Tosin’s Whole30 clean food diary – losing 13lbs baby weight in 30 days enjoyably

When Tosin shared her food diary daily with the Paleo UK facebook group her food delighted us so much as well as her staying power to get all the way to the end with great results, that we just had to make sure we didn’t lose it. She kindly shares it with us here in this guest post which I personally have loved reading in its entirety. I am sure if you are thinking about doing Whole30 yourself it will give you ideas for what to eat and encouragement to stick at it too.

All photos of nearly all Tosin’s meals during her Whole30 can be found in this facebook photo gallery which even without a facebook account you should be able to see.

Tosins-food-diary-gallery-facebook

“Sometimes I can’t believe I only discovered the Paleo lifestyle 6 weeks ago, it’s certainly been all consuming. In a good way! I knew of it but I never really paid attention, I kind of dismissed it as another low carb fad diet. How wrong was I?!

Like most women I gained weight with pregnancy, gained about 2st with my eldest daughter, never quite lost it before I fell pregnant with my son and ended up with about 4st in total to lose after I had him! I tried to lose weight the conventional way, joined a slimming club and fell into the low fat grind. I lost just under 2st and honestly it all got repetitive, cooking was no longer fun (really, who enjoys cooking with spray oil?!) and food was boring boring boring! I just found the whole thing depressing.

I remember the turning point for me was sitting at the slimming club listening to my consultant talk about the latest fat free, low calorie sweet treat and how to “get away” with treating ourselves to yummy low calorie sweets. I thought to myself, this is ridiculous, what am I, 5 years old? That was the last time I went. I decided to just eat normally, whatever that is, and was ready to accept my weight as it was.

Then my husband sent me a link to an article about a woman who lost an impressive amount of weight following Whole30. I love reading health & weight loss articles so whenever my husband comes across one he emails it to me. So anyway I read it and something about it struck me. I learnt through reading that article that Whole30 was a strict Paleo plan. No grains, no sugar, no dairy, no legumes, no excuses! But the lady sharing her testimonial said she ate sweet potatoes and parsnips and butternut squash! Hold up!! I thought Paleo was a modern Atkins! All of a sudden, Paleo went from a freakish zero carb diet for celebrities to something I could actually do!

I was so inspired by the story that I went digging for more information on Whole30 and I found their official website. Just about every question I had about the plan had an answer on the website, I even learnt that being a breastfeeding mum, Paleo is just about the healthiest diet to follow!

Next thing I did was buy the book ‘It Starts With Food’. I couldn’t wait for Amazon to deliver it so I bought it on Kindle and read it in a day. By the time I’d read the last page I decided I was going for it. Only thing was it was Wednesday. Every self respecting dieter knows that one only begins a diet on a Monday! However the words “Start now! Not tomorrow, not next week. NOW!” were ringing in my ears so I went against everything that felt natural in me and started Whole30 on a Thursday. Before the weekend!!!! And I can honestly say that it was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

The first couple of days were brutal. I had a pounding headache for 48 hours but once that cleared, I felt great! I cooked. Boy did I cook! I used coconut oil and ghee and tallow and lard with wild abandon! After years of restricting my fat intake, it really was such a treat to eat the best bits of a steak, the fat! And to have lovely buttery vegetables cooked in ghee, and roasted vegetables in coconut oil, and bacon! STREAKY bacon, not trimmed to death back bacon medallions (AKA dry pork leather). I was enjoying my food so much that I honestly didn’t miss the rice and pasta and bread that I’d been living on all my life.

Not only did I complete the Whole30 plan with relative ease, I did it enjoying every mouthful of food. I made sure I ate my fair share of starchy vegetables because I couldn’t live on super low carbs. If I’d have benefitted in no other way, I was grateful for the fact that I could cook and enjoy food again and feel so great eating it. Oh and the 13lbs I lost in 30 days? Not too shabby… Here’s what I ate!”

Day 1

BREAKFAST

2 fried eggs with tomatoes and mushrooms fried in ghee

LUNCH

Chicken avocado & walnut salad with a homemade classic vinaigrette

DINNER

Roast pork loin rack, roasted butternut squash in coconut oil and sautéed cavolo nero

 

Day 2

BREAKFAST

2 fried eggs (again) with half an avocado and tomatoes

LUNCH

Crab salad with homemade mayo, roasted butternut squash and salmon roe

2b

DINNER

Roast chicken, sautéed cauliflower & broccoli, sweet potato wedges

 

Day 3

BREAKFAST

Fried chicken liver, heart & kidneys discovered in the cavity of the chicken I roasted last night!

Tomatoes, mushrooms & onions

Orange

LUNCH

Leftover crab salad from yesterday

DINNER

Grilled wild salmon, roasted delicata squash, beetroot & sautéed beetroot leaves. All cooked in coconut oil. Yuummmm!

 

Day 4

Day four! Feels like YEAR four. Paleo has been kind of all consuming LOL. I’m constantly thinking about food pairings, researching recipes, what is and isn’t allowed on Whole30 etc. I’m loving it, food is exciting again. Long may it continue!

BREAKFAST was amazing! Eggs cooked in tomatoes and peppers with bacon. That bacon OMG, it’s by Denhay (Waitrose) and it’s the only honest to goodness proper crispy bacon I’ve had outside New York! Its cured in only salt so Whole30 friendly as well.

4a

LUNCH was a salad with grilled sprats and avocado. Yummy, wild caught oily fish, cheap (£2.80 per kilogram!) and because I ate the whole fish I got all the calcium in the bones.

SNACK Had a few dizzy spells in the afternoon so I had a snack of frozen blueberries and macadamia nuts.

DINNER was a slow cooked beef short rib stew, didn’t think it would be great without the red wine I usually use but it was! Using home made beef bone broth definitely kicks things up a notch flavour wise! Served it with celeriac mash and balsamic roasted fennel and asparagus. Very yummy food day, I like to make more of an effort on a Sunday LOL.

 

Day 5

Had some MAJOR carby cravings today, I really *really* wanted some bread with my soup and rice with the pork at dinner. So I snacked more today, trying to eat around my cravings LOL. I had some frozen blueberries and macadamia nuts and then a small handful of almonds and organic raisins. It was a huge relief when the craving passed but it was hard, not gonna lie.

BREAKFAST

Had a soup for breakfast! I’d been missing my usual bowl of porridge for breakfast but I realised that it was more a bowl of something warm in the morning that I missed rather than the porridge itself so I decided to make some chicken soup with the leftover chicken I roasted. Don’t you just love how roasts stretch to so many more meals?!

LUNCH

Made a yummy frittata (with red pepper, roasted butternut squash and asparagus) with an avocado salad

DINNER

Slow roasted Asian pork belly/ribs with stir fried pak choi, red peppers and water chestnuts. I added a couple tablespoons of puréed apple for sweetness in the pork

Day 6

Had another snacky nutty day I’m afraid, I must have had like 20 macadamia nuts with a small handful of raisins – yikes. A bad time for me is around 5:30 when I’m feeding the kids. My husband and I have dinner around 7:30ish after the kids are fed, bathed and in bed. It’s the only moment of uninterrupted peaceful time we can spend together so I’m not even going to entertain the thought of having an earlier wild family dinner with the kids hanging off the chandeliers and food hitting the ceiling. I have enough of that at breakfast and lunch LOL. So anyway it’s a pretty big chunk of time between lunch and dinner so I’m always starving by the time I’m making the kids meals, so temptation galore! Hence the nut chomping so that the buttery cheesy risotto and yogurt don’t make their way into my mouth! Sigh… I need to come up with a different strategy, maybe a later lunch or a mini meal just before I start on the kids.

