30 Day Challenge

Making a huge diet change can be really daunting, and as busy as I am, I haven’t had a lot of time to really think through how best to go about doing it.  I did it before when I eliminated those 10 items from my diet two years ago, but this will take a little more planning, especially since it will include excluding some fruits and veggies that I normally wouldn’t have worried about (*tear* mangoes).

I think the best way to start is going to be a 30 day challenge.  That is long enough that I should start to see some improvements, but not so long that I will feel overwhelmed.  My suspicion is that, if it seems to be working, I will be able to continue after 30 days.  But if I don’t feel better after 30 days, then I think it will be time to rethink things and try a different plan of attack, maybe even the SCD diet.

So, looking ahead to what I have coming up, I am thinking that the best time to start this challenge will be AFTER our family dinner next weekend, so that I can feel like I can still eat what everyone else is, one last time (for awhile).  I am still contemplating doing some sort of “cleanse” to get the diet started on the right foot, so I just need to decide what that will look like.  My guess is that would be best to do on a weekend (when if I’m zapped, I can nap :)), so tentatively, I’m putting my start date as March 15th.

Between now and then, I’m going to slowly start cutting out some of the foods when it’s not too much of a hassle.  So for example, I am going to try my best to stop eating crackers.  Bread.. well I might need a slice or two between now and then, but I don’t eat it too frequently.  I think it will mostly be about being more conscious of what I’m eating and making better decisions, knowing what could be potentially causing my issues.  Like, no more lentil soup!!  (bad experience with that this week eek.. anyone want some lentil soup that’s in my freezer??)

Okay, so tentative plans are set up!  Now just to tackle the details and get some meals planned out between now and March 15th.. I can do this!  Here’s to feeling better!

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FODMAP or SCD?

So much to learn about food and nutrition!  Seriously, I wish I had known how fascinating this could be back when I was deciding on a career.

I was texting back and forth with my brother-in-law today who has had a lot of stomach problems- at one point they thought he had Crohn’s, but ended up ruling that out.  I asked if he had heard of the SCD diet and he had not, but he had heard of and attempted the FODMAP diet.  So of course I need to see  what all this entails!!  He said he had a hard time giving up a lot of foods, particularly wheat, but that he has been trying to reduce fructose in his diet and has seen some improvements.

The FODMAP diet is much more reasonable than the SCD, from what I have seen, and a lot of the basis of FODMAP makes more sense to me and the foods that I have had issues with.  Long story short, FODMAP focuses on certain kinds of carbohydrates, including lactose, fructose, fructans, polyols, and galactans.  The first two I understand, the last three I’m not as certain about, but several of the foods that it suggests eliminating, at least at first, include apples, pears, lentils, soy, wheat, milk, onions, garlic, and sugar additives–which are ALL things that I have either concluded I have problems with or have had suspicions that I do.  BINGO things are starting to make some sense!

Some of my hesitation with the SCD diet was that a) it was ridiculously restrictive and b) it starts you out with eggs and applesauce, which are both things that I am already rather wary of.  And something about it just didn’t feel right, maybe it was the fact that it expected me to try to give up ALL grains for essentially the rest of my life??  Yeah and no chocolate?!?!  Of course looking at the FODMAP, it does say to be cautious with chocolate.. but at least it doesn’t say no!  That’s another thing with FODMAP, it basically doesn’t say that anything is permanently off limits, more that you need to test different things and for many, in moderate amounts, it will end up being fine adding back to your diet.  It also seems to be pretty well backed by the medical profession, which perhaps makes me feel a bit better about it..  Hooray!  I think I found something that I can try!

Here are some legit resources on the FODMAP diet:

Stanford Hospitals
US News Health
WebMD

Food in Costa Rica

In early November, two weeks after my second marathon, we went to Costa Rica- and it was AWESOME!  But as anyone with a “picky stomach” will tell you, traveling can be a little nerve racking.  I tend to go in to it with the attitude that I will do my best to not eat foods that might bother me, but that I won’t let it keep me from enjoying new foods.  I went armed with a bottle of apple cider vinegar (you think I’m kidding.. I’m not.. sadly) and several healthy snacks, including my favorite walnut cappuccino Truebars.

