Monday, July 27, 2009

Has Anyone Seen My Motivation?

I think I have officially hit my mid-summer slump.

Nevermind that I have only been to the beach once even though I have an adorable new bathing suit I would LOOOVE to be wearing every day, or that every time I look at the calendar it's a new month, or that I still haven't lost those few pounds even though I work out enough that it should be my job, or that I just got over a headache that literally lasted 6 days but I just can't help feeling a little unmotivated.

My dad and brother came to visit this weekend and it was a great time! I very rarely get one-on-one time with my dad and my brother would visit more often if he had a car, so it was really cool to hang with them. Of course, this meant playing tour guide and walking a lot and eating WAYYYY too much (all while nursing this ridiculous headache). I loved every minute of it, but boy am I BEAT! I never realized how steady the rhythm of our household is until they were here. Not that the disruption wasn't a little welcome, but it was interesting to notice how comfortably Andrew and I move about our space; and how accostomed we are to each other's habits and nuances. It felt weird to have to put pants on to walk to the bathroom.
But still, it was nice for them to see our home. And I was really proud when my dad was actually impressed with it (its hard to impress someone who builds houses for a living).

Sometimes when I'm on a looong run, I will run hard for the first half or so, then slow down in the middle mile so I can save all my energy to bust out at the end. I don't know if this is a good way to run or not, but this is how I've been approaching my summer. We jam packed every
weeked in May and June with fun things to do. And now I'm puttering along through the middle of summer and as soon as I realize it's almost over, I'll go back to the cram and be exhausted come September. And then I'll remember how much I hate cleaning up after a party and not have people over until December.

I mean, I can't even finish this book I've been reading and I am less than 50 pages from the end.
I won't even MENTION Atlas Shrugged, which I have been reading since January (I'll get it back to you eventually, Emily)

If it weren't for my scheduled appointments at the gym, I doubt I would be getting there too much, either.

I think I need a vacation...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

1 Week Gluten Free

Aaaand I feel pretty good! I am tired this week from staying up wayyy to late to watch True Blood and beat Andrew at "Set," but I have noticed some obvious improvements, which may or may not (I'm hoping its the former) be attributed to the lack of gluten in my diet.

The pros:

For starters, my stomach and I have not been at war, which is always nice. In fact, my entire GI system seems to be functioning pretty normally. (I should note that I don't actually know what normal GI function is, but I'm guessing this is closer to normal than it was).

Secondly, I have more energy. This was something I noticed pretty quickly, only about 4 days into gluten-free life. For once, I didn't crash mid-afternoon and ache desperately for a nap (this happens to me every. day.) I started Tuesday, by Friday, I was on FIRE (in a good way)!

My scale is inching downwards. This could be because I have been eating a little less. I will admit that wheat and carbs are my go-to snacks and I pretty much always include them in a meal. Instead, I've been having potatoes (hooray for potassium!) and rice and corn based products. And tons and TONS of fresh fruit and veggies. I don't think most people tolerate corn too well either, being that it's usually mass produced and over processed, so I have been trying to stay away from falling into the "I will eat everything corn instead" trap. But its nice to know that things like tortilla chips are still an option. For the most part, sweet potatoes and ketcup have become my new best friends.

Now for the cons:

I want an effing cupcake like my it is nobody's business! Temptation is everywhere. It is hard to say no to that deliciously huge brownie sitting on my counter (thanks, grandmom!). I did indulge in some pasta on Sunday (less than a half a cup) and I did have one tiny nibble of a cookie that my neighbor made on Friday. Here's my justification: I don't have Ceilac's disease so I can, in theory, eat gluten without dying. But I know myself well enough to know that if I give myself too many allowances, I will go overboard. I also know that if I don't allow myself ANY tasty wheat stuff, I will go overboard (as in, restricting. which is no good for former eating disordered peeps). So for me, its about balance. Just a taste is enough. And when I have been tempted to have more, I remind myself of how shit-tastic my stomach is going to feel in about an hour.
That has been pretty effective so far.

Gluten-free stuff is mad expensive and tastes like SHIT. I tried a gluten-free pizza yesterday. It took HOURS for me to get the taste out of my outh. Never. Again. NASTY. NASTY.
I find that whenver food is made to tast like something that it clearly is not, it is crap. Oh sure, they make it look nice, but do not be decieved.
I did read a good review on the gluten free waffles at Trader Joes, so I picked some up. I hope they don't suck as bad as the pizza.
But I don't intend to start consuming mass amounts of gluten free bread and cake. I can't afford it and it's not worth it. I'd rather just have a taste of something WITH wheat in it and stick to things that are naturally gluten free (and a hell of a lot tastier!)


I feel better. I really do. I am pretty convinced that I do have at least moderate sensitivity to gluten. And I fully intend to continue to eat a diet that is fairily restrictive with regards to gluten. The challenge now is to figure out how much gluten my body can tolerate without pissing of my GI system. In the next few weeks, I will work tiny amounts back in and continue to log how I feel day to day. I love self-experimentation!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Evil Gluten

Sorry for the absence, oh devoted five followers! I am trying to enjoy summer and escape accountability..

