Friday, October 23, 2015

Why am I doing this? I'll tell you why

Welp. Here we are. 

The day has come when my carefree eating lifestyle has to go. That's a nice way of putting it. My diet is essentially a huge flipped bird to my body and my health - but as I always told myself: "Until I look like I need to lose weight I don't have to care what I'm eating." I truly believed that, and lives in blissful, blissful indulgence daily.

Context and background:

February 2014 I had a huge head cold – one of the worst I’ve ever had. Anyway, when that cleared up I noticed my sinuses remained stuffy/congested. It’s constant – I can only breath through one side of my nose at any given time, and in that side only about 50% of what it should be. It’s constantly inflamed and I can’t take full breaths in or out. It shifts side to side and is worse when I sit or lay down. Sometimes it’s so bad I wake myself up because I can’t breathe, or at work I need to stand up and force myself to take in more air. It’s pretty ridiculous and it’s essentially ruining the enjoyment of my own life.

To be brief, over the next year and a half it hasn’t cleared up. I’ve been to half a dozen doctors, ENTs, allergists, Naturopaths, family doctor, work doctor, walk in clinics… I’ve had CT scans, cameras up my nose, tubes inserted in my nose,, I’ve had cotton balls full of steroids inserted directly into my nasal cavity (where I found out I had a slight deviated septum in one side – annoyingly unrelated), I’ve been on prescription antibiotics, prescription sprays, steroids, pills, a gambit of allergy and sinus rinses, washes, irrigation and tablets. Basically there is zero change, and zero relief.

Interestingly I sneeze semi-often (which I consider a normal amount?), but I have no other allergy signs. No itchy or watery eyes or skin. My eyelids are almost consistently ‘swollen’ or puffy (not enough for others to tell but enough for me to notice and then ironically consider now ‘normal’.

The doctors have pushed me back and forth to each other, each one telling me “well, there is nothing wrong with you in the (insert their field of expertise) sense, have you tried: xx?” (yes I have bro).

One thing I thought it may be was an ongoing medication which I got September 2013 (4 months before this started). This timeline lines up with the timing other minor side effects seemed to appear, but I was assured by a doctor at St. Michael’s that this would have nothing to do with it at all.

Then it came to a head:

After months of incessant nagging from my mother to cut out random foods and dairy, I finally broke down and scheduled a Naturopathic Doctor visit (I hold Voodoo in similar regard), and took a blood test which tested for food sensitivities. I got the results back and similar to almost everyone else who I’ve talked to that has taken this blood test, it showed I was sensitive to an obscene number of things. 66 out of 222 in fact, which apparently is shockingly high (average is 40-something). Out of those I was flagged on, my sensitivity level (measured in lgG antibody levels in units per millilitre) ranged pretty high in most things.

I went in for an appointment with the ND and she explained food sensitivities could account for my issues, and everyone is affected by them differently. Some people have digestive issues, ome have headaches or migraines, and some have body or joint aches, so she said it could be possible that my congestion and apparent sinusitis could be caused by a perfect storm of shitty foods I’ve been eating. She also said that my body is probably maxed out and hasn’t had the ability to ‘reset’ so it’s like constantly stressing my system and if I took a break from these foods we can figure out if any are causing issue and in the interim as a happy bonus, my body can ‘reset’ and hopefully lower the high levels of these foods. So it’s possible I can still have them in the future or in smaller amounts when we figure out if a specific food is causing it.

Here were the highest things on my list in order of terribleness (keep in mind, I had many, many more very high things but these were the top, extremely high ones):

1. Eggs (specifically egg whites, although yolks registered medium)
2. Milk (not lactose – this sadly includes coconut, cashew, soya, and almond milk)
3. Potato (I’m Irish so I’m basically offended at this one)
4. Rice (no more sushi rolls)
5. Breads (all grains/wheat/oats but NOT gluten for some joke reason)
6. Beer (my life ended at this one)
7. Nuts (no more Reeses or almonds for me)
8. Beans and legumes (bye Chilli)
9. Oranges (really?)
10. Sole and Rabbit (random)

So you may be saying wtf, what can you eat? I also said that. I also said I would basically be losing 40 pounds against my will.

My Current (shitty) Diet and Lifestyle:

Now you should know that my current diet and lifestyle is not exactly dietician approved, and would basically scare people. I constantly refer to my eating habits as the "IT Diet" (Sorry, no offence IT kids). I work a job (which I love) in an office where I am sitting down all day. I stare are screens literally the entire day. I take the TTC (transit, get with it) to work now and not including the added bonus of gaining 10 pounds, I’ve remained relatively stationary in terms of exercise.

And by relatively stationary I mean I do not ever exercise (see above reference: “I do not look like I need to exercise ergo I will not exercise”). The quick jaunts I take to the office from the subway are it for me – I don’t go to the gym for the main reason that I can’t breathe out of my nose or well at all. That is what I tell people. Really I have 0 energy, and I realize this is all a catch 22, chicken or egg experience FROM not working out/eating well – this is not lost on me.

Also my lifestyle is stationary like I mentioned. I sit at work, then I sit on the subway, then I sit at my house and play video games because I’m that person who does that and not the person who goes on hikes or any of that bullshit. I am not interested in that kind of active lifestyle, as mine is fine and lines up with my hobbies and personal interests (I’m not looking for advice on getting moving or exercise advice, in case you didn’t get that).

So on to the main issue: what I eat. Those who know me can attest that I consume a lot of food. For whatever reason the amount of food it takes for me to feel full is extremely high, so after one meal I’m normally hungry a short time later or I’m still hungry. Again, I realize this maybe has to do with what I’m eating.

I don’t go out of my way to eat healthy, but I don’t necessarily consistently eat like garbage (sometimes only). The kicker is I have a ridiculous sweet tooth and insatiable craving meter. Salty, sweet, sour, crunchy, etc. And like I am with life, I can borderline on un-controlled. So If I open a bag of chips I have no part of my brain that says “oh a few chips? Great, let me put away the bag for no reason and have thee at a later date”. I will sit and eat the whole thing because I’m an adult and sometimes if I want to eat the tray of brownies until I’m full then I’ll do that because I live alone and nobody is there that I know of to loudly judge me.

The Goal:

So On Monday Oct 26th 2015 I’ve vowed to cut the top few foods out of my diet for 3 weeks, so my body can detox and I can reintroduce food groups slowly in the next weeks after that.

The foods I will be completely cutting out will be:

1.       Eggs
2.       Milk (cow, almond, soya) 
3.       Potato
4.       Rice
5.       All bread (wheat, oat, etc)
6.       Beer
7.       Nuts
8.       Oranges

Here are some foods I will be cutting back on:

1.       Legumes and lentils
2.       Sugar
3.       Mustard
4.       Coconut milk
5.       Corn
6.       Mushrooms

I will be keeping a food diary here, so you can see my progress and any sort of effects happening to my body, my mind, or my sanity if you’re into that kind of thing.

So the plan for this weekend is to finish off all the foods I already have, and do a shop on Sunday to start making lunches for the next few weeks.