Dr. Amy Myers Autoimmune Solution, Paleo

Dr. Amy Myers Autoimmune Solution Results and Review

It has finally been a month! And it wasn’t an easy month! I really enjoy having nuts and seeds as well as gluten free grains and legumes. I missed them and felt deprived many times. I also cheated a few times, but I really tried hard to be as strict as possible. The main problem was that I didn’t see results. In fact, after over a week of really sticking to the program, I felt awful, I think my body may have been fighting a virus that was going around. My health problems are not extremely serious (fatigue, brain fog, sinus congestion) and they usually don’t interfere too much with my life, but there has been many times when I have seen drastic improvements over a few days just by cleaning up my diet. In this case, there was no improvement at all (coming from a gluten free dairy free lifestyle). I have been trying to loose an extra 5 pounds that I gained during my last pregnancy and that my body has been hanging on to. In the past, going grain free has been the most reliable way to loose weight. For some reason, this time, I didn’t loose any weight.

As far as Dr. Amy Myers Autoimmune Solution program goes, it’s a good program with lots of information and interesting resources. It is divided into six lessons: Understanding Autoimmunity, Heal your Gut, Get Rid if Gluten, Grains and Legumes, Tame the Toxins, Heal your Infections and Relieve your Stress, the Myers Way for Life. The videos included in the lessons are interesting and the symptom tracker could be helpful if, unlike me, one was going to use it. The program doesn’t require too much time in the kitchen and allows for using leftovers as a mean to cut down on cooking time. I think it would provide just enough diversity for a lot of people (I recently read that most of us use a repertoire of 12 recipes that we cook over and over again), but as someone who rarely cooks the same thing more than once, I got incredibly bored with the options offered. I had to look at three other autoimmune cookbooks (He Won’t Know it’s Paleo, The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook and the Paleo Approach Cookbook to find more inspiration.

In conclusion, I know the autoimmune protocol has been helping a lot of people. I also know that no matter what your health problem is, eliminating trigger foods is the most important step. Grains and legumes are said to be inflammatory to the body, because they contain phytic acid, phytates, lectins and prolamins. They also contribute to an omega 3/omega 6 imbalance (The Paleo Approach is my source on that statement) they rob the body from important minerals (since phytates bind to calcium, iron and other minerals) and they are not very nutrient dense (calories to calories compared to meat and veggies). I don’t find that eliminating grains makes me better, and the claim that meat is harder for the body to digest than plant foods makes more sense to me. Those who are in favor of eating more meat rather than plant foods argue that the human body is not designed to break down cellulose. I argue back that the cellulose (fiber) is the ultimate anti-cancer food (colorectal, pancreatic and breast cancers) and even phytic acid seems to have some anti-cancer properties! In the end, it looks like I haven’t found the Ultimate diet yet.

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Lifestyle, No Pooing

No Poo Experiment, Part 3

So, after two weeks of not washing my hair at all, I broke down and decided to clean it with Borax. My hair turned out soft and manageable,  but not as shiny as if I had used shampoo.

Also, the next day and all the days following my hair felt rough and didn’t look nice, I had to keep it tied up because it was too fuzzy.

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A week later, I cleaned my hair with Aloe Vera gel. I was not very happy with the results. My hair didn’t look nice and felt rough and not clean.

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I tried again and it still didn’t look nice, so I ended up using shampoo.

 

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So far, I would say that Borax yields decent results, but I will keep experimenting. My hair is always a bit fuzzy, but it has more shine with shampoo (I used a less toxic organic brand). I think I might try going at least a week without cleaning my hair and then doing Borax followed by an apple cider rinse and blow drying. More on that in an upcoming post.

 

Dr. Amy Myers Autoimmune Solution, Paleo

Cost of Groceries on the Autoimmune Protocol, Part 2

 

The first week and a half cost about $400 (to feed a family of 9). You can check part 1 for more details. At the week and a half mark, I stocked up on meat that was on sale. Now, I buy grass fed beef from a local farmer, but I had decided I could not afford to afford to buy my meat organic (we do grow our chickens in the Summer, but we ran out).

