Saturday, September 29, 2012

Something (not Same thing) for everyone

Having spent almost 20 years now actively trying to lose weight, I have seen myself and quite a few people around me try out literally hundreds of different "methods" of weight loss.  I think we all agree that exercise is a good thing (though what KIND of exercise is best is still hotly debated), but there has never been one particular diet that works for everyone, otherwise we'd all be svelte and healthy.  Some people can lose tons of weight on Atkins and feel amazing, others feel awful and end up gaining all the weight back and messing up their health in the process.  Some people have been successful vegetarians for years and years, and some people start to suffer iron and B-vitamin deficiencies within a couple months no matter how many beans they consume.  No matter how strange the diet, you'll find a loyal group of followers who swear it is THE way to eat, and often just as many (or more) people saying that the diet is awful/unsustainable/makes them feel terrible.  I always just rolled my eyes and spouted the "calories in/calories out" rhetoric, tried to eat "clean", and assumed I sucked at losing weight.  Now scientists are finding that it's NOT just calories in/calories out (our bodies are complicated ever-changing machines with lots of interconnected causal relationships across systems that we can't always predict?  Who would've thought?), and maybe everyone in America CAN'T just be pigeonholed into the one "correct" way of eating.

Where is this coming from?  Well, I had a massage today (yay!) and afterward I had an interesting conversation with my massage therapist.  She started by saying "WHAT have you been doing differently this month?"  I explained the basics of the GAPS diet, and she said "Your skin is much more elastic, your flexibility has improved, your body is just fabulously happy!"  She even said that she almost stopped my massage halfway through and asked if I was pregnant, the change was so considerable (um, NO!).  This was really nice to hear, because like I said, I have seen people screw their bodies up eating too low-carb, and I want to be careful not to do that to myself.  *I* thought my body seemed pretty happy eating this way, but it was good to get confirmation from an outside source.  

When I told her that the long and short of it was that I hadn't had dairy or grains for a month, she nodded her head and said "You have type O blood, don't you?"  Yes indeed, I do.  She told me a bit about the blood type diet theory, and I looked into when I got home.  On the one hand, it makes perfect sense to me, but it is also somewhat confusing, especially since it tells me I should treat bacon, avocados, cauliflower, cabbage and anything pickled like it was poison, though I have been happily eating all of those things for quite awhile now.  It says I SHOULD eat black-eyed peas, but the GAPS diet specifically forbids them.  It says avoid all dairy, but the John Kender (hair-pulling) diet says that yogurt helps with the urges.  

That's when it dawned on me that maybe no ONE diet has all the answers.  Maybe my own unique body has  it's own unique combination of foods that it does best with.  People with food allergies can have different levels of allergic reaction to a particular food, maybe people who aren't fully allergic to that food can have different levels of tolerance for it.  This all seems so obvious now that I've thought about it, but revolutionary to me at the same time.

So.  Now I just need to figure out what foods are and aren't allowed on the Sara Diet. I think I can say that my body does well without dairy or grains.  I still plan to carefully introduce cultured dairy and soaked/sprouted grains and watch what happens, but I already have a lot of evidence showing me that my body is super-happy being dairy and grain-free.  I still can't believe the solution could be this simple for me, but for the first time in my life the weight is falling off without a bitter struggle for every pound.  (Credit where credit is due though, shout out to my BFF Prozac for enabling me to stick to an eating plan long enough and carefully enough to see real results). The beginning of the intro was definitely tough, but every time I introduce a new food I keep expecting my weight loss to stop and it hasn't happened yet.  I'm sure I will reach a point where my weight will plateau and then I can decide whether I want to start working to lose more or not, but for now I'm only 7 pounds above my pre-FIRST pregnancy weight, eating zero processed foods and learning a lot about my body.  There's no way to know what will happen in the future, but for now I'm very thankful I took the plunge and did the GAPS intro because doing that is what brought me here, and here is a heckuva lot better than where I was 2.5 months ago.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Closing the GAPS

Well I fell off the face of the blogosphere once again, but happily it wasn't for the typical reasons that I usually disappear; those being poor eating, general loss of control, and being embarrassed to show my face on the internet.  In fact, I just successfully completed day 29/30 on the GAPS intro diet, and the only thing I cheated on was eating butter today (vs. just ghee) because I'm pretty sure I accidentally had some last night anyway when we ate at Dutch's Daughter for Will's Grandma's birthday and plus I'm out of ghee and don't feel like making anymore.

