Today is Day 529 for me! Many of you know my story, so I will keep that part brief. My consistent symptoms are weight gain (leveling at 53 pounds right now), 24/7 bloat, acid reflux at times, urinary burning (I feel like I am peeing acid even when I am not peeing - constant burning sensation), 45 different food sensitivities, basically leaky gut issues. Two nights ago, I was ready to throw in the towel. I am miserable, my foot was injured trying to run/walk with the added weight, I just hurt. I decided to buy a bag of lemons and drink it in my water. I do not want to do this long-term due to the acid on my teeth. HOWEVER, I drank approx. 20 oz of water with the juice of 2 small lemons before bed. I woke up flatter than I have in MONTHS!! I have read where lemon juice cannot help the body produce stomach acid (hcl), but it can aid in digestion. Problem is you have to drink it all the time. What I need is a permanent solution to the low stomach acid condition I know I have. There are so many risk factors in not having enough hcl (cancer, pathogens via ANY FOOD, decreased immunity, malabsorption which we all know I have, etc). Stomach cancer as well as uterine, pancreatic, etc run in my family, as does major heart issues. What I am asking is this - is there anything you long-termers can think of that can aid my own body into producing its own stomach acid (hcl)? This felt like a miracle waking up flatter than I have in a long time. I am going to continue to drink the lemon juice for a few days to see the effects. Another benefit, my chronic ear ringing was much lower when I woke up this AM. I hear 'white noise' constantly 24/7. It never goes away, but was greatly reduced by the lemons I believe. Confirms my stomach issues. Any ideas or thoughts from my fellow fruity vegans? I refuse to give up, I really do, so I keep digging for answers to what my body needs to thrive as a HCLFV.
THANK YOU and many hugs!!
I read somewhere that said that the body needs salt to produce stomach acid.
Most people use way too much salt in their diet, but if you don't use salt at all, you may consider adding some back to your diet.
I often wondered about the salt thing. I have always had very low blood pressure and tested positive for adrenal fatigue. My integrative doc wanted to put me on shots for it, but I refused. I have questioned this missing link as part of my consistently bloating and slow digestion. Everything I read says negative things about salt. I have never been a salt user, even in my SAD days. I really need to look into this in more detail.
First of all Fruity Fitness, my love, I have to say, I have such deep admiration for your commitment to this lifestyle and your absolute determination to make it work. I've followed your story on and off for over a year now, and my heart has ached for you at each of your set backs. You are truly an inspiration and I hope with every fibre of my being that you find out what's wrong with you and get back to your sparkly best as soon as possible - enough really is enough. You have been through so much, and are still doing so it would seem.
I have to second Gianni's recommendation. The balance of too little sodium with too much water in the body causes a stress reaction - and along with it, a host of other health problems. This is why you go to the loo so often after eating a fruity meal, the body is stressed at what you've ingested - you're consuming loads of water (in the fruit itself), loads of potassium, yet no sodium. This throws the electrolyte balance off completely, causes the body to produce excess cortisol, and creates the urge to go to the loo repeatedly (yet I bet not much urine comes out, right?). This is why this doesn't happen when you eat cooked food - much less water, higher sodium content. Less stress on the body.
I speak from experience. I suffered greatly for 18 months, was in such terrible condition, couldn't get out of bed, couldn't work, adrenals shot to shit, under-active thyroid, debilitating insomnia, most of my body covered in eczema (having never had so much as a slightly dry patch of skin in my entire life), weak, dizzy, couldn't focus, bloated after eating etc, yet stuck to all the guidelines here faithfully for at least 18 months, pretty much 100% raw.
Within days of drastically reducing my water consumption and greatly increasing my sodium consumption, I was like a different person, and the more in balance my body's cells became, the better I got - till eventually, I was cured. All because of too much fluid and too little sodium. I had tests done at the doc, once I'd figured out what I thought might be wrong, and they confirmed I was over-diluted with too little sodium. My tests now are perfect and my health is fantastic - it took about 4 months (I think, memory is slightly hazy) for me to feel almost completely normal again. But I suffered greatly, for a very long time, and tried everything I could to get better - always sticking within the 30BaD guidelines, to absolutely no avail.
