30 Days Later
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Well, having eaten pretty close to 100% Paleo for 30 days, I'm ready to take a look at where I stand, and do some analysis. I had my bi-annual endocrinologist visit this morning, so I have a nice fresh batch of bloodwork numbers to look at, as well as my subjective experience.
Bloodwork: My numbers have been pretty stable for years now with only minor ups and downs, so any major change can probably be attributed to the changes of the last month. And there were some major changes - the two biggest: HDL was up nearly 20 points, and Triglycerides were down more than 100 points (to 50 and 108 respectively). My total cholesterol remains the same, though obviously my HDL/LDL ratio has improved drastically.
My a1c is also down 0.2, to 5.5. I'd like it down even further, but a1c is a measure of protein glycolization and effectively measures sugar control over time, so 1 month of changes isn't going to alter it that drastically. I'll be interested to see where it stands in April.
All my other measures are effectively the same as before. My endocrinologist's comment "Whatever you're doing, keep doing it!" And he was satisfied with my numbers before, so improvement needs to be pretty noteable to make him take notice.
Weight: Weight-wise I'm down 15 pounds over the 30 days, which is almost alarmingly fast. This seems to have slowed down over the last week or so, which is probably good. I'm not calorie restricting, nor even particularly carb restricting, though I'm definitely eating fewer carbs than before. My fat percentage has also dropped by a point (my scale measures, and is very consistent, though not very accurate- meaning I can trust it to tell me if I'm going up or down or staying the same, but I have no idea how accurate the actual number is). So some of the slow down may be from gaining muscle mass.
General: I feel great. Sleeping better (now that Rob is home), more energy, fewer digestive upsets. My rosacea has improved noticeably - faded to a light overall pink with no blemishes, even without medication. (Prior, I was doing pretty well, but broke out pretty quickly if I went off the Finacea, and was definitely a brighter shade of pink.) And I won't be sure until I take my next set of measurements Nov. 1, but I'm pretty sure by the way my clothes are fitting that I'm losing more fat around my waist proportionately, which is associated with better insulin sensitivity, and which plain looks better.
Re-introductions: A Whole30 isn't really intended to be the way you eat every moment forever, but to establish what you feel like eating this way, and what the removed foods do when reintroduced. So here's what I've tried and my thoughts so far.
Wheat - staying gone. I've tried things with wheat twice in the last week. Digestive burbling and gas, some diarrhea. Not so much that I have to turn down Aunt Ann's special pie or cake at a family reunion, but definitely avoiding for my regular diet.
Other grains - rice seems to be okay, haven't tried anything else yet.
Beans - Haven't tried them, but they're staying gone, but for the simple fact that I don't like beans at all anyway.
Sugars - I'm allowing limited dark chocolate and a few lightly sweetened things back into the diet, but overall staying gone. My sweet tooth seems to have died an unlamented death, and a lot of things I used to like seem way too sweet now. Soda and sweet drinks are definitely staying gone - they give me a noticeable buzz now, and I don't much like the sensation.
Milk - this one surprises me, but it's staying largely gone too. I don't have any trouble with lactose intolerance, and I was expecting to just go right back to milk (only full-fat, Yay!) after the time off. But what I noticed was that the day after having dairy, my hands would hurt. Which was when I noticed that my hands had stopped hurting while on the Whole30. My mother started having trouble with arthritis in her 40's, so I had just accepted as normal that I had a background ache in my hands in my middle 40's. Never enough to stop me doing stuff, just a constant reminder I was getting older. Except it's gone - unless I eat significant dairy, and then it's back. So it goes in the bucket with wheat - I'll have it when there's specific reason to, and avoid it otherwise. Sigh. I do miss my big glass of milk.
Summary: I think I can declare success! I'm really happy with this way of eating and the results I'm getting from it. I may do another Whole30 in March, when Rob is out of country for the entire month, and try to be absolutely strict (I had about three glitches in this one, chocolate while Rob was in the hospital, sushi that had been planned for before I started, and the KFC biscuit), none enough to do in the experiment. I expect it will be easier if I'm already used to eating this way. In the meanwhile, I'll be continuing to eat Paleo, just with a little more loosely - mostly in those moments when being more strict would mean being a pain - such as Thanksgiving or other get-togethers.
Next challenge - in a week and a half, I'm running coffee hour at church. I need to figure out what to serve them so that I can eat most of what's there, but the church reaction is "Yum!" not "What weird diet is Cindy on?" Fruit and vegetable platters are a given, but I have a fair reputation as a cook, so I need to find some things to replace the chocolate angel food cake, dutch apple cobbler, and lemon pound cake of days past. Decisions, decisions!