After tomorrow, I'm on to the full GAPS diet.  I've decided to stick with it for awhile longer because my body seems to really like it.  In the last month I have lost 10 pounds (!), my skin is looking nicer, I haven't had a single headache, and I've just felt GOOD.  I didn't notice any reduction in the hair-pulling, though  I think I did notice a slight increase once I introduced honey.  My maximum dosage of Prozac hasn't helped with that either, so I'll be trying out some new approaches soon.

As for food, I plan to re-introduce kefir, yogurt, cheese, then milk.  Unfortunately my raw milk source has dried up (ha), so I'll have to do a little more looking around for that.  Then I plan to introduce soaked/sprouted beans, then soaked/sprouted grains.  After I am happily eating all of those things, I will probably stay there for a bit, with an occasional cheat for beer.  I didn't even like beer until 2 years ago, and now it's something I'm not willing to go without!

So in the meantime, I've been busily taking advantage of the fall season and all of Emily's days off of school.  We hit The Great Frederick Fair not just once...

Emily got to realize her dream...Charlotte wasn't so sure about it

Eventually she had her share though
but twice!

We went to the farm not once...

Ahhhh, relaxing
Yeah right

...but twice!

Love my car, HATE the tires.  Luckily I have new ones now (and luckily my husband volunteered to put the spare on for me)

We went to the Maryland Science Center (just once).

And we went to our first (of what I'm sure will be many) fall farm festivals.

Plus I've done tons of cooking and fermenting/reading about cooking and fermenting :-)  Also shopping.

I've been happily busy, and it's not looking like it's going to let up anytime soon!  I love the fall though, and it's so much nicer to be busy when it's not 100 degrees outside.  And Saturday Will and I get our massages (HOORAY!) so that should help me slow down for at least a bit!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The curious incident of the liver in the nighttime

Today was day 19 of GAPS.  Liver day.

I was initially horrified when I first discovered this diet called for liver.  Then I took a second look, and was able to psych myself up for it.  I didn't have to eat liver until I was almost 2/3 of the way through the intro,  surely my taste buds would be able to handle it by then?  Plus it was mixed in with ground beef, so I probably wouldn't even be able to tell it was in the recipe.  And I LOVE foie gras, how different could this be?

I optimistically bought a beef liver last week.

I read all about how crazy-healthy organ meats are.

I defrosted it 2 days ago.

I covered it with lemon juice and water yesterday, then proceeded to spill the liver/lemon water all over the fridge.

I cleaned it up.

And today I actually made it.

I procrastinated it as long as I could.  I mixed everything else up beforehand, waiting until the last minute to deal with the liver.  I put it in the food proceesor


 and processed it.

Something worse than barf
I put ginger and extra vegetables in it plus a ton of herbs to try to cover the liver flavor.  I couldn't bring myself to put in more than half of the liver the recipe called for.

Then I jammed it into a tomato and shoved it in the oven, hoping the magic of heat would turn it delicious.  It took FOREVER to cook, and it was dark outside by the time it reached an acceptable internal temperature.  But it finally get there, and then it was time to try it.

I let Charlotte go first, and she actually ate multiple bites before running away from the table, which I took as a good sign.  I dug in.

It was everything I had feared, and worse.

It was mealy.  It tasted strongly of liver.  It was super-gross.

I was determined to eat it though, so I stopped breathing through my nose so I couldn't taste it anymore.  That still left the consistency to contend with, but I just imagined I was eating a delicious paté.  During dinner, Will kept me distracted with his amusing comments as he fought through his own serving.

"You can never say that I'm not a supportive and loving husband"

"It's almost good...but SO not.  Like the smell when you fart in the shower"

"This is healthy, right?  Like, really really healthy?  Like, worth it healthy?"

"Salt didn't help.  It tastes just like it did to begin with, except salty"

When I finished the last bite of my second tomato, I triumphantly declared that I felt like Daenerys.

