Author Topic: When the bad news is good news ... for mustachian living  (Read 4105 times)

Melisande

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When the bad news is good news ... for mustachian living
« on: February 02, 2018, 05:29:43 AM »
I suppose this isn’t exactly badassity since my body more or less forced me into it, but ...

A little over 6 months ago I came down with drug-induced pancreatitis. Pancreatitis, for all of the poor folk who’ve ever had an attack, is a horrible, painful illness. Fortunately, I had mild version. Unfortunately, 6 months later, I have yet to come anywhere close to fully recovering (although I am definitely heading in the right direction). Now I am symptom-free as long as I stick to an extremely low fat diet. However, the only way I can truly stick to this diet is preparing all my food myself 99% of the time (there is one full meal I can order at a restaurant in a pinch).

We used to eat out way too much and travel all the time. Now I eat out about 1x per month max. (My husband has to do more for work but he is reimbursed for these dinners.) Also, in the past 6 months, we have gone away precisely one time (in our previous life, we travelled on every possible occasion, it felt like). When we did travel, we stayed at a place with a kitchen and I cooked every single meal, except for one dinner out.

When I first came down with this illness, I was really upset by the forced lifestyle change, but now I have to say I am totally used to it and didn’t feel put out at all cooking over vacation (I did make simpler, easier things than usual). And we have saved so much money. In a few months (after we make our 2018 IRA contributions), we will be able to make an additional $20,000 paydown of our mortgage which we wouldn’t have been able to do with the previous lifestyle. (Yes, we have already thought through paying down the mortgage as an investment option and feel that it makes sense for us. Yes, we have already refinanced.)

Another great money saving feature of this illness is that it has actually lowered our health care costs. For mild cases of chronic pancreatitis, there is no medical or surgical treatment. The only treatment is diet and healthy living. In fact, one of the things I have been asked to do is reduced all other medication as much as possible. I have thus stopped taking almost all my supplements (which were costly and, I now realize probably not doing that much for me anyway). I also try to take as little OTC medication as humanly possible. Oh yes, and no more alcohol — at all. Another big $$ saver.

I suppose I didn’t so much throw down the gauntlet as have it thrown at me, but I caught it and am grateful!

wordnerd

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Re: When the bad news is good news ... for mustachian living
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2018, 06:15:09 AM »
Well done! A member of my family faced the same challenge and did not respond as well. I give you big kudos for both changing your lifestyle and seeing the upside!

Sun Hat

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Re: When the bad news is good news ... for mustachian living
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2018, 06:45:13 AM »
With that kind of positive attitude, you can do anything! Well done!
"You need a little bit of insanity to do great things." ~ Henry Rollins

Dicey

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Re: When the bad news is good news ... for mustachian living
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2018, 09:58:54 AM »
It's kind of funny in a way. So many others are worried about how their newfound frugality is going to be received by their circle. Your health situation cuts through all that crap.

I'm impressed with your fortitude. You learned what you needed to do and you're killing it! Also, it feels a little odd to experience such gradual improvement. We're so conditioned to want everything fast. The body can heal over long periods of time, so slow progress does not mean no progress. I hope your health continues on a steady path to improvement!
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Melisande

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Re: When the bad news is good news ... for mustachian living
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2018, 03:29:12 PM »
It's kind of funny in a way. So many others are worried about how their newfound frugality is going to be received by their circle. Your health situation cuts through all that crap.

I'm impressed with your fortitude. You learned what you needed to do and you're killing it! Also, it feels a little odd to experience such gradual improvement. We're so conditioned to want everything fast. The body can heal over long periods of time, so slow progress does not mean no progress. I hope your health continues on a steady path to improvement!

Thanks! I totally get the how-to-deal-with-the-social-pressure issue. It can be a real obstacle to changing one’s lifestyle. We are social creatures after all and study after study has confirmed the physical effects of social isolation.

Also, I was/am “lucky” in that I did have clear clinical signs of illness (blood tests that were abnormal in exactly the way one would expect for this illness), a clear diagnosis (all the doctors agreed) and a clear “treatment plan.”  When you can say: “all the doctors agree that I have X and that I need to live a certain way to get better” people tend to understand and cut you a lot of slack. If I have to/want to go to some social function (I went to an institutional 25th anniversary banquet Fri. night, for example) all I have to do it contact the organizers, explain the situation and ask if it is OK to bring my own food. (It’s always been OK so far.) If your friends and acquaintances ask why, you just trot out your illness elevator speech and everything understands.

