In my review of some nutrition books I’ve been reading I mentioned that I’ve been experimenting with my diet to try to avoid having to take medication for PCOS. For the past month, I have cut sugar and refined carbs, eating mostly lean meat, eggs, vegetables, and legumes. I have to say I was feeling pretty good. I was never hungry, I had a lot of energy, I felt clear-headed, and I didn’t gain weight (I was concerned about gaining weight after I weaned Sarah).
So I decided to try a little experiment. Cue “something scary is about to happen” music.
In the 4 Hour Body diet program (the reviews I’ve read of the book itself are a little weird, but you can read the chapter on the diet program free on Gizmodo – a friend of mine is following the diet and recommended it) the author advocates taking a skip day once a week, breaking the diet deliberately every seven days. In fact, he says you MUST do this. I knew my body handles insulin weirdly (I have blood sugar drops; I’ve been known to faint from low blood sugar, etc), but I had NO IDEA what a “treat day” would do to me.
I think going off of bad carbs for a month served as sort of an elimination diet for me, like you’re supposed to do if you suspect a food allergy, so that the effects of adding those carbs back in were extremely noticeable.
I ate my normal breakfast: two eggs and two egg whites, some sauteed spinach and 1/2 cup of black beans. I felt fine like I normally do. After church we went to Costco and I had a strip of tortilla around some chicken, one potato chip, and a bite of protein bar. The kicker came when I got one of those big Costco pizzas for us to have for lunch. We brought that thing home and I took one small piece. I didn’t even get all the way through it before I felt like my insides were shaking. And I started feeling kind of ill and weird.
During the kids’ naptime I ate a grapefruit. I was hungry and shaky and felt like my head was in a fog. I couldn’t focus; I couldn’t get anything done. I was irritable and tired.
That afternoon, we had my in-laws over for a dessert the kids made. As I ate the dessert, again I felt like I was shaking inside, like I couldn’t think straight. I started getting a headache.
In short, the “Treat Day” was anything but. It was actually kind of horrible. I have absolutely zero desire to feel bad like this again. Although I knew the only-good-carbs diet was better for me and was making me feel good, I didn’t realize how BAD the other foods make me feel.
I throw this all out there because nutrition is something I’ve been reading and thinking about more lately, and I do think it’s fascinating how different people react differently to dietary changes, and how our bodies process foods and hormones differently from person to person. It seems like the key to finding nutritional balance is to try things and see how they work.
If you’re interested in books about diet and how cutting sugar and bad carbs can help a variety of things, you might be interested in the following books and links:
- Master Your Metabolism
- Why We Get Fat
- The South Beach Diet (scroll down for review)
- The No S Diet (scroll down for review)
- The 4 Hour Body (Note: I have not read this whole book, and some of the claims seem dubious at the outset, but who knows) or just the chapter on diet (free)
Last week commenter Bethany recommended another book, Eat Fat, Lose Fat, which I intend to read too. If you’ve done other reading on nutrition and insulin issues, I’d love it if you’d pass suggestions my way!
Image Credit: thiniam.tumblr.com
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