Since I went Paleo-ish (aka I cut out grains and legumes, but I still steer clear of red meat) in October 2014, I’ve had mixed feelings. I miss grains so much that I won’t lie, over both Thanksgiving and Christmas I cheated and had some Gluuteny baked goods… which are made out of rice flour. And Thanksgiving my sister made a gluten-free bread stuffing.
I definitely didn’t have a lot of energy right off the bat. The whole month of October I was soooooooo sluggish. But, the last two months I can say I’ve felt the best I’ve felt in 2 1/2 years.
I’ve always ate meat, but I was steering clear of red meats before. Since taking the plunge I’ve been trying to incorporate grass-fed beef and pork back in. It’s delicious and I love it . . . But unfortunately my body definitely has an inflammatory response.
I never thought I’d eat a food and have knee pain… But that’s what happens when I have red meat! I’ll eat it and the next day my knees will ache. Why, you ask?
Let’s take my example of red meat and talk about what happens when you have a food sensitivity.
When the meat is digested in my digestive system, the proteins are broken down. Each piece of food and each cell that is in our body has a “name tag”. The digestive process breaks these name tags down so that once it’s in our intestines our body doesn’t read it and try to do something with it.
Well, in the case of food sensitivities, the food ‘name tags’ aren’t properly broken down. Our immune cells read the name tag and start to process it. What ends up happening is IgG cells from our adaptive immune system are called in to attack. This causes lots of inflammation in our guts. If you have a chronic disease this inflammation is then triggered widespread and will affect your weaker body parts. Mine, for instance, is my knees.
So it’s good that I’ve identified this, because I can now cut back on the red meat.
Cheating on AIP
I’ve been reading Dr Amy Myers Autoimmune Solution (by the way, if you have any chronic disease you need to order this book asap) and have learned some interesting things about eliminating foods from your diet.
In October 2013 I started my elimination diet and cut out gluten, dairy, refined sugar, red meat, corn, soy and try to eat as non-gmo, organic as I can. Of course it’s not always possible, but you try your best!
Well, Dr. Myers gives a good illustration in her book. She says imagine your gut as a dam whose wall is extremely leaky. When you cut out all the food irritants you start to rebuild the wall brick by brick. But, as soon as you have one of those irritating foods, the bricks you just started to lay down are washed away and you have to start from scratch again. She mentions that a single bite of gluten can cause up to 3 months of issues in your digestive system. How crazy is that!?!?!
I went to a housewarming party a few weeks ago for a close friend. They were playing flip cup – one of my favorites. I hadn’t played in forever and after a little bit of pressure, I was in the next game. (I have such a weakness for flip cup haha) I was SO in the moment and having a blast that I didn’t even think about how I wasn’t drinking beer – I hadn’t had any for like 15 months.
We played the first round, lost (not my fault 😉 haha) and then it hit me. OMG! I had just drank a 1/4 cup of miller light and man. Did it taste delicious. (I mean, you usually don’t say the words delicious and miller light in the same sentence, but when you haven’t had it in soooo long I forgot what I was missing! Gluten free beer is NOT the same!)
I started freaking out. I couldn’t believe I did that! I had been such a stickler for the last 15 months and in a moment I completely reverted back to my old ways. A few people actually irritated me because they said I was being dramatic and it was just a sip of beer – it wasn’t going to kill me.
And it really did anger me at first, but then I realized. They can’t relate. When we go on ‘diets’ – let’s say the Atkins Diet – and we don’t eat carbs for weeks, but then break down and eat a muffin… We may beat ourselves up about it, but it’s not the end of the world. We may not feel great afterwords, but it’s not that big of a deal.
The next day after having the sip of beer, I spent the entire day in bed. My body ached, my intestines we’re going cray cray, I had no energy and I had a headache. All are signs of inflammation in my gut. I had eaten something that was causing my immune system to react. I had eaten something that washed away all the bricks that I had started building before.
And the crazy thing is, I can totally tell my digestion has been different since that night. It’s been much more sluggish, I have a lot more noises and movements coming from my abdomen and I’ve felt sick to my stomach.
I can’t be mad at myself because I was having so much fun and truly was living in the moment, but it was a hard lesson to learn. So I look at this example and then I think about non-gluten grains. From Oct 2013-2014 I ate rice as a dinner staple. My sister and I always had either brown rice or quinoa as a side dish to our veggies and meat.
Because of all the things I’ve eliminated from my diet I have done some great things for my digestive system, but I didn’t even realize that the rice that I thought was good was actually not helping me. April 2014 I had such digestive issues that I couldn’t eat. I lost so much weight – I was down to 115, basically skin and bones. All that I could keep down were rice cakes. Literally, all month that’s all I ate. I thought I was doing something semi good for my digestive system, but it wasn’t helping heal my gut.
Healing our bodies is SUCH a journey.
Every single one of us has a different journey that we’ll embark on and every single one will be completely different. One thing that my school always stressed was that one man’s pleasure could be another man’s poison. Just because I can’t eat red meat doesn’t mean you can’t.
Before I never cheated. I honestly didn’t. Last year I can count on one hand the times I ate something I wasn’t supposed to – one was at Christmas 2013 when I had 2 gluten/sugar filled cookies and New Years Eve 2014 when I had a few vodka sodas when I wasn’t supposed to be drinking yet. That’s it!
Then, since going paleo I have cheated with rice flour maybe 4 times and I did have a garbanzo bean cookie that my sister made. Oh and my beer episode haha!
So, is it ok to cheat every so often? Dr Myers says it’s important to be 100% compliant – not 95%, not 98%, but 100%.
We’re always learning from our bodies and experiences. If we’re not learning, we’re dead!
Make sure to listen to your body and take the cues that it’s giving you. You never just have a stomach ache, that headache was caused by SOMETHING – don’t ever let a health care professional tell you that there’s no cause or its idiopathic. Things just don’t happen. The human body is the most amazing, well-built machine ever built. It knows what it’s doing. We need to make sure we’re always listening!
Wishing You A Pain Free Day!
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