My Christmas Present to Myself

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I’ve been sharing for the last year plus about my menopause journey. I’ll tell you, this is a journey that has not been too terribly fun. It’s a lot like being stuck on a roller coaster. You can’t get off and it just keeps going through the loop de loops. Not the most fun ride I’ve ever been on!

The last few months things have finally started to even out. I shared this post at the end of summer with where I was then. Today, in some ways I’m still very good and feel like I’m ‘over the hump’ with menopause. But one thing that I continue to have troubles with is my tummy.

One of the very first symptoms that I had to indicate something was up with me was a return of Irritable Bowel Syndrome issues. Digestive issues were nothing new (read more about this in my welcome page) to me but I hadn’t had to deal with them for the past several years, after we cut out most of the processed foods from our diet and focuses on real, nutrient dense foods. At first I thought the issues stemmed from me not being diligent with my diet but soon I discovered that it didn’t matter what I ate, I was miserable. I’ve been unable to find any rhyme or reason to the cause of my issues.

A couple of weeks ago, after discussion with a friend, I realized that I’d had enough. She suggested I have a consultation for a different issue with a nutritionist that she’d consulted. I realized then that the other issue could wait but the constant stomach problems had to stop.

I signed up  for a Nutrition and Wellness Consultation with Lydia. It took me a while to finally get all of my information to her (I was delayed by my broken hand) but yesterday we had our consult. It was obvious that she had spent quite a bit of time going over my health questionnaire that included my health history and the results of a quiz I’d taken.  She confirmed my suspicion.

I’m a mess.

But she also gave me hope. She laid out a step by step plan to wellness that was custom designed to accommodate my needs. She also told me that I could wait and start the diet changes after Christmas. And most people would do that. But I’m honestly so tired of feeling awful every time that I eat, to the point where I put off eating as long as possible with not good results, that I need some relief today. Now. Immediately.

Chicken broth

Yesterday I started implementing Lydia’s plan. It’s actually very simple. One thing I’m going is adding a digestive tonic before each meal. That will require very little effort on my part (other than remembering) and I already had the ingredients on hand (apple cider vinegar and water).

I’m also adding back in a couple of things that I let go. When menopause was hitting me super hard I found that Nettle Infusions were a wonderful help. Once I started on those, my sleep improved, my energy increased and I felt surprisingly better. Instead of staying with the nettle I stopped it as soon as I started feeling better. She’s having me go back to the nettles and wants me to drink a quart a day.

Bone broth is something else I’ll be focusing on. In the past I’ve enjoyed a cup of broth daily during the winter. While we are making broth every week I’m using it primarily in cooking. Not any more. Lydia wants me to have a quart of broth each day.

And to keep up with the liquid theme, I need to focus on my water. I do try to drink a decent amount of water but rarely keep track of how much I’m having. She reminded me that half my body weight in ounces is what I need– she said the nettle’s can count toward the amount which makes me super duper happy.

She’d also suggested I go back to taking Cod Liver Oil. I completely agree with her on this. I was doing a great job taking it in hopes of repairing my teeth but then when my stomach was soooo bad I thought it might be adding to the troubles so I stopped it.

The next suggestion I may have a little trouble with. She wants me to eat every two to three hours. Right now, I tend to avoid eating to avoid the heartburn and other problems. The idea of eating so often scares me a bit. And remembering to work that in might be challenging.

Time

And now the big change. The one I was dreading but also expecting. The one that will hopefully get to the bottom of the issues.

Elimination Diet.

Yep. I’m sure we all saw that one coming. 😉

I’ve truly been at a loss with figuring out what triggers my symptoms. One day I’ll eat something and have zero issues. I’ll be happy as a clam thinking I’ve found a food that I can eat. The next time I eat this happy food, I’m miserable.

To keep this elimination diet easy, Lydia wants me to follow The Whole30 Program with a Twist. The Whole30 is essentially a Paleo plan but it takes it a step further and eliminates all ‘junk foods’ or replacement foods. No Paleo approved desserts or pizza. Be sure to check out this link for complete details.

My special Twist to the program is the addition of GAPS approved dairy. Because of my concerns with my teeth, we’re leaving in a few dairy items. Sour Cream (homemade from raw cream), 24 hour yogurt (also homemade from raw milk) and raw cheeses (once again, homemade from raw milk). I’m happy about this. At some point in the future I may do a no dairy at all test but for now this plan feels more comfortable to me.

I had my consult with Lydia early yesterday morning. I jumped right in and started after we were done. Well, after I ate the breakfast that my husband had lovingly prepared for me while I finished my consult (a fried egg with sprouted toast).  I was happy that Joe and I had cooked up so much food on Sunday that worked for this plan. It made lunch (2 sausage patties, a fried egg and mixed greens) and supper (stewed chicken, sweet potato and green salad) easy! I also had about half of the broth she wants me to consume. I did not do well with the eating every few hours. That is something I’ll continue to work on.

giftbox

Day 1

Today is the first full day of my Whole30 with a Twist. I’m looking forward to enjoying food again instead of dreading the consequences of eating. At this point I don’t even mind that the change of diet will be a challenge. I don’t mind that Christmas will be here next week. There are so many wonderful Whole30 approved dishes floating around the internet that I’m sure I’ll eat well. Plus feeling good again is one of the best Christmas gifts I could get. This is my Christmas present to myself.

I do have some concerns about food for the rest of the family. And I still have a broken hand which does make meal prep challenging. Joe said he’ll continue to be my sous chef as long as I need him (have I ever told you all how wonderful that man is?) and he’ll even join me in the Whole30 if I want. And, as you can see, he’s handsome. 🙂 And did a mention a great daddy too?

My men

 

 

Have you ever tried the Whole30 or something similar? What advice can you offer?

 

 

Photos: Open Road

 

Millie

Comments

  1. Stephanie

    Hey Millie, sounds like a great plan. We’ve done a few diet overhauls right around the holidays too…no regrets. The Trim Healthy Mama plan calls for eating every 3-4 hours. I’ve treed stretching it out and it doesn’t work…I gain weight even though I’m eating less… I have to plan, do prep to have things on hand I can grab, and set timers. Hope you can make it work for you!

    1. Post
      Author
      Millie

      Hi Stephanie,
      I think I’m to the point I have to make it work. 😉 Good idea for setting timers. I use timers for work so it makes sense to use them for food. Thanks friend!

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