I've concluded my 30 day elimination diet of wheat and processed foods. Overall, the results have been incredibly positive. I also did a small reintroduction of flour and sugar on Mother's Day. My splurge on Sunday consisted of 3 homemade chocolate covered macaroons (yum) which have only 6 tablespoons of flour per batch (plus the sugar and chocolate). Here's my brief (is it possible?) synopsis of the month and the splurge...
~ Lost one pound of retained water for the first 5 consecutive days. In spite of an increase in calories and fats, my weight has stabilized and I consider it ideal.
~ Joint inflammation decreased significantly within 3 days. I experienced significant increase in range of motion in my surgery knee that I haven't had in 10-15 years.
~ Carb flu on day 3 was horrible. Brain fog and fatigue for 1 to 2 weeks.
~ Week 3 brought significant improvement in several areas. Decreased hunger between meals. Increased alertness. I miss snacking on crackers and such but it really is mostly mental.
~ Having trouble with my water intake but that's nothing new. I thought I would begin to crave it as my body increasingly needed hydration but I am still have trouble drinking much of anything. I feel the effects of that and am hoping that the warmer weather helps me increase fluids.
~ Blood pressure is super low but that is nothing new. It dropped when I lost the retained water and I have had dizzy spells but I attribute it more to dehydration and lack of exercise than anything else. I often experience a drop when I don't exercise regularly. Last Walmart read was 105/56.
~ I have not been exercising regularly but have been playing volleyball one to two times per week. Very minimal soreness. No joint pain or injury which is so out of the ordinary that I am astounded.
Reintroduction of wheat and sugar:
After the conclusion of the 30 days, I had no desire to start reintroducing forbidden foods... until Mother's Day when Cookie made my favorite chocolate dipped macaroons! I ate three of them with zero guilt, knowing that I made the choice freely. The cookies were absolutely delicious and I'm glad I ate them! That was my first and only departure from the diet in over a month. My observations...
~ By the evening, I noticed a slight swelling in my hands. I have been removing my wedding ring to play volleyball since the water weight loss since I do not wish to lose it... but I did not have to remove it that night.
~ I was feeling good during the exercise but woke up very sore and stiff. Walking was painful for the first few minutes in the morning. This was how I used to feel every time but had not during the 30 days.
~ By dinnertime, the swelling in my surgery knee had increased so much that I was limping. By evening, my entire lower body, from my hips to my toes, was on fire. This was how I was used to living. It used to be my normal... lying in bed every night with pain everywhere, from the tips of my fingers down to my toes. It is possible that this episode is unrelated to the reintroduction of wheat and sugar but I'm inclined to draw a strong connection.
~ I took Advil and Benadryl around 9pm and experienced improvement. Today, I am feeling much better. I'm somewhat disappointed that there appears to be such a strong connection between my diet and my health. On the other hand, it is easier to commit to a healthy diet when the negative symptoms are so strong.
~ It is clear that a permanent commitment to this way of life is required for my long term health and I'm okay with that. It isn't going to be easy but I assume that it will become easier over time as I adjust to shopping, cooking, and eating out with limitations. I have not imposed any changes on my family but there is already a positive effect on the children, particularly the girls, who watch what I eat closely.
~ I am not going to fret over splurges. I will be aware of the consequences as I make decisions over every macaroon and celebratory dinner. I can choose to be well and not feel sorry for myself. Why should I pout about the blessing of health? I should be praising God every time I start to feel that I am "deprived" of a goody instead of feeling down. I have been given a great gift of healing and gratitude is the only proper response.
~ It is my hope that my body will continue to heal from the effects of chronic systemic inflammation caused by my former diet. I believe that this is likely. It is my prayer that my allergies (which have been debilitating and increasing at an alarming rate in the last few years) will also respond to the changes.
I really, really do like macaroons. For those of you who can eat them, I offer you my very favorite recipe (at bottom of this post). It's easy and absolutely delicious! Enjoy!
And for those of you who can't eat macaroons, I found a lovely looking recipe for dark chocolate coconut cups sans wheat flour HERE. I haven't tried these yet but they're on my list!
Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons
1 pkg. (14oz) shredded coconut (about 5-1/3 cups)
2/3 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp egg whites
1 tsp almond extract
1 pkg (8 squares) Semi-sweet baking chocolate
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix coconut, sugar, flour and salt in a large bowl.
2. Add egg whites and almond extract; mix well.
3. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased and floured baking sheets (if you don't grease and flour generously, your macaroons will stick hard and fast)
4. Bake 20 minutes or until edges of cookies are golden brown. Immediately remove from baking sheets to wire racks. Cool completely
5. Dip cookies halfway in melted chocolate. Let stand at room temp. or refrigerate on wax paper-lined tray for 30 min. or until chocolate is firm
Makes about 3 dozen.