Elimination Diet: Days 1 – 3

Ah, Days 1, 2, & 3.  The worst days of any new routine, diet, job, etc.

As I’m adjusting to my new diet, I’ll admit the first few days were pretty rough.  It didn’t help that the 3 days leading up to this diet were major cheat days for me so I was feeling extra crummy after binging on foods I knew I wouldn’t get to eat for a few months AND foods I knew would cause problems (salsa, peppers, restaurant food, wine, toasted ravioli [beef, cheese, deep fried], etc.).  I’m still really struggling without my afternoon protein snack (hard boiled egg or almond butter)

Day 1: Starving, starving, starving all day. Even when I knew I’d hit my calorie allotment (or even exceeded it). While I normally eat a fair amount of protein with the help of eggs & nut butters (not allowed on this diet), you can only get so full on chicken and avocado.  And I can only eat so much chicken in one day.
Day 1’s menu consisted of apple cinnamon rice pancakes , chicken, rice, avocado, mango, bananas, rice cakes, & rice crackers. I blame my food choices the days leading up to this day and was also very sleepy (sleepiness makes me have ridiculous cravings).

Day 2: For some reason, even my normal protein shake (brown rice protein powder, banana, unsweetened coconut, aloe vera juice, coconut milk) didn’t do much to fill me up. My department had a lunch/retreat that afternoon so I was THAT PERSON who brought her own food (chicken, rice, avocado, lettuce, spinach, & cantaloupe).  Eh well, I’m pretty used to that by now!  Dinner also consisted of chicken, rice, & avocado with cantaloupe & watermelon for dessert.  I was left pretty unsatisfied all day.

Day 3: After 2 days of hanger, I spent all day longing for my next meal or snack. Today was a little better on the hunger front but a morning run helped to keep some cravings at bay (seriously, yay running!). Breakfast & lunch were the same as Day 2 but supper was da’ bomb!  I knew I needed something a little more filling so I scarfed down the sweet potato hash & coconut rice pancakes I’d prepared a week earlier to freeze.   I had the watermelon & cantaloupe for dessert again and was still a little hungry when I went to bed but felt a bit more in control of my appetite than the day before.

Just a note about the 3 recipes above:
The apple cinnamon pancakes call for oats which are currently eliminated from my diet (and were before this process started) so I removed them from the recipe and the results turned out fine. I think the oats might hold the pancakes together a little better so I had to cook them a little longer. Everything else stayed the same (I used all purpose GF flour…make sure it consists of only the flour-types you can have!).  I also top these with apple butter but I’m looking forward to trying these with peanut butter.

The sweet potato hash calls for onions, turkey sausage, and lard. All of these items are removed from my diet because of the elimination diet or because I’ve chosen to eliminate then.  It tastes fine without the onions and lard (I used olive oil instead).  I used very lean ground turkey in place of the sausage and seasoned with a bit of salt & pepper to create the sweet & salty combination.  It’s VERY filling!

For the coconut rice pancakes, I only used rice flour mainly because I couldn’t find sorghum flour. I made one batch with nutmeg & ginger and HATED it (I’m not a fan of nutmeg). The second batch was made with just a pinch of nutmeg & ginger.  These are very dense & filling.  I topped them with apple butter and it was a great combination.

 

Elimination Diet

Oh you know, a diet where you eliminate even more foods from your already eliminated diet…? 🙂  True story. This 2-3 week diet will eliminate nearly all foods that cause inflammation.  The goal is to heal my intestines and reduce inflammation.  After the 2-3 weeks, I introduce 1 eliminated food item every other day to track any reactions or discomfort.  The whole process will take 6-8 weeks.  So no, I won’t get to go out and splurge on burgers & fries when this is over. Instead of typing a list of what I CAN’T eat during this phase, you get to see what I GET to eat.  Positive psychology…see what I did there?

Vegetables (except night shades & veggies I’ve already eliminated like broccoli, cauliflower, raw carrots, etc.)

