1. If I eat vegetables without some protein or fat, my blood glucose will spike just like eating fruit or candy or other carb laden items. (According to my nutritionist.) So, even if I eat salads all day, my circulating blood glucose will be high, thus feeding the brain tumor.
2. Like with the veggies, if I eat a piece of fruit without a little protein and fat, my blood glucose will spike like I've eaten a candy or other carby food.
3. If I eat more than (approx - depending on your body size) 4 ounces of protein at once, the excess is converted into glucose thereby spiking my blood glucose.
4. If my heart rate gets going too much, it spikes my blood glucose. (Which for me is anything above walking.)
5. There are carbs in supplements. When you're taking around a hundred pills a day, the supplements are a food group in and of themselves. So, do I skip vegetables so that I can take my pills? I can only have 20 g of carbs a day to stay in ketosis. My supplement plan is to keep my copper levels low, glucose low, to lower inflammation and so many other things. My nutritionist is trying to keep my body in a healthy homeostasis, creating an environment where cancer can not grow. Which is more important, pills or veggies?
6. So, skip the whole supplement issue, and focus on the fact that if I eat more than 20 grams of carbs in a day (even if it's purely vegetable carbs - no breads or crackers), I will not be in ketosis. If I'm not in ketosis, my circulating blood glucose is high enough to be feeding the tumor. In order for me, personally, to be in ketosis and stop the growth of the tumor this is what I can eat in a day:
20 g Carb = 3.2 cups raw broccoli
63 g Protein = 2 chicken breasts (5.5 ounces each)
91 g Fat = 7.2 tablespoons of coconut oil
Clearly, the above daily diet is not very rounded, I'm just trying to make it easy to gain perspective, and understand the difficulty of the Restricted Ketogenic Diet, as Professor Seyfried recommends for brain tumor fighters.
Let's see...so, now that I know what I'm allowed to eat to be successful, it's just a job of staying on target. The problem, is that even though I know what I need to do to stop tumor growth, I also know, from experience, that it sucks. It's so regimented, there are so many rules, and it takes a lot of fun out of my life. I can no longer just enjoy an apple for the sake of its' beauty, and flavor, and crunch. Now I think about how the sweetness is surging through my body, how that body is pumping insulin to try and lower my blood sugar, that the sugar remaining in my veins is swimming up toward my brain, and into my resection area, that the invisible cancer cells (which the doctors have so thoroughly reminded me, still exist), are gorging on the sugar from that tartly delicious apple. They're getting fatter, and dividing into little cell babies. I can't un-know these things, and it is such a disappointment.
Here I am, in quasi-stable mode, feeling as if I'm teetering on the brink of success and failure. Every minute of every day I analyze, and assess my food choices, my exercise choices, my supplements - do I skip my pills for breakfast because I don't feel like eating? (I need to take most of my pills with food.) According to Seyfried, the less you eat (generally speaking), the less your blood glucose increases, the less you feed the tumor. So, basically, each time you skip a meal you're doing something right. In essence, you're being "healthy", but at the same time, it's just sanctioned anorexia.
It is crazy that I feel bad if I go for a jog, or if I do cardio, or lift weights, in the back of my mind I (always) know that I'm increasing my blood glucose, that I'm feeding tumor growth, that I am slowly killing myself. What is good for me is not the same for what's good for most. (According to research, anyway.) I'm in this weird world of trying to outsmart a brain tumor and it's strategic, and complicated, and usually counter intuitive.
I wish I never knew about blood glucose and how tricky it is, how fickle. I'm not a person that is meant to live like this. It's not in my constitution. I know a woman who has been on the restricted ketogenic diet for years due to her inoperable brain stem tumor. She has never over-indulged, indulged a little, but never been kicked out of ketosis. She has, however, been known to chew "cheat" foods, then spit them out before she swallows so that she won't ingest the carb loads. Technically, I would consider that an eating disorder, but is it? Sure, probably, by normal standards it is, however it is keeping her alive, so how do you rationalize saying it's unhealthy? I can't. But, it's confusing.
Now, before anyone says for me to lighten up, or just take it easy, to not be so hard on myself, please spare yourself. I know that. I work very hard at taking it easy (don't worry, I can hear how absurd I sound), I distract myself, I change the thoughts in my mind, but always they seep back in. My life, living on this Earth, is very important to me. I don't know how I can ease-up, to lighten-up when the stakes are so high. I also realize how stupid it is, this juxtaposition of being so regimented, knowing that living in fear, in fight-or-flight mode, keeps cortisol levels high, your immune system low, and glucose high. What I'm doing by over-analyzing things is killing me just as everything from that list above. So what do I do? Do I just give up and enjoy myself? Do I just say forget it? Do I try to live my best in moderation? Moderation is so boring. Ugh. Just thinking about living a life of moderation feels like purgatory. No one ever used "moderate" to describe passion, taste, or really anything I would want to experience. I don't moderately love Dan. I don't enjoy moderate meals. I don't want a moderate vacation.
Sorry I fell into such a tangent. I guess, as I keep repeating, I just wish I could un-know things. I feel it would make my life much more enjoyable, happier, more carefree. Clearly, I'm still trying to navigate the daily reality of living with a brain tumor hovering over my head - doctors may not be sure if there's one in there or not right now, but there's definitely some hovering going on. I just want to live my life, and be happy, but of course, it's never that easy. Ultimately, constantly living in fear, being flippant, or carefree won't stop the need for these...