One Year In and a Lifetime to Go

>> Thursday, March 3, 2011

This was supposed to be published last year in June, but life got in the way.

20 June 2010

It's been a year since I realized that what I was eating greatly affected my energy levels, digestion, mood, emotions, behavior, monthly cycle, etc.  I thought that I was eating healthy.  I was eating whole grains, lots of vegetables, and fruit.  I rarely had red meat and ate mostly chicken and fish.  Beans were a staple in my kitchen.  Yet, my health became progressively worse.  One fateful day with a whole wheat roti (Indian flat bread) changed everything.  I never realized all the "good" food I was eating was causing all my pain.  Within a month of taking out grains, sugars, vegetable oil, dairy, and any processed foods or foods with additives, I became a different person.  I was happier.  I wasn't always in pain.  My husband didn't have to avoid me for two weeks every month.  Things started to look up.  It's been a pretty good year (in the past 365 days, approximately 60 of those days were off-track diet days), but I still have a lot of work to do to make up for the 31 years of damage I've done.  Here's a recap of the last year and what I'm looking forward to for the future.

The evolution of my diet:
  • I eliminated wheat in late May 2009.  This helped my digestion, but problems still lingered.  I knew rice, corn, and legumes needed to be removed, but everyone thought I was crazy and I kept trying to eat these foods to be "normal".  "Normal" kept me sick.
  • I found SCD in early June and eliminated all grains, legumes, and sugars (except honey).  My digestion normalized and any "illegals" I unknowingly ate gave me stomach issues right away.  I started with the full SCD diet and did not limit fruit, sweet veggies, or honey. I stayed with this for about a month without many digestive issues.  My energy was somewhat stable, but the fatigue remained.
  • We went to Italy for 2 weeks in late July and I let myself have sugars and dairy.  The last 3 days I started eating wheat again and that brought on binge attacks.
  • I started the SCD Intro Diet when we came back from vacation in August.  I found that honey and fermented dairy were causing me to feel worse so I eliminated them.  I had to jump to a low carb, high fat diet to kick my sugar cravings and keep my energy stable. 
  • I started reading about the GAPS and Body Ecology Diets and introduced fermented foods.  I did this after a few days of eating only meat.  This killed all sugar cravings I had.  I did well with meats and fermented veggies.  Not quite ready to give up the sugar addiction, I clinged to fermented fruits and dairy, which caused the immediate reaction of muscle aches.  I still binged on fruit after eating out and on sweet veggies. 
  • We went on vacation for 3 weeks to the states in November and I binged on chocolate before we even landed in Los Angeles.  These 3 weeks I ate anything and everything.  I remember sitting in the Atlanta airport bound for home and asking my husband to quickly get me a chocolate chip muffin from Dunkin Donuts because this was my last chance before we got back to Seoul.  I didn't really want the muffin, but I had to have it!
  • I restarted the diet when I came back in December, introducing bone broth.  My sugar addiction did not let up and I let it get the best of me every weekend in December and through January and early February.  Thankfully, I kept my consumption of grains to several days during this period, mostly just focusing on sugar. 
  • On February 11 2010, I was sick and tired of being sick from the carb binges so I decided it was time to stop.  I gave up all sweets including honey, fruits, and sweet veggies under a modified full GAPS diet.  The first few days I was deathly sick, but my appetite eventually came back.  After the first couple of weeks I had cravings after meals, but eating nuts and cheese helped.  I also went back to the states for a couple of weeks in March and didn't knowingly ingest any of my poisons.  This was a first for me. 
  • I decided to start the GAPS Intro Diet in May and dropped the dairy and nuts. 
  • In early June I had an emotional day and binged on all my poisons.  The next day I had a splitting headache and an uncontrollable fit of rage.  I binged again.  The next morning I was fine.  I increased my Vitamin C intake and the cravings were almost nonexistent.  I let myself have nuts one day it was particularly bad.
  • I restarted GAPS Intro Diet in June and have been on it for about a week now.  I have twice as much bone broth as before and am eating more cooked veggies.  I try to eat fermented veggies with every meal that I can. 
Things I've Learned:
  • Any kind of sweetness will make me crave more sweet.
  • The more carbs I eat, the more carbs I crave.
  • The more protein I eat, the fuller I get and the less I eat for my next meal.
  • Bone broth is very healing.  I attribute it to my quick turnaround from my 2 day binge earlier this month.
  • I feel much better physically without sweetness. 
  • Sometimes I would like to be ignorant and eat whatever I want and take pills to take my aches and pains away like everyone else.  Then I see all the people around me that look like death and I'm thankful for the decision I made.
  • Chowing down on junk is so unattractive.  I didn't realize how much of a pig one really looks like when stuffing her face. 
  • Epsom Salt soaks do wondrous things when I'm feeling bad.
  • I handle stress better when my digestion is working properly and I'm eating good fats and protein.
  • I'm a much better wife and being a slave to the grind is easier on this diet.
My Goals for the Future:
  • Continue focusing on bone broths, meats, animal fats and coconut oil, fermented veggies, and cooked low-sugar veggies.  I'll introduce raw veggies before my next trip since salads are easy options for eating out.
  • Keep sweetness to a minimum.  Fructose affects my body physically, mentally, and behaviorally.
  • Work towards being able to digest nuts and coconut easier. 
  • Work towards being able to do yoga daily again.
  • Work up to having coconut oil without significant die-off.
  • Work towards being able to eat eggs without a reaction.
  • Release my fatigue and bring back my energy.
  • Control my addictions to sweets.
  • Control my urge to binge on poisons.
  • Maintain my current weight for life.


shend June 9, 2011 at 6:27 AM  

I am so excited finding your blog because I am just starting the GAP diet. Feel like I hit the jackpot when I started to read your blog. I am moving and won't be going full fledge into it until the move is over and I am settled. I want to make the beef broth this weekend and just wondered if after it cools what do you do with the fat on top?

I have been so sick lately everything seems like a struggle, and I know in my heart it's my gut health that is causing most of the problems. Can't wait to read all your information and story. I will be buying the GAPs book also as soon as I can. Moving is expensive ; ) Many thanks for your postings.

Shel June 11, 2011 at 6:26 PM  

Thanks for finding me! Moving is so tough for me because stress makes me want to binge. I moved back to the states from living in Korea for 5 years and it was a couple of months of living out of a suitcase in a hotel and i went back to my bad habits. Of course, all my problems returned. I haven't been so successful with staying on course for an extended period of time, but I take it day by day.

It seems like everything is related to gut health and good food helps beyond belief. I cured my chronic fatigue with grassfed meats, fermented foods, and low sugar. I was on and off GAPS sometimes when traveling, but stayed pretty healthy.

I didn't ever get the GAPS book, just used whatever I could find off the gapsdiet intro diet page and from the yahoo groups. The group can provide you with a ton of info if you haven't already joined.

As for the fat on the broth, I ate it! High fat may seem so contrary to what we've grown up with but I and many on the diet and stop singing it's praises. Maybe build up to it if it grosses you out.

Work has been crazy since I moved back to the states and I haven't been posting as much as I would like, but if you have any questions, just let me know. I'm glad to help!


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