Week 2 Blues

Week 2 is not going well.

My symptoms have returned, and I am not sure why.   I have not eaten as simply as I did last week.I stuck to mostly 1 ingredient foods last week: hard boiled eggs, pot roast, broilled zucchini, applesauce, peaches, etc. You get the drift. I do cook on occasion (gasp!) and thought that I can do this; I can cook GF/DF.

Before I get into my use of kitchen appliances, I have to mention that suspect 1 is pumpkin as I’ve had symptoms in the same day as having pumpkin seeds and in the same (but separate) day as having pureed pumpkin. Sunday night I made vegetarian enchiladas and grain free cookies. (It was only waaay later did I realize that the enchiladas had tomato pasta in the sauce. Oops. Good thing it is low on the list of reactors. That should be suspect 2 I guess.) I added Diaya cheese (totally not impressed btw) to the enchiladas too. This is a first for my gut-not milk cheese like product. Suspect 3. I had these for lunch on Monday. The grain free cookies were chickpeas, peanut butter, honey, and Enjoy Life chips and shouldn’t have been anything harmful. It has been a while since I made them, so who knows. I have to include suspect 4 as Miralax. I took a dose Monday morning to improve the previously mention side effect of this GF diet.

Monday afternoon symptoms returned with a vengence. With.A.Vengence. I was up and down all night with the same old, same old, nausea/uber bloating/stomach churning/burping/abdominal pain that I’ve had off and on for the last couple of years. I ended up sleeping on my back on 3 pillows to try and rest. For a stomach sleeper, that’s a major sacrafice. I am totally willing and able to give up wheat, dairy, and probably any other food if it means my gut will feel normal and I can sleep ok. Last week I thought I was on the right path. This week…Feeling a little defeated. It will get better again, right?

Week One Down and Food Without Emotion

I’m about to wrap up my first week on my new wheat free/dairy free life. I’ve decided to do a total elimination of anything that registered red (above .2) on the IgG scale for the first month. I’ll start challenging in foods between .2 and .25 at that point. My doctor said values over .25 were significant so those foods are going to be a no go for a longer while.

It’s been more challenging mentally than anything I think. Now that I can’t have cheese pizza, all I want is cheese pizza. Know what I mean? In reality, there is no reason the lack of wheat or dairy should hold me back at all. I just have to stop pouting about it. Now, avoiding the dozen other foods on the list for the next month…errrrr, that agitates me already. I was in the parking lot of Juice Shop this afternoon, cash in hand, stepped out of my car, and then stopped. There was no point. I can’t eat banana for the next month. I never did get dairy in my smoothies here anyway, but without banana, it would be really thin and I don’t like that. I planned Tamle Casserole for dinner one night, even asking around about making cornbread without buttermilk…but wait, salsa is a primary ingredient. I can’t eat tomato for the next month. I wanted to pick up a KIND bar to snack on during a long meeting I have tomorrow where they serve snacks. I stood and read ingredients for-ev-er looking for one without almonds or cashews. Almonds rated over .25 and cashews are out for the next month. I settled on a blueberry one and will ignore that cashews are very low on the list of ingredients. (I’ve already decided that banana, tomato, and lettuce will be the first 3 foods I challenge back into my diet.)

My gut has felt much better. I had one incidence of burping and indigestion on Friday. I’ve kept a food diary, and will continue to do so. My suspicion is that it was my snack that morning that did it: a homemade trail mix (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, raisins, and 2 dates). I will have to challenge each of these separately I guess. Pumpkin, sunflower, date, and grapes are all under the .2 mark on the IgG scale, so I’m not sure. Who knows. The bout of illness I had on Friday was less than what I have experienced in the past and didn’t last as long, so that is a definite victory. I have also slept immensely better in the last week than I have in a very long time, something I wasn’t expecting from this diet change but I have nothing else to which I can attribute it. I only pray that this keeps up. Insomnia was a significant problem for me. However, what has not improved, and I dare say has gotten worse, is constipation. Dr. Google says that this can be a side effect of a GF diet. Sigh. I may have to call my doctor on this one. I already had this problem, I really can’t stand to let it get worse.

