Hello and welcome to my Wellbeing Project. My goal here is simple ~ to improve my own wellbeing over 2018. There are no lofty goals or strict guidelines. There is just me making decisions day after day that lead to improved wellbeing in my life. My only real plan is to experiment with curiosity. Trying things and choosing to allow myself the honour of being an important part of my life. I will be kind to myself on this journey and take a stand against the voice in my head that tells me things have to be hard to be worthwhile and work. It’s just not true. Wellbing is about balance, self love and self nurture. All things we all deserve to give ourselves every day. My motto for this project “finding my wellbeing with kindness and simplicity.”
Experiment number one: The 3-4 week elimination diet.
With the support of my nutritionista (Tania from Quintessential Health) I am giving up gluten and dairy for the next month to see if they are draining away my precious wellbeing. In particular, I need to find out if they are causing my horrible relentless indigestions and reflux, my occasional flare-ups of eczema, my happiness sapping insomnia and my ongoing nemesis of Hashimoto’s disease. So, I’m going gluten, dairy, corn and soy free for a month. (Oh yay me!) Below I will be keeping a diary of my first weeks so I can track my reactions, share recipes and record my progress. Maybe you’ll find that interesting – maybe you won’t. And that’s okay. Oh and just so you know, being a busy working mum I will be taking every easy option and cheat available to me too. (If I have to buy $14 a loaf paleo bread because I have no time to experiment with baking until I find one I enjoy – then so be it.) Simplicity and kindness to myself in all things.
It felt pretty easy today. No struggles. Enjoyed my morning coffee with coconut milk. Made some cauliflower and sweet potato mash with bacon and onion in my cuisine companion and enjoyed a bowl. (Seriously good btw – the texture is all comfort food and tastes great.) Popped the leftovers in the fridge for another day. Made spaghetti bolognese for tea and had mine with roast pumpkin and sweet potato while the family had pasta. Then in the evening, I made some coconut and berry biscuits and ate a couple. I didn’t feel hunger or like I was missing out on anything. I felt a little flu-ish later in the afternoon – but nothing major. All in all the day was good.
Woke up feeling good but sleep is still a struggle. Tried almond and cashew milk in my coffee today. Still enjoyed it. I’m not really a huge almond milk fan – so that was surprising! Decided to blog this journey and started this post, which I hope to update regularly. But hey, if I don’t that’s okay too. Reheated some mash from yesterday and maybe missed the idea of butter on it. I love butter. It’s my thing. But the reheated mash was delicious anyway. Had another berry biscuit for morning tea and a mushroom and avocado leaf salad for lunch. I looked wistfully at the feta cheese in my dairy chiller as I passed it by. For tea, I tested my memory by re-learning how to cook quinoa, which I ended up mixing with some fried mushrooms and onion. Not bad.
I fully expected to feel the detox effects of no dairy today, but nothing. I feel good. I slept reasonably well and there isn’t even a sign of a headache. That’s one huge positive. I whipped up a bacon and capsicum omelette for breaky. It was a little bland without cheese and, as I was waiting for my weekly grocery delivery, there wasn’t much else to build the excitement levels. Lunch was a couple of rice and quinoa cakes with nut butter and tea took the form of chicken, avocado, cucumber and baby spinach wrapped in ice-burge lettuce leaves. That actually left me feeling pretty full. I had planned to use some leftover spaghetti sauce and baked pumpkin/sweet potato – but I couldn’t manage it. Some all in all a good day three. Surprising. I always thought day three was the killer!
Still feeling good. No detox yet. Slept pretty well too. Good sleep is like an elusive, magic, money giving unicorn to me – so small happy dance. It’s New Year’s Eve tonight and we’re off to Geelong to catch up with family. So, in the spirit of looking after me, I got up early and made some coconut grain-free cookies. Happy to say they taste pretty good. Had some leftover sweet potato/cauliflower mash for breaky. It’s so much like mashed white potato that it feels like I’m cheating. Had lunch at McDonalds. Well I had 4 rice cakes with nut butter, coconut yohurt with a banana and 2 of the above mentioned cookies. Then for tea I had my left over bolognaise sauce with sweet potato and pumpkin.
