Reintroduction: Sugar

Today brings the reintroduction of refined sugar to a close. Refined sugar includes sugar, sugar cane, sugar beets, brown sugar, artificial sweeteners, glucose, sucrose, sucralose, saccharine, and saccharose. I have listed my food and reactions below for each day. Tomorrow begins the reintroduction of nuts.

Day 1

Breakfast: Banana.

Lunch: Salami, dill pickle, white mocha (espresso, white chocolate, coconut milk).

Snack: Dark chocolate bar.

Dinner: carrots, broccoli, and celery, and guacamole (avocado, lime juice, salt).

Reactions: None.

Day 2

Breakfast: Banana.

Lunch: Roasted cauliflower, carrots, and yellow squash, and a mango, cherry, pear smoothie.

Snack: Dark chocolate bar, willow bark tea with honey.

Dinner: Salami, dill pickle, white mocha (espresso, white chocolate, coconut milk).

Reactions: Arthritis in my wrist is acting up.

Day 3

Breakfast: Banana.

Lunch: Salami, dill pickle, white mocha (espresso, white chocolate, coconut milk).

Snack: Dark chocolate bar, white mocha (espresso, white chocolate, coconut milk).

Dinner: Grapes, apple, orange.

Reactions: None.

Reintroduction: Seeds

Today brings the reintroduction of seeds to a close. Seeds include chia seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, poppy seeds, caraway seeds, mustard seeds, black/white pepper, pine nuts, hemp, coffee, and chocolate. I have listed my food and reactions below for each day. Tomorrow begins the reintroduction of refined sugar.

Day 1

Breakfast: I woke up late, so I skipped breakfast.

Lunch: Chicken cooked in olive oil, honey, roasted cauliflower, carrots, and yellow squash.

Snack: Black coffee.

Dinner: Paleo meatloaf (ground beef, diced onion, riced cauliflower, diced dates, honey, mustard) and salad (lettuce, avocado).

Reactions: None.

Day 2

Breakfast: Banana.

Lunch: Salami, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and black coffee.

Snack: Paleo muffin (bananas, coconut milk, olive oil, honey, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt).

Dinner: Sweet potato and Brussels sprouts (roasted in olive oil with salt and pepper).

Reactions: A pimple is forming on my chin. I don’t know yet if it’s related.

Day 3

Breakfast: Banana.

Lunch: Salami, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and black coffee.

Snack: Strawberry banana smoothie.

Dinner: Broccoli, carrots, and celery.

Reactions: I have a hard lump on the back of my neck. I suspect an ingrown hair, as I plucked a hair from that spot a few days ago. It was a hard, translucent hair that resembled a quill or a cat whisker. Apparently, this is a fairly common anomalous thing. I don’t know if it’s connected to autoimmunity. A second pimple is also developing.

Strict Paleo Week

Today is the last day of the second week of strict paleo. With strict paleo, I am allowed meat, most vegetables, most fruit, salt, honey, and agave. I’ve been eating mostly chicken for my meat. This is because it is so difficult to find red meat that doesn’t contain sugar. I’ve had primarily broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots for my vegetables, with the occasional asparagus, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, yellow squash, and sweet potato. My fruits have been mostly strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, bananas, oranges, and mango, with the occasional apples, blackberries, raspberries, pineapple, and papaya.

I have tried to take in about 4 oz. of meat, 2-3 cups of vegetables, and 1 cup of fruit per day, but some days I was a little light on the vegetables and heavy on the fruit. One day, I definitely had more meat. It turned out not to be too difficult. I just really had to be mindful of checking for sugar and things that are derived from seeds. I have to say, doing the elimination the way that I planned it out really did prepare me well for strict paleo.

At weigh in this morning, I am down to 236.4 pounds. That is a total weight loss of nearly 20 pounds! Last year, I lost about 25 pounds in the entire year, so I’m definitely doing better this year. My goal is to be below 200 pounds by the end of this year. I think that is achievable. I may even be very close to my overall goal weight by then. For my height, age, and gender, I am supposed to be between 120 and 140 pounds. My overall goal is to be within that range.

Vibrational Sound Therapy bowls.

I rewarded myself a little early this week because that was the only time my reward was available. I decided to book a Vibrational Sound Therapy session and I did that yesterday. I had never done it before and had no real idea as to what it would do, but I’ve always responded to music, so I thought this could be good for me. It was! It relaxed me and very quickly, which, as a person with anxiety, isn’t easy. I could feel the vibrations affecting my body, loosening my muscles. When I left the session, I felt lighter, well rested, and less anxious. Even my plantar fasciitis felt better.

Tomorrow begins reintroduction, and while this elimination diet has been good for me, I am excited for reintroduction. This is in part because I want to learn exactly which foods are triggering the HS, but also because I really miss almonds, cheese, eggs, and rice and would like to be able to eat them again. I had a dream about eating rice last night and, in my dream, I panicked because I knew I shouldn’t be eating it and I had ruined my diet. Rice is still a long way off, it seems. Tomorrow, I reintroduce seeds, which includes coffee and chocolate. That will be very nice, as it will allow me to have some salad dressings again.

