The game plan.

Fat, Tired and Out of Control.

This blog is about the promise I have made to myself to change the things that are broken in order to feel better.

I sat down on New Year’s Day, 2015 and wrote down all the things I wanted to accomplish in the new year. Most of them have to do with my physical health and wellness but improving my mental health is also incredibly important to me.
My health and wellness resolutions are things like:

  • Getting back into shape physically
  • Having a focused and clear mentality, less multitasking
  • Eating healthy and adjusting my diet to find the inflammatory parts

I also have plans to up my creative endeavors. Expressing myself via this blog verbally is actually a great start to that goal, one that I have been thinking about doing for years but struggled to find a subject to write about. I worried about discussing things I personally didn’t know a lot about even though I was interested in learning them. Turning things inwardly and making this about my life and the struggles and progress it entails take the pressure out and makes this less about me telling others how to do something.

This blog is about my journey, how I have specifically chosen to do everything represented here and is by no means the exact way you should do anything. That being said, feel free to learn from my mistakes along with me and share your thoughts with me and other readers.

I will be taking things one week at a time. Currently I have several ideas of things I plan to try but this is a moving target and I plan to let it evolve as I go.

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Two possible allergens, two reactions.

Just 4 days into my Challenge phase, I’ve already been through the ringer!
I picked citrus and gluten to start and they both gave me unpleasant, but different reactions. I decided on the strategy to pick things I thought would give me a reaction so I could get it over with, and as long as there aren’t too many more, it will get me to a place of better health sooner.

1. Citrus

Background:

The reasons I think citrus would be an issue are because of the quantity of it that I consume. I love lemon and I had been eating a lot of grapefruit the last few months. When I tried my raw diet, I was eating it multiple times each day and something I consumed during that week made me incredibly tired and uncomfortable.

The challenge:

On Friday I re-introduced citrus at all three meals of the day. I started with my usual oatmeal and ate some very cold/partially frozen grapefruit with it.
For lunch I had left over broccoli slaw, sweet potato and chicken sausage from the previous nights’ dinner and I ate a clementine. With each of these I checked my pulse before, during and after looking for some change. The start was around 68 and the lowest it went was 60 while I was eating. So not a huge change, but maybe a sign.

With dinner we had fish, broccoli, brown rice and lots of lemon. I didn’t do the pulse test but within a few hours I was in a lot of discomfort with bloating and abdominal cramping.

The aftermath:

So I’m not 100% sure, but I wondered if the tangerine and grapefruit were not as reactive as the lemon. I had a pretty quick and much stronger reaction in the evening. I’m also not sure if the broccoli had something to do with the bloating. I will have to re-test them both separately.

Wheat:

Background info:

So I’ve had my suspicions about gluten and wheat since I realized that fatigue, brainfog, bloating, stomach and bowel issues were common symptoms of this intolerance. I was never sure if they were caused by my hypothyroid situation or by gluten and wasn’t ready to go gluten-free at the time. There is also a strong connection with gluten intolerance and hashimotos , a precursors and common cause of hypothyroid as they are both auto-immune diseases. I have been tested for celiac multiple times and all tests but one came back negative. The other was inconclusive. This left me to believe it may be a sensitivity if anything.

The challenge:

I broke my own rule on this one! On Saturday night while at a party I indulged in ziti, which had cheese, tomato sauce and of course pasta. So instead of trying just one thing at a time, I had 3… I was drinking wheat beer and also ate as much bread as I wanted so the ratio was at least more gluten-heavy. I should also say I wasn’t planning on starting the wheat introduction until the following day but there was nothing for me to eat at the party and alcohol makes it so easy to skip out on the diet you’ve just spent 4 weeks preparing yourself for! I suffered from some bloating and sneezing (this is actually a big issue for me) on the way home that night but nothing severe.

