14 In nutrition

Why do I not eat certain foods?

After my last post about the paleo bread, I started thinking: “Ryvitas, pretzels and wholegrain tortillas – are they really that bad?” “Why is it that I’ve decided to be THAT strict with my diet?” “Why does it bother me that I’ve let a bit of gluten and a bit of dairy sneak in?” “Does it actually bother me?”

With sugar it’s easy. I have completely made up my mind not to eat it because it just doesn’t work for me in so many levels:

  1. I don’t believe that a human body needs it or likes it
  2. I cannot moderate it and will end up overeating and craving for more and more
  3. It makes me bloated and grumpy
  4. It causes GI issues* when I run for more than 10km
  5. It makes my blood sugar levels plummet causing dizziness and cold sweats, especially when I’m running but also sometimes when I’m not

With dairy my mind is also more or less made up – I’ve started to reduce my dairy intake just after Christmas because most of the time it’s full of hormones and I’m trying to see whether I could actually have clear skin for a few years before I hit menopause (I wrote a bit more on this here).Β  So dairy is still in the test phase and to properly see how my body reacts to it, or to the lack of it, it would probably help if I cut it out completely or at least to 90%.

When it comes to gluten, however, I’m having mixed thoughts. I know that my body can handle some gluten – oats I can easily digest without bloating or GI issues. I can also digest tortillas and good quality wholegrain bread. When it gets a bit trickier for my body is when the bread has loads of sugar and yeast – that’s where I have to draw the line as the symptoms are the same as to what sugar does to me.

Now there’s also meat. I’ve been thinking lots about whether I need to / want to eat a lot of it. Human bodies take longer to digest meat than plant-based food, that’s a fact. I think organic meat a few times a week is probably ok and I’ll probably stick with it, but I could not go full-on primal or paleo and eat it for breakfast 😐  So for now I’m keeping the status quo and eating it a few times a week but not more.

Also on my mind lately has been fish. Everyone says you must.eat.fish.several.times.a.week. I get it, essential fatty acids mostly found in fish are essential for the human body – for the brain, for immune system, for skin, hair, etc. However, when I look at the fish selection at the shops I get confused – is organic farmed salmon better than wild salmon?Β  What is the level of toxins in them?Β  We know some fish have more toxins (mercury, etc.) than others but is any fish these days totally free from them? Ughhh… it does my head in so I’ve decided to not fret about fish – humans can actually get more than enough omegas from chia seeds, hemp seeds and flax seeds! I have a post on that in the draft πŸ˜‰

So based on that I think I’ll go with that feels right for my body – I’ll stick with the no sugar rule and I’ll try to cut down dairy by 90% (I know some cheese will sneak in). I will also stay away from the breads that I know I cannot handle but will have a tortilla once in a while or a ham&cheese toastie on my rest day. I figure there’s no need to totally cut out wheat/rye/etc. if my body actually doesn’t react badly to it.Β  I will keep adding omega rich seeds into my porridge and baked goods, and not spend money on expensive supplements or stand at the supermarket for ages trying to figure out what kind of fish to buy.

Now the next thing I need to experiment with are pulses. I love the taste of all of them but they bloat a lot so I need to figure out whether dry pulses that are soaked properly before cooking work better for me than tinned ones, or whether there are some kinds that are gentler on my stomach than others. It’s time to experiment.

Do you analyse what your body is trying to tell you after you eat a meal?Β  Are there certain foods you know you cannot tolerate? Do you stay away from them?

*GI issues = gastrointestinal issues – that’s the nice way runners talk about diarrhea. You’re welcome πŸ™‚


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  • Reply
    February 1, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    I think it’s very interesting and smart to analyse your body after you’ve eaten certain things to see how you react to it. I do agree that sugar does more harm than good, but sometimes, when I’m tired, it seems to be my only pick-me-up (silent alarms go off as I type this). I am hoping once baby is a bit older I can go back to eating a bit more healthier.

    • Reply
      February 3, 2013 at 9:30 pm

      Sugar does indeed go into your system really fast and make you feel ‘lifted’ but that effect doesn’t last very long. I sometimes make smoothies – hemp milk + frozen fruit + chia seeds + etc. = nice, cold, creamy, sweet from the fruit πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    January 31, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    I try to limit how much sugar I have too as I agree it is the most evil of all. This morning I had porridge with banana and blueberries for breakfast because I am being good πŸ™‚ On a bad day I will have toast and feel bloated all day. There is a lot to be said for cutting out gluten! But dairy… it makes me feel sad to think of not having it anymore. Sugar is easy but cheese…! I’m just not ready or am yet to reach the same place as you but deep down, I know what you are saying is a healthier way forward.

