If nothing changes, nothing changes

Change is not easy. It usually means the adoption of foreign ideas and concepts along with emotional and physical adaptations that take reasonable time to accept and implement. I often refer to my experience of quitting smoking because it parallel’s well with what and why I am doing the Wahls Protocol. My father was a jazz musician who played accordion. He was a product of a time when most people were smoking. Born in 1933, he began smoking at the age of nine. I grew up watching him chain smoke non filter Camels. He went through four packs a day, not an exaggeration. His two fingers that held the cigarette had permanent tobacco stains. You could hear the sound of him opening and closing his Zippo lighter every ten minutes, “Ka-ching”. Most people had ashtrays in their homes, even if they didn’t smoke, for guests who did. Smoking was expected and allowed almost everywhere. My father said often that it was his right to smoke. Even when it was killing him with Emphysema, he died at age 62 in 1996. A painful, long drawn out twenty-five year illness, the last fifteen in particular…..just like his father before him, who passed at age 60 from the same thing. I heard stories of my grandfather in the hospital under an oxygen tent, lifting his tent off so he could smoke his cigarettes in his hospital room. We think of that now and we think how ridiculous that was.

My mother who also was a heavy smoker, managed to quit in the seventies. As young children in the sixties, my brother and I had candies in the shape of white cigarettes in a “pack” box. We held the cigarette candies between our fingers like we saw our parents and pretended we were smoking, sucking in and blowing out imaginary smoke, then we’d tap our cigarettes on the edge of the imaginary ashtray. So, its no surprise that I started smoking when I was eleven in 1973. Marlboro’s, I loved Marlboro’s. They were apart of my identity. I always had a pack of red and white Marlboro’s with me everywhere I went. The first time I experienced a public restaurant that had a “No smoking” sign in the window was in 1983. It was a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream shop in Western Massachusetts. I’d never heard of them and I was incensed that I couldn’t smoke inside. That was unheard of, “Who do they think they are?”, I exclaimed. I refused to go in and waited outside while my friends had their ice creams. Fast forward to 1992, the hospital I worked in went no smoking on July 4th, Independence Day, now that was maddening. I spent the last three years freely smoking cigarettes out on the floor at the nurses desk. In the mean time, my father, long on oxygen, was getting sicker and sicker. At night when I slept, my feet were cold, and I felt bad in the morning. It became obvious that I had to do something about my smoking and I was furious about it.

It took me the next three years, stopping and starting before I finally quit for good in 1996, not long after my father’s death. That year, we lost five close friends and my father to smoking related illnesses, lung cancer, Emphysema and throat cancer. Five of us, together, supported each other to quit. Three of us stayed stopped. After my diagnosis’ of MS and a compression on my spinal cord that would result in an immanent surgery, I picked cigarettes up again after nine years of not smoking in 2004. I thought, I’ll just smoke for a short time, just to get through this. Feeling like an idiot buying cigarettes at the store the first time and lighting up at home, to have my 14 year old son catch me, calling me, “Puffer!” It was no longer acceptable to be a smoker anymore and I was very embarrassed to be seen smoking and even more embarrassed to smell like a smoker and it had become horribly expensive too.

I couldn’t smoke for a short time, my habit came back full force, only this time it was harder to quit. Cigarettes were different. They had more addictive chemicals added to them, they burned faster too. It seemed no sooner had I lit up, that the cigarette had a long ash already. I spent the next five years starting and stopping till I finally became willing to go to any lengths and stopped for good. This time around though, it took a whole year to be rid of the obsession to smoke as compared to the first time I quit in 1996, just one month for the obsessive cravings to dissipate then.

