Primal Journal - Farmerjess
Day 37 of primal diet
I am starting this journal to keep track of different things I try playing around with macros and supplements.
I wrote this history for a quickly forgotten blog I started a while ago:
As a small child, my family owned an Italian restaurant, so I ate way too much pasta and cheese. At age 10, I gave up red meat. At 12, I gave up poultry. At 18, I gave up fish. And at 21, I became vegan. I credit being an unhealthy vegetarian for most of my life with most of my current chronic health problems. I was just not getting enough nutrients. Not enough protein, and, since I grew up during the low fat craze, a serious lack in quality fats. This has greatly impacted my mineral and fat soluble vitamin status. But, one thing that makes me grateful to have been a vegetarian for all of those years is my ability to easily change and control my diet, to be used to eating different foods than what everyone else is eating, and to not feel deprived while doing so.
My move towards Traditional Foods
Only able to stand mainstream veganism for 6 months or so without feeling completely deprived, I soon was eating eggs and (mainly) dairy again. I added fish back into my diet after a particularly troubling episode at 23 where I nearly compulsively grabbed the scallops off of my future mother-in-law's (who I was very intimidated by and shy around) plate at a nice restaurant. I figured my body was trying to tell me something. While living, working, and learning on an organic vegetable farm, I took a short detour through raw veganism where I was mainly eating citrus, salads with lots of good fats (evoo, sunflower seeds, avocado), and nuts. I felt better than I ever had in my life and learned that my body could live very well on fruits, veggies and fats. But cravings and convenience got the best of me and I returned to eating my starchy vegetarian fare.
My next vegetable farming experience took me up north to PA where my stereotypes of hippie vegetable farmers were turned on their heads. These people, awesome farmers, ate tons of meat and animal fats and were proud of it. They layered butter on their bread like cream cheese on a bagel. They relished in local, humanely raised meat and they loved to cook and loved even more to eat (who wouldn't when you eat all that butter?). They shunned my (unhyrogenated!) soy margerine and refusal to eat anything made with chicken broth. I think they may have set Nourishing Traditions out in a convenient place where they knew I'd pick it up and look through it. And, of course, their plan worked! What Sally Fallon wrote about vegetarians was as sensical as it was horrifying to me. It made intuitive sense that we should eat as our ancestors did (and ALL of our ancestors ate animal products). If people in China eat only tiny amounts of fermented soy, then drinking cup after cup of soy milk and eating tofu several times a week should probably be avoided. While I understood all of this, and enjoyed my first meat in PA (a tiny bit of the broth of a deer heart stew!) it took me years to include a healthy amount of animal products in my diet.
My serious digestive problems came up a few years ago at age 25. I would have random bouts of low grade fever, pelvic pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. Putting all of the puzzle pieces together, I think it started while I was studying in Mexico (figures right?), and would happen whenever I ate rancid cooking oil used at restaurants. These spells would only last an hour or so, but I had extreme tenderness in my belly that would linger for days making it difficult to even walk upright. The epitome of these episodes came on a few hours after eating a particularly greasy eggplant parmesan at a restaurant. I was stuck at a concert with pelvic pain so intense that I was unable to walk to the car. The next day, the pain continued and I developed a high fever. At the emergency room I was misdiagnosed, hospitalized, and given triple antibiotic IV therapy for what turned out to be a bacterial dysbiosis problem. It happened all over again a month later, and I was given the same IV antibiotics. My digestive problems skyrocketed, and I now had a really bad case of candida from all of the antibiotics on top of the intestinal bacteria problem I was having. I was allergic to all yeasted foods, and had random days of vertigo, nausea and vomiting. I went off and on Candida diets and cleanses and saw 2 accupunturists. I got better, but still had some work to do.