Elimination: Week 8

Today is the last day of the last week of elimination, and the the last day of the first week of strict paleo. No seeds, nuts, or refined sugar this week. This has been very difficult, as almonds had previously been a staple of my diet. It’s also very difficult to find red meat that doesn’t have sugar in it. Bacon was extremely difficult and I had to switch to turkey bacon. Even then, it was hard to find turkey bacon without sugar.

One of my co-workers did suggest ordering sugar free bacon online. I may do that. It will be at least a couple of weeks before I can reintroduce refined sugars, and the jury’s still out on whether or not I’ll react to them. I was feeling a bit meat deprived a couple of days ago and saw some salami at the grocery that has turbinado sugar in it. I didn’t know what that was and had to look it up. It is raw sugar and is partially refined.

I had an argument with myself in the middle of the grocery store about whether or not partially refined sugar counted. I was never certain on raw sugar when I started this. In the end, I decided I had better not eat it. The whole point of this is to find out what I’m reacting to, not to find ways around a diet. If refined sugar is a trigger, I can only be sure of that by eliminating all sugar.

At weigh in this morning, I am now down to 239.6 pounds. That is a total weight loss of 16.6 pounds since the beginning of this year (8 weeks)! I can definitely feel the difference. You can see comparison photos on my Weight Loss Tracking page.

Redemption by Paul Spaeth.

To reward myself, I decided to buy a new CD. My birthday is a few days away, so I had to be sure I didn’t buy anything that I already had on my wishlist. It occurred to me that Paul Spaeth has an album out that I don’t have, so I ordered that. My mental health could use some attention and music has always been one of my relaxers. So, I’m treating myself to Redemption. It is a bit less expensive on Amazon, but I like to buy directly from artists whenever I can.

Next week is another strict paleo week and then I will be reintroducing seeds to my diet to see how I do with those. I have to say, this elimination diet has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in terms of will power and patience. If nothing else, I am proud of myself for not giving up.

Food Triggers Are Everywhere

Just over a week ago, I had some broccoli cheddar soup from a restaurant. I believed it was safe. I had a flare up shortly after having eaten it. At first I thought that perhaps dairy was a trigger and we hadn’t eliminated it yet, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. It could also be that seeds, nuts, and/or sugar is a trigger. However, I did some digging and found that not all of the ingredients for the broccoli cheddar soup were listed on the information that I had seen. This soup also had less than 2% potato flour as a thickening agent. It was enough potato to trigger me.

Homemade vegetable soup. Chicken broth, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, butternut squash, and chives.

I went to the grocery this evening to get the ingredients to make my own vegetable soup. I also looked for some bacon, as I’m participating in The 10th Kingdom watch week this week. The only bacon I could find that didn’t contain sugar was turkey bacon.

The point is, that everything has the potential to contain a food trigger. It’s a lesson I have to keep learning because I’m okay for a while and then I get lax. Know where your food comes from and know what is in it. We have to stay vigilant. Locally grown food is always best, but even that needs to be checked for additives, pesticides, etc.

Elimination: Week 7

Today is the last day of the dairy elimination week. This was difficult because it took away some convenience for me. If I didn’t have a lot of time to cook, I would buy prepackaged fruit boxes from the grocery that had cheese and almonds in them. I couldn’t do this anymore, so it meant taking the time to meal prep. Another easy meal for me had been turkey roll ups, which is just turkey slices and cheese slices. I can’t do this anymore either. I managed. I got a bit creative one day and made honey almond chicken.

I lost some more weight this week, too. At weigh in this morning, I am now down to 243.8 pounds, which means I’ve lost nearly 12 and a half pounds since January 1st! Before too long, I’m going to have to buy some more clothes. My pants, in particular, are all getting to be too loose. I’ve already tightened the drawstrings on my pajamas twice.

Star Wars Peeking Porg mug.

To reward myself this week, I’ve ordered a new mug for my tea. I have mugs, but I saw this and thought I’d treat myself.

Next week is the last elimination week. It will be strict paleo after that and then reintroduction begins. Starting tomorrow, I am eliminating seeds, nuts, and refined sugars from my diet. This includes coffee and chocolate. I can still have honey and agave, as long as the agave is pure.

Elimination: Week 6

Today wraps up the egg elimination week. It was easy to do this one. I do love eggs, but I’ve already eliminated everything that eggs are used in, so I only had to give up having eggs for breakfast. Breakfast has typically been a banana or some other fruit. I occasionally have bacon with it.

I weighed 246.6 pounds this morning, so I’m down almost a pound from last week. It might have been more, but after I found some almond flour tortillas, I ate a bunch of tacos earlier in the week. Worth it.

