Monday, June 2, 2014

Day: the end

So this whole thing is over now. Hooray!
My dr. thought I had hypoglycemia, but I don't.
I thought I had non-Celiac gluten intolerance, but I don't.

This is not to say that any of this has been a waste. I learned so much about myself in the past month.

I learned to change my relationship with alcohol. (We didn't break up, but it's not as intense as it used to be).
I learned that refined sugar is nasty stuff (just like the experts have been saying all along!)
I learned that I need to have whole grains in my diet to help control my epilepsy and keep my mood up. (So much for that book, "Grain Brain.")
I learned to make some pretty awesome smoothies and they're a good way to start the day.
I learned that green tea is a better, more mellow buzz than coffee.
I learned that I need to not overeat. Because overeating=bloat and food coma. DUH.
I learned that I need a good core workout if I want better looking abs. DOUBLE DUH.
I learned that dairy in largish doses probably isn't the best choice for my digestive system.
I learned that living without dietary restrictions is WAY more fun.  
And I learned that it's a little weird to have so many people in my community know so much about  me and my eating habits.

So now it's time for me to live a little more privately. To focus on the summer and on healing my back (don't get me started!) so I can get back on my bike and ride my 100-miler in August.
Thanks for all the encouragement.
Happy eating!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Day What? (I'm no longer counting): My God! What have I done?!

Well, talk about old habits dying hard and failing and feeling like shit. Were we talking about that? Well, let's.

Last week I spoke with Dr. Pujari on the phone to go over my blood work that she had ordered to see if I had any hormonal anomalies that would explain my epilepsy. Unfortunately, my hormones are normal. (If my progesterone had been too low during menses, it would've been possible to treat my seizures with progesterone cream or herbs instead of benzodiapezines).

The only thing that was a red flag for her was my blood glucose was a mere 66 and she thinks I may be hypoglycemic, so we're doing a re-test for that.
I think that I was in the middle of this whack-a-mole diet so at that moment in time when my blood was drawn, I may have been hypoglycemic, but not in general. I really don't have the symptoms the Dr. Google says that I should if I truly have the condition.
My thyroid number was a little low too, so I'm taking a ANOTHER supplement in the mornings to help with that.
In the end, we decided to discontinue the diet, save for testing dairy, but she told me to not test sugar in case I do have hypoglycemia and, oh also, I should avoid alcohol altogether.
So I totally scrapped the diet. I mean, like, TOTALLY. (except I still make smoothies).
And I'm totally ignoring the advice to  avoid alcohol.
See, I learned from someone with hypoglycemia that if you drink alcohol, you should drink while eating protein. Which I had been pretty vigilantabout for  the first few days.
Wine with dinner Thursday and Friday nights. Only two glasses. No problem.
Except, oh, the ENTIRE 8" pizza I ate on Friday night with my 2 glasses of wine. REAL crust (not gluten-feee), with goat cheese and no mozzarella. OF COURSE I bloated. Any normal human would be!
And OF COURSE I felt a little shitty in the morning. I ate too much damn food...and possibly too much sugar? (Pizza crust and wine are sugars). So, yeah. Next time maybe just two pieces of pizza.

Saturday night I had about FOUR glasses of wine. FOUR! And a delicious dinner filled with bloat-inducing peppers that cleared out the pipes the next morning. Maybe that's not a bad thing?

Sunday we had friends over for dinner and I had beer and rosé wine and red wine and oh, that was fun! I didn't count my drinks. But there were a lot. I took two Advil and drank a bunch of water before bed and ended up not feeling so bad in the morning.

The last couple nights the wine has been slipping back up to the levels where it was before, so I'm re-locating and re-activating my off switch because I do not want to go back there. Eating and drinking anything I want (except dairy) has made me realize how much better I actually felt on the diet. I don't know if I feel bad now because I'm eating too much or because of what I'm eating. Which is confusing because of all the testing I had done before. I thought I didn't have any food reactions except for peppers...but maybe it's a combination fo things. Maybe it IS the sugar.

Today for lunch I had two beef sliders (wth cheese) and too many sweet potato fries. I could barely keep my eyes open at my desk afterwards! Honestly. It was one of the biggest food comas ever. I've felt like CRAP since lunch and now it's past 9:00 pm. And my belly is HUGE! (for me)
Maybe I AM reactive hypoglycemic. Maybe I just eat too damn much. Maybe I'm all, "Whoo-hoo! That diet is DONE! Bring on the FOOOOOOD!"
I think it's probably the latter.

