Friday, February 21

Inflammation Diet, Phase 1

Well, we were finally able to start our 21-Day Tummy routine on Sunday.  Due to some events that were out of our control, we had to postpone our start date until then.  We had hoped to have three weeks of uninterrupted time to just focus on the plan (but that's already out the window).  The reasons for doing this diet?  My inflammation and gastrointestinal problems, and to lose weight and be healthier.  Good reasons.  So, what do we think so far?

This first phase, lasting for five days, has been hard for both of us.  You pretty much cut out all sugar cold-turkey and eat a  very low-fat meal plan, with limited amounts of olive oil for cooking.  That has been hard for me!  I have a affinity for sweets (like, a whole mouth full of sweet teeth), and the cravings for sugary foods and fats (like using butter for cooking) has been hard to fight.  We've both experienced what I call withdrawal headaches from the lack of sugar--I know it's not caffeine withdrawal, because coffee is allowed, and hubby still drinks it daily.  I don't drink coffee, but I do drink pop, although I don't drink it enough to cause headaches when I don't have it for a day or two.  Ergo, sugar withdrawal!

Simple dinner--baked salmon and potato, sprinkled with parmesan
We've tried several recipes, and have liked most of them.  We have made some slight alterations to account for items we didn't have or personal tastes.  I've also had a need to make quick meals due to a family emergency, and found that it's easy to just use elements from other meals to make something fast, like a piece of fish and a baked potato or sweet potato.  The smoothies are the worst for us--it took a few days to find a tolerable smoothie flavor combo, and because smoothies are part of the first 14 days, finding a palatable combination was important.  Neither of us likes yogurt, and it's more tart than either of us cares for, but we'll soldier on.  I'm hoping that my tastes might change, or I find a sweet enough combination to get me through the duration.  So far, the most tolerable smoothie flavor combo has been banana, cocoa powder, vanilla, and cinnamon.  I miss real food for breakfast, and am counting down the days to no more yogurt smoothies.  Other than the smoothies, the meal suggestions and recipes have been decent so far.  I say "decent" because the book states that spices like garlic are inflammatory (despite the fact that I've always heard that it was anti-inflammatory), so they recommend not using them, and the food can be a little bland when following the recipes exactly (the Hearty Roasted Vegetable Soup recipe should be renamed Cooked Vegetables in Hot Water Soup).  It helps to have a little cooking knowledge under your belt with this plan to make the meals a little more flavorful.  
A typical smoothie--I make them the night before and store them in the fridge in insulated glasses so that we can just grab and slurp in the morning.

The format of the book is taking a little time to get used to.  There are recipes in the book, but there are also general meal directions on the day-to-day meal plans that are not found in the recipe section.  There are shopping lists in the back to make buying groceries easier, but depending on what you plan to make, you might end up with more than you need if you discover you don't like a recipe or if the recipe makes four servings and there are only two of you (such is our case).  I decided to make my own meal plan for Phase 2, and it took a while to go through all of the recipes and come up with a tailored grocery plan.

There is also an exercise section of the book, but I have yet to try any of the routines--I just haven't had time yet.

Vegetable soup--a very bland recipe.
I also found new foods that I like, such as chard (never had it before), sweet potatoes (just never cared for them), kale (a little bitter, but great in salad), curry (although I think it caused some of my symptoms during the week, and will be limiting its use), and zucchini (I've never liked it prepared in restaurants).

I have still experienced some GI issues during this phase.  It's possible that my body is adjusting, but it's also possible that the foods we've cut out so far have not been the cause of my problems.  I think that the severity and frequency of the problems has decreased, and I am not kept up at night with intestinal pain, but the fact that the symptoms still remain gives me pause and makes me continue to wonder what could be causing this.

Here's my summary of these first five days:
Pros--rapid weight loss, decrease in inflammation symptoms (but not elimination).
Cons--constantly hungry, some of the recipes are bland, still experiencing GI symptoms. 

However, after the first five days, I've lost 5 pounds and two inches off of my waist, which is enough encouragement to keep going.  I guess.

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