Dairy Allergy Confirmed

This past week has been the reintegration week. I didn’t go about it with any particular plan…I just let certain items back into my diet and listened to my body. After inhaling all those cheddar rice crackers the other day, my stomach hurt all night; but I wasn’t able to pinpoint which one of the ingredients caused it (besides the plain gluttony of the act, which helped me see that I still have some food work to do emotionally).

But last night, I finished Les’ Chipotle from the other night for dinner. He’s an extra cheese and sour cream guy….and then he comes home and throws more of both on there. It was delicious, and it gave me a sore throat that I went to sleep with. This morning, I woke up with no sore throat, and a firm belief that my dairy allergy never left my body.

So. I’ll stick with 365 almond milk for now, making ghee for cooking, and if I really need cheese, like on tonight’s homemade pizza, I’m trying out Daiya’s brand “cheese” for now.


This week will be spent working to get back to Paleo. Really, I’ll be getting back to Whole 30, but since this is a lifestyle now, not a reboot, I should just call it Paleo…..the main difference between the two appears to be white potatoes. I could give a crap about looking like an authentic Paleo person; I’m just an Irish girl trying to get healthy and for me, that’s going to include potatoes.

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Whole 30 reintroduction is one of the more fascinating processes I’ve ever undertaken.

I’m trying “bad” foods here and there this week, while keeping an eagle eye on the scale. Today I indulged in an egg and sausage sandwich on a store-bought roll. Experienced tummy twinges, the lightest of phantom headaches, and my left eye went itchy. My left eye is prone to allergic reactions (it goes absolutely insane in the Spring now, so there’s something in the air here). Noticing that now, when it’s been in remission, so to speak, was telling.

I’m researching einkorn and sprouted flours, and I’ll be investigating sourdough and Weston A Price dietary guidelines in the coming weeks, as well as playing around with some GF recipes. I’d love to keep wheat in my diet, but it’s going to be the right kind of wheat. I’m staying off dairy for now.

I LOVE that I’m not craving sweets as much. I’ve been indulging in a Green & Black’s Dark 70% that’s suiting my needs just fine, and I still haven’t added sugar back into my coffee. I actually prefer it black-light (almond milk) now. That alone is a little mind-blowing.

These are all such small, simple changes that may not seem like much to the layperson. But as I navigate these uncertain post-Whole30 waters, the AHA moments are making me giddy, so I’ll record them here.

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Recognition and Illumination

attachment.ashxDay 31! Relief, satisfaction, serious pride. Rewarded self with Farmburger. Regular bun, just onions and cheese, but they went light on the cheese, so no reaction. Next time I’ll spring for a GF bun, because they appear to use a good brand.

Day 32! Chipotle day! Got my usual, because I’ve always been kinda go-big-or-go-home where Chipotle is concerned. That means a burrito bowl with brown rice, black beans, chicken, medium salsa, sour cream, and cheese, with chips for utensils. If that sounds like a lot, believe me, it is. I got halfway through it and knew I’d be saving the rest. Went to bed satisfied, a little bloaty.

Day 33: Finish the Chipotle, snack more than I need to that day, eat corn at dinner. Plow thru a box (yes, a box, because the emotional end of things still needs a helluva lot of work apparently) of Back to Nature White Cheddar Rice Thins. Go to bed with a sore tummy that sticks around all night. Sleep like crap, wake up early knowing I don’t have the patience to go back to sleep with my tummy still hurting. Down a quart of bone broth for breakfast on Day 34, which helps, and some half-black, half-detox tea. Assess.

Two things about me:

1) I don’t learn lessons easily. I slam my head into a wall repeatedly first.

2) I’ve lived my whole life thinking I have the stomach of a goat.

This is where I realize that my “New Normal” truly needs to become a New Normal. That I’m sensitive to dairy and some grains. That the protein in legumes isn’t worth the hormonal fluctuations and bloat. That I like the way I was eating on Whole 30 SO MUCH BETTER, because of how it makes me feel.

