Experiments don’t always go as planned…day #7

Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew. Or, not chew as the case may be. Last week I got excited to clean up my diet with an eye on reducing inflammation. My heel pain had come back, I was feeling sluggish and having all sorts of cravings. And then, while I was at it, I figured I might as well do an elimination diet at the same time to determine whether there are any other foods besides grains, sugar and nightshades that give me trouble. I figured I would check some of the usual suspects such as eggs, dairy, and nuts. I also eat a lot of coconut oil, and while I’m pretty sure it agrees with me, I thought it would be a good time to take a little break from it as well.

My understanding of an elimination diet is to eat a very clean diet for a few days to a few weeks–as long as it takes for symptoms to clear up. Once you are not experiencing symptoms then you can try adding foods back in, one at a time, and see if you get a reaction. There’s a specific way to do this that is most effective and it includes eating a certain amount of only that one food and waiting a certain period of time.  At this moment, I don’t remember the details, so I’m going to have to look them up.

What I am remembering about myself as I take on this experiment is that I don’t particularly like to follow directions when I am experimenting. I like to try things out, but I don’t generally have the patience or attention span to record my results for more than a few days and I get bored with procedures. This is why I have never had much success with elimination diets in the past.

Luckily for me, there are other ways to find out if a certain food is causing issues for me…like allergy testing, muscle testing (applied kinesiology), and medical intuitives! I have used the latter two resources in the past, and I think, for me, they are the way to go.  I am interested in the possibility of getting some lab food-sensitivity testing done as well, because they now have some very detailed tests, specifically for wheat/gluten and dairy.  I think it might be interesting to know exactly what I am reacting to in those foods.

So far, I’ve been feeling lighter, and slightly less inflamed, but have really struggled to get enough fat in order to feel satiated, and like my brain has the food it needs.  I haven’t been eating late at night, and have been waking feeling alert and ready to go.  My heel pain is still hanging on.

 

Advertisements

…an “Eating clean” experiment – Day #4.

I’m doing an experiment.  It’s called an anti-inflammatory-elimination-diet.  I’ve done similar ones before, and I have found that when I eat only some foods and not other foods, my body and mind feel better.  Sometimes I forget and I slip back into eating more of the foods that seem to lead to my body and mind not feeling good.  But then my body gives me little nudges and hints, and I am reminded of what is possible…

Today is day #4 of eating clean, and the biggest thing I have noticed so far is that my nose is less stuffed up–my sinuses are clearer.  I think it’s also possible that the heel pain in my right foot is a little bit less.  I have recently been listening to an on-line summit about the paleo diet, specifically geared towards women, and although I don’t call the way I eat “paleo”, it is very similar and listening to other folks speak about their success in healing with this diet and way of life has been supportive and inspiring.  You can check out the summit here.

I was moved, in part, to re-“clean” my diet after the heel pain that I’ve had for the last couple of years, on and off, was getting worse again, even after the pain had almost gone away with lots of physical therapy and bodywork.  I didn’t feel like I had re-injured it, per se, so I looked at what else could be affecting it.  I had been pretty stressed out for the last few weeks, which increases inflammation in the body, and I had also been getting less sleep, another cause of inflammation.  I reflected on my diet, and I realized that I had been eating large amounts of veggies from the nightshade family, lots of nuts and corn and some other grains and beans.  Tons of peanut butter.  Lots of cheese. And some sugar and chocolate.  And basically too much food in general.  I had fallen back into my habit of eating lots of comfort food, and late into the night.  All these could be triggering an inflammatory response.

In the past, my instinct used to be to think that I should go on a fast when I found myself in this situation.  What I have realized, though, is that for me it actually works better to just switch tracks to eating a clean, nutrient-dense diet first so I can curb the cravings a little less abruptly. This way, I am also less likely to end up binging after the cleanse the way that I have in the past when I have done a cleanse where I consume very few calories.

So, here I go!  I am eating lots of veggies, some fruit, lots of seafood, poultry and meat, and fat anywhere I can find it.  I am playing around with dairy–so far I have cut out everything except butter and I’m thinking I might want to go off butter for awhile too.  I may try ghee (clarified butter) and see how that feels, but my sense is that I could use a break from dairy all together.  They other place I’m playing around a little bit is with nuts.  I find that I get much of my fat from butter and nuts, so I’m wondering how I’ll be able to get enough fat if I’m not eating either one.  I’ve decided to do only macadamias for now, and see how that feels.  In the past I’ve gotten much of my fat from coconut oil, but I’m noticing that I feel a little sensitive to that too so I’m considering taking a break from coconut as well.  And EGGS! same thing.

