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Diet Changes (again)

07/27/2012

Belle

This is going to be all over the place. I thought about making it several different posts, but honestly, how much do you guys want to read about my food journey? :) So I’m lumping it all in one epic ramble.

Detox Summary

I’m pleased to say that my detox was the most successful yet. I felt good while on it and was shocked that by eliminating gluten/wheat for just one week I could see a difference in my bloating. Typically after one of my normal meals (mostly vegetables + grain + protein) I find myself tremendously bloated and uncomfortable. The no gluten/wheat thing seemed to really help.

While I did not complete daily positive reflection, the few I did were good exercises and something that I think I’ll try to post on a regular basis here. Not a scheduled thing, so much as a way to end a post where I am particularly down and “Negative Nancy.”

I exercised daily which, of course, felt great. After about two months of regular exercise I’m staring to see improvements in my body. I look stronger, leaner and more toned. I still have a ways to go before I would put myself back at the level of fitness when I got married, but I feel like I’m on the right path.

As far as weight loss goes… I did not lose  a pound. Which is frustrating but I’m choosing to look past it. Weight is a number. My BMI is healthy and my body is looking stronger. From now on I think I’ll omit weight tracking as an indicator of how I am progressing health-wise. The only thing I need to monitor weight for is to watch for a sudden, unintentional drop which can signal a major autoimmune flareup. (When I had my first huge flare my weight dropped below 118 for the first time since I was 16. Not a good place for a 5 foot 6 inch woman with my frame to be.

PCOS and The Autoimmune Fiasco

As we all know from my recent posts, Dr. B has determined I most certainly do have PCOS and has urged me to try a PCOS diet plan and greatly reduce my soy consumption. Within a week of this I also am informed by the rheumatologist and retina specialist that I have some new skin “things” that are potentially autoimmune-related and some inflammation in my left eye. Crap. Just when I feel like I’m getting a handle on my health I get sent back to Start.

Over the past few days I have scoured Google for information on going gluten-free for uveitis, general autoimmune disease and PCOS. From what I have found it looks like I have little to loose and a ton to gain from giving it a try. Worst case scenario – I give up toast for 6 months and am still sick. Fine. Then I get toast back. Best case scenario – I give up toast for 6 months and find restored health, fewer or no flares and ovaries that resemble ovaries and not big sacks of garbage. Win.

Chicken

I dread giving up my pescatarian status. Not eating “land mammal,” as I say, has become part of my identity and I am having a hard time coming to terms with changing. Not that there is anything wrong with people who choose to eat meat and dairy, it just isn’t my shtick.

However, with my already limited diet due to allergies (no dairy, treenuts, peanuts or shellfish) and then the elimination of gluten and serious reduction of soy, I’m left with little choice. I need to eat chicken. Ugh. Yes, I know I can, and will, buy organic, hormone-free, free-range “happy” chickens, but still. Is any animal raised specifically for slaughter really “happy?” How can I guarantee that my chicken actually got to roam around and pal with other chickens without actually visiting the farm? Furthermore, I find chickens to be ADORABLE! How can I eat something so damn cute?

Because I have to, that’s why. Tonight will be my first “chickening.” I’m going to make fajitas and hope that all the veggies and seasonings will mask the yucky taste of chicken. I’m also going to hit up the local farmers market and see if there are any truly free-range farmers who would be ok with me popping in and checking out their practice. Yes, I’m really that crazy. Wait, no, I’m really that passionate about fair treatment of animals.

The Nuts-and-Bolts of My Plan

So here is the rough outline of this new dietary venture.

