I had lunch the other day with a friend who wanted to eat at a steakhouse. He had been in the hospital recently and had his mouth all set for a big, juicy steak. He seemed a bit disappointed when I refused the warm bread and then only ordered a baked sweet potato and salad. I explained that I hadn’t been feeling well and was still amid a lupus flare. It reminded me that I had promised to do a post a while back on the paleo diet. Digestive problems are very, very common and the cause of these issues can vary. I’m not claiming that the paleo diet cures any condition! Today’s post is simply a little something for people to read, which may or may not be helpful with their own personal journey to be well. I post it here under Medical Issues since it is part of my own medical journey. If you are one of the lucky ones who can eat anything you want, just stop here. You won’t get it and you’ll be totally annoyed!
I’ve always had digestive problems. I love food, don’t get me wrong! I wish I could eat everything I wanted to, but all too often, I’m left feeling like I just don’t digest my food. I’ve tried digestive enzymes, probiotics, fiber, dairy free, gluten free, lowfodmap, eating for my blood type, even seeing a doctor! I truly believe that each person needs to try different things and see what works for them.
For a long time, I thought that wheat and dairy were the problem, but after going dairy and gluten free and still having issues, I decided to combine some different things, which essentially is paleo. For me, I feel best when I avoid all grains. So, what do I eat you ask? I eat a very natural diet: fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts, and, yes…dark chocolate! I avoid dairy as much as possible (it makes my cystic acne worse) as well as a few high fodmap foods like garlic and onions. I do occasionally eat some wheat, but my slowed digestion reminds me that I cannot do that too many times in a row. I minimize sugar and notice fructose makes my gut very, very angry! (This ingredient can even hide in some so-called healthy beverages.)
For breakfast, I may cut up apples, sauté in coconut oil, and then add that to bananas, almond butter, almond milk, and sprinkle cinnamon on top. (Recently I’ve tried gluten free oatmeal soaked in almond milk and a tablespoon of good yogurt, combined with strawberries. It’s not paleo, but occasionally, I can tolerate it and it’s delicious!) Sometimes I just make scrambled eggs with any combination of vegetables mixed in. No toast! For lunch, I love any leftover veges from the day before or I’ll make a big pot of butternut squash soup and eat that over days. When I made this soup recently, I toasted the squash seeds and sprinkled them on top. I also love homemade pesto (made without garlic) on top of this soup. One of my favorite lunches is cut up leftover cold chicken along with any veges in the fridge like celery, grapes, strawberries, and almonds or cashews on top with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Dinner is simply any meat along with more veges. I don’t like red meat too often, but I do eat chicken and LOVE salmon! A bedtime snack may be a cup of tea with some cut up fruit, avocado, and/or a handful of nuts, and maybe a piece of dark chocolate. I had a zucchini to use up and made some gluten free dark chocolate muffins which are in my freezer. I’ve been having some trouble staying out of them! So, as you can see, you must enjoy life also so I don’t feel guilty for indulging in treats I love sometimes.
I’m hoping the paleo diet helps to decrease inflammation and ease joint pain over time for me. Time will tell. At the very least, it seems to calm my sensitive digestion system. Sometimes eating out can be challenging and I can feel a little self-conscious when people wonder why I might not be eating much. I’ve learned to not worry about that and just try to enjoy the moment being with others. What about you? Have you gone to drastic measures to enjoy food again?