My quest for optimum wellness involves many changes, probably too many to truly list here. But this page will give you some specific details about what I’m doing during this experiment. Don’t worry, no animals will be harmed during the writing of this blog.
I am eating only foods that promote positive physical and mental health and increase my spiritual connection to my environment. That means completely vegan diet – no meat, no gluten, no dairy…nothing but plant based foods. Also no added sugars or chemicals. Finally, my diet is all certified organic. Nothing grown with pesticides, nothing that is genetically or chemically altered.
Update at this point (August 20) – I’ve been experimenting with adding gluten back into my diet occasionally to see how it affects me. Thus far it seems like it is ok, in moderation. So I only eat it in the once a week range. I still would rather avoid it, but sometimes that leaves me with very few menu options when eating out, so I do “fudge” from time to time.
Yeah, it is expensive. Thank goodness that my aunt and uncle already eat this way and know how to do it. Otherwise I’d have no idea how and I’d be unable to sustain it because I couldn’t afford it.
Note to my readers: this has changed temporarily while I am in the hospital. First, because it is nearly impossible to eat a truly vegan diet within the hospital here, and secondly because upon entering the hospital this admission, I had lost more than 2o lbs in less than two weeks, and my nutritionists prevailed upon me to increase my calorie intake by adding back in a small amount of fish, poultry, and dairy, as well as calorie and protein supplements. I plan to return to the diet described above as soon as I return home.
With my struggle with addiction, I’ve often self-medicated – in other words I have taken whatever drug I thought would make me feel better or help with a certain ailment, regardless of how it was prescribed, if it was prescribed or to whom it was prescribed. I took pills to ease my pain, both physical and psychological.
August 2oth update: I am now managing my medication without supervision and have cut out a couple that were ultimately doing more harm than good.
January 21, 2013 update: I am in the hospital, and unfortunately have had to take a measured dose of pain medication which is rigorously supervised by the doctors and nurses. I am also preparing to give low dose methadone as part of a managed program with a supervising expert on pain who is recommending this course of action. I have done as much research as possible, but it seems to me that there is truly no other way to know if this method of treatment will work
If you want to know specifically what medications I take and why, you can contact me by going to the Connect Page.
My Exercise Plan
I am focusing on two different aspects of exercise, both mind and body.
In the morning I do 45-60 minutes of Tai Chi practice to address both my physical and mental sides.
On Saturday mornings I go to an hour long Tai Chi class, and Tuesday/Thursday night I go to an adult Karate class with the same instructor at the same Martial Arts academy.
In the afternoon, I do about 30 minutes of exercise with and with out weights that address my muscle strength directly, including but not limited to sit-ups, squats, bicep curls, pectoral flys, and push ups.
I alternate the weight-training exercises with cardio, usually running on the treadmill, though I have from time to time take an actual run outside. But the asphalt is still a bit tough on my joints, so treadmill seems to still be a better option.
Finally, in the evening before I go to bed I spend at least 15 minutes in quiet meditation. I need this time to strengthen my ability to settle myself and clear my mind before I sleep.
NOTE: some of this has had to be put on hold while I am in the hospital and while I have been ill, obviously. Just like my diet, I plan to return progressively to this as quickly as possible on my release from the hospital.
My aunt and uncle have agreed to take on a role as my guardians during this experiment. They help me by not leaving me alone in the house, not letting me leave their property without one of them, or another family member or “approved” friend. They are giving me rides when I need them, to the doctor’s office or wherever else I need to go. Besides all this, they are generally providing me with a safe and calm environment in which I can grow and change without having to face the stress of finding a job and a place to live and all the normal things that are necessary. Because of their help I can focus all of my attention toward changing my pattern from one of chaos and self-neglect to one of peace and wellness.
Another August 20th update: supervision has declined quite a bit and I spend a lot of time by myself pursing my wellness goals, and spend time out with friends, as long as they are “vetted” by my family first. Things are changing as I become less and less dependent on others for support and more and more able to push myself to achieve my goal of optimal wellness without having to have anyone look over my shoulder.
Another Update, Mid September: I no longer have supervision. I am expecting myself to act as an adult, and to supervise myself. While I am enjoying the new-found freedom, it comes with the price of more responsibility and greater temptation to just blow off the things I know I need to do.
UPDATE – January 2013: after a prolonged illness and after making the mistake of, once again, lying to my parents, my freedom has been curtailed a bit. However, that is more due to my illness than my parents punitive intentions or punishment. They are fully on my side as I progress through all the challenges that present themselves in my daily life.
This is my Wellness Quest! Every day is a new challenge, opportunity, and experience.