Is it a diet or a lifestyle?  I would say both but either way we are surrounded by so many choices. I few blogs ago I wrote about how I have been reading all kinds of different books around this subject.  In the next few blogs I’m going to break them down for you and the reason being is that there are some important take aways for all people but especially people living with autoimmune diseases.  I’m not saying I recommend a particular one to any of you as I’m not a doctor but I am a self-proclaimed researcher.

Let me start by telling how this crusade got started for me.  No secret I have spent the last 9 years trying to make a better, healthier life for myself and conquering my challenges with MCTD.  I literally have tried everything you can imagine. One book told me not to eat strawberries or tomatoes or any nightshade vegetables so I didn’t but I couldn’t tell one way or the other if it was working.  One said eat omega 3’s at least 1 – 2 times per week and I did that but again I couldn’t tell if it was working.  Another one said eat quinoa for breakfast every day because it was high in protein and a grain that wouldn’t do any harm if I was even slightly intolerant to gluten. Ok, I did it but I got sick of that one really fast and quite frankly I love strawberries.  Tomatoes and nightshades vegetables sure I could live without them but there are things I don’t want to live without.

I gave up alcohol because it can be a trigger for my flares so I’m willing to give up anything if I can feel a significant difference and alcohol was an easy one to feel.  I drank I flared plain and simple.  However, when you can’t feel the difference that is when it is harder. I went on a gluten-free diet for a long time and sure I missed bread and pasta and sweets but it was worth it because I was at 200+ days without a flare and certain that this was helping. I was convinced that my blood work would show real changes and when it didn’t I was defeated.  At Kripalu I put gluten back in my diet and nothing significant happened for the worst so I was no longer gluten free.

So here I am, it is May and I have an appointment with a new doctor who has ever met me, knows nothing about where I’ve come from, what I have been able to achieve and what this sometimes fragile body is capable of.  Most people meet me; hear my story and they are amazed. She too was amazed but she also pointed out to me that I’m turning 40 and carrying a little too much in my middle.  Really? I work out all the time. I know I have been letting my food slip and eating more sweets but this was also a stressful time for me.  What she said was back off but I heard was you are fat fix it.  My husband was actually pretty frustrated with her because he felt like I was finally at a point where I wasn’t obsessing about food and what I ate and now I have been told to fix my eating habits.

That is when the crusade started. I wanted to read everything I could on what to do when you are approaching your 40’s.  Mostly I needed to decrease my middle section.  She thought my weight was fine and I have found if I go too low I actually flare so the extra 10 pounds I had gradually added were helping my MCTD.  Now how was this going to work?

I’ll tell you about all my findings over the next few blogs in between my challenge updates.  If you find it boring I apologize but I live for food, health, fitness and all it encompasses.  First off the shelf is “The Flat Belly Diet” this is a prevention book and I love prevention. I always keep it in my gym bag or purse because it is little and the articles are informational.  The book’s key points are good fats.  EVoo, avocado, olives, dark chocolate and nuts which I love all these things so easy right?  Well a lot of calorie counting because you have 4 – 400 calorie meals where you incorporate one of these good fats every time.  Some of the recipes I really liked but the flat belly comes from getting rid of all kinds of belly bloating things such as drinking sparkling water since the bubbles make you bloated, chewing gum since you take in extra air when chewing, no raw vegetables since they cause bloating.  Yes you have flatter stomach but I haven’t gotten to the root of the problem at least not for me but I bet it works well for others. In fact I gave my book to a co-worker and she loves the Mediterranean diet. This is not my lifestyle.

One day I’m listening to Jillian Michael’s podcast and she has Bob Harper on talking about his new book, interesting.  So, I look it up at the library and there are actually 2 Bob Harper books.  Ok I get them both and read them.  Very typical to what you would think from him.  Protein, carb, good fat at every meal and eat every 3 hours.  The having to eat every 3-4 hours is hard for me since I’m usually running to a meeting munching on some almonds or a granola bar or something.  I did really enjoy his right in your face writing as well as his exercise program and have even incorporated some of his moves into my weight challenge.  This has potential if I can only figure out the right combo of protein, carb and good fats.  My journey will continue.


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