Fruit (except citrus & seedy fruits like strawberries, blueberries, & blackberries)

Rice…lots & lots of rice.  Rice cakes, rice cereal, rice pancakes, etc.

Chicken & turkey (only organic…you know, the expensive kind)

Avocado (technically a fruit, but a nutrition powerhouse that deserves its own category)

Sweet potatoes (wonderfully NOT a night shade like its other potato cousins)

Non-dairy milk (only rice or coconut)

Agave nectar, molasses, or liquid stevia (if ABSOLUTELY necessary…according to my guide)

Herbal tea

And that’s it, folks.  No gluten, no wheat, no sugar, no eggs (why are eggs always considered dairy?! Rude.), no preservatives, no caffeine (um…this is not ok), no alcohol, no dairy (nothing new here), no preservatives, no pork, no beef, no beans or legumes, no nuts, and the saddest part: no almond butter.

I’ll admit, lunch & supper won’t be that much different for me.  Breakfast (specifically weekend breakfasts) will be a little tough.

Wish me luck.  This adventure starts Sunday, June 8th.  Why then, you ask?  My high school reunion is Saturday, June 7th and I’d like to indulge in a few glasses of wine to encourage conversation and lessen awkward moments, if possible.

If anyone out there has some decent elimination diet recipes, send them my way!  This weekend I am attempting homemade sugar-free apple butter and rice pancakes to allow for SOME indulgence during these weeks.

I think I should buy stock in avocados…

Inflammation, Be Gone!

I met with a nutritionist last weekend.  Which seems silly since I feel like the guru of good nutrition.  And I am.  For people who don’t have inflamed intestines.  As someone who survived on raw fruits & veggies, nuts, seeds, popcorn, and whole grains, this UC diet seems a little unfair and stupid (yes, I’m 5 years old). Cream of wheat, chicken, rice, and saltine crackers aren’t exactly included in the “diet of champions”…plus, even after eating bland, I still have been feeling crummy.  So I found someone that focuses on IBD nutrition AND athlete nutrition to balance a UC diet with my fitness levels.

The result? Hope. A light at the end of the tunnel.  The angels sang.  Ok, I’m being dramatic, but my nutritionist and I share the exact beliefs and philosophies on diet, medicine, food choices, GMOs (yuck), soy (yuck), and we have no confidence in the USDA or the FDA.  Just sharing my humble opinion.

So here’s the plan…since my poor body is just a ticking bomb of inflammation (and apparently always has been): Vitamin D (1000 IUs 5x/day), aloe vera juice, fish or flaxseed oil (which I already take), and more healthy fats.  NO MEDICINE, NO STEROIDS. Woo hoo! The catch? A 2-3 week elimination diet…which will have it’s own dedicated post soon.

Before I met with her I had discovered kombucha (fermented probiotics in tasty drink form) and intermittent fasting (IF).  Between those two things I’m already feeling LOTS better.

A little on IF…
IF isn’t as terrifying as it sounds and it’s really up to you and your schedule.  I don’t have the will power to fast for 24 hrs one day weekly, nor do I have a schedule that will allow me to relax on the couch all day while I sip herbal tea for a whole day.  So I’ve tailored it to my schedule and it’s really simple:  I have an 8-hour window to eat my daily calories and then I “fast” for 16 hours.  If you think about it, we already naturally fast for at least 8 hours when we sleep.  And most of us don’t eat RIGHT before bed or RIGHT when we wake up…so I eat breakfast around 10am at work (even if I’ve worked out that morning) and I try to eat supper by 6pm.  No bed-time snacks.  Just tea in the morning to hold me over and maybe some flavored herbal tea to curb any cravings I have before bed.  I feel 10x better with this approach.  It gives my intestinal track a chance to chill out…plus, if you’re trying to lose weight or burn fat, this is a great approach to keeping those cravings and the “need to eat” in check.  It’s a great mental training to fight 1st world hunger…for real y’all, we won’t die from feeling a little hungry.

