It’s been nearly two years since I cut gluten out of my diet as an experiment, hoping it would alleviate some of my fibromyalgia symptoms.
The result? After just a few days of my gluten-free diet, I was convinced I was never actually suffering from fibromyalgia – just a severe gluten intolerance.
Two years later, I still am.
Ten months ago, I went paleo after six months of vegeterianism/veganism and the results have been even better than I’d hoped. My energy levels – always iffy at best – are constant and high, my emotions are under control for the first time in my life, I’m actually present in my own life and I haven’t had anything resembling a fibromyalgia symptom in a really, really long time. I’m working out harder now than I ever have before and I’m seeing results.
But I’m not sure what to call my diet anymore.
I’m not strictly paleo or primal. With these harder workouts, I’ve felt the need for more protein – but just can’t stand to eat more meat. I’ve been adding in small amounts of cultured dairy, and my body is responding just fine to it. That puts me in the primal camp, but I’ve also been playing around a bit with occasional white rice and as a once in a long while food, it’s been okay and adds a bit of variety.
I am constantly tinkering and experimenting, trying to find where I feel my absolute best, and I think that’s been the biggest benefit of this past year. In a sense, I’ve reset my body – I’ve learned what foods I do well with and which ones I don’t, and I’ve learned to recognize them pretty quickly.
I still don’t know what to call it.
I’ve begun telling people I follow an anti-inflammatory, nutrient dense diet. It’s not about eating just what hunter-gatherer’s ate and it’s not dogmatic – for me it’s really been about eliminating inflammatory foods, focusing on good fats and properly raised produce and meats as our budget an afford them…but ultimately, it’s about discovering how foods affect me personally.
I agree with Dallas and Melissa Hartwig of whole9life.com (please, please, please read their new book, It Starts with Food) – all food has either a positive or negative effect on our bodies…and there’s really no in-between. We’re either helping or hurting with every bite we take. Rather than taking part in the science experiment that is the standard American diet full of foods that are created to sit on wharehouse shelves and not to nourish our bodies, I’m experimenting on myself with real food.
Most days, I eat eggs for breakfast, along with a little fruit and sometimes a little meat. Lunch lately has been a sandwich wrap with good quality lunch meat, avocado, and tomatoes with some string cheese or a salad topped with the dinner before’s meat and a little olive oil and balsamic. I’ve been having a mid-afternoon snack if I’m hungry – usually cottage cheese or greek yogurt with a small serving of fruit. Dinner is protein and vegetables.
For the past month, I’ve been logging my meals in at My Fitness Pal under the username skwidlund, and my food diary is open for public view if you’re interested in what that looks like day after day. My whole purpose in logging was to keep an eye on exactly how much protein I was getting a day, but it’s turned into a great tool to keep me accountable and has jump-started my weightloss again. If you’re a member, I’d love for you to send me a friend request.
This is what’s working for me. I do think it’s important to remember that while our bodies may have many similarities, when it comes to food we are all individuals. A whole grain, low fat diet makes me physically ill. Processed foods make me bloat and dull my senses. The vegan diet that friends thrive on left me in pain, unable to think clearly and barely able to get through the day. A super strict paleo diet is something I can thrive on, but I do just as well with a few additions. It’s taken work to get here, but I think I’ve finally found where I need to be in order to be optimally healthy physically and emotionally.
It’s a good place to be, and a great place to continue moving forward from as life is going to start getting crazier next month.
Where are you on your journey to health and wellness? Have you tried eliminating any foods that have helped or hurt you? Are you just starting our or are you an old pro?