Man, I have so much to say. It has been just about a month since I made the commitment to be in the gym with three days on/one day off and clean up my diet. Things have been kind of amazing as a result. Let me count the ways.
1. When I say “clean up my diet” I want to be clear: I have eaten very healthfully for years. My meals were not complete without something green, I ate sugar very rarely, and most often I completely eschewed processed foods. Despite this, I have had years of digestive issues and it was getting to the point where it was really affecting my quality of life. I went to an acupuncturist to try to fix my broken guts (I had gone to a western doctor the year prior and got no help whatsoever-shocker!) and was given a diet that eschewed nightshade vegetables, anything cold or raw, peanuts, beans, bananas, large quantities of raw tahini, nuts, and garlic– as well as a slew of other things. Of course I didn’t hop on that wagon right away– I sat drinking green smoothies even with those restrictions in hand for well over a month– but after going to visit my amazing partner’s family for the holidays and subsisting on bananas, 100% peanut peanut butter, and salad for eight days and getting absolutely no protein or exercise aside from walking (seriously uncommon for me– and although I think this is actually a great sign mentally, as I am admittedly a compulsive over exerciser, my body felt like crap!) I was really ready to go for the diet. Here’s what I learned:
1. UGH GOD, I hate to admit this but all those things I mentioned above really do hurt my stomach. Although I definitely wanted relief I think part of me hoped I would be unaffected by the diet changes and could go back to eating these foods daily. I miss hummus, I miss peanut butter and green smoothies and salad. But (TMI alert!) I had diarrhea for two months before changing things. And now my poop is gloriously normal, unless I cheat. You can’t really argue with that.
2. FODMAPS were never expressly mentioned to me by my acupuncturist or anybody else, but my research leaves me to believe that they might be contributing to my gut upset. (FODMAPs are found in the foods we eat. FODMAPs is an acronym referring to Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are complex names for a collection of molecules found in food, that can be poorly absorbed by some people. When the molecules are poorly absorbed in the small intestine of the digestive tract, they continue along their journey along the digestive tract, arriving at the large intestine, where they act as a food source to the bacteria that live there normally. The bacteria then digest/ferment these FODMAPs and can cause symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).) Ever have trouble eating things like salad or raw apples? Yeah. That’s FODMAPs. Read more here.
3. You’re probably sick of hearing about my food! Let’s talk about my exercise. My gym regularly hosts strength days, that are focused on finding 1, 3, and 5 rep maxes of various lifts and maybe have a short cardio workout at the end (like, five minutes long short). I avoided these like the plague because I had deemed them to be “not a real workout”. For as long as I have been exercising, I have been doing so as a way to burn calories. Stress relief was important too, but really it was my obsession with weight and numbers that got me on that elliptical (EW.) and lifting one heavy thing one time just didn’t seem to measure up. So what has happened since I have gone to literally ten times more strength days in the past month than I had in the entire six months previous with Crossfit? Well, let’s see. I got my first double under, I got my first handstand. I PR’d my deadlift, front squat, back sweat, and overhead squat. My name made it on the board of top five heaviest female lifters in our gym for the Overhead Squat. I started being able to run faster, and my body got less soft and squishy. HUH, I GUESS THERE REALLY IS SOMETHING TO LIFTING HEAVY. Go figure.
4) Enough with the facts, let’s talk about BREAD. I have met one person, ever, that I would say has the same diet as me. This is my friend Sean, and although I met him completely unrelated to food and exercise stuff I now have the pleasure of seeing him about 150% more because he goes to my gym. One day he brought me two pieces of Paleo bread that he made, one sweet-ish and one savory. Both were incredibly amazing but the savory one completely won my heart. DELICIOUS. Like, melt in your fucking mouth delicious.
When I asked for the recipe it was discovered that it was almond flour based. Although the small slice he gave me was totally fine for me to consume, a whole loaf (even over the course of many days) would have almost certainly had my guts churning. The sweet bread was coconut flour based so I decided to do a little Frankenstein-ing to combine the two recipes and make a savory coconut flour tahini based delight. Here is the recipe:
1/2 c Coconut Flour
1/2 c Ground Flax
1 t Salt
1 t Baking Soda
5 Eggs (Pasture raised)
1/2 c Tahini
1/2 c Applesauce
1 t each: Italian seasonings, basil, sage (and any other herbs you want! fresh or dried)
2 T sesame seeds, for sprinkling on top
Combine the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, applesauce, and tahini, beating until well combined. Pour batter into a greased pie sized pan (I used my cast iron skillet). Top with sesame seeds. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Most Paleo bread that I have made is tasty, but has a decidedly “Paleo” taste. Do you know what I mean? Like, really eggy. This loaf is gorgeous, undetectably paleo, and very stick to your ribs filling. I’ve been eating it with a pile of sautee’d kale and a runny egg every morning and it is seriously delightful. Give it a shot!
Tell me about your exercise and dietary successes, please! I have no idea why I am so interested in the fitness lives of others but I am utterly enthusiastic and could listen endlessly about people’s healthy lifestyles.
Thanks for reading!