I have been a little hesitant to mention the health problems I have been having because I don't want anyone to think I need or want a pity party. The only reason I am mentioning them now is because I have found something that has really helped.
A couple of years ago my husband trained for and ran his 1st marathon. (He has since run 3) The man/really great friend who trained him gave him the book, "Eat to Live" by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. My husband promptly put it on the book shelf and never thought about it again. In April I was looking in my hubby's office and saw this book that I had never seen before. I picked it up and started reading. Three days later I had finished the book and resolved to follow it's healthy eating program.
Why did I need this book? Because when I was pregnant with my 4th child I had a miserable pregnancy and about half way through stated having complications wiht my heart. My son was born prematurely and was in the NICU for a week. The OB Dr. and the Cardiologist both thought it would get better once the baby was born. It did get a little better, but not much. Then when he was a couple of months old I started waking up to my hands being so swollen and stiff that I could barely use them. After a few more months, I was so weak and tired all the time that doing anything was difficult. I went to my Dr. who ran a gazillion tests and sent me to a Rheumatologist who also ran a gazillion tests. The end result, I have hypoglycemia and sero-negative arthritis which may or may not turn into Rheumatoid Arthritis (my mom has RA).
So, I started a special diet for my hypoglycemia and started a series of different meds to try and help my joints to stop hurting and being so swollen. Several weeks later and I wasn't feeling ANY better. And that's when I found this book.
The very simplified version of what Dr. Fuhrman says is that our bodies are made to process fruits and veggies much better than meat and dairy. If we feed our bodies what they process better, then they will function better. Makes sense right? He also says that once our bodies are getting what they really need from the foods we eat, then they can start healing themselves. On his diet TONS of people with Type II diabetes have been able to completely come off of their insulin. People with hypoglycemia have a full recovery from their symptoms and people with Rheumatoid Arthritis don't have to take their medicine anymore. He also found a significant decrease in multiple types of cancer among people who are eating a plant-based diet.
We were by no means "meat eaters". We do eat meat occasionally, but not a ton. However, we were definitely dairy eaters. We also ate a ton of casseroles and even though I was cooking our meals at home, they were still very processed. Following this plan was definitely a pretty drastic change in our eating habits. I figured it was worth a try.
We have been eating healthy for one month now and have noticed some pretty big changes. It was not easy going at first. We have eaten more salad and fruits and veggies in the last month than I think we have in the last year. Some of it was quite tasty and some of it was barely palatable. What changes have we seen? Well, my hypoglycemia is completely gone...GONE! I can go several hours between meals without getting the shakes and without feeling like I am going to throw up or pass out. My arthritis pain isn't gone, but is completely manageable. I don't have to take my medicine anymore and it only takes a couple of minutes in the morning for my hands to stop being stiff and achy. One more big benefit that I didn't really NEED, but do really LOVE. I have lost 8 lbs. and my husband has lost 15. We also both have more energy and don't feel as tired.
The down side? My kids haven't loved it. Dr. Fuhrman has a set of books that have other menu plans and recipes in them and he has a kid's book. I bought all of those as well. After a month, we have decided that we need to find a middle ground. I can't make separate meals for us and the kids every day. So, we are going to keep eating LOTS of fruits and veggies, but we are also going to add a little bit of meat and dairy back into our diet.
I absolutely recommend these books, but you do have to be committed to doing them, or you are wasting your money.