Since a couple of days I am on a no sugar, no yeast and no wheat diet. The reason for that is that my partner S. recently did some research due to health problems she had. Checking and rechecking the symptoms and all information she could find on the internet the diagnosis was Candida albicans. She started with giving me a list of symptoms that potentially could be related to Candida. Since there are really a lot of them that could apply I started to investigate for myself. The main reason for me considering I also might have a Candida infection is the simple fact this fungus lives in almost everybody and since we are sexually active there was no chance for me not to be infected.
On the list of symptoms I could easily pick a couple that sounded very familiar and giving me some health problems for quite a while. Dizziness and respiratory problems are the main ones but a series of other symptoms were enough to convince me a diet was the least I could to for a healthier body. I am not addicted to sugar, however, if I could, every day by mid morning I was looking forward to a cup of coffee with honey and some cookies to still my hunger since by then the fruit breakfast was almost forgotten. Both the fruit (melon, banana, grapes) and the chocolate cookies were a real sugar and wheat bomb. If you consider all the bread I was eating over a week (sandwich, pizza, slices) there was a lot of yeast too in my diet. And yeast converts into sugar and the same applies to wheat and most fruit.
Looking at the list of what I should not eat for the coming months I realized there was not much left. With a little creativity and a lot of money we spend doing groceries at the local bio-food store we managed to produce some nice meals (mainly thanks to S. who likes to cook and is not afraid of some new challenges).
A diet is nice but gets complicated when you have to eat somewhere else. My challenge started yesterday where I was helping a friend photographer shooting photo’s and making video’s of a real Italian wedding. Already at our first stop at the brooms house we were offered bread with local dry meat, sausages and salami with a glass of wine (!). It was not even ten o’ clock in the morning. I managed to keep a low profile so nobody noticed i did not take anything. I was less lucky at the bride’s house where I took something that at least was not containing any sugar. By the end of a log day I could conclude it did not go too bad. I had no sweet things (except one thing that I took as something else) and managed to eat raw vegetables, onions and some risotto.
A while ago our diet was actually quite healthy, we even had a period we ate mostly raw vegetables, something we let go when S. cleared her starting point for following that diet and also for practical reasons connected to a chronic money shortage. Although we can afford ourselves to spend a little more on food we kept on with our cheap food until a couple of days ago.
While looking at the food you eat while trying to skip everything that contains sugars (even honey, cane sugar, sugars in fruit), wheat and yeast you come to the conclusion almost all processed foods contain either all or a couple of these elements. Even among the natural foods there is plenty of stuff containing sugar in some form and yeast even when the wheat is replaced by something else.
I have a long period with no fruit (except oranges and grapefruit) coffee, ice-cream, bread and cookies ahead. No problems with that, not even longing to any of those things. No hunger either (which helps a lot) due to a good cereal with yoghurt breakfast and well balanced lunches and dinners.
A couple of days ago I read an article about a research that describes how sleep can be compared with being drunk when driving. I found this interesting since I have been working on this ‘sleep thing’ for a while and managed to stop this mind system quite effectively.
There has been a period I drove back and forth from home to Milan a couple of times a month (a five hours drive). Since I always drove at night I have been experiencing serious sleep attacks. I experimented several conditions and most of the times the way up (as we say it in Italy when you drive north) I was always very fit. The way down a little less fit because it was after one or more days of intensive work.
After a couple of times testing different situations I could establish there was no real connection to what I had done on the day of the drive and the strength of the sleep attacks. Instead I saw a connection with going in the mind and having to fight against sleep. The most recognizable pattern I found the way back home where I kind of relaxed after my work and started to ‘work out’ my experiences of the day in my mind. The more I got in the mind, the more I had to fight sleepiness which disappeared in thin air when I stopped to have dinner. Ok, by doing something here and now I can get rid of this sleep feeling. I started practicing with this experience and although not always very easy, I managed quite effectively to stop the mind just by ‘stepping back’ into the moment.
