Saturday, October 29, 2011

Diet Update - Stage 1 is OVER!!!

Friends, I have been waiting for this day now for 29 days....


PRAISE THE LORD!!! For those of you who haven't been following, that means that the hardest part is over, and I can start re-introducing more "normal" foods back in. (*note- There are lots of different opinions of how to do the Candida diet - some say Stage 1 should last 2 - 4 weeks, others say 3 months. I went with 4 weeks because it was the longest I could go before we have to travel again.) I could not be more excited!!! This week I will re-introduce sweet potatoes, white potatoes (hellloo mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, and french fries! I have missed you SO!), other veggies I haven't been able to have (like black beans, peas, etc) and I may even let myself have small amounts of some condiments. I'm probably going to be introducing things faster than is recommended - but since we're leaving for a 6 week trip overseas soon, it's better that I re-introduce things now and see how I handle them when we are not traveling.

Moving forward, my plan is to stay Gluten Free and Casein Free (dairy free), and also try to stay away from refined sugar. I feel like these 3 things were causing me the biggest issues, so that's what I'm going to focus on. I know that won't be easy (no bread, no cheese, no ice cream!), but it WILL be easier than what I've been doing for the past month! As far as yeast, soy, vinegar, preservatives, and natural sugar (in fruits, veggies, etc) I'm just not going to be as concerned. (Especially since I am gluten free - without bread I doubt I'll be eating much yeast.) I have to include more normal food when we're overseas (and I can't read labels in Thai or Hindi) so I'm just not going to let myself stress about it. Stress is one of the worst things you can do with these issues, so I am just going to do my best and try to trust God!

I have to say that I feel EXTREMELY proud of myself for making it through the full 4 weeks!
I've taken over 900 pills (supplements) in the past 29 days, and eaten nothing but the "approved" food on the strictest version of this diet I could find. Week 1 and 2 were so miserable, that I just didn't think I could do it. But I DID!!! I NEVER let myself cheat - not even a bite or a sip of anything "not allowed". The only thing I ate that was questionable was communion at church one Sunday, and I figured God wouldn't let The Body and The Blood make me sick :) It feels SO good to have reached my goal!

If any of you reading this are on the Candida diet, then let me encourage you. Week 3 and 4 were MUCH easier. I figured out what foods I liked, and just cycled them through (which means I eliminated those frustrating dinner "fails" when you're trying a new recipe that doesn't work out). Trips to the grocery store were less overwhelming, because I knew what to look for. And my "cravings" became much more bearable! Yesterday I was able to spend a considerable amount of time in the candy aisle picking out goodies for trick-or-treaters. I'm proud to say I didn't feel angry or depressed at all... I knew I couldn't have the candy and I was dealing with it without my emotions getting involved. Talk about progress! :)

I think my emotional stability though, has a lot to do with the fact that I am finally being treated for my adrenal fatigue. I feel like a different person! No more hysterical break downs, depressed feelings, or crazy bouts of anger.... I feel NORMAL for the first time in a long time! I'm not yet sure if this supplement (Nutricalm) is all I need for this issue, so I may get a 2nd opinion when we get home in January. But for now - I'm glad to have something that helps!

I've kept track of my symptoms, weight, measurements, and a food journal during this month. It turns out I only lost about 4 lbs and 1 inch off my stomach - which my chiropractor says is a testament to how well I was eating before. (That made me so proud, considering a few years ago I was the girl living off fast food!) If I'd been exercising I would have lost much more, but my chiropractor (who has a degree in nutrition) said it was wise to keep my body out of ketosis and just let it heal, so I took it easy.

I have seen quite a few of my symptoms disappear or improve, but I'm anxious to see how I do with less supplements and a more "normal" diet. I told my husband - it's like right now I'm living in a BUBBLE. I'm trapped at home for every meal, eating a short list of very specialized food and taking a handful of pills every day. I'm so limited in what I can do, where I can go, and what I can eat! So it's hard to say if I'm really "better" or not. The real test comes when I am back in the "real world". I am anxious to see if this was worth it or not!

Yesterday to celebrate, I let myself shop for some new foods. I was specifically looking for Gluten Free and Casein Free (dairy free) things to stock my pantry. I even let myself get a few things with higher level of sugar so that I could have a treat when we come home for Christmas! (I figure it's better to eat something sweet without Gluten or Casein if I want a treat!) I was SO excited about the things I found!!!

  • Tostitos Scoops & Guacamole Dip Creations - It turns out Tostitos corn products are gluten and casein free! That means I can have my scoop tortilla chips again (SO much better than brown rice chips!) Tostitos also makes a dry guacamole mix that is gluten and casein free. I was REALLY excited about this, because I eat guacamole for lunch pretty often. I usually use the McCormick's seasoning packet, but knew I would have to give it up because it contains both wheat and milk solids. I'm pleased to say the Tostitos Dip Creation packet (found near the chips at WalMart) was just as good!  - For those of you on the Candida diet, these two products might be allowed for you. Some diets say to stay away from corn products and vegetable oil because of possible high mold contents - but if those are acceptable for your diet then you should know both the chips and dip mix are GF, CF, sugar free and yeast free!
  • Bisquick Gluten Free - I called my mom freaking out from the baking aisle in WalMart when I found this - I just couldn't believe it! I LOVE fried chicken fingers, and it was one of the things I was most upset about giving up on a Gluten Free diet. (I don't know of even 1 restaurant anywhere that makes GF chicken fingers :( I'd been making some at home with corn meal and rice flour, but they weren't that great. Now I can have my fluffy Bisquick chicken fingers! YUM!
  • Betty Crocker Gluten Free - It turns out Betty Crocker has 4 GF baking mixes. YES! Since they're made with water, oil, and eggs, as far as I can tell they are also Casein Free! DOUBLE YES! I got the brownies and yellow cake to keep in the pantry for the holidays. I also picked up some pumpkin (naturally GF and CF) to make these amazing pumpkin muffins!
  • Duncan Hines Cream Cheese Icing - I got super excited about this (for the pumpkin muffins) because there was no mention of milk on the label (just lactic acid which is not milk protein - ie - casein). Unfortunately, when I double checked it online, the website said there was milk in it. Disappointing. (I know, I know... asking for Cream Cheese icing to be dairy free was a long shot!)  For those of you who are just Gluten Free though, this would be a good icing option for you!
  • So Delicious Coconut Milk Ice Cream - I seriously almost cried when I saw this in WalMart. Ice cream has been one of the things I've been most upset about losing (since I may have to stay casein free for a while... or forever). I cannot wait to try this! I've read good reviews. The only negative people say is that it has a strong coconut taste. Good thing I love coconut! Now, if only it wasn't so crazy expensive!

Sooo, there you have it. These are my new, exciting finds - I thought I'd share them for those of you out there who are also Gluten Free or Dairy Free! Obviously I won't be eating most of these anytime soon (because of the sugar in them), but I might let myself have a few bites of the ice cream as a treat next week.

I have to end this by saying THANK YOU. A few nights ago I was reflecting on how many of you have sent me encouraging messages, recipes, and other suggestions during this difficult month. On some of my worst days, a friend would text me, call me, or facebook me to say that God had put me on their heart and they were praying for me. It was so humbling to know that God knew I needed your encouragement, and to know so many of you cared. I don't think I would have made it through without you!

As I transition out of this crazy diet and just focus on being Gluten & Casein Free, 
I am hoping and praying this will lead to a happier, healthier me!


  1. CONGRATS girlfriend. I am so glad you made it through the first month AND it seemed to make a difference. I will be praying that your body responds and all your health issues will be resolved!