Regular readers of this blog may recall that I’ve given sugar and grains the boot and I wanted to give you a bit of an update on how it’s going and recommend some books that have helped me along the way. I’ve read plenty of criticism over the paleo/primal diets, largely directed at the labels themselves; I’ve seen the reactions over the high-fat low-carb diet, based on paradigms that seem somewhat outdated now; and I’ve laughed at the articles claiming that without sugar we will have no energy to get up in the morning. Because my diet is now based on eggs, meat, fish, veg, butter, cream, yoghurt, coconut oil, nuts and seeds and I feel better than I have for years.
I no longer suffer with anxiety. I’ve dealt with some tricky situations recently both at work and socially and I’ve been able to work through them without complete melt down, tears, belly ache, racing pulse or insomnia. I have even been out with friends and not agonised over each detail or felt responsible for other people’s moods.
No depression. No moping. No crippling lack of self-worth. No wishing the world would swallow me up. Last year I was unable to enjoy my summer holidays. My mood refused to elevate no matter what I did. This year I’ve had a fantastic time, the highlight of which was having complete hysterics when I face planted off a paddle board in Cornwall rather than the graceful dive I’d planned to execute. I howled with laughter until the tears streamed down my face. I felt real joy on a number of occasions. I can’t stress how big a deal this is.
No binging. No cramming down a huge bar of chocolate / packet of biscuits / hastily made cake and then eating a meal an hour or so later. I occasionally lose control over crisps but we are talking a couple of small packets, not an entire family bag of kettle chips.
No cravings. A lack of depression and anxiety is largely to credit, but even pre-menstrually I am fine with a couple of squares of dark chocolate.
Benefits no.4, 5 & 6
My nails have stopped peeling, breaking and flaking and have become incredibly strong, shiny and flexible. My previously thin and brittle hair is thickening up and becoming soft. My mild acne is finally, after nearly 30 years, nearly cleared up and my developing wrinkles have been replaced with softer, plumper skin.
My body temperature is better regulated. I only realised this when I was swimming in the sea with only a bikini and light rash vest. I’m getting better at handling heat too, which normally makes me very uncomfortable.
This may seem strange but one of my dyslexic traits appears to be easing… I cannot normally remember sequences (words, numbers, instructions etc) but I have noticed recently that when I’m playing piano I can memorise short passages. I’m interested to see if this improves further.
I’ve lost nearly a stone. And I’ve been eating a lot! I take my coffee with thick (heavy) cream. I use a lot of butter. I eat a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil daily. I eat homemade icecream.
Now that I don’t need to cram food in – to give me energy, to make me sleepy, to comfort, to fill up, to alleviate whichever symptoms I cannot otherwise deal with, I am really enjoying my meals again. I do not fear hunger or get anxious before mealtimes. And so I can savour and appreciate. My family is also enjoying the new variety of food that I’m dishing up.
In essence, life is good and I feel like it’s only really just getting started. I still get upset, angry and tired – but these states of being are proportional to what’s going on. Leaving me to get on and enjoy the rest of life without self-sabotage.
If you are interested in seeing how you’d do on this type of diet (an avoidance, but not total abstinence of sugar, grains, pulses and trans fats; an overall low carbohydrate intake combined with an increase of animal based protein sources and a high level of healthy fats) I’d recommend starting with the following:
Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar and I Quit Sugar for Life
Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint
Liz Wolfe’s Eat The Yolks
Mary Enig and Sally Fallon’s Eat Fat, Lose Fat and Nourishing Traditions.
Jimmy Moore’s Keto Clarity.
I’d also like to apologise for the lack of recipes recently. I’ve been following so many fantastic recipes by other people that I haven’t been making up my own recently. But I think it’s time. Let me know if there’s anything I should include!