Friday, December 28, 2012

Whole 30: Week 1 Reintroduction ... and then some!

I am just finishing up the first week after Whole 30.  I decided that the first "food" I would try would be sugar.  So on Christmas Eve, I had a taste of my Paleo pumpkin pie, slightly sweetened with honey.

Fresh pumpkin and a pecan/hazelnut crust.

I had no reactions, be it positive or negative.  Then on Christmas morning, with a cup of coffee, I had a chunk of Mom's pecan dark/white chocolate bark.

Evil goodness!

Within 30 minutes, I experienced a sugar buzz!  It was hard to describe, but it felt kinda like an "out of body" experience.  This rush lasted about 20 minutes and then I was back to normal.  Luckily, I did not experience the "crash" that usually follows.

Since Christmas day, I have still limited my sugar consumption to Paleo-approved sugars, i.e. honey and maple sugar, and have not had much.  This will continue to be the plan from here on out, with the exception of race nutrition, which will include gels and Rapidade.  I really don't have a craving for sugar.  I find that I can satisfy my sweet tooth with fruit and the Pomegranate juice "popsicles" that my daughter and I enjoy on occasion for a bedtime snack.

As I mentioned in my last post, I was fearful of having "glutened" myself or perhaps having an issue with a FODMAP.  Well, today is day 9 of being glutened.  Over Christmas weekend, my GI issues continued to escalate into full blown glutening:  nausea, bloating,  fatigue, difficulty sleeping,and irritability.  The only food I could track this to would be the raw cashews.  I have not eaten at a restaurant for 8 weeks nor have I been eating any processed foods.   I have been buying these in bulk from Whole Foods for the past 6 months.  The allergy statement did not mention the possibility of being processed in a facility that also handles wheat and the produce manager even assured me so.  However, after researching "bulk nuts", I have discovered that, according to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act

If a food is potentially cross-contaminated with one of these allergens during production, packaging or storage, the company is not required to include this information on the package, and the federal government does not have standards for cross-contamination statements.  It is a company's choice whether or not to include this information, and how to word it. 

You would think that after 2 years of being "gluten-free," I would have all this figured out.  So now, based on past experience, I probably have another 3-4 weeks of feeling like shit!  I am hoping for a small miracle that by being Whole 30 for a month, I might get over this glutening a little quicker.  Next Saturday is the first race of The Snake and to do well, you must be at the top of your game.  Nothing like a challenge!

I was happy to run across this website.  They have certified gluten-free nuts!  A little more expensive, but so worth it.  I have already placed an order for 4 pounds of cashews.  Yep, I love me some cashews!

One thing that does particularly concern me is how irritable, short-tempered, and mildly depressed I have become since being glutened.  I do believe this crap messes with my mind as well as my GI tract.  After 2 1/2 weeks of being on the Whole 30 plan, my mind was clear and full of happy thoughts and feelings.  I was even tempered and it took a hell of a lot to get me riled.  And now, it doesn't take much to upset me.  And THAT is really SCARY.  It is a wake up call to me that gluten and other grains could lead to serious depression in the right person.  Could "gluten" be a cause for the increase in mental illness in our society today?

As far as reintroducing any more "foods" back into my diet, probably not until I get over this glutening.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Whole 30: Week 4 Reflections

Wow!  Day 30 has arrived.  Last month when I started this food elimination trial, I had in my mind what and when I was going to re introduce after the 30 days.  Heck, I had even purchased a bag of Garden of Eatin' Corn Tortilla Chips and had frozen a dozen GF chocolate chip cookies.  But now I am filled with trepidation.  I don't want to risk experiencing any of those issues I had prior to the plan, i.e. Buddha belly, GI inflammation, "morning cobweb brain", headaches, acne, and geographic tongue.

Not my tongue, but very close to what mine looked like off and on for 10 friggin' years!

I have had geographic tongue for 10 years.  This denuding of the tongue was cyclical and most painful.  I would lose my taste buds, they would re grow over the next 3-4 weeks, only to lose them again!  I had gone to two different doctors years ago.  One said it might be reflux, the other did not know.  If you read the literature, the cause is unknown and there is no treatment.  Well now, I beg to differ.  One of those foods I had eliminated is the culprit as my tongue has been normal now for 6 weeks.  No where in the literature does it state that it might be due to a bad food i.e. artificial sweeteners, grains, legumes, dairy, seed oils, or other highly processed/toxic foods!

So, I am giving the chips as part of a Christmas present and the chocolate chip cookies are going to Santa.  As of now, I do plan on re introducing sugar  ... but in moderation.  This will be my first item going down the hatch Christmas morning.  I am saying a little prayer for my taste buds, although I do believe the culprit is grains or dairy.