I need to pause and take this as a learning moment. Or really, a listening moment, because the doctor already told me this:
Eat 6 small meals a day.
Whole grains are very important to my brain health.
Avoid simple sugars.
Avoid alcohol.

I hate, "avoid."

So I need to find my balance. I'm not going back to square one, but I am going back about a week before the food party started. And we'll see how I feel.
Oh, and see what the blood test reveals.
Of course, I'll let you know. But I don't think it'll be anything.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

To what end?

I've been doing a lot of thinking since I got my thinking capacity back. It started last week when I  saw this Kickstarter video by a woman who's trying to raise money to make a movie about body image.
Watch it here. Then come back.

Ok, I know, right? Were you crying? I know. Me too. It made me think a LOT about my stupid little belly...which is little! I'm bummed that it's not flat. WHY? What right do I, a 40-something mother of two, have wanting the abs I had when I was 25? It reminded me of this stand-up bit I saw — I think it was Louis C.K.— where he's talking about middle-aged people getting plastic surgery and he says something along the lines of,
"Why should you get to look 25 when the rest of us have sagging faces?" (If anyone knows who this was, send me the link.)
It's so true!
Why should I get to look 25?

I talked about this with Queenie and Jina on Friday night and Queenie even said something along these lines:
"You've had 2 kids! You have a little belly! You eat all day and then your belly pops out after dinner! That's NORMAL!"

I know. You're right. You're right!

And then the next day my friend Jenn really drove it home for me. She asked,
"What kind of food reaction are we talking about here? How bad is it?"
And I wanted to pay her $200.00 for the consultation.
I just kind of laughed and said, "You're right. I mean, I know I can't handle peppers, but it's never been so bad that I've had to stop eating them."

My sister is lactose intolerant to the point that she's doubled over in pain for hours if she has the smallest amount of dairy.

That has NEVER happened to me with any food. NEVER. (not including food poisoning)

Jenn continued to tell me about her recent revelation where she asked herself why was she chasing this fountain of youth? She'd recently been to Florida and told me that everyone on the beach was just hanging out in their bathing suits, people of all shapes and sizes—happy. Not seeming to care.
"Some were even playing frisbee!" she laughed.

I nodded my head. She's right.
I'm middle-aged. I'm not looking for a date. I'm not entering a swimsuit contest any time ever. Lefty tells me I'm beautiful.

Maybe this all comes down to:
I'm RIDICULOUS! You all know that. Some of you even tell me (Lefty, Queenie, Lefty + Queenie ganging up on me at the same time.)

I can't say that I've suddenly just accepted my body the way it is and that I'm not going to add a core workout to my routine now and then.
But I'm working on accepting my body in its current state. Because honestly, in real-world standards, it's not so bad.

I did this experiment because I thought I was having digestive issues (and I do, but not severely) but really, honestly, I wanted my belly to not pop out so much when I eat.
But why?
To what end?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Day 29: When Nightshade Falls

Oy. I have a lot to report, but I'll separate it into different entries. You're welcome.

First, I drank more alcohol last week, however, the most I ever had in one sitting was 2 glasses of wine. But I'm stopping again so I can perform true tests on my re-inroduction phase. The biggies are coming: dairy & sugar. I'm going to re-introduce dairy in this order
1. goat milk (yogurt) Goat's milk is supposed to be the most digestible milk
2. raw cow milk
3. pasteurized cow's milk
(thank you, Jenn for this idea of testing raw vs, pasteurized)

So far I've reintroduced brown rice, barley, whole wheat couscous and yes, even a couple (ok, FOUR) slices of cheese-less, tomato-less pizza. Soooooo goooood!!! Full disclosure, his "pizza" (I think it was technically a flat bread since it didn't have sauce or mozzarella) had some goat cheese on it. But I was fine the next day. Still, need to do a more scientific test. It'll happen tomorrow. So stay tuned for that awesomeness.

Now, a word about nightshades and friendship.

Lefty, my personal chef (among other things) was out of town this weekend. So Queenie invited me and the kids for dinner - I had made her a batch of those awesome brownies, so how could she not invite me to stay?
Queenie is on a Paleo diet right now so we're eating very similar foods.
She modified her rib recipe to not include any sugar and she did warn me there were tomatoes in the sauce. I, in my weakened state of this diet, threw caution to the wind and ate a LOT of ribs. They were SO GOOD.
Only I woke up the next day not feeling ok in the plumbing department. Things were all warm and....bad. I had my smoothie and quinoa for breakfast as usual and went to work. Mid-way through the day after having to powder my nose more frequently than usual, I sent Queenie a text.

