How My Diet Has Evolved Over The Years

How My Diet Has Evolved Over The Years

A lot of people say they could never stay on the diet I have to because it’d be too hard. Many people say, “oh you have to live life a little!”, “Just eat a cupcake” or “enjoy yourself”. . . But it’s not that simple.

Whenever I go out to eat, hell ya I’d rather order the fried chicken, or that big ass delicious looking pulled pork sandwich with fries, or the mouthwatering chocolate lava cake.

But, unfortunately I don’t have a choice. If I want to function as a normal human being, I HAVE to be strict. (Read this post explaining why)

And the other unfortunate part, is that there are so many others who could be feeling SO much better, and have better management of their symptoms, if they took the challenge to make the change as well.

How Has My Diet Evolved?

How my diet has evolved over the years | psoriatic arthritis, holistic health coach Julie Cerrone itsjustabadday.com juliecerrone.comThere are a few things I said I’d never give up.

Milk + beer were two big ones.

Pulled pork sandwiches were my favorite (probably for the sheer fact that it was acceptable to put a shit ton of bbq sauce on it.) Bbq sauce was my favorite condiment (Ok, maybe I liked the bbq sauce in the sandwich more than the pork).

And I never understood how someone could be vegan. Like what!? No animal products. I just couldn’t wrap my head about that one.

But now I sit here, a few years into dietary changes and think about just how far I’ve come.

Each year I seem to make iterations to my diet. I feel like my body, and life, are just one big science experiment and I’m the master scientist behind it. It’s an evolution. Just like life, we’re always learning, we’re always experimenting, we’re always refining. The same principle applies to my food journey, as it should with yours.

First, I did an elimination diet and identified which foods REALLY bother me (for example, Dairy is a BIG BIG BIGGGG NO NO NO), foods that I can have in moderation (like wine, a glass or two here and there), and foods that I can consume with no problems (like nightshades, citrus fruits and some other vegetables). Then for the next year, I was super strict with that diet. No gluten, soy, corn, refined sugar, red meat, and dairy.

Year two, I decided to try Paleo. For the first few months, I focused on omitting grains and legumes. And a few months later, I tried adding in red meat. Omitting grains was a bad withdrawal – I remember not having any energy at all for that whole October. But, it ended up being one of the best things I’ve done. The red meat thing was short lived because even getting high quality meat didn’t help. My knees aches and my joints swelled any time I would eat red meat. NOT WORTH IT! Obviously red meat bothers my body.

Then in my third year, I started incorporating more healing, targeting foods (ie. Celery juice in the morning and wild blueberries everyday) and I had functional medicine tests done. Upon receiving the results of my functional medicine tests, I was really confused. All the foods that I had identified as bothering me showed up on this list, but so did others! Things like Brussels sprouts, garlic, onions, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, chicken, turkey, – things that I was eating on a regular basis. And, the tests told me that I could eat red meat (my body definitely begs to differ on that one). I had paid a lot of money to get the tests done, so I figured I might as well try out that diet. So for 3 months, I paired my diet down to literally 7 vegetables, some fruits, fish, and some nuts.

I started being extremely confused because some of the foods on the list (like celery, spinach, garlic, etc) are immune boosting foods. They’re healing. They should be helping me. And I wasn’t getting them because I had omitted them out of my diet. Not to mention, I really started missing Brussels sprouts. Like holy shit miss them a lot. And I gained weight. YUP, I gained weight… because the easy choice was to grab a hand full of nuts, or use nuts as a sauce, or put nuts on top of something. So all those fats started adding up.

So, I did what I do best.

I started doing more research into fruits and vegetables and the healing science behind them. And all of my research has led me to this theory. . .

 

My Theory On Functional Medicine Food Sensitivity Tests

I definitely subscribe to the Medical Medium’s (Anthony William) notion that chronic conditions are rooted in a viral problem. I mean, it just makes perfect sense to me. There has to be a root cause of autoimmunity (or so called autoimmunity because Anthony says that our body doesn’t attack itself, it’s attacking the virus) and for me, Anthony has told me that I have a rare strain of Epstein Barr which is the root of all my health problems. If you’re not familiar with his work, I suggest you check him out. You may think it’s pretty out there, but honestly, when you start reading through his book and his posts, it just makes so much sense.

Back in November, I switched up all my supplements and for the last 6 months have been treating myself anti-virally. (That was one of the main take aways from my consult with Anthony. He helped me identify the right dosages of my supplements) An interesting thing to note is that many of the foods that showed up on my test as foods that are invoking my immune system are foods that are viral fighting foods. Therefore, I truly believe that these foods showed up on my test because hell yeah they were invoking an immune response. But, it’s a good immune response. That these foods were enacting my immune system to go fight the virus off.