The sad thing is the dairy should be a no-brainer. I was allergic as a kid. What changed? I recognize now that NOTHING DID. I’ve likely still had varied symptoms, thanks to dairy, my whole life; but my tolerance for those symptoms changed. I convinced myself that it was fine, because I love me some cheese, ice cream, and a tall glass of cow’s milk. And I blamed any stuffyheadedness, coughs, or intestinal distress on other factors: sick office, city living, fast food…..

So. I’m back on track. I’m letting some sugars back in, mainly for an occasional mug of chai. Otherwise, I’m back to teaching myself to make my own salad dressings, getting serious about making my own ketchup and worchestershire, and adjusting the Whole 30 regimen to suit my New Normal. I may not ever be a full-blown Paleo goddess, grabbing some liver before a workout with cauliflower rice on the side. But I know what makes me feel good, and it’s not the old way of eating. Stay tuned!

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The New Normal

Today’s Day 27. Three days from free.

Some things of note…..

We got up early today (Saturday), which is normal on a payday weekend. The North Asheville Tailgate Market showcases dozens of vendors, mostly local farmers. It’s utopia. The best lettuce and blueberries I’ve ever tasted in my life have come from that market. We loaded up on fresh eggs, sausage, and veggies, and headed home for a decent breakfast. I made coffee, we worked together in the kitchen rustling up brunch, and I kept exclaiming how it wasn’t normal to feel as good as I do. To wake up clear-headed and not moody. To be so energized. It’s positively foreign.

When you’ve been heavy as long as I have (15ish years, but who’s counting…), you get terribly used to not feeling great. Your joints rage, you’re headachy constantly, tired all the time, brain foggy, overfull….there’s an embarrassing host of symptoms that you get used to ignoring, while wishing things could be different. I’d go to sleep full, looking forward to the morning when things would be different “this time.” Only of course, I’d start the cycle all over again the next day. Ad infinitum.

Except it isn’t. After about the third time of me exclaiming how it wasn’t normal for me to feel this great, Les said, “don’t think of it that way. It’s not abnormal…..it’s your new normal.”

He’s kind of smart sometimes :)


I spent an hour in Walmart today, buying basics. We hate Walmart, but can’t help shopping there still for some stuff; the prices are too good. Being surrounded by large people addicted to the American food industry’s idea of food helps keep the cravings at bay, that’s for sure. But let’s be honest…I’ve been eating crap since I was 14 years old, and those feelings aren’t going to go away overnight.

I sighed quite a few times as I passed displays of Krispy Kremes and the cookie and candy aisles. I miss pizza and bread. It’s really fascinating actually, to walk down all those aisles and recognize how little actual food is present. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to do the easy thing: grab a bag of pizza rolls and chase it with a pint of Haagen Daz.

Instead I went down the road to Ingles, where they actually offer some real food. I grabbed a package of organic chiicken breasts to put on top of a large salad tonight. The Whole 30 cookbook has a foolproof and fast recipe for seared breasts, which I cooked in bacon grease for added flavor. It was delicious and satisfying, and I found I was patting myself on the back yet again. This lifestyle isn’t hard. It’s just more work. There’s a difference.


I did break protocol on Friday for a very good reason that I’m not sorry for, and I’m damn sure not starting over because of it. Living up here has been amazing for both of us. The culture up here is quite hippie-esque; people live more holistically, homeopathic remedies for all manner of maladies abound, and our attendance at the Mother Earth News Fairs has given us a wealth of knowledge about herbalism. Les, so far, makes his own tincture (a triple E formula of Echinacea, Elderberry, and Elderflower steeped in quality vodka), liniment for aches and pains, and a Neosporin™ substitute that we affectionately call Boo Boo Goop.

You’re not supposed to drink alcohol on Whole 30, but I woke up Friday with a sore tonsil. I spent my 30s getting tonsilitis quite a bit, so I was well-aware of what was going on. The soreness was localized to my left tonsil, but my sinuses sit right on my jawlines, so the pain was starting to radiate up to my left ear too. I wasn’t about to let that nonsense flourish just because I’m on Whole 30. I shot Les’ tincture about 6 times (eye dropper doses), and followed it up with chicken bone broth for dinner and a pot of echinacea tea. Woke up Saturday symptom-free. Booyah!

