1 year on the GAPS diet!

Today marks my 1-year anniversary on the GAPS diet. I started eating this way to control my SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth). It’s been quite a ride but I couldn’t be happier with my results:

  • no more bloating
  • no more abdominal pain
  • no more problems with my bowel movements
  • no more skin rash
  • no more headaches
  • better mood (no more depression)
  • more energy
  • better sleep
  • better concentration (no brain fog)
  • improved PCOS (regular menstrual cycle, less PMS and other PCOS symptoms)
  • better blood sugar regulation

I still can’t eat dairy (besides butter and ghee) and still have to be careful with fruits and some vegetables, but I can tolerate a bit of chocolate, nuts and honey once in a while. A year ago, I was feeling so bad every day. I knew there was a connection between the foods and I ate and the way I felt but couldn’t figure it out. My dream was to have a list of safe foods to eat and a clear list of foods to avoid. I now have that. It took a few months, but the GAPS diet protocol helped me figure out what my body wants and what it doesn’t like.

I don’t really consider myself on the GAPS diet or any kind of diet anymore. It’s just the way I eat now!

Here’s what I eat on a daily basis:

  • non-starchy vegetables (all kinds, including most high-FODMAPs!)
  • butter, ghee, coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil
  • homemade bone broth (1-2 cups daily)
  • animal protein
  • unrefined salt and other seasonings
  • green tea
  • fermented foods (raw sauerkraut)

and once in a while:

  • raw vegetables (cucumber, cherry tomatoes, lettuce)
  • dark chocolate (85%)
  • a few slices of prosciutto (just a little since too much nitrates trigger headaches for me)
  • coconut butter, coconut chips, almond butter, a bit of honey or maple syrup

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travelling on a GAPS / Paleo / low-carb diet – Prague, Czech Republic

For Easter, my husband and I went to beautiful Prague, Czech Republic and loved it! Travelling with food intolerances or just trying to follow the Paleo diet is not necessarily easy but it is doable!

I don’t usually do intermittent fasting (restricting your eating within a short window of time), but I use travelling to do it. Some studies have shown it can be beneficial to decrease inflammation, prevent cancer and weight loss in some people. I wouldn’t recommend doing intermittent fasting if you are underweight though.

Since I currently can’t eat any dairy at all (with the exception of ghee) nor nuts, chocolate or processed/cured meat (deli meat and sausages), I stocked up on canned fish (mainly sardines and tuna BPA-free tins, in olive oil). I also brought my own ghee (which was not a problem since I was not flying, but I don’t know if they would consider it to be a liquid or not….). I’ll be trying it in June and will let you know!

my survival foods: BPA-free canned tuna in olive oil + Kerrygold butter ghee

my survival foods: BPA-free canned tuna in olive oil + Kerrygold butter ghee

To complete my small meals, I also bought some jarred olives and would have bought pickles if I couldn’t have read the ingredient lists (which was in czech of course!) The ingredient list of the olives was short enough that it was easy to figure out, but the pickles had a long ingredient list and I just didn’t want to take any chance.

For the 3 days I was travelling, that is basically all I ate. Sure I was hungry from time to time, but because my body is used to burning fat because of my lower carb intake, it didn’t affect me too much.

My husband also eats Paleo but doesn’t have as many dietary restrictions as I do. He also brought German sausages that can be kept at room temperature, nuts, a stick of butter and dark chocolate. 😉 He bought fresh cherry tomatoes and freshly made Czech potato chips that were, according to him, the best he even eaten in his whole life! 😉

Not only did I felt safer eating my own foods,                                                                 but we also save quite a bit of time and money too!

Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

On our last day, we indulged and ate out at a 100% gluten-free restaurant called Na Zlaté křižovatce (just by Florenc bus/metro station).

100% gluten-free restaurant in Prague, Czech Republic

I was so excited to find this restaurant, because even though you sometimes try to explain what you can and cannot eat to the server, it is not always easy and the language barrier makes it even harder.

love their explanation of gluten-free diets: gluten-free is NOT taste-free!!! unlike many gluten-free restaurants, they used very little gluten-free products and relied mainly on potato as their carbohydrate option.

I had the rumpsteak with grilled vegetables and my husband had the special Easter dinner with the stuffed rabbit with French mustard sauce and roasted potatoes, along with a Czech gluten-free draft beer called Celia (again, the best gluten-free beer he ever had, but that is not a surprise considering Czech have the world’s highest beer consumption!). I definitely highly recommend this restaurant if ever you visit Prague!

my dinner! it was my first time eating nightshades in a few months and I am glad to say that I tolerated them fine!!! =)

Now, I am really looking forward to eating eggs and vegetables again! I will only appreciate my favorite foods even more after not having them for 3 days and am soooo happy to have had a beautiful symptom-free time in Prague.

