Here’s to Your Health

After retiring my mother became an avid quilter. She made quilts for my sister and I, and then for our children. She had already begun to have symptoms of Alzheimer’s when she started the quilt for our second granddaughter. It was extremely difficult for her, and took much longer than usual to finish. The final result was heart-breaking. Mom had always been very precise, quilting by hand. This quilt combined many different types of fabric, including drapery and upholstery fabric along with the quilting cottons. Some of the seams were open, and coming apart. It was clear how much she’d lost. Our daughter-in-law still treasures the quilt, of course, but it’s too fragile to ever use.

We all know someone with Alzheimer’s, be it family or friends. It’s a terrible disease, one by which the patient actually dies twice: first by losing recognition of those they’ve known forever, and finally succumbing to the inevitable end. With my mother having had it, the odds of me getting it as well are 85% higher. Recently health care professionals have started calling Alzheimer’s “Type 3 Diabetes”, due to the fact that Type 2 Diabetes often leads to it. It’s become an epidemic and the costs are astounding.

From 18 months to six years old I was always sick, due to chronic spring and fall allergies. With a persistent sore throat I ate very little, and was consequently skinny. At the age of six my tonsils were removed and I began eating and putting on weight. The bad part about that is that I never stopped putting on weight. By the time our first son was born I was in the range of morbidly obese. I never “grew out” of the allergies, they just got worse. Trying to keep my weight to the point that I could buy clothes off the rack was a constant battle.

Mom’s decline motivated me to do something, and retirement gave me the time. We started walking, every day, rain or shine. Soon I was fit – and fat. Regardless of what the TV shows would suggest, you don’t lose weight through exercise. We tried various diets, losing on some. Becoming vegetarian didn’t really help. Fasting one day a week also did not accomplish much. Allergies were still a problem, and my overall health was poor.

It probably is no surprise that I spend a lot of time on the Internet. That’s how I happened to stumble across Mark’s Daily Apple, a website maintained by Mark Sisson. He advocates the “Primal” approach to eating, which is centered around eliminating grains and most sugar. This is not a diet, per se, as much as a lifestyle. It’s a modified form of what is popularly known as “Paleo” eating. Within a few weeks I started losing weight, eventually getting back to my weight at age 21. My health got better, but was not perfect. Allergies were easier to manage, but I still had the usual “old people” problems.

While I stopped eating sugar, either directly or in packaged food, I continued to indulge in fruit – heavily. The weight loss stopped. Some of my old health issues returned. At that point my doctor still classified me as “one of her healthy ones”, but I didn’t feel like I was where I should be. About that time Mark and his associate Brad Kearns released The Keto Reset Diet, building on the original Primal lifestyle. It’s based on the way that our ancestors ate, long before they started farming. I decided to give it a shot.

After six months on Keto I have lost 30 pounds and have a Body Mass Index (BMI) that is officially normal, for the first time in my adult life. But that’s not the real bonus. One by one my health problems have disappeared. After suffering with allergy for 68 years, I am no longer bothered by the spring pollen. Fall symptoms would normally be starting now, but this year they are not. Virtually every aspect of my life is better. Worldwide there is a growing community of people who have adopted the Keto lifestyle and they are having the same dramatic results. A documentary called The Magic Pill, currently showing on Netflix, illustrates the huge difference Keto has made for an autistic child and a senior diabetic.

So why I am I blogging about this here? At virtually every quilt show I have ever attended, the aisles are often blocked by scooters, used by people whose health problems are so bad that they are unable to walk very far without assistance. The majority of those who can walk are clearly overweight. I’m sure most of you have seen this at the shows you have attended. More than a few of these folks are going to wind up like my Mom, no longer able to do the quilting that they love. It doesn’t have to be this way. Our health care system is built on treating symptoms of disease, rather than preventing it. Selling prescriptions is profitable, teaching people how to avoid getting sick not nearly so much.

If you have stayed with me to this point, I hope that this information will help you or someone you love. I don’t know whether my experience will result in my having a longer life, but it will definitely be a better one. That’s why I’m sharing it with you.