Here is my receipt:

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It comes out to about $10 in produce and $80 in meat. Now, I was operating under the premise that factory farming in Canada is not as bad as in the States (I don’t know why I was under this impression). I did some research on the Internet (I should have done that beforehand) and discovered that it is in fact pretty horrible. I decided I would no longer purchase meat unless it is certified organic. Now, I realize that organic does guarantee perfect conditions for the animals, but it is a huge improvement and what else can I do if  I want to go on with this experiment? So, I will have meatless breakfast and lunches and meat for dinner from now on. The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott offers a menu plan with meatless lunches and I will have a green smoothie for breakfast.

At the 2 week mark, I did the last half of my shopping:

I spent about $1000 dollars, some of it not specifically for the protocol. I spent about $160 in produce at Costco (includes lots of frozen fruits and veggies), about $60 at Walmart and $100 at Freshco. Meat cost me about $250 at all three stores and condiments cost about $100 (all the oils and coconut milk for instance). On top of all this, I bought coconut flour, apple cider vinegar, coconut aminos among other things and that cost about $100. Add another $60 for palm shortening and coconut butter.

Now, before I add up the totals for the month, keep in mind that I live in Ontario. Here food costs more than in the States (that is why I posted the receipts, people can compare for themselves to what they are used to paying). Also, right now, the exchange rate is very bad for us in Canada, that also makes our situation worst.

Here we go, to eat on the autoimmune protocol this month, and feed a family of 9, I spent $430 in produce and $400 in meat (not including beef). Oils, flours, coconut milk and all the condiments cost another $300 or so. The total for the bare essentials then would then be a little less than $1100. But I spent about $300 more in things that are not included in the protocol, like sourdough bread, peanut butter, cheese, etc.

This amount seems to be not any more than I am used to spending. I will keep writing these overviews on my spending each month and we will see what the next few months cost, but so far, I feel that this amount is not any more than usual.

 

 

 

Dr. Amy Myers Autoimmune Solution, Paleo

Dr. Amy Myers Autoimmune Solution Progress

I was planning to write a seven day update about he Autoimmune Solution for the sake of comparing the results with Superwoman Slimdown (I did the cleanse for only 7 days). However, I decided it would not be a fair comparison for two reasons: 1- I started the program after having a cheat meal on the weekend and I think I might have suffered more from the gluten exposure than expected. 2- I didn’t realize that although baked goods are ok on the protocol, they should be consumed only once a month or so. Consequently, I really overindulged my sugar cravings. I these two causes might be at the root of the stalled progress or even the regression I experienced since the Superwoman Slimdown. I felt mediocre most days. I had low energy and I had various intestinal issues. That lasted of 8 days. On the 6, 7 and 8 days, I felt pretty discouraged and deprived. I cheated with nut butters and pop corn and felt ready to give up. I also felt uninspired by the AIP recipes. All these meals revolving around meat! I felt worried that I was eating too much meat. By the way, why do paleo people think of meat and veggies are the most nutrient dense, less gut irritant foods, while vegetarians promote veggies, grains and legumes as easier to digest than meat? I think I might have to look into this at some point…

But let’s get back to my progress on the protocol. On day 9, I started feeling much better, both physically and emotionally. I started appreciating the foods available to me again and I didn’t feel so deprived any longer. I felt like I could finish the month. However, I made some adjustments as the protocol seemed too meat heavy for me. And we are not talking only about pastured chicken, grass fed beef, fish and such, but a lot of cured meats that have been shown to cause cancer. I decided I would finish the protocol by having a green smoothie for breakfast, a meatless lunch and meat for dinner.

With only 1 week left to go, I thought the time had come to give a progress report. I have a bit of a foggy brain today, which I also had during the Superwoman Slimdown, but had blamed on the grains, legumes and nuts. I guess not. I will have to keep experimenting and I will make a final judgment on the protocol next weekend.

General

US News & World Report Best Diets Rankings 2017

Looking for the Ultimate diet? Look no further, the US News & World Report has done all the leg work and came up with its 2017 rankings. This is now its seventh such list, asserting to cut through the clutter of claims. Coming from such a trustworthy source of information and a panel of nationally recognized health experts, we can assume the rankings give a realistic overview of the best types of foods that can foster human health. But is it really the case?

