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In twelve days, we’ve seen my morning nausea or queasiness, my afternoon sluggishness, and the mild stiffness in my hands disappear. I feel better rested when I wake up in the mornings. My stomach is completely settled, and I’ve been surprised at how little gas I’ve had. I’m still struggling with mild air hunger when I am laying down (a new symptoms since my diet changed) and sometimes having the wrong word come out of my mouth or when I’m typing, which is a problem I’ve had for a while.
I’m no longer having blood sugar swings where I feel like I have to eat right away or I become irritable and I’m no longer skipping meals, especially breakfast. I used to skip breakfast or eat a late breakfast due to the being queasy. I’m eating a lot of food and feeling better than I have in a long time. All from cutting myself down to 70-100 grams of carbs a day to help deal with my overburdened liver, hormonal problems and blood sugar swings.
Jeff and the kids continue to eat grains, so we’re making meals where the grain can be served with or under the main course and I continue to make them snacks. So far, it’s working out well. I’m not craving grains, chocolate or sugars, which really came as a shock to me. I even had some lacto-fermented homemade ice cream with raw honey this weekend and did just fine- it didn’t kick off cravings or other problems. And I’m loosing weight, sleeping better and eating far more food than ever before!
My body temperatures are where they should be and I believe as a general rule, temps dip not due to diet, but due to not eating enough calories or enough quantity of food &/or not getting adequate rest. I don’t believe body temperature changes can only be caused by certain diets alone, no matter what amounts of protein, carbs or fat you’re eating, when you aren’t eating enough food overall. I believe test results showing thyroid and adrenal balance combined with showing no puffiness (water retention due to hormones) is the real proof, not body temperatures. I can drive my body temperature down by just not eating enough food or not getting enough sleep for a few days. All over puffiness (water retention) and weight gain if you don’t need extra weight is a real clue that your hormones aren’t balanced in a pre-menopausal woman, even if you feel warm. You have to look at the bigger picture, not one indicator, as body temperature isn’t a rock solid reliable marker for all aspects of hormone health.
I do have help and support. My friend, Jessica from Delicious Obsessions, is also going through hormonal balance issues and she’s also having her hair fall out. She’s a good friend and we’re supporting each other through through the adjustments. We’re both making similar diet changes, and it’s good to have a friend in the same boat to bounce ideas around with.
My nutritional counselor, Lydia from Divine Health, has me start some new supplements on Saturday. Prescript Assist is a heavy-duty colonizing Soil-based organisms (SBO) probiotic. We’ll talk more about SBOs in a post coming up soon. These are the good guys who move in and stay, with the ability to kick the bad bacteria in your gut to the curb. Most probiotics you take from the store or in your ferments are transient- they don’t take up permanent residence, they just hang around for a while before leaving eventually. I’m definitely feeling the effects of this new supplement!! We plan on keeping me on a full dose for at least 4 months, possibly longer, then long-term I will stay on maintenance for as long as it takes to see I no longer need it.
We’ve also discovered through some pretty in-depth questionnaires that the basis of my problem appears to be a pituitary gland that isn’t producing growth hormone as it should. Pretty much all of my syomptoms point to that. So we will get blood work through a naturopath as soon as we can afford it to confirm those suspicions and then plot long-term treatment. We need the blood work to verify those suspicions, so for now we continue to work to take the burden off of my endocrine system by only consuming a moderate amount of carbs to keep my blood sugar stable. This gives my liver a break and allows it to work as it should. Crazy blood sugar swings from lots of carbs in your diet only burdens your liver and endocrine system. We will soon begin working on my adrenals and thyroid once I’ve adjusted to this diet and have grown my ‘sea legs.’ I don’t want to shock my body by doing too much at one time.
I can tell my liver is burdened. I’m having liver pain at varying levels, on and off. It’s normally mild to very mild, but I still notice it. I’ve always been concerned about my liver. When I’m in better shape and more adjusted, we’ll begin looking at what we can do to gently cleanse my liver. Amazingly, I’m not having any gallbladder pain or signs of trouble.