How my diet has evolved over the years | psoriatic arthritis, holistic health coach Julie Cerrone itsjustabadday.com juliecerrone.comSo, I asked my Functional Medicine Doctor if he thought this might be what’s happening and of course he said no. I wasn’t surprised to hear him say this. But after diving into the research behind these functional medicine tests, they really raise a lot of questions to me. I don’t know if the science is necessarily there to tell us exactly how food is impacting us. Sure, we can test allergic reactions, but with so many reactions a food can contribute to our body – how can we test them? (other than testing ourselves through an elimination diet and seeing the proof in the pudding?!)

I was fortunate enough to get a one on one consult with Anthony William a few weeks back and during my time with him, I asked him what he thought about these tests. He honest to God pretty much said exactly what I said above. That modern science isn’t there yet and that the tests we have, aren’t horrible, but they’re not giving us the whole story. That we shouldn’t rely on these tests because, just like I thought, they’re showing all reactions – not necessarily only the bad ones.

That’s why I stress an elimination diet SO MUCH. That’s your true litmus test. Your experience with how your body reacts to certain foods is INVALUABLE. Much more reliable than $3,000 functional medicine tests. I’m sorry, my functional medicine tests told me I should be focusing on red meat (and so did my Doctor). Nope, not happening. I don’t want to be in pain.

So because of all the research I’ve done, and how much I believe in the healing power of food, I’ve decided to do a month of raw vegan.

Yup, I said it. RAW VEGAN. So, not only NO animal products, but having everything in raw form.
Why The Hell Would I Do This?

I think I thrive off of fruits and vegetables. I’ve noticed that my body doesn’t do well with a lot of animal protein. The last 3 months I’ve only been eating sea food and have been getting closer and closer to eating vegan anyways. The only things I really do eat are a cage free organic egg mayo and gelatin, besides the sea food of course.

During my Medical Medium consult, he confirmed everything I already knew about my diet (see! that’s why elim diets are PERFECT tools!) and mentioned that I HAD to get rid of eggs and I really should be off of all animal proteins. Eggs are fuel for the Epstein Barr virus. And I have to say, I didn’t have eggs for a few weeks, and then experimented with them. Wow, yes. I definitely am not tolerating eggs well. I woke up the next day feeling like I was hit by a bus.

Why Raw Vegan?

How my diet has evolved over the years | psoriatic arthritis, holistic health coach Julie Cerrone itsjustabadday.com juliecerrone.comRaw foods vs cooked foods give our bodies different nutrients. By eating only raw foods, I keep the focus on flooding my body with as many phytonutrients as I can. This will help ramp up my detoxification processes because my toxic load will be lowered and my body will have the ability to use these nutrients to focus on the things it hasn’t been able to focus on. Really, my primary purpose is to give my body so many nutrients that it’s celebrating in happiness that it can not only do it’s job, but focus on healing!

My digestion is in a fantastic place where I know it can handle it. A few years back, I couldn’t even think about eating something raw or else I’d give me a horrible stomach ache and usually end up coming out pretty much looking exactly like it did coming in. From Feb – May 2014, I basically lived on rice cakes because it was the only thing I could keep down. My gut was a MESS. The Functional Medicine tests that I had done on my gut health came back GREAT. My inflammation is pretty much non-existent, my enzymes and ecosystem are pretty much in balance and everything seems to be in working order. It’s taken me 2 years to get there, but I completely attribute my diet + supplements + reduced toxins + meditation + yoga to getting it back to normal.

My Thoughts On Going Raw Vegan

Honestly, I had no idea if I could do it. Prior to starting, I did a lot of homework. (Shocking right?) I was reading the book Fully Raw and was SHOCKED at what she was suggesting. The sheer thought of eating 8 bananas as part of a smoothie for lunch completely intimidated me! I started understanding people’s reaction to my diet now – like what?! That was extreme.

So going into it, I was intimidated by the sheer amount of food I’d have to consume to make sure I was getting my calories and protein in for the day. And because of that, I was worried about the price.

I won’t sugar coat it. I spent almost $300 in groceries my first week. ALMOST THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS! Going into the first week I thought, shit, even if I can eat like this, there’s NO FREAKING WAY I could afford this!

Now, in the Fully Raw book, Kristina gives some cost saving ideas. Like buying in bulk from the grocery store produce manager and participating in coops. Sure, if I was doing this long-term, I’d definitely look into that. But honestly, this was a short-term cleanse. I’d love to do it all the time, but for me and the life I lead, it’s not sustainable.

I’ve tried juice cleanses before and I’ve failed miserably. But, I had the best intentions going into this and I really wanted to challenge myself.

So, How Did It Go?

Instead of writing a blog post for each day, I started posting a picture of my meals on Facebook and kept track of it in an album.  My original intention, was to document every meal that I had. But going into my third week, I started to flare in my hands really really hurt. Therefore, I didn’t document every single thing, but you can get the idea.