  • I am committing to trying a gluten-free lifestyle for 6 months. My body needs time to recover from this flare, the miscarriage, blah blah blah before I can expect true results. I think 6 months should give that to me. If anyone has advice otherwise, please feel free to share.
  • I will continue eating a variety of fresh vegetables, organic when I can afford it. (NOTE: We genuinely cannot afford a 100% organic lifestyle.)
  • I will replace soy milk with Flax Milk – which is GF, vegan, nut-free, and has actual nutrients, unlike a lot of rice milks. It is also not terrible tasting.
  • I use soy milk in my coffee and love it. I am experimenting with other options right now and working to find a good compromise. So far coconut creamer is the best substitute.
  • I will allow myself soy in tofu or tempeh form once or twice a week. This is because I love tofu. I love it so freaking much I eat it raw as a snack. Delicious.
  • I will eat chicken, wild-caught low mercury fish and plentiful beans for protein. I will also continue choking down eating free-range eggs from local farmers.
  • I will continue to avoid Earth Balance and processed fats.
  • I will cook with olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, etc.
  • I will follow the “EZ” Diet for PCOS, which falls in-line  nicely with going gluten-free.
  • I will limit alcohol consumption to red wine once or twice a week. I will stop drinking beer unless it is gluten-free. This is a very sad statement but I desperately want to be better.

I think that is the basic gist of things right now. This is a “work-in-progress” change that I realize won’t happen overnight. This weekend I’m going to map out my meals for next week and clear out things in the fridge and cupboards that do not fit with the diet. I have already been finishing things off this week that won’t be replaced – like the soy milk. Mr. Husband is joining me in going gluten-free after hearing a report on NPR about a gluten-free lifestyle helping those with AADD (Adult Attention Deficit Disorder), although he will likely not be as strict as I.

These are a lot of big changes for a girl who is not particularly fond of change, but I’m confident I can be successful and, hopefully, find some relief from uveitis/autoimmune and PCOS. Time will tell. This weekend I’ll be adding a new section to the blog so folks can follow my weekly meal planning and such without annoying my other readers with daily “What I Ate” and grocery list posts.

Whew, that was a lot writing. If you made it this far you deserve a treat. How about some hug-able toast?

Etsy never lets me down when I am looking for something bizarre. Source.

Emily, can I commission you to crochet me a toast pal? :) Source.

Holy shit balls, Batman! Two of my favorite things EVER! Toast AND MUSTACHE! Source.

 

 

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14 Comments

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  1. July 27, 2012

    I think it’s awesome that you’re doing this. I’ve read many success stories of people who went GF and found their lives unrecognizably improved. I hope the same happens for you. And I hope you begin to enjoy the taste of chicken.

  2. July 27, 2012

    Exciting stuff! Just remember if you happen to slip on one thing, it’s okay. These kinds of changes are not all-or-nothing. :)

    And, I’m convinced you can find felt/crochet ANYTHING on etsy!

  3. July 27, 2012

    I completely understand your aversion to eating chicken. I became a vegetarian about 10 years ago (but I kept eating dairy, which I know makes me a jerk. sigh). I added fish back into my diet last year because I knew I wasn’t getting enough protein. That first bite was very hard to take. Chicken would be sooo much harder.

    Good luck with the changes. I hope they give you the results you’re looking for. :)

  4. July 27, 2012

    Wow. Those are a lot of changes, but I know you can do this. Just a couple pieces of advice – I have never personally purchased chicken from a farmer’s market, but I did used to buy eggs from the farmer’s market in Ann Arbor, and you can totally talk to the farmers about whether their chickens are pastured (they won’t roam free all year if it gets cold in the winter), and many of them will let you visit. Also, we did host Thanksgiving once and asked one of the farmer’s to slaughter a turkey for us. I ate some, it really did taste better. (Of course, I didn’t return to eating chicken or turkey, so maybe it didn’t taste that much better.) Oh…and I totally talk about how I’m going to start eating “happy chickens” every once and a while. Maybe someday.

    That was long. Anyway, my second piece of advice is to try hard ciders instead of beer. Many of them are gluten free, and as they’re becoming more popular again, you can actually get some good ones, and variety. (I don’t like beer, but I love dry ciders.)

