30 days of the Repairvite Diet: mistakes, revelations, and what now?

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I am grateful to have this blog to be accountable to, for I have had some close moments of getting way off track.  Knowing I would have to report that really made a difference! I thought that the first few weeks would be the hardest, and although I started this diet right before Christmas, it was actually the last two weeks that I found myself craving chocolate hard.  You see, chocolate and I have had an ongoing love affair, and we had to break up at the start of this nutritional experiment.  It was not easy, and it had to be cut off in pure denial. I was good at denying it for awhile, but I started to have a tough time again, even though I had gone more than two weeks straight without it. The saying that cravings go away with time, I’m not sure I believe that. But was it physical or psychological, or both? Who knows.  I found out however that the more I said in my head “I’m craving chocolate so bad right now” the more I made that craving stronger and real. One of the things I did differently this time around, was that I did not stroll the aisles of Trader Joe’s to see what new chocolates/gluten free sweets/ice cream they had.  If I missed that aisle, I was always greeted at the checkout, just in case I forgot to look at the chocolate.   Given this obstacle, I realized I needed a different, less tortuous approach to grocery shopping. I got in, and got out as soon as I could.  I pretended like I did not even see it at the checkout, even though I knew I did.

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This is me, every time I go to the store. Every time I am at work. Every time…well how about just all the time!

But this last week, due to a variety of stressors, brought on a strength that was dying to fail me. I was at work one night, and I have a particularly high stress job as an intensive care nurse, and had yet another opportunity to fail.  I rolled my eyes in my own sarcasm, as if I was not impressed with myself and these cravings, and asked God for help at the same time, remembering this verse:

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

So I prayed in my head, “God thank you for helping me get through this so far. Please help me stay strong, I’ve come too far to give up and reverse my progress.  I want to succeed, and I feel so weak right now. I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me. Please help me succeed. I know you would not put me in a situation I cannot handle.”

And I did not do it.

I believe in the power of prayer.  You have to put your heart into it, blind faith, and belief that there is a higher power that wants to see you victorious. And do not ever forget, there is also another higher power that wants to see you fail. That latter part, I think that is what really motivated me that night.

God is with me through the easy times, and the hard.  He is always there.  And He will always be the comfort in hard times, you just have to be relentless in praying to Him.

Mistakes: After some careful evaluating of foods I was eating, I realized I had made some mistakes and was eating legumes, specifically sugar snap peas and green beans, that are a NO NO on the repairvite diet.  It didn’t snap in my mind (no pun intended) that these could be legumes, and I had them throughout the diet. I’ve added these specifically to the foods list to help others not make the same mistake.

Fortunately, my Dr said it was ok for me, if that was the worst that happened.  Next to my Disneyland green tea adventures I wrote about in my other blog.

I’ve also added some other foods to the list, that my Dr. clarified highlighted here.

Review of symptoms: I debated about writing these things about myself. Things are about to get real.  But I understand that I cannot help people unless they realize that I am going through the same thing they are, so I am opening myself up here. Get ready for some TMI. (Too much information)

I have noticed that I don’t have nearly as much gas anymore, and I feel lighter. However, I still alternate between having diarrhea and constipation (I’m so thankful for modern man’s invention: the BUTT wipe. Hey, I am not ashamed! ), I have lost no weight in 30 days which is incredibly strange, given the strict food list on the Repairvite diet. I still have tough to treat dandruff. This is a chronic condition that apparently can be put into remission like any other autoimmune disease, and the only thing that works for me is topical steroids. Definitely not what I want to do long term because steroids can indirectly shrink the adrenals.  I still have more energy at night, and I’m very tired in the morning.  Hashimoto’s and adrenal fatigue are correlated in many people. And adrenal fatigue is not recognized in conventional medicine as a real condition, yet.  This is unfortunate, as so many people suffer from this and accept it as a way of life. So many people are dog tired, no matter how much caffeine they pump into themselves, and just live burnt out everyday. Our high stress lives compound the stress on our adrenals. I know that in time, it will become a true medical diagnosis just as depression was not accepted as a true medical diagnosis at one time. From a saliva test, we found out that my adrenal fatigue showed my cortisol levels to be disproportionately higher at night and lower in the AM instead of vice versa. This explains my tiredness in the AM, and energy at night. I’m not sure if it would take me longer to treat by diet to see results, or if we need to switch gears to Plan B. I will speaking to my holistic Dr soon about these results.