It is fascinating to see how especially long drives are a perfect moment for the mind to suck you out of the here and now and starting all kind of great mind games that eventually can even lead to (deadly) accidents since sleep is a common cause for many accidents on the roads especially at night. But why more at night? I guess that having little other to see than dark surroundings and a boring highway makes the ideal situation for the mind to take over. I’ve never had sleep problems while driving in harsh conditions or in heavy traffic.
Although I still have to fight sleep regularly when I drive home from work at night I can stop it effectively by stopping thinking about what I have done and what I should do and all the mind games around these thoughts. It is amazing how pleasant a drive can be by effectively being in the here and now with nothing in the mind (or almost, for short periods, mainly being aware of the fact you constantly start with new thoughts, so working on being constantly aware of the fact you are going back in the mind).
I am far of being effective in fighting my sleep but I am at least more aware of it and can help myself out of the mind while dong an activity that needs my full attention. The driving scenario is just one of the situations in which I experience sleep. It is funny to see how a research has been done in a driving context. I see there is a point connecting it to the danger of falling asleep behind the wheel and comparing it to alcohol and that we are able to check people on how much they have been drinking but we can not check how much sleep they have been experiencing in the moment they were driving since this sleep is gone when an police officer stops you to check you out.
I still have a lot of work to do in fighting against sleep while reading and writing late at night in moments I would rather go to bed and give in to the feeling of sleepiness that makes my eyelids close without warning.
It is a while now that I radically stopped drinking any drink containing alcohol. After having seen a video from Bernard I kept on drinking a glass of wine on few occasions with friends. At home I stopped drinking already since I was the only one that still did. Last summer I had a couple of beers but that was it. While the message of Bernard’s video was still echoing in my head I had to deal with my ‘motivations’ for still keeping on drinking a glass in specific occasions. When I started to systematically work through all my justifications in self honesty I could skip them all fairly easy. Adding the fact I already started to drink wine very critically I almost every time had to conclude I did not really like the taste after I got rid of all the mind fucks that normally are used to lift the wine drinking to a higher level of ‘awareness’. I did feel also more and more the effects of alcohol on my body, even if it always has been limited to a couple of glasses and I never got drunk in my life. It did not feel right.
It has been quite easy to say no to alcoholic drinks since then. WhenI tell people I stopped drinking alcoholic drinks they sometimes ask if I still drink beer or maybe a coffee with a drop of liquor, they are having a hard time imagining someone could stop radically drinking alcohol. Well, I then explain to people when asked, it is easy since I found out I am abusing my body when I drink any kind of alcohol. Normally it stops there as if people are not willing to ask for further motivations. I will not actively tell someone more about the reasons of stopping with alcohol but if I see the right occasion I will not fail to give a full picture of what is behind alcohol: abuse, deception, money, manipulation, fear.
While looking at the video of Cenk I realize that it has been quite easy for me since I do not have a social network that is ‘floating’ on alcohol consumption. Until now I had a few occasions where people reacted surprised and one time a little embarrassed since they just gave me a bottle of wine to thank me for a favor I did for them. But nevertheless I experienced the stopping as being freed from a burden I was not aware of. I do not have to justify myself every time I am drinking, nor do I have to participate in discussions about wine and beer tasting or any other alcoholic drink that might be so special that you should not miss it. I don’t have to ask myself anymore if I like to drink a glass of wine or beer at dinner time. Try it yourself and see what you come up with to justify you are going to drink a glass of wine or something else. Try to be self honest when you do so and you will find out that you are doing it for no real reason other than excuses as you like the taste or even worse the feeling (to get drunk or less aware of the real world). I was not prepared to admit I had the same reasons when drinking a glass of alcohol, but when going down to the bare bone of the why I was drinking I could not come up with something else than looking for something that allowed me to temporarily delay the fact I had to face the real world of my every day life. Time wasting and abuse of your own body. After having seen these points it has been easy for me to decide to stop for ever.