Monday, November 14, 2011

Spoons Over Forks

The Reason For My No-Chew Challenge

TMD/ TMJ Treatment

A couple months back I started a dental treatment program for severe TMJ or more accurately called TMD, which requires that I wear a dental device (a splint) 24 hrs a day. The point of the two devices, one for day and another for night is to keep my teeth from touching fully, so that the space between the skull and the jaw can heal, forming scar tissue that will replace my ruptured disc. The ultimate goal is to reposition my jaw completely and let it return to full function and range of motion. I did not know that my jaw was actually locked. I just knew I could not really open my mouth very wide and that there was a lot of popping and clicking when I tried to.

The TMJ- CFIDS/FMS Connection

I suffer from CFIDS/FMS, the full syndrome and not just the "muscle pain" that the word Fibromyalgia means. My chiropractor said there is a major connection between TMD (TMJ) and the nerve-causing pain that radiates down through the body and keeps my spine and pelvis out of alignment. They believe that the chronic fatigue is also caused by the misplacement of my jaw, which keeps my airway constricted, not allowing for full oxygen to reach the brain and never allowing me full deep restorative sleep. I had not even noticed that I had stopped dreaming (REM sleep) altogether. The constant body pain also keeps me moving and waking through the night. I have been tested for sleep apnea and was cleared but there are many with apnea that would be helped by this night splint as well. The C-Pap is just a bandaid approach when it could be a misaligned jaw. (I'd choose sleeping with the night splint over a C-pap any day.) And just to clarify, most of the night guards that people wear for teeth grinding is not the same thing. Your jaw is still active as you can still grind those, you are just grinding plastic instead.

My chiropractor assured me he works with a dentist that has had much success with treating TMD and reversing fibromyalgia.  Patients even come to see him for treatment from other states. After the results from my initial testing, being desperate for relief, I was up for anything and agreed to the 9-12 months treatment.

So part of the challenge of this program is the "no-chew"diet. I really can't chew with the device in place and of all times, while eating is the most important time to have it in.  They tell me even one hour without the splint in place is equal to a whole day of treatment lost.  I thought it would be a snap seeing how I really like green smoothies but it turned out to be more of a challenge mentally. I started experiencing hypoglycemic episodes and out of fear gravitated towards cooked soft foods, which has just brought up other health issues.

Blood Sugar Imbalances and Dietary Fat Connection

In an attempt to try to understand my hypoglycemic episodes, I was researching blood sugar imbalances and came across Dr. Doug Graham's explanation about how he believes fat is the cause of blood sugar swings, not sugar. He even goes on to explain what he believes is the cause for the Chronic Fatigue epidemic, not to mention Diabetes. I'll give you a clue- dietary fat and it all makes good sense, especially as I think about people that have had amazing health improvements from juicing. I never did well with juicing but probably because I never fully did it while not eating fat as well.

So after a soul to soul with myself, I decided to give this low fat raw angle a try and to take it even one more step and recommit to the liquid based diet idea. It will not only help with my dental treatment but also if I stay with low fat options, will go along way towards restoring my health.

So that is my new direction: Low Fat Raw Vegan but in a liquids only format.

What this means for the blog:

My eating will be a lot more simple, which has always been my goal. I will be focusing more on the beauty of fruits and veggies in close to their natural state. Recipes or more accurately combos will be very simple and most likely liquid in form although Rich is still able to chew and I will share what I make for him as well. I hope you stay tuned. There are actually not a lot of blogs out there that focus predominantly on low fat vegan and even fewer on the liquid side of this. I'm also going to keep a daily journal for accountability and reflection.

As for the TMD treatment,

I have to say within 2 weeks my jaw started responding with my range of motion improving 100-150%!! I also started dreaming within days. So that's all good and exciting. The sleep has still been sporadic with a whole couple of weeks keeping me up all night and asleep most of the day but I think that will work itself out. Keep your fingers crossed.

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