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Friday, February 5, 2010

Feeding My Caveman

I am relearning how to cook.

Yesterday, I spent a good chunk of time researching how to feed the hypoglycemic adult.  Did you know that there is more information on the web about hypoglycemic dogs than people?  Specifically, Yorkshire terriers and Pomeranians seem to be affected.  Steve has not tested positive for hypoglycemia, but he exhibits all the patterns of the Neuroglycopenic or Type 1 hypoglycemia.  So while I can't say that he's hypoglycemic, I can say that he does seem to have metabolic issues.  And no, he doesn't have diabetes.

So- we have cut out sugar- that's a no-brainer.  I did have to agree to let him make a batch of Zimtwaffeln (cinnamon waffles, which are a German gaufrette) and a batch of Spritzgeback (a hazelnut butter cookie) at Christmas time.  The next harder thing to eliminate from his diet is grain.

I have a lot of faith that removing grain from his diet will help him a lot.  And I don't mean just wheat- I mean all grain.  I once gave him chicken cacciatore (one of my favorites!) on rice (which is how I always ate it), and a little after dinner he flipped out on me- it was the rice, of course.  I haven't given him rice since.  He asked me last night, since yesterday was the first day of this diet, if that means that sushi is off the list.  I said yes, but you can still eat sashimi, which has no rice- it's just raw fish.

We're trying a modified version of the paleo diet, which is predicated on eating what would have been available to people before the advent of agriculture, which started more or less 10,000 years ago.

My great, great, great......great grandfather, getting dinner

Meats, seafood, vegetables, some root vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds. That's it.  The idea behind the paleo diet (as near as I can tell, anyway) is that our bodies evolved as omnivores and they haven't changed very much in 10,000 years, but we're not geared to eat grains and refined sugars.  Over the years, I think some people handle this stuff better than others, but Steve clearly can't. The idea is to get your carbohydrates from paleo-carbs (from the aforementioned list), and eschew neo-carbs, which includes things we've figured out how to grow and eat in the 10,000 years we've been deliberately planting things in the ground: grains, and legumes,and everything that comes from them: sugar, evaporated cane juice, molasses, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, sorghum syrup, maple syrup (sniff- I love maple syrup).  Honey was on the list, but I can't believe a caveman didn't try it after seeing bears go after it, however, honey has to be kept to a minimum.  Grains and legumes do have impressive nutritive profiles, but most nutrients in them are not readily bioavailable to the human digestive tract.  Theoretically, you're also not supposed to eat fermented stuff, or yeast, but yeast occurs naturally on a lot of fruits, so we had to be getting yeast in us 10,000 years ago.  And I'm not eschewing fermented stuff, because there's a lot of science that says fermented food is really good for you.  A study done in Poland found that Polish women have a 30% less chance of getting breast cancer because of all the sauerkraut they eat (Poles eat more sauerkraut than Germans, which was a surprise to me, too).  So pickles as well sauerkraut are on the list of what we can eat, as is wine.  However, beer should not be because of the fact that it's made from grain, and Scotch either (sniff- I love Scotch).  But I can't deny Steve his beer- that would be too cruel. And he won't drink wine- he doesn't like it. Unfortunately, I like it all, but have cut way back on it. Can't say I feel any better, but I am losing weight.  The other thing I had to agree to was to allow him to make his pretzels, but we agreed that he only gets one a week, and that's on the weekend when I can better manage the rest of what gets into him, and there are no outside irritants to set him off.

Also off the list is dairy.  Milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc, have low glycemic indices, but are highly insulinotropic, which means that they stimulate the production and effect of insulin.  I read the information I had found to him aloud, and he had an ah hah! moment: so that is why he burns right through yogurt.  He also mentioned that his grandmother used to flip out if she didn't get her meals on time, and I had an ah-hah moment. So it's hereditary. He mentioned that his mother doesn't have this problem, so it seemed to skip a generation. I've said before that living with Steve is kind of like living with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde- when he's Dr. Jekyll, he's the sweetest and most affectionate man I've ever known, but when Mr. Hyde comes out- holy cow! Watch out.  So we're going to try this and see if it makes him feel better. I worked with a fellow who went on this diet, and he told me he hadn't felt this good since he was a teenager.

Yesterday we spent a couple of hours shopping for groceries, mostly meat, chicken and fish, and a boatload of vegetables.  And a couple of expensive things like almond milk and almond flour.  The almond flour was truly spendy, almost thirteen dollars a pound. The almond milk was icky in his coffee this morning, so I'll allow him a few tablespoons of milk for that until I can get him some cream.  I need to see if I can find a cheaper source for almond flour.  I'd use coconut flour, but it's almost as expensive and he doesn't like coconut.

The important thing for us to remember is to buy only wild-caught fish, because farmed fish are fed grain. We also only buy fish caught in Alaska, and never from the Atlantic.  The Atlantic is being over-fished to death, and the state of Alaska has been using sustainable fishing practices by law since the fifties, when they recognized that it behooved them to do so.

Also- meats should be either game, or pasture-fed, not only because of the relation to grain, but also because they are much higher in omega-3 fats, and are generally better for you. We purchased some corn-fed beef to hold us over until we can get a quarter of a grass-fed steer and a freezer, which reminds me- I forgot to research that today.

First breakfast for Steve this morning was a hard-cooked egg and an apple smeared with almond butter (peanuts and cashews are legumes, so they are out).  This was something he could get himself, because my morning chore, before going back to sleep for a couple of hours, is to build a fire in the stove.  His next snack an hour and a half later was three slices of turkey cold cuts and some crudites.  His next snack another hour and a half later was a nut cup- walnuts, almonds, raisins and dried cranberries.

Then I fed him second breakfast, which was almond blueberry pancakes with strawberry compote, and a slice of sausage and bacon. The pancakes were hard to do, being made with almond flour, almond milk and a couple of eggs, but like I said, I'm relearning how to cook.  His next snack was a stalk of celery filled with the remainder of yesterday's tuna salad.  He was supposed to get his lunch (a steak and a bunch of vegetables) an hour and a half later, but he got stuck on a call.  However, he was alright even up to getting his lunch late.  So maybe it's helping already.

What is on the list

If you'd like to read the interesting article I found about it, read it here.  There is other information out there as well, but this was the most interesting and the most accessible.

I'm not sure this is a lifetime commitment yet, but if we find that eating this way helps him, then we'll continue.  I may even lose some weight.  Steve just needs to think of this as not losing his dumplings; he needs to think of this as getting his skinny girlfriend back.  I hope.

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