If you missed last week’s introduction to this series, be sure to read that first. This week I want to cover some of the diet changes I made. I have quite a few things to talk about regarding diet, and this week I will cover what I eliminated.
Dairy & Soy
Just to cover the bases, I wanted to mention that I have been dairy and soy free for several years. I know I react to dairy with itching, and it probably triggers a Hashimoto’s reaction in me also.
Soy is so often genetically modified, some say it has negative effects on thyroid, and I don’t really like it anyway. So I am soy free, though sometimes I will consume something with soy lecithin in it.
My changes all started with my commitment to go sugar free for the month of August 2012. I’ve had a sugar addiction since I was a kid, and I knew that if I was going to get healthy, sugar had to go. I decided to eliminate refined sugar and not eat any desserts, even if they were naturally sweetened. I did eat fruit, but didn’t overdo it.
As expected, the first few days were hard, but it began to get easier. Eventually I found what I had heard others say to be true. My sugar meter recalibrated and naturally sweet foods like fruit began to taste sweeter to me.
Grains & Starchy Foods
A week or two into the sugar elimination, I decided to go grain free. I had been reading about grains causing inflammation and considering giving them up. Then I discovered nutritional or metabolic typing and found that as a protein type, grains and starchy food (carbs) were not what I needed. As soon as I cut them out I noticed an increase in my energy levels.
I wrote about nutritional/metabolic typing here. In that post I said, “I’m not spending time thinking about what I can’t eat. Food doesn’t drive me; it fuels me.” When you’re addicted to sugar and carbs, food drives you. You constantly have cravings. When you remove food cravings, food fuels you and gives you energy as it should. It frees you up to think about and do other things in life.
Another thing that happened when I cut out grains and starchy foods was my weight began to drop. Of course, low-carb diets have been around for a long time, so it’s not surprising that I lost weight. The difference was that I wasn’t doing it to lose weight. I was doing it because I felt better.
So often low carb diets result in yo-yo dieting. People do it for a while and lose weight, then they gradually start eating more carbs and gaining weight again. I was happy to be losing weight, but I focused on the fact that I felt much better and decided it was a lifestyle change for me, not a temporary diet.
Now that I have lost more weight than I ever hoped to lose, I have let up a little on the sugar and carbs. But only a little. I find that refined sugar goes to my waist in no time, so I reserve that for very special occasions. I use natural sweeteners such as honey, coconut palm sugar, and stevia in drinks and occasionally in a baked treat. I also eat a little more fruit than I used to.
Occasionally I’ll eat a small amount of starchy food such as potatoes or bread balls made from tapioca starch. However, I’m committed to remaining grain free. I know that if I give myself an inch, I’ll take a mile, and eating grains will only lead me down the path to processed foods that I don’t need. Giving myself a little leeway with the other carbs and sweeteners is difficult enough to keep in check. I have no desire to go back to grains.
The Paleo (short for Paleolithic) diet is very popular right now. I’m not officially Paleo because I do eat some white potatoes as well as beans. Much of what I eat would be considered Paleo though.
Harvest Your Health Bundle
If you think that cutting out grains and refined sugar is something that would help you, then Paleo cookbooks and websites can be a great resource. The Harvest Your Health Bundle sale is chock full of Paleo, whole foods, and grain free resources. It truly is a great deal.
This 30 Day Intro to Paleo will tell you all you want to know about the basics of the Paleo diet and includes a 30 day meal plan.
Books like Paleo Recipes for Every Day will give you delicious recipes for every meal.
There are many more great resources in the bundle, so be sure to check it out. The sale only lasts until Monday. Purchase the Harvest Your Health bundle here (affiliate link).
What diet changes have you made to improve your health?