By KRS Edstrom



Dear KRS,
I recently had bulimia. I have recovered but now I’m having problems with my knee. I get muscle spasms and my knee is constantly cracking. Would that have anything to do with my eating disorder?
Former Bulimic

Dear Former Bulimic,
If your bout with bulimia was somewhat extended, you may have created an imbalance in your system, particularly in regards to minerals. Such an imbalance could affect muscle functioning to some degree (spasms, etc.). Muscles that are in spasm can pull your skeletal system out of alignment. It could also be that you simply pulled a muscle in that leg as anybody might, and it is consequently affecting your knee. (You didn’t mention which muscles spasm). In either case, be sure you are eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of mineral-laden greens and a good vitamin/mineral supplement.

Dear KRS,
I would like to become a vegetarian. What are some easy and healthy ways to cut meat out of my diet?  Thanks,
Vegetarian Beginner

Dear Vegetarian,
The main issue is to be sure that you get “complete” proteins in your diet. Specifically, by combining one part beans (soy, kidney, black beans and so on) with three parts grain (brown rice, wheat, rye, and so on) you will get all the necessary amino acids to make up a complete protein. This has actually become easier since we’ve learned that the beans-grain ratio can now be spread throughout the day versus at the same meal.

Cooking your meals can be quite easy. For example, cook up a big batch of brown rice, keep some in your refrigerator, and store the rest in the freezer for a rainy day. You can do SO many things with this “base.”  One idea: Put heated rice on a plate and cover with a fresh mixed salad, including some beans. Cover with lemon and virgin olive oil. I have more “fast-food” ideas such as this in my book “Healthy, Wealthy & Wise.”

Use your imagination and start collecting your favorite recipes. You might want to check out the queen of high-protein, meatless cooking Frances Moore Lappe’s book, “Diet for a Small Planet.”  She really gets scientific on proportion and which carbohydrates combine best with others. You don’t have to be quite as regimented as the book implies to maintain good health.

Too often people don’t get properly educated on how to eat vegetarian and they think that just by cutting out meat they are destined for the Healthy Eating Hall of Fame. Meanwhile they may be actually eating worse than before by munching on doughnuts and other high-fat foods. Be intelligent, but not fanatical, and you will find it easier than you think. In eating a proper vegetarian diet you’ll feel lighter, cleaner and more energetic (red meat takes a lot of energy to process).

Dear KRS,
I am a 45-year-old white female. About a year ago I decided to lose weight and get in better shape. I had been in good shape in my 20’s and 30’s. I dieted (Weight Watchers) and lost about 30 lbs. I also joined a very nice health club. This has been a problem for me in the past, but now it’s much worse: exercise makes me feel terrible. I get a pounding headache if I work out hard, hurt all over, feel exhausted, and most strangely, get very negative feelings ranging from vaguely pissed off to something bordering on rage.

I have tried a variety of workouts (yoga, which is the absolute worst, Pilates, weight/strength training, cardiovascular, swimming). I don’t go as often as I had originally planned to when I signed up, but average about 3 to 5 times per month. It is extremely difficult to force myself to do something which I find so intensely unpleasant. I hear people talk about how good exercising makes them feel and I just want to cry. What is wrong with me?
Tired from Exercise

Dear Tired from Exercise,
Most people get tired of exercise. Being tired from exercise may be due to overdoing it and, since you mention that your headaches are worse when you work out harder, this may be at least part of the answer. I frequently ask my clients how they feel after exercise, and when they say they needed a nap later in the day, I advise them to cut back on the intensity of their workouts. The infrequency of your workouts places you in the beginner category. You aren’t giving your body a chance to build stamina and muscle strength, since muscles start to “forget” their workout after about three days. That’s why “weekend athletes” have such a history of injuries.

Psychologically, after an exercise lay-off, we often want to make up for lost time. We try to jump-start our exercise from where we left off, at some real or imagined peak condition. Or embarrassment makes us forget ourselves and we try to keep up with the level of those surrounding us at the gym. Learn to separate where you are from where you want to be and stay inwardly attuned to your body —your heartbeat, your muscles, your breathing and so on. Know your limits and, especially in the beginning, remember — less is more. In regards to your negative feelings, I think most people would feel the same negative emotions if they felt as badly as you describe after their workout.

For the next 60-90 days take a hiatus from the gym and commit to walking 4-5 days a week. Start with a 5-7 minute walk the first week and build slowly and gently — but specifically. I describe this incremental exercise (and diet) program in my book, “Healthy, Wealthy & Wise.” On your walks you can listen to audio programs, bring a notepad to plan your day or simply use this time as your private retreat to regenerate.

Naturally, get checked out by your doctor to rule out any medical reasons (such as fibromyalgia) for your negative reaction to exercise. However, I think if you can apply patience and regularity to your workouts you may solve your problem.

KRS Edstrom, M.S., is an author, lecturer and columnist. She is available for private sessions (by phone or in person) and seminars on meditation, motivation, stress, pain, weight loss and other personal growth issues. Her books and audios offer solutions for healthful, conscious living. For free soothing guided meditations and more, please visit KRS’ “Serenity and Meditation Corner” at    For more info call (323) 851-8623 or e-mail:

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