For All Three People Who Care: An Update on Migraines, Hormones, and My Really Limited Diet

In my spare moments I have been slowly re-reading Gone With the Wind for my book club.  But once I am finished with it?  Next up is Your Hidden Food Allergies are Making You Fat by Rudy Rivera, M.D. and Roger Davis Deutsch (you can find it cheap on half.com).

I am particularly interested in this book because it is written by the makers of the ALCAT test – you know, that test that said I have food sensitivities out the wazoo and told me there are more things I can’t eat than things I can, and then divided those things I can eat into a four-day rotation.  Yeah, that one.

So I’ve been on that diet very strictly since we came back from Florida in mid February and this is what I have to say about it so far:

1. That stuff about me not being able to eat beef but being able to eat veal?  Must. be. a. typo.  I ate veal once, and I felt awful afterwards.  I mean, besides the awfulness of the guilt over eating a baby (I also ate lamb once – I now know what guilt tastes like), I just felt bloated and . . . icky.  You really don’t want me to go there in detail.

2. As of this morning, I have lost 12 pounds.  I now weigh 2 pounds less than I did pre any pregnancy.  This means I am 8 pounds over my wedding weight and 6 pounds over the weight I was all four years of high school.  Of course, while the numbers are great and make me want to party (actually, not – we’ve had enough parties lately), the grim reality is that I have birthed three children and grown old (don’t tell me that 40 is the new 20), so everything is still redistributed in a much more dough-like and dimply fashion.  But I’m not complaining!  Much.

3. I almost never crave anything anymore, and when I do?  I am usually craving something I am allowed to eat, just not on that particular day.  Like yesterday?  I really wanted grapes.  Yesterday was not grape day.  Luckily, today is.  But the sugar cravings and the chocolate cravings? 99.9% gone.  Additionally, I’m just not as hungry as I used to be.  I know this is because my blood sugar is no longer wildly swinging up and down like a drunk monkey on a trapeze (which reminds me of a story that a friend told me about a couple she knows who has a “special” swing, but that is really off-topic).

4. I have not had a migraine in over a month.  This is a HUGE milestone, since I always get at least one a month (and sometimes more).  But last month, when I would normally be asking my children to stop breathing so loudly?  I got nothing.  Not even a hint of any kind of a headache even trying to start.  Just. nothing.  I think this is partly due to the diet and partly due to the fact that I tweaked my hormones in a completely different way (which reminds me, I still need to call my Dr. and let him know what I did).  Whatever it was, it was amazing.

Like I said in an earlier post, I’ve read about the ALCAT test from the perspective of both supporters and naysayers, so, though I really was excited to do it, I was still a bit skeptical.  I’m becoming less so.  I know you’re thinking, “But once the six months is up and you stop the diet, you’ll gain the weight right back, and the headaches will come back!”  And?  You’d be right.  Except I don’t think I’m going to go off the diet after six months.  I think I may modify it – shake up the rotation a bit, have a monthly “treat” (that doesn’t involve peanuts, vanilla, oysters, or lima beans) – but I don’t want to ever go back to eating like I did before, even though that seemed restrictive at the time.

A week or so ago I was sitting in front of the t.v. while making a bunch of tissue paper flowers.  I honestly never watch Oprah (I swear, I’ve blogged about it every time, so you all know how often that is), but Oprah was on (probably a rerun) and her whole staff was doing some week-long vegan challenge.  At the end, there was one guy talking about how he’ll probably never go back to eating meat because he lost 12 pounds that week.  I immediately thought, “Well, you probably have a beef sensitivity.  Or chicken.  Or whatever meat you eat frequently.”  While other people on her staff lost weight, nobody lost that much.  This was yet another confirmation of something I realized 10 years ago:  everybody’s body is different.  We all need the same basic nutrients, but we all process and react to different foods differently.  That is why every time you turn around some television show or magazine article or internet link is telling you about a NEW, AMAZING diet.  Some diets are amazing for some people, and others are amazing for other people.  And in case you were wondering?  Deep fried Twinkies are amazing for nobody.  But for now?  I feel like I’ve discovered what is amazing for me, so I’ll stick with it.

