Two weeks ago my journal it reads, “sleepless, heavy, bloated, extreme lumbar pain, no endurance, fat belly, anxious, angry, 121 pounds.” I laugh as I read that. I felt terrible and everything hurt, my left knee, right hamstring, right lumbar spine, I felt like I was dying and hated getting out of bed. This seemed to come out of nowhere in less than a 30 day period.
I couldn’t run without pain and I had trouble moving. My easy 10 miles at 8:30 pace in January was now a really hard 10 miles at 10:30 pace in March. It made no sense so I decided the stress of teaching, being chairman, beginning my new artist residency at Govenors Island, and caring for my dogs (who by the way get walked over 50 miles a week!) was just too much. It is not that I wanted to stop running, but I put on a hold with my coach as I could not answer to another person and I got a dog walker 3 times a week. Then on a whim I took the “Two Week Test” of carbohydrate intolerance by Dr. Phil Maffetone.
The TWT is a test to see how your body handles carbohydrates by going off them for two weeks. Since I don’t normally eat meat or dairy I knew this was going to be tough. The premise is to cut out all carbohydrates for 14 days, with the exception of vegetable, but no potatoes or corn. You can eat eggs, fresh meat, (not bacon or cured meat), fish, nuts, heavy cream (no milk sugar) and that is it. That is a lot of variety with loads of types of vegetables, fish and nuts. You cannot have any milk products, soy or rice beverage, fruit, cashews, peanuts, soda, energy bars or any grains what so ever. It is not gluten-free, it is carbohydrate free. You can read more about it on the link. Then after 14 days you introduce one fruit into your meal and see how you feel. You can add in a single carbohydrate to see if it sets off any feelings of being bloated, tired, low energy, poor concentration, gas or increased craving for sweets. If it does, drop the food, go back to only protein and fat and try a different carb at a new meal.
In 14 days, this is how it went. I ate a massive amount of fat, existing mostly on nuts and seeds. I got to the point of making coffee with a tablespoon of raw unrefined coconut oil and two tablespoons of grass-fed cow heavy cream. That drink was so fat I could last 5-6 hours before eating anything. I never craved grains or sweets. My energy was through the roof, in fact it was almost annoying as I was firing on all cylinders. I ran almost every day between 30 and 60 minutes. My pace was slow, but that was also intentional. After today’s run I was dying for some fruit because I knew it was the last day. This would be the first test. I went to Fairway and got giant packages of organic black and red raspberries, bananas and pineapple. As I washed the raspberries I was chucking them in my mouth, in fact I wanted to open up the whole box and stuff it in, but I resisted. I put them in a bowl and began to write this post. After about 20 berries I was done. I can’t eat any more. I don’t feel sugar laden, I am just satisfied. I put the bowl back into the refrigerator a little disappointed because I wanted to gorge on fresh fruit.
As for my “symptoms” listed at the beginning. Sleepless-I sleep far better and less hours. My feelings of heaviness and bloated-gone, extreme lumbar pain-gone, no endurance-still working on that, fat belly-gone anxiety-gone, angry-gone, 121 pounds down to 116 and feeling really light, happy, and incredibly relaxed. Just the feeling of relaxation is amazing. Almost all the symptoms were gone between 24 and 48 hours. Just goes to show, some experiences are really worth the effort. This was a successful experiment.