Tuesday, August 01, 2006
CF and Nutrition; Recommended Reading
Knowledge is power. --Sir Francis Bacon
I was never one to just sit back and accept someone else's explanation for something. I'm certain that my inquisitive nature is largely responsible for why I have chosen science as my profession.
I believe it is the job of the professionals in the CF clinic to provide me with the information I need in order to take good care of myself. I also believe that it is in my best interest to not just follow blindly without thinking things through. Afterall, the doctors' field of expertise is limited to what they have already learned. Ultimately, I am the one who knows my body best and knows what things work and don't work for me.
Some people with CF are more prone to lung problems, while others struggle with intestinal problems. Typically my greater challenges are in the area of food. I have always struggled to maintain an acceptable weight and BMI. Even now, I'm a bit underweight. Prednisone has jump-started my appetite, but I know that the weight I've gained is not the right kind of weight.
Several years back there was a cookbook for CFers called "Fat and Loving It". The cookbook had some decent suggestions for gaining weight and plenty of tips for packing in the calories, but I never liked it much. As an adult with CF, I know that being healthy is not just about acheiving and maintaining a certain weight. It's about providing my body with quantities and types of foods it needs to function as well as possible. I'm fortunate that I have a voracious appetite and don't often have to resort to dietary supplements just to meet my caloric needs.
I know not everyone likes to gather as much background information as I do, but if you're the type of person who wants to know WHY certain foods are good/bad for your body, I highly recommend you get a copy of "Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal" which is put out by Reader's Digest. Hardback and paperback versions are available. It's a great reference tool and it goes far beyond just listing foods alphabetically. The extensive index lists a wide variety of nutrition-related topics, including anecdotal case studies for certain illnesses that could be aided by diet.
We all have different needs when it comes to our nutritional status, but the one thing we have in common is that our bodies need the proper fuel in order to function. We can't always guarantee that we won't succumb to certain lung infections or other illnesses, but if we keep our bodies well-tuned with diet and exercise, those infections are easier to fight. This isn't to say that proper diet alone is sufficient for keeping someone with CF healthy. Along with good nutrition, we need to follow the doctor's orders, take our meds, do our treatments, and get whatever help we need to maintain a healthy mental outlook. Living well with CF doesn't happen by accident. It takes work, but it's worth it.
Current mood: mostly calm
Current snack: grapes and water
Health-o-meter: 70% and climbing
Emotional weather: clear skies