Suffice it say, that profiteers will do anything to make money. Fillers, chemicals, sugars, and whatever else, inundate our food source, like the increase in addictive fillers in cigarettes. Commercials assault our senses with melted cheese pizza’s, snacks and sweets beckoning us to be hungry, setting off cravings. Illness is rampant these days in a day and age when it should be the opposite. There have been no cures for much of anything in decades. How is that, when we eradicated polio, mumps, scarlet fever, and other childhood illnesses in the 50’s and 60’s. My father is deaf in one ear from his bout with polio. We have drugs that cost tens of thousands of dollars that only manage symptoms and poorly so. That then, need other drugs to combat the side effects, one leading to the next, leading to the next. If you replace all this with cigarettes, it is no less insane and just as outrageous. And like cigarettes, it is just as hard to change eating habits in a culture that, largely, still accepts this as the norm.

Change is hard, but I want my life back and for that, I’ll learn to eat healthy, untainted whole foods, that unfortunately includes wheat products. There is nothing wrong with wheat, the problem is what we’ve done to it in the last one hundred years that is the problem. Watch, “What’s with Wheat” on Netflix to learn what I am referring too. All I know, is ever since I stopped eating sugar, gluten, dairy and began eating six to nine cups of fresh, mostly organic vegetables everyday, I’m healing at a profound rate. Just like smoking, a few people had to make an unpopular stand against it. So, thank you Ben and Jerry’s and anyone else who had that courage.

Matt Embry’s documentary Living Proof is an example of standing up to several such Leviathans, one of which is the MS Society, which has long been tainted by pharmaceutical companies. This is the letter put out by the US MS Society in reference to Matt’s documentary:

Below is a message that was sent to all the National Multiple Sclerosis self-help groups in the United States of America about our award winning documentary ‘Living Proof’:

……………………….

As you are aware, filmmaker Matt Embry is promoting his film around the United States. At this time, we ask that you please refrain from promoting via your Self-Help group.

The National MS Society is a trusted and reliable source of information and resources for people affected by multiple sclerosis. We continue to be here as a supportive partner for each person affected by MS. The Society has not yet reviewed the film and therefore not promoting it. The National MS Society only promotes or endorses content – information, sources, video, film, etc. – after a thorough review of the material, including scientific or clinical review where needed. We only endorse content that is aligned with our strategic plan, including our research strategy that engages leading MS experts around the globe.

Please continue to connect with me with any questions on promoting any third party events. Also, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. I appreciate your dedication, commitment, and support to the MS community and this request.

Enjoy your day!

Christy A Bomba, MPA CTRS
Manager, Program Implementation and Engagement
National MS Society

Phone: 989-2xx-xxx4
Fax: 989-3xx-xxx3

Includer, Arranger, Woo, Positivity, Communication

JOIN THE MOVEMENT®
Consider a gift to the Society (and get a tax benefit!) Learn more about the ways you can give.
1-800-344-4867 (Information and Referral)”

 

Note: to see the comments to this click on Matt Embry’s name. Well worth the time to read.

After premiering to sold-out crowds and standing ovations at the Toronto International Film Festival, LIVING PROOF will hit theatres across the United States and Canada beginning February 1, 2018. Take a stand for patients, take control of autoimmune disease. Visit www.SeeLivingProof.com to find a screening near you.

 

Bonne Sante

Okay….day one of 2018! Woo Hoo!

This has been a tough month for me, but a good one. It became necessary for me to step back from level III (nutritional ketosis) to level I with some II and III thrown in. I needed the added flexibility for financial reasons and to make it easier to get through holiday dinners with more food options to pick from. The strategy did work for me. With all the busyness and being overwhelmed, I backed off the daily blog in December. I wrote some, but not daily. Through this, I needed to tone down the intensity of my constant drive to work the protocol into my life. Where as, stopping the protocol is out of the question, I decided to forego the blog till I got out of the holiday month. Energy can still be an issue for me. I have healed and improved leaps and bounds in this area, but I still get fatigued when too much is going on all at once. As of today, I feel quite rested and ready for Wahls 2018!

Out of ketosis a month now, I can tell you that there is a difference in my healing. On ketosis, my cognitive damage was healing rapidly. I am still healing, but not at the same rate as ketosis. I will return to it by the end of this month. Why do I have to wait till the end of this month, because I need to rework it in. When I haven’t exercised in a while, I always, on the first day back, do only half of what I think I can do and this usually wards off the pain the next morning that can cause many to not return to the gym. From there I work up gradually, this also helps me notice all the little triumphs over weeks, instead of one big humiliation when I attempt to do what I once could do in more athletic days the first day out. Easy does it, but do it is a favorite motto that works for me in the long run.