Happy New Year! Not sure if I’m feeling some detox or I’m just suffering from staying up to see in the new year with the girls. Feeling flat and bored with my good choices. I’m not hungry – but I am flat and bored. There is no endorphin high in my grain free dairy free fodder. Made some Quinoa and stir-fried veggies with some egg for brunch and had a small coconut milkshake with blueberries. Wish I could describe how I feel. Flat and bored seems the best I can do. A slight headache and tired. (Two naps by 2.pm.) It’s not even like I’m craving anything foodwise – more the rush I get from eating something delish! Weird huh. ……… As my day has progressed I’m pretty sure I am in detox. Blaah. The headache won’t shift and I’m grumpy. Made chicken in almond meal crumb for tea and had it with a mega salad. Attempted to make paleo mayonnaise – but failed. I hope this detox is a quick one!
Back to feeling pretty good today. (Thank goodness.) Bacon and an egg on a bed of iceberg lettuce for breakfast. A mango and a small tin of tuna (which I thought was in olive oil but realised when I read the fine print it was an olive oil blend!! for lunch). Went out to buy the goodies to do some more baking before I head back to work tomorrow. Now I just need to make that happen. Generally speaking, things feel okay again. Recognising that I eat mainly for the endorphin high it provides and that seems to be linked with grainy food – I think. I am hoping I will be able to re-introduce dairy and enjoy that. (I miss my butter.) But I could probably live with much less grain in my life. Had the leftover Quinoa, bacon and veggie stir-fry for tea and then coconut yoghurt, with a teaspoon of nutbutter, banana, blueberries and applesauce mix up together for dessert. Not bad.
Day Seven & Eight:
Oh dear. I think the detox hit. Spent two days in brain fog land with a huge headache. Well, the headache was mainly on day seven but day eight was like a headache without the pain. So much brain fog. Such a great way to start work for the year – not. I keep up the GF & DF. A few quick emails to my nutritionist to check it wasn’t related to the probiotics I started on day seven and then it was enduring the yuck. To be honest it felt like an intense version of a bad day in my body’s life normally. Just not fun. My only other thought is that it could have been related to the yeast in some bread I made during the week. I guess we will find that out later on in the elimination process
Thankfully feeling much better again. Took my probiotics and no reaction at all. Feeling so much better and enjoyed a black coffee. Seriously didn’t feel like eating though. After my coffee, I did however choof myself off back to bed and slept for 2 extra hours. Now that’s not something I ever do! Spent the rest of my day off with the girls practising gymnastics in the lounge room. Had some homemade veggie soup with bone broth for brunch and then some tuna and avocado for tea. Made the soup in my Cuisine Companion – turn out delish. Really didn’t feel much like eating today.
Nothing like feeling good again. Despite the fact that it’s 39degrees!! Got my cook on today. Mid way through last year I bought a Breville Fast Slow Pro and used it as a slow cooker throughout the colder months. Today I finally used the pressure cooker. Made some amazing GR DF butter chicken for my lunch and some banana and coconut flour pancakes for breakfast. Go me!
Day eleven to day twenty-eight:
As expected heading back to work meant updating here got forgotten. Ops~a~daisy – but that’s life. Thankfully it didn’t mean I stopped with the elimination diet. I made the 28 days reasonably easily. I had another couple of ‘detox’ days with headaches, brain fog, tiredness and this bizarre heavy face feeling (almost like a head cold but with no pain – just slight pressure.) Each time it happened it was much less intense and shorter. I had no trouble sticking to the no gluten, dairy, soy or corn. I am still amazed at that – being a lifelong comfort eater. I’ve eaten well and just followed my body’s lead with hunger. The pressure cooker was an awesome help as I’ve batch cooked some yummy Indian chicken recipes and enjoyed having them with sweet potato and cauliflower mash. I’ve eaten lots of eggs and frozen banana smoothies (loaded up with chia, nut butter, dates, maca powder and coconut yoghurt) and veggies/salad. I’ve also experimented with a few different grain-free breads – which are a nice filler with meals and when hunger demands feeding.
How do I feel now:
After 28 days I can tell you that I have not had reflux once. Bonus. In the first 2 weeks, I did get some indigestion but only mildly. My sleep has been much better – but that needs to be a long-term (6 months plus) change before I fully believe I can say I sleep well. My energy levels are more consistent but not perfect. I think the test of that will come next week when the girls head back to school and the crazy ‘busy working mum’ term time life returns. Brain fog is much less. I do feel clearer and more present. Oh and my clothes are feeling losers than they did. Weight loss for me is a slow journey (thank you thyroid) but I can tell I’ve dropped a few cms.
The diary challenge:
This is how it works. I reintroduce butter/cream at each meal for one day and then wait 2 days to see how I react. And this is what happened. I failed. Boohiss. By tea on the first day I had the heavy face feeling – almost like ahead cold. It wasted all the next day and was totally gone on the third day. No headaches or other strong reaction.