Monday, March 17, 2008

So what will the vegan eat now?

So today is Day 4 of my diet. I start reintroducing the forbidden foods on Friday when I can eat one type of food two times a day for two days and record how my body reacts. By then I should be over the caffeine withdrawal and will be able to tell how my body reacts. At first I thought coffee would be the first thing I’d want back, but now that I’ve weaned myself off it I don’t think I can go back. I’ll go back to decaf eventually but I think caffeine is something I should do without. If you read about my days below you’ll understand why I’ve come to this decision.

Shopping has been relatively easy since I have pretty specific foods I'm craving that I know I can eat (avocados, rice crackers, hummus). db and I shopped on Sunday and spent even more time reading labels than usual and once again I was reminded how prevalent corn and soy are in our diets. Fortunately I don't have much of a sweet tooth so I'm not really craving or missing sugar at all. The fruit I eat is sweet enough.

How spoiled we are in North America to have so many choices. Really we have limitless choices of foods and this just amazes me even more when people still ask me "what do you eat?" when they find out I'm vegan. It's astounding the number of bad foods that are on grocery shelves that are so much a part of the industrial food production. I can find any variety of chips, frozen dinners, colas or sugary cereals, but I don't want those I just want to get more than one or two choices of apples when I know there are probably 15 or more varieties grown in BC alone.

As for reintroducing the food, I think I’ll start with corn since I suspect that will be fine and I can get back to snacking on tortilla chips and making enchiladas.

So this is how my diet went so far:

Day 1

I want my f***ing coffee!!!

Gone is my morning ritual of turning aromatic beans into a fine grind and measuring it into the espresso machine handle that automatically applies the perfect pressure to produce just the right crema atop my shot of espresso. Instead I made herbal tea that turned out to be a bit too ginger strong for me. The rice cakes with almond butter, hemp seeds and sliced banana were delicious. I started my supplements as prescribed by my ND and was feeling okay.

Two hours later the headache started and I knew I was well into caffeine withdrawal. I thought I’d go out for my 11 k run anyway and would probably feel fine once I got going. Wrong! I’ve never felt worse running. Chugging along I felt like someone was pulling me back and I was fighting the resistance. My legs ached and I felt like I had no strength in my hamstrings to get me up any slight slope. Usually I look forward to the hills, but the hills became impossible. I turned back and ran and walked home. Not a stellar performance.

I was worried about the evening because I was meeting Wandering Coyote and Red Jane for dinner. Even though we were going to a vegetarian restaurant I knew that I’d have to let go of the rules of the diet. That was fine. I can live with that. I tried to find solace in my steamed brown rice. The food was good and it was great to see both WC and RJ, but I was in my caffeine withdrawal fog and didn’t feel fully present (sorry WC and RJ). I think my energy was pretty low, which is part of Adrenal Fatigue and then being sans caffeine on top of it pretty much put me in the fog.

The upside? I slept a deep sleep. I had one of the best nights sleep I’ve had in a long time.

Day 2 (really Day 1 of the diet because of Day 1’s dinner)

Still no coffee??? And I have to go to work?

Again I felt fine for the first couple of hours in the morning, but the headache returned. It wasn’t as severe as Day 1 but it was still there and again I felt like I was walking in a fog, not fully present. Granted I can feel that way at work on the best of days, but Day 2 on Saturday was a fog with time standing still. I finally broke down and took advil that contains caffeine, but it took the edge off. I still had a headache, but at least it was quieter.

My commute home seemed endless and I’ve never been happier to arrive home (okay there was the time I had to spend the night in the woods and that may have been the one time I was happier to be home).

db made an amazing pizza with a rice crust. It was heaven.

Again I slept soundly.

Day 3

Latte time?

We discovered that db could not make me the tea latte because almond milk contains soy lecithin.

It’s true I’m an addict in withdrawal and am feeling so messed up without my daily shot of espresso I don’t know how long I’ll have enough energy to do anything.

I accepted the fact that there would be no latte and watched db delight in one of his peaked perfections of creamy soy latte excellence. That was satisfying enough. I did make us a nice brunch with home fried potatoes to go with my almond buttered rice cakes and hemp seeds. I watched db load up the earth balance and realized I didn’t miss wheat I missed the stuff I put on it,
the earth balance buttery spread, the vegenaise and all that good stuff.

Of course I love db’s bread and it’s delicious, but I’m okay without it.

Still feeling foggy and as the day went on I tired out quickly. I spent some time at a friends place learning how to turn a pen (making a pen out of a wood blank using a lathe). Unfortunately the wood I chose was a bit prone to chipping out and that’s what it did. The first time I was able to salvage it, but the second time I realized that it was over and I’d have to start over, but next week since I already spent a couple of hours on this one pen. It doesn’t usually take so long, but I was learning and we did have to try and fix my initial chipping before going on. Anywho…I enjoyed using the lathe and turning a piece of wood.

db made rice pasta that was very good. It breaks down a little easier so db missed being able to twirl his durum semolina spaghetti around his fork. I think the rice pasta would work better in a short pasta like a penne or a fusilli.


Wandering Coyote said...

I didn't realize you were in a fog, though I thought you seemed at little tired. Funny how those withdrawl symptoms work, isn't it?

Still, I envy your discipline!

sp said...

Withdrawal is awful. I think I've come through it now though.

Vegan Run Amok said...

Hey, sp, I'm glad the withdrawal symptoms are withdrawing already.

Mmmmmm, you said avocado! I never thought I liked them growing up but probably never even tried one until going vegan. Now I use them as a cheese substitute in green chile burritos and stuff. Yum!

Karen said...

"So, what DO you eat"...has to be one of the dumbest questions ever asked. When you first mentioned the elimination diet, my pathetically sad brain thought of something a bit more, um, icky. Glad to hear it's just "eliminating" soemthing from your diet. I would love to kick my Coke habit (not the drug, although it is addictive) and did for an entire summer back in uni. Hopefully your ND will be able to pinpoint what's going on.

sp said...

Karen: yes the idea of the elimination diet does suggest something...other.

As for the Coke habit perhaps it could be part of the Green Pirate's challenge. Think of the protests in India over Coke destroying their environment, ruining the land and using up important water resources.

red jane said...

I had no idea you were in a fog, either- you do well all foggy, then! Glad to hear it's subsiding. I think about negating caffeine as well- can you do matcha? I love it but it is prohibitively expensive....I"m excited to see what you find out! I"m living vicariously through you and this experience...

Karen said...

It has definately crossed my mind as one of the changes I'd like to make for a seemingly endless list of reasons including the ones you mentioned. Perhaps now that spring is finally making an appearance, it's time?

sp said...

Sorry RJ no matcha. It's got the delights of caffeine in it. I love green tea but I'm too fearful now to go back on the caf.

Wandering Coyote said...

What about chickory?