*8Things: Improved Eating

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Oh you guys. I have been trying to lose weight for so long it is not even funny.

You may know that up until recently I was very ill. Chronic Daily Migraines for the better part of 7 years. I’m talking crawl-up-the-stairs-on-your-hands-and-knees ill.

Then last summer doctor number 27 actually found a root problem. Iron. I did not have enough iron in my blood to be even on the low end of the iron scale. How I managed to stay out of a hospital is a mystery. And why did I not have any iron? Gluten. Every time I ate gluten (think bread, beer, pasta) my immune system attacked by digestive system, until I couldn’t absorb any minerals.

So I learned to eat gluten-free and took enough supplements to creat a ne w food group. After 3 months, my iron count had improved, the headaches were 80% reduced, and I could walk around again. 

So nowadays? No bread or baked goods. Also, I gave up refined sugar. And I now swim or walk an hour a day. Due to food restrictions and a lack of Whole Foods in Copenhagen, a typical day’s food for me is a bowl of oatmeal with nuts and raisins; two rice cakes with tuna salad and tomatoes; and a piece of chicken or beef with a salad. Weight loss over the course of 6 months?  5 pounds.

Not. Fair. 

But enough whining. All you can do is keep on keeping on, right? All I can do is move further and further into health and trust that eventually my previously-shut-down digestive system will catch up with itself. So here is my list this week:

*8Things: Improved Eating

1.More Veggies. I’m trying to get two all-vegetarian heavy-on-greens meals in each week.

2. Protein: I still eat a lot of oatmeal and corn pasta. (Stopped with the white rice tho!) I don’t like handling meat, and good tofu is hard to come by here. I’m going to try adding hard cooked eggs to more things this week.

3. Water: I only like it with citrus and limes still trigger my migraines. I’m trying!

4. Eliminate Coke Zero:I swear to god the secret ingredient is crack. This is all I ever want to eat or drink. Well, this and brownies –which I can’t have. My 11yo is helping me give it up (again). It’s my 30 Days to Pavlov project in June.

5. Iced Tea: I’m trying to drink more herbal tea. I don’t like green tea. How about peppermint?

6. Supplements:I’m faithfully taking things to regulate blood sugar, support my liver, and build up my iron (it’s still low). I want to order some ProBiotics and add them to the mix. (Taking my vitamins faithfully was one of my Pavlov projects.)

7. Grill-a-licious: The sun is out! (Well, as out as it ever gets in northern climes.) Time to marinade in the morning to grill by dinner.

8. Treats: Cost be damned! It’s time to buy watermelon, raspberries and blueberries.

*8Things iconEating local? Organic? Just trying to tune things up? Give us your *8Things: Improved Eating list.  Grab a button  and play along! Put your list in the comments; or post on your blog and give us the permalink in the Mr. Linky below. (We’ll come come say hi! ) Thanks for being here!

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lisa (msla) May 27, 2010 at 4:21 pm

One easy way to get in more veggies is to grill a big huge bunch of them and then use them up in all sorts of things – on the rice cakes, mixed with quinoa, simply on their own.

I’ve been trying to get more vegetables in my diet too. In Israel, they eat veggies for breakfast: fine diced cucumber, tomato and small bit of onion. I’ve been mixing this with cottage cheese for breakfast. other alternatives are to add a chopped up hard boiled egg, or some hallomi cheese or feta, or all those good things.

Jolie May 27, 2010 at 6:37 pm

What if you did the sparkling water option? I only like still water with lime, but I can drink plain ol’ sparkling water. We got one of these: http://www.sodastream.com/

Now I don’t feel guilty about all the plastic bottles, and I can have sparkling water when ever I want. My friends in Germany had one of these years before they were available here, so you might be able to find the Danish version and then bring it back with you. Refills are available at Sur La Table.


m May 27, 2010 at 7:10 pm

yay ! I’m so glad that you’ve found the cause of the migraines

Do you do frittatas ? great way to get both egg and veg in at the both time…

Alexia May 27, 2010 at 8:15 pm

I’ve cut out so many things due to my candida problem! But for the better because I realised that thethings I cut out on, I didn’t really need them in my every day diet.

