Thursday, April 5, 2012

Grain-Free Day 5: Oh, the headaches!

As I mentioned previously, I gave myself the challenge of going grain-free for 30 days.  All grains, flour, oats, rice, pasta, bread, etc were to be replaced with lean meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and healthy oils. 

Honestly, I didn't think this would be too much of a challenge.  I typically consumed complex carbohydrates at breakfast and with my post-workout drink.  Occasionally pizza, pasta (accompanied by a protein source), or rice would make a special appearance at dinner.  The rest of my meals usually consist of protein and vegetables and/or fruit.

What have I been eating since April 1st?  Pretty much the same as before.  Except breakfast has changed to 1.5 all-natural chicken sausages with a handful of almonds or a cup of 2% cottage cheese topped with 1/4 cup of sliced strawberries and 2-3 tbsp of chopped pecans.  Post-workout I've been having a scoop of whey protein mixed with water and an apple and banana.  A piece of baked salmon topped with pecans and a boatload of roasted vegetables (Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and asparagus tossed in olive oil) or pecan-crusted chicken breast with baked sweet potatoes and asparagus have been making delicious dinners.

Baked pecan salmon and roasted veggies

On Day 1 of my challenge I attended a baby shower which I was anticipating to be a "sink or swim" moment.  As I waited for my table to be called to the brunch buffet, I saw people coming back with stacks of french toast drenched in thick syrup and pastries piled high enough to require a careful balancing act.  I was sweating figuring I was about to go hungry for the next couple hours.  Fortunately it wasn't a challenge at all.  Scrambled eggs, a couple pieces of bacon, a small scoop of potatoes, and a mound of fresh fruit were very satisfying.  The only thing I had to skip was the cake.  I lived.

There have been no noticeable changes in my energy level or sleeping patterns.  The first three days I've struggled with a dull headache that makes its appearance around 1 or 2 o'clock in the afternoon.  Did I mention I also gave up coffee a week ago?  I couldn't accurately say whether my headaches are attributed to wheat withdraw or lack of caffeine or a combination of both.  I can say with 95 percent confidence interval I've had better ideas than trying to do both at the same time.

Right around the time my daily headache strikes, I get hungry.  And I have some intense cravings for dessert.  If you are not chocolate or Tylenol, stay out of my way.  While I eliminated grains, I haven't increased my normal protein portion sizes.  The unintentional calorie deficit is most likely the cause of hunger so I will make a point to pack larger pieces of chicken, fish, etc.  A lovely friend/client of mine saved the day by sending me this Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe which will no doubt be the answer to my angry sweet tooth.  These will be in my oven ASAP.

Week 1 is almost done!  Stay tuned as I try to successfully navigate the weekend and Easter grain-free.

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