On Sunday I woke up feeling really tired and it took me a while to get going. I tried to get as much wheat into my diet on this day. Breakfast was cheerios, strawberries and almond milk which about half way through I realized wasn’t wheat.. It’s oats. So I found a frozen wheat bagel in the freezer and ate that too with some blueberry jam. For lunch I was out with a friend at Chilli’s and I ordered a toasted chicken sandwhich. On my way home from the lunch I started to feel some discomfort (bloating and gas). For dinner we made some whole wheat pizza which I had with veggies and olive oil and I covered one half in non-dairy cheese that I had left over from the previous week. I also decided to indulge with about 10 Oreos because they have wheat in them and no dairy and were on sale at the grocery store. I’m all about treats after healthy dinners and who knows when I’ll ever have Oreos again!

The aftermath:

I woke up on Monday feeling just as tired as on Sunday. I felt slow, unmotivated and generally unwell. I had a slight headache before lunch so I put my reading glasses on because they normally subdue my headaches and left the house for a regular appointment with my endocrinologist, almost an hour away. By the time I got to the doctor the headache was pretty bad and after I left the office it was getting even worse. I had a snack in the car as I knew my blood sugar was getting low even though I wasn’t hungry. By late afternoon I was really miserable. I took 3 Advil and laid down for an hour to rest. Thank goodness because when I woke up I felt 1000X better than I had the whole weekend. I was even able to go to the gym and have a great workout!

I woke up this morning feeling alert, awake and overall well. So it seems I was having the reaction for 48 hours in the moderate form of fatigue and in a more severe form for about 12 hours after the last wheat ingestion. It hard to say what a small amount of gluten would do but I think the fatigue would become present. It’s also in my best interest to not cause unnecessary inflammation to my body so it can heal. So I think in 6 months, on or around 21st of August, I will try some more wheat. Until then I will avoid it as best I can.

I hope I don’t have to be gluten free forever, but I’ve made it a priority in my life now. Plus the gluten free options are really going mainstream now.

Moving forward:

I plan to try dairy for three meals on Thursday with yogurt, cheese, and milk! After that it might be on to some of the curious vegetables I’ve been avoiding.

Do you have any experience with diet sensitivities or true allergies? I’d low to hear about how you became aware of them and what you do to avoid triggers!

Guidelines for the Challenge after Elim. Diet

Here we go.. CHALLENGE time. All these weeks of preparation of clean eating, avoiding inflammation and allergens , drinking tons of water, and working hard to find interesting recipes.. Now is the time to put it all to the test and see what the issues really are. These next few weeks are about results and trial and probably lots of “errors”.

23 days will be this Tuesday, so theoretically that should be the day I introduce the first trigger.

I have been reading up on my elimination diet sources and have been forming a plan for myself. Here are a collection of tips I plan to follow through with:

One thing at a time:

You are trying to uncover the limits of your new diet, not overwhelm your body all at once! So pick one food item, try it enough so that if there could be a reaction, you would get it.

I have read about certain foods being combined, like dairy. For example: milk with breakfast, yogurt for lunch, and cheese with dinner. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Processed cheese can have a dull or little effect on your system while milk could be the big culprit. So being aware of these differences is important, but ultimately up to you. If you suffer a reaction, you can always tease through it a little more to figure out if it’s everything in the category or only a few aspects that need to be avoided.

Try enough of each item:

Several sources I read suggested eating a good amount of the item at each meal, so it would be enough to trigger a reaction that you could tell. However, I also read from a source that was suggesting to try incremental doses of the item. So a spoonful at breakfast, a little more at lunch, and a whole serving at dinner.
I am personally choosing the first option as I don’t think any of my symptoms will be too severe/unbearable. Make the best decision based on how you’re feeling.  Slow and steady is a very practical way if there are any nerves around the experience.

Track your symptoms:

Symptoms can be minutes or hours from the time of ingestion. It’s really important to take note of anything that you are feeling and record this information to reference later for yourself or maybe with your health practitioner. Everyone reacts differently but some common symptoms are: headaches, stomach aches, fatigue, flatulence, rashes, increased heart rate, sweating, cramps, tingling in your mouth/throat.

Some more severe reactions, in my opinion, are vomiting, diarrhea, heart palpitations, fainting, and anything severe enough to make you seek medical attention..

Reactions are touchy because you could have a severe reaction to anything you re-introduce, you really don’t know. If you’re worried at all, you should seek guidance from a medical practitioner, someone that can monitor you or be close to call if things get serious.

