Oh my, so much has happened!
Well, not really. Mostly I am in graduate school, slogging away, but here is something that DID happen: I went to the doctor and must now follow a major MAJOR life change.
Since Jonathan and I have been together I have steadily been gaining weight – like I am getting paid for it, which I am not. I assure you. I have also been more and more tired (which I attribute to New York and work/school and weight). After a few months of tracking my eating and my calories expenditure, and wondering WHY I was still gaining (at that point I didn’t give a shit if I lost weight, I wanted to stop GAINING) and going to the most USELESS NUTRITIONIST EVER, I finally went to an endocrinologist.
Endo: You’re insulin resistant
Me: Isn’t that a nice way of saying “you’re fat?” which, by the way, isn’t really NEWS
Endo: actually, NO, despite what people think, insulin resistance is NOT caused by excessive weight, that is Type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance CAUSES weight gain and lethargy
Me: really? Not the other way? That’s what I always heard.
Endo: SIGH. Yes. I have been doing research in this field for 25 years [side note: uh, he actually has and he has a ton of awards for his research] and insulin resistance is the CAUSE of weight gain and lethargy, not the other way around. See, for the past century we have been eating more and more refined carbs and sugars and, biologically, our bodies have not evolved to the point where we can adequately process them. Obesity in this country is due, certainly in part, to laziness, but you, and I do mean YOU, can diet all you want, but if you eat carbs and sugars, you are fighting a losing battle. Your body, genetically, is not meant to process carbs and sugars, many people’s aren’t. Unless we really rid ourselves of that “must have carbs” mindset and we stop putting sugar in everything, we will never combat obesity successfully.
Me: Uh, ok, good, what do I do?
Endo: No sugar, no carbs. NO SUGAR NO CARBS. So, no bread, not whole wheat, not rye, NO BREAD, except Spelt. No fruit except berries and apricots/plums/peaches. No oranges, grapefruit, mango, pineapple, bananas. No carrots, beets, peas, corn – no yams, potatoes, plantains. No diet drinks, nothing artificially sweetened because they still usually have an “ose” and no alcohol except red wine. Oh and no milk. No French cheese.
Me: No milk?
Endo: No, it has lactose. You can have lactaid milk [ewwww, hate it] no rice of any kind, so no rice milk. Go easy on the soy milk. Have almond milk.
Me: So…meat, legumes, some veggies?
Endo: and nuts.
Endo: Forever. Yes, if someone makes you a cake for your birthday, have a small slice, but, generally, FOREVER
Endo: You’ll have a lot more energy. You will probably lose weight. But going off carbs and sugar will be hard.
Hard? Not hard as in I crave it – I don’t crave carbs and sugar. Yes, being with Jonathan introduced FAR more carbs into my life than I had ever bothered to eat before and I was happy to drop them.
But. The. Headaches. I felt like I had the flu, for a week. And it wasn’t the flu. I would wake up with a mild headache. It would be pretty tame, so no biggie. By 3pm, when my body realized it was making far too much insulin and had nowhere for it to go, no carbs to create fat out of, my whole body, especially my upper back and neck would ACHE like I had the flu, and then my headache would get worse and worse. Almost to a migraine (and I am not, and never have been, a migraine sufferer). For a week and a half this went on. Then the body aches subsided and it was just mild headaches. Those are now mostly gone.
I do wonder about eating shit that gives you migraines when you stop. Something about that is very wrong.
Anyway, so I went off of it. Totally changed my eating habits and I discovered a few things: whereas before I could grab a snack anywhere – Luna bar, hummus and pretzels, etc, I now have NO place I can grab a snack. I carry a hard boiled egg and a bag of almonds everywhere I go. Unless I walk into a Wendy’s and order a grilled chicken sandwich with no bun, no sauce. Quick meals on the street are now impossible: no pizza, no hotdogs, no quick sandwich (although I rarely did that anyway). Eating IN at a restaurant isn’t so bad EXCEPT…there is sugar in everything. EVERYTHING. Go read the ingredient list on anything at the Whole Foods Hot Bar. Raita? Sugar. Baked chicken? Sugar. Sautéed veggies? Sugar. How is that good for anyone?
Luckily, Jonathan is game for anything, so we bought some spelt flour and are thinking of ways to bake with it. I also have this new product called ZSweet which is made of Stevia and a sugar alcohol. I read the study (they published a medical study) and it does nothing to blood sugar over time nor in large amounts, so it is fine for me. Jonathan and I will figure out how to make things we like and substitute certain things. Jonathan has to do this with me, or it won’t work. That’s what the endo said. We both have to be all in, and since we only eat dinner at home together, he can carb up for breakfast and lunch, if he wishes. We also bought an ice cream maker and with Almond Milk, ZSweet and regular cream (cream has no lactose) we may be able to recreate ice cream.
This does make me pause, however, and look at eating habits as a whole. When I was trying so hard to convince my nutritionist that it was not QUANTITY but QUALITY and she refused to capitulate, and then my endo said the reverse (well, I can’t eat 2500 calories a day, but I can stop freaking out) I realized how we have really screwed ourselves. Calcium is found by the droves in broccoli and kale, so we don’t need milk. We don’t need bread, we really don’t. The USDA food pyramid is a myth, it is so flaw ridden and the USDA subsidizes so many of those food farmers…in addition to powerful lobbies. Why does the USDA think that sedentary people need MOSTLY carbs? I saw a woman giving her 2 year old a reese’s peanut butter cup on the train. Are you kidding?
I’m glad to get it out of the house. Although this means many of my favorite cuisines are off the table (Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese Dim Sum) I already feel better. I am much less tired.
The only HUGE bummer is that last week and for part of this week the headaches have been affecting my regular work and my school work. Luckily they’re mostly done, but I fucked up at work pretty big while trying to combat a stupid migraine. And I have missed a class last week and one this week due to real pain in my brain. It is over now, though, and so things should swing back normal.
Last night, though, I dreamt about all of the food I could not eat. Depressing.