[full of it]

The Run-Down

Posted in Uncategorized by susieyarbs on August 8, 2011

I’m going to attempt to summarize what I’ve learned about the primal diet so far in my adventures.  Rather than explaining it by linking to a million other blog posts, how about I actually explain it.  As much as I can.  Which will only really skim the surface, but hopefully will give a better idea of why exactly we’re doing this and answer some of the questions I hear a lot of.


Rather – high insulin levels make you fat.  Here is a very detailed explanation, but I’ll give you a watered-down version.  Every single carbohydrate you eat, be it from fruit, soda, candy, bread, cake, rice, whatever, is broken down into glucose.  Carb in your hand, glucose in your blood.  Your body  really, really doesn’t like having lots of glucose floating around.  So when there’s glucose in your blood, your pancreas secretes insulin to store it somewhere fast.  First to your muscles and liver, then once those cells are full, which happens fast, to your fat cells.

After a while, your liver and muscles cells stop answering the door when insulin knocks.  So your pancreas makes more insulin.  So your muscles and liver lock the door and put on headphones.  Etc.  With nowhere else to go, now a bigger proportion of your excess glucose is getting stored in fat cells, and while you continue pounding the carbs, your blood sugar levels stay high.  HELLO TYPE 2 DIABETES.   Then your pancreas gives up.  HELLO TYPE 1 DIABETES, and congratulations, now you are dependent on injectable insulin.

Here’s a c/p from the link:

1) The levels of blood glucose stay higher longer because the glucose can’t make it into the muscle cells. This toxic glucose is like sludge in the bloodstream clogging arteries, binding with proteins to form harmful AGEs (advanced glycated end-products) and causing systemic inflammation. Some of this excess glucose contributes to a rise in triglycerides, increasing risk for heart disease.

2) More sugar gets stored as fat. Since the muscle cells are getting less glycogen (because they are resistant), and since insulin inhibits the fat-burning enzyme lipase, now you can’t even burn stored fat as easily. You continue to get fatter until eventually those fat cells become resistant themselves.

3) It just gets better. Levels of insulin stay higher longer because the pancreas thinks “if a little is not working, more would be better.” Wrong. Insulin is itself very toxic at high levels, causing, among many other maladies, plaque build-up in the arteries (which is why diabetics have so much heart disease) and increasing cellular proliferation in cancers.

4) Just as insulin resistance prevents sugar from entering muscle cells, it also prevents amino acids from entering. So now you can’t build or maintain your muscles. To make matters worse, other parts of your body think there’s not enough stored sugar in the cells, so they send signals to start to cannibalizing your precious muscle tissue to make more – you guessed it – sugar! You get fatter and you lose muscle. Woo hoo!

5) Your energy level drops, which makes you hungry for more carbohydrates and less willing to exercise. You actually crave more of the poison that is killing you.

6) When your liver becomes insulin resistant, it can’t convert thyroid hormone T4 into the T3, so you get those mysterious and stubborn “thyroid problems”, which further slow your metabolism.

7) You can develop neuropathies (nerve damage) and pain in the extremities, as the damage from the excess sugar destroys nerve tissue, and you can develop retinopathy and begin to lose your eyesight. Fun.

It really is that bad.  Hoarding tummy fat?  That’s a sign of insulin resistance.  Have a little pooch under your belly button even though you’re thin?  Insulin resistance.  It’s all about insulin!  Seriously!  Keep your insulin low, eat plenty of good fat to burn as your main fuel, lose fat.  Stop.eating.sugar.

