Born Again Virgin + Sugar Impact Diet

2 Feb

My Virgin Plus Diet (as per usual) has not gone as planned. I started to reintroduce things willy nilly (and 4 days early), because I am inpatient and was feeling a bit deprived. Here is what my reintroduction schedule turned into…

Day 17: Coffee

Day 19: Cocoa Powder

Day 21: Egg Yolks

Day 22: Butter & Sourdough Millet Bread (with traces of gluten)

Day 23: Cream & Alcohol (Hard Cider)

Day 24: Peanut Butter

New symptoms that have presented themselves since adding in foods include reflux, back/neck pain, & my famous neck migraine. The guiltiest suspects I have are the coffee (tension), the cream (suspected sensitivity), & the peanut butter (reflux). I am fairly confident the eggs yolks went over okay.  Of course, I can’t be sure, because I didn’t follow the correct reintroduction protocol. On the plus side, I still have not introduced soy or corn and have not faltered on my sugar + processed-oil free quest, so it’s not a total bust.

Here is what I learned:

My fancy mold-free coffee didn’t make me feel less terrible than other coffees. Officially caffeine is the problem, and my denial can go on no longer. Does that mean I’m going to stop drinking coffee? Well, knowing and doing are 2 different things. Without sugar, I feel like coffee has become my new daily “treat”. I hate to go without it. I like the bitter flavor & morning ritual. I will try to get a handle on it…eventually. I guess decaf is an option, but decaf doesn’t always make me feel stellar either (there’s still caffeine in it).

Peanut butter gives me reflux. This hadn’t been an issue during the entire month until I reintroduced peanuts. I have since stopped eating peanut butter and no longer have problems with reflux (even while continuing to drink coffee and eat dairy). If you remember from my previous post about why peanuts are often problematic, they are less than happy to digest, which is no picnic in a finicky digestive system. I shall continue using tree nut butters, such as almond & walnut, for my nut butter needs.

Too low carb too fast makes me crash. I was eating fairly low carb towards the second half of the month without really trying to. I just found myself wanting to eat more Paleo, rather than vegetarian, meals…which is unlike me. I used to crave hummus but lately I’d rather eat beef tacos on romaine lettuce leaf “tortillas”. As a result, my energy took a serious nose dive and has yet to recover. For a couple of solid weeks, I felt like I was losing my mind. I couldn’t remember anything, and paying attention was way more work than usual. I felt like I was high all the time, and my brain mishaps were making me an idiot at work. Brain fog and loss of energy are common while adjusting to a low-carb diet, but I don’t have the luxury of time to adjust. I’ve been making more of an effort to get in more carbs since figuring out why I felt so exhausted all of a sudden. My brain is feeling more normal, but my energy is still nowhere to be found. I consistently sleep for 10 hours when given the option (not awoken by an alarm clock) and feel like I have to drag myself out of bed after 7 or 8 hours of sleep. NEED MORE!

My sinuses do not make any goddamn sense. I didn’t have to cut out spices, because my sinuses calmed down during a time in which I was still using a lot of the things I assumed were problematic. Again, I think the dry weather was a bigger contributor. Like the rest of my health conditions, nobody really knows what causes vasomotor rhinitis (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001648.htm). Ugh!

Dairy is still a question mark. Shortly after reintroducing dairy, I got a neck migraine. I need to investigate further to confirm this correlation.

Plans for February:

JJ Virgin (the Virgin diet chick) recently wrote a book called “The Sugar Impact Diet”. I have decided to try that next. The premise of the book is to eat foods that are lower glycemic, higher fiber, & lower fructose. The program is designed to lower one’s reliance on sugar. I can tell by looking at the approach that it is one that is well-suited for someone such as meself. I will post more specific details about this plan later.

Ever since giving up sugar, I have been eating too much fruit. I haven’t been solving my sugar obsession so much as weaning it. I’d like to take things a step further. My belly’s comfort & physique can only stand to benefit from a lower-fructose approach.