Try again if something has triggered symptoms:

If there were any symptoms that came up after reintroducing a food, you should consider retrying the food after some time has passed, around 7-12 days. This way you can be sure everything is as you expected. If you had a severe reaction, I would probably skip this step and avoid the item for 6+ months.

Stay on the elimination protocol throughout the challenge period:

When trying one allergen at a time, it’s important that nothing else conflicts with the results, so staying on the elimination diet in between and during the trials is vital to uncovering symptoms and which foods trigger them!

Consider a priority strategy:

Something I have been lightly thinking about over the last 3 weeks is what I would introduce first.. Do I start with the things I think are probably triggers? Or do I start with the things that I think will be easily re-introduced? I think there are pros and cons to both, and it’s important to just have this in mind.

Starting with less likely triggers:
Pros- you can build some confidence and excitement about these foods you can soon eat without worrying!
Cons- this might take a long time and it’s not helping you find triggers AND you can’t eat these full time just yet, or not until you conclude the diet.

Starting with the likely allergens:
Pros- You might find out very quickly what your problems are (if you’ve guessed correctly 😉 )!
Cons- you must wait a few extra days until the inflammation  and symptoms die down, so it can be. Tough round. Plus, there might be multiple things that you can have varying symptoms from.

Food allergies may not be forever:

It can take years after eliminating a food to heal your gut and body back to optimal levelS. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a food item is gone forever. It’s possible that after some time, time of course being relative, it may not cause you any more discomfort. The body is incredibly interesting in that allergies can come and go and listening to what it is saying to you- by way of symptoms and inflammation, you can feel better.

It’s exciting at its scary, because after all this hard work, I still worry I will be disappointed with results that are not clear or the need to avoid certain foods perpetually from my diet.  But the negatives shouldn’t stop you from seeking the positive, so I will finish this with a bang and see where I end up. I have come to the realization I may have to do this again, and we will cross that bridge when it gets here.

Good luck to anyone out there that is doing this or anyone considering starting the process. It is all in the prep work and I really do think anyone can do this!

Have you tried eliminating and reintroducing foods into your diet? I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Week 3 Elim. Diet in review:

Man the cravings for Mac and cheese are strong!

But overall, I am so close to finding out my potential triggers and it is really keeping me going now.

I’m excited and I’m nervous to move into the next phase, but boy am I ready…

I have roasted half of a 24lb turkey this weekend and have a broth from the bones on the stove right this minute. So turkey leftovers, brown rice and turkey/rice soup will be heavily eaten this week. I also have some red chard, bok choy, butternut, broccoli and sweet potatoes to roast and eat throughout the week.

On Wednesday I plan to have 1-2 drinks with my co-workers as it is a going away party for some of them and I am eager to celebrate them properly! Since it wasn’t part of the diet I want to tread carefully with this.

I plan to introduce citrus on Thursday/Friday as I think it could be my big trigger and I’m ready to find out. So I have some cut grapefruit to go along with my breakfast, I have an orange to go with my lunch, and will put lemon on my fish for dinner.

Next will be bread, tomato, then dairy, eggs, and then eggplant, peppers and finally red meat.

Wish me luck!

Have you had any elimination diet experiences? I’d love to hear about your trials and how it all worked out!

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Week 2 Elim. Diet in review

I think meals are getting too monotonous because after 3 weeks I’m starting to crave things I see and smell, which I previously had some kind of inner strength to get past. Maybe it’s the fact that I had to stretch this out another week beyond what I had mentally planed …

About one more week to go! I’m craving sparkling and sweet alcohol, in a can none the less, and things like kielbasa and eggs and bacon. Bread also..

I stopped drinking the green smoothies in the morning and I have definitely felt better the last few days. More energy and more positivity.
I am also slowly getting used to my new eye glasses so I have been having Less headaches at night and feeling better in general. I cut out the raw greens after I read an article about their effect on the thyroid. I had heard it before but wasn’t sure if it applied to me, being sans-thyroid and all. Sure enough, cutting them out is providing more sustained energy. Although they were filling and probably nutritious, they may have been doing more harm than good with my T4 conversion!