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Well, it’s taken 3 whole weeks for the emotional end of things to start up. I really thought I’d detox harder from the sugar, but being able to tolerate, even enjoy, my coffee black-light (with almond milk) has been a godsend. I miss chocolate and bread like the dickens sometimes, but for the most part, I’m feeling so much better and looking forward to some weight loss, that it makes my eating decisions pretty easy.

That said, yesterday was interesting. I spend the day chatting with my Lil Sis via IM; for the both of us, it’s a boredom alleviator and means to boost sanity. She’s been under the weather and was dipping her toes back into real food with lunch at Panera. We lived, and I worked, 5 minutes from Paneras in Jacksonville, and even though the selection can be uninspiring at times, it was great for fast, light meals (their chicken and wild rice soup is scrumptious!) or a bagel fix. (Yes, Yankees, I know those aren’t real bagels…..hey, you take ’em where you can get ’em!)

So I start thinking about their bagels….asiago with cream cheese, cinnamon crunch, chocolate chip, that damn honey walnut cream cheese…..their bear claws…….

We have a Panera in Asheville, but thankfully it is far enough away from Weaverville (and as I’ve implied, we were never too knocked out over their menu), that we haven’t darkened the doorstep of the place since moving. So I haven’t hit up a Panera in going-on 3 years, and suddenly the lack of bagels and cream cheese from that establishment in my life was a sore spot. From sinking your teeth into the bagel, to the rich flavor of the cream cheese……I’ve always been a lover of bread, and I could seriously wax romantic or nostalgic or something over the damn things. I was raised by Yankees, whose idea of a nice side at breakfast on the weekends was a New York hard roll with butter. Really haven’t found its equal since crossing the Mason-Dixon line.

So dinnertime rolls around and I make a bunch of roasted potatoes to go with the salmon and inhale too many of them. I wasn’t uncomfortable, but I could tell I’d eaten til I was full, something that I barely experience anymore. I woke up still feeling it a bit, and I’m thinking of sticking to bone broth til dinner, to reset my system a bit. I grabbed my morning banana with my coffee, and it’s doing the trick for now.

I’m recognizing that not much is going to change when I get to Day 31. I shouldn’t have to eliminate items like that from my diet forever, but until I’ve lost the weight and gotten myself to a point of health that I and my doctors are happy with, there really shouldn’t be any “special occasions” either. Sure, I won’t torture myself with deprivation, but I’m recognizing that that reintegration process that Dallas and Melissa talk about in Whole 30, where you reintroduce a particular food after 30 days and see how your body reacts, doesn’t even need to really happen in the near future, because I’m well-aware already of how these foods affect me. That dairy will make me phlegmy, sneak into my sinuses, cause me to clear my throat more, and perk up the inflammation. That sweets or too many carbs make my joints and pancreas angry. I do NOT want to go back there, and I’ve still got a lot of work to do.

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Day 20-freakin’-2!

I’m a little blown away by the fact that I’m still at it, and how good I feel.

I go in for fasting glucose labs tomorrow, can’t wait to see that number.

I need to start getting creative with the Paleo recipes though. Last week was hard and devoid of variety. I rely too heavily on potatoes. I’m tired of eggs, and then I’m not. I don’t eat enough veggies still, but my fruit intake is good.

The good news is how even though I’m in the home stretch, my mind isn’t drifting to the giant slice of chocolate cake I’ll have on day 31. I want to lose weight. That’s always been the ultimate goal, to drop a chunk of this excess weight and have better health follow. So I won’t be indulging much beyond Chipotle when I’m past day 30, and I know now that I can make a burrito bowl easily last for 2 meals (heck, maybe even 3, given the amount of grains, beans, and dairy in my average bowl). I’ve been off all three for 3 weeks now, and I can tell the weight is falling off. It’s delicious.