Before we evaluate these findings, we need to ask: Who are the dietitians who created the rankings? What was their methodology? According to the US News & Report Website, there are twenty of them, all with very impressive credentials. They represent a sampling of nationally recognized experts in diet, nutrition, obesity, food psychology, diabetes and heart disease. They rated each diet in seven categories: how easy it is to follow, its ability to produce short-term and long-term weight loss, its nutritional completeness, its safety and its potential for preventing and managing diabetes and heart disease. The Website does not say much else about their methodology and somehow, looking at the diets they ranked among the best, allow me to be skeptical. Hey, I don’t pretend to know it all and I am certainly not always objective, but when I see names like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig come up on a list of best diets, I get suspicious! Classically trained dietitians tend to operate on the calories in calories out dogma. A dogma dating back to the 1950s, time when the sugar industry, having to protect its profitability, released an add campaign claiming that all foods supply calories and there is no difference between the calories that come from sugar or steak or grapefruit or ice cream. That was only the beginning of a campaign to exonerate sugar of any ill effects. Today, the average dietitian will advise people to follow the food pyramid:

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It might not look so bad at first glance, but this low fat high starch diet has not been serving us well. One just has to look at the increase in rates of obesity, cancer and chronic diseases to figure this out. This is also the same paradigm that allows sugar laden foods to be promoted by some national organizations (look for the check marks from the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation or at the sugary dairy products served in schools because, you know, dairy is essential to good health and granola bars are healthy since they contain whole grains). Looking at the information available out there, one has to wonder how much of it is ultimately propaganda from the food industry and how much is sincere lack of understanding of the human body by well meaning professionals.

I may not have found the Ultimate diet, but I know enough to surmise that a more effective food pyramid should include veggies as the basis and healthy fats as a second element in importance. Here is a summary of what most health experts would agree on. The number of medical practitioners rejecting the old model is increasing constantly and for good reasons. Time has come to stop promoting unhealthy foods and eating patterns. Instead, let’s embrace what research and clinical evidence have been teaching us, even if it means abandoning some long held belief systems!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lifestyle, No Pooing

No Poo Experiment, Part 2

It’s been over a week without washing my hair (I used to shampoo twice a week or so) and I really want to wash my hair right now! It looks very oily and unattractive, but I will just have to keep wearing buns for the experiment’s sake. Apparently, this should last for 2 to 6 weeks at the very most.

I had heard of No Pooing before, like I mentioned in the introduction to this experiment, but I really didn’t know much about it. One thing that I discovered is that most people, although they do not use shampoo, do wash their hair; usually using baking soda in place of shampoo and apple cider vinegar in place of conditioner. My experiment here is different, I am going a whole month without any kind of washing at all. Then, I will test one of the many no poo washing options. In the list I read, women would use Borax or egg yolks. One very informative blog I was reading strongly recommended to not skip the rinse (using a conditioning agent). Or, apparently some options are 2 in 1, like eggs, aloe vera juice or gel.

There are a fair amount of complaints about using baking soda as a shampoo on the Internet and I don’t think I will be trying it. I found an herbal recipe which involves mixing equal parts of yucca root powder and water for the cleanser. You apply it in the shower and let it sit for 5 minutes, then you rinse and apply an mixture of Amla Berry powder (gooseberry) and fenugreek seed powder. Sounds promising, I think I might try that.

As far as Borax goes, it sounded pretty scary to me at first until I learned it is perfectly safe and people mix 1Tbs of it in 1 cup of water. The reason this option seems harsh at first is that we think Borax, we think boric acid. However, Borax needs to react to an acid like sulfuric or hydrochloric acid to become boric acid. I think I might give Borax a try, as I found only positive comments about it.

Dr. Amy Myers Autoimmune Solution, Paleo

Cost of Groceries on the Autoimmune Protocol, Part 1

I have to feed a family of 9, so groceries are a huge part of our budget. For that reason, I had often felt that any type of paleo approach would be too expensive for us. Now, since I have committed to eat on the autoimmune protocol for one month, I thought keeping track of the cost of food would be a helpful exercise.

This week, the total cost of my groceries was $300. Now, keep in mind I didn’t have to buy beef, since I purchased a quarter of grass fed beef in the Fall. I also had a good supply of frozen organic berries, broccoli and cauliflower.

If you look at my receipt, you will notice that some items are not allowed on the autoimmune protocol. It’s simply because, although my children eat the same meals that I do, I let them eat snacks comprising other whole foods that I can’t have.