  5. K.Smitty #
    July 27, 2012

    This all sounds great, Belle! I’m proud of you! Flax milk, eh? I may have to look into that. I always love reading about food on your blog because I share a good amount of your food issues, whether it be allergies, aversions, or otherwise. I am also very hopeful you see dramatic improvements! I also gotta give you kudos on letting go of the scale. It’s a hard thing to do, but isn’t it truly a little freeing when you KNOW your body is in better condition, even if the scale didn’t budge? I admittedly still weigh myself regularly, but since I really understood that a few pounds here or there aren’t as bad as I thought, I have had a much healthier body image, since. However, if you continue this diet for longer., I have a good feeling you’ll eventually see the scale move in your favor one way or another. Good luck! Can’t wait to hear how it goes!

  6. karaleen #
    July 27, 2012

    Our son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease last year. We have gone gluten free and it is really quite easy once you find several things that work for you and you start building them into your recipies.
    We love quinoa pastas that are usually mixed with corn flour. Just be careful of hidden gluten. We have to be vigilant because Celiacs react to just micrograms….but beware of soy and BBQ sauces and things the may have caramel color in the ingedients. Those ones will get you every time. Otherwise it is not so hard and there are many new products on the market now to help you adapt. Udi’s makes a good bread for toasting. My son loves it with a bit of honey on it (just watch out for any nut flours in the ingredients….).
    Anyway…you have my email (from the EZ diet)…so feel free to ping me anytime you have a question…
    I think you will do great and find many benefits.
    karaleen

  7. July 27, 2012

    So glad you are feeling better on your diet! OMG that crochet toast pal is awesome! I could totally do that! That last toast is uber awesome!

  8. Jen #
    July 27, 2012

    Wow! You have got quite the undertaking in front of you – we both know gluten free beer isn’t the same as a real beer. I’m looking forward to hearing how this new diet works for you!

  9. July 28, 2012

    The “chickening” is my new favorite word. Also? I thought you might enjoy this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErRHJlE4PGI

    I eat too much soy. In my dream world, Michael Pollen would gather my every meal using fruits and vegetables and whole grains from within a mile range. I’m serious: that is really my dream! Also, I want to keep chickens. Not to eat, but for the eggs.

    In my reality, I don’t do any of this. Except try to eat organic and local. Which we do. Sometimes. It’s SO HARD!!

    But worth it. GOOD LUCK! I’ll be cheering you on.

  10. July 28, 2012

    A co worker of mine was a vegetarian for years and said she added meat back in by starting with chicken broth and working her way up.
    Good luck!!!

  11. July 28, 2012

    Yay! It looks like we’ll be joining you for the most part, my husband was interested to hear the AADD benefits, and I was looking for a new PCOS diet anyway.

  12. July 28, 2012

    I’m inspired by your dedication on trying all this. I truly hope it will bring you the results you are looking for, and how great your husband is willing to try it too. Hopefully that can make it a bit easier.

  13. July 28, 2012

    I’m hesitant to make any suggestions because you obviously research and think about what you eat way more than I do. Have you tried cooking with sunflower oil? My husband is the household cook and this is his new favorite medium. If you have reasons to avoid it I would be curious to know what they are. I find it very tasty. Tastiness is (usually) the only food qualification that I have.

  14. August 2, 2012

    I found my way here from ‘My Bum Ovaries.’ I am an ovo-lacto vegetarian (24 years strong!), started cutting out gluten last August, and got serious about going gf this past January. I have endometriosis and maybe PCOS. I noticed feeling so, so much better immediately after cutting out gluten! I also did some simple liver detox and took a new regimen of vitamins starting last winter. After about 3 months of eating strictly gf and taking the vitamins my husband and I were shocked to get a positive pregnancy test (this happened the day after I scheduled my laparoscopy to diagnose and treat my endo). We had been trying for 21 months at that point and had never had a positive pregnancy test (or even OPK!). I really, really think my dietary changes had something to do with it! Oh, I also cut WAY back on dairy (I see that you already don’t eat dairy), ate as much organic produce as we could afford (used the “Dirty Dozen” as a guide for which produce to always get organic), and changed several of my body products to more natural ones (shampoos, soaps, deodorant). Anyways, I think cutting out gluten made the biggest noticeable difference and helped in healing my body to some extent. Good luck with everything…I am following your story now!

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