On Knowing Too Much

I’ve been experimenting with intermittent fasting (fasting for sixteen hours then eating within an eight hour window) over the last couple of weeks. I thought it was going great. I felt good, I rarely felt hungry outside of the eight hour window, I had plenty of energy and I was sleeping well … until I started listening to podcasts and reading articles about how intermittent fasting isn’t good for women. Hearing all of the horror stories about persistent acne, disordered eating, smashed up hormones and adrenals and other ‘side effects’ freaked me out.

(Image via ninapaley.com)

All of a sudden, little things started to turn into bigger, more sinister things. The pimple that appeared out of the blue became an omen that my hormones are out of whack and I am going to get acne that would never go away. The bad night’s sleep due to nightmares when I usually sleep well and rarely have nightmares equals stressed out adrenals. Not losing any weight from fasting – not that I really care about weight loss – equals a screwed up metabolism. A rare headache … something fishy is going on here.

When you start paying attention to what you eat and how it affects you, you notice the tiniest changes within yourself. The problem is that sometimes the cause of the change isn’t always clear.

Is it the fasting, or did I accidentally ingest some gluten when I went out for dinner? Am I just tired from work? Pushing it too hard at CrossFit? Am I being slowly poisoned because I drank tap water when I ran out of spring water? Is it because I can’t afford to eat 100% organic and I have been eating more vegetables, thus more pesticides, herbicides and who knows what else?

It’s very easy to over-complicate these kinds of things. Instead of listening to other people’s stories, I’m getting back to basics, listening to my body and doing what it tells me to do.┬áThankfully, there have been no more pimples, nightmares or headaches. I’m staying away from the scales because I don’t want this to turn into an exercise in weight loss. I eat when I’m hungry, and it just so happens I am usually only hungry in the eight hour window. If I am hungry in the sixteen hour fasting period, I eat. I stop when I’m not hungry anymore.

Trial and error. What works for me might not work for you. Experiment, document, research and explore, then do it all over again until you find what works, what is true for you.

What experiments have you undertaken to improve your health? What is your truth? I’d love to hear about it!

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Cake For Dinner

It’s Wednesday, I’m more than halfway through my working week (Did I tell you that I am working full time for the rest of this term? Well, I am. And it’s fine!) and I thought it might be a good time to give you an update on my progress with the Perfect Health Diet, amongst other things.

What’s working?

– The eight hour window for eating. Most days it’s down to the wire, and tonight was a tiny bit over, but DUDE. I had a banana loaf baking in the oven. As if I’m not going to wait until it’s ready to be eaten.

– The carbs. Tonight I ate a bowl of chicken broth with rice noodles before CrossFit, plus a couple of rice cakes with a bit of butter (a lot of butter) and I felt great while I was working out. My energy seems to be staying steady (I was a bit worried that the carbs would cause spikes in my blood sugar and leave me feeling flat and craving more carbs) and I’m generally feeling good.

What’s not working?

– The +25%/-25% rule for workout and non workout days. I just haven’t really figured out my baseline, so I eat when I’m hungry until I don’t feel hungry anymore. The first two days I ate about the same amount, but today I was ravenous and ate a lot more than usual. I guess this is one of those things that will take time to work out.

– No screen time within two hours of bed. It’s kind of working, I suppose, and I am getting a lot done in those two hours. I have cheated a little bit and made my laptop an exception – I have f.lux installed so that I don’t get too much blue light, and I don’t watch movies or anything. I just read a bit and do some writing or some work, like tonight.

I’m generally feeling good. The last 24 hours have been great, with lots of fun and exciting things happening. There was a package for Tyson at the front door when I came home from work, so I brought it in and forgot about it. Turns out it was a late birthday present for me, and now I am the proud owner of a ‘Best Wife Ever’ mug. Sweet AND accurate.

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Planning for The Perfect Health Diet

So, I’ve been reading ‘The Perfect Health Diet’ by Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet. It’s a good read, and confirms a lot of my suspicions about certain foods. I was considering starting a Whole30 this week, but I have decided to give the PHD a try instead.

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Lazy Saturday

This morning was a nice one. I had a great time at Crossfit doing a fun partner WOD with lots of deadlifts (my favourite!), hit the greengrocers, took Louis (our dog) for a big walk, played around on the blog … but now it is time to get serious. I have a heap of vegetables, two kilograms of stewing beef, two kilograms of topside mince and a free range chicken to get sorted, AND it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow, so I need to make a treat to take to afternoon tea with the family.

(This was me at Crossfit. Not. Image via crossfitimpulse.com)

Anyway, silliness aside, my menu for this afternoon looks like this …

Oven Braised Mexican Beef (Nom Nom Paleo)

Hamburger/meatball/meatloaf mix

Steamed vegetables

Chocolate Espresso Cake (Jill Dupleix)

Coconut Macaroons (Elena’s Pantry)

It looks as though my lovely new Mac Mighty knife and my trusty Kitchenaid mixer are going to get a decent workout today. Time to crank the music and get started!

Any suggestions for my cooking playlist?

Turning 31

Tonight I am cooking dinner and reflecting on my day yesterday. It was my 31st birthday. I was overwhelmed with texts, emails, cards, phone calls and Facebook messages, sent with love from near and far. I went to Crossfit in the morning, and my abs are reminding me that I worked hard on my GHD situps. I’m glad I didn’t do them the day before my birthday.

My mind drifts to the food I am cooking, and I realise that most of the vegetables I am preparing are from the organic box my parents gave me as a birthday gift. I am roasting potatoes in the beef tallow that came from the bio-dynamic beef bones we use for stock. I am cutting up tomatoes from my family’s organic farm using the Mac Mighty knife that Tyson gave me yesterday morning and remembering last night’s special birthday dinner at Rockpool.

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I show love to myself by eating as well as I can and making my body strong. I make my body strong so that I can have the energy and strength to show love to others. Food and love. Love and food. What else is there?