Green dragonfly tea kettle.

This week, I decided to reward myself with a tea kettle. I have some elderberry tea that is supposed to boost your immune system. I also have some willow bark tea that I’m going to use for a fever reducer/pain reliever, since I’m allergic to NSAIDs and Ibuprofen has corn starch in it. I’ve actually been eyeing this tea kettle for years but couldn’t justify the purchase before now.

Tomorrow begins the elimination of dairy products: milk, cheese, yogurt, etc. This will be rough. I’m not particularly fond of milk, but I do enjoy cheese. Yogurt has also been an easy way to get probiotics to improve my gut health. I can do this. It’s crazy to think how far I’ve come. I’m finishing week 6 of an 8 week elimination diet. Reintroduction will begin soon and I can start enjoying some of my favorite foods again. More importantly, I can narrow down which foods are my triggers.

Elimination: Week 5

Another busy weekend! Last week was the elimination of legumes from my diet. As predicted, soy was the most difficult. There are some protein shakes that I’ve been drinking that are banana, almond, and honey. They are delicious! However, they contain soy lecithin and I had to give them up. I find, as I progress, that it gets easier to give things up.

Hamilton Beach Personal Blender

I weighed myself this morning and I am down to 247.4 pounds! This is the first time I’ve been under 250 pounds in about seven years. As a reward for completing legume week successfully and for hitting my first benchmark goal, I ordered a personal blender so I can make my own protein shakes without soy.

Today is the first day of eliminating eggs from my diet. I love eggs, but I’ll get by. I’m a little worried that eggs might turn out to be one of my trigger foods. I don’t do well with them when I eat them in the morning and there is something still in my diet that is triggering me. We shall see.

Elimination: Week 4

Yesterday was the last day of the nightshades elimination. I am no longer eating potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, or anything that comes from those items, such as paprika. Potatoes are my favorite food, so this wasn’t easy for me. However, I have a flare-up within an hour of eating potatoes, so it had to be done.

Contour Memory Foam Pillow

I was surprised to find that nightshades are in a lot of foods, particularly potato starch and tomato paste. This was challenging. Again, reading the labels on foods is key to success with an elimination diet.

I am now halfway through the elimination part of this and will be on strict paleo for a couple of weeks before reintroducing foods. To reward myself, I splurged a little and bought a contour memory foam pillow. I’ve been having some neck, shoulder, and upper arm pain lately. I’m a side sleeper, so I’m sure that contributes to it. I’m going to give this pillow a try. It’s supposed to have good support for your spine and it has places to rest your arms so that you aren’t laying on them.

This is what I was doing when I would normally have been weighing myself. Yes, I am riding a dinosaur. I had the opportunity to meet up with a friend at Jurassic Quest and I had a blast!

At weigh-in yesterday, I was 254.2 pounds, which is about a half pound more than I was the week before. I did weigh myself at night instead of in the morning, as I had a busy day. That could account for the difference and it’s possible that I just maintained weight. Weight isn’t really a concern for me. I’m doing this for my health, to reduce HS flare-ups. However, I am curious about this weight gain. My pants are noticeably bigger and I keep having to pull them up. I have definitely lost weight in my hips. Maybe I’ve gained it somewhere else. I don’t know.

Anyway, today begins week 5 of the elimination diet. No legumes. This includes beans and peanuts. The hardest part of this will be soy. Soy is in a lot of things in the form of soybean oil, soy lecithin, soy milk, soy sauce, soy flour, soy paste (miso), tofu, tempeh, and more. Some items may not be so obvious about their soy content, but check the ingredients. I found soy in my salad dressing, yogurt, protein shakes, and chocolate to name just a few.

Elimination: Week 3

Today marks the end of my third week of the elimination diet. Grains (and now all gluten) have been removed from my diet. Dividing gluten into three weeks does mean slower progress on the diet, but it has been really helpful for me so that I don’t feel overwhelmed. That is important as stress eating is one of my bad habits.

Salad cutter bowl.

I purchased some new jeans on Monday because I had worn my others out. At the time, they fit me perfectly. I wore them yesterday for the first time and they are already too loose. I weighed myself today and I am down to 253.8. I lost about a pound and a half this week. To reward myself, I purchased a salad bowl cutter.

I’m really excited about this! One of the reasons I don’t make my own salads to take to work is because I don’t get up early enough to wash and cut everything. I’m not a morning person. With this, it should take me a lot less time.

I can even wash everything and toss it in this bowl and take the whole thing to work to be cut when I’m on my lunch break. It’ll be good for making fruit salads, too.

Tomorrow begins the elimination of nightshades: potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and spices derived from peppers, such as paprika. I’ve already stopped eating potatoes because they cause me to flare up. I don’t like peppers. Tomatoes might be difficult because this will include things with tomato paste and tomato juice. However, I have already trained myself to read labels. I can do this.