Thursday, December 31, 2015

Elimination Experiment Revealed!

What has always made the very most sense to me regarding eating well and living healthy has been this:


This is the reason I love Lisa Leake's approach in her 100 Days of Real Food book. It's excellent.

Also, if you have the time and interest, this video I watched recently was really very interesting. It attempted to find the "Best Diet" in the world. By diet, I don't mean a "plan" like Paleo, Atkins, Weight Watchers - I mean which country (overall) eats the best based upon variables such as heart disease, longevity, etc. But if you don't watch it, here are some take-away's of how the healthiest rated countries/people eat:

-eat food that is fresh and natural; as close to it's original state as possible; minimally processed
-high veg
-high fiber
-low red meat (yet high in the case of the Inuit which were also considered healthy!)
-low amounts of alcohol
-lots of fish!
-high quality meat and dairy
-no smoking

And you can pretty much guess that the unhealthiest countries had a diet which was high in processed food, high in sugar, and high in alcohol consumption.

Oh, and I love this from France...The interviewer asked a woman working in a fromagerie: "Without cheese, do you think the French would be less healthy"?
She replies: "Yes, less healthy and less happy". She's my kind of girl.

Ok, so what's the verdict? The fact is that I am currently (and likely temporarily) at a place where I have the time to put in the major effort to doing an elimination diet of some sort. Furthermore, a week or a month is not a very long time in the grand scheme of things.

So.....I have actually decided to do my first Whole30! And I am pretty pumped about it. I will begin January 4th. I believe that I am curious enough about how my body will react to the elimination of grains, dairy, sugar, alcohol, legumes (including peanuts - yes, my beloved peanut butter) that I will be able to do it. As the plan is already quite restrictive, I don't plan to further eliminate the almonds and eggs which show up as a food sensitivity for me. I may do that later - it depends upon my experience with the Whole30 overall, and what comes up for me when I re-introduce some foods.

As I mentioned before, part of my goal with the experiments is to find out how my body best likes to eat so that when vacations, holidays, and other "stuff" happen, that I will have a tool to get back on track rather quickly. Maybe this would look like eating the Whole30 way for a week or two, and then avoiding some of my major trigger foods. Let's wait and see. 

2016 is a actually a pretty big year for me...I turn 40 and my husband and I celebrate our 10 year anniversary. We also have a few trips planned throughout the year AND (if my friend gets me drunk enough tonight) I *may* also find myself with another half marathon to complete in May. But maybe if I get HER drunk enough tonight she will just change her mind about doing it altogether!! :)

I have a ton of work to do to prepare though, so I will check back in with you on the 4th if not sooner. Happy New Year everyone! 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What's the Plan, (Wo)Man?

The end of the year is drawing close and I am trying to decide what the “plan” is going to be for my upcoming food experiments. (I have even been thinking of doing an actual Whole 30. WTF). I am so curious as to how my body would feel with the elimination of so many foods. But at the same time, the thought of starting a plan that restricts me from food I really enjoy (and wine!) is enough to make me cry. I think the problem is this: I don’t feel POORLY ENOUGH about my weight or health right now, and because of that, there isn’t a major DESIRE for much change.

Honestly, I would really like to lose 5-10 pounds. I am fairly comfortable though where I am with my weight (I already work out and watch what I eat) and therefore I don’t have a ton of internal strife, desire, or motivation to change. If a magic fairy came along and granted me this wish of losing 5-10 pounds (and a million dollars too while she’s at it!) I would of course happily take it and probably feel great about it. But since that magic fairy isn’t coming, do I want to put in hard effort for it when I am already “comfortable”? 

I would also really like to know how I would feel by doing an elimination diet.  But again, my body is not that fatigued, that ill, and my digestion isn’t THAT bad that I can’t stand another day of my present reality. If that was the case, I suppose that my motivation would be much higher.

Honestly, this is the reason for much of my “failure” of following a plan in the past. So where does this leave me? I have been back and forth about what I am going to do first. But I have decided.

I have been doing some major research for these experiments I told you about earlier. I want to share two major forms of resistance that come up repeatedly for me when I ponder this.

      1) Breakfast. It’s clearly not just about food. (It never is). It usually isn’t as simple as food in – food out, or we would all be the right weight, we wouldn’t struggle with food issues, and the diet industry would be in the toilet. Here’s the thing for me…I find tremendous comfort in my breakfast. Coffee with cream and creamy peanut butter on crispy toast is truly an event for me - it’s not just a meal. I am going to let you all in on a little secret too…one that really up until now was only shared with the staff of Good Earth Café. For the last year basically – almost every morning after I drop my child off at school – I stop by for my toast & peanut butter, and a coffee. I’ll tell you what I love about it.