WHAT ON EARTH WILL I EAT?? I’m sort of wondering this myself.  I’ve done a similarly strict diet in the past, severely limiting my carbohydrate intake so as to encourage my body to burn fat, heal from candida, and also to get the beneficial affects of ketosis.  Ketosis is something I am still learning about so I won’t try to explain it now.  I ate a LOT of eggs and coconut oil during that time, and since I’m playing around with the idea of taking a break from both of those, part of me is definitely wondering what I am going to end up eating. And whether it’s even possible to limit all of those things at once.  It’s basically an elimination diet, and the cool thing about them is that generally you don’t need to follow them for too long before you start adding foods back in to see how you react.

So, for the rest of this week, I’m planning to eat vegetables, focusing on green and leafy veggies with a few starchy ones for treats and variety, and olives and avocados for fat.  I’ll skip nightshades which include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and potatoes (sweet potatoes are ok).  I’ll eat lots of fish, especially salmon and sardines, and some chicken, beef, lamb and a bit of pork.  I’m going to see if I can make it through the week without eggs, coconut oil, butter and nuts.  I’ll use extra virgin olive oil, fatty meat, avocado and olives for fat.  And maybe I’ll lay my hands on some lard and organ meats.  I’ll use warm bone broth to provide a feeling of fullness and satisfaction. And lacto-fermented veggies for fun and a healthy gut!  And next time I’ll write a bit more about what herbs and spices, vitamins, minerals and other supplements I’m taking to support the anti-inflammatory diet, and my system and mood in general.

Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions, or if you’re interested in the possibility of trying out a diet like this and would like some support.  I’m hoping to post some simple recipes and other tips and tricks that I have discovered while eating this way. Thanks for reading!  Here’s to our health!

DSCF7451

“It’s a sunny Saturday”…perfect morning for muffins!

Blueberry-Corn Muffins 

…or pancakes or flapjacks!

(gluten-free)

RECIPE

Dry ingredients:

1/4 C. Oat flour

1/4 C. Coconut flour

1/4 C. Almond flour

1/4 C. Tapioca flour

1/4 C. Corn flour

1/4 t. Sea salt

1/2 t. baking soda

1 t. baking powder

Wet ingredients:

1/2 C. Goat yogurt

2 fresh farm eggs

1 T. Maple Syrup

1 t. Vanilla

1 T. Coconut oil, butter or ghee, melted

1/2 C. (or more) frozen wild blueberries

Preheat oven to 350°.  Butter muffin tins.  Stir together dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately.  Mix wet ingredients into dry until just combined.  For flapjacks, mix in an extra 1/2 C. of milk.  Fold in blueberries.  

For muffins, spoon into muffin tins and bake for approximately 20 minutes (for smallish muffins, or longer for larger ones), until tops are golden and a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for 15 minutes, and then loosen from pan with a knife.  Serve warm with butter. Yum!

For pancakes or flapjacks, spoon batter onto a well-greased skillet over medium heat.  I like to do three, 3″ pancakes at a time.  Cook until tops have bubbles, and are set enough to flip.  Cook on other side for a couple of minutes.  If batter is thick, try using a lid for a little while on the first side to help cakes cook through.  Re-grease the pan between batches, adjusting heat as needed.  Keep cakes warm in the oven, or better yet, serve and eat immediately with more butter and real maple syrup.  Also yummy topped with yogurt and sliced bananas or strawberries.  

These muffins (and probably pancakes too) freeze quite well.  Enjoy!

“It’s a sunny Saturday” from Ramblin’ Red’s EP

I eat food, mostly plants. And I tell the sugar, “be gone!”.

Just recently, my diet began to swing back towards less animal foods and more plant foods.  After a couple of years of feeling like I could not get enough animal protein and fat in my diet, I am noticing that I no longer have much of a taste for it, and my body is able to digest certain plant proteins that, for a while, gave me bloating, gas and indigestion.  I’m not going to lie–this shift in my body’s food preferences is making my mind very happy!  I love the idea of not feeling that I need to eat the flesh of other living beings in order to feel good physically.  Some people have reported that eating meat makes them feel aggressive or otherwise “yang”, and I never found that to be true.  However, after being a vegetarian for the first 20 years of my life, I am much more comfortable with the idea that I can feel good without having to eat animals.  This was definitely NOT the case last year, and having seen my body go through these changes makes me much more understanding of all the different diets people choose in order to feel better.   I find that the following animal foods still continue to feel important to my healthy diet: ghee, raw milk or kefir, eggs, occasional grass-fed/pastured meat and some fish.  Otherwise, I eat a LOT of vegetables, some fruit, and have been playing around with sprouted beans, nuts and seeds.  The adventures in eating continue…