Picture Dump, Catch Up

Apparently I only blog when life isn’t vomiting crazy all over me.  Or only once every 6 months. Whichever comes first. Oops.  Here’s a catch up session in pictures since December of what’s been consuming my life:

Walt Disney World Marathon, January 2014

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WDW Finisher! Best race ever.

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Kodak moment. Running past Cinderella’s Castle.

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Goofin’ around with my favorite Disney characters.

SIUE Dance Marathon 2014

FTK! So proud of them!

FTK! So proud of them!

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SIUE Alternative Spring Break (New Orleans)
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ACPA National Convention, Indianapolis

Great catch-up time with grad school friends

Great catch-up time with grad school friends

Much-Needed Colorado Vacation

Sapphire Point, Breckenridge

Sapphire Point, Breckenridge

Keystone Resort

Keystone Resort

View during my Boulder run. Wanting to move here, ASAP.

View during my Boulder run. Wanting to move here, ASAP.

Fur Babies

Hobbes, my "valentime"

Hobbes, my “valentime”

Scout during a pouting session while I ignore her on a Saturday to do work

Scout during a pouting session while I ignore her on a Saturday to do work

This picture dump makes my life look much more attractive and travel-laden than it actually is.  Hope you enjoyed!

 

An Awkward Life with UC

So, hi. It’s been almost 6 months since I’ve blogged.  Shame on me.  I’ve decided to start blogging again because I was recently diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, more specificaly, ulcerative proctitis.  How fitting for a blog titled, “That’s Just Awkward”, right?

I’ve been doing typical Google searches: “running and colitis”, “popcorn and colitis”, “migraines and colitis”, “dealing with Interstitial Cystitis and colitis”. I’m finding that blogs and discussion threads are proving to be the most helpful and supportive, hence my decision to write again.  I’m continually seeking bloggers with UC that are endurance athletes.  Running long distances (with or without a UC flare) on a limited diet is proving difficult.

Ninety percent of the time, I’m pretty upbeat an positive about this major lifestyle change.  I’ve realized I’ve had UC since high school and there’s always been foods that I just avoid.  So this isn’t exactly a major blow to my eating habits (aside from dairy, which is in just about everything).  I’m typically a roll-with-the-punches kind of gal and believe optimism goes a long way.  However, the other 10% of the time, like when I’m trying to live a “normal” dairy-free life, I grow tired of explaining “no, I’m not allergic to dairy, I just can’t have it” or “no, I can’t just take a pill before I eat that” and “can you tell me what’s in this dish?”.  I am trying to be as polite as possible without saying “eating that will make me crap blood”.  Awkward.

As the holidays are in full swing I’m living the onset of dread as office holiday parties, potlucks, and traditional family recipes are thrown under my nose and I long for just a taste of deliciousness I know will reek havoc on my digestive tract.  For those that follow my pinterest boards, you’ll see I’ve even found a vegan/dairy-free velveeta substitute and vegan desserts.  I’m cautiously optimistic, but it’s a step in the right direction to move from “I can’t have that” to “YUM”.   As much as a UC diagnosis kind of sucks, I’m pretty pleased I was diagnosed now instead of 5-10  years ago when the dairy-free/vegan market was pretty slim.

I welcome any and all tricks of the UC trade 🙂

 

Happy National Running Day!

The true comes out...

The truth comes out…

I had to share the above comic strip with you!  Special thanks to Distant Runners!  I can only run in the morning, so saying “I love running in the morning” really just means “I detest running after work or after a day’s worth of activities”.  As tired as I am at 4am, I’m even more tired after food hits my tummy and daily life sets in.  Darn my introvert ways 🙂  I always joke that it’s because my body doesn’t realize what it’s doing that early.

