Tag Archives: paleo

Paleo AIP Reintroduction Part: Eggs | Redux Redux’ed

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January of last year I did 30 days strict of the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol. In the subsequent six months I spent a lot of time reintroducing foods to figure out what had been causing several nasty skin problems, but in particular an inexplicable skin rash.

After those six months, it was fairly evident that I had a big problem with nightshades and eggs. Nightshades give me boils, but eggs were behind the skin rash. When I first reintroduced them, I felt sick, and a few days later I had new patches of rash. I waited a good five months before trying again. The reaction this time was even worse and I dealt with a very large rash on my leg for several months.

I didn’t touch eggs again after that. Not whole, not the whites, not the yolks, not cooked or baked or glazed.

At least, not until about six weeks ago.

I had just been told by the doctor that I had PCOS. I had just started metformin. I was super bummed about food because honestly, low carb without eggs is pretty hard. Every recipe I looked at had eggs. And I found myself craving them hardcore at the exclusion of meats and vegetables.

So I caved and I had one. Just one. And it tasted amazing, but I knew I was going to pay for it within a few days. But I waited a few days and nothing happened, then I waited a few more and had another egg. Still nothing.

It’s now been six weeks and I’ve eaten an egg or two more days than not. Every morning I check my body all over for the telltale bright pink flare of a new rash and I find nothing. The original rash is now nothing but the biopsy scar.

I can hardly believe it. But I guess it makes sense? This came on suddenly, after all, and the AIP says some allergies can go away if you give them enough time. It’s even possible that something else was interacting with the eggs to make me allergic to them and, given enough time, that allergy has healed.

Either way, being able to eat eggs again has made sticking to low carb so much easier. I can actually eat out. I can eat at friends’ places. When we go to Switzerland in a few weeks (three?!) I’ll be able to find something filling and nutritious to eat.

Nightshades, though, are still a definite no. In my excitement with eggs, I tried tomatoes and nightshade spices and both gave me horrible boils. I’m still healing from them and they’ve been a painful reminder to Stay the Fuck Away.

But eggs! Omg eggs! It gives me hope yet that someday I’ll be able to eat tomatoes again.

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Filed under AIP, diet, happy things, paleo, reintroduction

February Whole 28

The last time I did a Whole30 was over two years ago. At that time I decided I had learned all I would from the experience and that it was time for me to go out alone with a mostly paleo diet.  I knew what worked for me, and then with the autoimmune protocol I quickly discovered the last few things which were absolutely not working for me.

But it’s one thing to know what works & it’s another to actually abide by those things. I let myself go a little laxer than usual these past few months, thinking I could just get everything back under control in January. Well. Then January happened and some days it was all I could do just to function. My will-power to stay fat far away from baked goods had vanished.

But January will be over soon and I want February to be my clean slate. I think the clearest and easiest way to start fresh is by going back to my roots. I have the Whole30 to thank for initially getting me off of my poorly implemented version of vegetarianism (bagels and cereal may be meatless but good for me they were not) and teaching me that I could control my anxiety and weight and how I felt about myself through food. Then the AIP taught me food could be medicine, too.

What will I be doing? Well, the Whole30 is a strict commitment to paleo for – you guessed it – 30 days. There’re a few extra rules, but it’s nowhere near as intense as the AIP:

– No added sugar or artificial sweeteners
– No alcohol
– No grains
– No legumes
– No dairy

My only exception to those rules will be the grassfed butter I occasionally put in my coffee. I have learned I don’t really have an issue with small amounts of dairy and the alternative of coconut oil makes my feel ill.

Looking at that list makes me even more determined to do this. I could have said unequivocally that I stuck to those guidelines at least most of the time a few months ago, but definitely not now. And I can feel it.

Like with the AIP, I’m going to focus on what i can have and not what I can’t. Coconut cream and fresh berries for one (yum!). All the avocados and olives and ants on a log (with sunbutter) for another.

The biggest change, for me, will be learning how to refuse the goodies at work again. None of the cake and bread and rolls and muffins and bagels are special or particularly tasty, but they’re just constantly there and hard to ignore. And I learned, unfortunately, that just the one muffin won’t do me much harm. But I can’t stop at one, wherein lies my problem.

My other goal is to lose some of this pudge. Baked goods make me puff up and weeks of them make me chubby. The Whole30 is really good at making me feel less like a whale and quickly.