I'm sure lots of people will try and shoot me down for this, as this isn't within guidelines, but you're suffering so much, this completely cured me (I changed absolutely nothing else in my life, and the doc's test confirmed the electrolyte imbalance), it's something you haven't yet tried, so I say - why not give it a go? What do you have to lose? Salt the fuck up! Water the fuck down! It was so very hard reducing my water intake but you know what - even on days where I deliberately drank no water (yet ate my usual fruity meals as I'm generally raw) my pee was still almost entirely clear. I was fully hydrated. I felt fully hydrated. I noticed a slight improvement through adding the classic sodium laden veg to my diet but you know what? By that stage, it simply wasn't enough for me, so I reverted to sea salt. Not a lot. Just a sprinkle in my water-less smoothies to add balance. And then I had to reduce my fruit consumption too for a while, as even that was too much water, as I could tell I was on the right track, I could see that I was improving, but not quickly enough, so I switched to an all cooked vegan diet for a few months with liberal salt and little water. Still, my pee was almost completely clear. And my health improved exponentially each week. This may not be possible for you with your issues, but it's what worked for me after 18 months of pure misery. And I was pretty devastated to find out how simple the solution was all along! Maybe you can make it work within your limitations? I'm aware of your many food allergies. Once balance was regained, and my health issues cleared up, I was back to my nearly all-raw diet, but to this day I drink much less water (yet pee remains clear and I show all the signs of being fully hydrated) and still add a sodium element to all my smoothies - if I don't have celery to hand, I will use sea salt. Because I know my health depends on it.
What do you think?
The guidelines here are great, and I have to say, I agree with 99% of them. But people also need to not be afraid to experiment outside of them if they're really struggling and have been struggling for as long as you have, seemingly with no answers. Looking back, I can't believe now how terrified I was of not slamming back litre after litre of water a day, and of adding the merest hint of salt to my diet (of which I hadn't had a single grain for 18 months till then). It cured me! Crazy huh? At the end of the day, everyone is different. Everyone has different backgrounds. Everyone's health is in a different place when they start out here. So I think where appropriate, rules need to be tested sometimes.
A simple way to test stress in your body, and how your body reacts to your meals, is to take your body temperature. If 30 mins after eating, your temp goes up, you know you've eaten the right food/electrolyte balance for your body, if it goes down, then you know you've stressed your body, are going through a stress reaction, and need less water/more sodium. A low body temp is indicative of low thyroid. Mine was crazy low when I first cottoned on to the whole fluid/sodium/electrolyte theory, and through testing it after each meal, I was able to refine my diet (hence eventually ending up all cooked for a short while) till my temps were high and I could go back to my fruity ways.
A great layman's intro for you with all this is Matt Stone's 'Diet Recovery 2' and 'Eat for Heat'. I ignored most of it (he's not vegan, and not a fan of being so, though he's tried it himself) but these books do a great job of explaining in very easily accessible terminology all about the metabolism and the effect of water/sodium on the body. If you're more science-y and hardcore, check out stuff by Broda Barnes and Ray Peat. But for me personally, I followed Matt Stone's recommendations and they worked. He also did a book with Chris from Real Raw Results (the guy who lost over 100 lbs with the 80/10/10 diet) called 'Vegan Recovery' or something like that, and even Chris had to own up to having changed his still-vegan diet to include more sodium (in the form of actual salt) and reducing his water intake in order to improve his health. It's not an anti-vegan diet book, it's a book about optimising the vegan diet, written with a guy who follows 80/10/10 (though with more cooked now). All worth a read, if nothing else, as if you're anything like I was when I felt as though I was actually at death's door, there's nothing I wouldn't read, no theory I wouldn't explore in my complete and utter desperation to get well.
