Good things first!
Food reaction relapse
The Case Against Sauerkraut!
The reaction I had in the UK I could only really attribute to the fermented foods as the trigger, and I have had a few incidents in the past on a much subtler level that fermented foods don't agree with me.
"But they are superfoods!"
As I keep experiencing, just because something is deemed as a "superfood" does NOT mean it is a superfood for every body ;) Sauerkraut and other raw fermented foods may be powerhouses of nutrition, but if my body continues to react negatively to them, I'm going to take it that it is not what it needs right now. Kombucha, a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast), has different things (like yeast) I could react to compared to fermented vegetables, which are mainly fermented by bacteria. As I react to both, but more so to kombucha, then it's propbably something that overlaps in both - or maybe just the sugars present.
With fermented vegetables, some people say that if you get a negative reaction, it can actually indicate a good thing - like a "detox" reaction, called The Herxheimer Reaction, where the immune system is just reacting to the large amounts of endotoxins being released when a large amount of pathogens are being killed off, and the body is not eliminating them quickly enough. So you either are "detoxing" (sorry, hate that word!) too fast, and have to slow the process down, or u regulate detoxification pathways so that the body can deal with the influx of endotoxins and clear them from the blood - or just push through it and it will resolve magically. The same reaction people state for when they have a headache doing a juice cleanse, or something similar. I can see that in some contexts, and with my own experience in healing, that sometimes worsening of systems does not indicate failure of the treatment or protocol I am undertaking, but actually can be more like a "healing crisis". but in my case I don't think that this is what it is.
Issues with histamine intolerance can also lead to some people being able to tolerate fermented food. There can be a lot said on that topic, but relating it to my experience, I do not get the obvert symptoms associated with histamine intolerance, so I am not sure I can attribute it to this. Itchy skin is indicative of a histamine reaction, a bit like ants crawling under your skin, as one friend described it! Or itchy ears, and just an unbearable sensation of itchiness, as well as hives and skin outbreaks. However, as faulty methylation pathways are often associated with it, and with my history of B12 deficiency and all the rest, I am a prime candidate to have developed histamine intolerance! Increased gut permeability (or "leaky gut") is usually synonymous with autoimmune conditions, and it could also be linked to that and histamine intolerance. Who knows, I just know I felt bloody awful!
For me, I'm not sure if it was the combination of increased stress through travel, and psychological stress, that then increased my sensitivity and reaction, or maybe just sauerkraut overload! Needlessly to say, I'm not too keen on trying it again anytime soon.
Interestingly enough, Raj Bhachu, who I flew over to see at his Clinic in London the past month, actually advises most people to NOT eat any fermented vegetable foods. He is not a fan, especially for people with joint pain and inflammation. And he is fully aware of the ancestral community, and how they are viewed so favourably. He very kindly rang me up as soon as he got knew I was in bas shape, and told me unequivocally to not consume them - yes, sir! ;P
We are all so different and individual with how our bodies tolerate different foods, and maybe in the future I'll be able to tolerate them once my gut microbiome and everything else is in check, but for now, as much as I would really, really like to react well to fermented foods, I'm going to have to (rather sadly) keep them off my plate.
Fail Forward Fast
I learn a lot about myself each time there is a relapse episode - and I can see my evolution in terms of psychological resilience, which is very encouraging. In the past, a day like that could have set me off into a negative spin, but during those 40h, although it sucked, my mind was pretty stable and kept positive = much easier to bounce back the moment I get a leverage point of of the "pain cave"!
It was a reminder (however thoroughly unpleasant!) of how far I've come with my health the last few months, and how good it feels to feel good, and be functional again on a daily basis. Always a silver lining!
Besides, what cannot be remedied with a game of darts the next morning!? ;P Just excuse the bed head and crocks.