Breakfast and lunch were the same as yesterday, except the other way around and I had some stewed tomatoes with the frittata. I haven’t had that in years, so yum. Dinner was a super spicy chilli with baked sweet potato and sautéed runner beans & pattypan squash.

BREAKFAST

Vegetable frittata with stewed tomatoes

LUNCH

Chicken soup with half an avocado

DINNER

Super spicy chilli with baked sweet potato and sautéed runner beans & pattypan squash

6c

 

Day 7

BREAKFAST

Had chicken soup for breakfast again

LUNCH

A tin of grilled sardines and salad with avocado and a soft boiled egg, made a classic vinaigrette to go over it. Tinned oily fish is so great nutritionally, all that calcium and omega-3… Great bang for your buck too! I buy the John West grilled sardines with nothing added. It’s not canned in any dodgy oils or brine, just sardines & salt. Then I had a small bowl of frozen blueberries, about 5 macadamia nuts and a small splash of coconut milk right after lunch as a kind of dessert

DINNER

Tray bake! Chicken drumsticks, red peppers, butternut squash, sage, rosemary, garlic, coconut oil, S&P (salt and pepper). Served with broccoli

7c

 

Day 8

With one week of Whole30 under my belt I don’t feel any slimmer, if anything I feel heftier… I’ll probably be the only person in history who gains weight on this plan!! Sigh… Apparently weight loss doesn’t really kick in until week 3 and feeling bloated is normal and is my digestive system getting used to the new food.

BREAKFAST

Had the last of the chicken soup for breakfast

LUNCH

Baked sweet potato with leftover chilli and a salad

DINNER

Dinner was a gorgeous caveman steak I got from the Notting Hill farmers market. Beautiful 100% grass cote de boeuf. Steak so awesome that I got out the special steak knives, and I OVERCOOKED IT!!!!!!! The travesty!! It still tasted amazing, especially the fatty bits and the bits near the bone, very succulent. But I can’t help but dwell on how much more amazing it would have tasted had I taken it out of the oven 7 minutes earlier! Served it with green beans, roasted beetroot and purple cauliflower

8c

Day 9

BREAKFAST

Some yummy bacon with tomatoes and portobello mushroom. I also had a monkey salad – I found the recipe online and it’s basically a chopped banana, coconut chips and cashews

LUNCH

Sautéed courgettes (zucchini) with leftover chilli con carne and a salad with sauerkraut

DINNER

Dinner was a delicious Thai yellow curry soup. I used hake with loads of veggies and coconut milk. It was so yum!

9c

Day 10

Woohooo – I’m a third of the way in! Wasn’t hugely hungry today which is so weird for me cos I eat like a rugby player.

BREAKFAST

Had half an avocado and monkey salad

LUNCH

Steak & kidney soup! Had a few olives for a snack too

DINNER

Slow roasted chicken and veg sautéed in ghee. I generally prefer normal roast chicken with yummy crispy skin but slow roasted leaves it sooooo succulent, so I sacrificed the skin for yummy flesh.

 

Day 11

BREAKFAST

Chicken liver and heart that were tucked away in the chicken I roasted yesterday. Also had a poached egg and veggies cooked in lard.

11a

LUNCH

Lunch was the freshest, most gorgeous salad ever! Got it from the farm yesterday. Had it with the dressed crab we got from our local farmers market. Followed with a bit of a dessert, chopped banana with a heaped tsp of hazelnut butter. Really good – Nutella without the chocolate basically.

DINNER

Dinner was a lamb shank masala, roasted cauliflower and a carrot salad. No, I didn’t manage it all, it was pretty substantial!

 

Day 12

BREAKFAST

I had one of those all meat (no grain) sausages I got from the farm with a fried egg, carrot salad and sauerkraut.

LUNCH

Chicken salad made with leftover roast chicken, chopped up and mixed with homemade mayo, celery, red onion, grapes and I threw in the last of the carrot salad in there cos why not LOL. Had it on a green salad.

DINNER

Piñon – a meat & plantain pie. Kind of a spicy lasagne with plantain instead of pasta sheets, and no cheese, had it with sautéed cavolo nero. Had a few snacky nuts too!

12c

Day 13

BREAKFAST

Good ol’ scrambled eggs, stewed tomatoes and half an avocado. I tried a coffee with coconut milk. Um no… Just, no… Had a monkey salad to take the taste away!

LUNCH

Lunch was exactly the same as yesterday, chicken salad. But I added a bit of roasted butternut squash and beetroot.

DINNER

Grilled skate wing with lemon & ghee, sautéed red cabbage and courgette. I couldn’t eat it all but it was delish!

 

Day 14

Nearly halfway there woohoo! Seems like this second week has just flown by – so weird.

BREAKFAST

Leftover piñon (plantain & beef pie)

LUNCH

More chicken salad

DINNER

Pan fried wild salmon, roasted delicate squash and sautéed Swiss chard.

 

Day 15

I’m officially halfway through! Had a very wobbly day though, I was *this* close to scoffing a bagel! I really really really wanted it, I could taste it, was salivating, I even reached for it but the thought of starting again from day 1 stopped me. I’m also starting to feel rather trim LOL. Could be all in my head though! Anyway because I pretty much spent all day drooling over bagels, I ate rather a lot of nuts. Like, handfuls… Ugh  I feel rubbish now, physically, mentally and emotionally. Breaking bad habits is haaaaaard!

BREAKFAST

A couple sausages, poached egg, cabbage & mushrooms

LUNCH

Steak & kidney soup. I roasted some chicken wings, mainly for my daughter and husband to munch on but they smelled so good out of the oven, I ate one!

DINNER

I made a beef burger on a portobello mushroom, bacon, sweet potatoes & green beans. Oh and caramelised onions. Pots were clanging, pans were flying but boy was it worth it! Ironically, I didn’t miss the burger bun at all.

Day 16

BREAKFAST

Sausage, eggs and veggies

LUNCH

The last of the steak & kidney soup (there’s another big batch in the freezer!

DINNER

Lamb loin chops, roasted peppers and fennel and broccoli cooked in ghee. Yum!

 

Day 17

Yum yum yummy food today, especially lunch and dinner!

BREAKFAST

Had the last of the burgers I made the other night, I just shaped that last patty into 2 sausages. Also had peppers, mushrooms & tomatoes

LUNCH

Lunch was so yummy, I could eat it all day everyday! It was a kind of stir fry chow mien-y mash up LOL. I thought it would lack flavour without soy sauce, oyster sauce etc. but the garlic, ginger, chilli and sesame oil made it taste pretty darned good! I also added a couple of tablespoons of my super reduced syrupy chicken stock and dried ground shrimps for an umami hit. The base was cabbage to kind of represent noodles and I threw in everything LOL, chicken (what I scavenged off a couple carcasses for stock), bacon & eggs! OMG so good!

17b

DINNER

Moroccan lamb stew (I used grass fed hogget) with runner beans, cumin roasted carrots & cauliflower

Day 18

BREAKFAST

Started with a monkey salad followed by pan fried liver, bacon & onions with veggies

LUNCH

Crab mayo salad with salmon roe

DINNER

Amazing monkfish curry, roasted butternut squash & cavolo nero cooked in ghee

Day 19

BREAKFAST

Boiled a couple eggs and had it with the curry from last night and a kind if salsa/salad on top consisting of tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, mint, coriander, splash of vinegar & salt. Very tasty indeed!

LUNCH

Leftover chow mien from Saturday

DINNER

Dinner was a simple affair, baked Harissa chicken thighs with brussels sprouts & bacon and roasted beetroot

 

Day 20

Two thirds of the way in!