Along with slowly phasing out some animal products from my diet, I have ditched the sugar (again).  I recently shared with a friend about my realization that sugar really does not belong in my diet, and when I eat it, it wreaks havoc in all areas of my life.  I said to him, I’ve really gotten clear that I’m a sugar addict.  He laughed and said, wait, I think I’m having a deja vu.  I feel like I have heard you say that many times before.  Oh geez, I thought.  This time it’s different, I said, because now people are admitting it’s really a thing.  Now there is proof that sugar is something like seven times as addictive as heroin, and that it can cause depression, etc.  Wait, he said, what about Sugar Blues (a great book by William Duffy that was written in the 70s, and that my friend and I read almost 10 years ago)?  Yes, I said, that was a great book, but no one really paid attention.  The country seems to have been too caught up in the low-fat craze.  Anyway, now that sugar addiction is recognized as a “thing”, I seem to be able to take myself more seriously, and commit to the sugar-free diet I have known I needed for so long.

For so many years I have known that sugar didn’t really work for me, but I also tried to talk myself out of that truth.  The fact is, though, that when I eat ANY added sugar, I just can’t stop.  Also, it makes me depressed, it gives me pimples, it messes up my blood sugar and insulin levels, I get a stuffy nose, I have no energy, and the inflammation in my body increases so I end up feeling achy all over.  So now I don’t eat it.  And I feel SO MUCH BETTER.  And I don’t feel deprived.  Which may be hard to believe but it is actually true.  When I don’t eat sugar, after a few days to a few weeks, I honestly don’t miss it. I have been blessed with the love of vegetables, and these days we’re back in the honeymoon stage. I will occasionally miss the emotional state I have linked to eating foods with sugar in them, and then I get to do a little brainstorming about how else I can create that feeling of comfort or sweetness I crave.

The thing about sugar, though, is that it’s everywhere.  Sweetness is a part of life.  And my choice not to eat sugar is not a static one.  And I’m learning to be ok with that.  I can see that it is probably going to be an area of life-long exploration and growth for me.  Right now I’m still experimenting with how far I need to take it.  Can I have a little honey in my tea without it kicking off my sugar cravings?  Can I have an occasional dash of maple syrup in my kefir or will it send me on a day-long search for sugar? Does it work for me to have a few dried apricots, or will I sit down with them and eat the whole container?  Most days it is an inquiry that I feel grateful for.  I am thankful that I am willing to be honest with myself, and to search out and give myself the support I need to make these changes.

Some of my favorite resources for support around kicking sugar addiction and finding freedom from compulsive or emotional eating can be found HERE.

rainbow meals

two farm eggs sunny-side with ghee, steamed sweet potato, ruby kraut with carrots, avocado, steamed cauliflower, romaine with olive oil and nutritional yeast drink.

two farm eggs sunny-side with ghee, steamed sweet potato, ruby kraut with carrots, avocado, steamed cauliflower, romaine with olive oil, nutritional yeast drink, and “silver tea” aka hot water.

I’ve noticed that my meals are consistently rainbow-licious.  And what’s cool is that I’m not consciously making them that way.  I’m not sure if it’s just that I have internalized the idea that it’s healthy to eat a variety of colors, or whether my body just knows how to get all its bases covered.  Either way, I am often delighted at the beauty of my meals, and find that my body feels good too.

rainbow on a plate

food as art

food as art

Lunch - rainbow on a plate

Lunch – rainbow on a plate

Tomato, carrots, yam, apple, avocado, collards, purple kraut, tofu with tomato sauce, and sea salt in the center.

Tomato, carrots, yam, apple, avocado, collards, purple kraut, tofu with tomato sauce, and sea salt in the center.

 

Make your own Kraut at the Slip Away Harvest Fest

Please join us this Saturday, October 19th, 2013 from 9:30-10:30 to make fresh farm veggies into your own lacto-fermented kraut at Slip Away Farm on Chappaquiddick (just past the Community Center on the left).  Their Harvest Fest will be from 9-12, and there will be veggies for sale, as well as photo cards and hand-made “Wooligans” creations. There will be some local goodies to taste, including Pumpkin Pie smoothie.

I will be providing a set up for folks to learn how to make their own lacto-fermented veggies.  Simply shredding or slicing or chopping fresh veggies, mixing with salt, and then packing into a mason jar.  You can purchase veggies at the Slip Away farm stand, and then come over to the Kraut station between 9:30 and 10:30 and make your own colorful kraut.  We will have salt, jars, knives and graters and will just ask a small donation for supplies.

Hope to see you there!  Call Lily Morris at 508-627-4206 with questions about kraut making, or Slip Away Farm at 508-627-7465 with questions about the Harvest Fest.

DSC_6985DSC_6989DSC_6982DSC_6991DSC_2883DSC_7481

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries