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    Primal Journal (Styopa) - Stupid things you can do on the PB

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    Hi everyone,
    my name is Styopa - or actually Stefan, Styopa being the nickname my boy friend has picked for me (he studied Russian at uni and Styopa is Russian for Stefan). I live in Berlin, the one in Germany . I am 33 years old and work in social insurance. (This is a really sorry excuse for an introduction but then I have never been good at writing them in the first place.)

    Okay, so I have been hanging around this forum and website since mid-february, shortly before Berlinale (our movie festival) started. So how did I get here? By accident. I went to Rome in early February and picked up Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food at a book shop at Termini station. I read through it on the train ride back to Berlin - it was riveting. He explains things quite well I think and got me thinking about insulin and how my expanding waistline might have to do with it. See, I have been battling with my weight for I don't know how long. I was fat as a kid, starved myself as a teenager, was quite thin but not skinny in my early twenties and then watched the fat slowly creep back into my body when I changed from being a student to being a worker bee (which in my case means 10 hours in front of a computer everyday - yes, it is hell).
    I had almost reconciled myself to the fact that I would always be a little fat when my weight rose sharply last summer. I had gained almost 6 lbs. between the ages of 28 and 31. But then I gained another 10 lbs. within four months. And that got me worried. Plus, I was ravenous the whole time and an eczema I had had for quite some time started getting worse. I was worried because at the same time I had been working out regularly for three years. If anything my weight should have stayed the same (no I wasn't packing on muscle - unless there is a muscle that ressembles love handles).
    As I said, Pollan explained some things to me, and I took the cues and went searching for an answer on the net. That is how I came across this site. It got me hooked instantly. I read the book which did an even better job at explaining hormones and how metabolism works. I guess what convinced me was that suddenly everything seemed to fall into place. I realized that my doing cardio was related to my crazy hunger for carbs and that my eating pasta and oats day in and day out was a recipe for making me even hungrier - and bigger - but not in a good way.
    So I did something that for me was nothing short of a revolution: I changed my diet. Or I tried to. I replaced the pasta and rice which had been a staple of my diet with generous servings of chicken and - tentatively - red meat. It took me a while to take that last step because unlike in the US we have no such thing as grass-fed brands. So I chose the next best thing which is organic (Berlin is probably the capital of organic supermarkets, shops and farmer markets - if you look for organic in Germany ask for "bio") and Neuland meat. It took me some time to get things right though. I was scared to eat that much meat, poultry and fish (btw. 10 and 12 oz. per day) and felt guilty because it did not really tie in with my eco-conscience. And I was always hungry. I called it starving on a full stomach - it was probably a big case of the carb flu combined with me not eating enough fat.

    By the end of April I seemd to be doing alright though. The carb flu had been beaten, I ate more fat - but I did not lose any of my flab. Now I pondered the idea of giving up but something made me stick with the PB and that was: Despite my looking not an inch different, I felt better. My skin seemed to be healthier and I wasn't so hungry any more. Plus, food had become somthing different for me: and that is pleasure. Before the PB I had been worried about eating too much. Dinner consisted mostly of pasta and some veggies with tomato sauce. Just bland stuff to be honest, eaten for practical reasons not because I enjoyed it. Now I knew: If I avoid the grains I can eat as much as I want. Which wasn't that much any longer anyway. That was such a liberating thing. And my taste had changed, too. Fruit suddenly tasted sweet. Mascarpone and frozen raspberries became my favorite treat.

    Unfortunately, that was when things started to go wrong. (Maybe this is a good time for a warning: Kids, don't try this at home.)

    First, one Friday in early May I hadn't eaten all day and went to a reception where the only thing I would get was a glass of red wine. Now, not having eaten did not bother me that much at the time. I was hungry but not in an urgent sense. I knew that it would be alright to eat later - at least I thought that. Silly (and probably arrogant) me. After the reception I went to a club with some friends where I had a glass of champagne - which in combination with a friend of mine telling me about his imminent sex-change surgery (no, I won't got there again) first sent my blood pressure high up and then had it plummet the following minute. I felt sick and knew I had to get to the bathroom - and get there fast. On the way, I discovered that unlike Harry Potter I can't walk through door frames. The crash sent me to the floor which is where I stayed for some minutes until I felt better. Some water helped, too.

    After that incident I knew I had to eat. We went to a little cafe which serves roast chicken and I had one and some French Fries. I felt great the next day - so great I decided to drop the carbs again immediately. Second mistake because without proper planning this meant I had to fast again that evening because surprise! there wasn't any primal food at the local concert hall we went to. Just pretzels and beer.

    By Monday I was desperate for calories - and guess what? I made another mistake. The third one. I had read about how coconut oil is such a nice and filling fat - so I bought a jar and dug in. (I must admit that I found the taste quite horrible but I thought: "If this is what it takes to make me feel full then so be it.") Well, I consumed roughly 3 oz. of oil in less than five minutes. BIG MISTAKE.

    I spent the evening and the next night on the loo. The next morning I felt so sick I stayed in bed. And I stayed there for another two days during which I ate nothing but four bananas. (If anyone had told me that you can live on as little food as that a year before I would have downright laughed at them.)

    So yes, Mark wrote the chapter on using your brain for people like me. I had enough time studying it thoroughly in bed.

    When I had recovered I decided to become more serious about feeding myself properly. Which worked pretty well at first. Until last week-end (May 30). And this is where I am still at a loss about what went wrong. I had some pork chops and mashed cauliflower and sweet potatoe for dinner. One hour later, it still felt like a big lump in my stomach - not that unpleasant at first. But the lump seemed to be getting bigger and suddenly I received some really painful cramps in my lower abdomen (just beneath the belly button). The next morning the cramps had disappeared but the lump was still there. Monday was not at all a nice experience. Whenever I ate something the lump would grow. Tuesday night it wasn't just uncomfortable it was painful. Today, which is Wednesday, I did not eat the whole day until dinner - which sort of made the lump recede a bit (weirdly enough I now have a stitch on the left side of my abdomen - as if I had run very fast). I saw my doctor in the afternoon. She said she did not know what the cause of my discomfort was. Maybe the stomach did not empty itseld properly, was her guess. She gave me some prescreption drug with Metoclopramiddihydrochloride in it and told me to eat rice and steamed vegetables - which is basically what I have done. Not too much though because I did not feel like it. The discomfort has improved a bit but it is still there.

    So this has been my experience so far. If you are still with me after this attempt at dwarfing Tolstoy's "War and Peace" and have any idea of what could be the reason of my latest problem, please, tell me about it. For all the others: Well, now you know how I got the idea for the title of this journal.

    PS: I have done a bit of food tracking lately - you can find my fitday profile here: http://www.fitday.com/fitness/Public...ml?Owner=stiwa

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    Tara tootie's Avatar
    Tara tootie is offline Senior Member
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    Hey welcome to the forums!

    Your doc says you have gastroparesis? It seems to me to be one possible cause.

    Qs for you:

    Does it get worse or better when eating any certain foods? Fatty foods? Carby foods? Raw food? Cooked foods?

    Do you have a history of any eating disorders or uncontrolled diabetes?

    Where is the lump located, specifically?

    Does it improve or worsen after eating or having a bowel movement?
    Life on Earth may be punishing, but it includes an annual free trip around the sun!

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    Hi Tara,
    yeah, I guess gastroparesis could be the right word for what she thinks is the cause of my problems.
    What astonishes me is the sudden onset - without having changed my diet much. The pain got progressively worse in the last three days because I continued to eat a rather high-fat diet (fitday says the ratio is approx. 65 fat/19protein/18 carbs). That made the lump feel even bigger and more threatening. It is located half-way between the belly button and the rib cage.
    The only thing that has improved it so far has been not eating - which is not a permanent solution I'm afraid... The BM so far never made a difference.
    As to the history: Well, when I was in my early teens I had a time when I would starve myself - but those times never lasted long enough to get really threatening. Or at least they never felt threatening. But that was like 20 years ago and since then I have eaten somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 calories a day - mostly from carbs though.

    Do you have any experience with gastroparesis? (I am looking forward to your reply but if I don't answer right away don't be astonished - it's just getting late here and I need to go to bed ;-)

    PS: Oh and no diabetes so far - but so far only fasting blood sugar has been measured
    Last edited by Styopa; 06-02-2010 at 02:54 PM.