How many grams of carbohydrate is too many?  Well, if you’re eating under 50g, you’re in ketosis – your body is manufacturing its own carbs to fuel your nervous system (which prefers carbs as its main energy source).  If you’re getting under 100g, you’re most likely going to lose weight without much extra effort.  If you’re getting under 150g, you probably won’t lose weight without an exercise regimen, but you’ll be in a good spot insulin-wise.  Most Americans eat over 300g a day.  If you stop eating sugar and grains (wheat, oats, corn, rice, buckwheat, millet, rye, barley – all of them, and legumes while you’re at it (not a grain, but a hefty dose of carbohydrate and lectins)), it’s actually sort of difficult to get all the way to 150g.  Stick to 1-2 fruit servings a day, go crazy on the vegetables and protein, and you’ll be well within that range.


Grains are awful.  No kidding.  Everything above applies to grains as well as sugar – because they all convert to glucose and cause an insulin spike.  But grains are particularly insidious.  I won’t say that I’ll never have sugar again – I eat fruit, and I’m sure there are bowls of ice cream in my future as a rare cheat treat.  But I believe I can safely say I will never (intentionally) eat another grain.  I think I’ve linked to it before, but here is why they’re so bad.

Humans are not supposed to eat them.  We’re just not.  For years I’ve given my dog grain-free food, but haven’t extended myself the same consideration.  Our species, before we got too smart for our own good, were hunter-gatherers.  Our genetic makeup is suited for animal protein and the moderate amount of carbs you’d get from eating loads and loads of vegetables and some fruit here and there (roughly 80g of carbs a day).

But besides the common-sense argument, which is sort of ho-hum (ok, well, we weren’t “meant” to drive cars either, but I’m not going to stop doing that), they are harmful.  As in, they will do direct damage to your insides.  By way of:

LECTINS:  these little buggers will stick to your intestinal lining, bind to your insulin receptors (worsening insulin resistance), can cause leaky gut syndrome where your partially digested food (including more lectins) can seep into your bloodstream and wreak mad havoc on your immune system by binding to anything they please.  La di da, just a lonely lectin, floating along…ooh, that joint looks like fun, I’ll stop there.  It can cause your immune system to reject the entire joint, organ, or tissue that is infected by lectins.  It can’t differentiate the lectin from the tissue, so it attacks the whole thing.  Is this sounding familiar?

GLUTEN:  you must know about gluten.  It seems like everyone is avoiding it.  It’s bad news.  About a third of us are sensitive or intolerant.  It causes something similar to an allergic reaction, causing a host of problems that vary greatly in manifestation and severity from person to person.  Skin issues, bloating, malabsorption, reflux, infertility, any digestive problem you can think of, joint pain.  You name it, gluten is implicated.  Bastard.

PHYTATES:  in short, they keep you from absorbing the nutrients you eat.  They’re aptly known as anti-nutrients.  They bind to all the awesome minerals you think you’re getting when you look at a food label.  They’re there – you just aren’t going to get them.

You can sort of neutralize some of these things by fermenting or soaking/sprouting, but not totally.  Unless you live in the third world and rely on being able to eke enough nutrients out of grains to survive (and they all have some sort of elaborate grain preparation method that mitigates some of those toxins), they’re just no good to you.

Is that enough for now?  I’m sort of spent.

But before I totally run out of steam, a few notes:

-Whole grains aren’t any better.  All carbs, fast or slow burning, simple or complex, eventually become glucose in your bloodstream and contribute to your total insulin load.  Complex carbs won’t spike your blood sugar quite as high quite as fast, but your body still has to do something with the glucose.  AND you could make the argument that whole grains are worse because their lack of processing means they’re typically higher in phytates, lectins and gluten.

Isn’t it just like Atkins?  No.  Sort of.  Not really.  Atkins is also low-carb, high-protein, but Atkins allows for artificial sweeteners, “low-carb” snacks – it doesn’t really matter what you’re eating, as long as it isn’t a carbohydrate.  No preference for quality fats, clean meat, organic vegetables.  Trans fat, PUFA, omega 3:6, doesn’t matter.  The overriding message is: avoid carbs and you’ll lose weight.  And it’s true.  It just may not be the healthiest way to do it.  Here is a really amazing Venn diagram outlining Paleo, Primal, and Atkins.