What I will do after day 30 is experiment a bit more with some of the GF recipes, like Danielle’s Walker’s bread. I have a feeling I’ll decide it’s not worth the effort when a small salad makes a better side, but I want to check them out. My experiments with almond and coconut flour so far have been less than stellar. Bob’s Red Mill doesn’t grind the almond flour fine enough, and the coconut flour is just bland…I see now why Danielle just uses shredded coconut instead sometimes; the flavor’s better. But I won’t let those recipes become a crutch; I’ve come too far.

The sad side effect of all this health is some serious self-righteousness about food. The MIL was recently diagnosed diabetic, and is trying to get a handle on her numbers. But she still eats way too much processed food, dumps hazelnut creamer in her coffee, and is now a slave to diet drinks. She came up 4th of July weekend, and I spent that time wanting desperately to school her on everything she’s doing wrong, but she was also in serious self-pity mode about her life, so I knew nothing would have sunk in. I know full-well you can’t shove anyone into health; I spent the better part of 45 years making excuses. But now that I’m on the other side (and I really am!!!), when I hear someone else make excuses, I hear them for the bullshit they are and want to sit that person down and show them what they’re doing wrong and why. Either that or shake them really hard. My bullshit tolerance has always been pretty low.

I get that I live in frickin’ utopia where fresh, local food is concerned. I cooked a pot roast yesterday, a gorgeous eye of round roast that I know was from beef that was grass-fed AND finished about 30 miles from where I live. That’s some serious goodness. Tailgate market season keeps me in fresh veggies (when I can afford it), and we have 2 Whole Foods in Asheville (plus 2 Earth Fare’s and a Co-Op). Yes, I know Whole Foods has been getting dinged lately for high prices, but I’m a discerning shopper…if I know Ingles will have it cheaper, I go there. They manage a nice selection of organics, enough to keep me from begrudging that the new Publix is too far away to be a viable grocery source for us.

But now that I know it’s possible to find these things, I wonder why more people don’t. The MIL lives in a small town without access to Whole Foods, but I bet they have one in Columbia, about 45 minutes away. She lives smack in farm country, where farmer’s markets and stands must be prevalent if you know where to look. The problem is she also lives 5 minutes from a Walmart. So I get that it’s about choice. When you realize you can no longer suck at the tit of the American Food Industry, you make different choices. It’s more expensive, yes; but the benefits make it the easiest money you’ll spend.

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One Week In

Day 8:

I’m not sure where this strength is coming from, but I’m not questioning it, just continuing to ride it. I have a meal plan on the fridge, good food in the fridge, and when I think about eating bad food, the desire just isn’t there, because I weigh it against how good I’m feeling now and realize it’s not worth it.

I was rereading portions of Whole 30 last night about how it’s affecting my body, how I might be feeling. Power of suggestion being what it is, I then dreamed that I ate an entire Bit O’ Honey and it caused such brain fog that I was dropping the ball left and right (I was also friends with all the ladies from Sex and the City, and a bridesmaid for Charlotte’s wedding, but that’s not important). I woke up feeling guilty when I had no reason to be, which then made me feel relieved that I’m still sticking with it.

My body feels so different, I can’t imagine backsliding. When I think about the lack of nutritional value in the foods I was eating, it’s a no-brainer. I’m skipping a meal here and there, usually breakfast, because it’s pretty easy to get burned out on eggs; but I supplement with protein/fruit snacks; and my portion size has gone down too. When I think about treating myself to Chipotle after this month is over, all I can think is how one burrito bowl finally would be 2 servings.

My inflammation is down, I haven’t been overfull in over a week, and it. feels. amazing!

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Day 4


I’m still in a honeymoon period. Basically Leo-at-the-front-of-the-ship-King-of-the-World-awesome right now. It’s borderline unnerving. I’m supposed to feel like crap. I probably will feel like crap, get moody, etc., in the coming weeks. Waiting for it to happen blows. That’s sounds negative, but I like to be ready.

