I want to have a heart to heart with you and tell you all about the latest & greatest that’s been going on since my 6-month blogging hiatus since that’s the only fair thing to do.
As you know I was a strong advocate of a plant-based diet for many, many years and then just over a year ago I got sucked into the Whole30 craze and went from being a pretty strict Vegan to following a pretty strict Paleo diet.
And so where am I at now? Good question and I’ll get to that in a minute. This was part of why I wanted to start this blog in the first place. I’m like a human science experiment and I’m always trying this, that and the other and I like sharing my experiences so I can hopefully save others the pain of trying the really bad stuff, haha!
After doing the Whole30 I did feel really good. I don’t think it was because I was eating meat & eggs for the first time in 8 years. I think it had everything to do with the fact that I didn’t have any sugar, flour or alcohol for 30 days. After the 30 days were over I switched to a paleo diet, you know, because if doing it for 30 days was good, more must be better! So that means, I stuck to a diet that consisted of meat, eggs, vegetables, sweet potatoes and 1 piece of fruit a day. Yes, that’s right, I pretty much only ate those foods for almost a year. Yep, no rice, no quinoa, no beans, only 1 piece of fruit, no treats except for dark chocolate which is technically only allowed in small quantities (I ate…more than a small quantity…daily). What I’m getting at here is: I WENT CRAZY.
Not like, now I have an eating disorder crazy, but crazy enough to know that I did NOT feel good and that this way of eating was in no way sustainable for my lifestyle. I know the paleo diet works for thousands of people and that’s why I tried it. I just wasn’t one of those people.
Over the summer my health got bad. I was tired even though I didn’t run even once all summer. I cut my exercise WAY back and still felt sore & worn out. My body felt heavy and bigger than normal-(about 10 pounds heavier to be exact). It didn’t make sense to me because I thought I was eating healthier than ever. I thought, “All I’m eating is protein and vegetables. I’ve cut out alcohol, baked goods, chips, bread and everything fun. How can I get any healthier?”
As a side note, I want to add that I didn’t switch my diet in an attempt to lose weight. That was never my goal! I just wanted to be healthy. As a fitness professional I tend to devour every health book, journal and article ever written so as a byproduct, I try a lot of stuff.
Back to my story.
I found a naturopathic doctor who is also a nurse practitioner so she’s just a beautiful blend of holistic and modern medicine. She ran about a billion blood tests and this is what I learned:
- I had several vitamin deficiencies & a goiter
- I had very low insulin
- I had almost no progesterone (all hormones were whacked out actually)
- I was deficient in so many hormones & vitamins my metabolism and reproductive stuff was shutting down
- There was more but these were the biggies
I said to her, why is my insulin so low? She was scratching her head and said, “I don’t know, your body should make insulin every time you eat carbs like bread and rice and potatoes”. “Ooooh”, I said, “I don’t eat those things”.
So, eating the way I had been, caused a whole variety of health related issues. Not only that, but eating such a restrictive diet caused me a whole other world of pain. Going to the grocery store was torture because I felt like 99.9% of everything in there was “BAD”.
Ugh. It makes me so mad just thinking about it! This happened to me and I’m a fitness professional people! I thought I was doing the “right thing” and the “healthy thing” but really I was hurting my body and making myself sick and miserable.
Alright, so let’s fast forward. I started taking some high quality vitamins. My goiter went away, my hormones started to come back. My skin cleared and my aches & pains faded.
I went back to a plant-based diet. That part was easy because I’ve never really liked meat or eggs which means for a year I was eating food I didn’t really even like (red flag people, red flag!). I started eating more fruit, beans, rice & tofu. Basically, I freed myself from all restriction! It was hard at first because there was a voice in the back of my head saying “no, you can’t have that!” but I told it to shut up and eventually it did.
So what am I eating now? I would say I still follow a plant-based diet for the most part but I refuse to put any sort of restrictions on my diet so I will cook with eggs and eat cheese or cheesecake or whatever I want really!
The point I really want to make, especially as we go into the Holiday season, is: DON’T STRESS ABOUT FOOD. Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be. Don’t count calories and especially don’t count carbs. Eat foods that make your body feel good in quantities that make your body feel good. So if you know the sugar/flour combo will make you feel sick then only have a little, if any. But don’t go to a holiday party and break into a cold sweat at the sight of the dessert table or foods you’ve labeled as “bad”. There is no “bad food” and “good food”! Just enjoy the company of the people you are with and enjoy the special foods of the season and don’t feel compelled to eat ALL THE FOOD just because it’s there. Listen to your body, it really does know what’s best.
So going forward on my blog I’ll probably write more about my journey (as it’s turned into kind of a big deal) and I’ll share more about my food choices and exercise choices too (that’s a hot topic right there!) and I think you’ll see that everything I post from here on comes from a place of “kindness” as now I make sure all my choices are about doing what is really best for ME any my body and not what the “experts” say we should do.
Well if you are still reading, THANK YOU for hanging in through this long post.
Bye for now!