Quinoa?  Is not a grain.  It’s a chenopod…or a pseudograin…or something.  Related to swiss chard and such.  I’d put it in the “cheat” column because it still delivers a heavy carb dose, but it isn’t the worst thing.  By the way, even though it is a grain, this is how I view rice as well.  Another reason worth avoiding them is that for some folks it may trigger sugar cravings.  If you’ve got a sweet tooth, I’d stay away.

-And to clarify what I’m doing exactly – I got inspired by the Whole30 concept.  After dipping my toes in the water and cheating daily (is it even cheating, then?) for months, I needed to just do it.  I’m doing a complete first 30 days (except for two cheats over the weekend – cheese and white potatoes), then after a month of clean eating I’m going to do another month with the reintroduction of dairy.  And probably some alcohol.  Hopefully that way I’ll have a better idea of how they affect me, and I’ll know whether I should keep excluding or if I tolerate them well.

So far I’ve read The Primal Blueprint, and I’ve ordered The Paleo Solution. I definitely recommend tPB – very easy to read, well-organized, well-researched and supported.  I also read Mark’s Daily Apple everyday – and today he answered my question about olives!



Week 2

Posted in Uncategorized by susieyarbs on August 5, 2011

A quick update before the beast wakes up –

Still feeling great with the food stuff.  I had some major, unintentional weight loss that first week, but since then I’ve put a little back on and am looking not so scary anymore.  I’m not nearly as hungry, so I’ll take that to mean that my body has figured out how to use dietary fat as fuel.  I’m making an effort to stay out of ketosis, but we’ve eaten all of our fruit and it’s too dang hot to even consider stepping out of the front door.  So it might be a meat and veggie only day.

My skin is looking a lot smoother these last few days.  I rarely break out anymore, but I’d always had little micro-bumps on my cheeks, and they’ve gone away.  A welcome side effect!

Felix seems to be sleeping better at night.  I don’t expect any progress to be permanent, but it’s nice right now.  I think he only nursed once between 9pm and 4am.  But as usual, starting around 5am he gets restless and flails around in a state of half-sleep.  I’ll take what I can get though!

Speaking of Felix – I keep thinking I should talk about what he eats, especially since one of the LLL moms the other day couldn’t figure out what he’s going to eat when he’s 2 if we aren’t giving him grains.  But the answer is really short – he eats what I eat.  Not everything, obviously, but if I’m usually eating something that can be made baby-friendly.  He eats my egg yolks in the morning, he gets bits of fruit, bits of cooked vegetables, bits of meat and fish.  I can’t say definitively that he “likes” or “dislikes” any particular food…he makes a disgusted face at everything he puts in his mouth, then keeps going back for more.  He’s eaten chicken, beef, salmon (smoked and fresh), zucchini, avocado, banana, blueberries (bitten in half by me), nectarine, mango, spinach (mixed in with scrambled eggs), squash, sweet potatoes, applesauce.  He almost never gets purees.  The few times I’ve offered them he hasn’t eaten much, and I think it’s because he can’t play with it.  He eats much more if I put little bits in front of him and he feeds himself.

If you’re wondering, on tonight’s menu is baked chicken thighs, pureed garlic cauliflower (subbing some broth for the butter), and spicy sweet potato fries (no recipe, I just season them with Tony’s and cayenne and bake them).


One Week Down

Posted in Uncategorized by susieyarbs on August 1, 2011

The bees are gone!  phew.  We only had to stay one night in the hotel.  By the evening of the second day we were able to go back inside the house.  Now I guess I should wash the bee guts off the windows…

I managed to only cheat a tiny bit during our little adventure.  I got some potato salad from Rudy’s so I wasn’t eating only meat for dinner (though – the paleo folks would tell you it’s better to eat only meat for a meal than to eat white potatoes.  Sorry dudes.)  Besides the potatoes, I’m sure the mayo was not primal, in that I’m sure it was made from vegetable oil.  I only had about three forkfuls that night, and another couple the next day.

