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  1. #1
    Byakko's Avatar
    Byakko is offline Senior Member
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    The Girl in White Tiger Field

    Primal Fuel
    I'll be 25 next month.

    25 years I will have been on this Earth. My will to live life is strong but most of the time I feel my body is not able to take on the task and if I don't do something now, I may not have much of a life ahead of me. This in turn can at times make life increasingly less livable.

    My username is Byakko, Japanese for "white tiger". The tiger is my Eastern Zodiac sign. I chose that handle because I wished to channel the energy, courage and beauty of the tiger.

    I used to be quite an active kid. Took ballet for a small while, never played sports, but always active. I'd climb over the back of the couch to take my seat and watch cartoons. I'd swing and flip from the dangling rings at the daycare playground. I'd take my toys and let them view my awesome dancing and twirling. What I ate was not particularly healthy but I suppose my young body was able to handle things aside from the occasional stomachache from too many sweets. The older I got however, I noticed I became pudgy. Some might argue that it's nothing but my body growing and other girls will at times put on a little weight. However from what I know now, I'm not so sure that it was normal. Since then I've never felt comfortable, attractive or even particularly healthy in my body. I dreaded tucking in my shirts for fear of showing my fat stomach. I started to shun dresses, shorts and skirts. I eventually became depressed and I was no longer the happy active imaginative kid I used to be. Though my weight only had a small part in this, it didn't help the situation.

    A few years ago, after witnessing a stressful event in my family, I developed IBS. Years of bullying and being a loner had made me sensitive and I worried easily, but this particularly event was too much to take. One day I found that I could not finish chewing the second bite of my breakfast without running to the bathroom with urgency. And since then, I've become a paranoid hypochondriac. But believe me when I say that the pain I feel is all too real.

    I know that stress helps nothing, but when I'm faced without assistance or an answer I become depressed and panicked. Well I can't just sit by and let this continue. I want to become stronger, mentally as well as physically.

    I never dreamed I'd have a disorder such as IBS and although it's not lethal, it felt as though nothing would be the same. I felt embarrassed and helpless, as if I were the butt of a joke and I wanted to crawl into a hole. Things have only gotten worse within the last 3 years.

    -lack of energy
    -aches
    -pains in my joints (especially lower body)
    -foot problems
    -dizziness
    -lack of mental focus
    -lack of coordination and clumsiness (which may be slightly inherited)
    -sensitive itchy skin

    Now it has reached the point where I can't eat the same things I used to without pain and suffering. A simple bowl of cereal, my staple breakfast for most of my school-aged life, is now a danger zone. The very act of eating anything is now something I fear, a habit I developed when I decided I needed to lose weight.

    But it's not about numbers on a scale now. It's about feeling alive.

    Seeing that you're only 5 pounds away from 200 can light a fire under you. So after becoming informed through wanting to lose weight and eat better, I started eating the CW way. Switched to yogurt from ice cream. Stopped drinking soda. Measured out each serving and counted calories. Some of the weight came off and then I hit the wall. My weight would yo-yo up and down 5 pounds. A few months ago I tried seeking help from a weigh loss center, who wanted $700 just to customize meal plans and keep track of my progress. I was devastated and disgusted. Then I decided to give Weight Watchers a try with a free trial. But I found that I knew most of the information they had to offer and simply replaced calories with the word "points". Another dead end.

    Then it occurred to me.

    I live in a rural area, surrounded by pastures and trees and farm animals. I love nature and never skip the chance to take it in. I looked around me one day and thought:

    "All of these animals go about their day, eating what they need to thrive and rarely if ever deviate from it. They don't need to worry about counting calories, tracking points or weighing food. They don't have to worry about what foods are best for them and which ones aren't. They don't think about whether or not they have eaten enough. How is it that we humans have gotten to a point where we don't know how to feed ourselves? Food is a basic need. We need it to survive and yet we've somehow botched that up!"

    It was like being struck by lightening. I'd never thought of this before.

    So I was on the search to find a way of eating that made sense. Despite being very imaginative and creative, I can also be pragmatic. When it comes down to it, I want things to be plain, no nonsense. I don't believe we should go through life having to keep tabs on what we consume…not if it comes natural and is healthy. And somehow my search landed me in the realm of Primal/Paleo.

    But wait? What about all of the things I'd learned about nutrition? Getting 6-11 servings of grains, getting my calcium from milk, avoiding unhealthy meat and eggs and oils? I began to think that other humans simply created differently, explaining away why native tribes people seemed so lean or I thought perhaps they were just starved. As I continued researching my mind began to change. A fiber-rich diet was recommended to me for my IBS which included lots of whole grains. Well, despite my addition of those grains (such as Ezekiel bread) my problems were not improving. One would think that all of those nice barley kernels and rye would help move things along. But it never did. And I saw that these so called "starved" people were robust and agile.

    And here I am, hoping to give this a go.

    Even now I am battling the notions set down by CW. I've never been much of a meat eater and have always been picky (though that has improved in the past few years.) This is all very overwhelming and a tad confusing and it will be and interesting road, but at this point and time I'm running out of choices.

