why did I try it?
After getting diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, I needed to take medication every day. At the time it was about $50 a month for that prescription. Needing other prescriptions at times but mainly just the one. The new year came and we got new insurance and it was terrible. We weren’t anticipating me needing to address the UC again as we hadn’t really yet fully understood the disease. We had more of a catastrophic plan, for healthy people… not people with an Auto Immune Disease. My medication jumped from $50 a month to $300 a month and that was the cheapest we could find; some pharmacies were charging $900. We used Good RX coupons instead but we were really eager to give a drastic diet a try and see what kind of health benefits we would see and had a glimmer of hope that it would heal me and I wouldn’t need medication anymore. I know… we had high hopes!
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how did I start?
I was in the midst of a really bad flare up. I was having a lack of appetite and nausea and oddly wasn’t even able to eat any of my comfort foods. So – when my husband offered to do it with me, and showed me the Plant Paradox Book by Dr. Gundry that a friend at work recommended – I was on board to give it a try. He is a great cook, and as far as division of household labor is concerned – he already does the majority of grocery shopping and cooking, so it was actually perfect with him being so interested in doing it together. That was the main thing that really helped me to start it and stick with it. I realize how lucky I am that I have a partner in life who is willing to do something so drastic with me and do so much for me.
We started by printing out the YES and the NO list. These are so overwhelming. This was by far the strictest diet I have ever been on. My husband was all in and ready to try it so he went ahead and emptied out the pantry. He donated bags of food to my sister giving her all of the sugar, flour, bread, basically anything in our pantry he got rid of. This helped us to feel like diet had started officially and didn’t let us stall and cheat on any snacks. We do have two daughters, a 3 ½ and a 1 year old and so there was still a whole shelf in the pantry with their food! We did not put our babies on plant paradox!!
In the book by Dr. Gundry, he has a detailed list of how to start this diet. There is a phase one where you cut out more foods and then once you detox your body from those foods you can move on and once you get to phase 3 there are a few more options. This is a great help and we really did reference the book for the most part during the beginning. I felt like the book alone was rough and difficult to come up with ideas for meals. We ordered the Cookbook from Amazon and that is what really helped me to realize that it was in some way DO-ABLE to actually enjoy eating while on this diet. I was diagnosed with UC at 31 years old while a few months pregnant with my second baby girl. It was a lot to take in and the disease escalated quickly and led to this period of time where I was doing a lot of research and just trying to understand what Ulcerative Colitis was, and what was going on and if there was anything I could do about it! It was so much to take in at once and with the symptoms creeping, like joint paint, I was really interested in the whole “leaky gut” research and felt like this could really make a big impact on my life.
How did I stay on it?
This was so hard, but we actually did it… we were as compliant as we thought we were for about 4 months! What I mean by that is we realized at times that we thought we were being compliant but found out we weren’t. The cons to this diet are the nitty gritty requirements for so many of the foods on the yes and no list. It is super complicated, super expensive, tough to find certain foods, and often times can be contradicting. You can have tomatoes, but only in phase 3 and only peeled and strained/de-seeded. It is possible to find this canned, and actually not for very expensive. Pomí. But trying to do this myself was a nightmare and I am never touching a serrated vegetable peeler ever again. I couldn’t believe what I was willing to do to my fingers to some handmade plant paradox compliant pizza!!
I joined a Facebook group called ‘Recipe Sharing for Plant Paradox’. This group was interesting! They are very particular about what you are allowed to share and even ASK in this group! But after observing for a few weeks and even attempting to share or ask a question I started to see why and understand it! The administrators work super hard, they are very knowledgeable in the book and they ask you when join the group to agree to the terms and conditions… they want to confirm that you have read the book and don’t ask any of the very basic concepts of the books. This is because these people are taking time out of their personal lives to help others survival this diet!!! If they just answered questions all day for other adults who can read the book themselves that would be insane, so I do get where they are coming from and understand the process. They also have a separate Facebook group that is a support group and they make it clear that you can ask medical or support related questions in the support group and that the other one is only for recipe sharing or ingredients questions.
But I learned that this group was so crucial to this diet, and I didn’t want to take for granted what these people were doing by running this Facebook group. They would often email companies to get confirmation that certain foods were compliant. They have spent years researching this diet and they also stay up to date with podcasts and other new additions or changes to the diet.
The main take away from joining this group is that there are tons of recipes that are stored in files in the group and they are GOOD. My husband and I tried recipes and tried altering recipes and tried making things like hamburger buns with absolutely no luck. We were craving that to much. The “spongy buns” recipe from Darlene in that group was so easy and came out perfectly and we were just so stoked to eat a dang Hamburger!!! So, if you are struggling on this diet or any diet I recommend searching for Facebook Groups because you never know what you will find. This is such a niche group of people who do this diet I was blown away I found something but it was so helpful for us while we did the diet.
How did I feel?
This question is tough because there are two answers. I felt good and bad. When I was having a good week, a lot of energy, planned out meals, groceries stocked, baked goods and snacks prepped. I felt really good. One a good week, if I had yogurt and in season fruit, a homemade cassava flour bagel, almond flour muffins to snack on, a yummy salad for lunch, some Plant Paradox masterpiece main dish for dinner that me or my husband cooked up… I would be full and happy and even found some mug cake, or dessert recipes that were compliant. BUT staying on top of this was hard. I have a toddler and a baby, and so I am also fixing 3 meals a day, snacks, bottles, and sippy cups for them all day long, so that plus all of the baking and food prep required for plant paradox and then add in all of the dishes and clean up from so much baking and cooking and prepping… it was TOO MUCH. So, I would have good weeks and then have bad weeks. Some weeks were neither… we just ate food, meat and vegetables and it was not a huge deal. You end up snacking less, basically never. But as long as you feed yourself hearty food like hard boiled eggs, 3 meals a day, drink some chicken broth… you for sure start to lose that weight because you are just eating what your body needs and not all of the snacking and the cravings. Then there were bad weeks, weeks where I am Mom-ing so hard, kids getting up all through the night, house a mess, need to go grocery shopping, it can be really hard to get back on track and have everything be prepped and ready to go.
How long did we last?
Regardless of this we still managed to last about four months. The breaking point for us was going on vacation to the Bahamas, and finding it so impossible to eat. We quickly decided to just be gluten free for the week and even that was challenging. Coming home from that trip we did not jump right back in… I soon realized that adding back in dairy and sugar didn’t seem to affect me much and so we said we would just stay gluten free. It wasn’t long before we both went savage and just wanted a cheeseburger and both went off the diet completely.
I do not feel like we failed and I do not have any regrets about doing it for 4 months. I am so satisfied with the weight that I lost doing this diet. I learned about sugar and its effect on my body. I learned how to make my body go into ketosis and could feel a difference in how my body feels based on what I eat. Introducing the foods back into my diet I didn’t notice and dyer side effects that would inspire me to give them up completely right now, but I still will say that I do notice a difference in how I feel depending on what types of foods I am eating.
We learned so much about food. That Yes and No List that seemed so overwhelming at the beginning, I have most of it memorized at this point, and just have a better understanding of his body of research and what foods contain toxic lectins. This will change the way we think about food forever. Though we are not being compliant and sticking to this diet currently, we in no way have stopped eating healthy and making good choices. Committing fully to this diet for a short period of time showed us that it is possible and as we move forward we plan on incorporating these changes into our diets over time, and allowing ourselves to have some slack and more freedom while we are home with babies and busy parents!