First of all, I really enjoy the environment. Now that I no longer go into work, I miss a bustling environment. I like that while enjoying toast and coffee on my own, that I can still be near people, and hear the hum of people engaged in conversation. The coffee is alright, and I know I can make toast at home, but it’s the environment that I cannot replicate.

Another thing I really enjoy is not having to prepare or clean up one meal of the day. This is big for me. I am the only cook in the household, and I can tell you that having to plan, shop for, prepare, serve, and clean up meals is a slog sometimes. ESPECIALLY when you are often putting together three variations of a meal: for my daughter; my husband; and myself. And let’s not even talk about lunches here – props to the parents of more than one kid who have to do school (and husband) lunches.

Anyway, that’s pretty much why I like it so much. I also love the routine. Maybe now you can understand why my breakfast is just NOT ONLY breakfast. It’s actually a form of my own self-care and something I enjoy very much. (And in case you’re wondering – no, there isn’t a lot that I could eat as an alternative in any of the types of experiments I have in mind).

2) Ok, so the other form of resistance is this: I guess I am very much a product of society’s ‘instant gratification’ culture, in that I do enjoy a ‘treat’ for good eating behavior.

I would consider the day a success if I consumed a small amount of carbs, ate a good amount of vegetables and had no or little snacking in between. I would then want to be able to have something ‘special’ for having a good eating day – and almost always at night - after my daughter is put to bed. (Because one deserves a special treat for that alone!) ;) The “treats” aren’t terrible (we’re not talking chocolate bars and cookies) but I do have a bad habit of snacking on a few things throughout the evening. I have said it before and I will say it again: I know damned well that if I simply took away the ‘treating’ portion of the day that I would likely lose that 5lbs I mentioned before, but I guess I don’t want the loss enough. Also, I am honestly often hungry after dinner so it’s more easily justifiable – and I don’t want more of the dinner I had. I want something else. I want a TREAT!

So you can see some of the thought patterns here that aren’t in line with what I “say” I want. After all, my actions speak louder than my words and it’s clear where I place my values. So the question then becomes…do I really want a change or do I need to wait for a time where the stakes are higher and the desire is burning?

Come back tomorrow to find out what I have decided.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Oprah and Weight Watchers???

Ok, I am really confused. What the hell is Oprah doing on Weight Watchers? Seriously. Someone with all the money in the world for personal chefs, shoppers, nutritionists, trainers, supplements, doctors, psychologists, etc. and we are supposed to believe that WEIGHT WATCHERS is her method of choice for losing weight????? I watched her video “Why I joined Weight Watchers” and I still don’t understand the WHY. I agree with everything she says on it, but she doesn’t say a darned thing about why it works.

I get the message that despite the resources that Oprah has, she too struggles with weight loss and body issues. Indeed this is something that many women struggle with regardless of their wealth or status. However I just don’t “buy” that out of all the possibilities for weight loss, Oprah has chosen Weight Watchers. What about the Paleo diet, huh, Oprah?? ;)

Anyway, Oprah has an obvious business interest in Weight Watchers, but if it results in motivating and encouraging others to lose weight and live healthier, happier lives, then it’s a win all around. Just forgive me though if I reserve a huge ‘helping’ of skepticism as to how much “Weight Watchers” is to thank for giving Oprah “the tools to begin to make the lasting shift that I and so many of us who are struggling with weight have longed for”…

You can view the video here:

Ok - talk later. I need to go and find out how much $ it's going to cost for my new Weight Watchers membership :) 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Mini Experiments

Hi everyone! This past Sunday I returned from a mini-vacation to Palm Springs. You can “do” Palm Springs in 4 days (as we did) pretty well actually.  You can enjoy some pool time, AMAZING restaurants, shopping and the spa - and your flight back home is only 2.5 hours. It’s really a little gem. You should try it. Just not in December as the weather was a bit on the cool side.

An added bonus?? Shopping at Whole Foods! Wheeeeee!

Oh, and the airport is the cutest!

Anyway, on this trip there was some indulgence. More food and alcohol than normal was consumed (of course) and that resulted in some sexy bloating, feelings of being fat, and quite frankly, just not feeling amazing. (Also this time, I did nothing in terms of exercise which I think had something to do with it). But generally, It seems that every trip I go on, I struggle with this a bit - mostly because it’s not within my normal controlled eating environment. You don’t always know when, what or where you will eat and of course your mindset is that you are ‘on vacation’. While there is nothing wrong with this in general, I feel like it doesn’t exactly work for me - something needs to give. I want to be able to go on vacation and either not deal with the feelings of being fat and over-indulging (accept that it's a vacation and relax about it all), OR simply come up with a plan to not indulge so much. Really not sure which one is easier actually.

