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Coffee time and fruit belly.

As I sit here writing this at 9:30 on Sunday morning, I have just finished my breakfast of goat’s milk yogurt with pear, sunflower seeds and turmeric and I’m waiting for 10 o’clock to drink my coffee. My mind is screaming that this is the wrong way round: having coffee first thing after waking up is a saintly, unshaken ritual.

Well, guess what. There are specific times of the day when you can have that coffee, and the remainder of the time, forget it. Those times are 10am – noon, 2pm and 5pm [though skip the last one if you want to fall asleep later without any problems]. Those times are when our cortisol levels are the lowest, hence the caffeine boost is welcome. Times other than that, our cortisol levels are higher and our bodies are more alert, and drinking coffee can inhibit production of cortisol. And if you drink coffee first thing in the morning like I do, it diminishes the caffeine’s effect and builds up a greater tolerance to caffeine in the long run. I remember that the dietitian recommended eating breakfast soon after waking up and then having coffee, but this was one piece of advice I’d ignored. Not anymore.

Looks like my cortisol levels are out of whack, because I feel like I really need that coffee right now.

Next item of business: fruit belly.

I read the excerpt of ‘Fruit Belly’ by Romy Dolle and it gave me one of those ‘aha!’ moments. I’ve been Paleo for a while now and I’m still eating tons of fruit and vegetables, mostly raw. And even though my weight has dropped to 58.4 kg [I still can’t believe it], I still have a belly. Yes, when I suck it in I can see a six-pack, but I shouldn’t have to suck it in. So, it turns out I have a fruit belly. Or a fruit-and-raw-veg belly.

I still have a lot of fruit sitting about and some salad veg in the fridge, so as soon as those are polished off I am tweaking my diet. Again. If I’m completely honest, I am growing a bit tired of the constant salads. Autumn is here so it is time to swap salads and smoothies for soups anyway. I am a big fan of fruit, especially when I am craving something sweet or before a workout, but as usual, I will adjust and adapt.

I went on holiday. And saw a dietitian.

For three weeks I went on holiday back to Poland. My mother, although she herself had the ImuPro50 test done, is not a firm believer of strictly eliminating her sensitivities, even though she has worse symptoms than I do after eating culprit food. I fell off the wagon completely, binging on beer, tomatoes added to every salad, pizza, and throw in dairy for good measure. I thought I didn’t feel too crappy for a while, but towards the end I was constantly tired, brainfogged so badly I wondered whether I should be driving at all, I had a 2-day episode of shoulder-neck pain, but I did not have my usual week-long diarrhea at the start.

A few days before the end, I went to a registered dietitian, whose second words [after saying hello and asking a couple of introductory questions] were accusing me of eating culprit food on holiday. That’s no excuse, she said, cook your own food. As we continued our talk, she changed her tone when she realised I’m not a complete idiot and have done plenty of research. Without knowing it, she pretty much prescribed the autoimmune protocol [AIP] for me. She did not dismiss Paleo, even encouraged it after I explained my version of it, that the constant eating of grain-fed or otherwise inferior meat is a misconception.

With regards to my Hashimoto’s, she forbade nightshades, uncooked cruciferous vegetables, all dairy and gluten, drinking coffee on an empty stomach, suggested swapping it for correctly-brewed green tea, and prescribed a ton of supplements, but I am not sure I will be taking all of them. She mentioned Omega-3 in fish is destroyed by cooking so supplementing is necessary. I will definitely be looking into supplementing K2MK7, probiotics, D3.

She said I can cut myself some slack with the number 1 and 2 sensitivities, consumption should be limited and rotated every 3-4 days.

My body composition got analysed. I am slightly over 168 cm tall, weigh 60 kg [!!!], of which 15,8 kg is fat and 24,2 kg is muscle mass, which is within the normal range but I could stand to gain 2,6 kg of muscle and lose 1,9 kg of fat [I agree!].

So we are back home now, I am still off the wagon as we get back into the swing of things and stock up. Also, we are going to a wedding this weekend, who knows what kind of food there’ll be, so my new diet will conveniently start on September 1st.

Take care of your body and mind. And teeth.

So I’ve been thinking: life is short. Also, cookies are delicious. Also, 80% of your body composition will be determined by your diet [thanks, Mark]. Yes, 80%. Not 50%. Not 20%. Also, I really don’t feel that bad after having eating foods from my sensitivity list, not even the ones I’m supposedly most sensitive to [eggs, tomatoes, gluten, cow’s milk]. Of course, sometimes you don’t get symptoms until after a couple of days.

Even though I sometimes eat gluten, I don’t think I get gluten-rage anymore. I would venture a guess that because I’ve been practicing healthy eating for a few months now my gut is healing… perhaps? And yes, I believe I ‘practice’ healthy eating, just like you practice yoga. It won’t be perfect for a long, long time, or maybe never.

Yesterday we went to a kid’s birthday party where the massive table of food was a vegetarian carb-fest. Platters and platters of sandwiches, biscuits, crisps, cupcakes and a couple of small bowls of strawberries. It took us nearly 2 hours to get there and we were quite hungry, so we ate. I ate. And I didn’t die. Or even feel ill.

But something more significant has happened recently. I went to the dentist who told me my teeth are very translucent for someone my age and I need to watch out for acidic food and drink. So my next mission is to take care of my teeth. Gone is the habit of not drinking water after my meals [for fear of diluting digestive juices]. Drink water. Minimise consumption of fruit [also good for lowering fructose intake – ta-da!]. If eating nuts or seeds, soak them in water first to break up the phytic acid they contain. Drink booze only at the weekend and plenty of water afterwards. Brush teeth no less than 10 minutes after eating [and after a glass of water]. No juice or juice drinks. Fewer roots and starchy veg. Less sugar! Consider brushing teeth with something other than toothpaste such as bicarbonate of soda. Take K2 supplements [I need to remember to look into this].