Like with the AIP, I’m going to keep a log here of food and how I’m feeling, because that helped keep me on track and honest last time. I’ll try not to spam with everyday posts, but I figured I should give ya’ll fair warning.

I’ve got a week to plan, recipes to find, and food to prep. Hopefully this will also distract me from TTC, inasmuch add anything really can.

[Today is DPO12/14 and the second day in a row of triphasic temps. Yet still bfn. What does it mean! ]

I might also be on instagram more of anyone wants to follow me for pictures of cats, chickens, and food: speckofawesome

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Filed under BFN, diet, goals, paleo, TTC, two week wait, whole30

Halfway Through the Break

Two months into our four month TTC break and I am definitely glad we took this break. Granted, we would have taken it anyway due to timing, but I needed the mental time off as well. Your brain is just constantly on while actively TTC, searching for any clues or hints as to what your body is up to. Looking back, I feel more like those months were our Intro To TTC crash-course and we can only do better moving forward.

Appropriately, I’m writing this on CD1. It’s a good time for new beginnings, for clearing out the old and getting ready for the new. I wrote before about all the playing I did with diet and exercise and now it is time to stop. Time to put down the cider donuts and stop intermittent fasting and tweaking and not-so-tweaking diet and instead focus on stress relief, rest, frequent but slow exercise, and a non-calorically restricted diet.

There are some good habits that I developed doing AIP that I need to get back into, namely daily broth and greens. Class helped me slip out of those two habits, actually, as it interrupted my daily schedule, forced me to commute to a place without an available fridge or even a microwave (the horror!), and threw no small degree of chaos into my life. While the change was good at the time – it helped in playing with the keto diets – it also reinforced the benefits of my normal routine.

So diet-wise, I’m going to go with what I know works: lots of greens, lots of tasty broth, some organ meat here and there, more vegetables, more fat, and avoid grains as much as possible. Like when I first did the AIP, instead of focusing on things I shouldn’t eat – like cookies and sugar and cake and sugar and bread and sugar – I’m going to first fill up on all the good things and try to avoid a mentality of deprivation. This has worked really well for me in the past.

I’m also going to slowly (or maybe quickly – we’ll see) cut back on coffee. For the keto diets, I reintroduced my daily coffee as a way to get more fat (omg butter coffee is amazing, by the way), but if I’m not intermittent fasting, I don’t need that anymore. To be honest, I missed my morning tea ritual. There’s something a whole lot slower and calming about tea – I can savor a pot of earl grey for an hour while a cup of butter coffee is gone within minutes.

Related to that is I really need to work on incorporating stress relief techniques into my life – well before we start again. So. I looked up yoga classes near work. Ugh. And I found a free one to try. So I’m going to do it. I’m going to swallow my prejudice against yoga and just try again. I promise I’ve tried before, several times, but I think if I go into this treating it as a relaxation technique instead of anything else, I might have more success this time.

Beyond that and diet, I’m still trying to come up with other things I can work on in the next two months. Are there any stress relief techniques that were beneficial to you?

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Filed under diet, goals, TTC

My Tiny Keto/VLC Experiment

Around the time we took a break from TTC, I started playing around with diet again. I think that may be partially (wholly) to blame for the subsequent severe dearth of cycles, so I’m going to officially stop playing around and settle somewhere more comfortable come November.

But I’ve learned a lot! I started with a Wahl’s Protocol Plus approach – which is a ketogenic, AIP-style diet – progressed to a laxer, low carb paleo, then plunged into a very low carb, ketogenic diet for the last few weeks. For the past month and a half, I have also been VERY good about avoiding nightshades, in all their sneaky & insidious forms.

My goals for the last two months were to: a) lose some of the bloat from this summer, b) eat less meat and save money on groceries, c) experiment with eating more fat, d) eliminate snacks, & e) have more stable energy throughout the day.

