Okay, before anyone starts thinking that I’ve really gone off the deep end (too late!), this is by a woman named JJ Virgin, hence the name.  It’s a food intolerance diet, which is very similar to things I’ve been wanting to try for a while.

Basically, she identifies the seven (really eight) most common food intolerances: corn, dairy, eggs, gluten, peanut butter, soy, and sugar (plus artificial sweeteners, which I believe should just be banned from existence).  She then takes you off them for 21 days (how convenient!).  There’s a testing period afterwards to see if you have learned to tolerate four of the seven: dairy, eggs, peanut butter, and soy.  I’m going to leave soy off the list, as I’ve been largely avoiding soy lately, and spend 21 days testing the other three.

Anyone interested in trying this with me?  I’m going to do it (and subject you to posts about it) anyway, but I thought it might be fun to do it with someone.

Just a thought.  Back to your regularly scheduled blog posts…

I just read an article on InfoBarrel about juice fasts that has me fuming.  First of all, please don’t take anything you read on InfoBarrel as necessarily being true; you can write on IB without credentials, experience, or even writing talent.  Second, if you do read InfoBarrel articles and you’re looking into doing a juice fast, do not do use this article to get you started.

A juice fast is a set period of days when you cut out solid foods in favor of juices (preferably freshly squeezed) and water.  There is no set right or wrong time period, but it is supposed to be a short-term “diet”.

Juice : vegetable juice

My first issue with the InfoBarrel article is that it doesn’t say who shouldn’t do a juice fast.  Pregnant or nursing women shouldn’t do a juice fast.  People with a host of chronic ailments (including my own ulcerative colitis) shouldn’t do a juice fast except under strict medical supervision.  Anyone doing a juice fast for the first time should contact a medical professional before trying it; it’s not just a matter of hooking up a juicer and locking the refrigerator and cupboard for a few days.

My second issue with the article is that it suggests immediately jumping into a seven-day juice fast.  If you do this, I guarantee that you will not be feeling very well for seven days (and longer, as I’ll get to later).  Most juice fasts run from a single meal to three days; after three days,  you’re generally not cleansing anything, but you are upping your blood sugar levels with very little moderation in the form of proteins and fats.  Spike, drop.  Spike, drop.  No, that really isn’t healthy.

Alright, so you’re going to be sane about this.  You’ve talked to your doctor who has, reservedly, given the go-ahead for a one-day juice fast.  You have the juicer and the fresh produce.  You’re ready.  Right?

Wrong.  Juice fasts actually take a few days of preparation.  You should start cutting down on meats, fats, breads, alcohol, smoking, caffeine and sugars for several days before the fast.  By the day before, you should be eating raw veggies and salads and drinking lots of water.  If you jump from regular eating into juice fasting, you’re going to feel a bit like you’ve gone cold turkey after ten years of binge drinking.  There are steps.  You need to take each one of them.

Okay, so you did the prep work, too, and you did a one-day fast for your first juice fast.  You feel a little woozy at the end of the day, but you are also running high on self-congratulations.  Time to go get yourself a big, juicy hamburger and beer (if that’s how you run) to celebrate.

If you’ve ever watched the reality show Survivor, you will have seen the group of contestants eat less and less as time goes by… basically going on an enforced fast.  Then, one day, they get to have a feast.  Without fail, they eat way too much because they’ve been starving and the food tastes so good… and without fail, they all end up purging all the food they just ate before the night is over.

Your juice fast isn’t going to do you any good if you go from juice fast to burger.  The longer the fast, the more slowly you need to ease back into regular foods.  The first day after, you’re back to the fresh greens and salads.  If it’s only a one day fast, then you can probably start eating regular food (in smaller portions) by the second day.  If it’s longer, then you need to ease into it.

Juice fasts lead to the thinking that a fast can fix all— and then you can go back to eating junk.  If you fast for three days, then go back to eating whatever you want, your body will have slowed its metabolism for three days to conserve fuel… then received a huge intake of more fuel.  Weight gain, anyone?

Finally, juice fasts have some side effects.  You do do some detoxifying, so you may have increased bowel movements, bad breath, bad skin (teenage acne, here we come!), headaches and increased body odor.  Not the best time to go on a first date… or any date.  Longer juice fasts may result in dizziness, dehydration, and more.

As with most diet fads, there are good and bad things about juice fasts.  Done correctly, they can be helpful in clearing out theickfrom your system.  They’re also great for prayer and meditation periods.  But if you do them incorrectly, you can do serious, long-term damage to your body.  If you decide to do one, do the research, get checked out medically, and do it right.  Otherwise, go enjoy your cheeseburger.