    I want to feel alive again.

  2. #2
    jammies's Avatar
    jammies is offline Senior Member
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    Welcome. I know it can feel overwhelming to tackle so many health problems, but you are on the right track now . I suffered from severe bowel problems for more than a decade, eliminating grains completely cured me. I had everything on your list of ailments and so much more.

    Any chance you have had your Vitamin D levels checked? Bowel inflammation can worsen deficiency and some of your symptoms could be vitamin D deficiency. In addition to primal eating, I would suggest your get some magnesium oil and a good quality vitamin D supplement.

    Focus on good fats, proteins and veggies to start with moderate intake of fruits, nuts, and dairy. You'll be feeling better in no time.

  3. #3
    Byakko's Avatar
    Byakko is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks jammies. It really does feel comforting to know I'm not the only one going through all this. And it adds hope because others have beaten it.

    Its possible. I haven't taken vitamins since I was a kid, but I never felt I needed them until now. I sometimes have trouble swallowing pills and lately I'm conscious about which supplements are best. My grandmother always advocates popping pills so maybe I'm also being a tad stubborn because I was so convinced that changing my eating would prove the most helpful. Any brand recommendations or does it matter?

    I currently take two medications for my IBS. One that is meant to be taken twice a day (which allows me to eat without having to run to the bathroom every second) and the other is a sleeping pill in case the pain and nausea becomes severe. These flares like to occur at night which of course sucks when you're tired and trying to sleep. First time this happened to me I had to go to the ER. The doctor said it was a bug until he examined me later, which is when he said it was IBS.

    Since my IBS was possibly brought on by stress and not food, I am worried that change in diet won't do much for it. I'd love to get off the medication one day.

    Also, I'm concerned about consuming fat and that it might give me diarrhea. I had a can of sardines once that sent me straight to the bathroom in under 15 minutes of eating it. And I think I had an avocado once that gave me cramps. Is it a good idea to be gradual or go cold turkey?

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    Byakko's Avatar
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    So I've reached a point where I can no longer indulge in sugary or bready things without experiencing some pain. This royally sucks. The smallest snack bar...pain.

    I think for now, my biggest hurdle is trying to figure out how to come up with interesting but affordable and easy recipes. I know people say it's possible, but not when you're stuck at home without a job and depend on your mother to shop (and we have a limited budget.) If I had a job I'd use some of that money for food, my own food. I can't even get her to cook with olive oil. I can't stand living with my picky family. But I have no choice right now (and to anyone who's reading this, I'll thank you to not lecture me about the fact I need to be independent. I'm well aware of it. But it's simply not possible at this point and time. The economy is terrible, I have college debt and I live in a rural area that doesn't offer much of anything.)

    I started my day with an omelet of sorts.
    2 eggs cooked in olive oil
    a spoonful or two of chopped onions and celery
    pepper
    red pepper flakes
    a few bits of kale

    While eating it I felt extremely bored by the taste and texture and the whole time I craved sweets. After I was done I felt only marginally satisfied (not full) but a small craving for milkshakes remained. I normally have cereal with stevia in the morning.

    I ate breakfast really late so I had "lunch" around 2:30 or so. Lunch ended up being a chicken sandwich and a "small" vanilla cone from McDonald's. I thought at first I could handle it (despite it being so unhealthy) but later on I got bad cramps. A peppermint took care of it for a while.

    Dinner was a baked fish fillet..no vegetables since I was a bit dubious that my mother used vegetable oil instead of olive. That was probably not wise, but I was stubborn and hurt that she wasn't taken my situation seriously. My father has an allergy to tomatoes but she had always made accommodations for him. But I hate that she doesn't seem to really want to make a change to help me (or themselves. We're all rather unhealthy.)

    But I realize I'm going to have to do the cooking around here if I want to get the right nutrition. I wonder whether she would be okay with that. On one hand she's a teacher who sometimes comes home later and doesn't feel like cooking. On the other hand, my parents are hella picky and she'd sooner cook a dinner herself than let me take control and make it because of my desire to be healthy.

    I find myself pretty hungry even into the night, where I tend to grab some saltines and peanut butter to fill the void.

  5. #5
    Byakko's Avatar
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    From now on I'm not going to offer any advice unless asked. Nope.
    I love my parents but sometimes they infuriate me.

    My dad is also trying to lose weight and since I've had some successful experience in dropping 20lbs I thought I could help. But he'd rather follow some obscure quick fix half starved diet than do it the easy way and just cut back on the crappy food he's usually eating. And what do I get for all my effort? Stubbornness and opposition.

    Well no more. We're all adults so we are only responsible for ourselves. I wish him luck.

    I also may have to accept that it's not possible to buy organic meat and produce right now. We don't have access to it even though we live in an agricultural community. Well that's not entirely true. The stores do sell organic salad greens...in plastic boxes. HOWEVER, I am a plastic-free advocate, so I'd rather not bring home plastic trash if I can avoid it. It kind of hurts a little to know I'm not reaping optimal benefits but I suppose it's better than eating "soylent green".