So, I decided to get pregnant. What better time to work on being really healthy, right? Not. I was so sick for the first 3 months that I could eat little more than crackers and peanut butter. I had strong aversions to meat, eggs, and most vegetables. I had been doing pretty well on a dairy free diet just prior to pregnancy, but started eating it again because it was pretty much the only protein source I could stomach. So, I ate lots of it, and lots of bread, and lots of whatever else I craved. The pregnancy cravings are so strong! Once I got over my morning (all the time) sickness, I learned that there was no way I could fight candida with my diet during pregnancy, and all of those crazy hormones made the candida so much stronger. I had a nearly constant yeast infection and physically felt very low energy, achy, and drowsy all the time. Mentally, as long as I took it easy, I felt amazing. I was so excited about the little being growing within me.
The little guy was born at home on my 28th birthday, Oct 18th 2008! He was perfect! A few days in though, he started getting fussy. Not colicky, but he wanted to either be nursed or walked constantly. By two weeks of age, he had a terrible bleeding diaper rash and almost constant green poops. I was becoming more and more sure that he was intolerant to some of the things I was eating. To D's pediatrician's dismay, I eliminated dairy and gluten and consulted the Allergies Forum on mothering. The green poops and diaper rash went away. Meanwhile, I developed a very persistent case of thrush on my nipples and had constant nursing pain. After trying everything else, I went on Diflucan, and wound up taking it for 10 weeks before the thrush cleared up, but surprise, I still had nipple pain.
After a stressful holiday trip to Florida which culminated in me riding the train all night alone with my two month old to save him from riding in the car seat for 8 hours, D went from sleeping 3-5 hour stretches at night (much of which I missed out on due to insomnia) to waking every. single. hour, nursing every time. After two months of this, I was going nuts. I was a desperate zombie. I tried numerous food eliminations which would seem to help for a couple days, but the benefit would fade and I'd eventually add the food back into my diet. When he was reacting to a food, he would toss and turn all night in addition to nursing every hour. I enlisted the help of my sweet husband, but there was only so much he could do. If he rocked D back to sleep instead of me nursing him, he would wake up hungry 20 minutes later.
Finally, with the help of a sweet naturopath who thought I took way too many vitamins, we figured out that duh, D was waking up so much because he was hungry. My milk was not enough for him at 6 months old. So, even though it's ideal to wait until closer to one year to start solids with a baby who has food allergies, we started them pronto. He did well and loved them. I was concerned about my milk supply, so I borrowed a scale from my Lactation Consultant and figured out that I was only making about 1.5 oz every 2 hours. This was very borderline for a baby his age. Luckily, though he's very small (5% for weight), he has been steadily gaining and none of his very pro-breastfeeding health care providers have worried about him. The boy is such a little trooper, nursing and nursing to get what he needs. Posting my problems on my allergies forum, I learned that not making enough breast milk was possibly a symptom of hypothyroidism. Sure enough I tested severely hypo, and started taking Armor. I felt like my body was falling apart. Pregnancy and lactation take a huge amount of the body's reserves and resources, and I really wish I'd listened to Weston Price's wisdom and followed one of the traditional pre-conception diet plans before considering having a baby.
That's the end of what I wrote for my blog.
What's happened since then? Well, I wound up eliminating a huge amount more of things from mine and D's diet (after being off of dairy, gluten, soy, corn, eggs and more for his whole life) including beans, nuts, seeds, beef, chicken, etc. And a few months ago D got to enjoy his first time in his life without diarrhea! Between 15 and 18 months he went from 3%ile to 6%ile for weight and something like 10%ile to 30%ile for height. Those are huge jumps.
I had my eyes set on GAPS diet for us for a long time for healing and for whatever reason I just have never made it happen. But I've known that eliminating grains was going to be a good thing for me for a long time. I spent some time researching primal diets and when I came across this website, I became really inspired. This may sound selfish, but I love that it's more for me than for D. I've done so much with my diet for him (even eating more than I really wanted to at times to try to raise my milk supply) that I really need something for me. I love that its not just a "healing diet" so I can hurry up and get back to eating crap again, but a lifestyle change. I love that it's so focused on getting healthy and strong. I can't wait till I feel good enough to start getting strong.