Good luck gorgeous. I'll be rooting for you.
Dear Fruity & Melinda,
Fruity, I, too, am cheering you on! Every time you post, no matter what you have to say, your honesty and commitment to this lifestyle encourages me. In the midst of my own weight gain/detox/healing, I thank you! I love Melinda's message to you, and wanted to chime in to second it. You are a beautiful soul!
Also, I was curious if you have you tried much dried fruit? I have recently been eating more, partly because of the changing season, and partly because it is easier for me to get the carbs in without feeling as if I am going to burst. Just a thought, if you haven't tried it already.
And Melinda, I just ran across Matt Stone's info last night for the first time, so I was curious to hear how much you've experimented with his suggestions. I read thru his vegan book written with Chris Randall, and two things struck me. One is for sure the homage to salt, as you mentioned. The second is the fat -- coconuts and macadamia nuts.
I might be able to try a little salt, especially after hearing about your experience, but have you experimented with his fat suggestions? I think we are allowed an avocado a week on RT4. To be honest, I have been trying to do no overts. Now I am thinking about adding nuts/seeds back in. One recommendation I ran across on this forum was for a handful a day, so I may start there. I was just curious where you are with that.
Thank you, Ladies, for the awesome thread! And really thank you to all the commentators on this forum. The support shown to each other here never fails to blow me away. It makes me happy to call myself vegan. : )
SunnyBananaSmile - Love it! I should most definitely have been more creative with my moniker!
OK so, re Matt Stone - nice to talk to someone who's a bit familiar with his work! As you know from my post, the salt addition was an absolute life-saver, it got me back in balance, sorted out my adrenals, insomnia, completely changed my life etc, and now that I am in balance, I need only a bit each day in order to feel great (while also being mindful of not chugging litre after litre of water each day alongside all my watery fruit). But I do still have to have a little salt each day, otherwise I simply don't feel good. Salt gets bad press (and with the amount that the average person consumes, and how detrimental it is in large quantities, for good reason) - but adequate sodium intake is vital for human health. And I'm still on an incredibly low sodium diet - I probably eat less than DR and Freelee do nowadays with all their restaurant meals out! (Note how those two haven't become puffy or complained about any adverse effects of this recent addition to their diets - to my knowledge anyway.)
I'm a big believer in trying everything when it comes to diet, and trying to find what works for your individual physiology, your lifestyle, as well as what resonates as true to you factually (and morally I guess too, in the case of us vegans). For every pro-carb study, there's a study that your Faleo mates can quote that'll disprove what you've said (never mind that the study could have been cherry-picked, or funded by the meat industry, or carried out without a control group etc) - but the pro-carb science makes sense to me, I feel great on them, so the more carbs the better as far as I'm concerned.
So with fat, from everything I've studied, and my own personal experience, I'm firmly in the low fat camp, and most days am around 10%, with a few 5% days here and there. (However, I'm definitely not in the overt-free camp.) There isn't an allowance of 1 avocado a week on this lifestyle sweetcheeks, it's a fat % allowance. Because I eat so many calories a day (min 3000) I can easily eat an avocado every day (granted, probably not a massive one!) and come within my 10%. Why are you aiming to go overt free? What are you trying to achieve by doing so? What's your rationale? For me personally, I definitely do better with some overts most days - my skin is softer, I get minerals/nutrients that I might not otherwise and I just feel better within myself (if that makes sense - hard to explain). However, in my experimental Matt Stone desperation, I did up my fat intake, just to see if this also helped, as I'd never tried it before. I probably went up to about 20%, maybe 25%, fat for 2/3 weeks. I don't think this helped at all, as I did this at the same time as upping my salt and reducing my fluid, and my problem was too little sodium/too much fluid, not too little fat. I didn't enjoy it, I have to be honest, and I felt much better when I went back down to my much lower fat %. So yeah, I tried it for a very brief period, not nearly to the extent Matt recommends, and I'm certain it didn't help in the slightest given how much better I felt when I stopped, even though I was still suffering from extensive ill health. But then, I generally eat overts each day anyway, and have done for years, so it wasn't as though I'd been deliberately denying myself something for ages, started trying it, and then went on an out of control binge due to some sort of deficiency/deprived mental state, you know? I had to literally force myself to eat the extra fat and after 2/3 weeks of not enjoying it, I knew it wasn't right, so stopped it. Whereas with the salt, even though I'd not had a grain in about 18 months, and was, quite frankly, terrified of adding it to my diet, as soon as I started having it, it felt right, and my body wanted more and more and more.