    • Reply
      February 3, 2013 at 9:32 pm

      Cheese is not bad for lots of people so just concentrate on letting go of some of the wheat and sugar πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Metropolitan Mum
    January 31, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Well hello, shiny new blog! I need a makeover, too, so if you don’t mind – could you please send the blog fairy my way?
    Anyway, as you know, I have to be dairy-free because of the baba. It’s easier than I thought (seriously, I didn’t think I could do it), but I am CRAVING sugar all of a sudden. It’s not that I lust after it, in fact, the thought of sweets makes me feel sick, but it’s as if my body needs energy from somewhere else. I suppose it’s all the fat that all of a sudden is missing. I used to be a fan of salty butter, full fat cheese and yoghurts. All those ‘pretend’ products don’t really make up for it.
    As for cutting out sugar – I know I should do it bc of the candida. You might remember, we tweeted about it a while ago. I was diagnosed very shortly before Pea’s dairy intolerance was diagnosed. With cutting out all the dairy (and I am very strict with it), I feel like I have to give up so much already. Sugar just would be too much to handle for me.

    • Reply
      February 8, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      Just rescued this comment from the spam folder 😐 If you crave something sweet, blend dates with cocoa powder and make into little balls. Store in the fridge and eat as many at a time as you can stomach (dates are a bit too sweet for me to eat in large quantities). Or just eat regular dark chocolate, that isn’t too bad either πŸ™‚ Keep taking probiotics and I’m sure the candida situation will be under control in no time.

  • Reply
    January 30, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    This was interesting. Again.

    I’m sure like a lot of women, I often find myself thinking about food. Especially as I have issues with my skin (at 28 hormonal acne which makes me break out worse than in my teens is no fun!) and EDs.

    I’ve done strict diets. I’ve done paleo for nearly a month. The only thing I got from all that meat all the time were bad digestive issues and a fowl mood. πŸ˜› Right now I’m low dairy (as it seems to worsen my breakouts) and gluten free. I’m actually blood test diagnosed gluten intolerant, so that really wasn’t a choice. Sugar. That’s the worst. :-\

    Still. What I’ve been thinking lately is that what if I’m making this all too complicated? I’m the only person in my wide circle of acquaintances who’s gluten free. Most people don’t even know what that is. The same with being low dairy by choice.

    Sometimes I can’t believe that I’m so special. And just because I’ve done my research avoid things I consider harmful and am feeling better… Is it really because I needed to avoid gluten, dairy and sugar? Or because I *believe * that I should feel better without them?

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that maybe it really is mind over matter and if I stopped thinking about dairy and gluten as poison… they wouldn’t act as such when I digested them.

    Did that make any sense? πŸ™‚ ( It did in my head.)

    Still, I’m too scared of falling off the wagon for good to experiment and give in to the inviting embrace of the unholy trinity. πŸ˜›

    • Reply
      January 31, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      Would you do drugs if you believed that they didn’t harm you? πŸ™‚ I think I’m pretty convinced that regular dairy is not that great for us (homogenised, full of hormones, etc.) and gluten is also known to not sit well with some people so… I don’t think we’re fussy or overthinking – we’re simply so in tune with our bodies that we choose what’s good for them and what’s not! At least that’s my line when people criticise me!

  • Reply
    January 29, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Thanks for providing this nice euphemism – “GI issues”, I love (and need) that one:)

    My body doesn’t handle pulses well which is a shame as we know how good they are for us etc:( and I haven’t figured out a _single_ thing I could eat before a long run without getting the GI issues which means I can only run in the mornings before breakfast, and seldom can I manage anything over 10 km as I just run out of fuel. Refuelling during the run is something I haven’t dared to try yet but am intending to – probably will experiment with sports drinks rather than with anything solid…

    • Reply
      January 30, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      Have you tried just plain porridge for breakfast? Oats + milk (or even just water)? That used to be my breakfast all the time but now I make ‘pancakes’ with eggs and all kinds of seeds: chia, flax, hemp + macca powder + protein powder. I also read somewhere that being dehydrated can actually cause GI issues so I always drink on my runs, for 10 or 15k I take a 500ml bottle and start sipping straight away. For 20+km I take two of those and put some electrolyte tablets in the water. I always though that having all that extra water sloshing around in my stomach would cause those dreaded GI issues but since I stopped eating sugar and am sipping water throughout the run I have not needed a toilet break during any runs, including all the half marathons I have run. Just something to think about and maybe experiment with πŸ™‚

      • Reply
        January 31, 2013 at 3:31 pm

        Thanks for the tips. I’ve tried plain porridge (I love it and it’s my staple breakfast as well) – no luck. But I didn’t know about dehydration causing the problem! I’ve always found carrying the water bottle a nuisance but I might need to review that point of view…. One idea I just recently had and haven’t tried out yet – adding chia seeds to my water (just like they did in Born to Run)!

        How do you carry your drink with you? Handheld bottle, or have you found a decent bottle belt?

        • Reply
          January 31, 2013 at 3:49 pm

          I have a bottle with a strap for my hand to fit through – http://www.ronhill.com/run-bottle-2 – NOT the pink one! πŸ™‚ P.S. have you put chia seeds into water – they turn into gel that looks like frog eggs πŸ˜›

  • Reply
    lisa gusto
    January 29, 2013 at 10:45 am

    I think you are right not to be to strict on yourself, the worst thing for your health and wellbeing is feeling guilty πŸ™‚
    Pulses rock! X

    • Reply
      January 30, 2013 at 12:06 pm

      I don’t actually do guilt. I’m a working mother and have learned that feeling guilty about anything is not good for my mental health πŸ™‚

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