Speaking of running…today is NATIONAL RUNNING DAY!  I ran 4 miles this morning to celebrate 🙂  Did you get your National Running Day badge?  Get one here!  Here’s mine:

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HA!  How true is that?!  I’ve had days when I think, “I just need to go for a run”, even if it’s in the middle or later part of the day (which you know, as I mention above, I DON’T like to do).  But it’s the knowledge that running fixes things.  At least it gives me the time to reflect and the endorphins I need to re-position myself on an issue or situation.  It’s my therapy session.  It’s my “church”.

Your turn:  Why do YOU run?  How did you celebrate National Running Day?

 

Workout Burnout

Wowza.  Burnout is a slight understatement.  Remember 2 weeks ago when I took a week off (COMPLETELY off!) from working out?  Last week I gradually eased into my previous workout schedule.  Seriously, I eased into it.  I didn’t jump back in at 115%.  I was kindler and gentler to my body and my mind.  I felt great.  Sore, but great.  This week I had 2 great workouts on Sunday & Tuesday.  But yesterday’s “easier” circuit training left me mentally exhausted and on the couch all day.  What’s my deal?! Could I really be suffering from a serious case of burnout?  Physical AND mental.  Mostly mental since I’ve been EASILY talking myself out of hitting the gym in the morning.  Granted, I’ve been dealing with some calf muscle tightness and shin splints that might be bringing me down just a bit.  But, really.  I’m only 1 week into my 16-week training for the Air Force Marathon in September.  I’m typically over-zealous my first few weeks of training…hmm…

Maybe I’m in a backslide of sorts.  Normally my mind would be going through some serious freak outs for missing a workout.  But my mind has been really polite to my body for the last few weeks  and has been saying weird things like “Hey! You look great!” instead of “Hm…could use a little work here and here…”.

Have any of you experienced a workout burnout like this?  This is foreign territory to me…

Memorial Day

I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day, even if the only enjoyable part of your holiday was the extra day off 🙂

Memorial Day is a big deal for my family and my hometown.  Alton, IL boasts the oldest consecutive Memorial Day parade, starting in 1868.  It takes place in the “uptown” portion of Alton, known as “Pie Town”.  The women of Alton used to bake pies in Upper Alton for the Civil War soldiers passing through so the name stuck.

Here’s a few pictures from the parade a few  years ago (2010).  We didn’t go this year – just not feeling it.  Maybe next year!

Crowded!  Always a town-pleaser.

Crowded! Always a town-pleaser.

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Local VFW

Local VFW

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More family :)

More family 🙂

Family.  In our normal parade- watching location

Family. In our normal parade- watching location

Two of my favorite people.  Always silly.

Two of my favorite people. Always silly.

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What did you do to celebrate Memorial Day?

Currently

I’m a few months behind with this one, but this survey popped up on a few blogs I read and I finally felt like joining in.  I’m always a little behind with trends anyway, so this should be no different 🙂

Current Book(s): I just finished The Senator’s Wife last night.  It wasn’t an amazing book, but I breezed through it this week.

I’m still  in the middle of Slow Death by Rubber Duck.  Since it’s more scientific, it’s definitely a type of book to read a few pages at a time instead of huge chunks in one sitting.  But I still find it interesting and informative.

The book I’ll crack open tonight was recommended by (and currently being bored from) one of my graduate assistants: This Much I Know is True.
One of her tasks was to let me borrow some of her favorite books and this one came highly recommended.  Our town’s book resale/trade-in shop is reopening tomorrow.  I never thought that would make me as excited as I am!

Current Music: Aside from my running playlist, I’ve been digging my No Doubt & Maroon 5 Pandora stations.  Sometimes when I’m getting ready for work I’ll play my Dixie Chicks station.  Funny how certain locations change my music mood…

Current Guilty Pleasure: http://whatshouldwecallstudentaffairs.tumblr.com/  I can’t look at these and not giggle.