And I know some dogs who will be getting a delicious treat tomorrow, because there are, sadly, LOTS of leftovers.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In The Streets and On The Couch

Friday felt significant, because it meant it had been over a week since I started GAPS-ing.  I promise this won't be another post full of complaints about my self-imposed diet choices (especially since I get to eat squash walnut pancakes now...all is right with the world again).  I did pretty much the same thing this Friday as last Friday, that being pick up the CSA box (which was huge this week)...

A little blurry, but not bad for $20!
 ...and stop by Hedgeapple for some more meat.  This diet has encouraged me to try new cuts of meat, for example I now know what beef shin tastes like (tough).  When you're just boiling everything there's no point in getting tenderloin!  That definitely helps with the cost of buying local grass-fed organic beef.

Saturday we did In The Streets!  I used to go to this celebration back when I was a kid, but lately we've either been unable to go or we've ended up getting there too late when everything was closing.  This time we got there right as it opened!

Emily in front of the old FNP's bridal veil clematis

Love the new lily pads in Carroll Creek!

Yay!  At least SOMEONE was handing out healthy food!


Me being very un-Montessori and telling the girls what to do at the Montessori activity table
 We spotted Greg and Lauren as we strolled by the acupuncture tent, and strolled around with them for awhile afterward.

Lauren with her two star Bodypump students :-)
Face-painting was a must
I love Charlotte's serious "I'm having my face painted" face

Checking out a snake
What season is it???

Charlotte FINALLY got to realize her dream of having a hands-on bunny rabbit encounter.

Time for food and some sitting
 We made it back to our car right as the first raindrops started to fall, and back to our house right as the skies really opened up in a torrential downpour.  By the time it was time to go back out to my sister's for a family dinner, the rain had stopped.  Perfect timing!

Krista, the middle sister
Ground turkey enchiladas, refried beans, guac and chips, and turmeric oat groats
My dinner...a lacto-fermented pickle, stuffed green pepper, butternut squash

This is why Gemmy takes Bodypump
On Sunday I was super-excited because I got to make pancakes for breakfast!  They were just pureed squash and eggs, but it was the first remotely normal breakfast I've had in awhile!

Yesterday and today I even got to add ground walnuts to my pancakes!  They are even more delicious that way!  I feel like I'm finally getting out of the worst part of the diet now that I can have whole cooked eggs, walnuts and avocado!  The next things I'm really looking forward to are carrot juice, then applesauce, then fresh vegetables!

After our usual Sunday morning routine of dog park/playground/workout, we were all so tired we scrapped our plans of going to the Greek Festival and just laid around the house.  We were lazy for awhile, but we did get somethings accomplished, like 2 hours of weeding that finally made my front garden look presentable.  The weeds were seriously about 3ft high.  I am not the most devoted gardener.  I do, however, love to decorate for the upcoming holidays so I wanted a respectable-looking canvas to start with this year.

I feel like the festival-filled fall weekends have officially started, and the weather is cooperating.  After this blazing hot summer I can't wait for fall!

And I would be remiss if I posted today without mentioning another beautiful fall-ish day 11 years ago when I woke up and walked out of my room to see my roommate crying and watching images of the pentagon smoking and the twin towers collapsing.  I remember feeling shocked and nauseous thinking about how many REAL people Will and I were watching die live on TV as the towers fell.  Being at UMCP we were quite close to DC, and we didn't know when the attacks would stop.  There was talk of biological attacks on the Metro, and I lived less than half a mile from a metro stop.  But school was not cancelled that day, so I headed to class marveling at how EMPTY the sky was.  I could usually look up and spot at least 4 airplanes at any given time but that day there wasn't a single one up there (luckily).  Less than 2 weeks later our campus was hit by an F3 tornado and we were all left wondering what ELSE we never thought we'd have to worry about could happen.

I still get choked up thinking about all the people who died that day, and I try to keep them in mind if I ever start to get irritated while standing in an airport security line.  I know that in the next couple years Emily will probably be learning about 9/11 in school and asking me where I was when it happened just like we asked our parents where they were when they found out Kennedy had been shot.  Not having gone through it herself, I know Emily can never really understand what it was like, the uncertainty about what would happen next, the friends who disappeared from school for a week to go to their parents' funerals and the sinking realization that we weren't nearly as safe as we had thought we were.  But as much as I want Emily to keep that feeling of safety for as long as possible, I also think it's important to honor the people who died by remembering and passing on our stories about 9/11, especially to those who weren't alive yet to experience it.