Archive | August, 2013

Abort Mission

16 Aug

Well I had the best of intentions with this diet, but I have already thrown in the towel.

I underestimated the misery of the transition period.  When cutting out carbohydrates, some people go through a (usually) temporary period of discomfort ranging from fatigue to mood disturbances.  This can be due to withdrawal (from sugar, coffee, alcohol, etc.), die-off (of bacteria, yeasts, or whatever critters have been living in your intestines munching away on the carbohydrates you usually feed it), and/or the adjustment to ketosis (explained below) itself.  I suspect all three contributed to my woes!  I felt EXHAUSTED.  The very first night I woke up with an awful headache and had trouble sleeping.  Not to mention my monthly visitor stopped by on the second day of my attempt.  Needless to say, these circumstances were not happy to meet each other.  I had a bit of a physical/mental breakdown.

I also experienced heart palpitations which happened the last time I went low-carb (see February archives for “Candida diet” – though I never mentioned the palpitations until now).  I attribute the extra thumps to an increased adrenaline response.  Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body adjusts to burning fat, rather than carbohydrate, to produce the glucose your brain needs to function.  It’s a sort of selective starvation.  A ketogenic diet is used for amazing therapeutic purposes.  For example, eating in this fashion allows many people with epilepsy to prevent seizures.  For people with serious digestive troubles, eating a low-carb diet can mean the difference between living life and running to the bathroom five times a day.  One of the most exciting applications of a ketogenic diet is using it to slow tumor growth!

BUT…

For me at this point, it’s just not worth it.  I will continue eating in my semi-responsible way, limiting FODMAPS more than I used to.  I still have tummy attack episodes (because I cheat more often than I should…), but it’s nothing like it used to be.  I used to have constant stomach aches, unable to pinpoint what was causing my grief (probably because the list of “what” was more extensive than I could have imagined or hoped for :-/ ).

Even though the diet was (very) short lived, I did learn something!  I used to think that if I ate anything before laying down, I was sure to suffer cramps upon waking.  However, it appears that meat is a “safe” food for me.  It seems I can eat meat before a nap and wake up without an ounce of abdominal pain.  Victory!

Also, I came across another wordpress blogger who happens to be undertaking the exact same diet.  She started a day or two before me, so if you are curious to hear about how the diet goes for her,  check out her blog: http://fromheretohealth.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/ed-day-4/ . I am going to follow her updates and see if I can’t be convinced to give it a go some other time. 🙂

Sources:

Jacob, A. (2013) Digestive Health with Real Food.

http://www.thebarrow.org/Research/Neuro_Oncology/213930

http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v67/n8/full/ejcn2013116a.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22322415

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051114220938.htm

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Return of The Hungry Guinea Pig: Carnivorous Rampage!

12 Aug

Like my horror movie title? 😉

Since I was limiting sugar during February, I have really only been a free woman guinea pig for about 6 months out of this year.  It took me 6 months to get  “I want to eat what I want when I want!” out of my system.  Now I am back to a place where I am more comfortable with a boring diet in the interest of further healing.  Through my diet experiments and half a year of eating freely, I have come to accept that I have several food sensitivities that promise to cause me grief if ignored.

For example, if I drink coffee, I can count on sneezing.  If I eat raw red onions, I can expect heart palpitations.  If I ingest whole wheat, I have intestinal chaos to look forward to.  Even if I eat salads (SALADS!), I can expect a goopy throat.  I suspect that I have some sort of a histamine intolerance and/or mold allergy.  Cured foods like deli ham make my nose run.  Fermented foods (such as aged cheeses and chocolate) often make my sinuses stuff up immediately.  My life sucks.  Sorry, just needed to feel sorry for myself for a second there.  Moving right along…

Apparently, having an improper balance of gut bacteria can cause histamine production, and histamine intolerance is more likely in those with severely leaky guts.  (See previous post for “leaky gut” explanation).  The good news is that food sensitivites can go away on their own if you put a little effort into listening to your body.  When your digestive tract has taken a beating, lots of foods can cause you problems.  However, if you fix your gut, you can regain tolerance.

My daily eating habits vary, but have come a long way since the beginning of this journey.  For example, I rarely eat whole wheat anymore.  It used to be a daily staple.  I also avoid these foods as much as possible: hummus (I have FINALLY come to terms with this), onions (except for the tops of green onions), bananas with any green on them (only super ripe naners for me), milk, sorbitol-rich fruits (apples, pears, prunes, cherries), beans, cruciferous vegetables, alcohol, etc.  All along FODMAPS have been my nemesis.  Ironically, I never followed a strict FODMAP approach during my entire year as a guinea pig.  If you need a reminder about FODMAPS, check out the April archives for an overview.  During my FructMal month, I avoided fructose and fructans but was still eating beans and polyols, such as those found in sweet potatoes.

I have recently purchased a book entitled Digestive Health with Real Food by Aglaee Jacob, M.S., R.D.  I have a lot of respect for this dietitian who also questions conventional nutritional wisdom.  Aglaee became a guinea pig herself after contracting a parasite and suffering from post-infectious IBS.  She has created an elimination diet specific to digestive healing based on the knowledge she gathered while trying to regain her own health.  After reading the book at the library (that I put in the purchase request for 🙂 ), I knew I had to own it.  This book puts all of the various theories about digestive health and potential treatments into one well researched volume.   I have decided to give this approach a try.

My diet will consist mainly of meat, a few select vegetables (carrots, spinach, zucchini, & green beans), and healthy fats, such as coconut oil.  It might sound restrictive (because it is!), but I am too curious not to give it a try.  She’s thought of everything.  This diet is low in food chemicals, FODMAPS, gastric irritants, and allergens.  At the very least, I will earn more bodily insight, and you can never have too much of that.

I know you have all missed me terribly ;-), so I will try not to abandon you too much over the next trial.  I am going to be on this diet for 3-4 weeks depending on when my symptoms begin to subside.  I guess I have more withdrawal and psychological deprivation to look forward to.  Derek is currently on a cigarette allowance system, and he’s reached a level that makes him a bit cranky.  Add me without sugar into the mix and a perfect storm will be brewing in our household. :-/  Wish me us luck!

Sources:

Jacob, A. (2013) Digestive Health with Real Food.

http://www.thepaleomom.com/2013/06/teaser-excerpt-from-the-paleo-approach-histamine-intolerance.html