How did I do with holiday dinners? I made the best choices possible, I wasn’t a complete saint, but I did alright. For example:

  • Turkey with traditional gravy made with cornstarch and butter. I did have a little gravy.
  • Mashed potatoes with butter and milk. I did have a very small dollop.
  • Wahls compliant Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, bacon and onion with balsamic syrup (balsamic vinegar cooked down). (the dish I brought, which was a hit by the way).
  • Green salad
  • Stuffing made with gluten free bread, chicken stock and butter. I did have this, but only one serving instead of two servings as this is my favorite part of the meal.
  • Homemade whole cranberry sauce that did have sugar, but I’d say half the amount of most cranberry sauces. I had about a tablespoon.
  • Sweet peas with lettuce and mint.
  • Gluten free lemon poppy seed (100% Wahls compliant) and banana breads (a lot of sugar). I had several slices over a two day period of the poppy seed bread and one slice of the banana.
  • Gluten free homemade cookies made with a lot of sugar, so I had just two medium sized cookies.

I said no to the traditional British Christmas pudding, cake and mincemeat tart-lets that my friend is so good at making and I gave away my milk chocolate gift (I brought a bar of Lindt 85% dark chocolate with me and ate that instead).

All in all, I wasn’t perfect, but for that one meal, the worst was sugar in the desserts and butter in the stuffing and the mashed potatoes, I shouldn’t have had at all. I did bring Ghee to the event of which I was assisting with the cooking, but I didn’t bring enough. What I haven’t done is overeat and I’ve stayed Wahls compliant every day and at two other holiday meals.

Onward and upward! I updated my MS symptoms page for January 1, 2018, here is the link: Monthly MS Symptoms

 

I wish you health and happiness in the new year,

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Pixels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/sky-lights-night-new-year-s-eve-66277/

 

 

 

Gobble Gobble

Note: At the end of this blog is an update from Direct-MS about the documentary Living Proof and new MS research. Be sure to click to the whole blog article and scroll down to read their letter.

Alright, I’m in a slightly better mood today. What I mean by that is that I was frustrated with having to leave level III. I’m worried about back tracking and I am worried about gaining weight. The point of all of this is not about losing weight, however it has been a side effect, a nice side effect. I lost weight when I was on levels I and II also, so I don’t know what I’m worried about. The cost is relatively the same for all levels, it is the lack of flexibility for level III that is the biggest problem. The last two weeks of the month is a financially lean time for me. It requires me to be very creative with what I have on hand. The problem with level III is that the food list is very limited. If I run out of this or that, it leaves me without enough nutrients to keep me out of the Ketosis flu, not pleasant. If I have something I shouldn’t then it kicks me out of Ketosis causing me to readjust again when I get back in ketosis, again the ketosis flu, not pleasant. I have been mostly in ketosis, but I am tired half the time, which means not enough nutrients. This is why I made the decision, for now to go back to level II. If I don’t get the right combination of foods because I simply don’t have them, I won’t be sick and I won’t be tired. Then, when really down with money, I can get by with what is on hand with less consequences. When I am in a better position financially, I’ll definitely revisit level III. And if I find that I regress at all in my healing, then I’ll get right back on level III and figure out a way to make it happen.

Today was the United State’s Thanksgiving Day. Always a weird day for me here in Canada. It is my favorite holiday, because its simply about dinner with family and being grateful for each other. That’s how it is in my family, I realize coming from Massachusetts where the pilgrims landed that its about that and then we can add the politics and controversy. But, I am going to keep it very small, it was simply a wonderful day with my family and I miss that and I miss them.

I had an email from Direct-MS today. I will copy and paste here the whole letter, its not super long and has a lot of information of interest to those of us with MS and their families.