Current Nail Color: Natural.  I never paint my nails.  I feel like mine are oddly shaped and I feel so awkward when they are painted.  Even if I would normally paint them, they wouldn’t be at present.  One fingernail is recovering from being chopped off while I was cubing sweet potatoes.  My toenails,  however, are painted with my favorite: Conquistadorable. Love that 🙂

Current Drink:  Water, coffee, Celestial Seasoning’s Blueberry Tea, or Panera’s Acai Berry Tea (so yum!)

Current Food: Almond butter, apple butter, and Kind bars. Can’t stop craving all 3.

Current Favorite Show:  The West Wing.  I just started the final season.  A big part of me doesn’t want it to end, but I’m dying to see how it plays out. I’m so obsessed with this show I feel like these characters are real.

Current Wishlist: Choco Peanut Butter Brownie Blizzard from Dairy Queen.

Obviously, since I’m dairy-free this will need to be consumed during a dairy-cheat-day and preferably on a long run day.  I know, you were expecting me to say “a new car” or “a Kindle”, weren’t you?  My life revolves around food, whether I can eat it or not 🙂

Current Need(s): I desperately need to clean my apartment.  I haven’t had a weekend since February where I can devote time to each room.  I don’t know how I don’t have a bug infestation.  Gross.  I also need a massage.  Now.

Current Indulgence: My $25 planner and 2 new pairs of running shoes.

Now that’s a sight for sore eyes 😉

Current Blessing:  Having a job & colleagues that I love, that challenge(s) me, that is applicable to my degree & my passions.  It feels good to have life figured out for a while. 

Current Outfit: Pajamas.  My favorite outfit ever.  A close second is any workout gear.

Current Excitement: 3 major life decisions coming into play in the next year: 2 marathons and starting a PhD program.  I’m nervous and dreading the exhaustion I know all 3 will bring, but I’m pretty excited for the challenges and feelings of accomplishment.

Rest, Recovery, Rejuvenate, Refresh

That’s my theme this week: rest, recover, rejuvenate.  Yep, I’m not working out at ALL this week.  You read that correctly, no need to grab your glasses.  Taking some much-needed R&R from working out.  A fitness regimen has become such a huge part of my day/life that I really feel like I’m on vacation.  I come home from work and feel like I have all the time in the world since I don’t have a crazy bedtime and when I wake up in the middle of the night for 1 of many trips to the bathroom, I easily fall back asleep because I know I don’t have to wake up for several hours (although, I have to psychologically trick myself and I’m not allowed to check the clock in the middle of the night, otherwise it’s a train-wreck of anxiety and sleep deprivation.  I learned that trick after I read The Highly Sensitive Person).

So what’s up with this about-face in my workout schedule?  Well, several things:

  1. I’ve been extra-tired lately.  I’ve had about 6 weeks of hard weekly workouts to build my mileage base & fitness level for my marathon training.
  2. Because I’ve been extra-tired, I haven’t been mentally “into” my workouts.  The time before and during my workouts are a mental tug-of-war.  But as always, afterward, I’m so glad I pushed through and started & completed the workout or run.
  3. I’ve been noticing a few “build up” pains, strains, and almost-injuries.  Sore calves, tight Achilles tendon, minor shin splints, etc. My body is blowing its whistle and saying “seriously, TIME OUT!”
  4. Even when I was sore from a solid workout, I felt whiny about the soreness…usually I have a “hurts so good” attitude and the soreness adds a bounce to my step because sore=progress.  So yeah, whiny Sarah is not a pleasant Sarah. Even Scout dislikes whiny me.
  5. Marathon training begins in a week or two.  I haven’t decided which week yet, I typically incorporate a 1 or 2 week cushion in case things come up (busy work week/weekend, needing to take a week off, being sick, etc.). It’s best to start a training program recovered and refreshed.

I’m pretty proud of myself for going cold turkey this week.  I normally panic and bargain with a hard bike ride or some other crosstraining to get my workouts in when I’m cutting back.  But, shockingly, I’m not experiencing any withdrawals at all.  It’s been a nice workout vacation 🙂