This weeks brings the conclusion of my Nutrition Self-Experiment. After much deliberation, I have decided to end my experiment earlier than anticipated. A week ago I left my ‘home base’ to embark on a 4 week road trip. I had hoped that when I planned the trip that I would continue with the experiment but after a few days on the road, I changed my mind. The great thing about self-experimentation is that you have that control and flexibility. It is important to be aware of how something affects your entire life and to know when it’s time to make a shift. For me, this time came earlier than I had hoped and I believe it will be for the best. Read on to understand how I came to this decision and what is next for me on my healing journey.
If you are new here and want to get up to speed, check out the Introduction post to read more about the purpose, hypothesis, and general plan for my experiment. To get access to the first 14 Day Meal Plan and the Daily Journal template that I’m using, go back and check out my ‘Meal Plan’ post. Read the ‘Preparation’ post to learn more about how and why I chose the foods to eliminate for this experiment and download my AIP & Low FODMAP ‘YES’ Foods list!
Conclusion and Learning Results
There were a couple of factors that played into the decision to conclude my experiment. The first being that my symptom progress pretty much plateaued after week 4. For the last 4 weeks I haven’t experienced much change. I haven’t reverted but I haven’t improved either. Second, stress plays such a huge role in healing. No matter how much planning and preparation is done, it is still quite stressful to follow a strict protocol, especially when traveling and out of your element.
I have learned a number of things while doing this experiment and the biggest takeaway for me is this: food matters a great deal to health, but there comes a point where the effect maxes out. Each person gets to a point in their individual healing journey where no number or strictness of diet protocols is going to advance and further the healing. It is time to heal the mind and mind-body connection. For me, stress has always played a huge role in my life. Tt became very obvious to me during this experiment that the next step in my healing journey is not food-related. It is time to focus on healing my mind.
I trust that I will continue to make good real food choices because I know what the alternative leads to (migraines, depression, fibromyalgia and more for me). It’s also fairly clear that I don’t have severe reactions to anything that I eliminated therefore stressing about avoiding them is probably causing more problems than the foods themselves. This experiment showed me areas around food that I can be more aware of, like consuming “treats” and what it feels like to eat enough, particularly in the evenings. All of these small observations have really added up for me and the journaling really helped me tune into them.
While I cannot definitively say whether or not I have a leaky gut, I can say that removing the FODMAPS didn’t drastically improve my digestive symptoms. Therefore, I can safely conclude that they are more psychological than physiological. It’s important to know that stress alone can cause a leaky gut. The AIP part of the experiment may have positively affected my thyroid-related symptoms. It is hard to know for sure, however stress definitely plays a role here too. I will continue to follow the AIP plan as much as reasonably possible for the foreseeable future. However I will be making allowances while traveling and eating out. My goal here is to try to keep as much inflammation at bay as possible.
My last weight check-in was on Oct. 19 and I weighed in at 121.5 lbs. This is another 2.5 lbs down and the only noticeable change in the last 4 weeks. I added back in a few supplements in addition to the probiotic: a thyroid multivitamin, a stomach acid and digestive enzyme supplement, and a Vitamin D supplement. I didn’t notice any negative effects upon reintroducing them. There were some noted improvements in my digestion and energy since adding them back in. Also, I began to notice stress and anxiety playing a role in both my energy levels and my digestive symptoms. The past 2 weeks were a huge red flag that it is time to focus my energy on the mind rather than on the food.
I had some lab work done but it wasn’t as extensive as I requested. Therefore didn’t really provide many insights. When I return from my trip I will be doing the extensive testing that I had originally hoped to have done before. This was a big lesson in working with practitioners who truly understand functional medicine versus traditional western medicine.
I also have not received my stool test results, which reflects rather poorly on this company, Ubiome. It is rather disappointing and their customer service hardly exists to speak of. I wouldn’t recommend this company whatsoever. Again, when I return home from my trip I will consider doing another test with a different company.
Reintroduction Weeks 7 & 8 Recap
If you would like to see my daily journals from Weeks 7& 8, you can access them by clicking the link below. Note, if you are leery about poop talk and other digestive symptoms, considered yourself warned. 😉
More food pics, because everyone loves good food porn 😉
Also, follow me on Instagram @marcelle.phene so you can view my story where I am posting pictures of everything I’m eating.
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Ballantyne, Sarah. The Paleo Approach. Las Vegas: Victory Belt Publishing Inc., 2013.
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Disclaimer: The information in this post is not intended as medical advice, or to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional. Marcelle encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research, and in partnership with your doctor, licensed dietitian, or nutritionist. The information provided in this post and the entire contents of www.marcellephene.com are based upon the opinions of Marcelle Phene and are for general educational purposes, and have not been reviewed nor approved by the FDA. You are solely responsible for your health care and activity choices.