The letter:

We would like to thank you for your continued support and to let you know what has been happening with DIRECT- MS over the past year.

 This year our main focus has been on supporting my son’s production of a documentary which examines the challenges of living with MS, and various issues regarding multiple sclerosis therapies, from drugs to diet to CCSVI. The documentary, called Living Proof, was shown at the Toronto and Calgary International Film Festivals and was very well received. It will be publicly available early in 2018 and we will let everyone know how to access it.

 In terms of research, we are currently funding a research project which examines the value of a multi-ingredient supplement for preventing and treating MS in laboratory animals. The first results from this work have been extremely positive and the work will be completed in the first half of 2018. The long-term plan is to organize and fund a Phase I/II clinical trial which tests the effectiveness of the supplement for persons with MS.

 We are currently overhauling our website so that it can be accessed on all platforms from computers to cell phones and is easy to navigate. This work should be completed by year’s end.

Thank you very much for your ongoing and generous support for our efforts which have allowed us to provide persons with MS with reliable, science-based information and to fund highly relevant, research projects. Donating to Direct-MS can be done either through our website by accessing the Donate page under the Home tab or by sending a cheque to Direct-MS, 5119 Brockington Rd NW, Calgary, AB, Canada, T2L 1R7. A receipt for tax purposes will be issued promptly for both Canada and the USA. 95% of all donations goes to charitable purposes. Please do not hesitate to contact us by email (info@direct-ms.org ), phone, or letter if you have any questions.

 All the best, 

 

Ashton Embry

President and Research Director

I looked online in a brief search about this supplement research and could find nothing relevant. However, I do trust this source. They are right here in Calgary and they are above board ethically.

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/nature-bird-animal-head-40512/

 

 

The Lobster Man

I checked my bank account for the fortieth time thinking, “Is it there?” It never was, six months and it still wasn’t there. A single mother at the time, I had to make an emergency move due to my eighteen month old daughter’s consistent illness because of a basement apartment and very old rugs and moss. My US tax returns were due to be deposited in my bank account and I felt confident that that would take the pressure off the extra cost of the move. We moved into a nice place and my daughter’s health returned to normal. But, the tax returns never deposited. It threw us into a financial vise. I obsessively checked the account often to no avail. Six months later the phone rang. It was my aunt informing me that my mother with advanced diabetes had pneumonia and that my brother and I needed to make a decision to let her go. I was living in New Brunswick and my mother was in Massachusetts and I had no money. I called the bank for the one hundredth time, I heard the recorded voice say, $1,028.00. That was my tax return. Two things were amazing about this, one is that it happened just in time for this, fore if I had had it sooner, it would’ve been spent. Two, I wasn’t surprised. Why did I know it would be there? Because deep down inside, I knew I needed to be in Massachusetts. That it was those cliche sayings people say they hate to hear, “It was meant to be.” and “God makes no mistakes.” Its easy to say, that one freak accident means nothing, possibly true, but this story is full of freak accidents and that adds up to something.

My young daughter’s father took her for two weeks and my eleven year old son and I left for Worcester, MA. I drove a three quarter ton truck with a cab on the back, a Chevrolet Silverado. Halfway to Worcester I blew a tire. We made it to the side of the highway. It was August and I was wearing a dress. I looked miffed at the big spare tire bolted under the truck. I had no idea how to change a tire. I didn’t own a cell phone. In the those days, especially in the rural area I was living in, cell phones were unusual. After watching car after car blow by us for forty five minutes. I told my son that I was going behind that tree to talk to God and ask for help. I just needed to take that extra step to connect and got on my knees. I finished and had just reached my son’s side when a pick up truck pulled up. A man and his daughter, the same age as my son, got out. He had a vanity license plate that said, “The Lobster Man”. He had an easy way about him and after setting me at ease, he set to work. It took him 30 minutes to pry the tire that was secured with rusted bolts to the undercarriage of the truck. Even if I knew what I was doing, I didn’t have the strength to do that. I felt bad that it was taking so much of his time. When he was finished, I tried to give some money, but he put his hand up and said, “Absolutely not, its my belief that what comes around, goes around. One day, when I need it, it will come around to me.” I asked for help and God sent me The Lobster Man.