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    Did the doctor check for gall bladder problems? If that checked out, it may just be a 'stomach bug' (one is going around our household right now) ... but it mostly sounds like your body is rebelling against the roller-coaster that you have put it through recently. Just feed yourself for a while - high quality protein and leafy greens - forget the starchy potatoes or 4 bananas . My thought, reading through your post, is that what your body craves is consistency ... and if you provide that consistency (no IF, no binges), it will begin to heal.

    Good luck, hope you feel better

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    Thank you, MikkiB. Yeah, I guess consistency could be part of the problem. That and possibly my bingeing on asparagus lately. That was what came to my mind after informing myself about gastroparesis a bit. It seems that it can be caused by too much indigestible fiber and well asparagus seems to contain a bit of those. The problem is: It is asparagus season in this country and I have been eating a lot of it - like 20 oz for dinner. Maybe that may be a part of the problem.

    I have thought about the gallbladder but my doctor did not check it. She is more the well your tummy hurts but you are not dying yet and I do not see the point of wasting precious time on your whining yet type of doc (which is why I like her actually). I guess I will have to wait and see how this thing evolves. Today I felt a bit better - living mostly on non-carby food. I had eggs, seafood soup, and fish for dinner divided up in several small meals. I feel alright - kind of. I know the thing is still there, but it does not hurt fortunately.

    Part from that, the day was kinda nice. First really sunny day in Germany. And I finished writing the first draft of a speech for my boss - so that gave me a feeling of accomplishment. Plus, I had my favorite treat tonight: watching Germany*s next topmodel. I love that show. For me it is the epitomy of surrealist entertainment. Young women submit to meaningless challenges in which they have to conform to a commercial standard of beauty. Next they have to face a jury with a domina-like Heidi Klum as its president and two mindless rogues next to her. The jury judges the girls on the basis of some obscure rules which supposedly govern the model business (personally, I think it is just random cruelty with a bit of Klum jealousy in the mix). Dalí would have loved that show.

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    Tara tootie's Avatar
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    Yeah I def second MikkiB.

    Does it get worse or better when eating any certain foods? Fatty foods? Carby foods? Raw food? Cooked foods?
    This because fatty foods would irritate a gall bladder problem. Raw food would indicate a problem with gastroparesis. Dairy would say lactose issue.
    Do you have a history of any eating disorders or uncontrolled diabetes?
    This because any serious EDs or DM would cause you to lose nerve stimulations, and therefore slow down the motility of your whole GI tract.
    Where is the lump located, specifically?
    This because if it was higher I could maaaaaybe hypothesize about a hiatal hernia, but not the right spot for that.
    Does it improve or worsen after eating or having a bowel movement?
    This because having an improvement after empyting the intestines would point to an intestinal issue.

    If I were you, I would keep a diet of cooked foods and eat smaller meals. I know PB is all "no need to eat small meals" but for a coulpe weeks I would. Chew WELL. Drink water inbetween meals. Throw in a 24hr IF and then drink a lot of water or green tea to break it and see if that helps. I say this b/c If your whole digestive tract is mosty empty from an IF and then you drink tea/water you should get things moving through and if you really do have gastroparesis the symptoms should markedly decrease. Best of luck and keep us updated!
    Life on Earth may be punishing, but it includes an annual free trip around the sun!

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    Hi Tara,

    thanks again for having taken the time to explain things to me. Your suggestions are very welcome.

    Just to keep you updated: Today did not go too well. I started the day with 3 fried eggs and a bit of coconut flour which my stomach took quite well. Then I went to an all-day conference on financing health care. The first round of panelists consisted of neocons presenting their usual views (if we privatize everything, that will solve all our problems). Their presentation were so full of sh... that I got pretty worked up. I felt my heart race so much that I thought it would explode any time. For lunch I had some fish in tomato sauce, steamed carrots and celery. At first, I seemed to take it quite well but when we sat down for the second round I felt the lump in my belly again. And then something happened that made me even more worried. My nose started bleeding. Not much. It stopped almost at once. Nevertheless, it made me gasp a bit because I have not had a nosebleed for I don't know how long. I have been feeling miserable since then and I still do. Plus, I feel hungry all the time but am afraid to eat too much because I don't want the symptoms to flare up again. It's crazy.