I ate a whole slew of things, including cheese and ice cream, and only had one day where I had stomach issues.  Funny enough, this was the day where we ate at, some had said, “the best restaurant in Costa Rica”!  I think what upset my stomach was that it was a breaded option, so sort of fried, and probably the closest to a normal American meal!  The rest of the time, my stomach felt better than it has in a long time, which is really quite amazing for being in a foreign country.  I ate copious amounts of papaya because it was SO amazing there!

When we had a layover on the way back in Houston, we ate dinner and I almost immediately felt terrible.  It has gotten me thinking that a lot of my issues may be AMERICAN food, in that our food has tons of crap and chemicals added to it, instead of just real, from the land food like in Costa Rica.  Since then, I have been thinking a lot more about all of the processed food we eat here and even the stuff that seems healthy has a lot of hidden stuff in it (like what is “natural flavors”?? apparently some pretty hideous stuff…).  It shouldn’t be so hard to eat REAL food here!  It’s quite frustrating and makes me think that maybe I should just move to Costa Rica.. 😉

Fresh fish and veggies- yummy!

Fresh fish and veggies- yummy!

Fresh made ice cream- wonderful and issue free!

Fresh made ice cream- wonderful and issue free!

 

 

Apple Cider Vinegar

After my disappointing try at an elimination diet, I was on the lookout for something else that might help with my digestive issues.  I came across the infographic below and decided adding apple cider vinegar to my diet was worth a shot!  I’ve been drinking it for probably a year and a half now at breakfast and at lunch.  I started by putting a few tsps in a big glass of water with some agave nectar.  Eventually, I got used to the taste and I just drink it with water, though at lunch I like to add a little bit of tart cherry juice just for some extra flavor.  I do really believe that it has helped me tremendously and is probably why I haven’t seriously looked at revising my diet until now.  I don’t know if it just stopped working for me, if I’ve become “immune” to it, or if I just really screwed up my gut flora at some point, but it doesn’t seem to be doing the trick anymore.  I still recommend people give it a shot, but I think my stomach issues are beyond just this as a simple fix.

10 ways to use apple cider vinegar

Long Run Pre-Fueling

During my marathon training, I played around with a few simple foods to eat the day before a long run/the big day.  I stuck pretty closely to the following:

pre-marathon meal!

pre-marathon meal!

Barley Protein Bowl

Cooked barley
Half a can of water-packed tuna
Chopped fresh spinach
Half an avocado
Lime juice
Salt & Pepper
Smoked paprika

All of this mixed up and warmed!  Served with boiled sweet potatoes sprinkled with ginger powder and raw honey, with a glass of water mixed with some tart cherry juice and apple cider vinegar.

Breakfast Smoothie Formula

For, I don’t know, maybe it has been close to a year, I’ve been making up four days’ worth of breakfast smoothies on Sundays.  Here is the general formula I follow, with some adjustments depending on what I have on hand.

Breakfast Smoothie

Glass of water
1-2 scoops of plain Hemp protein
1 scoop of chia seeds
1 scoop of ground flaxseed
3ish scoops of oats
Several slices of fresh gingerroot
Several tsps of cinnamon

Two handfuls of spinach (sometimes kale)
1.5-2 bananas
3-4 big scoops of plain greek yogurt
1-2 scoops of nut butter (almond or sunflower)
One or two other kinds of fruit, ranging from frozen berries, applesauce, pumpkin, mangoes

Sometimes I’ll add some cocoa powder or almond extract if I’m bored with the flavor

I blend the first bunch of ingredients first, then add just the spinach and blend again, then the final ingredients.  One batch makes two smoothies, I pour them into individual glasses that have lids.