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

For now, I am not going to re introduce grains and pseudo grains.  I am still in the undecided category for dairy.  I have discovered so many new foods that my taste buds and "food enjoyment center in the brain" are quite satiated.

I had been good about not stepping on the scales, except for at the doctor's office during Week 1.  But that was with clothes and shoes on so it did not really count.  Well, today I did.  I knew I had been losing weight so I am happily pleased that it was  5 pounds! Hehe,  my power/weight ratio looks even better!  I would say that half of that was from within the abdomen.  That loss was most likely due to the loss of inflammation from my small and large bowels.  My scale also reads % body fat.  I know it is not an accurate measurement for this parameter but it is a good way to look at it from a relative perspective.  My loss was 3%.

Energy levels were good for the first half of this week.  I had my best ride ever on Wednesday when I did a  4 hour gravel grind.  Save for the first 30 minutes when I think I had a bottoming out of my blood glucose, the remainder of the ride I felt really strong!  However, the remainder of the week I have felt terrible on the bike.  I don't know why as the other two rides were only 1 and 2 hours duration.  Of course, on those days, I did not eat any fruit or Larabars, so perhaps my glycogen stores were a bit lacking.

Another possible reason could be that I may have been "glutened" or "grained."  Beginning Thursday, I have had some GI distress (mild cramping, bloating) and I am unable to eat much due to a "fullness" feeling in my abdomen.  In the past, that scenario has happened when I have been "glutened."  I just don't know what I ate that may have caused this, other than perhaps some contaminated cashews.  Perhaps it is a FODMAP or a "bug."

It is kind of ironic that during the last week of Whole 30 I have felt the worst.  But no worries!  Overall, I am so happy that I chose to do this experiment.  It has taught me so much about my body.  And it is a GREAT jump start to the 2013 season!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Whole 30: Week 3 Reflections

There has not been as big a change between Week 2 and Week 3 as there had from the first two weeks.  The only noticeable change is that I have not had any acne flare ups since I started the program.

 I have been pretty faithful to the 3 a day meals unless I ride big; then I include some food during the ride as well as a post work out recovery meal.  And I must confess that my "breakfast" usually lasts about 60-75 minutes.  I have always been a "grazer" and I thought that going to a set number of meals would be difficult.  But after increasing my fat intake, I now stay "full" for a longer period of time.

Ride food ...  coconut date rolls ( look very similar to litter coated cat turds).

I did pay dearly last week as I was feeling good enough for 2 big days.  The first was a 5 hour gravel grinder.  I at least made it 2 1/2 hours before bonking.  The following day I experimented with true suffering as I chose to pre-ride The Snake on my SS, 1 gear harder than I normally use.  What the hell was I thinking?  Must have been a lack of glucose in the brain!  Needless to say I didn't make it 90 minutes before I bonked really hard!  And then my fork decided to "die" on the infamous rocky ridge section.  I ended up walking sections that normally would be easy to ride.  Talk about being humbled!

And ... two days later, I caught a cold.  What I learned from this is that the Whole 30 plan not only halved the duration of my cold, but also the severity of it as well.  That virus left me in 3 days, tail tucked and high tailing it to find some easier prey!

Now that I am about finished, I have been trying to figure out how to train and race with the least amount of non-Whole 30 approved foods added back.  I know I will NOT add back seed oils, legumes, grains,and pseudo grains save for rice, if I can tolerate it, i.e. no Buddha belly and sluggishness.  I am hoping dairy will agree with me, but if not, than I will be o.k. with that.  I would rather feel great forever on a slightly limited diet than to have that momentary "feel good" feeling after a bite of cheese or ice cream.

I am thinking that I will be able to substiute potatoes (both sweet and white) for rice.  (Now what am I gonna do with the 10 boxes of Chocolate Chex that I bought 2 months ago at a ridiculously low price!?!)  Oh, Carly ......

Day 1 of reintroduction will be Christmas day.  I have chosen sugar as my first.  I have got a GREAT recipe for Paleo pecan pie!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Whole 30: Week 2 Reflections

I have just finished up the second week and it has been more an afterthought than an accomplishment.  This lifestyle is so darn easy.  I have had NO desires for the excluded foods.  What I have desired is more brussel sprouts, kale chips, cole slaw, and bacon, steak, and fish.  I cannot eat enough of those wonderful foods that non-human Nature has provided.  I finally figured out how to get full at each one of my 3 meals ... more fat!  I have tried more new recipes these past two weeks than I have in the past year.  And my family enjoys them as well.

