My Own Health Update
So I haven't really continued to eat salads every day for two reasons.
1. I am lazy and honestly I just don't like salads that much. I would much prefer to have hot vegetables and have them mixed in with other foods.
2. Turns out big bowls of raw vegetables and beans can wreak havoc on my stomach (IBS).
For the following reason I'm going to stop my nutrition challenge: I have been more interested in my health -- total transparency, I've gained 20# in the last year. Wow! That's a lot. It's something I'm super embarrassed to admit and something I try to avoid focusing on. It's made me super self-conscious. I've gained weight since beginning college - some from partying, and some from my body changing (hello boobs!). I get a big bone structure from my dad's side and without becoming orthorexic, I won't ever weigh the same as I was in high school/early college. This has been an internal battle for me for a long time.
That's okay! I'm more focused on my health -- working in eating disorder treatment emphasizes that to me even more. Weight DOES NOT EQUAL health. I've seen so many sick, skinny girls, and so many overweight, beautiful, recovered people. You can be any size and sick and you can be any size and healthy.
So I'm a dietitian - I should know everything about eating right? Well, NOPE. Nobody knows everything. I've been noticing some funky things going on with my body and figured - hey I should get this checked out. So I got some lab work done and met with a super smart NP to get a plan figured out. The good thing? I don't have celiac disease! The bad? I've got some other abnormal labs like low iron and clinically deficient vitamin D levels (in AZ?! WTF?! I was fine in Michigan!) Here's what I'm going to be focusing on...
1. Eat more meat. WHHAAAT? Yes, I need more protein. My high-carb lifestyle has likely increased the inflammation associated with my IBS (wheat is a common trigger, sometimes it's more processed carbs). So the easiest way to do that is to eat more meat, and more fruits and vegetables. This should also address my low iron status, in addition to adding a prenatal multivitamin (they always have folate and iron!).
2. Figure out my other IBS triggers. I have resigned myself to doing an elimination diet if I can't calm my inflammation with some other swaps. It probably has to happen. To feed my gut in a healthy way, I'm going to add a daily probiotic.
Possible triggers I'm going to explore:
- Caffeine (I know this is a trigger... it's just going to be hard to start to taper off. Coffee... how I have loved thee, unfortunately my gut doesn't feel the same. *cries*)
- Alcohol (Another trigger I'm sure of... so it's probably time to actually start consuming moderate amounts... and if I don't, my stomach will unleash it's wrath the following day)
- Onions? Garlic? - two big ones that I'm not sure of
- Dairy - pretty sure this is one, but greek yogurt seems to be okay. The verdict is still out on cheese.
Two swaps I'm already geared up to make are swapping all coffee (yes... all... *continues to weep*) with teeccino, an herbal coffee-alternative. Also, I've recently gotten into pre-workout (thanks, muscle-y boyfriend), but it packs quite a punch of caffeine. So, stimulant-free for me it is. I'm going to try one by Transparent labs and see how I like it.
3. Walk every day. Movement, not necessarily exercise, can be extremely helpful for IBS. Even though I'm primarily IBS-D (you can probably guess what the D stands for), walking can still help regulate the digestive system and time spent outside has been shown to improve mood. Something I'll be looking for as I taper off my medication.
So I'll be documenting my journey (kind of like the Wellness Project but IBS version) on here as I try to actually navigate this inflammatory issue. I want my health back! Even though I was diagnosed with IBS years ago, only in the last 8-12 months have my symptoms begun to worsen. And I know from working in behavioral health that most people only kick their butt into gear once the problems get bad enough.
What healthy habits have you adopted recently? What habits are you working on?