Becky Runs Boston

My adventures running in Boston, searching for that runner's chai.


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Another Challenge: The Elimination Diet

We’re more than 30% of the way towards our $3,000 goal for Sweet Paws Rescue. With approximately 80 days between now and the start of my 3 half-marathon challenge, we’re doing great! Check out the Sweet Paws Rescue Facebook to read the amazing stories of the dogs they’re saving. I hope you will consider a gift to support them! Please visit my fundraising page!

Also, for the runners out there, I highly recommend checking out the United Relay of America. Starting in Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, runners will be running across the country. They’ll be in almost every state, so there’s a chance they’ll be running near YOU! If you’re in the Boston area, join me for an 8-mile run from Watertown to Boston. Or, you can always make a gift to support my fundraising minimum for Boston Children’s Hospital!

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As anyone who reads this blog knows, I love a good challenge. Whether it’s running the Boston Marathon, running a half marathon every month for a year, or running a mile outside every day in the middle of winter, I can’t get enough. My doctors apparently know this too, and have recommended I challenge myself to an Elimination Diet.

Except Barney has WAY better hair than me.

Here’s the back story – I’ve had thinnish hair most of my life. However, in recent years, it has gotten progressively worse. I’m not talking bald spots, per se. Just an overall thin head of hair that feels pretty unattractive, affectionately called Androgenic Alopecia by my Dermatologist. I’d been ignoring it, chalking it up to genetics, but it recently got to the point that other people were noticing — and telling me. So, I made some Doctor appointments, got some blood tests done, and started taking all the vitamins.

My primary Doctor suggested I make an appointment with the holistic Doctor at the office. After talking about my symptoms, diet, and lifestyle, and some poking/prodding, the holistic Doctor decided that either my digestive system is a little messed up and doesn’t allow me to absorb vitamins efficiently OR I have a food allergy that is messing up my digestive system, which in turn doesn’t allow me to absorb vitamins efficiently. While my vitamin levels are all within the technically normal range, they’re fairly low within the normal range, which is weird since I’ve been consistently taking assorted vitamins for months/years. He even asked if I limit my sodium intake because my levels suggested I do – and I explained that I actually enjoy putting salt on most foods because it helps me retain water/not faint. Go figure.

Yesterday I met with a Nutritionist who gave me the lowdown on what an Elimination Diet Challenge entails. The holistic Doctor had already hinted that it would involve no gluten, no dairy, no eggs, no caffeine. The Nutritionist lengthened that list to the following:

  • No Gluten
  • No Dairy
  • No Yeast
  • No Soy
  • No Eggs
  • No Caffeine
  • No Alcohol
  • No Corn
  • No Tomatoes
  • No Citrus Fruits
  • No Additives/Sugars/Coloring/etc.

Are we having fun yet?

From the official @Whole30® Instagram feed. Julie Andrews is obviously not subscribed to the #Whole30 Daily, or she'd be feeling a LOT more positive about the program. http://daily.whole9life.com:

It’s a long list of NOs, but there are PLENTY of YES foods that I can eat – vegetables, most fruits, meats, beans, and nuts (and nut butters!). While the next month might not be the most fun — it’ll definitely be harder to go out to eat! — I’m not actually that worried. The hardest part will be cutting out caffeine (I’ve already started weaning myself off of it) and the most annoying part is that I already did a Dry January, and now have to cut out alcohol again!

Once I’ve cut everything out for four weeks, I’ll slowly add each thing back in, one by one, to see which – if any – cause a reaction or are accompanied by some kind of symptom. Based on that list of NOs, I’m thinking this is a multi-month process. It’s unclear how the diet will affect my running – I’ll be doing two races during the course of the challenge.

Overall, I’m feeling pretty positive about this whole situation. Let’s be completely honest – this isn’t that big of a deal and I know people who have to deal with much worse things related to their health. This is nothing compared to what they have to go through. Hopefully it helps, and if it doesn’t, I’ll just have to try something else. I plan on giving myself the upcoming weekend to prep, so the fun will start first thing on Monday. I’ll make sure to keep you all posted!

Have you completed an Elimination Diet Challenge at the suggestion of a Doctor? How did it go? Have any tips?

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Happy Passover!

To all my fellow Jews out there, Happy Passover and Chag Sameach! With the first night of Passover on a Monday this year, my sister and I decided to wait until tonight to do our Passover Seder. This will be the first time we’ve done an official Seder (with Haggadah!) in a few years. I found a Humanist Haggadah on the internet and then tweaked it to incorporate some readings that my mom has emailed the last few weeks. Sister’s beau has never done Passover before, and Eric’s never been through a full Seder, so it should be a fun night for all!

Since Passover has a lot to do with food and what you can/cannot eat for a week, I thought I’d share some of what I’m eating this week. This may have been more helpful at the beginning of the week, but things have been busy so just save this for next year!

BREAKFAST

Eric and I continue to drink delicious green smoothies for breakfast. Almond milk, kale, pineapple, banana, frozen peaches and/or mango, chia seeds… and pure deliciousness. I also drink tea with honey (no splenda!) and sometimes I’ll have a cup of coffee (but no longer every day… what!?!? who am I?)

