Define your own Paleo…

I’m no Paleo expert, but I’ve been on some version of a Paleo diet since October 2013 for health reasons.  And it’s helped.  Over the past year, I’ve learned a lot about Paleo from blogs and podcasts, and I can tell you there’s really not a single definition that everyone in the Paleo community agrees on.  For example, there is a raging debate about sweet potatoes and dairy — enter the fray at your own risk.

I saw this today on Pinterest, which is clearly someone’s attempt to define it (once again) once and for all.

Paleo?

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Elimination Diet: Week 9 Roundup

I am finishing out Week 9 on the elimination diet I started shortly before Thanksgiving.  This was to attempt to get my post-infectious IBS-D under control.  I have been fighting IBS-D since the beginning of 2014 when I was unlucky enough to get a pretty bad case of food poisoning at a local restaurant.  Things are going well overall and I am happy to report at least one new successful food reintroduction – EGGS!

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Elimination Diet: Week 7 roundup

I haven’t posted for a while.  A combination of having the flu for a week and the holidays sidetracked me.  I recently completed Week 7 of the Elimination Diet and I wanted to post an update on how things were going.

Having the flu really set me back I think.  I started taking Sambucol, which is an elderberry syrup concoction that is supposed to boost immune function.  To help with my throat and respiratory symptoms, I was also using Ricola cough drops.  Both have a fair amount of sugar, which I am supposed to be avoiding.  I also was unfortunate enough to have my period during the week I was sick, and my IBS-D is always much worse during my period.  I also got a bright idea that I needed more Vitamin C so I started eating cooked strawberries.  This was not a good idea.  So basically most of weeks 5 and 6 were a lost cause for me, and my symptoms were not great.

So while this is the end of Week 7, I don’t think I should count most of weeks 5 and 6 because of everything that was going on.

Having been recovered from the flu since just before Christmas, I can say that I am starting to stabilize again with my diarrhea symptoms.  Things are not “normal” but overall most days are better than before I started the diet.  I have the occasional “bad” day where I go more than I’d like (I count 3 or more as qualifying) or when I go it’s particularly watery.  But generally I am more stable and things are more predictable than they were.

I started to introduce two new vegetables over the last couple of weeks.  This is based on the recommendation in the book I am following, Digestive Health with Real Food.  I did this because I have lost more weight than I should and I am officially too thin.  So I’m trying to get more carbs in my diet to hopefully gain a couple of pounds.

First I tried butternut squash, but I had two strange reactions – itchiness and insomnia.  I can’t be sure it was the squash so I will try it again in the future.  I know butternut squash can absorb a lot of chemicals from the soil if you don’t buy organic and mine was not organic.  It’s possible I was reacting to pesticides.  I had no gut problems with the squash, which is good.

Next I tried sweet potatoes.  These have worked great.  No gut issues and no other problems.  If it continues to go well (I do a 4 day trial and today is day 4) then I will include these in my diet going forward.  This is so exciting I can’t even tell you.

More updates later.  Thanks for checking in.

 

 

How to keep things yummy on an elimination diet

So having been on this Elimination Diet for almost 5 full weeks, I can tell you eating a very limited group of foods is tough. There’s not much variety in the proteins and carbs you can eat, there are no fruits allowed, and the spices you can use are limited too. Here are some tips for keeping it fresh and tasty.  When you’re done reading, visit this great post from Smith Meadows Farm’s blog for some other ideas for keeping elimination diets delicious!

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Elimination Diet: End of Week 4

I just finished Week 4 of the Elimination Diet based on the Aglaee Jacob book Digestive Health with REAL Food.  As I discussed in an earlier post, Week 4 gave me substantial improvement in my IBS-D symptoms for two whole days, until an unexpected visit to the Emergency Room caused me to abandon my diet for a day.  After that, I did lose the progress I made, but I feel confident I will get back to that place soon.

All in all, I am very pleased with my progress to date.  I have lost ten pounds since beginning the diet a month ago.  I feel much better than I did.  My energy has improved substantially. My bloating is gone, and even though I am still suffering from diarrhea, it’s not nearly as bad as it was a couple of weeks ago.  My seborrheic dermatitis, which started in 2012, improved dramatically, and in the last week or so has basically disappeared.

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Tips for Surviving the Elimination Diet

So how do you manage to keep your willpower strong for 4-6 weeks on a very restrictive elimination diet?  Well, if you have been continuously sick like me, that alone might provide enough motivation to get you through.  Otherwise, here are some ideas:

Remember, it’s just six weeks out of your life.  Think about things that have or might happen to you that would require a pretty substantial change to your daily routine.  An unexpected illness or surgery for example.  I knew a woman who fainted and hit her jaw on a counter while going down.  Her jaw was wired shut for two months.  Everything she ate was through a straw.  This is less hard and less painful than that.  Thoughts like that help me when I’m feeing weak and just want a milkshake.

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