the spaz of fitness has arrived


In Food on June 20, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Well… hopefully I won’t spend too much time talking about food, but that last post opened up a whole can of worms for me. I read The Paleo Solution in a single afternoon, and then It Starts With Food in another sitting the day after. There’s some sketchy science in there, I think– particularly when it comes to things like legumes (“many of the damaging properties disappear when boiled/heated, and no legumes are served raw… but we still don’t like them… but pod-based legumes are okay… sometimes…”) as well as dairy (“it’s a great source of nutrients! But it’s not. We should eat it! Sometimes”*). Also, though Robb Wolf is clearly a very intelligent guy who’s done his research, I think the reason he’s so vehement about the paleo diet is because he clearly has either celiac disease or something damn close. Just because his system couldn’t handle grains doesn’t mean that others share the same biological vulnerability or couldn’t benefit nutritionally from grains in their diet.

Regardless… I am clearly sensitive to/ suffering from something that I’m ingesting… so… because the paleo diet eliminates so many irritants, it’s my new goal to go “Whole 30” (or at least Whole 14ish– I’m estimating that it takes 2ish weeks for pollutants to clear your system…) and then introduce contaminants to see what’s upsetting my stomach. Oh, for those of you unfamiliar with the basic tenants of this “lifestyle change” (as they term it), basically:

– No sweeteners (real, artificial, or otherwise)

– No grains

– No dairy (sometimes, mostly. Some butter. Maybe? God knows)

– Lots of fat (animal, coconut, avocado, some nuts…)

– Moderate protein

(from Robb Wolf: “1. It needs a face.
2. It needs a soul.
3. You need to kill it, and bring its essence into your being.
4. Really.”)

– No legumes (I really need to learn to cook without soy sauce)

This is not a low calorie diet, nor one intended to help you lose weight, but rather one for “optimal health.” Which is technically what I’m looking for.

Now… reading The Paleo Solution and It Starts With Food is pretty easy. They present shiny, lovely, delicious sounding recipes. They terrify you with all the potentially poisonous substances you’re ingesting, they laud the effectiveness of their thirty-day programs (Robb Wolf mentored Dallas and Melissa Hartwig so Wolf’s 30 day challenge bears many similarities to the Whole 30). They present happy, shiny, rainbow-laced stories of people who followed their program and experienced more energy! Better performance! More happiness! Clear skin! Miracle cures for their allergies, depression, etc! Even better sex! (I kid you not)

Well… great.

So… technically, two days ago I decided I’d start “eating cleaner” without following their rules very strictly. I made it to last night pretty obediently, whereupon I somehow ingested several gluten bombs, a very large amount of soy, quite a bit of real and artificial sweeteners… and I spent the night in misery (which I won’t detail here for your imaginative pleasure– you’re welcome).

So… I woke up this morning determined to do it right. I looked at my pitiful savings account, took a deep breath, and went to Wegman’s and filled a cart/basket with grass-fed beef, vegetables (I will not drench in soy sauce. I will not season with sriracha. I will not use soy sauce…), sweet potatoes, and coconut products. I made a lovely breakfast of salmon and veggies cooked in coconut oil, mashed sweet potato, made a “dessert” of berries in almond milk and coconut flakes… still caved and took a few spoonfuls of almond butter (they say nuts should be consumed “in moderation…” but… we’ll call that moderate compared to what I’ve been doing up until this point)

This afternoon I was feeling good, so I had roast beef, an avocado, salsa , roasted chestnuts, more veggies, more coconut, more almond butter…

My stomach feels amazing. Actually in the last three days (discounting the miserable 10 hours following my binge), my gut has felt so, so much better than it has in years. What’s most incredible to me is that I can feel hunger again… the problem with my IBS is that I’m usually just so bloated and uncomfortable that I’ve lost all contact with my hunger signals and I just learned to eat regardless of discomfort.

So, stomach = happy.

But… what Robb and Dallas and Melissa don’t tell you is that your brain will want to fuck you up. Yeah, my stomach feels lovely, but my head has been alternately in a fog or whirring and inexplicably furious. I should add that I’ve also cut out coffee, even though both Robb and the Whole 30 folks find it acceptable. I just know that caffeine’s another possible irritant for IBS and… as long as I’m putting myself through hell… might as well find out if it’s among the things that’s damaging my digestive system.

By 2pm this afternoon, I hit FULL BLOWN caffeine and sugar withdrawal. Thankfully, I’ve never been a drug or alcohol person, but if I had to envision withdrawal from hard drugs… it would’ve looked something like this. I was a sweaty, shaking mess between blankets, my head was screaming, I just wanted my fucking cup of coffee and my fucking peanut butter, and a fucking protein bar (it’s weird that this is a big “cheat” for me, but I became so dependent on them as easy fuel and they’re packed with artificial sweeteners and probably a host of other unsavory ingredients)

Anyway… I was drawn from my miserable malaise by the Scotchness who brightened my day with a visit… I think the key to surviving this may be leaving my apartment and human contact :p. Afterwards… I decided confronting the caffeine and sugar/gluten/legume/etc demons all at the same time might be a bit much. So I made tea.

Here’s my lifelong journey with tea:

As a kid: EW That’s gross! Why would anyone drink that???

As a teen: Milk tea? Okay. Lots of sugar with a splash of tea? Okay. Real tea? No thanks.

As an adult: I’d still prefer coffee, but since it’s served in every Taiwanese restaurant as the traditional drink, since my family and family friends congregate around it so often as a social activity… fine.


Anyway… I felt guilty about giving in, but I do feel better with a tad of caffeine in me and my stomach doesn’t seem too angry, so… *knock on wood* I hope that’s all right. I’m also desperately, desperately hoping that this will get easier as time progresses. I mean… yes, my IBS is/was bad enough that I’m willing to do this to figure out what the hell I’m actually intolerant of… But if I’ve simply traded one misery for another… well, I’d rather be miserable with peanut butter and hazelnut soy cappuccinos.

Until then… if I sound like a raging, manic depressive bitch going through withdrawal, either hit me or hug me. Or both.


*Regardless of the paleo attitude towards dairy, it napalms my innards so… the Jo rule is to avoid with extreme prejudice.

  1. I’ve read quite a few places that if you want to consume butter, that you should use ghee. I bought some but haven’t tried it yet just because I really never use butter anyway… But perhaps that would work? Still dairy but supposed to be better.

    • I’m pretty sure ghee is approved, but I’m doing all of my cooking with coconut or avocado oil– mostly because that’s what I already have. Besides, I already know that dairy doesn’t quite sit well with me, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out too much if I skip out on the ghee.

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