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    The most frustrating things is finding the right path. The second most frustrating thing is discovering that you can't lead most people to it once you've found it.

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    Byakko's Avatar
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    jfrendek: How right you are. I have a tendency to want to share things that I learn with others. It unfortunately may come off as bossy at times though I never ever mean to be. I tell them because i worry for their health. I get frustrated when someone makes up their mind and won't even look up the whys and hows. I hope that if I succeed and getting fit and healthy on this diet, I will inspire them to try something new. That's all I can do.

    Let's see now. From my understanding, the premise of this way of eating is that meat (protein) and fats make up the most of a meal while vegetables are the secondary largest component, with fruits in moderation. I'm so used to thinking of a meal consisting of mostly vegetables and part "refined" carb (read: grain) and a protein.

    Not sure why this is proving so confusing to figure out but I want to know what takes priority. Again, I am not particularly savvy with the percentages and ratios yet. I'm a tad paranoid of developing an allergy if I use almond flours as a grain substitute.

    Ugh my stomach is gurgling and being obnoxious. I don't have much of a clue why, though I've been stressed a a whole week and frustrated with my family's resistance to help, as well as just being depressed by the pain alone. I may take another peppermint.

  8. #8
    onalark's Avatar
    onalark is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byakko View Post
    From now on I'm not going to offer any advice unless asked. Nope.
    I love my parents but sometimes they infuriate me.
    Can't be a prophet in your hometown.

    I've been doing primaleo for 9...nearly 10 months. It'll be a year in February. Just this week my parents suddenly decided they were going to give it a try. Came out of nowhere and I'm encouraging them as best I can. I've been very careful to be casual about it all, because as much as I want to see my mom's cholesterol as good as my own, past experience says she needs to come to me, not the other way around.

    Be the change you want to see in the world. People will notice. Family just takes a hell of a lot longer, because we all know each other far, far too well.

    I don't know a damn thing about IBS, but you may want to poke around Melissa McEwan's site:

    Beating IBS | Hunt.Gather.Love.
    IBS | Hunt.Gather.Love.

    I'm opposed to armchair diagnoses, but I think paleo is a good way to go. If I were you, I'd strongly consider going with the full elimination protocol that Robb Wolf recommends: no beans, no dairy, no grains, no excess sugar. You sound like you have some really bad gut issues, and an elimination protocol may help you figure out what's causing all the ruckus.

    Best of luck.

  9. #9
    Byakko's Avatar
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    onalark (I just noticed we're about the same height and I'm around the same starting weight you had.) Yeah. I realize that now. It's just so hard to keep a lid on it sometimes. Perhaps it's partly because if they change with me it won't be as difficult to get the right food I need, instead of letting them buy their cookies and candy and popcorn and icecream. But it is also coming from a loving place it is. I don't like seeing my dad complain about his clothes not fitting or being almost pre-diabetic or my mom who always complains of aches and pains but eats virtually no vegetables and sustains herself on Kool-Aid and soda (sometimes she will even mix the two.)

    Here's some advice: Don't get IBS! It's a literal pain.

    Thanks a lot for the links. I'd been to Hunt.Gather.Love and I knew Melissa had IBS but I never saw the articles.

    It's really ironic and almost laughable (in a sad sort of way) how my doctor gave me a lot of paper work on IBS and the diet suggested consisted of whole grains containing fiber. I avoided white bread pretty well except for when I had fast food (which is not often.) But the robust Ezekiel bread never helped my digestion to work easily. I'm a little concerned that my IBS is due to stress and not diet but we'll see. God, I hope I don't have an ulcer or anything. But my symptoms all point to IBS and I'll do anything to try and get rid of it.

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    Just got up. Ugh. I'd love to wake up with the sun for once. Haven't taken my pill yet or eaten. I never eat without taking the pill first. But holding off the inevitable won't be good. Yes, I suppose I'm a tad lazy. I'm missing my usual easy and quick cereal and I'm dreading the same old boring eggs. I need to find some way to make it more lively. It's no wonder grains are being consumed at an alarming rate. They make life convenient. Milk and cereal and maybe some sugar (or in my case stevia.) I find it funny that cereal combines all three no-nos into one. (I tried oatmeal but I just hated it, even with honey.) I just realized that when I got up. I found I did not want to spend the time making eggs that I knew would be bland (despite putting pepper and other things in it.)

    I do have the option to eat yesterday's leftovers, but then I'd worry about what would be available for dinner. And that still leaves lunch.

    This house suddenly seems like a meat/fat desert.

    However that's mainly because it's the end of the month and there is virtually never much food in the house at this time and it sucks by normal standards. Forget the fact I'm trying to eat differently. My one wish is that my mom would stop being so resistant to change. She's in a lot of financial trouble (which is her own doing) and I am trying to help her save money by getting rid of things that are not needed.

    I myself have made a personal switch from using tampons and napkins to using a reusable cup.
    I suggested she stock up on cloths and stop buying paper towels.

    Boy...I wish I had my own place. I'm very health, money and eco-conscious, my family isn't.

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