*** This blog is not to be prescriptive nor give you advice, merely to show you my way of navigating true health in a jungle of advice and pharmaceutical pressure. Please do your own research, ask your own specialists or contact those I have used if you wish to find out more about your personal condition and symptoms. To your very best health. ***
This post is going to be a merger of weeks 4 and 5.
I didn’t get around to writing week 4 and so rather than try and remember I’ll be blending the thoughts and emotions of the two weeks together.
I’ve decided not to post my meal plans beyond what I’ve already done. There’s only so many ways you can have meat, fish and vegetables. I know it gets exciting when I have a strawberry or two, but you’ll have to get over that for now. I am still recording my meals so I can check for symptoms, but it’s a job that doesn’t need doing for here.
The recurring themes are still very much present.
The sleeping patterns are beyond weird and the digestion being a touch stubborn.
Most days, despite going to bed at about 22.00 I am waking about 02.30. For three nights on the trot is was 02.31. How can that be?
Napping in the day just reduces my sleep by that amount the next night, so I’m keeping those to an absolute rarity. The first few weeks were OK, but the tiredness is catching up a little now during the day and I get cold and less productive. However I continue to be quite wide awake in the middle of the night.
I tend to drift through from 02.30 for the next couple of hours with erratic napping only to get up about 04.30-04.45 when it’s getting too light to be sleepy, the birds are chirping too loudly to ignore and it’s a time I now quite like walking at.
I am walking 5km each morning. It’s fabulous. The sunrises are stunning, there’s an occasional dog walker (a lady with the three legged greyhound I see the most) but other than that it’s me and the solitary fox walking his patch with such authority that I get such a glare as I dare to walk his turf.
On my way back from the walk I do a 5 minute brain oxygenation exercise. This is normally sprints.
Now I’m not keen on sprinting, it ranks slightly higher than bathing in beans, but I do have a bit of power so I can get some speed up and get the breathing rate up. This is the only goal for this exercise. The risks of premature brain decay due to Hashimoto’s and low thyroid function are too great for me to ignore (read this post here where I explain why) and so on the back of Dr Datis’s recommendations in his book ‘Why isn’t my brain working?’ I do a 5 minute burst each day.
I use an app on my phone that bleeps time at me. I sprint for 20 seconds, take a 10 seconds break and repeat this 10 times. It takes 5 minutes. I make sure that I am also listening to a piece of music that is over 5 minutes long and grunty so I can focus on the job in hand, not the fact that I don’t much like it.
I’ve been doing 5 minutes for about 2 weeks now, so I am going to start upping it weekly to a 10 minute maximum brain boost. This is the last bit of my walk and so as I finish walking home and get my breath back the first thing I do when I get in is take my brain and mood supplements. It’s the best time for me to see the impact. I’m now in a post-sprint state, the circulation is enhanced and I’ve not eaten, so those supplements can get to work immediately.
And work they do!
As I’ve previously mentioned I’d not realised the depths of how I’ve been feeling for some time. It’s not until you are scrabbling out the other side that you realise how deep a hole it was. These supplements have really shown me that I’ve been lacking the ability to manufacture and use my own dopamine and the help of two supplements is making a massive, immediate difference.
One is mucuna pruriens and the other DLPA. I am not in anyway advocating that you start taking these. I’ve done lots of reading and working out what I need. However they work for me within minutes of taking them. A pleasant relief for sure.
The links with dopamine and serotonin deficiencies in those with hypo-thyroid conditions are very clear. This is something I wasn’t prepared for or really aware of. More on this later.
I am still in love with all my meals.
It seems the simpler they are the better. Most meals contain a lot of green stuff. It might be cabbage or cavolo nero, spinach or kale, chard or Bok Choi. It’s all leaves to me, just bung them in. It’s the most nutrient dense meals I’ve had in a long time.
Most of my meals are cooked. I’ve realised that as much as I love a salad, my new reduced food choices makes this less attractive and so cooked veggies are my preference. This is nutritionally sound as green veggie minerals are more easily digested and absorbed when lightly cooked and in the presence of fat.
In week 4 I had a couple of afternoon naps (before I realised that it wasn’t really helping) and found myself instantly eating something like an avocado when I woke up. I am sure that’s a reflex action. A drink of water would have been more useful. I’ve put this into practice since and it was.
I am still not hungry between meals. This has really been very easy to implement and keep me satisfied for a long time. Most meals are about 6 hours apart and I am not in a desperate pickle to eat something at this point. It’s showing me that the food is definitely doing it’s job.
Most weeks since I started there have been days when I’ve only been able to have two meals for one reason or another. This hasn’t bothered me either. No hangry feelings, no jitteryness, no urgency to eat. There was just one day when I’d gone 10 hours between meals, not at all ideal, and so I had a spoon of coconut oil as I was making my dinner. It did the job.
If you’re thinking that I may well be eating massive portions to accommodate these gaps, I’d say not really.
When I started with Metabolic Balance last year (the start of this whole journey) I was staggered at how much smaller my portions were to be. Both protein and vegetables were substantially smaller than I’d been having.