In Worcester, my mother had been non-responsive for several days. Yet, when I took her hand, I said, “Mom, I’m here.”, and she squeezed my hand. After speaking with the doctor it was clear that her prognosis was horrible. Even if miracle of miracles she made it out of her distress, she wouldn’t last and would suffer. Her body had blown up like a whale because her organs were shutting down. The decision was to take her off of life support. We waited to notify everyone. Immediate family stood around the bed. My mother’s cousin told humorous stories of their teenage exploits. Soon laughter filled the room as everyone jumped in with a story. We were so engrossed in the memories that we hadn’t noticed the nurse at first, she repeated, “Excuse me. She’s gone.” My mother’s cousin had a tag with a Catholic saint on it that she pressed into my mother’s palm. As she closed her hand around it she animatedly said, “There’s your ticket Mae, your all set to go, you got your ticket!” That was that, she was gone.

She had made it clear for what she wanted for her funeral arrangements with us a year before. She did not want us to spend money, she didn’t want a wake. She wanted to be cremated and she wanted her ashes spread over the ocean off the coast of Salsbury Beach. We honored her request, but we had a Memoriam. We rented a VFW and put an announcement in the paper. My mother is the polar opposite of me. She was effervescent in personality. She bubbled over with a positive gaiety that most people who met her loved. She was tall, statuesque and had Elizabeth Taylor eyebrows. She dressed elegantly always. Never saw my mother in a pair of jeans. She had carefully styled hair and make up and brightly colored polyester suits. I am a more serious person in personality. I have to work at being lighthearted, whereas for my mother, it was second nature. We wanted to celebrate her life. We wanted her Memoriam to be full of life like she was. We played her favorite music, BB King, Patsy Cline and Hank Williams and displayed pictures and momento’s of her favorite days. I dressed up in a brightly colored fuchsia blouse and black polyester slacks and I did my make up. I flitted and greeted everyone, then sat with a table of women that my mother had worked with at a bank twenty years before and they swore to God that they were sitting with my mother. For that day, I was my mother.

When it came time to take care of her ashes. I was there for just a few more days before I’d have to return to Canada. We set out to Salsbury Beach. We thought the State Park was not a swimming area and would be best to go where the rocks are craggy. But, we thought we should sneak in after the park closed. It being a Saturday night in August it was packed as we drove from the public beach area and amusement park to the State park. It was around 9:30 pm. We got in, my brother, his wife, my son and his two kids, thirteen and fourteen. My mother was in a paper bag. We found the right spot, my brother took Mom to the edge of the water and after we each said a few words, he opened the bag and swung his arm out in a big wide arc to distribute her ashes out across the water. But, just then a big wind came out as waves crashed blowing the ashes back at my brother, some of it in his mouth. Larry spat and spit and we laughed hard. Just then, the fireworks went off at Hampton Beach not far up the coast. This was all my mother. She loved the ocean, she loved fireworks and she loved to laugh. That was exactly how she would’ve wanted it.

My Aunt in Florida had heard of my trouble with the flat tire and she mailed me an old cell phone. She said that even though it wasn’t in service, that I could still call the police with it if I had to. I had the tire plugged and put back on the truck. The next day, we began our trek home. About 30 miles outside of Worcester, the tire went. But, I had that phone and it really did work, I called the police and told them my predicament and could they call my brother, which they did. He came and we bought a tire, then I drove home. I don’t care what anyone says, that whole trip was under divine guidance and nothing will ever convince me otherwise. I seek strength from a Higher Power that I choose to call God. I began this relationship 26 years ago and over the years, there have been many moments like these. I call on that same source of strength to help me stay the course with the Protocol.