The meal plan this week included things like black bean burgers wrapped in a large lettuce leaf, modified recipe from the Pioneer Woman with a flax egg, although I kept the hot sauce in – they really need it! Lots of sides of baked sweet potato fries. Lots of roasted cauliflower, broccoli and kale. Spaghetti squash made a fabulous appearance. Brown rice was a supplementary grain and either turkey meatballs, white fish, or salmon were in most dishes . Lunches have been leftovers from dinner and I have cut down on the nuts and dried fruit this week. I have been consuming twice as much green tea however! Celebrating with a burrito bowl tonight – yes it’s from chipotle 😉

Weight is being maintained from the 5lbs I lost during the raw portion although I haven’t made an effort to exercise yet.

Next week I plan to try and do a white pizza with gluten free dough and dairy free cheese, probably with broccoli. Stirfy with chicken or turkey sausage. A butternut squash, steamed kale and quinoa salad sounds like a good idea as does some vegetable soup!

Valentine’s Day calls for a giant meal of all the seafood we can consume 🙂

Trying to stay motivated and creative here in the home stretch.

How do those of you who do this diet permanently keep things fresh? – and I mean both the recipes and the vegetables!

Hatred is the true enemy.

I think most find times when they hate their bodies. But I moved past that, to complete separation. In my mind, I referred to it as my shell, because I felt I was a hollow shell of the person I used to be. It contained me, it held me back, the biological functions were amiss, and my body had become my own albatross.

I like to think I went through the stages of grief with my thyroid and body in general. In the beginning there was fear, fear of the unknown mass in my mouth, fear of what the future might hold. Cancer crossed our minds and the possibilities could really run away with you. The official tests however were swift enough to reveal my lingual thyroid soon after discovery and after a total thyroidectomy a year and a half later, all proved to be cancer and node free as well. Before the removal I reached sadness, total rock bottom due to the lack of energy. After beginning Synthroid, I started my phase of self-pitty. Why me.. Why could I no longer run and think and be as I was just a few years before. I honestly felt smarted by life, and worse, my own body. I had previously said and thought things to the tune of how much I trusted myself and my body, to always do as I asked, always to perform as I wished. So you can imagine my feeling of betrayal.

After a full year of sadness, I hit another low of total lethargy and zero motivation. Things picked back up after this and I started digging into other options. I spent 9 months looking, researching, for things that could help: diet changes, exercising, meditation, relaxation, sleeping, etc. I never fully committed, still thinking I was helpless in my cause. I never lost hope, I will say that, but it was always hinged on something or someone doing it all for me. Why don’t the meds make me feel better? Why aren’t my doctors figuring this out? What other specialists should I go see? It’s true I am no doctor, and there true value in medical professionals, but there is always something you can do, and that was my mistake. I started to feel less hatred towards my body after I started to restrict my calorie intake and slowly lose some weight over the summer and fall, finally feeling more normal. I forgave myself in a sense, this was probably the beginning of my path to move on, truly accepting all that has happened.

On January 19th, I took back control. I took a leap that could to do me no harm, based on a change I had noticed in myself. That first step didn’t workout so well, but the second part of the journey has already started paying dividends. I don’t feel the same way I have for the last 3 years anymore. The cloud that hung around my head has dissipated and I am free to think, see, and feel more clearly again. I am not sure i can explain to the full extent quite how liberating this is. I can only explain it as being locked in a dark shadow for all this time, and then having the light start to pour in again. My senses are keen, my heart is fluttering. I feel the special “I can do anything, right now…” feeling returning. Oh, how I’ve missed it. I mourned it all these years. I can’t believe I wasted so much time. I am taking back control, I am taking back my life.

It is only a question of what I will do next.

Week 1 Elim. Diet in review

I had read in the write-ups before this diet that there were certain people that would feel life hanging benefits from trying the process and I had seriously hoped to be one of them. I am starting to think I might be one of them…

I had my doubts of course and tried to remain realistic about the way things might turn out. After a negative ending to the raw diet, I was already feeling disappointed with my journey. I figured I would finish the diet and would have at least lost some weight.

