Life’s Little Interruptions

A visitor, a surgery, a change in diet, and a break at work.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been overwhelmed. I’ve been working ten hours a day. I hosted my mom at my home last week. I’ve been confronted with a need to change my diet. All of this has left me with not much energy to write. The landscape is shifting but the ground is still there. I’m still standing. But there are only so many hours in a day, and every decision requires a discrete amount of energy. Whatever energy I had used for work, visitors, and adapting to a new diet, could not be spent writing. So I took a brief hiatus.

I am grateful that during this deep recession, I’m working. I’m working overtime quite often these days, and all that work that I put in during normal business hours starting in 2013 is now paying off in a big way. When I started working for my current employer, I was confused and unsure. I made tons of mistakes, but I kept applying myself to every problem that came before me. Managers liked me, but they weren’t quite sure what to do with me. I stayed on while I watched other people move on, move up, or get termed. I’ll never forget the guy who spent his days watching YouTube or the women who were promoted long before me.

After a few years, I finally got noticed. I watched managers engineer a change in my role for a raise that I could not get any other way. I’m middle-aged, and I don’t have a degree, but somehow, I’m still there. Now I work from home. I don’t commute anymore. I hardly ever fill my car with gas and it’s not a hybrid. I just show up and apply myself. I see an opportunity ahead, where I can create a role. Seriously, those are the best kinds of jobs, where I see a need, propose to fill it, and fill it.

All of that takes time, and there were a few people on my team who were out last week. My queue was overloaded. It is not uncommon now for me to work one or two hours past my normal quitting time. And I’m getting paid overtime for my work. I’m 56 years old now. I might be too old for this, but I don’t know if I would have the same opportunity somewhere else. So I keep working where I’m at.

Fortunately, my mom came to visit for a week. For two of the days she was here, I worked overtime. I had the rest of the week off to attend to surgery for my wife and her recuperation. This had been planned weeks in advance, so we knew it was coming. It was expensive even after the insurance picked 85% of the tab. And thanks to the Economic Impact Payments we had saved from last year, we had the cash to cover the out of pocket costs of the surgery, and had plenty leftover. If you’re working and you need surgery, and you got those economic impact payments, you could use it for medical expenses. It’s a bummer that our economy is so screwed up that most people cannot save that money without help from the government.

So while my mom was visiting, we revisited an old issue, my persistent cough. I had been trying for at least 15 years to deal with it. I’d been to many doctors, tried many ideas and nothing seemed to fit. But my mom and my wife both assailed me for my food choices. My mom sent me yet another link on how I could fix this. But this time was different. This time, the theory proposed matched the pattern. I began to see that I could actually change my diet and get a different response. Nothing I had ever read before stated the required change in terms that were so easy to understand and that could correlate so well with my experience. What changed? I needed to cut the acid out of my diet. I needed to adopt the Acid Watcher’s Diet.

I got a little PDF from my mom, a little brief on the topic of the Acid Watchers Diet. I read it. It made sense. I got the author’s name, and found his book on the Acid Watchers Diet. It’s long and it’s going to take some time. But I’ve already adopted one rule: anything that has a pH level of 5 or better is fair game while I’m healing. It all made sense now.

I’ve been eating apples every day for years, but they’re pH 3. They’re very acidic compared to say, bananas or cantaloupe. As I look back on my life, I can see a very steady trend of discomfort starting in 2004 or so, leading up to now. I can see that although I tried to eat a healthy diet, the “organic” tortilla chips were still junk food. The only thing that matters now is whether or not the food I eat is in a package. If it comes in a can or a bag, I can be sure sure that there is excessive acid in the food.

Well, that means most bread is out. Most pasta is out. That means I test everything with litmus paper, and I’ve been testing everything with litmus paper. Chocolate is out because it forms acid in the stomach. Red pepper, Indian food, Mexican food and anything with tomatoes is out. Anything that encourages the production of excess pepsin is out. I have had to cut out nearly everything that I love and move on to something else.

So I’m finding something to like about raw food. I’m replacing chips with carrots. I’m replacing sourdough bread with cantaloupe or whole grain bread. I’m eating a little cheese here and there. I’m drinking almond milk from time to time. I’m changing the values I assign to food before I look in the refrigerator for something to eat. I avoid the pantry.

I’m drinking a lot more water because the water I drink has a pH level of 7. I know this because I tested it with my own litmus paper. Water dilutes acid. Water can help to neutralize acid, too. I’m learning to lean to the green with a higher pH level. All of the leafy greens have a high pH level, the higher the pH number, the more alkaline it is. I can eat lettuce for a snack. It’s crunchy, good for me and it puffs up in the stomach. If I need carbs, I have bananas and brown rice.

All these adjustments seemed to deprive me of energy. When Mom is here, I had to work hard to stay present. I took naps to recover from the overtime, the surgery, and the change in my diet. I’m better now, but I still have a ways to go. I have built a mental shortlist of things I can eat to restore the carbs I lost from giving up the stuff in the bags in the pantry. Sigh. No more noodle cups. This is a work in progress, but as I adopt new food choices, I become more sensitive to the food that doesn’t work for me. I can feel that tickle in my throat that says, “You can’t cheat the Acid Watcher’s Diet”.

On this diet, I don’t count calories, I don’t need to. I’ve already lost 4 lbs in just a few days. My goal is to get back down to 165 from 175, and I think a lower weight is easier to maintain on the Acid Watcher’s Diet. Green leafy veggies are very low in calories. Bananas have carbs, but they are really good carbs, same with cantaloupe. Over time, I will diversiy my diet to all things pH 5 and above. I will have to find a way or I die.

What really caught my eye in my reading so far was that acid reflux can lead to esophageal cancer. I learned that I can prevent serious disease by changing my diet. I really want to see my girls get married, so I’m changing my diet. That’s how serious I am about this. I am becoming dedicated to using food for medicine.

While my wife was in surgery, I had time to think about all this. While my mom was in my home, I had time to reflect on the way my life is going. I learned again what was making me tired and what gave me the energy I needed to keep going. I actually found a plan that could help me live a better life. I remembered again what I’m doing here, and that I get to choose what I want to do.

Write on.

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