Meatza Pizza (cheese on the right for Carly)

Christmas Day will be the first day of reintroduction and I am a bit concerned.  I have felt so good and my GI tract has never been better that I am afraid I won't be able to tolerate the non-gluten grains (rice, corn, sorghum) or dairy.  I am celiac so I had already eliminated gluten, oats, and quinoa from my diet.  Unfortunately with celiac disease your body with its "leaky gut" syndrome sometimes becomes intolerant of other grains, grain-like foods (quinoa, buckwheat), legumes and dairy.  And I have already fallen in to this category with oats, quinoa, and legumes.

Energy levels have been better this week.  I have not bonked while on the bike so I do believe my body is adapting to utilizing my fat as an energy source ... finally!  My pants/shorts are looser on me and I am a little more "ribby" so I do think I have lost a couple pounds of the stuff,  Added bonus!  However, I have not had any serious intensity on the bike.  It has been all about "just riding around."

I usually get a head ache or two a week for various reasons:  dehydration, stress, intensity.  I have not had one since being on the plan.  Not sure if this is a result or just a coincidence.  The one thing I do know is that my patience has been better and I have not gotten upset over "the little things" as much.  Overall, I have been happier.

Quite surprisingly, for a person who does not have a gall bladder and who has upped her fat consumption, my poops have been normal and regular.  I was worried about the possibility of diarrhea with the added fat, but it has not happened.  I guess we really don't need a gallbladder.  FYI, I had a cholecystectomy in 2010 thinking that this was the cause of my digestive problems.

I suppose the only difficulty with this way of eating is that food preparation takes longer and I have to make several trips to the grocery each week.  The other day at Ingles I was shopping the perimeter and decided to make a short-cut through the center of the store ... you know, where all those boxes of pre-packaged foods lie.  I imagined that as I was passing through, the boxes were going to ambush me, tie me down, and force their contents of chemicals into my body.  Talk about a daymare!

Now off to make some egg-based pumpkin banana pancakes (with fresh pumpkin, of course)!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Whole 30: Week 1 Reflections

Easy peasy, once I set my mind to it.  However, I did not jump into this "cleanse" on a whim.  I had ample time to plan and get motivated.  When last Saturday came, my Mom and I hopped aboard the train.  Of course, having a Mom that is a wonderful cook does make the leap that much easier.  As my StepDad said, "If this is a diet, you've got me fooled!" 

Bacon Wrapped Wild Duck

I thought I would miss my unsweetened cup of morning coffee or my dark chocolate bedtime snack.  And what about that homemade GF chocolate chip cookie after a hard training ride or melted cheese on top of my hamburger.  Nope!  Not a single moment of unease.  And you wanna know why?  Because it is REALLY NOT THAT HARD!  Listen, it is not like going through cancer treatment or bereaving the loss of a loved one.  IT'S JUST FOOD!  And there is so many better and tastier things to eat out there than sugar and HFCS.  Like bacon!  I have eaten more of this tasty treat in the past week than in my whole life.  Bacon is the new chocolate.

Sonoma Chicken Salad

The only "thing" I miss is sustained  and high end power while on the bike.  At first I thought it was just life or perhaps the cold weather leaving me a little drained on Wednesday's ride.  I was good for the first 45 minutes as I was climbing the Foothills Parkway.  At about the 1 hour mark I "hit the wall."  My legs turned to lead and it was all I could do to turn the pedals over.  I had to turn around.

Winding Stair - 5 miles and 1500 feet

But this same lack of energy feeling hit me again on Thursday and Friday around the 90 minute mark.  So then I knew it was my body searching for those simple sugars as an energy source.  As hard as I tried, I could not find the  fat burning mode button on my body.  Yesterday, on the climb up Winding Stair, I was in an all out war with my metabolism.  I was bound and determined to force my body to utilize the 30,000 calories or so of fat that I have stored here and there.  Needless to say, that 5 mile climb took 36 minutes!  At times, I could have walked faster than I was pedaling.

Energy off the bike is great.  And my GI tract has never felt better.  No cramping, bloating, or Buddha belly.  That makes me wonder if I have a sensitivity to grains other than wheat or perhaps dairy.  I hope not, as it would be a little difficult to fuel with sweet potatoes, bananas, and Larabars during the racing season.

I highly recommend the cookbook Practical Paleo.  I have made many recipes and ALL are delicious.  I am looking forward to the next 3 weeks ... and beyond.  Thank you Aimee and LW who clued me in to this new way of eating.