On the nightshade front, I have not slipped up once and I can tell. I hadn’t realized how much of an impact even a little paprika or a little potato starch was having on that particular skin issue. I’m getting more comfortable asking weird questions at not-home, be it when friends feed me or while out at a restaurant. I now realize that nightshades must have been slipping into my food more often than I even knew during the first few months of AIP implementation, if only because I had no idea where to even start asking about them. I still can’t get over mustard. Why would you put paprika in mustard? And then there are all the ready-made gluten free treats that have potato starch…

Okay, enough about nightshades (may they all be horribly cursed). My last two months were primarily about FATS. I tried cutting my meals down to two a day a la the WP+, but alas, I ended up running into too many problems. One: I simply can’t eat enough in two meals to stay satiated all day without making myself sick. Two: I was creeping into eating problem territory, that is, my self-talk was becoming obsessed with eating less and less and enduring the very real hunger and pushing through to shakiness and faintness at all costs. Maybe if I’d given myself more time, I could have eventually adapted, but instead I chose to heed the warning signs and back off.

I made a small change – breaking my large breakfast into two meals – and instantly felt much better for it. I also chopped my protein intake in half – from 6-8oz a meal down to 3-4 oz – and haven’t missed the protein one bit. I was afraid my workouts would suffer, but in fact they improved! I hit a new personal best for deadlift and squat during that time, while we dropped our weekly grocery bill by a good 30%.

Despite eating less and biking more and weightlifting consistently, I still wasn’t feeling my best. So for the last few weeks, I decided to actively try for a very low carb approach. This was… not fun. I aimed for no more than 50g carbs total, while keeping protein at the 10-15% of calories range. This meant a lot of extra fat, which I had been slowly working towards since August.

I didn’t test, but I aimed for – and probably hit – ketosis. I must have already been fairly low carb because I had none of the carbflu symptoms I had heard about. Instead, after only a few days I lost most of my remaining bloat, stopped craving carbs, and began feeling very stable energy throughout the day.

Aside from realizing I was still mentally alert and onboard at 3pm – which is usually when I begin tuning out – my biggest change was the complete lack of sugar cravings. See, I have this thing I like to call sugar-sense that absolutely bewilders my wife. We cannot have treats in the house because I will be hyper aware of them and know where they are at all times. For example, whenever we get chocolate or cookies, I know which shelf they’re on in the pantry and how much is left. And I do not forget. I can list off every single sweet and sugary thing in the house at the drop of a hat. And because I can do that, sweet things do not last long in our house, because I am constantly drawn back to them.

Lady, on the other hand, can open a bag of sweets and then forget about them for weeks. I don’t know how she does it.

Or I didn’t know. But midway through the ketosis experiment, I opened the freezer and was surprised by a half-eaten tub of TJ’s pumpkin spice ice cream. Somehow, I had completely forgotten it. That just doesn’t happen. Next thing I knew, Lady had bought Halloween oreos for her birthday and they stayed unmolested in the pantry for over a week, going on two now. A bag of dried mangos, which would normally be devoured within an hour, maybe a day, survived for a full five days. Somehow, I forgot about these things that normally sat whispering – quiet & malicious – in the back of my mind.

It was amazing.

Now even after the massive carb fest that was this weekend, I can’t list all the sweets in our pantry without stopping to think first. The success I’ve had has definitely made me want to continue with low(er) carb, but perhaps not very low carb. I’m going to try to balance and see how I can keep that mental clarity without being too militant about my food. That’s a stressor in and of itself, and I certainly don’t need any more of stress.

 

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Filed under diet, goals, progress, weight loss

Transitioning to Something like the Wahl’s Protocol +

Before going paleo, I was a vegetarian for 10 years. Although I originally forewent meat out of a vague and not exactly correct understanding of health, my reasoning soon became one of ethics. There’s no way around it: the majority of the animals which are raised for their products – be it meat or milk or wool or what have you – are not treated well in the US. CAFO’s are awful, inhumane, inanimal, places, that make animal products artificially cheap and have bolstered consumption – and therefore demand – not only here, but abroad.

So when I switched to paleo, I was more concerned about where my meat had come from than the fact that I was eating it. I tried to learn and source our meat appropriately, and over the last few years we have gotten better and better about it. But typical paleo is rather meat-heavy, especially when aiming lower carb and eschewing the usual bulking foods like rice and potatoes. And grass-fed, pastured, local meat is, frankly, a shit ton more expensive than CAFO meat, because it reflects the true cost. So, sometimes we would still buy the cheaper meat.