Then the weekend was a challenge in eating out.  On Saturday we were back at the apartment, but we didn’t really have enough food to constitute a meal.  Plus, it had been a crazy couple of days, and it was just one of those times when the mere act of opening a cupboard is too much to handle.  So, out we went.  There’s an Elevation Burger nearby – grass-fed beef, and for us bread-haters they’ll wrap it up in lettuce instead of a bun.  I wish I could combine Terra Burger and Elevation.  Terra Burger serves organic, but not grass-fed beef.  They have a gluten-free bun, but no lettuce option (though they might do it if I asked…).  BUT they have avocado and bacon as topping options, and sweet potato fries.  Elevation has better meat, but no avocado or bacon (seriously, guys?), and only white potato fries.  C’est la vie, I suppose.

Saturday night we had dinner at Z Tejas with John’s parents and aunt and uncle.  I skimmed the menu beforehand so I could be prepared.  There were tons of options that only needed one or two modifications (like no cheese on a salad, or a different dressing), and also a little “healthy” menu that had grilled salmon and vegetables.  That’s what I went for.  Salads are lovely, but I need more meat than the typical skimpy offering on top of greens.  There was butter involved, so it wasn’t perfect, but hey.  It was delicious, and very nearly paleo.

Then Sunday we had takeout from Cheesecake Factory.  This time I did get a salad, and while it was delicious, was seriously calorie and protein deficient.  I kept dipping into the almond butter all afternoon (guys – I need to cool it on the nuts.  I went through a jar in a week.) and didn’t really feel sated until I ate dinner (ten shrimp in coconut oil with garlic, zucchini also dripping in coconut oil).

I believe that The Suck I was experiencing some of last week was a bit of the low-carb flu.  Kind of a crappy transition period where your body is (re)learning to use fat as its main fuel rather than glucose.  I had a few dizzy spells, some fatigue.  Eating more salt helped significantly.  I had this sort of feeling a lot when I was pregnant, and figured out it was that I needed more salt, maybe had a touch of adrenal fatigue.  My thought process, and I’m speculating here, is that I’ve been eating TONS more vegetables than I usually do, and therefore am getting more potassium than usual, and without processed foods I’m getting less salt, leaving me unbalanced.  Solution: pour sea salt into palm and lick it off.

I’ve had to get used to eating fat – lots of fat.  So much fat.  Fat all day.  When I do that, I feel amazing.  Today I feel wonderful.  Breakfast was leftover steak and (not leftover) eggs, then I had some watermelon, some carrots dipped in coconut butter, a cup of homemade bone broth.

With some vague calculations based on some guidelines from MDA (very vague, given that I don’t have a scale and I’m compensating for breastfeeding by calling myself “very active”) – I should have roughly 2,300 calories a day.  Let’s go on the high end of my protein recommendation and say I should get 90g a day.  Let’s go crazy and say 100g.  Then I’ll give myself a very generous carb allowance of 120g.  That’s well out of ketosis range, and actually sort of hard to attain without grains, even with lots of fruit.  So that gives me 400 calories in protein, and 480 calories from carbohydrate.  That’s only 880 calories.  That means, to get to 2,300 calories in a day, I need 1,420 calories worth of fat.  That’s 157g!

In reality, I feel like I’m satisfied by eating less in all categories.  I probably don’t hit 2,000 calories most days.  But I do believe that half of my calories come from fat.  Don’t be scared, that’s good.  Eating fat won’t make you fat.  It won’t clog your arteries, either.

As far as cravings, I don’t really have any.  Other than almond butter (which I should take down a notch – too many omega-6 fats and not enough 3s).  At the grocery store I walked through the bakery just fine, down the snack aisle fine.  I feel like at this point, I’ve read so much about how (and more importantly, why specifically) grains and sugar are no good, that they’ve lost all appeal.  I sort of miss butter, like last night when I was eating my shrimp, but in a few more weeks I can reintroduce that.