BREAKFAST

Scrambled eggs with avocado and stewed tomatoes

LUNCH

Coleslaw! I usually add sugar to my coleslaw but I grated in a couple of Granny Smith apples instead and they added a wonderful tart sweetness. Really freshened it up! I love how I’m trying new things. I’m not only forming new habits but I’m finding that a lot of my former additions were unnecessary flavour wise (like stock cubes in everything!). I can safely say I’ll always make a coleslaw this way now. The apple adds a much better flavour than sugar!

DINNER

Simple grilled wild salmon with celeriac “fries” and green veg

Day 21

BREAKFAST

Sautéed peppers, onions & tomatoes with eggs. Gosh I love eggs, yum! My daughter decided to help me out with my breakfast, being the kind soul she is, so I ended up with one egg. Then I had a banana & hazelnut butter, which she also pinched!

LUNCH

Stir fried okra with onions, prawns, dried ground crayfish and a bit of tamarind cooked in quite a lot of coconut oil. Didn’t finish it (gasp!)

21b

DINNER

A rather autumnal pork chops & apples with roasted parsnips, asparagus & cabbage.

 

Day 22

BREAKFAST

A pretty solid breakfast of liver & onions, a fried egg and veg

LUNCH

Relatively small munchy lunch of olives, anchovies, nuts and other tidbits. I really enjoyed it, a great on the go meal. Oh I also had an oily coconut milk tea this time, still wasn’t great

DINNER

Grilled wild Dover sole and pan fried veggies in ghee. Simple and yum!

 

Day 23

BREAKFAST

Vegetable omelette (green pepper, onion, mushrooms, tomatoes) with spinach and 1/2 an avocado

LUNCH

Pan fried chicken breast (the last of the depressing skinless ones in the freezer LOL) with apple coleslaw

DINNER

Butterflied leg of lamb with roasted veg. Was going to make a tahini dressing/sauce but had a raging headache (TOTM – time of the month) and couldn’t be bothered. Was still very tasty. I still have a headache! Ugh…

 

Day 24

Busy busy day, woke up at the crack of dawn to collect butter, came home then just about turned right out to go to Notting Hill Farmers Market. Bought more than I should have, as usual, came home, made a ton of ghee, gobbled up lunch then out again to pick up organic veg box with my li’l girl, via playground LOL.

BREAKFAST

Breakfast was just 2 boiled eggs

LUNCH

Leftover Moroccan stew

DINNER

Went back to my roots with dinner. It’s called Efo Riro (Efo=green leafy veg, Riro=stirred up) all cooked in red palm oil, with a fish I got from Cobham, can’t remember what it’s called which is so frustrating cos it’s amazing! Served with boiled yam. I usually have about three times more yam but trying not to go mad on the starchy veg LOL.

24c

Day 25

Wow this week has blown by!

BREAKFAST

Boiled eggs with curry sauce, chopped avocado & tomatoes

LUNCH

Mussels in a homemade marinara sauce and salad. Lunch wasn’t exactly the stick to your ribs kind so had a few nuts and coconut chips – only one handful!

DINNER

A delicious Italian pot roast. I added some dried porcini mushrooms and peperoncino for a spicy kick. Was so good, I’m definitely getting a chuck roast again! It was a small roast, 600g, perfect for 4. Had it with mashed squash and sautéed courgette. FIVE DAYS TO GO!!!

Day 26

BREAKFAST

Another rather hefty breakfast, my son must be going through a growth spurt or something cos he fed ALL night. So I woke up ready to eat him, and a few other children too! But I love him so I had some leftover pot roast with a fried egg, tomatoes and sauerkraut instead. Mmm that chuck steak…. NEED MORE…

LUNCH

Lunch was a handful of nuts because breakfast was going nowhere fast. Coulda done without the nuts even but felt weird skipping a meal entirely.

DINNER

Leftover Efo riro (stirred up greens) with fish and roasted plantains in coconut oil.

 

Day 27

Yet another very sumptuous brunch and nutty/snacky lunch!

BREAKFAST

Full English! Had chilli paprika lamb sausages (gluten free, all meat) eggs, bacon, mushrooms & tomatoes

LUNCH

A few nuts & coconut chips

DINNER

This was inspired by a recipe in Jerusalem (Yotam Ottolenghi). His recipe was stuffed aubergine with minced lamb, cinnamon, Harissa, cumin etc. I did stuffed butternut squash. With sautéed Brussels sprout tops (the leafy bit on top of the stalk. Tastes like cabbage, surprise surprise…) and roasted red peppers and onions.

Day 28

BREAKFAST

A soft boiled egg, sardines and avocado tomato salad. Also added some sauerkraut but took pic before I put it on.

LUNCH

Got out the second batch of steak & kidney soup from the freezer

DINNER

Made a Mediterranean baked fish dish that I saw on TV yesterday. Wild sea bass, prawns and mussels covered with a tomato sauce flavoured with paprika and saffron, threw in fennel then baked for 35 mins. Had it with courgette and broccoli. Yes that’s the fish head. Nose to tail people! NOSE TO TAAAAAIIIILLL!!

28b

Day 29

BREAKFAST

2 boiled eggs with leftover, now meatless, Italian pot roast.

LUNCH

Leftover steak & kidney soup

DINNER

Hubby was out at a work dinner so I didn’t cook anything, just reheated the same steak & kidney soup we had for lunch, and really enjoyed some tranquil time on my own!

 

Day 30

I did it! Yaaaay *throws confetti*

BREAKFAST

Gobbled up 2 boiled eggs, half an avocado and a few tomatoes. Had to rush out the door to do a welly walk with my daughter’s class.

LUNCH

Lunch was more of that steak & kidney soup!

DINNER

To celebrate the culmination of my Whole 30 journey, I cooked a very yummy, very large fillet steaks on the bone (the fillet half of a T-bone steak). Absolutely gorgeous! They were cooked medium, lovely and pink inside. We had them with green beans, mushroom & onions and *ahem* “caramelised” golden beetroot. Drizzled some aged balsamic vinegar over the top in lieu of a creamy bearnaise type sauce. Loved it!

30c

And now the post Whole30 assessment:

PROS

  • Delicious delicious food!! Freedom to cook without any fat restriction, and boy does fat add BAGS of flavour! Organic fruit & veg tastes a million times better than conventional and grass fed, properly pastured meat tastes amazing! Food tastes wonderful again! No more low fat crap or junky carby plastic crap! Farmers markets are a treasure trove of culinary finds – rain or shine I’m there!
  • My skin OMG my skin!!! I’ve always had pretty clear skin and have always looked younger than I am but in the past few weeks my skin really smoothened out even more. Interestingly my skin is still nice and plump despite weight loss, in the past my face was always the first to look a bit gaunt when I lost even a little weight. My best friend asked me what foundation I was using and I wasn’t wearing any! I haven’t worn foundation in years and she never asked if I was until a week ago when she obviously noticed something different. Woohoo for vanity!
  • My right shoulder has been pretty stiff for a while, it got worse when I exercised (and by exercise I mean zumba, not crossfit or anything exotic LOL). Sometimes it got so bad that I could barely touch my left shoulder with my right hand. But it’s a lot better now. Not as stiff and I can touch the back of my left shoulder!
  • Let’s talk poos! Yeah, I said it. Let’s just say bigger better easier (ew omg, sorry)!
  • Sleep is better, but I’ve never had trouble sleeping it’s just little people who keep waking me up at ungodly hours! The great thing is I go right back to sleep whereas in the past I’d be up a couple of hours and only start dozing off when it’s time to get up anyway!
  • Energy levels are amazing! My house has never been so clean LOL. I’m not looking for any opportunity to take a nap, or yawning all day. I’m a lot more productive too.
  • This was the most amazing change for me, my memory has been so shit since I had kids – honestly I’d go into a room and forget what I went in for. I had lists everywhere, but my memory is so much better now. I’m thinking more clearly, if that makes sense. When I’m talking I don’t forget my point anymore LOL and my moods are a lot better too and I’m less stressed by stressful things (just a little less :/ )
  • I’m breastfeeding my 10 month old son and my milk supply increased! After a shaky few days of reduced milk supply, things really revved up on day 3! I think my body needed those first few days to adjust to lower carbs.
  • Finally, I feel more settled between meals. I’m not salivating over lunch as soon as I take the last bite of breakfast. I’m also better able to deal with hunger, there’s no panic when I feel hunger pangs. Hunger pangs are also not quite as “loud” (makes sense?) It’s more a background gnawing feeling rather than EMERGENCY must eat now!!!!!!!!!!