Have a read of Denise Minger’s article and Wellness Mama’s article about phytic acid.

I’ve also been practicing not worrying so much about what I eat and what the kids eat. We’re doing okay. Honest.

A journey this is.

After nearly 6 weeks of not eating refined sugar, I had 2 chocolate chip cookies yesterday. They were homemade, very sugary, with gluten, crumbly and delicious. Straight away I felt high [not putting it in quotation marks on purpose], quickly followed by a crash, near-headache and .. near-depression. [I quickly had some 85% dark chocolate and felt better]. And later that evening I got my stiff neck and shoulder combo, which maybe doesn’t have anything to do with what I eat, but the last time I had that was almost exactly a year ago. So guess what I’m thinking.

I have been ignoring the 1st degree sensitivities. My parents came to visit and for that occasion I bought some gluten-free bread and ground coffee and I’ve been consuming both. The bread mostly with almond butter and jam [I refuse to admit jam is full of refined sugar]. And coffee from a coffeemaker is so delicious – I add goat’s milk – and getting back to tea has been difficult. So now – coffee at the weekend. Also, I have pulled out of storage a big teapot and have been brewing Chinese green tea, which is nice.

In order to spice up my eating life I’ve been buying various foods I probably shouldn’t be buying – coconut milk ice cream, salted cashews, lots of dark chocolate. And also heavily-processed gluten-free items – pizza, pies, bread. So far they all have been one-off. Because sometimes you need a little bit of convenience in your cooking life.

I try not to drink, but every evening I need to have an argument with myself. And I have not been drinking just one evening a week, more like three, but still 3 is less than 6!

PMS week.

Over the last week I had PMS, ate a massive bag of cashews [conclusion: avoid nuts except for almonds, which were okayed by the sensitivities test], ate a lot of sweet potatoes and 85% dark chocolate [carb and chocolate cravings], found out I get gassy and bloated after cashews [or large amounts of them] and white potatoes so avoid.

I’ve been reading The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD, author of The Paleo Mom, and things are making sense.

Regarding food sensitivities, whether you eliminate the foods or not will depend partly on how strong the sensitivity is. If you have a leaky gut, many foods will test positive on a food-sensitivity screen, and excluding those foods may not be necessary in that case. [p. 281]

With regards to this, I think I will try and avoid all my foods on the list and alcohol, which of course is a toxin and Sarah strongly advises against it. MAYBE a couple of drinks on Saturday, but NO MORE. In just over a month we are going on holiday where breakfast and dinner is included, so I will definitely try to avoid gluten, dairy, eggs, tomatoes and refined sugar [good luck with that. There is supposed to be unlimited ice cream!! And unlimited food in general]. But I think I will forget about the 1st degree sensitivities. It’s hard enough to eat at home where I prepare all my own food.

By the way, the remaining foods left off the list below were several gluten-containing grains [which of course tested as 3rd degree sensitivities]. Also, celery counts into the celeriac category, not sure why I didn’t assume this.

I am struggling with what to eat. A little.

I am still waiting for the damn test results. I remembered flaxseeds and chia seeds as part of the sensitivities list. As I am not drinking coffee, my next favourite morning caffeinated drink would be chia tea, but that went out the window, so regular black tea it is. I have eliminated almost all culprits from my diet, but I used honey in my favourite salad dressing and soy sauce in my stir fries. I also continued to take fish liver oil until I realised it’s cod liver oil.

So, what do I eat?

pre- breakfast: black tea with coconut oil

breakfast: bacon with salad [a ton of veg, tuna, goat’s cheese, seeds, nuts]

lunch: sweet potato with salad or leftovers from yesterday’s dinner

snack: green tea with nuts

dinner: salad or other veg with meat or fish, or prawn stir-fry, or meat and veg stew

post-dinner: 2 squares of 85% dark chocolate and herbal tea

The other night we ordered Chinese and chose what I thought was the best thing – crispy duck [okay, ‘crispy’ probably means ‘deep-fried’..] with veg, hoi-sin sauce and rice pancakes, veg spring rolls [with carrot in them], and prawn crackers [gluten-free! Ha!]. I had the weirdest sensation after eating – my brain fog was so severe I was almost dizzy. So it probably wasn’t the best idea.

I should probably tally up how this looks nutrient-wise. I feel like I am eating a lot less, although after just over a week of this eating the scale hasn’t budged, but that is fine. A lot less snacking. The way to go. I hope.

Food sensitivities test.

So I went to Poland for a week, where I had runny stools practically the whole time, thanks to which my stomach was completely flat and six-pack well visible [yes! I have a six-pack!]. There I got tested for 44 of the most common food sensitivities – and came out with a whopping 27 foods I cannot eat.

Foods I am most sensitive to [4]:

  • cow’s milk
  • eggs

Next on the list [3]:

  • gluten
  • tomatoes
  • poppy seeds
  • pistachios
  • hazelnuts

After that [2]:

  •  coffee
  • honey
  • pineapple

Least sensitive to, but still sensitive [1]:

  • yeast
  • sheep’s milk
  • cod
  • garlic
  • peanuts
  • soy
  • celeriac
  • carrot
  • chicken
  • cow’s milk products such as yogurt

The list doesn’t add up to 27 because I am unsure of the remaining foods. My mum gave me a quick list over Skype and I will get the proper and full results next week.

So, now the challenge of what to eat. Some of these don’t bother me in the slightest – I eat poppy seeds and pineapple maybe once a year, I can make that zero, no problem – but eggs? Coffee? Honey? Yogurt? Garlic? This won’t be easy. Neither was going Paleo. I can make this work.