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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

My Food Journey + Lunch Today



You may start to notice, if you compare the posts to come and the posts from four years ago, that how I eat today is very different than how I used to eat four years ago. Four years ago, I ate all sorts of grains and cheese throughout the day, had a raging sweet tooth, and drank coffee and wine regularly. Not that, of course, any of you should stop eating or drinking these things. Unless they cause you problems.

After having Lydia in 2015, I couldn't seem to shake the baby weight. I felt chubby, and I wasn't used to that. I accepted the fact that my body changes as I get older, and figured this is just how I was supposed to be. But I never felt settled with it. My goal was to be able to wear a swimsuit and not feel self-conscious.



So I went on a diet journey. It progressed as follows: Paleo, Atkins, Whole30, Ancestral, Gut Makeover, and Low FODMAP. This took over two years of trial and error, and honestly, I'm still trying to figure it out.


I also started reading some books that caught my eye. The first was The Case Against Sugar, by Gary Taubes. This book helped me learn the science behind what sugar does to the body, and that knowledge started helping me to resist sugar temptations.

Another book I was excited about is The Jungle Effect, by Daphne Miller. I learned why traditional diets keep people healthy and mostly free of disease compared to Western diets. Dr. Miller traveled to different parts of the world to study traditional peoples and what they ate. She includes recipes in her book and a type of scoring system to help the reader know how to make a traditional meal.

Then a friend of mine was reading Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan. I ended up borrowing the book from the library, then buying my own copy for all the wisdom in it. I learned about the four pillars of human health she outlined, and how most Americans only follow one of those pillars regularly. This is the book that inspired me to started eating liver every week.

From there I moved on to discover the Weston A. Price Foundation and Nourishing Traditions. I felt like now, finally, I could eat the foods I loved if I prepared them properly: soaking and sprouting my grains, making only sourdough bread, and fermenting my raw milk. It was all so delicious. But I ate too much of those wonderful foods and started gaining a bit of weight. Or, more likely, I started experiencing bloating because of my intolerance to them.

Then, in January 2019, I caught a random virus that flushed out my gut flora. After that, I started having uncomfortable stomach pain and other digestive problems. My husband, who had caught the same virus, agreed to go on The Gut Makeover Diet (Jeanette Hyde). Similar to Paleo or Whole30, the focus includes eating prebiotic and probiotic foods.

That's a lot of books and a lot of links, and at the end, I learned a few things. Sugar and caffeine and alcohol make me happy for the moment, but never afterwards. And I always felt better when I wasn't eating grains or dairy. But I still don't know which grains make me feel bad. Plus, that beach body I was striving for? Well, I learned some things about my body and what helps me to feel good, which I will share in a future post.

My current focus is low FODMAP and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Getting ready to move to Spain has been stressful. There is a lot to do before we go, and I can't say I've always handled it well. The stress comes through to my digestive system and sometimes has me laying on the couch in pain. After cutting out certain foods that are high in FODMAPs, I experienced temporary relief, but not for long.

So I conclude (for now) that I have leaky gut. Which has me back to not eating grains, dairy, or sugar. I have a lot of broth. A cup of broth with breakfast; soup for lunch. Collagen powder in smoothies. Chicken thighs with the connective parts that I used to never eat. And a lot of vegetables, favoring cooked veggies over raw. When I eat this way, I typically feel good. Symptoms are more under control, and I normally have more energy. But every day is part of the journey, and every day is part of healing and learning.

Which brings me to what I had for lunch today:

Chicken Soup with Summer Squash



This was made from fresh broth, plus yellow squash and parsley from my garden. One chicken thigh went into my pot, along with sauteed onion and a dash of apple cider vinegar at the end. I will share how I made it, but measurements are an estimate. Adjust according to your taste.

Chicken Soup with Summer Squash
Serves 1

Ingredients:

olive oil
1/4 of a small onion, diced
3 sprigs parsley, leaves and stems chopped
1/2 small yellow squash, sliced
1 - 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (homemade is best)
1 chicken thigh, skin and bones removed (save to make future broth if you like)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper

Method:

Saute onion and squash in olive oil until soft. Add broth, chicken, salt and pepper. Towards the end, add parsley. Turn off heat and add apple cider vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings.



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