Well, my motherly intuition is telling me that this nap is about to end, which means I should go find myself a snack so I can be prepared for the ever-increasing demands of parenting.


Posted in Uncategorized by susieyarbs on July 28, 2011

I’m writing this on my iPad from the Extended Stay America hotel. (side note- my text isn’t showing up in this browser, so I can’t be held responsible for typos)
Why am I in a hotel? There is a massive bee hive in our wall, and bees were getting inside at e rate of 20 per day.
Our property manager is beyond incompetent. She has had more than enough time to get rid of the bees. On Monday a guy came out, but just to look and give an estimate. Gloria said she would need approval because it’s going to be expensive to remove all the comb. By the way, we had this same problem when we moved in, but they didn’t remove the hive and the bees just found another entry point.
I can’t even go into specifics on things she’s dropped the ball on…there are too many. But let’s fast forward to today…
The bee population exploded. I killed 20 bees by 10am, which is normally when they’re pretty dormant. Prime bee-smashing time isn’t until the afternoon. Soi had a Samuel L moment, cocked my gun and decided I was done. Done smashing bees, done giving the benefit of doubt, done worrying about the baby getting stung.
I packed a bag and left multiple messages with Gloria to tell her the unit was no longer habitable, and I was extending the courtesy of getting a hotel approved before I checked in. She was very obviously avoiding me. Her assistant told me she was “running errands.” WI left the house and headed to the mall to kill time in a bee-free zone while I waited to hear from her. Her assistant called about 20 minutes after I left to tell me the bee guy should be there. I told him it didn’t really matter; I was still checking into a hotel.
Went back to the unit. The bee guy and some man named mark were there. Mark introduced himself as the new manager. Er…what? He was there to distribute letters about the switch. Whatever. Mark seemed nice enough, but he’s never managed residential properties and obviously had no authority. Bee guy said the hive was extensive – in the wall, under the house. I told mark my plan was to go to a hotel, he said, “well, that’s what I would do.” Helpful, thanks.
Not knowing our chances of getting reimbursed, I picked the cheapest extended stay hotel nearby. There is one next door and another across the street that are obviously way nicer, and I was so close to turning into a different one. As I was checking in John called to say they are going to pay for it. Oh well.
It’s at least two days of work they say, so that means two nights here. Oh, and right now tippy is at the house, John is getting her after work.
I have a feeling it’s going to be a bigger job than they think. If the hive is that big, it must have been there a long time, and I don’t know, but it seems like those things could do some structural damage. We are very seriously considering breaking our lease…if moving weren’t such a pain the ass it would be done already.
Well. This will present more challenges to the whole 60. For lunch I went through a burger place and just ate the insides and sweet potato fries. I threw a bunch of snacks in a bag but left them in the fridge. I’m hungry. There’s a bag of fritos on the counter staring at me. If I start dying before the baby wakes up I might cheat. For dinner I’ll probably pick up Rudy’s…although without eating sugar (coleslaw), white potatoes (potato salad), or beans…or corn…I don’t think there are any sides I can eat. Bummer.
Anyway. I mist be spending a good deal of time in ketosis, because my waist is noticeably smaller. I bought some size 2 $9 shorts at the gap – too big. Like, way too big. Yesterday I made an effort to bump up the calories and felt much better. I might be addicted to almond butter.
Sigh. Baby, wake up. Ion hungry.

Day 1 pt 3

Posted in Uncategorized by susieyarbs on July 26, 2011

Ok, I swear I won’t be writing three separate entries each day.