Anyhow, its been a busy couple of weeks. Andrew, our friend Anthony and I completed the Philly Tri a few weeks back (we had a relay team). Yours truly got to be the runner and cross the finish line at the end (coolest thing EVER!). It was a lot of fun! Hot as hell, but fun! And we each got medal so big, you would have thought we won the thing (we definitely did NOT). Next year, I am going to do the whole tri myself. I figure that I can use the crappy winter weather to spend sometime inside at our gym's pool, working on my sweet swim strokes! I bike and run all year long so I think I really need to focus on my swimming.

Anyhow, the past few weeks I have been feeling really yucky. I know awhile back I posted about a b12 deficiency that I have that tends to wear me down pretty quickly. I haven't been taking my supplement as religiously as I am supposed to (gasp!) so I figured that was the problem. And I have been drinking copious amount of iced coffee (I love you, summer!) so I was sure that wasn't helping. But twice last week, I found myself doubled over in pain, fatigue and nausea (and other fun GI grossness). I am NOT pregnant (don't pretend the thought didn't cross your mind) so I knew there must be something else going on.
I love to self diagnose and experiment with myself so I made a list of everything I ate and drank that week and started to do some research on my symptoms.
I think I may have a gluten allergy. I'm not talking about Celiac's disease, which is essentially the inability to tolerate gluten at all. Just an allergy. As it turns out, about 1 in every 100 people has a gluten allergy and doesn't know it. In addition, gluten allergies are more prevalent than they were 50 years ago, thanks to the uber processing of the food that we eat. This article has some interesting findings:
Gluten Allergy Article

If you've ever read the Omnivore's Dilemma or seen Food, Inc. you know that this makes complete sense (and if you haven't, you REALLY should). For many reasons outlined in both book and film, the bulk of American food has become increasingly processed. Not only does our government heavily subsidize the corn and meat industries, but the creation of artificial preservatives and sweeteners (ahem, high fructose corn syrup) has resulted in foods that are, literally, fake. HFCS doesn't occur in nature, it is completely man made. And its in EVERYTHING. Michael Pollan, my God of food, suggests that just the mere listing of HFCS on a label is the sign of a highly processed food (and should be avoided).
I get how the food industry became this way; its symbiotic with the widespread use of cars, the collpase of manufacturing cities, the development of the federal highway system, and introduction of urban sprawl. Its all connected, my friends. As people moved out of cities, they had to go farther to get food, which cost more. Because fresh food isn't ridden with preservatives, it doesn't last as long. So rather than walking across the street to the city market, people had to drive (perhaps several times a month) to get fresh food. My god! What a PAIN!

Cities became cut off from the suburbs (pretty much on purpose, but that's a topic for another day). Now that people had cars, they could travel long distances much faster than ever before. Our country became obsessed with speed and efficiency, traveling farther and faster than they ever had before. How inefficient it was, then, to have food that went bad so quickly and didn't keep. And how expensive it became to feed this new generation of baby boomers with real, fresh food.
So the government says, hey farmers, why don't you increase production? We got a lot of people to feed and if you make more food, it will drive down the cost and you'll sell more. And the farmers say, but we can't. We don't have the means to increase production. Animals only grow so fast, and they need all of this ROOM to roam and eat. And the government says, we'll give you the money. You just make us as much of the cheapest meats and foods you can. Naturally, this meant cutting some major corners. And thus began half a century of BS. You can read more about the development of the fast food world (which is a HUGE contributor to the decomposition of American food) in Fast Food Nation.

I will spare you my play by play of the disgracing of America's food supply, but you get the idea. The government literally pays farmers to produce ridiculous amounts of corn, which is then fed to the livestock (a diet which makes them terribly sick and necessitates insane amounts of antibiotics to keep them alive), which is then sold to us. Cheap. And fast. And then the leftover corn is thrown into whatever other foods we happen to be making at the time.

Sooooo, it is no wonder that we are seeing a increase in not just obesity, but Autism, food intolerances, cancers and a whole slew of behavioral and developmental issues in kids. There is nothing natural about our food in America. At least not the stuff that you buy at the Acme/Superfresh/ShopRite.

The point of this whole, long winded post was to say that as of today, I am going gluten-free (for at least a couple weeks). I am probably going to be a super cranky bitch for awhile. But I am hoping that the switch improves my overall well being.

My friend Jill (Hi, Jill!) is experimenting with THIS diet. Which I think sounds super interesting, albeit a bit more restrictive. I like the idea of getting back to basics with food. If this gluten thing doesn't work out, you can expect that the Paleo Diet will be my next experiment.

Adios, gluten, for now. I cannot imagine a life without beer. Honestly. But if I must choose, I would prefer a life (or even a week) without diarrhea.

I'll keep you posted on how it goes. Expect some ranting and whining at first....