Here is a general breakdown of the cost: about $95 on produce, $70 on meat, $18 on olive oil and $15 on coconut milk. I have only $200 to spend next week, so it looks like my children won’t be getting as many treats 🙂

Plant Based, Superwoman Slimdown

Superwoman Slimdown Results

Here, we are it’s the end of this light cleanse. It was very different from everything I have tried so far because it was heavily based on legumes and grains. My energy level was high and my mental clarity as well. My bloating did not improve and my nose was still a little stuffy at night.

My measurements and my weight didn’t change, but I didn’t adhere to the recommended portions since I am nursing. Still, most nights, I went to bed feeling a bit “hungry ” because I am used to snacking in the evening and I wanted to follow the rule to not eat 2-3 hours before bed. Having jumped right into phase 2, I did this cleanse for only 7 days. Phase 1 was about eliminating gradually unwanted foods and most of them were already not part of my diet. I did not go through a proper phase 3, I decided to continue on with an autoimmune protocol as I suspect nuts, grains and legumes might be an issue for me. For this reason, I had a cheat day before jumping into my new plan. I had sourdough bread, wine, and gluten free homemade sweets. I woke up the next morning feeling sluggish. This demonstrates how well this plan had worked. Except for the one morning when I had a bit of a brain fog (which made me suspect other foods as the culprits). I felt so good! My only complaint is that I feel the recipes are too heavily based on grains and legumes. The meal plan allows for plenty of veggies (2 salads a day most days, plus the veggies hidden in the recipes), but I would have enjoyed more recipes without grains or legumes.

Although The Superwoman Slimdown is an accessible cleanse, helpful for those who would like to improve their eating habits, I don’t think I have found the Ultimate yet.

General

After nightshades, beans and grains?

I am on day 6, phase 2, of the Superwoman Slimdown and I am experiencing a setback. I had been feeling very energetic , but today, I have a bit of a foggy brain.   I am still stuffy in the morning, my bloating hasn’t improved and now, this brain fog! It could be blamed on the fact that I had potatoes yesterday, but that doesn’t change the fact that my other symptoms have not improved. Just in case, I will go back to avoiding nightshades. However, being gluten sensitive, I suspect it could be that most of my meals contain some legumes and a bit of grains. Let me explain:  Oats and rice have proteins similar to gluten (avenir and orzenin). The Gluten Free Society has a very informative article on the topic. As for legumes (nuts and all grains too), they contain phytic acid, lectins, protease inhibitors, and phytoestrogens. Phytic acid and lectins are in many plant foods and are not always harmful, but they can be problematic for some of us.

Considering my experience and this information, I am going to tackle phase 3 differently. On day 8, I will reintroduce meat, which will allow me to eliminate all grains and legumes. I will still be within the guidelines of the Superwoman Slimdown as I won’t be reintroducing other foods, but I will share my results at that point and will officially start a new experiment: Dr. Amy Myers Autoimmune Solution. Time has come to move on. I was not sure about experimenting with the Paleo world again, since I am reluctant to make meat the focus of most meals (see the Problem with meat), but I felt that this was the option that had the most chance of yielding success at this point. An other good option would have been to pick a raw food program, but it’s cold here, in my part of the world right now, so I prefer conducting this experiment in a few months. For those who don’t know much about the Autoimmune Protocol, this page gives a great overview.

I know this will be difficult for me. I have gone Paleo before, but I have never given up nuts for longer than a week or so, and I have never sticked to anything so restrictive for this long (30 days). But this is partly why I started this blog isn’t?

General

What about nightshades?

The Superwoman Slimdown program recommends to avoid nightshade vegetables.  And well, today, on day 5 of phase 2, I had some potatoes! I just couldn’t resist. But, to be honest, I never really believed that avoiding nightshades would be of great benefit to me. Here’s why:

1- There is no scientific data to support the idea that nightshades might cause health problems.

2- There is ample anecdotal evidence supporting the idea that nightshades might worsen joint and muscle pain, but I have never suffered from these problems.

3- There are documented cases of overconsumption  of nightshades causing mental illnesses, but again, that is not one of my problems.

4- The compounds in nightshades that are said to harm us in some cases also can heal and benefit us. For example, glycoalkaloids, natural pesticides produced by the nightshade plants are anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and help fight cancer (in laboratory studies).

So, I think I will keep enjoying all the bounties of the nightshade family, unless I discover myself a sensitivity.