Virgin Plus Diet

1 Jan

Here are the nitty gritty details of the whats, hows, and whys for my January plan, the Virgin Plus Diet:

(If you are like “Virgin? What the hell?” you must have missed my last post. Read this: https://thehungryguineapig.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/2015-diet-shenanigans/ )

1) Sugar/sugar substitutes

The why:

Sugar: I have done my fair share of sugar bashing on this blog, but here is the short version: overindulgence in sugar may cause hormone disregulation, GI distress (for people who are sensitive to fructose – AKA me), sugar depletes vitamins and offers a spare tire around your waist in their place (bum deal), sugar encourages inflammation in the body contributing directly to the top U.S. killers such as heart disease and cancer, excess fructose consumption inspires intestinal permeability potentially making autoimmune disease more likely. Sugar may even be more addictive than cocaine. See? Short and sweet (pun intended)!

Sugar subs: Artificial sweeteners have been linked to numerous health conditions, including fibromyalgia, preterm birth, metabolic abnormalities that may actually contribute to weight gain, & gut dysbiosis (bad bugs taking up residence in the intestines – read: bad news, Bears)

The how:

On the Virgin diet, she encourages the use of natural non-nutritive sweeteners such as Stevia and Xylitol. I have tried numerous brands of Stevia and never developed a taste for it. Xylitol can work for some people in small doses, but it’s a FODMAP and not the best choice for someone such as meself. Not that any of this matters, because I won’t be using any sweeteteners at all in the new year as I attempt to recalibrate my tastes buds and get a handle on my sugar obsession.

2) Dairy

The why:

Dairy is the third most common food allergen. Lactose intolerance is very common, affecting up to 75% of the population. Drinking milk causes a large spike in blood insulin levels, potentially contributing to insulin resistance (the first step in Type II diabetes development). Milk contains various hormones which seem to have negative effects. One hormone called insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) has been linked to various cancers. Sex hormones in dairy contribute to the development of acne and infertility (low-fat milk products).  Milk contains protease inhibitors which may contribute to the development of a leaky gut. Yikes! Dairy is worse than I remember the last time I vowed to forget and go eat cheese. 😉

The how:

Swap coconut milk for regular milk & nutritional yeast flakes for cheese.

3) Gluten

The why:

As discussed in previous blog posts, eating gluten causes increased intestinal permeability directly by triggering the release of zonulin, a compound that loosens the tight junctions that keep shit in place (like my scientific description?) A leaky gut may lead to escaper particles that leech through and inspire an immune response and inflammation.

The how:

Gluten free options abound at most chain grocery stores. This will be my nth gluten-free adventure since becoming a guinea pig. The challenge this time around will be to find gluten-free products that are egg, dairy, soy, processed oil, & sugar-free. There are not going to be a lot of processed items to choose from with this list of criteria! Most products use one or all of these ingredients to buff up their structure. Here is one item I have tried in the past that will work for this diet: http://www.chebe.com/collections/dry-mixes/products/all-purpose-bread-mix-8-pack-case-7-5-oz-per-package. Other than the occasional outlier, I expect I will be eating mostly unprocessed options, such as quinoa, rice, and plain buckwheat noodles.

4) Eggs

The why:

Eggs are a common allergy/food sensitivity issue.  Egg whites can be particularly problematic for those with allergies or autoimmune diseases. (I don’t have either, but I suspect a sensitivity based on previous experiments). Eggs have an unfavorable omega 6: omega 3 ratio which may encourage inflammation.

The how:

Egg-free baking swaps: http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Egg-Substitutes-Vegan-Recipes-19147998 (Canned pumpkin, flax seeds mixed with water, applesauce, etc. will work for this particular diet). I will be using collagen powder instead of egg yolks (which I used during my Perfect Health Diet experiment) in my morning smoothies. Collagen powder is the best protein option I have found to replace traditional protein powders. (I like this kind: https://www.bulletproofexec.com/bulletproof-upgraded-collagen/) Processed protein powders makes me gag. The least offensive type I have found is plain pea protein (this brand: http://www.nowfoods.com/Pea-Protein-Powder-2lbs.htm ). However, I still prefer the collagen powder as it is tasteless and may offer other benefits.

5) Soy

The why:

Soy may interfere with thyroid function (if iodine status is insufficient). Soy has an unfavorable omega 6: omega 3 ratio (inflammation). Soy has trypsin inhibitors, anti-nutrients that make soy protein difficult to digest and utilize. (Fermentation helps release more nutrients). Soy contains specific lectins (agglutinins) that are very resistant to degradation. These lectins encourage the growth of unfavorable gut microbes & can damage the gut lining.