LUNCH

I’ve found that eating a big lunch puts me to sleep in the afternoon so I’ve been trying to eat lunch part 1 at 11:30 and lunch part 2 at 2-ish. This week, lunch part 1 has been a piece of matzah with avocado (and salt). No joke, this is delicious. And it takes time to eat since matzah breaks so easily so I actually get to sit and enjoy it for a good amount of time. Lunch part 2 is 2% Greek yogurt with berries or haroset. I loved having Greek yogurt with haroset, but the haroset (at 3 points for 1/3 cup) was just a little too much, so I’m back to eating berries. I throw the frozen berries in with the yogurt before work, and by the time I eat them in the early afternoon they’ve defrosted.

politics animated GIF

That piece of matza must either have salt, avocado, or both on it.

DINNER

To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed with a WW recipe and this Beef and Spinach Matzoh Pie was no exception. At 7 points, it’s the perfect size meal for me. I substituted ground chicken for the ground beef, and it was really tasty. Even Eric has loved eating it for dinner (and opted to have it by himself last night when I went out to dinner with a friend).

And yes – I went out for dinner last night and still managed to stay (mostly) Passover friendly. I generally identify with my Sephardic roots, which allow me to eat rice, corn, and legumes. Thank goodness Fajitas & ‘Ritas offers corn tortillas in place of flour tortillas! I had some delicious chicken fajitas with corn tortillas… and a little chips and salsa. And some sangria. But overall, my meal was mostly K for P!

TONIGHT’S SEDER MENU

Sister LOVES matzoh brie, so that will be our main dish this evening along with a roast chicken she’s making. In addition to those and your basics (more haroset, hard-boiled eggs, horseradish, and a still TBD veggie side) I found two recipes that I’m really excited to try.

WhatJewWannaEat posted this amazing-looking recipe for Deep Fried Matzo Balls with Wasabi Cream Sauce. Eric loves wasabi and I love fried food, so everyone is happy! I didn’t want to go to the effort of making a full on matza ball soup, so this seemed like a good alternative (I mean, they’re basically the same, right?)

Nancy Fox at Skinny Kitchen posted a recipe for Skinny, Delectable Passover Magic Bars that are 4 points each and contain all the deliciousness of chocolate, coconut, walnuts, and cranberries. I’ll have to do my best to not eat all of them at once 🙂

What’s on your Passover menu this year? There are still a few hours for me to change my mind on what to serve tonight, so tell me what you loved. AND I still need help with deciding on a veggie side dish!


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Challenging My Eating Habits

Even though I’m super uncompetitive, I like to take on challenges. #12months12halfs is one example – I challenged myself to run a half marathon every month in 2014 and even though I’m skipping out on April (and maybe May? maybe?), I’m still super pumped about trying to get in as many half marathons as possible (3 done, 4 more currently scheduled – and my ‘c goal’ was to do 6) (My ‘a goal’ was 12, ‘b goal is 9’).

Incorporating strength training (and eventually yoga when my life is a little less hectic and I have more time during the day from my decreased commute time…) is another challenge. I’m aiming to do a rotation of weights 2x a week that takes about 30 minutes to complete. Nothing crazy, totally do-able, and if I miss a day or do less reps, I know it’s not the end of the world.

My eating though… that’s a whole other story. Some people know that I joined WW a few years ago and lost approximately 25 pounds. I hit my goal weight last winter (so, more than a year ago)  and pretty much immediately gained back a couple of those pounds and stayed there until I lost them in time for my bffaeaetddup’s wedding in September. But, since then, they’ve come back… and brought some friends. My clothes don’t fit right, I don’t feel right, and I know I need to make some serious changes to my eating if I want to get back to that goal.

I’m sure it would help if I started going back to WW meetings, but that’s not enough. I still track fairly regularly, but could do better. I eat mostly natural, unprocessed foods, but still have those cravings for sweets. With these things in mind, I’m setting up some food-related challenges for myself:

1. Peanut Butter Runner started a green smoothie challenge for the month of April that I’m participating in because I love having a green smoothie for breakfast during the work week. Filled with spinach/kale, fruits, almond milk, and other goodies, these smoothies are delicious and full of good things. My personal goal for this challenge is to incorporate smoothies into my weekends – the days I struggle with most because all I want to do is have elaborate brunches that involve eggs, potatoes, toast, AND pancakes. Brunch will obviously still have to happen, but incorporating a green smoothie will hopefully encourage me to make better choices throughout the day.

2. No more Splenda and other artificial or refined sugars. Confession: I have a Splenda problem – I put two in my tea and then two in my coffee – and it’s got to stop. Let’s call this a Splenda detox. I’ll have to look into natural substitutes (honey? agave? Give me your suggestions!) since I’m not sure I’m capable of drinking my coffee black. Also, I’ll have to bring my own dairy into the office so that I don’t just automatically grab the sweetened creamers that are readily available.

3. No more after dinner snacking. I bought some Sweet Mint Chamomile Tea that is DELICIOUS and I am going to work on drinking that at night when I feel the need to munch (rather than pull out the chocolate graham crackers and peanut butter… which I may have done earlier this week. #sorrynotsorry it was delicious, even though I know it wasn’t necessarily the best choice… and it’s now a choice I’m going to try and avoid).

I have 5 weddings, 4-7 more half marathons, and some amazing vacations planned for this year – and I want to look and feel my best for them. I’m on track for living an active life, I just need to get better about my food life. Since I’m really good during the work day, my new challenge for April is to find ways to be better at night and during the weekends, too. Ready… set… GO!

What do you struggle with that’s food and/or eating-related? Do you have any suggestions on alternative, natural, and healthy sweeteners? Thanks for your feedback!