I highly value holistic practitioners.Although I have been trained in conventional medicine, they have opened my eyes to a world of true medicine: holistic healing. Instant gratification is a concept we demand in conventional medicine. This works well in acute settings, but it doesn’t have the best reputation in chronic settings. Instant gratification does not work in the long run, and does more harm than good often times.

A peek at my shopping cart below!

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My Costco basket: Including organic apple cider vinegar, organic sweet potatoes, cinnamon, halo clementines, kiwis, blueberries, Epsom salts for baths, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil for high heat cooking, beets, and organic ground turkey

Now that you got appropriately TMI’d , reflect on the kinds of symptoms you have that bother you, and you have just lived with and accepted as part of life.  Know that gas and irregular stools are NOT normal, and regular stomachaches aren’t either.  I would of never thought my skin issues were something that could be put into remission, and I am on a mission to figure out how.

Food is medicine. Medicine is food.  This is an underestimated fact not readily translated to the people in America.

There is hope.  It will take trial and error, but there is an answer you haven’t found yet.  Don’t give up.

Next blog post is about my follow up with my Doctor.

 

Going to Disneyland while on the Repairvite Diet

 

 

We planned a spontaneous last minute trip to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA for New Years Eve 2015, and this was one week into my Repairvite diet.  I thought to myself, I am going to do everything I can to get through it successfully.  We rented a hotel at Marriott Residence Inn, so it was with a full kitchenette.  This is necessary for sure. I brought a large cooler with half frozen meals and other half snacks.  I stayed on plan with one caveat: I had an UNSWEETENED Starbucks matcha green tea coconut milk latte two times on both park days.  A Venti one day, and a Grande the next.  I was so tired, from walking from 9 am to 6 pm, and we wanted to make at least the 9 pm fireworks. I was yawning and just wanted to pass out.  I thought, couldn’t I have something with caffeine that won’t destroy me or give me jitters, considering I had been off of caffeine a week and a half already?  I learned a few things about this drink later, and will not make this mistake again. First let’s go over some facts:

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are :

Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons).
Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons).

Whats in the matcha green tea?  The Starbucks matcha green tea powder is pre-sweetened and the first ingredient is sugar, with the second ingredient being green tea powder. Thanks to Carla for this information!  This means there is more sugar than green tea powder.   The Sumatra coconut milk is also sweetened.  This is good enough for Starbucks apparently, since they want you hooked.  You can add sugar, but you can’t take it away, and this is why I do not buy drinks often from Starbucks.

So how much sugar was in it? You can go to Starbucks website, and create your drink with coconut milk, plug in your size, and find out the sugar content.  I found out after i got home from my trip. Turns out my Venti green tea coconut milk latte has 40 grams of sugar (a man’s recommended amount for the day), and my 2nd day Grande drink has 29 grams of sugar (over a woman’s recommended amount)! This is asking for it unsweetened. They actually add more sugar to this in the syrup form, unless you say no sugar added! That is ridiculous! The venti was about 3 TBSP of sugar, and the Grande is 2 TBSP, I stress this is unsweetened.  Who needs the caffeine when you are secretly sugar attacked?

If I could change this choice, I would of asked for a green tea bag in hot water. Plain, simple, without any sugar.  I will tell you that my sugar infused drink did wake me up, and I had jitters after about 2 hours. I do not have low blood sugar so I thought that was odd.   I probably used up all the excess sugar walking, and maybe had a nosedive blood glucose level.  I definitely am not happy that my adrenals (which I am trying to heal, and chose green tea over coffee for the milder effects) were forced into overdrive because of the sugar and I had no idea why.

I just got the message from my Dr. that I do not need to add another week of the diet because of this mess-up.  Whew I am so grateful!  (Dr David Clark, DC is my awesome holistic healthcare provider!)