Okay, on top of all that, I was asked to teach a class at a church activity last month about the importance of reading nutritional labels.  I thought all three of you might be interested in some of what I found as I prepared for that, so I’m going to copy and past part of my notes here.  I’ll copy and paste the rest of them in a different blog post since this one is getting so long already.  The theme of the evening was The Three Little Piggies.  My class was This Little Piggy Went to Market, so I focused on some of the Big Bad Wolves found in our food.  First up?  High fructose corn syrup.  Good grief, people, I hope you don’t believe those stupid ads about eating it in moderation.  You have to work hard and be very diligent to only eat that garbage in moderation.  Anyway, my notes:

High Fructose Corn Syrup

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High fructose corn syrup is commercially produced. It starts as corn syrup, a liquid sweetener extracted from corn, and is then chemically altered by enzymatic processes to create a different balance of monosaccharides (simple sugars) that that found in ordinary corn syrup. IT IS NOT NATURAL!

In laboratory tests, HFCS has led to weight gain, abnormal increases in body fat (more so than from a high fat diet), especially in the abdomen, and a rise in triglycerides (circulating blood fats). The laboratory subjects who were give sucrose (sugar) rather than HFCS did not experience these results.

Excess fructose is metabolized to produce fat, while glucose (sucrose) is largely processed for energy, or stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles.

Fructose molecules in HFCS are free and unbound, ready for absorption. Every fructose molecule in sucrose (sugar) is bound to a corresponding glucose molecule and must go through an extra metabolic step before it can be utilized. CONTRARY TO WHAT THE COMMERICALS SAY, IT IS NOT JUST LIKE SUGAR. YOUR BODY PROCESSES, ABSORBS, AND STORES IT DIFFERENTLY.

HFCS was introduced into the American food supply about 40 years ago. Since then, obesity rates have gone from about 15% of all Americans to about 33% of all Americans.

Google A Sweet Problem: Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain.

That’s the end of my notes, but seriously?  Read that study.  I know it was done with rats and not humans, but still.  And if you’re as old as I am, you don’t need those statistics because you can remember.  By no means am I saying that HFC is solely responsible for all of our societal health woes, but I do believe there is good evidence to support that it is heavily responsible for many of them.  Next time I’ll share my notes on trans fats, glutamates, and nitrates and nitrites. 

I know, all three of you, along with Tewt the Newt, are swooning with anticipation.

7 thoughts on “For All Three People Who Care: An Update on Migraines, Hormones, and My Really Limited Diet

  1. kathleen

    WOW, 12 lbs? You must be a stick by now, I don’t care what you weighed in high school…ok, sounds like there might be something to it….so there’s another challenge to my growing old and fat gracefully, since all the food-related discomfort in my old age is anything but graceful…thanks for the motivation.

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  2. 1. I’m VERY interested, so keep posting this stuff!! Even if I am one of only three (which I HIGHLY doubt).

    2. So glad the headache issue is improving! The weight loss is a nice bonus, too- but how you feel every day is the more important thing.

    3. DRUNK MONKEYS! Yeah!

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  3. I actually AM eager with anticipation for the next installment; I love it when someone else does the research I’m too lazy to do myself. Educate on, my friend.

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  4. Karen Jones

    –Not totally unrelated: my son has fructose intolerance and (of course) HFCS was the first thing to cross off the grocery list… DANG hard to do. It is EVERYTHING (only a slight exaggeration). in the month that we have been doing his diet (pretty restrictive… and random: no oranges, yes tangerines, no apples, yes bananas ect) he has grown 4 inches and no longer is the second smallest in his grade, now he is the 4th smallest and not showing signs of ceasing the growing. Oh and the test for that is less invasive than most. LOL

    –what was the name of the test that they used to find out what you are allergic to. I’d like to request it for no less than 4 people in my family. We’ve all (at least those 4) had food allergy testing done but it was no where near that extensive, only like 10 foods.

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  5. That’s great that you haven’t had a headache! My sister struggles migraines, I’ll have to tell her to look into her food choices.

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  6. Add me to the list of people waiting in anticipation! I want this test done. I KNOW I have food sensitivities and I would love something in writing that I can really work with! I think my oldest does too. He’s so small and has stomach aches. He avoids anything greasy and cheeses too for some reason make him sick. 😦

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  7. I also care! Glad to hear that things are working for you!! I’d love to find out if I have food issues BUT, I’m fearful that coffee would be on the list and I LOVE coffee – I’d almost rather have my coffee and my inhaler than have better asthma. 😀

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