It went something like exactly like this (typos and all):

DUDE!!!! I'm not eating peppers!!!!

So if you're ever eating at Queenie's house, know this:
1. It will be really good
2. Take GOOD chocolate for the hostess
3. Ask for an ingredient list if you're on a restricted diet.

 I've always known I've had a sensitivity to peppers, but never gave them up. Now....I think I will. Maybe? Unless anyone knows of an antidote? Anyone? Cuz those ribs - and most ribs - are delicious and I don't know if I can live without them. In fact, we're hosting a round-robin rib cookoff coming up soon, and I don't want to miss out!!

That all being said, I think I'm going to have to test nightshades too. Was it the peppers like I suspect that gave me the GI distress that is continuing into TODAY? Was it the tomatoes? Was it both? Would the same thing happen with potatoes?

UGH. Honestly, I just want to eat whatever sounds good and not have to worry about it. In the meantime, I have to use the ladies' room.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Day 26 - Finding the Off switch

Wow - it's been almost an entire week. Only because I have a freelance gig and by the time I get home, the only thing I have the energy to write are snarky comments on my friend's Facebook timelines. But it's not like I don't have good news to report!

This week I re-introduced wheat into my diet. I have had barley several times with no weird reactions at all. This is important for someone who  thinks she has non-Celiac gluten intolerance. So on Tues. night, Lefty cooked up some whole wheat couscous as a side dish to our dinner.
No reaction!
No GI oddness at all. No brain fog. I had some on my salad Wednesday and Thursday for lunch. No reaction at all.
So it seems I'm ok with wheat.
AND gluten.
So the mystery continues....what causes these symptoms?
Hope to find out in the coming week.

But the most important thing I've learned this week is that I have an OFF switch when it comes to drinking alcohol.

I know, I know. I'm not supposed to drink yet. But I have. (We all remember LAST Thursday!)
If you read my Mother's Day post, you know I had a couple beers and a couple glasses of wine on Mother's Day. (This was not all in one sitting.)
Typically, I would've continued drinking red wine that night instead of stopping at 2 glasses. But I stopped.

Monday & Tuesday, I stuck with water at dinner time, while Lefty had his usual glass of wine with dinner (I've noticed he's drinking less!!)

Wednesday night, it was 80 degrees and sunny and we went to Lytle Beach for a dinner picnic.

This is Lytle Beach.

 I packed a big bottle of water for myself, but broke down and bought a bottle of rosé on the way to the beach. It was SUCH a rosé night!
I drank 2 small cups of wine, when normally, Lefty and I would've polished off that bottle like it was water.
It tasted good, but it was still kind of burning in my throat and went to my head too fast. And I didn't want to be buzzed.
Yes, you heard it - I didn't want to  be buzzed!!

So I stopped. And when I got home I had some tea and got into bed and was able to read a book because I hadn't had too much to drink. When before, instead of tea, I probably definitely would've had a glass of red wine.
I woke up on Thursday without a care in the world. (Well, that's bullshit, I have two kids!! And I'm NOT a morning person. But I didn't feel like I'd been drinking the night before).

And THEN, last night was the SIFF opening gala. Before the movie, I chose to have one gin martini. I sipped VERY slowly and it was sooo good. But I NEVER rarely order a second martini, usually I would've ordered a glass of wine.  Which I was considering. But it was time to go to the movie. The movie was horrible and we stopped in at the after-party for one drink before heading to the boat. I had 2 cups of water. And 1/2 a cup of red wine. I didn't even finish it. And there's no way I would've had another because I was:
1. tired
2. driving home
3. not interested.

SERIOUSLY! I was NOT interested in drinking.

Now, those of you who know me would probably describe me as, "a drinker." I know I would. My only OFF switch in the past has been Lefty telling me to stop or me feeling too drunk to continue. In short, I was always a little concerned I was becoming my dad (alcoholic).
But during this diet of not drinking, I've lost my interest in getting drunk. Wine will sounds good to me from time to time, but when I have it, I don't want to have a shit ton of it.
And I'm SO HAPPY!! I'm THIS happy!!!

I feel like I've been released from something! I feel in control! I don't have hangovers!
It's awesome.
Be proud of me. Cuz I am.