Not to say that it’s easy, but still ...

Carrie

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Re: When the bad news is good news ... for mustachian living
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2018, 07:52:55 PM »
Wishing you continued improvement with your health!
As far as cooking at home and being social- can you do dinner parties at home so you can control the food but still see friends/ develop relationships?
I feel like we need to retrain the masses about being social - activities outdoors, hobby clubs, potlucks - all viable alternatives to bars/restaurants. :)

ysette9

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Re: When the bad news is good news ... for mustachian living
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2018, 08:21:28 PM »
What an inspiring story of making lemonade out of lemons. I like your attitude.

The hardest part for me if I were in your situation I think would be the part about having to eat a low-fat diet. I ADORE fat.

Have you found you eat more sugar as a result or otherwise have weird cravings?
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Sarah Saverdink

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Re: When the bad news is good news ... for mustachian living
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2018, 08:28:43 PM »
It's fantastic that you've made the best of a bad situation! I have no doubt the new health restrictions will increase the overall quality of your life and long-term well-being :)
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Melisande

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Re: When the bad news is good news ... for mustachian living
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2018, 05:36:41 AM »
What an inspiring story of making lemonade out of lemons. I like your attitude.

The hardest part for me if I were in your situation I think would be the part about having to eat a low-fat diet. I ADORE fat.

Have you found you eat more sugar as a result or otherwise have weird cravings?

Actually, when I started I the diet I was worried about overconsumption of carbs and sugar and, frankly, my overall health. I had been on a low carb/high fat diet for about 3 years and loving it. But honestly, I haven’t seen any ill effects so far. On the other hand, I do try my best to not overdo the simple starches. So I currently have 4 meals a day and am sure to have 2-4oz v. lean protein at each, as well as 2 servings of plain veggies and 1 serving of plain fruit. This helps me keep the plain carbs to a minimum — 1 slice of (homemade) bread or 3/4 c of rice per meal for example.

The veggies  took me some getting used to, but now I like my veggies plain. Well, I do do things like sprinkle my boiled spinach with lemon juice and put some salt on the tomatoes to make them a little more palatable, but they are certainly plainer than I was eating them.

I know you need some fat to optimally absorb the fat soluble vitamins, but from what I’ve read you do absorb some with no fat and you absorb most of the nutrients with minimal fat. So, I try to have at least 2-3g of fat with each meal. The  fat isn’t added — it’s part of the foods I eat. Most people don’t realize this but there is fat in almost every food including all fruits and vegetables. Even products labeled “non-fat,” have fat (has to be less than .5 g/serving where a serving size can be more or less whatever manufactures want it to be.)

Another thing I do to increase nutrient absorption (particularly important since I am no longer taking vitamins) is to cook and sometimes purée the veggies. I make a delicious puréed carrot-orange soup as well as a (boiled) kale-pineapple-fresh ginger-turmeric-like juice smoothie.

SimplySueLoo

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Re: When the bad news is good news ... for mustachian living
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2018, 08:24:22 AM »
Thanks so much for sharing your story, and the silver lining you're creating.

My own recent health problems are forcing a new diet, lifestyle and outlook.  But I'm fortunate that surgery will likely improve things.
 
In the past few months expenses for alcohol, fuel, restaurants, travel have gone to zero (or pretty close) without reducing quality of life. Grocery bill is way down too.  So my bad news also brought good things, and I plan to keep it up and not go back to the old ways.

It helps to read about your efforts. You have an inspiring attitude, and I wish you the best!!

LifeHappens

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Re: When the bad news is good news ... for mustachian living
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2018, 08:31:40 AM »
This really is badass, OP. I'm sorry a medical condition forced you to drastically change your lifestyle, but you are doing a great job of not only dealing with it, but seeing the positive aspects. Best wishes for continued improvements in your health.