I miss my mother, I always will. We know she made it to where she needed to go, because she had her ticket!

mom 3 mom1 mom 2

Love you Mom

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Angelsta Creation’s: http://angelstarcreations.com/wallpapers/salisbury1440.html

Waking up to the possibilities

I feel weighted down with the financial limitations I have due to the extra money that it costs to keep this way of life going on my limited income. I’m looking at my calendar, I’m counting days to the next pay (13 days to go), I’m looking over the veggies I have and I know that I don’t have the components necessary for each day, but I’m not starving either. I just won’t have the right balance of foods for a short time. I have $18.00 to split between me and my cat. She needs her Fancy Feast and I need greens. I’ll spend the money on Fancy Feast and greens. I’ll take it a day at a time, which is all any of us really have anyway. I had a friend who said once as he watched a hearse go by followed by a funeral procession, “I wonder what that guy was worrying about last week?” I think of that when I start worrying about too many days at once.

My father died from Emphysema at age 61. He said, “Don’t do what I did, I worked hard all my life waiting for the day I could retire and really live.”  He worked three jobs in his 20’s, two full time jobs till he was forced to stop early at age 45 due to his illness. He spent the next 15 years on oxygen, progressively getting worse. He told me this two years before he died. One thing I did do that he just couldn’t, was quit smoking. Addictions are the primary killers in my family. Smoking, drinking, and obesity. My mother and her sister both died from type II diabetes in their early 60’s due to their weight and eating habits. My maternal grandfather died in a drunk tank in the 50’s, most of my generation on my mother’s side have had problems with drinking. Oddly, not my only brother, it jumped over him like a tornado takes down a street of houses, but skips over one. My paternal grandfather died from Emphysema and my father followed in his footsteps. All of them died around the same age, between 60 to 64.

I had it in my head that if I could deal with all the addictions, having smoked since the age of 11 and I am an alcoholic. I stopped drinking in 1991 and quit smoking in 1996. I kept my weight down with a combination of exercise and weight watchers. I never saw it coming when I was blindsided at age 42 with not one, but two major neurological conditions. What happened to all my plans. My plan had to do with the fact that my maternal grandmother was one of 16 and they all lived to the ages of 96 to 104 (no addictions in that line), that was going to be me. We never know what tomorrow could bring. I can prove that by looking at yesterday. Raised in Massachusetts, did I dream I’d be living in the places I’ve lived. Here I am in Calgary away from the swarthy Irish, Italian working class heritage I miss sometimes. Don’t get me wrong here, I love Calgary, great people here. No, did not plan this.

The best way to deal with my life, if I want peace, has got to be one day at a time. I can lay plans, I can have goals, but then, I have to get back into the day I am in or it all gets stressful fast. The actual possibilities available to me are upon waking each morning to the new day ahead of me, if only I don’t squander it unnecessarily on that which I have no control over, tomorrow and yesterday. Most of the time these days, I am fairly successful in doing that and most often I am a light hearted soul. But, there are those days.

The financial fear has to go. Here’s the truth:

  • I have a roof over my head and my rent is paid
  • I have decent clothes on my back
  • I have two children who are healthy
  • I am sober and smoke free
  • I just lost 35 lbs and I am a full two sizes smaller then I was
  • I no longer need walking aids as yet another person asked me just yesterday what happened to your walking (referring to how well I walk now), when you got here you were in rough shape.
  • I have hope for the future
  • I have the food I need today
  • I have medical support helping me get back on my feet
  • I have the Dr Wahls Protocol and the willingness to keep at it
  • I have two neurological conditions that do not define who I am nor do they decide what my future will be, anymore

This is shaping up to be a hell of a day!

