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Melissa Jones


Coming Clean

Fri, 03 Jan 2014 08:00:41 +0000

5 days ago I was dreading the thought of another sinus infection or headache, as they had become all too common for me. I wanted to stay in bed, though that doesn't really fix either problem. I then had the following conversation with myself: "You, know, there was a time when I went 9 years without a sinus infection or needing any antibiotics for anything... I had energy, perfect skin, no pains, and rarely had any headaches. Not to mention that I looked great." "What happened?" No response. Both voices in my head knew the answer, but it finally sank in and turned into determination. Here's what happened: I discovered BTD in 1999, when I was in my 20s and struggling with lots of health problems, including weight. After 4 months of considering it, I gave it a gradual try, with noticeable improvements at each step. I lost weight and felt great. After multiple health problems, I was finally free of sinus infections, low immunity, joint pain, moderate depression, and such. I went on to have 9 years without any need for antibiotics or medications of any kind except thyroid medicine, which I was able to reduce. I felt better as I neared 30 than I had at 19. I lost 35 pounds, then had my first child. I gain a lot of weight during pregnancy, so once my first child was one, I kicked up my compliance and lost 40 pounds, getting thinner than before the pregnancy. I also did the secretor test through the mail and turned out non-secretor. Even though something had gone wrong with the test and I now know I'm a secretor, the non-secretor diet got me off gluten, so it was another great improvement. My oldest was diagnosed with celiac disease at age 2, and though it was too late for me to get all the tests, I'm sure I have it too. So I've been gluten free since then, about 2004. Then I had my second child, and the pregnancy forced me to be very compliant, as I became even more lectin sensitive during that time. From 1999 until the birth of my second child, my body enforced the rules of BTD by getting very ill if I ate avoids or any excess of certain food groups. After 2005, my body relaxed a bit, and I no longer noticed pain or problems after eating wrong. I also discovered a burgeoning gluten free section at every grocery store with lots of yummy gluten free foods, most of which were not BTD compatible. Combine that with stress of raising two children who both were developing some health issues of their own, as well as other life stresses, and I started making bad choices with my food and started yo-yo-ing, more up than down on weight. My motivation was lacking, and I had no solid personal goals to take care of myself. My brain still understood and soaked up info on BTD, but most of the time, my choices didn't follow....for. eight. years. Now I weigh 30 pounds more than I did either other time I started losing weight, so I need to lose 70 pounds. Even though I don't get sick right after eating avoids, I've been sick and tired. On that day 5 days ago, my heart changed and I've been very compliant since then. I've already lost 5 pounds! I don't feel counting calories is a great way to diet, but I have been tracking what I've been eating with the myfitnesspal app. It was good the first few days because my hunger always increases at first. Now I find it is decreasing and I have to make sure I get enough calories to keep my metabolism up. Once I figure all that out, I will probably continue using it as a food diary and I can plan tomorrow's meals by entering them in today, so that works out for planning. As I cleaned out my refrigerator, there were many times I had to ask "REALLY?" and "What was I thinking?" I honestly wonder who bought some of that stuff and where I was when it was bought, but have a vague memory of being the one who bought it and planned to eat it. I have remained gluten free through it all. It is easy to eat wrong while eating gluten free, especially if you like to try every new gluten free product that comes on the market! There is sure a lot more to choose from than there was in [...]

Honest Look at Past Successes and Failures

Sun, 02 Dec 2012 22:25:50 +0000

It's great to have a gluten free Thanksgiving to attend, now that most of my siblings and parents are gluten free, and great cooks. I am thankful for that, but ready to wait another year for another feast like that. After a thorough stuffing for Thanksgiving and never wanting to eat so much heavy food ever again, I've been pondering my past successes and I've had quite a bit of both.

In summary, I discovered BTD in 1999, and lost 36 pounds of unhealthy weight on the basic O diet (as well as losing chronic sinusitus, chronic back and joint pain, panic attacks, and recurrent infections).

I then started a family and gained 40 pounds with my first pregnancy. This was a more healthy weight gain, not full of toxins like my initial weight, and after weaning my baby I lost it all and more before my second pregnancy with the O-nonsecretor diet. Looking back at pictures of myself, I was almost waif-like. I could never be a waif, too much gatherer in me, but this was close.

