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.
I'd like to say that I'm a stay at home wife (with a housekeeper of course), but they tell me that I would go crazy not working. I'm a thirty-something professional fed up with the daily grind, trying to find some peace and solace in the world. Sometimes the idea of going crazy because I have nothing to do sounds so appealing. I'm married to an awesome hunk of a man who puts up with me and loves doing so. I have a dog, Floyd, who is a lover, not a fighter, and has been living (and is being spoiled) with my parents for the last 6+ years. Yuma, Arizona is currently where I call home.
Just Because You Wanted to Know...
I'm following a very socially unacceptable way of eating to possibly stave off a bleak future of pill popping and self medicating with food just to make it through the day. Currently I do not eat:
Grains (including wheat, corn, and rice)
Legumes and Beans (including soy)
Refined Vegetable and Nut Oils
High Starch Vegetables (including potatoes)
Sugar and Other Sweeteners
Most Fruit (these intensify my sugar cravings)
Just About Anything Artificial
What does that leave?
Meats, Poultry, Fish, Shellfish
Beef Broth (with all the glorious fat and gelatin)
Lard, Tallow, Butter, Ghee, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil
Low Sugar Vegetables
Low Sugar Fruits (lemons, limes, cranberries)
Nuts and Coconut (on occasion)
Full-fat Cheese and Cream
Homemade Yogurt (made with half and half)
You'll find that older recipes are sometimes made with foods I don't eat at the moment (i.e. honey, fruits, and lots of nuts) but have in the past. My diet seems to change often after learning new ideas about health and nutrition and experimention to find how I will react. I incorporate principles from the Specific Carbohydrate, Gut and Pyschology Syndrome, Body Ecology, Paleo/ Primal, Nourishing Traditions, Atkins, and Optimal Diets. My healing has been steadily progressing with a high fat, moderate protein, and low carb style of eating. I can't say that this way of life is for everyone, but there are certain foods that no one should be eating (i.e. Neolithic agents of disease such as wheat, vegetable oils, high fructose corn syrup, etc.).