I promised myself I would stay honest in how I feel throughout this whole business.  Meaning, I’m not going to proclaim after one day that I feel JUST SO AMAZING, and I’m also not going to ignore or not tell you about when I feel bad.  It irks me to no end when folks doing ridiculous lemon-juice-and-cayenne cleansing fasts are like, “OMG I’ve never felt better.”  I always think of that Office episode where everyone is trying to lose weight, and Kelly looks horrific and says, “But I just ordered some size 2 bikinis.  I look amazing…”

That said, almost immediately after writing that last entry, I started feeling like shit.  Exhausted, foggy.  Considering how little I’d eaten, it’s not a shocker.  So I ate some smoked salmon, some blueberries.  Helped a little, not completely.  Then we ate dinner, and after that I finally started feeling good.  Even after adding that food into my little tracker, I still came out with fewer calories than I’d expected, so today I’ll make more of an effort to eat an actual lunch.  Oh, and I had a massive breakfast.  Already off to a better start.

Day 1 pt 2

Posted in Uncategorized by susieyarbs on July 25, 2011

Ok, you’ll have to forgive me for the random timing of these posts.  I can only write during baby naps, so there probably won’t be very many concise and pretty “here’s what I ate yesterday” posts.

I signed up for some random calorie tracker thing, the first free one I saw.  I have no interest in counting calories, or really tracking anything nutrition-wise, but I do sort of want to track for a couple of days just to get a general idea of how many carbs I’m eating.  It’s also handy for me to tell you what I ate today.  Because I know you’re extremely interested.

-Two eggs fried in coconut oil.  Shared yolks with Felix.  [Normally breakfast would also include a produce item, but I hadn’t gone to the store yet]

-Two handfuls of walnuts
-3/4 of a cucumber used to dip in guacamole (a whole avocado’s worth)
-Maybe 4-5 chunks of frozen watermelon
-Another fried egg

Dinner (planned – haven’t eaten it yet)
-Chicken breast (these that I just got today are HUGE)
-Sautéed zucchini and mushrooms

And I’ll probably have a few more chunks of watermelon…because it’s delicious.  Surprises – that it FAR fewer calories than I thought it would be, even if this tracker thing is way off (or I’m way off in my estimations of how much of each thing I’m eating…dude, I don’t know how many ounces of watermelon I ate).  And also fewer carbs.  I can absolutely stand to have a little more fruit or a sweet potato.  Ha, and my fat and protein intake is way over their suggested amounts.

Calories: 1599 (bear in mind that my nursing alone is burning around 500 a day…I feel like this should be way higher!)
Carbs: 49g (ketosis range…even up to 100 is “weight loss” zone)
Fat: 117g
Protein: 70g

I only intend to track like this for 2-3 days, just to get an idea.

Day 1

Posted in Uncategorized by susieyarbs on July 25, 2011

Whole60 starts today.  I went to the store, got all stocked up, and it seemed dumb to arbitrarily put it off to the first of the month.  So – Day 1 it is.

I went to Whole Foods and spent way more money than I usually do, because I’m so terrified of looking in the cabinets/fridge and thinking Ugh, nothing to eat.  That is no longer an excuse, and shouldn’t be all week.

Here are my food options:

-any combination of eggs, spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli, bacon and breakfast sausage (bah, yes, the breakfast sausage has sugar – but very little, and it isn’t corn syrup, and…come on.  It’s the only thing, I swear).  So this could mean sausage, spinach, mushroom scramble; zucchini and mushroom omelet; broccoli and bacon frittata; sautéed sausage, spinach, mushrooms…you get the idea.
-berries (I got blackberries and blueberries – always organic with the berries, guys – they soak up pesticides like delicious juicy sponges)
-banana and almond butter

-Any leftover dinner meat on a salad (romaine hearts, because I’ll be honest – I don’t much like salad greens…I’m far more likely to eat crunchy lettuce, so romaine it is)
-More realistically, I’ll graze through the day on snacks and dinner leftovers if I have them
-Or I’ll quickly sauté  any meat/veggies that need to be cooked

