I’ve reintroduced seeds, dairy, nuts, eggs, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, corn, rice, sorghum, and nightshades. Eggs, chocolate, and nightshades are still on my shit list, but everything else has been fine. My diet only resembles the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol in spirit now – I still focus on nutrient density, I drink broth daily, try to get in my organs weekly, and avoid (almost) everything processed. I still aim to get 8+ hours of sleep a night and move a lot during the day. I’m working on meditation and have been writing in my journal most mornings since January. But I’m eating dairy, nuts, and seeds semi-regularly.
I feel like I’ve reached an equilibrium. I know for certain now what doesn’t cause a problem for me, and I have a pretty keen idea about what does. The problem lies in that with the remaining few items on my shit list, I’m not completely confident about what’s doing what. Eggs appear to be behind my inexplicable skin rash, but I’m waiting until it’s completely cleared before trying them again. Chocolate appears to make me irritable and depressed, but since that comes a day or two later, it’s difficult to pinpoint for sure. And nightshades (even spices) appear to be behind my HS boils, but again, since those don’t pop up for a few days – and up to a week – later, there’s still room for denial.
With chocolate and nightshades, I’m in a holding pattern. I’m not yet willing to say I’ll never eat them again, but I am carefully introducing them and avoiding them in cycles, seeing if I can eke out exactly what dose equals what response and if any small amount is safe, ever. I might have gotten impatient two weeks ago and had a big ol’ salad from Chipotle which was rife with nightshades, only to acquire a few small and relatively painless boils a week later. They haven’t developed beyond that, so I’m starting to wonder if I might tolerate nightshades somewhat in small and infrequent amounts.
Basically, I know what is most likely to cause me problems and I’m pushing at the edges of my reactions. This will probably go on for a few months as I test amounts and well as individual things. It will be tedious, I’m sure, but I want to know exactly what I can get away with. Nightshades and chocolate aren’t exactly the easiest things to avoid in social situations, especially since the nightshade category covers so many things – it’s easy to forget one or two when asking about ingredients, as well as easy for them to forget one or two when telling you. Especially when it comes to paprika.
Meanwhile, I’m playing around a bit with macronutrient ratios, inspired by Petra’s own experimentation with the Wahl’s Protocol Plus. While I am extremely intrigued with the idea of eating a ton more fat, while eating less in general and thereby saving money on groceries, I’m not keen on messing with my diet too much while also in the middle of TTC. Big diet changes = big hormonal changes, which would make an already unpredictable cycle even worse. So I’ll just have to save trying that protocol out for later or a longer TTC break.
But I am playing with eating more fat in general and slowly decreasing some of my carbs and protein. Not anything extreme, just subbing out one snack for another here and shifting my macros so that most of my carbs are at night. Right now I have a few meatballs and a boatload of greens for breakfast, coupled with a mug of chicken broth and a piece of coconut fudge. The fudge has replaced the cup (or two) of fruit I have in the morning, as well as any additional snacks like nuts or plantain chips. Lunch is usually protein with a lot of vegetables and a small amount of carbs and fat. Dinner is more often than not light, and mostly protein and carbs. My biggest carb load is definitely at the end of the day, although I try to have some after my workout on lifting days.
I’ve been doing this for the past two weeks and so far like this set-up. All the fat and protein in the morning keeps me full from breakfast (7:30am) until lunch (1pm, sometimes 2pm now). I don’t need to snack if I eat enough for breakfast, which is amazing because I’d had trouble breaking my mid-morning snack habit during previous Whole30’s and the AIP. Lunch keeps me churning until I get home, and then I’m usually only a little hungry – not ravenous and cranky like I used to be.
Energy-wise, I still need to do some tweaking. My mornings are great, but I hit a low about an hour after lunch every day. It could just be my natural circadian rhythm, but if I can decrease the amount I’m yawning at my desk, that would be awesome.
I might have to shuttle all my carbs to the end of the day – except for workouts. That will require some more planning, and maybe some more coconut fudge. Also as I begin incorporating commuting by bike into my weekly schedule, I’ll have to figure out the best way to add more calories. More fat? More carbs? I don’t know, but I’ll play with both.
I do know that low carb lifestyles don’t work as well for women as they do for men, so carbs will remain a beloved part of my diet. I’m just mostly playing with timing at this point.
Timing with nightshades, timing with carbs, timing with everything.