But I, personally, have been wanting to change that for some time. It’s very important to me that none of our money goes towards CAFO operations. It’s one thing that I feel I need to stand up for, not just for the sake of the animals, but for the sake of the environment, and for the sake of people. It’s cheap meat, yes, but at what cost? There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

So when I read Petra8Paleo’s post about nutritional ethics, it really got to me. She wrote that post months and months ago and I’ve been thinking about it all this time. She turned to the Wahl’s Protocol + not just for her own health, but to save money and eat less. I’d been wanting to try it, but had been waiting for a break in TTC to avoid shocking my body too much. Well, with the additional need to lose weight, now is the time.

I started over a week ago and so far it’s going great. I’m not doing the strict WP+, because that is largely for people recovering from severe autoimmune issues and I already know what my food sensitivities are. I’m doing a modified WP+, which looks like a strict form of paleo with a large emphasis on vegetables and fat and – key to all the above – way less protein. Before last week, I typically ate between 10 oz and 16 oz of protein a day. For the WP+, it’s recommended that women get between 6-8 oz. Taking into account that one of my goals is to, if not actively gain muscle, then to maintain muscle while trying to lose weight, I’m doing 8 oz of protein, with an occasional extra ounce depending on how I feel. Either way, easily only 2/3rds to a 1/2 of what my norm.

Integral also to the WP+ is a limit of two meals, a 12-16 hour fast (including sleep, unless you hate yourself), and a dearth of snacking. So a typical day – like today – looks like this:

4:30am wake up

5am coffee + 1-2tbsp grassfed butter

9am breakfast of: lots and lots of greens, purple cabbage, 4 oz meatballs, and a chunk of coconut fudge

10am chicken broth with gelatin

2pm lunch of: two-three cups of lettuce and spinach, 4 oz canned salmon with dijon, a few olives, roasted beets, and a sprinkling of feta and another chunk of coconut fudge OR half an avocado

6pm evening snack of: a few carrots, a few slices of cucumber with 1 oz of ham and/or a few smears of chicken pate

 

Technically, the evening snack isn’t part of the WP+, but I have had a hard time getting to sleep and staying asleep if I don’t include it. I think my activity level is too high right now to shove all the food I need into just two meals. This part I am continuing to tweak, as well as the meal times – ideally, I would have my second meal around 3, almost 4pm, which would end up negating the necessity for the evening snack. Unfortunately, I simply get up way too early to have my second meal be dinner.

Aside from that, this has gone well. I’m down 5lbs – although that’s probably water weight – since the last weekend of August. I feel better, generally, although I am often exhausted by the evening. The butter coffee has made the morning fast that much more tolerable. I am much more comfortable with being and feeling hungry, and less cantankerous when I am. Most importantly, aside from about 30min around breakfast time, I don’t feel like I’m starving. My workouts haven’t suffered at all and biking to work isn’t any more difficult. Actually, I even PR’ed a squat workout last week – 160# x 3! Yus!

This past Sunday, our grocery shopping and cooking day, was what really sold this diet for me, though. Our grocery bill was significantly lower than usual and we were able to source all of our meat for the week locally (well, ignoring the canned salmon – not much one can do about fish in the desert). Plus, we didn’t spend the usual entire afternoon chopping and cooking and cooking some more. It took maybe an hour, maybe an hour and a half, to prepare all the food we would need to the coming week. Granted, this is partially because we still had leftovers from the previous week, having way overestimated how much we’d be eating. But still!

Unfortunately, I also turned yesterday into a cheat day (I had a potato! so good), which means that slipping straight back into a 2 meal day is a wee bit more difficult than usual. Oops.

Although I’m mostly sold on this style of diet, I’m going to keep my findings preliminary for now. I aim to stick with it at least until October, at which point I will likely continue, but with a wee bit freer reign. Because you have to transition and stay in ketosis, I foresee it being a problem if I need to be lax, since it’s therefore not as easy to jump in and out of as, say, traditional paleo. But I’ll build that bridge when I get there. Right now, I certainly like it so far.

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Filed under diet, paleo, progress, weight loss

3 Years Paleo

Ah! I missed my paleo-versary! See, when you go paleo (diet, lifestyle, whatever) you have to celebrate every year by roasting a whole pig, dancing naked on the beach, and scrubbing your teeth with a stick. Wait, no, that’s a different party entirely…

I did go for a hike. That counts, right? 😛

I started eating paleo three years ago, shortly after starting Crossfit and running across the Whole30. I did the 30-day challenge on a lark ’cause vegetarianism just wasn’t cutting it for me anymore and my weight kept inching up and up every year. Within those 30 days I did something I hadn’t been able to do in over four years: I actually lost weight. Not just weight, but whole inches. That plus how much better I was feeling throughout the day was enough to convince me to keep going with it. I never really looked back.

