Saturday, July 14, 2012

It is Time for an Explanation

I think a bit of an explanation is due.... It has been a long time since my last post, and I have been pretty sketchy about writing for months before that. I have not lost interest in my blogs or in letter writing, even though it may look that way. I have talked about being busy, which I have been, but there has been more to it than that. I have tried on many occasions to compose a post talking about my most recent incoming mail/outgoing mail or a missive on letter writing, but I just haven't been able to do so.
When I returned from our trip to Costa Rica in January, I was feeling great. I had spent 6 weeks hiking, breathing fresh clean air, eating wholesome fresh fruits and veggies and enjoying the peace of the rainforest. It was wonderful to feel so good.
 After just a few weeks back in the States all the vigor and well being I had enjoyed in Costa Rica was gone and my health was deteriorating daily. I limped along for awhile trying to cope and then it got to the point where I didn't feel like doing anything. I have struggled with Fibromyalgia for many years, some times the symptoms are manageable and life is pretty normal, other times it is very debilitating and I am unable to do even the simple things in life without a struggle. Since early spring I have been dealing with a bad stretch, I have been trying to keep up with my household responsibilities and all the garden tasks, but there hasn't been much left at the end of the day.
While we were living in Costa Rica in 2009-2010, I  wondered why I felt so good, I had far less pain and fatigue, and more energy than I had enjoyed since I was a young woman.... I thought maybe it was the low stress way of life and ultra clean environment, but what ever the reason I was very happy to have my health back.  I was crushed when we moved back to the States and my health quickly declined. Each time we go back to Costa Rica for a visit, my health and my quality of life improves immensely, and upon each return to the States my heart breaks as my health fades away... But why...? What was it about Costa Rica that made such a difference?
While we lived in Costa Rica, we spent our days outside working the farm. The hard work and highly oxygenated air gave us all a voracious appetite and we ate constantly. The foods we ate were simple, fresh fruits and vegetables, rice and beans. We ate very little meat due to the high cost of meat and poultry, no cheese since the available cheese was of very inferior quality and costly, and no packaged foods with the exception of tomato sauce and mustard. We had no oven and only a two burner gas hot plate to cook on, so most of our food was eaten very close to its original condition...raw. We practically lived off Batidas, (fresh fruit smoothies), vegetable salads and Gallo Pinto, (a traditional Costa Rican black beans and rice dish). The fresh air, exercise and low stress were no doubt factors in my improved health,  but I began to think that diet was the "secret ingredient".
I have always eaten healthy, choosing to grow and eat my own organically grown produce, eggs and  raw dairy from our own milking herd. For brief periods  over the years I have eaten a little poultry on occasion, but for the better part of 25 years I was a Lacto/ Ovo Vegetarian. I began adding meat to my diet when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. The doctor told me that I would need more protein to repair my damaged muscle tissue than a vegetarian diet would provide, so I started adding poultry and a small amount of beef to my diet. Big mistake... Not only did it not improve my condition, but for the first time in my life I had trouble keeping my weight where I wanted it.
So to test out my thoughts that our diet in Costa Rica was integral to my improved health, I decided to  eliminate all animal products from the menu for 60 days. I  started juicing carrots and lots of green leafies, and made fruit smoothies and "green drinks", (super food drinks including barley and wheat grass), for breakfast and to fill the hungry gaps between meals. Soon I started feeling stronger, I was losing some weight and my pain was back in the tolerable range. Encouraged, I took another step or two, I have eliminated all soy products and have gone to a mostly raw diet. 
It has been 3 months since I started my test, in that time the pain had been reduced by 80%, (I still have pain at night sometimes or when I over do), the fatigue has all but disappeared, (hallalujah!), I am not fighting depression, and...I have lost 12 pounds! I have decided to end the "test" and make the changes a permanent part of my life. For the moment, I can't do anything about the air quality, or enjoy the slower paced, low stress lifestyle I enjoyed in Costa Rica, but I am very encouraged by the improvements changing my diet has made.
This blog post is a very positive benchmark as well since for months, try as I may, I couldn't  think clearly enough to compose a decent blog entry or write letters. I wanted to, since writing is my happy place, but I just couldn't fight through the fog in my brain. Now the fog is beginning to clear and  I might even have a flicker of a creative spark returning so that maybe soon I can make some mailart to send to my dear pen friends.
I know this post was too long in coming, I should have tried to explain my absence sooner, but I didn't know what to say. I want to blog about the things in life that I love, not talk about my problems... who wants to hear them any way...? It is very easy to hide "real life" situations in the blogosphere, to build the illusion of a rosy life without the bumps and pitfalls that make up a life beyond the pen or computer, it is easy and safe, but not genuine. I haven't posted because I couldn't write about the things I love, I had temporarily lost sight of them, so rather than admit there was a problem, I just didn't write at all. I am sorry. I have missed writing, I have missed you all... I am hoping that very soon I will be back to regular blogging, writing letters, making artistamps and finding bits and pieces of mailart flotsom from my latest creation stuck to the bottom of my shoe... Hopefully soon I will be seeing you in the mail!