Same weight gain with my second pregnancy, but more trouble consistently losing it. Life became more hectic with two kids and the economy was not helping. I did get a good start on it once, or twice, or thrice, but always failed to stick it out when the going got tough. I fell into my traps of negative thinking and stress eating, and skipping meals and sometimes not caring...

Now things in my life are far better than I expected and I have no excuse to not take care of myself, plan meals, and avoid cheating. My kids health challenges have improved and they are back in school and liking it. They are old enough that I don't have to be taking care of them every minute of day and night, I can usually get enough sleep. The pieces of the puzzle are all on the table, I just need to put them together.

Well, I have one more puzzle piece to send for, with a salivary secretor test to mail out tomorrow. My blood test said I am a secretor, but my first saliva test said non-secretor. Apparently the saliva test is more accurate, but I'm going to send it in one more time to remove doubt. Where that puts me as genotype, I'm not sure, but I know I can follow any of the genotype diets and my SWAMI doesn't change much either way. I'm actually hoping I'm still a non-secretor because I'm used to it and it works. There are some non-secretor foods I just love.

Here are the things that are common when I am successful, the keys to success:

1. Fresh Lemons... so useful for making healthy drinks and salad dressings and many other recipes. Much more tempting than a bottle of lemon juice.
2. Prepped salad and raw vegetables at the ready (preferably prepared by hand, for better taste, nutrition and because they stay fresh longer)
3. Fruit and other convenient snacks (like portions of nuts or pumpkin seeds that are easy to grab) SeaSnax roasted seaweed is wonderful to have on hand and great for satisfying cravings.
4. Meal Plans
5. Snack Plans
6. Schedule... no skipped meals, regardless of how crazy a day is.
7. A fresh supply of homemade almond milk (or the best version of any milk your type is allowed). This is great for cravings for something creamy, easy to add to tea and whip up in the blender instead of desperately seeking chocolate.

Still Moving. First Traeger meals. Acceptance.

Sat, 20 Oct 2012 19:32:44 +0000

Wow, can't believe how long it has been since I blogged. About the time we started moving into our own place. A happy time, nonetheless, stressful. Not as stressful as moving into a relative's basement two years ago, but despite getting rid of a ton of stuff then, we still have lots of stuff that needed moved again. I still have boxes and boxes to unpack and pictures to hang. Now that my kids are back in school, and happy about to be there, I have a little more time to breath. The beginning of the school year was rocky, as my son still gets sick and tired very easily, but things are stabilizing and improving now. He still goes in for Neuro Modulation Therapy from time to time, and that has accomplished a couple more miracles this month. He used to have no energy to play after school, but now he just keeps playing all day long and is even starting to do chores. They go to a Montessori charter school, where there are really learning to take pride in their work, and that is carrying over to home. I'm so happy about all this that it almost brings me to tears to think about it. (I don't see a crying and smiling emoticon, or I'd put it in here). My compliance hasn't been ideal through all these changes, but it was improved enough to maintain my June losses. Now I'm on fire again, and so is my new Traeger grill/smoker. It was getting hard to figure out what to make for dinner, especially in the protein department, but now it is fun again. I made a delicious London Broil last night (more like a big thick steak), I marinated it in olive oil and ume boshi plum vinegar and seasonings (ok, I'll admit, there was some A1 in there, which isn't ideal, but isn't as terrible as most sauces). I browned both sides, then turned down the heat to smoke (about 200 degrees F), and basted it with the marinade every so often. It took about 2 hours for a 1 1/4 pound cut. It still had some pinkness in the center, and wash quite tender. Even my youngest (an O) loved it, and it it so hard to get him to eat beef. I'll have to repeat that meal. I made salmon burgers for my As. I had more of the steak for breakfast today, with some baby portobello mushrooms and eggs. I've also cooked Alaskan salmon, shrimp, halibut, asparagus, summer squash, red peppers, and all-beef natural hot dogs. They were all better on the Traeger, although I haven't perfected their recipes yet, they still have some room for improvement before I describe them or post the recipes. The halibut was pretty good, but I rushed it and I think it would have benefited from a little more time on the smoke setting. I was having a hard time figuring out what kind of grill to get, Gas grills don't always get the right flavor for me and the flare-ups are a problem, I don't know or want to know what is in charcoal (I know you can buy mesquite charcoal though) and I wanted something easy to light so I'd use it more often. Then I discovered Traegers with their all-natural-wood's easy to light and use like gas, but gives a great flavor, with no chance for flare-ups because the flames don't touch the food (it has a fan to circulate the heat). I got the smallest one because it was about the same price as the gas grills I'd had my eyes on, and it's plenty big considering I don't have to move the food around on the grill to cook it right. (I'm not being paid or given anything by Traeger to write this in my blog, I'm just a normal customer). I'm still doing SWAMI, even though I have yet to re-confirm my secretor status (blood and saliva tests didn't agree, so I'm going to re-do the saliva test). Oddly enough, my SWAMI doesn't change much whatever my secretor status or genotype. A few neutrals I don't care for much anyway will come and go, but I will re-confirm that and get it all finalized soon. So it's kind of a type O thing, with very little dairy, no sugar, and of course, no gluten. I've done BTD long enough that I know in my heart what foods are good for me individually, as long as I avoid the junk[...]