Last edited by farmerjess; 07-01-2010 at 02:11 PM.
Which brings me to my first question. Does it take some people longer to stop feeling like sh*t on this diet?
About 5 days into being primal, I got a strep throat type thing with a bad cough that lasted more than 3 weeks. As in, at the end of week 2 I was still getting a low grade fever some afternoon. The dr wouldnt do a strep test and recc'd abx so I went to my naturopath and she gave me a bunch of herbs and propolis to take. He stuff worked magic and I was much less severely sick after that. I wondered if it was some flare up of internal strep infection or a virus. Not sure. But it is strange that my baby *always* gets sick when I do and he didn't this time and my husband didn't either.
My main concern right now is that I feel insomnia creeping in. I've had this problem at some points in my life and I just purely hate it. So, I will do whatever I can to prevent that dangerous pattern from taking hold. My 20 month old *just* started sleeping thru the night and there is no way that I am not going to be getting good sleep with him. My concern is that I was dependent on carbs to help my body produce serotonin and melatonin and now that I am not getting as many carbs, my body is not producing these neurotransmitters correctly from the nutrients I am taking in. I am taking all of the supporting nutrients (B's), so I am going to try to start supplementing with tryptophan. I am wondering if impaired protein digestion is what's behind not having all my amino acids in order while I am eating so much meat.
I am also feeling more depressed I think. Though I've battled depression on and off since the babe was born and all thru my life. The tryptophan should help that too, and I am also going to start ramping up the omega 3s. I ran out of the CLO I was taking and have ordered the 2 fish oil supps that cillakat rec's. I wish we had enough money for me to start the super doses of omega 3's but I am going to start with the maintenance doses or maybe a little higher.
Last edited by farmerjess; 07-01-2010 at 01:57 PM.
Man, can I just say that I journal is sooo what I need? I am not great at the conversation aspect of a forum (though I def welcome comments here) and a blog just feels like too much pressure.
What I eat:
I am basically doing primal on coconut, fruits, veg, all meat except beef (hopefully we'll be trialing it very soon), and eggs on 4 day rotation. I am still breastfeeding my 20 mo old little guy so we eat the same diet (though he asks for gf bread all.the.time) not sure what to do about that.
I am eating about 70% fat, 10-15% carbs, and 10-20% protein and 1900-2300 calories a day. I have a huge appetite, but I think it's getting more under control. I have not lost a single frickin lb yet. I have about 15-20 extra that I'd like to lose. I do see my body getting tighter in places. So yay.
nak = nursing at keyboard. no caps, sorry.
new plan for what i take:
armour thyroid: 90 mg
vit d: 6000 iu
sublingual methyl b-12 1000mcg
k2 1-2mg 2-3 times per day
iron (ferrochel) 15mg
thorne basic b complex
thorne trace minerals (zn, molyb, manganese, .....uh, others....no copper) + extra zinc pill totaling 30 mg zinc
mag citrate 600mg (200 am/400 pm)
iodine 1830 mcg
vit C: 2500mg
1 quart stinging nettle infusion for extra minerals
also want to re add in biotin 5mg (have to buy), and add lamb pancreas glandular (separate from food trials, can cause die off), and the tryptophan
changes (mostly thanks to cillakat <3): dropped 10000iu retinol supp will take occasionally we eat liver ev 2 weeks or so , added back iron, iodine, c, more d, more mag
Last edited by farmerjess; 07-01-2010 at 03:00 PM.
