Monday, February 4, 2013

My New Way of Eating

Part of my dietary changes in the new year had a purpose.  I've been eating whole foods, yes, but I've also been doing an elimination diet.  I figure if I'm going to share this whole journey with you I might as well talk about my dietary changes completely.

Even though I hate doing it.

Please know that I am in no way telling anybody else what they should eat, I'm just telling you what I'm doing and how it's working for me.  I'm a firm believer in individual plans for individual people.  I've tried lots of plans.  I've failed at lots of plans.  Plans that have worked for millions of people but not for me.  Which is why I'm still here posting about trying to lose weight.  I don't know for sure, but I'm starting to believe that I've maybe stumbled upon the plan that might work for me.  And good lord I pray that I have, because it's about time.

Ok, and with that disclaimer out of the way ....

For the first 3 weeks I took out Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, and Soy.  I mean, I took them out completely.  Not a trace of any one of those.  Was it hard?  Honestly, no.  It was just time consuming.  Reading labels, learning to cook new things and such.  But getting the creative juices flowing in the kitchen is what I'm good at, so I didn't mind at all.  I can, however, see how it could be a hard time.

You really can't eat out because you have to be SURE you're not eating something you're not supposed to.  Same goes for packaged foods.  If I don't know what a word means then I'm not going to eat it.  That's probably a good rule of thumb anyways.

After those initial 3 weeks, I am adding each one back.  One at a time.  Very slowly.

The 4th week (last weekend), I added gluten back.  I was supposed to add it to one meal each day for 4 days in a row and then take it back out for the remaining 3 days of the week.  The first day I ate it, about an hour later I was ill.  And then it just got worse.  Long story short, I was in horrible shape.  My stomach, my digestive system, my entire body was in pain.  I wanted to cry.  I didn't make it 4 days.  I stopped after 2, took it back out again and slowly but surely by the end of the week I felt "normal" again.  So what now?  I'm not eating it.  The theory is that if you take it back out for another 12 weeks, perhaps your body can heal itself and you'll be able to handle it.  Until then, you couldn't pay me to eat it.  For the next 12 weeks I will diligently keep it out because I don't want to go through that again.  I'll "retest" and then we'll go from there.

The 5th (this past weekend), I added dairy back.  Again, I was supposed to add it to one meal each day for the first 4 days of the week and then take it back out for the remaining three days.  However, this time, I was scared.  I did NOT want to go through what I did with gluten.  But that's the whole point of this thing.  To find out if you have a problem.  So I did it.  It wasn't as horrible as gluten but it wasn't perfect.  I ate some cheese with my dinner and then it wasn't until the next morning that I had problems.  I did a second day to make sure and again the same thing happened.  Had it with dinner and then by the next morning I got sick.  So I stopped after 2 days.  It wasn't nearly as bad as the gluten reaction.  I didn't want to cry this time but it still wasn't perfect.

Which brings us to today.  Last night was my second day eating dairy.  It's now back out of my diet and this Friday will be my 6th week and I'm trying EGGS!

Again, I'm scared.  Scared because I love eggs and so I hope I have no reaction.  And scared that I will have a reaction.  Nobody likes getting sick.

My 7th week will be soy and then from there, I'll take my info and run with it.  I already know I'm not going to change much about what I'm eating.  Maybe I'll make a few tweaks to the menu.  For instance, have eggs for breakfast or something but I really won't do anything crazy.  I don't really eat soy in any form.  I don't even like soy sauce with my sushi.  I do know that that stuff is in EVERYTHING.  I'll continue to read labels and just keep it out anyways. 

Anyway, that's what has been going on.  Even though I've taken gluten out, I'm still eating plenty of food.  I traded brown rice pasta for the regular stuff for when I need it.   I learned how to make a gluten free pizza crust for weekend treats and can I just say that it took about 7 tries but I made something that rivals the real stuff.  I'm not making my own bread or anything even though I know I could.  Instead, I chose to replace meals where gluten would be present with just more vegetables.  For example, I eat hamburgers with a lettuce wrap instead of a bun but I also make some crazy good oven roasted potato fries to go with it so I don't feel like I'm missing much.  I use coconut milk instead of cow's milk and I found daiya cheese.  I pretty much only use it when I make us a pizza.  Honestly it's good.  There's a lot of tricks you can use - I have found the vegan and paleo blogs to be the most helpful.  They're very creative!  Really, there's a substitute for almost everything.

I've also taken out sugar and sugar substitutes.  This one is tricky.  I have mixed feelings on it.  I don't drink sodas or drink mixes anymore.  Just water.  I just put coconut or almond milk in my coffee and over time it's amazing, but that's all I need now.   If I want to add sweetener, I do have some xylitol on hand but it doesn't really work for everything.  There are some recipes that call for sugar and usually it's a teaspoon or such and I'll do that because it's not a sugar based recipe (like cake or cookies).   Again, I have mixed feelings.  Lets just say I don't go looking for sugar.  I haven't had a real craving or anything for it in quite some time so it hasn't been hard.  Occasionally I'll want something to drink other than water but that's it.

It's been almost 6 weeks and I've made lots of great food.  I haven't repeated anything yet and I am constantly coming up with new ideas.  It's funny.  In the weeks before we started, I was nervous.  All I could think was "what am I going to eat?  There's nothing left!".  Now that I'm doing it, I don't feel that way at all.  Sometimes there are too many choices.

I feel really, really great.  I'm losing some weight sure.  That's always nice.  But it's the other stuff that really makes this worth it.  I sleep better, I get up easier, my skin looks AMAZING, I don't have crazy cravings as often as I used to (read:  all the time) which makes social events easier because the food doesn't "call to me" anymore.  My digestive system is working pretty normal for the first time in years and I just feel great overall.

I've also continued to log on Weight Watchers during this whole thing.  And that's even easier.  I used to have to plan my meals, then figure out points and find out what fit and what didn't points wise.  Now I just plan my menu and add it as I eat it because everything fits.  If I eat too many points it's because I ate all of my planned meals and then just chose to eat some more.

And that's that.

I know it sounds like a lot of work but again, it's not.  It's really just eating healthy.  You know, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and such.  Hopefully, if I continue to put a healthy foot foward and get back to working out then I'll continue to make progress.  Because that's what I really want.  To just lose weight, get healthy and be crazy happy.

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30 Days to ... by JH is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.