Be your own scientist
Before rejecting it because of it's association with cannabis (haha hi mum!), it has long been researched for its medical application and therapeutic use, and there is some pretty fascinating research and information about the endocanabinoid system in our bodies, and the effect of CBD on anything from hormone and blood sugar stabilisation, reducing stress and anxiety, shutting off chronic inflammation, increasing the metabolic rate and fat loss, circadian rhythm regulation, and much, much more! Interestingly, CBD itself actually fits into the same receptors as caffeine, a central nervous stimulant. But it seems to have a balancing and almost adaptogenic effect that can induce both a calm focus alertness during the day, and a good night of sleep. From my limited anecdotal experience so far, I can say that this is what I have felt (can also depend on the dose and quality of CBD oil).
I actually didn't fully realise this until recently when talking about sleep to a friend, but my mind just doesn't turn off when I go to sleep, which I became even more consciously aware of when being categorised as a "Dolphin" chronotype (see thepowerofwhenquiz.com for the free survey) - an animal that is an uni-hemispheric sleeper. Literally, one half of the brain shuts dow while the other half stays alert and awake. And that is literally what I felt like when I "slept".
Insomnia is a common symptom of hyperthyroidism, and I struggled with that on/off for a year or two until remission, where this new kind of sleeping took it's place! I literally need a notebook by my bed, because I will write, and write, and write during the night (half asleep, half not) as my brain is still switched on. As you can imagine, that doesn't make for the best quality of sleep! ;) I also realised this when having friends over to sleep that I would still be wide awake lying there while they had already fallen soundly asleep long ago (and there may or may not have been snoring! ;).
I have only just started using it, and while I do already feel a subtle yet distinct positive effect (especially for my sleep, and overall sense of mental calm), I want to continue to experiment with it before reaching any conclusions. For my sleep, the main changes I have been making recently is the CBD, combined with a conscious effort to get any hard training done BEFORE 7pm, so not to dys-regulate cortisol levels. Will keep tracking any changes!
Prep progress still strong and steady!
This cut has actually been a process that has and IS improving the relationship I have to my body, the strength and harmony of my mind, as well as building self-trust and better habits along the way. Quite a different experience to past attempts at "getting lean" - it is really a mindset shift that completely changes the way I experience the process.
My next post will be a wrap up of how the past 8 weeks have been (Phase 1), the plan for the next week on maintenance intake, and the overview of Part 2 & 3!
Blue eggs!... without the blue ham
I get excited pretty much about anything blue, but edible and blue!?!? A whole new level! In the UK & the US, I can get organic duck eggs (next on my list to find here), as well as blue, green, and pink eggs, but I had never seen them here in Denmark.
The best eggs I have found here are still from my local, organic & grass-fed meat Butcher (called Slagteren ved Kultorvet - please, don't ask me to pronounce that ;)). They come straight from a local farm where the standards are ACTUALLY high-quality, and the chickens are pasture-raised and live outside eating worms and all the natural plants and insects they are suppose to - and I can tell by the amazing golden yolk that these eggs have (which, unlike conventional eggs, isn't due to artificial pigments in the chicken feed!)! Like little sunshines in an eggshell ;)
You never really know the conditions of the animal or animal products (or plants!) when buying in a conventional supermarket chain - even the "organic" label can mean a lot of things, and "commercial" organic can still be very large-scale and industrial. For part of my 9 months of internship for an Agronomical Engineering degree I was doing in Geneva, Switzerland,I did a couple of months on a small-scale, organic and biodynamic farm in Spain. All around were "organic" farms - and I can tell you, they were anything but small scale! Also, for example, a lot of supermarket organic meat is still fed corn and soy.... just organic corn and soy!
Which is why I still prefer to buy form and support my local butcher (as much as I can - they are unfortunately even more expensive than the supermarket organic!), and I can really tell a distinct difference with ANY of their products - they are just such high quality, and always super fresh. And I absolutely love the people there, and have a great laugh each time I'm there! ;D
Now I just have to find a source for blue ham...