A little over four years ago I discovered that I had an issue with Candida albicans overgrowth in my body. That was a pivotal time in my life. It was when I began to realize that the American diet was full of pitfalls, a major one being sugar. I eliminated sugar from my diet, as well as some other foods, and began to realize health. Then I got pregnant and it was all over, since morning sickness made me want to gag at every nourishing food. I had to go into “survival mode” eating, which brought about constipation and heartburn very early on in my pregnancy. I felt ill the whole nine months, and was not able to have the drug-free, nutrient-rich pregnancy I had planned on.
Ten months ago, when I got my forth and worst thrush infection from breastfeeding, I knew it was time to get my body in order. We were planning to try for another baby in the not too far future, and my body needed serious help. My midwife that I saw for the thrush told me to cut sugar from my diet for a month. I don’t deal well with restrictions, so I responded by eating more sugar. Soon after, I got very stressed out over something I was going through, and suddenly I was having hot chocolates every day to soothe my soul. Yet at the same time, I knew I needed to get back on the Candida diet.
Then my friend (my most loyal reader here) started telling me about The Primal Blueprint. The “primal” diet wasn’t too different from the Candida diet. I thought if I could move my way towards a primal diet (which actually seemed doable somehow, while the Candida diet felt very restrictive to me), then after I was eating primal, if I still had time before getting pregnant, I could jump in and do a Candida diet for a bit.
Then I got caught up in diet philosophies. There are some ideas about the paleo/primal diet that I just can’t get on board with. Like grains not being human food. Or that humans haven’t evolved at all in their diets in the last 10,000 years (just look at Weston Price’s studies and you’ll see that various cultures have adapted to thrive on various diets, many of which include grains). I started resisting the ideal of primal diet. And yet, I was still moving closer to it, because I knew it was what I needed to do. I wasn’t trying to be “primal.” I was making decisions based on various articles I read, considering some things my naturopath said, and listening to my body.
I returned to a very low sugar diet. I increased my meat consumption (originally because I needed more zinc, and more so later when I decided I needed more protein). I slowly began to eat fewer grains. It happened so gradually that I never felt deprived. One day I just noticed that I was having days where I didn’t eat any grains at all. I had started reading Nourishing Traditions. I wondered if I prepared grains properly if it would help. So I started switching to more “traditional” grain, for the grain I was eating. I did see improvement.
But then I had sort of an epiphany. It happened a week or so ago, after I had read maybe three or four different articles from different sources about different diet topics, and yet they all somehow seemed related to me. Basically my mind put them all together and deduced that if I have a gut problem (even though it’s improving), if I really want to heal then I’ve got to remove grains.
Even though properly prepared grains are much more digestible, they still aren’t the easiest thing on the digestive tract. My weak GI doesn’t need to be troubled any more than necessary at this point. That’s really the main reason I feel I need to drop grains from my diet. Maybe when I’m all healthy again, I may add some non-aggravating grains back in. Maybe. See there are a couple of other reasons, too. The other one is my vanity. Even though I think I look perfectly great the way I am, a part of me that’s always wanted to be lean and ripped still exists within. I would love to burn off some body fat. I noticed when I was having more grain-free/very low grain days, I was dropping weight. When I used to be very skinny, moving around took so much less effort. I miss that. I like feeling light. And lastly, the glycemic factor. If I eat too many carbohydrates in one meal, two things happen: I feel an energy drop, and I get hungry again sooner. I’d rather not be tired and I’d rather not snack. I have so much more time to do things if I don’t have to worry about resting or eating another meal. And oh, just kidding, that wasn’t the last one. Lastly, when I eat grains with my meals, there is less room for veggies. I don’t feel I eat enough vegetables half the time, so it makes sense to skip the bread and leave room in my tummy for salad or something.
I don’t think grains are necessarily a problem for every body (assuming they are of ancient variety and properly prepared), but my body doesn’t care about philosophies. It only cares that I put in it what it needs to be healthy. So more accidental than intentional, I am falling into the primal diet. I guess if you lean toward something long enough, it’s bound to happen.