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Grain-Free Month Two Update & Issues

Posted Sep 10 2012 1:08pm

When I first presented this challenge I expressed my efforts to drastically drop my sugar intake. It became more and more clear to me that grains and sugar had a big connection, at least for me. As I dropped my grain intake, upped my fat and protein, I noticed more and more that my sugar cravings became less and less frequent. I thought…well…I bulked up my oatmeal with more seeds and fats, getting the grain part down to 1/4 cup. I really only ate “grains” on the weekend as treats (other than breakfast), so what’s the big deal if I go all the way? Let me see what happens. At first it was a success. Not really a big deal. Then something interesting happened….

{there are some things/photos in this post about my weight and stomach bloating issues…if topics such as that or weight loss post baby are triggering to you then I advise you stop back another time}

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Going grain-free actually wasn’t a big deal for me. Like I said above, I eased myself into it (not realizing it) over several months time. Little by little I was eating more protein, more fats and my grain intake became less and less.

I enjoyed collard wraps in place of brown rice:

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Regular pizza dough  for  cauliflower crust and I already loved myself some zucchini pasta. I was just more diligent about making that on pasta night instead. In the summer it’s easy. In the winter, I love spaghetti squash anyway. No big deal. I experimented with coconut flour and made an incredible chocolate treat for my birthday!

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So I never felt like I was missing out on the dessert end either!

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(yes, those are spoon marks from me eating straight out of the pie plate)

I read “ wheat belly ” and while I don’t buy into the whole “lose the wheat, lose the  weight” fad (which I believe was more of a marketing tool, if you read the actual book there’s MUCH more to it), there was some scary stuff about the wheat of today (GMO’s, hybrids, franken-wheat) that freaked me out big time.

I still enjoyed a wide variety of foods. I eat all natural foods…foods from nature, how mother nature intended. When you take a grain that us as mankind ground down ourselves, and cross-breed it making it unrecognizable to the wheat of yesteryear– it’s not that natural now is it?

I have been eating a higher fat/protein diet for a while now.

By upping my protein coming off of eating a more vegetarian/pescitarian (higher carb plant-based diet)  to some more animal proteins (I hate to say it) actually helped me to lean out and get off the last bit of baby weight.

 

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(left about 1 year post-baby/right 81/2 months post-baby)

I was still eating grains…but not as much. At this point I cut my sugar intake back a good bit as well. I felt really good. I noticed when I DID eat sugar I got a horrible headache and felt overall terrible. Something I just looked at as “normal” before. Now I could clearly make the connection. I was no longer “ravenous” for something sweet all of the time. I was able to control portions more when my days were less grain heavy. Grains triggered sugar, so it seemed.However I was pretty relaxed about it. Some days I ate pasta, or homemade pizza –others my main source of cho was from veggies and fruit.

Then something crazy started happening with my body. I mentioned on here when I presented the grain-free challenge that my stomach was getting really puffy and bloated . It was happening on more carb heavy days and it was really starting to get on my nerves. Honestly, I wasn’t kidding. I sent this photo to Michael one night joking that I had been keeping something from him:

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(^Mid June/13 months post baby–I can assure you this was not from eating junk or it would have been a no brainer!)

I thought I would try a 30 day challenge to experiment with what was happening with my digestive tract. I’m definitely not pregnant.

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The first 30 days went great! I think I was so concerned about getting enough calories/bulking up my meals  that I actually gained a little weight. That was simply from just eating a lot more than I was before to prove a grain-free diet wasn’t restrictive.  Even though I was swapping for cauli- crust , and regular pasta for lower calorie  zucchini I made sure to add in full-fat dairy and upped my portions of healthy fats and even adding in other animal proteins. I have since gotten a handle on proper portions for my activity level and everything is evening out.

As far as grain-free goes my stomach definitely went down, it flattened out. 

Yet another issue erupted.

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Weeks 7-9 of going completely grain-free…my skin freaked out on me.

My face got so incredibly dry I had no idea what to do! Under my eyes were like scales, and around my cheeks and mouth, it was TERRIBLE! I eat SO many essential fatty acids/healthy fat (avocado, coconut oil, hemp/chia/flax seeds, moderate nuts); and my water intake is freakishly high- so I knew it was not that. I mean, I SLATHER coconut oil all over every single night. And all of a sudden, my skin was eating it! Eating EVERYTHING! The oil, it was eating my makeup. I never ever had this issue in my life. I have always had oily/combination complexion. Now I feel for my friends who have complained of dry skin because it’s DEFINITELY worse!

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Since eating a more whole foods diet and not depriving myself/yo-yo dieting and all of that crazy jazz in my teens/early 20’s—I have had great skin. I pride myself on that. My healthy skin and hair was a reflection on how I nourished my body.

Now something I was doing(?) changed that. Was it my diet? Was it the environment? Weather? No idea. Was it dairy? Ketosis? Cutting out a food group? The only thing I notice is when I eat a lot of dairy in one day I do get a pimple or two. But in moderation it doesn’t bother me when I moderately stick to full-fat pastured cheeses, Fage total yogurt and grass-fed butter ( full of CLA !)

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Next “experiment:”

Mike and I had this gift card to The Capital Grille. I already said I was eating whatever the hell I wanted there and not thinking twice about it. We go maybe once a year, and their bread basket is amazing. I had two big slices of raisin bread with butter. Yum. After dinner we stopped at cheesecake factory for a slice of vanilla bean cheesecake to split. This is a once or twice a year treat for both of us. The next day I ate some of Ella’s oat-hemp muffins and just experimented with eating  little bits of grains (and cookies!) here and there for a few days.

By the end of the weekend my skin plumped up again. No more dry skin!

Now was sugar the answer? No. I still believe that sugar is incredibly taxing on your body. But what I learned is I need more carbohydrates other than veggies and the little amount of fruit I was eating.

Ever since I haven’t started eating oatmeal again just yet. More like I have bites here and there of the healthy grains I make Ella. I am actually getting more into sprouting. After learning more about the grains of today, and absorption of nutrients in healthy grains, I think sticking with sprouted grains are the way to go. I definitely need to get them in a few times a week. More on that later….

I also need cheesecake every now and then.

Since this post has been long winded enough, I will update as simply as I can about sprouting (and more about why) and finding a balance of eating that works for MY skin and GI tract. All while avoiding GMO’s and getting the most nourishment out of the foods I consume.

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Too long. didn’t read….

Why can’t food just be easy? Why does the government have to screw with everything? Why can’t it be like when our great-great grandparents ate veggies from the garden, protein from the butcher and a piece of homemade bread from the oven –and “grass fed” butter before it had to be labeled so.   Frankenfood I tell yah—sigh.

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(all in all if it’s still hormones making my body crazy then I can live with it because it’s all worth it for this little sleep gremlin!)

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