Our 17 year old son, Daniel recently wrote a paper for his English class in which he described his transformation from disenchantment, to resolution, to effective function with the Health-e-Solutions lifestyle. This is an enlightening view from the perspective of a 17 year old “resister” who eventually became a believer! It also indirectly describes how attitudes and taste buds slowly change over time, and how worth the effort it is to get to the Effective Function Phase. [Note that this is not in its original format. I broke up the paragraphs to add emphasis]
Several years ago I experienced a dramatic change in my life when I found out that my two younger brothers had been diagnosed with Type One Diabetes. Looking back on the experience, I realized that I went through a process known as culture shock. Culture shock is a term used to label the phases of change you go through when the environment in which you live is dramatically changed. There are four basic stages to this process: the Honeymoon Phase, the Disenchantment Phase, the Beginning Resolution Phase, and the Effective Function Phase. It is important to note that not all people experience culture shock in that order. In fact, some people might not even go through all of the four phases. My case only goes through three of the phases.
It all started in the month of January, 2008. My youngest brother, Gabe, was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes. Four months later my other brother, Nathan, was diagnosed with the same disease…
[Disease description omitted] Our doctor told us that there was nothing we could do for Type One Diabetes except feed them what they wanted and control their blood sugars by injecting doses of insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, and it regulates the amount of glucose in the blood. My mom, who was a registered nurse, refused to believe that there was no way of controlling the disease. After days and nights of researching, she found a website that talked about controlling Type One Diabetes through diet. Although this is easy to do with Type Two Diabetes, it had never been successfully done with Type One Diabetes.
The first stage of culture shock is the Honeymoon Phase. “’The Honeymoon Phase’ is marked by excitement” (Transcultural Nursing: A Book of Readings by Pamela Brink and Judith Saunders). In this stage, people are generally happy and content to stay in their current situation. My experience did not involve the Honeymoon stage at all. Traditionally, the culture shock experience starts with the Honeymoon stage, however, I actually skipped this stage altogether and went straight into the Disenchantment phase.
I distinctly remember my mom saying, “Kids we would like you all to support Gabe and Nathan by going on this diet with them.” Immediately, I put up a fight. I wanted ice-cream, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chocolate, and all the other “comfort foods” that I enjoy.
This resistance represents the Disenchantment phase of culture shock. In this phase a person feels “trapped”, unfairly treated, and generally victimized. This often results in frustration and resistance and a feeling that “the world is against me.” The beginning diet involved gagging down green smoothies, eating soggy salads for breakfast, and disgusting dishes for dinner. Basically, every food choice was limited to vegetables and nuts. To add to the problem, no one was happy. There was constant grumbling, whining, and contention. Fortunately, things only got better!
After months on this diet, things began to get a little easier. The first good thing that happened was that everybody (except for one particularly stubborn sibling) submitted more-or-less to my parent’s requests and ate the food put in front of them without a fight.
This change in attitude reflects the third phase of culture shock. The Beginning Resolution Phase is a stage in which things improve to a state where the person begins to get used to the new change. Around this time my mother began to create delicious, new meals that tasted just like the meals we used to eat, and sometimes they were even better! My dad also quit his job and began to research day-in-and-day-out for ways to improve our lifestyle. I began to notice athletic improvement as well! My parents had such great results with my brothers that they started up a consultancy business for Type One and Type Two diabetics in December of 2010.
I would say it took years before I got to the Effective Function Phase. The Effective Function Phase is a state in which you are as comfortable in the new setting as you were in the old one.
Though it took me a long time to get here, I appreciate the effort my parents made to get me up to “effective function.”
Since then, I’ve noticed that I have a lot more energy and better reflexes than I have ever had before. I rarely get sick, and I feel great unless I eat unhealthy food such as fast-food, candy, sugar, and other junk. I have also noticed that I can think faster and better than ever.
But most importantly, I’m glad I can continue to support my brothers who are totally insulin-independent and just as healthy as I am!
Throughout the years, the simple diet with which we started really has morphed into a healthy lifestyle. This lifestyle has made me experience a form of “culture shock” first hand. There are four major stages to Culture Shock. The Honeymoon Phase is the first stage in which everything seems great. My experience did not utilize the Honeymoon Phase. Depending on your story things will most likely quickly turn into the Disenchantment Phase: the stage in which everything seems awful. During the Disenchantment Phase I felt that everyone was against me and life was terrible. The Beginning Resolution Phase is the stage in which you will begin to adapt. I began to come to my senses during this stage. With improvements in the home, I realized that things were not so bad after all. The Effective Function Phase is the final stage in which you have fully adapted to your situation. It took me years to get to the Effective Function Phase, but now that I am here, I am very glad my parents introduced and helped me through this ‘culture shock’ experience.
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