Monday, 19 November 2012

AIP Protocol Update + GAPS diet & digestive enzymes

Well, I've had a tough week (food-wise) since I last blogged...I was still experiencing a lot of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) type digestive discomfort, which just seems to be getting worse and worse.  My list of food intolerances is long and seems to be getting longer by the day.  I've tried a month of digestive enzymes, which do help digesting red meat and fats, but don't help me at all with FODMAP fruit & vegetables, which is what I was hoping they might do (wouldn't it be nice if a little pill could fix it all!?).  I also cannot tolerate lactose (though the digestive tables seem to help with this one), fructose, nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, capsicum, paprika), egg whites, kumera or gluten (but I want to avoid grains anyway so I don't really care about that!).

Anyway, I got discouraged after a week on the AIP because of continuing digestive issues, and decided to give GAPS a go (again)...I didn't get any further than last time (2 weeks) because it is so terribly restrictive it just about does my head in...bone broth soup with well cooked meat & vegetables for breakfast, lunch & dinner!  I am continuing to have bone broth at least once a day for the digestive healing benefits but I can't mentally handle that much never-ending soup.  Also, I realised after re-reading the GAPS book that pretty much everything you add back in after to the initial soup stage is either FODMAP, nuts, dairy or nightshades! 

So, I'm still avoiding nightshades (because I KNOW they cause my hands to ache), still avoiding egg whites, although I'm going to try and add them back in soon and see how I go.  I seem to tolerate a small amount of nuts (but I find it hard to stop once I start eating them!).  I am okay with two small pieces of 85% dark chocolate (but again, hard to stop at that!). 

I am just about out of my digestive enzymes, so I decided to give the developed-in-NZ kiwifruit product Phloe a trial (I love that it's a 100% natural product and I know I can tolerate kiwifruit reasonably well compared to most other fruits) sounds really good and the testimonials are encouraging, so I will let you know how I go with those in a week or so.  I also ordered a multi vitamin (I'm not usually a fan, but I'm worried about my lack of vitamins and minerals on such a restrictive diet!).  This one was the best and most natural looking one I could find (if you have any recommendations, let me know!).


So, anyway, all in all, not much progress really!  I continue to be frustrated and necessarily obsessed and preoccupied with improving my digestion as I sure would like to eat more fruit & vegetables!  I would love to hear from anyone who is dealing with similar issues, so please leave a comment! 

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Too busy to exercise?


Now, let me say this once, loud and clear; YOU DO NOT NEED LOTS OF MONEY, A GYM MEMBERSHIP OR A LOT OF FREE TIME TO FIT EXERCISE INTO YOUR WEEK.  I am a busy stay at home mum with 5 children (aged 2, 4, 6, 12 & 13) and I think if I can do it, pretty much anyone can! 
At the end of the day, it's all about PRIORITIES.  We all have the same number of hours each day, and if you watch T.V, surf the net, visit Facebook regularly or read novels, YOU HAVE TIME TO EXERCISE!!  No more excuses!  You are important, and you need to look after need more energy to get all that stuff done right?  Well, exercise is how you can that extra energy.  Admittedly, to start with, it will take a little of your energy, but after a few weeks, you will start to feel stronger and more energised.  YOU ARE WORTH IT! 
Two exercise tips:
1.  The best kind of exercise is the one you will do.   What works for one person, may not work for you, find what you enjoy doing (or maybe even just hate less!) and do that.  Change it up often, and vary your routine for best results.  I do a Kettlebell DVD at 5.30am with my hubby during the week, walk about 50 minutes + a day (dropping kids to school & kindy) and do interval sprints on my stationary bike on Saturdays.  I also randomly do planks & push ups when ever I think of it (yeah, I know, I'm weird!).  If you are very unfit, I recommend walking, aqua aerobics, or using a rebounder (mini trampoline) to start with.
2.  Wear comfortable work-out clothes during the week.  I pretty much live in yoga pants, t-shirts & sneakers during the week and save my jeans & skirts for the weekend.  Then whenever I get a few spare minutes I can drop and do a few push-ups, plank for minute or put on a workout DVD and do 15-20 minutes in between jobs.  There are many strength exercises you can do at home with NO equipment!  If you are wearing jeans or a skirt, you are MUCH less likely to take advantage of any little moments of time you may have in the course of your day to exercise, because it's too much hassle to get changed.  And do not think that it's not worth doing 5, 10 or 15 minutes of exercise - it IS, and it all adds up.  You really don't need to spend as much time exercising as you may think.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Dinner is the new breakfast - AIP Day 1

Well today is my official start day for my 30 day AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) challenge.  I actually started yesterday (apart from my morning almond milk coffee), and I am sitting here now drinking another cup of coffee (almond milk, half strength) because I have a killer headache* (coffee withdrawal I think) and I'm over it.  Hopefully I can skip the coffee tomorrow, but I'm not worried if it takes a few days of needing a weak-strength cup...rather that than suffer these headaches! 

So, what am I eating then??  Well, with nuts & eggs off the menu, and milk & cereal a thing of the past...what does breakfast look like? 

Well...I know this is going to sound weird to most people, but actually, it pretty much looks like lunch & dinner.  Strange as it may sound, the so-called breakfast foods most people can't imagine living without are a pretty recent invention of the cereal industry (which is a HUGE money making business BTW!).  If you buy into their advertising (and most people do), you'd pretty much think they are an essential part of a healthy diet (they absolutely are NOT!). 