What food did I bring?

In my large cooler for the car ride, I had purchased meals from fuelmeals.com which had combos like broccoli, yams, and chicken breast.  I brought 6 meals for 3 days of traveling.  I also brought Aidells chicken and apple sausage for breakfast, and had 1.5 sausages each morning. I cooked up diced yam and cinnamon before the trip and had about 4-5 oz each morning with sausage. I bought cucumbers, sugar snap peas, apples, gluten and casein free turkey, avocado, cooked bacon from Trader Joe’s, and clementine oranges. I also brought peppermint and chamomile tea bags and had a few in my purse.

Sugar snap peas, oranges, Apple slices
Sugar snap peas, clementine oranges, apple slices

Breakfast: cinnamon coconut oil fried yams, Aidell’s chicken apple sausage (1.5)

Snack: Apples, clementines, coconut butter, turkey, butter lettuce, bacon, avocado

Lunch/Dinners Fuel Meals with 3 basic things: a green veggie, yam, and protein

I eat whenever I am hungry. You should not be hungry on the Repairvite diet.

When we were at the Disney park, I could not find a microwave, and no restaurant would allow me to give them my food to heat up. They mentioned that they thought the baby center might have a microwave.  I had no idea where that was, and this was New Years Eve, the busiest day of the year! I threw my hands up and asked if anything could be specially made. I had a chef at one of the restaurants in front of Star Tours ride accommodate me. He made me a plain burger patty with only salt and pepper, wrapped in a lettuce bun with a side of fruit and some cucumber slices. He had no onions available, or balsamic vinegar and EVOO for dressings if I wanted a special salad, so burger it was.  It was actually a big patty and filling.  I think it will depend on what restaurant you stop at, what they have available at that area.  Since my frozen meal had thawed at the end of the day, I put it in the fridge and ate it first thing in the morning. I’m glad I started with frozen for this reason!

The next day we were at California Adventure Park, and I knew already that the Baby Center had a microwave, so I mapped it out, and we planned our day.  In this park, it is in Pacific Wharf which is nothing but restaurants.  So if your family is hungry, go heat up your food first, and take it to whatever cafe they are going to eat.  It’s literally right there.

I carried my six pack bags purse which is a cooler. It holds 2 meals. They also sell backpacks that can carry up to 6 meals! This was a lifesaver! Be prepared though as Disneyland discourages bringing food into the park, however if you tell the security person that is checking your bag you can let them know you multiple dietary restrictions.  I don’t think you can bring a 6 pack of sodas or a gallon of water for instance, but you could try.  Worse case scenario you have to store it in a locker in the front of the park.   I had a few bars, fruit strips, and cheddar bunnies for my kid to snack on as well.

Bring a plastic water bottle, and there are fountains that you can fill up at. When we ate, we asked for tap water in a cup, and I used that to refill.  I stayed pretty hydrated, and went to the bathroom what seemed like every hour! But I know I could of felt so much more tired, had I not done this.

Bottom Line:

Rent a hotel room with a kitchenette. You need a cooler that you can carry in the park. Use ice packs in the coolers. Rent a locker for 12 bucks a day, to store clothes to change or valuables that you don’t want to carry. (I mention the following because I wish someone told me): I would suggest a pre charged battery to charge your phone, especially if you are using the Disney app in the park, and don’t post to social media if you can help it, again unless you have the pre charged battery to recharge.  Wait until nighttime after getting to the hotel to do that if you can. Posting all day will drain your battery fast!  If you can, use airplane mode to save the battery and just take pictures. Take one frozen meal per person, and a sandwich or quart size bag of finger snacks. Find out where the Baby Center is to use the microwave.  Take a plastic water bottle to refill (BPA free of course!) Pack a bag with mixed snacks. Decide before going, you will do this today and you will be successful.  Inquire the chef at any and all restaurants, even open air grills (they are in every restaurant) and ask what they have but give them some ideas like a plain lettuce wrap burger with fruit, or salad with a plain grilled protein if you brought your own dressing.