It all started to change around Wednesday when I woke up at 6 AM, and although I still did not want to get out of my nice warm bed on these cold and dark winter mornings, I could tell I felt more alert than usual. The day passed with sustained energy and less green tea than previously, and by 9PM I was ready to crawl into bed. I held out to the planned 10:15 time slot, giving myself 15 minutes to fall asleep and then leaving the “now recommended” 7.5 hours to get my beauty rest. Thursday came along and I again felt the alertness, maybe even a little more than the previous morning. Two days in a row might be a fluke, but it hasn’t happened in a while. Thursday night I again felt tired by the late evening, but kept on schedule, ending up with a great nights sleep. Friday morning, clearest day yet, and I have enough energy to stay up hours later than I normally ever could to write about these great experiences!

From passing out at 9:30pm on a regular basis, and then struggling to wake up at 6 AM, I feel like I making all the right moves here. Let’s hope it all just keeps up!

I feel at peace and yet so alive at the same time…

Transitioning from Raw to Elimination Diet

So, when I first mapped out my plan as I always do, I thought I had everything worked out. So when I hit a small bump, it was a big surprise!

Turns out, it is not as easy as expected making the transition from one diet (Raw) to another (Elimination) especially because of the limitations on each.

Lessons learned:

1. Learn the diet restrictions by heart.
2. Plan, plan, plan those meals!
3. Don’t underestimate how your body will feel in the transition.
4. One diet at a time.

When I first started to the raw diet, it was difficult for the first day or so, but I had a lot of recipes to rely on and it was pretty clear what could be eaten… vegetables and fruits (even though my boyfriend asked a lot of interesting questions about what was allowed, trying to find a loophole)! When the time came around to switching to the elimination diet, I wasn’t nearly as prepared with recipes. I assumed I could adapt my previous eating/cooking style to fit with the diet and that would be it. Well I’ve already had a few slip ups, mainly with tomatoes (adding pico de gallo to a burrito bowl at Chipotle and make a turkey chili with a tomato base). On a positive note, I am learning as I go!

On Friday night, the last meal of the raw diet, it was hard to just have another fruit and kale smoothie, I wanted to move on to hot food that was planned the next day. Then Saturday turned up and I all of a sudden didn’t know what I could eat! I had a vague plan, smoothie for breakfast, veggies for lunch and then make the chili for dinner as a easy reintroduction to meat in a meal with lots of veggies. I ended up eating a banana for breakfast and having a very late lunch of stirfried veggies. Dinner was awesome except for the tomatoes that I was supposed to be avoiding. I was incredibly tired all of saturday. I slept 10 hours over night and caught a 3 hour nap on Saturday afternoon and could just not muster up much energy, either something I had been eating all week (citrus??) had been causing some kind of allergy/energy boom and now I was coming down from it or maybe I was just worn down from the week. Hard to say but I’m avoiding citrus now as I’m supposed to and am feeling much better, so I will check on this hunch in the challenge phase of the diet!

Over all, I don’t regret doing the raw portion, as it was my inspiration to get going, and it was an interesting experience that I’m proud I did. But really, I made the whole elimination part of my diet much harder. I now need to extend the elimination diet and extra week, to end on Valentine’s Day so that I can test the potential tomato and citrus allergies fully. It takes 23 days for the body to flush the antibodies out of your system, so it makes sense to wait a few more days instead of redoing this diet from scratch in a few months because I messed it up this time!

Changing your life can’t always be planned, the results certainly can’t be, and the process can be just as unexpected.

Have you learned any important lessons from your diets?

Week One of my Elimination Diet

One and done. Just kidding, 3 more weeks of this winter.

This week is moving pretty quickly, as most weeks do, so the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer!

We have been eating the left overs of a roast chicken that I made on Sunday with roast vegetables and brown rice. I turned this into a nice home made chicken soup with the addition of brown rice and kale tonight on our “Snow Day” and I plan to eat the left overs for lunch the next few days!

Fish will definitely be on the menu in the coming days, as will be roast cauliflower steaks, and some gluten free pasta with pesto!

