For several years, but especially since I’ve been in Wisconsin, I’ve felt like I have no control of my body. One week my jeans are so loose that I make a mental note to pick up a new pair, but before I can get to the store the same jeans are so tight I can’t leave the house in them. Most every meal I eat makes me sick, so I eat as little as possible, but still gain weight. My least favorite and most prevalent reaction is an immediate pregnancy belly, equivalent to 8 months, which nothing can hide and sticks around for the majority of the day. I’m sporting it right now, in fact, because I had frozen pizza and a Boca burger today. It made an appearance after my Thanksgiving dinner, which was one serving each of mashed potatoes and green bean casserole. It also appeared about every other day in between those days, and for most of the year before it. Often, the belly appears after eating something I find particularly virtuous, such as homemade minestrone or a spinach smoothie. After a couple pieces of deep dish at Old Chicago last year I staggered and slurred my words like my blood alcohol was .20. After eating half a roasted zucchini stuffed with homemade bean & veggie chili, my sinus passages closed for several hours and my face was red hot like I’d broiled in the midday sun. Underlying all the acute symptoms are general feelings of malaise: extreme lethargy, congestion, joint creakiness, PMS, and a general feeling of being aged. I supposed it could be a side effect of Hashimoto’s, but I didn’t really believe it.
About a month ago, I saw a wee blurb from the new book The Plan: Eliminate the Surprising “Healthy” Foods That Are Making You Fat–and Lose Weight Fast by Lyn-Genet Recitas. While working as a nutritionist at a holistic health center in Harlem, she recommended the usual superfoods to her clients, such as blueberries, spinach, beans, oatmeal, and salmon, but found many of her clients were actually gaining weight on them. Lyn-Genet began carefully monitoring her clients’ food diaries and developed the food testing methodology outlined in The Plan. During testing, she discovered shocking tidbits such as that 85% of people react negatively to salmon – who’d have thought?
I’d tried an elimination diet before but only had a bare bones outline of what I could and couldn’t eat and no real plan, so I was hOngray and ornery for the baseline period (which was 3 weeks vs. Lyn-Genet’s 3 days). I introduced too many new things on my first test meal (a falafel salad, containing not only my test ingredient, beans, but also a few pita chips [wheat] and some yogurt sauce [dairy]), so when I developed an immediate headache, lethargy, and congestion after , but I didn’t know from which ingredient. After being so dang hOngray for 3 weeks, I couldn’t bear going back to the drawing board, so I gave up. But now I have The Plan, which tells me exactly what to eat, how to introduce new foods, and how to measure and record each day’s data.
Tomorrow is day one, and I’m scurred. Scurred that I will react to every food I put in my mouth and discover that my digestive system is irreparably damaged. Scurred that I won’t plan ahead and have the proper foods with me and will get so hOngray that I will take down a Subway sandwich and anything else that happens to be nearby. Even scurred that I will follow The Plan to the letter and feel no better. But I’m doing it anyway.
The Plan 2013: because you can’t take over the world when you’re sleeping 12 hours a day.
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