I haven’t really posted anything in a while. It has been so crazy in my house! I have tried to do some creative things lately, but they have all been fails. A ruffled skirt that has to be worn backwards to look right, and lots of failed baking with almond meal. I’m almost tempted to post photos of my failed attempts so far so we can all have a good laugh… anyways, on to the topic at hand: an update on my progress on the paleo diet. If you’re looking for the almond milk recipe, scroll right down to the bottom of the page!
About 3 weeks ago I decided to try a modified paleo diet. I’ve tried to modify the diet to suit IgA nephropathy, a type of kidney disease I have. Basically, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to lose weight in order to lighten the load on my kidneys. I’ve decided to give it a shot for 30 days to see how I feel at the end of it. To summarise what I mean by a modified paleo diet:
- no dairy
- no grains (i.e. wheat, oats, barley, millet, etc)
- no beans/lentils
- no added salt
- no refined sugar
- loads of fresh veggies and fruit
- small portions of meat and fish
- supplement with fish oil capsules (which may have a beneficial effect on IgA nephropathy as well, although there appears to be some conflicting evidence)
Paleo Update (results at week 3)
I must say that I am surprisingly pleased with the results so far. I feel much better, my blood pressure is marginally lower, and I am fitting into the size 14 jeans I hid in the back of my closet 2 years ago!
Here are the goods at the end of week 3:
- lost 2.4 kg
- 1 dress size lower
- blood pressure from 150/97 to 130/95 (I still have a lot of work to do on the blood pressure, but weight loss will help with that)
I actually lost the bulk of the weight in the first week, so it was probably a lot of water weight. I’ve noticed the most physical change this week, however, even though I’ve had less weight loss. I could be replacing fat with muscle (which weighs more than fat).
Initial Blood Test
I had my blood work done last week, so I’ve decided to use the results to track any changes. I’ve heard that dietary changes to improve cholesterol take about 3 months to appear, so I may have to continue the diet for that long. We’ll see.
- eGFR: 25 ml/min/1.73m2 (extremely low)
- cholesterol: 7.5 mmol/L (extremely high)
- creatinine: 219 umol/L (extremely high)
- protein/creatinine ratio: 225 g/mol (extremely high)
- urea: 11.7 mmol/L (high)
- urate: 0.43 mmol/L (moderately high)
- albumin: 38 g/L (normal!)
- fasting glucose: 4.3 mmol/L (normal!)
- blood pressure: 130/95 mm hg (high)
Planning meals isn’t really that difficult. I pretty much just go to the shop and buy whatever veggies are in season and a few cuts of meat (mostly whole chicken). I make more trips to the grocery store because I eat so many vegetables and they’re better fresh. I must say that by week three though, I’m getting a bit bored with the meals – I mean, you can only eat so many salads and steamed vegetables, right? I’m still at a loss about what to eat for breakfast. Before paleo I would eat cereal or oatmeal, but now that I don’t eat dairy or grains, they’re both out. Now I mostly eat the leftovers from the night before (if there are any). If I didn’t have kidney disease I would eat eggs and bacon every morning, but unfortunately I have to monitor the amount of protein (and salt) I eat because my kidney function is at roughly 25%. I’m going to have to do a bit of research for different recipes to try out.
Audrey (my 16 month old) eats mostly what we eat, but she isn’t on a strictly paleo diet. She still occasionally has a sandwich or some oatmeal for breakfast and she still eats plenty of dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese).
I love coffee, and am used to making myself a nice cappuccino every morning. Now that I’m off dairy and soy cappuccino’s are pretty much out. This has been a bit of an adjustment for me. My wonderful friend (and paleo mentor) Leah texted me a recipe for almond milk (below), since I can’t bring myself to drink black coffee. The first week I was consuming a LOT of almond milk and almonds but I came to the realisation that replacing flour and milk with almonds in the same quantity was probably just as bad for me as my regular diet. So now I still drink my coffee every morning, but rather than using a shot of coffee and filling the rest up with milk I top it off with hot water and just a “splash” of almond milk. That way I also only have almond meal available once a week for baking rather than 3 times per week.
I never noticed how often we go out for dinner/lunch/breakfast until we started this paleo diet. I think it was probably every 2 days. We now have to cook mostly at home because my husband can’t stand the embarrassment of having to ask if everything is gluten/dairy free. He feels the need to apologise to the servers every time I ask. I don’t feel embarrassed at all – I wonder if that’s a cultural difference between Australians and Canadians – Canadians always ask “how would you like your eggs?” “what kind of toast would you like?” “would you like baked potato, fries or rice?” and we always ask for what we want. Australians, however, just order what’s on the menu and get what the chef cooks. So I can kind of ‘get’ his reluctance to make special favours. It means that we can pretty much order a steak and salad with no dressing when we go out. Here’s another tip: Thai food is great for paleo! We have ordered Thai food twice in the last 3 weeks – our local Thai restaurant guarantees no dairy and no gluten in our meals. I have discovered that I LOVE Thai food! I’ve always been reluctant because of the high fat content in the coconut milk, but now that I’m on the paleo diet I allow myself this indulgence. I might actually order Thai again tonight. Yum! I steam some cauliflower and mash it with a fork to replace the rice. It has almost the right consistency and is a good bland substitute.
Leah’s Almond Milk
- 1 cup almonds
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1 date
- Soak all the ingredients overnight
- Blend. (I use the thermomix on speed 8 for 1-1/2 minutes)
- Strain through a nut bag (you have to actually squeeze it out so it’s a bit messy). You will have lots of almond meal leftover. You can use these for all kinds of baked goods (I think it takes a special talent to bake with almond meal though… I still haven’t perfected it! I’ll share a recipe when I find one that works!)
- Shake the milk before you use it.