O Food of Satan – I condemn thee to eternal hellfire and damnation!
Have I suddenly gone all religious on you?
That would be like really, really, really, really, ridiculously ridiculous.
No, I’m just borrowing a favourite expression of my brothers when he talks about zucchini…or asparagus…or celery, because I have a new Food of Satan of my own and it’s been causing me grief for at least 8 weeks and I’m wondering if it’s actually a lot longer but I’ve been blaming other things…
Ok, lets back track a while and catch up on how I reached this conclusion.
Well my old friend the energy issue has well and truly established itself as a permanent fixture in my life (again)
In fact for the last 3 weeks it’s been so bad, that after morning training, I’m so exhausted by the time I get to work, I have to have a nanna nap in the shower before I can even summon the energy to get dressed!
There has been the odd occasion when a second nap has been required at lunchtime (not even on double legs day!) and when I get home, it’s about as much as I can do to sling the cat a bit of mush before passing out on the sofa for about 45mins.
Important muscle building post workout/recovery for the next day meal?
Not a chance! Not until I’ve had my nap.
Now I’ve been putting this down to twice daily training, but this has been a regular, apparently cyclical occurrence for a long while, and I’ve only been doing twice a day training for 8 weeks.
Sure I have periods when I don’t have energy issues – interestingly these tend to be during comp prep, but somehow during ‘not comp prep’ (I redefined off season remember…), when I should have boundless energy because I’m eating more, eating carbs, eating a greater variety of foods, the energy issue manifesting as increased need for nanna naps raises its ugly head.
Why? How come?
Now going waaay back, before I even did bodybuilding and it first manifested, I went through rounds and rounds of doctors, blood tests, x-rays, scans to eventually arrive at: hemochromatosis. Liver detoxes followed to no avail.
Next cab off the rank – fatty liver! More liver detoxes – to no avail.
When I finally found a (male!) doctor switched on enough to get my oestrogen tested…bingo! Non-existent oestrogen and progesterone levels. Oestrogen pills certainly helped the first time I took them, but the second time they just made me depressed! I’ve just had all my bloods, thyroid, liver, kidney, T levels, oestrogen, progesterone levels tested and everything is perfect, except for my oestrogen level still flat lining, and my liver function being 2 points out of the normal range.
Nothing has changed there in either case.
Next it was the Adrenal Fatigue, so I pared back as many activities as possible and just focused on training. But whilst I think that issue has resolved itself, the energy issue continues to plague me.
I tried making my diet much higher in carbs…
That was a comprehensive failure – I just got fat and sleepy instead.
So what is it this time?
Once again I have gone back to my diet being the root cause of the issue. You all know I’m a big believer that diet can be your medicine or your poison, and I also believe that the condition of your skin is a reflection of your inner health, and my skin, especially around my mouth has been dry, sore and flaky for ages and no amount of moisturiser fixes it. To me, this is my body’s way of telling me that it’s really unhappy about something I am eating, which could be having knock on inflammation/mal-absorption issues.
As I wrote before, now that I’m back in ‘on-season’ I’ve cleaned my diet right up – apart from the odd bag of cocoroons…I’ve even ditched the superfoodie bars that I was raving about a few weeks ago, so here is my typical days diet (during the week, weekends I tend to eat when I’m hungry and eat whatever I ‘feel’ like at the time, but is still always clean):
PWO: Shake + Sweet Potato
Meal 2: Meat + Green veg salad + hummus + sweet potato/piece of fruit
Meal 3: As meal 2 + tomatoes (+ raw coleslaw mix sometimes)
Meal 4: Meat/Eggs + Sweet potato/piece of fruit
PWO 2: Shake
Meal 5: Meat + veggies (+ carbs sometimes)
Meal 6: Casein + tsp Nut Butter.
Dull, consistent, efficient. All nutritional bases covered more than adequately. But something in this ‘clean, healthy’ list is not right – as I wrote about a few weeks ago, on a daily basis I’ve been bloating up, sometimes by as much as 2kg a day!
Maybe it was the fruit? So I put myself on the FODMAPS diet for a week or so, figuring it may be a fruit thing or the leeks and onions I have in my green soup at dinner….
Maybe it’s not enough fibre (ave 25-30g/day so bang on recommendations) – I added in a few teaspoons of chia seeds a day, just in case.
Maybe I need to ‘wake my digestive system up’ – lets try apple cider vinegar, that’s supposed to be life’s cure all.
Then when I ‘put on’ 3kg in 3 days and it wouldn’t budge despite taking out all carbs, the only thing I could think of that might be the cause of the problem was the whey protein shakes I was having. I don’t eat dairy and haven’t for ages – could that extra shake a day really be causing a severe lactose intolerance reaction? Could it even be the organic New Zealand grass fed butter that I finally tracked down for my bulletproof coffee?
