Thought it would be time to stop lurking. In my defense they have been productive lurks. I have found out all about Primal, the differing views on the carb curve, how much fruit and how many handfuls of nuts can be defined as good and Gay Panda's journal which I am reading with avid absorbtion (I only discovered it a couple of days ago however and haven't got very far in - don't reveal any plot twists)

I have been wandering around MDA in wonderment since September 2012. I can't remember how I arrived here, maybe a little like a traveller from somewhere who arrives in a land full of things quite different to his own. The means of arrival ceases to matter in the whirl of continual discovery. Since first arriving I have aimed to live as primally as possible. I have to admit that it has not always been easy and certainly the percentage of primal v. regular eating has slipped below the 80/20 ratio several times.

Again, I seem to be doing things in the wrong order. Allow me to share where I've come from so we can travel on together from the same point of reference. I am 29, female and 6ft2'. I have no idea what I weigh but back in the summer it was around 14+ stone. I have leaned out a tiny bit since Sept but not much so let us assume I am still around 14 stone (196 pounds approx.)

Around 5 years ago I was at my heaviest of 16.5 stone and was suffering with a lot of stomach pain (something I have had most of my life to varying degrees). The doctor diagnosed me with IBS and suggested I do an exclusion diet. I started with wheat as I seemed to get the symptoms of pain and bloating in the afternoons after my lunchtime sandwich (made with thick slices of grainy bread). It was not easy as the house I lived in with 2 friends was very heavy on the wheat. We would have pasta, pizza, bread, cakes, biscuits, breaded things and thick sauces made with flour. This time was probably my most unhealthy eating. I came from a family who cooked everything fresh, my father did and does grow most of thier vegetables and a lot of the meals were a chunk of meat with several vegetables on the side. To go from this to frozen ready meals and a cupboard full of "treats" which were mainly biscuits made my symptoms even worse.

I cut out all of the wheat for 2 weeks. It made such a difference and suddenly I could start to see how badly it had been affecting me. I made the decision to cut out wheat from my diet permenantly and have been off it ever since. I had a couple of incidences with accidentally eating it which were not pleasant (a surprising number of people say to me that I am probably ok with it now as I have bee off it so long... Not true!) I ate some regular pasta a little while ago, just half a bowl, and was in agony for the whole night. Nothing tastes as good as to be worth all the internal torture that it will cause. Just cutting out wheat helped me go down to just over 13 stone at my lightest and I dropped 4 dress sizes. This was an added bonus, I was just glad to get rid of the pain!

My issue now is that, with my introduction to Paleo/Primal, I have seen the next step. I cut out all grains for the last month and have noticed a marked improvement in my digestion. I now feel that it may be all gluten that affects me, not just wheat. Along with getting rid of legumes, attempting to follow the FODMAPS list and discovering the "Fibre Menace" I am feeling better than I can ever remember.

Sorry, that should have been "was" feeling better. Christmas has come and gone in a conveyor belt of food and I have limited will power on these occasions. I still remained completely wheat free as my family are on board with that and really make an effort to provide lovely things for me. The trouble is I hadn't introduced the idea of gluten-free, dairy-free (didn't mention that I feel better without dairy too), low carb or low sugar. The last few days have been full of chocolate, wine, huge mounds of potatoes, lots of cream, milk, butter, sugar and non-FODMAPS type things. Last night was one of my most uncomfortable in a while. I feel I have swallowed a beach ball. I feel stuffed, puffy, gassy and blocked. I slept badly and can't wait to get back to eating things I know will be good for me.

This brings me to my plan, my reason for coming out of the shadows and starting a journal. I have decided to do it as fully s is humanly possible for a month and see what changes I can make. The thing is, I want to kick-start myself and see what I can achieve in the way of experimentation before then settling into a Paleo that is long-term and sustainable for me. Therefore, January will be my month to try Nutritional Ketosis. I have been low-carb for a couple of months, along with cutting out legumes and most gluten but would like to see what I can achieve from a mainly protein and fat diet. I have been dialling down the vegetables for a few weeks (It's hard to get rid of the little voice that tells you greens are good for you) and have mostly just been having spinach, kale, watercress and rocket. These have been combined with lots of pork belly, chops, chicken thighs, salmon, prawns and coconut milk. I have also been eating lots of cashew nuts, blueberries, avocados and dark chocolate. I have tried to incorporate more spices into my cooking, mainly creating some sort of green thai curry.

For January I would like to cut out all vegetables apart from the spinach and have that cooked rather than raw as I find it easier to digest. I would like to use the opportunity to cook with a greater variety of meats including oxtail, liver, heart and a bigger range of fish. I want to cut out all sugar, including fruit, as it is my biggest stumbling block. This also means cutting out alcohol which won't be easy at all as I have a friend's 30 birthday on the 19th Jan.

My main reason for doing this is to heal my digestion. The last few weeks have been an eye-opener to what my digestion could be if I commited fully to this way of eating. I have been taking extra-strength probiotics and a dose of L-Glutamine every morning after reading about the benefits on MDA and I have noticed an improvement. This is despite all the additional alcohol from christmas parties. Weight loss would be good too. I can't pretend that I don't look at some of the success stories without a touch of ab-envy! I've never had abs. I went from squidgy baby to squidgy child to quite a lot squidgier teen and even more squidge covered adult. It would be nice to have less squidge although when I try and imagine it I can't. It seems the impossible dream. Maybe 2013 will be the year I find an ab....

Fear of failure looms large but I hope that this journal will give me the strength to not give up and go back to the easy, sugar-filled world I have been inhabiting. As they keep saying all over, it is only 30 days.... Then I can see what the rest of my life will be like.