Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Great Food Experiment Comes to a Close

Oh, yeah. An abundance of fruits and veggies will always be on my menu. 

I'm sorry, Dr. Myers. I really am. I gave your autoimmune protocol diet the old college try for 21 days. John and I cleaned out our pantry and stocked the house with foods allowed on the diet, and we followed the suggestions very closely. I know that I promised myself that I'd stick it out for thirty days, but truth be told, I was feeling pretty miserable.

And I figured that feeling miserable was not one of the promised effect of following the diet.

Yeah. My GI tract was pretty unhappy. Living on nothing but an extremely limited list of vegetables, fruits, and meat was giving me indigestion and um...well, let's just say that all those veggies went out almost as fast as they went in.

So after three weeks, I decided that it was time to put an end to the experiment. I didn't want to throw all caution to the wind and begin to eat anything and everything, though. So I thought I'd begin to reintroduce specific foods and judge my body's response. I began by including beans and nightshade vegetables.

Yum. Homemade vegetable soup with tomatoes and navy beans magically soothed my innards beyond my wildest expectations. Ahhhhh.

After a few days, I added some non-gluten grains; and added gluten free noodles to my soup. Delightful. Happy GI tract: happy Julia.

Feeling pretty smug, I then headed over to my dad's 90th birthday party extravaganza. It was a four day family reunion, and although I resolved to be very careful about what I ate, I found myself tasting this and that. Overall, though, I tried to be careful. Ah, but the very last day was my total undoing.

Bless her heart, Mom tried to accommodate my dietary restrictions but she really didn't understand; and as we sat down to have coffee with my parents before we left for the airport, she pulled out a platter of her home made, warm, gooey, caramel-laden, cinnamon-y, butter and cream filled, gluten choked......

caramel rolls.

[Insert doomsday music here]

Yeah. I was a gonner. I was tired, I was hungry, and the rest is history. So was about a third of the platter of rolls.

As I crashed big time over the past several days, I'm left wondering how much of my flare was due to pushing my energy limits beyond my capability, and how much was due to that last day of dietary disasters.

Sigh. Who knows? Will I ever know?

I've decided that I'm done listening to anyone else except my own body with respect to my diet. I've read a zillion books and another bazillion websites and watched a gazillion DVDs which has left me completely confused -- but this much I do know: When I eat lots of fruits, vegetables, beans, high quality protein, and some non-gluten grains, my innards feel healthy and happy. I also need to avoid dairy, refined sugar, and wheat. So that's what I'm going to do.

Done. Boom. The agonizing over every morsel on my plate is so OVER.

I'm grateful that Dr. Young Guy gave me this wise advice on my last visit with him during which I asked about following an autoimmune diet protocol:
"Look, Julia. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables and high quality protein is great. I fully support eating a healthy diet. My only concern with following a very restrictive, strict protocol is that if you don't get the results that are promised, then you'd feel guilty or concerned that you didn't do something right and that you failed somehow. You don't need that kind of guilt or pressure." 
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dr. YG. You're right - having autoimmune disease is hard enough without beating up on myself over every dietary choice that I make.

All in all, I'm glad that I made a significant effort to participate in an elimination type diet, however. I learned a great deal about what foods I do and don't tolerate, and more importantly: which foods contribute to a feeling of satiety and overall good health.

What an experience.


stephanie said...

What a successful experiment, Julia! You learned a lot. Dr. YG has common sense. I've decided that I will eat everything in moderation because food, and cooking, for me is an enjoyment, and I've had to give up enough things because of Sjogrens, so why give up the foods I like, too? It makes me happy. :-) And I agree with Dr. YG. There is lots of pressure out there to do this or eat/not eat this and you will feel good again. AI is so individualized. Sometimes I want to tell people who tell me what to do to feel better to "mind your own business." Nice, right? :-)

Annette said...

Glad to hear that you learned so much, but despite the undoing I would be there with you on the cinnamon buns. Yum
Your Dr YG gives great advice - that quote was as patient centered (you-centered) as it gets.

Laura said...

I am kind of glad for how this turned out, and that you are getting to enjoy a more varied diet. I wish it had been a magic bullet to fix everything, but there are so few of those - I'm glad it at least helped you learn what works for you.

And oh man cinnamon buns. I'm hungry now.....

(Aside: your new captcha system is REALLY HARD. I just went through about 10-12, asking for new ones or trying and failing, before I could convince it I was a person.)

Julia Oleinik said...

Hi Laura - So sorry you've had trouble with the "I am not a spam robot" captcha. It's one of those things over which I have no control: it's all in the Google Blogger's control. Bummer!