Thursday, March 10, 2011

Just Say No

You're looking at all the kidney meds I did not take for the last few months. My doctor doesn't know it yet, but I stopped taking these pills at about the same time I started eating Raw foods seriously, in early January.

Until then, I'd been taking one every day for the last year. The doc put me on them after finding elevated levels of protein (microalbumin and creatinine) in my urine. Apparently, it's not supposed to be there in the larger quantity that it was (exact numbers to follow) and he wanted me to take the Lisinopril (more commonly prescribed to help control blood pressure) as a precaution against premature diabetic kidney disease
and/or failure.

I remember not understanding at the time what the cause of this higher protein level could be. The answers I received from the doc's assistants were the same: it was all blood sugar related, and I needed to have better control. This explanation made no sense to me, however, as the doc had done nothing but praise my consistently level blood sugars and impressive A1c results. (Hemoglobin A1c tests measure the blood sugars in the body for about a three-month time period. Where the normal range is 4-5.9% and generally well controlled diabetic patients present less than 7.0%, my highest number - if I recall correctly - had been just 5.7%.) My doc was always telling me I was a "star" and confiding in me that it was patients like me who made him feel he was making a positive difference in the world.

Imagine my surprise, then, at the news that, despite my best efforts, my body required a new drug to help it function. Suddenly, I was struck by the frightening possibility of inheriting my gramma's weekly pills container, at the tender age of 29. I shuddered.

Wasn't there some alternative way to improve my kidneys' performance - for example, by eating more or less of certain foods? I asked him, but his answer was a very simple, "No. There's nothing you can do. Take the medication." (Sometimes I wonder if doctors don't feel a bit like drug pushers.)

Turns out, something NOT medication is apparently helping, after all. My latest number for microalbumin is 10.0 mg/L, where normal is less than 30 mg/L, and my latest number for creatinine is 6.2 mg/L, where normal is between 3.8 and 14.8 mg/L. Remember, that's compared with my previously much higher numbers from one year ago (exact numbers to follow); so something has triggered a change. I credit Raw foods, of course, but I may be biased.

In all the reading and educating myself that I've been doing so heavily these last few months, the sources I'm currently following suggest that most drugs and medications (and many other all-too-abundant toxins) can interfere with the healing potential of the body on a Raw foods diet. And since many drugs and medications are manufactured, it really just makes sense to me to begin gradually weeding them out of my lifestyle, in the same way I've been gradually weeding out processed, manufactured foods from my diet. Of course, none - not even I - have implied or suggested discontinuing any medication cold turkey or without consulting a physician. I still require some synthetic insulin, after all, though I reduced my intake by more than half after less than one month on Raw foods. In my case, and in the case of those kidney meds, my decision to stop using them was simply a risk I was willing to take, in full knowledge and acceptance of whatever consequence my actions might have.

Naturally, I had all the expected doubts - wondering whether I was doing more damage to my kidneys by essentially ignoring my doctor's medical instructions. Ultimately, though, I was able to overcome those deeply engrained fears. I did so by remembering that, because I've been eating an enzyme-rich, nutrient-dense diet for several weeks already, my body is in better shape to recover from illness now than it ever has been, in all my 30 years.

So it seems my faith has been rewarded with yet another miracle. And giddily, I welcome it!

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