What do YOU do to stick to your diet and avoid being sick when travelling?

please visit my new website to learn more about the Paleo diet with Aglaee, the Paleo RD

Although I will keep updating this blog on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, I will be most active on the website I recently developed: paleo-dietitian.com

Please head over there to learn more about how eating real food and following the Paleo diet can help you manage:

  • GI problems (including IBS, SIBO, fructose malabsorption, celiac disase, gluten intolerance and other food sensitivities);
  • Blood sugar issues (including PCOS, diabetes, prediabetes and hypoglycemia);
  • Weight problems;
  • Autoimmune disorders (including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, multiple sclerosis, rhreumatoid arthritis, vitiligo, lupus, etc)

Please visit me at paleo-dietitian.com. Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter and subscribe to the RSS feed to make sure you don’t miss any of the free new information presented by Aglaee, the Paleo dietitian.

1 birthday and 2 moves!

Today marks the 1-year anniversary of my blog! Youppi! Thanks to all of you! It really means a lot that someone is actually reading my blog and I always appreciate hearing from you.

I have now moved to München (Munich), Germany with my husband, where I will spend a little less than a year.

I am amazed by the quality of the food in Europe, which I believe  is so much better than in Canada. I am very excited to have the opportunity to live here! If any of you Paleo folks live here, contact me! I need new friends and I definitely need help improving my German. Ich kann ein bisschen Deutsch sprechen, aber noch nicht sehr gut… =)

My 2nd move is a virtual one! I have been working very hard in the last months to develop my own website to offer free information about the Paleo diet and intend to specialize in GI health (IBS, SIBO, fructose malabsorption, gluten intolerance, celiac disease and other food intolerances) as well as blood sugar issues (PCOS, diabetes) and weight loss (for now, but I also want to add sections about autoimmune diseases at some time).

I will also offer ebooks and nutrition counselling services in the very near future, so stay tuned and head over to paleo-dietitian.com.

Please sign up for my newsletter and suscribe to the RSS feed to stay up-to-date! You can also like my new facebook page here and follow me on twitter!

      

I will definitely keep updating this blog once in a while to share my personal experiences with the Paleo diet so come back here too.

Thank you once again for reading my blog!

my GAPS / Paleo / low-carb diet to control my GI symptoms and PCOS

Some people wonder whether potatoes, butter or honey are Paleo or not… but the ultimate objective of adopting the Paleo diet is to better understand how food make you feel so you can design your optimal diet.

In the last 1+ year, I have learned so much about how my body handles different food. I had found a while back that I feel better on a gluten-free, low-carb, soy-free diet. Then, I eliminated peanut, a food that I thought I could never live without! I did a strict 30-day Paleo challenge twice and due to numerous GI issues, I even went completely carb-free, eating only ghee, meat and eggs for 2 weeks.

Since September 1st, I have combined the GAPS diet with my Paleo/low-carb diet to control my GI symptoms and try to keep my weight and PCOS on track too. I have found that I better stay away from nuts (not for lack of trying though… I tried many times during the Holidays). Although chocolate is not part of the GAPS diet, after 3 months of strict elimination, I have started putting it back into my diet in December, on and off, and now I know that I do best without it. The caffeine content of dark chocolate seems to be seriously impacting my sleep quality and overstimulating my adrenals… 😦

Let’s be positive and focus on what I CAN eat, rather than what I cannot eat.  😉 Here is a sample of what a typical day looks like for me:

typical breakfast: 1/2-1 avocado, 2-3 hard-boiled eggs, olive oil, lemon juice

typical lunch: bison burger (mixed with olives, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes) with leftover stir-fried vegetables and a pat of butter

typical dinner: zucchini “pasta” with bison tomato sauce (made from fresh tomatoes, not canned… canned tomatoes have a high BPA content and women with PCOS have higher blood BPA levels, so avoid them!)

snacks: cup of bone broth, cucumber slices with homemade chicken liver pate, leftover vegetables with butter

dessert: sugar-free, grain-free, GAPS-friendly and low-FODMAP carrot muffin served with butter (recipe = mix about 1 cup of pureed carrots with 2 eggs and plenty of cinnamon and bake!) [if I am lazy, I’ll just have pureed carrot with plenty of cinnamon and a pat of butter]

* bison is the safest meat I can find here up North in Canada… so I eat lots of it! I found a farm where they raise 100% pastured, grain-free, hormone-free and antibiotic-free bison… so yummy!

my first (natural) period with PCOS!

Wow, this stuff works!

As you know, I have been following a low-carb version of the Paleo diet (combined with the GAPS diet) for a while now. Actually, I started low-carbing in 2010, then went completely grain-free at the beginning of 2011, roughly 1 year ago. Then I implemented the GAPS Nutritional Protocol to heal my gut, SIBO and fructose malabsorption issues on September 1st.

… and now, after having amenorrhea due to PCOS for almost 14 months, I got my first natural period! =) I have never been so happy to get my period!

I don’t know what did it exactly, but what I have been doing has finally been working. I will never know whether my body just needed more time to get my hormones back on track, whether the detox suggested by my naturopathic doctor did the trick or whether both of these things worked together to balance my hormones… but what matters is that I now know that my body is healing… finally!