First off, I’m doing far better now that I’m off the Primal Diet.  I do think that it has it’s good points, but it may not be a good idea for anyone suffering from Crohn’s or Colitis.  I purged green for five days straight.

My stomach is doing better, but I totally blew any concept of “diet” last night.  Monday night, my father (who has Alzheimers) had a bad night and we were up with him until 4 am.  Low sleep, lots of stress, and I woke up not wanting to eat.  Some people eat more under stress, I eat less.  Last night he did better, but he didn’t get to sleep until after midnight, at which point I needed to run and get my dog enough food to at least make it through breakfast.

As I wandered the grocery store aisles in that stupor that often comes from late night jaunts into flourescent lights, I hit the ice cream aisle.  Ice cream, in my family, is the Holy Grail.  It substitutes for meals and can even inspire world (or sibling) peace.  I almost got the tiny, single serving carton, but they only had Skinny Cow and I’m not a fan of reduced-fat, reduced-sugar ice cream (or anything).  I like Ben & Jerry’s, so I got the pint.  I prefer Pistachio Pistachio, but they were out, so I got Chocolate Fudge Brownie.

I read time and time again that one key to losing weight is to close the kitchen after dinner.  I know food substitutes for energy in my life quite often.  Stil, I thought I could exercise self-control.  I thought I could just have a few bites and put the carton away.

This is why you should dip out a few scoops and put the carton away: I ate the entire container.

One day of eating an entire carton of ice cream won’t kill me.  I shouldn’t even pack on any pounds.  But if I did that once a week and, due to the late hours and lack of sleep, moved less, I would easily put on 1-2 pounds a week… or up to 100 pounds in a year.  Just from eating ice cream.

I’m still tired today, but I’m going to go get in my very long walk anyway.  The sunshine will help me sleep better tonight and avoid another pint of ice cream.

Alright, so The Primal Diet and I don’t get along.  I’m going to take what I learned from it and move on.  The idea here is not to find a fad that will give me quick weight loss or a perfect body by swimsuit season (too late anyway!), but to find a lifestyle change that will work with my body type, digestive ailments, and exercise needs.

Body type: small on top (need some muscle) and all fat storage on bottom (plus some muscle beneath that).

Digestive ailments: I’m mildly hypoglycemic (basically, if I don’t run down the sugar stores too badly, then it’s not bad, but I get shaky and irrational if I run them down past a certain point.  No, I’m not always irrational.)

Exercise needs:  I’m training (ha!) for a 10k.  Okay, I need to be training for a 10k.  Starting tomorrow, I will resume training for a 10k.  Luckily for me, the 10k isn’t until October.  But I want to amp up my exercise without amping up my calories significantly.

Tomorrow, then, my goal is to have a scrambled whole egg, grilled potatoes with onions and peppers, and whole milk for breakfast.  There is a higher percentage of protein in that meal than normal, plus slightly more fat… but it’s all natural foods.  This will be after jogging a mile, doing sprints with strength rotation, and walking a mile back.

Lunch will be 4 oz of salmon and a handful of carrots and cherry tomatoes… after walking the 2.9 miles to the library.  Then I’ll walk back.

I need to go grocery shopping, so dinner is still up in the air.

Hopefully this will get a Primal “base” going, but still make allowances for my personal needs.  I’ll go ahead and weigh (but not measure) tomorrow, too, since it will have been a week.

Here we go again!

I did alright at the Primal Diet on Day Three.  I had a minor cheat (half a non-caffeinated soda) and did a different form of exercise than the one in the book, but even the book says to do the exercise that you enjoy and, that day, it was the only kind I could manage.  I walked 7 miles.

I also had a flare-up of my Ulcerative Colitis.  Greens have not been my friend much for several years and this diet is full of lots of greens.  I was moderately ill on Wednesday, but managed to push through my day.

Thursday was worse (and I was on the road).  I was sick enough at one point to think I was going to have one of the spells where I passed out, but managed to ride it out.  I ate very little and was doing better by bedtime, but only marginally.

Friday morning I was ill again, so I just didn’t eat.  No breakfast, no lunch.  I finally had a snack (evil fruit snacks) with my kids in the afternoon and then ate a normal(ish) meal of leftover meat and rolls (yep, gluten) for dinner.

Today, I feel better.  Not 100%, but definitely in the 90% range.   I don’t think I’m even  going to give the other two diets a try, though.  Both rely heavily on certain foods that just don’t agree with me and I really don’t like three days of sickness.

I’ll have to go back to figuring out my own diet.  I was really healthy once, in spite of the UC, so it’s doable.  It just takes effort.