CONS

  • My left wrist started hurting 2 weeks in, I don’t know if it’s diet related or not. But I’ve been reading about acidic/alkaline foods and apparently meat is very acidic so I don’t know if this is causing my wrist pain and if I should cut back on protein?? It’s pretty painful… Not sure what to do about it. Maybe just go to the GP… Feels like I’ve swapped a stiff shoulder for a bum wrist LOL. My right hand hurts too! Arthritis???????
  • Muscle fatigue! So I’ve never been a gym bunny but I did my fair share of walking and heavy lifting of chubby children. However when I started Whole30 honestly, I’d get muscle fatigue from polishing the mirror or mashing vegetables. I’m talking that burn you get when you’re lifting heavy and doing a million reps!
  • Sandwiches! The convenience of sandwiches as a quick lunch was sorely missed. I tried the lettuce wrap thing that people rave about. Doesn’t cut it…
  • Cooking with all this saturated fat is blocking my drain! I’m not chucking litres down the drain but bits left here and there in pans and roasting trays solidify as soon as cold water hits it and makes for a rather gross mess in the sink. Splashes of oil on the cooker is also pretty yuck. The only good thing about low fat cooking is that everything was easier to clean. It’s also a pain digging for a spoon to scoop out fat compared to glugging from a bottle. Especially when you have a child on your hip!

So what now?

According to the book, I should start reintroducing dairy, gluten grains, non gluten grains and legumes back into my diet, one at a time and assess how they make me feel. You’re meant to reintroduce them every three days with each meal but I think I’ll do once a week, I’m not in a rush to have them back in my diet.

I started today with dairy, had a bit of my yummy full fat jersey milk yogurt with breakfast. So yum!! I feel fine so far but a bit early to tell. I’ll have some raw cream in my soup for lunch (yes, the same steak & kidney soup LOL) and maybe some cheese with dinner. Seems excessive but it’s for research purposes *cough*. So next week I’ll do gluten grains and the week after non gluten grains and so on, for four weeks. And after that I’ll follow normal low carb Paleo until I’m at my sexy weight then I’ll add in a few more carbs to maintain. I’m not sure whether to weigh weekly, monthly to chuck out the scales altogether… Wish me luck!

Did I mention I lost 13lbs?! Lost 4 inches off my waist, 2 inches off my boobs (still breastfeeding so boob measurements should be taken with a pinch of salt, I could go up or down a whole cup size over the course of a day LOL) and 3 inches off my hips. I even measured my thighs and I’ve lost 1.5 inches off each. OMG whaaaat?!!!!

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Histamine intolerance at the root of migraines?

Melanie shared her experiences with me in case my headaches are triggered by histamines too. She’s happy for me to share in case it helps someone else. She also has an article on her blog here ‘Are these healthy foods causing your migraines?’.

I’ve had similar problems. Have you looked into histamine intolerance? I’m trialing a low-histamine diet at the moment and having good results. Had rolling migraines for 5 weeks (previously had rolling migraines constantly for 3 years), then once I went low-histamine, they stopped until it was time for my monthly hormal migraine, which is gone now as well. There is research showing that migraineurs have elevated histamine levels both during attacks and when they are migraine-free. See http://chriskresser.com/headaches-hives-and-heartburn-could-histamine-be-the-cause.

I asked: “Have you found it hard following a low histamine diet? How long before you saw a positive effect?”

It isn’t the easiest thing, but it has definitely been worth it. I’m still in the elimination phase. I saw a pretty immediate effect with my rolling migraines, but the advice in general is to give it a month before you expect too much.

If you decide to go for it, have a look at this Swiss food list. All the histamine lists on the net are different and if you try to ban everything on any list, you’ll end up with nothing to eat. http://www.histaminintoleranz.ch/en/download/SIGHI-FoodCompatibilityList_HIT.pdf

I like this list as the Swiss, Germans and Austrians are way ahead of the rest of the world in treating histamine problems, plus it GRADES food. The first 4-6 weeks you stay with foods rated with a 0. After that, you start adding in foods with a 1 rating at the rate of one every couple of days or so. Eat foods graded 2 at your peril and expect to pay for it if you eat grade 3 foods. It also lists whether the food is high in histamine or a histamine liberator, if it has other amines (like tyramine, another biggie for migraine) or if it is a DAO (enzyme that breaks down histamine) blocker.

Also, I’ve been VERY impressed with the mySymptoms food/symptom diary app. You plug in your foods, meds, supplements and the app will correlate them against the symptoms you enter up to 72 hours out. I was so happy with it on our tablet I bought a proper smartphone so I can always have it with me. Available for iOS and Android. http://skygazerlabs.com/wp/#features

Another one to try mentioned by Sue is http://whole9life.com/book/ISWF-Shopping-List-Histamine.pdf - the Whole30 low histamine shopping list. Be wary of the Chris Kesser recipe tool as results that come up are not all low histamine as have bacon etc. Oops!

Curing rheumatoid arthritis/psoriasis can be as easy as not eating wheat

When I saw this picture it blew me away. It was shared by Niamh on the Paleo UK facebook group and she has kindly agreed to share it here in case it points someone towards finding the trigger in their diet that may be making their rheumatoid arthritis flare up. The link between RA and wheat is well documented but many doctors are still not familiar with it and sadly not all doctors believe Niamh when she tells them wheat is the trigger. Note Rheumatoid Arthritis is an auto-immune disease and most often caused by external factors.

The visible effect of wheat-induced rheumatoid arthritis. One of my collar bones is "missing".

The visible effect of wheat-induced rheumatoid arthritis. One of my collar bones is “missing”.

Niamh’s reply when we asked how she knew wheat was the cause:

“Long story short, I was sent for an MRI about 6 years ago, and it showed up some evidence of rheumatoid-like inflammation (can’t remember the right term) in my lumbar spine. I found out that a few of my aunts don’t eat wheat for eczema and RA in their feet/hands, so instead of going through the route of pill-taking and continued physiotherapy (I was 24 and already had 8 years of it under my belt) I decided on a Food Exclusion Diet.

Because of my family history, I chose to re-introduce wheat first. It caused issues almost immediately so I haven’t consciously eaten it since. It was amazing to find out the culprit, it turned my life around! No painkillers, no physio, huge almost immediate weight loss, improved health, overall improved quality of life.

But now I’m really sensitive so even teeny amounts can cause this picture above (crumbs on a BBQ). Wheat also gives me psoriasis (a skin condition).

Prior to any RA symptoms, my mother remembers me complaining of muscle pain from as young as aged ten. This muscle pain is something my very sporty 18 year old sister struggles with if she eats wheat also, so she tends to avoid it. My RA symptoms properly appeared when I was 22, before that it was all muscle pain mostly in my back – spasms, vertebrae moving in and out of place regularly and therefore lots of physio.”