While I'm continuing to break the rules little by little on this diet (dairy and sugar last night!), I am almost at the end and am eager to find out how I react to nightshades, dairy and sugar when tested correctly. Those come next week - so stay tuned!
But all in all, I think this alcohol lesson was the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT thing I'll end up taking  away from the elimination project. That and my killer smoothies.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Day 20: Mother's Day debauchery

Sunday. Day 20. Was an extraordinary day!
I slept until 9:00 and Lefty brought me breakfast in bed:
green tea
The Smoothie
bowl of strawberries & pineapple
flowers (not edible)

I lounged around and then we went clamming! It was sunny and hovered around 70 on the Farenheit scale - a perfect day at Oak Bay.
Happy Clammer

I drank a matcha and almond milk chilled "latte" on the way there and dug up a couple servings worth of manilla and native clams. Lefty cooked them on site with some Italian pork sausage, kelp, lemon, beer (alcohol cooks off) and thyme. SO GOOD.

He bought me a bag of plantain chips which are going to be a new staple in my diet. We hung around and skipped rocks and relaxed for a couple hours then headed back to the island.
When we got to Poulsbo, Lefty wanted to stop at the Slippery Pig Brewery. I'd heard of this place and really wanted to see it, so we went. This place is so. cool.

We walked up and right away, I said, "I'm having a beer." And Lefty said, "REALLY?" And I said, "Yes. I want a beer."
How can you not on a day like this in a place like this???

So we tasted a couple and I settled in with a flavored kölsch. It was a good, sunny-day beer. And I liked it. And I didn't feel guilty!

So I had a second beer. The Dandelion Bitter. I liked it a lot. I felt sleepy, but I didn't feel sick. Or bloated. We got home and I took a relaxing bubble bath to soothe the backache I developed while digging for clams. I sipped an iced green  tea while in the tub, then drank a couple tall glasses of water after the bath.
As I sat in bed Facebooking, Lefty brought me a small glass of Cristom (a really great Pinot Noir). He said, "If you're going to break the rules, break them with something good."
While I actually wasn't in the mood for wine, I did sip on it between sips of water. I SIPPED it. SLOWLY. And I was ok with that.
Lefty made me a dinner of lamb and barley with ramps and asparagus. I had another small glass of wine, but could feel I was reaching my limit on that. I had a little bit of my brownie (see yesterday's post) with it then had a couple more glasses of water before bed.
Yes. I had a nice food baby going on. But like I said yesterday....I think I just overeat at night!

I woke up today, Monday, day 21, feeling a little more tired than usual, but feeling good!
While not scientific at all (I am the WORST subject ever), I think I'm figuring out some things - especially with the alcohol. For instance: Don't drink too much. (wow. newsflash!)
And don't drink every night. I won't. Don't really want to at this point. And that's a great feeling!!

Even though I've fallen off the diet AGAIN in just a few days, I'm back on and will introduce wheat on Tue. or Wed. to see what happens. Then sugar (not in the form of alcohol).
Then the real alcohol test. With no other cheats in my diet. With no bloating symptoms BEFORE i have the alcohol. To see what happens. ONE glass of GOOD wine with dinner.

The end of 3 weeks! It was a great day! I wouldn't re-do ANY of it!!!

Lefty & I ignoring the kids at Slippery Pig Brewery, wearing fedoras and sunglasses.

Day 19: She's BAAAACK!

Even though Saturday morning didn't start out as pleasantly as I wanted, the day turned out to be great! I went to my son's lacrosse game and it surprisingly did not rain, my daughter found a friend there at the park and I was free to just be the loud mom on the sidelines embarrassing her son. Throughout the day I felt really great! When I felt hungry, we came home and I had some chicken and veggies for lunch, along with The Smoothie. I just lounged around with the kids and made plans for dinner.
Lefty wanted pizza and that sounded good to me too.
So...I made Bob's Red Mill GF pizza crust (eggless option) and topped it with homemade pesto (nut-free and dairy-free), mushrooms, olives & onions and paired with a green salad. It tasted pretty yummy. And while I'm not convinced this GF crust fits entirely on the diet, it didn't feel like a total cheat either. I mean, nothing in the ingredients is on my "do not eat" list.
For dessert I made these "brownies." Oh. My. GAWD. SOOO good! Thanks to Erin for turning me on to this website, which is full of recipes I want to try!

I didn't make the topping, but they're just delish without it! Even Lefty likes them!

It being a great day with some good eating on my part, I was a bit surprised about this!

Saturday morning:

Saturday night!:


That some serious food baby going on right there. Now, there is yeast in the pizza crust I ate. Could THAT be the culprit? I had ZERO gluten, ZERO nightshades, ZERO alcohol, ZERO dairy and ZERO refined sugar!
Maybe, just maybe...I simply overeat at dinnertime?

Oh well, I went to bed happy. Perhaps that's all that matters.