South Beach Diet Phase One Revelations

So, South Beach Diet, Phase One. How did it go?

Well, in short: really, really well. In fact, incredibly.

Why? Well — and be prepared to laugh a little bit — it brought me right back to the original reason I started this blog. Those two weeks made me realize that I really do have some legitimate sensitivities to refined sugar and/ or flour.

Maybe I’m not allergic, maybe I’m not intolerant, maybe I’m not Celiac, and maybe I don’t have anything that can be officially diagnosed. Maybe, in terms of what doctors can tell me, there’s nothing wrong with me. After all, if there’s one thing I learned as we experimented with potential diagnosis after potential diagnosis, it’s that my body acts fairly inconsistently. Cake would sometimes make me feel ill but a beer would often make me feel better (I’m actually telling the truth there, convenient as it may sound).

But, here’s the thing — in those two weeks without flour and sugar, the following things happened:

  • I had more energy
  • I slept better
  • I lost 10 – yes, ten! – pounds (and more since)
  • My skin cleared

But the two really important things:

1. I stopped getting sick all the time.

I know I haven’t written in months and months about being sick on a regular basis from food, but I definitely still was. There just wasn’t any point in writing about it anymore since nothing was changing (I mean, yawn, right?). But I’ll tell you this — in a lot of ways, it controlled my life.

To me, there can be no clearer message from the last two weeks than the absence of feeling sick every day in conjunction with my two weeks without sugar or flour. Diagnosable or not, refined sugar and/or flour simply don’t seem to agree with me.

2. My knee started hurting less.

I’m not even kidding.

Did you know that refined sugar and flour are inflammatory foods? Well, I didn’t. When I started noticing how much less pain I was in, I brought it up to my mom and she filled me in on this little tidbit. So, I did some research, and… she was right! (Aren’t moms always right? It’s so annoying.)

Here are a few links for you, if you’re interested in learning more:

Inflammation and Diet: Inflammatory and Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Top 10 Inflammatory Foods to Avoid Like the Plague

List of Anti-Inflammatory Food

Isn’t that interesting? Anyway, my knee is hardly healed, but it’s been remarkably better for the past few weeks and I have no interest in consuming anything that will undo that improvement.

So, for the rest of the summer, I’m conducting an experiment. I am (for the most part) cutting refined sugar and white/ wheat flour.

Fortunately, other things often related to Celiac disease — like soy sauce and bulgur, for instance — haven’t bothered me. So, for now, I’m just experimenting with flour. And I’m fortunate not to have to be crazy about it. Small amounts don’t seem to bug me much. So, while I’m carefully reading menus and labels, I’m also not forced to quiz waiters or read every single ingredient in everything I eat.

Meanwhile, I’m gradually adding other things that were cut on the South Beach Diet back in one at a time to see how my body reacts. Something of an elimination diet, if you will. I’ve already added all fruit and any vegetables that were excluded on the SBD back into my diet (in phase one, corn, carrots, potatoes and beets were off limits).

In the next few weeks, I’m thinking I’ll try the following (in no particular order):

  • honey (how appropriate)
  • pure maple syrup
  • agave (I’ll try it. The jury’s still out.)
  • brown rice syrup (I just bought some. I’ve never tried it! I’m interested.)
  • Sucanat (Ditto to brown rice syrup on both counts.)
  • almond flour
  • oats/ oat flour
  • garbanzo flour
  • coconut flour
  • other whole grains (quinoa, millet, brown rice, etc.)

Anyway, I just bought a few of books to help me through this process.

1) The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam

(source)

2) Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes From My Natural Foods Kitchen by Heidi Swanson

(source)

Ironically, both of the above are by fellow bloggers. The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook is by the blogger behind Elana’s Pantry and Super Natural Every Day is by the blogger behind 101 Cookbooks.

Well, maybe not so ironically. I wanted cookbooks full of simple recipes that called for the whole foods that I believe in (so, for instance, I didn’t bother with books that called for artificial sweeteners). I follow both of their blogs, so obviously I believe in the stuff they make, eat and write about!

In fact, Super Natural Every Day is not a gluten- or sugar-free cookbook — it just has lots of great recipes that fit the bill.

And finally…

3) Get The Sugar Out: 501 Simple Ways to Cut the Sugar Out of Any Diet by Ann Louise Gittleman

(source)

This book is helpful simply in terms of learning more about sugar. The tips are kind of common sense, but the first few chapters, which explain why sugar isn’t good for us, are interesting.

Anyway, I think this is going to be fun, healthy, and exciting. I’m mostly excited about eating whole foods and whole foods only. I am so not planning on doing the whole gluten-free thing, in which I try to bake using lots of flour combinations. I’d rather just live naturally flour and sugar-free by eating lots of fruits, vegetables, beans, soy, lean meat (you know, when I randomly do that), and dairy.

I’m reading into a lot of food lifestyles to follow, too. The South Beach Diet was a good starting point and I’m now intrigued by the Primal Blueprint (except I’ll never cut dairy), which I know Monica really likes.

Kind of funny how this blog came full circle, no?

Lots of Rehab to catch up on…

Rehab Day 22, Part 2 (Thursday)

45 minutes strength training (core, arms, back and some legs)

Rehab Day 23 (Friday)

Swimming: 30 laps in 30 minutes

Rehab Day 24 (Saturday)

All that walking at Disneyland!

Rehab Day 25 (Sunday)

Rest Day — it was needed, for sure, after the previous day’s activities.

Rehab Day 26 (Monday)

Swimming: 35 laps in 35 minutes

Rehab Day 27 (Tuesday)

45 minutes elliptical

What do you guys think? Any other cookbooks/ eating lifestyles you think I should look into?

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “South Beach Diet Phase One Revelations

  1. Good luck! The only sort of cookbooks I know of are things like “On A Stick!” (mostly fried and fatty) and “Cake Pops!”, so I’ll keep my suggestions out of the pool.

  2. Amy

    We have a few GF cookbooks at our house too if you wanna take a peek 🙂 Glad you are feeling better!

  3. WP

    Thanks so much for the mention! Hope your experiment will be a great success!

  4. Oh I’m so happy to hear you’re feeling better!!! That’s such great news!

  5. Wow, that’s amazing! Well done. I often think the impact of certain foods on our bodies are underestimated. And I really believe that we have to find diets that suit us as individuals; what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for the other. Since I’ve cut back on sugar (not cut out tho- don’t think I could ever do that) I’ve noticed my energy levels have been better. The highs and lows of blood sugar levels must be exhausting for us (so there is some science to explain it). 🙂 xxx

  6. I used to say that I would never cut out dairy either. I have to be honest though-I really don’t miss it as much as I thought I would!! There are so many great subs-almond/coconut/soy milks, daiya cheese, soy/coconut milk yogurts, etc…So, my point is never say never!! 🙂

    Also, really glad you’re having success with this! And I did not know that sugar/flour are inflammatory foods-very interesting!

  7. I am so glad you wrote about this, and I found your reflections personally motivating as well! I am going to have to pick up the second cookbook you listed. Oh, and make the chicken fingers from the first cookbook you ASAP! Miss you!

  8. Shannon

    Want to read a really scary book–“Sugar Blues”. It’s from the 60’s or 70’s I think? My Mom recommended it to me and what an eye opener! (Yes-it’s annoying they’re always right;) )

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