 

Bonne Sante

 

 

 

 

A day for reminiscing

Its a crisp fall day on a Saturday in 1971. My brother and I are sitting with our feet tucked up under us on kitchen chairs in front of a small TV on the kitchen counter. In our hands are big bowls of cereal in milk. I have Cheerios with enough sugar added that I can scrape up a teaspoon of sugar with every bite and my brother is eating Cap’n Crunch which has a teaspoon of sugar in each crunchy shape. Jacked up on sugar, we squeal when we hear the first strains of, “Scooby Dooby Do, where are you? We got some work to do now.” Saturday was the special cartoon day when cartoons played from early morning till twelve noon on the big channels (ABC, NBC, and CBS), the little channels were PBS and UHF. After, we played outside all day till we heard my mother’s two finger whistle you could hear through the neighborhood calling us in for dinner and later to come in at night time. We did eat badly in those days. Dinner was probably shake and bake chicken with mashed potatoes and canned corn in cream, lunch would’ve been sandwiches on Wonder bread or Campbells soup, my favorite was chicken and stars with saltines. In between snacks might be apples, Fudge-0 cookies, or Lays potato chips.

What we did better back then was play. We only marathon watched TV Saturday mornings, otherwise we were outside playing. Our neighborhood had a call we’d make that any kid from our neighborhood knew and would echo the call back. We’d meet up in the direction we heard the call. We played hard, baseball, tackle games at night, tag, running, biking, sledding, swimming, climbing trees and walking all over the neighborhood. We didn’t make appointments to visit each other, we just showed up at each other’s doors. It was the norm to do that. Late at night before bed was TV time. Which amounted usually to one hour. We’d watch the Brady Bunch or The Partridge Family or Walt Disney World on Sunday nights on the big console TV with our mother, (Dad was working nights and days). As young children, none of us had special interest classes after school. That would start with maybe one thing like Little League baseball, Scouts or for me it was gymnastics. I started that at ten years old and attended class once a week for two hours. We had homework, but not a ton of it. My homework in Grammar school was done in thirty minutes or less, if we had any at all. We had our chores we had to do, like dishes, cleaning my bedroom and dusting on Saturday. Otherwise, we were outside most of the time.

Aside from that, we spent a lot of time with family and our parents. They rarely went anywhere without us. For example, if we went to an adult house party, we went in our pajamas and played with the other kids in their pajamas. These were not falling down drunk parties. These were normal social occasions. My father was a musician and so a lot of these were “guitar” parties. I loved sitting with the adults at the kitchen table because they were so funny. A lot of laughter, lot of humor. We took vacation for two weeks in the summer and stayed in a cottage on the beach. Vacation was spent together. My parents would jump waves with us, we went to the movies on a rainy day and the amusement park at least once. Summer outings were drive in’s, ice cream and on really special occasions, we’d go to a restaurant. Winter outings were, ice skating and once a year a special show like the Ice Capades or Ringling Bros and Bailey Circus.

Family visits were on the weekend. My mother entertained the family at our house often, mostly summer picnics, usually if we did this it was on Saturdays. We had a big yard and a pool. Most Sunday’s we visited family for four hours or more. Holidays were fun. My mother made sure of that. My family on both sides are funny, loud and laid back. No strict morays, no shaming, no sarcasm. They’re mostly dead now, mostly from various addictions, but, they were not mean spirited people. My brother resides these days in Ohio, we don’t talk much anymore, he’s a busy guy. I am in Canada. My son lives near me, my daughter on the other side of the country, but we are in touch weekly. I’m spending the day with my son tomorrow.

But, I will always feel fondly about those days.

What does any of this have to do with the Wahls Protocol? Absolutely nothing. I just wanted to take a moment and meditate on the happiest days of my childhood just because it feels good. This is my way of dealing with my recent homesickness. I find that the best way for me to deal with that is to embrace it and celebrate it by sharing it with others.

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture of my brother and me on the steps of a cottage we rented for two weeks near Horseneck Beach in Massachusetts. Picture taken around 1968.

 

New/Old Concepts Reunited

Eons ago, it feels like, I worked at a Fish restaurant called Fishland. In the kitchen, sometimes my duties were to prep before we opened. While the cooks prepped the chicken for landlubbers, I made homemade tarter sauce, which was simply equal amounts of relish and mayonnaise. We had two dishwashers from Jamaica. They exclaimed, when the cooks threw out the chicken bones, skin, fat, and innards, “Why are you throwing out half the chicken? That’s all good!” I thought, but its just the bones, icky innards and everyone knows that the skin and fat are bad for you. All these years later, here I am, learning that we were wrong and they were right.

