Saturday, May 11, 2013

Food Testing

Something I have been intending to do for many years is to test my body for food reactions. Each person’s body chemistry is different and will react differently to different foods. So there are really no ‘bad foods’ there are only ‘bad FOR ME foods’.  Many people are unknowingly eating foods that react badly in their body because they believe them to be ‘healthful’ or ‘good foods’. Foods like salmon, asparagus and black beans, which are generally considered healthy, are actually very common triggers for inflammation in most people.

Our health is dependent upon a lack of inflammation in our bodies. In other words, the more inflammation present, the more disease and difficulty we have; including the body holding onto excess weight as a response to the stress of being inflamed.

By following a strict diet of foods that are known not to cause inflammation in almost every human being, I can reduce my inflammation and heal. But that isn’t a doable plan for the long term. It doesn’t take into account the fact that I like some of those inflammatory foods, and I can’t imagine enjoying life without them. I want to eat the foods I like, but I don’t want to suffer ill health as a consequence.

So before I stick to only eating carrots, beets and sunflower seeds, for the rest of my life, I want to find out which foods I can add back in that won’t cause inflammation in my body. I can test all the foods I like by first establishing a measurable baseline of non-inflammation. So I’ll eat only those ‘safe’ foods for three days in a row. 

I’ll be carefully monitoring my water intake so that I’m drinking the exact amount that I need each day and I won’t be drinking anything past 8pm. So after I pee first thing in the morning, I can measure my body weight and see any inflammation. An inflammatory response will cause a half pound to a couple of pounds of weight gain overnight.

Before starting this program, I had to check my basal body temperature to make sure I didn’t have an under-active thyroid. For three mornings in a row I took my temperature before getting out of bed. I was shocked to learn that my body temperature was only 95.5 degrees F.

The probable meaning of such a low body temperature was that I was on my way to hypothyroidism. The probable cause was because I had unknowingly made my diet almost entirely out of “goitrogenic foods”, which inhibit the thyroid function.

Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Collard Greens
Kale
Mustard Greens
Peanuts
Sweet Potatoes
Spinach

When I read that list, my jaw hit the floor. It just goes to show you that even though a food might be considered healthful, there can be negative consequences to not having a well-balance diet.

So before I could even start the experiment, I needed to get my thyroid function back up to snuff. So I avoided the foods listed above for about six days and measured my body temperature every morning until it was above 97 degrees for three days in a row.  It wasn't easy. I was so conditioned to eating the way I thought was best for me, that I didn't know how to do otherwise. I had to let other people choose my food for me. I asked them, "how do normal people eat?"  But thanks to my friends, I was able to almost completely avoid the goitrogens for six days.

Finally, three days ago was the third day I woke up measuring above 97 degrees, so I started in with the first phase of the program which is establishing a baseline of friendly foods.

I have been eating a vegetarian diet, with lots of seeds and nuts for protein. I was not hungry, but because all of my nutrient needs were met, I felt quite satisfied.

Everyone morning I wake up and measure my body temperature and weight.

This is the third day of eating this way, and so far, since I started, I’ve lost six pounds. And this is actually kind of incredible because I didn’t think I needed to lose any weight. But it’s dropping off quickly.

The downside is that my basal body temperature is also dropping, since the diet of friendly foods is mainly comprised of those goitrogenic veggies. For now, since I have no symptoms of hypothyroid, I'm not going to worry about it.

The next phase will be to start systematically adding in new foods. Tonight I will have a chicken breast with dinner. And then in the morning I will weigh myself again. If I maintain my weight or continue to lose then that means I’m not sensitive to chicken (actually a pretty uncommon thing to be sensitive to). But if I am sensitive to chicken it will cause an inflammation response in my body that will be clearly measured by my bathroom scale as a weight gain of a half pound or more.

Yesterday I added brown rice and I ate a full cup and a half of it. This morning I was two pounds lighter than the morning before. Tomorrow, assuming chicken doesn’t trigger a response and I continue to lose weight, I’ll add goat cheese.

In the end, the idea is that all of the foods that I eat that don’t cause an inflammation reaction, can then be added back into my healthful daily diet. Even if those foods were once considered to be unhealthful foods, if they don't cause me an inflammation response, I'm going to consider them OK for me. And even foods that I like but I discover trigger a mild response can be eaten, but with caution, and not daily. I’ll come back and post more information as I get further into the experiment.

So for the only thing that I’ve found disturbingly difficult was not drinking any water after 7:30 pm. But on the upside, I do have lots of energy and my bowel movements are just falling out of me without leaving much residue to clean up. Two negative side-effects are both olfactory. Yesterday I noticed I had body odor, which I never typically have. And also, although, I didn’t fart and more or less than usual, the smell was quite offensively strong. Today I don’t notice either of those things, though. So I think it might be explained by a mild detoxing.

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