On a completely separate note, I want to express the delight I have over living alone. It is quiet. Things are just the way *I* want them. Only the food I CAN eat is in the house. Did I mention that it’s quiet? With that said, there are times when I feel like I would enjoy having someone to cook for, or at least someone to converse with while I cooked. That seems to be the time I notice the emptiness of my living alone. I dirty up an entire kitchen, make a meal, set the table, and it’s just me. I say this not for sympathy, pity, and certainly not for anyone to feel the need to invite themselves over for dinner. Food and emotions were so tied together for me, as they are for so many people. Somewhere along the line I lost the desire or ability to eat when I am stressed/sad/angry/hurt/whatever. Now during those times, the thought of food literally turns my stomach. I have trouble relating anymore to people who say they find sooooooo much pleasure in food. I don’t understand. It simply does not register with me as something that is suppose to draw a level of excitement or happiness. It’s something you do so you don’t die.  So when food and eating and cooking become a life chore and activity, where does that leave emotion?

Cold Oatmeal Isn’t As Bad As It Sounds

Day One of Wheat Free/Dairy Free life and month long detox.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a morning person. I just need some space in the morning to get myself together before I am functional and ready to face the world. I have a tendency to sleep late. I like breakfast; I need breakfast (and soon after rising). However, I don’t like to cook breakfast, especially not when I have to hurry to be somewhere…like work.

For years I relied on cereal or sandwiches or fast food. In my real food switch I have come to love and adore plain yogurt. Especially with my homemade granola. Especially for breakfast. It is quick, easy, and ooh.soo.gooood. Alas, yogurt and I have had to part ways. I’ve tried soy yogurt and coconut yogurt and may have those on occasion. I think the big lesson I need to learn is not to have the same.freakin.thing.every.morning. Variety is good, right?

Enter Overnight Oats.

So good I ate half of it before this picture was taken. Note the digestive enzymes in the background.

So good I ate half of it before this picture was taken. Note the digestive enzymes in the background.

Frankly, the thought of cold oatmeal grossed me out. I mean, ew? I barely like the stuff hot, but cold? G-R-O-S-S. I scanned blog after blog last night looking at overnight oats. I was heartened to see that almost every one I read said they felt the same way I did. Everyone was initially skeptical but was won over with the first bowl. I figured what the heck. If it was super gross, I’d toss it out and have grits.

In my little bowl (don’t be fooled, you don’t have to have a mason jar, I used a small bowl):

1/3 cup oats
1/3 rice milk (plus an extra splash)
6 or 8 frozen raspberries and blueberries
In the morning I drizzled on just a touch of honey, because honey makes everything better.

 

 

I have to say, I really liked it. Cold oats were good. Tomorrow I might try 1/2 cup of oats and a 1/2 cup of rice milk. I was hungry mid morning. I could see this being a good thing. I could add lots of things to this. Peanut butter would be good, especially Trader Joe’s PB that’s already on the runny side. Mmmm.

I was really worried about what I would do about breakfasts. This will go in the rotation for sure. Now that summer is quickly approaching I will go back to having smoothies too. What can I thicken smoothies with other than yogurt? I can’t have banana for another month either. Banana will be in the top 3 to be challenged back into my diet (along with tomatoes and maybe lettuce).

IgG Allergy Testing and Coming to Terms with Major Diet Change

I sat down with my new Integrative Medicine Doctor this morning to review the results of my IgG allergy test from a month ago. He had warned me at the previous visit that his suspicion was that dairy was a big part of my problem and probably wheat too.

Image

All that red? Yeah…that’s the foods I’m suppose to avoid now. The fabulous news is that I only had one number that was super high. Bad news: it’s my favorite food: yogurt. All of my individual dairy items are red (cheddar cheese, swiss cheese, cottage cheese, cow’s milk, casein, whey) but yogurt takes the cake at a reaction of .89. Anything over .20 is red and my doctor said really to avoid the foods over .25 for at least the next 3 months.

Oddly enough, the number two offender on the list is brussel sprouts. Really? Ok, that’s easy enough to avoid. They never were my favorite veggie, I only ate them for variety. Other veggies I will be bidding bon voyage to: green peas, cranberries, radishes, and squash. There is a large group that fall between .20 and .25 for me and I might cut them out totally, but may sneak a serving here or there for variety: asparagus, banana, carrot, cauliflower, celery (ick!), cucumber, lettuce, tomato, watermelon,  cherries (ick!), and lime. Thankfully many great summer fruits are all A-OK: peach, apricot, strawberry, blackberry, plum, and pear. Blueberries are not listed, so I may tread lightly with those. Lemons are also ok. Stoked about that!