Niamh recommends that anyone experiencing her symptoms try the Food Exclusion Diet.

“Here’s pretty much the same one I tried – http://www.precisionnutrition.com/elimination-diet

Eliminate everything for 4weeks and then bring back in something one by one. It takes a lot of discipline, but it’s so worth it in the end. I went from being very inactive, 5 stone overweight, needing regular physio and taking strong painkillers for 3 weeks out of every 4, to no pain, losing weight, improving my health, becoming more social and more active and a totally new person. I am definitely in a younger body now that I was back then, the difference is remarkable. All because of removing wheat.”

 

Headache relief with acupressure

I have some very very happy news to share. Yesterday my headache was so bad I wanted to write an email but could not think through the throbbing and the light from laptop hurt even though screen was on low. Decided to give up and go to bed at 9pm but as much as I felt hardly able to do anything I felt I must trying EFT/tapping to see if it could work for me as had helped a friend reduce headache pain once upon a time.

So I googled up some videos. While tapping (it was a short one so perhaps not long enough) did not work I saw a link to a video that teaches how to use acupressure for headache relief. And it worked. Really easy to do. Although I still feel fuzzy, the pain went just like that.

The technique that got rid of my headache is 6 points on the body you press on for 30 seconds and repeat another 2 times. As the pain stopped me from sleeping the night before as soon as I felt less pain I hit the pillow to try to get a good sleep in before the magic wore off.

Still fuzzy today but every time I feel heady I repeat it and feel better. Just had to share in case it works for anyone else. Acupressure rocks!

 

This is such a breakthrough because these headaches last days and pain killers or migraine meds just didn’t work on them. I have even been in ER/casualty with them in the middle of night – hoping someone will chop my head off so the pain will go before I throw myself off a cliff. They are just unbearable. I’m seeing an endocrinologist and a neurologist soon to investigate further as have had them nearly three years. Started up end of periods after being put on the pill for my endometriosis. After two such headaches I stopped taking the pill but the headaches remained. Now they come at random times of the month but often at the end of a period.

Thank you to the guys who made this video from the bottom of my heart! xxx

Fibromyalgia recovery

I bumped into the lady I know who had fibromyalgia badly but doesn’t anymore at. I asked her what she did. She said that being stressed and working out was doing her fibro no favours and making it worse but she hadn’t realised. She went on a 3 day liver detox in Spain at the end of March run by the Nutritional Healing Foundation. She said she didn’t question any of it and just went with it. As a result she now focusses on keeping her body alkaline with lots of raw food and juices (80/20) but no gluten, dairy or red meat. Good hydration is a huge part of it and she also takes magnesium. She lost 8lbs on the detox and last three months has shed 2 stone – all without any exercise apart from a bit of walking. She looks amazing. It clearly agrees with her. Meat always made her feel crappy.

She’s my reference point for why one diet does not fit all and you have to let people find what works for them because it’s a hallelujah feeling when you no longer suffer from a chronic illness. I on the other hand am not suited to juicing and no red meat. I’m sceptical that you can detox your liver (have read specifically you cannot) but hey, it’s worked here and that is fab.

Detoxes supposedly don’t work but when my husband does a three day intense one having got to the end of his tether with digestive issues, his intestinal health is tickety boo [good that is] once more.

I’d say try one diet at a time, listen to your intuition and see what works for you. Everyone you speak to will have different ideas. I reckon when your inner voice disagrees with what you hear/read, it means it is not right for you as an individual. Go seek ‘your’ perfect diet x

Nick gets lean with tai chi and paleo/perfect health diet

nick-before-after-tai-chi-paleo-phd

“Hi Marta,

Here’s some pics, as requested. The first one is on the beach in Spain in summer 2010 – believe it or not I’d actually lost a bit of weight for this, by cutting down on booze, but made no drastic dietary changes other than that. When I got home to Glasgow, I took up tai chi under Charlie Gorrie and Dan Docherty. I’ve had a lifelong interest/obsession with martial arts and wanted to get back into something – I had no intention of staying with tai chi, it was something ‘gentle’ to get me into beginner’s shape so I could take up something more ‘martial’. But, after one month, I’d lost 1.5 stone, seemingly just from moving ‘slowly’. I found it a baffling and compelling art and I wanted to understand how it all fitted together – the sensitivity exercise, weapons and hand forms, the pushing hands and applications, so I just kept going back. Three years later, I’m still there and I believe it’s as good an art for self defence and fighting as any other and I base that on having done 4 years of ‘hard-style’ karate in my youth, and dabbled in many, many more systems…

My paleo-journey probably began around late 2011. My weight loss seemed to have plateaued and I was still carrying a fair bit of flab, and I happened to stumble across an article by Mark Sisson online which intrigued me. I was really looking for an efficient way to lose weight with some long term success implied, and I couldn’t imagine a life of calorie counting etc. At the same time I was having major acid-reflux problems and was taking shit loads of Omeprazole. The long and the short of it is that I gradually cut out most grains, while still indulging at weekends if I wanted. I am also a lifelong curry addict, so it was out of the question to give up rice and nan breads! So, after including a lot of HIIT work with kettlebells, burpees, all that stuff, I got rid of some more weight and improved my fitness considerably – so much so that I entered the British Open Tai Chi Championships in early 2012. I was horsed off the mat in the first round – but the guy who beat me went on to clean out the division and won Gold, so in effect, I reckon I came 2nd! Also, my reflux problems disappeared completely, and I ditched the meds. I think minimising the grains was what achieved this.

The next real impetus was to get leaner: for that I had to change my thinking somewhat. With the help of Andy Morgan at Rippedbody jp, I totally revised my eating approach. Carbs were back in, and macros counted. Andy doesn’t particularly adhere to a Paleo-style, but he does advise whole unprocessed foods and plenty of green veg and recommends Intermittent Fasting, Lean gains-style. I’d already been doing that for a while, so it was no problem for me to adapt. But, gone were the kettlebell swings and in were the compound lifts – Reverse Pyramid Style. I really enjoyed the heavy lifting, and I was able to gain quite a bit of strength in a short time. I ate paleo-style though (or more Perfect Health Diet style). I ate starchy carbs after my workouts, and lots of lean meat and greens. Starches were almost always white rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes etc. I was always sated and rarely hungry during the fast. On rest days, I was VLC (very low carb) and high protein, high(er) fat, and also zero problems with hunger.

nick-before-after

The pic of me in jeans is at the start of my consultation with Andy, the second 8 weeks later and 8 kg lighter. I’m 74kg in that pic, having come down from 82kg. I’m 72 now, but no pics at the moment! When the 6 pack is finally hewn from the solid granite of my body, I aim to slowly bulk back up to around the 78kg mark, or thereabouts. I can only thank Andy Morgan and recommend his services to anyone wanting to get lean: it’s very easy to do his program and it can easily be paleo adapted.

Currently, I have a new problem: in April this year I was given a tentative diagnosis of dyskinesia, but it now looks like a form of dystonia. This manifests itself in severe cramping, twisting and rigidity in my left hand and foot and so far nothing much gives me any relief med wise. The only thing that works is tai chi pushing hands/sparring, which somehow overrides the symptoms. Neigong exercises are helpful to an extent. So my current areas of interest are into ways of eating/medicating that alleviate the symptoms. So far, I’ve not found anything paleo that helps, but I’m always open to new ideas: I’m interested in using medical cannabinoids but have so far not tried this. As you’re aware, there are legal issues surrounding this that one needs to be very careful of.

