For nearly 15 years I weighed the same, all the time. It did not matter what I ate or drank, much to Moxie’s chagrin. I would get up in the morning and make a cup of coffee, smoke a Marlboro and have another cup. By lunchtime I had consumed numerous cigs and about 4 cups of sweet black coffee. I never ate lunch, and in case you missed the subtlety- breakfast was a java and cigarette event. By dinner, I was starving, eating my way through everything on the table. Salad was my only true healthy sustenance on a regular basis. Then it dawned on me. I am the father of 4, husband to a great wife and too young to be hacking my lungs out each morning. It was time. Oh how many New Year’s eve resolutions had I broken, how many failed patches, gums and nicotine treatments had I endured. Chantix and any other drug based approach was a no-no due to my profession. Flying and meds are very closely regulated. So, I did the only thing I could think of- Cold Turkey. Well….. I modified it some and had great success. You see, I returned home from a trip to Asia and allowed myself one full day of unfettered access to as many sticks as I wanted. The next day, only 10 were allowed to pass my lips. Then 8, 6, 4 and 2. By the time I got to Friday (4 per) I was rationing myself to half a cigarette at a time. On Saturday, my mate was coming over for dinner. Mel is an ex-smoker as well. He also drinks like a fish (it’s public sport in South Africa, where he hails). I knew I would be in for a heavy night, so I rationed the last one for the evening. In the afternoon, I found a half butt from the previous day. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I digress. The post steak Marlboro was magnificent. I smoked it like ganja, holding on to it for every last breath, coaxing one last drag out of her. Alas, I was done. Well, not really. I was not ready yet, I still had tons of wine, a good buzz and twitchy fingers. I had no more cigarettes, but a Hookah was hiding in the garage. I sparked that baby up and toked on her for nearly 2 hours, refilling as needed. The next day I felt like garbage. Th excess wine and copious hookah pulls really had me in a sad state. It was father’s day and I strolled around the golf course like a rag doll. I am glad I went out that way, I felt hideous for a full day and never once had a nicotine fit. Monday was a different story, Tuesday was no better but by the weekend I had peaked at the highest level of Male Bitch possible and was descending into the new normal. Two months later I was still hankering a butt, especially when getting back on the ground after a long flight. By six months, I was over it, and 15 pounds north of my old self. By the one year anniversary, I could honestly claim to be a non-smoker, with a pot belly and 20 pounds to prove it.
Suddenly, I started to get a weird sensation in my throat, like I was choking on something. It almost felt like something was stuck, right behind my Adam’s Apple. A disturbing sensation that had me worried, was it the Big C coming to get me? I went to an ENT doc who had done my Septum surgery years before. He diagnosed me with acid reflux disease. Years of coffee, cigarettes and other ‘things’ had taken their toll. I had been suffering sharp indigestion recently and this was a result of the bad diet I had subjected my body to. Copious coffees and no food to balance the equation had put my stomach out of whack. The fix- Nexium. This little purple pill was the medical miracle that was going to be a life saver. He also told me to quit…. Caffeine, Coffee, citrus, wine, alcohol- wait…..wine? Pardon my language , but f&^k you doc. I am not giving up vino. So, I cut the caffeine right away. I now drink one or two cups of decaf, herbal tees and have modified my acidic food intake.
I gained 20 pounds up until July of this year. I then gained another 15 when I quit the caffeine. I have not had indigestion since I started my regimen, but when you get rid of a stimulant you automatically gain the pounds. Which brings me to the new diet. I have never dieted in my life. This is not easy, especially as I have to think about it when I travel. Having access to your own supermarket and kitchen is easy. Ordering up from room service- not so much. I have left the research up to Moxie, she gets into that kind of stuff. Basically I am just eating meat and vegetables with a little fruit, plus vino. The purple pill is my little friend. I know it’s against the Paleo rules, but hey. I am quite comfortable with my self, just wanting to lose a few pounds and get fitter. I have bought new running (read- walking) shoes and go to Power Yoga every chance I get. I will have to add another cardio exercise in the near future.
So, tonight I went as Paleo as I could. I stewed some Beef with tomatoes from my garden and some store bought Zucchini/Squash. I left the two mutant ones behind.
I then made home-made Chicken Noodle soup. Actually, I roasted three Cornish Game Hens, then boiled the carcasses for the stock. I added pasta and Barley to the finished soup but did not partake of them, just the soup and chicken. I also made Collard Greens. To be precise I prepared a traditional African dish called Sukuma Wiki. I grew up in Kenya and remember it fondly. Greens cooked with Tomatoes (I used a can of Rotel, the hot kind), plus onions and loads of spices like Turmeric, Cumin and Coriander. It was da bomb. Only problem is I paired it all with a Burgundy, how cruel. The Collards are quite pungent, they overtook the delicate Pinot. I saved the wine till later, savoring it by itself. Read my notes after this post.
I just started this diet and think it will be straightforward as long as I can stay away from the rice, potatoes and other carbs/refined foods. Bread is going to be my evil. I shall overcome. Take not my cup of wine and I shall obey the rest of the rules (sorta). I ate my garden grown tomatoes which are far better than store-bought. I added spice to my dishes against the reflux rules and still drink the red. I guess I am saying that in moderation and modification I can adapt the medical advice and the diet to suit my particular needs and situation. If you are suffering from acid reflux or are on a diet I would love to hear your thoughts. Salut….