Okay, so I knew this road was going to be a long one. After reading countless articles, forum posts, and testimonials that were often scary, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but on the whole, informative. I found the general consensus to be that you should expect it to take a few years, if you’re lucky – a few months.
Naively starting out believing that my main concern was a Candida over growth, a move was gradually made to SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and as it stands now, a parasitic infection of some kind. Indeed, I was led astray for far too long following the Candida Albicans band wagon. The huge following that candidiasis has is somewhat irrational and confusing. It appears to me that the diet purported to be designed specifically for getting your candida overgrowth under control is not the best one – even if you have an out of control yeast problem. Denying yourself of any type of sugar, refined or natural puts you at a distinct disadvantage when trying to rid yourself of the underlying cause of your gut problems, which to my mind is more than likely – parasites. I obviously agree that refined sugar should be avoided, but some of the best anti-parasitic compounds are found in certain types of fruit.
I realise now, the best diet for me is the Paleo diet. Although, some aspects of a strict Paleo diet are difficult to follow. For instance, grass fed meat is hard to find, and when you do, expensive. I try to alternate my meat intake as much as I can, eating different meats of varying quality. It’s probably not the best, but you have to do what you can with what you can get. It’s fine all these diet Guru’s saying you must eat this, and you mustn’t eat that, but it’s so difficult. Saying this though, I probably do better than most, as I am lucky enough to work from home, so therefore, can cook all my own meals, and as an added bonus I also really enjoy cooking. In fact, I seem to be enjoying cooking far more with this restricted diet, than I ever did before. I remember cooking pasta bake at least once a week along with other boring pasta dishes, roast chicken with veg, and dreaded Bisto to name just a few rubbish meals. I did not realise the harm my simple diet was doing to me. I now create a roast chicken dish, that is far superior to what I had before. I slow roast the chicken with onions, carrots, sometimes with garlic, and herbs. I make a gravy from the juices – it’s far more nutritious, easier to digest, and so much better tasting.
These days, I experiment a lot more with herbs and spices. I make a lot of slow cooked meals, using home made stock as a base. At one point I thought I might have to give up onions, as I used to get quite burpy after an onion based meal - especially if they weren’t cooked very well. I started taking enzymes and HCL with every meal, and made sure the onions were really well cooked, so they no longer present me with problems. It’s a good thing, as I don’t really mind giving up bread, and pasta, but to forsake onions, or even tomatoes would be really hard. I have also given up potatoes, and rice, neither of these bothered me either. It just makes it extremely difficult when going to restaurants.
I have made mistakes - it’s so easy to do. One recent mishap that no doubt set me back, was making a cake using Almond flour. I had read how Almond flour is the grain replacement of choice if you want to be strct with your Paleo diet.
I do like to make, and eat cakes – even though I shouldn’t -and to justify this to myself, I am working on sugar free versions. So, after making several cakes mainly to please my wife – using Teff flour, and seemingly doing okay with that, I decided to try something different. About 3a.m I awoke to a terrible gut wrenching ache, I quickly realised this must have been from the slice of Almond flour cake I ate that evening. Bizarrely, I can eat raw Almonds, and suffer no ill effects (after I have soaked, and dehydrated them of course). I suspect it was because the Almond flour came from a packet, and from what I understand, the manufacturers neither soak them, or inhibit mould growth effectively. So, either the mould, or one of the compounds that make up the nut caused me a problem. I have an idea to soak the flour over night before baking to see whether that makes a difference. I always soak Teff, and Gram flours for at least 24 hours before cooking.
Another difficult aspect of a healing diet is the ratio of Omega 3′s, and Omega 6′s. I think this is the hardest aspect to get right. Omega 3 is the better fat to eat – but the hardest to find. It is found in grass fed animals, wild fish, and free range eggs. Incidentally, most nuts are high in Omega 6, but Walnuts are high in Omega 3 polyunsaturated fats. Of all the meats, I believe Lamb is the easiest to find as a grass fed food. I eat lamb, perhaps once a week, and usually in a curry.
Chicken is probably my biggest downfall, even though I try only to buy free range, or organic. These aren’t easy to obtain, so invariably, I eat Omega 6 meat. As chicken is easy to cook with, is cheap, and my favourite meat I eat a lot, perhaps three times a week. I have heard that you can get an Omega 3 chicken, but I do not know where from, and the cost would no doubt be prohibitive.
Mackerel is a favourite fish of mine, and I eat this at least twice a week. If I cannot get any fresh, then I will eat tinned Mackerel, or Sardines.
I eat far too much butter, I use it for cooking everything – it’s great for frying, adding substance to soups, slow cooked meals, basting a chicken etc. I use it in cakes, and gram flour flat breads. My favourite is Kerrygold, as it’s made from the milk of grass fed cows. So, at least this fat should be Omega 3.