*I reduced my sugar intake, drastically. Very bad for candida and my teeth!
* A spoonful of aloe vera juice 3 times a day (I highly recommend it!). It’s refreshing and gives a good colon cleanse.
*Organic olive oil: I swear by it!
*Probiotics: a daily intake intake of B-complex to improve my immune system and a dose of acidophilus for a healthy digestive process! ;D
*More stir-fries
*I’ve gone off black tea and replaced it with different green and herbal teas (oolong, jasmine and peppermint…)
*Replace any sweet treats (chocolate, cakes…) with dark chocolate: it’s packed with antioxidants!
*Lots and lots and lots of water!!!


Leslie May 28, 2010 at 2:09 am

I never thought that water could trigger headaches…but I guess anything can, huh? Mine are triggered due to lack of water. I’m glad to hear that you’ve figured out what’s causing them!

We are definitely eating locally and in season–which makes things taste so much better!

rowena May 28, 2010 at 4:57 am

Oh that’s so wonderful. I’m so glad your migraines are improving! Who woulda thunk it would be gluten? Sometimes I wonder if I would have more energy if I cut out gluten, but I don’t know if my issues are severe enough to give up brownies. :O

Susan May 28, 2010 at 6:02 am

I’m so glad you found out iron was part of the puzzle. Seems mysterious that this wasn’t discovered sooner than doctor #27. Maybe it was the link with gluten that was more the mystery. And are you really reporting that migraine frequency is decreasing? I hope so! Hugs sent across the water from here to there.

Tabitha The KnittingJourneyman May 28, 2010 at 4:06 pm

My 9yo recently watched the movie Food Inc…funny how getting her to watch that made her #1 more involved w the foods we eat by getting her to read labels–which has also improved her reading skills and #2 made her more conscious of the garbage she sometimes puts in her mouth — like the sugar and candy and whatever else her cousins eat all the time. I have recently started to cut out anything w high fructose corn syrup and/or corn syrup of any kind. Food Inc really hammered the corn angle home w my daughter. It’s been great. Now she asks, was this animal treated well before it was slaughtered. We are near vegetarians, but now she actually wants to buy meat so we can support those who treat their animals ethically. She does not want to eat at McDonalds anymore and has a fit when her brother wants his hamburger. I love watching her point out how it’s been washed in ammonia and bleach and whatever else…she’s giving my son’s dad FITS w this.

Marie June 1, 2010 at 5:21 am

Very interesting. Feels good to treat oneself better, doesn’t it? I’m always trying to eat more greens and less sugar, more protein and less fat, and less food in general! I avoid high fructose corn syrup as best I can.

I too am a fan of peppermint tea, but I seem to remember that peppermint can impact us nutritionally including inhibiting iron absorption, aggravating acid reflux, and reducing milk production in nursing mothers. For all those reasons, alas, I’ve been more cautious about ingesting it.

Shan June 2, 2010 at 10:16 am

OMG!! It sounds like we are on a journey together!! Check my FB post about prepping the kitchen for GF cooking. Did you have a biopsy? We may be doing that soon. I’m collecting lots of good advice from my GF friends. I’ll pass it on. PS. I eliminated Aspertame & MSG 10 years ago & most of the migraines stopped.

I hope you feel better soon!!!! :-)

bo roth October 28, 2010 at 12:53 pm

just saw this post and are wondering how it’s going with GF — as I am now attempting GF as well. What I’ve noticed, is that my symptoms come back even when I eat GF baked goods — Pams mixes (brownies last night!) at PCC…So I’m wondering if I also have a problem with rice flours… And peppermint tea? Who knew? I’ve always thought it was pretty benign.

Now that you’re back in whole foods/pcc land, I’m wondering how it’s going and know you also got visited with a migraine recently. New to GF, I’m always looking for new support. Perhaps an update is in order? And in the meantime, hope you’re gearing up for a wonderful birthday weekend!! Have a great birthday!

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