The how:

Sub coconut milk for soy milk & coconut aminos for soy sauce.

6) Corn

The why:

Most corn (unless organic) is genetically modified. GMO crops are heavily sprayed with pesticides as they are specifically altered to withstand such exposure. Corn is also high glycemic.

The how:

Cutting out corn is easy…but only if you avoid processed foods. Then it’s damn near impossible, because it’s EVERYWHERE.

7) Peanuts

The why:

Peanuts are highly allergenic. They have an unfavorable fatty acid profile (inflammatory) and are often contaminated with carcinogenic mold toxins (aflatoxins). Peanuts, like soy, contain digestive-resistant agglutinins.

The how:

Eat actual nuts (peanuts are legumes) instead. Almond butter is really tasty (but damn expensive).

Plus Components –

1) Caffeine

The why:

Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and may interfere with circadian rhythms = not the best idea for a person with fibromyalgia whose nervous system and sleep patterns are already out of whack.

The how:

White-knuckle approach. I love the taste of coffee and the way it makes me feel (when it doesn’t make me feel like shit). I don’t like herbal teas enough to bother replacing coffee with anything else.  Cold turkey starting today. 😦

2) Alcohol

The why:

Alcohol is a gastric irritant, feeds bad bugs in the intestines, causes leaky gut, and if consumed in excess (who has ever done that?!) causes inflammation.

The how:

I have a newfound love of hard cider these days. I wasn’t drinking much alcohol for a long time, and then I decided it would be nice to have something to sip on on a Friday night. I am not a fan of mixed drinks and was bored with taking shots alone while my friends drank beer (I hate beer). Hard cider was my solution. However, cider is really high in fructose, so I have been managing my subsequent stomach pains by taking peppermint pills. I may revisit dry berry ciders after awhile to see what I can get away with (no added sugar + lower fructose in berries vs apples). Also, drinking makes me sleep like a baby, and I am a fan of sleeping like a baby. For the time being, I will go back to drinking water at the bar.

3) Processed oils

The why:

Most oils are highly inflammatory, processed with hexane (neurotoxin), & easily oxidized while cooking. (Antioxidants = good, oxidants/free radicals = bad)

The how:

Avoid processed foods. Use coconut, palm, and avocado oil for cooking (higher smoke points with more favorable fatty acid profiles). Use extra-virgin olive oil for salads (best not to cook with it as its lower smoke point means oxidation occurs at lower temperatures). Unfortunately, most olive oil that you buy in the grocery store is not 100% olive oil. Just another way the food industry gets to trick us:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2014/01/27/adulterated_olive_oil_how_to_find_out_if_your_extra_virgin_is_really_extra.html

Here is the list the article suggests consulting to get the real deal: http://www.truthinoliveoil.com/2012/09/toms-supermarket-picks-quality-oils-good-prices

Let’s do this!

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16571087

http://blogs.prevention.com/the-virgin-diet/2013/01/22/7-foods-7-days-7-pounds/

http://www.vitacost.com/eden-foods-organic-edensoy-extra-soymilk-original-32-fl-oz

http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/05/pesticides-found-gm-soy-vermont-orders-labels/

http://www.thepaleomom.com/2014/01/lectins-bad.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jj-virgin/eggs-healthy_b_3595128.html

http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/06/whys-behind-autoimmune-protocol-eggs.html

http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/93/17/1330.full

http://drhyman.com/blog/2013/07/05/got-proof-lack-of-evidence-for-milks-benefits/#close

http://nutritionfacts.org/video/aspartame-induced-fibromyalgia/

http://nutritionfacts.org/2013/04/30/aspartame-fibromyalgia-preterm-birth/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25231862

http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/10/the-great-dairy-debate.html

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/milk-allergy/basics/coping-support/con-20032147

http://drhyman.com/blog/2011/02/11/do-milk-and-sugar-cause-acne/#openModal

http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mental_Health_Letter/2009/May/Follow-Fertility-Diet

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/nutrition-tips-folic-acid_b_601126.html

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/national/national-news/2014/07/09/411945/50-of.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/food-allergy/in-depth/food-allergies/art-20045949

http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/07/pros-and-cons-of-coffee.html

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/fibromyalgia

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1356551

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2614138/

http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/What-you-eat-can-fuel-or-cool-inflammation-a-key-driver-of-heart-disease-diabetes-and-other-chronic-conditions.shtml

http://www.toxipedia.org/display/toxipedia/Hexane

http://lipidlibrary.aocs.org/processing/solventextract/index.htm

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