My normal regimen was:

Breakfast: Coffee with cow’s milk and sugar, whatever’s easy for breakfast….homemade waffles, entenmann’s donuts, the occasional egg sandwich (telling myself it’s OK because the bread’s homemade…white, but homemade)

Snacks: chips, cookies, candy, garbage

Lunch: Sandwich of some kind

Snacks: chips, cookies, candy, garbage

Dinner: Sandwiches again if we’re not trying hard that week, AVL’s version of fast food if we’re really lazy (complete with fries); the occasional sit-down meal with too much butter, no green veggies

TV time: grazing with above snacks until bedtime, and then wondering why I get up to pee 4 times at night (pancreas on overdrive)

I’m in my mid-40s and eat like I’m back in college. Pretty sure good genetics are the only thing that kept me from going full-blown diabetic, thank the gods. But I weigh 260 and I’m 5’8″. Change had to occur.


I spent last weekend planning and stocking, and jumped in on Monday. There’s a meal plan on the fridge, and while I’m not following it to the letter by any means, it has proven an excellent resource, because it reminds me of all the good meal ideas that are available at arms reach.

Cravings are low still, and that’s remarkable. It allowed me to bake cookies for my husband the other night without snitching a single chip or spoon of batter (usually I sample batter and kill half a dozen cookies after baking). That alone makes me think my brain has been temporarily taken over by alien visitors. Work has been spotty this week; there are times when the queues are empty, so yesterday I went for a walk. Today, when the queues went dry, I went for a walk AGAIN. It’s crazypants!

This all sounds like, whatever, probably to the average person, but for a fatty who works at a computer all day, exercise isn’t something that gets penciled in normally. Instead our joints deteriorate and we whine about being in pain, but we don’t do anything about it. I’m pretty sure I’m an athlete trapped in an uncoordinated, fat-persons’ body. It’s what causes me to think my body can do more than it actually does, so I do stupid things, like hike 5 miles in one shot, and then wonder why my arthritis flares up so badly the next 4 days that I can barely walk.

This regimen has adjusted my thinking. Yesterday I walked 30 minutes, and today, the same. No more than that. Would’ve been stupid in this heat anyway. The heat’s never as bad as that ridiculous excuse of a state where I’m from (FL)…today was 85ish with only 34% humidity, so even when you’re standing in direct sunlight, if you’re a former Floridian, you’re thinking, huh, this ain’t so bad. Nice to have perspective. But my point is that in the past, I would have pushed myself more, since I was out there feeling SO DAMN GOOD, but since I have plenty of work ahead of me tonight, and would like to be able to move later and tomorrow and not fall asleep while working, I stopped at 30 minutes and patted myself on the back.

My joints are soreish from the walking, but I haven’t woken up in pain for the last 2 days, and haven’t taken Advil since Monday. I overslept today, but am not kicking myself, figure I need whatever I can get while my body’s adjusting. The real test will be next weekend, when we have visitors and my stress level climbs. Interesting thing is that my mental speaking is even changing right now. It’s not “if” i finish Whole 30, it’s “when”……and there’s no damn way I’m going back to the old way of eating after I reboot. Sweets will be for special occasions, not daily occurances. I’m over killing myself with food!

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I’m buying an ice cream maker

Yea, I know, that shouldn’t be a priority going into a fresh weight loss regimen. I’m just recognizing how much I don’t want to be dependent on the industrial food machine anymore. It’s going to take years to get anywhere near Ben Hewitt’s level of independence. But recent news stories have me sufficiently freaked out to recognize that his family’s way of living ain’t nearly as nutty as it seems to the average city folk.

I’m hashing this out really off the top of my head, and I’ll expound on it more in the coming weeks and over at Dark Meadow. But this is coming from a couple of places.

1. The recognition that the only way I’m going to lose weight is to get off all processed food, save a few rare exceptions.

2. The recognition that I don’t want to rely on the industrial machine in the off-seasons. That’s what greenhouses are for, and home food preparation and processing, and …

3. The recognition that the industrial machine, at times, doesn’t know what the hell it’s doing, at the expense of people’s health and lives.