Lots of people seem to be moving over to 90/5/5 - I don't know how well they do long-term, as it seems to me that this is a more recent evolution of 80/10/10. There's science to back up a fat % as low as 5%, there's also lots to suggest otherwise. The slightly higher fat % rings true to me, both scientifically and personally. I think people need to generally pay attention to their own bio-feedback when making dietary (and lifestyle) changes - that's the best guide as to what's working for you (EDs generally notwithstanding, obviously).
This is a whole debate in itself, but I believe in sticking with mono- and saturated fats, limiting PUFAs (due to their potentially inflammatory action in the body) and making sure I eat an overt with lots of omega 3 once a week (e.g. chia seeds). So when I drastically increased my fats for 2/3 weeks, it was mostly with avocado, coconuts and chia seeds. Now I eat the same fats, alongside a Brazil nut or two for the selenium, but only in quantities that keep me within the 10% guidelines.
Does that help at all? Have I covered what you were asking? Pretty dull stuff, I know.....!
Darling - what about adding more sodium (even straight up salt) to your diet? You say you feel dehydrated - with adrenal fatigue especially, water cannot effectively be used by the body unless there's adequate sodium present. It'll simply pass straight through you, flushing out electrolytes/stressing adrenals/kidneys etc in the process (depending upon how much you drink obviously). It's entirely possible to drink litres of water, pee loads of clear urine, yet be dehydrated on a cellular level. Racing heart? That also fits - incorrect sodium/fluid ratios causes the body to release stress hormones such as adrenaline. I used to get that in the middle of the night - wake up and my heart would be pounding so hard I thought it'd explode out of my chest. Or suddenly in the evening, when I was just lying around watching Netflix. More sodium and less water stopped that entirely.
I know it's contrary to the mainstream, and contrary to 30BaD, but your symptoms are so like mine were, and what cured me was so simple, that I felt compelled to reply and essentially repeat myself! I'm not nagging though.... honest! You must do whatever you feel is right for you.
Not dull at all! I am enthralled by these new things to consider -- salt, body temp, how to heal my body/adrenals. I struggle with how much to ride out the lifestyle as it's presented, or to make little tweaks to suit the feedback my body is offering up. I do understand how consistency can be important, but there's when to say when sometimes, too. : )
One thing I didn't mention was that I also have had the racing heart beats, panicky feelings trying to sleep, finding it hard to breathe, painful heart palpitations & fluttering, constant trips to the bathroom to pee. When I first came to this lifestyle, I tried to do banana island, then I tried to do all fruits. By the second week, I had all of the above symptoms, plus I was fantasizing about a cup of warm miso broth, which I saw as a huge failure. Switching to RT4 sort of saved my life, I felt, or at least made it possible for me to continue the lifestyle.
In the past month, I have tried playing with more starches throughout the day, but I really think I prefer the fruity, more colorful way. However, I am likely still too damaged to do all fruits or raw. I often wonder if I am allergic to bananas, because after eating them, I start to sneeze, my lungs wheeze and my nose runs like a faucet. But I really like them, and the idea of them, so I still squeeze them in, just in lower doses. Also, as I mentioned before, I am able to eat more dried fruit these days.