I’m a writer and Phd student in my mid-forties, so the left hand stiffness/rigidity is a real issue for me, but luckily my uni is supplying me with voice-recognition software which I’m hoping will revolutionise my writing! But I’d still rather the condition buggered off. It does depress me at times, especially having to use an antispasmodic like baclofen, since it affects the whole body, rather than just the affected part.

So that’s my story.

Cheers, Nick”

How Warren experimented with food to cure his ills and ended up paleo

I’m going to start sharing success stories where people cured themselves by changing their diet to encourage people to look at what they eat and try different diets on to see which fits them. Weight loss is often a bonus but when deeper health issues are tackled that’s when I really want to sing about them. Note I am diet agnostic but there are many similarities that come back to the principles of eat real food and avoid processed food. Sharing online is such a positive thing and I know I myself have been helped by googling problems I had and finding what worked for others, some of which has vastly improved my quality of life. So many chronic issues can be fixed with diet – let’s spread the word people!

Kicking things off with Warren aka PALEO WARLORD as he is known on the Paleo UK facebook group I frequent.

“Im 52 and this has been a fairly long journey since my problems stated. I often contribute to topics because over the years I have experienced many of the same problems that are posted here. These problems seem to be behind me now.

I sometimes post in weight loss topics even though I have never been fat but this is because I believe that a big part of the weight problem is cravings and I have experienced many food cravings over the years that caused me other problems. You do not conquer food cravings in a healthy way with will power. You conquer them by choosing foods that stop your body craving the wrong foods and by organising yourself so that you don’t find yourself in situations where you end up with the wrong cravings.

I have made many mistakes during my time, which I don’t want to bore you with. I knew virtually nothing about nutrition, allergies or intolerances when all of this started. I was ill advised by the NHS so I gave up with them in my early 40s and was blindly going it alone before I even knew that there were alternative health practitioners or what the internet was. I think that many people really don’t know how lucky they are that there is so much information readily available now and that allergies and intolerances etc are not simply seen as hypochondria so often these days.

Early 20s
Frequent acid reflux in my throat. Took lots of Rennies.

Late 30s
Often had back aches.
Started getting frequent stomach aches and diarrhea (IBS).
Also found out that I was allergic to milk and a little later I found out I was also allergic to wheat (same symptoms for both) so I cut them out.

Early 40s
IBS got worse.
Back aches occured more often. Many trips to the chiropractor.
Reflux got worse.
NHS were no help with any of this.
I went to an alternative health practitioner and was found to have candida. Fixed it for a while.
Started feeling bad again but not in the same was as candida. It turned out to be mercury overload from all the tinned tuna I was eating on lunch breaks.
Candida kept coming back so I eliminated several foods and introduced or ate more of other foods like rye, soy, corn, etc. Things would be ok for a while and then I would have to eliminate the new foods because they would also cause candida or I would find that I was allergic or intolerant to them.
The candida made me susceptible to other problems. I got a parasite in my digestive system while doing building work on farms.
My back aches got worse. It turned out that these were caused by a bacteria that feeds off starches. By this time the only starches I was eating were potatoes, quinoa and bananas. I cut out them all out and the back aches were almost completely eliminated.
Because I had now cut out all starch, I increased eating fruit (fresh and tinned) and fatty meat.

Mid 40s 

I followed a link on a message board to an article about some people people that were on something called “The Paleo Diet”. I had never heard of it and just assumed it was yet another weight loss diet. I wasn’t interested in weight loss because the candida etc was hardly allowing me to keep my weight in a healthy range, let alone allow me to get fat.

Anyway, I started reading it because I was bored and realised that these people were eating the same foods as me and that they had eliminated the same foods from their diets as I had. I was amazed! I thought that I was the only person in the world eating my self designed diet. I was on a paleo diet and didn’t even know it.

Every now and again I would experiment with my diet. I have found that as long as I ate enough calories and enough protein, it doesn’t seem to matter if I eat lots of fat or lots of tropical fruit or if it’s fairly even. As long as I stick to the paleo foods that I can tolerate and avoid everything else, I seem to do ok.”

Pro-raw vegetarian tries paleo diet and fails. Wish it had been the Perfect Health Diet version

I was curious when a pro-raw vegetarian nutritionist decided she’d follow all sorts of different diets to see the effect of her. She was even ready to eat meat to try out the paleo diet but lost the battle when faced with a lentil dish after two weeks. I see paleo as a great diet for me potentially and worried her variety of it was one that was not healthful enough so ended up pending the longest comment in the world which I had to turn into a blog post else it would not fit as I do feel the Perfect Health Diet version of paleo could help many people:

Succumbing to lentils is much better than giving in to a doughnut. Every little you do for your health has to help. I hoped you would take something more positive from it but think it was too much, too different, too fast and unwanted.

Oh poor paleo. It got a rough deal that is going to put off people who could benefit from it done the right way. This seems to be the meat mad athlete vein. Why all the bacon and where’s the fish? I would hate people to have the impression it’s about eating rubbish meats or just protein upon protein Atkins style as it really is not and also advocates plenty of organic vegetables daily as well as white rice. It is important also to understand why the PHD and others advocate avoiding whole grains and the difference between soft fibre in vegetables and hard fibre in whole grains that irritate your digestive system. When you dig deeper it is not as crazy as it sounds.

For me it really is about avoiding toxins and things that damage your body (including grains, legumes and sunflower oils etc.) where there is science backing that and not just some purist caveman theory. The Paleo diet comes in different variants and the best for your health I believe as it has a paleo thrust but with science, is the ‘Perfect Health Diet’ (PHD). That is Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet who comes at it as a cancer researcher. See a snapshot here http://perfecthealthdiet.com/the-diet/. It actually states in the book that pork is the least healthful meat and must be cooked very carefully. I avoid processed meats for obvious reasons.

Under the PHD meat should not be the rubbish stuff you mention but ideally high quality meat from free range animals that were allowed to happily pasture on grass under open skies rather than fed those crappy grains and kept in limited spaces. Just how people living on a rubbish diet would have too much fat in their body so is the meat of animals fed that rubbish too fatty and unhealthy – and in the US farmers are not banned from feeding all sorts of rubbish to their livestock. One thing the EU is good for. I would have to buy everything organic if I lived in the US.

Forget paleo being sold as just a tool for weight training / muscle building or weight loss – it goes so much deeper because paleo (Perfect Health Diet variant) has been a life changing diet for some where doctors and drugs could not help. See http://perfecthealthdiet.com/reader-results/. I am evangelical about the power of ‘the food hospital’ because it has done so much for me when the Drs were clueless and their drugs just worsened matters.

A good paleo diet does need proper research and planning (foods in the plan they actually want to eat). Also adapting as everyone is different. You can’t wake up and say from today I am going to be paleo, because the chances of failure are just too high. You need to be properly motivated too by your own health needs. Why should you stop eating a bunch of stuff which totally agrees with you and when you have no chronic ailments to eat things you really don’t want to put in your body and where you are not convinced of their nutritional value?

I believe people arrive at the Paleo diet because it is right for them at the time and then they are motivated to do it and make it work, because of the health benefits which can be immediate but also preventative. In the last decade I have increasing problems with wheat from too much of it in a week leading to migraine to now awful stomach pains followed by violent stomach upsets. My body is telling me grains are evil, I’m of an age where more and more of my peers are being hit with food sensitivities or ill-health, people are giving up gluten but still sick and then you watch a video that explains inflammation and why we should not be eating grains like http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cv5RwxYW8yA#! and you are then highly motivated.