I will be making more of an effort to increase my non-fructose carbs through squash, grains, & beans to see if it helps my current energy crisis I’ve got going on. I plan to restart my Virgin Diet efforts as well. I will be having occassional coffee & alcohol but will be cutting out gluten, dairy, and peanuts again. I suspect the dairy and coffee are my worst offenders, so I’m starting with dairy to see how it goes. I may use ghee, however. It’s a clarified butter that has minimal trace proteins of dairy in it. In the Virgin Diet book, she allows the use of ghee during the elimination trial. That’s good enough for me!

Plans for Later:

I have recently been given access to the contents of my genome. I bought a kit from this company: https://www.23andme.com/

You send in a tube of your spit and…voila! They send you a report with ALL of your raw genetic data. It’s pretty much amazing.

I was looking for a few things in particular:

MTHFR gene mutations http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/gene/MTHFR

These are common in fibromyagia and have specific treatment implications where they exist. I was surprised to learn that I don’t have any. It’s one less thing to think about as I get more creative in trying to solve this mess of a puzzle that is my body.

I also wanted to find out if I had the genetic vulnerability for developing celiac disease. And oh boy do I.

I have both of the most common celiac disease genes, HLA-DQ2 & HLA-DQ8. A good chunk of the population, about 40%, has one or both of these genes. Having them doesn’t mean you have or will ever develop celiac disease, BUT it does mean that you can develop celiac disease at any time. I also have a second degree family member who has been diagnosed putting me in a higher risk group. On top of these vulnerabilities (and all of my suspcious “we don’t know” syndromes), I have also discovered that there are several other genes commonly associated with celiac disease. These genes involve the predisposition for developing an autoimmune response.

I have ALL but one of the genes mentioned in the studies I read. Hmmm…

I don’t want to become strict gluten-free if it’s unnecessary. Eating gluten-free at home is fine, but being truly strict is not easy! There is gluten hidden everywhere (like in toothpaste and on envelope seals). I don’t…have….to live like a refugee (don’t have to live like a refugeeeee) if I don’t have celiac disease, so what’s a well-informed person to do? Getting tested regularly wouldn’t necessarily tell me whether or not I have it. The tests are only accurate if you consume ample amounts of gluten for several weeks before being tested. I don’t eat a lot of gluten anyway, so standard tests would not tell me anything about where I stand unless I want to gorge on gluten for several weeks a year and then spend an arm & a leg getting tested. No thanks.

I asked my ally (who is a psychology professional) for advice as to what I should do with this information. I wanted to know how she thought the mental health implications would weigh against the possible physical benefits of being strictly gluten-free without an official diagnosis & just a whole lotta suspicion. Her advice was to do a strict 1 month gluten-free trial and see how it goes. Now, I know what you are all thinking….YOU’VE ALREADY DONE THAT! But here’s the thing…not exactly. I was never as strict as one is instructed to be when they’ve been diagnosed. Here’s what I mean: my cat uses wheat litter (that needs to go), I never even thought about my toothpaste, soap, or shampoo (trace amounts are all that’s needed to provoke a response), I was less educated about how inaccurate “gluten-free” labels often are, etc. SO even though I’m not looking forward to it, and I’m not sure it will make much of a difference…I’m going to give it another shot. I’m not sure when…maybe in March? I will keep you posted.

Okay, I’m exhausted just typing this. I apologize for this lazy post. I am usually a grammar Nazi who spends as much time editing posts as writing them, but I just don’t have the energy to care right now. 🙂 Also, I have Season 5 of Downton Abbey waiting for me and frankly, that show is more interesting than my health problems. That’s all (for now) folks.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23085892

http://www.drcate.com/going-low-carb-too-fast-may-trigger-thyroid-troubles-and-hormone-imbalance/

http://www.nature.com/gene/journal/v11/n1/full/gene200967a.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22087237

http://www.snpedia.com/index.php/Rs6822844

http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/diagnosingceliacdisease/a/Celiac-Disease-Genetic-Testing.htm

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2 Responses to “Born Again Virgin + Sugar Impact Diet”

  1. treating ibs With constipation July 12, 2017 at 8:30 pm #

    Appreciating the hard work you put into your website
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    • thehungryguineapig July 17, 2017 at 3:15 pm #

      Thank you for your feedback! I don’t update this blog anymore, but it was a labor of love, so it’s always nice to receive comments from readers. 😀

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