Finding balance with health and work
(NOTE: This is the third in a series about the writer’s experiences with promoting health.)
By the time I was in my mid-20s my discomfort due to various ailments and my disappointment with conventional medical treatments had led me to become an avid proponent of natural remedies. While I longed for creative self-expression and knew my passion was writing, my priority was to defeat the genetic and environmental demons that caused my physical and mental symptoms. My goal was to discover the angels that would bring me health and happiness.
While a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1976 I spent my spring break at Beechwold Clinic in Columbus, Ohio where chief-of-staff Dr. Ernest Shearer and other practitioners treated my illnesses and provided tools for promoting wellness. I decided to spend the summer after graduation as a patient at the clinic. As it turned out I had a date with destiny and felt led to stay in the Columbus area for four years while I took courses on health and learned about healing.
During this time I experimented with vegetarianism, partly because I wondered if giving up meat and synthetic hormones could help my endocrine imbalances. By now I had discovered creative ways to use soy, especially in the form of textured soy protein (TSP) and tofu, and knew how to combine foods to get all the amino acids in protein. I combined brown rice and millet with beans, nuts, and seeds to get more protein.
To deal with my low blood sugar I avoided white sugar and used honey or molasses as the sweetener in making desserts. I baked breads from whole grain flours and bought milk from a nearby dairy for making butter, yogurt, and cottage cheese.
Experts at Beechwold Clinic did not encourage vegetarianism because of my genetic weaknesses but I felt it was more spiritual and healthier not to eat meat. For years I was never even tempted to indulge in meat, white sugar, white flour, or table salt.
My move to Sanford in 1980 and my position as lifestyles editor of The Sanford Herald forced me to look at life differently. At first I continued my “health food nut” tendencies and helped my friend Margrette Stone determine healing aids to combat her cancer. She and I researched constantly and experimented with food as medicine. I bought 25-pound bags of organic carrots so we made juice and drank it every day. We ate lots of raw food, including the alfalfa sprouts and wheat grass we grew. Fortunately Margrette’s cancer went into remission, however our bond as soul sisters never faded.
As I attended many luncheons and banquets I adopted the adage “when in Rome” and began to eat meat again. I wanted to create balance in my life. When I started consuming sweets again I became addicted and figured out that “flesh is dumb” when it comes to eating habits. Mama (Ruby Lett) cooked big Sunday dinners so I often indulged in too many rich desserts. On Monday morning I awoke feeling terrible and would take a nap in the afternoon before I could write my “Natural Living” column and produce the weekly Food section. Obviously I did not always practice what I preached!
As lifestyles editor I loved going to work and being involved in the area. I lived in a house down a long lane surrounded by nature only a mile from the office so I often worked at night when the building was quiet. Sometimes I arrived at 6 a.m. to write major features before the hustle and bustle of breaking stories and tight deadlines took over the newsroom.
Since I was in charge of lifestyles, arts, and food I worked a day ahead of other staff members so my pages of the newspaper could be designed in the afternoon. As my section lay waiting to run on the press I went home and recharged, excitedly looking forward to more interviews and happenings.
During this time I thrived professionally and felt like I was using my talents and contributing to the community. Little did I know that illness was lurking in the shadows, but that’s another story for another day…
Copyright © 2012, AlexSandra Lett
AlexSandra Lett is writing a book “Going Crazy…Getting Sane.” She is a professional speaker and the author of “Natural Living, From Stress to Rest;”“A Timeless Place, Lett’s Set a Spell at the Country Store;” “Timeless Moons, Seasons of the Fields and Matters of the Heart;” “Timeless Recipes and Remedies, Country Cooking, Customs, and Cures;” and “Coming Home to my Country Heart, Timeless Reflections about Work, Family, Health, and Spirit.” Lett can be reached at 919-258-9299 or LettsSetaSpell@aol.com.
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