Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bali, Indonesia Retreat Adventure - Travel Days

First flight of 12 and a half hours went surprisingly fast. I watched two movies, took a five hour nap, and visited with the passenger next to me, who is a fruit broker (is that such a thing?). My layover was four hours in the Tawain airport, which is equivilent to Hello Kittyville... or duty free and snobby rich boutiques. Second flight was five hours, in which I watched Gone Girl Gone, and then immediately wished I had chosen Frozen instead.
Aaannnywaaay....
Before this retreat I was provided with a pre-fast information to help acclimate to a sugar free diet. I did the exact opposite of what the pamphlet said. Instead of eating an alkaline diet (avoiding meat, alcohol, processed food, caffiene, sweets, etc), I drank chai teas, ate cake pops, bought cookies for the plane, ate red meat, and drank wine (it was free, how could I resist?) all the way up until I got to the gate. Literally, I was shoving a cookie into my mouth as we pulled into the driveway. You have to understand that sugar is my crutch, vice, drug, whatever you want to call it. We have had a long, loving, not-so-loving relationship, sometimes making me feel super good, and then usually making me feel super bad. The one time I went off sugar, I actually made it for about two weeks, then broke down and had a Starbucks Frappuccino (aka 57 grams of sugar!!!!!), and immediatly felt dizzy and sick. Did that stop me? Nope. I do have to say though, that I really don't eat a ton of sugar, compared to the average American. I don't drink soda, juice, or mow down chocolate bars on a daily basis. But the little sugar that I do eat, is still too much sugar. I know sugar is bad for me. I know that is why my waist line isn't my best feature. I know that it's toxicity on the liver is just as bad as alcohol. But... I eat it anyway. Isn't that the second sign of addiction, using despite the consequences, denial being the first?
I chose to go to this retreat not just for detoxing sugar, but because I have had a handful of health problems with my esophagus and stomach. Five years ago I was told I had a hiatal hernia (stomach is pushing up into my esophagus causing heart burn). I was given a Rx, which I never picked up, and instead avoided the five foods that were too acidic and caused heart burn for me; tomatoes, almonds, bananas, avocados, & apples. That lasted 4 1/2 years, up until last summer, when I was getting heart burn just sitting there, eating nothing. I had to sleep sitting up, would vomit almost nightly, and it hurt. I also felt my stomach in my esophogus. I would drink hot water and jump up and down until the stomach would fall back down. Everytime I ate something, I could feel my esophogus swelling. No bueno. I flew back to Seattle, had an endoscopy, and was told I have Eosinophilic Esophagitis.

Uummmm...what?

Exactly. Here is what wikipedia says:
Eosinophilic esophagitis (eosinophilic oesophagitis), also known as allergic oesophagitis, is an allergic inflammatory condition of the esophagus that involves eosinophils, a type of white blood cell. Symptoms are swallowing difficulty, food impaction, and heartburn.
Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) was first described in children but also occurs in adults. The condition is not well understood, but food allergy may play a significant role. The treatment may consist of medication to suppress the immune response, but in severe cases it may be necessary to stretch the esophagus with an endoscopy procedure.
After prick tests (about 30 on my back) and two blood tests, I was told that I had an allergy to the following: Dairy (all milk/cheese product), eggs (WHY GOD WHY?!?!), peanuts and all treenuts, and yeast (brewers and bakers). This means, no bread (sandwiches, buns, toast, etc.), no beer, no omlettes, no almonds, no peanut butter, no cashews (my favorite!!), no cheese, no baked goods with eggs, no massaman cury from Starfire....

Excuse me as I take a moment of silence for the last one.......

...and now I'm that annoying friend to go out to eat with. "Yeah I'll just have some lettuce, sans everything else!" But, here's the catch, all these tests are inconclusive. None of them are 100% accurate, and to really figure out what I'm allergic to, an elimination diet is the answer.

So here I am. Bali. Starting a 14 day detoxification cleanse, with colon enemas and all. I'll cleanse the system and slowly bring back in foods and see how I feel. Two days of supercleanse, which includes smoothies, and broth.  10 days of liquid fasting, to two more days of bringing food back in to my diet. Massages, yoga, mediation, classes/workshops, hikes, sun, sleep.... here I go.


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