I know I probably have other battles ahead of me. Will my cycle be regular? Am I ovulating at all? Will I experience fertility issues? But there is one thing I know for sure and it is that I will continue to follow a low-carb Paleo diet because I strongly believe it is the best approach for most women in my situation.

To all of you women with PCOS, don’t give up. You can beat it!

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Learn more about how to get started with the Paleo diet and how to optimize the Paleo diet for your own body with The Personal Paleo Code:

Learn more about the Personal Paleo Code

Learn more about Paleo eating to enhance fertility, have a healthy pregnancy and deliver a super healthy Paleo baby with the Healthy Baby Code:

PCOS: salivary hormones and blood sugar levels

I am back in Canada for a few weeks to visit my family and decided to take advantage of this time to try to get healthier… as always!

I had my first visit to a naturopathic doctor last month and I am quite happy at how holistic their approach is. It is so good to have every part of your body looked at and every organ considered to help you reach your optimal health.

Although my past blood analysis showed normal hormone levels, my naturopathic doctor wanted to check my salivary hormones. She also wanted to check what my fatigue was due to by checking my ferritin levels (to check for anemia), thyroid hormones (not only TSH, but also T3 and T4) and adrenal gland (by checking cortisol in am and at bedtime).

My ferritin was at 99! Higher than ever! I used to suffer from anemia and had 11-12 in the past while on eating whole grains, soy and legumes a la “regular” dietitian’s advice, up to 16 after many months of supplementing with high doses of iron! I am probably eating less iron in total than when eating fortified whole grains and taking iron supplements, but the iron is my food is more bio-available. I believe my improved ferritin levels because I eat more animal food and have decreased my phytate intake (anti-nutrient that inhibits iron absorption, among other things) by avoiding soy, grains and legumes.

All my thyroid hormones (TSH, T3 and T4) were within range.

However, my extremely low salivary cortisol levels at night (as you can see below) show that I might have adrenal fatigue.

My salivary hormones also show high testosterone and borderline low estrogen, which is pretty much typical for PCOS… I am glad I am not dealing with the symptoms associated with high testosterone levels(abnormal hair growth or hirsutism, acne, etc), but I attribute this to the fact that I am eating a clean, low-carb Paleo diet. I believe I might not be as fortunate should I have still been eating my former high-carb, high-grain diet after stopping taking the birth control pill (now almost 14 months ago… no cycle since)…

my salivary hormones (Dec 2011)

To see whether insulin resistance was involved for me (and it is for many women with PCOS), I decided to experiment with testing my blood sugar levels (see the results below).

my blood sugar levels (Jan 2012)

This is not good news… Some of my results are in the prediabetes and even diabetes range… I definitely don’t want to be following the Canadian or American Diabetes Association’s guidelines, which are definitely not strict enough if you want to stay healthy. Instead, I am comparing with what Chris Kresser recommends as optimal targets.

blood sugar target (www.chriskresser.com)

Fortunately, I can see that by keeping my carbs very low (probably around no more than 10 g per meal), I can normalize my blood sugar levels. (If you have diabetes, prediabetes or blood sugar issues, do not lower your carb intake without first talking to a doctor or dietitian specialized in low-carb diets, especially if taking medications).

My experiment clearly indicate, in my own opinion anyway, that I have serious insulin resistance problems. This probably explains why I put on weight so easily and need to be very careful about every bite I eat… During the holidays, after over 6 months of following a very restrictive diet (to control my post-infectious IBS, fructose malabsorption and SIBO), I took advantage of my increased tolerance by enjoying a bit more GAPS- and Paleo-friendly treats (cake, cookies and muffins made with coconut flour and honey, nuts and nut butter, fruits and butternut squash fries!) Although my GI system seemed to be fine with this, my high insulin levels helped my fat cells stored every one of these delicious bites…. Result: 6 lbs. weight gain in about 2 weeks. Needless to say, I have stopped coconut flour, honey, nut, fruits and higher-carb vegetables (squash, beets)…. but the weight doesn’t want to come off that easily it seems…

My plan:

  • My naturopathic doctor has recommended a detox plan for me, which I have been following for the last month and will last a few more weeks.
  • I was doing IF (intermittent fasting) to help with my weight/insulin resistance, but because of my adrenal fatigue, she prefers that I spread my food intake throughout the day.
  • To control my blood sugar levels, which will help me keep my insulin levels down and hopefully lower my testosterone levels as well, I will stick to a very-low-carb diet (around 20-30 g of carbs/day).
  • I want to start exercising every other day (something light like walking, snowshoeing and light resistance training). I have been too tired lately (probably bc of the adrenal fatigue), but I am feeling like I have a bit more energy since having started the detox. Exercising is great for improving insulin resistance, which appears to be the root cause of many cases of PCOS.
  • I will also continue doing my best to lose at least the weight that I gained during the holidays, and maybe more. Weight loss, if needed, is also a good way to improve insulin resistance.
  • Continue to aim for at least 8-9 hours of sleep (which I already do, except for when I have insomnia… like now!, which happens 1-2/week)…
  • Avoid stress or take more time to relax, play and enjoy life!

Any comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated!





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