To answer your questions about why I was avoiding overts has to do with the original reason why I came to this lifestyle. I was happy with my weight, but I had maintained it for 3 years by eating a ton of nuts (almonds & pumpkin seeds, sometimes more than a pound a day) & unsweetened chocolate -- and I was feeling toxic and burned out, tired all the time and slightly nauseated, which is probably what helped to keep my weight in check. I also ate Vega smoothies, sweet potato and kale smoothies, and vegetables prepared in any way, apples for fruit and dates.
Basically, I avoided overts, because my original goal was to detox from nuts & seeds & chocolate. I am a big fan of chia pudding, by the way, and that is one of the things that I have been adding in in the past few weeks. I had been just enjoying but limiting avocados. And you're right about the cronometer readings. As I have been eating over 3000-4000 calories a day, I thought my fat % was much higher, from bananas and romaine lettuce alone. For months, I hadn't realized how to hover over the pie chart for the real %. :)
I am still really struggling with the weight gain and feeling miserable about my body's constant bloating and painful swelling, and the rolls of jiggle and cellulite which are almost everywhere now. Less rice or corn pasta helps, but I sometimes crave it, so I will still have it. I was 5'4" and 57 kg at the start and am now 64 kg.
Was initial weight gain part of your experience? Or at least the ballooning body feeling? I would be curious to hear what you might have to say about that.
Thank you so much for your knowledgable experience and insights! : )
Hahaha! I guess I'm just so used to my boyfriend's glazed eye, slack-jawed look at the merest hint of anything to do with nutrition or biochemistry etc. The swine has conditioned me to believing I'm dull!
Good for you for getting off the high fat diet - how you managed to sustain that for any length of time, I really don't know! You must have felt awful - you must feel so much better now, right? Barring the annoying weight gain, understandably.
OK, so let's see what's happening with you......some questions:
-You mention healing your body - can you be more specific? From what does it need healing?
-You mention healing your adrenals - are they fatigued? Or do you suffer from Addison's or Cushing's?
-The symptoms detailed in paragraph two - were they all/to what extent were they improved when you moved from fruit to a more starch based diet?
-You did two weeks all fruit and then wanted the miso, correct? Was your diet high sodium when you were eating more fat? Was this your first experience of going low sodium?
-In paragraph 3, what do you mean by 'too damaged to do all fruits'? In what way do you feel your body's damaged? Is this referring back to the adrenals and feeling 'toxic' generally? Or can you be more specific?
-Are bananas the only fresh fruit to which you have this sort of reaction? Are you allergic to anything, including outside of food?
-When do you crave the rice/corn pasta? What sort of eating day triggers this craving? (Both type of food consumed and number of calories). What do you have on these items when you do eat them? Or is it cold where you are, and is that your trigger?
-How long have you been on this lifestyle?
-Are you faithfully eating 3/4k cals a day?
-Do you track on Cronometer
-How much do you sleep?
-How much water do you drink each day?
-What exercise do you do?
-Are you craving fats, or have you found it quite easy to make the switch to HCLF?
In answer to your weight question for me personally, I had no weight gain from following this lifestyle. I've eaten high carb pretty much my whole life, simply because I love carbs, have never been on a fad diet, have never restricted - always eaten what I've wanted, when I've wanted, in whatever quantities I've wanted. I've been a HCLF vegan for approx 6 years now, more McDougall style in the beginning, so gradually switching over to incorporate more fruit made no difference to my weight at all. When my thyroid was under-active and my adrenals producing huge amounts of cortisol, I put on a few pounds then - but that was entirely due to my metabolic damage, nothing to do with the carbs.
SunnyBananaSmile, I've accepted your friend request, agree re PMing - looking forward to hearing what you have to say re the above!
Oh, thank you! If it would be helpful, I could continue here. I just doubt the rest of the forum would really want to read it all. : )
Loved your response to Fruity Fitness about the sleep -- or lack thereof. I can really relate to that, too!