Check out the journey in this album:

My Main Take Aways:

Week 1: HOLY CRAP DO I FEEL GREAT. I haven’t had this much energy in years. YEARS. Sure, maybe it’s because I’ve been hopped up on fruit sugar all week, but honestly. This diet has me feeling really really really great. The only time I was actually hungry was when I didn’t eat enough at one meal. If I was following along with Kristina’s Fully Raw plan, I was never hungry and always satisfied. I am, however, getting a little sick of salads for dinner – BUT, she does have some delicious dressings that help make them a little different each night.

 

Week 2: Week 2 went great! I’m feeling really great and really enjoying eating raw vegan. I thought I’d miss things more than I do. The thing I miss most is chocolate haha (hence why I keep having the cacao bananas lol!!). I’ve been trying not to eat a salad every day because then I know I’ll get bored. I won’t lie, I would like to eat some cooked foods (mostly roasted veggies), but I’m LOVING all my juices and smoothies. Like, loving my juices in the morning. I remember a time when I hated juices, so it’s funny to me that I’m loving them so much.  I’ve realized that mushrooms still don’t sit well with my body, pea pods and raw zucchini are definitely hard to digest and when I went out and had a “cheat meal” at a raw vegan restaurant (lots of nuts, evoo and salt which I haven’t been having) my knees were aching the next day. During the day I have so much energy and at night I’ve been sleeping so well. Honestly, this diet is making me feel fantastic.

 

Week 3 & 4:  I won’t lie, I was so excited going into week three but I started to not feel well. My psoriatic arthritis started to flare, and really started bothering my hand in my arms.  It made it hard for me to work, it made it hard for me to really do anything on my computer or my phone. BUT,  I will say this. I believe that eating the raw fruits and vegetables helped me tremendously during this period. I think what set it off was a combination of stress, going back to work and the repetitive motion I use on my computer with my hands . . . and possibly carrots.

There are a few times that some people in my life said “well maybe you just need to start eating food again” and I got really mad. Let’s be honest, I was eating REAL food! Out of everyone that I know, I had been eating the most REAL food there is to eat. So to say “maybe you should go back to eating food?” made no sense to me.  Most people would think that I should blame eating this way for causing my flare, but I don’t think it was the main cause. In fact, I think it really helped that I was eating this way during the flare.  It made me realize that I still need to put myself first hundred percent, and really focus on my health as my first priority.

Someone said to me during this challenge that it was crazy I was doing this for a month because most people only do a cleanse for a few days. See, maybe if I wasn’t on medications for years, haven’t had several different health problems and was a generally healthy person – a few day cleanse would be ok. But no. Our society wants quick fixes to health problems and guess what – there aren’t any.
Take my journey, for instance! I’ve been on this dietary change train for a few years now and, I’m doing really well, but still have some ways to go. You have to have patience when it comes to healing. You HAVE to. You have to enjoy the journey. Enjoy the ups and down. Enjoy the raw vegan challenges 😜 Sure, doing it for a few days would help, but I’m not trying to just help. I’m working towards curing myself. And I have every belief in myself that I will succeed in that goal. That, you can mark in stone.
So How Do I Feel After Spending 28 Days Completely Raw?
I absolutely loved it!!! The past week I’ve been allowing myself to eat cooked foods again. I find myself not wanting to eat cooked foods because I have felt better on eating raw foods. Plus it makes it a lot easier when all you need to do is peel a banana or cut up a few pieces of vegetables for  salad for dinner.
I don’t believe that I will continue to be #fullyRaw, but I would like to continue to have a juice for breakfast and some sort of smoothie or raw dish for lunch. I will allow myself to eat cooked food for dinner.
Maybe it’s an excuse that I tell myself, but I feel like being fully raw for the rest of my life would be too hard. Sure, if I REALLY wanted to do it I could and would – but I guess I don’t REALLY want to do it haha! I still want to be able to enjoy going out to eat and have a few drinks here and there. I’m totally ok with doing a strict raw vegan period every so often throughout the year though. THAT I’ll definitely do.
I think it’s a great way to cleanse my body and give it the nutrients and love that it deserves!

 

So raise a kale, orange and blueberry smoothie to this new raw adventure. I started April 25th, 2016 and honestly, enjoyed it more than I ever thought possible. After the 28 days, I’ve allowed myself to start eating cooked foods again, but the majority of my diet is still raw foods. In about another month, I will test out fish to see how it sits with me (just like you’d do in the elimination diet!)
Now, who wants to add in more raw fruits and veggies with me?!
Wishing You A Pain Free Day!
Julie Cerrone | Spoonie, Autoimmune Warrior, Certified Holistic Health Coach, DoTerra Wellness Advocate, 200 RYT Trainee, Reiki 1, Nutrition Geek, ePatient Advocate, IT Consultant, Pittsburgh Based Practitioner Living the Chronic Life