The lower-carb diet also works to help produce growth hormone, as high carb intakes suppress growth hormone production. Anything that stimulates insulin production supresses growth hormones. Exercise also encourages growth hormone production, as does sleep. Growth hormone is released during the first few hours of deep sleep. In fact, it appears as though the earlier you go to sleep, the more is released. So staying up late hits both your adrenals and your growth hormone production. Better to go to bed early.
Small doses of certain amino acids can also stimulate growth hormone production. One study showed at 50mg of L-arginine stimulated growth hormone production. Spinach, sesame seed, gelatin and turkey appear to be good source of L-arginine. Once again, we see both broth is a good thing.
I’m in this for the long haul. We’re looking at 6 months or longer, plus multiple permanent lifestyle changes. Because I was premature and fed soy formula, it’s possible I might need life-long pituitary &/or thyroid support.
Wait a Minute….
I can hear someone saying, “KerryAnn, you’ve stated that you’re low carb, but above you said you’re on a moderate carb diet. What gives?”
The problem is that the word ‘low carb’ doesn’t really have a set definition. Some people consider anything under 40 grams of carbs to be low-carb. Other groups say 70 is the cut-off. Yet others say 80, 100, 120, 200….. it goes on and on.
After doing some readying, I kinda consider the under 40 crowd to be low carb and 70-100 to be moderate carb, or what I’m doing to refer to as ‘lower carb.’ If you have health problems to heal or weight to loose, then 70-100 is a good spot at which to be. If you’re in good health with no blood sugar problems or weight to loose, 100-150 is the target for life-long maintenance. I don’t consider anything above 150 carbs to be a good idea unless you’re an athlete.
So in the grand-scheme of things, what people consider to be low-carb and what I consider to be low-carb are kinda different. So from here on out, I will refer to my diet as the lower-carb diet.
What I’m Eating
Food- I’m averaging around 70-80 carbs a day right now. I’m consuming a ton of eggs. We bought 7 dozen eggs this weekend. Due to the nutritional deficiencies I’m showing, Lydia wants me to swap to having more beef and seafood and less chicken.
I’ve been Paleo + Dairy for the last week, but I will continue to periodically have some beans and peanuts and maybe even a little quinoa in my diet. I remain on raw dairy as I show no signs of sensitivity to it. We already have them on hand and the budget can’t afford a full-on Paleo 24/7 right now, so we’ll do what we can while keeping it as close to Paleo as possible, all while remaining lower carb.
Hubby and the kids aren’t really thrilled with the changes. The kids are a little confused at all of the things they’re eating and I’m not or why I won’t eat something I would have eaten last month. I am still continuing to cook for them as normal and we will continue to have grains in the house. Once I’m better on my feet, I’m going to tackle a problem I see with one of the kids, but right now doing them and me at the same time would cause too much upheaval at home, so we’ll give him a few more weeks before we introduce any diet changes for the kids.
I’m rotating through a variety of foods. The goal is to get as much protein into me as we can for breakfast in order to help keep my blood sugar stable, and eat every 2-3 hours throughout the day. Despite eating so much food, so often, we’re still seeing a slow weight loss starting to happen.
Breakfast– fried eggs, coconut flour muffins with blueberries, maca eggnog, bacon, homemade sausage, scrambled eggs or even leftovers from dinner.
Lunch– I’m basically making lunch a mini-dinner for now. So the two meals are the same dishes.
Dinner– paleo lasagna, chicken soup, salmon 100 different ways, bison or beef burgers over a salad, grilled steak, fajitas in a bowl and the like. We’ve got beef in the freezer and I’m supposed to be eating more beef and seafood than chicken, so I’m working my way through what is in the freezer. We’re playing ‘name that cut’ by pulling out whatever is on top and figuring out how best to cook that cut for dinner that night.
Snacks– nut butter with half an apple, jerky, handful of crispy almonds, coconut oil candies made with raw honey.
I’ll soon release more details on a Menu Plan for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and blogging through the Menu Plan.