Red and Black Ants on a Log

Sat, 30 Jun 2012 18:26:10 +0000

Today I finally found some macadamia butter, with no cashews (why did they start adding cashews to all nut butters?). I was very excited to try it until I realized I had no crackers without rice in them (rice and I no longer get along). Time to get creative.

I'd never tried Ants On A Log, celery sticks typically spread with peanut butter and topped with raisins. It always sounded weird, but I had celery sticks I had prepared while my breakfast cooked, so I decided to try it. So spread some macadamia butter on celery sticks and then top with raisins and/or dried cranberries. It was delightfully good... It's got crunch, it's got creaminess, it's got sweetness. More satisfyingthan a twix bar (not that I have those bright in my memory, I didn't fall that far off the wagon!).

I'm sure it would be good with almond butter and other dried fruits like goji berries or dried blueberries.

Sometime I must make crackers out of almonds or amaranth or quinoa...but celery is nice too.

Just Doing What Works, 2 week report

Thu, 28 Jun 2012 22:31:25 +0000

I am happy to report at the end of my second week of true compliance and determination, that I have lost 5 pounds. Granted, I have a good deal more to lose, so this is just a small portion of the goal, but I am thrilled nonetheless. I could lose 50-70 pounds to be my healthy weight (depending on muscle mass from martial arts training, which I intend to also resume in earnest in the fall).

I smiled when I learned the dates of the next IfHI conference, just a few days before my 1 Year Reveal Day... That's the day I will do a full report including before and after photos. Fine timing, I think. I won't have my black belt yet, which is sad, but I'll be closer to it, and I will be the example of health that I know I should be. I didn't go to the last conference mainly because I couldn't afford it, but also because I was too embarrassed by my obvious lack of compliance.

In the past two weeks I've only had sugar twice, once because a stevia sweetened drink also had sugar and I didn't read the ingredients (I needed some green tea caffeine to drive home late, so I grabbed it too fast). The other was when I took my boys to the mall and they got See's Chocolate. I got myself one piece of dark chocolate covered candied ginger, and didn't like how sweet it was. Tastes sure can change with compliance!

I'm a bit up in the air on exactly "what" I am, as a blood test for secretor type said I am a secretor. So I am redoing the salivary secretor test, as I've read in a few places that it is more accurate, but perhaps the first result needs confirmed. For now I am just doing what works...which is mainly an O non-secretor blood type diet. I know the difference it made to switch from secretor to non-secretor, although genotype diet would make many of the same changes for me that that switch did, as I'd probably be a hunter, which is very similar to O-nonsecretor.

When I got the blood result and the clinic said that's what they go by, I happily jumped into some hunter and secretor foods that I couldn't have before. I came back to just enjoying my O-nonnie diet however. If my salivary test says I'm a secretor then I'll change up a few things, but I missed pinto beans more than I loved garbanzo beans, so I guess you could say I'm happy either way. Sometimes when you've tried a few things, you can follow your gut instinct to know what is right... when genotype diet gave me a bunch of dairy, I knew that wouldn't sit right. Then I got the SWAMI and it knew that fact as well, whatever secretor or genotype I come out as, I still get little to no dairy, just a limited amount of sheep milk cheeses.