All in all, I think my trip was successful and I learned some lessons including my own strength. I encourage you to feel confident that it can be done, because it can.  I feel assured that the next time we go, I can do this better!  I hope this was helpful!

 

 

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome and how do you fix it?

It sounds pretty odd doesn’t it? From someone with a medical science background when I first heard the term leaky gut, I thought it had something to do with loose bowel habits (sounds like dumping syndrome). But it actually does not imply that at all. In fact, it is an evidence based term that  is better described as ‘intestinal permeability’.  This is a term that is not generally accepted YET by conventional medicine, however there is plenty of evidence to back up the definition of leaky gut, as well as people who have experienced profound improved physical health, as a result of applying the specified diet.  Remember depression was not considered a diagnosis years ago? And now it is.  Here is an example of a medical abstract on the subject:

Intestinal Permeability in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Pathogenesis, Clinical Evaluation, and Therapy of Leaky Gut https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26582965

Definition of Leaky Gut in laymans terms Taken from Dr Weil:

“Leaky gut syndrome or intestinal permeability refers to the result of damage to the intestinal lining, making it less able to protect the internal environment as well as to filter needed nutrients and other biological substances. As a consequence, some bacteria and their toxins, incompletely digested proteins and fats, and waste not normally absorbed may “leak” out of the intestines into the blood stream. This triggers an autoimmune reaction, which can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal bloating, excessive gas and cramps, fatigue, food sensitivities, joint pain, skin rashes, and autoimmunity. The cause of this syndrome may be chronic inflammation, food sensitivity, damage from taking large amounts of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), cytotoxic drugs and radiation or certain antibiotics, excessive alcohol consumption, or compromised immunity. Leaky gut syndrome may trigger a new or existing disorder, or worsen such disorders as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma.”

I would like to add to Dr Weil’s definition of symptoms.  Brain problems can manifest from leaky gut.  Depression, migraines, anxiety, ADHD, and brain fog for example can all be attributed to leaky gut.

(Graphic property of Apex Energetics, creators of Repairvite Diet)

Notice the loose junctions at the 2nd vertical junction.

intestinal-barrier

If you have brain problems, stomach issues, or skin disorders, chances are you have leaky gut.  There are expensive tests you can take to find out, but why not do the diet and experiment on yourself? Here is a link describing the tests. Either way, some people would rather know to have a specific motivation to do a diet as strict as this. I would highly recommend working with an naturopathic doctor, a chiropractor, a functional medical doctor, or a health coach who specializes in leaky gut, to have supplements tailored to your symptoms/labs/you. My reason for doing this diet?  I have an autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s that I am trying to manage, and also it is Dr’s orders!

In order to begin healing the gut, there are a few protocols that are designed to help. There is the autoimmune protocol or AIP, there is the Repairvite leaky gut diet, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) or the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet.  You can easily google these other diets to find out more about them.   They each differ in specific ways, and I think its good to know your options because if one is not working for you, then maybe some food is still keeping you inflamed. I will be using the Repairvite diet for my experiment, since my Dr wants me to do this one. The curious thing about leaky gut, is that when you are working to heal it, you really cannot ‘cheat’ on bad foods or you have to start over.  It can really derail and unravel all of your progress. This is what I find to be the most challenging of this kind of therapeutic diet, but I think when one comes to the end of a rope, they really just decide what is important to them.  Do you want to get by, or do you want to be optimal?  Another important thing to remember, is that this is not a long term diet. It is short term, meant to be like an deinflammatory and elimination diet, and much care must be taken to add foods back in strategically, as to note what you might be reacting to so you can stay away from it. This can actually be the hardest part of the diet, as it can take a long time to add foods back in and it takes a lot of discipline which is necessary to be able to accurately pinpoint the offending foods that could be causing your symptoms.  Wouldn’t it be great to know exactly what is triggering your body? It is not easy, but I encourage you to join me if you are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Nothing worth having comes easy.

I will explain the details of the Repairvite diet in another post. I will document my journey and findings as I go through this.  Hope you enjoyed this post. Please comment if you have any specific questions I could address in the next post!