Rather than planning whole meals, I plan proteins and they get paired with whatever vegetable I feel like making.  So, for proteins:
-Grass fed flat iron steak (I bought 3 steaks, one for us to split for next day’s lunch) with chimichurri
-Shrimp – I have a big bag frozen, so they can be blackened, cajun-seasoned, curried…whatever.
-Lots of chicken – Rosemary chicken, or cut up and sautéed with a vegetable, or blackened…whatever.
-Cod with chorizo/almond crust
And vegetables:
-Zucchini, which I usually just sauté with salt and pepper
-Broccoli, frozen – I’ll steam it, then drench it in olive oil and salt
-Sweet potato, which I love as “fries” – baked in thin strips with Tony’s and cayenne
-Green beans, frozen – also steamed then drenched in oil

-Fruit – berries, mango, banana, peaches
-Carrots and almond butter
-Cucumber and guacamole
-Frozen watermelon chunks
Kale chips (seriously – if you think you don’t like kale, make it like this.  NO ONE doesn’t like it.  This is also just the first recipe I clicked on…I don’t turn them because it hasn’t ever seemed to make a difference.  Just watch them, pull one out and do a crunch test.)
-Smoked salmon

This whole primal thing goes a little bit beyond eating just meat and vegetables; it’s about eating clean meat and vegetables.  Cows, chickens, pigs – they shouldn’t be eating grain either.  And when they are fed grain, they get sick just like we do.  Their meat has more omega-6 and fewer omega-3 fats.  So wherever it’s possible (and it’s easy at a place like Whole Foods), the meat I buy is grass fed or pastured (look for 100% grass-fed…some meats labeled “grass-fed” are only “grass-finished” or a small percentage of the animal’s diet was grass).  It is more expensive, but some of that cost is off-set by not buying boxed or processed foods.  And with produce, I buy organic where it matters and local when it’s possible.  I don’t do organic avocados, melons, or bananas, but always organic apples, peaches, berries (stuff with skin that I eat).

I’m looking into joining a CSA (like this one) again.  We did one of those farm delivery things in SF, but stopped after about a month because we let stuff go bad.  Now, since our diet is much more produce-based and I have the time and energy to devote to figuring out how to prepare the weird surprise things you get, I think it’s worth another try.  It forces you to branch out, and my trips to the grocery store can be super quick – just supporting ingredients and protein.  Once Felix is a little older, I LOVE the idea of letting him visit the farm where his food comes from.  Supporting local farmers, eating local, seasonal food…what’s not to love?


Posted in Uncategorized by susieyarbs on July 23, 2011

I’m doing the Whole30 starting in August.  Or two Whole30s, really.  August and September.  Whole60?

I’m curious.  I keep hearing/reading that most of us don’t even know that we feel bad.  Or that we accept little things as inevitable, like fatigue, minor stomach or digestive problems, skin issues.  I decided last week that August and September would be “no cheat” months, to get a really good baseline of gut health so I can really tell how these little corn and rice and honey cheats affect me…then I found this Whole30 thing, and it’s convinced me to add dairy to my no-cheat list.  I’m giving it two months instead of one just because of my medical history, I might have more going on in the way of systemic inflammation than the average person.  And 30 days just doesn’t seem like that long.  I feel like with 30 days, I’ll be counting down the days until I can eat chips and queso again, but with 60 I’ll probably be more likely to really adopt it as a permanent thing.

So there – starting Aug 1, no grains, legumes, sugar, dairy, alcohol, processed food, or (eep!) white potatoes.

It probably won’t be quite the transition for me as for most people.  I already don’t do stuff like bread, pasta, or much boxed/processed food.  Also, if you’re wondering, John isn’t doing this with me, but since I do the shopping and dinner cooking, he doesn’t have much of a choice at home.  Although, if the first 30 days go really well I will probably nudge him towards doing the second 30 with me.