Dark chocolate and gluten free cookies have become a nice and well deserved treat for after meals thanks to my boyfriends sweet tooth (I’m not complaining after the drought of anything cookie related)!

Sunday I am planning some hot chicken wing and fun appetizers and dips to much on during the Super Bowl.

Just digging in and getting ready for the long haul on this portion, need to find more recipes and exciting meal ideas to make this as seamless and easy as possible. There don’t seem to be any instant results, so the waiting game it will be.

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My Diet to uncover allergies Part 1 : Going Raw!

Raw diets are crazy. I can’t believe anyone sustains this kind of thing. BUT, I have never seen such an immediate noticeable change in myself and that’s the motivating factor pushing me forward!

So from Monday 1/19 through Friday 1/23 I have been and will continue to eat all fruits and vegetables that never exceed 115 degrees F in preparation.

Here is my meal plan:

(I am drinking water throughout each day, so even if it isn’t listed with a meal, assume I was drinking some)

Monday 1/19:

Breakfast: A cup of Yogi “Raspberry Passion Perfect Energy” and a whole grapefruit, no extra sugar added

Lunch: Salad at a restaurant: Mediterranean salad with green olives, artichoke, red onion, tomato, mixed salad greens and a lemon vinaigrette on the side. Water with lemon, Rooibos tea at a nearby coffee shop.

After lunch: Yogi “Blueberry Green Tea”

Dinner: Guacamole stuffed pepper. Store bought guacamole, chopped ½ red onion, 1 whole cucumber chopped. ½ green pepper per serving, handful of fresh greens. Inspired from this recipe. Yogi “Peach Detox Tea” , Water

Tuesday 1/20:

6AM: Cup of hot water with slice of lemon during meditation session

Breakfast (7:30AM): Smoothie made with nutribullet and following their concept: filled nutribullet container with ½ kale, , ½ a frozen banana, ¼ cup frozen rhubarb, 1/8 cup frozen blueberries, 3T whole almonds, 2T sunflower seeds.

Morning snack(10AM): Whole grapefruit, Yogi “Blueberry Green Tea”

Before lunch snack (11 AM): almonds, cashews, and dried cranberries

Lunch: “Mason Jar Salad” dressing mixed ad-hoc and taste tested: (lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper) grape tomato, chopped carrot, chopped green pepper, chopped cucumber, sunflower seeds, mix of Kale and spring mix salad.

After lunch snack: Pistachios, Yogi “Raspberry Passion Perfect Energy”

Dinner: dried cranberries, water

Wednesday 1/21:

Breakfast: (7:30AM): Smoothie made with nutribullet and following their concept: filled nutribullet container with ½ kale, , ½ a frozen banana, ¼ cup frozen strawberries, 1/8 cup frozen blueberries, 2T almond butter, 1T chia seeds, ½ T flax seeds.

9AM: Yogi “Blueberry Green Tea”

Morning snack(10AM): Whole grapefruit, Black Lipton Tea, mixed nuts with almonds, cashews, and dried cranberries

Lunch (1PM): Curry, coconut and cabbage salad with raisins and cashews. See recipe here.

Dinner (7PM): Broccoli salad, water, See recipe here. -This was very tasty, but the onion grows more pungent the next day!

Dessert: fresh cut strawberries and Bliss Balls

Thursday 1/22:

Breakfast: (7:30AM): Smoothie made with Nutribullet and following their concept: filled Nutribullet container with ½ kale, ¼ cup frozen blackberries, ¼ cup frozen strawberries, 1/8 cup frozen blueberries, 2T almond butter, 1T chia seeds, ½ T flax seeds.

9AM: Black Lipton Tea

Morning snack(10AM): Whole grapefruit, mixed nuts: almonds, cashews, dried cranberries. Cup with green tea bag (Trader Joes) and White Pomegranate Tea (Trader Joes)

Before Lunch snack (12PM): Pistachios, water

Lunch: Leftover broccoli salad, see recipe from Dinner on 1/21.