Giving up dairy will not be that hard. I will mourn the loss of my morning yogurt. I will miss the occasional piece of cheese, but if I get to really wanting it, I can get Diaya. My dad has been dairy free since before I was born, it’s way of life for him. It will be a minor mindset change (and some breakfast rearranging 🙂 )

Now for the harder parts. Wheat and gluten ride the fence for me at .224 and .226 respectively. The doctor said I didn’t have to give up wheat; he did say he was surprised that my number was this low. He strongly urged me to give up wheat. I know I should. I really should. I will read Wheat Belly. Maybe I will make myself buy it this weekend for the extra incentive. I’m intimidated by having to learn to bake all over again. I have so much wheat based food here! I have an unopened loaf of Ezekiel Bread in my fridge. I can’t throw that out!! I have pounds of flour (AP, white whole wheat, regular whole wheat), not to mention a loaf of banana bread on the counter and whole wheat muffins in the freezer. It just overwhelms me to think about where to start.

To add insult to injury: no more almonds. At .291 It’s got to go for at least the next 3 months. This is a favorite snack and the only milk I drink. Now I need to investigate new milk again. I don’t drink much, but it is good to have occasionally. Rice? Hemp? Back to soy? I love nuts to snack on in general, but as of now, no more almonds, cashews, walnuts, or pistachios. Must rethink snacking too. Even though peanuts cross the line at .204 doc said I’d be ok to keep eating those. I think I’ll moderate my intake though.

Not to make this the longest blog post ever, but isn’t it weird that vanilla bean ranked pretty high too? Crazy!

I think my plan for now is to finish off the perishable dairy items in my fridge this weekend, and be dairy free by Monday morning. I’ll think about the wheat and nuts. I’d do about anything to feel better all.the.time about now.

What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been

Disclaimer: I’m not sure what exactly my reasoning is behind this post. Part of me is really ashamed of what you are about to see. Part of me feels like it is way too much bragging. Part of me feels like it is really cathartic. I’m not sure. But it is all part of my journey and something I’ve been sort of mulling on for a while. So, somewhat against my better judgement, here goes nothing.

I keep seeing this motivational image on Pinterest. I’m mildly ashamed to admit that it’s from Koutney Kardashin’s website (but hey, at least I had to use Google Image to determine that).

Source: Kourtney Kardashian (don’t judge)

I feel like I’ve gone in the reverse order. Yes, I’ve lost weight. Yes, I’ve gotten stronger and gained muscles. But, as I’ve said before, I’ve always seen myself as a big girl.  You have to understand that for most of my life, I was a big girl. 

Age 18 maybe (note the irony of the subject matter of my reading material)

 

Then there’s this. This picture is actually in my kitchen right now. It use to hang in my pantry, but for now it’s just sitting on the inside of a cabinet. I have no idea what I weigh in this picture, but it’s probably over 200 pounds. It’s likely the only picture of me close to that heavy. Do you want to know what I notice about myself? My eyes. My face is so bloated that my eyes even look fat.

Age 20

By the time I was preparing to get married in 2004, I was actually starting to look seriously at my weight. I’ve yo-yoed several times between somewhere close to 200 and closer to 140. It didn’t take long for me to go from a decent sized bride (sorry, no wedding pictures, I hope you can understand) to this 2 years later:

Age 23

 

You can see by later pictures that I did get better, but was still always a “bigger” person.

Age 25

Age 26

Fast forward to the current. People keep telling me how different I look. My clothes don’t fit. But when I look in the mirror, I see the girl standing next to Cinderella: above average but not huge and can look ok in appropriately fitting clothes. Like millions of American woman, I have a highly distorted image of my body.

Then I went to the beach this weekend. I snapped a couple of quick pics with my phone thinking maybe I would stick them on facebook. When I looked at them, I almost didn’t recognize myself. The picture on the right is from 2010 (I think) and the picture on the left is from this past week.

2010 (Age 27)/ 2012 (age 29) Yes, its a different (but similar) swim suit

 

Now, it’s not the most flattering picture of me, but the difference is obvious even to me at this point. I have to accept my size. Now I get it. I’m seeing what everyone else saw weeks ago. For the 2nd time in as many weeks someone has commented on my abs. I have abs? Holy crap! I have abs!  

Very old size 14s on underneath brand new size 4s

Size 14 to a size 4. I’ve held on to those shorts “just in case” for several years. I think I might can finally let them go.

Must Read: Mark Hyman, MD: The Last Diet You Will Ever Need

When it becomes a revolutionary act to eat real food, we are in trouble.

 

I’m not going to pontificate on this. It says it all. Just read the article. Nod your head as I did. Share with your loved ones. Encourage a food revolution.

Mark Hyman, MD: The Last Diet You Will Ever Need.