Monday, August 6, 2018

60 days in

Two months seems like a short amount of time and a lifetime.

I remember feeling that way about summer break when I was in school. When I planned out the summer and imagined all the things I would enjoy and accomplish, it seemed my two-month break was never long enough. By summer's end, though, I felt like a different person - as though all the things I had experienced helped me emerge with a refreshed mindset, ready to tackle a new year with new challenges and dreams.

As I began #myleapjourney with the MRT test and the ImmunoCalm diet protocol, I was just focused on the next day. If I looked too far ahead, it was daunting and full of the unknown. One of the things that helped me through the overwhelm was making a weekly plan. I created a template with fields for supplements, meal planning, and ingredient tracking which then helped me with grocery shopping, knowing when to thaw meat/veggies from the freezer in the fridge, and identify the best times in the day to prep food (having a 2-year-old often requires flexibility and creativity to get meal prep done!).

I am also in the habit of using two food-tracking apps which help me identify any major deficiencies: Cronometer and mySymptoms. Both of these apps require daily entry of ingredient-level detail for all meals. It's a bit tedious but very helpful!

Cronometer has a whole-food database which tracks over 60+ micronutrients and supports specialized diets. With just a few taps of the screen, I can see my macronutrient ratios (fat, protein, carbs), and also make sure I'm getting enough micronutrients such as calcium, folate, iron, etc., and it shows me where the amounts of these nutrients come from in my food consumption that day. I usually key in what I'm going to eat a day ahead so I can make sure I'm prepared for the next day and know I'm getting enough of what my body needs.

The mySymptoms app was recommended by my dietitian as a way to track not only food but any symptoms I experience along the way. The symptom-tracking ultimately helps the user identify trends in how they feel based on what they've eaten. The trick here is making sure to focus on one new item at a time over the course of 2-3 days since symptoms can take a little while to appear at times.

So back to the long and short of it. At this point, 60 days in, I would say 60 days sounds short but feels long. I can remember how I was eating before I started the protocol, and I remember how bad I felt and the severity of my symptoms. And yet I feel I've been eating according to the protocol for longer than 60 days. I've developed some systems and routines that help me get through and have refined some cooking processes that make food prep a shorter, more enjoyable process. I'll share some of these tips and tricks in another post.

Regarding my progress, it was slow at first - slower than the average - but I'm in a pretty good place right now. I can usually identify if a food is an issue for me (since some of my "green" - a.k.a. "non-reactive/allowed" - foods have been) and add it to my do-not-eat list. It's empowering to make those decisions for myself based on how I feel after eating a food. I used to just eat whatever sounded good/healthy/filling, but now I'm actually listening to my body. Sometimes it's disappointing, but I don't want to go back to the physical state I was in 60 days ago.

Next steps: I've got 30 more days on this rotation of "green" (non-reactive/allowed) foods. Then, I can begin testing foods that were not included in the MRT. I've got a list of foods I want to try such as plantains, sardines, acorn squash, pumpkin seeds, etc., so I'm looking forward to adding in some more diversity. I am supposed to wait closer to 6 months before trying any of my "yellow" (reactive) foods, so I will likely hold off until January 2019. I want to give my body plenty of time to heal...and I'll also need to decide which of those foods really are important to me to include in my regular diet. No sense adding something back in that I don't really care about if it has the potential to cause a flare.

Here's to the next 30 days in #myleapjourney!

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