Dinner: Plan to have this raw Mushroom Alfredo Fettuccine

Friday:

Breakfast: Smoothie: TBD

Lunch: I Plan to make this cucumber and dill salad

Dinner: A salad bar or similar in the city, TBD

Overall thoughts: This is hard to begin, but its all about the prep and having interesting a different recipes. My least favorite meal was the traditional salad that i made in the mason jar, i just have always found them boring. I loved the broccoli salad and the stuffed pepper also. The smoothies have a been a life saver. I feel great about them because they are stuffed full of greens but are nice and sweet because of all the berries. I don’t feel hungry the whole time, and if i am then i snack on nuts or I eat my next meal, simple as that. Not counting calories in any way, which I love. I think I would definitely have raw meals once in a while, or even a whole raw day, but I miss warm food so much, not even the meat and dairy, just baked and cooked vegetables would satisfy my idea of a meal better. January in NYC eating ice cold salads is very counterintuitive ;). Even though weight loss is not the primary goal of this process, I will say I have lost 4-5 lbs. to date, and I will try and log after Friday what the total is for this part of the diet.

Overall Feeling: I felt that overall awakening described in my post about the whole diet process, My Diet to uncover food allergies. However, by Wednesday I was exhausted. Really struggling to get out of bed in the morning and very tired at night. I didn’t get enough sleep on Tuesday night, maybe 7 hours, but on Wednesday night I made sure to get a good 8:30 hours and I was the most tired out of the whole week when I awoke on Thursday morning… So something is not adding up here. I have coworkers telling me I’m glowing and my skin does seem unusually clear. I have become more “regular” than I ever was previously as the the food seems to pass through me more quickly than my previous diet did. I will update this after Fridays completion and maybe on Sunday when Part 2 is in full swing and I can have something to compare all of this to.

On Adjustments: I have been doing my best to be pure, but I am also comfortable with certain slips. I started drinking 1 cup of black tea on wednesday because I was just too tired without it, and i have to finish my work! My boyfriend, who is a trooper for doing this with me, has been adding protein powder to his shakes which contains whey (dairy) so he is “cheating” in that regard, but he’s constantly starving so its an understandable thing.

Have you ever gone on a raw diet? Even just for a few days?

Would love to hear from others on how they might have adjusted their diets. I am really trying to figure out why I am so tired other than the lowered calorie intake!

My crazy diet to uncover food allergies

Remember the “Fat, Tired, and Out of Control” tagline? The whole reason I started this blog was to make some changes to my diet and lifestyle in order to feel better. Why the heck would I give up meat, dairy, and grains? To see some big changes…

So I this all started a year ago when a coworker encouraged many of my office mates and I to do a Blue Print Cleanse through a group discount. The cleanse started on the first few days of the New Year and was our trial at starting it off right! There always also a 30 day sit-up and squat challenge that failed miserably, but that’s besides the point here 🙂

So if you’ve ever done a cleanse you know that you need to prepare your body for it prior to starting so that the juices aren’t as big of a shock to your system. So in the 3-5 days before the cleanse start date, you will need to remove dairy, meat and bread-like food in progression so that you are left with just fruits and veggies that are uncooked, which you do for 2 full days. So for instance Friday you cut dairy, Saturday you cut meat, Sunday you cut bread and Monday and Tuesday you only eat raw fruits and vegetables. Wednesday starts the juice cleanse, Friday ends it, and the weekend you go raw again and then slowly reintroduce the dairy, meat and bread.  It’s quite a process, but believe me you do not want to shock your digestive system. Neither of you will be very happy. For further reference you should definitely check out the FAQ on the blueprint website, they have so much interesting information about what happens to your body and why they prescribe the order of the juices (1-6).

But, what I got the most out of, for the whole cleanse was the pre-juicing raw diet…

So my opinion on the cleanse was that I was pretty tired for most of the juicing phase, I loved the lemon agave pick me up and could have used 3 more of them throughout the day and I also really liked the cashew milk each evening. But, what I got the most out of, for the whole cleanse was the pre-juicing raw diet (I didn’t follow the end portion to a T as I was eager to eat bread and meat and cheese again 🙂  At the time I was still deep in the phase of working to get my thyroid levels correct and had actually just come out of a depression over the holiday break. On eating those fruits and veggies, I felt a tangible difference in myself that I hadn’t in a few years. From feeling numb, tired, depressed, full, foggy (mind) demotivated, lethargic, swollen, and awful things like that, all of a sudden I felt alive. I felt awake and clear headed. It was shaded by something that I never figured out, maybe the fatigue from the too-low dose of thyroid hormone or maybe the lack of calories (1100 versus my original 2000+).