In your case being anaemic could have attracted you to flirt with a diet that advocates red meat (not all the time I might add as it balances it with fish and poultry too). I have a lot of vegetarian friends who struggled because they were not getting sufficient protein and who have been significantly helped with protein drinks so that may be worth investigating if you feel weak. My husband has been vegetarian since he was in his early 20s with no issues. Approaching 50 he was tired all the time having to drag himself through daily tasks and Dr thought it was chronic fatigue in the end as tests came back normal. It was my foray into veganism that made me question whether he was getting enough protein. Apparently you need less calories as you age but more protein plus because I don’t eat cheese he was eating less of it than before. His pea protein with cocoa and banana shakes have really sorted him out.

If anyone is interested in paleo I would urge them to study the variants, plan for it with foods they want to eat, really want to do it in their hearts and ideally do it the Perfect Health Diet way reading Paul Jaminet’s book. If a female then also look at http://www.paleoforwomen.com/ which may have some different views. In the end you have to try things out and see what makes you personally feel on top of the world consistently – just as you say. Interestingly many paleo gurus were once raw vegans.

Healthy eating is also down to how fruit and vegetable are cultivated as to their nutritional value – sun ripened will have more vitamins, being sprayed in pesticides is clearly bad for us and you don’t want anything genetically modified which wheat has been since the 50s. It’s an entirely different ethos, quite natural and sensible, but expensive to follow as farming that honours the animal or grows the prize crops naturally is not cheap. The PHD says eat organic vegetables (certainly the dirty dozen as identified on foodnews.org EWG’s shopper’s guide) and lots of them daily. It’s not just meat, fish, poultry or eggs but it is about getting plenty of healthy protein and fat in your diet too.

By the way in my food journey on the way to here I have done The China Study and veganism. Was not right for me and I felt that I was suffering physically although I was pleased on a mental level that animals were not. Of course then I later read the paleo literature and how The China Study is biased and has since been torn apart. The idea itself of paleo sits very well with me based on how much I craved meat, Polish sausage to be precise, when on a vegan diet so the converse to you. Shows how people are chalk and cheese. Therefore I come warm to the paleo diet, but I have enjoyed looking at all sorts of diets. Raw does not work for me although I have loved learning new ways to prepare my vegetables to get the most nutrients out of them and still have green smoothies. The best discovery ever is spiralisers.

My body is very noisy and intuitive – some days it demands red meat loud and clear. For years a little intuitive voice said “Whoaah” to bread. I have noted of late that I don’t need to take my iron supplement when I eat quality red meat 2-3 times a week plus have spinach and banana green smoothies based on coconut drinking milk and coconut oil. I was told the other day that they had instructed the Dalai Lama to eat meat for his health. Perhaps in a few years the paleo calling will reach you but may be never as you do seem to have been born a lentil baby indeed ;-) . My vegetarian husband will never eat animals or fish and that’s the end of it, even though it would really help with his weight lifting he has just got into. Instead it’s a stream of disgusting protein drinks as well as tons of eggs, etc. For some the paleo diet will never be a possibility.

It is also very important to ease into diets that suddenly ban all refined sugar and foods with sugar in them. I don’t think anyone should do that overnight. First time a homeopath told me to quit sugar completely in my 20s I had the mother of a migraine for days and went back to sugar. It’s a big chemical change for your body to deal with and some are going to be more sensitive than others – well if you were eating a lot of bad stuff and the SAD before. You can often feel worse as your body detoxifies.

When you turn forty and every sticky toffee pudding mouthful seems to turn into an extra half inch on you bum overnight seemingly (when you used to eat whole tubs of ice cream and stay rake thin before) then you will definitely want to ditch sugar. Perhaps that is one to keep in the armoury to fight middle aged flab. I believe you need new stuff to scare your body with for when that day comes ;-) . Losing weight gets so bloody hard when you hit a certain age. If you do everything now how are you going to exercise more and eat less? ;-)

As for soy the problem is while you are thinking you can eat it the damage is being done and probably many of the foods to be avoided. Because milk didn’t agree with me I had soy substitute for milk, ice cream, yoghurt etc for well over a decade and at the end was also having cysts and fibroids regularly operated on. Since I read http://www.endo-resolved.com/soy.html and stopped eating soy I saw drastic improvements in my health straight away but then I’d accumulated the toll of it until middle age. I used to be running to the toilet several times a night and then was absolutely exhausted come the afternoon I could not function, would hit a brick wall and have to go to bed for at least 15 minutes of kip to be able to function in any form. Simply cured by cutting out soy! I have not had to have an operation for ages – hurray!

The fasting should not be confused with fasting for days – it is fasting for 8 hours of one day and eating sufficient of the right foods in the other 16 hours. Fasting is gonna hurt if you are on the SAD, including grains, so from what I have read I would not fast until fully acclimatised to the paleo/PHD diet first. I also have low blood sugar and go a bit nuts without food after several hours. Funnily enough about 9 so fingers crossed I will be fine if I try this aspect of the PHD.

As soon as you step outside your kitchen the PHD/paleo becomes much harder as you experienced. I have been planning the transition for weeks as I know it’s not going to work unless I have a meal plan for the whole week out and about. Also you need your kitchen stocked up and snacks thought through. Impossible to do if you are going on holiday. Paleo is more complex than just being coeliac/gluten free so it’s best to make sure you will be able to cook at least one meal a day for yourself in your own kitchen (making enough for left overs whether it is a stew or boiling extra organic baby new potatoes ready to turn into a Spanish omelette, mash, with butter as an side or fried for breakfast) and ensure that you somewhere to shop locally for healthier meat/fish choices. When I holiday on the island of Lanzarote I will be screwed as there is no grass for anything to be pastured on as rain is a luxury. However I did have the most amazing beef there last time imported from Uruguay.

My cheats are buying ready roasted free range turkey slices (no salt added) or poached smoked salmon so my protein fixes are ready to go along with the veggies and carbs. There will be a bit of sugar in those cheats but on the whole I think my diet is pretty healthy and I am not aiming for sainthood of the paleo path. And dark chocolate is allowed too in moderation and cheese and red wine so what’s not to like except the last two give me migraines. When it comes to salt when I eat too cleanly my body craves it and a little is absolutely needed for your heart electrics etc. In the PHD book it says “The JAMA study indicates that those consuming less than 2 grams per day of sodium raised their five-year cardiovascular mortality risk by 37%”.

Perhaps you would try paleo again but only if you really wanted to and the Jaminet way, except you may still have properly cooked lentils once a week. My lentils may be gluten free fish fingers once a month as yes they are processed and coated in a coating which includes maize but I love them when working too hard with too little time to cook. I will also have bacon occasionally as a treat if it comes from locally reared outdoor happy piggies. Part of me really likes it and it makes eating out easier but part of me feels it is an unhealthy food I should avoid. Then again I removed the fish fingers from my online shopping order today so may be I will have more resolve than I think. When you feel better eating healthy foods you do stop wanting to eat the rubbish.

I’m lucky as paleo should be a relative doddle for me who has not had cow’s milk for decades (we buy/make our own live goat’s yoghurt); is already gluten free because wheat doesn’t like me and husband is a 2 year diagnosed coeliac; already cut back to a minimum of sugar as the only thing I found to stop the middle aged spread despite trying several diets; legumes make me bloaty; and my body gets all shouty about having a good steak at certain times of the month. It’s so the next step of my personal journey with food but I think it was a million steps away from where you are so destined to fail.

Having coconut oil in my cupboard for my green smoothies means a good start to my paleo pantry. Can’t see me ever using lard. Thank heavens olive oil is okay in PHD world when other vegetable oils are definite no nos. Oh and thank heavens butter is in as even trying to be vegan I could not give that up and yes totally weird that milk hurts me but butter I can’t live without. Go figure.

