What am I going to eat now?

One perk of working in a health food supermarket is that you probably are going to eat better.  A tough part is that it can expose the weaknesses of your diet and make you feel some pressure to eat better.

After years of being a slug around food, in denial about the effects of diet on mood and overall health, I know now that I need to change my relationship to food – but I only have intuitive glimmers of how.

I have four factors waking me up.

  1. My shrink put me on a new mood stabilizer (Zyprexa) that he all but guarantees will cause me to put on weight.  He recommended a low glycemic diet and gave me a handout with the glycemic index of various foods.
  2. After years of being dormant, my prostate cancer is getting more noisy (my PSA blood test numbers are going up).  After the biopsy I have scheduled in a few weeks, my urologist may start pushing me to have radiation – and I’m pretty clear I don’t want to go there.  I’m taking a new anti-inflammatory supplement that I’m pretty excited about (Zyflamend from New Chapter) and I want to give it time to work.  And I want to explore various cancer prevention diets.
  3. My sugar addiction is still out of control.
  4. Now that I’m willing to really look at my diet, I’m ready to really face the possibility that factors in my diet negatively affect my mood – and that there might be one or more diets out there that would be good for my mood.
People like to tease about  sugar addiction, but I know it's a serious thing for me.  But how serious?  How much does it affect my mood? My cancer?

People like to tease about sugar addiction, but I know it’s a serious thing for me. But how serious? How much does it affect my mood? My cancer?

 

I’m not very knowledgeable in this area, but have some intuitions about where I need to go:

  • I need to stay off of sugar.  I don’t know how to do refined sugar in moderation.  But I’m lousy at negative discipline – just saying no to something.  I need something positive to focus on – an optimistic new diet that includes no sugar.I’ve always just focused on sugar desserts as the culprits, but there’s sugar in lots of things.  How scrupulous do I need to get?  What about fruit?  I sure don’t want to give up fruit, but we’re talking about a potentially fat cancer patient here.
  • Do I need to go gluten free?  Grain free?  I’ve been hearing about the book Grain Brain.  I’ve tried being gluten free for a couple of weeks two times, then abandoned it when I saw no change in my moods.  Someone told me once that you should see a change in that amount of time, but someone has told me it could take longer.  Lots of carbs turn into sugar pretty quickly in the blood stream.  I bet I need to stay away from processed grains – white bread at least is going to have to go, but maybe bread period.  I think I’m going to  get a loaf of Ezekiel sprouted bread for starters – maybe as a transition, maybe as a new regimen.
  • But bread is the staff of life, right?  I like it so much - is it feasible for me to give it up?

    But bread is the staff of life, right? I like it so much – is it feasible for me to give it up?

    How important is system acidity in all of this?  I’ve come to believe that we are meant to be alkaline, but most of us are actually running acidic.  (I’ve been testing myself with little strips of paper and am definitely acidic.)  I’ve heard a couple of people claim that cancer needs an acidic environment to grow.  I have started drinking high alkaline water.  I’ve got a hunch my beloved coffee is too acid-producing.

  • My friend Mary said that it sounds from the way I talk like I might be migrating towards the Paleo diet, about which I know very little.
  • She also talked about macrobiotics as an option for me.
  • Lydia, who came through my line today and seemed very knowledgeable about all this, talked about
  • the GAPS diet (“gut and psychology syndrome”) and
  • the Gerson diet.

I’ll keep you posted on all this – and will welcome any information or experience you might want to post in a comment.

As I have been writing this, I have – in my over-tired state – been bingeing on all the desserts I have stockpiled here over the last few days.  That settles it: I can’t wait for after the holidays to clean up my act around sugar – we start tomorrow with no refined sugar.  Then we’ll see what comes next.

Give them a shout out!

This post is a shout out to Eva and Liliana and some big gangly kid whose name I gotta find out.  All of these superlative customer service experiences happened in the last 24 hours.