Now I am on the Autoimmune Protocol I am pretty much not caring about portion sizes. So I am having a whole chicken breast, or ample steak or chunk of fish and a generous supply of vegetables. If you had to put a figure on it, I’d say 1/3 protein to 2/3 vegetables. Always cooked in coconut oil.
I’m choosing organic, grass-fed meat where possible my preferred supplier currently is Coombe Farm. This isn’t an affiliate link or anything fancy like that, just a simple recommendation.
Despite the tiredness towards the end of the day from lack of sleep, I’d say my energy is the best it’s been for a very long time. On previous eating plans I’ve always waited for the energy ‘pop’ that I see my clients get and others talk about. It seems I had to cut my food options right back to get the same effect. Right now I really don’t care, it’s working too well!
As an aside I still need to add in more fermented foods. When I say more, I mean some. This will help with my gut health. I am having more fish, aiming for once a day, as it would be way too easy to eat meat at each meal.
Over the past few weeks I started to drink a rather nice organic white tea. It is caffeinated and I was drinking it pretty weak and black. I soon noticed my addictive tendencies taking over and rather than one a day I was making it my drink of choice. I’ve scrapped it completely. Part of the healing is for my adrenal glands which I am guessing are b**ggered from years of coffee drinking, stress and long hours. I don’t need to be adding any more caffeine to them right now.
It’s reminded me that I am not naturally inclined to eat or behave this way. I am sure that in a ‘Sliding Doors’ moment in my life I’d have been an alcoholic, smoker or gambler. It’s just the nature of my personality. Very (slightly) obsessive and not prone to understanding moderation. Lucky for me I am on this side of the train door.
Some interesting asides to the eating regime. Firstly, I’ve been going to see Kelly at Dynamic Family Chiropractors to get my funny bent bits sorted out. She’s noticed that the adjustments she makes each time are staying sooner and more easily than she’s used to. How cool is that? She told me that people who eat a high sugar diet tend to struggle the most with keeping adjustments in place. One to bear in mind if you’re investing in regular corrective treatments.
Secondly, my weekly strength training gains are much better than I’d been doing previously. Rev5 is a once weekly workout which requires a steady and progressive change in weights moved each week. My new regime has given me a calmness, confidence and ongoing love for this programme. I am quite downhearted that I need to miss the next two weeks.
Thirdly, cutting out caffeine has seen some significant improvements on my bladder. I don’t seem to ever feel desperate for a wee anymore. Infact sometimes I go to the loo, ‘just in case’, just like your mum used to tell you, and I am surprised at how much of a wee it was. So, if you get caught short, maybe looking at your caffeine intake will help. It’s a known irritation to the bladder.
Fourthly, my periods have returned after some months of not bothering to show up. I can’t say I am bothered one way or the other about this, but it’s sign that hormones are regulating.
Fifthly, my moods are so much better. I’ve spent some time looking back at how I’ve been feeling over the past 2 years or so and can’t really put it into words. I didn’t think anything was wrong, so when you’re in something that you perceive to be normal, it it’s hard to get a grasp of what it is that isn’t working. However I can liken it to having my dimmer switch turned down. Life was normal, I was functioning, but there was something lacking.
All this aside the other recurring theme is digestion. It’s not great. On the downside I’d like to sort this out, however I am so confident that it’s my body trying to catch up with all the stuff that’s going on that I am not getting worried about it. I also haven’t felt bunged up or out of sorts because of it which is unusual for me. I see this as another reason to know it will sort itself out eventually.
Here’s my fortnightly results since I started.
I am very pleased with this. My metabolism is kicking into gear which I am very grateful for.
Towards the end of week 5 I had my appointment with Laura at Nutritional Benefits to follow up on my food testing. Back in March I ate a range of foods so as to see what I am making antibodies to.
The test is from Cyrex Labs and called the Gluten Associated Cross Reactive Foods and Food Sensitivity array.
The results are in!
- Dairy (boo! do you know how much I like cheese?!)
- Buckwheat ( I knew this, whenever I eat it I swell)
- Tapioca (found in the majority of gluten free baked goods).
Interestingly buckwheat and tapioca also have cross reactivity with a group of fruits in the latex-fruit syndrome. To make sure that I don’t have any issues with these too I am going to have to do an elimination and reintroduction process with these foods. They include foods like avocados (nooooooooooo!), bananas, figs, strawberries plus a bunch more. This could take a long time…
I am not entirely surprised by the dairy. Whenever I eat yoghurt I want to fall asleep, I just didn’t want it to be true! Ah well, if it means I can get myself well I am up for it. However I will be pondering what to have on a mince pie from now on…
The tapioca produced the biggest result and is something I must avoid.
I am really glad I did the test. I now know to avoid gluten, dairy, buckwheat and tapioca forever. The other foods I can reintroduce over time and see how I get on with them.
At this stage in the process I can say that I’ve never felt so pleased with how I look, feel and how I am going about it. Given that I taught fitness for 10 years and was in good shape and I was 10-15 years younger than I am now I think this is a rubber stamp on this programme so far.
See you in Week Six.