays in health. I'm never preachy, but sometimes wish I did throw some passion into what I know to be true and so helpful for me. Off to do something else and get my mind off of this. TTFN!

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