After my last post about the paleo bread, I started thinking: “Ryvitas, pretzels and wholegrain tortillas – are they really that bad?” “Why is it that I’ve decided to be THAT strict with my diet?” “Why does it bother me that I’ve let a bit of gluten and a bit of dairy sneak in?” “Does it actually bother me?”
With sugar it’s easy. I have completely made up my mind not to eat it because it just doesn’t work for me in so many levels:
- I don’t believe that a human body needs it or likes it
- I cannot moderate it and will end up overeating and craving for more and more
- It makes me bloated and grumpy
- It causes GI issues* when I run for more than 10km
- It makes my blood sugar levels plummet causing dizziness and cold sweats, especially when I’m running but also sometimes when I’m not
With dairy my mind is also more or less made up – I’ve started to reduce my dairy intake just after Christmas because most of the time it’s full of hormones and I’m trying to see whether I could actually have clear skin for a few years before I hit menopause (I wrote a bit more on this here). So dairy is still in the test phase and to properly see how my body reacts to it, or to the lack of it, it would probably help if I cut it out completely or at least to 90%.
When it comes to gluten, however, I’m having mixed thoughts. I know that my body can handle some gluten – oats I can easily digest without bloating or GI issues. I can also digest tortillas and good quality wholegrain bread. When it gets a bit trickier for my body is when the bread has loads of sugar and yeast – that’s where I have to draw the line as the symptoms are the same as to what sugar does to me.
Now there’s also meat. I’ve been thinking lots about whether I need to / want to eat a lot of it. Human bodies take longer to digest meat than plant-based food, that’s a fact. I think organic meat a few times a week is probably ok and I’ll probably stick with it, but I could not go full-on primal or paleo and eat it for breakfast :| So for now I’m keeping the status quo and eating it a few times a week but not more.
Also on my mind lately has been fish. Everyone says you must.eat.fish.several.times.a.week. I get it, essential fatty acids mostly found in fish are essential for the human body – for the brain, for immune system, for skin, hair, etc. However, when I look at the fish selection at the shops I get confused – is organic farmed salmon better than wild salmon? What is the level of toxins in them? We know some fish have more toxins (mercury, etc.) than others but is any fish these days totally free from them? Ughhh… it does my head in so I’ve decided to not fret about fish – humans can actually get more than enough omegas from chia seeds, hemp seeds and flax seeds! I have a post on that in the draft ;)
So based on that I think I’ll go with that feels right for my body – I’ll stick with the no sugar rule and I’ll try to cut down dairy by 90% (I know some cheese will sneak in). I will also stay away from the breads that I know I cannot handle but will have a tortilla once in a while or a ham&cheese toastie on my rest day. I figure there’s no need to totally cut out wheat/rye/etc. if my body actually doesn’t react badly to it. I will keep adding omega rich seeds into my porridge and baked goods, and not spend money on expensive supplements or stand at the supermarket for ages trying to figure out what kind of fish to buy.
Now the next thing I need to experiment with are pulses. I love the taste of all of them but they bloat a lot so I need to figure out whether dry pulses that are soaked properly before cooking work better for me than tinned ones, or whether there are some kinds that are gentler on my stomach than others. It’s time to experiment.
Do you analyse what your body is trying to tell you after you eat a meal? Are there certain foods you know you cannot tolerate? Do you stay away from them?
*GI issues = gastrointestinal issues – that’s the nice way runners talk about diarrhea. You’re welcome :)