Sorry for those who were looking forward to following my progress.  Here are the parts about the Primal Diet that I do agree with:

  • Our society reviles “fat” far too much.  There is plenty of good fat out there, even in meat, butter, and oil.  The bad fat is the kind that is produced in a factory somewhere (I can always taste it on certain french fries) or that’s hidden in other foods.  I’m going to enjoy my full-fat meat, regular butter (not margarine), normal oils, and full-fat milk when I have them.
  • Our society uses far too many second-string foods.  I’m a big football fan.  You use your best players in every real game unless they’re injured.  You only throw in second-string (or worse) when your best can’t play.  Yet we use fake sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and all manner of processed foods to fill us up on a daily basis.  I already avoid fake sugars and most processed foods, but I’m working on cutting those, HFCS, and all those artificial colors and flavors out completely– or as close as is possible in a “normal” life.
  • I don’t think grains, especially whole grains, are bad, but I do think we put too much emphasis on them.  A plate of pasta… with sauce, maybe a side of veggies.  A bowl of rice with some veggies and meat stirfry.  A huge hunk of bread with some meat and veggies inside… and these are the relatively healthy meals.  I’m not cutting grains out (not when oatmeal tends to keep my stomach surprisingly happy), but I am going to cut them down.
  • Exercise should be enjoyable.  Now, I happen to like running (and I’m training for a 10k), so not running is silly, even though the Primal Diet isn’t a big fan of running outside of speed work.  But I do agree that lots of walking, biking, swimming, and PLAYING should be far more important in my day than getting into the gym.
  • As late as I’m posting this, you may think that I don’t agree with the sunrise to sunset limit on electronics and bright lights, but I actually do.  I’m just not good at it and, in my current living situation, it’s not always very practical.  But I will work on more early nights and earlier mornings; I’ll try to cut down on the heavy dose of media I always find myself immersed in; and I’ll try to stop and smell the roses a little more during the daylight.

So, while the diet itself didn’t work for me, I can’t discount that it could work for others.  I’m certainly going to use parts of it to help build my new “diet” (a lifestyle change, not a fad).

Maybe I’ll even eventually give up coffeehouse drinks.

Okay, today started off rocky.  I woke up at 3:30 am, wide awake, and eventually fell back asleep around the time I wanted to get up.  Slept off some of a sinus headache, but had to take medication to get rid of the rest.

I did not do a shopping spree because it’s just not in the budget.  This may set me back a bit, dietwise, but it’ll just have to do.  So Challenge One FAILED. 😛

I did get in a great workout (hopefully I can count it as moderate duration).  I walked 3.5 miles, watched a movie, then walked 3.5 miles back.  I would say it was definitely in the “moderate duration” area.  Challenge Two DONE.

Working on setting up for the “calm, relaxing evening”.  About to turn off my computer and turn down the lights, just to read a bit before bed.  We’ll see what time I manage to get up tomorrow.

To eat today, I had an egg scrambled with chopped spinach, onion, and yellow pepper, topped with salsa, with one glass of milk for breakfast.  I had a teriyaki chicken bowl for lunch (bah, rice!), but drank water.  I had a second egg scramble with potatoes and veggies for dinner.  So… it’s gonna take me a bit to adjust to these limitations, but I’m doing better.

  • Energy levels (1-10): 9
  • Hunger level between meals (1-10): 8?
  • Satisfaction level with meals (1-10): 9

More tomorrow.  It’s almost dark.

So, overall, I think I did well today.  The hardest part of the kitchen purge was actually that I can’t purge it all.  There’s soda, ice cream, and all sorts of things I can’t eat in there to tempt me.  I did give in and have one soda (caffeine-free).  Bleh.  But otherwise, I did mostly well from breakfast (which I skipped for some odd reason) on.

For my movement, I didn’t get in any walking (and may not today!), but I did edge and mow the front lawn and then clean up the mess.  Based on the low-level ache, I think that’s all I’m going to manage today.

Energy levels today (1-10): 8

Hunger level between meals (1-10): 7

Satisfaction level with meals (1-10): 9

YUM!  I liked my two meals.  I had a protein burger (burger wrapped in lettuce, not on a bun) at In n Out with tomato, mustard and grilled onion and a milk for lunch, a BabyBell (full fat) cheese for a snack, and field greens, sauteed spinach with salsa, salmon burger and milk for dinner.  I may have to cut back on the milk eventually, but it’s full-fat organic, so for now, I’m sticking with it.

Struggles today with Primal Efforts:   I’m not looking forward to shutting my computer and media off in an hour as the sun goes down

Benefits noticed from Primal Efforts: Unsure yet.  I don’t feel terribly different.

Time to start shutting down my media so I am ready to adjust to no-media after dark.  More tomorrow!