Capt j-rod

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Re: When the bad news is good news ... for mustachian living
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2018, 09:11:08 AM »
I don't have pancreatitis or any other medically diagnosed condition... What I do have is some weird allergy or something to restaurant prepared food. Take Mexican for example. If I get it from a restaurant I am lucky to make it home before it wants out. If I prepare my own Mexican with fresh traditional ingredients? No problems. Applebees, Chili's, Long horn, Out back, Wendy's, Bob Evans, or any other chain? Forget them all. I literally have to drink Metamucil, and take Prilosec when we travel. It resulted in a great outcome. Raised bed gardens, local meat market, way less meat consumption, way more fruits and veggies, losing 20#, way more energy, way more money, became a ninja in the kitchen, kids have no idea what Mc Donalds, Burger King, or any of that trash even is, and the total ideal of eating together as a family at our kitchen table. We order pizza occasionally, but I even make that now. Finally I quit drinking pop, and cut alcohol in half.  It ain't rocket science, they put shit in the food and source the cheapest shit available to increase their margins.

zinny1

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Re: When the bad news is good news ... for mustachian living
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2018, 06:00:07 PM »
I am also on a low-fat diet for health reasons and struggled a bit with the plain veggies. I, like you, don't mind them so much now but have a couple of tips!

Steam veges in a tablespoon of stock (vege stock is low-fat)
Add Mint/Sage/Thyme when grilling or oven baking veges
Sprinkling cumin (or other spices) on cooked veges
Chillies! Add chillies to your veges

I have found adding herbs (either as a garnish or as salad leaves) to my dinners has made them more tasty without adding fats.

Best of luck.

Rural

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Re: When the bad news is good news ... for mustachian living
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2018, 07:30:43 PM »
I am also on a low-fat diet for health reasons and struggled a bit with the plain veggies. I, like you, don't mind them so much now but have a couple of tips!

Steam veges in a tablespoon of stock (vege stock is low-fat)
Add Mint/Sage/Thyme when grilling or oven baking veges
Sprinkling cumin (or other spices) on cooked veges
Chillies! Add chillies to your veges

I have found adding herbs (either as a garnish or as salad leaves) to my dinners has made them more tasty without adding fats.

Best of luck.


I went off fats some years back when I had an ulcer that caused debilitating pain just drinking water - fat made it so much worse, and I ended up eating nothing but steamed rice and veggies with firm tofu for months. In fact, I cut fat so completely that I started having cognitive difficulties from the shortage and had to add back a tablespoon of olive oil daily (which I took straight from the tablespoon in order to get the ordeal over at once). But even with that level of pain I found I could handle a bit of soy sauce on the food, and, as I improved, some powdered ginger as well. Those made the veggies much more interesting.

blinx7

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Re: When the bad news is good news ... for mustachian living
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2018, 09:30:32 PM »

Great attitude and great job!

I bet your increased attention to your diet will benefit your general health too!

Melisande

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Re: When the bad news is good news ... for mustachian living
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2018, 12:07:05 PM »

Great attitude and great job!

I bet your increased attention to your diet will benefit your general health too!

Thanks. I am actually a little concerned about the cognitive effects of such a low-fat diet (as someone mentioned upthread). The only thing I can do to counteract that is to exercise more, so I am trying to slowly get back into an exercise program (had to stop when I was sick for months.) 

On the other hand, my skin looks and feels terrific! So, I may get dementia, but at least I won't be too wrinkly ... :-)

PJC74

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Re: When the bad news is good news ... for mustachian living
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2018, 04:08:31 PM »
Nice Job!

My niece has celiac disease. At first, she was really bummed out. Now she eats healthy, has never looked better, and doesn't miss most of the processed pasta, bread,etc.

And if she wants to splurge, there are many more choices for gluten-free foods than years ago.

11ducks

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Re: When the bad news is good news ... for mustachian living
« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2018, 03:41:55 AM »
I developed a bad intolerance to dairy a few years ago (also lifelong shellfish allergy). It has seriously put a cramp in my eating out, almost every meal has some sort of dairy in it. Cheap, yes! Sad, yes. :)
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Sun Hat

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Re: When the bad news is good news ... for mustachian living
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2018, 06:10:51 AM »
On the other hand, my skin looks and feels terrific! So, I may get dementia, but at least I won't be too wrinkly ... :-)

LOL  +1000 for wit!
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