So I've been every type an O can be, and in the end I'm just me. A more enlightened and healthy me, but still an individual. You can bet I'll be waiting excitedly for the "final result" to come in, though.

It's not a Treat if it's not Healthy (pizza and gingerale revisited)

Thu, 21 Jun 2012 19:54:02 +0000

I had mentioned that compliance was a bit harder for a couple days, but I've done pretty well anyway. Part of the problem is that apparently I have a rice allergy. I rarely eat rice lately (this week), but I did once and got a little sick the next day. Then I had a UNI bar, which are lovely, if you're not allergic to rice...a great meal replacement for those times when you forget to eat a meal... but they have rice protein in them, and I got sick. Something about getting sick, is it really weakens me and my resolve, so I did have a square of ghiradelli to "rebuild my strength" LOL. That doesn't work, but I did manage to not have any more. White rice doesn't bother me as much as brown, but I've sworn off refined carbs, so quinoa is it now.

After that, I have felt a need a few times for a "treat" but I have realized and kept telling myself that it's not a "treat" if it's not healthy. So last night I made pizza, and for my crust I went the grain free route. It did have a little sheep milk dairy, which seems to agree with my hunter-ish body. So it was 1/2 cup pecorino romano, 2 eggs, and 1 cup flax meal, a little garlic salt, oregano and basil. Pre-cook in 350 degrees for 8 minutes, top and cook another 15 minutes. It did the job. I topped it with mostly vegetables, some pecorino romano and sheepsmilk feta, and some fresh slices of tomato. It was filling and good, and didn't make me sick (even with all that fiber).

So that was a lovely treat. Another treat was homemade gingerale. So I bought one of those sodastream machines, so I don't have to keep lugging cases of pellegrino. With it, I carbonate filtered water to drink plain or mix with whatever. I've blogged before about making gingerale, but basically I grate up fresh ginger and boil it in water, then filter the ginger out, add honey or agave, and add to sparkling water to taste. That has been a good occasional treat. I try to keep the sweeteners very occasional, but when it helps me avoid worse stuff, it's worth it. I still keep my green tea unsweetened, especially early in the day as anything sweet early in the day starts my cravings swinging.

Breakfast Routine

Wed, 20 Jun 2012 02:30:25 +0000

Breakfast is my favorite meal, and the easiest for an O like myself to make compliant and grain free.

Basically it is different variations on spinach and eggs. Usually I have some onions and sweet peppers on hand, so I saute those first in some olive oil, throw in any other vegetable that needs softened up, then add some fresh spinach leaves. Then add eggs, salt, red pepper flakes if desired, and stir until done. Throw in leftover meat from dinner too! If you want more flavor, try a tiny sprinkle of toasted sesame oil and umi plum vinegar.

If eggs aren't an option, or if you are out of eggs, instead add broth and turn it into a soup. A bit of seaweed is a nice addition, as soups like this are a standard breakfast in Japan.

Yesterday was a harder day to be compliant, not sure exactly why other than busyness and a few small things not going as planned. I remained determined and kept up 95% compliance. That was hard, but not as hard as getting back on track later.

Still burning

Sat, 16 Jun 2012 07:01:46 +0000

Is this too easy? I expected it to be harder. I guess previous experience/success, optimism about life, and a stubborn determination are working well for me.

3 days of 99% compliance: lots of veggies and beneficials, as much meat as I like (which isn't too much, probably the minimum for an O) and no big bad avoids. I was planning to have some grains, but haven't felt the need. If I ever feel like it, I'll make some rice pudding with brown rice and almond milk. After a meal full of veggies, sweet potato, and beef, I'm not craving anything. Wow. I love breakthroughs like that...sometimes things just come together.

I've lost one pound, many to go, but I'm thrilled to see progress in the right direction. I still need to get some superfoods from my favorite health food store, but the fresh veggie snacks I've cut up and put in the fridge have been a useful tool on busy days.

Ok, I do have one craving... seaweed! I think I have some, so I'll go "indulge".