This morning I had some old, familiar joint pain.  Maybe from last night’s alcohol?  Or corn tortillas?  The cheese inside the tacos?  See, I cheat a lot.  The pain was fleeting, I feel fine now – but that’s the kind of stuff I’d like to see go away entirely.  And this mysterious rash on my upper arms that I’ve had for years.  You can only see it when I step out of the shower, but I get bright red splotches all over.  Someone told me it’s a common fungal infection, someone else told me mild eczema.  Who knows.  But if diet makes it go away, who cares!

I might encounter an additional challenge, although the transition won’t be too hard: my inability to do any intermittent fasting.  That is the usual paleo response to “What if I can’t find anything to eat?”  — Don’t eat!  But as a nursing mother, I just can’t.  I don’t think it would be harmful, I’m just too hungry!  Maybe once I’m off grains and I’m no longer having insulin spikes I won’t feel terrible without a meal.  After all, I’m sure Mrs Grock did her fair share of IF.

I’ll try to post here more often, with meal plans and progress and all that.  Eee, wish me luck!

BTW – I know the site says start today, don’t put it off, but I’ve had a sick kid, my cabinets and fridge are very sad, and I want time to place a http://www.grasslandbeef.com order so I can have stuff like unprocessed jerky to snack on, and pemmican if I need a no-cook lunch one day.



Posted in Uncategorized by susieyarbs on July 23, 2011

He’s on the move…


Posted in Uncategorized by susieyarbs on July 17, 2011

The lightbulb just turned on.

More on this primal stuff, but as it pertains to me and RA.  I think I first heard about wheat and gluten relating to autoimmune diseases from a blogger who had celiac disease.  Then my chiropractor, on my first visit when we were going through my history, said, “You know you shouldn’t be eating wheat, right?”  Right.  When I asked my rheumatologist if there might be any dietary changes I could make that would help, he shrugged and said, “Nah, not really,” and wrote me a prescription (and another, and another).

My understanding of exactly why gluten would be “bad” for people with RA has been vague.  It does something bad to your intestines, it screws with your immune system.  I’ve settled for “we just weren’t meant to have it.”  Seems reasonable enough.  There’s also a fair amount of information out there specifically about gluten and celiac, but not so much about grains and other autoimmune diseases.

I heard things about phytic acid, an anti-nutrient in grains.  The reason that sprouted bread is “better” for you is that sprouting, fermenting, and soaking helps neutralize some of the phytic acid.

Then the same blogger got deeper and deeper into this primal thing, realizing that eliminating other grains in addition to the glutenous ones made her feel even better, and rid her of the mysterious joint pain she’d been having.  Then she cut out nightshades and what remained of her diary intake.


Here’s why.  LECTINS.

My summary: They’re in everything.  Plants use them as a defense mechanism – “eat a ton of me and I’ll make you feel like crap so you don’t do it again.”  There are tons of different kinds of lectins.  They are sticky little proteins that are hard to break down; digestive enzymes don’t do the job.

They really love to stick to your small intestines, which can potentially cause, among other nasty things, leaky gut.  It’s what it sounds like.  Crap (literally!) can leak out.  Eep!  Leaked out lectins are then free to bind to…anything.  Foreign matter bound to otherwise healthy tissue, immune system attacks otherwise healthy tissue.  click.

This page mentions that there’s a particular link between RA and wheat – which might explain why my “twinges” and sloshy knee have gone away since faithfully cutting out wheat, but with still quite a bit of cheating with other grains.

Lectins are particularly concentrated in grains, legumes, nuts, nightshades, and dairy.

I’m reading through this stuff going between “holy shit this makes so much sense, finally some semblance of an answer,” and putting my fingers in my ears and closing my eyes.  Yeah, here’s a potential answer.  And a very heavy reason for me to not eat those things anymore.  Sad emoticon.  But I like milk in my coffee, I like salsa and eggplant.  I love peppers!

I have some adjusting to do.