As everything processed is cooked in vegetable oils pretty much, it will certainly mean I rely even less on pre-packed stuff. Bye bye delightful frozen rostis from Waitrose we’d only just discovered. How I loved thee but will learn how to make my own and freeze them. When you have to be gluten free and have adapted to eat like a king at home, paleo doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch. Being restricted in what I eat has become a way of life and the influence it has had on my health some thing of an obsession. And that may actually be very sad.

How much free time I have for cooking definitely links to how well I eat. My breakfast is a healthy smoothie or sometimes egg based. Lunch is normally a salad with protein and seeds or a thick hearty soup. Dinner is meat/fish/poultry, potatoes/rice/sweet potato and vegetables. I’d probably have more carbs but low carbs is my other weapon alongside ditching sugar in fighting middle aged spread or I’d end up the size of a house.

There’s some injection they are testing in Australia that will mean some celiacs may be able to eat gluten again. We discussed it and said we would not go back to our previous diet even if we could because our food intolerances have made us interested in food, we have read loads about diet/health which has been truly enlightening, we cook more, eat less but better, feel better and so nothing would make me want to eat a doughnut today. I know I’d feel rubbish after any sugary dessert. The only thing my husband misses is a nice cold beer on a summer’s day. Of course it being easier to eat when away would be a huge bonus.

Good luck Sara with your next missions. I hope I have opened you up to some of the good paleo PHD style can do for people and even if not for you right now, that you and your blog readers reserve a spot for it as a potential highly beneficial healthy eating plan.

My first interval training session – almost tabata

Yowzers. Interval training proper (i.e. tabata style-ish fat burning that’s better than a 60 min cardio apparently and only takes 6 mins) for the first time today and I did it 1:2 rather than 2:1 to work up to it. However I still discovered what it meant to push yourself until you throw up.

I did warn Andrew I am very unfit and he had laughed prior at my stints on the exercise bike which he described like a lady off to the visit the vicar serenely trying not to unbalance her tray of scones. I was determined to show him I could push myself.

Gentle pedal for 2 minutes to warm up, then for next 4 minutes repeating 10 minutes cycling at your absolute maximum like a hamster running for its life on a wheel then 20 seconds normal pedalling. It is supposed to be 20 secs of madness and 10 secs normal. I was panting and grunting and gets progressively harder, such that your max capacity is pretty crap as you do the last few.

Felt quite good yet exhausted until I got off the bike. Then the nausea came and had to hand head over toilet as really thought I would vomit. Made the husband proud though! He does it regularly. Glad that wanting to vomit is normal according to this Men’s Health article so it is not just me being pathetic. It is not often that I want to be normal but when it comes to health I do.

Brush teeth before or after breakfast? Mercury fillings, fluoride, red wine stains & why stick with your dentist

I went to see my dentist here in Bournemouth in the UK because I found a tiny bit of grey hard stuff in my mouth and was worried it was a bit of filling. It was and I need a filling replaced. Well it has been in there about 25 years! While there I asked him when exactly I should be brushing my teeth as I was confused by all the conflicting stuff in the media especially about acid erosion from fruit meaning we should not brush after eating.

His advice was:

  • brush before breakfast
  • don’t brush after eating fruit or drinking fruit juice or wine
  • don’t have fruit, juice or wine the hour before brushing your teeth
  • brush before you go to bed but do not rinse out your mouth, just spit out the toothpaste, so the fluoride can work its magic while you sleep

 

Fluoride

And yes there is a whole debate about whether fluoride is good or bad for you but I gather that in small doses, not loads in the water supply as there was in the US once upon a time, the benefits of moderate usage are thought to outweigh the dangers. You can buy fluoride free toothpaste too. Article about the pros and cons of fluoride.

I myself am going to carry on using Colgate Cavity Protection in great regular flavour as I cannot tolerate the taste of anything else I have tried. Occasionally I used Sensodyne Pronamel mint if my teeth are feeling a bit sensitive and because I worry about my tooth enamel – I buy it when I see it on special offer as is much more expensive.

Replacing mercury fillings

On the subject of mercury fillings, they are probably not a great thing for you and if concerned do not have them removed as the drilling them out will expose you to far more mercury than leaving them in. However if you need a replacement or a new filling then choose a non-metal filling which also gives you the aesthetic benefit of being tooth coloured.

Costs £20-30 extra. My private dentist charges exceptionally reasonably so it is £47 for silver amalgam and £65 for tooth coloured filling. He was originally my NHS dentist and is fab. Can completely trust he is not doing unnecessary work through greed or lack of history on my teeth.

Since first posting this have found out there are a handful of places in the UK that do safe removal of mercury fillings for those where it is a big issue. One is in Poole. A friend is having hers removed in Ireland and is in process of following strict protocol months before to strengthen her system.

Chocolate addiction & metal mouth

My mouth sadly is full of fillings as in younger years I ate badly and was addicted to chocolate, at one point eating a dozen bars a day and begging my mum at 10pm to drive to the garage so I could get more! My brother also had issues and now in his mid forties has many teeth missing! All my after school memories from as far as I can remember involve the sweet shop. I do think now that my mother should not have let me have that chocolate habit aged 16-17. ‘No’ is a very important parenting word and I have grown up far too used to getting my own way.

In the end I myself decided it was an addiction of a sort and that I must tackle it. I decided that every time the craving came, I would make myself eat a Ryvita cracker as I didn’t like them. The thinking was that my brain would then associate the craving with something bad happening to my taste buds and it should cease. Of course Ryvita probably have some of the nutrients like magnesium I was perhaps craving from the chocolate – also B vitamins. It did sort me out and Cadbury’s sales probably took quite a dip!

Stick with your dentist

I once went to see a dentist when I lived in Bracknell who listed out a whole list of work I needed. Intuitively I felt it was wrong. I went back to my dentist in Bournemouth who could compare with xrays from years ago and see that dodgy looking areas had not got any worse over a decade (decay had been arrested) and did not need work. So another Glow top tip is find a dentist you like and stick with them even if you have to travel. For me three hours driving is oh so worth avoiding three painful hours in the dentist’s chair for expensive unnecessary work! Won’t give you the name of mine as he is full – plus selfishly want to make sure I can get in to see him ;-) .

Do you hate going to the dentist too?

By the way I absolutely hate going to the dentist. I’m scared of the pain and find anything done to my teeth an ordeal. Complete wussy. One young female dentist was such a bitch to me once that she made me cry and I put in a formal complaint. The anaesthetic had not kicked in properly and what she was doing was extremely painful. She was not sympathetic (I’d go so far as to say nasty) and I felt like she would be best off working in a slaughter house with her capacity for compassion.

I was at university and had not slept for 3 days because of pain from a wisdom tooth that then had to be removed at another clinic. I must say it was an easy one to get to and although warned about the crippling pain that would surely ensue, having my wisdom tooth removed was a walk in the park. It was also good that the wisdom tooth removal operation went well as the first time I was put to sleep to have a tooth removed as a child, it took me ages to wake up and be normal such that my mother was seriously concerned I had brain damage. Some of my dentist chair fear stems from her fear perhaps.

I was really happy when I found my Bournemouth dentist because he’s very gentle in nature unlike that Butcher of Ealing Dentist woman who tortured me as far as I am concerned. I was so scarred by the experience that even when I didn’t live in Bournemouth, I gave my friend’s address as my home address there so I could still stay registered with my favoured Bournemouth dentist. When he retires I am not going to want to go to another dentist so damn good job I have given up refined sugar – well on days with a T in them as my husband keeps baking amazing gluten free cakes using sugar time to time. Cannot resist the freshly baked smell in my house.