So I switched to pea and hemp protein shakes, stopped with the coffee for brekky going back to meat.
And it worked!
Within 24 hours, my appetite went nuts and I ate about 2000 calories extra in those 24 hours – and still lost all the water bloat. My energy went through the roof and my stomach went flat for the first time in the 3 months since comp!
Woohoo! Flat stomach!
It lasted 4 days….until I came up with the magnificent idea of testing the ’lactose intolerance’ theory and made myself a gluten free pizza with lactose free cheese.
Not only did the bloat come back, but my face puffed too! Usually I only get the face puff when I eat capsicum – already one of my ‘Vegetables of Satan’ – and it totally sucks. My eyes swell closed, my skin becomes dry, red, unbearably itchy, sore and hot. I have to quadruple dose my anti-histamine, plaster on cortico-steroid cream and physically stop myself from literally scratching my face off.
I look like the elephant man! I can’t stand it. It strips my self-confidence, I can’t bear going out of the house and try to avoid all contact with anybody until it’s gone – usually about 2-3 days.
Ok, so no dairy whatsoever in any shape or form – EVER again then.
But the bloat didn’t go this time…and in fact it got worse until I was 4kg heavier by the end of that week!
And then 2 Mondays ago I had another face puff episode – on a Monday!
How the hell was I going to go to work? I very nearly didn’t get out of bed.
What on earth is going on???
By now I’m at a complete loss – my diet is as clean as it can be, I’ve taken out absolutely everything I can think of that might be causing this, I can’t function and now I’m getting allergic episodes to boot.
Having been whinging about it – a lot – at training, and having gone through my diet in minute detail with Aiden we eventually settled on 3 extremely remote possibilities.
I eat virtually the same thing, every day – on season, off season – no dif. My salad is either rocket, spinach or mixed leaves, I have cucumber every day – mid morning snack and lunch. I add tomatoes at lunch.
Hmmm…I have suspected that I may be starting to develop a spinach allergy as I’ve noticed that the bloating tends to start after lunch and occasionally my mouth gets all itchy and slightly swells…a mild allergic reaction…
Aiden suggested it might be the tomatoes or the cucumber.
Ok, now I’ve got something to work with, so last week I put myself on an elimination diet.
I downloaded an official elimination diet list of approved foods…
It had so many more foods on it than I eat on a regular basis!
It might be elimination for some people, but for me it was an ‘addition’ list!
And then I noticed something…there were 4 foods written in italics…
- White Potato
The nightshade family…as in Belladonna. A.k.a Deadly Nightshade – the stuff that will kill you.
The italics said ‘if you’re allergic to nightshades do not include these foods’
I am allergic to capsicum – so much so, that I had a face puff episode about 5 weeks ago simply sitting next to my house mate as he was chopping the bloody things!
I can’t even remember the last time I ate eggplant, so I have no idea if that causes issues.
White potato – hardly ever eat those, I’m so ‘addicted’ to sweet potato!
It must be the tomato!
Those humble, red and yellow, sweet, juicy little fruits that make my salads look so pretty every day. Could they be hiding a sinister alter ego?
Hmmm…maybe the pizza wasn’t the cheese – maybe it was the (concentrated) tomato paste.
Hmmm…the most recent face puff episode, I had sun dried tomatoes with my dinner the previous night
All last week I eliminated everything – everything except chicken, brown rice and broccoli.
What a difference!
After 2 days (double legs as well!!) I didn’t even need a nap!
After 4 days, I felt so good, that I even decided to tempt fate again with the dairy…triple scoop of Ben and Jerrys!
Yes, I know – no dairy EVAH…but as a good little scientist, if I’m going to do an experiment, I’m going to go the whole hog and re-validate previous results.
Result: Merely standard post carb softness, did not induce nanna naps, gone the following day.
Over the weekend I switched back to green salad – not spinach, but I did re-introduce the cucumber and it’s still all good.
I’ve lost 3kg in 4 days and today I’ve even got my abs back!!
So it now appears that Tomatoes are officially on my list of Foods of Satan and will no longer feature in my diet.
I suppose that white potatoes and eggplant ought to be considered ‘Satan’s little helpers’ – guilt by family association.
Do I want to test that theory out?
Not particularly right now, it’s nice to be awake.
Of course with all this going on, I’m asking myself how does this happen? How is it that all of a sudden my body has decided that tomatoes are the root of all evil? What has triggered that?
Are there are any more ‘Luciferous’ foods out there waiting their turn to wreak havoc?
I want to know about them before they sneak up on me – I’m fed up with going through this energy issue every ‘not comp prep’ time when I should be able to get out and about a bit more rather than not doing stuff, because it wears me out too much and takes days to recover from.
So I’m off to see a naturopath and get myself fully allergy tested.
Will let you know!