My weight loss journey started with my first sticky pregnancy and the 80lb weight gain that accompanied it.
Before that I was slightly overweight, strong and healthy vegetarian. I became slightly overweight shortly after making the switch to veggie. Perhaps incidentally (haha!) this is also when I started to have major dental health decline.
As y’all know by now I have wicked migraines and am bipolar, both of which are hugely relevant to my weight gain. I gained that 80lbs eating mostly low fat yogurt and bread which were the only things that didn’t make me want to vomit. I ate my healthy whole grains. I ate my greens. Still with treated migraines I have several days around ovulation where I am nauseous, combine this with a severe debilitating depression (woot for hormones) I have struggled with what exactly to eat during this time. Two months after my second pregnancy I was 265lbs. I was depressed, I was manic, I was gaining and NOT losing postpartum. I was so tired I was hallucinating. I NEVER thought I would see south of 200lbs again and that alone was crippling. A girlfriend loaning me Nourishing Traditions (thank you Leanne) and offering me a contrary view to what she called the ‘politically correct North American diet” of vegetarian, low fat eating was a major turning point. I had been veggie for most of the last 10 years, only eating meat when pregnancy cravings drove me to it. So, I very slowly started eating more meat, more cheese, more butter with basically making no other dietary changes. I started to lose weight. From there I read a plethora of information about nutrition starting with Micheal Pollen, Gary Taubes and then South Beach and Atkins diet cook books from the grocery store. I found Micheal Pollen to be reiterating pretty basic concepts which were easy to read, accept and practice. Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes was less accessible and admittedly took me a year to finally plow through. Taubes provides a good case for drastically reducing carbs, upping animal fats/protein to be a very valid option for weight loss. The basic principals of this book lead me to most of my weight loss. I however, did not find a good case for dropping whole grains for those at a healthy, stable weight or for dropping grains in a child’s diet.
And this is where I have stood. It has taken me almost 4 years to drop those 92lbs. But I had an extra baby in there, which kinda waylaid things for a year. My youngest will be 2 in January and I am at 172lbs now which was my goal weight for his birthday, and also happens to be my pre-baby weight. Now at 5’6 I am still overweight, but I’m muscular and uhh…dense boned? I am a size 10 jean!!!! And a size medium shirt. This means I have lost 16 dress sizes in total. I honestly did not think this was possible. I also take plenty of psych meds and migraine meds that greatly compromise weight loss efforts. Frustratingly I stalled out around 200lbs for 6 months despite diligent exercise and diet. I recently had an increase in my anti-depressant medication and with the newly elevated mood I’ve found it increasingly possible to not self medicate with carbs. This whole journey has really opened my eyes to the link between mental and physical health.
But why stop now? My quest for health has taken me down different roads at different times in regards to nutrition. I’ve recently been pointed towards http://www.wheatbellyblog.com which after a couple hours of browsing seems to be making the case against grains (particularly wheat since it is the hardest to avoid- invading even unassuming things like meatball) that Taubes just doesn’t make in Good Calories, Bad Calories. My new goals are not weight related- but health related. I am interested in improving my dental, mental, digestive health and energy levels. The glaring connection between sugar and obesity has become clear to me.
I am thoroughly convinced that it’s time for me to let go of grains. I feel like this is a great time to trial it, I won’t be having any med changes for a little while anyway so it will make it a little easier to observe the effects of going wheat free.
This leads me to every devoted parents question- Well shit, what do I feed the kids? My kids love whole grain bread with PB, weetabix cereal and homemade muffins made with spelt flour and oats. Do I eliminate wheat in their diets? Do I eliminate other grains? What happens in public/other peoples houses.
Davis (of wheat belly) is challanging us to regard wheat as the new tobacco. Do you let your kids have tobacco at birthday parties? I know that the initial reaction to that train of thought is shaking your head skepticism. I have long been skeptical of the anti-grain movement. Davis wrote WheatBelly and it’s sister website to address increasing waistlines and health problems that seemingly have their fingers dipped waaaay into that bread dough. The nutritional profile of wheat and other grains have changed so much in the past few years. It’s unclear if modern grains are really that much worse than old grains, but they are certainly more prevalent in a wider variety of foods.
I’m going to read, read, and read. It would be damn hard to go grain free, even at home with 3 little kids. I am pretty sure my family quite frankly can’t afford to go grain free. I mean, throwing together organic whole grain pumpkin muffins is way cheaper than nitrate free sausage.
I am in a position where as a family we can become increasingly dependent on our home gardens/orchards. We have plans of adding goats, chickens and rabbits to our roster next summer. However- currently we are broke, hungry and the ground is gonna be frozen mighty quickly. This has made limiting carbs difficult even for me, and I know many, many other families are in the same position.
As I return to better health my desire to feed my children in a way that minimizes risk of long term health complications that Davis is tying to grains is increasing.
I’ll keep you updated about my weight loss/health gained progress as I move towards grain free. I’m also going to be trialling grain free muffins and breads on my kids. If you need a tester for something, let me know.
What do you feed your kids, especially picky toddlers? What about school lunches- which for most of us need to be nut free?