Archive | December, 2014

2015 Diet Shenanigans

19 Dec

Howdy blog followers!

I have been carefully dissecting my diet experiment ideas for the next year. Here’s what’s in store (so far) for 2015:

January –

Virgin (Plus) Diet – Based on this elimination diet: with additional tweaks on my part. Don’t worry. I won’t be eating any virgins. In short, I will be removing the foods that I suspect will make the biggest difference in my pain levels based on foods that are the most common irritants and/or inflammatory:

1) Sugar/sugar substitutes (Virgin)

2) Corn (Virgin)

3) Gluten (Virgin)

4) Dairy (Virgin)

5) Peanuts (Virgin)

6) Caffeine (Plus)

7) Alcohol (Plus)

8) Processed Oils (Plus)

9) Soy (Virgin)

10) Eggs (Virgin)

After feeling better on the Perfect Health diet, I mentioned in my previous post that I hoped to stick with it for awhile. I stuck with it for a whopping 2 extra days until I got one of my awful neck migraines and thought “To hell with it!” The next day I walked to the grocery store to buy Rice Chex & vanilla soy milk for breakfast. For whatever reason, that’s what I wanted to eat to reintegrate back into my most recent “I’ll eat whatever I want!” phase.

Sooo it’s back to square one. On the plus side, my sinuses are relatively normal these days. They rarely flare up the way they used to even when I eat high histamine foods (which seemed to have been an issue in the past). I have no idea what I did/didn’t do to fix ’em, but it has greatly improved my quality of life. Feeling like you can’t breathe is a very unpleasant feeling. At least there’s SOME lasting progress to show for all of my efforts.

I had to stop taking my antimicrobials as they were not agreeing with my digestive system. Add it to the pile of failed experiments I guess. <Sigh>

One thing that is nice about my Virgin Plus diet approach is that it is far less restrictive than a traditional Paleo diet. In January, my ally is going to be following the VERY restrictive Paleo Autoimmune Protocol per her doctor’s recommendations now that she’s been diagnosed with Celiac’s disease. I told her that I didn’t have it in me to go through that very restrictive diet again anytime soon (see April ’14 archives for my experience). However, I will be with her in spirit in the name of deprivation by following my Virgin Plus diet (which isn’t crazy restrictive for an elimination diet veteran such as myself…but not a whole lot of fun either!) I intend to use this altered approach to assess whether a long-term Paleo template is necessary to feel better. If I notice improvement by simply removing the most potent irritants, I will have a better idea of what I’m dealing with. Perhaps the improvements I noticed while following the Perfect Health Diet can be realized with less effort and deprivation (I hope).

Here’s why I don’t expect I’ll ever be successful following a long term Paleo diet unless I absolutely HAVE TO:

1) I love BEANS!

2) I am addicted to sugar.

3) I am fussy about the meat that I eat. Most of the time I prefer vegetarian options when I go out to eat, because non-factory meat is hard to come by. I try to avoid factory meat as much as possible for my health, the taste, and my conscience. High quality meat is more likely to be out of stock when I shop for it and gets really expensive!

4) I am lazy. Making EVERYTHING from scratch is work and can be a real bore.

5) I get sick of meat for breakfast, meat for lunch, and meat for dinner. Bluck.

6) Following a low FODMAP Paleo diet is even more depressing. Having to limit/exclude many fruits & veggies, most sweeteners, all legumes, all dairy, AND all grains tests your limits pretty fast!

Beyond January I have but one grand plan for the rest of the year: no added sugars/artificial sweeteners at all in the year 2015. Am I crazy? Probably. I feel that cutting out my vice for an entire year will lead me to some interesting lessons. Think Lent…all year long. I have given up sugar for months in a row before and felt pretty great (minus the emotional deprivation). BUT I always allow it to sneak back into my life. I get all cocky about how I can just “treat” myself on occassion from then on since I had officially conquered the sugar demons. Ha! Like a smoker who has quit 10 times in the past and has warped ideas about their new perceived superabilities to suddenly teach their brain moderation, the addicition is reawakend quickly. It gets ugly fast.

I am hoping to recalibrate my taste buds. Learn to drink black coffee (after January) like a grown-up. Stop obsessing over dessert. Be more mindful of my food choices (which happens by default when you cut something out that is as pervasive as sugar). As far as restaurant options go, I’m going to do the best I can. Do research ahead of time when possible, and use my hyperaware noggin when I am unsure (for example, avoiding salad dressings even if they aren’t sweet as sugar is likely hiding in there). It’ll be oil & vinegar for me. Even if I get an accidental gram of sugar here or there, the overall goal will be achieved when I skip the dessert!

Further updates on my January diet to follow. Stay tuned!