Sunday, August 21, 2011

Green Tea and Soy: The "New Latte"

A month ago today my world, as I knew it, tilted on its axis. In the office of Dr. Jerry Callaway, my physician of 30-plus years, a trap door opened and I clung to the edge, trying to retain my grip.

There have been worse diagnoses. In terms of severity, it could have been MUCH worse. But for a girl who always claimed "perfect health" and enjoyed "good genes" and "healthy stock" as the legacy of my ancestors, I was suddenly smacked upside the head (as my dad used to say) with a calamity of my own doing.

Type II diabetes. Yes, it was my own fault, this thing I'd acquired. Too many years (decades) of putting things off, procrastinating about taking better care of myself. Nobody to blame here but me. While the diagnosis came out of the blue, it was really not so surprising. I'd been feeling "off" for years.

Already diagnosed with high blood pressure in June (another shocker, which wasn't really...not if I'm honest), I'd been given orders by Dr. C. to cut out salt and processed foods. No restaurants. No canned or frozen foods. Too much sodium lurking there. Eat only fresh. And I was. But the follow-up blood work he ordered would uncover something sinister and life threatening.

"The trouble with diabetes," Dr. C. (Jerry to me after all these years) explained, "is that it DOESN'T kill you." I already knew the devastation to the body inherent with this disease so when Jerry went into the ugly probabilities that unchecked diabetes - even Type II - the "less serious" kind (in my mind) would do, I knew what he was about to say. "Amputation." "Blindness." "Kidney failure." "Heart disease." Oh, yeah, he had me at Hello. 

Handing me a couple of sheets of paper containing a food pyramid and added info, he told me this was to be my "Bible" - it was the anti-inflammatory foods pyramid developed by Dr. Andrew Weil. Jerry said some people with diabetes had wonderful success by following this diet. It was time for me to get serious. Or get ready to die.

Thus, the title of this post and the accompanying image. 

A fan for years of "Grande Nonfat Lattes," my Starbucks favorite indulgence (well, yeah, and the blueberry scones), I knew this beverage was going to need a little tweaking. Years ago I purchased a latte machine for home, and it has many miles of lattes that once flowed from its little nozzles. 

The latte machine has a few cobwebs (well, figuratively speaking) gathering on it now because nowhere on the anti-inflammatory foods pyramid is coffee. Or skim milk. What I DID find was green tea. 2-3 cups a day. And soy milk. Ah. Thus the 'new latte' was born - and while the color isn't QUITE as luscious and creamy as a 'real' latte, it ain't half bad!

When my daughters suggested I use my blog to record this newest passage of my life, I thought about it a bit. I didn't want to make it depressing. Or bleak. Or "poor me" in nature. But they are right, because I realized a few days post-doctor's office visit that in its own weird way this may well be the best thing that ever happened to me. A second chance of sorts. To finally get it right. 

So I view July 21 - one day after my "half" birthday (and yes, I still think about those things), as the day of new beginnings. 

And I've made big changes in this month since diagnoses. Working out more. Eating fresh, unprocessed foods. More fish, less meat. Enjoying the bounty of California's good earth with lots of Farmer's Market fresh, organic veggies and fruit. Recording a weight loss of over 10 lbs. so far. And blood pressure and glucose readings trending back toward normal. 

Along with learning more about diabetes, I'm learning more about myself. That I've been "absent" for too many years. Going through the motions without awareness. Marginalizing my life. My brain had become numb to feelings because I insulated any emotions that might intrude by wrapping them up tight in a heavy blanket. But no more. 

I'm also learning I've still "got it." That spark of optimism, rekindling, growing brighter. The knowledge that I'm still capable of turning this crazy ship around. It won't always be easy; nothing worthwhile ever is. But I will do it. I have way too much to live for. 

1 comment:

  1. So proud of you, mom! Did you notice your last post was about Peet's coffee?! Kind of ironic. :)