In the late 1800's machines that flaked cereal grains were invented and the first breakfast cereals were born.  Over time they began to add sugar & flavourings, learned how to 'puff' the grains and then later turn them into all sorts of different 'fun' shapes, and aimed their (massive amounts of) advertising at kids and their busy parents, and then they pretty much took over the world!  Of course, bread & porridge (oatmeal) have been around for a lot longer than that (since the agricultural revolution, thousands of years ago). 

In traditional cultures people always just ate the same sort of stuff at breakfast as they did at the other meals of the day.  So, that's pretty much what I'm doing!  And, you know, I am actually totally fine with having dinner leftovers for breakfast...I kind of like it actually!  Much quicker than my usual bacon and eggs or hemp protein smoothie (and I SO need more time in the mornings!).

So, what did I eat today?

Breakfast this morning was left over savoury mince and lacto-fermented ginger carrots wrapped in Cos lettuce with a little EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil) washed down with half a cup of Beet Kvass

   Beet Kvass (before straining)
Lunch was chicken-bone-broth & vege soup, more left over mince and a 1/4 cup of ginger carrots.

Lacto-fermented ginger carrots
Dinner (haven't actually had it yet, it's only 1.45pm) will be some kind of meat and salad (very organised aren't I?!) with lots of EVOO. I will have a glass of water kefir with dinner and will probably also have half a green apple and/or a small handful of frozen blueberries for 'dessert' (I admit, I'm missing my 85% Chocolate here, but I sleep better for not having it). 

No snacks...I actually don't need them hunger-wise, I've just been in the bad habit of scoffing multiple handfuls of nuts randomly in between meals (gee I wonder why I put on those extra 3kgs?!).

I'm aiming to have a good amount of protein at each meal, some carbs from vegetables and plenty of fat (EVOO, coconut oil & natural animal fats).  My total  daily carbs yesterday were about 65 (will be pretty much the same today, but I can't be bothered calculating it), so reasonably low, but not very ketogenic.  I find I do pretty well with about 50-100 grams of carbs per day.  I'm also incorporating some GAPS (Gut & Psychology Syndrome) diet principles to help heal my digestive system, by making sure I have lacto-fermented foods at every meal (beet kvass, water kefir, ginger carrots and sauerkraut mostly) and having at least one cup of chicken or beef bone broth.

Drinks: Lots of ginger & lemon tea (grated ginger & lemon slices seeped in boiling water), licorice root tea, beet kvass, water kefir & filtered water.  All very good for digestion & gut healing.

Sleep:  Last night I had about 7.5 hours (tried to go to sleep at 9pm, but the noisy fireworks keep me awake for nearly an hour).  Also, just got my new sleep-mask & earplugs on the courier this morning - yay! 

Exercise: 20 Minute Kettlebell workout with hubby at 6am & 35 minutes low-intensity stationary bike.

Calories: I was going to use MyFitnessPal to calculate all my calories, carbs & fat etc during my challenge, but I decided I can't be bothered...yesterday was about 1550 calories and I don't see how I'll get it up too much higher after cutting so much out of my diet! That's probably at least 500-700 calories less than I usually eat daily.

Well, that's it for now, must go and finish the housework & figure out what we're having for dinner!  

Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to leave a comment (if you have one!).

x Andrea 

* The coffee did NOTHING to relieve my headache, so I won't bother compromising my AIP with it tomorrow!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

30 Day AIP Challenge

Well, I started my Facebook Page last week, and now I'm ready to start blogging!  I'm going to jump right in and document the 30 day Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) that I am starting in 4 days (shopping day, but following as much as I can until then!).

Credit for above pic goes to:

Basically it's 'normal' Paleo minus all dairy, eggs, nuts, nightshades (tomatoes, capsicum, many spices, eggplant, potato) and most fruits.  Now I don't know if that sounds like a big deal to you, but let me tell you, I eat A LOT of eggs & nuts, and I love my fruit (what I can eat with IBS), so it's a pretty big deal for me!  Basically, I don't know for sure that I have a specific autoimmune issue (I'm not taking myself off to the doctor for a bunch of tests), but I do know that I have issues with nightshades (for instance my hands are killing me today after eating a tomato-based sauce last night & I have a headache) and I also suspect that I have issues with eggs (at least the whites) & nuts, so I'm keen to see how I feel after 30 days without these things.  I am using Diane Sanfilippo's book Practical Paleo as a guide (one of my favourite Paleo books!) as well as some other online resources.

That said, this is NOT an easy diet by any means, and it's pretty restrictive (thankfully, I've got time to get my 30 day challenge completed before Christmas!), and it will be especially challenging for breakfasts, but I've found a few good ideas here, although not all of them are easily do-able in NZ (we don't have a lot of turkey here). 

Basically I just need to have some version of meat & vegetables at each meal (that'll take some getting used to for breakfast!).  I'm imagining I'm going to lose a bit of weight without all those nuts I've been gobbling up every day (which are most probably to blame for me putting on 3kg (6.6 lbs) in the last month, instead of losing 3kg like I would have liked!).  I'm also giving up my favourite organic 85% chocolate & coffee (I don't like it black anyway and I won't be able to have my usual home-made nut milk).

You can find info on what symptoms & conditions fall under the autoimmune 'umbrella' here, it is quite a list! The main autoimmune condition I believe I may be affected by is early signs of arthritis (I get really sore achy joints in my hands and feet) and I also have general digestive issues (IBS).  I also have weird circulation issues, where one of my fingers goes numb and turns white frequently for no known reason at all.

I would love to hear from anyone who has done the Paleo AIP or wants to join me for this challenge - I can use all the encouragement I can get!  

Thanks so much for stopping by!