I haven’t been strict paleo for these past three years, not in the slightest. I also don’t have an ounce of guilt about it, which is something else I love about paleo. Except for a 30-day intro, it’s never assumed that you’ll eat just paleo, which gives you room to live and experiment and explore. There’s a lot of emphasis on finding a version that’s right for you, and tweaking your macros and micros for your optimal results, which I think is rad. It’s taken me three years, three Whole30’s, and one Autoimmune Protocol to really figure it out for myself, but now that I’m there (here?) it’s pretty good.

Actually, to be honest, I’m still figuring things out. But I am close to 95% there, and the tweaking I’m doing at this point is for fairly small stuff. I don’t think I will ever be 100%, because bodies are constantly changing and so is life, but I love that paleo gives me that flexibility.

My thoughts on the diet have remained largely unchanged since the first year. Although some of the “caveman” reasoning behind the diet seems off, the science is mostly spot on and it’s hard to argue against a whole foods, nutritionally dense diet. Sure, grains probably aren’t the devil paleo proselytizers make them out to be, but I, personally, do better without them. That said, I have a friend who has discovered she does much better with grains, so it really depends on the person.

I’m still (mostly) anxiety and depression free, which is why this last bout has me so befuddled. I used to get depressed like that on a far more regular basis and was up to a panic attack every few days by the time I went paleo. Since then I can count on one hand all the attacks I’ve had in the past three years, which is fantastic. I’d been put on muscle relaxers for my headaches, which were anxiety-related, at one point, and popped Excedrin almost daily. Again, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve taken Excedrin over the last few years, which is also awesome because that shit is expensive.

Weight-wise, I’ve found it is very easy to maintain. I struggled a lot before with calorie counting and restriction and running myself ragged, only to still gain pound upon pound, year after year. Now, if I notice my clothes fitting tighter – I rarely, if ever, get on the scale anymore – I take a critical look at my diet. Typically, I’m either much more sedentary and skipping lifting workouts or I’ve started eating more gluten-free bread and treats. Both are easy to remedy.

I don’t have much criticism for the diet, except that sometimes the paleofication of desserts can make them even worse than the original, more nutrients or not, and that a certain something being “paleo” does not automatically make it okay to eat all the time. I also, personally, had a problem with the sudden influx of eggs. Eggs are super cheap and full of good things, so it makes sense that they’d be emphasized, but unfortunately I exacerbated a sensitivity I had to eggs and went from maybe being able to eat them sometimes to having to cut them out entirely.

That said, paleo has still done more for me than any other diet and I’m going to keep at it. It’s hard to remember just how bad the depression and anxiety had been before, but last week sure reminded me, even if it was only a fraction of the intensity it had been. I don’t ever want to go back to that, thankyouverymuch.

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Filed under paleo, progress, simply informative, whole30

Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, Day 30 (!)

For the month of January I’m following the paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). It’s like a Whole30 – just minus eggs, nightshades, seeds & nuts. It’s a little insane, but the only way to truly find out if a skin issue I have is autoimmune in nature or not. For more information, see my preparation post.

Day 30? Really? I’m already on the last day? It seems like I was just at week two and despairing because I was tired of boring chicken and spice-less ground beef. Well then.

Wot I ate:
– Pot of black tea and a cup of broth
– Sautéed greens, sweet potato hash, and meatballs for breakfast
– Leftover beef soup, some blueberries & strawberries, and a cutie orange for snacks
– An avocado, cherry pot roast, arugula salad, and garlic roasted spaghetti squash for lunch
– Another cup of black tea for afternoon fortification
– A banana, tuna salad, and plantain chips for dinner

Dinner was kind of a thrown together on-the-road affair because we left straight from work to drive two hours to watch a live show of Welcome to Night Vale. I also didn’t get much sleep (BUT IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT), so we’ll see how reintro day one goes. 😛

All I’ve got planned for day 1 of reintroduction is some morning egg yolks. I should probably put my head down and think up some more, but I can’t quite get past the whole “I can finally eat something else!!” part. I know I want to make this breakfast cake, though. Either that’s some really good photography or it’s going to taste AMAZING.

I’ll see you on the other side.

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Filed under AIP, diet, paleo