I have clung to those two days and more importantly, those outcomes for a year now, promising myself and others that I would do something about it.

Around the time of the cleanse I went and got a physical and had some General blood work done. All was normal except for some unexplainable inflammation that would normally be present in arthritis patients, which I do not have. Due to these results, my doctor referred me to a gastroenterologist. The outcome of multiple visits to that doctor over the course of 6 months were not as significant as I had hoped. She seemed to do some testing for food allergies but all came back fine. There was one inconclusive test for gluten intolerance. There were never any lactose intolerance tests done even though before seeing her I had removed dairy completely from my diet for 3 months already, with no noticeable change. Her final recommendations were to see a dietician, to get the colonoscopy she kept recommending, and to avoid certain foods that would make some people gassy.

In the spring of that year after my first unhelpful visit to the gastroenterologist, I did some of my own research on gluten sensitivity and intolerance and found the Elimination Diet concept. I felt I was really on to something and wanted to do this special diet but never worked up the nerve to do it.

That brings me to December 2014, I realized this was what I needed to do and with some motivating conversations with friends, family, and some coworkers I finally felt ready to take the dive.

I reinforced this with my New Years resolutions and the realization that I could blog about this and share my journey with others who are confused but feeling unwell.

I set the date as Monday January 19th and I set the game plan as 5 days of raw, because that’s what triggered this whole process and I knew would provide some results I needed to consider, then the last 18 days following the elimination diet, which is much more sustainable since it included animal protein and certain grains, and most importantly, hot/cooked food.

After the 23 days begins the process of reintroducing the elements of a regular diet that one could be allergic to or are causing you discomfort. This medical doctor’s outline and the provocative Dr. Oz’s guide are great resources to explain this is more depth but the idea is that you introduce one food on a single day during all three meals, and you gage your reaction over the next minutes and hours. If there is no reaction, you test is a second day, and if all is good then you may reintroduce it to your diet as you know now that there is no issue. If you do find an issue with a food, for instance an upset stomach, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, hives, etc, then you know there is an issue with that item. In this case, you remove it completely from your diet for 4-6 months and can then try and reintroduce it. To my understanding, if you are able to successfully reintroduce it in the future, it may have been an issue to do with the bacteria in your gut.

I think we can all agree that it’s not completely natural to be eating out of season produce whenever we feel like it, just because can be imported.

Anything in excess is bad news and this could be the case with food sensitivities. There is of course the possibility that you have an actual allergy, which could be lifelong, in which case that item should definitely be avoided.

I do highly recommend getting a professional allergy panel done if you are worried about allergies and prefer to be guided by medical professionals. I had one done as a child and it came back with grass and house dust. I think I’m due for another one ;).

And of course, the disclaimer: Every thing mentioned above was done through my own discretion based on doctors advice and sources I chose to trust on the Internet. I am not a doctor, nutritionist, dietcian, or any other kind of medical professional, just a reasonably well educated woman trying to change her life. You should by no means do exactly as I did, rather tailor these concepts to your needs and above all else, do your own research. Double check everything and be sure you’re willing to take on the risks when altering your diet so radially. I feel as though I’m in a desperate position but have tried to do this in a safe and structured manner. I do think patients should work for and educate themselves related to anything that is a concern to them.
Overview:

Part one: going raw (5 days) January 19th-January 23rd 2015
Part two: elimination diet (18 days) January 24th– February 10th
Part three: reintroduction (4-10+ days) February 11th – ongoing

Check out these pages as I write them, I will be posting the recipes, how I am feeling, and general thoughts on the process! Please let me know if you have any questions or need clarifications of things I have mentioned.

Have you ever changed your diet dramatically for life-changing results?