    My boy friend says it is all because of my strange diet. He says that maybe my body is revolting finally against this abusive diet of "so much fat". I said that I eat a lot of fat that is true. But I also ate tons of vegetables in the last few months. He said: Well you need more carbs. And I think: Well either that or my cutting out all carbs and almost all dairy results in a situation which makes all my hidden health problems appear.

    I will try the small meals approach and the IF suggestion. I will keep you updated on the effects.

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    Tara tootie's Avatar
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    Well its hard to tell you what would be the problem over the internet, and I am no doctor. There is a LOT going on on an abdomen you know! Here is what I would be thinking if I were you:

    Spleen: the bleeding MAY point to a spleen issue. Generally splenic pain is left sided and higher though. If it is swollen it will press against the stomach making you feel full faster.

    Gall bladder: probably the most common issue. GB pain can be anywhere in your upper abdomen, and may radiate even so far as to the back. It will be deep, and the radiating may be superficial and circumferential.

    Liver: Seriously if youre having issues with this youll get jaudiced.

    Stomach: I think your pain may be too low for the stomach, but not impossible. Could be gastritis, hiatal hernia, sphincter issues... I dunno really.

    Other Hernia: if you have a hernia the pain would probably get worse with eating, and possibly exertion. A hernia is when part of your intestines protrude through your abdominal fascia/wall. If you press on the lump does it go away?

    Aorta: least likely but most serious. Part of your aorta could be bulging, there really is no way to tell if this is the case without a scan.

    I would go to an Internal Medicine Doc and they will probably run liver and pancreatic blood tests, as well as a CBC. May send you in for a scan...?

    Good luck keep me updated.
    Life on Earth may be punishing, but it includes an annual free trip around the sun!

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    Okay, so far today has been a good day. I had some scrambled eggs for breakfast with an avocado tossed in. No problems. And no lumpy feelings.
    unfortunately now the lower abdomen is acting up... just a bit. But I won't let it spoil my day. the sun is shining, I will go for a bike ride to my favorite organic supermarket which is close to S-Bahn station Hackescher Markt. The bike ride will lead me down the northern end of Friedrichstraße and then through Oranienburger Straße where the synagogue is located. It is one of the more touristy parts of the city - and for a good reason. It is gorgeous I think.
    Next week I will talk to my doctor again though. I will have a check of my system and if the results don't show anything abnormal I guess the problem is of psychological origin. What I noticed on Friday is that I really have an anger management problem. I get all worked up over nothing. And that is definitely not a good thing. I mean stupidity can be annoying but is it really worth bursting a vein in your nose?

    PS: I think I can exclude one thing at the moment: the liver. I am still as white as snow.
    Last edited by Styopa; 06-05-2010 at 07:41 AM.

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    Today was great. Even though I must add two things to my stupid things you can do on the PB list. First, I went working out and it was definitely to hot for that today. I should make a mental note that I will go early in the morning from now on because this was simply unbearable and I am only happy that I realized in time that I was spent. The second thing is going by bike and crossing a street in spite of a red light. It was by accident but still that was dangerous (yeah I know Use your brain).

    How have I been doing apart from that? well good. Food was nice. I made a strawberry gazpacho and coconut-crusted chicken. The gazpacho as an entrée and the chicken as a main course. My husband asekd me why I stick to this way of life and I must say: It is not for health reasons and I am afraid it is not because it has done anything beneficial for my appearance. But it is gourmet heaven! I have never cooked so much with so much variety. (yeah I do spent a fair lot of money on food but honestly it is worth it).

    Plus, I've discovered that cooking is quite easy. The gazpacho for example takes only 15 minutes. Take some strawberries (approx. 25 oz. for 4 people, the fruit must be very ripe so that the aroma is not killed by the other ingredients) a green and a red bell pepper, 200 ml of olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic and an onion. Put the strawberries, garlic, onion and peppers into a food processor and process until it looks like soup. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper. Then string through a sieve in order to remove the fibrous parts of the fruits. Refrigerate. Serve cool but not cold.

    That's it. By the way, I am still looking for the reason of my digestive problems but I have a feeling it is connected with my fiber intake. I must admit this is a bit embaressing. I think I took the idea of eating several cups of fruit and veggies a bit too literally. I checked my fiber intake yesterday on nutritiondata.com and it said: 65 grams - more than double the amount they recommend. So I will watch that and see whether that may be the reason.

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