Eating local: Pain relief one goal

June 2016 Posted in People
Kristin Aalbue

Kristin Aalbue

By Melissa Wagoner

Ten years ago, pain was an everyday part of Kristin Aalbue’s life.

“Everything hurt all the time,” Aalbue said.

Kristin, who moved to Silverton from Washington 10 years ago, is a jack-of-all trades; working as a receptionist for Moonstone Spa, cleaning houses and writing and illustrating a series of graphic novels for children called The Happy Undead Friends.

Seeking a way to eliminate pain from her busy life, Aalbue started slowly altering her lifestyle.

“I began stretching. I started to feel less pain. I liked it,” Aalbue said. “I wanted to find other ways. I began yoga. I got massages. I drank water. I felt better. I started walking everywhere. I felt less pain.”

Around this same time Aalbue started shooting a documentary about pain for a student film.

“The more I talked to practitioners and doctors and chronic pain sufferers, the more I realized the link to food. Food had been the one area I had not really paid much attention as it was never about weight loss, just about pain reduction. I had never known about anti-inflammatory this or cleansing that. I just knew how to make really tasty food,” she said.

Aalbue has spent the last 20 years cooking professionally in bakeries, coffee shops and restaurants so she knew how to make a meal, for her it was making healing food that became the real challenge.

“Once I began to understand the link between what we eat and how our body functions, I decided to start eating consciously,” she said.

To be more in control of the food she ate Aalbue set a goal for herself; to work toward a 100 percent local diet.

“This does not mean that I don’t sometimes get the horrible bacon or the margarita mix with the HFCS, [high fructose corn syrup] it means that everything I pick up that will go into my body, deserves a moment of consideration. It has definitely been a process of getting to understand what is good and bad for my own system,” she explained.

Aalbue has been working on a locally sourced diet for the past three years, increasing her target amount by 10 percent every year. The start date is always the first day of the Silverton Farmer’s Market in spring and the end comes on the last day in the fall.

“With the eventual introduction of the Silverton Co-op, I intend to be 100 percent local within three years,” she said.

Aalbue admits eating local can get expensive, but she has learned a few tricks to offset the costs. She grows many of her own herbs and vegetables. She also plans her weekly meals around what she finds at each week’s farmer’s market.

“I am much more reverent of the food that I eat,” Aalbue explained. “I use every scrap that is left over in the stock pot.”

The extra planning and expense has been worth it. Aalbue who has seen an increase in her overall health during the past three years.

“I have only gone down about 10 pounds in the last year, but my increase in energy, strength and almost total relief of pain have been the true milestone by which I measure my personal success,” she said.

Aalbue has also noticed a sharp decrease in the number of migraines she experiences.

“The most exciting discovery for me in the whole process was the link I was able to make between eating anything with MSG in it and migraines,” she said. “Through listening to my system, tracking what aberrant foods I ate and noting any correlation in migraines, I was able to discover the connection myself. After eliminating it from my diet, I have gone from having eight to 10 migraines a year down to just a few in the last few years.”

Feeling better physically has helped Aalbue stay motivated to make these dietary changes, but it has not always been easy. She suggests that anyone interested in following a similar eating plan take things slow, especially at first.

Aalbue finds the act of shopping at the farmer’s market a motivating factor. She enjoys buying from local vendors and has made friends along the way.

“The more I can support local business, the more I can eliminate my carbon foot print, the more I can eat amazing food and feel amazing, the more happy I will be,” she said. “Every little decision counts. Change one, change your world.”

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.