One year on
It has been approximately one year since my last post.
There has been a lot that I’ve learnt about health, so I think it is timely to provide an update. Before I begin, I should say that I am not a medical professional and anything I say should be taken with a grain of salt. Take what you will from what I have learnt and test the ideas out yourself to see if it works for you. If it does, then great, I’m glad I’ve helped you in one way or another. If it does not, then would love to hear from you. We can learn from each other and the best way to do it is to share what we already know.
One year on, I have started introducing back gluten, soy and diary (with the support of lacteeze) and I am not as restrictive as I was before. I am back to being my old foodie self, taking snaps of yummy food and indulging in delicious local delicacies from around the world. Going out of my way to find good food is definitely one of my enjoyments in life and if that was taken away from me, I don’t know how I would cope. Luckily, the reactions I used to have with certain foods no longer are there. If you knew me before, you would have known that I would be soy free, gluten free, diary free (pretty much everything free) whenever you would eat out with me. I know it would have been hard for you to eat with me, and I felt myself a bit annoyed that I had to be so restrictive, so thank you to my friends and family who were so understanding.
You may be wondering now — what did you do to help you get to the point you are now? I should preface my answer to this question by saying that I am not 100% back to my old self where I could binge eat anything and eat a lot of it. However, I do think my trial and error and constant reassessment of what my body needed did help to strengthen my already weak gut lining from a compromised state to at least a less than compromised state.
Let’s provide a little background — choosing an elimination diet that would help me avoid all of my known “food intolerances”, I started off on a Paleo diet. If you were around me, you would have seen that all I ate was meat and vegetables for each of my meals. Going out and eating with you would probably have meant that I had a steak or something similar of that nature. This diet change did help in the very beginning but it was missing something very fundamental.
I was eating too much meat and meat itself can change the composition and diversity of your gut microbiome. Now, in your mind you may be thinking, “áre you telling me to give up meat cause I can’t!?” Well, I’m not. What I am saying though is that we should reduce our intake of meat (not just red meat, but also fish and chicken). If you want a little more of a push to eat less meat, have a read of the China Study (or a summary of it as the book itself is not easy to read) or have a read about the blue zones and the types of foods people in these zones consume.
After realising that this Paleo diet was not working for me (although I felt okay, I was not making any progress health -wise), I had to do a rethink as to what I was doing wrong. A Paleo diet led me to realise that there is no such thing as the right diet. Instead, all “healthy”diets have a common trait, that is — they don’t have processed foods in the picture and rely on you eating wholefoods. This brought me back to the wholefoods concept again. Eat foods that are not as processed (with salt or sugar or other unnecessary additives), which seems simple, but is hard to be disciplined about.
My diet means that I am 4–5 days vegan and the other 2 days I eat whatever. I have now gone back to basics and introduced moderation to my eating. It is not easy and there are days that I will substitute meat for “healthy crisps”, which we all know is just tricking myself into believing that I am eating healthier when I really am not. It’s not perfect but I do feel much better when I stick to the regime.
One thing I am doing with this 4–5 day vegan diet is consuming more fibre and in particular wholegrains. I now look at net carbs when looking at labels and it is one piece of information I take into account when making a decision about whether to buy the product (I should disclaim this by saying there is a lot more than just looking at net carbs when looking at whether something is good for you or not). Having a high fibre diet is beneficial in so many ways. It helps you to digest carbs slower, so that you have a more regular release of glucose and sustained energy throughout the day. Fibre is the prebiotic for your gut bacteria. We already know diverse and happy gut bacteria is the foundation of good health. I could go on and on about how fibre is beneficial for you. Type fibre into google and you will find heaps of studies supporting the benefits of having more fibre in your diet, so I will stop here on fibre.
If you like this post, I do plan to post more to talk in detail about diet / personal development / books I am reading / well-being etc. I would like to ignite discussion and collaboration, so please do feel free to reach out to me if you would like to talk about anything written here. The more we get our heads together, the more we learn and the more we can help each other to live better, happier and more meaningful lives.