Saturday, January 5, 2013

Health Experiment Numero Uno

I am going to do this for 6 weeks (in the strictest sense, but really its for life). Starting 3 days ago.

I know, I should have posted this before I started it, but I didn't have time what with cleaning my apartment for check-out (I am moving to Seattle. YAY! I will post about that at some point.)

So let me just say, I feel like crap right now. Why? Because sugar is a drug and when you eat really awful things (I hate tons of crap before I started this thing, kind of like a death-sentenced man's last meal mentality, which only made it harder on myself and I knew it... sigh), followed by really healthy things, your body begins a detox process. I don't know why (I will research it and let you know), but detoxing feels really BAD. People describe various symptoms: stuffy nose, headache, flu-like feelings, fatigue, diziness, etc. The biggest one for me is a headache. I also feel a bit dizzy. Oh, and angry at the world.

Going off sugar alone feels bad because you go through withdrawals. The first two days have been the worst.  Yesterday I hated everyone, especially the nice and happy people. And no one can tell me that sugar is not a drug because I craved it like a banshee yesterday. Thankfully, today I feel emotionally better, but I still have a headache.

So what am I doing to feel so wonderful? Let me detail it for you:

Health Experiment Numero Uno

Diet -

  • Eliminate gluten
  • Eliminate sugar
  • Avoid processed foods as much as possible (my shopping cart selection shouldn't have any food labels...)
  • Eat more veggies (this deserves its own post. A confession post, because... I don't like veggies. gasp.)
  • Eat plenty of raw, fresh fruit
  • Eat quality protein in every meal (grass fed/clean meats, fish, eggs, yogurt, beans, legumes, quinoa, and chia. Mostly plant sources and fish)
  • Eat gluten free whole grains (the only ones I know how to cook and quinoa and rice, so this one needs some experimenting...)
  • Include healthy fats - olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts, seeds
  • Drink at least 67.5 oz of water throughout the day (body weight in pounds divided by two = ounces of water you need), probably more since I live in dryville and I work out.
  • Take a high quality fish oil supplement, at least  (I take Xtend Life brand fish oil. I have done hours of my own research on the best fish oil supplement.)
Misc - 
  • Exercise at least 4 times per week - alternating cardio and strength training. Always stretch after.
  • Sleep at least 8 hours each night and go to bed before midnight (preferably by 10:30)
  • Body brush every day (this sounds odd to those of you who have never heard of it, I bet. Check it out... Benefits of the Body Brush)
And that's it. This is really a hodge-podge of all the health books/articles I have read over the last couple of years. If you have a question about any of it, let me know and I will explain myself.

I will update every few days on how I feel and changes that I notice, emotionally and physically. I will also take before and after pictures of my face because I think that you can see all the differences in someone's health there.

Now, I must go make raw brownies. Again. For sanity.

Update - January 29, 2013

Okay, so I only made it two weeks. One of our vendors at work took us to Tucanos Brazilian Grill and though I resisted gluten, I caved when they brought the dessert tray around. As I used to work there, I know the merits of their creme brulee, and suddenly I heard myself saying, "Emily, wanna share one with me?" and in my head, I was rationalizing like an expert. I would only have a couple of bites. Combined with all the fats I just ate, the sugar will really not do much to my blood sugar, right?

Well, the floodgates opened and I have since fallen back into gluten as well. I am such an all or nothing kind of person, that I fall into this trap a lot. I have since rationalized that with still being in the process of moving, I will have to start this diet up again once I get settled in Seattle.

However, I would like to record here some of the things I noticed during the two weeks I was sugar and gluten free:

I felt much more stable, emotionally. My crazy spells of extreme irritability were nearly non-existent. I also felt a lot less restless (which I didn't know was such a constant until I didn't feel it as much anymore). I noticed a general feeling of, how can I describe it... fluidity in my body as well. My joints didn't ache and I just felt less inflamed.

I lost the craving for sugar almost entirely for the first week, until sugar didn't actually appeal to me. However, during the second week, the cravings came back and I am not sure why. I think I was consuming large amounts of fruit as a subconscious way to fill my emotional eating needs and that must have thrown things off. Fruits can still cause blood sugar extremes if eaten in excess and without other foods that slow absorption. I will have to watch this next time.

I have actually decided to try an elimination diet experiment next time that does a better job of "resetting" the body and illuminating those things that the body is having an immune reaction to. I will post about that once I have settled in Seattle.

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