Have you SEEN the Blue Bell story? What started as a voluntary recall for a listeria scare, is STILL a voluntary recall…..but the CDC has evidence the listeria scare actually started in 2010.

5. Years. Ago.

I’m not sure I have further words yet regarding that illumination. I’m too horrified. Especially since my husband likes their mint chocolate chip.

Then there’s the statistic that while Asheville is definitely ahead of the curve for local food production, that up to 70% of our produce still comes from California and Florida. I totally get that, because it’s the way the American food system works, until you get a good look at the food waste that we produce and put it next to the people starving in other countries. Then we’re just bloviated idiots.

So the Blue Bell thing got me thinking about how we need an ice cream maker, so that that’s one less thing to give money to in the grocery store, until I remembered that I’d still be buying the industrially processed milk to create said ice cream…and now a milk cow is back in play for the someday farm. Preferably a Devon, because they’re smaller than average.

Why aren’t more people thinking this way? Why did the Industrial Revolution create a society of lazy fucks?

I think it was Barbara Pleasant at the Mother Earth News Fair, who mentioned a study recently concluded by Ithaca College that showed that there were 3.1 million acres of abandoned farmland in New York State. This land is likely half-forest again and only getting thicker with time, as it’s truly been abandoned … where people may have owned parcels, but failed to thrive on them, gave up, and moved. My mind sprang to the Little House on the Prairie books and the fact that that wasn’t an option back then; the options were thrive or starve. And starve some did, and that’s preventable now, but that prevention has made us a less strong people in my opinion, less willing to “make do” when there are more comfortable options out there.

Sure, I’m being unfair. It’s easy to judge when we live comfortably. But it doesn’t change that I’d give anything for a couple acres of that land for me and Les. We could map out how to clear a parcel for a house in the good seasons, rent a backhoe and some other equipment, and go to town. Money is possible to acquire, and age ain’t nothing but a number.

When I was in my early teens, we lived on a 7 acre parcel that Dad spent many a weekend clearing of brush, and I’d beg off out of laziness, saying I had too much homework. In reality, I was a teenage female who couldn’t be bothered with that level of manual labor. The fact that I crave it now is a rather bone-jarring irony.


So I discovered Sprouted Kitchen and their lovely recipe page, and I’ll be jumping back on the almost-Paleo wagon by May 1st. Still have to hash out specifics, so that’s all I’ll say about that here for now.

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The levels to which I avoid change may border on the pathological. Where food is concerned, anyway…

Went to the doc and he recommended a detox, based on Paleo/Dr. Hyman’s work basically. I responded initially by trying lactose-free milk to see if I could drink that in spite of my refound allergy, never mind that it runs 12 g of sugar per serving. Never mind that that’s only half my problem, because I also drink my coffee with sugar. Never mind that I’ve been drinking sweet tea again, and eating desserts daily. My singularity of focus needs to adjust as well apparently.

The upshot is my allergy ain’t from lactose. I’ve been drinking Lactaid for a week now, and I woke up with a fresh allergy flareup in my left eye. I’ve been mainlining it, along with butter still lately, and shouldn’t be surprised. In this game, I fear, I’m going to find precious few short cuts. I get that that is as it should be. Doesn’t make it any easier.

I’m a very large chicken about detoxing. Giving up sugar, dairy, and caffeine at the same time feels nearly insurmountable. Yes, I know, nice attitude. I’ve got a schedule to keep here…how in the world am I going to get sites done if I’m in a perpetual state of miserably bitchy and half-asleep???

Um, Melanie, you do realize that would only last like, a week, and then you’d feel better, right?


So. I’m going back to almond milk, just leaning on the cheapest, cleanest store-bought version for now, because even that won’t be sticking around long. Since it doesn’t taste the same as milk in my coffee AT. ALL., I’ll be weaning rather quickly next week. I go back to the doc at the beginning of February for yearly labs and a check-in, and I intend to be well on my way to health by then.

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