Generally speaking, I believe in the 80/20 rule…eat well 80% of the time, and indulge 20% of the time. The thing is though, I am still not sure which way is best for my body to eat! It would be great to know what works best for my body so that at least during periods of indulgence, I would know how to get back on track right after. As I have shared before, so many of my past attempts at following a plan are simply not followed through on. But I do know that I need to do a little experimentation to see what works best for my body as I have some issues with digestion that I shouldn't really be ignoring. What is it that makes my stomach uneasy and digestion so poor lately – specifically? I have heard that if you are consuming foods that your body has trouble with, then it’s very likely to cause fatigue. It’s basically like your body is trying to “cope” with the foods it finds antagonistic. Which led me to thinking about my food sensitivity test…

So I have decided to do a series of mini experiments on my body – weeklong experiments to see how it responds to eliminating certain foods. I realize that a week isn’t a very long time (and that my naturopathic doctor would like it to be longer) but that’s all I am going to do. For now. Here’s what I would like to try:

1) Food Sensitivity Elimination
-using the results from my own food sensitivity test
-no dairy, peanuts, almonds, eggs
-allows gluten since it doesn’t show up on my test

2) Paleo
-real, whole food, minimally processed
-bye-bye gluten
-no grains, dairy, refined sugars
-would include eggs and almonds though (want to see how my body feels on this program even though it would include some of my own known food sensitivities)
-won't be hard core paleo - will likely include potatoes and maybe a few treats from "Against All Grain"

3) Whole 30 (Whole 7?)
-taking Paleo to another level
-cut out sugar (even if it’s honey or maple syrup as allowed on the Paleo Plan)
-something tells me I would do well on this as I have a sad, sneaky suspicion that sugar doesn’t like me

4) Ketogenic/Jorge Cruise
-this will be interesting as it will allow dairy
-basically it’s a low carb plan that puts your body in ketosis
-so generally, no gluten/grains either

5) Possibly....Would be interesting to know how I would do on a Paleo plan WITH the extra elimination of almonds and eggs as per my own sensitivity. I think I will wait and see how I feel on both the Paleo and my own elimination to see if this would be worth further exploration. 

*I am also curious as to how I would do on intermittent fasting, but not really sure if that’s realistic for me
*Also thought about vegan -- but really not sure that's realistic either
*I cannot promise that I will give up red wine or coffee completely during this time (that would surely kill me)

Next week I am getting a celiac test done (my dad has celiac) as I am really curious if my poor digestion is the result of it. The fact that it didn’t show up on my food sensitivity test doesn’t rule out celiac (plus it is a bit old - 2 years) because sensitivities and allergies are different. In order for the testing to work, you cannot have eliminated gluten before that, and knowing Christmas is around the corner also, my experimentation will commence in the new year. The plan is to carefully document my food intake and just as carefully document how I am feeling in the following areas: energy; digestion; appetite; mental state; interest; overall physically. I am still working out the order of it all, but that's the plan. 

Bye for now!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

My Body

A very sad fact dawned on me.

In the past, I haven’t been very nice to my body; this wonderful and beautiful vehicle that quite simply allows me to enjoy my life.

In the past, I have said and thought terrible things about it and to it. I have abused it by overeating/drinking, sometimes binging and so, so many times pushing it when it simply needed to rest. I have ignored it when it has tried to tell me that it doesn’t like something. I have made it my emotional punching bag. I have failed to accept it for what it is and instead spent way too much time comparing it to others and wishing it were different.

When I think about how I have treated my body in the past, it truly makes me sad. If my body were a person, that person would have long since left my life…tired of the abuse, negativity and lack of appreciation.

As I write this, I am reminded of a quote I have seen before that has quite literally brought me to tears. I will share it with you below. 

Perhaps what I want most out of life is to have a beautiful, trusting relationship with my body and a beautiful, trusting relationship with food.

I want to find balance between eating to simply fuel my body and eating for pleasure. I want to exercise this body because I know it loves to move and not because I have a trip coming up, a dress to fit into, or someone to look good for. I want to find a healthy weight for it that allows it to easily take me through life, fuelling it with good healthy food. I want to learn to listen to it, nurture it, to love it. It’s the only one I have.

The quote...

Tips for Managing Stress & Anxiety (plus a smoothie recipe!)

Read my latest blog post on You Ate: And my smoothie recipe!