My Struggles With Food and Fatigue

pity partyI’m having a bad month.

I’m crashing in the afternoons in a big way. I haven’t meditated in weeks and am struggling to stay productive.

Admittedly, in my frustration and self pity, I’ve slipped a number of times, sneaking bites of cheese, adding dollops of ketchup onto my bread-less burger, loading up on the rice and potatoes, and drinking too much wine.

In the grand scheme of things, however, I’ve been doing everything right. And yet, I continue to feel so darn sluggish.

What gives?

Food, Revisited

I put my EMF books aside and picked up The Wahls Protocol, a wonderful book that had been sitting on my ‘to read’ list for some time. It’s about Terri Wahls, a woman who beat progressive Multiple Sclerosis with diet (paleo principles) and functional medicine. It’s an incredible story.

In it, the author explains how we are made out of trillions of cells that repair and protect the body and remove the toxins and waste that build up within our cells.

Rainbow heartThe science of cells is complex, but if there’s one thing to take away from it, it’s this: Food is the only thing that fuels our cells.

Which means that if we don’t give them the right vitamins, minerals and nutrients, our cells will produce less energy. Less energy that we need to keep our bodies functioning and protected against environmental toxins.

Toxins like X-rays, microwaves, and radiation from our wireless devices and all of their head penetrating electromagnetic fields that confuse the signaling that goes on within and between cells.

And other things around us that we eat, breathe, drink and touch like residue from plastics, heavy metals in our water supply, air pollution, pesticides in our food, and toxic chemicals in our laundry detergent and cosmetics (another month, folks, another month).

When we fail to properly fuel our cells, our bodies are forced to compensate for energy and nutrient deficiencies, thus increasing our risk for any number of (potentially chronic) ailments such as, in my case, fatigue.

My A-Ha Moment (and a Pizza Party)

I realized that it’s not enough to swear off bread and lattes, throw a handful of kale into a blender, eat some green beans at dinner and call it a day. Not for me, at least.

I have to eat the right things in the right quantities, as Wahls points out, and I definitely wasn’t eating enough of the right things (and by right things I mean vegetables).

I decided, then and there, to do what any logical person would do.

I went on a binge. A glorious, thrilling and indulgent food-fest of a binge.

indulgence

Pancakes? Check!

Spaghetti and meatballs? Check!

Margaritas? Check!

French fries? Check!

Pizza? Check!

Molten chocolate cake with ice cream? Check!

Wine? Check, check and check!!

My logic was this: enjoy my favorite foods and let the subsequent days of suffering be a reminder of why I need to get my act together. At the time, it was a great idea.

The aftermath, as expected, was a disaster. Fatigue, sinuses, a sore throat, knee inflammation, nausea and stomach cramps. The symptoms kept coming! It was a comedy. Sad and befuddling, but a comedy nonetheless.

But it got me back on track with a renewed determination to crack my health and energy code, one that has changed so drastically over the course of the past 12 months. While phase 1 of my journey involved getting my body adjusted to daily life without gluten, dairy and sugar, phase 2 would require a stricter regimen of meal (and lifestyle) planning, experimentation and measurement.

A Weekly Meal Plan

I spent many hours this week accounting for every morsel of food that goes into my mouth, balancing out vegetable servings with protein and fats. I’m sharing my meal plan and grocery list here.

It’s strict and very repetitive, but simple and balanced. For now, there are no fancy recipes and I prepare the same thing over and over again. Psychologically speaking, it makes grocery shopping, meal prep and cooking much more manageable when there are fewer variables to deal with.

Here are the basics:

rosannas diet

A few random side notes:

  1. It is really difficult to eat and chew 9 cups of veggies every day.
  2. Smoothies instead of breakfast? It’s because I do not like kale.
  3. Yes, that is a sketch of me that I paid someone $5 to draw on Fiverr based on this photo. It turned out so much better in my head.
  4. The coming weeks and months will include more interesting things like fermented foods, organ meats (ick), supplements, broths and some sweet treats.

I will conclude with this: I intend to revisit food over and over because I believe it is that important. It’s not everything, but it is something that, by necessity, I’ve been forced to pay closer attention to. I hope to continue to share this food journey amidst my monthly explorations of all things curious and interesting and, of course, healthy.

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