This past summer through early winter I ate what could have definitely been called a “High Carb” diet, with staples such as rice, pasta and oats making up the majority of my meals and snacks. During this time I was also experiencing gastrointestinal issues and even had a bout with shingles.
Over the holidays, my Italian family was in town and most of what we ate was pasta, bread and pastries. While the ingredients were organic and most foods were home made, I still found myself waking in the middle of the night choking on the worst acid reflex of my life. It was shortly after they left, that I decided to look further into what was making me feel so bad all the time.
I had long suspected a gluten intolerance, since for the last few years, every time I ate excessive gluten-containing foods, my body felt horrible. Acid reflux, skin rashes and an upset GI system were the obvious symptoms. Within days of completely cutting out gluten, I had zero acid reflux, not even a little heartburn on harder runs. Stomach aches and itchy skin also vanished.
So the underlying question was, now that I’ve cut out a major source of calories, what do I eat? At the same time I was pondering what my new diet would include, I came across episode 128 of the Rewild Yourself Podcast with Nora Gedgaudas, author of Primal Body, Primal Mind and Primal Fat Burner. The podcast was about low carb, high fat diets and it hit a chord with me. I subsequently ended up reading both of her books immediately and along with ample resources from Primal Blueprint, I was ready to start a new, primal diet. I have spent years wondering what the human body is supposed to eat, and reading these books provided the scientific evidence that high amounts of carbs and sugars are not evolutionary in sync with our biology. I decided that since I was already making a big dietary change, I might as well go big or go home, so I cut out grains of all kinds and sugar (for the most part).
I had a landmark moment last night (especially as an Italian) where I was looking for something to eat, saw a box of pasta, and had no desire to eat it. I’ll admit it hasn’t been easy making the transition to a primal diet. Gluten had been a major part of my life, for my whole life. Taking it out, along with sugars and grains in general has been much like recovering from a drug addiction. At first I was moody, hungry and my athletic performance had taken a hit. But I am determined to make this conversion to fat burning as my primary source of energy, so I’ve been keeping with it.
My food has changed from 90% wheat, rice, legumes and sugary fruits to predominantly healthy fats and grass-fed meats (I’ll note that I’ve been eating pastured eggs and meats for years). I still eat heaps of non-starchy veggies and the occasional sweet potato, but I am trying to keep it pretty strict for the initial transition. My mood has gotten better and I find myself less hungry between meals now. It has only been a few weeks, so there will likely be more developments, which I will report back on.
If you have made the switch to a low carb diet or are curious about getting started, please comment – I’d love to hear what everyone’s experiences were like.
Stay tuned for part 2!