Saturday, 7 March 2015

Healing with Food

Since learning I was allergic to dairy 5 years ago, and probably had been allergic all my life which explains a lot of symptoms, I finally decided in the Fall of 2014 that I was no longer going to "cheat".  By cheating I mean eating baked goods with dairy in them due to having an easier time digesting the dairy, or so I thought.  I've put on weight and haven't been able to take if off no matter what I do.  Heading into menopause I thought it was hormonal weight gain and eventually hopefully I would lose it.  Another reason for wanting to try something completely different.  I started looking into a different workout regime and signed up for a Body Transformation class starting in September.  Yet I knew I needed something more, and I had noticed a co-worker has lost a lot of weight over the summer.  I asked what she'd done, and discovered The Fast Metabolism Diet by Haylie Pomroy.  Since I was going on vacation at the beginning of September I thought I'd start the diet when I returned.  Although during my vacation I did start drinking 1/2 my body weight in water to prepare for a lifestyle change. 

This isn't a diet, it really is Did I Eat Today with lots of clean foods, no dairy, no wheat, no corn, no soy, no alcohol and no sugar.  The no sugar doesn't mean using artificial sweeteners like Splenda or Sugar Twin, it means using stevia or xylitol instead.  The diet is 28 days, the length of time it takes to create new habits.  I did the plan three times to completely heal my gut, and I lost weight.  Mostly I wanted to heal my gut, I didn't want to be bloated or feel uncomfortable in my skin anymore.  I felt swollen or like there was a heavy blanket wrapped around my real shape. 

I borrowed the main book and purchased the cookbook.  I thought having the cookbook would help with meal planning.  This plan is about learning to cook at home again, it is about planning your meals and there is a lot of chopping.  Since we grocery shop on Sunday my Sunday nights were spent chopping vegetables and using our crockpot to make some meals.  Delicious meals!  I even experimented having brown rice or quinoa for breakfast.  There are three (3) phases to the eating plan, Phase 1 is grains, protein and fruits for two (2) days, Phase 2 is meat and vegetables for two (2) days and Phase 3 is protein, vegetables, fruit, grains and healthy fats for three (3) days.  I discovered I lost the most weight on Phase 1 and Phase 2, the first 28 days and gained a pound back on Phase 3.  The next 28 days I didn't lose as much as the first round, discouraging at first until I read that plateaus happen when your body is healing.  After a week I started to drop a pound or two again.  In the third round I really started to lose weight and in all three Phases.  My body was healing and I felt fantastic. 

On December 12 I finished round three and was two pounds below my goal weight.  With the holidays coming up I was worried about the temptation of chocolates and cookies.  One day to treat myself I had a peppermint tea latte with sugar free vanilla syrup and it tasted horrible!!!  I noticed fruit tasted sweeter, actually everything tasted different, better, with more flavour.  I was still eating clean and wasn't tempted at all. 

On the final day of the Body Transformation class on December 5th my final measurements showed an overall loss of 16 inches.  My thighs had more muscle definition and I looked like myself again.  I was heading towards having the body I'd had when I'd started working in the office 15 years ago.  This was proof that dairy caused inflammation in my body and inflammation made losing weight harder.  Something I had problems with regardless of exercising or cutting out snacks and having only three meals a day.  The biggest insight was the sugar I ate in muffins from the coffee shop, the treats at work and my favourite Westcoast bar was the main culprit.  Cutting out the refined sugar in the first week had me losing the most weight in the first round.

I didn't gain any weight with Christmas dinner, or the week afterward and I ate Phase 4 (all three Phases combined) switching it up by having grains with breakfast and lunch but not with dinner, or having lots of vegetables one day for every meal and only fruit at breakfast and lunch.  The only time I gained weight over the holidays, two pounds, was after New Year's Eve when I drank wine and weighed myself the next morning.  Those pounds came off a few days later. 

Almost three months later, I'm still between 2-3 pounds below my goal weight.  I've even gotten within 1 pound of my dream weight three times.  It really depends on what I've eaten.  I find eating two pieces of fruit a day is the best for me and a lot of vegetables, along with protein for my main meals.  I still drink 1/2 my weight in water every day.  If I eat a treat, I use it for my snack, bake it myself or buy it at a raw food café.  I drink lemon water in the morning.  I use spices for not only flavour but for their healing properties.  I rotate my food choices every week and don't get into the habit of having the same meals. 

I've had friends tell me I glow, and not just my skin.  My nails and hair are much healthier.  I don't get bloated anymore.  I have digestive problems rarely, except with the usual things like beans, a problem I'm learning to solve.  I've discovered a few things about my body, for example I can eat a banana occasionally, trying to eat two in a week caused me to bloat and having one the following week caused me digestive distress minutes after eating it. Grapefruits help me to drop a few pounds, along with cucumbers and daikon radish. 

I've also discovered wonderful recipes and new favourites, along with new cooking methods.  I love oranges with cinnamon sprinkled on them.  Berries are my low GI go to fruit and are what I use the most, especially blueberries.  I've discovered tamari. I've sautéed using water and continue to use this method.  I like a lime squeezed into sparkling water.  I like the bitterness of cacao nibs. Chili pepper on mangoes or pineapple is an amazing taste experience.  I've discovered new vegetables such as daikon radish, jicama, cabbage tops and arugula.  I like kombucha and recently found a local brand, Saltspring Kombucha Co. available at Ingredients Health Food or on tap at Freshcoast Health Foodbar

Now on maintenance I use raw local honey, coconut sugar and xylitol depending on what I'm making or baking.  Stevia leaves a back taste in my mouth and the only brand I've found I can handle is New Roots, so I haven't added it to my pantry yet.  I enjoy chopping vegetables and loading up the fridge for the week.  I make my lunch the night before now.  I am maintaining my weight loss. I don't want to eat crap anymore. 

All I can say is Haylie Pomroy has touched the lives of many people who are asking themselves "Did I Eat Today" and answering YES!!  I'm just one more success story.....