Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Learning the Hard Way

I don’t claim to be an expert on nutrition, biochemistry, kinesiology or anything of that nature. I’ve never studied or trained in any of them. I have tried a lot of different approaches to determine what’s best for me to eat for maximum health (sadly, I have found the hard way that this does not include gummy bears, Snickers bars or anything from Ben & Jerry’s or anything from a bagel shop).
I can only tell you what works for me. And, as I’m about to relate it to you, especially what doesn’t. Sadly, I was never one of those nice, obedient kids who, if you told them “Don’t do this because____ [insert undesirable consequences]”, they would cheerfully ignore the temptation and go about their business. (For the record, those kids all grow up to be tattooed/pierced strippers and/or bikers. Or Osmonds). I have the “don’t touch the stove”, “don’t ride your bike down the gravel driveway” and many “don’t touch the cat when his tail’s lashing” scars (and a few from when the dog wanted to emphasize how much she didn’t like to be picked up EVEN when she had ruptured a tendon and needed help getting into bed with my parents. As soon as I started biting back, Lily knocked it off). I’m a Gemini; we learn best when we learn the hard way.

Cash flow has been a bit problematic lately and my current housing (and Extended Stay hotel) now offers free coffee and muffins for breakfast. I have removed sugar and wheat from my diet recently: muffins contain both. Wanting to conserve cash (because I’ve had to travel great distances for job interviews over the past 2 weeks. Oh: I got the job), I have been eating muffins.

Now let me tell you why this was a bad idea:

I cannot explain the biochemistry, but the reintroduction of sugar and wheat are playing havoc with my system. After months of clear skin, I have zits. I’ve been waking up with my hands itching and discovered that they’re covered with eczema (a symptom of gluten intolerance). The bloat is returning to my midsection (the firm, unyielding feeling) and I’ve been maintaining my exercise routine, but the belly isn’t decreasing. I haven’t been feeding my muscles and joints the proper nutrition and I’ve been feeling “crunchy” (and tired and achy as hell).

It’s not just a question of how many calories you consume, the bigger question is what they contain. Food is not just to satisfy hunger; if it’s the right kind, it’s fuel and building blocks. If it’s not, it’s a low grade poison. This is not just dramatic effect: anything that has a bad effect on your body is essentially a poison (I write this as I’m digging and scratching at the dry eczema blisters on my hands).

Time to right the ship. Back to Paleo:  vegetables (fresh or frozen), lean meats and fruit, nuts and grass-fed dairy (if I’m going to eat dairy). Time to undo the damage.

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