Liliana was gracious, charming, funny and efficient as she sold me a wristwatch at the Kmart on Patton Ave. yesterday afternoon. I felt totally at ease with her.  She really knew her stuff – and was completely unflappable as I turned into Mr. High Maintenance.  “But I don’t want to hold on to my receipt – I lose everything.  And i don’t want to save the warranty brochure for the same reason….Keep it handy?  If I kept handy everything I want to not lose, do you know what my room would look like?  Can I hire someone from your department to come out and set up a filing system for me?”  She totally got the humor of all of this shtick and we had a great old time.

My new wristwatch has all the features I want, including a countdown timer! And I honest-to-god will sometimes think about this phenomenal kid Liliana when I use it. Good customer service makes a difference!

My new wristwatch has all the features I want, including a countdown timer! And I honest-to-god will sometimes think about this phenomenal kid Liliana when I use it. Good customer service makes a difference!

On my way out, I chatted with my friend Shirley, who works with me at the grocery store and moonlights at Kmart (she’s amazing).

“Shirley, this girl is phenomenal – who can I talk to about her?”

“I know – she’s fabulous.  Can you believe she’s a high school girl?”

“No, she’s way too mature and grounded.” (I guess I gotta get over my stereotypes of high school kids.)

“Go to the customer feedback website – it’s at the bottom of your receipt.”

I made a pact to myself I would do it before bed, which I did not.  I will not publish this post until it’s done.

The kid at the sandwich shop last night – the scene of the “Go away!” caper described in yesterday’s post – was Mr. Charm, Mr.Pazzazz.  He was a real showman.  He was also great at customer service – catering easily to all my little requests for my sandwich.  He also did a neat little upsell: “Sure you wouldn’t like a good draft beer to go with that?”  I hadn’t thought of it, but it seemed like a good idea.  I got a terrific amber beer from a local brewery (Altamont) that I had never heard of – the sandwich was better for it.  It occurred to me to try to talk with someone about him, but there didn’t seem to be anyone around and I let go of it.  As I was leaving, this kid was totally delighting a group of six college students.  (I bet he’s a high schooler too.)

(Not the same sandwich shop - just a stock photo) Little life moments that go well: He gets happy when I ask him to grill it.  He seems happy to be there.  He seems to like me.  It all put me in such a good mood!

(Not the same sandwich shop – just a stock photo) Little life moments that go well: He gets happy when I ask him to grill it. He seems happy to be there. He seems to like me. It all put me in such a good mood!

Eva took care of me this evening at the CVS on Smokey Park.  When I had been there on Sunday I had a good experience with a young woman cashier who seemed determined to not make eye contact with me.  I just kept praising how skilled she was at manipulating the cash register (which she genuinely was, apparently this was her comfort zone) – as we dealt with a refund, an online coupon and two gift cards – until she loosened up and even smiled, just perceptibly, at me.

Eva, on the contrary, was a dream.  She took me to everything I wanted and acted like I was the customer she had been waiting for all day.  I guess maybe I was.  After I had harvested all my stuff, I passed on the shorter checkout line in order to get her, praised her for the second time and asked, “Is there a manager around that I can tell about you?”  “Oh that’s not necessary.”  “No I want to.”

The manager, a 45ish woman, was called and obviously knew about Eva.  “I love my Eva – I miss her when she’s not here.”  After I had given very specific detail about what Eva had done right, I told them both about my customer service blog – and they both seemed very interested to check it out.  (You can tell your customer service people about it too.)  Eva is either in high school or not long out.  These kids sure explode the stereotype of high school kids giving terrible customer service.

Writing this post has got me more committed than ever to try to make sure that every great customer service person I encounter gets recognized.  I got the brochure from the sandwich shop last night and am going to call that phone number, starting as soon as I finish writing this post and until I reach some manager to tell about that kid.  I won’t publish this post until I get both of those feedback things done – it’s too easy to let them go!

I think we all have an investment in getting better customer service.  Focusing our attention – and management’s attention – on what’s going right can make a difference.  And it can really make some high school kid’s day (and they may end up being a supervisor or a store manager).