Interesting to me, in the early 90’s I worked with a nurse who’s daughter was in the Peace Corp in Africa (I don’t remember where). Alice would go to Africa for a month every year to be with her daughter. She told us about an odd (to all of us) cultural situation her first time visiting this place in Africa. Out to the best restaurant in the area, Alice ordered Filet Mignon, which turned out to be the cheapest cut of meat on the menu, because, the more fat was in it, the more it was worth and the better it was, Filet Mignon is one of the leanest cuts.

My grandmother was from Calabria, Italy, she immigrated through Ellis Island around 1920 to Worcester, MA. This was her tomato sauce or as my father called it, gravy not sauce.

  • 2-28 oz can tomatoes, 4 cans tomato paste, 8 cans water
  • Chopped garlic and fresh parsley
  • Olive oil to lightly fry garlic before adding the other ingredients (fat)
  • Oregano, basil, crushed red pepper, and bay leaves, salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese (preferably Reggiano)

Meatballs (she didn’t brown them, just dropped them in) (fat)

  • 1 lb ground pork (fat)
  • 1 lb fatty hamburger (fat)
  • 2 eggs (fat)
  • fresh parsley, garlic and Parmesan cheese (fat)
  • 1 tbsp fennel seed
  • Bread crumbs or soaked and torn up stale bread, the same volume as the ground meat
  • salt and pepper

Italian sausage (these would’ve been handmade from D’errico’s Market) browned drain the fat. (fat)

Pig Skin Braciole: Stuffed with Parmesan cheese, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper, rolled up and tied with string. We kids fought over this, much like the salt pork in homemade baked beans. (fat)

Simmer, uncovered four to six hours, stirring occasionally. Serve with fresh Italian bread and more Parmesan cheese.

My mother made this every Sunday for my father. My grandmother taught her, so she could cook it. My mother was Irish, she loved my father’s mother. I never got to know her, I have vague memories of her, she died when I was five years old. We called her Nonny. Note all the (fat) in this. My father showed me a slice of Capicola, he called it “Gabagool”, he pointed out the ribbed fat. This was from D’errico’s, so it had huge slabs of fat through it. He explained to me, that the more fat, the better it is.

That’s what my father taught me, that and that organ meat was everyone’s favorites in the family as children. Then society taught me this:

food-group-the-first-food-pyramid-was-published-in-sweden-in-1974-musngt-clipart

This is the Dr. Wahls pyramid that I am learning to follow:

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In her book she has three levels of diet. Wahls, Wahls Paleo and Wahls Paleo Plus. The last listed is a Nutritional Ketosis or Hunter Gatherer diet. Each one has its own pyramid. In each chapter is a wealth of research, and information about each food and its benefits along with the science of each level and why this heals more than that. Most important to note is that this in no way takes the place of the book. I wouldn’t be able to adequately follow this diet without the book, which is inexpensive to purchase on Amazon. It is a reference guide that I turn to over and over and have had to reread to completely understand all these new/old concepts, depending on how you want to look at it.

My Dad would’ve loved this diet, except for the no Italian bread, no cheese and no “macaroni” part. I get homesick sometimes, lately I’m talking a lot about Massachusetts and thinking about my family. Most are long gone. Ugh, a blue note. I don’t want to end in a downer. Whenever I share my grandmother’s sauce, I honor her memory and I relive half my life eating that sauce. I could have it on the Wahls Protocol. I have to omit the cheese and I would need to substitute the bread crumbs for maybe ground hemp hearts, or ground almonds, or ground flax seed. Something like that. On Wahls other two levels, gluten free bread is a suitable substitute. And on level’s I and II, gluten free pasta is okay, level III, no pasta. But, this sauce is so good, you don’t need it.

Mangia!

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture of my father in the late 1930’s around four or five years old.

Wahls food pyramid taken from my copy of The Wahls Protocol “How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine by Terry Wahls, M.D.