Monday, February 27, 2017

My New Diet

Anyone, who has been around me for any length of time will know that I am not a health nut. Not even close.

Although I never really overate, my eating habits were pretty abysmal. It's only slight exaggeration to say that I happily lived off of bacon and chocolate, although not necessarily together. Just kidding. Needless to say though, what we ate didn't qualify as a well-balanced diet.

Early last fall, my youngest son was diagnosed with ADHD. After a ton of testing, they determined that his brain was either missing or not making enough of a chemical that is key to brain function. This chemical essentially slows down incoming impulses for processing so that it can be forwarded to the proper part of the brain to create an appropriate response. That means that impulses come in, and they go straight back out as a response, but without the processing that makes the response appropriate and effective.

Now during that time, I had started researching the gut. I was having problems with fatigue and brain fog, and I flat out didn't feel good--not sick, but off. Of course it had nothing to do with the fact that nursing school was taking 60+ hours a week, I was still a homeschooling mom of 4, and I still had a husband that needed some attention. That had nothing to do with it at all. *rolls eyes* It probably didn't help, especially the high stress parts. Anyways, I was learning a lot about intestinal absorption and brain function, so when my son came back with ADHD diagnosis related to chemical imbalance I made a connection with the food we were eating.

So, just after I got out of the hospital, after Thanksgiving, we started a reset diet--the whole family participated. We removed all gluten, dairy, sugar, and processed foods from our diet. That didn't leave a whole lot, especially considering 90% of what we ate were carbs. That first week or so was challenging in that we had no idea what to fix. Plus, buying real foods on a budget is another challenge. After 3 weeks off of everything, we added back in gluten in the form of whole grains. We also added back in some dairy in limited quantities. We continue to strictly limit sugar. When we want to sweeten something we try to use raw honey or maple syrup instead of sugar. We have learned to read and understand labels. We have learned that some of our old favorite recipes still work with some adjustments.

My son is a lot like the stereotypical 9-year-old kid. All he wants to live off of is macaroni and cheese (and we're not talking good homemade stuff, but the boxed stuff that is only one step up from plastic). This change was really tough on him. He has been particularly stubborn about this, but we have noticed a profound difference in him. So, he may not be eating much (we're still working on that), but there is something he is not eating that is helping him to function so much better.

I also saw improvements in myself. I am less fatigued--I still get tired easily (and given the circumstances, that's to be expected), but it's different from that bone-weary dead-on-my-feet fatigued feeling. My brain is clearer. Now, if anything, I have the problem of too many thoughts and ideas flying through my brain. I'm having trouble processing everything; it's like my brain is trying to play catch-up from the last couple years of being MIA (I think it was replaced with a Gelatinous Cube). On the plus side, I have so many amazing ideas for my art studio and other things. On the down side, it can be a little overwhelming to sort through and try to focus, so that something actually gets finished, and this doesn't add to my 2 million started but unfinished projects that I have in my craft room. (2 million is only mild exaggeration.)

Anyways, December was tough. January was  better. February is about over, and I think we've made some positive lifestyle changes. I am also super appreciative of my husband, who is the primary cook in this family. This would not have been possible if he had not been on board. <3 No lie, I have the best husband in the world.

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