Yesterday i went to the farm where my friend works growing org veg and they raise pastured pigs there. And we split 20 lbs pork fat to render. She gave me a bit more than half and i wound up getting 5 quarts lard from it. I paid $20 for that and 2 packs of pork neck bones so the lard was less than $4 per qt. The going rate around here is $10+ per quart and the home done stuff tastes so much better. it was so much work though. i wound up working on it from 11-5. so tired. yay local fat!
i have been having blood sugar issues in the morning after my vlc breakfast (tea with coco milk + oil, meat and kimchi). Adding a little fruit helped a little (like 1/4 blueberries or applesauce) but topping that around 9 or 10 with another tb coco oil does the trick for hours!
Yesterday was my lowest carb day yet. About 40 grams as of 830 pm. I was zonked, I literally could not move. When I stood up, my heart pounded like crazy. scary. I had my dh get me grapes. ate 16 and within 30 min I felt a tingle of energy rush through my body and all the way out to the ends of my fingers. weird. what is this and how do I stop it. Maybe I just need to go slower.
Alright, I am writing it here. I am feeling awful since starting this diet. I didn't feel great before and now I am feeling worse. I don't think the low carb flu lasts for over a month, right? I read this in an adrenal thread posted by Eklekticka
"Do you have excessive sweating? That's a classic low aldo sign. If you can correct your low aldo (with supplemental salt or florinef/compounded bioID aldosterone (best)) your thyroid will work better as well. Low aldo can cause pooling-you show adequate or even high T3 on paper, but its just floating in your blood, can't be utilized. For some people, usually just those on dessicated thyroid tablets or T3 only (eg cytomel, liothyronine, naturethroid, Armour, Thyroid, Erfa, Thiroyd-NOT synthroid, levo, thyrolar, etc) have trouble with dumps from increasing sodium levels, but they can be uncomfortable. Usually not dangerous, but less than fun."
I have been sweating so much since starting this diet. Gross. And my FT3 is above range, but I rarely feel energetic. And worse now. Help!
It's very common for someone with your dietary history to experience this kind of depletion after pregnancy. I think you would benefit most from seeing a good herbalist who will look at your blood work and such.
Over the internet without knowing much about you my advice would be to increase protein and animal fat, add oatstraw, dandelion root, and red raspberry infusions, also Sally Falon style bone broth. Add nettle seeds (like nettle infusions x 100 for adrenal fatigue), which you can order from jeans greens. What are your iron levels like? Yellow dock root infusions may be more beneficial than the iron pills. Those are all basically nutritional things, this is not: consider motherwort tincture. Google will give you enough info to make a decision about that.
Don't worry about limiting carbs so much while breastfeeding, or calories - you probably need more than 2000.
THanks for replying! I am feeling a bit better now. Drank 2 glasses salt water and baking a sweet potato. It's hard for me not to focus on silly weight loss here. My brains not working right (please forgive the disjointed thoughts), and I cant tell if it's low blood sugar or low blood pressure. Either way limiting carbs (below 80gr/day) is not working for me.
I know quite a bit about herbs actually, but appreciate your suggestions. I would like to add oatstraw in with my infusion, will get it on my next herb order. I drink Dandelion on occasion. I have heard of nettle seeds for AF. Thanks for the reminder. I do eat bone broth everyday. My iron levels are ok, but ferritin is low...around 19 last blood test. I am still on the fence about whether to take the iron, but tracking on fitday, I am not quite getting 100% rda daily. The ferrochel form iron is the best for increasing levels, though I have read though that iron can feed bad gut bacteria. I have always felt drawn to yellow dock....will get some. I do take motherwort on occasion. Usually when I'm anxious or having a hard time being a calm mama.
We are having $$ issues right now and I am picky about not eating CAFO meat, so getting enough protein is def an issue. I am getting 65-90 grams right now. I was eating cans of wild salmon...so cheap, but I opened up a nasty smelling one and havent been able to go there again. Animal fat...it's hard I am digesting the coco oil so much better now. I ate a bunch of the chicharrones from lard rendering yesterday and had an awful stomach ache and the food was just not moving. Those bitters you suggested would help that eh? Also looking into digestive enzymes.
I wish we could afford a really good health care practitioner right now for me.
Thanks so much.